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" Fix Reason firmly to her seat,
and call to her tribunal every fact,
every opinion.

Question with boldness even the existence of a God;

because if there be one,
he must more approve the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

- Thomas Jefferson




BLOG ENTRIES :






* On quietening doubts


* On modern interpretation

________________

"You" by ex-minister Dan Barker











"El Credo falso"

"The Beliefs are false"







"How evangelical Christians defend their faith is annoying to me for the most part.

They don't realize how inconsistent their approach is
and how that same approach
is used by people of other faiths.

They don't connect the dots.





They were born into a Christian culture
and became believers because of cultural influences just like
Muslims in Iran,
or Catholics in Mexico,
or Buddhists in Thailand,
or Hindu's in India.

They know this and yet want to maintain theirs is the correct religion anyway,

just like Muslims, Catholics, Buddhists and Hindu's do when faced with this same sociological data.

Christians claim that these other religions are man-made ones.

But let's connect the dots here.

If other people in other parts of the globe
have created man-made religions

and are persuaded to believe in them because they were raised in their respective cultures,

then why is this not also true for their particular sect of Christianity?







Why do they think they are privileged to be born in the right time and place when others are not?

If there is a God why would he privilege them like this?

Why?
It's the natural tendency we humans have for thinking we're special,
that's why."


- John W. Loftus M.A., M.Div.,
Th.M Trinity Evangelical Divinity School,

author of

"Why I Became An Atheist:
A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity".

and the editor of & a contributor to

"The Christian Delusion:
Why Faith Fails".






"You are an intelligent human being.

Your life is valuable for its own sake.

You are not second-class in the universe,
deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind.

You are not inherently evil
- you are inherently human,
possessing the positive rational potential
to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy.

Trust yourself."

[ Dan Barker,
former minister,
"Losing Faith in Faith" ]





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On "quietening" doubts + intellectual integrity :

Most of us, particularly those who try to assess the relative merits
of the various options that life presents us
and who value skill at thinking and expressing ideas
encounter opportunities to refine and, perhaps, to completely re-assess various ideas.

From a former RC Chaplain ( @CADunphy on Twitter ) :

" Stop talking about doubt as 'the dark night of the soul'
Instead embrace it as a passion for knowing "

" The spark of inspiration"

" Doubt Its the constant companion of all believers.
It starts as a twinge, a subtle discomfort...

Read more ( external website ) :



On modern interpretation
Our modern culture obscures the original meaning :

" Look upon the rainbow, and praise Him that made it;
very beautiful it is in the brightness thereof.
It compasseth the heaven about with a glorious circle,
and the hands of the most High have bended it.

By His commandment He maketh the snow to fall aplace,
and sendeth swiftly the lightnings of His judgment.

Through this the treasures are opened: and clouds fly forth as fowls.

By His great power he maketh the clouds firm,
and the hailstones are broken small.
At His sight ( because He looked at them ) the mountains are shaken,
and at His will the south wind bloweth.


The noise of the thunder maketh the earth to tremble:
so doth the northern storm and the whirlwind:
as birds flying He scattereth the snow,
and the falling down thereof is as the lighting of grasshoppers:

The eye marvelleth at the beauty of the whiteness thereof,
and the heart is astonished at the raining of it."

- Ecclesiasticus 43:11 - 18

People were "astonished" by purely natural events
which they assumed to be works of a God
including the bending of the rainbow by "Him".

What does this tell us about the origins of religions?

Modern believers typically see these types of Bible writings as "poetic"
and "being an acknowledgement of God as the ultimate Source".

Is it really intellectually valid to ascribe this capability of abstract reasoning
to primitive people like Jephthah who sacrificed his only daughter "to God"
when "the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah"
( Judges 11:29 onwards )

or the temple priests who faithfully performed the blood sprinkling rituals
and "God - ordained" live animal holy sacrifices
until Yochanan ben Zakka convinced them to forget "God's specific instructions"
after the Romans destroyed their temple?



No, the writers would have believed these things to be literally true.

Their meaning was: "God personally bends the rainbow, personally scatters the snow".


This is how savagely primitive those times were
and how far removed those people are from our civilization today :

"And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons,
and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat."
Leviticus 26:29

"The disaster that came to my people brought horror;
loving mothers boiled their own children for food."
Lamentations 4:10 ( GNT,Good News Translation)


Origins of "God sent His Son to die.."


A glimpse into the world in NT times


How recent some progress is !


Have a look at "Heavenly Dreams"


Richard Dawkins puts it well here...


How did this sacred idea start ?



This is how religious understanding has changed
as people understand the world more accurately,
but we forget that
"the whole idea was wrong to begin with..."



( I'm not sure of the original source of this very important point )

For even worse ( child sacrifice for religious "reasons" )
see Origins of "God sent His Son to die.."

It's NOT a Book of "God directed Revelation"
just a fragmented, partial record of a desperate, primitive
attempt to make enough "sense" of life to survive...

Bible_Eating_children.jpg

and this is our modern response :

Now_eating_children.jpg


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I am an International Lifetime member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,
Freedom From Religion Foundation


am an Internet member of American Atheists,
American Atheists


Atheist Foundation of Australia
Atheist Foundation of Australia


and Atheist Alliance International.
Atheist Alliance International


http://twitter.com/expreacher




Some groups who were also making very strenuous , different, efforts,
believed and tried to teach as "God's Truth" extremely different doctrines.
( some examples: LDS - Mormons ; Jehovah's Witnesses; etc )

One student had come to college from a church with which the SA had significant shared tradition.
He became quite upset when in a Bible class he was taught the SA's interpretation of some verse.

It apparently clashed importantly with what his previous church had taught him,
and apparently the instructor would not concede any validity to that interpretation.
( I wasn't in his class, & don't remember the issue.)

Most people in all these different groups just totally discounted the existence,
and claims to "Truth", of the others;
including the group of which I was a member.



Understanding came when I realised that all distinctive subcultures,
have developed, instilled & reinforced, thought habits
that automatically made their own group
the final authority on some matters.

( A "tribalisic" way of interpreting and interacting with a wider culture. )


Only by mentally and emotionally "moving outside" the group can we attempt
to objectively judge the validity of those beliefs.



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