“God’s not dead” is an unrealistic piece of Christian propaganda that got 5/10 stars on imdb, but it’s getting a sequel, “God is Not Dead 2”, with more guns and violence according to the trailer. At the moment biblical movies are a popular fad and even steven spielberg is cashing in on it with Noah.
It’s wiser to treat Jesus as a concept. To do otherwise can open you up for disappointment, because we actually know very little about the historical Jesus, contrary to what you probably believe. In fact the real Jesus was probably a spunky hothead, and all the great stuff about him being peace-loving was written long after he died. (I can even justify this with biblical quotes like when he rebuked his parents outside a synagogue, or threw a violent fit in a synagogue, which is why the Romans really persecuted him.) The same myth making probably happened for Buddha, and all ancient figures.
I have a friend who has no intention of ever going to church or opening a bible. The other day he told me he likes the concept of Jesus, and doesn’t care if the history is all a lie, or if he never existed. Many people like him become secular Christians after the learn the truth – it’s easier to hold onto many of your ingrained values rather than to take the time to think & reevaluate everything.
I told him we can still enjoy the myths, and there are some epic stories to be appreciated in the bible, but the danger comes when people forget they are stories. Americans have been trained to follow them blindly, which can destroy their lives and keep them from reaching their full potential. But the strongest argument against letting people live in a dream, is that they still use religion to oppress other people.
(Usually unknowingly, because they think they are following God, and so their actions are justified no matter how evil. These people have been taught by stories they should be ready to murder their kids if God orders it, and you are to emulate Abraham & obey with total obedience, without needing to ask any questions. Islam is literally derived from Christianity, and Christians hate them because it’s like looking int he mirror and seeing how badly we behaved 400 years ago.)
People don’t like being told their whole life has been based on a lie, and they react emotionally. That’s the main reason Atheists are disliked, but it could be worse if Thomas Jefferson hadn’t saved everyone. As my Philosophy teacher put it, “Thank God I wasn’t born 400 years ago or I’d probably have been burned at the stake for giving this debate.” Atheists are pretty misunderstood in America because the media focuses on a handful or radical activists that don’t represent the silent majority, and because the church has waged an effective smear campaigns against them. Christian Americans literally think they’re touched the devil and distrust them more than Muslims, or Mormons, or (probably Child Rapists.) They’re conditioned not to read non-Christian materials. I know because I stopped reading books when I was a kid if they seemed too Atheist.
Characteristics of a Cult:
Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group.
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities.
Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.
Early Christianity has all the characteristics of a cult. It began as a cult when a bunch of men followed a Charismatic man, (just like with Joseph Smith, Mohammed, Buddha, or Jonestown.)
Jesus ordered people to follow him at all costs:
Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” (Mathew 8:21)
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26.)
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. “For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW” (Mathew 10:36)
Jesus came carrying a sword?! Could this warlike attitude be why the Roman governor killed him?
There are letters in the bible where Paul berates a woman for not giving all of her money to the church when she sold her house. Then he has God kill her. (Acts 5.) Back then you were literally expected to give up everything you had to this group of men or Paul would bring divine punishment to kill you, (and presumably send you to burn for eternity in the hell which he his band invented-which I’ll get to later.) They must have gotten enough from donations, because Judas was their treasurer, and they received lodging and food wherever they traveled.
Even after Jesus died, those that led his ministry had found a decent way to live. They didn’t always follow Jesus’s teachings though; Jesus said nothing condemning homosexuality. However, “Paul” introduced every single anti-gay passage I’ve ever read in the New Testament, and “Paul” wrote the passages encouraging women to cover their heads in churches and follow men when they pray. (1 Corinthians 11:6 )
( I use quotes because the part about making women cover their heads is believed by certain scholars to be a forgery by a later church author who wanted to reassert the power of men over women, since early Christianity was pretty tolerant of women and some of them could even lead churches. Of course Christians don’t always follow their bible literally when they don’t want to, or they’d still be doing this very Muslim head covering. It’s believed to be a forgery partly because of Paul’s history with women. For instance Junia is believed to be a girl’s name and a female apostle that met Paul in the bible, but a later transcriber of the bible turned her gender into a man, since the idea Paul would have female apostles was unthinkable to him in that sexist time. )
Unfortunately, religion allows incredible evil in the name of God. Christians have relied on biblical passages to justify holy wars, Confederate slavery, holding down women’s rights, stoning adulterers, criminalizing Sodomy (even as defined as sodomy with your wife), murder, rape, and for voting against equality for gays today. Cultish offshoots of Christianity have used the bible to justify racial discrimination (Mormons), and child abuse/ sexual slavery (Family International). I doubt any other book has caused as much suffering; not even the Quran which only dates back 1400 years, (and is rooted in the bible!) Religious thinking also continues to hold back scientific discovery.
It’d be less bad if religious people followed their own code and minded their own business, but they can’t. They think they have the moral righteousness and God-given wisdom, and use their beliefs to boss around anyone who disagrees with them. Any religious country uses it to destroy the rights and happiness of smaller groups that don’t follow the dominant religion. In fact they destroy their own rights and happiness, but are so blindfolded they can’t realize it.
The truth is that Christianity has been used like every other religion. Namely, it has always always been a tool for an elite minority of priests to control an uneducated majority, in Europe, in Japan, in China, in India, Israel, Egypt, Rome and in Africa. My favorite clan in Japanese history were the Fujiwara – a family of soothsaying priests who influenced the imperial court for centuries not through military might, but through the power of superstition since their family took care of the shrines.
Even today the educated rich are the least likely to be religious, but they still use religion in American politics as a tool to meet their own aims. Namely the Republicans have opposed rights for the poor, and support letting the rich Plantation owners grow richer which you wouldn’t expect to be popular with the poor, except they’ve draped themselves in religion. Slaves stop caring about income inequality or oppression if they believe there will be rewarded for their sacrifices with infinite cake in the next life, and that all the rich snobs will burn in hell forever.
Of course, hell is a Christian concept. “Hell” is not even mentioned in the Old Testament. (At least not as a place of eternal torture or burning humans go to.) In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Christians made it up.
In fact, my understanding is that Jews don’t even believe in hell as Christians do. (If asked they’ll say they don’t believe in it, or that they believe in something closer to a temporary purgatory.) In fact people don’t go to Heaven in the Old Testament either. People simply died or turned into ghosts which are sometimes channeled by prophets for conversations a king asks him to do divination.
I have found no evidence Christianity is superior to any other religion, or has been especially blessed, or that God has given a sign that he favors it. But if you think I believe what I do today because I was “brainwashed,” you are quite mistaken. My thinking is the product of 1) analytical thinking 2) courage 3) an open mind 4) trying to learn more about the bible.
I’m not proud of the fact that it took me so long to get where Thomas Jefferson was when he was 13, but to my credit I did get there. I’m proud I was able to do it. It was probably inevitable. Education, environment, and time to think made it easier. But I still like to tell myself that I’d have figured it out by the time I was 30 no matter what my circumstances, although if Grandma had lived, or I’d gone with you to church every week it might have been more difficult to realize going to church and praying every night is literally brainwashing. Thank God that didn’t happen. I’d be super prejudiced against gays, and be mired in thinking of my time.
It’s probably the greatest intellectual achievement of my short life, to figure out on my own that I was brainwashed and figure out where to go from there. I literally felt enlightened, like I’d had a breakthrough on the night when I figured it out. Everything that I’d struggled with snapped into place. If there was no God, the world became much simpler to understand. (The biblical contradictions could be attributed to story tellers of a barbaric culture; not God.) I might not become a scientist, but at least I’ll always be proud that I could break out of the deepest bullshit I was saddled with.
Trying to have an open mind is what freed me from the blindfold you still wear. I can’t believe how much prejudice Christianity has; I tried to understand the bible, but I couldn’t blind myself forever to the problems.
You can show a Christian evidence and they won’t accept it. They’re literally brainwashed. Willingness to seek the truth no matter what is required, even if it means prioritizing knowing the truth over your own happiness. But it must come from within.
I’ve tried to keep my mind more open than yours. It took a while because I was stubborn, and I didn’t even fully accept Evolution from apes until taking Biology at college. But to my credit I can admit when I’m wrong, because I learned to seek out supporting evidence and now there’s a mountain of it in front of my face. Faith alone presupposes you know the truth, which means that everything else must be a lie.
But what if the mountain of lies clumps into a sensible form, while the truth becomes erratic and harder to rationalize? What if for a single moment you consider the opposite possibility and it made much more sense? That’s what happened. I read a mountain of lies and eventually found out it was too much work to keep justifying something flawed just because I was raised believing it.
It also never made sense to me that God would test our faith so much by remaining hidden. He has nothing to gain from hiding, or from letting his holy words be corrupted to seed doubt through mistranslations. He would have a lot more to gain if he made obvious miracles and speaking in a booming voice from the heavens. That is, if he wanted everyone to go to heaven, rather than condemning 1 billion Indians who never heard the gospel to hell today, and billions more through history.
Ah that reminds me, there are some Christians who believe some righteous non-Christians will still go to heaven, and only the Atheists will go to hell for rejecting the gospel. In that case it’d be kinder not to proselytize at all since every person you preach to will now be condemned to hell if they don’t listen, unlike before. Every time you tell someone God Bless, that reminder could be enough to condemn them to hell.
Anyway, I told you this to figure out a few things. It’s worth it since it’s better to be true to yourself. I don’t have a problem with people liking fairy tales, or believing in them, but I’m very concerned when people start killing over fairy tales, or voting against things like gay marriage without any logical reason just because of superstition and values passed on from their father. (Or from their father in the sky.)
Oh yeah, there was a trans-sexual guy who was murdered at my University while he was sitting on the toilet. Someone called his name, he answered, and they burst thru the door and stabbed him to death. That’s how screwed up religion has made us. When I read that in the school newspaper I realized I was in the same building, on the same floor, a few hundred feet from where it happened. And then I remembered all the ridiculous things you’ve said condemning them while pointing at two passages from the Old Testament.
Homophobia is the new biblicaly supported racism. Now that Christians can’t kill the Jesus killer Jews, or point at Noah’s curse on Ham and say it’s proof blacks should be slaves, they’ve found new scapegoats for this generation.
Seriously, there are dozens of reasons and mountains of evidence against following it. There can never be a good counter-argument to the Problem of Evil, or the other paradoxes and contradictions. Reading more about Christianity would just teach me more contradictions, not fix them. That world-view is broken and there’s no gentle way to say any of this.
It’s just one more reason I think I should take a break from living in America, and all the religious intolerance & persecution that I’ve become aware of. It’s suffocating. I have to listen to Fox News whenever I go downstairs. I have Aunt Kathy for a relative. Hypocrisy, intolerance and ignorance abound. Christians who don’t even check the sources of their own bible, or work through the icky passages.
Everything that I learn about religion from here on will probably just be from a sense of morbid curiosity about just how bad it is, and how flawed. The Salem Witch Trials, Spanish Inquisitions, Burning Joan of Arc at the Stake, Christian Nazis, Crusades, Holy Wars, Slavery, Systematic Rape of Children at Churches, Murder, Human & Animal Sacrifice, Genocide…. It’s a bottomless pit of morbid book titles.
I don’t see why you’d want me to marry a Christian. So she could try and brainwash me and we could fight every Sunday? That’s only desirable if you want to remain brainwashed and marry your clone. If I ever married a Christian I’d want it to be a non-religious nominal Christian who never goes to church, and agrees the history of religions has been more evil than good; to do otherwise would be be proof I sold out on my values or lost my marbles. Even that’s not as preferable, as it would be to marry someone who deeply thought about who they were and what they believed in.
Chinese hostel story:
It’s tiring when everyone is a Christian clone, and it would be more rewarding to talk to people of other beliefs. I once met a Mongolian Muslim in China who said he converted from Animalism. That’s probably a bullshit lie they tell to convert people, in the same way Christians claim they used to be Atheists to impress people when they were simply lukewarm folks who stopped going to church for a while, and then returned to be born again. Even so, I told him it was good he had thought about the religion of his birth and decided on his own what to choose. We got along pretty well and had a good conversation about a ton of stuff. The Moderate Muslims are probably cool enough, or at least as acceptable as Christians.
As we were talking a nearby Chinese guy tried to butt into the conversation. He said he was Buddhist, so I asked him if it was true that if a woman does good things she will be reincarnated into a man, and if a man does bad things he will be reincarnated as a woman. (I seriously had read this in some Confucius Buddhist parable.) He laughed and said he didn’t know, but he thought it’s better to be born a woman. Awkward silence. Then Muslim guy chuckles and tells a joke it reminded him of. He says there was a woman who was pure, righteous, and chastise, and she was sent to hell. So she asked God why she went to hell when another woman who was a slut went to heaven. God answered the slut deserved heaven because she had made many men happy.
(So much for the stereotypes. Muslims can make religious jokes.) Anyway, that’s why I am where I am today. I probably don’t need to write any more long letters on the subject. It just feels right to scream at you a little for brainwashing me with a harmful religion, but I understand you didn’t know any better.
Skepticism is a good thing. It’s what drove Martin Luther to separate the Protestant church from Catholic corruption, and it’s what has propelled science. It is the enemy of “faith alone,” which is the presumption of evidence and circular thinking. A belief that cannot handle questions is a very brittle belief. But we are taught not to look for evidence, and to accept things on faith alone. Don’t read too much Atheistic literature or it will lead you astray too.
I feel a little sad that it will take generations for people to naturally lose Christianity, which is the trend as people become more educated. It will be a good thing though.
We will still be the same people as before, because the morals we attribute to Christianity or God were within us all along, and we just preferred to attribute them to God. I didn’t believe so at first, but it’s true. That’s why you meet good people all over the planet, and ex-Christians aren’t the evil people the church cult would make them out to be for leaving.
The best things about Christianity probably came from when Paul (a Greek) put Greek philosophy into Judaism and codified it. Philosophy is nice and founded on thought, religion is founded on fear and superstition.
I wish I’d figured this out earlier because I might have been more productive in High School, or tried harder at math and science out a sense of responsibility toward the advancement of mankind, instead of spending so much time reading in the humanities, subconciously trying to figure out what was wrong with my biblical world view. You know, it’s like taking the red pill and popping out of the Matrix, waking up from the Christian delusion of a loving father above the clouds. You realize he’s more like an abusive father we can’t run away from because he’ll damn you to hell if you try to leave the house. It’s scary to think about leaving until you figure out he doesn’t exist, and some people don’t leave for that reason. They stay mentally enslaved their whole lives.
Seriously all those Christian beliefs were just a source of pain in retrospect. It’d take one hell of a miracle as evidence before to bring me back to that horrible world-view again, where a malicious God burns more of his creations in hell than he saves. I’m still trying to detoxify my brain from all of that sadism.
I could rant for ages about this and I haven’t even scratched the surface of the months of research I have. There’s so much dirt in the history of the church, like the fake miracles the Catholic church approved which were actually hoaxes & scandals. It’s insane to believe that organizations with histories of corruption are still seen as holier than anything else by the majority of Christians. There is no better proof of the strength of Christian brainwashing than the continued existence of the dark Catholic church…
The greatest secret of Christianity is that God is as evil as Satan, and of all the organizations, his churches have done the most evil across time. It sounds radical to a Christian, but it’s just obvious if you’re well read and removed from the loop for a few years. They’re one the same, like two sides of the same coin.
There is no Satan either. Satan originally was satan, which meant an obstacle, barrier, or enemy in the old testament. Sometimes it’s literally used in the sense of an obstacle. Only in the New Testament did it become a proper noun and become a singular devil.
The only Satan is inside us. It’s easier to attribute misfortune and our own human actions to some supernatural adversary to make ourselves feel better. It’s not the nice girl’s fault she murdered someone. The Devil made her do it. No one is to blame. But these days we can admit she choose to do it, or that mental illnesses caused it. Today science can explain what caused her to act crazy, and it isn’t all due to demon possession as people used to believe. It’s just mental illness and/or LSD.
The Christians created a new religion by piggy-backing on an existing Jewish religion. Likewise, the Jewish religion draws from Egyptian sources, and a Semetic pantheon of multiple Gods. There are two different Gods in the bible. Whenever you see “God” it’s a different word from “Lord” in the Old Testament. It’s believed each of these were literally different Gods that were adopted to become the same God later on. The two words correspond to different characteristics. One usage of the word tends to take a human form and walk with humans when it appears in a passage, while the other is more of a sky God.
Revelation is an evil book that made people create doomsday cults like the Jehova Witness, and Mormonism also draws from it. “John” was probably high when he wrote it. Or Thomas Jefferson was right, “My thoughts are unchanged from when I was 13, they are the writings of a madman.”
It’s not even the only Christian Armageddon story, it’s just the only one that was put in the bible to survive from that time, and such stories were popular. People living in a country that had just been taken over by Romans, and who had just had their most sacred temple in Jerusalem destroyed, thought the end of the world was near. They had too narrow a world-view to understand there was a world beyond the Middle East. The author of Revelation believed he would see the new Jerusalem in his lifetime. So have millions of Christians who have looked for signs in the newspapers ever since then.
Practically every war was a sign, and every adversary has been called the Anti-Christ for 2,000 years, even leaders you’d think were minor footnotes in the papal states of Medieval Italy.
The stuff about not taking words out revelation was added into Revelation because that author knew that writers would often add or remove passages from books of the bible. Back then Christianity was fluid, and sometimes a person would make the religion better by improving a passage, or moving a few events around. In this vein the Early church changed a passage where Jesus was on the cross to defeat their rival faction of Christians who did not believe in the Trinity. The truth is John’s curse was a simple publication request, worded as a curse on anyone who cut out parts of his work. It was never meant to apply to the whole bible, just to Revelation. At the time it was written, there wasn’t even a canonized bible, just a bunch of loose books and scriptures floating around, and being recopied endlessly with some forgeries.
It’d be cool to live in Japan where I don’t have to walk around talking to Christians while thinking this stuff. There would be no deluded practitioners waving signs to remind me of this stuff, or inviting me to bible studies in elevators on my campus. There would be less blatant merging of politics and religion on talk radio. Christianity would mainly exist in cartoons as a secretive organization that is corrupt and a source of witchcraft. Churches would also frequently also the source of vampires and pagan hunters. That’s probably more accurate than what Americans believe about it. I could live with that more truthful portrayal.
This stretched on for a while, but it should save me from having to write a lot in the future. Suffice to say there are reasons for my decision, which are based on the cumulation of years of research and experiences. I didn’t fall into a bad crowd and decide this belief system was full of bullshit. Reading the bible did that. Finding out Christianity isn’t a special snowflake among all the religions helped. Discovering the extent of Christian ignorance helped. Writing stories about Gods showed to me how easily religion can develop from a tall tale. Praying showed me if there is a God he isn’t listening. It was pretty much every effort I made on my own power.
Too long; didn’t read version:
You’re free to believe what you want, but don’t give me crap about finding Jesus because you didn’t make the effort to find out what the bible really is: a collection of myths, and “upwards of a thousand lies,” as Mark Twain called it. You don’t trust every website you read. And you don’t even know who wrote the bible, or if the person who wrote the bible met Jesus, or is who he says he is. Any spirituality you feel could just as easily be attributed to any other religion or book.
I’m just telling you what I found, but ever since I first told you I haven’t particularly cared if you choose to stay in a dream. Although I do feel better that I told my father he’s been abused by an abusive sky daddy, if someone prefers a lie that brings happiness and acceptance with your friends, that could be an acceptable tradeoff.
The only thing I feel morally compelled to ask is that you think about things for yourself on other matters, before you thoughtlessly vote against limiting other peoples’ freedoms. Atheists, gays, whatever. The Christian majority can make a nightmare for everyone else, and will continue to do so. There is no leader steering the Christian ship, but there are a lot of oarsmen rowing away. No one cares where they’re going so long as they follow what the book says, but if your interpretation of the book is wrong, or the book itself isn’t the solution to society’s ills, you’ll have brought a lot of misery to others simply because you didn’t think things through.
You only vote for limiting those things because of how you interpret a couple passages of the bible that are divorced from their surroundings, or because you feel in your gut this thing or that thing is disgusting. But your gut feelings also tell you what you want to eat, and if you’ve ever felt lust, feelings can’t always be trusted to know what’s best. Those feelings come from the culture in which you are raised. I’m saying this because if every Atheist’s father actually thought about things and respected human rights more, the world would be a better place much sooner, and we wouldn’t have to wait for Christians to die out for some peace on Earth. We would have a freer society, with better art, better science, wiser people, and more diverse music.
The irrational trampling of other peoples’ rights and freedoms is my main gripe with Christians. I don’t mind willfully them clinging to dumb ideas like a smoker to his cigarette so long as they don’t anyone else, but in a democracy even dumb votes are enough to make bad laws and harm others. The self-serving politicians always follow what the Christian super-majority wants, and are willing to crucify various innocent groups due to curry favor with the dumb Christian mob. It’s why in Uganda the government has killed thousands of gays in the last few years. And once the bible is reinterpreted and gays are accepted (it’s happened before, and I already see it happening here), the Christian mob will find another minority to lynch.
It’s a never-ending cycle, since Christians think in black and white like a cult: you’re either with me or against me. Whoever is not their definition of a righteous Christian must be working for the devil, and the worst forms of punishment and suffering are deserving of that person. After all, God condones eternal torture in hell so what’s wrong with executing a little suffering on Earth if you believe you’re already saved? The Catholics and Protestants even tortured each other and waged war against themselves. Nothing has changed, and every few years the witch hunts begin again.