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Responding to the Religionist's Challenge

Discussion in 'Spiritual Growth & Development' started by Types With Fingers, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. janef

    janef Moderator

    Hi Types,
    I think that is the problem with the Bible, it can be misinterpreted and truth is lost. Not worth arguing over. I have abandoned all organized religion and have my own, a very simple one. But anyway, my grandmother was very religious read the Bible daily and she said what is meant by a 'jealous God' is worshipping other idols before him. In other words, God should be the priority above all. This resonates with me.
  2. I understand your point. I wanted to share the link to showcase this guy's remarks because it represents, to me, everything wrong and dangerous about conservative religion. In fact, it's people like him that drive me to train myself in critical thinking and do better research on the afterlife science, so that whenever I see a comment like his, I've got a solid comeback, at least in my head.
  3. I'm very late to this party, but wanted to respond to this post.

    1. The claim that the Bible is the word of God, let alone infallible, is purely man-made assertion with logic that is circular.
    1a. Which Bible? The Catholic Bible? The collection of canon known before 300 AD?
    1b. Ask them to show you, in any version of the Bible a claim about "the Bible" (The NT being a collection of writings first assembled by some African bishops about 300AD). Ask them to show you in their Bible where it says that their Bible is the infallible word of God. If the source of the claim is outside of that Bible, then ask what makes that particular source infallible.

    Jesus said, "Search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; yet they are they which testify of me." In other words, you could say to them that, according the Jesus, He alone, and not any scripture, let alone the Bible, is the Word of God (speaking directly as God's mouthpiece in the flesh).

    2. Anything outside the Bible is of Satan? How about inside it, since sayings and works attributed to Satan are in the Bible. Can we at least assume that those part of "The Bible" are not the word of God?

    3. Those who don't believe Jesus died to cover for our sins will go to Hell.

    Oh yeah? Would that include Lazarus, the beggar that Jesus told about, who we can assume died before Jesus' ministry, and without hearing about Jesus, and yet ended up in Abraham's bosom? Was Lazarus just sitting in a temporary comfy place waiting for the final judgment, where he would ultimately be cast into hell?

    You don't need to believe anything, or have proof of beliefs about anything to examine things logically within their own context.
  4. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Thank you for joining the fray here, Steven, and welcome to our forums! You are right, of course, and a much-needed voice, but we are up against the easy-street route to heaven that Christianity sells as a get-out-of-hell-free card if we just will claim Jesus as our personal savior. Easy-peasy! I really think it's that, even more than any attachment to the religion itself, that makes Evangelicals and other fundamentalists cling so stubbornly to their appalling theology of sacrificial redemption. We do indeed have our work cut out for us!
  5. Hi Roberta, I don't see it as a 'problem', per se, so much as prophecies (wheat and tares and others) fulfilled. I'm not a follower of Saul/Paul, don't accept him as an apostle, and don't consider any of his words as being from God -- so I have no need to sort or reconcile anything he said with other writings, and no confusion for me about whose voice I hear and obey. If people want to follow Paul, and believe in a grace-based get-out-of-hell-free salvation that doesn't require a single change or act of obedience on their part, less power to them. We just speak the truth as plainly as we know it, and let others have their say. Jesus didn't seem to have a problem letting a whole multitude walk away from Him after he said something they didn't want to hear.

    If everyone is pulling something different from scripture (any scripture, any religion), I see that as just as telling of the person as the writing that is sourced.
  6. Thanks for contributing your thoughts Steven, and welcome to the forums. You make some interesting points. The verse about searching the scriptures and them testifying of Jesus stood out to me, because I too see it as Jesus saying the OT doesn't contain eternal life, but Jesus does. Does that mean if we just accept Jesus as savior we're slated for heaven, or if we follow his teachings? Well, I think it may be the latter, because of another verse from the Gospels, "Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?" (Luke 6:46 NABRE). I'm not a theologian, but it seems pretty clear from that verse (in fact, that whole paragraph) that He wants us to follow his teachings if we're going to call Him Lord.
  7. I know some of you have mentioned that it's not worth it to argue with religious folk. But I think, in light of some people of faith going out there and trying to change things to reflect their worldview, I have an obligation to at least build up my defenses better with evidence and logical reasoning, and even perhaps follow Roberta's footsteps and put forward a work (a book, a blog, something) detailing that defense.

    So I've created a major project that aims to 1) show that the afterlife evidence (defined as reports and studies on mediums, near-death experiences, and parapsychology) are not works of the devil, 2) show that the afterlife evidence has scientific merit, and 3) form a worldview based on the lessons from the afterlife evidence.

    The first operation of the project is to read books and articles that will help me reach those goals. I've come up with several categories:

    + books on critical thinking and logic, to enhance my thinking and arguing skills
    + books on philosophy, to further expand my thinking skills and introduce myself to the major worldviews
    + the Bible, to familiarize myself with the Judaeo-Christian concepts of God, Jesus, heaven, hell, and the devil
    + books on Judaism, to better understand the context in which Jesus preached
    + books on mediumship, near-death experiences, and parapsychology, to further my knowledge of the afterlife evidence
    + books on quantum physics, neuroscience, and skepticism, to understand mainstream science's point of view on the afterlife evidence
    + books on psychology and sociology, to understand how other people think
    + books on communication and marketing, to communicate with and present ideas to people

    If anyone has any suggestions, questions, or comments, let me know, I think this is a pretty solid list of categories to reach my stated goals.
  8. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    Wow, Steven, you bring us such a refreshing voice! I find it especially refreshing, of course, because I so completely agree with you ;-). Our problem in the larger culture remains the problem that plagues Types now: Christianity is so blasted easy that it can be difficult to shake believers from their comfy certainty that they hold a get-out-of-hell-free card. Yet, shake them we must, if we are to free the teachings of Jesus from that bogus religions shell so they can begin to transform the world. Again, welcome!
  9. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    I think that your zeal is admirable, dear, but I worry that you may be making it too complicated. Here is a simplified list:

    1) Familiarize yourself with the afterlife evidence, and the ways in which it validates the teachings of Jesus;

    2) Read and reread the Gospel words of Jesus until you have them semi-memorized;

    3) Note that He says that we should "try the spirits, to see that they are of God," which altogether puts the lie to the bogus nonsense that Christians spout about not consulting mediums. Every reputable medium is deeply devoted to God, and tries the spirits. 'Nuf said.

    4) Challenge your Christian friends with the words of Jesus. Just tell them that it's great that they are so devoted to Jesus, so now let's talk about what He wants us to do. I think you're read Liberating Jesus - it's a handbook for the kinds of things that you can say to challenge Christians.

    Good luck with this, dear!
  10. Waller

    Waller Banned

    Debate can be an energetic opportunity to put out a vibration that can be reflected back to you, as you say, to assist in solidifying/expanding your knowledge of a subject. Too often, as you have pointed out, debate is nothing more than a self-convincing exercise for those who truly, deeply do not have the knowledge or the belief in what they are advancing in the debate.

    Discussion is an entirely different form of communication. Discussion is the opportunity to let others see where you are, who you are and allow them to choose to follow your example...or not.
  11. lybg

    lybg New Member

    Jane, your grandmother was a very wise woman. I would have liked her!
  12. lybg

    lybg New Member

    A 'knowing' to question

    Even as a child I remember questioning, although rarely out loud, about the Bible being the ultimate word of God. I remember asking a pastor or teacher once, “How do we know? How do we know some man hasn’t changed it through all the years?” As I got older I kept asking. Their answer has always been the typical God inspired word thing. I have never been comfortable with that answer…it is just too “pat.”

    As an older adult I attended an non-denominational church for about eight years. During these years I did learn how to read the “spirit” of the Bible. Learned that I needed to pray for understanding and guidance…for my “eyes” to be opened…before reading. That one little nugget of knowledge brought more insight and understanding than all the sermons and Sunday school classes ever before. Pray for understanding and guidance. Jesus proclaimed to be the Son of God…He called him Father. Yet he calls all of us the children of God, too. We are his brothers and sisters. I do not doubt for a moment he is the Son of God. I do not doubt for a moment that I am a child of God.

    Am I a Christian? Hmm…in the fact that I believe that Jesus Christ was on this earth, died and ascended into Heaven…yes. I believe in his teachings. His teachings are love; unconditional love. I believe that is what we are all to strive for.

    I don't have to "like" everyone and everything in my life...but I love my life. Does that make sense?
  13. jimrich

    jimrich Active Member

    Hello lybg:
    Please do not see this as a challenge or an attack............

    Re: "I don't have to "like" everyone and everything in my life...but I love my life. Does that make sense?"
    I have often heard and read that phrase or similar phrases such as "I love you but I don't like you."
    It may be a glitch in my education or mind but I just don't get it.
    What exactly is your definition of "love" and how do you love something that you don't like?
    I can't. If I don't like something or someone, I find it impossible to then "love" it/them. Maybe I need to examine the various definitions of 'love'.
    Meanwhile, please post your own, personal definition of 'love' for my benefit, at least.
    Respectfully yours,
    jim :)
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  14. lybg

    lybg New Member

    No attack or challenge taken. Honey (raised in the South...this is a term of respect), I raised BOYS! My skin is much thicker than that!! LOL...

    All joking aside...I understand your question. I can't give you a single definition of love. Not even sure if I can adequately put into words any explanation that will make sense to you. For me, there are many 'grades' or 'types' of love. Love for family and friends (and differing types within this category, too!). Love of work, love of place, love of food...hopefully you get the idea. Maybe the best way to explain my definitions of love is to give some examples.

    My grandchildren: I will always love them. Unconditionally. There is nothing they could ever do to make me stop loving them. HOWEVER, there are times that I do not like their actions. There are times I do not like them...but I always love them. The same can be said for my children and other family members and friends.

    My work: I find great satisfaction in my work. I LOVE my work; however, there are times I do not like what I have to do within my job.

    My home: We searched for this house for three years and knew it the moment we set eyes on it. It was what we wanted. We LOVED it! Except, it is all electric...I do not like that about this house I love.

    I hope this helps you understand a little better the meaning of loving but not liking. The love comes first...for me, it is eternal. Like/not like is temporary and fleeting as moods and actions.
  15. Eternal

    Eternal New Member

    Hi lybg,
    I'm totally with you on this. I love my husband, but many times I see things which make me not like him. The same with others; even my mother, I loved her, but she wasn't a "fair" person. She would condone a bad thing from a person she liked, make excuses for them etc., so loving unconditionally is a very hard thing to do. I guess we have to overlook many things, knowing none of us are perfect, even ourselves.
  16. jimrich

    jimrich Active Member

    Good Response

    Sorry but I don't get that.
    For me, I'd say that there are times I do not like what they are doing but I always accept (love) them and their right to life.
    For me, the strange thing about semantics is how varied it is amongst folks in the same culture (USA) and even more varied between cultures so I imagine even a dictionary definition of 'love' will not work for everyone.
    Thanks for offering your feedback on 'love'.
    jim :)
  17. lybg

    lybg New Member

    Jim, we are really saying the same thing, I believe. Sometimes I believe some things are assumed in statements. And yes, I know what assuming does! Unfortunately, it isn't a conscious action.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  18. jimrich

    jimrich Active Member

    Things I don't like

    I absolutely love and respect my wife but there are things that she sometimes does that I do not like - but that will never stop me from loving her. I separate the things from the person because she is not the 'things' that I don't like and we have a relationship where we can discuss and work out whatever 'things' are bothering us. I would never, ever say to my beloved wife, "I don't like YOU after what you just did."

    I do not 'overlook' things just because nobody is perfect. I will overlook whatever is not worth getting into a fight about. If it's something really important to me, I will confront the person regardless of who is or is not perfect since arriving at mutually acceptable solutions is way more important to me than timidly accepting that no one is perfect so why make a fuss. :)
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  19. RobertaGrimes

    RobertaGrimes Administrator

    As I work on The Fun of Growing Forever, I am wrestling right now with this very problem. How can I explain that not liking someone has nothing to do with the fact that in order to grow spiritually we have to love everyone? What I am discovering is that this is not innate; it really doesn't come naturally. The teachings of Jesus are a system, a process, which leads to the place where you are seeing eternal Mind (or God) in each human being, so it is impossible for you NOT to love everyone. But it's a process, dear!
  20. lybg

    lybg New Member

    Roberta, I'm wondering...and this may sound sexist and really isn't meant to at all...but is it possible that mothers can more easily understand the idea of loving but not necessarily liking? Could it be we are 'wired' to love? Example: Just about every person who has been sentenced to death here in Texas had a mother who said, "...but he was such a good boy." Mother's will always love, even after despicable things have been done. They will hate the actions, but always love the person. My thoughts, anyway.

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