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I was raised in a JW family. I tried to believe in Jehovah, I honestly did. I had a ready-made worldwide community of like-minded people with a pre-packaged way of seeing the world. My family wanted me to go take a secretarial course and get a job typing in an office instead of going to college. There would have been a nice JW husband and something to do for Jehovah every day. I could have stayed busy witnessing and preparing for Armageddon Mark 3.

It is not because I am a smarty pants. My brother, who was way more intelligent than me, was able to stay with the JW's. There are a lot of smart people who are religious. So I could have done it, too. Life would have been so much easier for me if I could have just turned off my brain and accepted what I was told.

But no. And here I am.  ;D
Chattel slavery (where people are owned by others, not paid, cannot leave or change their conditions) does still exist in the world, especially in places like Mauritania and India where it can be hidden from authorities. Yes, there are people trapped in sweatshops and the sex trade and treated like slaves, in the US and in other places where it can be hidden from the authorities.

What is the common denominator that makes slavery today categorically different from the slavery of 1800 or 800 or 80? The fact that everywhere it is illegal and unacceptable. Which means that most of us are not, have not been and never will be enslaved. We here would never own slaves under any conditions. (I hope.) Slavery is not mainstream. There is not any serious pro-slavery faction or political party.

We are not debating whether slavery is good or bad here on this forum-- we all agree that it is bad, that is why it is brought up. To show that something bad is going on in modern societies.  Slavery today survives in the shadows. No company on the planet brags about how their products are made by enslaved children. If it is happening they lie and cover it up. No country openly uses slave labor to get most of their work done. In 800 nobody would have given a damn if slave children died making their products. Today people do give a damn and the majority of the world disapproves of slavery.[1]

Again, this is a sea change from just 200 years ago. Attitudes are different and policies are different. That has led to slavery being outlawed and when identified, punished. Who punished slave owners in 1500 or 1800? Nobody. They just got rich, and had cities and universities named after them, and became president, and got their faces on the 20 dollar bill.

BTW, it is fine to criticize my points. In academia we criticize each others' arguments all the time.  But if you have an argument that is better than mine, you have to produce data that is better than mine. What data is there showing things are worse overall, or basically the same as in the past? I would like to see it, because if I am wrong I want to know.

I am still waiting for something other than opinions. You know, some data.  :?
 1. And yes, having a job at Target or  Walmart that sucks, has no benefits and does not pay well is bad. Workers get screwed by companies. But it is not at all the same as being owned by a slave master who has the legal right to beat you with a whip, chain you up at night, sell your parents, work you to death, or have sex with your children.
General Religious Discussion / Re: Tower of Babel
« Last post by epidemic on Yesterday at 03:08:57 PM »
You would think that at least one of the groups of people that were "scattered them from there over all the earth" with their new fangled-dangled language would have written something like "and today I was magically transported to a place with a bunch of rice and I now speak Chinese."

It amazes me how little the human race noticed when it was scattered across the planet.

It is funny.  I always assumed that when their language changed they simply pulled up stakes and walked across the face of the earth.   If that was the case I would think there would have been some squabbling over who had to move out of their houses and walk to china.

If they were simply poofed to the 4 corners of the earth I think that there would have been a huge problem with survival.   if you have ever watched a survival show where you are thrust into an unfamiliar environment with out the conveniences and niceties of your community and local flora and fauna you have serious hardship.    In other words you might well starve to death if you move from the middle east to the pacific northwest of canada.  Winters and summers may be harder you don't have you wool producers and fabric makers you have to find sources for bronze pots and clean water.   Just imagine being suddenly poofed across the world to the amazon and trying to eek out a living the first few months or to Siberia lol. 

At least if you walk to siberia you have time to figure out resources and slowly acclimate to you new environments.

When ever you think about bible stories at more than a passing level you realize the magnitude of the problems that these stories really involve.   

Oh god had em put all the animals on an ark.  that is nice then they got off after a year and began their lives again.  forget about the barron wasteland they would have been thrust into.

Oh god changed their language and probably skin color then sent them to their new environments.  forget about the fact that people don't know how to scratch out a living in the new lands.   What foods are poisonous, what animals are going to eat you?
Where in the bible did god ever say not to rape anyone? There are places where god says save all the virgins for yourselves, or rewards people for offering their daughters to be raped. There is definitely the part where a rape victim who does not yell loudly enough (maybe due to that silly knife against her throat) is considered a slut who should be stoned to death. And there is that payment to a rape victim's dad and the requirement that the rapist marry the victim.

JW's and others who want the bible to be the true word of god try to hand wave all these troublesome passages away. If it is something not currently acceptable, then it has to be a wrong interpretation, or taken out of context, or only meant for the Hebrews, or for the people alive at the time because there was no welfare system or police force.

Maybe those passages mean exactly what they say.  Maybe the bible reflects the beliefs and practices of a more barbaric time where women were not rated as humans equal to men, and virginity was a measure of a woman's value.

Otherwise, god should have made "Thou shalt not rape anyone" one of the big ten instead of malarkey about graven idols or coveting stuff your neighbor has. God could have said that virginity is no big deal and should lead to neither reward nor punishment. Something about slavery being wrong, and not to inflict pain on others (including children) to get their compliance would have been a nice addition to any religion as well. Would have given the Inquisition and the Puritans less ammo against the sinners, the witches and the heathens though.

Why is most of the book irrelevant to how we (even JW's) live our lives today? If god does not want stoning or altars or specific sacrifices to be done, why does he include all that in the bible for people today to misinterpret and misunderstand? Or did Satan put that stuff about stoning people in the bible when Jehovah was not looking?

We are this close to having Christians decide that the OT does not count at all, and should just be handed back to the Jews. :P
General Religious Discussion / Re: Tower of Babel
« Last post by YRM_DM on Yesterday at 01:48:40 PM »
It's such a benefit that people exist today who will point out how silly these stories are, and that there are people out there who believe this literally happened is nuts.
General Religious Discussion / Re: Tower of Babel
« Last post by jdawg70 on Yesterday at 01:45:05 PM »
You would think that at least one of the groups of people that were "scattered them from there over all the earth" with their new fangled-dangled language would have written something like "and today I was magically transported to a place with a bunch of rice and I now speak Chinese."

It amazes me how little the human race noticed when it was scattered across the planet.
^^  Good point, it makes total sense now.
General Religious Discussion / Re: An explanation for why bad things happen
« Last post by YRM_DM on Yesterday at 01:21:04 PM »
I honestly think the "fear of nonexistence" is a stronger motivator of fear for me than a "fear of Hell". I feel that if God is good, he wouldn't send people to Hell who try to be good people (I personally don't think anyone should be sent to hell period and purgatory would do, but that's besides the point), and I try to be a good person and have other people be happy (admittedly to my own detriment sometimes). But the thought of there being no "me" after death is something I find absolutely terrifying, especially if, say, there's stuff that I want to do in the world (and I'd always want to see new innovations that people do and such) and I wouldn't be able to experience it. Or anything.

You're right, if God is good, and loves us, why would he torture people eternally who don't believe Jesus was a super-human hero 2,000 years ago who died for us, came back, and we love him for it?

Believers will then say... "Wait!  Because Adam & Eve got tricked by a talking snake into eating fruit before they knew good from evil... we all deserve to be tortured eternally, and only because of God's love, does he forgive those who trust that an impossible thing happened 2,000 years ago!"

But read that sentence a few times.   Seriously!?!?

We all know, spelled out for what it is, there's zero chance the Biblical proposition stated above makes sense.  Granted, believers try to put it differently.

Believer - "Heaven is a gift, but, you can only receive that gift if you believe in something totally unbelievable and unproven."
You - "So, I should believe that Thor was real, and he might join the Avengers someday?"
Believer - "No!  Not obviously false stuff like that!  Believe that God is the ancient Israeli God of War named YahWeh, and he came to us in the form of his magical son who walked on water and came back from the dead!"
You - "How do you know that's real and the other stuff is fake?"
Believer - "Umm...   The Bible... the Holy Spirit... vague nonsense?"

But I agree with you Crystal, and, that's another reason why I'm not afraid of being wrong.   If there is a God with 1,000,000 my empathy and emotional intelligence... why wouldn't he understand and forgive why I don't believe in him?

However, in the Bible, and according to many denominations, good works and a good life aren't enough... Catholics are, to my thinking, often the closest to atheists of most of the denominations. 

For Catholics, largely... it's -  Live a good life, confess your sins, try your best, and come to church, and you should be ok.

Catholics that I know live just like I do, except go to church on Sunday.   They do believe that good works matter.   This is why more literal Biblical translating denominations, like evangelicals, think that all Catholics are going to hell.

Vain repetitions, praying to saints and Mary (actually not, but asking them to intercede is what Catholics actually do... "Mary, say a prayer for me to Jesus or God ok?"), graven images...

A lot of denominations say Catholics have it all wrong... baptizing infants before they can decide to follow Christ.

Here ya go... another "true Christian" explaining why all Catholics will go to hell.

I don't mean to be unkind by saying that Catholics are going to Hell; but rather, to speak the truth and warn you of the judgment to come (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 20:15). The modernistic idea that we should all refrain from criticizing anyone else's religion is a completely evil New World Order philosophy. I'm going to speak the truth of God's Word, even if it offends you. I am going to warn you that you are on a wrong road, headed for the bottomless pit, even if you hate me for it. I am telling you the truth. Catholicism is a manmade religion that cannot save you. There is NO salvation in the Catholic Church; only idolatry, worshipping of the dead, heathendom, rituals, vain repetitions and doctrines of devils (1st Timothy 4:1). Salvation is NOT found in any religion; but rather, in a Person, the precious Lord Jesus Christ!

In other words, God can't forgive Catholics.

And frankly, since the Bible is so contradictory, screwed up, and can be translated so many ways, they can back up what they're saying with actual scripture.

I saw this happen in my own family for years.   I've attended funerals where the evangelicals in the family worry over the passed Catholic in the casket 10 feet away.

Do you understand why religion and faith makes me so angry?   Do you see the damage this fear does to people?

If that guy who wrote what I quoted is right, even if you go back to church full blast, with your best effort and pray Our Father and Hail Mary daily, I'll still meet you in hell someday, with the other 99.999% of the people who have ever lived.


3 - The teacher decides to get angry and inflict suffering, not just on this class, but on every class to ever come!   Each new student that walks in the door will be afflicted with health issues, some will be killed, some will watch their friends die!   Any student who doesn't trust the teacher's way without question should be tortured!!!  MWAHAHAHA!   Generations of students who've never been born should be PUNISHED!

I think you have number 3 a little screwy.

Teacher decides to inflict suffering on the class an all classes to come but then feels bad after a few years and decides that the class should kill his best and favorite teachers aid.  If the students think this is a good thing they go to heaven. 
Each generation of class that thinks it was wonderful of the teacher to sacrifice his favorite teachers aid, gets an automatic A.
Chatter / Re: What do you guys do for fun when you're not here?
« Last post by rev45 on Yesterday at 12:43:56 PM »
School, work, and three kids (6 years old and under) take up the majority of my time.  I try to find mutually fun things to do with my kids.  I bought a kid's circuit set a few months ago and my second girl loves building anything we can think of with it.  She's also a much better artist than I am so I come up with ideas for her to draw and just love to watch her work.  My oldest girl has a pretty good grasp of math for a 6 year old, so I come up with math problems and help her solve them if she needs me.  My son is the youngest and loves his toy cars and tractors so we sit on the floor and roll them back and forth at each other.  We all go to a park near our house several times a week.  My daughters like to help in the kitchen so I try to find recipes of things they like and we cook together. 

By myself I like going for walks and occasionally play a video game.  Even though I don't play music anymore I still constantly hunt for new music and bands that catch my ear.  I enjoy reading, but find myself starting a book and then not be able to touch it for several weeks as I can get so busy. 
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