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General Religious Discussion / Re: JW visited
« Last post by shnozzola on Today at 11:36:48 AM »
What evidence do you have that JWs belong to a dying religion?

First, I don't have evidence you are asking for, but some observations about Jehovah's Witnesses

   Lets say the views, the interpretation of god, etc, by Jehovah's Witnesses are spot on.  You all have gotten it.   IMO, it seems that your delivery system is the problem. Over time your branch of Christianity has gotten a bad reputation, like someone's crazy uncle in the living room, where, I guess Jehovah's Witnesses many times end up.  Although I think this reputation probably helps your "us vs. the world" mentality,  that would fit nicely with interpretation of Jesus teaching.   And  Jesus said, roughly,  "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to the kingdom of god. "  I would say that visiting middle class homes throughout the world, Jehovah's Witness are "helping " people that Jesus would not have been most worried about.  I interpret the teachings attributed to Jesus as being most worried about people that are rejected by society - prostitutes, tax collectors for Rome, lepers, people with disabilities,  people with demons (the mentally ill) etc.

   Although it can be very tough to knock on someone's door on a Sunday afternoon and get rejected, I believe Jehovah's Witnesses, having discovered THE truth, should ramp it up a notch.  How common is it for Jehovah's Witnesses to visit prisons?   Doing an internet search, it seems sometimes bible studies are set up, but I could not find much more.  I think waiting for released prisoner's to offer transport, helping them get to support, find a job, get groceries, etc. could be much more fruitful, albeit dangerous,  than meeting with middle class people in their living rooms.   The problem with prison's is the location - usually not in the nicest areas, and usually far from everything (everyone's favorite NIMBY syndrome).  I think of the Philadelphia prison system, along the swamps beside the Delaware River.  Not a nice place - dangerous at 11:00 at night when the system may willy-nilly release a man or woman.

    I wouldn't offer tracts to folks released, saying "Jesus is the way, the truth, the light"  - they need shoes!  And the more times someone goes through the prison system, it seems the more they will lose any support system.  Offering them $50 could go a long way.  I wouldn't mention Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Kingdom, I would just say you are a friend that they can turn to for support.  If you think you must, give them a card with a phone number with some name, like "Jobs Church," where they could interpret the name to mean Job from the bible or a job. (hmmm, maybe Republicans donate money to this cause)  Deeds may get you further than words.   Now - would working like this as an individual get you in trouble with Jehovah's Witness leaders?  If it would, why?

   I think of 2 great religious leaders in the last 100 years.  Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi - both men killed because, IMO,  they were more than society could handle.  You have a tough job ahead.  Next some thoughts on how Jehovah's Witnesses can stop ISIS, maybe changing the way your version of the truth is viewed by the world.  Thinking ahead, do you believe Obama's saying, " we will wipe out, destroy ISIS", is the quickest way to get Islamic Extremists to calm down?

Yes, if the person in question is so psychologically damaged that they are incapable of recognizing that the other person (you know, the one being RAPED OR MURDERED) is a human being and worthy of being treated as such.

But, didn't we make up human rights if there is no God? It's not like it's some objective thing. Are lions who eat their cubs psychologically damaged? If not, why are humans?

If a person is psychologically damaged, then it's not their fault, so why do we punish them? If they honestly can't help it and they are simply "wired" to do repugnant behavior, then why punish them?

I always seems to see  judge/jury say "it was your choice to murder, you're getting locked up." Where is the line drawn at "free will" vs. "wired that way?"

I'm sure you guys have heard of TJ Lane. He murdered people at a High School 2 years ago. During his court hearing, he was smiling in the courtroom and told the parents that he masturbates to the memory of killing their kids and he was laughing.

To me, he is influenced by the devil. To you guys, he is "wired that way" and had no choice but to do those acts. Or was it his choice to do it? I just find it much easier to say the devil got to him than simply saying, "he's wired that way."

if someone is wried to do bad, then is someone also wired to do good? But then we would be nothing but robots. "Well he's good because he's wired that way, not by choice."

It is a fascinating topic though. What drives people to evil?
Skeptic, we've clashed in the past over almost every topic raised on these pages. Despite that, I'm going to make yet another effort to frame your remarks so that you can see what you are saying the way I see what you are saying.

I myself would not go out raping and killing if I found out God didn't exist, but it does make me wonder why I wouldn't do that stuff.
I find it deeply disturbing that you say things like this. Do you REALLY mean that you can not find any objective reason to NOT rape and murder other than your God frowns on this behavior (except when he doesn't, of course, but that's a conversation for a different thread). Can you clear your mind of everything just long enough to grasp why saying  what amounts to "without the threat of eternal damnation, I don't know why I don't rape and murder" might be more than a little disturbing to people who choose to not rape and murder WITHOUT the threat of eternal damnation? To people who find the very idea of raping and murdering to be repugnant?

Do you grasp how people like me find your position of uncertainty about your own motivations to rape or not rape, to murder or not murder, to be profoundly unsettling?

Do you understand that in the moment, you DO NOT stop to consider how a "good christian" would respond to provocation, for instance. In the moment, do you really stop and think through the implications of your actions on your eternal salvation, or do you respond like every other human being on earth and react to threats to your self image WITHOUT stopping to consult with your god?

We would only be making up the fact that certain stuff is good and other stuff is bad anyway. Rape would just be rape. Murder would just be murder. There would be no reason to say, "That is bad." it would just fall under the category of "stuff that happens."
Yes, if the person in question is so psychologically damaged that they are incapable of recognizing that the other person (you know, the one being RAPED OR MURDERED) is a human being and worthy of being treated as such.

With that said, I still would not rape and murder,
After what you have said so far, I'm not at all comforted by this statement. Seriously, that you are this unsure about your own motivations makes me unable to accept this assertion at face value.

but there would be no justification as to why I shouldn't.
This is absolutely true, IF you are a SOCIOPATH.

It would be like drinking coffee.
It's NOTHING like drinking coffee.

I personally hate coffee. So, just because I can drink it doesn't mean I will drink it. Likewise, just because I can murder doesn't mean I will.
I wish this remark was as reassuring as YOU seem to think it is.
Now this is a very good point that can make for intellectually stimulating debate.

This seems like a very good point. Why not just allow the good ones into Heaven? Well, the problem lies in wondering, "How much good is good enough?"

If god is real, and if god is as terrific and all knowing and perfect a judge as he is said to be, then why is it a problem? 

Is there a minimum amount of goodness that one must do in their lives?

Why don't you apply standard xian answers to these questions that you apply to other standard questions about god?  That is: "god works in mysterious way" or "you must have faith in god" or "no one can know the mind of god" These questions are only connundrums if you are trying to apply them to limited, mortal judges for whom consistency and fairness are an inherent problem.

Since you will never know if you are "good enough" for Heaven, it will be a scary way to live life always in doubt and wondering if you'll make it to Heaven.

Seems like a good way to keep people in line to me.  The other way - your way - looks like cheap grace. 

And it seems to miss a huge point - did jesus die for my sins or not?  If he did, then he did, and my belief or non-belief in god has no bearing on the matter.  If he did not, then my belief will not change that.  If I suddenly find jesus H, he will not retroactively go back in time and die for my sins. 

So, jesus' crucifixion is not really what will save me.  If it was, my belief or knowledge of it would be completely irrelevant.  You could say it was a necessary condition, but insufficient.  Like oxygen is a necessary condition for fire, but insufficient to start a fire.  Given jesus H, it is my belief in god that is my salvation.  Which would be sort of true even without jesus.

xianity is a terrible communicator.  It rarely says what it means or means what it says.
Oh, and one more thought on the whole "guessing game" issue in regards to "how good is good" behavior.

Judaism has 613 commandments compared to Christianity's paltry 10.

So, simple math dictates that those of the Jewish persuasion should have a much better chance of being "Heaven-worthy" than Christians since, statistically speaking, they have less to "guess" about; and all without the need of a belief in JC according to their religion. :)
Religion In The News / Re: The peaceful majority are irrelevant!
« Last post by ParkingPlaces on Today at 10:41:52 AM »
If you are going to take a bad situation and make it worse with extraordinary renditions, drones and an overriding concern for oil rather than people; if you are going to terrorize in response to terror, then you sort of have to take the bad with the horrible. The American/Coalition response to terror has been about as sensitive to reality as 40 grit sandpaper is to balsa wood, and one cannot possibly expect the destruction and terror we have introduced in to the region to create only meek pacifists amongst the survivors.

If New Zealand were flying armed drones over the United States, and periodically blasting alleged enemies of their state to pieces in the middle of our freeways and city parks, and also regularly and "accidentally" killing dozens of innocent wedding party goers, school children and commuters, how many Americans would shrug their shoulders and have nothing bad to say about New Zealand. How many children would sleep soundly every night knowing that they could die the next day in a New Zealand drone attack? And how unradical would each of us feel, regardless of our religious position?

It doesn't  take all that many injustices, be they incorrectly perceived or unquestionably real, to mess with a persons head and create a radical response. If mere personal issues can cause fathers or mothers to kill all their children in this country, if mere personal issues are enough to cause workers and students to go postal in the workplace and the schools of America on almost a scheduled basis in this country, imagine how much more serious a response you can cause in another culture you are insensitive to get by creating a powerless mass. One which is never safe from arbitrary death from the skies, never safe from a SEAL team attack prompted by bad intelligence, and never safe from the radicals within that are hence more pissed then ever.

Nothing is being handled correctly by the politicians, nothing is being handled correctly by the governments of the effected countries, nothing is being handled correctly by the monied interests, nothing is being handled correctly by the religious leaders and nothing is being handled correctly by the rest of us. Until all of us realize that the human element, when ignored, can be turned in to the radical element in a flash, none of us are safe from the rest of us.  Radical religion may be part of the problem. Everyone else is the rest of the problem.

General Religious Discussion / Re: Hell and the end of life
« Last post by Astreja on Today at 10:35:26 AM »
She's gone now. It doesn't even matter.

I can't even articulate how many things are awful about this sentiment. For someone who claims to follow a loving deity, you're pretty f'ing heartless.

It does matter, JWB -- It mattered to the dying woman.  It matters to Shnozzola's wife.  It matters to us.
That's why you have to believe in Jesus and you get your Free Ticket to Paradise. No more guessing games. It's so simple anyone can do it, and that's the beauty of it! Everyone can! Simply. Easily. Swiftly.

This is just plain silly.  With the way you've worded it, you may as well attach a banner to this that says THIS IS A SCAM.

I've seen more convincing words from Nigerian princes in my spam box.
Now this is a very good point that can make for intellectually stimulating debate.

This seems like a very good point. Why not just allow the good ones into Heaven? Well, the problem lies in wondering, "How much good is good enough?" Is there a minimum amount of goodness that one must do in their lives? If you murder 3 people, but save the lives of 50 people, do you still go to Heaven? if you steal from 10 people, but buy a gift for 10 people, do you go to heaven?

You see the slippery slope in all the different possible combinations throughout billions of lives throughout the course of history? Since you will never know if you are "good enough" for Heaven, it will be a scary way to live life always in doubt and wondering if you'll make it to Heaven.

That's why you have to believe in Jesus and you get your Free Ticket to Paradise. No more guessing games. It's so simple anyone can do it, and that's the beauty of it! Everyone can! Simply. Easily. Swiftly.

Any thoughts on this "good deeds" part?

jynnan tonnix pretty much said what I was planning on responding with. Your religion's "system" where there is no onus to be a decent human being as long as your believe in JC to get in to Heaven is probably part of the reason why the world is in such a shitty state as it is.

Dwell upon this fact for a moment, though... we homo sapiens have been around for an estimated 200,000 years and have... over that period of time... somehow managed to survive and thrive all the way up to the here and now without any knowledge (and thus the fear of) the concept of the Judeo Christian version of "God", which did not crop-up until somewhere between 2000 BCE (the alleged Biblical date of Abraham) and 600-400 BCE (when historians believe the Pentateuch was written).

That said, how is it that we as a species somehow managed to even reach this point in history? Might it have something to do with there being more inherently "good and selfless" human being (again, without the fear of your "God" and the threat of "Hell" to keep them in line) than those that were more disposed to being "evil and selflish"?

But in regards to "guessing game" comment, you seem to have forgotten that your "God" has given you a code of behavior to live by called "The Ten Commandments" (which has some pretty solid ideas to follow even if you don't actual believe in "God"). That pretty much addresses the "guessing game" problem, wouldn't you say?

So tell me, does believing in JC trump adhering to the Ten Commandments?

Whether or not you think God is not worth worshiping does not change the fact that God (if real) will judge you.

True, true. My comment was meant to show my state of mind back when I was still teetering on the fence as to whether or not a "God" existed or not. I went through a relatively-brief phase of "believing and rejecting" a "God" before coming to the realization of there being no "God" to reject.
Religion & Society / Re: What vouchers and charter schools are really for
« Last post by Jag on Today at 10:17:28 AM »
I can't speak to the issue of vouchers, having no experience with that system, but I find this really frustrating about charter schools in general.

My daughter was not doing well in our local high school - it was huge and serving far more students than it was really equipped for and she was very much lost in the crowd. We looked long and hard at our options and settled on a charter school that utilized the John Dewey approach to learning (experiential versus classroom). It was absolutely transformative for her and I truly believe that school is the reason she graduated (early no less). Not all charter schools are created equal and it's really a shame as some of them do not have a religious agenda and are simply committed to teaching students in more than just the traditional classroom lecture methods. When my daughter studied wolves for biology, she spent three days a week at the wolf rescue center for 6 weeks, working directly with the staff and helping care for the animals. When she studied American Indians, 10 or 12 students and two teachers spend a weekend at an Indian reservation, then came back and made a miniature dugout canoe and a diorama of traditional reservation life and one of modern reservation life with copies of treaties and outlines of breeches in them. They took a service trip to Bay St Louis (where Katrina first hit land) and helped with cleaning up 5 years after the storm. She still talks about that "amazing trip" years later - it really made an impression on her.

It pisses me off that religion taints everything it touches.
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