What if I am wrong about all of this?

Pick a door

Pick a door

A person I recently met through the Christian Bloggers Unite blog named Lisa recently posited the question to me thusly:

Then my only other question would be: What if you are wrong? Surely that thought lives somewhere in the depths of your heart? And if you are, do you really want the blood of those whose ‘exits’ you have encouraged on your hands? Again, no condemnation. Just an honest question.

I told Lisa I was working on doing a blog about that subject, and here I am, doing just that (I’m such an honest guy, I know).

Now this is a question I often asked whilst debating Atheists while I was a devoted apologist, I spent countless hours in conversation with people from different faiths and Non-theists were those that I remember asking this question the most, I guess it is a question that could apply to any religious circle, but no religious circle understands that it is something also applicable to their own constituency. IE: The Muslim could just as easily ask this question of a Christian as a Christian could a Muslim…that’s one of the things about reward vs. punishment religion; of the thousands of them, according to themselves, only one could possibly be right. Still, despite this nearly universal paradox, this question is asked to any infidel of any belief system thousands of times a day (i would guess).

So, what if I am wrong?

I think i have a better question or set of questions:

Here are the standard assumptions first…I don’t want you guys commenting and saying I didn’t think about universalism here or consider all the options…I know that…but do you really want to read a 3000 page dissertation on being wrong according to each religion in existence? I didn’t think so. First assumption; God is going to be defined as the God of “orthodox” Christianity-Triune, omni-present-potent-scient, all loving, creator of all things. Secondly; There are only two choices for the afterlife,  Heaven-a result of believing and accepting in Christ, and Hell-a result of not believing in the Christian mythology.

Now that we settled that, my first question is this; Is it my job to search for an attempt to understand a god amongst the various gods and versions of god? Should I really be the one doing all the work here? That certainly ruins the whole salvation by grace through faith system, because believing itself, if done without being entirely blind, is a job in itself. Why can’t god just make his existence evident to me and the rest of the unbelieving horde? Surely the creator and master of all things can find a way to show himself to us in just the smallest EMPIRICAL way, that we would not be able to deny him and still give us a way to have faith as well.

IF my only two options are eternal bliss vs eternal damnation, and the choice is a matter of faith that I have no way to be certain is true and correct–is god truly Love? Do you see the paradox here? God is love, he wants to save you, but you have to believe something that is simply unbelievable if you dare look at it with a skeptics eye, but if you don’t believe it you go to hell for all eternity…but he loves you, I think George Carlin put it best in his famous sketch. My point is that a god that requires all that he requires, yet gives no evidence to show that I should even care about those requirements doesn’t deserve my love, attention, devotion, fear…or anything for that matter. That’s right, I am currently willing to say that if I do end up being wrong, I will have been glad to have rejected such a tyrant of a god. If hell is my punishment, then so be it…I am better than that god

Now I guess the second issue at hand, is why do I bother doing this blog or try to convince people that their god doesn’t exist? I guess this is where I have to essentially come up with a mission statement. My mission, is to make you think…think critically about everything you think you know about god. Question God, question the Bible…question everything- if god is love, he will forgive you for it-if he decides not to forgive you, then he doesn’t deserve you either. I am not out to destroy the church, nor do I believe that is a reasonable expectation. I simply want to be there when you are ready to question all of this and be there to help you through it if you need it. So I am also here as an exit counselor more or less–If you need help leaving the church—I am here to help walk you through it (something I didn’t get whilst going through this).

Another part of the question at hand is whether or not I am willing to have the blood of any that leave the faith as a result of this on my hands. My answer to that is that not only am I operating in a different paradigm than the paradigm of fear and control (religion), but I am operating on the basis that logic is far more important in life than fear should be in death. Secondarily, I do not believe that this blog will be the end all be all of any faith, if you come here and decide that god is not real, you were already questioning, this is something you have to do yourself, no amount of debate or quips or evidence (or lack thereof) will ever convince you that god does not exist. I am but one small stepping stone in that path.

In the end, when my body is rotting in the ground, I want my only regret to be that I spent such a chunk of my life wasting it for a god that was not there. Freedom is answering to yourself and humanity rather than something you can’t see.

  • Truly Matt, you make my head hurt. Maybe that’s because you think too much? My faith is just not that complicated. Not because I haven’t questioned it but because the matter is settled.

    And you know, it’s been nice talking to you. But I have no answers for anyone who isn’t seeking them. You seem to know what you want to know. All I can tell you is that I will remember these conversations and pray that God will turn something in you to Him. This bully you’ve painted Him to be is absolutely not the God of the Bible nor the One I Willingly Serve out of gratitude, not fear. One more suggested read: Piper’s Desiring God. Heady stuff but again answers all your issues in detail…

    Peace,

    Lisa

  • Good thoughts, Matt.

    “This bully you’ve painted Him to be is absolutely not the God of the Bible nor the One I Willingly Serve out of gratitude, not fear.”

    Lisa, Matt and I used to rationalize away the bad parts of God as presented in the Bible too, but those parts are still there. God may be real, but the Bible is far from perfect.

    The Piper book looks interesting. I’ll add it to my list.

  • Matt

    Indeed, just as you don’t recognize the inherently evil nature of YHWH as presented in the Bible. The Bible paints this picture, not myself, not Mike here, not any atheist…this is simply the god that the Bible describes…and the Qu’ran…ad nauseum.

    It’s not that my mind is completely closed to the idea of god, i just think that if god were real he would have to at least meet my expectations and requirements of a higher power…anything else just doesn’t work for me…the status quo god doesn’t deserve our love…why would he?

  • Kat

    Hey Matt.

    Funny how you and I were thinking “along” the same lines… well first of all… I don’t know this god you speak of, but the God of the bible, our creator, is not this God who sits up there playing with our lives. I don’t think that George Carlin’s statement is one to follow after. There is that thing called choice.

    You may convince those who are not commited or have strong convictions, but if anyone did the most minimal amount of research and actually took the time to read the Bible, they would see that the misery they experience comes from falling away from or not having the Lord in their life. I would much rather know I have an all forgiving God in my life who reprimands me, and makes demands because He loves me rather then a Father who will just let me figure it out on my own.

    I’ll chose Him, His Word, and Life anyday. Like I said in my blog. One thing is to argue about our thoughts and opinions, another thing is to ignore facts. I truly hope you don’t have to live by your words one day in a hell you think you could only imagine.

    I’ll catch ya later.

  • Mike

    Good discussion,

    Matt, of course if he were to ‘meet your requirements’ then you would be the God, and he the follower… Sort of kills the idea of there being a God to follow after in that way of thinking.

    Have you considered that pursuit of truth is in and of itself evidence that deep in your heart you would really like to have the ‘right’ answer..? Your passion is evident. I can see provision in the Bible for questioning, seeking, challenging status quo – so there isn’t anything wrong with any of that as far as I’m concerned – its a good thing.

    I’ve never claimed to be an apologist, so forgive me for not knowing the ‘rules of the game’ so to speak. I will just speak out of my knowledge of who he is, rather than what everybody thinks about religion, etc… Is that OK?

    In my way of thinking – knowing that Jesus Christ is ‘the truth’ – anybody that seeks truth is seeking him. So I say, seek on! I know that eventually, if you live long enough, your search will lead you back to him, no matter what you have to go through to get there, that is the final destination.

    You know what I find more amazing than all this discussion? That some of the world’s foremost thinkers and philosophers were all known thru other’s writings about them. Take Socrates as an example – the man never recorded his own thoughts or philosophies, but his students did – like Plato. Plato was significantly influenced by Socrates, so he claims, and most of his stuff was basically second hand from being a student to Socrates. And then there is Aristotle – even though Aristotle was a student to Plato (yeah, these guys all studied down the tree from each other) he significantly influenced Alexander the Great – who we know conquered the known world (did I mention by the time he was in his 30’s – try that one!?) at the time, and brought the common “Greek language” to the world – and here is the kicker – IMHO so that when Jesus was born, there was a common language available to capture all the teachings, history, writings, literature, and recordings surrounding his life (JESUS’) and philosophies – cool huh?

    I know you guys may have missed all that, but consider that many of the writings of these guys, even Aristotle have been lost over the years – some would say that only about a third of Aristotle’s works even exist any more – yet, much of what they came up with has very easily morphed into the modern Christian churches thinking – its complimentary in a wierd sort of way – only a God who has the big picture could have pulled that one off IMHO!

    Why do these always have to be opposing ideas, why can’t they be complimentary? When I look at the impact that all these writings, the great philosophers and the Lord Jesus Christ’s followers, have had on the world, I see a very different picture than what you are all coming up with. I see a vast chronology and body of evidence that points to and proves the existence of a God who is interested in making life better for his creation – one who, in his infiniteness, has allowed his creation to be what it is, that is a beautiful thing by the way – the answers to many of your questions you already know, they lie deep within your hearts. You just don’t want to admit the truth – that is always the problem; not whether or not he exists, but rather your ability to accept that which is true…

    Let me give a possible example (at the risk of at least trying here). You know exactly why he won’t violate his principles (like allowing mankind free will, freedom to choose) – because they wouldn’t be principles if he violated them all the time. Now, with that said, is it possible that there are principles that sort of over-ride other principles – as in creation, so in life – the answer is yes. Just because you and I are unaware of them doesn’t negate their existence – a simple example is how the laws of lift, drag, thrust and gravity overide the simple law of gravity – we as a society were unaware of these until recent history – they were always there, we just didn’t recognize them.

    Could it be, that in our finite silly little minds, that we just don’t know enough about how all this works to provide relief from all the suffering and evil – or at least a significant portion of it – or is it more like we know what to do, but don’t want to? It is easier to ‘talk’ about all the stuff going on in the world and accuse our creator of creating a stupid world, with stupid rules – rather than go there and provide the actual relief that those who are suffering actually need. Oh, we might get hurt Mike, if we went to these places and tried to help; God forbid that we would roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty at least trying to alleviate some of the pain, evil, suffering etc. Its too easy to just blame, and talk, talk, talk. Sorry for the truth of what is happening, I’m sure it cuts pretty deep – like I said, is it that we genuinely don’t know what to do to solve our problems, or are we just unwilling to do what is necessary?.. 😉

    Have any of you ever traveled to hostile parts of the world to try and help hurting people? Have any of you ever tried to apply your reasoning, your philosophies, your creativity to the problem sets that exist; or are you just like everybody else, satisfied ranting about it online? I know, these are hard core questions, sorry.

    I have gone there, and believe me, you gain a much different perspective when your the one being shot at – but the silver lining? I grew closer to the Lord Jesus Christ; he became way more real to me through my life experiences. Like I said, I’m probably not a very good apologist; I prefer to actually go live this stuff, not just talk about it.

    Hey Matt, I love you man. I love whats going on in your heart! There is nothing wrong with asking your questions and don’t stop; I believe that you’ll find what your looking for brother. Its a beautiful thing to seek truth and try to shake free from all the stuff that gets put on you in this lifetime – go for freedom man, real liberty is where its at. Of course, you must realize that it will only come when you actually obtain the truth… 😉 MM

  • Matt

    Hi Mike M, thanks for your comment, as lengthy as it is (lol). Thanks for visiting the site and taking time to comment–I appreciate that you and others that have been visiting this blog actually care about the condition and future of my life and soul. Once again, it is a position i have been in quite a few times and i truly understand the emotional pain you feel when someone like me is at risk of eternal damnation…i don’t say that in a sarcastic way at all, i really get that and appreciate it.

    Mike, if you think for a second that i don’t want the right answer when you are truly fooling yourself…its what i want more than anything, and it is why i was able to finally put god to rest in my life…I question whether or not anyone whom hasn’t come to some sort of conclusion as to the validity of the bible being completely fallible and even inept that i have. Those people are the ones that don’t want to know the truth, they just want to settle for the comfortable. I think you now that that isn’t the case here mike.

    re: paragraph 3: You can approach me and this blog in any way that you see fit….if you don’t get a response then you can assume that your approach wasn’t worth my time or effort to reply to….ergo ignorance and boxed arguments just won’t work here…at least not more than once. I guess the moral of that story is to learn from your mistakes.

    I think in your 4th paragraph you make alot of assumptions…perhaps i will go back to christ…doesnt seem likely but you are going to believe that i will no matter what. Christ has alot of explaining to do if he is letting me go though all this bullshit just for fun—i will state it again, this was hard…really hard, if i go through it again i’m doing it with a gun to the temple.

    re 5th and 6th and 7th paragraph: I guess you can attribute any event that has occurred to gods providence…god did 9/11 so the Patriot Act could pass congress and take away the rights of Americans and start a war with innocent countries—just to help along this whole apocalypse thing… you see how that works?

    you assuming that i can’t admit the truth is a rediculous assumption that I personally find rather offensive…i wouldn’t doubt that Mike aka Monolithma felt the same way, but I can’t put words in his mouth rightly. Again you are making inane assumptions about the both of us and think that we have taken the easy way out…when both of us would assume that you have taken the easy way by having a crutch to stand on that is bigger than you, whilst we are required to sort things out by our lonesome. Remember, i don’t have a devil to blame or a god to petition for help….while you do.

    Now, my big gripe with you right now mike, and this one makes me boil, is that you go so far to assume that I didn’t DO for the church and for hurting people…I dont know what missions you think you have done or how many brick schools you built or if you helped the IMF and Worldbank over finance some poor nation like Malawi, but to dare assume that I haven’t seen and experienced things darker than your mind could ever muster up, that i haven’t had 8 hour counseling sessions with victims of ritual abuse and incest that would make you hurl if you even tried to understand them. I can promise you sir that you haven’t touched dedication yet, and i doubt you ever will. Do not accuse me of anything less than being fully devoted and in love with my long time god and the ministry that i came into. The next time you make an assumption like that i highly suggest you email it to me first to make sure your foot doesn’t end up in your mouth.

    Yes this blog IS just talking, its called a blog, it’s a way of relating ones experiences to the outside world. I don’t go around bragging about charity or the time i spent in the ministry—if you notice most of that has been removed from this blog or was never there in the first place…there might be a parable somewhere in your book making ones accomplishments and sacrifices a matter of public affair.

    Sorry if i get a bit defensive here, i hope it doesn’t run you off, i think with some changes to your approach we can manage to be rather productive in our conversation–IE: don’t make assumptions regarding my life now or then-and i think we will get along alot better.

    Matt

  • Bless ya’ heart, Matt! It sounds like you’re still defending your faith … even though your belief system has changed.

    You’ve made a lot of good arguments – very logical, sensible, etc. (Reminds me a little of Pascal’s Wager.) Anyway, what you believe is what you believe – you know what’s in your heart.

    I almost stopped visiting your blog when I read your last post, but I think I’ve changed my mind … about reading your blog, that is.

    Have a great day.

    Page

  • Matt

    thanks page…why did you nearly stop reading after the last post? I am curious to know.

    If it still seems like im defending my faith of old, the reason behind that is because alot of christians use a very very poor argument of “you must not have been a real christian then”, or something to that affect…i really want you folks to know that my faith was my life and it was everything to me, there is no way for me to prove that of course, just like you cant prove the opposite…but that argument is perpetually in the back of my mind.

    anyway, i hope you do continue reading… i believe i can be friends with anyone, and open discussion is important for personal and interpersonal growth…i have certainly grown already from the short time i have been on this blog myself.

  • I guess the reason I nearly stopped reading was because it sounded a little … I don’t know … maybe, “un-open?” But now I realize that I got the wrong impression.

    And when I said, you were still “defending your faith,” I meant you were defending your new “non-faith” just as you once did your Christian faith. Does that make sense?

    I will keep reading. I agree, open discussion is important.

    Thanks for replying.

    Page

  • Mike

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the quick reply. No assumptions here bro, that is why I actually bothered to ask… 😉

    The ‘you’ that I put in some of my paragraphs was more of a generic you – like you all, like ya’ll… Not you in particular Matt.

    I actually was paying you a compliment about your quest to get the ‘right’ answer – you may have misinterpreted, or I may not have written it well. Sorry ’bout that…

    I was asked by a consultant mentor of mine (oh about 15 years ago) a very simple question. He says to me, ‘Mike, what is it that every person on the planet wants more than anything?” – I came up with several possible responses as you can imagine that are probably in line with what you are all thinking right now – “nope, he says, every person only really wants to be RIGHT!” It was a profound insight into the human psyche for me and served me well for many years.

    As only one of many examples that I bring to the table, the discipline of being an awesome management consultant (I added the awesome part 🙂 for over a decade and dealing with senior (read old) leaders of many organizations who thought they too, knew the truth about their organizations; but learned otherwise under my tutelage. Truth is very difficult; it cuts, it reveals, and most of us don’t like being vulnerable – that is why we respond so vehemently when challenged.

    I would like to point out, that every human being on this planet has problems, on some level, with admitting the truth, so you won’t escape that one either.

    Seems to me that you assumed that I was sort of trying to win you over; or that I was accusing you of never being a Christian in the first place – once again, Nope. Never assumed any of that, nor would I accuse you of that. Stike number.. ?

    I am not pained in any way that you are making your choices, I celebrate that you are. I would however like to point out that you must have experienced some crazy shit because the tone of your response is genuinely angry! Assumption on my part..? Listen, I’ve experienced some crazy ass shit (is it OK for a Christian to say it this way..) myself. We should compare notes one day – as far as you assuming that I haven’t, ha I wouldn’t make that mistake twice if I was you… ;(

    I would attribute your response to another condition that plagues every single one of us; that is the particular filters that we apply to our thinking. Getting a good bead on your filters, I am… 😉

    I don’t purposely say things to offend you; I was sincerely asking the questions – looking for answers, not accusations. Soooo, now what?

    I too am on a quest for truth – I’ve got a lot of history and experience being a bit older.

    If you and I are going to discover real truth during the course of our lives, then we must be open to discovering that we might have been wrong, might be wrong, or might have been right at some point in our past.

    Sorry for the long comments, I tend to be a little long winded. You’ll find that I’m a very different kind of “Christian” – all the little temper tantrums that those with strong belief systems seem to pose, don’t intimidate me one bit.

    So with that said, what say we start again? I propose that we are both on the same path, lets see where it takes us..? MM

  • Matt

    i probably read into your post a tone of arrogance, i still do sense it, but sure, lets start fresh…I am all for that.

    the only reason i felt anger is because it felt that you believed i was one of those sunday christians, when that was not the case in any way shape or form…it seems that you and I may have had similar desires and experiences with our faiths…thats something i always enjoy exploring.

    as far as some of the experiences i have had, i am not going to do that on this blog, its too much for me still to go back to that time and think about it, in fact, i have been pounding my head against a wall to try and figure out a way to be there for the people that i hinted at earlier absent christianity, christ, and the whole ministry thing. I will openly discuss things of that nature privately with you, you have my email and I welcome you to use it…dont be suprise if i am very careful with my answers though.

    thanks again 🙂

  • Mike

    No problems bro,

    I understand, beleive me. Thanks for toning it down and being more accepting of me – sorry for the tone of arrogance on my part – should we kiss and make up..? 😉

    I would like to get to know you a bit better via email. I’m in a really broken place right now in my life, it would be refreshing to talk with someone who could possibly actually relate to what some folks go through in this life.

    I get a little snappy because many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord don’t seem to understand people like me. When they hear of even 1 or 2 of my stories, they sort of give me that look like, Ok, dude, I’m just going to walk away now – like I really don’t know what to tell you or how to relate to stuff like that… Sounds like you might know a little about that..?

    Cool, well gotta go get my daughter and son; they were visiting their mom this weekend and are on their way back. If you get a chance, you will get some insight about me on my blog – its called “Church Blog” – and here is the link http://churchblogm.blogspot.com/

    Goodnight all… MM

  • Hi Rev oxley, I see where your coming from and I would imagine from your point of view it seems quiet logical. However, I think you are responding regarding to an idea of God that isn’t the God I serve. I’m not rationalizing “bad parts” of God as Mike posits. We see “good and bad” in a limited earthly way. God sees the big picture. So how can we justify ourselves by condemning Him? How can we who are human who can’t even keep our own rules and laws think that we know better than Him? It’s easier to just say He doesn’t exist then that He’s this horrible Deity not worthy of our love.

    Moreover, it’s not about “believing” in our mind that Christ is the way, truth and life. It’s not about believing a set of facts. It’s about coming into submission with the Truth. What we believe internally must make sense in our head. And yes it’s okay to want the answers to these big questions. It’s okay to want to see God authenticate Himself in your life. I want more of Him too and the awesome thing is that He has more to bring us into. We can always have both that desire and the fulfillment of that desire forever and ever.

  • Under what conditions would you be willing to believe in a God? If we assume that the Bible is flawed and wholly incorrect, and that the only preconditions to get into heaven is belief in God while not being an evil person would you find that suiting? Or would that be too much of a burden?

    I think a wonderful discourse could be created if you looked at the people who believe in this stuff because they are afraid of hell vs. those who simply believe out of comfort and joy. For some religion is the social outlet, it is what they enjoy. In times of need it provides comfort. Juxtapose this against those who believe it is merely an alternative of escaping hell. Could it not be that the people who enjoy it, are merely living their life to it’s fullest potential. Essentially they may come out on top no matter what, if nothing exists they lived happy lives – if they were right they go to Heaven.

    You talk a lot about shifting paradigms, but why are we just limiting this to a paradigm about religion. The status quo is that being a prude is a bad lifestyle and you can never have fun that way. I seem to enjoy my life and I’m very much a prude. I don’t live my life out of fear of God or Hell. I merely live my life treating people as I wish to be treated myself. But beyond myself I know plenty of people who would be just as happy going to church gathering as opposed to going to the club. These people do not live out of fear, but to them this is their outlet. This is what they enjoy.

    You state that freedom is answering to yourself and humanity rather than an invisible creator. But how is that freedom? If you are bound by social constraints then how are you free? How are you free if you remain bound by anything. In this paradigm you have constructed freedom cannot exist unless there is but one man. Then freedom has been forced upon him, so is he truly free?

  • Matt,
    You know you wanna come back to God soooo bad!!!! 🙂
    Hey, you know it’s not too late, and you know that God will accept you with open arms. I know you know that. You haven’t gone too far, just remember that! 🙂
    Peace, Love, and Chicken Grease, Matt

    Tony

  • Very interesting post. I also used to be strong in my Christian faith, until I studied it. After studying and learning I found that the bible was merely a set of books written by men. Most of the stories were plagarized from other, earlier religions. So, no, I am 100% sure that there does NOT exist a Christian God. I am currently studying one of those earlier relgions, and find it very refreshing that it does not have the whole “our way is the only way to heaven” bit in it… There may just be something to these pre-Christian religions. 🙂

    Sorry to write you a book up there, I just find religion infinitely fascinating!!

  • Matt

    @ Ron: I will handle you in a minute…

    @ Tony: I think you know better than that. If anything, i want the ability to put my mind back to sleep and deny reality by having a crutch like god to depend on…i think we all want something to make our mental stresses easier, thing is, once you take the red pill you have a hard time turning back. I do wonder though tony, just what is “too far”?

    @ Frigga: Thanks for the post, and i don’t mind long-windedness…have you see these comments? lol. Feel free to come back and comment or contribute at any time.

  • Not sure how much HTML works in comments here, but here is a cartoon that goes perfectly with Mike’s mentor’s quote: “nope, he says, every person only really wants to be RIGHT!”

  • Err…maybe it doesn’t work at all. Here’s a link to the image: Duty Calls

  • In my book, and what I believe, too far = Dead. 🙂
    Ok, hypothetically…(HYPOTHETICALLY, MATT!!!!) Humor me.

    If there was an event that some Christians call “The Rapture” that did take place, and it lined up exactly as to how some scriptures pointed out…would you think again about this, or would you rationalize that event in your mind as something else.

    In your mind now, the biblical rapture (not a debate on the word or if the word is found in the bible) will not ever happen….. but if it did…. with the knowledge that you have from your past….would that (at least) make you think?

  • Obviously, since you do not have faith that the Bible even is the Word of God, there is no point in discussing it with you so I am not going to. What you choose to believe is entirely your decision but I wonder why you seem to want to try to change the beliefs of others and cause them to doubt their faith. What is the point in that? I understand why Christians share God’s word with others because we believe it is the truth and leads to salvation but I do not see what your motivation is for putting down what Christians believe and trying to disprove God’s Word other than just stirring up discussion and debate. It’s one thing to choose your own way against God but quite another to try to take others with you.

  • Matt

    it would make us all think

    now when is this gonna happen?

    • mnucer

      at the end of 6000 years of human history… accourding to the jews

  • Matt

    @ Karen:

    Thanks for commenting.

    Why would you trust such a fallible book to be God’s word…can’t he do better?

    as far as why I am here doing what I am doing…I can’t explain the drive, but it exists…so i fulfill it…I think of it just like you think of bringing someone to jesus…you want them to know how great what you have found truly is…and i do too…I know the years i poured into christ and the church and i want to pour some back out…to tell people that they dont have to live their life in sacrifice to an artificial being.

    Have you ever considered, karen, that you might be leading people away from the Truth with Christianity?

  • Matt

    @ Ron:

    No ron, It wouldnt be suiting to require belief in god unless he provided proof of himself—God requiring any more than for us to simply be human to reap the benefit of heaven is an atrocity.

    I am not, in any way, advocating the point that all believers or even half of the believers out there are devoted to god out of fear, i think it is likely that it may have at some point been a motivator for many, but certianly not all…i dont believe that was the Christanity i served…i loved god because i felt him and thought i knew him. If they are living to their potential, but are believing in things that are not believable–are they fulfilling their potential?

    I agree with your third paragraph…nearly entirely

    and i think you take the third too far?

  • I think a person is fulfilling their potential if they are satisfied with how they are living; who are we to determine what is “believable” to others? In a Court of Law, you wind up having people who believe many different things and listen to various arguments. You or I may have a difficult time understanding why this person believed this argument while another believed another argument entirely. This all goes back to freedom, we can never say something is unbelievable because people are free to believe in whatever they wish.

    Think about it. How can we describe what is believable? No matter what, our beliefs will be shaped by our life experiences. Doing this we are essentially asserting a universal right, which can not exist. It would be like me trying to go to Kenya and tell them how to setup their economy, I don’t understand their history nor culture. Similarly, you and I can not tell someone what is believable because we have different experiences.

    Now I know your response will be “But it doesn’t exist”, but I’m ready for that. Believability is not tied to actuality. I can believe that humans are inferior to Panda Bears, doesn’t necessarily make it true. Let’s say when I was a young lad a Panda saved my life, thus that experience shaped my views. We are free to believe anything we want, that does not mean it is true. So yes, someone can fulfill their potential even if they believe in God. I’m pretty sure you agree, otherwise you’d be calling me stupid inadvertently……….dirty commie.

  • Matt

    Ron this isn’t an argument about ones right to believe something, we have the right to believe that pink unicorns rule the universe, that doesn’t make it believable. Circular arguments aside, believability should be determined by the provability of an argument, and then perhaps breaking down into the record of the source (ie is it trustworthy, in the case of the Bible, the answer is a definite NO!)

    If you went to tell nigerians how to set up an economy NOW do you think they would bother listening to you? If they were intelligent, no, they wouldnt, in the same way I wont allow an extremist muslim to tell me how to follow god—because in both cases, we cant trust them…they have failed. so the analogy works in my direction

  • If you are going to use such a narrow interpretation of believability, then there is plenty of precedent for nothing to be believable. Science often has been proven wrong over the years when new theories develop, quite clearly there is a precedent for ideas being overturned – ergo we should not believe in them as they can be proven false.

    Believability is not some universal standard. You can apply it narrowly as you are trying to do, but then there are problems with what can be verifiable. Scientists can’t even settle on what is causing global warming, yet Science is supposed to be proven fact.

    Something that we can not prove or disprove can in fact be true, can it not? If we have no way to ascertain if it is right or wrong, then how can we cast judgment upon it? As far as their being a record of something, By God have you lost your mind?

    The Bible is not trustworthy because it is written by man. Books are not trustworthy because they are written by man. Reports, Commissions, etc. I can go on all day. I’m not trustworthy nor are you, why because as humans we tend to try and insert our own personal bias into everything. We may suppress it, but then the record has been marred by our suppression.

    Your two standards of believability are flawed and it is debatable if they even exist. This isn’t utopia, things are not perfect. You have a very idealistic of what should be believable, and if the world operated in such a fashion I might be inclined to side with you. But with such a narrow interpretation we can’t verify that anything is believable. We could make some generalized statements like, “Motors run” but we could not distinguish facts like “Motors run when there is a catalyst to begin a reaction within the internal chambers that turns rotors, etc.”

    I will give you this, the concepts some believe in are not probable or plausible. Heck, some of them have no logical reasoning at all. But then you run into people like me, who can make it make sense. You characterize it as a blind faith, or believing in something that isn’t believable but if it can not be proven wrong, nor can the possibility of it be precluded – then why should it not be believable?

    As far as Kenya/Nigeria, quite honestly it would be quite stupid of either of them to not listen to me. A. I’ve never failed them and B. I’m quite well versed in developing nations. If they are truly so smart, it must be inferior to my own intelligence – because I can tell them how to make things better. I can learn their history, I can learn their culture – and it will only take a few weeks to do. I can then formulate a plan to fix their economy. I’m not sure what that says about either of our uses of the analogy, but I thought I would throw it out there.

  • This is what I’m wondering- why do you still care so much about Christianity now that you’re an atheist? Why bother devoting a blog to atheism just as you devoted your life to Christianity?

  • Matt

    thanks SG, good question. The answer to which I am not fully sure of, but i do care…its part of my nature I think.

    Religion has been a major part of my short life for such a long time…so naturally i still want to discuss it. Dont think though, that i wont be talking about other religions, cults, the occult, and etc. its still a young blog

    if you have any subjects you would like me to focus on please let me know

  • Hey I’ve found someone who asks as many awkward questions as me!

  • Too much to comment on in one sitting but here are some randoms…

    The thing that strikes me about the Bible is that it was more important to the authors to correctly say what needed saying than to try and portray things in a nice light. Yet despite this offensiveness Christianity steam rollered into existence at a rapid rate despite substantial reasons for not doing so. Surely people are not that stupid? What was that something that maked them and us such fools?

    Your question about the multitude of paths and particularly the work involved in seeking Him is a very fair one that I will need to ponder. Whilst I’m fairly comfortable that we all have a built in God seeking urge, its also apparent that THE way is not that clear, or if it is, this is not apparent to all.

  • @ Robert:

    thanks for the comment.

    Don’t you think it would have been prudent for God to provide a PERFECT word and to even preserve it so that we feeble humans might have SOME way to know him. I think it would still require some faith—so that would be ok, but then we could KNOW and there would be alot less debate for people like myself, whom hold god to a very high standard.

    and robert i dont think i need to educate you on the nuances of early christian history—fact is, any new movement will grow to some point—and for the first 300 years christianity grew as one would expect any religious movement to—then Constantine happened—The ramifications of which—were rather bountiful.

  • Well the party line is it IS perfect, at least in the autographs, and that the supposed contradictions have fair explanations. I don’t really want to get into that here – its been done to death elsewhere.

    You don’t think that the growth of Christianity despite the persecution, despite the death of its leader in ignominous circumstances, its apparent foolishness and barbarism (cross, communion etc) to the Romans in particular, the early divisions, etc is remarkable?

  • If we read the bible with open eyes we will see that it is such a fantastic book. Yes, very fantastic. The more I read it the more it becomes obvious that this thing they call “god” is just a figment of man’s puny imagination. If every human being would just learn to be very honest with himself and see the world without the color of religion, the world will become a better place to live in.

    I could not believe in a very insecure god who is “all powerful” and “all loving” yet could torment a non-believer eternally. This belief is too fantastic to be taken seriously. I don’t understand why despite the advancement of the human race religion still exists. Religion is a symbol of lesser thinking (no offense to those who have religion). And I could not imagine this thing they call “heaven”, what will they do in there? wear white and float around in clouds and sing hallelujah forever? It seems so stupid.

    God is the greatest fictional character man has ever created.

  • @ Pastilan

    Thanks for the comment…I read the bible countless times with the idea that it was directly from God—when i read it that way i was unable to question it out of my own fear and love for god.

    once we take the time to serve our selves just once, by reading just like its a book that PURPORTS itself to be true, i think we can find freedom in its LACK of inspiration and obvious failures.

    thanks for your comments sir.