Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The five finger discount boys

Christians look at an Atheist and think to themselves..."Why don't they get it? And how come they don't or wont believe"?

Atheists look at a Christian and think to themselves..."Why don't they get it? And how come they believe or why do they choose to believe"?

Of course I'm just assuming people do this. But what is the difference in either accepting or rejecting Christ?

Here's a story about two guys who were a lot alike. They both were thieves. they both stole so much the spent time in jail. Then they kept on stealing until they got sentenced to death. They were gonna be crucified the same day as Jesus. On the way to the cross they both watched everyone taunting Jesus and spitting on Jesus and the soldiers flogging Jesus and people laughing at and mocking Jesus. On the way to the cross they were both also part of the mocking. One of the thieves even says "You saved the world, if your the Christ save yourself and us too". But then something clicked in this other thieves mind. Once Jesus cries out "Father forgive them, for they don't know what their doing". Because this thief says to the other thief "Look dork, we deserve to die for what we have done, but this guy is totally innocent". Then he says to Jesus "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

You ex-Christians don't need me to tell you what Jesus' reply was. But here it is anyways. Jesus says to the repentant thief "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise".

Some day I'll be in paradise too. Along with that thief and a bunch of other rif-raf. I wont be there because I'm better than anyone else, I'll be there because an innocent man died on the cross for me.

Later, feeno


  1. we deserve to die for what we have done

    Two questions.

    1) Have you, Feeno, personally, ever done anything that you feel warrants the death penalty? If so, how did you get away with it?

    2) Are you really cool with letting a completely innocent party - and someone you claim to love - take your well-deserved punishment in your place?

  2. Gen

    Honestly...hmm.. uh.. no. But I have felt separated from God because of sin in my life.

    Hmmm....Another good, tough question... Well lets see, Christ chose to die for my sins, I didn't ask Him. I did ask Him to forgive me of my sins, does that count? When man sinned it caused a separation from God, Christ came to reconcile us back to the Father.

    We may not feel like we've done anything bad enough to deserve the death penalty but we don't know what it's like being perfectly holy like God. Besides the thief thought he was deserving of the death penalty. Also in the story of the Rich man and Lazarus the rich guy had a lot to say, but how he is not deserving of what he is getting is not one of them. If your embossed Bible that you dusted off is nearby you can read about it in Luke 16:19-31

    thanx for responding, later, feeno

  3. Christians look at an Atheist and think to themselves..."Why don't they get it? And how come they don't or wont believe"?

    For me, it's "don't" believe. I don't believe because I find the story unbelievable. Probably just like you find Islam or Mormonism unbelievable. As the saying goes - "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

    That's it in a nutshell feen. You can easily understand why you don't believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, yet you are baffled as to why I don't believe Jesus was the son of God.

    Atheists look at a Christian and think to themselves..."Why don't they get it? And how come they believe or why do they choose to believe"?

    Actually, I am pretty sure I understand why Christians believe.

    The vast majority of Christians became Christians because they were raised in a Christian family, and / or because they fell prey to the emotional pleadings of someone they looked up to (a friend, minister, etc).

    The vast majority of Christians stay Christians because the emotional attachment they have to their faith prevents them from admitting to themselves that there is no rational reason for clinging to their religious faith.

    Basically, Christians are Christians because of emotions, and atheists are atheists because of reason.

  4. I don't really buy the whole "emotions" versus "reason" stuff. I have every reason in the world to hope for an afterlife, I just have zero emotional attachment to the idea of gods. For me, at least, atheism is an emotional decision: I feel nothing for the gods.

    Reason is sort of like a god, because it doesn't really exist and people put it up on a pedestal as the central figure of their ideology. "Well I don't just come up with what I think the explanation is, I have Reason." No you don't, no one has reason or uses reason. People use their brains, their imperfect, emotionally driven minds.

    Atheists possess nothing that Christians lack.

    That said, I'm not sure how one could actually read the Bible and think it is an accurate depiction of events. Even the scenario you discussed in your post is not described the same way between the gospels.

  5. I decided to spend a little time checking, and I came up with this:

    The story of the saved theif (actually "robber," or something implying the forceful and violent robbery of someone, not the simply act of taking something) is only present in Luke (Luke 23:39-42).

    Mark and Matthew mention both robbers insulting Jesus (Mark 15:32 ; Matt. 27:44), and John doesn't even mention what the other two crucified with Jesus had done (John 19:18).

    But let's assume the other accounts just left out the details (why they would ignore such a great tale of redemption is beyond me). Jesus is seems mistaken on the matter of being with the robber in heaven that very day, because Jesus did not ascend to heaven until 40 days later.

  6. [Ugh, the grammatical errors in my last comment are making me cringe]

  7. I think I disagree, but perhaps I am not using the word(s) correctly.

    "I don't really buy the whole "emotions" versus "reason" stuff. I have every reason in the world to hope for an afterlife,..."
    How do I "hope" for something that I consider to be a myth? Sure, an afterlife is an interesting, perhaps entertaining thought, but beyond that, it doesn't cross my mind.

    "For me, at least, atheism is an emotional decision: I feel nothing for the gods."
    For me, my conversion to Christianity was entirely and completely emotional. There was no rational thoughts that led me to converting.
    When I gave up my faith in Christianity, it was emotional, but my reasons were fostered by deductive reasoning. I didn't angrily shake my fist at the sky and curse God, I concluded, based on years of experience and observation, that I had no good reason to believe initially, or to continue to believe in the God of the bible - so, my belief rapidly faded. Yes, as a result, I did experience emotions.

    "Reason is sort of like a god, because it doesn't really exist and people put it up on a pedestal as the central figure of their ideology. "Well I don't just come up with what I think the explanation is, I have Reason." No you don't, no one has reason or uses reason. People use their brains, their imperfect, emotionally driven minds.

    Wow! It almost sounds like you believe all of the scientific discoveries humans have made were a result of emotions.

    I do have reason. Christians do have reason - it is simply a function of the brain.

    "Atheists possess nothing that Christians lack."

    I don't disagree. But with regard to their own faith, Christians generally suspend the same reasoning that they will apply when they examine other faiths.

  8. Also only reported in Luke:

    "Father forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing"

    A picture of a Jesus who is compassionate and gentle to the bitter end.

    From Matthew and Mark, however, we get this:

    "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

    … and absolutely nothing about forgiveness. A picture of a Jesus isolated, self-interested, abandoned, and afraid.

    Leaving aside for a moment the question* of how one (or two) member(s) of the Holy Trinity can be forsaken by (an)other member(s) of the Holy Trinity and yet remain an Eternally Unified and Perfect whole, we can reasonably ask** why the event was reported so very differently by the key "eyewitnesses."

    Personally, if I had to give a single reason for why I'm no longer a Christian, it would be this: Penal substitution is unjust. What Christ allegedly did for us is actually anathema to our understanding of justice.

    In American justice, regardless of what we've done, we are considered innocent until proven guilty. This is because our founders were rationalists who understood how quick men can be to judge, and how passions can inflame penalties and interfere with justice. In Christian 'justice,' however, we are considered guilty — and all equally so — until absolved by Blood Sacrifice. In other words, no matter what you've done — or thought, for that matter — someone has to die to fix it. Letting someone else take the fall for shit you did ISN'T FAIR, and I am continually amazed at the joy believers express at the prospect of throwing their beloved Savior under the bus.

    In contemporary Christianity, it's all very 'personal,' right? I invite you to reconsider the crucifixion in very personal terms: if that was your wife or mother or child up there on the cross, taking the fatal hit for whatever piddling bullshit you've done (or thought) that allegedly warrants eternity in hell, would you be so excited about it? I fail to see the difference,unless you only love Jesus because he took the hit for you. Which is utterly selfish.

    Anyway; sorry for the strong language, it's how I really feel.

    (*Answer: The Doctrine of the Holy Trinity wasn't invented until 300 years later, and isn't even made explicit in the NT.)

    (**Answer: because those accounts weren't written by eyewitnesses)

  9. @ Bob

    I was raised by an atheist (my dad) and my mom (a faux Christian.... As much as I love her, she uses Christianity in a way that entirely suits her needs and because she thinks it makes her a good person). I was agnostic, leaning to a little Christian (just to make her happy) for most of my life. However, even as a kid, I identified noticeable discrepancies in my education and what the Bible said. It was a happy day when I let go of it all and accepted my atheism. Alot of education helped (I have two university degrees, a college diploma, and other things going on). That being said, I relate much to what Ginx said. I do not feel anything for a god. I also would love to think about the cloud paradise in the sky, but it is just not feasible, in any way.

    Having Christ killed with prisoners only served to encourage the scapegoat myth, which was part of the highly political process of creating the Messiah. It was a big "eff u" to the Jews, for they killed an innocent man- an integral component of the Anti Semitic platform needed to launch Christianity. The scapegoat is a common theme in all mythology, because the scapegoat took on the sins of all and atoned for them as a representative of the others. In Christian culture, Christ was used. Greek mythology had Oedipus and Prometheus, Egyptians had Orisis, The Maya of Central America also held an annual ceremony involving a scapegoat. At the end of each year, Mayan villagers made a clay model of the demon Uuayayah. They placed the model before an image of the deity responsible for governing the coming year. Then they carried the model of Uuayayah outside the village to ward off evil. It is a common archetype present in all literature of the Western World... The Bible is no different.

  10. @GS- Absolutely correct. Those accounts were not written by eyewitnesses. The platform that this idea has been structured on is so seriously flawed it is almost absurd (ie- evidence fifty year later).

  11. Hey All!


    I think that you have made a pretty significant observation that folks on either side of the ideological divide between atheism/theism probably experience some degree of perplexity as to why, or how, folks "across the aisle" can be so adamant in their belief or disbelief.

    First, I've enjoyed reading the responses that this topic has generated so far and would like to thank you all for expressing your thoughts.

    I have pondered this question, or problem, of how intelligent people can be so divided in their perspectives on religion and I think, obviously, that there is no simple or concise answer to it. There are far too many very intelligent people who are religously faithful to the great variety of religions prevailing around the world to explain it simply as a matter of rational ability or educational level, although there is considerable evidence that there is a inverse correlation between educational level and religious faith.

    Speaking for myself, and making short my personal life-long enquiry into religion, I am not aligned or affiliated with any religion because I CAN NOT be so. It is not a question of whether I am WILLING to be religious, as I think that I have been more than willing to be a "Believer" of some variety. It seems to me that in both my intellectual and emotional constitution that I am simply not able to "Believe". I think that I am a "Natural Born Skeptic", no doubt developed and influenced by my observations and experiences in this world, but still I think that I have an inborn predisposition towards skepticism.

    And who knows, maybe that is the Will of God?


  12. Gentle Skeptic-

    Indeed. I second the motion that Penal substitution is, in fact, the opposite of justice. It's unjust, and it could only be carried out by a malevolent being, and it could only be undertaken by a dupe.

    Now I don't personally believe that the Gospel Jesus was a dupe--I think he was an apocalyptic prophet who believed the end was nigh.

    He may have felt obligated to suffer unto death. Maybe he even believed he was dying to save humanity. The problem arises when Christians posit that Jesus was co-eternal with the Father. If this is true (presumably) then Christ would have known before hand that his death would be unjust and so, being one with God, he would not have died for our sins.

    The other work-a-rounds Christians like to give don't solve the problem either. If it was an act of Grace, on Christ's behalf, then as you said, he's simply paid our debt and we've learned nothing of love or justice. It's sort of like a spoiled rich kid getting his bail paid when he's misbehaved and been arrested. We learned nothing from such acts of kindness if, in fact, we're already corrupt (by sin according to Christianity).

    I talk about Penal substitution theory and the other problems which accompany it more in a recent post of mine called: Why Are Christians Hung up on Sin?


    For anyone who's interested.

  13. Trist, I read your post yesterday and loved it. (Was too busy at work to comment.)

    I agree that Christ was most likely an apocalyptic prophet who may well have been convinced of his mission - we still have his kind around today. And I agree that serious problems emerge, not from that narrative in isolation, but from theologies that were developed decades and centuries later to 'reconcile' the Old and New Testaments (Christ fulfilled the prophecies!) and the Old and New Testament gods (the Holy Trinity).

    I also considered the bail analogy. It's definitely a 'relationship' of debt and evasion of consequences.

    I tend to think that in times past the debt was a bigger focus of the faith, and humility and genuflection were more front-and-center. Today's super-casual, personal, Jesus-is-my-best-friend brand of Christian practice strikes me as disingenuous and opportunistic, with an emphasis on the personal freedom and reward that Christ's sacrifice provides. ("Some day I'll be in paradise too.") We don't really treat our friends like that.

    I think the best way to show real love for Jesus is to politely decline his offer and suggest that we take it up directly with Dad.

    You might know this guy's blog too; he writes a LOT about PST.


  14. @GS-

    Yeah, I'm familiar. Ken has tackled the PST from every conceivable angle, and he's uncontested in the fact that no contemporary theologians are even willing to take up the debate.

    I think most of them believe their arguments are rock solid... but Ken smashes those theological defenses as if they were a thin veil of ice crumbling under the weight of a snow plow with flame throwers.

    The only way around the argument, as I see it, is to change the function of God's forgiveness, and do what the Muslims do, attribute God with original forgiveness.

    Yet such a change in orthodoxy would be literally impossible. And so Christians are stuck with an unsolvable riddle.

  15. The other approach (which I favor) is to roll with the Universalists. If the "price" has been paid, then it's been paid, and you don't even have to believe that it's been paid to reap the reward. We're all goin' to heaven. Period.

    Because if you have to believe in order to secure the blessing of the sacrifice, then it wasn't God's unconditional love on display in the crucifixion, it was a bribe, or a test of some kind.

  16. Hell Yeah!

    I Rock It with Universal Salvation!


    The Reverend Sub-Cee

  17. Science isn't reason, science is observation. Reason is a faculty of the mind, a useless system of "logic." It is a defense mechanism, an attempt to make sense of the world around us. Science based on reason crumbles. Aristotle is a good example, as is any religion. Conclusions drawn from reason are not necessarily false, but they certainly are not necessarily true.

    And no, science is not emotional (or at least it shouldn't be, though sometimes it is, which can be seen when scientists shameless defend a theory they devised which they hope will bring them fame but is disproven when presented to peers).

    Christians are not suspending reason, they are merely suspending skepticism (selectively, of course). If a Christian denies an observation made by science, it is usually an emotional decision made in ignorance of the observations made by those who formulated the scientific idea.

    If you believe in reason, I think you should read some Lewis Carroll and see the creative nonsense the human mind is capable of, and then tell me your brain's capacity to "reason" carries merit, that is, unless this request is unreasonable.

  18. Lewis Carroll.... So right about that. That is the ramblings of a lucid (?) hallucinating schizophrenic. Great example Ginx. Could also look at the art of Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Van Gogh and read some Sylvia Plath poetry to see where the brain can actually go...

    Science attempts to answer questions as objectively as it can. Religion proposes the same, but as inquiry has developed, it has made this "illusion" more evident. In contrast, religion relies on subjectivity for its acceptance... I agree with you about a Christian choosing to suspend belief because they cannot emotionally accept the finding. It is more comfortable to stay where you are at because it personally provides you with what you need.

  19. Ginx makes a valid observation.

    Empiricism (which is, I think, what we're talking about when we say "science") is the intersection of reason and observation.

    It is possible to construct a reasonable religious (or nonsensical) argument — that is, one that is internally coherent — but these arguments tend to fail where they connect with observed, measured, and tested reality.

  20. I still think if you mix reason with observation, you end up with theories that wander far from what is actually observed. If you see X and then think about it for a while and determine Y... you better figure out a way of observing Y, or you just reasoned your way into nonsense.

    Reason is a great way of coming up with theories, perhaps, but it must always be verified with observation. All the reason and logic in the world isn't worth even an ounce of observable, verifiable reality.

    Now if you excuse me, I'm going to fly to the grovery store. The trick is throwing yourself at the ground and missing, right Mr. Adams?

  21. Right. Hence the measurement and testing.

  22. @Ginx

    You are wrong about Reason.

    Without the power of reasoning, in conjunction with our other cognitive faculties, we would still be living in caves. Observation, information, and data are useless without the power and use of reasoning. We would have never developed "Science" without this wonderful ability.

    Really, my friend, what are you thinking?


  23. I think, in bringing to light Lewis Carroll, Ginx is suggesting that human perception is pretty limited and very open to interpretation. The most insane people believe that they are behaving reasonable as they tape tinfoil over the power outlets to block the voices out of their heads.... I hve seen that first hand myself.

    Empiricism is the framework for reason to become logical. Observation, testing, data collection, formulation of hypothesis...

  24. @Tink

    Well, maybe so, but when the Ginxster wrote:

    "I still think if you mix reason with observation, you end up with theories that wander far from what is actually observed."

    I thought maybe he had a bet going on the side with the JDude to see if any of his atheist cohorts would call out a co-conspirator on making a patently ridiculous statement. Don't know what to make of that.

    I used to come up with some great ideas like that when I was under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms, but that was definitely back in the day.

    Trip Monkey Supremo

  25. Feeno..."Some day I'll be in paradise too. Along with that thief and a bunch of other rif-raf. I wont be there because I'm better than anyone else, I'll be there because an innocent man died on the cross for me."

    Howdy feeno hope you are well.In my opinion you`ll be there because your brain will die dreaming about it .But that wont make it real.

    Meanwhile folks on this earth have had to suffer in this life ,just for people like you to have the right to dream about it and even promote it.

    The price wasnt paid on the cross Feen.

    No not at all ...far from it . The price is still being paid each and every single day! for your right to such blissful dreams, Feen my friend.And some people even pay each and every single day, for their whole life times too Feen.

    Your mate Jesus , really only had a bit of a bad weekend.

    Many folks suffering from you peoples right to these faith dream, probibly wish somebody would just came and nailed them to the cross also,so as to just get all the pain and long suffering ...over and done with!.

    Faithful people dont often think much of this factor though do they.Its preferrable not to for faithful who far prefer the thoughts of carisma.My christian cult family are no differnt.For their glazed ever onward stare is only ever fixed on matters after death also.

    Its why i dont personally blame them for who they became .Because look who else they learned these type of blissful "glazed eye" tricks off.

    Your dream of this paradise , has been the cost of many other peoples earthly nightmares.

    Later ! and be well !


  26. @ Steve.... I mean, Ginx can explain better than me. But, again, reason is very subjective. Just to expand on the mental illness metaphor.

    I hear voices all of the time. I begin to observe that when the tv is on, they are quieter. I consistently note that when a television is on near me, they quiet down and "watch tv". So, my theory is formulated that the voices like to watch tv. As a result of my observation, I proceed to no longer go anywhere where they cannot watch tv. And, if I am somewhere where I cannot control the tv, I freak out and get the tv turned on by being aggressive and hostile and scaring those around me.

    Does it make it real? Yes. That is my reality. Despite the plausible explanation of a dysfunctional neural chemistry that is causing the onset of my psychotic symptoms, I continue to believe this because it is a feasible and testable observation to me. Never mind that I am as far away as reason as I could ever be.

    Religion, and religion in light of evidence, is similar to me. I really do not understand how people can stand at a museum and look at the power and force of a dinosaur skeleton, and still think that humans managed to coexist with them. Considering that we need guns to fend off most animals which are much smaller. Or, when they take antibiotics for a simple infection, which were created using the most basic of evolutionary processes, and deny that we descended from primates. In my opinion, this is the same principle at work.

  27. There are no crazy people, only people who rely on reason when perception has failed. Reason is the false god of unenlightened atheists, the faith in the human mind to do something magical with plain old, ordinary information.

    In a way, it helps to think of science not as a noun, but as a verb.

  28. Ginx - "There are no crazy people, only people who rely on reason when perception has failed. Reason is the false god of unenlightened atheists, the faith in the human mind to do something magical with plain old, ordinary information."

    This almost sounds mystical. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, but it would help if you could provide some information that has helped you come to this (these) conclusions.

    If my lawnmower won't start, how do I determine the problem? Based on past experience, it is either a fuel or electrical problem.
    Is my spark plug bad?
    Is my gas line clogged?
    Is my gas tank empty?
    Is my plug wire faulty?
    Is there a demon hiding in the compression chamber blowing out the ignition of gas and air every time I pull the cord?

    As best as I can tell, I am using reason...but perhaps I am mistaken.

  29. If I observed a demon in my lawnmower, I would call an exorcist.

    Besides, fixing your lawnmower isn't science, it's engineering. Engineers are basically priests anyway, so use reason to your heart's content.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Ginx said:

    "Engineers are basically priests anyway..."

    Maybe so, but the Voodoo that they do do has enabled Man to venture out to the Moon and back again, for example. They be power packin' some serious Mojo to pull stunts like this off.

    Gotta run, it's the time of day I burn some offerings to the Power of Reason.

    PeAcE oUT rEAsoNaBLe trOut

    El SteveO