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Author Topic: Does Christianity inherently spread hate? Help me stop my possible apostasy.  (Read 5711 times) Average Rating: 0
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tuesdayschild
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« Reply #90 on: September 25, 2011, 07:07:19 PM »

You might want to google around, if you don't keep abreast of updated trends in data mined frequency of use of words in the English language by register, age, sex, etc.

Data mining > Your Grammar Book.

In any case, I don't know how to go about mining data. I'll stick with my dusty old style guide.
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« Reply #91 on: September 25, 2011, 07:35:22 PM »

Please tell me what evils The Church has done. I haven't found a one.

Well, if I'm not mistaken, a significant number of monasteries in Russia - at one time - had serfs.  Some might call this an evil.

The truth of the matter is that the Church has, probably, committed a great number of sins and evils.  The Church is not The Church because it refrains from wrongdoing.  The Church is The Church because it is the Bride of Christ.  If a holy man has a wife who cheats someone, does she cease to be his wife?  If a holy man has a wife who robs the holy man's friends, does she cease to be his wife?  The Bride of Christ has sinned, but she repents.  That is the key.

Well, then there was the Old Believers. The Church killed plenty of them.

A few examples:

The Burning of Archpriest Avvakum and another Old Believer:


Feodosia Morozova after her arrest. She was starved to death.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 07:37:35 PM by Andrew21091 » Logged
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« Reply #92 on: September 25, 2011, 07:36:17 PM »

I always use hanged when talking about the style of execution in the past tense, for what it's worth.
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« Reply #93 on: September 25, 2011, 07:41:49 PM »

We can wrangle with it and say that it is all people not following the teachings of Christ, not acting as Christians, etc. but either way the fact remains that in every single society which has had a long term Christian majority and a culture influenced by Christianity has been tainted to some extent by antisemitism. Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, the Balkans- for most of history AD were probably the worst places on earth to be Jewish and probably remain so to this day. The reason World War II Germany had so many Jews in the first place is they were fleeing Eastern Europe.

England is the country where the word "holocaust" is actually first used in it's modern sense! And don't even get me started on France, Spain, and the US. I forget which character it was in Ulysses who said the only reason Ireland didn't have a history of persecuting Jews is because they never let any in the country to begin with (I know that's hyperbole, but still...)

I'm having a hard time believing Christianity, let alone Orthodox Christianity, can really be the true way of God when it is constantly followed by this cancer which seems to be so pervasive in the Christian world even today. I know there are hateful Jews, but it seems like Judaism has been followed by such a specific and pernicious targeting of a single people even though they are probably the most savagely abused group on the planet.

I don't know what to do.
People often break down and persecute heretics, even in Christian societies.
Sure, but to the this extent, both persecution and general hatred?
Why are there no Cathari, Bogomils, or Paulicians hanging around today, Volnutt? Why does the Nestorian Church have such a small membership compared to 700 years ago?
I'm not saying Christians never killed anybody but Jews. I'm saying the Jews always get the rump end of it in a society where Christianity has taken route, even when other undesirables are tolerated, it seems.

And the same is true for Christians living in Jewish societies be it the Himyarite Kingdom of Arabia, the Khazar khanate, or the modern state of Israel. When you look only at anti-semitism as some golden criterion, things degenerate into very warped understandings. Instead, look at the broader picture. There have been no perfectly Christian societies just as there have been no perfectly Christian people. Even the saints admit that they are the worst of sinners. Instead of judging societies or the Church, why not examine yourself. That's what we're called to do, after all. If we leave Christianity because of some fault we perceive in it, I would argue we were never Christian to begin with, because we never got off our soapbox high horse and humbled ourselves enough to receive the gift of God.
You're right. I do need to judge myself. I'm a terrible, hateful little man.
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« Reply #94 on: September 25, 2011, 08:13:58 PM »

You're right. I do need to judge myself. I'm a terrible, hateful little man.

You keep saying stuff like that and I'm gonna come down there and flog you with a wet noodle...

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« Reply #95 on: September 25, 2011, 08:47:23 PM »

We can wrangle with it and say that it is all people not following the teachings of Christ, not acting as Christians, etc. but either way the fact remains that in every single society which has had a long term Christian majority and a culture influenced by Christianity has been tainted to some extent by antisemitism. Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, the Balkans- for most of history AD were probably the worst places on earth to be Jewish and probably remain so to this day. The reason World War II Germany had so many Jews in the first place is they were fleeing Eastern Europe.

England is the country where the word "holocaust" is actually first used in it's modern sense! And don't even get me started on France, Spain, and the US. I forget which character it was in Ulysses who said the only reason Ireland didn't have a history of persecuting Jews is because they never let any in the country to begin with (I know that's hyperbole, but still...)

I'm having a hard time believing Christianity, let alone Orthodox Christianity, can really be the true way of God when it is constantly followed by this cancer which seems to be so pervasive in the Christian world even today. I know there are hateful Jews, but it seems like Judaism has been followed by such a specific and pernicious targeting of a single people even though they are probably the most savagely abused group on the planet.

I don't know what to do.
People often break down and persecute heretics, even in Christian societies.
Sure, but to the this extent, both persecution and general hatred?
Why are there no Cathari, Bogomils, or Paulicians hanging around today, Volnutt? Why does the Nestorian Church have such a small membership compared to 700 years ago?
I'm not saying Christians never killed anybody but Jews. I'm saying the Jews always get the rump end of it in a society where Christianity has taken route, even when other undesirables are tolerated, it seems.

And the same is true for Christians living in Jewish societies be it the Himyarite Kingdom of Arabia, the Khazar khanate, or the modern state of Israel. When you look only at anti-semitism as some golden criterion, things degenerate into very warped understandings. Instead, look at the broader picture. There have been no perfectly Christian societies just as there have been no perfectly Christian people. Even the saints admit that they are the worst of sinners. Instead of judging societies or the Church, why not examine yourself. That's what we're called to do, after all. If we leave Christianity because of some fault we perceive in it, I would argue we were never Christian to begin with, because we never got off our soapbox high horse and humbled ourselves enough to receive the gift of God.
You're right. I do need to judge myself. I'm a terrible, hateful little man.

We all are sinners. Let us pray for each other.
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« Reply #96 on: September 25, 2011, 08:58:40 PM »

Volnutt, this story may interest you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara

... (interest, as opposed to solve all your problems) ...
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« Reply #97 on: September 25, 2011, 10:06:54 PM »

Volnutt, this story may interest you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara

... (interest, as opposed to solve all your problems) ...
I love Sugihara. Another person I wish was a saint. Thanks.  Smiley

I would have written a paper on him for school but there's only like two English sources.

I also knew about Abp. Damaskinos, et al. already. It's just I'm such a pessimist I tend to give the bad more weight than the good, I suppose.
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« Reply #98 on: September 25, 2011, 10:09:41 PM »

You're right. I do need to judge myself. I'm a terrible, hateful little man.

You keep saying stuff like that and I'm gonna come down there and flog you with a wet noodle...


laugh
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« Reply #99 on: September 25, 2011, 11:03:04 PM »

Volnutt, this story may interest you:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiune_Sugihara

... (interest, as opposed to solve all your problems) ...
I love Sugihara. Another person I wish was a saint. Thanks.  Smiley

I would have written a paper on him for school but there's only like two English sources.

I also knew about Abp. Damaskinos, et al. already. It's just I'm such a pessimist I tend to give the bad more weight than the good, I suppose.

Because more bad than good usually happens in the world anyway.  It's just a fact of human nature, not of one particular nature.  But good has been proven much more powerful than bad, but easily forgotten.
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« Reply #100 on: September 25, 2011, 11:11:28 PM »

At first, I though this was an 'icon' of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

You're right. I do need to judge myself. I'm a terrible, hateful little man.

You keep saying stuff like that and I'm gonna come down there and flog you with a wet noodle...


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« Reply #101 on: September 26, 2011, 12:33:03 AM »

At first, I though this was an 'icon' of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I must admit, I have been touched by the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noodly appendage. May his sauce be upon me. Ramen!
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« Reply #102 on: September 27, 2011, 05:37:05 AM »

We can wrangle with it and say that it is all people not following the teachings of Christ, not acting as Christians, etc. but either way the fact remains that in every single society which has had a long term Christian majority and a culture influenced by Christianity has been tainted to some extent by antisemitism. Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, the Balkans- for most of history AD were probably the worst places on earth to be Jewish and probably remain so to this day. The reason World War II Germany had so many Jews in the first place is they were fleeing Eastern Europe.

See, you are using your head now. I suggest you keep at it. I used to be Orthodox myself, but like you, I saw that there is evil in Orthodox societies just like everywhere else. That is only part of the story, but now I am an atheist. Ask yourself. Do you believe in God because you actually have evidence that he exists, or do you just believe because you want to believe in him? If the answer is the latter, then I have six words for you: Santa Claus. Easter Bunny. Tooth Fairy. Do you see my point? Maybe the reasons why you are questioning in faith have solid grounding in reality? And if that is so, may I suggest that you don't need the opium that is religion?

-From an "apostate" to a potential apostate.
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« Reply #103 on: September 27, 2011, 06:26:04 AM »

I do believe there is evidence, but ultimately even if God didn't exist I'd rather pretend He did. Even if religion is devoid of warmth, it's still better than atheism which is devoid of even the idea of warmth.

Reality becomes nothing but a big game. What would I do, go on a drinking binge, have an open relationship, go psych myself up with a bunch of humanists at a rally, sit on the beach and masturbate about my own beautiful mortality? Still can't hold back that eternal night.

When there's no objective meaning, then nothing really matters.

Pro tip: Get rid of your assumption that all the Christians here never think about these things, "See, you are using your head now." People don't often respond well to condescension.
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« Reply #104 on: September 27, 2011, 06:33:20 AM »

Another cradle who discovered the notions of unbelieving white people in first-year philosophy class and thinks the rest of us will all similarly awaken if only we would open the pages of Hitchens/Dawkins.
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« Reply #105 on: September 27, 2011, 06:39:58 AM »

Another cradle who discovered the notions of unbelieving white people in first-year philosophy class and thinks the rest of us will all similarly awaken if only we would open the pages of Hitchens/Dawkins.
If only they could see behild the empty rhetoric.
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« Reply #106 on: September 27, 2011, 06:40:45 AM »

Another cradle who discovered the notions of unbelieving white people in first-year philosophy class and thinks the rest of us will all similarly awaken if only we would open the pages of Hitchens/Dawkins.
If only they could see behild the empty rhetoric.

I'd settle for them having some respect for our intelligence, but my hopes for humanity are generally pretty low.
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« Reply #107 on: September 27, 2011, 06:44:05 AM »

Another cradle who discovered the notions of unbelieving white people in first-year philosophy class and thinks the rest of us will all similarly awaken if only we would open the pages of Hitchens/Dawkins.
If only they could see behild the empty rhetoric.

I'd settle for them having some respect for our intelligence, but my hopes for humanity are generally pretty low.
Well clearly we have been deluded along the way.
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« Reply #108 on: September 27, 2011, 08:50:20 AM »

At first, I though this was an 'icon' of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

I must admit, I have been touched by the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noodly appendage. May his sauce be upon me. Ramen!
Worship of the FSM evolved in China, as an offshoot of Doughism (cf. chapter 82 of the Dough De Jing). Claims of influence from India are complete Naan-sense.
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« Reply #109 on: September 27, 2011, 10:17:28 AM »

I do believe there is evidence, but ultimately even if God didn't exist I'd rather pretend He did. Even if religion is devoid of warmth, it's still better than atheism which is devoid of even the idea of warmth.

Reality becomes nothing but a big game. What would I do, go on a drinking binge, have an open relationship, go psych myself up with a bunch of humanists at a rally, sit on the beach and masturbate about my own beautiful mortality? Still can't hold back that eternal night.

When there's no objective meaning, then nothing really matters.

Pro tip: Get rid of your assumption that all the Christians here never think about these things, "See, you are using your head now." People don't often respond well to condescension.

There are different types of Atheists. In the past they would challenge religion but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock religion and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny God but serve the poor and oppressed.
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« Reply #110 on: September 27, 2011, 10:38:05 AM »

I do believe there is evidence, but ultimately even if God didn't exist I'd rather pretend He did. Even if religion is devoid of warmth, it's still better than atheism which is devoid of even the idea of warmth.

Reality becomes nothing but a big game. What would I do, go on a drinking binge, have an open relationship, go psych myself up with a bunch of humanists at a rally, sit on the beach and masturbate about my own beautiful mortality? Still can't hold back that eternal night.

When there's no objective meaning, then nothing really matters.

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Have the courage to look into the abyss...
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« Reply #111 on: September 27, 2011, 10:38:05 AM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.
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« Reply #112 on: September 27, 2011, 11:21:19 AM »

Well, the truth is that this argument about 'using your head' works as badly for religion as it does for politics.  After all, most people will say that they use their 'heads' to decide what political party to join... and there are how many?

Even science goes through changes in terms of its theories and assumptions.  My grandfather remembered when pharmacies routinely filled prescriptions containing mercury, and now we treat it as a high-level toxin.  These changes are all made by men who, in their time, were very much using their 'heads' and also very wrong.

So, now we are told that there is no God and that the Big Bang started it all... except no one has figured out how the bang started and how a bang made atomic particles out of nothing.

Yes, that makes loads of sense to me!   Cool story, bro!  Cheesy

If you want to be serious and really use your head, try this: remove Christianity from history, then close your eyes and think about how the world would be right now.  If you look on the influence of Christianity on history, you will see that it has made far more positive contributions than negative.

It is not a religion that instantly makes people perfect, but rather points them in the right direction... if they can be directed at all.


See, you are using your head now. I suggest you keep at it. I used to be Orthodox myself, but like you, I saw that there is evil in Orthodox societies just like everywhere else. That is only part of the story, but now I am an atheist. Ask yourself. Do you believe in God because you actually have evidence that he exists, or do you just believe because you want to believe in him? If the answer is the latter, then I have six words for you: Santa Claus. Easter Bunny. Tooth Fairy. Do you see my point? Maybe the reasons why you are questioning in faith have solid grounding in reality? And if that is so, may I suggest that you don't need the opium that is religion?

-From an "apostate" to a potential apostate.
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« Reply #113 on: September 27, 2011, 06:59:07 PM »

I do believe there is evidence, but ultimately even if God didn't exist I'd rather pretend He did. Even if religion is devoid of warmth, it's still better than atheism which is devoid of even the idea of warmth.

Reality becomes nothing but a big game. What would I do, go on a drinking binge, have an open relationship, go psych myself up with a bunch of humanists at a rally, sit on the beach and masturbate about my own beautiful mortality? Still can't hold back that eternal night.

When there's no objective meaning, then nothing really matters.

Sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Have the courage to look into the abyss...
I have looked into the abyss many times. I don't like the dental plan.

I'm sorry my post sounded flippant. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and I really am convicted atheism leads to nihlism and that if nothing ultimately matters, then there is absolutely no good reason to serve the poor rather than kill them.

I thank God there are atheists who don't follow their position to its fullest implications and I'm sure they're good people, I just think they're living irrationally.
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« Reply #114 on: September 27, 2011, 07:46:26 PM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.
That's because the atheism of today is just fashionable
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« Reply #115 on: September 27, 2011, 08:10:43 PM »

I do believe there is evidence, but ultimately even if God didn't exist I'd rather pretend He did. Even if religion is devoid of warmth, it's still better than atheism which is devoid of even the idea of warmth.

Reality becomes nothing but a big game. What would I do, go on a drinking binge, have an open relationship, go psych myself up with a bunch of humanists at a rally, sit on the beach and masturbate about my own beautiful mortality? Still can't hold back that eternal night.

When there's no objective meaning, then nothing really matters.

I think you (and many other people) are using religion as a moral and existential crutch. Why should "nothing matter" if there is no god? It matters that I want to live my life to the fullest. It matters that I love my family. It matters that I am anticipating having a good breakfast tomorrow morning. It matters that I care about other people. I don't need religion or any higher philosophy for this. I don't know of many depressed, nihilistic atheists. As I said in a previous post, morality is a result of evolution. It comes from within us and not from some divinely ordained commandments. Your life is what you make of it. It's up to you to find meaning in life. You don't need to hold on to the apron strings of "God" in order to do so. It's sad that you feel you are so incompetent to find meaning in life on your own that you would rather believe in an untrue religion than go without religion. By saying so, you are implicitly admitting that morality and meaning can come from people rather than from God - the people who invented the religion you would believe in out of necessity would also invent the "meaning of life" you seek within that religion.

Well, the truth is that this argument about 'using your head' works as badly for religion as it does for politics.  After all, most people will say that they use their 'heads' to decide what political party to join... and there are how many?

Even science goes through changes in terms of its theories and assumptions.  My grandfather remembered when pharmacies routinely filled prescriptions containing mercury, and now we treat it as a high-level toxin.  These changes are all made by men who, in their time, were very much using their 'heads' and also very wrong.

So, now we are told that there is no God and that the Big Bang started it all... except no one has figured out how the bang started and how a bang made atomic particles out of nothing.

Yes, that makes loads of sense to me!   Cool story, bro!  Cheesy

If you want to be serious and really use your head, try this: remove Christianity from history, then close your eyes and think about how the world would be right now.  If you look on the influence of Christianity on history, you will see that it has made far more positive contributions than negative.

Science does change, but it has managed to prove a great deal of things. A lot of theoretic models constructed by scientists (atomic theory, evolution etc) have been proven to be fact. You, on the other hand, don't seem to offer much by way of evidence that God exists, mainly questionable moral arguments that prove nothing.

The big bang didn't "create" atoms (or rather the elements that make up atoms). As I said in my first post, science believes that the substance of the universe was never created but always existed, and just changes its form (when you think about it, you exempt the creator that you believe in from the necessity of being created that you believe in, so why shouldn't I believe that something always existed and no new substance was ever created?)

As for the "positive contributions" of Christianity, that is a highly subjective issue. One way or another, I don't think you need a church or a religion to do good. Alcoholics Anonymous is not a religion, for example, nor are the United Nations. As society evolves away from religion, it will find, as it has been finding already, secular ways of organizing people for the greater good of society.

A note to Achronos - I don't follow atheism because it's a "fashion", just as I'm sure you wouldn't be Orthodox if it were "fashionable" just to be fashionable yourself. I simply believe that belief in God lacks substance in fact.





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« Reply #116 on: September 27, 2011, 08:11:38 PM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.

That is not factually accurate. The Christian Church was far more dominant in society than any small niche of Atheists. The Church did no "Challenging"..They were shot at from below until the Russian Revolution when Atheism had State Power backing it..

 I can think of no time that Atheism was ever accused of being "irrational" by the Church.

Rationalism is the tool of Atheists not the Church. The Church preaches Faith. It's appeals to reason are secondary.

So basically you just made all that up to be snarky.. Nice job.
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« Reply #117 on: September 27, 2011, 08:15:02 PM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.
That's because the atheism of today is just fashionable

Unrelated items... I have known Socialist activists who chuck great educations to go work in coal mines and sweat shops and live in poverty. That's not exactly being fashionable.
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« Reply #118 on: September 27, 2011, 08:28:51 PM »

We can wrangle with it and say that it is all people not following the teachings of Christ, not acting as Christians, etc. but either way the fact remains that in every single society which has had a long term Christian majority and a culture influenced by Christianity has been tainted to some extent by antisemitism. Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, the Balkans- for most of history AD were probably the worst places on earth to be Jewish and probably remain so to this day. The reason World War II Germany had so many Jews in the first place is they were fleeing Eastern Europe.

England is the country where the word "holocaust" is actually first used in it's modern sense! And don't even get me started on France, Spain, and the US. I forget which character it was in Ulysses who said the only reason Ireland didn't have a history of persecuting Jews is because they never let any in the country to begin with (I know that's hyperbole, but still...)

I'm having a hard time believing Christianity, let alone Orthodox Christianity, can really be the true way of God when it is constantly followed by this cancer which seems to be so pervasive in the Christian world even today. I know there are hateful Jews, but it seems like Judaism has been followed by such a specific and pernicious targeting of a single people even though they are probably the most savagely abused group on the planet.

I don't know what to do.

The Church has traditionally engaged in polemics against Judaism, as She has against other false faiths. This has also been used as a pretext for injustices against those who practice those faiths (not just Jews, but Muslims, Catholics, Protestants etc), notwithstanding the fact that the Church also condemns all injustice. If you want to lay all the blame on the doctrinal polemics, you can, but that is about as reasonable as laying all the blame for Stalin's mass murders on Karl Marx (which some do, but I think that's a stretch).

The problem is not Christianity. The problem is fallen human nature. Is there really anything more to be said?

PS I think it's actually debatable whether Eastern Europe was the worst place to be Jewish for most of history (in some parts at certain times, probably e.g. Ukraine during the Chmielnicki uprising). We could start a whole new thread on that, but e.g. I would recommend taking a look at what Alexander Solzhenitsyn had to say about actual Russian-Jewish relations in the two hundred years since eastern Poland was annexed by Russia in the late 18th century, and also Judith Herrin's book "Byzantium" in her chapter on Byzantine relations with Jews and other ethnic groups.
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« Reply #119 on: September 27, 2011, 08:30:18 PM »


I think you (and many other people) are using religion as a moral and existential crutch. Why should "nothing matter" if there is no god? It matters that I want to live my life to the fullest. It matters that I love my family. It matters that I am anticipating having a good breakfast tomorrow morning. It matters that I care about other people. I don't need religion or any higher philosophy for this. I don't know of many depressed, nihilistic atheists. As I said in a previous post, morality is a result of evolution. It comes from within us and not from some divinely ordained commandments. Your life is what you make of it. It's up to you to find meaning in life. You don't need to hold on to the apron strings of "God" in order to do so. It's sad that you feel you are so incompetent to find meaning in life on your own that you would rather believe in an untrue religion than go without religion. By saying so, you are implicitly admitting that morality and meaning can come from people rather than from God - the people who invented the religion you would believe in out of necessity would also invent the "meaning of life" you seek within that religion.
And your crutch is this idea that you can craft your own meaning of life out of nothing but your own preferences. What do you do if you care about other people but someone else wants to torture and kill them? What if the majority of society decided that their meaning lies in destroying, raping, and pilaging? What gives you the right to tell them not to? Does might make right? Oh wait, that's an objective standard...

Morality contains two basic components, the description of what people do and the "ought," what they should be doing. Evolution can only tell us what people happen to do, not what they should do. To only rely on half the equation like that makes a travesty of the very idea of morality.

Religion posits that there is an Absolute which is beyond us and which calls us to account for the way which we live our lives. Atheism lacks the very idea of such almost by definition, else it contradicts itself.
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« Reply #120 on: September 27, 2011, 08:32:04 PM »

We can wrangle with it and say that it is all people not following the teachings of Christ, not acting as Christians, etc. but either way the fact remains that in every single society which has had a long term Christian majority and a culture influenced by Christianity has been tainted to some extent by antisemitism. Russia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine, the Balkans- for most of history AD were probably the worst places on earth to be Jewish and probably remain so to this day. The reason World War II Germany had so many Jews in the first place is they were fleeing Eastern Europe.

England is the country where the word "holocaust" is actually first used in it's modern sense! And don't even get me started on France, Spain, and the US. I forget which character it was in Ulysses who said the only reason Ireland didn't have a history of persecuting Jews is because they never let any in the country to begin with (I know that's hyperbole, but still...)

I'm having a hard time believing Christianity, let alone Orthodox Christianity, can really be the true way of God when it is constantly followed by this cancer which seems to be so pervasive in the Christian world even today. I know there are hateful Jews, but it seems like Judaism has been followed by such a specific and pernicious targeting of a single people even though they are probably the most savagely abused group on the planet.

I don't know what to do.

The Church has traditionally engaged in polemics against Judaism, as She has against other false faiths. This has also been used as a pretext for injustices against those who practice those faiths (not just Jews, but Muslims, Catholics, Protestants etc), notwithstanding the fact that the Church also condemns all injustice. If you want to lay all the blame on the doctrinal polemics, you can, but that is about as reasonable as laying all the blame for Stalin's mass murders on Karl Marx (which some do, but I think that's a stretch).

The problem is not Christianity. The problem is fallen human nature. Is there really anything more to be said?

PS I think it's actually debatable whether Eastern Europe was the worst place to be Jewish for most of history (in some parts at certain times, probably e.g. Ukraine during the Chmielnicki uprising). We could start a whole new thread on that, but e.g. I would recommend taking a look at what Alexander Solzhenitsyn had to say about actual Russian-Jewish relations in the two hundred years since eastern Poland was annexed by Russia in the late 18th century, and also Judith Herrin's book "Byzantium" in her chapter on Byzantine relations with Jews and other ethnic groups.
Thanks. I'll take a look at those.
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« Reply #121 on: September 27, 2011, 08:42:15 PM »

Maybe OT, but I was talking recently with a priest in my traditionalist jurisdiction, and he was quite frank about all the negative aspects he saw in Greek culture (he's not Greek, but his parish is mostly Greek; he himself is of Anglo-Saxon background and used to be in ROCOR). His point was that the dogmatic truth of Orthodox need not blind us to the faults of particular Orthodox individuals or even nations.
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« Reply #122 on: September 27, 2011, 09:16:31 PM »

I'm sorry my post sounded flippant. I've spent a lot of time thinking about it and I really am convicted atheism leads to nihlism and that if nothing ultimately matters, then there is absolutely no good reason to serve the poor rather than kill them.

I thank God there are atheists who don't follow their position to its fullest implications and I'm sure they're good people, I just think they're living irrationally.

Fwiw, while I probably disagree with you on atheism, I didn't think your post sounded flippant. I appreciate that you struggle with these issues and try to think about them. I guess I was just trying to be encouraging... even in the darkest of times and states, there's still reason to go on IMO... my situation and what yours (or anyone elses) might be are obviously different, I just... well I hate quoting movies to make a point about "profound" stuff, but like Tom Hanks said at the end of Castaway, no matter how bad it gets, you just have to keep going, cause you never know what's just over the horizon... (now I feel dirty for quoting a movie to make a point about life...)  Smiley
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« Reply #123 on: September 27, 2011, 09:16:31 PM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.
That's because the atheism of today is just fashionable

You speak of atheism in the same way that atheists speak of Christianity, as though it's just one big unified group that can be defeated with a few argumentative jabs of the sword. There are as many types of atheists as there are types of Christians. I'm not an atheist, but if I did go down that path again I can assure you it wouldn't be a fashionable one, and people like Dawkins, et al. would think me crazy. Wink
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« Reply #124 on: September 27, 2011, 09:16:32 PM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.

That is not factually accurate. The Christian Church was far more dominant in society than any small niche of Atheists. The Church did no "Challenging"..They were shot at from below until the Russian Revolution when Atheism had State Power backing it..

 I can think of no time that Atheism was ever accused of being "irrational" by the Church.

Rationalism is the tool of Atheists not the Church. The Church preaches Faith. It's appeals to reason are secondary.

So basically you just made all that up to be snarky.. Nice job.

I made it up to try to show you the faults in your own post. Didn't seem to work.
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« Reply #125 on: September 28, 2011, 01:17:15 AM »

Right here, you decide to read my mind without any sort of evidence.  How very irrational and unscientific!  You 'think' but you are not thinking, because you make assumptions about me you cannot prove.  Such a weak premise makes everything you say afterwards equally suspect.

If you were a bit more rational, you would actually engage me in a few questions as to why I believe what I believe.  Then, perhaps, you could draw some conclusions.  But, seriously, right now you are projecting assumptions upon a lot of people you don't know.



I think you (and many other people) are using religion as a moral and existential crutch....
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« Reply #126 on: September 28, 2011, 03:28:39 AM »

There are different types of Christians. In the past they would challenge atheism but as a worthy opponent. Today, there is a different type. They mock atheism and laugh it off as irrational.

The third type are social activists who deny atheism but serve the poor and oppressed.
That's because the atheism of today is just fashionable

You speak of atheism in the same way that atheists speak of Christianity, as though it's just one big unified group that can be defeated with a few argumentative jabs of the sword. There are as many types of atheists as there are types of Christians. I'm not an atheist, but if I did go down that path again I can assure you it wouldn't be a fashionable one, and people like Dawkins, et al. would think me crazy. Wink
That comment was more jeered towards the pop atheism that is espoused today.

Oh and I know your form of atheism would need more than just a few jabs of the sword, it'll need a wrecking ball
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« Reply #127 on: September 28, 2011, 05:54:49 AM »


If you were a bit more rational, you would actually engage me in a few questions as to why I believe what I believe.  Then, perhaps, you could draw some conclusions.  But, seriously, right now you are projecting assumptions upon a lot of people you don't know.


Well, I've already asked people to show me the evidence. Why do you believe in what you believe?

And your crutch is this idea that you can craft your own meaning of life out of nothing but your own preferences. What do you do if you care about other people but someone else wants to torture and kill them? What if the majority of society decided that their meaning lies in destroying, raping, and pilaging? What gives you the right to tell them not to? Does might make right? Oh wait, that's an objective standard...

Morality contains two basic components, the description of what people do and the "ought," what they should be doing. Evolution can only tell us what people happen to do, not what they should do. To only rely on half the equation like that makes a travesty of the very idea of morality.

Religion posits that there is an Absolute which is beyond us and which calls us to account for the way which we live our lives. Atheism lacks the very idea of such almost by definition, else it contradicts itself.

I already indicated that there is no complete moral absolute in atheism. Much of morality is of necessity subjective. The fact that you want there to be an absolute and therefore ascribe it to religious teaching does not mean that the religious teaching is true and that its god and his divine-ordained morality exist in actual reality. You simply need to accept that if objective morality doesn't exist without God and if there is no God, then objective morality is impossible, just like there is no Santa Claus. Your wanting something to exist does not make it exist.

But if this is such a problem for you, how come so many atheists are honest, kind people and constructive members of society?

Here are two good short videos addressing this very question:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aCRHjH6d4Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JK9ov28pnk

And I never said that I can craft meaning of life only out of my own preferences. I said that I can do what I want as long as I don't harm other people.
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« Reply #128 on: September 28, 2011, 05:59:03 AM »

So basically morality is arbitrary.

Atheists then shouldn't be moral is the conclusion. Goes back to what I said awhile back that atheism rejects all morality.
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« Reply #129 on: September 28, 2011, 06:04:49 AM »

So basically morality is arbitrary.

Atheists then shouldn't be moral is the conclusion. Goes back to what I said awhile back that atheism rejects all morality.

May I suggest you watch the two videos I uploaded before you make such cavalier comments? Yes, morality is to a great extent arbitrary, but it most certainly does not follow that atheists shouldn't be moral. I think I've said enough on this myself, again, I suggest you watch the two videos I linked to above. They eloquently explain why atheists are moral, and IMO have a better morality than religious people at large.
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« Reply #130 on: September 28, 2011, 06:14:05 AM »

But if this is such a problem for you, how come so many atheists are honest, kind people and constructive members of society?
Either because their beliefs are inconsistent or they don't follow their follow their own beliefs.

And I never said that I can craft meaning of life only out of my own preferences. I said that I can do what I want as long as I don't harm other people.
If life has no objective meaning then there is no reason not to harm others. Hitler and Stalin did absolutely nothing wrong. If you don't see the absurdity in such a position then all I can say is, if you ever come to my house I'm hiding the good silver.
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« Reply #131 on: September 28, 2011, 06:17:25 AM »

I don't have access to youtube at the moment.

Again so morality as you say is arbitrary, so basically atheism is incapable of providing a morality that is consistent and coherent. Got it.

Oh and for the record a comprehensive study conducted by Putnam of Harvard University and Campbell of Notre Dame has found that religious people are more charitable than those that are irreligious.

http://pewforum.org/Religion-News/Religious-people-make-better-citizens-study-says.aspx
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« Reply #132 on: September 28, 2011, 07:31:21 AM »

Either because their beliefs are inconsistent or they don't follow their follow their own beliefs.

Why are they inconsistent? We believe there is no god. That's the one common thing to us. There is no underlying philosophy or concept of morality that is inherent to being and atheist. Only the lack of belief in gods.


If life has no objective meaning then there is no reason not to harm others. Hitler and Stalin did absolutely nothing wrong. If you don't see the absurdity in such a position then all I can say is, if you ever come to my house I'm hiding the good silver.

First of all, what you're writing does not prove the existence of God or even give a shred of evidence in support of his existence. It merely expresses your wish that there be an objective morality. Second of all, who is to say that religious morality is 100% objective? It depends on what religion you follow, even what priest you ask (e.g. some Orthodox priests approve of birth control, others don't. And that's just one minor example). Finally, for the umpteenth time, people act morally because they have evolved to do so. We can and do find much objective common ground in this matter. In pretty much all countries, both the most religious and the most secular, there are laws against things like theft, disorderly conduct, murder, fraud, etc. From an evolutionary point of view, not doing to people what you don't want them to do to you makes sense. If you respect others, they'll respect you. It's so simple, if anything in secular morality is objective, it's this basic principle. And you don't need religion for it, only common sense.

Your claim that I would want to steal from you because I'm an atheist is ridiculous. I wouldn't steal your silver because I would respect your right to your property and because I am grateful to be a guest in your home. How would being an atheist change that?
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« Reply #133 on: September 28, 2011, 08:30:54 AM »


Why are they inconsistent? We believe there is no god. That's the one common thing to us. There is no underlying philosophy or concept of morality that is inherent to being and atheist. Only the lack of belief in gods.
Well, granted some of them could be amoral and are just living benevolently because they happen to feel like it, but I would assume the lion's share of them actually believe in moral oughts. As I said, to be an atheist and to do so is inconsistent.

First of all, what you're writing does not prove the existence of God or even give a shred of evidence in support of his existence.
I never said it proves the existence of God, only that being an atheist and a moralist is illogical.

Second of all, who is to say that religious morality is 100% objective? It depends on what religion you follow, even what priest you ask (e.g. some Orthodox priests approve of birth control, others don't. And that's just one minor example).
The existence of difficult moral judgments doesn't mean morality isn't objective.

Finally, for the umpteenth time, people act morally because they have evolved to do so. We can and do find much objective common ground in this matter. In pretty much all countries, both the most religious and the most secular, there are laws against things like theft, disorderly conduct, murder, fraud, etc. From an evolutionary point of view, not doing to people what you don't want them to do to you makes sense. If you respect others, they'll respect you. It's so simple, if anything in secular morality is objective, it's this basic principle. And you don't need religion for it, only common sense.
Evolution only tells us people as a whole do what is conducive to the survival of the group. Why should group survival be the universal good though? Why not wish humankind would go extinct so that other species might flourish? What someone who values power over respect and would rather step over people to gain it? How about a psychopath who wishes to kill everyone and then himself? You can't tell him he's wrong.

Your claim that I would want to steal from you because I'm an atheist is ridiculous. I wouldn't steal your silver because I would respect your right to your property and because I am grateful to be a guest in your home. How would being an atheist change that?
First of all, what's a property right if there are no moral absolutes? Second, you said you don't believe in moral absolutes so for all I know you're lying to me. For all I know you think stealing my silver is moral relative to some set of aims of yours.

That's my point, once we take out the objective standard, morality is completely up in the air.
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« Reply #134 on: September 28, 2011, 01:41:35 PM »

I know our newest poster here is a bit abrasive and difficult, especially with the one-line comments in some of the threads. Nonetheless, I have to be honest, it's when I see Christians try to argue against atheism in threads like this that I am most sympathetic to atheism. I've said many times that I didn't first leave the Church because of guys like Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris (who I had never even read at that point, and still pretty much have barely read), but rather because of Paul and St. John Chrysostom and so forth. Same thing here... I don't sympathise with atheism because the arguments of Čika-Gliša are so good, but rather because the arguments of Christians are so bad. It's sort of like scanning a post of Christian objections to atheism or unbelief, and I'm thinking: "No, don't agree with that; nah, not quite right; I think that's a misunderstanding; that's probably not correct either; etc." and I'm left with the growing question... well, what do I do then? 
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