armed with a degree in theology, over the years i have come up with specific questions to ask of christians.
indeed i even attend "alpha courses" (introductory courses to becoming a christian) and put these questions to the hosts (usually under the guise of "well i'm thinking of becoming a christian but i have some questions...)
confrontation and causing offense gets you nowhere. also being impolite just reinforces their smug assertion that atheists are angry.
the question i have had most success with at putting people on the spot goes like this...
"a priest rapes a choirboy. the choirboy becomes depressed and traumatized, rejects jesus and the church (understandably), turns to drugs, dies young and spends an eternity in hell, unsaved and condemned by god.
the priest repents on his deathbed, embraces christ, is forgiven and spends forever in heaven.
by what measure can we consider this to be justice?"
i'm hoping that this question might one day become a meme, so that anyone who brings up the subject of christianity is immediately reminded of this question and has an answer demanded of them.
i have many other questions like this that cannot be simply swatted away with theology, mystery or dogma.
i'd be happy to share them with anyone who is interested.
thanks for reading, let me know if it has an impact on anyone you ask.
Some Christian scholars of this sense refer to their faith as "mature" or "honest". While I agree that their approach to studying scripture, language and history is honest, I see this overlooking way of reconciling faith/beliefs as being exactly as you describe it. My own struggles with faith came to an end when I stopped long enough to observe and reconcile the contents of my brain from a kind of third person perspective.
Thanks for sharing your story and insights.
If you want to dig a bit deeper, NEA, BASOR and MAARAV are all great journals to see what is really going on in Archaeology.
I don't have time to explain this, because I have to go to work, but this question should not stump anyone with a degree in theology. As an ex-Christian with a theology degree, I must say that this dilemma shows a basic lack of understanding of the fundamental concepts of Western Christian salvation teaching/soteriology and substitutionary atonement in general. A lot of people just simply cannot understand the ideology because of how foreign its concepts are. I will explain later.
If you need a degree in theology (a highly dubious field of study) to understand something that should be relatively simple, and comprehensible for any believer, then that makes your religion worthless. Theology is the study of trying to make sense of nonsense.
The mere fact that after almost 2000 years, there are over ten thousand different sects and hundreds of opinions and schools of thought that are mutually exclusive, all while "studying" the same text - means that it's really just about people reading their own beliefs, preconceptions and ideas into it. And not finding some original or universal meaning
We often argue with christians about prayer. Prayer is an act of obeisance, a bowing, scraping, boot-licking act of obsequiousness. It is not mainly asking for favours, but is rather expressing one's lowly relation to the Lord or Prince. It is a giving over of one's free will. "Lord, do with me as you will." It is a shameful act of a free man.
I think the more important question relating to justice in the Bible is how is Jesus sacrifice for us justice? Theists say that if there is no heaven as atheists say and a person kills and isn't cuaght they don't get punished and seem to see this as some way to argue against an atheist as if an appeal to emotion is evidence! But then if we flip it, as you have, the priest or criminal gets off scot free just by embracing Jesus.
People say how wonderful Jesus is because he suffered for us (thats debatable, considering he was a god knowing he would resurect after 3 days) and that he has paid our price. But that's terrible justice. if I commit a crime but another, inocent person, agrees to do my jail time why I go free and enjoy life... how is that justice? Heaven and jesus' sacrifice seem like wonderful get out of jail free cards. Personally a criminal never getting caught and simply being dead and buried seems far better punishment than eternal paradise.
Though it is eternal paradise with billions of Christians so maybe it's not that great after all.as a
I think how the pastor would respond would depend on whether this was actually your own personal crisis of faith that you were going through or whether it was the rant of someone entrenched in unbelief for whom no answer would ever suffice. If it were the latter i'm guessing he would point you to aristotle in order to avoid Shakespear. Aristotle said he was the wisest man in Athens as he finally knew that he knew nothing. Not many people attain that level of wisdom and so they end up in Shakespear 'full of sound and fury signifying nothing'. One of the nothings is inevitable.
I think it was Socrates that said that and not Aristotle. He did not claim to have the Truth which is what Christians do while they claim Atheists lack humility.
hmm, you might be right about that Reg, it could have been Socrates. It is a paradox. A godly Christian is a humble one; and yet claiming to have the absolute truth. The way I hold that together is that truth has been revealed to us in a spiritually self attesting way that is beyond contradiction. But that truth is so lofty and humbling, a Christian can and should say, I know something, but its very little compared to what there is to know about God. Christian theology sees believers learning about the depths of God for all eternity and yet never exhausting that knowledge.
On the other hand, Ive always thought atheism is a bit lacking in humility. I understand a form of agnosticism that says, I dont know but am open. I understand, "I dont really think so", I don't understand "definitely not." Although I do understand that human beings crave certainty one way or another, we dont do well with grey.
On the other hand, I've always thought atheism is a bit lacking in humility.
I get that a lot from people of faith. They assume Atheists are in denial of God(s) existence. Atheism is a position of a lack of belief in God(s). I do not believe Yahweh exists. I do not believe what you believe. I do not believe that Shiva exists. I do not believe what the Hindus believe. The same for all other gods mankind believes in.
I know you believe in the “one true God” but I do not believe that. My lack of belief in your god is the same thing as my lack of belief in fairies at the bottom of the garden or teapots in space. I just do not believe it. I do not believe people when they tell me that they can communicate with the Creator of the Universe. I do not believe them when they tell me that they are going to become immortal.
Agnosticism is a positon taken by people who claim to have no knowledge of God. However they are also Atheists because they do not believe in God.
I do not know nor do I claim to know how life began or how the Universe began. You do. I hold opinions on things like (say) Evolution because it is proven to be a fact. I do not however believe “in” Evolution. It is a matter of understanding and not one of belief. I have accepted it as a correct explanation of how life on Earth evolved after it first got started. I do not know exactly how it did start but you claim to know based upon what you have come to believe. I think you are wrong because it makes no logical sense to me that humans were formed on one particular day due my knowledge and understanding of Evolution. However Christian insist that they have the correct answers to these question and but won’t give me any evidence as to why
a) I am wrong in what I think or
b) What their evidence is apart from claiming the Bible is the proof.
So do I lack humility for claiming not to know and you don’t because you believe you do?
I understand where you are coming from Reg, but your being a little simplistic to say the least. You draw false equivalence. If the majority believed in fairies and lived their life on that belief we would be having a different discussion. As it is, you don't call yourself an a-fairiest, you call yourself an atheist, and you frequent places like this. It is an identity that you have assumed. You may think it strengthens your argument to talk about fairies and make God to be in the same category but thats silly. It does nothing of the sort. You are in a minority, not tackling a handful of fairy believers.
If atheism merely purports to be the belief system that there is no god, then fair enough. However, if atheism claims to know there is no god that is different.