Author Topic: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)  (Read 9969 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MichaelofSN

  • What is even happening right now?
  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 292
Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« on: April 16, 2016, 05:15:58 AM »
It's been almost a year since I gave up trying to believe and boy has it been an exciting one.  I've written a book on my experiences going from a charismatic Christian and working my way through the plethora of versions of Christianity to landing on Orthodoxy as my last preferred flavor of faith before giving up the whole thing.  As an atheist, I still consider Orthodoxy to be the best expression of Christianity (having gone through the laborious task of reading all the fathers, and the teachings of the apostles, etc. etc. etc.)  The experience of excommunication, or as it was put to me "losing ecumenical status", was exciting.  It really was not a big deal, but to me, I felt like Galileo or Socrates; as a feeling, not as a comparison of significance or intellect (I'm sure you agree that making that value judgement would be inappropriate).

I'm in love with the world in ways I could not have imagined before.  Where there used to be insufficient answers, there are now big and inspiring questions about the nature of consciousness, the mind / body distinction, the problem of the external world, etc.  I've lost familial relationships, but gained many friends in the scientific community.  I've debated publicly 5 times, and I always get the young Christians who stay for hours after the debate to ask me why I left.  I always tell them to stay the course in their faith unless they cannot.  Being faithless is not for everyone, but if you can manage it ... you ought to take it for a test drive if nothing more than to see what the hype is about.

I used to read here... A LOT.  There are some really, really stupid people who post here, but at the same time there are Christians here who, if their expressed ideas are any indication of their actual faith and belief, some of the smartest people I've talked to.  Some of which actually took the time to speak with me directly.  You guys have a great forum here.  I'm posting this because I've decided to leave the online community that involves itself in matters of faith, and I making a few rounds to thank some folks who have been really instrumental in the happiness I now have (you have a DM from me).

Without starting a debate or getting all "canonical", I just felt compelled to say this;
If there is a god, if there is a heaven... Tolstoy was right.  Look no further than the ikon of the living arbiter of your salvation that you find in the mirror.

Thanks guys/gals!

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

  • "SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,696
  • Trolling Babylon 24/7, without apology!
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1456515775
  • Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 06:16:56 AM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post. And as unorthodox as Tolstoy was, I think he pretty much got it right. So I wish you well, and I ask you to pray for me (however you choose to do so.) Peace on the journey my friend.  :)


Selam
"Whether it’s the guillotine, the hangman’s noose, or reciprocal endeavors of militaristic horror, radical evil will never be recompensed with radical punishment. The only answer, the only remedy, and the only truly effective response to radical evil is radical love."
+ Gebre Menfes Kidus +
http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000984270/Rebel-Song.aspx

Offline Rohzek

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,364
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 11:25:42 AM »
there are now big and inspiring questions about the nature of consciousness, the mind / body distinction, the problem of the external world, etc. 

That's an issue that has fascinated me for about a year and a half now. Where do you stand on it? You a dualist, Mysterianist, or do you think the problem cannot even be formulated like Chomsky does? Or maybe some form materialism, whatever that might mean these days?
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline LenInSebastopol

  • Dimly Illumined
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,596
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 01:16:53 PM »
Tried that way, as you are going. For me it turned out to be hell.
It's good you have made peace with what you've found.
Steady on.
God is The Creator of All Free Beings

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 02:07:02 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2016, 02:41:26 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

Speaking the truth is not the opposite of kindness.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline RaphaCam

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,085
  • It is honourable to reveal the works of God
    • Em Espírito e em Verdade
  • Faith: Big-O Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Exarchate of Gotham City
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2016, 03:33:47 PM »
Why were you excommunicated anyway? I'd feel more like Heimbach.
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

Offline scamandrius

  • A man of many, many turns
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 9,377
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: DOWAMA of AANA
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2016, 06:47:33 PM »
The experience of excommunication, or as it was put to me "losing ecumenical status", was exciting.  It really was not a big deal, but to me, .

Excommunication is really not a big deal but you feel the need to come here and exult in it?
Da quod iubes et iube quod vis.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2016, 08:02:32 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

Speaking the truth is not the opposite of kindness.

Now it isn't. 

Offline sheep100

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 57
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 06:05:27 AM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 06:32:07 AM »
Quote
There are some really, really stupid people who post here, but at the same time there are Christians here who, if their expressed ideas are any indication of their actual faith and belief, some of the smartest people I've talked to.
If you're actually a "scientific" atheist now, this doesn't even make sense. How can one who completely rejects the concept of religion and bases their worldview on scientific evidence and logic believe that anyone who believes in the notion of these fairy tales are some of the "smartest" people that they've talked to? Most educated atheists that I know believe religious people are  either foolish or seriously delusional and misguided at best. There are no "smart" Christians.

As for the "stupid" people who post on here, I percieve you believe this because you might  disagree with their philosophy or politics on certain issues. Not so much their deductive reasoning.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 06:33:01 AM »
Why were you excommunicated anyway? I'd feel more like Heimbach.
I seriously doubt  it was for the same reasons.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 06:33:13 AM by Charles Martel »
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline immerlein

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 37
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Romanian Orthodox Church in New Zealand
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 07:10:37 AM »
This thread makes me feel sad :(

Offline Valekhai

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2016, 07:28:09 AM »
Quote
There are some really, really stupid people who post here, but at the same time there are Christians here who, if their expressed ideas are any indication of their actual faith and belief, some of the smartest people I've talked to.
If you're actually a "scientific" atheist now, this doesn't even make sense. How can one who completely rejects the concept of religion and bases their worldview on scientific evidence and logic believe that anyone who believes in the notion of these fairy tales are some of the "smartest" people that they've talked to? Most educated atheists that I know believe religious people are  either foolish or seriously delusional and misguided at best. There are no "smart" Christians.

As for the "stupid" people who post on here, I percieve you believe this because you might  disagree with their philosophy or politics on certain issues. Not so much their deductive reasoning.

In my experience, a lot of the differences between what I believe and what religious people believe are based in differences on the level of intuition. Things that I can’t wrap my head around just sort of automatically 'click' for them, and vice versa. I was having a chat recently with a man who frequently comes to evangelize at the campus where I work, and we kept coming back to these couple of points that we just couldn't see eye-to-eye on. He doesn't understand how I could believe that matter can arrange itself into complex, functional forms without guidance from and intelligent being. I don’t understand how he can believe that a mind can exist without a physical body or how it could bring material things into existence with just a thought. These are things that neither of us can really demonstrate or disprove, but they lead to differences in our worldviews that don't rely necessarily on our respective intelligence. I don’t think that this guy is dumb and I don't think that I'm a genius.

If someone, on some intuitive level, thinks that there must be some sort of personal creator/designer of the cosmos, I can see how this will lead to in increased likelihood of accepting things like miracles. Things that very easily seem like coincidence to me will seem like divine intervention to them and will point them to one religion or another. Again, this doesn't require them to be stupid and me being skeptical doesn't require me to be smart.

So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.

Offline Cyrillic

  • Laser Basileus.
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,710
  • St. Theodoret of Cyrrhus, pray for us!
  • Jurisdiction: But my heart belongs to Finland
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2016, 07:44:28 AM »
It's telling that you came back to this forum, OP.

I like how your post is an attempt to convince yourself, and not us.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 07:45:47 AM by Cyrillic »

Offline byhisgrace

  • AOCB
  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,265
  • Memory Eternal to my Younger Brother
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2016, 09:59:25 AM »
Thanks for your post, Michael. I'm sad to see you go, but I appreciate many of the things you said.

Best wishes.
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2016, 11:10:21 AM »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RaphaCam

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,085
  • It is honourable to reveal the works of God
    • Em Espírito e em Verdade
  • Faith: Big-O Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Exarchate of Gotham City
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2016, 11:40:56 AM »
Why were you excommunicated anyway? I'd feel more like Heimbach.
I seriously doubt  it was for the same reasons.
Sure, but between a Heimbach and a Galileo...
"May the Lord our God remember in His kingdom all Holy Catholic Apostolic Church, which heralds the Word of Truth and fearlessly offers and distributes the Holy Oblation despite human deficiencies and persecutions moved by the powers of this world, in all time and unto the ages of ages."

May the Blessed Light shine Forth

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2016, 02:51:33 PM »
Quote
There are some really, really stupid people who post here, but at the same time there are Christians here who, if their expressed ideas are any indication of their actual faith and belief, some of the smartest people I've talked to.
If you're actually a "scientific" atheist now, this doesn't even make sense. How can one who completely rejects the concept of religion and bases their worldview on scientific evidence and logic believe that anyone who believes in the notion of these fairy tales are some of the "smartest" people that they've talked to? Most educated atheists that I know believe religious people are  either foolish or seriously delusional and misguided at best. There are no "smart" Christians.

As for the "stupid" people who post on here, I percieve you believe this because you might  disagree with their philosophy or politics on certain issues. Not so much their deductive reasoning.

In my experience, a lot of the differences between what I believe and what religious people believe are based in differences on the level of intuition. Things that I can’t wrap my head around just sort of automatically 'click' for them, and vice versa. I was having a chat recently with a man who frequently comes to evangelize at the campus where I work, and we kept coming back to these couple of points that we just couldn't see eye-to-eye on. He doesn't understand how I could believe that matter can arrange itself into complex, functional forms without guidance from and intelligent being. I don’t understand how he can believe that a mind can exist without a physical body or how it could bring material things into existence with just a thought. These are things that neither of us can really demonstrate or disprove, but they lead to differences in our worldviews that don't rely necessarily on our respective intelligence. I don’t think that this guy is dumb and I don't think that I'm a genius.

If someone, on some intuitive level, thinks that there must be some sort of personal creator/designer of the cosmos, I can see how this will lead to in increased likelihood of accepting things like miracles. Things that very easily seem like coincidence to me will seem like divine intervention to them and will point them to one religion or another. Again, this doesn't require them to be stupid and me being skeptical doesn't require me to be smart.

So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2016, 02:55:42 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2016, 03:08:39 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens.

Since you are an expert on things Orthodox, you must know that we have ways of communicating love and support for those on their own (non-?)spiritual journey without confirming them in some of its negative aspects.  Doing the latter and then declaring divine support and blessing isn't one of them. 

Quote
Relax.
 

IOW, "Who cares?"

Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,812
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2016, 03:09:06 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.

That doesn't mean we should be encouraging someone's apostasy.
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2016, 03:27:44 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens.

Since you are an expert on things Orthodox, you must know that we have ways of communicating love and support for those on their own (non-?)spiritual journey without confirming them in some of its negative aspects.  Doing the latter and then declaring divine support and blessing isn't one of them. 

Quote
Relax.
 

IOW, "Who cares?"

So you want Gebre make some big show of wringing his hands and browbeat the guy with fire and brimstone? How will any of that help when MichaelofSN's already been excommunicated, for Pete's sake?

I'm sure that MichaelofSN is well aware of what he's given up, he doesn't need us to pile on the negativity. One can recognize that where he is now has some positive aspects while still affirming that Christianity would be better. Have some faith that God is still watching over him and will convict and lead him home in the proper time.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 03:32:52 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline byhisgrace

  • AOCB
  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,265
  • Memory Eternal to my Younger Brother
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2016, 03:42:21 PM »
Quote
There are some really, really stupid people who post here, but at the same time there are Christians here who, if their expressed ideas are any indication of their actual faith and belief, some of the smartest people I've talked to.
If you're actually a "scientific" atheist now, this doesn't even make sense. How can one who completely rejects the concept of religion and bases their worldview on scientific evidence and logic believe that anyone who believes in the notion of these fairy tales are some of the "smartest" people that they've talked to? Most educated atheists that I know believe religious people are  either foolish or seriously delusional and misguided at best. There are no "smart" Christians.

As for the "stupid" people who post on here, I percieve you believe this because you might  disagree with their philosophy or politics on certain issues. Not so much their deductive reasoning.

In my experience, a lot of the differences between what I believe and what religious people believe are based in differences on the level of intuition. Things that I can’t wrap my head around just sort of automatically 'click' for them, and vice versa. I was having a chat recently with a man who frequently comes to evangelize at the campus where I work, and we kept coming back to these couple of points that we just couldn't see eye-to-eye on. He doesn't understand how I could believe that matter can arrange itself into complex, functional forms without guidance from and intelligent being. I don’t understand how he can believe that a mind can exist without a physical body or how it could bring material things into existence with just a thought. These are things that neither of us can really demonstrate or disprove, but they lead to differences in our worldviews that don't rely necessarily on our respective intelligence. I don’t think that this guy is dumb and I don't think that I'm a genius.

If someone, on some intuitive level, thinks that there must be some sort of personal creator/designer of the cosmos, I can see how this will lead to in increased likelihood of accepting things like miracles. Things that very easily seem like coincidence to me will seem like divine intervention to them and will point them to one religion or another. Again, this doesn't require them to be stupid and me being skeptical doesn't require me to be smart.

So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
Agreed.
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

Online Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,505
  • Race: Human. Culture: Yes.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2016, 03:42:50 PM »
What I saw in the OP was a drive-by attempt to gloat and rub our noses in the happiness of his secular condition. So I shrugged, thought 'nothing to see here', and went on with my life.

tl;dr - We don't need to have the last word here. Chill.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 03:43:03 PM by Arachne »
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

~ bookshelf ~ ugly writing ~ jukebox ~

Offline wgw

  • All scorpions must DIE!!!
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,816
  • This icon is of St. Athansius.
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2016, 04:09:45 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.

That doesn't mean we should be encouraging someone's apostasy.

Indeed.  Gebre, you know how much I love you, but the loving thing to do would be to very politely call him to repentance.  By the way, I am not accusing the OP of trolling, but I would like to very respectfully suggest to the OP that some might read his post that way.  There are better, less polemical ways you could have expressed yourself, frankly.
Axios and many years to you, Fr. Trenham!

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2016, 04:24:50 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.

That doesn't mean we should be encouraging someone's apostasy.

Indeed.  Gebre, you know how much I love you, but the loving thing to do would be to very politely call him to repentance.  By the way, I am not accusing the OP of trolling, but I would like to very respectfully suggest to the OP that some might read his post that way.  There are better, less polemical ways you could have expressed yourself, frankly.
How does one politely call another to repentance over the Internet?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2016, 04:27:19 PM »
So you want Gebre make some big show of wringing his hands and browbeat the guy with fire and brimstone? How will any of that help when MichaelofSN's already been excommunicated, for Pete's sake?

I never said or implied anything of the sort.  In the words of Volnutt, "Relax."

Quote
I'm sure that MichaelofSN is well aware of what he's given up, he doesn't need us to pile on the negativity. One can recognize that where he is now has some positive aspects while still affirming that Christianity would be better.

I agree.  You will note that I have not voiced even one word of criticism to the OP.  I don't think anyone really needs to do much more than pray for him and wish him well.  Unfortunately, Gebre felt the need to go the extra mile.  That, also, can be a good thing.  In this case, not so much.

Quote
Have some faith that God is still watching over him and will convict and lead him home in the proper time.

Your instruction in the ways of faith is my firm foundation and sure hope.   

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2016, 05:06:20 PM »
So you want Gebre make some big show of wringing his hands and browbeat the guy with fire and brimstone? How will any of that help when MichaelofSN's already been excommunicated, for Pete's sake?

I never said or implied anything of the sort.  In the words of Volnutt, "Relax."

I know you didn't. I was using hyperbole. My point is, scolding him is pointless. Maybe if he was some rando without a history on this site, but he's obviously been around the block and already knows that he needs to repent.

Quote
I'm sure that MichaelofSN is well aware of what he's given up, he doesn't need us to pile on the negativity. One can recognize that where he is now has some positive aspects while still affirming that Christianity would be better.

I agree.  You will note that I have not voiced even one word of criticism to the OP.  I don't think anyone really needs to do much more than pray for him and wish him well.  Unfortunately, Gebre felt the need to go the extra mile.  That, also, can be a good thing.  In this case, not so much.

I don't read Gebre's post as denying that apostasy is a bad thing. I saw him as just trying to act in good faith and affirm that the OP still has some good qualities even though he's in a period of spiritual struggle. Lots of people go through seasons of atheism for all kinds of reasons (many of them being the fault of well meaning and not so well meaning Christians) and wind up coming back to the fold stronger than ever.

Quote
Have some faith that God is still watching over him and will convict and lead him home in the proper time.

Your instruction in the ways of faith is my firm foundation and sure hope.

And your godlike moral superiority over everybody else on this site does the same for me.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:07:42 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Theophania

  • Ecumenical Dissipation Association *OF* America
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,812
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2016, 05:15:28 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.

That doesn't mean we should be encouraging someone's apostasy.

Indeed.  Gebre, you know how much I love you, but the loving thing to do would be to very politely call him to repentance.  By the way, I am not accusing the OP of trolling, but I would like to very respectfully suggest to the OP that some might read his post that way.  There are better, less polemical ways you could have expressed yourself, frankly.
How does one politely call another to repentance over the Internet?

You make a thread about them in the Politics forum.
It's common knowledge that you secretly want to be born in early 17th century Russia.  As a serf or a royal, I know not.  Chances are serf.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2016, 05:17:37 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

+1

I doubt the Fathers of the Church would have had so lackadaisical an attitude towards apostasy when they were so ferocious in fighting heresy.

Who's being lackadaisical? I think that Gebre's just trying to look on the bright side.

I thought an Orthodox above all people would appreciate the fact that we're all on a journey in this life and that nobody's destiny before God is "locked down" until the end of life. Some people's journeys take detours, it happens. Relax.

That doesn't mean we should be encouraging someone's apostasy.

Indeed.  Gebre, you know how much I love you, but the loving thing to do would be to very politely call him to repentance.  By the way, I am not accusing the OP of trolling, but I would like to very respectfully suggest to the OP that some might read his post that way.  There are better, less polemical ways you could have expressed yourself, frankly.
How does one politely call another to repentance over the Internet?

You make a thread about them in the Politics forum.

Buh dum tssssh
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #31 on: April 17, 2016, 05:25:10 PM »
I know you didn't. I was using hyperbole. My point is, scolding him is pointless. Maybe if he was some rando without a history on this site, but he's obviously been around the block and already knows that he needs to repent.

That's the last impression I get from the OP.

Quote
I don't read Gebre's post as denying that apostasy is a bad thing. I saw him as just trying to act in good faith and affirm that the OP still has some good qualities even though he's in a period of spiritual struggle. Lots of people go through seasons of atheism for all kinds of reasons (many of them being the fault of well meaning and not so well meaning Christians) and wind up coming back to the fold stronger than ever.

Is the OP in a period of spiritual struggle?  That might be a "Christian" interpretation of his experience, but it doesn't seem to be the OP's.  That's a critical distinction, IMO: are we really "supporting" someone if we understand them the way we want as opposed to how they understand and express themselves? 

Quote
Your instruction in the ways of faith is my firm foundation and sure hope.

And your godlike moral superiority over everybody else on this site does the same for me.

Good.  I hate failing. 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 05:25:24 PM by Mor Ephrem »

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #32 on: April 17, 2016, 05:56:31 PM »
I know you didn't. I was using hyperbole. My point is, scolding him is pointless. Maybe if he was some rando without a history on this site, but he's obviously been around the block and already knows that he needs to repent.

That's the last impression I get from the OP.

Considering that he's posting this on an Orthodox discussion forum and he's been back and forth with people on here, I think it's safe to assume that he has indeed heard that one needs to repent if they don't believe in God. As for internalizing this, maybe he has and maybe he hasn't, we don't know. Just throwing it in his face is not going to help much, though. We all fail in belief from time to time and I dare say we all revel in our unbelief from time to time. This should cause us to have some compassion and understanding when others do the same thing.

Quote
I don't read Gebre's post as denying that apostasy is a bad thing. I saw him as just trying to act in good faith and affirm that the OP still has some good qualities even though he's in a period of spiritual struggle. Lots of people go through seasons of atheism for all kinds of reasons (many of them being the fault of well meaning and not so well meaning Christians) and wind up coming back to the fold stronger than ever.

Is the OP in a period of spiritual struggle?  That might be a "Christian" interpretation of his experience, but it doesn't seem to be the OP's.  That's a critical distinction, IMO: are we really "supporting" someone if we understand them the way we want as opposed to how they understand and express themselves?

I don't deny that Michael is a tad arrogant, but so what? Everybody is from time to time. I should probably not have used the word struggle, but my point is that we're all on different points on our journey and kicking one another when we're down only causes bitterness.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Luke

  • Formerly Gamliel
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,618
  • Ευλογημένη Σαρακοστή
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of San Francisco
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #33 on: April 17, 2016, 06:11:14 PM »
What I saw in the OP was a drive-by attempt to gloat and rub our noses in the happiness of his secular condition. So I shrugged, thought 'nothing to see here', and went on with my life.

tl;dr - We don't need to have the last word here. Chill.
+

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #34 on: April 17, 2016, 06:38:56 PM »
Quote
So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.
Well, from my observation, non-religious people, that is to say, anti-religious people, especially educated ones, believe people who believe in the existence of Jesus or any other gods are bascially idiots. No matter how high their IQ is.

Also, i just never heard a true atheist declare that some religious people are some of the "smartest" people they ever talked to.

Tis all.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline Valekhai

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2016, 07:47:08 PM »
Quote
So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.
Well, from my observation, non-religious people, that is to say, anti-religious people, especially educated ones, believe people who believe in the existence of Jesus or any other gods are bascially idiots. No matter how high their IQ is.

Also, i just never heard a true atheist declare that some religious people are some of the "smartest" people they ever talked to.

Tis all.

In my experience, the more educated atheists are the ones who are more likely to acknowledge that there are intelligent folks on the other side; the ones who never go beyond 'pop atheism' the are the ones who dismiss believers as stupid.

And I'm not sure what you'd consider a 'true' atheist, but I would definitely say that some religious people are among the smartest people I've met. Also some of the dumbest. Both sides run the gamut, and religiosity doesn't seem to be an effective measure of intelligence in either direction.

Offline Minnesotan

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 3,329
  • Milo Thatch is the ONLY Milo for me. #FreeAtlantis
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2016, 08:04:59 PM »
Quote
So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.
Well, from my observation, non-religious people, that is to say, anti-religious people, especially educated ones, believe people who believe in the existence of Jesus or any other gods are bascially idiots. No matter how high their IQ is.

Also, i just never heard a true atheist declare that some religious people are some of the "smartest" people they ever talked to.

Tis all.

In my experience, the more educated atheists are the ones who are more likely to acknowledge that there are intelligent folks on the other side; the ones who never go beyond 'pop atheism' the are the ones who dismiss believers as stupid.

Yeah; atheists who claim that "all religious believers are stupid" are more likely to be of the neckbearding, socially awkward Reddit variety.

Even Richard Dawkins identifies as a cultural Christian and says he finds a lot to like about Anglicanism, although he doesn't believe in it. Many educated atheists might still consider religious beliefs themselves to be stupid or bizarre, but that doesn't necessarily translate into viewing the beliefs' adherents the same way.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 08:05:12 PM by Minnesotan »
I'm not going to be posting as much on OC.Net as before. I might stop in once in a while though. But I've come to realize that real life is more important.

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

  • "SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,696
  • Trolling Babylon 24/7, without apology!
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1456515775
  • Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2016, 08:57:54 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post.

There are some really, really stupid people who post here...

I admit that I'm not the brightest guy around here. Which is why I appreciate OC.net. I learn a lot from many of you who are much more knowledgeable and intelligent than I am.

Selam
"Whether it’s the guillotine, the hangman’s noose, or reciprocal endeavors of militaristic horror, radical evil will never be recompensed with radical punishment. The only answer, the only remedy, and the only truly effective response to radical evil is radical love."
+ Gebre Menfes Kidus +
http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000984270/Rebel-Song.aspx

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #38 on: April 17, 2016, 09:13:26 PM »
Many years!
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline TheTrisagion

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,814
  • All good things come to an end
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2016, 09:55:15 PM »
Hope you hang around for a bit, MichaelofSN. I've enjoyed your prior posts.  I'm sorry to hear about the direction your faith has taken. I've taken that journey myself, and returned back to Christianity. I can't prove its true, but I like myself a lot more as a Christian than I did when I was an agnostic (never made it quite to atheist, seemed a bit too definitive for me. Maybe I just disliked the label, I dunno.).
God bless!

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Protokentarchos
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,799
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2016, 10:16:59 PM »
Sounds to me like you're pretty close to God, at least in ways that God truly cares about. I find a lot of love and kindness in your post. And as unorthodox as Tolstoy was, I think he pretty much got it right. So I wish you well, and I ask you to pray for me (however you choose to do so.) Peace on the journey my friend.  :)


Selam

+1

I applaud this post
If you cannot remember everything, instead of everything, I beg you, remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.  If we have this attitude, we will certainly offer our money; and by nourishing Christ in poverty here and laying up great profit hereafter, we will be able to attain the good things which are to come. - St. John Chrysostom

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Protokentarchos
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,799
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #41 on: April 17, 2016, 11:17:01 PM »
Hi Valekhai,

I highlighted a couple of phrases that I am curious about. Based on what I know, I do not think life originated on Earth (I have posted about this before in the Dead Horse thread). If you are willing to have a non-confrontational discussion, let me know


In my experience, a lot of the differences between what I believe and what religious people believe are based in differences on the level of intuition. Things that I can’t wrap my head around just sort of automatically 'click' for them, and vice versa. I was having a chat recently with a man who frequently comes to evangelize at the campus where I work, and we kept coming back to these couple of points that we just couldn't see eye-to-eye on. He doesn't understand how I could believe that matter can arrange itself into complex, functional forms without guidance from and intelligent being. I don’t understand how he can believe that a mind can exist without a physical body or how it could bring material things into existence with just a thought. These are things that neither of us can really demonstrate or disprove, but they lead to differences in our worldviews that don't rely necessarily on our respective intelligence. I don’t think that this guy is dumb and I don't think that I'm a genius.

If someone, on some intuitive level, thinks that there must be some sort of personal creator/designer of the cosmos, I can see how this will lead to in increased likelihood of accepting things like miracles. Things that very easily seem like coincidence to me will seem like divine intervention to them and will point them to one religion or another. Again, this doesn't require them to be stupid and me being skeptical doesn't require me to be smart.

So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.
If you cannot remember everything, instead of everything, I beg you, remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.  If we have this attitude, we will certainly offer our money; and by nourishing Christ in poverty here and laying up great profit hereafter, we will be able to attain the good things which are to come. - St. John Chrysostom

Offline LenInSebastopol

  • Dimly Illumined
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,596
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #42 on: April 18, 2016, 12:32:49 AM »
Wondering, does it matter where life originated? This or some other planet dumping their stuff into our ooze? It's still Aquinas' question of the origin not the location, unless you like "spontaneous creation" a' la' Hawkins.
The other question involves complexity of organism. Darwin had trouble with the eye getting more complex, or a flagella needing 47 proteins to spin. Even the genome project head had to genuflect.
Have those issues been resolved, outside of mathematical models?


Hi Valekhai,

I highlighted a couple of phrases that I am curious about. Based on what I know, I do not think life originated on Earth (I have posted about this before in the Dead Horse thread). If you are willing to have a non-confrontational discussion, let me know


In my experience, a lot of the differences between what I believe and what religious people believe are based in differences on the level of intuition. Things that I can’t wrap my head around just sort of automatically 'click' for them, and vice versa. I was having a chat recently with a man who frequently comes to evangelize at the campus where I work, and we kept coming back to these couple of points that we just couldn't see eye-to-eye on. He doesn't understand how I could believe that matter can arrange itself into complex, functional forms without guidance from and intelligent being. I don’t understand how he can believe that a mind can exist without a physical body or how it could bring material things into existence with just a thought. These are things that neither of us can really demonstrate or disprove, but they lead to differences in our worldviews that don't rely necessarily on our respective intelligence. I don’t think that this guy is dumb and I don't think that I'm a genius.

If someone, on some intuitive level, thinks that there must be some sort of personal creator/designer of the cosmos, I can see how this will lead to in increased likelihood of accepting things like miracles. Things that very easily seem like coincidence to me will seem like divine intervention to them and will point them to one religion or another. Again, this doesn't require them to be stupid and me being skeptical doesn't require me to be smart.

So, yeah, the idea that religious people must be dumb isn't one that holds much weight for me.
God is The Creator of All Free Beings

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #43 on: April 18, 2016, 02:43:35 AM »
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Online Arachne

  • Trinary Unit || Resident Bossy Boots
  • Section Moderator
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 11,505
  • Race: Human. Culture: Yes.
  • Faith: Cradle Greek Orthodox. Cope.
  • Jurisdiction: Antiochian Archdiocese, UK
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #44 on: April 18, 2016, 03:13:26 AM »
Even Richard Dawkins identifies as a cultural Christian and says he finds a lot to like about Anglicanism, although he doesn't believe in it.

That's why he and his entourage can get so sloppy with facts.
'Evil isn't the real threat to the world. Stupid is just as destructive as evil, maybe more so, and it's a hell of a lot more common. What we really need is a crusade against stupid. That might actually make a difference.'~Harry Dresden

~ bookshelf ~ ugly writing ~ jukebox ~

Offline Gebre Menfes Kidus

  • "SERVANT of The HOLY SPIRIT"
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,696
  • Trolling Babylon 24/7, without apology!
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=1456515775
  • Faith: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #45 on: April 18, 2016, 03:16:26 AM »
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?

I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam
"Whether it’s the guillotine, the hangman’s noose, or reciprocal endeavors of militaristic horror, radical evil will never be recompensed with radical punishment. The only answer, the only remedy, and the only truly effective response to radical evil is radical love."
+ Gebre Menfes Kidus +
http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000984270/Rebel-Song.aspx

Offline FinnJames

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,079
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of Finland
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #46 on: April 18, 2016, 03:45:20 AM »
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?

I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam

Anyone thinking about these questions might want to have a look at physicist Lawrence M. Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing or his YouTube videos on the same topic. It is possible to absorb the information there without jettisoning your faith and becoming an atheist.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #47 on: April 18, 2016, 02:25:43 PM »
I'll give it a watch, but if Krauss is anything like Stephen Hawking is on this then he's blowing smoke. "Nothing" is not some extremely low chaotic energy state that's still subject to gravity or whatever, it's... nothing. If Hawking didn't have so much disdain for philosophy he'd likely realize this.

Thus his "the universe creates itself" is really just a bare assertion of the eternality of matter, which doesn't tell us anything about whether there's a God or whether there needs to be a God.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2016, 02:27:53 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #48 on: April 18, 2016, 04:27:49 PM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #49 on: April 18, 2016, 05:18:18 PM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .

Which textual problems are you referring to? Most of the ones I've seen have been very minor in terms of Christianity's overall message (eg. even if Mark 16:9-19 is not a genuine part of the original, it isn't like it's the only passage in the NT about the Resurrection).

That being said, I don't believe that Christianity is strictly speaking provable. But in the absence of a definitive proof that it's false, I prefer to give it the benefit of the doubt since it's such an old and widely held belief system compared to modern forms of rationalistic atheism (obviously, how Christianity stacks up against similarly old or older beliefs like Judaism or Hinduism is a different question).
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 643
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #50 on: April 18, 2016, 05:35:38 PM »
MichaelofSN,

You and I had an exchange in the past, an exchange I left all the more disappointed because I found your newfound worldview so naive and incoherent, perhaps because I  myself tried for so long to find true meaning in my life within my atheistic perspective. Maybe you will get lucky, and you will be able to ignore the tormenting conclusions thinkers like Nietzsche and Camus found at the end of their worldviews. The world increasingly offers ways for those of us in Western society to ignore just how horrendous is the world that we inhabit.

I do wish for you the best, despite our disagreements, and I hope that someday you realize that, although you were unaware, God was more real and intimate than anything or anyone else you know.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #51 on: April 18, 2016, 06:23:08 PM »
Quote
In my experience, the more educated atheists are the ones who are more likely to acknowledge that there are intelligent folks on the other side;
Just the opposite in my opinion, the more educated those little fellers are, the less they are to buy into religion and other "superstition". I had a good friend of mine I grew up, brilliant kid, valedictorian in HS, went on to BC , nailed it in college and picked up a few PHD's I believe. This guy was like a rocket scientist but totally down to Earth, We'd get together a few times and anytime the subject of religion came up, he was completely put off, he  was too smart (maybe for his own good) for me  to get into it scientifically or even philosophically and to be honest, he believed that anyone who did have faith was because they lacked the education or intelligence  or perception to figure out the reality of the ridiculousness of religious mind control or together. Nice guy, but all that education destroyed any faith he had all together and would pick apart anyone around him trying to believe. Sad part is, he died rather quickly in his disbelief, I'm concerned about his immortal soul. But his atheism was genuine and he truly struggled with the whole aspect of an absolute being controlling our lives and destinies. God have mercy on him.

Quote
the ones who never go beyond 'pop atheism' the are the ones who dismiss believers as stupid.
Meh, most of them are easily dismissed by any amateur apologist. Not that i'm one.


Quote
And I'm not sure what you'd consider a 'true' atheist, but I would definitely say that some religious people are among the smartest people I've met.
Sadly, most of them I ever met were truly idiots or  hypocrites in the least. I'm not impressed by most religious people, most are charlatans.

Quote
Both sides run the gamut, and religiosity doesn't seem to be an effective measure of intelligence in either direction.
I'm going to disagree with this to a point, it matters really what "religion" you're talking about.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #52 on: April 18, 2016, 06:45:55 PM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .

Which textual problems are you referring to? Most of the ones I've seen have been very minor in terms of Christianity's overall message (eg. even if Mark 16:9-19 is not a genuine part of the original, it isn't like it's the only passage in the NT about the Resurrection).

That being said, I don't believe that Christianity is strictly speaking provable. But in the absence of a definitive proof that it's false, I prefer to give it the benefit of the doubt since it's such an old and widely held belief system compared to modern forms of rationalistic atheism (obviously, how Christianity stacks up against similarly old or older beliefs like Judaism or Hinduism is a different question).
We'll take the nativity or resurrection narratives for starters. But I don't wanna debate these really. I'm quite content with how things are . Nobody can livewithoit a mythology. Not even the scientists.
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #53 on: April 18, 2016, 06:55:28 PM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .

Which textual problems are you referring to? Most of the ones I've seen have been very minor in terms of Christianity's overall message (eg. even if Mark 16:9-19 is not a genuine part of the original, it isn't like it's the only passage in the NT about the Resurrection).

That being said, I don't believe that Christianity is strictly speaking provable. But in the absence of a definitive proof that it's false, I prefer to give it the benefit of the doubt since it's such an old and widely held belief system compared to modern forms of rationalistic atheism (obviously, how Christianity stacks up against similarly old or older beliefs like Judaism or Hinduism is a different question).
We'll take the nativity or resurrection narratives for starters. But I don't wanna debate these really. I'm quite content with how things are . Nobody can livewithoit a mythology. Not even the scientists.

Ok. Fair enough.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline LenInSebastopol

  • Dimly Illumined
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,596
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2016, 08:45:23 PM »
Charles, disagree on educated folk having God-smacked outta them. While it is true in this day and age, one can simply note it is the zeitgeist of late. And the politics of the education industry has mandated that what is Beauty, Truth & Goodness be marginalized, ridiculed and diminished at every turn when it appears.  I do have hope that it is turning around and the young folks are seeking what is real since they are aware of the hollowness of what is offered "out here". The OP simply is not up to the struggle in seeking, as it seems he will settle on what is "on the outside" things of life.
Just my 2¢


God is The Creator of All Free Beings

Offline MichaelofSN

  • What is even happening right now?
  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 292
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2016, 11:13:15 PM »
If you didn't get a PM/DM from me (I tried to remember everyone!) let me know.  My "office" is wherever my laptop is now, so I'm always around.  I definitely still want to stay in touch, so I'd love to have your email address.  This way I'm addressing a person and not a community and contributing to the civil war on OC.net.  ;)  Again, thanks for the information and the conversation (mostly had outside of this forum!).

Quote from: Gebre
So I wish you well

You too, Gebre.  I hope you keep writing, mate.

Quote from: Rohzek
That's an issue that has fascinated me for about a year and a half now. Where do you stand on it? You a dualist, Mysterianist, or do you think the problem cannot even be formulated like Chomsky does? Or maybe some form materialism, whatever that might mean these days?

You are as much your hand / foot as you are your brain.  There's nothing special about the wetware between our ears.  Your thoughts / ideas are just a product of your physiology.  The mind / body distinction has been a huge problem for the church (here come the slobbering ultra hyperdox!).  It's the cause of beliefs in such things as spirits and souls.  The mind / body distinction was also considered a gnostic teaching by the early church.  I am definitely not a dualist, but I sympathize with this position.  I was tapped to participate in a study about how the brain funtions during religious experience and got to see what my brain did during times where I "felt the presence of God".  Which is why I still believe theists when they tell me they "know" Christ or have a personal relationship with them.  And so should you, don't doubt that claim... they really believe it (with certainty).  What they don't know, is that they're having an experience with themselves... nothing external.  Despite it being very convincing.  On Chomsky, I cannot stand him.  He's feeding the liberals all sorts of horrible ideas that spit in the face of the traditions that got us this far as a species.

Quote from: LenInSebastopol
Tried that way, as you are going. For me it turned out to be hell.
It's good you have made peace with what you've found.
Steady on.

Thanks, mate.  All the best to you.

Quote from: RaphaCam
Why were you excommunicated anyway? I'd feel more like Heimbach.

When I still believed, I was teaching my children that neither heaven or hell existed and that there is no afterlife.

Quote from: Charles Martel
If you're actually a "scientific" atheist now, this doesn't even make sense. How can one who completely rejects the concept of religion and bases their worldview on scientific evidence and logic believe that anyone who believes in the notion of these fairy tales are some of the "smartest" people that they've talked to? Most educated atheists that I know believe religious people are  either foolish or seriously delusional and misguided at best. There are no "smart" Christians.

As for the "stupid" people who post on here, I percieve you believe this because you might  disagree with their philosophy or politics on certain issues. Not so much their deductive reasoning.

It's a matter of epistemology.  A first philosophy that requires more presupposition that what is reasonable causes flaws in the entire worldview.  However, that doesn't mean that someone who has a worldview that allows them to contribute to the species positively most of the time is stupid.  Especially when they stay busy helping their fellow primates.

Quote from: immerlein
This thread makes me feel sad :(

It wasn't my intention to do so.  Sorry!  I meant to thank you folks.  Cheer up!!! I am the one going to hell.  ;) lol

Quote from: Cyrillic
It's telling that you came back to this forum, OP.  I like how your post is an attempt to convince yourself, and not us.

Care to chat in real time on Google Hangouts?  PM me and I'll work around your schedule.  Or perhaps we could exchange telephone numbers.  Serious.

Quote from: byhisgrace
Thanks for your post, Michael. I'm sad to see you go, but I appreciate many of the things you said. Best wishes.

Thank you!  You too!  All the best to you and yours!

Quote from: augustin717
Many years!

The same to you! :)

Quote from: TheTrisagion
Hope you hang around for a bit, MichaelofSN. I've enjoyed your prior posts.  I'm sorry to hear about the direction your faith has taken. I've taken that journey myself, and returned back to Christianity. I can't prove its true, but I like myself a lot more as a Christian than I did when I was an agnostic (never made it quite to atheist, seemed a bit too definitive for me. Maybe I just disliked the label, I dunno.).

I don't know if I want to come back.  The in-fighting (as is evident with this thread) is head-spinning.  Most of the people from this forum, who I really love, contact me outside this forum.  It's what caused this post in the first place; I got an email and a phone call last week from 2 folks on this forum and it made me think of some of y'all.    Either way, thank you and I hope you find satisfaction in your endeavors too!  :)

Quote from: Volnutt
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?

Somebody's been reading heretical literature and spending time on the DevilTubes!!!!  Ha!  j/k, mate.

Quote from: truthseeker32
MichaelofSN,

You and I had an exchange in the past, an exchange I left all the more disappointed because I found your newfound worldview so naive and incoherent, perhaps because I  myself tried for so long to find true meaning in my life within my atheistic perspective. Maybe you will get lucky, and you will be able to ignore the tormenting conclusions thinkers like Nietzsche and Camus found at the end of their worldviews. The world increasingly offers ways for those of us in Western society to ignore just how horrendous is the world that we inhabit.

I do wish for you the best, despite our disagreements, and I hope that someday you realize that, although you were unaware, God was more real and intimate than anything or anyone else you know.

If I ever caused offense, please accept this as a heart felt apology.  Best wishes, mate.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #56 on: April 18, 2016, 11:51:40 PM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .
While I think an empirical God leads to absurdity, it seems just as dubious to verify the historicity of the Gospel narratives because not only does it cover over the existential richness of these texts but its something of a category error.

My view is it doesn't matter because narratives don't happen nor do they ever enter into a domain of truth. The Jesus found in the gospel narrative can't be the same that lies outside the text because Jesus, who functions as a character in a story, only makes sense in the narrative structure and nowhere else. So if the Orthodox want to assert that Jesus exists outside the text then clearly he would belong in a different category than the one we encounter by reading the text (although of course I would raise the question what does it mean for Jesus to exist outside the text, why does that matter? Clearly it would be a different Jesus). That also means the crucifixion and resurrection only make sense in the narrative and nowhere else.

But if the Orthodox and other Christians want to continue to insist that the Gospel events happened, well that is exactly what is at issue, what do we mean by something happened?

We are talking about past events in which nobody alive today has any memory of them...so in what way does the past exist, or does it not? If it doesn't then how is it any more "real" than a story.

Anyhow, since I take these texts to have existential meaning I need to address them where I am and how, and not try to pretend to be someone I am not (like a 1st century Christian). The gospel addresses a central problem of mine: the self. I want to overcome it and become a loving person but I cannot do that alone otherwise I'll just give credit to my ego. It's the gospel which transforms us, its what "saves" us. Maybe there are other religious or philosophical texts that address your own existential issues better, who am I to judge?
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #57 on: April 19, 2016, 02:13:00 AM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #58 on: April 19, 2016, 03:20:27 AM »
My he existence of a god of the philosophers has never been something I've thought about much , but Christianity's more specific claims are,  I think  , impossible to demonstrate. I mean the textual problema of the NT are so many that the more reasonable way is to just Take it as a mythology. It could be historically true, but obviously God didn't wanna make it plain .
While I think an empirical God leads to absurdity, it seems just as dubious to verify the historicity of the Gospel narratives because not only does it cover over the existential richness of these texts but its something of a category error.

My view is it doesn't matter because narratives don't happen nor do they ever enter into a domain of truth. The Jesus found in the gospel narrative can't be the same that lies outside the text because Jesus, who functions as a character in a story, only makes sense in the narrative structure and nowhere else. So if the Orthodox want to assert that Jesus exists outside the text then clearly he would belong in a different category than the one we encounter by reading the text (although of course I would raise the question what does it mean for Jesus to exist outside the text, why does that matter? Clearly it would be a different Jesus). That also means the crucifixion and resurrection only make sense in the narrative and nowhere else.

But if the Orthodox and other Christians want to continue to insist that the Gospel events happened, well that is exactly what is at issue, what do we mean by something happened?

We are talking about past events in which nobody alive today has any memory of them...so in what way does the past exist, or does it not? If it doesn't then how is it any more "real" than a story.

Anyhow, since I take these texts to have existential meaning I need to address them where I am and how, and not try to pretend to be someone I am not (like a 1st century Christian). The gospel addresses a central problem of mine: the self. I want to overcome it and become a loving person but I cannot do that alone otherwise I'll just give credit to my ego. It's the gospel which transforms us, its what "saves" us. Maybe there are other religious or philosophical texts that address your own existential issues better, who am I to judge?
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline FinnJames

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,079
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of Finland
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #59 on: April 19, 2016, 05:45:16 AM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 05:47:00 AM by FinnJames »

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #60 on: April 19, 2016, 08:26:18 AM »
Quote
As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?
Dont care for St. Paul, do you?

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #61 on: April 19, 2016, 11:35:08 AM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?
If Christ never rose from the dead, then those who believe in the Resurrection are the most pitifully delusional of people, for belief in the Resurrection has no power to make one a better person if there is no resurrection. This isn't about driving out heretics for the cause of Christian unity as you so posit in your straw man demonization.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Iconodule

  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 16,458
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Johnstown
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #62 on: April 19, 2016, 11:43:32 AM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?

I take issue with the juxtaposition of "historical fact" vs "myth." All history is myth anyway. When we start parsing whether the resurrection was "history" or "myth" we are giving privilege to a materialist, reductionist conception of the world where the foundation of reality is what can be proven in a lab. Christ is risen and we live. That's what we believe- quibbling about metaphor vs. literalism, wherever we may fall on that spectrum, introduces doubt and alienates us from the reality of the resurrection. To be a Christian is to be a poet and poets shouldn't agonize over these categories.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 11:44:24 AM by Iconodule »
“Steel isn't strong, boy, flesh is stronger! That is strength, boy! That is power! What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?  Contemplate this on the tree of woe.” - Elder Thulsa Doom of the Mountain of Power

Mencius said, “Instruction makes use of many techniques. When I do not deign to instruct someone, that too is a form of instruction.”

Come look at my lame blog

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #63 on: April 19, 2016, 11:47:19 AM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?

I take issue with the juxtaposition of "historical fact" vs "myth." All history is myth anyway. When we start parsing whether the resurrection was "history" or "myth" we are giving privilege to a materialist, reductionist conception of the world where the foundation of reality is what can be proven in a lab. Christ is risen and we live. That's what we believe- quibbling about metaphor vs. literalism, wherever we may fall on that spectrum, introduces doubt and alienates us from the reality of the resurrection. To be a Christian is to be a poet and poets shouldn't agonize over these categories.
Indeed. Myth is not always fiction.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline FinnJames

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,079
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of Finland
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #64 on: April 19, 2016, 12:12:55 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?

I take issue with the juxtaposition of "historical fact" vs "myth." All history is myth anyway. When we start parsing whether the resurrection was "history" or "myth" we are giving privilege to a materialist, reductionist conception of the world where the foundation of reality is what can be proven in a lab. Christ is risen and we live. That's what we believe- quibbling about metaphor vs. literalism, wherever we may fall on that spectrum, introduces doubt and alienates us from the reality of the resurrection. To be a Christian is to be a poet and poets shouldn't agonize over these categories.

Yes, I agree 100% with you on that, though I must be having great difficulty putting it into words.

Offline FinnJames

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,079
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church of Finland
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #65 on: April 19, 2016, 12:14:58 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?
If Christ never rose from the dead, then those who believe in the Resurrection are the most pitifully delusional of people, for belief in the Resurrection has no power to make one a better person if there is no resurrection. This isn't about driving out heretics for the cause of Christian unity as you so posit in your straw man demonization.

Demonization? You've lost me there.

Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold, which suggests only holding these beliefs as true historical accounts is all that you accept for yourself and others.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:21:15 PM by FinnJames »

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #66 on: April 19, 2016, 12:26:49 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

Is Waterloo historical?  Or is it a narrative that only exists and makes sense in a text?  Why or why not?

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #67 on: April 19, 2016, 12:40:09 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

The thing is, I'm not sure Waterloo is historical the way Waterloo is. The past as such doesn't exist, only the stories we tell ourselves about it. We know something "Waterloo-shaped" must be the cause of the primary source documents and artifacts that we have but we can never write "the true story" of Waterloo and be absolutely sure that this is exactly the same as the cause of those documents and artifacts (especially when two accounts of/stories about Waterloo contradict one another).

And when it comes to the Bible, things get even more complicated because sacred and secular history have different rules. Secular history cannot admit the supernatural, it just isn't a part of the rules of the game any more than a batter can have four strikes in a game of baseball. So, any account of "the historical Jesus" that might be written is going to necessarily be a naturalistic one. That doesn't mean "what really happened" (ie. the "Life-of-Christ-shaped" and "Life-of-Paul-Shaped" events that caused the documents of the NT and the early Fathers) has to have been naturalistic. The two conflicting styles of stories, secular and sacred, just have to be allowed to say their mutually exclusive things about it without us trying to force them into the same mold, which can't be done without trimming one to fit the other.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,771
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #68 on: April 19, 2016, 12:40:49 PM »
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?

I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam
Theist answer: The universe is not the kind of thing than be without a cause, since it is changing, and hence contingent.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 643
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #69 on: April 19, 2016, 12:41:28 PM »
I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam
You are on the money. The answer from classical arguments for the existence of God is that the universe is contingent and moving, both of which require an explanation for their existence. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, acknowledges the possibility that the universe could be eternal. His argument is that at every instant the universe requires causal explanation for its existence, not that something must have started the universe, as the Kalam argument proposes.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #70 on: April 19, 2016, 12:42:44 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

Is Waterloo historical?  Or is it a narrative that only exists and makes sense in a text?  Why or why not?

It's better attested than the Nativity , you know.  On th strictly historical level .
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 643
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #71 on: April 19, 2016, 12:42:59 PM »
Anyone thinking about these questions might want to have a look at physicist Lawrence M. Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing or his YouTube videos on the same topic. It is possible to absorb the information there without jettisoning your faith and becoming an atheist.
Too bad Krauss is unaware of what "nothing" means, as far as philosophy is concerned.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #72 on: April 19, 2016, 12:46:21 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

Is Waterloo historical?  Or is it a narrative that only exists and makes sense in a text?  Why or why not?

It's better attested than the Nativity , you know.  On th strictly historical level .

I'm not surprised that you didn't answer the question.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,771
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #73 on: April 19, 2016, 12:48:22 PM »
Anyone thinking about these questions might want to have a look at physicist Lawrence M. Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing or his YouTube videos on the same topic. It is possible to absorb the information there without jettisoning your faith and becoming an atheist.
Too bad Krauss is unaware of what "nothing" means, as far as philosophy is concerned.
Exactly!!! It's interesting how these theories all amount to nothing actually being something, the contrary opposite of nothing. Atheism is founded in sophistry.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Papist

  • Patriarch of Pontification
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,771
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #74 on: April 19, 2016, 12:49:06 PM »
I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam
You are on the money. The answer from classical arguments for the existence of God is that the universe is contingent and moving, both of which require an explanation for their existence. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, acknowledges the possibility that the universe could be eternal. His argument is that at every instant the universe requires causal explanation for its existence, not that something must have started the universe, as the Kalam argument proposes.
Precisely because the universe is a changing thing.
"For, by its immensity, the divine substance surpasses every form that our intellect reaches. Thus we are unable to apprehend it by knowing what it is. Yet we are able to have some knowledge of it by knowing what it is not." - St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra gentiles, I, 14.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #75 on: April 19, 2016, 12:51:30 PM »
Allow me to fast forward this tired old conversation a page or two of posts. Erhem...

Stock atheist: If God caused the universe, then what caused God?
Stock Christian: Nobody. God is an uncaused, logically necessary being.
Stock atheist: But if God can be uncaused and logically necessary, then why can't the universe be?

I've often wondered the same thing. I guess the theistic response would be that every effect demands a cause. Science proves that the universe is the effect, or series of effects, of some other cause/causes. I guess one could argue that there is an infinite series of causes and effects, but that would be contrary to everything else we observe. So it seems only logical to believe that some First Cause has/had to exist to set the whole thing in motion. But I don't know. I'm just speculating on what an answer to this question might be.

Selam
Theist answer: The universe is not the kind of thing than be without a cause, since it is changing, and hence contingent.

To which the atheist responds by saying that an unchanging God wouldn't be able to even act (or by rejecting the Platonic assumption that change=contingency=imperfection, etc.) and the conversation likely grinds to an impasse.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 12:54:03 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #76 on: April 19, 2016, 12:52:56 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

The thing is, I'm not sure Waterloo is historical the way Waterloo is. The past as such doesn't exist, only the stories we tell ourselves about it. We know something "Waterloo-shaped" must be the cause of the primary source documents and artifacts that we have but we can never write "the true story" of Waterloo and be absolutely sure that this is exactly the same as the cause of those documents and artifacts (especially when two accounts of/stories about Waterloo contradict one another).

And when it comes to the Bible, things get even more complicated because sacred and secular history have different rules. Secular history cannot admit the supernatural, it just isn't a part of the rules of the game any more than a batter can have four strikes in a game of baseball. So, any account of "the historical Jesus" that might be written is going to necessarily be a naturalistic one. That doesn't mean "what really happened" (ie. the "Life-of-Christ-shaped" and "Life-of-Paul-Shaped" events that caused the documents of the NT and the early Fathers) has to have been naturalistic. The two conflicting styles of stories, secular and sacred, just have to be allowed to say their mutually exclusive things about it without us trying to force them into the same mold, which can't be done without trimming one to fit the other.
We have eye witness accounts about Waterloo but not eye witness accounts of Jesus . When you read the gospel accounts of the resurrection in chronological you see how the story expands .
Don't get me wrong I'm sympathetic to your position, to James etc but you can't read it into the past much. It's a reaction to the devastation if you will, left by textual criticism(s). Of course most people's faith has nothing to do with the resurrection narrative or what have you
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #77 on: April 19, 2016, 01:04:42 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

Is Waterloo historical?  Or is it a narrative that only exists and makes sense in a text?  Why or why not?

It's better attested than the Nativity , you know.  On th strictly historical level .

I'm not surprised that you didn't answer the question.

Do you give the same generous interpretative leeway to the story of Muhameds ascension to heaven as you give to similar stories in the NT? 
And yes Waterloo is historical according to the principles of contemporary historiography .
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 01:15:08 PM by augustin717 »
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #78 on: April 19, 2016, 01:21:11 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

The thing is, I'm not sure Waterloo is historical the way Waterloo is. The past as such doesn't exist, only the stories we tell ourselves about it. We know something "Waterloo-shaped" must be the cause of the primary source documents and artifacts that we have but we can never write "the true story" of Waterloo and be absolutely sure that this is exactly the same as the cause of those documents and artifacts (especially when two accounts of/stories about Waterloo contradict one another).

And when it comes to the Bible, things get even more complicated because sacred and secular history have different rules. Secular history cannot admit the supernatural, it just isn't a part of the rules of the game any more than a batter can have four strikes in a game of baseball. So, any account of "the historical Jesus" that might be written is going to necessarily be a naturalistic one. That doesn't mean "what really happened" (ie. the "Life-of-Christ-shaped" and "Life-of-Paul-Shaped" events that caused the documents of the NT and the early Fathers) has to have been naturalistic. The two conflicting styles of stories, secular and sacred, just have to be allowed to say their mutually exclusive things about it without us trying to force them into the same mold, which can't be done without trimming one to fit the other.
We have eye witness accounts about Waterloo but not eye witness accounts of Jesus . When you read the gospel accounts of the resurrection in chronological you see how the story expands .
Don't get me wrong I'm sympathetic to your position, to James etc but you can't read it into the past much. It's a reaction to the devastation if you will, left by textual criticism(s). Of course most people's faith has nothing to do with the resurrection narrative or what have you

We have eyewitness accounts of Waterloo, but they still have to be woven together (and any discrepancies between them plausibly ironed out) to create the "complete" panorama of what happened. No history prof is going to get away with just having the class read R. H. Gronow's Reminisces without further comment.

If all the eyewitness accounts disappeared and a future generation only had some secondary sources, it might change what they would believe about what happened, but not the "actual" events (though how do we really tell the difference?).
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 01:23:30 PM by Volnutt »
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline truthseeker32

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 643
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA-Denver
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #79 on: April 19, 2016, 02:10:46 PM »
To which the atheist responds by saying that an unchanging God wouldn't be able to even act (or by rejecting the Platonic assumption that change=contingency=imperfection, etc.) and the conversation likely grinds to an impasse.
This would just show that the atheist hasn't actually read the works of classical theists, since none of them equate "unchanging" with the inability to act. In fact, the opposite is true. For classical theists, God is unchanging in the sense that he is only ever acting.

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 15,089
  • too often left in the payment of false ponchos
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #80 on: April 19, 2016, 02:16:37 PM »
To which the atheist responds by saying that an unchanging God wouldn't be able to even act (or by rejecting the Platonic assumption that change=contingency=imperfection, etc.) and the conversation likely grinds to an impasse.
This would just show that the atheist hasn't actually read the works of classical theists, since none of them equate "unchanging" with the inability to act. In fact, the opposite is true. For classical theists, God is unchanging in the sense that he is only ever acting.

They don't equate it, but I'm saying the atheist can do that as a reductio ad absurdum.
Christ my God, set my heart on fire with love in You, that in its flame I may love You with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my soul and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself, so that by keeping Your commandments I may glorify You the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Amen.

Offline Mor Ephrem

  • A highly skilled and trained Freudian feminist slut
  • Section Moderator
  • Hypatos
  • *****
  • Posts: 35,835
  • I am the Provisional Supreme Church Authority
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Mercenary Freudianism
  • Jurisdiction: Texas Feminist Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #81 on: April 19, 2016, 04:22:57 PM »
I get what you're saying see its merits this is also the view of many modern theologians etc.
But it's my understanding that the OC holds many of the events narrated in the gospels to Be historical in the way that the battle of Waterloo is .

Is Waterloo historical?  Or is it a narrative that only exists and makes sense in a text?  Why or why not?

It's better attested than the Nativity , you know.  On th strictly historical level .

I'm not surprised that you didn't answer the question.

Do you give the same generous interpretative leeway to the story of Muhameds ascension to heaven as you give to similar stories in the NT? 
And yes Waterloo is historical according to the principles of contemporary historiography .

You are conflating issues to your convenience.  Enjoy.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #82 on: April 19, 2016, 04:50:47 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.

As long as one allows belief in the resurrection to shape one's life and one's actions for the better, what difference does it make--other than to those obsessed with driving out heretics and preserving Christian "purity" at the expense of Christian unity--whether one believes Christ's resurrection as outlined in the Bible is historical fact or (instructive) myth?
If Christ never rose from the dead, then those who believe in the Resurrection are the most pitifully delusional of people, for belief in the Resurrection has no power to make one a better person if there is no resurrection. This isn't about driving out heretics for the cause of Christian unity as you so posit in your straw man demonization.

Demonization? You've lost me there.

Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold, which suggests only holding these beliefs as true historical accounts is all that you accept for yourself and others.
I have no idea what you're trying to say with this post. I do know, however, that I disagree with your definition of myth/mythological, and that I disagree with your dichotomy between myth and historical narrative.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #83 on: April 19, 2016, 05:03:12 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #84 on: April 19, 2016, 05:05:10 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #85 on: April 19, 2016, 05:08:08 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
That might not be how your religion works, but history is clear. The Scriptures and the Apostles preached Christ's literal, physical resurrection. If you don't think He did, sorry. You're not a Christian. Its as simple as that. History and Scripture dont care about your opinions.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,204
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #86 on: April 19, 2016, 05:14:07 PM »
Dear Michael,

First off, you probably did not intend to offend, but you did provoke.  If an ex-Muslim went to a Muslim forum site talking about how he left Islam for another religion and is happy, how do you think it would be received?  Or if an ex-atheist went to a staunchly atheist forum and told them about happiness in religion, what would be their response?

In the Church, when you leave the Church, it is viewed in sadness for us.  It's like getting a divorce and telling the friends of the other party how awesome the break up is.  It may be true for you, but this isn't the place to gloat your personal joy of leaving what we believe is where we desire everyone should be in.  I would say it would have been more appropriate to word your experience differently.  Rather than "celebrating" a year without belief here, you can celebrate it somewhere else.  But here, you can talk about your feelings openly keeping in mind those around you.  Your post could be misconstrued as encouraging those to leave the faith even though the intent was not that.  Since the intent wasn't that people should leave the faith, but rather your struggle with faith and why you are more comfortable faithless at the moment for this past year, it does not match the title of this thread you gave.

That is not to say people here don't care.  People do care about your life and your beliefs.  I would say that I encourage to stay with us on oc.net and to discuss matters further and to keep in touch with friends of the Orthodox Church, especially those who can engage with you in discussions as fully knowledgeable members of the Church (if possible like a priest or a deacon).

You wrote:

Quote
You are as much your hand / foot as you are your brain.  There's nothing special about the wetware between our ears.  Your thoughts / ideas are just a product of your physiology.  The mind / body distinction has been a huge problem for the church (here come the slobbering ultra hyperdox!).  It's the cause of beliefs in such things as spirits and souls.  The mind / body distinction was also considered a gnostic teaching by the early church.  I am definitely not a dualist, but I sympathize with this position.  I was tapped to participate in a study about how the brain funtions during religious experience and got to see what my brain did during times where I "felt the presence of God".  Which is why I still believe theists when they tell me they "know" Christ or have a personal relationship with them.  And so should you, don't doubt that claim... they really believe it (with certainty).  What they don't know, is that they're having an experience with themselves... nothing external.  Despite it being very convincing.  On Chomsky, I cannot stand him.  He's feeding the liberals all sorts of horrible ideas that spit in the face of the traditions that got us this far as a species.

While I am slowly moving away from dualist tendencies, I will admit this should not be a reason for disbelief.  It is an ancient Semitic belief to be anti-dualist (and some people have seen the Scriptures as this), and there are ancient Semitic Christian expressions of faith in Orthodoxy, like St. Ephrem the Syrian that may corroborate with your anthropological concerns.  Nevertheless, I also have to say that these experiments do not necessarily prove or disprove a dualistic anthropology either.  So I will disagree with how you interpret these scientific experiments in the brain.  I don't disagree with your metaphysics though, and I don't think the internal proof of religious experiences necessarily disprove the internal and external deity who "in Him we live and move and have our being."

May the Lord strengthen you and enlighten you in His grace.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #87 on: April 19, 2016, 06:10:49 PM »
Quote
t's a matter of epistemology.  A first philosophy that requires more presupposition that what is reasonable causes flaws in the entire worldview.  However, that doesn't mean that someone who has a worldview that allows them to contribute to the species positively most of the time is stupid.  Especially when they stay busy helping their fellow primates.
None of this sways from the fact of how one can consider someone brilliant while  at the same time  they believe in things that don't exist.

Regardless how much they care for their fellow featherless bipeds.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #88 on: April 19, 2016, 06:15:42 PM »
Anyone thinking about these questions might want to have a look at physicist Lawrence M. Krauss' book A Universe from Nothing or his YouTube videos on the same topic. It is possible to absorb the information there without jettisoning your faith and becoming an atheist.
Too bad Krauss is unaware of what "nothing" means, as far as philosophy is concerned.
Was it Aristotle that described "nothing" as that what rocks dream about?

Pretty good definition if you ask me.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #89 on: April 19, 2016, 06:19:22 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
That might not be how your religion works, but history is clear. The Scriptures and the Apostles preached Christ's literal, physical resurrection. If you don't think He did, sorry. You're not a Christian. Its as simple as that. History and Scripture dont care about your opinions.

PP
Just the opposite, history still remains the furthest thing away from clarity and your naked assertion of it as if grounded in something so self-evident is know-nothingism at its finest. So what do you mean by "literally happened"?

There is nothing in history that is literal, and all that you know about the resurrection (and all one could ever know about it) is in a text. You just don't think the resurrection in the gospel is enough, you desire for more which goes back to being ashamed of the gospel.

And BTW no Christian ever witnessed the resurrection, not even the Apostles, who supposedly only witnessed the resurrected Christ. You keep insisting on a "literal" resurrection, meaning what? A supernatural event or an historical event that can be subjected to a natural explanation?

And of course agustin's reply went right over your head, your know-nothingism blunts any serious inquiry into what religion is (in the way agustin means it).
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #90 on: April 19, 2016, 06:20:43 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
It's how Christianity works.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Charles Martel

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,805
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #91 on: April 19, 2016, 06:27:07 PM »
Charles, disagree on educated folk having God-smacked outta them. While it is true in this day and age, one can simply note it is the zeitgeist of late. And the politics of the education industry has mandated that what is Beauty, Truth & Goodness be marginalized, ridiculed and diminished at every turn when it appears.  I do have hope that it is turning around and the young folks are seeking what is real since they are aware of the hollowness of what is offered "out here". The OP simply is not up to the struggle in seeking, as it seems he will settle on what is "on the outside" things of life.
Just my 2¢
Only he can answer that.
Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #92 on: April 19, 2016, 06:27:13 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
That might not be how your religion works, but history is clear. The Scriptures and the Apostles preached Christ's literal, physical resurrection. If you don't think He did, sorry. You're not a Christian. Its as simple as that. History and Scripture dont care about your opinions.

PP
Just the opposite, history still remains the furthest thing away from clarity and your naked assertion of it as if grounded in something so self-evident is know-nothingism at its finest. So what do you mean by "literally happened"?

There is nothing in history that is literal, and all that you know about the resurrection (and all one could ever know about it) is in a text.
That may be how revelation works for Protestants, but that's not how it works for Orthodox (or Catholics, AFAIK). Everything we need to know about the Resurrection is held in the Tradition of the Church: its public teachings, its hymns, its icons, its faith. The text of the Gospel is merely the textual form of our Tradition.

You just don't think the resurrection in the gospel is enough, you desire for more which goes back to being ashamed of the gospel.
Not if the Gospel is more than a written text.

And BTW no Christian ever witnessed the resurrection, not even the Apostles, who supposedly only witnessed the resurrected Christ. You keep insisting on a "literal" resurrection, meaning what? A supernatural event or an historical event that can be subjected to a natural explanation?
Why must a historical event be subjected to a natural explanation? Why must a supernatural event NOT be historical?

And of course agustin's reply went right over your head, your know-nothingism blunts any serious inquiry into what religion is (in the way agustin means it).
You don't know the truth of the Resurrection, therefore you know nothing, nothing.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #93 on: April 19, 2016, 06:37:14 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity. But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #94 on: April 19, 2016, 06:43:36 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #95 on: April 19, 2016, 06:44:05 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
It's how Christianity works.
You should probably read Barthes. As he argues we are never without a mythology, its essential to who we are.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #96 on: April 19, 2016, 06:45:20 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,842
  • Faith: Higher Criticism
  • Jurisdiction: Dutch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #97 on: April 19, 2016, 06:45:39 PM »
Quote
That may be how revelation works for Protestants, but that's not how it works for Orthodox (or Catholics, AFAIK). Everything we need to know about the Resurrection is held in the Tradition of the Church: its public teachings, its hymns, its icons, its faith. The text of the Gospel is merely the textual form of our Tradition.
Well of course if you limit yourself to the dogmatic aspect of the resurrection; once you're trying to name a historical case for it things get trickier as you'd have to use the methods used by historiography and text criticism and when those methods are used the gospel narratives become semi-legendary.
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #98 on: April 19, 2016, 06:46:04 PM »
Quote
Perhaps I've been misreading your posts, but my impression is that you reject entirely any mythological interpretation of the resurrection (virgin birth in previous posts) as at all valid for Christians to hold
Its not. It either literally happened, or Christianity is a lie and should be discarded (ergo, all the Apostles are liars as well).

PP
It's not how religion works.
It's how Christianity works.
You should probably read Barthes. As he argues we are never without a mythology, its essential to who we are.
And what do you think I've been arguing with my allegations that FinnJames is creating a false dichotomy between history and mythology?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #99 on: April 19, 2016, 06:46:52 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
What does empirical mean to you?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #100 on: April 19, 2016, 06:53:45 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
What does empirical mean to you?
Empirical in the sense it is subject to a natural explanation, but don't you consider the Resurrection as a supernatural event?
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #101 on: April 19, 2016, 07:04:33 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
What does empirical mean to you?
Empirical in the sense it is subject to a natural explanation, but don't you consider the Resurrection as a supernatural event?
Don't you see a dichotomy between the supernatural and the historical? Why the divide?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #102 on: April 19, 2016, 07:16:33 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
What does empirical mean to you?
Empirical in the sense it is subject to a natural explanation, but don't you consider the Resurrection as a supernatural event?
Don't you see a dichotomy between the supernatural and the historical? Why the divide?
Focus Peter, you said "if the Resurrection is not historical fact..." And I'm asking you what do you mean by historical fact?
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline minasoliman

  • Mr., Sir, Dude, Guy, Male, tr. Minas in Greek, Menes in white people Egyptologists :-P
  • Moderator
  • Stratopedarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 20,204
  • Pray for me St. Severus
  • Faith: Oriental Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Coptic
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #103 on: April 19, 2016, 07:22:48 PM »
If Christ is where the "supernatural" and the "natural" unite, even the mundane human things Christ did are "supernatural" and the miracles Christ performed are "natural".  Theologically speaking it's both in one.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #104 on: April 19, 2016, 08:10:29 PM »
What good is the Resurrection if it's nothing more than an existential truth? If the Resurrection is not a historical fact, then there is no salvation.
If you are to prove the resurrection empirically it would be the end of Christianity.
Did I ever say anything about proving the Resurrection empirically?

But the resurrected Christ isn't about a body coming back to life, like Lazarus, is it? Isn't the claim that Jesus resurrected body isn't mortal but rather divine? So isn't the transformation supernatural?

So what empirical evidence could you even present to me of this claim?
Why do you ask for empirical evidence? Are you looking to destroy Christianity? ;)

We don't undertake history by trying to prove/disprove a supernatural event, it is exactly outside the scope of historiography, there is no need to even consider empirical evidence.
Again, who's talking about a need for empirical evidence of the Resurrection? ??? It looks as if you are.

Now if you are going to purport that we have decent textual evidence by treating the gospels as somehow "evidence" to those that "witnessed" the event, I would take you to task that its a mistake from the beginning.
Once again, I'm not arguing solely from textual evidence. It looks to me as if you're trying to rule out any evidence other than the textual.
So what is a historical fact then if it isn't empirical?
What does empirical mean to you?
Empirical in the sense it is subject to a natural explanation, but don't you consider the Resurrection as a supernatural event?
Don't you see a dichotomy between the supernatural and the historical? Why the divide?
Focus Peter, you said "if the Resurrection is not historical fact..." And I'm asking you what do you mean by historical fact?
Only now are you asking this question?
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline rakovsky

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,372
  • St. Mstislav I
    • The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah's Resurrection and Orthodox Christianity's roots in the Holy Land
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #105 on: April 19, 2016, 09:25:56 PM »
Question to Michael SN, and other atheists or agnostics: Do you think that you have such things as a soul and free will?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2016, 09:26:08 PM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Rohzek

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,364
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #106 on: April 19, 2016, 10:29:13 PM »
This thread sucks now.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline rakovsky

  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 11,372
  • St. Mstislav I
    • The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah's Resurrection and Orthodox Christianity's roots in the Holy Land
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #107 on: April 19, 2016, 11:23:03 PM »
This thread sucks now.
And what do you mean by saying "now" here?
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #108 on: April 20, 2016, 12:26:30 AM »
This thread sucks now.
And what do you mean by saying "now" here?
Because you derailed it.
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Rohzek

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,364
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #109 on: April 20, 2016, 01:04:50 AM »
This thread sucks now.
And what do you mean by saying "now" here?

I don't mean it to be directed at you. I just mean that this thread has long been derailed and is concerned primarily with minor quibbles, most of which don't seem directly related at all to the OP.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #110 on: April 20, 2016, 01:29:40 AM »
This thread sucks now.
And what do you mean by saying "now" here?

I don't mean it to be directed at you. I just mean that this thread has long been derailed and is concerned primarily with minor quibbles, most of which don't seem directly related at all to the OP.
Then you came along and made the thread suck even more. ;)
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline Valekhai

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 66
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #111 on: April 20, 2016, 03:32:13 AM »
Question to Michael SN, and other atheists or agnostics: Do you think that you have such things as a soul and free will?

Left to my own devices, I'd say 'no' for soul and 'yes' for free will, but I can't be sure we're talking about the same things when we use those terms. It seems to me that a lot of what people claim the soul is or does are things that I attribute to the mind, but almost always the soul is supposed to be non-physical and eternal, and I don't think the mind is either of those. As far as free will goes, I don’t believe in libertarian free will but I am a compatibilist.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #112 on: April 20, 2016, 07:29:13 AM »
Quote
Just the opposite, history still remains the furthest thing away from clarity and your naked assertion of it as if grounded in something so self-evident is know-nothingism at its finest. So what do you mean by "literally happened"?

There is nothing in history that is literal, and all that you know about the resurrection (and all one could ever know about it) is in a text. You just don't think the resurrection in the gospel is enough, you desire for more which goes back to being ashamed of the gospel.

And BTW no Christian ever witnessed the resurrection, not even the Apostles, who supposedly only witnessed the resurrected Christ. You keep insisting on a "literal" resurrection, meaning what? A supernatural event or an historical event that can be subjected to a natural explanation?

And of course agustin's reply went right over your head, your know-nothingism blunts any serious inquiry into what religion is (in the way agustin means it).
Save your pseudo-philosophy for someone impressed by nonsense.

History IS clear. Just read the writings of the Saints. Every one, without exception recognizes a literal resurrection. The specific definitions of "religion" is not what is being addressed. Just because it doesn't fint into your nonsensical version of events, or how you wish things were is immaterial.

If you don't believe in the resurrection, that is fine. Its your right, and you're free to your opinion. But please, dont try to change historical fact. Christianity is centered on the Resurrection actually happening. If you dont like it, too bad for you. You don't get to redefine Christianity just because you divorced yourself from reality long ago.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline LenInSebastopol

  • Dimly Illumined
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,596
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #113 on: April 20, 2016, 09:21:29 AM »
Question to Michael SN, and other atheists or agnostics: Do you think that you have such things as a soul and free will?

Would those two words be meaningless if one were an atheist?
Especially the word "free". One would simply have will.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 09:23:01 AM by LenInSebastopol »
God is The Creator of All Free Beings

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #114 on: April 20, 2016, 09:57:44 AM »
Only now are you asking this question?
I had attempted to draw out what you mean by "historical fact" but your questions suggest I was wrong to consider it as empirical. You have yet to demonstrate what you mean by it and still leave the following obscure: "If the Resurrection is not a historical fact"

So if historical fact here does not mean empirical, then what do you mean by it?

EDIT: As I had told you earlier, any supernatural events can never be an object for historiography. It is entirely unconcerned with them. What I think this will lead to is recanting that the Resurrection can be considered historical fact. What needs to be brought into view are the assumptions inherent to your statement.

I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 10:17:21 AM by nothing »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #115 on: April 20, 2016, 10:05:43 AM »
This thread sucks now.
It sucked from the very beginning with the OP. It begged to be derailed into something more interesting.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline FatherGiryus

  • Don't Ask
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 4,195
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #116 on: April 20, 2016, 10:28:27 AM »
I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person.

Except, the 'story' is about what force causes us to change.  Or, The Cause.

The Scriptures make it pretty clear that being truly loving requires Divine Intervention rather than just more human effort.  Once Jesus loses His 'historical reality,' then the narrative falls apart.
You can't find wisdom in the mirror.

Offline primuspilus

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,990
  • Inserting personal quote here.
    • St. Gregory the Theologian Orthodox Church
  • Faith: Greek Orthodox (former WR)
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #117 on: April 20, 2016, 11:18:57 AM »
Quote
I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person
I get what you're saying, but if the Resurrection never physically took place, then the whole religion is a lie, and any good that came out of it is really irrelevant.

PP
"I confidently affirm that whoever calls himself Universal Bishop is the precursor of Antichrist"
Gregory the Great

"Never, never, never let anyone tell you that, in order to be Orthodox, you must also be eastern." St. John Maximovitch, The Wonderworker

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #118 on: April 20, 2016, 11:47:43 AM »
Only now are you asking this question?
I had attempted to draw out what you mean by "historical fact" but your questions suggest I was wrong to consider it as empirical. You have yet to demonstrate what you mean by it and still leave the following obscure: "If the Resurrection is not a historical fact"

So if historical fact here does not mean empirical, then what do you mean by it?

EDIT: As I had told you earlier, any supernatural events can never be an object for historiography. It is entirely unconcerned with them. What I think this will lead to is recanting that the Resurrection can be considered historical fact. What needs to be brought into view are the assumptions inherent to your statement.

I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person.
Then any philosophy is good, and there's no reason to be a Christian. One could just as well be B'ahai. ::)

It's not the story that saves. It's the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that saves, and no amount of narcissistic sophistry on your part is going to change that.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 11:54:54 AM by PeterTheAleut »
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline RobS

  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,914
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #119 on: April 20, 2016, 12:01:54 PM »
Only now are you asking this question?
I had attempted to draw out what you mean by "historical fact" but your questions suggest I was wrong to consider it as empirical. You have yet to demonstrate what you mean by it and still leave the following obscure: "If the Resurrection is not a historical fact"

So if historical fact here does not mean empirical, then what do you mean by it?

EDIT: As I had told you earlier, any supernatural events can never be an object for historiography. It is entirely unconcerned with them. What I think this will lead to is recanting that the Resurrection can be considered historical fact. What needs to be brought into view are the assumptions inherent to your statement.

I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person.
Then any philosophy is good, and there's no reason to be a Christian. One could just as well be B'ahai. ::)
So you are unable to discern the difference between philosophies and religions? You are unable to see, for example, Buddhism deals with a different existential issue (suffering) than Christianity?

I'm confused that your facile objection suggests I'm something of a nihilist.

Quote
It's not the story that saves. It's the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that saves, and no amount of narcissistic sophistry on your part is going to change that.
You mean the Ressurection that is found in the narrative, that is only meaningful in that context and nowhere else? The Resurrection you only read about in the text?
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline William T

  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,545
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #120 on: April 20, 2016, 12:38:32 PM »
Some extreme Sola Scriptura made sophisticated by modern German and French philosophers?  It's clear no Orthodox or Catholic believe that, I don't think interpreting anything real works that way anyway, not that you could ever convince a philosopher of that fact.  I think this way of thinking is for very few, and isn't that compelling a method or belief structure for non theologians, monastics, or philosophers.  I think very few would be able to find much sympathy for all those lofty narratives, mystical meditations,allegories, and morals that such noble and lofty men meditate on.  I'd certainly have no problem dropping such a belief system about as quickly as I'd drop reading any text by Hegel, which is pretty quick.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 12:39:41 PM by William T »

Offline PeterTheAleut

  • The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 37,280
  • Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #121 on: April 20, 2016, 12:55:48 PM »
Only now are you asking this question?
I had attempted to draw out what you mean by "historical fact" but your questions suggest I was wrong to consider it as empirical. You have yet to demonstrate what you mean by it and still leave the following obscure: "If the Resurrection is not a historical fact"

So if historical fact here does not mean empirical, then what do you mean by it?

EDIT: As I had told you earlier, any supernatural events can never be an object for historiography. It is entirely unconcerned with them. What I think this will lead to is recanting that the Resurrection can be considered historical fact. What needs to be brought into view are the assumptions inherent to your statement.

I don't have an issue with Christianity being completely made up because to me the story is what is powerful and meaningful, it's what transforms us into a new creation: a loving person.
Then any philosophy is good, and there's no reason to be a Christian. One could just as well be B'ahai. ::)
So you are unable to discern the difference between philosophies and religions? You are unable to see, for example, Buddhism deals with a different existential issue (suffering) than Christianity?

I'm confused that your facile objection suggests I'm something of a nihilist.
You're trying to confuse the issue again, aren't you?

Quote
It's not the story that saves. It's the Resurrection of Jesus Christ that saves, and no amount of narcissistic sophistry on your part is going to change that.
You mean the Ressurection that is found in the narrative, that is only meaningful in that context and nowhere else? The Resurrection you only read about in the text?
No, I'm talking about the Resurrection that the Church proclaims, the Resurrection that is meaningful in ALL contexts, the Resurrection that cannot be confined to text on a page.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 12:56:42 PM by PeterTheAleut »
Not all who wander are lost.

Offline MichaelofSN

  • What is even happening right now?
  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 292
Re: Celebrating nearly a year without belief. (Thank you!)
« Reply #122 on: April 20, 2016, 02:06:06 PM »
Quote from: Charles Martel
None of this sways from the fact of how one can consider someone brilliant while  at the same time  they believe in things that don't exist.

Regardless how much they care for their fellow featherless bipeds.

You're right.  This is what was in my mind at the time I wrote that; for instance, I'm currently in dialogue with a couple of Christians who are retired chemists for the world's largest chemical manufacturing plant.  If it were not for their work, we would not be feeding the world's population to the degree we are currently.  Despite having, what I consider, unreasonable presuppositions in their worldview, they are incredibly intelligent people.  There are Christians on this forum that work in the STEM fields that understand things about the cosmos that I may never know.  Another guy I talk with regularly is a biologist who works in an accredited lab.  These people are not stupid.  7% of the world's elite scientists (those that account for most of the progress in their fields) believe in a god.

Quote from: minasoliman
While I am slowly moving away from dualist tendencies, I will admit this should not be a reason for disbelief.  It is an ancient Semitic belief to be anti-dualist (and some people have seen the Scriptures as this), and there are ancient Semitic Christian expressions of faith in Orthodoxy, like St. Ephrem the Syrian that may corroborate with your anthropological concerns.  Nevertheless, I also have to say that these experiments do not necessarily prove or disprove a dualistic anthropology either.  So I will disagree with how you interpret these scientific experiments in the brain.  I don't disagree with your metaphysics though, and I don't think the internal proof of religious experiences necessarily disprove the internal and external deity who "in Him we live and move and have our being."

May the Lord strengthen you and enlighten you in His grace.

Thank you for your explanation.  I certainly did not intend to insult.

Your interpretation of the mind / body distinction is the same that I had before giving up my faith.  I was a palamite panentheist, and I believe the teachings of the Church express this.  The problem of the mind / body distinction is not the cause of my loss of faith, but I'm afraid I may have made it sound as though that were the case in light of your reply.  There are loads of reasons why I gave up trying to believe.  I would offer them here, but I am not interested in reading through the same old apologetics that I would, no doubt, get as a reply from folks on this forum.  When people hear my reasons for no longer believing, they think they have something to offer that I've not already considered.  I didn't stop "listening" for God; I'm still very much open to the idea of a god, but this is not the best format for discussions like that.  I now have these conversations face to face or over Skype or Google Hangout.

Thanks for the reply, and I appreciate your kind words.

Quote from: rakovsky
Question to Michael SN, and other atheists or agnostics: Do you think that you have such things as a soul and free will?

I say 'no' on both accounts.  We may have some freedom of choice, but the current definition of free will does not fit with what we know is occurring inside the brain.  There are some very simple thought exercises that demonstrate this.  Making known that you hold this position almost always requires a discussion about how people, who cause harm to themselves or others, ought to be treated or punished for their acts if they do not have a free will.  I can also hear the gears turning in some people's heads, "your worldview cannot account for what is wrong / right!"  :)  These are great discussions to have, but I won't have them here.  I am more than willing to discuss these things in person, on Google Hangouts, or Skype if someone is actually interested in an atheist's perspective on these issues.  Suffice it to say that I can account for objective morality and why people should be punished for harming others despite their lack of free will.  I'm not accusing anyone here of this, but a lot of times it is assumed that I've not considered these things.

I'll probably check back with the forum once more to get more people's email addresses, but I won't be checking back here in the thread.

Thanks again, gals/guys.  Best of luck to you folks!