Atheism / Bible study / I got mail / Kookiness / religion · June 12, 2007

An answer to Cuz

I’m still technically on hiatus, but I just had to respond to a drive-by preacher.

I got the following comment in my “God’s Wind” blog posting from YoCuzwaasup. Cuz was kind enough to demonstrate some basic failings and errors in thinking when you are consumed by a mind virus. Let’s take a look at what he has to say:

Dear Sir,

I don’t know you, but I am commanded to love you.

You see? Eleven words into this and already I have a problem. You believe that God tells you to do something and you do it because you are ordered to do so. If a slave tells me that he or she loves me, because his master told him to do so, shall I believe he is telling me what is truly in his heart, or should I instead think that this love is tainted?

This is a basic problem with Christian morality. You are commanded to follow religious laws because you will be punished otherwise. You don’t follow those rules because it is right or moral to do so.

You want to “love” me, fine. Give me that love freely, of your own decision. I don’t want “commanded” love – that’s just a form of spiritual prostitution. Read Romans 12:9. “Love should be without hypocrisy”.

It is out of our mouth that our words condemn us or set us free. I agree in what you said in the article…”How can I trust that wind exists when I can’t see it? Because I can detect it through other means. I can feel it in my hair and across my skin. I can measure its speed and direction and combined with the proper media I can watch it stir up waves or dust storms. I don’t need to “believe” or “have faith” in the wind. Instead I can accept that what I feel or measure is a natural phenomenon, as opposed to supernatural.”

Okay, I’ll give you credit for reading my blog posting.

I also believe what it say’s in the Bible …

Why? Why don’t you believe what it says in the Qur’an? Why does the bible convince you and the Qur’an not? Here’s a hint, if you were born in Iran, or Saudi Arabia, you would be arguing just as passionately that Allah is holding my soul accountable and that I must follow the teachings of Muhammad. Don’t delude yourself that you found the “only true religion” out of your knowledge, intelligence, or even divine guidance. If you were born in an Islamic country you would believe just as fervently.

Romans 1; 18-32

Ah, yes, the letter of Paul to the Romans. Do you have any idea how many copyist errors have fallen into this text? Do you know anything about the textual problems with the bible? Does it bother you that the original letter doesn’t exist, nor does any first generation copy, or second, or 10th generation copy? Paul’s letter to the Romans was recreated from multiple texts, all of which hold copyist errors which in some cases contradict each other, and have been reinterpreted by later people to fit what they believe to be true about Christianity.

Not only that, Paul was a church planter – he went from place to place planting new churches, and writing letters to solve problems in those churches that he had created. It is obvious from what he has said in his 13 “biblical” letters that he wrote hundreds of letters, perhaps several hundreds.

So where are those other letters? Why are only 13 of Paul’s letters in the Bible? Why are only 22 letters from Christian leaders included in the Bible, and not any others? No one knows for sure, but everyone has guesses. The other letters got lost, were destroyed, or are waiting still to be found. They were found and weren’t considered to be canon. Perhaps some letters contained heresy and were destroyed by early Christians.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest- (clear or obvious to the eye or mind) in them, for God has shown it to them.

You see, this is the point I was trying to make. Biblical scholars disagree on how to interpret this passage. In Romans 1:18 the word νθρώπων could be read differently, changing the meaning of this passage to “…ungodly and unrighteous men…” which changes the thrust of the whole paragraph. What is Paul’s real meaning here? But perhaps we get the gist of it, right? After all, if two people interpret this differently, what does it matter? Would it make a difference in Christianity to focus on the sin, or focus on sinful people?

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes (Wind, love, the 5 senses) are clearly seen- (manifest), being understood by the things that are made, (What we see of don’t see around us) even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, (What are you going to say in the day we ALL stand before Him)?

That’s Romans 1:20 for those of you following this game through the Home Edition. And can you see the inherent contradiction in this text? His attributes are invisible, but they are clearly seen? Say what? Show me one, just one attribute that I can “clearly see”. Eternal power, divine nature – examples please. Point one out!

And oh please – don’t use Intelligent Design. Not unless you’ve come up with a laboratory test to prove it.

Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man (Blind leading blind)—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

I can’t believe you don’t even comment on the Greek pun that is made here Romans 1:23. It doesn’t translate well into English, so most people just ignore it, but your comment in parenthesis of the “Blind leading the Blind” is a non sequitur in relation to it, perhaps indicating that you weren’t aware of this pun. Ah well, I like puns. The Greek texts of the bible are full of Greek puns too.

Hm. How odd. The Greek texts of the Gospels include Greek puns and wordplay – but the original (but never discovered) Hebrew texts of the gospels wouldn’t include Greek puns… would they? Ah well, I’m sure that doesn’t signify anything.

…although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God…”. What about my Choctaw ancestors? Did they “know” God before they met their first missionary? Before the Christians arrived to “save” them (and incidentally force them to walk the “Trail of Tears”). Are they in Heaven or in Hell? Or are they, as they believed, somewhere happier, with good hunting and decent farming in their own afterlife?

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature (man or sites like these) rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Don’t worry folks, Cuz is still quoting Paul from Romans. He’s up to 1:26 now, and continues:

For this reason God (The very one who created you) gave them up (said, O.K. if you don’t want to obey, believe what you want) to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

(Do you see homosexuality today? I personally took care of and buried 4 A.I.D.S. patience’s and cried).

And I know of a little girl who got AIDS through a blood transfusion. Modern drugs have been keeping her alive for these last 10 years of her life. What’s your point? Is AIDS a punishment from God to the homosexuals, like Jerry Falwell was fond of saying? Did God realize that this little girl is a future lesbian and plan accordingly?

This is also exactly the point that Sam Harris makes in “Letter to a Christian Nation”. Christianity isn’t a “moral” religion, it is a system of religious laws that must be followed without question. But true morality is based on sympathy for others, empathy, and the reduction of suffering. Christianity doesn’t care about reducing suffering – because if it did it would allow two people to love each other, not separate them and tell them their love is “wrong” or try to “cure” them – even against their will. This is an increase in suffering.

And as far as homosexuality being against nature – oh, Paul is so wrong. There are so many examples of non-human homosexuality. Read about the Bonobos for starters. Hey, remember the gay penguin? This just goes to show that Paul was a Christian leader, and not a naturalist. He was talking out of his ass, and really didn’t have any proof to back up his claims.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality (Adultery, different sex partners. sex with children, sex with animals, etc). Wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Tony Leyva, Kent Hovind, Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Paul Jennings Hill, Troy Newman.

Oh, sorry, I was just sort of reviewing a few of the Christians who are guilty under Romans 1:28-32. There are others. I wonder – do you suppose that Paul also practiced what he preached? Gee, wouldn’t that sort of hypocrisy be ironic?

This is the world we live in today. School shootings, Divorce, sexual sins,

I’m so curious about what is considered to be a sexual sin. Who gets to decide, and how can I apply to be on that committee? Can a husband and wife commit a sexual sin with each other? Fellatio or cunnilingus have been considered immoral, and are still against the law in some forms of American Federal law, should we change that? What is a sexual sin? And be specific, ’cause I want to know what specific sexual sins will send me to Hell. Is French kissing included? What about hair pulling? What about a married couple who includes leather handcuffs, fresh strawberries and some Cool Whip with their sex?

and #1… dis-belief in God.

Yea, ’cause if you don’t believe in Allah and the teachings of his prophet Mohammad, then you will surly go to Hell. Oh, wait, that wasn’t the God you were talking about, right? Zeus then. No? Mithra? Okay, I’m confused – could you explain why, again, is your God any more valid than any other God?

I don’t hate you. I love you. If I stepped on you toes (What you like to like to interpret as insult’s) then the Jewdo-Christian thing to do is say “I’m sorry”. It’s just my love for you to see you not neglect “The sacrifice made for you by the Son of God”

No, saying “I’m sorry” is the polite thing to do. But that is for toe stepping. What you are doing is proselytizing. You are following the Christian command to preach to the unsaved – “witnessing” is what we used to call it back when I was a Christian. And to my deep regret, I was successful at converting others into Christianity. A couple of those people are no longer willing to be friends with me now that I’m an Atheist. Sad huh? You would think that friendship would transcend that.

If you truly cared for someone else, you would not harass them. You would not insult them, (ever so kindly telling them that they are evil), merely because they do not hold your beliefs. This isn’t morality, it is merely a reflexive response to a religious mind virus that requires you to follow arbitrary commands or face eternal punishment. If you honestly cared about others you would be sympathetic, empathic with them, and would do all in your power to reduce their suffering in the here and now – not in some unproven future eternity. Others believe in moral systems that are not based on the supernatural. (Link 1, Link 2)

Let me know if you “detect this through those other means”. The soul God gave you. (Are you feeling your flesh (skin) wrestle within you)? That should acknowledge the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. The Bible says. His sheep hear his voice. You’re hearing a voice, no doubt you are. Are you hearing His, or … his-s? (HISS)

Nope. Not detecting anything.

Oh, wait – yes I am! I feel transcended, lifted up, enlightened! Especially when I’m listening to good music, like Rush, or Van Halen’s “Jump”! Oh boy, does this mean that David Lee Roth is God?

You know, other people hear God’s voice too – but they get a completely different response from him. I have an Islamic friend who says he feels Allah’s presence when he invites him in a proper frame of mind. Does this mean that Allah is the one true God?

Atheists have also done something similar. Sam Harris speaks about his feelings of mysticism in his books. Atheist JHuger also did what you’re advising, and invited God into his life. Here’s what he got:

I found a quiet place and put myself in the proper frame of mind. I reached out and invited God into my life. I felt what I took to be God’s presence. I asked if I was speaking with God. I got the answer “Yes”. I asked how I could know it was really God. I knew, in a way that those of you who haven’t had a similar experience just can’t understand. I asked if He was my Creator. I got the answer “Yes”. I asked if the creation account in the Bible was correct. Have you ever heard God laugh? I did. It was a deep, good-natured laugh that made it clear that the Bible was not correct in this regard. I asked if evolution was correct. The answer was something like “It’s closer” or “in part”. I asked if he was a figment of my imagination, or part of my sub-conscious. The answer was “No”. I asked if He existed. He said “No.” Thinking I might know the answer to this paradox I asked if I should believe in him anyway. He said “No”, not the answer I expected.

You may think I’m joking, or mocking those who claim to talk with God, or trying to make a point but I’m being completely serious, and as genuine as I can be. I was there, in the presence of what was undeniably God being told by God that there was no God, and that I should not believe in Him.

My point here is that various religious revelations have been experienced by humans for uncounted generations – but they don’t add up to anything coherent. Scientists who study the brain are just now starting to study these sorts of “God feelings”, and so far they haven’t found anything that can’t be answered biologically. Achieving satori doesn’t require anything more supernatural than a proper frame of mind. Or in my case, some kick-ass music.

You don’t have to go to hell.
Accept Messiah

And this, in a nutshell, is the core of Christianity – a religion based on fear of punishment and a fear of death. You can’t imagine a world where you don’t exist, so you make up one where you will always exist.

I’m sorry Cuz, I don’t find your argument to be convincing, I don’t find your bible to be believable, I don’t think the Christian God is logical, let alone loving.

I think that your beliefs, and the beliefs of others who think as you do, ignore or discount the reduction of human suffering as a moral good in favor of dogmatic, unfeeling instructions.

And I think you wrote your comment to bolster your own faith, and the faith of those who believe as you do, not because you have any real concern about my own eternal destination. You didn’t come here to help me, you came here to convert me – and to hell with sympathy for me as a fellow human.