Brad wrote: But I say to you and to Scott that none of that means that news reports are not important and relevant or that news reports should be disregarded or brushed off when they don’t fit one’s desires or preconceptions.
Brad wrote:Also I suggest that when news reports of horrors created by, and the hypocrisies of, people who all share a particular kind of non-evidence-based belief come day after day, week after week, year after year, and when the history of the world is replete with similar reports, that just might point toward a very real and significant problem having something to do with that sort of belief.
Brad wrote: But of course, the people who hold that belief dear will just cry, "Anecdotes! Nothing but anecdotes! Nothing to do with me and my belief!"
I've seen so much good, and no bad, from myself and people that I respect holding Christian beliefs, so it only seems reasonable to think that the bad stuff comes from the two things that I said before, which were:
1) there are people who claim to be Christian for their own selfish reasons because they see it as a way to have power, and they abuse this power. These would be those of whom Jesus spoke of as calling him "Lord" but are not actual followers of him.
2) there are people who are Christians but who are really messed up and make mistakes. Remember, Jesus said that he came for those who are sick!
Now I do bad things sometimes, but not based on my beliefs; the bad I've done goes against Christian doctrine.
Brad wrote:It is also true that many religious people are utterly unaware and/or in willful denial about much of the good done in the world by secular groups (who have no need to trumpet their secular nature by calling themselves “atheist” or “humanist” or whatever – they simply do the work) and even by other religious groups who do not base their wonderful humanitarian actions on Jesus or Christian teachings in any way shape or form.
I've said many times that many atheists are nicer than many Christians. What's really relevant is the starting point
of the Christian and which direction they've travelled.
Brad wrote: To fully acknowledge even a good portion of those activities would make Christians realize that there is nothing that special about the teachings of Jesus after all, wouldn’t it?
In the area of morals, it's at the top IMO, but Christianity isn't all about morals by any means.
Brad wrote:Simply put, there are, and have always been, human beings who by combination of inclination and instruction care a great deal about others and there are people who do not care so much.
Agreed, and I find that Christianity takes a person wherever they are and makes them better.
Brad wrote:And as I noted in my first response to Scott’s “atheist” position on the podcast, I think that overall, there is no doubt that religious belief does more to isolate and divide and to cause suffering than to bring together, and it will always be so as long as there are people who see the Bible and Koran or any other texts as being “divine.”
"Bring[ing] together" may not always be the highest good, however, especially if people are together in hell!
I would definitely say that Christianity isn't easy and comfortable, but those things aren't the highest good if a person needs changing.
Brad wrote:Be that as it may, I absolutely echo marcuspnw’s response to your Mexico story – bravo!
Brad wrote:But without minimizing at all the good works of you and your church group and many similar efforts – some of which, btw, I’m familiar with personally – they are no more representative of the effects of god beliefs overall, nor indicative of their rationality or truth, than the story of your visit south of the border is representative of the entire history and current status of Mexico.
From my own personal experience and the experience of Christians that I admire, I disagree with you, at least as far as Christianity is concerned.
Brad wrote: Rian wrote:
Brad wrote:But it's always like that, isn't it? Each particular Christian and his or her immediate cohorts think that they are the true Christians.
But Brad, Jesus himself did this - he mentions those who call him "Lord" and yet are not his followers. He says that we'll know Christians by their works. So we're just doing what Jesus did. I don't see a problem with that.
You missed the point entirely, Rian.
If your point is typically what the point is when people say what you did (that if, say, N groups make this claim, then at the least N-1 are wrong and at the most all are wrong), then I didn't miss it. Was that your point? If it wasn't, please let me know what it was. If it was, then I guess you're missing MY point! which was that it's a valid thing to say (although it doesn't tell you which particular one is right). As far as the different Christian groups, I think that each GROUP gets some things right and some things wrong, and each PERSON may or may not be a Christian - only God knows, although their works are a guideline.
Brad wrote: No, I wasn’t referring to you particularly.
OK. Well, anyway, as I said, I certainly don't deny that terrible things have been done in the name of Christianity. However, I think those things don't show that Christianity itself is wrong.
"Aurë entuluva! Auta i lómë!" ("Day shall come again! The night is passing!") -- from JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion
Christianity is the red pill - go for it! Seek the truth, wherever it leads you.