What are your thoughts?  In what ways is the church the devil's playground?  In my former career as a pastor, I had quietly come to this realization because of the injustices I often saw Christians commit against other Christians within the church, as well as to others outside the church.  It was often disheartening to see Christians talk so high and mighty about how worthy they were to "the Lord,"  and yet all the while be exactly the opposite.  It was even more damning and disgusting when I became the target of such ill will, when it came to putting child safety over church politics.  So I wonder what any of your thoughts were - particularly those who are former Christians.  What say you?

Please note, that I use the term "devil" not in it's generally accepted theological sense of an actual anthropomorphic being, but as a more loosely personification of the concept of evil and the injustices human beings often commit against each other.

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I think I love Barry's honesty most of all.  Have you noticed he never tries to shirk a point, or pretend to be anything he isn't?  What a fabulous counterpoint to the idiots we get here sometimes.

I've said it before, even though he isn't ENTIREly one of us, he's one of us.

An unusual admission from a theist, in that it is honest.

I do wonder about your theistic position, however, is it a belief in the Christian god, Jewish god, other?


I'm curious, Norm, as to upon what do you base your differentiation. Do you have reason to believe that the Jewish god is not the same as the Christian god, although Yeshua and his entire gang were Jews who payed their devotions to the Jewish god?

Actually, one group of Christians, known as the Patripassianists, who lived at about the time that Christianity was in the process of being formalized, believed that there was no trinity, that god himself descended to earth, allowed himself to be born of a virgin, crucified and ultimately resurrected himself and ascended back to the old homestead.

Which would kinda make the Jewish god and the Christian god, the same figment of imagination.

Your last sentence hit the nail on the head. I have reason to believe that many Christians and Jews believe in a different god because they have told me so. I have had little success in understanding what it is that any of the Christians believe as they are all over the map and when one tries to nail them down to a definition, they become as slippery as eels.

So, I'm left with finding my own definition which is ironic for an Atheist who has no love at all for theists. Any definition which I advance is bitterly denied by Christians so I'm a literalist who embraces which ever contradiction or error seems most to fit my mood.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster (peace & sauce be upon Him) would be a valid choice were one to require a god.

In 325 CE, Norm, Emperor Constantine convened a Council of Christian Bishops in Nicea, with instructions to come up with an official definition of what Christianity was, it was at this time, that it was decided which books would be considered authentic and which were forgeries or written by people not empowered to speak for the religion, thus the New Testament was collated.

Prior to that date, there were a bunch of different divisions of Christianity, with different, often divergent beliefs - much like now - the council of Nicea was supposed to put an end to that, but human nature being what it is, clearly it began again as the "One True Church" of Constantine's vision became more and more abusive.

Based upon what?  My upbringing?  My study of theology?  My own personal experience?

There is a lot that I can say with regards to each one of these, and in a number of ways, each informs the other on a number of levels and not one is master over the other.  One may drive the bus from time to time, but another is navigating and another is a passenger - and from time to time, they switch seats and the bus may go off-road too.

I've never been one who colors within the lines.  I have most certainly tried, to the behest of a society bent on such conformity and to the detriment of my own personal and mental health, but recently decided to take the little pill called fukitol and now my coloring looks something like that out of the t-shirt drawer of a Grateful Dead hippie.

Sorry, I was having a little fun here with the answer.  A more simple response might be the Judeo-Christian position, but not rigidly linked to any dogmatic or doctrinal position thereof.

I KNOW that pill!!:-)/\:-) high five

"A great deal of folks come to church not to really worship God, but themselves because they put on heirs of greatness in exchange for denying the truth about the human condition - that they are personally responsible and accountable for the human condition of which they are a part."  - Professor Robert isn't like this.  He seems like a Christian with integrity (as do yourself).  He even has a convincing argument for why God does not prevent injustice and misfortune (- the universe wouldn't work). 

RE: "He even has a convincing argument for why God does not prevent injustice and misfortune (- the universe wouldn't work)."

So how do you account for the alleged drowning of the Egyptians in the Red Sea, the people behind the Walls of Jericho, the sun standing still (so laughable!) that lengthened the day so Joshua could finish his killing spree? If those interventions didn't stop Bob's universe from working, how would healing all of the starving African children upset the world applecart?

Explanation, please, Paynton --

How about turning the Pharaoh's heart to stone so he would not free the Jews, just so god could later murder all the 1st born children.

Who is Professor Robert?  Forgive (and cure) my ignorance.


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