Thread: For Silent Running
November 10th 2009, 04:53 PM #46
Re: For Silent Running
Thanks for your detailed response to my post. Unfortunately, your response has done little to move me toward your way of thinking – indeed, it has helped strengthen my own convictions, and for that I thank you. A couple of times a year I like to debate such things with a theologian of the dominant religion in order to keep my skills sharp, and I appreciate your indulgence.
Instead of laboring point-by-point, let me summarize the crux of your arguments.
No matter how happy and joyous I am with my life and my gods, your joy, happiness and relationship with your deity is always going to be vastly superior to mine.
If I don’t abandon this joyous existence and adhere to your beliefs and doctrines and accept your divinity, no matter how miserable they make me in this life, I’m going to be sorry in the afterlife. And if I’m not sorry, God will make me sorry.
The only way that I will be able to know your god is by means of a 5000 year old hagiography that is rife with mistranslations and interpreted without a great deal of cultural context. And it doesn’t matter how much I’ve studied, what personal experiences I’ve had, what other religions have to say, this text is the end-all, be-all, because a group of scholars who have devoted their lives to proving that it is the end-all, be-all has managed to ignore any evidence that it isn’t the end-all, be-all and said it was. No other proof of its veracity is required for your argument, the fact that someone has said it is the Truth (mostly by quoting from the text that they are trying to prove as truth) and constructed a selective argument around that fact is adequate for you to invest your life in it.
If I abandon the gods that have made my life happy and concede to your divinity’s demands for worship and adoration, then all the crimes (“sins”) he has accused me of – which are not crimes in my mind or within the context of my joyous religion – will be forgiven. Indeed, my opinion of my own guilt or innocence isn’t wanted, merely my obedience and subservience. And if I do not, I will be sorry – or God will make me sorry. It doesn’t matter that God set up the rules to begin with, and then stacked the deck against us, my obedience and subservience is more important than his responsibility to create a just and fair universe. The only evidence you have of this, of course, is that same text.
It doesn’t matter that atrocious crimes have been perpetrated in the name of your divinity, some by his alleged direction, or that his devout followers have oppressed and murdered entire cultures – you claim only the “good” Christians as real Christians and disavow any responsibility for those crimes. And those crimes don’t matter anyway, because no matter how many genocides were conducted by Christian hands, in the end as long as they were forgiven by God then the ends justify the means.
The quest for “eternal life” is more important than living a good and just life now, and any earthly crime is permissible as long as God forgives it. Death is something to be feared and avoided and abhorred and escaped, not accepted as the natural culmination of life. And if I don’t desire eternal life and wish to live my allotted span and then return to my ancestors, then something is wrong with me.
Okay, I do have to quote you for this part, because it borders on the offensive:
As far as who will restore this world, it ain’t Jehovah. It was his followers who brought us to the point of ruin, and they have little or no desire to repair and replenish the sacred Earth – they’re far more concerned about their place in the afterlife. I trust the Goddess will guide us as we come back from the edge. Like a good mother always does, She sustains and supports, She doesn’t insist and demand from Her children. Nor does She make us fear death and age, but respect it in its proper place. When I am in my dotage I will happily go into the afterlife secure in the knowledge that She awaits me, will replenish me, and prepare me for my next journey.
Your contentions that Christianity has “nothing to do with paganism” is laughable, actually – read Mircia Eliade’s Varieties of Religious Experience, Vol. 2. to see how Judaism pretty much ripped off most of its beliefs and rituals from the Egyptians, Babylonians and the Philistines, and Vol. 3 to see how Christianity ripped off most of its beliefs and rituals from Mithraism and other Pagan sects. He doesn’t quote scripture for his proof, either, he goes to historical source material and archeological sites. Of course it doesn’t prove your point, so you may safely ignore it. But to do so is to ignore reason and logic (two fine Pagan inventions that Christianity “borrowed”).
As far as my “blaspheming”, I could make the same accusation of you, after your attack on the Goddess. It is Her sacred Earth you stand upon, Her sacred womb you sprang from, and to Her that you will return in the afterlife – according to my beliefs. So I suppose we’re both blasphemers.
As far as my personal religious history, no, I was never a member (or even had any close family that was) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I use the term Jehovah to separate the National God of the Hebrews from the straight-up term “God”, because there’s a distinction there. Feel free to substitute “Yahweh”, Elohim, or YHVH as you will, but when I speak of Jehovah I speak of the god of the Bible, of Abraham – not, in point of fact, the more general concept of God. You may or may not appreciate the distinction, but I thought it was an important point to make. Indeed, I was raised in a fairly tame Lutheran church in the South, but had left it on my own before I went to college, where I got a degree in Religious Studies. Not that you would give any of my scholarly work credence, since it doesn’t support your position, but I thought I’d throw that in there. Just curious, how many degrees would it take for you to actually respect my opinion about religion in general or Christianity in particular? Because you’ve dismissed my academically-founded arguments out of hand, stating that I must be ignorant because I don’t agree with you. Would you respect any amount of scholarly research that didn’t support your own thesis?
A couple of specific questions you asked:
It’s ironic that you speak of “His holy family”, when it’s a family without a mother or a daughter. I have a hard time of conceptualizing of a non-feminine family as “complete” in any meaningful way.
Actually, Jehovah wronged me many, many times until I stopped paying attention to him and followed my heart. I won’t go into detail, at the risk of boring you, but suffice it to say that I can’t ever see myself being a monotheist of any stripe, much less a Christian. At this point I could care less if he thinks I have wronged him – he’s got a lot to answer for, in my case, and if I ever do have the opportunity to take him to account, I don’t doubt that it will be a very interesting conversation. Not that I anticipate that happening – if nothing else, he’s adept at avoiding responsibility for his actions.
As far as experiencing people who have pushed “false religions” on me, yes, I’ve had PLENTY of that. But I found the Goddess and I’m pretty much immune to their manipulations now – no matter how much they threaten me and my spiritual welfare. You can only hear “Worship Jehovah, or you’ll be sorry!” so many times before you recognize the abuse for what it is and move on.
Thanks again for the discussion. It’s been most helpful.
Arion the Blue"Only the Sith deal in absolutes." Obi-Wan Kenobi
"The Bible is a mite fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps." Shepherd Book
"No power in the 'verse can stop me." River Tam
November 10th 2009, 04:56 PM #47
Re: For Silent Running
Because I don't see our world as being a place of darkness and evil, and reject any philosophy that would use that as a starting point. While I agree that there is darkness and evil within the world, there's also good and light. In all cultures. In all families. In all people. Even in people who don't pray to Jesus. I don't recognize the "true" bright shining light of Jesus because I see how tainted that light truly is. And while I could castigate you for your blindness to the taint, just as you castigate me for not seeing this supposedly "obvious" truth, I know that you, like me, have your own path to walk. It would be arrogant of me to try to point out the taint if you can't see it for yourself. No doubt you have an important lesson planned around that, and it wouldn't be right for me to interfere that way.
it is true that people can be moral without religion and belief in God, but that is feasible so due to the fact that we are made in God's image, and our ability to be good is a recognition and an appeal to a perfect and trancended moral standard found in God that is intrinsic to His nature, it is a natural inward and outward expression of of the good moral nature that God put into our conscience. and heart. The natural law is also the root and the basis by which we have positive law and never the other way around.
As for you not recognizing the true light is perhaps due to that fact that the windows of your conscience are tainted and needs some cleaning. You could try and correct me of my blindness to the "taint", but in order to do so you would have to borrow certain principals from my Christian world view, you would have to appeal to an authoritative standard of truth and knowledge by which we can both agree to and have the validity of our knowledge tested and measured by. It is in fact what you have been doing in your criticizing me, and so have I.
Let me also mention that i was once in a position when my own mind was smudged and couldn't see the true light, I know how it is.
Then how come so many people have been so horribly burned by this supposedly universally warm light? How many lives has Christianity destroyed over the years? If it was as truly benign as you claim, then there would not, indeed, be any argument. But the proof is in the pudding, and the track record of the Radical Monotheisms is strewn with the broken and crippled lives of those it has blindly torched over the centuries. The Sun can exist in the sky with the moon and the morning stars, and all are equally beautiful -- I would not spite the moon to glorify the sun, or reject the stars in favor of the moon. Then again I'm fairly sophisticated in my spirituality, and I suppose some people can't handle more than one light source at a time.
here we go again, with the one sided finger pointing at evil men who are everywhere.
Your really have a tendency of taking metaphors literally, unless you yourself are being metaphorical, which is not a very good one. I thought i clarified earlier who Christians are.
How can you miss that so many times by now.
Yeah, you can also put me down as rejecting the inherent dualism that Christianity adopted from the Persians. I don't see the world in light/dark, good/evil, black/white terms because it very rarely turns out to be that way when you look closely and intently enough. And I've also noticed that people who try to put everything in dualistic terms are usually trying to radicalize the discussion in their favor. That puts me inherently at odds with the RadMon philosophy and makes me suspicious of every preacher selling their bill of goods. Credit humanity with a better sense of judgement than that -- "You're either for us or against us" is a lousy way to run a world. As far as my deeds go, my life is open to scrutiny -- it isn't that I fear judgement, it's that I despise the judgmental. Legalistic religions have been a chain around the neck of humanity for over a thousand years, now, and I don't see much benefit in continuing the practice out of fear.
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Im familiar with Zoroastrianism, let's not forget that Zoroastrianism also syncretically adopted and borrowed ideas from other religions and belief systems in ancient times of Babylonia and in modern times from theosophy, Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Also there is a great probability that Zoroaster's belief in one God and their similarity in teachings was highly influenced by the Jews back who once were exiled to Persia, and the fact that many around the ancient world had access to the things God did and said among His people the Jews, many visited the Jews to hear from them about God, such as Bathsheba who went to king Solomon to hear of his God given wisdom, then there is God making Himself known to ancient medo persian kings through visions and through His prophets, such as king Nebuchadnezzar, kings Darius and king Cyrus and etc,
Also There are strong signs in Zoroastrianism tradition being at some aspects monists and generally henotheists.
Anyways, i agree with you that dualistic dogmatism and extremism can be a burden, specially in Islam when one really doesn;t have the liberty to question his beliefs and is trapped in mindless traditional and ritualistic regulations all wrapped up in moral codes forced on each person with heavy and unreasonable obligations. It is good to hear that you are open to scrutinizing, even to the point of being corrected in honesty and sometimes try to look through other lenses. This should serves the purpose of reaching truth at all cost, not a relativistic one but coherent and absolute and universal.
Hmmm. My Jewish friends feel the same way about your faith. I don't see more than a dime's bit of difference between all three, myself, considering they all adhere to the same above-reference axioms. But continue . . .
this sort of circular reasoning doesn't work. A note by the way, there are many Jews to day who are Christians, they are Messianic Jews, and I believe they are consistent, they have not abbandoned their Jewish tradition or doctrines, they are the ones just as we Christians who realize that Jesus Christ, or as they put it Yeshua Mashiah is their long promised and predicted
Messiah as foretold in their Torah (what we have as the old testament) by the prophets who already came into the world. They and us just have come to understand history and scripture.
The axioms you refer to as i mentioned earlier are mere trivial common grounds we share, at the heart and core of what we teach is infinite in difference, how about you start looking at them from that point of view from now on. I'm tired of hearing the same thing over and over.
What do you need substantiated? The fact that there are plenty of different versions of the bible floating around, many contradictory or at odds with each other? That all of them came from one relatively small geographical and cultural region, with its own inherent prejudices and petty quibbles with their neighbors? The fact that regardless of which book a particular sect holds up as "THE" legitimate version, it's invariably a closed canon without potential for addition? None of these things are unsubstantiated, even by the most careless biblical "scholar". Indeed, citing sloppy scholarship as a mitigating factor doesn't, in the least, detract from my argument. And while the bible, perhaps, does hold "timeless truths for all generations, even for the most sophisticated person" it hardly has a monopoly on that claim. The same thing could be said of the Tao Te Ching or any number of other texts.
the variances you refer to between the different versions of the bible, are mere numerical, a rearrangement of certain words that all ultimately form the same sentence and interpretation, these do not affect the core biblical doctrines inherent in all the bible versions. Also the degree of the textual variances are very impressive, they are very minor, when you compare the large collection of both new testament copies we have available today, the differences found are only nominal. The only thing in question is Only 40 lines, or one fifth of one per cent within the vast collection of new testament manuscript copies we have. Compare the number of manuscript and the variances and the time gap between the copies and the original with for example the Iliad, and you will find a big time gap, one third the amount of copies of New Testament copies, and lots of variances, which makes it all blurry and uncertain, the same can be said of other ancient historical manuscsripts. Also combine archeological finds that support the bible and the corroborative sources that back up it up and many more. I will not bother going into any further detail, you mentioned 40 years of looking into works of apologists, by the looks of it i doubt you have, and yet still make very light of the available supports. You either raise the bar to high to and absurd degree that surpasses rationality and reality that is why no amoundtof evidence, reason or answer can satisfy you, or they are really no standard at all and are simply overlooking facts of support.
As for timeless truth in other belief systems is irrelevent, off course you will always find degrees of truth everywhere, i never said it is confined within the bible. A good way to look at it though would be that any set of beliefs or knowledges that does not coincide with or appose what is taught in the bible is false and not true. And if you care know why, then rededicate your time to study, and not reject fixed standards, principals, tradition and authority and methods in fields of study and make your own subjective interpretation of facts.
Only if you believe the above-reference axioms. I reject the concept of sin as much as I reject the concept of Radical Monotheism, one-shot cosmology, or any of the other ideological issues Christianity proclaims. I don't think that humanity needed a savior, and I don't think we need one now. I don't see man as corrupt -- perhaps imperfect, but that's our nature. I don't see that as a failing. Indeed, it is striving to overcome our challenges that we rise to our greatest heights. The "revelation" of Jehovah in the bible isn't particularly resonating to me (the Hindu texts have a much more profound and alluring introduction to the mystical concepts) and I don't see any real reason to hock my soul for these "timeless truths" when I can't agree with the foundations of the arguments that called them forth to begin with. But continue . . .
only true for you unfortunately, until off course one breaks into your house to ruin things, i think a change of opinion will occure then regarding "sin", "man as corrupt", "no need for a savior", "not seeing man as corrupt" and my favorite wishy washy excuse "but that's our nature",
it all holds true to you until something evil happens to you or a loved one, relativistic and subjective opinions vanishes. The axiomatic nature of a reflective person regarding absolutes in the real world is one of denial and negligence until the grounds shake and everything falls into it's proper place in the awakened man.
and a final point my man, even a pig strives to survive in the animal kingdom by all kinds of means fit for it, but it gets no better, it is still by nature a pig. I'm not trying to draw a direct parallel between man and pig, but the point is that what must be changed is our nature, and so far i see dead and gone saviors of the world, who were philosophers, spiritualist, religious leaders, politicians who offered a way for change and little to nothing happened, i look at their occupied graves and see unfulfilled promises and hopelessness, I look at the tomb of Jesus Christ and it's empty. I think i know in whom i will trust.
So . . . you are calling on me to study science to prove the legitimacy of the Bible. Okay, I'll bite -- I married an adept scientist, and have a passion for science myself. In addition I've studied religion -- not just one small sect, but the entire process and complex relationship of human religion, based on anthropology, archeology, philiology, phenomenonolgy, etc. Nothing I have studied in secular science has lent the slightest bit of "proof" that the bible was in any way the unerring Word of God -- indeed, quite the opposite.
But then you go on and say that after studying science I should rely on my conscience (which I already have maintained has told me that Christianity is a crock, at least as far as my conscience is concerned) and direct experience (which has proven the validity and veracity of my Goddess far more than it has elevated Jehovah). Oh, I gave Jesus years to manifest himself in my life, as ardently, sincerely, and devoutly as anyone ever has. Didn't happen. Not going to happen. So by both objective "proof" and subjective experience, Jesus lost, the Goddess won.
the problem is you elevate a personal standard of evidence and proof to high up to be met, that there is no sufficiency for you. As for you claim to have studies]d social sciences and deem yourself highly intelligent, it is disappointing to see that of all the belief systems in the world you have embraced neo-paganism, which is self explanatory in the given title, how ironic it is that the word "pagan" means an uneducated non-Christian in Latin. But, tell me, what led you to want to become a Neo-pagan or Wiccan, on what rational and intelligent ground did you take it in.
And who is this Goddesses really? how and what did she win?, as far as history is concerned Jesus has risen and people throughout the ages from the first century up to now have been chanting His name as the risen King who is victorious. Even the dominant calender system chants His name and bears witness to Him. Also, as far as facts go, i do not believe you have been sincerely searching, for many intellegent men of different backgrounds who were once against Christianity were inevitably led to it solely on the basis of facts, take C.S Lewis for example and many others. As for subjective experiences, which i know is a very popular use with Neo-pagans, what would you have to say about all the people who saw real supernatural appearances of Jesus in both vision and while awake which led them to become Christians, let's take the many testimonies from muslims, I know some who were extremely hateful of Christianity and were enemies to it who became Christians by having seen and angel of God appear to them telling them the good news, or Jesus Himself who would personally visit them and tell them according to His word who He is and were changed. I can send you multiple reliable and tested testimonies from real ex-Muslims in both video format or article. This specially happens in Islam with muslim who are hostile to Christian missionaries and who have no access to a bible or someone to tell them what Christianity is. God indeed has done wonders. If you look at certain arabic and iranian communities you will find a huge growth of Christians who have been set free by the love and grace of God. would you deny their experience to be true, im talking about people who could not be reasoned with and were full og bitterness and knew not God and have been utterly transformed by Christ. I know that the same can be said to a certain degree about other religions, but the question is who or what being can save and change a man like Christ can. Even Paul the apostle who was an enemy to the church was immediately transformed by God's grace when Jesus appeared to Him. My friend, i'm not only talking about a simple change, a nudge to do good or be moral, a mere form of ecstasy or human emotion or relief from stress or anything of that kind of temporary change that brings a remedy in phase, i'm talking about a person who was spiritually dead and separated from God and has come to life, it is being given a new heart, a new existence, it is a supernatural work of God taking place in the human. Such is what happens to those who come to real and sincere faith in Christ, those who are seekers of God and truth ultimately find themselves standing next to Him.
November 10th 2009, 07:24 PM #48
Re: For Silent Running
alright my friend i guess it's time to end the discussion, i see that you are ascertained of the path you want to take.
However i do wish to know the details of knowing why you rejected Christianity, i'm all eye and ears.
and finally my closing post.
Also i do not omit the fact that you are educated, you have my respect on this one, you do express profoundness on some grounds, especially that of your neo-pagan philosophy, but not on the traditional grounds of the origin of Christianity and it's teaching, there are scholars who would disagree with you on good solid grounds., i'm not saying that you have to agree with me, but i was hoping you would see and understand what i was explaining to you.. What i am against is really your arguments against Christianity both on historical grounds and theological you show little knowledge of what is at the heart of Christianity. I'm also guessing that you have got your religious and theological education from a liberal camp from liberals who hold a very different view than that of conservatives regarding Christianity, the bible and it's claims, or rather i believe that much of the making of your world views has been shaped by secular education. I also see that throughout your writing you kept looking at the God of the bible and His word from a mythological point of view. I don;t know how far you went into your studies, much of what you had to offer goes against the scholarly consensus. I would encourage you to look and see if you can find a genuine passage that narrates the supposed parallels between Christianity and the pagans, you will be surprised not to find any. I know that this mindset contributes to and gives you a completely different outlook and interpretation on Christianity and the biblical records with a lot of pagan and mythical presumptions brought into. Have you looked at the other sides as well, because the arguments given by some contemporary liberal and many conservative scholars are compelling. Also,To whatever authority you go to, avoid sensationalists at all cost.
anyways i also thought about having a basic ontological discussion with you regarding the question of origin and deity in hope to draw a conclusion. let me know if you are up to it.
finally my man, there really is no point to further this discussion here, hopefully we will meet in another department.
you are up on your own now to take whatever action and considerations necessary.
It was a pleasure to dialog with you.
Before i go,i would like to say this, that i am still strongly convicted of who God is in Christ and becoming more refined in my thinking and convictions as i progress through life and face challenges both emotionally and intellectually, having this discussion with you also advanced and sharpened my thinking and beliefs, and for that i thank you as well.
But you must ask why Christians are so eager and ecstatic to tell others and share what they know, you can rest assured it is not because we want simple conversion to boast, there are many factors involved in one's point of conversion, it is that we know the truth and can't help but proclaim it happily, and want others to partake in the joy of the Living reality in knowing Jesus Christ.
we are not being arrogant or mean or narrowminded in being so confident in making absolute claims, Christians have been killed and tortured for the truth they have been proclaiming around the world since the 1st century up until now. There are just too many angles and aspects one must look at and consider before drawing a conclusion that Christianity is false. I have the feeling that you haven't looked at it all around or at least not from both sides. I would not have said any of these if i didn't know there weren't any scholars who would strongly disagree with you. As it is there are many. the question is which side is right, its either one or the other, or neither, the problem is that no one can know for sure who is really honest , open and unbiased to reach the right side besides ourselves. This whole mess is created when i mentioned earlier about the logical consequence if one is not anchored to His creator, once God goes, along with that goes absolutes and objectivity, authority, universal standards for knowing good from bad and right from wrong. you see, then this whole website would have to be shut down, because there are many people sharing their knowledge and views, truth would be illusory and knowledge vain, and to talk would be meaningless. But the opposite is shown in everyday life, which proves that truth does exist, universal standards do exist, objective moral values do exist,
and for one to yield to this reality only proves that God exists, to deny it is to live a paradoxical life in violation of the law of non contradiction, and undermine the very foundation of drawing inferences and thought process which is human reason. You see, when you come to see that there is one God in whom all these axioms and absolutes are upheld in to make them valid, then you break the ice, next step, is then the ontological argument in it's natural following will inevitably lead one to Christ and a correct lifestyle that is rooted in God. My friend welcome to the Christian world view, it happens to be the only one that sheds light on all these factors and realized how it's all rooted in the God of the bible. If you look at other view points you will find little to no coherence in their explanation regarding the fundamentals of life and can't make sense of them, when one does he/she is borrowing from the Judeo-Christian world view in order to do away with it.
I wanted to clarify that before I say my farewell
feel free to respond if you wish, i will in time get back to you,
as for now i think i will try a different area.
It was a blessing to talk to you.
Also don't forget to let me know you reason for rejecting Christianity if you don;t mind, it will not bore me my friend.
Until then, take good care sir
may the Triune God bless you.
November 12th 2009, 12:54 AM #49
November 12th 2009, 03:56 PM #50
Re: For Silent Running"Only the Sith deal in absolutes." Obi-Wan Kenobi
"The Bible is a mite fuzzy on the subject of kneecaps." Shepherd Book
"No power in the 'verse can stop me." River Tam