Why Did You Leave the Fold?

I left the Christian fold mainly because I began to doubt the reliability of the Genesis creation accounts in the face of the age of the universe. Hector Avalos and Robert Price left it because of biblical criticism, both OT and NT respectively. Exapologist left it because of the failed prediction that Jesus was to return in his generation. Ken Pulliam left it because there was no cogent explanation of the atonement. William Dever left it because of biblical archaeology. Bart Ehrman left it because of the problem of suffering. My claim is that people leave the fold for so many different reasons because there are so many different reasons to do so. What other former Christian authors/scholars do you know and why did they leave the fold? Why did you?

221 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

I doubt very many former Christians will say they left the fold because one or more of the arguments for the existence of God were judged faulty, or that the arguments that Jesus did not exist persuaded them.

Lee said...

I left because I could no longer believe the old testament "laws" actually came from God . . . they're too primitive, too unjust, too much like witch-doctoring. And my realization came when I was doing my regular "read through the Bible" routine. "Wait a minute--I don't believe this--this can't be true . . ." and then the whole house of cards came tumbling down.

STK said...

What originally pulled me to the side of religious doubt and into common sense, was reading the "Masks of God" series by the great mythologist Joseph Campbell. Specifically, seeing how the Jesus myth was a conglomerate of many ancient myths combined. Again, this was just the beginning. Four years and hundreds of books later- being equipped with independent &critical thinking, unbiased analysis, logic, reasoning...The journey has been great. Life is good for what it is!

Sue Bailey said...

I left because I had a "road to Damascus in reverse" experience, where I suddenly realised I had no faith. Once you lose faith, everything unravels. The logic and the counter-arguments to everything I'd ever believed came later: it was that one moment of "everything I believe is nonsense" realisation that did it for me.

Dan DeMura said...

Because I finally realized religion is man made.

AdamK said...

I left because I couldn't continue to participate in the phoniness of seminary and witness the corruption of the magisterium. All that lying and keeping up of appearances would not be necessary if the church was founded on anything real. And Catholic sexual "ethics" would be a joke if it weren't so cruel.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

I left originally because of the doctrine of Hell. Even if I knew that I weren't going there, the knowledge that the vast majority of the human race was going to spend all eternity conciously suffering was too much for me to live with. I took a sidestep into Christian Universalism, where the doctrine of an eternal Hell is completely denounced. As I kept studying, I realized that there Universalists and annihilationists, and both rejected the God of an eternal Hell as being unjust, capricious and cruel.

It didn't take long before I realized that these groups existed because these people accepted what they "felt" was the truth, and it was impossible to actually know the objective truth. The more I pondered upon this fact of reality, the more I realized there was no way to distinguish these beliefs from fantasy and wishful thinking. And since each group could find copious amounts of Biblical support for their positions, the Bible was no place to look. But, if you can't look in the Bible, there's no where to look.

For this reason along with the problem of suffering, it was just completely untenable to continue believing in the God of the Bible.

Then I found Biblical criticism, and boy did the wheels really come off whatever latent belief I still had in that deity.

Anthony said...

I left due to the accumulative evidence of science, history and biblical criticism. It wasn't even from reading skeptical writings, it was in fact due to reading evangelical scholars who were attempting to deal honestly with the evidence.

Ryan Anderson said...

For me it was after I read the footnote on Mark 16:9. I'd never given much thought to how illogical most of genesis was, but for some reason, the idea that the resurrection story was missing from what was likely the oldest record of Jesus didn't sit right.

The actual "leaving of the fold" took place years later, but that was ultimately the reason.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

There were two turning points, separated by many years.

The first was when I realized that apologists and preachers, even the "correct" a&p cherry-picked and even twisted the Scriptures to prove their doctrines. At that point, I decided to study the Bible alone, which I did for years.

The second was when I realized, finally, that Paul's words and actions ignored Jesus' teachings.

I returned to the apologists and began also to read Biblical criticism; within the year, I was free.

Mike D said...

I left the fold because defeated the sloth demon that was possessing my party members. Wait! That was Dragon Age...

I left Christianity because the theology made no sense to me. I read Hebrews, which essentially explains it, and it left me with more questions than answers.

What does blood sacrifice have to do with anything? If Jesus is God, how can God sacrifice himself to himself? And isn't he the one who cast humanity out of Eden, cursing all humankind? And isn't he the one who decided for some reason that blood sacrifice was a requirement for forgiveness? How can he sacrifice himself to himself to pay a debt he determined for a curse he put on us?

That, plus all the genocide, child sacrifice, slavery and misogyny that God commands in the OT made me realize it was just a collection of tribal myths.

I remained agnostic, though, until I read Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time". That put me over to atheism.

Walks With Coffee said...

I became a non-practicing Christian after experiencing the influence and sting of the Intelligent Design Movement at Regent College Vancouver. I came to realize how badly Christians have misdirected my education, career, and my life. They violated my trust.

Curt said...

For me it was the Bible. More specifically, first: finding out that many Bible stories do not accord with reality; second, finding out the Bible doesn't live up to the grand claims of the apologist (inerrancy, consistency, divine authorship). Some Examples: the creation accounts, origin of languages, history of man (no Adam 6K y.a.), history (Daniel's bad history, historical revisions between Kings & Chronicles, exaggerated history of the Exodus, Davidic kingdom, Solomon's temple & fame, etc.) serious mismatches between the synoptics and John's gospel (did Jesus continually proclaim his deity as in John or did he keep it a secret and teach in parables as in Mark, et.al., plus other discrepancies), the process of canonization (especially the acceptance of 2 Peter and Revelation), the inconstancy of God's actions in history (in the Bible he is reversing the course of the sun, raising many dead people to walk the streets, causing earthquakes at will (justifying P.Robertson's view on Haiti), etc. etc., but now... not so much), the barbaric and tribal nature of the OT conquest accounts, Matthew's messianic prophecies which are neither messianic nor prophetic, and so much more.
Sure the apologist can justify these with spaghetti reasoning but in the end the defenses simply crumble under honest scrutiny. The only reasons I found to hold on to 'faith' were social - friends, family, fellowship - it was no longer based on reality or a pursuit of the truth at whatever cost.

___________________________ said...

I recognized that in my life I didn't see anything like what could reasonably be considered divine plan by a wholly good being, and my experiences led me to believe that Christians were not as good as one should expect out of a group supposedly devoted to goodness and given the supernatural cleansing power of the Holy Spirit.

I also noted that evolution was well-supported and seemed to contradict Genesis.

Raul said...

Cause I lost my blinders. I mean,it's fairly obvious,how absurd it all was... Praying to a deity of an ancient tribe,because it had a son... whatever

shane said...

I orginally just decided to take a step back from my faith. I was very confused as to why my life seemed so unrealistic as I tried to apply the teachings of Christ and the bible to everyday life.

I was confused as to why prayer seemed so uneffective, and why no matter how desperately I seeked to have a realistic relationship with God, it always seemed like iI was speaking to thin air!

The concept of hell was a major factor in my disbelief, and was also a major issue even when I was still a believer.

After a while into my backsliding, I started to read skeptical material to investigate for my self the authenticity of the bible.
I began reading alot of Robert Ingersoll works, as well as Thomas Paine, Dan Barker and B.C Johnson.

The more I delved into the oppossing views, the more I began to lose my belief.

I also found the bibles contradictions with known science as a very large weight that tipped the scales for me.

I am not a 100% Atheist, but im definitely agnostic to the concept of a creator (whatever that may be) but I definitely do not believe in the divinity of the bible anymore. I pretty confident that it is man made!

Lynn said...

Raul mentioned praying to a deity of an ancient tribe-that's it. I started thinking of God as Yahweh-just another god.

Then I had that moment while praying and gazing up at the sky-what if this has all been make-believe and I've tried to fit my real life into a false framework all these years?

Mike said...

I left after several frustrating personal experiences made me strongly question how I can have a relationship with someone who I can't see, hear, touch, or communicate with. How can a relationship exist if the communication is one-way? Then, I started to see that many Christians, including myself, had the same problems and moral shortcomings as any one else, even though we claimed, according to The Bible, that we are supposed to have better morals than the rest of the "world." I also then realized that it's not so crazy to suggest that maybe The Bible is not the inspired, inerrant word of God, and that there it has several problems.

All that being said, unlike a lot of people here, I'm not an atheist. I still believe in a Creator. I just see little evidence that He is actively involved in the affairs of this world.

David Wood said...

I realized that atheism wasn't true, that God created the world, and that Jesus rose from the dead. So I had to leave the atheist fold.

shane said...

David wood.

What brought you to the realization the Jesus rose from the dead?

Mike said...

David, even though in good conscience, I can no longer call myself a Christian anymore, I believe your critiques of Islam and the Koran are dead on.

shane said...

David wood.

Let me rephrase the question:

The online websters dictionary defines realize as (A)- To bring into concrete existence.
and also- To be fully aware.

How did you realize concretely that Jesus rose from the dead, or how did you become fully aware He rose?

I'd like to know how you know something I didn't!

AndreLinoge said...

I left Christianity while believing it was true. I just couldn't take the guilt and fear any longer so I made a break for the fence. It was years later that I finally saw that many of Christianity's tenents were....untenable. I still wonder how people believe in talking animals, Noah's Ark, floating axe heads, Jesus flying into the sky, etc.

Breckmin said...

They ALL left because they didn't KNOW God. They didn't therefore really understand their LOVE for God.

Some of these mentioned may come back to God. It will be because of God's Faithfulness and God's Grace and Faithfulness alone.

IF you don't have a real ongoing RELATIONSHIP with a Holy Creator where you LOVE Him, THEN you will be able to keep doubting His Existence.

Everyone doubts who questions. All of the above examples are easily answered. If you knew factually that Adam and Eve were the first two created in the Image of God and you knew that universal common descent theory was factually an aggregate world wide self-deception based on 10's of thousands of inductions which are open to error, THEN you wouldn't have a problem believing what is consistent with Jesus and His teachings.

If you knew all of the dozens of reasons for why there is suffering in this temporary creation, THEN you would be able to correctly identify which ones could apply in various situations and see clearly that everything will logically glorify God in the end.

If you study Textual Criticism and have a more practical approach to scripture (like capides inspiration) rather than requiring word perfect inerrancy (or verbal plenary inspiration) THEN you don't have any problem with all of the evidence.

If you understand that Jesus' prediction may have been a reference to either His resurrection or His transfiguration, THEN you don't have a problem with the way in which the disciples may have worded it.

There is no valid reason for leaving a real loving relationship with a Creator Who you know exists.

Doubt is always man-centered rather than God-centered or Christ-centered. Question everything.

Breckmin said...

"What does blood sacrifice have to do with anything? If Jesus is God, how can God sacrifice himself to himself? And isn't he the one who cast humanity out of Eden, cursing all humankind? And isn't he the one who decided for some reason that blood sacrifice was a requirement for forgiveness? How can he sacrifice himself to himself to pay a debt he determined for a curse he put on us?"

MikeD, what I like about your questions is that you appear to have some understanding of the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His Deity. It is important, however, NOT to look at this Sacrifice as though it is just another person sacrificing something to a pagan god or unto an idol. The difference with Jesus Christ is that it is the Infinite Creator becoming a Man and "giving of Himself" in a Self-Sacrificial act of allowing the Roman Soldiers to crucify Him to pay for the sins of the world.
All other sacrifices of lambs/animals by the Jews/Hebrews in the O.T. that were for their sins were "pointing" to this Great and Holy Sacrifice (of the Man God became).
It is important to understand that the Infinite Creator doesn't cease to exist as Infinite Creator when He becomes a Man (Jesus). It is foolish for us to define ontological Incarnation so sometimes it is better to say "in as much as God would become a Man, He became a Man and that Man that He (God) became is Jesus Christ of Nazareth). It is important to understand that Only God Himself should be King over Israel - that no one else is worthy to hold that Right. Yet being great involves serving others. Jesus served us all by being that Perfect and Holy Sacrifice.

This is not so much stated as a Sacrifice of Himself unto Himself..but rather the Man that God became gave His Life for the sins of the world to "atone" for them, or pay for them - because depraved man (imperfect with a sin nature) was unable to pay for them (their sin).

So it is the Man that God became Who Sacrificed Himself. He gave His life freely on behalf of God the Father (The Atemporal/Transcendent/Ordinate of God's Infinite Existence - and even this is defaming to God and imperfect to attempt to explain the Father this way). So the Son of God is giving His Life and taking on the sins of the world and being separated from His Father (Whom He is One with)in order to PAY for our sins (only Holiness can pay for our sins and
make us Holy).

There are logical reasons why God did what He did with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and we can go through many of those reasons systematically, but just because you don't understand the inevitable byproduct of choice and how it creates a potential (sin) which has to be dealt with, doesn't mean that there are NOT answers.

There are.

Question everything.

feeno said...

I hope everyone feels better after getting that off their chest. It's probably good therapy, and if you keep up enough of these neat reviews you just may convince yourselves it's actually true?

These all actually seem like good enough reasons to leave? But most people who leave the church don't even need excuses this good.

Following Christ isn't always easy. And unfortunately many wont finish. Most people don't like the idea that their a bad person and in need of a Savior, so any excuse to leave is good enough.

I've read a lot of de-conversion stories and am always saddened by them. But usually after reading them I can't say that I'm surprised by those that leave. Do you find those that you used to go to church with are?

Many people are leaving the church. The Bible speaks of a great falling away before Christs return. So there are plenty of empty pews for you to fill. Easter Sunday is right around the corner, I'll save you a seat. Besides it will make your Mama happy.

Peace in Mississippi, feeno

Walter said...

My journey out of Christianity began with a hard look at Yahweh's moral character in the Old Testament; especially since Jesus and Yahweh are supposed to be, sort of, the same person. Later, my study of biblical criticism finally convinced me that the bible is just a collection of human texts and not the harmonious revelation of a creator god.

Sabio Lantz said...

I left because I realized what I was doing in my mind was no different many people from other faiths (and non-faiths) who were supposedly going to hell while I had an escape jail free card.

Sabio Lantz said...

This is a great poll.
Lots of different reasons.
John, I hope you compile and organize.
Suggestion, ignore the Christian trolls and just keep giving your simple reasons for leaving the fold !
Thanks John

Nonchai said...

I left for a combination of reasons - 

1) got fed up feeling i was talking to myself during prayer without a hint of any "presence" - after 10 yrs.

2) A sense that my fellow charismatics at large seemed to lack any critical thinking with regard to "holy spirit" type experiences and supposed claims, plus a general atmosphere of gullibility

3) Felt more and more comfortable when talking about human and REAL topics and felt the "lightbulb" in my head turn off as soon as talk shifted to typical vapid charismatic subject matter.

4) After living and traveling with a friend ( in fact letting him stay in my apartment at cheap rent for a year ) for years, and seeing how when he became a trainee pastor in a pentecostal church linked heavily with Rheinhardt Bonkke and Benny Hinn started to get extremely suspicious and skeptical about the whole pentecostal evangelism thing - particularly with its focus on supposedly "spiritual" africans.

5) Felt more and more uncomfortable with my Y.E.C hobby and missed my days when i was filled with wonder and curiosity about science. The emperors creationist clothes started to drop off.

6) A nagging and unresolved doubt about the inerrancy of the bible and whether it really did support the trinity doctrine.

7) The kind of friends i ended up liking - finding the most interesting, mind expanding and fun where people who ENJOYED asking the hard questions within the church or people who all ended up leaving the charismatic church - even if most retained some form of liberal theism. I just didn't like the typical type of fundamentalist personality types and i reckon after a while one starts to be able to categorize common "charismatic stereotypes" quite easily. And i didn't like any of them. The "happy clappy thing simply started to seem vacuous.

8) I saw what happens when a pentecostal group gets "serious" with regard to "holiness". Some members of my family started going to a scottish pentecostal church called "Struthers Memorial Church" In Greenock Scotland which in my mind has many almost cult-like attributes. And I saw how children in that church were almost brainwashed form an early age and encouraged to fear anything form thew "world" including newspapers, TV, theatre - basically anything that didnt "glorify" god. Not the typical pentecostal church by any means - far more "radical" but i saw what kind of personality type was drawn to that church and didnt like it. Think JESUS CAMP meets the "strict brethren" and you get some idea. 

9) The idea of a soul made less and less sense.
8:34 PM, March 21, 2010

Nonchai said...

I forgot to mention some of the more obvious and common nagging doubts - namely - the idea of a select few going to heaven after some "born again" altar call experience while the majority of the world gets consigned to hell.

Not to mention the old chestnut of the problem of suffering ala Bart Ehrman.

But if im honest it was two things basically:

A) total lack of ANY evidence for any claims, spiritual and doctrinal

B) A gradual distaste for all things evangelical whether baptist or charismatic. ( didnt go the liberal route - just went to a non-church going phase and then slowly to a declared atheist position.

Philip R Kreyche said...

I left because the "answers" that Breckmin has such fervent faith in never convinced me.

To me, it was more likely that Adam and Eve never existed than that there was a "world-wide self-deception"" in effect since the 1800s.

To me, it was more likely that Jesus did not fulfill the Jewish messianic prophecies than that he did, but just in a "different way" that only he knew and no one else could have predicted until after the fact (which makes the prophecies useless in the first place, since Christianity has changed the standards of prophetic interpretation in order to keep their dogma justified in their eyes)

To me it was more likely that prayer is worthless and that God, if he exists, doesn't answer prayer, rather than that God does answer prayer but just in unpredictable ways and at his own pace (which makes God answering prayers indistinguishable from coincidence).

To me it was more likely that the world is a cold, soulless reality rather than the cosmic testing ground for human souls (as God's omniscience necessitates foreknowledge of human actions, making the creation of humans practically pointless).

Every lame excuse people like Breckmin come up with, every "answer" that turns out to be shallow and based on a presupposition of Christianity's validity ("Christ's sacrifice makes sense! Why? Because of Adam and Eve's sin!") further pushes me away from Christianity and further convinces me that it's a belief system based on mistaken assumptions and groundless hope for a future eternal peace for the soul and justice for the wronged.

Nonchai said...

Sorry to rabbitt on - but one more thing really got my goat EVEN when i was a believer:

the Evangelical "Excuse-ology" mindset.

In the evangelical world excuses are de-rigeur. Theres an excuse for the "apparent" [fill in awkward embarassing observation going against evangelical/charismatic doctrine here ].

As JWL would say...

SHEEESH!!!

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

I should have mentioned earlier a key moment in my journey.

Our adult Sunday School class was following a Chuck Swindoll series for beginners. I was relieved one Sunday to see that the previous week, when I had been out of town, the topic had been "How do we know the Bible is the Word of God?"

Skimming the lesson, I realized for the first time that some of the "reasons" were the same as those a friend was citing as those given her to validate Nostradamus*, and others matched those a Krishna devotee** used.

I was embarrassed at the gullibility of the group, and for myself, knowing that I had swallowed those excuses, unprotesting, for decades. No more!

It was after this that I felt free to read so-called "modernist" scholars, ie. Biblical critics.

*including "fulfilled prophecies", of course cherry-picked and out of context. And as I later found out, sometimes denying actual historical facts.

**"the witness of the Spirit," for one. "Transformed lives," for another.

milanst said...

I, for one, never really belonged. Even from my earliest memories, I remember being skeptical about the stories of creation, jesus, and the supernatural.

It was just too much - the garden, the giant, the tower, the snake, the resurrection...

Philip R Kreyche said...

The doctrine of the Trinity and the existence of the Christian concept of "the Devil" were two of the first things I tossed out after realizing that there was almost no justification for them. The idea that the Jews possessed and transcribed and copied these writings for centuries and yet managed to "overlook" these teachings that Christians claim were there all the time was beyond absurd to me, and still is.

Breckmin said...

("Christ's sacrifice makes sense! Why? Because of Adam and Eve's sin!")

That is not why the Sacrifice of Jesus makes sense and you can not isolate on original sin needing a remedy because that will only regress to why original sin had to exist in the first place.

As long as you present partial reasons without a more detailed understanding, Christianity will not make sense to you.

Breckmin said...

"rather than the cosmic testing ground for human souls (as God's omniscience necessitates foreknowledge of human actions, making the creation of humans practically pointless)."

We would have to address the equivocation of the English word "testing" as it relates to forging something with fire (making it stronger)through learning.

Testing can be "proving" rather than just "seeing" what is going to happen. God doesn't need to test us to see what we will do..that is incoherent...and if that is how you view the temporary creation then your concept of the Creator is far too small and you expect way too little from the Holy Infinite Creator. Q.E.

Gandolf said...

I noticed praying to god never seemed to work no matter how hard i tried,im sure many folks in Nazi death camps noticed the very same thing.

I also started to notice many of gods followers seemed like total frauds.I started thinking if gods do talk to people, then he`s made sure hes not really able to make such a great job of it.So much for the work of supreme being,seems he cant even manage to make himself heard.

Then i noticed how it could be seen the bible and some of its morals seemed to evolve .Seemed to me this fitted more with changable thoughts of men,and i couldnt see how this could connect to thoughts of god who i read was supposed to be the same yesterday today and tomorrow.

I stopped allowing myself to continue to simply try to turn a blind eye to thoughts of the nasty god depicted in the bible,and it seemed more and more likely it was nasty thoughts of mere men born in barbaric times.

I started thinking about scriptures like noah and the flood,and it became obvious it was written by mind of uneducated man who obviously still didnt understand very much about the needs of many animals he wrote about.This to me seemed likely removed likelihood of input from gods, who surely should know all about that what they supposedly created even back in those times long past.And allegory or not,i saw no good reason for the existence of such obvious guess work in a book suggested to contain word of god.

It did take me many years of thinking and there was quite a lot that added to my disbelief.

But in short ...I too realized it seemed realistically religion is man made.

Breckmin said...

"A nagging and unresolved doubt about the inerrancy of the bible and whether it really did support the trinity doctrine."

Nonchai, just about everything you listed I would question and have a slightly different view on than those whom you were fellowshipping with as well. You don't have to be an unbeliever to doubt inerrancy or classical trinitarian definitions or even disagree with these.
I believe in ANT Monotheism and reject verbal plenary inspiration and my Christian faith is much easier to defend without some of the baggage that you mentioned.
Question everything, but when you question pray for protection. Historical Christianity is not equal to charismatic or evangelical in all of the cultural and modern details. Historical Christianity is actually easier to defend because you can admit imperfections and focus on God and His Perfect Work...and not just the words of men who testified to it.

Breckmin said...

Observation!

No one is saying "I didn't like Jesus" and yet following Jesus is what this is ultimately about.

Question everything.

Gandolf said...

Philip R Kreyche said... "Every lame excuse people like Breckmin come up with, every "answer" that turns out to be shallow and based on a presupposition of Christianity's validity"

Ahhh yes the typical Breckmin standard.

If only those silly gods had remembered to supply enough Breckmin messiahs ...Everything would have been sweet-as ...all fine and dandy

What the heck was those silly gods thinking?.....Not suppling us all free-will to unhindered connection to use of the Breckmin-standard ??

Breckmin will remind us time and time again ..quote:.."As long as you present partial reasons without a more detailed understanding, Christianity will not make sense to you."

If only humanity remembered to rely on the Breckmin-standard ,the bible would have been quite fine

Wise words of Breckmin ..."Question everything."

Amen :)

db said...

I had been raised pentecostal and spent two decades on the mission field. After returning to the "real world" I became aware of how "God" was speaking to me about the value of suffering, the ungodliness of success, and the calling of lack, all of this focused around my trying to build a business to support my family, have success, and some small measure of prosperity. In effect the "voice of God" was telling me everything I was doing was wrong, and as a result I was failing miserably.

When I realized how f'd up that was I began fighting and shutting down the voice. Which I now understand to be my sub-conscious mind which had taken seriously the lessons of the Bible and the dangers of disobedience, and was doing it's best to protect me by pretending to be God. Anyway, I began shouting down the voice and doing everything I could to silence and reject it.

As a then-Christian, I assumed that the real God, whoever he was would appreciate me killing this false-god from my life. And even as I did I prayed and asked the Real God to reveal himself to me.

Two years passed. The voice was gone which was wonderful, but there was a marked silence. Nothing in two years that I could point to that any deity had the slightest interest in me. No believers reached out. And the brothers I had told about my struggle stopped calling me. Not that it mattered. I was feeling better than ever. The depression I had struggled with for years was gone as well.

Then, one day in the course of my normal reading I came across the writings of a man named Steven Den Beste, an engineer, conservative, pro-American atheist. I thought all atheists were far left, marxist, anti-Americans. I had never considered atheism before and had never read atheist writings, but here was a guy that I could relate to.

That night I accepted atheism into my heart. It was like walking out of a prison. The veil lifted. Chains fell of my arms. I felt for the first time what I had always claimed to be: Born Again.

I never looked back.

goprairie said...

I left because of creeps like Breckmin talking in circles are the only way a loving yet damning, perfect yet needy, all powerful yet son-sacrificing god can be rationalized. When I was asked to teach 3 year olds in Sunday School about Jesus being killed on the cross to save them because they were born "depraved" and needed forgiving and saving - that whole concept that people are flawed just doesn't fit what I know about people - some god who is perfect made us yet we somehow turned out icky?? If I could not think of answers to that that would make sense to a 3 year old, how could I keep trying to convince myself any of it was true? A god loves us yet we have to pick the right religion of thousands to be 'saved'? Dogs and dolphins exhibit caring ethical behavior, yet humans need god to be ethical? Then there was all the brain science stuff that can explain every single 'personal experience' the goddies ever describe, only it makes so much MORE sense as a product of the brain than it does as a product of a god. That miracle healers can only do it after putting their congregation into a trance with hours of singing and that there are never any healed after the event that get noticed by doctors? The prayer study that found that the ones that KNEW they were being prayed for did WORSE?? what kind of sick god would allow THAT to happen? When you look at the real meanings of the words used to describe god, they don't stand up to logic. There is simply no way that god can exist as ever defined. There is no god who had revealed itself to people in any way that cannot better be explained by nature.

kriss the sexy atheist said...

There are so many reasons to leave the fold, and each one is valid-how can "they" explain away each and every one of those. I left Catholicism gradually and it took several years. It started in my teens and then by 30-something it was over. Letting go of chi was harder for me, but what is the difference. Superstition is superstition is superstition. Good luck and happy spring to all.

Kriss

Les said...

To any fence sitters out there who say they're not atheist, yet still believe in a creator. You ARE an atheist. Atheism is simply put, not having a belief in a revelatory god. I'm a deist myself but I'm an atheist because all the revelatory gods out there that other people follow are gods that I don't believe in.

Just like amoral means without morals, or atypical means without typicalness, or agnostic means without knowledge, atheism just means that you are without theism, which is belief in a revelatory god.

Get over it! You're an atheist.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks everyone, including my friend David Wood. Sabio Lantz, yes, I'd like to tally up these reasons, especially coming from published authors.

Mike D said...

Breckmin, I can't believe you could post that reply to my questions with a straight face. Surely you don't actually believe the absurd contortions of logic and circular reasoning to which you are resorting? Not to mention the egregious "no true Scotsman" fallacy to which you resorted in your first post.

You didn't even answer the most important question – why there has to be "sacrifice" at all. If God is omnipotent, it requires no more effort for him to forgive our sins than it does for him not to forgive our sins. What, exactly, does ritual human sacrifice have to do with anything? And your assertion that the "infinite creator" does not cease to exist as such when he becomes human is precisely my point, and fully highlights the absurdity of the Christian doctrine.

For someone who ends his posts with "question everything", you're doing a pretty lousy job of engaging in skeptical criticism of your own beliefs.

- Mike D, a.k.a. the A-Unicornist

Ken Pulliam, Ph.D. said...

John,

Yes the penal sub. theory of the atonement, which is held today by most evangelicals as not a theory but a necessary and essential doctrine, is one of my biggest problems with evangelical Christianity but it would be wrong to say that was the only reason. It essentially boils down to this: The Bible does not read as one would expect a revelation from God to read . On the one hand, I think a true revelation from God would have condemned genocide, slavery, polygamy, punishing innocent people because of they happen to be in a group that may have done some bad things (Achan's family, the Canaanites, the whole human race because of Adam, etc.). On the other hand I would think that a true revelation from God would have been much clearer and not subject to a 1000 different interpretations, would have included some clear examples of being authored by an omniscient being (e.g., revealing the germ theory of disease, or the polio vaccine, etc.). Instead, the Bible reads exactly as one would expect a collection of books written 2-3 thousand years ago to read.

caribou said...

My deconversion started two years ago when a close friend of mine (sister's fiance) was killed in a snowmobiling accident, on the day of his funeral my grandmother died. Then on Christmas eve a dear friend of 10 years was killed in a car accident on the way to a Christmas party. The first death was the toughest because my friend was in a coma for 4 days before the plugs were pulled due to no brain activity. Him and all my family were 16 hours away in a different state, so as the dedicated Christian I was I prayed and prayed. I had so much faith that god would save him I didn't pack a single item of black clothing when going to visit my family. Unfortunately I had to go buy clothes to wear to 2 funerals. What bothered me was how cold and distant god was - and how he had let me down... of course then I felt I probably wasn't a good enough Christian or something. I reevaluated the "personal" relationship I supposedly had with god and realized that it was a one way street. I had been doing all the work and really only knew god as every other Christian knew him... nothing personal, just knowledge from a book, and words from preachers. At the same time all this was happening I made some Jewish friends. One of whom had a relative die and so we had a short discussion about what happens after death... which lead me to learn more about the Jewish faith. Of course the big issue here is Jesus. I always wondered why Christians talked about Jesus all the time but never followed his instructions - just Paul's ideas. I figured maybe Paul got it wrong... maybe the Jews were right. Anyways to wrap this up I started learning about the actual history of Christianity and the Bible. After learning what I've learned there is no possible way I can consider myself a Christian. I never wanted to leave the faith, I wasn't trying to find holes in the bible, truly I was trying to deepen my faith. I wanted a personal relationship with god - but found out that the god of Christianity is a myth... created from culture, politics, and lack of knowledge. Not really sure where I stand right in my beliefs of god now but I know that I am not a Christian and will never be again.

Edward T. Babinski said...

I left the fold for several reasons:

1) I came to see and fully appreciate goodness and love and wisdom in people of other religions. The doctrine of original sin no longer seemed all-pertinent. I was reading about other religions, wisdom traditions in other religions (like Idries Shah's books of Sufi tales & wisdom, and Buddhist teachings), and practical moral teachings in other religions. This was probably my single most pertinent experience. I recall the night when it occurred. I had been attempting via letter-exchanges for several years to lead two former born again Christian friends back into the born again conservative view of the cosmos. But they were helping me see the universality of human hopes and fears, of ethical concerns, and of goodness and wisdom in others. Some of the books read at that time included several by William Johnson, including The Inner Eye of Love; Alan Watts' Behold the Spirit and others; Matthew Fox's works on Meister Eckhart, especially Meditations with Meister Eckhart; Robert Farrar Capon's Hunting the Divine Fox; Idries Shah (already mentioned); Conrad Hyers's book on spirituality and comedy in all the world's religions (years after leaving the fold I also read his book Once-Born, Twice-Born Zen about a sect of Zen that resembled born again Christianity). And other books about people's beliefs like the collection of first person testimonies of people of a wide variety of faiths titled, The Courage of Conviction.

2) The NT's misappropriation of verses and half-verses from the OT.

3) The Ancient Near Eastern origins of the Hebrew creation story and cosmology. [Recently, even Evangelicals have come to recognize and compose papers and books on the same topic, some even mention additional aspects of the OT god that are best explained as parallels to how Ancient Near Easterners depicted their gods. Most recently, see The Christian Delusion, chapter, "The Cosmology of the Bible," and also see the section, "Israel's Theological Worldview," in Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God By Eric A. Seibert (Fortress Press, 2009).

4) The failure of inerrantist harmonizations to convince. No such harmonizations are themselves inerrant.

5) Failed predictions throughout the NT concerning "the [soon] coming of the Son of Man [in final judgment]" in the Gospels, and, "The [soon] coming of the Lord [in final judgment]" in the Epistles and Revelation.

shane said...

You christians have to seriously come up with some new lingo "blasepheme"

Still speaking old english!

Edward T. Babinski said...

Continued from above

6)Questions concerning the development of doctrines about Jesus, including how stories developed in the NT read chronologically.

Edward T. Babinski said...

7) For a few more reasons see my relatively brief article (brief for me):

AGNOSTICISM: REASONS TO LEAVE CHRISTIANITY

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/religion/leave_christianity.html

Chuck O'Connor said...

My deconversion started when an elder at my church and his wife passionately presented the case for intelligent design at a friend's party. I was ignorant of much of the concept outside of the headlines. I was told to check out some of the more philosophically-driven christian thinkers, specifically William Lane Craig, during this conversation. I had never really done any examination of my christian faith. I enjoyed the community and met my wife in the christian context so, I was happily ignorant of most theology. I decided to check out Craig's site and look into ID. I read Craig's debates and found him to be very unconvincing. His arguments read like a control freak politician forcing sound bites down a media pie-hole. It was there I discovered Bart Ehrman and started reading his books. I was enjoying "God's Problem" when our bible study leader proposed a Tertulian quote, "The seed of the church is the blook of martyrs" and all the wealthy, white-bread, christians in our group spoke of the glory of persecution. I couldn't stomach it. I thought if that was god's strategy to connect with his creation then it was pretty lousy. I didn't fully come out of the closet as an atheist until 3 weeks ago. I've found that this site, Common Sense Atheism, and Dr. Pulliam's work have helped me better understand why my personal ethics have found the assured religion of guys like breckamin and feeno disturbing. I have especially benefitted from Dr. Pulliam's work on the Penal Substitionary Theory of Atonement and share his thesis that it does not harmonize with a sense of justice. It is better understood in sociological terms relative to the people enacting the theology and makes little sense in a post-enlightenment society.

One last thing, when I searched for William Lane Craig, I discovered this site. It has been a place to challenge my presuppositions and very early on I took John's OTF challenge (while still identifying as a christian) and applied it to the worship and teaching I was experiencing at the bible church I attended. Choosing an outsider's perspective relative to expository preaching helped me see the bible for the collection of ancient myth it is.

Walkbyfaith said...

Seems to me like you all got to a place with God where it was time to leave human understanding and depend on God alone. What you have to realize is God is not a pop quiz that will always make sense..Think about it..If you would just use the same type of thinking you say turned you away from God it would turn you back.If God was really what he says he is and is Godly in every sense than do you really think you being a human with a faulty and an extremely limited mind would be able to fathom his Greatness and incredible ways?OF COURSE NOT!As a matter of fact Jesus says often times "It is not for man to know".That would imply that some things are not for you to try to understand..Isiah 55:9 says"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts"...When you go to a hospital you dont take the doctors degree off the wall and analize it to see if it is true.You dont question his knoledge of his pratice.You go because you know you need help and alone you can not get the solution.God says come to him the same way.God is waiting!

Chuck O'Connor said...

Walk,

I preached to others in the same way you are preaching here but failed to see that my certainty of things invisible was subject to the same limitations you claim atheists have when you say, "do you really think you being a human with a faulty and an extremely limited mind would be able to fathom his Greatness and incredible ways?"

What makes your faulty and extremely limited mind so certain of his greatness and incredible ways?

Sounds to me you have found a place of safety within an insular community and culturally limited world-view. Congrats, you've committed yourself to intellectual suicide for the sake of imaginary holiness.

I don't want to suffer that any longer.

Walkbyfaith said...

Understanding is limited to someone when you are without the intercession of God and his Holy spirit.1Corinthians ch12 speaks of all the different gifts God will and has given you.And wisdom is one of them.By no means am I saying am higher in understanding than anyone here.But I do know of one who is!I never claim to have all of it figured out which I think your missing.But I do claim to know the truth.And the truth I do know with evidence that dose not depend on faith at all.God can be proven without belief in him and I can do it in under 2 min!And if you used to preach that is awesome.But it means nothing if you fail to believe.

Ryan Anderson said...

Walkbyfaith; do you really think that "it is not for man to know" why Jesus' earliest biographers didn't seem to know that he'd been resurrected?

Chuck O'Connor said...

Walk,

You said, "I never claim to have all of it figured out which I think your missing.But I do claim to know the truth."

These two sentences contradict each other or, at the very least call into question the absolute efficacy you claim your faith provides.

Go ahead, prove god. You can have more than 2 mintues. Do it.

Walkbyfaith said...

"ryan"
Who are these "earliest biographers" That did not know Jesus came back from the dead?

Walkbyfaith said...

Sorry it took so long I was having trouble with my acc..

Well first we must get down to the bottom of what you want..Do you want to possibly find some type of truth?Or are you trying to play "Gotcha"by trying to pick apart every word I say hoping to find some type of contradiction to confirm in your mind that I could not possibly be right?I do not know everything.But I know the truth.This means I know the truth but I only know a surface level of it because it is so much deeper than I could ever understand(the truth being Christ).
Okay proof of Gods reality is all around us.You can buy every ingredient included to make the human body with 89 cents.What is the difference between yourself and a life-less body lying next to you?Why cant you make that person alive?What do you have that a dead person dosent?Simple.It is the Spirit that God gives you.And if your spirit is the only thing keeping you alive(which you could agree based on the fact that once your spirit is gone your body falls limp)than that means your spirit is the only thing truly alive!So what happens to your spirit after that??It just....Vanishes?I think you could agree that would be absurd!Still not convinced?
Okay think of your computer.What if I told you the very computer you are using just...Came to be..You would probably laugh right?Okay.Although you cannot see the person who specifically made YOUR computer you know it had to have a creator...You cant even wrap your mind around the redicilous thought that it could not have possibly had a maker.Well my friend YOU(being a human) are much more complicated than a simple lifeless computer.You are proof that there is a God.After all you were made in his immage! :p

Ryan Anderson said...

Walkbyfaith; whoever it was that wrote the earliest version of the Mark Gospel.

Mark said...

Why did I leave, ah let me count the ways! No, instead I'll start at the very beginning: when I was 13 years old and my pastor at the time was teaching a pre-baptismal doctrinal class to the candidates for baptism and he stated that the first reason to believe the bible was literally true and inspired was that the bible said it was! WTF! When I questioned that as a reasonable proof I was essentially told to sit down and shut up. It was all down hill from there and now 46 years later I am proud to free of such mind numbing BS and to call myself an ATHEIST (not an agnostic, not a humanist but a god damned ATHEIST)

Chuck O'Connor said...

Walk,

You can buy DNA?

Also, your update on William Paley's watchmaker analogy is laughable.

You had your two minutes.

You have your first amendment rights to believe what you want. Just don't expect me to see you as anything other than superstitious.

Raul said...

To "Walkbyfaith":
So,you're basically saying,that any creator should have another creator except God,cause he obviously doesn't need one? :)
Besides,accepting,that universe has a creator only makes you a deist.
"What do you have that a dead person dosent?Simple.It is the Spirit that God gives you."
Hey,if it's that simple,what do humans need brains for?

Walkbyfaith said...

Well I feel pain for you my friend. I have had many wrongs myself. But that dose not mean I am going to turn away from my belief.I see your beliefs are different.But just answer me this question.Be honest.What if you are right and I am wrong.There is no God(which would make life meaningless)and I die.Then no harm no foul..But what if your wrong?

Walkbyfaith said...

Ryan

So...You dont even know who it is?How do you know they didnt know then?

A Sane Person said...

I became an agnostic when I realized that Christian religion was not much more credible than any other religion (it was a slow realization, but it came in the end =D). Over the next few years, I completely lost the ability to believe. Now I don't belive that God doesn't exist, as that would also be an act of faith, I simply don't believe. I have come across persuasive arguments for the existence of God, but they're still just explanations and not evidence. So I remain unconvinced.

Jeffrey said...

I have yet to make this argument directly on my blog, for I've only recently concluded this, but the biggest reason I left was that I could find only one effect of the Christian faith on people in the real world:

Faith has the power to make people either openly choose to not think, or among my friends, what is more common is that it encourages thinking while not allowing the conclusions that come from thinking to influence beliefs.

From "who are you O man who answers back to God" to "Blessed is he who believes without seeing" to Presups, to Kurt Wise-style creationists, to the idea that the beginning of my doubt was itself a moral failure, I began to equate Evangelical faith with academic dishonesty. Thus, I stopped unquestioningly believing apologists' conclusions, and everything came crashing down.

This lead to a number of specific Biblical problems, but I suspect these were the effect. The real turning point was my discovery of the pervasive academic dishonesty within Christianity.

Of course, what caused me to leave Christianity also depends on who defines "Christianity." What I have given is why I concluded Jesus didn't rise. Plenty of hard-core creationists think I left earlier than that.

I have yet other reasons for the non-religious theist to atheist step. This really was from finding the arguments for the existence of God to be faulty, but I wouldn't call this the reason I left the fold.

Similarly, many evangelicals would argue that Ehrman left his faith due to NT criticism, and he left a false faith due to the problem of pain.

(That's not to say one sect is "right", but only the answer to "why did you leave the fold" usually depends on "which fold?" I you want to tally stats, a clearer question should be used. E.g., "why did you stop thinking Jesus rose from the dead?" )

Greg said...

Walkbyfaith --

"What do you have that a dead person dosent?"

A working metabolism.

Roy Chang said...

Molecular biology.

Walkbyfaith said...

So you dont know who they are?How do you know they didnt know he was resurrected?

Walkbyfaith said...

Think more along the lines of your spirit.The difference is you have a God given spirit.What makes something alive?A spirit!Read prev messages to see that I am speaking about when I say your spirit is life and this means there is a God!

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith,

What you need to realize is that the "God's ways are inscrutable" argument that you are proposing as a means to stay a believer is a VERY hollow argument. By your rationale, I can believe anything I'd like so long as it's beyond my understanding and so long as I can posit an agent behind it who is the source of this information. For example, Superman is a being that I definitely don't believe in, because the concept, while intriguing, makes literally no sense (according to how we understand the world) and there is no evidence that Superman exists. But, you can easily claim that I am using my "human understanding" to try and put the Superman concept in a box that is beyond my comprehension. How do I know that there's not a Krypton? How do I know that Kryptonians can't absorb yellow sun and become almost god-like in strength? How do I know these things, since they are, by definition, beyond my ken?

We have to draw a line in the sand to things we will accept and things we won't. If we accept things that just make absolutely zero sense to us, then what is to stop us from believing in Martians, vampires, werewolves and Nessy? If I can believe that there is an invisible being beyond space and time that can simultaneously know the thoughts of every living thing on the planet (past, present and future), then by what right can I claim that werewolves are fictional? Especially since werewolves have a higher likelihood of being true, since there are already natural precedents of animals completely morphing forms while alive (think caterpillar to butterfly) whereas I have nothing against which to judge the supernatural, as I've never witnessed it in any form.

How do you jump over this hurdle?

Jim Thompson said...

I was lucky enough to take New Testament Survey as a Freshman at Tulsa Univ. After two weeks of historical and textual criticism, the whole house of cards fell.

I was so disappointed that all of the various preachers, pastors, etc. had obviously "lied" to me.

I had mistaken sincerity for truth. A hard lesson in human nature.

I considered myself agnostic for many years. 9/11 and Sam Harris' End of Faith made me realize that atheist was the real term for my stance on God.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith,

Your argument from design has been completely obliterated by evolutionary theory. In fact, we do have ways to bring dead bodies back to life (within a certain time period). One way is simple electricity right through the heart. In fact, my stepdad was once dead nearly 10 minutes, and was brought BACK TO LIFE by EMTs.


Evolution has shown how complexity can be produced from simplicity, and the evidence for this phenomenon is overwhelming. You should read Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True", or anything by Donald Prothero on the subject or Richard Dawkins', "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution".

The only thing that humanity has ever experienced is the natural world. Even when people claim they experienced the supernatural, they always describe it in naturalistic terms (I HEARD a VOICE, I SAW a ghost, I FELT the TOUCH of God). I've never heard anyone actually explain what the supernatural realm is, how it works, how it interacts with the natural world, etc. And since it is undefined, it makes it damn near impossible to denounce and disprove. Which makes your job as the Christian apologist that much easier. You get to defend some hopelessly vague concept that you can morph at a moment's notice to make your point.

How convenient....

And if you're so convinced that God created and designed the world, check out this site, peruse through all these examples of absolutely atrocious aspects of life on Earth, and then answer me this:

If God DID design the world to be THIS WAY, why should I do anything but hate him with every ounce of my being, since the very process of life on the Earth is predicated upon so much pain and misery, even the most sadistic creton to ever walk the Earth, would be shocked and appalled?

Thanks.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Sorry, forgot the site:

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/babinski/designer.html

Mind-numbing, some of the naturally occurring phenomena you read on this page.

Walkbyfaith said...

No my friend I am far from a detest I know who the creator is...

Scott said...

I left the faith not long after realizing I had a long held a perspective that was [A] false and [B] had greatly limited my personal development. I realized it was very easy to create a false view of one's self and the world that obscures and even puts a negative spin on a whole range of experiences and interactions.

At this point, I began to question everything I believed in.

While I've always been an autodidact (self-taught in a wide range of subjects), religion was one of a few subjects I had always glossed over. But in the light of my recent discovery, I started researching the various types of religious beliefs, including those I personal held. At this point, I realized the claims of Christianly appeared just as "improbable" as other religions when viewed objectively (what John would call the "outsider" test.)

When combined with significant contradictions with evolution, biology, neuroscience, etc., the foundations of Classical Theism started to crumble and finally fell about a year later. I eventually became a strong agnostic, who follows a form of philosophical Buddhism, void of any supernatural content.

Walkbyfaith said...

Exploring the unknown
The theory of evolution is foolish!
It is a fairy tale for people who do not want to have faith.And if that is the truth where is the missing link?As far as bringing people back from the dead have you ever seen it?How do you know it is true?I am sure you overheard a conversation or watched it on the news..And experience with God is not something to be heard of it has happened with me my brother.And who said God made the world this way?He gave us the option of free will and we messed everything up. Can you prove God is not real?

Breckmin said...

"are the only way a loving yet damning,"

omnibenevolent is an English word which fails to identify God's grace to specific individuals.
As long as omnibenevolent is improperly applied to God (who clearly does not love satan and demons, for instance) - people will remain confused.



"perfect yet needy,"

God IS indeed Perfect...but the English word "needy" is completely ludicrous to apply to the Infinite and Holy Creator. God does NOT need anything. We worship God because we "choose" to because we LOVE God and it is what we are created for. Worship is for US as born-again Christians to fellowship with the Perfect Creator.

God by very definition NEEDS nothing...and it is foolish to claim that God somehow created out of incompleteness...and completely ignore the fact that it is "good" to create beings who can fellowship and LOVE.

God did NOT create out of incompleteness and you would have to be Perfect in order to claim that it is somehow "imperfect" to create. Yes, question everything.


"all powerful"

Another clearly imperfect English word where the term "all" can encompass self-contradiction. "All-Logically-Powerful" God who will do what is consistent with His Perfect plan and Omniscience.

"yet son-sacrificing god can be rationalized."

That is where the LOVE comes in...
Where God becomes a Man and sacrifices Himself (gives His Life) to pay for all of the things that we do wrong.

Everything in life should teach you that there are consequences for actions. Your conscience should tell you that you have at some time in your life done something "wrong" (an action).

The knowledge of the need for salvation provides the knowledge of the need for a Savior.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith,

We screwed everything up? So, because we sinned, there are wasps in this world that paralyze caterpillars, lay their larvae inside the caterpillar, and than the larvae eat the caterpillar from the inside WHILE THE CATERPILLAR IS STILL ALIVE, eating the heart and brain of the caterpillar last, so as to keep it alive as long as possible. We did that? By sinning? Explain this to me please??

Are we the reason that orcas (killer whales) play with sea lions by tossing them in the air and hitting them with their tails, while THE SEA LION IS STILL ALIVE, before finally eating it alive? How did our sin accomplish this? I'm not sure if I follow your logic? Is God just so pissed that we sinned, that he decided to punish nearly every living thing on the planet, by subjecting them to pain and misery? Am I the reason that gazzelles are stalked and hunted on the African plain; chased by ravenous and voracious cheetahs as they franticly flee for their lives, only to be taken down from behind and eaten alive by several cheetahs? Explicate this phenomenon, whereby my failing to believe in God results in such suffering?

My friend, evolution is about the most successful scientific theory that has ever graced this Earth. It is as successful, if not moreso, than the germ theory of disease, atomic theory, the heliocentric theory, etc. If you think it is just a fairy tale for people who don't want to have faith, why don't you read Ken Miller's "Just a Theory", where he outlines why evolution deinitely happened...oh, and by the way, he is Catholic and believes fervently that there is a God, and that Jesus is his son.

If you don't want to believe in evolution and you want to believe in some super awesome loving creator who just loves you so much that he decided to create you with an appendix (virtually completely useless to you) that could rupture at any moment and kill you, then be my guest. But, when people here tell their deconversion story, and you insult them by claiming that they just left because "they didn't feel like having faith", you'd better come with some better arguments than what you've pandered so far. You don't know why anyone here did anything other than what they've explicitly stated.

Oh, and it's Exploring the UNKNOWABLE, not exploring the unknown, because this God you speak of is unknowable, since no one has ever given a cogent and coherent explanation of what God actually is.

Greg said...

"Where God becomes a Man and sacrifices Himself (gives His Life) to pay for all of the things that we do wrong."

What does this even mean?

Breckmin said...

"Surely you don't actually believe the absurd contortions of logic and circular reasoning to which you are resorting?"

They were made within the agreed set of assumptions of Christianity.
These assumptions had not been substantiated or justified yet, but were within the closed set of assumptions and knowledge that God is the God of Abraham, Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh, and that the assertions of the N.T. were indeed "made" about Him, etc.

I was not attempting to justify the Christian faith in an open system with no agreed assumptions.

Just demonstrating agnostic theism would require 100's of times more than 4900 characters..but I would love to go through that argument - starting with Information needs a Source, the code needs a CodeMaker, messages (mRNA) need an Author.


"Not to mention the egregious "no true Scotsman" fallacy to which you resorted in your first post."

Please justify how I committed this fallacy. Correcting invalid assumptions regarding Christianity is sine qua non in apologetics. Because truth is clearly complicated due to the multi-faceted temporary creation, it is important to always clarify Theodicy and its relationship to volition/choice/will as well as the fact that God has created little "creators" (or limited sovereign beings who make choices).

Yes, q.e.

Spork said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Breckmin said...

"If God DID design the world to be THIS WAY,"

This is evasive to corruption and the role of choice/volition/human will/human limited sovereignty/ and God's judgement...and the fact that you are living in a temporary creation that has indeed been "judged" by God (Perfectly).

"why should I do anything but hate him with every ounce of my being,"

You would only do this because you do not understand how God's Plan is Perfect in dealing with how evil (specifically sin/disobedience) is a danger to creatures of "choice" and how the temporary creation is dealing with the real problem of evil (not explaining it).
You should love your Creator out of pure logic and what is cosmically "right" to do in the universe...BUT you will NOT do this unless you "see" His absolute "grace" in your life to SAVE you.


"since the very process of life on the Earth is predicated upon so much pain and misery,"

This should teach you the savagery of death and the consequences of sin/disobedience, btw.

"even the most sadistic creton to ever walk the Earth, would be shocked and appalled?"

Only if they did not understand how God will logically make everything "good" in the end. It is the "dual reality" of evil that I have talked about in other posts here. Jesus' murder and death was turned to "good." Joseph being sold into slavery was turned to "good." All sin/disobedience that is perfectly judged will display God's righteousness and His Holiness and His Grace to those who love Him will glorify Him as well.

Everything will be corrected in the end... the only question is "which side" of good/evil do you want to be on? Grace? Or judgement? Judgement is a bad thing...and the reason(s) it is
eternal is multi-faceted - just
like the temporary creation.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Breckminn, give it a break already. WE ALL GET IT!! We don't get whatever twisted logic you use to make your God seem perfect, despite all evidence to the contrary. When you actually have valid points to make, maybe then you should actually post here.

Did you know that Hitler had reasons? Did you know that Stalin, Genghis Kahn, Ted Bundy and Charles Manson all had reasons? Do I need to understand their reasoning and delve into their rationale before condemning what they did as evil and disgusting? If Christianity is true, there is no reason that God can give that is going to make me forget that there will be literally billions of people trapped in Hell, set to suffer for all eternity. What explanation can he give that is going to make me say, "Oh, you're right! I don't feel empathy for those people suffering anymore. Thanks!"

Also, just like I asked Walkbyfaith, explain to me how human sinfulness led to facts about life I listed above. How does my sin result in wasp larvae eating caterpillars from the inside out, WHILE THE CATERPILLAR IS ALIVE?

Thank you.

Scott said...

Walk wrote: What is the difference between yourself and a life-less body lying next to you?Why cant you make that person alive?What do you have that a dead person dosent?Simple.It is the Spirit that God gives you.And if your spirit is the only thing keeping you alive(which you could agree based on the fact that once your spirit is gone your body falls limp)than that means your spirit is the only thing truly alive!

Walk,

Where to begin?

Life is a complex arrangement of processes and states. Highly ordered states are very difficult to maintain and nearly impossible to restore.

For example, fill a glass half full of heavy dark liqueur coffee. Then fill the remain half with a light creme. If you're careful, the creme will float on top of the liqueur and will remain separated in two discrete layers. This is a highly ordered state.

Now vigorously mix the cream and liqueur. The layers disappear's into a brown mixture of high entropy and disorder. Try as you might, you can't simply keep stirring the mixture until it reverts back into two discrete white and dark layers. It's a one way trip.

While it might not be obvious to the naked eye, death represents a radical departure from the highly ordered state of life. Due to the vast number of highly complex ordered states which get "mixed-up" in the process, we simply do not yet have the capacity to revert someone back to the highly ordered state in which one is alive.

We simply do not need to appeal to magic or the supernatural to understand the difference between life and death.

Gail said...

I left because my father, a devout Christian, said that I could question the bible but it would always be proven true. It didn't. This thing called reality kind and common sense kind of killed it for me.

Gail said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gandolf said...

Walkbyfaith said...".If God was really what he says he is and is Godly in every sense than do you really think you being a human with a faulty and an extremely limited mind would be able to fathom his Greatness and incredible ways?OF COURSE NOT!As a matter of fact Jesus says often times "It is not for man to know".That would imply that some things are not for you to try to understand..Isiah 55:9 says"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts".."

Walkbyfaith, when i see these lost types of arguments from folks of faith i realize more and more how hopelessly lost many faithful folks are.

You are telling us humans cant fathom his Greatness and incredible ways,which i can personally kind of agree with!.Which is why i think peoples attemps at guessing is both very wrong! and very dangerous!, which history has already proved time and time again.

Yet its likely you yourself actually follow the bible which is written by mere humans who stupidly and ignorantly obviously must have thought they can "fathom his Greatness and incredible ways"

Do you not see how plainly obvious and immense your deluded logic and reasoning is, walkbyfaith !?.

On one hand you suggest we mere humans cannot fathom gods reasons and ways blah blah,and then in the next hand you might refer us to read a bible or koran etc ....Which is only a book written by mere men who were doing exactly what you previously tried telling us is actually impossible to do.

You might try suggesting we make use of the knowledge of some prophets of old, or Breckmin the great might step right up to the mark, offering us up use of the infallible almighty "Breckmin standard" so we supposedly get matters right.

But neither you or him seem to be able to understand,we have actually gotten nowhere!

The only thing we would have managed to do is become faithfully deluded and blissfully content in such great ignorance.

I cannot see how you can really have a ticket both ways! ...Now what is it to be ....Can man fathom gods? or can they not fathom gods?

Walkbyfaith said...

gandolf my friend,


You in your attempt to make connections with your understanding have missed the very simple underlined truth.This is why you must stop relying on yourself.In my previous comments I speak of mans inability to understand.Correct but afterward I underline the scripture that explains that we can have a understanding though it may not be of the highest degree but a understanding nevertheless.How ever you think that the bible was written by men who thought they could understand God and your wrong.Even more so these very men over and over again speak of the fact that they know nothing about His majesty because in order to understand you must be completely submissive spiritually and are not giving their own interpretation but what is being written is birthed by the mouth of the Lord himself.God would not depend on mans understanding to write his word which is why he told them what to write word for word. Galatians 1:11-12 11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.....Soften your heart..If you spent half the time and effort you do on God rather than meaningless things you two would see the revelation of Jesus Christ.But truth only comes to those who embrace it.You dont believe because you dont want to.You cant explain because you try to explain.You place your trust and faith in things every day.You trust your computer to work,your brain to work your body,your alarm clock,the other people on the road driving,air plane pilots,the list goes on and on..You entrust yourself to FAIL ABLE things daily..But when it Comes to God and Jesus Christ you hit a stumbling stone.Do you not think this strange?There might be a reason you reject this God who said you would! :)Before you discuss God you should know more about what he says.Pick up a bible and apply what you learn to your life.Watch and see the miracle of the all mighty God unravel before you.

mud_rake said...

Before you discuss God you should know more about what he says.Pick up a bible and apply what you learn to your life.

Pardon me for laughing a bit, but how will Gandolf "learn more about what God says" by reading an ancient manuscript written by a wandering desert tribe?

Or do you assume that these nomads 'knew' the mind of God?

Walkbyfaith said...

nomads were the ones writing the bible?Seems like someone hasnt been doing there studying :)

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

Read what your saying here!

Your talking about how Gandolf and others have faith in their computers, other people on the road, your brain to work your body, alarm clock...etc..

What do you put faith in!

You put faith in a 2000 year old book that was written in a time of scientific ignorance and superstition.

You have faith in a book which is a copy of copies, there are no original text that we know of. Anything could have been altered in the last 2000 years by the priests who were the sole keepers of it for centuries.

You have faith in a book that contradicts known science, and is also inconsistent with itself!

And here you tell Gandolf he entrusts himself to fallible things????

Walkbyfaith said...

interesting you say the bible contradicts itself but where exactly dose it do that at?My guess is you will..Google bible contradictions or something along those lines?Lol come on man..How do you know the bible has been altered?And you know..It was written in Hebrew..You could always read it in Hebrew..Realize that the bible dose not stand alone..There are masses of scientific,and dated books and recordings of the stories in the bible that prove its reality.Start with the Dead sea scrolls.
But it is not my place to stand in a debate to prove God is real to someone who can find out himself if he would only but..Study :)

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

No need to google bible contradictions, I have been researching the problems with the bible for 3 years and could give many off the top of my head.

I dont know if the bible has been tampered with, I said it could have, especially with the tract record the Catholic church has in its histroy.

What sources (scientific or other wise) have proven the resurrections, and the miracles of the bible true???? Im curious to know?

Walkbyfaith said...

Well we can do an exchange of information my friend!I will give you my facts and you give me yours..Just for the purpose of a hope to learn something..Im not calling you a lire I am just curious..And the catholic church is not the source of Christianity..In order to trace the line of the historical facts of Jesus and Gods word you must start from the beginning.That would be Hebrew and the origination of the language.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walk,

Was Jesus crucified before the day of Passover, or on the day of Passover?

Was Judas Iscariot killed by hanging himself or by falling and spilling his guts on the ground?

Did the disciples receive the Holy Spirit directly from Jesus or on the day of Pentecost after Jesus' ascension?


Was Jesus silent and uncertain on the walk to his crucifixion or was he confident and locquacious?

Did Paul tell the Greek pagans that God was going to overlook their past transgressions because of their lack of knowledge of the real God or does Paul deem that all people (even those same Pagans) are without excuse because the truth of God is plainly obvious through creation?

How long was Jesus' ministry? One year? Three years?

When was Jesus born? 4 BC? 6 AD?

Are we saved by works (Matthew and James) or by faith (Paul)?

Did Jesus return to the Earth to restore his kingdom during Paul's life (as Paul clearly states he will)?

Did Jesus perform his miracles to prove his divinity (John's Gospel) or to usher in his kingdom and to help those in need (Synoptic gospels)?

There are more and I'm sure Shane could show you plenty?

There are definitely contradictions and errors in the Bible, and very few Christians actually argue against it anymore. You should join those who don't.

Walkbyfaith said...

Ancient sources:
▪ Josephus, Jewish historian, (Antiquities. 18.3, 18.64), 1st century
▪ Tacitus (Annals 15.44), circa A.D. 115
▪ Lucian de Samosata, Greek satirist, (The Death of Peregrine, 11-13), circa mid-2nd century
▪ Mara bar Serapion (Letter to his son – currently at British Museum), late 1st-3rd century
▪ Talmud (Sanhedrin 43a), late 2nd century

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

I know the Catholic church is not the original source of christianity, but the scriptures that are in the bible we have today were choosen by the orthodox Roman christians and it was their priests who kept it away from the public for centuries. Only the priests were allowed to read from it for along time.

Well as far as an exchange goes im not going to give a billion examples all right here, but how about this simple inconsistency first.

In the gospels we are told the story of Jesus clearing the temple. This is when Jesus made a whip and drove all the merchants out.

According to the synoptics (Matthew, Mark, Luke,) this event is said to have taken place either right upon Jesus triumphal entry into Jeruselam or shortly after (they dont even agree exactly). The triumphal entry took place right near the end of Jesus ministry.

Yet the gospel of John places this same event as happening during a different earlier passover time. According to John, Jesus cleared the temple right near the beginning of His ministry shortly after His first wedding at Cana?

I have run this by other christians before, and the best they can come up with, is that the stories are not in chronological order.
Which is obviously still a fallacy.

Fred Sanford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan Anderson said...

Walkbyfaith; you forgot Pliny as one of the sources, but of course he doesn't prove anything (like the rest) and really only shows that Romans sometimes killed Christians no matter if they recanted or not, which undercuts one of the common arguments for the resurrection, which is that people would not die for something they knew to be a lie.

Walkbyfaith said...

1)Mark 15:25 (the other scriptures dont specify that he was actually crucified at the time but rather sentenced)
2)Remember that there was more than one Judas.
3)In the book of Acts it says Jesus told them to wait and after he leaves they would receive the holy Ghost.
4)What dose the bible say about his walk to be crucified?
5)Scripture openly speaks of the 3 different kind of sins Transgressions,Iniquities,Sin(they are all different)
6)His ministry started at the age of 30 due to the traditions of the Jewish custom
7)b.c stands for before Christ...
8)Faith cannot exist without the evidence of works so you can not have one without the other.However you can not enter by your own power so the very act of you doing something for God is powered by God himself rather than yourself(when we do something its not good)
9)Are you taking this to the literal sense of Jesus in the flesh?Remember The Father, The Son, The holy Spirit are one and the same. The holy Ghost descended after Jesus ascended and now that the spirit is with us and in us his land(being us)is restored
10)What were the purposes of miracles?What did Jesus say about them?
Again I dont claim to have all of the answers please by no means am I saying I can answer all of your questions but a question is not a question without a answer now is it?:)...And remember some of the questions are going to not be answered unless it be by God himself so that is going to require a personal relationship with God himself..

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Not the history channel. Just the Bible.

Just the Bible.

Instead of insulting me, either show me that these contradictions don't exist (i.e. I made them up), or show me that they are not contradictions.

Shane also brought up a great one, and I'd like to hear a good, solid answer to that one.

And regarding my name, it's supposed to be oxymoronic. I view debating theology almost akin to debating whether Yoda could beat Emperor Palpatine in a fight. There's no way to "know" the answer, because there's no objective reality behind it. It's the same with God. The debate has been going on for thousands of years and it will go on until we are extinct. So long as there is nothing objective and concrete to test our predictions and answers against, any answer, however flimsy and implausible, can pass as long as there is someone credulous enough to swallow it down.

Walkbyfaith said...

wow why was my other comment erased?Must have been some truth someone did not want to get out?:p

Fred Sanford said...

What really has to be proven here...?

Should God stop your heart to prove you are alive because of Him? Should He take your sight to prove that he created the light. Should show you how he does all the things that he does. Will that make you all happy?

Should the essences of life come down and speak to you all just so you see. No. because he already did it, God is not a childish man, he has to prove nothing. HE IS GOD. If you where a child would you challenge your father to a fight to prove himself

Don't be so hasty to put God in his place. You all need to learn your place, and stay there.

Why turn from water when you are thirsty, same is turning from God

Walkbyfaith said...

Did I insult your name?I dont recall..I am sorry if I did.But do you think it is my place to answer every question?Lol please tell me this is not your expectation.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

I have only briefly checked your answers to Exploring the unkowns questions and i'll check them again, but you said that there were two Judases, which is not true according to all gospel accounts.

Also, the contradiction is about the same Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus, the other Judas has nothing to do with this?

Walkbyfaith said...

Fred,
A true blessing.

shane said...

Fred Sanford.

You listed a bunch of things and asked if we chould expect God to actually do those things for us?

Well....if I have an eternal soul and the fate of it depends on what I believe....then yes....I would like a little more to tip the scales.
Is it really too much to ask for a little evidence?

And you said Jesus already did this.....?
What good does that do me? I was not there to meet Him, or see His miracles, or witness His resurrections.
How does that benefit my knowledge of the truth?

Fred Sanford said...

Exploring the Unknowable... First when we look at the history channel for answers your going to find contradictions.

Walkbyfaith said...

The original twelve disciples/apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4, “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” The Bible also lists the twelve disciples/apostles in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-16. A comparison of the three passages shows a couple of minor differences in the names. It seems that Thaddaeus was also known as “Judas, son of James” (Luke 6:16) and Lebbaeus (Matthew 10:3).There was two.

Fred Sanford said...

Shane, Quote:

And you said Jesus already did this.....?
What good does that do me? I was not there to meet Him, or see His miracles, or witness His resurrections.
How does that benefit my knowledge of the truth?

Did you see the man that delivered you out of your mothers womb, does that mean that he didn't.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

You forgot to mention Nathaneal in your list, that makes the complication even harder.

And the contradiction was about Judas Iscariot

shane said...

Fred Sandford.

Yes I did see the man who delivered me, he was my family doctor, obviously I did not know that till years later because I would not be able to remember.

Also, There was nothing supernatural about my doctor or my birth that I should doubt?

Walkbyfaith said...

That is what I am saying my friend. The other Judas that exploded in the field was not Judas Iscariot.
There was two Judases.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

My last comment never made it through; it was pretty detailed and I don't feel like going through it all again, so I'll just try and run by some.

As far as Judas Iscariot, the stories in Matthew and Acts are referring to the Judas who betrayed Jesus (Iscariot). In Matthew, Judas is portrayed as being repentant, throwing the money down on the ground and hanging himself. In Acts, he used the money to buy a field and then spilled his guts out over the field. Different stories about the same guy.

In Mark, Jesus is crucified and killed on Passover, the day before Sabbath. In John, Jesus is killed the day before Passover.

In Mark, Jesus is portrayed as silent and after speaking Pilate, in which he only says, "you said so" to Pilate's claim that many have called Jesus the King of the Jews, he says nothing else until the famous, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", then he dies. In Luke, he is very garrulous, and offers many pithy saying and aphorisms between his trial and execution, extremely confident, and he doesn't seem to be the least bit upset or uncertain. In fact, before he dies, there is no forlorn cry to God. Instead he commits his spirit to God.

I'll rephrase the question. Was Jesus born 4 BCE, or 6 CE?

Paul states that Jesus will return and will first raise those who "fell asleep" and then he will bring "we who are alive" next, referring to himself. This never happened, did it?

In John, Jesus miracles were meant to be a sign to lead ot belief (John 4:53). In the Synoptics, Jesus refused to give signs to those who asked, and his signs were meant to usher in the new kingdom and to help the sick and poor.

Fred Sanford said...

Shane... What are you looking for?

The answers?

You will never prove that a lie is the truth, and you will never turn the truth into a lie.

He is God and you are you, for you there is only one way, and that is up.

But if you choose to stay where you are and not move you will surly be left behind, but for a man with a brilliant mind like yours where is the scenes in that?

Your not falling... but neather are you rising.

Where are you?

Fred Sanford said...

Paul states that Jesus will return and will first raise those who "fell asleep" and then he will bring "we who are alive"

You are asleep... He is coming for you and the rest first...

Fred Sanford said...

you and the rest that are asleep.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

No, walkbyfaith, they are the SAME JUDAS. In Acts,

"Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, WHO BECAME A GUIDE TO THOSE WHO ARRESTED Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in the ministry, Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out."

It's referring to the exact same Judas. If you claim it refers to another Judas, where is the context for the evil deeds the other Judas did? How was this other Judas complicit in being a "guide to those who arrested Jesus"? Where did the money that this other Judas receive for evil deeds come from?

This is beyond special pleading. This is plain ignorance of the Scriptures. Even the Bible I'm quoting from (The Reformation Study Bible, edited by R.C. Sproul, a renowned Biblical scholar, and theologian), identifies this as Judas Iscariot and attempts to resolve the contradiction thusly:

"Matthew writes that Judas hanged himself. Apparently, during or soon after the hanging, his body fell to the ground and was broken or decomposed"

This explanation is crap, as they are assuming that there is no contradiction, and then citing how something might have possibly happened, but what they've done is create a third story, which neither Matt. or Acts gives us a reason to believe, since Matthew says nothing about guts gushing out and Acts says nothing about a hanging.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

You are way off base here and dead wrong.

Matthew -27 tells us that Judas threw the pieces of silver on the temple floor after betraying Jesus and went and hanged himself, and that the cheif priests buy a field with the silver pieces and called it the field of blood because it was bought with blood money!

Then in Acts-1:15-18 says, "Peter stood up and addressed them. Brothers, he said, the scriptures had to be fulfilled concerning Judas, who guided those who ARRESTED Jesus.
17-Judas was one of us and shared in the ministry with us.
18-Judas bought a field with the money he received for his treachery. Falling headfirst there, his body split open, spilling out his intestines".

As you can clearly read here or read for yourself, its obviously the same Judas, there is only one Judas who betrayed Jesus, and it is Judas Iscariot.

These two stories also vividly contradict eachother aswell.


Matthew

Fred Sanford said...

Exploring the Unknowable...

you seem to think you know what you are saying... But the question comes to mind, why aren't you reading the thinks that speak about "you", and what "you" should do with your life?

Show me something that you feel helps "you". Don't look for contradiction in the bible.

Many have tried and failed because they didn't see the obvious. What is it that you want?

What happen to you that makes you harbor evil in your heart? and a hate for love? This is not a question that I want you to answer me. I want you to think on that.

shane said...

Fred Sanford.

Thanks for the compliment. I have been down that road before, that is why I am where I am now. Thats actually what drove me to my agnosticism.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

You are dead wrong about the Judas thing, and you have not answered my question about the clearing of the temple?

Are you still with us?...lol

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

First of all Sanfor, there are plenty of passages in the Bible that I do try to honor, since there is some great advice in there. Ephesians 4:29, for example, states: "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths but only such as is good for building as fits the occasion, that i may give grace those who hear."

I try to mold my words so as not be slanderous with my speech. The Golden Rule. The last 5 commandments. There is a lot of great wisdom in the Bible. I don't doubt that. It doesn't mean that anything it says about the supernatural realm has any truth to it.

I left Christianity, not because I hated love, but because I hated hate. I began my deconvesion from Christianity because I couldn't accept a reality wherein the majority of people were to going to be tormented for all eternity for finite crimes. I realized that if God wasn't going to save all people, even though he had the power, than he couldn't be all-powerful and all-loving. It was until after that decision that I discovered Biblical criticism.

If God is perfect in every way, I find it hard to believe that after learning about his plans and his nature, I'd be left wanting more. And that's exactly what happened to me as a Christian. In fact, I just asked a deeply faithful friend of mine who is a very commited Christian if he would rather that God saved all people, as opposed to God's current plan. He would rather serve the God who saved everyone, but he also feels that God perfect, and cannot be anymore desirable. Something about that just doesn't fit right, no?

Walkbyfaith said...

And the ultimate prayer is that something being said on this night is that you would have your way Lord.Father forgive us for the many times we have brought things up against you.As for your child reading this put the kind words of your mouth on his heart to soften him to your reality.God the truth rests in you and no other.Help us break from the chain of human reasoning and forthright needing of every meticulous answer.Make it available for us to simply desire a relationship with you and that all other things be added unto us.In the name of Jesus we lift this prayer.
Amen.May the peace of the Lord be with you all on this night my brothers.Tomorrow is a new day!

Fred Sanford said...

Quote:

I left Christianity, not because I hated love, but because I hated

hate. I began my deconvesion from Christianity because I couldn't accept a reality wherein the majority of people were to going to be tormented for all eternity for finite crimes. I realized that if God wasn't going to save all people, even though he had the power, than he couldn't be all-powerful and all-loving. It was until after that decision that I discovered Biblical criticism.

News Flash... you just put yourself on that list, you went from the list of God and life to the list of Death, because you didn't like the way that worked? Wow! I don't like how they treat people in the jail system so I'll become an inmate.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith, I feel the need to challenge your appeal, that we shouldn't try to reason through things that we are told about God.

Again, if we don't reason at all, then we'll just believe the first thing we hear. Tell me, why do you reject the claims of Islam or Hinduism? Surely you have a reason for this. But couldn't the Muslim or the Hindu come at you with the same line of reasoning; that you are using your finite human intellect to reason your way out of being a Hindu or Muslim?

There has to be a line we draw between what we'll believe and what we won't believe. Some people draw that line more liberally than others. A lot of people here draw it reasonably strict. I am one of those. I don't hope to understand the infinite, but when I am being taught something as God's word, I assume that it's something that God would want me to understand. Otherwise, why would he put it in the Scriptures?

When you give a child a coloring book, you don't interlard it with complex mathematical formulae, and then when the child asks what those mean, scorn them for being irreverent for asking what certain things in a book that they were given means. Why would God place concepts in the Bible that are beyond our ken? If it's in the Scriptures, than we have every right, nay, every responsibility to try and understand these things. If the Qur'an had a blatant contradiction in it, you'd have no problem pointing that out. Yet when there is one in the Bible, you call us irreverent for pointing it out, and you punt to our "hidden agendas" as a reason for why we are looking for them. I was never looking for them, I just found them, and once found, I can't unfind them.

I know you believe strongly in God, and you think God is beyond reproach, but remember: if God's word is utterly perfect, then it should be open to the harshest criticism and scrutiny, and if it is as you say it is, it will pass with flying colors every time.

Remember; "Test all things. Hold fast to that which is true."

P.S. Shane, thank you for your comments tonight. I appreciated your insight.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Sanford,

For me, Christianity couldn't be that self-centered. Knowing that I was going to Heaven, (which I believed strongly as a Christian) did nothing to assuage the pain, agony and misery that I felt for those who were to going to spend ETERNITY in Hell. I, like Paul, would rather spend eternity in Hell, and relinquish my place in Heaven, if it meant that no other soul would ever go to Hell.


Do I feel the same pain for people in jail as I did for people I believed were in Hell? Certainly not. Jail sentences are temporary. Hell is eternal. It's a big difference. Moreover, the human justice system is limited and flawed, not able to bring about rehabilitation in many instances, whereas God is supposed to be ultimately perfect, and should therefore be able to rehabilitate all sinners and restitute all past crimes and sins. Remember, with God, all things are possible, and, rehabilitation and restitution of all people would be profitable as well.

Yet, I was told, in unambiguous terms, that God was not going to do this, and that I had to look forward to a future of knowing that people I knew and loved, a long with millions of people didn't know, were going to spend eternity in torment, both mental and physical.

And I couldn't accept that.

Fred Sanford said...

but remember: if God's word is utterly perfect, then it should be open to the harshest criticism and scrutiny, and if it is as you say it is, it will pass with flying colors every time.

(Typical words of a boastful and foolish sinner. Who are you...? You have not found the truth, how can you tell the difference? You are not a man of truth. You speak of theory and nothingness, you challenge God with no shield or sword, you face the mountain and it will crush you, men will not trust you because you don't know the truth you don't even seek
it.

How can you teach? when you will exept no teaching?

You have done nothing here today....

Hold your tongue from speaking, that you may have your ears opened.

shane said...

Exploring the unknown.

No problem!

I here what your saying, It was the same for me too. Had alot of nightmares about my family in hell!

shane said...

Fred Sanford.

Spare us the sermon we have heard them before!

Greg said...

I was raised Russian Orthodox, here in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result at an early age I got an eyeball view of how disjointed and alien the various Christian denominations are to each other. We would drive past “Calvary Betheny Temple” and “St. Paul’s” and the “Oakland Temple”, and I would ask my mom “Are THEY Christian? Are THEY Christian?”

That started some doubts early on about the nature of the Word. If God couldn’t get his book to a place where his followers could agree on what it meant, I sensed something was up.

I was bewildered, too, that my sense of the history of the church could be so different from the “American” Christians I met: the parochialism (mine and theirs) was distressing. While all the names were the same, the faiths themselves all seemed very different. The God of Rome, the God of Constantinople, the God of Geneva, the God of Colorado Springs, the God of Canterbury… none seemed to be the same god.

Around High School, I noticed the language of the faithful didn’t actually mean anything (vid Breckmin above: “So the Son of God is giving His Life and taking on the sins of the world and being separated from His Father (Whom He is One with)in order to PAY for our sins (only Holiness can pay for our sins and
make us Holy)” This is supposed to change my mind? Again, would a being who is perfectly good, with perfect intent and perfect love allow its message be tormented this way???

Come college, what was left was assaulted by reading in cosmology and quantum physics. Even if the various theories I read about were wrong, I was floored by the ingeniousness and creativity of the ideas. The world expressed by science – EVEN IF ONLY AS THEORIES -- was stranger, much grander, and much more sublime than the just-so stories of wandering hicks in a very tiny patch of desert thousands of years ago. Nature, and the human imagination as a product of Nature, are both much more sublime than any gods we can muster up.

God is just a lot less interesting.

Fred Sanford said...

I, like Paul, would rather spend eternity in Hell, and relinquish my place in Heaven, if it meant that no other soul would ever go to Hell.

(Thats not going to happen, and Paul knew that, you took that out of context, Paul instead would try and save as many as he could...

You will go to Hell like the rest of them that hate God. But you can turn back to Him and try and save as many as you can, that does not mean that you have to spoon feed everyone, just lead them that way.) and if they are willing they too will be saved.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Sanford, your last post was evasive and avoided the topic at hand. My comment about testing the Bible was very reasonable and has Biblical precedent. In Acts, we are told of a sect of believers, who, when presented with teachings from the apostles, feverishly searched the Scriptures, to make sure these things held water.

By your logic, all conclusions that go against your faith were reached by a spirit of obstreperousness, whereas all conclusion that harmonious with your faith, were reached by a spirit of humility, but if that's the case, then I can't win talking to you. In that case, we should stop and get on with our lives.

But, if you are willing to concede that I have been objective about these issues and want to discuss my argument based on their own merits, I'm fine with that. But don't call my character into question as a way to avoid answering my objections.

Like I said before, if the Bible were absolutely perfect in every way, harsh scrutiny and criticism would stand no chance against it. It would prevail, and prevail easily at that.

Do you agree?

Fred Sanford said...

Shane Quote:

Spare us the sermon we have heard them before!

(But yet you are here, yet again God must have favor for you, and the rest of you.

This time take ear and listen your back for a reason.)

Fred Sanford said...

Shane Quote:

I here what your saying, It was the same for me too. Had alot of nightmares about my family in hell!

God wanted you to show them the way, but you have not found your way, so yes if that was your task to lead your family to God, then if they go to Hell, it was for "you" to lead them to the knowing of salvation your at fault, YOU HAD A VISION OF SOMETHING YOU CAN STOP BUT YOU TURNED AWAY... but good news its not too late.

Fred Sanford said...

Exploring the Unknowable,

You are a fool...

Breckmin said...

"If God couldn’t get his book to a place where his followers could agree on what it meant, I sensed something was up."

This is because we are all "learning" and we are all at different stages of Christian maturity.

Probably, the evangelical conservatives at some point have the most mature Christians because of their application of scriptura scripturum interpretor, but I disagree with their view of scripture (but agree with most of their conclusions through systematic theology).

The fact that Christian denominations disagree with peripheral theology is logical.

Walter Martin always used to put it this way "Any two people who think exactly alike on everything...

one of them isn't thinking."

An excellent application to the Jehovah's Witnesses who are not allowed to disagree with any peripheral point that the WatchTower teaches.

Christians disagreeing on minor details is inevitable...

True Christians all agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, Savior God and Rightful King.

shane said...

Fred Sanford.

If the bible were true, then no, it would not be my fault if my family did not believe.
Everyone has free will.

Fred Sanford said...

That was wonderfully put!

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

In Romans 9:3, where Paul says that he "could wish that [he] himself were accursed anc cut of from Christ for sake of [his] brothers...", Paul is definitley echoing the sentiments that he would be punished in their stead, if it were up to him. (I don't necessarily think that Paul believed in the eternal concept of Hell, since he never mentioned it once)

"You will go to Hell like the rest of them that hate God. "

This is a pretty strong statement. Let me ask you, where is this Hell? How do you know it exists? Have you ever seen it? Have you ever met anyone who has been there? Is it composed of fire and brimstone, or is it a purely spiritual place?

You don't know me at all, nor do you know how I've come about my beliefs, specifically, yet you just claimed that I'm going to suffer for all eternity.

Did you even blink when you said that? Did any remnant of compassion or empathy resonate within you when you typed those words? Do they even mean anything to you? You type them with such 'matter-of-factness', it saddens me. When I was a believer, every time I even insinuated that someone might go to Hell to their face, it tore me apart from the inside, and if there were portions of my life I could take back, it would definitely be those moments when I told people that they were on the road to Hell, and that their family members who had died as non-believers, were in Hell right now.

I can't think of a more cruel and manipulative thing to say to someone.

Breckmin said...

Re: Exploring the Unknowable

Fred Sanford "You are a fool..."

This is general and doesn't deal with any thing specific that EtU wrote or asked or addressed.

Even if we say "the fool has said in his heart there is no God" and quote Psalm 53:1 - we still need to address specific questions and arguments - otherwise we are generalizing.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

"Exploring the Unknowable,

You are a fool... "

Sanford, thanks for engaging me in a discussion.

Even if there were some vestige of a statement you made that might have resonated with me (and I did think you made some good points), any credibility you had has been completely shattered.

Sorry to waste your time, Sanford.

Fred Sanford said...

Shane Quote:

If the bible were true, then no, it would not be my fault if my family did not believe.
Everyone has free will.

(Then you had the free will to seek God but denied it, you had the free will to help your family, but didn't.

Free will will not help you in the court room.)

Fred Sanford said...

Exploring the Unknowable,

seem you have the same view about me, and the Bible... We both speak of truth,and lose credibility with you. I'm not shocked at this.

but never the less it is the truth

Fred Sanford said...

Even if there were some vestige of a statement you made that might have resonated with me (and I did think you made some good points), any credibility you had has been completely shattered.

There is no reasoning,

Does the fire reason with the leaf?
Does the lion reason with the bison?

This is the way it is point blank thats it...

Breckmin said...

"every time I even insinuated that someone might go to Hell to their face, it tore me apart from the inside,"

It should tear you apart that that possibility exists...but the scriptures admonish us that we should "pray" for that individual.

You would have to be "omniscient" to know whether or not at some point in their life they may at a later date accept Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior.

"and if there were portions of my life I could take back, it would definitely be those moments when I told people that they were on the road to Hell,"

If you qualify what you warn with "if" then there is nothing wrong will telling the TRUTH.

"and that their family members who had died as non-believers, were in Hell right now."

Timing is everything. Certainly you wouldn't say this at a funeral to add to their grief...but there comes a time when they themselves will logically make this connection.

It is inevitable. Don't worry about the dead, instead point the living to the Living Savior.

You can not change the dead who never chose to receive God's grace.

Fred Sanford said...

Quoting:

Fred Sanford said...

I'm not making you do anything here, thats just the way it is.

He is God thats just the way it is.
He was there when it all began and he will be there after it ends...

Fred Hammond-

Greg said...

Your god is perfect. Your god has perfect intent, perfect will, perfect implementation, yes? If your god's perfect intent, perfect will, and perfect implementation falls apart in the face of its creations' failings, then your god's intent isn't perfect. This is a paradox.

Your holy text, if guided in its creation by your god, should be perfect. If we're going to talk logic, let's talk logic.

Your god, because of its perfect intent, perfect will, and perfect implementation, does NOT HAVE THE CHOICE to NOT create something completely good, with perfect efficacy. The bible, as the word of god, SHOULD be perfectly legible, and, if it is the truth, AGREEABLE to all people everywhere -- regardless of language, culture or temperament -- without commentary from you or anyone.

Your god should not have to rely on your inarticulate pleading to its case.

It must be very frustrating to know the secrets of reality, but only have your language skills to express them.

shane said...

Lol....you see, this is what happens when christians cannot stand up with the intellectual argument.
They turn to their fire and brimstone, their warnings of condemnations.

This all began with a challenge from Walkbyfaith to me. Walkbyfaith has disappeared, and now we have Fred Sanford with his warnings of judgement!

This is not a church! your theology does not have the desired affect you want it to here!

Fred Sanford said...

You've said nothing, could you have created this world? this universe? you speak as if you have done something to size up what God has done... no we are not talking logic, we are talking God, thats just it, you depend on what you know of these worldly things and you apply it to something thats not worldly.

Breckmin said...

"would a being who is perfectly good, with perfect intent and perfect love allow its message be tormented this way???"

It is important not to refer to God as a "being" because of the equivocation with the English word and how it implies limitation.

Would an Infinite Creator allow the Word of God or "the message" to be corrupted?

The answer has to do with volition/choice/human rebellion/will, etc.

It is the same reason that people go to eternal separation from the Holiness of God.

It is the concept of "limited sovereignty" and restricted autonomy and self-governing impulse.

Until we address the human consciousness and spiritual existence which is inclusive of "will" and how this relates to sin/disobedience.. we will miss everything including Jesus.

Fred Sanford said...

shane, tisk tisk, your dancing on your grave. and the most obvious has become lost to you for the sake of your pride. But never the less if you run into the street and say I don't believe cars will hit me you will die there that moment went the car hits you.

This day of Judgment is coming. you can close your eyes only if you want to but you will surly open them in a place you can't imagine

Breckmin said...

"and perfect implementation falls apart in the face of its creations' failings,"

This fails to address the complexity of an Infinite Creator "creating" little finite "creators."

Until you address the inevitable and potential byproduct of choice that is created and NECESSARY for true love to exist (you can't say yes if you can't say no and saying "no" is a bad thing), then you will never even BEGIN to understand this temporary creation which is dealing with how choice is an eternal danger to beings who have it (without motive and knowledge which had to be learned).

Fred Sanford said...

Greg Quote:

Your god should not have to rely on your inarticulate pleading to its case.

I'm not defending God I'm sent hear to help you.

(You will be the one pleading if you don't hire Jesus as your attorney)

shane said...

Well Fred Sanford......maybe you will wake up in a place you cant imagine to.....maybe the Muslims will be right! lol.

Breckmin said...

"Your god should not have to rely on your inarticulate pleading to its case."

God works perfectly through our imperfections.

Question everything.

Breckmin said...

"and, if it is the truth, AGREEABLE to all people everywhere"

Not if "people" themselves are cursed with a sinful and rebellious nature who do NOT want to accept truth.

In this case, repentence or a "changing of their minds" would be needed to struggle with their rebellious nature.

If man really is sinful and rebellious, then the One religion which bothered you the most would probably the correct one - IF it had Love from the Creator to His Children and required trusting Him.

Indeed, question everything.

Les said...

Ever since we learned of our pending mortality -- the most unfortunate consequence of evolving a larger brain -- we have done our best to mitigate its doleful message. Much of the greatest works in philosophy, religion, art, and music either exist to bewail our mortality or to argue that a spiritual continuity permits us to accept the physical decline, and eventual decay of our bodies. As the lyrics of Bach's Jesu meine Freude insists: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit."
- Stephen J Gould, Urchin in the Storm

Contemplation of one's mortality can addle even the clearest of thinkers. It's a bit like religion in that way. In fact, it IS religion, and by that I mean that the fear of death gives a lot of oomph to the God hypothesis.

The only position in regards to a religion that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism…

Breckmin said...

"The Reformation Study Bible, edited by R.C. Sproul"

probably the same thing as the New Geneva Study Bible. If it is it is an excellent resource. R.C. Sproul is fairly accurate on much of his theology....even though he is a Presbyterian. (or perhaps it is BECAUSE he is a Presbyterian).

Wesley said...

I could not reconcile a "loving and merciful" God with the concept of Hell. What parent could, honestly? (Well, I did for 46 years!) Then reading the OT genocide passages again without the "Jesus-colored" glasses on. Then reading Bart Ehrman. Once the first domino of hell toppled, the rest went very quickly. Then several ex-christian books, such as ones by John Loftus.

Briefly, I thought I would be a universalist liberal christian, but that quickly faded when I realized that I could care for others and add love to the world without any belief in some vague deity or "life-force".

I feel like I've been BORN AGAIN!!

goprairie said...

Brekmin: So when i say that your god is impossible because the words people use to describe him/it are opposites, and therefore such a god is impossible, you merely claim that is a limitation of language because words cannot fully describe god? What a joke that is. If god is not describable in words, would you just please go away from here and stop using so many words to talk about him/it?
Your god IS impossible. If you claim the universe needs a creator, then god needs a creator. If you say god does not need a creator, then the universe, matter, energy do not need creators. The attributes you give your god, even conceptually, without using those nasty imprecise English words are are opposed. Your god is like matter and anti-matter and he/it implodes the very instant you begin to put more than a single conceptual attribute out there. Leave words out of it then: Your god is CONCEPTUALLY impossible. But if you need your god to keep you happy, so be it. These discusssions would be much more interesting if you just went out there an enjoyed your silly faith in the impossible without putting all your imprecise words here.

Greg said...

Herr Breckmin sprecht so: "Not if "people" themselves are cursed with a sinful and rebellious nature who do NOT want to accept truth."

And who did the cursing? Who made it so we have to be cursed?

The being who creates reality, all reality, does not have to stick with a binary system. The being whose love is limitless and can create any sort of reality, surely can create a trinary system, yes? Can't a being who can apparently create quantum states also manage a freewill that that doesn't conflict with the transcendent will? Can't that being create a state of existence that we can't imagine, one better than the one we live in now, one where freewill?

Can an infinite being of infinite compassion NOT MANAGE to make itself known to 99.9999% of its creation, even when using the crude tools of its creation? Why is your god's word so poorly understood even by the standards of men's imperfect reckoning? Why do men's imaginations conceive of greater things than the god depicted in your book?

Or do we somehow live in the world that is the best expression of your god's abilities?

I can imagine such a being. Can you?

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Shane said, 'way back there, "Spare us the sermon, we've heard it before."

Yes, Walkbyfaith, Beckwith and the rest; we've heard the sermons. What's more, many of us here have preached the sermons, we've lived the life, we've written the books, taught the dogma, loved the "Word" and the god we thought we found there.

And we saw the errors in those sermons and apologetics and doctrines, and because we value the truth, left them behind.

Now, every time you parrot what we and our colleagues taught you, we just see more clearly the hodge-podge of lies, excuses, illogic, contradictions and outright evil that is the faith that we once followed wholeheartedly.

You're wasting your time.

Susannah (Wanderin' Weeta) said...

Sorry, I got the name wrong. It was Breckmin.

Wesley said...

Breckmin and Fred Sanford:

We BEG you, go away and quit trying to evangelise us ex-believers. It will never work. You're wasting your time. Don't you believe Hebrews 6:4-6? "For it is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, shared in the H.S, tasted the goodness of God ... to be renewed unto repentance..."

With all due respect, please pi55 off.

Roy Chang said...

your blog is getting really active. =]

Gandolf said...

Fred Sanford said... "News Flash... you just put yourself on that list, you went from the list of God and life to the list of Death, because you didn't like the way that worked? Wow! I don't like how they treat people in the jail system so I'll become an inmate"

Fred Sanford loving god is so loving it pushes fred to try the old tried and trusted hell and brimstone method long used in desperation to frighten folks into believing without question.

When it dont seem to work on frightening, Exploring the Unknowable.

Fred feels a sudden need to call him a fool


L.o.L

Why should we put any real faith in such obvious ancient old barbaric bone rattling witch doctors with beliefs like yours Fred?.

Its obvious you cant make up your mind whether gods are loving and understanding,or mean thoughtless and nasty.

Take your pitiful threats and stick-em where the sun dont shine

People like you only convince me more,how stupid folks of old were in buckling under the weight and fear of these unfounded suggestions.

Gandolf said...

Breckmin said..."Christians disagreeing on minor details is inevitable...

True Christians all agree that Jesus Christ is Lord, Savior God and Rightful King."

Yeah and folks who faithfully believe in aliens all!! seem to believe they came from outer space.

This proves??

Gandolf said...

Fred Sanford..."There is no reasoning,

Does the fire reason with the leaf?
Does the lion reason with the bison?

This is the way it is point blank thats it..."

Hey messiah Fred,how much reasoning do you recommend for a muslim ?.

Should a muslim be afraid of questioning and reasoning incase he/she might lead their family to some hell?.Should they question the Islam over Christianity?,or would they be putting themselves and their family in very grave danger also

Fred pick up you chicken bones, rattling them to try scaring us into submission like some old lost witch doctor fighting for his "favored position" in the tribe, only makes you look like the one who is being very sick sad and foolish.

Greg said...

"Can Fred Sanford reason with Lamonte?"

Gandolf said...

Walkbyfaith said.."How ever you think that the bible was written by men who thought they could understand God and your wrong.Even more so these very men over and over again speak of the fact that they know nothing about His majesty because in order to understand you must be completely submissive spiritually and are not giving their own interpretation but what is being written is birthed by the mouth of the Lord himself.God would not depend on mans understanding to write his word which is why he told them what to write word for word. Galatians 1:11-12 11I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ."

Mighty fine sermon Walkbyfaith,but very unconvincing im afraid.And very lacking in good reasoning and logic also.

It seems you are still placing your faith in mere man,be it some men who some folks claimed to be prophets.

How can you say im wrong in thinking these men thought they could understand in one breath,then in the next breath present the bible as being word of god?.

You might try suggesting this word was written by god on the hearts of man or whatever,but that dont change the fact that it passed through their "human minds" before then being passed on in what ever way that it was.

In effect you suggest man cannot fathom god,but you allow that old faithful prophet men can?.

Are ye become completely mad??

You can try to claim word of Jesus supposedly seals the deal,but lets not dismiss men before jesus obviously thought they could fathom thoughts of gods,hence came the first testiment!.

And besides Jesus the prophet has not yet been totally proved neither has he returned like it was suggested he would.

Walkbyfaith you might as well be putting your faith in the likes of Benny Hinn or Joseph Smith from the 1830s ...Or draw short straws to try to decide who was/is supposedly correct.

See how silly it is ...See how stupid it is to even think some god would likely exist who created us and then is going to punish any of us unable to be in the know about gods.

Come on dont walk by faith man! its very silly, you could just as easily end up Mormon or Islamic or into scientology or who knows what else you might end up with faith in.

Learn to walk with logic and reasoning man! its so very much safer honestly.....Dont you have any faith? that i actually use "logic and reasoning" before! i will even dare trusting in having any faith in some "air plane pilots" flying me somewhere!.....And my alarm clock has been proven! so have road codes which allow for mostly safe driving.

Please give me some credit, call me Willy if you must,but please not Silly, i do not have simple faith in pilots,NO i expect companys whO hire them do usually expect they FIRST possess pilots licences before they allow them to fly people ...It can become very costly, for any companys who dont remember to abide by these PROVEN rules

Why do you feel such need to try comparing that what we have proved ...With the bullshit of unproven gods ??.

Its a little sad attempt and a very obvious! big mistake ....isnt it walkbyfaith?

It is these obvious mistakes that have proved to me faithful folks are very unreasonable.And you seem to do a mighty fine job of helping prove it also.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

So what happened to our exchange?

I never heard back from you last night?
Maybe some contradictions are not as easy to dismiss as you think?

Amy B said...

For those of you who have left Christianity, but don't consider yourselves atheistic, what keeps you from claiming atheism? I ask because I am in the middle of reevaluating my faith and am beginning to see significant problems with the Bible and what that means for Christianity, yet I have a harder time sifting through the evidence for/against a diety in general. It seems like it will be much more difficult to make a decision about the existence of some type of supernatural being.

shane said...

Amy B.

The only reason I consider myself agnostic is because I dont completely rule out a creator.
I dont rule it out because I honestly dont know (nobody does).

I dont believe in any revealed religions or concepts that we have about a creator, I just recognize that the universe is a mystery and we are far from knowing everything!

Walkbyfaith said...

No no my friend I did not leave..I went to sleep lol..
This is the bottom line.The scripture says God will make the wisdom of men foolishness..You are trying to explain something you dont understand so you sound like a foolish man.Head this warning in your attempt to underline what you think are faults in the word of a perfect God you have missed the simplest of things.You want answers?Good you can get them.But how do you expect to get answers from someone who you dont have a relationship with?Lol...Everything you question God has given to his children but in order for you to inherent his gift of wisdom you first must be in the family!

mud_rake said...

Amy B @ yet I have a harder time sifting through the evidence for/against a diety in general.

No need. There cannot be any 'evidence' of the existence of or against a deity because the word 'deity' implies mystery, magic and mind-manipulation.

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

I had to retire myse;f last night, I missed some posts on here.

I used to be a christian for quite some time. That is exactly why I think and feel the way I do now.
I believed very deeply, I used to be part of an evangelist team and went around carrying an 8-foot cross handing out tracts to people.

I spent alot of my time reading the bible and seeking God.

Even after I left my faith I still prayed on occasion for the first year or so.
Its not like I haven't asked God for the answers to these things or at least the answers I needed.
So far I am still in the same boat now as I was then.

So you see, I have been down your road before and I am no longer convinced.

Walkbyfaith said...

That is the thing..If you are a evangelist you know that people are always ask you for every answer they dont have..And you take them back to the WORD.You can battle the intelect all day but you cant dispute the fact that you have wronged in the eyes of God and you need a savior.You turned away from your faith because you were led away by the devil.God needs men that will be faithful in times where they may not understad.Just because you dont have the answers right now dose not mean you wont get them but God wont give you the answer if your not going to understand it when he gives it to you so you must be prepaired first my friend.Time for you to quit walking by sight.

What is the most amazing thing about a magician?Why do peolpe like them?Its because they do unexplainable things!But here you are questioning God?Lol come on man..And just because you were someone of God means nothing if you are not under submission..
Do this.Go to youtube and search Open air preaching Ray Comfort.Watch the vedioes :)

Greg said...

So Ray Comfort is an oracle? Is that why you're sending us to him? What's he going to say that is more persuasive than you? Is his god better at speaking through him that your god is speaking through you?

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

Do you remember our conversation about Judas Iscariot last, and how you said that the stories were about the two different Judases?

I hope you read the posts we sent that showed that you were wrong!

Here is also another problem with that.

The four gospels do not even agree who the twelfth disciple was!

According to Matthew and mark, the twelfth was Thaddaeus.

According to Luke the twelfth was Judas (son of James)!

According to John, the tewlfth was Nathanael!

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith,

You need to stop with this "we can't question the Bible" nonsense. You could summarily claim that about any book you wanted, and it would produce exactly the same effect. It would do nothing to convince other people of your position, and it is a CONVERSATION STOPPER! We are having a discussion about the reliability of the Scriptures, and every time someone brings up a line of reasoning in the Scriptures that they think seem fallacious, you throw dust on their argument by claiming that shouldn't even be questioning the Scriptures.

This very line of thinking that you are positing is the very reason that this webstie exists. EVERYTHING is open to questioning. Even Breckmin agrees with that in principle, though his conclusions differ vastly from ours. Hell, even the Bible agrees that we should "Test all things; Hold fast to that which is good."

Now, either respond to the arguments that we've posted, or quit wasting our time, please. And we'll start with the Judas Iscariot discrepancy, as related to the incongruent accounts of his death in Matthew and Acts. Please respond to that challenge, and show me and Shane why that isn't a contradiction, and how it doesn't undercut the supposedly inerrant authority of the Bible.

Thanks.

shane said...

Exploring the unknowable.

Its ok....I dont think he can answer this.
He tried with the two Judases thing which even other christians would disagree with him.

He has turned from the intellectual discussion to emotional pleading, this is what happens!

But its ok.....

scooterwes said...

AMY,

I was once at your stage in leaving (46 years as an evangelical, with ThB, missionary in Europe, etc). Once it became obvious that the Bible was riddled with errors and contradictions, I could no longer believe in the central tenants of Christianity. Once you don't believe that Jesus "died for your sins" (that atonement thing is real freaky to me now!) in order to gain heaven and avoid hell, then it pretty much doesn't matter about whether there is a deity.

If there is a deity, it (he/she do not apply) does not care whether you believe in it. Because I am a designer by profession, for a while I thought, "there HAS to be a designer of this glorious universe". Then I started to realize, even if there is, there is no way to test whether it's existence is real by observation or scientific method.

To me now, it's a complete non-issue. I don't care if a deity exists. If there is, it's certainly not anything like human religions picture it. If there isn't, then what we have to do is care for others, for the earth, and add love to the world.

The biggest issue for me is, I've lost a community, a kind of family that cared for me emotionally and financially through hard times (heart surgery, job firing, etc). I still haven't found a completely satisfactory replacement for that. (And I can't tell my 86-yr-old mother, a passionate evangelical.)

This has been a hard journey (I didn't ask for this!!), but a very satisfying one. Hang in there . . .

scooterwes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
scooterwes said...

I HATE it when people double-post!

Although, it's not my fault: blogger.com made me do it!

Chuck O'Connor said...

I'm reading a fascinating book by a man named Greg Bottoms entitled "Angelhead". It describes Mr. Bottoms' observations of his brother Michael's descent into the madness of acute Paranoid Schizophrenia. The consistent theme with Michael's insanity was the certainty he had in knowing who God was and what God's will for man was. He memorized the entire bible and could explicate with certainty God's will for his family therein. He also heard voices, didn't bathe, and drank Drano to cleanse his soul of the demons living in the pockets of his jeans.

I see the same type of incoherence described in "Angelhead" in the on-going "question everything" apologetic Breckamnin so often shares with us and his new running mates on this thread (Fred Sanford and Walk By Faith) provide further qualitative examples to the delusional certainty religiosity offers, akin to acute paranoid schizophrenia.

The thread can only be anecdtoal evidence but, the responses by the religious folks here seem to indicate a plausible hypothesis that a committed christian worldview is cognitively similar to severe mental illness.

Chuck O'Connor said...

For anyone interested in the book by Greg Bottoms here is a website with the first chapter:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/067645.html

The first chapter is aptly titled God: A memory.

Enjoy

Walkbyfaith said...

Well my friends the end of the conversation is this.

If you can prove that there is no God than continue in your thinking.If you cannot than search for something spiritual.In the end you will look back on your life ad realize the evedience of God in our life.And no Ray comfort is just who you neede to see! :)

Walkbyfaith said...

Repent of your sins,Confess your sins,Believe Jesus Christ and seek after God.Start with being borne again!
If you want truth my friends there it is!!! :)

shane said...

Walkbyfaith.

Naaa!!!!

Greg said...

I Walkbyfaith doesn't know about Ray Comfort.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Walk by Faith,

Try Geodon. It is supposed to work on both Bi-polar and Schizophrenia. You seem to have mild cognitive function so there might be hope for you with some prescription drug assistance.

Here's the website:
http://www.geodon.com/

scooterwes said...

Good riddance to walkbyfaith and his friends.

He says we're trying to prove there is no god. I don't think that's the case at all, and I don't think anyone can prove that one way or the other, except maybe philosophically.

What we CAN prove is that Bible-God is a figment of man's imagination, a total fairy tale.

Exploring the Unknowable said...

---

Walkbyfaith,

That's it??

That's the last word??

You aren't going to try and engage us in a discussion about the issues that we brought up and you just summarily dismissed, as if they didn't exist?

Once you brought up Ray Comfort, I should have known immediately what I was getting into. Ray Comfort doesn't like to engage in dicussion either. He continually clings to the authority of the Bible, without EVER showing why the Bible has any authority. He claims to know things that he CAN'T possibly know, and he dismisses all viewpoints that disagree with his as the product of a stubborn heart that is a priori anti-supernatural.

Ray Comfort is obnoxious, to say the least, and listening to him did little for me as a believer, and virtually nothing for me as a skeptic. He adds nothing to the debate, and doesn't even make me think about anything. William Lane Craig, an apologetics giant, at the very least, makes me inquire about things. Ray Comfort makes me cringe.

Walkbyfaith, DON'T follow in the footsteps of Comfort. I know of several Christians who think his antics are ridiculous and his methods preposterous. His Romans Road method of evangelizing is the only portion of his M.O. that has any Biblical basis. Otherwise, he is a charlatan and a sower of misinformation.