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I would say that the long, slow evolution of religions in general, and christianity in particular is so broad and complex that this idea isn't tenable.
Religion & Society / Re: The irony of Islam...
« Last post by jaimehlers on Today at 10:11:56 AM »
I think you meant that you see very little conversation about Hinduism compared to Christianity, etc.  I had a hard time deciphering what you were trying to say, so this is mostly to help anyone else who might be confused.

I would say that tendency to simply live and let worship is probably a big part of the reason Hinduism (and related religions, like Buddhism) aren't really discussed here much.  There are problems with both, but compared to the Abrahamic religions, they're relatively small potatoes.  For example, the tendency of Muslims to massacre anyone who doesn't abide by their religion[, or the tendency of Christians to push the primacy of beliefs over reality, are both pretty serious issues.
Like others have said, and I appreciate the defense...   I don't think that Bible Student is comparing himself to Moses or Muhammad or something.   But, the point is, many believers feel that the reason non-believers don't believe... is that we just haven't done the work.  We haven't prayed.  We haven't sought.  We haven't tried.   We've been close minded.

At the same time, most believers claim to have had some kind of personal experience with God...   when I used to be a believer, and I attended post-service Bible studies, we had these things called "Only God" moments, where, everyone would go around and point out how God was working in their lives.   For example, if you were delayed at work, and there was an accident on the highway you take home, the person might say, "God saved me from death in a car accident."    And, that's their "proof" of God.

I feel that it's not a humble position.   It's "God saved me, but he didn't save the people who died."   It's implied... "I have a special cosmic purpose that God kept me alive for."

Whatever your God moment...  just because I'm not willing to shoehorn random coincidences and human driven events into a cosmic plan, it doesn't mean I'm not open to actual proof of something supernatural.

But as many here have said, it would take extraordinary proof... not just shoddy eye-witness testimony by people long dead recorded decades after the fact.

[bold mine]

With regards to your last sentence, is that the extent of the evidence you have sought out...the Bible? I suspect your comment contains hyperbole and that you examined evidence outside of the Bible??

You have a super-sensitivity to any semantic errors or exaggeration on the part of a non-believer, but seemingly little sensitivity to when believers exaggerate or invent the role of God in their lives... but, I'll bite.

In addition to being a believer for 3+ decades, and a re-baptized born-again for 2+ decades, and having attended Bible Studies, church services, read the Bible, listened to apologists like William Lane Craig, went to Christian concerts, volunteered at church charitable events, and prayed my tail off... I've also explored miraculous claims by the Catholic Church and faith healers and claims of medical miracles.

Jeanna Giese was the first girl to survive rabies without having been given a vaccine. She tried to save a bat that had fallen to the floor in church, was bitten, and didn't realize she had contracted rabies.   By the time they figured it out, it was advanced.   Her family and church all prayed for her, and she survived!   It's a miracle!   Even the start of the video calls it a "medical miracle" and, that's the point where believers stop listening.

But if you actually follow the story, what really happened is a radical new treatment was devised to keep Jeanna in a coma and prevent the virus from being able to advance up the nervous system until Jeanna's body could begin to fight the virus.   The body can fight rabies, but, it kills the person before the body can get it's defenses up.    A combination of radical treatments, radical anti-virals, and the top doctors at her hospital and the CDC all combined to throw low-probability chance Jeanna's way.    Jeanna had to learn how to walk and talk again, and is still not the same as she was prior to the infection.

Her recovery took nearly a full agonizing year, and, again, she's not fully recovered... she was a high school athlete, highly fit, highly active, with a great immune system.

To believers, God stepped in and "did a miracle".    But ignore the fact that doctors nearly killed Jeanna just to put her in the deepest coma with drugs, and the poor girl wasn't "healed miraculously".

Sure, a long and torturous, emotionally painful recovery, with a lower quality of life forever, is better than death... but, there's nothing involved in Jeanna's cure that requires God.    All of the actual things that cured Jeanna were from human beings and science and her own young, previously healthy body.

I've googled stories of miracles, and, I've never found one that doesn't follow this pattern where...    something horrific happens, someone barely survives, a believer praises God, and all of the awfulness and negative side effects and human effort are just crapped on and ignored by believers.    You got your "proof" and you can ignore the tragedy and move on.

When someone avoided going to work on 9-11... IT'S A MIRACLE!    But when thousands die needlessly in a terrorist act, it's human sin.     Why didn't God warn everyone to stay home sick?   Because all of these claimed miracles aren't miracles at all?   Or because God has to be a sneaky sneak?   Or because God has special plans for certain people who are just way more important than others?

When a wildfire rages through a neighborhood, and spares one house... IT'S A MIRACLE!   But the other 99 houses that burn down, and the children who died screaming in a fire... those are ignored.    Or it's just blown off... "God has called home his little angels."

I wish... I really wish, you would stop and consider how selfish and arrogant it is to take tragedy... take any slice of positive news from it... and slap a "GOD MIRACLE" label on it to sooth your own doubts, and then ignore the actual tragic consequences.

When Jesus walked on water...  did he use a scientifically designed paddle board?

When Jesus cured the sick... did he do it with 2 years of painful medical procedures, drugs, and therapy?

When Jesus rose from the dead... was he newly flat-lined in a hospital, with nurses and doctors using paddles and CPR to keep his heart going?

I'll answer for you... "NO"

But there is very little supporting evidence for Jesus outside of the Bible.   Two historians barely mention him, and don't mention his miracles or that he came back from the dead.

I encourage you to listen to Jeanna struggle to talk about her rabies experience, because her voice his slow and slurred, and how much pain and fear she suffered during her therapy.    I feel horrible for this girl.   I'm glad she's alive, but yet, her lifetime of lower quality of life is the direct result of this girl trying to perform an act of kindness in church.    There's a clip of how her "voice used to be".   The family of course, struggles to be grateful, because she's alive and not dead.    But a real loving god doesn't strike a kid with rabies for trying to perform a good deed in church.    A god who'd allow that is a horrific monster.   The same god did nothing to save Jeanna... it was the doctors and scientists and her immune system that did that.

Jeanna and her parents, being of faith, naturally credit all this to God, fair enough I wouldn't argue with them because she's suffered unfairly enough... but for most believers, you see a headline about some girl who had a miracle, and you just accept it without even looking into it.   Then, you act "better" than non-believers because you've accepted on faith, claims that don't hold up to scrutiny.   No matter how long I tried to be faithful, no matter how much I've read, no matter how much I've listened to apologists and read on   the only way it would be "enough" for you is if I believe exactly like you do.   Until I have your faith, I didn't "do enough reading" or "listen to God working in my life".    You won't even consider that actual GOOD proof would convince me, and it's the lack of this that is the problem.

If you want to accept claims that don't hold up to scrutiny, that's on you... that's not my shortcoming, that's your shortcoming.

If you want to accept claims that don't have a proportionate amount of excellent evidence, again, that's not my shortcoming.

It's arrogant to assume that your lack of requirement of reliable information is a weakness of other people.   It's arrogant to assume that you're specifically chosen by God to have had some kind of interaction that solidified your faith, but the rest of us didn't... or we "ignored ours" so, therefore, nothing less than eternal torture will do.

Your God is LOVE, so, nothing less than eternal torture will "learn me" to believe unproven mythical claims.    (no contradiction there right?)

I am posting this in blue because I feel it is important.

Earlier in this thread I openly confronted a moderator which is against the forum rules. I should not have done this. Most of you probably already know this but please do not ever think it is okay to do what I did. I believe I only escaped repercussions because I received PM’s from two of the moderators politely asking me to not do what I did and my agreement that I wouldn’t. In hindsight, I believe the matter could have been resolved using the remedies which are afforded for conflict resolution involving moderators. I apologize not only to the moderator involved but to all moderators for not being more respectful of the forum rules and their role as moderators.

This is appreciated.  Thanks.

Religion & Society / Re: The irony of Islam...
« Last post by Nudawn11 on Today at 09:26:49 AM »
I mean, when you tell someone to "convert or die", and they don't convert, you've kind of boxed yourself for options, but if the "object lesson" of murdering someone for not converting doesn't work to convince others, then you've got a real problem on your hands.

Even though it is still one of the major global religion I see very little conversation on this forum relative to Christianity, Judaism or Islam.
Born as a Hindu I can say its primarily based on the concept "If it exist in nature then it must be true and we need to accept it" Additionally it is (was?) a progressive thought, based on nature, science (what was evident at that time) and possibility. Additionally it is based on multiple books and NOT one, written over thousands of year and is open to question and modification. The religion is based on inclusiveness and not exclusion.
Hindus, probably did not exactly reject Muslims or Christianity, but took it as a part of their religion, and hence survived the onslaught.

The below anecdotes may seem funny but it is true to the core for this religion. You will find many of each type if you spend enough time in the Hinduism/Buddhism dominated regions. :-)

Who Can be a Hindu?
1) Believe in god! - you're accepted - Aastik
2) Don't believe in god! - You're accepted - Nastik
3) You want to worship idols, please go ahead
4) You dont want to worship idols, please go ahead.
5) You want to criticise something in our religion. Come forward. We are logical. You will be Hindu.
6) You want to accept as it is. Please go ahead with it.
7) You want to start your journey by reading Bhagvad gita - Go ahead
8) You want to start your journey by reading Upanishads - Go ahead.
9) You want to start your journey by reading Purans - Go ahead.
10) You just don't like reading. No problem. Go by Bhakti tradition . ( bhakti - devotion)
11) You don't like idea of Bhakti! No problem, dude. Do your karma.
12) You want to enjoy life. Very good. Go ahead. No problem at all. Charvaka Philosophy
13) You want to abstain from all the enjoyment of life & find god. Wow! Be a Sadhu!
14) You don't like the concept of God. You believe in Nature only. - Welcome."vrukshavalli amha soyare" (Trees are our friends)
15) You believe in one god or supreme energy. Superb! Follow Advaita philosophy.
16) You want a Guru. Go ahead.
17) You don't want a Guru. Go ahead.
18) You believe in Female energy. Welcome! Shaktiism form of Hinduism.
19) You believe every human is the same. Yeah! You're awesome, come let's celebrate Hinduism! "Vasudhaiva kutumbakam" (the world is a family)
20) You don't have anything to do. Don't worry. One more festival is coming!
21) You are a working person. Don't have time for religion. Its okay. You will be a Hindu.
22) You like to go to temples. Please go ahead.
23) You don't like to go to temples, no problem. You are still a Hindu!
24) You know that your religion is a way of life. With freedom.
25) You believe that everything have god in them. So you worship your mother, father, guru, tree, River, Prani-matra, Earth, Universe!
26) And If you don't believe that everything have god in them - No problems. Respect your viewpoint.
27) "sarve sukhin santu" (May all live happy.) "Sarve bhavantu sukhinah" (May all live happy) You represent this!
Religion & Society / Re: The irony of Islam...
« Last post by jdawg70 on Today at 09:08:49 AM »

The way they go about doing it is just for attention. It is one thing to accept someone's homosexuality, but it's another thing to push children toward homosexuality. That is an agenda. A lot of boys are being born and being groomed to be gay. That is not simply "equal rights." That is a problem, an agenda.

Then they try to make everyone who opposes homosexuality into a villain instead of just peacefully accepting their different opinion. They yell and scream until the "homophobes" are fired or apologize. This is America. People have the right to not want to conform to the homosexual lifestyle and make it seem normal. They shouldn't be made to feel like outcasts by "tolerant loving liberals." Can't you see the hypocrisy?

Skep - my bold above.

Do you have any actual evidence of what you posted? Where did you get this idea that "A lot of boys are being born and being groomed to be gay."?

This is quite an assertion and I think we deserve to know where it came from, and what evidence exists to support it.

I second this request.
Religion & Society / Re: The irony of Islam...
« Last post by jaimehlers on Today at 08:31:56 AM »
Not trying to make light of this, but it's obvious that this extended effort at religious genocide failed miserably, seeing as Hinduism is still one of the top religions by number of adherents.

It's also clear that this was a direct response to the overall unwillingness of Hindus to convert to Islam (although that in no way justifies it).  I mean, when you tell someone to "convert or die", and they don't convert, you've kind of boxed yourself for options, but if the "object lesson" of murdering someone for not converting doesn't work to convince others, then you've got a real problem on your hands.
No one has ever indicated to me that someone was teleported anywhere so conveying that message to me would strike me as an extraordinary claim.  In contrast, if someone approached me and said “hey, did you know God [probably] exists?” I would be inclined to say “yes” and find nothing out of the ordinary about that claim….primarily because I am satisfied with the knowledge I possess relative to that claim.

How do we resolve that disagreement?
What kind of evidence would you expect someone to be able to provide if they Bob Smith actually teleported into the bank?  Don't you think you could start and ask about video footage?  Contact info for other people in or out of the bank?  A repeat performance from Bob Smith demonstrating this teleportation?

Basically - formulate some hypotheses regarding the expected outcomes and consequences in the reality we all share of the actuality of the claims being made. you think it's a good idea or a bad idea for someone to be simply satisfied with the knowledge they possess relative to some claim?  What does it mean to be satisfied with knowledge?  That's not one of those "assuming it's correct and cannot be questioned as incorrect" things by accident, is it?
I assume this theory has been brought up before, but I couldn't find anything in a Google search.  It might make sense.  What if the disciples and Jesus (if he really existed) came up with the ultimate sacrifice idea in order to stave off superstitious people from killing their own children to appease God?  It seems a virtual certainty that this was happening, since people held the Abraham/Isaac story in such high regard, along with Jepthah killing his only daughter as a sacrifice to God in exchange for the defeat of the Ammonites in Judges 11:30-40.

Similarly, could it have been done to prevent the killing of livestock?  There could have been a financial motivation as well.  We see people sacrificing animals non-stop throughout Leviticus.  The killing of children, and animals, ended with one ultimate sacrifice.  Could this be the reason for the Jesus story?  Today, we no longer have to sacrifice things to convince ourselves that we're making God happy - instead, that's been replaced with prayer. 

First, bravo to you for being honest about how you are thinking on this topic. And also for challenging established systems that do not appear to be based on speaking to actual atheists, as you have been doing on this forum.

I was told by my parents to attend church and Sunday school, I had no choice (like most kids). I don't remember being impressed by the religious dogma and institutionalized rituals of the Catholic church, but I went along because I had no choice. At some point, our parents even gave up and did not continue making us attend church or Sunday school. I did attempt to read the Bible when I was a kid, but it was tedious and extremely boring.

Skip ahead 20-25 years and I was most definitely not religious, but had never considered or thought about atheism seriously. Then I read The God Delusion. When I closed that book, I knew I was an atheist. Then I read the Bible. OMG - wake up call.

Here's something I say now and then to Christian friends...

If Christians can read the Bible and pull out verses and phrases to support something, then so can I. I am an educated person with at least average reading comprehension skills. I can read a story, and I can understand the context, the characters, the plot, etc. It does not matter that I do not believe there is a god - this is still a written set of books. An atheist is in a perfect position to consider what is written, and opine on the story without the fear of being wrong, or being judged by a god, or any other matter that many Christians have no choice in.

One more thing. The Bible is considered by many Christians to be the complete story of their god, and their Jesus character. While I can see where that comes from in terms of a basic timeline, I cannot imagine any single person authoring such a book in it's entirety, and being granted any awards for excellent writing, characters, plots, etc. As a whole book, end to end, nothing could be more confusing, poorly written, and downright insane than the end-to-end "story" of "The Bible". The only way to get to a reasonable place in terms of evaluating scripture is by looking at one book at a time, at best. The complete narrative is, in the immortal words of Donald Trump, "a disaster."

Great thread!
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