General Question

Ivan's avatar

Why are some offended by the very notion of atheism?

Asked by Ivan (13394 points ) July 2nd, 2009

Just stumbled on this. It’s another instance of what is becoming a common occurrence. An atheist group puts up a very tame billboard, and everyone flips out. This one in particular reads:

Being a good person doesn’t require God.
Don’t believe in God? You’re NOT alone!

How anyone could be offended by that, I don’t know, but of course the local community is lobbying to get it taken down. Judge for yourself, but from reading the quotes in that article, it appears as though many protesters are offended by atheism itself, rather than any offensive message that the sign might have presented. Why is this?

Please, refrain from the “because they’re idiots” response and the like.

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205 Answers

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btko's avatar

I’m not offended by atheism, but I’m offended by many atheists (including ones who put up billboards) for being as annoying as the people they denounce.

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

The same reason people get offended by people that don’t have the same religion.
People don’t like their beliefs challenged.
I personally don’t care, we all believe something slightly different anyways.

Ivan's avatar

@btko

Who says the atheist groups who put up billboards denounce similar activity from religious groups? You are universally offended by things that annoy you?

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

Who isn’t?

Ivan's avatar

@snowyowl_ecs

Uh, mosquitoes and crickets don’t offend me, they just annoy me.

How are someone’s beliefs challenged by the very existence of someone who disagrees?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I’m offended when any group attempts to convert others on a billboard. Or rather recruit for their religion (ehm… non-religion).

Ivan's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Well, OK then, this wasn’t about whether they were justified in putting a billboard up. This was about the fact that many people seem to be offended by the very existence of atheism.

Grisaille's avatar

Do you know how stupid I feel when I say I’m an Atheist, get a scowl and have to say something akin to this?

“No, no, sweetheart. I’m a moderate Atheist.”

It’s a damn oxymoron.

I have to do it, because even throwing in the word Atheist in a conversation with many Theists is offensive, for some reason.

snowyowl_ecs's avatar

Haha. Good point, Ivan.

I wouldn’t say they were recruiting people. Just supporting each other.

Blondesjon's avatar

It is for the same reason that Atheists are so offended by Christians.

The majority of BOTH groups are made up of close minded, selfish, fearful, dicks.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Ivan Personally I think people were offended by the billboard for reasons mentioned above and not that it was about Atheism per say. Although I’m sure many didn’t articulate themselves as such. So it becomes a religious debate instead of an “advertising issue”.

However for those who are offended by the existence of atheism I would say it is for similar reasons that many others are offended by the existence of religion. I do not think there is more in either category. To be honest I’m not sure what the reasons are on either end. Everyone has a right to believe what they want so long as they don’t persecute or discriminate against those who do not feel the same way as them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

oops I just edited, may want to refresh

Ivan's avatar

@Blondesjon

Atheists are offended by the very existence of Christianity? Really? All of them?

Also, @RedPowerLady, I don’t think the billboard was trying to convert anyone; it was letting other atheists know that there is a support group for them.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Ivan Hey either way like I said, advertising of religion (or non-religion) on a billboard is a bit tacky. Oh and it says nothing about a support group so i’m not sure where that idea comes from.

I think the offense comes in because they are defining themselves against another group. There are more tactful ways of supporting ones causes IMHO.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Ivan . . .Christians are offended by the very existence of Atheism? Really? All of them?

Buddhists are offended by the very existence of Muslims? Really? All of them?

Chocolate is offended by the very existence of Peanut Butter? Really? All of them?

settle down. i believe i used the word majority.

Ivan's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Well I agree that the billboard was tacky and I don’t really think atheist groups should be putting billboards up, but that was not the intent of this question. The group itself is a “support” group. Many atheist groups’ primary message is that you are not alone if you don’t believe in God and that you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it.

@Blondesjon

You said, ”...Atheists are so offended by Christians.” Even if you meant ‘the majority of atheists,’ I would still contest that statement. I don’t know of any atheists who are genuinely offended by the mere existence of Christians. They might be offended by their actions or their rhetoric, but I don’t think anyone takes offense to the simple existence of Christians.

By the way, you also used the word “groups,” which was equally as silly.

Blondesjon's avatar

@Ivan . . .I’m sorry. I meant to say sects.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

If the “local community” is trying to get it taken down.. isn’t that just democracy .. society?

Ivan's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater

We can get into that if you want, but what does that have to do with this question?

Blondesjon's avatar

@GrisailleI know, right? Live and Let Live. How fucking hard is that?

Grisaille's avatar

I thought we were all Godless Liberals? Why must we fight? :[

Blondesjon's avatar

That is the subject of an entirely different thread.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am not Christian. I am not Atheist. As a matter of fact I do not belong to any of the above mentioned sects. I’m not even agnostic. I however am not the least bit offended by any of these groups. Not a single one! I am no more offended by the billboard linked above than I am by this or this one. @Blondesjon hit the nail on the head, “live and let live.” Or as Rodney King put it “can’t we all just get along.”

I think people are afraid of people who are different. Fear causes intolerance.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

That one is pretty lame. Nothing to get offended about. But…

The Truth is often offensive… especially to self righteous judgmental religious bigots. Those secure in their faith would not take offense to that signage. What it says is very true indeed.

wenn's avatar

becuase people are close-minded, can’t accept what other believe if its different from their own believes and intolerant.

I myself am atheist. I have no problems with people believing what they want. A past girlfriend of mine was Muslim, and the current girl I’m dating is Catholic. No problems whatsoever.

Just accept people for who they are and what they believe, and the world will be a better place.

It is a very simple thing. but some(a lot of) people are just too stupid to figure out that out.

Ghandi once said “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

it does not matter a persons race, creed, sexual orientation or what they like to eat for breakfast.

like said above, Live and Let Live.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Ivan I’m just not sure why you are so offended by people being offended.

Ivan's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater

That statement was both incorrect and pointless.

whatthefluther's avatar

I am not offended by the notion of atheism, so this is just a guess: some of the righteously religious instill upon others that atheists, non-believers, are heathens and thus uncivilized and are more like an animal, and something less that what a human ought to be.
And you can call me animal…wtf

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like the billboard, the same way I don’t like billboards about “life” with babies on them, and billboards about Jesus, which I see all over the place. I think religion is for your family, home, and church, and I hate any public declaration of a specific religion, God, or lack of. What will be interesting to see is as atheists put up more and more of these type of messages, will the theists “get it” and stop their pushy crap, or will they heat up the fight more, and look at it like a religious war that needs to be faught.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Ivan What purpose does this sign serve? There is no church of atheism.. what are they advertising? If they aren’t advertising anything of value then it’s nothing but an attack on those who believe in God. If, on the other hand, you think it is an appeal to rationality, or logic, or intelligence, or whatever-you-want-to-call-it.. then the sign is basically calling religious people retards…Doesn’t sound like such a great sign to me.

kruger_d's avatar

While I appreciate the right of aetheists to organize, that billboard does, in fact, contradict of a common religeous teaching that all goodness comes from God. One might say that an aetheist can be good without knowing the origin of their goodness.

tinyfaery's avatar

Because religions tend to teach their adherents that those without god are evil, soulless creatures.

I don’t see how this billboard is any different than advertising an AA group or a charity. I don’t even care if churches want to advertise. Just don’t be offensive or bigoted and I’m okay with it. Better than seeing another half naked woman.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@tinyfaery

No they don’t. Religion teaches that those without faith are lost, not evil. Religion teaches that everyone has the propensity to commit evil… lost or found. One look at the Irish Catholic orphanages confirms this in spades.

bcstrummer's avatar

I say atheists like me have as much right to do what we want even if offends some people, of other religious groups do it openly than atheists should be able to

P.S. I scratch the me being atheist thing, I prefer to be called non-religious

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@bcstrummer What, specifically, is it that other religious groups do that offends you? I’m just curious.

Ivan's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater

Where in hell are you getting this stuff? The sign says…

1) Being an atheist doesn’t make you a bad person, and
2) If you are an atheist, there are people who are willing to give you support.

How on earth do you get…

1) Attack those who believe in God! and,
2) All people who believe in God are stupid!

…out of that?

The sign says nothing about religion, God, theists, or anything of the sort.

tinyfaery's avatar

Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t aware that you knew what every place of worship, all over the world, proselytizes.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was always taught the people who don’t worship God are evil and have no moral values. It is this kind of teachings that bring about the problems.

I am an atheist, because the God teachings I was brought up with simply did not make sense to me and I discovered I have no religious “faith”, whatever that is.

JLeslie's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater I think theists are AFRAID of the idea of atheism so they don’t want a sign saying it is ok out there for their children to read. Might cause them to question.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@tinyfaery

You and I both know that both camps have their fair share of fanatics. We can at least keep our discussion about those who approach their actions reasonably.

I see no problem with this series of Atheist advertisements. I actually see much good coming from it. Here’s why… it gets people thinking. That is a great thing. I certainly hope that pseudo religious people get a wake up call with this. They don’t know what they believe and have no idea why they believe it. But if you attack them for it, or simply question them about it… Watch Out!

Therein lies your point of accusing Atheists of being evil. The ignorant have no argument… and thusly must shoot poison arrows to protect themselves. How unfortunate, for in those actions they are doing their religion more harm than good.

From the Christian perspective, Jesus warns that he will spit the lukewarm believers out of his mouth. If this Atheist campaign can help root them out, I’m all for it.

Imagine that… Atheists doing the will of Jesus himself. What a beautiful world we live in.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@YARNLADY

If it’s taught properly, we’re not supposed to have faith in religion. We’re supposed to have faith in God. Having faith in religion is the root of evil deception.

Ultimately, we find that we are one with God. Ultimately, we find faith in ourselves.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@JLeslie

You are correct. How fearsome that must be for some Theists. If they can’t answer the questions to their children, how will they answer to themselves.

It shakes the very foundations of the faith they know nothing about.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I was trying to differentate between religious faith and a more generalized faith in mankind or faith in my abilities. However, “Faith” cannot be taught. If you don’t have it, it’s not there.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@YARNLADY

Agreed and I’m sorry for the confusion. I meant the “Religion” being taught properly. Not the faith being taught.

Perhaps you’ve shed light on a clue. Perhaps that’s part of the problem, that Religious leaders are trying to teach Faith. An awful thing indeed.

mzdesigns's avatar

because there alot of ‘sheep’ in the U.S. believe in anything without merit.

YARNLADY's avatar

@mzdesigns but of course no other country has that issue

Darwin's avatar

I see nothing to be offended about in the message on the billboard, just as I am not offended by the message of any number of theist billboards, such as “The Cowboy Church” or the “Come Back to God” campaign being run by our local diocese or the New Wine Fellowship’s assertion that motorcycles are welcome (who knew vehicles were theists?). I am not even offended by messages on billboards advertising XXX movies, cigarettes, or “La cerveza mas sabrosa.”

I’m just not a huge fan of billboards, period.

cookieman's avatar

Theists are not offended by atheists (although they may say that). They are not offended, they are afraid.

They are afraid because if the atheists are correct, and there is no god, then the entire foundation of their beliefs may collapse. These very same beliefs that have been intergral to their lives since before they were born. If calls into question not just their religion, but their way of looking at the world. Faith is the lens through which theists see life, death, family, sex, self worth, intelligence, etc.

If that foundation is shaken, cracked or dismantled, they not only have to question their faith, but their very being.

What’s more, if the atheists are correct, then all modern religion will go the way of the Greek or Norse gods. And no one wants to admit they are extinct before they’re even dead.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Darwin

Without hijacking this thread, we both have issues with billboards. They are so anti-common sense. Think about it. Their purpose is to get us to look away from the road in front of us, yet some states want to ban cellphones while driving because they’re too distracting.

Darwin's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies They also block the view

augustlan's avatar

Sign Sign everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery breaking my mind.

jonsblond's avatar

@augustlan lurve for Tesla

cookieman's avatar

@augustlan and @jonsblond: Awesome rock band, Tesla.

SuperMouse's avatar

@jonsblond when you gave lurve for Tesla I was expecting to read something about the Tesla Coil. lol4rl!! Now, please allow me to show off my knowledge of nearly useless music trivia: Signs was originally performed by the one hit wonder band Five Man Electrical Band.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@Ivan I can’t explain it any more simply.

JLeslie's avatar

When I said that theists are afraid, I was not really speaking of their fear that the whole foundation of their belief system will fall apart…although I think that is a valid evaluation…I meant that they are afraid if a bunch of people become atheists the country will go to hell in a handbasket. That is why I asked the question do you think it will cause the Christians to declare a holy war?

I admit I am afraid of the extreme fundamentalist Christians getting their people into my government. I think there is fear on both sides.

Ivan's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater

I think you are proving my point. You think that atheism itself is an attack on religious people; you think that atheism itself is an insinuation that theists are stupid.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

If the atheist-supported billboards need to be taken down then this and this and this needs to be taken down too.

kheredia's avatar

I’d rather see a billboard every now and then than have someone knocking at my door every Sunday morning trying to convert me to their religion. We all have the right to believe whatever the heck we want without having to be judged by others. Why is it that some religious people feel the need to be so persistant in changing other peoples points of view?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@JLeslie

Are you kidding? OF COURSE is would cause (some Christians) to declare a Holy War on an Atheistic society. Christians go to war with those who believe in a different God. What do you think (some of them) would do with a nation that doesn’t acknowledge ANY God?

Koresh, Jones… Nothing compared to the fanatic gun lovin’ God slingin’ redneck Oklahoma bombin’ backwoods dwellin’ incestual bargain basement semi automatic antiSemitic doomsday fearin’ doctor killin’ fag hatin’ cross burnin’ Jesus whores that are just waiting for the right moment.

But most Christians would just pray for our country.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Because it is wrong. Not wrong as in “bad”, wrong as in “incorrect”.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@kheredia No, nobody has the right to not be judged by others about anything. People have the right to form their opinions and judgements about anything, including your beliefs. You just have the right to believe yours.

Ivan's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Are these people offended when I say “2 + 2 = 5” as well? That’s wrong too.

Grisaille's avatar

@BBSDTfamily I don’t mean to start a flame war (though it seems there already has been) or anything of the sort, but just a bit of clarification – are you saying that “Atheism” is incorrect, or that the sign is?”

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Ivan Offended? No. There probably is some mathematician out there who loves numbers and is OCD about incorrect calculations. But people usually only get offended when talking about a subject they find very important.

Grisaille's avatar

@BBSDTfamily That’s what I figured.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Jesus was never offended by anything in secular society. Jesus was offended by the wrong teachings of the Pharisees and the money lenders who turned Gods house into a den of thieves.

Jesus wasn’t even offended by his own crucifiction.

Oh, Jesus was also offended by his own follower Peter. Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33.

Since Jesus was NEVER offended by anything in the secular world, what good Christian should be offended by anything in the secular world?

Oh yeah, Jesus was also offended by the fig tree that didn’t produce the fruit that it was supposed to. What fruit does the modern day Christian bear?

Judge not lest ye be judged.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Christians don’t pretend to be Jesus, and never could be. Nothing is wrong in speaking out for our faith and having pity on those that do not share it. You think you’re proving a point with that post, but it is really missing the point of being a Christian.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

What exactly is the point of being a Christian?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

it’s pointless, no one complains when you see a guy who has “Christ Jesus is your only Savior.” painted on the side of his barn, yet expressing a conflicted belief aside from the norm is considered wrong by many.
Just a thought, I wonder how those people would react if that sign was taken down and a passage from the Koran, specifically mentioning God as Allah, was put up instead. I don’t think anyone would publicly protest it but I’m very confident plenty of passer bys would scoff and it’d be quite the gossip story in many a home.
It goes to show you that human beings fear change, fear difference, and it’s a damn shame.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Fear change? Nothing is changing. There have been and will always be Christians, and there have been and will always be atheists. Christians aren’t afraid of atheism, rather afraid for them.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

no no no, not in that sense, I’m saying that when a conflicting belief system is presented to someone, ie the knowledge of a more vocal atheist community to a devote christian breeds the notion that their faith is being challenged and susceptible to being changed.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 That is the notion that atheists may believe or hope to be true, I have no idea. In my experience atheists seem to enjoy thinking they are having a negative effect on Christians. But Christians aren’t afraid of their faith being challenged. It is already challenged everyday. And it is not susceptible to being changed, at least not by force from any outside influence. The reason some Christians are offended is because of the same reason some atheists may be offended by church signs… it goes directly against something they strongly believe. Most of us look the other way and keep on going about our beliefs.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Please, I must go to bed soon. I’d like an answer to my question.

What exactly is the point of being a Christian?

The end is nigh and my salvation may depend on your answer.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Personally I’ve never met an atheist who enjoys having a negative effect of those with faith, and a majority or my friends are such. Perhaps I have just been graced with good friends. That said I’ll respectfully disagree, there are plenty of christians who feel challenged by the mere existence of atheists, and vise versa.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03

BULLSHIT!

Most Atheists get a real kick out of watching the Christian stumble over their faith. Are you kidding? Millions of books are sold every year just to teach them how to do that.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I talk to people who I believe want a logical conversation. I do not entertain people like you. If you think your salvation depends on knowing about Christianity, pick up a Bible or go here: http://www.conversiondiary.com/
She says it all so well and is much better of an explainer than myself. Look around, she has interesting posts that provoke thought to both Christians and atheist.

Grisaille's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies No.

Quit painting over us with a broad blanket statements.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Links to her best posts are to the left. If you or anyone is interested. If not, no point in discussing it.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

lol uh, maybe I’m just sheltered, but I’ve never really seen an atheist go “Man, I crushed that Jesus Whore’s faith into the ground! I need a cigarette after that fiasco I’m spent…”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

I have three bibles next to my bed. I’ve read and studied them for the past 30 years. I have no need to be entertained. The lady at conversiondiary did not accuse me of missing the point about being a Christian. You did.

I want your answer, not hers.

YARNLADY's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies At most, the estimates of the number of all books published on every subject every year falls way short of a million, by about half.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies If you’ve studied the Bible like you claim, then you should know that your comparing Jesus’ perfect actions to human’s reactions and saying they are different does not prove any point, other than Jesus is perfect and we are not (which we already know.)

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@YARNLADY

Thank you for the clarification dear. You know how I do so adore the Truth. ;)

Upon your correction, I retract my previous exaggeration.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Don’t retract so quickly…. you said millions of books sold. That’s probably right. Just not millions of books published, as Yarnlady clarified.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

What is the point of being a Christian?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

*as in separate books

Grisaille's avatar

Shouldn’t you two… be like… not fighting?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@BBSDTfamily how is jesus perfect? I mean honestly, even the bible says the Jesus was human and was susceptible to human flaws if I’m not mistaken. Like trashing the Temple because of the traders using the steps to set up shop. The ways it’s described in the bible JC seems pretty pissed off and pretty violent… seems contradicting for someone who’s biggest quotable is “turn the other cheek”

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Do you want a simple answer or do you want me to try to explain everything a Christian tries to do? The short answer is to be a follower/believer of Christ. To believe that God created all things and that Jesus actually did die on the cross to pay the price for Christian’s sins.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

only Christians sins? The Sons and Daughters of Allah weren’t good enough eh?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Okay, as perfect as a human has ever been.

Read a few more Bible stories and you’ll see that no, He is not portrayed as violent.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

he flips over tables, smashes pots, and yells at the top of his lungs… if someone came into your church and started doing that would you not see that person as violent?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Not familiar with the story you are referring to, but I am positive that Jesus is not portrayed as a violent man. I am pretty sure you don’t really expect anyone to believe that either.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Let me dig it up for you. Jesus and his apostles entered a temple(not sure if it was in Jerus. or not) and found several traders, bankers, etc bartering on the Temple steps. Jesus immediately started to curse them, causes some ruckus and scared them all off.(to give you a brief run down) let me go find a link for you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

I don’t want the religious mumbo jumbo about Jesus being God. He never said that. Others said that about him. I don’t want the crap about how we MUST believe in the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection… it’s completely irrelevant whether that happened or not it doesn’t matter. Those are the rules. Christianity is NOT about following rules. That would be to make the same mistake that Christians accuse the Jews of. Establishing rules that no one can possibly live by.

I want you to tell me the very simple message of Christ. What is the point of being a Christian?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Mark 11:15

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.
http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Mark+11:15-19

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

seems like a delicate way of saying he trashed the place because the traders were there… A simple, “ladies and gentlemen I don’t feel it is right that you use the Temple as a place of trade, please leave” was out of the realm of possibility there?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03

Boobs… You’re really talking out of an orifice that wasn’t meant for speaking.

As I said earlier about the money lenders, Jesus was offended that they had turned a house of God into a den of thieves. Those guys were free to do their business elsewhere, but not in the house of God.

The mission of Christ on earth was to reestablish the Truthful purpose of the Temple. You can’t blame a guy for keeping God’s house clean, and in the manner it was originally intended for.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I am confused by your last post and perhaps should respond to you differently if I was mistaken… You believe in God, but not that Jesus is what many Christians say he is?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I’m not saying the action was right or wrong, BBS said Jesus never showed violent tendencies, and that clearly was a violent event, I just provided the example. To say I’m talking out of my ass for making an observation is way off base.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

I don’t care what anybody says about Christ. I care about what Christ himself said.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 Don’t misquote me. I didn’t say he never showed violent tendencies. You are jumping all around and missing everyone else’s points.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Okay that is something we can both agree on.

ratboy's avatar

If everyone were atheistic, would they all be doing it doggy style for lack of the missionary position?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

”...but I am positive that Jesus is not portrayed as a violent man.”

yes yes yes, you’ll say he isn’t portrayed as violent in the Bible. But when the OT describes the early Israeli conquests, just because it’s not portrayed as genocide doesn’t mean it isn’t.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Real simple. It’s so simple that the modern day Christian will miss the second coming of Christ every bit as much as they accuse the Jews of missing the first. They will not recognize him.

Jesus said one thing about who he was.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the father except through me”.

Accept the Way of Truth and Live. It’s that simple.

Jesus did not come to make bad people turn good. Jesus came to provide a way for dead people to live. The spiritually dead can be spiritually alive. That’s it. That’s all.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

but alas, it’s 3:30 in the morning here, I honestly do enjoy talking about this so hopefully we can catch up again tomorrow. Until then, however, pleasant dreams.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03

Oh man, you think the OT has some whoop ass. Wait till you see what happens on DDay. Ther’s gonna be rivers of blood running when King Jesus returns.

Hahahahahahahaha

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies If your interpretation of that verse is correct, how does it take away from Christianity? How does that support atheism? I said earlier why I think Christians are offended by atheism signs, and I don’t understand why you are arguing with me?

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

“Oh man, you think the OT has some whoop ass. Wait till you see what happens on DDay. Ther’s gonna be rivers of blood running when King Jesus returns.

Hahahahahahahaha”

I really don’t even know what you’re trying to say here.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Then don’t try to talk about Christianity if you can’t even understand that much. Try being informed, not opinionated.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 my post above was meant for you

Grisaille's avatar

Can we all agree that none of our bullshit philosophies mean anything to the next man?

Quit trying to convert the other side. Just go to bed. And pray, or whatever.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Because a true Christian should do their best to be Christ like. Christ was never offended by anything in the secular world. We would do good to attempt the same.

Judge not lest ye be judged.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

lol I was raised in a Catholic house hold, and went to church twice a week for most of my life, I am plenty informed. I was saying I didn’t understand how the above comment warranted a “hahahahahahahahaha” because I failed to see the hilarity in it.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Yes. But we aren’t perfect, and we fall short daily. Even the best Christian today cannot help it.

Grisaille's avatar

I SAID GO TO BED

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Grisaille

I’m in bed… with wireless!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Imperfection should never stop a Christian from acknowledging what Christ would have us do. Some may be incapable of total love and acceptance of those who persecute them, but that doesn’t mean that Truth has to die for us again, and again, and again.

Some are very capable of total forgiveness, acceptance and compassion, even if it hurts us. It’s the walk. Stumble and get back up. We have an excellent escort.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I agree 100%. I wasn’t agreeing with being offended or saying that it is right to be, but I do believe in speaking up for our beliefs and just tried to explain why some people are offended. Or maybe offended is not the best word. Disgusted may be a better description. It is saddening to see someone you love and worship and are completely grateful to for everything be run down so carelessly.

Thammuz's avatar

Because the world isfull of dipshits who are just waiting for something to be offended about

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

It’s not our job to stand up for God. He doesn’t want that at the cost of passing judgment upon someone. God only wants us to know him. In the quietness of our hearts, expressing his essence through our kindness and forgiveness to others. He just wants to expressing himself through us.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies When I said earlier that I didn’t entertain people like you, I thought you were trying to troll. Sorry :( Now it seems you were just trying to provoke my thought.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I see what you’re saying. You are right. Well, except that I do believe in vocalizing that you are a Christian and why if asked.

But God doesn’t need us in order to touch someone’s heart. All we can do is help along the way by trying to be as good of examples as we can.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Don’t mention it. Christians usually find me more offensive than Atheists do. I certainly want Christians to think about their faith. I certainly want Atheists to know that I am their brother in life.

The Church would do well to stop pointing fingers at everyone else. The Church is its own worst enemy. Remove the plank, then address the speck.

whitenoise's avatar

This is the only valid reason I see to raise your children in a religion. Being atheists in a religious mainstream is not nice. When I am in the US -and asked – I mostly tell people I am a believer, when I am in the Middle East I do the same. Many people with religion see atheism as the purest evil. I am happy to live in The Netherlands, where atheism is accepted by most believers. I feel that their tolerance is shrinking, however.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Once again this has turned into a hapless, steaming pile of senseless banter.xD I love fluther.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I do not find you offensive now that I understand where you’re coming from better. So what do you refer to someone like yourself who believes in God but does not endorse a particular church? The church does serve as a gateway for bringing many to Christianity, though. I know several kids myself who heard about God through Vacation Bible School, a summer kids program in churches.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

The philosophies behind my Theism go very deep. Science and Linguistics play a big part in confirming my beliefs. I also study Hinduism and Buddhism a great deal. Every bit of it supports Christianity, albeit one that most Christians would reject out of ignorance.

Too much teaching the Word and not enough reading the Word.

I am a Child of Truth.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies
I don’t want the religious mumbo jumbo about Jesus being God. He never said that

What did you mean here? I do not believe that Jesus is God, rather the Son of God.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Christianity would then call you a lost heretic. That statement rejects the triune personage of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Please explain. I know about the Holy Trinity, but believed that God is the creator long before Jesus came to Earth. I’m open to your answer, but did not think that the Holy Trinity meant God and Jesus are one in the same?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Point being that you don’t have to believe it, as most Christians say you must. Whether Jesus was God, son of, born from a virgin or rose from the dead. That is the Christian dogma. People can believe or disbelieve that all they want. But it only serves to miss the message.

Accept the Way of Truth and Live.

In this manner, a child who has never heard the name of Jesus can still receive life. As long as she accepts the Way of Truth, then she Lives.

When we reject the Way of Truth, then we Die… because we made Truth die. We die spiritually. But Truth always has a way of Resurrecting itself. Truth always Lives.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

By “Way of Truth” what do you mean? Jesus?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

Truth is the Word.

The Trinity of God is explained by Paul.

“In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was God, and the Word was with God. And the Word became flesh”

Is, With, and Became… Triune.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Okay I see what you are saying now. I am going to read more about this in my Bible.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I’m glad I came across you tonight… I’m a Christian who has recently realized in the past 3 or 4 months that she needs to read the Bible more herself instead of just listening to sermons. And you are bringing up a lot of good points that I need to look into.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@BBSDTfamily

You can also read about it from the Sphota Theory (the Word Principle of Bhartrihari)
http://www.iep.utm.edu/b/bhartrihari.htm

pezz's avatar

I think that the term atheist runs with “free” thinking and that worries some people.

JLeslie's avatar

@whitenoise you said, “This is the only valid reason I see to raise your children in a religion. Being atheists in a religious mainstream is not nice. When I am in the US -and asked – I mostly tell people I am a believer, when I am in the Middle East I do the same. Many people with religion see atheism as the purest evil. I am happy to live in The Netherlands, where atheism is accepted by most believers. I feel that their tolerance is shrinking, however.”

Can you elaborate on the tolerance you referred to, and what changes you are seeing in the Netherlands and possibly other parts of Europe?

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I simply can’t be bothered to go through all the arguments here… Debates on religion tire me…

But here’s my two cents. Please note that I’m speaking from the Christian point of view here.

It is in the Christian belief that all love comes from God and that whenever we do good things, we’re simply showing God’s love in our actions. And therefore, if all love comes from God, all good comes from God.

To say that being a good person doesn’t require God is to say that one believes that his capacity for goodness is in no way affected by the existence/non-existence of God, and goes directly against what Christians believe, which is especially loaded because this is something that’s extremely important to the faith (at least, as far as I’m concerned).

This is why I can understand why people (or at least Christians) would take offence against this sign.

whitenoise's avatar

@JLeslie Well, keep in mind, this is my personal opinion, no research.

So about the Netherlands:
In the wake of 9/11, we have had a lot of political and especially religious polarization. Much of that has been focussed on Islam. Many populistic political views have gotten traction and as such I observe more and more of a feeling of us versus them.

One the side effects of these discussions is that people are less open to deviating behavior. One reoccurring theme is “back to values and moral standards”. So overall tolerance is getting lower and atheism is getting torn in with that.

A parallel development is the political push to again make legislation against blasphemy and more actively pursue on that topic.

A final development i want to mention is the increasing identification with religion by those that are religious and an increasing sense of being attacked on that topic. Christians are getting more defensively agresive and Islamic people have traditionally never had a very positive opinion on heathens anyway.

JLeslie's avatar

@whitenoise Someone mentioned to me the other day that their perception of Europe is that eventually there will be a large backlash against Islam in a hateful horrible manner. They likened it to Nazi Germany. Not so much that there will be genocide, but a complete (or at least a large majority of) dissaproval and disgust for Muslims. It sounded extreme to me, especilly with my American perception of Europe, so that is why I was curious about your statement.

From what I understand in the Netherlands the Arab Muslims who immigrate to your country stay very segregated from the rest of the population. I feel like with all of the crap that goes on in the USA, one thing we really had going for us was that most people assimilated by the 2nd generation. Some of that is changing and no longer true in certain ethnic groups. But, from what I understand in the Netherlands, the Arabs there actually bring in more people from their home country when they want to marry, they never really blend in or assimilate. What is your take on that?

whitenoise's avatar

@JLeslie
I share much of your worries. Not in the least, because we are so much more polarizing now than we were. Second and third generation foreigners that felt Dutch ten years ago, now view themselves as foreigners. Immigration is not our biggest issue, it is loosing the people we already have living here. Like I said: I share your friend’s worries and it worries me a lot.

I wish we could discuss more, but others have already hijacked this thread and I do not want to do the same. I am off to fetch the kids from school so we’ll have to talk another time.

JLeslie's avatar

@whitenoise yes, we are off topic. Thank you for your time and thoughts.

Darwin's avatar

“Most Atheists get a real kick out of watching the Christian stumble over their faith.”

How odd. Most atheists that I know just keep quiet unless poked with a stick, and instead of fussing at Christians just sleep in on Sundays. A few people are like Madeline Murray O’Hair and shout about it mostly to get attention. The rest just go about their business.

I have never had an atheist come to my door to try to convert me.

JLeslie's avatar

Atheists don’t get a “kick” out of watching Christians stumble, but some of us want self righteous, judgmental Christians to SHUT UP. I am not talking about the people here in our Fluther collective :). It is the hipocrisy. All of these loud mouth Christians in the media implying they are morally superior, that they have the lock on all that is good. If these right wing annoying people choose to come after liberals in their personal lives, they better be perfect in their own. What I would like to see is the heads of the parties get together and call a truce on peoples marriages and private lives. You can’t deny that the right wing Republicans started this crap. And yes, I am waiting (not wishing) for Elisabeth Hasselback’s husband to cheat on her so she will SHUT UP.

Ivan's avatar

@Saturated_Brain

All of that assumes that you are justified in being offended by the mere fact that someone holds different beliefs than you.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Saturated_Brain
said…

“It is in the Christian belief that all love comes from God…”

Where does the Bible teach that? Let me get this straight… if ALL love comes from God, and Christians love God… That means God is just loving himself?

That is Asinine. You are NOT “speaking from the Christian point of view here”. You are speaking from Your personal point of view based upon errant teachings of whatever television evangelist is blabbing at the moment. God is not a cosmic puppet master trying to trick us in to scratching his belly.

@Saturated_Brain
said…

”...and that whenever we do good things, we’re simply showing God’s love…”

What?

Jesus specifically said, from Matthew 25:31–46

“I was naked and YOU gave me clothing…”
Does God use people to dress God?

“I was sick and YOU took care of me…”
Does God use people to take care of God?

“I was in prison and YOU visited me…”
Does God use people to visit himself?

Absurdity abounds in ignorant Christian dogma. God’s love is not dependent upon humans doing “good things”. God’s love is apparent even when humans do “bad things”. God encourages us to show love to our fellow man so that we can humble ourselves. It’s a matter of removing our pride and arrogance, NOT becoming a mindless funnel. We overcome our ego by expressing our own love for humanity. Our own love, not Gods. Foolish to think that God needs humans to express himself. He could do that with rocks. Humans have essence and free will. Our love comes from us.

@Saturated_Brain
said…

“therefore, if all love comes from God, all good comes from God.”

How does it figure that “love” and “goodness” are the same things? Have you never heard of the “wrath” of God?

Jesus said in John 13:34
“A new commandment I give to you, that YOU love one another: just as I have loved you, YOU also are to love one another”.

He didn’t say, “God wants to use you to do what he’s already doing without you” or “God has reached his limit on how much he can love you by himself, so he needs your help so that he can love you even more”.

Why would God need humans to express himself to other humans? He didn’t need anybody else around to love Adam. Christians are NOT empty buckets waiting to be filled with the secret love sauce from God, just so they can empty themselves again by pouring it out on someone else.

@Saturated_Brain
said…

“To say that being a good person doesn’t require God is to say that one believes that his capacity for goodness is in no way affected by the existence/non-existence of God, and goes directly against what Christians believe…”

Preposterous! Have you ever heard the story of the “Good Samaritan”?

Samaritans were hated by the Jews and considered filthy Godless dogs (much like common Christians look upon Atheists). Yet the Samaritan was the only man who stopped to help the traveler from Jericho who had been robbed and nearly killed, left in the road by thieves.

“And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. ”

The Jewish Priest passed by the injured man and left him for dead. The Religious Levite also passed him by without helping.

Are you really suggesting that the Samaritan (or Atheists) can’t do a good thing without the intervention of God? If you think that God is just moving through us, then what hope do we have of ever being good by our own actions? What reason would God have to be pleased with any of his children for?

@Saturated_Brain
said…

“I can understand why people (or at least Christians) would take offence against this sign”

Jesus never took offense at anything in the secular world. Why would a Christian do any different? Jesus only took offense at those who butchered the Truth of the Temple. Modern day Christians are a mockery of the Ancient Jewish Temple practices. Just judge other people all they want and set up dogma after dogma after dogma to claim prideful self righteousness over everyone else.

EmpressPixie's avatar

1. There have not always been Christians. They didn’t show up until, you know, Jesus and the crucifixion and all that jazz. Before that there were Jews. (This is to the person who said there’s always been Christians.) Before that there were various other religions.

2. The vast majority of atheists I know want verbose religious folks to shut up because they are tired of hearing them shout at the wind.

3. However, there are some atheists I know who are evangelical about their atheism.

4. @Ivan: If you don’t know anyone who is offended by the existence of religious folks, you haven’t met my boyfriend (Qingu). He tends to think that religion is dangerous because it teaches false things about the world and is often used to justify bad deeds. But he is in the minority of atheists in his outspokenness of this opinion. [He said, “I don’t think offended is the right word.” I said, “What do you think is the right word?” “Mmm… agitated. Similar to how I feel about republicans. Or racists.”]

5. That billboard seems to be offering support to other atheist who, as a fairly persecuted group in many places, probably appreciate it. It says nothing about religion, it just lets people know they aren’t alone. I can’t imagine anything more important than that.

6. That people want it taken down shows that they are offended by the very notion of atheism. Which is bizarre. Everyone should believe what they want, but leave others alone. If you are happy in them, you have a right to your beliefs.

7. There have certainly been billboards that would offend theists (“All religions are fairy tales” or “there’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life”), but this one is not one of those, thus any reaction to it speaks far, far more about the reactors than the billboard itself.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@EmpressPixie

I thought I was your boyfriend.

Qingu's avatar

Let’s get something straight. The Bible—the book Christians, at minimum, believe was inspired by a loving and perfect God—claims that unbelievers like me are “fools” who are “evil” and deserve to be struck with boils, sold into slavery, and starved to the extent that we must eat our own miscarriage afterbirths (God gets pretty specific in Deuteronomy 28). The punishment for active unbelief is death (Deuteronomy 13). Jesus’ parables make clear that we are “slaves” who, if we don’t join his cult, deserve to be tortured or killed by his angry slaveowner father. The basic premise of your religion is that non-Christian human beings are so miserable and so disgusting on our own that God wants nothing to do with us.

For the record, that stuff doesn’t offend me at all. But I think it’s hilarious that so many Christians whine about being offended when Richard Dawkins calls them “delusional.” Abloohoohoo. I wonder how offended they’d be if some prominent atheist said they deserved to eat their miscarried fetuses because of their beliefs.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies: That is a real lie. How are your eyes?

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, when you talk about God’s love, I can’t help but think about the “love” an abusive husband feels to his battered wife.

“The reason I command you to kill unbelievers and threaten you with incredible tortures on earth and in the afterlife is because I love you so much, baby… you just gotta humble yourself. So do all those people I’ve killed and am going to kill for not obeying my ancient Mesopotamian laws.”

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

It’s very common to conflate Jewish Law and custom with God’s Ten Commandments. Unfortunate how people twisted up ten simple rules. Much suffering has come of that.

No reason for either of us to assist in the twisting.

I’ll stick with the Ten Rules and leave it at that. Everything else only serves the specious will of men.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

because everyone has a right to publicize their opinion, unless it derails from the generic religious perspective~

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, so you don’t think God really gave those other 603 commandments? The Bible is wrong/lying about that?

Note that most of the book of Joshua, and much of Judges, Kings, and Samuel, entails the Hebrews following (or struggling to follow) Yahweh’s wise and just commandments to commit genocide against their neighboring civilizations. All those books are bullshit?

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Sigh…. Let’s put it this way… All humans are creations of God and thus have the capacity to love. Doesn’t matter whether you’re Jew, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or whatever.

Let’s take my whole answer from another angle.

As a Christian, your answer is really just telling me that love can come from places other than God.

Are you Christian?

@Ivan Beliefs are an amazing thing. They make us and break us. Wars have been fought over ideologies and what’s dear to a person’s heart. Let’s not talk about religion. Even political beliefs can kill (think Marat anyone?) For me to be told that my beliefs are wrong would, understandably, offend anyone. The poor guy who put up the billboard probably didn’t really think of this.

Let’s just say that I would be offended by the mere fact that somebody holds different beliefs from me if they want to put it up on a huge billboard and advertise it. But then again, people do that all the time (maybe like the gay kiss on a beach which offends the straight couple). Where does one draw the line? It’s a grey confusing area, no?

whitenoise's avatar

With all respect… I personally do not always understand the sensitivity of people on this topic. Especially when an “insult” is directed at God rather than an individual who believes.

1) Someone who believes, knows (s)he is right, Right? So there should be no reason to all of a sudden project anything upon oneself if somebody else disagrees. Right? So why be insulted. I would say a Christian sense of sympathy for that other sole that is “lost” from your own perspective would be more fitting.

2) If someone insults God and you are a true believer, then you also believe someone is insulting a superior omniscient omnipotent being. God does nothing about it (He could if he wanted to!) so why would you take His place, leave alone take action. That seems rather presumptuous to me. As a believer confronted with these kind of contradictory atheistic messages, shouldn’t you conclude that since God does nothing about it, it might be His intention to have atheists around as well? Maybe we’re here to allow Christians (con religious sumi) to be tested and show their true devotion to their beliefs.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

The Jewish nation was founded upon Ten rules. Those Commandments were meant first for the Jews, to set an example with, and then for the rest of humanity.

After that, there are two possibilities as to how everything else became so violent. The first of which is that Jewish leaders used the notion of God to put forth and backup their own agenda. They wouldn’t be the only society to have done such a thing.

The second possibility is quite a bit more involved. I’ll sum it up with the phrase, “Be careful what you ask for”.

Let’s just pretend for a moment that Moses, Aaron, Miriam and those that followed were noble and righteous leaders. Pretend for a moment with me. The Jews had supposedly just escaped 700 or so years of persecuted slavery, they had no home, and they were rejected and confronted on all sides as they wandered through the desert for 40 years. This obviously was an extremely fragile time to be in such a hostile environment.

In fact, that environment is nothing that we can possibly associate with in our age of modernity. A mistake to judge them too harshly by our standards of today. The Law of Moses was never intended for today’s world. It was specific and possibly necessary for a violent and ancient past.

Moses and Aaron, at different times would consult with God about how to keep Israel pure, and safely reach the promised land. When consulting with Almighty God, one should be extremely careful for what they ask for. The Way of Jesus had not come yet, and the Jews were concerned with one thing… Israel’s survival.

For the sake of keeping the nation pure, seemingly barbaric measures were put into practice. If this is from God, then it is only because God knew what it would take for Israel to not become corrupted or conquered by other nations. Harsh by our standards yes, but if that’s what it took to survive in that time, then that’s what they had to do. Please don’t suppose that the Jews were the only hideously violent people of that time. You certainly don’t believe that the other nations they butchered were any less violent… do you?

Mankind as a whole has been barbarically violent up until the fall of the Roman empire 3000 years later. No reason to hold the Jews to a different standard than everyone else. But, there are two caveats to this story. The first being that when the Jews let their guard down, they were once again enslaved by other nations. The second being the entrance of Jesus Christ.

The Jewish leaders became very corrupt and began adding more and more requirements to the Law of Moses. They began robbing the people blind and even had Temple Prostitutes at their disposal. They became a nation held hostage by their own leadership.

That was the reason for Jesus Christ. He came to release people from the Law of Moses. As he said that he came to fulfill the Law once and for all. In this process, he gave one other commandment. One that would encompass the other Ten. The commandment to Love one another.

It doesn’t matter if you or I believe the first or the second scenario of why the Jews were violent. The fact remains that we have no basis for judging their actions by the standards of today. Though we do have the ability for attempting to understand their motives and reasons behind their actions.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Saturated_Brain

I believe in the Way of Jesus Christ. I am a child of Truth. I don’t believe in most of what modern Christianity teaches. I don’t believe that the modern Christian even knows what they are talking about when they reference the names of God or Jesus Christ.

I believe that many Atheists are closer to being true Christian than the so called Christians of modernity are. Just as the Gentiles were persecuted by the Jews, yet understood and accepted the true essence of Godly living.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Saturated_Brain
said…

“Where does one draw the line?”

The line is drawn at the point where Deception is accepted as Truth.

Nothing in this particular Atheist billboard is untrue. There’s nothing for anyone, especially Christians, to be judgmental about it.

whitenoise's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies “Mankind as a whole has been barbarically violent up until the fall of the Roman empire 3000 years later. No reason to hold the Jews to a different standard than everyone else. But, there are two caveats to this story. The first being that when the Jews let their guard down, they were once again enslaved by other nations. The second being the entrance of Jesus Christ.”

Why do you say that? I feel there is no reason to suspect mankind becoming any less violent since then. I strongly remember my history lessons on the twentieth century. That is by far the most violent century so far. But this century we’re off to a good start as well. Iraq, Afghanistan. Central Africa. And it is not that we had a break in between the Roman times and ours.

The Dark Ages, for instance, are called that way for a reason, and not just because they were lacking proper lighting to read by. Beheading people on the square, but not before you cut open their bellies so that the victims may have a nice final look at their own insides was quite a fashion. Ever visited the torture museums? We used to burn witches well into the seventeenth century.

I also see no correlation indicating that religion has lowered man’s predisposition towards violence. I truly think you’re contributions are well written and very interesting, but you seem to have a lot of facts readily at hand. Many of these facts would be disputable in my court, though.

I respect what you are writing and I get a feeling you are a kind, nice and good person, but it seems you have a very personalized version of Christian faith. You graze various biblical exegeses and theological theories, accepting some and refusing others.

When looking into Christian faith, however, I feel it hard to accept parts of the bible as truths and other parts as historical interpretations. It seems to me as rather artificial, for instance, to decide that the jealous, merciless God from the Old Testament is a different one from the loving version introduced by the New Testament.

I have read the bible and I am convinced that it is a book that has many lessons to learn and shows ways to great insights. To use it in any way to claim you know the truth is very tricky, though -I think. Samson’s tale, for instance, has always been told to me as a heroic fact. Nowadays with frequent religious suicide terrorists around, I would be very hesitative to tell this story to my children and refer to Samson as a hero.

Exegesis of the bible can pretty much defend any possible position, and religion has done that time and time again; in various different often contradictory ways. You are in essence doing the same. I must admit I like you’re exegeses better than most I have heard, but I see no reason (with all respect and love to you) to think you are more right than others.

I feel mankind is obliged to look for definitions of good and try to pursue a good life. If the bible helps you do that, then that is great. If atheistic humanism does that for you – as it does for me – then that is great as well.

If a definition of God leads to defining an in-group and an out-group that offers excuses to treat others in a harmful way, than I wish we would have none.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies I can see that we differ very strongly on opinions here. And I can see that you’re gonna stick by your guns no matter what (since you believe that most “modern” Christians aren’t as Christian as many atheists are).

Therefore, I can’t really this going anywhere else constructive.

Also, you believe in the ‘Ways of Jesus Christ’ and are a ‘child of Truth’. Exactly which denomination are you from RealEyesRealizeRealLies? To answer a question of whether you’re Christian or not in that way is a very good way to distance yourself from what many people believe Christianity is.

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, you presented two possibilities about the Old Testament:

1. The Jews made up the 603 non-Ten-Commandments laws in the Bible and dishonestly attributed them to Yahweh. This makes the majority of the Old Testament lies.

2. God really did give the Jews the 603 other laws, including ones commanding genocide. This means you’re a moral relativist. You think slavery and genocide is okay in certain times and places, but not others.

Both possibilities have problems. The first is simply a dishonest reading of the Bible. The Bible does not segregate the “ten commandments” from the other 603 laws. They are interwoven into the legal texts of both Exodus and Deuteronomy, appearing in the same section as the commandments for genocide and laws condoning slavery. Jesus himself said that you should follow all the laws of the Old Testament so you could be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:17). It’s hard to see position #1 as anything but dishonest cherry-picking.

The problem with position #2 is that you are advocating genocide, which says a lot about you as a human being. You claimed that genocide was the “norm” back in the day the Hebrews were living. It certainly was a brutal atmosphere, but actually, the Bible is the only religious text I’m aware of that commands genocide. The Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans often incorporated the cultures they conquered into their own culture, adding their gods to their pantheons and learning from their ideas. The Hebrews, if the Bible is to be believed, simply killed every man, woman, and child of the people they conquered in the holy land, because God commanded them to. And God is clear why he commands them to do so—it’s not for “safety,” it’s to preserve their cultural purity and guard against non-Hebrew ideas (Dt. 20: 18).

In any case, it’s certainly ironic to watch you admonish people for not paying attention to the Bible when you yourself seem willing to dismiss whole swaths of it as fiction (position #1). It’s also ironic to watch you sit here and lecture people about morality when you are more than willing to support the practice of genocide.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@whitenoise

You are correct that violence has permeated mankind even through the present. My only reason for noting a shift at the fall of the Roman empire was to acknowledge the effect that Christ had on the western mindset. At that point, an appeal for mercy attained more legitimacy, especially in the case of innocent children.

But don’t misunderstand me please. I don’t mean to say this was a universal mind set among tyrannical leadership. But only that the common man had an objective argument against the butchering of women and children during times of ultimate conquest.

Those like Hitler and Hussein still had no problems with annihilating the completely innocent. But acknowledging the teachings of Jesus provided society with an objective voice to sound against those tragedies.

That’s all I was getting at. And it was only directed at Western Culture. The East had other teachings long before Christ appeared.

@whitenoise @Saturated_Brain

I’ll answer you both for your comments are similar.

It seems I have my own particular flavor of Christianity. Possibly, but that flavor does not arise from listening to an infinite number of preachers, and their particular flavors. As you know, Christianity has countless divisions and off shoots like Mormonism. Even the individual churches are at odds with many intricacies of the religion. Notwithstanding, much deception has been revealed as to private agendas, hidden corruption, and sexual debauchery of all sorts.

You have both used or alluded to the term “Christian faith”. That is an errant conjunction. Christianity is not a faith. Christianity is not faith. Christianity is a religion. Religion and Faith are not the same things. Religion is a teaching. Faith is an essence of Being.

One is a medium. The other is a message.

Over and over and over again, I have discussed this issue with countless people who cannot separate a medium from the message it bears. All too often, people conflate the teachings about God, with God himself. My description of you, is not the same thing as you. One represents the other, but it is not the other.

This is the hinging point of my perspective. It comes from actually reading and studying the bible rather than listening to someone else tell me about it. The essence of meaning is put into the light of Buddhism and Hinduism, Science, Biology, Mathematics, Information Theory, Philosophy and Linguistics. The result of those studied comparisons have revealed a fundamental flaw in the common interpretation of what God (and Jesus Christ) actually is.

I fully comprehend the common understanding of Deity. I have found it to be radically defective. Thus, my understanding of these things is something entirely different.

JLeslie's avatar

All that bible stuff is so long ago.

Qingu's avatar

@JLeslie, so is all the stuff described in the Iliad. And it’s fine to look at the Bible, like the Iliad, as an ancient, legendary/mythological text that reflects the views of the archaic, barbaric culture that wrote it.

The problem is that there are a lot of people today who don’t view the Bible like the Iliad, and think it is a holy book that you can cite verses from to win arguments and dictate behavior.

JLeslie's avatar

@Qingu I agree with you, it is a problem that people look at it as a holy book that can dictate behavior and win arguments. From a historical and philosophical perspective there is merit in discussing the bible and other religious teachings, merit in trying to understand life, but to see it as the literal word of God and to believe you need to follow it word for word, and to use it to judge others is ridiculous to me.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

Acknowledging that era does not constitute my automatic approval. Assumtions to attack my personal ethics are groundless. There is no need to pass judgment on that time, approving or disapproving of it whatsoever. We can only accept it for what it was (in that day) and determine if those policies are right for our current society.

@Qingu said:
“The Bible does not segregate the “ten commandments” from the other 603 laws.”

Well sure it does. The Ten Commandments came down from Mount Sinai. The “legal texts of both Exodus and Deuteronomy” did not.

Your reference to Matthew 5:17 is cherry picking.

Christ speaks of the Ten Commandments when he refers to the Law, not the Law of Moses. He clearly says:

5:20 “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

5:21 “…Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.” Read on… He expands the premise to include anger.

5:27 “…Do not commit adultery.” Read on… He expands the premise to include lust.

Later on Christ confronts the Law of Moses directly. Again saying:

5:38–39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.” Read on… He expands the notion to include charity.

5:43–44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Read on… He expands the notion to include tolerance.

Later Christ encourages humility. Read it all for yourself. No need to let others just tell you about it.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%205:17-48#en-NIV-23257

@Qingu said:
“…you are advocating genocide, which says a lot about you…”

How does my acknowledgement of an era automatically mean that I approve of it?

@Qingu said:
“…Bible is the only religious text I’m aware of that commands genocide.”

The Bible was first at a lot of things, but genocide was not a universal given. Speaking on the #2 God smack perspective, consider this paper.
http://www.accessv.com/~rjchin/proof/canaan.htm
Unless of course you’d rather just sit back and complain about it, passing judgment beyond the time and place it was intended for, quote mining to serve your purpose. That is the easy thing to do and it rallies great cries of support for your accusations. Actually studying the situation is a little more involved.

@Qingu said:
“The Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans often incorporated the cultures they conquered…”

Sure, but total genocide was prevented only when that culture stopped fighting them. Pagan conquerors were more interested in the gold and riches. They gathered up the bounty of all sorts, mostly in the form of idols and artistic creations. This obviously had an effect upon the conquering nation, hence the lost nation was seemingly absorbed into the prevailing culture.

The Jews simply chose not to loot the idols of other nations. Preferring instead to destroy them. A choice they made to remain pure unto themselves. Many reasons are given for that in the bible. And only when the practice was not adhered to did they fall as a nation.

@Qingu said:
“The Hebrews…simply killed every man, woman, and child…”

That’s very debatable. Read the paper… But also know that the Hebrews did not hold themselves to a different standard than others. They could kill their own mothers for cooking on the Sabbath. Wayward sons were given a chance to change, but put to death if they refused. Keeping the nation pure was paramount.

Without presenting an impossible harangue on this thread, I present you with a couple of resources to expand your considerations for this very difficult topic.

One Apologetic that’s relatively easy to consider:
http://www.thebanner.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=925

But if you really want to give your accusations something to chew on, try this… 4 parts with commentary.
http://www.thinkingchristian.net/2009/06/did-god-commit-genocide-in-the-bible/

@Qingu said:
“…you yourself seem willing to dismiss whole…”

No sir, I consider the whole… I would never dismiss it.

@Qingu said:
“…you are more than willing to support the practice of genocide”.

You’re obviously more concerned with attacking me personally than you are with associating with the notions that I’ve put forth. Unfortunate that you must quote mine the Bible to serve that purpose.

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies,

“The Ten Commandments came down from Mount Sinai. The “legal texts of both Exodus and Deuteronomy” did not.”

Why on earth does this matter? All the commandments in the Bible—according to the Bible—come directly from God. Not just the Ten Commandments. God gave those first, then the Hebrews got scared, so they kept their distance and God gave the rest to Moses directly as well. See Ex. 20:21 and Dt. 5:31. There is no indication that they’re only supposed to follow the ten and not all the others that come directly from God.

The Old Testament explicitly says all of its commandments come from God, and are universal and should never be changed, and that they’re so impressive that other cultures (including ours, presumably) will marvel at their wisdom (Dt. 4). I certainly look at laws commanding rape victims to marry their rapists, per Dt. 22:28, and exclaim “such a wise and discerning law!”

“Christ speaks of the Ten Commandments when he refers to the Law.”

Bullshit. He specifically calls on you to follow even the “least” of the commandments.

“Later on Christ confronts the Law of Moses directly. Again saying: 5:38–39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.” Read on… He expands the notion to include charity.”

Are you arguing that Christ abolished the laws in Exodus 21 and elsewhere (i.e. “eye for an eye”)? That contradicts Matthew 5:17. It also doesn’t make sense. The laws calling on you to punish eye for an eye presuppose that you have the political authority to actually dole out justice and punishment. Jesus’ audience did not. I’ve argued elsewhere that the guidelines in the Sermon on the Mount don’t actually contradict the OT passages Jesus refers to, but rather “set up fences” around them, so that if you follow the guidelines you won’t even come close to breaking the laws.

“How does my acknowledgement of an era automatically mean that I approve of it?”

If you don’t approve of genocide, then are you saying God was morally wrong to command genocide? Or that the Hebrews would have been morally wrong to follow such a commandment?

Or are you arguing for moral relativism—it would have been right back then, but not today?

Sorry, but genocide isn’t something you can tapdance around. State your position clearly.

“The Bible was first at a lot of things, but genocide was not a universal given. Speaking on the #2 God smack perspective, consider this paper.”

I make it a policy not to respond to other’s people’s arguments on here. Unless the author of that paper wants to come on Fluther and defend his points.

Genocide was not universal in the Bible (in ordinary warfare, you were either supposed to enslave everyone or, if they resisted, kill all the men and enslave the rest), but it was specifically commanded for numerous ethnic groups living in what is now Israel. And the Bible is the only text I know of that actually contains such commandments.

“The Jews simply chose not to loot the idols of other nations. Preferring instead to destroy them. A choice they made to remain pure unto themselves. Many reasons are given for that in the bible. And only when the practice was not adhered to did they fall as a nation.”

This reads like an explicit endorsement of ethnic cleansing.

“That’s very debatable. (i.e. that the Hebrews killed everyone in such communities)”

Only in the sense that the Bible’s reports of the conquest are probably legendary, like the Iliad’s reports of the Trojan War. It is absolutely not debatable that God expliciitly commands them to kill every man, woman, and child, “leaving nothing that breathes remain alive” (Dt. 20:16).

“No sir, I consider the whole… I would never dismiss it.”

Then please explain what you meant when you said, “The first (possibility) of which is that Jewish leaders used the notion of God to put forth and backup their own agenda.” You are referring to a huge chunk of the Bible—much of Exodus, Numbers, and presumably Leviticus, most of Deuteronomy, and most of Joshua, Judges, Kings, and Samuel (and thus Chronicles). If the Jews used the notion of God to make up all these laws for their own agenda reflected in these books, that means dismissing all of these books.

But then, you seem more sympathetic to your other possibility, which is that the genocide “agenda” was justified at the time. Which, again, speaks a lot about you as a human being. And yeah, I guess that is a personal attack, though it seems to me like someone who advocates genocide deserves it.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

The owner of that bill board has every right to rent that space to anyone and when the contract expires anyone has the right to bid on it. I see religious ones that are much more offensive all of the time. They like to order people about and tell them that they are going to hell if they don’t take the orders. I find that to be an threat. Not that hell can hurt me but that they intend me to be scared. That would be an assault.

walterallenhaxton's avatar

@Qingu As far as I can tell citing bible verses is not an argument at all but a logical Fallacy. They are always out of context too which is another problem with them. How can we evaluate what the author meant by them when we know nothing about him. I think that there are very few books in the Bible collection that have the authors credentials attached.
http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

I’m no more or less sympathetic to one theory or the other. It may seem as such because the second theory requires a great deal more inspection. Your comments confirm that it’s also more difficult to consider with an open mind.

I’m not asking you to comment on the links. If you require the authors presence then you are more concerned with debating the issue rather than expanding your consideration for all points of view.

With or without God, the Jews are culpable to their own actions. Claiming that “God made me do it” is no different that claiming “the Devil made me do it”. Can’t you imagine the same scenario today where people said “No God, I will kill innocent children. Even if you command me to”.

If you refuse to deeply consider the varied reasons behind it in ancient times, then you are not truly interested in understanding those ancient mindsets. Cast blame, like all the others, and walk away feeling morally superior, holding religions of modernity accountable to the fiery traditions of the past. Unwarranted.

The Law of Moses was for governing a nation of men. The Law of God is for governing the hearts of men.

I’ve provided you with clear quotations on Jesus perspective on keeping the Law… the Law of God, the Ten Commandments. You noted yourself that:
“He specifically calls on you to follow even the “least” of the COMMANDMENTS.” He speaks of the 10 Commandments Qingu.

He goes into detail about it if you would just read what is right in front of you. He then replaces the Law of Moses with new instructions because the time for peace had come. Again, I’ve provided clear quotations for that. I don’t have to argue that “Christ abolished the laws in Exodus 21” because it is written clearly enough for the both of us to read. There is no argument. It’s what he said.

Eye for Eye is replaced with Love for Enemies. See Jesus quotes in my previous comment.

Christ said it clear as day… He rejected the Law of Moses, straight forward and without question. Read it.

Christ supported and expanded the 10 Commandments. It’s right in front of you. Read it.

Moral Relativism… Tricky question.

There’s nothing relative about the Ten Commandments. Gods Law is Absolute. But The Law of Moses is quite relative, for a specific people, in a specific time, in a specific place, in a specific circumstance and for some very specific reasons. That’s why Christ replace it, seeing that it no longer fit the greater plan.

Of course humans are moral relativists. When the Nazi comes to your door and asks where your children are… You will lie.

Again, in your usage of Dt 20:16, you are conflating the Law of Moses with the Law of God. That is Moses speaking to the people about what they had to do in order to achieve their inheritance of the Promised Land. That is NOT God speaking.

Look earlier for when he described what God actually spoke. Just after the 10 Commandments from God himself.

Dt. 5:22 – straight from the Skeptics Bible
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/dt/5.html
“These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: “AND HE ADDED NO MORE”. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.”
(emphasis mine)

THEN and only THEN Moses starts to give his own Law.

Moses speaking…
Dt. 11:7
“11:7 But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did.
11:8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments WHICH “I” COMMAND you this day…” (emphasis mine)

Everything after that are commandments from Moses the Leader. They were goal driven and meant for governance of a nation.

And if you continue with insisting that Dt. 20:16 absolutely commands genocide, then I will continue to insist that you read further on the links I provided you with. It’s too much to list here, and the subject deserves a closer inspection beyond that which you accuse it of. Dt. 20:16 is very specific and for very specific reasons. It is not indicative of how the Jews treated other conquered nations. Check the rules of engagement just before Dt. 20:16.

Such as 20:10
“When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.”
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/dt/20.html

Read on from there about “…the women, and the little ones..”

God, Moses, Whoever… singled out the “Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites” 20:17 for very specific reasons. Those nations were abominations that sacrificed their very own children and had tainted that land for 400 years. The very land that was promised to the Jews.

You call it ethnic cleansing. They would call it baptism by fire.

Again, consider those reasons here:
http://www.accessv.com/%7Erjchin/proof/canaan.htm

Don’t make me quote the whole damn paper just because you won’t read it. If you would read it, and the other links provided, then you might get the understanding that Dt. 20:17 could be misinterpreted or mistranslated to our current version of the bible. Total context of any bible verse must be qualified with other verses about the same subject.

I do not advocate genocide. I hope that is clear enough for you. But there is a good argument that those verses do not promote genocide either. You won’t even read the paper to consider it. With or without God in the equation, it just might be something other than you think it is. If genocide was the mission, then why leave all the other Canaanite cities untouched? There is reason to believe that Dt. 20:16 claims that those who choose to stay in that particular city would be annihilated completely. There were more than 200 other Canaanite cities they could have fled to.

FutureMemory's avatar

Hello everyone, hardcore atheist (err, Atheist, I can arbitrarily capitalize words just like RealEyes) chiming in. Actually I can’t offer much to this discussion, I’m not as eloquent as most people on fluther nor do I have the patience to write lengthy posts over and over and over again in a sad attempt to Prove I Am Right. All I can say is Thank You so much RealEyes for everything you’ve said thus far, each post reinforces my (already) rock solid viewpoint on why religion is complete bullshit.

sap82's avatar

Why are some offended by the very notion of God?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@FutureMemory

We agree that religion is bullshit.

JLeslie's avatar

@sap82 not offended by the notion of God, offended and ANNOYED when people who believe in God think they have THE only right answer, and they use their scripture to judge and hate and make assumptions that people who do not believe how they believe are less good or moral.

Qingu's avatar

“If you refuse to deeply consider the varied reasons behind it in ancient times, then you are not truly interested in understanding those ancient mindsets.”

Sure I am. And as I’ve said several times, the Bible is unique among ancient near eastern texts (actually unique among all religious texts I’ve read) in codifying genocide. The Biblical Hebrews were savages, even for their time. (Fortunately it looks like the Biblical account of their conquest is legendary, but that’s not what you’re arguing.)

“He (Jesus) speaks of the 10 Commandments Qingu.”

What is this, proof by repeated assertion? You obviously don’t think the 10 commandments are the “least” of the Law. But that’s exactly what Jesus said he was talking about. Stop being dishonest.

“I don’t have to argue that “Christ abolished the laws in Exodus 21” because it is written clearly enough for the both of us to read. There is no argument. It’s what he said.”

Actually he said “I have not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.” (Matthew 5:17). I guess you interpret this as “I have not come to abolish the law but to abolish it”? Again, stop being dishonest.

“That is NOT God speaking. ... THEN and only THEN Moses starts to give his own Law.”

Dt. 5:31—God says, “But you, stand here by me, and I will tell you all the commandments, the statutes and the ordinances, that you shall teach them, so that they may do them in the land that I am giving them to possess.”

All of the following passages, including Deuteronomy 11, are Moses reporting what God supposedly commanded to him. I have trouble believing that this is an honest mistake on your part. The Bible is crystal clear that all of its laws come from God, with Moses as an intermediary.

“And if you continue with insisting that Dt. 20:16 absolutely commands genocide, then I will continue to insist that you read further on the links I provided you with.”

And I will continue to ignore them and insist you make your own arguments (or else internalize the ones you want me to read and argue them yourself).

You’re linking to a secondary source’s interpretation of a primary source (the Bible) that we both have easy access to. I’ve quoted the lines from the Bible that explicitly command genocide. If you would like to explain how these lines to not mean what they say, feel free.

“It is not indicative of how the Jews treated other conquered nations. Check the rules of engagement just before Dt. 20:16.”

Straw-man, I never said it was. They were only ordered to genocide tribes living in the holy land, as well as any conquered towns that relapsed into non-Hebrew religions (Dt. 13:14).

Note that the non-genocidal “normal” laws for warfare you’re touting here call for the Hebrews to enslave the entire town if they immediately surrender, and kill all the men if they don’t. Such a wise and just law indeed! (Dt. 4:6)

“God, Moses, Whoever… singled out the “Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites” 20:17 for very specific reasons. Those nations were abominations that sacrificed their very own children and had tainted that land for 400 years. The very land that was promised to the Jews. You call it ethnic cleansing. They would call it baptism by fire.”

You’re arguing that it’s not really genocide because “they deserved it”?

That’s despicable.

“I do not advocate genocide.”

You just did. You called it “baptism of fire.”

“If genocide was the mission, then why leave all the other Canaanite cities untouched?”

Because the mission was only to eradicate the Canaanites living in the holy land. Sort of like how the Janjaweed only wants to eradicate the seminomadic African tribes in Darfur, not all seminomadic African tribes… and yet it’s still called “genocide.”

But if you want to play semantics, fine. You are advocating killing every man, woman, and child living in a certain area you want to settle, in order to prevent their culture from mingling with yours. That’s despicable.

Ivan's avatar

@Qingu

That’s an interesting response to the question, “Why are some offended by the very notion of atheism?”

Qingu's avatar

Also, re: Canaanites existing outside the holy land, the Bible defines “Canaan” as the promised land.

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Command the Israelites, and say to them: When you enter the land of Canaan (this is the land that shall fall to you for an inheritance, the land of Canaan, defined by its boundaries)” —Numbers 34.

mzdesigns's avatar

check out this film “http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0815241/”

TabernakAttack's avatar

@mzdesigns I love the how for the christians he asks a trucker’s chapel. If there were no cameras one of the rednecks would’ve kicked his ass. And as he said, all he was doing was just asking questions.

I’d say that chapel put a bad name on christians as a whole, but all the christian people I’ve met and got on this topic with them act very much the same.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu said:
“Fortunately it looks like the Biblical account of their conquest is legendary, but that’s not what you’re arguing.”

That’s one point affecting both theories I’ve offered. Hoping you would read the paper to shorten my comments… Legendary… as in Exaggeration… As in what every conquering nation uses as ad/hoc to strike terror in hearts of future conquests.

I distinctly said:
“…it just might be something other than you think it is.”
“Dt. 20:17 could be misinterpreted or mistranslated…”
“That’s (genocide) very debatable…”
“…any bible verse must be qualified with other verses about the same subject”

You’re making me repeat myself for clarification then accusing me of “repeated assertion”. When others complain about my lengthy responses, I’ll direct them to you. Again, about Jesus, from Jesus… not from me… from Jesus.

In support of the 10 Commandments in Mathew

5:21 “…Do not murder…” That’s number six. It is greater than number 7, “Do not commit adultery”

5:27 “…Do not commit adultery.” Number 7 is greater than number 8, “Do not steal”

Jesus obviously supports the 10 Commandments.

Then Jesus refutes the Law of Moses right after that…

5:38–39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person.”

5:43–44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…”

In case you don’t know the 10 Commandments, “Eye for Eye” and “Hate your Enemy” are not part of them. “Do not murder or commit adultery are part of them.

This is NOT “proof by repeated assertion”. This is your refusal to accept the words of Jesus himself, whilst proudly showing off your biblical ignorance. Will you make me “repeat” the quotes again?

@Qingu said:
“Stop being dishonest”.

It is easier for you to accuse me of dishonesty than to actually read and think about scriptural content right in front of your face.

@Qingu said:
“The Biblical Hebrews were savages, even for their time.”

You are consumed with holding them to a different standard just so you can blindly make assertions to promote your cause.

Who is your comparison against? Perhaps Adoni-bezek, a Perizzite King who kept seventy conquered kings under his dinner table and made them fight each other for food scraps with their thumbs and big toes cut off? Is that what you call civilized?

Why don’t you put the Canaanites in that “savage for their time” category? If you continually accuse me of approving of genocide, then you must approve of innocent child sacrifice. Yes?

“Historically child sacrifice in Canaan seems to have continued in some places until the Romans took measures to stamp it out once and for all in the 1st century CE”.
http://alencon13.blogspot.com/2006/06/human-sacrifice-in-ancient-canaan.html

Sorry, I forgot you don’t consider supporting links. It has me wondering though… where do you get your support for what you do claim? Do you have a bible by your bedside? Study it nightly? Certainly you wouldn’t dare be quoting bible bashing from some web sites, yet refuse to consider others that defend it? Would you?

Some people argue for the sake of promoting agenda rather than actually arguing for the sake of pursuing factuality. You wouldn’t be of the former ilk… Would you?

@Qingu said:
Dt. 5:31—God says, “But you, stand here by me, and…”

Uh… Noooooooo… As you say later, it was Moses speaking for God. But none of this came down from Mt. Sinai. None of this was engraved on the tablets. That’s the difference between the Law of God and the Law of Moses. Why would those laws have different designations ALL through the bible if they weren’t indeed DIFFERENT?

@Qingu said:
“All of the following passages, including Deuteronomy 11, are Moses reporting what God “SUPPOSEDLY” commanded to him…”
(emphasis mine)

Yes Qingu, supposedly…

@Qingu said:
“The Bible is crystal clear that all of its laws come from God…”

Noooooo… Moses and others after him claim it is crystal clear. Jesus had something else to say about it. And he was killed for doing so.

@Qingu said:
“They were only ordered to genocide tribes living in the holy land…”

By who? Moses or God? There is evidence to suggest that only those who refused to leave were completely slaughtered. If you want that evidence, then you’ll have to consider the links I’ve provided you with. It’s quite lengthy, and I just “internalized” it for you two sentences ago. Shall I burden this thread more than I already have just because you refuse to click your mouse?

@Qingu said:
“You are advocating killing every man, woman, and child living in a certain area you want to settle…”

Well, you keep saying that. Is this what you mean by “proof by repeated assertion”?

EmpressPixie's avatar

If you continually accuse me of approving of genocide, then you must approve of innocent child sacrifice. Yes?

Logic fail. He doesn’t approve of any religion. Though he does hate children…

But I actually wanted to comment on this:
where do you get your support for what you do claim? Do you have a bible by your bedside? Study it nightly?

Yes. He does. He studies it regularly. Actually it moves between the nightstand and kind of kicked under the bed. In fact, he studied it and other religious texts for four years at one of the top ten universities in the US. He would never, ever, ever bring this up because he feels like it is an appeal to authority and accordingly dishonest to bring it into an argument. I, however, get sick and tired of people accusing him of not knowing what he’s talking about as a last ditch effort to discredit what he’s saying.

He also reads his Qur’an and just recovered from my house what I believe was a Hindu text.

whitenoise's avatar

@EmpressPixie Sorry, but since this is an open forum. Am I correct in understanding He who does study regularly is @Qingu? edit: and directed @RealeYes? I might be able to distill all this, but this thread has become rather blurred to me.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@whitenoise: Yep. What I was responding to was directed @Qingu by RRR.

Edited to add: You know, it is largely directed at RRR since that is who wrote what I quoted, but frankly the second bit is to anyone who decides to attack perceived education on the issue. There have been many, many people on Fluther who have at some point in an argument with Qingu attacked his education. Now, I understand up close and in person what it is like to get frustrated arguing with him, but that is never called for.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@EmpressPixie

Thanks for the clarification.

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies,

“That’s one point affecting both theories I’ve offered. Hoping you would read the paper to shorten my comments… Legendary… as in Exaggeration… As in what every conquering nation uses as ad/hoc to strike terror in hearts of future conquests.”

You keep oscillating between this view—that much of the Bible is made-up bullshit—and the view that the Bible’s account of God-ordered genocide is true and, in fact, justified. I suggest you make up your mind. It seems important.

“Then Jesus refutes the Law of Moses right after that…”

If that’s your interpretation then he also refutes enforcing the Ten Commandments. Do you know what the mandated punishment for breaking any of the Ten Commandments is? Death. If “love thy neighbor” refutes eye-for-an-eye, it also refutes capital punishment for breaking the Ten Commandments. Which is why it’s a silly way to interpret the verses. The Jews at the time had no real political power to punish anyway (which is why they had to go to the Romans to get Jesus killed for blasphemy).

Note that I’m not arguing that the New Testament is consistent. Paul explicitly flaunts the Law of Moses in his opposition to circumcision (even though he says it’s “Holy, just, and good” in Romans 7:12). Some scholars think that Matthew 5:17 is actually “smacking down” Paul’s ambivalence about the Mosaic law, as Jesus seems to critically invoke his nickname, the “least” of the apostles.

“You are consumed with holding them to a different standard just so you can blindly make assertions to promote your cause.”
Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want to live in any of the civilizations at the time. And the Hebrews did make one important improvement over the Code of Hamurabi—not punishing children for their parents’ crimes. That said, the Code of Hammurabi does not punish homosexuality, unbelief, or working on the Sabbath, as the Bible does. And it certainly doesn’t proscribe genocide.

“Who is your comparison against? Perhaps Adoni-bezek, a Perizzite King who kept seventy conquered kings under his dinner table and made them fight each other for food scraps with their thumbs and big toes cut off? Is that what you call civilized?”
1. No, that’s also barbaric.
2. That’s based on the Hebrew account, so, bias.
3. Did the Perizzites practice genocide? Torturing kings is bad, but killing every civilian in towns you conquer seems a bit worse. Similarly with child sacrifice and human sacrifice in general. I’ve always said that, as bad as the Aztecs were, I’d rather live next to them than the Hebrews. They killed every single child in places they wanted to live. Also, it’s not clear that the Hebrews did not themselves practice child sacrifice—Jephthah appears to sacrifice his daughter to Yahweh in Judges 11).

“Uh… Noooooooo… As you say later, it was Moses speaking for God. But none of this came down from Mt. Sinai. None of this was engraved on the tablets. ... Yes Qingu, supposedly… Noooooo… Moses and others after him claim it is crystal clear. Jesus had something else to say about it. And he was killed for doing so.”

So are you saying Moses was a liar? Are you saying that the entirety of Joshua, as well as much of Judges, Kings, and Samuel, are lies? If you are, come out and say it. Stop dancing around it.

“There is evidence to suggest that only those who refused to leave were completely slaughtered.”

Not in the Bible. They are not given a chance to leave, according to the Bible. But it sounds more and more that you think much of the Bible is made-up bullshit. I certainly agree with this view, as an atheist.

On the other hand, earlier you seemed to argue that the Hebrews would have been justified to kill any natives living in the region they wanted to settle, because they deserved it. Whether or not you think this happened, the Bible explicitly says it did and explicitly says it was moral. So let’s be clear: do you agree or disagree that it happened? And do you agree or disagree that it would have been moral?

CMaz's avatar

It comes down to me as a Christian. I have no problem as to what you want to perceive. I for one is always looking for the answers.
It is having an absolute attitude. It aint over till the fat lady sings.

Corey_D's avatar

The only reason I can think of is that they are so invested in a belief that they have never questioned that the idea of people questioning it fills them with fear. Though it amazes me that these people can actually bring themselves to protest the sign in public and fool themselves into thinking they are in the right.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

Sorry Qingu, as much as you’d like to push me into a corner, I can’t let you do that. My stance all along has been only to offer real consideration to a couple of different theories. You won’t be satisfied until I take a firm stance one way or the other. A diversionary tactic that only justifies to you the right to pass judgment upon me as a bad person. If you can tag me as morally disgusting, then you somehow believe it will help your cause.

Let me reaffirm, that ANYONE who claims to associate with a 3 to 4 thousand year old mindset is an utter fool.

@Qingu said:
“You keep oscillating…”

Because I can look at things from all sides, accept different points of view, and not feel the need to judge the past by standards of the present day.

@Qingu said:
“I suggest you make up your mind. It seems important.”

Why is that important to you, beyond gaining the ability to accuse me of being repulsive? Are you concerned about my salvation?

@Qingu said:
“..then he (Jesus) also refutes enforcing the Ten Commandments… the mandated punishment for breaking any… (is) Death.

Correct, but that mandate is from the Law of Moses.

Jesus never promoted capital punishment. But again, you must have missed something about Jesus in your studies. Jesus rarely spoke of physical death. Jesus spoke primarily of spiritual death. Rejecting the 10 Commandments leads to spiritual death, not physical. That’s a huge point that even most Christians don’t understand very well.

@Qingu said:
“it’s not clear that the Hebrews did not themselves practice child sacrifice…”

I tend to agree. But remember, that’s only after they failed to abide by the Law of Moses and embraced the practices of nations that they conquered.

@Qingu said:
“So are you saying Moses was a liar? …come out and say it. Stop dancing around”

Qingu, please… stop jumping to conclusions and trying to box me in. I’ve offered two theories which have much to be considered. Only one would “suggest” that Moses was a liar. A third theory might even put Moses into the same category as Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshall Applewhite… all who honestly believed that God was directly speaking to them. Is that lying or lunacy? The fact is I don’t know and neither do you. But we can at least consider all angles.

@Qingu said:
“…it sounds… you think much of the Bible is made-up bullshit”

I’m not so black or white about it. I think religious dogma is bullshit, and it doesn’t matter if it comes from a Christian or an Atheist. Both will wag their dogma tails to claim the right to judge something as evil. Unfortunate, because a book that was written over thousands of years, by multiple authors, filled with allegory and metaphor, parables and proverbs, poetry and history… a book like that should be considered a bit deeper than most will offer to it.

I’m very wary of anyone who grabs a verse, and slings it around proclaiming absolute truth has been revealed here. You know as well as I do that there is much more to it all than that.

@Qingu said:
“…do you agree or disagree that it happened?”
“…do you agree or disagree that it would have been moral?”

I agree the Jews were guilty of many terrible things as we would judge them by our standards of today. I can’t think of one nation in that era that wasn’t.

It may or may not have happened in the way described in the bible. For instance, Midian was supposedly completely destroyed because of it’s tempting Israel (Numbers 31:3–19). Only the female virgins were spared. But it obviously was not because later on Midian oppressed Israel (Judges 6:2–4). How could this happen if every man, woman, child, and all the Kings… Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Reba and Beor were killed. How could the Midians fuck with Israel later if this actually happened in the way described in the bible?

It’s not a completely closed case.

Do I think it was moral? I have absolutely no right to answer that question. No one does. It was an issue directed at the circumstances of that time, not this one. I will not be tempted to pass judgment upon something that I cannot possibly associate with. Only a fool would presume to do so.

And if Moses wasn’t crazy, and he wasn’t a liar, and God really did tell him to do all of those things… well, that doesn’t surprise me too much from the same God that wiped out the entire planet with a flood just a few short millennia beforehand.

Upon the supposition that it may have REALLY been from the direction of the REAL God… who the fuck am I to judge that as immoral or not? If it REALLY was that way, who the fuck am I?

What do you ask of me to judge the ways of a God? The only thing I dare attempt is to educate myself as best I can on what that God considers evil and immoral. I refuse to set my own standards against it. But I will educated myself about it.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Ivan

Congrats! You topped 200 with this one. Nice…

Qingu's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies, you sound awfully confused about your religion, and unsure of your own moral stance on genocide, which is a rather important issue.

I’m fine to leave the discussion at this. But I hope you’ll take this to heart. If you can’t decipher the moral implications of your own religion, who are you to use your religious texts to justify moral stances on, for example, homosexuality?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

What religion do you suppose that I follow? When have I ever spoken against the morality of homosexuality? When have I ever used religion to put forth a cause?

What do you accuse me of this time?

Qingu's avatar

Weren’t you arguing in another thread about how gays who want to get married don’t have the right to change the institution of marriage, or something?

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

@Qingu

That was an argument against the proposition of Gay Marriage, not Homosexuality. And that argument had nothing to do with morals whatsoever.

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