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Old 11-27-2001, 03:13 PM   #21
Marduk
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I'd appreciate it if you'd fill this out if you have some time. I want to understand non-Christian positions a little better.
1. To you, what is the Christian faith? Sum it up, no more than 50 words please.

The Nicene Creed sums it up, I guess.

2. What do you feel is the strongest evidence that discredits the veracity of the Christian faith?

The general gullibility of people 2000 years ago, Constantines meddling, the early church feuds, if they couldn't agree what they believed in then, how can we now?

3. What do you dislike the most about Christianity?

Fundamentalists, the dependence on threats of violence and hellfire if you don't play the game their way, I would think a true God would be more impressed by someone who is good because he knows it's the right thing to do not because he's afraid of a spanking.

4. What do you like best about Christianity?

The tradition of helping the poor, starting education for the masses, the art, love thy neighbor type stuff.

5. List 5 qualities you like about Christianity. Please keep them brief.

see above

6. List 5 qualities you dislike about Christianity. Please keep them brief.

Evangelizing or whatever you call it, insisting this is the only way, intolerance.

7. What would you do if you found out God really existed and that He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins? You also find out that you need to surrender your life and will to Him and ask him to forgive you of your sins. Would you?

I never understood the 'to surrender your life and will to Him' stuff but being a major wuss who hates pain, not to mention heat, I'd take the forgiveness thing.

8. Are Christianity and the Bible mutually exclusive? Explain. List 5 examples if you can. Be brief.

too complicated, others already said it better.

9. What are your three favorite Biblical contradictions?

the three omni's seem mutually exclusive, Loving God creates Hell stuff, the 'end of times' they are always calling for.

10. Is the Bible a good source of moral values? Why or why not?

No, too much violence, bigotry etc.

11. List 6 "good" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6)

thou shalt not lie, steal, kill, be unfaithful, be nice to your parents, but these can all be found in older bronze age texts.

12. List 6 "bad" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6)

people of other tribes suck, kill homos, treat women like property, beat your servants.

13. List any character flaws you can think of concerning Jesus as presented in the Gospels. If you are a Christ-Myther you can still answer this one.

The 'people of other tribes suck business'

14. How much of the Bible have you read?

maybe 30%, alot of the OT is pretty boring.

15. Positive experiences with believers? List a few if you like.

some friends & relatives, the Pope seems nice.

16. Negative experience with believers? List a few if you like.

Falwell, Robertson, Phelps and the young earth creationist crowd.

17. How would you classify yourself? Solipsist, atheist (strong, weak), agnostic etc? Please provide a brief description.

agnostic

18. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Apologetics?

spin control

19. Can Christians be open-minded?

yes

20. Was Christ a historical figure? Why or why not?

I'm not 100% sure, the argument from silence, Paul not saying much about Jesus ministry as a human.

21. If you said he was a historical figure then who do you think he really was before the Biblical authors took hold of him? Was he a teacher? Did he claim to be God? Did he die? Be brief.

An Essene preacher who never claimed to be God.

22. Does a contradiction in the Bible discredit the entire thing? Does it discredit the Christian faith? Why or why not. Be brief.

Not to me, unless you are one of those who claim inerrancy.

23. Is abortion okay? Why or why not. Be brief.

I'm uncomfortable with it, killing a healthy organism seems to violate the Hypocratic oath, after a few days a genetically unique human exists.

24. A concluding postscript. Here you can go on a 100 word rant on any subject you want pertaining to Christianity. This is optional.

Thanks a lot.


In 650 BC, Lao Tzu wrote about the Tao, all the nice and wise things Jesus said are in there, without the nasty stuff.
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Old 11-27-2001, 03:19 PM   #22
ohwilleke
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilgwamh:
<STRONG>number 8 should say "Are Science and the Bible contradictory." </STRONG>
Science has shown that the first part of the Book of Genesis is not an accurate factual account. There was no 7 day creation, man did not arise in the garden of eden, noah's flood didn't happen, there were no 700 year olds, and the tower of bable did not create diversity of languages.

Science has shown that illness mental or physical, is not cured by laying on hands and casting out demons, as Christ and his disciples allegedly did.

Must these scientific contradictions in and of themselves invalidate the Bible? No, but they do mean that a faith based on the absolute truth of the Bible or its inspired nature doesn't work.
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Old 11-28-2001, 12:46 PM   #23
beachbum
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Vinnie

I would agree that you have recently changed, you are a much mellower thoughtful individual than when I first encountered you.

Please do yourself a favor. Do not kill your dad. That would not be a good thing. Prison food sucks.

Stan the beachbum
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Old 11-28-2001, 07:03 PM   #24
Bill
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilgwamh:
<STRONG>I'd appreciate it if you'd fill this out if you have some time. I want to understand non-Christian positions a little better.

1. To you, what is the Christian faith? Sum it up, no more than 50 words please.</STRONG>
Christianity is a belief system centered around the idea that a God exists who manifested himself as a human we call Jesus Christ.
Quote:
<STRONG>2. What do you feel is the strongest evidence that discredits the veracity of the Christian faith? </STRONG>
All of the other religions which, while practiced just as fanatically, each in their own time or place, are claimed by Christians to be false religions. Frankly, I can't see why Christianity isn't just as false.
Quote:
<STRONG>3. What do you dislike the most about Christianity?</STRONG>
I most dislike those Christians who claim the right to run my life according to their own personally-stated moral values, whether they are consistant or followed within the Christian community or not. We were supposed to have gotten away from the idea that "might makes right" after World War II.
Quote:
<STRONG>4. What do you like best about Christianity? </STRONG>
In some of its incarnations, it can be a really thrilling, entertaining, and/or "feel good" experience, well worth the time, money, and effort expended.
Quote:
<STRONG>5. List 5 qualities you like about Christianity. Please keep them brief. </STRONG>
[list=1][*]It has produced (or inspired) some really good music (of course, this evaluation is culturally biased).[*]It can produce a strong "sense of community," which is valuable to most human populations (of course, any religion can do this).[*]It can inspire people to better behavior, either through charity or other means (of course, any religion can do this).[*]It can make people very happy (again, any religion or other source of inspiring happiness can do this same thing).[*]Four is all you get.[/list=a]
Quote:
<STRONG>6. List 5 qualities you dislike about Christianity. Please keep them brief. </STRONG>
[list=1][*]The "holier than thou" attitude, whenever it is displayed (again, this can be an attribute of any strongly-held religious belief).[*]The idea that Christianity's moral values are so important, that even non-believers must be forced to adhere to them (again, this can be an attribute of any strongly-held religious belief).[*]The prejudice against the ability or desirability of non-Christians doing anything of importance in a Christian community (again, this can be an attribute of any strongly-held religious belief).[*]The intolerance for any idea that is in any way at odds with any strongly-held religious belief (again, this can be an attribute of any strongly-held religious belief).[*]The idea of some to the effect that "good Christians" have to do everything within their power to convert others to their particular brand of Christianity (which seems to be more characteristic of Christianity as opposed to other religions).[/list=a]
Quote:
<STRONG>7. What would you do if you found out God really existed and that He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins? You also find out that you need to surrender your life and will to Him and ask him to forgive you of your sins. Would you? </STRONG>
Oh, sure. Before I deconverted, I really did want to believe. But the facts of the matter made it impossible for me to believe and to still be true (honest) to myself about what the facts showed.
Quote:
<STRONG>8. Are Christianity and the Bible mutually exclusive? Explain. List 5 examples if you can. Be brief. </STRONG>
This is impossible to answer because of the broad range of beliefs about the Bible within Christianity itself. For me to answer with respect to one sect of Christianity would not produce an answer that would be true with respect to some other sect of Christianity, and so forth.....
Quote:
<STRONG>9. What are your three favorite Biblical contradictions? </STRONG>
I really don't have any "favorite ... contradictions." Instead, the entire worldview of the Bible contradicts reality. I guess that I finally, fully, and completely rejected the Bible when I read Thomas Henry Huxley dissect the story of the Gadarene swine. (You can read it for yourself, in three different essays, HERE, AGAIN HERE, and FINALLY HERE.) The end result of that disputation leaves one with a choice: either demonic possession is true, as claimed by the New Testament (all three synoptic gospels), or else demonic possession is false, and the scientific evidence for that proposition is virtually overwhelming. That was the only "Biblical contradiction" with which I have ever concerned myself.
Quote:
<STRONG>10. Is the Bible a good source of moral values? Why or why not? </STRONG>
NO! The Bible ought to be X-rated! It demonstrates a set of the most reprehensible moral values, which virtually all of humanity has rejected in the 20th century. (See my essay on this point, HERE.) The only way that the Bible can be used to teach good morals is with a total overlay of interpretation, which interpretation must come (of course) from someplace other than the Bible itself.
Quote:
<STRONG>11. List 6 "good" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6) </STRONG>
This list is somewhat dependant upon picking and choosing from different translations of the Bible, but I do believe that these qualify:[list=1][*]The Golden Rule (Of course, you can argue as to whether or not this moral value was actually "taught in the Bible." It was stated, but was it "taught" by example, for instance? I don't think so. And it appears that this rule was interpreted differently by Jews before Jesus as applying only to relations with other male Jews, again demonstrating the importance that a modern interpretation plays in teaching any moral rule from the Bible.)[*]Don't murder others (with the same parenthetical comment as above).[*]Don't covet things that belong to another (again, with the same comment as above).[/list=a]The inadequacy of Biblical morality is demonstrated by the Ninth Commandment, which only applies to the act of "bearing false witness." Surely, a better moral standard calls for honesty in all of our dealings, rather than just when bearing witness in a legal proceeding.
Quote:
<STRONG>12. List 6 "bad" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6) </STRONG>
[list=1][*]Genocide (the flood in Genesis chapters 6 & 7; the mass murders ordered to be committed by the Jews in Numbers chapter 21 and Deuteronomy chapters 2 and 3, etc.). And history would seem to demonstrate that Christians are quite ready to commit genocide when they fight for religious reasons.[*]Crimes Against Humanity (Hell is the most egregious example; but even if you are one of the Christians who does not believe that anybody actually goes to an eternal torture in Hell, then how about making the female prisoners of the Jews into sex slaves, such as is commanded in Numbers chapters 25 adn 31?).[/list=a]Those are the two worst (best?) examples I can think of for things that God said were good things to do, but which civilized humanity recognizes as bad.
Quote:
<STRONG>13. List any character flaws you can think of concerning Jesus as presented in the Gospels. If you are a Christ-Myther you can still answer this one. </STRONG>
Oh, just off the top of my head: 1) he didn't care for non-Jews (in spite of what Christians believe, what the Bible says is that he only cared for Jews); and 2) he held to the common mysoginistic ideas of his day, that women were a lower class of people than were men.
Quote:
<STRONG>14. How much of the Bible have you read? </STRONG>
Off and on, most of the important parts, over the past 40-50 years. I haven't read the apocraphya, or much of any of the books that are inserted into the Bible by only one or a few sects. But I've studied the five books of the Torah and the four Gospels, plus Acts and several others, in almost excruciating detail.
Quote:
<STRONG>15. Positive experiences with believers? List a few if you like. </STRONG>
Oh, when I was a believer myself, and thus a member of the "in crowd," I had lots of positive experiences with believers. I was in love with one. But that relationship didn't go anywhere because I didn't like her particular church.
Quote:
<STRONG>16. Negative experience with believers? List a few if you like. </STRONG>
Again, lots. The most significant one is when my sister converted to fundamentalism and started preaching to every member of my family (including me) that we were all going to Hell and be tortured for all eternity if we didn't also convert into her same small sect.
Quote:
<STRONG>17. How would you classify yourself? Solipsist, atheist (strong, weak), agnostic etc? Please provide a brief description. </STRONG>
I'm a "militant agnostic" (I don't know and you don't either!) who believes in metaphysical naturalism and scientific method for epistemological purposes. (Read more HERE.)
Quote:
<STRONG>18. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Apologetics? </STRONG>
"Another load of crap about to spew out...." I know; I'm being unfair. But that comes with the position I find myself in for the "unbeliever community" as a whole.
Quote:
<STRONG>19. Can Christians be open-minded? </STRONG>
Yes. But the narrow-minded Christians claim that Christians with open minds aren't "true Christians....."
Quote:
<STRONG>20. Was Christ a historical figure? Why or why not? </STRONG>
Yes. I've read most of the major books and arguments on both sides of this question. I find Eisenman's analysis in James the Brother of Jesus to be most persuasive. James most certainly existed. And the evidence would seem to surely demonstrate, on balance, that James had a brother, who we now call Jesus, and whom Christians call "Christ." We know very little of the reality of that person, but I think it is safe to say that this person did exist, once upon a time.
Quote:
<STRONG>21. If you said he was a historical figure then who do you think he really was before the Biblical authors took hold of him? Was he a teacher? Did he claim to be God? Did he die? Be brief. </STRONG>
He did not claim to be God. (Christians have to imply that claim from what is stated in the Bible; it isn't even said openly!) Jesus himself would have viewed his claim to be God as the height of blasphemy. He was a devout Jew, who was upset with the drift of the Jews away from their cultural and religious heritage. He certainly did die. Its an open question as to whether or not he was executed.
Quote:
<STRONG>22. Does a contradiction in the Bible discredit the entire thing? Does it discredit the Christian faith? Why or why not. Be brief. </STRONG>
There are too many sects of the Christian faith to formulate a brief but responsive answer. For me, what discredits the Christian faith is its similarity to the other ancient myths of the day and its failure to reveal (in its holy texts) any inconsistancies with what we now know to be reality (such as the nonexistence of demons).
Quote:
<STRONG>23. Is abortion okay? Why or why not. Be brief. </STRONG>
Under certain circumstances, yes. For instance, I see no possible objection to a very early abortion (within a few days of conception) and no possible excuse for an abortion within a few days of delivering a full term baby. In between those extremes, you get a range of answers based upon circumstances.
Quote:
<STRONG>24. A concluding postscript. Here you can go on a 100 word rant on any subject you want pertaining to Christianity. This is optional. </STRONG>
Well, I wish that the "liberal" Christians would arrange to somhow exterminate (take over) the "fundamentalist" Christians, and that all Christians would then practice what the "liberal" Christians preach. Barring that, I think that the world would be a better place without Christianity, Islam, and so forth.....

== Bill
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Old 11-29-2001, 07:31 AM   #25
Oolon Colluphid
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Quote:
Originally posted by ilgwamh:
<strong> I'd appreciate it if you'd fill this out if you have some time.</strong>
Well well well... the return of ilgwamh. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Vinnie, who was <a href="http://ii-f.ws/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000898&p=" target="_blank">was stumped 27 times</a> in <a href="http://ii-f.ws/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=3&t=000608" target="_blank">this E/C thread</a> in April, when he boldly said:
Quote:
I'm new here and I am a creationist. I know a lot of you feel you can refute creationism and show how the Bible is at odds with science. Well, I feel just the opposite. So, I would like to get stumped. Your being invited to Stump this Creationist
So we did.

Vinnie, we still have an awful lot of unanswered questions in that thread, which I’ve bumped to make it easily accessible for you. People put a lot of time and effort into them. Why should we spend our time on this for you, when you did not respond to us?

Cheers, Oolon
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Old 11-29-2001, 08:48 AM   #26
babelfish
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I'd appreciate it if you'd fill this out if you have some time. I want to understand non-Christian positions a little better.

1. To you, what is the Christian faith? Sum it up, no more than 50 words please.

There are so many so-called Christian faiths, which one should we sum up? Are Catholics Christians? Are Mormons? What about Jehovah’s Witnesses? I suspect you mean YOUR Christian faith, which I suspect is of the Biblical-inerrancy, YEC variety. I believe your brand of Christianity would be virtually un-recognizable to anyone who lived more than 100 years ago, from Jesus himself on up through the Founding Fathers. (Was George Washington a Born Again Christian? Was anyone back then?)


2. What do you feel is the strongest evidence that discredits the veracity of the Christian faith?

There are so many kinds of evidence that refute the Bible, but I guess the strongest evidence to me is dinosaurs. You would think they’d be mentioned somewhere in the Bible if they really did coexist peacefully with early man. (And please, don’t tell me that a few mentions of “leviathans” constitutes biblical evidence for dinos.)

3. What do you dislike the most about Christianity?

The hypocrisy and the lying.

4. What do you like best about Christianity?

It gives people a nice club to belong to.

5. List 5 qualities you like about Christianity. Please keep them brief.

- Mozart’s “Requiem”
- Handel’s “Messiah”
- The Sistine Chapel
- Spirituals
- Christmas

6. List 5 qualities you dislike about Christianity. Please keep them brief.

- Preoccupation with repressing sexuality, especially
- Stamping out homosexuality (now, exactly how are gays supposed to be trying to eradicate the American Family with their Homosexual Agenda, again?)
- Rampant sexism
- Rampant racism
- The way Christians want to take over the government of the U.S.

7. What would you do if you found out God really existed and that He sent His Son Jesus to die for your sins? You also find out that you need to surrender your life and will to Him and ask him to forgive you of your sins. Would you?


By the time I found this out it would probably be too late, and I’d be on my way down to hell where you and all the other true believers could watch and enjoy my everlasting torment.


8. Are Christianity and the Bible mutually exclusive? Explain. List 5 examples if you can. Be brief.

I know, you meant to say “Science and the Bible.” So that’s how I’ll answer this one. I’ll never understand why biblical literalists insist on taking a beautiful, allegorical, almost poetic piece of literature like Genesis and insist upon saying that it is all scientifically true. To me it shows a deplorable lack of imagination.

9. What are your three favorite Biblical contradictions?

- The OT God of War vs. the NT God of Love
- Jesus’ message of Love vs. the “apostle” Paul’s message of Law


10. Is the Bible a good source of moral values? Why or why not?

It does seem to if you sort of pick your way through the bad parts. But what moral values are being taught, for example, by Revelations? Other than you should tremble with fear if you are a non-believer.

11. List 6 "good" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6)

Don’t be so materialistic (are you listening all you wealthy televangelists?)
Love thy neighbor as thyself


12. List 6 "bad" morals taught in the Bible. (Please don't exceed 6)

- It’s good to abandon your family to follow someone you believe to be God
- If God has promised you some land, you should kill everyone else who is living there
- Women should be subservient to their husbands, and just hope that men will obey the instruction to love their wives, cause if not, they (the wives) are in big trouble!
- It’s okay for children to be killed by a bear if they make fun of a bald prophet

13. List any character flaws you can think of concerning Jesus as presented in the Gospels. If you are a Christ-Myther you can still answer this one.

Can’t think of any other people haven’t already mentioned.

14. How much of the Bible have you read?

All of it, but I can’t quote chapter and verse, nor do I think being able to do so is an admirable talent.


15. Positive experiences with believers? List a few if you like.

The most positive experience with a believer that I’ve ever had was my Dad, who despite being a devout Roman Catholic was one of the most open-minded, fair, and intelligent people I’ve ever known.

16. Negative experience with believers? List a few if you like.

My most negative experience was with my younger sister, whom I’ve pretty much broken off contact with because religion has taken over her life.


17. How would you classify yourself? Solipsist, atheist (strong, weak), agnostic etc? Please provide a brief description.

Strong Atheist/Humanist

18. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word Apologetics?

Trying to explain the inexplicable

19. Can Christians be open-minded?
Yes, my Dad was very open-minded. (Sadly, some Christians wouldn’t consider a Catholic to be a true Christian.)

20. Was Christ a historical figure? Why or why not?

I think he was, but I don’t think he said he was god, although some of the NT’s authors claim that he did.

21. If you said he was a historical figure then who do you think he really was before the Biblical authors took hold of him? Was he a teacher? Did he claim to be God? Did he die? Be brief.

I think he was one of the many prophets that inhabited the Middle East 2000 or so years ago. He was probably extremely charismatic.

22. Does a contradiction in the Bible discredit the entire thing? Does it discredit the Christian faith? Why or why not. Be brief.

No, but a whole bunch of them sure could!

23. Is abortion okay? Why or why not. Be brief.

Contrary to the opinions of some, women don’t have abortions easily and thoughtlessly. It is a decision that cannot be taken lightly, and rarely (in my experience) is. However, I don’t believe an embryo or fetus is a baby. If it were, there would be a lot more funerals held for miscarriages. When you have a miscarriage or abortion, it is more the loss of a potential life that you may grieve for. Sort of like the difference between burning a set of blueprints and burning down an existing building.

24. A concluding postscript. Here you can go on a 100 word rant on any subject you want pertaining to Christianity. This is optional.

A question for you, ilgwamh: What did you hope to accomplish with this questionaire? I admit it was fun to fill out, and it was nice to be able to voice some of my previously unexpressed thoughts and feelings about Christianity. Were you hoping to make us atheist/infidels think so deeply about our beliefs (or lack thereof) that we would be filled with the Holy Spirit and turn to your Christ? Reading most of these responses, I would have to say you’d better try another method. Are you writing a paper, or conducting research of some sort? Anyway, answer me or not, I am just curious.

Thanks a lot.
You’re Welcome!
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Old 11-29-2001, 09:06 AM   #27
Muad'Dib
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ilgwamh, since this hasn't developed into a discussion of the Bible, I'm going to go ahead and move it to <a href="http://ii-f.ws/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=22&t=001130&p=1" target="_blank">MRD</a> where it will probably receive more responses.

Edited to add link.

[ November 29, 2001: Message edited by: Muad'Dib ]</p>
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