We don't agree about everything and that's OK. What we do agree on is the need to carry on the discussion in a civil way.

Before you contribute to a discussion, familiarize yourself with logical fallacies. Ad hominem attacks will not be tolerated.

The goal here is for civil conversation so be nice; no profanity. Anyone who calls another person an idiot will be banned.

Lastly remember, when someone disagrees with your views it does not mean they like you less as a person. If you can't handle being disagreed with then go away.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This guy is single-handedly ruining Christianity!/GodsWordIsLaw

Christians, PLEASE don't tolerate this guy as the ambassador of your faith. You can do better than that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why are so many young Christians leaving the fold?

Obviously to have lots of sex, drink and do drugs of course.

"So 20 and 30-somethings are leaving—but why? When I ask church people, I receive some variation of this answer: moral compromise. A teenage girl goes off to college and starts to party. A young man moves in with his girlfriend. Soon the conflict between belief and behavior becomes unbearable. Tired of dealing with a guilty conscience and unwilling to abandon their sinful lifestyles, they drop their Christian commitment. They may cite intellectual skepticism or disappointments with the church, but these are smokescreens designed to hide the reason. "They change their creed to match their deeds," as my parents would say." from Christianity Today.

Intellectual skepticism is a smokescreen? You condescending asshole.

See, I want to have a rational conversation with the believers in my family about my apostasy, but this would be their default reaction. Pull your heads out of Jesus' non-existent ass and own up to the contradictions, the intolerance and the hatred your loving religion espoused and think for yourselves. If you have to consult the pastor, a Christian blog etc before you can react, you are not thinking for yourself.

The very beginning of my deconversion began when I read the Bible closely one day -- rather than skimming through the genealogy of Jesus I read it. His lineage to King David, a requisite for the Jewish Messiah came from Joseph. But Jesus isn't related to Joseph, so how could that count?

At the same time, I was spending time helping a Jewish friend of mine with her synagogues youth group. This lead me to investigate the reasons the Jews still reject Jesus as the Messiah and I was face to face with some really good reasons, including the lineage example and many unfulfilled prophecies.

I tried broaching this topic with friends in the church who only repeated what we had been told all our lives in church: that Jesus would fulfill the rest of the prophecies on his return. But no one could find a single reference in the Bible to back up that supposition. Later, I asked my step-mom about the lineage problem and she stubbornly claimed it didn't matter because Joseph adopted Jesus. When I brought up the unfulfilled prophecies, she told me I was getting awfully close to blasphemy and the conversation ended. That was the last time we spoke of, lest she risk eternal damnation by simply hearing my blasphemy.

It was through years of independent study before I could wade through these intellectual and spiritual problems by reading books and blogs from both sides of the debate. It was my genuine hope I would be able to reconcile these problems with my Christian faith, but that did not happen. I refuse to disable the amazing brain God gave me and just swallow something on faith.

My reasons for maintaining my disbelief in Christianity are rich and varied, but all are intellectually based. I never left the faith so I could feel better about premarital sex or getting drunk. I'm deeply insulted that this is the prevailing reason so many Christians believe I left the faith. It is this attitude which make it hard for me to remain respectful of believers.

I know you have to protect yourself from the same doubts that assailed me, but don't do so by insulting both of our intelligence.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Why does it always come down to this?

Can we be honest for a second? Jesus hasn't come back in more than 2,000 years. This surprised the heck out of the earliest of Christians because they recorded him as saying "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Matthew 16:28

My point is not to launch into a discussion of the fallacies of sola scriptura (although I would be happy to have that conversation later!). The point is to lay the groundwork: can we all agree that whatever we think we understand about the Bible, no one is 100% right.

And I want to be upfront here, I am no longer a Christian, so I don't really have a dog in this fight, I'm not afraid of eternal damnation or awaiting eternal reward. But I grew up in the church, was a rock star at Bible quiz and well into my twenties was in love with Jesus. So, I still have a profound respect for the teachings of Christ and the Bible where his teachings are drawn from. In my opinion, the world would be a much better place if more Christians acted like Rob Bell than Pat Robertson.

So, I read this article on the Huffington Post and thought it was beautifully insightful (For those of you too lazy read the article, the author reflects on his own wealth and Christ's command to give to those in need). And the very first comment was from someone saying that Jesus would reject socialism and the insinuation that the "needy" is synonymous with the "lazy." More than half the comments are from this person eschewing the evils of socialism.

Okay, I get it. You hate socialism. Fine. The article was proposing no such thing. I need some insights from the Conservative Christians out there on a few things.

1) Are you genuinely concerned that socialism is coming to America? We talk about the principals and ideals of socialism, but even the health care reform of President Obama is not socialism. We will always be a free market economy.

2) Why does every remark about the merits of helping people in need come with the implication that these people are just lazy people who don't want to work and collect all of our money. Have you met those people? The people I know who want help from the government have jobs and live within their means but still can't make ends meet. If we're giving away billions of dollars to major corporations who make crappy decisions, why can't we give to the people affected by those crappy decisions?

3) And most importantly - why in the heck is Jesus being dragged into so many political arguments these days? One of the main reasons Jews denied (and continue to deny) that he is the Messiah is because of his patent lack of involvement in politics. The Jews expected a political leader to rule the kingdom and reclaim the land of Israel. It's not fair to say "Jesus said so" ... when he never said so. When an athlete thanks Jesus for the winning touch down, does that mean the other team were out of his favor? It feels the same to me in politics - you want to invoke the name of Jesus in the hopes that it will sway voters because they follow him. That's not fair, if your argument can't stand on it's own merit, it's not a valid argument.

I've broken free of the shackles of blind faith and am able to think and reason for myself. But calling on the name of Jesus to win your argument is not a fair win at all. This video on Funny or Die sums it up pretty well for me, and makes me laugh all at once.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Continued from Facebook

I'm moving this from Facebook ...
I posted this picture because it made me chuckle, I didn't really give it much thought. But it resulted in a string of comments I'd like to continue (reproduced below).

  • Rich Kramer You just don't stop, do you!! I'm going to start posing all of my Views on here too, Eric!
    17 hours ago · 

  • Samantha Bishop-Strand Or just seeing things right! Once I convert Rich my obligation to the liberal party will be complete! Ok I'll be good now. :-)
    17 hours ago · 

  • David Ferber Actually, He made it a miracle by creating something from nothing to support the multitudes around him who weren't working but expected someone else to ...oh, wait, He's the 1%... ;)
    15 hours ago · 

  • Samantha Bishop-Strand Cute Ferb, good try! But the multitude, both then and today expected nothing. The knee-jerk human reaction was to send them away to fend for themselves. But He used the contributions of a few to feed the crowd.
    14 hours ago · 

  • Tim Malone Nice Sam!
    5 hours ago ·  ·  1

  • Mike Schnell It is not socialism because it is a private individual, not the government who is feeding the masses. That is the difference that most people don't understand. Conservatives do not want to see people suffer but they believe that private individuals or private social organizations do a better job solving the problem than the government.
    2 hours ago ·  ·  2

  • David Ferber Nice Mike! And your point has been proven over and over again, just as the liberal point is being proven again (and yet, again) in Greece, Europe... (Just show me the successful socialist countries with our standard of living and freedom, and I'll convert...) Merry Christmas! ;)
    2 hours ago · 

In response to Schnell and Ferb:

Yes, we do understand that conservatives don't just want people to starve to death and they give to private institutions. I agree that government waste is rampant, but I would counter that government reach and capacity for helping is greater. It would be easier for me to sympathize with conservatives if whenever the discussion of government redistribution of wealth didn't instantly decline to insinuating that the people who would most benefit from such a measure are sitting on the ass watching cable TV and waiting for a handout. Do those people exist? Of course they do, but they are a minority.

Ferb, Sweden is a pretty good example of a country that is managed under a social democracy and they have one of the highest standards of living and are one of the most industrialized countries in the world.

Also, I'm curious - do you think the current system we have in place is working? It seems household income is stagnant if not down from years before, unemployment remains high, the middle class is rapidly shrinking. Do you think these things aren't happening? (I am not being antagonistic, I am genuinely interested to know if you think these things are happening or they're some type of social darwninism or what ...)

Leave your responses below! Be warned however, quotes from Glen Beck will be counted as an automatic surrender.