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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 01-13-15, 12:40 AM   #51
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by Nick Danger View Post
Fooey. All goodness emanates from God. All evil comes from Man. I learned that argument before I was ten.
If that's the case, then large sections of the Bible are lies.
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Old 01-13-15, 07:02 AM   #52
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I'll add this, any religion that can produce Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Prince can't be all bad.
You sound like a politician trying to to pander to the black vote
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Old 01-13-15, 07:46 AM   #53
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by Draven View Post
I guess I'm an atheist/agnostic, but honestly I don't spend a moment of my time thinking about it. What if you just don't care about any of this?

You are comparing a religion with something that is not religion. Atheism isn't necessarily meant to check the "spirituality" box for someone. Some people just don't have that box, nor do they need it. You seem to want others to play by your rules but many of them aren't even playing the same game...or any game at all.
Bingo.

That's what I saw most often in the comments from the other thread. A fundamental disconnect and inability to frame atheist thought as an atheist might, as opposed to how a theist thinks an atheist must think (for an example, look at the ridiculous assumption that atheists fall into one of two categories about the origins of the universe. And we're told we lack imagination, ha!).
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Old 01-13-15, 07:49 AM   #54
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
I'll add this, any religion that can produce Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Prince can't be all bad.
this religion also gave us Kurt Cobain so nobody's perfect.
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Old 01-13-15, 08:03 AM   #55
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Ummm...isn't Prince a Jehovas Witness?
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Old 01-13-15, 08:25 AM   #56
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by dave-o View Post
Bingo.

That's what I saw most often in the comments from the other thread. A fundamental disconnect and inability to frame atheist thought as an atheist might, as opposed to how a theist thinks an atheist must think (for an example, look at the ridiculous assumption that atheists fall into one of two categories about the origins of the universe. And we're told we lack imagination, ha!).
Let's see now.

The options were either (a) all things have natural origins or (b) some things have supernatural origins.

There's a third option?
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Old 01-13-15, 08:49 AM   #57
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

Thank God Mathematical Randomness for this thread.
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Old 01-13-15, 08:56 AM   #58
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by dave-o View Post
Bingo.

That's what I saw most often in the comments from the other thread. A fundamental disconnect and inability to frame atheist thought as an atheist might, as opposed to how a theist thinks an atheist must think (for an example, look at the ridiculous assumption that atheists fall into one of two categories about the origins of the universe. And we're told we lack imagination, ha!).
Well said. I'll add that anybody that thinks they can segregate the religious into groups that contain those that are "good", and another that contains only those that "claim" to follow their religion, has a lot to learn about that same religion as well.

Personally I fall into the don't know, don't care group. I'm sure that going all the way back in time there was always people looking to explain the unexplained, and thus created Ra, Apollo, Jesus, etc., and beside them was a another people that just went along with their lives not caring who created the world they lived on. Those two groups would only ever have problems if one group told the other they were not worthy and made of a arbitrary set of rules that both sides must follow.
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Old 01-13-15, 09:08 AM   #59
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Again, you are painting a very diverse group with a very large brush. I think you're hung up on the atheist part (which I understand, as your worldview is predicated on the idea that goodness emanates from a specific deity, and that true goodness isn't possible without the existence of that deity), but I think it would be far more instructive to find out what specific philosophy a given atheist operates under. Is it the golden rule, is it Marxism, is it utilitarianism, etc. etc.?

I also think that you are pulling a no true Scotsman fallacy when you say that people who habitually engage in immoral behavior are not REALLY Christians and thus are in fact "atheists", which really veers the discussion into some weird wonderland where anyone other than a good Christian is an atheist. I think it would be far more instructive to say that those people are simply bad Christians because otherwise you're imbuing the term "atheism" with additional modifiers that aren't agreed upon by others who use that term.

Again, if you're looking for a philosophy that allows you to judge the behaviors of people (yourself and others), atheism does not do that. Other philosophies do, and some of those philosophies do so without calling on the supernatural, while others do so while flat out denying the existence of the supernatural. Tell me which philosophy or philosophies in particular you are trying to debate and we can discuss those. But I'm not interested in the list of what creekdipper thinks is the innate traits of an atheist and why those are not good, because then you're arguing against a straw man.
Thanks for the explanation. Let me see if we're on the same page & add a small clarification from my viewpoint.

You're saying that a person can deny the existence of deities while still adopting a personal worldview chosen from other philosophies that don't involve the supernatural...and can use that philosphy(ies) as a guideline for behavior, right? (Did I more or less get it right that time?) That would agree with my earlier statements that atheists can live according to guidelines of their choosing (personal philosophies or those borrowed from other philosophies). And we seem to agree that atheists can only judge the actions of others within the confines of those chosen philosophies, which would imply that humans are judging the morality/immorality (to use familiar terms) based upon human philosophies that have their root in....? If one says "reason", then what is the origin of that "reasoning"? Is that reasoning constant, or can it change ("evolve") over time? Does that mean that "truth" is relative to cultures & circumstances? Does that mean that "good" and "bad" are biological constructs in which actions are labeled according to their utilitarian results? What makes an action "good"? or "bad"? Who decides? I'll paraphrase Dr. Greg Bahnsen here: It's not a matter of whether we will live by standards, it's a matter of whose standards. Or you can adopt the attitude of Pontius Pilate: "Truth? What is truth?"

Regardless, I understand your point that atheism does not mean a total rejection of standards. Is that an accurate summation?

Re: C.S. Lewis or others who may speak of the "bad" Christian, I totally disagree with the concept of the "carnal Christian." I have great respect for Lewis but I (and others) consider him totally wrong on this point. Yes, believers can fall away for a time...and, of course, any believer worth his salt acknowledges the ongoing struggle with sin (both points elucidated in the Bible). Yet the idea of a person who "merely" (to borrow a word from Lewis) makes claims to being a Christian while his/her life is Public Exhibit #1 of everything that is antithetical to Christian principles is a far different story from one who temporarily leaves the church, is overcome with doubt, is overcome by a particular sin, etc. The Bible gives many examples of those who temporarily behaved as "bad" believers (very bad, in fact), but those returned to the fold chastised and repentant (and suffering the repercussions of their actions).

Look at it this way. A husband can be a "good" or "bad" husband (and even delude themselves as to which type he is), but he is a "husband" regardless due to the marriage certificate & official recognition by the state (and/or church). The state cannot come along and suddenly declare that his marriage is null & void simply based upon someone else's judgment of their view of the quality of the relationship; divorce proceedings are necessary in order to dissolve a marriage.

On the other hand, a Christian's "membership" is based upon his/her profession of faith & "witness" (life). Christians can be excommunicated from the church (which holds the "keys to the kingdom") if there is ongoing rebellion against Biblical doctrine without repentance. Even then, the way is left open for the sinner to repent and return to the church after confessing his sins and abandoning them. The church is instructed to exercise discipline in order to keep the bride of Christ pure (and to hopefully restore the sinning brother/sister). But there is no Biblical precedent for assuring a person that he/she can continue in willful, repetitive, habitual sins that he/she is simply a "bad Christian" who can continue indefinitely committing those sins without repentance. There are different degrees of faithfulness & obedience, of course...but merely "accepting" one's sin as being "okay" with God is evidence that the person has not become a "new person" with a "new Spirit" who now hates their "pet sins" and struggle against them. That would be like saying that a person can pick out several of the Ten Commandments to ignore and say, "Hey, I try obey most of God's Law...after all, 7 out of 10 ain't bad."

If a person was registered as a Democrat his/her entire life and voted in scores of elections yet never once voted for a Democratic candidate (supporting candidates with views opposing the Democratic platform), would you label that voter a "bad Democrat"? Or would you say that the person was delusional and had his/her allegiances mixed up?

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Old 01-13-15, 09:11 AM   #60
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Well said. I'll add that anybody that thinks they can segregate the religious into groups that contain those that are "good", and another that contains only those that "claim" to follow their religion, has a lot to learn about that same religion as well.
Pray elaborate.

In addition to explaining the finer points of how one can be considered an actual member of the Christian faith while living a life that ignores/rejects the basic teachings of that faith, please feel free to meet the challenge I issued to dave-o since you agree with his statement.
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Old 01-13-15, 09:18 AM   #61
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

When atheists sue to have religious actions or displays removed from places of government, which world philosophy is guiding their actions (since "atheism" is not a philosophy)?
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Old 01-13-15, 10:26 AM   #62
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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When atheists sue to have religious actions or displays removed from places of government, which world philosophy is guiding their actions (since "atheism" is not a philosophy)?
I think it's pragmatism. Using Christianity as a basis of government automatically means that non-Christians are at a disadvantage. Just by walking in the door, they don't believe the "right" religion. Let's have no religion at all instead.

I'd want as level of a playing field as possible. It's not philosophical at all.
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Old 01-13-15, 10:36 AM   #63
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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I think it's pragmatism. Using Christianity as a basis of government automatically means that non-Christians are at a disadvantage. Just by walking in the door, they don't believe the "right" religion. Let's have no religion at all instead.

I'd want as level of a playing field as possible. It's not philosophical at all.
Speaking hypothetically, then...if ALL religions were included, would the atheist still have a point (since you mentioned "non-Christians")? Would their protest then be specifically on behalf of the "nones"?
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Old 01-13-15, 10:37 AM   #64
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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I think it's pragmatism. Using Christianity as a basis of government automatically means that non-Christians are at a disadvantage. Just by walking in the door, they don't believe the "right" religion. Let's have no religion at all instead.

I'd want as level of a playing field as possible. It's not philosophical at all.
I also don't think there are many cases of ONLY athiests taking those kind of actions. Usually a mix of athiests, agnotics, and members of religions not being equally represented. Wonder how agnostics and members of those other religions feel about getting getting lumped into a generic "athiest" label because they are something other than the chosen religion?
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Old 01-13-15, 10:38 AM   #65
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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When atheists sue to have religious actions or displays removed from places of government, which world philosophy is guiding their actions (since "atheism" is not a philosophy)?
You're begging the question by assuming that atheists are the only people who object to government endorsement of religion, and therefore their attitude must be motivated by atheism. Plenty of religious groups who don't want mainstream Christianity pushed down their throats also support secularism.
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Old 01-13-15, 10:40 AM   #66
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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I also don't think there are many cases of ONLY athiests taking those kind of actions. Usually a mix of athiests, agnotics, and members of religions not being equally represented. Wonder how agnostic and members of those other religions feel about getting getting lumped into a generic "athiest" label because they are something other than the chosen religion?
In our area, the only cases I can remember were either filed by one individual or by a group such as Freedom From Religion.

I'd say the distinction between "atheist" and "agnostic" is negligible in these cases since both are wanting to remove all religious displays as being offensive and neither are claiming discrimination against their own "religion" (nominally, at least).

(applies to Sean's post, also, which I saw after submitting this)

Not disputing that other religious groups have filed suits. And I guess Christian groups have filed suits against religious displays from other religions, although I don't recall any (certainly, not locally).

By the way, I wasn't "begging the question" by assuming that only atheists file suits such as these. In the case of religious groups, their rationale is fairly evident, I would think. I was just asking what philosophy would be employed by an atheist (or agnostic...) as the basis for a lawsuit. Draven offered an explanation and didn't appear to think I was saying that ONLY atheists take offense at religious displays in public spaces.

Please bear in mind that the thread title limits the discussion to "atheists" and "Christians." It's not a "non-believers" vs. "religious" thread. If someone wants to broaden the debate, it's a free forum to open a new thread. I'd think the limitations provide enough fodder for discussion, though...especially since it seems that only non-believers, Christians, and Jews inhabit this forum.

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Old 01-13-15, 10:49 AM   #67
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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You're begging the question by assuming that atheists are the only people who object to government endorsement of religion, and therefore their attitude must be motivated by atheism. Plenty of religious groups who don't want mainstream Christianity pushed down their throats also support secularism.
Bingo.

This is a relatively old news story, but it's the most notable of it's kind in this area. More often than not, it's not ONLY athiests, or even any athiests asking for changes and filing lawsuits.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localne...ctrees12m.html
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Old 01-13-15, 10:53 AM   #68
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Bingo.

This is a relatively old news story, but it's the most notable of it's kind in this area. More often than not, it's not ONLY athiests, or even any athiests asking for changes and filing lawsuits.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localne...ctrees12m.html
I've already responded to your statement in the post above, but it occurred to me that the immediate reaction citing "others" strikes me as the same type of "our group is being persecuted" ridicule that is so often posted toward Christians.

And I have to point out once again, in case you missed it...this thread is specifically discussing "atheists" and "Christians." Addressing atheists directly & specifically is entirely consistent with the focus of the thread. Bringing other religious groups into the discussion is not.

That would appear to be fairly obvious from the thread title but evidently it wasn't.

Your link is entirely irrelevant in this thread. You need to re-post it in the "Jew-bashing & Christian-bashing" thread.
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Old 01-13-15, 10:57 AM   #69
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread



^^^^^^^^^
This is religion

Atheism is not a team, it means belonging to no team.
What is so difficult about it.
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Old 01-13-15, 11:15 AM   #70
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Atheism is not a team, it means belonging to no team.
What is so difficult about it.
Are you asking what is so difficult about not belonging to a team? Because if you're talking about understanding what "atheism" means, you're pretty late to the discussion, friend.

The discussion is supposed to be comparing the effects of atheism upon an individual's viewpoint vs. the effects of Christianity regarding behavior, impulse restraint (and constraints), moral considerations, etc.

Despite the fact that these discussions have taken place repeatedly, sometimes there are new viewpoints explored or old ones re-considered (even if it's just a "now I see what you're saying" moment). Dismissing the issues with a throw-away comment doesn't acknowledge the huge impact of these issues nor allow for any increased understanding.
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Old 01-13-15, 11:24 AM   #71
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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And I have to point out once again, in case you missed it...this thread is specifically discussing "atheists" and "Christians." Addressing atheists directly & specifically is entirely consistent with the focus of the thread. Bringing other religious groups into the discussion is not.

That would appear to be fairly obvious from the thread title but evidently it wasn't.
You can make the thread title whatever you want, but when you suggest that something is a peculiarly atheist attitude when in fact it's a view shared with many minority religious groups, people are going to bring up the minority religious groups. Because it's relevant to the discussion whether you like it or not.
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Old 01-13-15, 11:26 AM   #72
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Thanks for the explanation. Let me see if we're on the same page & add a small clarification from my viewpoint.

You're saying that a person can deny the existence of deities while still adopting a personal worldview chosen from other philosophies that don't involve the supernatural...and can use that philosphy(ies) as a guideline for behavior, right? (Did I more or less get it right that time?) That would agree with my earlier statements that atheists can live according to guidelines of their choosing (personal philosophies or those borrowed from other philosophies). And we seem to agree that atheists can only judge the actions of others within the confines of those chosen philosophies, which would imply that humans are judging the morality/immorality (to use familiar terms) based upon human philosophies that have their root in....? If one says "reason", then what is the origin of that "reasoning"? Is that reasoning constant, or can it change ("evolve") over time? Does that mean that "truth" is relative to cultures & circumstances? Does that mean that "good" and "bad" are biological constructs in which actions are labeled according to their utilitarian results? What makes an action "good"? or "bad"? Who decides? I'll paraphrase Dr. Greg Bahnsen here: It's not a matter of whether we will live by standards, it's a matter of whose standards. Or you can adopt the attitude of Pontius Pilate: "Truth? What is truth?"

Regardless, I understand your point that atheism does not mean a total rejection of standards. Is that an accurate summation?
That sounds fairly accurate to me, but one thing to keep in mind is that you have also chosen a moral system from which you judge others. I know you believe that your moral system is absolute, coming from the ultimate arbiter of what is moral, but you have chosen to believe in that God and that moral system. Others have chosen to believe in other gods and other moral systems which may overlap with yours in some areas, and not in others. Others have chosen moral systems not based on religion. It is clear why you believe your system is superior, but you believe it to be the ultimate Truth. You need to understand, however, that there are billions of people (religious and non-religious) who disagree with you.

Also, if you think that Christian morality hasn't changed at all since the time of Christ, then you need to explain changes over time, e.g. Christian views on marriage (it wasn't always one man-one woman, arranged marriages used to be the norm, and women didn't really have a say in the matter).

Quote:
Re: C.S. Lewis or others who may speak of the "bad" Christian, I totally disagree with the concept of the "carnal Christian." I have great respect for Lewis but I (and others) consider him totally wrong on this point. Yes, believers can fall away for a time...and, of course, any believer worth his salt acknowledges the ongoing struggle with sin (both points elucidated in the Bible). Yet the idea of a person who "merely" (to borrow a word from Lewis) makes claims to being a Christian while his/her life is Public Exhibit #1 of everything that is antithetical to Christian principles is a far different story from one who temporarily leaves the church, is overcome with doubt, is overcome by a particular sin, etc. The Bible gives many examples of those who temporarily behaved as "bad" believers (very bad, in fact), but those returned to the fold chastised and repentant (and suffering the repercussions of their actions).

Look at it this way. A husband can be a "good" or "bad" husband (and even delude themselves as to which type he is), but he is a "husband" regardless due to the marriage certificate & official recognition by the state (and/or church). The state cannot come along and suddenly declare that his marriage is null & void simply based upon someone else's judgment of their view of the quality of the relationship; divorce proceedings are necessary in order to dissolve a marriage.

On the other hand, a Christian's "membership" is based upon his/her profession of faith & "witness" (life). Christians can be excommunicated from the church (which holds the "keys to the kingdom") if there is ongoing rebellion against Biblical doctrine without repentance. Even then, the way is left open for the sinner to repent and return to the church after confessing his sins and abandoning them. The church is instructed to exercise discipline in order to keep the bride of Christ pure (and to hopefully restore the sinning brother/sister). But there is no Biblical precedent for assuring a person that he/she can continue in willful, repetitive, habitual sins that he/she is simply a "bad Christian" who can continue indefinitely committing those sins without repentance. There are different degrees of faithfulness & obedience, of course...but merely "accepting" one's sin as being "okay" with God is evidence that the person has not become a "new person" with a "new Spirit" who now hates their "pet sins" and struggle against them. That would be like saying that a person can pick out several of the Ten Commandments to ignore and say, "Hey, I try obey most of God's Law...after all, 7 out of 10 ain't bad."

If a person was registered as a Democrat his/her entire life and voted in scores of elections yet never once voted for a Democratic candidate (supporting candidates with views opposing the Democratic platform), would you label that voter a "bad Democrat"? Or would you say that the person was delusional and had his/her allegiances mixed up?
There are plenty of Christians who disagree with you. Maybe not within your church, but unless you are ready to declare that only your denomination is Christian, you have to accept that your view on this isn't the only one. Further, it sounds like you are elevating the determination of earthly religious leaders over that of God. Who other than Jesus/God can decide that someone who professes to believe really doesn't, just because they are incapable of withstanding temptation?
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Old 01-13-15, 11:27 AM   #73
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Are you asking what is so difficult about not belonging to a team? Because if you're talking about understanding what "atheism" means, you're pretty late to the discussion, friend.

The discussion is supposed to be comparing the effects of atheism upon an individual's viewpoint vs. the effects of Christianity regarding behavior, impulse restraint (and constraints), moral considerations, etc.

Despite the fact that these discussions have taken place repeatedly, sometimes there are new viewpoints explored or old ones re-considered (even if it's just a "now I see what you're saying" moment). Dismissing the issues with a throw-away comment doesn't acknowledge the huge impact of these issues nor allow for any increased understanding.
Silly me and all along I thought this was a bashing thread. Maybe I should just stay out of here and go rebel against my parents by listening to death metal.
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Old 01-13-15, 11:33 AM   #74
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Let's see now.

The options were either (a) all things have natural origins or (b) some things have supernatural origins.

There's a third option?
Yes. That all things are natural, and something has always existed. Talk of origins is unnecessary.
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Old 01-13-15, 11:35 AM   #75
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Re: Brand-spanking New Atheist- & Christian-bashing thread

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Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Thanks for the explanation. Let me see if we're on the same page & add a small clarification from my viewpoint.

You're saying that a person can deny the existence of deities while still adopting a personal worldview chosen from other philosophies that don't involve the supernatural...and can use that philosphy(ies) as a guideline for behavior, right? (Did I more or less get it right that time?)
Yes, and additionally I am saying that this is no more or less arbitrary than people who use philosophies that do evoke a deity/deities (this is a new point, not something implicit in my previous statements).

Quote:
Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
That would agree with my earlier statements that atheists can live according to guidelines of their choosing (personal philosophies or those borrowed from other philosophies). And we seem to agree that atheists can only judge the actions of others within the confines of those chosen philosophies, which would imply that humans are judging the morality/immorality (to use familiar terms) based upon human philosophies that have their root in....? If one says "reason", then what is the origin of that "reasoning"? Is that reasoning constant, or can it change ("evolve") over time? Does that mean that "truth" is relative to cultures & circumstances? Does that mean that "good" and "bad" are biological constructs in which actions are labeled according to their utilitarian results? What makes an action "good"? or "bad"? Who decides? I'll paraphrase Dr. Greg Bahnsen here: It's not a matter of whether we will live by standards, it's a matter of whose standards. Or you can adopt the attitude of Pontius Pilate: "Truth? What is truth?"
Yes, I would agree with how you've phrased that. I would argue that "truth" in this case is created more or less by the community/communities that people form, as those communities create the standards. For example, in some Inuit societies, murder is justified (or was in the past, I don't know if that's changed in the last 100 years) under the right conditions. Those conditions would not be acceptable in the United States, or under Judeo-Christianity. However, the Inuit are for the most part not Judeo-Christian, so why are we judging them on a Judeo-Christian scale?

My point here, which I raised earlier, is that these "fundamental truths" are arbitrary, and remain arbitrary regardless of whether you claim that your foundation is reason, biology, or the supernatural. Because ultimately, the truths and application of them are based on human interpretation. Nothing exists in a vacuum.

As I stated earlier, even if you believe in a supreme creator who has the power and wisdom to create permanent categories of moral absolutes, the vast amount of disagreement and schism within almost all religions tells me that no one group actually has it right.

I, of course, do not believe there is a supreme creator who has the power and wisdom to create permanent categories of moral absolutes, so I regard any claim to such as fiction that is no less arbitrary than any other moral system. For me, I tend to follow the golden rule as I find it to be the most effective method of interacting compassionately and empathetically with other beings on this planet, although I do acknowledge that the application of the golden rule is personal to me and isn't a universal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Regardless, I understand your point that atheism does not mean a total rejection of standards. Is that an accurate summation?
Definitely. And people say we make no progress in these threads!

Quote:
Originally Posted by creekdipper View Post
Re: C.S. Lewis or others who may speak of the "bad" Christian, I totally disagree with the concept of the "carnal Christian." I have great respect for Lewis but I (and others) consider him totally wrong on this point. Yes, believers can fall away for a time...and, of course, any believer worth his salt acknowledges the ongoing struggle with sin (both points elucidated in the Bible). Yet the idea of a person who "merely" (to borrow a word from Lewis) makes claims to being a Christian while his/her life is Public Exhibit #1 of everything that is antithetical to Christian principles is a far different story from one who temporarily leaves the church, is overcome with doubt, is overcome by a particular sin, etc. The Bible gives many examples of those who temporarily behaved as "bad" believers (very bad, in fact), but those returned to the fold chastised and repentant (and suffering the repercussions of their actions).

Look at it this way. A husband can be a "good" or "bad" husband (and even delude themselves as to which type he is), but he is a "husband" regardless due to the marriage certificate & official recognition by the state (and/or church). The state cannot come along and suddenly declare that his marriage is null & void simply based upon someone else's judgment of their view of the quality of the relationship; divorce proceedings are necessary in order to dissolve a marriage.

On the other hand, a Christian's "membership" is based upon his/her profession of faith & "witness" (life). Christians can be excommunicated from the church (which holds the "keys to the kingdom") if there is ongoing rebellion against Biblical doctrine without repentance. Even then, the way is left open for the sinner to repent and return to the church after confessing his sins and abandoning them. The church is instructed to exercise discipline in order to keep the bride of Christ pure (and to hopefully restore the sinning brother/sister). But there is no Biblical precedent for assuring a person that he/she can continue in willful, repetitive, habitual sins that he/she is simply a "bad Christian" who can continue indefinitely committing those sins without repentance. There are different degrees of faithfulness & obedience, of course...but merely "accepting" one's sin as being "okay" with God is evidence that the person has not become a "new person" with a "new Spirit" who now hates their "pet sins" and struggle against them. That would be like saying that a person can pick out several of the Ten Commandments to ignore and say, "Hey, I try obey most of God's Law...after all, 7 out of 10 ain't bad."

If a person was registered as a Democrat his/her entire life and voted in scores of elections yet never once voted for a Democratic candidate (supporting candidates with views opposing the Democratic platform), would you label that voter a "bad Democrat"? Or would you say that the person was delusional and had his/her allegiances mixed up?
All a Christian church can do is expel someone from the Church. If that person wants to continue believing, even if that person chooses to rebel, then there's nothing the Church can really do. Wouldn't you agree that it's ultimately up to god to determine who is and isn't a true Christian?
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