Sketches on Atheism

Citizen Tom Concedes Jesus Did Not Say Anything New, Original, or Even Marginally Useful.

Name something new, original, or even genuinely useful Jesus said of did.

seek truthIt’s a stunningly simple question, and since banning me from his blog for asking this stunningly simple question, the evangelical Christian blogger Citizen Tom has penned four posts (some 6,000 words) trying to address the question, only to (predictably) concede that Jesus did not in fact say anything new, original, or even marginally useful (useful in so far as reducing unnecessary suffering, or enhancing human knowledge). Of course, Tom can’t actually bring himself to admit this in a structured and coherent sentence, so instead in the very last paragraph of his series (which have proceeded with all external critiques being censored) he offers an analogy as an excuse for why Jesus didn’t say anything new, original, or genuinely useful:

 “Imagine you were on a rescue mission. An evil man has kidnapped a child. He intends to confine and abuse that child for as long as he can, and you have the opportunity to stop him. How are you going to react if someone asks whether you are doing something new, original, or useful? Well, I suppose you might consider freeing that child from the clutches of an evil man useful. Nevertheless, I suspect you are also going to wonder why anyone would asks that question.”

And with that, Citizen Tom admitted (by default) that he had failed to defend his objection with anything tangible. What he did offer as the towering product of some 6,000 words was a vaporous theological opinion: that Jesus came to atone for sin through his suicide. Or in other words:

 Sacrificing himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself.

Of course, this is also nothing new. The concept of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin is as old as religion itself. Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which demanded less unnecessary suffering, but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not at all original to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have:

 “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.

Evidently, sacrifice for the atonement of sin is not new, original, or, it may be argued, meaningfully useful. What it is is a foul pedigree of primitive barbarism.

Antiquated vulgarity aside, it’s worthwhile to however quickly look at Citizen Tom’s final [non]answer because it raises a host of problems that must now be addressed. Ignoring the numerous other sages and gods and animals that have died for humanity, and the point that this notion of atonement through spilled blood is nothing but a theological opinion, not fact, and certainly without any evidence to support the theology, Tom now has to answer why did Jesus bother waiting till he was 33-iesh years old before committing Suicide by Centurion? Indeed, if dying was the only useful thing Jesus was ever going to do then why avoid Herod’s directed blades and just be killed then when he was a baby, instead of fleeing south, as the story reads. Would not the blood-sacrifice objective have been fulfilled then and there? Mission Accomplished!

Indeed, what possible purpose was served by living a single day longer than necessary if dying was the only important thing Jesus was ever going to do? Why bother having a three year ministry if every single word spoken was counterfeited from older characters and stories, a fact that only detracts from the godhood claim, not enhances it? Why bother speaking a single word if no new information was ever intended on being presented… Not even a new, more accurate cosmogony that would have genuinely wowed generations long after Jesus’ death as its truth was slowly revealed as civilisation caught up and produced corroborating evidence. Certainly, such a revealed cosmogony would have been more effective than a billion little supernatural tricks performed to impress a few Palestinian villagers who obviously weren’t even moved enough by these cheap amusements to jot down a single contemporary word about the things they allegedly saw.

I hope Citizen Tom can now spend a month or two penning a series of rambling, non-descript, evasive posts trying to answer this question, because for now, his suggestion that dying was the only useful thing Jesus did is not only completely un-original but utterly absurd given the mission could have been accomplished a few months after his birth.

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349 thoughts on “Citizen Tom Concedes Jesus Did Not Say Anything New, Original, or Even Marginally Useful.

  1. Word on the street a certain man has a book in the works. May I offer a preview of unseen opinion?

    -Mr Finklestein, the modern god of the ‘past,’ whether intended or implied, has stated there was no Exodus, as ‘he’ says the Genesis account is pure myth based on ‘no’ evidence.

    -The enlightened ones of ‘today’ are vastly superior in learning and intellect, and have easily discounted what were once known (and still known) as facts.

    -Religion is thus a cause for ‘the retarded in thought,’ and an assault on science.

    -Christ Himself was a poor historian, advancing ideas that no reasonable person would believe.

    -Mr Herzog is supportive of the little god, as has also lended a voice of protest and disdain against the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    -Israel is a leech on society. The scriptures cannot be trusted. There is no God, as there is no proof. Of course, Finklestein, Herzog, and Zande all agree.

    The conspiracy and scheme of global proportion of believing in a God at all, has survived because people are weak minded and are afraid to face progress or superstition.

    Then there are those five smooth stones: ‘He made the stars also,’ thus giving Finklestein, Herzog, and others who are in bed with them, zero credibility. Good luck though jz with your pea shooter of unbelief against the foundation of heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, not even close, CS, but its always entertaining to see the circus going on inside your head 🙂

      Might I say though, you Sir are going to be wildly surprised by the book. Astonished, dare i even say. Amazed, even. But, sadly, you’ll have to purchase it and read it before touching that wondrous sensation. I’ve just this minute made a last moment adjustment to the e-book cover (print cover is signed off on and ready to go), so whereas it should have been released today in the e-format, we’re looking more at tomorrow or perhaps Thursday. Do know, though, every cent made from this goes directly to animal rescue and shelter here in Brazil. At the very least, you can therefore know you’ve contributed to the reduction of actual suffering in this world.

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      • Hey john

        Then again maybe you could issue the book to children, call it ‘The alphabet; proof from the Acropolis to Zebras; how science and archaeology try to prove there is no God.’

        Certainly you would not want the innocence of a child to be left alone with his thoughts……………..he may actually defer to common sense and a Creator…………’

        Any child left to his own mind without the influence of so called ‘knowledge,’ will choose God every day of the week for the explanation of all that is.

        It takes a special kind of theft to take what he naturally knows………..

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      • You see, your own ego and self-directed sense of importance is getting in the way here, CS. Archaeology doesn’t disprove there is a god. Near Eastern archaeology has, over the last 100 years, proven the Hebrew origin tale is a myth… an inventive geopolitical tale spun for all the same reasons creative origin tales are spun in every culture. See the difference? Now, as there is a god thrown into that tale, then that too is, evidently, a myth. If the true history of the early Jews doesn’t match the tale, then the characters (natural and magical) described in that tale are, quite clearly, also fictional. Facts are facts, aren’t they? You just can’t argue with facts. We know what the early history of the Jews was, and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to the tale. Now, how you adapt to these facts is up to you, but how you respond will generally reflect your perspective (and grasp) on reality.

        But again, you couldn’t be further off regarding the book. I’m telling you, you’re going to be surprised. Trust me, you’re not expecting what you’re about to get.

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      • Okaaay.

        Some opinions are poor, others are better. Many think Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer.

        Some give an opinion and ‘guess’ who will win the World Cup. Opinions are a dime a dozen and make for daily conversation.

        ‘According to you,’ or ‘according to me,’ meh, I wrote an essay recently about this very thing.

        At the end of the day, what stands the testament of time is not the opinion of men, or the produced efforts to construct truth, but what will always and irrevocably stand and withstand every chisel and hammer is: ‘according to the scriptures…’ 😉

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      • Yikes jz

        You may want to amend that to ‘manufactured hilarious contradictions,’ and ‘alleged historical blunders…………’

        Ok then with this latest, it must be a comic book…;) But hey, just another lousy guess at who win the World cup 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. @Colorstorm

    “You may want to amend that to ‘manufactured hilarious contradictions,’ and ‘alleged historical blunders…………’”

    How about a pretty annotated picture illustrating the contradictions present in said magic book? John has it here as well, but it a work that should not be ignored with regard to arguments about accuracy and consistency.

    Liked by 1 person

      • @JZ

        It is invented; just like the bible…*ba-da boom-ching* (low hanging fruit, sorry).

        Ah, then it is just willful ignorance. I can understand that – cherished beliefs/my very identify!?!!! under attack. Shields up and what not.

        Counter-will is good, it helps us individuate, but if one finds it being evoked all the time on certain issues it might be wise to reflect a bit on why that is.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey John,
    I think I read that you are donating the proceeds of your new book to local animal shelters. I have always thought that the way a person treats animals says a lot about that person’s character. Knowing that you care enough about the suffering of animals to sacrifice your profits in order to help the cause of the suffering tells me you care about the vulnerable and are doing something to help alleviate suffering in the animal kingdom. I’m sure you feel the same about human suffering as well. For this I commend you and give you props!

    As I’ve been considering your question regarding Jesus’ impact on society, it occurred to me that no one could ever give you an answer that would satisfy you, unless, of course, one is agreeing with your position. As one who claims to not believe there is a God and who therefore doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ, you would always position yourself against any argument that would claim otherwise. You are a bit biased, to say the least. You are asking those who walk by faith not by sight to explain the importance of the Head of their faith to one who walks by sight not by faith. Is this even possible? Therefore, I fear such an attempt to answer your question from a Christian worldview is an exercise in futility.

    If I were to answer your question using my own beliefs that are rooted in the Bible, I’d say that since all things that were created were created through Jesus, by Him and for Him, and that all things are held together by Him (Colossians 1), then it follows that everything He did was new, originally and quite useful. I would even claim that the compassion you have for the suffering is from Jesus Himself and that He put that in you as part of His design. But you will shoot this line of reasoning down because you don’t take God at His Word, since to you He doesn’t exist. A futile attempt, I know. . .

    Still, there is something that bothers me. You claim to be an atheist, believing that God does not exist, yet you spend a lot of time trying to debunk the beliefs of Christianity and the teachings found in the Bible. I would think you’d rather spend your time extolling the virtues of atheism and showing why it is the better way of living. You probably do spend some time on the positive side, but it seems much of your passion goes toward disproving God in general and Christianity specifically. So I have come to the following conclusion: You do believe in God but your anger for Him drives you to disprove His existence. You have been hurt in some way, most likely by those who claimed to follow Him and now you take it out on Him. If I’m even close to the truth, I’d love to hear how you came to atheism. What drives you? And please, if I’m getting too personal, there’s no need to answer. I just know a lot of people who’ve been hurt by religion and then lashed out at God who really had nothing to do with it. It is my belief that Jesus hated religion as much as you seem to; this is something you share with Him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cindy.

      To clarify, I never asked about Jesus’ impact on society. The question was, and remains: name something genuinely new, original, or useful which Jesus said or did. There is no room for opinion here. I’m not interested in litigating any supernatural claims (although many people have tried to offer these up). I’m merely interested in seeing if anyone can name something genuinely new which Jesus said or did. There is no trick.

      You see, saying since all things that were created were created through Jesus, by Him and for Him, and that all things are held together by Him (Colossians 1), then it follows that everything He did was new, originally and quite useful is just an opinion, a theological flight of fancy with no actual grounding in reality. It therefore doesn’t imply. I could make any claim I like and it’d have exactly the same value as your claim. Zero.

      I’m a little confused about you mentioning suffering. Are you trying to say no human being had an empathetic thought before Jesus?

      To your last point: I speak about religion (not just your religion) for the exact same reason anti-smoking campaigners speak about the dangers of smoking, or virologists speak about certain diseases.

      And yes, to your first part, reducing actual suffering in a meaningful and lasting manner should be our only motive.

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      • Thanks, John. I guess I was trying to have a conversation with you so I could find out a little more about you and your worldview. Since we don’t share the same view, it’s hard for you to understand who Jesus is to me. I think to you, he is just a man who walked the earth for 33 years and did or said nothing of significance. To me, He is the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The Beginning and the End. He is the source of all good things. Without Him there would be no words to say, no kindness to extend to others, no way to relieve suffering. He is the Source of it all. He is my Savior, my Lord and my Friend. Because of the relationship I have with Him, which is a real bond with a loving and compassionate Being, my life is richer, fuller and filled with peace. I can’t explain that to you anymore than you can describe your relationship with your brother, your father, your wife, your sister, your friend. You may be able to try, but I’ll never truly know how important that person is to you; I can only take your word for it. It’s the same with me and Jesus. It’s the same with millions of others and Jesus. But because you don’t share that same experience, you doubt and can’t really understand. You can, however, respect. This is my intended purpose for engaging in conversation with you.

        As to your quest to speak out against religion, I am with you on that. Men do horrible things in the name of God or Jesus or Allah. But the twisted ideas these humans get as to what their God wants cannot be attributed to God himself. In other words, don’t blame Jesus for what people do in His name. He is just as upset as you are about religion. When we get together, we can do some pretty destructive things, but those things are not of God, they are of man. So rail against religion all you want, but don’t mix up religion and God. They are not one and the same. In fact, Jesus railed against religion himself. He often called the religious leaders names like “brood of vipers, blind guides, fools, hypocrites, whitewashed tombs” and the like. He didn’t look kindly on what these cold-hearted men were doing and saying in the name of God.

        Even if you never receive the answer you are looking for regarding Jesus, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from. And I’d like to understand your story, what drives you to fight against religion. I’m not trying to have a debate with finely tuned points. . . just a conversation.

        Thanks for indulging me!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Cindy. Don’t get me wrong, I understand where you’re coming from. I was raised Catholic, schooled by Carmelite nuns then Augustinian priests. And again, I speak about religion for the same reasons a virologist speaks about diseases. I really can’t make that point any clearer.

        Now, what I “think” of Jesus (if he even existed at all, which is highly questionable) is, once again, entirely meaningless to the question posed. Again, there is no trick. I haven’t crafted this question to confound or trip up unwary Christians. There is nothing sinister in it. It’s a simple, straightforward question: Name something new or original which Jesus said or did.

        To date, no one has been able to name a single thing. Well, there was one thing, when Jesus turned the fish into an Automatic Teller Machine dispensing coins, but considering that is a supernatural claim it doesn’t fit into the spirit of the question. I think the inability of a single person to name something new or original is tremendously interesting, especially for Christians, considering the claims Christians make about the man. One would, after all, expect a visiting deity—the Creator of the Universe, no less—to have at least said something new. A new, more accurate cosmogony would have been enough, although doing/saying something that reduced actual suffering would have been even better. But Jesus didn’t mention a new cosmogony, instead maintaining the Jewish belief that the earth was flat. Jesus believed the earth was flat. And everything else he said (that which has been recorded) had been said by numerous sages before him, and often said much, much better.

        In short, there is nothing remarkable or original in the story. In fact, there is nothing new in the role Jesus was allegedly playing. 1,000 to 2,000 before Jesus, Zoroaster spoke of the world’s madness that has been caused by a malignant and unbalanced spirit, Angra Mainyu, that would be corrected in a great settlement delivered by a saviour figure—the Saoshyant: the World Renovator and Victorious Benefactor—who will defeat the evil of the progeny of the biped, deliver retribution for offenses, reward noble deeds, and establish the Kingdom of Good Thought (righteousness). Sound familiar?

        Don’t, though, get me wrong. I’m not anti-Jesus. I’m merely interested in establishing facts, then weighing reality against those facts.

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      • John, I think it’s a matter of perspective, don’t you? If you don’t see the value of what Jesus (or anyone for that matter) did for mankind, you will not judge his earthly mission as useful. I think you established being useful as reducing actual suffering in a meaningful and lasting manner. I can agree to that as a definition for what you mean by usefulness. As to Jesus’ success in saying or doing something useful, this is where the perspective comes in to play. You don’t see the value in Jesus’ mission because you don’t perceive the great need He came to meet. It’s not that no one can answer your question satisfactorily, because many have. The problem is that you are asking the wrong question. So let me turn it back to you: What do you see as the root of the suffering you see in this world? If, assuming there is a God, He made everything just how He wanted it to be, why is there so much pain and agony? What is the source of suffering?

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      • Hi Cindy

        Again, you are merely appealing to a theological “opinion.” That opinion has precisely zero value in relation to the question asked. I’m sorry, but so too does your question concerning the origin of suffering. I’m not interested in litigating “claims.” If, however, you really need to know, almost all of the claims made in Judaism/Christianity/Islam were lifted from Zoroastrianism, so there’s nothing even new or original there.

        Now, here’s an example of the question in action: Was anything in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount new or original? Answer: No. It’d all been said before (long before, in fact), and in many respects articulated much better, by other religious leaders, poets, sages, and even playwrights. If you scroll through the comments I have given examples of these earlier examples in a few places.

        And again, this isn’t a trick question. It’s really frightfully straightforward. Name something new or genuinely original which Jesus said or did?

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  4. Hey John,
    I’m attempting to help you understand why no one is able to answer the question you have posed to your satisfaction. I’m trying to help you see that the question you have posed is the wrong question, a red herring of sorts. Unfortunately, you fall back on your same arguments and fail to answer my questions or follow my line of reasoning. I do have a point. Really, I do. But I’m not getting anywhere because you refuse to play along.

    I realize I did fail to warn you that I was only addressing the “marginally useful” part of the question. The “new and original” is another matter that must be addressed separately. This exercise in futility may be “frightfully straightforward” but it is also “head-scratchingly irrelevant,” especially to those who are being saved.

    Dare you answer, even if you’ve dismissed it as unrelated to your question? What is the root of suffering, from where is it generated? I promise you, I’m going somewhere with this so cut me a break and take a moment to think about your answer. . . 🙂

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    • Hi Cindy

      I’m trying to help you understand that you’re not grasping the question. To repeat, it’s not a trick. It’s monstrously straightforward and stupendously transparent… and that seems to be exactly what is confounding you and every Christian who has tried to engage it. You can’t actually deal with such a simple question. Your entire belief system is held together by creative excuses and elaborate theodicies all designed to make-up for the tremendous flaws in your worldview and the colossal contradictions that worldview encounters when superimposed over reality.

      So OK, you’re not dealing with the “new and original.” Thanks for clarifying that, although I do believe that is the major part of the question. So, in effect, you’re avoiding the question altogether. But that’s your prerogative.

      You want to focus on the “marginally useful,” yet you are refusing to stay within the spirit of the question. Yes, I agree, it’s a tad broad, and that was my mistake in the wording, but I can’t now go and change things retroactively, just clarify what “marginally useful” means. To these ends, I have stated that it means reducing actual suffering. Now, I’m not saying people haven’t taken comfort in Jesus’ alleged words. If it helps them, then great, and I wish more people would follow the central message as presented. None of those words and messages were, however, original or new, not by any stretch of the imagination, but again, if people enjoy the Christian version of age old wisdoms and life philosophies then great.

      That, though, does not reduce “actual suffering.” Somewhere in this thread I have given an example to illustrate this point. Epilepsy. It’s a neurological disorder. In 1st Century CE Palestine, people with epilepsy were stoned to death because deeply fearful onlookers believed the sufferer to be possessed by demons. This, of course, is nonsense born of simple ignorance and unfounded fear. To reduce “actual suffering,” in this instance, Jesus could have informed people that the sufferer was not in fact possessed by demons and did not deserve to be put to death in such a heinous and brutal manner, rather was merely sick (through no fault of their own) and required care and understanding. This, Cindy, would have reduced actual suffering, and at the same time would have been quite an endorsement for Jesus’ purported celestial knowledge… so the story goes.

      This is just one example. I hope, though, you appreciate exactly what is being said. A “warm fuzzy” feeling is not reducing actual suffering. Chocolate produces a warm fuzzy feeling. Sex and love and affection and well-structured sentences produce a warm fuzzy feeling.

      And no, I apologise, but I’m not going to engage your question because it is entirely, wholly, and completely irrelevant. You are going to try and offer up your particular theological excuse for why suffering exists. In effect, you are trying to sell your story. Why should I accept that opinion over, say, the Buddhists, or the Jains, or the Hindu’s, or the Zoroastrians? Their explanations are far, far older than yours, and in many respects, far, far more realistic and believable… if only from a literary perspective. Give me twenty minutes and I’ll invent an even better “claim” that explains suffering; one that will blow yours out of the water because it doesn’t require a clever cover story or inventive pretext. That won’t, however, change the fact that it is—and shall remain—a claim.

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  5. Jz wrote:

    —And no, I apologise, but I’m not going to engage your question because it is entirely, wholly, and completely irrelevant—

    Gee john, isn’t this exactly what I said when i refused to entertain your offer to answer your question…………….

    Careful now, you wouldn’t want to make me appear too credible. Perhaps you should answer Cindy……….. 😉

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    • Hi CS

      Which question are you even referring to? With the amount of censorship and evasive tactics you deploy its hard to keep track of anything with you. That said, it is however safe to assume that, unfortunately for you, the difference no doubt was, my question was relevant to the subject at hand. Cindy’s is not, as I have repeatedly explained.

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  6. You know, John, this reminds me of my husband’s frustrations. He is a retired soldier who started an exercise business several years ago. As a fitness trainer, he is frustrated by people who don’t see the value in the product he is selling: Sound training in proper exercise form, guidance in how to train in order to reach their goals, support and motivation to stay the course. . . many see the need to exercise but most can’t understand why they need his expertise. That is until they can’t reach their goals, are frustrated at their lack of progress, or they receive a medical diagnosis that could have been avoided had they stuck to a regular fitness regime. Very few people actual “get it.” A few see the need for what he offers and therefore understand the value and relevancy in the service he offers. These are the ones who submit to his training plans and find true success.

    Its the same with you; Until you recognize the great need humanity has, the problem that exists throughout all of mankind, you will not see the value in what Jesus offered, the mission He came to earth to fulfill, which He did perfectly. But only if you seek the one true solution to the problem of suffering, real, palpable human suffering, you will never see the value of the only solution that exists. And that solution is found in Jesus Christ. Either you take it or you don’t. It doesn’t mean the suffering is not eased, it only means you didn’t understand the root of the suffering and thus the mode of relief of said suffering.

    So again: What is the root of suffering, John? It’s a simple, straightforward question. Much easier than yours, I would think. Please. It’s not a trick, just an opening to a real conversation as we seek the truth together.

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      • Interesting, Neuronotes, please expand. I’m curious as to how you believe a lack of knowledge or an oblivious existence leads to all the sorrow, grief and anguish we see all around us.

        And I’m still waiting to hear John’s thoughts on what causes pain and agony in this world. . .

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      • Cindy, are you of the opinion the that pain and sorrow are caused by sin, you know — disobedience in the Garden of Eden? Because if this is where you are going, then I suggest you see a cult specialist and go through an extensive deprogramming, then I suggest you seeing a therapist. Are you on antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds? There is much sadness in your eyes. You can’t fake happiness.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry n-notes that your heart sees nothing but darkness where others see daylight.

        You would be content stealing hope from the hopeful, faith from the faithful, and truth above all, all because you cannot, yea rather you will not accept the indictment of a Creator’s claim over His very dirt.

        Apparently, you are fine and dandy being a tresspasser; fortunately today, God is much more tolerant and patient of man’s ignorance. Unfortunately, the sands of time are sinking.

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      • Yea, Notes, you told me that before, as a matter of fact you inspired a post:

        –Paul the apostle’s (ahem) mental problem– in the which if you recall, your claims were leveled easily.

        But tkx for putting me in such esteemed company with others of ‘like precious faith.’ Commendations are rare these days.

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      • Neuronotes,
        I think I may see what you’re getting at, although I’d rather hear more from you. I heard a philosophy described today that influenced a friend to become a teacher. He said that if we can educate people, we could create a kind of utopia. Is this your view as well? Please tell me more.

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    • Cindy, as I have repeatedly explained to you, your particular theological opinion has no bearing whatsoever to the question asked. Exactly what part of that can’t you understand? Please, re-read the above comment for any further clarification you might need. I am, of course, assuming here that you did not read that last comment… Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say, your eyes “saw” the words but you refused to “engage” what was clearly articulated.

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      • John, I’d like to thank you. Actually, I did read your replies through several times and I just don’t see the truth in your arguments or examples. I want to express my sincere gratitude to you because I think you have beautifully illustrated my point. In the world according to John, your reasoning makes sense. I don’t operate in the world according to John. Instead, I function in the world according to God where everyone lives but not all acknowledge. Therefore, we are not connecting.

        So, it seems we have reached an impasse. I have answered your question but not in a way that seems relevant or satisfactory according to your worldview or perspective, and you refuse to answer my question. I will let others draw whatever conclusion they wish from this fact.

        It is my hope that one day you’ll be willing to venture down the road I attempted to show you, because it is my belief that when you do you will discover the abundant life you were always meant to live. All my best to you, John, and if you ever wish to continue our discussion, just call out my name and I’ll be there. 😉

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      • Cindy, you answered nothing. The only thing you have contributed here was an attempt to open a door to express your theological opinion. That opinion, Cindy, has nothing at all to do with the question: Name something new, original, or genuinely useful which Jesus said or did. That opinion, Cindy, carries no more weight than the theological opinions of the Zoroastrians, the Hindu’s, the Buddhists, or the Jains. Creative theodicies—“excuses,” in literal language—are vaporous no-things.

        The question related directly to the things Jesus said or did, and you, like everyone else, have failed to name a single new, original, or genuinely useful thing.

        I would encourage you to meditate on this tremendously uncomfortable (yet thoroughly fascinating) revelation, and perhaps start re-evaluating the rather elaborate and ornate “claims” you blindly dress the character Jesus in… A character who, as you have so perfectly demonstrated, didn’t say or do anything new, original, or useful.

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  7. Oh, and John, I am eager to tackle the “new and original” part of your question but it requires an entirely different line of reasoning. Therefore, I’ll save that for later. . . something to look forward to! 😉

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  8. @Cindy

    “I just don’t see the truth in your arguments or examples.”

    So then list why John’s arguments are wrong. But you won’t because I’m guessing you have a particular definition of “truth” that doesn’t correspond well with reality (see religious magical thinking in general).

    “In the world according to John, your reasoning makes sense. I don’t operate in the world according to John.”

    John’s world is grounded on reason and empirical evidence. If you don’t operate in the realm of rationality then not seeing ‘truth’ in arguments is the least of your worries.

    “Instead, I function in the world according to God where everyone lives but not all acknowledge.”

    Evidence required, otherwise you’re just speaking out of your behind.

    ” I have answered your question “

    Actually you have not and even in your conclusion you continue to evade and attempt to obfuscate what should be an elementary task if your magic was true.

    ” I will let others draw whatever conclusion they wish from this fact.”

    Answering simple questions is beyond the capacity of the indoctrinated.

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    • Hey Arbourist,
      I can understand a bit of your confusion with my answers. They seem obscure and muddled to say the least, about as clear as mud. I’m trying to establish that this is because we are looking in different places to find the answers to John’s question. Our perspectives are different and the expectations of what a Messiah would save us from are poles apart. This is actually a similar point of contention found during the time Jesus walked the earth.

      Jesus fed 5000 near the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Many were following Him because He was healing so many, relieving the physical pain and suffering of many. They wanted more of what He had to give. After multiplying a meager lunch offered by a small boy into a feast that filled the bellies of all, he retreated, knowing they wanted to make Him king, a purpose He did not come to fulfill. After this exuberant group caught up to Jesus again, He discerned their hearts, knowing they were looking to Him to deliver them from Roman rule or poverty or some other kind of physical hopelessness. He tried to explain to them that His kingdom was not of this world. He came to address spiritual hunger and solve a spiritual problem. Many rejected Jesus after that because He made it clear they would have to take Him by faith, believing the words He said as truth.

      This is the same struggle we are having today, is it not? John cites an example for the 1st century CE where people with epilepsy were stoned to death in the “mistaken” understanding that they were possessed by evil spirits. Jesus did cast out such destructive spirits from many and they were thus healed of their ailments, so I don’t know how people would draw the conclusion that they must stone those possessed. This solution for dealing with the problem of possession that presented with symptoms as epilepsy didn’t come from Jesus. When He got rid of the spirits, the victim was free from suffering, but these people didn’t follow His example. Instead, they dealt with it in a different way.

      So, to see the suffering Jesus came to relieve one must realize He came to address a spiritual need that impacts our physical life in a very real way. I guess you could say we have to look at Him with eyes of faith in order to perceive the suffering He came to relieve. Not everyone is willing to do this, I get that. It’s your choice, really.

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      • Hi Cindy

        Listen, this is not about “perspective.” I’ve been trying to tell you this. It’s simply about the tangible facts from the story and comparing them to reality. I’ve repeatedly told you, I’m not interested here in litigating any supernatural claims, and I’m especially not interested in any imaginative theodicies which your religion, or any religion for that matter, has offered up by way of an excuse for why the world is not as it should be if your god, or that god, existed. Such things are intangible. They are opinions.

        What we’re interested in here is, was there any “new information” given by Jesus? Was there anything new or truly original in any message he delivered?

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      • And Cindy, Buddha fed the multitudes, too, with a miracle 500 years before Jesus:

        The Teacher with his five hundred monks finished his meal. The great guildmaster and his wife also ate as much as they wished, but there was no end to the cakes, and even when the whole monastery of monks and eaters of broken meat had received, there was no sign of finishing. – Jataka 78

        Nothing new or original there, I’m sorry.

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  9. John, I’m afraid I have to say your answer is a cop out. Instead of trying to understand what I saying, you fall back on your old arguments. You’ve set the standard for your question to something you can relate to, but I’m trying to show you that those who “get” Jesus’ mission see that He doesn’t adhere to your expectation.

    Let me try a different tack. I’m sure you understand that we are not simply physical creatures, but that there is an emotional and spiritual side as well. This is why many who are sick cannot be healed. I personally know several people who are suffering from real physical ailments which doctors are unable to address. The reason is because there is an underlying emotional or spiritual issue which is the root of the sickness. Unforgiveness often causes physical maladies, anxiety manifests as heart or stomach conditions, etc (http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=3386). If doctors fail to treat the whole person, healing often is not complete.

    Even the U.S. Armed Forces recognizes the importance of emotional and spiritual stability to the success of their mission. If a soldier is worried about his family’s well-being, he is distracted and will not perform to the utmost of his ability. Thus the Family Readiness Group program was born to address this emotional need. (http://www.armyg1.army.mil/MilitaryPersonnel/PPG/Hyperlinks/Adobe%20Files/FGR%20CDRsGuide.pdf) Additionally, chaplains have always deployed with units in combat situations in order to address the spiritual health of the soldiers. The whole person must be considered if any human is expected to perform his or her best. These are examples of how modern society recognizes that we are more than just our physical bodies.

    Jesus came to address the spiritual need which is so great that it impacts our physical health as well. When He relieves this spiritual suffering, those who believe in Him and trust in Him as Lord often find the emotional and physical pain is reduced as well. Jesus understands that the root of our suffering is spiritual in nature, thus, He came to permanently and completely fix this problem. And when He did, those who believe have the hope of physical, emotional and spiritual restoration.

    If you don’t believe this I can understand and respect that, although I believe your life would be made whole if you would believe. But your unbelief doesn’t minimize the impact Jesus made on the lives of those who do believe. Surely you can respect that.

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    • Hi Cindy, thanks for that, but I’m afraid it is you who is failing to grasp what is being written, and what is being asked. Countless sages who lived long before Jesus spoke of restoring “health” to the human condition, and many laid out incredibly detailed paths to achieve this end. Buddha’s central message was exactly this. If you are trying to claim Jesus was the first to present such a concept then all I can say is your education system has let you down terribly.

      Listen, if you’re not going to offer up anything tangible that can be rationally assessed as “new” or “original” or “genuinely useful” then I would recommend you just stop commenting. Repeating myself is growing quite tiresome.

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      • Hey John,
        I would agree that many religions have come up with methods to follow in order to find enlightenment, inner peace and the like. But none address our core problem. This deep spiritual need is the root of all suffering and was only eradicated by Jesus Christ.

        Imagine, if you will, there is a God who created all things to function in a certain way. Then the humans He created chose to do things their own way instead of His, introducing suffering, brokenness, and ultimately death, into the utopia He created. Since this Creator who is the Source of all good desired relationship with those He made in His own image, He sent His Son as the once-for-all scapegoat, taking on the punishment mankind earned and making a way for those who take Him by faith to return to that utopia. Man broke it, Jesus fixed it.

        This spiritual wholeness comes by faith, and while Buddha may have introduced a method to follow, none could ever truly succeed. Since the salvation Buddha taught only came by man’s effort, it could never be attained. But Jesus, the Perfect Holy One was able to deliver what man never could: peace with God and restoration of our relationship with Him, freedom from guilt and hope for eternal life.

        I have tried to establish the difference between the way you are looking at Jesus and seeing nothing new or original or useful, and the way those who have accepted Him by faith and have undergone a powerful transformation. One is devoid of faith and thus sees nothing of value, the other is driven by faith and sees treasures beyond description. I want you to see what I can see, but I can’t reason you into this faith.

        As tiresome as it may be, I can’t help but continue sharing the power that is in Christ Jesus! May you come to know Him as I do. . . .

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      • This deep spiritual need is the root of all suffering and was only eradicated by Jesus Christ

        That, Cindy, is an empty theological opinion. That said, we can, however, assess the concept behind that opinion, and see that there is nothing new or original in it. The notion of blood sacrifice for the atonement of sin is ancient, far older than Judaism (Zoroaster is recorded to have been appalled at how cruelly sacrifices were conducted prior to his new rules which called for less unnecessary suffering), but we can use Judaism to demonstrate that the concept was not “original” to Jesus. In Leviticus (4:35,5:10) we have: “The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.”

        So you see, not new, not original, and in the larger scheme of things, not at all useful.

        Listen, it’s clear you either don’t understand the question, or are simply deliberately ignoring the context of what is being asked. New, original, genuinely useful. It’s not complicated, and it’s not a trick. It doesn’t, Cindy, encompass vaporous “opinions.” We are assessing only the originality (if any) of the character’s words, message and actions. Nothing more. Nothing less.

        I’m sorry, but you have now bored me senseless here.

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  10. Come on, man. Jesus was way cool!

    Sure, Jesus was a bit of a slacker. But even though he didn’t bother much with “lyrics”, Jesus still built me a pretty damn good hot-rod!

    And I’ll always love him for that.

    (Here’s hoping the video links didn’t embed)

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    • Of course not, but as I have already explained to you, people getting a warm-fuzzy feeling from Jesus’ re-interpretation/plagiarism/re-wording of far older wisdoms and life coaching techniques bears no relevance to this discussion whatsoever. This is why I have clarified “useful” to mean (as I have always intended it to be meant) genuinely new/practical information that has reduced actual suffering.

      Bear in mind, Cindy, the word is “actual.”

      And to repeat: We are assessing only the originality (or genuine usefulness/practicality) of the character’s words, message and actions. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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      • Your experience is no more valid than a Buddhist’s experience, a Muslim’s experience, a Jain’s experience, a Zoroastrian’s experience, or a Hindu’s experience. It’s no different than a fan of Dr. Phil’s experience. Your “experience” is not exceptional, Cindy. It is to you, sure, but not in the larger narrative. A follower of Veles, or a Druid would claim the exact same experience and tell you, Cindy, that theirs is real, and yours is false. You can appreciate this, can’t you?

        But are we, or were we ever, discussing “your experience”?

        I don’t think so.

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  11. Yes, I do see your point, John. And I appreciate your explanation, thank you. I do wonder why this question, though? Why does the original or new hold so much weight with you? If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question? I’m curious as to what you are getting out of this exercise? I believe it’s futile for the reasons stated before, that Jesus came to meet a spiritual need which is why you fail to see His value, His usefulness. If this is so, then why the question? What is your intent? Because I don’t buy that you are warning people against religion. If that were so, you should be focusing your warning on the people who twist the church into something it was never meant to be, the corruption and the abuse of power that hurts so many. Instead, you are targeting Jesus. . . why is this?

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    • @CPS

      “And I appreciate your explanation, thank you.”

      I think that you don’t Cindy, because it has been the pattern that you say stuff like this, and then continue to ramble on about unrelated topics, not ever addressing the question. Not even a little bit.

      ” If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question? I’m curious as to what you are getting out of this exercise?”

      Because people who are not brainwashed can see the thundering truth of the matter. The truth that like a smith’s hammer ringing on the anvil of your deliberate ignorance, that if dealt with at all in a reasonable, rational, manner the answer is clear.

      There is nothing new or original about jebus. His acts, his ‘miracles’, his particular brand of magic are ITERATIVE. His story is based on other stories that the people of the time had hear before and thus they borrowed the magic bits from other stories to spice up their particular story about jebus.

      It is prima facie evidence that there is nothing particularly special about jebus and his story. Let me boil it down further for you – If you are god and have all knowledge and all experience and all power available to you – why, oh why, would you only do things that had done before?

      Jebus didn’t explain germ theory to anyone, he didn’t create a microwave, he didn’t explain gravitational lensing to anyone.

      Nothing.

      Not one iota of knowledge/actions taken that would have let on that jebus had the inside track on omni-knowledge. If you think he was just holding back – then what a ginormous dick he is – germ theory could have saved millions of lives and prevented untold centuries of suffering.

      ” that Jesus came to meet a spiritual need which is why you fail to see His value, His usefulness.”

      Then why didn’t he share anything that wasn’t already a part of the history of the world? You have two (three) options here let me spell them out for you:

      1. I agree, he did not share anything new, thus the notion that the bible is just a story, like the rest of the religions out there is a very real possibility.

      2. I disagree, but then I have to justify worshiping a grade-A Dick (see bubonic plague, measles, syphilis, cancer, et cetera) .

      3. I won’t answer the question either way. Because my belief(faith, delusion) has strangled the rational part of my mind to near death – I’ll continue to trot out red-herrings and loopy-shit in an attempt to defend my version of reality; however far fetched that may be.

      I’m almost entirely certain you’re going with #3. Which leads to this:

      ” Because I don’t buy that you are warning people against religion.”

      This conversation has been/is a large red flag and it has been fluttering in the high wind for days now – it is all recorded here. The power of religious belief to shut out rational inquiry and the ability to respond in a reasonable manner. To look into the face of Reason with a smug self assured smile and respond with a low caliber stream of self serving gibberish… how could you not be embarrassed by now?

      ” If that were so, you should be focusing your warning on the people who twist the church into something it was never meant to be, the corruption and the abuse of power that hurts so many.”

      Red herring #2342323048, fresh from docks, still in the newspaper.

      Let’s entertain this though, just for a minute. What makes you certain that your sect is the right one? Because other sects feel just as keenly and sincerely that you are the misguided one. Whose voices in whose heads should we believe?

      You see that up there – that is the root of religious sectarian conflict in the world; it kills thousands of people everyday because they are arguing about whose magic book or whose version of magic is the one TRUE magic.

      If that doesn’t trouble you, then your ‘faith’ has stripped away more than just your reason.

      ” Instead, you are targeting Jesus. . . why is this?”

      You do realize that this question works for just about any god-head right?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arb, you make a highly valid point here. I think Cindy would use (among other tools, of course) the exact same method of examination used here to disprove the divinity claims of, for example, Muhammad, Zoroaster, or perhaps even Mithras. Given this fact, we can both sympathise with her anguish at this foolproof method being used to scrutinise her particular flavour of god-belief.

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      • Thanks, Arbourist. I appreciate you reading my reply so studiously. I failed to see your response until now. . . .I will have to respond another time for I must go for now. . .

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      • Hey Arbourist,
        I hope you didn’t give up on me. . . I’ve been praying for you. It touches me to see your hostility. I sense you struggle with being accountable to Someone higher than yourself. It is a scary thought, indeed, to be in the hands of an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. The One who carefully put you together just as He wanted you to be is not an evil overlord who is seeking His own best interest. Instead, He is a Father who desires relationship with those who choose to take Him by faith. It is by faith we are saved, not from bubonic plague, cancer, measles, syphilis and all other forms of physical suffering, but from a much more malicious and insidious source of suffering. Sin is the term the Bible uses to describe all the ways we fall short of His standard, and its this sin that is the root of all that is wrong in this world. It has utterly broken everything as it was meant to be, and every human knows this to be true because we all hurt in some way. Suffering is now a part of this world, not because God caused it, but because He allows it for a time to give all opportunity to turn to Him in faith. There will come a time when He will set everything right again and then all suffering will be gone. This is all a part of , as you call it, the “sect” we call Christianity or “The Way.” I have the assurance that what I believe is true because I see God at work each and every day, changing the heart of my stubborn family member, supplying my needs in surprising ways, and giving me peace that makes no sense in the midst of my struggles. I have the assurance because I know Him just as much as you know your loved one whom you can touch and see.

        I agree, the Bible is a “magic” or supernaturally powerful book because it is the very Word of God. You either take it by faith, or you dismiss it. God is not a bully-God who forces you to accept Him. Either you do, or you don’t. But none of us escapes His dictates because He, as the Maker of all things, calls the shots. If you do continue to reject Him, it is at your own peril. He patiently waits for you, giving you ample time to come around, continuing to pump your heart and expand your lungs with air. None of life would be here without Him, but you don’t have to acknowledge that. It’s entirely up to you.

        Yes, every other belief system can claim to be “the One,” but only one is. I stake my claim on Jesus. If I’m wrong, I die and go into nothingness. If I’m right, I have eternity to live free from pain and suffering with Him. If you’re wrong, your eternal destiny is at stake and the consequences of your unrepentant heart will condemn you forever. If you’re right, you die and go into nothingness. As I see it, Jesus is the only hope for living out eternity in a kind of pain-free utopia. It is my hope that you will see this truth as well. I care enough to warn you. I’m praying for you, Arbourist.

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    • Hi Cindy

      Why does the original or new hold so much weight with you? If usefulness is not dependent upon originality, then why this particular question?

      Isn’t it obvious? We have the fantastic claims made by Christianity about who Jesus was—a god, the Creator of the Universe, no less—coming to earth and holding a three-year ministry. One would expect, naturally, that ministry to have contained something new, something original, something truly remarkable. Why bother even holding a three-year ministry if nothing new was going to be said? Why bother speaking at all? If the goal was to simply die then the drama would have been played out in full by simply letting Herod’s blade do the job when he was an infant. Mission accomplished!

      The question simply seeks to examine the claim by comparing it against the facts. And what is revealed was that there was nothing remarkable, new, or original in anything Jesus said or did in his purported three-year ministry. Nothing at all.

      Don’t you find this thoroughly intriguing?

      Don’t you find this enormously baffling?

      Facts matter, don’t they, Cindy? Now, if those facts are uncomfortable to you then that is something you are going to have to deal with in your own time, at your own pace, but as Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine so eloquently put it:

      “Facts are facts. They are enormously discourteous. They do not revere old books, they do not stand in awe before old beliefs. They do not bow before famous ancestors. They are simply the stuff out of which reality made, and the final judge of truth.”

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      • Thank you for expanding on your reasons for asking this question. I think you are speaking to the purpose for Jesus’ ministry. . . if it was only to die, then why not get it over with. This makes sense from where you stand. If you don’t understand the need Jesus came to address, you wouldn’t understand why He had to die the way He did.

        There are several reasons His death came in the way it did. One, he had to fulfill prophesies. If He died right off the bat, He would not be the Messiah all had been waiting for because He would not have fulfilled those prophesies and people would therefore not recognize Him as such. Two, His sacrifice needed to be a final sacrifice made by a sinless, perfect man in order to permanently secure salvation for all who believe. This is how Jesus’ sacrifice was different from the ones you cited in Leviticus: He was without sin yet became sin for us, so that we don’t have to bear the punishment. While the people of Israel, the Jews, were expected to find an animal without blemish to sacrifice, none were perfect. Thus the forgiveness that came was temporary. Jesus provided a way for forgiveness to be ours for all time for those who believe. I know this sounds ludicrous, but there is a triune nature to God which is hard for our small, human minds to comprehend. Third, Jesus spent 33 years as a human, being tempted, undergoing suffering, so that He can understand what we go through. Not for His sake, but for ours. So that we can freely come to Him with our problems and we will find comfort from He who understands and can relate. There is always something comforting about knowing someone else gets what we are feeling. Jesus does.

        These are only a few examples of why Jesus had to die when He did, and why His mission was indeed impactful for those who are being saved. While this may not seem to answer your question in the way you desire, it does answer it for those who believe. It is a matter of faith, you see.

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    • This answers your question somewhat Cindy, and John will not mind, as it is his own quote:

      ‘Perhaps not so surprisingly, Christianity – in its most reckless, pure form – has since its very inception been little more than a socially irresponsible death cult; a degenerate, death-anxious religion that has produced a continuous supply of socially derelict luminaries who have, in the spirit of their sage, longed for nothing short of the total annihilation of our home world.’

      I suggest however the answer is much easier to recognize, and it is as obvious as light is from darkness.

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      • Thanks for that, CS… although I have absolutely no idea, once again, what on earth your point was. But in context, I then go on to list just a few of the over 300 captains of Christianity who have longed for the destruction of our home world, predicting (wrongly, of course) the annihilation of all life on earth at the hands of your particular Middle Eastern god. Nice cult you’ve gotten yourself involved with there, CS, and reason why that post is titled: Death Cult Christianity.

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      • Thanks, Colorstorm. That does help, but I can see how John could come to this conclusion seeing some of the horrible atrocities committed in the name of Jesus. Its shameful and not a great representation of Jesus and His mission of reconciliation. . . .what do you think?

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      • Cindy, “Death Cult Christianity” has nothing at all to do with atrocities committed in the name of the church. It was about captains of Christianity predicting the end of the world. You should read the post. It’s quite enlightening.

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      • Cindi- What do i think?

        The word of God stands blameless. There is a place called Hammersville somewhere down under, where all the worn out tools used to attack God’s word spend their days in useless misery.

        But not a dent or lack of lustre in that which is forever settled in heaven,

        That’s my answer.

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      • Hey Colorstorm,
        I did want to thank you for your reply and sorry it took so long for me to respond. Agreed. . .I was just trying to make the point that many judge Jesus based on what they see in those who claim to follow Him even though their fruit says otherwise. Therefore, observers are not getting a true picture of the Jesus you and I know and love.

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  12. @CPS

    “I hope you didn’t give up on me. . . I’ve been praying for you.”

    Well I’ve been thinking for both of us, I’m still not convinced it is a fair trade.

    ” It touches me to see your hostility. I sense you struggle with being accountable to Someone higher than yourself. “

    Hostility? Err… no. Let us appropriately call it for what it is: frustration and maybe some masochism sprinkled in for flavour. This isn’t a fair contest, it never is when one person is constrained by the bounds of rationality, and the other is not as has been demonstrated by our conversation.

    ” It is a scary thought, indeed, to be in the hands of an all-powerful, omnipotent Being. The One who carefully put you together just as He wanted you to be is not an evil overlord who is seeking His own best interest. ”

    Roughly 24 children have already died in the world because they can’t access clean water in the time it has taken to read your post. Their deaths are not in the hands of any malevolent invisible sky daddy – they died here in the bleak reality that rational people inhabit. It is also in this bleak world where the means exist to prevent these needless deaths. Abdicating your moral and ethical responsibility to some All-father is the very pinnacle of unjust and depraved behaviour.

    “He is a Father who desires relationship with those who choose to take Him by faith. “

    Or by the sword….*cough* The Crusades…

    ” Suffering is now a part of this world, not because God caused it, but because He allows it for a time to give all opportunity to turn to Him in faith.”

    Oh so people who are raped need to suffer so they can find god? If they haven’t found god by the first rape should they be raped again?

    Your lack of ethical compass is showing.

    ” There will come a time when He will set everything right again and then all suffering will be gone.”

    No evidence for this exists. Nothing but a fairy tale for adults who can’t/won’t take the world for what it is. It must be soothing experience – but know that it is denuding your morality and sense of justice.

    ” I have the assurance that what I believe is true because I see God at work each and every day, changing the heart of my stubborn family member, supplying my needs in surprising ways, and giving me peace that makes no sense in the midst of my struggles. “

    All of this indistinguishable from the trials that other religious people impose the people around them and reality they choose to inhabit. What you speak of is not quantifiable, nor is it specific to your particular brand of religious experience.

    One who was genuinely interested in the world as it is, would question why the above is true.

    ” God is not a bully-God who forces you to accept Him. Either you do, or you don’t.”

    I will, via my time-machine (because making up self-serving fantasy is fun!), send the message back to the victims of the Inquisition they all they really had to do was “Just Say No to god” and the ‘He” would understand…

    ” But none of us escapes His dictates because He, as the Maker of all things, calls the shots. If you do continue to reject Him, it is at your own peril.

    Any being that requires coercion to win their favour IS NOT worth believing in. Accept me or burn in Hell – input that into your ethical calculus and explain how that can be anything but appalling.

    ” If I’m right, I have eternity to live free from pain and suffering with Him. If you’re wrong, your eternal destiny is at stake and the consequences of your unrepentant heart will condemn you forever.”

    The worst of humanity does not deserve infinite punishment. Not ever – even if Jesus does love the Hell math.

    One again must remark on the ethical makeup of being that evokes eternal torture as possible option.

    ” It is my hope that you will see this truth as well. I care enough to warn you. I’m praying for you, Arbourist.”

    I would rather you do something useful with your time. It has been the usual theist/atheist loop, thanks for playing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I was fascinated to see the long discussion with Cindy. I was interested to see that she never once sought to address the question, in essence her whole approach was disingenuous. As a former Christian it was clear to me that she was on a mission to try to convert you.

    Interesting always to see CS pop in with his gem’s of wisdom. If ever there was a parallel universe, some sort of alternative reality then CS is the greatest evidence I have seen to support such a concept.

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      • What has genuinely disappointed me since my Christian faith crumbled has been the reluctance of Christian bloggers to enter into an honest exchange of ideas. In essence the worldview gap seems too large. Their starting position is that the Bible is the infallible word of God so any evidence I raise to demonstrate this not to be true is dismissed out of hand.

        The reality is that people believe despite the evidence, rather than because of it.

        I suppose they see the evidence I produce as a trick of the Devil. Much like how the ‘Devil’ uses science.

        It is so sad, but what is one to do when people are willfully blind? Even worse is the continued propagation of outright lies being stated as fact. What I am unsure about is whether the lies are being propagated as deliberate deceit or as a willful neglect.

        But I still find it sad that it is only liberal Christians who will consider and address evidence.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I suppose they see the evidence I produce as a trick of the Devil.

        Oh, that is EXACTLY how David and some other commenter described it a few hours ago. David said, in response to a David:

        ”David, you may not understand the lexicon of Christianity. Awomansaved was not attacking you, personally. Biblically trained, it becomes very obvious when Satan’s influence is behind words, events, etc. As we mature in faith, take in the Word, and learn to walk with Christ, good and evil are easier to discern. She wasn’t calling you evil. She was calling the influence behind your words the “Enemy”. If you don’t claim to be a saved, born-again Christian, it shouldn’t be a big deal… it’s the least of your concerns. If you are a Christian, it should begin to trouble you greatly.”

        http://appliedfaith.org/2015/08/18/celebrating-the-author-of-the-black-holocaust/

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      • I gave up commenting on David’s blog, because he pretends to be ‘academic’ and ‘open minded’ but appears in reality to be neither.

        The ‘Devil’ argument is just a way of such folk excusing themselves from having to address evidence.

        Over on Isaiah 53:5 when I restricted my arguments to what was actually written in the Bible, the other hackneyed response ‘context’ was used. In the end one respondent on that blog admitted that no amount of evidence would convince him the Bible was in error. I must be a masochist.

        If you happen to have some spare time I do recommend the podcast on this link. It is a discussion with the person who set up the website that details all the errors in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. It is fascinating because Paul Grundy explains how hard it was for him to leave the JW’s and why it is so hard to get through to deeply religious people.
        http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2015/08/21/4297526.htm

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      • I was raised Anglican, a very mild form of Christianity. But when I got serious about faith I ventured into Pentecostalism.

        I have an Auntie who was JW, she became ill and when she could no longer offers hours of unpaid work they seemed to lose interest in her. She did her own research on the JW’s and realised they were telling their people lies and eventually left. She faded away and was not formerly shunned, so she still has a few JW friends. I still remember two things she told me after she left:
        1. She prayed and prayed and prayed, but God never answered;
        2. Whenever she went to raise concerns with the leaders, the problem was always with her. She just had to submit more and try harder.

        Shunning is so cruel and also tragic, my mind drifts to the scene in Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevya shuns his daughter Chava after she decides to marry the Ukrainian Fyedka. The tears of Chava could not overcome the religious indoctrination. The same happens in Islam, yet some seek to defend religion and fail to accept how cruel it is!

        A slightly different version from the 1939 film:

        Liked by 1 person

    • You caught me, Peter! It is my hope that all of mankind would see the truth and come to know Jesus as I do, as Savior, Lord and Friend. I know Him in the same way any person can be known and the bond I have with Him cannot be “reasoned” away. In fact, I can’t imagine life without Him. Religion, however, is another matter altogether. I’m not a fan and would say that I would join you in being anti-religion.

      I did want to stop by and say “Hi” to John and see how his book is selling. I hope things are going well for you!

      I also wanted to invite you to read today’s post over on my blog, Writings on the Doorframe. The subject matter perfectly dovetails with our conversation from a couple of months ago. I’d be honored if you’d take a moment to read it.

      http://cindyspostscripts.blogspot.com/2015/08/spiritual-eyes.html

      All the best, John!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Good grief! Just messing about here and came across Cindy. I did not read this the last time I was here.
    This is one seriously messed up screwed in the head woman.

    After reading enough of these people it is like witnessing another model from the Clone Factory.
    FFS, JZ, each and every one simply spews out the same putrid redundant nonsense.

    It’s like having one’s own pet William Lane Craig.

    You should actually re boot this post and just feature Clone Cindy.
    She’s like ColorStorm with an extra half brain cell – maybe.

    Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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