aener

Oh My f**king God America... What The Hell Is Wrong With You?

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1. Bible = 99% Story/Fiction. A guess of course but burning bushes, great floods, parting of seas, talking snakes? I call bullshit :D.

It's open for interpretation, Churchs have Bibile Stidy groups where they look at things that can be interpreted as symbolic or metaphorical.

But when it comes down to it the Bible may not be 100% true but things like the parables are there to teach people to live there lives better which i don't see anything wrong with. Sure anyone could go 'The river splitting apart is a bunch of bullsh-t' but then your not really reading it for the right reasons.

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It's open for interpretation, Churchs have Bibile Stidy groups where they look at things that can be interpreted as symbolic or metaphorical.

But when it comes down to it the Bible may not be 100% true but things like the parables are there to teach people to live there lives better which i don't see anything wrong with. Sure anyone could go 'The river splitting apart is a bunch of bullsh-t' but then your not really reading it for the right reasons.

I think we should have trials forum bible studies. Each week discuss a chapter of the bible or something.

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It's open for interpretation, Churchs have Bibile Stidy groups where they look at things that can be interpreted as symbolic or metaphorical.

But when it comes down to it the Bible may not be 100% true but things like the parables are there to teach people to live there lives better which i don't see anything wrong with. Sure anyone could go 'The river splitting apart is a bunch of bullsh-t' but then your not really reading it for the right reasons.

Beigemaster seemed to be saying that the Bible wasn't fiction. Symbolic or metaphorical makes no odds, that's still fiction in my book. Fiction with a meaning of course, but still fiction. If the stories in the Bible are symbolic or metaphorical then it would appear to me that the existence of God, the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (in the Christian sense) must also be ficticious. Anyway, we're still going over old ground here that was all covered in Dave's 'Is anyone a hardcore chirstian' topic.

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Beigemaster seemed to be saying that the Bible wasn't fiction. Symbolic or metaphorical makes no odds, that's still fiction in my book. Fiction with a meaning of course, but still fiction. If the stories in the Bible are symbolic or metaphorical then it would appear to me that the existence of God, the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (in the Christian sense) must also be ficticious. Anyway, we're still going over old ground here that was all covered in Dave's 'Is anyone a hardcore chirstian' topic.

Indeed; if the bible is a book of metaphors and hidden meanings, then the descriptions of life after death must also be metaphors. Has it been considered that the Bible is in fact teaching that how we live our lives is how we will be remembered? Perhaps, instead of eternal salvation, the real meaning is that if we live lives of peace, we shall be remembered well. If we live lives of lies and deceit, we will be remembered as bad people and how we will be remembered for eternity will be as people demonic in character?

As far as I'm concerned, you can't just pick and choose what you want to take literally and what is metaphor. In my eyes, trying to rationalise Bible stories and twist them so they make sense is an obvious indication that the human's naturally logical and methodical mind does not agree with the Bible. I'm fairly sure that as general education standards grow and people naturally become more logical, the popularity of religion will fall.

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1. Bible = 99% Story/Fiction. A guess of course but burning bushes, great floods, parting of seas, talking snakes? I call bullshit :D.

2. Of course there were some incredibly intelligent people thousands of years ago but we did have the dark ages when it would appear everyone forgot all the useful things the human race had learned and suddenly went a bit retarded... At that point the church owned all the land and was the most powerful body in Britain. There were the Crusades as well when in the name of God thousands of people were ethnically cleansed because Jesus was a white man from Oxford.

I guess that then leads to the reason for scaring people. There was (is?) a lot of money and power involved in Christianity and by scaring the weak public into believing in you there was a lot to gain. Any free thinkers (heretics) were murdered so they couldn't spread the knowledge they had gained. I think the Church has a lot to answer for and considering it's based on he bible (which I think is as factually based as Harry Potter) they don't have a leg to stand on.

In some ways I'm sympathetic to your view, but I think you're missing the point because you're talking about Christianity’s abuses, or more to the point, people abusing Christianity. But you can't use this argument with regards to the origins of Christianity because by definition, it was a majority population who were subject to mass killings in an attempt to be silenced. How can you argue Christianity is a force for suppression when it stemmed from a small group who were suppressed?

About 99% of your examples you are citing are with regards to the Roman Catholic Church and in general, I agree with its abuses. However, if you listened to the introduction of that debate with Hitchens you may recall this important point:

“I’m afraid the new atheists confuse the essential message of Christianity by the horrific abuses of Christendom, because after all, Christian teaching is foundational to European civilisation. The German thinker Jürgen Habermas, who calls himself a methodological atheist, says:

Christianity and nothing else is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience human rights and democracy, the bench marks of western civilisation. ”

Ironically, Christianity gave the Europe it universities that educated the new atheists, the liberty to freedom to propagate their views and the laws to protect them. As influential intellectual atheists John Graypoints out

“The new atheists defend liberal freedoms without asking where they come from”

I'll just try and clear up a few points quickly,

1- Metaphor (and analogy) is not equal to fiction, it is just an alternative way of expressing truth. For example, if I say "Democracy has some strong points" am I literally saying "Democracy is some sort of object which contains right angles with the ability to sustain a large load?". No. Does this mean democracy is only fiction? No. I'm sure Ben/Jesus could this point across a lot more eloquently than I can.

2- I am saying that a lot of the Bible is non fiction. I have already cited a few examples of its historical groundings. I'm not going to say it's 100% literal, but that does not equate it to be 100% fiction. Has anyone here who claims the entire bible is bs, ever actually studied from an objective, academic level?

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It's also very true of Buddhism that the life of the Buddha was mythologised, with the description of his path to enlightenment somewhat exaggerated in the various Buddhist texts. Often myth is just a means of communicating a truth, idea, etc. in a form that will actually appeal to the general public as opposed to some dry academic piece that is of little interest or understandable. The Buddha had a term and I forget (remembered - "skillful means") what it was but essentially it was a consideration of the way you present what you say to the type of person you are talking to in order for them to take away the most amount of understanding that is possible.

The point is best illustrated by considering the way in which we often teach scientific ideas. For instance, regarding Chemistry, we would probably begin talking of atoms as spheres; then perhaps we would later talk of them structured as a nucleus of neutrons and protons with electrons making neat circular orbits; then we would move onto considering electron orbitals in terms of uncertainy principle with a 3d model displaying the varying types of space that an electron is likely to occupy at a given moment. Trying to teach the last of these to a young child isn't really appropriate. Instead, communicating a part of the truth in a digestable form is appropriate and is what we currently do with regards to science education. Another example is that I am quite happy to read about philosophy in non-fiction whereas I have a friend who prefers to read his philosophy through fiction. The former is much drier than the latter and so is less desirable to read for some - we can still come away with the same understanding however.

If myth was the means that the potentially important messages of the Buddha and Jesus could be communicated to a general public, then I see little wrong in doing so. I guess probably myth as a type of exaggerated story isn't so appropriate for a larger majority of today's adults but it probably still is for a good quantity. If there weren't such an aversion to it, it would still be appropriate for all though. It can easily be considered alongside non-mythologised discussion of the respective areas.

edit: fair point JD >_<

Edited by Ben Rowlands

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In some ways I'm sympathetic to your view, but I think you're missing the point because you're talking about Christianity’s abuses, or more to the point, people abusing Christianity. But you can't use this argument with regards to the origins of Christianity because by definition, it was a majority population who were subject to mass killings in an attempt to be silenced. How can you argue Christianity is a force for suppression when it stemmed from a small group who were suppressed?

There's a discrepancy here though- your saying Christianity stemmed from people being shitty to each other. Granted. Christians will tell you that Christianity stemmed from a chap with a beard who created the earth, sky, Universe, all the animals, humans, McDonalds and the talking snake before going on holiday for a while (not sure what comes between creation and Ben), kinda makes a son so he can be killed and stem a religion based on his existence. Kinda. Now if Christianity was based from the birth of a radical free thinker called Ben who changed the way everyone looked at each other and life in general then cool beans. However Christianity (like Scientology) had to go that extra step and jazz it up a bit by including some stupid story on the creation of the Universe, the existence of some supreme being and all the 'miracles' which then takes it too far and turns it into a joke in my eyes.

1- Metaphor (and analogy) is not equal to fiction, it is just an alternative way of expressing truth. For example, if I say "Democracy has some strong points" am I literally saying "Democracy is some sort of object which contains right angles with the ability to sustain a large load?". No. Does this mean democracy is only fiction? No. I'm sure Ben/Jesus could this point across a lot more eloquently than I can.

2- I'm not going to say it's 100% literal, but that does not equate it to be 100% fiction.

1- your argument holds for that statement, sure, but we're not talking about whether Ben actually meant right angles or regions of interest, we're talking about a fictional flood which covered the earth in water saving only Noah's family and two of every animal. Now that's not a slight discrepancy of meaning or metaphor, that's plain old fairy tail. As is the creation story, as is the burning bush, virgin birth, water to wine, parting of seas, God etc. etc. Again it's the difference between a believable story about a revalutionary and a fairy story which takes it too far and becomes stupid.

2- I said 99% fiction :P. I'm allowing the 1% chance that there may have been a chap called Ben around a couple of thousand years ago who stood up for his people.

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key_enter_1-opt.jpg

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My keyboard looks dirtier than that...

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1- your argument holds for that statement, sure, but we're not talking about whether Ben actually meant right angles or regions of interest, we're talking about a fictional flood which covered the earth in water saving only Noah's family and two of every animal. Now that's not a slight discrepancy of meaning or metaphor, that's plain old fairy tail. As is the creation story, as is the burning bush, virgin birth, water to wine, parting of seas, God etc. etc. Again it's the difference between a believable story about a revalutionary and a fairy story which takes it too far and becomes stupid.

I'm gonna struggle describing this because I feel very groggy but I'll give it a go. I also can't remember the exact details of what I'm about to describe as it's been several years since I read it.

A myth can be descriptive of how man finds himself (his situation) and/or what he can do to solve problems that follow from that situation. For instance, an interpretation of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge which, as a literalism, is quite 'out there' can be considered as the human evolving between the bliss of animalistic ignorance into the suffering of dualistic/intellectual understanding (good vs. bad). As animals, although we may have gone through various pains, we weren't in the situation where we could experience mental anguish of the existential type. Animals, we think, don't worry about death or worry about anything for that matter, they just react according to the moment rather than to ideas of the past or future or ideas about a situation. Humans have gone through a process of breaking away from animalistic behaviour/perception/cognition and as a consequence we suffer because we can think of good and bad regardless of whether something really bad is actually happening. Adam and Eve after eating from the tree of knowledge, and being able to think in terms of good and bad, became embarrassed by their nakedness. They developed the capacity to think about what was happening and in terms of dualism (good and bad) and as a consequence through this new thinking they suffer.

What this teaches us that the core of human suffering, beyond basic animalistic pain, is our capacity to think and to think in terms of good and bad, from which we tend to be subject regarding happiness and sanity in a negative sense. The Tree of Knowledge is symbolic for our change between pre-rational animalistic type existence and the rational human existence we now find ourselves in with its specific constiuents and problems.

However, the tree of knowledge is also a good thing because it allows us to reason. It allows man to find his own way even if it does initially lead to new levels of insanity and suffering. Ultimately it should allow for a higher state of being beyond the animalistic bliss which it followed.

Edited by Ben Rowlands

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I understand that the teachings can be interpreted in ways to take meaning from it and that the underlying stories can be used to better ourselves (to an extent). However, the fact still remains that the followers of the Bible truly believe, from what I understand, in the existance of God as a real being (of sorts) and the existence of heaven, hell as real places where they will go when they die. It's mass delusion arising from the texts which when written probably were never intended to be taken as they are.

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I understand that the teachings can be interpreted in ways to take meaning from it and that the underlying stories can be used to better ourselves (to an extent). However, the fact still remains that the followers of the Bible truly believe, from what I understand, in the existance of God as a real being (of sorts) and the existence of heaven, hell as real places where they will go when they die. It's mass delusion arising from the texts which when written probably were never intended to be taken as they are.

Yeah that can happen. Unfortunately on that basis we can't decree all religion or all Christianity as bad because it oversimplifies the situation. In so much as you accept the essence of Christianity as having some validity (teaches something), the following misunderstanding by certain followers is not then actually the fault of the religion in its truest sense but rather is a human confusion, which happens in all walks of life. Ironically, the essence of religion usually relates to the realisations of wise people who usually taught to dispell the type of confusion that we find pervading their religion. Unfortunately when somebody like Jesus or the Buddha dies, the proper and effective authority no longer exists to stop their religion being misused. Thus, both Buddhism and Christianity have been utilized for greed, hatred, etc. which the founders diametrically opposed. Realistically, if religion had never existed, political ideology or some other system of thought would naturally have taken its place as a superficial, rational justification for fulfilling the motivation of greed, hate, etc. The problem is not religion per se, it's our ability to fully appreciate, understand and control our psychological condition in response to events in our respective lives.

Edited by Ben Rowlands

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Frederick emails to say he has four children, he is the proud father of a new baby boy; Josua, and his daughter; Susan, 5, has just started school, and he thinks after death there issss nothing.

A bit late but :lol: Top marks for crowbarring in a relatively obscure Partridge quote into a theological debate (well not quite a debate) That video is spectacularly extreme, I'm suprised Louis Theroux hasn't made a (top notch) documentary out of it. Anyway, no matter what opinion you hold either side of the great debate it's simply impossible to prove anything either way, so it seems best to call it all a draw. (God doesn't exist) .... or does he?

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It seems like this discussion is drawing to am end with some good round up of some general points/ideas. I'm sure once again, on many we will have to agree to disagree, but that's what makes humanity so interesting! Once again Bejus doing a fantastic job of finding a good middle ground for both sets of ideas and summoning them up with a lot more eloquence than I can muster.

Just one little things though Monkeysee, quite a few times you have put forward some challenges and I have made an attempt to answer them followed by a new point. Now, quite a few of your posts you don't address my response to the challenge, and either go on to put a new challenge forward or pick a weakness in the new point I have put across. Out of interests, does this mean I have perhaps changed some of your original ideas or viewpoints? For example, the difference and separation between the origins of Christianity and its use and abuse further down the line? Or maybe even not all Christians are blind sheep but rational people with different ideas? Obviously say no if nothing has changed, but I just thought I would ask since (like I said) some of my responses have been left alone.

As I said before (twice now) the Bible is a collection of many books, many authors and many styles. Many of the stories are analogies or myth with underpinning themes.

As I’ve said this before, for the sake of argument, pretend God exists and really did influence the Bible. Do you expect he would give the full scientific account and mechanisms of the whole of creation of reality, to a civilisation that lived several thousand years ago? How about a full description of the astrophysics of the Big Bang or the entire theorem of evolution and genetics to explain the origins of life? I doubt it. Or, would it just be easier to have a creation story that contained some main themes (that science will back up) that reality:

-Had a beginning

-Has rational order (that we can amazingly understand through the process of science)

-Has a distinction between man and the rest of organic order (the process of self contemplation, reason, morality ect)

This seems to be the more rational thing to do, it may not satisfy our now scientifically obsessed ideologies in explanation, but that misses the point.

It’s not within my time/interest to work through the entire Bible and list of what is what. Logically, some accounts are fundamental for the overall message to be consistent and so these themes will need more detailed attention.

But, before any of that, a true rational free thinker has to address the Bible in such a way that is rational and (surprise) free of prejudice, not simply read the accounts and dismiss them as all rubbish. Even if you want to dismiss the account of miracles (in this instance I’m assuming the definition to be an act that contradicts the known laws of nature) well I put the challenge to you to put across a true logical, valid argument do disprove the possibility of such a miracle occurring. Like I said, don’t try and disprove any particular event happening, simply prove that a miracle can never happen.

If you need help, I recommend reading some of David Hume for guidance, although even his brilliant argument has some major flaws in it’s structure, thus not making it sound.

One thing I hope we can agree one (trying to get this back to the original posts) some people are stupid, dogmatic, close minded and even evil. These particular people can use or abuse anything in humanity to let these corrosive properties grow be it religion, science, utiltarinaism, vegetarianism, communism and any other human ideology you can think of.

The point is, it is no good trying to blame the ideology (unless it is innately evil but I struggle to think of any that are) but to blame the people who abuse it. One final thing

Anyway, no matter what opinion you hold either side of the great debate it's simply impossible to prove anything either way, so it seems best to call it all a draw. (God doesn't exist) .... or does he?

Probably the most wise point in this whole thread.

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I've considered the possible origins of Christianity a bit more and that the ideology of the faith isn't bad per se. However, I still think there's a huge discrepancy between what it should be, and probably what it is supposed to be, and what it has been used for over the years and what it has become. I also still think that whatever you and Bejus say, the Bible (the one you find in hotel rooms, not the 60+ books) is still taken at face value by the majority of Christians and that is wrong. Basically, whatever it started out as it no longer is and in its modified state has lost touch with modern society. I wouldn't call them all blind sheep but I'll still be somewhat disappointed if I find out a young person I'm talking to is a Christian. Just yesterday I gave a student directions to a building and he had a monster crucifix round his neck over his jumper and my first thought was <_<.

Regarding miracles, I read just the other day that in America there were a load of car crashes and a street was brought to a standstill due to a streetlight which cast a shape which looked like Bejus. Hallelujah. However, if we're talking about biblical miracles well that's just a case of physics and the laws of nature. The universe is governed by such things, including the miraculous area of quantum physics, and not a supreme being with a sick sense of humour. To accept biblical miracles are possible is to accept god and that ain't gonna happen!

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However, if we're talking about biblical miracles well that's just a case of physics and the laws of nature.

How can things such as a sick person becoming well instantly through the prayer be "just a case of physics and the laws of nature"?

Dont say that it doesnt happen because it has happened to plenty of people in my family.

What about those ones?

Plus all the corrupt stuff that you mention Christians do are mainly Catholics, and that is very corrupt indeed.

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How can things such as a sick person becoming well instantly through the prayer be "just a case of physics and the laws of nature"?

Dont say that it doesnt happen because it has happened to plenty of people in my family.

What about those ones?

It doesn't happen. I don't know what you think you've seen but it would appear that your family are the only people in the world (besides the crazies from the States) who are magically healed through prayer. I'm sorry but it just doesn't happen.

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How can things such as a sick person becoming well instantly through the prayer be "just a case of physics and the laws of nature"?

Dont say that it doesnt happen because it has happened to plenty of people in my family.

What about those ones?

Plus all the corrupt stuff that you mention Christians do are mainly Catholics, and that is very corrupt indeed.

Why doesn't God heal amputees?

Why do people need to feel the need for a god? I don't understand why people can't just accept we are amazing beings with the capability to do almost anything. Life started from a random collection of chemicals that were in the right place. Its gradually got more and more complicated and its still getting added to.

How can you be so ignorant and closed minded to think that we are all just here because God made us. If that is the case then why the f**k is he such a fanny and why the f**k did he do it?

Life on earth has gone through a hell of a lot to be here, so don't insult it by saying God put us here because if that was the case then how did God come into existence?

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Why doesn't God heal amputees?

Why do people need to feel the need for a god? I don't understand why people can't just accept we are amazing beings with the capability to do almost anything. Life started from a random collection of chemicals that were in the right place. Its gradually got more and more complicated and its still getting added to.

How can you be so ignorant and closed minded to think that we are all just here because God made us. If that is the case then why the f**k is he such a fanny and why the f**k did he do it?

Life on earth has gone through a hell of a lot to be here, so don't insult it by saying God put us here because if that was the case then how did God come into existence?

Because God isnt just a person that just heals everyone all the time when ever he feels like it.

It comes from a person being totally committed and believing that he is there and can have the power to heal you. Just saying "Im sore, God will make it better" is not going to do anything, it is a deep spiritual thing.

We are amazing human beings and how can you believe that a massive amount of chemicals just so happened to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to make life what it is, there is no way that that can be, life is just to complex for it to happen.

God put us here because he loves us, and he allows humans to do what they want because he believes that we should all be able to have a right to live our lives. Its mans fault that the world is what its turned into,if you think about it, people who abuse, hurt, kill etc cause all the problems in the world and Christianity is all against violence (see what Im getting at?). Gods not a fanny because he allows us to live our own lives.

I dont know how he came to be, its like asking where did the stuff that caused the big bang come from? some thing had to be there first.

Also, you didnt answer my previous question. Why?

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We are amazing human beings and how can you believe that a massive amount of chemicals just so happened to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to make life what it is, there is no way that that can be, life is just to complex for it to happen.

Do you not see that there is an infinitely small possibility that it could happen, but is just incredibly unlikely?

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Because God isnt just a person that just heals everyone all the time when ever he feels like it.

Apparently he just heals your family. Lucky you!

We are amazing human beings and how can you believe that a massive amount of chemicals just so happened to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to make life what it is, there is no way that that can be, life is just to complex for it to happen.

We've been through this before, Joe. Life didn't just pop into existence as a fully formed cat, dog or human (as some books will have you believe). Life started in the simplest possible form and EVOLVED into what we see today. FeS. Trust.

Also, you didnt answer my previous question. Why?

Because your previous question didn't deserve an answer?

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Because God isnt just a person that just heals everyone all the time when ever he feels like it. So why has no one ever grown a limb back? Are you telling me all the amputees ever have not been worth God's help?

It comes from a person being totally committed and believing that he is there and can have the power to heal you. Just saying "Im sore, God will make it better" is not going to do anything, it is a deep spiritual thing.

We are amazing human beings and how can you believe that a massive amount of chemicals just so happened to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to make life what it is, there is no way that that can be, life is just to complex for it to happen. So you'd rather believe that a sky fairy just clicked its fingers and we popped out of nowhere? We as humans are just a big pile of meat made up off all sorts of different elements and compounds that's all there is to it. Amazingly we have a consciousness because we can see, hear, think and feel etc all thanks to millions of years of evolution. You say the "right place at the right time" but that's totally not the case. I don't believe time has a beginning or an end its just always there so something like life is bound to happen. You say life is complex and it really is but its had millions of years of trial and error to get to what it is now. If something works then it gets to reproduce

God put us here because he loves us, and he allows humans to do what they want because he believes that we should all be able to have a right to live our lives. Its mans fault that the world is what its turned into,if you think about it, people who abuse, hurt, kill etc cause all the problems in the world and Christianity is all against violence (see what Im getting at?). Gods not a fanny because he allows us to live our own lives.

I dont know how he came to be, its like asking where did the stuff that caused the big bang come from? some thing had to be there first. No one really knows where the stuff the big bang came from. I don't think it came from anywhere. I just think its always been here. We as humans have a concept of time which to me isn't real. Time is just the position the earth is in whilst going round the sun. If the earth started spinning backward and going the opposite way around the sun we wouldn't go back in time.

Also, you didnt answer my previous question. Why? What was your question?

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We are amazing human beings and how can you believe that a massive amount of chemicals just so happened to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing to make life what it is, there is no way that that can be, life is just to complex for it to happen.

I dont know how he came to be, its like asking where did the stuff that caused the big bang come from? some thing had to be there first.

Life is complex, however it's had millions and millions of years to evolve to that complexity. You obviously have no clue on how life came to be on this planet (and to an extent we're still not to sure about abiogenesis (how non-life become life)) but that is no reason to proclaim God and whatever else you believe in to be true. Whether it's because you don't know, or because we as a human race don't know doesn't mean a theory with absolutely no scientific evidence becomes any more valid.

God of the gaps is the term given to the logic you are using. "We don't know, so it must have been God".

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