Then and Now

Scottie, a blogging friend, recently posted the following graph. Although I know many of my readers/followers also read his blog and may have already seen it, I wanted to give it as much exposure as possible since the contents are so “right-on.”

Paraphrasing a comment by Scottie … it’s amazing how otherwise smart people will buy into some of the most ridiculous stories so long as they are couched in religion. Yet if they heard the same or a similar story outside of religion, they would never believe it!

And, I might add, as the chart shows, they are quite adept to “reinterpreting” scriptures in an effort to make them conform to contemporary thinking.



Especially for Christians

Although the following was written by an ex-Christian, his words are primarily directed TO Christians. (Actually, he wrote more than this, but I selected a portion of his post that I felt was especially relevant.)

My reason for re-posting his message is because I’m hoping some of my Christian readers/followers will look it over and share your thoughts and comments. While I feel pretty certain many of you will disagree with some (or all) of what he wrote, I would really like to know why you disagree.

What has he said that you feel is wrong? Where is he mistaken? Would you be willing to share your thoughts/opinions?


Note to Non-Christian/Atheist Readers:

PLEASE do not post any thoughts or comments. I don’t want to start a war of words. I honestly would like to hear the believer’s side related to what this blogger has written — and I want them to feel safe when doing so. If I don’t get any comments at all, then so be it. 

Thank you for your understanding.


I do not call myself an atheist, though I am not convinced by any stories of God. They all lack evidence and therefore fail, in my opinion. I guess I am technically an atheist by definition, but I prefer to just go by Ben. I think it suits me better. So rather than respond to all of the posts about what an atheist is or is not, I thought I would try to correct some misconceptions here. 

[…]

First and foremost, atheists do not enjoy “living in sin.” That is not a misunderstanding. It is a lie. Atheists are not without morals just because they lack faith. Atheism is not a group that condones murder, rape, incest, violence, theft, or dishonesty. They are not without compassion for their fellow man. Atheists are just people like anyone else. Living in sin? What does that even mean? Not following the Bible? Not believing in Jesus? Not buying into the story? Is that what they mean? I already said that atheists do not enjoy “living in sin.” So if you take out all of the bad things humans can do to other humans, all that is left is humans’ views and practices regarding God. Since atheists are unconvinced of God’s existence, this is irrelevant. You can’t “sin” against God if he is not there. I do not personally know any atheist who lives their life constantly rejoicing in their rejection of God. It’s really a non-issue and they simply focus on their own lives. That’s it.

Secondly, atheists do not see evidence of God and reject it in order to live lives of debauchery. There is no credible evidence of the existence of God, Jesus or any of the Bible characters. There is no evidence that prayer works. Actual studies on intercessory prayers (praying on behalf of others) showed that prayer has no detectable effect on the outcome of those being prayed over. Here are some statistics from some studies done.

The “evidence” provided by believers, such as the Kalam Cosmological Argument, the fine-tuning argument, having a conscience, the argument of design, ontological arguments and any other argument you can think of, has nothing resembling concrete proof of anything. It’s all speculation and conjecture. The fact that there is a debate over the existence of a personal God is clear enough evidence that one does not exist. A personal God would not be hidden, and yet we cannot see one, hear one, feel one, communicate with one or sense one in any way. If one exists, it is most certainly existing in a state of constant hiding.

Atheists are not “shaking their fists at God.” They simply remain unconvinced. If atheists believed in God and believed in the wrath and punishments of God, they would not “shake their fists” at him. They would follow. There is one thing that would convince every last unbeliever. There is one thing that would make us hit our knees in prayer. There is one thing that would do so many things, but we are sadly missing that one thing: Evidence. There simply is none. Things of a supernatural nature Unexplained phenomena is not evidence of God or the divine realm. Just because we can’t explain by our current understanding the reasoning behind some events that occur, that doesn’t mean we can insert God as an explanation.

“If not God, then who or what?” That question, if you do not know the answer, should always have this response: “I don’t know.” If you don’t know then you don’t know. There is no shame in that. But to fill in the blanks with God is to be dishonest. “God must have done it because I can’t think of any other reason for it happening. If science can’t explain it, then God can.” This dangerous “god-of-the-gaps” way of thinking holds us back from finding out what really happened. We can be open to the idea that God may exist, but we can’t jump to that conclusion just because we really want to believe it.

So Christian reader, what are your thoughts? Does anything “Ben” has written make sense to you? Or are you in complete disagreement? And if so, why?

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Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

God Is Not A Christian

I just came across a post that included a quote from Bishop John Shelby Spong where he says:

God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created …

I love it! 

Only problem is … in my opinion, he didn’t take it far enough.

Humans didn’t just create the systems, they also created GOD

I’m pretty sure Bishop Spong would disagree with me (see his bio below), but hey … Truth is Truth.

As an added note, Bishop Spong has also stated that HELL doesn’t exist … that it’s an invention of the church to control people with fear. Wow! This man definitely has his head on straight. (No doubt this is why he’s been described as a “liberal Christian.”)

Oh, and he also said that religion is primarily a search for security — a way to stave off anxiety over the unknown.

Who woulda’ thought?

Someone else felt similarly. Paul Tillich, a Christian existentialist philosopher, put forth the idea that humans need something to overcome their fear of death … to help them subdue the terrible dread of their demise.

And for thousands … guess who fills the bill?

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember Spong’s words that “God is not a Christian.” Thus, what happens at “the end” may not be what some are expecting.

(I must confess. Bishop Spong actually said a bit more in the above quote. I just cherry-picked the most relevant part.) 😈


John Shelby “Jack” Spong is a retired American bishop of the Episcopal Church. From 1979 to 2000 he was Bishop of Newark. He is a liberal Christian theologian, religion commentator and author. He calls for a fundamental rethinking of Christian belief away from theism and traditional doctrines.

 

Heaven Forbid! Trump is Upsetting the Evangelicals

A Trump-supporting West Virginia state senator who represents many evangelicals got three phone calls from constituents complaining about Trump’s profanity after a recent rally.

Oh my! It seems the residents of this senator’s district are upset that Trump was “using the Lord’s name in vain” when he …

  • Bragged about bombing Islamic State militants: “they’ll be hit so goddamn hard.”
  • Warned a wealthy businessman: “If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so goddamn poor.”

While it’s not uncommon for Trump to use numerous profanities in his speeches, it seems some of his supporters are more fixated on the off-limits and casual use of the word “goddamn.” 😲

As many of us know, Evangelicals played a key role in Trump’s 2016 win, yet it now seems some of them are growing fatigued with the irreverent language that often seeps into his rallies and official events. Some believers have even threatened to stay home during the 2020 elections rather than vote if Trump “doesn’t tone down the rhetoric.”

Interestingly, although Trump has …

  • Been divorced twice
  • Faced constant allegations of extramarital affairs
  • Previously supported abortion rights
  • Stumbled when trying to discuss the specifics of religion (once saying “two Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians”)

… he has maintained broad support from evangelicals, including the unwavering backing of prominent conservative Christian leaders. Even Jerry Falwell, Liberty University President, says he wishes Trump would be a little more careful with his language, “but it’s not anything that’s a dealbreaker and it’s not something we’re going to get morally indignant about.”

Wow.

Although Evangelicals tend to agree with Trump’s social policies, praise his appointment of conservative judges, and extol his commitment to Israel — when it comes to “using the Lord’s name in vain” … gasp! … many draw the line.

They’re also not too happy with his use of “bullshit.” Or saying we should keep radical Islamic terrorists the “hell out of our country,” and that we should throw undocumented immigrants “the hell out.”

And yet … and yet … even though many are appalled at Trump’s irreverence, they continue to support him and are “inclined to extend grace to him” when he swears or makes inappropriate comments.

One can’t help but wonder … where do Evangelicals and other God-fearing individuals draw the line? Are they so certain that Trump is going to usher in a Christian Nation* that it’s O.K. to put aside the standards of their beloved religion for a future utopia?

Then again, as many of us know, Christians have been known to ignore/overlook the teachings of their Leader when it’s convenient for them to do so. Why should it be different this time?

 

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(Material and excerpts for this post came from here.)

*A country that recognizes a form of Christianity as its official religion and often has a state church which is a Christian denomination that supports the government and is supported by the government.

Preach It, Sista’!

On one of Ben‘s recent blog posts, he had a real, true-to-life Christian visitor. You knew this because every comment she made included references to God or Jesus/Christ.

Something I find difficult to understand is when a Christian visits an Atheist’s blog, why do they feel the need to preach? Especially when nearly all the posts are clearly laying out the reasons why the individual left Christianity!

Anyway, here for your reading enjoyment(?) is your religious experience for the week. No need to sit on a hard pew or take communion or get callouses on your knees.

It’s makes so sad that you’ve had such a hurtful experience with Christianity. I hope one day the whole body of Christ will actually be the body and walk as the body, talk as he talked and do as he did. Religion can be very damaging to many. I have not had this experience because I am in love with Jesus. I am absolutely amazed by him everyday. Following Jesus is hard, being different is hard, believing the impossible is hard and hearing your story is hard because it hurts my heart. I desire that you’d come to know the God I’ve come to know. Ben I think about you often and I do enjoy your posts you are talented and your thoughts are raw and real so thank you for sharing your self to all who read. I know your not trying to hurt faith you just don’t believe it and that’s your choice. You don’t offend me, who am I to be offended? it’s your story. I am listening and I care!

God sent his one and only son not religion so I’m not going to try to debate with you. I agree religion does harm but Jesus does not. That’s what I’ve experienced he’s amazing!!! ❤️

My answer is there is not one God that gave his own life for me and everyone else but Jesus the lamb of God. While everyone else can have there own beliefs and I respect that the God they believe in did not come in the flesh and die for me. Jesus did and I will proclaim his name till the end of my days!!

I am not trying to get it right I am right with God because I know and believe in his son and what he’s done for me. I am not trying to be good I am through Christ and his sacrifice. I don’t need anything else but Jesus. I don’t care if everyone else wants to follows the rules but I am going to keep my faith in what he’s done for me. He came in the flesh and died and if that’s not enough to believe then I’m not sure what is. My answer is my faith he is my love he’s changed me from the inside out. Now I will live my life for him.

Jesus is a gift and is available to all. I can’t explain faith to someone who doesn’t really care to know but only wants to prove a point. Pray and ask God for yourself he’s waiting to have a relationship with you.

There was more, but for now this is the …

End. Of. Sermon.