Author Topic: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)  (Read 2755 times)

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« on: October 05, 2012, 01:35:14 PM »
It may be fairer to say that I’m trending toward “deism”, as everything we understand about cosmology leads me to conclude that the cosmos requires a cause of its continuing to exist and that that cause cannot be inert, but that’s beside the point, what I’m moving away from is out and out “theism” and I hope you can all tell me whether you think I’m doing so for the right reasons, or just talking out of my ass.

First, let me state, so as to be as clear as possible, what are ‘not’ the reasons that I’m tending away from theism.

I’ll try to lay out my reasons as succinctly as possible:

My being Christian is and always was an article of faith, there is nothing that I can observe in nature that allows me to conclude that Jesus died for our sins, nothing in cosmology that leads me to conclude that the holy spirit descended on the apostles and aided them in their mission, these are all things that a faithful person accepts on the basis that, though they are fantastic, they’re possible through the grace and power of God, and on that basis I am still capable of accepting them, what I mean to say is that I am not tending away from theism because I think that the stories are “too fantastic”, however, one does “choose” to believe them as an act of faith, it isn’t like science where we simply collect data and conclude based on that data. Faith is faith and I still have the capacity for it.

I also believe that the state of religion today, which is highly political, is byproduct of our highly politicized culture. In the Middle Ages, when the church looked and acted like any other worldly kingdom, that’s because it was. It wasn’t entirely void of real religious and spiritual content, just as congress is not entirely void of men and women who really care, those people are simply drowned out by the bigger, louder, richer (or more powerful) corrupt majority. Politicized religious institutions are working very hard, particularly in my country, to subvert the natural and civil rights, as well as undermine the status of citizenship of a large chunk of the population, and return us to the days when our role in life was determined by our race and gender, and to the best of my ability I fight them, but this is not, I think a problem of “religion”, in a strange way I think it’s a problem of religion becoming secularized by its leaders. Evangelical Christianity is scarcely recognizable as a religion anymore, they are, for the most part, a political party and nothing else but. In short, it is not the “evils” that religion produces that are causing me to move away from theism.

In the end, it wasn’t a Richard Dawkins book or some new, scripture refuting, scientific discovery, or a retarded question like “why won’t God give me wings so I can fly around the room?” that caused this stir in me. It was, of all things, a line in a Doctor Who episode.

In case you don’t watch the show, “The Doctor” is a 900 year old, highly intelligent, highly advanced Alien who travels through time and space to observe life and help where he can, and he loves Humanity, human beings are his favorite species. In one episode a human friend of his said to him “We must look like ants to you”, to which the Doctor replied “No, to me you look like giants”.

I was always aware of the shows portrayal of secular humanism, but this line really hit me in the face, somewhere in my brain I started weighting that statement against biblical statements about humanity and realized, that is NOT how God sees human beings. And that’s where this all started.

Like any religion, the ultimate point of Christianity is to prepare yourself for what is beyond this life, to be with God and perfect your soul, I can understand that, but what bothers me, and what I can’t reconcile is that, God’s love for man is ‘in spite of’ man’s nature, as if we have some invisible disease that makes us basically wretched but god loves us anyway. I can accept miracles and all the rest, but I can’t accept that.

I think that people are basically good, I think that we all have an equal capacity to be reasonable and moral, I think that we all desire to be, and I don’t think that we need a divine revelation in order to cooperate, work together, have each other’s best interest at heart, and to love one another. The evil that we do is rarely causeless, and it’s rarely so cut and dry as “I do this just because I’m an asshole and I don’t care about anyone but myself”, most of the time it’s because of lack of education, lack of opportunity, poverty, and an inequality of conditions, but Christianity in particular holds that it’s because of a corrupt state of our nature that happened when man fell. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think it’s possible. There are fucked up people, sure, and most of the time we find that they have a neurological problem (and thuss weren’t culpable), but that’s not what scripture is talking about, it’s saying that the average person basically just wants to stab people in the face, rape anything that moves, drink anything with alcohol, eat everything that tastes good: the reason for this is a supernatural defect in our nature, and the solution is a divine revelation.

I can accept the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Immaculate Conception, and all the rest, I cannot accept that.

I look at the state of society today and I don’t see a “fallen” world, I see a world that is just beginning to learn how to make life better for its self, and end once necessary evils. New technologies and economic models made it possible for us to have leisure time without the need for slaves; we’ve gotten to the point where we can grow food almost anywhere in the world in almost any climate, lifespans and quality of life have improved for the vast majority of people on this planet, and we’re working to extend them; Human rights, democracy, and pluralism are the standard in the developed world and more and more countries are adopting them, these are not these actions of “fallen” people who, but for the grace of God cannot do otherwise. And that is what has me on the move.

Thoughts please ladies and gentlemen, I’m really trying to work this out.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 01:48:38 PM by Philosopher_at_large »
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline Nick

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 01:59:06 PM »
You appear to be going thru the early stages of disbelief.  A lot of us have been there.  I was Catholic myself and relate to what you just said.  The Catholic hook is deep.  Keep searching and using rational thought and you will come out the other side a better and freer man.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline screwtape

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 02:15:59 PM »
I think it is good that you recognize a flaw in the xian model of how the universe works.  I understand the conflict.  When I shifted from catholic to deist, it was for many of the reasons you say are not reasons - miracles and history, primarily.   

I did not understand until much later the xian perspective of people as the most horrid, vile, filthy creatures, worthy only of death and eternal torture while being simultaneously the most wonderful, loveable, precious things ever and the apple of yhwh's eye.  As an atheist, it made no sense to me.

The morality allegedly handed down by yhwh is part of that ball of wax, since at least part of your case relates to humanism.  I have argued here that modern secular morals are better than those of the bible.  For one, the 10 commandments - depending which set you mean - have a couple of good ideas, but waste 4 on yhwh's narcissism.  On top of that, where is the commandment to outlaw owning people?  Not there.  And humanism allows revision.  I would have hoped that xians would update the bible to include something about slavery - other than the tacit acceptance that has always been there - to reflect the newer understanding that it is wrong.  But, no.  I am ever disappointed in the religious.

You will probably start to see more conflicts between what you know to be true and the religious world view.  I did, once the first major crack appeared.  It was scary and a little exciting.  The ground was quickly shifting beneath my feet.  It was also an angry time.  I was pissed because I felt lied to by the people I trusted most. That went away though.

I do not understand why you think there are separate categories of truth where different methods of knowledge are applicable.  Try this:  http://lesswrong.com/lw/1e/raising_the_sanity_waterline/  It might help.  It is less about religion and more about being rational.  Try the link about the religious scientist.

Try this out too:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1027091/  If you like Julia Sweeney, you'll like this.  She compassionately describes her loss of belief.  It pretty accurately represents mine too.

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 03:09:34 PM »
Religious belief at its root is an attempt to make sense of the uncaring world, and to make life about something more than meaningful than eating, drinking, fucking[1], and dying.  In that respect, I have no problem with it.

The problem comes when modern people try to reconcile ancient religious beliefs with modern knowledge.  For example, in a tribe that maybe had two or three hundred people, they couldn't afford to have people get sick and die from unsafe food, so it was forbidden.  But today, we either know how to prepare such foods safely, or we know how to tell people why they're unsafe to eat, without having to threaten them.

The whole concept of a "fallen" world was an attempt to explain why life was so harsh.  It served a purpose back in ancient times, when tribe was set against tribe, but I'd like to think we've outgrown needing to think of ourselves as innately bad boys and girls who can only slaughter or enslave other tribes.
 1. in a completely non-pejorative sense

Offline Nick

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 03:27:56 PM »
Religious belief at its root is an attempt to make sense of the uncaring world, and to make life about something more than meaningful than eating, drinking, fucking[1], and dying.  In that respect, I have no problem with it.

The problem comes when modern people try to reconcile ancient religious beliefs with modern knowledge.  For example, in a tribe that maybe had two or three hundred people, they couldn't afford to have people get sick and die from unsafe food, so it was forbidden.  But today, we either know how to prepare such foods safely, or we know how to tell people why they're unsafe to eat, without having to threaten them.

The whole concept of a "fallen" world was an attempt to explain why life was so harsh.  It served a purpose back in ancient times, when tribe was set against tribe, but I'd like to think we've outgrown needing to think of ourselves as innately bad boys and girls who can only slaughter or enslave other tribes.
 1. in a completely non-pejorative sense
I'm not sure a lot has changed. ;)
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 03:32:33 PM »
I think it is good that you recognize a flaw in the xian model of how the universe works.  I understand the conflict.  When I shifted from catholic to deist, it was for many of the reasons you say are not reasons - miracles and history, primarily.

I actually don't think that christianity even 'presents' a model for how the universe works, Christianity is concerned with how to prepare your self for the afterlife, and how to make your self acceptable to God, it isn't really about the universe.

The morality allegedly handed down by yhwh is part of that ball of wax, since at least part of your case relates to humanism.  I have argued here that modern secular morals are better than those of the bible.  For one, the 10 commandments - depending which set you mean - have a couple of good ideas, but waste 4 on yhwh's narcissism.  On top of that, where is the commandment to outlaw owning people?  Not there.  And humanism allows revision.  I would have hoped that xians would update the bible to include something about slavery - other than the tacit acceptance that has always been there - to reflect the newer understanding that it is wrong.  But, no.  I am ever disappointed in the religious.

This is a problem for me for different reasons. I don't think the 10 commandments were moral edicts, that is to say, they weren't telling us how to be moral, they were telling us how not to offend God and how to carry out his plan. Aristotle told us how to be moral and devoted a great deal of his work to ethics. the parts of the 10 commandments that you see as narcissism would be necessary if people were, by nature, disinclined to be good and to seek the highest good for goods own sake, I don't think that's the case, and that is where my problem lies.

You will probably start to see more conflicts between what you know to be true and the religious world view.  I did, once the first major crack appeared.  It was scary and a little exciting.  The ground was quickly shifting beneath my feet.  It was also an angry time.  I was pissed because I felt lied to by the people I trusted most. That went away though.


I appreciate that, although I have to tell you, I started out as a non believeer and could easily be so again, but i want to think carefully about it and make sure i'm thinking about the sissue correctly, i can also tell you, i'm not angry I just think there's a problem here.   

I do not understand why you think there are separate categories of truth where different methods of knowledge are applicable.  Try this:  http://lesswrong.com/lw/1e/raising_the_sanity_waterline/  It might help.  It is less about religion and more about being rational.  Try the link about the religious scientist.

I don't think there are separate categories of truth, I don't even know what that would mean, I think that there are different epistemological categories, I don't, for example, know that 2 is an even number because of any experimentation or specialized observation, I don't, likewise, know that Man has a common genetic ancestor with all other life on the planet because of mere common sense, and I don't believe in God (for the moment) because of an examination of nature. in other words, truth is not in the eye of the beholder, but neither are all questions answerable by mere rationality and science in the way that questions about the natural world are.

Try this out too:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1027091/  If you like Julia Sweeney, you'll like this.  She compassionately describes her loss of belief.  It pretty accurately represents mine too.

In my case, it's a bit different, I've followed her work for a long time and she seems to have abandoned faith because she thought it all sounded silly when she really thought about it, I don't think it sounds silly, I'm just starting to think that it can't possibly be right about human nature.

TY for the feedback BTW.
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline Nick

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 03:43:02 PM »
Do you think a "real" God would make things this complicated?
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline albeto

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 04:16:20 PM »
Like any religion, the ultimate point of Christianity is to prepare yourself for what is beyond this life, to be with God and perfect your soul

Hi.  Another former Catholic here.  I really loved my faith.  I loved my church, I loved the theology, I loved the rituals, and art, and symbolism, and even Latin Mass - all of it.  I felt it profoundly and deeply for many years.  I say this just so you know where I'm coming from, not that it really has any bearing, but anyway.

This comment really caught my attention and at one time I would have agreed.  Now I cannot agree and I would gently suggest the "ultimate point" of any religion is simply to exist.  At first, the point was to explain the world, the nature with which humanity interacted and had limited control, the thing to which their lives were vulnerable.  This explanation took centuries upon centuries to work out.  It constantly evolved as new cultures were introduced to each other, their customs and mythologies borrowed and shared, tweaked, adapted to work in a new culture.  Catholicism didn't start with Judaism any more than Judaism started with Abraham.  These religious trends were slowly evolving, incorporating other religions from the regions.  This explains why we can see the Jesus story in Horus, the Mary story in Isis, the Last Supper of Dionysus, etc.  Religion functions to exist and will adapt to a culture or be left behind as irrelevant.  Today, looking forward to one's "next life" is slowly but surely being toned down, and instead the focus is increasingly found in finding salvation today.  So, you might want to look into the history of religions a little to get an idea of what kind of beast you're facing today. 

I look at the state of society today and I don’t see a “fallen” world, I see a world that is just beginning to learn how to make life better for its self, and end once necessary evils. New technologies and economic models made it possible for us to have leisure time without the need for slaves; we’ve gotten to the point where we can grow food almost anywhere in the world in almost any climate, lifespans and quality of life have improved for the vast majority of people on this planet, and we’re working to extend them; Human rights, democracy, and pluralism are the standard in the developed world and more and more countries are adopting them, these are not these actions of “fallen” people who, but for the grace of God cannot do otherwise. And that is what has me on the move.

Oh, I am right there with you!  I think what people call "sin" is really a matter of conflict resolution that happens to create an unforeseen problem for somebody.  That's not "sin," that's a new problem to be solved.  Not everyone has the best conflict resolution skills for various reasons, but there's no reason to attribute a magically faulty component to each person to describe this.  That means there doesn't need to be a magical solution to remedy it.

 Learn from mistakes.  Enjoy what you can without bringing undue burden on yourself or others.  Laugh. 

:)



Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 06:25:57 PM »
These religious trends were slowly evolving, incorporating other religions from the regions.  This explains why we can see the Jesus story in Horus, the Mary story in Isis, the Last Supper of Dionysus, etc

Where? Apart from a vague thematic similarity where can we see the story of Jesus in horus or the story of Mary in Isis?

First of all Isis was a God, not a mortal woman like Mary was, second, after Set chopped Osiris's body into fourteen pieces and scattered them, Isis traveled around looking for them, (sorry to be so blunt in this next description), she found 13 but a fish had ate his dick so she made a phallus out of the 13 pieces, and impregnated her self with it and gave birth to Horus. how is that even remotely like the story of Mary?

Horus was also a full God, the son of two Gods, and did a bunch of supernatural things, other than that i can't find a strong similarity,

Dyonisus is so dis similar from either that i'm not sure why it even bore mentioning.

The fact is, polytheism and monotheism are so different in character that it's really apples and oranges. Polytheism is deliberately anthropomorphic  while monotheism is anthropomorphic by analogy. Both may be wrong, and I'm starting to think that both are, but they are radically different.

"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline Brakeman

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 06:42:08 PM »
It may be fairer to say that I’m trending toward “deism”, as everything we understand about cosmology leads me to conclude that the cosmos requires a cause of its continuing to exist and that that cause cannot be inert,
That should be revised to say everything that you understand. Physicists of today do not postulate any such thing. I think you should get your head around the relativity of time and it's causation, then you can understand the timelessness of the singularity.

Quote from: Philosopher_at_large link=topic=23957.msg533703#msg533703
I was always aware of the shows portrayal of secular humanism, but this line really hit me in the face, somewhere in my brain I started weighting that statement against biblical statements about humanity and realized, that is NOT how God sees human beings.

We call this Self Projection As God. Spag
When we imagine god we put our own personal spin and morals to it.

Gotta go .. I'll finish this response later..
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Offline screwtape

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 07:19:41 PM »
I actually don't think that christianity even 'presents' a model for how the universe works, Christianity is concerned with how to prepare your self for the afterlife, and how to make your self acceptable to God, it isn't really about the universe.

Whether there is a god has implications about the universe. So, I think it really, really it does present a model of the universe.  Though, maybe not in the way it sounds like I think.

This is a problem for me for different reasons. I don't think the 10 commandments were moral edicts, that is to say, they weren't telling us how to be moral, they were telling us how not to offend God and how to carry out his plan.

Mmm.  maybe.  I tend to think Good and Evil, What yhwh Wants and What yhwh Hates, is short hand for actual morality.  You know, for the slow kids.  So I think when it says "don't fuck your neighbor's wife or steal his goats", those are moral rules.  Six of one, half dozen of the other.

They probably existed long before yhwh.  And I see religion as a cultural repository.  It sort of documents a culture, calls some of it "sacred", and then disseminates and propagates it.   It is a conservative mechanism.


I appreciate that, although I have to tell you, I started out as a non believeer and could easily be so again, but i want to think carefully about it and make sure i'm thinking about the sissue correctly, i can also tell you, i'm not angry I just think there's a problem here.   

That's cool.  I wasn't implying you were angry or should be or would be.  I was.  I'm not now.  At least, not for those reasons.  That was my experience.

I don't think there are separate categories of truth, I don't even know what that would mean, I think that there are different epistemological categories, I don't, for example, know that 2 is an even number because of any experimentation or specialized observation,

But it is not an article of faith, is it?  2 is an even number because that is how the rules were defined.  I understand, that makes it categorically different. 

...in other words, truth is not in the eye of the beholder, but neither are all questions answerable by mere rationality and science in the way that questions about the natural world are.

I don't want to make a debate about this. It's kind of off topic. I was just trying to help out.

TY for the feedback BTW.

You're welcome.


edit - removed half sentence I meant to remove before posting.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2012, 09:10:14 PM by screwtape »
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Offline wright

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 08:55:27 PM »
Interesting. Thanks for sharing this process with us, PaL. However it turns out, I wish you well.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 01:13:48 PM »

The fallen nature of man is seldom properly explained by Christianity which is why it makes little sense to many people eg there is a seeming contradiction or illogicality in God creating people who are seemingly so fatally flawed.  And how can this alleged 'original sin' apply to me when I don't even know what it is that I'm supposed to have done !?

However, there is at least one way of understanding this 'fatal flaw' so that it can begin to make sense. 

If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) and recognise the nature of man as self-based (as is the nature of selfishness) it is possible to see that firstly there is a gigantic divide between us and God and secondly that selfishness and humanity are inextricably linked.

The good news is (and this is the whole purpose of religion) is that man can return to the selfless state (heaven).


Offline Nick

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 01:43:32 PM »
Selfless state (Heaven).  It's always been hard to get a concept of Heaven.  Seems awful boring.  Not set up for mans nature.  We need conflict.  Are you trying to tell me that Dems will get along with Rush Limpballs in Heaven.  I don't think so.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Dominic

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2012, 01:51:33 PM »
Selfless state (Heaven).  It's always been hard to get a concept of Heaven.  Seems awful boring.  Not set up for mans nature.  We need conflict.  Are you trying to tell me that Dems will get along with Rush Limpballs in Heaven.  I don't think so.

Do you need conflict Nick ?

Offline Graybeard

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2012, 02:45:55 PM »
It may be fairer to say that I’m trending toward “deism”, as everything we understand about cosmology leads me to conclude that the cosmos requires a cause of its continuing to exist and that that cause cannot be inert, but that’s beside the point,
It’s not really beside the point. The cosmos resembles a huge pile of rocks in various states – rocks have no purpose.

Quote
there is nothing that I can observe in nature that allows me to conclude that Jesus died for our sins, nothing in cosmology that leads me to conclude that the holy spirit descended on the apostles and aided them in their mission,
Your conclusions are mine too.

Quote
Faith is faith and I still have the capacity for it.
Faith is a fancy word for “an ability to believe in a concept.” We all have that, but, in some, it is misdirected towards gods.

Quote
I also believe that the state of religion today, which is highly political, is byproduct of our highly politicized culture. In the Middle Ages, when the church looked and acted like any other worldly kingdom, that’s because it was.
Yes, it was and still is. As you cogently point out, it is “a highly political, is by-product of our highly politicized culture.”

Quote
Like any religion, the ultimate point of Christianity is to prepare yourself for what is beyond this life, to be with God and perfect your soul, I can understand that,
You should understand that as the final lie. No one has or ever will come back from the dead and explained in detail what it is like. It is the easiest promise to make. Who is there to say you are wrong?

I can say, “Once you are dead, I will be able to fly.” You will never know if it is true.

Quote
God’s love for man is ‘in spite of’ man’s nature, as if we have some invisible disease that makes us basically wretched but god loves us anyway. I can accept miracles and all the rest, but I can’t accept that.
You must think of who this “God” is. He is the tribal god of the Israelites created somewhere about 4,000 years ago by men who were deluded and trying to explain a complex world. He has no relevance to today at all; he comes with Bronze-Age baggage. His description is necessarily as it is because He was supposed to be responsible for everything.

“You found a bag of gold? God led you there.”
“Your child died? God did that.”
“There is no rain? God has caused it as He is displeased.”
“Your cows have produced many calves? God is pleased with you.”

Remove God and put in place the real explanation, and we see that there is no need for God.

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I think that people are basically good, I think that we all have an equal capacity to be reasonable and moral, I think that we all desire to be, and I don’t think that we need a divine revelation in order to cooperate, work together, have each other’s best interest at heart, and to love one another. The evil that we do is rarely causeless, and it’s rarely so cut and dry as “I do this just because I’m an a**hole and I don’t care about anyone but myself”, most of the time it’s because of lack of education, lack of opportunity, poverty, and an inequality of conditions, but Christianity in particular holds that it’s because of a corrupt state of our nature that happened when man fell. I don’t believe that, and I don’t think it’s possible. There are fucked up people, sure, and most of the time we find that they have a neurological problem (and thus weren’t culpable), but that’s not what scripture is talking about, it’s saying that the average person basically just wants to stab people in the face, rape anything that moves, drink anything with alcohol, eat everything that tastes good: the reason for this is a supernatural defect in our nature, and the solution is a divine revelation.
Hole in one.

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I can accept the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Immaculate Conception, and all the rest,
I’m surprised.
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Thoughts please ladies and gentlemen, I’m really trying to work this out.
You’re right. God is invented by man. God is what we do not know. “God did it.” is never a correct answer. God is our ignorance, our lack of knowledge, the holes in an explanation that wait to be filled by bright scientists, authors and artists and generally good people.

May you continue to think for yourself.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Gohavesomefun

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2012, 04:34:20 PM »
Do not stop thinking about it and ignore those to tell you to stop in so many words. The more you investigate the more things start to fit and suddenly that anxiety turns into joy and conviction in the quest for knowledge.

Forgive my own interjection on your situation, but I too; suffered the same background and made the choice to drop religion. I didn't so much embrace Athiesm, not in the sense I traded beliefs, instead; I realised that I was always an Athiest, I was just carrying around religion. It felt much better once I dropped it. 
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Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2012, 04:34:31 PM »
The fallen nature of man is seldom properly explained by Christianity which is why it makes little sense to many people <snip>

When a claim is filled with that many contradictions, the only proper explanation is that it is false.      Period.

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However, there is at least one way of understanding this 'fatal flaw' so that it can begin to make sense. 

If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) <snip>

If you recognize the nature of YHWH as selfless, you haven't investigated him thoroughly enough.
Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2012, 10:01:32 PM »
I look at the state of society today and I don’t see a “fallen” world, I see a world that is just beginning to learn how to make life better for its self, and end once necessary evils. New technologies and economic models made it possible for us to have leisure time without the need for slaves; we’ve gotten to the point where we can grow food almost anywhere in the world in almost any climate, lifespans and quality of life have improved for the vast majority of people on this planet, and we’re working to extend them; Human rights, democracy, and pluralism are the standard in the developed world and more and more countries are adopting them, these are not these actions of “fallen” people who, but for the grace of God cannot do otherwise. And that is what has me on the move.

I wanted to expand on a sentence you wrote here, if I may.  You said that with technology, we now have abundant 'leisure time', and I totally agree.  Prior to having that leisure time, there was no way to examine the universe thoroughly in the way we can now, because survival was more important.  And as a result of that leisure time, we have unraveled some of the mysteries of the universe, and we have learned enough now to tilt away from the old theories of gods and devils.  They served their time.  Now, their time is over.  A change is on the horizon, but religion will never go down without a fight. We can make this world great, but not if we cling to old ways of thinking.  Christianity teaches you that you are wretched and that you need saving.  No. We don't need saving.  As Samuel L. Jackson might say, we just need to grow, the fuck, up. 

Your sentiment that humanity is a wonderful thing is duly noted. I really enjoyed reading this paragraph you wrote PAL.  Thank you. 
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

Offline Aaron123

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2012, 11:43:33 PM »
If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) and recognise the nature of man as self-based (as is the nature of selfishness) it is possible to see that firstly there is a gigantic divide between us and God and secondly that selfishness and humanity are inextricably linked.

Exodus 20:4-5

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me



Explain to me how god can both be jealous and "selfless".
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline Dominic

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2012, 01:22:02 AM »
If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) and recognise the nature of man as self-based (as is the nature of selfishness) it is possible to see that firstly there is a gigantic divide between us and God and secondly that selfishness and humanity are inextricably linked.

Exodus 20:4-5

You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me



Explain to me how god can both be jealous and "selfless".

A literal interpretation of the bible is a mistake and can lead to many contradictions.  When Protestants broke away from the Church at or after the reformation they rejected the Church's authority to interpret scripture and in most cases they claimed that the bible was the only authority ('sola scriptura').

This position of the Protestants was a ridiculous one because a book can never have authority over a church which produced that book.

The Bible is a book which sets out some of the history of Judaism and the formation of the Christian Church.  It is a very useful and enlightening book but any attempts to interpret it literally will in many cases lead to very serious misunderstanding.

The Bible was written by men and thus is influenced by all the limitations of those men.  Each of them wrote to the best of his ability with his knowledge and understanding at the time but that understanding was limited.  The Church on the other hand continues to improve its understanding as it evolves and will explain the meaning and relevance of bible passages as and when it sees fit for the guidance of its followers.

Now, the wording 'jealous God' used by the OT writer is a human metaphor as an attempt to describe God's attitude.  Whenever God's attitude is described by man, metaphor is involved because the writer is trying to describe a complex concept in a way that humans can understand and even in a way that the writer himself can understand. 

The teaching of the Church (on the other hand) is that there is only one God and that creating other gods is not only foolish but will lead to harm for the followers and their descendants.  It is AS IF a jealous God was punishing those who worship other gods but this is a metaphor for the mess that you will get yourself (and your families) into if you make up an alternative (and therefore fake) god and alternative (fake) teachings and alternative (fake) religious practices.



Offline Seppuku

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2012, 03:30:12 AM »
I think what also led to some of that break up was corruption from within the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church hasn't exactly been consistent with its claims either.

What about the Medieval Inquisition of heresy? This was from the Catholic Church, it included the more well known Spanish Inquisition, but it wasn't the only one. After 1252 the Pope allowed for the use of torture in these inquisitions and some could be pretty brutal.

These days, the Catholic Church has nowhere near the power it used to, there's absolutely no way it could get away with killing heretics or torturing people find out if they're a heretic anymore. The Church's darkened history would probably violate every human rights law today. I am a heretic, once upon a time your church would have punished me for it, in some cases, killed me and if I denied my heresy? They'd torture the crap out of me. This is the kind of thing we're seeing some people do in Islamic states and people are showing their absolute disgust for what they do (Christians included) but it is no different to the History of Christianity, it's just today they've got bigger and better weapons, to them we are the heretics.

They had authority on the word of God back then and they also have authority on it today. Yet, the Catholic Church then is very different to what it is now, arguably it's a lot better now (though protecting kiddy fiddlers doesn't exactly sit well with me), but whose authority on the word of God do we trust? Pope Benedict XVI? Pope Innocent IV (who said yay! to torture)? Or the numerous popes and scholars throughout History? Because they certainly wouldn't agree with one and another. The Church likes to change its mind or adapt.

To my mind, that suggests the Catholic Church suffers from the exact same problems as the Protestants and that is their uncertainty of how the bible should be read - perhaps they too have SPAG or simply use the teachings of the bible to best suit them, but the difference between the two is Protestants believe the average man can interpret the bible whilst Catholics believe it's up to a higher authority (hence it was considered a crime to translate the bible into the language of common men, like English). I think given the Catholic Church in medieval times it is no surprise that the Protestant movement would come about, because people were probably tired of the bullshit and wanted to know what the word of God was and the only way to do that was to read the bible and have no man have the authority over the word of God (though, it doesn't seem to be the case anymore, as Protestants seem to allow men to have power over the word of God today).
“It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet” - Miyamoto Musashi
Warning: I occassionally forget to proofread my posts to spot typos or to spot poor editing.

Online jaimehlers

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2012, 06:51:16 AM »
The fallen nature of man is seldom properly explained by Christianity which is why it makes little sense to many people eg there is a seeming contradiction or illogicality in God creating people who are seemingly so fatally flawed.  And how can this alleged 'original sin' apply to me when I don't even know what it is that I'm supposed to have done !?
It's seldom explained by Christianity because Christianity recognizes God as having been anything but selfless (most notably in the Old Testament, though there's some in the New Testament too).

Quote from: Dominic
However, there is at least one way of understanding this 'fatal flaw' so that it can begin to make sense. 

If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) and recognise the nature of man as self-based (as is the nature of selfishness) it is possible to see that firstly there is a gigantic divide between us and God and secondly that selfishness and humanity are inextricably linked.

The good news is (and this is the whole purpose of religion) is that man can return to the selfless state (heaven).
Philosophical drivel such as this isn't really very useful for understanding anything.  I mean, in order to make it fit at all, you have to treat the Bible completely as a metaphorical document that must be interpreted.  Which is fine, except that then you're making the same mistake Christians have always made, of picking and choosing which parts actually matter, versus which parts you can ignore as pure metaphor.  This makes the Bible a fairly useless book, all told, since saying the Bible is metaphorical negates any way to tell if there's any truth to it to begin with.

It would be like a "history book" which didn't distinguish between events that happened and myths that never did and then expecting people to tell what was what.  Or, rather, having Church leaders do it instead, because they were "closer to God" and thus could interpret more accurately.  Therein lies the problem; if you don't agree that those Church leaders are interpreting the metaphorical Bible right, there's no way you can prove it, and there's no way those Church leaders can prove it either.  In other words, it becomes an issue of what a person wants to believe.  Which is fine, for them.

But it sure makes it tough for them to show that they actually have a correct understanding of things, if all they have to go on is interpreting a book written by humans and an amorphous sense of "what God wants" that comes from inside.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2012, 07:27:49 AM »
A literal interpretation of the bible is a mistake and can lead to many contradictions.
So you are saying that God is congenitally incapable of making himself understood?

If so, you have this "Manual for Life" (the Bible) that may as well be written in Chinglish and yet, and yet we are supposed to follow it?
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When Protestants broke away from the Church at or after the reformation they rejected the Church's authority to interpret scripture and in most cases they claimed that the bible was the only authority ('sola scriptura').

This position of the Protestants was a ridiculous one because a book can never have authority over a church which produced that book.
Your description of the history is correct, but your conclusion is flawed: No - it was not stupid at all. Look at the crimes of the "Catholic Church". Look at the way they interpreted the Bible and still do - how is their interpretation any better or worse than a Protestant one, where the Protestant believes we can speak to God directly and have Him answer our questions? How were the College of Cardinals getting their messages?

And look how many times the Catholic Church changed its mind on what God thought.

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The Bible is a book which sets out some of the history of Judaism
Yes
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and the formation of the Christian Church.
It ends well before that time.
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It is a very useful and enlightening book but any attempts to interpret it literally will in many cases lead to very serious misunderstanding.
Is there a version of the Bible that is clearer? E.g. one where these "non-literal passages" are marked out? No, there isn't... and why not? Because the whole thing is the work of some deluded and poorly informed men telling a story that had been Chinese Whispered down through the ages and trying to make sense of it in a way that would earn them the most money from the poor and ignorant.

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The Bible was written by men and thus is influenced by all the limitations of those men.  Each of them wrote to the best of his ability with his knowledge and understanding at the time but that understanding was limited.  The Church on the other hand continues to improve its understanding as it evolves and will explain the meaning and relevance of bible passages as and when it sees fit for the guidance of its followers.
This paragraph contradicts itself - first you say the Bible is the work of limited intellects, then you say the interpretation is also the work of man - i.e. limited intellects and, more to the point, limited intellects with an axe to grind.

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Now, the wording 'jealous God' used by the OT writer is a human metaphor as an attempt to describe God's attitude.
Either you are lying or sadly extremely mistaken. The Bible alleges that many of the following, in which God is "jealous" are said by God Himself and are certainly allegedly carved in tablets of stone by Moses who got it straight from God.

Ex:20:5: Ex:34:14: Ex:20:5: Ex:34:14: De:4:24: De:5:9: De:6:15: Jos:24:19: De:5:9: De:6:15: Jos:24:19:

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Whenever God's attitude is described by man, metaphor is involved because the writer is trying to describe a complex concept in a way that humans can understand and even in a way that the writer himself can understand.
This is a failure of logic - God speaks to a man... that man then tries to tell what God said to other men... but fails because it is so complex... then how did the first man understand?

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The teaching of the Church (on the other hand) is that there is only one God and that creating other gods is not only foolish but will lead to harm for the followers and their descendants.
Firstly, it is abundantly apparent that there are many other gods, and Yahweh recognised that fact - the other gods are named and shamed in the Bible - on one occasion another god defeats Yahweh... but then you are a Catholic and will never have read a bible in your life, and so  will not know this.

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It is AS IF a jealous God was punishing those who worship other gods but this is a metaphor for the mess that you will get yourself (and your families) into if you make up an alternative (and therefore fake) god and alternative (fake) teachings and alternative (fake) religious practices.
There is no suggestion that other gods are fake gods - please provide some evidence of this wild statement.

You have wasted a lot of time trotting out the dogma of the Church of Rome - a dogma that, it must be said, is no better or worse than the general run of the mill apologists - basically, all you are saying is believe what I believe and TBH, there is not the slightest shred of evidence that you are not deluded in your belief system and much to suggest you are.

2 Chronicles 15:13 Whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

John 15:6 "If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."

2 Thessalonians 1:8 "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:"

RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline screwtape

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2012, 07:02:28 PM »

The fallen nature of man is seldom properly explained by Christianity which is why it makes little sense to many people eg there is a seeming contradiction or illogicality in God creating people who are seemingly so fatally flawed.  And how can this alleged 'original sin' apply to me when I don't even know what it is that I'm supposed to have done !?

However, there is at least one way of understanding this 'fatal flaw' so that it can begin to make sense. 

If we recognise the nature of God as selfless (as is the nature of love) and recognise the nature of man as self-based (as is the nature of selfishness) it is possible to see that firstly there is a gigantic divide between us and God and secondly that selfishness and humanity are inextricably linked.

The good news is (and this is the whole purpose of religion) is that man can return to the selfless state (heaven).

Dominic,

I said "useless post" in my karma description because what you are doing here is incoherent, self contradictory and not scriptural. 

Original sin was described by Irenaeus and Augustine in the same way you describe it in the first paragraph.   They may not be any more scriptural than you, but that is beside the point.  You gave an alternative view of it which is without basis for any of us to think it is so.  Ipse dixit, as the lawyers would say.

In your alternative view you said people are selfish and god is selfless.  I agree with you about people being selfish.  We have to be, at least to some degree.  The whole idea of self preservation is inherently selfish.  So selfish is not always a bad thing. 

But the idea of god being selfless - seriously?  Have you never read the OT?  yhwh does one monstrously selfish thing after another.  Love does not come into the picture, only obedience.  It is not until post exile that the hebrews start to rehabilitate yhwh as loveable.  Before that he is Jealous and to be feared,as others have pointed out.[1] 

Besides all that, your vision does not contradict that of Irenaeus.  Irenaeus & Augustine both thought the sin of Eve was something that damaged the universe, thus making mankind fatally flawed.  In your view, we are inherently selfish.  Potato - po-TAH-toe.  I don't see how that is any different.  yhwh could have created us otherwise, but didn't.  So we are right back where we started - created with a fatal flaw and doomed to eternal torture because of that flaw.

It seems to me that if an omnipotent being were actually selfless, then he could set aside his alleged intolerance for sin and just let everyone into heaven with no strings attached.  That would actually be selfless.

 1. Ex 20:5, Ex 34:14, Deut 4:24, Deut 5:9; Num 1:53, 16:46, Deut 9:19, 29:20, 29:28, Josh 22:20, 1 Sam 28:18 to name but the tiniest fraction of instances.  I also had a whole thread on Jealous:http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,10880.0.html
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #25 on: October 07, 2012, 08:31:54 PM »
A selfless god would fix us.. fix us every one.

If there was an atheist, god would let himself be known to the atheist.
If there was an amputee, god would fix his body.
ad infinitum..

You god does not do this because of "excuse #1," "excuse #2," etc..
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Philosopher_at_large

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #26 on: January 26, 2013, 03:41:28 AM »
A selfless god would fix us.. fix us every one.

If there was an atheist, god would let himself be known to the atheist.
If there was an amputee, god would fix his body.
ad infinitum..

You god does not do this because of "excuse #1," "excuse #2," etc..

Why? Why would he do thosse things?
"A moral philosophy that is fact based should be based upon the facts about human nature and nothing else." - Mortimer J. Adler

Offline Azdgari

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #27 on: January 26, 2013, 03:54:08 AM »
That would depend on its motives.  If they are benevolent, then that would be the motive to do those things.

If it is not benevolent, then of course all bets are off.
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Brakeman

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Re: I am trending toward Atheism (Currently Catholic Christian)
« Reply #28 on: January 26, 2013, 10:37:31 AM »
A selfless god would fix us.. fix us every one.

If there was an atheist, god would let himself be known to the atheist.
If there was an amputee, god would fix his body.
ad infinitum..

You god does not do this because of "excuse #1," "excuse #2," etc..

Why? Why would he do those things?
Because of the qualities of selflessness. He is able to alleviate suffering but refuses until the victims perform for him in the way he specifies, by the acts of supplication and thought control, aka faith. To the non brainwashed, god is the ultimate ass-hole bully.
He is not unlike the schoolyard bully that gives wedgies and bruises until you submit and cry "uncle." 
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !