Ronin of the Spirit

Because reality is beautiful.

Common creationalist misconceptions.

This is a response to a comment on my blog awhile ago, which I just today had the time to tackle.  I’m chipping at some common Christian misconceptions.  This is not to say that only Christians make these errors, or they are the only errors.  These are just some that my dad made.

I said “They all say that” in response to the statement “I am right because God says so.”   It was said that they all say the sum of two and two is four as well.  That’s not a proper comparison.  Everyone agreeing that 2 + 2 = 4 is fine, because four is not mutually exclusive.  The four of the Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists, is all the same.  However, they all say that they act in accordance with the divine.  Their answers are mutually exclusive, so the fact that they all say they have the answer says that most, if not all, of them are wrong.  Consider, 150 men in room saying they are the President of Bolivia.  It is a mutually exclusive claim.  At least 149 of them must be lying, perhaps all.  Suspicion is warranted when “That’s what they all say.” applies to subjects to which there can be only one correct answer, but there are, instead many.

Next it was said that God demands worship in the Bible, so the real question is not which God is real, but is the Bible true.  True enough, but a bit misleading.  The Koran also claims to be the word of God, as does the book of Mormon.  The question is not “Which of these books is true?”  To ask that is to assume that one is, in fact true.   The question is, “Are any of these books true?”

Then it was said, creation demands a creator.  Yes, and no.  Design demands a design process.  Who is the designer of open source software?  Who provides the central, top down, single design vision? No one.  The developers are volunteers, they take the code and change what they feel like.  Changes which make the software fitter are kept.  When changes make the software less fit, they are removed, and the software continues to exist.  There is a design process, but no designer.  Natural selection provides this for life.

“The Bible is scientific, logical, and believable.”  No it’s not.  Talking donkeys, suns stopping in the sky, unicorns, etc.   Do not kid yourself.  If you chose to believe the Bible despite these things, that’s fine, but please don’t pretend that it’s logical.

“The only other explanation is atheism”  Several billion Muslims and Buddhists would beg to differ.

“If the world could be proven to be approximately 7k years old, then that would prove the Bible was true.”  I wasn’t aware the truth of the Bible was up for debate, and dependent upon scientific evidence.  If that’s so, the Bible is clearly wrong, case closed.  If the Bible is true regardless of proof, what possible point could there be in discussing proof?

The thickness of the dust on the moon.  *sigh*  This argument is totally bogus, and I will let this link do the talking.

The giant redwoods do have precursor species and have nothing to do with the flood.

Mount Saint Helen’s formations were ash, not rock, and have nothing to do with anything in particular with other formations.

Polystrate trees: first this then this, and finally this:  What percentage of the worlds strata reveals polystrate trees vs the percentage that doesn’t?  Then explain why an anomaly that appears less then 1/100 of 1% of the time says anything about how well the theory works in general.  If you accept the logic that the slightest irregularity destroys a whole theory, I have some Bible verses for you.

I need sources sited for fossils smelling like fish, and intact bone marrow, to research that.

“The funny thing is, of course, that “science” will try and keep coming up with something, anything rather than accept that the design was intelligent and that requires an Intelligent Designer”

Well, yes, that’s science’s job to describe things in natural rather than supernatural terms.  Once upon a time, everybody just knew that you got sick from supernatural forces, but science corrected that.  With time it will correct other things that people attribute to the divine.   And religion will will continue to fight any encroachment of its power over people.

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February 10, 2009 - Posted by | atheism, Christianity, Paranormal, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , ,

27 Comments »

  1. This is an excellent post! I really enjoyed reading it.

    “The funny thing is, of course, that “science” will try and keep coming up with something, anything rather than accept that the design was intelligent and that requires an Intelligent Designer”

    We hear this all the time, don’t we? It displays a complete ignorance and lack of understanding about the nature of science.

    Here are a couple of videos I think you might enjoy. Perhaps they can help clear up other people’s misconceptions as well. I actually used them both as part of our homeschool science curriculum (although in Texas I’m not even required to teach science! 😯 )!

    The Faith Cake explains the errors and flaws in the claim that science requires faith.

    Skewed Views of Science
    Well, that title pretty much speaks for itself.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Lottie | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. I forgot to mention that the comment I quoted is a classic case of begging the question wherein the premise assumes the conclusion. This is a blatant logical fallacy.

    (I know you know this. I just wanted to offer any support that I possibly could. Perhaps it will help expand others’ understanding.)

    Comment by Lottie | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. Oops! I messed up that last link. Sorry about that. Here it is raw:

    http://skepdic.com/begging.html

    Comment by Lottie | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. Sigh…. oh the moon dust… no doubt the solar wind blew it away, but no matter, oil field leaching (actually the lack thereof) both crust core and ice core samplings, snow depths in Greenland, delta formation, erosion rates, river bed remnants in the sea bed, etc. and etc. all point to a very, very young creation. Canyon formation, so-called crust “overthrusts”, and other misallignments of the geological column, fossil formation, and on and on point to flood deposit formation rather than long slow formation.

    The point is that the earth and all upon it couldn’t possibly be as old as it would have to be for evolution. And once that’s done there has to be special creation, which means a creator, etc.

    Of course Hindus and Buddhists would beg to disagree. Although the Hindu expecially have an explanation of creation easily as ludicrous as the Greek or Roman Pantheon’s. I repeat myself that the Bible’s explanation is simple and straight forward and feasible. Just as one example… the dimensions of the Ark which form a extremely stable barge model that can take towering waves wheras the Giglamesh Epic has an Ark shaped like a cube.

    And naturally, the idea of a donkey talking is silly. As silly as the idea that a single celled animal propels itself with an electric motor that spins the flagellum like a propeller. Which it does. Of course that structure evolved slowly over eons or suddenly through mutation. I mean almost daily we see living creature mutate electric motors, don’t we? The same is true of the unbelievable complexity of DNA. Slowly over billions of years, with no possibility of survival in each generation. The idea makes a donkey talking seem fairly mundane.

    And we know that it all comes back to paradigm. The creationist looks at the layers of the Grand Canyon and describes how the various waves of sediments of varying densities were laid down by the Flood and the evolutionist tells how each one was formed over millions of years. For a long time creationists abdicated their responsibility. Soon after Darwin they began a program of appeasement and accomodation so that there could be “theistic evolution” or “the day age theory” or the “gap theory”. I say it to the shame of Dr. Scofield that he included the latter in his marginal notes.

    But the true evolutionist will quite rightly have none of it. “If evolution is not true, then there must be a God” said one of the Huxley’s… “and that is unthinkable”. THAT is what I call a free thinking scientific attitude.

    Comment by Dad | February 14, 2009 | Reply

  5. I’ll deal with those in a bit. First tell me what I got wrong on the first one.

    Comment by truthwalker | February 15, 2009 | Reply

  6. Ok, paragraph one… the “That’s what they all say” was a non-serious jab at you for using the same expression.

    Next point, “which is true, the Bible, the Koran, the book of Mormon?” Or better yet the question is are any true, or any the actual word of God? I can tell you which is BETTER, the one that dates back at least 3000 years and has passed the tests of time and scholarship. The history of the Book of Mormon is just silly and the Koran has had to be rewritten so many times its hardly recognizable from the original. Can I PROVE the Bible is not just the Word of God, which I believe, or the ONLY Word of God, which I also believe? Depends on what you call “proof”. There is certainly more proof for those things than the integrity of the “discovery” of Piltdown Man, Java Man, Nebraska Man and etc. You might as well say the coincidence of Richard Leaky feeling led twice to wander away from his digs and find “Lucy” and whoever the other one was and just before his grant money ran out both times too… was miraculous.

    Natural selection might be given credit for sustaining life within kinds, but not their original design. When you look at a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright you know it’s his. Same with an original Picasso, whatever. The stamp of one creator is on all the universe. The software argument does not hold. The question is not “who wrote the software” it’s who invented the hardware that made it possible? Most importantly the invention that made software possible was the result of intelligence, not chance, and intelligence is ONE of the marks of being created in God’s image.

    Talking donkeys? No, only one in 6000 years that is recorded. And oh yes, a talking serpent. I think that voice still hisses in many people’s ears. If a dolphin has a language more complicated than a number of human language groups as does the elephant, then an animal talking would not be a matter of a non-logical miracle but simply the gift of tongues or interpretations temporarily bestowed for Almighty God’s purpose. And the sun standing still… interesting that skeptics insist that the ancients believe the universe was Earth centered then assume that the Bible, which I hold to be literally true, was lying when it said that and must mean the EARTH stood still in it’s rotation. No such thing. If you accept the account as literally true the sun stood still in IT’S movement through the galaxy, which had the affect of it staying in the same place in the “sky” as the earth continuing to turn. This could have been caused by a collapsar passing close on the other side, etc. If you insist that it has to mean the earth stood still, then the possibility exists not that the planet stopped spinning which would have caused 600 mph catastrophe, but that the CRUST, a hollow shell resting totally on liquid stopped spinning momentarily as there was a gigantic realignment of some natural off balance. Or the near passage on the opposite side of a high gravity body. Are these just my theories? Sure. Do they fit the reported phenomena? Sure. Can I PROVE them? No more than you can prove how millions of generations that required DNA survived till they evolved it.

    The case is NOT closed. Evolution requires billions of years…. billions. I gave the Bible as the only logical explanation if the time is really that short.

    The sequoias exist nowhere else in the world. There is no “missing link” between other species and them, or for any other living thing by the way. There are no previous trees buried under, no fossils, nothing down there but dirt and rock. And no evidence in the rock.

    But Son… we could do this forever, or at least till my liver or heart gives out. If I wanted to take the time, I could research an answer for every point, and then you could mine, then I could yours. The real issue is not which of us is a better arguer or researcher of those who agree or disagree with us. The REAL issue is that the Creator loves you and me and everyone else in the world so much that in order to bridge the mighty gulf that separated us from His presence, He was willing to sacrifice His only Son. To deny Him is to spit on the shed blood of Jesus Christ, your only hope for eternity. You don’t accept the Bible as an authority, so I’ll quote a man who though quoted in the Bible long predated the actual writing of it. He too, suffered unfairly (so he thought). He said to his tormentors… “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold and not another; though my reins be consumed within me”. At the end his God asked him his place as it relates to Creation… and Job said… “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” What Job saw, (as it is death for a human to look straight upon God) was CREATION. God made him see it as what HE made.

    The arguments for and against the existence of God will no doubt rage till the Last Trump, no one will “win” the argument. But what you do with the Blood of Jesus Christ and your responsibility to be the spiritual head of your family will become the evidence for and against you at the Judgment Seat… or the Mercy Seat. Your choices now are making that differentiation.

    I love you Son. I want you with me in Eternity.

    Dad

    Comment by Dad | February 16, 2009 | Reply

  7. But what you do with the Blood of Jesus Christ and your responsibility to be the spiritual head of your family will become the evidence for and against you at the Judgment Seat… or the Mercy Seat. Your choices now are making that differentiation.

    Ah! When all else fails, use fear, guilt and emotional manipulation.

    Sorry, Truthwalker. I’ve been holding back out of respect for you and the fact that this is your dad. That kind of thing really sticks in my craw, though. If you want me to butt out, just say the word.

    I do have one more serious question for your dad, though:

    I love you Son. I want you with me in Eternity.

    Lets assume for a moment that you’re right about everything. You end up in Heaven and your son doesn’t. How does that work for you? I ask because I have a son and I can’t imagine spending a blissful eternity while he was burning in hell or wanting anything to do with a god who would create such a place to begin with.

    Comment by Lottie | February 17, 2009 | Reply

  8. Dad, debating this was your idea. I said from the beginning that there could be no reasoning with a person who believes that their understanding of a really old book trumps reason. You said “That’s what they all say.” I didn’t take that as humorous jab, but as a real statement, one of “Ah HA! You don’t really know.” And I do know what I believe and why, so I said I would talk with you either by email or by blog, and you chose the blog.

    You find skulduggery and convenient coincidence in science, and take this as evidence that science should be doubted. Yet, you either find no skulduggery or convenient coincidence in the canonization of scripture, or if you do, you don’t see that as evidence that scripture should be doubted.

    Science works when it describes the physics of the engine of the car you drive to work, works when it describes the meds you give your patients, works when describes the physics of the chips in the computers that calculates your paycheck, works when it describes the process used to print it, works when it describes the manufacture of the products and services it buys, works when it describes the drugs you take to stay alive, and then, mysteriously, fails suddenly when it disagrees with your religion.

    The scientific method gives us cures to diseases, explanations, and flight. But when it is applied to God and finds nothing, it could not possibly be that God is not real, nah, it must be a giant conspiracy by evil, sinful men and the devil to hoodwink us all. Funny though, how cures get found, questions get answered, and planes fly. None of that is a conspiracy to deny God, only the answers you don’t like are to deny God.

    And funny how what you like is right, and not culturally dependent. You think you can go to heaven even though you think slavery is wrong, Republics are better than monarchies, believe in a heliocentric solar system, and have lightening rods. The Christians who came before you and thought that believing in Republicanism, Heliocentricism, and denying God his judgment, kept you out of heaven, well they were misguided. You know the real truth, all that other stuff people used to attribute to God (like God making them sick instead of germ theory.) was bunk, but if I don’t believe what you believe about God I’m in trouble.

    Or…maybe it’s all just pretend. Maybe every generation believes Christianity means something heretical only a few generations ago because it’s all just hocus pocus. I am not in anymore danger of going to hell because I believe in evolution than Magellen was believing the earth rotated the sun. He saw the evidence and believed it. Eventually, evidence wins. Eventually, most people will be atheists.

    I have no problem with you believing in God. Please don’t pretend that you respect evidence, and evidence lead you to God. Evidence doesn’t lead to God, faith in the absence of evidence does. I believe in evidence so I am atheist. You believe in faith, so you have your parents religion. If Christianity makes you happy, then go for it. Just please don’t lie to me and yourself and think it has anything to do with evidence.

    I’m more than happy to quite discussing it. Or you can email me one question at a time, which I will answer carefully and with sources cited. Which you will ignore because you don’t want to agree with me.

    I love you too. And my love, unlike your God’s, does not include the statement “and if you don’t love me back, I’ll torture you for eternity.”

    Comment by truthwalker | February 17, 2009 | Reply

  9. My fundamentalist dad tries to have these debates with me too. They obviously make no headway with either of us, and drive the already-large wedge between us even farther. It would be SO NICE to see a fundy dad be able to put their religion aside so as to have a loving, fulfilling relationship with their child. But they’re too wrapped up in their “beliefs” to do that. Apparently “god” would rather a father estrange his child than to STOP TALKING ABOUT GOD DAMN RELIGION FOR FIVE SECONDS. Bullshit dude. BULLSHIT. Stop pushing your son away and LOVE HIM UNCONDITIONALLY! Isn’t that what your “god” tells you to do??

    I can’t say these things to my own father, because even though his religion drives me NUTS, I love him and want to have a relationship with him. So I avoid the religious talk as much as possible and have a very surface relationship with him. And he will probably have a very surface relationship with my future children too, because I will FORBID him from spewing his poison onto them. If he can’t abide by that rule, he will have NO relationship with them. I’m SICK TO DEATH of impressionable minds being told the “truth” only to find out years later that it was nothing but BELIEFS with very little truth behind them! My children will make up THEIR OWN MINDS when they are old enough to do so. I WILL NOT force my beliefs onto them as was done to me.

    I saw a church sign the other day that I actually liked. It said “God wants spiritual fruit…not religious nuts.” How about showing some love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control towards your son and TURNING THE RELIGION OFF for awhile. I guarantee you’ll get a lot farther with him than you are right now.

    Comment by Katy | February 18, 2009 | Reply

  10. When I communicate with Atheists I sometimes have the feeling I’ve wandered into a theater where the picture from one movie is showing but the sound is from another. The dialogue all makes sense, but not to what is occuring on the screen. I am NOT talking about religion. I’m not telling him to become Methodist, Catholic, Jew, Moslem, or whatever, those are Religions. There is so much about all this that doesn’t seem to fit together.

    “Ah! When all else fails, use fear, guilt and emotional manipulation”. If you truly, truly believe that there is no God, no heaven, no hell, no Holy Spirit, no Spirit Of Evil, how is it possible for me to be causing fear of something that doesn’t exist? If this is just all pretend and fairy tales how can it induce guilt or emotional manipulation? If my child was playing with a gas can and a bic lighter, would I warn him and snatch them away? Of course, that would be an act of love, even if done roughly. If showing my love for my son by warning of him of danger, not just to his present safety but to his eternal soul is manipulative, I plead guilty.

    If someone knows that the teachings of Christianity are to result in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control, how can that same person call teaching those things POISON? It would logically follow that the one who feels that way must want their child to learn hate, despair, conflict, impatience, cruelty, evil, and dissapation. That is what the opposite of Christianity is.

    I repeat, this is NOT about religion, it’s about truth. And truth is that which conforms to reality. And the reality is that of a loving Creator who gave his creatures, created in his image free will and they chose evil. That separated them forever from a holy God unless provision was made for their salvation. Which He did at the most terrible possible cost. This isn’t a belief… it’s reality. Denying it is the equivelent of a man being hung saying “There IS no gravity! You can’t prove it! You can’t see it! You can’t photograph it!”…. then “click.. wham.. whoosh.. thump… snap”… All the disbelief or belief in the world doesn’t matter a bit to the 3/4” manilla rope or the force of gravity. It is what is.

    And lastly… doctrine has nothing to do with the varying ideas people have had over the centuries about morality, amusements, etc. It continues to be a simple straight forward explanation of the conditon of God and the condition of man.

    Comment by Dad | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  11. If you truly, truly believe that there is no God, no heaven, no hell, no Holy Spirit, no Spirit Of Evil, how is it possible for me to be causing fear of something that doesn’t exist?

    You are trying to instill fear: judgment or mercy, heaven or eternal torment — you choose. That is a fear tactic. I didn’t say it was working, I was simply calling you on it.

    You also used his family to try and instill guilt. That is also an attempt at emotional manipulation.

    If showing my love for my son by warning of him of danger, not just to his present safety but to his eternal soul is manipulative, I plead guilty.

    Thing is, you don’t know he’s in danger. You just want him to believe the same thing you do and you’re using emotional manipulation to try and achieve that end.

    All of your arguments are so logically flawed and have been refuted so many times that it’s hard to believe anyone is still throwing them out there. With all due respect to your son, I do not believe that you can be reasoned with, so I will not waste my time.

    I’m still interested in an answer to my question, though.

    Comment by Lottie | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  12. First of all, I’m not an atheist. I’m agnostic. I don’t believe that I, a 29 year old human being, can KNOW whether or not there is a god. I don’t believe that ANY human *can* know, no matter their age. My life experiences and feelings make me lean towards the belief that there is “something” out there that we cannot comprehend. But if I were forced to choose a religion, I’d most closely match Paganism. Never again Christianity. I already wasted 19 years of my life on that tripe.

    You say you’re not talking about religion, yet you tell your son you don’t want him to go to hell. THAT IS RELIGION! That is CHRISTIANITY that says there even IS a heaven or hell. The “blood of Jesus” is RELIGION!! To be clear, I do not consider the fruits of the spirit to be religious even though they came from a religious text. I believe them to be morals that any human could benefit from. Not being a Christian, I’m free to pick and choose the good stuff out of the Bible and ignore the rest.

    What I consider POISON are:

    1) The stories of the Old Testament…God smiting everyone who does not 100% agree with him.
    2) Hell. No child (or adult for that matter) should be tricked into believing a RELIGION purely out of fear. And no “god” should ever invent such a place.
    3) The mentality of judgment that the Bible plants. Judge homosexuals…judge others who are not as good of a Christian as you are…don’t fraternize with non-believers. JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE. You sir are judging your own son, just as my father judges me.
    4) The hypocrisy of the Bible and the people who follow it. I’d bet my eyes that you judge homosexuals, yet have no problem eating shellfish – http://www.godhatesshrimp.com/

    The opposite of Christianity is most certainly not hate. Christianity BREEDS hate with all of it’s judgmentalism!! The opposite of Christianity is respect and love for your fellow humans no matter WHAT they believe and a way of harmoniously living with them. Christians ostracize themselves and only fraternize with other Christians. They live in a bubble and have no grasp on the world around them. It’s more a cult than anything else.

    And no…what you are talking about is NOT truth. TRUTH can be proven. Your BELIEFS cannot. Gravity can be proven. Salvation cannot. THIS is what bothers me the MOST about Christians. They’re so brainwashed that they can’t even say “Yes there is a possibility that Christianity is wrong, but I choose to believe it anyway.” I don’t care what you believe sir, but I will fight tooth and nail against ANY Christian who says they and their fellow Christians are the only ones who know the truth. That is so arrogant I can’t even begin to describe.

    I am certainly not trying to change your beliefs, and Israel probably isn’t either. What I personally would like to see, is you accepting the fact that Israel is NEVER going to believe what you do, and LOVING HIM ANYWAY. STOP trying to convert him, STOP judging him, STOP talking religion to him and HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR ONE AND ONLY SON!!!

    You believe that Israel is going to regret his decision of atheism when he dies. MAYBE he will. But I know for a FACT that on your death bed, YOU will regret not having a relationship with him if you keep this shit up.

    I only had the pleasure of meeting Israel on a few occasions. But those few occasions left a lasting impression on me. He is so intelligent, kind, thoughtful, wise, funny…and YOU are the one missing out if you choose to let your religion get in the way of getting to know him like I did.

    Comment by Katy | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  13. What I personally would like to see, is you accepting the fact that Israel is NEVER going to believe what you do, and LOVING HIM ANYWAY. STOP trying to convert him, STOP judging him, STOP talking religion to him and HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR ONE AND ONLY SON!!!

    I would just like to second that. Very well said!

    But those few occasions left a lasting impression on me. He is so intelligent, kind, thoughtful, wise, funny…and YOU are the one missing out if you choose to let your religion get in the way of getting to know him like I did.

    Another second!

    I have never had the pleasure of meeting Israel in person, but he has made a lasting impression on me nonetheless. I have been deeply touched by the honesty and thoughtfulness of his writings. His willingness and even eagerness to adjust his thinking to accommodate new information and ideas is refreshing, and his courage is an inspiration.

    Israel is the kind of man whose lead I would be delighted to have my own son follow.

    Comment by Lottie | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  14. Dad, this is the essence of blogging. Comments are picked apart by people you’ve never met. It hurts. I embrace it because I love truth. I’m not sorry for what these people say, it’s true. But I am sorry that truth hurts.

    I understand your movie theater comment. It’s Christian training, though you don’t realize it. Christian sources say things over and over until you believe them, and you don’t know they lied. One of the things they do is change the meanings of words like “love” and “religion”.

    Love, doesn’t ever include the phrase “or I’ll make you suffer.” And religion is beliefs about God. I know that Christianity tells you that Christianity isn’t a religion; it’s a relationship. This is because Christianity redefines the word “relationship” until it means everything good you do comes from your better half (God) and everything bad you do comes from you. That’s not what a real relationship consists of.

    You STILL work from the assumption that an atheist is a person who wishes to believe there is no God rather than a person who finds no evidence for God. Believing this, you seem to think that to hate the evil done in God’s name, (the poison mentioned above) one must reject every concept of the bible. That’s silly. There are parts of Louis La’more novels I dislike intensely. This doesn’t mean that Louis La’more never said anything good, nor that I wish to raise my family in an anti-La’more system.

    I still read the bible. I still think it has some good bits. I just think it has some ridiculous bits. I would no more teach my daughter science from the creation account than I would morality from the woman and children God commanded to be murdered.

    No one here would attack the enormous help to mankind that religion has occasionally been, nor the horrible tool of mass murder it’s occasionally been, nor the sort of mostly harmless distraction it’s usually been. What we would deny is that such a track record shows any evidence of the divine.

    Katy, Lottie. Thank you so much. From both of you that is the some of the highest praise I ever received, and I’ll treasure it.

    Comment by truthwalker | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  15. I meant every word.

    I would like to add that it has not been my desire to hurt anyone, but to speak the truth as I see it and to offer support to someone who has had more of an impact on me than I’m sure he has realized. (That’d be our host 😉 )

    That said, I have worried that my words might be hurtful regardless of my intent, and that makes me sad. Like you said, though, truth can be painful. It was very painful for me when I realized that I had believed a big fat lie for better than thirty years. Like you also said, I embraced it because being honest with myself was more important than escaping the pain of leaving my comfort zone.

    I know I probably didn’t need to clarify this for you, Israel. My hope is that others might take something positive from it.

    Keep up the good work!

    Comment by Lottie | February 19, 2009 | Reply

  16. To Israel: I THOUGHT the essense of blogging was a sort of journaling or diary that was open to public comment. But it wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong and certainly will not be the last. Long ago I realized that nothing I could say would make you suddenly slap your forehead and “wow, if I’d only heard that argument earlier, I’d never have become an atheist!”

    Whether or not it has come out this way I’ve been trying to express two things. One is what I believe and why and the other is what is Truth and remains so whether I believe it or not and you believe it or not. I do not deny that I want to see you return to our faith nor that I would take every opportunity to convince you. I do not apologize for it.

    I do not understand why, if Christianity is evil and atheism/agnostocism are good that there are in the city where I work, a Catholic Hospital, a Methodist Hospital, a Lutheran Hospital, Catholic Social Services, Lutheran Social Services, A St. Vincent De Paul store, a Churches United homeless shelter, a Bethel Mission homeless shelter, a church oriented shelter for battered women, a Salvation Army Shelter, a Salvation Army Store and on and on. Where are the Ath/Agno orphanages, hospitals, homeless shelters, etc.? Where?

    I appreciate hearing the ideas of your friends or readers or whatever. Do I disagree with them? Sure. Yet it is not I who calls THEIR ideas “big fat lies”, “tripe”, or say things like above… “STOP TALKING ABOUT GOD DAMN RELIGION FOR FIVE SECONDS. Bullshit dude. BULLSHIT.” Or accusing them of not loving their “fundy” relatives unconditionally. I do love you unconditionally in that you are my son, conceived in love, raised in love despite the mistakes I made. I believe you have the same love for me. Do you approve of the errors I made in your upbringing? No. Do you love my believ system? No. None of those changes the fact of our relationship. If by unconditional love, it’s expected that I embrace what I disagree vehemently with, the word is being used incorrectly.

    I have a nephew who is an avowed homosexual. Do I love him? Yes. Do I love his lifestyle? No. I loved his cousin Tommy when he moved to San Francisco, became a greeter in a gay club and eventually died of AIDS. Would I love that lifestyle or what it did to him? Of course not. I detest it. But I still loved him.

    I’ve worked with hopelessy addicted people, some of them absolutely disgusting in their behavior, but brothers and fellow sufferers in addiction. I hate some of their behaviors, but love them. Tuesday night I took your Mom with me to a downtown meeting of AA. You talk about recovery in the raw… that was it. A skinhead who had been beat half to death was claiming victory because by God’s grace he’d only been in 3 fights in 2 days. He was frequently incoherent and obviously coming down off meth and every one said, “we love you man, keep coming back”. A crazy lady rambled for 10 minutes about how the system was out to get her, but she hadn’t drank or used for 8 days. A huge biker decked out in black leather jumped up and hugged me and reminded me of the time he coded in the hospital and I beat the code team to his bedside and hung with him while they jump started him. I love those people. I hate some of the things they do, but I love them. I know I’m capable of unconditional love and no one is likely to convince me otherwize.

    Ath/Agno’s are not the only ones picking and choosing from writing they disagree with… today I read a great quote from Darwin and another from Neitze (SP) neither of whom I am particularly fond. The difference is, what they say CONTAINS truth… God’s Word IS truth.

    Love you son… Dad

    Comment by Dad | February 20, 2009 | Reply

  17. Dad, I don’t feel like you are listening. I would never claim that atheism was intrinsically good. No large group is intrinsically good, there’s too many people. There have been sociopath atheists as well Christians.

    And your are right, there aren’t atheist hospitals. But more then 90% of the scientific community is atheist or agnostic. And those are the people who develop new cures that the hospitals administer. Atheists, by making vaccines and drugs that have saved millions of people, do great works. There would be no lunar landing without atheists, no polio vaccine. They also made the atomic bomb.

    You’ve taken this as a personal attack, it wasn’t meant to be. I had no idea you were trying to tell me what you believed. I though you wanted to argue about it. That’s what public comment usually is. I don’t think you are a bad person, I think you are somewhat misguided. I never doubted that you sincerely love me or anyone else.

    We can keep arguing, but there is no point. You believe that God’s word is bigger than reason, and that when God’s Word disagrees with reason it is reason that is wrong. From that starting point, we have nothing to discuss.

    Comment by truthwalker | February 20, 2009 | Reply

  18. Love trumps ALL reason! 😀

    love you guys!!!! Praying for your upcoming trip and for your sweet ladies at home!

    Comment by Heather | February 20, 2009 | Reply

  19. I would just like to say that I did not intend to imply that you don’t love your son, “Dad”. My point has simply been that I would like to see the two of you engage in a loving relationship despite your differences.

    From what I have seen here, there is considerable friction between you, the source of which seems to be your determination to “take every opportunity to convince [Israel]” to return to your faith. I think it would be great if you could simply agree to disagree and get on with the business of loving each other and being a family. If memory serves, Israel has already said that he is more than willing to do this.

    I don’t think anyone here expects you to “embrace what [you] disagree vehemently with” (though I do find that interpretation ironic, given that you seem to expect others to do precisely that). Simply letting something be is nowhere near the same as embracing it. If you think so, then you, sir, are using that word incorrectly.

    Also, I am sorry that my choice of words (“big fat lie”) offended you. It was not directed at you, and it certainly was not intended as an attack on you. That said, you should also bear in mind that many of the things you have said throughout this discussion could be quite offensive and insulting to people who do not share your faith. Your phrasing and your approach may be different (not better) to ours, but some of the things you say are as shocking and vulgar to us as some of our words may be to you.

    Even the way you went about making the point seems overtly pious to me. You quote us and basically say, ‘Look how mean and nasty your friends talk. You haven’t heard ME talking that way.’

    Words are neither objectively virtuous or wicked. The fact that you have used the phrasing of our points to try and make yourself the ‘good guy’ and us the ‘bad guys’ seems to further confirm something what has been said throughout this discussion: If something veers from what you perceive as righteous, it is inherently corrupt in your mind. This is as offensive to me as profanity apparently is to you.

    Comment by Lottie | February 20, 2009 | Reply

  20. To Israel… yep, the old man is way out of touch. I offend where I don’t mean to and don’t seem to listen when I think I am. I don’t know about your statistics, or where the 90% number comes from, my experience is anecdotal. In that experience, I may have met one, possible two avowed atheists in health care and the allied fields… possibly a dozen or so agnostics. In this facility, nominally affiliated with the most liberal group of the Lutheran Church, not one of either. But that doesn’t matter. As was so painfully pointed out to me, I’m offended when people use profanity and I don’t. I forget that as a Christian I believe there is a code of conduct commanded by God. An Atheist or Agnostic has no such code. Or I should say, they are free to make up their own based on pragmatic logic. For instance, the reason not to drive over the speed limit wouldn’t be based on Romans 13:1-7 that states the governing authorities are to be obeyed as God’s ministers for good unless they require sin. In fact I need to remember that the concept of sin doesn’t exist for someone who has no belief in God. I notice one of your commenters says if she had to choose a religion it would be paganism. An interesting choice because it has no concept of sin also. Like Satanism, the only real commandment being “do as you will”. Wiccans might add, “as long as you don’t harm anyone else”. But that isn’t realistic. EVERYTHING I do affects other people. Everything, and as you’ve reminded me you were the beneficiary of some of those poorer decisions. I will continue to read your blogs and may occasionally make a short reply, but I really didn’t get into this for protracted debate with other readers. We can do that privately through emails.

    Love, Dad

    Comment by Dad | February 24, 2009 | Reply

  21. Here is a comment on something said quite a while back in the conversation. Sorrry but I am new to the conversation.

    This is the statement I am commenting on…
    2) Hell. No child (or adult for that matter) should be tricked into believing a RELIGION purely out of fear. And no “god” should ever invent such a place.

    This statement is like saying a father should not press charges against the guy who brutally rapes his daughter. He should just except the rapist for who he is and his desires. By all means he must have chosen your daughter because he has good taste. So really it is a compliment, to take it personally would just mean you’re a religions nut case.
    .
    The government establishes places for life and even longer (life in prison more then once, what is that about) for individuals who commit certain crimes, but no “god” would be able to make such a decision, right? If its for all of your life or all of eternity what do you care, you don’t believe in eternity anyway. Acts have consequences. Some one who enforce these consequences is only mean if it’s “god” according to your example in point two.

    Comment by 1234 | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  22. Since you signed 1234, I’ll assume you want to be anonymous to the other posters. If Katy wants to defend her thesis, I’ll let her. Thanks for reading.

    Comment by truthwalker | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  23. Lottie – I agree with everything you said in your last post. Bravo!

    “Dad” – You admit you are wrong on occasion, as all humans are. Yet you find it impossible that you could be wrong about Christianity. Interesting. You also admit that nothing you can say is going to make Israel slap his forehead and start believing like you do. But then you turn around and say “I would take every opportunity to convince you.” Also interesting. Perhaps you should look up the word “hypocrite” in the dictionary when you get a chance.

    You arrogantly say you won’t apologize for it. Well I think you should. You should apologize to your son for loving your religion more than you love him. You should apologize to reason for trying to pass things off as “truth” that are merely beliefs.

    I understand that some good has been done and is being done by Christians. Hell, they should be after all the horrible things they’ve done in history. Somehow I don’t think selling used clothing makes up for mass murder, but that’s just me. And there are plenty of agnostics/athiests doing good things for humanity as well. They just don’t feel the need to erect a building with which to boast about their good deeds.

    It amazes me how cursing still offends Christians so much. Where in the Bible does it say “Thou shalt not say the words shit, fuck, ass, damn, etc”? Hell and damn are used all throughout the Bible! They’re only words…get over it. You are not better than anyone else simply because you limit your vocabulary.

    And none of us said you must embrace your son’s beliefs. I’ve said all along that I am not trying to change your beliefs, as I know that would be impossible. What I’m saying is that you need to learn to IGNORE your son’s beliefs and have a deep relationship with him. If he’s anything like me, he gets pushed farther and farther away from you the more you talk about Christianity. With my own father, I get to the point where I don’t even want to call him, email him, etc because I know it would be inviting SOME ridiculous comment about “god.” Every once in awhile he lets it go and we have a good conversation…but then he has to bring it up again and it pushes me away once again. There was a point where I did not speak to my father for over a year. Do you want that to happen?

    As far as homosexuality goes – you’re being ridiculous. Not all gays get AIDS. You cannot judge an entire minority group and lifestyle based on ONE bad experience that happened to someone you knew. I know many gays and they are some of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met. They love just as we do. It’s not all about sex to them, as many Christians would have you believe. They want companionship, just as straights do. Just because you personally find having sex with a man detestable, does not mean that you should label the lifestyle as detestable. It’s not something they choose.

    And seriously…you can stop telling Israel what you believe. You raised him didn’t you? Believe me, HE ALREADY KNOWS.

    Oh and re: obeying the speed limit. You think it’s only Christians who obey the goverment because they’re told to do so in their Bible? Come on now, that’s ludicrous. We don’t need “hell” as a deterent for breaking the law. There’s this lovely thing called prison…you know, an actual building that you can see and touch. Morality is not owned by Christianity. And there are plenty of Earthly consequences to keep most humans in check.

    1234 – Your problem is that, like most Christians, you see every non-Christian as the equivalent of a rapist. You think that everyone who does not love “god” MUST be a horrible human being, breaking the 10 commandments on a daily basis. You don’t see the millions of non-believers who are true to their spouses, who raise children that know it’s wrong to lie and steal, who rescue hurt animals, who come to the aid of friends and family whenever it’s needed. It’s easier for you to judge them and say “they deserve to go to hell” when they die. Well I think it’s a sick individual who would say a good human who did not believe in the Christian god deserves to burn in a firey pit for all eternity. And it is a sick “god” who would agree.

    You Christians make up rules such as children don’t go to hell…retarded people with limited brain capacity don’t go to hell…but they’re just made up rules to let you sleep at night. The Bible doesn’t say this at all. According to your god, a 6 year old who cheated on a spelling test once would burn in hell for all eternity. That’s your definition of justice. Well that’s BULLSHIT.

    Human prisons are more than adequate to punish people who break the law. 30 years in prison is a far cry from burning for eternity. And no, I don’t believe in your definition of eternity. I’m just talking about this on your level.

    Comment by Katy | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  24. I have to say that I’m absolutely disgusted with the rape analogy presented by 1234. Besides the fact that it’s incoherent and completely illogical, it totally undermines and trivializes the very real trauma and brutality of rape.

    I’d be pressed to think of a more sickening emotional plea than this.

    I feel like I have more to say, but apart from a list of words like sick, twisted, perverse, nauseating, infuriating, etc., I’m pretty much at a loss for words.

    I would like to second the gist of Katy’s response, though.

    Comment by Lottie | March 4, 2009 | Reply

  25. Hell was not made for any humman being.

    Comment by 1234 | March 13, 2009 | Reply

  26. Well you sure told me *rolls eyes*

    Comment by Katy | March 13, 2009 | Reply

  27. Katy: 😆

    Comment by Lottie | March 13, 2009 | Reply


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