Deconverts – Are Christians Really as Bad as You Think?

I read the ‘deconversion‘ blog quite a bit. I find the debate always go back to the uselessness of faith. I find that kind of strange – on a personal level – like Christian faith is ‘bad’ or something. It is this that I want to ‘flesh out’. (Go and read some of the comments to see what I am saying)

How is it Christian faith is something ‘bad’? I cannot find concrete reasons to believe this. Science cannot provide this reason – it cannot because science does not delve into morality and immorality per se. Science is really of no use in this debate. 

(a) The core Christian faith teachings deal with moral ideals – like the ‘do nots’ of murder and adultery or ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. I cannot find places where the teachings actually allow for the immoral behaviour of someone committed to this faith. We know that it happens – but any small reading in the gospels will reveal they have no right to treat people like crap – none whatsoever. 

(b)  The Christian faith, if it is bad, does not produce very many bad people (per capita). I see the odd bad person crop up – that will commit murder in the name of God or picket funerals. However, they are the exceptions to the norm (deviations from the standard). If it was reverse, and they were not exceptions, the news and history pages would be littered with their vicious exploits. This is not the case at all. 

(c) People that join the Christian faith actually can do a 180 degree turn in their life. Now we cannot scientifically prove the change in someone’s life or their 180 degree spin – but for those personally affected by that individual – they can see the change. As much as people do not want to give merit to personal stories of change – it is the best evidence of a person’s actual change in behaviour. No test can exist to show someone has changed – but as humans we can all admit when we have seen it. 

(d) The Christian faith provides (and fills) something in society – a place to belong and find a value system. Most places you attend will not guide you into some type of value system – it’s just not going to happen…and sometimes families fail to fill this role. The church just happens to direct people into values that may help them become a functional piece of society. What they lack in culture, vision, ethical development, attention, community – all these things and more can be given to a person via a church. 

(e) Christians say some strange things – I agree – and hold some strange theologies – I also agree – but how often does what they ‘believe’ make those same people into criminals or shady characters in society? Very, very, very rarely. 

I admit the Christian faith has it drawbacks – namely in some of its weak theological ideas. However, I would not call it a faith that makes ‘bad’ people or makes society inherently ‘worse’ by being there. I admit they have some questionable behaviours – like being overly judgmental – but even within these behaviours they do not commit crimes against you or society. Churches actually help society in many ways – and can in many more. 

I think most of the things said by de-converts about Christians is pure BS and a mass generalization. They have an axe to grind concerning the treatment they received from Christians – and I receive my share also – but at the end of the say I don’t let a few bad apples determine for me the whole apple orchard is rotten.

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59 thoughts on “Deconverts – Are Christians Really as Bad as You Think?

  1. “How is it Christian faith is something ‘bad’?” – SVS

    First, I want to say that I agree, that Christianity has changed lives. Some people are changed forever due to it’s teachings. I am one of those people who has been touch by the Christian faith and I will always remember that. But being a Christian doesn’t make me more moral. It makes me aware of a higher level or morality, but it, in itself, does not make a person more holy just by believing.

    I am not for censoring Christianity or trying to “kill” or “stop” faith based organizations. They do a lot of good for the community. But I think there a few reason why people pick on Christianity in our culture. Now I want you to understand what I mean by Christianity. I am going to lump all people who use the entire New and Old Testament as their source of holy inspiration: so that means Evangelicals, Catholics, Orthodox, Jehovahs, Mormans, etc.. I do this because Non-Christians honestly do not make the denominational differences that Christians make.

    1) Christianity is the prevalent religion in North America. I can’t walk down the street without being accosted by a person of the Christian point of view. Churches with billboards spouting doctrines or messages, commercials, tracts, and people going door to door asking you to take their literature. The very fact that Christians do this (consciencely or unconsciencely) means they believe that they are more right, moral or better than the average person. Its this underlying message of pride that bugs me. I think people are tired of being “sold” the gospel. If Christianity is true, then let people find that out for themselves. Pushing or evangelizing it, is beginning to bother people because it is everwhere. I bought a joke book that had clean jokes. They were clean but very elitist and disrepectful to people of any other faith than Christianity. In Canada, we are a multicultural country and Christianity is not everyone’s choice and it should not be force on people who do not share it’s point of view.

    2) Christianity in politics. When the Prime Minister makes policy based on his Christian faith, it doesn’t just affect his private faith but all people. If Harper is against Gay-Marraige based on his faith, then he is not leading Canadians, he is leading Christians and that is not what his position of power is about. He is supposed to represent all of us.

    3) “The core Christian faith teachings deal with moral ideals ” Yes, but is that what is preached from Televangelists, whom most people see on a Sunday morning telecasts. Unfortunately the lack of accountability in the Christian church is severely lacking when people can use Christianity as a big money making mahcine. How many other religions have you heard of in Canada that abuse people in this way on a weekly basis? What about the priest who get away with child abuse because they are exempt form the laws of the country they serve in?

    These example are not simple “axes to grind” from a single hurt person, these are major things that happen in the name of Christianity that Christians seem to be silent about or protect as a Christian right. I like your blog and your version of Christianity that is open to talking about Faith. Honestly how many other Chrsitian blogs/websites are this open to criticism about faith?

  2. “It makes me aware of a higher level or morality, but it, in itself, does not make a person more holy just by believing” (Wolf)

    I agree. The true content of a person’s character is shown in their actions towards other people. I think some of the beliefs within Christianity make people believe they can gain righteousness via simple believing this is so. I do not believe that is so. I think you have to work hard at becoming a more ‘moral’ person in all aspects of your life – that takes practice of the teachings to make use of them.

    “The very fact that Christians do this (consciencely or unconsciencely) means they believe that they are more right, moral or better than the average person. Its this underlying message of pride that bugs me. I think people are tired of being “sold” the gospel” (Wolf)

    There is really not much that can be said about that – that’s a perspective. I don’t neccesarily disagree – I find evangelization efforts as they stand in the current Christian realm to be rather unpractical. They give a message of hope – but beyond that – the involvement with the person evangelized can be quite mundane. I am not sure that is a good practice.

    ““The core Christian faith teachings deal with moral ideals” Yes, but is that what is preached from Televangelists, whom most people see on a Sunday morning telecasts” (Wolf)

    I think the core message is salvation – in all honesty – from what I see in most churches and on television. However, the gospel, in and of itself, is a very moral teaching piece. The teachings within are can help to change a person and his/her surroundings – mainly because they deal with personal issues/choices. I think the church misses the mark on this one – but they don’t have to – it’s all right there in their books/letters. It’s just that the moral ideals are not seen as ‘the way’ but rather a person who lived perfectly is seen as ‘the way’. I think they miss the point of Jesus’ teaching on that passage.

    “I like your blog and your version of Christianity that is open to talking about Faith. Honestly how many other Chrsitian blogs/websites are this open to criticism about faith?” (Wolf)

    For blogs, I would say there a quite a few – but as for actual church structures – very few. The thing about the brand of faith I desire is that it should be open to critque and questioning – so one can grow and learn. Truth should not be seen as static – but as something we learn over time (since we live a life of continous learning).

    Most of this goes back to the role of scripture as God’s word and what that means to a church. Things become ‘untouchable’ or ‘indisputable’ when in fact the reasoning for the points made may very well be faulty (or the least – in need of questioning). I don’t want to strip the texts of any authority – not my point – but that the interpretation of texts needs to be looked at more closely. I desire good theology – that doesn’t make me love the faith less?

    There are problems – this much we both know. But the way to address the faults in the faith is to debate on their territory – using the same word as authority and what it means. That is what I try to do in my critiques of anything I critique about the faith. If I approach ot any other way then people find some sort of ‘cop-out’ from the argument and place your personal undertaking as opinion (not too be counted).

  3. Great comments. I would just add that many negative charges leveled against Christianity are things that most “groups” do. Watching the two political factions in America go at it right now, I see a lot of “religious” behavior. In my teaching profession, I watch educators evangelize their teaching style to others, and become very shrill and intolerant of people who hold other opinions. In High School we had the jocks, nerds, stoners, cheerleaders, etc… each group thinking their group was cooler than the others. I read in Discover magazine about scientists who are ostracized for having a view that bucks the system. The simple truth is that we all tend to quickly forgive of ourselves or our group for behaviors that we would condemn in the outsider.

  4. **How is it Christian faith is something ‘bad’? I cannot find concrete reasons to believe this. Science cannot provide this reason – it cannot because science does not delve into morality and immorality per se. Science is really of no use in this debate. **

    This would greatly depend on how you are defining the Christian faith. What you mean on this blog by the Christian faith is not necessarily what a fundamentalist would agree to, or a Quaker, or a Unitarian, or a liberal/conservative Christian. It may not even be what de-converts mean when they refer to Christian faith.

    ** I cannot find places where the teachings actually allow for the immoral behaviour of someone committed to this faith. We know that it happens – but any small reading in the gospels will reveal they have no right to treat people like crap – none whatsoever. **

    This also depends on the definition of “immoral,” or how one sees “immoral.” For instance, we could say that the Christian teachigns say that it’s immoral to ignore someone who is suffering. However, if this idea is applied to the concept of hell, then millions of people who are suffering are thus being ignored. What makes one immoral and not the other? Especially if that suffering is meant to highlight the glory of God. Many of the words used in the Gospels, such as Jesus’ behavior towards the Pharisees, has been used to justify the horrendous treatment of Jews for the last 2,000 years or so.

    **I see the odd bad person crop up – that will commit murder in the name of God or picket funerals. However, they are the exceptions to the norm (deviations from the standard)**

    This also depends on the type of behavior one focuses on. Does the definition of “bad” also include those who are judgemental? Because that category goes way beyond the odd type of person. And for many who have left, they kept encountering one judgemental person after another within their faith system which lead them to see it as something bad. Now, I know you later say that there are judgemental people, yet qualify that as it does not mean a crime is commited against society. But is that how de-converts are labeling the religion as “bad?” It’s bad because a crime, as defined by society, is committed? Or the idea of a bad person. I think it was Tony CAmpolo who made the comment to a group of Christians and said (making up a number here), “Over 100,000 children starved to death last night, and most of you don’t give a shit.” A gasp from the audience. He continues: “ANd most of you just gasped because of the word “shit,” not because of the number of deaths.” So is that group into the idea of a “bad” person?

    Granted, that statement can be said about many non-Christians as well — not caring about the starvation rate. However, if Christianity is tied to a specific moral behavior that one should see, then it will be used as a critique when such a behavior is not thus observed.

    **As much as people do not want to give merit to personal stories of change – it is the best evidence of a person’s actual change in behaviour. No test can exist to show someone has changed – but as humans we can all admit when we have seen it. **
    Yes, they can. Although, many times the reason why merit is not given is not because the change occured. It’s not given merit towards any one religion’s truth claims, because many people can experience 180 degree change when they become a Hindu or a Mormon, or even an atheist.

    **I think most of the things said by de-converts about Christians is pure BS and a mass generalization.**

    Again, though, this depends on how “Christian” is defined. As Andrew said, the negative charges are what we can witness in almost any particular group. The question would be is it fair to use these charges in a greater degree against a religious group? The answer could be no, because even in the religious group, everyone is still human. Or the answer could be yes, because the religious groups are making claims about how it leads to improved moral behavior.

  5. What you describe, Jason, is a form of scapegoating. Building up your own database on evil fundie Christians is no different than people ranting on immigrants or liberals or conservatives, etc. A scapegoat can do wonders to keeping you from thinking too deeply about your own life.

    In a de-convert, the application is obvious. Often their wife or husband, even their own children, are still immersed in the faith. They still doubt where they’ve come but it’s a lot easier to blame their wanderings on hypocrites of the faith.

    Any “group” will have adherents who give in to this thinking. We should always try to challenge the scapegoat trap.

  6. Good questions, SocietyVs.

    First of all, I would note there is a difference between the title “Are Christians really as bad as you think?” and the body of the entry—focusing on “Is the Christian faith as bad as you think?”

    To address the titled question, of course “some” Christians are as bad as we think. And some are not. Christians are humans—therefore (as in any sub-group of a large size) we will find some that are “bad,” some that are “good,” some that are really bad, some really good, some left-handed, some bald, etc. The predominance of those who title themselves as Christians would agree, due to the continuing sin nature, that they are “bad.” Very few Christian sects hold out to be sin-free.

    The question (addressed in the entry) is whether, by virtue of Christian belief, the person is “more bad” or (for better English) “worse” than they would be without said belief.

    Part of the problem is this—what do we mean by the term “bad”? Stepping away from the theistic dialogue—imagine we were discussing what is a “bad” form of transportation. For a single person focusing on environmental concerns and gasoline efficiency, I could see how a mini-van would be a “bad” form of transportation. For a family of seven (7), the Smart Car would be a “bad” form. For a person who delivers pianos—both would be a “bad” form. For a person riding in the Tour de France—a Smart Car, mini-van, and a panel truck would all be “bad” forms of transportation.

    What I often see, in this discussion, is that the focus of “bad” modifies as situations change. Like transportation, there is no “one-size-fits-all” that in every situation Christianity is always “good” or Christianity is always “bad.” As with most beliefs, we can find situations (you touch on a few and I will go into this more in a minute) that Christianity improves an individual or society, and situations that it does not.

    To me, Christianity is primarily and paramountly “bad” because it is incorrect and dishonest. Incorrect in that the belief God communicated through inspiration of certain writers, or God appeared in the form of a human, or God communicated through the stories of the Tanakh is flat-earth, geocentric, alien-snatching wrong. Dishonest because (specifically the Christianity I am most familiar with) it fails to present alternative positions. How many Protestant Church libraries have books written by scientists for the viability of evolution? How many Sunday Schools have ever discussed the authorship questions on the Pastorals? How many church members could explain the Synoptic Problem?

    I also find it dishonest when Christians tell the world what non-Christians say, think, feel or do, they distort it and mischaracterize it. My position has been mis-represented so many times by Christians, it is hardly worth noting due to the common occurrence.

    However, I understand this is my make-up. It is what I consider of paramount import. Others certain may feel differently. I question whether I may impose my ideals on others, who have far different motivations.

    If a person claims to have been snatched by aliens, and stopped beating their wife because of it—even though I think alien-snatching is incorrect, can I say this belief is “bad”? It is here I struggle with confronting Christianity. If they are a more moral person because of a wrong belief—what should I consider of higher importance: the better moral or being closer to reality?

    SocietyVs: The core Christian faith teachings deal with moral ideals – like the ‘do nots’ of murder and adultery or ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.

    The pervasive difficulty in debating Christianity is defining that simple word—“Christian.” What this means to one person or group is vastly different to another. It is so polar in the extremes; we have almost countless groups claiming the title while denying to others. Who equally claim the title and deny it to the original claimers.

    If an alien (they must be on my mind) came to the world today, and reviewed the conversations taking place in the past 24 hours, they would have an extremely difficult time defining “Christian” with any specificity.

    Where do I find the “core Christian Faith teaching”? How do I compare it with your claim it deals with “moral ideals”? I looked to the Nicene Creed—nothing there on morals—only on beliefs. I looked to the Westminster Confession—nothing there on morals, except a comment on doing “good deeds.”

    While to you, SocietyVs, the core to Christianity is on morality (and you are to be commended for it)—what makes your determination in this regard correct? How does an outsider determine what the “core Christian faith teachings” are in light of 1000’s of churches and millions of believers who disagree with your determination?

    Two reasons I question the accuracy of Christian core dealing with morals. Go look up a Church website. Any church website. 10’s of 1000’s (if not more) out there. Almost all of them have a link on “what we believe.” Look at that. Does it have to do with morality, or certain dogmas?

    Secondly, why am I not a Christian? Is it because of what I do/do not? Or because of what I believe? If the core of Christian beliefs was moral ideals, then we would look at what one does rather than what one believes as the defining difference between Christian and non-Christian.

    Which one do we look at?

    SocietyVs: I cannot find places where the teachings actually allow for the immoral behaviour of someone committed to this faith. We know that it happens – but any small reading in the gospels will reveal they have no right to treat people like crap – none whatsoever.

    But this is your interpretation. Surely you recognize a vast number of Christians disagree with how you view what is written? I think this says more about your goodness than you realize.

    What I have encountered, in discussing with Christians—those who tend to look at life as helping, loving, and empathetic to other humans find those same teachings in the New Testament. Those who look for confrontation, justification and ostracizing equally find teachings in the New Testament.

    It is here where it is difficult to generalize Christians as “bad” or “good.” People who would be “good” without the Bible—find solace and reason to be good within the writings. People who would be “bad” without the Bible—find solace and reason to be bad within the writings.

    Christians use the Bible to justify slavery. Polygamy. Woman not being pastors. Homosexuals not allowed to marry. People not allowed to date. Mixed bathing prohibited. Women wearing veils. Family members shunned. I find none of that moral.

    Probably the best and easiest example is the difference between “love your enemies” and Jesus’ confrontation with Pharisees. Christians who desire a more civil discussion with non-believers focus on Luke 6, and its command of “love your enemy.” Christians who desire a far more contentious, mocking and ridiculing discussion with non-believers focus on Jesus’ pejoratives against the Pharisees, or Paul’s suggestion of Gal. 5:12.

    Isn’t this neat? If you want a reason to say to be kind—you can find it. If you want a reason to be insulting—you can find it. I’ve had Christians justify lying to me—because I am “the enemy” and there are examples of God endorsing lying to “the enemy”!

    Yep—you can justify anything. This is also a reason I would consider Christianity “bad.” Due to its lack of definite statements, anything goes.

    SocietyVs: The Christian faith, if it is bad, does not produce very many bad people (per capita). I see the odd bad person crop up – that will commit murder in the name of God or picket funerals.

    Isn’t this true of most societies though—Christian or none? Does Japan produce many bad people (per capita)? China? Europe? Africa? Australia? Even nations such as Iran—while the leadership is, in my opinion, immoral—is the general populace? Aren’t they living lives as “moral” within their own understanding?

    And, of course, we traipse back to the problem of what you are looking for in terms of “bad.” You use two examples—murder and picketing funerals.

    What of the inability of homosexuals to marry? I consider that immoral. In America (not Canada) there are a majority of “bad people (per capita)” in my opinion, since amendments to State Constitutions prohibiting such marriages are passed over and over.

    Or the idea of hell? Or the exclusionary tactics of Christians. I could go on and on. Sure, if we are only to look at the BIG ones—MURDER, RAPE, TORTURE (whoops, maybe not that last one after our last presidency) Christians only produce a handful, per capita, of such individuals. But so does any other belief system.

    In fact, simply by virtue of Christianity outnumbering non-Christians in America, there are more Christian murderers than non-Christian murderers! (Just like there are more right-handed murderers than left-handed murderers.)

    And no, I am not saying Christians kill because of their Christian beliefs—but nor do non-Christians kill because of their non-Christian beliefs. Both kill because of selfish desires which both have regardless of what they believe about a god or no god.

    SocietyVs: People that join the Christian faith actually can do a 180 degree turn in their life.

    And here is where I have difficulty calling Christianity “bad.” This absolutely happens. While I understand it is based upon a false belief, the result is certainly beneficial. If a placebo makes a person healthy—who am I to tell them the “truth” of the lack of actual medicine?

    SocietyVs: The Christian faith provides (and fills) something in society – a place to belong and find a value system.

    Again, I agree. I disagree with Sam Harris calling for the complete removal of religion. Due to the social inherencies of humans, coupled with our tendency to follow and insuppressible hopes—even if we eliminated all religions, something would come up in its stead that would be equally problematic. Equally prone to totalitarianism. Would equally divide and exclude. Whether it was social clubs, or athletic groups—there would be something.

    It is who we are as humans. (Look at how well politics does it without a god….)

    I disagree with the value system of most. I disagree with the truthfulness. I disagree with most of its foundational beliefs. But I agree it fulfills some role we, as humans, crave.

    I struggle with whether the harm it causes justifies this role.

    SocietyVs: I think most of the things said by de-converts about Christians is pure BS and a mass generalization. They have an axe to grind concerning the treatment they received from Christians …

    Not surprising you consider what we say about Christians to be “pure BS”—because you don’t see yourself in the picture being made.

    I was talking to an insurance agent the other day that sells insurance policies for people to pay for nursing homes. I said, “With all the baby boomers coming of age—business must be pretty good.”

    His reply? “Are you kidding me? I give seminars in which I tell people statistics show 50% of all people will be in a nursing home some day. And what do the people do? Look to the person to their right and think, ‘He must be talking about her.’”

    We never think they are talking about us. It must be someone else. Those “other” Christians. Those “other” deconverts.

    Every single Christian, without exception, reads what deconverts say about Christianity and think, “Oh, s/he is talking about some other Christians.” Not THEIR Christianity. Not THEIR belief. If I had a nickel for every time I heard the Christianity I deconverted from was not the “right” Christianity…

    Sure we have an “axe to grind.” Look, as humans we socialize. We tend to socialize with those of a similar experience or background. Single adults socialize with…single adults. Young married couples without children socialize with….young married couples without children.

    Democrats socialize in the political setting with…democrats.

    As deconverts we went from being Christians to a vastly different theistic belief. Perhaps liberal Christianity or Deism or agnosticism or atheism. And we became an anathema to the very people who once loved us and held us at tightly as brothers/sisters. The doors we once were invited in became barred by steel and iron.

    Within the world of the internet (because it is rare for deconverts to live close enough to become friends in person) we wend our way through blogs and forums and conglomerate together. Not surprising at a place called deconversion.com.

    As social creatures we share similar tales of commiseration. Similar tales of experiences that hurt us, and with a rush of relief hear someone else say, “Wow. I’ve been through that too, and as much as it hurts me, it helps to know someone else lived it as well.” We have an opportunity to share our complaints and “grind our axes” in a community rather than alone.

    I had close friends intimate and suggest without outright stating it, that my wife should divorce me because I deconverted. Because of a belief I did not want, but could not stop. People who stood in my wedding who want us to separate! Initially my wife informed me her biggest regret was marrying me. (How she feels now, I do not know. I dare not ask.)

    Do you have any idea how much that hurts?

    Who do you suggest I share that with? Who else has experienced such emotional, physical and mental turmoil? I found it in other deconverts. So we discuss and share and it holds meaning for me to hear other deconverts who have gone through similar experiences. The divorce rate in deconverstion stories is catastrophic.

    I am sure, to an outsider, reading such tales would come across as an “axe to grind.” I would be told my friends weren’t “true Christians” or what they suggested was not “true Christianity.” I am sure it sounds as if we find all Christians terrible because what has happened to us.

    It’s not. But absent going through it, I don’t expect Christians to understand. The benefit of the ability to share far outweighs my concern over the picture Christians want to paint of me. Speaking of generalizations and all…

    Thanks for letting me take time on your blog.

  7. “at the end of the say I don’t let a few bad apples determine for me the whole apple orchard is rotten.” -SVS

    hell yeah!

    “We should always try to challenge the scapegoat trap.” -Jim J.

    Jim J?! you said this?! amazing! i’m profoundly and wonderfully surprised.

    this is how far i’ve read, looking forward to reading DaGoods comment but now i must get back to writing my Church History paper on martyrs. great convo so far! looking forward to getting into the meat here tomorrow. RAWK out y’all!

  8. DaGoods,

    “How many Protestant Church libraries have books written by scientists for the viability of evolution? How many Sunday Schools have ever discussed the authorship questions on the Pastorals? How many church members could explain the Synoptic Problem?”

    you’re right! although we do have examples of each one of these (two UCC churches i’ve worked in can answer YES to all of these) we are few and far between.

    the whole reason i haven’t DeConverted is that i feel we must have a platform to talk about issues, a unifying language and symbology and for me that is provided by religion. it unifies the learned with the unlearned in a way that philosophy can’t. some don’t need this… you don’t, i don’t, SVS and John T. and many others here simply don’t need a reward to be good. we are good for goods’ sake. i’d bet that we also know more philosophy and theory than most church members too… however, we’re (mostly) in our rational minds. when you’re working with the “shallow end of the gene pool” there’s a VAST difference.

    for example: if faced with a decision to be paid your retirement over the coarse of your natural life at your current salary OR to get that in a lump sum, which would you take? if you had a choice to sleep with your wife or your cousin, which one? if you’re beating your partner because s/he doesn’t listen because when s/he does listen you beat them and you wonder why your marriage is falling apart…. what seems obvious to me somehow isn’t to some of the people in my churches over the years.

    plus church automatically gives us a community to work with, a network of support. you’re sick, you get food brought to you. it’s a great community and network builder and you know when the meetings are! EVERY SUNDAY! so i have no problem with people who use it as a social network, the church is supposed to be community!

    this goes back to your comment “benefit of the ability to share far outweighs my concern…” this is the CORE of Christianity! the fact that we CAN share. but our churches have preverted this and brought out piety. Jesus had no need for that, he was hanging with tax collectors, prostitutes, all sorts of “deconverts” from the Jewish and Pagan social orders. piety is a completely “structured” society concern and that model is in no way shape or form presented by Jesus.

    now i’ve made some assumptions here and generalized as well. no one is perfect. but here is where i stand and i see where you are standing as well. and in that, we’re standing on holy ground (or special ground if you perfer ;-)). RAWK ON! thanks for sharing, it was vastly eye-opening.

  9. Dagods,
    You’re uber-long comment did not excite me. As a Christian and a skeptic, I pride myself on understanding how other religionists (atheist and theist) think. In my office here, I can wheel my office chair over to several bookshelves and grab a number of translations of the Qur’an, a Bhagavad-Gita, books on Bhudda, and at 6 o’clock I have a copy of Darwin’s “The Origin of Species”, and so on. I can tell you where and why they’re wrong. There are parts that I like about them, but for the most part – and the crux – they are wrong.

    There are troglodyte Christians but they by no means prove Christianity false. Your statement: “specifically the Christianity I am most familiar with” makes me wonder if you ever met Christ. Who cares about the Christianity you are most familiar with? I don’t. Christianity is the worship of Christ, not a pissing contest to see who can hit the altar from the chancel.

    And this:
    To me, Christianity is primarily and paramountly “bad” because it is incorrect and dishonest. Incorrect in that the belief God communicated through inspiration of certain writers, or God appeared in the form of a human, or God communicated through the stories of the Tanakh is flat-earth, geocentric, alien-snatching wrong.

    Yet you haven’t come up with one “flat-earth, geocentric, alien-snatching” expose argument. Your evidence against Christianity is piddling nonsense – aesthetics with attitude – and I just thought you should know that.

    I am convinced through overwhelming evidence that Jesus Christ is who he said He is and that the Bible is true. If only we could be so sure of the markets, so sure of our politics, as that. The world would be a better place.

  10. “I am convinced through overwhelming evidence that Jesus Christ is who he said He is and that the Bible is true.”(JJ)

    LMAO……thanks JJ, you almost made me spew my coffee. “Overwhelming evidence”, I never knew you to be a comedian. Keep them coming. 😉

  11. Luke,

    I would agree the church provides a “community of support.” But to belabor my point, I would add the phrase as follows: “The church gives a community of support to those who believe similarly.

    The first part of that sentence, the non-italicized part, is the “good” part of Christianity. I agree it does provide food for the sick (primarily those within the church who are sick.) It provides support, communal groups, and even financial help.

    It is that second part of the sentence—the italicized part—where I find the “bad” in Christianity. Does it provide hospital visits for the sick? Yes. Would the churches I attended in the past visit me in the hospital because I was sick; or because I need saving? Hmmm…

    Please understand—I know there are exceptions. There ARE churches who give more to non-believers than their own membership. Yet, sadly, they are the exceptions. Every single church I have ever attended would not let me marry my wife in its building. Now, people may claim, “Oh, that is the wrong sort of Christianity,”—yet if I look at how many 10’s of 1000’s of members passed through those doors, and the 10’s of 1000’s of members who passed through the doors of churches attended by my family and friends—we are literally talking about 100’s of 1000’s of people who apparently are exercising the “wrong sort” or Christianity.

    At what point can an outside say, “Look, you can protest all you want about what the ‘correct’ sort is and the ‘incorrect’ sort is—but when we see 75% of those who call themselves Christians doing something, can we say that ‘something’ is Christianity?” Again—every Christian thinks their belief, whether they are in the 1%, or 10% or 90% is the “true Christianity.” Even those who embrace multiple paths to Christ are saying “true Christianity” (while they may not use that term) is multiple paths.

    I see exclusions in this community group. Homosexual? Sure—the First Baptist Church of Our Town provides a wonderful communal group to interact in. Just…not…for…you. Certainly not for you to bring in your life partner and “flaunt” your homosexual ways in our church!

    Luke, while I appreciate how a church or religion can provide a necessary social network for humanity, it is the cost of ”similarly situated believers” (especially when I think that belief is incorrect) that I question. Is it worth it?

    Oh, and any community group, regardless of religion, would be faced with the same exclusionary difficulties. This is not limited to religion. Unfortunately, it is pervasively available and generously utilized within religion.

  12. Jim,

    In the past I have enjoyed our conversations, despite my frustration at your being stuck in a 21st Century mind-set, incurious, Americanized, evasive, and completely inconsistent.

    Unfortunately, you recently added “dishonest” to the list by repeatedly misrepresenting me here and here. Whatever benefit could be justified by our interaction disappeared. Conversations with liars are useless.

    As much as I would enjoy shredding your comments; wisdom has taught me speaking with dishonest people will never progress us closer to the truth. It is a waste of both of our time; I will refrain. As long as the dishonesty continues, I will not respond to you.

  13. DaGoods,

    you’re right on the money. i’m astounded at how the “wrong sort” is wildly growing. God’s kingdom has EVERYONE in it, but that’s the problem with any group is that you have a small in group and a large out group. where i’m working now is called “a home for all” and they stick to it. we have all sorts save for the kind who think they own the truth and say they can point out where other faiths and scientific theories are wrong. so even our “home for all” doesn’t live up to it’s name 100%.

    i’d love to have your mind in my pew! mainly because you wouldn’t swallow it hook line and sinker and you’d come back with what you liked or didn’t like about a sermon. you’d bring your brain to church. THAT is what is lacking.

    thanks for sharing. i think you’re right on the money. it’s my personal mission to provide at least one church in this world that is welcoming to all without any strings attached.

  14. “It may not even be what de-converts mean when they refer to Christian faith.” (OSS)

    I have considered this – and it is true. I know that many de-converts and Christians would not neccesarily agree that what I am saying is representative of the core fundamentals of the Christian faith.

    “This also depends on the definition of “immoral,” or how one sees “immoral.”” (OSS)

    I still think – with definition of moral being the idea of doing ‘good’ – that no matter how one chalks this all up – the Christian is left with no defense for his/her actions concerning ‘other’ people (they have the gospel to lead them in the moral direction – the whole bible for that matter).

    Your writing concerning hell is duly noted – however – the concept of hell does not actually allow any single person the right to treat another with disdain. No teaching on the concept allows for this – if anything I would hope it would draw the opposite from people (mercy). This is not always the case – but most people do not become vigilantes either concerning enacting ‘hell’ upon others (as Christians).

    “However, if Christianity is tied to a specific moral behavior that one should see, then it will be used as a critique when such a behavior is not thus observed.” (OSS)

    Good point. I guess these would be things we can help alleviate (personal suffering on the planet – including poverty) – yet we are not present in the problem…we are present in our daily lives here and now (this poverty may be occuring in Africa under some regime). It is not considered ‘evil’ to not be part of the problem in my opinion – people cannot be blamed for the poverty on the planet when they are not actively making this happen (that’s guilting someone into a problem).

    For me, immorality/evil is something we have to actively do (our choices). For example, if someone does a break n enter on their neighbor’s house – that is evil. They made an active choice to committ a crime that will hurt another person.

    “many people can experience 180 degree change when they become a Hindu or a Mormon, or even an atheist” (OSS)

    I agree – and I think the spiritual is also involved there. I know many great people that are Mormons (for example) – I do not think they do not serve God because they do not hold to some 13 articles of faith or what not…what it is evidenced by their actions is all I really need.

    “answer could be no, because even in the religious group, everyone is still human. Or the answer could be yes, because the religious groups are making claims about how it leads to improved moral behavior” (OSS)

    I think, and I am making this claim, that Christianity can lead to improved moral behavior. It worked for me. It worked for many other people I know and talk with. To me, it a proven way for someone to change their paradigm (worldview). Now do some abuse this in this faith? Yes. But I would say, overwhelmingly, the majority if Christian people I meet daily have great qualities that can help contribute to society. I cannot see why that is a problematic statement.

  15. “First of all, I would note there is a difference between the title “Are Christians really as bad as you think?” and the body of the entry—focusing on “Is the Christian faith as bad as you think?”” (dagoods)

    Well, they are part and parcel. If the faith is bad – the person will be the evidence of that – and vice versa. We cannot deconstruct one without the other – since belief and action wil be closely tied in the person (belief effecting the actions a person may take).

    “To address the titled question, of course “some” Christians are as bad as we think. And some are not” (dagoods)

    My contention is that some are bad – and this is a minimal few – as compared to those who are being beneficial to society (and help it in some positive way). I think the ‘bad’ side gets blown way out of proportion in all honesty.

    “Part of the problem is this—what do we mean by the term “bad”? “ (dagoods)

    For me, I put this responsibility on the individuals use of choice. It’s hard to define bad or good for every and all situations – so I won’t – but we all are aware of the obvious – how we like to be treated (with dignity). I think when people step away from their duty to treat you with dignity – then they are entering a territory of evil. This would be how I view the Christian idea of morality and immorality.

    “To me, Christianity is primarily and paramountly “bad” because it is incorrect and dishonest” (dagoods)

    How many Christians, and I am going according to USA law, have committed an actual crime against you? My personal guess would be close to zero. Now if the belief(s) of this faith are ‘bad’ then the evidence for such a claim will not be hard to find at all. This does not seem to be the case at all. Churches are not filled with people committing actions of immorality against their fellow neighbors – this is very rare coming from someone committed to the faith. And even when they do committ an action that is questionable – it is never held up as excusable – but as something in need of change (repentance).

    I am not saying some Christians do not have questionable behavior – even behavior that can rub me the wrong way. Yet, I am hard pressed to find in these churches people that are ‘bad’ as neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc. I would even prefer a Christian cell-mate over one without that conviction (on a personal level). I just don’t see this community as filled with ‘bad’ people – but if you think they have ‘bad’ beliefs – I find it problematic the behaviors do not show this.

    “My position has been mis-represented so many times by Christians, it is hardly worth noting due to the common occurrence.” (dagoods)

    Agreed. I can admit this is not a noble action for the Christian – I would even consider it something they need to ‘repent’ (take responsibility) of. I will say though – it is just conversation – and the conversation does not mean those same people would committ any harm against you or I in reality.

    “It is here I struggle with confronting Christianity. If they are a more moral person because of a wrong belief—what should I consider of higher importance” (dagoods)

    Granted –but many of the teachings within Christianity are fairly specific and contain moral ideas (ie: forgiveness or mercy). It’s not like a Christian stops beating their wife because of some weird belief with nothing to do with ‘non-violence’ – usually they find the teachings pretty clear on such a topic.

    “Go look up a Church website. Any church website. 10’s of 1000’s (if not more) out there. Almost all of them have a link on “what we believe.” Look at that. Does it have to do with morality, or certain dogmas?” (dagoods)

    I agree 100% here…this faith seems to focus on ‘what one believes’ as the core piece of being called a ‘Christian’ (I tend to disagree with them there). However, even in that, those same people also enact the teachings of the gospel as part of their living of the faith. I think they do focus on the importance of the ‘way we treat one another’ – but just never contain that in an article of faith (not sure why).

    The term Christian means nothing when you think about it…Jesus never once uses the term nor does Paul (or any of the letters). A better term would be one is concerned with ‘godliness’ or ‘being like God’.

    “Which one do we look at?” (dagoods)

    I go by actions – not by one’s statement of beliefs. One’s actions will be a result of their beliefs about humanity (which I figure is God’s core concern). One who lives to hurt humanity – is not a godly/spiritual whatsoever – at least that what I gather from the teachings.

    For example, I do believe aliens and ghosts can very well be ‘real’ phenomenons. However, I do not hold to them as beliefs that mean anything – they either are or they are not. In one sense of the word believe – I am not actually believing anything with my statement on ghosts and aliens. It would be more accurate to say ‘I think it might be so’. No matter how hard I believe – it will not matter – those things exist or do no exist – my believing changes nothing. I feel this way about the statements of faith of many churches.

    “Yep—you can justify anything. This is also a reason I would consider Christianity “bad.” Due to its lack of definite statements, anything goes.” (dagoods)

    I understand what you are saying here – it is true the scriptures get used for justifying just about anything…but so does any foundational document (including a constitution). Do you consider America bad for being founded on that piece of literature? Who actually needs some document to justify any behavior – this seems to be an innate human function for behavior that is harmful and for that same person to ‘live with themselves’. Blaming a foundational document for that is possible – but I am not sure it is the document that is at fault.

    As for interpretation and it’s uses – you are more than correct – the bible gets used for a variety of abuses including what Fred Phelps and his crew do (also abortion doctor shootings, the kkk, etc). However, I consider the use of scripture by some to justify their behavior – which I would consider ‘bad’ – is just another take by that person (or movement) to justify what they do (with some proof for their reasons). This does not make them right – if anything – it makes them self-delusional.

    For example, in the case of people bombing abortion clinics and shooting doctors and a group called the ‘army of God’ – they tried to use scripture for their actions. They tend to not realize how to weigh and judge scripture – which is what anyone that studies is asked to do. Matthew 7:2 lays out a fairly good and practical teaching on this ‘by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.’

    So they must want also desire that same thing they desire to do to others – this is the golden rule in nutshell – a major piece of Jesus’ teachings. They overlook this I am guessing. I would also add in ‘do not murder’ from Matthew 5 (based on Exodus 20). Yet they can still overlook those obvious ideas for their warped ones…why? They are vigilantes in search of justice – and they don’t care the pieces of the teachings they have to break to fulfill their personal objectives.

    Interpretation, to me, is one that requires study and time – and then more of the same – as one winnows down to the core of the teaching(s). There are tonnes of bad interpretations out there – on many various things – but the writings seem to be asking for morality from the community (which would be faithfulness to God’s words). If an interpretation leads one into immorality – then I am not sure they understand how to interpret these teachings.

    “Both kill because of selfish desires which both have regardless of what they believe about a god or no god.” (dagoods)

    I agree. But that’s exactly my point concerning faith – it can help some to change from those selfish desires to one’s less selfish. I know this is true from my own personal study on this issue concerning Christians. I have seen many people change their lives after being touched by the morality of the teachings – the inherent goodness they read.

    I would also add that the Christian murder rate – of other people in church – is rather low to extinct. There must be something in those teachings that makes them want to ‘protect one another’. As for gay marriage, if the bill does or doesn’t pass then so be it – that has nothing to do with morality, but votes. The way a Christian person treats someone once they find out they are gay does. That’s what the teachings are overly concerned with.

    “Every single Christian, without exception, reads what deconverts say about Christianity and think, “Oh, s/he is talking about some other Christians” (dagoods)

    But that’s the problem – I am in full agreeance those problems are happening in the real world – in the Christian communities I am defending today. I do not fail to admit the numerous shortcomings of this faith – in the way it is played out a lot of times. I raise my questions of ire with those same people a lot of the time.

    However, I am not going to jump from an extreme to an extreme. I have my ‘axes to grind’ with my own faith as well – including some of the same things that bother many deconverts. But I am admitting where that comes from and my personal experience in those scenarios – many deconverts will not admit that. It’s outside them and based on reason…and this may be so…but it’s also based on personal experience (which makes the low factor for them concerning evidence).

    If deconverts want to get together and share their feelings of being burned and what have you – I am right there with all of them – and I even support that (I got a tale to tell). But I have to admit – the extreme some people go to concerning the Christian faith is ludicrous (ie: it is ‘bad’ or ‘useless’ or a ‘disease of the brain’) The stats just do not back it up. That’s when I have to call BS – because it seems someone’s personal experience is clouding the actual reality.

    Case in point. Reagan believed in the ‘end times’ scenario – a literalist if you will. What did his view of ‘armageddon’ make him do? It made him want to avoid it at all costs…up to the point of brokering deals with Soviet Union that eventually ensured the dismantling of nuclear weapons (which he built up to help push the Soviet Union to economic wear and tear – so they would have to broker this deal). Reagan, as an avid Christian, wanted to do away with all nuclear weapons (which was not a possibility – but it came close).

    Reagan even went a few steps further and fought to ensure human rights for Eastern European countries. Reagan made his mistakes (no doubts) but his beliefs about humanity were based on his faith – and he used those Christian ideals to help end the existence of the ‘cold war’. I find it funny – someone with beliefs that can be considered ‘bad’ – would make such strides for his country.

  16. Society,

    ** I know that many de-converts and Christians would not neccesarily agree that what I am saying is representative of the core fundamentals of the Christian faith. **

    I would say almost most. What I see from the de-converts is a critique on the exlusionary behavior. I highly doubt anyone would group your concept of Christianity that behavior, and I don’t think the way you live your life would get grouped into why many de-converts find Christianity “bad.” Almost all of the de-conversion contributors seem to have come from a fundamentalist/conservative evangelical background. As it is, most seem to say that the core fundamentals of a Christian faith are a belief set, not a behavior.

    **It is not considered ‘evil’ to not be part of the problem in my opinion – people cannot be blamed for the poverty on the planet when they are not actively making this happen (that’s guilting someone into a problem). **

    What’s the limit on actively making something happen? If we know of a genocide occuring across the globe, and do nothing to stop it, is our inaction considered evil? While we did nothing to cause the genocide to occur, and are not contributing to the genocide, doesn’t our inaction also speak to some sort of morality?

    **the Christian is left with no defense for his/her actions concerning ‘other’ people (they have the gospel to lead them in the moral direction – the whole bible for that matter). **

    Not necessarily, if the idea is the end justifies the means. I believe part of what drove the Inquisition was that torturing people into the faith was justified, because the “temporary” torment served to save them from the eternal torment after death. In their minds, they had a perfect defense for their actions, maybe even saw it as a method of love. Same with how Native Americans were treated after the Europeans came over here — it was the missionaries “Christian duty” to civilize the “heathens.” Or, as DagoodS pointed out, Christians can use Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees to justify a lot of less than pleasant behavior. And, to get back to the idea of hell, with your statement of the concept of hell does not allow one person to treat another with disdain — is it not a disdainful act to feel that it’s a matter of justice that people suffer simply for a lack of belief? That if there are millions in hell suffering, those in heaven are justified in doing nothing to help them? Not only that, but if you truly believe, deep down in your heart, that people absolutely deserve that type of torment, and don’t deserve love or compassion or anything good that comes from God, then I do see that coloring one’s behavior in this life. I don’t see how it couldn’t. Who is more likely to act loving, those who think that people deserve understanding and compassion, or those who think that people deserve to be tormented for eternity, but by sheer grace, can escape that?

    All of these types of things had some justification in the Bible. It’s not justification I agree with –I’m one of the people who would use Luke 6 as a basis for my interaction with others. Not always successfully, of course. But at the same time, there is some behavior in the gospels that is disturbing, and has been used for exactly the behavior explained above.

    **Now do some abuse this in this faith? Yes. But I would say, overwhelmingly, the majority if Christian people I meet daily have great qualities that can help contribute to society. I cannot see why that is a problematic statement.**

    It’s a prolematic statement depending on how it’s used. One of the “truth” claims to Christianity is the changed behavior it can lead to. However, if that is used as a proof, then it can be used across the board. Atheism is a true belief because of changed behavior. Mormonism is a true belief because of changed behavior. Yet many of the very people who use the changed behavior as a truth claim would say that atheism or Mormonism are false, because the doctrinal statements don’t match up with Christianity. So it can’t be used as a method for saying that only Christianity is true, because the very premise can be used to validate almost any belief set.

  17. **I will say though – it is just conversation – and the conversation does not mean those same people would committ any harm against you or I in reality. **

    This would really get down to the definition of immoral, though. I know that you are defining that category in terms of a crime, but I’m not sure we can keep it that narrow. For instance, I think the number of people who believe that Jesus is returning in their lifetime is around 44%. So if those 44% believe that, then it’s likely they also believe there’s no point in trying to conserve the environment. But such a belief does cause harm not only against us, but our future generations.

    Or look at how well the Left Behind series has done, which is all about the Rapture and the Second Coming. Those books are bestsellers, and yet if that is truly the perspective of all those who read them, then it’s a chilling perspective of humanity. From what I’ve read in the books, there is a huge lack of compassion for all who are not “saved” and the way that secular culture is perceived is troubling.

    Or look at how so many of the Religious Right are now flocking to Sarah Palin, because of who she is — a conservative Christian. Or how many supported Bush, because he’s a conservative Christian. We have clearly seen how well Bush worked out, and Sarah Palin concerns me a great deal, based on the interviews I’ve seen. Yet I would argue that having Bush in office has caused a great deal of harm to people, and a huge part of why he got there was due to the Religious Right.

    So when de-converts has qualms with Christianity/certain Christians, it’s because of examples like those. And those are qualms that resonate with me.

  18. Societyvs
    “Churches are not filled with people committing actions of immorality against their fellow neighbors – this is very rare coming from someone committed to the faith. And even when they do committ an action that is questionable – it is never held up as excusable – but as something in need of change (repentance).”

    You cant be serious, there are just as many rapists, abusers, thieves, pedophiles, cheaters, liars…………and the list goes on, sitting in the pews on a sunday as there are out in the secular world. Just because someone professes to be Christian doesnt mean they are no longer a shit. Of all people I would have thought you would known that.

  19. “As it is, most seem to say that the core fundamentals of a Christian faith are a belief set, not a behavior.” (OSS)

    While this may very well be so – even those people within those churches are fairly moral in nature…I came from the same theological background and can attest to this. It’s not like these people only hold some loose beliefs concerning their faith – as much as they hate to admit this – they also believe that one has to have the moral actions as proof of being in the faith (one’s works need to match one’s faith).

    So as much as I seem like some blatant outside view of the Christian faith – this is not actually quite so. Most Christians I know hold themselves to a high level of morality – not just based on their identification with Christian articles of faith (which I challenge all the time) – but because the teachings are that obvious concerning morality. So although I may debate the legitimacy of the articles of the Christian faith – and that’s where we see this difference between myself and core Christian faith – one thing is still constant – we both share this core standard for ethics (ie: the teachings of the gospel for example).

    “If we know of a genocide occuring across the globe, and do nothing to stop it, is our inaction considered evil? While we did nothing to cause the genocide to occur, and are not contributing to the genocide, doesn’t our inaction also speak to some sort of morality?” (OSS)

    So if I know of a genocide happening somewhere in this planet – nowhere near where I am – and I do nothing to stop it – then I am a criminal? How can that even be considered my fault? I have no power to stop it – nor do I hold any poltical or economic sway – I am nothing to nobody in some remote place. I can raise the issue, send some aid, and live un-like the genocidal maniacs from said region – but that’s really about it. Isn’t the best one could do is not committ those same mistakes of the genocidal maniacs? That’s all I would ask of anyone if they wanted to ‘change the world’. A lesson one could of easily learned from living in Nazi Germany or segregated America…you become the change you do not see.

    By this logic I should be walking around the Western World (America’s) blasting off about the Euro-French connection that helped commandiere control of the America’s – colonization and all the evil it wrought upon the original inhabitants of the America’s (those Indian groups I belong to). This would include anyone not from these land bases as they originally existed (ie: anyone that immigrated here). Because these problems with colonization are still occuring in the America’s – to this very day! I speak up where and when I can – and I live contrary to the ideals that make this happen – but should I blame all the European people that inhabit the America’s to this day for this ‘evil’? No. Unless you live in such a way as to promote that ideal all over again.

    “All of these types of things had some justification in the Bible. It’s not justification I agree with” (OSS)

    But then why hold that their interpretation deserves any merit? I refuse to hold that some justification of morals that are ‘evil’ in intent (ala Fred Phelps and his crew for example) find some easy biblical excuse for such behavior. To me, there has to be a problem with the interpretation being used and why they are doing that interpretation to suit some sadistic need? I think people can use the bible as an excuse mechanism – this is where my debate with interpretations always begins.

    For example, you mention hell as an idea for disdain for people and the use of torture to save some from hell. Ok, where are they getting these examples from for their sadistic interpretation? Is it Jesus? Is it Paul? Is it John? James? Peter? Who has authorized such an action? Which one of the 5 I just mentioned can be used in such a manner – as endorsing torture or using hell as way to ‘look down on others’? The justification for such behavor is scant to nil from what I have read.

    Granted some people do use Jesus’ more harsh rhetoric as reason for their own harsh rhetoric – I know this happens. But does the fact it happens justify the people’s behavior towards one another? I thought the main teaching of Jesus was ‘treat others how you want to be treated’? If these people think they can treat people like sh*t and still be following Jesus’ teachings – they are making some brutal interpretations and measures concerning the focus of this faith.

    I will also add that Jesus, when in these heated diatribes, is usually laying the argument towards the people in charge for their questionable behavior – kinda like us calling out the mistakes we see with some current religious practices. I will point out Jesus is only once ever seen as having a semi-violent outburst – over what? People selling sacrifices for profit…should we be mad if this becomes the case and only the elite can access the faith? But that’s really it…emotional diatribes and all – Jesus is very non-violent – I see little problem with taking a hard line on some justified things also.

  20. As long as the dishonesty continues, I will not respond to you.

    When you’re ready to talk, Dagoods, let me know. I see your dishonesty as denial. I don’t hold it against you.

  21. Society

    **So as much as I seem like some blatant outside view of the Christian faith – this is not actually quite so. Most Christians I know hold themselves to a high level of morality**
    But again, this is a narrow view of morality, and many aren’t defining it quite in this way. I reference my examples with the care of the environment, or how those belief structures got Bush in office, or even the Left Behind series, and how it portrays humanity. Those are the types of examples that many find troubling, and hence why they might have issues with the Christian faith. Or even Tony Campolo’s quote, where most of his audience were more upset by the use of the word “shit” than by the fact that so many children starved to death. Or if a belief structure has one feel that a woman truly should not be working, then will also cause harm, because that person will fight against equal working conditions for women. I don’t think any de-convert is saying that Christianity makes one more likely to murder or rape.

    But as we’ve discussed before, immoral actions usually start from a mindset, which I feel we can see in Jesus saying someone has already murdered if they hate, or already committed adultery if they lust. So even a conversation about how one is spiritually blind, or a conversation where the non-Christians viewpoint gets miscontrued can cause harm, because it’s planting seeds, where actions stem from.

    Or even look at this post I had a while back: http://wonderingwanderingthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/05/not-what-jesus-intented.html

    Issues like that are also why many have difficulties. I wouldn’t call the behavior of the Christians in that article malicious, or that they are doing so because they hate other people. But would claim their actions are out of love. But because of the total focus on getting people “born again,” they are not addressing some of the issues closer to home for the indigenious people. This is exactly why so many Progressive Christians (and possibly conservatives, though I hear about the Progressives more) are calling for social justice, because it’s been exluded for so long, due to the attention on spiritual matters.

    **So if I know of a genocide happening somewhere in this planet – nowhere near where I am – and I do nothing to stop it – then I am a criminal?**
    It’s not that I’m saying if you don’t do anything, you have broken some sort of legal code. I don’t think anyone is saying that. But if there are thousands of people doing nothing to stop the genocide, what then? Is there any difference between seeing someone get beat up in front of you and doing nothing to stop it, and knowing that people across the globe are getting slaughtered, and doing nothing to stop it? If thousands of people start writing letters to Congress on this, then they would be influencing those in power to do something.

    **For example, you mention hell as an idea for disdain for people and the use of torture to save some from hell. Ok, where are they getting these examples from for their sadistic interpretation? Is it Jesus? Is it Paul? Is it John? James? Peter? Who has authorized such an action?**
    It’s a matter of cause and effect. Again, look at history. Look at the behavior of those who felt a group of “others” deserved no love, no compassion, no justice — that they deserved a horrible fate. How do they behave towards the other? And perhaps the person might be loving towards someone now, but there will come a point — in the afterlife — at which the person might see you suffering in hell, and do nothing to help, or feel you deserve that.

    And they can look at the example of the rich man and Lazarus, or the five virgins being shut out, or Paul saying do not be yoked unequally with believers, or saying that those who don’t understand Christianity the right way are spiritually blind, or saying that those who reject Jesus (as the person “properly” understands Jesus) are in love with the darkness and in love with their own sin, or even thinking that those who reject Jesus are the children of the devil (now, the rich man and the foolish virgins did commit certain actions, yes. But so many non-Christians would get grouped in with the rich man or the foolish virgins, not becuase of behavior, but because of the lack of the right belief). All of those can add up towards one group of people dismissing another one. And it’s also watching what it does to people when telling them they deserve bad things to happen to them, or they don’t deserve anything good.

    Now, I have no doubt that some are using the BIble to justify sadism. However, I don’t think we can say that every immoral behavior was because someone got off on pain. The missionaries truly thought they were doing the best thing for the Native Americans. Many in the Inquisition probably felt that they must do whatever they had to to save people from hell. It would be like us seeing a family member using drugs and ruining his/her life, and locking the family member up in rehab. The family member might think we’re awful, immoral people, but we can see the “bigger picture” and thus we’ll do something that the drug addict felt was horrible at the time.

    **But does the fact it happens justify the people’s behavior towards one another? I thought the main teaching of Jesus was ‘treat others how you want to be treated’?**
    Main teaching to you. Not to everyone. De-converts don’t have issues with Christianity because of the golden rule.

  22. SocietyVs,

    I think there is some misunderstanding, because we are using two words very differently. Those words are “bad” and “Christianity.”

    When I review Christianity as whether it is “bad”—I am using the definition of “not good, defective, incorrect, faulty, erroneous” as well as the definition of “immoral, evil.” I find it “bad” on the first part of the definition, and struggle more with the second. You (it would seem) meant “bad” as ONLY “immoral, evil.”

    When I read your question “Is Christianity Bad?” I was looking for not only moral reasons, but factual reasons as well. I tend to focus on the factual, more than the moral (although I do see some moral problems.) Thus my response does not make sense in certain parts, as I was concentrating on other definitions of “bad.”

    I have some significant concerns about how you are using the term “Christianity.” First you eliminate “belief” as the necessary condition; rather using “action.” (Albeit, action because of a certain belief.) So we determine Christianity by action. But then, when other actions, which you think are immoral, are justified by the Bible, you indicate these are the incorrect interpretations.

    I will ask, as I always do: Where do I go to find the “correct” interpretation? What block of the universe is this interpretation written upon so that we may discover it?

    This creates a self-fulfilling definition of Christianity whereby it is almost impossible to be an immoral Christian! Thus it is no surprise you do not find immorality in Christianity.

    The definition you seem to be using is this: “A person who acts in accordance with an interpretation of the Bible that is moral in my opinion.” How, under that definition, could a Christian ever be someone who is NOT moral?

    Let me try an illustration. Imagine we were talking about boats. I was concerned about the viability of a certain watercraft. To which you reply, “Don’t worry—that is a boat. And I define boats as ‘watercraft that will not sink.’”

    I ask, “What happens if it sinks?”
    You respond: “Then it wasn’t a boat!”

    Not very helpful, eh? We deconverts are talking about ALL the boats. We see some that sink, some that barely float, and some that move along with no problems. If you only want us to talk about the ones that “don’t sink” then it is no wonder we are having this misunderstanding. You cannot fathom what it is we are talking about regarding sinking boats. Because under your definition “boats don’t sink”!

    We talk to Christians based upon what they claim they believe. Whether it is inerrancy, or inspiration or deity of Jesus, or some moral concept such as women being pastors. And on that topic, we point out things that are “bad.” By “bad” we mean incorrect (Jesus was NOT a deity) as well as immoral (slavery is NOT acceptable.) If the only part of Christianity being “bad” that you want to focus on is the immorality part, then you wouldn’t understand the incorrect part.

    And we talk about ALL Christians’ morality. Not the ones people like to “pick and choose” as the prime examples and bury the others under the label, “No True Christian.”

    If I point out to you how I think Christianity is “bad” because it is wrong; this is not what you are talking about. If I point out how certain Christians are immoral; you exclude them as not interpreting correctly. It seems to be a self-defining definition like “it is not a boat because I define boats as watercraft that does not sink.”

    Secondly, you switched methods on me. First you said:

    SocietyVs: It’s hard to define bad or good for every and all situations – so I won’t – but we all are aware of the obvious – how we like to be treated (with dignity). I think when people step away from their duty to treat you with dignity – then they are entering a territory of evil. This would be how I view the Christian idea of morality and immorality.

    All right. But immediately when applying this, you ask me:

    SocietyVs: How many Christians, and I am going according to USA law, have committed an actual crime against you? My personal guess would be close to zero. Now if the belief(s) of this faith are ‘bad’ then the evidence for such a claim will not be hard to find at all. This does not seem to be the case at all. Churches are not filled with people committing actions of immorality against their fellow neighbors – this is very rare coming from someone committed to the faith.

    Why did you switch from “treat with dignity” as being our moral compass to “commit a crime”? Even more importantly, in your blog entry, you used “love your neighbor.” If we used “love your neighbor” as the barometer of morality/immorality, re-read your statement “Churches are not filled with people committing actions of immorality [i.e. people not loving their neighbors]…”

    Are you kidding me? Of course they are filled with such people! No, if all you want to talk about as barring someone from being a Christian is MURDER and RAPE, then the majority of Christians are not committing these crimes. Again, a majority of non-Christians are not committing these crimes, either.

    No Christians have ever committed a crime against me—true. But no Deists have either. No agnostics, atheists, Hindus, Aztecs, Native Americans, etc. Why didn’t you ask the more important question. “How many Christians have failed to loved you like themselves?” Got a couple days?

    SocietyVs, the fact you veer away from your own defintion of morality when viewing Christians says more about your concern regarding the morality of Christianity than I ever could.

    Realize I don’t expect Christians to act any better or any worse. I understand they are doing it on their own—no god is helping them.

    I will reiterate OneSmallStep:

    Deconverts don’t have issues with Christianity because of the Golden Rule.

    We have issues because of the failure to implement the Golden rule, as well as the lack of foundation for the factual basis of Christianity.

  23. This creates a self-fulfilling definition of Christianity whereby it is almost impossible to be an immoral Christian! Thus it is no surprise you do not find immorality in Christianity.” (Dagoods)

    But that’s just plainly not true – I do find immorality within known Christian circles – and I fully admit that. Where we disagree is that these same people who committ the immorality can justify that behavior by the use of scripture – I disgaree there.

    For example, there really is very little said about racism in the scriptures/teachings – actually I would say the word is never mentioned. Does the absence of the word and idea allow for me the right to hate someone because they are not ‘my race’? No. There is no scripture for such a use to justify said behavior – most teachings stand in stern opposition of this ideal (love your neighbor as yourself/golden rule). But did that stop many people from justifying their behavior in mid 50’s America towards black people? No.

    What seems to be happening – is exactly what you are mentioning – this ‘pick n choose’ method – which really has no method whatsoever – like cutting n pasting scripture from all over the place to make some cohesive doctrine. Error after error occurs in this methodology. I will show you I do not use this methodology – in due time.

    How, under that definition, could a Christian ever be someone who is NOT moral?” (Dagoods)

    It could not. People that delight in the abuse of others are not ‘godly’ – and I would say some of them are barely human(e).

    By “bad” we mean incorrect…” (Dagoods)

    Then say ‘incorrect’ – when I use ‘bad’ I am talking simply about immoral outcomes to actions. I think this is the point and concern of scripture. I do believe error is also a concern – but it’s concern about that seems to be also with immorality that rises due to error…which I think most of us that debate share that concern.

    If the only part of Christianity being “bad” that you want to focus on is the immorality part, then you wouldn’t understand the incorrect part.” (Dagoods)

    Agreed…but my prime focus is on the morality and immorality vent…not so much on the incorrect part (but when it effects actions/behavior – it is a huge concern of mine).

    If I point out to you how I think Christianity is “bad” because it is wrong; this is not what you are talking about. If I point out how certain Christians are immoral; you exclude them as not interpreting correctly” (Dagoods)

    I think rightfully so though. All of it is a matter of interpretation – since it is all literature. If Christianity is ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’ – then we need to also address the standard they are pulling these directive from (ie: scripture).

    My debate all along is that scripture is overtly and obviously concerned with one’s action/deeds/behaviors and the change involved there. This is not a matter of ‘interpretation’ but of plain obviousness to any reader. I can flip the bible open to almost any single spot (maybe except the writings) and find moral directives – which I will do right now with a NT NASB (from Gideon’s).

    EX1: Romans 1: 12 “that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine

    Encouragement – “These verbs mean to impart courage, inspiration, and resolution to” (American Heritage Dictionary).

    One could grasp from this chapter of Romans 1 – namely this verse – Paul wants us to develop this attitude of encouraging others within ourselves. This is moral in nature. The opposite would be discouragement – which all of us likely know how that can help hurt us.

    EX2: Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

    The passage is concerned with ‘purity’ – or one could say ‘clean or moral’. How is it done? By exactly the idea I am relating in every blog I write – by keeping/following the teachings…why the hell would the psalmist say (a few times) this if this is not quite the case? I re-iterate his point some 2000+ years later on this blog.

    Why didn’t you ask the more important question. “How many Christians have failed to loved you like themselves?” Got a couple days?” (Dagoods)

    This is a good point – and it is true. The reason I mentioned the idea of crimes and what have you – is my concern is with Christians acting in a manner that is – well against the individual – statistically this can be monitored via criminal stats. I also like to point out – that the law we live under will determine truly ‘bad’ people from truly ‘moral’ people – this is the intention of the law and prisons. Thus I kind of went to it as proof. Mistakenly – maybe?

    However, your question about Christians failing to love you like themselves is a very good point. If this is the critique from de-converts – then this is really not an issue for me to tackle – I would that all de-converts would talk to those that have offended them and work these problems out foe their health – and the health of the other (nothing like taking the high road here). But you are right – I have not addressed this in specific – and many people within the faith fail to live close to this barometer.

    We have issues because of the failure to implement the Golden rule, as well as the lack of foundation for the factual basis of Christianity.” (Dagoods)

    True – if this is so – then what is the next step? Complaint or solution? Debate or defuse? I just don’t quite get the deconversion agenda – as much as the complaints exist for verifiable reasons – very little is actually done to rectify any situation whatsoever. If anything, their seems to exist extreme bitternesses towards the people that wronged the individuals – and no one is doing nothing to examine that problem (dealing with the problems that seem to lie under the emotional surface). In the end, people will tow a line and blame christianity – even if it means nothing gets solved.

    I would’t think this was a problem except I know how it feels to be ‘burned’ by christinaity and the church myself – and I know what happens emotionally in the person and the problems that prop up. There is some denial on that site of this idea – they did not get hurt in the process – you have come to admit such a claim. But that denial does not help the person to become ‘whole’ again – it just hides the pain. That’s my personal concern – I don’t actually care if any single deconvert ever comes back to the faith – but they should at least deal with issues of the past to make a clean break forward.

    That is why it bothers me when all a deconvert can do is try to destroy the faith – as if nothing within that faith is good. I know that is an extreme position but it reveals one thing also – bias and lack of reasonableness. Does someone need to physically walk these people into church communities to see that the faith makes some people ‘better’? This is where my second level of conern exists.

    Finally, I think the if based on the first 2 problems, the person would have to be self-decieving themselves. I know there is hurt from the past and reason to want to see the faith fall to it’s knees (for justification of one’s pain) – but if this is causing one to develop bias and, in some, hatred towards the Christian faith – how can they be trusted to be even reasonable anymore? They have too much reason not to be. So when they address this faith – its going to be tough to trust their opinions.

    Now I am not saying you are like this Dagoods – this is a basic observation of what I have heard from many people that have de-converted over the past 3 years – from a variety of sites. I am justified in having these concerns – if only based on that case from Colorado and that kid shooting up a missionary place and then planning to shoot into a church. Recently, in my city, a kid entered a Lutheran high school with a gun and held teachers and audience hostage to get his concerns across. This kid was kicked out last year from that same school – exactly what happened in Colorado. Good thing this was a bb gun.

    My concerns are not only justified – but neccesary – there are extremes from both sides that need addressing in this day in age…and I have no problem addressing either side – whether it’s debating Christian standards/theologies or deconverts concerning their attitude towards Christianity and some of the pain inherent there.

    Finally, I will explain my biblical model for interpretation in a nutshell.

    (a) I use one book/writing as the core standard – then move forward from that standard –comparing back to the original in interpretation.

    (b) That book is Matthew – and the moral pattern is laid out very early on and easy to follow
    a. “Follow Me’ – is the core theme – mentorship ideal – student to teacher

    b. ‘Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ‘ – is the gospel – we need to take responsibility and enact ideals in the ‘here and now’ keeping with this allegiance to said ‘kingdom/rulership’

    c. Those ideals pop up in Matthew 5:2-11 – the beatitudes serve as an index to the core teachings that will be broken down in the following chapters – they serve as an outline

    d. Matt 7:24-29 is the pattern explained quite well – we are building a house on a sure foundation – that foundation can be found at your fingertips (the teachings)

    e. The most important teachings of that foundation are made clear by Jesus himself:

    i. Matt 7:12 – “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

    ii. Matt 22:37-40 – “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.”The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. ‘On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

    It’s really not that hard to be honest – it’s about simplification and being honest with the way these books were collected and then developed. Honest study reveals authorial intention within the books or letters as studied. I think the model I am using is about as fair is it is going to get and helps one to understand that they start and end somewhere – and cannot be bounced all over the place by a variety of authors.

    This is not ‘cut n paste’ doctrine making nor is it picking n choosing – this gospel would have existed as a singular authority in some community at some period of time (likely prior to 100 AD) – and was not collected into the official book collection we call the NT until after 400 AD sometime. I am being fair to the history and use of the document – and my study stays within it’s pages first n foremost – then branches out.

  24. Societyvs

    I am not a De convert, but I can understand why many act the way they do. I believe you are right when you mention about genuine change(for the better) in regards to faith. I too also believe that much of Biblical material is excellent and practical for helping us lead better lives, both individually and communally. I think one of the major stumbling blocks and bones of contention for many De cons is that fact that they were told and taught that all scripture is the inerrant word of God. This leaves no room for growth and change. Its kind of like, take it or leave it, this is the way it is. If it is the inerrant word of God, then how can you deal with the Moral implications of the Scripture that just isnt right? Racism, slavery, misogyny……..the list goes on. If I had been spoon fed much of what I hear the De cons got, right from birth, well I’d be a little Jaded and Pissed too.

  25. JT–If it is the inerrant word of God, then how can you deal with the Moral implications of the Scripture that just isnt right? Racism, slavery, misogyny

    When we stumble on a biblical passage that we can’t fathom, what should we do? Should we look at the possibility that it is factually incorrect, or should we investigate the context and dig into the meaning of the passage.

    The most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had with Scripture is digging into the original language, studying the context around the statements, and often being slapped in the face with something I hadn’t even thought of. Romans 3:11 repeats a note from Psalm 62, “No one seeks God, no one understands him” (paraphrase). I was challenged by that and wrestled with it until it hit me; God reveals himself to us. We don’t find him, he finds us and enables us to understand him. Think about it. He designed our brains and our souls. It isn’t anything we’ve done to know him. Now you could scoff at Romans 3:11 and walk away, but it’s a lot better to try to grasp the meaning first.

    If you really think that “Racism, slavery, misogyny” are approved by the Word, then you haven’t dug too deep. Societyvs made it clear enough reviewing the two commandments. They prohibit those three evils.

    I assume one could interpret Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” and consider it a good playbook for running the government (perhaps the Bush administration did just that?), or read Grisham’s “The Firm” and think it’s a good recipe for running a law firm, only in that way can you get racism, slavery, and mysogyny supported by the Word of God.

  26. Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.

    18But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

    JJ…………….I dont need to wrestle with this one. It hits me right between the eyes. Mind it doesnt say anything about racism, just slavery, misogyny and in the words of Gollum…..MURDERRRRRR

  27. God can’t destroy his own creation when he is fed up with them? The quintessential human fantasy, particularly in the spoiled West, is that God would create us to spoil us with goodies.

  28. JJ

    You know I had that thought just the other day. My 14yr old is becoming a real pain in the ass, and being the loving parent and all, I thought I would get rid of him………… Man I cant believe you actually think like that……wow

  29. “They prohibit those three evils. ”

    no, actually the bible doesn’t really tackle these. paul says “slaves obey your masters” and the like. Bible has nothing to say about it other than accepting it as “the way the world works”

    “God can’t destroy his own creation when he is fed up with them?”

    i echo John T that i can’t believe you’d say that. if God is love and always giving us second chances and going for course corrective measures, then NO! God WON’T destroy us (it’s not so much that God can’t, it’s that God won’t). geez oh pete dude.

  30. “If I had been spoon fed much of what I hear the De cons got, right from birth, well I’d be a little Jaded and Pissed too” (John)

    I will actually not deny that – I know that is true. I hear their stories and what they were taught and sometimes it’s very hard to swallow that people treated them in such ‘dictorial’ fashion. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t been a part of pentecostal churches myself (I am guessing America might be more extreme than Canada altogether).

    However, I experienced the same thing – my whole family has – at the hands of the church – from osctracism to name calling to ‘hatred’ (at times). Now if anything – the resentment I see in De-cons I should also contain – and feel some justification for it – but I don’t. I am not going to take some low road because it presents itself – and gloat about the fact the church is making some horrible mistakes. Mistakes that have effected me on a very personal and emotional level.

    What did I do? I went back to church and faced these people face to face – like a man – ‘only did what I did because I was not a kid’ (Chuck D). I made things right where there were problems before – I thanked the people for the guidance and mentorship they provided – I did not forget all the good things because the current ‘bad’ outweighed it. I talked to them straight out – pastors included – about the problems they made in the past and situations they were involved in that have caused hurt. I did not pull punches about a single thing – becasue I saw myself as an equal – and I will be approached that way – and demand that respect if I am giving it.

    Has everything worked out? No. The problems that existed with churches and my family still remain unsettled – and no real headway has been made on solving the problems. Both sides think they are right so we likely won’t see any movement. However, I laid my conscience and heart on that altar of theirs and made it known where I stand – that I am not against them – but I cannot be for their actions (which I feel need real repentance). I feel good about what I have done – which amounted to much of nothing – but it free’d me. I can’t solve all the problems the church makes – but I sure as hell can take full responsibility for mine.

    So yeah, I can understand where someone that is pissed off is coming from – angry to the point of wanting to crack someone around even – I have been there with certain church officials. But I always fell back onto the standards I committed myself to – namely in the gospel of Matthew. I am asked to make ‘peace’ where and when I can – have ‘mercy’ for sometimes people do not understand the consequence of their actions, forgive when it is appropriate and things can be worked out, and repent (take responsibility) for my personal behavior in the situations. I have a very tough time calling any of that ‘bad’.

  31. JT-Man I cant believe you actually think like that

    You and Luke are changing the context. There is a difference between God and You. I sure hope you know that. The Old Testament makes it clear several times that God is absolutely sovereign, not Monday to Friday sovereign, not kinda sorta sovereign, he is sovereign. And that means he has the right to destroy what he created, much like an artist who throws his painting, that just won’t come together, into the fire. God is not just our father, but our Creator also.

    Of course we see God as a father and we are his children. Which should convict us of our sins because his patience with us is great. But he does draw the line, and we should take notice of that. It’s a test to the prideful, in my opinion, those OT massacres. A punkish and prideful worldview generally proceeds from those who can’t get past those stories of severe judgment. Does that explain Luke and JT? Just a thought.

  32. JJ,

    God is sovereign and doesn’t need us, not one bit. HOWEVER! We are in covenant with God. God created us, we proceed from God and we are loved and granted grace from God. This isn’t even the NT view yet, the NT only adds HOW God provides Grace, namely through Jesus Christ… with me so far?

    Knowing that God loved us enough to create us and send God’s son as example AND to guide us with the Holy Spirit makes me one humble dude. I know that there is nothing that I can do that will cause God to hate me. I point to the majority of the proverbs, the gospels and esp. James 5:11 “You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”

    Severe judgement is def. in the bible and you’re right! we should take heed. but the escatalogical hope of the ENTIRE NT (that means Jesus, Peter, Paul, James, John, the whole lot) is that God will establish a harmoneous kingdom. That is the HOPE of Jesus, not the depressing vengeful, slightly psychotic god you’re setting up.

    Will there be judgement and what will that look like? let’s look at Paul. Paul elludes to it in the letters he definately wrote but in no way spells it out (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon)..it’s very clear in the Deutero-Pauline Epistles (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) and yet contradicted in the Pastoral Epistles which Paul didn’t write (1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus). so there will be a judgment, but not because God is angry of vengeful or because we’re awful, horrible sinners. but, according to Paul, because we have faith in Christ and that faith is joyous (1 Thess 2:19-20).

  33. “And that means he has the right to destroy what he created, much like an artist who throws his painting, that just won’t come together, into the fire. God is not just our father, but our Creator also.” (Jim)

    The big worry there is – is God specific about His judgment or arbitrary? Or does this even truly exist? I can think of a few regimes in the last 100 years that should have been stopped for their excessive crimes that must of reached high heaven – ex: Nazi Germany or more recently the Sudan. But no stoppage – same crimes kept happening.

    So when I read those stories in light of the reality of what is happening in these days – I have to question their absolute validity or point. Is it actually about sovereignty? I would have to say ‘no’. It doesn’t seem to be about God at all – but about human behaviour in light of the teachings from God.

    In all honesty, the writings are simply stories about history that are never used by Jesus one time (and almost never by his disciples). So for people to pull stuff from the writings (concerning war) and to make it into a God debate – to me it reflects a lack of understanding concerning those stories. I personally point people in the direction of Judaism and rabbinic teachings for more solid answers concerning the writings and the story in Numbers.

    I answered this before concerning Numbers – anyone read any good novels about people from the Vietnam War…not a very pretty picture and of course, the side the person on was the side that ‘needed to win or was righteous’. Any war story is really that simple – and yes – we will find that these stories will reflect a narrative of life, death, and faith – humans haven’t really changed that much.

    Can someone listen to ‘God is on our side’ by Bob Dylan for further on what I am referencing here.

    But I also think Jim – you are going too far in trying to prove God’s sovereignty also – when the argument against it is quite solid. God can very well be sovereign – but we do know that He has stepped back from the scene (it would appear that way to me). I am not sure people should use the stories of the writings or Numbers in such a carte blanche way to explain ‘God can do whatever He wants, He’s in charge!’ That’s not the point of those stories and if it is – well current historical dilemma’s are not helping that case out.

    “It’s a test to the prideful, in my opinion, those OT massacres” (Jim)

    A massacre is a test from God? Concerning someone’s/nations pride? When you think about it – this really cannot be the case – since the annihilation of the nation in question was the sent purpose (that’s not a test). One could say Hitler was puting a test on the Jews during WW2 also…perhaps? That line of thinking just will not work in reality. The purpose of those passages has nothing to do with testing the other nation. I cannot agree with this concept.

    To me, and this is just me, it is so plainly obvious that those stories are about war and an explanation of that concept in these people’s eyes. Maybe they felt they had to destory certain villages to conquer the land – that’s very possible – and they colored it in a language that makes them seem ‘victorious’. I don’t think there really is much more to that in those stories.

    People march them out at a drop of the hat to make the scriptures look bad – but that doesn’t mean those same people are correct. It’s war – war sucks – and explanations of war suck just as much. Everytime I see those stories get thrown out I recognize the weakness of their argument almost immediately – lack of depth. Blame God – look God is mentioned here – and such and such – until deaf ears actually start bleeding. I am like ‘so’? George Bush pretty much did the same thing in the name of America in his war on ‘terra’. People got to get over this blame God for what happened in Numbers and the Writings crap. It’s beyond old.

  34. **The big worry there is – is God specific about His judgment or arbitrary? Or does this even truly exist? **

    The other thing about this analogy is that in order for it to work, it’s reducing people to paintings, or any other non-sentient “thing” that a person creates. If you compared someone you loved to a painting, what does that say about the depth of your love? Someone might be upset that a painting they treasured was destroyed, but they are usually 10xs more upset if a person they loved is gone.

  35. Jason
    “Everytime I see those stories get thrown out I recognize the weakness of their argument almost immediately – lack of depth. Blame God – look God is mentioned here – and such and such – until deaf ears actually start bleeding. I am like ‘so’?”

    When I made reference to the numbers scripture it was to point out that theres no way it is Divinely inspired. The point is, that its pretty obvious its a bunch of nasty Humans spouting their sheit. We’ve seen it before and we’ll see it again. Human nature…….or at least half of the human nature……..not so nice.

  36. JT–When I made reference to the numbers scripture it was to point out that theres no way it is Divinely inspired. The point is, that its pretty obvious its a bunch of nasty Humans spouting their sheit.

    So, JT Numbers is sheit. Thanks for the clarification. So God can’t “abort” HIs creation?

    OSS—The other thing about this analogy is that in order for it to work, it’s reducing people to paintings, or any other non-sentient “thing” that a person creates.

    Paintings are created. People are created. What is the difference? Again, you’re putting your own pride before your reason. I pointed out that we cannot make ourselves gods, and all you say is, “Yes, we can!” Well, Good Luck with that.

    And, this argument of yours begs the question: Are you still pro-abortion? You know, flushing out the…..creation.

    Luke–That is the HOPE of Jesus, not the depressing vengeful, slightly psychotic god you’re setting up.

    The “slightly psychotic god” (the Abortionist Extraordinaire) was confessed by Jesus to be His Father. Look at how often Jesus quoted those psychotic OT Scriptures. Maybe your jesus is psychotic.

    Jim J —A punkish and prideful worldview generally proceeds from those who can’t get past those stories of severe judgment.

    OK, hypocrites, I rest my case.

  37. Jim,

    **Paintings are created. People are created. What is the difference?**

    The difference is that paintings are not people. Paintings are not sentient. They don’t feel pain, compassion, love, any of that. They don’t have anywhere near the value that a person does — or shoud. We don’t blink if someone destroys a painting, because it’s a painting. But if we had someone shoot up a school, and then tell everyone that no one should care because it’s like ripping up a bunch of paintings, then we are going to react, because we find the comparison horrific. Not only that, but if God can destroy people the way an artist has a right to destroy his own painting, then it’s implying that God views us the way an artist views a painting, which can come across as the idea that God loves us/cares for us/has compassion on us as much as an artist does for his/her painting. We usually don’t find it healthy if an artist places as much value on a painting as s/he would a person, and we would not find it a comfort if someone said that they love us as much as they love their painting. People rush back into burning buildings to save other people. They generally do not do that to save a painting. Or if one of your family members is dying, and someone says to you, “Why bother praying to God? The family member is just a painting to God,” you’re not going to find something a little off with that comparison? If anything, the comparison reduces anything that God feels towards us. On the one hand, we have the idea that God loves us so much He sent his son to die for us. On the other hand, we get told that we are to God as paintings are to us? You don’t send your child to die for paintings. So think about how people feel about paintings, because this analogy is telling me that God has the same type of feelings towards humanity as we all do towards paintings. It’s not prideful to say that people have more worth than a painting.

    **And, this argument of yours begs the question: Are you still pro-abortion? You know, flushing out the…..creation.**
    Yes, I am pro-choice, and this is relevant to my critique how? This isn’t in any way refuting the actual argument itself, this is dealing with me personally. I could just as easily reverse this, Jim, but think it would be better to stay on the points of the discussion itself.

  38. Pingback: No "Right to Choose" for God, No, Sir | The Moral Science Club

  39. #41 is a glitch due to a blog syndication. Whenever I post a link in a blog, it posts it as a comment on the linked blog.

    OSS – It is not only relevant, it is the same discussion. You are right that people are sentient beings. Children are sentient beings, too.

    But what is our sentience next to God’s? 10 gazilllionths? To believe that requires a higher view of God. He is everything and we are nothing without Him. Your contempt for the OT God is a contempt for God in general. And if you truly loved Him and His creation, then you would be pro-life.

    God has the right to destroy His creation. We do not. But if we have a high opinion of ourselves, then we don’t accept God’s judgment and, yes, that leads to a prideful worldview. You know what you are saying; God has no “right to choose” but we humans do. What an awfully misguided choice! Sorry, but I can’t be too positive about something that thick. Regards.

  40. “God has the right to destroy His creation. We do not” (Jim)

    Why? I mean, if we want to be godly (which is being like God), and if God can committ actions which we would consider atrocious (wiping out the human race) – then why can’t we copy said actions? We are mini-creators of our children – we actually make that whole thing happen – and if God has the right to destroy His creation…well. Good bye abortion defense.

    “But if we have a high opinion of ourselves, then we don’t accept God’s judgment and, yes, that leads to a prideful worldview.” (JIm)

    I don;t understand this – what’s so proud about thinking God would not destroy His creation? If anything, I would think this is applaudable – and likely more along the lines of accurate theology than one that has God being callous towards His own creation (wiping them out when and where He chooses). That theology may have been applaudable in the time of Genesis (I am not sure) but it sure doesn’t sit well with humanity now.

    For good reason, we have seen attempts at such behavior (genocide) on the news (or newsreels) – it just doesn’t seem moral or humane. One could ask the very obvious – what side was God on in those scenarios – since nothing was done to intervene? There goes the argument ‘God can do whatever He wants, it’s His earth’ – cause – uhm – He didn’t.

    Also, it’s a known Christian truth that the role of Jesus was to die on behalf of humanity – does this sound like a God that ‘destroys creation whenever He wants’? Fact is – you are referencing material (from Genesis or Numbers or the Writings) where the point may not be about this very thing (God’s control).

    I am not denying God does have control of the whole ‘living’ thing – but how that looks is up for some serious debate. We have seen tonnes of things happen in the past 100 years that leaves any basic religious mind to question God’s role/intervention in the affairs of humanity – if any. Two of the worst wars in human history happened in the 1900’s – supposedly a more civilized time than say ‘Numbers’…yet we do not see some intervention from God there to stop this from happening once, nevermind twice.

    Your point about God ‘having complete sovereignty’ is a hard one to defend in all honesty. That means God ordained it all to happen – including a holocaust against a people that supposedly belong to Him, plenty of wars that have destroyed humanity across this globe, the use of atmoic energy against Japan, AIDS and other diseases wiping out humanity, etc. How can one defend this God as ‘moral and good’ after any of that? I would like to say that is harder uphill climb than riding a mountain bike up Mt Everest.

    It seems sensible to me that God has allowed humanity it’s leaway with decisions and choices to do what they will with what they have been given. Now this can produce the best of humanity and the worst of humanity at the same time – but humans are responsible for their actions and consequences. God seems to have stepped back for humanity to ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…’ (Gen 1:28). This idea comes straight from Genesis chapter 1. God seems the have no problem there with humans taking care of the planet.

    It just seems like the logical choice – God created – and left us in charge of the decisions to be made for this planet.

  41. Jim,

    **Your contempt for the OT God is a contempt for God in general. And if you truly loved Him and His creation, then you would be pro-life.**
    I have a contempt for the Tanakh God because I find fault with your analogy? Again, Jim, this is addressing me, not my argument. Saying these types of things does nothing in invalidate my statement that the analogy you used can come across as “God has as much feeling for us as we do for paintings.” Or “we have as much worth to God as paintings do to us.” And as I said, on the one hand we are told we have so much worth/value to God that his son died for us, and on the other hand, God thinks of us as paintings?

    For example, if I am told that God is our Father, then to get an idea of what the means, I would think of my own father, or the best fathers I have seen. That would give me a glimmer into what it means for God to love me as a Father. When applying that same method to the analogy you used, in that as we have the right to destroy paintings, God has the right to destroy us, I would look at how people feel about paintings, how they treat paintings, and so forth. And here, I am focusing on the people = paintings portion.

    On the one hand, there is a huge amount of worth used when people explain the nice aspects of God in the Bible. He knows that people have worth, so He says to feed the poor, love your neighbor, God died for you, and so forth. Yet when it comes to the unpleasant aspects of God, people suddenly become no more than paintings. Where’s their worth then? As much as a painting?

    **God has the right to destroy His creation. We do not. But if we have a high opinion of ourselves, then we don’t accept God’s judgment and, yes, that leads to a prideful worldview. You know what you are saying; God has no “right to choose” but we humans do. What an awfully misguided choice! Sorry, but I can’t be too positive about something that thick.**

    Again — not my argument. My *specific* critique is in regards to your analogy, in comparing people to paintings. I am not debating you on the rights God has in destroying His creation, I am not debating on the merits of God’s judgement, or how I feel about God’s judgement, I am debating you on the merit of the analogy, and what people must be reduced to in order for the analogy to have merit.

    Saying people have more worth than a painting is not a prideful worldview. Saying that people are gods, yes. But people having worth is not the same as people are gods.

  42. “The “slightly psychotic god” (the Abortionist Extraordinaire) was confessed by Jesus to be His Father. Look at how often Jesus quoted those psychotic OT Scriptures. Maybe your jesus is psychotic.” -Jim J

    i do look at what Jesus quotes, and it’s from the prophets and usually about a loving God who grants mercy. when we read the scriptures we don’t read the word of God we read FOR it. Jesus didn’t have a literalist view of the scriptures either, he found himself fullfilling and ramping up the Torah.

    “you hyppocrites” -Jim J.

    those in glass houses… not very christain of you to resort to ad hominem.

    “God has no “right to choose” but we humans do. What an awfully misguided choice!” -Jim J.

    lot of assumptions there. best quit while you’re ahead.

  43. Jim J.

    the more i think about it the less i like it. you’re what’s wrong with Christianity today.. i never mentioned anything about abortion and yet there you go with your assumptions. assuming makes and ass out of u and me. way to go there cowboy. thanks for sticking with the stereotype of judgemental and ignorant.

  44. Luke,
    You’re right. I am ahead, way ahead in this debate. God is not a man and men are not gods. The higher opinion we have of ourselves, the lower our opinion of God is. Inversely proportional.

    “Judgmental and ignorant”. You judge God. I judge you. Who has a better chance at successful judgment? Who then is ignorant?

    Society
    Being “more like God” is being godly. We can’t be God. We have His son to show us how WE are supposed to be godly, in case there were any desires in us to kill people in God’s name. Big difference between God and man. If God really wanted to destroy His creation, who are we on this mote of dust to complain about it? Rebuking God is unwise at best, likely foolish.

    we actually make that whole thing happen
    Now go make a man and woman capable of reproduction….and you’ll be given zero ingredients. Then you ‘made the whole thing happen’. What you’re saying is infinitely worse than me telling my daughter’s mom, “Yeah, baby, I did all the work!” Andrew Dice Clay used that as a joke, and it is.

    And, yes, God is nice, very nice. If He was a selfish gloat like the average human being, He would never have bothered to create in the first place. The creation speaks to the selfless sacrifice of God – and the cross of Christ confirms that in our linear history.

    But what if we usurp God’s role, as silly as it sounds, and think ourselves of great importance to Him. We are, but if this high opinion of ourselves causes us to wander from the one true God, then, as Ultimate Nice Guy Jesus said, we should rip out what’s causing us to wander, be it eye or arm (brain?).

    OSS – I think you need to re-read my comments #39 and #42. You’re using your own self as the measuring stick. The mind of God that created the universe next to my mind or yours, one would ask: “Where’s that other mind? I can’t see it; it’s so small”. But that’s all right. God did not create us to be equals, but children. And, guess what, we never have to grow up (Hint: we can’t. We’d be Gods). Eventually, a child will be an adult just as their father is. I’m 6 inches taller than my Dad. Not with God. The relationship of father to son is similar in some sense but by no means the same.

    The irony is that I’m the one who is admitting my failure before God and my hopelessness without Him (but I’m being a “judgmental and ignorant” ass). Rather than jettison a work that His son has called his Word, I choose to take a laisser faire approach to God and just trust in His judgment, whatever it is. If you do not – and here’s the real peril – you’re going to end up taking His place in your mind and deceiving yourself, corrupting your judgment. And, in the case of abortion supporters, I’d point out that they are already in peril.

    If this sounds judgmental and ignorant to you, then there’s nothing more to discuss. I think it’s an argument you should hear at least once before you leave the fold entirely.

  45. Jim,

    is there a difference between questioning God and rebuking God? Before you answer I’d read Genesis 18.

    if any God sounds pro-choice, it’d be your God… and talk about a late-term abortion! Every time God is going to smite and destory there’s always a group of survivors. God never utterly destroys but saves a part (Noah, stump of Jesse etc) and enters into covenant and never forgets it (Jer 50:5).

    i think it’s all a matter of focus. you focus on the smashing part and the sins of humankind whereas i focus on God’s grace and redemptive power. both are part of it, but it’s not an either/or. there’s a learning curve here for the both of us. but if you think that God will totally smash, you’re just plain wrong.

  46. Luke,
    Abraham was questioning God in Genesis 18. We are invited to question God by God. But to rebuke God? Judge Him? Good luck with that.

    if any God sounds pro-choice, it’d be your God

    Your God? So the God of the Old Testament is not your God, Luke. He’s a mistake? Could you clarify that?

    i think it’s all a matter of focus. you focus on the smashing part and the sins of humankind whereas i focus on God’s grace and redemptive power.

    #1, I need to focus on my sins because I have a lot of them. I can’t ignore my own sins and expect to improve. Sin is dangerous, and if you don’t think you have sin, that Nice Jesus can’t do anything for you (see Matthew 9:12.

    And, no, I do not “focus on the smashing part”. I say let God be God. Who am I to judge Him? Is He going to destroy His creation again? I don’t think so. And we have a New Covenant that is best described as Good News.

    God’s grace and redemptive power are all we need. God Himself is our great reward (Gen 15:1). But we spit on that grace if we refuse to confront our sins. Do you think how wonderful your boss is and then go on stealing from him? If you realize he’s the best boss ever, you would try to please him because of you’re happy with him. It’s the same with God. All sins are an offense against God, another biblical principle. How can we say we love God and ignore what we are doing to Him?

    your just plain wrong
    Because I think “God will totally smash”, whatever that means? Tell me. Do you believe in sin? Are you one of those who believes Hitler is in Heaven?

    Correct me if I am wrong, Luke: You believe the only sin is believing in sin. For that you don’t hesitate to judge that.

    Pardon all the question marks. I’m just trying to gauge where you’re coming from. Ciao.

  47. Jim,

    **You’re using your own self as the measuring stick. The mind of God that created the universe next to my mind or yours, one would ask: “Where’s that other mind? I can’t see it; it’s so small”.**
    Actually, I’m not dragging myself into this at all. What I was actually picturing was walking through some sort of village, seeing all the innocent victims who had been slaughtered: men, women, children. Then I was picturing this slaughter getting justified by saying that they were really nothing more than paintings. Because, honestly, if all those victims are paintings, who cares what happens to them? Why bother getting outraged? Why bother seeking justice for the victims? My reaction to this was never “How dare you call me a painting!” (Ironically, I think this is the same line of attack as to why some Christians fight evolution and push for a 6,000 year worldview. Why care about humanity if it wasn’t created by God? Why not do whatever you want if it’s all just a bunch of material stuff, anyway?)

    **The irony is that I’m the one who is admitting my failure before God and my hopelessness without Him (but I’m being a “judgmental and ignorant” ass).**
    You may be admitting that particular point, but you’ve also told me I’m putting pride before reason, I have a contempt for the Tanakh God, I don’t truly love God or creation … and you’re then surprised that you get called judgemental? Why can’t we simply have a conversation addressing the points of the argument itself? No one is calling you judgemental because you fully depend on God and have admitted your failure before Him. Calling you judgemental for that wouldn’t even make sense — you’re not judging anyone else in that context.

    I mean, if I told you that anyone who is truly pro-life would never reduce people to paintings and would never find it acceptable that infants and children drowned in the Flood, I would hope you’d rightfully call me on that sort of comment, because then I am no longer addressing your argument, I am attacking you. How does attacking you discredit your argument?

    **Rather than jettison a work that His son has called his Word, I choose to take a laisser faire approach to God and just trust in His judgment, whatever it is.**
    Again, Jim, and I don’t know how many times I need to say this — I never say that God doesn’t have a right to make that judgement. That is an entirely seperate argument.

    All I am focusing on is your analogy. Why do people get essentially dehumanized in order for you to explain why you think the end result of God’s judgement is acceptable? Why are people reduced to that degree? That’s where my focus is — on how you crafted your defense. Not God and His actions. If you had simply said that you trusted in God’s judgement, then I would not have commented. If you had simply said that everything God did is good, and thus so is His judgement, I would not have responded.

    I mean, if you had said that God grieved for what He had to do, that He grieved for the lost potential and what He had created, and that it still had value, I wouldn’t have responded. For I truly don’t think that God would ever view His creation in the same manner that we would view paintings, regardless of what action God is embarking on. Even if He’s wiping out humanity — that’s still His image He’s destroying, and that has to hit Him a lot harder than how we’d be affected by burning a canvas with color on it.

    Your response to me should not depend on my political positions. Half of what you have used to address me so far wouldn’t work if I did feel abortion should be illegal, and I can guarentee you that even if I did feel that way about abortion, I’d still have the same reaction to your analogy. And if you want to feel a certain way about me due to those positions, go right ahead. All I am asking is for an answer to my argument. If it helps, pretend it came from someone who does feel abortion should be illegal.

  48. “Correct me if I am wrong, Luke: You believe the only sin is believing in sin. For that you don’t hesitate to judge that.” -JIm

    you’re dead wrong.

    “So the God of the Old Testament is not your God, Luke. ” -Jim

    wrong again.

    “God going to destory us, I don’t think so. And we have a New Covenant that is best described as Good News. God’s grace and redemptive power are all we need.”

    this is EXACTLY what i’m saying. whew, thought you were going to strike out there for a minute.

  49. OSS
    The gulf between God and us, as between us and a painting, is not to say that no one is significant. It only shows that God’s great love for us gives us our significance.

    As far as the victims of the Flood, and all other victims of God (Er, Onan, Korah, etc.), we can mourn their loss, and should. But we cannot judge God by saying that He is immoral. I wrote a novel about a plane crash mostly because that was something I always had trouble accepting. But as Job said, after his encounter with God, “Though you slay me, Lord, yet will I trust you.”

    God’s judgment is as devastating as it is great. He’s an in-your-face all-the-way God, yet we should love Him because He is awesome, and most of all, because He loves us. He is the light at the end of the tunnel.

    As for the connection between being pro-abortion and protesting the OT judgments, it’s rather solid. I can’t think of one exception, and, you must admit, saying God can’t kill His creation, but we can, is more than a bit arrogant. I just hope you guys would rethink that position. Since our media hides the horrors of abortion from us, we are left with debate and argument alone. Regards.

  50. i wouldn’t say we’re batting a thousand. how we go about these things are completely different. keep the commobalities in sight and don’t jump to conclusions. Rawk out!

  51. I say let God be God. Who am I to judge Him? (Jim J)

    I find it fascinating that some are able to make the judgement by reading their Bible that God is Loving, merciful, and Just. Yet if I read that same Bible and make a Judgement that God is Nasty, violent, petty and such, I am said to not be able to know the mind of God. Its a classic double standard. Jim if you are going to take the Bible literally, then you have no choice but to come to the conclusion that God in some moments is Loving and Merciful and Just, and in others Hes a Vindictive, spiteful nasty son of a bitch. Theres no wiggle room there.

  52. “You judge God. I judge you. Who has a better chance at successful judgment? Who then is ignorant?” (Jim)

    This all depends on the amount of knowledge one has of the other person involved. I figure that neither judgement will be absolutely accurate – but of the 2 – I figure Luke knows God better than you know Luke (my personal opinion).

    “If God really wanted to destroy His creation, who are we on this mote of dust to complain about it? Rebuking God is unwise at best, likely foolish.” (Jim)

    Depends on one’s view of how God would react to an argument with Him. It is rather well known that Moses and Abraham argue with God – heck Jacob (if we are being literalists) wrestles with God (he was through with all the talk I guess). This seems to be a common notion in Genesis – to debate with God. So what you consider ‘foolish’ may not be – your point is one viewpoint.

    However, if God created the world (we agree) – and He reserved the right to destroy it (I can agree there) – what is this based on? I mean, do you think God will? I do not believe God is in that business anymore – if He was at all – maybe it’s the Jesus story that convinces me of this (God sends someone to teach us – and dies for us).

    “Now go make a man and woman capable of reproduction….and you’ll be given zero ingredients. Then you ‘made the whole thing happen’. What you’re saying is infinitely worse than me telling my daughter’s mom, “Yeah, baby, I did all the work””(Jim)

    So do you think – when you and your wife have a child – that God gives the child life or that this is a process set in motion by God at creation? I think you and your wife have been given this ability to ‘create’ – so having children is part of that process. In this sense, you are sharing in on God’s creation (although He created this ability you now have).

    I am not stealing anything from God with what I am saying – this is what I have observed concerning this topic. I believe God created life – but we also play our part in continuing the creation of life (via reproduction).

    “We are, but if this high opinion of ourselves causes us to wander from the one true God, then, as Ultimate Nice Guy Jesus said, we should rip out what’s causing us to wander, be it eye or arm (brain?).” (Jim)

    I agree – I believe we need to start ‘ripping out’ the pages of orthodoxy that make no sense whatsoever. Why rip off my arm when the problems in Christianity do not stem from me – nor my brain? When dealing with sin – then we need to take it seriously – but I am addressing theologies – not someone’s personal sin.

    I would also like to state – you seem to ‘rip’ on Luke and OSS concerning some of the things they said – does that stem from this theological idea of yours? Did you feel a need to ‘rip’ something out of them – to justify your belief?

    Maybe it’s just me but a high view of humanity does not mean God has to be given some low view by virtue of that position.

  53. I think y’all need a higher view of God here.
    Questioning God is fine. Judging Him (as in “nasty son of a bitch”) is not.
    Sex is creation? It’s fun but I think Duck Confit Quesadillas require much more creativity, and to compare God’s creativity (ex nihilo) to ours is offensive.

    Again, a higher view, please.

  54. “Sex is creation? It’s fun but I think Duck Confit Quesadillas require much more creativity, and to compare God’s creativity (ex nihilo) to ours is offensive.” (Jim)

    Okay 2 points here – to clarify the ‘sex’ argument:

    (a) God created ‘ex nihilo’ (from nothing) – cool. However, that creation finished in how many days? 6 I believe if we go with that Genesis account. So then how is it more human beings are populating this planet? Oh, sex. We play our part in the continuation of the human race. And this creation is not equal to God’s (I would never make a claim like that) – but is being part of the creation process on some minor level.

    (b) Comparing God’s creation to our – via sex/reproduction is offensive – okay – tell it to the virgin Mary. Apparently, according to most Christian doctrines – Jesus is born of a virgin after God impregnates that woman – this is Mary. Then we see Jesus come into this planet – via the birth canal. Now, how come it’s okay for God to do this and it is acceptable as ‘creative’ but when a human does it to continue creation – it’s offensive? Get real.

    I don’t actually care what some person’s view of God actually is – high, low, medium, spicy, salty – as long as they have a high value for humanity (which is also God’s concern). God very rarely gets into the idea – ‘I need to be valued highly or you can not worship me’…to be honest God very rarely talks about himself – and his primary concern is for humanity (all the teachings are directed to our personal well being – not Gods).

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