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Old 04-21-2001, 09:41 AM   #11
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:
For me it's the fact that either way, whether Christianity is true or false the situation would be appalling. Were Christianity true all kinds of people would wind up in hell, and non-rehabilitative punishment of this sort would have to disturb those peace-loving souls in heaven. Were Christianity false, all kinds of people would have wasted their lives and killed or died for no good reason. Either way absurdity results and we get a bitter taste of cosmic indifference, whether from God who gives up on billions of his children, leaving them to everlasting pain, or from a mindless universe that doesn't care if or how we survive.</font>
Precisely. It is this Catch-22 that Christianity has that is the mist despicable. If it's ture, it is bad in a certan way, if it's false, it bad as well. Since we can safely claim that Christianity is false, however, then the fact that so many lives through history were wasted for nothing over an evil belief.

 
Old 04-21-2001, 10:00 AM   #12
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I have to agree with at least some of what Hilarius has said. Skeptics should not fall into the trap of assuming that all Christians are fundamentalists. Besides the fact that such an assumption is incorrect, to make it is to allow the fundamentalists to dictate the agenda.

In criticizing Christianity, one should really first establish which brand of Christianity is being criticized. The problem with making blanket statements is that for practically any statement "I do not like X about Christianity" there will be at least some Christians who do not believe X.

Of course, this often leads to the rather amusing spectacle of different Christian sects bickering about who is a "true" Christian. But in general I prefer to watch that from the sidelines.

I'll just make the point though that Hilarius likes the Nicean Creed. It's true that most Church going Christians nominally subscribe to it, or something like it, but how many actually believe all its tenents, or even think about them too deeply? In my (Catholic, British) church going days we all used to chant in unison "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end" halfway through Mass, but I didn't know anybody who seriously expected an actual Second Coming - ever. Does this mean they were not proper Christians? If so, well I'm afraid there are practically no Christians in Britain.

On the other hand, there are other things Hilarius has said that I have to take issue with.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What cruel God?</font>


Depends whether you're a Bible literalist or not, but certainly killing 70,000 innocent people because someone else took a census (2 Samuel 24:1-17) is hardly a reasonable response by any standard. If you believe it didn't happen then fair enough, but other Christians believe it did, so it is fair to criticize their cruel god.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What is the punishment involved in being separated from a God you have chosen to hate throughout your earthly life. </font>


Come come Hilarius, please drop the fallacy that atheists hate God. It is impossible to either love or hate that which one does not believe exists. Of course, I would find the god presented in the Bible very distasteful if it did exist, but since you are not a Bible literalist this hardly applies to your god, does it?

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I hope you are not suggesting Christian teachings leading to wasted lives or killing?</font>


Not entirely wasted lives I guess, but praying to a god who did not exist would certainly be a waste of part of your life. One would be far better off doing something useful with the time. "The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray" (Ingersoll)
 
Old 04-21-2001, 11:23 AM   #13
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The hatred and intolerance Christianity inspires in many of its followers is dispicable.

There are many decent Christians, but their benignity does not mitigate the horrors perpetrated by so many Christians upon humankind.

Many even feel compelled to murder eachother to this day (Northern Ireland, Rwanda) because they disagree over the particulars of their respective denominations.

Respectfully, Rick

[This message has been edited by rbochnermd (edited April 21, 2001).]
 
Old 04-21-2001, 11:25 AM   #14
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Hilarius:
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As a Christian I have total respect for the natural world, given that it all required a first cause, unless you believe the natural world invented itself.
</font>
Is it a failure of your social nerve and your religious imagination to believe that an immanent God creates a natural world that invents itself?
 
Old 04-21-2001, 12:30 PM   #15
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EARL: For me it's the fact that either way, whether Christianity is true or false the situation would be appalling. Were Christianity true all kinds of people would wind up in hell, and non-rehabilitative punishment of this sort would have to disturb those peace-loving souls in heaven.

HILARIUS: What is the punishment involved in being separated from a God you have chosen to hate throughout your earthly life. Surely such a choice of separation should be pleasing?

EARL: This is the Christian misuse of words I discussed in the article, "Double-talk in Defense of the Dubious" (at http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...0/kuchar1.html ). The view that hell is a sign of God's "love" for the condemned, God's "respect" for their decision to rebel against him flies in the face of the description given by Jesus, the Church fathers and virtually every important Church member, including all the saints, that hell will be purely painful and irreversible. There would be nothing to respect or love about those in hell: they would be the lowest, most deserving criminals without any redeeming qualities. If they had redeeming qualities, of course, they would not deserve hell in the form of non-rehabilitative infinite punishment.

So along comes Hilarius and his disingenuous suggestion that hell will be "pleasing" to the condemned. Let Hilarius harmonize that with Jesus' description of hell in terms of being "cast out into darkness," "where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched," a place where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth" and which we should avoid to such an extent that we should sooner pluck out our eye or cut off our foot if these cause us to sin. Here, then, we have the Christian version of Orwellian double talk. The reality of hell, of everlasting and non-rehabilitative punishment, for believers is so awful that some have to soften hell and consider it a sign of God's "love" and "respect" for the rebels, as opposed to wrath. Non-rehabilitative, everlasting punishment as motivated by "respect" and "love" for the sake of "pleasing" the unrepentant souls? That's pure Christian denial.



EARL: Were Christianity false, all kinds of people would have wasted their lives and killed or died for no good reason.

HILARIUS: I hope you are not suggesting Christian teachings leading to wasted lives or killing?

EARL: If Christianity were false, virtually everything about Christianity would have been profoundly wasteful and absurd, including Jesus' teachings about unconditional love and of course God, the Messiah, the Second Coming, the sacrifice for sin, the virgin birth, the bible's divine inspiration, apostolic authority, the resurrection, and on and on and on.



EARL: Either way absurdity results and we get a bitter taste of cosmic indifference, whether from God who gives up on billions of his children, leaving them to everlasting pain, or from a mindless universe that doesn't care if or how we survive.

HILARIUS: Where is your evidence that God gave up? So soon after Easter you speak of God giving up? What did Christ ask for those who do not know they do? If you need a clue it is a word beginning with F and ending in ness

EARL: More sign of Christian denial. His denial leads him to misrepresent me as saying that God "gave" up, in the past tense, whereas I said "God who gives up," meaning his act of condemnation in the future at the Day of Judgment. I'm talking about the condemnation of rebels to EVERLASTING hell, Hilarius. You know, the thing that comes AFTER Jesus' sacrifice, after we die and after God's period of forgiveness. God's alleged forgiveness extends only to our time in this life, a period of several decades for most of us (which means nothing from God's eternal standpoint). God gives up on the rebels once they die. From that point on they are condemned to an eternity of non-rehabilitative punishment. There is no clearer or stronger example of giving up on a criminal than God's consignment of the rebels to hell, a place of everlasting non-rehabilitative punishment of the worst kind, not to mention pinning our salvation on belief in a handful of doctrines and invisible beings even when there is reasonable doubt as to their truth or existence. This scenario is apparently so offensive to Hilarius that he doesn't recognize hell as a sign of God's eventual irreversible giving up on the rebels due to--what else could it be?--wrath as opposed to--in a profoundly empty sense--"respect" or "love" for the sake of "pleasing" the rebels. Hell as "pleasing" to the condemned souls. I suppose every once in a while the rebels will crack a smile in hell for their freedom in between weeping and gnashing their teeth.

Hilarius' double talk and quibbles aside, my point stands: whether Christianity is true or false, cosmic absurdity is shoved unasked-for in our face.
 
 

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