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From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

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From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:59 pm

1. The Old Testament?

As Richard Dawkins put it: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”. What sort of a role model is that?

In any case, the Old Testament has plenty of contradictions. For example, in Genesis 6:19, God tells Noah to take two of every kind of animal into his ark, yet by Genesis 7:2 this has become seven pairs of each kind of ritually clean animal and one pair of each kind of unclean animal. 2 Chronicles 22:2 says that Ahaziah was forty-two years old when he became king of Judah, while 2 Kings 8:26 records that he was only twenty-two years old. No doubt an apologist would dismiss that as a difference in translation from Hebrew, but if one supposed ‘fact’ is open to so much discrepancy, why not the rest?

2. The New Testament?

Yet more contradictions. For example, Matthew traces Joseph’s descent from King David via twenty-eight intermediate generations, while Luke has forty-one generations. Worse, there is almost no overlap in the names on the two lists! In any case, if Jesus really was born of a virgin, Joseph’s ancestry is irrelevant and cannot be used to fulfil, on Jesus’ behalf, the Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah should be descended from David.

The four gospels that made it into the official canon were chosen, more or less arbitrarily, out of a larger sample of at least a dozen including the gospels of Thomas, Peter, Nicodemus, Philip, Bartholomew and Mary Magdalen. The gospels that didn’t make it were omitted perhaps because they included stories that were even more embarrassingly implausible than those in the four canonical ones. The gospel of Thomas, for example, has numerous anecdotes about the child Jesus abusing his magical powers in the manner of a mischievous fairy, impishly transforming his playmates into goats, or turning mud into sparrows, or giving his father a hand with the carpentry by miraculously lengthening a piece of wood.

The writers of Luke and Matthew declare that Mary conceived as a virgin, relying upon the Greek rendering of Isaiah 7:14. However, the Hebrew text of Isaiah uses the word ‘alma’, which simply means 'young woman', without any implication of virginity. Sam Harris says: “It seems all but certain that the dogma of the virgin birth, and much of the Christian world’s resulting anxiety about sex, was a product of a mistranslation from the Hebrew”.

Another strike against the doctrine of the virgin birth is that the other evangelists have not heard of it. Mark and John both appear uncomfortable with accusations of Jesus’ illegitimacy, but never mention his miraculous origins. Paul refers to Jesus as being “born of the seed of David according to the flesh” and “born of woman”, without referring to Mary’s virginity at all.

And the evangelists made other errors of scholarship. Matthew 27:9-10, for instance, claims to fulfil a saying that it attributes to Jeremiah. The saying actually appears in Zechariah 11:12-13. The gospels also contradict one another outright. John tells us that Jesus was crucified the day before the Passover meal was eaten. Mark says it happened the day after.

In the light of such discrepancies, how is it possible for anyone to believe, as fundamentalists do, that the Bible is perfect in all its parts? As Mark Twain wrote: “The Bible has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies”.

So should Christians follow the genocidal teachings of the Old Testament, the Jesus portrayed in those gospels which made it to the New Testament, the sterner teachings of Paul, or should they listen to…..

3. The Pope?

Roman Catholics believe that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, and that whoever succeeded him in that role was the Vicar of Christ on Earth. However, it all went pear-shaped in the early fifteenth century, when there were three Vicars of Christ, or Popes, simultaneously. The most colourful of them was John XXIII, a soldier “of very disreputable life” who was also violent. In 1415, he was deposed after being charged with fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy and poisoning his predecessor. Apart from that, he was probably a nice chap….but would you seek spiritual guidance from him - or anyone claiming authority, and even infallibility, simply because they had succeeded him?

4. The Church of England?

That was established, not specifically as part of the Protestant Reformation (in fact it was really the English Catholic Church) but because Henry VIII wanted a divorce. The C of E has been too closely associated with politics and was sometimes referred to as “the Tory Party at prayer”. The great strength of the Church of England is that it allows its followers to believe almost anything. The trouble is that hardly any of them do.

So there is the dilemma. Which source should a Christian use for guidance, and should a Christian accept everything from their chosen source, rather than cherry-pick the more comfortable and acceptable parts?
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:59 pm

An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins in the latest edition of 'The New Statesman':-

“If we depended on religion for our values and our sense of cohesion we would be well and truly stuck. The very idea that we might get our morals from the Bible or the Quran will horrify any decent person today who takes the trouble to read those books - rather than cherry-pick the verses that happen to conform to our modern secular consensus.

As for the patronising assumption that people need the promise of heaven (or the obscene threat of torture in hell) in order to be moral, what a contemptibly immoral motive for being moral! What binds us together, what gives us our sense of empathy and compassion - our goodness - is something far more important, more fundamental and more powerful than religion: it is our common humanity, deriving from our pre-religious evolutionary heritage, then refined and improved, as Professor Steven Pinker argues in ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’, by centuries of secular enlightenment.”


The full article - an open letter addressed to David Cameron - is, in my opinion, well worth a read:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/religion/2011/12/religious-faith-children
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:23 pm








From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Where else but from the inner self?
If it's necessary to consult another earthling you're merely dealing wih a (probably self-appointed) intermediary.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:21 pm

“If we depended on religion for our values and our sense of cohesion we would be well and truly stuck.

American evangelism and fundamentalism are inherently valueless. They are the religions of selfishness, greed, and antipathy. They are the religions of predatory capitalism, corporatism, sterility, and dispassion. The followers of these ideologies would transform the old, the disabled, and the hungry into wraiths huddling in doorways and under bridges hoping for a little charity. No doubt, should an evangelical or fundamentalist pass by one of these ghostly, barely human figures, he or she will drop a few loose coins into the cup - pennies and nickels that they didn't want in the first place - and then feel smugly good about their kindness for the rest of the day. Never mind that it was their philosophy that turned them into wraiths and ghosts to begin with.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:48 pm

Shirina wrote:
“If we depended on religion for our values and our sense of cohesion we would be well and truly stuck.
American evangelism and fundamentalism are inherently valueless. They are the religions of selfishness, greed, and antipathy. They are the religions of predatory capitalism, corporatism, sterility, and dispassion. The followers of these ideologies would transform the old, the disabled, and the hungry into wraiths huddling in doorways and under bridges hoping for a little charity. No doubt, should an evangelical or fundamentalist pass by one of these ghostly, barely human figures, he or she will drop a few loose coins into the cup - pennies and nickels that they didn't want in the first place - and then feel smugly good about their kindness for the rest of the day. Never mind that it was their philosophy that turned them into wraiths and ghosts to begin with.

How have you reached these several conclusions?
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:14 am


An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…

“If we depended on religion for our values and our sense of cohesion we would be well and truly stuck.”

Since Dawkins most likely equates knowing God with religion, apparently, in Dawkins’ view (in my opinion, a haughty, arrogant, self-serving view) I “would be well and truly stuck.”

Haven’t noticed any crazy glue stiking toany parts of me as late.


An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…

“The very idea that we might get our morals from the Bible… will horrify any decent person today who takes the trouble to read those books…”

I’ve taken the “the trouble to read those books” (the Hebrew and Greek Bibles are two multiple book compilations), and the time and effort necessary to study, contemplate, discuss, and dialogue upon “those books.” Perhaps I lack the basketball gifts I desired, but last I checked, I wasn’t half-bad decency wise.


An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…

“… rather than cherry-pick the verses that happen to conform to our modern secular consensus.”

In my opinion, Dawkins seems to concisely describe Dawkins’ exhibited practice.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:18 am

How have you reached these several conclusions?
Through many years of observation. Those who scream their faith the loudest are the first people to trash the poor, "socialist" programs like our welfare system, hate paying taxes to support anything other than warfare, and to put it simply, are usually well entrenched on the "right" side of politics.

I think it can be summed up by one of the most extremist right-wing posters on moonbeam's site, PaulBeachPaul, when he said, "If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't care about anyone."

Talk about moral bankruptcy.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:22 am

Perhaps I lack the basketball gifts I desired, but last I checked, I wasn’t half-bad decency wise.
Rock. But do you need God to make you good? Wouldn’t you be good anyway?

In ‘The Science of Good and Evil’, Michael Shermer develops what he calls “a debate stopper”. If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would commit robbery, rape, and murder, you reveal yourself as an immoral person, and, as Shermer puts it, “we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you”. If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim that God is necessary for us to be good.

H. L. Mencken wrote: “People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police”.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:13 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
Perhaps I lack the basketball gifts I desired, but last I checked, I wasn’t half-bad decency wise.
Ivan wrote:
Rock.  But do you need God to make you good?  Wouldn’t you be good anyway?

I needed God to grow me to six feet six inches, with the legs (“hops”) of a leopard, the wingspan of an orangutan, vacuum cleaner hands attached into which to suck a basketball from across court, the quickness of a mongoose, and the on the run mental skills of Magic or the Big O.

God didn’t hook me up with that one.

I need me to be good. It goes like this. I am created into freedom of choice, as chronicled in Genesis 1”26-27; thus, I must choose good, as I chose God, rather than choose evil, if I am to be good. The choice is mine; the consequences are on me.

Ivan wrote:
In ‘The Science of Good and Evil’, Michael Shermer develops what he calls “a debate stopper”. If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would commit robbery, rape, and murder, you reveal yourself as an immoral person, and, as Shermer puts it, “we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you”.  If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim that God is necessary for us to be good.

God, by definition omnipresent, all present, is thus never absent; accordingly, by definition (of God), Michael Shermer’s statement is internally contradictory, and conclusions reached thereby are inherently flawed. Put another way, a conclusion based upon the assumption that the omnipresent can be anywhere absent is fundamentally flawed.

Since all of us are in the presence of the omnipresent, none of us ever “commit robbery, rape, and murder” in the absence of the omnipresent.

Ivan wrote:
H. L. Mencken wrote: “People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police”.

If religion will keep a person from murdering a human created in the image of God, let’s hear it for religion. If the police will keep a person from murdering a human created in the image of God, let’s hear it for the police. If a lollypop will accomplish the same objective, let’s hear it for the lollypop.

And if “the Boy” will keep a person from murdering a human created in the image of God, let’s hear it for “the Boy!”



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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:41 am

This statement:
God, by definition omnipresent, all present, is thus never absent
Renders this statement ...
I am created into freedom of choice, as chronicled in Genesis 1”26-27; thus, I must choose good, as I chose God, rather than choose evil, if I am to be good.
... as highly dubious.

As I've argued many, many times, our "freedom of choice" is irrelevant to an omnipresent, omniscient God. We are simply unaware of our predestination due to our limited perspective, but if God truly is all-knowing and omnipresent, God already knows what choices we will make. Assuming God plays a role in creating new souls (who else would be?), a person choosing evil was preordained to do so literally an infinite amount of time ago. We like to believe that we're making all of these choices with complete freedom, but in God's eyes, we are only playing out our lives exactly as God knew we would. This would heavily imply that evil has its purpose on earth, and those who choose to commit evil are doing God's will. Evil people have a purpose, they have a part in the play, yet we assume God punishes them. But how can we believe God is fair, just, and loving when evil people are thrown into some ridiculous Lake of Fire for doing precisely what God wanted them to do? And no, the whole idea that Satan is tempting people into evil doesn't fly, either, because an omniscient and omnipresent (in this case meaning God exists everywhere in different times simultaneously) would know full well that this person would be tempted. Perhaps the greatest atrocity committed by God is the creation of souls damned to eternal Hell.

Unless, of course, we can actually surprise God! Perhaps we can make decisions that God was oblivious to? Yet if that is the case, then God cannot be omniscient nor omnipresent since God does not exist in linear time. Omnipresent would also include existing in the past, present, and future simultaneously, and it is that which grants God omniscience. If we were actually capable of making a choice God did not expect, then God is not all-knowing, and if God is not all-knowing, He cannot be perfect. The reason is because God could potentially make mistakes based on a lack of information - which is why most mistakes occur.

This leads to the astounding conclusion that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are worshiping an imperfect being, and that imperfection means there could be people swimming around in that Lake of Fire who do not deserve to be there - which actually includes everyone anyway since it wasn't their fault that God created them to do evil. God knew the final outcome of these people's lives but created them anyway, which is where the atrocity comes into play. Therefore, by default, Hell is a monument to injustice and folks like Hitler should be dining at God's table for carrying out his preordained destiny. Obviously God wanted Hitler to exist because Hitler existed, thus, Hitler is not to blame for the Holocaust. The ultimate responsibility lies with God.

Of course, all of this assumes one believes in God. This is a standing caveat that always exists within my posts.


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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:39 am

Shirina wrote:
This statement:
God, by definition omnipresent, all present, is thus never absent
Renders this statement ...

I am created into freedom of choice, as chronicled in Genesis 1”26-27; thus, I must choose good, as I chose God, rather than choose evil, if I am to be good.
... as highly dubious.

No, it does not. Read Genesis 1:26-27, in part (the relevant part):


“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…’ So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them”, Genesis 1:26-27.

God, YHWH Elohim, more direct translation, eternal, incomprehensible, immeasurable, causative power by which all existence is brought into existence, by definition, eternally omnipresent (everywhen /everywhere) and omnipotent/omniscient and thus free to choose, creates me, ha adama, man (gender inclusive), male, in his image, and thus into freedom of choice.

With freedom of choice comes freedom to choose anything that is physically possible to choose. I cannot choose to fly unaided; I can choose to jump off of a cliff and try to fly unaided.

Nothing rendered dubious.


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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:30 am


Each of these numerous statements requires separate responses. No attempt is made herein by me to expand on any of these responses. To all serious posters, including Shirina, I offer to discuss each point, one point per post, in as much detail as may be desired.

Shirina wrote:
As I've argued many, many times, our "freedom of choice" is irrelevant to an omnipresent, omniscient God.

No, it is not.

Shirina wrote:
We are simply unaware of our predestination due to our limited perspective, but if God truly is all-knowing and omnipresent, God already knows what choices we will make.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Assuming God plays a role in creating new souls (who else would be?), a person choosing evil was preordained to do so literally an infinite amount of time ago.

God didn’t say that

Shirina wrote:
We like to believe that we're making all of these choices with complete freedom, but in God's eyes, we are only playing out our lives exactly as God knew we would.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
This would heavily imply that evil has its purpose on earth, and those who choose to commit evil are doing God's will.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Evil people have a purpose, they have a part in the play, yet we assume God punishes them. But how can we believe God is fair, just, and loving when evil people are thrown into some ridiculous Lake of Fire for doing precisely what God wanted them to do?

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
And no, the whole idea that Satan is tempting people into evil doesn't fly, either, because an omniscient and omnipresent (in this case meaning God exists everywhere in different times simultaneously) would know full well that this person would be tempted.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Perhaps the greatest atrocity committed by God is the creation of souls damned to eternal Hell.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Unless, of course, we can actually surprise God!

God didn’t say we ouldn’t.

Shirina wrote:
Perhaps we can make decisions that God was oblivious to?

God didn’t address that at all.

Shirina wrote:
Yet if that is the case, then God cannot be omniscient nor omnipresent since God does not exist in linear time.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Omnipresent would also include existing in the past, present, and future simultaneously

Yep.

Shirina wrote:
and it is that which grants God omniscience.

Nothing grants the Creator of all that is, was, and ever will be anything.

Shirina wrote:
If we were actually capable of making a choice God did not expect, then God is not all-knowing

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
and if God is not all-knowing, He cannot be perfect.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
The reason is because God could potentially make mistakes based on a lack of information - which is why most mistakes occur.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
This leads to the astounding conclusion that Christians, Jews, and Muslims are worshiping an imperfect being

This leads to no conclusion.

Shirina wrote:
and that imperfection means there could be people swimming around in that Lake of Fire who do not deserve to be there

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
which actually includes everyone anyway since it wasn't their fault that God created them to do evil.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
God knew the final outcome of these people's lives but created them anyway

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
which is where the atrocity comes into play.

Which atrocities?

Shirina wrote:
Therefore, by default, Hell is a monument to injustice and folks like Hitler should be dining at God's table for carrying out his preordained destiny.

God didn’t say that.

Shirina wrote:
Obviously God wanted Hitler to exist because Hitler existed, thus, Hitler is not to blame for the Holocaust. The ultimate responsibility lies with God.

God didn’t say that.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Penderyn on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:41 pm

From the Sermon on the Mount and the rest of the New Testament as examined by historical and textual criticism and very considerable scepticism. Dawkins and his like are just American fundamentalists in a bad mood, people who don't understand texts and are obsessed with a Nineteenth Century heresy, bores. The interesting thing is how Jesus is shifting the centre of attention from how you appease imagined gods to how you treat real people.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:56 pm

How have you reached these several conclusions?

WASHINGTON - Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

And what do you suppose the right-wingers think about this? You know, those very same people who wear God on their sleeves? Here you go:

Congressional Republicans and Democrats are sparring over legislation that would renew a Social Security payroll tax cut, part of a year-end political showdown over economic priorities that could also trim unemployment benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce entitlement spending.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

People like this asshat Robert Rector really irritate me. He's spewing the conservative mantra: "Poor people actually have things!" Yes, the conservatives who want people to get out there and work, but begrudges welfare recipients from having cars. I suppose the poor are simply supposed to teleport to work every day.

Another thing that these whiny conservatives - who think welfare has "gone too far" - don't seem to get is that those folks who have a few nice things did not obtain them through the welfare system. The most likely explanation is that they were gifts from better-off family members or they were purchased at a time when they had better cash flow. While I'm sure the conservatives would be tickled pink if people blew through their savings buying food instead of applying for food stamps, doing so means the funds to pay rent or the mortgage is eroded that much faster, and that in turn means homelessness looms that much larger.

As for having wide screen televisions ... LOL! It just goes to show how out-of-touch these idiots are. Most major stores stopped selling standard "square" televisions years ago, and if you catch a decent sale, you can snag a 32" television for $200. It's not as if they cost thousands like they did before.

At any rate, the ideology from their perspective is that people have to be Third World poor before they should receive any help, so their brilliant conservative idea is to withhold that help until Americans really do become Third World poor.

And these are the people the conservatives want to tax!

Yes, these are also the very same people who jump up and down saying, "Look at me, I'm a Christian! Aren't I patriotic?!?"

Full article can be found here.

The interesting thing is how Jesus is shifting the centre of attention from how you appease imagined gods to how you treat real people.

Which is precisely why evangelical and fundamental Christianity is valueless. They patently ignore what Jesus teaches regarding how to treat real people.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:25 pm

Some people find the abstract much easier to deal with than reality.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by astra on Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:24 pm

Shirina, you have probably noticed that IVAN posted an article saying the UK Conservatives (Spit!!) are contemplating puting cancer patients back to work (indeed your lovely self commented on the thread and by PM Thank you dearly).

I was going to contact IVAN by PM on this "feeling" but here goes -

I cannot get flight OR Holiday insurance, my car insurance is SKY HIGH, yet these overpaid, overqualified, so far up their own azzholes numpties think I can get a job!!

#1 Who is going to employ me? For the last 20 years my jobs have all been "Safety Critical" 6 miles before breakfast don't smoke or drink! Razz Chemootherapy is not funny!
#2 Are they going to "understand" when the wobbles, sickness or other misnomae overtake me?
#3 Are they going to pay the over the top already employers' insurance, with the rider that I am ill?
#4 Will I have to pay this rider myself, through lower wages or through already over the top taxes that I and every worker in this country suffers?


These people who come up with these ideas should - SHOULD be shot! All that expensive education - most of it provided by the taxpayer here or in America, and what do we get for it.

I have seen the queues for the Soup Kitchens in America and the folks "look cool" The fact they are there states otherwise!
We are seeing the same this side of "the pond"
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:49 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
How have you reached these several conclusions?
Shirina wrote:
Through many years of observation.

Observation of what and of who? Certainly not God’s chosen messenger, Jesus the Christ, or those who seek to follow his teachings.

Shirina wrote:
Those who scream their faith the loudest are the first people to trash the poor, "socialist" programs like our welfare system, hate paying taxes to support anything other than warfare, and to put it simply, are usually well entrenched on the "right" side of politics.

I think it can be summed up by one of the most extremist right-wing posters on moonbeam's site, PaulBeachPaul, when he said, "If it wasn't for God, I wouldn't care about anyone."

Talk about moral bankruptcy.

The folks you’ve identified certainly are not following Jesus’ teachings.

Shirina wrote:
WASHINGTON - Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans — nearly 1 in 2 — have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.

And what do you suppose the right-wingers think about this? You know, those very same people who wear God on their sleeves? Here you go:

Congressional Republicans and Democrats are sparring over legislation that would renew a Social Security payroll tax cut, part of a year-end political showdown over economic priorities that could also trim unemployment benefits, freeze federal pay and reduce entitlement spending.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far, citing poor people who live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.

People like this asshat Robert Rector really irritate me. He's spewing the conservative mantra: "Poor people actually have things!" Yes, the conservatives who want people to get out there and work, but begrudges welfare recipients from having cars. I suppose the poor are simply supposed to teleport to work every day.

Another thing that these whiny conservatives - who think welfare has "gone too far" - don't seem to get is that those folks who have a few nice things did not obtain them through the welfare system. The most likely explanation is that they were gifts from better-off family members or they were purchased at a time when they had better cash flow. While I'm sure the conservatives would be tickled pink if people blew through their savings buying food instead of applying for food stamps, doing so means the funds to pay rent or the mortgage is eroded that much faster, and that in turn means homelessness looms that much larger.

As for having wide screen televisions ... LOL! It just goes to show how out-of-touch these idiots are. Most major stores stopped selling standard "square" televisions years ago, and if you catch a decent sale, you can snag a 32" television for $200. It's not as if they cost thousands like they did before.

At any rate, the ideology from their perspective is that people have to be Third World poor before they should receive any help, so their brilliant conservative idea is to withhold that help until Americans really do become Third World poor.

And these are the people the conservatives want to tax!

Yes, these are also the very same people who jump up and down saying, "Look at me, I'm a Christian! Aren't I patriotic?!?"

Full article can be found here.

Once again, the folks you’ve identified certainly are not following Jesus’ teachings.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:47 am

Once again, the folks you’ve identified certainly are not following Jesus’ teachings.


Hehe, Rock, that's what I was trying to exhibit with my last post - they do NOT follow the teachings of Christ, for Christ did not teach social Darwinism. Many evangelicals and fundamentalists believe in Social Darwinism even if they won't come right out and say it. They are joined at the hip with ultra-conservative politicians who would be very happy if most (if not all) welfare programs were abolished, government regulations were lifted, the poor are taxed into oblivion and the wealthy received big tax cuts.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:54 am

RockOnBrother wrote:
Once again, the folks you’ve identified certainly are not following Jesus’ teachings.
Shirina wrote:
Hehe, Rock, that's what I was trying to exhibit with my last post - they do NOT follow the teachings of Christ, for Christ did not teach social Darwinism. Many evangelicals and fundamentalists believe in Social Darwinism even if they won't come right out and say it. They are joined at the hip with ultra-conservative politicians who would be very happy if most (if not all) welfare programs were abolished, government regulations were lifted, the poor are taxed into oblivion and the wealthy received big tax cuts.

Then why cal them what they miscall themselves? Perhaps they’re evangelical somethings and fundamentalist somethings, but they’re not evangelical Christians and fundamentalist Christians.

In fact, there actually are no evangelical Christians; if my definition is correct, evangelical simply refers to “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have taught you”, Jesus’ commandment to all who choose to love him and keep his commandments (“if you love me, keep my commandments”), so to “differentiate out”, or refer to, “evangelical” Christians as if there are “non-evangelical” Christians is to presume the existence of two contrastable entities when no such differentiation/contrast exists.

As to “fundamentalist” Christian, what are the fundamentals of Christianity? Jesus answered that question awhile back; “love the Lord your God with all your heart mind, soul, and strength”; “love your neighbor as yourself, understanding that the stranger with whom you interact is your neighbor”; “love each other as I have loved you”; “if you love me, keep my commandments”; “(as you) go, make disciples of all ethnicities” (in Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Greek); “baptizing them in the name of [onoma, character of, essence of] the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit”; “teaching them to observe all  things whatsoever I have taught you”; these are a good start.

I see no evidence that those who’ve self-identified themselves as “fundamentalist” Christians/Christian “fundamentalists” adhere in any perceptible way to the fundamentals of Christianity.

This is my personal commitment to me for the rest of my life. I call no person by any deceptively inaccurate appellation, and when the opportunity arises, I call all persons who have attached deceptively inaccurate appellations to themselves by scrupulously accurate descriptive terms. “You can call yourself whatever you wanna call yourself, I’ma call you what you is.”


Last edited by RockOnBrother on Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:25 am

Shirina wrote:-
They are joined at the hip with ultra-conservative politicians who would be very happy if most (if not all) welfare programs were abolished, government regulations were lifted, the poor are taxed into oblivion and the wealthy received big tax cuts.
Exactly. Their views are typified by the headcase known as Grover Norquist who said: "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."
Shocked
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:42 am

Proponents of Artificial Intelligence seem to regard that as a possible mechanism for future government.

Popular dissent would be akin to reasoning with a hungry bear.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:06 pm

I call no person by any deceptively inaccurate appellation, and when the opportunity arises, I call all persons who have attached deceptively inaccurate appellations by scrupulously accurate descriptive terms.

I understand that, Rock, but I call them by what they are widely known as. I'd rather not risk any confusion by inventing names for them on my own - and I could invent lots of names for them, most of which would force me to moderate myself.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:41 pm

RockOnBrother wrote:
I call no person by any deceptively inaccurate appellation, and when the opportunity arises, I call all persons who have attached deceptively inaccurate appellations by scrupulously accurate descriptive terms.
Shirina wrote:
I understand that, Rock, but I call them by what they are widely known as. I'd rather not risk any confusion by inventing names for them on my own - and I could invent lots of names for them, most of which would force me to moderate myself.

By calling them “what they is”, you’re not inventing anything. If a descriptive term is dispassionate, accurate, and precise, it clears up rather than creates confusion.

I’ve met several Southern patriots in the past eighteen years, two of whom are Sons of South Carolina. The older gentleman flies a Confederate flag from an honored location at the front of whatever house or shelter in which he is currently domiciled.

Cross-burning beasts who drag young Black men from their homes in the night, hang them by their necks from trees, soak them in kerosene, and burn them alive, all done while waving Bibles and Confederate flags, defecate upon this Southern White South Carolina gentleman who, in 1962 and 1963, left home, journeyed to Mississippi, and registered Black voters sans federal protection, then completed college in the ROTC program, volunteered for Special Forces, and fought to protect Vietnamese villagers from Viet Cong terrorism, torture, and murder while a Viet Cong bounty was on his head. The Confederate flag flew in front of the temporary housing in Mississippi and in front of the hootches in which he occasionally lived in Vietnam.

Because defecation upon the symbol has gone so long unchallenged, few know that story or stories like it, and many view the Confederate flag as a symbol of evil. With that lesson in mind, I refuse to call ‘em “what they ain’t”, and I refuse not to call ‘em “what they is.”
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by witchfinder on Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:28 am

Yesterday the British Primeminister "David Cameron" said in a speech that we should return to traditional Christian values.

The Primeminister is clearly playing a popularity game, probably on the advice of some advertising whizz kid who calls himself / herself an advisor; When the economic news realy could not get any bleaker or worse, then have a dig at the French, bash the immigrants or make some kind of cleaner than clean moraly uplifting statement.

Other possibilities are "flog the criminal" "take benefits away from dole scroungers" or sing Land of Hope & Glory

Well Mr Cameron, I do not need Christianity or any religion to teach me what is right and wrong, and though I respect Christians, they do not hold a monopoly on how to live a good life, it does not require any faith to teach us that to kill or murder is wrong, to honour your mother and father is right, and that to love your neighbour is a good thing to do.

Most people in the UK today are not religious, they do not attend Churches, practicing Christians are a minority, I think that Mr Cameron should get real.

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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:56 pm

"Love thy neighbour"? Perhaps he does. David Cameron's private home is in the Cotswolds, where his neighbour is Lord Chadlington, probably remembered as Selwyn Gummer, the Tory Minister who force-fed hamburger to his daughter for the camera at the height of the BSE scandal.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:16 pm

Yesterday the British Primeminister "David Cameron" said in a speech that we should return to traditional Christian values

All too often, the term "traditional Christian values" uttered by a right-winger roughly translates into "Social Darwinism."

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:07 pm

I'm not sure I know what social darwinism might be, but we had the Tory claptrap cliche about "traditional values" in the 1980s.

It means, be a good boy and do as you're told. Mummy and Daddy know best.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:02 pm

I'm not sure I know what social darwinism might be
Then be thankful for Google:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Darwinism
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:38 am

Did you know you can alter wikipedia if you don't like what's written?
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Shirina on Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:51 pm

Did you know you can alter wikipedia if you don't like what's written?

Yes, but Wikipedia is peer reviewed constantly. If someone writes incorrect facts or the entry becomes opinionated, someone will jump on it and that section will be flagged as possibly wrong ... until it is reviewed ... and if it is found to be wrong, it will be deleted.

Wikipedia has gotten a bad reputation, mainly from scholars who criticized it as not being very scholarly (mainly because they had too many students quoting it). I think a big part of this bias stems from the "I walked up hill both ways barefoot in the snow to school every day and twice on Monday" phenomenon. These scholars had to spend grueling hours in a library to find the information students of today can find with a few keystrokes and a mouse click without even having to get out of their pajamas. I get the impression that technology isn't always welcomed by some. Our elders often want our lives to be better than theirs, but not easier. They fail to understand that it is nigh impossible to separate the two.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Penderyn on Sun Dec 18, 2011 5:33 pm

oftenwrong wrote:I'm not sure I know what social darwinism might be, but we had the Tory claptrap cliche about "traditional values" in the 1980s.

It means, be a good boy and do as you're told. Mummy and Daddy know best.

Social Darwinism is based on a misreading of Darwin and a misunderstanding of society. It means people get rich because they are 'fitter' and are entitled to eat everyone else, or at least starve 'em. It is the opposite form of anti-Jesus nonsense from the 'traditional values' that produce lying scumbags like Cameron and all the Republican politicians in the 'States, Mammon-worshippers to a man or pig.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by ROB on Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:27 pm


Something terrible happened several decades ago. I know the story. Various sources, accepted by historian, have painted a grossly adulterated picture of that event. Wikipedia got it right.

I know why wiki got it right. The survivors of that terrible event have quietly corrected misrepresentations therein over the past few years. As Shirina points out, wiki is constantly peer-reviewed. In this case, the peers doing the reviewing are the primary sources, the eyewitnesses/survivors.

For those who wish to dispute wiki’s veracity, they might thoroughly check out the sources appended to most wiki articles.
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Dr Sheldon Cooper PhD on Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:38 pm

Shirina wrote:
Yesterday the British Primeminister "David Cameron" said in a speech that we should return to traditional Christian values
All too often, the term "traditional Christian values" uttered by a right-winger roughly translates into "Social Darwinism."

Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing.
Will this mean a full out crusade then? Or is he talking about other traditional Christian values? scratch 
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:43 pm

Guest wrote:An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…
Dawkins wrote:If we depended on religion for our values and our sense of cohesion we would be well and truly stuck.”
There are passages in the old testament that would need an xxx certificate if they were put in the cinema.

Guest wrote:Since Dawkins most likely equates knowing God with religion, apparently, in Dawkins’ view (in my opinion, a haughty, arrogant, self-serving view) I “would be well and truly stuck.”

Haven’t noticed any crazy glue stiking toany parts of me as late.
Your view that Dawkins view is in your opinion,  haughty, arrogant and a self-serving view seems to me to be the pot calling the kettle black.

As for your opinion as to the stickiness of crazy glue I will regard your opinion is as good as anyone else's until you prove otherwise. In the meantime I will take that as valid but don't sit down too long just in case.

Guest wrote:An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…
Dawkins wrote: “The very idea that we might get our morals from the Bible… will horrify any decent person today who takes the trouble to read those books…”
Guest wrote:I’ve taken the “the trouble to read those books” (the Hebrew and Greek Bibles are two multiple book compilations), and the time and effort necessary to study, contemplate, discuss, and dialogue upon “those books.” Perhaps I lack the basketball gifts I desired, but last I checked, I wasn’t half-bad decency wise.
It would be interesting to know under whose guidance (which university?) you did this study and what credentials your teachers had. As to your decency that will become clear in all due time if you actually open a user account and we are able to communicate with the same "Guest" each time that you appear. As for the Bible I studied it for a fair few years myself but I am told that it didn't count for anything because I did it without the guidance of a church (although the ones that informed me of this oversight could not agree on whom a valid teacher in a valid church might be). As for the Koran I saw how people lived that message when I stayed in Bahrain for three months at the age of 15 and that was enough to disgust me. My opinions sharpened when I taught Islamic students some thirty years later.

Guest wrote:An extract from the leader article by Richard Dawkins…
Dawkins wrote:...rather than cherry-pick the verses that happen to conform to our modern secular consensus.”
Guest wrote:In my opinion, Dawkins seems to concisely describe Dawkins’ exhibited practice.
And just about every preacher I've ever come across whether it be in church, in the street or on TV, I forgot about the printed page or website. How it is possible to not cherry pick I would like to know. I would hazard a guess to be something like this, to look for verses/passages that seem to contradict the point I am trying to make and to give equal time to explaining how they might be just as valid as the opposite point that I am trying to make. Sounds a lot like the Church of England to be honest, but we're talking religion here so we can forget all about honesty.

In the few interviews or discussions where Richard Dawkin's is in debate with or being interviewed by someone from the Church of England his level of enmity is astounding by its level of absence. I think he has a sneaky regard for the Church of England though I would challenge anyone to get him to admit to it.

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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by snowyflake on Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:47 pm

Richard Dawkins has great respect for people and is always polite. That doesn't mean he just rolls over so the church can scratch his belly. He says what he means and he supports his reasoning. What people don't like about Dawkins is that he dared to criticise religion and advocates relegating it to the past for the superstitious belief it is. He dared to say that belief in ANY unfounded notion is delusion so of course believers get the hump. They don't want to be called deluded or mental cases. So the only response for a deluded person is a) provide proof or evidence or b) lose their rag.....most believers just lose their rag. :)
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Heretic on Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:23 pm

snowyflake wrote:Richard Dawkins has great respect for people and is always polite.
He is a mild mannered professor indeed, the main advantage he has over most atheists is his training in a logical discipline and his fame as an author. The only new idea he brought to the table was the meme which he unveiled in The Selfish Gene.

snowyflake wrote:That doesn't mean he just rolls over so the church can scratch his belly. He says what he means and he supports his reasoning.
I think most Christians that don't feel threatened by him actually think he has thrown them a real 'intellectual challenge' and are trying to work their way to answer him. I think it may take them some time.

snowyflake wrote:What people don't like about Dawkins is that he dared to criticise religion and advocates relegating it to the past for the superstitious belief it is.
This is why most religionists feel threatened, I'm surprised that there hasn't been a price placed on his head as he does pose a realer threat than Salman Rushdie to some realms of the faith based world.

snowyflake wrote:He dared to say that belief in ANY unfounded notion is delusion so of course believers get the hump. They don't want to be called deluded or mental cases. So the only response for a deluded person is a) provide proof or evidence or b) lose their rag.....most believers just lose their rag. Smile
I suspect that there will be a series of court cases to try and decide this, probably in the USA as it has more lawyers with deeply religious/deluded clients that have deep pockets.

After his success in the "Man who sued God" I wonder if Billy Connelly would play the lead role in the film or (as it's likely to be a long drawn out affair) the TV series?

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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by stuart torr on Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:40 pm

 Christians should get their guidance from where the hell they want. Laughing 
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Heretic on Tue Nov 26, 2013 10:27 pm

stuart torr wrote: Christians should get their guidance from where the hell they want. Laughing 
Really?

I think a good shrink might be first port of call but it's up to them.

In all seriousness they should follow their conscience but it would be a good idea to get at least a good introduction to reasoning or logic. Our minds and hearts are easily deceived when faced by a schister[sp?] that claims the moral or spiritual high ground and this is especially true when one is vulnerable ie young, naive, mourning, scared or lacking self confidence. Those that take advantage of these people are pretty adept at keeping their influence even after the vulnerability has been overcome.

The religious want to know why the non-religious are so hard to convince? The answer is simple we see you, we see what you do, we see how you do what you do and that is why we detest religion.

Is it a coincidence that the prosperity-gospel/evangelicals/fundamentalists/revivalists adopted the strategies of the most dishonest salesmen of the American west, those of 'the snake oil salesmen' they sold a concoction that could cure 'whatever ails you' and their modern equivalent is the tele-evangelist that bleeds the poor of their last cent/penny (maybe not penny because as far as I'm aware they're not aloud to directly ask the British audience for money). But we do see what they are up to.

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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by Ivan on Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:30 pm

Heretic wrote:-
I think most Christians that don't feel threatened by him actually think he has thrown them a real 'intellectual challenge' and are trying to work their way to answer him.
 
The Christian theologian Alister McGrath, who is currently a professor at King’s College London, wrote a book entitled ‘Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes And The Meaning Of Life’, which was published in 2005, a year before ‘The God Delusion’. I reviewed it here some time ago:-
 
http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t602-dawkins-god-genes-memes-and-the-meaning-of-life-by-alister-mcgrath
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Re: From where should a Christian get his or her guidance?

Post by stuart torr on Thu Nov 28, 2013 10:25 pm

Have they tried the Racing Post, sure to get on to a winner from there, and people certainly put their faith in some of those good tipsters. cheers 
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