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  1. #1
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    ***The Official Atheist and Christian Friendly Discussion***

    Everyone in between is welcome too...
    David
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    I'll start by giving the short version of my initial encounter with God:

    On May 10, 1983 God delivered me from a life of drugs, alcohol, criminal activity and depression. It was about 2 in the morning and I was getting high at a friend’s house. I had stitches between my eyes and inside my lip and two black eyes from a bar fight two nights earlier. As I sat there, completely, unprovoked by me, the presence of God stood in front of me. It was as if I was picked up by my shirt collar and lifted into eternity. I know what Paul must have felt like on the road to Damascus when God struck him down. I left that house and began walking down the street crying out for God to forgive me and for Jesus to come into my heart. He did! It really did feel like a thousand pounds had been lifted off of my back. I was instantly delivered from all of my addictions and depression. Praise God!

    I have studied the Bible for thousands of hours since that day. I have had countless other interactions with the power of God. I have sinned and made plenty of mistakes along the way. But the experience on May 10, 1983 was enough to convince me for eternity of the reality of God and His love and power. God has been faithful even when I wasn't and kept me all these years. People can have an argument, but I have an experience. One I would be willing to die for.
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  3. #3
    I love bacon..... Wayne Evans's Avatar
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    Well....guess I'll briefly chime in on my first religious thread contribution.

    IMO...people can believe anything they want that gives them comfort in their daily lives so I see religion and any related dogma as merely an emotional comforter.
    I agree that some of the religious codes of conduct are respectable rules to live by in any society. (IE: Ten Commandments).
    I've studied religion a bit and there are several hundred denominations in the world all of which think their path or perception of some super entity is The One.
    All are conceptions of man.
    The concepts of sin, angels, heaven, hell, the rapture (IIRC was conveniently introduced into Christianity in about the early 4th century with the Council Of Niceae) and someone rising from the dead for some purpose is all meant to create fear and guilt in those that have a propensity of less than respectable societal behavior.
    Organized religion, ironically enough, is divisive....I think history proves that.
    Therefore.....I don't respect any of them.....I will only respect one's choosing to have those beliefs as long as one doesn't feel they have to evangelize on it.

    This orb we call Earth just happens to be in a cosmic sweet spot, the right distance from the sun and the right combo of chemical interaction for us to have evolved to this point.
    I do not need to form some self exalting belief system to feel comfortable with who I am or understand my place in the universe or society.
    I believe in setting a good example of respect and integrity among my fellow man by my behavior without evangelizing from some self perceived higher moral ground.

    I come from a different perspective than many here as I've seen what man has done to man up close and personal and hardly think mankind is worthy of any special treatment or being 'saved', so to speak.

    My response is meant to adhere to the 'friendly' discourse you requested and I hope this thread continues as you intend.
    An involved subject, no doubt.

    I won't debate anyone about their opinon....this is my take on it....carry on....
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    Originally Posted by Wayne Evans View Post

    I come from a different perspective than many here as I've seen what man has done to man up close and personal and hardly think mankind is worthy of any special treatment or being 'saved', so to speak.
    I'm sure you saw many horrific things in Vietnam and I can appreciate how that influenced you. Tragic things happen in this world. We are to be our brother's keeper and, in this, we miserably fail.
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    I love bacon..... Wayne Evans's Avatar
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    Smile That is truth...

    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    Tragic things happen in this world. We are to be our brother's keeper and, in this, we miserably fail.
    Astute abservations weed hopper and I'm sorry to say it won't improve in my lifetime.

    So far, so good in this thread I must say....(smileycon here...still haven't figured out how to add one).

    Back to topic....
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by Wayne Evans View Post
    Astute abservations weed hopper and I'm sorry to say it won't improve in my lifetime.

    So far, so good in this thread I must say....(smileycon here...still haven't figured out how to add one).

    Back to topic....
    Just do the : ) without the space and it will convert to

    Btw... that's pretty cool about your music project. I checked out the page. Nice.
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  7. #7
    Registered User bigvin73's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    2nd I'm still waiting on those corrections brother. Just to let you know though kinda rekindled my spiritual side a bit spent an hour taking about the other thread with a pastor type guy I work with.
    Excuses are like A-holes everyone's got 1...............
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    Originally Posted by bigvin73 View Post
    2nd I'm still waiting on those corrections brother. Just to let you know though kinda rekindled my spiritual side a bit spent an hour taking about the other thread with a pastor type guy I work with.
    Good deal bro. My contentions were around how you believe the Bible came about. I'll put my thoughts together later in here. I think our discussion got much broader than the homosexual question so I figured I'd start a thread. I don't care much for the R&P section here and never frequent it.
    David
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    Canis Belli Whiskeyjack's Avatar
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    <-------is bowing in just to say hello.

    Discussed my perspective in the gay/lesbian thread and was impressed by the peace we maintained (even when mildly provoked).

    My hope is that this thread can retain that spirit (pun intended).

    Best.
    "An infraction is better than an infarction."
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    "Cursus sub pondere crescit."
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  10. #10
    I love bacon..... Wayne Evans's Avatar
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    Smile

    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    Just do the : ) without the space and it will convert to . Btw... that's pretty cool about your music project. I checked out the page. Nice.
    Ok, I'll try to grasp your smileycon tip.
    Thanks for checking out the music and hope you found any songs worthy of your time.

    No hijack.....back to topic.
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    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    Good deal bro. My contentions were around how you believe the Bible came about. I'll put my thoughts together later in here. I think our discussion got much broader than the homosexual question so I figured I'd start a thread. I don't care much for the R&P section here and never frequent it.
    Ok bud I'll read it later slow morning at work it's either post here or go nuts lol
    Excuses are like A-holes everyone's got 1...............
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    Speaking of this subject, I think that it's kind of ironic that Madalyn Murry O'hair's son (the one at the center of getting prayer out of school) grew up to be a Bible-believing preacher
    David
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    A good book on the subject, from a Christian viewpoint, is Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. He started writing the book to DISPROVE the Bible and Christianity and ended up becoming a Christian as a result of all the evidence supporting the facts of the Bible.
    David
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    Well, I conveyed my extremely simplistic views in the other thread, but it did motivate a question/observation:

    There were several references to philosophers, some names I recognized, some not, and even questions as to whether those commenting were qualified to dispute the conclusions since they aren't officially certified (e.g., Ph.D., per Suno). It seems to me that heroic mental gymnastics aren't necessary and likely do little more than add to the bloat and distract from the subject, sort of like the armies of English majors who've analyzed every possible meaning for lines of Shakespeare when perhaps all he was doing was simply telling a story. Admitting my ignorance just in case it wasn't obvious, what do these people debate? The validity and meaning of scripture? Logical consistencies in scripture? Logical consistencies (or not) in the general concept of the supernatural? Being an empiricist, I try to reduce it to the simplest of question: "Can it be tested?" From my perspective none of this can be tested no matter how internally consistent the logic so it always boils down to faith. Either you believe there's something more for us beyond this universe or you don't and that's the end of it.
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    Can you re-phrase your question mslman71? Lol...

    Like I mentioned in the other thread, I don't care much for fancy theological terms... A read through the gospels and one will quickly discover that Jesus always spoke in plain language, not over people's heads. The mental gymnastics are not only unneeded but obstructive. If one has to resort to them, I question the conviction of their beliefs, whether they are a believer or a non-believer. From a Christian standpoint, if what you have is not worth dying for then all you have is a mental belief in a set of doctrines.
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    Originally Posted by -=FLEX=- View Post
    Why do you do this stupid sh!t?
    I'm a sad little man
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    [QUOTE=Whiskeyjack;915609903(even when mildly provoked). My hope is that this thread can retain that spirit (pun intended). Best.[/QUOTE]

    IMO no one should be provoked by those who do/don't believe.
    That just eludes to one not being totally comfortable in their own, guite personal, beliefs.

    My neurons seem to recall a new testament phrase something like "if you must pray, go to your closet and pray".
    I gladly endorse this personal approach rather than those that feel they must outwardly evangelize (sell) their religious philosophy or affiliation agendas.
    Any correction welcomed.

    Carry on....
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    Originally Posted by Wayne Evans View Post
    Well....guess I'll briefly chime in on my first religious thread contribution.

    IMO...people can believe anything they want that gives them comfort in their daily lives so I see religion and any related dogma as merely an emotional comforter.
    I agree that some of the religious codes of conduct are respectable rules to live by in any society. (IE: Ten Commandments).
    I've studied religion a bit and there are several hundred denominations in the world all of which think their path or perception of some super entity is The One.
    All are conceptions of man.
    The concepts of sin, angels, heaven, hell, the rapture (IIRC was conveniently introduced into Christianity in about the 12th century) and someone rising from the dead for some purpose is all meant to create fear and guilt in those that have a propensity of less than respectable societal behavior.
    Organized religion, ironically enough, is divisive....I think history proves that.
    Therefore.....I don't respect any of them.....I will only respect one's choosing to have those beliefs as long as one doesn't feel they have to evangelize on it.

    This orb we call Earth just happens to be in a cosmic sweet spot, the right distance from the sun and the right combo of chemical interaction for us to have evolved to this point.
    I do not need to form some self exalting belief system to feel comfortable with who I am or understand my place in in the universe or society.
    I believe in setting a good example of respect and integrity among my fellow man by my behavior without evangelizing from some self perceived higher moral ground.

    I come from a different perspective than many here as I've seen what man has done to man up close and personal and hardly think mankind is worthy of any special treatment or being 'saved', so to speak.

    My response is meant to adhere to the 'friendly' discourse you requested and I hope this thread continues as you intend.
    An involved subject, no doubt.

    I won't debate anyone about their opinon....this is my take on it....carry on....
    Wow! That is hitting the nail on the head for me! I truly dont think I could have said it better myself!
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    Dave, buddy, there isn't enough bandwidth on this site to carry all that I can say on this subject...let me make it as brief as possible:

    I have never hit rock bottom, nor, even came remotely close to it...I have walked the straight and narrow all my life...

    now: people, like yourself, that DID hit bottom, when they "discover" faith, or religion, or God, or whatever you might call it, will CLING to it tenaciously, because, they need something solid and immutable DESPERATELY at that point in their life....

    if your "awakening" was truly divinely inspired, or just a maturation of your own mind, doesn't really matter: what DOES matter, is that you turned your life around....good....

    The Bible is a wonderful book, full of wisdom: also full of contradiction, and it's basic problem is that you have historical, or , loosely historical, mixed in with downright fantasy storytelling ie Garden of Eden, creating Earth in one day, etc. and so on....

    as such, it can be confusing, since, yes, there is a lot to learn from it, but, on the other hand, it must always be tempered with a little bit of skepticism.....

    as to myself, although I rarely get into this here, I believe in the MESSAGE of Jesus: it doesn't really matter to me if he is/was divine, or if Mary was a virgin and he was immaculately concepted, or whatever....I'll leave that to others.

    but his message is very clear: it is better to be a good person, and to think about other people and their plights, rather than just ourselves....

    of course: everything starts FROM ourselves, which is why the turnaround you made is so important.

    Like building a house on a solid foundation: if our own personal lives are a trainwreck, it will be doubly hard to help others, or guide others.

    You have had this epiphany in your life, and you certainly apply it to your bodybuilding approach...as the Greeks would say: a sound mind in a sound body.....

    being a Good person in this world STARTS from being Good to OURSELVES......
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    Originally Posted by mslman71 View Post
    Well, I conveyed my extremely simplistic views in the other thread, but it did motivate a question/observation:

    There were several references to philosophers, some names I recognized, some not, and even questions as to whether those commenting were qualified to dispute the conclusions since they aren't officially certified (e.g., Ph.D., per Suno). It seems to me that heroic mental gymnastics aren't necessary and likely do little more than add to the bloat and distract from the subject, sort of like the armies of English majors who've analyzed every possible meaning for lines of Shakespeare when perhaps all he was doing was simply telling a story. Admitting my ignorance just in case it wasn't obvious, what do these people debate? The validity and meaning of scripture? Logical consistencies in scripture? Logical consistencies (or not) in the general concept of the supernatural? Being an empiricist, I try to reduce it to the simplest of question: "Can it be tested?" From my perspective none of this can be tested no matter how internally consistent the logic so it always boils down to faith. Either you believe there's something more for us beyond this universe or you don't and that's the end of it.
    Excellent, noted, and agreed. I posted a very short comparison on cosmology between Aristotle and Aquinas solely in response to the mild provocation that I had "a special sort of ignorance. [I] don't know what [I] don't know." My purpose was to show that actually I have thought and studied deeply on the subject; that, together with my personal and emotional experience led me to an opposite conclusion to that of David, whom I respect and envy for his epiphany.

    In retrospect I wish I hadn't been thus drawn out; I rarely am in on line fora.
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    Originally Posted by 2nd_chance View Post
    A good book on the subject, from a Christian viewpoint, is Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. He started writing the book to DISPROVE the Bible and Christianity and ended up becoming a Christian as a result of all the evidence supporting the facts of the Bible.
    I will respectfully say I cannot ever believe any of this but you sir are entitled to your own opinion.
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    I took a class on church history at a catholic seminary and believe it or not they pulled no punches on the history of Christianity. How numerous books of the bible, ex the books of Thomas and Mary, were tossed out and ordered destroyed off the face of the earth just because a bunch of rich privileged dudes who sat down and decided what goes and what stays were motivated by their own self interests.

    Numerous sausage making stories.
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    First, thanks for your input John. I have a lot of respect for you.

    Originally Posted by JOHN GARGANI View Post

    now: people, like yourself, that DID hit bottom, when they "discover" faith, or religion, or God, or whatever you might call it, will CLING to it tenaciously, because, they need something solid and immutable DESPERATELY at that point in their life....
    There is truth to what you say. It is a sort of "jailhouse religion" where you reach out to God in a desperate situation. If that was as far as it went, that would be the end of the story. But that was 29 years ago John! So while it is true that many turn to God in dire situations the real testimony is in the keeping of their faith.

    The Bible is a wonderful book, full of wisdom: also full of contradiction, and it's basic problem is that you have historical, or , loosely historical, mixed in with downright fantasy storytelling ie Garden of Eden, creating Earth in one day, etc. and so on....
    I disagree wholeheartedly that the Bible is full of contradictions. We can discuss them in here if you like. While I have a master's degree in theology, apologetics is not my specialty. I am happy to share my views though.

    as to myself, although I rarely get into this here, I believe in the MESSAGE of Jesus: it doesn't really matter to me if he is/was divine, or if Mary was a virgin and he was immaculately concepted, or whatever....I'll leave that to others.
    I always have a hard time understanding this position. If He is who He said He was then every thing He said should be revered. If only part of what He said was true then He is not trustworthy, and likely was a lunatic. How do you reconcile this position, out of curiosity?
    David
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    Originally Posted by Roniboney View Post
    I will respectfully say I cannot ever believe any of this but you sir are entitled to your own opinion.
    Have you read the book?
    David
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    Call me "in between" . . . I don't disbelieve that there could be something more powerful out there, but I frankly don't buy into established religion. I try to be the best person I can and to teach that to my kids (granted that a lot of the elements within that are Judeo-Christian. It's an interesting existence in my house, because my wife is DEEPLY religious (Catholic) and my kids are very involved in the church. I support that as best as I can . . . I agreed to that before we got married. My wife was not very religious when we were dating and when we got married. She felt a pull to get more involved and has really dived in deeply the last few years (teaches catechism, volunteers, graduated from the bible school, etc).

    There are some interesting discussions around the house to say the least--and being a natural smartass, it's sometimes hard to bite my tongue . . . and I don't always do that. One of the areas of contention lately is that I was not baptised. My parents were not religious either (they pretty much were like the way I am now--when I was growing up they basically said that religion what not their thing--but they also said that if I felt it was something I was interested in that they would support it and find a way to let me follow a different path. I just never felt that need). So my wife keeps "joking" that Daddy needs to get baptised someday and my kids get kind of worried that something awful would happen to me if I never have that done. Frankly, I'm not interested.

    I just find it hard to believe in any one religion. As John noted, they all have some great teachings and stories. They also seem laced with contradiction and fantasy. In the end, it's really just not something I need. I think I am in control of my own actions (good or bad) and I don't buy into anything external controlling that or there being some grand plan. For those who feel deeply drawn to religion and it works for them . . . then I'm happy for you being happy.
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    Hmmm, I guess I'll chime in w/the agnostic perspective. And also a former theist. That means I once believed in Go and followed (and loosely practiced) a religion, then left religion but still believed in God, then finally moved to feeling that things are too uncertain to either wholly believe in God OR totally rule him out.

    I'll start with how I stopped following my religion. (it was Islam in my case)
    I guess certain things like the idea of Satan and how he was an angel that defected from God just never sat well w/me. I still remember when my father first told me the story and something about it just didn't seem right. Other things that never really made sense to me:

    the concept of evil

    the concept of praying to God for things to turn out certain ways (it seemed like I'm asking God to change his mind on what intends.. And since everything that God has planned is flawless or for the better, it would mean that I'm either implying that God is wrong or that I'm praying AGAINST what's best for everyone).

    Adam and Eve vs evolution.

    The story of Noah's Ark

    The story of Abraham and Isaac - Even if he never intended for you to actually do it, why would God want you to be willing to murder your son for him?

    I'll go more into detail later but I just wanted to throw a little something onto the table.
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    Originally Posted by Wayne Evans View Post
    Well....guess I'll briefly chime in on my first religious thread contribution.

    IMO...people can believe anything they want that gives them comfort in their daily lives so I see religion and any related dogma as merely an emotional comforter.
    I agree that some of the religious codes of conduct are respectable rules to live by in any society. (IE: Ten Commandments).
    I've studied religion a bit and there are several hundred denominations in the world all of which think their path or perception of some super entity is The One.
    All are conceptions of man.
    The concepts of sin, angels, heaven, hell, the rapture (IIRC was conveniently introduced into Christianity in about the 12th century) and someone rising from the dead for some purpose is all meant to create fear and guilt in those that have a propensity of less than respectable societal behavior.
    Organized religion, ironically enough, is divisive....I think history proves that.
    Therefore.....I don't respect any of them.....I will only respect one's choosing to have those beliefs as long as one doesn't feel they have to evangelize on it.

    This orb we call Earth just happens to be in a cosmic sweet spot, the right distance from the sun and the right combo of chemical interaction for us to have evolved to this point.
    I do not need to form some self exalting belief system to feel comfortable with who I am or understand my place in the universe or society.
    I believe in setting a good example of respect and integrity among my fellow man by my behavior without evangelizing from some self perceived higher moral ground.

    I come from a different perspective than many here as I've seen what man has done to man up close and personal and hardly think mankind is worthy of any special treatment or being 'saved', so to speak.

    My response is meant to adhere to the 'friendly' discourse you requested and I hope this thread continues as you intend.
    An involved subject, no doubt.

    I won't debate anyone about their opinon....this is my take on it....carry on....
    Bingo. My thoughts too, pretty much.
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    Originally Posted by bigvin73 View Post
    2nd I'm still waiting on those corrections brother. Just to let you know though kinda rekindled my spiritual side a bit spent an hour taking about the other thread with a pastor type guy I work with.
    I think that my biggest contention was with this statement that you made:

    The bible was written in a conference by the catholic church who was at the time the controlling factor of the civilized world.
    Let's just stick with the New Testament:
    - The NT was written in Greek between 45 and 95 A.D.
    - There are over 5,600 early Greek Manuscripts of the New Testament that are still in existence. The oldest being 125 A.D.
    - Translations out of the Greek began to occur in 180 A.D.
    - The first canon of the New Testament was in 170 A.D. and closely resembled the current one (less Hebrews, James and III John).
    - In A.D. 363, the Council of Laodicea concluded that only the Old Testament (along with the Apocrypha) and the 27 books of the New Testament were to be read in the churches. Criteria for the 27 New Testament books was:
    1) Was the author an apostle or have a close connection with an apostle?
    2) Is the book being accepted by the body of Christ at large?
    3) Did the book contain consistency of doctrine and orthodox teaching?
    4) Did the book bear evidence of high moral and spiritual values that would reflect a work of the Holy Spirit?
    - Several other councils followed suit and agreed with the Laodicean council (i.e., 393, 397 A.D.).

    One can certainly debate whether they want to believe the content of the New Testament, but there is more evidence of it's authenticity than any other ancient manuscript, by far.
    David
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    I've seen a couple of posts on the stories of the bible. Those are almost all old testimonent refferances.
    The earth created in 1 day Adam and eve via evolution.
    Where does it say it was 1 24 hour period? Does anyone really know gods time line?
    I'm not one to take the bible absolutely literally in ever aspect.

    I know 2nd believe all or none but that's too simple as well. Yes the new testimony is the word of Jesus but its written by man and man is flawed so 1 plus 1 being 2 there is no real way it could be 100% accurate. Not to mention Jesus's words and writings were all in aramaic and translated from language to language
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