Has anyone been on the Alpha Course?

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  • Has anyone been on the Alpha Course?
  • steelfan
    Member

    Alpha Course
    Just interested in what people think.

    iDave
    Member

    my ex wife is taking (making) her new BF on it. interesting to see what his response will be. i suspect he's not a willing subject

    Flaperon
    Member

    How embarrassing for the civilised world that 65% of the does-god-exist vote is split between "yes" and "probably". Though not exactly the most reliable of websites.

    Suggest that if you feel religious or have questions, you make it a personal thing and leave organised religion well alone.

    Premier Icon sv
    Subscriber

    I have and didn't enjoy it but it is very dependant on the organisation running it.

    'Christianity Explored' is very good and better than the Alpha course IMO.

    My aunt wanted me to go on this after describing my 2004 trip to India to learn yoga as a disaster. I have been doing my own thing rather than going on something institutionalised like this.

    Junkyard
    Member

    i tend to not attend brain washing ceremonies voluntarily.
    If others want to go along for a laugh and ask Dawkins syle questions then I am in

    Premier Icon GrahamS
    Subscriber

    "God… Is… Great… Jesus… is… quite… nice… also."

    Premier Icon Tiboy
    Subscriber

    I've been on both sides of the fence, did it when I was a teenager and asked all the awkward questions, now help run the occasionally at my church. All I can say is that in my experience they are a great place to ask questions, I've never felt there was any pressure to sign up to a church or religion. Most people I know who've done it enjoy it, and lots of people do it more than once as they still have questions. It doesn't try to push people into a religion, or even a particular brand of religion, so I wouldn't say it was part of an institution at all.
    Expecting some abuse now… 😀

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Vacuous gibberish sold by delusional, brainwashed propagandists.

    Apparently, you'll "go to hell" (whatever that is) if you don't believe in "Jesus" (a mythical figure for whose existence there is no evidence, just like his supposed Daddy). This is the claim by this bunch of hopeless nincompoops that sparked off the "There's Probably No God…" bus campaign.

    I emailed Alpha once with the question:

    "In the New Testament, a detailed conversation is described between the alleged Nazarene and a "God" person. Given that, as the story describes it, all the others present were some way off and asleep, who was there to report it? Could it be, in fact, just a story?"

    I didn't get an answer…

    Onzadog
    Member

    I prefer the prechings of this chap

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    PS: Other useful questions…

    "Given that the description of the figure of Mary as a "virgin" is the result of a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "Young Woman", how much else of the text is as unreliable?"

    "How did the "Devil" show "Jesus" all the kingdoms of the earth from a "High place" on a spherical planet?"

    "What is the process whereby a ghost can impregnate a virgin and give birth to itself?"

    "Why is there no mention of any of the New Testament stories in any text of the time from any part of the Roman Empire or Jewish Nation, but only in writings from at least 70 years after the supposed events took place?"

    "Why do the four books of the New Testament contradict each other about the same events?"

    And so on…

    ahwiles
    Member

    i know i'm supposed to respect religous beliefs, but i don't.

    Adults with imaginary friends are stupid.

    sslowpace
    Member

    na na na na na na na na Leader!

    DaveGr
    Member

    you'll "go to hell" (whatever that is) if you don't believe in "Jesus"

    Well if you don't believe in Jesus then you won't believe in hell as they are all part of the same belief system – you can't have one without the other. Now you might believe in the God/Devil thing but not have a relationship with God. Then you will burn in hell !!!

    Can you guess I've been on it? An ex g/f was a Church leader and very religious so I had to go on this c**p to try and find God and we could then get married, produce little Christians and live happily ever after.

    Now, there might have been a person called Jesus who caused all sorts of grief for the Romans but there is no evidence that he was the son of God or that there even is a God. You have to "believe" and then when you believe it all falls into place. A bit like believing that Brant is the messiah and all that he produces is holy 😉

    Agree with above that there are far too many inconsistencies with what's been written in the bible and it also cherry picks what's in there. if you say "but this is inconsistent" then they reply along the lines of it's not to be read literally but interpreted. Oh, and yes it's been translated so many times then as the film says "Lost in Translation"

    But to be fair to the course, even though it is there to convert you to Christianity if it's well run then you can ask lots of questions about the World we live in. Might make you think hard about how we live together as a society and you never know you might change your out look on life.

    I'm an atheist,and couldn't have a long term relationship with anyone with strong religious beliefs,mind you,most religions wouldn't like me associating with their members.I got married in an RC church,under pressure from my inlaws,and the priest took great pleasure in telling me that in his eyes I was an impediment to my own marriage,and that we would have to send any sprogs to catholic school.He was a jesuit,so I took great pleasure in reminding him of St.Ignatius's words "give me the child until he is 7 and I will give you the man".
    Ian

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    "But to be fair to the course, even though it is there to convert you to Christianity if it's well run then you can ask lots of questions about the World we live in. Might make you think"

    I don't need to attend a lot of MLEH (sorry, "interpretation") about a bunch of self-contradictory WIFFLE to think about the world. Indeed, that would best be done without any religious double-think getting in the way.

    A well known nun media figure, who made a series of programmes for the BBC a few years back where she pretended to be an art critic, called Sister Wendy, was quoted recently as saying that "Atheists cannot argue the non-existence of god because they don't have any theology, poor lambs". A statement I found remarkable for being patronising and stupid both at the same time.

    Yes. I don't have any theology. I also don't have any Leprechaunology, but I'm satisfied there's no such thing as Leprechauns…

    Get off your knees.

    mudshark
    Member

    I just think it's a shame that more religious people don't listen to Mr Woppit as then they'd be sure to see the error of their ways – or are they just too stupid to understand?

    I'm afraid my attitude to the major religions is the same as that of an epidemiologist to smallpox,worth studying,but don't want to catch it.
    Ian

    DaveGr
    Member

    Mr Woppit – don't get me wrong. My thoughts on religion (not just Christianity) are more entrenched than ever after having been through all this. But, the course does let you meet other people who are looking at things differently and present different viewpoints which you might not get from your usual circle of friends. I'd never forgive myself if my words meant that someone went along and actually took up a religion !!!!!

    The best thing to me that summed up religion was going to Madagascar. We visited lots of places where the sick or homeless were taken in, treated and looked after. Most of these were run by Christians, some of whom had been out there decades, and they had devoted their lives to looking after these people. Contrast that to what religion means here or in other parts of the World.

    Any anyway, everyone know the true way is to "use the force" 😆

    Premier Icon CliveA
    Subscriber

    ahwiles – You *don't* have to respect religious beliefs. It's best to respect *people*, religious or not, but their beliefs, like any opinions, are fair game for criticism.

    LD
    Member

    Why not try going without any preconceived ideas positive or negative? Then you can make your own mind up like a man!

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    Ah yes. Religious people do good works.

    Christopher Hitchins, in his many lecture tours (bravely) in the U.S, has asked this question many times:

    "Name me one act of moral selflessness or unselfish kindness done by a religious person that cannot be done by an atheist."

    To date, he has had no response. There are hundreds of charities worked in by dedicated people who have nothing but the good of their fellow human beings in mind, which have nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

    The assumption that you need religion to be good is an insult to human nature.

    The reason why religious people are resistant to the simple truth of the reasoned view is to do with brainwashing.

    The jesuit saying mentioned above regarding the "child of 7" is not an empty phrase. The first seven years of life form the basic mindset that you use for the rest of your life. A child's brain is a sponge, soaking up everything around it and accepting without question whatever it is told by adults – a disposition genetically programmed by millennia of evolution to ensure the survival of the tribe – "Avoid the forest, there's a tiger", or "Don't go near the fire, it's dangerous" etc etc.

    Religion maintains itself by the indoctrination of children into dogma – a form of child abuse. By the time the child gets to an age where it should be able to reason independently, it can't. The indoctrination is too strong and warps every intellectual process that it attempts – hence the predisposition of the religous to argue in favour of the imaginary as if it was real.

    I urge anybody even vaguely curious about the argument for rationality to have a look at the following oasis of clarity:

    http://richarddawkins.net/

    and with that I shall suspend my rant, no doubt much to the relief of all!

    Faith is complete shite.

    He said eloquently.

    Ah Mr Woppit

    Just like there are many religions to choose from, there are also many versions of evolution to chose from, Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, and as one of the greatest evolutionary scientists, Stephen Jay Gould, points out about Dawkins,

    "he argues that genes are the only true causal agents and organisms merely their temporary receptacles. I strongly disagree with Dawkins, since I feel that he has confused bookkeeping with causality".

    So what version of evolution is one to run with?

    Instead of just a smiley face, this is just me mucking about ok for the sake of clarity ……

    mudshark
    Member

    I wonder how may who've read Dawkins's God book have also bothered to read responses? Well I have but I like to look at things from various angles – just listening to Dawkins is as bad as just listening to a rather too enthusiastic religious evangelist. Actually, I've also been to an Alpha course years ago as was curious as to how it worked and found it all very interesting. Saw many of all ages who seemed rather anti-religion at the beginning – well going by the questions they asked anyway – really taken with it all by the end. Some got quite emotional and I didn't fit in with that side of it and indeed didn't find my attitude much changed overall.

    As for 'good works', well I've seen uncommonly bad people become uncommonly charitable as the result of conversion – maybe that doesn't mean anything but certainly convincing of their change if nothing else.

    steelfan
    Member

    Have I opened a can of worms? The reason I asked the original question is that I'm going through a bit of a difficult time at the moment and I wanted to see if the Alpha course had made any real difference to peoples lives. Not necessarily becoming a devout Christian but has it made them view their lives in a different light. To be honest I dont know what believe in at the moment. I'm willing to explore all avenues during this difficult time.

    The best thing to do with religion is ridicule it, it's obvious nonsense.

    It's not bad to say "I don't know" when asked about the nature of the universe or origins of life, making up an imaginary being to account for it all is just childish.

    If you having a tough time I'd suggest talking to someone like your doctor in the first instance don't turn to imaginary friends.

    Mr Woppit
    Member

    ". To be honest I dont know what believe in at the moment. I'm willing to explore all avenues during this difficult time. "

    Then, to be honest, you're probably better off getting counselling, rather than getting involved in a religious cult or expecting help from the likes of an opinionated, ranting old git like me on a forum like this…

    I'd start with your GP. See if he can reccommend a suitable therapist. Remember, there is no problem that cannot be solved by rational enquiry, although that's just my opinion like, but it's always worked for me…

    In the meantime, it's a fabulous weekend for weather. Get out and ride!

    Good luck.

    chrisd
    Member

    You won't find out if it can help you if you don't go.

    clubber
    Member

    As far as I can work out, the Alpha course just preys on people with some insecurity or unsettled feelings, no matter how well hidden they are, and provides an element of comfort in believing that there's something out there. Brainwashing in a cuddly jacket I reckon.

    But then I've never understood the point of organised religion if it's not there to control people. Personal religion seems entirely reasonable as a concept despite my complete inability to believe.

    And I'd always ask the question of the church who use hell as the threat to make people do what they want, who's the person more deserving of going to heaven – the christian who leads a christian life in order to get to heaven or the atheist who behaves in a "Christian" manner because they think it's the right thing to do?

    clubber
    Member

    To steelfan, it strikes me that you'd be exactly what they're looking for. Of course it's an interesting theoretical question whether if you found it comforting even of it's a load of ******** that that's better or worse than not being brainwashed but still being miserable. That said there are plenty of alternatives to joining a cult that may help too as mentioned above.

    jonb
    Member

    Deleted long post.

    No I won't be going, do I look stupid?

    chrisd
    Member

    If the bible is true:
    Everyone is going to hell, unless you believe in Jesus, are forgiven, etc. So, assuming it's true, we don't really have a choice.

    So is it?

    rj
    Member

    PS: Other useful questions…

    "Given that the description of the figure of Mary as a "virgin" is the result of a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "Young Woman", how much else of the text is as unreliable?"
    Doesn't prove that she wasn't a virgin, or that any of the rest of the text is false

    "How did the "Devil" show "Jesus" all the kingdoms of the earth from a "High place" on a spherical planet?"
    You assume that an omniscient being sees the world the same way that you do. It's entirely possible that 'a high place' refers to a state of higher understanding rather than geography.

    "What is the process whereby a ghost can impregnate a virgin and give birth to itself?"
    It flows up her chuff, waits 9 months then pops back out again

    "Why is there no mention of any of the New Testament stories in any text of the time from any part of the Roman Empire or Jewish Nation, but only in writings from at least 70 years after the supposed events took place?"
    It suited the prevailing powers at the time to suppress the evidence. That would never happen now, would it?

    "Why do the four books of the New Testament contradict each other about the same events?"
    Ask four different people about the same thing and you'll get 4 different stories. It would be much more suspicious if they all agreed perfectly.

    And so on…

    Incidentally, I'm an atheist. I'm just a stickler for a well constructed argument.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    steelfan – I have nothing to add from a religious perspective. However I can empathise with 'difficult times' as over the last 18 months I have ticked most of the boxes in 'life's most stressful events'.

    Firstly you need to have some self-belief that you can get through whatever your difficulty is, that will be followed by an even stronger self-belief that you will come through the other side. You can become a different person.

    Accept that mistakes will be made along the way, admit to them, apologise to people.

    Riding my bike has kept me sane but it's OK to have the odd bad moment. The one thing that has surprised me is how kind folk can be and I'm pretty much an old cynic.

    I do hope you work things out and wish you well.

    BillyBull
    Member

    As someone who was involved in evangelism when younger I can say I don't believe in it any more. It's a crutch. They would not do the alpha if they didn't think it would bring people to their god. Even Jonathan Edwards doesn't believe now does he? And to think sbout the fuss he made about Sundays!

    Aristotle
    Member

    I was brought up in a family of regular church-goers, have relatives in the clergy and attended church until the age of 16. Despite this up-bringing I have a questioning mind and do not believe in the teachings of any of the world's organised religions.

    Of course, it's impossible to say that there isn't a god, but there's certainly no evidence that there is and, for that matter, why should there be?

    Unless it's just a means by which to control people, I struggle to understand how 'blind faith' can be considered such a virtue.

    Just because something is not immediately understood shouldn't instantly lead to a belief in it being brought about by an omnipotent, omnipresent 'higher being'.

    Those who compare atheists with evangelical preachers miss the point entirely. Given evidence, the atheists would be prepared to the existence of a god. Evangelical preachers believe in the existence of a god (and all of the associated man-made dogma and tradition) despite any evidence.

    I saw a poster the other day.
    Does God Exist?
    Yes
    No
    Probably

    Now is it just me or is the choice of answers offered to that question slightly loaded?

    teagirl
    Member

    I feel sure steelfan is a genuine guy in need of good friends to help him through his period of emotional difficulty but, I know I'm being cynical, I hope this is not an ad for the Alpha? The ST reader profile fits Alpha target audience.

    Religion and politics…….

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