10-07-13 4:11  •  R U A Sinner?

Fellowship: We are all sinners, even Christians. Every one of us, myself included.

Speak for yourself.

Fellowship: But I, as a Christian, immediately have a sense of remorse.

Remorse is not unique to Christians.

Fellowship: So, are you not a sinner because you're perfect? Or, is it because you don't believe in God and, therefore, don't believe his words that humans are sinners?

You do not know what I am. You do not know what I or anyone else is except for yourself. You are not in a position to declare what everyone is. Why not just speak for yourself?

Fellowship: So, you're not a sinner? Why?

In our system we are innocent until proven guilty, as derived from English common law dating at least back to the Magna Carta, upon which our culture and justice system are based. I would say this is an instance which invokes habeas corpus. Since you are the one making the charge, it is incumbent upon you to provide evidence that the charge is correct. If you cannot provide evidence, the charge can be disregarded. As the initiator, the burden of proof would be on you.

Fellowship: Thanks for your explanation on how you interpret it.

You are very welcome. I hope you see that violating habeas corpus was one of the things that made the Bush administration so diabolical. Habeas corpus is a cornerstone principle of our culture and has been for centuries because any other system is unjust and creates great harm.

If you want to judge and convict yourself that's fine but you should consider not creating injustice by spreading charges you are not prepared to prove about wrongdoing by others. That is why I suggest you simply speak for yourself.

10-06-13 11:11  •  The Shutdown

Wulfie: What do you think about the government shutdown? Who is responsible?

The Tea Party owns this shutdown.

In video gaming, occasionally there will be a bug or a glitch which is overlooked by the programmers. It wasn't intentionally written into the game, but players find that if they drink this potion while standing in this spot, their might is inexplicably increased by a thousand percent. This kind of usable bug is called an "exploit." However if it goes unfixed, it can sometimes wreck the game.

The Tea Party are using an exploit in our system to massively increase their power far beyond anything intended or reasonable. These legislators couldn't get what they wanted the way they are supposed to, by having the votes to create legislation, so they are taking advantage of a bug in the system to hold the world hostage to their narrow, pitiful demands.

Unfortunately, this can wreck the game. And unfortunately, it's not a game.

Wulfie: Will they actually let us go over the debt ceiling?

They are insane. So who knows?

I just hope that when Wall Street tanks, the Koch brothers and the rest of the greedy fucks will realize that if you get people elected who are stupid enough to give you everything you want - stupid enough to lower your taxes even more, and regulate you even less - they are too stupid to stay bought.

10-06-13 6:66  •  Funny Spin on Christianity

Harriet: What do you think? Saw this funny poster:

Windslow: I find that very disrespectful to Christianity.

The Christian beliefs referenced here deserve no respect. They are ridiculous.

Windslow: Well take that:

Harriet: Of course, any belief system can be explained in a manner to sound absolutely beautiful and wonderful. Or, any belief system can be described in a manner to be less than flattering.

I'm not sure I agree with this kind of levelling. This would make it seem like all religions are equally beautiful / equally stupid depending on how you describe them. And that is just not the case. Some religious tenets are clearly stupider and uglier than others no matter how you slice them.

If the most cynical thing people can come up with to say about Zen is that it is boring, that is not really a very searing indictment. However Zombie Jesus, live forever, telepathically accepting as master, evil force, rib-woman, talking snake and magical tree are all just as thoroughly ridiculous as they sound here, even when described in more flattering language.

And as long as Christianity embraces the terrorizing, exclusionary doctrine of Hell, there is no way to describe it as "absolutely beautiful and wonderful." The central tenet has been constructed as a menacing threat, and threats are always ugly.

Windslow: RaverLady, Hell is not a threat, rather a consequence.

"Believe in Jesus or else you will go to Hell" is the threat.

There is no evidence that "Hell" is an actual consequence. It is just something that people claim is a consequence. It appears to be a completely made-up consequence which has been constructed to make people accept Jesus out of fear.

Windslow: I believe you have been hurt and I am sorry.

How so? Be specific.

Windslow: It is not cruel as you perceive it, there is ample opportunity provided to elliminate the worry of having to face the consequences of our actions.

This is ridiculous. People of good conscience, who happen to be raised in a different culture, or happen to not believe in the Jesus story for any other reason, do not deserve Hell. There is just no way that creating a "bad afterlife" for people who think the wrong thing could ever be other than cruel.

Windslow: I have never met someone like yourself.

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one.

Windslow: I said you must have been hurt because I have never known anyone who makes such a connection between Christianity and fear.

I didn't make up "Believe in Jesus or you will go to Hell." It is the central tenet of Christianity.

Windslow: I would have to assume, with the limited knowledge of you or your life, that this corelation was made for you when you were a child or even a young adult.

That's a pretty big jump alright.

Windslow: That somehow, some way, you were exposed to a message of fear rather than love.

Both messages are always present. Some try to gloss over the fear message, as you are, and some embrace it, but as long as people claim that "Hell" awaits if you think the wrong thing, the threat is present.

Windslow: In no way do I interpret fear to be the thrust of the gospel.

No? Try picking up a tract.

You may not interpret it that way, but who says you know? Plenty of people have and do interpret it that way. Why should I accept your downplay and reject their emphasis?

Windslow: To your last words, I am sorry you find it ridiculous, I find that to be purely an unkind word to use when speaking about anything that is important to anyone.

If you do not want your beliefs to be ridiculous, try believing in something sound.

Windslow: I believe that we all are given a choice. I do not think that being told is the issue, I believe rejection of that knowledge is.

Sorry, rejecting Jesus is just not eternal-torment worthy. It's just not that bad. Pretending that rejecting Jesus is evil enough to warrant "the bad afterlife" seems petty, unforgiving, exclusionary, and cruel.

Windslow: ...and I would never pretend that God would not/could not offer up other tools for righteousness to those who have never seen a Bible.

Rejecting the Bible even after having seen it is not evil. It is not worthy of the "bad afterlife."

As far as I can tell only the Universalists have been able to abandon the threat message in favor of the love message. Christianity as a whole would be better off if they followed suit.

Why not? It has happened before. People are capable of changing their whole belief system. Christianity needs a New Reformation.

Windslow: Raver, do you find yourself any less cruel?

Yes. I definitely find "ridiculous" to be far, far less cruel than "you will go to Hell for eternity if you reject Jesus." There is just no comparison.

Windslow: Theres a world more than fear communicated in the Gospel.

That doesn't take the threat away. "Jesus or burn" is the central message of Christianity.

Windslow: I think it best I refrain from such conversations with you.

Suit yourself.

Windslow: If gaining enlightenment was truly your goal you would not be so cruel nor use such disrespectful language.

Sorry, I'm not really buying your outrage here. The word "ridiculous," directed at Christianity, is really not that cruel. In fact it is a relatively mild observation.

Windslow: I have never been cruel or disrespectful to you.

I have never been cruel or disrepectful to you either. I am not going to refrain from speaking about Christianity just because you do not like what I say about it.

Windslow: I have met plenty of people who have chosen to not believe, not all of them are offensive.

Potentially, anything I said about it you could find offensive. Should I then just keep silent?

You may find my refusing to kowtow to Christianity offensive, but I would find keeping silent, in the face of massive threat and deception, to be far more offensive.

Windslow: I have not said that any of your feelings, thoughts, ideas or beliefs are ridiculous. I wouldnt.

Feel free, if you have grounds to do so. If I had a thought that was ridiculous and you could show why, I would certainly want you to point it out. I would not ask you to keep silent or shield me from your observation.

Windslow: I intimated that there must be a reason for your strong aversions...

Yes, there is. The reason for my strong aversion is that Christianity appears to be a Big Lie. I am averse to threats and deceptions.

Even more oddly, I have found that people will do anything to prevent Christianity from being questioned, including becoming outraged, deeply offended, and finally saying that they just can't be bothered to discuss it.

That just seems wrong. No belief system should be exempt from scrutiny.

Windslow: If I were found to be offensive I would absolutely examine that and deal with it.

If you cannot even take the word "ridiculous," I doubt I can modify my language enough to mollify you.

Windslow: That doesnt make your responses humane though.

What do you suggest? What language would you use to express my sentiment that would be more "humane"?

Windslow: You and others claim that Christians are closed of mind but I think that you have shown that you yourself are very closed and resolved in your beliefs...

What beliefs? Be specific.

Windslow: ...and that you have little respect for anyone who hold a belief in Christ specifically.

I respect people as people. I respect a few of the teachings attributed to Jesus as being genuine wisdom. Outside of that, Christianity has nothing which particularly deserves respect.

Windslow: And BTW I can talk about the appropriateness of our language choices all day but will not defend or explain my faith to you at all as you have expressed that you do not really need to hear it. You have already decided it is baseless and ridiculous.

That is what it looks like. Feel free to demonstrate otherwise if you can.

I would not complain that you don't respect me, posit that there must be something wrong with you and then threaten to never speak to you again. I would examine the merits of your argument and see if they are worthy of changing my views. If they are, I would happily consider revising my view to one more accurate.

Windslow: It is your lack of respect for me as a human being that happens to look at life differently than you.

I haven't been discussing you, I have been discussing Christianity. You are trying to transfer the respect that is due to you as a human being onto Christianity but I will not extend my respect for you to your beliefs if the beliefs themselves do not merit respect.

Windslow: As far as language that would be more humane, simply saying that you have grounds to disagree would be sufficient there is no need for inflammatory adjectives.

Fine. Let's start there.

As the "Christianity" poster in the OP points out, Christianity is making completely unsupported assertions which are cruel and exclusionary. There is no evidence that Christians understand the afterlife or how to get there better than anyone else.

The ideas that are referenced in the poster, such as living forever, accepting him as your master, the evil force, the rib woman, the talking snake, the magical tree, etc., appear to be just another Mediterranean mythology with no apparent merit.

The central tenet of Christianity, Salvation through Christ - that you must believe in Jesus or else you will go to Hell - is an ugly threat which appears to have been concocted to frighten people into submission.

There is not a shred of evidence to show that Christianity represents a better understanding of the divine than say, Hinduism, Shinto, Taoism, etc. The superstitious beliefs of Christianity appear to be just stuff that people say with no touch on actual reality. As such, they are not worthy of the slightest respect.

Windslow: That's not better. The word lie is insulting when used in most contexts...

The phrase I actually used was "Big Lie." It is a term which refers to a specific propaganda technique.

Windslow: And I hope that you can maybe come to a point where you could respect some of our beliefs as some of our tenets are worthy of respect no matter how you look at it.

I did say I regarded some of the ideas attributed to Jesus as actual wisdom...remember?

Windslow: Thank you for debating with me Raver, even though I dont agree with the words you choose and the message I think they convey. :)

You are quite welcome, thank you.

Windslow: There is no evidence that anyone understands the afterlife.

Exactly! Therefore, unsupported claims that certain beliefs influence the content of the afterlife are completely unwarranted.

Windslow: It is logical to me that if the afterlife exists, and lets say in this argument it does, then why wouldnt it be a place where judgement is rendered and or rewards offered.

Why would it be? The Greeks, for example, had a completely different idea for how to get the right afterlife. They thought you had to be buried with coins to pay the ferryman to take you across the River Styx or you would languish for eternity on the wrong side.

This afterlife concept holds nothing of judgement or rewards for how life was lived; it seems to mainly be about burial rituals. So why should I credit the "judgement and reward" version over the "proper burial" version? Why should that be more likely than the "great warrior" or "great hunter" afterlife visions of other cultures?

Why make any assumptions at all about it?

Windslow: the judgement is a great comfort to me as a Christian, I believe true enlightenment will happen for all on that day and I will understand not only what I have done that was wrong but also why it was wrong and what that wrong impacted.

It's nice that you believe that, but just because a belief sounds nice to you doesn't mean there is any reason to think it is actually true.

And in any case, this seems kind of like too little, too late. Better to understand such things now, when the understanding can be used.

Windslow: Prayers for patience and skills and understanding have abslutely been answered.

Great, but that is not evidence that you have to believe in Jesus to get the good afterlife.

Windslow: Once again the context of these things in the big picture gives me a reason to believe its truth. It isnt any one thing but the sum of all things.

I don't know what this means, but obviously "the sum of all things" are telling the Hindus something completely different from what they are telling you. There is no reason to think your "big picture" of "truth" is more accurate than theirs.

Windslow: There is no better theme than the golden rule and with such good there must be truth, it stands to reason.

Not at all. The Golden Rule is a great encapsulization of enlightened human behavior, but that doesn't mean that the unsupported Christain claims about the afterlife are true, any more than it means the talking snake story is true. Each claim must be weighed on its own merits, not the merits of accompanying claims.

Windslow:It is the collective work that makes each part believable to me. And the fact that when I apply the lessons and wisdom there in to my own life it makes sense.

So how do you make sense of the fact that Hindus and Shintos believe in something completely different? Each part of their story is believable to them, and when they apply the lessons and wisdom to their own lives it makes sense, but there is nothing in there about Jesus or the troubles of David or the talking snake or the two different afterlifes. Are they just wrong or what?

IsqQ: I'm Christian, and I say, well, SCREW WHAT THE HINDUS SAY. Maybe they are wrong. Maybe I am. WHO the F knows about the afterlife right now?

No one. So why make assertions about its nature?

IsqQ: Raver, basically, you deserve no more respect than the person that tells disbelievers that they are going to hell.

I am not the one whining about being "disrespected."

IsqQ: It's only ridiculous to those that are closed-minded and refuse any explanation or understanding.

I don't refuse "any" explanation, only those that are completely unsupported. There is no evidence that the Christian explanation represents any kind of "understanding." It appears to be a made up story.

Windslow: My argument to that would be simply that Hindus can be polytheistic or atheistic or anywhere in between. While I will admit there is not unified belief throughout Christianity there certainly isnt the spectrum of difference present in Hinduism. To me Christianity is much more solid and appears much more unified as well..

So are you asserting that this means Christianity is a more accurate explanation of reality than Hinduism? So do Hindus go to Hell or what?

IsqQ: Why do people believe it? Because they want to. Get over it.

Accept their baseless assertions without question? No way.

Windslow: To me the Christian explanation makes more sense.

To them, their way makes more sense. If you had grown up in Hindu society, in all likelihood their way would make more sense to you too. As it happens, you think this instead. But how am I to determine which is a more accurate description of reality?

Windslow: I am not the one who would decide who would go where. I am unsure of what exactly Hell is. I know that the promise states "shall not perish but receive everlasting life" That would indicate that to perish would be the fate of someone God judged was a nonbeliever.

Well, let me put it this way. Do you think that Hindu people would be better off if they converted to Christianity?

Windslow:I feel as if you want me to say yes so you can say "see you Christians" lol.

No, I am only trying to demonstrate that just because you like your beliefs and think they make sense, that doesn't make them close to true. The Hindus like their beliefs too. However their beliefs stand in contradiction to yours. So, how am I to determine which set of beliefs is a more accurate description of what actually occurs?

Windslow: It would appear from what I have read that their beliefs contradict each other on major issues, even as to whether there is a deity or not. So which Hindus are right?

If the fact that their beliefs contradict each other makes them invalid, the fact that those beliefs contradict yours make yours invalid for the same reason.

Windslow: Which Buddhists are right?

Depends on the claim. To the extent that some Buddhists are making claims about things that occur after death, there is no reason to think they are right any more than Christians are right or Hindus are right. What happens after death is not known and that is the only fact available.

However if they are making ordinary Buddhist claims, like, the 8-fold path works to transcend suffering, then this kind of assertion can be verified. It's not a supernatural claim. It is a simple claim of wisdom. Christianity has those too, as I mentioned, and I have no problem with any claim that can be verified.

The Christians, Hindus and Buddhists who are right are the ones making claims that can be shown to be right.

Windslow: On an aside, if reincarnation were real wouldnt there be evidence of that?

I have no reason to think reincarnation is real any more than any other afterlife story. That is the point. There is no reason to assert that any afterlife story is true.

Windslow: The discrepancies in the Hindu belief system are to broad for me to find them solid.

So why apply this to various beliefs within Hinduism, but not various beliefs in general?

The discrepancies between the Hindu belief system and the Christian belief system are too broad to find either one "solid."

Don't you see? The unsupported assertions of one system have no more merit than the unsupported assertions of the other, any more than the speculations of one Hindu sect have merit over another sect. They are all speculation. Just that. Christianity included.

Windslow: I know that there are factions of the Christian faith that are not people whom I care to identify with but outside of extremes we all believe in Christ as the son of God. Much of the dogma varies but the basics , who, what, and where remain.

I think you could find as many discrepancies between various Christian ideas as there are between the various Hindu ideas. But what does it matter? Internal similarity is no measure of accuracy. Accuracy is measured by correspondence to reality.

If you measure the merit of a faith by the fewest contradictions, Scientology comes out near the top. There are practically no rifts within their body of beliefs. They march in lockstep like robots with their identical belief systems. Does that mean that they are the most accurate religion of all?

Windslow: I still think its a perfect philosophy...

Some of Christianity is nice and some is pretty lame but that's true about every religion.

Windslow: ...and I believe if everyone were to strive toward being Christlike that the world would be a perfect place.

Or at least a better place. Too bad Christianity spends so much time concerned with after death speculations instead of this.

Fellowship: You know nothing! The main focus of Christianity is treating others as we wish to be treated, and by doing so, we are continuing Christ's work.

It would be nice if that was true but it doesn't appear to be working out that way.

First of all, there is no evidence that Christians are more "Christlike" than anyone else. They aren't nicer, or more compassionate, they aren't less likely to commit crime, etc. Statistically, Christians rape, murder, commit adultery, divorce, lie and cheat at the same rate as people in other faith categories. (In fact the only faith category which is statistically under-represented in prison populations is Atheist.) So, if that's what it's "supposed" to be, it's not working, at least not better than other religions are working for their adherents.

I know Christians aren't perfect and all that, but if there is something divine about Christianity, why doesn't it work, at least a little better than say, Judaism, or Buddhism, or secularism, for producing good behavior? It appears to provide no advantage at all.

Second of all, that is not the face of Christianity that is being presented to the public. This is:

Where is the stuff about treating others as you want to be treated? "Freedom from Punishment" is the message. This is the overwhelmingly prevalent face of Christianity which is being presented by Christianity. The Christlike message, if it is there, is drowning under this.

On a final note, I'd like to add that "doing unto others" is a great idea, but sheesh, it's just an idea. What's the supernatural part? You don't have to be a Son of God to figure this out. Gautama figured it out and he was just a guy. Plenty of other humans have thought of ideas like this too. It's not magic, it's just wisdom.

Fellowship: As far as hell....Raver, if you break the law, do you not have to either pay a fine or go to jail? What is prison all about? Hell is the same thing...consequences for actions...

First of all, that just proves the point. Prison is not a natural consequence, it is an entirely optional artificial consequence which we have created. People don't just trip and land in prison. We put them there.

And the point is, prison doesn't work. The United States has more people in prison than any other nation, and we also have one of the world's highest crime rates. If prison is supposed to be teaching people lessons and making them act better, it sure isn't. Prison is a massive failure of our society to address the real causes and real solutions to crime.

You'd think a God would be able to come up with a better system than our massive failure.

Second of all, Hell isn't working either. It is not intimidating Christians into better action. See crime statistics, as I mentioned above.

Third, if there is any sense of rehabilitation or learning one's lesson related to jail time, that certainly wouldn't apply to Hell. What's the point of "learning your lesson" after you are dead?

Fourth, and by far most important, Hell is not like prison, a consequence for doing something wrong. It is a consequence for thinking something different. Most Christians will explain that you don't go to Hell for being evil, you go to Hell for failing to believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior who died for your sins.

And that is just not a natural consequence. There is no way that "the bad afterlife" is a fitting punishment for the "crime" of failing to believe in this story.

Even we don't send people to prison for thought crimes. Why should God?

Failing to go along with the Jesus story is not worthy of eternal damnation, even if it's true. It is not hurting anyone. It is often a result of a careful choice, made with honest intentions. How could even a whole lifetime of no worse than this possibly be worthy of eternal "consequence"?

Windslow: But you are mocking Christianity. How can that be a good example to others?

Thomas Jefferson said, "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

Windslow: It's not nice to make jokes about people. Why shouldnt the same respect be afforded to religion?

Because religion is not a person. It is an idea. Ideas can be weighed on their merits.

Windslow: It's a personal choice!

To choose to have a same sex partner or an open relationship is a choice that most agree should be respected, as it is very personal.

People's right to make that choice should be respected. No one should try to take that right away from them. No person should be persecuted for making that choice.

But there's no rule that says you can't make jokes about gay people and it actually happens all the time. These days it's common sitcom fodder and even gay people can laugh about it. Here's an example:

(Cue movie where Mr. Diety and Lucy mention that gays have all the design sense.)

Windslow: How is mocking a choice respecting the persons right to make it ?

Because mocking it is not standing in your way.

Windslow: What are you, a bigot against gays? Gay jokes are not considered socially acceptable.

Are you seriously saying that the reference here to gay people "having design sense" is socially offensive?

Windslow: A bigot is a bigot and people are bigoted about many things, none of them "right".

Sorry, I am not going along with this. Christianity is making absolutely outrageous claims with absolutely no evidence and then claiming that anyone who doubts it is going straight to Hell.

Questioning this conceit, even with ridicule, is not "bigoted." These ideas should be questioned. Where they are thoroughly ridiculous, it should be pointed out.

Windslow: There is nothing about mocking that is respectful and it isnt about someone being allowed to do something , its about respecting other human beings despite whether you agree with them or not.

You keep confusing respect for you with respect for your ideas. Even the ideas of gay people should be called ridiculous if that is what they are. The ideas are not immune just because gay people deserve respect as people.

My respect for your right to think things that seem ridiculous if you so choose does not extend to respecting the ideas themselves.

There are no grounds to declare Zombie Jesus and Rib-Woman off limits for examination or humorous treatment.

Windslow: I am accountable for what I say and I try hard not to offend, in real life and here.

Sure. I try hard not to offend too. I actually do. But as I pointed out, Thomas Jefferson stated that "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions."

In the face of the unintelligible propositions of Christianity, I find ridicule of the propositions a valid tool for exposing their weaknesses.

If that bothers you, perhaps you should consider why the ideas of Christianity seem so vulnerable.

Windslow: Anything said with negativity as its purpose isnt ok.

Now this is just getting silly. You are trying to declare the end of all humor.

My college drama teacher once said "All humor is tragedy." That's an exaggeration, but it is meant to show that practically all that humans find humorous involves some kind of jibe. That is what humor is for, to provide social ease in awkward moments when a person or situation is found wanting.

Unless you plan to never watch stand-up comedy, Laurel and Hardy, Saturday Night Live, George Carlin, Abbot and Costello, Robin Williams, Warner Brothers cartoons, Penn and Teller, or anything else that is funny, you are not going to be able to avoid "negativity" in humor. Almost all humor has that awkward "negativity" at its heart. It is there to allow us to examine that negativity and address it where appropriate.

Fellowship: It's your opinion that some religious principles/doctrine, etc. are clearly more stupid and uglier than others.

That's right. "Stupid" and "ugly" are matters of opinion and judgement, and as such they are certainly my call to make.

Fellowship: They are only more stupid because of the way you happen to slice them.

I'm open to different kinds of slicing. If you think you can slice it up to make sense, go ahead, I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say.

Fellowship: Maybe you don't believe in a zombie Jesus, a magical tree or talking snake because your ego's in the way. I'm sure you never considered that possibility.

I have considered it. Have you ever considered that the reason you don't believe in a dancing elephant god or a giant holding up the earth or a Ferryman on the River Styx is because your ego's in the way?

Fellowship:EGO = Easing God Out.

Or you could say the problem with you is your EZO... Easing Zeus Out.

You might want to have that looked at.

Windslow: Things that are based on the unseen are more vulnerable.

Of course! That is why making up anything to describe it is so pointless. No speculation can be confirmed.

Windslow: Tell me there arent some unintelligible beliefs associated with any religion.

Of course there are. They should be questioned wherever they occur.

Windslow: Also how do you expect to engage in truly enlightening conversation when you choose to use offensive language that you know is offensive to the party you are speaking to or about?

We've been engaged in very interesting conversation for two days. We're managing.

Windslow: If you find Christians so ridiculous I would suggest you refrain from conversing with them.

Sorry, no. I am interested in speaking with Christians as well as everyone else and I find your suggesting that I don't to be a bit desparate. It shows absolutely no confidence in your fellow Christians to be able to hold their own in conversation.

Windslow: No good will likely come from it.

Enough good has come of it for us to agree on one or two points. That's really a pretty good victory.

Windslow: It would appear that rather than to share clarity you would choose to muddy waters.

If you want to bring clarity to the discussion, how about considering why the ideas seem ridiculous, instead of making the entire discussion about me?

Fellowship: Just because you are angry that a so-called God can doom anyone to hell, doesn't change the fact that it's quite possible this is an actual consequence.

Possible how?

Fellowship: The end of one's life may very well reveal this scenario as truth.

The end of your life may very well reveal that the Greek scenario was right and you will be trapped for eternity on the wrong side of the River Styx. So do you plan to be buried with coins for the Ferryman or what?

Fellowship: Whether you think these consequences are cruel or not, does not change the outcome. Good people can go to hell if Jesus really exists and God deems it so.

The Universalists managed to shed this belief. The rest of Christianity could follow suit and their whole religion would be much more compassionate and forgiving, much more Christlike.

Fellowship: A Christian actually is compelled to follow Jesus just "because." It's a strong pull in one's heart.

Actually, Christians are not the only ones who feel a strong pull in their hearts. Almost everybody feels a strong pull in their heart, including Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and non-theists. You happen to call this pull "Jesus" because of the culture you were born in. If you had been raised in the Hindu culture you would almost certainly ascribe that feeling to Krishna or Ganesh. If you were Shinto you would consider it the calling of your ancestors. If you were Apache you would consider it the pull of The Life Giver. A Buddhist might consider it Nirvana, and not attribute it to a deity at all.

There is nothing about this feeling which proves "Jesus" is right and these other stories are wrong.

Windslow: Its the attitude behind the word. I thought I had made that clear.

If you really think everyone has to fine-tune their "attitude" to suit your sensibilities then maybe an online discussion in a group called "Heated Debates" is the wrong place to look for that kind of accommodation.

I have conducted this conversation entirely civilly and I'm really sorry that doesn't seem enough for you. I am willing to continue it civilly for as long as you can handle it but I don't intend to downplay my position until the "attitude" of it precisely suits your taste.

Windslow: I have stated though and will again that the biggest element involved in my choice of beliefs is the wisdom there in. I feel it is a perfect plan.

If you can demonstrate how this plan is perfect I would be very interested in seeing your reasoning.

Windslow: You yourself already agreed would be a "near" perfect world if all followed the teachings of Christ.

That is a great overstatement of what I said. Allow me to clarify very specifically. The world would be a better place if more people followed wise teachings, like some of those which are attributed to Christ.

Windslow: Thats reason enough, to me.

That doesn't make the talking snake thing true.

Windslow: People simply dont wish to be kind to one another.

That is not my experience. I experience a great deal of kindness from people, all the time. I wonder why you don't.

Windslow: There is definitely kindness in the world but not enough.

Well, upon this we once again agree.

Just think what a wonderful place this world would be if everyone followed the Eight-Fold Path! :-)

Windslow: I certainly have experienced great kindnesses, but if once again we examine the big picture and look at the world this is not a central theme.

It's getting better. We ended institutional slavery, gave at least some women the vote. There are people actively agitating for better behavior in every cause you can think of.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." I find this to be an accurate description of what is occuring. Just think of how much more compassionate our culture is now than in the Dark Ages.

We're working on it.

Windslow: Let's see how you like being questioned on your so-called beliefs. At your mention of the "8-fold Path" I looked it up.

Wow, thanks so much for turning the subject to Buddhism, it is a favorite topic of discussion of mine.

Windslow: I do not see any of your teachings as listed here that are not part of my faith...

Whoa, slow down. These are not "my teachings." First of all, I happen to practice Zen, a form of Buddhism, but that doesn't mean I necessarily concur with everything in this particular cut-and-paste interpretation.

Second of all, I do not conflate myself with Buddhism that way. For example, if there is some Buddhist teaching that you find to be ridiculous, I will not take it at all personally if you say so. I won't consider it a gesture of unkindness towards me on your part, or feel that you had no respect for me as a human being, or implore you to never mention it to any Buddhist ever again, or anything like that.

If you see something ridiculous, by all means point it out. I might think it is ridiculous too, depending on what it is.

Windslow: Sin and consequence are indeed two such doctrines.

Consequence is present in Buddhism in the idea of Karma. It's along the lines of: as you sow, so shall you reap. It is not a supernatural force; it is the observation that results arise from causes.

Windslow: Christians look to Christ, and this would seem as if Buddhists look purely within?

To describe it in this metaphor, I would say that Buddhists look at all that can be apprehended, within and without.

Windslow: BTW I think we used to be telepathic and that dogs for instance still are;) The snake didnt have to utter language to communicate.

How interesting. I think snakes had wings back then and he was able to signal with them like semaphore flags. I mean, as long as we're just making things up, I think this sounds just as good.

Windslow: So to answer you if everyone followed the 8 fold plan they would be practicing a good deal of my beliefs.

And, they would not be concerned with unsubstantiated assertions about the unknowable, so that could at least possibly constitute an improvement. It was the Buddha who said that trying to determine unknowables like the existence of gods, the soul or an afterlife are distractions.

Windslow: A question though, what is it called when a Buddhist disobeys the Eightfold Plan?

There is no such thing as "disobeying" the Eight-Fold Path. They are not commands or commandments. They are advice. Not following them could possibly result in things not working out nearly as well for you as they might have if you had acted more wisely. That's about it.

Windslow: The reality of a supernatural world has manifested itself to me in both the negative and the positive to such an extent I will never be able to deny it.

Some pretty weird things have happened to me in the course of my life too. However I simply have not made any assumptions about what the causes are. Was it Gods, demons, spirits, aliens, leprechauns, ghosts, cosmic rays, a misunderstanding, or some totally unknown agency? How could I presume to say?

I don't find assigning a particular speculation to the unknown illuminating. It tells you nothing about what really occurred. It's just adding stuff on, assigning words.

I require no words to stand between me and my experience.

Windslow: I don't usually discuss faith. But now and then I feel like joining in and I have enjoyed our conversation. Truly.

Same here, thank you. I am honored that you would discuss it with me.

Windslow: Also I certainly dont have buddhism all figured out so if you would want to share what zen means to you I would enjoy learning that.

Well, that's certainly an interesting challenge. Zen is traditionally very hard to describe because it is experienced without words.

I'll start by saying that Zen emerged in about the 7th century in China. Buddhism of the time had become burdened with a lot of add-on scriptures and dogmas, and people wanted a "back-to-the-basics" Buddhism that focused on direct personal apprehension, as opposed to relying on the writings and teachings of others, as the means for attaining enlightenment.

Zen literally means "meditation." It is a tool, basically, for learning to control what you think so you can transcend suffering.

Every life has pain. It is unavoidable. But pain is made far worse when the brain kicks in and starts agonizing. That's basically what suffering is - your brain complaining about how bad your pain sucks. It starts whining "Why me!? This is the worst thing that ever happened! How can I ever go on? What did I do to deserve this?" Etc.

Zen meditation teaches you to silence the words in your brain. Then, you may still have the pain, but at least you don't have to endure the suffering on top of it. And once that aggravation is gone, you can face the pain with a clear mind and begin to more clearly asses the causes and solutions.

Being able to still the mind has allowed me to perceive all that is apprehensible without the burdens and distractions of labels and preconceptions. I see it, feel it, am it.

10-06-13 4:07  •  Efficacy of Faith

Olive: I don't understand Free Will. But this author does. He said, "God does have a general desire for everybody, for them to be reunited with the Trinity through Christ."

I don't see how people can just walk around acting like they know this.

Olive: He said, "God is not a control freak."

Like he knows.

Olive: "If God has something specific for you, you’ll know, I promise."

This is every kind of unwarranted conceit that I find obnoxious in Christianity. Don't people even have the humility to question whether or not their unsubstantiated claim is exactly correct?

This guy has a lot of nerve making "promises" for God.

Olive: Belief without proof, Raver. It's what you love to question. Frankly, I'm bored with your questions and much to tired to answer them.

There is no reason to think "belief without proof" is a good idea. It seems to be creating a lot of error. So, of course I question it. It should be questioned. Letting this stuff go without question is a big part of the problem. Why should any of this be taken for granted?

More people should question it. In fact, I think people should question it and have the questions be considered. However, I have noticed that when questioned, people who raise these issues quickly become much too "bored" and "tired" to consider what the questions mean.

Olive: I'm not one to go round and round with your questions. Because you'll never get an answer.

So, you know there is no answer. And yet, you'll accept this guy's blather as if he knows something about it. You can wade through his paragraphs of idle speculation, claim after claim about what God "does," with no apparent question of how this guy could possibly know more about what God "does" than you and I do.

But, three lines by me questioning his "knowledge" is more than you can take, it just wears you right out. How strange.

That guy doesn't "know" anything. He is just talking. He is the one insulting your intelligence, by acting like he can explain how "God" really works to you. My only question is why you are buying it.

Olive: Or, maybe God doesn't really care that much. I don't worry about it all too much.

You certainly seem worried about it.

Olive: You question it as much as you see fit.

Actually I don't have time to question it nearly as much as it should be questioned. I am very busy. But I certainly make the time to do some questioning on an issue of such importance. The truth matters.

Thanks for your comment, SweetPea, this has given me a chance to consider the efficacy of faith.

SweetPea: If the proof you need to believe existed, there would be no more need for faith...without faith, it would all be pointless.

There is no reason to think that faith is necessary, let alone good.

1) Faith provides no benefit.

Anecdotally, I know many people will step up and say that their faith is everything, it is their strength, it keeps them on the straight and narrow, it fills their life with joy, etc. I know people feel this way.

However there is no evidence that people in a faith tradition - like the AFs - are actually happier, stronger, more moral, etc. than anyone else. Christians, for example, divorce, perpetrate crime, become depressed, commit adultery, have teen pregnancies, etc, at the same or higher rates as people in other religious categories. So "faith" does not actually seem to be providing anything "extra."

2) Faith can be detrimental.

a) Having "faith" in things that can't be verified is an invitation for any person to start making stuff up for you to have faith in. It is extremely easy for religious shysters to insert their personal vendettas into the religious frame, and ask that their cause be taken "on faith" along with everything else. It is extremely easy to exploit faith and there are ready examples of it throughout the history of Christianity.

b) Believing random stuff people say for no explainable reason seriously devalues the importance of employing critical thinking skills. If a person will simply accept something, without any kind of need for verification, how are they to know when they are being suckered?

3) Faith is not required.

a) Many religions don't require faith, or at least, do not put the eternal emphasis on it that Christianity does. In many cultures, their religion values other kinds of actions, like maintaining shrines, as far more valuable spiritual expression than just "believing." In many the afterlife destination is not determined by faith questions, but more by social adherence or burial rituals.

b) It is possible to be richly spiritual, with a strong, fruitful religious practice, without having to have faith in any unverifiable claim. So why bother?

For the sake of debate, I would argue that since faith provides no advantage, can be easily manipulated, and at any rate appears unnecessary, then supporting "faith" as a virtue is unwarranted.

10-05-13 4:07  •  Torturing the Evil

SunnySlice: There are moral absolutes! IMO, if you hurt and humiliate someone or use their body, you deserve to have the exact same thing done to you. Period.

So, when you do it to them, because they deserve it, who now does it to you, because you now deserve it?

SunnySlice: I don't feel like I would deserve it.

Why not? You were pretty sure they deserve to have you hurt them. Why don't you deserve to be hurt for hurting?

SunnySlice: Some of us believe an eye for an eye, some don't. Who gets to decide which one is right?

There is no "right". There is only what works. Eye for eye, while philosophically satisfying to some, doesn't work.

"An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind."

- Mahatma Ghandi

Spider: The criminal forfeited his right to safety when he willfully took someone elses.

Do you think I am arguing for his right to not be hurt? If so, you are wrong about that.

Spider: That's why she wouldn't deserve it even though he did.

She said that if you hurt or humiliate another you deserve to have it done to you.

Spider: One could argue that killing a sociopath is simply getting rid of a destructive person. Leaving him alone could potentially take more eyes than just his victim's and his.

First of all, she didn't say kill, she said hurt and humiliate. Second of all, do you really see no alternative for the sociopath other than death or freedom?

Spider: Someone who has hurt a child deserves it.

Who cares about them? Concerning ourselves with what they deserve is giving them too much honor.

We refrain from hurting them for us, not them. Because hurting them hurts us. No piece of shit child molester is worth us giving away our own humanity and honor for.

Spider: Do I think there is an alternative other than death or freedom? With our legal system? No, I don't. You can't rehabilitate a sociopath.

Of course not. But we do have an alternative to killing him or "leaving him alone" or trying to rehabilitate him. It's what we already do. It's called prison.

A sociopath who harms others is a danger to society and for that reason must be confined. That's not a license to act like a sociopath ourselves and see him tortured.

Spider: If they deserve torture, how does torturing them give them any honor?

By being concerned about what they "deserve." Most would agree they have forfeited any right they had to our concern. They are sick. They cannot be healed. They are dangerous. Lock em up and forget about them. We have a real life of beauty and joy to lead.

Spider: What are you basing this on?

The experience those who have tortured or killed others for revenge. It almost invariably leads to total personality changes and a lifetime of being haunted by horrible memories and regrets.

Ask some 'Nam vets how it worked out for them.

Spider: I would be all for confinement if it were permanent. It's not in this country.

So, the alternative is to make the confinement permanent.

SunnySlice: It wouldn't hurt me at all.

Sunny, I find that very hard to believe. People who have killed or tortured others for revenge usually find that the act has harmed them. You have a very sweet, caring and, well, sunny disposition. Becoming brutal could easily change that.

SunnySlice: Hurting someone for harming my babies would totally satisfy me.

A lot of people who thought this found it wasn't the case after they did it. But then it's too late. The memories of harming another cannot be erased and can haunt a person for the rest of her life.

Spider: Forget? Maybe you're capable of forgetting but some of us aren't.

Well, spend your life thinking about whatever you want. It's your choice.

Spider: And what of the 'Nam vets who got revenge and didn't suffer for it afterwards? They do exist, you know.

That does not make revenge torture a good or justifiable idea.

Spider: People break out of prison. Just sayin'.

Not that often. The possibility does not make revenge torture a good policy.

10-06-13 10:07  •  Lake of Fire

Red2: People who think bad things about Christianity do not understand it.

"And the greatest commandment is this: thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, all thy mind, and all thy strength. But the second is like unto it - thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and all the Prophets."

Very simple. There are no qualifiers in this statement. It does not specify "neighbors of the same denomination or sect" or "neighbors of the same religion", "neighbors who are straight", "neighbors who are of a specific ethnic group", or any other kind of neighbor.

All neighbors. Everyone. Period.

When you get this, you get Christianity. Irregardless of how some people choose to interpret or practice it. THIS is the foundation of our faith. This is what Christ came to do and demonstrate. This was the core of His Sacrifice for us.

Redteux, you had me right up until the word "Sacrifice."

Until then, everything that you said was simple, beautiful wisdom which everyone should understand. However, when you drag the supposed "sacrifice" into it, suddenly you're dragging up all of the supernatural stuff - completely unsubstantiated hearsay, like humans are born with original sin and there is a literal blood sacrifice which was needed to balance the sin scales, or something. These are faith-specific dogmas applicable only to those who buy the tales.

I would say that simple, beautiful human wisdom, like universal compassion, does not require any kind of "sacrifice." It is a simple natural state of humanity that is our birthright as loving, social animals. In Buddhism there is no dreary supernatural "sacrifice" needed to teach lovingkindness and universal compassion. You just learn about it and then learn to do it.

Christ's message of 'love your neighbor' is as wonderful an encapsulation of enlightened wisdom as can be found in human tradition, but there is nothing there that even requires faith. It is what it is. In my opinion it seriously dilutes this message when it is couched interms of supernatural "sacrifice." The message stands alone.

Red2: I respect your position and opinions, and I really don't feel like defending my beliefs.

You certainly do not have to.

Red2: For us, the "supernatural" is part and parcel of our faith.

Well, in this case the problem with the supernatural part is not that it is supernatural. The problem with the supernatural part is that it is in direct contradiction with the message part.

What was the great message of Jesus? Love your neighbor. Everyone. No matter what.

Except after they die. Then, refuse to let the non-believers into Heaven with the "good" ones. The non-believers do not get salvation through Christ. His sacrifice does not avail them, because they thought the wrong thing.

This is the central tenet of Christianity, and compared with Jesus' message, it is hypocrisy.

Red2: Yes, we do believe compensation is necessary to restore the relationship with God. Just like asking forgiveness from your husband when you've hurt him restores your marriage.

Who have you hurt? God?

Laying this trip on people about already being in debt to God when they are born, for having "hurt Him," is a very mean-spirited thing for a religion to do.

Red2: We believe Christ was that Sacrifice and compensation.

It is not necessary to think this. For example, Buddhists are able to have good lives and seemingly good deaths without all this stuff about "sacrifice." It is ten busloads of unnecessary angst. Why do you want this to be true?

Red2: I realize you probably won't agree with a lot of this...

There is a reason.

Red2: ...but I wanted you to know that not all of us have the same *definitions* of some of those doctrines.

I understand. If you are not a "unbelievers go to Hell" person then that part is not directed at you. However, salvation through Christ's sacrifice is the main Christian doctrine, and the one I find objectionable in the context of a discussion of Jesus' imploration to love all.

Red2: Let me explain.

It's not a matter of refusing nonbelievers into Heaven. It's a matter of nonbelievers refusing to go to Heaven, by their own choice. So for us, death is not the end. Time is not linear. After death, your consciousness is expanded, and you are able to see the "supernatural" - the things that you were unable to see before are now revealed to you.

We believe that after Christ's death on the Cross, He descended into Sheol for three days to redeem souls. The great chasm described in the parables in the NT - we believe Christ was that bridge. So for us, death is not the end.

Thanks for taking the time to explain this. However I can't confirm that any of this is anything that actually happens. My Hindu friends were talking about their relationship with the divine and the afterlife and I'm pretty sure they said nothing about any of this. There is just no reason at all to think that this stuff you are saying about the afterlife is more accurate than what they were saying about it. Surely you can see that it is all pure speculation? The massively complex and arduous explanation you have constructed to explain all this is just a lot of talk.

Red2: It's not about having a good life or a good death.

That's a damn shame.

Red2: It's about our relationship and connection to God.

There is no reason to think that a connection to God requires all of this stuff about propensity to sin, selfishness, sacrifice, salvation, etc., etc. When people describe their direct apprehension of the divine it includes none of this.

Red2: Yes, salvation through Christ is the main Christian doctrine, but that salvation is not limited by time or circumstance. And I don't see the contradiction or hypocrisy, honestly.

I don't remember Christ's message as being to love everyone, except those who use their free will to reject you, and organize some complicated explanation of how they get to try again in a dimension where time is not linear. I heard it was just love everyone.

The Unitarian Universalists, at least, are not wasting time in all this rationalization. They have decided that the same thing happens to everybody when they die, and everybody gets to go to one big place.

That seems more like really, simply just loving everyone. When the rest of Christianity follows suit, I will agree that their message is in line with Christ's.

Red2: I honestly can't tell you if any of this is "accurate".

So then why go along with it?

Why not pick something nicer to believe, like what the Unitarian Universalists believe in - everybody goes to Heaven? Surely that speculation is every bit as likely as yours. Or, why bother picking some speculations and rejecting others? Why not do the honest thing, and just hang a big "I don't know" sign on all of it?

Red2: And I can't take credit for a massively complex and arduous explanation. I didn't come up with this all on my own LOL!!! To me, it's incredibly simple. Nothing complex or arduous at all.

Generally, the more words you have, and the fewer of them are yours, the more complex it is.

Red2: And I can't take credit for a massively complex and arduous explanation. I didn't come up with this all on my own LOL!!! To me, it's incredibly simple. Nothing complex or arduous at all.

Generally, the more words you have, and the fewer of them are yours, the more complex it is.

Red2: Christ's message wasn't to love only those who don't reject you. I have no idea where you got that, but it certainly isn't Orthodox teaching.

From you, previously: "It's the Final Judgement that decides who goes to Heaven and who goes to eternal damnation."

"Eternal damnation" is not loving those who reject you.

Red2: And it's the souls themselves that actually decide.

Eternal damnation for those who make the wrong decision is not loving.

Red2: I go along with it because I want to. I like it.

Why do you like the Lake of Fire version of the afterlife better than the Universal Salvation version?

Red2: Unlike you, I'm OK with some mysteries in life.

Why are you not okay with the mystery of what happens after death? Why make up or believe someone else's story about it?

Red2: You're dead, you're sitting in Sheol waiting, you see Heaven, you see the Lake of Fire, you see God, you see demons and darkness, you see your entire life replayed before with all of the things you've done well, and all of the things you didn't do so well - you have all the information you need. Go left or go right - it's entirely up to you.

What is the point of all this? Who do you think will actually choose the lake of fire? Would someone so misguided actually be competent to make that decision?

What is the point of the Lake of Fire and the demons to begin with? To what end?

This is an extremely elaborate description of something totally unknown with zero supporting evidence. It seems greatly and unnessarily cruel, to no specific end. And yet, this is the kind of explanation that you actually like? What's the appeal?

Red2: I don't know the Universal Salvation version -

Everybody goes to Heaven after death, no matter what.

Red2: ...you'll have to refer me to research it.

You don't have to research it. This is just speculation, remember? We can make it be whatever we decide to speculate that it is, and our speculation on this matter is every bit as good as anyone else's on the topic.

For the sake of argument, Universal Salvation is the speculation that everybody goes to Heaven after death, no matter what.

Red2: What I'm posting is basic Orthodox teaching, as Christ taught the Apostles. So it's not coming from me, or even the Church. It's coming from the One we believe to be God.

There are several layers of hearsay between this and you. Why trust them?

What are you, yourself, able to discern?

Red2: Well, in that line, why believe in God at all?

That's a good question. It certainly does not seem to be necessary. Some people don't bother and they seem to be doing just fine.

However I know a lot of people who believe in God because they feel a direct divine apprehension. It is something that many people experience spontaneously, and one that almost anyone can learn to experience. This seems like direct evidenciary experience to suggest a spiritual aspect to human existence. Some call this direct apprehension "God."

It is only when people make claims beyond the direct apprehension, like knowing what God likes, or what He wants, or who He doesn't like, or what day He wants us to take off work, or what happens after death, etc, when it starts to sound like people are just making stuff up, since there is no evidenciary experience to confirm this kind of speculation.

Red2: That IS the point. No one in their right competent mind would choose that.

Then why have this big song and dance, about how believing in salvation through Christ is the only way to escape it?

Other than dooming the incompetent, the reason why God would even need a lake of fire is unclear. But I can see plenty of reasons why a clergyman would want to invent and/or embellish a lake of fire story.

Particularly since there is nothing at all to back this up, it ends up sounding a lot like something people use to coerce other people.

Red2: The appeal to me is the prospect of union with God.

Universal salvation certainly offers that, without troubling about all that other stuff. Neat, huh?

But, there is no reason to suppose that this, or Orthodoxy, or any other particular Christian flavor, is actually correct about how to achieve a union with God after death. Perhaps the Hindus, or Shintos, or the Navajos, have a better idea of what occurs. Or perhaps, as it appears, all human speculation on this matter is equally unfounded, and it is not known if this actually occurs or if there is any way to ensure that it will.

If that is the truth, then it seems like the honest thing is to admit it.

Red2: Believe it or not, Raver, there are some of us who feel incomplete. We acutely feel the separation from God.

I'm sorry to hear that. If that is what you are feeling now, perhaps your spiritual choices are not working for you as well as you would like them to. Certainly there are spiritual practices which are known for delivering now, as opposed to after death.

Red2: We crave that connection and that union with the Divine. Not only do we believe in the Divine, we want to be part of it.

You are that now, as much as any other human is. Why wait until after death to experience it? For all we know, that could be too late.

Red, thanks again for giving me the opportunity to speak on these matters. I am indebted to you.

10-03-13 5:05  •  Condemning Gays

Surrey: I'm not ok with gays. That is, I do not have the capacity to turn away a loved one who admits their homosexuality. Neither can I turn away drunks or cheaters in my family. We are all sinners.

However, I do not agree that God is ok with romantic, sexual - physical love between two people of the same sex.

There is no reason for God not to be "ok with" it. It is perfectly natural behavior which contains no inherent harm. Being homosexual is not like being a drunk or a cheater. It is like being a person.

Surrey: No one of us is perfect.

Becoming a drunk is a mistake. Being a homosexual is just being who you are.

Surrey: Repentence is required by God...isn't sin between God and the sinner?

You should no more be expected to "repent" for being homosexual than you should repent for being female. Regarding it as equivalent to harms like addiction and dishonesty is petty, and completely unsupported.

Trying to figure out what God is "ok with" is pointless anyway. I don't credit any human who claims that they know what God is "ok with." That is hearsay.

I can use my own eyes and ears and see what is harmful and wrong vs. what is loving and right.

Surrey: I won't even bother responding.


Surrey: I have God/Jesus and the bible. You don't.

Yeah, sure you do.

However it is not availing you in this matter. It is leading you to great error.

Surrey: A homosexual and an adulterer can be repentant admist trying to beat his/her sins.

This is the error.

You can observe reality directly and see that homosexuality is no more inherently wrong than heterosexuality.

Surrey: Actually, you may be the one with the great error.

There is no evidence of this.

Surrey: Your logical observations and reasoning may be the very thing that make you wrong in God's eyes...

They don't seem to be. My outlook is providing me with an exciting, beautiful life, filled with love, happiness, and great learning. I have a richly vibrant spiritual life filled with great peace. My physical, rational and spiritual aspects are in accord. There is no evidence that any part of it is wrong.

My outlook also allows me to regard my homosexual brothers and sisters as fully realized humans just as myself rather than as moral losers equivalent to drunks, thieves and cheats.

On the other hand, I have you telling me some stuff you heard about "God," including that being gay is wrong. You have no evidence of this. There is no way to confirm what you are saying. It does not match what other people say about God or that which can be directly observed.

There is just no reason to credit your unsupported talk over that which I am able to directly discern. Especially since your view seems cruel in regards to homosexuality.

Surrey: Everyone's reality can be different.

How do you figure?

Surrey: It's not hypocrisy.

Saying that we should love ALL, no matter how different, and then dividing the afterlife into a "good" and a "bad" is hypocrisy.

The Unitarian Universalists have created a doctrine of universal salvation. This seems much more in accord with the teachings of Jesus.

Surrey: Who says Buddhists are going to have "good" deaths?

Observation. Buddhist die all the time and they seem to have as good a death as anyone else.

There is no evidence that Buddhism, or other systems, are producing lives or deaths which are inferior to those produced by Christianity. So, there is no reason to think that Christianity has a superior understanding of what life and death are, or that it is particularly correct about what "God" wants.

My question was, since all the wrenching melancholy about sin, salvation, etc are just talk, which provide no advantage to Christians over Buddhists or anyone else, why bother?

Read more in the Archives.