Author Topic: Prayer  (Read 603 times)

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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Prayer
« on: October 26, 2013, 03:52:17 AM »
Jesus in Mark 11:22-24 states;

"“Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them."


I'm debating with several Christians why, although Jesus says you can ask and be given whatever you want in prayer, this quite clearly isn't the case. I'm basically trying to get them to understand that the bible is a work of fiction, of myth. The Christians are clinging to the line that prayer is only answered if it's God's will. My point is that Jesus did not say that. So in conjunction with Revelations 22:18 I'm trying to show them that to make this bible work for themselves, they have to change it. They won't accept they do this. My latest post;

"Unfortunately both of you have been blinded. Let me see if I can explain another way;
Examine these two statements;
1. "I'm going to give you a lift to the airport"
2. "I'm going to give you a lift to the airport... if it suits me"

Now I trust you are both capable of understanding that with the second statement I attached a condition? The condition has now completely changed the first statement. The condition has weakened the first statement. You can now no longer rely on me giving you a lift.

Jesus makes an unconditional statement about the power of prayer, beginning with "Have faith in God". You come along 2000 years later and worry that Jesus can't keep his promise about the power of prayer and so you decide to add a condition to Jesus's original statement. You add the condition "If it is God's will." And in doing so you change the power of Jesus's statement. You weaken, water down Jesus's statement about the power of prayer. You then kid yourself that you have 'interpreted' the bible and refuse to look facts in the face and accept that you have changed the bible.

Hope this helps you both understand that 'interpreting' the bible is a sugar coated way of saying that one has changed the meaning of the bible. No amount of putting fingers in ears and saying "La la la, I can't hear you" will change this fact.
"

So, how solid is a Christian's footing for feeling able to 'interpret' or change the bible? Is there a line elsewhere that trumps Jesus's statement?

The Christians also argue that I cannot quote this line because it is 'out of context'. Any thoughts on that view?
« Last Edit: October 26, 2013, 03:53:58 AM by Ron Jeremy »
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline jetson

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 07:05:16 AM »
Anytime a known non-believer quotes the bible, it will be "out of context".  It's almost a guarantee.  What's really sad is that most of those you argue with, have not read it themselves.  I'm not sure why, but even when Christians disagree amongst themselves about "context", they will band together in agreement against outside challenges.

I do like the way you set it up though.  I am going to try that approach with some friends, see how they reply.

Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2013, 07:41:32 AM »
Hello Ron
"If it's gods will" really is the greatest excuse for the fact that no prayers are ever answered.
It simply proves there is absolutely no point in praying in the first place (unless your friends can claim to know what gods will is,and even then it is pointless praying as god would be doing his will anyway).
Great scenario using the lift.
Perhaps you could challenge your friends to show you evidence of a single prayer EVER being answered without a more likely explanation being possible.


"Do I look like someone who cares what god thinks" - pinhead

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2013, 10:57:37 AM »
To be honest, the main Christian I know well. He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk too. He will have poor families staying with him for weeks on end, feeding them from his own pocket, to name but one of his good deeds. He is a genuinely decent chap who acts for the good of his fellow man more than I do. He has also read the bible cover to cover numerous times.

Thought you might be interested in our continuing discussion. Many of the points I make are based on information gained here or on other sites. I hope he won't mind me posting his replies to me;

Christian -
THE LAW

1.   People shall not racially abuse others
2.   Racial discrimination is not allowed
3.   All nationalities shall be respected
4.   Free speech shall be upheld

If the above were to be the law of the land, could I on the basis of Law number 4 state –

All Scotsmen are goons, and each one should be identified in order to warn others.

No way (even if its true) because each law has to be taken within the context of the whole. That is plain English – or is that the problem?

(NB from Ron - You may have guessed he's English and I'm Scottish)

Ron -  I can see where you are coming from; Jesus was in error. Without adding the five words, Jesus is offering an unconditional promise of prayer; this, as you claim, is not the case. Either way, the bible has to be changed to accommodate this error.

The same applies to God claiming that Adam and Eve would 'die in the day if they eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil'. They don't die within the day, Christians have to add to the bible the word 'spiritually' when quite clearly God did not mean this. If He had meant 'spiritually' he would have said that.


Christian -  So, if every verse is to be taken within the context of the whole, each verse needs to have every other verse that relates to it tagged on. You want a bigger Bible?

Ron - You are also forgetting that in your example, the law (taking the role of Jesus in our discussion) makes it quite clear that freedom of speech is constrained by adherence to other parts of the law. Jesus quite specifically does not make this distinction.
The trouble is, that view opens the bible to 'interpretation' by everyone. This is why the Westboro Baptist Church can spread their hate by using the bible.
It seems crystal clear to me, that if this book had been written by a god, there would be no such confusion.
The offer of receiving what you pray for is a pretty big deal. That promise should have been quantified with those five words. Adam and Eve's story should have been quantified by one extra word. Perhaps I can point you to the dreary nonsense within the bible where countless hundreds of pages are devoted to who's son was named what, how many tent poles were used to hold up the tent of the covenant, retold and duplicated. The bible has plenty of room for this stuff, but can't spare the words to clarify the importance of prayer, or what would happen to Adam and Eve or get the name of the High Priest right (Abiathar & Ahimilech - another discussion)?! This is how I know the book was not written or inspired by a god.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline RubyLeo

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2013, 10:07:50 AM »
Hello Ron.  Nice arguments you make there - they make sense to those of us on the "other side" of course, but with christians, not so much.  I strongly believe that the biggest obstacle to getting them to understand and agree with your points is known as "confirmation bias" - which is the tendency to interpret results in a way that is biased to what you already believe.

A christian who is adamant in their beliefs will always have a ready answer about prayer not being answered; that it is "not aligned with god's plan" or "he has something better for me which is why it did not happen" - and so on.

I can give you an example from my own life, from when I believed.  We tried to sell our home a long time ago.  We failed.  I was so upset.  My husband shortly after got laid off from his job - I thought:  "see, god was looking out for us!"  - while ignoring the fact that my husband got a better paying job just weeks later.  I had a clear bias in 'defending' god in not answering my prayer about our home sale.  &)

(And in hindsight, I am now appalled that I would pray about such things with so much suffering in the world. Like god will rush to my aid in selling my home while ignoring the anguished cries of starving children.)

I like your arguments very much - especially the part about how the bible goes to great lengths to list out names, while curiously leaving out matters of serious importance for clarification...  Personally, I would also point out the discrepancy between god "answering" someone's prayer to find their lost car keys (hallelujah!) while ignoring a child's pleas for help while being abused.  I know very well that's an emotional argument, but still - if it had occurred to me sooner it might have gotten to me (it did not because of confirmation bias - I wanted to believe what backed up my opinion).
"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. "
~ Thomas Paine

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2013, 12:01:13 PM »
Cheers Ruby. I get constantly met with the line "If you could only let Jesus into your heart, you'd understand." So I'm thinking about agreeing to that. I'll need to ask them exactly how I do this, none of them ever seem to understand the analogy about them being asked to take a leap of faith and believe in Zeus, so I think I'll try this. Of course I might actually find I do believe in Bible God, but I'd like to find out what happens if I don't. If nothing else I'll have an answer to that line.
As always, any suggestions welcome.
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 01:50:11 PM »
"Letting jeezus into your heart" always involves the loss of your brain cells.  Apparently, jeezus makes room for himself by throwing out the logic center of your brain?
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2013, 02:59:46 PM »
 :) Good point!!
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Wasserbuffel

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2013, 05:00:40 PM »
Quote
Personally, I would also point out the discrepancy between god "answering" someone's prayer to find their lost car keys (hallelujah!) while ignoring a child's pleas for help while being abused.

Just like the overarching question posed by this forum, that's one thing I've always detested about prayer.  It's so useless, but people do it all the time.  It's like those yellow ribbons that say "support our troops". A ribbon does nothing to support them, it just makes YOU feel like you're doing something so you don't have to actually do it.


Offline wheels5894

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2013, 05:15:45 PM »
"Letting Jesus into your heart", on the assumption that there is not such character as Jesus, seems to mean accepting the doctrine of the church or organisation into yourself and doing what they say. Thus is that church does not expect Jesus to deliver on his promises you wouldn't either.

As far as the promises of Jesus, has it been suggested that  a true Christian would just ask for anything so the point doesn't arise? Otherwise, why not get this guy to pray for god to get rid of malaria in the world overnight. It is selfless, something a loving god would want etc. If he thinks his god wouldn't do that, then there is a severe lack of faith on his part. 
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline RubyLeo

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2013, 12:24:03 AM »
Quote
Personally, I would also point out the discrepancy between god "answering" someone's prayer to find their lost car keys (hallelujah!) while ignoring a child's pleas for help while being abused.

Just like the overarching question posed by this forum, that's one thing I've always detested about prayer.  It's so useless, but people do it all the time.  It's like those yellow ribbons that say "support our troops". A ribbon does nothing to support them, it just makes YOU feel like you're doing something so you don't have to actually do it.

^THIS!  I have a son with autism, but you won't see me with the "autism puzzle ribbon" because what in the hell would that accomplish?  I try to make a difference in other ways. Regarding the troops -I am involved in an organization called soldiersangels.com that I highly recommend for anyone wishing to do more than put a yellow ribbon magnet on their car (it involves writing letters and sending care packages to servicemembers overseas).

Didn't mean to thread-jack.  Just giving a hearty agreement to the uselessness of prayer (and ribbons, lol).

Besides, I always did wonder, if god has a divine plan and is omniscient - then prayer seems like a cruel and senseless thing to make his subjects do:  get on our knees and BEG when he already knows what he's going to do anyway?  Kinda sick when you think about it....

"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. "
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Offline wheels5894

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2013, 03:10:12 AM »
Quite right, RubyLeo, the 'least you could do is pray' but are obviously doing more than the least!
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline neopagan

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2013, 11:38:33 AM »
If I had a dollar for every fundy friend who now tells me h/she is "praying for me" since my deconversion... well, the cash would be a hell of a lot more beneficial than their prayers.
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2013, 12:28:34 PM »
I don't know whether some people even think about what they are saying when they say, 'I'll pray for you' and it's almost like they mean I hope things go right for you / you recover etc. Of course some people really mean it and actually do pray for people but the thing is those people who do this must either think they are helping a person spiritually or they are very low expectation of their god since even the most faithful can see nothing actually happens when we pray.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline neopagan

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2013, 12:31:47 PM »
^^^My wife huddles the kids together every night in the back room and makes a point of saying, "We are going to pray for you before bed." I just ignore it now... like her god does them.
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline RubyLeo

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2013, 12:44:29 PM »
I'm mortified to admit I used to do the "I'm praying for you" line. A lot. It's one of those handy-dandy go-to comments to turn to when you're not sure what to say. I've trained myself to now say "I'm thinking of you," which honestly is almost as inane.  Almost.

One huge positive step in the right direction is that, although I always tried being actively helpful to someone in need - I'm far more likely now to take action more quickly. Since I no longer have the "I'm praying for you" filler in my repertoire, I have noticed that I'm far more action oriented.

A dear friend of mine is a life-long atheist.  She has never once said "I'm praying for you." She doesn't say anything - she simply DOES something.  I am recovering from major surgery right now, and she never said "can I do something for you?" - she simply showed up and helped.  She is a real inspiration to me.

On the other hand, another friend has texted me a couple of times telling me that I am in her prayers.  She hasn't done jack-shit to help me however. 



"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. "
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2013, 12:50:42 PM »
It's alwys easier to say something than actually do something.  The problem is, saying you are praying implies you are doing something to help (even if it's something advancing your agenda against that person's will). 

I do tend to tell theists I encounter that I will talk to my garden rock about their problem (done it here too with folks and my rock rocks!) and some godbotherers have been offended... well, do tell!  ;)
« Last Edit: October 29, 2013, 02:26:00 PM by neopagan »
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Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2013, 02:24:03 PM »
I am recovering from major surgery right now, and she never said "can I do something for you?" - she simply showed up and helped.  She is a real inspiration to me.

On the other hand, another friend has texted me a couple of times telling me that I am in her prayers.  She hasn't done jack-shit to help me however.
I really hope all goes with your recovery.I think I will have to excuse myself from any practical help, I suspect the distance would make it a bit tricky.

I have mentioned this in another thread but some friends of ours have a 2 year old daughter who is in hospital being treated for leukemia (treatment is going very well, she has just been moved out of isolation).
As soon as my wife heard what was happening she got straight in touch and the next day we had their 2 dogs staying with us. My wife sends them regular pictures on facebook and these really cheer their daughter up. It's my wife's posts that get all the "likes" and thank you comments.
(My wife won't let me join facebook- she says I would probably upset people telling them what I really think about the meaningless crap a lot of them post).
We do not want any thanks, we are all dog lovers and felt it was the least we could do to actually help. How could any one not help?
Plenty of people seem to post messages to them regarding praying for you all so probably better if we don't, god might get a bit annoyed if too many people keep asking for the same thing &)
 

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Offline RubyLeo

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2013, 06:28:19 PM »
I am recovering from major surgery right now, and she never said "can I do something for you?" - she simply showed up and helped.  She is a real inspiration to me.

On the other hand, another friend has texted me a couple of times telling me that I am in her prayers.  She hasn't done jack-shit to help me however.
I really hope all goes with your recovery.I think I will have to excuse myself from any practical help, I suspect the distance would make it a bit tricky.

I have mentioned this in another thread but some friends of ours have a 2 year old daughter who is in hospital being treated for leukemia (treatment is going very well, she has just been moved out of isolation).
As soon as my wife heard what was happening she got straight in touch and the next day we had their 2 dogs staying with us. My wife sends them regular pictures on facebook and these really cheer their daughter up. It's my wife's posts that get all the "likes" and thank you comments.
(My wife won't let me join facebook- she says I would probably upset people telling them what I really think about the meaningless crap a lot of them post).
We do not want any thanks, we are all dog lovers and felt it was the least we could do to actually help. How could any one not help?
Plenty of people seem to post messages to them regarding praying for you all so probably better if we don't, god might get a bit annoyed if too many people keep asking for the same thing &)

Thank you for your kind words - that means more than prayer, for sure.  :)

That is so awesome about the dogs - how thoughtful of you and your wife! That is caring in action!

I used to be on Facebook but it made me actively dislike people. Soooo I had no choice but to leave the site or I was going to start making sarcastic and unwelcome comments, lol.
"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. "
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Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2013, 07:59:10 AM »
I used to be on Facebook but it made me actively dislike people. Soooo I had no choice but to leave the site or I was going to start making sarcastic and unwelcome comments, lol.
glad I'm not the only one that feels like that!

Seeing as this is a prayer thread, must be time for one of these-
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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2013, 08:07:38 AM »
Ah the Germanic-Swiss-Scandinavian genes really do make the best looking Jesus's, eh?! I certainly wouldn't trust straggly bearded Arab looking Jesus, good gracious no!
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Jonny-UK

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2013, 08:16:14 AM »
^^good point.
Must have been a SPAG portrait.
"Do I look like someone who cares what god thinks" - pinhead

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2013, 10:03:20 AM »
Great picture, Jonny! I like the text especially.

Any Christians there - what do you think praying is doing?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Online Add Homonym

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2013, 10:12:55 AM »
Rev 22:18 only applies the the book of Rev. If none of them have spotted that, then you aren't arguing with geniuses.

I'd hit them with Mark 16:17-18
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Re: Prayer
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2013, 10:49:56 AM »
All the comments about praying instead of doing reminded me of what I tell family and co-workers;

"If someone comes in here shooting up the place, please don't get on your knees and pray, stand up an attack the muther fucker just like I'm gonna do."
I'd cut him if he stands, and I'd shoot him if he'd run
 Yes I'd kill him with my Bible and my razor and my gun

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Offline Ron Jeremy

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2013, 12:08:06 PM »
Cheers A.H. Mark 16:17-18 sounds like my new favourite hitting stick
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2013, 12:35:47 PM »
I like, "PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. " from The Devil's Dictionary" by Ambrose Bierce.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2013, 01:31:06 PM »
Ah the Germanic-Swiss-Scandinavian genes really do make the best looking Jesus's, eh?! I certainly wouldn't trust straggly bearded Arab looking Jesus, good gracious no!

I was wondering how the Christian god and Jesus are portrayed around the world. I remember seeing some religious posters in Africa which showed a black man with halos but I am not sure who it was supposed to be.
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Offline neopagan

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Re: Prayer
« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2013, 02:19:35 PM »
^^^ Was they selling first person shooter video games?  :)
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan