Posts tagged ‘theology’

A Personal Relationship with Jesus?

Me and JesusWe’ve all heard versions of the phrase: “You can have a personal relationship with Jesus.” or, “I have a personal relationship with the Lord.” etc.

Here’s a slightly long version of it that I read recently:

“The point of a personal relationship with Jesus is that Jesus is specifically concerned with the details of every person’s life. If a friend came to you and said “You know, I’d just like to go get some coffee and spend some time with you and talk about what is going on in your life” would you be selfish to accept? Not if the person is truly sincere in that they want to know. So that’s how I see it. Not as something selfish, but in fact as responding to an invitation to spend personal time with Jesus. Because He loves each one of us, both as a body of believers, and as individuals.”

At some point in my de-conversion process it struck me that this idea is bunk. I’ve had friends offer to sit and talk over a lunch, but I’ve definitely never done lunch with Jesus.

As I thought it through, I realized that the whole “personal relationship/ revelation/ experience” jag is just another delusion…

Continue Reading September 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm 41 comments

What’s a Good Reason to Reject a Belief as False?

Reject Stamp 3When I wrote about demanding that one read some holy book, such as the Bible, I got a good deal of criticism for saying that I reject the Bible without having read all of it. What I meant, of course, was that I reject the foundation of the Christian religion, which I do know, and I don’t particularly care about the rest of the book as long as its teachings are irrelevant to me.

I’m not going to open that particular can of worms again. Rather, let’s take a step back and consider what a good reason to reject a belief system would look like.

Every religion is a body of different belief systems. There’s ethical teachings, mythology, cosmology, biology, philosophy, all jammed together from a time when there was no real separation between the various branches of science, the various branches of philosophy and religion. We all have some kind of attitude to these systems. And here comes the crucial point: there is no neutral belief system. Every belief system, so long as its body of beliefs is halfway coherent, will include an implicit claim to the opposite of opposing belief systems…

Continue Reading September 19, 2007 at 10:22 am 20 comments

YHVH – Conqueror of the Chaos Monsters

The god El fighting Zu.  From an Assyrian relief ca 860 BC.The other day, while browsing some Kent Hovind videos on YouTube, I caught an interesting remark. Hovind, a notorious young earth creationist, claimed that dinosaurs lived as recently as 5000 years ago. Our legends of fire-breathing dragons come from our memories of dinosaurs, and that those dinosaurs breathed fire. Now, where did Hovind get these ideas which have no historical or scientific support? I believe it to specifically be a reference to Behemoth and Leviathan, two creatures mentioned in Job 40 and 41. Since Behemoth has biblical reference outside of this passage, I thought I would look into Leviathan, and see what the Bible says about this creature, and various ways in which it can be interpreted. Let’s look up some of the Biblical references to Leviathan. Some Bibles interpret the Leviathan of Job 41 to be a crocodile. This was the view taken by my old church when I was growing up. Ken Hovind believes this to be a dinosaur. Let’s take a look at the description of this beast as given by YHVH in Job 41:

The Lord (YHVH), in expresses his power and might to Job thusly:

“Can you draw out Levi’athan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? (vs 1,2)

Implying that YHVH can do these things to Leviathan, and poor mortal Job cannot…

Continue Reading September 18, 2007 at 6:44 pm 92 comments

The Meaning of Life: Part II of II

The fallacy that we all abide by one paradigm (or at least that we should) has led many Christians, both those of the conservative typology as well of the “floundering liberal” (Falwell’s words, not mine), to believe that non-believers have no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. Yet they do not realize that this unfair accusation is no different than the atheist who would also unfairly place his or her paradigm on the Christian and proclaim that a worship of an imaginary being and the subsequent false hope for a life after this one is foolishly nihilistic and deters the “believer” from living a purposeful life.

In my previous post I expressed my wariness with the so-called meaningful Christian purpose. I stopped short, however, of offering my own “secular” meaning of life. The conservative pundit I quoted in the previous part recognized, more or less, that a non-believer is fully capable of living of meaningful life. This meaning, however, is limited to the ontological realm. The pundit could not see an ultimate, or teleological meaning for a secularist’s life. To many Christians, the atheist’s view is that we are born, we live for ourselves, we die by ourselves. Finito. Apparently, if their god is added to the equation, even if the only purpose is to bow before him, at least it is something. I believe that this has led Christians to adhere to a false dualism that is so present in gnostic paradigms: the material is empty, the spirit is where life is found. Yet everything in observable reality tells us otherwise. The lack of evidence for either a god or heaven leads one to wonder how it is that a theist can have such a pessimistic view of the material realm…

Continue Reading August 17, 2007 at 10:00 am 24 comments

The Meaning of Life: Part I of II

alpha2.gifI’m going to be honest. I think that there is one thing that scares humans so much that we make fantasy worlds that flow with milk and honey, worlds that are controlled by perfected beings of enlightened wisdom and ultimate power: the meaninglessness of life. Amongst the fury of passionate arguments in the responses to one of Roopster’s posts, one commenter (#42) randomly proclaimed,

“You are confused yourself Mr. Ape…
Try to understand. Why do you exist? What is your purpose in life? Do you exist to eat, work and sleep? Think again Mr. Ape…”

I shrugged off the comment along with the brutally useless dialogue I had gotten myself into. Yet I have come to understand that this seems to be a core issue whenever religionists of any sort proselytize to secularists, so I bookmarked the comment in my mind and promised myself to get around to it. We all know that the question itself is quite poor from an apologetic standpoint. Christianity, on any level, does not really offer any more “meaning” than any other religious movement. It is, rather, a purely rhetorical device that plays on an individual’s insecurity with who or what they are in the universe. It is used by almost every major religion, almost universally as a evangelical tool, or, at best, an apologetic for belief itself…

Continue Reading August 16, 2007 at 1:51 pm 18 comments

Announcing our new Community Site

de-Conversion.org

de-Conversion.org, our new community site, is now online. This community site is an extension of the d-C blog. Both sites offer resources for religious skeptics or de-converted religious apostates in their own unique way: while the blog tenders opinion pieces primarily relating to the Christian de-conversion experience, our new community site extends the experience to all religious skeptics and apostates throughout the online populace while introducing a variety of additional options.

Upon visiting the home page of de-Conversion.org, a guest will be able to see the latest articles written by any member of the de-Conversion community. Articles fall into one of the categories or special features that deal with the subject of religion and/or non-religion. There are categories that center on reviews, such as book, film, journal, or even reviews of religious institutions. Other categories are more philosophical in nature, dealing with ethics, science, and theology. In addition, we keep up on the latest religious news through our investigate journalism section, “God News.”

We also have a forum where community members may discuss any number of topics, including ideas that have been brought up in featured articles. The forum will continue to expand as our community does…

Continue Reading August 15, 2007 at 11:59 pm 4 comments

Perfecting God’s “Perfect” Law?

jesus_law.jpgEvery so often I am simply astonished by how theologically minded individuals can perform radical surgery on the Bible to cop out of adherence to moral depravities. What further amuses me is the blatantly ignorant “there are no Biblical contradictions” statement. Biblical depravity and contradiction always rears its head whenever criticism of the Old Testament is at hand. Defenders of Biblical integrity then argue that we cannot know God’s plan and so examples of child sacrifice and genocide may be brushed aside – sometimes God just needs to get his hands dirty to get the job done (and because those Egyptians and Hittites were going to sheol anyway). But do these sweeping apologetic brushes do for the law what they can do for their god’s character?

Any Biblical scholar, Christian or otherwise, knows that the Jewish religion is built on a strictly adhered to and enforced law of God, the Mitzvah: the 613 commands found in the Torah. This law is somewhat problematic for contemporary Biblical literalists for several reasons, the most obvious being that it just isn’t cool to put people to death for everything anymore…

Continue Reading August 6, 2007 at 10:25 am 23 comments

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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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