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Unfair criticism of the Christian religion...

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posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 11:58 AM
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reply to post by Chillimac
 




I think that means they just don't want to debate you. Or are not great at thinking under pressure or debating in general. I know I'm hit or miss when it comes to face to face situations like that.


With all due respect- I have never started a religious debate with someone, especially not a Christian. I have witnessed them ending badly- so have learned from others mistakes. But at times when they bring up the topic, I will discuss it, and that is usually when it goes bad...when they cannot answer simple questions- I do not even expect them to- I just expect them to acknowledge that the bible does bring up some questionable 'facts'... But, instead- they take it personally and I always end up with the "you're going to burn in hell" line. Often times I get the stubborn- "I believe what I believe and I don't have to explain why to you." When in the first place- I never asked.

Ya dig? I must say- I am friends with one girl- (whose mother is a Buddhist, she is not- her mother gave her the freedom to explore all the belief systems to choose for herself.) - and we can always calmly discuss religion and philosophies on life because we have no personal ties with a set religion that we feel we need to defend.

I hope you understand what I'm saying by now- and what my stance is...I apologize if I have bored you with long winded replies.




posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by Tripple_Helix
reply to post by Chillimac
 




I think that means they just don't want to debate you. Or are not great at thinking under pressure or debating in general. I know I'm hit or miss when it comes to face to face situations like that.


With all due respect- I have never started a religious debate with someone, especially not a Christian. I have witnessed them ending badly- so have learned from others mistakes. But at times when they bring up the topic, I will discuss it, and that is usually when it goes bad...when they cannot answer simple questions- I do not even expect them to- I just expect them to acknowledge that the bible does bring up some questionable 'facts'... But, instead- they take it personally and I always end up with the "you're going to burn in hell" line. Often times I get the stubborn- "I believe what I believe and I don't have to explain why to you." When in the first place- I never asked


It sounds like most of your exposure to Christianity has been largely limited to fundamentalists, who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible and who most likely view your questioning as being accusatory. Heck, they'd most likely view me as being accusatory, because I've rejected fundamentalism, though I retain Christianity. In that vein, I would suspect that your motivation for questioning them is not wanting to learn, but wanting to test the strength of their beliefs. I mean, once you've encountered the fundamentalist mindset once (and I was once a fundamentalist,) you've pretty much met the whole of the viewpoint, and asking "explain how the world is 6000 years old to me" is redundantly pointless.

Ultimately, though it seems like a cop-out, their statement of "I believe what I believe and I don't have to explain why to you" is absolutely correct, and reflects the core of faith -- belief is personal, it is subjective, and it is beyond external question. I may struggle with my own personal belief at times, but you have no basis for questioning it.

I do not, in any way, expect you to agree with my belief, simply because I have it, but on the same terms, I do expect you to respect that I have a belief, and accept the fact that I do. That is the ethically right thing to do, beyond and outside of any religious theatre, and it applies both to intolerance of faith and intolerance of disbelief. You can't do anything (or very little) about how fundamentalists treat you, but you certainly can control how you treat them.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 12:39 PM
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Re: Dryfire

A considerable part of organised religion is political in design. But that doesn't mean, that religion per se is without merits. Sidetracking the subject of this thread a short moment, I personally am convinced of some existence-form outside cosmos/the universe. Though due to lack of specific evidence, I'm most unwilling to do more than speculate on what it could be, and I consider anyone pretending to have definite information on the subject to be slightly delusional.

So it would take some rather heavy brainwashing to make me e.g. a christian. But fair's fair.

The bible, as it is generally defined, isn't that bad concerning mistranslations or revisions of its content. Where things went really bad was, when emperor Constantine edited the available judeo-christian material into the bible. This doesn't make the bible an outright falsification, just a heavily biased political tool for social engineering.

As to using the word 'proof', especially in such a context as this, this isn't quite as straightforward as it seems. Neither archeology nor 'old' science are in positions, where they can give exclusive answers. On the part of archeology because some sources for the old testament are held to be considerably older than bible chronology makes them, making a geographical positioning very difficult. And on the part of 'old' science, because this is none of science's darned business, religion being totally outside the parameters science has put up around its own activities. Any greengrocer would be just as authoritative on the subject of religion as science. Quantum physicists usually wisely are agnostics or silent.

To my knowledge, the most blatant and outright falsification made by christians was, when they for reasons of their own changed the 'trinity' by changing the original female part of it into 'the holy spirit'. This may not seem a big deal for non-christians, but it has had a big impact on christianity.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 01:02 PM
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First off people, I suggest you all pick up a dictionary and discover the meaning of the word religion. Secondly, Christianity in the form it was meant to take was not a religion at all, but a pure spiritual path and way to live your life. It was never meant to become what it is today, there is nothing hypocritical within the path that is actually laid out in the scriptures. The hypocracy is in how the words have been used to form power structures and political vacuums that suck the life from everyone who dares to confront it. I suggest that all of those who have an opinion on the subject go straight to the source of their knowledge, forget what you think you know and discover the truth for yourselves. All of the bashing and confrontation is proof positive of the true ignorance that exists on both sides of the BIG Debate. Posting an opinion on-line does not in any way make you an expert, just an opinionated uninformed asshole, with nothing better to do. BTW I am not a Christian, and in no way back the church, but if you are going to get into an intellectual discussion on a subject, at the very least you should load your weopon before stepping into the arena.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 01:04 PM
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Originally posted by bogomil
Where things went really bad was, when emperor Constantine edited the available judeo-christian material into the bible.


Dan Brown nuttiness aside, what's your source for this? The selection of books that were considered canonical was mostly done by Origen, and we have Greek manuscripts of the books of the NT which are pretty much what they are today (translation issues aside) that predate Constantine by about 200 years.

The Council of Nicaea helped cement some of the Christian doctrine and (obviously) creeds, but the texts existed long before that event. Depending on whether you support the Augustinian hypothesis (two Gospel hypothesis) or the Two Source hypothesis, dates for the Synoptic Gospels are as early as the 40s, but never later than the first part of the second Century. John's Gospel is in the same timeframe (again, actual date and source is debated) and the Pauline letters obviously predate his death in AD67.

Most people's beef with Origen seems to be his rejection of texts that support the Gnostic Christians, but that needs to be viewed in the context of the church having already determined that the Gnostic beliefs were heretical, as they were "sandwiched in" after the fact and were not consistent with Christ's message on Earth.

I don't want to seem critical, but if your statement above is indicative of what your research and reading touts, you know a lot less of true Christian history, doctrine and theology than you believe you do.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally posted by adjensen
If I steal, admonish you to not steal, and go back my stealing, that is hypocrisy.


Many Christians DO commit the sins they tell people NOT to.

Hypocrisy.


Kap



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 03:30 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


I am not wanting to question the strength of their beliefs. If anything, this started from me wanting to strengthen my own beliefs at a young age- which I was denied by various priests/brothers/pastors. I was inevitably 'kicked out' and banned from various youth groups and 'Sunday Schools' for asking simple questions that these grown ups could not answer. This is when I realized that if they cannot give me the answers/explanations to these flaws, I would have to find my own means of doing so. And when I was old enough, I did set out to do just that. I have experienced this so called 'Christian nature' in it's true colors. And yes, I may be generalizing- but I do so from my own experience.



Ultimately, though it seems like a cop-out, their statement of "I believe what I believe and I don't have to explain why to you" is absolutely correct, and reflects the core of faith -- belief is personal, it is subjective, and it is beyond external question. I may struggle with my own personal belief at times, but you have no basis for questioning it.


Well yes, that is exactly my point. But lets just remember- I have never questioned their beliefs and I have made it clear that this response is purely (in my opinion) a defense mechanism due to their own insecurity of their belief. I mean really, I lived with Jehovah's witnesses and Christians long enough to know that you just don't argue with them. In fact- I try to avoid these situations where I can without being rude and making the other person feel that you don't want to talk to them... But sometimes, when someone does bring it up as a topic of discussion-or tries to convert me, I cant help but lay my cards on the table.



I do not, in any way, expect you to agree with my belief, simply because I have it, but on the same terms, I do expect you to respect that I have a belief, and accept the fact that I do.


Sure- that goes without saying. I appreciate all the worlds different cultures, religions and life paths. They are all beautiful and there is much to learn from each of them- this is what makes us all unique. I mean, just because I might believe in astrology- doesn't mean I expect you to...

At the end of the day, people will believe what they want to believe and as long as it doesn't harm others and the belief is of a free will & not indoctrinated, I'm all for it.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 03:32 PM
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reply to post by bogomil
 


"A considerable part of organised religion is political in design. But that doesn't mean, that religion per se is without merits."

We might agree on the argument of religion an politics being coinsided or related in many ways - but I don't think I'll agree when you state that it does not "change" or "disrupt" the merits of religion!
Why do I state this? Well - I just think that you cant seperate those 2 parts from eachother - unless you believe or are convinced that the bible was created apart from politics. Not to say you're totally wrong, but im convinced that "politics" came before religion did - and I firmly believe that the bible was a political project .. as it has been ever since in my opinion. So eventhough the bible speaks of many good things and is a "wise" book in context, it does not dissolve the underlying intentions behind the making! Thats my point! As for what underlying intentions making of the bible had you can only guess, but im sure the reasons for making it was not to make people free in modern context, but to construct the social categories of everyday life - or so to say.. to make a normative social foundation to make people "stop and wait for green lights" in terms of an construtivistic analogy.

"The bible, as it is generally defined, isn't that bad concerning mistranslations or revisions of its content. Where things went really bad was, when emperor Constantine edited the available judeo-christian material into the bible."

Well - here i dont agree. The problem is that we do not even fully know, and might never do, what has been ripped out - only to a certain degree know what has been put in, or what is. The worst part is that if a wife cheated on a man 2 times in a row, he wouldent really be sure if the cheating had been aprox 4 times or 10. My point is that the bible could have been an entirely different story on countless aspects if it had been untouched. I can't get in to my head that we in the 21th century still see the bible as a valid enough historical account to be believed in. No proof has ever in history been shown to us that the miracles took place as they were told to bee, and no one has ever seen god - and if it was alone or in their own mind. Lies in my oppinion. And I do understand that we do agree on that, and I "blessed" to meet you on that account. The bible is just a political tool/lie/social guide made for profit and control. No more no less.

"As to using the word 'proof', especially in such a context as this, this isn't quite as straightforward as it seems. Neither archeology nor 'old' science are in positions, where they can give exclusive answers."

Well - how would you give answers to a lie today and don't you think its practically impossible to give answers to a lie constructed for 2000 years ago? I do not agree on the archeology part - The most common evidence of human settlements or civilisations is pottery and what you might call trash cans today! But I do agree that you can never give an 100% conclusive answer to the hole context ... like the truth behind social interaction at that time combined with the perplex of customs as a hole... but you can tell about their trash cans and what they ate from the remains... an from that you can partly estimate the size of population. Theres no need to discuss that! And that was one of my points in my former reply. And i dont think either that science and religion, in terms of unveiling what happend, is no buisness of science to meddle with. I can't see the point of such an argument ... i totally disagree and I'm very confused by such an argument because it's "ignorant" of what has been the foundation and is the foundations of every civilisation!

But dont take me wrong - I enjoyed your post. Please reply!



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 03:47 PM
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reply to post by GhostHunterTM
 


It does not matter wheter my oppinions take root in beliefs as being spiritual or as religious! The point is that it is fake all the same anyway in terms me believing both to be a political tool to different extends! Maybe not fake for the believer - but im lucky to say that i neither have to take the believers place or have to represent others in my point of view.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 06:37 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Why should people respect your religious beliefs exactly?
I certainly respect your 'right' to believe in such things, but i could never respect someone for believing them...No more than i could respect a person who holds any other unfounded belief eg I would respect the right of someone to believe an invisible pink elephant lives in their backyard, but i could never respect them for believing such nonsense. It's the exact same scenario when it comes to religion.


[edit on 8-8-2010 by Solomons]



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by Solomons
 


I agree. I would respect you for your presence in terms of "existence", but respect as an acceptance of every thought to be equal or "just as good" is simply vanity gone too far in my point of view.

You're pretty sure a decent person or even better, but we can't just sack our views of subjects, on the alter of equality.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 08:18 PM
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Originally posted by Solomons
reply to post by adjensen
 


Why should people respect your religious beliefs exactly?
I certainly respect your 'right' to believe in such things, but i could never respect someone for believing them...No more than i could respect a person who holds any other unfounded belief eg I would respect the right of someone to believe an invisible pink elephant lives in their backyard, but i could never respect them for believing such nonsense. It's the exact same scenario when it comes to religion.



Perhaps, if that's what I had said, which it is not.



I do not, in any way, expect you to agree with my belief, simply because I have it, but on the same terms, I do expect you to respect that I have a belief, and accept the fact that I do.


Nowhere did I ask you to respect my belief, or respect me for having one, but rather to respect that I do. There are plenty of people who do not even have that much tolerance, several right here, in fact.



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 08:34 PM
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Originally posted by Kapyong

Originally posted by adjensen
If I steal, admonish you to not steal, and go back my stealing, that is hypocrisy.


Many Christians DO commit the sins they tell people NOT to.

Hypocrisy.


Thanks for adding the weasel word "many", but you're still making a claim that you cannot back up, as well as the fact that "many" people, in general, do things that they tell other people not to, so your singling out of Christians is indicative of your bias more than anything else.

If I am a smoker and admonish my son not to smoke, I am a hypocrite, but I reduce the likelihood that he will smoke.

If I am a smoker and I do not admonish my son not to smoke, I am not a hypocrite, but I give tacit approval to his smoking.

Aside from worrying about your opinion of me, which of these is the better choice?

By your theory, the dread fear of hypocrisy should encourage no one to adopt or strive for any moral, aside from those they are 100% sure they will be able to manage to avoid. Rather than working to be a better person, best settle for a bare minimum that keeps you out of prison, eh?

You lie in an attempt to prove a point ("100% of modern NT scholars say that John wasn't written by the Apostle John!" "Christians sin! Proof that Christianity is based on hypocrisy!") so who are you to be calling others out for the morals that they accept the challenge of keeping, when you can't even keep a simple one of personal integrity?



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 08:51 AM
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Re: adjensen

I hope, that other readers and contributors on this thread won't find the direction adjensen and I are taking, as a hijacking or sidetracking of the topic. I believe it to be relevant, though maybe somewhat specialist.

ad, I will try to respond to your generousity about Dan Brown and me, by not suggesting, that your sources include Cecil B. DeMille's historical films.

And talking about sources, I ofcourse checked on Constantine's involvement in forming the mainstream bible. Not to my surprise I found, that various 'authorities' (according to their ideologies) have many different opinions on this. Getting into a debate of these sources'/'authorities' credibility would, I believe, sidetrack the thread too much, so instead I can accept your own words: "The council of Nicaea helped cement some of the christian doctrine....." as a functional compromise.

In my post to Dryfire which you refer to, I tried to make it clear, that I consider Constantine's part of the council as a political move. Also,... I didn't deny the authenticity of the material, he used. From here I'll expand:

I'll postulate, that already in Jesus' lifetime and shortly after, there were already competing factions in the growing movement around him. The male/female disciple (of Jesus) controversy; the controversy between the disciples of John the baptish and Jesus; the controversy between the disciples and Paulus and the later development of this into the more extensive pauline/jewish-christian dispute about who could be 'real' christians.

My intention with bringing up this is to demonstrate, that early forms of the Jesus movement had already schismed considerably from the start, and the 'authority' of the church-fathers, who established authenticity of texts for the bible, isn't worth much in a wider context. These 'churchfathers' were simple one (amongst several competing factions) favoured by Constantine. So yes, Constantine only cemented some of the christian doctrine, by giving political support to one doctrinal version. This is not in disagreement with my former opinion, it has just moved the doctrinal formulation of these specific doctrines back in time, while the actual politification was performed at the Nicaea council.

You take up the 'heresy' situation, which is a currently hot topic and relevant to the above as an example. And to forestall any doctrinal circle-argumentation, an important question is, whether we're talking about christian gnosticism, gnostic christianianity or just plain, independent and autonom gnosticism. Some 'christians' have practised the very unsympathetic method of infiltrating other religions, annexing them eventually into a total takeover, after which these other religions were declared 'heretic', giving the church authority to condemn them. I find such religious-political tactics extremely repulsive, and as I will try to demonstrate later, this has been a procedure used from the start of the Jesus movement, even by the 'christian' faction adjensen seems to support, if I understand his post correctly.

Summa. It's my opinion, that the Jesus movement already from the start has used very questionable methods, both in deed and doctrine. Hence the illwill it has recieved.

Sorry, I can't follow up the directions of inner inconsistency in the bible or the epistemological value of specified 'faith' now. Maybe later, if short attentionspan doesn't terminate this thread first.

I live in Europe, therefore timegaps in communication.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 09:37 AM
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Originally posted by marsvoltafan74
Hello, fellow ATS members.

I have something to get off my chest, that I've put off for too long. It has come to my attention that the general consensus on the attitude towards Christianity is that it is based on hypocrisies. Many of you believe that it's a religion designed for the sole purpose of controlling and taking money from its believers, but to those of you who believe so I propose a question: Have any of you even read the New Testiment? I'm not talking about researching specific scriptures that give strength to your false claims, but have you actually read the book in it's entirety? Because if you did so you'd see that many of the claims you bring against the religion are criticized in the book itself.

For example in Matthew 23:13 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."

Jesus in the above scripture condemns the Pharisees, who were the leaders of the church back then, for doing the same thing the leaders of the church do today.

Also Matthew 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, 'It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.'"

Here's another for you "You cannot serve both God and Money." [Matthew 6:24.]


Also in Matthew 22:21 Jesus addresses the need of seperation of church and government when he tells the people “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” He is responding to a question about the Jews paying taxes here, he clearly tries to stress that God doesn't want money or material possessions.

You critics also say its a religion based on violence but in Matthew 26:52 he tells his disciple
"Put your sword back into its place; for those who live by the sword, die by the sword."

How about this one "I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you" [Matthew 5:44]


Also Matt 5:5-9.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth... Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."

So though I respect your opinions I will have to respectfully disagree with your false claims for it is not the religion itself which is flawed, but its followers, excluding the true Christians.



[edit on 6-8-2010 by marsvoltafan74]


There are very few threads here at ATS about how the MONEY part of the Christians is being criticized. There are many threads here at ATS that do talk about control, and you have no addressed those ideas really at all. I doubt you have been able to truly consider the idea that religions could be fixed for the powers more so then the people.

I grew up a Christian. I have read the Bible several times. I always knew within me, something was not totally right with the religion. At about age 30, I took a Spiritual turn to God....without the religion and book. My personal path brought me farther in my growth then the book ever did. But now, I do use the book, to learn mainly about the ways of man, the ways of Earth. For before we learn things of Spirit, we must understand things of flesh first. The Bible, is full of things of flesh. The things of Spirit are few and far between in the book....but they are there.

I have issues with the religion more so then any other religion...for I feel now that it disrespects what is of Spirit, more so then any other religion.

From what I understand, when Jesus was upset outside of the Temple, he was upset because the people were still practicing blood sacrifices and selling animals for this practice. If Jesus was truly upset about them practicing blood sacrifices...then something is wrong with the OT which is FULL of blood sacrifices. Sadly, I dont think Christians understand, their leader was not a supporter of blood sacrifices. Yet they have made him one. They have also made a thing of flesh God...which is my other issue. These two things....1)practicing blood sacrifices 2)making a man god......is in my mind, the 2 largest blunders mankind can make, when gearing towards things of Spirit.

Instead of being the narrow road....I find Christianity to be the road of the followers...they all follow another man for their answers. They all follow a object of Earth (flesh) for their understandings. I find it now to be the road of the masses, not the road of the 'few'.

This is not anger, or hate, whatever....it is very sad actually to me, that so many keep resorting back to ways of old. Mankind has been trying to make a man god for thousands of years....mankind has been sacrificing blood to 'god/gods' for thousands of years. Both of these things are very earthly practices.

It was very hard for me to start to think outside of the Bible. Even though as a child I questioned it....I grew up still accepting it, raised my children in it, married in it ect. It was not just one day I turned from the religion. It took a couple years for me to offer myself the freedom of seeking....for the fears that were placed in me through that religion were instilled that deep within me. All the ideas that if I use my own reasoning I would be tricked and mislead ect. All of that fear took me two years....to twist my mind out of those ideas and thoughts that would haunt me at night. I had to realize, my freedom of my Spiritual birth right was something God gave me...and man kind took from me. It took me a long time to realize that God had no religion....and that the Spirit would guide me through understanding on a Spiritual path.

I now have a great sadness, for those that walk the Christian path. For I consider my time on that path to be the times I walked in blindness.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 09:58 AM
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Re Dryfire

Thanks for your response.

I have possibly myself to blame, by not being more precise about what I mean with 'religion' (which I distinguished from 'organised religion').

With plain 'religion' I mean a state of existence (and descriptions of such) not exclusively intrinsic in cosmos/the universe/matter. In normal language: There's more than the physical world and it's 'natural laws'.

Such a non-mundane existence-level (the word 'spiritual' is a semantic trap) can be experienced directly by individuals, independent of allegiance or belief in any specific set of doctrines. Non-mundane existence can partly be correctly described, the correctness being limited by the experiencer's former doctrinal imprints.

Descriptive 'maps' of non-mundane existence are almost completely useless for people, who've never experienced anything like that themselves (I'm not trying to give 'inverted' argumentation to prove anything, I'm saying that real communication between experiencer and not-experiencer mostly is meaningless).

Direct experiences of non-mundane existence are fairly common globally and historically, and insofar it's possible to compare them, they contain similar elements, despite different cultural background. As evidence, this is not conclusive to demonstrate non-mundane existence, but.......quantum physics....won't sidetrack more.

But whatever is the 'truth' about this, it certainly has an almost universal appeal to mankind, and as the direct experience isn't available to everybody immediately, the 'maps' of non-mundane experience is taken for the 'real thing'.

From here it follows standard human procedure; anything can be used in a socio-economical-political bid for power etc. Organised religion mostly being no exception. Hierarchial religious maps (like Abramic organised religions) naturally are more interesting for the powergrabbers, who ofcourse love hierarchy. So social darwinism goes hand in hand with e.g. organised christianity.

As to the bible, I believe, that it's so far removed from any possible source of direct experience of the non-mundane, that it's useless (or worse) as a guideline for acchieving such an experience, whereas the gospels have some valuable ethics.

'Proofs'. If I don't have strong evidence for or against something, I correspondingly don't form more than speculations. And a search for evidence goes much deeper than the merits of the various search-methods themselves. E.g. the epistemologically subject: 'The philosphy of science' which analyses the limits of science's competence.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 12:20 PM
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Originally posted by bogomil
ad, I will try to respond to your generousity about Dan Brown and me, by not suggesting, that your sources include Cecil B. DeMille's historical films.


Have never seen one, actually. About my only connection is laughing at the line "I've killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille" in Blazing Saddles. My sources are historical, not speculation (mostly, there's always a bit of that in something 2000 years removed.)



And talking about sources, I ofcourse checked on Constantine's involvement in forming the mainstream bible. Not to my surprise I found, that various 'authorities' (according to their ideologies) have many different opinions on this. Getting into a debate of these sources'/'authorities' credibility would, I believe, sidetrack the thread too much, so instead I can accept your own words: "The council of Nicaea helped cement some of the christian doctrine....." as a functional compromise.


These are not even remotely close to the same thing. There is no evidence to indicate that the content of the NT was determined, or even discussed, at the First Council of Nicaea. None.

The primary goal of the Council was to find a universality of Christian doctrine, which was fragmenting, due to the physically scattered nature of the Church, the inclination to take the common teachings (the existent NT) and draw inferences from it, and different schools of thought in the Western and Eastern sides of the Empire. This was the first world-wide meeting, and doctrine was the focus.

The outcome of that debate is detailed in the Nicene Creed, which I presume you are familiar with. The main thing which was resolved was the nature of the relationship between Father and Son.



I'll postulate, that already in Jesus' lifetime and shortly after, there were already competing factions in the growing movement around him. The male/female disciple (of Jesus) controversy; the controversy between the disciples of John the baptish and Jesus; the controversy between the disciples and Paulus and the later development of this into the more extensive pauline/jewish-christian dispute about who could be 'real' christians.


Absolutely, but you're missing the point, and you really swing wide of the mark in a moment.



You take up the 'heresy' situation, which is a currently hot topic and relevant to the above as an example. And to forestall any doctrinal circle-argumentation, an important question is, whether we're talking about christian gnosticism, gnostic christianianity or just plain, independent and autonom gnosticism. Some 'christians' have practised the very unsympathetic method of infiltrating other religions, annexing them eventually into a total takeover, after which these other religions were declared 'heretic', giving the church authority to condemn them.


You are somewhat correct in this, in that some Christians did "infiltrate" other, let's call them philosophies, okay? However, there is no grounds at all for your claim that it was done with the stated intent of damaging the other belief, and that makes no sense anyway. If you are threatened by Hellenism, how does adding Christianity to it, calling it heretical and banning it (within the church) change Hellenism?

Heresy means "wrong teaching", and it was the practice of the early church (let's not getting into burning witches and the like for now) to evaluate what people were saying and if it was inconsistent with the agreed upon doctrine, and Christ's teaching, it was declared a heresy and, if you wouldn't stop going on about it, you were kicked out of the church. You'd likely see the same thing today if you were a Catholic priest or Methodist minister and started teaching Pantheism or disputed the Doctrine of the Trinity.

In the time of the early church, there were a number of world views and philosophies that appealed to people in one way or another, and so there were efforts, obviously very early on, from the evidence in the Epistles of Paul and John, to incorporate these philosophies into Christianity. These may have been instances of Christians wanting to "pull in" other beliefs, or non-Christians wanting to "push in" their beliefs because they believed in Christ but wanted to keep in their old beliefs.

The Gnostics, for example, existed long before Christ's time, and after his death, there arose efforts to pull Gnosticism and Christianity together. There are a number of problems with this, but one of the largest is that Gnostics claimed that our bodies were "prisons" and that materialism was bad. Well, Christ was God and man, God in a body, so who imprisoned him? When he made his post-resurrection appearances, he had a physical body, why would he be returned to a material existence if that was a bad thing?

My personal belief is that Christian Gnosticism was more a result of Gnostics trying to push their way in than the other way around, because it relies on a pretty deep faith in Gnosticism and a pretty weak faith in Christ, but that's just my opinion. The two beliefs are clearly at odds, and the Christian Church, the one responsible for Christian doctrine (at the time still comprised of first generation Christians, led by Paul and the Apostles,) declared Gnostic Christianity wrong, and that was the end of that.

(Logically, if there was something to Gnostic Christianity, it seems unlikely that God would allow his plan to get off track so quickly, and then remain hidden for so long, given than he'd sacrificed himself in the cause. Again, just my opinion.)

Again, if you believe that the NT is a reasonably accurate portrayal of Christ's life and teachings, Gnosticism, Stoicism, Greek philosophy, Arianism, and all the rest might seem like fine ideas, but if you can't work Christ into them, they are wrong. If you do not believe that the NT is reasonably accurate, that's fine, but you are not a Christian, and need to find a religion which is more in accordance with your beliefs.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by Tripple_Helix
 


Ah, the old "your gonna burn in hell" line. I've actually been threatened with it as well. Don't take offense. In reality I have seen it used against other Christians more often than non-Christians. I will not attempt to defend it. I have always thought it was bad form, especially in any sort of serious discussion.


My intent is not to defend all the people who are Christians. But if they are starting the conversation with the intent to inform about Jesus and God, keep in mind; the truly believe you are in danger and are trying to help you. Now, you may think it's silly, but that's why they are starting such conversations. They have a genuine concern for their fellow man and want to save them from a threat they have perceived as imminent. (I'm talking about the typical bright eyed street christian, not the vultures that hide in Christianity and try to take advantage of people for nefarious purposes.)

Now imagine this, you see a bus heading for someone, there's time for you to warn them and help them out of the way. But, when you get there they push you away and tell you you're delusional for thinking there is a bus. Would you not be taken aback? Obviously these people are not prepared for that and freeze up. Again, they are not debate minded people. They just want to help someone from something they believe is going to hurt them. Of course you always get the strange or arrogant ones that don't handle it correctly.

But that brings us back to the topic of the thread. The behavior you describe is not unique to Christianity, so how is it fair to attack the system as a whole. I do not think that asking some questions is wrong, so I'm not referring to your situation (unless you would be asking those questions to intentionally harrass the person
)

However, I am referring to the unwarranted attacks, even in this thread(not from you), against the belief as a whole. All of them just thrown out with no thought or evidence. The whole intention is to attack the very existence and nature of Jesus and God. And also to undermine the basic tenants of the believe and paint Christians as evil idiots. That is what I would define as 'unfair criticism'. And that is what I will defend, Jesus and God (and I suppose vicariously my own intelligence since I am a Christian).

And I do not think your replies are boring, to the contrary. As you can see I am also prone to long winded replies.



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 06:38 PM
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Originally posted by MrXYZ
reply to post by Chillimac
 





Personal experiences override even the most skeptical of reasoning.


But they SHOULDN'T!! Our brains make mistakes and our senses easily fooled. That's exactly why we (as in: people who prefer science and facts over pure speculation and belief) use scientific method to TEST and VERIFY claims.



You are saying that experience and perception are the same. They are not. The scientific method is not a check against faulty perceptions. It is a method of seeking truth or correcting prior knowledge through a universally defined method, which gathers empirical and observable data in such an organized way that the theory reached by the process can be reproduced by others.

It is not used to verify someones perception's of an experience. In fact it is people's perceptions of observed data and evidence that lead to theory's. Now one can say, "but they can be reproduced!" and they are correct. But to say that is to also give credence to the billions of believers who all claim the same perceptions and experiences when having encounters of a spiritual nature.

As for your example, the perceptions of the photo are irrelevant. I see a photo. I know it exists. To define its nature and understand why it appears to move when I know it probably isn't, is the nature of theology when put into context.

Also, your interpretation of my statement is referring to perception not an experience. One can claim they are linked, but that is merely semantics. Think of it this way (going back to Sasquatch). If Sasquatch jumped into your house and ate your cat (experience). Would you launch a scientific inquiry? No. A feline homicide investigation maybe. But you experienced the Sasquatch first hand. If you have no mental illnesses then you will trust your perceptions of the event.

Also, think about this for a second: There are billions of people on this planet, and billions of those are religious.

Indeed there are, so its a little absurd to claim the majority of the planet is having similar experiences, but are somehow experiencing something that doesn't exist. The rest of that paragraph has nothing to do with the point. There are schism and deferences in opinion over many scientific theorys and fields, yet would you claim those theorys don't exist or science isn't credible? I would assume not.


Making up things or taking the bible literally is beyond crazy and also kinda sad.

In your opinion. And 'making up things' is not specific to religion.


Why are we allowing people to vote who firmly believe the earth is only 6000 years old when we KNOW FOR A FACT that this isn't the case?

So people with a different view from you shouldn't be allowed to vote? And since you were not around for the entirety of history there is no way to know 'FOR A FACT' that it is or isn't 6000 years old. Not that I hold to YEC, but some of them have some very interesting arguments. To claim that they shouldn't be allowed to vote just hurts your credibility and doesn't make you look very educated, it just looks like extremism.


We don't let mentally challenged people who believe the universe floats on the back of a giant turtle vote either, or people with an IQ that counts as "mentally challenged"

Ok, so all Hindu's are 'mentally challenged' and shouldn't be allowed to vote? I know many Hindu's that are far more intelligent and educated than you sound.


...so why are we letting people vote who totally disregard FACTS?

What is your deal about voting? Perhaps they interpret the data differently than you. Or, *GASP*, maybe you're narrow minded and wont even consider that they have valid reasoning and facts of there own to justify their beliefs.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 04:18 AM
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Re: Chillimac

Your cit:

"But to say that is to also give credence to the billions of believers who all claim the same perceptions and experiences when having encounters of a spiritual nature."

Hmmm.... Aren't you overdoing it a bit? Even when talking about religionists from all religions together (which certainly makes up some billions), my personal impression is, that only a small percentage of them have any significant 'spiritual' encounters. And even then some of these encounters are a desperate wish for something 'spiritual' to happen, resulting in a mild hysteria, leading to a 'spiritual' explanation of completely normal phenomena (or ofcourse sometimes just plain selfdelusion).

Besides, in the case of organised religions, where doctrines are involved, the 'perceptions and experiences' will vary considerably from individual to individual and from group to group. This is not the homogen, controllable and repeatable observations, science requires.

Finally..Science has a much more extensive set of 'tools' for 'reality' evaluation, whereas especially Abramic religions usually fall back on faith, and as threads like this demonstrate, often individual faith, as the only 'reality-seeking' parameter. Kind of lame, compared to science. So the epistemological comparison you made between organised religion and science is highly questionable.

But don't take me wrong. 'True' 'spiritual' phenomena do happen, and science on its part is not above being dogmatic or even faking occasionally. As I see it, the real conflict is not between science and experience-of-anomalies, it's between a serious wish to find 'reality' and a pathetic need for dogmas to cling to (probably for psychological reasons). And all ideologies have both types of individuals in them.

Your cit:

"If Sasquatch jumped into your house and ate your cat (experience). Would you launch a scientific inquiry?"

Actually I have the misfortune to live in a place (in the backwoods), which for lack of better explanations could be said to be a kind of interdimensional portal. Sofar seven people, individually or collectively, have had strong experiences of anomalies, repeatedly over a period of 20+ years. Some of it nightmarish, with dramatic consequences. This is my 'sasquatch', and I can assure you, that I've considered all options of explanations, from me and the rest of the experiencers being totally bonkers to 'launching a scientific inquiry'. As I haven't got a private possibility for launching a scientific inquiry, and as the culture I live in dogmatically considers anomalies as insanity (and thus not is interested in research on this subject), I've done the closest possible: Started a private 'investigation', which after five years without any definite conclusions, still is open to the original options, and still contains strong elements of e.g. scientific methodology.

Just to 'trust my own eyes' exclusively is completely out of the question. I'd rather die curious than filled with halfbaked 'explanations'.




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