Well, it looks like I pushed some buttons. Here’s the response I got in it’s entirety. (His words in italics)
Well, I think we’re done. I thought it would go on a bit longer but I no longer see the point, except perhaps for your readers to see the other side of things.
At the onset, I tried to have you see that I understand why people have turned from “religion”. No real comment on your part.
I thought a comment would be redundant. As someone who has turned from the church, I have fairly good understanding of why one would leave.
Bottom line: People are human and easily deceived. The Word of God and the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has been corrupted from the outset, just as He said it would be (The “other gospel”) and people, including those in the church have believed it.
I think I have a much greater hope and respect for humanity than you. Yes, we can be deceived, but we also have the ability to seek out the truth. The question is, how many of us do the hard work of looking for the truth, and how many of us accept what we’ve been told to? The vast majority of religious people share the faith of their family and community. Something other than the search for truth is active here.
As I said, many in the church have “left their first love” (in other words, not seeking first the Kingdom of God). In fact, although they are well-meaning, faithful members of the church, they know so little about their Bible that they still think we become angels when we die. They agree whole-heartedly when some horribly misguided pastor holds up a sign that says “God Hates Fags”, completely forgetting that God loves ALL men but (simply) hates sin…for our OWN good. The rules/law were made for our own good, not simply so that we would have something to feel guilty about. Like the unpleasant symptoms our body generates when we are sick (vomiting, diaffhea, fever, headaches, even seizures), they are for our OWN GOOD, not to punish us.
Again, if I accept the reality of the god you preach, then: The rules and laws were made by god to solve problems that he had the ability to prevent in the first place.
So, if you’re going to judge the truth about God, Jesus, the Bible and the Creation of the universe, you cannot use MAN as your gold standard. We are imperfect and there is no such thing as a perfect Christian. They have been wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future. As the bumper stickers say, Christians are not perfect, they are just forgiven.
I’m not using humans as my gold standard. People can be mistaken, our perceptions of reality are constantly skewed by what we want to see, and what we expect to see. That is why we have to rely on logic and rational observation of phenomena. The entire scientific method was created to minimize our weaknesses while we search for the truth. No one is perfect, but that’s okay.
And there have been some mighty men of God who have fallen to the temptations we all face, some being the most revered of the Bible. The apostle Paul used to not only blapheme God but KILLED His worshipers. He used to persecute and kill Christians. BUT, we turned from the “dark side” and became one of the most important followers of all time. King David, “a man after God’s heart”, had one of his men killed in order to cover up an affair he had with his wife. And yet, he became one of the most important figures of the Old Testament. God see through that and into the heart. We have a very hard time doing that. Bottom line: Christians are not immune to the world’s temptations and to call our faith a “crutch” shows how little people know about how difficult it can be to live in this world without giving in to all of the things that are contributing to its demise. Atheists have the crutch, doing whatever THEY deem right and true, not feeling compelled to answer to a higher power.
I’m not sure what you’re arguing about here. I think we both agree that Christians (and all people) aren’t perfect. I’m certainly not using that as any sort of criticism of Christianity. Communism isn’t a bad idea because a couple of Communists are jerks, it’s a bad idea because it doesn’t work. You can’t judge a belief based on it’s adherents.
But nothing can match the joy of knowing God and following His commands.
The joy of a life cherished and lived to it’s fullest because you know that this is it, the only chance you have?
The “sins” of the world lead to much worse things…addictions, divorce, disease, financial difficulties, death and worse.
and Christians and non-Christians suffer those things in equal measure. Actually, last I checked, evangelical christians have a higher divorce rate than the general population. So, there’s that.
The left hand path DOES lead to destruction, both here on earth and afterwards. And if it sounds like God is a monster and liar for loving us enough to give us rules to live by (like a good parent would, for our own protection) and then sticks by the “punishment” that he said he would issue if we broke those rules without remorse or asking for forgiveness, then you don’t understand a thing about God, the Bible, or being a parent for that matter. Yes, she is only two now, but are you going to let her grow up and do whatever she wants whenever she wants without guidance and appropriate “punishment”? For her sake, I hope not.
Of course not, what a ridiculous argument. The biggest misconception about non-theists and non-christians the the idea that because we no longer have a cosmic babysitter threatening to punish us, we can (and do) behave however we want. Ethical behavior is not the unique province of the believer. The only difference is that I’m held accountable by real people here and now. I do good and avoid evil because I know that my behavior has direct consequences on my loved ones, and the community at large. I don’t need the threat of eternal damnation to know that I shouldn’t punch old ladies in the street. As much as I resent you bringing my daughter and my parenting choices into it, I should make it clear: OF COURSE I’LL CORRECT HER BEHAVIOR. She’s a two-year old child! She doesn’t have the capacity to understand the consequences of her actions, YET. When she’s old enough to make competent decisions on her own, that part of my job as parent will be done, and she’ll have to make her own decisions about what’s right and wrong based on the type of life she wants for herself.
My issue is that I am old enough and experienced enough to make those decisions for myself. It’s people like James Dobson and Focus on the Family who think that the country is full of 2-year-olds and that they have the right to determine what’s good for us, based on their interpretation of Christianity. That’s why non-Christians are angry. Not because Evangelicals believe differently, but because they think that they have some special right to determine what the rest of us should watch, read or have sex with.
(One last response to follow that will addrress your putting words in my mouth about YOU and YOUR magic.) In your response
Waiting eagerly for your response…