Monday, June 14, 2010

Ever notice all the critters around every St. Francis statue?

Does the fact that some Christians are cruel mean there is no God? I hear Atheists say things like "way to show the love of Christ" any time we say something that sounds mean. I've commented a few times recently over at Debunking Christianity. On 06/09/2010 I commented on "Is the Efforts at DC worth it"? And then on 06/13/2010 on "Am I truly ignorant about Christianity".

I'm not here to defend my comments over there. They are what they are. But one of those who does comment there (Chuck)(who has actually has commented here a long time ago) took offense to my comments and left this reply to me. "... I just find your defensive indignation a defeater of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. (a core of Evangelical assertion) and therefore exposes Christianity as just another man made idea."

Is he saying because I claim to be a Christian, then I must have the Holy Spirit. Therefore I couldn't possibly say mean things? Because the Holy Spirit (HS) would control me better.

This is a totally absurd and a non Biblical assertion. But for the sake of this argument let's pretend this is true. All that this would prove is that feeno is not filled with the HS, and that feeno is not a Christian. If this argument was true, Atheism would be dead. How could they explain the life of someone like St. Francis of Assisi? He was born with a "silver spoon" in his mouth. He had wealth, power, fame and was quite the bad ass with his sports and fighting. And he could get laid at will with the finest skanks of his day. Yet through the circumstances of his life he forsook his families wealth and his inheritance and dedicated himself to the Lord. He gave up the lusts of wine, women and song. He gave all his earthly possessions and money to the poor. He did this to the point of being mocked and ridiculed by his friends and contemporaries. He then spent the rest of his life helping the poor, being kind to everyone and everything, and not only did he quit raising his fists in anger, but wouldn't even raise his voice in defense of himself.

You might know him by this quote "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if you have to use words".

Does St. Francis prove that my God exists? No. But just because Christians act out doesn't mean there ain't God either.


Peace or as St Francis would say "While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart".

Lord, I pray you help me be more like St. Francis. Amen f

feeno

24 comments:

  1. I have oft maid the statement that one of the chief reasons I reject Christianity, or rather, the God of the Christians, is because Christians are no different than non believers. They do not display any evidence of being influenced by any supernatural being. That doesn't make them bad, it just makes me doubt the existence of their God.

    Is that not a reasonable conclusion feeno? I mean, if I, in my 52 years of life, have encountered only a few, perhaps 2-3 Christians that caused me to contemplate the existence of their God. The rest - just like any other person. The only way you would know they were a Christian is if you spied their car parked in the church parking lot on Sunday morning, of if they told you they were a Christian.

    I contend that it is perfectly reasonable to judge a God by the behavior of his followers. For I, as a skeptic, have no other way of doing so.

    As for St Francis, I don't know much about him. I can think of a few Christians I have read about, when I was a believer, that still give me butterflies in my gut when I think of their dedication to their God -
    David Brainerd (read his biography by Johnathan Edwards)
    Richard Wurmbrand (his book "In God's Underground" made me weep as I read of his sufferings under the communists in Romania)

    there are many modern day, or at least recent Christians who display an extreme dedication to their faith, their God. At times I just wish that dedication was enough to convince me. Unfortunately, reason intervenes and I am resigned to admit that there are many, many people extremely dedicated to their cause. Some bad causes, some good, and some of these people are a testament that their beliefs in their cause are strong enough that they are willing to die for the cause, and some are even willing to kill for their cause.

    No, I have to exercise logic and reason, whether I am watching watching Benny Hinn on TV, or reading of the life of Rees Howells, I have to view their extremes, their dedication in light of humanity, with all of its consistent inconsistencies.

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  2. The absurdity of your interlocutor's comments at D.C. speaks for itself. As for similar remarks, including Bob's above, I always become astonished, when people make a big out of the fact that (some, maybe most) Christians are flawed.

    Indeed. We already know that.

    As for concluding the Christian God doesn't exist predicated upon the acts of those who are have taken the appellation "Christian," your making the wrong conclusion. Better would be that the actions of the person do not exemplify "Christian" rather than concluding Christianity is false. That's like concluding baseball doesn't exist because I'm incapable of hitting an inside slider.

    Cheers.

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  3. I honestly don't know if Sherman was critical of my comment or not. He needs to dumb it down a tad.

    As for "...concluding Christianity is false", I haven't concluded that at all. I have concluded that many of the supernatural claims Christians make concerning their faith are based in a large part on ancient superstitions, emotions, and misplaced dedications. Very little, if any of the Christian faith is based on reasonable investigation. But, that doesn't mean "Christianity is false". The religion and its adherents exist. It just means, to me, that much of what Christians believe concerning their religion, is not based on facts.

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  4. They went too far to conclude that bad Christian behaviour falsifies Christianity, if they did so. Of course it doesn't. However it also undermines efforts by Christians and the religious in general to claim moral high ground, or the moral monopoly as many do.

    It also stops anyone from demonstrating the power of Christianity to make people better, if Christians behave no better than anyone else even as they're trying to proselytise.

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  5. I have oft maid the statement that one of the chief reasons I reject Christianity, or rather, the God of the Christians, is because Christians are no different than non believers

    Metric #1 for the comparison of non-believers to Christians: Incidences of Suicide

    Since it seems that you've really thought this thing through Hob-knobbin-on the hemoglobin, Perhaps you might provide statistics to indicate that there isnt a disparity between the percentages of atheists that off themselves as compared to self-identified Christians?

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  6. Do you harp on about that over and over for its own sake, JD, or is it supposed to support the existence of some god (since atheists seem to be the only ones significantly affected), or do you think belief or non-belief is a choice and are you therefore trying to make belief look more appealing rather than correct, or are you just boasting?

    There will be statistically significant differences between populations with different faiths and levels of faith, simply because of who's got the majority and the resources and the PR. The challenge for Christians is to come up with a positive difference which is attributable to their god as opposed to themselves and their gigantic organisation.

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  8. JDs point appears to be moot. He and I have already had this conversation before. Although I forget where we ended on it.

    The bottom line is atheists have a higher suicide rate, yes. There are more Christians in penal lock up, yes.

    If we're to analyze behavior and compare it to moral precepts, then those moral precepts have to be clear and the end goal has to be understood.Besides simply citing that atheists have a higher suicide rate than theists neglects to account for the sociopolitical and economic factors which contribute to such occurrences.

    Even though believers typically have a lower suicide rate much of it can be traced to having the peer pressure of a "big brother" deity looking over their shoulder and scaring the god-fearing into submission.

    Japan has one of the highest suicide rates of any nation in the world, yet it's not related to religion at all. It's purely a post-industrial crisis of ancient traditions clashing with modern culture and no leeway to relieve anxiety in a dense and overpopulated society.

    The crime rate is astonishing low.

    Suicide among Buddhist monks is as low as it can get, meanwhile Evangelical Pastors have the highest suicide rate of any religious group.

    http://formerfundy.blogspot.com/2010/05/evangelical-pastors-are-discouraged-and.html

    http://www.intothyword.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=36562

    Yet none of that proves there is a god or not. I really don't see what it has to do with this conversation.

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  9. Christians claim God is the source of agape love. This is the all encompassing love which Christians aspire to, which they say is not merely an ideal, but that through Christ's saving grace is actually achievable.

    If this were true, it would be a natural observance that Christians everywhere would be steadily becoming increasingly moral while atheists and nonbelievers would be either immoral or neutral.

    This is the logical conclusion to the Christian claim.

    Yet this we do not see.

    Which should cause any critical minded person to stop and THINK!

    What does one conclude after scrutinizing the situation? Either that 1) Christians are mistaken about the nature of God--as he is clearly not a source of love, or saving grace, or else 2) they are mistaken about the existence of such a being.

    A third possibility is they are wrong on both accounts.

    Bottom line is, Christians tend to act badly more often than not because they like to justify their faith-based acts/behavior with faith-based tenets, and excuse themselves of their trespasses, failures, and crimes whenever they can.

    Whether it is a pedophile Priest or Bishop be reassigned instead of resigned, or a mega-Pastor asking for mega-forgiveness after a few affairs with his parishioners, or a gay fling here and there, or Churches swindling their parish with high tithes and false miracles, and the oddities don't end here, we know Christians so frequently find faith enough reason to misbehave.

    It just goes to show that Christians are human like the rest of us--and that if they can find a means to behave more badly in the name of faith--too many too often make the morally inferior choice as they feel their sins can be washed clean if they practice enough penitence.

    Atheists don't have such lofty excuses, we do not appeal to any higher authority, and so we must hold ourselves accountable. That's why secular Governments need courts of justice and laws to help govern the nation.Liberty, freedom the pursuit of happiness, all these things are worth aspiring to with or without religion.

    So my question is... why do you think you need religion to live a happy, good, and full life?

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  10. I remember years ago hearing that, in the USA, unwed African American mothers had the lowest suicide rate of any demographic in the country.
    I also heard that dentists had the highest rate amongst the medical profession and that amongst teens, Mormons were highest.

    I have no idea what JD's point is.

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  11. Feeno,

    Thanks for mentioning me on your blog and visiting mine.

    My argument is not that your defensiveness falsifies Christianity it only defeats the exceptional claim Christians make that the 3rd person of the almighty lives inside of them. Christianity and Christians are real and some (like Francis) take the message and have it shape their behavior. I'm a fan of Francis and have his prayer attached to my refrigerator. I just don't believe that there is a Holy Spirit and don't believe the supernatural exceptionalism too many Christians claim. Your behavior resembled any human's whose ideology was being challenged. I'd have been more impressed if the response to proving the truth of your supernatural ideology enlisted supernatural means instead of common defensiveness. It didn't and that seemed to indicate that Christianity is really another man-made idea that can have some benefits to some but does not hold the ultimate position relative to all possible human knowledge.

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  12. Thanks everybody for your responses.

    My nephew works at a place that serves food. He has told me that nobody likes to work on Sunday when the church crowd shows up. They usually are rude and bossy and picky and worse yet, are lousy tippers.

    So it is fair to raise these questions. But as R. Sherman alludes to we know this. If an atheist was a fly on a wall in an adult Bible study or a Sun. School class they might be refreshingly surprised to find out that things like this are often where our studies end up.

    In Peter's 2nd letter he does say V.3 "God's divine power has given us everything we need to live a truly religious life through our knowledge of the one who called us to share in his own glory and goodness." It might help if you read V.3-10.

    Yet the Apostle says this about his condition "on my own I can serve God's law only with my mind, while my human nature serves the law of sin."

    And then my boy John says "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

    Where does this lead us? God is in Heaven, rooting for his children to do what we are called to do. He's proud of us, my picture is on his refrigerator door. He knows when I stumble but he looks at my heart and sees regret and repentance , He sees progress, slow, slow progress. But don't forget, there are St Francis' and Mother Teresa's out there. And hopefully other Christians strive to be more like Christ by yielding to the Holy Spirit.

    I know it's not fair to say when Christians do something good we give God the credit, but when we do something wrong it's our fault for not living up to the standards Christ expects out of us. But our physical bodies want to do what gives us satisfaction while our spiritual side wants to do what satisfies God.

    3 fundy terms. Justification, sanctification and glorification. When we accept Christ we become justified in the eyes of God. When He comes back for us we will become glorified and no longer be capable of sinning. But in the mean time we are being sanctified (becoming more Christ like). And all Christians are at a different stage and we all grow at different rates.

    Not much of an answer, but maybe you can put down your copy of "God is not Great" long enough to read the book of Romans and see how God looks differently at our sins once we decide to follow him and why.

    P.S. feeno is a big ass tipper.

    later, feeno

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  13. R Sherman

    Hit an inside slider? I'm struggling with slow pitch softball.

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  14. Yo Feenigan,

    Remember last winter when you challenged me to read the book of Romans? Well I did read it, and quite frankly, while I now understand your point of view a lot better, I am still not very convinced. Here's the thing; I don't believe that there is such a thing as sin. So I don't believe that I need salvation. I do believe that there is moral or immoral behavior based on the standards of the community, but not sin.

    I order to convince me that I need salvation, Saint Paul would have had to first convince me that sin is real, and he didn't do that.

    So in spite of not believing in sin, I still donate to charity, and I donate blood to the Red Cross, (and what's the last time YOU donated blood to save another life?) so I don't think that one needs to believe in the whole drama of sin/faith/salvation to act morally and ethically. I think people have within them the seed of compassion and empathy, and that is that is needed.

    Explain to me one thing. Why is it that the Jews do not believe that salvation is needed?

    P.S. I am a big tipper too.

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  15. I have no idea what JD's point is

    Which is hardly suprising given that it completely flew over your head.

    You (Bob), stated that, "Christians are no different than non believers".

    I asked if you could expound on that by providing statistics that would indicate that the incidence of suicide between atheists and Christians was negligible. I'm still waiting for these statistics so whenever you get around to it would be just fine.

    Please keep in mind here that we are comparing two groups that you mentioned, Christians to atheists. Not unwed African-American mothers and Mormon dentists.

    In the unlikely event that you would like to critically examine any differences between the two groups with something that approaches an open mind, would you be willing to compare life expectancies between the two groups? Or can I expect the statistical information pertaining to gay Eskimo men and South African women that regularly skipped dildo practice to be supplied instead?

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  16. I have heard Christians argue that Ghandi will go to Hell because because he was fully aware of Jesus and Christianity, but rejected it. Some have argued that we cannot know what was in the hearts of various villainous figures in history (though rarely Hitler, since suicide pretty much exempts him), and therefore we cannot know their fate.

    It strikes me as fundamentally pathetic that faith appears to be the axis upon which Christian morality rotates. Christians are expected to be merely human sinners, and it is their faith in Christ as savior which absolves them of their actions. Meanwhile, someone whose only sin is disbelief will be sentenced to eternal damnation.

    Disbelief appears to be the only unforgivable sin. I would argue that skepticism is, in fact, a virtue.

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  17. Do you harp on about that over and over for its own sake, JD, or is it supposed to support the existence of some god (since atheists seem to be the only ones significantly affected)

    Not really. Bob-o made the mistake of opting for the much lower threshold of a "difference" between two groups. Not outright God existance.

    Bottom line is, Christians tend to act badly more often than not because they like to justify their faith-based acts/behavior with faith-based tenets, and excuse themselves of their trespasses, failures, and crimes whenever they can

    Would you mind terribly fleshing this out a little bit so I know where you are coming from?

    What does one conclude after scrutinizing the situation? Either that 1) Christians are mistaken about the nature of God--as he is clearly not a source of love, or saving grace, or else 2) they are mistaken about the existence of such a being.

    You demonstrate a common, atheist falacy of somehow interpreting the nature of God as being a bit different that your personal ideal and that this might somehow translate to the non-existance of God which, although they might be loosely interrelated, are seperate issues unto themselves.

    I just don't believe that there is a Holy Spirit

    There are those that doubt the Trinity and yet still consider themselves Christian. Vox Day is one of these types and he and I have discussed our difference of opinion on this matter on his blog before.

    Your behavior resembled any human's whose ideology was being challenged. I'd have been more impressed if the response to proving the truth of your supernatural ideology enlisted supernatural means instead of common defensiveness. It didn't and that seemed to indicate that Christianity is really another man-made idea that can have some benefits to some but does not hold the ultimate position relative to all possible human knowledge

    And neither Feeno nor I are formally trained theologians, properly equipped to provide the best, deep, thought-out response to every deep, theological question put to us. How many Christians are leading lives unexamined in which through upbringing are clinging to the faith of their fathers and never really examined it or actually encountered an argumentative atheist on the internet?

    The fact is, theology is a complex matter that provides us with a basic framework in which we, as limited human beings can begin to examine the nature of God. None of which can be reduced to a cute, 20 second sound-byte to be broadcast on the major networks that would bring conversion to all skeptics instantly.

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  18. JD - "...Which is hardly suprising given that it completely flew over your head."

    JD - "I'm still waiting for these statistics so whenever you get around to it would be just fine."

    No thanks. I know better than to get into a spitting match with a skunk.

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  19. JD might not always be right, but he's never wrong.

    If you don't believe me, just ask him.

    @JDiddly

    In so far as the moral superiority of Christians please check out the large body of research done by the Barnas Group, a Christian research institution. Or don't, if you'd prefer to reside in a more self-assured state of ignorance.

    @Feeno

    Dude, you are the Timex Watch of Christianity. That is to say, "You take a licking, and keep on ticking!"

    That is intended as a compliment, by the way.

    P3eace

    Steve the "Sub-Cooler" Schuler

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  20. The benefit of a asprin is judged by its merit.
    Same thing with speed limits,alcohol limits,building codes,baseball players,racing car drivers,scientists,holidays,cake recipes,insurance policys,politicians,policemen,hospitals,supermarkets,gastric bypass,heart surgery,back surgery,psychology,meditation,hypnotism etc

    But woe-betide any who dare! ever try judging faith by this same method.....He will have JDiddly the faith Rottweiler ta be a dealing with ..Grrrrr ruff ruff ruff woof ruff ruff

    Im not supposed to look at my cult family,observe how their hearts seemed to have become dead like as if it seemed they had swallowed some terrible deadly poison, neither should i ever dare take any notice that it also seems most other folks of faith also seem to stand quietly on the side lines, seeming to only bother trying to make every single excuse they can ever possibly dream of.

    No im not supposed to dare observe these things i happen to see, blatantly sticking out! like some extremely swollen and smelly dogs balls!.

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  21. JD said..."Metric #1 for the comparison of non-believers to Christians: Incidences of Suicide

    Since it seems that you've really thought this thing through Hob-knobbin-on the hemoglobin, Perhaps you might provide statistics to indicate that there isnt a disparity between the percentages of atheists that off themselves as compared to self-identified Christians? "

    -----------------------------

    What are you suggesting maybe the need of living with so many faithful in this world, should some how give all us non believers such tremendous positive ammounts of joy! ,that we should all be clapping our hands! and saying, oh goody-gum-drops dont you just love! living in this world so choka full of so many superstitions .Where people often fight over their different god beliefs, and will try converting each other, and even blow themselves up for their faith, and will often also end up taking us to war costing everyone mega bucks! making it even more costly and almost impossible to be really joyfully living our lives.

    Should we really expect this very dire sad situation should really be seen to tend to make the non believers, much less likely to commit suicide JD?.

    Did you considder non believers are the types who considder this life to be the only life we ever have.And might it be possible that the fact faiths often have tended to have already removed many of the traditional family reasons for happy living.Some non believers might also be more inclined, to sometimes see suicide as a way to try and hurry up the sad situation and just get the suffering quickly over and done with, and escape such utter mindless madness.

    You think maybe its not really even a part possibility JD?

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  22. JD as a non believer, did you realize their actually is no invisible sky daddy residing in my headspace,quietly soothing me,say there there Gandolf ...Never mind im sorry you need to put up with freaky faithful folks like ole JD who likes costly wars! that everyone must then all try and pay for, and trying to beat up on the Muslims because they dont happen to follow ole Jesus ...There there my son never mind! dont let it get you down to much, because i will be giving you another new life! once your in heaven!.

    Why do you suppose it might be a number of non believers might see suicide as a best option left JD.

    Because its just such wonderful joyous fun and easy living, living among a world so full of so very many weird and whacky faithful?

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  23. No thanks. I know better than to get into a spitting match with a skunk

    Then I can completlry abandon any hopes of having a logical discussion with you re: "Christians are no different than non believers"?

    OK Bob. As you wish.

    What are you suggesting maybe the need of living with so many faithful in this world, should some how give all us non believers such tremendous positive ammounts of joy!

    Joy is subjective G.

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