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A Kinder, Gentler Atheist

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Mr Spinkles, May 21, 2004.

  1. completelyunbiased

    completelyunbiased New Member

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    In 1 Thessalonians 5:21, Paul writes this:

    Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

    surely 'all things' includes our beliefs. how can anyone who holds any respect for the bible condemn a person for doing this, whether that person calls themself an atheist or not?

    i know several people who call themselves 'atheists' or 'agnostics' who are on the same quest for truth as many 'religious' people i've met. on the other hand, i know many atheists/agnostics who are just as doggedly close-minded as the 'christians' that they ridicule. let's call a momentary 'time-out' on labels:

    i have more respect for the person who wants something proven to them versus blindly believing because everyone else is or because they're told to. regardless of their biases. obviously, paul did too.

    all you can do is the best you can do, as they say. i don't judge or blame you or anyone for the way that you think because i know we've all had such different influences and circumstances.

    what i will say is this: always be careful that your stance as an 'atheist' or 'agnostic' is really what you claim it to be: a search for truth and not a blind following of stale ideas. humans love to get into ruts. stay openminded! i've met many an atheist who was so passionate about their ideas and beliefs that their closeminded fervor became twin to that of the 'christian' fundamentalists that they despised.

    if you want to hide behind labels and seperations, go for it, but remember that many times they cause more harm than they do good. we often fail to take a good look at the things we become common with. don't let it happen to you.

    it may very well be that the only difference between me and Mr. Spinkles is that i've seen proof enough to lead me to believe in the existence of a 'superior being', while he hasn't.

    true love (or at least my best attempt),

    c.u.
     
  2. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Far better would have been: investigate all claims; hold fast to that which is evidenced.
     
  3. Mr Spinkles

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    completely unbiased--

    I agree with you. It's best to stay open minded and not close yourself off by sticking to a label. If I had not been open to different ideas, I would still be Christian.
     
  4. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    Aahhh! The horror!

    All in good fun, I have nothing against Christians. I totally agree. 'Blind faith' is just a fancy and unconnotated way to say 'gullible', it would seem. :lol:
     
  5. completelyunbiased

    completelyunbiased New Member

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    Mr. Spinkles, you said: 'If I had not been open to different ideas, I would still be Christian.'

    is it possible that someday you may say 'If i had not been open to different ideas, i would still be Atheistic?' (forgive me if i'm incorrect in the assumption that you are currently atheistic or agnostic)

    judging from the way that your writing portrays your thinking, i would guess that you do think this is possible. if one didn't think this was possible, it would pretty clearly portray their closeminded bias.

    again, let me express my distaste for the limiting qualities of labels. for the sake of argument, let me divide the world into two categories:

    1 - people who seek truth

    2 - people who've given up or never cared.

    this is largely my view on such matters. regardless of the 'religious' or 'non-religious' nametags a person wears or the boxes where they store their minds, everyone falls into one category or the other. those who have decided that they have reached their summit, that they are in possession of truth ultimate, that there is no need to search further, have chosen their limits, intentionally or not, atheist or christian.

    many people assume that because they have chosen a label of 'religious' or 'non-religious' that they fall into category 1. this is not the case.

    my intention is not to criticize or condemn. i belive a person's choice is their own. we can never fully know the circumstances or situations that brings a person to decide what they do. it is therefore both ignorant and innacurate to judge them for it.

    however, i do believe in the giving and recieving of tips. i think we'd all be a lot better off if we realized the value that comes from working together.

    in this interest, i love to discuss such things with interesting people such as yourselves.

    as always, the dream is what you make it.

    c.u.

    p.s. i, Mr. Spinkles, see a lot of potential in you.
     
  6. completelyunbiased

    completelyunbiased New Member

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    ceridwen018, you said this ' 'Blind faith' is just a fancy and unconnotated way to say 'gullible', it would seem. '

    i would tend to agree with you. i find it helpful to remember, however, that people of religious persuasions are not the only ones to fall victim to the disease.

    many christians-turned-atheist i've spoken with seem to think that they have somehow taken the highground, mentally and morally speaking, by doing away with the christian nametag.

    most of these 'conversions' are the result of the recognition of ignorant or false beliefs, or the inability of the former denomination to answer important questions. i find it commendable that those persons recognized the box that they were under. i do not, however, feel that those aforementioned ignorant beliefs or unanswered questions prove that everything those people think is incorrect.

    consider the following example:

    it's a 500 years ago. you're on a ship full of explorers setting sail for an undiscovered land to the west. the people captaining the ship are steering heavily to the south. you, being intelligent enough to realize this, question them. they might respond that they feel justified and correct in this or that it's none of your business and you should just do what you're told. either way, you decide that your disagreements are enough to part you and you jump out of the boat and return to your home shore.

    just because the captains were sailing south doesn't mean that there never was an undiscovered land to begin with. so you were intelligent or intuitive enough to realize the mistakes in the navigation. this doesn't mean that the trip was in vain or not worth taking. use what you've learned and continue the quest all the wiser for what you've learned.

    i respect the people in the ship more than the person who swims back to shore and gives up. however incorrect the shipfolk may be, at least they're trying.

    i realize that this is not, by any means, a perfect metaphor for anything, but it does generally typify my view of such things. and again, is is not my intention to offend anyone.


    much love,

    c.u.
     
  7. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    completelyunbaised,

    I see what you're saying here.

    I try to be open to every belief and idea that I come across. I have certain 'beliefs' of my own which I hold because they seem to be the most logical explanations of things for me, but my motto is 'prove me wrong any day'.

    I don't see my leaving of Christianity as 'giving up'. I would call it moving from one thing to another in my 'search for truth'.
     
  8. Mr Spinkles

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    completelyunbiased--

    I couldn't agree with you more! As far as your analogy is concerned...I would say I haven't given up and swam back to shore...it's more like I took one of the rowboats and some supplies, and went off in a better direction. But I would never give up.

    I would never assume everything about Christianity (or any other religion for that matter) is bad or false just because (in my opinion) some of it is.

    Let me provide an example: I do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, or that there is a God at all. However, does this automatically mean that what Jesus said about loving our neighbors is junk? Of course not--it's a good teaching.
     
  9. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    Took a rowboat and supplies-- oh jeez thats a good one :lol:
     
  10. anders

    anders Well-Known Member

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    Spiritual son wrote:
    "They who are in truths alone,which means faith alone,such as the Protestants, and not in a life according to them, have no conscience. They have no conscience because they don't believe in doing repentance.Their repentance is of the mouth,and not of life."

    I just don't understand what this is supposed to mean. Do you really mean that Protestants don't repent in their hearts and make the repentance act on their future actions? I disagree completely.

    And I don't understand what a discussion on conscience has to do with this topic. Atheists may well have more developed consciences, because they can't rely on any ready-made notions of what is right or wrong, but have (the right) to make up their own minds.
     
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