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Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Convert, or else!

When I researched atheism, it was like being on a one-way street (away from blog land), and I remember feeling so alone as I explored my beliefs! So I really enjoy the chance to read what others have written, and I also enjoy the interactions. I'm totally hooked.

Anyway, I read on religioustolerance.org that the difference between fundamentalists and other xtians is the issue of inerrancy. Fundies believe the bible is an error-free document, end of story. That's theory.

Reality of course is never black and white. From the five fundies I believe I have come across in the past two months, I have yet to hear one person attempt to defend the bible as a completely error-free document. Maybe there are people like this, either not blogging or just outside my sample.

Instead, the ones I've interacted with seem to explain that one needs to interpret the bible as a whole, and as a teeny tiny ancillary point, their interpretation just happens to be the correct one. I also get the feeling that the "personal relationship" part is the code phrase for "we aren't the child molesting Catholics", but I could be wrong on that one too.

More interesting is the fact that three of the five have said, to atheists as a group or to me in particular, "if only I could make you believe...". The first time, a slip of the tongue. The third time? Pattern. (It's been the same words each time, too, spooky, huh?)

This phrase "I want to make you" is really scary. I'm glad my children aren't near people like that, and I feel bad for any kids whose parents feel this way. I nurture my children because I value confidence, capability, compassion, independence, and free thought. Obedience, ie this "I know better than you" paradigm is repulsive to me. I cannot believe it is said accidentally.

I've just come across your blog; it's great to read about self-deconversion - escaping religion's darkened-room-with-no-exit is not easy. Thanks for sharing your experience.

However, it's interesting that you choose a somewhat negative term like 'deconverted' to describe your transition, as if you feel that you have lost something or at least, experienced some sense of loss.

I've been an antitheist all my adult life so I can't relate directly to your experience, but I'd have thought that your transition would feel positive - I imagine using terms like 'waking up' or 'recovering'.

While reading your posts, it occurred to me that you might enjoy Dan Dennett's new book, "Breaking the Spell : Religion as a Natural Phenomenon". There's also an amusing recent interview with him here

About tolerance: I feel strongly that religious tolerance is as mis-conceived as religious belief. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that in the process of taking utmost care to cherish humanity’s wonderful cultural diversity, it’s high time for militant activism in ridding ourselves of such throwback belief systems.

Religion can, and should, be separated from cultural texture - rituals are fine, and fun! - but they're just rituals. For example; I love Xmas, but it's about celebrating family and friends, not some imaginary tooth-fairy-style deity - as if!

The moderates are probably the most dangerous in the end b/c they are the best at explaining away the evil bits for the sake of the supposedly good bits. Fanatics are easier to recognize and either dismiss or stop.

But they're all hypocrites b/c Jesus says quite plainly that every comma and uppercase letter in the book is meaningful and to be followed:

The rabid version and the sedate extended mix.

And there is this in case you're ever short on simple facts to pummel the stupid of them with: The Rejection of Pascal's Wager: Central Thesis.

Ashley, I read your links...great stuff! It's scary how people can swear that the bible is 100% true having never read it and only going by what some controlling pastor TELLS them about it. If they have read it, many do not understand it from a literary perspective with all the literary devices that apply.

Most christians just make the bible into whatever they want it to mean when trying to prove whatever point they are trying to establish. It's a very "tricky" and contradictory book. Most christians pick and choose what they want to believe or discard in the bible. Can you imagine what kind of world it would be if christians actually did believe and follow everything in the bible to a literal T ? Yikes!

gaz - The interview with Dan Dennett is indeed amusing! I am going to have to read the book.

I especially like this quote from the interview:

"Churches make a great show about the creed, but they don't really care. A lot of the evangelicals don't really care what you believe as long as you say the right thing and do the right thing and put a lot of money in the collection box."

Hi, freethought mom
One of those three fundies here.

I am disappointed and rightfully offended by your taking my statement out of context. I am not a threat to your child. Here is what I said about "making you believe":

Now, if I could only make you look at the Bible the same way (as you did at the movie "Groundhog Day"), you would see the transformation of the Phil Connors of the Old and New Testaments (like Abraham, Moses, Peter, and Paul). You would see truths about ourselves and the world around us. And you would begin to understand the loving character of God. Here is the link.

"You would begin to understand the loving character of God" - Oh, how scary. You definitely don't want your daughter to know that?
What coercion is there in asking you to see the Bible with the same mind you already use for watching movies?

Christians cry about a "war on Christmas". I think you're complaint here is just about as "make believe"!

Jim, yes, you are one of the three I was thinking about. I don't feel you are a threat to my free-spirited daughter, because she isn't being made to look at things your way.

I still stand by my statement. I can't imagine saying "Jim, if only I could make you understand that there isn't a god." Can you read that statement out loud without reaching out your hands to shake the invisible person in front of you? I can't.

How would you make me? With a 2x4 over the head?

I have no problem hearing about interesting ideas, such as comparing Bill Murray (who IMHO is a god) to .... actually, I didn't follow your argument (were you saying Phil of the OT = bad Phil?). Whatever.

I think this choice of words ("MAKE") is the subconcious bubbling to the surface. It is scary to me.

Ashley, I headed over to your site, and clicked, and clicked, and clicked, wow, you have a lot of stuff over there! :)

Your point about the moderates is well taken. I have wrestled with this question myself, do I, in the end, really care what any one person thinks?

I can't imagine saying "Jim, if only I could make you understand that there isn't a god."

Why not?

the subconcious bubbling to the surface.
How would you make me? With a 2x4 over the head?


Sure, my subconscious bubbling to the surface is going to hit you over the head with a 2 X 4. You make me sound like the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Thanks anyway for not deleting my comment.

why can't I imagine saying that? Because I think that controlling another human being is repulsive. Don't you?

Sure controlling another human being is repulsive. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't educate them. Am I controlling new employees when I train them? No, I'm helping them become better employees.

Were you to take your own advice, how could you read anything or watch TV? CNN tries to control your thoughts and send them leftward, while Fox News tries to make you see their view which would send you to the right.

I simply wanted you to understand the Bible before you rejected it. In the same way, I believed the Koran so I could understand its themes before I doubted several of it's falsifiable claims. You would be perfectly free to reject the Bible. If you reject it a priori, I explained to you that that would be considered prejuidice, not doubt (Wittgenstein: "Doubt presupposes belief.")

It seems to me that you are "keeping your kids away from" anyone who doesn't think exactly as you do. Is there any "free thought" that could demand such an utter intolerance of other people's thoughts?.

Just a thought.

Jim,

You are mistaken. One does not have to accept something as being true to “understand” it as you claim with the Koran example. To be honest one cannot “believe” something before they “understand” it; I find your logic hard to follow.
For you to claim that freethoughmom has rejected the bible a priori seems fallacious and impetuous, are you aware of the extent of her biblical knowledge? Also one does not need to be a biblical scholar to derive a firm grasp regarding the concepts there in, anyone without a good idea of what is contained in the bible here in America would do well to join society sometime. As for myself I read the bible as a young adolescent out of pure intrigue and have reread it in lesser degree recently, there is nothing important within the bible that one is unable to be aware of without reading and “studying” it. The major concepts of biblical ideology are quite apparent and obvious; one hardly needs to devote research into it to be able to justify their rejection of it. If she were rejecting the Christian ideology without any knowledge then I would agree that it would be unwarranted and maybe even prejudiced, but if you would have me believe that she doesn’t have a decent enough idea of Christian ideology then I believe your views are unwarranted and prejudiced.

“I simply wanted you to understand the Bible before you rejected it.” – Jim

You must be kidding us, the bible states that all humanity was created from one man and one woman, that a man was instructed by god to fill a tiny boat with all of the species of earth two by two, that god spoke to someone as a burning bush, that god birthed an entity to a “virgin” mother, that this individual walked on water, healed the incurably sick, and rose from the dead after death. One hardly needs to have read and studied the bible to know that it contains such ludicrous notions and one hardly needs to devote precious time to researching the bible to reject such preposterous mythology.
I have read the bible and have spent a good deal of time perusing it and have come to the conclusion that the bible is merely the work of humanity and as such is subject to the iniquity of humanity. Furthermore it seems obvious that the bible was written and created by a nomadic and savagely unsophisticated society which lacked modern technology and scientific knowledge. The mythology that permeates the bible is a manifestation of ancient prejudice, archaic social constructs and laws, the phobias of the ancient times and characterizes the fear of an impersonal universe.
One that rejects a book containing such foolery should not be required to study it, for that is prejudice.

I find it odd that you spend so much time trying to get people to read and “understand” the bible. Do you believe in Zoroastrionism? Have you thoroughly read and “understood” the zend avesta? Do you believe in Hinduism? Have you thoroughly read and understood the shruti, the bhagavad gita and the smriti? Do you believe in Jainism? Have you read and understood the agamas and the siddhanta? I could keep going but, hopefully, you get the point.
If you desire others to read and understand your mythological text book so badly maybe you should read differing ones yourself, at the very least it would make you seem like less of a hypocrite.

Freethinker: A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.

No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.

The above is taken from the Freedom From Religion Foundation
http://ffrf.org/nontracts/freethinker.php

Freethinker: A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists.

Aren't you confusing independently of with in opposition to?

No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.

Do I demand conformity to the Bible?
This is me talking to freethought mom.

Why would you believe a Flood killed all the fishes in the sea? I believed the story of the Flood, then doubted some of it's facts. That's OK! Here I am, a born again Christian, telling an Atheist that it's OK to doubt a fact in the Bible. Why? Because floods don't kill fishes, that's why.

"Demanding conformity to a book" is just another form of idolatry. A true God would not ask for such a thing. Remember the ultimate Word
is Jesus Christ (John 1:1 et al) and the real Church is the body of true believers, not the Pope.

jd,
As for all those incredible stories, I think you're rejecting the Bible for the same reasons the fundies love it.
My "believe first" in reality is much more subtle than it is portrayed here. If the Bible offends you why not read a Bible commentary by someone like C.S. Lewis or R.C. Sproul?

Why Christianity, you ask? Even though all religions have their wisdom literature (much of which flows well with the Bible's wisdom literature; Psalms, Proverbs, Job, etc.)that is very edifying, the only religion that got the problem right is Christianity.
The ailment that permeates the human condition is the separation from their Creator even to the point of rebellion against God. The Bible calls this "sin" though this word has been hackneyed to death by hypocritical screamers in their pulpits. It is essentially "separation from God".

Is there any "free thought" that could demand such an utter intolerance of other people's thoughts?. - Jim

Still waiting for an answer to this question. Discernment is developed by constantly learning and growing. Unless a person's actions or words provoke violence, I can't see how they could be scary. There is more than one voice of reason even if we disagree.

Creature from the Black lagoon signing off for now, take care.

"Is there any "free thought" that could demand such an utter intolerance of other people's thoughts?. - Jim"

Jim,
Freethinkers are very tolerant. People are free in this country to believe how they want to believe. If people would just do that, we could get along so much better. However, many christians won't respect that and wish to impose their beliefs on others. You believe your way is the only right way.

Most atheists have been christians before and know all about the bible and christianity. At least for me, I have been there, done that in several different denominations. After going to the university and learning more about science and that there are so many possibilities, I made an educated choice to reject religion and any beliefs in the supernatural as an explanation for things we do not know or understand. Most atheists probably know more about the bible than most christians.

Why can't you just accept that all people aren't going to think like you and believe what you choose to believe? Why can't you respect that there are many others who believe differently than you do? Why don't you open YOUR mind and consider other options?

It seems to me that you think people are close-minded because we do not believe in or accept your holy book when in actuality freethinkers are considering a whole universe of possibilities.

Jim,

You are partially correct in one sense, I am rejecting the bible for the reasons fundies love it. That is where our armistice must end.

I thought that you had stopped making ridiculous assumptions and claims about others emotional and mind states. What in the world makes you think the bible offends me? I have one right here at my desk for reference. It does not offend me I merely find it preposterous and full of mythology not much different from the ancient Roman mythology.

You claim that other religions wisdom flows well with the bibles. That is a fairly bold claim and one would be required to know about other religions to make such a claim. I am sure that you are merely spouting of unsubstantiated assertion and would not be able to provide adequate support for this claim. I ask you how does bhagavad gita flow well with the bible? How does the siddhanta flow well with the bible? These writtings have virtually nothing in common with the bible and they are the foundations of both Hinduism and Jainism to some degree. I find your claims to be both dishonest and wildly incorrect.

“If the Bible offends you why not read a Bible commentary by someone like C.S. Lewis or R.C. Sproul?” – Jim

Again what makes you believe the bible offends me? Is this merely your attempt at provoking an emotional response? The bible does not offend me and I will cease to respond to the accusation that has been wrongly waged against me several times. I don’t read commentary by C.S. Lewis because his writing does neither entertain me or invigorate me in any way and I don’t read R.C. Sproul because he is a minor figure and does not provide any substantive view or interpretations that have not been brought forth by others. If I am going to read the writings of a Christian about Christianity I would rather read from someone with prestige and intellect, which Lewis and Sproul do not bring forth, some one like James Caroll.

I must now go back to your unsubstantiated assertion that the bible flows well with other religious writings and that Christianity has got it “right”. Again you would have to be knowledgeable regarding the various religions of the world to make such a claim and I believe that you are being both dishonest and wildly incorrect, however if you are not I would like to see a compare and contrast of Christianity and Hinduism, Christianity and Jainism, Christianity and the Chaldean Hellenistic Universal Consciousness, I would like to then see a summary of how Christianity has gotten it “right” and how these religions have not. Do not lay claim to things you do not know and cannot prove for that is intellectually bankrupt and wholly dishonest. Lying, if I remember correctly, is not something that is promoted in Christianity.

If you insist so fervently that we read the bible (which I have) I suggest you read “The Transcendental Temptation” by Paul Kurtz, “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, “Atheist Universe” by David Mills, “The Philosophy of Humanism” by Corliss Lamont. If you do not read these books and you will not read other peoples views and beliefs held within books then you really must stop insisting that we read the one that you are so fond of, it is prejudiced.

Hi, stardust
I had said
There is more than one voice of reason even if we disagree.

You said
Why can't you just accept that all people aren't going to think like you and believe what you choose to believe?

Aren't we saying the same thing?

jd,
I wasn't prodding you by saying "if the Bible offends you". The Bible can sound rather stupid in parts. There are parts of it that don't make a great first impression. I made fun of it mercilessly until my mid 30s. I wasn't trying to insult you.

On the wisdom literature, I had said,
Even though all religions have their wisdom literature (much of which flows well with the Bible's wisdom literature; Psalms, Proverbs, Job, etc.).

The Bible does not have a monopoly on wisdom writings from the Middle East. Similar stories and principles appear in other literature of the era. Also, Thomas Merton had found many parallels of Christianity to Zen Buddhism. I also said "much of which flows well". You could also say "much of which does not flow well". "Much" does not cancel out "much". That is vague, perhaps, but not dishonest by any means.

I stand behind my statement that Christianity did "get the problem right" - sin i.e. separation from our Creator. Islam demands blind loyalty, Buddhism seeks self-preservation, etc. Providing a thorough examination of the core values of world religions is a great idea that deserves a better investigation, I agree. Greg Koukl at Stand To Reason was my source on that.

I am familiar with Sam Harris' book. He unmasks the fallacy of being uncritical toward religion. I too thought Bush's claim that the terrorists "hijacked a great religion" was beyond stupid. I don't agree with Harris' conclusion that all religion is bad and should go away. I think he takes the argument too far. It's a bit like banning matches because they cause forest fires. I will try to read or at least peruse the other books you mentioned in the coming weeks.

Here are the central principles for living a Christian (Christ-like) life.

1)Love God more than you love yourself (Never be self-centered but focused on God's characterand God's will).

2)Love your neighbor equally as much as you love yourself.

3)Follow the Ten Commandments.

I'm rushing (I can think of more but don't think it would add much)but this is the nutshell. People get caught up in the window dressing but this is the window into a Christlike life ostensibly.

I don't know if even Sam Harris would say those are bad ideas. Now, if only anyone would follow them. That's another story

Take care, Jim

"Aren't we saying the same thing?"

Jim, I am skeptical and don't think we are on the same page on this one because you are still adament on trying to convince us that your mythology is reality and you won't even consider that your religion just might be mythology. Whereas I was once a christian and believed at one time and have seen christianity from the inside and out.

Hi, stardust
I cannot convert you. Don't worry.

This made me curious.
Jim, I am skeptical and don't think we are on the same page on this one because you are still adamant in trying to convince us that your mythology is reality and you won't even consider that your religion just might be mythology.
On the surface it appears you are summarizing my action but you are actually summarizing your own advocacy that I am talking pure mythology, twice.
Our disagreement is over whether the God described in the Bible exists (my belief) or whether no God exists at all (your belief). The facts rub me one way and you the other. I was a non-believer who became convinced when I began a serious Bible study. You were a Christian until you began a serious study in science. Science answers your deepest questions better, and the Bible answers mine.

I have considered the Bible to be mythology (I used to think it was). I know now that it's value is not so much in the physical facts it gives but in the truths revealed in the interaction between it's characters, the people recorded in it and God.

If God does not exist, what do I lose? I still love science, particularly astronomy and archaeology.

If God does exist, my understanding of Him will almost have to be off the mark due to my own mental flaws. But I trust I'll not have been too far off if I follow the commands "God is more important than me in all cases/ I love Him more than I love myself" and "love my neighbor as much as I love myself". (The character of God in the Bible is a reasonable construct based on the evidence for goodness and unselfishness that we sometimes see in humans.)
These seem to me indispensable principles on how to live. And the more I learn the more I understand the applications of those commands.

My belief in God is not unreasonable (without evidence), and neither is your unbelief. I don't see the benefit in prejudging Christians to be delusional.

However, many christians won't respect that(other views) and wish to impose their beliefs on others
I forgot to address this. It is true that some Christians cross the line between arguing their point of view and trying to impose it. But arguing your point of view is not imposing it. If I am imposing my view on you, and you are imposing your view on me, who's the victim? The one who knows everything? Which one is that?

Take care.

Jim,
Ok...first off...there are NO "victims" here. I hate the christian victim mentality. There does not have to be victims when people disagree.

Secondly...you are continuing to preach your religion. Who are you trying to convince? A bunch of atheists you don't even know, or yourself?

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

(I wish there was an editing option for making corrections on comments!--sorry)

"you are actually summarizing your own advocacy that I am talking pure mythology, "

Jim...like I told Marcguyver in another comment on another post here, you are on an atheist blog...you are going to hear what WE believe. I believe much of christianity is mythology. I am fairly certain that I speak for other atheists here too.

So, why are you here on an atheist blog? Because you are uncertain about your own faith? Maybe to pick up some pointers from we atheists?

Jim, your original post says: 'if I could only make you look at the Bible the same way (as you did at the movie "Groundhog Day")'

and you back that up: 'But that doesn't mean we shouldn't educate them'

Making someone do something is not educating them. If you get someone to sign a confession while you wield a .22, is that education?

Jim said: 'In the same way, I believed the Koran so I could understand its themes before I doubted several of it's [sic] falsifiable claims.'

You have to believe in something so you can understand it? Wow.


Jim, you said: 'It seems to me that you are "keeping your kids away from" anyone who doesn't think exactly as you do. Is there any "free thought" that could demand such an utter intolerance of other people's thoughts?.'

I protect my kids from those that would say "I only wanted to MAKE YOU". Thoughts are thoughts, force is something else. I am in the minority. I cannot keep my kids away from people who don't think just like I do. Trying to paint me as intolerant is hilarious!

The more you insist that the phrase "if I could only make you" isn't wrong (even your own supporter Brian Fry, back in your own blog said that was scary!), the stranger you seem to me.

Hi, stardust
So, why are you here on an atheist blog?
Good question. I originally responded to a link given me regarding an abortion debate. Our paths crossed. Oops. Sorry.
Because you are uncertain about your own faith?
Nope. I've spent a lot of time trying to show you that espousing a Christian worldview is not a Scarlett Letter. It might help you to know how to hold other Christians to their own creeds, but you won't be able to call a Christian to account with this mythology blather. I do not have a victim's mentality, no real Christian would - it's against our religion!
Maybe to pick up some pointers from we atheists?
Absolutely! You guys aren't dumb,
and it beats watching late-night Benny Hinn re-runs, or was that Benny Hill? (I'm kidding. Debating an informed atheist is good brain exercise).

freethought mom,
Chill out. I'm not going to come through the computer and "convert" your daughter. Hyper-sensitivity is not good for your blood pressure. Thanks anyway for the "Separation of Church and State" quizz link. I passed! 16 of 21. How did you do?

Not all Christians are monstrous, fire-breathing dragons. At least not this one,
Good night.

"I do not have a victim's mentality, no real Christian would - it's against our religion!"

Jim--this quote you just made is a good one! You are the one who talks about Scarlet letters and equates yourself with fire-breathing dragons in reference to yourselves. That is the negative teaching of christianity coming through...thinking you are bad. I consider myself someone with strong opinions but never a monster. YOU are the one who brought up victim "who's the victim?" you asked. This is why freethought people don't want their kids to be "brainwashed" into believing they are bad people and that they need some extreme gruesome killing of a man back in ancient times to "save" them.

I think you should re-evaluate your faith and ask yourself why you believe and then JOIN US in reality...it is liberating for the mind and body! Come on board...join us in FREETHOUGHT..break those chains. Drop the superstition! Join the ranks of atheism! I am being serious here! The world would be a better place if people gave up this superstitious thinking.

Jim, my blood pressure does not go up by you any more than it does when watching a circus. Both are funny.

If you did so well with the Separation of Church and State quiz, then why did you say this in your blog (Jan 27 2006 entry)?

Today, unscrupulous people have developed logical-sounding fallacies that have proven useful in crushing good debate. Each of these 10 fallacies are hammers used by immoral intellectuals and copied by ignorant, useful idiots, to shout people down who do not agree with their agenda.

Unscrupulous? Crushing debate? Immoral intellectuals? Ignorant, useful idiots? That don't agree with you? Real nice, Jim. Anyway, that's not the right part, here it is:

1) THE "SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE" HAMMER - This is the hammer that outlawed religion in America. Did you know that, Mr. Jefferson? Just because you didn't want your pocket picked or your leg broken, we can't say grace before dining on Biscotti at Starbucks. Or is that just because the liberals are watching? This is the ultimate constitutional chimera, or is that the right to an abortion?

Yeah, Jim, you have an interesting grasp on Separation of Church and State.

1) THE "SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE" HAMMER - This is the hammer that outlawed religion in America. Did you know that, Mr. Jefferson? Just because you didn't want your pocket picked or your leg broken, we can't say grace before dining on Biscotti at Starbucks. Or is that just because the liberals are watching? This is the ultimate constitutional chimera, or is that the right to an abortion? - Jim

That may be the worst interpretation of church and state separation that I have seen in writting.

jd,
Even though the language of that post was clearly satirical, the assumed prohibition of religious discussion in public places is real (though I embellish it with my sarcasm) and in fact THAT is the worst interpretation of separation of church and state. I live in a very liberal county and I have received the gamut from coarse stares to nasty comments just because someone overheard my conversation.

freethought mom , The 10 fallacies all have in common the goal of divide-and-conquer by intellectual sleight of hand. You can't possibly agree with any of them.

stardust,
one can't be any more free than being released from the bondage of one's own narcissism. I am neither a bad person nor a god. The truth has set me free.

Sorry I won't be joining you guys.

Happy trails to all.

Narcissism/egoism
1 a : a doctrine that individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action b : a doctrine that individual self-interest is the valid end of all actions
2 : excessive concern for oneself with or without exaggerated feelings of self-importance

I guess since the christian believes he is going to get ultimate rewards for HIMSELF/HERSELF by being obedient to a threatening god...that is self interest...he obeys because he doesn't want to go to hell or find himself or herself NOT in their invisible friend's good graces...that is pretty self interested to me...if we use Jim's thinking...ALL of us are narcissistic.

I forgot to add that the christian and believers in religion are even MORE narcissistic than a non-believer because they believe in a magical entity who will preserve that person forever.

One more point..Jim says " I am neither a bad person nor a god."

That is not what your religion tells you...your religion tells you that you are such a bad person that some ancient guy had to die a horrible bloody painful death to save your soul...

JD, clearly satirical, huh?

stardust, someone that holds such respect for their fellow human beings could never become a freethinker. Nice try :)

freethoughtmom said: "From the five fundies I believe I have come across in the past two months, I have yet to hear one person attempt to defend the bible as a completely error-free document. Maybe there are people like this, either not blogging or just outside my sample." There is a video at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6193866746249268230
where Richard Dawkins presents his case against religion. In that video, a fundamentalist preacher makes the flat statement that the Bible has no contradictions in it. I knew that some people believe that, but I was startled to him anyone say it. I recommend the video, and Dawkins' books "Blind Watchmaker" and "Selfish Gene" too.

I found your site through Google, wondering how it is that people recover from their religious faiths. I'd like to be more able to help. It was easy for me to stop being a Christian. It did not take any particular effort or cause me any particular pain that I recall, these decades later. One day I looked for my faith and it had somehow leaked out. I was about 13.

I post at the reader forum of Sam Harris's book The End of Faith http://www.samharris.org/ as Ted Shepherd. Some of the other participants there tell moving stories of their long and painful struggles to overcome religious indoctination.

Please join us over there in the reader forum if you like. Also, please excuse me for posting here without reading all the preceding posts.

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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