Uh-oh! Now I've done it!

I'm not sure exactly what it is I've done, but it appears I've stepped in some serious do-do.

I think it must have been a comment I made to one of my fundamental friends on Facebook, who is always posting those cutsie little Bible verses.

I usually don't let it get to me, but she was really in top gear posting a whole bunch of real fire and brimstone stuff, railing off about 'sinners' and 'unbelievers', and she was getting a lot of 'Amen', 'God is great, 'Praise the Lord', and 'Thank you Jesus', comments, which seemed to be spurring her on.

Under normal circumstances, I'd have 'Unfriended' her a long time ago, but she's family, and, well, somehow, it just didn't seem right.

Anyway, all I did was quote a Bible verse, I think it was (Mat 7:1) 'Be not judges of others, and you will not be judged'. Now I'm getting bombarded with hate mail. It fills my message box, and it's even encroaching on my e-mail. How they got my e-mail address is anybody's guess.

I've been fulminated, railed, railed in, railed off, reviled, vilified and vituperated. I've been condemned and sentenced to rot in Hell, fry in Hell, burn in Hell, been invited to f**K off to Hell, and told to go back to Hell. (Well, at least, my coffee should stay warm). I've been threatened with stabbing, shooting, gutting, poisoning, death, disemboweling, dismemberment... and AIDS(?)

My crime? I'm guilty of persecuting Christians. News to me, but that's what I'm told.

Obviously, nobody's persecuting me, but, despite that, a lot of people are coming after me with knives drawn. Apparently, as a known spawn of Satan Atheist, I had no right to quote from the Bible. If I took this lot seriously, I'd be cowering under my bed right now.

Okay, so, who hates me so much?

Evidently, nobody hates me. Everyone loves me. Ostensibly,  this   comes straight from a cluster of peaceful, God-fearing, Loving, caring, Christians, who are only concerned about the welfare of my immortal soul, and they're just demonstrating their "Christian Love and Tolerance".

Strangely (even though they can't spell) most of them speak fluent profanity. Although the (repeated) use of the regular 4 letter words is the norm, some can get extremely creative with their expletives. Who could guess that such fine, upstanding, pillars of the community even knew such words, let alone used them... Bet their 'God' is really proud of them.

And you know what's so amazing? none of these poison-pen artists even know me. Some may be vaguely acquainted with me, but most I've never even heard of and are not on my friends list.

Go figure...

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I've been thinking about this concept a lot recently. I have dozens of friends who have been YEC Born Again Christians for the last 40 years or more. Occasionally I will challenge some of their beliefs. Some of then will reply as Mr Strauss's friends did with anger and venom. Some will parrot nonsense rebuttals that they've been taught. Others will try to make a reasonable response but they don't convince me or even themselves.

It's this last group that I feel sorry for. I can almost smell the smoke from gears in their brains grinding and grinding and grinding together. The extreme cognitive dissonance must be a terrible feeling for them. They have been conditioned for so long to "fight the good fight", "keep the faith", and "discard their doubt" that they will never be able to step back and take an objective look at their belief system.

I have written them off as lost. They will never listen to reason.

I'm a believer and you would place me into that third category probably.

I do not discount doubt and try and limit the effects of confirmation bias.

I get what you are attempting to explain with cognitive dissonance but how do you know you don't suffer from the same disease as well? Is it possible that you have achieved consonance internally and that's why you feel the way you do?

I try my hardest to be objective and am offended at the idea that I would never listen to reason.

Your post reeks of the same disease you pity in others.

How do you reconcile the entire book of Genesis with modern science? How do you reconcile a "Loving God" who tortures, drowns, incinerates cities, kills babies, maims and murders, How do you reconcile Evil and Suffering with God's Perfect Plan? Do you have an authentic Bible that was signed by God? Do you have ANY evidence that your Jesus God exists?

I am eager to consider any answers that you can present.

I highly doubt you've researched any of this over the last forty years if those are your questions. Rhetoric and nothing more.

Why answer your questions when you ignored mine?

I have not "achieved" consonance, it is the default state. If I made extraordinary claims that I could not justify then I would experience dissonance.

You just made an extraordinary claim.

Do you have ANY evidence that it's the default state? Maybe you coming to that conclusion is how you achieved consonance.

Genesis is not a science book neither is the the bible as a whole. The science of God by Gerald Schroeder I find terribly interesting. Not all the answers but an interesting idea.

I love children so I hate pedophilia and all other forms of child abuse. Just because I hate some things does that mean I'm not loving as well? I don't expect you to think that what you deem terrible is morally acceptable. It would take an understanding of the relationship of man and God that you will not accept. Although you may not find it sufficient I do. If you would like to discuss specifics in regards to the "baby killing and maiming" I will try and express my views in a reasonable way.

As to evil and suffering I don't really know. I do think light/dark, hot/cold makes some sense. Without pain what is pleasure? Without misery what is joy? I think God is presenting us with a foil so that we appreciate eternity with Him. Certainly not claiming this to be true but it's an interesting idea to me.

We don't even have the original manuscripts written by the men much less a bible signed by God. Although it can be easily presented that the bible is reliable as far as historical documents go. Even Bart Ehrman says that the bible we have today says pretty much the same thing. Check out his debate with James White.

And yes there is good evidence that Jesus existed and was crucified under pontius Pilate somewhere around 26ad-36ad. The standard extra biblical stuff is there although I'm sure you've heard it over the last forty years. If you would like I can provide a list. We can discuss if he was God are not but only crazy Jesus myth people say he never existed. In fact it's a pretty new thing as the idea is maybe a couple hundred years old. Do you know of anyone questioning the existence of Jesus in the first few centuries of the church?

What extraordinary claim have I made?

My original message was about young-earth-creationists who take the book of Genesis as fact. They believe that the universe was created 6000 to 10000 years ago. They believe in a global flood. They believe in the Exodus story.

I never mentioned pedophilia. I was referring to God killing innocent babies and children. Genesis 12:29, 2 Kings 2:23-24

Evil and Suffering? Would you hold your child's hand in the fire just so he could appreciate what it's like not to feel pain?

"Although it can be easily presented that the bible is reliable as far as historical documents go."  This is an extremely  extraordinary claim.

"And yes there is good evidence that Jesus existed and was crucified under pontius Pilate somewhere around 26ad-36ad. The standard extra biblical stuff is there". This is another extremely extraordinary claim. Can you present even ONE first hand, eye witness account of any event concerning Jesus? The Gospels were written by anonymous authors 40 to 120ad. One of the most widely quoted historians, Josephus wasn't even born until 37ad. Yes, I would like to see your list. Did Paul believe that Jesus was real person? He seems to imply that Jesus was a glowing spirit who he only saw in visions and dreams.

The extraordinary claim is that you do not suffer from cognitive dissonance and are not seeking consonance. How do you know that? If my worldview is correct then that is exactly the case.

By stating that you are in the default state of consonance then your worldview is correct. How do you know your ideas are the default state?

If your original statement wasn't directed at me why ask it? Were you assuming I believed something without knowing if it was true or not? You know what they say about assumptions right...

I mentioned pedophilia as an example. You misunderstand I think. I'll try another. I love my family so therefore I hate anything that would do my family harm. Get it? A loving God will naturally hate the things that oppose what he loves.

Why is it an extraordinary claim. What I am saying specifically in regards to the New Testament is that we can trust that what we have to day is pretty darn close to what was originally written. There is a whole field of study called higher criticism. It's how we try and determine what was originally written in very ancient literature etc... Do you trust anything in ancient history? If so by what standard? Would you require firsthand eyewitness accounts in order to believe something occurred in history?

Yes Paul believed Jesus was a real person.

In the last forty years you have accomplished very little in trying to understand what Christians actually believe. You expound rhetoric as if it were true and it only demonstrates your ignorance. Why do you often ignore my questions? Do you have any historical source questioning the existence of Jesus? No. Because it would be like saying Abraham Lincoln didn't exist or the holocaust never happened for them.
I wouldn't put my child's hand in a fire but poverty and struggle can make a much better person. The bible says that suffering produces patience, patience produces character, and character produces hope. It's like the anti yoda. I have personally found that people that do not struggle and have had everything come easy to them are hard to deal with.

I used to get plenty of abuse from Christians.  Their vitriol never ceased to amaze me. Once I was verbally abused by a guy that went from zero to f**king nuts in under 2 seconds when I asked someone else what he thought of the morality of the biblical story about the 2 bears killing 42 children. He was ranting that I was “spewing lies” because that story is not in the Bible, which it is: 2 Kings 2:24. I asked him to open his Bible but he did not even own one, so I gave him a spare one of mine that the Jehovahs left behind. That is not quite the same though as when your average xians starts getting nasty.

I tell them that “I will always find it is my heart to forgive you”. “I will not judge you like you judge me”. I do so with no trace of sarcasm in my voice. “Please refrain from using so many obscenities”. Surely you know what Matthew says in your good book about it? You know, verse 22:37? Oh, ok he says “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The problem I have with many Christians is that they are an embarrassment to much of what the core of Christianity is about – or as I sometimes say to them (with no trace of sarcasm) “Jesus would be turning in his grave if he could hear you say that”. :-)

I've been fulminated, railed, railed in, railed off, reviled, vilified and vituperated. I've been condemned and sentenced to rot in Hell, fry in Hell, burn in Hell, been invited to f**K off to Hell, and told to go back to Hell. (Well, at least, my coffee should stay warm). I've been threatened with stabbing, shooting, gutting, poisoning, death, disemboweling, dismemberment... and AIDS(?)

What a treasure trove of material. Start a 'Christian Crank Mail' section on your Facebook page. Post quotes, with spelling as-is, and name names!

As a matter of fact, I threatened to do exactly that, if they didn't stop with the hate-mail. We'll see what happens.

Must admit, I found it hilarious at first, but it's starting to get old.

I'm sure these guys are an embarrassment to all the good and decent Christians out there.

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