Thursday, July 21, 2011


    I have been having what a lot of you would consider a typical discussion with a christian.  Since there must be at least a few readers who have not had this type of interaction I thought maybe posting the conversation thread would be an interesting read. So, here it is. As the conversation continues, the blog will grow. When it becomes redundant, abusive, or boring, it will end. 
 The christian posts will be orange. My replies will be in blue and narrative in black.

It's been appointed for a man, once to die and then the judgement. Heb 9:27. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Mat 6:27 and more and more if I were to go into the psalms and proverbs. It's tragic in the sense that death always seems to take most by surprise. But it never takes God by surprise, because it was appointed, it's always appointed. There are no accidents or coincidences where God is concerned. If they were Christians, they are rejoicing in Heaven. Paul tells us in the scriptures that "to live is Christ, to die is gain". This is not supposed to be your best life now...if it was, what would there be to hope for?

The first thing I'd like to know is why you can't just answer me like a human being.
Now ...did I say anything about the quality of their life? No I did not.
The second thing is in the blog, but your un-answer covered it.
The issue I have is with the WAY they died. It is amazing you don't even seem to be able to realize the horror those people went through before they fell 317 feet.And what about the people who had to sit and watch? Are you telling me that god couldn't find another way? And it doesn't bother you that the being you want to spend eternity with causes unneeded suffering?
This event is wrong on so many levels for you to just shrug your shoulders and not at least apply some type of common logic is disturbing.
If you choose to answer me back please try to follow the conversation and not muddle it up with explanations to things that were never in question. I find it both annoying and unproductive. The subject is complicated enough already.
Allow me to ask you a direct question. What if they were Atheists? Where do you think they would be now,or is that one of those things only god knows?


You ask me a direct question, I'll provide you a direct answer. God has established his moral law for his people to obey. Since he is God, he alone is right in deciding their fate, which for some will be heaven, and for some will be hell. SO - in rejecting God's law, we reject God himself. So - my answer is that anyone who rejects God and his moral laws will be punished. But the real question is, why would anyone who rejected God, want to spend eternity with him anyway?

   Yes, that is the real question. My answer would be- I don't. I am good with my morals. My mindset makes the world more tolerant of people. I accept people for who they are, as long as what they do does not cause harm to others or themselves. My definition of harm is not provided by a text written 2000 years ago when life was NOTHING like it is today. Haven't you ever wondered why god wouldn't come to us today in a way people could not dismiss? 
  Obviously more and more people are coming to the conclusion that the god of the bible does not exist. Now would be a great time for god to provide some guidance, yet he does not. Why is that? He has done it before? And if everything is already destined to happen because god planned it out what is the point in living at all? If that is true our lives are meaningless and if everyone truley believed that then the world would be a much more 'evil' place. 
   You are a intelligent person (most of the time) It troubles me that you do not continue to learn about all aspects of the world not just the bible but science and other cultures/beliefs. To say god will only accept Christians is just stupid. Think mabout how many people lived before Christianity even existed. Wouldn't god have AT LEAST told human he existed right from the beginning? The Adam and Eve thing does not fly. That would mean humanity was born of incest.
   Your beliefs are not fair to others. Your beliefs hurt other people and effect their quality of life negatively. People have lived and died in sorrow not because "this life was not meant to be good" it is because people like you caused it to be bad all because of your egotistical attitude. You judge people. Your statement saying "if they were Christians they are in heaven" is passing judgment on everyone. You are not that good, sorry.       
  Your excitement at spending all of eternity with the god you describe reminds me of the kids in school who would hang out with the gang members because it was the safest thing. They didn't get beat up and they did whatever they wanted to the other kids. They made fun of fat kids or any others who were different, stole from lockers and anyone who wasn't part of the gang was less of a person. I never became part of that crowd. I helped the kid who just got beat up by them get up.
   If you think hurting other people while they are on this earth because they don't follow your interpretation of what you think 'god's morals' are is right and just, then that speaks to the kind of person you are. If you are comfortable with that, fine. I could never be that kind of person I don't like to see others suffer.
    Read the blog again Joshua I related my feelings best I could.
Your god will have me burn forever as punishment. Keep that in mind while you are enjoying heaven will you please?

You say you have morals. Logically describe where they came from. Logically describe who decides that they are correct, or universally more advanced than anyone else's. Then consider your use of the word 'fair'. You say my views aren't fair. Logically, what is fair? Who decides fair? Was it fair your child has a disability? Was if fair that you do not have a disability? All the things you describe are rooted in moral relatavism and humanistic argument with no absolute standard of justice or fairness. that's not a value judgement, just an observation using logic. If you can't prove that your morals are absolute, or that they have an absolute, universal standard, it cannot be said that they are moral. To be moral, by definition is to not be relative...Reap...I've not even started talking about the Bible. These are just logic errors that we all have before we become aware of who God really is...I had them, just like you do. I've said alot of the same words as you. Your thoughts?
What about gay people? What about thinking that only christians are going to heaven? Joshua do you understand that when you say things like 'only christians are going to be saved' you have indicated that christians are somehow above everyone else.Even if you don't treat non-christians any different the possibility that others who think like you will is very high. Non-christians are lesser and the lesser class historically does not fair well.
My morals come from my parents (who were not religious) and from the little voice in my head. I am pretty good at putting myself into another person's shoes so I can better understand how and why they feel a certain way.
My son's disability is not 'fair' it seems he should have had the chance to live a full life and I should have been able to better share our lives. That is how life works. I can do nothing about the circumstances. I can however do my best to make sure others treat him fairly and do not take advantage of his condition or use it to treat him with less respect than they would other people. There is a huge difference between what fair is and how we can have an effect on it.
No I can not prove my morals are right. All I can do is observe the results of treating people in a way I consider morally correct. The vast majority of the time my interactions with others are positive. If I were to play out the same scenario instead using the morals of some (not you necessarily) religious believers, the results would be different and one party would not leave the exchange happy. I have watched a thousand times as a person's religious beliefs cause discrimination against another group. I would agree to say whether anyone's morals are absolute in any way is impossible. If you pay attention then you can tell if one way causes people to be treated in a more 'fair' way than another.

      Reap, this is exactly the point. Try to listen carefully to what you just said. "I cannot prove my morals are right, true or correct. I use a subjective measure 'the voice in my head' and training 'my parents' to prove that my choices are correct. Furthermore, I feel enabled to judge others based on those perceptions when they infract my relative moral law IE: religious people discriminating against non-religious people". I'm not putting anything into that, or putting a value judgement on that. I'm just briefing back to you, using non-emotional logic, what YOU just said. SO - the point would be, why is your subjective means of moral adherence superior to an objective one? Is that possible? 
   You think in terms of right and wrong, fair and unfair...I tell you plainly, you cannot objectively determine either! I'm not saying you're wrong in all cases, I'm simply saying that by manner of reason and logic you cannot presume superiority or accuracy in your judgements because you have nothing but your 'feelings' to base them on. Frankly...I feel different...we can't both be right....can we? How would one come to the end of that dispute on a matter as important as life and death?

    Joshua, this is where YOU need to listen closely. You base your life and the way you treat others on the belief in a being that behaves in a manner which even you would describe as insane if it were a person. And yes I behave in a way that I feel is correct because I can directly observe what effect my actions have on others and the world. I think the results are positive because people are not being told what comes natural to them is wrong and/or evil and they are treated with the same consideration no matter how different from me they are.
    We come back to how your beliefs effect others. If you are happy with the results and think people react positively to the manner in which you treat them, then there you go.
Now before we go any further would you please tell me your opinion on gay people? Are they going to hell and should they be entitled to the same treatment as anyone else?

     RE: Gay people. I don't see any reason to discriminate against any person for any reason. Of course, this assumes that all characteristics of people are proven to be innate and not behavior choices. For example, I think I have every right and will vehemently discriminate against theives and robbers from entering my home and nor do I think myself less of a person for doing so. I suspect you would agree. Yet If science can PROVE that a sexual persuasion is genetic, then when will it be proven that sex with boys and little girls, or animals, or dead people is also, genetic and not a choice? 
   This of course will seem preposterous to you, since you judge those behaviors as choices, but homo and heterosexuality as not choices, and sex with little kids as definitely choices. Regarding how I "treat" people. I help anyone in need. I will give money, lend my time and offer my ear to anyone. I will love my brother as myself. And I will love my enemies and pray for them. To do anything different is to not be a Christian. You've seen many forms of false christianity. Many of your claims are against those people...and not me.. This is of course my opinion. Does that help?
I'm curious - why do you care if gay people or any other person is going to hell? I thought you didn't believe in God or hell, or absolutes?

  Ok, last question 1st.
     I do not believe in hell, my curiosity is about your opinion,not for my own doubts. You still have not answered whether you think gays will go to hell and I have asked you a couple times now.
I find your view on gays strange. Doesn't the bible say that homosexuality is a sin? Slavery is also ok if I remember correctly,right?
   As to behavior and the brain. I'm not sure most extreme behavior can be attributed to choices. Can a man who gets pleasure from killing people be considered evil? Not if his condition is a result of chemical imbalances or brain injury. As a society we must of course hold him accountable for his actions but we know that some behaviors are a result of differences from 'normal' brain functions.
    This is exactly what I am talking about why would a god seem to use us as playthings? This brings to mind another question. Why would god give us, say around 80 years (if your lucky) to learn about him, accept him, and follow his rules when there is no way anyone can know for sure what belief is correct? I mean when the rules are not fair, the playing field not level then sometimes those who have done their best will still lose.
I guess we have come to the point where this conversation is no longer useful.
I was about to ask you why you do not apply the same logic you do to your everyday life to your religious beliefs. I expect you will answer that god is above that type of consideration. To that logic I can not argue because it is impossible to reason with an unreasonable person.
I know you are very secure in your faith. Take a look around at the tremendous suffering put on people everyday. Think about the children with cancer who are going to die only after they go though horrible treatments and pain. Babies who are born only to die, the only memory they take from this world is one of suffering and sadness. Not to mention the sorrow felt at the loss by the living. If god were real and would allow that to go on it is a sick sadistic thing. I think the fact that it goes on and on day after day is because that is the way it is.
If you are a christian then you must follow the bible. If you do not follow the bible you are not christian. No where in the bible does it say "Read this and change whatever parts you like to mean the opposite"?

A query for the faithful

   Life is strange to say the least. My last blog was questioning whether god was really watching over us until we landed on the game-board space labeled 'that's it for you!'
 I listen/watch/read at least some of the news every day. Today a story came over the radio. I was involved in putting down some bathroom tile at work so I didn't hear the whole story. "Searching waterfall for missing hikers" was what I did hear, this seemed a bit odd. what were the hikers doing ? Were they hiding in a waterfall? I continued my tile job......
  A bit later the story was repeated. Listening to the news so often, where most of the news is bad, I know calluses have formed on some of my brain cells. Often horrible stories are considered, then served with a deep sigh and a shake of the head, life goes on.
   This is what I heard today
 A group of friends are at Yosemite. The heavy snowfall has made for incredible run-off and waterfalls this season. The friends gather with no worries of school or work, those burdens cast off and replaced with summer freedom. As will sometimes happen when friends gather, a feeling of immortality runs alongside them. The friends see that some other vacationers have crossed over the barriers. A man and his 2 children are laughing and taking pictures in the fast moving water.  If a father and two kids can do it why not them? While laughing and posing for pictures, a girl slips on a rock and falls in the water," Her friend, grabs her hand, then he slips and falls in too. He reaches behind him and tries to grab something. A witness describes his eyes as wide and aware the circumstances are not in his favor. The pair do not find anything to stop them. Another of the friends goes to help the pair, he too is swept in by the uncaring water. The couple are holding each other as they go over the edge of the falls. A woman runs screaming along the shore as the 3rd immortal vacationer is also pushed over the 317 foot edge.
  Yosemite is quite busy this time of year and a large group of people who also thought they had left behind the most negative things about life watch as the scene plays out.
  After the accident one man was quoted as saying "Right as they went off the edge I grabbed the girl I was with, covered her eyes and called 911.The fear of death in a man's face as he is about to die is not something I've ever seen before and I don't want to see again. Not just that family was damaged, but all of us who had to watch those people die are damaged."

  I didn't make this story up the account I have given you is from the people who saw 3 friends,  Ramina Badal, 21, a nursing student at the University of San Francisco, Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock (clinging to each other as they were carried over) and Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto, after reaching for them and slipping himself, swept over the edge.

  I have seen the comments from many people. Some reacting with anger at the irresponsible behavior. Some making the mandatory 'Darwin'  comment, something I have done many times myself.
 Something about this story got past the calluses in my brain. A wave of sadness washed over me as the scene played out in my head. Most likely because I had just been considering the fact that god isn't watching over us.
  The story of 3 friends who were swept away from the rest of their lives on a warm sunny summer afternoon won't have much effect on most of the people who hear it. But should it?
   I wonder if the people who justify the 317 foot fall by calling the friends stupid have ever been just as stupid under different circumstances....I wonder if the ones who chuckle as the name Darwin burts out of their mouth really have a good grasp on what 'survival of the fittest' really means. And I also wonder how many people who believe god is watching over them consider the fact god was watching over those people too.
  I'm going to send a link to this blog along to a few of the religious people I know and ask them to share whether a story like this has any effect on their faith.
I don't mean to put them on the spot but I would like to hear the process they use when something like this comes to their attention. I would invite any readers to do the same. 
  Put yourself in the same position as those people for a moment. Imagine traveling towards certain death clutching the person you love most 2 minutes after you were making faces at a camera so you could relive the memory again and again with a fond smile on your face. Or imagine watching your friends die as you do the same cold and alone. For anyone who believes in a creator who takes an active part in our lives how can this possibly have any divine purpose? Let's not forget the 175 or so people(including children I would assume) who got to watch, what about them?
  Will it be blamed on satan? Do we have to overlook the way those people must have felt as they were washed away and keep our faith even though the cold hard truth is we all will be washed over a waterfall of some type eventually, as god watches. Is the way this makes no sense if god is defined as the believer would have us believe something we should overlook completely? Or maybe the why is none of our damn business.
  Even as I type this the story is told again in the background and I hear the talking head say "A preacher who has close ties to the victims says he is praying for a quick recovery of their bodies"
  Then I hear a deep sigh as I shake my head.

UPDATE: As the details become more clear I have learned the 3 people who died  were at the park as part of a church group......... 

Monday, July 18, 2011

god's unplanned plan

    I was listening to some religious programming on the radio today.... Some dude was telling a story about Peter being woke up by an angel and thinking it was a dream...."only it wasn't a dream" the host keeps telling the audience. The radio tells me it was a real angel and as the angel led Peter around doors opened by themselves as well as all kinds of other magical events.
  This all takes place just before Peter is due to be executed and the host starts talking about what he would be doing the night before if he were scheduled to be executed.....He would be praying.
 He would be praying for god to keep watch over him as he does all of us. Yep god watches over us  and protects us from harm because he loves us.....only that isn't exactly true is it? I can't tell you how many times I have heard a preacher or person talking about or asking for god to watch over someone or something in order to keep it safe and sound. And it seems to work.....until it doesn't.
  Add to the list another obviously mistaken perception and an example of religious blinders being worn.
  Now if we think about it god has a 'plan' right? This plan is not meant to be or simply can not be understood by us humans. The reasons for this are also unknown, to the best of my knowledge.
  So god knows when we are gonna bite it, but until then he watches over us to make sure we don't get killed or some event doesn't occur that would interfere with his plan? It's his plan, how could it be altered? And if it could be altered what force could be strong enough to alter it? I know religious believers would tell me I have answered this question already when I described god's plan as unknowable by us but COME ON!
  If you are a person who is religious allow me to share one small thing with you... I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND HOW YOU CAN THINK THIS WAY AND STILL FUNCTION IN SOCIETY.
  I know that all believers are not complete idiots. I know it for a fact. The majority of the people I enjoy talking to or have respect for also have various degrees of belief in a god who can or does take an active role in people's day to day lives. But, as I said above, the disconnect between the logic they use in day to day life and the logic applied to religious belief is huge.
  I won't proclaim to have all the answers. I  don't, and I am well aware of that despite the fact SOME people say I am not. But I do have some of the answers. And from those answers I see nothing that would compel me to think there is a force watching over me judging my actions. A force that expects me to figure out the correct manner to live my life from a book that has been fucked with by so many men it reads as though it has some type VD that has driven it insane.
  This disease has progressed to far. The humane thing to do would be to provide a quick death using the best technology science can provide.