Atheists/Agnostics/Sceptics – Religious questions you want answered

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  • Atheists/Agnostics/Sceptics – Religious questions you want answered
  • Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Is it time (is it possible) to reinvent Christianity so that the stories of the teachings of Jesus can be taken as they were intended, without asking people to literally believe in this below and an actual god that answers our prayers and makes changes in the world.

    I believe in God, the Father almighty,
    creator of heaven and earth.

    I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died, and was buried;
    he descended to the dead.
    On the third day he rose again;
    he ascended into heaven,
    he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
    and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic/christian Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and the life everlasting. Amen.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
    Subscriber

    If you are an atheist, Man created God.

    All the emotions, faults and failings attributed to religion can be seen in non religious aspects of our human nature.
    As can all the positives, obviously.

    Attributing these failings solely to one section of humanity (the religious, for instance) whilst failing to acknowledge their universality is sloppy logic.
    πŸ™‚

    jimjam
    Member

    nedrapier – Member

    Is it time (is it possible) to reinvent Christianity so that the stories of the teachings of Jesus can be taken as they were intended, without asking people to literally believe in this below and an actual god that answers our prayers and makes changes in the world.

    Why bother?

    avdave2
    Member

    I haven’t read every reply but it seems a lot of people doubt god because bad things happen. I don’t really understand this as it is relevant to the existence or not of a god. If a god were to exist then why would that god need to intervene in all things that happen and why would that god need to make what we currently see as good things happen and prevent bad.

    I don’t think what people believe as a result of their belief in god is the most that interesting part of the debate as this changes with time. What doesn’t seem to change though is that a number of people for reasons I personally don’t understand need to believe in a god or gods. It appears widespread across the world and throughout human history.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Oh, I’ve thought of one.

    Genesis.
    Day 1: create light.
    Day 4: create light source.

    How’s that work?

    If a god were to exist then why would that god need to intervene in all things that happen and why would that god need to make what we currently see as good things happen and prevent bad.

    Moreover, if that were the case, why would it be worthy of worship?

    kcr
    Member

    The Bible is a selection from a wider collection of contemporaneous religious writing.
    Why does this selection form the canon of Christianity?
    Why were other writings not included?
    Why has there been no substantial revision or addition to the canon in the past 2000 years?

    kcr
    Member

    The Bible is a selection from a wider collection of contemporaneous religious writing.
    Why does this selection form the canon of Christianity?
    Why were other writings not included?
    Why has there been no substantial revision or addition to the canon in the past 2000 years?

    (Second Coming)

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    jimjam – Member

    Why bother?

    because he said some good things, but all the dogma that’s been wrapped round it and all the shitty stuff that’s been done as a result of it means that it’s impossible for many people to mentally get anywhere near the good stuff.

    Junkyard
    Member

    If a god were to exist then why would that god need to intervene in all things that happen and why would that god need to make what we currently see as good things happen and prevent bad

    if god is all loving then why does god allow suffering ? Why take the life of the child with cancer? then we have something like the holocaust or genocide or the massive Tsunami etc without intervening when you can.I think the point is that if we [ a human individual] could stop these things we would so why does not a god?

    the defence is to say we dont understand the plan or we can only see god “as if looking through a glass darkly” [ bible reference] – ie they have no explanation you just have to trust god has a plan and its a great one.

    St Thomas Aquinas is noted as dealing with this – if god is a loving and all powerful then why is their pain and suffering?

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    convert – Member
    The point he was making was that every culture’s ‘variant’ of Jesus comes from Bethlehem and hung out in that part of the world but is an aesthetic mirror of the people who are being told the story.

    We know that Jesus existed, and roughly whereabouts he came from.
    But we also know that people pick and choose from other cultures.

    If a white Jesus puts bums on pews and eases worries as to why this foreigner is better than our own local Gods then why wouldn’t they?
    πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon jam bo
    Subscriber

    Oh, I’ve thought of one.

    Genesis.
    Day 1: create light.
    Day 4: create light source.

    How’s that work?

    inventing a tap isn’t much use if you haven’t invented water yet…

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Genesis.
    Day 1: create light.
    Day 4: create light source.

    How’s that work?

    Moreover; if a religious person believes in evolution they must also acknowledge that that element of the bible is at best misinformed or at worst a pack of lies. How do you continue to utilise and take guidance from a ‘book’ that you appreciate is wrong in parts without doubting the remainder.

    Junkyard
    Member

    We know that Jesus existed

    I missed that proof – what is it ?

    How do you continue to utilise and take guidance from a ‘book’ that you appreciate is wrong in parts without doubting the remainder.

    they say its allegorical and yet still the true word of god

    I also find this strange as to me it is either a metaphor or its true
    if its both you just end up discussing which bits are ” real” and which bits are not “real”

    jimjam
    Member

    nedrapier – Member

    jimjam – Member

    Why bother?

    because he said some good things, but all the dogma that’s been wrapped round it and all the shitty stuff that’s been done as a result of it means that it’s impossible for many people to mentally get anywhere near the good stuff. [/quote]

    We don’t need to repackage, redesign or rethink Christianity (or other faiths). We can look at it objectively as people in the past struggling to make sense of the world, establish rules for navigating through it and telling stories which embody archetypal lessons for important themes.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    because he said some good things, but all the dogma that’s been wrapped round it and all the shitty stuff that’s been done as a result of it means that it’s impossible for many people to mentally get anywhere near the good stuff.

    Hmm.. to understand the good stuff, I dunno, maybe we could ask, like, a priest or something.. you know, someone who’s studied it…

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Why does Chinese Jesus look Chinese, West European Jesus look Arian etc.

    Why d’you think? Cos the artists wanted to draw someone who looked like them. Obvious no? Probably weren’t interested in ethnological accuracy.

    Junkyard
    Member

    . to understand the good stuff, I dunno, maybe we could ask, like, a priest or something.. you know, someone who’s studied it.

    definitely not you then Molly πŸ˜‰

    RichPenny
    Member

    I was married to a Catholic for 6 years and am agnostic, so have some experience of this. Off the top of my head:

    How can you reconcile Catholic morals with your own life (so gay friends, etc)

    How does praying help you?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Ok – I’ve got one for you SaxonRider.

    What does the Church think about the God gene hypothesis? Is it dismissed out of hand or is it even discussed?

    definitely not you then Molly

    No, definitely not me, I don’t have any answers and don’t offer any. All I do is suggest that we aim to understand others points of view and reconcile, rather than obliterate them.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    Junkyard – lazarus
    We know that Jesus existed
    I missed that proof – what is it ?

    Seems pretty nailed on, tbh.

    Not just the contemporary accounts by people with nothing to gain or lose, but the fact that several pretty similar records of details of his life seem to have emerged within a generation or so of his death.

    Fascinating stuff, but basically most historians are in agreement he existed.

    jimjam
    Member

    Is this thread a metaphor for Christianity? We all sit around asking difficult questions and never get any answers.

    Rusty Spanner – Member

    Fascinating stuff, but basically most historians are in agreement he existed.

    There’s some suggestion that someone like him existed around the time he was supposed to have lived, roughly. That is to say someone in Roman occupied Israel roughly 2000 years ago was a bit of a troublemaker, had something of a following, was critical of the establishment and probably got crucified.

    I read somewhere that it was likely John the Baptist, and that his actions were conflated into the Jesus myth. As I have posted before, Jesus was most likely a bit of a Judean Gerry Adams.

    Premier Icon convert
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    Why d’you think? Cos the artists wanted to draw someone who looked like them. Obvious no? Probably weren’t interested in ethnological accuracy.

    Yes, pretty obvious. But that’s part of my basic distrust of the whole thing. Another snippet of untruth to package the story together for the great unwashed.

    It would be interesting to know how litterally the whole lot was taken over time. If you take all of it as a metaphor (the story of Jesus was just intended as a mataphor for how to lead your life; heaven and hell are just metaphors for the way you will be remembered by the living etc) its all a bit easier to swallow.

    Premier Icon nedrapier
    Subscriber

    Is this thread a metaphor for Christianity? We all sit around asking difficult questions and never get any answers.

    arf! πŸ˜€

    tjagain
    Member

    convert

    Moreover; if a religious person believes in evolution they must also acknowledge that that element of the bible is at best misinformed or at worst a pack of lies. How do you continue to utilise and take guidance from a ‘book’ that you appreciate is wrong in parts without doubting the remainder.

    I can have a shot at this one. The creation story is a parable / made simple for folk with little understanding of science. the 8 days (??) is not to be taken literally but to be the 8 stages of the creation of the earth and of evolution. so first the Sun came into being after the big bang, then the planet cooled, then primitive life forms emerged etc etc. I don’t buy it but thats the explanation given as far as I understand

    Nico
    Member

    Can I get a special dispensation to eat stuff that lives in water but does not have fins and scales? I’m thinking about scallops particularly. I promise not to have any tatoos or round off the edges of my beard.

    http://www.11points.com/Books/11_Things_The_Bible_Bans,_But_You_Do_Anyway

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    Fascinating stuff, but basically most historians are in agreement he existed.

    Yes, aparently so.

    But him actually being the son of god and the walking on water elements are slightly more dodge.

    johndoh
    Member

    We know that Jesus existed

    I missed that proof – what is it ?

    I fully believe the person existed. The whole story around his background I don’t believe.

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    Or, in other words – why are some of us religious and some not, when at some point in the past our ancestors were all similarly exposed. Why scepticism for some and not others?

    Yes, pretty obvious. But that’s part of my basic distrust of the whole think.

    Not for me. Perfectly possible for artists to paint whatever the hell they like as pure fantasy. How the church as an organisation worked in the past and how people responded to the ideas is purely a human issue, not much to do with the basis of religion.

    I hope SaxonRider’s writing a book: Religion for Atheists.

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
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    jimjam – MemberΒ 
    Is this thread a metaphor for Christianity? We all sit around asking difficult questions and never get any answers.

    It’s not the thread that’s the metaphor, its STW as a whole. Chipps and Mark as JC & John the Baptist, bringing a new mag when others already existed. The forum upgrade is the Heaven we aspire to.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Not just the contemporary accounts by people with nothing to gain or lose,

    who are you referring to here?

    but the fact that several pretty similar records of details of his life seem to have emerged within a generation or so of his death.

    the gospel? Only on was within a generation the others were a about 150 years later- there were others as we but not chosen for the Bible

    No offence but its ike being tld the EU is undemocratic folk start to believe it but canno texpain anythign abut hiw it is elected or formed

    There are no details there at all – no offence

    Did Jesus Exist?

    Yes, aparently so.

    See everyone agrees this but none of you have given any proof you have just repeated it the fact without bothering to flesh it out
    Its a myth that they all basically agree

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    molgrips – Member
    Hmm.. to understand the good stuff, I dunno, maybe we could ask, like, a priest or something.. you know, someone who’s studied it…

    If God does not exist, why would a believer have anymore expertise or a better perspective than a non believing expert in the field?

    tjagain
    Member

    I thought the historians consensus nowadays was that the biblical figure of Jesus is really an amalgamation of 3 or 4 jewish prophets? and actually based mainly in what is now Lebanon not Israel

    Premier Icon convert
    Subscriber

    I can have a shot at this one. The creation story is a parable / made simple for folk with little understanding of science. the 8 days (??) is not to be taken literally but to be the 8 stages of the creation of the earth and of evolution. so first the Sun came into being after the big bang, then the planet cooled, then primitive life forms emerged etc etc. I don’t buy it but thats the explanation given as far as I understand

    Serpents, apples, ribs and dust?

    Perhaps they publish an appendix and hand it out at Sunday school indicating which bits are intended to be taken literally and which are just there for the dribblers in the corner who need the Janet and John version of how the world works.

    TiRed
    Member

    Lots of “big questions” above, mostly unanswerable, but the fundamental question for me is simply:

    What influence does your faith in God have on your actions?

    I lost interest in all the other stuff as a largely unanswerable belief structure, but if you have faith and it has no bearing on your actions, then what is the point of your faith?

    James (letter) sums it up perfectly:

    “But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

    And this was the big debate in the early church. James lost btw.

    Premier Icon onewheelgood
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    Why? Just why do you think you need religion?

    And how come your are so tough on gays but so much more relaxed about the mixed fibres and the shellfish?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    If God does not exist, why would a believer have anymore expertise or a better perspective than a non believing expert in the field?

    God may not exist, but religion definitely does. Jesus may or may not have existed but a bunch of teachings attributed to him definitely do.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    Junky, this is quite an interesting read…. Guardian.

    There are no details there at all – no offence

    Non taken by me mate.
    πŸ™‚

    As I say, complete atheist.
    I find the fact I reckon that in all probability Jesus existed just makes the whole thing much more interesting.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    I don’t buy it but thats the explanation given as far as I understand

    As I understand it, it’s taken by most people as a parable, with no basis in fact.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    How does praying help you?

    I think I can field this one.

    Irrespective of whether god exists or not the act of prayer is a way of focusing your thoughts, of ‘pulling your socks up.’ You pray, you feel better. In essence it’s the placebo effect.

    Seems pretty nailed on, tbh.

    Unfortunate choice of words when talking about Jesus.

    the 8 days (??) is not to be taken literally

    isn’t this modern revisionism? These days a lot of Xtians believe that the stories are allegorical, but as far as I’m aware this wasn’t always the case. It was intended to be the literal word of god, an explanation for how the world actually came to be.

    That’s probably another question for the OP actually.

    5thElefant
    Member

    As the god of the gaps rational gets squeezed out I wonder if religion will embrace the singularity. Or rather, that it’s already happened. That would actually allow their beliefs to align with science (ish) rather than be at odds with it.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I thought the historians consensus nowadays was that the biblical figure of Jesus is really an amalgamation of 3 or 4 jewish prophets?

    Not that I’m any expert, but I’ve suspected this for years. There may or may not have been an actual Jesus, but once entered into folklore this is how stories work. Tales get embellished in the telling, the feeding of the 5,000 probably started out when they had a day out and someone thought to bring a packed lunch. Someone somewhere does something cool and by the third retelling it’s attributed to that nice Jesus fella.

    Premier Icon Rusty Spanner
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    molgrips – Member
    If God does not exist, why would a believer have anymore expertise or a better perspective than a non believing expert in the field?
    God may not exist, but religion definitely does. Jesus may or may not have existed but a bunch of teachings attributed to him definitely do.

    I know Christianity exists.
    My question is why would a non believing expert have a view less valid that that of a believer?

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    My question is why would a non believing expert have a view less valid that that of a believer?

    I dunno. I think they probably would.

    I said priest because they are generally ones who have studied these things, but also I was being a bit cheeky.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Don’t have any religious questions.

    Got a few statements though, obvs…

    Premier Icon molgrips
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    That would actually allow their beliefs to align with science (ish) rather than be at odds with it.

    Many people, maybe most in the West, already have done that. Including the Pope it seems.

    Atheists seem to have this singular idea of what ‘religion’ is as if all religious people are of one mind. That’s really not the case.

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