6/17/2015 | Share this article: View CommentsBy American Apostate ~
In an online community such as Ex-C, an article like this one is necessary, in my opinion. I believe the webmaster published Mr. JRSD's article to invite good, constructive discussion about our beliefs or lack thereof. I felt it was an invitation for us to write up our rebuttals, as I am sure that when many of us came out to our friends and families, we received lectures just like Mr. JRSD's "You Make the Choice." Let's begin.
First off, Mr. JRSD, I don't know where you go to church either, nor do I care to, but just because you have never heard a preacher stand in the pulpit and tell his congregation not to question his teaching, doesn't mean that it's not an unspoken rule. In my experience, I have had many preachers tell us to read the scriptures for ourselves. Question everything. Seek a deeper understanding of scripture. That is just what I did. That's what many of us ex- Christians had done before our deconversion. In my experience, I noticed many of the preachers I have come across had a tendency to speak out both sides of their mouths. On one side, they'd tell me to question everything and read for myself. When I actually do ask questions and seek out the answers, I am told that there is something wrong with me spiritually when my searching the bible leaves me with more questions than answers. I noticed flaws in Christian doctrine when compared to the actual written doctrine of the bible. I found errors and contradictions in the text of the "inerrant", "non-contradictory" Holy Bible. In short, while it may not be your experience, it has been the experience of millions of us exchristians that our difficult questions either went unanswered, or were discouraged to ask by our respective churches and Christian communities.
Now, since we are a community of Ex-Christians, don't insult us by trying to tell us what some tenets of Christianity is. We know. WE ARE a community of former believers and we KNOW this stuff. Before we left the faith, most of us actually did yearn for a deeper understanding of God's will as revealed through the holy scripture. I, for one, used to believe this with all my heart. I used to believe that the bible was the inspired, inerrant word of God and every answer to every question I ever had in life would be found in this text. Imagine my surprise that after 20 years of study and a thorough, cover to cover read through 32 times and a 4 year degree in Theology left me with more doubts and questions than I could ever imagine. So please spare me your lecture on just reading the book for myself, okay? I might be so bold as to infer that I might know your holy book a little better than you.
Now, about these miracles of yours. Anecdotal evidence is not real evidence. All of these accounts of these miracles you speak of overseas and all that...these claims have either been proven to be untrue, or have been unconfirmed by actual physicians. Real evidence is that which can be tested in controlled settings, re-tested by your peers, and confirmed using your same methods time and time again. THAT is evidence. If I just tell you that someone thought they were speaking jibberish but i actually heard it in my own language, I should be able to prove it, not just expect you to blindly believe it. But the thing is, you WANT to blindly believe it. I don't blame you. I used to be you. I used to want to believe in these miracles I kept hearing about even though I had never witnessed one for myself. EVER. Everyone who had ever told me about these miracles that they had seen first hand had some type of book to sell me or made some sort of living off of these stories they had to tell. Many faith healers here in the states have indeed been THOROUGHLY debunked, including Benny Hinn. The fact of the matter is, there is just no conclusive evidence for miracles, so there is no good reason to believe them. Wanting to believe they are true and "feeling in your heart" that they are true is NOT a good enough reason to believe it.
Now, I must address a couple of your arguments and answer a couple of your questions. You said:
We can either believe by faith from having witnessed these wonders or we can choose to remain in ignorance. His purpose is prompt us to make a choice even while He already knows which way we will choose. He did not rebel against us we rebelled against Him so it is up to us to make the effort to accept the gift of reconciliation that He provided through Jesus Christ. If you cannot be convinced of God's existence by wonder of creation then what good would a visit be?
If we witnessed "wonders" or these supernatural manifestations of God's power, it would not be "faith" but evidence that made us believe. To use my logic and reason, and live in reality is not ignorance, but common sense. If I can logically explain these supposed supernatural manifestations, it is not supernatural, but natural, therefore, why make the assumption that it was God? Why not just believe what my senses are telling me about reality? Why make that leap? There is no need. I am not ignorant, but rational. Regardless of what the church tells you, it is OKAY to be RATIONAL.
"His purpose is to prompt us to make a choice even while he already knows what we will choose."
....Excuse my bluntness, but what is the bloody point then? WHY test us if he already knows what our grade will be? If he's not going to do anything to help us whatsoever, there is no reason to give us a test in the first place. Furthermore, if he already knows what we are going to do, and he helps us change the outcome, then he's not really all knowing to begin with. It's one of those paradoxes that Christians never even stop to think about. If God is omniscient, that means that the future is set, because he already knows what is going to happen, thus he has no free will. BUT, if the future is not set, and the outcome can be changed in any way, then God is NOT omniscient. IT CAN NOT BE BOTH.
About the whole rebellion, thing, that's a load of garbage. This logic makes your god a tyrant, and doesn't give a flip about our free will, probably because he doesn't have free will himself, since he's omniscient. On this forum, there's a post called "Free Will...Jesus Style" and it is a very good analogy about the concept of free will according to your religion.
If I can't be convinced about God's existence by the wonder of creation, what good would a visit be? Quite frankly, no good. There was a time I was absolutely convinced of God's existence. I thought that when I "felt" God's presence, that meant that he was really there. Even if he actually did make a physical appearance to me, it doesn't mean that this personal experience is conclusive evidence of the existence of a god. Many religious people all over the world have these same type of experiences. People from all types of different religions claim to have their deity appear to them. I don't doubt that these people had a real experience, but this is not evidence for everyone else. Just because I tell you that I had an encounter with God, doesn't mean that you have a good reason to believe me. REAL evidence, as I stated before, can be tested and repeated in a controlled setting. Since God can not be tested, and faith is required, this defies the point of the matter. God must not merely "show up" but he must provide EVIDENCE for his existence in order for me to believe your claims in the existence of a god. It proves nothing otherwise, No creator. NOTHING.
How much more difficult would it be to accept a heavenly manifestation of God than to accept that a bumble bee is a violation of the laws of physics or that a humming bird must have some form of internal dampening system that allows them to go from a dead stop to high speed flight instantaneously in a move that would provide enough G force on a human to crush all of your organs! These are manifestations of some obscure theory of evolution but rather are a testimony to the magnificence of creation.
God must not merely "show up" but he must provide EVIDENCE for his existence in order for me to believe your claims in the existence of a god.This argument of yours, "I don't understand science, therefore, GOD" is a very weak one. It's a "god of the gaps" argument and it has been defeated time and time again. Your examples of the bumble bee and hummingbird are poor ones as well, as it illustrates your ignorance of physics, aeronautics, and nature as a whole. There is no obscure theory of evolution here, there is no mystery, and no violation of physics when looking at how bumble bees and hummingbirds are able to fly. Aerospace engineers were able to figure out why the bumble bee is able to fly, although it was a mystery for many decades. The rumor was that because of the large body of the bee and the small wings, and the way the wings beat, the fact that they could get those fat little bodies off the ground was a mystery. It appeared to defy physics. In reality, the experts found out, was that the bumble bee's wings were creating little cyclonic air drafts, creating lift. It's basically the same principles of aeronautics that give a helicopter lift. With the hummingbird, it is the same principles. Engineers have actually designed drones using things that they've observed by looking at bumble bees and hummingbirds. My point is, just because something is a mystery to us, doesn't mean that there is a creator. By exploring other options, we can further our knowledge and our technology. As we solve the mysteries, there is less and less of a "need" for a god to explain things.
Finally as to 900 year old men and modern disease you fail to take into account that it was never God's intent that we should die
How do you even know what God's intent was? According to your holy text, God placed two innocent people in a garden with a tree that they were told not to eat from, because they would then gain the knowledge of "good" and "evil". This implies that they had no prior knowledge of "good" and "evil" yet, because it wasn't until after they did that the scripture says that they knew the concept of "good" and "evil". So, if they had no prior knowledge of "good" and "evil", "right" or "wrong", how were they supposed to know it was "wrong" to disobey god and eat from the tree? And yet, God punished them anyway, and as a result, we humans are now fallen, imperfect, and damned. In addition, since God is omniscient, he knew that they were going to do it anyway, right? so OBVIOUSLY, God must have intended for mankind to become a fallen race, and die.
Also, you have no idea about the early patriarchs' genetic code or any of that stuff you mentioned. You are just talking out your ass. The Human Genome Project traced all of our ancestries all the way back, and determined that mankind started out in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, not the middle east 7,000 years ago. The bible was wrong, and science was right. AGAIN.
I find your closing statement ironic:
Rather than listen to those who told you to trust them I would suggest that you bury yourself in scripture and trust that if you truly want to know the truth God will send His teacher to you and open your eyes.
I stopped listening to people who tell me to trust them. They wear crosses on their necks and they tell me to bury myself in scripture in order to seek the truth. Instead, I read books. REAL ones, not ancient books written by barbaric Jewish goat herders from bronze age Palestine, translated and re translated over thousands of years, and used time and time again to manipulate and control vulnerable and gullible people.
Now that you've tried and failed to tear apart WizendSage's "Turning Away From God," welcome to our little community. We have a few Christians here, but not many. If you do intend to stick around, just remember to never check your brains at the door. That shit will get you eaten alive. Have a nice day!