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Author Topic: Religion ............who is he?  (Read 11694 times)
Mustardseed
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« on: May 25, 2006, 22:38:34 »

Dear Beth and all

Since you make a reference to me in one of your posts, I guess it would only be polite to answer you. I still wonder if it was a sarcastic mention of my name but anyways. Since this post is not on the subject line I decided to make a separate thread, yet it is, I think, still somewhat pertinent to the point you bring out.
 
Religion and faith is, in my opinion, a very deep subject and not something to take too lightly, as we all know it has caused some of the worst problems in the history of the earth. It all started with Cain and Able (just kidding don't go for the bait  cheesy ) in any case, whether one adheres to a certain faith or not, it does tend to cause all sorts of feelings to arise in most folks, either in defense of faith, or in aggression against the same.

I have come to a point in my life, where I allow myself to question everybody and every statement, or doctrine I hear. Robert was in the last 4-5 years, very helpful to me, throughout this process, and you yourself played a part as well. I have also learned, that one constantly must be on guard, against the "secondary infection" as one could term it. Those, who through their personal knowledge, and experience, helped me over or through certain misconceptions, only to later on down the road, present their beliefs research or personal experience, as a substitute for my former beliefs. Many a dictator have, as you know liberated a people or nation only to be corrupted by the very attitude he himself set out to overthrow. Once bitten twice shy, I think Americans say.

For myself I have come to my present state of understanding, however limited it may be, through the dark tunnel of dogmatism. Dogmatism, as a path, seems to often be paved with ignorance and youth. I think most of us have been there. For many years I was very cock sure (is that the way you spell it) of what I believed, and why. It was a mixture of very strange experiences, mystic in nature, as well as the influence, of people around me. No man is an island, and I was in my younger years, very strongly influenced by people as well as doctrines I no longer find healthy, nor even remotely truthful. As yourself, I see your quote below as one of the main problem with many Christians, however I do not view the issue as you do.

Beth: Religion has set itself up as a perfect foil for that very purpose: through manipulating the hearts and minds of humans, it keeps people coming to them for their "salvation." The whole focus on being born as sinful people, and Jesus having died for the sins of all mankind, forever, just removes all personal responsibility from the individual and provides an ultimate "sacrificial lamb" for all believers. This also puts the Church and the religion in a very powerful position to further manipulate believers for a vast array of other things, e.g. dictating morality for all humans and electing presidents of very powerful countries. Human egoism created institutionalized religion, and humans with huge ego's know best how to use religion to their advantage.

In spite of admitting this I find that Christians as a group, are an easy mark. Though Christians come in many forms and shapes, still we as a group, are made to be the negative focus of every evil or selfish deed committed by a variety of religious institutions for centuries. Often by statements as the one about. This is not fair and I find it biased and sometimes quite ludicrous. It is the same attitude some black Americans have, expecting modern day Americans to feel guilty for the slave trade or making modern Germans feel guilt of the Holocausts. In this I find your line of reasoning problematic, and rather sound like a desperate attempt to figure out how it all happened. Seeing that we all have free will it seems evident that all the above atrocities are committed by people, not nebulous groups all branded Religion or Christians. People did these things, they often used religion as a guise but it was people not Religion who did it. Religion just gave them a sheath for their dagger. This reference to large groups of diverse people under one common denominator, helps reinforce a very negative stereotype.

My issue with you, aside from the above (and yes I do have an issue ) is not so much in you line of argument, but more in the conclusions you seem to draw from the various points you bring up. I have read your web page, and still find it very very interesting and applaud you, for doing something so noble with your life, not many people attempt that, and I truly hope and pray that your book will be read by many, yet I also truly hope and pray that those who read it, will understand that this is only your opinion, based on your research of cause, and in no way the ultimate truth. You rightly point out the language issues the word conundrums or how you call it, but your conclusion is very dogmatic. The Bible is fake as far as being historical, Jesus never existed, the Jewish nation is a fiction etc etc . This is all based on linguistic research. Even if I could come up with absolutely no other conclusion either and agreed with yours, it is still only a conclusion based on a guess. You found a very fascinating side to the Bible, and why it is the way it is, is a mystery. Yet no matter how many people try to solve a mystery and fail, it still does not prove it cannot be solved, all it proves that the ones who tried so far could not do it.
 
I remember Robert stated, so many moons ago, in that long forgotten thread where we first met, that biased arguments has no place in a discussion of facts. In other words archaeological articles books etc written by "believers" could not be admitted as proof, unless the authors proved him or herself unbiased (read: Not Christian). I understood that very well. Though I had not really thought a lot about it it, certainly it was a good point, that a biased individual often does not arrive at a true judgment on various issues, but instead tend to get sidetracked into feelings and beliefs, etc and eventually loose their validity and luster. However this very notion is bias in itself, and it seemed to me, that this is often the case with opponents of faith as well adherents, maybe even you.

This is a discussion forum, and I am sure that you have heard many slants against faith, brought to the table in various unfair and non factual "packages" . It seems however, that this type of bias based on un-religious attitudes, is a lot more acceptable among people in general, and that people who are religious, who confess faith and various beliefs systems are, as we see in the world today barraged, by an onslaught of aggression, often fueled by entirely wrong reasoning and equally destructive bias, of every kind. All of it seems to be leveled against "Religion" and not individuals yet it damages hearts and minds of individuals only because Religion does not feel it.  

That brings me to us Beth. Lets just say that we were married or if you cannot bring yourself to think that thought, then brother and sister (indulge me in this most unlikely metaphor  cool ). How would we work things out? Our way of thinking seem often to be very close, yet at times we seem to be almost enemies. For my part, I think I have been too sensitive. Some of the statements I heard from you in our early years hurt me deeply, (boo hoo) and your continual insistence, of having a superior academic knowledge just irritated the heck out of me, however, deep inside I knew that you were worth listening to, but instead of getting over it, and look for the good, I took up the glove and addressed you in an aggressive or even at times arrogant way, the same way, I felt you addressed me. Though I knew ( I think I knew  shocked ) that you never wanted to willfully cause me harm as an individual, I did not seem to be able to rise above my own sensitivity and hurt feelings. A human condition I would say.

On the other hand, my own teasing and arrogant ways most likely stirred up the same feelings in you. Maybe you felt slighted, put down or worse, believed I was out to hurt you and you in turn, as people do, defended yourself. Instead of patience and taking things slow, you rolled out the "academic cannons" and blasted away, and I in turn reacted badly. This is how people in general start slipping, slowly down the slope towards a divorce or whatever. Folk¡'s who were once attracted by someone different than themselves, often stagnate in their own world, Pride and Ego, slowly but very surely separate those who could be really good together, and disaster for a family, and sometimes kids, is the result.  This can happen to people on a personal basis , people as groups, political parties, countries or even adherents of various religions. The lover becomes the enemy, the freed becomes the captor the abused becomes the abuser.

My opinion is still, that we should attempt to make it, that we should address each other with kindness, and consider each other points of view. We may not always see eye to eye, but we should always be able to walk arm in arm. This to me is true tolerance, and I admit freely that looking back at 52 years, I have shown far too little of it in my life. I am however attempting to learn. Taking time out often helps me, and sometimes I do this when I answer your post, however sometimes I still fall prey to my own male ego and ........ well you catch my drift, I am sure. Just recently, when you called me passive aggressive and insinuated I was mentally ill, was one of those times. Yet I still come back to you, here on the net Beth. You still fascinate me and I love you for what you are. ( I am not trying to get mushy or hit on you here but still engaged in my metaphor).

All that said my main issue with you, with Robert Bruce as well as Frank Adrian and a wide variety of learned and wise people, is that I think that they do not understand the world as I do you do, they do not see what I see, nor have they experienced what I have experienced. As a Christian ( probably a bit toward the mystic or Gnostic side) I draw your history books and source material into question, the very root of your argument, as you do mine, and I have every right to do that, neither of us are above that, as we do not have any witnesses video clips or what have you. I do not accept, that history books and archaeological evidence is ultimate and unquestionable. I am not a scholar, but the Internet is a very big place, and it becomes more and more evident to me, that what appears to be is not necessarily so.

My God (If I could call Him that ), or my definition of God is a force who is actively engaged in this treasure hunt we all seem to be playing. Evidence can be hidden only later to be found, tracks can suddenly appear where there were none etc. Remember the Dead Sea Scrolls hid in that cave for a long time. None of us know what really took place back then, not 4000 BC 30000BC, nor hardly 325AC, what was written, still has to be interpreted by modern man. Josephus could be a liar, and Origin could be a writer esteeming political correctness more important, that telling the truth, or worse yet a fraud or fake. These are your idols, on whom you build your faith, just as others are mine.

We do have circumstantial evidence however, and from that we try to piece a picture together. Faith does, in my opinion always becomes the critical mass. Faith, belief feelings and personal experience is often used to bridge this very deep chasm, since it IS ALL WE HAVE. Without faith it is impossible to understand and define, things like God our past as well as our future...... anything. Faith shapes our lives, as sure as a potter shapes a clay pitcher. This applies to me and you as well.

This is a deeply troubling problem, for those, who because of their individual preference feel better, when things are under control, defined and in neat small or large boxes. Many religious folks are much like that, and academics are not far behind. I would venture to claim, that the experiences that you had as a young girl, be they with arrogant hypocritical pastors or even well meaning, loving yet misguided family members, or what have you, whatever you have gone through, can be observed in universities and schools, of higher learning the world over, not to mention political parties New Age groups and even yes......the AP Forum, everywhere people meet communicate and exert influence.

As I see it, we should all agree, that the only view we cannot accept, is the view of an individual, who because of personal gain, preach teach or influence people, in the wrong direction.......knowingly. Those who "with feigned words make merchandise of men¡" "white painted sepulchers, all pretty on the outside and inside full of dead men's bones". Those who do not want the truth, but instead seek to manipulate others knowingly, and for personal gain, be it financial, emotional, or whatever. Those we should all shun, for they do not seek the truth, but fight against it.

The rest of us should attempt to share our life experiences religious or secular, learn from each other, and not get caught up in "the game"

I look forward to your answer.

As always

Regards Mustardseed
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 23:59:13 »

Did you know you can send private messages? or are we all invited to the
"widening of mustardseed's angle of acceptance".

Forgiveness is granted

But what was your question for beth?  lehem
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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2006, 23:59:13 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

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Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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kai wren
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« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2006, 07:19:07 »

I'm presuming that this was not sent by PM because he wants others to comment on it. And so I shall.

Mustardseed: It is an undeniable fact that the final version of the bible was ratified by committee, not by God or even by Jesus, and that much was left out. Jesus did exist as a man, there are records which prove this, however whether or not he had the powers attributed to him is, obviously, much of the issue in this debate.

Regardless, I find the idea of placing ultimate faith in a so-called Holy Book, when said book has been compiled and edited by mere mortal men, ludicrous. The bible is not infallible, as those who compiled it were mortal- and thus open to error.

Indeed, the Church has made vast changes to Dogma post the fact- I forget where it was- but at some point in the middle ages it was decided to accept the fact that women should have souls. Until that point, they didn't! What does that mean? Until that point in time women who died just... ceased to exist?  cheesy

And of course, new evidence is bound to be uncovered as time passes- the world isn't that large a place, and humans are always going into 'new' parts of it.

But... where you place your faith is entirely your own opinion.


Beth: I presented you with a new theme tune, unaware of the copyright policy. Goodbye theme tune  cry
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Mustardseed
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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2006, 11:08:05 »

Sure guys. Most of the conversations we have had has been on the open threads. Naturally I want your input as well. To the question I want to suggest we lay off being dogmatic either for or against faith God or whatever. It is pretty well accepted that there was a counsel in Nicea. However whether it was a cunningly devised and orchestrated event , a discussion forum, or a sort of serious church type meeting we know not. That's my point. So many "facts" fly around that are not facts.

Regards Mustardseed
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Beth
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2006, 08:49:07 »

Mustardseed,

I am sitting here wondering how I can go about answering you. shocked

First, let me say that the single most important thing that you have taught me, is how important it is to not "generalize" when it comes to "Christianity." I thank you for this much needed lesson.

That said, I have tried to get around this generalization in several different ways. For example, I have used qualifiers such as "some Christians" or "many Christians" etc. In the post that you are referencing, I referred, not to those "who practice Christianity," but to those who "use Christianity," or "religion" in general, as a tool of manipulation for a wide array of purposes. If you are not one of those people, then you have no need to be defensive at what I was saying. But--if you cannot see how much these "users" are "abusing religion" and manipulating the masses, then my friend, you are ignoring the obvious.

Now, with that said, let me offer the following:

1. You would not even be a Christian if it were not for a few dozen narratives that were written over 2,000+ years ago.
 
2. If it had not been for a handful of well-educated ancient Greek scholars, you would have never heard of a person named "Jesus" or of a man named "Moses" or of a woman named "Mary." If you think these "ancient scholars" are my "idols" ... well they are at the very heart of yours as well. You just don't know it; but they are the ones that brought you the Garden of Eden, original sin, the ten commandments, the Virgin Birth and Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. These ancient Greek scholars made it all possible--without them, being a Christian would not even be an option for you.

3. If a very clever, very ambitious "pagan warrior" named Constantine, had never tried to re-build a crumbling Roman Empire, "Christianity" would have turned out quite differently--if it would've survived at all.

4. If the Roman Catholic Church had not become such a financial and political powerhouse in the Middle Ages, the western world would not be what it is today. With "absolute control" for many centuries, the Church brought many great things into the world, and with this many other great things were subsequently destroyed.

5. If the Catholic Church had not totally misused their power, Martin Luther would never have had a problem with the Church, and Protestantism would never have been born.  

6. None of these things would have ever happened if it had not been for a few dozen books written 2,000+ years ago. This is not my opinion Mustardseed, but fact.

This fact does not come without a lot of problems:

For instance, if it weren't for those few dozen narratives, our conception of "history" would be very different.  Historically speaking Mustardseed, we live in a world where "history" is made up of two totally different worlds--not just one. One view allows for the bible to be actual historical accounts, and the other cannot include the biblical events at all, because historians, as much as many of them would like to, simply cannot "find" the biblical events as having ever happened in the ancient world; it cannot be verified by any source outside of the bible--and you cannot have it both ways.

But the early Catholic Church was very shrewd my friend, they created the most amazing circular manipulation of all time: they used "faith" as a means of brainwashing, near to the whole of, the western world. They created a whole system of "guilt" and "reward" to manipulate the ignorant masses into believing that they were the only ones that had access to God and were therefore given the authority to judge and rule in God's name. The Church used those ancient narratives as a tool of manipulation, mind control and emotional/physical abuse. They used those narratives as justification for murder--in untold numbers--all in the name of a "loving" God.

The bottom line? For many centuries, if a person chose "not to have faith in those narratives" then they were hellbound. If an afterlife of damnation did not adequately deter rescenders, the Church just made "this life" -- "hell on earth" for them. They had the power to do this Mustardseed, and they used it accordingly--and often. In much the same way, they are doing it still; the methods may have changed somewhat, but the intention and the result is the same.

It is now the 21st century, and people of "faith" are tested everyday because "history" cannot find the core events or the primary peoples that make their faith possible. Now, living in the same world, driving down the same roads, eating at the same restaurants, drinking from the same water supply, there are people that do not put their "faith" in a few dozen ancient narrative texts. They cannot fathom how or why "people of faith" think or do what they do. This is not a matter of not "understanding" or of "not having been saved" rather, it is a matter of rational thinking.

These rational thinkers see very clearly how western religion is manipulating the world for many purposes, and the least of these is actually giving a fig whether humanity is saved or not! We can see the "great deception" going on all around us. While some of these thinkers are self-claimed atheists, not all of us are; I am certainly not.

What concerns me the most Mustardseed, is that I can see the great deception very clearly. I have been exposed to it all of my life. It truly breaks my heart that the "faith" of millions of people who profess to "believe in God" cannot believe in God without those few dozen narratives.

Moreover, many people have a terrible fear that if this great deception was ever exposed for what it really is, that people would stop believing in God, would stop trying to be moral creatures, that "secularism" and/or "liberalism" would "take over the world." As a result, they believe that the world might well fall into total chaos.  

As for me, I already see chaos all around me, except it is not because of secularism, but because of irrational thinking and "misplaced faith." They have got you by the bullocks Mustardseed. You have been thoroughly convinced that without "faith in those narratives, or faith in Jesus Christ" that you are left "godless."  

I say poppycock! The existence of God is not dependent upon a few dozen narratives written 2,000+ years ago. I am very concerned, and sometimes a bit terrified, that so many people around me can possibly be so irrational. A lot of these people are making crucial decisions everyday about the world that I live in.  These people are arming "the faithful" with AK47's, missles, jimmie-rigged backpacks and roadside bombs. Oh, and let's not forget nuclear bombs--both clean and dirty.

Some of these "faithful" people have been promised eternal life with God as "His" "Chosen People" and that all of their sins, committed against themselves and others, are automatically "forgiven" -- just because they have professed "belief" in a few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago. Others with the same irrational mentality, have been promised a place in heaven and 12 virgins for their very own!

Now, don't scoff at the absurdity of the latter belief, for the former belief is just as absurd.

And don't make a disclaimer for yourself based upon your practice of "non-violence." You may not carry an AK47, but you are supporting and spreading a message that is serving as the tool of their manipulation. IMO, the religions at the forefront of our world situation are not rational, healthly, or divine; the "big three religions" aka, "the religions of THE BOOK" are the world's most dangerous WMD's--Weapons of Mass Destruction--par excellence.

You say that "Christians" are easy targets? Good grief Mustardseed! If anyone or anything is an "easy target" it is the entire world and every person alive within it. Loaded backpacks and nuclear bombs do not discriminate based upon religious orientation.

When is this madness going to come to an end? An excellent start will be when "God" has been liberated from "THE BOOK(S)."

Mustardseed, my research into these narratives is NOT MY opinion. It is the way the bible was written, by the writers who wrote them! Those few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago--that have been abused, misused and totally misunderstood, were creative fiction--not History.  This is the truth.

Now do not confuse my use of the word "truth" with any "TRUTH" about God, because I make no claim whatsoever about what God really IS. I am just able to show what God ISN'T and who God WASN'T.

I have to ask you Mustardseed: Why does the existence of God depend upon a few dozen ancient narratives??? Why do they "have to be true?" What IS IT that "people of faith" have "faith in"Huh A book? or the God of the Universe? A "religion" or an all powerful deity?  

I think that what they have faith in is "themselves" and their own "self-image."  Mankind may "think" they "know God," but they don't, because God was not a MAN--ever.  That is just an image of man's arrogance.  In fact, it is so totally absurd and so irrational, such a belief is not worthy of anyone's "faith."

God is NOT, Mustardseed, in a book "about" God, nor is it possible for us to ever speak for, or act on behalf of God. God is quite capable of doing that without our help, but as long as so many people are listening to the sound of their own arrogant voices, God can't get a word in edgewise (metaphorically speaking of course.)

I believe and yes, have faith that God IS. I also believe, and yes, have faith that God actually wants to be liberated from that ancient book, or I would not be able to take it apart so easily. I also have faith that God is quite capable of taking care of the universe just fine without it.

I say that "salvation" is learning how to think rationally. I also think that it is the great deception that has prevented humanity at large from doing just that. If ever that great deception is exposed for what it is, I think there will metaphorically be a "new Jerusalem" -- a "new world of peace" -- if, that is, the fighting over the "old Jerusalem" doesn't destroy us all first.

On a global basis, religion is causing much more harm than good Mustardseed. Religion is not saving anyone and has been making promises -- and threats -- for centuries that have yet to be fulfilled. Religion keeps people from using their "God given" reasoning abilities, and it is going to get us all killed if people don't "wake up."

I have to stop now...

~Beth
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2006, 08:49:07 »



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James S
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2006, 00:58:04 »

That was inspiring Beth!
Beautifully written!

I might just take a moment to add for the sake of those who do still cling to ancient religious texts as being the source of all life's guidance, take a moment to read some of Neale Donald Walsch's work - the Conversations With God books, and New Revelations which expands on the latter part of Beth's post.

We need to learn to stop treating "God" as a noun and start treating God as a verb - the ongoing process of creation. We also need to stop thinking of God as being separate or having ever been separated from us. That idea alone is possibly the greatest blasphemy of all time.
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2006, 08:48:36 »

Hi Beth
I have read over your posts a lot of times and I am in 2 minds how to answer. I will give it a shot but have a hard time with it so bear with me, and the way I do it. Firstly I want to say that I wholeheartedly agree with a lot of what you say. The problem with people using religion and the whole inquisition issue most of what you say against organized religion is true. I am not entirely ignorant, what you say makes sense to me as well, and I might add multitudes of average Christians.

I still feel that you do not discuss fairly, and you are pretty dogmatic and, since you are a learned person you use the language very well, (I bet you would be an awesome person to watch having a debate). People with the words under control amaze me. All that said I find that your line of argument is more on the emotional side of things, stating the obvious, that you dislike or even despise religious people, and maybe especially Christians, you seem to consider them manipulated ignorant, as well as power hungry or maybe even evil. That’s a pretty big word but it appears that against the backdrop of you having taken the faith “apart”, anyone stupid enough to believe is hardly worth talking to, much less in a nice way. Personally such an elitist attitude sort leaves me emotionally a bit cold to you and I feel that you are basically bullying, but hey this is the AP and I am getting a bit better at ignoring stuff like this.

The problem is however that this then is not a debate Beth, and I wonder if it can ever be. How can you debate something with someone you consider inferior to yourself. All you are doing is list again and again how much evil religion has done and by doing that you elevate yourself to a liberator, in your world I suppose, you no longer have to consider any other point of view than your own, and you learn from no one, for you have the TRUTH. (about the said issue) You completely fail to see that you are no different than the people you fight against. The issue is not being debated at all but you just seem to be very volatile and upset.  

Still lets break it down a bit. First about these quotes:

You would not even be a Christian if it were not for a few dozen narratives that were written over 2,000+ years ago.

This is an conclusion based on the assumption . You assume that the Bible is False and leave out God. I personally believe that he did it this way and could have done it another way as well.

If it had not been for a handful of well-educated ancient Greek scholars, you would have never heard of a person named "Jesus" or of a man named "Moses" or of a woman named "Mary." If you think these "ancient scholars" are my "idols" ... well they are at the very heart of yours as well. You just don't know it; but they are the ones that brought you the Garden of Eden, original sin, the ten commandments, the Virgin Birth and Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. These ancient Greek scholars made it all possible--without them, being a Christian would not even be an option for you.

Again you assume that the Bible is false and conclude that since it is all fabricated, there is no Miracle taking place. I realize someone brought it to me but to me it is like the guy who delivers the paper saying if it wasn’t for me you would never read a paper. He is just the bringer of it not the maker of it. About not being a Christian it seems to be something tat in not easy to discuss, like saying if it had not been for your Mum you would not have been an American. Kind of like a silly thing to say and more a play for the gallery, as I see it. We are discussing the divine I think he would have found a way, but it is my faith and not yours.

Again you are assuming that Christianity is a fairytale and that there in nothing Divine about it and Jesus never existed as Gods son

If the Roman Catholic Church had not become such a financial and political powerhouse in the Middle Ages, the western world would not be what it is today. With "absolute control" for many centuries, the Church brought many great things into the world, and with this many other great things were subsequently destroyed.

No comment more sort of OK……..and

If the Catholic Church had not totally misused their power, Martin Luther would never have had a problem with the Church, and Protestantism would never have been born.

How do you know what life would have been, you assume Beth in a most arrogant way you dictate what history would have looked or not looked like.

None of these things would have ever happened if it had not been for a few dozen books written 2,000+ years ago. This is not my opinion Mustardseed, but fact.

No Beth it is in fact still your opinion. You love that word fact, and keep using it, the fact is that you only have found a very fascinating linguistic phenomena in the Scriptures. You do not know why it is there, it is a mystery, but YOU ASSUME that it is proof of some sort of conspiracy, a plot of some sort. Maybe not even that but rather a fairytale gone bad. Whatever. The fact is that you were not there Beth. You do not KNOW what kind of a man Constantine was, you do not know what he believed in, his motives nor his thoughts, you do not have a lot of facts as per se. You assume a lot and sell it as fact with a very effective narrative yourself. So much so, and so well done that you seem to be able to sway a lot of people and manhandle and intimidate a few as well. You have no way of knowing what would have happened if the Bible had not been written. It is like saying that If I had not been given a map of New York I would never had found a the empire state Building, it is an conclusion based on your own inability to believe that God could have worked things out differently. It’s a pretty big building. You omit the divine and ignore the GOD factor.

For instance, if it weren't for those few dozen narratives, our conception of "history" would be very different.

Yes maybe, but it isn’t is it. Its like saying, If it wasn’t for the fact that you were born in America, your life would be very different. It is a moot point.  

Historically speaking Mustardseed, we live in a world where "history" is made up of two totally different worlds--not just one. One view allows for the bible to be actual historical accounts, and the other cannot include the biblical events at all, because historians, as much as many of them would like to, simply cannot "find" the biblical events as having ever happened in the ancient world; it cannot be verified by any source outside of the bible--and you cannot have it both ways.

So if what you seem to be saying is that if there is no apparent proof of a thing, it cannot be. This is a problem for most believers, you see Beth we have faith, that this is how God chose to do it, so that we would have to believe by faith in the unseen. Something, that is thought of as "heresy" to educated people like yourself. You want to see before you believe and subsequently decide that if you do not see understand and even accept, you do not believe. A common issue.

But the early Catholic Church was very shrewd my friend, they created the most amazing circular manipulation of all time: they used "faith" as a means of brainwashing, near to the whole of, the western world.

This is your interpretation Beth. It is certain that they manipulated and indoctrinated but how and if there was motive you do not know. It is entirely possible that a vast majority was ok folks who tried to follow a doctrine as they saw it lived in love, in time the Church became a battleground, with true believers and politicians posing as believers, battling for influence. Maybe some of these decided to go along and say nothing and trust in Gods ability to right wrong, however wrong this appear to be now,  and hence some of the atrocities were committed. Maybe Faith was the only thing that hindered things from getting even worse.

They created a whole system of "guilt" and "reward" to manipulate the ignorant masses into believing that they were the only ones that had access to God and were therefore given the authority to judge and rule in God's name. The Church used those ancient narratives as a tool of manipulation, mind control and emotional/physical abuse. They used those narratives as justification for murder--in untold numbers--all in the name of a "loving" God.

Yes some people did that and they continue to do that. Man seem to constantly use whatever he can to bolster pride ego and greed. Nothing has changed. It is however not certain that they created such a system, it could be but then again it could also be that they used whatever was at hand.

The bottom line? For many centuries, if a person chose "not to have faith in those narratives" then they were hell bound. If an afterlife of damnation did not adequately deter rescenders, the Church just made "this life" -- "hell on earth" for them. They had the power to do this Mustardseed, and they used it accordingly--and often. In much the same way, they are doing it still; the methods may have changed somewhat, but the intention and the result is the same.

Agree....but they are not alone about that.

It is now the 21st century, and people of "faith" are tested everyday because "history" cannot find the core events or the primary peoples that make their faith possible.

 This is not entirely true Beth, it is a slanted biased reasoning. I am fully aware of "the missing link" so to speak, yet there are also many things that point the other direction. The reason for a lot of problems between believers and secularists, is that those who believe and reason with those who do not believe, are not respected, their views are not considered valid and their points are dismissed all because they believe in “the few dozen narratives” as you continually call them, or sometimes those that believe refuse to engage in a conversation with people they believe are maliciously trying to destroy their faith. The bias is so strong these days that Christians are constantly put down and made to look ridiculous. There is no reason you could not call it the Bible, not that I personally care, but calling it the few dozen narratives, which is all it is to you, actually is a borderline put down or slight. It is very effective and people who discuss things from an academic angle, seem to continually bolster themselves and their argument using such terms. It is also applauded by other like minded individuals. (that was for you James  cry )

Now, living in the same world, driving down the same roads, eating at the same restaurants, drinking from the same water supply, there are people that do not put their "faith" in a few dozen ancient narrative texts. They cannot fathom how or why "people of faith" think or do what they do. This is not a matter of not "understanding" or of "not having been saved" rather, it is a matter of rational thinking.

Agree again ahh Rational thinking!!!. I do not need to explain to you what the few dozen narratives says about rational thinking. It is the foundation of Faith to believe in the irrational, the miraculous and this is of cause where our way part.

These rational thinkers see very clearly how western religion is manipulating the world for many purposes, and the least of these is actually giving a fig whether humanity is saved or not! We can see the "great deception" going on all around us. While some of these thinkers are self-claimed atheists, not all of us are; I am certainly not.

What concerns me the most Mustardseed, is that I can see the great deception very clearly. I have been exposed to it all of my life


If you don’t mind me saying so this is very evident in your writing and methods of discussion, there does seem to be an bitter twang to you Beth, that shines through. In reverse I should then reason that people who disbelieve cannot have their research enlisted as they are biased. Are you biased Beth. Are you the type, who, if God started to speak to you in your life through the supernatural would reject it, because you are angry at him for doing it in a way that you do not understand or agree with. Further more if evidence one day presents itself in support of “the few dozen narratives” would you omit it to make the shoe fit and your argument appear true.?

It truly breaks my heart that the "faith" of millions of people who profess to "believe in God" cannot believe in God without those few dozen narratives.

I actually agree here. God is very big, I think what you misunderstand is the strength people derive from the few dozen narratives. They call it Gods word and it lights up their life. It encourages them when they are weak, it humbles them when they are too proud and gives meaning. Sure it is also misused misquoted and so on but it is a strength to many. Just because something has the potential to be abused like atomic energy or what have you, it does not mean that it is evil, or does it.?

Moreover, many people have a terrible fear that if this great deception was ever exposed for what it really is, that people would stop believing in God, would stop trying to be moral creatures, that "secularism" and/or "liberalism" would "take over the world." As a result, they believe that the world might well fall into total chaos.

I am sorry Beth I will take your word for it, but I never met any of these "many people". I am not saying that they do not exist, but they must be popes prime ministers and presidents so they don’t hang around where I come. Most folks I know who believe, are quite opposite. Many are seeking and actively searching the few dozen narratives, and secular history to learn and do not seem to be very concerned about keeping the status quo.

As for me, I already see chaos all around me, except it is not because of secularism, but because of irrational thinking and "misplaced faith." They have got you by the bullocks Mustardseed.

Yea well that is your point of view…………it is my opinion that they have YOU by the bullocks……….well that is if you have any sort of wonder what bullocks are. Ha

You have been thoroughly convinced that without "faith in those narratives, or faith in Jesus Christ" that you are left "godless."

You are wrong here, and again I would have you remember that I do not speak for others but my self. Lets just say that many folks would, so I do understand your point.

I say poppycock! The existence of God is not dependent upon a few dozen narratives written 2,000+ years ago.

(Poppycock.....where ever do you pick up those words  cheesy ). Whoever said that, like my former metaphor, it is like saying the existence of the city of New York is dependent on a map of the city. Your line of reasoning is off here Beth.

so I am very concerned, and sometimes a bit terrified, that so many people around me can possibly be so irrational. A lot of these people are making crucial decisions everyday about the world that I live in. These people are arming "the faithful" with AK47's, missles, jimmie-rigged backpacks and roadside bombs. Oh, and let's not forget nuclear bombs--both clean and dirty.

Well Beth I am actually equally concerned that these bombs are available to people who has no moral fabric, who consider innocent babies collateral damage, and hail accept genocide in the name of secularism, there has, as you know, been a few of those as well. It is again a subtle slant trying to make it appear, that these things are all committed by religious people, talk about Kmer Rouge, Lenin, and China and Korea while you are at it. These things are not the fault of the Religious people alone and certainly not supported by the few dozen narratives, as I am sure you are well aware of.

Some of these "faithful" people have been promised eternal life with God as "His" "Chosen People" and that all of their sins, committed against themselves and others, are automatically "forgiven" -- just because they have professed "belief" in a few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago. Others with the same irrational mentality, have been promised a place in heaven and 12 virgins for their very own!

And don't make a disclaimer for yourself based upon your practice of "non-violence." You may not carry an AK47, but you are supporting and spreading a message that is serving as the tool of their manipulation. IMO, the religions at the forefront of our world situation are not rational, healthly, or divine; the "big three religions" aka, "the religions of THE BOOK" are the world's most dangerous WMD's--Weapons of Mass Destruction--par excellence.

Well OK then I wont make a disclaimer but in my opinion as I mentioned, there are a lot of secular motivated tyrants in the world as well. Besides that our conversation, has now taken the turn it often takes. It is now a emotional appeal, an exhortation of sorts on the injustices of Religion, all of it. You have now included the Muslims and the Jews as well. This is bias and it is an line of argument that has no substance. This is the point of my thread, the discussion we are having is more along the evil of religion as you see it . Defining who this religion is becomes a more obscure matter. It is undefinable, and so you attach all religion to the train.

You say that "Christians" are easy targets? Good grief Mustardseed! If anyone or anything is an "easy target" it is the entire world and every person alive within it. Loaded backpacks and nuclear bombs do not discriminate based upon religious orientation.

When is this madness going to come to an end? An excellent start will be when "God" has been liberated from "THE BOOK(S)."

Mustardseed, my research into these narratives is NOT MY opinion.


Maybe not, maybe they are shared by others, but that changes nothing nor does it add to your case, if 1000 people believe a wrong thing it is still a wrong thing.

It is the way the bible was written, by the writers who wrote them! Those few dozen narratives that were written 2,000+ years ago--that have been abused, misused and totally misunderstood, were creative fiction--not History. This is the truth.

Well Beth that is the TRUTH as YOU see it. There are thousands of well educated people, who believe otherwise as I am sure you are aware. Not mum and pop from the Bible belt, who scoff at short skirts and damn gays to hell, but well educated and knowledgeable people, historians professors and Archaeologists. I refuse to believe that you are unaware of the massive amount of circumstantial evidence in favor of the few dozen narratives. Its out there as well.

Now do not confuse my use of the word "truth" with any "TRUTH" about God, because I make no claim whatsoever about what God really IS. I am just able to show what God ISN'T and who God WASN'T.I have to ask you Mustardseed: Why does the existence of God depend upon a few dozen ancient narratives??? Why do they "have to be true?" What IS IT that "people of faith" have "faith in"Huh A book? or the God of the Universe? A "religion" or an all powerful deity?
 


 I would say the all power full deity

I think that what they have faith in is "themselves" and their own "self-image." Mankind may "think" they "know God," but they don't, because God was not a MAN--ever. That is just an image of man's arrogance. In fact, it is so totally absurd and so irrational, such a belief is not worthy of anyone's "faith."

Again a very emotional rant at the very tenant of Jesus. This is the very thing, people do not want to believe. I do not often use the narratives with you but cant help it here. I am not sure if I quote right I think it goes


FOR THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS IS TO THOSE WHO PERISH FOOLISHNESS BUT TO US WHO ARE SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD.

I guess that just really ticks you off Beth. It seems to me that you are enraged at God and since you cannot get to him you start at his followers.

God is NOT, Mustardseed, in a book "about" God,

Though hard to explain we actually believe that He is a spirit and that he is the written word as well

nor is it possible for us to ever speak for, or act on behalf of God.

Sorry you are definitely wrong here and I have a long thread to prove it

God is quite capable of doing that without our help, but as long as so many people are listening to the sound of their own arrogant voices, God can't get a word in edgewise (metaphorically speaking of course.)

I believe and yes, have faith that God IS. I also believe, and yes, have faith that God actually wants to be liberated from that ancient book, or I would not be able to take it apart so easily. I also have faith that God is quite capable of taking care of the universe just fine without it.

I say that "salvation" is learning how to think rationally.


I am still considering this point and mulling it over. It is certainly interesting. I am not dismissing your research at all but trying to figure out what it is all about.

I also think that it is the great deception that has prevented humanity at large from doing just that. If ever that great deception is exposed for what it is, I think there will metaphorically be a "new Jerusalem" -- a "new world of peace" -- if, that is, the fighting over the "old Jerusalem" doesn't destroy us all first.

On a global basis, religion is causing much more harm than good Mustardseed. Religion is not saving anyone and has been making promises -- and threats -- for centuries that have yet to be fulfilled. Religion keeps people from using their "God given" reasoning abilities, and it is going to get us all killed if people don't "wake up."

So what are you saying now Beth, that all religious people are criminals , and in cohorts with each other, when does it become forbidden to believe, when will the government arise, that will forbid Christianity and persecute such subversives, in the name of the greater good. I believe it wont be long before we will see it. The literal fulfillment, of the rise of a one world government, where faith will be forbidden, and anyone preaching God will be "reeducated", all in the name of secularism and furthering mankind. This government will need its faith full supporters, it will need its own narratives as well, to sway the vast masses "still ignorant enough to believe in God". We live in very exiting days. I wonder what you will be doing writing and speaking about then.


Regards Mustardseed
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Words.....there was a time when I believed in words!
Beth
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2006, 06:01:28 »

Mustardseed,

The following is my response to your post:
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I still feel that you do not discuss fairly,
How am I being unfair?
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you are pretty dogmatic
I wouldn't say that I am dogmatic at all. I always try to be kind and patient in my explanations, with only a slip or two every now and then wink Now, "emphatic"Huh Yes, I would say that I am definately emphatic. Emphatic: 1) uttered with or marked by emphasis; 2) tending to express oneself in forceful speech or to take decisive action. And, perhaps you could say that I am at times also "assertive": 1) disposed to or characterized by bold or confident assertion
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and, since you are a learned person you use the language very well, (I bet you would be an awesome person to watch having a debate). People with the words under control amaze me.
It's called Webster's Dictionary. You too can be a learned person that uses language very well.
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All that said, I find that your line of argument is more on the emotional side of things, stating the obvious, that you dislike or even despise religious people, and maybe especially Christians,
Here you are very wrong my friend. I do not 'dislike' or despise' anyone, except those people that would cause harm to others. But, certainly not 'because they are Christians'.  
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you seem to consider them manipulated ignorant,
Yes, I certainly consider uninformed believers to be very manipulated, and they only 'ignorant' because they do not know any better. Brainwashing is not something to be taken lightly, Mustardseed, especially when it is done in the Name of God.
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as well as power hungry or maybe even evil.
Yes, the people who cause harm to other people are evil (if you want to use that term) and if it happens that they call themselves Christian, well, that is beside the point. Bad people are bad people, regardless of what religion they claim to believe in.  Unfortunately, there are 'evil' people out there causing a lot of harm to a lot of people by using Christianity (and other religions) to broker their own power hungry egos.
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having taken the faith “apart”, anyone stupid enough to believe is hardly worth talking to, much less in a nice way.
We all have 'faith' that the sun is going to come up tomorrow, or that the cars are all going to stay put when they have a red light and we have the green light. When someone asks you to have 'faith' in something that cannot been seen, touched, smelled, heard, or touched, then a good healthy dose of skepticism is definately warranted.

Christianity represents the greatest deception of all time, but it has not been until the last 50-60 years that the masses across the globe are educated enough to know 'why' this is the case. Previous to this global advent of education, untold numbers of people have -- with wild abandon sometimes -- thrown all of their faith in/knowledge of God into these religions. They needed someone else to tell them about God, because they did not know how to think for themselves. Those that were able to think for themselves, they were more often than not, afraid to do so. You could lose your head in a heartbeat, or be burned at the stake for thinking anything different from what the Church was teaching. Galileo was one of the precious few lucky ones; he was only imprisoned for the rest of his life.

Today, the situation should be very different. People should not be stupid anymore; they can read, write and think in broader terms than ever before. In most countries, education (to a certain grade level) is FREE, and university study is available to those that can afford to attend. Even if they cannot afford it, we have the internet, libraries, newspapers, etc. that keep us informed about a myriad of topics, and with discernment, we can be self-taught.
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anyone stupid enough to believe is hardly worth talking to, much less in a nice way.
Here, you are wrong again. I actually work at a company where 99% of the employees are Christian, and I talk to them all of the time--and do so very nicely!! Granted, you get my dander up sometimes, but this is because you are no longer "uninformed" about your religion. I have spent countless hours over the past three years, along with others here on the AP, trying to help you see 'the light of Reason'. If you think that I am going to all of this trouble because I don't "like you" well...or because I just like to argue about all of this...well...here again you are very wrong! I do not do what I do here just for the sake of doing it. I want to help people to learn the things that they might not otherwise have access to.
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Personally such an elitist attitude sort leaves me emotionally a bit cold to you and I feel that you are basically bullying,
 You have called me an elitist before. If I were an elitist Mustardseed, I would consider our discussions a total waste of my time--and beneath me to do so. I am here though, and have been here for you and others for over three years. I am not an elitist.
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The problem is however that this then is not a debate Beth, and I wonder if it can ever be.
Not a formal debate, no. But an exchange of different ideas, yes. However, if you will notice, everything you have said so far is solely concentrated on ME and not the issues at hand. That is certainly not a debate, but rather, a personal attack. But I will keep going with my response...
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How can you debate something with someone you consider inferior to yourself
Lordy! People do it all the time!! But your reasoning is in error here: "Debating" does not come with the rule that you have to be intellectual equals with your opponent. If you are referring to you and me, you being inferior and me being superior, well...that is your description, not mine. Again, if I didn't think that you have the capacity to learn about these things, I would not continue to try to get through to you. Why DO I bother? Well, I don't know unless it must be that I care about you Mustardseed--even though you make me want to tear my hair out sometimes! :yikes2:
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All you are doing is list again and again how much evil religion has done
And I will continue to do so again, and again--and again, because it is the truth.  
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and by doing that you elevate yourself to a liberator
hmmm...I never thought of myself as a liberator, per se. I would prefer to call myself a teacher, and since teachers do 'liberate' students from ignorance, then I guess you are right: I am a liberator.
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in your world I suppose, you no longer have to consider any other point of view than your own, and you learn from no one, for you have the TRUTH.
Oh contraire my friend. I learn from other people ALL of the TIME. I may be a teacher to others, but I could not be a teacher if I were not also a student. In fact, IMO the value of a teacher is equal only to their capacity to be a student. I am also a seeker of TRUTH. I have discovered many 'truths' along the way, but if you are suggesting that you have anything to teach me about TRUTH' through Christianity in the context that you believe in it, well...I have already studied it in great depth, and have chosen to discard it for all of the reasons that I am stating in these posts.
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You completely fail to see that you are no different than the people you fight against.  
I 'completely fail to see' your point here. I ask nothing of no one. I expect nothing of no one. I am not an organized powerhouse that makes promises it cannot keep. I do not make any claims to be the only way to salvation. I do not represent a system of guilt/shame and favor/redemption.  I offer no icons of belief, and do not try to mobilize the masses for political and economic gain. I do not dictate ethics and try to influence morality. So, what is your point?
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you just seem to be very volatile and upset.
Granted, I did get a bit upset there toward the end of my last post. I am not without an emotional investment in what I do. When I really look at the whole picture with stark clarity (like I typed out in that post) it truly breaks my heart. If it makes me 'mad' it is only because I feel so helpless to do anything about it.  
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You would not even be a Christian if it were not for a few dozen narratives that were written over 2,000+ years ago.

This is an conclusion based on the assumption . You assume that the Bible is False and leave out God. I personally believe that he did it this way and could have done it another way as well.
Well, it is not an assumption at all, because God did not do it any other way. It is false Mustardseed--if you must make it historically true--because if it were historically true, I and many others would not be able to take it apart so easily. Moreover, I have oftentimes said that there are a lot of "truths" in the bible, but these truths are philosophical truths, not historical truths. This is where I will once again say: I love the bible. It is an amazing collection of ancient literary genius. But it is NOT history.
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If it had not been for a handful of well-educated ancient Greek scholars, you would have never heard of a person named "Jesus" or of a man named "Moses" or of a woman named "Mary." If you think these "ancient scholars" are my "idols" ... well they are at the very heart of yours as well. You just don't know it; but they are the ones that brought you the Garden of Eden, original sin, the ten commandments, the Virgin Birth and Jesus Christ hanging on the Cross. These ancient Greek scholars made it all possible--without them, being a Christian would not even be an option for you.

Again you assume that the Bible is false and conclude that since it is all fabricated, there is no Miracle taking place.
I assume nothing. I have taken the time to study the real history of your religion. When you do, previous to say the 300's of the current era, the majority of Christians were the "educated elite" with whom you have such  a disdain for. I am only pointing out that without the 'educated elite' Christianity would never have been born. And that is historical fact.  As far as 'miracles' are concerned...well...you be the judge: Lazarus was "raised from the dead," not because it was a miracle, but because the lexical meaning of the name means "to rise up" and "to come out."  It is said that the virgin Mary gave birth in "Bethlehem." I show where the city that she gave birth in actually means "virginity"--When Bethlehem/Bethleem (in Greek) is transliterated into Hebrew, you get "bethuleem" which actually means "virginity." Jesus was the "savior of the world" because his name lexically means "to save." All of the proper names are like this Mustardseed, in both the Old and the New Testaments. "They" were not real people, "they" were literary puns, personifications of concepts and ideas. "Jesus" was in wordplay with "salvation."

This fact gives us three choices--and only three choices:
1) The people were not real, but the events were
2) The people were real, but the events were not
3) Some of the people/events were real, and others were not

Either way, the New Testament Gospels are not eye witness accounts to historical facts (especially in light of the additional fact that all other ancient cultures fail to mention any of it.) The New Testament Gospels were fundamentally written through the use of creative literary wordplay.

But wait...there is another choice:
To believe that it was all real--both the people and the events--just as written in the bible--regardless of whether there is any evidence or rationale for it or not (especially in light of the additional fact that a good study of church history will tell you that the religion you follow so faithfully  had serious political and economical motivation for establishing the church the way that they did.) At that point in the history of Christianity, the Church leaders had everything to loose, and chose to risk it all in hopes of winning it all.  As it turns out, they did. But there were certainly no guarantees--divine or not.
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About not being a Christian it seems to be something tat in not easy to discuss, like saying if it had not been for your Mum you would not have been an American. Kind of like a silly thing to say and more a play for the gallery, as I see it.
  hmmm...:think:.....huh?:dont-know:
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We are discussing the divine I think he would have found a way, but it is my faith and not yours.
First of all, I am not sure who HE is, but HE is not the divine. Except in your faith--HE is. Convenient for you since you are a guy, eh? The "divine" on the other hand finds ways all the time to educate us about 'divinity'. But when you think you have it all figured out, like religion does, then God will only be what the religion teaches that God is.  I guess I am just a heretical heathen, because I don't buy what they are selling.
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but it is my faith and not yours.
Here, we are in absolute agreement.  
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Again you are assuming that Christianity is a fairytale and that there in nothing Divine about it and Jesus never existed as Gods son
Yes, I guess you could say that the narratives are a fairy tale of sorts, but Christianity is far from being a fairytale. It is very real, and very dangerous IMHO. As far as Jesus being the son of God...well, being a "son" is once again convenient for you, since you are also someone's "son" and it certainly doesn't hurt that God is a father, because you are a 'father as well." Don't you see the problem here???  The 'divine' of which you speak has very conveniently been created in the image of MAN. Not even in the image of all people, but MAN. Since you also had a mother, who was also someone's daughter, don't you see the problem here? I guess you prefer the convenience that your religion provides you with, over the inconvenience that it might bring if this were not the case. C'mon Mustardseed...Think! See! Feel!  
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If the Roman Catholic Church had not become such a financial and political powerhouse in the Middle Ages, the western world would not be what it is today. With "absolute control" for many centuries, the Church brought many great things into the world, and with this many other great things were subsequently destroyed.

No comment more sort of OK
Oh my gosh! Is that the flicker of a light of recognition in your eyes? :pray:
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……..and

If the Catholic Church had not totally misused their power, Martin Luther would never have had a problem with the Church, and Protestantism would never have been born.

How do you know what life would have been, you assume Beth in a most arrogant way you dictate what history would have looked or not looked like.
 Oh...well...I guess not :sniff:

The fact remains, if those biblical narratives had never been written, the entire history of western civilization since 300 ce would have been VERY different. Like it or not...convenient or not...that is a fact jack (er...david.)
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No Beth it is in fact still your opinion. You love that word fact, and keep using it, the fact is that you only have found a very fascinating linguistic phenomena in the Scriptures. You do not know why it is there, it is a mystery, but YOU ASSUME that it is proof of some sort of conspiracy, a plot of some sort. Maybe not even that but rather a fairytale gone bad.
More like the last one. Yes; a fairytale gone bad. I like that! Thank you! I have never used the word FACT unless it is a FACT. I learned a long time ago, that unless I can back up my claims to FACT, with FACTS, then I need to keep my mouth shut. Since I wanted to know what the FACTS were, I went to the trouble to read the history books. I also went to the trouble to learn Greek and Hebrew so I could read the original texts. I look for the FACTS Mustardseed. You, in contrast, are holding on so tightly to your FAITH, that you cannot see the FACTS.  

Now, if I were to say something like: Jesus was really a woman, and that Simon Peter was a transvestite, well....I would be very hard pressed to claim this as a FACT. But I can, quite easily say, that the development of Western Civilization was so heavily influenced by Christianity, that without Christianity, our world would be very different--and support it to be a FACT. Now...what I cannot possibly know, is whether or not our world would be in a better condition or a worse one. All I do know sure, is that today, these "HE-MAN" religions are totally out of control, and while I can see why that resonates for you so deeply...it does not make them right just because they have been around so long. Have you read Revelation lately? There are three-beasts piggy-backed one on the other...each gaining more power from the one before it...
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The fact is that you were not there Beth.
No...I wasn't, but I'm HERE. And I will fight to my last breath to prove with FACTS, that the bible is what it is--creative fiction--and that God is not, was not, will never be, A MAN. Or woman for that matter. Moreover, I will continue to search for the FACTS because that is what brings me closer to that which I seek: Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom.
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You do not KNOW what kind of a man Constantine was, you do not know what he believed in, his motives nor his thoughts, you do not have a lot of facts as per se.
It's all in the official Church records Mustardseed. The Church preserved their own history, and I have always found it totally amazing that so few Christians take the initiative to know anything about the real history of their own religion. For you, and others like you, history starts and stops with those "few dozen narratives written 2,000+ years ago" and picks up somewhere in the mid-20th century.

I formally invite you, right now, Mustardseed to enter into the 21st century, where all kinds of knowledge is available, if you would but seek it.
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You assume a lot and sell it as fact with a very effective narrative yourself. So much so, and so well done that you seem to be able to sway a lot of people and manhandle and intimidate a few as well.
Manhandle and intimidate? How so? Am I threatening you in any way whatsoever?....oh...I guess I am...I am going to work very hard to see that your conveniences are not so convenient. But even still, I am doing it without threat of prison, death or subjugation. You can even keep your masculinity in tact--in fact--I encourage you to do so. I happen to be quite attracted to men wink
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You have no way of knowing what would have happened if the Bible had not been written. It is like saying that If I had not been given a map of New York I would never had found a the empire state Building,
hmmm.... :think: ... :dont-know: Your choices of analogy are not working...
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it is an conclusion based on your own inability to believe that God could have worked things out differently.
God is trying to, or I and many others would not be doing what we are doing.
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You omit the divine and ignore the GOD factor.
Not even for a minute...
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For instance, if it weren't for those few dozen narratives, our conception of "history" would be very different.

Yes maybe, but it isn’t is it. Its like saying, If it wasn’t for the fact that you were born in America, your life would be very different. It is a moot point.
I think you are repeating yourself here, but it is not a moot point at all. The subject being discussed is the undeniable influence these ancient narratives have had on the development of western civilization. And your response that "maybe it would be but it isn't" is a red herring of the most common kind.

Red Herring: A Red Herring is a fallacy (an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference) in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to "win" an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. (Again, from Webster's.)
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So if what you seem to be saying is that if there is no apparent proof of a thing, it cannot be. This is a problem for most believers, you see Beth we have faith, that this is how God chose to do it, so that we would have to believe by faith in the unseen.
Your faith is based upon the writings of very well educated Greek writers who were writing epic stories with philosophical meaning. I don't know why 'your God' has allowed it to be this way, unless HE wanted to see just how far into absurdity His "image" would take it.

I do know that my God hasn't given any 'stamp of approval' or given any 'ordination' to the way things have turned out, because my God does not/is not made in the image of humans, and therefore doesn't work in the world the way your god does.  IMO, the reason that things have worked out the way that they have, is because BAD MEN have had control for too long, and have manipulated Good Men and Women into putting their faith in THEM. I do not see GOD in your religion Mustardseed. I see MAN--as already stated with the whole Father/Son stuff.  What my God is doing now, is providing the power behind a new age, a new way of thinking that cannot be stopped without serious destruction to this planet.

I just realized that I am not even half way through with answering your response Mustardseed, and I have been at this for HOURS. I cannot go on much longer! I will try to address a few more of your points, and then I must go to bed.
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I do not need to explain to you what the few dozen narratives says about rational thinking. It is the foundation of Faith to believe in the irrational, the miraculous and this is of cause where our way part.
My point exactly! And you CANNOT show me anywhere that the bible says anything against 'rational thinking'. Irrational: (1) not endowed with reason or understanding (2) lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence  b: not governed by or according to reason. Rational: 1 a : having reason or understanding  b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason. Reason:  2(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE (2)proper exercise of the mind (3) SANITY  b: the sum of the intellectual powers
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there does seem to be an bitter twang to you Beth...Are you biased Beth.
I am not bitter against God, no, not at all. I admit that I am bitter against human egos that would manipulate people in the name of God. In fact, I can get quite angry about the whole thing.
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Are you the type, who, if God started to speak to you in your life through the supernatural would reject it, because you are angry at him for doing it in a way that you do not understand or agree with.
No, not at all. If God were to ever "speak to me" I would damn sure listen! But Mustardseed, how do you know that God is not trying to speak to you right now--through me? Maybe you are "the type" to be so biased that you cannot hear HIM through the voice of a woman?? hmmmm??? Maybe you are reluctant to accept anything new because you would have to admit that you have been "wrong" for so many years? That perhaps your life's work would have been in error? You would not be the first or the last to do so.
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f evidence one day presents itself in support of “the few dozen narratives” would you omit it to make the shoe fit and your argument appear true.?
Nope. I would welcome it. In fact, if you can produce such evidence right now, or in the future, I would be the first to admit that I have been wrong. Unfortunately for your cause, however, the most recent 'evidence' that keeps turning up is only serving to further undermine your claims.  
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It truly breaks my heart that the "faith" of millions of people who profess to "believe in God" cannot believe in God without those few dozen narratives.

I actually agree here. God is very big, I think what you misunderstand is the strength people derive from the few dozen narratives. They call it Gods word and it lights up their life. It encourages them when they are weak, it humbles them when they are too proud and gives meaning. Sure it is also misused misquoted and so on but it is a strength to many.
I do not misunderstand anything Mustardseed. I have struggled with that fact ever since I made my discovery regarding these narratives. In fact, that was practically the first thing that hit me in the face: "Oh no!" I thought. "What am I going to do about this? What about all of those nice Christians out there that have put all of their faith in these texts?" I had a very real spiritual crisis about that Mustardseed. In the years since, I have come to realize that I must go through with the presentation of my research, for if people can find that much strength in stories about God----then how much more strength can they have access to without the stories between them and God.  We are talking unmediated access to the divine Mustardseed, where "God" can say/do whatever God wants to do, in any and all languages if needed, and is not limited by what a few writers from the ancient world "said that God said/did/can do."  
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It is now a emotional appeal, an exhortation of sorts on the injustices of Religion, all of it. You have now included the Muslims and the Jews as well.
The fact that bombs are being denotated is not an emotional appeal, but I am glad that it made you feel something. And yep! You are darn straight that I include Judaism and Islam in this particular issue. All three fundamenatlly depend upon the narratives in question (the Bible) and it is the three of them that are fighting over religious beliefs, all the while their religion's are giving them the money and the power to fight to fight each other.
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Defining who this religion is becomes a more obscure matter. It is undefinable,
Not obscure at all: the definition is as I just said: the Bible connects them all through Abraham. You know, the father of many peoples.
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if 1000 people believe a wrong thing it is still a wrong thing.
I agree wholeheartedly. And reading the bible as literal history is an incorrect reading of the bible. :boredom:
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This is the very thing, people do not want to believe.
You're right Mustardseed. I don't want to just believe. I want to KNOW.  
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I do not often use the narratives with you but cant help it here. I am not sure if I quote right I think it goes

FOR THE PREACHING OF THE CROSS IS TO THOSE WHO PERISH FOOLISHNESS BUT TO US WHO ARE SAVED IT IS THE POWER OF GOD.
That is from 1Corinthians 1:18.  I can, and have read it all for myself, and continue to read it on a daily basis. So don't start again with your quotations, because we will totally disagree on what verses like this really mean.
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I guess that just really ticks you off Beth. It seems to me that you are enraged at God and since you cannot get to him you start at his followers.
No, quoting scripture did not tick me off at all. It's just a waste of our time. And no, I am not enraged at God, and I only want for 'his followers' to see where they have been shanghaied. Shanghaied: put by trickery into an undesirable position
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Though hard to explain we actually believe
Everything you believe is hard to explain...
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I say that "salvation" is learning how to think rationally.

I am still considering this point and mulling it over. It is certainly interesting. I am not dismissing your research at all but trying to figure out what it is all about.
Good. I will be more than happy to explain anything that stumps you, but in all of its seeming complexity, it is quite beautiful in its simplicity. If I may volley the reference of scripture (1 for 1) then John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning was the Logos (word)..."

Logos:  Reason. In ancient Greek philosophy Reason is the controlling principle in the universe

Reason:  2(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE (2)proper exercise of the mind (3) SANITY  b: the sum of the intellectual powers

"...and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God."

When you protest against using "Reason" Mustardseed, you are protesting against "God" according to how the writer of the Gospel of John describes God--and describes very clearly I might add.

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So what are you saying now Beth, that all religious people are criminals , and in cohorts with each other, when does it become forbidden to believe, when will the government arise, that will forbid Christianity and persecute such subversives, in the name of the greater good.
Ah...and I thought we were making positive progress... :boredom: No, I did not say that "all Christians are criminals." What I said, was that the most powerful people in this world are using "your religion" to kill, maim, possess, and obliterate. If you want to continue to allow such people to do these things in the name of God, then be my unhosted guest. If you want to continue to be a martyr for a religion that is out-dated, misused, abused and totally misunderstood--not to mention totally irrational (which is NOT a good thing Mustardseed) then I will not try to help you any further.  

~Beth
:silence:
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2006, 14:10:13 »

I feel ya MS and for what it's worth I got the meaning behind your first post.  

take care,
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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2006, 15:08:07 »

Dear Beth

Thanks for your reply. I know it takes a long time to write it all, and that this is time you could spend elsewhere, so I do thank you. I guess I am up against a bit of deciphering myself interpreting what various words mean. Our words that is ……………Let me explain.

The last couple of years, have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for me, in many ways, personally as well as spiritually, and I have learned a lot. I think I am coming to some very interesting conclusions, about my own faith. Now, before you start drawing a relieved breadth, let me say that I am not joining the other side…… I am, however coming to the conclusion, that God is very big ha. Much bigger, and much more power full, than I have previously understood. I am starting to see, how our lives are so intricately connected, and so dependent on each other and, its all for the good.

This greater view, is causing me to look at the things that happen, in a much more positive way. I used to be a very negative person, very contentious and quite easily enraged and irritated. Maybe a sign or symptom of my own self-righteousness, and much like the scribes and Pharisees, never had too much empathy, or feeling for the plight of those, whom I considered in opposition to myself. All that has changed, in a most profound way.

As I see it, you and I have a few things we should understand, and accept, in order to be able to discuss things and I tried in my first post to reach out a hand to you, and explain that I do not blame you for our sometimes heated unkind debates. I see it as a reflection, a delayed action or karma if you will, of the way I have so many years discussed and related to others. It all comes back to bite us ha. Sad to say, I feel that the universe is giving me a good stiff look at myself, and how destructive I have been over the years. I am not bitter against God for doing that, but a bit in awe at how He /She/it does everything so well.

I am now sitting here quite frustrated, (about this thread for an example), and my own “lacks” are glaring back at me. I really want to talk to you Beth, not to try to convince you of anything, but to learn. The problem is however twofold. Firstly I am not able to relate to you, without getting you upset. No matter how much I try to edit my posts, I always seem to make you upset, and when you get upset you get very shall we call it “direct”, that in turn hurts me and I answer you in this same negative frustrated way and sure as shootin’ we end up in a fix.  

The second issue is, that though I really want to learn from you, I realize that I have to learn at my own pace. I also have to put your opinions and input, into my own life context. Maybe the research you have done is not as absolute as you think, and I have to find out. This is not so easy, because it appears that you conclude much, in relation to your research. As I explained before, I cannot and will not toss overboard one “box” only to put my understanding and faith in the one next to it.

I am not very eloquent, (please understand that I am not a native English speaker and use lots of time looking words up) yet often I use words in a wrong context, and this also seems to be a problem. You dissect my words, rightfully so, and to my surprise I find out, that what I said, was not what I meant, yet its hard to come back and say that, cause you might think that I am just adjusting my point.

I know that I have written a lot about you, and questioned you and your attitudes. You call it criticize, and think of it as negative, but I don’t see it like that at all. It’s just that ………….how do I explain it, you seem to get in the way Beth. Don’t misunderstand this, it is not meant in a bad way, but its like you insist that I not only accept everything you say, as the Gospel truth but you also get upset, if I don’t do it fast enough. Much like a carton I once saw, about a baby sitting in a highchair with its dad standing beside it. There was a blackboard behind the highchair, with some math problem and the dad is yelling to the baby “why don’t you understand I explained it twice” It was very funny.

Somewhere it says that wisdom, is the ability to use the knowledge you have been given, and that is so true. In every relation we have as people one with the other, wisdom often is what breaches the gap. I am currently involved in a series of Public discussions in real life with a Mullah, and I find that it is a big test for me. He is very strongly Muslim, and a follower of Sharia law, and it is a challenge to discuss these very controversial issues, without getting into heated unkind and damaging debates. Anger and aggression are very negative, and draining emotions.

All that said let me try to answer your points. Pardon me if I take things a bit out of context but I am trying to make the post a bit shorter

I wouldn't say that I am dogmatic at all

Well I would. Maybe it is a matter of view, but I do find that you state your points, and more so your conclusions much in the same way, that I have heard so many preachers and politicians do. I sometimes listen to Rush Limbaugh when in the States, and it never ceases to amaze me that he actually thinks that he is helping his country, by stating his opinions in such a dogmatic way. I see this trait very strong in Americans, maybe it is a social issue upbringing etc but Americans just appear by nature, quite haughty and arrogant about their beliefs, be they political religious or otherwise. They are often not very skilled in people handling, and discuss from the viewpoint that says, either I am absolutely right about everything, or else I am totally wrong. The grey tones are not so clearly seen. Even in politics It’s all, or nothing at all. I find that you are very dogmatic, about your research and the statements you make about religion and especially Christianity.

I do not 'dislike' or despise' anyone, except those people that would cause harm to others. Yes, the people who cause harm to other people are evil (if you want to use that term)

This is a interesting question, and something I disagree with you on. I do not find myself thinking you are evil, and you do cause a fair amount of harm to me  cheesy  I have caused a lot of harm to others in my life as well, sad to say, but I do not see myself as evil. As I said in my first post, people who knowingly hurt others is a different case, but I do not see the majority of Christians doing that. I do however think that you dislike Religious folks. It’s as if you resent them, and are bitter maybe because of abuse. In any case your dislike, or condescension is so clearly felt, that I find it becomes intimidating to converse with you. This is sad as you are so knowledgeable, and could heal a lot of people. I would dare to say, that you vilify folks, who due to their upbringing and so on, are maybe a bit ignorant, but nevertheless good people and not evil at all.

Christianity represents the greatest deception of all time,
I would say that this is a very dogmatic statement, and again, I do not think you are right. There are much bigger deceptions. If we elevate things to spiritual terms which is more how I see things, I would venture to say that a much greater deception, is that people believe that they can force anyone to believe something (I realize that you might say my point exactly) This expands the issue however and does not vilify Christianity but instead addresses a human condition in general. People who think that they can change a persons thought patters by dominating him, or by threatening or by using physical force, is a problem everywhere, even here on the AP. As you recall this was partly the issue about Frank and Robert and all that, and is probably the cause of most negativity, in the minds of man. Another great deception is that man thinks that he is the center of the universe. We all walk around thinking that WE are the center of the universe. Though I understand your thought, I find the world full of deceptions and I do not think it is fair, or accurate to single out Christianity. This is to answer your question How am I being unfair


Granted, you get my dander up sometimes, but this is because you are no longer "uninformed" about your religion.

No, that is right I am not, and I do thank you, for the part you have played in getting me to research things on my own.

I have spent countless hours over the past three years, along with others here on the AP, trying to help you see 'the light of Reason'. If you think that I am going to all of this trouble because I don't "like you" well...or because I just like to argue about all of this...well...here again you are very wrong! I do not do what I do here just for the sake of doing it. I want to help people to learn the things that they might not otherwise have access to.

As I said before I admire you for that and thank you, however my issue is, that when you come across as you do, it makes it hard to receive things, and all you end up doing is speaking to your little crowd of admirers. Those who believe as you do. (very comparable to Fundamentalism) It is as if it confuses, and causes static in a otherwise strong radio signal. It is difficult to explain, but often I find that you see things in a very Half empty way. We all do that at times. The problem is that with being a teacher comes a responsibility, to be kind and forgiving as well as understanding, even when your students perform less than well, and you feel frustrated. I know that I am meddling with things that is not my business but I think you could do better.  

If I were an elitist Mustardseed, I would consider our discussions a total waste of my time--and beneath me to do so.

Here again I did not know that being an elitist, had anything to do with not wanting to be part of a discussion. I simply thought that it meant a person, who believes himself or herself to be a member of an elite group. By that definition it seems obvious to me, that you consider yourself to be ahead of others, in the know or enlightened about said issue, and by my definition are an elitist.

"Debating" does not come with the rule that you have to be intellectual equals with your opponent.

No it does not, but it is my experience, that people who feel superior often have a hard time respecting people and opinions, they consider beneath them. This often makes for a very confusing, and unkind debate, chuck full of a lot of facts and figures proofs and so forth, and very little actual debate(read:seeing the other guys point). I thought a debate and what we are doing here, was an exchange of ideas, and opinions to cast light on an issue, not an exhortation. I understand that you use opponent as the opposing part, yet I find that the conversations I have learned the most from, no one has been” the opponent”. A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still. This often is a big one and hard to swallow for intellectual people. They often fail to understand this point and actually see a debate as a fight to win. Using sarcasm irony, etc all the tools their intellectuality has “armed” them with becomes a game, and they get to the point where they enjoy obliterating their “enemy” with clever wit and logic. It is often futile, and end up only being a game of wit, and such a conversation mostly leaves people cold and disheartened. It is something that Negs use a lot, and it causes a lot of harm worldwide.

I 'completely fail to see' your point here. I ask nothing of no one. I expect nothing of no one. I am not an organized powerhouse that makes promises it cannot keep. I do not make any claims to be the only way to salvation. I do not represent a system of guilt/shame and favor/redemption. I offer no icons of belief, and do not try to mobilize the masses for political and economic gain. I do not dictate ethics and try to influence morality. So, what is your point?

My point is that you are forcing “your truth” down my throat. You leave me no alternative, I either believe as you do or I am lost in ignorance (Read:Sin). I am told that I am accountable because I have had the truth,(Sounds like a religious statement to me) and threatened that you will soon turn off the warm water unless I “see the light” and “convert”. By your statements, you do dictate ethics, by telling me how I should live my life etc. Not what I should wear who I should eat but how I should think. It might not make a lot of sense to you, and I understand that you think more in physical realm, yet spiritually this is how you are like all the others. I see things very different from you Beth, more holistic. I am much more interested in the spiritual aspect of things. This is also the reason, why I am a bit in two minds with your statements about Christianity. We seem to be discussing two different things.


Well, it is not an assumption at all, because God did not do it any other way. It is false Mustardseed--if you must make it historically true--because if it were historically true, I and many others would not be able to take it apart so easily. Moreover, I have oftentimes said that there are a lot of "truths" in the bible, but these truths are philosophical truths, not historical truths. This is where I will once again say: I love the bible. It is an amazing collection of ancient literary genius. But it is NOT history.

I read a very interesting essay the other day at this link. I was generally in support of your point of view. The guy talked about what he called The Negative Evidence Principle. Here is a quote from the essay:

“The negative evidence principle is, of course, not foolproof. It is not a proof in itself, but is rather a guideline, a good rule of thumb. How useful and reliable it is, of course, is subject to debate among logicians. Here's how the N.E.P. works - it states that, you have good reason for not believing in a proposition if the following three principles are satisfied:

First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable.

Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true.

Third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found”.
(end quote)

It appears to me that this is the way you think and also, in an uncanny way, what I use myself in my argument. I argue the following point. That just because there is no evidence it does not mean it could not be. It may be unlikely and it may seem irrational and illogical but there is no proof it could not have happened. Only a negative statement based on reasoning logic and so forth.

First of all, I am not sure who HE is, but HE is not the divine. Except in your faith--HE is. Convenient for you since you are a guy, eh?

This is unfair in my eyes. I have never claimed or supported the superiority of men over women. On the contrary!. If you don’t believe that, I have described by beliefs in the section about religions and what I believe. I see women as actually superior to men, and in my belief system, the Holy Spirit has all the feminine qualities, the mother of the trinity you might say.

Yes, I guess you could say that the narratives are a fairy tale of sorts, but Christianity is far from being a fairytale. It is very real, and very dangerous IMHO. As far as Jesus being the son of God...well, being a "son" is once again convenient for you, since you are also someone's "son" and it certainly doesn't hurt that God is a father, because you are a 'father as well." Don't you see the problem here??? The 'divine' of which you speak has very conveniently been created in the image of MAN. Not even in the image of all people, but MAN. Since you also had a mother, who was also someone's daughter, don't you see the problem here? I guess you prefer the convenience that your religion provides you with, over the inconvenience that it might bring if this were not the case. C'mon Mustardseed...Think! See! Feel!

I am both thinking seeing and feeling Beth. I just don’t get your point. In the name of decency you should retract the above line of argument and accept that it is a slur, not necessarily meant to harm, I grant you that, but in effect a put down and baseless accusation. My statement was “let us create man in the image of ourselves, male and female created he them”

I look for the FACTS Mustardseed. You, in contrast, are holding on so tightly to your FAITH, that you cannot see the FACTS.

That is not true Beth, I am just cautious. Presently I am reading a series of very interesting essays on this web page ( www.bidstrup.com) You might be interested . My issue is that I believe that there are layers in life Beth and that what we have here on earth has been put here by ourselves. We have not only been given problems but also the ability to solve them. How we do that is up to us as individuals.

I formally invite you, right now, Mustardseed to enter into the 21st century, where all kinds of knowledge is available, if you would but seek it.

I hope you understand my point Beth. This type of statement is what I am talking about. It has no point, it is sort of offensive and insinuates that I am living in the past, Ignorant and also not willing to explore and look at research yours and others, for fear that by previously held beliefs will suffer shipwreck. Instead you insinuate that I am like an ostrich, with my head in the sand. (boo hoo) I know that in these type of debates this is to be expected but would this be accepted in your university, between equally educated people. Would you argue this way with other intellectuals?

Manhandle and intimidate? How so? Am I threatening you in any way whatsoever?....oh...I guess I am...I am going to work very hard to see that your conveniences are not so convenient. But even still, I am doing it without threat of prison, death or subjugation. You can even keep your masculinity in tact--in fact--I encourage you to do so. I happen to be quite attracted to men  

Again a slur about my manculinity. This type of slur is actually very intimidating Beth. My masculinity has suffered some pretty big blows the last 10 odd years, and I am actually not that confident in it anymore. Ha I am also not your average man, incidently I find that between the 2 of us I show more femnine qualities and you show more masculine pride and arrogance. Interesting isn’t it. I guess that shows that male or female in is a somewhat subjective issue. Interesting little tidbit about you being interested in men. I think that you must be very attractive yet a piece of “work” to live with every day, ha well in any case I can assure you that my masculinity is not a big issue for me these days, though I used to be quite ………….well lets say different.

My point exactly! And you CANNOT show me anywhere that the bible says anything against 'rational thinking'. Irrational: (1) not endowed with reason or understanding (2) lacking usual or normal mental clarity or coherence b: not governed by or according to reason. Rational: 1 a : having reason or understanding b : relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason. Reason: 2(1) : the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways : INTELLIGENCE (2)proper exercise of the mind (3) SANITY b: the sum of the intellectual powers

I would say that this is a qualitative statement. While there may be nothing about those words I think you would agree that there is a very strong line encouraging believers to trust in the wisdom of God as opposed to man. The underlying principle appears to be that mans wisdom is of the earth earthly (Read : The mind reason?) and that Gods wisdom is far above mans limited understanding. As the heaven is above the earth so my ways is above…….etc You know what I am talking about.

I admit that I am bitter against human egos that would manipulate people in the name of God. In fact, I can get quite angry about the whole thing.

Well that shines through Beth, and this is what I find so hard to get around. I have my own bitterness to deal with and have come to understand what a poison bitterness is to the spirit of man. It will polute your mind and hamper your ability to reach others as well. Robert talks about core images and their removal. It is my very strong opinion that Bitterness is one such attachment device, “beware lest any root of bitterness spring up among you and defile many” . If one harbours bitterness it taints their spirit and if people are sensitive to such things they pick it up.

If God were to ever "speak to me" I would damn sure listen! But Mustardseed, how do you know that God is not trying to speak to you right now--through me? Maybe you are "the type" to be so biased that you cannot hear HIM through the voice of a woman?? hmmmm??? Maybe you are reluctant to accept anything new because you would have to admit that you have been "wrong" for so many years? That perhaps your life's work would have been in error? You would not be the first or the last to do so.

Well surprise surprise I feel like you in this area Beth. I also believe that God speaks to me through you. He/She/It speaks to me through lots of people through nature etc. and I am glad you feel this way so alas………we agree on something

If you want to continue to be a martyr for a religion that is out-dated, misused, abused and totally misunderstood--not to mention totally irrational (which is NOT a good thing Mustardseed) then I will not try to help you any further

Well that is naturally up to you Beth, free will and all, taken into consideration. I do not see myself as a martyr, and I do not see Christianity as outdated. I would however, agree that it is misused abused and totally misunderstood, but I am considering all these things, your arguments and those of others,  as I believe I am supposed to. My faith has been a very big help to me for 30years, without it I believe I would have died of an over doze as a 18yr old.. It has provided me with a moral code to live by, raise my kids and interact patiently and lovingly with the people I have met in my life, and that includes you. Contrary to your experience, it has given me faith to endure much grief. I have seen horrors through my life in the third world, war zones death and what have you, and my faith has been nothing but a help, so you must pardon me for not tossing it in the trash can quite yet. On an intellectual level I am now faced with some different considerations, regarding its validity, historically speaking, (something that was never an issue before) and I will continue to consider these till my mind is made up. It does not worry me too much, I am not frightened by the prospect, but look forward to it. If there is another level of some sort I will have equally a great time there as I have had here. Life is a great journey and my cup is still half full.

It is my hope we can stay friends in spite of the things we do not exactly see eye to eye on, as always I look forward to your reply.

Mustardseed
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2006, 03:15:21 »

Dear Mustardseed,

Hey there! Reading your response has, as usual, been very enlightening. At least you are consistent...as am I.

The way you pull out certain things that I said -- while disregarding the other points that I made -- is quite remarkable.  In other words, you pull out the things that make me look like an a**hole and leave out the parts where I am patient and rational.

Maybe I should do what you do -- you know, when you are being an a**hole, you just type "ha" after it. For example:
Quote
"incidently I find that between the 2 of us I show more femnine qualities and you show more masculine pride and arrogance. Interesting isn’t it. I guess that shows that male or female in is a somewhat subjective issue. Interesting little tidbit about you being interested in men. I think that you must be very attractive yet a piece of “work” to live with every day, ha"
With your "ha" tagged on there at the end, you try to disarm your insult/attack, but the insult/attack remains in a backhanded way.  You have tried this backhanded tactic with me so many times before--I can spot it a mile away. This is what usually happens next: I call you on your insult/attack, and you just point to the "ha" and are able to say you were "just kidding." Of course, then you proceed to take me to task on whether I know how to take a joke or not!

Brilliant emotional manipulation tool MS...to use on someone who doesn't know any better. But we have been down that road many times in the past and it doesn't work on me anymore. I'm a quick study (read: I learn fast. Watch...)

Maybe you should rename yourself "Scent of the Rose" because regardless of how much "fertilizer" it takes to make you big and strong, you have an amazing way of turning things around to make yourself seem all sweet and lovely ha...

Okay, personal stuff aside (there is more that I could call you on, but I will pass on this round...) Let's stick to the important stuff:
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I do however think that you dislike Religious folks. It’s as if you resent them, and are bitter maybe because of abuse. In any case your dislike, or condescension is so clearly felt, that I find it becomes intimidating to converse with you.
Again, I do not dislike "Religious folk." I am extremely critical of western religion, but I do not dislike you or other believers because you are religious.  
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I would dare to say, that you vilify folks, who due to their upbringing and so on, are maybe a bit ignorant, but nevertheless good people and not evil at all.
I was very clear on this issue. Please re-read what I wrote.
Quote
Here you are very wrong my friend. I do not 'dislike' or despise' anyone, except those people that would cause harm to others. But, certainly not 'because they are Christians'.

Yes, I certainly consider uninformed believers to be very manipulated, and they only 'ignorant' because they do not know any better. Brainwashing is not something to be taken lightly, Mustardseed, especially when it is done in the Name of God.

Yes, the people who cause harm to other people are evil (if you want to use that term) and if it happens that they call themselves Christian, well, that is beside the point. Bad people are bad people, regardless of what religion they claim to believe in. Unfortunately, there are 'evil' people out there causing a lot of harm to a lot of people by using Christianity (and other religions) to broker their own power hungry egos.
Does that sound like I don't like the "folk" of religion??? No. I consider "religious folk" victims of a larger-than-life machine of manipulation. They cannot see through the brainwashing, and so instead of seeing the mental and emotional fog that they are in, they feel "victimized" by those who are trying to help them break away from the "real manipulators."
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My point is that you are forcing “your truth” down my throat. You leave me no alternative, I either believe as you do or I am lost in ignorance (Read:Sin).
I am not trying to 'force you' to do anything. If you feel 'forced' it is because you are torn between what you have always known, and the knowledge that I am presenting to you now. I am merely responding to you Mustardseed. In fact, the only time I even enter into a discussion with you is when "you want me" to engage with you. You started this thread as a public discussion between the two of us...did you not? Reference:
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Description: Dear Beth...

If I were trying to force anything down your throat MS, I would have called you out for a discussion instead of the other way around. Once again, you are manipulating the situation to fit your rosey position...after the fact.

Here is an analogy that may help: You call me out for a dual. You prime and draw your pistol. We both shoot, but my bullet hits its mark and yours goes astray.  Then, as you lay there bleeding on the ground, you cry out "unfair"--look everybody--SHE SHOT ME!!

What do you want me to do Mustardseed, just type in the words you want to hear???

Next issue:
Quote
The guy talked about what he called The Negative Evidence Principle...
To which you responded
Quote
It appears to me that this is the way you think
It doesn't appear that that this is the way I think Mustardseed. This is the way that I think especially when it comes to the totally outrageous claims that Christianity makes!!  I would not care about this issue so much if it weren't for the fact that this religion has been maintaining such a tremendous strangle-hold over humanity for almost 2,000 years. With the well hammered out system that Christianity has figured out (and Islam as well)--they have been getting away with an untold number of "crimes against humanity" since their institutionalization!! That's a long time to be flying under the radar of rational thought--and outside of rational justice. The time for change has come.

And sorry pal, but you cannot then say this about the NEP:
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and also, in an uncanny way, what I use myself in my argument.
I will show you why you cannot. Let me re-quote the Principle:
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First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable.

Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true.

Third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found”.
Now, by you making the disclaimer that
Quote
in an uncanny way, [this is] what I use myself in my argument.
you are only showing that you did not understand the principle at all. This is how you qualified your statement:
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I argue the following point. That just because there is no evidence it does not mean it could not be.
No evidence is 'No Evidence'. You are in no way using this principle yourself, uncannily or not. I am reminded of an adage that may help here:

If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, well...it's probably a duck.

To which I would like to add: Except when THERE IS NO DUCK to be observed.

Bottom line: Your duck may seem like it could be a duck, except your duck won't waddle or quack. And believe me...many people are going to a lot of trouble to make it do either one...and yet...it remains as silent as a decoy.

Bottom line: The whole basis of western religion has been a creative work of fictional literature; figuratively speaking, it is a stuffed duck, used by these religions as a decoy that leads away from God--not toward God--but rather, toward human power and greed.

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I have never claimed or supported the superiority of men over women.
If you insist upon calling the creator, judge, comforter, leader, and ultimate source of wisdom of the universe HE, well that is exactly what you are doing.

When you truly see equality between men and women, you will no longer want to call a supreme deity HE. Why? Because you will taste the lie on your tongue.
 
But you are not there yet:
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My statement was “let us create man in the image of ourselves, male and female created he them”
See, you still refer to God as a HE. Why is that?
Quote
I formally invite you, right now, Mustardseed to enter into the 21st century, where all kinds of knowledge is available, if you would but seek it.

I hope you understand my point Beth. This type of statement is what I am talking about. It has no point, it is sort of offensive and insinuates that I am living in the past, Ignorant and also not willing to explore and look at research yours and others, for fear that by previously held beliefs will suffer shipwreck. Instead you insinuate that I am like an ostrich, with my head in the sand.
Yes! Isn't it amazing though, what I had to do to get you to actually  see my point?

You see Mustardseed, I can make posts that are patient and kind, reasonable and well thought out--to which you resist with all of your might. But then--let me lean toward an insult...and by golly you actually get it!!  

So, you can take me to task for being hard on you my friend, but it has been apparent over the last three years that borderline insults are sometimes the best teaching tool to use with you.

Again, you called me into this discussion---knowing exactly my methodology---and my uncompromising insistence upon rational thinking. If it makes all of this easier for you to make me the bad guy/girl, then go ahead, I can take it. But know this: it is not me you are insulted by or being manipulated by. It is that bigger-than-life machine of manipulation that you are so loyal to.
Quote
It is my hope we can stay friends in spite of the things we do not exactly see eye to eye on, as always I look forward to your reply.
Of course we can stay friends. Like I said, I don't spend this much time on people that I don't like. That would be a total waste of my time and energy.

Sometimes love is soft and sweet, but sometimes -- Love Must Hang Tough.

I have been hanging tough with you for a long time Mustardseed, and regardless of what happens, as long as you keep coming to me, I refuse to give up on you.

~Beth
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2006, 03:27:57 »

There are many old documents that have been inscribed by people claiming that they were inspired to do so.  Among those documents are so called religious texts.  What some people do is take those texts and re-create the conditions that brought about the original inspiration.  Some people take those texts and make them fit into a comfortable personal way to deal with the unknown.  Also some of us take those words as face value.  

That does not make those texts false or untrue, just inapplicable or misunderstood by reason of culture and language.   One mistake multiplied by millenia and language differences make for a wide gap in the original idea and the modern day interpretations.  

All of what we call 'Christianity' has gone through many changes over time so much so that many people do not know that what became the 'bible' started long before it was inscribed to paper or stone.

To rant at others over particular BELIEFS can become unfriendly to the point of war as history will bear witness.  

Did Jesus exist the way anyone thinks about it?   Does it matter if the lessons are applied?   Is what is called the 'bible' a complete fabrication without any truth to it?  It is a fabrication.  Is there truth in it?  

Each person, whether you are reading hear or not, is responsible for what the know and what they DO.    Each person has to forge their own relationship with all that is.  If there was not a Jesus, then the stories still teach lessons that can be applied to this day.  If there was not an Abraham then Judaism still teaches lessons that can be applied to this day.
If there were no such person who was named after Buddhism, so what?  There are still lessons and disciplines that benefit people.
 
And it is still better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

For the most part I find that many groups and forums are overly concerned with phenomena and special experiences that are really only an attempt to bolster the ego with out a real application.    Many of these types of people are really looking for escape from everyday life or a form of entertainment without commitment.  

It is easy to misunderstand what someone may write into one of these forums.  But you can each only start from where you are at and bring what you can communicate.  To take affront or give affront is an exercise in futility.

When you leave this forum you are still who you are, no  more and no less.  From what any one writes here no one can truly judge an others state.

Try the less traveled road.
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2006, 04:12:59 »

gdo,

Thanks for your comments, but what you are reading here is something that Mustardseed and I have been doing about twice a year for the past three+ years.

I realize that you are new and have no knowledge of this ongoing but sporadic conversation, but please know that all is in divine order.

~Beth
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2006, 11:19:28 »

Dear Beth,

Sorry, I’m going to speak and you won’t like it.

“Here is an analogy that may help: You call me out for a dual. You prime and draw your pistol. We both shoot, but my bullet hits its mark and yours goes astray. Then, as you lay there bleeding on the ground, you cry out "unfair"--look everybody--SHE SHOT ME!!”


I wanted to give the Pulse a rest. It emotionally mental and physically drains me, which isn’t good for anyone, STABLE FACT!  

Belief and understanding cannot be defined or talked about, just lived, and communicated now and again as it should be.  

Gods done a lot of things here, if I choose to, at any time can I display my persuasion, and totally bring down every clever clogs and would be character assassinator, stupid or not, with sheer self-evidence, with my sword.    

“You could lose your head in a heartbeat, or be burned at the stake for thinking anything different from what the Church was teaching. Galileo was one of the precious few lucky ones; he was only imprisoned for the rest of his life.”

When I was sectioned my leaving time check was 14:44 my arrival time home was co-incidentally 14:44...  A lifetimes experience that’s unexplainable. I just completed my duties, had lots of time to mull everything over, and really think about ‘ME’ and what ‘I’ wanted to do for a change, it was good retreat.

My breath! I have an honest word! Which I might just smite anyone with, not because I want to but because it is just the right thing to do.

*Rebukes this dum storm*    

Religion is a constant mud fight that produces idol’s, I’ve been there, seen everything, done it all before, yeah I’m young, int I a lucky Adum!

As I think this moment, with all the chat about nothing here, there comes a time throughout history when somebody or someone discovers something so acute, and so unexpected that people just can’t decided what is more amazing, the FACT or the THINKING.

Anyone know what I mean???

Brad
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2006, 12:51:00 »

LOL!  It's baaaaaaaaack.  cheesy

Why aren't I a panther yet, damnit!!!  evil  evil  evil
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2006, 13:08:48 »

i wish  iwas a Lion.

The raw Strenght..
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2006, 15:57:42 »

Dear Beth
Again thanks for your time. This thread is becoming very interesting for me and not as harrowing as I thought ha. Maybe I am learning something. I see so clearly how we sometimes speak past each other and would like to clarify. As an example in my language adding ha in the net is considered adding a smiley, it is not seen as the taunting ha that Americans use. You commented ……….

With your "ha" tagged on there at the end, you try to disarm your insult/attack, but the insult/attack remains in a backhanded way. You have tried this backhanded tactic with me so many times before--I can spot it a mile away. This is what usually happens next: I call you on your insult/attack, and you just point to the "ha" and are able to say you were "just kidding." Of course, then you proceed to take me to task on whether I know how to take a joke or not!

Brilliant emotional manipulation tool MS...to use on someone who doesn't know any better. But we have been down that road many times in the past and it doesn't work on me anymore. I'm a quick study (read: I learn fast. Watch...)


Well if that is the way you understood it, I apologize. That was not the way it was meant. If you believe it or not, it was indeed a comment intended to lighten things up a and calm things down. I will have to really think about this, whether I was trying to assert myself or not, I don’t think so, and though I can honestly say that there was evil intent maybe on some subconscious level I was getting back at you, by commenting on you and how you would be to live with, that is possible. In any case it was not my place, and I am sorry about that.

Maybe you should rename yourself "Scent of the Rose" because regardless of how much "fertilizer" it takes to make you big and strong, you have an amazing way of turning things around to make yourself seem all sweet and lovely ha...

Okay, personal stuff aside (there is more that I could call you on, but I will pass on this round...) Let's stick to the important stuff:

An eye for an eye though will only serve to make us all blind so I agree, lets stop it here. I guess I deserved this one but as you said, lets stick to the issue at hand? If you have to, you must comment on all the other things, but do try to believe that I was not trying to offend you. Maybe its just the last vestiges of the male ego having a hard time. About you disliking religious folks, I purposely used …. as if ….maybe ……because I was not sure. How can I be sure, of anything you think or feel. There is however an aggressiveness or intimidation going on somewhere, and it seems to me to be a very personal thing. I have read many of your posts over the years Beth, and you seem to often be so angry, or upset or whatever it is. This is, to me, and possibly others intimidating. As I said it’s like being taught by a teacher, who is always on the verge of blowing up. Most folks who are in agreement with you, don’t feel it but actually applaud you for the aggression, the fast snappy answers and so forth, but since they are not emotionally involved, they do not help things at all but more become the cheerleaders.

Again, I do not dislike "Religious folk." I am extremely critical of western religion, but I do not dislike you or other believers because you are religious  

Does that sound like I don't like the "folk" of religion??? No. I consider "religious folk" victims of a larger-than-life machine of manipulation. They cannot see through the brainwashing, and so instead of seeing the mental and emotional fog that they are in, they feel "victimized" by those who are trying to help them break away from the "real manipulators."


Ok I will take your word for it, your motive that is. It appears, however, to be very disrespectful and condescending and it does not help the conversation nor does it enhance your argument. Honey catches a lot more flies than vinegar. You assume that we as a group are in a “mental and emotional fog”, and that we feel feel victimized, because of this fog. It is however also a possibility that we/they are not in a fog, that our lives makes sense, and that we are being barraged by unbelievers who claim that we are being brainwashed and manipulated. That's not so pleasant.

I am not trying to 'force you' to do anything. If you feel 'forced' it is because you are torn between what you have always known, and the knowledge that I am presenting to you now. I am merely responding to you Mustardseed. In fact, the only time I even enter into a discussion with you is when "you want me" to engage with you. You started this thread as a public discussion between the two of us...did you not?

If I were trying to force anything down your throat MS, I would have called you out for a discussion instead of the other way around. Once again, you are manipulating the situation to fit your rosey position...after the fact.


Ok then I guess I see your point, I agree that no matter what you do or think or say, it is ultimately up to me, and what I do, with what I hear or experience, is up to me. As I said I am not in a hurry, to swap one belief system for another. I feel quite at home with the principles I have learned in the Bible. Whether I have to start taking the whole book as a fiction, with implications or not remains to be seen. Let me explain. I find the principles in the book work………..it’s as simple as that. Prayer changes things, love and humility solves issues, etc etc There is or appears to be, power in the name of Jesus both to help strengthen but also act and exorcise etc. My life is eased by its wisdom. The promises in seem very real, and it delivers. So to me it has real spiritual life. I suppose that to you or others it’s just a make believe, but not to me. I have tested its claims. Hence I am hesitant to throw it out. To quote your own words, if it waddles like a Duck quacks like a Duck it probably is a Duck. This is what I meant by using the Negative Evidence Principle. Further more he also stated that there is much debate about the validity of this principle and that it is not ultimate.

On the other hand I see a lot of schism and hypocrisy in the lives of religious people in various groupings. I credit that, not to the religion, but to the fact that they do not live whet they preach. The principles are clearly laid out, in so many places, “he that loves knows God he that loves not knows not God for God is love” If people fail to use the instruction manual, they cannot claim that there is something wrong with the product.

Here is an analogy that may help: You call me out for a dual. You prime and draw your pistol. We both shoot, but my bullet hits its mark and yours goes astray. Then, as you lay there bleeding on the ground, you cry out "unfair"--look everybody--SHE SHOT ME!!

What do you want me to do Mustardseed, just type in the words you want to hear???


I still believe its easy to get far too aggressive. Could it be that you have had to endure so much in the cause of your studies that you have adopted a mentality of shoot first and ask later attitude. That you use such analogies makes me think that. This is what makes it unpleasant to me Beth. The spirit in which you argue, is the spirit of destruction to your opponent, and hence it becomes intimidating. I would much rather just discuss the issue, than debate it in such a heated way. In my understanding, this is a very American spirit and attitude. I just want you to be a bit more reasonable. That’s all. Avoid slurs and if I call you on one that slips by, acknowledge it and retract it.

It doesn't appear that that this is the way I think Mustardseed. This is the way that I think especially when it comes to the totally outrageous claims that Christianity makes!! I would not care about this issue so much if it weren't for the fact that this religion has been maintaining such a tremendous strangle-hold over humanity for almost 2,000 years. With the well hammered out system that Christianity has figured out (and Islam as well)--they have been getting away with an untold number of "crimes against humanity" since their institutionalization!! That's a long time to be flying under the radar of rational thought--and outside of rational justice. The time for change has come.

Well it will be an interesting decade I am sure. However if you think that the masses will renounce religion I think you will be surprised. I am as you sure, that there will be an attempt to secularize the world, with a one world govt. and since they can’t agree on the issue of religion, taking it all away seems the only option. But I think it will fail..Lets see.
If you insist upon calling the creator, judge, comforter, leader, and ultimate source of wisdom of the universe HE, well that is exactly what you are doing.

When you truly see equality between men and women, you will no longer want to call a supreme deity HE. Why? Because you will taste the lie on your tongue.

If you noticed Beth I called God He/She/It for this very reason. It is however a natural reaction for me, and since we are all creatures of habit, changing the way you address someone takes a bit of time. It would be important to me that you understand that these words are only words, how I behave in a day to day setting is the true test of the words. People can say all sorts of things but how they live is what is important. I do not believe myself or males in general, to be superior to women, by virtue of their sex. Naturally we are different and there are areas men are better at, as there are areas women are better at. I do find the feminism that is so rampant, to be just reverse indoctrination and equally stupid. Calling God a she as some do here on the pulse. This in your face attitude is in my opinion silly.  

See, you still refer to God as a HE. Why is that?

I guess its just a habit, for you I will change that.

Isn't it amazing though, what I had to do to get you to actually see my point?

You see Mustardseed, I can make posts that are patient and kind, reasonable and well thought out--to which you resist with all of your might. But then--let me lean toward an insult...and by golly you actually get it!!

So, you can take me to task for being hard on you my friend, but it has been apparent over the last three years that borderline insults are sometimes the best teaching tool to use with you.


Well Beth here I will ask you to really listen, and believe what I have to say. This argument is very wrong. When we first met on this board, after our initial clash, we had a very good conversation. I can’t remember the thread but I do remember your attitude. You were very different and treated me very well. I felt that you respected me and that we had a constructive exchange of opinions, and I actually learned something. That very early thread, is the reason I listen to you, not the following 3 years of arguments. The borderline insults do not help at all. I started doing my own research way back then. It was very difficult, but I would venture to say that if we had not had that specific conversation, I would probably not have listened to you at all. I could draw all sorts of analogies about harshness in education raising kids or even marriage and jobs, but will leave it to you. It is illogical as I see it, to insist that harshness and insults bring better fruit than patience kindness and respect. Many an abused housewife has had to endure beatings from a mate saying “see you made me mad again, so I abused you” with the guy justifying it cause it appears to work in bringing the spouse into submission.

Of course we can stay friends. Like I said, I don't spend this much time on people that I don't like. That would be a total waste of my time and energy.

Sometimes love is soft and sweet, but sometimes -- Love Must Hang Tough.

I have been hanging tough with you for a long time Mustardseed, and regardless of what happens, as long as you keep coming to me, I refuse to give up on you.


Thanks Beth. Maybe this is the beginning of a new and better relationship between us. Though I do question the American attitude of tough love, I was thinking that this thread and maybe even you and I, and the way we relate is a separate and very interesting issue, and maybe that is something we should set aside for another discussion. Religious tolerance mutual respect diplomacy etc the boards are full of destructive conversations, and I have a feeling that lots of folks don’t even want to waste their time, asking question for fear that they will get into such exchanges. As I said, I am preaching to myself here and realize what a contentious person I have been for many years……..anyway I am determined to do better in that area.

I would like to ask you about the NEP in relation to the two following points.

1 . Since the principle is only an assumption and probability or a indicator, howbeit a very strong one, is it possible to conclude that it is not actual proof.

2.  If the principle works in regards to historical proof and also works the way I use it, what is the conclusion. Can there be a logical explanation for both arguments being right?.


Why would the Bible work, if it is only a fiction. I guess it is possible that Astrally speaking it may have gained mass through peoples faith in it. I remember an old story I read somewhere about the bumble bee. I think it was something like a bumble bee should technically not be able to fly but it does. It might be a religious urban legend but I am sure we can come up with some analogy that explains. I know that in the ages past people have used certain principles without understanding how or why they work, electricity is one. We flip the switch and there is light. This is how I think many feel and why they have a hard time accepting your points. They look for the answer and keep looking because it works for them, and any claim that it is a fairytale does not ring true. I would think that you would assume that the people you say wrote it tapped into real spiritual powers, but how do we explain prophesy about future events. Do you mean to say that it was written after they had already taken place. ?


Regards Mustardseed

PS I can’t get to your page if you would allow me the access I would appreciate it.
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2006, 01:02:23 »

Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:
Quote
Let me explain. I find the principles in the book work………..it’s as simple as that. Prayer changes things, love and humility solves issues, etc etc There is or appears to be, power in the name of Jesus both to help strengthen but also act and exorcise etc. My life is eased by its wisdom. The promises in seem very real, and it delivers. So to me it has real spiritual life. I suppose that to you or others it’s just a make believe, but not to me. I have tested its claims. Hence I am hesitant to throw it out.

The principles are clearly laid out, in so many places, “he that loves knows God he that loves not knows not God for God is love” If people fail to use the instruction manual, they cannot claim that there is something wrong with the product.

Before I continue with my response I have a very important question for you:

Why do you think that you cannot benefit from the wisdom of the Bible without associating yourself with Christianity?

In other words, why do you need to be a Christian for those things to be real and powerful for you?


~Beth
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2006, 09:01:58 »

Interesting question. I would say that in the past, the answer would have been obvious. Without the Bible and Jesus and all that the credit for doing living and loving would have gone to ME. Something that to a Christian is not a good thing. (Ministers to pride and all that) My view would have been, that God was not being seen as the source, and from where the motive and strenght to walk the walk, come from.

Nowadays it is different for me, as well as many others I presume, and I would keep on living how I live, with the moral standard I now have, regardless. I also recognize that people all over live like me, in love and actually fulfill these moral codes, and so forth without knowing about God. Some heathen I met in the darkest India, communists in my own country, actually show more love than a good deal of Fundamentalists that I met in USA.

I am still in a process with my religion Beth, and as such have no set standards other than living in love. As I said, the more I learn, and the older I get, the more I understand that God (Love) the all mighty, He,She It   whatever we choose to name this force, is so much bigger than me and my finite comprehension.

As I also stated, I am an adherent to a doctrine called universal reconciliation, something deemed heresy among fundamentalists. I believe a life lived in love has merit, no matter who lives it and what they believe, and eventually all will come to know God. The only thing that I get, from Christianity is a guideline. I would venture to say, that had I not had that guideline, in my youth, the chances are small that I would have ended up where I am today. More likely than not I would have been dead, (but then again cool )

If we get to the end of the road one day and Jesus is not real, I am OK with that.I have tried to live, as I believe I should, and I think that along with others, believers and unbelievers, we will go to our respective next level knowing ..........we did our best.

To try to explain I will use the old adage. We all read the book of life, but Christianity makes me feel I know the author, and it is so much more interesting to read something, you know is written by someone you have met. Does that make sense?

Regards Mustardseed
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2006, 14:49:22 »

Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:  
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I am an adherent to a doctrine called universal reconciliation, something deemed heresy among fundamentalists.

Please explain to me what you mean by "universal reconciliation" and how that would be implimented. Then please explain why other Christians deem it to be heresy.

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The only thing that I get, from Christianity is a guideline.
Are you getting this guideline from "Christianity" or from "the parts of the bible" that teach that concept?

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I would venture to say, that had I not had that guideline, in my youth, the chances are small that I would have ended up where I am today.
Assuming that the guideline of which you speak is the "good stuff" that the bible offers, I had that same guideline in my youth David, and still live by it (or sincerely try to). My problem came in when I couldn't help but notice that the majority of Christians were "talking the talk" but NOT "walking the walk." In fact, they were doing more harm than good. That problem has not gone away. It only becomes bigger and bigger as time goes on.

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If we get to the end of the road one day and Jesus is not real I am OK with that.
Salvation through Love is very real David, but Christianity does not "own" that concept, nor does it even truly represent that concept anymore.  Christianity does not "own" God and moreover, Jesus did not have to be a real human for that concept to be true.

In my observations, Christianity has totally lost touch with Christ.  Instead of spending untold amounts of money to elect very bad people into political offices, or to sending missionaries to convert others into a broken religion -- their money would be better spent on a major over-haul -- an internal reconciliation between them and Christ. They need to spend all of those tax-free dollars to pay for believers to learn the real historical origin of the bible, the original language of the bible, and to learn of the history of their own religion. When that happens, Christianity will be forced to change. If the over-haul has been successful, it will not be able to remain what it has become -- believers will feel the lies on their tongues.

I have spent more time than you can imagine wondering whether this is even possible. In the beginning, I wanted my research to do just that -- to help Christianity help itself regain a relationship with Christ. I have lost most of that idealistic notion David. I am 99% convinced that it cannot be fixed. It is too corrupt, too lost. If something is broken and can be fixed, it needs to be fixed. If it is broken to the extent that it cannot be fixed, it needs to be set aside and replaced with something new and better.

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I am still in a process with my religion Beth, and as such have no set standards other than living in love.
I just did an extensive study of the Gospel of John. There is so much spiritual wisdom there -- but its universal message is being totally missed, because Christians are being taught that they only 'have to love other Christians'.

Christianity does not represent the best of the bible. Christianity needs "to learn" about "Universal Love" David.
 
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We all read the book of life, but Christianity makes me feel I know the author, and it is so much more interesting to read something, you know is written by someone you have met. Does that make sense?
God did not write the bible David. Jesus did not write the bible. Humans wrote the bible about God and Jesus.

If you want to qualify that God wrote the bible "through those human authors" -- well try reading some non-Christian books that also talk about God and I say that you will find that "God" was writing through those authors as well.

Please explain to me again why you need to associate yourself with Christianity to know God and to live a life of Love?

~Beth
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« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2006, 20:34:27 »

Dear Beth

Please explain to me what you mean by "universal reconciliation" and how that would be implemented. Then please explain why other Christians deem it to be heresy.

BY Universal Reconciliation I mean that there are lots of verses that teach that everything and everybody will eventually come to know God. The Bible is full of these verses. I could look it all up for you but instead of me taking that time just type in the words Universal Reconciliation in Google and you will understand. The Doctrine teaches that God will eventually “save” all man kind and ring all to peace with Him(her/It) something the fundamentalists deem heresy. They teach that hell in the punishment for sinners those who reject their doctrine and love to consider themselves the called out chosen people.

Are you getting this guideline from "Christianity" or from "the parts of the bible" that teach that concept?

I get that from the Bible- I don’t know a lot about Christianity as such, but the guiding principle as I see it is LOVE, What else is there of value. Christianity as I understand it, adheres to a belief, that doctrines of various kinds are more important than LOVE. They call me a heretic, I call them heretics.

Assuming that the guideline of which you speak is the "good stuff" that the bible offers, I had that same guideline in my youth David, and still live by it (or sincerely try to). My problem came in when I couldn't help but notice that the majority of Christians were "talking the talk" but NOT "walking the walk." In fact, they were doing more harm than good. That problem has not gone away. It only becomes bigger and bigger as time goes on.

Agree totally. But then again Beth we have to live life as we believe it is supposed to be lived. We should always see Jesus besides us and the light of what he taught we should act. Most Christians just live the life, it is very comfortable to be the Heir, however an heir have to earn his inheritance by staying true to it. You cannot live like the devil and yet expect to be rewarded as an angel. There is far too little accountability in organized Christianity. I believe, like you that it is too late. The Christian system cannot be revived, it is a dead duck. However there are people who have rejected the hypocrisy, and the false life they have seen being lived, who have left organized Christianity and still live the tenants of the Bible.
 
Salvation through Love is very real David, but Christianity does not "own" that concept, nor does it even truly represent that concept anymore. Christianity does not "own" God and moreover, Jesus did not have to be a real human for that concept to be true.

Again we agree. We, the Christians do not own that principle. And yes, he did not even have to me born for that to be true. However it is a fact that whether He said it or not, whether he even existed or not, those words have in history been ascribed to HIM. His life (again whether you believe they are fairy tales or not) was lived in love and He died in Love, unselfishly to inspire others to do the same.

Let me tell you a situation, I saved a life tonight Beth, I am sure of it. I was walking in the place I now live, early evening, a Muslim ghetto, and saw a mass of people and shouting’s going on. A young local boy was being attacked by a mob of young Muslim men. It was pretty scary. There were people all over, but no one did anything. Someone pulled up a metal pipe and I knew, that within seconds this kid hardly 13 was in danger. I have no idea why, but instantly I bent down and picked up a cigarette bud and walked into the crowd. As I came into the middle I asked for a light. The thugs were amazed, and some guy flipped me a finger and they all started to curse me, in Arabic. I just stood there, and while I saw the young boy was making his escape, I started to praise God in Arabic. The kids could not believe their ears, some shouted but mostly they were stunned. Finally I just said in Arabic, God is greater that violence, and turned my back and walked away. I am not saying this to promote myself at all. But this is life Beth, at least where I am now, my faith says : do something. The Muslim and (Church) Christians who stood by and did NOTHING. Though Christianity does not own a principle, it still gives us (me) the power to do things, that others do not want to do.
Look around you, there are lots of people doing things. I worked for many years in very difficult places, most of the people I met there, not all but most, were Christians , they never went to Church nor did they blow a trumpet about their beliefs, but their inspiration came from an example of true unselfishness, they had learned from the Bible.

In my observations, Christianity has totally lost touch with Christ. Instead of spending untold amounts of money to elect very bad people into political offices, or to sending missionaries to convert others into a broken religion -- their money would be better spent on a major over-haul -- an internal reconciliation between them and Christ. They need to spend all of those tax-free dollars to pay for believers to learn the real historical origin of the bible, the original language of the bible, and to learn of the history of their own religion. When that happens, Christianity will be forced to change. If the over-haul has been successful, it will not be able to remain what it has become -- believers will feel the lies on their tongues.

Could not agree with you more, as a religion we are lost in a darker place than the “unsaved” because Christianity claim to see, therefore we are even blinder.

I have spent more time than you can imagine wondering whether this is even possible. In the beginning, I wanted my research to do just that -- to help Christianity help itself regain a relationship with Christ. I have lost most of that idealistic notion David. I am 99% convinced that it cannot be fixed. It is too corrupt, too lost. If something is broken and can be fixed, it needs to be fixed. If it is broken to the extent that it cannot be fixed, it needs to be set aside and replaced with something new and better.

My advice is drop it. It’s a done deal, and Christianity as we know it cannot be fixed. The people want it this way, and have become the scribes and Pharisees

I just did an extensive study of the Gospel of John. There is so much spiritual wisdom there -- but its universal message is being totally missed, because Christians are being taught that they only 'have to love other Christians'.

Not where I come from. This is not a principle I have even heard of. It must be American. Most Christians are taught to love everyone they meet.

Christianity does not represent the best of the bible. Christianity needs "to learn" about "Universal Love" David.

Right again…………amazing we actually agree on so much. As a religion the Christians or Christianity are in he dark., That is obvious to all. They cannot even love their families much less their enemies or people they consider sinners gays or whatever. It’s a total chapter 11. They all need to learn but in  a greater reality, everybody does, HUMANITY is at the verge of self destruction, and we have turned our most sacred things into jokes. Christians are just people and unless the people individually gain consciousness towards God, and acknowledges HIMHERIT as standing besides them at every decision and turn, they will choose selfishness. We all need to learn


God did not write the bible David. Jesus did not write the bible. Humans wrote the bible about God and Jesus.


Ok if you say so this was metaphor Beth and not something said to argue a point.

If you want to qualify that God wrote the bible "through those human authors" -- well try reading some non-Christian books that also talk about God and I say that you will find that "God" was writing through those authors as well.

I have and I do, all the time. God speaks to me through all of it, books movies poetry and creation, there are some very “anointed Prophets” here on the pulse. When they speak I listen. That would be you as well. Truth is truth, love is love, no matter who tells it, or does it. I honestly think You have me mixed up with someone else.

Please explain to me again why you need to associate yourself with Christianity to know God and to live a life of Love?

Let me just give you a smart alec comment to finish off this post. Have patience here, this is in good humor.

 I do not need to associate myself with Christianity, they continually associate themselves with Me. It seems that they put to words, and define what I already believe and live.

Thanks for your post I think we have finally come to some sort of peace where we an truly communicate and it is a great source of happiness to me

Regards Mustardseed
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« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2006, 23:20:37 »

Dear Mustardseed,

You wrote:
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I don’t know a lot about Christianity as such, but the guiding principle as I see it is LOVE, What else is there of value. Christianity as I understand it, adheres to a belief, that doctrines of various kinds are more important than LOVE. They call me a heretic, I call them heretics.
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Most Christians just live the life, it is very comfortable to be the Heir, however an heir have to earn his inheritance by staying true to it. You cannot live like the devil and yet expect to be rewarded as an angel. I believe, like you that it is too late. The Christian system cannot be revived, it is a dead duck.
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There is far too little accountability in organized Christianity.
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Could not agree with you more, as a religion we are lost in a darker place than the “unsaved” because Christianity claim to see, therefore we are even blinder.
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As a religion the Christians or Christianity are in he dark., That is obvious to all. They cannot even love their families much less their enemies or people they consider sinners gays or whatever.
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I do not need to associate myself with Christianity


With these things said David, please explain to me why you have such a hard time with the knowledge that I share here on the AP?  You have always taken it very personally when I critique Christianity in much the same way that you just did. In fact, most Christians think that regardless of all that Ghandi did, he is still going to Hell.
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However there are people who have rejected the hypocrisy, and the false life they have seen being lived, who have left organized Christianity and still live the tenants of the Bible.
I agree. There are a great many of these people, but to what extent they still follow the tenents of Christianity would vary, as well as which tenets they actually choose to continue to follow.
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We, the Christians do not own that principle.

This is where you confuse me. On the one hand you point out how bad Christianity is, and even say that you do not need Christianity to do the things that you do, and then on the other, you call yourself a Christian. :question:

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His life (again whether you believe they are fairy tales or not) was lived in love and He died in Love, unselfishly to inspire others to do the same.
From the experiences that you share here, the same could be said about you. And Ghandi. Ghandi was not a Christian, nor did he need Christianity to help him do all of the things that he did.  
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Though Christianity does not own a principle, it still gives us (me) the power to do things, that others do not want to do.
George Bush is saying the same thing right now and this is where I think you are making your biggest error. "Christianity" gives Bush his power. But "Christianity" is not the "IT" that gives you the power to do the things that you do. You draw on the power of Love which is GOD. As you just proved, you can do that in any language and within any other religious setting.  Just like Islam gives Saddam and ben Laden, etc. their power, Bush receives his from Christianity. Their power is not from God, but from millions of people handing over to them the power to "play God" on their behalf.

I have never been "anti-God" David. In fact, that is where my source of power comes from as well. When I made the decision that I was no longer a Christian -- or even wanted to be a Christian, I never set aside my own knowledge that God was REAL as a higher power at work in my life. Our work may be different David, but the source of power is the same. You may be walking into a crowd of armed thugs, but I am walking into a crowd of political thugs.

I have said many times that I am trying to break the spell that everyone is under that makes God only available through organized religion. You are actually a very good example of why the world does not need Christianity -- or Islam for that matter. You are a perfect example of why the world will not be thrown into chaos if the bible is shown to be fictional writings. You can do what you do without Christianity -- and so can many many others.
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I worked for many years in very difficult places, most of the people I met there, not all but most, were Christians , they never went to Church nor did they blow a trumpet about their beliefs, but their inspiration came from an example of true unselfishness, they had learned from the Bible.
This would make them followers of a particular ideology -- that as you have pointed out, is not "Christian ideology." It is something much much more valuable. Don't give it a bad name by associating it with a bad thing.  
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My advice is drop it. It’s a done deal, and Christianity as we know it cannot be fixed.
I am 1% away from doing just that -- if you mean trying to fix Christianity.

However, I now want to take all that I have learned and try to help fix the world instead. This means exposing Christianity for what it is: a religion based upon ancient fictional narratives -- not history. I feel the original writers had a very different message in mind when they wrote the bible -- and that later readers (politically minded, power mongers) took that message and changed it into something else. I am not anti-original Christianity David. I would like for original Christianity to be better known, but in its ancient form it has been destroyed. Christianity today is a religion that has been built upon the manipulation of innocent people, that actually leads them astray from God and Love rather than toward it. This includes Islam as well. As you point out:
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Finally I just said in Arabic, God is greater that violence, and turned my back and walked away. I am not saying this to promote myself at all. But this is life Beth, at least where I am now, my faith says : do something. The Muslim and (Church) Christians who stood by and did NOTHING.


If the things you have posted truly represent the way that you feel and the way that you believe, then you shouldn't have a problem with what I am doing. In fact, you should be a primary endorser! You see the mess Christianity is in. You see how masses of people have been turned against God and Love. Don't you want the world to learn a new message -- a real message of how "all people" can do these things and much much more?
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They all need to learn but in a greater reality, everybody does, HUMANITY is at the verge of self destruction, and we have turned our most sacred things into jokes. Christians are just people and unless the people individually gain consciousness towards God, and acknowledges HIMHERIT as standing besides them at every decision and turn, they will choose selfishness. We all need to learn
Well said David. I have said the same many times before. Western Religion as we know it has FAILED the people of the world. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are extremely dangerous power-houses. If they are not stopped, they will eventually kill us all.

~Beth
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2006, 02:26:18 »

Dear Beth

Well this is the issue that I have been trying to explain to many for years,  that what they say, Christianity, they also say to me. I do not see as an example Islam as anywhere remotely the same. It advocates violence and actually rewards "the little jihad". The little and the big Jihad being one of ts main tenants.

My problem is not that I cant handle the truth, its just that I want to make damn well sure that it is THE TRUTH. As I said before, my religion can easily embrace TRUTH, and if your research is what it looks to be, I will have to adjust something in my thoughts, yet nothing in the way I live. I believe in love being the prime reason for life, as well as the most important thing we are here to learn, (as I understand it in the Bible). That as well as all the other things I believe is supported very well in the doctrines there.

You promised a few posts to answer 2 specific questions if I would explain these things, would you mind looking at them and give me your opinion, to them specifically. Here they are:

 
1 . Since the principle is only an assumption and probability or a indicator, howbeit a very strong one, is it possible to conclude that it is not actual proof.

2. If the principle works in regards to historical proof and also works the way I use it, what is the conclusion. Can there be a logical explanation for both arguments being right?.


Why would the Bible work, if it is only a fiction. I guess it is possible that Astrally speaking it may have gained mass through peoples faith in it. I remember an old story I read somewhere about the bumble bee. I think it was something like a bumble bee should technically not be able to fly but it does. It might be a religious urban legend but I am sure we can come up with some analogy that explains. I know that in the ages past people have used certain principles without understanding how or why they work, electricity is one. We flip the switch and there is light. This is how I think many feel and why they have a hard time accepting your points. They look for the answer and keep looking because it works for them, and any claim that it is a fairytale does not ring true. I would think that you would assume that the people you say wrote it tapped into real spiritual powers, but how do we explain prophesy about future events. Do you mean to say that it was written after they had already taken place. ?





Regards Mustardseed
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2006, 05:13:22 »

Good Evening Mustardseed,
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I do not see as an example Islam as anywhere remotely the same. It advocates violence and actually rewards "the little jihad". The little and the big Jihad being one of ts main tenants.

That is because you are seeing Islam clearly as a religion at work in the world, and not looking to the content of the Koran. Their sacred book is just as beautiful in its own way as the bible. But Mohammad was just a man -- or perhaps even someone's idea of a divine man -- and moreover, what Islam does and what the Koran says to do are very different things.

While you are seeing Islam clearly as a machine of manipulation to commit violence, you are failing to see how Christianity it just as bad when it comes to manipulating the people to blindly follow their leaders in the name of their God.  Militarily, Christianity is not as bad today as it was in the Middle Ages, but the primary supporter of US military action today is the Religious Right, which gives George Bush a great deal of his power, and Bush has even said "that God has told him to do everything that he has done."

America's entire government is very wrapped up in Christianity throughout the Senate and the House, as well as the Supreme Court. They are not making the decisions that they make out of a place of LOVE, rather out of a place of power, money and the establishment of "Christian and BIBLICAL morality" (not to mention in order to keep their jobs.) And--I should add--we are not talking about LOVE as a moral code either.  

For example, because slavery was a norm in the first century and is found in the bible, slavery was justified as morally acceptable around the world--especially in America. The Emancipation Proclamation caused a huge split among religious factions in the new American States. Even still it would be another 100 years before black people were even considered to be fully human and to rightfully be due all the priviledges of white people.

Likewise, according to the bible, the Jews killed Jesus, so the Christians (Protestant and the Vatican) did nothing to stop Hitler from slaughtering them. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor for America to even get involved in WWII, so who knows what else Hitler would have done if the Japanese hadn't bombed America at all.

Both of these cultural tragedies were successful because even though the bible says to love one another, that did not include slaves and Jews. In fact, those who held the power to stop these travesties, actually justified them by quoting the bible!!!


And they still do: The fundamentalist "Christians" here in America want to dictate who people can have sex with, who can be married, and what women can and cannot do with their own bodies. It is so strange that they are anti-choice when it comes to a woman bringing a child into this world, and yet they execute the death penalty on a regular basis. I never have figured that one out.
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My problem is not that I cant handle the truth, its just that I want to make damn well sure that it is THE TRUTH.

As I have said to you before David, I cannot tell you what the TRUTH is. I can only tell you what the TRUTH is NOT. And the bible was not historical. It was allegory for spiritual and philosophical principles.

In fact, the only TRUTH that I would offer you is the one that you are already well aware of: that only through LOVE and UNDERSTANDING can any of us be saved from the evils of this world.  The rest of the TRUTH only God knows.

Here is a thought to ponder: Christianity NEEDS THE BIBLE, but -- the BIBLE does NOT NEED CHRISTIANITY.

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I will have to adjust something in my thoughts, yet nothing in the way I live.
Exactly. You need not do anything different, except to know that what you are using as a power source is a universal principle that has been personified into a story about that universal principle. You may still "need" the bible for your support, but you do not need to associate yourself with Christianity to do so. You can continue to do your good works in the name of God, because Christianity does not "own the rights to God."

I have no doubt that there is a great deal of power in names. My name is Elizabeth, which means "my oath is to God." As it turns out, that is quite accurate as to what I have dedicated my life to, BUT -- not all Elizabeth's have done so.  Even your name "David" actually means "to love" but not all men named David have lived by that principle. David Koresh being just one.

You did ask me about the Negative Evidence Principle and I forgot to answer your question. The NEP is used to establish whether or not there is enough evidence to support a particular conclusion. Here is the principle again:
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First, all of the evidence supporting the proposition has been shown to be unreliable.

Second, there is no evidence supporting the proposition when the evidence should be there if the proposition is true.

Third, a thorough and exhaustive search has been made for supporting evidence where it should be found”.


In the case of whether or not the biblical texts are TRUE -- as in historical documents, this principle supports the fact that they are NOT TRUE.

1) All evidence supporting the proposition are unreliable, i.e. there is no evidence of any biblical events having occurred (OT or NT) except for the evidence offered in the bible itself. And no--Josephus does not count -- he was after the fact.

2) Some evidence -- any evidence -- should be available, but it is not. The biblical narratives claim to cross over 1,800 years of ancient history, and yet, there is no sign of any corroborating evidence from any of the other cultures involved -- and we have records from those other cultures. Finding a pottery shard with the words "house of David" or a stele with the word "Apuru" is not enough. The question is not whether the name David was a real name, rather, that there was ever a real "king" named David whose kingdom was HUGE according to the narratives. Archaeologists have been digging in the desert for several hundred years now, and have yet to find any evidence that such a kingdom ever existed.

3) So, a thorough investigation and an exhaustive search has been made to search for such evidence, but still no evidence has been found. In fact, all of the new evidence that is being found supports the opposite. There is no collaborative literary evidence or any archeaological evidence. This is what is needed David. And we do not have any.

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If the principle works in regards to historical proof and also works the way I use it, what is the conclusion.
But it doesn't work in your favor David.

The reason why you cannot use this principle to support your argument is because what you are trying to prove that something DID happen, i.e., it could have all happened, and this is a principle that supports that something DID NOT happen. This priniciple establishes and supports a lack of evidence.

Your application does not stand up to the same analysis.

You need evidence David. Not evidence of the power of God, or of Love. There is plenty of that from all around the world. If you want the bible to be real history, you need tangible evidence. Something that still exists. You need evidence that the events as described in the bible really happened -- any of them -- even just one of them!

We have plenty of evidence from the same time periods from Egypt, Persia, Babylonia, Greece, and even India, but not of a bustling Jerusalem with a grand temple made of gold and precious gems. All that archaelogists can find are very humble dwellings scattered throughout the area of Palestine, but nothing on the grand scale that the bible claims.

Further, there is substantial evidence that the gospels were written in Alexandria Egypt and not in Judea at all.

Now, there is no doubt in my mind that "something" was going on in the first century that gave the gospel writers "a reason to write" what they did.

BUT, that reason was not in eyewitness of anything, and what they produced was NOT HISTORICAL.  

The use of "fictional stories" as a teaching tool is as old as written history. And the use of parable, metaphor and symbol were and still are very important literary devices through which humans can "talk about things" that are universal principles. No one person embodies a universal principle. But through the use of personficaion, certain people can. Personification is where a character is created that represents a particular concept or idea, e.g. Jesus being written into a story, not as a real person, rather as a symbol of salvation. With the use of proper names in the bible, all of the biblical characters are characters whose names have particular meanings.

The reason that biblical people have the names that they have is so they could represent the idea or concept that their name meant. It was all a literary tool to "tell stories about" the things that the bible tells us about.
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Why would the Bible work, if it is only a fiction. I guess it is possible that Astrally speaking it may have gained mass through peoples faith in it.
You partially answered your own question here, except, IT does NOT WORK. As we have already discussed, IT is the power of God, not the power of 2,000+ year old stories.

There are plenty of sacred ideas and concepts from all over the world that WORK. But none of them work because they are written down in a book, or just because people believe in them. Sacred truths are universal truths and therefore TRUE regardless of whether they are ever written down by anyone at all.
Quote
I would think that you would assume that the people you say wrote it tapped into real spiritual powers, but how do we explain prophesy about future events. Do you mean to say that it was written after they had already taken place. ?
 Prophecies are interesting literary phenomena. Yes, they can certainly be written down after they have been fulfilled -- but -- the key is whether or not they were actually fulfilled.

In the case of the bible, all that was needed was access to the original texts where the prophecies were written down, and the current writer just writes the fulfillment of the prophecy into his/her story. Fulfillment is NOT necessary and it is clear that the NT writers were quoting from the Greek Old Testament. The biblical prophecies of the OT that appear to have been fulfilled in the NT is just a literary continuation of an older epic collection of stories. Simple as that.

Now, I have never said that "prophecy" is not a very real phenomenon. I have personally experienced foreknowledge of things that did indeed happen. This knowledge sometimes comes from dreams, or just a very strong waking intuition, but sometimes it has come from being caught up in a whirl of intellectual activity. But --- sometimes I am convinced that something will happen, and it doesn't!! Regardless, it has been fulfilled enough that I am convinced that sometimes it does indeed work!

David, there is no doubt in my mind that we can have contact with a realm that is not visible to this world, yet knows what can/will happen in this world. I cannot explain it, so I cannot offer you any proof, but I can say that just because prophecy seems to work sometimes, it does not mean that it works all of the time. Why? I have no idea.

Be who you are, do what you do, but please don't feel like you have to defend or have "faith" in something that has been raped of all of its goodness.

Faith in the power of God is enough.

~Beth
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2006, 12:38:56 »

Dear Beth

I will go straight to your post as I am a bit in a hurry, and have to start work. In my previous post I said. :
 
I do not see as an example Islam as anywhere remotely the same. It advocates violence …………………..and you answered me.

That is because you are seeing Islam clearly as a religion at work in the world, and not looking to the content of the Koran. Their sacred book is just as beautiful in its own way as the bible. But Mohammad was just a man -- or perhaps even someones idea of a divine man -- and moreover, what Islam does and what the Koran says to do are very different things.

What I meant to say, or thought I was saying, was that the teaching of Jesus as seen and understood in the New Testament, is not remotely comparable to the sayings of Muhammad in the Koran. The overall tone of the New Testament is in fact as you know non Violent. It is based on, loving your enemies, do good to those who hate you and pray for those who despite fully use and persecute you.

The content in the Koran however, actively promotes aggression towards unbelievers if they are a threat to a geographical area inhabited by Muslims, or the Muslim faith. Sharia law advocates stoning offenders etc. It is not a very difficult thing to assert. If you would like to I could find the passages for you in the Koran but I assume you read it before commenting as above.

It is however very comparable to the Old Testament. What some Islamists do, is certainly wrong in relation to the Koran, as it is the duty of every Muslim to fight when their faith is being attacked. The fundamentalists actually follow the Koran pretty strictly, and correctly I would conclude, as opposed to the multitude of Muslims who, drink steal and refrain from praying etc. Much like the masses of Christianity, the people do not follow the teachings in their sacred book. The difference is obvious to me.

While you are seeing Islam clearly as a machine of manipulation to commit violence, you are failing to see how Christianity it just as bad when it comes to manipulating the people to blindly follow their leaders in the name of their God.
America's entire government is very wrapped up in Christianity throughout the Senate and the House, as well as the Supreme Court. They are not making the decisions that they make out of a place of LOVE, rather out of a place of power, money and the establishment of "Christian and BIBLICAL morality" (not to mention in order to keep their jobs.) And--I should add--we are not talking about LOVE as a moral code either. …….



This is a point you repeatedly bring up Beth, you have typed out this fact in so many ways, and every time you do I say that I agree with you. We were however not talking about the political machine, of these two different faiths, but we were talking about the two teachings. In one the teachings is to love the enemies of your faith, and in the other to kill them.

Likewise, according to the bible, the Jews killed Jesus, so the Christians (Protestant and the Vatican) did nothing to stop Hitler from slaughtering them. It took the bombing of Pearl Harbor for America to even get involved in WWII, so who knows what else Hitler would have done if the Japanese hadn't bombed America at all. Both of these cultural tragedies were successful because even though the bible says to love one another, that did not include slaves and Jews. In fact, those who held the power to stop these travesties, actually justified them by quoting the bible!!!




This is your conclusion, not a fact. I realize this may have some truth to it, and that the leaders of various parties countries and groups churches etc. likely did this, scriptures can be twisted omitted and even changed, and even the masses may have felt this way, or even been taught this way. To conclude everybody did is not correct. I recall some pretty interesting comments from Luther about the Jews, however I do not see this in the New Testament. The religious leaders in cohorts with the power that be, used their influence to incite to the atrocities we see all over the world, but as I said somewhere else, Lenin used Darwin and humanism and other tyrants used other writings. Atrocities have not only been committed by Religious people.

As I have said to you before David, I cannot tell you what the TRUTH is. I can only tell you what the TRUTH is NOT. And the bible was not historical. It was allegory for spiritual and philosophical principles.
What I meant was : what the truth is in said context. Is the Bible a historical believable book. I am sure you realize that I do not ask you to tell me what the truth is in general. I am sure that you know this Beth. I do understand your point however.

In fact, the only TRUTH that I would offer you is the one that you are already well aware of: that only through LOVE and UNDERSTANDING can any of us be saved from the evils of this world. The rest of the TRUTH only God knows.


Well in that case I would say that you may be more Christian than you realize. “This is true holiness ……………” You know the verse I am sure.
Exactly.

You need not do anything different, except to know that what you are using as a power source is a universal principle that has been personified into a story about that universal principle. You may still "need" the bible for your support, but you do not need to associate yourself with Christianity to do so. You can continue to do your good works in the name of God, because Christianity does not "own the rights to God."

And I certainly plan to do so. This was never my point. I think, you conclude a lot of things out of habit. You automatically think I must be like the Christians in your country. We covered that, Christians are very different world over. Most worship in their homes or in nature and Churches as such is a very American thing. Most of the Free Churches in Europe look at what is happening in the US and shake their head, except for the few who invite such butt….. as Benny Hinn, and claim to be one with their American brothers and sisters. They actually appear to support Americanism and subsequently the war and Israel’s right and all that. For the record I have not been to a church in some 20 years and don’t plan to I am far to busy to sit and listen to those guys droning on and on about principles they don’t live. As I said that dog don’t hunt. I do however believe that I need to associate myself with the Bible, since this is where this truth is written down and where the ideas seem to have originated.

But it (the N.E.V principle) doesn't work in your favor David.

The reason why you cannot use this principle to support your argument is because what you are trying to prove that something DID happen, i.e., it could have all happened, and this is a principle that supports that something DID NOT happen. This principle establishes and supports a lack of evidence.

Your application does not stand up to the same analysis.


What I actually said Beth was that “in an uncanny way I use this same principle. What I meant was, that I use the name of Jesus and it has an effect. In my mind there is no doubt of that. I have uses it in exorcisms with which I have had a fair amount of experience in India, with people who by and large, do not even know who he was. The spiritual power in that name is awesome. In order for you to understand that, you would have to have seen it. There is currently a thread on the pulse about this, I think it is in the spiritual self defense threads. I use the principles in the Bible in the way it is laid out and for me this works, and I know for many others as well. This is my “uncanny way” of using it. I know it’s not historical but I was trying to let you know what happens in my mind and why I adhere to it.


There are plenty of sacred ideas and concepts from all over the world that WORK. But none of them work because they are written down in a book, or just because people believe in them. Sacred truths are universal truths and therefore TRUE regardless of whether they are ever written down by anyone at all.

I agree to that, this is why I said that you actually seem more Christian than most Church people I met. Many people do. 1John 4:8 states that the people who love know God and those who do not love does not, because God is love. My conclusion is that there are millions of people on the earth who are in effect Christians. This is where Universal Reconciliation comes in. The problem is that they do not know it. Equivalent to someone using lets say esp clairvoyance and even prophecy but not knowing it. It says about the High Priest :”……this he said knowing not that he prophesied” It is a all inclusive principle. "Someone said there is nothing wrong with Christianity the only problem is so few people ever tried it."

 
Prophecies are interesting literary phenomena. Yes, they can certainly be written down after they have been fulfilled -- but -- the key is whether or not they were actually fulfilled.

Agreed, let me work on that and send you a few examples later on.

In the case of the bible, all that was needed was access to the original texts where the prophecies were written down, and the current writer just writes the fulfillment of the prophecy into his/her story. Fulfillment is NOT necessary and it is clear that the NT writers were quoting from the Greek Old Testament. The biblical prophecies of the OT that appear to have been fulfilled in the NT is just a literary continuation of an older epic collection of stories. Simple as that.

 I can see your point, and that would be a way to explain it, but it would have to be a conspiracy of quite a magnitude, and would have to have been a known fact. This does seem to be a far shot Beth.

Be who you are, do what you do, but please don't feel like you have to defend or have "faith" in something that has been raped of all of its goodness.

As I said Beth, I am on a pursuit for the truth in said matter. Please do me a favor, not to conclude that I am trying to defend something I “know” is rotten and false. That would make me a hypocrite or whatever,I ain't trying to defend anything. If you see me as a defender of the faith, and yourself as a pursuer of truth, it is obvious that we would have some problems, I assure you that is not the case. We are on the same shelf. It would be tantamount to me constantly telling you to stop attacking a Faith just because you were hurt by some people who preach it. After having known you for as long as I have, I have chosen to believe, that you as I, are just simply committed to figuring out what is the truth here, and drawing each others motives into question makes no sense.

OK that was the questions. Furthermore I want to explain you something else. The reason I am still going at this is this. With the Internet large amounts of information has been made available. It is however prudent to go slow, at asserting what information is true and what is a lie. Take the example of revisionism. Holocaust denial. Take a look at this link

http://www.jewwatch.com/index.htm

http://www.revisionists.com/index.html

These people write about another accepted fact in the History of the world, one that has also lead and guided as well as had a untold effect on the world as we know it. It is however near impossible for me as a layman to precisely determine if his or their claims are correct. Their arguments are very strong yet there are people who oppose their line of argument. These people interpret the research differently, and conclude differently. This is my issue, although I understand all your points, and as a person believes you are very sincere, truth seeking and an expert at what you do, you are still to me and others a voice on the net. I do understand that you also build your argument on the research of others but there are different ways to see historical evidence. There are so many issues that appear to be right when you read about them from one guy and also right when they are told by others. Revisionism as defined in the Wikipedia is:

 
Historical revisionism (negationism)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Historical revisionism is the attempt to change commonly held ideas about the past. In its legitimate form (see historical revisionism) it is the reexamination of historical facts, with an eye towards updating historical narratives with newly discovered, more accurate, or less biased information, acknowledging that history of an event, as it has been traditionally told, may not be entirely accurate.

Historical revisionism (also but less often in English "negationism"[1]), as used in this article, describes the process that attempts to rewrite history by downgrading, denying or simply ignoring essential facts. Perpetrators of such attempts to distort the historical record often use the term because it allows them to cloak their illegitimate activities with a phrase which has a legitimate meaning.

In some countries historical revisionism (negationism) of certain historical events is a criminal offence. Examples of historical revisionism (negationism) include Holocaust denial and Soviet history. Negationism relies on a number of techniques such as logical fallacies and appeal to fear. Negationism can be found in literature, for example Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell and is used by hate groups on the Internet.
(end quote)

It would seem essential that such a serious and specific claim is tested and that it is researched properly. You as a researcher would be in support of that, and I know that you have nothing against this (getting to know you) so I ask that you have some patience and that you refrain from looking at me as someone who denies the truth, just because I am a bit skeptical. I am getting around to it. I have a large Family, a job etc and cannot sit using most my time at this. Furthermore I am not an intellectual and have very little aptitude for this type of thing.

My last question to you is that if you have time, I know you are busy as well, would you read the following article and give me your opinion on it in relation to your own research and conclusions. It is written in a language I cannot hardly understand but is interesting.




WHY REVISIONISM ISN’T
Introduction
This essay describes, from a methodological perspective, some of the inherent flaws in the "revisionist" 1 approach to the history of the Holocaust. It is not intended as a polemic, nor does it attempt to ascribe motives. Rather, it seeks to explain the fundamental error in the "revisionist" approach, as well as why that approach of necessity leaves no other choice.
It concludes that "revisionism" is a misnomer because the facts do not accord with the position it puts forward and, more importantly, its methodology reverses the appropriate approach to historical investigation.
What Is the Historical Method?
History is the recorded narrative of past events, especially those concerning a particular period, nation, individual, etc. It recounts events with careful attention to their importance, their mutual relations, their causes and consequences, selecting and grouping events on the ground of their interest or importance. 2 It can be seen from this that history acknowledges the existence of events and facts and seeks to understand how they came about, what they resulted in, how they are interconnected and what they mean.
The distinctions need to be made among facts, analysis and interpretation. Facts are demonstrably empirical events whose occurrence can be proven using evidentiary methods. Analysis is the method of determining or describing the nature of a thing by resolving it into its parts. Interpretation is the attempt to give the meaning of something. It follows that facts lead to analysis which leads to interpretation. And it follows that each step in the process is more subjective than the preceding step.
In this context, history is inductive in its methodology, in that it accumulates the facts, tries to determine their nature and their connectivities and then attempts to weave them into an understandable and meaningful mosaic.
What is Legitimate Historical Revisionism?
On its basic level, revisionism is nothing more than than the advocacy of revision, which in itself is the act of revising, or modifying something that already exists. Applied to history, it means that historians challenge the accepted version of the causes or consequences of historical events. As such, it is an accepted and important part of historical endeavour for it serves the dual purpose of constantly re-examining the past while also improving our understanding of it. Indeed, if one accepts that history attempts to help us better understand today by better understanding how we got here, revisionism is essential.
Three examples of legitimate historical revisionism should suffice to illustrate this:
1.   A.J.P. Taylor has applied a very new interpretation to the events leading up to the Second World War. He minimizes Hitler's role in those events - the Anschluß with Austria, the annexation of the Sudetenland, the Danzig crisis, the role of the Allies, appeasement - compared to the standard interpretation, while portraying Nazi Germany as much less centralized and monolithic than the norm. 3
2.   Daniel Jonah Goldhagen has challenged virtually all the usual interpretations of the reasons for the complicity of many Germans in the perpetration of the Holocaust, and has posited that ordinary Germans willingly involved themselves because of the existence of a deep-rooted, eliminationist antisemitism in Germans of that era. He downplays, if not outright dismisses, the influence of Hitler and the Nazi Party. 4
3.   German historian Christian Gerlach has interpreted a diary entry by Joseph Goebbels and a newly discovered one from Heinrich Himmler to mean that the date of the decision by Hitler to exterminate the Jews is in December 1941 rather than late spring or early summer as most have till now believed. 5
What Do "Revisionists" Do?
"Revisionists" depart from the conclusion that the Holocaust did not occur and work backwards through the facts to adapt them to that preordained conclusion. Put another way, they reverse the proper methodology described above, thus turning the proper historical method of investigation and analysis on its head. That is not to say that historians never depart from a preconceived or desired result; they often do. But in adhering rigorously to the correct methodology, they accept that the result of their investigation may not be what they envisaged at the beginning. They are prepared to adapt their theories to that reality. Indeed, they are often required to revise their conclusions based on the facts. To put it tritely, "revisionists" revise the facts based on their conclusion.
Since "revisionists" depart from the conclusion that the Holocaust did not happen, i.e., they deny its existence, they are often called "deniers". Rather than analyze historical events, facts, their causes and consequences, and their interactions with other events, they defend a conclusion, whether or not the facts support it.
Why they do this is not the subject of this piece, but a few examples of the distortions, evasions and denials that it forces on them will illustrate how intellectually dishonest it is. And it should be remembered that they are forced on them, since "revisionists" are denying a historical occurrence, then distorting the facts into accord with that denial.
The Conspiracy Theory
Since the facts are not in accord with the "revisionist" conclusion, they must find an all-encompassing way to dismiss them. This is not a simple task, since the facts converge in the result that the Nazis had a plan to exterminate European Jewry, succeeded in large part in accomplishing it, and left behind multitudinous evidence of the attempt. 6
Hence, "revisionists" must argue that there is a conspiracy to fabricate all that evidence - a conspiracy that must have begun its work before the end of the war - and one that continues to this day. "Organized Jewry" or several variants on "Zionists" are at the root of this conspiracy. The conspiracy theory manifests itself in the following contrived positions:
•   survivor witnesses lied, even where their evidence is corroborated by documents, or other sources;
•   perpetrator evidence was evinced through torture, fear for their families or falsified in various ways;
•   documents left behind by the Nazis were falsified, don't mean what they appear to mean, or are forgeries;
•   photographs were faked;
•   films were faked;
•   words don't mean what they appear to mean. When Himmler used the word "ausrotten" (exterminate) in respect of the Jews, he didn't really mean "exterminate". When Hitler used the word "vernichten" (annihilate) in respect of the Jews, he didn't really mean "annihilate". When the Einsatzgruppen spoke of killing Jewish women and children, they really meant partisans, even though partisans had a separate listing in the many reports they left behind;
•   recorded speeches were faked. Himmler's 1943 Posen speech, which was recorded, wasn't really his voice, or parts were added later, or the technology to record didn't exist in 1943 (it did), or it disagrees with Himmler's notes for the speech (it doesn't);
•   the victims were responsible for what happened to them. The Jewish women and children were partisans or were guilty of committing heinous crimes, or both;
•   Jews deserved rough treatment anyway. Even though the Holocaust didn't happen, it would have nonetheless been justified because the Jews are an alien, parasitical race, hell-bent on destroying the noble Aryan, and/or defiling his blood, etc.;
•   if no written Hitler order for the Holocaust can be found, there was no order at all;
•   no gas chamber is currently functioning. Therefore, there never were gas chambers. But even if there were gas chambers, they were only for fumigating clothing, even if they were in morgues.
Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus
Since, as this list shows, the amount of empirical evidence for the Holocaust is so overwhelming, the "revisionists" must throw in another dismissal trick. This has been called the "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" condition (one thing mistaken equals all things mistaken). It means, for example, that if any single piece of survivor evidence can be shown to be wrong, all survivor evidence is wrong and is to be dismissed. If any Nazi official lied about an aspect of the Holocaust (on-topic or not), all Nazi officials lied, and anything Nazis said after the war is dismissed. If any Nazi can be shown to have been tortured or mistreated, they all were and anything they said is invalid.
Conclusion
"Revisionism" is obliged to deviate from the standard methodology of historical pursuit because it seeks to mold facts to fit a preconceived result, it denies events that have been objectively and empirically proved to have occurred, and because it works backward from the conclusion to the facts, thus necessitating the distortion and manipulation of those facts where they differ from the preordained conclusion (which they almost always do). In short, "revisionism" denies something that demonstrably happened, through methodological dishonesty.
Its ethical dishonesty and antisemitic motivation are topics for another day.
________________________________________
Notes
1.   The quotes around "revisionists" are not sneer quotes. They indicate that methodologically "revisionists" are not what they claim to be. This is explained in detail in the body of the essay.
2.   Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of the English Language, Volume 1, New York, 1973, p. 599.
3.   A.J.P. Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War, Penguin Books, Middlesex, 1964.
4.   Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1996.
5.   Die Zeit, edition of January 9, 1998. His findings are reported in Zeitschrift Werkstatt Geschichte, Heft 18/1997.
6.   See inter alia Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews; Gilbert, The Holocaust; Yahil, The Holocaust; Dawidowicz, The War Against the European Jews 1933-1945; Breitman, The Architect of Genocide; Less, Eichmann Interrogated; Fleming, Hitler and the Final Solution; Broszat et al., Anatomie des SS-Staates; and many more.
________________________________________
Suggested further reading: Pierre Vidal-Naquet's A Paper Eichmann: Anatomy of a Lie, in particular part 4, On the Revisionist Method.

Sorry for the long thread dont use the computer very well and have a very slow connection.

Regards Mustardseed
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