Thursday, January 19, 2006

Response to "Hellfire," and my Answer



From: HeavyHeart
Date: Jan 19, 2006 2:28 AM

Aha. You said that almost exactly as I would have. Although I'm a bit wary of your real reasoning on the subject of christianity but I agree in general with the problem you are presenting. The only reason I'm wary of your reasoning is simply that from what I've read you seem more on the side of simply hating christianity which is usually for other reasons, rather than making real premises and conclusions. But whatever, don't take that personally lol. I'm really interested in what you think on other subjects now though! Mind if I ask you some other basic philosophical questions? I've been "searching" for a long time now for many conclusions on philosophical and religious concepts. Anyway, let me know. :)
-Ben


You need not be wary! What I "seem" to be is not. I do not simply hate christianity for these "other" reasons you speak of. I have been writing and making shows for years now, and have given, many times, reasons to hate christianity. It's not a simple matter of hating christianity. The problem is that christianity is immoral. It is directly opposed to my values. Is that reason enough? Christianity is based on a false concept: Original Sin. It claims that all humans are born evil, (starting with two humans that could not have possibly existed).and that the only way to attain God's "grace" is to accept that an innocent man, executed, can magically absorb that evil. Otherwise, we are going to hell.

The concept of hell, introduced the way we are familiar with it, was introduced by the character Jesus. It is assumed that eternal torture (or this twilight zone torture) is actuall just. For finite "crimes," like being in the wrong religion.

These are just two reasons to "hate" christianity. The religion itself is contradictory, inconsistent, and teaches as truth terrible horrors and plain-as-day falsehoods. It is considered moral--no, essential, that we bring children up with these false and immoral beliefs.

I attack christianity, not because of what you seem to think are "the usual reasons." I don't know what those are--is it childhood trauma? I believe that to be a myth perpetuated by Christians who know darn well that there is plenty of trauma in many christian childhoods, yet most remain christian anyway. Sure, there exist atheists who are not really atheists-but "mad-at-God-ists." I had a happy christian childhood, thanks to parents who were sane and kind. I was not abused by a christian, but abused by the religion. My parents constantly reinforced my "shield" against immoral christian concepts by giving me a moral compass of curiosity, independance, and reason. Too bad most kids don't have the privilege.

Sorry for the long response. I just had the time today.

6 comments:

Dave said...

Allee,

Hope you don't mind a few comments and thoughts from a professing Christian. I'm sure you have recieved more than your share of rebuttles in the past. I don't plan to change your mind, but do hope to give some opinions from the other side for those who stumbble across your site...like me.

You say that Christianity is "immoral" and "directly opposed" to your values. OK. You certainly have the right to believe as you want. But to use the word immoral for beliefs such as "love your neighbor as your self" would be unjust/untruthful. For those who aren't professing Christians, but so called moral authorities in our culture (Oprah) would believe that. But, maybe this is indeed how you believe and your values are the direct opposite. Who am I to say?

OK, you said "Christianity is based on a false concept: Original sin". Again this is one of those things you either believe or don't, BUT, have you ever met someone who has lived their whole life "morally perfect"? Never told a lie, never been selfish, never done any of a hundred things that could be considered morally questionable? Me either. Seems to me original sin isn't that far out there.

Now you say with shock and awe, that "the only way to attain God's 'grace' is to accept that an innocent man, executed, can magically abosorb that evil". OK, I wouldn't use the word magical, but I would say this is acurate, but what's so shocking or immoral about that. The innocent man was God himself, dying, in your place to pay a penalty that was deserved (if you believe in original sin). Have you ever needed to borrow a few bucks to buy something? Did the person you were buying something from reject the money because it wasn't really yours. Probably not, the price was paid. This is a loose analogy, but you get the point.

Next you state that hell is an eternal punishment for a finite crime. Actually, if there really is a God, and it is the God of the Bible, I can think of nothing more worthy of eternal punishment than denying his existence, or worse yet, believing He exisits and telling Him where to stick it.

I am certainly sorry that you felt the religion abused you. It saddens me to hear how you feel about the beliefs I hold so close to my heart and influence the way I live every day. Please feel free to reply or ignore.

I do have one question. What did you mean when you said "I believe that to be a myth perpetuated by Christians who know darn well that there is plenty of trauma in many christian childhoods, yet most remain christian anyway." I didn't follow you.

Thanks,
Dave

Hellbound Alleee said...

You say that Christianity is "immoral" and "directly opposed" to your values. OK. You certainly have the right to believe as you want. But to use the word immoral for beliefs such as "love your neighbor as your self" would be unjust/untruthful. No, I do not agree with this idea, although I am not convinced that it is representative of christianity as a whole. I am not lying when I say that this is not a practical or moral "law," as it ignores the values of the other in favour of one's own assumptions about them. It is never good to base your treatment of others on your own desires.

OK, you said "Christianity is based on a false concept: Original sin". Again this is one of those things you either believe or don't, BUT, have you ever met someone who has lived their whole life "morally perfect"? Never told a lie, never been selfish, never done any of a hundred things that could be considered morally questionable? Me either. Seems to me original sin isn't that far out there.

You are mistaken on that. Sin is not "not behaving perfectly." Sin is a christian belief, one that is not based in reality. Original sin is a created concept. Religious individuals created the deficientcy, gave it a name, and said only through their imagined deity are we to be saved from it. Not only that, but in most christian denominations, not being cleansed of this manufactured concept is justification for eternal torment. Even if I allowed you the widest birth possible and said that sin was the same thing as behaving badly, what possible material evidence could one provide that says one can be "washed" of it through being either a chosen one or adhering to the "correct" religion? No, people are not "born bad," and acting in accordance with nature (which is what they mean by "sin" in the first place) will not send you to the eternal flames or existential eternal insanity.

Now you say with shock and awe, that "the only way to attain God's 'grace' is to accept that an innocent man, executed, can magically abosorb that evil". OK, I wouldn't use the word magical

The man flew up into the sky, walked on water, and was born of a Virgin. Not magical? OK.

, but I would say this is acurate, but what's so shocking or immoral about that.

It's called hell. It's also morally wrong to teach things that are false.

The innocent man was God himself, dying, in your place to pay a penalty that was deserved

this is why your beliefs are immoral. I need not continue. This God made a magic tree, put it in a garden with people he made with no knowledge of good or evil, condemned them, then sent himself "down" to earth to protect the people from his wrath--and it was all decided before he made those garden icons. This God you believe in is a raving maniac.



More amazingly weak arguments for toture.

I am certainly sorry that you felt the religion abused you.

Not just me. I think it has harmed you, too. It is harmful to subject this to innocent children, and should not be tolerated.



I do have one question. What did you mean when you said "I believe that to be a myth perpetuated by Christians who know darn well that there is plenty of trauma in many christian childhoods, yet most remain christian anyway." I didn't follow you.

Because Christians often assume that atheists are that way because of childhood trauma. This is not why I or anyone I know is an atheist. In fact, it is extremely rare. Christians are well aware of the crap that goes on in families and churches against children--they either don't have a name for it, or don't want to talk about it. Or, they think it's good, call it "agape," and go on their merry way. That's because they know that "going to church every Sunday doesn't make you a Christian anymore than being in a garage makes you a car." Or other such pithy sayings. In other words, they know that Christianity cannot make you a good person. Yet they remain Christians. So where does this idea come from, that atheists are only "that way" because of trauma? Because they know very well what those traumas are, yet they manage to remain Christians.

Thanks,
Dave

Dave said...

Allee,

Thanks for your response. I really am trying to understand your point of view, but I must admit I am struggling.

I have one more question for you. You said my beliefs are "immoral". In all sincerity, I am wondering what you base your moral beliefs on. If there is no God, no religion, what makes something moral or immoral? Is it all based on ones personal point of view? That doesn't seem very strong.

One quick comment on your reply to my last post. You say that "I am not lying when I say that this is not a practical or moral "law," as it ignores the values of the other in favour of one's own assumptions about them. It is never good to base your treatment of others on your own desires." This is taking the Christian belief out of context. The Bible also says bear one anothers burderns and consider others better than yourself. I don't think this makes me base my treatment of that person on my desires, at least it shouldn't.

Thanks again. Hope you have time to respond.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Where do our morals come from?

Reality. Causality. They don't come from the sky, and they are not placed in our brains by a monster, or master. Might doesn't make right--neither does a ghost--which, of course, was made by people. People, who made laws based on social control, rather than morality. Bible laws aren't really moral--they are practical for their time. But it doesn't make them right. We don't allow rape because we don't want a society that allows rape because then we could get raped, our loved ones could get raped. Rape harms us, and we have natural innate tendencies towards empathy-to those we vale, and to others. It's not rocket science, and it's certainly not theology.

Your complaint about me being "out of context" is not my fault. You cited a verse out of context. I pointed that out from the outset.

The belief that Christianity is about loving others is definitely "out of context." There are many problems with this. There's the brutal slaughter in the bible of thousands upon thousands of "neighbors," and the rape of children as booty. There's Jesus who repeated the old testament's racism/race favoritism, calling a gentile woman a "dog," because she wasn't a favored Israelite--a "neighbor." There's all the "neighbors" who are to be punished forever for the crime of not belonging to the right religion/Calvinist concept of "chosen." Finally, there's the big problem with the word "love." "Agape" is not hippy love, it is not romantic love, and it is not compassion. It is the love between a master and his slave. Is this the love we show to our neighbors? aren't slaves "neighbors?" Is it love to condone and promote slavery?

To come full circle, one definite moral value is non-coersion. No force. Another is the value of ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. This bespeaks a prohibition against slavery. We do not allow slavery in our societies because we do not want to be slaves, and we don't want our loved ones to be slaves, and in a society that allows slavery, we could very well become a slave. This "moral" is definitely not in the bible. Did Jesus go to the slave market and kick ass? Did he shout it from the rooftops? Was there a mythic confrontation where Jesus preaches why all men and women should be equal? Why didn't he stand up against the beating and enslavenment of children?

Morals are not "thou shalt nots." Morals and values are things you work to attain and keep. No religion, no supernatural ghosts necessary. They don't come from the underworld or the overworld. They come from the world. The corrupt world that we are suppsoed to reject in favour of a promise of a mythical happyland or painland.

Dave said...

Alleee,

Thanks again for your response. Again, I wasn't looking for an argument, just an explanation. Unfortunately I don't think I really got one. It sounds like a bunch or rhetoric to me. I am trying to find out what you believe, but you seem to be to worried about putting me and Christianity in its place to do an adequate job.

First, you are wrong about the meaning of the Greek work agape. It in fact means unconditional love, the highest form of love one can show for another. It has nothing to do with slavery.

I am not sure what you mean when you say I took the verse regarding "loving your neighbor as yourself" out of context. You said Christianity is immoral, and I asked is it immoral to believe that one should love another. Although it is not the only thing that defines Christianity, it is a large part. The bible says this is the second greatest commandment. Doesn't sound like too much of a stretch to say that is what Christianity is about.

You say there was rape, murder, etc.in the Bible, and you are right. However, to say that God looked on these acts with favor would be ludicrious.

The entire Jesus account and the calling of the woman a "dog" is again taken out of context. We could have a theological discussion on the passage, but I think it would prove to be a waste of time.

Yes, Christians do teach that if you want to be "saved" that you must believe in Jesus. But if there is a God, and it is the God of the Bible, would it be so hard to think that He would want you to acknowledge Him for exactly what He is and not just make up some other religion with some other God and that be OK.

One thing you said that I agree with. Moral are not "thou shall nots". I never said, or at least meant, such a thing. It can be moral to give money to the Red Cross or help the old lady across the street.

But it makes much less sense to me that morals could come from the world. That would make them relative to whomever you are speaking to. What if I thought it was OK to kill someone who got on my nerves? Does that make it moral? It it based on the majority opinion? Don't opinions change? Does that mean morals change?

Thanks again for your time. I am enjoying our discussion.

Dave said...

A little more,

Sin is not defined by Christians, or shouldn't be, by determining if one is "moral" or not. Sin is not putting supreme value on the glory of God, the one thing worthy of supreme value.

Morals can not be defined by ourselves, our loved ones, or communities. If a man finds it pleasing to molest a child, does that make it moral? If our country wants to allow slavery, does that make it moral? Think of Hitler, Stalin.

Morals also cannot be the avoidance of things that harm us. It harms my pocketbook to give money to a charity, is it immoral. It may risk my life to go to go into a burning building to save another, is that immoral?

Just a few more thought that I had to share. No more from me.