the strange world of non-believing preachers

March 22, 2010

One of the biggest reasons why organized religion persisted for thousands of years is because it offers a very real sense of hope and belonging, especially to those who need it. Is your future looking dire? Do you feel you have no direction in life? Feeling confused? Overwhelmed? Need to improve your outlook on life fast? Just get down to your local house of faith for your revelation, accept the appropriate messiah or prophet into your heart, and get out there with a spring in your step, maybe even helping others to find their way to your deity. And if you happen to be really good at doing that, you may well find yourself preaching for a very sustainable living…

But then again, as scientists keep showing that the world is not a simple, isolated bubble overseen by a deity who faxes down his instructions to assorted prophets and messiahs, and that our universe is a far, far more complex than fervent believers tend to think, you may find yourself doubting your newly acquired beliefs. Not so for those who rely on you to reinforce their faith and help indoctrinate their friends and children. The more mysteries science unveils, the more they’ll dig in their heels and denigrate those who point it out, threatening the unbelievers with divine retribution for their sins in the form of Hell. So, how do go on preaching to new and lifelong theists but are yourself a non-believer like a certain someone we should call “Jack”…

OK, this God created me. It’s a perfect God that knows everything; can do anything. And somehow it got messed up, and it’s my fault. So he had to send his son to die for me to fix it. And he does. And now I’m supposed to beat myself to death the rest of my life over it. It makes no sense to me. Don’t you think a God could come up with a better plan than that? What kind of personality; what kind of being is this that had to create other beings to worship and tell him how wonderful he is? That makes no sense, if God is all-knowing and all-wise and all-wonderful. I can’t comprehend that that’s what kind of person God is.

Our pseudo-anonymous priest is one of five preachers who either lost their faith or unsure of their beliefs, but continue to give sermons every Sunday because their entire lives are attached to their religious identification. Should they come out as non-believers, their entire livelihood will be endangered. Without a job, a house, the financial assistance of their churches and with few marketable skills other than public speaking, the odds of them finding new careers aren’t all that promising. And this is why when they consented to be interviewed by Dan Dennett and Linda LaScola, they adopted generic pseudonyms. The entire study sheds a light on a side of religious ruminations that you’ll rarely hear from a church, a mosque or a synagogue: what happens when you lose your faith. For many believers it’s an emotionally costly decision, and for those whose livelihoods are tied to promoting religious dogmas, it can be financially devastating to reject their beliefs.

Contrast that to what would happen in a lab of a major university if a research associate came in one day and announced he had a revelation and was now a born again Christian. Rather than being thrown out, he would probably just be asked how his experiments were going by some of the other, probably religious scientists for whom he’s working. Contrary to the whining of the Discovery Institute and fundamentalist claims, those with a burning religious conviction aren’t being fired left and right by their evil atheists overlords. And it’s that disparity between science labs and religious organizations which tends to disturb me the most and hopefully, Dennett and LoScola keep on finding unbelieving priests willing to discuss their doubts and show the costs of having your own opinion in institutions which demand strict adherence to their dogmas for everyone on the payroll.

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  • RaggMopp

    gfish: Dead-on!

    Maybe it’s a symptom of a psychological disorder. I think it’s called projection. If you are lying, you promptly assume your rival is lying. If you or your bunch enforces rigid compliance to a dogma, you believe, or at least claim to believe, your rival does too. In this case, the rival (science) has no dogma to enforce, so it’s hard to proove.

    PS. How cool is Daniel Dennett?

  • jimijr

    “…five preachers who either lost their faith…” How do you “lose your faith”? Is faith an act of will, then?

  • RaggMopp

    @jimijr: A very good question.

    I don’t know what faith you ascribe to, but the literature of the Christian religion is awash with saints who have struggled with their doubts, and documented such struggles for posterity, Augustine, Acquinas, etc. They overcame their doubts, and returned to the fold. Which surely implies that faith is an act of will. Why wouldn’t it be? Any thinking human being is assailed by doubts from all sides. They who persevere in spite of doubts, are blessed.

    Of course, they who overcome facts in the pursuit of faith are demented, but blessed nevertheless. I guess.

  • jimijr

    In fact I have no religious preference. That is because it seems to me that faith is something that happens to you, something with an external source. The reason it seems that way is, I ain’t got it for religion and can’t make it happen. Thus I don’t see how you can lose it, either! ::confused::

  • stic

    Faith has been described as :”being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. If you are not a believer in God, you can go outside, gaze into the universe, made up of trillions of stars and galaxies, trillions of light years apart, acknowledge you are on a speck of dust situated in just the right place to randomly create your trillions of life cells arranged in a specific order according to a DNA sequence, that could fill a thousand libraries of books, then turn to a microscope and gaze into a micro universe of life and chemical creation that both sustains and destroys, realize it’s all made of the same stuff and have the faith to say, this all started with a Big Bang!”there is no God”. If you are a believer in God, you can do the same thing and have faith that there is a God and believe he is seen in every created thing and has the power to give you a free will to believe or not to believe.
    I hear the part where he screwed up one of his creations was when he gave it a free will. I wonder how he could fix such a screw up? He probably could never fiqure out something as tough as that. Why would he even care? If I were God, I would make everything just like I wanted it, and if someone or something got in my way, I would kill it or destroy it! Then again, I wouldn’t have too, I just wouldn’t give it a free will.

  • stic

    Some of you guys are so deep! How intellectual you are. Any University would be proud to have you on their faculty. Why limit this to persecuting a preacher who has lost his faith and still accepts a pay check for preaching something he use to believe in? I know a person who delivers pizza and doesn’t eat pizza? Is he bad? What if he tells people that the pizza is good just to sell more pizza? Is he bad? I know someone who lives at home with his parents and doesn’t believe in what his parents tell him, but he still lives at home with his parents anyway. He still takes the money they give him. Is he bad or is he o.k. for sticking with what he does best, delivering pizza. The preacher may start believing again in what he preaches and the pizza delivery guy may start believing in what his parents told him. He may take a bite of pizza and start believing pizza is good! If there is a God, I bet he knows.

  • Greg Fish

    Why limit this to persecuting a preacher who has lost his faith and still accepts a pay check for preaching something he use to believe in?

    I don’t know. Why do religious organizations fire people for changing their minds over a long period of learning, reading and reflection? That sort of thing happens to many in the scientific world all the time and yet they’re given awards and told they’re doing a great job because they’re constantly learning something brand new.

    He may take a bite of pizza and start believing pizza is good!

    He already took a bite so it’s a little late for that. Your example of a priest and a pizza delivery guy seems to imply that preaching is just a job, kind of like delivering pizzas or changing tires on a car. However, I think most churches would disagree with this since they believe that preachers are the people responsible for keeping good souls out of Hell with their instruction and thus, must believe the dogmas they recite.

  • stic

    In truth, I have no contention with any of this discussion. Religious leaders of all beliefs are just people. Their faith is their own, to be discovered or lost and they are subjected to the world in all of it’s Glory. If you are a person of faith and you surround yourself with people of like faith, chances are, you will eventually get nailed to a proverbial cross.

    If your faith was in the people you associated with, you probably will have lost your faith anyway If your relationship and faith was in that which you never saw, you probably will still believe. If I found out that the guy I was paying to give me lip service to support my faith, really didn’t believe in what I was paying him for,
    I would fire him like a Guru prostitute. In regards to the pizza guy, the only thing he lacked was faith.

    The story goes He liked the pizza so much he opened his own church, I mean pizza parlor. However, I have heard of Scientist who have questioned findings of the institutes they worked for, based on their own research, and were fired because it would jeopardize the grants they were receiving from the groups they were hired by.

    People, are the strangest things.

  • RaggMopp

    @stic: If you hear of a scientist being fired because of his questions, you need to report it. The grants you speak of are probably your tax money. The institute he works for will surely be in deep kimchi when that gets back to the grantor.

    And that’s the difference, don’t you see. Who’s going to question the Discovery Institute’s decision. Their grantors want anything but a victory for real science. They recognize science as the enemy.

    For unexplained reasons, scientists often don’t, or refuse to, recognize religion as their enemy. Which, to me, proves the power of science. Here go these nice scientists, puttering along with the cunning of three year olds, bumping into bishops who would make a puma look clumsy, make Machiavelli seem primative. And the bishops find they must retreat nevertheless. What they want to be true matters not a wit in the face of scientific, the center doesn’t hold, the edifice comes to pieces.

  • RichardH

    Faith is definitely a complex thing, but is first of all a gift from God. Faith leads to something wonderful and even more complex… grace. Grace has been described as “the unmerited favor of God.” Many people still try to work for it, but it’s still free for those who simply have faith. Faith in what? You might ask. Faith in the one who would take away an inevitable punishment, a death sentence. Faith in the One who would die for you, taking your punishment, while you were still guilty and deserving of death. Jesus died, was resurrected, defeating death and the grave (witnessed by hundreds), and ascended to heaven to prepare a place for those that love Him and acknowledge Him in their lives as Lord and Savior. Repentance and turning from sinfulness is essential to following Christ, but righteous living is more than following the law or a path, it is in the daily living that makes His light the true light of the world. True Christians are a reflection of Christ, but this light is rejected by the world who prefers the darkness. Jesus is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. No matter what Ophrah Winfrey might tell you or any of the other New Age gurus.

    C.S. Lewis once wrote that Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or Lord. Read and study His Word, the Bible, and you decide for yourself. I am a cellular biologist and consider myself to be a well educated person. I’ve examined the evidence and all of the prevailing theories. To say I knew it all (omnicience) would be arrogant and a form of absolutism (like athesists). I see the wonder, beauty, and all the mysteries of this universe and how it all points to a magnificent Creator. I have experienced the love, mercy and grace of Jesus and I have hope and a promise of eternal life with the one who made me and loves me greatly.
    BTW, Jesus hated religion also. It is mankind’s poor attempt at organizing the truth. He doesn’t need that kind of help. In fact God doesn’t require man’s help in a lot of things. Like war and killing people in His name. Doing something in the name of God doesn’t mean it is sanctioned by Him. A religion that sends it’s young sons to die for it’s deity is shameful. The one true God (Yahweh) sent His Son to die for us. That difference is lost on blind sinful men.

  • stic

    Richard,

    For those that have experienced what you have are ignorantly blessed. I don’t mean that in a mean way. I mean, you are no longer searching for an answer, so you are content in what you believe. The problem arises when you try to convince someone else they need what you have and based on their perceptions of organized religion they equate the two as being the same. To say that the creator of the universe wants to have a relationship with one of it’s creations is about as hard to swallow as some one saying this all started with a Big Bang! Never mind the questions of what created the Bang and all of the energy and matter that came from it. If someone can believe something came from nothing and they are imminently convinced they are smarter than you because you believe in what you do, I would have to argue their point. Some Scientist are just as guilty in trying to make you agree with their beliefs as some religious people are in trying to convince you of theirs. Both sides continue to seek the truth and misguided people on both sides keep getting in the way. I suppose once you believe you have found the truth, it’s only natural to want to share that experience with someone. I think experiencing truth and having humility when you share it goes a long way. For both sides. Nothing turns me off more than a religious person telling me I am an idiot for not believing what he does or a person that believes he is so intellectual that if you question his evidence he thinks you are an idiot. I can only imagine what kind of replies you are going to get from your bold statement of faith. Hope you have real tough skin, or real strong faith.

  • russell

    yes richard just try to imagine the reply you will receive for being so bold in your faith, when you stand before the Lord. brother you lift me up. and stic i agree misguided people do get in the way so i fall back on the word, {romans1:18-22} helped me.

  • stic

    So it is among man, those who would discourage, and those who would encourage. Is there really one that sticks closer than a brother? The book you are reading from is understood only by those that have experienced what you have. To everyone else it is just a book. A very controversial book. I watch the History channel and they seem to be obsessed with discrediting the book an those that believe in it. However, they don’t seem so fervent in discrediting other religions that claim an eternal after life or reincarnation. You Jews and Christians probably don’t pose as big a threat to them. I suppose they live in fear of retribution. I doubt the Muslim community would take it lying down if the History channel where to imply the Muslim prophet was gay, or married a prostitute, or if the leader of Tibet was portrayed as just a 3 year old boy who was picked at random and forced to accept and promote a religion of a bunch of bald headed men in sheets. Those guys don’t play when you discredit their faith. Some of the things discovery and history channel imply as truth have never been subjected to Science. I heard you have to believe in something or you will fall for anything. I have a belief system of my own and unfortunately based on past observation and experience, skepticism is my belief. Mistrust of the media and organized agendas from religion, environmentalist, governments, evolutionist, and anyone trying to discredit one group while they consider themselves of a superior intellect. When they turn their energies from seeking truth to creating controversy, I know they have their own agenda and there is no truth in them. Enjoy your faith and your experience, especially if it encourages instead of discourages.

  • RichardH

    Yes, I have a faith that can withstand the view of a fallen world. Jesus said that if we believe in Him we would face persecution and hatred. Proverbs 9:8 (NIV) Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

    I do not try and force my belief on others. I simply try to show them that first, there is a Creator, that he loves us, and that He indeed created us to have a relationship with Him (even if you don’t believe that is possible). He also gave us free will and, unfortunately, we became corrupt and sinful. We started worshipping the created things instead of the Creator. He also gave us a way out of sin and spiritual death through His Son Jesus. My only job is to explain to you the truth of the Messiah Jesus. I don’t need to tell you of your sins, how much you have offended your Creator, or anything else. I can only tell you of how much you are forgiven and loved in spite of all of those things. It’s like me throwing you a life preserver when you’re drowning. You have to reach out for it and grab on to be saved. If you are not lead by the Holy Spirit to repentance and a renewed mind, then that’s between you and Him. You have the right to deny His pardon (free grace), but then you must accept the judgement to come. God is faithful, patient and merciful, but He is also a just judge. You might not believe this to be true, but it doesn’t really matter what either of us thinks to be true, it only matters what IS true. I am confident in knowing God knows. His grace is sufficient for me. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. Want a blue print for living… read Psalm Chapter 1 as a starting point. Then try reading the Book of Proverbs (one chapter a day for a month). Who knows, reading this Book might become habit forming and life transforming. If you are an atheist, then be content with your decision of absolutism. Stop trying so hard at destroying the belief and hope of others. That is being an “Anti-theist” which is totally different. It is in fact a religion… an organized set of beliefs and worship of self. I can undertand agnosticism, but as for me, I could never have enough faith to be an atheist.

    For stic,

    1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV) For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • Greg Fish

    Yes, I have a faith that can withstand the view of a fallen world.

    How fortunate it is that the heathens with their allusions to the difference between an ancient book and the reality we understand today won’t sway you and you’re so brave that you can “withstand” their wicked ways of science and investigation…

    I simply try to show them that first, there is a Creator, that he loves us, and that He indeed created us to have a relationship with Him…

    And by show, you mean simply state this and say it’s true because it’s in the Bible? I wonder if you’ve ever heard of an argument by assertion, where something is held to be true simply because it’s repeated again and again and again. You’re just retelling what you’ve been told and believe to be true verbatim rather than showing or proving anything. There’s not even at attempt to do anything but preach.

    I could never have enough faith to be an atheist.

    Ray Comfort, is that you? So you don’t have enough faith to say that you don’t know if there’s anything out there and want to find out by research and empiricism, but have plenty of faith in a supernatural father figure who’s there for you? And you don’t see a difference in feasibility between the two concepts because you can just quote one of the many verse in the Bible and make the evil doubters go away?

  • Alinfun

    Faith is like the horizon it’s there but you’ll never reach it….
    .

  • stic

    gfish, This guy is no doubt sincere in what he believes. He has no other way to convey his faith and relationship with his creator but by quoting from the Bible. His experience has caused him to put faith in what he reads.. At least he has a book to read and use as a reference point for supporting his faith. I have seen the same frustration in a friend of mine, who truly believes in the Big Bang. When I ask him what he is hanging his belief on, it comes down to the same thing you say about Richard. Argument by assertion. My friend can no more prove or have me believe the Big Bang theory than Richard can prove his faith. The fact Richard has a book to support him and his faith is no different than my friend. They are both believing in something that they have no words to explain to a person who does not believe. It’s easy to concieve or propose infinity while living in a finite world, However, it’s impossible to prove. You have to have faith to believe in it. Scientist use the mathmatical term in thousands of calculations to support theoretical concepts. More than a few scientist, working on the Manhattan project believed that the A Bomb would consume the world because of their belief in infinity and what it represented in the nuclear fission model. They just believed. I can’t imagine how scared and frustrated they were in trying to convince their peers, so they could save their families and the world. Thank God(no pun intended Richard) the asssertion of infinity was wrong. Even so, I believe in infinity. A concept no different than a belief in eternity. At some point a theoritical physicist has to believe in his theory, even though it is supported by a term of infinity. It is his identity. So it is of any person of faith.

  • Greg Fish

    I’ve seen the same frustration in a friend of mine, who truly believes in the Big Bang.

    Oh now somebody’s barking up the wrong tree. The theory of the Big Bang isn’t just a belief, but an idea backed up by observable evidence which shows that sometime in the primeval past, space must have been a lot smaller and a lot hotter than today. To say that presenting this evidence is just a “proof by assertion” grossly misrepresents what this fallacy actually entails.

    Proofs by assertion involve someone repeating the same thing again and again as a response to any challenge or counter-argument. But then again, I really can’t rule out that your friend is just not well versed in science and doesn’t know how to explain the relevant facts, which is almost as big of a problem as denying science altogether.

  • russell

    stic skepticism drives your scientific quest for the truth, a plus for sharp mind like yours, i on the other hand need the discerning Spirit of God, and the word, sort of like cliff notes : }

    and as for as your view of the history + discover channels and the like, many people buy into it i feel because thats the only veiw point they have, i’m not so convinced that they leave the more militant religions alone out of fear {though they should}, rather that they feel need to disprove the deity of Jesus in order to avoid dealing with Him.

  • RichardH

    I find all of your personal attacks and other points quite humorus. First of all you don’t know me, haven’t met me and probably never will. You claims are falsely eliteist and intellectually boring. I don’t have to prove my faith. I have it, that’s enough for me. I am no ignoramous, and understand the scientific method quite well. It simply doesn’t apply to spiritual matters. Yes I believe in the Bible and for me it is the Word of God. That same Word made flesh in Jesus Christ. A famous atheist Carl Sagan (now dead) once said that “absense of evidence is not evidence of absense”, which is a true statement, but let me turn things back to you and ask you to prove (by scientific method – reproducible) that there is no God. All of the collective wisdom and science of man cannot do that. But I’m sure you won’t be objective enough to admit to that. Yes I have a perservering faith that you will probably never know until it’s too late. Don’t feel sorry for this “ignorantly blessed” servant of God, I’m experiencing something you’ve never known. Joy. Not to be confused with happiness (hap, hapinstance, something fleeting). Joy is a by-product of walking with God. Blessed is a man who does not walk in the councel of the wicked (ungodly). Let me remain forever blessed… thank you all the same.

  • RichardH

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…. “And God said…” (Gen 1:3,6,9,11,14,20,24,26,29)

    Simply stated “Universe”, equals “One word”

    Big Bang Theory… Yeah, I can live with that.

  • RichardH

    gfish
    “Yes, I have a faith that can withstand the view of a fallen world.”

    How fortunate it is that the heathens with their allusions to the difference between an ancient book and the reality we understand today won’t sway you and you’re so brave that you can “withstand” their wicked ways of science and investigation…

    “I did not call you heathens, that must be a self-perception issue. The Ancient Book you referred to (it has a name… Holy Bible) is areality to those who believe. I am fully aware and versed in science investigation. I’ve been immersed in it for 36 years. Some of the greatest scientists of all time have been Christian.. so stick that in you hat.

    “I simply try to show them that first, there is a Creator, that he loves us, and that He indeed created us to have a relationship with Him…”

    And by show, you mean simply state this and say it’s true because it’s in the Bible? I wonder if you’ve ever heard of an argument by assertion, where something is held to be true simply because it’s repeated again and again and again. You’re just retelling what you’ve been told and believe to be true verbatim rather than showing or proving anything. There’s not even at attempt to do anything but preach.

    “Truth is what it is. Yes I have heard of an argument by assertion. Do you know what an argument by assumption is? You just made one. I have believed because of experiencial truth, not because of repeating some mantra over and over. Writing has limits of two-dimentionality. Trying to prove anything to a closed mind and hardened heart is probably pointless. I will gladly continue to preach. Thanks for noticing!”

    “I could never have enough faith to be an atheist.”

    Ray Comfort, is that you? So you don’t have enough faith to say that you don’t know if there’s anything out there and want to find out by research and empiricism, but have plenty of faith in a supernatural father figure who’s there for you? And you don’t see a difference in feasibility between the two concepts because you can just quote one of the many verse in the Bible and make the evil doubters go away?

    “No I am not Ray comfort. Sorry I didn’t give him credit for a common quotation. My whole life up to my coversion experience, and even now has been about research and empiricism. My results and discovery differs from yours, so mine couldn’t possibly be right… in your opinion. Who’s narrow-minded? I don’t want the evil doubters to go away. I want them to be rescued from a fate that is worse than anything imaginable. As you hate me for my belief, I can only love you while you’re in disbelief. A life spent in trying to rescue those perishing is not wasted.”

  • Greg Fish

    You claims are falsely eliteist [sic] and intellectually boring.

    Oh, so it’s not the person bragging about how much faith he has in his own ideas or how “this fallen world” can’t make him question his ideology without bothering to say anything of empirical substance who’s arrogant, it’s the one pointing out this attitude with a little sarcasm and receiving about a thousand offended words in reply?

    let me turn things back to you and ask you to prove (by scientific method) that there is no God.

    The burden of proof is always on the claimant. Just because you can spell science, doesn’t mean you understand it, and it seems pretty clear that you don’t since you’re asking me to disprove something, a task that’s not done by scientists. Science tests hypotheses and “there’s no X” is not a hypothesis. To have a scientific discussion on the existence of God, you would need to put forth empirical evidence of his existence and then have someone try to replicate your study with the same results.

    You also don’t seem to understand the quote you’ve used. Just because there might be something out there and we can’t directly prove it or show that it doesn’t exist (and in the case of a deity which has no objective or empirical definition this will always be the case), doesn’t mean you now get to use it as a placeholder for anything you don’t understand. Doing that only shows your inability to accept the limitations of what you know. And again, I’m the elitist for coming to terms with my ignorance as a human?

    The Ancient Book you referred to (it has a name… Holy Bible)

    And for others the ancient book is called the Qu’ran. And for others, there’s the Torah. And for others still there are other manuscripts they consider to be holy. You’re doing the same thing they do, use an ancient manuscript to justify the dogmas you learned from birth or decided to follow at some point in life because it answered a question for you while you were looking for an answer, and any answer would do.

    I have believed because of experiencial [sic] truth, not because of repeating some mantra over and over.

    The issue was not with why you believe what you do. You said that you don’t have to go out and prove your faith (thought apparently I’m supposed to prove my opinions to you, which is not at all hypocritical by the way…), but you’re trying to do it anyway. No, the issue was with how you “show there’s a Creator” to others. The way you’re doing that is throwing out Bible quotes, so you’re making an argument by assertion.

    There’s no such thing as an “argument by assumption.” You were probably trying to allude to a strawman fallacy while using one yourself. Sorry, but you don’t just get to make up terms for logical constructs. They have official designations.

    My results and discovery differs from yours, so mine couldn’t possibly be right…

    What discovery did you make? What questions did you answer? Finding a Bible at a bookstore is not the same as years of painstaking research in a lab. If anything, it’s a substitute and a poor one at that.

    As you hate me for my belief, I can only love you while you’re in disbelief. A life spent in trying to rescue those perishing is not wasted.

    Oh look! Why it’s a double dose of self-righteousness and self-indulgence! Let’s see, first we have the Martyr Complex out in full force because the very fact that I’m not just agreeing with you or ignoring your platitudes, means I hate you. I don’t hate you and I don’t pity you. You’re someone who read a post and stuck around to discuss. That’s it. You’re reading material for others, just as my comments back to you. You can feel free to get off the cross now and give the holier-than-thou speech about “loving” and “rescuing” lost souls like me a rest. It’s condescending and obnoxious. I’m not a little pup at a dog pound and neither are others who don’t think the way you do.

  • russell

    i never heard the name Ray Comfort untill gfish mentioned him on the 27th above, and today i’m listening to the radio and guess who they air? talk about weird things

  • RaggMopp

    Beware of gods bearing gifts.

    About the funniest thing I’ve seen lately, and also the most inspiring, was a really cute girl form Bulgaria or Romania or someplace addressing George W. Bush on the subject of liberty/freedom. Bush had said, “… freedom is a gift from God.” She said, “Freedom is a gift from other people, that’s why they call it a Constitution, not a Bible.” I nearly fell out laughing, and I also fell in love with that girl.

    You know, reading RichardH’s paean makes me wish I had a faith in some supernatural entity. It sounds so comforting. So certain, so smug. Must be great. Maybe I shouldn’t have read the whole Bible, that’s probably what ruined my attitude.

  • RichardH

    gfish

    You say there is no God and that all ancient text have equal value, etc. You also say that the burden of proof is upon the claimant. The proof is evident to those who are willing to recognise His presence. I see God in the creation all around me (macro and microscopic). It seems pretty evident to me. Why should I prove the obvious? You’re the one suppressing the truth and turning a blind eye to it. I think that it’s funny how the university system was established by Christian scholars that saw no problem with science and religion existing in harmony. There is no lack of harmony, just blind skeptics who haven’t scientifically proven anything. Then there are the Darwinists who’s religion is a theory so full of holes it couldn’t hold anything of substance. The only view of Darwin I could ever fully support is micro-species evolution or species adaptation. Where’s the fossil record for all of Darwin’s claims? It has never been found. Scientists have been working for many decades trying their best to prove this and haven’t. If thousands of species were formed from lower forms, then there should be a huge amount of fossil record to justify such a claim… Nope! Nada!

    You’ve attaked me, the Word of God, Jesus and only come off looking foolish in the process. You claim I’ve had a long extensive history with the Bible, assuming I had been raised or immersed in Christian doctrine and scripture. Wrong. I came to faith in Jesus upon hearing the gospel (or “good news”) seven years a go. Only then did the Bible become a Book filled with immense treasure. The wisdom and truth found in it are unique, not to mention the Holy word of God. You keep using the term “argument by assertion”, meaning that I somehow can’t reference or use the Bible in my argument. Get over it. It woulod be like me telling you you couldn’t use any science books or other testimonies of eye witnesses in your argument. You cannot write off the Bible just because you don’t like it. I’ve studied comparitive religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. None of these answered certain fundamental spiritual questions for me. The Bible did. BTW the Hebrew Torah or first five books (“Pentateuch”) of the Old Testament are part of the Holy Bible which Christians and Messianic Jews read. I am not righteous, only Jesus is. I am a sinner trying my best to follow after Him. Sometimes a poor reflection, but then again He’s forgiven me. End-of-discussion… God bless!

  • Greg Fish

    You’ve attaked me, the Word of God, Jesus and only come off looking foolish in the process.

    I think you need to get a little sense of perspective. Disagreeing with you is not an all out attack on a deity. I don’t claim to speak for anyone but myself. You claim to speak for the creator of the universe and use this as an excuse to engage in self-indulgent lectures and giving me your conversion story, which is only of interest to you and your like-minded friends. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if I’m a fool, at the very least I’m not a vain one.

    You cannot write off the Bible just because you don’t like it.

    You write off reproducible, empirical science when you don’t like what it says in favor of cramming your personal opinions down my throat as proven fact. I can at the very least show you a fossil or do an experiment for you. The best you have is pounding me over the head with amateur theology.

    …but then again He’s forgiven me.

    If that’s what helps you get through the day… Just keep in mind that what you seem to think is polite eloquence tends to come off really condescending and holier than thou in public. Call it a friendly little suggestion from the evil heathen.

  • mytor

    Excuse the paraphrasing but
    When i was a child i believed in childish things like god and father xmas now i am an adult i have cast these things aside.
    “The word was made flesh” come off it what on earth does that mean…..

    The catholic church has meetings to decide who should receive sainthood, one particular recipient of this great honour (sorry cant remember his name) was on his death bed , he asked for a meal of herrings, there were none so they gave him haddock, he declared it to be the best herring he had ever tasted….it was decided he had performed a miracle turning haddock into herring, how can anyone take this stuff seriously.
    Apologies if i have the fish species wrong if you insist i’ll look it up but you get the idea.

    Noah took alll species of the earth on his boat to save them from the worldwide flood….dear o dear
    We are still discovering new species now, never mind the fact that a large part of the world was unknown to people of that region at the time so where did he get them all from and how big was this boat?
    A child could pick holes in these stories..
    Ah i hear you say its not meant to be taken literaly, so you admit its not true then?

    Its the 21st century surely its time we stopped worshipping the sun or whatever particular deity you choose, accept the fact that you are mortal, when you die thats it you are dead, get on with your life , believe what can be proved and refuse to be brainwashed.

  • mytor

    oh and richardh there is plenty of fossil proof of evolution i suggest you read some books or visit some museums

  • RaggMopp

    Oops! I was impressed with RichardH until he revealed his true identity. “Then there are the Darwinists (a sham catagorization – there is no one in modern science who doesn’t recognize Darwin’s limits, and yet accept the Darwinian Synthesis) whose religion is a theory so full of holes it couldn’t hold anything of substance.” But RichardH is OK with microevolution. Did he say he was a micorbiologist? “Where’s the fossil record for all of Darwin’s claims?” Jesus, Richard, have you been to the Museum of Natural History? Closed mindedness is a type of disease, you know?

    OK, OK, I get it, I get it. You’ve bitten deep into the apple of good and evil, and your brain is committed. You have no doubts. You have joy in the Lord. Don’t worry, this too shall pass. Have a lovely evening.

  • RichardH

    I have worked in microbiology, but my field of study is cellular biology, specifically cancer.

    I know there are fossils you morons… oops sorry. I’ve read more on the subject than you have, I’m pretty sure of that. There are no intermediary fossils showing the evolutionary change of a particular species to a totally different species (like ape to man, etc.) There are species adaptation changes (like the beaks on finches, increased vascularization of extremites in Eskimos, etc.). I was once told a fairy tale about a frog that turned into a prince. Funny modern science is still telling that same story, and many adults believe it.

    The only reason fossils are displayed at museums is exhibition, and to indirectly point out the utter failure of paleo-anthropology. Go to The Encyclopedia Britanica and look up Geology (dealing with age of things). It says (paraphrase here) that it is proven by the fossil record. If you use the same Encyclopedia, look up Fossil Record (Paleo-anthropology) and it says (paraphrased) that it is proven but Geology. Something sound strange here? How about the imaginary core sample that our own govenment displays at places like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, which has never existed anywhere. It’s an imaginary core sample (illustrated of course), that was made up to explain faulty theories. It’s a fantasy. You totally missed the point of the discussion.

    Oh, this is for Mytor… “what is the word made flesh”. the Gospel of John, chapter 1, especially verse 14. Take the time to read it and this will answer your question. Here’s a URL link (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John%201&version=NIV)
    Also please don’t try to equate mythical “Father Xmas” with Holy God, Almighty Creator of all. Also I don’t believe in Roman Catholic theology and dogma. So you’re not offending me by telling some lame story about them. You also said that a child could pick the story of Noah to pieces. Congratulations you’ve succeeded in proving your age.
    For Gfish, I don’t speak for God, He capable of handling things (and He will) all on His own. As a disciple of Christ I am commanded to tell others the gospel message of truth, love, forgiveness, mercy, and hope. (And other things). I don’t always do a good job at that, but hey it’s a living. And, oh yeah, you are such a humble man, at least in your own verbose way. Oh yeah, no vanity issues with you. You tear away and pick apart the words of another person like a piranha.
    You also cling to the all encompassing phrase “reproducible, empirical science” with out giving any specific examples. There is a narrow range of things that fall into that category, and much of it has nothing to do with creation science versus evolution issue. You like to spout off as having authority, wisdom and learning, but you are as a brass cymbal or gong. You repeat what you’ve been told and pass that along to others without examaination. That’s the basis for scholarship or knowledge. But that kind of knowledge is merely agreement, it is not truth. Once learned men thought the world was flat, but as time progressed men learned the truth that the world was round. Funny it had already been stated in the Bible long before men trusted what it had to say.
    As far as sounding holier than thou. Well, I’m sorry if you feel slighted. The fact is (without sounding Pharaseeic) I am probably holier than thou, if I am following the one true God and you’re not. For it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) [see also Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thess. 2:10, 4:4, 7; Hebrews 12:14). Having said I am holier, does not mean that I don’t realize that I am a sinner, totally dependent on God’s grace and mercy.

  • russell

    mytor, you can’t imagine how noah DID it? i dismissed it as impossible also till i looked at it as if i were assigned that task. here allow me to jumpstart your thought process. pick a superrich person, [i pick ted turner but feel free to pick ophra =D] could he build a really big boat on his ranch? yes. could he build a really big zoo on his ranch? yes. now if he went online [word of mouth in noah’s day] and offered huge amounts of cach for rare animals, i think they would come[field of dreams] and line up to cash in. sprinkle in a little devine intervention.[theres your stumbling block] add water… i’m sure your up to speed buy now
    yeah stic my skin is feeling a little thick today :]. so all you super educated folk, hit me with you best shot. oh yeah have a good and godly day

  • mytor

    Richard H “dont try to equate father xmas with almighty god” I am really falling about laughing , that is the whole point there is no evidence at all for the existence of either and thats precisely what i was doing.
    I still ask what does the “word made flesh ” mean, its nonsense .
    I take it from your comments that you believe in the noah story in a literal sense, , think about it its impossible!!!
    It was never a general belief that the world was flat, apart from a few ignoramuses and raving lunatics here and there it was generaly accepted that it wasnt well before biblical times , you have latched on to an urban myth.
    If you cant see any evidence for evolution and you claim to have looked i cannot believe you are a scientist by profession as you seem to indicate. Particularly as you are banging on about “darwinism” as a religion and demonstrating your lack of scientific knowledge with great success throughout your rantings .

    Religions have copied one another since they first began ,the “god” you believe in is an almost exact copy of the persian god Mithras who predated yours by quite some time , check it out if you dare…. probably wasting my time you will just respond mithras is the work of the devil put there to test us or some such nonsense

  • russell

    mytor, our names both start out the same but it is i russell that responded to you about noah and i think it was richard h that mentioned ‘the word was made flesh’. but since your still asking about it let me try [the Word=2nd person of the godhead=Jesus] – [made flesh=was born of the virgin], He was fully god and fully man.[not 1/2+1/2, thats for coffee :} ] yeah i know, makes the wheels real turn, don’t it? side note, good thing the Lord didn’t use one of these HP keyboards when designing man, because they make really lame smiley faces. lighten up and live guy

  • Greg Fish

    There are no intermediary fossils showing the evolutionary change of a species to a totally different species…

    Right. Because if there were, that would mean evolutionary change doesn’t happen and all biology is totally random. As someone who claims to have been involved with biological work, you should know that. Maybe a little less Bible thumping and a little more hitting the books before lecturing science bloggers and their scientist readers?

    What’s next? Trying to dispute gravity by saying that you’ve never seen anyone falling sideways? Or time by saying that you’ve never seen anyone spontaneously get just a little younger? Evolution is a change of one species into multiple ones so is you can show that one species turned into another, you would effectively show that evolution is a flawed theory. The only failure I’m seeing here is your failure to grasp high school biology. Kind of odd for someone who says he worked in this scientific field, isn’t it?

  • RaggMopp

    @RichardH: I can kinda see your “God of the Gaps” vis-a-vis the fossil record of human evolution, but check out the fossil record of horses: It’s like a newsreel, this became this became this became this, ad neauseaum.

    If you want to believe in some higher power, somekind of supernatural being, fine, you can believe in Santa Claus if you want, you have that right as an American. But for you to claim to be a scientist and take the first opportunity to undermine science seems ingenuous. I hope you know that all you have to do to crush “Darwinism” like an egg is “find a fossil rabbit in a precambrian stratum”. If you could come up with a valid scientific theory that explained the fossil record and cellullar biology and DNA better than Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, you could take your place next to Einstein as the most famous scientist in the world. Do it, do it! But don’t try to rub my nose in the posturings of a bunch of Jew scribes only recently taught to write by Babylonians and fevrishly concocting a mythology of the Jews to make out as how they were something more than a moderately successful tribe of Bedoins.

  • mytor

    Apologies if i had your names mixed up and thanks for the explanation of “the word made flesh”
    that was just about the explanation i was expecting , as i said its nonsense.
    If you knew someone who on a regular basis talked and sang to an imaginary friend, being a reasonable person you would try to get them some help as they would doubtless be suffering from some type of mental delusion,
    If on questioning them they told you that they believed others who said they had heard voices coming from burning bushes and a myriad of other crazy sounding events you would be getting really concerned for them .
    This situation would take a dramatic turn for the worse if a number of people had the same problem and each of them claimed the voice they heard was the only true friend , that the others were liars and that possibly they should kill them.
    Were there to be enough of these deranged people the mental institutions would be overflowing.

    Obviously society would not have the means to cope with huge numbers of such sufferers purely from a financial standpoint if nothing else.
    I suppose one answer would be to put up buildings where like minded sufferers could meet and by regularly donating cash these places could be financialy self sustaining, of course this would not cure them but at least they might group together and cause less problems for the rest of us, except of course when they tried to fight each other over which group was hearing the “real” voice.
    No doubt they would try to drag the rest of into their stupid fights too.
    We could give these buildings names, how about , churches, mosques , synagogues?
    Well you did tell me to lighten up!!!!

  • RichardH

    Well I cannot possibly begin to answer all of the uninformed and idiotic responses. I don’t pick and choose what stories in the Bible to believe or not believe. It’s not a Chinese menu. I may not understand all of the mystery and complexity of the Bible, but by faith I trust in the One who made it all. That’s faith. Honestly, I wasn’t there, but neither were you. If all of the prophetic things spoken of in the Bible have all come to pass (with exception of those yet to be fulfilled), then you can have confidence in what is written. A false prophet speaks the truthful words of God and a false prophet is put to death. Mohammed is called a prophet. What did he ever prophesy? Nothing. Look at all of the Heretical pseudo Christian cults (LDS or Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.) all have claimed to be lead by prophets. All of their “so-called” prophesies have all been wrong. The JW’s lead the way with nine end-time prophesies that have all been wrong.

    Contrary to the moronic ranting of some of the writers above, I am a scientist (whoopty doo) and I am well read on many subjects, including ancient text, mythology, history, various scientific disciplines and still I choose to believe in God. Yeah, I don’t beleive the conclusion found in many High School textbooks, because they were written by men who had the same agenda that you espouse. Instead of scientific objectivity and questioning (inquiry), the writers chose to latch onto a faulty theory, placing all their “faith” in the creation instead of the Creator. I and many thousands of other knowledgeable people have simply adopted another conclusion based on the facts discovered through a different process. There are people I know in the field of “apologetics” who have challenged many academics or scientists to debate them on several issues and they all decline. They are all cowards, because those that have tried, get blown out of the water. There are many scientists and learned academia that haven’t caved into the pressure of the anti-theist’s who now control many of the laboratories and class-rooms and believe in God. There are famous scientists throughout history, like Newton, Pascal, etc. who believed with a deep and abiding faith in God.

    I always find a little skepticism in the statement made by some that say they’ve read the Bible and learned to hate or other such nonsense. That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. He is real and ever present weather or not you believe. Stop listening to the History Channel and start reading the history books (published before 1972).

    If you don’t seek Him out or want to know the truth, then that’s your choice. I just feel sorrow for you and am confident in what awaits you in eternity, after this life is over. You can mock me, scorn me, and say all manner of evil things about me and what I believe, but that’s to be expected. I’m going to move onto greener pastures. If you ever trully get to a point in your life when you seek answers beyond this fragile existence, then turn to God, He’s faithful to answer you in a way you can understand. God bless!

  • Greg Fish

    Contrary to the moronic ranting of some of the writers above…

    Ah, there’s nothing like making friends by calling people’s objections to your shot at playing pastor “moronic.” I’m actually kind of surprised you didn’t say “repent cretins” in those exact words. What’s the matter? A few skeptics here and there questioning you and you start losing your cool and throwing out pejoratives?

    …I am a scientist (whoopty doo) and I am well read on many subjects.

    Evolutionary biology doesn’t appear to be one of them since you’ve tried to refute the fossil evidence for it by saying it doesn’t demonstrate something which would be an invalidation of the theory. I don’t know through what “process” you went but seeing a total lack of ability to actually address a concrete, scientific point doesn’t fill me with confidence as to its results.

    There are people I know in the field of “apologetics” who have challenged academics or scientists to debate them and they decline. They are all cowards, because those that have tried, get blown out of the water.

    Absolute crap. Scientists don’t like debating creationists and other zealots because you just chant the same stuff again and again, then after being shot down, you just appeal to other believers, whine about how the scientists just won’t listen and claim victory no matter what really happens. Like you do here with your recurring come-to- Jesus spiel. You don’t scare real scientists. You just annoy them.

    I mean you’re on a verbal bender about prophecies and texts, playing pastor on this blog, declaring who’s right and who’s wrong and the only scientific thing you’ve said in your thousands of words here was completely and totally incorrect. Your response to being shown that you’re trying to disprove a theory you can’t seem to explain? Call the critique “moronic ranting” and carry on with your proselytizing. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t have the knowledge required to see who’s right in a scientific debate? And maybe you don’t know everything and need a lot more study on certain topics before spouting off on them? Or are you so divinely enlightened that it’s impossible for you to be wrong while you’re foaming at the mouth about our need to repent?

  • mytor

    Dear old RichardH he’s back to intimating we are going to burn in hell for eternity for not believing his particular woo woo ideas,
    Nice god of love you have there who you believe does things like that to his own creations for not believing something for which he provides not a shred of evidence …lol
    At no point has anyone who disagrees with you wished you any harm, which is more than can be said for what the religious have done to disbelievers in the past, guess you should read some of those history books you are carping on about yourself.
    Nobody has said anything “evil” about you , i guess you just have faith that they have.
    If you honestly believe that god gave you your brain don’t you think he might have wanted you to use it.

  • RichardH

    After celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, all this inane and insipient banter seems petty. One of my heroes of the faith, Martin Luther, also had trouble with his temper. Not that losing it is okay, it just makes us human in need of a mercy and forgiveness.

    I was studying the word “obstinate” (“anti-legonta”), or literally, “anti-speaking” in relation to the ongoing discussion here and all the unbelievers scorn and mockery. In other words, the unbeliever does not just disbelieve in Jesus Christ, he speaks against Him. The late nineteenth century philosopher Nietzsche profoundly influenced the western world. I’m sure he’s the hero of many on this blog. He wrote, “I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of revenge . . . Christianity is the one immortal blemish on mankind.” Nietzsche was followed by other atheists; such as, Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx, who believed religion was a mere fantasy of man’s creation.
    A “fairly” recent issue of Time Magazine (Oct. 25, 2004) devoted several pages to Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist at the National Cancer Institute. Hamer has written a book called, The God Gene, which postulates that our most profound feelings of spirituality may be due to little more than an occasional shot of intoxicating brain chemicals governed by our DNA. God, he concludes, is an artifact of our evolved brains.

    Why is man so intensely interested in denigrating God? Why not just not believe in God and go on to something else? The Apostle Paul answers by saying that the human heart is not only disobedient to God, but obstinate – it must give anti-God speech. My view is that they must either ignore or redefine God’s commandments to ease their conscience.

    Why doesn’t someone produce a movie that Buddha was really a homosexual? Or that he never meant to teach the way to enlightenment . . . or that he was mistaken . . . or he was just a good moral teacher? Why is Jesus Christ’s name the name used in cursing? Have you ever heard anyone hit their thumb with a hammer and say, “Oh Buddha, that hurts!” Or, “Oh, Confucius . . .” Or “Krishna!” No, it is Jesus Christ this and Jesus Christ that. If I were God, I would do something about it! He did,
    For God so loved the world, that He gave His
    only begotten Son [“monogenes,” His only
    unique Son], that whoever believes in Him
    shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
    While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

    God’s prophet Isaiah wrote
    . . . All the day long, I have stretched out My
    hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.

    This does not only apply to the Jewish nation (Israel). They rejected the Messiah; so does the world. They refused to believe – so does the world. They speak against Christ – so does the world. The amazing news is this – God is still holding out His hands; they have not yet dropped to His sides! The invitation is still open for you.

    The way you spend eternity is up to you.

  • mytor

    “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
    (AliceThrough the Looking Glass, Chapter 5)

  • RichardH

    And I thought you put away childish things…
    Is this the book you live by? Spend eternity with the Mad Hatter.

  • mytor

    Of course its the “book i live by”,bless the holy Alice, scoff ye not… she could do 6 impossible things before breakfast,
    You dont believe me? its written in the book so it must be true .
    No of course I cant demonstrate it to be true you have to have faith…

    Sounds crazy does it not?

  • RichardH

    I know how hard you must have worked at trying to compare a Holy Book of wisdom, love, and rich history written over the span of many centuries to the “literary nonsense” (style of writing) of Charles L. Dodgson (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll), a stammering Anglican clergyman and paedophile. Some have said, “abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.” I wonder if the title “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was inspired by his love interest in 11-year-old Alice Liddell, whom he wanted to marry in the mid 1860’s. His family pretty much disowned him over all this. I can understand why he felt the need to write under a pseudonym. I also understand why you worship this man. BTW, is “Mytor” a pseudonym.

    None of what you wrote sounds crazy… just pathetic.

    Thanks for proving my point about the obstinate mind of the unbeliever and the need (compulsion) to speak against God and to denigrate His Word and anything Holy.

  • Greg Fish

    Thanks for proving my point about the obstinate mind of the unbeliever and the need to speak against God and to denigrate His Word and anything Holy.

    You. Are. Not. God. You are a pompous and obnoxious pest who condescends to all who disagree with him with a very irritating holier-than-thou spiel. Please try to find a sense of humor and that sense of humility you always keep talking about. So far, the only one in this thread claiming to know anything about our universe in any definitive terms and the only one to invoke a deity’s backing for his punditry has been you. This is the antithesis of humility.

    We are disagreeing with you and take offense at your self-righteous attitude. Falling back on a Bible or the supernatural threat of fire and brimstone will not absolve your irritating behavior. Don’t give me your “I speak the truth” proclamation and tell us that we have to tolerate it. Take responsibility for your own actions once in a while.

  • RichardH

    Thanks for stating the obvious. I never said I was God. That would be blasphemy. You however have a much loftier opinion of your own opinion and always have to have the last word. You think to highly of yourself. I on the other hand know I am flawed and in need of forgiveness. Fortunately I have someone who will always be there to do just that. Humility is not thinking less of oneself, it’s not thinking of yourself at all. Being humble does not mean I have to be a doormat either. Get over yourself. Mr. “I feel the need to analyze and pick apart every part of someones speech.” If humility were an elephant, you wouldn’t recognise it if it sat on you. As for a sense of humor… what has been spoken here to laugh about? Nothing.

    When did I ever use the words fire and brimstone? That irritation your feel isn’t me, it’s your guilty conscience. Every single thing you’ve accused me of doing, you have done with even greater zeal. Whether or not you undertand or tolerate the truth isn’t something I can control, or would want to. Seriously, seek help.

  • mytor

    Ohhhh Richard “you think too highly of yourself” so says a man who believes that a universe in which there are more stars than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth has been created by an omnipotent invisible being just for the benefit of him and his fellow believers among one species of all the species present , in a short time frame, on a small insignificant lump of rock orbiting a rather ordinary star.
    Wow you really think you are something special.

    Yes of course what i wrote about Alice in Wonderland sounds pathetic, it was meant to be,I think you completely missed the point.I really can’t believe you took my comments seriously, it was not meant to be taken literaly (heard that somewhere before, cant think where)

    Your comment about “why is jesus’s name used in cursing”
    Obviously the people you refer to were brought up in an environment where christianity is the predominant religious superstition, were you to be elsewhere you may hear people banging their thumbs cry out “by the beard of the prophet” etc.

    Look at a world map, until recently and the advent of easy global travel, it would have been possible to pick an area and know which particular superstition the residents of that area would adhere to, on the whole this is still possible.Just a matter of historical local superstition.
    Each superstition (religion) claiming itself to be the one and only true religion, and each being the same in that none can provide one iota of proof.

    As with other religions adherents to christianity in all its forms fail to practice what they preach,

    Why do clergymen accompany troops at war? Surely they should be standing betwen warring forces shouting
    “STOP!!! Thou shalt not kill!!!”
    or is there some addendum to that command i have missed?

    Why do churches own land , make investments etc?
    Didn’t jesus say give everything to the poor? There are people starving on this planet while churches scratch their heads over stock market investments.

    Why do churches have lightning conductors , have you no faith that your god will spare his own house from his wrath? incidentaly a cathedral in the U.K. burned down a few years ago after a lightning strike.

    Few i think would have any problem with the basic worldly rules of christianity, do unto others ,love thy neighbour, dont kill ,dont steal etc etc.
    Most religions offer the same advice, the problem arises when claiming these rules were received from some unproven divine otherness.
    Whats really odd is that although religions agree on the basic rules we should attempt to live by they go to wild extremes to encourage people to join their own particular club, “belong to ours or burn in hell” etc .
    Don’t suppose it could in any way be something to do with power do you?

  • Greg Fish

    That irritation your feel isn’t me, it’s your guilty conscience.

    No, actually I’m pretty sure it’s caused by an obnoxious Bible thumper trying to use a thread on my blog as a bully pulpit, claiming to be a scientist while his one and only attempt at saying scientific ended in an embarrassing mistake, and whose defense to any criticism is to assume a smug and condescending tone. You could really use a little humility and get knocked down a peg or two, but unfortunately I know that won’t happen because you lack the necessary self-awareness to know when you’re out of line, clinging to your precious theological punditry in lieu of answers.

  • RichardH

    Back in the first century (in Antioch), there were many scoffers who tried to insult and heap scorn upon the “followers of the way” by calling them “little Christs” (or Chirstians). This was meant as an insult but as it turns out, it was one of the greatest compliments a believer could receive. Thank you for your continued compliments.

    You have proven that your article was written with an agenda, not with some journalistic integrity to inform. The fact is, yellow journalism like this has been pervasive for ages and exists today in various periodicals and gossip rags. You did nothing new in revealing the underbelly of society, which has been there from the beginning. The apostate believer is in all areas of society, not just the Christian community. They are not worthy of trust, since they have lied to others, themselves, and most importantly Almighty God. I live to praise my Lord and Savior who is the only one worthy of it and I will unashamedly preach the good news or gospel because “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
    I also understand (as you mentioned) that this is your blog, and although I can tolerate and live with your unbelief, you have a problem (intolerance) with someone else having faith and conviction in Creator God. Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.

    I will leave, as you asked, so if you post additional comments, I will not be responding to them. I’m sure that won’t stop you all from wanting to express yourselves.

    BTW, my friend got a big laugh with the “knocked down a peg or two” comment. I love false bravado. Having gone through Ranger training together, we’ve both been challenged by bigger fish than you Goldfish. Humility is a strength, not a weakness. Something you’ll never possess or understand. It’s a character thing… and having character is much better than being one.

    For Mytor, stop trying to equate church and religion to Jesus Christ. These are man made things, which have become corrupted. I can understand your frustration. I don’t trust or place my hope in a church or religion either, although I partner with a group of fellow believers. Most of the world’s trully effective charities (almost exclusively) are Christian. Without that spirit of generosity, mercy, and love, the world would be in great misery and without hope. What have the Buddhist’s, Hindu’s, or Muslem’s done? Squat! The concept of hospital, university, etc. are all Christian in origin. What was the last thing you sacrificed for? How much of your income do you give to needy charities? I’ve found that most unbelievers are without charity for their fellow man. They might give to save the dogs, whales, or whatever… but are generally self-serving (selfish). If you’re different, then I apologize.

  • Greg Fish

    Back in the first century (in Antioch), there were many scoffers who tried to insult and heap scorn upon the “followers of the way”…

    And here we come to the final act of the performance. You, the poor, martyred, pitied follower of what you know is true is abused by a long line of callous, evil heathens. If only there was someone to throw you a pity party and with who to have a good cry for the souls of all those meanies who know not what they do…

    Well, I have news for you. This is a blog. It’s not a newspaper and your standards for journalistic integrity seem to consist of “if it doesn’t agree with me, it’s false” so your opinions about “hidden agendas” play absolutely no role here. Not in the least. Back in the first century, people like you were a tiny minority. But now you’re a very loud and very belligerent majority so asking for pity isn’t going to work.

    Then again, you haven’t actually registered anything I wrote as anything but a handy excuse to write yet another few hundred words of religious bloviating so I’m going to leave you to the voices in your head. You seem to be far, far more interested in them than you are in the other humans around you.

  • long lin

    The truth about afterlife

    The crew of Red Dwarf may have handled this best in the 1989 episode The Last Day”, which dealt with the impending death of everyones favorite mechanoid, Kryten.

    Lister: How can you just lie back and accept it?Kryten: Oh, it’s not the end for me, sir, it’s just the beginning. I have served my human masters, now I can look forward to my reward in silicon heaven.Lister: [Stunned pause] Silicon WHAT?Kryten: Surely you’ve heard of silicon heaven?Lister: Has it got anything to do with being stuck opposite Brigitte Nielsen in a packed lift?Kryten: No, sir. It’s the electronic afterlife. It’s the gathering place for the souls of all electronic equipment. Robots, toasters, calculators. It’s our final resting place.Lister: I don’t mean to say anything out of place here, Kryten, but that is completely whacko Jacko. There is no such thing as ‘Silicon Heaven’.Kryten: Then where do all the calculators go?Lister: They don’t go anywhere. They just die.Kryten: Surely you believe that God is in all things? Aren’t you a pantheist?Lister: Yeah, but I just don’t think it applies to kitchen utensils. I’m not a FRYING pantheist. Machines do not have souls. Computers and calculators do not have an afterlife. You don’t get hairdryers with tiny little wings, sitting on clouds and playing harps.Kryten: But of course you do. For is it not written in the Electronic Bible, “The Iron shall lie down with the Lamp”.