Ok guys, here are my two main posts from Jenn's discussion, please repost at minimum your latest reply to me when you join...Thanks!
Congratulations to you and your husband!
I am new to this thread and I admit that I did not read all of the comments up to this point, but if it is not too late, I would like to encourage you in you rrelationship with Rachel.
First, a little bit about me: I grew up in the south and the traditional church and rejected Christianity around the age of 12. I spent the next ~ 10 years pursuing Atheism in the sense of being a LaVeyan Satanist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism#LaVeyan_Satanism (as are many Athiests whether they know it or not) until I was almost 22. I was completely anti-christ and anti-religion. I sold drugs and threw parties...among other things. After wandering through spiritual darkness for many years I had come to realize that I was in a place Jesus called Hell. I made some spiritual decisions and decided that I was rejecting Christianity even though I knew so much about it having grown up in it, but there was something I felt like I was missing. Something I did not understand and to me, the highest form of ignorance is rejecting that which I do not understand. I decided to submit myself to the teachings of Jesus Christ and that is what I did. I came to realize that what He teaches is so far from what the church as a whole teaches. Over the last 8 years since I gave my life to the mystery of the Christ within us and found my place as a Son of the Most High God, who is simply Life and Love. Now, I am a registered nurse and will be a doctor in less than two years :) In the last 8 years of studying scripture, seeking wisdom, and serving and loving people through the anointing (literally: the Christ) in me, I have come to learn many things. A few of those things, I would like to share because I think they might help.
1) The teachings of the church and many of the dogmatic doctrinal ideas of most Christians are not what Jesus taught. They are fueled by the demonic spirit called Religion and they keep our Father's children from truly entering into a relationship with Him. Jesus taught us simply 1) to love God (God = Love, Love= God, God = Life, Life = God, etc) and 2) to love others as we love ourself. He commands us to heal people, to feed people and to simply serve others in selfless love. He DOES NOT command us to build his church or to convince others to become Christians. He does tell us to spead the word of the Kingdom of heaven which He says twice in scripture is a spiritual place here among us right now. This means to let people know that they are truly all children of the Most High God, children of Life and children of Love. We are commanded to tell them that they can, in fact, have a personal relationship with the force of Life that permeates the entire universe. I say this all to point out that your friend Rachel is probably sick of religion as are many people. This is key to understand. Jesus tried to minister to the "Christians" of His day...they were called the Pharisees. He soon came to turn the focus His ministry on the "Atheists" of the day...the Gentiles. My point is that Jesus didn't push religion...he didn't even like religion...He pushed Love and Freedom and Service and Healing etc, etc...
2) I have been in ministry (service) for the last 8 years and I can tell you that it was a while before I came to realize that, although I know many awesome christian brothers and sisters that really do love me, I have many people in my life that are atheists, wiccans, hindus, etc that have loved me regardless of my life path and have always been there for me. These are my true family. I share this to point out that it is your love for Rachel and your acceptance of her no matter what and this attitude is what is going to win her and keep her as your close friend in this situation. You well know that the manifestation of the Spirit of God in and through you will reveal itself as love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, self-control in your relationship with her. This is what we are called to sister...not religious ideas and dogmas. To point, would any of those (love, joy, peace, etc) push Rachel away if you expressed them to her? No. Would religious ideas about Jesus? Yes. The religion would, but the true Spirit of Christ will not push away or destroy relationships...even more evidence that religion is not what Jesus is about for He would never push any away from Himself. With that said, my friends know that I love our Father and have found my path via the teachings of Christ and I do have opportunities to talk about those teachings on rare occasions, but only when they bring it up. The church tells us that we have to beat people up with evangelism, but I am here to tell you to NOT feel guilty for not pushing Jesus (the religious Jesus) on her. I have come to understand that for me to say I have to "convince" someone to become a Christian, is to say that I do not have any confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to do His job. It is the presence of the a pure Spirit of Love in one's life that brings them to repentance, not clever arguments and convincing. Loving her is more powerful than any sort of convincing that your words could ever do...this is the presence of the Spirit within you operating in her life. (I do understand that you will miss the fellowship with her and that is expected, but do not give up hope and control yourself when the urge comes to discuss Jesus-stuff with her. I actually, have learned many ways to talk about spiritual things with those that despise Jesus including words that are non-offensive etc. It is nice to be able to have an entire conversation about Jesus and important spiritual things without saying "Jesus" or other trigger words. If you are interested and think it might be useful to you, I would be happy to share some of that with you :)
3) I want to briefly address the Hell issue. I don't know about heaven or hell after this life and I am sure you have your own ideas. However, I want to encourage you to not concern yourself with whether or not Rachel will go to hell when she dies, but rather be concerned that she may find it here on Earth before then. Continue to be a source of grace and mercy and unrelenting love to her and your light in her life will be a constant beacon if she should begin to find herself traversing into the deeper layers of the underworld. I have seen the depths of hell...maybe even as deep as Tartaros and I can say that the only way I found my way into the kingdom, into complete freedom, was because I had faithful people in my life daily praying for me and loving me regardless. Pray constantly and faithfully.
4) I did see at the beginning of this thread where you said that you had many Christians telling you that to continuing a relationship with her would mean being "unevenly yoked". I bet you have also heard the one about "what fellowship can light have with darkness?" or something to that effect. Let me tell you now that those people, while having good intentions, are wrong, IMO. The pharisees only hung out with other pharisees and religious christians hang out with other christians. Jesus tried to hang out with the "religious christians" of His day and soon got sick of it. So, He decided to hang out with the godless and the druggies and the crazies and the rejects, etc, etc. He loved those that were free from religion and offered love and acceptance to those among them who could find it no where else. By pursuing her, you are following the example of Christ more than most Christians are and will begin to see Him in places and understand His love in ways that most Christians will never know. So, you keep it up and don't listen to that demonic religious spirit that will try to convince you through others (many of whom you trust and probably have the deepest respect for) to leave her alone. (As an aside, I would love to hear of any other arguments "christians" may try to throw at you in an attempt to get you to abandon her...)
Well, I could ramble on and on as I am rather long-winded, but that addresses most of the main points that I wanted to touch on. Forgive me for the deepness in some areas and some of the spiritual ambiguity in others. I was hesitant about posting such an openly christian response in this forum...thought about sending it privately instead, but I guess the response shall be interesting if nothing else. I am looking forward to hearing how things go and will pray that you and Rachel may both continue to find freedom from religion while at the same time, growing and strengthening your relationship with the Father of all of creation, whose Son is Jesus Christ and whose children are Rachel and Jenn (among others as well ;)
I am not sure how it is you can suppose to know me well enough to attack me so based on a single post of mine. I will briefly address your concerns, however, if you would like to continue this discussion, maybe you could start a new thread so as to not clog up thread with unrelated conversation.
1) "you're religious, wrong and turning the so called bible upside down, you're sure that gentiles were atheists!" - Ummm...yes, I am sure. The word "Gentile" is derived from the latin word "gens" originally meaning "clan or family". It is translated in the English Bible from the Hebrew texts as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Hebrew word "goy" and from the Greek texts of the New Testament usually as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Greek word "ethnos". The usage of the word "Gentile" in the greek and hebrew texts refers to people who are non-Jews and typically carries the connotation of a broad sense of the all of the people of the time who did not believe in the God of the Jews (i.e. - non-Jews). There are specific scriptures that carry the particular connotation of a person who is god-less (ie - an Atheist: from "-theist) meaning one who believes in a god and the prefix "A-" negating the following suffix) and likens these "atheist" as Gentiles. It's ok if you didn't know this. One really has to study this stuff for oneself to really pick up on these sorts of things.
2) "Atheism is not satanism" You are correct in that Atheis is not satanism. I never said it was. I understand how someone reading quickly through my post might have misinterpretted this idea. What I said was that many Atheist cleanly fit the criteria for LeVeyan Satanism. Have you read the Satanic Bible written by Anton LaVey? There are many shades of Satanism and there are many Atheists who do not fit anywhere within the a-theistic ideas conveyed by LeVey, but there are many who do...I was one of them. www.religioustolerance.org explains LaVeyan Satanism as a "small religious group that is unrelated to any other faith, and whose members feel free to satisfy their urges responsibly, exhibit kindness to their friends, and attack their enemies." Read the Satanic Bible...you can find a free copy here: www.thesatanicbiblefree.com "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
3) "and I was called antichrist but I didn't have anything to do with the devil" I am sorry you were called anti-christ. One can be against (anti-) Christ and not be Satanic or have anything to do with the devil. I believe you. There are many names for spirits that are against Christ...one is Satan, which literally defined, means "the false accuser" Have you ever been accused falsely? If so, then you experienced a Satanic spirit operating through whoever was falsely accusing you. I have encountered him on more than one occasion...even recently I might add :)
4) "and you must have a ton of latent guilt from religion because you're so called wild demonic trip is having fun maybe too much which is constrained by religion and you went to what you know as repenting." I see how you might assume these things, though I can assure you that I am completely free from all guilt. I have been forgiven for everyone I have hurt and every offense I have ever committed. In fact, I have found a place where I live under a pouring rain of perpetual or constant forgiveness. In staying in this place, it allows me to immediately forgive others when they offend or hurt me :) Proof = The fact that I forgive you because your response to my attempt to encourage Jenn was a little hurtful but it is ok, I still love you and would do anything for you and I don't even know you :)
5) "Prove to me you know squat about you're old atheistic ways and state great points that turned you into an atheist." If you would like further proof, please start a new thread and we can discuss it as much as you like. It might be good to give the others who will assuredly attack me a ready avenue to do so without clogging Jenn's thread. Looking forward to talking with you more :)
Chris I'm not trying to put in a box, you say your an atheist/christian, you say your god is anything you worship. You say that an infallible Ruler didn't give us infallible text, these are your words about what you practice and if I have a question then to bad move on.
If you are not willing to explain your position then your right there is nothing to talk about, but that is your choice.
I have studied the writing of Osho, he used Zen techniques for much of his teaching, your no zen master.
If you would like to do some of the heavy lifting and explain yourself fine, if not then be the best atheist/christian you can be.
The Church of Atheism (and classification as religion by the government) was done strictly for equal right measures not as a way to proselytize or worship. It enabled atheist couples to get married by a secular ‘priest’ and allowed the atheist soilders to have it written on their dog tags. Equal Rights. As far as I know, there are no actual churches. Now…on the other hand, there are Universalist Unitarian Churches which do allow atheists to attend. These churches teach many different theologies and it is a great way to explore the philosophies of the world. The reason behind most of the atheist attendance is simply for a learning experience.
"I just feel comfortable considering atheism as a religion in my view of things. But I guess since there are atheists out there who do not consider atheism a religion then that means it is not. I am glad we got that cleared up."
Does this mean you no longer hold the opinion that atheism is a religion?
"You are correct in that my definition of sin is different than most of christianity...as are many of my views and beliefs. How can I answer your question in a non-religious sense. Sin, to me, is when I am confronted with an opportunity to love someone and I fail by not listening to that little voice within me. That is sin."
First, that little voice inside your head is called your conscience. We all have it & it is not god speaking within you. With that said, I do not believe in the concept of sin. It’s completely non-existent. Morality exists and that is another discussion all in itself.
Question for you: It seems you pick and choose a lot of what you read in the Bible and somehow determine what is to be believed/not believed and how it is to be interpreted. How do you know that you have interpreted the meaning correctly? If you believe in the god of the Bible, then you must also believe you will be punished for worshiping 'man made' gods.
“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God,punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me” Exodus 20:5
For instance, "god" says we can't eat pigs. We now know that pork is a very unhealthy meat and is a common vector for various pathogens. We are told that we can't eat shellfish. Look at how many people have shellfish allergies and react with a type 1 hypersensitivity immune response (aka - anaphylaxis). Today, we can give epinephrine, but back then, people would die. We can't eat monkeys, we know know that they harbored the HIV virus.
Leviticus is a very crazy book in the Bible. Not only does it restrict your diet, it also condemns innocent animals to their sacrificial deaths. Do you ever eat pig or shellfish? Ya know, people also have severe allergies to peanuts. Why didn’t the book warn about these? It is because the people began these myths were unaware of these allergies. So, if the writers did intend to keep the reader away from such “unclean beasts” because of ‘health’ purposes, it was because they witnesses people eating fish, pig, monkeys* and getting sick and maybe even dying. They wrote based on their experiences with reality not from divine intervention.
*I’m not really sure where you were trying to go with the comment made about monkeys.
To contrast your statement that the Bible says the earth is round, the book also has verses that say the world is flat. So much so, The Flat Earth Society was created.
The story you are telling about pooping outside of the camp is inaccurate. The purpose for it wasn’t for sanitations or health reasons (at least not for the humans). “For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” Deuteronomy 23:14. Basically, Yahweh doesn’t want to step in any shit and if he does he won’t be your friend.
Your definition of god is so broad that it allows anything to become god…from a celestial all-knowing being down to one’s own penis. However, your statement does add to the proof that there is no definite definition of god. [ignosticism]
By saying Jesus “was one the Elohim,” you are implying there is more than one god. Is your form of Christianity polytheistic?
How can you be so sure those were the words Jesus actually said before his crucifiction? It is my understanding that the stories of Jesus were not written until way after his death and not by any actual eye witnesses.
“I also do not believe in heaven and hell after death. I believe they are places here and now among us. This is what Jesus teaches and I agree.”
I don’t remember reading anything about Jesus not believing in an afterlife.
“I wouldn't limit the moral compass to humans either. I think at least some animals may have a moral compass as well, but I have only seen one study that seems to lend convincing evidence if this in monkeys but I don't think we can confidently say yet.”
My opinion is that animals do what is necessary for survival. Humans, as apes, are social creatures. Immoral acts like murder would have surely insured the demise of our species.
I don’t believe any god has any sort of plans because gods don’t exist. Free will exists because if I say I don’t want to go to work today. It may have consequences but I still have the choice not to go. Free Will For the Win! :)
I will say that the majority of your beliefs definitely do not fit in with Christianity. I’d even venture to say that you have invented your own god/religion. It seems to me that you are trying really hard to rationalize your own beliefs to fit with what you know about Christianity. However, your thoughts have become so misconstrued that they no longer fit in with the written theology.
Scarlette.. this "Gnostics believe that they have secret knowledge about God, humanity and the rest of the universe of which the general population was unaware. It became one of the three main belief systems within 1st century Christianity, and was noted for four factors by which differed from the two other branches of Christianity:"
is what Chris is talking about.. on page 10 i have a more detailed overview of his gnostic belief system... he is vague because his 'experience' of god is considered to be a true revelation of the truth... hard to discuss truth when you consider all matter evil...
here is a nice description of gnosticism...
"Now…on the other hand, there are Universalist Unitarian Churches which do allow atheists to attend. These churches teach many different theologies and it is a great way to explore the philosophies of the world."
I like these churches :)
"Does this mean you no longer hold the opinion that atheism is a religion?"
I wish. Like I said, the definition of religion that I have come to accept is one that tends to easily accept atheism as a religion. To me, any set of beliefs or systematic approaches to ones life can be a religion. A political cause, a scientific approach, etc etc can all become one's religion. Yes, even not collecting stamps, to me could become my religion, that is if I spend my entire life talking about not collecting stamps, blogging about not collecting stamps, arguing about not collecting stamps, establish a national 501c3 organization based on the beliefs of people who do not collect stamps, try to influence politics and other's beliefs about not collecting stamps and teach my children the importance of not collecting stamps. Yes, if my life revolves around and is driven by the idea that I am nota stamp collector then I would suggest that the absence of not collecting stamps has become my religion...at least in my view of things. We can agree to disagree but until you can offer me a plausible and accepted use of the word religion that fits all of reality as well as or better than the one that I currently use, I am afraid I am stuck with it :-/
You can call the conscience what you will as can I but regardless fo what it is called, it remains what it is. :)
"Question for you: It seems you pick and choose a lot of what you read in the Bible and somehow determine what is to be believed/not believed and how it is to be interpreted. How do you know that you have interpreted the meaning correctly?" I know it seems that way, but the fact is that I learned what the bible teaches from the bible. Most people learn what the bible teaches from the church. I have many friends who have studied the bible and see the same things in it that I do. Just because we are not the majority does not mean we are wrong. Last I checked, I don't worship any man-made gods.
As far as the peanut thing. That is a very excellent point, Scarlette, and one that I had not previously considered. I agree with you completely that this should be considered. And as far as the pooping thing, so you agree that "God" stepping in poop means that as one of the Elohim who was physically coming down from space and physically walking among the camp, this means that there is something more to the old testament "god" than most people realize. I am not polytheistic, I am taking into consideration that we may not be the only intelligent being in the universe. Do you believe that we are?
"I don’t remember reading anything about Jesus not believing in an afterlife." Give me one verse where Jesus says that when one dies one goes to "heaven" or "hell". I can show you in anything you throw at me that this is just not true.
As far as limiting the moral compass to humans...what do you think about this:
Universalist Unitarian Churches-I know there is one is Greenville but I’m not sure about Columbia. It could be something you may want to look into.
“We can agree to disagree but until you can offer me a plausible and accepted use of the word religion that fits all of reality as well as or better than the one that I currently use, I am afraid I am stuck with it :-/”
All you are doing here is playing semantics. It reminds me of the recent episode of The Atheist Experience where a caller was so hung up on the word “marriage” that he totally missed the point. Atheism, in itself, holds no belief systems. If you don’t believe in gods, you are an atheist. If you belief in god, you are a theist. Is theism a religion? No because it is simply a label to say you believe in god(s) and does not represent any particular viewpoint that falls underneath. Atheism is no more a religion than is theism.
You can call the conscience what you will as can I but regardless fo what it is called, it remains what it is. :)
Yes, it remains what it is..and like I said before, it is not god speaking to you. If you truly believe that those voices inside of your head is a god commanding you, you might want to seek help.
I know it seems that way, but the fact is that I learned what the bible teaches from the bible. Most people learn what the bible teaches from the church.
I agree with you that many people learn the Bible from what is taught in their church. I think it’s been said that the #1 reason for becoming an atheist is reading the Bible and understanding it. ^_^
I checked, I don't worship any man-made gods.
Not to sound offensive but you do realize that you are posting in a forum where we believe all gods are man-made, right?
As far as the peanut thing. That is a very excellent point, Scarlette, and one that I had not previously considered. I agree with you completely that this should be considered.
I also hope you also understand that my point was to show you that the Bible, and any other holy text, was written by the people of their time. They had no external knowledge outside of their culture. That seems to add to the evidence that no god has ever given divine intervention to the writers of any holy books.
“And as far as the pooping thing, so you agree that "God" stepping in poop means that as one of the Elohim who was physically coming down from space and physically walking among the camp, this means that there is something more to the old testament "god" than most people realize.”
The point of the verse was not to say I believed a god ‘walked’ among humans. It was to show you that the story was not intended to teach personal hygiene. To go ahead to the next part of your bs, you say that you are not polytheistic. However, you keep referring to god/jesus as “one of the Elohim.” Elohim is simply a Hebrew word for God. You are saying that Yahweh is one of the gods, making your bs* polytheistic.
I am not polytheistic, I am taking into consideration that we may not be the only intelligent being in the universe. Do you believe that we are?
This tells me that if aliens were to land on this Earth, you would bow down to them as gods…
As of this moment, we do not have any evidence of ‘intelligent’ extraterrestrial life. With the billions & billions of planets out there in our universe, I can see the possibilities.
This is just my own personal thoughts: You know how movies always depict terrible creatures coming from other planets to invade Earth..Well, what if we, at this moment, are the most intelligent creatures in the universe and out there sits a planet that only has the beginnings of life. Who’s to say in a hundred thousand years, we aren’t the ones invading.
I also wonder how Christians (or any theist) would react if aliens actually showed up and had no knowledge of their ‘savior’.
Give me one verse where Jesus says that when one dies one goes to "heaven" or "hell". I can show you in anything you throw at me that this is just not true.
I’m not sure where you are trying to go with this but I will give it a shot. Though, I do have a feeling I will receive some ‘guru’ message as a response.
17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God
[Jesus was telling his disciples stories]
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.
I think it is quite clear that Jesus believed in heaven & hell.
Interesting article. I’d like to share with you a blog that I wrote a few months ago. I think it better conveys how I see other animals compared to humans.
"As you can see, number 4 "a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith". From what I understand up to this point, atheism fits this criteria, thus I feel the freedom to call it a religion."
It seemed to me that the point I made previously would have cleared this up, but apparently not. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in gods and nothing more. Atheism is not a cause. It is not a principle. It is not a belief system. It does not fit those criteria, not even slightly.
I would suggest you read about Russell's Teapot.
Atheism is only a religion to the extent that non-belief in any imagined concept is a religion.
Chris your atheism was that of child's. You took it to satanism which isn't atheism and now you are going to be christian minister. Let's just say that as a child you didn't understand your feelings and now as an adult you are mixing your christian viewpoint into a your view of atheism you never truly were part of (satanism is a theistic viewpoint) .
The idea that as an Atheist I'm a satanist is the view of many christians, it is their judgement. As an Atheist if there are no gods then there is no need for the opposite side of that coin, satan.
Chris you came to preach, you have no guilt because you have been forgiven doesn't mean you had no guilt just that you believe you have been forgiven so you feel better about yourself.
I appreciate your response Jim, and you are very correct in that my atheism was that of a teenager. It was only recently that I came to understand the true nature of my experience and I imagine there are others who have had or are having a similar experience. I am not sure I completely agree with the whole mixing thing but I will think a bit about it and seriously consider it.
I do not think that all Atheists are Satanists by default and the form of satanism which I alluded to is not a theistic viewpoint, it is one form of it that does not believe that satan is an actual being as do many people.
I did not come to preach, I came to be taught and to seek truth with open minded people who want to get to know me and not just bash me. Why are you here? Are you here to learn and/or teach? If so, then teach me something or seek truth with me instead of accusing me fruitlessly with shallow speculation. Thanks.