Posts filed under ‘Josh’

Family doesn’t want to discuss religion anymore

Josh,

To be quite frank with you Josh, I really don’t enjoy discussing philosophy, religion, evolution/creation, or similar things with you. Our worldviews are diametrically opposed and there is no way to reconcile them. That’s OK. We know where you stand, you know where we stand. Considering that we hold our views very strongly, discussing them with you has become both wearying and depressing for both Mom and I and has only seemed to lead to great frustration and anger from you. In other words, a waste of all our time and energy. Therefore, we will try our best to refrain from discussing philosophy, religion, and the like with you. We’d appreciate your not trying to discuss them with us either.

So the rest of us [family] met, and are choosing to spend Christmas Day focusing upon Christ and do presents at random other times during the holidays. If someone has a desire to give a gift, they can spontaneously present it whenever they choose. This will help remove the feelings of obligation to purchase gifts, and focus more on the joy of giving as each of us feels led to do so.

Dad

What do you guys think? Is it normal for me to lose all respect for my dad after this letter?

The very gall to insist that they indoctrinate us kids and then refuse to discuss the issues with us when we get older… the double standard is just ridiculous.

And then to claim that our difference in worldviews is “OK”? He is teaching my little sister that I am going to hell!

Am I right to be this upset?

– Josh

December 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm 103 comments

Morality: How it Works

As I have watched discussions on forums and in debates about morals I have made what I think is a unique discovery since I have not yet seen it expressed anywhere else. Since I have watched or listened to hundreds of debates and been involved in studying apologetics which has lead me to study just about every moral explanation I could find, I am really curious to see if I have missed something. As such, please enlighten me if I am simply making an explanation of morality that has already been covered by someone else.

I want to start with a few premises and definitions:

Definitions

  • value: perception of an item, idea, or concept directly related to the work it takes to obtain or maintain it and directly related to the comfort the item brings. The more rare something is, the greater its value. If an item is not rare but difficult to maintain, its perceived value goes up. Capitalism is based on this simple principle.
  • benefit: an increase in value.
  • harm: a reduction in value. This is not to be confused with pain because a painful thing can be perceived to be beneficial.
  • suffering: harmful pain.

Now then, I confess it is extremely difficult to continue and explain how morality works because in doing so I am actually applying the principle I am explaining. The principle is extremely simple at its core, but can lead to such complex nuances so quickly that it is hard for me to focus on the simplicity of the principle and not get caught up in tertiary thought processes. As such, at the end of explaining the principle, I plan on demonstrating the principles validity by showing how writing this paper demonstrates the principle in action. I hope that for most people that will be good evidence I have deeply thought this through…

Continue Reading December 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm 79 comments

My Problem with Moderate Christianity

I get extremely frustrated with moderate Christians and I believe I’ve figured out why.

Most moderate Christians will say things like:

“Well, I studied all the evidence too and I’ve come to the conclusion that Christianity is true. People can study the same evidence and come to different conclusions.”

I agree: you studied the same evidence I did and you still believe or came to believe. At first I want to say “that’s fantastic and I won’t judge you for it. It is good that we can study the same evidence and come to different conclusions and I respect you for it and approve of your search and conclusions.”

But I don’t respect them at all, and here is why: the moderate Christian dismisses outright the desire on my part to figure out why we came to a different conclusion and how we can determine which conclusion is accurate. Furthermore, to add injury to insult the moderate Christian’s concluding belief implies that I am to be judged in some manner for coming to a different conclusion.

So, based on this standard, why is it wrong for me – the atheist – to genuinely judge the moderate Christian as intellectually dishonest and holding a double-standard? If they feel justified in believing that I am condemned in any way by their God for coming to different conclusions, I suddenly do not feel so bad about judging them any more. …

Continue Reading December 4, 2009 at 11:55 am 47 comments

Leaving a Faith: What to Expect

This last year and a half I’ve watched my own attitude change as I left the faith and slowly learned to deal with all the emotions. In the process, I’ve watched countless others go through similar experiences and I can’t help but notice this pattern:

A person de-converts…

1) Loss

De-convert feels extremely sad, a sense of loss and remorse, struggling to cope with a worldview without a Personal Deity. Thoughts of meaninglessness and suicide are often overcome by curiosity about the real world that drives the person to learn.

2) Learning

De-convert spends massive amounts of time devouring new information, studying whatever topics that can help them overcome their particular questions or issues related to their time in the faith – now that their mind is free from restrictions on what to study. In the same way a starving man may first devour tons of food as soon as he is allowed access, a de-convert begins to devour information to help his or her starving mind and curiosity. This period is normally filled with tons of forum browsing, blog post writing, commenting, reading, debate watching, skeptic society attending, new friend making, etc. …

Continue Reading November 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm 85 comments

A Letter to Me

Josh,

That’s an excellent quote [quote from Ken Daniels], and a great attempt at defining the world view of the post-modern skeptic. However it is only valid if one of the two following statements is true:

  1. There is no god, or
  2. if God or the gods exist, they are unconcerned with revealing themselves to man and have left mankind alone to sort out things all by themselves.

I don’t believe either is true.

I maintain that an all powerful, infinite Creator does exist. I think that is self evident in the creation itself. For those who deny it, I believe the burden of proof lies in their court to prove that God does not exist.

I also maintain that this Creator God does reveal Himself. He reveals Himself to each person who honestly and humbly and incessantly seeks after Him, and sometimes even to those who don’t.

I base this upon the historical record, also upon personal experience and also upon the testimonies of countless others who, like me, have had unmistakable, life changing encounters with Jesus Christ. No longer is He just the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but now He is the God and Savior of [name withheld].

Continue Reading November 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm 43 comments

A Bible Command that Backfires

Take a look at this verse:

Titus 3:10 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”

Now think about it.

This command says to separate from divisive people. Hmmm.

Consider: by having “nothing to do with him” how are you ever to reconcile things? You cannot reconcile unless you discuss the issue that caused the division in the first place, but if you deem the issue divisive you might not be able to resolve it! So if the person ever comes back and confesses their “divisiveness”, then is he or she just never supposed to bring up the issue that caused the division ever again? In order to follow this command, you have to break it, and nothing ever gets accomplished!

In practice, a situation here at home has devolved into exactly what you predict would happen when people follow this command to the letter. An elder brings up an issue: the issue begins to “divide”. The elder is deemed “divisive”. The issue over which he is dividing is moot at this point, because it is determined that he is sinning – not on the basis of whether the issue he is bringing up is right or not – but on the basis of the fact that it is causing disunity. As such, everyone in the church is told to have nothing to do with him.

So basically this command devolves into a Biblical gagging order. Literally shut up and shut out people whose information could cause a division. And the minority will always be labeled the divisive group.

The real problem with this command is its subjective nature: the judge and the jury become one in the same. After all, on its surface it sounds like good advice: avoid people who are breaking up relationships. That sounds good, right? After all, that type of person should be avoided…

Continue Reading October 23, 2009 at 11:16 pm 8 comments

The Wedding Saga: My Dilemma

Hold onto your pants, boys and girls, the following sick and humorous story is true…

A couple months ago, an elder at my family church was reprimanded and kicked out for having an “improper hermeneutic”. Apparently he was beginning to question the doctrine of Lordship salvation as he saw that it was being used by the church as an element of control. Basically Lordship salvation holds that a person is not actually saved unless they make Jesus their Lord. This means that a church can, at their discretion, determine whether a member is “making Christ their Lord” based upon the members assessed behavior. Ultimately, this elder was concerned the church was becoming extremely legalistic and un-Christlike in their love towards those attending. Basically, they were using doctrine to be assholes.

Now, step back a few months before. This elder was sitting in an elders meeting in which nearly every elder, except for the pastor, admitted they did not know what “hermeneutics” was. My father is the elder who explicitly said this. They immediately all agreed that they needed to study hermeneutics.

So imagine this elder’s surprise when he is told that he is in a form of rebellion against the church and was being kicked out for having an improper hermeneutic. Obviously, the pastor had a strongarm in this decision. To make a long story short, he was basically told to write his resignation letter or else he would be dismissed that Sunday. He was not allowed to defend himself, his position, or get a clear answer as to what he had done wrong. The most obvious conclusion given the circumstances was that he was the most educated elder besides the pastor and the pastor was beginning to be jealous of the amount of influence he had. The kicked out elder was becoming interested in allowing my brother’s fiance to lead a Bible study and the pastor was basically like “we don’t know who this girl is or what she will teach…”

Continue Reading October 14, 2009 at 1:29 am 73 comments

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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