Author Topic: Pimp My Religion  (Read 2279 times)

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Pimp My Religion
« on: September 03, 2010, 12:18:08 AM »
In my opinion, one of the most irritating things we encounter here in the forum is the wide variety of beliefs professed by christians. Each one seems to have customized his or her religion so much that I'm surprised that their avatars don't reveal candy apple paint jobs and chrome wheels. Seldom (I won't say never because I haven't been around long enough) do they profess similar brands of christianity. Each groups themselves with other christians unabashedly, as long as details aren't important. But when they show up here, the differences are so apparent that any other variations they have as people become irrelevant. I just don't get it.

Each is able to be unabashedly adamant without apology. Each claims a high level of certainty that they've got everything right. Each is astonished that none of us have reached the same conclusions as they have. And yet the difference between christians and atheists seems to pale in comparison the difference between christians and other christians and yet other christians.

Can a current theist or a former one please explain to me how one can join a group and identify with it while simultaneously feeling free to shuffle their beliefs around to make them more comfortable? While I assume that back in the witch-burning days believers had less leeway to change things, these days it must be like shopping for jeans. So many choices. And each is their own tailor.

It bothers me from a practical level because it makes christians here a moving target. We have to first figure out where they're coming from (besides the bible) before we can come up with our snappy retorts. But on a more philosophical level, I have to ask: How can religion be a movement if everybody is going in different directions?

Inquiring minds want to know.
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Offline Vital

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2010, 12:25:34 AM »
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 01:12:40 AM by Vital »
...Christopher Hitchens wrote; "Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

Offline Narrow Mullen

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2010, 12:25:42 AM »
It's a difficult situation. Because a person's moral views conflict with their spiritual views, their forced to SPAG. This helps them stay comfortable with their religion, as well as identify with a larger collective.

The trick is pinning them with an argument that works for them. However, this is difficult without knowing their full SPAG range (young earth, old earth, literalist, etc, etc.). Unfortunately, there isn't a set argument that works with everyone, and many devout followers willfully ignore arguments, as they don't want to give up their feeling of belonging.
"Oh, I'll have a slice of heaven, a side of personal guidance, but no Leviticus today, I like my shrimp. Now, I've accepted Jesus, do you accept Master Card?"

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 12:42:56 AM »
Maybe it would help all of us if we had a big long checklist that each newbie believer could fill out for us. Who would save us a lot of hassle. And pin them into a corner earlier.

Thanks for the video Vital. That's my kind of entertainment.
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Offline Vital

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 01:18:07 AM »
Thanks for the video Vital. That's my kind of entertainment.

Well with Jack Black as Jesus, Whats not to like?
...Christopher Hitchens wrote; "Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

Offline jetson

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 07:58:48 AM »
It's a difficult situation. Because a person's moral views conflict with their spiritual views, their forced to SPAG. This helps them stay comfortable with their religion, as well as identify with a larger collective.

The trick is pinning them with an argument that works for them. However, this is difficult without knowing their full SPAG range (young earth, old earth, literalist, etc, etc.). Unfortunately, there isn't a set argument that works with everyone, and many devout followers willfully ignore arguments, as they don't want to give up their feeling of belonging.

In my engagements with some theist friends who follow the "Hugh Ross, science finally caught up to The Bible" model of Christianity, it is especially irritating when they completely disagree with the most ridiculous young earth models, and world-wide flood believers.  In other words, they are right there with me - to a point.  And then it falls straight back into the black-hole of stupidity, wishful thinking, and special pleading.

They even go as far as desperately trying to get me to admit that at the point of singularity, the cause must have been a creator, to which I immediately think of YHWH.  But wait!  We're not talking about YHWH right now, we're talking about a creator!  Sigh...now I have to pretend like the idea of a creator is plausible, and I wait for that moment when they connect the entire thing back to YHWH, which never happens...FRUSTRATING!

Anyway, SPAG is the new Christian.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 08:18:44 AM »
I think the problem of varieties of Christian belief is a very puzzling one as each of the denominations fought along and hard to defend their belief system in the form of creeds and statements of faith in order to separate themselves from the parent denomination. The basic creed of the Christian church is the Nicene creed dating from 325CE and pretty much every Church subscribes to that. (Oddly, the Roman Church sought to amend the creed almost as soon as the ink was dry though that was quite a small amendment.)

Since then there have been very many declarations of faith -- the Orthodox churches broke away in 1000 CE and have their own creeds and since then to the Reformation split what was once a single denomination of Christianity into very very many fractions. The Westminster confession, for example, was accepted by the Church of Scotland as the basis of its faith yet it is not compulsory for members of the church -- they only have to agree with the bits they actually agree with and ignore the bits they don't. of course, the Church of Scotland members generally have never heard of the Westminster confession and have no idea what it says.

A very interesting sociological study was done about 40 years ago in the town Stathes on the north-east coast of England. Entitled "twixt pulpit and pew" the research studied the differences between what the church thought it was teaching and all the people thought they were hearing and covered quite a lot of folk religion amongst the people that, if one studied the belief system of the Church, one could see had no part in the church at all. Thus we can see that despite all the churches do you carefully explain their favour by means of creeds and statements of faith, the church members themselves largely ignore these and believe what they want to believe. It would hardly surprising to find that people choose the church on the basis of the humans and the version of the Bible read rather on the belief that church espouses.

With that in mind it is hardly surprising that a new members on this forum who claim to be Christian have their own the idiosyncratic view that religion since they have clearly largely ignored what the church is taught and got on with their own thoughts and ideas. If there is any blame to be laid for the number of ChristiansTM who come to our forums than it has to be the churches who fail to teach their congregations anything at all about the faith and merely preach platitudes from the pulpit. Certainly neither the church of England nor the Church of Scotland can, on the whole, we bothered to teach theology and matters of faith to the congregation preferring rather they turn up, enjoyed the hymns and put plenty of money in the plate. I suppose none of us should be surprised that this!
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Offline plethora

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 08:50:32 AM »
@Narrow Mullen

Using SPAG as a verb... nice :)

SPAG range ... lolz
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Offline spiritualatheist

Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 09:43:21 AM »
At least we aren't censoring the believers unless they do something unbelievably stupid. I have a very high level of tolerance towards religious stupidity because even though I live in Canada, there are still many strong believers of either the Muslim or Christian faith. I have experience with these people and I always respect them until they utter the most stupid things.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 10:08:51 AM »
Wheels wrote:
Quote
If there is any blame to be laid for the number of ChristiansTM who come to our forums than it has to be the churches who fail to teach their congregations anything at all about the faith and merely preach platitudes from the pulpit.

That probably sums the whole thing up right there. Excellent.

Not that it matters, atheist-wise, but the failure of most churches (I assume the mennonite church, for instance, does a better job) to do anything but tell hell-based scare stories and brag about the love of jesus may well mean that doctrine has been tossed right out the window. Then toss in the large number of christians who don't attend church because their interpretation of the gospel differs from the established religions, and Bam!, you've got a recipe for confusion.

I would guess that this jumble of righteousness is at it's worst in the United States. I don't mean to brag, but we've got a zoo of believers here, that, if caged and labeled, would draw millions of visitors a year.

I guess I don't hope to get any strong justifications to my OP, I'm just getting tired of paying a chiropractor to adjust my neck, which I shake so much while reading the highly variable christian inputs on this site. (That's to be read as a humorous exaggerations folks, not an endorsement for chiropractic. I don't want to get off-track  ;D). I guess I shouldn't expect anything else. I just wanted to get a bit more of an understanding. If understanding is available amongst so much confusion.

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Offline jetson

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 10:37:45 AM »
Adding to ParkingPlaces:

I have tried to steer some believers into the conversation about the differences among Christian denominations, explaining that it seems more problematic than atheism by a long shot to me.  The reply: but atheists are not saved, so even those Christians who disagree with each other, are at least saved.  

So, on a whim, all of the differences are swept away because they believe in Jesus?  Doesn't that in and of itself make The Bible wholly unnecessary?  Moreover, I have been told by some Christians that they have not read The Bible, or they have not finished reading it, or they don't claim to understand everything in it, yet they do believe in Jesus.  Well, Jesus comes from The Bible only, as far as I am aware.

Logically, Christians are allowed to dismiss The Bible, at least partially, and even misunderstand it, yet atheists are not - simply because they don't believe in God.  Atheists just end up with a different conclusion, which is apparently far worse than a complete misunderstanding (think YEC).  Sigh....

EDIT to add:

Atheists have concluded that The Bible is errant and does not make a decent case for an almighty god.  And since there are Christians along that spectrum going all the way to full on delusion, how is it fair that the worst case scenario is at the very point of disbelief?  I don't believe there is a god, therefore, I lose.  However, most Christians don;t believe it either, they simply cannot conclude atheism.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 10:41:48 AM by jetson »

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 11:53:41 AM »
I have tried to steer some believers into the conversation about the differences among Christian denominations, explaining that it seems more problematic than atheism by a long shot to me.  The reply: but atheists are not saved, so even those Christians who disagree with each other, are at least saved.  

I think I'm over generalizing when I say people love jesus because they prefer to think they will live forever in some undefined heavenly place rather than cease existing when they die. I'm guessing the concepts of hell arose from the fears of what death without an afterlife must be like, i.e., hell was their fear a of death while still alive more than a post-death reality. Someone just projected.

Apparently no matter how many times we pulverize people in wars, squish them in car wrecks, shoot them while hunting or, as they do in the south, watch them perish right after they say "Hey, watch this!", most folks are not prepared for their own demise. Early religions with afterlives placated the masses with a few generic promises and kept them in line. This day and age, with choice as the basis for everything from breakfast cereal to television, I'm guessing that believers just naturally think they get to choose too. Sugared or unsugared, drama or comedy, they pick the bits out the bible they hope are true, memorize a few carefully selected lines spoken by Pat Robertson or Benny Hinn, and define themselves as complete christians. They get to be absolutely right on earth and live forever too. For them, it's a win-win situation.


If raptureless, most christians would apparently shrivel into prunes of fear, unable to comprehend a world without hope or something. Unable to see death as an incentive to live a bit better, so they ignore it in favor of fantasy-level thinking. A contradiction in terms if I ever heard one.  And of course, to make this all work, believers using this design-a-belief method of being religious have to assert themselves from time to time. What better place than here, where they get to be the only one that is right.

I'm not surprised stuff like this happens. I'm just amazed that they are so bad at teamwork. If christians of this ilk tried to play football, it wouldn't be two teams of eleven, but rather 22 teams of one, none able to score because there was no way to do it in the rule book. I'm guessing that since they would have nothing else to do during the game, that's when they all run around moving the goal posts. And that's why they are so good at doing that here. Practice my dear, practice.

So this must be their Carnagie Hall.

And we the audience.

Okay, I get it now.

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Offline Gimpy

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 11:59:09 AM »
. . . . or, as they do in the south, watch them perish right after they say "Hey, watch this!", . . .

Often followed closely by "hold my beer."
Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Offline jetson

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 12:02:16 PM »
Quote
"Hey, watch this!"

OK, now YOU owen me a new laptop!  Dangit...where's a towel...

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 12:05:38 PM »
Quote
"Hey, watch this!"

OK, now YOU owen me a new laptop!  Dangit...where's a towel...

Careful, electrocution is on that list as well!
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Offline Timo

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 03:36:17 PM »
I don't think this should be all that surprising.  Within the Bible, we find competing theologies all over the place.  There are arguments between its authors.  And we can see that editors, translators and copyists have been monkeying with the text too.  However, if you want to claim that the Bible is 100 percent true, as a lot of Christians do, then you'll have to smooth over these contradictions somehow.  But it's not as if there's only one way to do that.  The book contradicts itself, after all. 

The books also horribly outdated.  They often espouse views that modern people find reprehensible and for good reason.  They also fail to address a lot of concerns that modern people have.  Take the issue of abortion, for example.  The Bible, despite what a lot of people on the pro-life side claim, doesn't have much to say about the issue.  The closest it comes to directly addressing the issue is a passage in Exodus, 21:22.  And even that passage is unclear enough that people still argue about what exactly was being said.  And so, if you want to be a modern Christian, you have to somehow void some passages and reinterpret others so that they say something about the world you live in.  Not surprisingly, people find different ways of doing this.

Perhaps more fundamentally, we can find this sort of thing going on in other areas of human thought.  Take the liberal-conservative dichotomy that we find in politics, for example.  It doesn't matter where you go, you'll find the same thing.  Liberals and conservatives will have some fundamental disagreements.  But here's the thing.  If you listen to the liberals talking amongst themselves, you'll find that they disagree on a lot too.  And yet they would still generally identify with the other liberals.  Same goes for the conservatives.  But sometimes they'll disagree with each other on some point so strongly that they'll try to right their fellow liberal or conservative out of the movement entirely.  Sound familiar?
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Offline UniversityPastor

Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 06:12:53 PM »
As a Christian who fails to see eye to eye with many Christians I'll chime in.

It's true that much of the time I spend on this forum, I agree more with the atheist than the Christians here. I almost always agree with the logic, and sometimes even with the theology of the nonbelievers on this forum.

I suspect I experience this more than most on this site because I'm theologically moderate. (or from the perspective of many on this site "unspeakably liberal") Most come here to try and convert you all, I come here to try out new arguments with a critical audience.

I believe in an old earth, evolution, and the legalization of same sex marriage, for instance. And I reject all notions that doubt is bad, science is the opposition, and you should stop thinking and "just have faith" as horrible misinterpretations of the teachings of Christ.

The problem is that I still believe in a God, and in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. and so do a bunch of redneck southern baptists and overzealous Calvinist teenagers. And you call that loose knit group of believers "christian" altogether.

Sometimes I'll be listening to some idiot talk about how you should "believe god to go to heaven because the bible says evolution is not science" and I'll really sincerely wish they weren't on my side, but Christianity is not an exclusive club, any idiot can join, there's nothing I can do about it.
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Offline MockTurtle

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2010, 06:32:18 PM »
Most come here to try and convert you all, I come here to try out new arguments with a critical audience.
Welcome to the forum.  I can't wait to hear some. We don't get much in the way of new arguments from the theists around here. You can only hear Pascal's wager so many times before the gag reflex kicks in. ;)

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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2010, 06:47:04 PM »
Good posts Timo and UP

I never did welcome you Timo, so welcome. And UP, you're brand new. So welcome to you as well. You are refreshingly honest and enlightened. I do hope you can find ways to contribute to the site. Most, if not all,of us welcome Christian points of view (I even capitalized it out of respect for you) as long as they are intelligently presented and backed by reasons (even if we disagree with them).

I actually know exactly why christianity has so much variety. It's exactly for the reasons Timo mentions. I tend to assume that stuff based on fiction has no reason for consistency. (Sorry UP, but I am an atheist). What confuses me is not the variety, but the lack of effort on the part of Christians to reformulate the structure of their beliefs in such a way as to both act as a unit and to still allow for a bit of personal freedom.

Of course the American right wing would have none of that. They're all for freedom, but not the real kind.

We talk a lot around here about "cherry picking" as various christians give us various interpretations of various parts of the bible. The also ignore other parts when that is convenient. And they just plain make stuff up sometimes. Those who practice such long venerated but ineffective methods seldom stay around long. But in the meantime they sure do exhibit some pretty original thought processes. Well, processes anyway.

The dichotomy you discussed, Timo, re: liberals and conservatives. That is far more understandable, simply because the sources of each persons opinions range much wider than just one book or one organized group. One person might tend towards being liberal mostly because of their stand saving the environment, while another may be liberal mostly because they want more equality for the poor and disadvantaged. The two of them may or may not agree on cross issues. But I don't expect much agreement on the wide variety of issues political thought takes in. I am far more stunned by the lack of cohesion within the realm of religion.

You point is good, and it is another example of differing opinions, but it's just not one where I expect unanimous opinion on much of anything. Again, I would think, were I more naive, that religious people would do better.

Loved your last paragraph, UP.
Quote
Sometimes I'll be listening to some idiot talk about how you should "believe god to go to heaven because the bible says evolution is not science" and I'll really sincerely wish they weren't on my side, but Christianity is not an exclusive club, any idiot can join, there's nothing I can do about it.

I would rather not treat believers as idiots, but it often takes just a few posts to give me no choice in the matter. Some fare better, but if I were to tell any of those that there were a member of a minority group, most of them would cringe noticably  ;D. Anyway, I was hoping to get some input from a less agreeable christian or two, just for the fun of it. Probably won't happen, but mostly because I haven't prayed for it yet.

Just kidding.
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Offline UniversityPastor

Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2010, 06:52:42 PM »
Most come here to try and convert you all, I come here to try out new arguments with a critical audience.
Welcome to the forum.  I can't wait to hear some. We don't get much in the way of new arguments from the theists around here. You can only hear Pascal's wager so many times before the gag reflex kicks in. ;)


Thanks, I have to get past my 3 responses first though! Last time I was here was years ago, I had to create a new account.
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Offline Narrow Mullen

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #20 on: September 03, 2010, 07:05:58 PM »
@Narrow Mullen

Using SPAG as a verb... nice :)

SPAG range ... lolz

Glad you enjoyed  :D
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Offline Timo

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #21 on: September 03, 2010, 08:30:21 PM »
The dichotomy you discussed, Timo, re: liberals and conservatives. That is far more understandable, simply because the sources of each persons opinions range much wider than just one book or one organized group. One person might tend towards being liberal mostly because of their stand saving the environment, while another may be liberal mostly because they want more equality for the poor and disadvantaged. The two of them may or may not agree on cross issues. But I don't expect much agreement on the wide variety of issues political thought takes in. I am far more stunned by the lack of cohesion within the realm of religion.

You point is good, and it is another example of differing opinions, but it's just not one where I expect unanimous opinion on much of anything. Again, I would think, were I more naive, that religious people would do better.

Yeah, but you can see the same sort of diversity among religious people with respect to why they came to be religious.  Most people seem to inherit the faith of their parents.  But some people convert after battling an addiction or serving time in prison.  Some people, like the President of the United States, come into a faith through their charitable work.  Some people have vague spiritual beliefs and come into a religion as an attempt to explore that spirituality.  Then there are also people who hold religious beliefs that come to hold other beliefs.  But instead of reconciling their other beliefs with their religious beliefs, they reconcile their religious beliefs and alter them that way.  I could go on.

Again, I really don't see why we should expect to find unanimity of opinion.  Even if we were to accept that the Bible is true at least in the sense that God is real, Jesus is the son of said God and He died for our sins, the Bible is still a long book.  And there's plenty there for us to argue about.

But yeah, I can see how this might work as an argument against the Bible being "inspired" to any extent.  Oh, and thanks for the welcome.


Peace
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2010, 08:56:16 PM »
I believe in an old earth, evolution, and the legalization of same sex marriage, for instance. And I reject all notions that doubt is bad, science is the opposition, and you should stop thinking and "just have faith" as horrible misinterpretations of the teachings of Christ.
That's very familiar to me.  I was your type of Christian in college.  I was involved with IVCF, and many of the faculty members that belonged sounded similar to you.

Quote
Sometimes I'll be listening to some idiot talk about how you should "believe god to go to heaven because the bible says evolution is not science" and I'll really sincerely wish they weren't on my side, but Christianity is not an exclusive club, any idiot can join, there's nothing I can do about it.

I know the feeling: I'm a libertarian atheist  :-\
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline UniversityPastor

Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2010, 09:28:18 PM »
I believe in an old earth, evolution, and the legalization of same sex marriage, for instance. And I reject all notions that doubt is bad, science is the opposition, and you should stop thinking and "just have faith" as horrible misinterpretations of the teachings of Christ.
That's very familiar to me.  I was your type of Christian in college.  I was involved with IVCF, and many of the faculty members that belonged sounded similar to you.

That's awesome.

I work for IVCF.
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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2010, 10:12:05 PM »
Sometimes I'll be listening to some idiot talk about how you should "believe god to go to heaven because the bible says evolution is not science" and I'll really sincerely wish they weren't on my side, but Christianity is not an exclusive club, any idiot can join, there's nothing I can do about it.

I know the feeling: I'm a libertarian atheist  :-\

So, you're the idiot in my club.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline xphobe

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #25 on: September 04, 2010, 12:53:50 AM »
So, you're the idiot in my club.

I guess it depends on one's perspective.  From where I sit, the clubs I belong to are full of idiots.
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Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #26 on: September 04, 2010, 01:09:29 AM »
So, you're the idiot in my club.

I guess it depends on one's perspective.  From where I sit, the clubs I belong to are full of idiots.

A famous quote from my generation: We're all bozo's on this bus. (Name of a Firesign Theatre album)
Never trust an atom. They make up everything!

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #27 on: September 04, 2010, 07:54:31 AM »
So, you're the idiot in my club.

I guess it depends on one's perspective.  From where I sit, the clubs I belong to are full of idiots.

Don't move to Canada. :)
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: Pimp My Religion
« Reply #28 on: September 04, 2010, 11:17:44 PM »

The problem is that I still believe in a God, and in the bodily resurrection of Jesus. and so do a bunch of redneck southern baptists and overzealous Calvinist teenagers. And you call that loose knit group of believers "christian" altogether.


Welcome to the forums UP! Can we call you UP?

This, though, is exactly the problem with spreading the word of God as you do (I remember reading somewhere else that you spread your beliefs on some college campus.  If I misread that, then you can ignore me).  When you spread the word around that Jesus really was resurrected (setting aside the question of whether or not it actually happened), the person you spread it to can take on many different forms of Christianity.  Your vanilla version doesn't seem to be dangerous to anyone, but it is highly unlikely that the person who receives your message will simply go away and adopt your same message.  They will go out, find a church, and adopt their messages.  To make a long story short, you really have no idea what type of Jesusfreak you will be creating when you spread the word of God.  Since there seem to be many more people who believe like them than believe like you, is it not much more likely that you will facilitate someone becoming just like one of the very members of the church you so hate to be grouped with. 

I hope you realize that if you never spread to others what you believed to be true about Jesus, then probably none of us would have any problem with your beliefs at all.  You can do what you want and believe what you want in the privacy of your home.  But please, do not spread this stuff to other people.  You don't create more people like you... you create more people like them. We have enough of them.  We need more like you (only we would like you to be much more private). 

Anyway, it's good to have you here.  Even if we disagree on some stuff. 
Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT