RE: Dying For Your Faith.

I made this comment on a “would you die for your faith” blog:

I remember my principal at my jr high was a nun and a truly awful person and she used to brag to us all that if someone put a gun to her head and said “renounce christ or I will kill you!” she would gladly die rather than betray her faith.  I always thought this was idiotic, and pictured jesus in heaven screaming “YOU IDIOT, WHAT ARE YOU DOING, JUST SAY THE WORDS AND GET OUT OF THIS!”.  What parent would rather their child be murdered than be forced to say at gunpoint “I don’t love my parents” or something?  It’s insane.

I remember I wished I had the power to turn back time and undo anything I did so I could bring a gun to school just to see whether she was full of shit and undo it later (not to shoot her of course).

I think that most of the “I’d die for my faith” people are probably full of shit and wouldn’t do it if it came down to it, though to be fair I have no way to test this hypothesis.  I think that it’s just a way to feel good and strong and noble by a christian comparing themselves to christ, who is supposedly the ultimate role model because he willingly let a bunch of people brutally kill him for no good reason, and they’d like to think they would do the same.

I hope that no christian would, almost as much as I hope no one would put them in that situation to begin with.

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About agnophilo

Nerd.
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99 Responses to RE: Dying For Your Faith.

  1. Your crazy Nun / principal’s scenario is pretty insipid, but I guess you could equate it to the last scene of “The Crucible” where John Proctor is asked to admit that he was “corrupted by the devil;” he didn’t because he knew his name (his reputation, his word, etc.) would be meaningless if he did.  It’s also similar to accepting a plea bargain when you’re innocent because you know you would be found guilty regardless.  (and punished more severly) 

  2. agnophilo says:

    @soyeahthatswhathappened – It isn’t self-sacrifice if you think it’s going to work out awesome for you.  It’s like quitting your job on principle because you think you’re going to get a million dollars if you do.  Kinda changes things.@relaxolgy – Yeah in america believers fantasize about being persecuted.@Drewsius – I’m not replying to this simply because it’s long and I have pages of comments, due to thetheologeanscafe sending a few hundred people to this blog.  I apologize.@MySecretLoveAffair – Yes, but would you expect (or want) your children to die rather than be forced to disingenuously denounce you?@TheModernBunny – Sounds pretty clear to me : )@striemmy – Exactly how does getting your head blown off rathern than denying christ accomplish anything?  What, did you save christ’s life?  Comparing it to dying for a friend or a child or a cause is a non-sequiter.@striemmy – Well go get yourself killed for fairies or unicorns then and tell me how beautiful it is.

  3. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – What does taking a stand for what you believe in, even in the face of annihilation accomplish? I dunno. Let me get back to you when I’m done picking cotton. Dying for any and all of those things are by nature identical in motivation. What does dying for someone else accomplish? You potentially save their life? And of what consequence or meaning is their life as compared to yours? Or at all for that matter? Saying that either of those motivations would logically result in accomplishment of significance is a non-sequiter. Human life isn’t inherently relevant. If I believed in them enough to do so then wouldn’t it be impossible, in your belief of the way life and death work, for me to come back and tell you anything? Getting religious on me?

  4. relaxolgy says:

    @striemmy – doesn’t that make Muslim suicide bombers into saints?

  5. agnophilo says:

    @firetyger – You know you’re not actually “denying” christ, you’re just lying to stop someone from murdering you, right?Would you lie about knowing your parents to save your life?  Would you lie about knowing them to save their life?The answer for any sane person should be YES, ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY.@TheModernBunny – You’re reminding me of my thought process years ago.  Out of curiosity, where are you at religious belief-wise?@leezey – Kind of cultish no?  Very jonestown.@The_ATM – Meaning they get turned off of christianity because of it’s associations in politics?@And_I_love – I contemplated suicide a few times early in life as well, then became an atheist and now I’d never off myself either.  Spiritual awakenings take all shapes. : )@FearlessMonstrosity – Yup.  Nice avatar btw : )@OhItWontBeForever – It’s bizarre that a lot of people commenting don’t get where we’re coming from.  They think jesus would what, giggle when their head got blown off?  Thinking “yippee, they really love me!”  What a demented notion.@looneyanaid – Honesty and courage?  Nah, just another blog : )  But thanks.@PPhilip – Google “inquisition” and then “crusades”, then do some reading on medieval torture, then open books like leviticus and exodus some time.@truthletters – And?@aphoenix_rising – It’s wrong thinking.@KrazeeKunoichi009 – It is sad, I agree.@jaydedheart – I’m not talking about dying in the face of social or government persecution.@Gunner_Poole – The theological tango?@icesoul_09 – I’d hope not.  But then he’s not around to have an opinion.@Shy___Away – Well if it wasn’t auto-play no one would ever know it was awesome : )@filow84 – What the fuck?  Dude that’s not right.

  6. jaydedheart says:

    @agnophilo – You may not be, but “dying for your faith” is a broad brush, so i was approaching different angles of it.

  7. agnophilo says:

    @crazygrampastuey – Then that’s a different hypothetical, isn’t it?@striemmy – Getting religious on you?  Huh?And I’m not talking about dying for a cause, I’m talking about dying rather than lying about your beliefs.

  8. agnophilo says:

    @jaydedheart – Yeah well that’s a completely different situation.

  9. jaydedheart says:

    @agnophilo – It’s never off limits to expand horizons, is it?

  10. @agnophilo – I used to be a fundamentalist Christian. Now I’m not sure what to believe. I figure there are things out there we don’t understand yet. I believe that life energy, like all energy, never vanishes entirely (which is one reason why I believe there’s life after death for all living things). But I don’t believe anyone *knows* what’s out there, and never assume that *I* have any real idea of what could be out there.*The Bible* doesn’t know what’s out there, either. I spent years pretending it did, even lying to myself by claiming everything in it made sense. So I’m a little bitter.

  11. @filow84 – That was just scary. The remark about apes was just cliche, but I truly hope he wouldn’t really get his kid killed. It was such a sick thing for him to say.

  12. firetyger says:

    @agnophilo – I guess you and I just see “dying for your faith” differently.  SirNickDon wrote a really good post addressing your question from a Christian’s perspective.  You should check it out, if you haven’t already.

  13. striemmy says:

    @relaxolgy – I have no idea how Islam handles sainthood but if they were Christian then no. However, that’s a different context. The situation being discussed is stick to your faith and die or renounce it and live. Suicide bombing is using the act of death, not merely the willingness to face it but the intentional ending of it, to prove faith. I find great difference there. 

  14. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Talking to you from beyond the grave. Most people would consider that a religious experience, or at the very least a supernatural one. That is dying for a cause. A cause is not defined by the impact it has on the world or how many people are fighting for it. A cause is defined in an individual’s life by what they believe and what they are willing to stand for. People don’t go out and get sprayed down with hoses or get beat by police in riot gear just because some nebulous cause exists in the world and maybe they thought today was a good day to get beaten into a coma. They go out because they believe something and are willing to brave some situations and level of danger to stand for it.

  15. Gunner_Poole says:

    By “theological tango” I just meant dancing around their convictions. Most of them would find a way later to say, “I didn’t really deny my faith. I just expressed it differently.”

  16. dprest_kitty says:

    @TheModernBunny – i find your comment very eloquently put.. =)

  17. dprest_kitty says:

    i think the christian god is just a spoiled mean child with a magnifiying glass.. screw that!.. learn from buddha.. be cheerful as you have your belly rubbed!  =P

  18. @dprest_kitty – I notice that Christians are defending the teaching that they should be willing to die for a god, while non-Christians are blaming a god for putting his followers in such a morbid position in the first place. Interesting.

  19. tracezilla says:

    I think most people who say that probably aren’t being very truthful. How could they possibly know what they would do in a situation like that? No one on earth knows what they would do in a life or death situation like that until they are put in that situation. I, too, also hope that nobody is ever put in these kinds of situations. However, there are quite a lot of people who are in a position to be put in a situation like that. 😦

  20. The_ATM says:

    @agnophilo – “Meaning they get turned off of christianity because of it’s associations in politics?”Certainly.  Some people think Christianity is retarded.  I have heard their opinions, and, though I think more often than not they twist what it actually says so it sounds like something terrible, I can understand how they feel about it.  I specifically subscribe to atheists on xanga so I can see what they think.  I have wondered the same things that led them to the belief there is no God or just that they hate Christianity.  However, this is not the case for everyone or even most people.  In my personal experience, I feel completely disenfranchised from the church I grew up in because I generally disagree with “conservatives”.  I cannot imagine I am the only one who has had this experience.  It gives a real emotional and logical reason to depart from faith.  Once someone has departed from faith in this fashion, it is not a big step to mock it.Maybe you haven’t heard this story… maybe you have.  I don’t mean to preach to you, especially because this is a message for Christians. Before the crucifixion, Jesus’s disciples believed he was going to establish a new government, essentially.  There are many things Jesus is quoted to say that seem to suggest this.  Obviously, they were wrong.  I think many right wing religious people are the same.  They are trying to make a holy nation while they as individuals are the ones that need reform.  ( like I am one to talk… )  Like Jim Wallis says, “Don’t go left, don’t go right: go deeper”, there needs to be more real conversation and arbitration rather than pundit punch lines.Speaking to the original topic of your post.  A huge part of Christianity from the new testament is about laying down one’s life.  Not just for God, but for everyone.  Christians are instructed to love their enemies.  The whole idea of Christian baptism is about the selfish human nature “dying” and a new person being “raised up with Christ”.  I have no doubt that the implications signify Christians must be devoid of selfishness.  However, in America, it is often the Christians floating like amoeba over the McDonald’s dollar menu trying to maximize their pleasure while minimizing the pain to their wallets–while simultaneously making a argument for the evolution they do not ‘believe’ in.  So I am an American.  Would I give up my life rather than renounce Christ?  I sure hope so.  Sure it would be a waste, and obviously a situation I would try to avoid.  I guess it is a matter of principle, not practicality.

  21. relaxolgy says:

    @striemmy – apart from formalia there really is no difference. You speak for a glorification of being willing to die for your faith. Just next to this willingness is the willingness to do anything in the name of your faith. The end justifies the means.All rational people know this. Be careful what you glorify@TheModernBunny – ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶

  22. icesoul_09 says:

    @agnophilo – Hm, well then, if He’d want me to die, then, I’d have to ask Him to strengthen my faith. :))

  23. striemmy says:

    @relaxolgy – The difference is in the choice. You don’t choose if a gunman comes to you with a loaded weapon and challenges your beliefs. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Circumstances like that, though far less dramatic and life threatening, appear often and without much, if any, choice by the person at the dangerous end of the weapon. Strapping yourself with a bomb is the choice to put yourself in that situation to show your faith. The difference is that within that belief system the idea that God tests your faith exists. Perhaps those circumstances are a way of testing you? Who knows? One knows for certain though that if you’re choosing to place yourself in those situations by your own free will that God didn’t create those circumstances and you just happened to walk into them. You created those circumstances. So, yeah, there’s a difference. I don’t have a problem with the willingness to do anything in the name of a strong enough belief and yes, the ends do justify the means. It is the failing of a rational person to apply undue moral meaning or ethical consequence to goal accomplishment.

  24. @relaxolgy – This post sure is a hot topic, yes? It’s always interesting to see what gets us talking.

  25. SirNickDon says:

    I know you’re inundated with comments thanks to Dan, but if you’re ever interested, I created a response blog here.  

  26. agnophilo says:

    @jaydedheart – Expanding horizons is an impressive euphemism for a non-sequiter : )@TheModernBunny – “I used to be a fundamentalist Christian.Now I’m not sure what to believe.” Congrats : )  It’s a great place to start.”I figure there are things out therewe don’t understand yet. I believe that life energy, like all energy,never vanishes entirely (which is one reason why I believe there’s lifeafter death for all living things).” Life after death is an absolute certainty or an absolute falsehood depending on what you mean by life and death.  When my body dies my consciousness will be gone, that is true.  But life keeps on rolling.  This is life after death right now, lots of people are died, and this world is still very much alive.  And even if this world were to perish I’ve no doubt life exists elsewhere, probably very abundantly.  Given the size of the known universe if even one in one million planets had life, that would be hundreds of billions of worlds with life, and maybe millions or billions with intelligent life.Life isn’t about us, we’re a part of life.  To quote a great beatles tune, you’re really only very small and life flows on within you and without you.  : )”But I don’t believe anyone *knows*what’s out there, and never assume that *I* have any real idea of whatcould be out there.”They taught me to distinguish between a fact and an opinion/belief when I was in kindergarten, I remember taking this little test when I was like 6 and having to figure out whether something was an opinion/belief or a fact.  It was simple then, but some people as adults can’t tell the difference.*The Bible* doesn’t know what’s out there,either. I spent years pretending it did, even lying to myself byclaiming everything in it made sense. So I’m a little bitter.”Understandable.  Well kudos for questioning and continuing to question.Just for you I added that beatles song to my playlist, it’s song number 199, here are the lyrics:We were talking-about the space between us allAnd the people-who hide themselves behind a wall of illusionNever glimpse the truth-then it’s far too late-when they pass away.We were talking-about the love we all could share-when we find itTo try our best to hold it there-with our loveWith our love-we could save the world-if they only knew.Try to realize it’s all within yourselfNo-one else can make you changeAnd to see you’re really only very small,And life flows on within you and without you.We were talking-about the love that’s gone so cold and the people,Who gain the world and lose their soul-They don’t know-they can’t see-are you one of them?When you’ve seen beyond yourself-then you may find peace of mind,Is waiting thereAnd the time will come when you seewe’re all one, and life flows on within you and without you.

  27. agnophilo says:

    @firetyger – That may have been what prompted this one, I’m not sure.@striemmy – They oppose what they think is wrong, you needlessly getting your head blown off by a crazy person would be fighting against what, lying?@Gunner_Poole – Ah yes, rationalizing and such.@dprest_kitty – : )@The_ATM – “Certainly. Some people think Christianity is retarded.  I have heard theiropinions, and, though I think more often than not they twist what itactually says so it sounds like something terrible, I can understandhow they feel about it.  I specifically subscribe to atheists on xangaso I can see what they think.  I have wondered the same things that ledthem to the belief there is no God or just that they hate Christianity. However, this is not the case for everyone or even most people.”I don’t think most atheists stopped believing in god because they hate christianity, I think they resent christianity (if they do) because of it’s effects on the world and the crap they take from religious people.  Most atheists I’ve known are atheists for logical and philosophical reasons, they try very hard to understand the truth of things and along the way stop assuming there has to be a creator or see problems with the narrative, ethics etc of the bible.But religious belief is generally less to do with logic and more to do with emotion or bias from being raised in one faith or another.  So I don’t think religious people become atheists because of their feelings about politics, so much as that alienation gets them to an emotional place where they feel safe questioning and really thinking about things.”Inmy personal experience, I feel completely disenfranchised from thechurch I grew up in because I generally disagree with “conservatives”. I cannot imagine I am the only one who has had this experience.  Itgives a real emotional and logical reason to depart from faith.  Oncesomeone has departed from faith in this fashion, it is not a big stepto mock it.”Humor is a way to let out tension.  Sexual jokes relieve sexual tension, political satire keeps people from climbing a clock tower with a rifle and blowing away their senator, and religious parody/mocking relieves the tension from seeing so much religious BS in the world (which is there whether or not there is a god).”Maybe you haven’t heard this story… maybe you have.  Idon’t mean to preach to you, especially because this is a message forChristians. Before the crucifixion, Jesus’s disciples believed he wasgoing to establish a new government, essentially.”  The romans were under that impression as well, which is why they had him executed.  But I’m sure you know that.”There are manythings Jesus is quoted to say that seem to suggest this.  Obviously,they were wrong.”  I don’t know.  It was so long ago who knows what he originally said.”I think many right wing religious people are thesame.  They are trying to make a holy nation while they as individualsare the ones that need reform.”  It’s nice to hear a religious person say that.  As an atheist whenever someone insists that this is a “christian nation” they’re basically saying that this is their country, not mine.  Which I think violates the whole spirit of what this country was founded to be.  It was created to be a place where everyone can live and contribute and be heard.  It’s a really beautiful thing, and that nationalism stuff is a blight on it.  To quote a song by the band Green Day, “…and can we have another amen? (Amen!), there’s a flag wrapped around a score of men.  A gag, a plastic bag on a monument.””(like I am one to talk… )  Like JimWallis says, “Don’t go left, don’t go right: go deeper”, there needs tobe more real conversation and arbitration rather than pundit punchlines.”I agree.  If you didn’t see the president’s state of the union and the Q&A he did later you should see it.”Speaking to the original topic of your post.  A huge part ofChristianity from the new testament is about laying down one’s life. Not just for God, but for everyone.  Christians are instructed to lovetheir enemies.  The whole idea of Christian baptism is about theselfish human nature “dying” and a new person being “raised up withChrist”.  I have no doubt that the implications signify Christians mustbe devoid of selfishness.  However, in America, it is often theChristians floating like amoeba over the McDonald’s dollar menu tryingto maximize their pleasure while minimizing the pain to theirwallets–while simultaneously making a argument for the evolution theydo not ‘believe’ in.  So I am an American.  Would I give up my liferather than renounce Christ?  I sure hope so.  Sure it would be awaste, and obviously a situation I would try to avoid.  I guess it is amatter of principle, not practicality.”I believe in selflessness, which is itself an incredibly profound concept, especially in eastern philosophy.  But if given the option between telling the truth and dying, or lying to a psychopath about my beliefs and then being able to spend the rest of my life fighting for them, I’d choose the latter.I am willing to die for things I believe in, but I’d prefer to live for them.In america I don’t think the situation is so desperate that you’d have to die for a cause too often.

  28. agnophilo says:

    @icesoul_09 – You wouldn’t have a problem with that?  I mean like what if your best friend asked you to jump in front of traffic, wouldn’t you at least ask why?  Bearing in mind you’ve never actually met jesus.@SirNickDon – Someone mentioned that.  Aww you called me articulate : )

  29. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – They fight what they think is wrong because…? Why that’s correct! Because they have morals and beliefs that they are willing to stand for! HOLY SMOKES. 

  30. agnophilo says:

    @firetyger – I saw his link below and replied to his blog.  It was not the one that made me write this.

  31. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo –  the base motivation for any action undertaken, including mrtyrdom, is the willingness to stand up for what you believe in. Whether that be that what someone is doing is wrong or that what you’re doing is wrong. I’m saying that their motivations are identical, though expressed differently or perhaps they just find themselves in different situations. It’s arguably stupid or crazy to be willing to die for anything, even a good cause, so the circumstances don’t make for very good reasonable premises.

  32. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – I believe in civil rights.  I might even be willing to die in a struggle for them, if it happens to come up.  Dying for the existence of god however is like dying for your belief that the world is round.  Whether you live or die is not a factor in anything.  It doesn’t make god exist more.

  33. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Your comparison is radically off. This is not fighting for the belief in unicorns. You know very well that the belief in God encompasses all of the facets of the christian definition. God is not a planet. God is not a rock. God is not a parent. Any comparison you make to any of these is incredibly off but you might have at least been a little closer if you had said “I might be willing to die for my parents.” We can almost begin to start the discussion about a willingness to die for God there. However, I will decline further discussion following this. You would want to die for something that you feel impacts the world (which by the way is a full expression of your beliefs on the matter, AND also holds a possibility of irrelevance to the civil rights movement. You dying or living may not factor into anything either, yet you’d do it), however it is not the dying that is important and it is what you are insisting on. The important part is standing in the face of circumstances and having resolve about something that you deeply care about. Do you care about civil rights like you care about your mother? Your significant other? An offspring? If you don’t care about it like you care about something you love intensely and/or are devoted to completely then your comparison fails to hit the mark. Dying for a cause you “might even be willing to die for” is pathetic. Dying for something you truly believe and love and stand for, even in the face of possible or even definite death is on an entirely different playing field. Why am I even explaining this? You know the distinction between these things and are intentionally overlooking it. Perhaps you don’t get it yet (as distinct from understanding it).

  34. The_ATM says:

    @agnophilo – “I don’t think most atheists stoppedbelieving in god because they hate christianity, I think they resentchristianity (if they do) because of it’s effects on the world and thecrap they take from religious people.”I don’t know.  I have met a few atheists that reek of ‘teenage angst’.  I guess I should address their actions rather than how they think.  I would venture to say that the public opposition to Christianity has a significant political component.  It gives atheists in America a strong reason to oppose Christianity.  Either way, it motivates dissent and dissent is not guaranteed to be truthful or logical.For example, maybe there was a child that was raised by homosexual parents.  During his teenage angst years he had a falling our with them and became very rebellious.  Then lets say his dissent caused him to question whether homosexual parents were moral or not.  His questioning might not lead him to a more logical position.”But religious belief is generally less to dowith logic and more to do with emotion or bias from being raised in onefaith or another.  So I don’t think religious people become atheistsbecause of their feelings about politics, so much as that alienationgets them to an emotional place where they feel safe questioning andreally thinking about things.”That probably happens, but like I mentioned above really thinking about things does not always lead to more logical or true beliefs.  Especially when there are emotions such as alienation tied up with the lines of thinking.  However, I do ‘agree’ that questioning and doubt are the morally correct things to do.”The romans were under that impression as well, which is why they had him executed.  But I’m sure you know that.”Well, the story in the Bible goes that the religious leaders had him arrested an executed.  So I guess I haven’t examined any other historical sources out there other than the Bible.”To quote a song by the band Green Day”Sorry.  Green Day is not my thing.  Christianity can be abused to support nationalism.  But atheist has also been an nationalist hallmark in the past.”If you didn’t see the president’s state of the union and the Q&A he did later you should see it.”I disagree with the president mostly on fiscal reasons.  I do not believe the bailouts and the mentality behind it is going to benefit the economy in the long run.  I think he is doing a better job than McCain would have done.  Either way, I voted for him.”I believe in selflessness, which is itselfan incredibly profound concept, especially in eastern philosophy.  Butif given the option between telling the truth and dying, or lying to apsychopath about my beliefs and then being able to spend the rest of mylife fighting for them, I’d choose the latter.”Not sure what eastern philosophy has to do with this.  I am pretty sure its foreignness and sounding really cool has something to do it its appeal.  A professor in the my department is white as white bread and I went to a Buddhist seminar he brought to the school.If a person were to believe God exists, how could they best demonstrate selflessness to God?  In some cases, martyrdom might be the best route. In other cases, living to serve their beliefs would be a better choice.  If the story is as you frame it, I probably would not choose to die.  But the way things go, the choice is usually to live in oppression or die for your beliefs.  Underground churches in China make the choice to die or be arrested rather than live under oppression.”As an atheist whenever someone insists thatthis is a “christian nation” they’re basically saying that this istheir country, not mine.  Which I think violates the whole spirit ofwhat this country was founded to be.  It was created to be a placewhere everyone can live and contribute and be heard.”I think you are absolutely right.  The best kind of government for religion and atheism is a free government.  Anyone that would want to change a government away from freedom and toward conforming to their own beliefs is an idiot.  I think laws should only exist for protection.  Thus, the only wrong-doing the government should have involvement with is acts that have a victim.  For me, this includes abortion and excludes gay marriage–but lets not go there.  I am not the kind of person who believes I need to change the government to be more “christian”.  I think I would do more service to Christianity if I could change the government provide greater liberty.

  35. icesoul_09 says:

    @agnophilo – I’m not giving up my life just because my friend (selfishly) asks or wants it. That’s pretty ridiculous! LOL. But then, I’d surely give up my life if that friend needs it! 

  36. tsh44 says:

    I agree. In point of fact most of us are too scared to even really “live” for Christ fully. I know people who say they will die for their faith but when I tell them I’m going downtown to take gloves hats and blankets to street people, that I let an ex-con stay with us till he could get a place after he got out of jail, that I’m helping out a dying aids patient they say “oh, that’s so dangerous, God expects us to keep ourselves safe.” – ummm duh? I would love to say that if the circustances called for it I would die to save someones life or die for the right to be free but I’m such a coward especially if the death is gonna be painful that I’d have to say I probably am not up to the task on my own. I believe God can give me the courage to face whatever He throws my way. I’ve put myself in danger more than once to protect someone but when it happens it happens so fast that there’s really no time to think it through and choose the “wisest path” or even the “most spiritually correct path”. I’ve also chosen the cowards way out more than once. I don’t think God wants us to throw our lives away just for the sake of words. If I have to die a violent death I hope it will at least save the lives of others.

  37. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – Dying for a parent or spouse or loved on indicates that they are protected or otherwise benefit from your demise.  Exactly how does god benefit?  And the point was that dying for a belief that effects how people are treated and dying for a belief in a supernatural being are two different things.

  38. agnophilo says:

    @The_ATM – “Idon’t know.  I have met a few atheists that reek of ‘teenage angst’.  Iguess I should address their actions rather than how they think.”  Yeah I have too, I don’t really take them seriously or consider them atheists, just rebellious teenagers.  In a similar sense a five year old who is certain god exists for the same reason they believe in santa clause could be considered not a “genuine” christian because these opinions are more to do with psychology than intellectual inquiry.”Iwould venture to say that the public opposition to Christianity has asignificant political component.  It gives atheists in America a strongreason to oppose Christianity.  Either way, it motivates dissent anddissent is not guaranteed to be truthful or logical.”Actually your insights into this are very valuable because christians almost never share their doubts with an atheist.  They will act totally certain that they’re right and then go talk to members of their church or whatever about their doubts that the discussion brought up.  So this may be a side of the religious social dynamic that non-believers never get to see, and as such that peaks my curiosity : )”For example,maybe there was a child that was raised by homosexual parents.  Duringhis teenage angst years he had a falling our with them and became veryrebellious.  Then lets say his dissent caused him to question whetherhomosexual parents were moral or not.  His questioning might not leadhim to a more logical position.”I completely agree.  Similarly if someone is raised by atheists and in their teens joins a church or started proclaiming some religion to be true it could very well be for less than logical reasons.  Also a lot of born-again christians, in fact pretty much all of them in my experience, convert to cope with psychological strain such as guilt, depression, loneliness, drug addiction etc.  My definition of born-again though excludes people who were exposed to that religion during their youth, so they have no social bias and convert in adulthood “out of the blue”.  Ravi Zacharias, the famous christian apologist described his conversion the day after a suicide attempt.  Kurk Cameron, the guy who criticized evolution science for not having found a “crocoduck” (half crocodile and half duck) etc converted in his teens due to drugs and other things I believe.  Etc.”Thatprobably happens, but like I mentioned above really thinking aboutthings does not always lead to more logical or true beliefs.” It does if you’re being honest and logical.  If your standard for judging whether a belief is true or false is “does this make me feel good or bad” then no, you’re not going to reach rational conclusions, or if you do it will be by accident.  But if you honestly want to know if something is true and think critically about it, you will move in the general direction of the truth.  Same with science.  It’s by no means a perfect process, nor are the scientists making discoveries and testing their models perfect, but it’s designed to test all ideas without exception to find out if they’re true, not to support this or that notion.  So science continually moves in the general direction of whatever the truth is of the natural world.  If truth were north, science and logic and debate are essentially a compass.  “Faith” as it’s commonly defined, which is just deciding to believe something (for whatever reason) and refusing to change your mind, is more like picking a random direction and deciding that it’s north and following it forever.”Well,the story in the Bible goes that the religious leaders had him arrestedan executed.  So I guess I haven’t examined any other historicalsources out there other than the Bible.”Ah yeah, that’s true.  I was thinking of the sign above his head that said “king of the jews” or something like that which indicated that he may have been executed for that reason.”Sorry. Green Day is not my thing.”  They’ve made some good songs : )  That line at least I imagine you could appreciate.”Christianity can be abused to supportnationalism.  But atheist has also been an nationalist hallmark in thepast.”No, it really hasn’t.  Communism has.  Communism is not atheism.”Idisagree with the president mostly on fiscal reasons.  I do not believethe bailouts and the mentality behind it is going to benefit theeconomy in the long run.”  I don’t think the president does either.  He talked about that in the state of the union.”I think he is doing a better job than McCainwould have done.”  Yeah, with a democratic majority and a republican minority that puts a halt to virtually every piece of legislation he’d just threaten to veto anything the republicans didn’t like and they’d dictate policy from the political minority.  And god help us if palin were in the oval office, I can’t even imagine.”Either way, I voted for him.”As did I : )”Notsure what eastern philosophy has to do with this.”  Selflessness in eastern philosophies like buddhism and taoism is a lot more deep than just “put others first”, it’s the actual realization that the self is an illusion and that you and another person are in a very meaningfully sense the same being.  Or at least that that interpretation of the universe is equally valid to the idea that you’re separate beings.”I am pretty sure itsforeignness and sounding really cool has something to do it itsappeal.”  Nah, it’s actually awesome : )  I don’t know what eastern philosophy you’ve been exposed to, I tend to agree with the westernized version of it, and not the literal interpretation of ideas like reincarnation, but the philosophical ones.”A professor in the my department is white as white bread and Iwent to a Buddhist seminar he brought to the school.”Get anything out of it?”If a personwere to believe God exists, how could they best demonstrateselflessness to God?  In some cases, martyrdom might be the best route.In other cases, living to serve their beliefs would be a betterchoice.  If the story is as you frame it, I probably would not chooseto die.  But the way things go, the choice is usually to live inoppression or die for your beliefs.  Underground churches in China makethe choice to die or be arrested rather than live under oppression.”Dying for a cause or in the face of oppression is another matter entirely.  Like ghandi getting beaten in non-violent resistence to oppressive laws.  He wasn’t just a glutton for punishment or trying to impress a deity, he was trying to change things for people who were suffering.”Ithink you are absolutely right.  The best kind of government forreligion and atheism is a free government.”  Ironically religious adherence tends to go up in adversity and persecution, and flounder in free, tolerent, pluralistic societies.  The decline of christianity throughout the industrialized world has come almost universally with the advent of democratic government, civil rights and the collapse of theocracy.  However the argument could be made (and is probably very true) that the smaller portion of the population that believes these things probably adopts a better, more reasonable sort of religion.”Anyone that would want tochange a government away from freedom and toward conforming to theirown beliefs is an idiot.”  I’ve never met an atheist who wanted to teach atheism in the schools or put a “god doesn’t exist” sign in a courthouse (other than to prove a point) or put “one nation with no god” on our money or put richard dawkins on the 1 dollar bill or give christopher hitchens a stamp or any of that shit.  I think because the more skeptical you tend to be the more humble your beliefs will be.  If you acknowledge that you could be wrong, then you won’t be so arrogant as to force your beliefs on everyone else, it would be a waste of time.  But rather you would test your and others’ ideas through debate and discussion.  If on the other hand you are absolutely sure of your beliefs, as fundamentalists tend to be, or at least try to be, then you can more easily make the leap to “we should use the government and make everyone believe this!””I think laws should only exist forprotection.  Thus, the only wrong-doing the government should haveinvolvement with is acts that have a victim.”  I agree.”For me, this includesabortion and excludes gay marriage–but lets not go there.”  Well for me that includes late-term abortion, I don’t think a zygote can be a victim (can’t feel pain, can’t form an opinion or want to live or die or whatever) any more than a sperm or egg cell can.  But if you’re 7 months pregnant that’s a whole other ball of wax.”I am notthe kind of person who believes I need to change the government to bemore “christian”.  I think I would do more service to Christianity if Icould change the government provide greater liberty.”I’m not sure if that last statement is true.  It’s agreeable, but there is a tendency to equate agreeable sentiments with christianity and assume disagreeable statements are not christian.

  39. agnophilo says:

    @icesoul_09 – Well yeah that’s my point. Does god need you to die for him?@tsh44 – A very sensible response : )  It’s nice that you do those things to help people.  And yeah people who say they’d die rather than renounce their faith are mostly just stroking their own egos I strongly suspect.

  40. jaydedheart says:

    @agnophilo – I have to disagree, i think it’s related. Dying for ones faith is a wide topic. ; )

  41. The_ATM says:

    @agnophilo – I guess I can only respond to a few things right now.”In a similar sense a five year old who is certain god exists for the same reason.”Churches do not have a spectacular track record of encouraging critical thinking toward what they teach kids in Sunday school.  It is for this reason that many Christians that stumble across this site act dumb-founded when you appeal to their reason.  I think it is a terrible thing if a Christian cannot respond with reason to atheist arguments and cannot provide reasoning for the existence of God.”So science continually moves in the generaldirection of whatever the truth is of the natural world.  If truth werenorth, science and logic and debate are essentially a compass.  “Faith”as it’s commonly defined, which is just deciding to believe something(for whatever reason) and refusing to change your mind, is more likepicking a random direction and deciding that it’s north and followingit forever.”The thing is science and faith are not mutually exclusive.  If logic and fact does not converge with faith as time progresses, then the faith in a particular belief should changed–as opposed to abandoned completely as you suggest.  As many great scientists have, I too believe that discovery of the universe is an act of worship.  I am a grad student in a ‘scientific’ field.  Probably the most relevant discoveries I could make would be in the field of neural networks or AI in general–trying to replicate the function of the human brain.  ( To be honest, I am almost puzzled at why we have not achieved something more intelligent than we have.  Electrical signals in computers travel about 100,000 times faster than signals in nerves, I think.  So what cannot be achieved with massive parallelism should be able to be ‘simulated’ with the massive speed of a computer.  I think we are being held up by those pesky neurobiologists.  But really, it leads me to believe there is some kind of soul in humans… otherwise choice could be modeled and would be completely deterministic, which I do not buy.  )  Quite a long time ago, it was churches that were supporting the much of the progress of science.  Many universities were founded with support from churches.  Many great scientists whose work is fundamental to modern science were also clergy.  I think this is the way it should be today.  I think churches should be giving kids scholarships to encourage higher enrollment in science and engineering disciplines.  Unfortunately, churches have been doing the opposite because they cannot accept that discoveries in science can have in impact on how they interpret scripture.  I think it is a moral obligation for Christians to oppose this sort of stubbornness.I think CS Lewis had it right.  It is not a great book by a Christian on scripture that is likely to shake the faith of a gnostic atheist.  It when the best book on geology or something else happens to be written by a Christian.  This is the position Christianity had for a time that it has lost.  But maybe someday, I will get the opportunity to stretch my capacities and write a book on my field of study.  It is almost a goal of mine, but not quite since I am not sure how attainable it is at this point.  Anyway, this is the kind of thing I would ‘give’ my life for… helping other people more easily learn the amazing things I have had an opportunity to learn, as well as making new discoveries.Now, it is certainly called faith for a reason.  It doesn’t mean that it cannot have logical underpinnings.  Maybe as you defined it, it cannot.  But I am sure that people that hold faith do not define it as you do.  It is probably that your experience with Christians tends to make you think faith is that way.  Faith is something that should be complementary logic.  To me, it is choosing to be something that is most consistent with one’s experience and not necessarily with evidence.  It is also believing what one finds most probable.  It is just acting with certainty on something that does not have complete proof.  In this context, atheists acting with certainty are also demonstrating faith, though it is not religious faith.”No, it really hasn’t.  Communism has.  Communism is not atheism.”Oh man.  Yes I understand Communism != atheism.  However, Atheism is a component of most forms of communism.  It is the atheist component of communism that has resulted and still results in religious intolerance in certain countries.So if there were some group of people who happened to have a very unified theological and political belief structure–oh I am just going to pick some random name– like the ‘religious right’.  This group of people doesn’t represent the entirety of–oh lets say–Christians.  However, Christianity ends up get blamed for producing uber-nationalists.The comparison is almost the exact same.  Just substitute Christians for Atheists and ‘religious right’ for communists.  Most communists are atheists.  Most people that align with the religious right are Christians.  ( My dad is an example of someone who’s political views line up exactly with the religious right when, for all practical purposes, he is agnostic. )  I was mentioning nationalists who were atheists ( albeitcommunists as well ) because it is close to the same comparison.  Comparing communists to atheists is about the same as comparing the ‘religious right’ to Christians.  Not all atheists believe everything communists do; not all Christians believe everything the religious right does.”I’ve never met an atheist who wanted toteach atheism in the schools or put a “god doesn’t exist” sign in acourthouse (other than to prove a point) or put “one nation with nogod” on our money or put richard dawkins on the 1 dollar bill or givechristopher hitchens a stamp or any of that shit.”I am not sure who it was… I think it might have been Hitchens that mentioned in one of his book he wanted to change the curriculum in schools to something more atheist biased.  I will have to look into what he said.. because when I read about it, I remember being offended.  As a proponent of evolution and someone who thinks the big bang makes sense ( in other words I do not believe in biblical literalism ) it must have been something other than those.  If I get a chance, I will have to track that down.But yes, I would agree that trying to force God into the government is super lame.  As far as the dollar bill, I kinda like tradition.  Atheists that want to take “one nation under god” off the dollar bill seem to just be petty.  Like they just picked something because they knew it would bother traditional people.  I guess that is what I perceive about it.  It strikes me as something that does not matter at all, as well.  Christians are not trying to put more crap on the dollar bill either, they just do not want that piece of tradition removed because some people stretch to construe it as something offensive.  What if I disagreed with George Washington’s political views and was offended by his presence on the dollar bill?  At some point, tradition should win out over the whims of a public minority.  “one nation under god” is not oppressive.. I think it is ridiculous to construe it as such ( as some atheists have ).  Really, the matter does not have anything to do with religious freedom, but with culture.  Changing the dollar bill has more to do with one group trying to influence the culture of the rest of the group.  I think the response of the government to not be an activist about it shows the greatest amount of indifference toward culture–which I think is the best move for government.I guess I do not see Christians trying to put Jesus on dollar bills.  They just do not want government to change it.  Maybe you see them wanting to keep it the way it is as something that is extreme, but I disagree.”I think because the more skeptical you tend to be the more humble your beliefs will be.”Have you ever read JT’s blog?  With entries like “How can I caricature religion today?”, the last word I would use is humble.  Sometimes you can scroll down in the comments and see a veritable circle jerk (excuse the crudeness ) of atheist pride.  I have seen it a few times here too.  Even you believe Christianity is wrong and are, in a sense, trying to convert me.  Discussion and debate are things Christian apologists and atheist apologists love.”If on the other hand you are absolutely sure of your beliefs, as fundamentalists tend to be”To me, there exists a group I would coin as fundamentalist atheists.”I don’t think a zygote can be a victim (can’t feel pain, can’t form an opinion or want to live or die or whatever)”I guess we differ here.  If I were trying to conceive with my girlfriend and she miscarriages early on, I would still feel sadness over the loss of life. Sure the victim is not the same, but I guess I tend to feel grief over the loss of potential for life.  But I think Ron Paul’s view on birth control is pretty decent.  It is something like, if no one knows about it, it is fine.  If you know for sure that the zygote existed and was killed, then it is not ok.  Even if the earth and the life on it spun into existence based solely on chance, to me, life would still be the most beautiful thing in the universe.  Like something that is holy.  As a result, it is more consistent with my experience to believe life should be held in higher regard.  ( not that I am going to cry everytime I use antibacterial–but then again, a bacteria will never become human as will a zygote )”I’m not sure if that last statement istrue.  It’s agreeable, but there is a tendency to equate agreeablesentiments with christianity and assume disagreeable statements are notchristian.”Thats why I qualified the statement with ‘I think’.  It is my opinion.  The new testament does not really say too much about what government should be in comparison to what it says about the spiritual insides of a person.  However, my beliefs about God and the idea that he seems prefer the man’s ability to freely choose over having a perfect creation leads me to believe if we were to emulate this concept in government, the result would be a free nation.  So there is reason based on Christian beliefs to think God would prefer a free nation.  ( I understand one could get a different impression if they were to look at nation that was ethnically unified like Israel in the OT.  I consider this a different situation. )

  42. icesoul_09 says:

    @agnophilo – LOL. I’m finally getting where you’re going to. :))

  43. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – No it doesn’t. It means that you may have died with the intention of saving them but it isn’t some magic spell or incantation that protects them from death in that same situation immediately after you. That being the case, it would make no difference. A difference that makes no difference, is no difference.Like I said, you’re focused on outer gain and you’re not getting that part of the gain is in the act itself. But I already said you either were going to be intentionally ignorant or not get it altogether. Which is precisely why I’m not going into detail again.

  44. agnophilo says:

    @The_ATM – “Churchesdo not have a spectacular track record of encouraging critical thinkingtoward what they teach kids in Sunday school.”  They have a pretty awesome record of discouraging it through.”It is for this reasonthat many Christians that stumble across this site act dumb-foundedwhen you appeal to their reason.  I think it is a terrible thing if aChristian cannot respond with reason to atheist arguments and cannotprovide reasoning for the existence of God.”I would be amazed to find any sound reasoning for the existence of any kind of deity.”Thething is science and faith are not mutually exclusive.  If logic andfact does not converge with faith as time progresses, then the faith ina particular belief should changed–as opposed to abandoned completelyas you suggest.  As many great scientists have, I too believe thatdiscovery of the universe is an act of worship.”  I don’t think religious faith is compatible with logic or science in any clearly defined sense.  If you take the bible as being very metaphorically it isn’t necessarily contradictory, but faith, logic and science are still three very different things.”I am a grad student ina ‘scientific’ field.  Probably the most relevant discoveries I couldmake would be in the field of neural networks or AI in general–tryingto replicate the function of the human brain.  ( To be honest, I amalmost puzzled at why we have not achieved something more intelligentthan we have.  Electrical signals in computers travel about 100,000times faster than signals in nerves, I think.  So what cannot beachieved with massive parallelism should be able to be ‘simulated’ withthe massive speed of a computer.  I think we are being held up by thosepesky neurobiologists.”  Haha, sounds interesting : )  And yeah, definitely the neurobiologists’ fault.  Though you can hardly blame them, it’s not like they can take a functional brain apart and put it back together to see how it works.  Though with the advent of neural imaging I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw some amazing headway in our lifetimes (unless you’re like 90 in which case probably not).”But really, it leads me to believe there issome kind of soul in humans… otherwise choice could be modeled andwould be completely deterministic, which I do not buy.”When you say “soul” you may as well say “magical green orb”.  Your scientific training should tell you why that’s not a valid thing to propose.”Quitea long time ago, it was churches that were supporting the much of theprogress of science.  Many universities were founded with support fromchurches.  Many great scientists whose work is fundamental to modernscience were also clergy.”  Yeah but to be fair a long time ago everyone had to be christian (at least on paper) because the basis of government was that the king gets his authority from yahweh, so heresy was essentially treason and usually punishable by death.  Also christian churches in the old days supported science only so long as it didn’t bump up against their views of cosmology, physics, biology, geology, the age of the earth etc, as most of the christian churches do today.  Christian churches got less and less enthusiastic about science the better it got at verifiably explaining things they didn’t like the explanations to.”I think this is the way it should be today. I think churches should be giving kids scholarships to encourage higherenrollment in science and engineering disciplines.” I agree. “Unfortunately,churches have been doing the opposite because they cannot accept thatdiscoveries in science can have in impact on how they interpretscripture.”  Well put.”I think it is a moral obligation for Christians to opposethis sort of stubbornness.”A refreshing attitude : )”I think CS Lewis had it right.  It isnot a great book by a Christian on scripture that is likely to shakethe faith of a gnostic atheist.  It when the best book on geology orsomething else happens to be written by a Christian.”  That makes no sense.  If albert einstein were a scientologist, should that make me want to be a scientologist too?  Or make me question my worldview, or think more highly of scientology?Many great scientists are christian, it has no bearing on whether christianity is true.  I mean lots of great scientists are atheists, does that rattle your faith?  Maybe it does, I don’t know.”This is theposition Christianity had for a time that it has lost.  But maybesomeday, I will get the opportunity to stretch my capacities and writea book on my field of study.  It is almost a goal of mine, but notquite since I am not sure how attainable it is at this point.  Anyway,this is the kind of thing I would ‘give’ my life for… helping otherpeople more easily learn the amazing things I have had an opportunityto learn, as well as making new discoveries.”All good things : )”Now, it is certainlycalled faith for a reason.  It doesn’t mean that it cannot have logicalunderpinnings.  Maybe as you defined it, it cannot.  But I am sure thatpeople that hold faith do not define it as you do.  It is probably thatyour experience with Christians tends to make you think faith is thatway.  Faith is something that should be complementary logic.”  My definition of faith I suppose comes from a bertrand russel quote I read in Peter’s Quotations years ago, it goes:”We may define ‘faith’ as a firm belief insomething for which there is no evidence.  When there is evidence,no one speaks of ‘faith.’  We do not speak of faith that two andtwo are four or that the earth is round.  We only speak of faithwhen we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. … We are told thatfaith could remove mountains but no one believed it; we are now toldthat the atomic bomb can remove mountains, and everyone believes it.”I can’t find any fault with this definition.  Is there anything that is logical and well supported by fact that would be considered “faith”?  Isn’t that what a “leap of faith” is supposed to be, leaping over a hole in logic essentially.”To me, itis choosing to be something that is most consistent with one’sexperience and not necessarily with evidence.” When you say “be something” I suspect you mean christian, muslim etc.  If so you are essentially saying “believing something without evidence” in a very painstakingly roundabout way.”It is also believingwhat one finds most probable.”  No, that’s regular old logic.”It is just acting with certainty onsomething that does not have complete proof.”  Does not have complete proof?  So the “proof” of yahweh’s existence is just incomplete?  Incomplete or non-existent?”In this context, atheistsacting with certainty are also demonstrating faith, though it is notreligious faith.”I think most atheists, when asked, would freely admit that they do not know deities do not exist any more than they know unicorns don’t exist.  You cannot prove a negative.”Ohman.  Yes I understand Communism != atheism.  However, Atheism is acomponent of most forms of communism.  It is the atheist component ofcommunism that has resulted and still results in religious intolerancein certain countries.”You’ll get no defense of communism from me.  But I don’t think you can blame atheism for institutionalized madness, it has no doctrines or dogmas.  Communism does, however.”So if there were some group of people whohappened to have a very unified theological and political beliefstructure–oh I am just going to pick some random name– like the’religious right’.  This group of people doesn’t represent the entiretyof–oh lets say–Christians.  However, Christianity ends up get blamedfor producing uber-nationalists.”I don’t blame one christian for the acts of another.  Nor do I blame christianity on any bad thing a christian does.  I blame christianity (in part) for things done with the encouragement or support of scripture.  Many of the evil things religious people have done they are allowed and even supposed to do according to the bible.  That is the difference.Imagine the bible said molesting children is good.  Or even that it was just acceptable.  If christians were taught this and then went forth and diddled kiddies, invoking the name of god for protection and striking down any proposed law against that behavior for decades or even centuries with the backing of religious institutions, would you not hold their religion responsible for at least some measure of the harm this doctrine did?I see no difference between that and things like this:”[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” – Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.”The comparison is almost theexact same.  Just substitute Christians for Atheists and ‘religiousright’ for communists.  Most communists are atheists.  Most people thatalign with the religious right are Christians.  ( My dad is an exampleof someone who’s political views line up exactly with the religiousright when, for all practical purposes, he is agnostic. )  I wasmentioning nationalists who were atheists ( albeitcommunists aswell ) because it is close to the same comparison.  Comparingcommunists to atheists is about the same as comparing the ‘religiousright’ to Christians.  Not all atheists believe everything communistsdo; not all Christians believe everything the religious right does.”This is why I try not to generalize, and criticize scripture or fundamentalists etc specifically.”Iam not sure who it was… I think it might have been Hitchens thatmentioned in one of his book he wanted to change the curriculum inschools to something more atheist biased.  I will have to look intowhat he said.. because when I read about it, I remember beingoffended.  As a proponent of evolution and someone who thinks the bigbang makes sense ( in other words I do not believe in biblicalliteralism ) it must have been something other than those.  If I get achance, I will have to track that down.”I’m curious to see what the quote was.  I don’t always agree with hitchens, but he’s always entertaining, lol.”But yes, I would agreethat trying to force God into the government is super lame.  As far asthe dollar bill, I kinda like tradition.  Atheists that want to take”one nation under god” off the dollar bill seem to just be petty.  Likethey just picked something because they knew it would bothertraditional people.  I guess that is what I perceive about it.  Itstrikes me as something that does not matter at all, as well. Christians are not trying to put more crap on the dollar bill either,they just do not want that piece of tradition removed because somepeople stretch to construe it as something offensive.  What if Idisagreed with George Washington’s political views and was offended byhis presence on the dollar bill?  At some point, tradition should winout over the whims of a public minority.  “one nation under god” is notoppressive.. I think it is ridiculous to construe it as such ( as someatheists have ).  Really, the matter does not have anything to do withreligious freedom, but with culture.  Changing the dollar bill has moreto do with one group trying to influence the culture of the rest of thegroup.  I think the response of the government to not be an activistabout it shows the greatest amount of indifference towardculture–which I think is the best move for government.”You said that trying to force religion into government is “super-lame” and then in the same breath denounced any attempt to stop it as petty.  And whoever said “one nation under god” got it wrong, it’s “in god we trust” which the US congress illegally made the US national motto in 1956, changing federal law to do so and violating the 1st amendment rights of atheists everywhere.  So far as “tradition”, you act as if this is the same money we’ve always had in america.  This is traditional currency.”I guess Ido not see Christians trying to put Jesus on dollar bills.  They justdo not want government to change it.  Maybe you see them wanting tokeep it the way it is as something that is extreme, but I disagree.”I know some that would leap at the opportunity to do so.  The ones that put “christian flags” on their lawn.”Have you ever read JT’s blog? With entries like “How can I caricature religion today?”, the last wordI would use is humble.” First of all, I didn’t say “all skeptics are humble”, so that’s irrelevant.  Second, his blogs (that I’ve seen) seen pretty laid back and mellow.  The one in question I had to go back a few pages for and he was being sarcastic referring to apparent criticism that he singles out nuts and represents them as the norm in christianity, and pointing out that the blog was referring to the pope who is about as mainstream as humanly possible within christianity.”Sometimes you can scroll down in the commentsand see a veritable circle jerk (excuse the crudeness ) of atheistpride.”  It’s the internet.”I have seen it a few times here too.  Even you believeChristianity is wrong and are, in a sense, trying to convert me.” Convert you to what, atheism?  No, you’re just having a conversation with an atheist.  My responses will be from that perspective.  I have no interest in converting anyone to anything but simple, honest critical thought.  Do I want blind “faith” to be rattled?  Sure.  Because it’s an impediment to that.  But I’ve not tried to steer you to atheism or argued that no gods are possible or blah blah blah, not even once.”Discussion and debate are things Christian apologists and atheistapologists love.”I enjoy debate because I like the intellectual challenge, whether it’s a political, religious or philosophical debate.  I’ve not been evangelizing.  Nothing I’ve said has been pointed toward steering you to one worldview or another.  Disagreeing with you does not mean promoting atheism.”To me, there exists a group I would coin as fundamentalist atheists.”Fundamentalism is a belief in strict, literal adherence to scripture, so no there’s no such thing.  There are, however, atheists who are dicks, but that’s it.”Iguess we differ here.  If I were trying to conceive with my girlfriendand she miscarriages early on, I would still feel sadness over the lossof life.”  Sure the victim is not the same, but I guess I tend to feelgrief over the loss of potential for life.”  I might as well, but that’s more emotional than logical.  I mean if you jerk off and your girlfriend goes a month without having sex the result is exactly the same.  A loss of the potential for life.  The fact is that there could exist billions of additional people, just as unique and real as us.  But I’ve not got enough heart to mourn them all.  And if we tried to usher in their existence we’d be mourning everyone, since we’d quickly run out of food.Btw, more fetuses miscarry naturally than are aborted, most in the first 6 weeks.”But I think Ron Paul’s viewon birth control is pretty decent.  It is something like, if no oneknows about it, it is fine.  If you know for sure that the zygoteexisted and was killed, then it is not ok.”  Huh?”Even if the earth and thelife on it spun into existence based solely on chance, to me, lifewould still be the most beautiful thing in the universe.  Likesomething that is holy.  As a result, it is more consistent with myexperience to believe life should be held in higher regard.  ( not thatI am going to cry everytime I use antibacterial–but then again, abacteria will never become human as will a zygote )”I don’t think life is sacred (as you point out, we don’t hold this value universally).  I think that people are sacred.  Well not even sacred.  Worth protecting.  A conscious mind can be victimized, can suffer.  This is why we have animal cruelty laws, but no such laws protecting plants or insects.  Life to me is a red herring in this debate, it’s not about whether something is alive at all, but whether it is sentient.  And the potential for sentience again doesn’t wash as an argument because a sperm and egg cell which are not treated as “sacred” have that same exact potential.  I mean why not have reverence for your breakfast because if eaten and metabolized it could become a sperm or egg cell and be fertilized and, and and…  You might notice I’ve considered this a bit, lol.”Thatswhy I qualified the statement with ‘I think’.  It is my opinion.  Thenew testament does not really say too much about what government shouldbe in comparison to what it says about the spiritual insides of aperson.  However, my beliefs about God and the idea that he seemsprefer the man’s ability to freely choose over having a perfectcreation leads me to believe if we were to emulate this concept ingovernment, the result would be a free nation.  So there is reasonbased on Christian beliefs to think God would prefer a free nation.  (I understand one could get a different impression if they were to lookat nation that was ethnically unified like Israel in the OT.  Iconsider this a different situation. )”We as a country believed that the taliban and al qaeda might be able to kill a small fraction of 1 percent of population.  Because of this we let our leaders violate numerous laws, suspend civil liberties, torture people (sometimes to death), hold innocent people for years without rights, etc.If we believed that over 25% of our population was going to be tormented forever as punishment for not being christian, you think our government would be less draconian?

  45. agnophilo says:

    @icesoul_09 – Glad to hear it : )  Streimmy refuses to see it unfortunately.

  46. Interesting insights! Thanks for visiting! God bless, ~ Pete

  47. YouKnowM says:

    buddah is no real JESUS is the way

  48. agnophilo says:

    @YouKnowM – What?  If I had to choose I’d pick buddha as a better philosopher.  If that’s what you mean.

Speak yer mind.

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