So my parents (who are Christians) and I just had a huge debate about the supposed "truth" of Christianity, homosexuality and reasons for belief. I'd love to hear some rational opinions about some of the points they made (which I wholeheartedly disagreed with). Feel free to pick any points you'd like to discuss. Here they are:
"When it comes to homosexuals, I don't hate the sinner, I hate the sin. The human body is not designed to have sex with someone of the same sex. That's why God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve."
"The Bible has PREDICTED the fall of Israel, it has also predicted an event in which the sky went black and there was fire, but no scientists had an explanation for what happened."
"There have been people diagnosed with incurable cancer and the doctors had no idea what it was but the person prayed and they were cured."
"Evolution doesn't make any sense. It doesn't make sense how there was one organism, an amoeba or whatever, that just divides and evolves into different species. And where did that come from? There has to be a creator." <---This is one where I brought up circular reasoning. Also, can someone provide some good sources for abiogenesis for me? I admit I had a hard time explaining this one (and they simply don't understand the process to begin with).
"I've read bits about other religions, Islam, Shintoism etc and they just don't make sense to me the way the Bible does."
"The Bible does not condone slavery or rape or any of those things. When people read that stuff they read it out of context, but when you read the rest of the chapter it actually makes sense."
"People always ask 'Why did God create Cancer?' - well God didn't create cancer, cancer is just something that's part of man's existence. But either way he allows it so that people can learn to be closer to God. People always bring that up when it comes to suffering kids, but God has a reason why he does certain things."
"People are all born into sin. Babies are a product of their sinful parents so it's up to them to repent when they become familiar with the word of God."
"What people need to understand is that not everything in the Bible is supposed to be taken literally. A lot of it is figurative."
"Sure there are people from all different religions, but the Bible says that they'll all be introduced to the word of God and it will be up to them to decide whether they follow Jesus or not, but only those who follow Jesus will be saved."
"People come across tough times in their lives, particularly when they're not aligned with the word of God, but then they realize that as soon as they start to read the Bible and live by God that things start to look up. That's no coincidence."
"God sent his own son down to wash away the sins of man. Man has a choice to be sinful, God gives them free will. There's a set of laws that God sets out for people to follow and if they don't, there are consequences."
"What I know is that the disciples who spoke to God were the ones who wrote the Bible, actually, Moses was one of the only people who was PROVEN to have seen God, but their word is good enough for me. "
I'd say that being attracted to children in a sexual way does not make you immoral. But acting upon it is an entirely different story...
I know of a gay minister who came out to his congregation. He told them being gay is not a choice. He has a blog and in the blog he responded to people who pointed out the argument that pedophiles are born that that way so why does he not think it is okay for them. Basically, he said the difference is pedophiles cannot and should not have consensual relationships with children.
He is still a believer that has now come to believe God is okay with gay.
He also writes about what it was like to be a secretly gay minister about two-thirds the way down the page:
Hopefully he will become an atheist some day.
** Xian texts and commentaries on them contain no facts -- they are about nothing
If reasoning about nature or human action were used only to persuade; then, there would only be successful persuasion and unsuccessful persuasion. Not even fundies would want to claim that their apologetics was persuasive but untrue.
• Nevertheless to confuse being persuaded that a statement is true with that statement’s being known is a blatant conceptual mistake. No matter how many persons over two thousand years have been literally indoctrinated by a xian culture to a belief that “Christ rose from the dead” -- that statement is factually false beyond a reasonable doubt.
Persuading is not a proxy for determining the truth or falsity of a statement. To imagine otherwise plays directly into the unreasonable techniques of xian apologetics -- religious texts are not self-justifying.
• Knowledge can only be a public object. It is not a psychological (brain) state. No (empirical) statement can be knowledge without publicly available evidence based on legitimate methods for its being true.
Religion and morality therefore contain no knowledge. No matter the arguments, there are no experts “on God” -- there are no experts on morality. There's no deity to be an expert on. And xian mores are male supremacist claims for total social control over women and children.
Modern biology and psychology show that homosexuality exists as a normal expression of human genetics -- sexualized “sin" does not exist. Moral condemnation by xians belongs back in the sewers of ancient Rome’ s eastern empire where it came from
Most of us rely upon information which comes from relevant scientific experts who have made the methodologically appropriate tests. And this need exposes everyone to liars and deliberate falsifiers who debase the hard-earned golden coin of knowledge -- like modern evolutionary theory -- for their own gain (money and power) and to our collective loss. MET is true no matter how many damned fundies try say otherwise and force their views into the classroom.
• The god of theologians bears scant resemblance to the ill-tempered, immoral, misogynist in the canons of the Big-3 Monster Theisms. Their texts as read display "God" as a moral monster. No theologian can save "God" from “His” bad habits by "interpretation" or using philosophy to give "Him" a makeover. No need to waste time on pointless theological gamesmanship. Theology is fifth-rate fan fiction.
Religion and mores easily survive in cultures without well-grounded methods for establishing knowledge claims. Science and Law operate successfully using a reality principle, a finding of fact beyond a “reasonable doubt.” Beyond a reasonable doubt lies unreasonable doubt, beliefs which are neither creditable nor credible.
• Mores and religion are cultural atavisms given over to indoctrination, paternalist norms, and wish fulfillment. Without formal systems of rule-governed method and rule-governed review, Science and Law would disappear.
There are no god-given religions, only human religious institutions. Manned by self-anointed god proxies who have no rational methods for demarcating false claims from true ones. Who offer only illogic (apologetics) and who make authoritarian demands (xian fascism).
They are those who counsel intolerance and hatred, violence and murder as legal and godly acts. They would persuade us to trust them and to do evil.
1.The human body is not designed to have sex with someone of the same sex ask them to define sex?
2.The Bible predicted what fact? where is the peer reviewed scientific documentation of this source please ?
3.Praying cures cancer point me to the peer reviewed scientific documentation and the tested theory and it's results stats and the guarentee in writing please ?
4.Evolution doesn't make sense ? 2+2= 4
If you think it doesn't it doesn't mean 2+2 = God !
It just means you need to learn Math! ,
I would like them to explain evolution in a bit more detail than the explanation they have given you clearly they have no understanding of it at all maybe a starting point is showing them the peppered moth !
4.Other religions don't make sense so they've cherry picked 1? Well I hope they aren't worried about all the OTHER hells in case they have the wrong one?
5.Babies are born into sin well obviously they are the result of wicked parents how wicked were yours to get an Atheist lol! and being that we are all wicked can we be be trusted with such wickedness to choose to follow a moral God ? We must have some weird ability to choose and at acknowledge what god is the right one to follow despite our evil sinful wickedness lol
6.Why did god create cancer , well if he did hes not teaching a lesson hes being an inhumane bastard i always tackle this one with well your god shuts the door and lets rape, child molestation and cancer happen and punishes the perpetrater later , I will if able try to stop these things immediately if I didn't i'd be a monster that's the difference between me and your god!
7.Not everything in the bible is to be taken literally hmm well considering Gods so clever and can do all this other stuff could he have not organised a one liner next to each statement saying literal or not literal?
What a dumb arse especially if he knows humans so well and that some are bound to take it literally being the so called creator and all ? Can cure cancer but cant include a footnote?
8.Only those who follow Jesus will be saved ? Saved from what exactly ?
9. Well documented well studied scientific and peer reviewed yes the power of suggestion and placebo work some people like to avoid the terminollogy and call it God lol
10.hmm free will thats a debate all on its own I tend to lean toward evolution determining what a species does and doesn't do and social responsabilities and morals are a part of surviving in the human world because we need to get along to some extent to survive as a species and protect and spread our own genes .
11. The bible has been analyzed by hand writing specialists and scholars and the writing styles are completely inconsistent with the possibilty that 1 person write it so they don't know at all and whoever told them that is full of shit .
I hope that helps ! Good luck !
Reesie, you say you wholeheartedly disagree with your parents.
I'm seeing in your post a need to prove their beliefs wrong.
To do that, you have to prove their experiences wrong.
What keeps you from saying you respect their experiences and going on with your life?
It's not so much a need to prove their beliefs wrong as it is an attempt to educate them about the things they condemn. Their views on homosexuality specifically bother me, as well as their misinformation about evolution and atheists. Also, I can't really say I respect their experiences when they attribute something as mundane as getting to the gas station before the gas in their car runs out as "God looking out for them". They're otherwise logical people until it comes down to discussing religion. If it didn't affect me directly then I wouldn't have such an issue with it, but unfortunately it does.
RE: "they attribute something as mundane as getting to the gas station before the gas in their car runs out as 'God looking out for them'."
Here's a thought, Reesie - though not one you're going to rush to embrace - it sounds to me like believing an invisible sky daddy watches out for them seems to give them a great deal of comfort and security. Maybe they're not strong enough, as you are, to live without that childish delusion.
Oh I completely agree. But with that said, it's one thing to feel a sense of comfort in their beliefs, it's another to form blatantly ignorant and misinformed views based on a lack of knowledge - especially when said views start to cloud their judgment and impede on the rights of others. THAT I have a problem with. I have no intentions of de-converting them in any way.
Most importantly, Reesie, if you want to try to convince either of them of anything, separate them and speak to them individually, otherwise they'll tag-team you and support each other, and you'll be left hanging out there all by your lonesome.
You might even try this:
Issolate them, and try the Prisoner's Dilemma on them. Say that the Dad has just sided with you on many points, and now you are trying to see if Mom will do the same.
A little mean and calculating, but might open the door to some form of de-programing.
James, I understand that it is well-meaning, but outright deception seems unethical.