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Discussion (52)¬

  1. Unholy Confessor says:

    Of course, God had to sacrifice himself to himself (as God, the Holy Ghost andjesus are the same, according to the Bible) to satiate his own rage
    Seems legit

  2. ronmurp says:

    Poor Hamza Tzortzis (http://www.hamzatzortzis.com). He’s going to be devastated to learn that the ‘infinite’ can be used in Christian arguments too. It’s one of the keystones of all his arguments.

  3. Okay, you got another belly laugh out of me, Author. You just have a way with punch lines.

  4. PeteUK says:

    If god is also the holy ghost and jesus, and he sacrificed himself, isn’t that the same as suicide? Now the bible thumpers keeping telling us that suicide is a sin, so will god condemn himself to everlasting torment in the fires of hell?

    Just wondering!

  5. Sondra says:

    “What made you change your mind?” I Love It!!!

  6. Suido says:

    Religion: taking mankind to sinfinity and beyond.

  7. MarkNS says:

    Ok…so he died. But while he was dead where did his soul go? If I understand Christian superstitions correctly, he would have just hung out in heaven for those 40 hours. So it’s really just a few hours of what is described as pretty horrific pain admittedly but then 40 hours in paradise…not too bad a deal to save humanity!

  8. jean-françois gauthier says:

    @MarkNS: it’s one of the “mysteries” or, as american oxford puts it, “a religious belief based on divine revelation, esp. one regarded as beyond human understanding”. this allows for claiming everything and anything while avoiding contradiction.

  9. @MarkNS As I remember the Apostles Creed, “He descended into Hell”. At least that was the Church of England take on the situation, though how the hell they knew where he went is beyond me. Just more crap they made up and made me memorize as a kid.

    @jean-françois gauthier “this allows for claiming everything and anything while avoiding contradiction” more like embracing contradiction or ignoring contradiction. I’ve never met a true believer who gave a rats ass about contradiction.

  10. Nick says:

    Are those trees at the foot of the mountain or people?

  11. Nassar Ben Houdja says:

    The concept of being dead
    Go’s to some people’s head
    Due to a spiritual infirmity
    They get to spend eternity
    In dirt, over them evenly spread.

  12. Second Thought says:

    Contradiction is all part of the mystery.

  13. Bodach says:

    In order to save the world, God gave himself a very bad weekend.
    So, thanks for the effort, God.

  14. dimbulb says:

    You do have to admit it was a perfectly awful way to spend Easter weekend.

  15. Facts1or2 says:

    As a youth I questioned contradictions (mysteries of faith) and was told that I would understand them when I got to heaven. So I put it in a bag and carried on. Eventually the bag got so big I could not carry or pull it any more. At that point I realized what a bunch of crap and accepted my atheism.

  16. Brother Daniel says:

    @D.Harmless: Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrowing_of_hell. The line “He descended into Hell” in the Creeds seems to be largely based on a couple of verses from 1 Peter.

  17. @Bro D. Thanks. But don’t you ever get the feeling that a huge pile of nonsense and wasted time has accumulated around the study of such issues? It’s comparing one guy’s delusions to another guy’s delusions with cross references as if any of it mattered. What a crock of shite is “religious studies”.

  18. David B says:

    One of the very best – I’ve seen people argue that point.

    Just posted URL on Cranmer blog comments.

    A site that is interesting for keeping in touch with what reasonably well educated and articulate conservative CoE christians are thinking, and has the further, and unusual, merit of a Christian blog which is not banning out of hand dissenters from Christianity in particular and theism in general.

    David

  19. MarkNS says:

    Debating theology is akin to arguing about the rules of Quidditch.

  20. FreeFox says:

    @MarkNS: You don’t argue about the rules of Quidditch?! o.O There is a fabulous quote by conservative Mormon, frothing SSM-opponent, and SciFi Author Orson Scott Card, about how he believes that Start Trek TOS was badly acted and set in a silly universe but not important enough for grown-ups to argue about. (I know, “sproing…”) I can only say, if that were true, I would see no point in growing up. ^_^

    @DH: Do you never muse about who would win if it came to a fight between Anakin Skywalker and Peter Parker? It’s not a crock of shit, it’s fun and creative and liberating and educational. :P

    As for Jesus, whether fictional character or not, I never could quite shake the feeling that he is the most successful Confidence Trick ever pulled, the Spanish Prisoner, to be exact. You all might know that trick in its most common recent form, the NIgerian Mail Scam: You get an invitation to share into a huge wealth, if only you help pay a few incidental bribes and fees first to get it out of some crooked, failing country. After that “advanced fee”, you can settle down, rich for life.

    And you know how in the olden days God always promises “his people” political freedom, military might, a kingdom, bloody revenge on their oppressors and all that? And twice he fulfills it even, after Egypt and after Babylon, but with Rome, He kinda strings his people along, and along. And then Jesus appears, and says, yes, I bring you freedom and victory… but not over Rome but over DEATH. Whuhahahahaha. The only problem is that you can’t have the eternal life NOW, you first need to BELIEVE in Jesus, pray, sacrifice, stay of the man-snogging, and all that stuff. And then, when faithless heathens simply die, you can pull your get-out-of-death-for-free card, and exchange your mortal life for the eternal one. And the whole set up is done in a way that you can never check before if the payment will really come.

    It’s a classic Advanced Free Fraud… a.k.a. Spanish Prisoner. And only to get Himself out of previous obligations. Given that there are over 2 billion Christians, it is indubitably the most successful confidence trick in the history of that art. Which makes me somewhat jealous towards God. Cheeky bastard… ^_^

  21. JohnnieCanuck says:

    FreeFox, once we step back from allowing the existence of the Big Three for the sake of argument, given that They don’t exist, what we have then is every priest, preacher, minister, bishop and pope as the actual scammers.

    They say give them money today and they can show you how to live in a state of bliss, forever. Don’t and it’s extreme torture, forever. Oh, and no taxes on church property, either, thank you.

    Not only a cheeky bunch, but Evil too.

  22. @FreeFox As always, I find your perspective very interesting and entertaining. But no, I’ve never argued about whether Anikin Skywalker could kick Peter Parker’s butt. Can’t see the point in such an argument. And I can’t see the point in any discussion of religion, unless it is to call it all a crock of shite. People get emotional about that shite. People die over arguments about that shite. It’s still a crock of shite.
    I don’t think JC was a con man. I think he was just another religious nutter. But I sure agree that the whole game is a con, and I think you nailed it with the Spanish Prisoner/Nigerian Scam. Only better and bigger. Keep paying all your life and you’ll get the payoff when you are dead.
    There’ll be pie,
    By and by,
    In that beautiful land in the sky.
    Work and pray.
    Live on hay.
    There’ll be pie in the sky when you die.
    That’s a lie.

  23. FreeFox says:

    @DH: You misunderstand me. I don’t think Jesus was a Con Man. Jesus was at best the Roper, the lure, the supposed heir of the treasure on that Nigerian Account. God is the Con Man, using the “victory over death” and “dying for our sins” to avoid coughing up all the promised worldly riches and victories. (And given that there most likely never was a historical Jesus, any guessing what he was outside of the literary account must be as “pointless” as arguing if Anakin or Peter Parker are the best :D – Anakin, btw, is of course the much cooler chap, not to mention way hotter, and would def kick Spiderman’s butt! ^_^)

  24. FreeFox says:

    PS.: And we all know that the cake is a lie. I even got a tat saying that. :P

  25. Sondra says:

    Suppose you’d never seen a person of the opposite sex. Suppose you were shown photos of the opposite sex that were so hideous as to cause dry heaves and told that this is what they All look like. You’d choose celibacy, wouldn’t you?

    Then one day, you decide to seek the truth. That’s when you learn why there is a New Age movement. God’s not a violent, vindictive, a$$hole. You’ve been lied to.

    I love you.

  26. nina says:

    yet, dialing back on the infinite and perhaps scaling the justice down to an appropriate, measured and context sensitive justice within the comprehension of people

    was beyond god’s abilities

    how just is that?

  27. the bonus says:

    It’s all so teenage angst…if you you lot don’t stop doing that stuff…I’ll…I’ll…kill myself. And then it turns into a scene from The Holy Grail…”she turned me into a newt…….but I got better” comedy gold. You have to laugh at these people’s ideas.

  28. I’m told this is hilarious. Let me know what you think, okay.
    http://youtu.be/HFH8DEKFpwk

  29. FreeFox says:

    @DH. I dunno. Looked around on that chap’s other vids. Seems to be your run of the mill anger-filled right-wing self-pitying nationalistic “isn’t it terrible we can’t deport and lock up more people and wall ourselves off in our once glorious nation” old fart. You usually find them in any pub of the world.

  30. @FreeFox Yes, like most old farts he gets some things spot on and is way off base on others. I particularly dislike his conflating of multiculturalism with cultural relativism, which are far from the same thing. I can take him in very small doses, and occasionally he spouts a phrase that tickles my fancy. But mostly I agree with you.
    I wish I knew whether Islam is actually as misogynistic as he claims. I must say it seems that way to me. Even those who try to convince me the group is mostly okay go on to tell me they can’t trust their wife alone with another man, no matter what the occasion or however innocent the intentions, and that letting that happen is not proper. Seems seriously sick to me.

  31. Condell is quite direct in his attacks against Islam. This one, for example:

    http://hw.libsyn.com/p/b/1/5/b15c3c51a90dc23c/095_-_Name_the_poison.mp3?sid=97f9f8deaf8670d1196210c0aed08f07&l_sid=18826&l_eid=&l_mid=2622005

    Is it fair to blame Islam for the brutal misogyny in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan? Is it really coming from Islam? I don’t know, but I suspect that it is.

    I watched Morgan Spurlock’s episode of “30 Days” in which a devout Southern Christian goes to live with a Muslim family for 30 days. The intent, of course, was to foster tolerance and acceptance of Muslims. Didn’t quite work for me. They do seem sincere and nice when unprovoked. But their Imam was downright scary in his conviction that he knew the whole truth about God. The Muslim host stated that he couldn’t leave his guest along in his house with his wife. It just wouldn’t be proper. (Meaning, I suppose, that he couldn’t trust either of them.)
    So as well as falling on their faces several times a day, and wasting a heck of a lot of time in guilt and nonsense, they have a level of trust between men and women that I could only call psychotic. Is this universal with Islam? They do seem to be very hung up on gender and sex issues. I don’t know. Again, back to my question, is the misogyny coming from Islam itself, or is it a cultural thing with certain Islamic people? Any thoughts on this anybody?

  32. jude says:

    The Prophet said, “Whenever a man is alone with a woman the Devil makes a third.” that’s why my neighbor never shares the elevator with me . Even my brother asked me to leave the house for a month when he and his family came to visit my parents . i’m an atheist so i just don’t care about this i can bare it for a month ,but of course it’s nonsense.

    The sex issue is too complicated in here , women wants to fall in love and have sex the same as men but they prefer it 7alal cos they can’t bare the guilt of fornication . Some girls will give their virginity to the man they love, pre marriage , u know what happens ? The man will start having psychotic ideas about his girlfriend cos she gave him her virginity therefore she is a whore or she is easily tempted by the devil and he will start blaming himself as well , i’m a fornicator and the amount of guilt will blind him to the level of dumping the girl , well he has no problem cos no one can notice that he lost his virginity but the girl will feel an enormous guilt and fear . So u know what happens next ? The girl will lack self confidence cos she’s not a virgin anymore , very few parents will understand that, very very few . So here the girl decides not to have pre marriage sex or haram sex , but she has needs , sexual needs ,later she will get charmed by another man and she will tell him her story and he will be the best listener on earth , until he fucks her . Then he will start spreading the word ” oh she is not a virgin ”

    now the girl is traumatised because of the guilt and fear and the feeling of being an outcast so her friend convinces her to make and surgical operation to reconstruct her virginity and to wait for a conventional marriage proposal . Cos very very few men aren’t psychotic about the virginity issue , the rest are hypocrites who wants to have sex with plenty but when it comes to marriage they seek virgins . That’s why sex is so complicated in the muslim society and it will drive some girls to lie about their past . Well fornication is a sin so it will cause complications among the believers specially in a society where manhood is taken literally and seriously .

    But isn’t misogyny caused by all religions .

  33. @jude “But isn’t misogyny caused by all religions .” Yes, of course. All but maybe some of the old pagan fertility focused wise woman centric ones. You know, the ones who were burned at the stake as witches when the paternal religions took over. FreeFox probably has something to say about this.
    Thanks for this very clear response to my question, but it still leaves the question: Is the misogyny in the Muslim world the fault of Islam. Or is it just a cultural disease in some areas. Are there pocket communities of Muslims who aren’t fucked up about sex? Or is that “the devil makes a third” thing believed universally and therefore Islam is the source of the paranoid relationship between the genders?
    I mean, there are some Christians who are relatively relaxed about sex, even supportive of gay sex and gay marriage. Some Christians seem to see sex as normal and natural, even outside of marriage. Are there any equivalent Muslims?
    Back to my question: Is Islam to blame? Is the burka prescribed by Islam, or by a fucked up culture? I’d sure love to hear from some actual Muslims on this. I mean, some relatively sane ones. We don’t need a return of Muhammad.

  34. Oops. Just realized that if @Jude’s brother and family “actual Muslims” he/she can probably speak with authority on this.

  35. FreeFox says:

    From what I’ve seen, being conservative or traditional or old school means ALWAYS being fucked up about sex and totally hung up on gender roles. Doesn’t matter if it’s Sami in Northern Scandinavia, or Roma on the Balkans, or crofters in Scotland, or whereever. So, I would bet that any traditional religious person, pagan, monotheistic, Hindu or whatever will be totally anal about gender and sex and what is permitted and what not. I mean, I love my Roma kumpanaya, but they are so hung up on ritual washing, seperation of genders, never even talking about body functions, keeping everything always dressed up, they make my Muslim neighbours here look like 1970s libertines by comparison.
    As for Islam… this is only from observation, no scientific study at all, but I think it’s both: I think the whole region around the Mediterranean is nuts with this totally fixed idea of how a man or a woman should be and behave and dress, and totally fucked up about their sex life. But I think that Islam is on the one side attractive bc it supports that system of fear and self-loathing, but on the other side also feeding into it, stabilizing the neuroses as a moral norm.
    So I think it’s sort of just there to begin with, and mainly simply being passed on from fathers and mothers to sons and daughters, but it both helps the spread of Islam and is constantly fuelled by it. But to get rid of it, I think you must do much more than just fight Islam or even religious thinking… the religion seems to be just the pseudo-rationalisation screwed on to it after the fact.

  36. Jerry w says:

    The true last temptation of Christ? I’m sure it was to point down from the cross to show the kids where the eggs were hidden. Then again, this was before my time so I might be mistaken…

  37. Peakcrew says:

    @DH and FF – You have hit on a subject that I have long wondered about: does misogyny and loathing of sex come from religions, or do religions come from misogyny and loathing of sex? As FF mentioned, it seems that, no matter where you go in the world, there are a bunch of people that want to keep women “in their place”, citing a variety of justifications that seem to boil down to “women are eeee-VIL, and it must be true ‘cos it’s written down here in my holy book”.

    Don’t forget “conservatism” just means “doing what I think my elders and betters did”. If there was a religion that had a holy book that said “free love is the godly thing to do”, the conservatives would be against stable relationships!

  38. Hamilton Jacobi says:

    Are those trees at the foot of the mountain or people?

    Those are actors wearing tree suits. Also, the third character (with the non-speaking role) in the first and last panels is a midget in a bird suit. The Author never harms any flora or fauna in the making of this cartoon; nor does he compel them to act against their wishes.

  39. FreeFox says:

    @Peakcrew: I think the whole gender thing is strange and complicated. Maybe women are the side of the whole mess that has drawn the short straw mostly. Probably they are. But I don’t think it’s a one sided oppressor-oppressed thingy. It’s more complex web that both sides are caught in, even if being on the male side has more perks. Perhaps. But as Jude says a few comments up, those especially misogynistic societies all take manhood very seriously. Even in Germany, when I had my coming out, both boys and girls had serious problems accepting that I wouldn’t fulfill their idea of the male role. And as long as men AND women feel threatened in their role by anything, they will fight to keep the crazy gender stuff and fucked up sex rules in place, I think.

  40. @FreeFox Finally we’ve found a subject we completely agree on. :-)

  41. FreeFox says:

    @DH. :) Well, there you have my theory on the rel’ship between Islam (or any religion) and misogyny. What you asked. I think peeps have these crazy ideas about sin and gender and stuff, and they like most religions bc it gives them a pretext, a rationalisation, to not free themselves of those mental prisons. I think that is why peeps want to have such psychotic religions. But once they got them, it re-inforced the whole thing.

  42. Peakcrew says:

    Hmmm – thanks, FF. I’m not sure you’ve added anything to what I asked in the first place, because you also seem to be saying that there is no way to tell which came first (a big loop of religion >> cultural mores >> religion >> etc, with the starting point being either of the two), but I take your point.

    There is a cultural Stockholm Syndrome in which the oppressed come to find honour in their oppression.

  43. FreeFox says:

    @Peakcrew: You prob have to ask some historian of ethics and religion to know for real. But I really think that religions have been designed to uphold existing, hm, I wouldn’t call them “cultural mores” but more cultural neuroses. And as memetic constructs, those religions that are still around of course create a feed-back loop that keeps strengthening and re-affirming the neuroses that keep them in place… but it’s the collective craziness and fucked-up-ness that comes first, and the religion is just the clothes it wears. It seems to explain real life people better than any other model I know.

  44. FreeFox says:

    One example I draw on is the Roma I know, spread out from Norway to Bulgaria. They are partially Christians, partially Muslim, partially Atheist, and partially, hm, simply plain superstitious. But they are mostly Roma and follow Romanipen – the cultural law of the Roma – and that seems only designed to, hm, keep them bound to their families and seperated from any people or ideas that might make individuals out of them. It makes them incredibly loyal, hospitable, loving, supportive, and gives them great endurance and strength… but it’s like the same power line that feeds them the energy for that strength and love is a chain that keeps them chained to each other and tradition in a way that goes so deep that anything touching this provokes a near psychotic reaction. It’s as if they fear they would DIE if they got too close to that line, if that line was threatened, and they would gleefully hate, murder, and destroy if they felt it was necessary to protect this weird prison.
    With the Roma, being quite alien from the world I grew up in, it seemed very visible to me, when I got to know them closely, but once I noticed that, it seems to seep through every other faith, if religious or philosophical or political. You get too close questioning it and normally lovable, amiable people turn into furies spitting hellfire… in a way that I am CONVINCED can only be fuelled by a deep seated fear. The terror of religion comes from some terror deep in the hearts of the believers.

  45. @FreeFox I wonder how this relates to honour cultures. Whether they originate in the highlands of Scotland or Sicily or Afghanistan, honour cultures seem to develop in places where life is really tough, where people have to tell themselves that there is something they must value more than their life, or even the lives of their children. We hear the term “honour killing” applied to Africans and Sikhs, as if there is honour in sending your daughter a kettle full of dynamite because she married somebody you did not approve of. Your Roma sound to me like an honour culture. I see honour cultures as universally fucked up. They just seem to have the strangest priorities in life, which have little to do with how happy people might be, and seem to take a huge personal interest in what others choose to do, particularly with regards to sex and marriage. So maybe that’s what makes the difference. If you aren’t coming from an honour culture, religion doesn’t have much of an effect. But if you are, then religion becomes a reinforcement.
    By the way, I don’t like the term “honour culture”. I don’t see much honour in stoning an adulterer, or a rape victim, to death. But that’s the term that is usually used, and the excuse for the atrocities.

  46. Peakcrew says:

    Hmmmm – I can see where you are coming from, FF & DH. There is a lot in the thought that all religions are “honour cultures”, in which benefits accrue from accepting the limitations that are placed on the individual, and dire punishment will be meted out to those who do not comply.

    This would explain why education tends to reduce religious compliance – the basic tenets can be subjected to analysis by those within the religion. However, I may be drifting off the topic here – apologies!

  47. FreeFox says:

    @DH: Hmm. I am trying to think if “honour” is the combining element. And I wonder where you place Mormons or Christian Scientists who let their children die of cancer because it’s God’s will, or pacifist Amish who also operate through ostracism like the Roma. (The worst punishment Romanipen knows is exile – and to those exiled it often seems worse than death). And you got people like WWI-era European and WWII-era Nipponese soldiers, who got the full death-before-dishonour system with practically no supernaturalism behind it.
    Maybe it isn’t honour but dividing the world into two kinds of people, them and us, the faithful and infidels, Christians and heathens, the free world and the communist empire of evil – or the free communist international and imperialist pigs, black hats and white hats, haves and havenots, movers and shakers and those moved and shaken, rational people and religious nuts…
    And I am not certain I really, truly prefer the alternative. I mean, I grew up in a secular, democratic, and pretty multicultural society – 1990s/millennial Berlin – and to me it felt mostly arbitrary and purposeless and lonely. I mean, of course there is no even remotely reasonable way back to believing silly literal supernatural stories. Nor do the Sharia or Deuteronomy help anymore. But when I met the Roma, well… there is something in their life I recognised as missing in mine. Something I genuinely envied them. One thing a Rom never is, is alone. If you have ever been truly lonely, you know how much that is worth. (Unless of course he is exiled… maybe that is why it is so terrible to them, never having known loneliness before…)
    Also… well, a good friend of mine once accused me of being “tribal” in my personal ethics: I am willing to risk everything and go to the ends of the earth on behalf of those I accepted into my tribe, but I am totally callous towards those who aren’t. I mean, you know of my former profession. And I suppose he is right. I learned eventually that being a crook had other costs – for me – and so I stopped, but certainly not because I felt any regret towards those I hurt. I dunno… in a cold universe, there seems to be no point in treating everyone the same, you know? In a world where every minute 106 people die somewhere in the world, pointlessly, without any rhyme or reason, well, why cry about one more? Why give a damn about anyone but those few who I happen to love? So I suppose I created my own fucked up system of honour, in lack of any convincing compulsory one. To me life feels like this small camp fire with my circle of loved ones around them and a lot of darkness all around us. A wild, beautiful, exciting darkness… but certainly not one where I offer my hand in friendship first and risk winding up beaten or dead later.
    Aren’t you interested in what other think and if they pray, and “stone” them with scornful words and disapproval when they turn out to be irrational sky-daddy-worshippers? (Yes, I agree that there is a huge difference between disapproval and chucking rocks at someone’s head… but the basic sense of dividing the world into those worthy and those unworthy of participating remains. I don’t think,e.g., there is a big difference between calling for deportation of foreigners, like the bloke you linked to in his vids, and calling for execution of unbelievers.)
    What I try to say is, that I see what is fucked up about uncritical faith and honour systems… but I fail to see a truly working alternative.

    @Peakcrew: There is a topic that can be drifted off of? ^_^ Anyway, doesn’t in the end any society set some more or less arbitrary standards and punish those who do not comply, because in a way that is actually the definition of society? If you take away a common moral and common rules… you just get… a bunch of unconnected people who will either fall into barabarism and drift back towards authoritarian rule, like street gangs, or drift apart into splendid isolation? And can’t you deconstruct e.g. human rights just as easily as arbitrary and made-up as Mosaic Law?

  48. @FreeFox “Aren’t you interested in what other think and if they pray, and “stone” them with scornful words and disapproval when they turn out to be irrational sky-daddy-worshippers?” Scorn and disapproval have their place. People get enough approval from fellow believers when they credit God with their good fortune, or with saving the Chilean miners or curing their husband’s brain tumor. They should also get a bit of scorn. Maybe it will motivate them to think.

    I do try to follow the first of Miguel Ruiz’s four agreements – “be impeccable in your word”, i.e. recognize that words have power and make sure my words are coming from a place of love. Of course I fail at that quite frequently, and I’m sure you’ve noticed.

    But yes, I am interested in what people think. And when they think things that any eight year old should laugh at, I try to figure out how they do it without any embarrassment. So far it’s still a mystery. Talking snakes, virgin births, magic stones in a hat, Jesus dying to save us all, but not really. For me this is the real mystery of religion. Who in hell could invent this crap, and who would ever believe it?

  49. Unholy Confessor says:

    I wonder why Jesus “Descended to Hell”…Did he do something wrong?

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