Whether you like it or not this nation was built on Judeo-Christian Principles. No amount of revisionist history can change that.
This is a completely unfounded assumption on your part. There is no evidence that this is true. The nation was founded on the principles of the so-called "age of englightenment," and a great many of the founders were, at least privately, deists, rather than the practitioners of a regularly organized religious sect. Jefferson, in particular, was opposed to the interpretation of "christianity" which had grown up over 1800 years, which is why he wrote his own version of the "new testament." It was Jefferson who, in replying to a Baptist congregation in Connecticut who complained that they were being discriminated against by the Congregational establishment in that state, wrote that the intent of the founders was to erect a "wall of separation" between church and state.
In reading your post again you are correct that you do not clearly say that you assume superior intelligence. I stand corrected. However your tone and insults
are personal attacks.
That you choose to take personally my contempt for religious fairy tales does not constitute evidence that i claim any intellectual superiority over those who do not consider religious faith to be fairy tales or superstition. It is your decision to take offense, and to consider anything deemed by you to be sacrilegious to be an insult. If you are sufficiently secure in the rectitude and value of your faith, nothing that i say will insult you.
Your beliefs are clearly shown in your comments and phrasing.
I will point out once again that there is a difference between entertaining a belief and refusing to entertain that belief. I am operating from a position of not entertaining a belief in a deity.
Using the phrase "your boy god" is a personal attack on my belief system an on me personally because you demean my God.
Your "god" must be a rather pathetic entity if he or she is subject to being demeaned. It is held generally in human communities that the greatest characters are above any petty criticism. If you believe that a god exists, and that said god is omnipotent and omniscient, then surely such an entity will be above any criticism, and especially a criticism which you deem to be petty. None of what i have to say constitutes a personal attack on you. I have said nothing which reflects on you personally, and of course, cannot, given that i don't know you personally. You have decided to take umbrage at the remarks i make, and what you allege to be the tone i use. That's your problem, not mine--too bad, so sad.
There are much better and more respectful ways to express your view that you do not believe that God exists than personally attacking such a deeply personal and held belief by insulting that belief.
Nothing obliges me to show respect for a belief system for which i do not in fact have any respect. I consider the bible to be a collection of stories by a set of racist, sexist, elitist, profoundly ignorant and deeply superstitious tribal men whose goal it was to attain ascendancy over their fellows through the promotion of their own belief system, and ascendancy over the neighbors by the simple expedient of slaughtering them out of hand. To that end, they depict women as chattels, good for nothing but breeding, they depict the other tribes of their region as immoral, even depraved, and their god as authorizing the slaughter out of hand of those tribes, men, women and children. Your god not only authorizes such behavior, he exhorts them to it. Once again, nothing in courtesy requires me to respect the beliefs you choose to hold which are inconsistent with a stable and tolerant society. The god in whom you believe, as described in your bible, is intolerant and murderous. I am not obliged to show any respect for such a despicable character. It is no fault of mine if you choose to identify so narrowly with your imaginary friend that you consider any criticism to be unacceptably disrespectful. People get respect because they have earned it. The accounts of your boy god do not engender any respect in me, only contempt.
You have your right to question the Bible and what you perceive (incorrectly) to be its message.
It is no more than your mere contention that there is an important and morally edifying message in the bible. I've read the bible in its entirety on more than one occasion. I have found no such moral edification. So what you are pleased to characterize as my perceptions are not subject to your correction. And i have my right to the opinion and the expression of it whether or not you choose to acknowledge it.
You are very misinformed if you believe that those of us who do believe the Bible is the inspired word of God do not recognize the fallibility of its characters.
In fact, a Rabbi who was honest enough to acknowledge that Lot could not have been too drunk to know he was being screwed by his daughters and still successfully perform the sexual act, attempted to justify the situation by appealing to me on the basis of "preserving Lot's line." So i don't for a moment admit a proposition that religious adherents commonly acknowledge the character faults of those in the biblical stories. You may be intelligent and honest enough to acknowledge the fallibility of these characters--but that is quite uncommon in my experience.
Moses was a murderer, King David was an adulterer, Solomon had 700 wives, Peter denied Christ, Saul (Apostle Paul) murdered Christians. Are any of these behaviors excused at all? Absolutely not!. They were SIN. But that’s the whole point, Man is Evil. He is Sinful.
You miss completely my point that it is the character of your putative god which disgusts me. He authorizes slavery, he authorizes the treatment of women as chattel, he authorizes and
encourages the slaughter out of hand of the "infidel."
Just because you do not understand the Scriptures in the way we do does not mean we are any less than anyone else or should be the subject of derision.
You are whining that i have slighted your intelligence, and yet you are willing to suggest that my understanding is defective. Don't kid yourself on that score. Once again, it is your personal choice to identify so narrowly with your superstition of choice that you consider any derision of the attendant scripture to be a personal attack on you. Get over yourself.
To mock or laugh at one in scorn or contempt shows that the one doing the mocking, laughing or contempt has an attitude behind it. What is your attitude Set? Is it one of hate? or maybe one of intellectual superiority? Maybe its one of fear? I have no idea. I tend to think all three are possibilities.
I didn't need a definition from you on the meaning of deride. I don't accept your contention about "an attitude." I have not said, nor do i allege that i am intellectually superior. People as diverse as Pythagoras and Thomas Aquinas have been both immensely intellectual and profoundly devout believers in organized religion. I don't hate the people who subscribe to the scurrilous superstitions which i criticize--i do despise the superstition and its terms. Again, tediously, it is your choice to so closely identify with your superstition that you take it as a personal affront that anyone should criticize it. Assure yourself on one account, though--there is absolutely nothing which i fear or need fear in your superstition. The only thing to fear in regard to superstition is the intolerance and will to dominate on the part of those who subscribe to the superstition. So far, at least, we live in a society which will restrain the fanatically devout from imposing on others who do not subscribe to their superstitions.
I do not mock your belief, I believe you have come to a decision to reject God through your own personal trials, studies and evidence thresholds.
This is an irrelevant remark. You have no idea what i believe. You only know what i refuse to believe. Whether or not you chose to mock that would be a matter of complete indifference to me. I am sufficiently secure in my decision not to believe any of that twaddle that your mockery is meaningless to me.
Just as I have come to decide through my own life trials, studies and for me the threshold of evidence required to believe that God exists has been met.
If you are in fact secure in your beliefs and your rationale for them, nothing i might say should discomfit you in holding those beliefs. I c0nsider the personal affront that you take to criticisms of your superstition to be evidence that you can only be comfortable with that belief set if everyone either subscribes to it, or a similar belief set, or keeps their mouths shut. I consider your ranting about personal affront to be evidence of the weakness of your position, and your desire to impose on others. Nothing obliges me to respect your beliefs, or to respect you for holding them. As i do not know you at all, i can neither respect you, nor despise you. I am intimately familiar with your belief set and its origins, and i despise it. Period.
I fully understand that you do not believe in God. I fully understand that since you do not believe in God that you have no reason to feel that you are accountable to anyone or anything.
This is what you call your basic straw man fallacy. At no time did i state or imply that i consider myself not to be accountable to anyone of anything. My remark was only in response to your melodramatic warning that i would be called to account someday by your imaginary friend. My comment refers only to your imaginary friend. I consider myself accountable to many persons and things. What specifically those are is none of your goddamned business.
This is your prerogative and as I said I leave you to it. But what you fail to understand that “understanding" another’s belief does not mean it is truth? I am a believer in absolutes. I believe that there is one truth. So whether or not you believe you will be accountable really has no affect on me, as I believe you will. Because I disagree with you does not mean that I fail to understand your belief, or "realize" that others differ.
My only comment on this rather c0nfused and poorly articulated passage is that none of it is news to me, and that i have no reason to consider that you have a special understanding of what constitutes "the truth."
I am not sure how you can come to this conclusion?
Let me 'splain it to you. When you attempt to address my condition in terms of your superstition about your imaginary friend, such as that i will be held accountable, it gives a clear impression that you haven't understood what i am saying, and that you are intolerant of what i have been saying.
I can clearly understand your point of view.
I doubt that, given that you don't actually know what my point of view is, nor how i have arrived at it, nor from what sources.
I have been at the place where I have questioned the existence of God.
This is a condescending conceit on your part--it suggests that your understanding is perfected beyond my own. I reject such a silly contention.
The evidence that I needed to make an informed decision was met and I chose a different path than you.
You shouldn't have used the modifier "informed." It suggests that you are privy to evidence which others do not possess. If you allege that you have testable evidence for the existence of your imaginary friend, do the rest of us a favor and produce. Personally, i consider you to be whistling past the graveyard, and don't for a moment believe you have any evidence at all, at least certainly no evidence to make an "informed" decision.
Because I do believe there is a God there is no way that I can "Accept" your belief system as truth . . .
This is very tedious, you know. You don't know what i believe. You only know one thing which i do not believe.
. . . but can tolerate it and accept your rights to believe as you wish.
How bloody white of you. I have the right to disbelieve[/i] the twaddle religionists peddle whether or not you accept or tolerate my exercise of that right.
[quote]What you fail to understand is that my God has commanded me to reach out to those who do not know Him and to let them know that He is there.[/quote]
You really are a fool if you think i don't understand the compulsion which fanatical religionists experience to shove their silly beliefs down the throats of those who don't share them.
[quote]Once I feel that the Spirit has led me to believe that the person is not willing to discuss the Lord with them any longer then I am released from that command.[/quote]
Don't quote scripture at me, Bubba--i've played that game with your ilk all my life, and it rolls off me like water off a duck's back.
Set: "Once again, it is glaringly obvious that you are the one who is unable to imagine a divergent point of view, or to understand how someone would arrive at such conclusions. I came back to this thread because i had seen that Neo had posted. He and i come from the same childhood religious background. My response was to abandon religion. His was to at first abandon religion, and then to take up a different religious belief set. He and i manage to get along. I suppose that you and i could manage to get along, too . . . but i doubt it--you're too intolerant of those who don't see things your way. "
[quote]Now you make assumptions. You do not know what I believe.[/quote]
On the contrary, you've been wasting bandwidth at an amazing pace to let me know what you believe.
[quote]You do not know who my friends are and you do not know anything about me or how I have come to the decisions I have.[/quote]
Who your friends are is a matter of indifference to me, and is not relevant to this discussion. For the purposes of this discussion, i know enough about your beliefs to continue the discussion because you have made them abundantly clear. How you chose to embrace your preferred delusion is neither relevant nor of any interest to me.
[quote]One of my dearest friends is an Atheist; I have numerous friends who are agnostic or live lifestyles contrary to my belief system. To be perfectly honest I have such a diverse group of friends and acquaintances I consider myself very blessed to see such a diverse group of viewpoints.[/quote]
I am reminded of the white boys in the 60s who used to say that some of their best friends were black. Again, how bloody white of you to condescend to the poor unbelievers. From you performance here, i have no reason to assume that you "see" the viewpoints of those to whom you refer. It is my surmise that all that you see is what you choose to believe is their "beliefs," when, in fact, they either refuse to believe, or suspend both belief and disbelief. Nothing you have produced in this thread convinces me that you understand that distinction at all. In fact, you have been at pains to refer to my refusal to believe as my belief, and i suspect you do the same with these putative friends of yours. That is understandable to me, since so many people in this country only barely manage to tolerate divergent points of view by ascribing to them and equivalence which is totally illusionary in this case. You believe something. However, i don't believe it. Those are not two sides of the same coin, this is not a case of competing beliefs.
[quote]Everything I gleaned from your post was that you take an aggressive stance against Christianity and God. If your deepest and most personal belief were referred to as "your boy god" or a "fairy tale", I think you would glean the same.[/quote]
You really come off as terribly thick at times. There is no reason for me to take offense as you do, because i am comfortable in my decision not to believe, and no amount of ridicule from you or anyone else will change that. As for my "stance" as you are pleased to call, i consider organized religion in general and christianity in particular to be the worst disasters to befall mankind. Earthquakes end, storms move on or dissipate, tidal waves recede, volcanoes cease to erupt--but religiously motivated fanatics are always with us. That puts them in the category of unmitigated disasters.
[quote]As for my statement about arrogance, to me any person with finite knowledge who can declaratively state "There is no God" has to be doing so out of arrogance.[/quote]
Again, you are attempting to warp what i've said to suit your insistence on an equivalence of belief. I haven't said that there is no god, because i don't know that. I have said that i don't believe it, and i have not said why. When say that there is a god, you don't know that to be true, but you want nevertheless to insist on there being here a set of competing belief sets. Try to comprehend that believing something, and being unwilling to believe that same thing are not equal but polar opposite intellectual positions.
[quote]Of all the knowledge in the universe from eternity past and for all the knowledge yet to be learned in eternity future, I don't think any human can declare absolutely that there is no God.[/quote]
So what? I haven't said that.
[quote]To me that is arrogance. I make no apologies. Feeble finite humans making such a declaration, when mankind has barely scratched the surface of knowledge of the universe is arrogant.[/quote]
It really is tedious to have to repeat these things all the time. I've not said there is no god. I haven't even said more specifically (but still superficially) why i don't accept that belief. But the superficial statement of my refusal to embrace that belief is that i see no evidence, not even inferential. To me, yours is the arrogant position, claiming that you have knowledge of an absolute truth (your terms, above), and demanding that it be treated with respect by those who don't subscribe to it.
Stop with the f*ckin' definitions, will ya? I know what these words mean, i know what the roots words mean, and in many cases know the words from which they derive and what those words originally meant. You whine that your intelligence is being insulted, and then you trot out definitions of simple words such as deride or arrogance, as though you were addressing a sufferer of linguistic hebetude.
[quote]In other words mankind is arrogant to declare such knowledge that he has not proven with his limited knowledge. [/quote]
That would be you. I have simply said (in far too many words, thanks to you) "I don't believe that." You are the one, in the depths of your limited knowledge, that a god exists. Therefore, by your definition, you are arrogant.
[quote]Because of your comments about "boy god" and “fairy tale" I believe I am safe to assume you do not believe in God. This is your right.[/quote]
But that does not mean that it is safe to assume that i categorically state that there is no god. I don't know, and i don't care. The specific discussion here is the hilarious and morally disgusting fairy tales embodied in the ethnocentric scripture of some middle eastern hillbillies thousands of years ago. It is your choice to try to make it a discussion of theism and atheism.
It is more than a little arrogant of you to continually tell me what my rights are with regard to belief and self-expression. I know these things without being told by you, and i possess my rights with or without your approval.
[quote]And just to add a bit, My belief in God did not come from blind faith. It comes from gut wrenching study and hard cold evidence that for ME is more than enough to come to the conclusion that this universe and all within it were designed by an incredible intelligence. I choose to believe that this "Intelligence" has revealed Himself in the Bible.[/quote]
Which is an excellent functional definition of blind faith.
[quote]I pray that you find happiness in this life, and I can only hope that you find it in the life to come.[/quote]
I have and no thanks to you or your superstitious prayers. As i have no reason to assume that there will be any life after i die (you do realize how oxymor0nic such a concept is, don't you?), your hope is an irrelevance.