Why Do Christians Try So Hard To Convert Others?

April 24, 2007 at 11:05 am 273 comments

I found this argument on an anonymous web site when I tried to research the phrase “don’t use christians to judge christianity.” I was using it as a research side trip after having read “Blame the Individual, Not the Faith.” The web site I found in my research appears to be an email conversation between a Christian and a non-Christian discussing the merits of believing and not believing, each from his own viewpoint. The Christian offers the typical argument used by those who are trying to save our souls. The non-Christian writes:

Consider Matthew 7:16. It applies to Christianity itself. Christianity has brought forth mostly corrupt fruit even if that was not Jesus’s intent. People would be wise to avoid the church and if they are interested in Jesus’s teachings, read them for themselves. I don’t throw out Jesus’s teachings. I throw out the nonsense in the Bible that passes for the word of God. To me it is clear the Bible could not possibly be God’s word simply because it is untrue. (punctuation errors his)

The Christian responded:

When all is said and done you alone are going to be responsible for your own choices in life. Whether you base that on observation of other people’s behaviors and beliefs or on your own quest to find the truth for yourself is up to you. I, myself, wouldn’t hang my beliefs and eternal destiny on other people’s beliefs and actions.

Gravity and other scientific forces are fact, and have always existed and been unchanged throughout human history despite our human interpretations of them over the ages. The same holds true with Truth. Truth exists apart from our interpretations and beliefs of it.

I encourage you to seek the Truth that lies beyond what other human beings interpret it to be. In fact, that really should be your own personal reason for existence to discover the Truth for yourself (major emphasis on “yourself”). We are all assigned that purpose, but few take on the challenge. Most people are content to be spoonfed someone else’s maligned “truth” (which always does more harm than good, because it was designed to control the one who it’s being fed to). Others realize the maligned truth and reject it, as you have, but you need to go that step further to find the real Truth.

What strikes me about this typical argument is that the Christian assumes that the non-Christian has not searched hard enough for what the Christian believes is “the Truth.” The Christian assumes several things: 1) that the non-Christian is a moron who believes what other people tell him just because they tell him. 2) That the non-Christian doesn’t understand the meaning of personal responsibility or how to choose that for themselves. 3) That the non-Christian has believed the “maligned Truth” and if he would just realize the “Truth” he is offering, the non-Christian could be saved. And most amusing of all, 4) the Christian tells the non-Christian “I, myself, wouldn’t hang my beliefs and eternal destiny on other people’s beliefs and actions” and yet chastises the non-Christian for not believing what he has just said about eternal destiny and Jesus! Talk about logical inconsistency!!

What really pisses me off about such Christians is that they will preach and preach that all people will ultimately be responsible before God for the decision they have made about Christ. But, once the non-Christian makes that decision, fully cognizant of the information out there and fully accepting the consequences for themselves about their own “eternal destiny” if there is one, and after the non-Christian relates the decision to Christians, then the Christian STILL cannot let it rest. For some reason, they must convince you, cajole you, threaten you with hell, or any number of tactics for the decision you have just made. Are individuals responsible or not? If they are, then let us make our own decisions and be done with it! Even the bible says:

Matthew 10:14
14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
NIV

Acts 13:51-52
51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
NIV

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. NIV

Jesus even calls those who don’t receive the message as doomed and tells the disciples to get out of Dodge:

Luke 10:11-12
11 Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
NIV

Why, then, do Christians keep at it? It’s certainly not because they love you as some of the comments on this blog and others attest. Methinks they doth protest too much. I am convinced that if they can get one person to believe what they personally believe then they will feel much better about themselves and their own shaky belief system. I am certain that the most personally unconvinced religious adherents are the hardest, most vicious proselytizers.

-MysteryofIniquity

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273 Comments

  • 1. Mike C  |  April 24, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Why, then, do Christians keep at it? It’s certainly not because they love you as some of the comments on this blog and others attest. Methinks they doth protest too much. I am convinced that if they can get one person to believe what they personally believe then they will feel much better about themselves and their own shaky belief system. I am certain that the most personally unconvinced religious adherents are the hardest, most vicious proselytizers.

    You once considered yourself a Christian yourself, right? I’m wondering, is this how you would have answered your own question above when you were a Christian? What was true of you back then? Did you ever try really hard to convert others? What were your honest motivations at the time?

    Just curious… :)

  • 2. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 24, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    Hey Mike, I never tried to convert others. I figured that there were evangelists for that and if God wanted people converted, he could do it himself.

  • 3. HeIsSailing  |  April 24, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    MysteryOfIniquity sez:
    ” 4) the Christian tells the non-Christian “I, myself, wouldn’t hang my beliefs and eternal destiny on other people’s beliefs and actions” and yet chastises the non-Christian for not believing what he has just said about eternal destiny and Jesus! Talk about logical inconsistency!!”

    This is the first thing I thought of. When saying this, the Christian believes that he/she has found the Truth *independent* of any outside influence. This is pure bunk. Almost everyone, of every faith, learns it by having it being fed to them by somebody.

    On my site, I often argue that Christians learn their faith by a Church Creed or Dogma first. Once the Christian takes that on faith, they subsequently read the Bible and interpret everything in it to fit that creed. The Church creed has become infallable Scripture to the Christian – and the Bible must be fit into that mold.

    As a Christian, I often witnessed to my family and friends, and occassionally to strangers on mission trips. My motive was primarily fear. I dreaded the idea of my family facing eternal damnation.

  • 4. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 24, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    HIS,

    You said, “As a Christian, I often witnessed to my family and friends, and occassionally to strangers on mission trips. My motive was primarily fear. I dreaded the idea of my family facing eternal damnation.”

    I think this is the primary reason why anyone evangelizes; out of fear. It’s not love. Either the believer fears his/her loved ones will go to hell, or the believer fears God will send them to hell for not witnessing. I don’t understand why they can’t see the concept of hell itself flies in the face of a merciful God. This puts humans in the position of believing themselves more merciful than God. If we wouldn’t even send souls to hell then how can God who claims to love people?

  • 5. HeIsSailing  |  April 24, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    MysteryofIniqity sez:
    “I don’t understand why they can’t see the concept of hell itself flies in the face of a merciful God. This puts humans in the position of believing themselves more merciful than God. If we wouldn’t even send souls to hell then how can God who claims to love people?”

    I agree. I had to sit down and really wrestle with the whole concept of God and eternal damnation, after my own mother told me she would never accept Jesus and I was the one who would suffer in Heaven with eternal survivor’s guilt. I have come to the conclusion that the existance of hell (or for that matter heaven), makes absolutely no logical sense. I put some of my thoughts on the subject of hell in a tortuous 4 part rant on my own site. Check it out if you are interested – just click on my name.

  • 6. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    HIS,

    No problem! It gets confusing here in Blog land! :-) I’m off to read your site!

  • 7. stellar1  |  April 24, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    MOI,

    Great blog and a fantastic point. In fact, I was just thinking about his the other day too when some people (for whom I did not answer the door ) came ringing my door bell with literature about salvation. The most amusing way is the hell, fire and brimstone lines. Watch out! :)

    -Stellar1

  • 8. pboyfloyd  |  April 24, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I think that christians who answer these kinds of posts are just honing their skills. If they can convert you by saying that there is a ‘baby’ in that giant tub full of ‘bathwater’… why not?
    No point in hitting you over the head with the ‘atheists worship Stalin’ “club” right off the bat.
    Softly, softly, catchee monkey… as the saying goes.

    They are telling you up front that they, christians, are off the mark, sinners, but the religion itself is not to be blamed. Just read the scriptures, become perplexed by the ‘apparent’ contradictions, seek holy answers to holy questions… then they’ve got you!!! You are no longer out of control, now they can tell you up front, atheists are just Stalin worshippers. You don’t want to be a Stalin worshipper… do you?

  • 9. agnosticatheist  |  April 24, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    MOI,

    LOL…. I like getting the credit for a great blog :)

    BTW, doesn’t HIS have a great site? He’s on my regular reading list.

    aA

  • 10. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 24, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Stellar1,
    Don’t you love the doorbell ringers? I like to mess with their heads sometimes. :-)

    pboyfloyd,
    Great moniker by the way. I’m with you, I don’t understand the argument about ignoring the examples of the religious devotee and embrace the religion. It’s like parents saying “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    aA,
    I like HIS’ site. Good stuff. I think you all are doing a great job holding back the believing hordes. :-)

  • 11. Heather  |  April 24, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    MoI,

    **I am convinced that if they can get one person to believe what they personally believe then they will feel much better about themselves and their own shaky belief system.**

    I think this plays a large role in it. The more a fundamentalist/very conservative Christian brings over to his/her viewpoint, the more the Christian is justified in the belief system. This version of Christianity is heavily focused on right vs. wrong and that extends over to beliefs — one is condemned to hell simply for the wrong beliefs. That, in turn, produces fear, because if the Christian starts doubting, who knows where that would lead. There’s validation in the majority.

    The reason why I doubt it’s out of love is based on the person’s behavior when trying to convert me. If the Christian truly loved me, they would listen to my reasons as to why I don’t follow that particular belief system, rather than interpret me through the BIble or their belief system. It’s like if they actually start listening to what I say, it might open up the floodgates.

  • 12. beepbeepitsme  |  April 24, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Religious people pay a lot of attention to the concept of a personal subjective truth. Which means that they don’t require an objective standard in order to assess truth.

    It is this part which bothers me as a “personal truth” can interpret the bible to fit one’s personal political, economic and cultural beliefs.

  • 13. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 25, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Heather,
    I know what you mean. I was following your conversation with Dan on another aA post and, really, the guy is NOT listening, only filtering (you ought to check out his web site. SCARY. I’m surprised he stoops to converse with women at all). This is common in fundie land. Their subjective lens is there, yet they call it objective. It’s as if Alice fell into the Looking Glass again. All things are upside down and topsy turvy in fundie world. Very disorienting, but worth the effort to untangle the nonsensical “philosophies” they employ.

  • 14. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 25, 2007 at 6:32 am

    Hi Beep,
    It’s true. The fundie “personal truth” can mean whatever they want it to mean as filtered through their interpretation of the bible. Each Christian claims we should all read for ourselves and interpret for ourselves and not rely on what others say, yet those of us who’ve found the bible wanting are not allowed the same courtesy. We have relied on ourselves yet we are told that this method will only lead to “hell” as Heather has noted. It’s fear of knowledge. There should be a word for that. How about gnosaphobia (I obviously just made that up)

    Yes, subjective leads to objective in fundie land, but in the scientific world objective should lead to subjective. Although as a literary theorist myself, I find that we all cannot really escape our own subjectivism (which doesn’t necessarily lead to relativism). Sorry I had to throw that in. :-)

  • 15. Heather  |  April 25, 2007 at 10:14 am

    MoI,

    **Their subjective lens is there, yet they call it objective.** Exactly. We’re looking at the Bible objectively, right up until we reach a different conclusion from the fundamentalists. Then we’ve lost the ‘truth.’

    ** We have relied on ourselves yet we are told that this method will only lead to “hell” as Heather has noted. It’s fear of knowledge** Have you ever noticed that most fundamentalists statement of beliefs have a lot of mention of hell, judgement and the wrath of God, and very little mention of God’s love?

  • 16. Mike C  |  April 25, 2007 at 10:44 am

    the believer fears God will send them to hell for not witnessing

    I’ve known many non-Christians who state this to be the case. However, I’ve been a Christian my whole life, and most of that was in a very conservative setting, and yet I’ve never heard any Christian ever claim that they think they’ll go to hell if they don’t witness. That’s just not part of the belief system. Most Christians believe in salvation by grace through faith, not by good works. Since evangelism is considered a “good work” it’s not a basis for salvation and failing to do it wouldn’t cause us to lose our salvation. It’s just an encouraged “extra”. (BTW, I’m not saying I agree with this whole definition of salvation in the first place, but this is the conservative Christian belief I was raised with.)

    Anyhow, I’m just trying to help clarify and give you guys more insight into how Christians actually think.

    Peace,
    -Mike

  • 17. Mike C  |  April 25, 2007 at 10:55 am

    BTW, as a former conservative Christian who used to do 1-on-1 street evangelism, perhaps I can give some first hand insight into my own motivations at the time (though of course I can’t speak for the motivations of all Christian evangelists – I suppose it’s probably different for everybody).

    I think I probably had a number of motivations. The one that stands out to me the most is “gratitude”. This was the was it was pitched to us in youth group, at camp, etc., i.e. “Jesus has done so much for you by dying for your sins on the cross and rescuing you from hell, don’t you want to give back and help rescue others as well?” So for me at least there was this idea that since I had been blessed so much by God, the least I could do was to try and share that blessing with others. (Actually I still think this way, I just don’t think the point anymore is necessarily to “rescue people from hell”.)

    Another motivation that someone here mentioned was “fear of others going to hell”, but it wasn’t always just loved ones. We were afraid of anyone going to hell and thought that preventing this was so urgent that it justified all of our arrogant, “in your face” evangelistic methods.

    To give an example that kind of ties these two motivations together, I had a friend who came to be a counselor at Bible camp one summer after he saw “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”. There’s a scene where Indy has the option of escaping the mines, but he realizes that he can’t go without freeing all the enslaved children from that “hell” too. My friend was moved to tears because saw this as an analogy ot his decision to work at camp. He said he couldn’t just go on living his life without doing whatever it took to rescue children from the actual Hell. We was very passionate and sincere in relating this story, and I have no reason to doubt that this was his honest motivation for spending his summer sharing his faith with young people.

    Anyhow, I hope that provides some insight.

    -Mike

  • 18. HeIsSailing  |  April 25, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Mike sez:
    “I’ve never heard any Christian ever claim that they think they’ll go to hell if they don’t witness. That’s just not part of the belief system.”

    Hi Mike
    I agree with you – I think a better way I would have addressed this is “we fear God will send the potential convert to hell if we do not witness to them”. But you already brought up that point as well.

    With that said, I think a legitimate concern amongst Protestant Christians is that, although they are saved by grace through faith and not by works, their works demonstrate that they have saving faith. This is brought up often in the Epistle of James. So you see the Catch 22 here? We are not saved by any works of our own, but if we have no good works we are not saved.

    And how much of the ‘works’ do you need for sufficient evidence that you have saving faith? Well… your guess is as good as mine.

    So the Christian often becomes guilt-ridden when considering their own evidence of salvation. If we don’t do enough good works (including witnessing to the lost), especially if their is no standard of good works to meet, we really have no idea if we are saved or not. As a leader of small group Bible Studies for many years, I can tell you stories of tremendous anxiety amongst believers concerning their own state of salvation. Including my own.

    The solution? Time to start witnessing at the mall to build up some more ‘fruits of the

    Spirit’.

  • 19. Karen  |  April 25, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    HIS:
    With that said, I think a legitimate concern amongst Protestant Christians is that, although they are saved by grace through faith and not by works, their works demonstrate that they have saving faith. This is brought up often in the Epistle of James. So you see the Catch 22 here? We are not saved by any works of our own, but if we have no good works we are not saved.

    There’s definitely a conundrum there that involves heavy doses of obligation and guilt. Growing up in evangelical circles, “witnessing” was a huge deal – preached on constantly, prayed about, taught in seminars. Much of the “accountability” we did in small groups, Sunday school classes and bible studies was of the “Who are you witnessing to” and “What kinds of friendship evangelism are you doing” variety.

    I agree with Mike C. that evangelism was not presented as necessary for salvation; however, it was certainly seen as essential for the person who was obedient and “right with god,” “walking with Jesus” etc. If you weren’t witnessing, or eager to be witnessing, that was obvious proof something was wrong with your relationship with god.

    From there flowed the guilt, discomfort, loss of self-esteem and worry that I experienced, even though intellectually I knew I was “saved.”

    As a leader of small group Bible Studies for many years, I can tell you stories of tremendous anxiety amongst believers concerning their own state of salvation. Including my own.

    I cannot believe how many former fundamentalists I have met who worried all the time about not being “really” saved, or saved permanently. I never realized when I was in the churches how much anxiety there was about this issue.

  • 20. tobeme  |  April 25, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    You ask why do people of faith try so hard to convert others, it’s really simple. They beleive they have the truth and feel it is their responsiblity to share in the truth.
    For example, if you found a way to make an extra $1000.00 a day, and if by telling other people, it would not impact your ability to make an extra $1000.00 a day, would you not want to tell all of your family, freind and even strangers about it? You would be fired up, you would want to share this secret.
    This is the same reason that people of faith want to share what they believe. They want to share the wealth. I agree, it can get on your nerves, however I do respect their zeal to spread the word. Of course, I do enjoy having conversations with these people for many of them have a very limited scope of views.
    Great article!

  • 21. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 25, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks tobeme. It’s true that when I first became a Christian I wanted to tell everybody that I was happier because of Jesus, but now I realize how annoying I must have sounded and acted. My sister just went through some kind of conversion to Christianity herself and frankly she’s changed for the worse. She’s no longer the fun loving sister I once new and her marriage is in jeopardy because of it. Changing so drastically in such a short time is NOT good.

  • 22. tobeme  |  April 26, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    I agree. When one changes that quickly, they are usually attempting to fill a void. Of course as you know this path leads to heartache, for the void cannot be filled by an external source.

  • 23. casper  |  April 27, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    It’s very simple. You are going to believe what you are comfortable with and what makes sense to you. Although I believe we can’t be so arrogant to believe that “we” have all the answers and this is true to a loyal christian as well. Anything coming from the heart is hard to explain anyway without sounding too sensative, stupid or navie. So, of course anything a Christian says will sound idiotic and forceful. The truth lies between the lines and within your heart. There isn’t anyone who can convert you or convince you otherwise. There isn’t anything that you can read or see that could convince you or make you believe in God. I can’t explain to you why other Christians take this approach but not ALL do. Just like not all Agnostic or Athiest trying to depict and break down what others believe. Everyone can relate to time and this is when I say time is the answer to heal all wounds and sometimes even death. In time you will learn more of what is true, whatever that truth maybe it will reveal itself. It’s hard to understand changes that come so abruptly and it’s okay to resist what is unknown to you. But sitting here and trying to make sense of what isn’t clear isn’t going to bring you closer to understanding any tricks that Christians do. Instead you should focus on what is true to you and search very deep within yourself. You might find or welcome something that is already there.

  • 24. honjii  |  April 28, 2007 at 2:24 am

    Misery loves company?

  • 25. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 28, 2007 at 7:08 am

    casper,
    I must say that’s another unique approach to the question. But, having been a converted Christian at one time myself, I can’t say I’m going to wait around for any more “truth” to sneak up on me. Most of us here are deconverted Christians and understand the conversion process and thoughts and feelings we once had. Fortunately most of us here came to our senses. However, most of us have not become the spiteful Christians we are observing now…the ones that wish us in hell…we are simply trying to understand THAT process.

    Thanks for the thoughtful answer.

    Honji,
    Your answer is my favorite! :-)

  • 26. casper  |  April 29, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Well, that is definitley a flip. I just wonder if there was ever a conversion to begin with.
    The sneak up of the truth is the only way we could understand it because we survive on time. I think we all know what the answers are but maybe it’s masked with our own ignorance.
    “Coming to your senses” well…….. anyone can say that.
    I’m glad your liked my answer. I hope that I wasn’t too harsh this time around. :)

    N

  • 27. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 30, 2007 at 1:02 pm

    Casper,

    Christians ALWAYS use the old excuse, “I wonder if you were converted to begin with” when confronted with people who have different experiences than them. Obviously this answer is used when you can’t deal with people that don’t fit into prescribed categories. Why question someone’s conversion later when the church obviously accepted it and saw evidence of it to begin with? What is it that scares you so much about the de-converted that you cannot accept THAT testimony as well?

  • 28. Rebecca  |  April 30, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    MOI,

    If I may jump in here from my own personal experience I know that my friends when hearing upon my deconversion were scared to death that if it could happen to me it could happen to them. Not one could look me in the face though and use that old excuse of never being converted in the first place. They knew better. They knew if ever there was a Christian I was a Christian. Now, here I was no longer a Christian but the same loving, comapassionate, kind, benevolent friend I’d always been. It is a shock to their systems. Now, with much time behind me I understand what they are so scared. Not talking about Casper here because I don’t know anything about Casper. :-) They are scared because they know often themselves how close they are themselves to that fine line of belief. Not only that but unbelief suggests to them eternal hellfire.

    On the internet I’ve had people doubt my initial born-again experience. In my real life no one who knew me dares suggests my Christiantiy was nothing but sincere and genuine.

  • 29. Rebecca  |  April 30, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    P.S. Pardon my grammar and spelling errors. *blush*

  • 30. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 30, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Rebecca,

    Good point!!!! If they knew anything about us they would know what we once were. I agree that they are scared of the possibility that they could be where we are right now. Still it ticks me off (see my latest post on aA’s site). I couldn’t help it. It was the last straw! Please go to the main page and comment there about this very point for me. I’d appreciate it. I should have made it when I was writing it, but I was channeling my inner “something or other.” :-)

  • 31. casper  |  April 30, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Mysteryo,

    There isn’t any type of shock involved in coverting back to what you believe in. The reason I asked that is because I have friends who are both Agnostic and Athiest and they converted back because of certain life experiences. I just haven’t met one that did it because they came to thier senses.
    Rebecca, I have very good friends who are Agnostic and we almost share the same views (except for a few minor details :). They are just as beautiful and caring as I am. I don’t think that’s the question here.
    Mysteryo I think that is a good testimony to have I guess it just depends on your audience.

    Religion or Christianty doesn’t make people “wierd” it’s the people that are wierd to begin with. Just because someone has converted to Christianity doesn’t mean that they were sane to begin with and that goes for being Agnostic or Athiest. I’m sure they have a few wierdos themselves.

    I call myself a Christian because I believe in Christ. But I’m not shoving it down anyones throat and so aren’t my other Christian friends.

  • 32. casper  |  April 30, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    oh me too sorry for any misspelled words and stuff. It’s Casper because I sord of feel like a ghost on this site. lol

  • 33. Rebecca  |  May 1, 2007 at 8:00 am

    Casper,

    I’m not saying it is the question here. I’m just saying. :-)

    MOI,

    I will go read your latest now. Reading glasses on. ;-)

  • 34. Steve  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I’m a Christian who tries to question everything. Why does the church teach this or that? Why do Christians do this or that? I hope to always seek truth with prayer and passion.

    It’s funny to read both sides of the coin’s views: the Christians who believe they know truth, and atheists who so much stereotype Christians that you’d think we’re clones. Frankly, I get upset with both sides. I hate it when Christians twist God’s word, and on the other side, I hate to be stereotyped.

    I consider myself as someone trying to get to know the truth – who I believe is Jesus. I believe in the gospel, but I know very little about Jesus and God. There are so many things that happen in this world that I can’t explain.

    More on topic….I relate more to the Indian Jones story. I see things on the news and it’s so sad. I believe following God is a better way. Our lives won’t be perfect, but better through freedom. It’s something i want to share with others, preferrably before they do something they’ll regret that’s aviodable.

  • 35. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 2, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Steve,
    Your comment, “Our lives won’t be perfect, but better through freedom. It’s something i want to share with others, preferrably before they do something they’ll regret that’s aviodable.”

    You say our lives are better through freedom, yet you turn right around and imply that others should benefit from your definition of freedom but aren’t allowed to make their own mistakes. I don’t think it’s my job to keep anyone from making mistakes or stop them from doing something they will regret. Besides, trying to convert people to Christianity will not stop people from making bad decisions. From what I can see Christians make bad decisions just as often if not more so than non-Christians do.

  • 36. Steve  |  May 2, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    “I don’t think it’s my job to keep anyone from making mistakes or stop them from doing something they will regret. Besides, trying to convert people to Christianity will not stop people from making bad decisions. From what I can see Christians make bad decisions just as often if not more so than non-Christians do.”

    It’s not our job to help someone, but wouldn’t everyone be better off if we did help?
    Yes, conversion may not stop some people from making bad decisions, but it may stop others.
    That last sentance sure looks like a stereotypical generalization to me. That’s not a fair statement.

  • 37. Jai  |  May 2, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Great comments Steve! I was trying to hone what I said from a Christian perspective, and a fellow Christian also posts comments the same day!
    MOI,
    I was wondering if you have a problem with Christians who *don’t* continually try to witness. Is it such a crime to talk about my faith in general, and then not pester the people about it who have made it clear to me that they aren’t interested? That is, if an agnostic friend says to me “I just don’t care” (if there’s a God or not), and I just let that be and pursue our relationship based on other areas of interest (job, hobbies, etc). I may allude to my faith or church activities, since it is a large part of who I am, but I’m not doing this to “convert” my friend, he’s already made his decision.
    On the other hand, I am obviously more concerned about my family members, with whom I might have “more to lose” which means that I will hope for their conversion even more, but at the same time am more trepidatous about pressing the issue.
    Is this tolerable to the agnostics reading this? Or just is the fact that I talk about my faith (among other things in the context of my own life), and try to understand where the other person is spiritually (Christian or otherwise), too much? These are both things I will generally want to talk about in basic conversations. Sure, I would prefer that they would become Christians, and may generally have a few conversations until we mutually reach the decision point (as mentioned in the post above), and the person makes their own choice. As it stands, I believe I’m not responsible for the decisions somebody else makes(1 Pet 3:15/16), but have to be able to answer questions, and live my life in a way that reflects what I believe.

  • 38. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 3, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Jai,
    Nope, I have no problem at all with Christians who leave well enough alone. I’m one of them. Why does everyone assume I’m an atheist? I’m an agnostic theist. I still call myself Christian.But I respect people enough to allow them to make their own decisions. If someone asks me why I tend to believe in God I tell them. But since I don’t believe in a literal hell, I have no fear that anyone might go there. Hell is antithetical to a merciful deity. Jesus’ principles about the Kingdom of God here and now are my concern.

    Answering questions and discussing them are fine. Threatening and cajoling with the notion of hell and damnation are not fine and borders on spiritual pride. Not all Christians agree on the dogmas of their own religion. I have absolutely no problem with progressive Christians, only the fundamentalist variety.

  • 39. Karen  |  May 3, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    That last sentance sure looks like a stereotypical generalization to me. That’s not a fair statement.

    Steve, are you referring to MOI’s statement:
    From what I can see Christians make bad decisions just as often if not more so than non-Christians do.

    If so, that’s a very fair statement because there are statistics to back it up. There have recently been some major studies done that show Christians are just as likely to get divorced, wind up in jail, get into debt, and make other poor life choices as anyone else. There’s no data showing that Christians (who are supposed to have a supernatural deity guiding their choices, after all) have any kind of edge in life over anyone else, in terms of decision-making.

  • 40. Steve  |  May 3, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Jai,
    I’m beginning to wonder if the passage about wiping the dust off your feet refers to non-believers who don’t want to hear you preach to them. It’s obvious people get upset with us so I think Jesus tells us to just go, that it’s up to them to decide. So, I personally don’t push people. Like you, my faith comes up in conversation and I try to let my life speak.

    Karen,
    Since I do try to let my life speak for God, to be a good ambassador, I called that an unfair statement, saying Christians make bad decisions just as often or moreso than non-Chrisitans. It’s a shame the label “Christian” can mean so many things. Going to church on Sundays does not a Christian make. Mother Theresa once said she is striving to be a Christian, but isn’t there yet. I think that speaks volumes. I am striving to be a Christian myself, and in doing so, my bad decision/good decision ratio is way lower than before I believed. I can say that about most of the Christians I know well enough personally to make such a judgement.

  • 41. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 3, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    Karen,
    Good point!

  • 42. Heather  |  May 3, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Steve,

    **called that an unfair statement, saying Christians make bad decisions just as often or moreso than non-Chrisitans** But is it unfair, if there are studies to back up her statement? I can understand why you’d find it unfair, based on how you define ‘Christian.’ But in the general definition — a follower of Christ — is it still an unfair statement?

  • 43. Jai  |  May 3, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    MOI,
    Sorry for presuming that you were an atheist. It seemed from just your post that you were taking an “us” vs. “them” tone, and I confess did not actually read your bio on your own blog.
    I do want to clarify, I am a fundamentalist Christian (verbal plenary inspiration of scripture and all that rot), and I do believe in a literal hell, etc. When discussing faith (or atheism), I don’t attempt to cajole/threaten others in discussions, but I certainly do believe those things. I’m not willing to say I have all knowledge and of course, my claims are based on faith. Maybe it is hubris to believe that I am right, but it is what I believe and I hope that I come across as one fairly thought out about the subject. However I don’t see the need to try to convince someone who has decided in their own mind that I am wrong. As you rightly quoted in your post, Christ didn’t tell us to keep attempting to convert those who are convinced. Although it sometimes takes some discussion to understand a person well enough to see points we agree/disagree on.

  • 44. Mer  |  May 3, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    Why do Christians try to convert others?

    Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t because we like to annoy people.

    If you saw a dog on the street trying to eat poisonous cleaning supplies somebody else had dropped, and you cared about that dog’s well-being, would you take away the cleaning supplies to spare its life?

    It’s safe to assume you would. Okay, let us say the dog didn’t like that. It kept trying to eat other poisonous things anyway. Would you walk away after one try, saying, “Whatever! I’ll laugh when I see that dog, dead, tomorrow. He should have taken my advice!”

    Hope that helps illustrate how it seems to Christians like me.

    As a response to Karen’s post:
    If so, that’s a very fair statement because there are statistics to back it up. There have recently been some major studies done that show Christians are just as likely to get divorced, wind up in jail, get into debt, and make other poor life choices as anyone else. There’s no data showing that Christians (who are supposed to have a supernatural deity guiding their choices, after all) have any kind of edge in life over anyone else, in terms of decision-making.

    Perhaps we find our information from different places. “Who are supposed to have a supernatural deity guiding their choices, after all” assumes that we have no free will. The big difference between Christians and non-Christians is that we ACCEPT that we have sinned and ask for forgiveness. Forgive me for the generalization, but it seems as though many if not most atheists/agnostics are full of themselves. Are you using atheism as a crutch for not wanting to ask for forgiveness?

    Lose your pride.

  • 45. Karen  |  May 3, 2007 at 8:30 pm

    It’s a shame the label “Christian” can mean so many things. Going to church on Sundays does not a Christian make.

    Steve, the problem with this argument – and I hear it constantly – is that certain Christians are always pointing to other people who claim to be Christians and saying, “Well, that guy’s not a REAL Christian, so don’t judge me by him or her.” Or “That church/sect/denomination doesn’t REALLY follow Jesus, so don’t lump those people in with me!”

    How thinly do we have to slice the pie to get down to a real Christian, whose behavior can be judged representative of the whole? And why in the world should the pie slices have to be so meager? Why shouldn’t we logically be able to take people at their word about what they believe?

  • 46. Karen  |  May 3, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    Maybe, just maybe, it isn’t because we like to annoy people.

    Really? You could’ve fooled me with this one:

    it seems as though many if not most atheists/agnostics are full of themselves. Are you using atheism as a crutch for not wanting to ask for forgiveness?

    Lose your pride.

    That’s easily one of the most annoying and presumptuous personal attacks I’ve ever received from anyone, online or off.

  • 47. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 3, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    Jai,
    Thanks for listening. I appreciate it.

    Mer,
    I’m not using atheism for anything at all. Lose your assumptions.

    Karen,
    Another excellent point, as usual. :-)

  • 48. Heather  |  May 3, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Mer,

    **The big difference between Christians and non-Christians is that we ACCEPT that we have sinned and ask for forgiveness. Forgive me for the generalization, but it seems as though many if not most atheists/agnostics are full of themselves. Are you using atheism as a crutch for not wanting to ask for forgiveness? Lose your pride.**

    The difference could also be that non-Christians have examined the Christian viewpoint your proposing, and don’t find it compelling. Many who post here used to be devout Christians, or they do still believe/follow a God. Your last two lines that I’ve quoted alone make a lot of assumptions. I know you said it was a generalization, but you are assuming your path is the only one to truth. Can’t that also be a demonstration of pride? And is what you’ve posted really going to compel anyone to your viewpoint?

    ** “Who are supposed to have a supernatural deity guiding their choices, after all” assumes that we have no free will. ** No, it doesn’t. It’s saying that Christians proclaim to have been saved, the Bible clearly states what a ‘saved’ behavior means, and yet there are many who demonstrate everything but the fruit of the Spirit.

  • 49. Steve  |  May 4, 2007 at 11:41 am

    “Why shouldn’t we logically be able to take people at their word about what they believe?”
    I think it’s because many people are raised in Christian households so they consider themselves Christians. I remember being asked in school what religion I followed, and I said Catholic because that’s what my dad folllowed. I didn’t practice Catholicism but if I was asked, and i was, that was my answer.
    I think statistics show this also. X% of people who claim to be Christian believe that Jesus isn’t the only way to God. If they don’t believe that, I don’t consider them a follower of Christ. That’s not what Jesus taught.

  • 50. Heather  |  May 4, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Steve,

    **If they don’t believe that, I don’t consider them a follower of Christ. That’s not what Jesus taught.** Here’s where it gets fun, though — what does Jesus mean when he says he’s the way, truth and life? Does it mean him literally, or following what he taught? Because the Synoptic Gospels do have situations where actions mattered much more than beliefs. I don’t believe that Jesus as a person is the only way to God, but I believe what Jesus embodied is — and that embodiment is found in many cultures and religions.

  • 51. Steve  |  May 4, 2007 at 1:09 pm

    Heather,
    Yes, that’s where it gets fun. Jesus is God’s word made flesh. The best way I can understand that is that God formed His very words into a person. So in a way, Jesus was an embodiment, and embodiment of God’s word.
    I believe you can break it down into two choices:
    1. You believe Jesus and His teachings, therefore you believe what God says
    2. You don’t believe Jesus and His teachins, therefore you don’t believe what God says. In this case, you may believe in God(as demons also do), but you don’t believe in what He says – you don’t really follow Him.
    The other cultures you mention may follow a sort of embodiment, but when you dig deeper, there’s differences between their beliefs and what Jesus taught. One example off the top of my head is that Muslims say “charity covers a multitude of sins”. Paul teaches “love covers a multitude of sin”. They may overlap, but someone can give to charity and not love doing it. It’d be like trying to buy penance.

  • 52. Heather  |  May 4, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Steve,

    **One example off the top of my head is that Muslims say “charity covers a multitude of sins”. Paul teaches “love covers a multitude of sin”. ** That would depend on interpretation, though. In the King James Bible, the agape-love was interpreted as charity, whereas in modern translations have it as ‘love.’

    It depends on what you mean by believe Jesus and his teachings, though. Because the synoptic Gospels weren’t focused at all on the right beliefs, but the right action. And there’s much in the letters and such about love being key, so if someone does love with his/her whole heart without believing in Jesus, that person is still following God.

  • 53. Brendan  |  May 4, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    “The best way I can understand that is that God formed His very words into a person. So in a way, Jesus was an embodiment, and embodiment of God’s word”

    Everybody does this. Each of defines every thing and being as a function of language. We each create the world of our experience through our word. This is the divine logos within conscious being.

    There is a third option to the two you provided: Jesus is a metaphor.

  • 54. Steve  |  May 4, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Love is a key, if not the key to how we should live our lives, but we still have to deal with our sin. No one can live a sinless life so I believe that’s where we need to trust in Jesus to be our sacrifice.

    In the King James version mentioned, I found this definition of agape in Strong’s :brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence love feasts. It doesn’t mention charity. I like to look back to origins of words to better understand what is being said.
    I don’t trust “translations” very much.

  • 55. Brendan  |  May 4, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    “but we still have to deal with our sin”

    What is “sin”? And how is an act defined as a “sin”?

  • 56. Steve  |  May 4, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    sin = miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness.
    Anything that misses God’s way is sin. It doesn’t have to be an act for it to be sin. Jesus taught about our thoughts also, as in lust. Lust “misses the way” even if we don’t act upon it.

  • 57. Heather  |  May 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    **Jesus taught about our thoughts also, as in lust. Lust “misses the way” even if we don’t act upon it.** I don’t think that was why he was teaching about sinful thoughts, though. He was rather showing how such thoughts can lead to murder. For instance, calling one a fool means that you’ve just somewhat dismissed the worth and humanity of another person. Those that murder are those that have very much dismissed the value of another person, and such an act can start in very small ways. He was saying it’s not enough to just not murder — by thinking, ‘you fool,’ you could be setting the stage for something worse down the line.

  • 58. Brendan  |  May 4, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    “sin = miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness. Anything that misses God’s way is sin.”

    Those are interesting translations on that list. Why did you choose the one you singled out?

    Also, where does one find the rules governing what is and is not “God’s way”?

  • 59. Heather  |  May 4, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    Steve,

    **In the King James version mentioned, I found this definition of agape in Strong’s :brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence love feasts. It doesn’t mention charity.** Yes, but in the times of translation, charity meant ‘brotherly love’ and affection. I Cor 13 uses ‘charity’ as the word. I agree that we must go back to the original meaning — but if the Muslim verse was using ‘charity’ in the same manner as the King James Translators did, then it’s the same principle.

    **but we still have to deal with our sin. No one can live a sinless life so I believe that’s where we need to trust in Jesus to be our sacrifice. ** I disagree (in terms of trusting Jesus as the sacrifice). Mostly because nowhere in the OT does it state that the only way God can forgive sin is through a blood sacrifice. Sin was also dealt with through charity (as in, caring for others) and repenting and seeking out God.

  • 60. Steve  |  May 4, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Aren’t we dimissing the worth and humanity of another person by lusting after them? Making them an object?
    I got my defintion of sin again from Strong’s.
    For my muslim example, I know that one of the basic tenets of that religion is to give alms. I believe they take the word “charity” and make it literal, ignoring the original meaning. I could be wrong, but that’s how it appears to me.
    Exodue 29;36 “Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it, and you shall anoint it to consecrate it.”

  • 61. Heather  |  May 4, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Steve,

    **Aren’t we dimissing the worth and humanity of another person by lusting after them? Making them an object?** Yes. But look at what Jesus compared it to — committing adultery. What leads to adultery, which is started with lust. Plus, it was a comment on the social system of that time, where if a man lusted after a woman, he could pretty much have her, regardless of what she wanted.

    If looking at the entire OT, a blood-sacrifice was not the only way God forgave sins. There are passages where God says He doesn’t want sacrifice, He wants a contrite heart and prayers. Even Jesus makes a mention of “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” And that Exodus example looks like it was referring to seven days only once a year, not 365 days.

  • 62. 2nd Month Anniversary Review « Agnostic Atheism  |  May 6, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    [...] Why Do Christians Try So Hard To Convert Others? – by Mystery Of Iniquity (currently 61 comments) [...]

  • 63. Steve  |  May 7, 2007 at 10:37 am

    Heather,
    I believe the OT peoples started to use blood sacrifices as a “get out of jail free card”. They figured they could sin and then offer a sacrifice and everything would be ok. I believe God, and then Jesus, explained They desired mercy, not sacrifice, because of this. Jesus talks a lot of the Pharisees “religion” of rituals that they thought made them righteous. It was a man-made system, as they had added to God’s commands. God wants us to instead love Him and others.

  • 64. Brendan  |  May 7, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Steve you didn’t answer either of my questions:

    Why did you choose the translation of “sin” you singled out from the list of possible translations you found in Strongs? In other words, there several possibilities on the list, but you chose one particular one. Why?

    Also, where does one find the rules governing what is and is not “God’s way”?

  • 65. Heather  |  May 7, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Steve,

    **believe the OT peoples started to use blood sacrifices as a “get out of jail free card”. They figured they could sin and then offer a sacrifice and everything would be ok. ** That’s not how the sacrifice system is set up in the first five books in the OT. They took sin seriously, which is why the sacrifice system is so detailed. And when it was used throughout the OT, it wasn’t used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card. And when God uses examples in the OT of places where a sacrifice is not required, it is because God is looking for the inner change — in which case, the blood sacrifice becomes unnecessary. God didn’t need it to ‘save’ someone.

    Were the Pharisees ritualistic? Yes. But the everyday people certainly weren’t using it as a ‘get out of jail free’ card — they were the ones exploited by the rituals and the Pharisees. They were only doing what the religious leaders told them to do, which means the ‘get out of jail free’ card can’t apply to them.

    And if we go by your argument, and say that God started saying ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’ for the reasons you stated, then why bother with the blood of Jesus at all in terms of forgiving sins? You’d still end up in the same situation — a ‘get out of jail free’ card, so it doesn’t solve anything at all. It replaces one sacrifice with another.

  • 66. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    Heather,
    You make a good point when you say,
    “And if we go by your argument, and say that God started saying ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice’ for the reasons you stated, then why bother with the blood of Jesus at all in terms of forgiving sins? You’d still end up in the same situation — a ‘get out of jail free’ card, so it doesn’t solve anything at all. It replaces one sacrifice with another.”

    First, you are right. If sacrifice didn’t work the first time, why should it now? (No, not because Jesus was a “perfect” sacrifice. There’s no evidence of that in the Gospels. Paul or someone else came up with that idea.) God forgave the Israelites all the time without sacrifice in the Old Testament. Look at Isaiah and Jeremiah.

    Second, if Jesus died as a sacrifice for all sins (past, present, and future to the eternal security crowd), then all is covered: believer and non-believer alike. “…In Christ, all shall be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22).”

    But, in fact, Jesus never talks about himself as a sacrifice for sin. He talked about the Kingdom of God and the need to repent to live in it. Now if Christians want to preach about the Kingdom of God here among us, that’s their right. Fine. It’s another ideology that could possibly work with right motives. But, nowhere does Jesus say we have to believe in his sacrificial death and “apply” it to ourselves somehow in order to be a “christian.” That’s all church interpretation.

    In fact all the books and letters in the New Testament are, basically, the church’s “fond look back” and as such are interpretations of events, not to be confused for the events themselves, which are probably lost in history and myth.

  • 67. Heather  |  May 7, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    Mystery,

    **(No, not because Jesus was a “perfect” sacrifice. There’s no evidence of that in the Gospels. Paul or someone else came up with that idea.** Yup. The closest one can possible come is that Jesus said to believe in the Son — but he didn’t say what belief to hold. You can believe in someone by living the same way s/he did.

    **He talked about the Kingdom of God and the need to repent to live in it.** Yes. And he did this even after the resurrection. I tend to see the resurection more as the proof he supplied about his statements regarding the Kingdom of God.

    The thing that really bothers me about the insistence of God requiring the sacrifice of Jesus is how it portrays God. If we today are repulsed by the fact that the Aztecs constantly sacrificed people to ensure the gods would favor them, why aren’t we equally repulsed in the sacrifice of Jesus? It’s a double-standard.

  • 68. Steve  |  May 8, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    I chose that particular interpretation “miss the way” because I’ve heard a word study that used a similar phrase “miss the mark”.

    God rules can be found in Jesus’s teachings: Love your God and love your neighbor.

    I believe Jesus did talk about being the sacrifice. He referred to being killed. He referred to fulfilling the law (read “making it complete”). He referred to Himself as He that was prophecied about. In those prophecies, it’s said that He bore the sin of many, and that “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. ”

    The writers of the letters spoken of as “fond memories” were taught to search the scriptures, and that Whom they spoke of was right there with them.

    I was praying about the actions saving us thing mentioned earlier in this chain. God has been teaching me about the story of Martha and Mary. Jesus was coming over for dinner and Martha was busy making preparations for the guests. Mary instead sat at the feet of Jesus, worshipping and listening. Martha got upset, thinking Mary should be helping her do the physical tasks. Jesus instructed that while what Martha was doing was good, what Mary was doing was better. He wants our hearts more than busyness trying to earn favor. Tasks don’t save us.
    (Notice Mary wasn’t worshipping an “embodiement” either, she was worshipping and listening to God)

  • 69. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Steve:”I chose that particular interpretation “miss the way” because I’ve heard a word study that used a similar phrase “miss the mark”

    Any other reason?

    Steve: “God rules can be found in Jesus’s teachings: Love your God and love your neighbor.”

    So what does “faith” have to do with any of this? What is “God,” and how does one love “God”?

  • 70. Steve  |  May 8, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    sorry, no other reason except that the definition makes sense when in context with the bible.

    Faith in Christianity is trusting God. I think of Moses having faith that God would lead the Israelites out of Egypt. I think of Abraham trusting God even though he was asked to kill his son.
    I think of God asking us to trust He made His word into flesh to show us the way, truth, and life.
    God is love – that’s one definition. He’s the creator. He’s many things, including our god.
    How does one love God? Great question, one I’m still learning. One major potion is wanting to get to know Him. Worship is a part, trusting is a part, prayer(He wants to hear from us) is a part…..

  • 71. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Steve: “God is love – that’s one definition.”

    God is love.
    One should love God and love others.
    So one should love love and love others.

    There’s no supernatural component or being to any of that it seems. So an atheist could very easily be Christian as well and completely fulfill Christ’s law.

    Why bother with all the “faith” claims then? Would love ask someone to kill their son just to show obedience? That is what happened for many people in Jonestown, Guyana, who were asked to show their love and obedience by poisoning their children with cyanide-laced Kool-Aid.

    What does “worship” and “prayer” have to do with “getting to know someone”? If I put a picture of a girl I think is really pretty on my nightstand and say prayers to her and worship her beauty in the picture, but she doesn’t answer me back by interacting in any way, have I gotten to know her? If I imagine that each little thing that happens to me during my day is a product of my having prayed to that picture, have I gotten to know her?

  • 72. Heather  |  May 8, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    Steve,

    **He referred to being killed. He referred to fulfilling the law (read “making it complete”).** But that depends on what ‘the law’ is. The letters and such refer to the crucifixion in terms of the law, but did Jesus? Because he also emphasized a great deal of the law being about loving God and neighbor.

    **In those prophecies, it’s said that He bore the sin of many, and that “He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. ”** Is this prophecy mentioned specifically by Jesus in the Gospels, or is that later referenced?

    **(Notice Mary wasn’t worshipping an “embodiement” either, she was worshipping and listening to God)** If you’re referring to Luke 10: 38-42, it doesn’t say Mary was worshipping Jesus, just that she sat at his feet and was listening.

  • 73. Steve  |  May 8, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    An atheist can’t be Christian because to call themself so would be saying they worship a being: God who has appeared in different forms to people in history and today. God is not a concept, He is an entity. That’s where faith comes in. You have to have faith and belief to see and hear Him, and yes, I’ve heard Him audibly.

    Guyana was a tragic case of twisting scripture into something to fit their own beliefs. God had nothing to do with that.

    Worship and prayer have everything to do with God. You’re telling me I imagine things because I worshp and prayer, but isn’t that judgemental and arrogant to think you know what’s happened to every Christian who ever lived? You don’t believe in anything supernatural?

    Jesus told the Pharisees to stop searching the scriptures for the Messiah, He was Him. That’s a very clear way of saying any prophecy talking about the Messiah was about Him

  • 74. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    “yes, I’ve heard Him audibly.”

    What specifically did “he” say? What did his voice sound like. Did you look around to see where it was coming from? Did anyone else hear the voice with you? How do you know it was “God”?

    If the voice you hear tells you to drown your neighbors’ children because they are demon-possessed and their souls will go to hell unless you show them the love necessary to carry out this act of God’s will, would you do it?

    “Guyana was a tragic case of twisting scripture into something to fit their own beliefs. God had nothing to do with that.”

    That’s incredibly arrogant and judgmental. They had faith that what they were doing was holy and righteous.

    “That’s a very clear way of saying any prophecy talking about the Messiah was about Him”

    Unless of course the person who wrote the story of Jesus wanted that to be part of the story. It could very easily be the case that the story was cobbled together as an allusion to Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53’s “suffering servant,” much like “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a allusion to the allusion.

  • 75. Steve  |  May 8, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    Glad you asked. God’s voice was like a whisper, a “still, small voice” if you will. the first time I heard Him was when I first became a believer. I hadn’t gone to a Christian church, hadn’t listened to sermons, and I was praying and asking a question. I heard the answer, “yes”, to whether or not I could receive the Holy Spirit without being baptized(by water). I was the only one in my room with the door shut. I was later asked by one of my friends “why didn’t you ask for the Spirit right then?’. I was too shocked to speak. I didn’t know God spoke. I had only read a tiny portion of the bible.
    If a voice tells me to do something contrary to God’s word, no, I wouldn’t do it because I know it’s from the other side. The people in Guyana didn’t check scripture. God will never change and tell us differently. I kow that’s a fact so how could I be arrogant to God had nothing to do with Guyana?

  • 76. Heather  |  May 8, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    **It could very easily be the case that the story was cobbled together as an allusion to Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53’s “suffering servant,” much like “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is a allusion to the allusion.** There’s also the fact that the Jews have a different translation of Psalms 22, which makes it not work in the NT at all. And they have a different defintion for Isaiah 53, while a whole list of verses they say disqualify Jesus as the Messiah.

  • 77. Heather  |  May 8, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    **The people in Guyana didn’t check scripture. God will never change and tell us differently. I kow that’s a fact so how could I be arrogant to God had nothing to do with Guyana?** The problem is that if someone wants to do a horrific act, there’s a lot of Old Testament verses that would support that.

  • 78. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    “The problem is that if someone wants to do a horrific act, there’s a lot of Old Testament verses that would support that.”

    True. In addition, that God’s will is limited to Steve’s interpretation of scripture (or scripture at all) is part of Steve’s faith which he is projecting arrogantly and judgmentally onto others.

    “If a voice tells me to do something contrary to God’s word, no, I wouldn’t do it because I know it’s from the other side”

    So you don’t know for sure whether the voice is from God it seems, since you wouldn’t do what it says if it didn’t line up with your interpretation of the Bible.

  • 79. Heather  |  May 8, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    That’s the thing that’s bothered me about considering the Bible as inerrent and infallible. There are many people in history who held such beliefs and did some horrific things. One’s interpretation depends a great deal on one’s perspective. There may be an objective truth, but as subjective beings, that doesn’t mean we can understand the objectivity.

  • 80. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 6:51 pm

    Steve:”“If a voice tells me to do something contrary to God’s word, no, I wouldn’t do it because I know it’s from the other side””

    By the way, this also establishes that you lack faith by your own standard (and Pual’s) as Abraham was asked by a voice he thought was “God” to kill his own son and was quite prepared to go through with it in obedience. Had that been you, there wouldn’t have been an Israel.

  • 81. Steve  |  May 8, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I do lack faith, that’s nothing I am trying to hide. Do i have the faith the size of mustard seed? I hope so.

    The Jewish people intepret scripture differntly becasue they were/are looking for a warrior king to save them. They don’t believe in Jesus because He was non-violent. Therefore, they intepret prophecy differently. that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus did fulfill the prophecies. It’s denial on the Jews part.
    If that’s arrogant, I don’t see it. I don’t claim to have any special intelligence or be better than anyone, I just believe.

  • 82. Brendan  |  May 8, 2007 at 7:11 pm

    Steve:”I do lack faith, that’s nothing I am trying to hide. ”

    Ah, but that’s merely an aside. The fact is, if you really believed it was God talking to you, it would not matter what you thought the Bible says. What are you going to trust? Your own faith-deficient interpretation of scripture, or the voice of the living God telling you that you are to usher in a new covenant by proving your faith in obedience?

  • 83. Heather  |  May 8, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    **They don’t believe in Jesus because He was non-violent. Therefore, they intepret prophecy differently. that doesn’t change the fact that Jesus did fulfill the prophecies. It’s denial on the Jews part.** No, there are prophechies that a Messiah was supposed to fufill that he didn’t. The Messiah is supposed to be from David’s line on the father’s side, he is supposed to overseeing the rebuilding of the Third Temple, gather all the lost of Israel, and every nation shall turn from false beliefs to worship the One God, and establish a global peace — and all was to be accomplished within the Messiahs’ lifetime. Jesus didn’t fufill any of those. It’s not a matter of interpreting differently, it’s that they are saying Jesus flat-out did not fufill the necessary prophecies.

  • 84. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    Before I respond, I want to thank you all for helping to strengthen my faith. I need to ask God the difficult questions to understand Him better, and you all help me do that.

    Brendan, I believe you keep referring to the Abraham son sacrifice moment. Remember, that happened before there was a written law. Abraham didn’t have anything to which to refer regarding God’s word. For all he knew, sacrificing his son was what God wanted.
    In answer to your question though – I spoke to a friend about.
    this and he gave me great counsel. He said if he heard God’s voice tell him somthing, he would not only check scripture, but seek addional counsel as Proverbs says. He would also continue to ask God for confirmation. God knows our hearts, so He would know whether we were doubting Him or not.

    Heather,
    I believe Jesus did fulfill all the prophecies you mentioned.

  • 85. Brendan  |  May 9, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    “Brendan, I believe you keep referring to the Abraham son sacrifice moment. Remember, that happened before there was a written law. Abraham didn’t have anything to which to refer regarding God’s word. For all he knew, sacrificing his son was what God wanted.”

    So murder wasn’t wrong until the law came along? What was wrong with what Cain did? In your answer, direct me toward the commandment Cain broke.

    And what about those of us who, like myself and the Apostle Paul, are not under the Law?

  • 86. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    You pretty much ignored the rest of my response. I added a lot to checking the bible as to whether I could tell whether I heard God’s voice or not. But anyways…
    If I recall, Cain was warned and told by God to not let sin take control, and when it did, Cain lied to God where Abel was. So, Cain was told (commanded) beforehand. He knew what he should do, and didn’t.
    Yes, some are not under the law anymore, but you know what Paul said about that, don’t you?

  • 87. Brendan  |  May 9, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    “You pretty much ignored the rest of my response”

    I didn’t ignore it. I read it. I just didn’t find it relevant to the question such that it didn’t warrant any response.

    “If I recall, Cain was warned and told by God to not let sin take control”

    Cite please . . . and what are you marking here with “sin”?

    “Yes, some are not under the law anymore, but you know what Paul said about that, don’t you?”

    He said several things about it.

  • 88. Heather  |  May 9, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Steve,

    Except Joseph wasn’t his father, the third temple isn’t rebuilt, every nation hasn’t turned from ‘false’ beliefs and there isn’t global peace.

    **Cain lied to God where Abel was. So, Cain was told (commanded) beforehand. He knew what he should do, and didn’t.** Except was Cain aware of the consequences of sin? Can one be aware of how murder ‘breaks’ the law if one is the first murderer ever?

  • 89. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 4:47 pm

    I guess what’s relevent to me isn’t necessarily relevent to others. I think it’d be tough not to think this was relevent:
    “would not only check scripture, but seek addional counsel as Proverbs says. He would also continue to ask God for confirmation. God knows our hearts, so He would know whether we were doubting Him or not.” since you were asking me solely about me referrring to God’s word to check reliability of a voice.
    Citations about Cain knowing what he should or shouldn’t do…
    Genesis chapter 4
    …”Then the LORD said to Cain , “Why are you angry ? And why has your countenance fallen ?
    “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” emphasize MUST. That sounds like a command to me.
    Then after the murder:
    “Then the LORD said to Cain , “Where is Abel your brother ?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper ?”

    Joseph married Mary, right? So Joseph was the adoptive father. So Jesus became part of the family. Very symbolic I think, because I’m grafted in God’s family.
    Aren’t believer’s bodies now called a temple?
    Christianity is spreading to all nations. I believe God says the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end.
    The global peace you speak about also was addressed in Revelation, I think. there will be a false peace to come. I believe the peace comes within the Kingdom, which is a global kingdom

  • 90. Heather  |  May 9, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Steve,

    **Joseph married Mary, right? So Joseph was the adoptive father. So Jesus became part of the family. Very symbolic I think, because I’m grafted in God’s family.** That wouldn’t work in Judaic times, though. Family lines were incredibly important.

    **Aren’t believer’s bodies now called a temple?** The third temple referred to a specific building at a specific location, though.

    **Christianity is spreading to all nations. I believe God says the gospel will be preached to all nations before the end.** In the Messiah’s lifetime. It’s not ‘preached.’ This is everyone turning to God.

    The global peace is also within the Messiah’s lifetime. Essentially, what the Jews say is that when the Messiah comes, the above will be how they can identify the Messiah.

  • 91. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Heather,
    It seems to me that you’re using one intepretation of the prophecies, I’m using another. I guess that’s where my faith comes into play. going back to an earlier discussion about faith and its part. I have faith in what Jesus said and who He said He was. He proved it to me by rising from the dead, just as He promised. He had told us it was the only sign we’d get, and behold, it happened. Hence, my faith.

  • 92. Brendan  |  May 9, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Steve: “It seems to me that you’re using one intepretation of the prophecies, I’m using another. I guess that’s where my faith comes into play.”

    In other words, the “Christian truth” is subjective. It would be nigh impossible to judge someone for interpreting a vague prophecy in a way that doesn’t line up with what you intended.

    It sure seems like this is a sloppy, “God” imagined in Christianity. For example, the use of an ambiguous term that means either “young maiden” or possible “virgin” as a prophecy of a savior born of a virgin, when ancient Hebrew does have a word that ONLY means “virgin.” Seems like if “God” had thought it out a bit, it would have been a much more compelling prophecy if he’d been a little more careful.

    But I digress. Steve, I couldn’t care less what you choose to selectively believe. But you do appreciate the irony of hiding in the subjectivity of belief after feeling compelled to post a comment to a blog post entitled “Why do Christians Try So Hard to Convert Others?”, right?

    As far I can tell after 20 years of pretty intensive study, the Bible appears to me to be a collection of metaphorical fiction. A great deal of it I find helps me with gain insights into many aspects of being and living. Much of it I find irrelevant to the way I think about the world and myself, and some of it I find abhorrent and even occasionally downright repulsive.

    You can’t change that any more than my reasoning or arguing or debating you can change the subjective significance you give to the text, Steve. And hence, in answer to the concern raised in the blog post above, my opinion is Christians have no business sticking their subjective belief in other people’s faces when all they can answer with is subjective claims of faith, subjective interpretation, empty appeals to authority (“scripture”) and “revelation” that they cannot demonstrate. It’s hypocritical in my opinion.

    But that’s just my opinion.

    Peace, Steve.

  • 93. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    I respect your opinion. I am sorry I am not a better writer. The truth is that Jesus was who He said He was, and still is today. It’s not subjective, it’s a fact. It’s sad to think the world has polluted us so much that we find the bible irrelevent. The world teaches us to be powerful, to impose our will, to seek personal wealth, etc. If we all followed the bible’s teaches this world would be heaven. I’d like anyone to cite anything Jesus said that would refute that. Don’t give me that sword saying either. You know He was simply saying families would be divided.

    I give signficance to the bible because Jesus did what He said. There were many witnesses to the fact, enough that any court today would validate the facts based upon the evidence presented. It’s the supernatural aspect people don’t believe, unfortunate but true. It’s been said the bible is the most accurate history book ever written, yet it seems far-fetched so people don’t believe it.

  • 94. Heather  |  May 9, 2007 at 6:49 pm

    Steve,

    **It seems to me that you’re using one intepretation of the prophecies, I’m using another. ** Except this originally started because you said that the Jews were denying that Jesus fufilled prophecies. Except if your faith is determining that these prophecies are fufilled, then that isn’t the Jews ignoring objective evidence. It becomes subjective for both parties.

    As Brendan says, much of it is vague, such as the difference between young woman/virgin. It depends on the perspective one has when approaching the Bible in the first place.

  • 95. Steve  |  May 9, 2007 at 7:44 pm

    but why do you ignore that Jesus did what He said He would? that’s not proof enough?

  • 96. Heather  |  May 9, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    Steve,

    **but why do you ignore that Jesus did what He said He would? that’s not proof enough?** It’s not ‘proof,’ though. Proof is something that I can personally verify, and I can’t do that with the New Testament. Part of the problem is that there is little to no outside verification (as in, non-Christian) of what happened, and I find that the Resurrection accounts don’t mesh. Not only that, but the virgin birth and the death/resurrection was a common theme in many ancient myths.

    The other problem is that half of the prophecies used to justify Jesus or the claim to being the Messiah come across as taken out of context when read in full.

    When I consider all of that, I do understand why there are those who aren’t Christian, or why the Jews don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah.

  • 97. Karen  |  May 9, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    but why do you ignore that Jesus did what He said He would? that’s not proof enough?

    Steve, Jesus said all kinds of things and made all kinds of promises that are blatantly untrue and never happened. Don’t you realize that?

    The reason you don’t see it, and you can make statements like the above quoted, is because you have blinders on. You rely on all kinds of subjective “interpretations” of scriptures like this one:

    And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21-22 NAS)

    It’s pretty obvious that even the most ardent, sincere, spiritual believers and followers of Christ cannot cast mountains into the sea. Right? But Jesus promised they would be able to do that and much more. He also promised that he would return to earth before all of his followers died. Didn’t happen. He promised that if two or three believers ask in prayer for anything they want, they’ll get their “wish.” Simply not true.

    Steve, you seem to be a really terrific guy, and your patience here is admirable. But the honest truth is that you are so indoctrinated in a certain form of Christianity that you can’t see that you’re relying on subjective interpretations to “explain away” all the uncomfortable and untrue things in the bible.

    This is why it’s so very, very difficult to see reality when you’re surrounded by the fog of belief. I think all of us who’ve emerged from the fog have experienced this to one degree or another. I know my fog was pea-soup thickness!

  • 98. Brendan  |  May 9, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    Steve,

    Why not try going by my blog and reading 8-10 of my essays and ask yourself if you honestly think I’m missing something in life that your particular interpretation on Christianity can provide me. That would be a lot less arrogant that assuming that I don’t “know God” because I don’t profess to “believe” the things that you believe. Then we could have an honest and respectful dialogue with some understanding of where each of us is coming from.

    After all, I did identify myself as a born again, fundamentalist evangelical Christian for many years. I still consider myself a Christian. Check it out.

  • 99. Steve  |  May 10, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    You all seem really cool. Thank you for your patience and intelligent dialogue.
    I believe Jesus wasn’t talking literally when He said we could move mountains. I know I’ve moved figurative mountains through prayer. I don’t think prayer is about our wishes. I think it’s more about getting to know God better. My friend told me yesterday God is God, He does what He does. We may find many parts uncomfortable, but He’s God so He can do anything He wants. I’m getting to see His loving nature through Christ, so that’s why I want to share my beliefs.
    If we had a God who answered every wish, this world would be more of mess than it is now. I wouldn’t want to serve a God like that, even if our God does things I can’t understand

  • 100. Heather  |  May 10, 2007 at 1:41 pm

    Steve,

    ** believe Jesus wasn’t talking literally when He said we could move mountains. I know I’ve moved figurative mountains through prayer. ** The problem I have with that view is what comes directly before. Jesus tells the fig tree that it won’t bear fruit anymore, and it withers. The disicples ask him how, and he says if they have faith and no doubts, then they can not only do what Jesus did to the fig tree, but move mountains. If Jesus is referring to a literal fig tree, then it’s a little odd to suddenly switch it to a metaphor, especially since he says ‘you can literally do what I did to the fig tree, and move mountains, as well.’ It doesn’t work figuratively.

    **I don’t think prayer is about our wishes. I think it’s more about getting to know God better.** Even though Jesus sasy anything asked in his name will be granted? And it’s not so much about wishes, but asking in Jesus’s name that a child be healed of a head injury, or a life-threatening disease. That goes beyond a wish.

    **My friend told me yesterday God is God, He does what He does. We may find many parts uncomfortable, but He’s God so He can do anything He wants.** True. But then there’s a huge element of unpredictability and fear. God could just easily kill someone as save them, because God can do whatever He wants — and it’s very difficult to trust anyone/anything that behaves that way, because that’s the behavior of a tyrant.

  • 101. MR  |  May 18, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    The bible says that we should fear God…and that God reigns on the just and the unjust alike…(if its a sunny day for a Christian, it’s a sunny day for a drug dealer)…The Bible warns us not to envy the prosperity of the wicked for the meek SHALL inherit the earth and what those who have obeyed God on earth will have in Heaven is much greater than anything one can own in this world…the Bible says our righteousness is as filthy rags so ehen considering logic…God’s foolishness is wiser than our wises men…God cannot not be out thought or out smarted…and as far as Changing the minds of God people…The scripture says that if you offend even the least of his little ones, it is better to be cast into the sea w/a milstoned tied around your neck. :-(

  • 102. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 18, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    MR,
    Since most of us don’t accept what “the bible says…” as authoritative then none of your instructions “from God” really applies to us.

    However, Aristotle has useful things to say about virtue. He says that “moral virtue comes about as a result of habit… ”

    Aristotle also says “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them, e.g. men become builders by building and lyreplayers by playing the lyre; so too we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.”

    Practicing his advice about becoming just should offend no one. We don’t even have to acknowledge a god to do it. If we practice these and other virtues as he outlines them in the Nicomachean Ethics we don’t have to worry about being cast into the sea. We then become just and thereby happy. This seems entirely more reasonable than a god who seems pissed off most of the time.

  • 103. MR  |  May 18, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    if you have deemed God angry its because we have become a stiff necked and gain saying people…the Bible is our guide to righteousness and justification….Being just is not being happy…I know many people who consider themselves to be good people though they have no afirmation that are not happy…Take for instance Hollywood…These people have millions of dollars, are adored and worshiped by the public, DONATE to charities, yet still commit suicide and are put into rehab daily…But the Bible says, He that keeps his mind stayed on Jesus will have his mind in PERFECT PEACE

  • 104. honjii  |  May 18, 2007 at 8:58 pm

    God cannot not be out thought or out smarted

    MR, thank god your god is in no danger.
    I fear we are hearing from the next president.

  • 105. MR  |  May 19, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Honjii,
    I never claimed to be a genius, but I love God and I know his word is true…if you think God is always angry, just consider this for a moment if you will…God is our father and we constantly disobey him right in front of his face…all he wants us to do is love him and do as he says…to say Lord, I love you and it makes him feel good just like it makes any father feel good.

  • 106. MR  |  May 19, 2007 at 12:51 am

    mysteryofiniquity,

    I have a question…I read earlier that you once considered urself a Christian…were you ever baptized in Jesus name and filled w/the Holyghost?…just wondering, because I think that you’ll find that it is much more than ritual, after you feel that feeling of completeness, I think you’ll find it hard to deny God’s mercy, grace, and existance…but make sure its baptism in Jesus name, NOT, of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…(Acts 2:38)

  • 107. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 19, 2007 at 8:27 am

    MR,
    Ahhh. Now I know where you are coming from: Oneness Pentecostalism. Sorry, I didn’t believe in that brand of Christianity when I came to Christ and was baptized. Therefore, you may scratch me off your list of the truly “saved” and move on.

  • 108. Karen  |  May 19, 2007 at 5:33 pm

    if you have deemed God angry its because we have become a stiff necked and gain saying people…

    This is a classic “blame the victim” theme that runs through nearly every Christian’s posts. There’s a strong element of self-hate there that really makes me sad.

  • 109. HeIsSailing  |  May 20, 2007 at 7:42 am

    MR,
    Staying on topic here, why do you try so hard to convert others?

  • 110. MR  |  May 21, 2007 at 2:36 am

    HelsSailing,

    Because I really think that it doesnt make you better, but much better off….Believing in God gives you HOPE, and with out hope, why even live?

  • 111. Karen  |  May 21, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Believing in God gives you HOPE, and with out hope, why even live?

    I don’t believe in god, but I have loads of hope. I have hope for my own future, for my family’s future, for the future of society in general, both during my lifetime and after I am gone.

    Why would you assume that nonbelief in the supernatural = hopelessness? There is lots of hope that does not involve an afterlife.

  • 112. agnosticatheist  |  May 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Believing in God gives you HOPE, and with out hope, why even live?

    My take on this, MR, if that if this belief is what you need to give you HOPE and give you a reason to live, more power to you. However, it should be a personal choice between you and your God.

    Personally, I do not attempt to deconvert Christians. We are providing a place for those who have or are on the verge of deconverting to build a community but it’s not evangelistic in nature.

    aA

  • 113. MR  |  May 22, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Pardon the intrusion :-)

  • 114. agnosticatheist  |  May 23, 2007 at 8:45 am

    MR,

    My statement wasn’t meant to make you feel like you’re intruding. Discussions with Christians are a vital part of our process :) It’s interesting to reflect on how we once viewed things. I have to tell you this though – once you get to a certain place in the deconversion process, there’s absolutely nothing a Christian can say to suddenly cause you to “see the light” so to speak. The only thing that could change things is a personal appearance by God – and for some reason, he only did that in Bible times and no longer does that. Any idea why?

    aA

  • 115. Whatstruth  |  May 24, 2007 at 9:26 am

    There is division within the Faith of Christ for good reason. Some will believe the whole truth of Jesus word and some will not. Some will only believe part of the truth, preach part of the truth and then become stiff necked. Don’t be surprised Jesus went through much more than we can imagine with nonbelievers and hypocrites. What did Jesus say?
    Luke 12:51
    1 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
    KJV

    He spoke about division in the family but there is also division in the family of faith. This is why Paul and the Apostals wrote to the churches and visited them; so they could get it right.

    Read your bible and eat all of it, not part. You also must have a pastor to teach you and feed you all of it. (It’s in the bible.)

    God Bless You All

  • 116. Evangelism at Its Best « Agnostic Atheism  |  June 12, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    [...] Related Post: Why Do Christians Try So Hard To Convert Others? [...]

  • 117. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 13, 2007 at 7:35 am

    Whatstruth,
    Which whole truth?
    This?
    1 Cor 2:15 “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:” (NIV)
    or this?
    1 Cor 4:5 “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.”
    This?
    MAT 12:30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
    or this?
    MAR 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.
    or this?
    LUK 9:50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.
    As for pastors teaching us? That’s a joke. Right?

  • 118. MessengerBoy  |  July 22, 2007 at 10:08 am

    I apologize for not reading every comment before posting this, so if it’s already been addressed, feel free to tell me to shut up.

    This whole topic kind of goes both ways, doesn’t it?

    In other words, why are some of us get all worked up by a Christian talking about his or her beliefs? I think we need to answer that question about ourselves before we can honestly tackle the question posed by the title of this post. Otherwise, the criticism is just a bunch of empty air.

    Just a thought.

  • 119. MOI  |  July 23, 2007 at 10:27 am

    MessengerBoy wrote:
    “In other words, why are some of us get all worked up by a Christian talking about his or her beliefs?”

    I have no problem with Christians talking about their beliefs. I do have a problem with them insisting you believe the way they do or go to hell. That’s a problem. You can’t talk with people who believe it’s all their way or no way. That’s fanaticism.

  • 120. tom  |  November 6, 2007 at 3:09 am

    I believe Christians are very arrogant for the most part. They give testament to things they’ve never even seen. They talk like they’ve been to heaven, seen God who’s told them the truth, and sent them back to tell us. Christians think they have it all figured out, but, in reality, they have more questions than answers.
    I am Greek and believe in the Greek Gods and I can tell you they’ve answered many prayers for me. More than this Christian God ever did. They showed me the light. To me, the Christian God is nothing but a bully with a Halo. The Bible clearly says, “Do what he wants, or feel his wrath.” How’s that any different from saying, “Gimme your lunch money, or I’ll beat you up?” The Christian God says, “All you do, do it for me. Give me all the glory. Then, if you want something, if I think you should have it I’ll give it to you.” That just sounds so very selfish to me. I really don’t think God would be that cruel. I really don’t think that Christians realize what they worship. It’s obvious that the Christian God is mostly cruel. Even to his own people. He dosn’t care if he has to wipe out your house and all your life’s work as long as it means he’ll get his way. That’s so selfish. I use to be a strong Christian, until the Olympians showed me the light. This world has been falling ever since man abandoned the Gods.

  • 121. mike  |  November 6, 2007 at 3:15 am

    I am only going to say this. If I had a dollar for ever controdiction I’ve found in the Bible, I’d be richer than Bill Gates!!!!!

  • 122. jesse  |  November 6, 2007 at 3:20 am

    How can the Christian God be pleased by humans? How can the Bible be followed by humans when it was clearly intended for perfect people? Let’s take Sex for example. Would God be so very cruel to give us all such a strong desire, make it our only way of reproduction and then tell us it’s a sin to act upon it? No, I don’t think he’d be that cruel. You better hope that the Bible is wrong because, if it’s not, you know what it means? It means that God’s an asshole. I think that the Bible was written by people, not God, and man has too often believed that they know God better than he himself. If such a righteous God really existed, I don’t think he’d allow all the suffering and wrong that’s going on on earth right now, I really don’t.

  • 123. mark  |  November 7, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Religion has ruined all of humanity. Why are the terrorists fighting us? Religion! What’s been the cause of the whole middle-eastern conflict? Religion! Why is there a war between Irasel and Palestine? Religion!

  • 124. No Tags  |  January 8, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I wholey agree with Mark. I coined a phrase a few years ago, maybe I wasn’t the first to use it but at the time I thought I invented it, my invention was “Religion is the root of all evil.” Everything we are surrounded by is influenced by religion. We can say we are not religious until we are blue in the face, but the laws of every country are based on that places religion. I was told that by thinking the way I do that I was doing the devils work for him. Wow that would really worry me if I believed in a devil or any other super natural being. I have ideas about spirituality, but I don’t believe in god as most people see god. One is all and all is one, “A diamond has many facets but it is still one stone” is another one of my invented sayings, in other words everything is god and god is everything. I am not religious but I am a spiritual being that does not subcribe to any religon or religious thoughts, dogma’s creeds or rituals

  • 125. Rob  |  January 12, 2008 at 8:28 am

    please excuse my horrific spelling and punctuation.

    Anyway. I personaly am more annoyed by the entire argument itself. but wile it’s here you mights as well say something. rightfullly, or wrongly, to each his own.
    I am not religous, I don’t believe in hell, heaven, or “god”. If there is any “god” to belive it would be the sun, the earth…..you know, all that was befor us. I hate to offend people, but honestly I just think most of religion (in general) is just an excuse for thier inability to flex the preverbial mental muscle, whatever one that happens to be; like self motivation. I’m not saying I’m entirely right but it’s not like anyone else is either, but thats the whole point. The bottom line is we are all human and we should respect that alot more than we do, the same goes for the surroundings that created us. As far as self goes, you are the only light there is for yourself my friend. If you find that your light is dim you should make sure your breathing. Ultimately this whole disscussion is pointless, and I’m sure has really pissed some people off but you can’t sit at your keyboard and tell me you do not thourghly enjoy it.

    Out-sanely yours:

    -R.T.G.

  • 126. Rob  |  January 12, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Oh I almost forgot this one movie online that raises many qestions and brings up an, at least entertaining theory, I’m sure it is full of it’s own fallacies, but still has a good point.

    http://www.zietgiestmovie.com

  • 127. mysteryofiniquity  |  January 12, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Tom and All,

    Christians are arrogant, but then so are atheists. Atheists are convinced nothing exists that they don’t experience whereas Christians are convinced that by experiencing it, God exists. So it’s a stalemate in which both are right and both are arrogant about it. In my opinion, you can’t be critical of something you haven’t tried or looked into in some measure. A good student studies and reads and yes, even experiments themselves. If it comes up wanting so be it, but another may find it’s just the ticket. Me? I’m tired of the arguing and bickering between atheists and Christians. Just accept each other and be done with it. Quit trying to win each other to the other’s side. Quit forcing your politics on each other. Quit trying to make a secular state or a theocracy out of questionable theses.

    And THAT my friends, is the whole point of my post. Stop the evangelizing from BOTH sides and we’d all be happier.

  • 128. asymptosis  |  January 13, 2008 at 5:09 am

    I’m tired of the arguing and bickering between atheists and Christians. Just accept each other and be done with it. Quit trying to win each other to the other’s side. Quit forcing your politics on each other. Quit trying to make a secular state or a theocracy out of questionable theses.

    As an atheist, I find this a little offensive. I do respect Christians. I don’t try to win everyone over. I don’t particularly care if Christians try to re-convert me. I’m quite content with the existence of Christianity in the world – the fact that the whole supernatural slant doesn’t work for me is beside the point.

    I may be a minority among atheists, but you should still specify that you only mean a subset of all atheists, rather than lumping all of us in together.

  • 129. Chris  |  January 16, 2008 at 4:40 am

    I think Christians live in their own little world. :) First, how can they even say that our founding fathers and the constitution established a Christian nation when the constitution clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting any established religion.”? I believe faithfully in the greek gods because they’ve answered many prayers for me, but I’m not going to try to force you to believe what I do, unlike christians. I just read the lastest “christian excuse” as to why their God sits on his ass and does nothing. They said, “God has no control over the bad things that happen.” This is only another pathetic attempt to cover up the controdictions of the bible. How can someone who is said to control everything be responsible for nothing? But, for arguments sake, let’s say that they’re right, that God can’t control what happens to us. Then I feel sorry for him and the people upon this earth, because we’re all doomed. Maybe if christians sat down and used their brains instead of thinking up moronic rebuttles to defend a book that mostly makes no sense, perhaps they’d be less arrogant. Not one word of their religion, or mine for that matter, can be proven true, not one word! Since christians love to attack us, I figured I strike back a bit.

  • 130. mysteryofiniquity  |  January 16, 2008 at 10:05 am

    Chris,

    You wrote:
    “Maybe if christians sat down and used their brains instead of thinking up moronic rebuttles to defend a book that mostly makes no sense, perhaps they’d be less arrogant”

    Conversely, one could say that if atheists sat down and used their imaginations a bit more, they could see beyond “facts” and stop defending theories that are no more proved than anything else out there is “proved” beyond all doubt. Hume said (and I paraphrase loosely) that just because something happens 99 times in a row, that does not mean that it will happen the 100th time. It’s the height of uncertainty principle, but he has a point.

    One could say those things about either camp. Case in point about each side castigating and belittling the other. The point of my post was to make Christians think about being so certain about what they perceive is truth and by proxy, perhaps make atheists realize they don’t have a handle on all truth either. I doubt, from some of the comments, that it has accomplished this purpose, although some see past the trees of petty semantic annoyances and into the forest.

  • 131. Chris  |  January 16, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    mysteryofiniquity :

    You proved my point exactly.No religion can be proven true, not mine, not yours. I am not an atheist, I am Greek. If I seemed like I was belittling christians, it was not my intention. I was not trying to belittle the christian, I was belittling their common ways. I guess you could say it’s kinda like, Hate the sin, not the sinner. You are correct, I should not let petty annoyances block me.

  • 132. Chris  |  January 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Also, I think that as time goes on, the Bible will find itself in mostly, if not all, a controdiction. It was a lot easier to get people to believe a myth 1000 years ago than it is today, for example. I like your blog here, I think it’s a good thing that these issues can be discussed. To me, the christian God is utterly selfish and self-centered. “Everything you do, you better do for me and give me all the glory and credit. Then if you want something and I think you should have it, I’ll give it to you.” Man, how selfish does that sound?

  • 133. mysteryofiniquity  |  January 16, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Chris,

    More and more I tend to think that we should all know why we believe the things we believe and then perhaps practice keeping it to ourselves, which is why I don’t blog much about politics and religion anymore. Some, but not much. Too rancorous. Too many hard feelings. I prefer the one-sidedness of reading a good book. :-)

  • 134. Chris  |  January 16, 2008 at 9:41 pm

    mysteryofiniquity |:

    I see your point. BUt I also think that that’s the problem with most of this nation today, too many people keep their mouths shut and don’t do anything.

  • 135. Pam  |  January 21, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    God owes us nothing but hell as we are sinners by nature and by choice. It’s only in His grace and mercy does He give us forgiveness through His Son. If you choose to not believe in Jesus as your Savior you get what you deserve, hell, an eternity spent away from God. If you choose to believe, you get what you DON’T deserve forgiveness and spending eternity with Him in heaven.

    You think God is selfish, He’s not at all it’s your & my thoughts of entitlement. We don’t deserve anything from Him.

    If you’re an atheist or have doubts, read Lee Strobel’s the Case for Christ. There sure is proof the Jesus as God. Why do you believe in the Civil War or any history book when you weren’t there? Maybe we all need our heads dissected to make sure there are brains in there. There is more than plenty of proof, look in the religious apologetic section in any bookstore.

    Would you allow your son to die for others? He sacrificed Himself for those who never loved or knew Him.

  • 136. The de-Convert  |  January 21, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Pam,

    Think about this – why does God owe us hell? It’s all his design, correct? Why did he create man then create evil to tempt man? Then decide that since man sinned, he needed all kinds of bloody sacrifices culminating the the sacrifice of a himself to himself in order to forgive sin? Why could he not take a simple heart repentance? After all, he looks at the heart, doesn’t he? He’s making the rules here, right? Why the elaborate system of ritualistic slaughter? Why then say he wants us to obey rather than all the sacrifices? Why didn’t he do that in the first place?

    If your children sinned against you, would you require that they kill the cat or the dog in order for you to forgive them? No you’d forgive them based on a true repentant heart. Hell, you’d probably forgive them even if they weren’t really sorry. And you’re just a mere human.

    Bottom line, I know what you wrote makes perfect sense to you (as it did me) but if you really think about it, it’s doesn’t really make sense at all.

    Paul

  • 137. mysteryofiniquity  |  January 21, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Pam,

    I agree with The de-Convert. I wasn’t compelled by Lee Strobel’s “case” at all. Neither am I compelled by McDowell’s case, the bible’s case, or anyone else’s. If “God owes us hell” then even “he” (sic) would have to admit he made a huge mistake creating us with the ability to “sin” or err in the first place. Been there, done that. And no, you can’t trust history. History is written by the “winners” not the “losers” in the battle for ideas. Perhaps you should read Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” for a view about the bible that might surprise you. But don’t be “convinced” by books. Books are written by fallible people who are “gasp” occasionally wrong about so many things. Be convinced by your own spirit telling you the truth.

    The fact that the Christian God demands justice of his own “son” proves the point that humans, most of whom would never dream of such a trade, are more merciful than the Christian God.The God of the Jewish Scriptures hated it when people sacrificed their sons to idols, yet the Jewish/Christian God has no problem doing it or demanding it of Abraham. Hmmm. That must mean that the biblical God says repeatedly, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Yet, the Jewish God seemed to be able to forgive quite handily without human sacrifice, but wait…Jesus wasn’t “human” in a complete sense…so…

    anyway….Chris wonders why people like me don’t evangelize or speak up about things we feel strongly about. Well, time, blogging, and maturity (I’ve been around the block a few times) has proven to me that most conversation is moot, pointless, and rancorous; that people are always convinced in their own minds about their little corner of the universe (as I am) and most are unwilling to venture out of it to see another’s point of view. Neither side will ever really convince the other side. When we quit taking “sides’ and are truly OPEN to another’s argument without merely waiting to see the weaknesses in each others’ arguments, is when real dialogue can take place.

    Until then, believe what you wish and let the chips fall where they may.

  • 138. Chris  |  January 22, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Pam,

    I think people like you are in so much denial that you make up stupid rebuttles to defend your religion that’s already in so much controdiction it’s not even funny. Adam and Eve sinned, so why would God blame us, people born thousands of years later, for that? Why would he hold us responsible for the actions of others? God is very selfish and cruel. As long as he gets his way, he cares not what happens to you. The Bible was written by man, as were all religious books, and man has too often thought that he knows God’s mind better than him. And, from when I use to be a strong christian, I can tell you now that religious testimony is always exaggerated. But, I will tell you, I sincerely hope that the Bible is wrong, Pam. You know why? Because if it’s not, ya’ know what it means? It means that God is an asshole. He gives you desires and then tells you it’s a sin to act upon it. He wants you to give him all and he only wants to give you something if he thinks you’re worthy, how selfish. As I said, I am only bashing this Christian God. I believe in the Greek Gods and I could give more proof as to their existance than you could of the Christian God. The “Christian” God, if interpreted correctly, will be said to sit in heaven with a big bowl of popcorn and watch all that’s going wrong on earth like it’s one big movie and does nothing about it. If God desires peace and firendship and he controls everthing, then why isn’t there peace and friendship? He said if two or more people on earth pray for something it will happen, and it does not. Those are only a few controdictions. If he’s so great, why don’t he get off his sorry ass and do something useful instead of blabbing this and that. Talk is cheap. People get saved and live faithfully for this God everyday and they still lose their homes, their children still get shot to death and their marriage still falls apart. How does their new born deserve cancer, or any new born for that matter? Where is this loyal savior they’ve served? So, Pam, in my opinion, your advice makes no sense and should be ignored.

  • 139. Tom  |  January 23, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Well said, Chris.

  • 140. Pam  |  January 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    God doesn’t control you does He? If He did we’d be robots.He gave us free will and choices. Within those choices are the good that God is and the evil that Satan is. Why do you not believe in Satan “who seeks to prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8).

    Because humans are made in the image of God, we possess the ability to make moral decisions. In contrast with God, however, who cannot sin, we can reject His will and voilate His commands. Adam & Eve chose evil instead of God, following Satan (Genesis 3)

    While God created this world as a place for blessing & good, evil, through the sin of Adam & Eve, has been brought alongside the good.

    God however has not given up on His plan to make this earth a place of blessing. He has made a plan outlined in the Bible for redemption of sinners, reclamation of His kingdom authority, and the execution of judgment on Satan and his followers.

    If I killed someone say my mother, I could say, sorry I messed up. Do you think that would stop me from killing again? Wrong, the only thing that stops us is knowing Christ as our Savior who changes us on the inside. Then I WANT to please God, and the Holy Spirit living inside me will help me to do what is right despite my human nature.

    There are consequences in life. If you stand before a judge after driving 120 mph, do you think he’ll let you off because you’re sorry? Nope, you get punished–license revoked, money owed, insurance goes up, whatever. It’s the same with God. He requires justice. It’s in His mercy that He lets us off through forgiveness if we’ve trusted Him as our Savior, but we still have to deal with our consequences on earth.

    You’re right, “books” are written by humans who are fallible (Romans 3:23). That’s why God gave us an infallable book, the Bible, “All Scripture is inspired by God…” (2 Timothy 3:16). It’s the only book where the author shows up. Try reading it with an open heart . Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

  • 141. Chris  |  January 27, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Pam, the Bible cannot be proven to have been written by God or inspired by God, but just by people who believed in him. I bet you didn’t know this. When the Bible was first written, talking about the great flood and Noah, it said “The Gods were angry with man.” It described more than one God in the ancient form on stone tablets. But, when Christians came along, they changed it. It’s been changed and altered so many times. I can write a book about pigs flying, are you gonna believe it? You entire response to my previous blog has not proven any of my opinions false, you’re only giving examples as to your beliefs. Most of what I said, you gave no explination to at all. I did not say that God controls us and everything, I said that the Bible says that, and how can someone who is said to control everything be responsible for nothing? We’re only supposed to recognize him when good happens? No, he should get the blame for evil as well because he is more powerful than Satan. He can stop him, can he not? I have read the Bible. As I said, I use to be a strong Christian, and it made no sense to me. As humans, we do not want to die, and so we make up this place where we don’t have to face death and a savior who shall rescue us from it. You want to know why so many do not trust in this God of yours? I’ll tell you by the best example I can give. If I said, “Pam, let me borrow your car. I promise I won’t wreck it. You can trust me.” So, you do, and I take it out a total it. Next month, you get a brand new car and again I say “Pam, let me borrow your car. I promise I won’t wreck it. You can trust me.” Are you gonna be more reluctant to trust me after I let you down the last time? See? God does it to himself, if, infact, yours is the one that truly exists. You said that God has not given up on his plan to make this world a place of blessing. Look around you! It’s as far from blessing as it can possibly be. Looks like to me that God does not give a damn. He places more hardships on his own people, or so it appears, the very ones whom he should be blessing. I’m sorry, Pam, but, either your God does not exist, or he’s an asshole. But he forgives me for calling him an asshole, right? Your Bible is nothing but a mythological story made up of the basic concepts of life, right and wrong, male and female, good and evil, heaven and earth, and so forth. Now, prove that wrong. You can’t. That’s the problem. You can’t prove me wrong. Pam, a man being formed from the dust of earth and a woman from his rib, no honey, only common people believe these tales as they believe mostly anything (Aristotle.)

  • 142. Pam  |  January 27, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Why does God allow bad things to happen?

    The question many people often ask including myself at times. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of anger and mistrust over things that have & haven’t happened in your life. I’m sorry for your hardships.

    I work as a physical therapist and quit my job of nine years to go to Dallas Theological Seminary where I got my Masters in Christian Education. Why? Because I wanted to do more than just help people physically which is only temporary. I wanted to make eternal differences and do more for the Lord.

    While in Dallas, I was burglarized–they even took my TV with a picture of Jesus on top of it. I had surgery, had emotional/mental issues, my family in Buffalo wanted nothing to do with me anymore because they thought I was crazy to quit a good job to go to Bible school, the list goes on. I went through a horrible four years. Part of it taught me some lessons, I’m human and need rest! I can’t work for three years straight writing papers, reading 1300 pages a week, doing PT and ministry and not get sick. God doesn’t expect me to do His job. Jethro told Moses he needed to delegate his work and that’s what I needed to do.

    It was easy to blame God. Why God, here I was trying to live for Him and I went through more garbage than I ever had. To strengthen me. After I was burglarized, I remember sitting in my second bedroom crying about why God allowed that to happen. Obviously, God is not evil, the burglars probably needed drug money.

    What immediately came to mind was when I had done physical therapy on a Jewish non-believer billionare. I talked to him about Jesus, even showed him lists of prophecies that came true from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The Jewish billionare said, “I don’t care if I go to hell, all I care about is now.” And he looked around at all of his expensive furniture and paintings.

    That story came to mind because it reminded me that I can lose my money, my health, my family and I’m richer than that billionare. I have Jesus now and I will spend eternity with Him. I learned an important lesson–trust in Him no matter what.

    He’s God we’re not. We don’t know why He allows people to suffer, even the disciples were all martyed but John. They worked their whole lives for God, were persecuted and then killed. But they never gave up in their belief in God. They set examples for us because God knows we’ll be persecuted for our beliefs.

    I invited 75 people to attend a Christian drama and prayed the verse about where 2 or more are gathered it shall be done. Well, guess what zero showed up. I went home that night upset. I had a conversation with a pastor’s wife who set me straight. She said Pam, you had the right intentions but we don’t know why they didn’t show. Timing, God’s will, they’re hearts weren’t ready. The point again was to show me–trust.

  • 143. Chris  |  January 28, 2008 at 12:05 am

    Pam,

    I understand what you’re trying to say, but the trust issue is always broken on God’s part with people. Sincerely, if a God as great and merciful as yours truly existed, I just don’t believe that people would suffer like they do. I just don’t believe things would be as bad as they are. Am I angry with God over my life? Perhaps, but I’ve had it better than some who are living on the street and going hungry. There are times when I wish to trust God, but it’s horrible to say that I can’t trust him to not let me down. When I pray to the Greek Gods, I feel more of a presence with me than I do when I pray to yours, truly. Why are we even arguing about this? If God were here before us right now, he could not say that he’s given me a good life and be telling the truth, and he knows it. Perhaps all I want is for him to have the humality and care to say, “I’m sorry.” Yeah, for once, he actually has to look down upon us and say, “Forgive me, I will make it better,” OH MY GOD! WOULDN’T THAT BE A NIGHTMARE THAT HE’D HAVE TO ADMIT HIS FLAWS? THAT HE’D HAVE THE HUMILITY TO CONFESS? THAT WOULD JUST BE SO WRONG!

  • 144. Chris  |  January 28, 2008 at 1:39 am

    And, Pam, everyday of my life I have watched suffering and people’s sweat, blood and tears splash to the very soil God’s created. I have prayed everyday for him to become better than this world, better than the law, better than the government. And, believe it or not, I have still not lost hope that he may become the God we all wish him to be.

  • 145. Pam  |  January 28, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    And what are you (we) doing to help others? I went to Zambia, Africa to teach the Bible in 2005. I saw more poverty over there than the richest homeless person in the U.S.. Have I helped people? I try as best I can. When I go into the mall or a store, I no longer buy things the way I used to. I give to charity, I give my time. But it will probably never be enough. Especially not one person or a handful. It requires many, many people and a lot of people would rather complain than get involved.

    My suggestion is for you go to the website http://www.thechapel.com and listen in the archives to a message entitled “Bad Things, God’s People” from July 8, 2007. Perhaps by listening it will give more clarity on issues humans cannot try to understand. Also some great movies are Perfect Stranger and Another Perfect Stranger. Much of what you’re talking about is answered there. I have an eternal perspective knowing God loves you.

    Why did Jesus have to die on the Cross? Was He commited to loving others? He showed it. People need to show it too, through their actions and words.

    In the Book of Job in the Old Testament, Job lost everything. His wife kept telling him to curse God. Job would not, he was a righteous man. But, God had allowed Satan to test Job. In the end, Job was rewarded. At one point while in Bible school I felt like Job’s wife. I was so angry at God for allowing such bad things to happen, when all I wanted to do was serve Him.

    I felt horrible inside feeling that way, because I knew the Bible says that God does love me. It didn’t make sense, but I’m human and can’t possibly know why God allows things. For whatever reason we go through things, He’s always there for us. Again, it really is about trust. He says in His Word, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” (Jeremiah 31:3). I later repented about those horrible thoughts I had toward God, and I meant it.

    The Christian walk is not easy. I still argue with God when my life doesn’t go the way I want it. But I’ve really learned some lessons, God is trustworthy. We just don’t see the end yet. He does both in this life and in eternity.

    Justice will happen as my burglars will get what God decides in this life or eternity. I pray for their salvation and I hope to see them in heaven someday. Why? Because just like Jesus, He wants everyone to go there, but many instead will choose the broad road and few the narrow road (Matthew 8:13-14). We have choices, I choose Jesus now and forever.

  • 146. Chris  |  January 29, 2008 at 2:53 am

    Pam,

    About JOB, the problem is that people who’ve suffered for years on end are still waiting for that “miracle reward.” Guess what? I don’t think it’s ever gonna come. I don’t care to watch movies or read books on religious beliefs and testimony because I know from experience that it’s always exaggerated. You are right about one thing, those who harm others will be paid back in full. I do know this much is true, and let’s end it at this, if God ever has to sit before the judgment of humanity, I feel very, very sorry for him.

  • 147. Chris  |  February 1, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    BY the way, about the civil war books and believing what they say even though I was not there, I do not believe a word of the northern history. Come on over here and let me give you a history lesson now. Godbless you, Pam.

  • 148. Chris  |  March 21, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    In see this “GOD” is once again showering down his “blessings” My grandmother, who’s worked all her life, taking care of her dead mother’s house and paying thousands upon thousands in taxes, bills and repair is now about to lose it to her sisters who’ve never spent a dime on it. After working for 40 years, my grandmother, because of legal technaclaities, is going to be forced onto the street without a dime. Now, you tell me what the FUCK is right about that. And then you talk about God? Please! WHERE THE HELL IS THIS FUCKING GOD?!

  • 149. mysteryofiniquity  |  March 23, 2008 at 8:30 am

    Chris,

    You’re absolutely right to be angry. God is nowhere to be found, because if there is a God who cared about suffering, we’d see evidence of alleviation of suffering. But we don’t. So this is pretty good proof that God does not exist. The only other alternative from this proof is to believe that there is a God, but one who does not care about suffering OR there is a God who can do NOTHING in the face of suffering. Either way, such a God shouldn’t concern us at all. Such a God is powerless.

    I’m sorry about your grandmother.

  • 150. karen  |  March 23, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I’m sorry about your grandmother.

    Me too, Chris. My mother – a devout, bible-believing Christian all her life who never hurt a fly – suffered terribly in her last several years, and then died far too early. She never got to know her grandchildren or influence their lives as she should have.

    It’s very hard to imagine that a loving god allows such unjust suffering when he also supposedly intervenes in the tiny details of some peoples’ lives. A friend of mine told me the other day that “divine intervention” gave her son the perfect roommate for his first year of college. I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking why a god who is busy arranging the roommate schedule for her son couldn’t also take a little time to pour some extra rain on a drought-stricken area where hundreds of children will die this summer?

    I refrained from getting into it with her, because I’m not confrontational in person and the time and place were wrong, but boy it was not easy to keep from challenging such a bone-headed statement.

  • 151. Chris  |  March 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    By the way, I’ll just throw out my religion and show Christians how the Greek Gods are in their Bible. Read this, it’s pretty freaky.

    Very well, I’ll first start with only a few to get you going and refresh your memory on Greek “Mythology.” I will place a statement from my religion, give you the one that talks about it in your religion, and out beside of it I will put which God your bible is talking about. It gets better as you go, trust me. Your Bible very rarely calls them by their names or as Gods, because those who wrote the Bible believed in only one supreme God and saw others as his angels.

    (My religion) Dionysus was the God of the earth and nature, his sacred symbols were the olive and oak tree.

    (Your religion) Book of Revelations, chapter 11, verse 4.
    “There are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.” (Can’t get much more simple than that!)

    (My Religion) Ares was the war God, lover of chaos, pain, and conquering. He had 4 followers, Grief, Strife, Panic and Terror.

    (Your religion) Book of Revelation, chapter 6 verses 2-9
    “And I saw, and behold and white horse: and he that sat upon him had a bow, and a crown was given unto him and he went forth conquering and to conquer. (Ares)”

    Verse 4- “And there went another horse that was red; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Grief)

    Verse 5- And when he had opened the 3rd seal, I heard the 3rd beast say Come and see and I beheld and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.” (Strife)

    Verse 8- “And I looked and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was death, and hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the 4th part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Terror)

    I have not yet found where PANIC is mentioned, but let’s continue.

    (My religion) Aeolus was the God of the wind, and he had 4 other wind Gods, each one holding power over the east, west, north and south wind.

    (your religion) Book of Revelation, chapter 7. 1st verse.
    “And after these things I saw 4 angels standing on the 4 corners of the earth, holding the 4 winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow upon the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

    (My religion) Apollo was the God of the sun, beautiful was his head and all about him. The sun is all fire, just to add.

    (your religion) The Book of Revelation, chapter 10, 1st verse.
    “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven clothed in a cloud (white tunic), and a rainbow sat upon his head (beautiful was Apollo’s head) and his face was as it were the sun and his feet pillars of fire.” (Apollo).

    (My religion) Artemis was the Goddess of the moon and the hunt, all so beautiful and often related to the stars. Keep in mind, she was also the twin sister of Apollo, God of the sun.

    (your religion) Book of Revelation, chapter 12, 1st and 2nd verse.
    “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” (Is it a coincidence that there are 12 main Greek Gods and Goddesses?)

    (My religion) Demeter was the Goddess of the earth and its harvest, only she knew when all was ready and ripe.

    (your religion) Book of Revelation, chapter 14. Verse 15.
    “And another angel came out of the temple, crying a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud. “Thrust thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. (Demeter).

    (My religion) Poseidon was the God of the sea, but also known as the God of the waters all together.

    (Your religion) Book of Revelation. Chapter 16, verse 5.
    “And I heard the angel of the waters say, “Thou are righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou has judged us.” (Poseidon).

    (My religion) Hephaestus was the God of Fire. He could do anything with it.

    (your religion) Book of Revelation. Chapter 16, verse 8.
    “And the forth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.” (What do you think Hephaestus will do to man for abandoning him?)

    Even if you can manage to keep yourself in denial, you have to acknowledge that you still worship at least 3 Gods, God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. And don’t give me that crap about them being all one. How can three individuals be all one? They may be all one in terms of the same beliefs, laws and ways, but three different spirits cannot be as one. Can you, your mom and dad exist as one being? Of course not.

  • 152. Chris  |  March 23, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    And I thank you guys for your support.

  • 153. Chris  |  March 24, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I just wanted to add one more thing that concerns my religion, the Greek Gods, with modern-day Christianity. It’s no doubt, (as I use to be a christan), that christians, mostly, would call me lost and insane for worshipping Gods I’ve talked to and seen. But they, the christians, have never seen their God, never touched him, and mostly never heard him. And they consider themselves perfectly sane. Go figure. And you piss off so many christians who condem my religion when you say, “Okay, prove yours is true and mine isn’t.” Because they cannont. REMEMBER, YOU CAN ALWAYS, win any argument against any narrow-minded christian by saying, “Prove it.”

  • 154. Rachel  |  March 24, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Prove that Napoleon existed, Chris. Your epistemological standards are impossible to meet.

  • 155. The Apostate  |  March 25, 2008 at 12:07 am

    Chris says,

    But they, the christians, have never seen their God, never touched him, and mostly never heard him.

    Rachel says,

    Prove that Napoleon existed, Chris. Your epistemological standards are impossible to meet.

    Am I correct in relating Rachel’s comment to be a reference to the above statement by Chris? Obviously Chris was meaning “give a substantial or definitive amount of evidence to it” when he said “prove it.” The comparison between Jesus and Napoleon is hardly apt, as we have thousands of written references during from the lifetime of Napoleon about Napoleon, and even many from Napoleon himself (not to mention we know of Napoleon’s descendants through several different royal lines). It would be more correct to compare Jesus to someone who we don’t have any first person sources from and only a handful of written sources from oral tradition – perhaps Sakyamuni Gautama or maybe Socrates.

  • 156. Quester  |  March 25, 2008 at 1:45 am

    I thought Chris was talking about God, not just Jesus. Historical evidence of someone who once walked the earth is one thing. Evidence of a God who acts on Earth today is something else, entirely.

  • 157. The Apostate  |  March 25, 2008 at 3:17 am

    I thought Chris was talking about God, not just Jesus. Historical evidence of someone who once walked the earth is one thing. Evidence of a God who acts on Earth today is something else, entirely.

    I think he was, but I was trying to give some credit to the latter argument. As far as God goes, we may as well be looking for that orbiting Teapot. If we are comparing the existence of God to Napoleon, the paintings he commissioned and the countless eyewitness historians simply appear more credible than those people I have met who claim to have seen God, much less claim to be God. I wonder if we could use the Lord, Liar, Lunatic theory with David Icke?

  • 158. Chris  |  March 25, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Rachel,

    As for Napoleon, we do have evidence that he existed from pictures, battles, his own diaries and records and the markings his troops inscribed on the ancient pyramids of Egypt during his conquests. So there.

    Chris.

  • 159. Chris  |  March 25, 2008 at 8:48 am

    But, even so, at the end of the day, we should all love eachother.

  • 160. Chris  |  March 27, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Hey, guys, check out this website. It’s hilarious.

    http://www.christianityisbullshit.com

  • 161. Chris  |  March 29, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Hey, guys. I’m in the mood for a good debate. Anyone have anything? Christians? Non-Christians? Greeks like me? Anyone?

  • 162. The de-Convert  |  March 30, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Chris,

    It’s easier to engage in debates if you pick one of the new blog entries to discuss.

    Paul

  • 163. Chris  |  March 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Ya know, my grandmother is a racist who tries to convince me that God hates black people and favors whites. Not only is she too ignorant to realize that, one, that’s not true, and, two, the Bible is nothing but a myth. She insists that the stories in the Bible are true, as if she were actually there. At the end of the argument, I said, “Grandma, if the Bible told you to stick a tazer in your ass and pull the trigger, would you do it?”

  • 164. The de-Convert  |  March 30, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Chris,

    If you want to just debate, try signing up on our forum:

    http://www.de-conversion.org/forum/index.php

    There you can start all the new debate topics you wish. Hard to get into discussions on a blog on topics that have nothing to do with the original author’s intent for their post.

    Enjoy!
    Paul

  • 165. heardofgod  |  May 26, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    The guy has a point. When the “religious” texts that a person claims as the basis of their religion does not allow for someone to claim that they are a “follower” of that particular religion simply by calling their self by the title, then that person’s faith is based on something else that has only the appearance of the religion.

    Example: If someone claims he is a Christian because he “confesses with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and ‘believes’ that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9) he then has to understand that Grace teaches us “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly” (Titus 2: 11-12) and in the chapter that the famous John 3:16 is found it also says, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36). The Bible is replete with statements that does not allow someone who merely calls themselves a Christian to be considered by God as being a Christian.

    So, I think it is a fair statement to say “You can’t judge Christianity by the Christian” because that would also be a fair statement for anyone who claims to believe in evolution but does not conform to the orthodox views of evolutionary science. If someone does not accept what they have said is their belief, be it an evolutionist denying scientific methods or evidence based on a selfishly desired outcome or a Christian denying that he can live free from sinning because of their selfish desire to sin when the Bible says that they can be free from sinning, then they are ignorant but limited to a group that is all their own separate from the group they claim is theirs. And this goes for everyone, not just “Christians”.

    Have a good day,
    Sam

  • 166. mysteryofiniquity  |  May 26, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Sam,

    Yes, but the problem arises when no one agrees on what “obey” means. There are several interpretations of John 3:36. You may “obey” by believing. You may obey by following rules (although whose rules is anyone’s guess since the bible is replete with rules). You may obey only by loving neighbor and loving God as Jesus commanded. Personally, I believe these are the only commands Jesus espoused so if Christians do not live up to those commands (and most seem to live up to the “love God” part and ignore the other) then you are probably not the Christian you think you are. End of story.

    However, there are some uniform Christian ideals just as there are common humanist ideals. No one has the right to tell people they are or are not Christians, but if you don’t act like one consistently, if you harbor hatred toward others who don’t believe the same way you do, if you argue endlessly about useless doctrinal points with no love in your heart or concern for their welfare, if you wish for or glory in the thought of others in hell because they practice what you hate or because they reject your message, and if you get petulantly angry if people don’t agree with everything you say, then I can probably sure you are far from the Christian ideal.

    My contention is that if people claim to be Christian, there should be some evidence of it (i.e. love, as the bible states). If there is evidence of it, great. If there isn’t a shred of evidence and all we see are Christians who hate, then it’s safe to assume that either their idea of what it means to be a Christian is wrong or Christianity itself is wrong. .Many people choose not to believe or have faith because they don’t see any evidence that Christians are any more loving or provide any better of a system than any other religion. That’s their prerogative. If I saw an economic or religious system that continuously failed in providing its citizens with basic food and shelter or for consistently failing in changing the world, why should I keep believing in it or perpetuate it?

    So,sure I think you can make judgments about a belief system based on those who claim to believe in it. If faith brings out the worst in people instead of the best, then others are right to reject it. But, and here’s the point of my article, it’s not my job to monitor the souls of others. If there is a God that does that, it’s His (sic) job. I trust that human beings know the state of their own souls. That’s enough for me.

  • 167. Rebecca  |  July 7, 2008 at 1:11 am

    We convince ourselves by convincing others.

    If my argument is good enough to be accepted by another person I might be more inclined to be more secure in my belief.

  • 168. MOI  |  July 7, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Rebecca,

    Precisely. He who brays the loudest has the most to lose!

  • 169. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Why, then, do Christians keep at it? It’s certainly not because they love you as some of the comments on this blog and others attest. Methinks they doth protest too much. I am convinced that if they can get one person to believe what they personally believe then they will feel much better about themselves and their own shaky belief system. I am certain that the most personally unconvinced religious adherents are the hardest, most vicious proselytizers.

    -MysteryofIniquity

    I have to totally disagree. Remember (if you are old enough possibly–LOL—but you can look it up as history). Before Mount St. Helens blew there was an old man who lived at the base of the mountain named Harry R. Truman (no relation to the President of that name). People tried and tried to convince him to leave the mountain (he had lived there 54 years) as they said there was a good chance he was going to die if he didn’t.

    He kept denying it could happen, and if it did, he said “I’ll take my chances”. He was warned, and warned and warned—but he wouldn’t budge. Then the Mount Saint Helens blew it’s top and Harry was burned to death like a cinder.

    I think Christians keep attempting to convert those who refuse to believe for the very same reason. They are hoping that possibly, just possibly, one more warning might just budge a stubborn unbeliever, and they will see the danger of their state.

    I do not need to preach to others to convince myself—-I am FULLY convinced that the Gospel is true. I usually preach a message of love through Christ who have not heard the Gospel, or to those who are in pain. But to those who have heard already, and rejected it, what can you do? All you can do is warn them. And you warn them because you really do care about them—no one wants to see anyone make an amazingly poor and foolish decision! If you TRULY believe the Gospel message then you know that ALL of the Gospel is VERY REAL. And though hell is a teaching very hard to understand—Jesus DID teach it.

    I would rather accept the Gospel message of love today rather than reject it’s message and possibly face it’s judgment message in eternity—-that’s just plain stupid.

  • 170. BigHouse  |  July 7, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    I would rather accept the Gospel message of love today rather than reject it’s message and possibly face it’s judgment message in eternity—-that’s just plain stupid.

    Ah, Pascal’s Wager, a tough nut to crack!

  • 171. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Joe —

    What if you’re wrong and Islam is right? Hinduism? Zoroastrianism? Buddhism? Babism? Jainism? Sikhism? Shinto? A Native American religion? They’re all just as convinced that they’re right as you are, and they all feel the same way about surrounding unbelievers as you do. Once you realize that religions are all the same — having the same amount of evidence for their gods, the same significance, et cetera — you’ll be much better off, in my opinion. Learn to view other humans as equals and not as potential converts that you must “save” or unbelievers that are doomed to a hell of your own imagination, because most of the time they think the exact same thing of you.

  • 172. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Obi—

    Sorry—but all religions are not the same. Buddhism has steps to enlightenment–no personal God. Jainism is a religion so extreme you cannot harm insects. Hinduism has “caste systems” and believes if you are born deformed it must be because of something you did in a former life. Again, God is not personal. Islam has one God, but not a God you can approach personally.

    i can go on and on. I have studied many different “religions” and only Christianity has had the answers for me. I would never go to any other religion after having received Christ–it would be like going from a Ferrari to a Corvair (to put it in earthly terms).

    It amazes me when people keep stating that same thing. It reminds me of the kid who says “Aw, come on Mom, all the other kids are can are doing it!!” and your Mom says “Well, you are not the ‘other kids’ and you are not doing it!!” It is using an excuse to either do or not do something simply based on what some other religion “might” do also. It is useless logic. You know and have heard the Gospel—you know it’s message. Jesus said he is the way, the truth and the life and to accept him. He said he loved you so much he came and died for you—–but if you refuse him you will suffer eternal judgment.

    Why not accept the love? Why concentrate on the judgment and ask how God could be so cruel. He is not offering you hell—-he is offering you heaven and eternal life. Many things about God we do not understand—the trinity, the virgin birth, infinity—and we cannot understand hell either. But do we reject heaven because we can’t understand the concept of hell?

    Lame analogy—-but if you won free tickets to Hawaii, but were told some others will not be going there because they refused the free tickets, would you give up your free ticket? Would you reject the free trip to Hawaii, even though you knew that the other people had been “offered” the same thing but rejected it? How lame and stupid would that be?

  • 173. BigHouse  |  July 7, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    i can go on and on. I have studied many different “religions” and only Christianity has had the answers for me. I would never go to any other religion after having received Christ–it would be like going from a Ferrari to a Corvair (to put it in earthly terms).

    This to me sounds like you LIIKED what you heard from Christianity and thus chose to BELIEVE it. It doesn’t speak at all to whether or not it’s TRUE.

    Why does it appear to be TRUTH to you rather than MORE APPEALING?

  • 174. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Joe said, “Sorry—but all religions are not the same. Buddhism has steps to enlightenment–no personal God. Jainism is a religion so extreme you cannot harm insects. Hinduism has “caste systems” and believes if you are born deformed it must be because of something you did in a former life. Again, God is not personal. Islam has one God, but not a God you can approach personally.

    And how do you deduce their truth value from these observations? You’re essentially saying “Christianity is the only religion that is like Christianity, and therefore it must be true. I think you said something about bad logic or something of the sort, and that’s a prime example of it. You’re taking Christianity as a base, comparing other religions to it, and then stating that they can’t be true because they aren’t like Christianity. Don’t you see what’s wrong here, mate?

    Why do you reject Osiris? Dionysus? They were gods incarnated as men whose purposes were to save sinners on Earth and bring light to the world. They died and were resurrected — their deaths were a sacrifice to atone for your sins. Why do you not accept their love?

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm

  • 175. Eshu  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Maybe it’s like when someone offers you another slice of cake. Then really insists that you must have it.

    It’s so they don’t feel guilty about having seconds themselves.

  • 176. ubi dubium  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Sorry—but all religions are not the same. Buddhism has steps to enlightenment–no personal God. Jainism is a religion so extreme you cannot harm insects. Hinduism has “caste systems” and believes if you are born deformed it must be because of something you did in a former life. Again, God is not personal. Islam has one God, but not a God you can approach personally.

    So, you find christianity more true because it has a “personal god”. If there was a god that was even more personal, would that make that religion still truer?

    In China Zao Jun, the Kitchen God, sits in your house and makes notes on everything that you and your family do, and then once a year flies up to heaven and reports on you. You have to give him birthday presents to stay on his good side. That sounds extremely personal to me.

    I understand that in some schools of Hinduism, they consider that one’s soul is actually indistinguishable from the one divine universal soul, and therefore god can be found by looking within. Personal enough?

    I also am of the opinion that all religions are of equal merit. I don’t find that a claim of one religion’s god being more personal than another’s gives that religion a higher probability of being true than any other. It’s just as easy to invent a personal god as any other kind.

  • 177. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Obi—

    There you go again. Dionysis is the “Greek god of wine and intoxication”. That is a far cry from a Holy Savior who offered His life for you on a cross. Osiris is a far cry from the loving savior who personally gave himself. You keep offering up this hogwash, fully knowing that it doesn’t even fly.

    You know that the person Jesus Christ is accepted by all of the major religions as a great teacher, even though He himself rejected them as being the way or the light. As I have stated before he called all that came before him “thieves and robbers” and said that false prophets and false christs claiming to be him would come in the future. Christianity is a far cry from the old religions you continually bring up as reasoning for why you reject any God at all. Your reasoning is truly beyond me. If you would only read about the very gods you are trying to put in the same league with Jesus Christ—you would immediately see that they are pagan and based on great myth.

    Christianity has had it’s share of people mixing pagan myths with it (Easter bunnies, Santa Claus, etc.)—-but at it’s core is a loving God, a wonderful savior who so loved the world he came and died for men. Don’t even try to tell me that a god of wine and intoxication even comes close to filling that bill.

  • 178. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Zao Chun the Kitchen god? Man do you guys grasp for straws to find any way out of the calling that was placed on you and which you have rejected (if you are deconverts). Unbelievable. You are really going to put some obscure kitchen god on the same level as Jesus Christ the Son of God? The very one who gave the Sermon on the Mount? The one whose wisdom is accepted by many major religions? Some Kitchen god you pull out of your hat is just not good enough to fit the argument.

    Jesus: “Ubi, why did you reject my offer of eternal life? I died for you on the cross, and often pleaded with you to turn to me. I loved you so very much, but you refused and refused. Why?

    Ubi: Oh, well you see, I heard about this Chinese kitchen god that seemed to be worth about as much as you are. I rejected him too though—-you see, what I really want is just a reason I can use to get rid of the darned conviction that keeps hitting me. I say I don’t believe in god, but something about god bothers me so much I have to come and talk about why he just doesn’t exist. Some of us like to talk about how we used to believe in Santa Claus too—-but I must admit, it is funny, I don’t have to go to some Santa Claus deconversion site to talk about why Santa doesn’t exist though. I REALLY don’t believe in Santa, I prove that because I don’t have to talk about him—-but God, now that’s another story—-I SAY I don’t believe but something is bothering me enough to where I have to spend quite a bit of time convincing myself He doesn’t exist.

  • 179. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Joe —

    Osiris and Dionysus were both gods who were born of virgins, came to Earth as men, and died on crosses/stakes to atone for the sins of humanity. If you can’t see the similarity there, you’re being purposefully dense. Study anthropology and the history and development of human religion, you’ll see that they’re merely social constructs and coping mechanisms that humans have developed to help themselves along, much like language or agriculture. Christianity is a combination of other myths and religions, and those religions are a combination of those before them, on and on until you get to the very first religions originating in about the Middle Paleolithic period.

    Once you realize that your religion is no more special and no more true than any others and in fact owes much of its myth and doctrine to others, you’ll realize that you don’t have to see those around you as unbelievers or believers, we’re all simply humans. Unity, mate. It’s a wonderful thing.

  • 180. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    This is really ridiculous. It is always the same argument—over and over again. Dionysis, Osiris, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, Pink Unicorns. If you resort to that stuff it’s obvious you just do not want to hear. The Bible says that some are “willingly ignorant” and I am sure this is the case here also. I am sorry for getting into these conversations—I wind up shaking my head because it is like “I know you are, but what am I?” or “did too. did not. did too. did not.” It’s like facing someone who has backed themself into a corner, and will accept absolutely no reason for coming out. No matter what reason you give them they have a negative response for it.

    “Come out of the corner, we’re having Lasagna”

    “So what! Other people are eating Lasgna too. Why should I care? What’s so great about lasagna anyway? Other people eat Ravioli–it’s another italian food that’s just as good as lasagna.”

    “Well, come out of the corner, we’re going to watch the Discovery Channel. Don’t you want to watch the Discovery Channel?”

    “The Discovery channel isn’t the ONLY channel we can watch you know!! There are lots of OTHER channels, just as good!!”

    “But if you don’t come out of the corner you’re not going to be watching ANY channels at all, or eating ANYT Italian food”.

    “Stop being so condemning. Why do you want to get me out of the corner anyway?? It’s probably because YOU feel so insecure. You need to convince yourself you are right, so you’re trying to get me out of the corner” ad nauseum LOL

  • 181. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Joe —

    Why do you act so immaturely? Your dialogues only show your intellect in a poor light, to be honest. Anyone can make up stories to show any number of points, we’re dealing with facts and history here. Please, show some maturity.

  • 182. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Obi—

    I repeat Dionysis in the god of wine and intoxication. I really could care less if they were born of virgins or “atoned” in some way. Fake gods (before or after Christ) are “thieves and robbers” just as Jesus said. A god of drunkeness does not even come close to the person of Jesus Christ or what he taught. Don’t reject something just because there may be a similarity IN ONE ASPECT with some false god. Many religions (Islam for example) say there is ONE God. I’m not going to accept or reject Christianity just because Islam says there is one God and not many. Your logic really is extremely flawed—it truly is.

    The amazing thing is that you know what Jesus taught—-you can compare his wisdom and teaching with a drunken Dionysis—you know there is a HUGE difference, but you are being willingly ignorant of the fact.

    Oh well—-I’ve gotten into another argument that is going to end the very same way—there is no way to reason with anyone dead set on taking a negative tack on every issue.

  • 183. ubi dubium  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:17 pm

    Joe:
    Sorry – a god recognized by tens of millions of Taoists does not count as obscure. You only consider the Kitchen God obscure because you are not familiar with him.

    And why are you rejecting Santa Claus’s offer of eternal christmas presents? All you have to do is be good and believe! After all, I’ll bet you did once, but now you say you don’t. Why do you turn from the calling that was placed on you? He loves you so much! (Just holding up a mirror for you. To a non-believer like me, when you preach, you sound as convincing as this. Find another approach)

    Joe, I don’t come here to persuade myself that god does not exist. I figured that out long ago, and on my own. I come here to be part of a community, and to provide support for and discussion with those who are wrestling with their own doubts. And also to learn strategies for dealing with preachers like you, so I can help my children learn how think for themselves and avoid being ensnared by fuzzy thinking, emotional appeals and threats of hell.

  • 184. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Anyone can make up stories to show any number of points, we’re dealing with facts and history here.

    Obi—

    Facts? Just Google Dionysis—-you immediately see “the Greek god of wine and intoxication”. Now Google Jesus Christ. I don’t really have to say much more than that. Your examples are extremely poor. OF COURSE there are thousands of “gods” and the biggest way to assess them is to put them beside Jesus. All I have to do is see “god of wine and intoxication” and I can immediately eliminate that god from my list of likely candidates for a REAL God. Let’s get real—–the fact is you won’t find any god that can compare to Jesus Christ when you put them side by side with his teachings, actions, miracles, redemption and love, and great character. It just isn’t going to happen.

  • 185. ubi dubium  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Joe

    The amazing thing is that you know what Jesus taught—-you can compare his wisdom and teaching with a drunken Dionysis—you know there is a HUGE difference, but you are being willingly ignorant of the fact.

    What huge difference? They are both supernatural entities, who supposedly will bestow their gifts upon you if you believe and behave correctly. Acutally, the gift of drunkenness is a lot more tangible than the “fruits of the spirit”, come to think of it.

  • 186. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Joe —

    A cursory Google search is not in-depth historical research. However regarding wine, you unintentionally bring up a nice point. Do you recall when Jesus turned water to wine at a wedding? I’m sure you’re aware of the further connection there. No one states that Jesus is a carbon-copy of Dionysus, he was merely one of the gods/leaders in the ancient world who were based off of the Osiris-Dionysus set of gods. That’s a fact, mate.

    I’m not necessarily faulting you for not knowing a lot of this, because I assume you live in the same western civilization that I do. You simply have to be willing to study the facts of human history and the history of religion — topics that fall under anthropology. This isn’t even mentioning Krishna, a Hindu god, and Mithra, a god whose religion was a contemporary and a competitor with Christianity during the time of the Western Roman empire, and whose doctrines are rather similar to Christianity’s.

    Regardless, I don’t see how you eliminate Dionusis as a real god because he’s the “god of wine and intoxication”. Can I eliminate your god because he’s jealous, genocidal, and vindictive? I’m sure you wouldn’t like that, but it’s more of a valid rejection than yours of Dionysus because your god is supposed to be good, yet the OT is a testament (literally) to his evil.

  • 187. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Obi/Ubi—-

    What it really comes down to is this:

    Unto you therefore which believe [he is] precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
    And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, [even to them] which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (1 Pet 2:7,8 )

    You were once Christians—and to Christians Jesus is “precious”—there is no god that can even come close to the character he possesses. No god ever said to a group of men about to stone an adulteress woman “He that is without sin among you cast the first stone”. No Dionysius or Osiris is going to say something like that. They are pagan gods who don’t love humanity—-they come down for “visits” to play with men, or have contests with men, etc. That is where “mythology” comes from. But we are talking about a God who is precious and filled with love.

    But because you no longer believe, He has become like any other pagan “god” to you. He means nothing to you now. Jesus is now a rock of offense to you–a stumblingblock. You stumble at the Word—-and it doesn’t say you stumble due to unbelief, it says you stumble through disobedience. How sad that is. When it says “whereunto they were appointed” it doesn’t mean anyone was “created” to be disobedient—it means those who turn that way are appointed to the end they shall receive. How I wish with all of my heart your eyes could be reopened—-but you have hardened your heart, and your conscience. It may sound condescending—-maybe it is—-but it is Biblical—one can hit a place where the precious Lord Jesus and His blood mean nothing, and one can literally tread on the blood of the Lord Jesus as though his blood means nothing (Heb. 10:29). I am so sorry you have chosen this path—if you were simply unbelievers it would be different—but you used to really believe and have come to this place—-that is sadder than words can possibly pen.

  • 188. Joe  |  July 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    That smiley with the sunglasses should just be a parenthesis above. Nothing funny about what I am saying.

  • 189. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Joe —

    You’re not talking to me, mate. I can’t speak for Ubi, but talking to someone who is as patronizing, ignorant, and condescending as you is like talking to a brick wall. Every post I see from you has me shaking my head, because you’re so lost in you belief that you can’t open your eyes and see that there are other humans around you, and that there are those who are just as firm in their beliefs in other religions and other gods as you are.

    You call us closed-minded, yet it is you who needs to look into the mirror. Good thing the Christians/Muslims/Jews/Hindus/Jains I know are much more intelligent and less ignorant than you, and they realize that acting condescendingly to others in the way that you do does no one any good. I hate calling people ignorant simply because they may not see things the way I do, but you’re in a different league. I can safely say that you’re a fool.

    Good day.

  • 190. ubi dubium  |  July 7, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Joe:
    Sorry you are sad. My life is much better than you imagine. My eyes are indeed wide open, to the fictions that men promote for their own gain. My heart is full of love for my fellow humans instead of the fear of sinfulness and hell. I now find your god no more real than any of the other “pagan” gods, and the world makes so much more sense. I can now read your bible, and any other holy book, with an eye for the wisdom and good advice it might contain, without troubling myself about whether it is “true”. I can embrace a person of any religion as a friend without losing any sleep about whether they might be going to hell. I have no compulsion that I must preach to my friends and neighbors. People aren’t inherently “sinful” and don’t need to be “saved.” I don’t have to contend with the “problem of evil” or why god might stay “hidden”. (And I don’t go to churches, or christian websites, to talk people out of their faith, either.) If you have a sincere belief in the supernatural, fine. If you have questions you want to discuss, great. But please don’t preach at me. I’ve heard it.

  • 191. MOI  |  July 8, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Joe, et al,

    I think that if those who really believed in God truly trusted God, they would realize that if God wanted people converted He (sic) would do it Himself. The bible does indeed say to “make disciples” but that doesn’t mean beating them with the Gospel until they do. There’s much to be said for “shaking the dust off one’s feet” and moving on, especially if the one being evangelized says “no thanks.”

    If Christian’s really, truly believed that they were right and the Holy Spirit worked, they wouldn’t try so hard to make a convert themselves. In that light, evangelization is merely to convince the evangelizer that they are doing what they are supposed to do and are merely trying to prove their worth before God. The fact that Christians DO try so hard is a testimonial to the weakness of their argument.

  • 192. Joe  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I can safely say that you’re a fool.

    Obi—

    I was thinking the same of you actually. “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Ps. 14:1)

    The only thing I would mention is that you USED TO BE a Christian right? So, of course, Muslims, Jains, etc. etc. will sound no where near as condescending as a Christian will to you. You left the Christian faith right? You weren’t formerly a Jain were you?

  • 193. Joe  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Ubi—

    In C.S. Lewis’s book the “Final Battle” the dwarfs sat on the ground and would commit to nothing. While the armies cried out “We are on Aslan’s side!” or “We are on the Witche’s side” the dwarves yelled “the dwarfs are for the dwarfs”!

    You remind me of them.

  • 194. Joe  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    MOI—-

    In a sense you are right. But you are wrong about the motivations Christians have for converting. In this case it would be “reconverting” (if that is possible—not sure). I get in arguments, and strongly state my position at times, but the main motivator is to try to get anyone to reassess there position. This is most likely impossible—and I should just “shake the dust off of my feet” as you stated.

    But, I do have to say—everyone has a time in their life (at least many do–expecially when they are teenagers) when they think they are making the 100% right decision about something. It takes someone shaking them to the core, or for them to fall flat on their face to realize that they were indeed very, very wrong about their choice.

    In this case it is an eternal choice—–falling on one’s face will literally be entering eternity—so trying to “shake someone up” is the only real option. An unbeliever may respond to the love of Christ—-but someone who 0NCE BELIEVED but no longer claims to will not respond to Christ’s love, and needs to be warned of the eternal consequences of turning away. That is not MY OPINION, it is a BIBLICAL FACT. (read Hebrews 6, 10. 2Peter 2, JUDE as examples).

    Someone such as Obi no longer values Jesus in any way—-there are however, a few, who are in the process of deconverting, who still feel convicted at heart and are having a very difficult time. This is because God is “striving with them” through his Spirit as he says in the Bible. They may still turn back around–those are the ones that may be affected by some of the posts. The Bible says God hits a point where He stops striving and allows one to go their own way. Soon, they go from conviction, to no feeling, and then eventually to almost a form of mocking. They have been left to their own devices, and God no longer striving with them is really a sign that they are being judged already by being “left alone”. It is sad—but that is why Christians “try so hard”—you’re right–in some cases we should just “shake off the dust”—but it is a very hard thing to do, becaue you realize you are leaving someone to follow their own devices, and who must face the consequences later. This seems very condescending—so be it. If someone turns around due to a condescending attitude (based on Biblical fact) then it was all worth it.

    –Joe

  • 195. BigHouse  |  July 8, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Joe, discussing these issues with you reminds me of what my teachers used to say in elementary school.

    ‘You can’t define a word by using the word in the definition.”

    You keep using the Bible as support of FACT. Most people here reject that notion. How does continually providing Bible verses provide any further support of your postions?

    Why should we take every word of the Bible as undisputed fact?

  • 196. ubi dubium  |  July 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Joe:

    In C.S. Lewis’s book the “Final Battle” the dwarfs sat on the ground and would commit to nothing. While the armies cried out “We are on Aslan’s side!” or “We are on the Witche’s side” the dwarves yelled “the dwarfs are for the dwarfs”!

    You remind me of them.

    I know you did not mean that as a compliment, but I’m going to take it as one anyway. But I’ll amend it to “The Humans are for the Humans!” You are so wrapped up in your God and your Satan and your Heaven and your Hell that you are missing the wondrousness of Life. I climbed out of the “god-box” many years ago, and it’s much nicer out here. No amount of bible-thumping will persuade me that I should get back in. It’s too mentally claustrophobic in there.

  • 197. MysteryofIniquity  |  July 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Joe,

    I hear what you are saying, even though “biblical fact” is somewhat of an oxymoron. You “care” about our eternal souls, but why push it if we want to venture out of the safe zone you feel you are in? You’ve warned. Good. Then it’s up to God to bring them back. If that doesn’t work, what makes you think your method will?

    I would think that Christians have no faith in the Holy Spirit if they continually harangue a person about their “eternal” soul. I think pride more often than not has something to do with it. It hurts pride to think no one’s listening to our arguments and really, people are ultimately responsible for their own souls and their own actions. You aren’t responsible for mine. I’m not responsible for yours. Ubi isn’t responsible for either one of ours. I think we should just accept that fact.

    Of course, this works both ways. Atheists should leave well enough alone and stop evangelizing for their positions of a-theism or non-theism as well. The internet is great for trying to explain our positions, but wars are started over unwinnable arguments and failed persuasions.

  • 198. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:30 am

    Hey, i also have not read all post 1-43 and 196, 197.

    But thought i would give my reasons for talking to people about my faith. I am a Christian, i live my life to follow Christ and believe in the bible etc. I don’t know if im fundie or not but just try and follow the bible.

    Anyway, I have never door knocked( am from NZ and theres tooo many sheep,ha) nor have I preached from a soap box in the street. I do run a youthgroup for 11-13yrs kids and I tell them the gospel of Christ and that the options are beleiving and professing in Christ Jesus with all heart mind soul or Hell.

    I also have many non-christian freinds and God often comes up in conversation as he is a huge part of my life. I dont ramm anything down ‘unbelievers’ throats. i am here to love people for who they are. not what i want them to be.

    I believe this as absolute truth, demonstrated to me mostly through my personal reading and interpretation of the bible and also my Christain upbringing in the Pentecostal Church(New Zealand Apostolic Movement).

    For me if I cannot stand and believe fully in the Bible then my faith in Christ is rubbish and it is all just myth and church-ianity( alot of this). Because of this belief that the Bible is true that is where my motivation and desire to talk to others about my faith comes from. To share with them what I know about Gods love for us in an effort that they may believe.

    Concerning the mental cases(fundamenatlists i guess) that decide it is there job to convert they misunderstood that all we can do is ‘sow seeds’ and it is God who will do the work needed in a persons heart, leading to salvation on his standards alone.

    I like what I have read here and the calibre of the authors. good work. keep it up. I think we need more intellgent discussion like this.

  • 199. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:45 am

    Hi Rico,

    Thanks for the response and the explanation. I realize there are a lot of Christians that do not cross the line into imposing upon personal space, which is what most of us want, but there are also many of them that won’t leave well enough alone. If indeed a seed is planted, that’s enough. My beef is the obsessive persistence until some kind of decision is made.

  • 200. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 11:38 am

    MysteryofIniquity—

    Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts. What is difficult is that what you say is correct—-many in here do not need to hear the whole message over again—they see it as having it crammed down their throats—-and I do understand that.

    But yesterday, for example, a person said “I am a Christian who is having trouble with my faith….I don’t know what to believe. And I believe that for every one who posts like that, there may be (3) more who come in and read, and perhaps do not post. So, trying to warn, and perhaps get those ones to re-assess their drifting into dangerous unbelief seems a worthwhile endeavor. Yes—I do believe the Bible—so I believe that apostasizing has extreme consequences–eternal consequences—so it is very hard to read a post about someone possibly making a decision that will lead to this:

    “If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins
    but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries.
    Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
    Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace?
    We know the one who said: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” and again: “The Lord will judge his people.”
    It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Heb 10:26-31)

    To “sin deliberately” is not talking about some sin we do on purpose—it is talking about apostasy—a deliberate turning away from the faith. Considering “unclean the covenant blood” is to treat it as though it is worth nothing—-you count something so precious as invaluable and meaningless. Note: You WERE believers—it says after all of these frightful words: “The Lord will judge his people”. God considers ALL who once accepted his covenant and words, whether saved or not as “his people” because they were once called by his name.

    I am not stating these things—the Bible is. If one thinks after their short 20-60 some years on earth you have the knowledge, wisdom or Confidence to reject the word of God given 2000 years ago that is your own prerogative. But it won’t stop me from warning those who may have a chance to possibly turn around before they cross the line into “impossible” (see Heb. 6:4-6) and cannot repent. The soul is to important to not to try to reach just because a few people scorn you for attempting to do so.

  • 201. Mysteryofiniquity  |  July 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Joe,

    I understand why you feel you have an obligation to say something, but sometimes those obligations also have to respect other people’s boundaries and psychic space and when someone insists that you are consistently stepping over the line into territory that’s not yours to worry about, no amount of belief or insistence on your part can justify it.

    Christians automatically operate on the assumption that what they believe is right and everyone else is wrong, that their perceived obligations supersede everyone else’s. For one, that never promotes dialog only one-sided lecture and for another, there’s no arguing with it. So, I don’t see why continuing to “warn” is promoting anything but the “my beliefs are better than yours mentality.”

    But, hey, I appreciate the civil tone! :-)

  • 202. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Joe,

    Post 194 The Bible says God hits a point where He stops striving and allows one to go their own way. Soon, they go from conviction, to no feeling, and then eventually to almost a form of mocking. They have been left to their own devices, and God no longer striving with them is really a sign that they are being judged already by being “left alone”. It is sad—but that is why Christians “try so hard”—you’re right–in some cases we should just “shake off the dust”—but it is a very hard thing to do, becaue you realize you are leaving someone to follow their own devices, and who must face the consequences later.

    Is this from the Bible… where exactly. Some may not be down with the Bible but if u say its in there please tell me. Please show me the point where God ‘gives up’ on his people…

    Also

    Post 200 “The Lord will judge his people”. God considers ALL who once accepted his covenant and words, whether saved or not as “his people” because they were once called by his name.

    I beleive God will judge all mankind. If we are going from a believing in a Soverign God point he will judge all people. And there will be a even higher judgement on those who are or were “his people”.

    I can’t believe in a God who will turn his back on his children. That is ludacris to even think about…

    All,

    But I think the question to all is whether it is man or God that saves people. Is a person really saved when they pray a prayer at a meeting, or when the evangelist gets another name for his list. Or is it more of a process. I think that it is only God who truly knows. He judges the heart i think and becuase of this, questioning and un-desided beleief is part of this process.

    If man does the saving then that would explain all the Idiotic Unloving bible bashing. But if it is God then what is our role at all in others salvation…

  • 203. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    Opps screwed that up, how do you end the Italics?
    Sorry about that. I cant even edit it now. Good luck trying to understand that one.

  • 204. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 9, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    Rico,

    I believe Joe is referring to Genesis 6:3 and conflating that with Hebrews 6:4-6. It’s an evangelical doctrine and interpretation that God will “discipline” those who do not follow the way (Hebrews 12:6). It’s also been taught by John MacArthur that God will kill or “chasten” you to save your soul if you taunt him or tempt him in some way or if you continue to backslide and move away from him.

    http://www.biblebb.com/files/MAC/sg1441.htm

  • 205. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    MysteryofIniquity,

    Yeah. I have had some Evangelism training and practice and the trap is to try and get “decisions’ out of people, thinking this is the goal. But if the Evangelist had a decent understanding of the Bible and Pauls writing about sowing seeds then they wouldn’t be worried about getting descisions, but would just sow seeds and be done and pray for the person to decide on there own.

    They obviously think they know the truth and are intent on telling others this. I think we need to learn how to love others more. If we did love others more(whatever faith you have) then we might get along better. And see converts too ha.

    The question is, how do u
    a) get free of such a person(I even avoid them, as a Christian)
    b) convince them that you are a believer( there is no test or secret question is there. No code word)

    hmm. Cos the bottom line is that many will continue to think they have absolute truth and must tell it so then what do we do…

  • 206. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 9, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Rico,

    “But if the Evangelist had a decent understanding of the Bible and Paul’s writing about sowing seeds then they wouldn’t be worried about getting decisions, but would just sow seeds and be done and pray for the person to decide on there own.”

    This is true. If one were a Calvinist, especially, you should trust that God saves or damns who he wills and there’s nothing to do but share the message and wait.

    I don’t know how to deal with it really. No one has approached me in person to evangelize me except Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons and both times we just said we investigated their claims and didn’t believe them. End of that encounter. I suppose, like some are saying on this blog, we investigated, we tried it, and we found they didn’t work for us or we couldn’t believe the claims that were presented. Nothing more can be offered in this instance.

    Bible “proofs” are not proofs to those who do not accept the bible as a premise on which to start. If Christians could really really get this ONE thing through their heads it would go a long way towards dialog. After all neither Paul, nor Peter, nor James, nor anyone had a complete bible to evangelize with. They only had their encounter with Jesus. Paul reasoned through philosophy in Acts.

    Reaching people as human beings first, with respect, and truly LISTENING is always the key to getting them to at least listen to what you have to say.

  • 207. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    MysteryofIniquity,

    Cheers for the verses. If indeed those are what he was meaning then there are out of context and do not fit with the whole body of Scripture.

    Heb 12:6 is more like a dad disciplining his children from my understanding of the Greek

    G3811
    παιδεύω
    paideuō
    pahee-dyoo’-o
    From G3816; to train up a child, that is, educate, or (by implication) discipline (by punishment): – chasten (-ise), instruct, learn, teach.

    If we have free will and God kills us then thats out the window and his whole kingdom revolves on free will cases otherwise our love for him is nothing but robot love. And thats no what he wants.

    Anyway that wasn’t ur comment soo ill leave you be.
    Im enjoying this. My grammar needs work tho.

  • 208. RiCO  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    MysteryofIniquity,

    Diffinately.
    Reaching people as human beings first, with respect, and truly LISTENING is always the key to getting them to at least listen to what you have to say.

    We are after all, very much Humans arn’t we. Maybe some are sinners, maybe some are fundamentalists maybe some are
    Jihad maybe some are housewives. But we are all human.
    A great movie which communicates this is “CRASH”

    http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000A3XY5A.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg its about Racism and it is very good.

    It has been good reading these posts, it has showed me some holes in my evangelism. Thanks guys

  • 209. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Rico,

    Hey no problem! :-)

    Yes, Crash was good.

  • 210. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    I can’t believe in a God who will turn his back on his children. That is ludacris to even think about…

    Rico–

    What I was saying is that there are those who REALLY are his people, and thouse who “profess” to be his people— please read the parable of the sower and those who fall on the rocks who “for a while believe, but then fall away (greek word there means apostasize). It says they “fall away” because they “have no root in themselves”—-the root of salvation is not there—-it is only a profession. And by falling away they show whom they really are.

    There is a line one can cross over—not a TRUE CHILD OF GOD, but a “professor” and that is in Hebrews 6:4-6—read it. It says “It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, if they shall fall away (apostasize) to renew them again unto repentance”—none of us knows where that line is. But it is a “professor of Christianity” who showed his true colors, and apostasized. Then read Hebrews 6:9 which says “But we are persuaded better things of You BRETHREN and things that accompany SALVATION”. He has mentioned those who “professed” Christ and fell away—not true believers (Heb. 6:4-8) and then the TRUE (Heb. 6:9).

    Rico—-God will never turn his back on his true children–I agree with you—-that would be ludicrous–I was trying to define what an apostate is.

  • 211. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 7:55 pm

    The smiley should be a number eight—sorry.

  • 212. Joe  |  July 9, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    believe Joe is referring to Genesis 6:3 and conflating that with Hebrews 6:4-6. It’s an evangelical doctrine and interpretation that God will “discipline” those who do not follow the way (Hebrews 12:6). It’s also been taught by John MacArthur that God will kill or “chasten” you to save your soul if you taunt him or tempt him in some way or if you continue to backslide and move away from him.

    Mystery—-

    Heb. 12:6 is referring to God dealing with his own children–“if you be without chastisement you are bastards and not sons”–but Heb 6:4-6 is talking about those who “professed” a belief but were never actually saved. I explained elsewhere—look at the context. Heb. 6:4-8 is speaking of a group of people who fall away and it is “impossible for them to come back to repentance”. Yet V. 9 says “we are persuaded better things of you BRETHREN, and things that accompany SALVATION”—so he is definitely making a difference there between true children of God, and apostates.

    I Corinthians 11 talks of God chastising true christians, even to the point of death (“many of you sleep”–see the reference), but Hebrews 6 is not referring to true Christians, except in v. 9.

    –Joe

  • 213. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Joe,

    I could not find that useage of apostise in the Parable of the Sower.

    But I did have a small look at Hebrews 6.
    a) The situation put forth by the author is a hyperthetical one to my understanding..
    b) The word G3895/ παραπίπτω/ parapiptō interpreted to apostatize by strongs only appears this once in the New Testament.
    c) I no way does this passage show that God will be unable to “renew to repentance”. For he is God, and we do not know and cannot suppose what he can or cannot do.

    If my understanding is correct then your comments on these verses are incorrect. It should be and will be God who decides who really is an “apostate”. Not you.

    You should read Jude, it is talking Apostasy…

  • 214. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 7:27 am

    MysteryofIniquity,

    I re read your comment and in a way, I hate to say it but hard core Evangelists are kinda like green peace or redcross collectors. They are always there, on public street corners and at certain times of the year. You can ignore them or give them some loose change I guess.

    That would be my solution, give the hardcore Evangelists some loose change. Ha. Take a tract from them. Read it. Some are very good.

    Rico

  • 215. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 10, 2008 at 7:36 am

    Joe,

    Well, see that illustrates my point and the problem right there. Hebrews 6:4-6 refers to believers who fell away according to the church I went to. If churches cannot even agree on such things, why should deconverts and even non-converts believe what any one evangelist has to say? Who knows the “true” interpretation of any verse or set of verses? And if they could be wrong there, who can know what any scripture means, let alone what “God” meant when he supposedly inspired it? No one does know. Wasn’t it Luther who said that you get as many interpretations as there are heads? (severe paraphrase–sorry Luther).

  • 216. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Yeah you are right. But you were putting yours across as truth were you not…

    I’m sure there is a proper interpretation(only God knows truly), and there are many books to tell you how to get there… but yes there are many, many interpretations. Where does it end then…

    Is this a reason to not believe… because people “in” the church can’t agree on interpretations.

  • 217. ubi dubium  |  July 10, 2008 at 8:25 am

    RiCO

    Is this a reason to not believe… because people “in” the church can’t agree on interpretations.

    In itself I don’t think it’s sufficient reason not to believe. But it’s sufficient to raise doubts, and to lead one to examine one’s beliefs more closely. That is, to begin the process that may eventually result in unbelief.

  • 218. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 10, 2008 at 8:56 am

    Ubi’s right. But still, any reason sufficient for a person not to believe is sufficient for them. You can’t say it’s not sufficient and I can’t say it’s not sufficient. One person needs mountains of “proof.” Another person needs little or no “proof” at all. My point is that no one can prove their position is right because there is no proof for or against a God existing as Christians define Him (sic).

    Actually, the lack of direct evidence supports the atheist claim that the burden of proof rests with Christians. Of course, atheists and Christians will argue ad nauseaum about what constitutes evidence and since no one can agree about that, the argument will forever be stalled.

    However, the existence of the bible is not “evidence.” It’s merely a record of many persons’ experiences of the Divine as they perceived it. Gnostics had their own scriptures and experiences with the Divine. So did the Romans, who daily interacted with their Gods. The Norse had their gods and so on and on. Just because one small tribe in the Middle East claims to own and worship the one true God doesn’t make it so.

    Faith, above all, is an emotion. You cannot prove God exists nor can you prove God doesn’t exist. All anyone really has to point to is their own experience of which we are most convinced. You cannot point to that as proof and expect another, who has had no such experience, simply to take your word for it. The proof is in the pudding as they say and your pudding just happens to taste different from mine. So be it.

  • 219. ubi dubium  |  July 10, 2008 at 10:05 am

    MOI –

    Oh yes, I agree that you can’t claim that one person’s sufficiency of lack of proof is or is not enough. It’s just from reading the personal stories of the de-cons here, for most of them it was a combination of things that finally brought them to unbelief. I can’t recall any who said – “oh yes, I questioned this one thing and immediately lost all my faith”. Much more often, they will mention one thing, such as lack of agreement on interpretations, that shook them enough to start them questioning the rest.

    However, the existence of the bible is not “evidence.” It’s merely a record of many persons’ experiences of the Divine as they perceived it. Gnostics had their own scriptures and experiences with the Divine. So did the Romans, who daily interacted with their Gods. The Norse had their gods and so on and on. Just because one small tribe in the Middle East claims to own and worship the one true God doesn’t make it so.

    I like the way you put this. Hear, hear.

  • 220. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 10, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Ubi,

    I believe we are in agreement. :-)

    Usually something provides the trigger to question more closely. I think sometimes Christians believe that it’s an all of a sudden decision to lose faith (probably because for evangelistic Christians it’s an all of a sudden decision to get faith) and that no serious thought went into it. But most of the time a long, hard, serious period of thought preceded the deconversion and was just as painful a discovery as anything else that led us to faith to begin with. For some reason, Christians think that deconverts haven’t invested any effort, when really, it’s the other way around. Evangelicals are the ones who haven’t invested the effort. Deconverts have invested far more of their time reading and researching the evidence than most Christians have.

    Evangelicals expect decisions immediately about your “eternal soul” and then damn you if you take an extraordinary amount of time deconverting! Makes no sense. If it were such a life changing decision you’d think they’d want you to be sure before pushing for a decision.

  • 221. Obi  |  July 10, 2008 at 10:57 am

    mysterofiniquity said, “My point is that no one can prove their position is right because there is no proof for or against a God existing as Christians define Him (sic).

    Yes there are proofs against his existence; mostly logical arguments as well as scriptural contradictions. The problem of evil, Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy, the tree of knowledge problem, the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus and the very rules he himself set down, et cetera.

    Just to be clear.

  • 222. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 10, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Obi,

    Well, actually, just to be clear, arguments aren’t proofs either, they are merely arguments. Mostly what you are suggesting is that the bible has internal inconsistencies, which only proves the unreliability of the bible not that God does or does not exist. Physical, irrefutable proof cannot be found either way.

  • 223. Joe  |  July 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    RICO—

    I think if you read my posts again you will see that I said “No one knows where that line is”—I said it SAYS impossible—-but when or how that happens we do not know.

    Read the parable of the Sower again—it talks of four classes of people: 1. The first hear the word but the devil immediately steals it from them and it does nothing.(the seed by the wayside) 2. They “immediately” receive the word with joy, but in time of testing “fall away”(apostasize—the word has finality to it)–these are the rocky soil hearers. 3. This group receives the word but it bears little fruit because the cares of the world choke them. —these are the seeds sown among thorns. 4. Those that hear the word an bear much fruit—these are the ones where seed falls on “good ground”.

    Jesus first speaks the parable then explains it. Also read 2 Pet. 2—-Peter speaks of those who “knew the right path” but have turned away from it. He says they are like a sow that returns to the mud after cleansing, or a dog returning to it’s own vomit. He interestingly does not say they are sheep returning AS a sow—-but he says they are sows returning to the mud they used to play in. This infers they were never really changed—-they stayed the same people inside, made a “profession” but then turned away. Heb 6:4-8 seems to infer this also as again, v. 9 then says “we are persuaded better things of you BRETHREN—-he is speaking to an entirely different group of people.

    Read it more closely. You are entitled to your opinion—but the Word appears to teach this very clearly. There are a group of people who “called themselves” believers who never really were changed at heart. A christian can backslide and slip—but they come back eventually. An apostate willfully renounces his faith—-many times very publicly—like this blog—it is not through weakness—it is a conscious decision. Again though——none of us knows when someone like that has crossed the line for good—–as you said God is God and He can do anything He wants to do! I agree with that 100% !!!

  • 224. Joe  |  July 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    RICO—

    I forgot to add that that’s one reason why I actually post here–we have no way of knowing who on this blog might just turn back to God. God can do miracles—and an apostate who once renounced the faith coming back is truly a miracle!! :>)

  • 225. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Joe,

    I see where your coming from. I’m happy now.

    ALL,

    So if we take out the Bible for various reasons: Interpreatations, error, myth, inspiration etc…

    What do you have left… Faith?
    I get my difinition from the Bible but what others are there…

    mysteryofiniquity says Faith, above all, is an emotion. You cannot prove God exists nor can you prove God doesn’t exist. All anyone really has to point to is their own experience of which we are most convinced.

    So is all we have our personal expereinces…

    Is there no absolute truth ?

    Thanks guys

  • 226. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    BTW Joe,

    Whats your stance man on religion, what would u define yourself as?

  • 227. RiCO  |  July 10, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Obi,

    Yes there are proofs against his existence; mostly logical arguments as well as scriptural contradictions. The problem of evil, Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy, the tree of knowledge problem, the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus and the very rules he himself set down

    You are using the Bible as proof against God so u must believe in it somwhat so I am wondering whether you could difine each of these a little more so I can do some research myself.

    For example I am yet unable to find a “scriptural contradition” that has be critically and correctly researched using proper hermenutics to my understanding and this is a big thing for many folks so if you could shed some light that would be great.

    Look forward to your reply

  • 228. Joe  |  July 10, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    RICO—–

    You asked above what I define myself as. I am a born-again Christian. I believe we are saved by faith through Grace and that salvation is a free gift. (Eph 2:8,9) Our salvation was accomplished by Jesus dying for our sins and this alone justifies us–and God does this himself. I believe that WHOSOEVER will may come—by that I mean I do not believe Jesus only died for believers, or that anyone was “created” to go to hell. I believe that once one is truly born-again you cannot be lost–no one can pluck you out of the Father’s hand.
    I believe in the Trinity, the eternal Sonship of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Christ. I believe all of the fundamentals. That’s basically it in a nutshell I guess.

  • 229. Joe  |  July 10, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Yes there are proofs against his existence; mostly logical arguments as well as scriptural contradictions. The problem of evil, Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy, the tree of knowledge problem, the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus and the very rules he himself set down

    RICO—

    The arguments that Obi and others are using have been used over and over again. I have a book from 1922 called “The Bible Unmasked” by Joseph Lewis that uses the very same verses and interpretations that Obi is using to state that Jesus said he would return in one generation. They are not new arguments—and they are not correct arguments either. They actually twist Scripture out of context. Robert Ingersoll also used many of the same arguments, as have many others.

    There are some excellent books dealing with “apparent” contradictions. There is an excellent book called “Misunderstood Texts of the Bible” by Sir Robert Anderson, a former detective of Scotland Yard, that illuminate many of them. There are other books that show many of the “contradictions” are not really contradictions at all. Many of them come from the Gospels—as people try to twist statements made in one Gospel against anohter.

    Such as saying “Well in this Gospel it says two blind men were following Jesus, but in this one it says one was….etc..etc.” The books will explain in detail that the Gospels are written from the vantage point of the writer—when you repeat a story your version may be about an event you saw—you fail to mention a man who was there—another person was there and they mention the man—there is no contradiction—–they are both just telling their own “view” of an actual event. This happens in the Gospels often. But those who want to disprove the Bible, will take these and twist them, without thought of context, or two different views of one event, and say they are contradicting one another. I strongly suggest picking up a couple of those books—they are actually quite enlightening.

    Here is a great site to visit—-at the very top is the verse I was quoting earlier from 2 Peter 3 about people twisting scriputure to their own destruction:

    http://www.apocalipsis.org/difficulties.htm

  • 230. ubi dubium  |  July 10, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    RiCO:

    You are using the Bible as proof against God so u must believe in it somwhat so I am wondering whether you could define each of these a little more so I can do some research myself.

    I think it would be good to clarify that the “proof against God” here would only be applicable to the Judeo-Christian god, and not speak to the existence of some other god.

    I also don’t think that the arguments about biblical contradictions are actually “proof against God”, but rather establish that the bible is not a valid “proof for god”.

  • 231. RiCO  |  July 11, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    Ubi,

    Good point. Obviously I care about Elohim and Yeawah the God of the Bible so it is very important to me as a Bible Believing Christian.

    also don’t think that the arguments about biblical contradictions are actually “proof against God”, but rather establish that the bible is not a valid “proof for god”.

    Please can you provide some examples to broaden your arguement… in the following areas
    Yes there are proofs against his existence; mostly logical arguments as well as scriptural contradictions. The problem of evil, Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy, the tree of knowledge problem, the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus and the very rules he himself set down

    especially

    a) logical arguments
    b) scriptural contradictions
    c) the problem of evil
    d) Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy
    e) the tree of knowledge problem
    f) the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus
    g) …Jesus and the very rules he himself set down>

    If you could be very specific thatd be great. I wish to research these points and answer them for you the best I can.

    thanks
    RiCO

  • 232. RiCO  |  July 11, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    Joe,

    Thanks for the breakdown of your beleifs and also of the contraditions stuff. I have asked to get it from Ubi himself. The reason I ask is because of I hear this and until now I have not been able to prove these “claims” wrong but since studing hermenutics I know a little about biblical interpretation and context etc.

    And have not been able to find a “biblical contradition” as yet that stands up to thorough research.

    Anyway check out my blog(sporadic at best) if you wanna chat independantly of this blog, I feel we are capatilising the discussion. ha

    thanks
    RiCO

  • 233. ubi dubium  |  July 12, 2008 at 1:32 am

    RiCO,

    Thanks for the request. If you are wanting to analyze particular details and interpretations of particular verses, I am probably not the right one to ask. If that is the kind of discussion you really enjoy, I recommend maybe Quester, or LeoPardus for that, they are quite the bible experts.

    My focus here is usually from a broader point of view. I don’t start with the assumption that any ancient text or set of myths has any more claim to be true than any other. (Hence my handle, from “Ubi Dubium, Ibi Libertas” – “Where there is doubt, there is freedom”) And I consider the existence of the supernatural to be an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary proof. I never start by assuming the existence of a god. If you are OK with a discussion based on that approach, here is my take on your topics:

    a) logical arguments

    OK – basically – how would a universe in which there is a god differ from a universe in which there is no god. How can we tell?

    b) scriptural contradictions

    Lots of these. There are a lot of fiddly small ones, and there are a lot of websites where they are to be found. All the usual stuff about where Mrs. Cain came from, and whether Jesus cursed the fig tree going to or coming from Jerusalem, etc, etc. If you want to argue these out, try a different de-con, I don’t like getting bogged down in that kind of small detail. I’ll just stick to the big stuff. Here’s one: The god described in the OT was a warlike tribal sky-god, just like many of the other ancient warlike sky-gods (Zeus, Thor, Baal, etc.). He had limits, did not know everything, and was jealous and petty. He appeared via huge miracles (parting the sea, pillars of fire, etc.) He demanded regular blood sacrifices, just like many primitive religions did. He loved nobody but his own tribe, and he was pretty rough even on them. His people were not called to preach, they were sent out to conquer and kill. Seems very consistent with the culture of a Bronze-age warring tribe. Then, in the NT, suddenly the character of the god has changed. Now he is loving, kind, and evangelical. The miracles are on a much smaller and more personal scale. (Heal the sick, feed a crowd. No pillars of fire anymore.) Everybody could be saved, not just the chosen tribe. This is much more consistent with the other mystery religions popular at the time, especially the cult of Mithras. How to account for the huge difference?

    One of the more interesting approaches to this dichotomy was the one the Gnostics took. They solved the dilemma by deciding that the god of the NT was not the same god as the god of the OT. The OT creator god was thought of as an imperfect lesser being, and the NT god as the true god, which neatly explained the imperfections found in the world, while still offering the mystery religion’s classic promise of redemption. Attractive theory – too bad the early church stamped it out as a threat to their authority.

    c) the problem of evil
    Epicurus said it well:

    “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?”

    My answer to this is that we are an agressive species competing for limited resources. If I do not assume a god, then the problem of evil goes away.

    d) Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy.
    The NT (like the OT) was written by men, imperfect men who had their own agendas, which included attracting and keeping as many converts as possible. Telling people that the end of days is just around the corner has always been a popular way to do this. (Just listen to Joe, for example. I think he’s said he expects to see it in his lifetime.) People have been expecting the end of the world for at least 2000 years now, and it still hasn’t come. But the preachers will always look for a way to keep people thinking that it will be any minute now. It fills the pews.

    e) the tree of knowledge problem
    Basically – if Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, then how could they have known it would be bad to listen to the snake or eat the apple? It’s like accusing a newborn of being disobedient – the capacity for that just isn’t there yet. My solution – this is a myth, made up to explain why there is evil in the world, and conveniently blaming women for it. (Which we women really resent!) Pandora’s box is another such myth.

    f) the injustice and cruelty of the OT God when compared to Jesus
    I talked about that above. If people create gods, rather than vice-versa, then they create gods that fit their time and culture. The OT was written by a warring Bronze Age nomadic mideastern tribe; the NT by evangelists spreading a mystery religion in the cosmopolitan Roman Empire. To me, there is no dilemma here, just human nature.

    g) …Jesus and the very rules he himself set down
    Well, as I have said on this blog before, we don’t know what Jesus actually said or did. We only know what later writers said he did, and they had their own agendas, and were working from hearsay. It’s possible that there was a travelling preacher named Jesus and that everything he said was entirely consistent, but that the later writers got some of it wrong. Or they may have been embellishing it, so it would appeal to a particular audience, or appear to fulfill some particular prophecy. And it’s my understanding that the Jews under the Roman occupation were genuinely expecting their Messiah to come liberate them any day. I would be very surprised if there were not other preachers around that time, claiming to be the Messiah. (We still get them now!) I would not be surprised if there were passages in there that were actually quotes from somebody else.

    And I’d like to add one other question –
    h) the problem of the missing books.

    (And not just the “Q” gospel.) There were many other religious books written and accepted in the same cultures as the books of the bible, but not all of them made the final cut. Does this make every word of every one of them entirely false? That they were known to the bible authors is clear. I recently read The Book of Enoch, which is actually quoted in the NT Book of Jude. It also contains much more detail about the giants in the world prior to Noah, which is only briefly touched on in Genesis. And the Gospel of Thomas is very interesting, as are the Gospels of Judas and Mary.

    Since the NT claims that Jesus preached for three years, and since the four NT gospels cannot possibly contain every word he said over those 3 years, is it not possible that some of the other things he said were written into those other Gospels? And since books like Enoch were well known to the biblical authors, one would think that they would be widely studied in churches today. Yet the Christian arguments I read here are restricted only to the books in the bible, and never even consider books that might have gotten in, if different men had been doing the choosing. I’d challenge you to go read one or more of those books, and see if they answer any questions for you, or raise any new ones.

    Sorry to ramble on so long, but you asked a lot of questions. I don’t seriously expect to de-convert you, but I hope I can inspire you to think about things from more than one perspective. Or, at the very least, I hope I can spark some interesting conversation.

  • 234. Quester  |  July 12, 2008 at 2:35 am

    I recommend maybe Quester, or LeoPardus for that, they are quite the bible experts.

    Thanks, Ubi. I’m going to take that as a compliment.

  • 235. RiCO  |  July 12, 2008 at 3:10 am

    ubi dubium,

    My main thrust is that many people, yourself included use the line “scriptural contradictions” and yet do not actually stand by them. My aim was to find out if you actually hold onto any of these actual contradictions yourself or are just on the team of know alls who claim the Bible contradicts itself. So I won’t debate with the other guys. You said it and so thats why I asked YOU to be specific.

    a) logical arguments. OK – basically – how would a universe in which there is a god differ from a universe in which there is no god. How can we tell?
    A universe with a God would have Intelligent design… If you agree that all on earth was created then you should agree that there is and was a very intelligent someone who did the creating. Look at the minute details in species and ecosystems that have no real effect of humans. Evolution does not boast such design. So a universe without would have no intelligent design or guidance.

    b) scriptural contradictions
    Lots of these. There are a lot of fiddly small ones, and there are a lot of websites where they are to be found. All the usual stuff about where Mrs. Cain came from, and whether Jesus cursed the fig tree going to or coming from Jerusalem, etc, etc. If you want to argue these out, try a different de-con, I don’t like getting bogged down in that kind of small detail. I’ll just stick to the big stuff.
    Mrs Cain… I’m ok with the Bible not saying. Its not the Encylopedia Britanica or a Human anatomy book. The Bible misses out minute detail very often. Maybe just maybe God created many adam and eves and they travelled and went on a date and had babies. The Bible just doesn’t say.

    Firstly, if we are under the new covenant(NT after Christ) then does the OT God really impact our free lives anyway…

    Here’s one: The god described in the OT was a warlike tribal sky-god, just like many of the other ancient warlike sky-gods (Zeus, Thor, Baal, etc.). He had limits, did not know everything, and was jealous and petty

    Given yes, God in the OT could be “warlike” and very powerful and showed his creation that. But he was also a personal loving God was he not. Talking to his creation, walking in the Garden of Eden.
    And on what basis do you say he had “He had limits, did not know everything”?
    He was jealous for his people yes, petty though, once again where is your basis for this?

    His people were not called to preach
    If his people were not called to preach, then how do you account for all the prophets of the Lord chosen to speak to his people… See Jeremiah 1:5-10.

    To my understanding the culture OT compared to NT had changed a tad, yes God did use huge miracles (parting the sea, pillars of fire, etc.) to show the people, minister to them, guide them in the Old Testament becuase that is what they understood. After all they were tribal nomadic people as you said. Good work.
    4000-6000yrs approx had gone by since creation and so of course things had changed and even Gods character maybe to suit the people he was wanting to minister.

    Then, in the NT, suddenly the character of the god has changed. Now he is loving, kind, and evangelical. The miracles are on a much smaller and more personal scale. (Heal the sick, feed a crowd. No pillars of fire anymore.
    Did God actually change? I’d like to think he hasn’t changed at all, he still could part the sea if he desired couldn’t he.

    Can you consider the fact that God could change how he interacted with the people? And actually there is nothing to say in the OT about that all couldn’t be saved. Rehab was a foreign prostiute was she not, she was saved. And many cities were not destroyed but made slaves, how are we to know they didn’t begin to worship Israels God…

    Gnostics,
    They were a interesting bunch. I guess its a good way of getting around the differences. They didn’t lost long tho. The early church was a tad screwed up, ill admit that. I’m glad I don’t live back then, me and you both would probably be burnt at the stake by now. ha

    c) the problem of evil… If I do not assume a god, then the problem of evil goes away…

    Really. Is evil not something that is ingrained in our humanity(whether through adam or just cos we evolved wrong)…? Do small children not fight in the playground, don’t men still rape woman, don’t the rich stay rich while the poor struggle?

    Can not assuming a God change any of this?

    d) Jesus’ failed second coming prophecy.
    The Bible does not say when Jesus will return. Just because people have predicted it(against the Bible saying not to) incorrectly doesn’t mean he is not coming. And I cannot speak for all preachers with a over emphasised view of end times. I would preach just the same. 100% of people die, and what is gonna happen when you do?

    e) the tree of knowledge problem
    Basically – if Adam and Eve had no knowledge of good and evil, then how could they have known it would be bad to listen to the snake or eat the apple?

    Even DID listen to the snake, she DID eat the apple because she didn’t know it was wrong and was tricked by the snake. And it wasn’t till after she had eaten of the tree and was questioned by God that she knew he tricked her and it was wrong. Maybe re-read the story. Genesis 3.

    g) …Jesus and the very rules he himself set down… We only know what later writers said he did, and they had their own agendas, and were working from hearsay.

    This is true. The NT authors all were differnent and had different backgrounds and even agendas. This is why Matthew has a long list of geneology and why Luke has alot more details about different things. Matthew was Hebrew writing to his audience and Luke was well educated and so added more details to suit his audience and style.

    Concerning what exactly Jesus did and said, it is the same as trying to establish what Martin Luther, John Chrysostom, or Galileo said in there day. We only know what evidence we have. And at times it is scarce at best.

    And I’d like to add one other question –
    h) the problem of the missing books.

    The knowledge of the apocrapha and book not deemed to be canon is widely knownn. I have indeed read books of the Apocrapha and while I know they were not chosen as meeting all the criteria to be in the offical canon of scripture due to many reasons… they are still valid for information and research but not deemed as scripture by the early church fathers. Im glad the decided otherwise people like the Gnostics would have there own authoritive wrtitings around.

    Maybe they are not missing. We all know about Wikipedia, started to release information to underadvantaged students. Many of Wiki’s articles are excellent and truthful but we are not to know for sure. And that is exactly why most univercitys do not allow you to quote Wikipedia, as it could be incorrect. So they are not missing, merely not chosen.

    Concerning Jude quoting Enoch, I cannot see any proof to support the writings of Enoch except Judes quoting him. Paul quotes non “scriptural” writings in his letter to the Corinthians eg 1 Cor 15:33.

    The mere presence of other Apocryphyl books and even people quoting them should not discredit the Bible.

    ha. I hope I have shed some light on some of your questions and havn’t come across as arrogant or smug. I am new at debating but have a serious passion for the Bible and for upholding its power in everyday life.

    I have really enjoyed my time here with people like yourself, joe and mysteryofiniquity. I have indeed had my eyes open to other views and infact it has forced me deeper into the Word of God and has been fun.

    I might have to stop commenting sooooo much tho, as my time is limited.

    Cioa
    RiCO

  • 236. ubi dubium  |  July 12, 2008 at 11:54 am

    RiCO –

    Thanks for responding without preaching. Here’s a few responses:

    A universe with a God would have Intelligent design… If you agree that all on earth was created then you should agree that there is and was a very intelligent someone who did the creating.

    If I were to agree that all on earth was “created” then I would be assuming a “creator” by definition. I don’t accept that the universe is a “creation”. If you really understand inheritance and evolution, you will see that it elegantly explains the diversity of what we see, including all those minute details. It all makes sense without assuming a god. (This does not prove there is no god, of course. That’s not possible to prove. But we can look at things that indicate whether the existence of a god is more likely or less likely to to be true.)

    He had limits, did not know everything

    Example – Genesis 18:20-21. God has to go down to Sodom and Gomorrah to find out if the accusations about them are true. Shouldn’t he already know?

    He was jealous for his people yes, petty though, once again where is your basis for this?

    One easy example – in 2 Kings 2:23-24 god sends two bears to kill forty-two children for the grievous crime of teasing a prophet about his baldness. To me, that’s petty.

    If his people were not called to preach, then how do you account for all the prophets of the Lord chosen to speak to his people

    That is my point – only to his people. Not to anybody else. There were millions of people in the world, and this god apparently had no interest in anybody else. The Jews are not commanded to be missionaries, or to win converts. The god who cares so much for the gentiles in the NT doesn’t care about them at all in the OT.

    And many cities were not destroyed but made slaves, how are we to know they didn’t begin to worship Israels God…

    And this makes slavery OK? And what about all the cities god told his people to destroy? Every man, woman, child, and household pet in Jericho? They didn’t try to convert them, they just killed them all. I still see a warrior god-totem here. Just like every other tribe of the era had. They could use it to justify atrocities by claiming it was “god’s will”.

    Really. Is evil not something that is ingrained in our humanity(whether through adam or just cos we evolved wrong)…? Do small children not fight in the playground, don’t men still rape woman, don’t the rich stay rich while the poor struggle?

    Really. People do bad things because they are naturally competitive and agressive, which is a survival trait. It’s just human nature. We didn’t “evolve wrong”; we needed to be agressive to survive. Those who weren’t didn’t leave descendants. People aren’t “full of sin”, they are just human. The classic “problem of evil” is “how do you reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of a loving all-powerful god?” I reconcile it by not assuming a loving all powerful god. People still do bad things, but I don’t have any troubling philosophical questions about why god allows it.

    Even DID listen to the snake, she DID eat the apple because she didn’t know it was wrong and was tricked by the snake. And it wasn’t till after she had eaten of the tree and was questioned by God that she knew he tricked her and it was wrong.

    Exactly – how is it a sin to do a bad thing you are not capable of understanding is bad? I’ve read this story a bunch of times, and it has never made sense. Why does god punish all of humanity for Adam and Eve breaking a rule, when they did not yet understand the whole concept of right and wrong?

    Concerning what exactly Jesus did and said, it is the same as trying to establish what Martin Luther, John Chrysostom, or Galileo said in there day.

    But at least those people left us their own words. I’ve read some of Galileos works (he wrote very well). If Jesus had left us his own writings, it might be more convincing. But he didn’t. Muhammed at least had a scribe write down his dictation to create the Koran. It would have been nice if Jesus had had the consideration to do the same.

    As to the problem of the “missing” books – it’s not that we don’t have them, we do. Lots of them. It’s that they are “missing” from the discussion. They are “missing” from Christian education. With all the hours I spent in bible study class as a teen, it was never once suggested that we read any of these other texts. Not for their truth, but to understand the culture and mindset of those who wrote the bible. They don’t have to be “scripture” to be relevant. “Enoch” doesn’t have to be true, but an understanding of it might give you some insight as to why Jude would select the passage to quote that he did. (Jude 1:14, if you want to look it up.) He apparently thought it was true.

    Paul quotes non “scriptural” writings in his letter to the Corinthians eg 1 Cor 15:33.

    If you knew what book he was quoting, and that book was still available, woudn’t reading it be a good thing? If you wanted to have a better understanding of me, for example, you could read my favorite books, and that would tell you a lot. If you want to understand Paul, wouldn’t reading the books he liked be a good idea?

    The existence of Apocryphal books in themselves does not tend to discredit the bible. But why is reading them ignored, or even actively discouraged? I once had a Fundie tell me not to read the “Nag Hammadi Library” because it was “demonic”. What is the church scared of here? If your scripture is truly perfect, and the actual “word of god”, then reading the apocryphal books as background material should be no threat. So why do churches avoid them?

    Enough for now. This is getting too long. It’s nice to be able to talk with a christian without either of us trying to convert the other.

  • 237. RiCO  |  July 13, 2008 at 1:50 am

    ubi dubium,

    yeah thanks man. its good aye. I like to not be ignorant and try and learn where others are coming from. So it is a great exercise for me. And I for you probably to see that not all Christians are crazy.

    I will start with evolution. Where would one start at looking for a general solid overview. I dont mind reading as long as it is the best stuff…?

    Genesis 18:20-21
    hmmmm i had a little read, that interesting… ill ask my Pastor, test him. Are there other instances to your knowledge.

    Concerning the Fall, God told them they couldn’t eat from the tree in the center of the garden… Gen 2… they knew they would die. Thats pretty solid, right and wrong. thats like Drink and drive and youll die kinda thing isn’t it.

    Yeah I do wonder why God left the best story ever told up to us mere humans… maybe freewill…?

    I personally would descredit Mahummads writings… becuase to my understanding he came about around 600 A.D and if you were to create a religion to go against a common one you would be careful to fill in the blanks..would you not. And Mahamudd was very smart, claiming the whole recent revelation kinda thing. Hopefully you know what I mean. The idea that the lastest revelation is the best… making the older not as authoritive. Including himself as the newest profit.

    Concerning recommending the Apocrapha to teenagers, I do in my youth program for 11-13 year olds. I mention it, tell them they arent evil, and they are good for learning history and background but they are not considered canon by the early church and people who choose them. So myself and my Bible college lecturers suggest the same things. The Maccabees have some cool battles and history in them. But it do not count them as fully authoritive scripture as the canonical books.

    I believe Paul was using common literature, Peotry and mthyolgy in his epistles and arguments. I’m sure there is heaps of mythology I should read, but for me it comes down to what was chosen as Authoritive and is the best for helping me develop into the full maturity of Christ so I can live like him and with unity and love with my fellow man.

    Ok gotta go. Thanks mate.
    Cya

  • 238. HeIsSailing  |  July 13, 2008 at 9:46 am

    RICO says:

    Concerning recommending the Apocrapha to teenagers, I do in my youth program for 11-13 year olds. …The Maccabees have some cool battles and history in them. But it do not count them as fully authoritive scripture as the canonical books.

    RICO, have you ever read 2 Maccabees? Holy smokes, I don’t know if I would want children reading that.

  • 239. ubi dubium  |  July 13, 2008 at 11:40 am

    RiCO

    I will start with evolution. Where would one start at looking for a general solid overview. I dont mind reading as long as it is the best stuff…?

    Oh, excellent. You might start right at the beginning with Darwins “Origin of Species”. You can see the clear reasoning processes he used to reach his conclusions.

    From my own reading, I would suggest the books of collected essays of Stephen Jay Gould, as being entertaining and easy to read, as well as informational.

    But if you are looking for a good one-volume explanation, I have had high recommendations for “What Evolution Is” by biologist Ernst Mayr. (I have not yet read it, but I will plan to add it to my reading list now.)

    Genesis 18:20-21
    hmmmm i had a little read, that interesting… ill ask my Pastor, test him. Are there other instances to your knowledge.

    Well that one spoke to lack of omniscience. Some others that are not quite as direct might be Deut 8:20, Deut 13:3, and the entire Book of Job (Why put Job through such misery to find out how he will react? Shouldn’t god already know this?)

    And one that is often cited for lack of omnipotence is Judges 1:19.

    I personally would descredit Mahummads writings… becuase to my understanding he came about around 600 A.D and if you were to create a religion to go against a common one you would be careful to fill in the blanks..would you not. And Mahamudd was very smart, claiming the whole recent revelation kinda thing. Hopefully you know what I mean. The idea that the lastest revelation is the best… making the older not as authoritive. Including himself as the newest profit.

    But you could make those same statements about the early christian writers as well: being sure to fill in the blanks, the idea that the latest revelation is the best, proclaiming they have special knowledge of the newest phrophet. Seems very similar.

    I am glad you are using materials beyond the usual protestant scriptures in your youth program. It is my understanding that seconday canon books such as Judith, and 1&2 Macabees are included in Catholic versions of the bible, so those are rather better known.

    But there is so much more out there. Try this – here’s a link to The Gospel of Thomas: http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/thomas.htm. My reading of scholars studies of this say that it may predate the canonical gospels, and may be closely related to the lost “Q” document. It’s not very long, only 114 verses, but it’s very interesting. Give it a try.

    But what is of more interest to me lately is reading the omitted OT material that none of today’s bibles include – books like Enoch or Jubilees, or the Book of Jashar, which is referenced in both Joshua (10:13) and II Samuel (1:18). They were well known to the NT authors. We have them, so why aren’t we reading them?

    HIS:

    RICO, have you ever read 2 Maccabees? Holy smokes, I don’t know if I would want children reading that.

    Oh yes, but the canonical bible is so full of sex and violence that I’m not sure it’s appropriate for children either! ;)

  • 240. RiCO  |  July 14, 2008 at 12:34 am

    HeIsSailing,

    I havn’t read 2 Macabees. I have a vaugue understanding of the Apocrapha. It’s not like I saw read this, I more let them know what the story is (non canonical, non authoritive etc, not nesseserily evil/not nessesarily good) so they know and its not swept under the carpet like a conspiracy.

    I was merely trying to show Ubi that I didn’t think those writings were evil or bad in themselves. And that they are alright to read.

    I would always recommend the Bible as first reading material for my youth.

    cioa

  • 241. HeIsSailing  |  July 14, 2008 at 1:08 am

    2 Macabees is fascinating, but grisley stuff. It has little history though. It mainly describes the pious nature of Jews as they bravely face torture and martyrdom by the vile Antiochus Epiphanes. It looks like it was mainly written for encouragement for those who were undergoing such persecution. 1 Macabees is probably pretty reliable as history – in fact, probably more reliable than any canonical book.

    If you get the opportunity, read some good annotated versions of Apocryphal and Pseudopigraphal works and read them. I have found them to be really terrific reading and helped me better understand the cultue and climate that the canonical works were written in.

  • 242. RiCO  |  July 14, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Ubi,

    Duet 8:20 :Doesn’t show anything to me, is the verse correct.?
    Duet 13:13 :To me shows God telling his poeple to investigate throughly a city that could have idol worshipers in it. THEY are to do the physical searching required to know for sure, cos it is they who will suffer if it is correct. It says nothing about Gods lack of knowledge.

    The Book of Job is very interesting isn’t it, I love it. In my opinion God knew Jobs heart, but it was Satan that doubted Jobs love for God, see Job 1:9-10. So maybe God was showing Satan a lesson… and using one of this children to do so… which seems harsh but God can do whatever he likes. He is God.

    Judges 1:19 Men with Swords and Spears vs Iron Chariots… this just means they needed to figure out how to take out chariots. they were just outmatched. Again it says nothing about God lack of knowledge.

    But you could make those same statements about the early christian writers as well: being sure to fill in the blanks, the idea that the latest revelation is the best, proclaiming they have special knowledge of the newest phrophet. Seems very similar.

    Similar yes. The same NO. There are huge differneces in the religions.And I was thinking about this… if these other ‘similar’ religions(a view widely molested on this site) were around, then why is it that Christianity(loose term) and Islam are the major religions in many countrys. Why is there not Greek mythology still round flourishing today… or any of the well mentioned ancient Gods from this site.

    I am glad you are using materials beyond the usual protestant scriptures in your youth program. It is my understanding that seconday canon books such as Judith, and 1&2 Macabees are included in Catholic versions of the bible, so those are rather better known.

    To be honest I am no advocate for the Catholic church, infact it annoys me very much. They have issues, similar to protestants but I have little time for anything they say is correct. I base my life on the teachings of Jesus and the Bible without the Apocrapha or anything like that has been added by False phophets claiming to have knowledge but denying the power of Christ. Don’t get me started, ill be here all night.

    So yes the Catholic Church beleive in the Apocrapha but I do not. And as I have said above. I don’t use the it as a resource for teaching. I merely mention it and am open about its existence as no to not breed conspiracys.

    But what is of more interest to me lately is reading the omitted OT material that none of today’s bibles include – books like Enoch or Jubilees… We have them, so why aren’t we reading them?

    I don’t know. My simple answer is becuase there are not deemed authoritive for edification and for glorifying God. So by that standard they are just ancient writings and hold little merit to be read, just like why I do not read the Wall Street Journal or Oprahs magazine. Just not worth my time at the moment. Doesn’t interest me. Maybe when I have a good understanding of the whole Gospel of Christ then I could branch out to other texts.

    HeIsSailing,

    The Bible itself has many parts that are dodgy. I wouldn;t nessisarlily reccomend Song of Songs to a imaginative young boy.

    cioa

  • 243. RiCO  |  July 14, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Ok thanks.

  • 244. HeIsSailing  |  July 14, 2008 at 1:27 am

    RICO says:

    I base my life on the teachings of Jesus and the Bible without the Apocrapha or anything like that has been added by False phophets claiming to have knowledge but denying the power of Christ.

    You do understand that the apocryphal books approved in the Catholic canon were mostly written around 200BC-100AD for a Jewish community, right? They never denied the power of Christ because they had no such conception of ‘Christ’ in a Christian sense. However, The Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach both have some interesting references regarding Messianic expectation. The pseudepigraphal apocalypses do the same thing, and are sometimes referenced in the New Testament (Enoch, Apocalypse of Zechariah). They are extremely valuable reading for a serious student of Christianity, just to gain a historical and religious framework for the times of the New Testament.

  • 245. RiCO  |  July 14, 2008 at 4:14 am

    No I didn’t. Thankyou for that.
    it is god to know.

  • 246. ubi dubium  |  July 14, 2008 at 11:28 am

    RiCo:

    The Book of Job is very interesting isn’t it, I love it. In my opinion God knew Jobs heart, but it was Satan that doubted Jobs love for God, see Job 1:9-10. So maybe God was showing Satan a lesson… and using one of this children to do so… which seems harsh but God can do whatever he likes. He is God.

    Interesting, yes. If God is omniscient, he already knows how Job will react. If he is omipotent, he would be able to just pop this knowledge into Satan’s head without having to torture his most faithful servant. So, this book to me describes a god who either is not omnipotent, or not benevolent.

    However, if you look carefully at the formatting of the book, you will notice that is is written in the format of a play, with a prologue, epilogue, and speeches by different characters. If you look at this book as a morality play, written by men who were wanting to make a point, then it makes so much more sense. They were just trying to help people deal with the problem of “why do bad things happen to good people?” That approach also gets around the problem of who wrote it, and how he was somehow privy to conversations between God and Satan. Even back when I was a believer, I was definitely of the opinion that every word of the bible does not have to be true for it to be inspirational.

    Judges 1:19 Men with Swords and Spears vs Iron Chariots… this just means they needed to figure out how to take out chariots. they were just outmatched. Again it says nothing about God lack of knowledge.

    No, as I said, it speaks to lack of power. With god’s help they were able to take the hill country. But god’s help was apparently not enough to conquer iron chariots. If god wants his people to take those cities, why would something like iron chariots stand in their way? And if god didn’t want them to have those cities, why didn’t he just order them left alone?

    …if these other ’similar’ religions(a view widely molested on this site) were around, then why is it that Christianity(loose term) and Islam are the major religions in many countrys. Why is there not Greek mythology still round flourishing today… or any of the well mentioned ancient Gods from this site.

    Cultural shifts and politics. Many of the ancient Greek gods, like Zeus and Ares, originated as tribal war-gods in the Bronze Age, just like the god of the Hebrews. By the time of the Roman empire, the age of small warring tribes (in that area) was over, so the attraction to tribal war-gods was replaced with a fascination for mystery religions like the worship of Isis (popular among women), Mithras (very popular among soldiers) and Christianity. Christianity happened to be the one that got an emperor on it’s side. Without that happening, Europe might have wound up as the Holy Empire of Mithras.

    Neither Judaism nor Christianity was a good cultural fit for the Arab bedouins of the deserts. Muhammed brilliantly created for them a religion which incorporated elements of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but then also took elements of their own culture and enshrined them into the Qu’ran. He also glorified warfare against the infidels, which certainly encouraged the spread of Islam at the point of a sword.

    As for the secondary canon – I don’t mean to suggest that you should accept it as true because the Catholics do, I only suggest that those books are more familiar to today’s audiences because of their inclusion by the Catholics. And I quite agree with HeIsSailing – read the Psuedepigrapha not because it is true, but because it will help you understand the culture and mindset of both the NT writers, and the audiences they were writing for. (Oprah’s magazine can’t do that. But 2000 years from now, when somebody is writing their doctoral thesis on the writings of Dr. Phil, it would be a good background reference for them! ;) )

    Nice talking with you. Good luck with those 11-13 year olds – that’s a tough age to work with.

  • 247. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 14, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Ubi,

    You wrote:”However, if you look carefully at the formatting of the book, you will notice that is is written in the format of a play, with a prologue, epilogue, and speeches by different characters. If you look at this book as a morality play, written by men who were wanting to make a point, then it makes so much more sense.”

    Wonderful observation!! Having acted in medieval morality plays during college, the book of Job indeed follows a format similar to morality plays. Since almost all of church ritual stems from liturgical drama, your analysis is spot on. I can’t believe I’ve not seen it before. The Greeks took a similar tack. Stories were the prime media for instructing the faithful, especially since there were no written works available to the laity or if there were, the written works were far too expensive for anyone other than the most affluent.

  • 248. tinu patel  |  July 16, 2008 at 1:06 am

    Always remember true christians do not convert, but simply give the gospel. It is up to GOD and the individual to come close to each other. Always remember GOD does not want you if its not your free will to choose him, for he has given you the option to always hate him or love him. What everyone needs to know about Christ is that he reserves the right to judge only at the very end as he knows what in your heart. However in general Christians believe that if you do not know the GOSPEL and ask god for forgiveness of sins and truly hate the act of sin, then and only then will GOD grant you ever lasting life. However again GOD is Judge over all things and we do not know in reality even if a christian is saved. For it savs in the bible repentence (hate of sin and turning away) is required. Fornicators, idolators, and adulterors will not enter heaven as they do not show the signs of repentence. That is that if a person believes and trusts in Christ fully, it is Christ who will change his heart and grant him freedom from sin he hates. Thus it is possible to live a GODly life as true christians are called to do. Now where do you see such true christians. Well that is a hard one. I personally hate all sin and wish I would never sin against GOD. Because I love my creator and am grateful for all the blessing I have. But when I fail him in sin I hate myself so much!!! All I can say is that I am a much better person that I was before I believed in Christ as my savior.

    Remember you will always fear something, why not fear GOD who has the power to destroy your soul and body. A person who fears GOD respects him just as a child who fears their parents wrath at a young age. Our GOD is a perfect GOD who has every right to destroy us. Yet he destroys himself so that the stain of sins does not enter into his kingdom through true believers. For all my hindu brothers, ask your self, when you die and re-incarnate as another person, did you not die permanently as your self today? Thus re-incarnation is promise of true death of yourself in every life. Isn’t that the biggest lie you have ever heard. Imagine that I take a honda car and crush it to millions of pieces and then form a new car but it is a toyota. Did I not destroy the honda? Yes its called re-cycling not rebirth. When your body dies GOD recycles your body parts into the earth. Your soul which is you however, GOD has a problem with that. This he must destroy or keep. He cannot recycle it because it cannot be changed. For changing it would be a forgery and GOD does not participate in Forgeries. Finally the power that can create, can also destroy, therefore the power that creates had a reason to create, and therefore also has a reason to destroy.

    GOD Bless you. If you have questions please email me at tinujatinpatel@gmail.com

  • 249. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 16, 2008 at 9:46 am

    Tinu,

    I’m not sure if you’re preaching Hinduism or Christianity, but what you are preaching is nothing that all of us here haven’t heard before. Please go here:

    http://de-conversion.com/2008/03/27/convenient-categories/

    and here:

    http://de-conversion.com/2008/04/07/inconvenient-categories-the-really-real-reasons-de-cons-left-the-faith/

    and read them thoroughly before posting. Thanks.

  • 250. Ross Scalise  |  December 24, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Hi All, have just read your discussion after having a disagreement with a ‘christian’ myself. What a lovely group they!! Everyone one is condemned because they think they have told you what they think is right without actually reading the Bible themselves. They just go around talking, talking and repeating what they hear without actually understanding and reading for themselves. For a few years I attended ‘church’ but with a little reading saw that most of mainstream ‘christianity’ is a LIE. They don’t actually follow what Jesus actually said. This is for anyone who unfortunately has to speak to a ‘christian’, next time they speak with you, tell them to show you everything they tell you in the Bible. They won’t be able to and make sure you read in context, a lot is taken out of context to suit themselves. I have now stopped going to church but read the Bible because it is a good book and it doesn’t hurt anyone. The thing that hurts people is people, people’s arrogance based on lies. I urge any ‘christians’ reading this to pick up an Encyclopaedia and check for some of the foundations of man made ‘christianity’, for example the trinity, Britannica says it is not Biblical, the Soul is from Greek philosophy Plato. christmas is pagan (lower case ‘c’ on purpose because it’s not really Christian), easter is pagan as well. If someone out there wants to prove ‘christians’ wrong then they should read Acts firstly because it shows the Apostles taking part in ‘Jewish’ festivals (they were not just for the Jews but for all people, stated in Gen 1 and Exo), most importantly Jesus was part of them and certainly Paul and the other Apostles. Paul stated ‘imitate me as I imitate Christ’, so then we should all be following these ‘Jewish’ festivals. ‘christianity’ is anti-semitic, but the Apostles were not.

  • 251. MOI  |  December 24, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Well said, Ross, and welcome to the blog.

  • 252. Jacqui  |  December 24, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I am not here to take sides or argue who is right or who is wrong. There are and always will be people who are “religious” like the pharisees and sadducees.

    Had it been for many “christians” I would not still be continuing my relationship with Jesus now (I was an Atheist prior to my encounter).

    Forget about what people do, flesh is flesh and spirit is spirit but JESUS will always be JESUS..

  • 253. Jean Hampleman  |  April 13, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Christians try to convert others sometimes out of wanting for people to avoid hell…and, if there is one, which we believe, then, that’s pretty big of us to care about other people especially considering that we know we will be negatively and hostiley stereotyped for doing so. Also, often, when we see that others have a need for God due to things happening in their lives, we suggest God as a way to help them as God really can help people who have needs. So, I’m sorry that you have to make up all the nasty ulterior motives that we want to convert and I find your motives to be…well, contrived and imaginary for the most part.

  • 254. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Jean,

    “Christians try to convert others sometimes out of wanting for people to avoid hell…”

    That’s so big of you! Especially when we don’t ask for it. Now let me get back to my contrived and imaginary motives, please! You’re interrupting! :-)

  • 255. Jean Hampleman  |  April 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Yes, many times we want people to become Christians as we don’t want people to go to hell…funny that people would attibute negative meanings to that motivation…it simplly means we care enough about others to risk being labeled in negative, insulting stereotypes (which always happens ) to want other people than ourselves to not go to hell.
    Also, we often see others have needs and problems in their lives that we know that God can help them with. We see the need in all people in some areas for God’s truth, salvation, enlightenment (that word’s in the Bible refering to being enlightened by the truth), etc. We do all this because we care…about people other than ourselves…sorry your accusations about our motives sound contrived and invented. Or, maybe you are just projecting?!
    Raised in a very educated family and am a multitalented artist…yet, totally believe in Jesus and the Bible.

  • 256. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    And a psychologist to boot! Thanks for the analysis Jean. I appreciate it greatly. But, if you’ve read all the comments that have gone before yours, you’d realize we’ve discussed this already. But I appreciate the effort. I’ll take care of my own soul. Don’t worry about it. Really! You are absolved of responsibility in my case. Get out of jail free if you will. :-)

  • 257. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Raised in a very educated family and am a multitalented artist…yet, totally believe in Jesus and the Bible.

    What does the former have to do with the latter? And did you hurt your arm patting yourself on the back like that?

  • 258. Joe  |  April 14, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    The main reason Christians try to convert others is because Jesus commanded them to—“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel”. Hpefully though they do it out of compassion for souls, and not simply as a “religious exercise”.

  • 259. LeoPardus  |  April 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    when we see that others have a need for God due to things happening in their lives, we suggest God as a way to help them as God really can help people who have needs.

    Yes. An imaginary friend can help people at times. But wouldn’t a real friend be better?

  • 260. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 19, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Joe,
    Yes, and this is where reading too much into the Gospels come into play. First, we do not really know Jesus said anything that the early church didn’t want him to say when they wrote the Gospels some 80-100 or so years later, but that’s a different debate. Second, if Jesus did say this, he merely said “preach the Gospel” not beat them over the head with it and trying to coerce a decision out of them. That’s a whole different thing. Considering there is not one place on earth now that hasn’t heard the “Gospel,” except for some remote tribes in Amazonia, then I’d say the mission was accomplished. Christians may now rest their case and leave the actual converting to their God, unless of course, they don’t believe He (sic) is strong enough to do that on his own.

  • 261. Joe  |  April 20, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Mystery—

    You said:

    “Considering there is not one place on earth now that hasn’t heard the “Gospel,” except for some remote tribes in Amazonia, then I’d say the mission was accomplished. Christians may now rest their case and leave the actual converting to their God, unless of course, they don’t believe He (sic) is strong enough to do that on his own”.

    Actually, I think you would be surprised how many people really have not heard the Gospel in their own language. Here is a quote from Wycliffe, a Bible translation organization concerning their “Last Languages campaign”:

    “You just did something that nearly 200 million people cannot do. You read God’s Word in the language you’ve most likely spoken from infancy — the language you understand best and that touches your heart. Wycliffe Bible Translators and our partners have made remarkable strides. But there remains so much yet to be done. There are still more than 2,200 languages that must be translated. We cannot wait. This is a story full of urgency. The last language can be started by 2025. It is possible, and that is Wycliffe’s mission and commitment”. So there remain quite a few languages that have not been translated, meaning many people have not heard.

    What I actually find very amazing is that in a world as advanced as ours these 2200 languages remain untranslated into literary form. If it were not for Bible translation, these languages (and many that have been recently translated) would remain only in a verbal form. Why hasn’t the world made an attempt to translate these languages and help these peoples? With all the books in the world, and all of the compassion that must be out there, you would think that these 2200 languages would have been translated into other books by now wouldn’t you? Why does it take Bible translation to get these languages onto paper? This intrigues me.

    Mystery—true though—there are some Christians who force it down people’s throats. But God has chosen to use men to preach the Gospel. “It please God through the foolishness of preaching to reach those who do not believe” (paraphrase). Christians simply obey what they read—-some become too zealous–that is a given. But there are many more who just have a real sense of compassion, and want to spread good news.

  • 262. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 22, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Joe,

    You quoted: “Why hasn’t the world made an attempt to translate these languages and help these peoples?”

    What makes Wycliffe, or anyone else for that matter, think these people need “help?” The arrogance of such statements astounds me. The self centeredness of thinking that some of us know what’s best for others when it comes to ideology, philosophy, or just plain living, as if these same communities haven’t been doing it nicely without our “help” for centuries.

    What bothers me with the world’s major religions is the implied sniffiness they exude, claiming to know what’s best for everyone else, and their being affronted that no one seems to want or care for what they are selling. Thousands of years went by before the Judaistic God claimed to be the only one and many got on without “him” just fine. Now, they are all supposed to pay attention because a remote tribe in the desert said it was so?

    Putting it all into perspective is something I don’t see exhibited in religious circles and it makes me wonder about humans’ ability not only to feel themselves the center of the universe, but supremely qualified to tell everyone else what their center must be as well. Hubris.

  • 263. Joe  |  April 22, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    What makes Wycliffe, or anyone else for that matter, think these people need “help?” The arrogance of such statements astounds me.

    Mystery—

    I think you are misinterpreting what I said. They do need help in the sense that everyone is better off if they are educated. I was stating that their are millions of books, but no one has taken the time to “tranlate”, or help to translate them into these people’s heart language. They have NO books. I am not talking about Bibles, I mean they have NO books at all in their own language!!

    My question doesn’t come from “religious stuffiness” but as a real question. Many, Many people have visited these places, and see these people in deep poverty, and a lot of that due to lack of education. People are willing to give a few dollars here and there, but it seems that the only way there verbal languages become written ones is when Bible translators make the effort to translate the language in the name of the Gospel.

    Time after time I must mention, these people accept the new “bibles” with tears in their eyes—finally a book in their own heart language!! Invariably, due to this translation, the door has been finally opened to translate secular books into that same language. My question was why the secular books always seem to come second? That’s all I was asking.

  • 264. mysteryofiniquity  |  April 27, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Joe,

    I understand your question, but my concern is with the “uneducated” people who neither know they are missing out or would definitely not miss the consumerist culture the West would bring them because of it. Why are secular books always “second?” Because secularists aren’t wedded to the idea of presuming to “save” people’s souls for a God. They understand that people need actual, physical help rather than ephemeral help that really doesn’t sustain anything but a questionable religious ethos. As a friend put it, why not translate a book that teaches them how to sustain an agrarian economy? Now that’s useful.

  • 265. EternalBlaze  |  June 14, 2009 at 12:33 am

    I do have some experience regarding this. I hope you all will get saved someday so we can see each other in Heaven. God Bless You Always.

  • 266. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 14, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Eternal Blaze,

    Your assumption proves my point. How do you know I am not saved? To me, it’s none of your business to either assume it or take it upon yourself to “correct” it even if your assumption was correct.

  • 267. mysteryofiniquity  |  June 14, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Drive by comments crack me up. One can tell those who’ve not read the blog or even read my blog.

  • 268. ArchangelChuck  |  June 15, 2009 at 1:10 am

    Even more hilarious is his name, whch seems reflective of his real attitude toward people who don’t think like him. What a moron.

  • 269. paleale  |  June 15, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    What the hell is a ‘heart language’?

  • 270. MOI  |  June 15, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    paleale,

    To whom are you addressing the question and in reference to what?

  • 271. Joe  |  June 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    paleale—-

    I think you are referring to my post #263. What I am referring to when I say “heart language” (I know it’s a bit of a strange term) is that some countries have many “tribes” who are forced to read translations that are not really of their dialect—-they are close enough so they can partially understand—-but not the language of “their heart”—their OWN language or dialect.

    So when I say “heart language” I mean the language closest to them—-the one they hold to as endearing. Many of them yearn to read something in the language of “their heart”. It’s a term Scripture translators use to talk about a specific language/dialect for a specific group of people. Sorry for the confusion.

  • 272. paleale  |  June 15, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Sorry. Referencing Joe’s post #263

  • 273. MOI  |  June 15, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks paleale!

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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