Any atheists out there?
Posted by John W. Lennon (+26) 10 years ago
So, in a generally Christian city we have, I was wondering if there happen to be any atheists besides myself out there. I haven't met anyone else in town who is an atheist as well, and I'm not asking for your identity. Just wondering if there was anyone else who's an atheist here. If so, post below, and maybe we can have a conversation. If not, post below, and maybe we can still have a conversation.
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Posted by Kelly (+2705) 10 years ago
Howdy,

Yep, I am an atheist. There are at least 5 of us who regularly post on here, but I'll let those who are identify themselves.

Kelly

PS. Happy Winter Solstice

[This message has been edited by Kelly (11/28/2011)]
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Posted by Josh Rath (+2305) 10 years ago
(Raises Hand)
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
I am but not in any deep, philosophical chat about it way. I just am. Although some days I am a Pastafarian and some days I believe in the invisible teapot.
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Posted by Chuck Schott (+1284) 10 years ago
Thank God I'm not the only one.
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Posted by howdy (+4943) 10 years ago
I guess I could call myself half Christian/half Buddist....as I really believe in reincarnation and that isn't part of the Christian belief...but whatever, I just think you have to be reincarnated thru many lives before you get it right enough to go to heaven LOL...I know it's weird but that is my belief...
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1670) 10 years ago
Howdy, there is nothing "weird" about it. Your belief is your belief, and you have the right to it. Each individual's religious belief, or lack thereof, is nothing more than opinion. The world would be a much, much better place if everyone would realize that and respect it. Cheers to what works for you and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

You are only responsible for you.
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Posted by montanajane (+289) 10 years ago
I wouldn't call myself a genuine atheist, but an agnostic. Just not sure.
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Posted by howdy (+4943) 10 years ago
Thanks Denise and I agree that anyones religious view is their own and should be respected...I am dismayed about the attacks of late on the Muslim communities...very sad and ignorant for people to think that way...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
I am sure this will surprise a great many of you, but I am an atheist.
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11757) 10 years ago
"No," she gasped, stunned by this revelation. Stunned, I tell you.

Where is that sarcastic font when I need it?
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Posted by John W. Lennon (+26) 10 years ago
In response to many to many of you, I believe that yes, religion should be respected. However, I think religion is exempt from criticisms of other beliefs. I do believe that religion has caused severe harm to not only others in the past (Crusades, 911, etc.) but in recent times as well. One thing that Christianity in the modern world does that is harmful is causing children to fear hell. When I was a small child, the thought of eternal torture literally scared me into not being able to sleep. Though I do realize that this harm is not intentional, and that the parents really believe they are saving their children, it's still very emotionally traumatizing. Any of you have experiences similar with religion in the past?
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Posted by John W. Lennon (+26) 10 years ago
To Brian, honestly I figured if anyone here was an atheist that it would be you.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
With the possible exception of Kelly, I am probably MC.com's most unabashed atheist, John.
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Posted by luvlife (+285) 10 years ago
Wow...now there's a real title to be proud of, Brian

So happy you are lovin' it and that it's workin' for ya...good luck with that
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
How incredibly judgmental of you, luvlife. You've certainly set a shining example of theism. How could I not gravitate toward your views?

You apparently know neither the definition of "unabashed" nor "atheist." Pity.



I don't have a god-belief, luvlife. My life isn't governed by superstition, nor do I believe that I'm going to be eternally rewarded for doing the "right thing for the children," even if I do so screaming at the top of my lungs.

I do the right thing because I have a conscience, not because I desperately need the attention.

[This message has been edited by Brian A. Reed (11/28/2011)]
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1272) 10 years ago
Like button for Brian!

I too do things because "its the right thing to do" and not to please a God.

I understand believing in something or someone, but I have a hard time logically accepting that there is something or someone "pulling the strings" to make things happen. It would be nice to think that we can change the course of our lives by a belief in that someone or something, but its tough for me to truly accept.

On the other hand, I do think that what comes around goes around, and that good deeds bring good results either now or later. So I guess I do believe that one can change the course of their life through an outside force.....Karma!

Oh, and I do think that your soul can be young or old - That much of your life's "I don't know, but I just get it" moments could come from previous life's lessons. Someone said getting it right to get into heaven. Something along that line.
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1670) 10 years ago
luvlife, are you saying that the thought that someone could disagree with your personal theology is sickening? If so, that is disappointing. Just because something works and makes sense to you, does not mean it must to all.
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Posted by luvlife (+285) 10 years ago
Ok...I do apologize to Brian and anyone else I offended.
I am a Christian...and that was NOT right of me to be judgemental.

Denise, I thought you were a Christian, too? I realise that takes on many meanings to everyone...!

OMG...this could be never ending thread on this topic...so, I will just leave it alone and say...I am sorry, Brian. I guess you just sounded so proud to be "top" atheist...and it bothered me, as a Christian.

I do consider myself open minded in so many ways...BUT, plan to stay "solid" in my Christianity....as you are free to do as you wish, too.
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Posted by Wendy Wilson (+6165) 10 years ago
Despite my years-long church membership, I am still a "searcher". Ask me on another day and I'll give you a different answer.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
My lack of belief shouldn't be a threat to you, luvlife. Do you fear people who don't believe in the Easter Bunny? If your worldview is so threatened by mine, what does that say about the strength of your convictions?

I am proud of who I am. Why should I hide behind a belief or a sobriquet?

I was born an atheist. For a time, I was a believer. I've since recovered. And I'll proudly live the rest of my one life as one - and die as one - unless I'm given reason to believe. So far, I remain unconvinced.
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Posted by Kelly (+2705) 10 years ago
With the possible exception of Kelly, I am probably MC.com's most unabashed atheist, John.


THANKS BRIAN!

Aside...You know if J.C. has read this, she's screaming inside.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 10 years ago
As a Christian, I am really upset that the label has been usurped by those righteous yet highly visible few who use the term as a weapon to bludgeon those who think and believe differently. The Christian denomination I was raised in honored all who prayed to God as well as those who prayed to Allah, Yaweh, Bodhisattva or Ralph. God is known by many names and sometimes even by no name. As Shakespeare asked, What's in a name?

As a Christian, I can also honor those who search (as Wendy so eloquently put it) by traveling or merely wandering other less defined paths, whether as part of a group or individually. God speaks many languages and reaches us through our souls, whether they be in a church or in the mountains or even in a bar.

Who are we to limit how God communicates, and why on earth or in the heavens above would we think that God needs to channel his voice through a minister or priest or any other mortal being? Gifted or inspired individuals MAY be able to help us listen, but they most certainly can't help God speak. When they try, they usually screw up the translation and twist the pure intent into something horrible and almost always self-serving. In the words of Charles Dickens: Bah! Humbug!

So, to all you out there who like to wear your religion on your sleeve and preach authoritatively about what God loves and what God hates while you judge people in direct contradiction to Jesus' teachings: PLEASE do not call yourself a Christian when you're doing those things. If your Baptist church or your Fundamentalist group promotes that behavior, then cite that as your affiliation.

Because Christian is too big a word - in every sense of the word - to be used to justify that kind of misbehavior. Besides, if it's a sin to use God's name in vain, it is also a sin to abuse Christ's name for vain purposes.

Edit: Ah, another "Longest Post" in the thread to notch on my belt. As Brian might say, My work here is done.

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (11/29/2011)]
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Posted by John W. Lennon (+26) 10 years ago
Posted by:Steve Craddock

As a Christian, I am really upset that the label has been usurped by those righteous yet highly visible few who use the term as a weapon to bludgeon those who think and believe differently. The Christian denomination I was raised in honored all who prayed to God as well as those who prayed to Allah, Yaweh, Bodhisattva or Ralph. God is known by many names and sometimes even by no name. As Shakespeare asked, What's in a name?

As a Christian, I can also honor those who were searching (as Wendy so eloquently put it) by traveling other less defined paths, whether as part of a group or individually. God speaks many languages and reaches us through our souls, whether they be in church or in the mountains or even in a bar.

Who are we to limit how God communicates, and why on earth or in heaven would we think that God needs to channel his voice through a minister or priest or any other mortal being? Other mortals MAY be able to help us listen, but they most certainly can't help God speak. When they try, they usually screw up the translation and twist the pure intent into something horrible and almost always self-serving. In the words of Charles Dickens: Bah! Humbug!

So, to all you out there who like to wear your religion on your sleeve and preach authoritatively about what God loves and what God hates while you judge people in direct contradiction to Jesus' teachings: PLEASE do not call yourself a Christian when you're doing those things. If your Baptist church or your Fundamentalist group promotes that behavior, then cite that as your affiliation.

Because Christian is too big a word - in every sense of the word - to be used to justify that kind of misbehavior. Besides, if it's a sin to use God's name in vain, it is also a sin to abuse Christ's name for vain purposes.

Edit: Ah, another "Longest Post" in the thread to notch on my belt. As Brian might say, My work here is done. wink


While I do agree with you Steve, there are some problems with this. In fact, the strictest followers of religion would never be able to abide by this. If they follow the Qur'an word for word, Muslims should be attempting to kill all who don't follow their beliefs, especially those without religion.

If Christians followed the bible exactly, gays and lesbians should be stoned to death, children who mock the church should be fed to wild animals, and women who intervene in a fight between two men should have their hands chopped off.

Now I do understand, (thankfully) that most followers of either religions do not go to these extremes. But for those who do and preach for others to do the same living in harmony with someone different is impossible.

[This message has been edited by John W. Lennon (11/29/2011)]
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
Hmmm..... this is just too perfect. A guy signs up here at MC.com 45 minutes after the bars close claiming to be John W. Lennon and asking if there are other atheist in town. Most of his objections so far are found in the lyrics to the song "Imagine". I smell a rat.
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Posted by John W. Lennon (+26) 10 years ago
Yes, it is true that I signed up yesterday, and I haven't intentionally put any lyrics in any of my posts, though I do love "Imagine" and most of my comments have been based on religion, it's a favorite topic of mine. I'm fairly young, and I thought I'd give the Miles City forums a try. I'm liking them so far.

Though I must say, I'm not a "rat" which I assume is another word for "troll". Simply looking for conversation is all.

Edit- And I actually had no idea it was 45 minutes after the bars closed. I'm far too young to drink anyway.

[This message has been edited by John W. Lennon (11/29/2011)]
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 10 years ago
I was born an atheist. For a time, I was a believer. I've since recovered.


But at least you're not judgmental like luvlife right?
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Posted by Denise Selk (+1670) 10 years ago
Denise, I thought you were a Christian, too? I realise that takes on many meanings to everyone...!


My own personal belief has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I respect everyone else's right to believe, or not believe, as they so choose.

Just as I do not get to force my opinion that Tebow sucks on anyone else, I do not get to force my opinion, or lack thereof, that Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior. Please allow everyone else to decide what is right, or not, for themselves.

I know what works for me. I don't presume to know what works for you, or Bob down the street.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9191) 10 years ago
Even worse - people who think Tebow's an amazing quarterback... because he's a good Christian. In a nutshell, THAT sort of thinking is what renders America an ungovernable mess. He BELIEVES the right things, so he must be an amazing quarterback, she BELIEVES the right things so she must be a politician that has my best economic interests at heart, etc, etc, etc...
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
But at least you're not judgmental like luvlife right?

Levi - Am I judgmental? Of course I am. I'm human. Every single one of us is. But was as I nearly as judgmental in my tongue-in-cheek response as luvlife was toward me? No. I don't believe that I'm forgiven superior because of my superstitions.

I make judgments based on intellect, not on dogma. To me, at least, there is a distinct difference. Feel free to disagree. I won't damn you for it.

I'm curious as to whether she believes I'm destined for Hell.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
Well said, Bridgier.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
+5 for Bridgier.
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Posted by Gunnar Emilsson (+17317) 10 years ago
So are you trying to say that Tebow is NOT an amazing quarterback???????
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Posted by M T Zook (+515) 10 years ago
Tebow is not an amazing quarterback.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 10 years ago
Bravo to Bridgier and Denise - and John W. Lennon, too.

To those who think Christians only do good things because they were told to do it or as a means to get into Heaven - Phooey. The average Christian is just as motivated to do the right thing because it is the right thing as the average _____ (fill in the blank). Period.

To anyone who has ever even lightly thumped a Bible (or any other set of religious edicts), I highly recommend that you read the book A YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY by A.J. Jacobs.

http://www.ajjacobs.com/books/yolb.asp

It definitively and humorously exposes the impossibility of obeying all of "God's law" - which means that everyone, even the most self-righteous, has to pick and chose which Holy Words they will pay attention to, and which ones they will conveniently ignore.

In other words, every Christian, be they conservative or liberal, must decide which parts of the Bible they want to follow and which parts they don't. There's no way around it. Think about that next time you're tempted to quote Leviticus!

[This message has been edited by Steve Craddock (11/29/2011)]
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Posted by Cory Cutting (+1272) 10 years ago
Zook, God SOMEONE bless you for speaking the truth!

And Bridger is correct!
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
Steve - As I hope you know, I like and respect you a great deal. With that in mind, I have to ask you this:

Why is it that every time someone questions Christianity - or any other form of theism - you practically trip over yourself to define such theology as being the source of all that is Good?

Conversely, if someone does something evil, you rush to dismiss their Christianity as if the terms are mutually exclusive. A case in point would be Fred Phelps.

Fred Phelps IS a Christian. He believes his soul is saved through his belief in Christ. By definition - practical, according to Hoyle (and Merriam-Webster), biblical (John 3:16) and otherwise, he is a Christian. Yet, you have said he cannot possibly be a Christian because he is a wretched human being and the things he says/preaches are abhorrent.

Being a Christian does not make someone perfect (and nearly every Christian would agree with this, as the admittance and acceptance of imperfection is a key tenet to the faithful and proper adherence of Christianity). But I would assert that being a Christian also does not absolve people of being responsible for - and accountable to - their own actions.

I would argue that this responsibility and accountability aren't owed to an omnipotent/omniscient/omnipresent (yet completely - and oh-so-conveniently immeasurable/inaccessible/unaccountable/irresponsible) Creator/Overseer/Puppeteer, but to ourselves and our fellow inhabitants of this planet.

I would argue that Fred Phelps is both a Christian AND an abhorrent, wretched human being. There may or may not be a correlation between the two, but in his personal Venn diagram, he represents the overlapping area between the two spheres. This is NOT analogous to a matter/anti-matter interaction. The two can - and do - exist without canceling each other out.

We both agree that Good (and Evil) exist. Where we differ is where we choose to attribute the source. I would argue that one does not have to believe in "God" in order to recognize, appreciate, and do "Good," or to condemn "Evil." Why is Belief required in order to do Good and avoid Evil? Why should it?

If I said that all Good comes from the consumption of Mountain Dew and all Evil stems from invisible Oompa Loompas, you would disregard my words as being ludicrous, even if I could get several people to agree with me and write several stories about it, adding somewhat plausible and quasi-historical references to support the theory.

Even if I was 100% certain that I was right in believing this, you would think something wasn't quite right with my mind. Even if I could show you that drinking Mountain Dew made me more personable or more energetic or more intelligent, you would say there isn't quantifiable connection between the consumption of the Blessed Dew and its positive effects on my personality.

Even if I told you, "you just have to have faith that Mountain Dew is the Font of Goodness and the Source of Eternal Life," you would be justified in mocking me for being misguided at best (and a fool at worst).

How is this example ANY different?
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
For me, Non credo quia absurdum est always trumps Credo quia absurdum est.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 10 years ago
Brian,

Fred Phelps is also a human being. If I were to say all humans are evil because Fred Phelps is evil, wouldn't you be tempted to clarify my gross over-generalization?

That's what I'm doing, as explained in one of my earlier posts. If a particular sect or denomination (as in Fred Phelp's church) is behind something atrocious, then focus on that denominator - not the common one. Don't throw all of us into the same equation because frankly that is bigoted and prejudicial and lazy. Unfortunately, it is also common practice and I'm doing my part to change that.
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Posted by Bridgier (+9191) 10 years ago
Generally, I find that people will use whatever belief structure is convenient, whether that be Christianity or Atheism, to justify their authoritarian impulses.

Has nothing to do with God|!God.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
Okay, let the record show that I stayed out of this for 38 posts... which is a new personal record.

I would argue that Fred Phellps is not christian, but practices what I will characterize as an extreme form of "Paulianity" that is evil. Honestly, most evangelical and fundamentalists in the US practice Paulianity, not Christianity.

It is also interesting how the Golden Rule is hardwired into the DNA of humanity. If everyone would simply live by the Golden Rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love your neighbor as you love yourself" the world would be a much better place. The Golden Rule transcends theistic or atheistic belief.

At this point in my life, I am a theist only because nobody can give me a good explanation of why monkeys can't make beer. Thus, there must be a God.

[This message has been edited by Richard Bonine, Jr. (11/29/2011)]
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Posted by Bridgier (+9191) 10 years ago
good explanation of why monkeys can't make beer.

1) No patience
2) Already have a reliable source for Coors Light monkey piss.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
+1 for Bridgier.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
It is also interesting how the Golden Rule is hardwired into the DNA of humanity. If everyone would simply live by the Golden Rule of "do unto others as you would have them do unto you and love your neighbor as you love yourself" the world would be a much better place. The Golden Rule transcends theistic or atheistic belief.

I agree. I would say, in evolutionary terms, that organisms that did not "treat others as they would like to be treated," found themselves excluded from the group and subject to predation. It is in one's best interest to serve the group if one wishes to benefit from said group.

No theistic attribution is necessary for the Golden Rule.
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 10 years ago
If a particular sect or denomination (as in Fred Phelp's church) is behind something atrocious, then focus on that denominator - not the common one.

I try to, Steve. But I also try not to give a free pass to someone because "they are a Christian," nor ever say (sincerely) that something "is (or isn't) a very Christian thing to do."

My main point was that revoking someone's "Christian card" because they do something that's "un-Christian" is a very disingenuous thing to do - it's changing the definition to suit the purpose.

Good, Evil, Neutrality, and all points in between need not have anything to do with a higher power.
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Posted by Richard Bonine, Jr. (+14950) 10 years ago
Orthodoxy is really nothing more than the most successful heresy.
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Posted by Cheryl Pieters (+474) 10 years ago
I certainly used to be more of a "Christian" in the modern definition than I am now. I still believe there is a God, and I pray to him, but after much Bible study and education I have come to the conclusion that the main goal of the Christian Religion is to accrue power, money and a certain amount of celebrity for a few of the higher ups in the church and to control and profit from the vast majority of the "true believers". Many things in the original Bible have been manipulated over the centuries so that they support church dogma and most Christians do not bother to think for themselves but tend to let those manipulative Church Leaders tell them what to think and to do. I also feel that "heaven" is held out like a carrot to control the masses. I once read an interesting book and one of the things that resonated with me was "What if all of the poor pheasants, who are suffering, starving and dying young in this lifetime did not have the future "reward" of heaven to console them? Would they then be so willing to work so hard and sacrifice so much to support the church leaders at the expense of themselves and their families with no reward of heaven to look forward to? Do you think the world would be a much different place?

In the past I have worked for a couple of "higher ups" in the Christian hierarchy (one a famous televangelist and another who regularily consults with people like James Dobson and that lot-still in touch now and then so don't want to hint too much as he would be easy to google) and I have found those people to be WAY more motivated by the money that can be raked in by invoking the name of God or Jesus to true believers than any sort of a concern for charities or making the world a better place. In fact, they are living the good life and basking in their exalted "Christian-ness" and have many millions in the bank, have multiple million dollar homes for themselves and their families, stay only at 5 star hotels and eat only the best of foods and donate far less that .0001% of their take into any sort of a charity fund. Your would think that if God punishes usury in his name that they would be dealt some sort of a blow or at least exposed for the frauds they are, yet they are still rolling along, pulling in $2 million in a weekend selling bibles and other religious paraphanalia at a religious convention in Florida and passing judgements on whole groups of people (what is worse is that they are forcing millions of other people to echo their biased and racist judgements). It is really sad to see some old lady who is barely getting by on social security give these people her last 5 shares of IBM one year and then see them offer to pray for her (only) when she contacts them a year later to say she needs a little extra $$ for a cancer treatment that isn't fully covered by her Medicare and that she will die without. it is also sad to see people pray for their kids to get better instead of get medical attention for them. It is REALLY sad to see people rebuke and turn away from their own CHILDREN because some church leader has made the judgement that their loved one is a "sinner". These are all reasons why I used to be dumb and and all out Christian, and as I have grown older and wiser I have seen the leaders in the Christian Religion at least do things that Jesus would never have even considered. Is the "Christian" agenda today even slightly remote to what Jesus preached? As such, can these people even call their judgemental, controlling selves Christians? I guess that is up to each individual to consider.

I'd like to say that I am a member of the Abrahamic Faith. Abraham in the Old Testement was the Father of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Faiths.
{url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrahamic_religions[/url]
I cannot stand to see how Christians can be manipulated to hate and kill people of the Muslim or Jewish Faiths based on the fact that all of the religions stem from the same person in the Old Testement and therefore all should consider themselves brothers. That is the true evil of modern religion-the fact that it can be used to manipulate people to do evil things in the name of their God. IMHO the Christian religion has been the most evil of all, using faith to motivate people to kill and to justify wiping out entire civilizations in the 2011 years it has existed.
(such as Ancient Persia, close to a million people in Iraq and Afghanistan and a majority of the Jewish People in Western Europe, for starters)
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Posted by Cheryl Pieters (+474) 10 years ago
I imagine a lot of "Christians" would brand me an "Atheist" just because I am not towing the line as defined by today's modern church leaders.

....and for those of you that have charisma and an ability to manipulate people you can pull down millions of tax free dollars per year and get thousands, if not millions of people to echo your every bias and misinformed whim and live very well doing so. You can probably get those millions to control the United States and get rid of all of the people who might be a threat to your all powerful rule.

The Rise of Christian Fascism and Its Threat to American Democracy
http://www.alternet.org/story/47679/
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Posted by Lorin Dixson (+596) 10 years ago
pick and chose which Holy Words they will pay attention to
Here is the one I am going to follow.
Deuteronomy 22:10 "You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together."
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Posted by Buck Showalter (+4460) 10 years ago
I'm waiting for Iesa Mohammed's take.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 10 years ago

Generally, I find that people will use whatever belief structure is convenient, whether that be Christianity or Atheism, to justify their authoritarian impulses.

Has nothing to do with God|!God.


Well, Bridgier has captured the MVP award for this thread IMHO. This is the second short and sweet statement he has posted that says it perfectly. What is there left to say? Nothing. But why should that stop me? It never has before.

Fred Phelps' politics have as much to do with Christianity as Osama bin Laden's did with Islam. In short, nothing other than it's a convenient way to attempt to fool the gullible into believing hatred is blessed by the Almighty.

Speaking of which, I'm finding it difficult to distinguish the act of branding all Muslims evil because Osama bin Laden claimed to be serving Allah, and chastising Christians because a few vocal idiots choose to dress their prejudices up in white robes (figuratively speaking). They're more sophist than Christian when doing that.

And Brian, I also fail to see much difference in your continuous effort to re-educate anyone who says anything about atheism that doesn't fit your understanding of it, and my effort to distinguish those vocal few who try to use the word Christian to justify bullish and brutish behavior from the vast majority of Christians who adhere more closely to Christ's admonition to judge not.

When people use their Christian faith as an excuse to bash others, it's wrong - especially when the bashing in wrapped up in "concern" or "love the sinner/hate the sin" BS. It would be far more effective and fair if you would call them on their abuse of the word "Christian", rather than accepting and legitimizing their specious claim to that title by in turn bashing Christianity in general.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 10 years ago
Brian said:



I try to, Steve. But I also try not to give a free pass to someone because "they are a Christian," nor ever say (sincerely) that something "is (or isn't) a very Christian thing to do."

My main point was that revoking someone's "Christian card" because they do something that's "un-Christian" is a very disingenuous thing to do - it's changing the definition to suit the purpose.

Good, Evil, Neutrality, and all points in between need not have anything to do with a higher power.


And I agree with every word. No free passes to those who use Christianity as a club to abuse other people (see above post). No legitimizing dubious claims to be doing the Lord's work by judging others harshly, especially for no greater sin that being or believing different (again, see above post). And Good, Evil, etc. need not have anything to do with a higher power (see below paragraph).

Need isn't in the faith equation at all. If it is, then it's a crutch or a tool. Either way, it's unpure and prone to misuse. And I have no more tolerance for that than you, my dear friend.
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Posted by Bob Netherton II (+1904) 10 years ago
I kinda like Coors Light.
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Posted by Derf Bergman (+583) 9 years ago
I guess there's no accounting for taste.
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Posted by Levi Forman (+3712) 9 years ago
Generally, I find that people will use whatever belief structure is convenient, whether that be Christianity or Atheism, to justify their authoritarian impulses.

Has nothing to do with God|!God.


This is really the answer to the "RELIGION KILLS EVERYONE IN HISTORY AND RUINS EVERYTHING" argument. If they didn't have religion, they would have found some other reason to kill people that are different than them as the many non-religious genocides have aptly demonstrated. It's not God or the lack thereof, it's human nature.
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Posted by BDrew (+18) 9 years ago
"It's not God or the lack thereof, it's human nature."

Which then begs the question of what is the Christian God's nature? Child/human sacrifice, ordering the genocide of non-Israelite tribes, suggesting the stoning of non-virgin brides, and the general dismissal of any person who doesn't think like him are all very human qualities. To quote George Carlin, 'BUT HE LOVES YOU!'
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Posted by Brian A. Reed (+6014) 9 years ago
And Brian, I also fail to see much difference in your continuous effort to re-educate anyone who says anything about atheism that doesn't fit your understanding of it, and my effort to distinguish those vocal few who try to use the word Christian to justify bullish and brutish behavior from the vast majority of Christians who adhere more closely to Christ's admonition to judge not.

In response, I would say that the difference - at least in my eyes - is that the assumptions about theism are generally positive (and widely-accepted), while the assumptions about atheism are generally given a negative connotation. Put differently, a lot more (good and bad) can be done in the name of religion than atheism. I find that to be unfortunate.
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Posted by Steve Craddock (+2743) 9 years ago
It's more than unfortunate, Brian,, for all of the reasons articulated above by Bridgier and Levi and others. The most apt word I can think of doing something heinous in the name of any religion is heresy. Of course, that very word has also been usurped by those who misuse religion to enforce compliance of followers. Orwellian tactics have been around since - well, the dawn of man I suppose.

I support your cause, Brian. The main thing I take issue with is the broad brush you sometimes use that would paint everyone of the Christian faith as being guilty of the abuse committed by those who use faith as a ruse to dress up more base motivations.

And my point is simply this: We need to stop buying into the claims of individuals who abuse religion (be it Christianity, Islam, or any other) for political or other self-serving purposes, and start exposing them for the ambitious zealots they are - and this is true at the family, community, national and global scale.

Everyone but the zealots and their acolytes will benefit when we do.
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