Why do people turn away from Christianity because...

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iamnotaparakeet
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18 Jun 2010, 1:11 pm

Fuzzy wrote:
jc6chan wrote:
I don't even know what we are arguing about here. I agree with you that Christianity is not known for this but it should be. But why does that make the faith invalid? As for "true Christian", even Christians sin and I'm sorry to hear that you haven't met Christians that seem to "stand out" from the rest of the crowd. What exactly are their behaviours that make them so "unChristian"?


Imagine if you would, that upon a table laid 20-30 good herseys chocolate kisses. And then someone sprayed the table with a nice warm poop. There is the problem of sifting through the poop to find the yummy chocolate. That was my earlier poker comparison. This is the state of Christianity. But now we have the situation that even if you can separate and clean the chocolate, nobody that knows whats going on is going to eat it.

In reality, its worse, because the little chocolate kisses can have babies with the poopy splotches. And those hybrid kisses can grow up to be leaders of the table(the church). And they tell everyone what they think delicious really is. ie: Morally poor Christians produce pastors too, who then canonize unsavory behavior.

Does that make true faith invalid? Lets just say I'll look somewhere else for a snack.


"True faith" is not corporate but individual. The people of a congregation and it's leadership can be any type of assortment of individuals with a myriad of individual thoughts and notions, virtues and vices, wisdom and folly. The level of conformity to a standardized doctrine does not represent the level of veracity of such doctrine, but rather it would represent the efficiency of indoctrination (e.g., like with Hitler Youth).



Awesomelyglorious
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18 Jun 2010, 4:06 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
"True faith" is not corporate but individual. The people of a congregation and it's leadership can be any type of assortment of individuals with a myriad of individual thoughts and notions, virtues and vices, wisdom and folly. The level of conformity to a standardized doctrine does not represent the level of veracity of such doctrine, but rather it would represent the efficiency of indoctrination (e.g., like with Hitler Youth).

1) "True faith" is often considered both. There is often considered to be a such thing as "the church" as a community of Christians, and many non-Protestants criticize the overly individualistic notions of Protestants.
2) Conformity to a belief can reflect truth or indoctrination. Nobody doubts math seriously because it is known as true. If there is a Holy Spirit causing things to conform, then this helps.



iamnotaparakeet
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18 Jun 2010, 4:13 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
"True faith" is not corporate but individual. The people of a congregation and it's leadership can be any type of assortment of individuals with a myriad of individual thoughts and notions, virtues and vices, wisdom and folly. The level of conformity to a standardized doctrine does not represent the level of veracity of such doctrine, but rather it would represent the efficiency of indoctrination (e.g., like with Hitler Youth).

1) "True faith" is often considered both. There is often considered to be a such thing as "the church" as a community of Christians, and many non-Protestants criticize the overly individualistic notions of Protestants.
2) Conformity to a belief can reflect truth or indoctrination. Nobody doubts math seriously because it is known as true. If there is a Holy Spirit causing things to conform, then this helps.


If you are going to bring up the Holy Spirit, then you are going to bring up Christian doctrine. Where in any Christian doctrine is the claim made that a role of the Holy Spirit's is to cause conformity? Where in the Bible would there be any grounds to say that the Holy Spirit has a role of causing conformity?



Awesomelyglorious
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18 Jun 2010, 4:26 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
If you are going to bring up the Holy Spirit, then you are going to bring up Christian doctrine. Where in any Christian doctrine is the claim made that a role of the Holy Spirit's is to cause conformity? Where in the Bible would there be any grounds to say that the Holy Spirit has a role of causing conformity?

1) The Holy Spirit is often considered the spiritual guide that provides Christians with the truth of God so they may conform to God's truth. If you want scriptures, I'll find them.
2) Paul clearly believes that unified belief is desired by God. 1 Cor 1:10-13
3) This should mean that spiritual discipline, of which the Holy Spirit would take a part of, (or whatever member of the Trinity you prefer) would thus help man conform to what is divinely desired. (This claim is broader, just to avoid any squirming on the issue)

This seems pretty basic. Maybe you want a much larger dispute, but 1 Cor 1:10-13 proves all I think I need.



jc6chan
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18 Jun 2010, 4:32 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
I am arguing that Christianity does not show signs of being inspired.

Inductive arguments don't prove a claim must be untrue, instead they show that there is little reason to believe that it is true. This works for Christianity given that Christians should have something about them that we can see showing their divinely improved character. There is nothing of the sort as far as anybody can tell. As such, it is reasonable to dismiss the claim.

A lot of things. Do you want a list? I'd rather not have to trek through my personal experiences just because you have a desire that your imaginary friend exist.

There are defenitely many individuals who have improved character after becoming a Christian. How can you say there is nothing of that sort? As a Christian, I have to admit that there are even people who improve after seeking after another religion. As for how Christianity sets it apart, well, that is harder to explain and people have personal experiences of a divine power.



Awesomelyglorious
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18 Jun 2010, 5:06 pm

jc6chan wrote:
There are defenitely many individuals who have improved character after becoming a Christian. How can you say there is nothing of that sort? As a Christian, I have to admit that there are even people who improve after seeking after another religion. As for how Christianity sets it apart, well, that is harder to explain and people have personal experiences of a divine power.

I said "divinely improved character".
I think this comment by Robert Price kind of gets at my point:

"But the crucial point is that conversion does not necessarily change this(this, refers to one's sinfulness). If you're lucky, it may, but stories of such dramatic night-and-day turnabouts are tall tales that float around the evangelical community like water-cooler chatter about someone on TV who won the Lottery. Most lives are mediocre and stay that way, despite all the "Dieting with Jesus" books."
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ ... nable.html

The fact of the matter is that a lot of people don't change much. A few do, and some of those few even leave the faith after they change. A few people are changed by a completely different religion. There is generally no sign of anything divine. Is this denying personal experiences of a divine power? Well, no, but you have to recognize that there is very little sign that other religions are less divine and that the visions people of other religions have are less inspired.



Fuzzy
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18 Jun 2010, 5:53 pm

jc6chan wrote:
There are defenitely many individuals who have improved character after becoming a Christian. How can you say there is nothing of that sort? As a Christian, I have to admit that there are even people who improve after seeking after another religion. As for how Christianity sets it apart, well, that is harder to explain and people have personal experiences of a divine power.


That was exactly what AG was getting at. If there was a statistical improvement of people adopting Christianity, it would show. If people said "oh, seventh day adventists are the nicest Christians, it would point both at the merits of adventism and Christianity as a whole. The search would be on for the influences that generate that, and science would be happening.

So either its measurable or its not. And actually it is pretty easy to measure. A random sample of people can take a poll regarding different points of morality with one of the recorded factors being their faith(or lack thereof). This is exactly the sort of thing that the aspie test does.

"There are definitely many individuals who have improved character after becoming Christian" connotes with "Christian morality is higher on average than population as a whole". It might only be a tiny bit, but its measurable. And of course you could do it with the other religions too, gaining a ranked list of morality improving faiths.


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techstepgenr8tion
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18 Jun 2010, 6:24 pm

I can actually relate quite well to this. I was raised and confirmed Catholic, got away from it mainly because it seemed like godliness was simply a matter of outward conformity and being sure to cut up the bible like a string of paper dolls. Also being a metalhead back then, being into a lot of music and culture other-than country, pop, or whatever else was endorsed, I felt even more like I - especially in being myself - had no place in that framework and like it talked right over me and ignored my questions and existential needs as if I didn't exist at all.

Recently I've gotten back into reading the bible again, through adult eyes, as I want to understand it as well as I can. However, in terms of building and keeping faith, I've avoided going to church simply because I realize that if I brought other people back into the faith equation - at least right now - it would be gone. Even in just reading the bible I find enough things that I still conceptually butt heads with but, its not quite as bad as going to the once-a-week social club where I look around and it seems like there's almost no one like me.

Having something of an esoteric life experience though I feel like I'd do best in terms of figuring out my own flavor of understanding of what's there and perhaps a few brilliant analytical authors rather than taking a local who gives homilies that seem so watered down that they were made with the assumption that they'd be spoken to a crowd of seven hundred Peter Griffins.



ruveyn
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18 Jun 2010, 6:27 pm

Christianity is an anti-human man hating religion.

ruveyn



techstepgenr8tion
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18 Jun 2010, 6:39 pm

jc6chan wrote:
There are defenitely many individuals who have improved character after becoming a Christian. How can you say there is nothing of that sort? As a Christian, I have to admit that there are even people who improve after seeking after another religion. As for how Christianity sets it apart, well, that is harder to explain and people have personal experiences of a divine power.


This is one of those exact issues that I tend to butt heads with the bible. A deity of all light, all goodness, etc., couldn't be cavalier with salvation/damnation. Even if it were possible that all those going to hell were decoy souls and not real, it's quite a sheisty prank then to play on those believing that they have real ethical dilemmas on their hands to have equal human rights across the board (and that possibility IMO disqualifies itself for many bigger reasons as well).

Some people are really ardent truth seekers, who want to 'get' reality to the fullest and not let biases violate their pursuit because the advance of the pursuit itself is enough reward. Based on a person's working knowledge at different times, environmental factors, the people who come and go in their lives, the authors who might show up for interviews on radio or TV at just the right time - its guaranteed to lead people in different directions just because, even if one religion might perhaps have stronger evidence than the next or another might have stronger internal logic when matched up against the visible world, none have any proof that one group or another couldn't call bunk or inadmissible.

What I'm starting to think (if we go with the hypothesis that the bible is true, that Jesus died for our sins, and that right now is the church maturing) - God may not change but we do, and as we do the challenges change. If we're ultimately depraved and no one is worthy to go to heaven, Jesus was God taking accountability for his own creation and what we're going through right now is an exploration in gained wisdom. Many of the hard lines on certain issues as well (which seem to be on sexual planes these days) I have a feeling are finding new environments and what was a big problem back in the day (ie. fornication at twelve in the days of arranged marriages where it was life or death) vs. now where our society is structurally different - it may very well be that he wants us to learn substance over dogma through these very experiences and moral/ethical quandaries that we face in this world, come up with our own answers. Condemning the 'tools' that he sharpens Christians with doesn't make much sense either, as without those tools we wouldn't be doing what we're supposed to do by being here - ie. grow in wisdom. To say that he just uses the pre-existing evil in a world that he created, with omniscience, and knowing that there's effectively no free will in the world - that's even more troubling.

Its a really interesting topic though and you can bet that I'll be keeping my ear to the ground throughout my life. I wouldn't be surprised if we do have some revelatory breakthroughs in knowledge, society, within our lifetimes. It'll be interesting to see which direction that goes in.



techstepgenr8tion
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18 Jun 2010, 6:57 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Christianity is an anti-human man hating religion.

ruveyn

There's a lot of reason for us to hate our own nature, or that we have to do half the things we need to - on our cracked-up frames (re the sniper conversation), you have cruelty and inhumanity to man but genetic/Darwinian efficiency and great genetics at one end and great spirituality and humanity but hereditary disease, mental retardation, etc. swallowing such a great society at the other end. We can't have peace, at least on the micro level, because of all these needs - both genetic and spiritual, wrapped around our necks.

So the question becomes - how do we effectively rebel against and defeat the things that we hate about our world that come from us being what we are? Most theologies back in the day seemed anti-human because agreement was, as long as your in the flesh, your SOL and you were so because of what you had to do and be in order to survive and procreate, hold your gender roll, etc.. Not much has changed there fundamentally but, we at least have enough accumulated knowledge that the future looks like it could hold a glimmer of hope. It'll be interesting to see though if 1) that answer comes from religion, 2) that answer comes from secular humanism or 3) that both religion and secular humanism are of the same things that God just threw at us to make us think and work ourselves out even more. With nothing but straws to grab at in a lot of directions I'd say anything is possible.



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18 Jun 2010, 7:08 pm

I haven't been following the topic that closely, but I've noticed that it seems to have descended into a more theological debate on good Christians and bad Christians.

Here's my experience, which I've posted elsewhere in much greater detail so I'll keep it brief: The church I attend is a wonderful community with the atmosphere of a tightly-knit family (as any church SHOULD). However, I'm a church musician and am busy in rehearsals, my wife at one time was a regular Sunday School attendee, and it was impossible for us to watch our kids early on Sunday mornings. Our church is large enough that it can provide childcare. This was never really a problem.

To make a long story short, two or three women in the church developed a grudge against my wife--still not entirely sure why, but we THINK we might have an idea how it might have started--it basically had to do with my wife had been working with a youth music group, disagreed with one of her co-workers, and gracefully bowed out rather than fuel a conflict. So everything SHOULD have been fine.

So without warning, we began receiving phone calls from ONE of the women involved to "check up" on how our oldest child was doing. My wife had just given birth to our premature daughter, so things were still a bit of a struggle for us. THE NEXT DAY after the phone call two social workers from the Department of Human Services showed up on our doorstep asking about our children.

So, have I ever had a bad experience with church? Oh ya, you betcha. Did it affect my faith? Let's say it didn't help things. But on the other hand, we've had a lot more people on the church on our side rather than against us. Thing word travelled up the chain of command in the church leadership, and after things came to a head (though my wife and I didn't have anything to do with it by this point) people stopped whispering about us and things went back to normal.

I believe that Jesus rescues those sinners who believe. I also believe the church by and large is a supportive community of predominantly like-minded, kind, and caring individuals because I've seen it firsthand. My family has fallen prey to those coming "in the name of the Lord" for their own selfish, malevolent intentions. It is sad that we Christians are known for the few of us who misrepresent the faith. But by no means are all Christians like that, and it certainly hasn't diverted us away from hearing and proclaiming the gospel message.



ruveyn
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18 Jun 2010, 7:18 pm

techstepgenr8tion wrote:

So the question becomes - how do we effectively rebel against and defeat the things that we hate about our world that come from us being what we are? Most theologies back in the day seemed anti-human because agreement was, as long as your in the flesh, your SOL and you were so because of what you had to do and be in order to survive and procreate, hold your gender roll, etc.. Not much has changed there fundamentally but, we at least have enough accumulated knowledge that the future looks like it could hold a glimmer of hope. It'll be interesting to see though if 1) that answer comes from religion, 2) that answer comes from secular humanism or 3) that both religion and secular humanism are of the same things that God just threw at us to make us think and work ourselves out even more. With nothing but straws to grab at in a lot of directions I'd say anything is possible.


Answer. We don't rebel. We accept what we are. We are smart, ill natured fighting primates. Live with this fact. Embrace this fact. Become comfortable with this fact. Learn to love this fact. We are what we are. We are the smartest, baddest primates in The Monkey House. Rejoice over it.

ruveyn



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18 Jun 2010, 7:21 pm

I highly recommend the book Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis.



Fuzzy
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18 Jun 2010, 7:26 pm

ruveyn wrote:
techstepgenr8tion wrote:

So the question becomes - how do we effectively rebel against and defeat the things that we hate about our world that come from us being what we are? Most theologies back in the day seemed anti-human because agreement was, as long as your in the flesh, your SOL and you were so because of what you had to do and be in order to survive and procreate, hold your gender roll, etc.. Not much has changed there fundamentally but, we at least have enough accumulated knowledge that the future looks like it could hold a glimmer of hope. It'll be interesting to see though if 1) that answer comes from religion, 2) that answer comes from secular humanism or 3) that both religion and secular humanism are of the same things that God just threw at us to make us think and work ourselves out even more. With nothing but straws to grab at in a lot of directions I'd say anything is possible.


Answer. We don't rebel. We accept what we are. We are smart, ill natured fighting primates. Live with this fact. Embrace this fact. Become comfortable with this fact. Learn to love this fact. We are what we are. We are the smartest, baddest primates in The Monkey House. Rejoice over it.

ruveyn


Pass the bananas.


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techstepgenr8tion
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18 Jun 2010, 7:30 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Answer. We don't rebel. We accept what we are. We are smart, ill natured fighting primates. Live with this fact. Embrace this fact. Become comfortable with this fact. Learn to love this fact. We are what we are. We are the smartest, baddest primates in The Monkey House. Rejoice over it.

ruveyn

There's a big 'yeah but' with that one though - most people, thinkers as much as nonthinkers, find enough evidence in themselves and probing the corners to the effect that there's more to us than just that.

I'd have to consider myself as one of the later as I can think of a lot of human urges that almost come to being needs and they're things that, beyond being utterly irrelevant to evolution, even weigh harmful. Knowing that enough people go faith healers, go back to doctors, and x-rays can verify that some rather impossible things happened; I don't know what it all means, is, or amounts to but, as you can see I'm very uncomfortable with pulling the pure materialism card - at least in my own experience I have to utterly ignore too much to make it work, having to ignore anything I find troublesome - won't ignore science, won't ignore the things that create dissonance with our current understanding of it either.