Talk Me Out Of It

April 14, 2012

mark says:

I’ve been a christian all my life. I now want to be reasoned out of it. Please help

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Why do All Things Die

March 28, 2012

Casey Asks:

Hello, my name is Casey. I am an Evangelical Christian. I believe in the Bible, and it’s reason for why all living things die. I am not looking for a debate, but I would like to know what an atheist believes is the reason for the death. Why do all organisms have life spans?


The “Evangelical” Atheist – Tolerance, and the differences we share

March 24, 2012

Frank Vernon Fred Miller asks:

How many of you, having denounced religion, or at least upon accepting Atheism as your belief, found it difficult to accept the fact that religion permeates every aspect of our environment including our families, our work, and our schools?

I am having difficulty accepting how much religion influences every aspect of our lives from centuries of dogmatic abuse. I laugh at my own ignorance when I occasionally use expressions such as, “Oh my God” or “Jesus Christ!”. It serves to remind me just how much religion in my own immediate environment has influenced me.

I want to be tolerant of others beliefs. I don’t want to be just as offensive an evangelical christian by forcing my beliefs upon others, but I find myself doing just that at times with Atheism.

I realize now that I should have been born much farther into the future when our species has evolved a bit more.


Coming Out Yogi

October 2, 2011

Brian asks:

Hey, I was a Christian for 10 years, pursuing Jesus with all my might during my devotions. The thing is, however, that I never grew in my faith. I also had some mood problems that prayer and Bible study never helped. However, since I started doing yoga and meditating, these moods are greatly reduced. I’m fascinated by this yogi philosophy and yogis are some of the most kind and compassionate people. But how do I get out of these church commitments where people need me and how do I explain to them what I’m doing? Especially when I know no one will understand?


Jesus Couldn’t Have Died for Original Sin

August 14, 2011

Christianity tells us that we are all sinners and doomed to Hell, unless we accept Jesus as our Savior.  The reason we are doomed is that we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 5:12:

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

The reason that we are all sinners is that we “inherit” the “Original Sin” of Adam.  As sinners we deserve death.  Only Jesus’ death could atone for Original Sin.

Right?

That puts Christians in an awkward position.

Christians have to hold that there really was an Adam and Eve and a talking Serpent in the Garden of Eden.  They have to accept the creation story of Genesis. Most Christians have abandoned this position in favor of concepts like “divinely guided evolution”.  A few Christians still argue in favor of creation a la Genesis but the arguments have been exposed over and over as baseless dogma and have rapidly lost traction among all but the most fundamentalist of Christians.

Or, Christians can accept evolution, even if they qualify it as divinely guided evolution.  Then there was no Adam in a garden with Trees of Life and Knowledge.  If there is no Adam, there is no Original Sin.  There is only our nature (is it sinful?).  And our nature is the product of evolution (is it divinely guided?).  If there is no Original Sin, then why did Jesus die?


Are there any TRUE christians?

June 4, 2011

Susan says:

I recall a conversation I had with a christian about my thinking religion is often duplicitous, & I was using the example of my grandmother. She was a southern baptist & was forever trying, giving me bibles for xmas, inviting me to “grandparents day” at church, which always happened to coincide with my visit. Yet she was totally racist (nigger jokes), lied, was manipulative & cruel to children, was judgmental. I pointed out these traits as being in contradiction with christian values. The other person said it wasn’t christianity that was the problem, it was that my grandmother wasn’t a good christian.

But doesn’t that raise quite a question? The basis of christianity is the bible. Of which there are several versions, all of which have been translated thru several iterations, from what is clearly a collection of parables & fables used as teaching tools for herders & farmers, & it’s about as clear as a horoscope. The fact that there are so many factions using the same bible, who are quite different from each other…Doesn’t the wiggle room provided by the bible mean you can always forgive the bible, then just insist the user isn’t doing it right? Isn’t humble enough? Isn’t hearing god’s message clearly because or pride or something? Apologists always back into “that’s not being a good christian,” but that’s hardly a worthwhile defense when there really is no “one good christian” definition.


Why Pray Before a Meal?

April 7, 2011

I’m often tempted to ask Christians who I see praying in public before a meal why they pray. Of course I would never be so disrespectful as to actually walk over and ask. I’m not offended by it, Christians have every right to do it and I support their right. But I do wonder why. So I’ll ask my questions here, where I can safely assume that someone reading a blog about atheism would be amenable to a conversation about faith and belief.

Social Aspects of Praying:

Do Christians feel that God prefers that prayers are said while in a certain posture, with head bowed, eyes closed, and hands clasped? Or is the prayer posture meant more as a performance for the benefit of those around them, rather than for God’s benefit? It seems a lot like the ichthus (fish) bumper stickers – it’s used as a public statement, a testimony. Is the prayer before the meal a polite way of witnessing, a way to show those around them that “I’m a Christian” without actually engaging anyone in conversation? On the one hand, I appreciate that most Christians would be respectful enough not to overtly proselytize those around them. On the other hand, statements to the effect of “I’m a Christian” is not much of a witness. For example, it says nothing about the reality of Jesus which is what a Christian witness or testimony really is. Or possibly, prayer before the meal is a display for other Christians, a way to tell other Christians that you’re one of them – sort of like the Shriner’s “secret” handshake.  Maybe it’s both.

Theological Aspects of Praying:

Thank you for this food we are about to receive…

Why do Christians pretend that God gives them their meals? It seems obvious enough where food comes from. The Earth produces food for humans and other terrestrial life. Life on planet Earth has evolved such that there is a food chain.  If I may oversimplify a bit just for illustration: plants consume non-living materials like minerals, water, CO2 and sunlight.  Animals consume plants, and animals higher on the food chain consume other animals.  Humans are near the top of the food chain (yes, we do have natural predators!).  Each of our meals has this natural origin.  If there is a God, then He doesn’t give us each meal, He gives us the entire Earth from which we get our food.  Why not thank God at every meal for the Earth rather than for the meal?  The meal seems insignificant relative to the gift of the whole Earth!

Other Quirks Regarding Prayer:

Why pray only for food?  Why not pray for water?  Water is even more essential to our sustenance than food.  We can survive without food for weeks but we can only survive without water for a few days.

Bless this food to our bodies…

“Bless this food to our bodies” isn’t even grammatically correct – the verb “bless” can take the indirect object, “body”.  You can bless the food, or you can bless our bodies, but you can’t bless food to our bodies.  Nevertheless, this phrase is very wide spread among Christians – try this search on Google (http://www.google.com/search?q=”bless+this+food+to+our+bodies”) and you’ll see what I mean.

My point is not that Christians are guilty of incorrect grammar – we all are.  My point is that Christians make this particular grammatical error only in prayers for the meal and not anywhere else.  So how does a grammatically incorrect phrase become so popular in prayer and only in prayer?  Does it sound more spiritual?

What do you think?

Whether you are Christian or not, what to you think about the Christian prayer for the meal?


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