Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lazarus is dead, if only you woulda got here sooner

I didn't write our last post to fish for compliments, but I did notice them and want to thank you all very much. Not that I get a lot of compliments but still my all time favorite one is when his "Lordship the Gun Toting Atheist" once told me that he had a dream where I laid a bunch of tile in his house, and then he said it looked real good. I still laugh at that one all the time, I don't why, it's just funny.

But the truth is that I'd rather convert you than for you to like me. There's not much difference between the Christian and Atheist. What separates us is only a little faith. The Christian has faith, and the Atheist just needs a little more. I've actually heard many Atheists claim they wish they could believe in God, but they just don't have enough faith. (?) But that's just the thing about faith, it doesn't require anything, if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith.

"I go on not knowing
I would not if I might,
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
then walk alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with him
then to walk alone by sight".

Helen Annis Casterline

You guys don't owe me anything, and usually are very gracious and even read Scripture when asked. If you could read just one little chapter in the Bible at your convenience, and let me know what you think? It's Hebrews 11. We call this the "faith" chapter.

People think they need to see it to believe it, but Jesus says "believe and then you will see. (John 11:40)

later, feeno

77 comments:

  1. "But that's just the thing about faith, it doesn't require anything, if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith."

    I'm sure we're all heading into well-worn territory here, but couldn't this statement be made, with equal sincerity and truth, about any delusion or imaginary friend?

    Go ahead, just have one!

    It also might make one wonder about the real value of something that's so easily had.

    Convincing yourself of something is all fine and well. It's how that conviction holds up against reality that makes or breaks it. And the more I learn about reality, the less convinced I am that Hebrews 11 has anything to offer me.

    But you know what? I'll go home and read it anyway. Just for you. (Got my childhood Bible with my name embossed on it and everything!)

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  2. couldn't this statement be made, with equal sincerity and truth, about any delusion or imaginary friend?

    For starters, which would have greater weight insofar as evidence is concerned? 2000 years worth of Biblical exegesis or the presence of my friend C.H.U.D who I insist lives under the kitchen sink, and yet he's strangely absent each time somebody checks?

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  3. JD, You do realize that biblical exegesis is not evidence, per se, but rather "critical explanation or interpretation of a text"?

    I'd say that, in your example, the weight is equal.

    And you really oughtn't call Jesus "my friend C.H.U.D." It isn't very flattering.

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  4. ...which would have greater weight insofar as evidence is concerned? 2000 years worth of Biblical exegesis or the presence of my friend C.H.U.D who I insist lives under the kitchen sink, and yet he's strangely absent each time somebody checks?

    Kind of like the Jesus that is prayed to but never, ever, gives an answer.

    feeno, I have read Hebrews 11. I was a bible believing Christian for the better part of 25 years.

    But the truth is that I'd rather convert you than for you to like me.

    Odd. I feel just the opposite. (And what's even odder - JD doesn't care about converting people or being liked :)

    So I guess you would want to convert me because...you don't want me to go to hell? That's it? I mean, it can't be because it will make me a better person. Look at other believers.
    So the only reason you want to convert me is because you BELIEVE that by converting, I will get to go to heaven with you and all the other believers, rather than hell, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth, for ever and ever, correct?

    But feeno, you don't KNOW hell exists. Why is it more important to you that I believe like you, when what you believe has absolutely no basis in fact?

    You don't know that hell exists.

    If you don't know that hell exists, why would you want me to be like you...believing hell exists, and getting other people to believe hell exists, so that they can get others to believe hell exists.

    How can that possibly be better than being liked?

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  5. I'm not agreeing with JD just because he's a Christian, I'm agreeing with JD 'cause he is right. When I first read Gen's comment, before JD's btw, I was thinking the same thing. the difference in wanting to believe in God is so much different than wanting to believe in the flying spaghetti monster or the Tooth fairy or Santa. Santa didn't have a following willing to die for him. Santa wasn't prophesied about then fulfilled them. Santa did show up and talk to people. Santa didn't heal the sick, give sight to the blind or raise the dead. Santa isn't self-existent, self sufficient or omnipresent or omniscient or omnipotent. And even if none of that is true or can be proven about God only God claims to be these things. C.H.U.D and the rest don't. When you slam your finger in a car door nobody is using the tooth fairies name in vain. When we type out OMG on a key board were not talking about the FSM. God is real to most people. Santa is only real if your about 8 years old.

    Gen

    I agree with your take about how well it holds up to reality. And I respect that. But what is reality? One mans reality is another mans insanity. Just think about this; If their is a God who created the world in a literal 6 day period, and you had insight to that, wouldn't you think; damn, that's crazy? Then you'd have to rethink everything.

    bobaloo

    What if you found out that the only reason you are to pray is because God tells you to do it. I know some passages that tell us about the Elders in the church praying and anointing and laying hands on the sick to heal them. But when I read the Bible I find promises after promises but they usually all entail things of a spiritual matter. Comfort, peace, liberty, joy, understanding, strength and then a bunch of stuff concerning the after life. Does that mean God doesn't care about us and our situation? Of course not. And I'm not putting blame on you, but in order for our prayers to be heard or answered the Bible also says we shouldn't have any unconfessed sin in our life or carnal motives or pride or being insincere. Matthew tells us we need to be able to forgive and to allow ourselves to be forgiven. Then all this must line up to God's will. So I pray because I'm commanded to.

    hold on..

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  6. bobaloo pt 2

    Of course if their is a Hell I wouldn't want you to go there. Just like you wouldn't want me to go there. But I also want people to enjoy a simple relationship with God. I believe we were created to worship God and when I do that it feels good.

    I like your riddle. But if there is a Hell and it's a bad place you'd want to tell people you care about .. about this place and how to avoid it. I don't want to sound callous, mainly because I'm not, but I don't worry about hell because I think God will do what is right. Revelations says that "...and in His righteousness he doth judge". And that He is Holy and true. And also in 2nd Timothy it says the Lord is a righteous judge. And because I think highly of God and am one who believes He is sovereign I think he'll do what is just.

    And so you know, my life isn't worthy of Gos answering my prayers. What makes me special in Gods eyes is the fact he is seeing me through the the blood of His Son. Because your right again, your life and other non-believers lives can be just as good and in a lot of cases even better than us Christians.

    late, feen

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  7. Feen.."I've actually heard many Atheists claim they wish they could believe in God, but they just don't have enough faith. (?) But that's just the thing about faith, it doesn't require anything, if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith."

    Yeah and folks who followed Hitler also used exactly much the same type of method of thought .IE - No thought just follow .IE no thought ,just blind faith

    The Taliban ,the Exclusive Brethren ,the West Bro Baptist ,the JWs... ALL!.. folks of faith promote this ignorant attitude . And then ...ALL!.. dont want to take any real responsibility for the outcome either.

    Feen i think your idea really sucks , i think it really stinks .Its really is little better that trying to promote Hitler type followings .

    However i wont let that change my mind about how i feel about you on a "personal level" ,anymore than i let the same type of ignorance effect how i personally feel about my own cult family in the exclusive brethren .

    Because i understand its faith that teaches you to think this way.I understand that "devotion" on "charisma" tends to shut down parts of the brain that usually deals with scepticism and decision making.

    And in a way you lots like my own cult family and even many of those who followed Hitler ,were become like zombies .->"it doesn't require anything, if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith."

    Feen said.."You guys don't owe me anything, and usually are very gracious and even read Scripture when asked"

    I think im also gracious to folks in asylums too .I learned to understand they have this special condition/adiction , and so i dont let this harmful adiction/condition effect how i feel about them on a more "personal" level .

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  8. Feen ..."There's not much difference between the Christian and Atheist. What separates us is only a little faith. The Christian has faith, and the Atheist just needs a little more. I've actually heard many Atheists claim they wish they could believe in God, but they just don't have enough faith. (?) "

    No what seperates us is blind faith.

    As an atheist i still have faith my Truck will start tomorrow.But i have this faith because i have some good reason to have faith ,because my truck has already proved itself to most often be pretty reliable.

    Thats faith , but not blind faith.

    Sure id like to have faith in God ,it might be nice to have a sky daddy actually do something about all the blind-faithers havoc.

    However blind faith aint ever helped anyone .The fact is a non existent sky daddy , in all honesty cant really do much to help anyone.

    You believing in sky daddys existence wont do much to help provide you any eternal life ,if infact no sky daddy actually exists.

    But your right to having this blind faith is certainly still costing somebody something in this life.

    These type delusions are not totally free ,folks delusions of eternal life, has been well paid for! by many folks in this world.

    And not ! by Jesus, who only just had a bit of a bad weekend , compared to complete lifetimes wasted through the ignorance of continued promotion of these beliefs.

    When you die Feen .Many folks will have already paid a very high cost for "your right" to continue to promote faith.And after you have gone, some folks will still continue to pay! for your rights to this blind faith ,until the bullshite finally ceases.

    But your bible and the Prophets who wrote it ,dont want you considering that .These prophets would rather have you believe ,Jesus paid


    Jesus paid bugger all Feen .Its kids in the West Bro Baptists , and African kids being killed acused of being witches etc .These are the people who pay! and pay! for faithful folks right to be involved in the continued promotion of faith .

    That pay!! for "your" right to continue to promote blind faith ignorance, and even pay for "your" dreams of some eternal salvation .

    Its not free Feen.Its very costly.

    But hey you are a faith gambler ."Gamblers" traditionally mostly only consider their own hope of winning the prize ,traditionally they dont often really bother even considering the great cost this adiction might cause to anyone else do they.

    Yes i would quite happily believe in God, if there was actually any "good evidence" and "good reason" to be doing so Feen ....But i will not do so at the continued great cost of others needing to be paying for it.

    Its like even when people i know start abusing the mentally retarded , i dont .I wont be involved in it. I will even start to feircefully! defend these mentally retarded folk.Im quite willing to smash somebody over real good ,should i see them persisting! in abusing these folk.

    I need "good reason" to be following things Feen . Im keen on breaking away from the ancient human sheep type mentality.

    Yes i could simply choose ->"if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith."

    But its very costly! .It dont come for free ! .Somebody still has to pay for many of these decisions we humans make

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  9. feen - I'm not agreeing with JD just because he's a Christian, I'm agreeing with JD 'cause he is right.

    I'm not disagreeing with JD because he is a Christian, I'm disagreeing with him because he is wrong.

    feen - ...the difference in wanting to believe in God is so much different than wanting to believe in the flying spaghetti monster or the Tooth fairy or Santa.

    How about wanting to believe in Allah, Vishnu, or Thor? How is wanting to believe in those gods "so much different" than wanting to believe in your god?

    feen - Santa didn't have a following willing to die for him.

    Allah does. I am guessing that automatically qualifies Allah as a desirable god?

    feen - Santa wasn't prophesied about then fulfilled them.

    Neither did Jesus. Show me one (1) obvious fulfilled prophecy that Jesus fulfilled.

    feen - Santa did show up and talk to people.

    Look up Saint Nicholas of Myra. Apparently he did show up and talk.

    feen - Santa didn't heal the sick, give sight to the blind or raise the dead.

    ...but Jesus did? I think that is what you are intimating. Unfortunately, all we have are ancient legends found in a 2,000 year old book and some unsubstantiated instances from modern day believers. we have no scientific evidence that any of those claims, old or new, are true.

    feen - Santa isn't self-existent, self sufficient or omnipresent or omniscient or omnipotent.

    And neither is your God. You just believe him to be.

    feen - And even if none of that is true or can be proven about God only God claims to be these things.

    So, by merely claiming to be these things, that some how adds credence to the claims? If I claim to be able to flap my arms and fly like a bird, does that make me any more likely to be able to fly, than someone who doesn't make such an absurd claim?

    feen - When you slam your finger in a car door nobody is using the tooth fairies name in vain. When we type out OMG on a key board were not talking about the FSM. God is real to most people.

    Which God are you talking about feen? "Most" people don't believe in the god you believe in.

    feen - Santa is only real if your about 8 years old

    Never the less, to an 8 year old who "believes", Santa is just as real to him as your God is to you.

    And at 9, the child begins to get suspicious of the claims of others concerning Santa.
    He starts to realize that Santa can't be in the parade AND at the mall AND on TV at the same time.
    He begins to wonder how Santa can deliver all those presents to all those kids all over the world, all in one night.
    He notices that Santa uses the same wrapping paper that his parents use.
    And finally, he realizes that he has never actually seen Santa come down his non existent chimney, into his house.

    feen, what is preventing you from exercising the same skepticism concerning your God, as a 9 year old child exercises concerning Santa?

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  11. Feeno said (the numbers are mine):

    "1) Santa didn't have a following willing to die for him. 2)Santa wasn't prophesied about then fulfilled them. Santa did show up and talk to people. 3) Santa didn't heal the sick, give sight to the blind or raise the dead. 4) Santa isn't self-existent, self sufficient or omnipresent or omniscient or omnipotent. And even if none of that is true or can be proven about God only God claims to be these things. C.H.U.D and the rest don't. When you slam your finger in a car door nobody is using the tooth fairies name in vain. When we type out OMG on a key board were not talking about the FSM. God is real to most people. 5) Santa is only real if your about 8 years old."

    Not entirely true.

    1) Santa has tons of Apostles. They're called elves. Duh!
    2) Of course he was! How do you explain the fact that so many cultures believe in the coming of Santa each year if he wasn't prophesied about?
    3)My friend, you clearly don't know what you're talking about. Santa resurrected Frosty the Snowman and brought him back to life again! If that's not a miraculous healing, then I don't know what is.
    4)Then how the heck does he know who's been naughty or nice? Obviously Santa knows everything and can hear our deepest innermost thoughts. Also he has ultimate power, because he can travel to every house on the planet in one night! He's everywhere all at once. Everyone knows this. Sheesh. And since presents appear under the Christmas tree every year, this proves Santa is real!
    5)Then how do you explain the fact that the NORAD tracks Santa's flight path every Christmas?

    http://www.noradsanta.org/

    My friend, what separates us is only a little faith. The Santa believer has faith, and the non-Santa believer just needs a little more.

    I've actually heard many non-Santa believers claim they wish they could believe in Kris Kringle, but they just don't have enough faith. But that's just the thing about faith, it doesn't require anything, if you want to have it, just have it. That's why it's called faith.

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

    The way I see it Feeno, you're exactly right. It all boils down to faith. Believe if you want to believe... it still doesn't make it true. The truth is independent of what any of us should *want to believe. That's why it's called the truth.

    But all kidding aside, the Santa analogy is a good one because it parallels the desire to believe in God, i.e. faith, in almost every regard. The same reason you believe in Jesus/God is the EXACT same reason little kids believe in Santa.

    The only difference is that eventually a child is told the *truth--about Santa being imaginary--whereas no Christian parent ever tells their child that belief in Jesus is just as unfounded or unrealistic.

    I suspect you are a believing Christian because your parents raised you that way... and what's more, I'll be you they inherited their faith in the same fashion.

    Have a good one! Ho! Ho! Ho!

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  13. The Christian has faith, and the Atheist just needs a little more.

    Sorry Feeno- totally wrong on this one. The only comparison I can give you is an expansion of what Tristan said.

    When I was a kid, I had faith that Santa Claus was going to bring me presents on Christmas Eve. And, guess what, he did. Then, with the collection of a little evidence, I was able to get the real story. So, I lost my faith in Santa Claus. Same goes with Christianity.

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  14. Maybe I should have said the Christian and the Atheist have this in common: Faith, one has it and one don't.

    Any better?

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  15. Santa has tons of Apostles. They're called elves

    What historical documents do we have to see if this was the case?

    Of course he was! How do you explain the fact that so many cultures believe in the coming of Santa each year if he wasn't prophesied about?

    Please name the prophets

    Santa resurrected Frosty the Snowman and brought him back to life again!

    In a "yes" or "no" format please, does this "miracle" exist apart from drawings on celluloid?

    Then how the heck does he know who's been naughty or nice? [If he omnipotent]

    Grandma said it was through an intricate elve-spy system that I never fully understood the structure of. No one has claimed to have seen as such though.

    he can travel to every house on the planet in one night!

    Has satellite technology confirmed a much? I admit I am unaware.

    since presents appear under the Christmas tree every year, this proves Santa is real!


    The appearance of presents under the tree each year, theoretically could be attributed to Saint Nick. However when one examines counter-evidence that friends and family members might actually be placing them there, then this competing theory is buried beneath an avalanche of facts and is irrational.

    Then how do you explain the fact that the NORAD tracks Santa's flight path every Christmas?

    Gee, do you think that if we subpoenaed administrators from NORAD, that they would actually stick to their original story or later recant?

    the Santa analogy is a good one because it parallels the desire to believe in God

    Why, I guess all beliefs hold equal weight! My mind is a theological WONDERLAND! John Mayer, take me AWAY! Wheeee!

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  16. JD- Now just apply that criticism to Christianity and do a little research! Answer those same questions but about Christianity!

    And I'll think you'll be more than surprised at what you find.

    Those crazy Jews!

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  17. Hey Feeno -

    I did my reading assignment. Actually I read Hebrews 12 as well, which I would definitely call the "discipline" chapter. It was an interesting juxtaposition.

    Net net: basically unmoved. But it did nudge me back into my Bible exploration project which has gone neglected for a while. So, good for us!

    I did have one almost-cool observation from Hebrew 11:3 -

    By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

    I thought, "Whoa. It's like the Bible foresaw modern physics! Non-visible particles making up all matter. Maybe there really is wisdom ahead of its time in here!" And for about … three seconds, I was impressed.

    Then I remembered that the Greek "atomists" had this idea somewhere around the fifth century BC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomism

    And I went right back to my original view, which is that the Bible is a syncretic work with zero to few original ideas.

    I was also reminded of one of my biblical peeves; its constant incongruous use of the word "therefore."

    (13)All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. (14)People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. (15)If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. (16)Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. THEREFORE God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

    I'm so used to seeing "therefore" used to signify a logical conclusion or inference that it's really jarring to see it used this way. How does God's lack of shame follow from the fact that believers were looking for a heavenly country? Total non-sequitor. It suggests that there are conditions under which God can feel shame, which — I hope you agree — makes no sense. It's gratuitous and the word should just be taken out. The meaning would be clearer:

    (16)Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

    It still seems weird to speak of God feeling shame, even in the negative, but … whatever. I'm rambling now. This is what happens when I read the Bible now; it makes no sense and I want to edit it.

    Ah, well. Thanks again for the exercise.

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  18. The Gentlest Skeptic said:

    "This is what happens when I read the Bible now; it makes no sense and I want to edit it."

    And interestingly enough the notion of editting the Bible, the New Testament at least, apparently made sense to Thomas Jefferson who set about a making condensed version now reffered to as the "Jefferson Bible".

    I agree that the Bible deserves to be re-worked in it's entirety to make a document that might serve as a more useful spiritual and moral guidebook for modern man. But keep the King James English, wouldn't want to make it too comprehensible, methinks. Plus that archaic lingo kind of Rocks in a mystical sort of way.

    But seriously Feeno, I personally do not think that you would be better off if you abandoned Christianity and went Atheist. Of course that is not my decision to make and whatever you do is cool with me. You are always welcome in my hacienda regardless.

    Peace Be With You,

    SteveO

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  19. And a little additional aside on editting the Bible that you all may already know. Martin Luther wanted to drop John the Revelators contribution to the Bible, saying, "There is nothing of Christ in it." (paraphrased actually, but pretty close I think)

    Had Martin's desires prevailed we might have been spared the whole "Left Behind" series and the better for it, methinks too.

    SteveO

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  20. Luther also had a low view of Hebrews. But for some reason, feeno likes it.

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  21. D- Now just apply that criticism to Christianity and do a little research! Answer those same questions but about Christianity!


    I would be pleased to do so TV.

    However I asked you first in reference to to your Santa Clausism belief system that you put forward and thusly I am still waiting for you to leap-froggie first and answer the questions in my above entry time stamped @ 3:14.

    Whenever you get around to it will be fine.

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  22. TB 13, what up Tink? In spite of TVick's "proof of Santa" list people just don't have enough faith to continue believing in Santa. The evidence is just not there.

    G$, Are you against all "evils" in the world? Or just those done in the name of religion?

    bobaloo, I think Luther hated the the Hebrew people, not the book of Hebrews. (I could be wrong).

    Vickster, Yes I was raised to believe in God, but so were many of my friends and some of them could care less about God, and maybe a few have de-converted. And I now have many friends who used to care less about God or never heard about Him or who were Atheists that have since became Believers. So that's not an impressive enough reason for someone to "deconvert'. I can promise you that if my parents were vegetarians I wouldn't be.

    Nobody Cooler, Mi casa es su casa. Gracious amigo.

    Gen, Thank you for dusting off your "embossed" bible and actually doing your assignment. you will also be given extra credit for reading Hebrews 12. Also a nice response, with very much to cover. If your patient with me I'd like to address some of this. Maybe tonight or tomorrow night?

    Good night, feeno

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  23. Feen says.."G$, Are you against all "evils" in the world? Or just those done in the name of religion?"

    I will answer this if you really feel you need to ask me such a question .But first answer this.

    1,A group of gang members who wear patches and are well known to be gang members , ruin peoples live by their action and ideals.

    2,A faith group claiming to follow Gods ,and seperating from people and claiming to be good and holding to certain godly standards ,ruin and harm people who infact pay! for the right these people have to such beliefs.

    You would see it both as being just the same thing Feen ?.Both just as bad as each other? ..I should be just as angry about one group as i am about the other ?.

    The "devotion" on all the "charisma" of their faith makes my christian cult family not "allow" themselves to see this type of difference either .They feel persecuted .They just cant understand why society might have any reason to expect a little more from their group ,than the nasty Mongrel Mob gang members down the road .

    Their "devotion" to all the "charisma" of faith,shut down parts of their brain that usually deal with scepticism and making decisions that have been well thought through.

    They just want to feel all persecuted ,so they can think ...Hey ..look ... that match what our holy book say!.

    They dont bother to think these matters through,and try and understand why some folks are angry.

    No they rather think ..oh we are christians ...We follows Gods ...Our shit cant stink? ...No it cant! because our "holy book" say it dont! ...So there!

    They come up with much the same lines ..Such as....Are you as angry about the nasty Mongrel mob gang as you are about our wonderful Christian group !?.

    These people ..They have these standards that make them seperate from us blah blah ...And they say they have special standards to follow for their right to afterlife blah blah.

    But then when it happen to suit them! ...They dont want us to see them in any differnt light or hold them in any other special standard than any other evil there also be around the place?.

    My christian cult family are not thoughtful folks,they dont really care how many they drive to suicide.Their devotion dont allow them to think in any great depth about certain things.

    No faith is faith .You just switch off! and choose it!

    But i know this thoughtless problem runs far far deeper! ,than just being about their own little christian cult.Their higher faith thoughtlessness evolved from another much wider bank existing faith thoughtlessness.Faith in general.

    Feen answer this question ive put forward .And if you still feel you really do need my answer to the question you asked ,then let me know.

    Hope you having a great weekend!.

    Peace ...gandy

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  26. I first stated: "Now just apply that criticism to Christianity and do a little research! Answer those same questions but about Christianity!"


    To which JD replied: "I would be pleased to do so TV.

    However I asked you first in reference to your Santa Clausism belief system that you put forward and thusly I am still waiting for you to leap-froggie first and answer the questions in my above entry time stamped @ 3:14.

    Whenever you get around to it will be fine."

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

    Honestly, I think you may have missed the purpose of the analogy.

    I was merely parodying overzealous fundy speak and used the same form of evangelical reasoning but applied it to Santa.

    The fact that you want me to prove "Santa Clausism" or whatever... shows that you're taking things too literally JD.

    I only meant it as a bit of a spoof. But sometimes such satirical analogies can help one see the problems with their own line of reasoning.

    Which I think you failed to do when you wanted me to prove a simple takeoff, no matter how burlesque.

    Another thing I might note is, not all religious faiths have religious texts. Some do and some don't. And we all know that not all belief systems will agree on every point, even as they may on occasion share tenets or resemble one another closely.

    I mean, Islam has an authoritative holy book the same as Christianity. How do you know that's not the real word of God? Whereas Jainism doesn't have a religious text.Why should Santa Clausism? The question you need to be asking yourself is, if you're going to take something literally, then shouldn't you at least expect differences? Why preclude them just because you feel your faith is right? That's just ethnocentric, and lacks any sincere objectivity. The analogy was to try and raise ones objective reasoning to the same level as a third party observer.

    Also I see no reason to defend "Santa Clausism" since, assuredly, I do not take it serious. Which answers all your questions right there--about Santa Clausism--certainly not about your own beliefs--but that's sort of the point of the exercise now is it not? To get you to think about your beliefs by outlining the juxtaposition.

    Which brings me to my last observation, if you did take you faith serious, I'd assume, you would want it to be meaningful... right?

    Having been a Christian I understand the cultural impact of piety and the importance of religion in one's life. That's not what I'm denying when I reject religion. I admire many of the customs and social traditions and values of religion. I can take from these too.

    But what I am getting at is: when it comes to truth claims--which you steak a belief in--and found a faith upon--it DOES matter if they are valid. If not, then all you have done is erect a false faith.

    Now I don't see how proving things to you or anybody else will change anything if you don't stop to look at your faith deeply and see where you stand with regard to belief in whatever articles of faith or devotional convictions you may put faith in. It seems to practice faith, just because it's the faith you inherited as a child, without ever seriously taking the time to analyze it is, in my opinion, a shallow kind of faith.

    Which is why it strikes me a bit peculiar why there are so many who get bent out of shape trying to defend the merit of their faith when they haven't themselves taken the time to look at what it is they are actually professing a belief in in the first place.

    That was my challenge. I'll leave it open.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Actually, Tristan... To take it even further.

    Many Native North American cultures do not have any of their belief systems (spirits, creation stories, and such) actually written down. They transmit their values across the generations through an oral tradition. They believe that writing it down will only serve to debase and contaminate the message with the potential interpretations of the followers (sounds about right to me). And, as such, they have fairly intact and cohesive generational traditions. They recognized early on that "writing it down" would serve to be lunacy. Although, in times of genocide at the hands of European settlers following Colombus's arrival, they did try to write it down in an attempt to assimilate into Christian culture. Never worked though, they were unable to save themselves against the holy crusades of the settlers.

    I find it amusing how the use of a metaphor (Santa Claus) is deemed to be absurd. But, a god that lives in the cloud that is dialled into to every thought, idea, emotion, impulse, and destiny of every human being at every time on Earth is fine. But, a guy dressed in a red suit throwing presents down every chimney is nuts.

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  28. But, a guy dressed in a red suit throwing presents down every chimney is nuts.

    It's like the Sam Harris analogy comparing these two statements:

    1. I talk to God every day.
    2. I talk to God every day through my hair dryer.

    Which one's crazy, and why?

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  29. Your entire entry from 2:24 is completely wrong from beginning to end.

    I only meant it as a bit of a spoof. But sometimes such satirical analogies can help one see the problems with their own line of reasoning.
    The fact that you want me to prove "Santa Clausism" or whatever... shows that you're taking things too literally JD


    Complete wrong. I have asked you repeatedly to answer questions about your own example that you put forward to point out your shoddy logic and factual nonsense and you refuse to do so.

    I further reiterated that I have no problem at all examining my beliefs, thus I am open to questioning once you have answered mine.

    I only meant it as a bit of a spoof. But sometimes such satirical analogies can help one see the problems with their own line of reasoning

    I was serious as all get out. Sometimes when people are actually open to discussing their own analogies that they put forward, they can actually examine their own argument and see it for the shoddy logic and erroneous example that it truly is.

    Another thing I might note is, not all religious faiths have religious texts. Some do and some don't. And we all know that not all belief systems will agree on every point, even as they may on occasion share tenets or resemble one another closely

    TV goes on to make classicatheist mistake of lumping all religions in together as if their comparative belief systems all hold equal weight when nothing could be further from the truth.

    mean, Islam has an authoritative holy book the same as Christianity. How do you know that's not the real word of God?

    A whole host of reasons would cause one to doubt the authority of the Koran. What miracles did Mohammed ever perform? Why is Islam spread by the sword? Between Jesus and Mohammed, which one sold women and children into slavery? These are just off the top of my head.

    The question you need to be asking yourself is, if you're going to take something literally, then shouldn't you at least expect differences? Why preclude them just because you feel your faith is right?

    TV commits 2 errors here.

    1) It's almost as if he thinks that I never critically examined my own religion and compared it to others, and..

    2) TV nakes the mistake of assuming that I'm a literalist which I am not. The Bible contains accounts that are literal, figurative, parables and allegories and I'm suprised that I have to explain this to you.

    That's just ethnocentric, and lacks any sincere objectivity

    With the use of the word "ethnocentric" TV displays a tremedous amount of cluelessness concerning Christianity in that it is found on practically every continent on the planet and originated in the East, not the West.

    The analogy was to try and raise ones objective reasoning to the same level as a third party observer

    Using a poor example in which the two beliefs being compared really don't have anything to do with one another and are highly dissimilar.

    I admire many of the customs and social traditions and values of religion. I can take from these too

    Atheists absorb the values of the particular culture that they live in. Thosethat live in predominately or historically Christian countries adopt the mores of that culture. Atheists cannot agree upon a competeing system of values and I don't really see a competitive model coming forward any time soon, if ever.

    when it comes to truth claims--which you steak a belief in--and found a faith upon--it DOES matter if they are valid

    OK.

    It seems to practice faith, just because it's the faith you inherited as a child, without ever seriously taking the time to analyze it is, in my opinion, a shallow kind of faith

    Would this apply to those born into atheistic households as well?

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  30. JD - "A whole host of reasons would cause one to doubt the authority of the Koran. What miracles did Mohammed ever perform? Why is Islam spread by the sword? Between Jesus and Mohammed, which one sold women and children into slavery?"

    He's joking right...I mean, he has to be joking.
    I am sure everyone, with the possible exception of feeno, can see the glaringly obvious crack(s) in this week attempt at applying reason and logic to a desperately faulty belief system...unless he is joking.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Bob: you and I both know he isn't joking. He should be, but he isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  32. DO NOT FEED THE TROLL... And, no, he is not kidding. He really is that irrational, blind, childish, and intellectually shallow. Believe me, that is a reasonably intelligent statement from him. Believe me, he can sink much lower than this for the sake of trolling.

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  33. Let the record show that no counter evidence was given to show where JD was wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  34. The Tink-bot Method of Argumentation

    1) Provide erroneous arguments filled with errors

    2) Don't address her mindless blather

    3) Prepare to be called a troll

    Brilliant

    ReplyDelete
  35. I mean really, you guys should be embarrassed. This doesnt even rise to the level of Atheism 101 blather. In fact, It would be intellectually shameful to introduce these types of arguments on an Atheism for Beginners syllabus.

    I'm almost half-expecting Ashton Kutcher to come busting out of the closet any moment now, cam-corder in hand, and loudly proclaiming JD Curtis, You've just been PUNKED!

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  36. TV..."Santa has tons of Apostles. They're called elves"

    JD Curtis said... "What historical documents do we have to see if this was the case?"

    There is plenty written about Santas elves, JD.You know it.But its about Santa !a friendly lovible fellow .Not some bullshite avengeful Gods , who people wanting to manipulate and control, found such need to go to such extents to lie and fib and try blending into meeting with History.

    TV....."Of course he was! How do you explain the fact that so many cultures believe in the coming of Santa each year if he wasn't prophesied about?"

    JD.."Please name the prophets"

    Like i said above folks never used this myth to try and manipulate and control people.There was less folks feeling a need to name and record Prophets of Santa.But it dont mean there were not prophets who promoted the faith.These is still plenty who do so today in many homes at christmas time.

    TV ..."Santa resurrected Frosty the Snowman and brought him back to life again!"

    JD.."In a "yes" or "no" format please, does this "miracle" exist apart from drawings on celluloid?"

    Does the resurection of Jesus exist ? .Where is he ? .About frigging time he sorted out his followers aint it ?.For a supposedly resurected God he is about as existing as old Santa.

    TV..."Then how the heck does he know who's been naughty or nice? [If he omnipotent]"

    JD.."Grandma said it was through an intricate elve-spy system that I never fully understood the structure of. No one has claimed to have seen as such though."

    Yeah and Grandmas been telling folks God know what they been up to too .They got the structure all written down sure ,but nobody has seen Gods knowing anything about what people been up to either ..... JD you know this ! ....And atheist folks here know you know this! ...Thats why they dont bother with answering you ! ...I guess they feel they talking to a brick wall

    TV.."he can travel to every house on the planet in one night!"

    JD..."Has satellite technology confirmed a much? I admit I am unaware."

    JD you know very well! satellite technology confirmed nothing about Gods either .You are very aware of that! ...Were you wanting a battle ? ...Being awkward ?

    TV.."since presents appear under the Christmas tree every year, this proves Santa is real!"


    JD.."The appearance of presents under the tree each year, theoretically could be attributed to Saint Nick. However when one examines counter-evidence that friends and family members might actually be placing them there, then this competing theory is buried beneath an avalanche of facts and is irrational."

    Yes JD, and little difference happens with God faiths. Have you yourself met any talking snakes or donkeys lately? .

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  37. TV.."Then how do you explain the fact that the NORAD tracks Santa's flight path every Christmas?"

    JD.."Gee, do you think that if we subpoenaed administrators from NORAD, that they would actually stick to their original story or later recant?"

    Maybe ...But hey even modern day prophets recant...Tell us they were fibbing ...Never actually talked with Gods ..Never seen one ! .Tell us they were fearful of manipulative threats of hell fed to them by parents and priests ,as kids. You know this very well JD ! ...Even if your "devotion" on all the "charisma" of faith ,is shutting down parts of your brain! that without faith would usually "allow" you to "decide" you actually honestly already knew this .Instead you are lieing for Jesus ...Just like the prophets before you ..who wrote cunning books intended to try and fit in with history ...Im sure Benny Hinn followers ministry will try to do much the same

    TV.."the Santa analogy is a good one because it parallels the desire to believe in God"

    JD..."Why, I guess all beliefs hold equal weight! My mind is a theological WONDERLAND! John Mayer, take me AWAY! Wheeee! "

    Now now .. careful ! of that theo juice ..Its powerful drugs JD ..Modern Science has even taken "pictures" that shows how it actually shuts down parts of peoples brains and makes them drunk on all the "charisma" .Shows how it removes their ability to even make proper decent decisions.Goodness knows how much trouble thats caused ...Sheeze man ..If its been proven by science, that modern day "devoted" faith jockeys didnt even care less whether the prayer was for real or not ,but just closed off their brains in "devotion" on the "charisma" and believed ,just like Benny Hinn followers also do ...Then what hope is their that any resurection can even be proved as actually being honest? ....Or the freaking talking snakes and donkeys ...L.o.L

    Its bloody like comedy 101.Ancient Faithful Mr Beans all leading the faithful devoted lost sheep with their brains all shut down by charisma.

    Why shouldnt we have reason to expect they would have devoted faith in believing the resurection? .And talking snakes and donkeys etc etc ?

    Im worried you might weeee weeee weeee ! off the scale in faithful wonderland, JD ...Like a Jim Jonestown weee weeee lil munters once also did .

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  38. JD if modern science shows how devotion shuts down parts of the brain that usually are supposed to deal with scepticism and making decisions that have been thought through.

    And all this ! being even in "modern times" when so much MORE! scientific evidence and knowledge is FREELY available.Yet modern day folks of faith proved through science how really gullable and easily led ! they were .

    Why do you suppose this problem was likely to be any less in ancient times ? .

    Surely it more likely this problem was magnified ! by lack of scientific knowledge and with people being far more faithful superstitious and "devoted" on these "charasmatic" superstitious ideas .Ideas of faith that were once thought to even be in direct control of things like killer lightning bolts and tsunami and earthquke and drought and floods and sickness and winning wars etc etc.

    People in ancient times whole lives often revolved around "devotion" of the "charismatic" ideas of gods and demons and angels etc.

    These people would have been likely to believe almost anything anyone said.

    So...is it any real wonder the far fetched storys in all these faith books exist?.

    I think not.

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  39. JD - "Let the record show that no counter evidence was given to show where JD was wrong."

    Because JD is not wrong. He is correct in pointing out the faulty or insufficient evidence for the existence and antics of Ol' Saint Nick.

    The problem is, JD is incapable of (due to faith blindness) applying the very same reasoning to his own religious beliefs.

    The inability to see why your beliefs are unsubstantiated is a normal byproduct of human reasoning under the influence.

    But, arguing that your unsubstantiated beliefs are in fact true...just makes you an ass.

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  40. *gets on knees*

    Lord, can you please cure JD's prostate cancer? It would be a huge favor if you took care of that thing up his ass. Also, thanks for sunsets and junk.

    Amen

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  41. DO NOT FEED THE TROLL.... Follow my example. Do not address him. I do not argue with the equivalent of a grain fed veal that has never seen the daylight. I will not lower my IQ anymore to explain anything to him anymore. I will not address him. Save yourselves. His stupid is viral.

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  42. Or at least take it over to HIS blog.

    And watch your posts disappear …

    ReplyDelete
  43. I think this would be an appropriate comic to point out at this time:

    http://xkcd.com/386/

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  44. Jeff: Absolutely! I was thinking of it myself.

    It's always good to keep it in perspective, thx 4 that. : )

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  45. Geez, look at all the fun everybody is having. I wish I could play. I've been very busy and I promise to have something soon. Hang in there JD ole buddy. see yall soon. peace. feeno

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  46. Gandolf, I just skim read your post. I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out to you that if we take the apostles as an example, the apostle John was the only one who died of natural causes. The rest were killed. Would they be willing to die for something that they knew was false, or the thousands of Christian martyrs who have followed their example since?

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  47. Ross - "Would they be willing to die for something that they knew was false, or the thousands of Christian martyrs who have followed their example since?"

    Sorry to butt in here, but Ross, are you using the martyrdom of the apostles as evidence that Jesus was born of a virgin, and did rise from the dead?

    Just not quite sure what your point is in asking the question.

    If that is your point, it is pointless. People all over the world of different religious faiths for thousands of years have been willing to die for what they believe to be true. That doesn't make it true though.

    If that wasn't your point, just tell me to shut up.

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  48. Ross stated:

    "Gandolf, I just skim read your post. I wonder if anyone has ever pointed out to you that if we take the apostles as an example, the apostle John was the only one who died of natural causes. The rest were killed. Would they be willing to die for something that they knew was false, or the thousands of Christian martyrs who have followed their example since?"

    Ross old chum... you might want to read Richard Carrier's book: Not the Impossible Faith.

    It answers this exact question better than anything I've read to date.

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  49. JD-

    Ah yes! But you forget...

    YOU CAN'T PROVE TO ME THAT SANTA DOESN'T EXIST!

    So there. Haha.

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  50. Would they be willing to die for something that they knew was false, or the thousands of Christian martyrs who have followed their example since?

    Ever heard of Islamic suicide bombers? Are you suggesting that they think Islam is false?

    ReplyDelete
  51. I love it.... Please be aware of the psychology of the troll people. Because he is a mental house of cards, he always has to win.... Don't argue the irrational ramblings- he has won because you have failed to answer the question of a borderline delusion. Answer, and you are engaging in an argument that may have been relevant in highschool, and you walk away feeling dumbed down and dirty- and not dirty in a good way.... Nevertheless, my original platform stands. If he is able to present an argument that is rational, contextualized, free of his bigotry, and articulate, I will openly retract the troll title. Until then, I call it like it is.

    Tristan- It is the same argument. Dawkins captured this brilliantly in the following quote, and I will let is speak for itself;

    “There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?”

    This argument can be flipped to any supernatural being, including Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, God, etc....

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  52. GentleSkeptic,

    Have you heard of organisations like Barnabas Fund, Open Doors, or Voice of the Martyrs?

    Every week they send out email news digests with stories of Christians around the world who get persecuted or killed for being Christians.

    It's drawing a very long bowstring to compare them to Islamic suicide bombers.

    Others have made this point before, but look at the disciples when Jesus died. They were a bunch of sad and broken individuals. After the resurrection they became bold and courageous. They must have witnesssed something remarkable. After all, over a period of several weeks, more than 500 people saw Jesus alive in the days after his resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6). This is too big a crowd for this to be some sort of mass delusion.

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  53. Ross, the martyrdom of the apostles is legend. You don't KNOW they were killed for their faith.

    As for the 500 witnesses - if you could some how prove that 1 Corinthians 15:6 is a true account of an actual event, you might be able to use it in this argument, but this argument can not be about what the bible says, but about if what the bible says is true.

    You have a story about man/god Jesus being crucified, laid in a tomb, then rising from the dead several days later.
    As an atheist, I don't believe the bible is credible, and your story is found ONLY in the bible.

    If I don't believe Jesus arose from the dead, why would you even bother with the entirely unsubstantiated claim of 500 witnesses?

    "Every week they send out email news digests with stories of Christians around the world who get persecuted or killed for being Christians."

    Do they send out reports of other religions being persecuted? Not from what I have read. That speaks volumes.

    Every day, people from one religion attack people from another, all over the world. This has been going on for a very long time, and Christians have also been the persecuters:

    Christians persecuted the Jews.
    Christians persecuted the Mormons.
    Protestant and Catholics persecuted each other.
    Early American Christians persecuted Native Americans.
    Early American Christians persecuted Africans.
    Later American Christians persecuted black Americans.

    Some discussions -

    http://forums.canadiancontent.net/christian-discussion/44906-christian-persecution-peoples.html

    http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/74926

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  54. Bob, the apostles aside, there were plenty of other Christians during the patristic period who were killed because of their faith.

    You're being presumptuous. Religious persecution of any sort grieves me, as I'm sure it did Richard Wurmbrand, founder of Voice of the Martyrs. On a personal note, I signed a petition to support the persecuted Chinese sect Falun Gong, so there...

    In other words, I believe in freedom of religion for anyone, not just Christians, and also in the individual's right to have freedom from religion, if that's their choice.

    There's plenty of arguments and counter arguments about the resurrection of Jesus, so you and I will also have to agree to disagree on that point as well.

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  55. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。..................................................

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  56. Ross - forgive me if I sounded presumptuous. I was not intimating that you cared only about the persecution of Christians, but that the organizations you listed seemed concerned only about the persecution of Christians.

    Richard Wurmbrand - I read his book "In God's Underground" years ago. One of the most moving accounts of persecution and suffering I have ever read of.

    So, I am guessing you are not persuaded in any way by the fact that bible believers have persecuted Mormons, Jews, Blacks, Africans, Native Americans...?...or you just have no comment.
    I mean, you seemed to be trying to make the case that martyrdom (of Christians) somehow validates Christianity. But you don't seem to be willing to allow other faiths the same validation based on their own martyrs.

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  57. Bob: EXACTLY. Thank you.

    If the claim is that dying for belief (or willingness to die for belief) makes the belief true… well, then there are a lot of conflicting true beliefs out there.

    As to this:

    …more than 500 people saw Jesus alive in the days after his resurrection…

    Let me fix that for you.

    Paul, in 1 Corinthians, claims that "more than 500 people saw Jesus alive" at one time.

    Not "over a period of several weeks."

    Quite a dramatic event, don't you think? Funny that none of those 500 ever wrote anything about it. Just Paul.

    Did you know that thousands have seen Elvis since he died? Way more than Jesus, and all independently reported. Must be true.

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  58. Tink: I am JD repellant. I'm like a Citronella candle for Christians (active ingredient: ad hominem attacks). I apologize for letting it go this long.

    Also... you guys post the longest comments I have ever seen. Some of you ramble like an elderly person who hasn't talked to anyone in months, and it takes forever to get to the end, where there's no payout (now I know how Al Gore felt after those massages).

    This is feeno's blog... he has an excuse since he's trying to be polite and address these novellas you all wrote. Otherwise, what excuse do the rest of you have? No blog of your own? I dunno, maybe feeno loves the homework assignments you all left for him.

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  59. I say more than 500 people, because this also includes post resurrection appearances in each of the gospels and the book of Acts, which includes the one to the apostle Paul.

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  60. Bob,

    If you reread my previous comment, I said that religious persecution of any sort grieves me, both contemporary and historic. I'm well aware that Christians have persecuted others as well, which also grieves me.

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  61. Ross, and if you re-read my previous comment, I did not accuse you of being "unaware" of the persecution of non Christians, but you seem incapable of giving the same credence to their persecutions as you give to the persecution of Christians.

    In other words it seems to me that, in your mind - the persecution of other religious peoples proves nothing concerning their faith...but the persecution of Christians proves that Christianity is true.

    I give up.

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  62. @ Ginx- LOL.... I know that already. I am attempting to curb my enabling tendencies by drawing the line in the sand with him. Calling him for what he is.

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  63. Ross,

    Once you realize that they are not interested in truth whatsoever and instead are focusing on defending an ill-thought out position that they reckon from, then you begin to realize the mindset of so many argumentative, internet atheists.

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  64. Tinkblink,

    I wouldnt even spit on one of the screeds you try to pass off as legitimate argument (with a straight face none the less), much less actually read one.

    I determined long ago that you arent worth the effort of typing for one second, nevermind several minutes worth.

    In order to determine who the "troll" here is, please cite one single instance in which I ever refused to answer one single, direct question when put to me.

    Once you realize that I've never done anything as remotely shameful as you, I'll cite where you have done just exactly that.

    Cue up Tinkbot screeching Troll! for the lack of an actual response in 3.. 2.. 1..

    ReplyDelete
  65. YOU CAN'T PROVE TO ME THAT SANTA DOESN'T EXIST!


    TV, which kind of "proof" would you require based on the claimed existance of Santa Clause?

    ReplyDelete
  66. I think I hear a troll whining like a baby in the distance.... LOL.

    A `troll' is an individual who enjoys creating conflict on the internet. He or she creates and fuels arguments which upset other members of the online community.
    Trolls thrive in the anonymous space that is the internet. Trolls crave attention from others, and they don't care whether the attention is positive or negative. For trolls, other users are not quite real people; they are abstract characters on the other side of a computer screen. Trolls don't feel bad about hurting the feelings of other people in the digital space.

    Trolls view chat rooms and newsgroups as a challenge where the winner is the user who creates the biggest argument, the user who upsets the most people in the most dramatic way. A troll wants to be the user getting the most attention.

    Remember, trolls feel rewarded by creating the biggest altercation possible. They want to get a reaction out of you. When you fight with a troll, he wins. When you reason with a troll, he wins. Any time that you give a troll attention, he gets exactly what he wants.
    The best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. When you ignore a troll, he doesn't get the satisfaction of creating an escalated conflict.

    http://www.imdb.com/help/show_leaf?boardstrolls

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  67. Feeno, you've spawned an endless thread!

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  68. Trolls view chat rooms and newsgroups as a challenge where the winner is the user who creates the biggest argument, the user who upsets the most people in the most dramatic way. A troll wants to be the user getting the most attention

    I believe stinkbot means something like her/it's behavior on this thread. (5th comment down).

    The pietism. It burns. It burns!

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  69. JD, how do you find time between sucking people off through glory holes and accusing everyone of being a gay Nazi on your blog to read the Bible?

    ReplyDelete
  70. Nice Ginx....

    Troll-

    A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

    One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. 'you're nothing but a fanboy' is a popular phrase) with no substance or relevence to back them up as well as straw man arguments, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue.

    @ Tristan- Cut him loose on the Santa Claus argument. It is almost getting painful to watch. LOL.

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  71. @ Ginx- I have to say, the gay Nazi's argument was hitting a new low, even for him. The cave of the troll must be in a place where people are overtly racist, and he has somehow figured out that using that type of language is not acceptable. So, he uses covert racism to project his bigotry, that argument being a great example. I wonder if most of the homosexual's in North America are aware that their lifestyle practices are in conjunction with the everyday gay lifestyle of the National Socialist Party? I think that I am going to poll my gay friends and find out. I will get back to you on that one. LOL.

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  72. Isnt it wonderful that two of the people that refuse to answer direct questions when put to them have teamed up to try and out-klass one another?

    Let me give it a try.

    Shazam! Troll! Poof!

    There. Did it work? Can I now expect to cut off reasonable conversation and through some poorly understood miracle, nobody notices that I'm being evasive and have nothing to offer to the discussion whatsoever?

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  73. Ross.."The rest were killed. Would they be willing to die for something that they knew was false, or the thousands of Christian martyrs who have followed their example since? "

    Hi Ross, everyone else already answered already,far better than i could.But there is such a thing as charismatic devotional delusion and modern science is now proving it with use of MRI etc.My cult family are involved in this charismatic devotion,yes they would all just about die for their faith too.Even though its false.

    This charismatic devotional delusion has existed for a very long time now.Its not just some new invention.For if it was only new, ancient parents would not ever have caste their own live babies! into fire , hoping to create more fertility."Charismatic" leaders led them to do this,and they were "devoted" believers.

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  74. Gandolf, from where I'm sitting, you'd be drawing a pretty long bowstring to compare the devotion of early and contemporary Christian martyrs with ancient and contemporary cultists. Their devotion wasn't and isn't blind. A Christian who chooses to die for their faith knows full well what they're doing, without the influence of a "charismatic" leader.

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