In a group I am in on Facebook we were talking about Christian missions and how they seem kinda silly. People spend lots of money and time to go places to spread the word of god. I understand as Christians you are called upon by god to spread his word but when you are going to countries where Christianity is already abundant what is the point? It has always seemed to me like an interesting way to get your congregation to pay for your family vacation/homeschooling field trip.
But my real serious question that came up was why do Christians not actually try to spread the word to the people who really need Christianity? Why do I only hear about missions to places like South America and Africa usually? There are a lot of people in these places but a lot of them have not only been introduced to Christianity but are active Christians and many are already there doing missions. Why don’t I hear about missions to the Middle East? Isn’t that the real test of your faith? Really go out there are try to spread the word to people who have no access to your god’s word. Sure it would be dangerous, but wasn’t it dangerous for Jesus to run around telling everyone he was the son of god? Of course you aren’t as good of a person as Jesus but shouldn’t you, as a Christian, aspire to be as good as Jesus? Go out and actually experience real persecution. Not persecution of your faith because a judge decided that gays can get married in your state but the type of persecution where you have to have secret meetings in basements of sympathizers to even share your message and then hope nobody rats you out to the government whose laws are the laws of their majority religion (and by majority I mean only) because you will likely be hunted down and killed.
What you don’t want to die? Don’t you trust that your god is stronger than the evil and that you are good enough to be saved from that?
This is where I think that deep down christians do doubt the whole thing – they are not willing to make that sacrifice. They are not willing to put their life on the line because they do not believe that their god will save them because time and time again christians have seen evil win over and over despite the supposed power of their all-knowing and loving god.
Since the fall semester just ended and quick winter session starts monday I figured now would be a good time to say Merry Christmas/ Bah Humbug. Yes I celebrate Christmas. It’s tradition. I don’t celebrate the birth of Jesus but I sure do like participating in the annual economy boosting ritual that is the time from mid-November to New Year.
I do think my kittens might be bigger atheists than myself because they take down my tree at least once every few days. I’m not sure why the vendetta against the tree but between kitten sabotage and the mostly spring-like weather outside I’m not feeling very christmassy. Maybe if I can manage to get it decorated with more than 10 plastic balls and a soccer scarf then possibly wrap a few presents I would feel more merry and less bah humbug.
I was thinking of taking the kids to a Christmas eve celebration with singing and candles – i just hope I can find one because I do remember those fondly. I think it would be an interesting tradition. Church for the songs, then hot cocoa after (even if it is 60 degrees outside) and maybe drive around and look at some lights. Though I have little kids and I would like to do this before midnight. Apparently I have amassed a few christian friends at school that go to church so surely one of them attends one with a 7pm christmas eve singing service? I guess I should start asking around.
So I am replying to a comment and realize this is a post worthy reply I am crafting here.
The comment posted by Brittany here is as follows:
Indeed, I did know that. However, Jesus isn’t regarded as fully man and fully God as he is in Christianity.
And it might interest you to know that at conception, a baby already has its own unique DNA separate from the mother (eye/skin/hair color [everything] is already determined), the heartbeat begins before the 21st day, the foundation for every organ is established by 3 weeks, and the real scientific fact is that life begins at conception. Not at some arbitrary number that someone picks out, whether it be 40 days, after birth, 4 years, or when that person is no longer a teenager. The embryo is less developed that you and I, but it is exactly at the right stage of development as it should be. The stage we were both once at and that everyone goes through. Inconvenience shouldn’t determine whether or not we “have a soul” or are truly a “person.” And if you check out in utero images and legit scientific books, it pretty much throws that whole “mass of cells” argument out the window.
I do know all of those things- but along with that I also know that if life begins at conception (and scientifically pregnancy begins at conception) then the body aborts life all the time because conception often happens and implantation does not. So that would leave me to wonder if god considers life to begin at conception then why is all life not given a chance? Why do all pregnancies not end in babies? I am not even talking viable living babies – I am talking why do they not all implant and why do 20% of all known pregnancies end in miscarriage? Is this a flaw in his design? Or is it because god has something to teach that family? In which case god has created life for the sole purpose of taking life?
Also doesn’t god know EVERYTHING? So why create life in someone whom he already knows is gong to take that life? If it is the devil tricking people into making bad decisions – are you saying that the Devil is more powerful that god?
So your all-knowing god creates life to take life and when knowing life will be taken he is powerless to stop it?
I’ve been in a Sign Language class for school. It’s not a requirement but it will replace a B with an A for one of my pre-requisites but that is just a bonus. I took it because I think my hearing loss has gotten worse in the last year. I’m having a hard time hearing stuff even with the hearing aids. They are at the same setting they have been at for awhile and with exception of my Microbiology teacher (who lectures like we are in a hall of 200 not a room that only fits 40) I keep having to have people repeat their questions especially if I cannot see them when they speak.
So I think I am picking it up pretty good but I want more experience and have seriously thought about going to a church that has several deaf people in it to get more experience. I already try to go to the socials they have at the book store but its so overwhelming. I don’t think church would be less overwhelming but it would be a lot of idle chatter and that is all I am ok at right now.
One thing I wonder is why have i never heard about deaf people in the bible? I am sure there must have been a lot since some of the ways to become deaf are the mother getting rubella while pregnant or the child getting an illness like meningitis as a child and of course there is hereditary deafness also.
Maybe I just haven’t looked in the right place? Maybe they are hiding with the mention of kangaroos?
I am really enjoying learning a new language. Though it really pushes my limits with the public speaking thing because when I have to get up in from the class and sign something. ”Speaking” in a new to me language in front of 40 other people is 100 time worse than doing it in my own language. :sigh:
So church with deaf people for the language experience, is this a bad reason to go?
When we talk about other’s religious history and beliefs we call it folktale and mythology but when we speak of our own religious history it is fact.
The more I read about different religions or beliefs the more I realize everyone has the same stories just slightly different to suit their cultural situations. It seems more and more like the biggest problem isn’t that everybody disagrees it is that everyone refuses to learn about other cultures and religions. If everyone just stopped acting so full of themselves as if they have all the answers in their own little book they would realize that everyone else has the same answers.
Now my question always becomes are those answers universal because of a supreme being or are they universal because just like how no one has to tell you what love, no one has to tell you that taking another’s life is wrong.
It has been an incredibly long time since my last post as is typical over the last 15 months since we moved to Nevada.
I am still in school taking a ridiculous amount of credits but I will be applying to the nursing program in the spring for a fall 2014 start so the end isn’t really near but a more normal course load is just around the corner.
I did get a job this semester. I am working in the college’s library. It is great and gives me about 12 hours a week to get paid to study and do homework. The best part of my new job? The person I work with the most.
She is Muslim. It is incredibly fascinating to talk to her about her religion. I think that most Christians would be amazed to find out how much it is actually like Christianity and how much the American Media distorts our view of this religion. She is Iranian as is her husband. Her daughter is Iranian-American, as she was born here and holds duel citizenship.
Did you know that the Muslim do not believe in abortion but they allow it up to the 40th day after conception because until then they do not believe that the mass of cells in your body has a soul. If you want an abortion you have to consult with your religious leader (via email is ok) and they will advise you if it is ok or not based on your situation. This seems pretty reasonable to me. They are valuing life but have set a specific date when life begins and its pretty scientifically backed up in my opinion.
Also did you know that Islam is the fastest growing religion in America? Its not even from immigration – but 30% of their American followers are converts.
But the thing that floored me the most?
Jesus is one of Islam’s prophets!
Yes, that is right. You read that correctly.
Your Christian Lord and Saviour is an Islamic Prophet.
Recently a friend of mine was baptized at his local church. This wouldn’t be interesting but he’s someone who I would have considered to be on the cusp and definitely leaning towards atheism than theism.
I, of course, had to wonder if he simply did it for his wife. He assures me that he didn’t but even so it got me thinking.
Can one believe the doctrine, the basic principles, of a religion without believing in their god?
I feel the answer should be a resounding “NO” but then I see proclaimed Christians picking a choosing what parts of the doctrine they believe in. Some say the bible is allegory. Some say it should be taken literally as written. Some just spout off John 3:16, claim Jesus as their savior and from there everything else can be forgiven. So why couldn’t I do the same while maintaining my disbelief in any god?
Q: Are most atheists really contemptuous of believers?
A: I think that the answer is there are, per-capita, as many assholes on the Atheist side of the fence as there are on the Christian side of the fence.
So no, most atheists are not contemptuous of believers. Most just want to be left alone to not believe what they want to not believe much like Christians just want to be allowed to believe what they want to believe. I think we all are fine with that (by all I mean both Atheists and Christians.)
When atheists get contemptuous is when Christians try to force us to abide by your rules. Things like gay marriage and abortion come to mind as the biggest hot topics. Nationwide laws shouldn’t be passed that are based on any religion because not everyone in this country is the same religion. Heck even Christians do not all practice their faith the same or believe the same things. Case in point – Mormonism. Mormon’s are Christians. They just have additional scriptures they follow than other Christians. Most people would be very upset if we were passing laws that banned Coffee because the Mormon’s don’t believe you should drink hot caffeinated beverages (and FYI that belief is because caffeine is a drug and the high amounts you get from coffee are addictive, and drugs are abusing your body which should be treated as a temple – so not a ridiculous belief).
Another reason why it might seem that Atheists are contemptuous to Christians is media portrayal. Since the majority of the country are Christians it makes sense that when Atheists file suits against having another’s beliefs forced on them it makes headlines. There are rarely headlines that focus on the amount of money Bill Gates donates to pretty much everyone despite being an Atheist. The media likes to portray things in a way that will get them ratings. Compare the coverage of any news story on both Fox and CNN and you will get a different spin. It also gets blown out of proportion as if it is the Atheist plan to have a fully secular planet. Though some may feel that way most don’t.
Personally, I had been sucked into the internet vortex of Christians. The internet is a place where it is easy to become a jerk to others because you feel like you are just talking to a computer screen. So the worst of what people think and feel can come out on the internet. It is easy to decide that all Christians (or Atheists) are this or that and feel a deep sense of dislike for them as a group when all you have are stereotypes and the hate-filled ramblings of some.
Once you start putting names and faces to internet profiles its harder to dislike people who really are pretty much just like you.
Q: What do you think is the “final straw” that causes most atheists to become atheists?
A: I always like this assumption – that there was a “final straw.” I think for most atheists there was no defining moment where they were like “Oh hey this god stuff is bullshit. I am done with it.”
Sure I do think there are some people who have things happen in their life that are so drastic and life altering that they literally do lose their religion. This is especially true when they would have been considered good christians and who prayed and asked for god to help them and nothing happened. When you are told that your prayers will be answered and they aren’t you tend to think its a bunch of lies especially if it happens over and over. So you either have to believe you aren’t good enough for god to answer your prayers, you didn’t pray enough or that there is no god listening.
I didn’t have a “final straw” moment. I did have a moment where logical things I had seen that drew me towards Mormonism became the logic that pushed me out the door. Sometimes I think I should have the missionaries over to discuss this and see what they have to say about it. Even so that moment didn’t make me have a sudden disbelief in god though it did provide a loophole in which to take a look deep inside myself. It still took a few years before I was able to actually define the feelings I had been having about god.
Its incredibly hard to be raised to believe in this god in a country where everyone seems to believe in it too and have doubts. I truly believe there are many people out there who say they believe in god simply because everyone else does. Peer pressure is incredibly hard to overcome.
I think that more likely Atheists’ “final straw” is more a coming out – when they are finally fed up with hearing things like “it was in god’s plan” or “god is good” or just any of the other things that are thrown out on a daily basis by well meaning Christians. So then they post it on facebook , or tell their family and there is a relief to be able to be who you are and openly (maybe) not believe in what everyone else seems to believe in.
Becoming Atheist is a process of introspection and logical and reasonable thinking over time but coming out as an atheist is the “final straw”
I guess either no one really reads this anymore – and can I blame anyone when I have barely been posting? Or every one who is Christian isn’t actually interested in getting to understand the other view. Or you feel like you have heard it all already. Whatever the reason – it’s ok. So there were not many questions but I am going to spread them out over a few posts because no one wants to read a novel here.
Q: If I’m recalling correctly, you said earlier that you *wanted* to believe. What percentage of atheists do you think feel this way? Do you still feel that way yourself (again, if I am remembering correctly)?
A: When I say that I “want” to believe it is because it would be infinitely easier to feel that I wasn’t in control of my life sometimes. Oh that bad thing that happened? It’s god’s plan, not my fault. For example when Jack fell off the bench at the soccer game last year and I watched his eyes roll into his head as he passed out and I wasn’t sure he was breathing. I watched his entire future life pass in front of me and all I could think was it was all my fault. If he died, or had brain damage, or was paralyzed then it was all my fault because I wasn’t paying enough attention. People who believe in god seem to feel that way at first about things but then they say that it is god’s plan. That god doesn’t give you more than you can handle. All those lovely phrases that to most atheists (and many christians) are insulting at the worst and insensitive in the least.
Its not that I want to believe because I think it would be better but it is more that often I don’t want to take responsibility for everything that I don’t like or to think that there is a higher power out there that knows better than I do and will make everything right.
The analogy of god as a parent really is accurate – someone who will let you fall but then pick you up, kiss your boo-boos and make it all better. Who doesn’t “want” to believe in that? So yeah I want to believe but I just can’t.
I still feel this way but again only when I am feeling like I just don’t want to take responsibility for what is happening in my life or when I really wish there could be a big giant daddy that comes in and makes everything all better.
As for other Atheists I know some have said they do think this too, but again only sometimes. The problem with having this deity who is always in control is the inverse of having them take responsibility – its when god is given all the credit.
Right now I have the best single semester GPA I have ever had in my life. I have worked hard for this and my family has sacrificed – especially my oldest who babysits a lot so that I can go to the library and study or even just lock myself in my room to get my homework done. This is my hard work and my success. Not god’s.
So even if sometimes I say I want to believe – its only because I want someone else to blame when things are going down the toilet.