The other day I read a this post by The New Atheist, and it got me thinking. ...
Why do atheists have to take the rap for being considered Hostile? When in fact in my personal experience, it is always the other way around. I personally do not actively seek out to covert others to the "Godless" cause, or the "Atheistic" cause. I simply think everyone is entitled to believe however they wish. On the other side of the fence are the believers, who not only feel it is their duty, but they are commanded by their beliefs to "witness" and convert others to their cause. This in of itself seems to be more aggressive. However, every time I've been in a discussion with a person of faith inevitably, I end up being considered the "nasty" one or, the aggressive one. Even though I understand why this happens, It still does not make it right.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The other day I read a this post by The New Atheist, and it got me thinking. ...
My name is Robert. I'm a 32yrs family man, with a good and understanding wife, and a good son.
Let's start with my background... My first experience with religion prior age 12 was that typical of most people. We went to church for Easter, and Christmas. Except for the brief time I once went to vacation bible school, but that was for a girl... so I don't remember anything about the church or what they were teaching except for learning that damn song about "Germs" my invisible dog.... (I still find myself singing that chorus sometimes lol) . A few years later is when things really changed.... My parents joined a Pentecostal church, and things seemed to change over night. All my music was thrown out, movies at the theaters were out of the question, and I started attending the private school at the same church, just to name a few. To sum it up, from age 12 till 17 I spent around 6 days a week involved in church. After graduating it went back to just every wed night and both services on Sunday from age 17 - 21. After turning 21 I found myself in and out of church till around 25. During this time was when my biggest changes would happen. Although my journey actually began around 10th grade. I remember because it started in school with a course they called "New Testament Survey" and with the Science curriculum that they taught, if your curious the curriculum was ACE. First, let me get this out.... When I was in this private school, Dinosaurs never existed.... they were considered fake because there was no biblical background for them!! You would not believe my surprise when a couple years ago I heard that now Christians claim there IS biblical text that refer to creatures that could have been dinosaurs... wow what a difference 10yrs can make! Back to my story, My first glimmer of doubt came with how the Science course began to explain creation and the flood. Keep this in mind, you are hearing First hand account of what I was taught from 1986 - 1992. At the time the explanation of the creation and the flood went something like this. God created the earth same as you've heard before, by their counts with the whole "day is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day to God" therefore the earth could not be any older than 6000 yrs. Next came the explanation for the earth/flood. Basically the entire planet was a tropical paradise. They explained this by saying there was a vapor like canopy of water encompassing the entire planet. This created a "global warming" effect making the planet a perfect place where there temperature was tropical everywhere. God cause the flood by allowing the vapor to collapse onto the planet, with all this water coming down (btw, they never explained the water that supposedly shot up from the earth) the planet was completely covered with water and remained that way for 40 days until the water receded. Even at my age, and even with my strong beliefs at the time.... this was very difficult to accept. I had so many questions that were unanswered, so many unknowns... Another thing that attributed to my yearning to learn more was the fact that I was always told it was "Wrong" to read anything that did not support our beliefs or did not give "God" glory. In that respect , my teenage years were extremely sheltered from real life. It wasn't until I finally started to work in the real world that I found other people who not only had similar doubts, but had completely different beliefs. The only other real interaction with those of different faiths I hung around with were those at the Martial Arts School. They gained alot of respect from me of course, not only because it's part of the study of the Arts, but because of their high level of respect for others regardless of how they believe. I suppose the biggest eye opener was when i began reading books on my own. Starting with of all people "Tim Allens - I'm Not Really Here" , that led to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, witch led to "What the Bleep Do We Know" (a very entertaining read), and "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" (Excellent Book in my opinion), other books I read around the same time but in no particular order include: "essential Philosophy Everything You Need to Understand the World's Greatest Thinkers" ; "everything's Relative and Other Fables from Science and Technology" ; "The Handy Religion Answer Book" (this was a hard read for me.. it's like reading a school book, but it's packed with tons of information about the 8 major religions Judaism,Christianity,Islam,Buddhism,Hinduism,Confucianism,Taoism, and Shinto) ; "Misquoting Jesus The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why" (another excellent book!) ; and "The God Delusion" (another pretty good book). After much conversation with the few people similarly minded, and much deep thought and meditation brings me roughly to where am i today. This post became much longer than I originally intended, but it's seems to be a pretty good background :) If you made it this far, glad you stuck around! Now, it's your turn! Let me know when you post your story, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Q: Do you believe in the God of the Holy Bible?
A: No. I do not believe there is an all powerful entity that interacts with us on a daily basis. Nor do I believe that he sent his son to save us all from an eternal hell.
Reason: Say for the moment we ponder this... God created the earth and everything in it. Why? Because he wanted a species that would serve him by choice? So, our entire existence exists in order to serve a God of whom we can not know for sure exists. Interesting dilemma here, but it gets better. God goofed. After awhile, he decides that he does not like what he created and is going to destroy it all and start over. Except for Noah and his family (hey, he doesn't want to get his hands dirty again by forming another human from clay). So, he floods the world killing all mankind, and they re-populate the earth with stronger convictions of serving the Almighty. Now, Moses comes along.... God must have been in a good mood today because he decides to play ventriloquist with a burning bush. Well, that does the trick for Moses... and he becomes the person that is going to Free "God's" people. Yea, at this point your probably wondering.. what the hell? How is it that now there are only "certain" people God likes at this point? WTF happen? Does this mean that there are other Gods out there playing the same game? Creating other humans? No not really... to be explained all we have to do is just say that these people are the ones God chose. Why? Who knows. Maybe because they were slaves, and you know how much God hates slavery (forcing someone to do something just because you can). Besides it's all in Gods big plan.. you know the one where he is planning for the upcoming sacrifice of his son so that ALL of mankind can be saved, not just "His" chosen, to serve him. Well guess what, Moses gets these people freed with God's help... and yet again they screw up, and God makes them wander in the dessert for 40yrs. I wonder if this time it was similar to when you dangle a string in front of a cat, just for kicks to watch it chase it around. Jumping forward God finally gives them what they were looking for "The Promise Land", but not without some more cruelty. The have to fight, kill, pillage, plunder, and completely wipe out an entire civilization. Sad part of this, it's still going on. They are still fighting over there in Israel over this shit. Well as we move on, God decides that again things are not going all that well, and this time he will take a slightly more personal approach to things. He plants his seen in Mary, to bring forth the "God"/Man creature. Similar to Hercules except without the super strength. The rest I'm sure you are familiar with... Jesus came, was crucified horribly on the cross in order to bear the sins of all mankind so that we could all be saved from the eternal hell and SERVE GOD! Does it make sense now why it would be difficult to believe in this kind of God?
Q: Do you believe the Bible is the True/Inspired word of God?
Reason: I think the Bible is a great work of fiction and worth reading, but I do not think one should base their lives, moral values, or seek the Bible for direction in life.
Q: Have you read the Bible?
A: Yes. Have you?
Q: Do you believe God created the world and everything in it?
Reason: I think that man evolved from simple creatures, over a long period of time. Simple creatures evolved into more complex creatures through the process of evolution. If you want to understand this process, there are many books on the subject.
Q: Are you open to the possibility that God could exist?
A: If you are referring to the possibility that a form of intelligence could exist and be perceived because of their increased knowledge or Technology as a God, then yes I believe there is a possibility for creatures to exist that have evolved more than we have. Do I believe the God of the Bible is one of those creatures? Sure, I suppose it's possible that the God of the Bible was actually a creature of significant knowledge or technology that was screwing around with us. Again, I don't believe that God created the world and everything in it, or that he/it is watching over us reading our minds, recording our thoughts, and interacting with us daily.
Q: What about quantum mechanics, quantum physics, reality as we perceive it, matter, sting theory, multi-verse theory, etc..
A: What about them? I am fascinated by what we are learning in these area's. Is it possible these fields will reveal that God exists? I don't think so, not the God defined by the Bible. If we redefine God as some sort of inter connectivity between humans on a quantum level, like a massive super computer, where all our minds are connected but at the same time being used like some super massive universal computer. Sure that sounds plausible. There are many things in the field of quantum physics that completely change the rules, but i still don't think that's evidence for the One True God of Judaism/Christianity/Islam. I think it's more evidence that we are all connected and if we work together we could accomplish incredible things. Just like a super computer with many computers programmed to work together, the trick is getting them to work together, and that is what I think we should work towards. One thing that I can claim for sure is that I do not know all or have all the answers. Religion does claim it has those answers and that those answers are simply to say it is "God", and that in my opinion as well as many others is simply not acceptable.
Q: Are you an atheist?
A: An atheist is defined as someone who denies the existence of God. If you define God as the entity as described in the Bible, then yes I am an atheist. Otherwise, I guess I would fall under simply a lost sinner category.
I'll add more to this list as i think of them...
Last night I was asked "What do you believe?". Of course this is not the first time this question has been presented to me, and every time my response begins the same. First, I will ask the questioner who is usually someone I know already, and by this time someone that I know where they stand in their beliefs, none the less I will say "Are you sure you want to discuss this? Because my thoughts on religion are most likely much different than yours." They usually respond in one of 3 ways.
1) They make an out right firm statement about their faith how they believe in God and nothing is going to change that and all others are going to hell that don't believe.. (this is the most typically reply. At witch point usually I will drop the subject, and move on to something that we can actually have a conversation about even though they brought it up. The way I see it, if they are going to ask, then throw up this wall thinking I'm going to try to convert them it's pointless to actually attempt a conversation. I've already scared them just by questioning their faith, further discussion with them will simply anger them more, and I don't see the point in that when I know it can be prevented.
2) They still make the statement of faith, usually just trimmed down to "Well I believe in God.", but they are genuinely curious as to what i think. This is usually just them being polite though. Normally, if i were to pursue this discussion... Approximately, 5 min into the discussion the conversation will have gone from a polite sharing to immediate debate. After I begin to share anything with them, immediately start to defended or give excuses, even though there is no need for them to defend their position. What amazes me most about these discussions is the fact that about 90% of the people I've made it this far at some point during our discussion will either not be able to defend due to their own lack of knowledge of their own bible, or in the more interesting conversations will say something to the effect of "Your Intelligence is blinding you", or "You should stop learning, and just start living" WHAT???? At this point again I will let it go and move on.
3) This is usually the best reply. The person will say, "I have my beliefs, but I'd love to hear a different view" this type of person is usually the most fun. Granted it's a hot topic and sometimes it can become a heated discussion, but when all is said and done typically we both walk away with the feeling that we've had a good coversation.
With that said, I understand the reasons people grip to their faith... Comfort, Simplicity, etc.. the list goes on... What I don't understand, is how someone is willing to take such a "Defiant" stand for something that they don't truly understand themselves. By that I'll give the example that happen the other night. This person began to say things like, "Well that's how I was raised", and reference some emotionally strong moment at death, or something to the affect that their parents believed and they lived a good life.... Are people really that Lazy???? That they don't want to actually read for themselves and instead want to be spoon fed little bits of facts so they don't have to think?? Or is it more of a Cop out? I don't believe that anyone is incapable of learning or searching for the truth. All it takes is a bit of reading, and willingness to question. Just because you are "raised" a certain way does not make it right, and most of all does not make it true..... Just some thoughts for today..
Posted by Robert at 9:50 AM
Monday, January 29, 2007
After reading some very excellent posts recently... I noticed that many Christians reject some of the Laws of the old testament claiming the 'New Testament' contains the new laws that they follow. So, in order to be informed about this I decided to list the "New Laws" additions and changes that Jesus made in the New Testament.... I wonder how many Christians follow these to the letter?
Lets begin the same way Jesus did...
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matt 5:19
OK, so if ANYONE breaks this list of "New Laws" AND Teaches others to do so, will be called the "least" in the kingdom of heaven... Ok, so you won't go to hell, but they will pick on you about it LOL...
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. Matt 5:21-26
What a doozey we have here.... Now we have gone from facing judgment if we kill someone, to facing judgment if we are angry with someone (of course there is the loop hole here "without cause" nice out huh?) However there is not much of an out in the other addition to the law.. If you call your brother Raca or Worthless you will be in danger of Council, and if you call your brother a Fool well now your going to hell! He continues adding to the law basically saying don't even come to church if there is malice or discourse between you or your brother. Further more he commands that you "Agree" with your enemy!!! so you don't go to jail, cause if you do... per Jesus you should pay/serve the maximum time.. wow...
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.
WHOA!!! There is no way around this here... we are screwed! What is interesting to me here, is notice Jesus did NOT lay blame on the woman! He put the blame on the man lusting after the woman. So, it does not matter if the woman wears something provocative. If the man lusts after her, in keeping with this new law he should take out his eye, and if he jerks off, bye bye hand! Other wise your whole body is bound for Hell.
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matt 5:31-32
Pretty straight forward here.... If you divorce your wife you cause her to commit adultery, and if you marry a divorced woman you commit adultery. Oddly, seems like it was ok to get a divorce before.... as long as it was documented...
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matt 5:33-37
Interestingly enough, apparently you were allowed to lie before just not to yourself.. However, the new Law is Don't lie, Don't cuss, even with your thoughts.... In addition when you talk, only say yes or no.... Anything else will bring evil. Sounds like Jesus was high this time... he went from talking about lying, then telling you not to lie by earth cause it's his gods footstool , and do not lie by Jerusalem cause it's the city of the great king, to don't cuss in your head, and ending with Hey, just say yes and no.... That must have been some good stuff that day :)
#5) Eye for an Eye
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have [thy] cloke also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Matt 5:38-42
I'm sure we have all heard this one before, turn the other cheek.... But what about the other additions to it? If you get sued, give the person double... IF you are forced to walk a mile, walk 2.... and Don't turn away anyone that askes to borrow from you.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more [than others]? do not even the publicans so? Matt 5:43-47
I think this is really funny here, not the love your enemy part, but the fact that he is relating it to politicians... lol Jesus is saying here... hey look, be like the politicians... they are nice to the people that hate them... come on if they can do it so can you.
All that and I did'nt even get to chapter 6. One day I might actually sit down and write this all out... but you get the idea.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Affluenza: Rampant consumerism erodes us - Yahoo! News
I actually thought this guy was making some slight bit of sense until I read this part:
"Compare and contrast Sam, the miserable millionaire and sex-addicted atheist who treats women as commodities for fleeting satisfaction, with Chet the Nigerian taxi driver who is contented, optimistic, sexually faithful and religious."
While I'm sure this guy is just pulling one of those exact opposite type of analogies.... Why do we always get the short end of the stick? :o I suppose all the atheists that are not rich and are very content in their lives are just not applicable?
Anyway, this article overall is nothing new.... I've heard this basic story since i was a kid. Moderation is the key to happiness in my opinion.
Posted by Robert at 6:53 PM
I found myself pondering today... Occasionally, I'm sure as with most people, Memories will re-surface. Things you recall from your childhood, Tid bits of words people have said, or simply a familiar smell or word that triggers a cascading of events through your mind. Sending you speeding backward through time, like rewinding a show at 300x speed. I don't recall what triggered this for me today, but none the less it happen. And I found myself engaged in a sortof thought process.
When does innocents become ignorance? And what real difference does it make? No doubt we would probably all consider small children to be both innocent and ignorant, but at what point do we no longer consider a person to be innocent but rather ignorant? Or do we use the term ignorant as a somewhat harsher word for those who are innocent? Can you always be both ignorant and innocent or are you only ignorant and innocent once in your life, then for the rest of your life you can never be innocent again, just ignorant. The good thing is ignorance can be cured through education right?, but can innocents be returned? Sounds rather dumb when i write it out, but that's why i called this Robert's Thought's. Sorta like an inside view of my mind lol. Deductive Reasoning or simply passing time? hehe
In conclusion, I would say:
Innocents is lost whereas Ignorance taught.
Just a thought experiment....
Posted by Robert at 2:01 PM
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not. -Eric Hoffer
With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. -Steven Weinberg
A cult is a religion with no political power. -Tom Wolfe
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes. -James Feibleman
Posted by Robert at 10:50 AM
Monday, January 22, 2007
Evangelicals Fear the Loss of Their Teenagers - New York Times
This is good news right, does this mean our public educations system is in some small way making a difference. I sure hope so. I know our public system isn't the best, but if we can keep church out of it maybe our young children will grow up better than we did. The Second Age of Reasoning might be upon us?
Posted by Robert at 2:33 PM
PA. Man's Letter Brings Secret Service
My wife came across this yesterday in the Strange News section of the Tallahassee Democrat. Just thought it was interesting and worth a post. Since i was unable to find the original article the man wrote it's hard to form an opinion on it, but it is rather amusing for the Secret Service to pay a visit to a man who, according to the article made no direct threat to Bush? Are they running out of things to do? Bored maybe?
Posted by Robert at 2:19 PM
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Here is the link to the article
First Muslim in Congress
It's a shame that more people do not know more about the constitution and the reasons for it. Even more alarming is when people claim our country was founded on Christianity when in fact the basis of our country is the exact opposite.. This country was founded on the "FREEDOM" of religion!! Not just the freedom to be christian, but the freedom to be what ever religion you choose, so long as that it does not induce violence. By the way, if we were going to eliminate all religions that beget or induced violence, then Christianity would be the FIRST to go, right along with the Islamic faith. There is little difference in my opinion between the violence created and caused by the Islamic faith compared to the violence created and caused by the Christian faith. Both are filled with belief in an arrogant and pity GOD, and both cause their believers to be Extremely prejudice people. I still look forward to the day when we finally drop the childish ways... Sometimes it seems like people just want someone to release their anger toward. Someone they can bully around. Someone they can show is less than they are... I'm done for now.. :)
Posted by Robert at 4:04 PM