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The myth of Christianity

AtheistExile
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11/30/2009 4:34:18 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
"Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it." ~George Bernard Shaw

As I will argue, below, if a prerequisite of "true" Christianity is to follow Jesus, then nobody is a true Christian. The very reason for this also reveals our tacit acknowledgment that religious morality is subordinated to our non-religious, human, independent morality (heretofore referred to as "moral intuition").

Nobody in their right mind, Christian or not, would fully obey Jesus. Do you know any Christians who abandon their worldly goods and rely on God to feed, clothe and shelter them? Of course not! But that's what Jesus tells us to do. How many Christians actually turn the other cheek; or love their enemies; or forgive transgressors 7 times 70 times? There's no question about it: nobody is a true believer in, or follower of, Jesus.

So how can there be billions of people who claim to be Christians? What else can it be? They're selective Christians: they cherry-pick what they want and ignore or deny the rest. It's a good thing the Bible actually contains some wise and virtuous ideas; otherwise Christians would be cherry-picking from slim pickings, indeed. Actually, there are so many contradictions in the Bible, it's not even possible to follow it absolutely.

So . . . ALL Christians are selective Christians. There are virtually no true Christians willing to commit to the instructions Jesus urged upon us. But that's not surprising, it's the only way there can be any Christians at all. Show me a bona fide exception and I'll recant.

Once you accept this fact, certain other truths become evident. First of all, what do you think cherry-picking is? It's our moral intuition deciding what is worthy of following. We use our moral intuition to cherry-pick what is acceptable from the Bible.

What we reject from the Bible tells us a lot about our true morality. How many of us (Christian or not) cherry-pick values like: the subjugation of women; slavery; battlefield excesses; or blood sacrifice (real or symbolic)? Almost everybody rejects these things despite the fact that they're encouraged, supported or condoned by the Bible – the holy, immutable word of God (although many Christians do accept symbolic blood sacrifice).

How can anybody deny that we use our moral intuition to overrule biblical morality and, thereby, decide what is religiously worthy? Our moral intuition decides what IS religious. If our moral intuition decides what is religious: why do we need religion in the first place?

And what, exactly, is this "moral intuition" I keep repeating? It's the morality born of experience and empathy. I know what hurts me (experience), so I know what hurts you (empathy). It's a morality that crosses racial, religious and cultural divides because it's a part of the human condition.

Science tells us that empathy evolved as a consequence of our need, as social animals, to cooperate. It's a natural part of the human condition. Basically, the Golden Rule, is a seed within us all that grows and matures as we gain experience which, in turn, informs our empathy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you . . . because we all need each other to survive.

Hopefully, we won't suffer the kinds of suffering and abuses that might subvert our innate morality. It takes a lot to corrupt our humanity. Physical, sexual or psychological harm might corrupt us but, perhaps, the most common threat to our morality is the religions that try to replace it.

Our moral intuition is an expression of our humanity and is vastly superior to the cold authority of religious morality.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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11/30/2009 4:54:22 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Aarrgghh!!

Is there no way to edit posts here? I used the word "heretofore" -- it should have been "hereafter".
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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11/30/2009 7:12:55 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
A most excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but am disappointed in the fact that I agree to such an extent that I have nothing else to add >.>
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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11/30/2009 8:40:31 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 7:12:55 AM, Kleptin wrote:
A most excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but am disappointed in the fact that I agree to such an extent that I have nothing else to add >.>

Thanks, Kleptin.

Now, if only a true believer would put up a defense . . .
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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11/30/2009 9:13:13 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
It's interesting to note that most U.S. Christians are on the right, who also support capitalism and thus strong class divisions - they defend the rich's right to obtain vast amounts of wealth and do not support stronger policies to proactively help the poor.

I was at church last year and they ran this pseudo-commercial type of thing, where they showed this homeless guy coming in and they gave him canned foods and some simple things like bread and maybe a toothbrush or something. They then showed the homeless guy smiling with his new stuff and thanking the church for its generosity, and then they sent him out the door. This is, what I believe, Christians use to obtain a humble, giving posture like Jesus - and of course it is utter BS. Building a multi-million dollar facility with stained glass windows, fine sculptures, marble floors and walls, and then giving scraps to the homeless is not what I consider humble and charitable. They all roll into church in their SUVs and mink coats and then give a few dollars to the church, who then in turn invests in its own operations and then gives a small fraction of the leftovers to something charitable. The whole operation is considered "charity" and they go on their merry way, thinking they did their part...
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
AtheistExile
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11/30/2009 4:29:23 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
We need 100% separation of church and state. Treat them like any other business. No tax exemptions. No faith-based initiatives. No religion in public facilities. No God on our money. None of it.

The 100% exclusion of religion from government would also protect countries that haven't yet bowed to Muslim pressure for special considerations (i.e. as in much of Europe).
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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11/30/2009 4:36:57 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:29:23 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
We need 100% separation of church and state. Treat them like any other business. No tax exemptions. No faith-based initiatives. No religion in public facilities. No God on our money. None of it.

The 100% exclusion of religion from government would also protect countries that haven't yet bowed to Muslim pressure for special considerations (i.e. as in much of Europe).

You're pretty focused on Islam. I find that odd because the most obnoxious theists we get on this forum tend to be Christian.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
comoncents
Posts: 5,647
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11/30/2009 4:41:01 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:29:23 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
We need 100% separation of church and state. Treat them like any other business. No tax exemptions. No faith-based initiatives. No religion in public facilities. No God on our money. None of it.

The 100% exclusion of religion from government would also protect countries that haven't yet bowed to Muslim pressure for special considerations (i.e. as in much of Europe).

Our constitution does not have the words, "Separation of church and state".

Our constitution was not made to give people rights but protect to protect peoples rights.
I can see it being a good thing, but when has america ever truly been, "Separation of church and state."
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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11/30/2009 4:43:25 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:29:23 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
We need 100% separation of church and state. Treat them like any other business. No tax exemptions. No faith-based initiatives. No religion in public facilities. No God on our money. None of it.

Actually, treating them like "any other business" would require such things as possible tax exemptions, political influence, and oriented initiatives. In fact, by treating them as "any other business," you may be handing them more power than what they currently have.

The 100% exclusion of religion from government would also protect countries that haven't yet bowed to Muslim pressure for special considerations (i.e. as in much of Europe).

"Muslim pressure" stems much more from the fact that European countries grant Christian and other various religions special status due to its historical and majority roots, and give the shaft to a large amount of Muslim requests for respected status - as exemplified by the recent Swiss referendum to ban, of all things, mosque minarets.

Separation of church and state is all well and fine. I agree with it in practice 100%. But denying the historical and popular roots of religion, never mind the bare influence it wields even as the half-dead creature it is today, isn't going to go over well.
Volkov
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11/30/2009 4:45:28 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:41:01 PM, comoncents wrote:
Our constitution does not have the words, "Separation of church and state".

Our constitution was not made to give people rights but protect to protect peoples rights.
I can see it being a good thing, but when has america ever truly been, "Separation of church and state."

You are, of course, aware of the First Amendment, right? You know, the whole, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," etc.?

Just because it doesn't say "separation of church and state" in so many words, does not mean it isn't noted.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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11/30/2009 4:48:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - James Madison (Father of the Constitution)
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Volkov
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11/30/2009 4:49:46 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:48:47 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - James Madison (Father of the Constitution)

Geo, read The Evolution of God, and find out just how wrong that statement is.
comoncents
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11/30/2009 5:12:42 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:45:28 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 4:41:01 PM, comoncents wrote:
Our constitution does not have the words, "Separation of church and state".

Our constitution was not made to give people rights but protect to protect peoples rights.
I can see it being a good thing, but when has america ever truly been, "Separation of church and state."

You are, of course, aware of the First Amendment, right? You know, the whole, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," etc.?

Just because it doesn't say "separation of church and state" in so many words, does not mean it isn't noted.

I know, but the first amendment protects religious freedom.
I does not give government the right to take away "No religion in public facilities. No God on our money."

I am not saying it is right, but separation of church and state can give a different meaning then what the first amendment states.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Volkov
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11/30/2009 5:19:40 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:12:42 PM, comoncents wrote:
I know, but the first amendment protects religious freedom.
I does not give government the right to take away "No religion in public facilities. No God on our money."

I am not saying it is right, but separation of church and state can give a different meaning then what the first amendment states.

It does indeed protect religious freedom, but it also protects the government from establishing a religion as state-sponsored - hence the clause, "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

I don't think having God on money is quite the establishment of a state religion, mind you. Same with marriage ceremonies.
comoncents
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11/30/2009 5:22:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:19:40 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 5:12:42 PM, comoncents wrote:
I know, but the first amendment protects religious freedom.
I does not give government the right to take away "No religion in public facilities. No God on our money."

I am not saying it is right, but separation of church and state can give a different meaning then what the first amendment states.

It does indeed protect religious freedom, but it also protects the government from establishing a religion as state-sponsored - hence the clause, "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

I don't think having God on money is quite the establishment of a state religion, mind you. Same with marriage ceremonies.

I agree, and understand the amendment.
But most people do not.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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11/30/2009 5:41:43 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 4:49:46 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 4:48:47 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not." - James Madison (Father of the Constitution)

Geo, read The Evolution of God, and find out just how wrong that statement is.

I'm assuming that was a joke.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Volkov
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11/30/2009 5:49:52 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:41:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I'm assuming that was a joke.

No it wasn't. Why would you think as such?
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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11/30/2009 5:54:27 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:49:52 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 5:41:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I'm assuming that was a joke.

No it wasn't. Why would you think as such?

It was a blatant Red Herring. "The Evolution of God is a 2009 book by Robert Wright that explores the history of the concept of God." - Wiki

How does that have anything to do with Madison's statement?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Volkov
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11/30/2009 5:59:25 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:54:27 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
It was a blatant Red Herring. "The Evolution of God is a 2009 book by Robert Wright that explores the history of the concept of God." - Wiki

How does that have anything to do with Madison's statement?

Wright discusses the concept of God, yes - but he talks about religion's influence on society, government and human cultural evolution throughout the ages, including back since the hunter-gatherer days.

There has been quite a place for religion in human cultural evolution, including the evolution of government, which disproves Madison's claims. I recommend reading it because it really is quite informative.
GeoLaureate8
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11/30/2009 6:07:05 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 5:59:25 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 5:54:27 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
It was a blatant Red Herring. "The Evolution of God is a 2009 book by Robert Wright that explores the history of the concept of God." - Wiki

How does that have anything to do with Madison's statement?

Wright discusses the concept of God, yes - but he talks about religion's influence on society, government and human cultural evolution throughout the ages, including back since the hunter-gatherer days.

There has been quite a place for religion in human cultural evolution, including the evolution of government, which disproves Madison's claims. I recommend reading it because it really is quite informative.

I highly doubt it could convince me otherwise. Also, this other Madison quote counters that idea: "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." - James Madison
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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11/30/2009 6:08:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 6:07:05 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I highly doubt it could convince me otherwise. Also, this other Madison quote counters that idea: "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." - James Madison

Well, I would recommend giving it a look next time you're by a bookstore. I'm not going to argue with you over it.
GeoLaureate8
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11/30/2009 6:10:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 6:08:13 PM, Volkov wrote:
At 11/30/2009 6:07:05 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
I highly doubt it could convince me otherwise. Also, this other Madison quote counters that idea: "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise." - James Madison

Well, I would recommend giving it a look next time you're by a bookstore. I'm not going to argue with you over it.

Then I'll debate you on it.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
comoncents
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11/30/2009 6:16:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I like that.
A heated discussion that goes to debate instead of carried on for 30 pages in the forum.

You gave us a taste and now we will be looking forward to the meal.
I can wait to see what you guys cook up next.
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/1/2009 3:24:22 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Our constitution does not have the words, "Separation of church and state".

Who said it DOES contain those words?

The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". The separation of church and state is the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
AtheistExile
Posts: 30
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12/1/2009 3:47:06 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
The 100% exclusion of religion from government would also protect countries that haven't yet bowed to Muslim pressure for special considerations (i.e. as in much of Europe).

Actually, my mention of Islam is clearly secondary to religion, generally (see above).

But I do have a lot to say about Islam, Muhammad and the Quran. I'll post more about them in the future.

By the way, all else being equal, "obnoxious" is a relative word that usually just means you disagree.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
gr33k_fr33k5
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12/4/2009 6:06:38 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/30/2009 9:13:13 AM, Rob1Billion wrote:
It's interesting to note that most U.S. Christians are on the right, who also support capitalism and thus strong class divisions - they defend the rich's right to obtain vast amounts of wealth and do not support stronger policies to proactively help the poor.

I was at church last year and they ran this pseudo-commercial type of thing, where they showed this homeless guy coming in and they gave him canned foods and some simple things like bread and maybe a toothbrush or something. They then showed the homeless guy smiling with his new stuff and thanking the church for its generosity, and then they sent him out the door. This is, what I believe, Christians use to obtain a humble, giving posture like Jesus - and of course it is utter BS. Building a multi-million dollar facility with stained glass windows, fine sculptures, marble floors and walls, and then giving scraps to the homeless is not what I consider humble and charitable. They all roll into church in their SUVs and mink coats and then give a few dollars to the church, who then in turn invests in its own operations and then gives a small fraction of the leftovers to something charitable. The whole operation is considered "charity" and they go on their merry way, thinking they did their part...

proactively help the poor? . . . . like what Welfare? I don't support wasting my money (and giving to the church is not a waste to me) . . . . you seem to believe that givving homeless people some basic foods is a bad thing. Your negative voice is suprising, I thought that charity was good. . .. how stupid I am sometimes.

Think of all the Christian organizations that are outside of church, helping the poor by serving meals . .. oh wait, you'd just rather us let them starve while giving billions of dollars to our slow and wasteful government. . .

When was the last time that you served at a soup kitchen? I did last week. . ..so don't spread lies about the charity of Christians.

I do agree with you that many Christians and churches for that matter are merely Christian by name not by action, which is to say their not Christians at all. However; just as many Muslims complain that extremist groups do not represent the Muslin lifestyle, I claim the same thing. . . .
I am free, free indeed!

ignorance is bliss