Quote of the Day, by Robert and Ken Pulliam

Robert: "I think that without Internet access, I would still be a believer today. I might have wondered why the Bible gives permission to beat slaves, and I might have asked my preacher about it, but I don't think I would have searched the local libraries to find atheist authors and see what they had to say!...but entering 'Yahweh genocide' in a search engine (with the intent of finding a Christian response) can easily land us upon a site like this." Ken: "The printing press was instrumental in bringing about the Reformation in the 16th century, and I think the internet will have an even greater impact." Link

71 comments:

epicurus said...

I wish the internet would have been around when I left christianity in the mid 80's. It was a long, lonely, process, not much info and zero support. I felt like I was the only person in the world who found contradictions and problems with the bible and christian belief. I spent much longer than I should have wondering if I should leave, unable to make the break. My only resource people were smug christians telling me I was critiquing god. I couldn't make them understand I found problems with the bible, not god.

Chris said...

It's a double edged sword though. Any group can organize and flood the internet with mass misinformation. Conservative Christians have certainly done so. Conspiracy theory/ultra-fundie movements can thrive on the internet too.

Tom Rafferty said...

The internet did it for me also.

Thesauros said...

'Yahweh genocide'

I have two wishes.

1) Those who wish to abort their child would have the self-honesty to say, “Yes I know that this is a human being that I am carrying in my womb but I cannot, at this time in my life take care of and nurture this person - so I’m going to kill h/her.

2) Those who cannot accept that they stand accountable before their Creator would have the self-honesty to say, “Yes I know in my heart of hearts that a Creator of the universe exists but I cannot stand the thought of worshipping such a God as He is described in the Bible. In fact I will not. I refuse to worship such a Being. I am willing to stand in hell rather than worship any God that would wipe out whole cultures no matter how evil they were.”

Wouldn’t a little honestly be nice?

And that is the lesson of what you call “YAHWEH genocide” When Creator God decides to move His people, repent or get out of the way.

The lesson is not that God doesn’t exist, the lesson is that He will do what He will do and His enemies will be destroyed.

The good news is that Creator God has already provided the means by which He can forgive His enemies, IF THEY WANT, on the spot; totally, completely and without further comment, and welcome you into paradise.

The ball is in your court.

GMpilot said...

Thesauros, exactly WHAT made the people of Ai so wicked that they had to be exterminated? No one seems to have told them that they were sitting on land God gave to the Israelites, and there were no accounts of who the people there worshiped—except that it obviously wasn't Yahweh.

There was no talk of 'forgiveness', no preaching of repentance. God and his warriors felt the people of Ai would make better fertilizer than followers; and so, the slaughter.

Back to you. Justify it if you can.

Chris said...

Thesauros,

How do you know that I know "in my heart of hearts that a creator of the universe exists"? I mean, really. Have we met before?

Also, if you suspected that I sincerely did not belive in God, would that bother you? I think it would. And does. I think, in your heart of hearts, you realize that there are reasonable people who honestly do not believe in God- and not just because they "cannot stand the thought of worshipping such a God as He is described in the Bible." And this scares the crap out of you. Because it means that there are smart people out there who disagree with you, and you might be wrong. So you convince yourself that they must, deep down, really believe.

So, as you say, the ball is in your court. Continue in your unfounded faith that 4 billion non-christians are just faking it, or start dealing honestly with them- and yourself.

Thesauros said...

"Thesauros, exactly WHAT made the people of Ai so wicked that they had to be exterminated?"

What if you read in the paper that a couple in your town had taken their child out to the back yard and sacrificed that boy or girl on a homemade alter as a live burnt offering? What kind of a reaction would you have?

You’d probably think that pure evil resided in the hearts of that couple. When it came to the penalty phase of their trial, most people would favour the death penalty. They certainly wouldn’t say, “These people should be free to practise religion as they see fit.”

If you think that a couple who did this was evil, can you imagine how depraved a community, a society must have become to view sacrificing their children a live burnt offerings as socially acceptable? We are in fact told that the Israelites were surrounded by cultures that worshipped Ba’al and Asherah - two gods who demanded this type of sacrifice.

And because the pull is always to become like the culture in which we live (see divorce rates for those calling themselves Christians) even the Israelites began to take part in this type of evil. For the scientific evidence of this, see http://thesauros-store.blogspot.com/2010/05/tel-magiddo.html

This kind of evil doesn’t exist in isolation from other types of evil. In these cultures, women were forced to work as temple prostitutes (at one point 15,000 women) and it was largely the children from these unions that were used in the temple rituals.

THAT is the kind of evil that God was eliminating from the land.

As well, you are in error that these people were not given the chance to repent or even to leave the city before it was going to be destroyed. Always before a city was destroyed, the residents were given the opportunity to leave. I assume that some did, but others, like modern atheists who are also given a warning of impending destruction, refused to leave their current position.

As well, all through the Old Testament and the Newer Testament, God reveals that destruction does not just come out of the blue. Genesis 15:16 is just one example where God waits until the level of evil reaches a point deserving destruction.

Now, you may not think that burning children alive is such a big deal but God will not tolerate it.

When you see God moving His people, either repent or get out of the road.

I’m not going to try to “Justify it.” The Creator of the universe exists. He has shown us in His Word how He operates, both regarding justice and salvation and I think that it’s wise for us to organise our lives accordingly.
=======

How do you know that I know "in my heart of hearts that a creator of the universe exists"? I mean, really. Have we met before?

Because I don't think you are stupid enough to believe that everything came from nothing by nothing. Some are, but most aren't.
=======
"And this scares the crap out of you."

My life goes on regardless of what you believe. But it breaks my heart that you are walking into an eternal separation from your Creator that is going to be horrific beyond description.

Chris said...

"My life goes on regardless of what you believe. But it breaks my heart that you are walking into an eternal separation from your Creator that is going to be horrific beyond description."

I think I hit a nerve.

Thesauros said...

Chris, if you believed what I believe, how could it NOT affect you to see people confidently marching to their demise?

Rhacodactylus said...

Good information breeds atheists.

~Rhaco

matt the magnificient said...

theosauros you said "The good news is that Creator God has already provided the means by which He can forgive His enemies, IF THEY WANT, on the spot; totally, completely and without further comment, and welcome you into paradise."

So if this is true, why should i worry about following any of the rules laid down by christianity? according to this, i dont even have to believe in god, let alone follow his rules or woship. i can just wait till he shows up, ask his forgiveness then and attain the same position in heaven as you!!! i'm suprised all christians don't do this. last minute groveling, ON THE SPOT is a fantastic idea. i will be sure to do this if i'm wrong and god really does show up. its win-win either way!!!

Jim said...

Thesaros,

You're coming across more and more like a foam-mouthed loon pounding out incoherent rants on the keyboard than someone trying to engage the atheists here.

It doesn't matter how loud you yell that we atheists really do believe--we still won't believe absent any convincing evidence.

Threats from a non-existent God are as fear engendering as threats from Zeus, Mythra, Odin, Xenu, or any of the other non-existent gods. So you can just put a cap on that.

If you think that throwing out a few Bible phrases is compelling, let me assure you--it isn't. An uninspired work of many human beings, redacted over time into a confusing mess with no coherent message itself is hardly some kind of threatening weapon to be brandished in front of us. We just sit back and laugh. At you, not with you.

Papalinton said...

Hi Chris
You say, "It's a double edged sword though. Any group can organize and flood the internet with mass misinformation. Conservative Christians have certainly done so. Conspiracy theory/ultra-fundie movements can thrive on the internet too."

I say, That is certainly true. The conservative fundies might flourish but I suspect only or mainly among their already converted and committed flock. Because religion is essentially social, it is an activity that humans do together. It is created, maintained, and perpetuated by human physical group behaviour. The internet gives one the safety of anonymity which breaks the group pressure on wavering believers to conform and allows them the freedom to ask those tough questions about the veracity of scripture. And in the end, I think truth will out and the nonsensical reliance on myth that masks as fact in the bible are discovered.

For, when you believe, you believe together, but when you think, you think alone.

Cheers

Thesauros said...

Matt - In case there is someone listening who is actually serious, I’m going to respond.

There are two reasons for following the rules laid down by your Creator.

1) He is your manufacturer. He knows how you and your life will run the most smoothly.

2) Out of gratefulness for saving your soul.

At this time only the first point, in a limited way, applies to you.
===========

There is one reason why you should not wait until Jesus returns or “shows up” as you put it.

1) We are now living in the age of grace. From the moment that Jesus rose from the dead to the moment He returns, you have a chance to change from death to life. If you turn your life over to what atheists call a monster, He will provide on the spot forgiveness for your sins and give your freedom from real guilt; totally, completely and without further comment, and welcome you into paradise."
==========

The next time “shows up” it will be too late. At that time “Every knee will bow and every person on earth will confess that Jesus is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.”

Some will do that as citizens of Heaven while others, like you, will do it as conquered enemies on the verge of being thrown in to hell for eternity.

While there will most certainy be grovelling and begging on your part, it will be too late.

Right now, today, the offer of forgiveness for your sins is on the table. All you have to do is reach out and take it. You do that by admitting that you are in fact a sinner in need of forgiveness. You ask for forgiveness and then commit your life to following Jesus as not just your Saviour but also your Lord and Master. Which leads to your next comment.

You say, “I’m surprised all Christians don’t do this.” Why would we? Do you think that you’re gaining in quality a life apart from a healed and forgiven relationship with Jesus? Do you think that following Jesus is an onerous task?

This http://thesauros-store.blogspot.com/2010/09/because.html is the first in a series that I did describing the changes that becoming a follower of Jesus has brought to my life.

I can't remember who it was but some atheist hear described me a someone with humanist tendencies.

"You don't give a fuck about anybody do you?"

That was said to me by a co worker about five years before I became a Christian. Sadly he was saying it in admiration. I assure you, any goodness that I possess is ALL from Jesus.
===========

@ Jim
“Threats from a non-existent God are as fear.”

I wonder what you think the difference is between a threat and a warning.

Second, when I responded to Chris, I said, “I don't think you are stupid enough to believe that everything came from nothing by nothing. Some are.”

Apparently you belong to the latter group.
===========

“We just sit back and laugh. At you, not with you.”

Laugh away - loud and long.
For me, this life is as bad as it gets. For you, this life is as good as it gets.

Jim said...

Thesauros,

. . . everything came from nothing by nothing

Do you have evidence that "nothingness" is the natural state of things and not "somethingness?"

The truth is that none of us knows what the natural state of things is--so the adults around here (the atheists) simply say "I don't know, but the scientific community will continue to research it."

Only religionists start making up and/or believing wild creation stories and insisting they know what the origin of our universe was.

Time to grow up, Thesauros. Come on, your 60 already, right? Any day now . . .

I do promise you this--the day the evidence comes in that God exists, I will believe in him/her/it. I won't be a sycophant and praise him unless he gives me a reason, but I will believe in him. But "heeding your warnings" without any evidence or reason is simply foolishness.

If Islam is correct, you will also roast in hell forever--you don't take the "warning to convert to Islam" seriously for the same reason we don't take your "warning to convert to Christianity" seriously.

Papalinton said...

I read Thesauros' asinine remarks to Matt, and I think of the depressing contrast between the radiant intelligence of a healthy child and the feeble intellectual powers of the average theistic adult. Can we be quite certain that it is not precisely religious education which bears the largest share of the blame for this relative atrophy?
Thesauros simply has no understanding or self-conception of the dizzy scale of theo-gobbledegook when he utters his words to Matt [and Chris for that matter].

There is no more suitable an area of useless human activity onto which derision, irony, sarcasm, parody and scorn are all proper and worthy devices to be practiced.

Sheesh

Thesauros said...

@ Jim -
"Do you have evidence that "nothingness" is the natural state of things and not "somethingness?"

I have the same evidence that you do. The science of Big Bang cosmology states that everything came from literally nothing.

Because of overwhelming scientific evidence, most atheists do grudgingly admit that the universe does indeed have a beginning.

Unfortunately for atheists, it can be said with absolute confidence that no cosmogonic model has been:
As repeatedly verified in its predictions,

As corroborated by attempts at its falsification,

As concordant with empirical discoveries, and

As philosophically coherent as the Standard Big Bang Model.

Because nothing natural / material existed until the Singularity the logical conclusion, the metaphysical implications of a universe with a beginning from literally nothing are terrifying for atheists.


"Do you have evidence that "nothingness" is the natural state of things and not "somethingness?"

I'm only going by current evidence Jim. If you wish to cling to the dozen or so Atheist Origin of the Universe Mythologies, go for it.

ildi said...

T-meister projects: Because nothing natural / material existed until the Singularity the logical conclusion, the metaphysical implications of a universe with a beginning from literally nothing are terrifying for atheists.

Far from terrifying, I think it's rather cool that the universe may have been created by a physicist hacker:

Andrei Linde, a 47-year-old physicist from Moscow, started teaching at Stanford University in 1990. He lives there with his wife, Renata Kallosh (also a Stanford physics professor, specializing in superstrings and supergravity), and his two sons, Dmitri and Alex. In 1982, he began formulating a new theory of the universe - an improvement on the big-bang model. He uses computer simulations for much of his research, and he has recently suggested that our universe may be the result of a physicist-hacker's experiment.
...
Wired:You've suggested that it might be possible to create a universe in the laboratory by violently compressing matter, that 1 milligram of matter may initiate a self-reproducing universe. How would this work?

Linde:It would be hard. You have to do more than just compress the matter. But with high temperatures and quantum effects, there is a chance of creating a universe. Our estimates indicate that you would need a very good laboratory indeed. And it is not dangerous to try. This new universe would not hurt our universe; it would only expand within itself - like bulging a bubble out from the side of our space.
...
Wired:Would you be able to communicate? To send information to and from that universe you helped create?

Linde:It is not so easy to send information inside. ... To send a long message, you must make a weird universe with complicated laws of physics. It is the only way to send information. The only people who can read this message are physicists. Since we see around us a rather weird universe, does it imply that our universe was created not by God, but by a physicist-hacker?

Walter said...


I have the same evidence that you do. The science of Big Bang cosmology states that everything came from literally nothing.


To the best of my knowledge, scientist claim that the universe expanded rapidly from a singularity. That is not the same thing as creation ex nihilo of all matter and energy. The matter/energy may have simply changed form. Positing an omnipotent being that came from nowhere seems just as absurd on an intuitive level. Further, even if we concluded that a single deity is responsible for everything that exists, you still have not made your case that the nasty, tribal war-god Yahweh is that deity.

ildi said...

From T-man again: For me, this life is as bad as it gets.

This pretty much summarizes it all, doesn't it? Life can suck, so people create a fantasy afterlife where angels play harps/virgins are raped nightly and re-virginized/white raisins are consumed (your mileage may vary).

matt the magnificient said...

@ papalinton

its quite alright, i enjoy theosauros's rants, especially when he starts throwing old testament fire and brimstone around. it demonstrates what i have always said: that religious zealots like him truly crave some wrath of god on the "wicked" , instead of the love and forgiveness they claim to embrace.

@ theosauros I'm sorry, but your earlier life you seem to despise so much was a direct result of your poor decisions and social choices, not a lack of jesus. and if your life has changed since you started attending church, i will be happy to give credit to you, for deciding to live a more moral lifestyle, but the fact of the matter is noone named jesus came down and changed you, you did it like a big boy, all on your own, through lifestyle changes that involved stopping self destructive behaviors.

as for me, i have no sin. nor did god assign me the debt of "original sin" any more than i assigned you the debt of my truck payment. As for my life, i now and always have enjoyed a comfortable one. i am educated, successful, have the love of my family and friends to enjoy, am able to afford finer things, and in short have always been quite happy. no god created me, i was brought in this world though a scientifically proven method of conception called "bumpin' uglies" that my parents willfully engaged in, with the end result being me, in all my glory.

it saddens me, as you are saddened by atheists, that you believe and look forward to some magical puppeteer who you claim created everything is living in the sky, waiting to come back, snatch you up, and remove all the wonderful things you posess: free will, independent thinking, imagination, the joy of discovering or learning something new, all the things that make you an individual, and forcing you into slavery in some foreign land of his design. all based on some ancient tome, which completely contradicts itself time and time again and has zero credibility in its claims.

Thesauros said...

Walter are you suggesting that matter has always existed; that the material infinite exists?

I so love it when atheists contradict science in order to avoid the obvious.

And how about an infinite regress of cause. Are you pulling that one up for use as well?

Go ahead. Tell me how you and your fellow atheists only believe in what has been proven. (Snerk!)

Mike said...

Thesauros, with all due respect, are you sure Jesus is coming again? You know, according to the gospels, he said he was coming back in the generation of his followers, but nothing happened. Paul, also declared that he would see the coming of the Lord, and we know what happened (or didn't happen there). Unless you are a preterist (which is a nice attempt at making Christian eschatology make sense, but still falls woefully short in my opinion), your warnings of a second coming of Jesus are hard to take seriously.

matt the magnificient said...

And there it is: the old "the universe hasn't always existed, it was CREATED by a being who always existed" routine. evidence? some scrolls found in a cave that say it is true. attention all scientists: cease your futile attempts to understand anything, all the answers you need is in a magic book of spells called the bible!!!!

Walter said...

Walter are you suggesting that matter has always existed; that the material infinite exists?

I am saying that science cannot theorize about what occurred past a certain point as we extrapolate backwards. The known laws of physics break down when you go back far enough. Matter and energy are interchangeable; I am claiming that the energy of the universe may have always existed. But I am no cosmologist, so I may have it all wrong.

And how about an infinite regress of cause. Are you pulling that one up for use as well?

I am simply saying that an all-powerful being that just happens to exist as a brute fact is no less counter to our intuition than an eternal sum of energy that may have changed form into matter by a process that science can only speculate about.

ildi said...

I have this sneaking suspicion that Thesauros likes the atheist pile-on a little TOO much, if you know what I mean... sweet dreams, T-man!

mindyourmind said...

You know, John, maybe this deserves its own thread, but the preaching by people like Thesouros and others here are getting a bit much. I value good, open and robust exchange, but simply being given the good old eternal damnation hellfire crap on and on gets a bit tedious. Some of these recent efforts make me miss DM :)

I'm sure it's just me being in a bad mood, and I have no real idea as to a solution, but repeated preaching detracts from the value of this forum. If I wanted to be preached at by some head-up-the-arse fundie I would have stayed with Christianity.

Regards

matt the magnificient said...

@ DM, are you capable of engaging in a conversation, or is posting links that noone here on john's blog bothers to visit all you know how to do? it would actually be interesting to have you say what you believe and let people respond to it, rather than chase around the internet trying to decipher the meaning behind your ignorant catch phrases like "you killed mickey mouse" or "{the only man in minisota" and so forth. it would actually be a refreshing change of pace.

Thesauros said...

@ MYM - I know there lies within the heart of every atheist the deep desire to have all Christians censored. If you can’t have us placed into internment camps and eliminated, at least we should be censored in what we can say - preferably nothing at all.

Because my heart is filled with the love of Jesus for you ;-), I made a quick check of John’s comment policy and I noted there is nothing forcing you to read my comments. If you look down, you'll see that there is a tiny wheel on your mouse that you can use, or if your mouse doesn’t have one, you can use one of the down arrows on your keyboard and just scroll right on by anything that I say.

While it's true that I mention your eternal destiny from time to time, for the most part I'm simply replying to questions asked by people such as yourself.

Walter said...

I know there lies within the heart of every atheist the deep desire to have all Christians censored

I, for one, prefer discussions with people who disagree with me. Echo chambers are boring.

matt the magnificient said...

@ theosauros interesting statement. but the fact of the matter is, noone wants you censored or placed in internment camps, or eliminated. claims like that are simply assinine, especially since the christians are the ones with the history of doing such things to non believers (google the inquistion, or galileo).

speak how you will, say what you like. but realize that you are HERE, on an atheist website, saying these things, and myself as well as others are going to call you out and ask you to explain and or prove if you can the things you say and believe. so don't voluntarily come here and then accuse others of persecuting you. this is a dialog style atheist forum, so expect to be challenged in such manner. i once saw a news story about a man who climbed into a lion pit at a zoo. i didnt blame the lions for mauling him. and for the record, disagreement is not persecution. You churchy bible pounding types tend to confuse the two.

so, in closing, i would say, i don't love you or hate you, or have any feeling whatsoever toward you. be a christian all you want, but if you are going to make claims about monsters and heros living in the sky parting oceans and to bend humanities will into submission, be prepared to defend what you say, and don't take things so personally: here, we want to know the truth, whatever it turns out to be. The difference between us is that we don't claim to positively know it, while you do, without proof, other that cave drawings and at best, second hand accounts.

mindyourmind said...

Thesauros

I don't suppose you see the difference between constructive, intelligent discussion and debate - and preaching. The first is why we come here for, the second is just plain irritating, to the extent that loads of discussion boards have moderation policies against preaching.

cipher said...

Those who cannot accept that they stand accountable before their Creator would have the self-honesty to say, “Yes I know in my heart of hearts that a Creator of the universe exists but I cannot stand the thought of worshipping such a God as He is described in the Bible. In fact I will not. I refuse to worship such a Being. I am willing to stand in hell rather than worship any God that would wipe out whole cultures no matter how evil they were.”

Wouldn’t a little honestly be nice?


Shut up. Just STFU. You are an insufferable moron. You have absolutely nothing of value to say, on this or on any other topic. You are so mind-numbingly stupid that it beggars description. I can only think that John tolerates your presence here because you serve as an example of the mindset against which he's battling.

You contribute nothing to the benefit of humanity. I'd tell you to kill yourself before you reproduce, but I believe you already have children, so do the decent thing - give them away to secular or liberal Christian families. Then kill yourself.

Thesauros said...

Matt - "noone wants you censored"

Perhaps you missed this from Mindyourmind:

"You know, John, maybe this deserves its own thread, but the preaching by people like Thesouros and others here are getting a bit much. I value good, open and robust exchange, but simply being given the good old eternal damnation hellfire crap on and on gets a bit tedious. Some of these recent efforts make me miss DM :):
========

You know cipher, all this good natured joking around makes me feel like one of the group. If I thought you meant it, I just don't know how I'd ever carry on. But anyhow, thanks bud. You're a good friend. Better than most atheists who don't need God in order to be a nice person. Maybe we can get together for a drink some day.

matt the magnificient said...

@ theosauros. alright, i will switch my statement from "noone" to "not everyone", in the interest and fairness, but just to be clear, your statement "I know there lies within the heart of every atheist the deep desire to have all Christians censored" is no more acurate than if i said "every christian in his heart believes abortion doctors should be murdered". and for the record, your comments about people being honest about abortions has nothing to do with the subject of internet access and how it relates to the rising number of atheists who have access to information. mindyourmind is pointing this out, and expressing his opinion that all you are doing is preaching, not attempting to prove any arguements or even back up the statements you have made with fasts, and it detracts from the origional point of the discussion.

as to cyphers post, obviously he shares the same frustration. you no more understand atheists than you understand how the universe was created: your just making unfounded claims about us as a group based on stereotypes. whats interesting is that you are complaining about it, or trying to use it to prove that you are being persecuted, when you bring it on yourself. again, atheist blog, atheist discussions, stay on topic, stop attacking people and groups with unfounded statements.

heres an analogy for you. every hornet is angry. i can prove this, because every time i go smack a hornets nest with a stick, they all come out and sting me. conclusion? all hornets are angry. get it?

Thesauros said...

MTM - I have never said I was being persecuted nor have I felt persecuted.

clamat said...

I can only think that John tolerates your presence here because you serve as an example of the mindset against which he's battling.

I can’t speak for John, but this is certainly why I engage these nitwits. I assume they themselves are impervious to reason, but I hope they will hang themselves – and their arguments -- in the eyes of any Undecideds out there with their illogic, disingenuousness, sanctimony, and general nastiness. Which is why I try to remain as a calm and civil as possible.

I’m not trying to lecture you here – Lord knows their bullshit has caused me to slip plenty of times. This is just to say the next time you feel the totally understandable urge to really lay into one of these cretins, take a breath, remember you are not alone, remember our goals, and try to concentrate on dismantling the arguments. (A tip: I think heaping a healthy helping of derision and mockery on those arguments is both fair, and eminently cathartic!)

In short: Strength, Brother!

clamat said...

@cipher

A follow-up: I was never a believer, and don't know the pain of deconversion many of the people on this blog have expressed. In other words, I recognize that some people have a lot more personally and emotionally invested in this issue, and it's probably easier for me to "just stay calm" than it is for others. I apologize if my previous post was insensitive to your personal experience.

Paul Rinzler said...

Everyone missed this howler way up-thread:

Thesauros wrote
If you think that a couple who did this was evil, can you imagine how depraved a community, a society must have become to view sacrificing their children a live burnt offerings as socially acceptable?

Just as depraved as a God who would offer his only son up as a sacrifice, as an atonement?

Thesauros said...

"I don't know the pain of deconversion,"

No one else here knows the pain of that either. "Personally and emotionally invested" to belief in beliefs? Certainly.

Deconvertered? Nope.

"They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.
1st John 2:18,19
"They prove the point of the proverbs, "A dog goes back to its own vomit" and "A scrubbed-up pig heads for the mud." 2nd Peter 2:20

Mike said...

Ahhh! The classic cop out! The old "these people were never true Christians" argument. First of all, your "inerrant" Bible teaches both views on the subject concerning eternal security.

You just can't accept the fact that someone may have truly believed what you believed, but has now believes something else or doesn't believe at all.

If none of us were never true Christians, how do you know you truly are?

Mike said...

Oh and thesauros, you never answered my post concerning eschatology. I find your silence deafening.

Walter said...

No one else here knows the pain of that either. "Personally and emotionally invested" to belief in beliefs? Certainly.

Deconvertered? Nope.


Never takes long for the No True Scotsman fallacy to rear its head amongst the "once saved, always saved" crowd. People like Thesaurus can't accept that we once believed as passionately as he now does.

clamat said...

@thesauros



I have two famous quotes, too, that I think address yours nicely:

“’Twas brillig and the slithy toves. Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.”

And

“Words, words, words.”

clamat said...

I find this desperate clinging to the notion that anyone who calls themselves an “ex-Christian” never believed in the first place fascinating. I’ve read John’s posts on the subject. Can anyone point me to more substantive discussions of the phenomenon as a psychological survival tactic, i.e.,“No, no, no! I believe and always will. I will, I will, I will! (I saw your posts, Mike, but I must admit I’m not really interested in the Bible’s conflicting takes on this one.)

Mike said...

Clamat, I'm just reminding Thesauros, that thousands of his fellow evangelical/fundamentalist Christians would disagree with his adherence to eternal security, based on what the Bible teaches.

So much for the idea that the church is unified and the Bible is crystal clear on important issues. The claim of thesauros that the Bible is clear on this issue makes me wonder if he really is as knowledgable of the bible as he claims to be.

clamat said...

@Mike

I understand, and I think it’s important to keep hammering the point home, too. But the deluded are immune. They either simply assert that anybody who has a different interpretation is wrong, or squeeze their eyes shut and say “I don’t see any contradiction.” They have exactly as much knowledge of the Bible as they want to have. Namely, just enough to convince themselves that everybody else is wrong and there are no contradictions. I’m sure I’ll argue contradictions again in the future, but this time I just don’t feel like beating my head against the wall.

Thesauros said...

@ Walter - “People like Thesaurus can't accept that we once believed as passionately as he now does.”

Well, Walter, I believe that the difference is in our interpretation of the word “believe.”

Would you be willing to tell me how you knew that Jesus was alive and involved in your life?

Walter said...


Would you be willing to tell me how you knew that Jesus was alive and involved in your life?


If you are asking if I had some warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I prayed or worshiped, the answer is no, I never did. My church never pushed the idea of mystical experience as proof of election. I believed that Jesus was the incarnation of God that died for my sins and rose again. How do you define a true Christian?

Let me ask you: are you reformed/ Calvinist? Do you currently believe that when it comes to salvation, that the individual must make the first move towards God? Or is God the one who is completely controlling the salvation process from start to finish?

When debating a Christian it helps to know exactly what sectarian beliefs they hold.

Thesauros said...

Walter:
"If you are asking if I had some warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I prayed or worshiped, the answer is no, I never did."

No, that’s not what I’m asking. I think that it was you who said that you and the other guys here “believed” as much as I do.

I maintain that people such as yourself had “beliefs in beliefs about God / Jesus.” And when those beliefs turned out to not be true you, instead of concluding that your beliefs were wrong, you concluded that God did not exist.

For example, I’ve had atheists ask:
. “If God existed, why did my dad die when I was a little kid?” Wrong Belief - God will protect me from bad things happening to me.

. “If God existed, why was I able to beat the Christian kids in track?”
Wrong Belief - God will do good things for those who believe in him.

Many people lose their belief when they understand that the buck stops with God regarding all the suffering in the world.
Wrong Belief - A loving God would never allow this to happen.

All of these were beliefs about beliefs about God. The only connection with God was an intllectual and / or emotional connection. It allows you to recite a creed but it doesn't go beyond that. That kind of a relationship is doomed to end in non belief.
========

“My church never pushed the idea of mystical experience as proof of election.”

Me too and if it did I’d leave. Feelings lie and they lie frequently. When I asked how you KNEW that Jesus was alive and involved in your life, it’s like asking, how do you know that the stuff that you know is real - is real? I’ve been told by atheists that one day I too will not believe in Jesus and to me, that’s like saying one day I'll come to think that my wife is just an illusion.
============

Thesauros said...

“How do you define a true Christian?”

A Christian is someone who believes and acts upon what Jesus Christ taught about Himself, about life, death, sin, forgiveness and the resurrection (His and ours). Jesus taught that a follower of His is a person who depends upon Jesus alone for salvation. He taught that a Christian is someone who depends upon what Jesus calls His Word (The Bible), and upon His Spirit for guidance and strength in daily living.
=========

“Let me ask you: are you reformed/ Calvinist?”

I wouldn’t say so. I believe that God knows and has known from before the founding of the universe who would and would not accept His offer of grace and He interacts with us within the context. But that is not the same as creating this one for heaven and that one for hell. Knowing in advance and still bringing those people into reality may seem like that's what's happening but to me, it's not the same thing.
==========

“Do you currently believe that when it comes to salvation, that the individual must make the first move towards God? Or is God the one who is completely controlling the salvation process from start to finish?

I think that He makes the fist move in the sense that we have before us the universe for which there is no natural explanation.

How we respond to that “evidence” (in the fullest sense of the word) determines whether He will reveal more of Himself to us or withhold more evidence of Himself from us. I agree with the line, “God has given us just enough evidence of Himself so that those who are looking for Him will find Him and those who aren’t looking for Him will not be able to find Him accidentally.”
=============

“Is He completely controlling?”

Let me put it this way. I’ve experienced childhood sexual abuse / physical abuse / 46 years of crippling arthritis / the death of our only biological child and a host of other challenges. I don’t believe that He created those things to happen to me. On the other hand I believe that He knew they would happen to me. (cause or allow - the result is the same)

Because God knew that I would respond positively to His invitation He used those experiences to draw me to Him. If I had been someone who would not respond positively He would have used those very same circumstances to drive me from Him.

Any control that He exercises is based on His foreknowledge of what we would choose regarding a relationship with Him.

Walter said...

Because God knew that I would respond positively to His invitation He used those experiences to draw me to Him. If I had been someone who would not respond positively He would have used those very same circumstances to drive me from Him

Ahh, I see that you are a Molinist.

First off, let me state that there is a big difference in a person rejecting a god and simply not believing in the existence of said deity. Do you reject Thor, or do you just not believe that Thor exists? I have stated at another blog that any deity that will only reveal itself in the ancient past to a small number of select prophets or disciples, should not be surprised nor upset that large numbers of people today simply don't believe in "him" due to insufficient evidence. I am under no obligation to believe in an anecdotal tale of a divine revelation that I did not personally receive. If God spoke directly to you, then you can say that you received a revelation. If you then pass the message to me, all I have received is an anecdote. It is not undue skepticism to doubt another man's claims of divine revelation.

Walter said...

Part 2...

Even if I grant for the sake of the discussion that nature is sufficient evidence for there being a creator-deity, then at best we would arrive at the conclusion that deism or pantheism is a viable option. This still would not lead a person to believe that the Christian mythology represents the story of the creator-god. The bible is a collection of ancient human documents that regale us with anecdotes of amazing miracles which those of us living today did not have the good fortune to witness for ourselves. If I tell you that I can flap my arms and fly for short distances, how much proof would you require to believe me?

Walter said...

Part 3...

As far as rejecting the character portrayed in the bible, I do reject that character on moral grounds. What point is there to an eternal hell other than eternal vengeance? And why should I praise a deity that exacts vengeance on its children simply for not believing in its existence?

If one single soul suffers the fate of eternal damnation, then the price of creation is too great. Why would a perfect deity even need to create a group of vastly inferior beings just so they can stand around for eternity telling that deity how great it is? Is the Christian God a narcissist?

Thesauros said...

Walter:
I hope these questions / comments were rhetorical in nature.

You are free to believe whatever you want Walter. This exchange began when you said that you and John Loftus and others who frequent this blog had a relationship with Jesus that was the same as mine is now and I say, “Not even close.”

By Jesus’ definition of “believing in Him" all of you were pretenders, frauds - the kind who, had you died while still in your hypocrite phase would have heard Jesus say, “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

Walter said...

By Jesus’ definition of “believing in Him" all of you were pretenders, frauds - the kind who, had you died while still in your hypocrite phase would have heard Jesus say, “Get away from Me. I never knew you.”

I find your comments to be smug and self-righteous. Oh well :(

Thesauros said...

Let's be realistic Walter. You say that Jesus doesn't exist, that He is not your Lord, He is not your Saviour. Going by what Jesus taught, not what I say or what I think but what Jesus taught, you will not have any part of the salvation that He offers.

How is that smug? It's just reality. I wish it was otherwise but only you can't change the outcome. Right? There is nothing that I can do to rescue you or convince you to change the eternity that looms before you. If I could do something about it, I would. But you're a grown man. You make you're own choices.

And as far as self-righteous goes, like I told some other guy, becoming a Christian involves admitting that I have no righteousness apart from what Jesus gives to me so the term simply does not apply.

An atheist however, someone who says, "I don't need God in order to be good," now THAT person fits the term, self-righteous.

Walter said...

Thesauros, you are the type person who just KNOWS that the creator of the universe is pleased with you. That is smug self-righteousness. Since I no longer wear the label of Christian, I am not real bothered whether YOU feel that I never was one to begin with.

The only reason that you feel justified in pronouncing judgments about the sincerity of other people's former beliefs is because you and your church have adopted some silly dogma that a True Christian ® is always saved and never waivers from the faith. By that definition I guess the only true Christian is a dead one, since a living one might actually develop a doubt or two sometime in the future.

It is probably a waste of time to spill any more ink in conversation with you. Enjoy your fables, O pious one!.

Mike said...

Thesauros' is intent on holding to the premise that a true believer absolutely cannot lose their salvation. Therefore, no evidence to the contrary, no matter how convincing, will matter to him. So, it's pointless to attempt to engage in any kind of meaningful dialogue/debate with him.

By the way, Thesauros, isn't one of the characteristics of a follower of Christ, humility? I don't see that from you. I just see boasting and smug self-righteousness. Statistics show that Christians are no different from the rest of the "world" and even worse. I guess you just confirm that.

You claim to be witnessing for Christ, but your arrogance and antagonism just turns me off to your message even more. Have a nice day.

Thesauros said...

"Thesauros, you are the type person who just KNOWS that the creator of the universe is pleased with you.”

Walter, you say “self-righteous” as though it means I think that I’m better than you. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not but this I know.

. You’d have to be a pretty awful human being to be worse than I am

. My Creator’s level of being “pleased” with me has nothing to do with my level of goodness

We are told in His Word that because of my faith in Jesus as my Saviour, Father God loves me as His own. You make it sound like that’s a bad thing. You make it sound like I shouldn't enjoy that kind of relationship. I happen to think that it’s a wonderful thing and I’m going to ride this all the way to the end.
===============

“you and your church have adopted some silly dogma that a True Christian ® is always saved and never waivers from the faith.”

That is simply not true. I gave you a couple verses straight out of 1st John. If you don' like it take it up with Jesus.

When I visit with people from our congregation, conversations regarding struggles with faith / doubt etc. are common. Leaving when disappointment comes is not common. Good grief man, the disciples lived with Jesus and struggled with doubt and misunderstanding Him even after He rose into heaven. It is the Holy Spirit Who set them straight and Who does the same for us.

The difference between you and I or John Loftus and other true believers is that you had an intellectual knowledge of Jesus versus a relational knowledge of Jesus. The former fades while the latter can never fade.

@ Mike - Pride would be if I was saying that any of the good in my life or even my salvation came from me. I’m sorry if my confidence or joy or peace comes across as bragging as though I had anything to do with it.

I’m simply not willing to live in a state of perpetual uncertainty as atheists seem to crave.

As far as witnessing goes, who would there be to witness to? All of John's followers are obviously determined to go down the path that you’re on.

“Once people have seen the light, gotten a taste of heaven and been part of the work of the Holy Spirit, once they've personally experienced the sheer goodness of God's Word and the powers breaking in on us — if then they turn their backs on it, washing their hands of the whole thing, well, they can't start over as if nothing happened. That's impossible. Why, they've re-crucified Jesus! They've repudiated Him in public! Parched ground that soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn for its gardener gets God's "Well done!" But if it produces weeds and thistles, it's more likely to get cussed out. Fields like that are burned, not harvested.”
Hebrews 6:4-8

Walter said...

Thesauros says...

I’m simply not willing to live in a state of perpetual uncertainty as atheists seem to crave.


This sentence right there sums up the reason that some people cling to religious dogmas. You like the emotional comfort provided by the dogmas of your church. Conservative churches peddle a false sense of certainty that appeals to the mindset of certain individuals who cannot tolerate going through life without feeling that they have all the answers.

All Thesauros is doing is an online altar call where he proclaims that we had better accept the "free offer" or we will be sorry. I don't mind engaging in a discussion, but I am not interested in mind-numbing threats of hell from an internet preacher. I have probably 50 or more churches within a ten mile radius of my house, and I'll go to one of them if I wish to be bored silly by some fire-and-brimstone nonsense.

Thesauros said...

"You like the emotional comfort provided by the dogmas of your church.”

I like the emotional comfort provided by my Lord and Saviour. I KNOW that my redeemer lives. And that is the difference between us Walter. When you KNOW someone exists you cannot walk away and say He doesn’t exist.

You CAN say that you don’t want to serve Him or obey Him or worship Him but when you KNOW that Jesus lives you can’t move to the position that you hold. Like I said, it would be like coming to a point where I think that my wife / family is just an illusion. Not possible.

That's why you and I did not believe in a similar manner.
======================

“going through life without feeling that they have all the answers.”

There are lots of answers that I don’t have, even one’s - especially one’s - dealing with Creator God, but the nature of His existence is not one of them.
==============

I’d asked someone awhile back, perhaps it was you, and never got an answer. What do you think is the difference between a threat and a warning?

Walter said...


I’d asked someone awhile back, perhaps it was you, and never got an answer. What do you think is the difference between a threat and a warning?


I tell you what; prove that hell exists and I will listen to your warning. Don't bother with quoting proof texts from the bible because verses written by ancient humans proves nothing. Show me some hard evidence, or spare me your warning.

clamat said...

@thesauros

[W]hen you KNOW that Jesus lives you can’t move to the position that you hold. Like I said, it would be like coming to a point where I think that my wife / family is just an illusion. Not possible. That's why you and I did not believe in a similar manner.

It would in no way be like thinking your wife and family are an illusion. Unless you’re telling us when you sit down to dinner Jesus pulls up a seat rubbing his hands together in anticipation. Does he prefer potatoes or stuffing? When you tuck your kids in at night, Jesus is in the bottom bunk, waiting for a kiss on the cheek? How does Jesus make love? I’m betting he’s a power bottom.

The point being…wait for it…wait for it…evidence. Specifically, you have none. At least none – meaning, literally none -- of the kind that proves the existence of your wife and children.

Rather, you have a voice in your head. Instead of even entertaining the notion that maybe that’s all it is, like any good psychotic you determine it’s unshakeable, eternal proof that Jesus has saved you.

No, you and Walter did not believe in a similar manner at all.

Thesauros said...

That's not what I asked Walter. I feel that I'm trying to warn and you feel that I'm issuing threats.

What's the difference to you?

Walter said...

That's not what I asked Walter. I feel that I'm trying to warn and you feel that I'm issuing threats.

And I told you that I would listen when you provided some ironclad evidence that I will be in danger if I do not heed your friendly warning.

The problem is that you have no real evidence for anything that you believe in. You have made the mistake of believing that a collection of ancient human texts is actually some kind of infallible communication from the creator of the universe--it isn't. The books of the bible are the products humans just as fallible as you or I. All you can do is appeal to faith in lieu of actual evidence. And Christian faith is no more compelling to me than Muslim or Hindu faith would be to you.

Mike said...

Thesauros, I notice you are quoting from Hebrews 6. First of what kind of horrible translation are you using?!?!? That is probably the worst I've seen. Even many evangelical/fundamentalist Christians would agree with me that your choice of "translation" is really bad. Is that "translation" the message, by any chance?

Also, according to Hebrews 6, we can't be brought back to repentance, so why are you here wasting time? If you really believe that verse, you wouldn't be wasting time here. I suspect you might just be here to throw stone and rile people up.

Thesauros said...

Well, I don't know why you'd avoid a simple question that could apply equally to a secular situation or one dealing with religion.

Since you won't answer I'll just say that all I'm trying to do is warn you to not turn your back on this offer of salvation.

Good luck on your journey Walter. I really do wish you the best.

Jayak said...

@thesauros,

"Since you won't answer I'll just say that all I'm trying to do is warn you to not turn your back on this offer of salvation.

Good luck on your journey Walter. I really do wish you the best."

Good luck on your journey???!!!

Seriously, good LUCK!

So does God have a big roullette wheel up in heaven there Thesauros on which he bases his decision on whose heart he hardens and whose he doesn't?

psychadelicfuse81 said...

Thesauros:He used those experiences to draw me to Him. If I had been someone who would not respond positively He would have used those very same circumstances to drive me from Him.

That's like saying in order to get my wife to fall in love with me I have to beat the living crap out of her. I'm sorry, I just don't buy that.

I sympathize with your past traumatic experiences, but it is an insult to your dignity to think that there is some sadomasochostic sky bully sitting in the clouds watching you in anguish thinking "It's all going to be worth it for him. It will build his character." Surely you have more self respect than to be constantly grovelling, thanking and praising such a vicious pig for subjecting you to those experiences.

If such a tyrant ever existed, I would actively attempt to thwart his purposes, and consider my life to have had meaning in doing so. Because that being would be absolutely unequivocally evil by the definition of any person.

Thesauros said...

thank you for making my point.

Whether the events were experienced by you or I or whether, we just read about them happening to someone else, the result is the same. For "those who are called according to His purpose," He uses the events to draw them closer. For those who will reject His offer of salvation, the very same events are used to drive them down their chosen path to eternal destruction.
==========

"That's like saying in order to get my wife to fall in love with me I have to beat the living crap out of her. I'm sorry, I just don't buy that."

No, it's like saying that your wife fell in love with you after you showed her love and caring and compassion and mercy and grace after someone else had beat the crap out of her. And in the midst of your behaviour she would have said, "As terrible as these things were, if I hadn't gone through them, I would have never met psychman and come to know what real love is.