“Jenny”

An individual — we’ll call her “Jenny” — often visits not only my blog, but several others who write from non-theist viewpoints. By all indications, Jenny is a devout Christian; however (to her credit), she does not fall into the evangelical mindset. Instead she tends to take a more “intellectual” approach as she strives to persuade others that Christianity is not the “Big Bad Wolf.”

Nevertheless, based on the simple fact that Jenny follows the Christian god (via the Trinity), and the tenets of the book endorsed by the Christian faith, she regularly attempts to persuade non-believers to look at life through different lens.

(Of course, to those of us who believe Christians wear rose-colored glasses, we tend to discount not only Jenny’s reasonings and pleas, but others who fall into this category as well.)

An example of Jenny’s advocacy was recently illustrated on another blog where she pointed out that “confessing one’s sins” provided …

a good opportunity for honest self-reflection, to focus on our lives and think about if there are any ways we might be harming ourselves or others, and if so to take steps toward reconciliation and an amendment of life.

She added that through such actions people often experience a good measure of encouragement and healing.

Naturally, to those of us who discount the theory of “sin,” the actions outlined in the quote above are simply good practice as we traverse through this event called “life” — and we wonder why there needs to be any mention of “confession.”

To her credit, Jenny has shared that she greatly benefits from conversations with non-believers. She said it causes her to “really think deeply” about what she believes –and why– and makes her want to dig deeper to see if there might be another perspective to consider.

And to that, I would say … YES! There definitely is a far better perspective to consider!

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

To Jenny and others who are convinced that “sin” exists, I strongly urge you to take a long and thorough look at the core beliefs of your Christian faith.

In so doing, I’m convinced you will see that Christian teachings and instruction are all meant to debase and devalue the human spirit — and then “renew” it by denouncing “sin” in your life and asking some unseen entity to make things all better.

Please! Stop allowing yourself to believe you are “fallen” and need “saving.” This is a fallacy to the nth degree. 

Instead, Recognize and Accept That
You Are Unique … You Are Special
Simply Because You Are YOU.

61 thoughts on ““Jenny”

  1. As I’ve said umpteen times, there’s no such thing as sin. We are human, we make mistakes; I think Maya Angelou said, “When we know better we do better”. It really is that simple.

    Liked by 6 people

      • The process I went through to stop believing (at the age of 16) has convinced me that every single one of the “few” million believers con only be convinced by his self-conviction. Nobody can give meaning to the life of other persons.
        One of my favorite quotes (Richard Feynman) is:
        I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing, than to have answers that might be wrong.

        Believers grow up with THE (supposedly right) Answers to important Questions of Life, and they insist upon knowing the answers to all other matters.
        The castle is surrounded by water, and the bridge is up.
        .-

        Liked by 5 people

  2. I think it’s interesting—and promising—that people who profess such beliefs are diminishing in numbers worldwide. Having said that, I don’t believe anyone who is a “believer” can be dissuaded by others. The “revelation” comes from life experiences.

    But we know that our brains have a “negativity bias” as part of our hardwiring. I can see how religion can feed on that, resulting in feelings of unworthiness that compel some people to embrace the concept of sin and the need for confession/expiation.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Certainly a believer won’t be dissuaded by a single debate. That essentially never happens. But exposure to contrary ideas and to the fallacies of the religion in question does play a role in some cases, not by creating a sudden change of view but by eroding certainty. Then time and reflection, in many people, will eventually free them from belief.

      Interestingly enough, it seems that religion in an individual is most often undermined not by exposure to atheist ideas but by exposure to other religions. Of course, that may be because until recently, atheist arguments were generally considered non-respectable or tasteless, and were thus rarely encountered. The decline of religion in the US has certainly speeded up over the last twenty years as “New Atheism” challenges the nonsense more explicitly and aggressively.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. If god is willing to pardon you for whateversin you know you have committed, just by confessing, do you really think most believers are going to ponder how to do better? If Jenny does want to better herself, I commend her, she really is unique.
    Self-reflection is not a common trait among the religious. They are not taught how to do that, because god will protect them.
    The unofficial biggest outbreak of Covid in Alberta is the Mennonite town of La Crete, where the religious leaders preach shunning anyone who wears a mask. Maskers show no faith in god, They are beneath contempt. And when the town started having its own epidemic of Covid, did these leaders relent? No, they stopped allowing testing for Covid. No positive tests means no one is infected. How convoluted is that?

    Liked by 6 people

    • How messed up the brain can get when a religion is involved is unbelievable. I always thought the sancity of life was a main Christian belief when you consider the words that thou should not kill or murder or whatever book it comes from.

      I look at The US as a social experiment, it plays right into the hands of atheism but more seriously it appears to be a simmering pot of hate ready to boil over into violence. I hope I am wrong.

      Self reflection I do it all the time, I seriously try hard in meditation to improve my attitude and I do look in the mirror and tell myself to wake up and stop becoming a grumpy old man. Sin? I do none of that.

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  4. A problem with the concept of “sin” is that it actually has very little to do with immoral vs moral behavior in most cases. Basic morality is inborn in humans and there are signs of precursors to it in other primates that live in large social groups. It’s not hard to see why natural selection would favor the development of something like a moral sense in an intelligent social animal with little in the way of hard-wired instinct. Imagine a human society where murder and theft were considered normal and acceptable. It wouldn’t last long.

    Sin, by contrast, is just taboo-think, usually unconnected with morality. Sins are just arbitrary taboos enshrined by the traditions or holy texts of a given culture, such as the taboos on beard-trimming, homosexuality, working on certain days of the week, etc, which often don’t involve harm to others and are therefore not objectively immoral. “Honest self-reflection” to overcome a propensity to steal is a worthy endeavor, but you don’t need religion for that. Doing the same to overcome a propensity to wear mixed fabrics or skip church on Sundays is pointless, because there’s nothing immoral about those things.

    Sin-based taboo-think often actually undermines morality by creating excuses for evil behavior. An example would be preaching hateful nonsense at gay people, but convincing yourself it’s “loving” to do so because you’re trying to save them from going to Hell. Another example would be Rawgod’s comment above about shunning mask-wearers in La Crete, where religion is actually discouraging behavior that protects the community from harm.

    Christian teachings and instruction are all meant to debase and devalue the human spirit

    Pretty much all religions do this because they evolved as mechanisms to subjugate people to the domination of those who claim to speak for the god(s). It’s easier to get people to grovel and be quiet and obedient if they’re taught to consider themselves low, unworthy, sinful, etc. That’s especially true if the “renewal” and renunciation of sin can come only through some form of absolution bestowed by a priest, shaman, or whatever member of the religious ruling caste.

    Liked by 5 people

    • From the religion’s POV, you can’t fix something that ain’t broke. So the trick is to convince people – easier with vulnerable people… especially dependent children, of course – that the path from being broken (born in ‘sin’, how handy is that?) starts with belief in the religious claims of being divinely sourced, and then provides the means to becoming if not whole then trying hard to get there… but only by following the religion’s dogma. To work as an effective meme, religion MUST de-value and debase human nature in order to create the need for religious belief.

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      • And isn’t it sad that people must jump through numerous and ridiculous hoops in order to be “acceptable” to any one religion’s standards?

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        • It certainly creates division through hierarchy both within and beyond the sect. This is why I find it amusing to hear claims that religion qua religion unifies people socially and therefore has desired social virtue. Just the opposite is the case… if critically examined with honesty and integrity.

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  5. I have met Jenny. I think she has improved her responses over the last few months. I try to remember that I also suffered that disease for many years. Like most, I caught it in my childhood and nurtured it, and loved it, and depended on it.
    If she is digging into the reasons she believes, that is a good thing. I was digging, also, but I wasn’t aware where I was going. Sunrise is not an instant event. The light steadily grows until finally, you can see things more clearly.

    Education, truth, and facts are deadly to religion. Religion, by its nature, is an enigmatic non-entity. It has to be shrouded in dark and inexplicable secrets that only the priest/preacher/evangelist has access to. They are the only certified and authorized dealers of the dark.

    “A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives— of approving of some and disapproving of others; and the fact that man is the one being who certainly deserves this designation, is the greatest of all distinctions between him and the lower animals.”
    Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 11287-11289).

    Religion, especially Christianity appoints itself the only judge of morality. They invented sin, damnation, and forgiveness. But we have to see how necessary that is to religion. Sin and forgiveness of sin, the promise of eternal life, and the threat of eternal punishment are tools of the trade. The major selling points, as it were when the contract is offered. That is all they have. There is no evidence nor facts to indicate gods or “The God” exist outside the imagination.

    Both Sagan and Dawkins mention the ‘gap theory’, but religion is running out of gaps in mankind’s knowledge of the universe. Things that can be credited to the gods are dwindling fast. Voyagers I and II are outside the solar system. Engineers in science, mathematics, and astronomy have sent a manmade object on an unimaginable journey beyond the influence of our star or of God. No god has challenged their accomplishments. The church, which once would have chopped off heads, was not so much as consulted.

    And then there were none.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Cagjr, thanks for the vote of confidence. 🙂

      You know, I”m truly all about reason and science. And, I’m probably more formally educated than many.

      I honestly don’t feel that science, mathematics, or astronomy are able to address questions relating to meaning or purpose, or whether there is something rather than nothing. I mean many do think that the known parameters of the universe point toward the likelihood of an intelligence behind it all.

      But, it seems to me that science can neither conclusively prove nor disprove the existence of God.

      There are many people of science that are Christian believers, and many that certainly are not. I just think that are other factors involved in the whole equation.

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      • True enough, Becky, but to get down to basics, purpose is as ephemeral as an intelligent universe. Humans are the only species we know well enough to ideate the wonderment of purpose. To the best of our knowledge, the only purpose common to all species is survival of the individual, which predicates survival of the species, which predicates the survival of life.
        Life is its own purpose. It is only us to try to give it more than it is. Having said that, I believe life creates its own purpose, though not one science or religious belief can or will ever discover.
        Religion started as a way to create meaning for human life. Science has since shown us all life is related, so that tells us religion for humans only is bogus, and as no other species we know of worships beings greater than they, all religions are equally bogus. But science can only describe the material universe so far, which leaves it equally as bogus as religion. To all appearances, our minds are beyond the materialistic universe, something that bridges life to the metaphysical. But can we, three-dimensional beings, ever know the metaphysical universe while we are alive in this universe? I would be hard-pressed to say either way.

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      • We all have to find our own way through life. You are welcome to your’s, and good luck with it. A good dose of skepticism helps judge what is credible or incredible. A second or third consideration of a declaration is needed. But that is always an individual’s choice. I’m not all about converting or de-converting, and I’m not worried about that happening to me. But always keep that little bit of skepticism on hand. I will not lie, but I can make mistakes.

        I’m sorry that we seem to give you hugs and then throw in some pretty stern rebuffs to your comments. But, that applies to all of us taking part. You know, opinions are like assumptions; we all have some and are eager to share.

        I’m glad you had access to a good education. That is something which should be guaranteed to us all but is not. Historically it has been reserved for the affluent, royalty, and the church. But this is the twenty-first century, and one thing society has proved is that the better educated we are, the better off we are.

        I’m glad you are open to reason and science.

        I don’t know the numbers, but many people do not believe there is an ‘intelligence’ behind the universe. I know the ‘intelligent design’ argument and where it came from. When Lucretius was teaching and writing ‘On The Nature of Things,’ he was ridiculed by the deist of that day, not especially for his being an ‘atomist’ but because they thought he was a hedonist or something. But his notion, derived from Democritus, that the world was not ‘created’ but ‘it always was, has been the arrow in the ribs of religionist and ‘intelligent design ever since.

        Now, if you ask one of the scientists of that day where the universe came from, they would promptly reply, “well, it has always existed.”
        If you ask Deist of just about any era, where did your god come from, I think the answer would be, “Well, He always existed.”

        In your apparently well-rounded education, you surely read some of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and learned of their panoply of gods, lesser gods, and greater gods, gods of the clouds and of the seas. Gods of trees and gods of rocks. The gods of all the seasons, the sowing and the harvest. Gods who could die and resurrect themselves at will, gods who were crippled, and gods who killed the humans they had created. It’s like Prego: it’s in there. When I got to this point, I came to believe that my God was like Dr. Frankenstein’s monster; it was made up of bits and pieces of all the gods which came before.

        I cannot say for sure, but I do not think science has gone about proving there was no god or God. Science has been developed by learning fact upon fact, proving or disproving theories, keeping that which stands up to critical examination, and discarding what does not. Had deist done the same thing, we would not be having this discussion.

        I’m pushing eighty. If I go into a church on Sunday, I will see that the children are being taught the same thing that I was taught. But this goes all the way into antiquity. The Christian version goes to the Garden of Eden, one of several creation stories, not the oldest. There are many gods in many civilizations. Those gods always assume the same physical appearance as their creators. There is nothing that makes the Christian God any more credible than any of the others. If you can believe one, then you cannot deny the others.

        I am not going to ask you to prove God exists. I will not try to prove He does not exist. We should have all learned by now we can do neither. I don’t know if mankind will exist long enough to see ‘the other side of the universe’, as it were. We are constantly discovering new galaxies. Science has come a long way.

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        • Cagjr, I can agree with some of your comments. And, don’t worry I appreciate people sharing honestly and am not easily offended.

          I think part of the issue is if we never grow beyond our understanding of God that we had as young children or even as a teenager.

          When I was a child, I had this image of God as an elderly man with a long white beard sitting on a golden throne somewhere in the clouds. I read Genesis, I thought of God as a man working with clay like a potter..

          But, as an adult, I came to understand that these are anthropomorphic ways that the Biblical writers used that would help people connect to the reality of God in their time and culture. So, I can see the deep truth some of these images convey while at the same time understanding that they are not necessarily literally or scientifically true.

          I feel like my faith in the reality of God expressed in Jesus Christ has grown and matured through the years. But, I know that I certainly have not arrived by any means. All of us “see through a glass darkly,” and we are a work in process.

          I’ll be off the internet for a few days, but again I appreciate the discussion and everyone’s input.

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      • I honestly don’t feel that science, mathematics, or astronomy are able to address questions relating to meaning or purpose

        Well, no, because that isn’t the function of those disciplines. It’s just like the fact that zoology cannot answer questions relating to the distances between galaxies. That isn’t what it’s meant for.

        However, when it comes to “questions relating to meaning or purpose”, I can’t think of anything less qualified to address those questions than religion is. Religion offers no data, no insight, no thought — just arbitrary pronouncements made up out of thin air and frozen into immutability due to their supposed sacred and final character. Such questions are best addressed not through religion but through philosophy and, perhaps, evolutionary biology, which at least can offer information on the evolutionary development of the human moral sense.

        science can neither conclusively prove nor disprove the existence of God

        For common meanings of “conclusively” and “God”, probably not, since such propositions are normally defined so nebulously as to be immune from proof or disproof by evidence. But it’s not hard to ascertain that the specific God of the Bible and Koran is very unlikely, and the evidence is clear that many acts attributed to that God in the sacred texts, such as a global flood or the creation of the universe in a few days, did not happen.

        Simple logic tells us that certain combinations of traits, which that God is said to have, are impossible. For example, God cannot be both omniscient and omnipotent, since omniscience means he knows what he’s going to do tomorrow, whereas omnipotence means that when tomorrow comes he’s free to change his mind and do something different — which would mean he was wrong before about what he was going to do, and is therefore not omniscient.

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      • I agree with almost everything you said here, Becky.

        I tend to view books like the Bible and other religious texts as literature. As Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Homer, etc. provide meaning and insight into life, then so do the Bible, the Koran, and Bhagavad Gita. I find it full of insights. Although I find insight in lots of things.

        Religion is also defined in various ways. I tend to see religion—not just the books themselves, but the broader ideas—as being similar to a cultural system. Like cultural values, certain ideas just become part of the very air we breathe and the way we think about things. And I am NOT talking about specifics like do you believe a human being can be resurrected or miracles, but rather we might call broader values or ultimate concerns. Basically the things we value or think are important in the first place.

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    • Dearest cagjr,
      I would like to suggest the better time to reflect on an action is prior to acting, not after. Granted, there is not always time to consider the results or consequences of any particular action, but being aware at all times that actions have consequences is the first step in preventing actions a person is going to regret. Knowing ahead of time things you are willing to do, and things you are not willing to do, will give help to prevent an aftermath one does not want to be responsible for.
      If I may be so bold (I’ve written this in many places before, including on my blog), Do unto others willingly only those things you would willingly allow others to do unto you. Accidents happen, we all know that. But even the consequences of accidents can be mitigated by being cognizant of what can cause them, such as driving under the influence–don’t drink and you cannot drive drunk.

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      • rawgod, I have checked all my comments and I cannot find what you are referring to. Refresh my befuddled mind, please. Apparently, I have missed something. Where did I have my accident?

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        • I did not say you had an accident, or did something accidentally, I was just saying that when accidents happen, consequences cannot always be reflected upon, UNLESS one has done something that could be said to have led to the accident. When you said you self-reflected after the deed or intented act, I was assuming you were talking about responsibility. If you have done something to cause someone harm of some kind, and then ponder what you can do better in the future–this is what I understood your discussion to be about–part of what I wondered was if you were taking responsibility where no responsibility can be taken, meaning something completely beyond your control. And I went on from there.
          Nothing personal, just general discussion.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Don’t worry. No offense was taken. Actually, I’m too dense to realize if I am being offended. :->

            Self-examination is not a bad thing. Painful and difficult, most certainly. I do not want to share anything from that exercise, but some things simply should be aborted. As a Christian, I never had to do that. I blamed God or Satan for my wrongs, prayed for forgiveness, and went on with my self-centered, self-deceived, self-righteous existence.

            Nan excerpted this comment from another of “Jenny’s” comments:

            “a good opportunity for honest self-reflection, to focus on our lives and think about if there are any ways we might be harming ourselves or others, and if so to take steps toward reconciliation and an amendment of life.”

            Somehow we, at least I, got to the point of Christianity having the authority to decide good, evil, and morals.

            I recalled this line from Darwin on morality. A religious belief is not necessary for a person to behave in an acceptably moral fashion. Not the immediate behavior but that over a span of time, self-examination enables us to adjust our behavior, not to damn the past but maybe be a little better in the future.

            “A moral being is one who is capable of reflecting on his past actions and their motives— of approving of some and disapproving of others; and the fact that man is the one being who certainly deserves this designation, is the greatest of all distinctions between him and the lower animals.”
            Charles Darwin. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (Kindle Locations 11287-11289).

            Maybe this is the ‘self-examination’ you referred to.

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            • Actually, I am talking about conscience, at least in a particular way. A person commits an act, and then wonders at the consequence. Was it wrong to commit the act, as it harmed someone, and how can I do better in the future. Are conscience and morality the same thing? Some will say yes.
              The bible teaches Do not kill. The statement itself is a blanket statement, do not kill. Yet every day people kill to survive. Some even kill fellow humans to survive. But many living beings must kill to survive. Plants, lesser animals, these are all living beings that are killed by humans for humans to survive. Thou shalt not kill is bullshit.
              And then how many people were killed in the old testament. I cannot count that high, whether killed by the chosen people, or by the god of the chosen people. Killing is relative, okay sometimes, not others. Yet the commandment read, Though shalt not kill, the most hypocritical statement ever made.
              I do not accept the fact that we are moral beings, except to appease our own egos. We invented a thing called morality to sustain the human race, but that does not make us moral beings. We can consider right and wrong, but we only act that way when it is convenient. Or, when we are judging the actions if others. Who are we to judge?

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  6. Nan, I like to keep things simple. When religion (or any group for that matter) speaks of inclusion and welcoming, it is at its finest. The converse when it speaks of exclusion, it is at its worst. Also, groups that speak of exclusion tend to be self-fulfilling prophets, in that the group’s numbers will wane. I won’t address the veracity of messages therein, but what I have witnessed through volunteer work, the places that have a big tent welcome tend to be the ones who look to help others. They walk the talk better than ones who exclude.

    As for that sin thing, to me, we are all a bunch of fixer uppers. My wife will attest to that for me.

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    • Hey, Keith, can you please tell me what religion is not exclusionist. Religious authorities may preach inclusion, but I have yet to see any practise it. Even the Universal Unitarian church asked me to leave their congregation because I did not believe in a higher power. When I first arrived at their door, they greeted me with open arms, but it seems I upset too many of their adherents with my non-belief.
      Experience belies the doctrine, I am sorry to say, although there are some individuals who are much more inclusive than the spokespeople.
      Just saying.

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      • I’m not Keith (😉) … but I’m surprised to read what you wrote about the Universal Unitarian church. I haven’t read up on its “doctrines” (does it have any?), but this is not my impression of their basic stance. Could it have been just the particular group/congregation that you were part of?

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        • I have Unitarian Universalist ancestors. My mom once told me they have their fundamentalists too.

          I’m not sure if rawgod’s mention is the same as mine. If it is, yes, you’ll find diversity in the UU churches.

          The church my ancestors attended was pretty much persecuted and pushed out by the God fearing Christian missionaries that came up north from the states preaching “their” salvation station message.

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          • Rawgod, sorry you had a bad experience. No group is exempt from people’s imperfections and biases. Just as there is no perfect person, there is no perfect group. Keith

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            • Nothing to be sorry for, Keith, it was just another life experience. I cannot say every UU congregation is like that, I have heard of those that welcome Buddhists, jains, Jess, etc., but my experience was you had to believe in something, or someone. Just believing in life was not enough.

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          • That UU congregation was in New Brunswick, so maybe it was just that I was not a New Brunswicker. While accepting of others, they were not very tolerant of those who had not lived in the area for many generations. I, alternatively, am a prairie boy. People on the prairies are very transient. People who stay in the same area for generations are considered st8ck-in-the-mudders.

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            • This is a thing I don’t understand. When I molted the Christian skin, I had no desire to find another church. I know zilch about them, though they have been around a long time. I have belonged to fraternal and social groups but not searching for a new religion or sect. Not consciously, at least.

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            • UU is not supposed to be a religion or sect per se. I think the idea in the beginning was to be a place of fellowship where anyone could come and be amongst friends, or at least that was how it was explained to me. I tried it not because I was looking for others like me, there was no one like me, a spiritual atheist. I just wanted to meet people I could be myself with, and still feel safe. During my late teens to older adulthood, I moved around a lot, mostly within Canada, but from coast to coast to coast, having started life as a Manitoba prairie boy. As a hippie it was easy to find other hippies, but as the hippie movement faded out it got harder and harder to meet new friends. I had various hobbies and pastimes that served me for many years, but as I grew older it got to be harder to meet people in a new city or region. That was when I decided to try the UU, which I had known about for years but never really tried hard to fit in with. Yeah, that worked liked a charm!
              Definitely I was not looking for brothership, just some friendly faces. Where I live now, as a senior citizen, the only real friends I have are my present life partner, and the pussycats I live with. We were friends with neighbours here for many years, but they moved away to the big city. Now it is just us, and a number of acquaintances. Friends, they are all in the past, or online on WP.
              And even online, there is still nobody like me…

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        • I hope you’re not Keith, he might not take kindly to being Nan, lol. But I was responding to his statement that When religion (or any group for that matter) speaks of inclusion and welcoming, it is at its finest. I have never experienced a religious group to be completely inclusive, someone always gets excluded. I have, though, met religious individuals who are more accepting, meaning inclusive, of Others.

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      • It depends what you mean by exclusionary. So I will use your example that you were excluded from Universal Unitarians because you were an atheist as my guide to what you mean by exclusionary and you can elaborate if you had other things in mind as well.

        Generally most Jews would accept Atheist Jews as being Jewish and belonging to the group. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule. According to the Pew Research Center’s Portrait of Jewish Americans: 68% say it is compatible to be Jewish and Not believe in God.

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        • Jewish Atheism as you describe it, and as I remember a friend practising it, is not something that stops one being Jewish. Jewdom is a way of life as much as a religion. In my youth I spent many holy days at his family gatherings, even though at that time I still identified as xian. They were very accepting of me. But their traditions were not the stuff of religion, but rather of belonging to a certain historical group.
          When I say most religions are exclusionary, I am talking about excluding people who have different religious beliefs, as in the Spanish Inquisition where even Jews had to publicly renounce their Jewish identification if they wanted to live. That is not being inclusive, but of being bullies. My way or the highway type of belief. In today’s language that would be trying to force the homosexuality out of someone who is not biblically heterosexual. But it goes further than that. Catholics hate Protestants, and both hate Mormons, and vice versa. Yet all xian religionists send missionaries out into the world to try to bribe non-Abrahamists to accept their god as the One True God by offering them food and medicine.
          The Salvation Army does not turn non-xians away, but they do force others to sit through a sermon and religious rally if they want to partake of the free food and lodging, and asking if any want to repent their sinful ways in order to share sustanence. How dare they call non-xians sinful? Only xian can sin!
          A fundamentalist xian casting his pregnant daughter out of the family to fend for herself is exclusionary, but also hypocritical, for the father of said child is not cast out of his family, but is just celebrated as sewing his wild oats. Please don’t tell me xians no longer do this, because it is very widespread in certain circles.

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          • I agree that those things still happen among “certain circles” (notice your own words here). That’s NOT the same thing as implying that ALL Christians and Christian groups or religions are exclusionary. After all, “certain circles” means some groups. but not all groups.

            You originally wrote: “can you please tell me what religion is not exclusionist. Religious authorities may preach inclusion, but I have yet to see any practise it.”

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            • I have not seen all religious groups, there are so many now they are uncountable, and they are not just xian.
              But I have still never seen a religious group that is not exclusionary in some way, shape or form.
              How many groups does a preacher put down every Sunday, or other day of worship?
              Maybe things have changed in the last 5 or 6 decades since I regularly went to Sunday school or church, but there was always a scapegoat to be blamed for the woes and suffering of the congregants.
              When I stopped believing, so did my suffering stop, especially the suffering of sitting on hard wooden benches for an hour or more listening to some hate-filled authority scream about going to hell if I didn’t follow all the rules.
              No thanks, relying on myself to ensure I have a good spiritual life by my rules, and still harm as few other living beings as possible for my own survival is much more acceptable to me. I am responsible for how I conduct my life, no one or no thing else. And my Sundays are free to Word Press if I so choose.

              Liked by 1 person

            • So basically what you are saying is that you have personally never seen a religious group that is completely inclusionary based on your own subjective experiences participating in some religious groups, but you’re acknowledging you might be wrong and such groups might exist.

              Otherwise, you are perfectly happy now not to go to church on Sundays and I am perfectly happy for you!

              Like

            • No, I haven’t experienced all congregations of all religions, but I have experienced enough to say in general all religions are exclusionary. If nothing else, only believers get to heaven, paradise, nirvana, or whatever special place true adherents go to. I think we can agree no atheist will ever get to heaven. But nor will any atheist ever go to hell. That one you can take to the bank.
              Sunday is just another day, and what makes me perfectly happy is being responsible for my own life, now and forever.
              But yeah, listening to pontificating preachers I do not miss, especially the ones who rape little children.

              Liked by 1 person

            • While I am not going to debate if there really is a heaven or hell, your idea that all believers think only they get into heaven and non-believers do NOT is wrong. So no I don’t agree with this statement and seems more like an stereotypical assumption on your part.

              Here is WHY I disagree:

              https://www.pewforum.org/2008/12/18/many-americans-say-other-faiths-can-lead-to-eternal-life/

              Pew did a study that showed that 52% of all American Christians believe some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life and out of that group 42 % of these respondents felt that atheism could lead to eternal life. Sure if you do the math that means only 22% of all Christians think atheists can go to heaven too, but that certainly is NOT zero. While also not a majority that is still a size able portion. That is about 1/5 of all American Christians.

              So there is no real reason to think what you’re saying is true. So I took it to the bank and the bank sent back the check.

              Like

            • I am not surprised at this study; however, I would be inclined to say that few in the hardcore evangelical faith would agree with its conclusions. And since these are the “nosiest” of the denominations, it is not surprising that rawgod and others contend exclusivity is the more common teaching.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Oh, I agree. However, I suppose what I am suggesting is we need to be awfully careful that we don’t allow more extreme and the noisiest elements (a sub-group) to dictate our assumptions of what the whole group is like. Just as it’s true with politics (see your exhausted middle post about Democrat and Republicans), it’s true of various religions. Also, that it is important to maintain nuance in such conversations and avoid overly black-and-white thinking.

              Liked by 1 person

            • The hardcore evangelists – if you’ve read and taken seriously their comments online – are convinced that non-believers and ‘backsliders’ are going to Hell ( it exists in the imagination). That’s why they try so hard to get their non-believing family members on their side of belief. They want to save them from the torments of the imaginary pit. *shake my head*. ‘Living forever’ obviously means that a person’s brain would still be alive and functioning; the body would be reborn and walking hand in hand with invisible beings, one’s feelings and emotions would still be intact. ..blah, blah, blah. It really is quite perplexing to think that grown adults would hold these things as ‘truth’.

              Liked by 2 people

            • I won’t get the quote right, so I will paraphrase what I was told in church, and read in the bible, as a youth: to enter my father’s kingdom (heaven) you must believe in me (christ).
              It was something like that. It is nice to know American xians do not all believe the club ihbs exclusivhe. BUT, what atheist would want to go to heaven, welcome or not? No thank you.
              And eternal life isn’t exclusive to xianity, although xiansb are the biggest believers John Doe on earth is John Doe in heaven.
              I am an atheist who believes life does not end, that it survives death. However, I do not believe the ego survives death, nor do I believe in a heavenly or paradisical journey’s end. Our spirits, that which is within all living beings, does not die, but gets to live again either on this plane of existence, or a different plane of existence.
              And this is true for all living beings–not just humans. And, for humans, definitely not limited by earthly beliefs. That is what I consider inclusive.
              Peace to you.

              Liked by 1 person

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