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Why is it so important to refute Christianity?

 
 
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 04:29 am
Good Morning Y'all,

I just went through the spirituality & religion forum and there are quite a few threads who's purpose seems to be to show that the God of Abraham, the God in which I believe, does not exist (maybe 1 does, but he's not like THAT god). There are threads that say "why do you believe in the bible" and they get into all the reasons, contradictions & such, as to why a person should not believe.

Is it so harmful for a person to believe in the God of the Bible? In this day and age, when freedoms are so vehemently guarded, why does it matter to throngs of atheists &/or agnostics what other people believe, if it helps them try to live better, more 'people friendly' lives?

I acknowledge the fact that there was lots of bloodshed in the bible. I acknowledge the fact that there are crazo-s running amock and quothing scripture & saying God said do this bad and evil things. I'll even acknowledge the fact that the Bible puts forth very strigent living conditions which are near impossible to follow day after day. I'll concede the fact that there may be what seem like inconsistencies in the Bible.

All of that taken into consideration, why is it so important to try to get people to 'understand' that Christianity & Bible-based organized religion (the belief in it) is just sucky & not something the average intellengent being would engage in?

I started to put this in the debate forum, but I decided against it. However, I'd like to state that please lets not get into and wording that might 'seem' like smalltime bashing. Sadly, I must say this warning speaks to some Christians I've seen doing that on various threads...
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 04:31 am
Self defense. The best defense is said to be a good offense.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 04:40 am
Onyxelle, i think that there are many people who feel compelled to attack a religion which they might justifiable feel threatens to overwhelm them. Given that so many in government at all levels in this country at the least pay lip service to christianity, those who do not subscribe to those beliefs feel imposed upon. In recent generations, there is a very strong trend among charismatic and millenarian groups to openly attack beliefs other than their own (evolutionary theory and the tolerance of homosexuality being the most high-profile examples); so strong, in fact, that those who are not christian, or who do not subscribe to the same christian beliefs, feel as though they were under constant attack, or may be subject to the imposition of beliefs not only to which they do not subscribe, but which are inimical to what they do believe. We live in very contentious times.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 06:28 am
Onyxelle--

I'm an secular humanist--I was raised as an secular humanist--and I have no desire to bash any organized religion, Eastern or Western.

Unfortunately from 1st grade on, I've met with considerable hostility from Christians. I don't judge the faith of millions by the actions of a few--and I wish all Christians would afford secular humanists the same courtesy.
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Wilso
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 06:52 am
I wish I could put it as eloquently as those above, especially Set. Countless millions of dollars are spent spreading the word of christianity. Atheism gets nothing. There's got to be someone to question the sometimes vicious propaganda that comes from many so called "christian" organisations. There's a site called the English athiest. That guy gets email from "good christians" that would make a fifty year sailor blush. Why? Because he has the audacity to do what you are doing. Standing up for and publishing his beliefs.
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Wilso
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 06:55 am
I've never made any secret of the fact that I think the institution of the Catholic church are little better than scum, particularly in their institutional protection of peadophiles in their own organisation. I see it as a very good system they've worked out for themselves. They confess to each other, they forgive each other, then they go right on sinning.
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Monger
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 06:59 am
Re: Why is it so important to refute Christianity?
Quote:
Is it so harmful for a person to believe in the God of the Bible?

For some, yes.

onyxelle wrote:
I acknowledge the fact that there are crazo-s running amock and quothing scripture & saying God said do this bad and evil things.

Some of us are better acquainted with what you describe than simply reading about it in the news.

Quote:
All of that taken into consideration, why is it so important to try to get people to 'understand' that Christianity & Bible-based organized religion (the belief in it) is just sucky & not something the average intellengent being would engage in?

I don't think that's so important, and I don't try to get people to understand that.
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cavfancier
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 07:03 am
It seems that most of the Christians here who feel 'bashed' or attacked on some of the forums are the more sensible thinking of the bunch, and since I have been here on A2K I have found that sensible thinking Christians are sadly in the minority. There has been plenty of religious weirdness here, by posters who are not only condescending and self-righteous, but are also downright rude to secularists. They also never complain about being attacked because their zeal to make non-believers believe is even stronger than that of the secular posters (most of them anyway) to 'debunk' religion. Personally, whatever one's beliefs are is unimportant to me, until it is forced on someone else. I agree with Setanta, right now, strong feelings boil hard among secularists largely due to the changing face of government, and a return to a religious right wing agenda that affects everyone, Christian or not, and that to me is just wrong. In theory, there should be a separation between church and state, but these days, that separation becomes increasingly blurry.

Sadly, the Religion forum has of late become a bastion of rhetoric without much sound debate on either side. For genuine, well-meaning Christians like yourself, the debate room will probably become "the" place for genial, balanced discussion about religious issues. I noticed the thread you started there onyxelle, and thought it was a good place to post. I hope to see that sort of fair conversation grow in the debate room in the near future.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 07:13 am
What others said - plus it tends to be a deeply felt, "core" issue in people's lives.....we all tend to have strong opinions one way or the other - and, for some of us, leaving christianity behind was probably part of a more general reaction of eschewing what we were brought up with, and hence takes on some of the fervour of adolescent revolt and/or our struggle to define ourselves and our values.

I passionately dislike many aspects of christianity for political reasons - like non-ordination of women and other misogynistic elements - and for homophobia and a whole range of other things - while I accept that many christians are, in my view, very enlightened on such issues. I also note that many churches are deeply involved in many causes and campaigns and practical activities that I applaud.

I also find absolutism and received dogma extremely distasteful and often very harmful - and christianity is one of the biggest purveyors of this in the history of my culture - while I recognize that many other ways of thinking (including mine) fall into this self-same trap.

Also, religious fundamentalism seems on the rise in terms of power in the world. I react very negatively to aggressive and fundamentalist religions of all types.

And I like to argue - a lot.....
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 07:14 am
The Catholic church's denial of contraception to places where children starve in the mud...

The interference of certain religious groups in education -- the attack on evolution being only the most obvious example. This has a long and proud tradition, of course. Galileo is the obvious example, but have you ever heard of Andreas Vesalius? He was an anatomist who worked to refute many of the erroneous teachings of Galen, which formed the party line of the Catholic church on such matters. He had to risk censure by the church to assert that women and men had the same number of ribs.

The aforementioned antipathy by many monotheistic types toward homosexuality.

Attempts by Christian groups to legislate a narrow definition of morality for what should be the most pluralistic and ideologically diverse nation in the world.

But don't get me wrong -- I don't only have issues with Christianity. Nor do I have issues with most Christians as individuals. But I see organized religion as limiting fre thought, of using fairy tales and scare tactics to extract money from its followers (religions, on the whole, seem to me to get far more than they give). Fundamential Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all make me very nervous: if you make someone believe more strongly in a world that cannot be observed than the one we actually live in -- bad things can happen, methinks.




Please note: This is how I perceive the balance of things to work. I've seen churches -- such as the one that helped out at the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois in Chicago, where I worked for a while -- who do an enormous amount of good in the community. However, I think the ills promulgated by organized religion outweigh such gains, and so I'm prone to align myself in opposition to organized religion.

Of course, if I believed in the big bearded dude in the sky, what the churches did in the dude's name would not impinge on my belief itself. However, because I don't believe in such an entity, I see religion as an sociopolitical institution used sometimes to help its followers and others, but more often to profit and grow off of their work and/or as an instrument of social control. The current situation with Islam in the Middle East is not, after all, a bad model for the sort of tyrranical control that Christian churches exerted over people in centuries past, and to my way of thinking it's a pretty shameful legacy.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 07:22 am
Also (sorry so long-winded), it's hard to hash these issues out in the same way as you might argue, say, tax policy (and even that, sadly, generally results in vitriolic exchanges in our poisoned political climate). The religion question cannot be compartmentalized, especially for the very religious: it is supposed to inform every aspect of their lives. So to disagree on the God question is frequently, at least in the eyes of some of us on either side of the debate, to challenge every single notion a person holds to be true. At least, that can be the emotional perception.

I grew up in a pretty religious town, and I was never religious myself. As such, I often had to defend my own lack of belief to others. It's probably been conditioned into a knee-jerk response.
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Terry
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 07:23 am
onyxelle, yes, it can be harmful for people to believe in implicitly in the God of the Bible, because they must reject Truth in order to believe Biblical lies, and often have a nasty tendency to try to impose their ridiculous beliefs on others.

Whether it is knocking on doors, passing out religious tracts, getting rules of their religion codified into laws, making schools teach religious myths in science class, subordinating women, outlawing medical research, or telling other people the "right" way to think and live, your religion affects us all.

How many cultures were destroyed by missionaries? How many lives by the Inquisition, slavery, countless religious conflicts and the Bush Crusades? How many minds by the demand that they reject science and believe the illogical tenets of Christianity? How many women by being limited to "Kinder, Kuche, Kirche"?

If all Christianity did was to encourage people to be nice to each other, it would be fine with me. But religious fanatics can be the most close-minded, arrogantly ignorant, intolerant, smug and self-righteous people I have ever encountered. Not all of them, of course - I know many good Christians who keep their religion to themselves, as they all should. Smile
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husker
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:35 am
I kind a like what Cav is saying, Boss is ok! Wilso you make sound like the governments are funding Christianity and not Atheism. I don't have any interest in name calling with you or many others here. Does get a little heated now and then Wink
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:37 am
How does one fund "atheism"?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:38 am
Just send the check to me, i'll take care of everything, no muss, no fuss . . .
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husker
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:40 am
patiodog wrote:
How does one fund "atheism"?



Dunno - he said it
Quote:
Countless millions of dollars are spent spreading the word of christianity. Atheism gets nothing.
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patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:46 am
Ah, gotcha. I've gotta learn to read better.
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 08:59 am
Whether it's 'atheism' or 'a theism', someone is funding it somewhere. Patiodog makes a good point. There really is no problem with 'religion' in my mind, per se, until it becomes politicized. To me, that is not religion, that is partisan politics, and I just don't see how the two can walk hand in hand on a global level.

Now, I am unsure of how many Christian groups or sects actively promote prosletyzing, but I know that is a huge annoyance to secularists, and worse, an excuse for ultra-right Christian groups to lobby for making certain things that go on in the privacy of your own home a crime, not to mention many of the issues discussed above.

Actually, when I was younger and a bit fresher on a variety of scriptures, I enjoyed indulging Jehovah's Witnesses in their requests for a little bible discussion. I swear most of them never even read the bible, and expected to simply get the door slammed in their face, but I tell you, it was absolutely the quickest way to get rid of them. Sometimes I even followed them down the street for a bit saying "hey, we had a discussion going. Why haven't you responded to my answer? I am using the bible as my reference, you don't want to chat anymore?" Ah, the good ole days...I am mellowing in my old age, sadly.

I still think that proper dialogue between Christians and secularists should use scripture to prove or refute points, rather than just ping-pong back and forth with the science vs. creationism argument. At the same time, Christians should also be expected to look into science, and check for the same inconsistencies that the secular folks find in the bible. Pure dogma on either side just leads to non-ending, non-educational, motionless debate.
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patiodog
 
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Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 09:09 am
Quote:
Pure dogma on either side just leads to non-ending, non-educational, motionless debate.


How do you debate the issue from opposing sides without it being dogmatic? The question is inherently one of dogma.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2004 09:28 am
Re: Why is it so important to refute Christianity?
onyxelle wrote:
Is it so harmful for a person to believe in the God of the Bible?


Belief in the Bible caused tremendous difficulty for myself and most of the people I knew as a child.

But because it represents what I believe is a pernicious lie I think it's harmful for any mind. I'd say the same for just about any blind rejection of truth.

Quote:
In this day and age, when freedoms are so vehemently guarded, why does it matter to throngs of atheists &/or agnostics what other people believe, if it helps them try to live better, more 'people friendly' lives?


The nature of Christianity is not "people friendly".

onyxelle, I do not believe in god. I think it's one of the worst lies ever created.

Do you believe I will be tortured and burn for all eternity in Hell for this?

Quote:
All of that taken into consideration, why is it so important to try to get people to 'understand' that Christianity & Bible-based organized religion (the belief in it) is just sucky & not something the average intellengent being would engage in?


I don't really care if others "understand" this. I do think religion is based on ignorance and will say so but this is not bourne of a desire to convince others, just to express my opinion.
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