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Over the last couple of years, you've probably noticed that the tenor of my posts has changed. Clearly, I no longer believe many of the things I had been previously taught -- as a Jehovah's Witness, as a follower of The Way, and during my time in a "regular" evangelical Christian church. I have been very careful in what I have said and what I have not said. It was important to me that my comments and observations be taken at face value, accepted because the evidence supported me, or rejected because the evidence refuted me.

It is a logical fallacy to reject what someone says because of the source of the information. The ability to discern between what is said and who is saying it is a crucial talent, one that is not always easy to maintain. My goal has been to argue my points on the merits of those points, not to get caught up in who is making those points or even where those points may lead.

I attempted to demonstrate, for example, that one can reject SIT as we were taught in TWI without rejecting Christianity. I think I managed that successfully.

I attempted to demonstrate in the Doctrinal section that one can reject the notion of the Bible as "God-breathed" according to TWI's definition without rejecting Christianity. Surprisingly, I met with very little argument when I made this observation. Most folks had either beaten me to it by years or presented very weak arguments against it.

In any event, I struggled as I discussed these things because I wanted to argue those points in isolation, on the merits, as I said. There are countless others I did not bring up, and I mention them now only in passing.

I came to the conclusion years ago that the Book of Job is either fiction or evidence that God is not good. If it is a story with a moral, that's one thing. If it's history, then God allowed innocent people to be slaughtered in order to win a bet he knew he would win in the first place.

I came to the conclusion years ago that Noah's flood didn't happen as described in the Bible. Really, no boat would have been big enough, and no regional flood would have covered Ararat.

I came to the conclusion years ago that Exodus, as history, made precious little sense. Where in Egyptian history do we learn about the death of everyone's firstborn on a single night? Where do we read of the rather sudden evacuation of roughly 2 million people and all their livestock? Why does Moses claim the Hebrews built the store city of Rameses when that city wasn't built until hundreds of years after the Exodus took place?

I came to the conclusion years ago that if God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, the only moral response from Abraham would have been "No!" Certainly not "Okay, let me gather up some firewood."

I came to the conclusion years ago that mankind has been on earth longer than 6,000 years. We've had beer longer than that.

Approaching the Bible with the preconceived notion that it is "truth" leads you to a conclusion that you would never reach if you treated it as any other book claiming to be holy. Dianetics fails because it is demonstrably nonsensical. The Book of Mormon fails because it makes historical claims that are demonstrably untrue. The Quran fails because it posits a God who is implacably cruel. The Bible, held to the same standard as those "holy" books, fails on precisely the same grounds.

Some of you have been willing to hear me out because I am a Christian and I am not saying "Jesus is not Lord." You have treated me as your brother in Christ, and that allowed you to take my statements and observations at face value and evaluate them on the merits. I applaud the end result, but in good conscience, I cannot continue to allow you to take the preconceptions for granted.

Jesus is not Lord.

I am not your brother in Christ.

The Bible says, "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." It also compares Christians who reject the faith to dogs who eat their own vomit. The "good" book is NOT respectful to those who disagree with its (very human) authors. But that's okay with me, because the more I read its pages, the less I can agree with the view that this is a very "good" book at all.

I know this will change how a lot of you see me. And that's okay. I'm still me. I still care deeply about you guys as people. Part of me wishes I could take you on the same journey I've been through, so you could see and understand why I've made the choices I've made. By the same token, I know you have all been through a great many things yourselves, and if that hasn't led you to where I am today, then nothing I say will convince you.

I don't have to convince you, nor do I really wish to. My journey is my own.

I don't have a holy book calling you a fool. You may have one that says that about me. I will not hold that book's words against you, but I will defend myself against that book's words. They have NOT stood the test of time. They are rather obviously a product of their time, offering no indication that they were written by anyone with a knowledge of science, history, geology, geography, meteorology or (most certainly) astronomy.

I am nobody's fool. And I say in my heart and in public, There Is No God.

Edited by Raf
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I'm not sure it hit exactly what he was asking. If I can try to hit it, here's what I THINK her opinion is like- and she may correct me and disavow it..... She knows how water gets to her faucets,

So much falsehood in that one sentence. Prove it's not Loki or Pandora or the ghost of Patrick Swayze behind all that's taking place in Ferguson. You can't! You have faith! Nonsense. Pretty stupid

That says it all and it is as it should be. We are all individuals. All our journeys are personal and our own. It does not diminish my opinion of you nor would it cause me to lose respect. You do

There's something I need to clarify, and I will do so gladly.

I acknowledge that I was not forthcoming in previous instances when I was asked point blank whether I was now an atheist. If you look carefully at my responses, I never quite denied it, except by omission (I declined to correct those who asserted that I was a Christian).

There were reasons for this. First, I wasn't quite ready to tell everyone in my life, and I wasn't going to tell this board before I told those who are personally in my life. But as importantly, and as I alluded to in my opening post, I wanted my thoughts and observations to be challenged on their merits. It should go without saying that someone who is atheist will reject SIT. But for me, it was the other way around -- someone who rejected SIT later became an atheist. In a sense, I presented you with a step in my journey years after I had taken that step myself.

Likewise, in questioning whether the Bible lived up to PFAL's criteria of God-breathed, I did not challenge the notion of whether anything could be God-breathed. Rather, I took PFAL's criteria of God-breathed, applied them to the Bible, and demonstrated that the Bible does not meet the criteria. Is it possible to be a Christian without believing that the Bible is inerrant? Most of the world's Christians will answer with a resounding YES! The Bible has actual errors. Big, fat glaring errors that cannot be dodged, evaded, distracted, ignored... they have to be admitted, acknowledged, and dealt with. But you need not abandon Christianity just because this collection of books is not the "inerrant" masterpiece our mutual religious experience claimed it to be.

Naturally, if you look backwards, it's easy to see how an atheist will take the positions I have taken. But that's not how it happened for me. I took those positions because that's where the evidence led me. Only much later did I become an atheist.

So I apologize if you feel I misled you. My intention was not to mislead. My priority was to discuss issues, not the big picture. Each issue stands or falls on its own. If you want to discuss SIT, you need not reject Christianity to reach the same conclusion I did (I reached my conclusion LONG before I rejected Christianity). If you want to discuss the inerrancy of the Bible, you need not reject Christianity to find that it does have errors and contradictions (again, I reached that conclusion long before I rejected Christianity). I admit, I coasted on my former reputation in order to get you to consider ideas you might not otherwise have considered, and I did nothing to correct anyone on the status of my faith.

The balance has tipped, however, and I will no longer bring up items for discussion without having you know where I stand now.

I apologize for not doing this sooner. Thanks.

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If you're right, you will. And I'll have some splaining to do, I suppose. But then, I'll also have answers to the mountains of questions that led me to finally give up trying to make sense of something that made less and less sense the more I studied it.

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Wow. Not sure what to say except Good Luck and Happy Trails to you.

It sure is a long way from the Living Epistles Society to today, eh?

I wonder if you weren't thinking the same thoughts back then??

As Jerry Garcia said - - -

My site does seem to have benefitted somewhat.

But I don't encourage anyone to leave GS.

It's like this: I go to a bar. And I go to church. I don't expect people who attend the same church as me to show up at the same bar, too. And I don't expect everyone at the bar to show up at church. But anyone's free to do both.

I guess this is a coffee bar. smile.gif

Edited by dmiller
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i'm cool with all of this since i take everything on blind faith anyway

exie I just have to pop in here and give my 2 cents to that. I don't think any believer takes anything on "blind" faith, we all just take an incredible amount of things for granted.

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dear rottie, i left the catholic church due to no answers and i got in the way hoping to get those answers -- not happening

i guess what i'm saying is a lot of biblical accounts like the guy who was supposed to kill his son, etc., etc., never ever made sense to me

i never believed in a god who could or hurt anyone

i'm still a "believer" in our lord and savior jesus christ and god and i believe in a better day coming

but this day i'm living in, i don't get so much of it -- in the bible -- and out of the bible



i just can't denounce my own beliefs in jesus christ and god because of the bible - that's just me - i don't care if the stupid book writers got it wrong - somewhere there was enough (maybe not even in the book) to get me born again (as a youngster) i don't know what to say

if faith comes by hearing, i heard a little bit of enough

the oddest thing is all the research in the world would not and does not sway me

that's what i meant by blind faith

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exie I just have to pop in here and give my 2 cents to that. I don't think any believer takes anything on "blind" faith, we all just take an incredible amount of things for granted.

Just curious: how are you distinguishing between "taking things for granted" and "blind faith"?

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Just curious: how are you distinguishing between "taking things for granted" and "blind faith"?

Gee Raf, just the creation and life and the order of the universe and everything I touch see hear and taste everyday. The ability to do all that! The sun in the sky. Everything. The plastics and metals we use to create things. Playing solitaire and the fact that there are mathematical principals that people create games with. The ability to LOVE.

One scripture that speaks loudly to me, I guess, is Romans 1:20. I mean, everybody has their fave scriptures that speak to them, but the more I meditate on that particular scripture,the jist of it is that the one thing that people will not be able to claim when they face God is, "they didn't believe there was a God." We are without excuse. No offense to you and your journey, I've had my doubts too, it's just my own mind or the devil messing with me. But I think deep in our hearts, people know there is a God. We may not understand who He is, or agree with Him, but I really believe in our hearts we know there is a God.

I get angry at Him, I've even told Him I hate him. lol. Like a bratty child. Anyway, that's just my opinion. YOU ASKED! lol. anim-smile.gif/>

Edited by RottieGrrrl
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I'm not sure it hit exactly what he was asking.

If I can try to hit it, here's what I THINK her opinion is like- and she may correct me and disavow it.....

She knows how water gets to her faucets, and knows that there's steps involving collection,

chlorination and flouridation, transportation, water pressure and so on up to the moment

it reaches her spigot and she turns the tap.

She takes for granted that there will be water reaching her home whenever she wants.

She doesn't think about the steps when she turns the tap.

She knows how electricity is generated at power stations of various kinds (with fossil

fuels, or hydroelectric, or nuclear, etc). She knows that there's alternating current cables

that carry the current from the power station to her home.

She takes for granted that the electricity will be there when she turns on the light switch.

She doesn't stop each time to consider whether it will or not.

PERHAPS that's what she means, but she'll need to say "That's it" or "Not even close" or

something like that.

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When you take it for granted the water will be there, it's likely to be because it has been there in the past.

When you accept it on blind faith the water will be there, you have no evidence that it will be. At least, that's how I see the two differing.

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I appreciate each answer, and see the distinction. And I won't quibble here about what people "know" in the depth of their hearts. Perhaps in another place. I will speak only for myself: not only do I not "know" there is a god, I've become quite persuaded that there is not. I promise not to speak for what you "know" in the depth of your heart if you will grant me the same courtesy. ;)

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By the way, depending on who you speak to, you'll get different definitions of what it means to be "atheist" as opposed to "agnostic." No one is in charge of policing which definition is correct, so I want to let you know what definition I employ so that, at the very least, you are hearing what I am actually saying when I use these terms. The following is not unique to me, nor is it universally accepted: different "atheists" may define their terms differently.

Gnosticism and Agnosticism speak to what someone KNOWS. A person who KNOWS there is a God is a gnostic theist. A person who KNOWS there is no God is a gnostic atheist. A person who does not KNOW whether there's a God is an agnostic. [The term Gnosticism is used here differently from its historic usage -- it is a pure definition of the word with none of the historical connotations attached to it]. In my view, anyone who claims to be a gnostic theist or a gnostic atheist isn't worth arguing with -- this kind of person believes he/she has all the evidence he/she ever will have. Generally a closed-minded lot on the subject of God.

Theism and atheism speak to what someone BELIEVES. It overlaps with gnosticism, but is not entirely dependent on it.

A theist believes there is a God.

An atheist lacks that belief.

Note my wording there, because it's significant, and a lot of atheists will give you a really hard time if you misstate it.

Theism is an affirmative belief: "There IS a God."

An atheist rejects that belief.

Now, some atheists go further than that and assert, affirmatively, that there is no God. I use such language sometimes, but only rhetorically, because I don't KNOW there's no God. I BELIEVE there's no God. But I don't KNOW.

Notorious atheist Richard Dawkins uses a "scale" to try to clarify matters, and I've found that scale to be quite useful. So here is the scale (the aka's are my own):

1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God. I know he exists. (aka, Gnostic Theist)

2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption he is there and has something to say to us. (aka, Your Average Theist)

3. Weak Theist: I am uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God. (aka, Agnostic Theist. Your average deist falls into this category).

4. Pure Agnostic:God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable. (aka, No one)

5. Weak Atheist:I do not know whether God exists, but I am inclined to be skeptical. (aka, Agnostic Atheist)

6. De-facto Atheist:I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and live my life on the assumption he is not there. (aka, Your Average Atheist)

7. Strong Atheist:I am 100% sure there is no God. (aka, Gnostic Atheist)

Agnosticism is a feature of every point on that scale except 1 and 7. Most atheists I have encountered are a 6. Some like to get clever and say "6.9999." The point is, they don't pretend to "know that they know that they know" there is no God. But they're pretty confident on the subject. That confidence may sometimes come off as certainty, but that's because we're all human and we don't stand around qualifying every single sentence we utter. When I said in my opening post on this thread that I say in my heart there is no God, I said it with confidence, not certainty.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that, in case you were wondering.

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