Cherry-picking religion: Do some religious people just choose the bits they like?

 

Hello everyone, I am fairly new to Think Atheist, so thought I would start with a topic that has always confused me. If this has already some up somewhere on the site I apologise, but I couldn't find anything regarding this issue.

 

I have never been religious. I was lucky enough to have parents who always just told me to figure out for myself what I want to believe. (They are not religious as such either, but are what some would call spiritual, believing in an afterlife, I suspect for comfort more than anything else. I do not have these beliefs).

 

I have, however, always had many religious friends, most of whom are Christian or Muslim. I have had debates with them about religion, and learnt much from it, but one thing has always confused me, and as of yet, I have never been given a satisfactory answer. Why is it (and I am asking both theists and atheists here) that so many religious people feel that they can pick which parts of their chosen religion they want to believe, and which bits are "just stories" or similar? For example, one of my Christian friends believes in God, heaven and hell, but does not believe in creationism. Is there anyone else out there with beliefs like this, and how did you come to this conclusion of what you believe is true from the Bible (or other religious texts) or not?

 

I am not trying to anger anyone here, and I realise that not all religious believers are like this. I am merely interested in getting an answer.

 

Natasha

Tags: Atheism, Bible, Cherry, Choosing, Christian, Muslim, Picking, Religion

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How can you write insulting, arrogant nonsense like that and claim that you are reasonable? It might be astounding if the the trolling weren't so patently obvious

Steve, you have lost me.  Are you referring to my reply to Simon? 

 

Can you explain how this is 'trolling' opposed to entering into reasonable discussion.  I don't think anything I said was insulting or arrogant.

 

You seem to be avoiding discussion by just saying things like this.  Hey, discuss with me or not - but this other stuff I don't get.

 

 

You are still completely unable to grasp morality without gods. You just don't get it and you never will. It's rather sad. I pity you

 

"The majority says something else, so you're wrong". Really? Really?! Words can't describe the sillness

Steve

 

Its a discussion, explain it to me, and comment on the things I have said.  Why do you think I don't understand morality?  What am I missing?  Don't pity me, talk to me.

It has been explained to you several times by different people. You also indicated that you read about it elsewhere. But you don't get it. Explaining it again won't change that. It's your religious mindset that's in the way. It clouds and warps everything you do. The idea of having standards independent of some absolute overlord or an infallible text to fall back on is too alien to you. They are ultimately two completely different - and incompatible - views about the world and reality itself.

Steve

 

Thanks for entering into discussion.  I am not sure your understanding the gist of the argument.

 

Athiests like Steven Law and others have agreed that there is an observable, universal, objective moral standard.  They are then stumped as to why there is one.  It's not my religious mind set, this is a problem for every thinking athiest.  So I am not sure what you mean when you treat it as another easily / already solved issue that I am too blinded to understand.

 

My argument is that once you accept that such a law exists, there is an elephent in the room that is God shaped. 

 

 

 

1.  I live in the UK.  You cannot say that because I was born here I am a christian.

 

No - you are missing the point - okay, extrapolate - if your parents were whatever religion, it is far more likely one would follow that religion, but in a predominantly secular country, as is your country, as is mine -  there is no indoctrination. So people if they wish, can be xian or baptist etc. but thinking, educated people who analyze the bible, read history, turn out to be Da Dahhhh - Atheists.

 

There are also Christian Parliamentarians - BUT our Prime Minister is Atheist and Female. A first for both. It's called growing up, it is called Democratic, it is called fair and inclusive. Yahoo. We also have gay judges, That is what happens in a truly Democratic society - one is not pilloried for who you are, as in being an Atheist or Gay - that is all. 

2. I will disagree on this one.  Religion of any sort is immoral, from your Bible, Qua ran Torah, for me all immoral. Religious people 'make out' that they are good and honest etc. then hide behind their particular book of choice to do insidious things.

Do you think the Old Testament is moral, high in ethics and empathy, where xianity started. 

3. There are loads of cults and sects etc. That is the problem, they all "Call' themselves xians, and are no better or worse than so-called Legitimate religons.

 

a. The Bible says it should not be added to or taken away from - which bible do you speak of - which particular bible do you follow - they all have been translated from   Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Which translation and which version do you think is the best one?   

b.The Bible says that a sign of false religion is that it refuses people the right to marry.  I have no idea what that means, I must be thick heh!.  I also dismiss the one mediator between god and man etc. God lost me at the Garden of Eden.

c. Bible clearly teaches that salvation does not come through human effort but by grace - my interpretation of this: Jesus, if he did exist, that is another topic, so lets say he did exist, do you believe he bought people back from the dead, do you believe all the "Miracles' he was supposed to have done. There are lots of people wandering around, making a mint, doing exactly the same thing, one comes to mind Benny Hinns, and people believe god is working through him. AAGHHH

What is grace? I don't want, nor need from god - grace, whatever that is.

 

Jesus died for our sins - Thousands of people died in this way, nailed to a cross or pole, and left for days till they died. It was the modus operandi of the day - truly vicious and primitive.  I do not want my children to see how man treats man - how violent and malicious they are, how men love to torture, and then, I also don't want a man to die for me, or my sins. Many millions have died to save humanity, the most recent World War I and World War II. Lets get over the killing eh.

I do not intend to defend any cult: I consider all religions to be cults, number of people in each cult makes no difference to me. all cults.

 

Say I had a problem, and I could ask either an Atheist or a Christian to help me. I would choose an Atheist, no question. Why? Because the Atheist doesn't hide anything, doesn't hide behind anything - nothing to hide behind. That is not to say that Atheists are all good people. Personally, the Atheists I know and love are the most honest, loyal and truthful, whereas, with a xian, one just never knows, simply because of all the hypocritical behavior I have personally witnessed, and because I read, daily, of all the harm done by said Christians, while christians in their millions, sit on their hands and turn their heads away.

 

You say there is no morality without god??? Humans have had morality for millennia  before xian arrived. Humanity would not have survived without it. Morality was based on a wisdom gained through experience as to what was the best course of action for self, family and tribal group, and if it wasn't good for the group, it was  weeded out. Humanity would not be here if morals and ethics were not the norm. Your bible has no morality. People begetting with brothers and sisters, with cousins, aunts and uncles, give me a break. The usual murder and mayhem ad nauseam. Why would I hang my hat on a god who behaved like that? Why would I live my life for a god that behaved like that?

 

The only good christian "Group" is the Salvation Army, they put their money where their mouth is - they live the life of what ALL xians should be doing. They live like paupers,  the money they collect goes to the poor, while they themselves live on a pittance, doing good works every day of their lives, and by the by, their leader is female. Here in Australia, they work side by side with Atheists as volunteers.

 

Problem is that the vast majority of the world does not agree with you about the Bible - Ah, that's the thing, I don't run with the sheep. I am not superstitious, I don't crave an afterlife, I have no fear of dying, I live in a free country, how lucky am I. Bad luck to the people that live in say, Africa. What luck, that I just happened to be born in Australia - I am more moral, ethical, honest and truthful than the majority of religious people, and if I followed the bible, I would be a ruthless, temper tantrum throwing egomaniac, thinking slavery was ok, concubines are the norm, kill children because they made fun of someone, stoning a woman because she didn't 'listen' to her husband. Oh, yes, and I would have to revere god.

 

Sorry, chickadee, I do not bow before anyone. The last time that happened it was before a Bishop - never again. Nobody should bow before anyone else. Period. I am also a a Republican - for the Americans, that means anti-monarchy, not right wing politically.

Why would anybody want this. I have too much respect for people to demand it - this is what your god does - demand - and if you don't capitulate, straight to hell you go. Lovely.

Oh, yes, my morals are so much higher than the bible, god and jesus,  so I would say, my morals definitely did not come from your god.

I don't know if you know this, but the holocaust was not condoned by the world, it was condoned by the German people, who were indoctrinated the same as a person is into religion. They thought they were superior to everybody, and annihilate anybody who got in their way. You really should read what the "Perfect Arian Race' were doing to achieve this end game. It is horrific, and Hitler was their God, even though they were Christians. Germany was territorial, exactly the same as god. 

And if it wasn't for the Americans, English, Australia New Zealand Russia and the rest of the world, you would now be German, and Australia would be ruled by the Japanese.

 

Hitler behaved the way they do in the bible, kill your enemy - same old, same old.

 

I would think that your example of morality etc, genocide per se would be condemned by the world, that's why they called it World War.

 

Ah, Revelation methinks? The majority of the world are religious, BUT, according to you, unless they are given gods grace, they don't go to heaven? Is this right?

 

So, with that augment the millions of xians who PROFESS to be xians really aren't, so the numbers don't count?

 

How many people will be deemed good enough by god to give them grace? 

 

Atheists live as if there is a god - Ha, ha, nowhere near it - absolutely reject this, once again - I am really fascinated - you simply could not have read the bible - ah, yes, cherry picking is a good title for this conversation. I said it in one of my earlier posts - you see one thing, I see another.

 

Just because the majority believe something, does not make it true - as Galileo Galilei  soon found out .

 

Could you help me with this one - could you explain to me what this means - 

 

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

 

Cheers - Suzanne - This will be my last post to you dear Trevor, you don't read what people write - you don't or can't answer questions, I cherry pick, so do you, never the twain shall meet. All you want to talk about is god - big mistake on Atheist site - but never mind.

1.  I live in the UK.  You cannot say that because I was born here I am a christian.

 

No - you are missing the point - okay, extrapolate - if your parents were whatever religion, it is far more likely one would follow that religion, but in a predominantly secular country, as is your country, as is mine -  there is no indoctrination. So people if they wish, can be xian or baptist etc. but thinking, educated people who analyze the bible, read history, turn out to be Da Dahhhh - Atheists.

 

There are also Christian Parliamentarians - BUT our Prime Minister is Atheist and Female. A first for both. It's called growing up, it is called Democratic, it is called fair and inclusive. Yahoo. We also have gay judges, That is what happens in a truly Democratic society - one is not pilloried for who you are, as in being an Atheist or Gay - that is all. 

 

2. I will disagree on this one.  Religion of any sort is immoral, from your Bible, Qua ran Torah, for me all immoral. Religious people 'make out' that they are good and honest etc. then hide behind their particular book of choice to do insidious things.

Do you think the Old Testament is moral, high in ethics and empathy, where xianity started. 

 

3. There are loads of cults and sects etc. That is the problem, they all "Call' themselves xians, and are no better or worse than so-called Legitimate religons.

 

 

a. The Bible says it should not be added to or taken away from - which bible do you speak of - which particular bible do you follow - they all have been translated from   Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Which translation and which version do you think is the best one?   

 

b.The Bible says that a sign of false religion is that it refuses people the right to marry.  I have no idea what that means, I must be thick heh!.  I also dismiss the one mediator between god and man etc. God lost me at the Garden of Eden.

 

c. Bible clearly teaches that salvation does not come through human effort but by grace - my interpretation of this: Jesus, if he did exist, that is another topic, so lets say he did exist, do you believe he bought people back from the dead, do you believe all the "Miracles' he was supposed to have done. There are lots of people wandering around, making a mint, doing exactly the same thing, one comes to mind Benny Hinns, and people believe god is working through him. AAGHHH

 

What is grace? I don't want, nor need from god - grace, whatever that is.

 

Jesus died for our sins - Thousands of people died in this way, nailed to a cross or pole, and left for days till they died. It was the modus operandi of the day - truly vicious and primitive.  I do not want my children to see how man treats man - how violent and malicious they are, how men love to torture, and then, I also don't want a man to die for me, or my sins. Many millions have died to save humanity, the most recent World War I and World War II. Lets get over the killing eh.

 

I do not intend to defend any cult: I consider all religions to be cults, number of people in each cult makes no difference to me. all cults.

 

Say I had a problem, and I could ask either an Atheist or a Christian to help me. I would choose an Atheist, no question. Why? Because the Atheist doesn't hide anything, doesn't hide behind anything - nothing to hide behind. That is not to say that Atheists are all good people. Personally, the Atheists I know and love are the most honest, loyal and truthful, whereas, with a xian, one just never knows, simply because of all the hypocritical behavior I have personally witnessed, and because I read, daily, of all the harm done by said Christians, while christians in their millions, sit on their hands and turn their heads away.

 

You say there is no morality without god??? Humans have had morality for millennia  before xian arrived. Morality was based on a wisdom gained through experience as to what was the best course of action for self, family and tribal group, and if it wasn't good for the group, it was  weeded out. Humanity would not be here if morals and ethics were not the norm. Your bible has no morality. People begetting with brothers and sisters, with cousins, aunts and uncles, give me a break. The usual murder and mayhem ad nauseam. Why would I hang my hat on a god who behaved like that? Why would I live my life for a god that behaved like that?

 

The only good christian "Group" is the Salvation Army, they put their money where their mouth is - they live the life of what ALL xians should be doing. They live like paupers,  the money they collect goes to the poor, while they themselves live on a pittance, doing good works every day of their lives, and by the by, their leader is female. Here in Australia, they work side by side with Atheists as volunteers.

 

Problem is that the vast majority of the world does not agree with you about the Bible - Ah, that's the thing, I don't run with the sheep. I am not superstitious, I don't crave an afterlife, I have no fear of dying, I live in a free country, how lucky am I. Bad luck to the people that live in say, Africa. What luck, that I just happened to be born in Australia - I am more moral, ethical, honest and truthful than the majority of religious people, and if I followed the bible, I would be a ruthless, temper tantrum throwing egomaniac, thinking slavery was ok, concubines are the norm, kill children because they made fun of someone, stoning a woman because she didn't 'listen' to her husband. Oh, yes, and I would have to revere god.

 

Sorry, chickadee, I do not bow before anyone. The last time that happened it was before a Bishop - never again. Nobody should bow before anyone else. Period. I am also a a Republican - for the Americans, that means anti-monarchy, not right wing politically.

 

Why would anybody want this. I have too much respect for people to demand it - this is what your god does - demand - and if you don't capitulate, straight to hell you go. Lovely.

 

Oh, yes, my morals are so much higher than the bible, god and jesus,  so I would say, my morals definitely did not come from your god.

 

I don't know if you know this, but the holocaust was not condoned by the world, it was condoned by the German people, who were indoctrinated the same as a person is into religion. They thought they were superior to everybody, and annihilate anybody who got in their way. You really should read what the "Perfect Arian Race' were doing to achieve this end game. It is horrific, and Hitler was their God, even though they were Christians. Germany was territorial, exactly the same as god.

 

And if it wasn't for the Americans, English, Australia New Zealand Russia and the rest of the world, you would now be German, and Australia would be ruled by the Japanese.

 

Hitler behaved the way they do in the bible, kill your enemy - same old, same old.

 

I would think that your example of morality etc, genocide per se would be condemned by the world, that's why they called it World War.

 

Ah, Revelation methinks? The majority of the world are religious, BUT, according to you, unless they are given gods grace, they don't go to heaven? Is this right?

 

So, with that augment the millions of xians who PROFESS to be xians really aren't, so the numbers don't count?

 

How many people will be deemed good enough by god to give them grace? 

 

Atheists live as if there is a god - Ha, ha, nowhere near it - absolutely reject this, once again - I am really fascinated - you simply could not have read the bible - ah, yes, cherry picking is a good title for this conversation. I said it in one of my earlier posts - you see one thing, I see another.

 

Just because the majority believe something, does not make it true - as Galileo Galilei  soon found out .

 

Could you help me with this one - could you explain to me what this means - 

 

1 Corinthians 14:34-35 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

 

 I know what is right for me and mine - and it is not your god - but maybe the lovley white unicorn - she is in the bible, I think I will follow her, she has the same high morals and ethics as I, and I am really happy with my place in this world - no fear of a god who has retribution on his mind, but it is okay for him to be a mysogonist - Nah- just not good enough for me.


 

Cheers - Suzanne - 

 

Bravo, Suzanne! So well said!

Natasha,

 

As a non-believer, I wish religious people did this cherry-picking more often.  We'd end up with much more reasonable religion that way.  I don't mind religion or religious people if they can just get rid of the more intrusive and socially harmful elements (rejection of science, insistence on applying backward religious laws, harmful ancient practices, etc.).  Of course, people need to be well-informed enough to reject the parts of religion that violate human rights or the principles of science in order to do this kind of cherry-picking.  In the past, when I saw someone engage in cherry-picking, I'd be tempted to point out that they're not really following their chosen religion and might as well recognize the truth and become free-thinkers.  Nowadays, I'm more likely to encourage what they're doing because the results can only be better than what we have now.  Of course, I live in an Islamic country where the presence of religion is much stronger and more oppressive than in America and hence any dilution of Islam would be welcome.  You want to believe in God and the afterlife, great (I wish I could as well), just don't impose your religious mythology as a barrier to science and don't impose your religious laws on the rest of us.

Woah, woah, woah, back off from Trevor.  It takes guts, intelligence and maturity for a Christian to come onto an atheist website and hold his own.  He shows thoughtfulness and integrity.  So whoever said that all Christians are evil, or whatever - he just proved you wrong.  Let's show some respect and politeness.  Listen - "proper" Christians like Trevor, and atheists, share a lot in common.  We all want a better world, and we're all going to die one day.  Why fight?  We should actually join forces.  Behaviour aside, people have a right to believe whatever they like, and if that's not OK, I don't know what I'm doing here.  I think we could do without the self-righteous smugness.  Be nice.  How can we say that Christians don't do any good in the world?  They patently do.  They also do a lot of harm.  That's what we're dealing with.  Plenty of their doctrines are "immoral" and plenty are very moral.  That's an honest approach.  We can't "cherry-pick".  Taha - that's a thoughtful constructive reply.

I tend to agree and it's genuinely unfortunate as I would have enjoyed a discussion with a christian who's objective of understanding a differing opinion was sincere, this does not appear to be the case.

Jason, I am sorry to see that you have gone from suspecting my motives to drawing hard conclusions so quickly and easily.  I have liked some of your contributions that I have read and would find discussion with you fruitful, i'm sure (or atleast hope).

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