Thursday, March 5, 2009

You're sleeping with your girlfriend, therefore God exists..?

I really have no idea how to approach this kind of twisted, illogical jumble of words strung together into an entirely religious diatribe. I am (but I shouldn't be) completely confused as to how one should even begin to comment. Is this being touted as some kind of breakthrough soul-winning apologetic approach?

In a nut shell (no pun...yes, pun intended), apologist Frank Turek is telling the story about him and a friend named David being approached by a young agnostic fellow after David was done teaching (convincing the already-convinced) about the evils of the "new atheism". After several back-and-forths with the young man, David threw down the gauntlet, let go with both barrels, and got to the obvious heart of the matter; “You’re raising all of these objections because you’re sleeping with your girlfriend. Am I right?” Turek continues - "All the blood drained from the kid’s face. He was caught. He just stood there speechless. He was rejecting God because he didn’t like God’s morality, and he was disguising it with alleged intellectual objections.
Take note that Turek neglects to quote the young man's tearful admission of "You're right, you're right! I am a horrible sinner deserving of eternity in hell. Thank you for revealing to me that god is real." All Turek does is give us his view of why the poor fellow was embarrassed and silent. Nice touch. Almost believable.
In the rest of the article, Frank goes on to show that every single atheist rejects god because they just don't want to believe, and don't want to be obligated to live a life of...well...godleness.

I kind of wish I were the one in this dialogue with Turek and David. When accused of sleeping with my girlfriend, the blood would have remained where it was, and I would have proudly (but discreetly :) proclaimed "YES, I am sleeping with my girlfriend, and it is wonderful. We love each other and enjoy our sex life. And for what it's worth, my girlfriend, of 2 years, is a Christian. And as best as I can tell, what little religion-induced guilt she may feel obviously does not detract from the pleasure she derives from our "sleeping" together.

I have to ask, is this modern day apologetics - when confronted by a (possibly) confused young man who is looking for answers, you grab him by the crotch and accuse him of using it?

Oh, and by the way Frank, since your entire article was to show the mentality of the non believer, and their propensity to shun god just because they want sex, shouldn't you do a little research into the sexual activities of those who believe as you believe? It seems that with every adolescent that you bring to the Lord, you also bring them closer to losing their virginity.

'ata boy Frank.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Absolute Moral...yada, yada, yada

Visits at Truthbomb Apologetics have yet to yield much in the way of reasonable arguments for why I should adopt the Christian faith...again.

Here's a tidbit from this post: "All of us know that there are absolute moral obligations. Who in their right mind would suggest that rape should be legalized? An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places. And an absolute Moral Law points to an absolute Moral Law Giver."

Allow me to dissect:

"All of us know that there are absolute moral obligations."
Who is he talking to? He obviously is not posing this as a know..."Don't we all know that there are absolute moral obligations?" This statement (not the post authors) is based on nothing more than a belief in what the bible says. It is not based on any observation of human interaction, for if it were, the statement could not be made. So, if you can't produce convincing evidence for your opponent, attempt to dazzle them with baseless claims.
I would like to ask the poster to name every single "moral obligation" for us. I mean, if we all know, beyond any doubt, that there are moral absolutes (put in place by the Christian god), then surely one or two of these believers could list for us these moral absolutes. And perhaps they could let us know which moral obligations are not absolute?
The ones that are so often repeated by them, when desperately trying to make make their point, are rape and murder. Are there any others? I want an exhaustive list by someone in authority, so that there are no questions. Because it seems to me that, with every claim made by Christians concerning "evidence" for the existence of their god, the only thing they succeed in producing are more questions from those who actually think for them selves.

"Who in their right mind would suggest that rape should be legalized?"
Indeed. And who in their right mind would mandate that the stoning to death of disobedient sons should be legalized? How about stoning a man for working on the sabbath? Who in their right mind would forbid the wearing of clothes made of two different fabrics? Who indeed?

"An absolute moral obligation is something that is binding on all people, at all times, in all places."
Again, I sure would like a list. I have to assume that the current prohibition against stabbing an infant with a sward, or dashing it's head against a rock, is not a moral absolute? I mean, there was a time...? And if I am not mistaken, even rape and murder were tolerated, and even commanded by a certain absolute moral law giver?

"And an absolute Moral Law points to an absolute Moral Law Giver."
I could consider this point, if there was any indication that the absolute moral law giver (you speak of) was actually actively involved in enforcing his absolute moral laws. But he isn't, is he? He is conspicuously absent, leaving us humans as the law-makers, law-breakers, and law-enforcers, and we do it with such irregularity and inconsistency so as to leave the rational thinking person to conclude that YOU ARE WRONG.

But, I am under no illusion that any of this will make it past the perpetual bible colored lens that so many Christians view their world through.

Suggested reading here, and here.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Joseph Coveney

Paster Wardle's blog offered a link to a video by a young minister named Rob Wegner. The video takes place in a cemetery and starts with Rob near the monument of Joseph Coveney, a notable free thinker of the mid to late 1800's. After some comments, Rob then moves over to the grave of Del Fehsenfeld, in the same cemetery.

I remember Del. Though I never met him, back in the early 1980's, when I was a church go-er, his Life Action Singers came to my church and performed their musical. Del died back in the late 1980's at a young age.

The differences - Joseph Coveney was an atheist. Del Fehsenfeld was a Christian.

In a nut shell, what Rob Wegner does in his video is point out how much more attractive it is to believe in eternity after death, as apposed to believing that, at death, that is it, no afterlife.

Now, in case you are wondering, especially if you haven't watched the video, no, Rob offers absolutely no evidence that there is an afterlife. Perhaps this video is just to wet our appetite, and perhaps the evidence will follow in subsequent videos, though that is highly doubtful.

Joseph Coveney was a self made man, worked hard, built a fortune, generously supported his community, and lived his entire adult life as an atheist and died at a very old age for his time, 92.
His monument, which was more a monument to free thought than to himself, was defaced by vandals, at least one of whom was the son of a local minister.

One particular comment of Rob"s I take exception with - He says that the news paper of the time described the inscriptions on Josephs monument as "slanderous inscriptions against Christianity", he continues "Now-a-days, slanderous inscriptions against Christianity end up on the New York Times Bestseller List."
I am assuming he is referring to the recent publication of best selling books by the likes of Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens.
I have to wonder what it is about those books that Rob finds slanderous?
I think this is very revealing. Rob considers any intellectual oral or written attack on Christianity as slander. Just as most informed Christians today would. Those who speak ill of the faith of a person is almost guaranteed to receive sarcasm or lies in the form of an holy rebuke.

Rob moves on the the headstone of Del Fehsenfeld, the Christian. On the headstone it reads:


Fine. This is what Del believed. But for all that he did, as attested to by the inscription on his headstone, there is not one single shred of evidence that his cause, his God, is real. And while I have no doubt that he truly believed in God, and no doubt that he influenced many more people in his short life than Joseph did in his long life, to what end? Propagating a myth?

I realize that Robs video and Pastor Wardle's blog are intended for one audience, Christians. But they have to expect that non Christians (since we have access to their thoughts on the web) will read, listen, and watch from time to time, just to see what those who consign us heathens to the ash heap they call hell, are saying.

Anyway, here is a tidbit on Joseph Coveney.

The story of the Coveney family in America begins with Joseph, who arrived in New York at the age of 20 in 1825. He seems to have been destitute and without financial assistance from anyone, because his name appears on the Bond Registers for the New York City Almshouse, for June 18, 1825, about a month after his arrival. Joseph Coveney may have lacked money and friendship in his early days in America, but he certainly did not lack ambition. He learned and later mastered the carpentry trade. It was also during his early life in America that he was reading newspaper articles by Thomas Paine, which would later influence his views on religion.
When the California Gold Rush occurred, Joseph went west and earned good money working as a carpenter there. When living in Buchanan, Michigan, he bought a good deal of real estate and became a prosperous farmer. He was well-known and respected in Buchanan for his generosity in providing additional financial support to the public school, but he was most known for his freethinking ideals.

In Ireland Joseph had been an Episcopalian, but he became an atheist after reading the works of Paine and Voltaire. He openly expressed his views to anyone at anytime and his tombstone in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Buchanan is a tribute to his freethinking ideals. The ornate tombstone has become something of a tourist attraction because of its bold and irreverent statements. A few examples are as follows: “Nature is the true God. Science the true religion. The more religion, the more lying. The more Saints, The more Hypocrites.” There was even an article on his death in the New York Times with the headline “Death of an Infidel: Last Words of Joseph Coveney of Michigan were ‘Die as I lived.’”

more info

Are Christians saved?

Over at The Reformed Gadfly, Tim Brown attempts to explain why us "former Christians" now turned non believers, don't really exist. In other words it's the tired mantra of once saved always saved = not saved now, never was saved then.

In his post Once a Christian, Mr. Brown explains, using his reformed theology (surprise!!!) that "Becoming a Christian isn't a matter of saying a few words and asking Jesus to become part of your life." Well Mr. Brown, I, as a former Christian, agree completely with that statement. And I think that the vast majority of Christians will agree also. Why? Because the vast majority of them actually believe that Jesus died to save them from their sins. They do not think that you can simply mouth the words and that makes you a Christian. You have to actually agree with the words you are uttering. It's not rocket science Timbo.

Now, does Tim tell us exactly how to become a Christian?




Answer - NO.

You would think that a post explaining why those of us who claim to be former Christians were never actually Christians in the first place, would perhaps sneak in a little instruction on how one actually becomes a Christian. Nothing. All he does is explain why we never were.

What is so apparent from reading his comments is this: He is actually glad that we were never "saved". If you are among those that left the faith, and are actually glad you made it out, and have the nerve to vocalize your joy, Tim Brown is happy that you will spend eternity in hell with your father the devil. Yep, he is. That my friend, is the hallmark of the "Reformed Christian". Just read his post, hell, read his entire blog and you will soon realize that Tim is angry at you for being so unashamed of your unbelief that he can hardly wait to look down from heaven and see the flames begin to lick around your naked, blistering body. Is it any surprise that he holds to the Calvinistic mindset?

I have gotten pretty good at discerning the religious leanings of believers before they even mention their denomination. Baptist, Pentecostals, Church of Christ, and Reformed almost have their key beliefs stamped on their foreheads.

"To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance."
~Eric Hoffer

Tim became a Christian 10 years ago. In 1998 I was nearing the end of my 25 year journey as a Christian. Feel free to read my first post in this blog and tell me what is in it that would give you any indication that I was never a (here goes...we have heard it before) "True Christian". I can tell you in a sentence what Tim will answer - he will simply say "You were not a Christian then because you are not a Christian now.", and he will use bible verses to back up his accusation. Imagine that - using the bible to tell a former bible believer that he didn't believe the bible. My head hurts. It is comical and frightning at the same time. Christians get to decide who is a Christian.

Let me see if I can explain it to him: Tim, being a Christian means one thing, and one thing only - a Christian believes in the Jesus of the bible. That is it. It doesn't matter to what degree they follow the teachings of the bible. They could be a murder, child rapist, embezzler, racist. The only thing that makes a person a Christian is if they believe they are a Christian. If a person, when asked what religion they are, honestly answers "Christian", they are in fact a Christian. You can point your knobby finger at them as you scream from the pulpit, frothing at the mouth as you try to yell your theology into them, but they will still be Christians as long as they believe they are Christians.
Did I believe this when I was a Christian? Absolutely not. You may be able to see from my initial post that I was, (even though not completely sure) of the "once saved always saved" mindset.

Let me reiterate; A Christian, a "True Christian", is a person who honestly considers themselves to be a Christian.

How hard is that? Well, very hard in the mind if the reformed believer. There is a very long hoop you have to jump through. This hoop is the size of your entire life. And while floating through this hoop, you are expected to be virtually "sinless" and always looking toward the end of the hoop.

I won't bore you with all of Tim's explanations and bible quotes. Suffice it to say, his explanation (accusation?) is just his religious belief. It is his belief based on what he has been taught from the bible. And when it comes to ones religious beliefs, every ones belief is correct except the other guys.

I will now offer a not so profound thought. This is my conclusion, after many years of experiencing Christians, both from inside the club and now from without - Christians, every one of them, are Christians. But Christians, just like non Christians, are not "saved". Why? Because there is no such thing. There is no biblical salvation. There is no "sins" to be saved from, no hell to avoid, no heaven to attain.

So, when a person, any person honestly claims to be a Christian, they are in fact a Christian. Tim Brown is a Christian. Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, they are Christians. My elderly next door neighbor lady who smokes like a chimney is a Christian. My girlfriends aunt who will not vote for Obama because he is black, is a Christian. I was a Christian. All you have to do to be a Christian is believe in what Christians believe in, namely Jesus Christ.

The world is full of Christians who will tell other Christians, (or at least think it and keep it to them selves) that they are not "True Christians" because of something they have done or neglected to do. As long as we have Christians, there will always be Tim Browns.

You know, what is so funny is that there are Christians who actually think Tim Brown is not a Christian. Wow! Does that blow your mind or what?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Forward vs. Backward Thinking

From Humanist Dad

I've begun to wonder if there are only two different ways to think about truths in reality. The non-scientific mind tends to reason 'backwards' and scientists are trained to think 'forwards'. I believe 'forward thinking' is superior but it takes some work to explain why 'backward thinking' doesn't work yet appears, on the surface, to be legitimate. I'll look at these two ways of thinking by imagining a murder scene:

Backward Thinking - The detective comes to the scene and sees a dead woman, a kitchen knife in her chest, lying in the living room. A crying man is sitting at the kitchen table with blood all over his shirt and hands shouting, "I killed her!" The detective decides that the man is most likely the killer and begins finding evidence to support his theory: signs of a struggle, the man's fingerprints on the knife, the next-door neighbour whispers that she always heard them arguing, they have high debts. The man is obviously guilty, no need to waste money doing more investigations, case closed.

Forward Thinking - Another detective enters the same scene and collects the same evidence. However, he then looks for other evidence as part of his routine: fingerprints are taken from all doors and windows, footsteps around the house are collected, tires marks on the driveway are analyzed, cigarette ashes are found on the floor but no ashtrays. This evidence suggests a third person was at the house recently (who the detective simply calls Mr. X). The detective formulates a theory - The man owed a debt to a shady character (Mr. X) who smoked. Mr. X entered the house and argued with the man and woman. Mr. X grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the woman. The distraught man tried to remove the knife but couldn't and hugged the woman while she died. He blames her death on his debt to Mr. X.
The detective has a valid theory but still requests more time to investigate further. The backward thinker quickly forms a conclusion and seeks out evidence to support it. The forward thinker never assumes a conclusion and looks at ALL evidence to see where it leads.
This, I believe, is the fundamental trap that theists fall into. They become backward thinkers. They start with an obvious conclusion (god exists, Jesus lived, Mohammed was the final prophet) and look only for evidence to support it. Conflicting evidence is ignored or a twisted explanation is offered. They are not interested in changing their conclusion - they want to be right. Forward thinkers don't assume any knowledge. They use a much more difficult mental process that forces them to base a conclusion on all available evidence - even if this conclusion conflicts with what they hoped was the right answer.So, how do we teach a new generation to abandon backward thinking? Certainly more science education but teachers need to spend more time on the process (collecting evidence) and less time on giving the solution and asking students to confirm it. Even in literature studies teachers will point out what a character did (a conclusion) and ask students to find evidence for why they did it. Students need to be required to find evidence that also conflicts with a character's actions. Critical thinking is an advanced form of forward thinking so teaching students to think forward may be the first step to raising a generation of truth-seekers.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Something has come between us...

A while back my friend David over at nakedpastor offered one of his cartoons (I love his art but at times it is over my head).

(In case you can't tell, Jesus is the fellow on the left)

I couldn't resist offering my own reasons for those feelings of...well, separation.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tim Brown? Why do I bother?

Please accept my apology. I just can't help myself.

I have a rather useless and time wasting habit of visiting several Christian blogs (as you can plainly see from my previous posts). My problem is, I enjoy the dialogue, when I do find it, that comes when two people disagree. I think there are few things as intellectual stimulating as a cordial debate.
But, what I am finding is that many Christians seem to have little or no desire for such antics. It seems that all they care about is telling anyone who will listen (or read) what they think, and have no desire to reciprocate, especially, ESPECIALLY, if the response is disagreeable. Case in point: Tim Brown has a blog, The Reformed Gadfly, of which I visit from time to time. If I find a post of interest, I will read it. If I find the post deserving of a response, I will submit one. Now, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I don't quite understand what is...wrong?, undesirable?, offensive?, in my doing that.
Tim Brown has a new post up where he states his plans on posting "Troll quotes". Honestly, I have no idea what a "Troll" is with reference to blogging. I am not sure if it is someone who reads your blog and leaves disagreeable comments? I am not sure if it is someone who leaves nasty comments? I just don't know, but since Tim Brown has not posted any, (or rather, either) of my responses in his comments section, I have to assume he is referring to me (as one of the many "Trolls" he has to sift through.
I am going to try very hard not to sink to his level as I continue with this post.
First, the reader will notice the picture he is using to reference those of us who disagree with him.

Sure, he is just trying to be funny...I think, and I guess if I was a believer, my attitude would be such that I would feel that anyone who disagreed with me, and had the nerve to tell me so, would be a rather ugly person.

On to a few of his comments: We get them all the time here at the 'Fly. Comments that never see the light of day, for all kinds of reasons. One main reason is that trolling has, of late, grown to almost epidemic proportions. Not necessarily in number but in just plain old nastiness. And I mean nasty. Well, at least they haven't stooped to calling my mother names. . .at least not yet.
Now, as I said, I am not very sharp, but Tim Brown seems to be saying that he gets a lot of "trolling" commenters. I have to assume that he doesn't get very many...(what's the opposite of troll)...agreeable commenters because most of his posts have no comments, and those that have comments have one or two, that's it. I have to wonder what he considers "epidemic proportions"? Is he exaggerating? Is he being dishonest?
You can plainly see from my previous post that I was anything but nasty. My comment was never posted on his blog.

It just seems that posting a comment from someone like this would be generally, well, stupid. What would be the point? After all, the whole idea of what a troll does is to try to get some sort of visceral gut reaction and start a fight. It turns into one of those "Supply proof but I'll never accept anything as valid proof" things. . .although they would never admit that.
Again, I have no idea if I qualify for a troll or not. I just have to assume that I do. I guess I will find out when he posts the "Troll quotes", to see if any of mine are in there. I don't necessarily disagree with him here. If my desire was to "start a fight", then why bother. But my only motivation in submitting a comment was to see if he is capable of thinking for himself with regard to his religious beliefs, and to (hopefully) influence a reader of his blog to think for them selves, rather than offer the robotic "Amen" to his every post.
As for his "valid proof" claim. All I can do is scratch my head. I am sure his definition for "proof" is much different than mine, especially with regard to HIS OWN RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. Proof is unnecessary with regard to a religious belief. He needed no proof to become a believer, so why would he claim to be offering proof to us non-believers? Answer: The line between proof and belief has become so blurred, in his mind and with regard to HIS OWN RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, that he can no longer see it.

And since the chief end of man is to glorify God and such conversation doesn't glorify God, then it just stands that it doesn't belong here. Besides, so many times, these people have their own blogs and submitting their comment basically amounts to advertising their blog (click on their name and "presto" you're reading their stuff!). Don't care for that too much here.
This is one of the many reasons why I find Tim Browns particular brand of Christianity so repulsive. He actually thinks his actions "glorify God". He actually thinks everything he posts on his blog glorifies God, that includes posting pictures of ugly ghoulish figures in reference to those who disagree with him.
As for the last sentence, I find that attitude to be incredibly shallow and self serving. What kind of blogger would not want his readers to expand their minds?...answer, Christian Tim Brown.

See, just because we don't post troll comments doesn't mean we don't have them archived. No No No! Yesserreee Bob, we sure do keep them. See, we can answer troll comments, but we can opt to do it on our own terms. . .and in doing so, we don't get mired in a thread that gets further and further afield and begins to generate more heat than light.
Now, this may be a play on words, maybe not, but my blogger name is "bob"?

Besides, if I started discussing things with all the trolls that come by here demanding a "conversation", I wouldn't have time for anything else. So, they are archived. And we indeed deal with them; in a controlled way. It just seems to be the wise thing to do. Think of it as quarantining.
Actually, I really had little desire for a "conversation" with him. Would have been interesting, possibly. I mean, I do enjoy the debate, but I just submitted a response in disagreement. Me thinks Tim Brown thinks to highly of himself.
Notice the last sentence. Tim Brown actually considers any opposition as completely unworthy of any response besides making fun of. I have come across other believers like this. Their only defense for their absurd beliefs is to make fun of those who disagree with them. Kind of how middle schoolers act. If you can't offer any defense, pretend like it doesn't matter, and stick your tongue out at your detractor.

So, while I sort through the troll archives, prepare yourselves for a chuckle or two. Yes, names will be changed to protect the. . .er, never mind. We'll just change the names or leave them off altogether.
The insults never cease. Of course, all I am offering is my opinion of Tim Browns attitude. He couldn't care less what I think. But what I think of him, and those like him, is important to me. And it is attitudes like this, from Christians, that makes me rejoice that I got out when I did, eight years ago. According to Tim Browns blog, he has been a Christian for ten years. I was one for 25 years. Is it possible that, when I was a Christian, my attitude towards those who disagreed with me, was as unappealing as Tim Browns? I guess so, but I think personality is very hard to hid, even when inside a religion. Some people are just not nice, and Jesus seems incapable of making them nice.

In a nut shell, if I had any inclinations of becoming a is people like Tim Brown who would make me pause. If he is an example of what God does when one becomes a believer... no thanks. I find nothing attractive in his attitude...his attitude toward, shall we say, the vocal lost.