:D :D Oh, who knows. It is obvious that Genesis uses figurative language to describe certain things. It is equally clear that some of the things that are so described have actually happened. The point is that whether Genesis uses figurative or literal language in that part or another, every part is true. :D ;)
ondrej wrote: All I really care about is the hostility that some of you show to Christian views.
@ ondrej - Okay, so a burglar breaks into your house and plugs cords into your kids' brains, and programs them to dedicate their lives to a cause that will ultimate cause unnecessary great suffering to millions. That is how I view Christians when they come into this website. I view them as this burglar. I view you as this burglar. So if you look at it from my perspective, I am being very civil, but only because I believe you are doing the best you can with what you have and I am a compassionate person.
I'm with you Flower. For all the self congratulation theists award themselves with, the realities seem to be different. To say they are well meaning (which is about as good as you can get) differentiates them not at all from a totalitarian dictator. To say they do good things, differentiates them not at all from any other group (and is very often not true; and when it is true, the good things are often deeply tainted by some very bad ones).
But the big and important accusation is that they are just wrong. And therefore the appallingly disgusting morality they have inflicted on us all for ever is based on a pack of lies maintained by charlatans (wearing strange dresses if you're a Catholic). Is it necessary to be self aware to be a charlatan? No... (though it compounds the offense when done deliberately). And to be deluded when common sense should tell you otherwise, does not excuse profiteering from the vulnerable and guillible one iota.
When I gave up my faith, I felt enormous guilt about all the people I had tried to persuade to believe a lot of exploitative rubbish. And I was right to feel it.
And just to add...yes indeed: with 30+ years of accumulated knowledge from the inside, I feel very deep hostility to Christian views.
I genuinely feel no hostility whatsoever to Christians though, until such time as their actions deserve it (ie the criminal liar, historical revisionist and protector of child abusers, Mr Ratzinger...). I feel a fair amount of hostility to him - but not for his views: for his actions.
You know, I find your view extremely baffling – somebody asks why it is that Christians try to preserve their lives. When I come here and propose an answer, as clearly as I am able, and after I answer a whole lot of some very strange and largely irrelevant subsequent questions, you accuse me of being a burglar. How does that seem reasonable to you? And, above all, how do you expect to have questions answered then? Is this forum all about asking questions such as: why do Christians do this or that, and answering yourself with – because they are probably stupid and misleading and they don't really believe all of that bullshit they teach? Do you not think that the views Christians actually have might have some bearing on this matter? :D :)
I was being a little over-the-top, perhaps, when I said I viewed you as a burglar. I meant this metaphorically as I did when I wrote about the part of plugging cords into children's brains.
My point is that as much as I believe many Christians are perfectly nice and well meaning people, and do many good things... there can be a very negative side to some of their teachings and mind-sets.
My number one complaint against Christians, is the childhood indoctrination techniques many of them use. I suspect this does more harm than good. I'm still pondering the matter, however, instinctively, it does not sit well with me to teach young children there is a loving sky daddy and that one day all will be well, when that may not be the case at all.
One day, all may be asleep forever so learn to work within the framework of the here and now and hopefully this world would be a much better place.
I respect that opinion completely. :) I disagree, obviously, but I really do see your point.
My thoughts on this matter are rather simple though – every parent will definitely teach their children to behave in certain ways and influence their thinking and their behaviour in many aspects – that is what upbringing is all about after all. What kinds of things will I try to teach my children then? It is obvious that I will only try to teach them things that I myself find good, Christianity being one of them. How could anybody expect anything else from a parent?
Now of course if my children form a different opinion, I will not force Christianity upon them – my family didn't force me to become a Christian either, and nor did they force me to become an atheist, or a hinduist for that matter... And I wouldn't have it any other way. In fact, what my parents have tried to teach me in the first place was respect. I was warned many times not to become some sort of a religious fanatic, and I was also taught not to be disrespectful of other people's beliefs, which is equally important.
Another person may be (and I might even add that they usually are) wiser and better than I am myself – if not in all aspects then most certainly in some. Even if they hold some beliefs that I find wrong, or quite often even ridiculous, it seems rather too easy to just write them off because of that, although that temptation may be particularly strong as anybody who frequents forums such as this one surely knows... :D ;) But I do not think that is completely right – or even beneficial for that matter. That way you can neither learn anything from these people (who would listen to anything that a person, that one considers stupid, says), nor help them, if they indeed seem to need help.
I really can't imagine how I could hold it against you if you thought that I was a complete idiot for believing in Christianity – I find it very hard myself to assemble any resemblance of respect for people that believe in esotericism and similar things. But I assume this is probably because I haven't really met a person that I would know reasonably well (and thus respect in any way) and that would hold such beliefs. I think this is what it all ultimately boils down to: do you respect any particular believer enough to acknowledge that it is possible to hold their particular belief and be a reasonable person? I respect Islam as a religion – not because I think they are particularly right about anything, I respect Islam because I know a Muslim whom I respect very much.
I think that is basically what this is all about. If you respect a person, you have already, to a large extent, acknowledged that it is possible to hold their beliefs reasonably. If, on the other hand, you do not respect a person, you will not listen to them anyway... :)
Sorry that this post was so dreadfully long again... Somehow I never really got the hang of brevity. :D ;)
"But I assume this is probably because I haven't really met a person that I would know reasonably well (and thus respect in any way) and that would hold such beliefs. I think this is what it all ultimately boils down to:"
I suspect you are correct. The problem with atheism in hyper-religious countries like the U.S. is that it tends to be largely invisible or anonymous out of fear of the very real harm that "good Chrisitians" are known to do to such people if outed.
You probably know quite a few atheists that you respect; you just don't know that they ARE atheists. :-)
When I was becoming a candidate for the Methodist Ministry I had some rather odd conversations with a number of clergy who seemed to be trying to talk me out of my candidature. It was not until I lost my religious beliefs that I realized that these people were trying to tell me that they were trapped in a system that they could not get out of without financial and social hardship to themselves and their family and that they no longer believed in the faith they were paid to support. I got one of them to admit this later. The others I lost track of when I switched to psychology instead.
IOW, there are atheists in some very surprising places, if you know how to read between the lines.
No, no, I actually know a lot of atheists that I respect very much. I might have mentioned that I was a practical atheist for quite some time myself and so I even have some first hand experience, I know that one can very reasonably and in all sincerity be an atheist and I respect that completely. :)
I never actually realized that it might be any kind of a problem to be an atheist in the U.S. until I read some of the conversations here. I believe that may be one of the reasons why many of you have such strong negative feelings concerning religion, it would seem quite natural, I think. I live in Europe myself – our country has been fairly Christian in the past, but nowadays it is not really a problem to be an atheist, there is no prejudice against that sort of thing any more – I certainly cannot sincerely imagine that anyone would care to hide that they are atheists around here, they might be more inclined to hide that they are Christians in fact. :D :) Surely certain grandmothers do not like their children and grandchildren being atheists very much, but even they seem to be very civil about that. :D :D :D
We are not being punished for Adam's sin. Nor is a child being punished for their parent being an alcoholic.
@ ondrej - Here is a simple way to look at it. No loving God would create beings that have the capacity to suffer eternally or too any severe degree, for that matter (or capable of suffering at all). Case closed, that's all I need to know. Have a nice life.
If God gives us life, shouldn't he be the one to take it away? Shouldn't he know what's best for us and what all of us will accomplish throughout our entire lifetimes?
Honestly, it's like debating which type of fairies are more aerodynamic. There is no evidence that gods exist, let alone that they've communicated anything to us - so trying to think out what's right from the perspective of a god existing is like debating the ethics of wonderland.