Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – what makes Christianity Christianity?

On my last blog post, we briefly discussed what are major and minor differences between the sects of Christianity. You see, often when I point out that Christians don’t agree on what their religion means, or what their god want as a reason to not believe any of their versions, some Christians tell me that the differences are only “minor”.   When I point out that differences on baptism, on communion, don’t seem minor, the discussion often stops. I asked Pastor Dave what was considered non-negotiable for him as part of Christianity, a major difference he couldn’t accept, and he directed me to the Evangelical Alliance Statement of Faith. I’m pretty sure this is the right one since Dave didn’t give me a link.

  1. The one true God who lives eternally in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

So you do disagree with other Christians who don’t agree with this.

  1. The love, grace and sovereignty of God in creating, sustaining, ruling, redeeming and judging the world.

Here it seems you disagree with the idea of free will as most Christians claim it exist. Divine control doesn’t work with free will.

  1. The divine inspiration and supreme authority of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, which are the written Word of God-fully trustworthy for faith and conduct.

In this it would seem to show that you think genocide, that the murder of a child for another’s sins is okay, that killing the innocent is okay, that stealing from others is okay, that lying to others is okay… all as long as your god approves of it, though it commands otherwise in other parts of the bible. You would also have to agree that hailstones are kept in warehouses, that bats are birds, that this god could not find Adam and Eve in the garden, etc. We have a god that depends on subjective morality in that morality changes for what something/someone is. This is not what Christians agree on.

  1. The dignity of all people, made male and female in God’s image to love, be holy and care for creation, yet corrupted by sin, which incurs divine wrath and judgement.

Why did this god of yours make humans corruptible? And why does your god, in your bible the written word of god, say that some people are made to only be destroyed. Other Christians don’t believe in what you do, believing in universal salvation, predestination, that some things you think are sin aren’t, etc. Is this an important disagreement? It sure seems so.

  1. The incarnation of God’s eternal Son, the Lord Jesus Christ – born of the virgin Mary; truly divine and truly human, yet without sin

Again, just another repeat of the first bit, and still not agreed upon by Christians.

  1. The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross: dying in our place, paying the price of sin and defeating evil, so reconciling us with God.

This is about the only thing that Christians agree on, but again, there are Christians who don’t think one needs to non-Christians to accept Christ to be also considered deserving of eternal joy.

  1. The bodily resurrection of Christ, the first fruits of our resurrection; his ascension to the Father, and his reign and mediation as the only Saviour of the world.

Another pretty common Christian belief, though they do differ if one just has to believe in Jesus, or to accept him as savior or if this god has to permit one to be able accept Jesus as savior. In that last, there is no universal savior since this god prevents some people from ever accessing this “savior”.

  1. The justification of sinners solely by the grace of God through faith in Christ.

Just like here. So much for free will.

  1. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit, who leads us to repentance, unites us with Christ through new birth, empowers our discipleship and enables our witness.

And so much for free will again.

  1. The Church, the body of Christ both local and universal, the priesthood of all believers – given life by the Spirit and endowed with the Spirit’s gifts to worship God and proclaim the gospel, promoting justice and love.

In that murdering a child for another’s sins isn’t justice, and it isn’t love when you tell someone that what they are is wrong; this seems to ring very hollow.

  1. The personal and visible return of Jesus Christ to fulfil the purposes of God, who will raise all people to judgement, bring eternal life to the redeemed and eternal condemnation to the lost, and establish a new heaven and new earth.

Well, per your own people, there are no “lost” people, but those who your god intentionally rejects for no more reason than whim. They are damned by what is in their book of life and no chance to accept JC after they are dead (Christians often try to add that so their god doesn’t seem like such an ass). We also have Christians not agreeing on what heaven and hell are too, so again. And there is the problem where this god works intentionally with this evil entity, allowing it free *after* all of the nonChristians were murdered, and after JC has reigned over those believers for an aeon.  For what reason?  Only to intentionally allow more human to be destroyed and more blood to be spilt. A lot of Christians don’t like to be reminded of Revelation.

It seems like there are major differences among Christians, belying what Pastor Dave has said.

Again, with such major differences, and no one able to show that their version is any better or more true than the next, there is little reason to accept that any of these things, often built on fear and ignorance, are true.

Next, we’ll be looking at evolution and how some Christians present it.

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Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – and back around again to creationism and which version of Christianity is the “right” one

A friendly warning to those who followed my blog for food and drink posts. The below is my unvarnished opinions about religion.  You may wish to leave now.

Well, we have yet more creationist nonsense from Pastor Dave, who has spent a few days discussing how one should properly do baptism and communion; the two things that are probably most important about Christianity (only baptized believers can do miracles like JC per Mark, and one must take communion or not be Christian in more than a few sects) but no one can agree on how it should be done.  He will not allow comments nor will answer questions about his claims.

But here one can consider what he has claimed. He, of course, is not the only Christian who makes such claims; I use him and his posts as a starting point and as an example. These claims are nothing new or special. I’ve thought of a couple more new things to address about Genesis, but other than that, if you’ve read my posts before, you might find some of the information repetitive. I hadn’t realized that Pastor Dave had been once employed in the aerospace industry; one would have thought he would have developed better logic skills there than he demonstrates. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians apply a certain level of logic and rationality to the rest of their life, and their religion isn’t held under the same glass.

Dave demonstrates his ignorance of evolutionary theory, and of what scientists actually say about what we can say about the universe (aka reality as we know it).   Let’s look at some things that Dave calls lies.

We started our discussion about Creation and the Fall by naming some of the lies we can believe about this Universe. It is probably worth reminding ourselves of them.

–          That this world is just here by accident or chance. In earlier times, people saw this world as being the by-product of the wars and love affairs of gods. In modern times, we are more likely to see the world as it is resulting from atheistic evolution.”

Well, since scientists don’t think that the world is here by chance or accident, that’s a false claim made by Dave, either out of intent or ignorance.  The laws of physics work well in explaining how this world ended up as it is, and indeed as a “creator” with no end and no beginning.  Believing that some god created it is no more believable than other religions’ claims of the world being a byproduct of wars or the love affairs of gods.  More than a few religions claim that their god and only their god was the creator; none of them have evidence to support this.

–          That the world around us and God are one and the same thing. This is sometimes called pantheism. This leads to people worshipping nature.

Well, what is wrong with worshipping nature, other than you get nothing back from nature for such worship?   It’s the same problem that most theists have with people being of other religions than their own or believing in no religion at all.  Those people are a threat to their need for external validation and their belief.   The existence of other religions and agnostics/atheists seems to terrify theists.  We dare to not give them what they want.

–          That God is distant from this world. He may have been the first cause, but he has just put the rules in place and left the Universe to get on with running itself. This is usually referred to as Deism.

Of course, Dave can’t show that his version of his religion is true, and that other version of religion aren’t.  Since this god cannot be shown to do anything in this world, there is no reason to assume that this god is close to this world (or far away).  It is required for Dave’s version of Christianity, but it is not shown to be true.

–          That “matter” (physical creation) is evil and that only the spiritual world is good. This is known as Dualism and is particularly associated with Gnosticism.

Hmmm, some versions of Christianity make this exact claim.  And Dave calls it a lie.  Now, how does he know?  There’s also the problem that nonbelievers don’t think that matter is evil or good.  It just is.  Dualism is also when a believer claims that the body and soul are separate things, often making unsupportable claims that somehow the brain isn’t involved in what a person is.  Continue reading

What the Boss Likes and from the Bar – alcohol in crafts and some beers

I’ve been looking for a new craft to try. I’m not much of an artistic type; generating artsy things isn’t my best ability, though I can copy pretty well. I first came upon pour painting when you make paintings from various techniques of pouring, tilting and smearing paint. That’s pretty neat but It takes some space and a lot of paint. I’ll wait til the warmer months to try that.

Then I found alcohol inks which are even brighter and you can do them small scale with even less talent, at least in my case. I decided to try this in making some switchplates for my newly remodeled kitchen. The other is a ceramic tile.  It’s an odd craft, I think better for someone who is happy with what chance does than any intent, though I’ve seen some folks who can really control the ink.  I haven’t got that talent yet, and maybe never.

And for the alcohol in the beers. We got another mixed six from our local distributor, three were worth mentioning.

Doc G’s Orange Blossom Wheat: a nice wheat beer with a marmalade/cooked orange taste. It’s not very sweet at all, which makes easy to drink. DuBois (prounced doo-boyse) is a town here in PA.

Rivertowne’s Hala Kahiki Pineapple ale: tastes like pineapple soda. Very good and I hope to get more for the summer.

Founders Sumatra Mountain Imperial Brown Ale with coffee: one of the most coffee tasting beers I’ve had. Would be great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I’m also sitting here watching “Cast a Deadly Spell”, something I’ve watched quite a few time, but I still love it. It’s a mixed genre movie with a hard boiled detective who was in the “war”, a dame, and lots of magic, including WWII gremlins, and the Necronomicon. And speaking of the Necronomicon, we also started watching Ash vs. the Evil Dead, a series on Starz. It’s as graphic, blood and sex, as you might expect from Starz, but it is pretty damn funny.   I do love Bruce Campbell.

 

From the Kitchen – finally that bread that I’ve been trying for a decade + to make and a dip

Well, I finally did it! (happy porcupine dance)

I made a loaf of bread that has all of the holes in it I wanted. It only took more than a decade since I’ve first started trying baking bread.

I started baking bread since I do love that smell through the house. I started baking the standard sandwich loaf that my grandmother made dozens of loaves of, being a farm wife with 5 kids and the usual helpers. She raised this family back when they were still using draft horses along with tractors.

But I wanted a holey, crispy/crunchy loaf like the French are so good at. And it took a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen (publishers of Cook’s Illustrated) to make it. I will admit, I’ve made fun of them for years, wondering why someone would need to cook 50 chickens to get something right. But the method of understand and analyze does work in cooking (as it does in the sciences). I’m guessing that someday that recipe will vanish from KCET’s website, so you may have to become a member of ATK or ask me nicely to get it. 🙂  In the photos, you’ll note that a 500 degree oven just about chars parchment paper.

Yes, it take a bit of time to do. It’s worth it. We ate it with warm triple crème brie, cherry preserves and a fig and olive relish mentioned in this post.

So, tah-dah!

I also made their sticky buns and they are amazing! The use of a cooked water and flour roux, a technique from Asia called tangzhong, makes all of the difference. I’m thinking of subscribing so I can have access to all of these all of the time.

We also made queso fundido. I’ve tried this before and just can’t get the liquid texture I like in restaurant versions. So we stumbled upon Herdez Queso dip and it’s perfect. We heated it in the oven until hot, and topped it with fried chorizo (the fresh kind, not the preserved Spanish kind).

That was dinner with Fritos. I love tortilla chips, especially Xochitl brand since they are so thin, but sometimes a girl has to have her Fritos.

 

That’s all.   Eat well!

 

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – claims, evidence and research when debating a literalist Christian

Here on WordPress, you can search for blog posts on a certain subject by using keywords. As a blogger, you can set keywords yourself (you can see them at the bottom of this post) and I also think that the system also finds them to be able to bring back search results. I have a search set up to bring up posts that reference atheists and atheism. Most of these are from atheists, but about a third of them are by theists, usually Christians. Of these, in my experience about 90% of them do their best to try to convert atheists and to disparage them, often repeating false claims, making baseless claims without evidence and making some very poor arguments. The internet is certainly full of such nonsense, from conspiracy theorists, holocaust deniers, xenophobic twits, etc.

Since I do not like to allow such things to remain unaddressed, and don’t have an infinite amount of time, I occasionally pick one and ask questions about their post. In some cases, there are no comments allowed, so I ask questions through mail form. Sometimes I get a response, sometimes I don’t.  One of the other respondents is here, where again Pascal’s Wager is being touted.

Those readers who have been with me awhile may want to find other things to read since some of this may be repetitive for them. The bit below isn’t as biting as my writings usually are since I was behaving.

I recently found a post on a Christian pastor’s website that can be distilled down to: Richard Dawkins should believe in my god because there he says that there is a probability that this god exists and any possibility should be taken. Most will recognize this as a variant as Pascal’s Wager. I asked him this question about his assertion: “If your argument is valid (that Dawkins should worship a god since he says that there is a small probability of one), why do you not believe in other gods and live your life as if they aren’t there?”

We started off having a pleasant discussion, with him complimenting the question but it quickly turned south when he declared that nothing would change his mind and that he was not going to participate anymore, that how dare I explain what a circular argument is to someone who has taken years to get a philosophy degree, accusations that I was attempting to humiliate him, that I didn’t respect his religion, and told me that he wished me good luck because, as an atheist, I’d need it. Unfortunately, this is how more than a few of these interactions go; rather than answers, I get threats.

I informed him that I was going to use my correspondence to him as a basis for a blog post and asked if he would allow me to post his side of the correspondence to make sure everyone could see his side. I wasn’t too surprised that he refused, despite no reason given. So, I will use what I wrote in reply to address the general arguments that have been offered by various Christians in the past here and on the . No need to let research and writing go to waste.

Argument 1: I believe in only one god and the others don’t exist. I know that this is true because their claims are contradictory. The claims of other religions are untrue because there is no evidence to support them. I know this as a certainty; there is no probability of another god. It’s illogical not to believe in my god because there is a low possibility of it existing.    

The problem with this claim is that it needs evidence to support the claim that the theist’s god exists and no others do. The bible is offered as evidence, but what most theists don’t acknowledge is that the bible is the claim, not the evidence. The bible makes the claim that the god exists and the events therein are true; it cannot be used as evidence for the very claims it makes.   Dawkins, in the discussion of his seven point scale, admits that there may be some low probability of a god when he scores himself at 6.9, but there is the same probability for the existence of fairies. We can’t be absolutely sure that *some* god doesn’t exist. In that the theist’s argument depends on this probability, their claim that they know a certainty about other gods doesn’t work. Continue reading

What the Boss Likes – update on the remodel, random things I’ve enjoyed

The kitchen is finished all but for the painting. Since this was nice fresh drywall, I had to give it two coats of sealer/primer and now am *finally* getting the color layer on, a lavender called “garden fairy” (I want a job naming colors). I’m doing a high gloss finish since it’s a kitchen and we’ve had splatters appear on our 9 foot ceilings by evidently some spaghetti sauce trying to hit escape velocity (like this steel plate may or may not have done). Now for two hours of waiting to see how it looks on one wall before continuing.

Right now, I’m making some pasta puttanesca, resting my very sore body (using all sorts of muscles I don’t usually use) and unfortunately just crushed a chili pepper for it in my fingers and touched my nose. Whee.

Now onto the random bits.

We had a bottle of Evolucio Blaufrankisch from Hungary. Very good red wine with a very cherry taste. Also had a bottle of Primal Roots California Red Blend. This doesn’t have any cabernet sauvignon, so it is light on the tannins.

Baked some triple cream brie.  Very good with cherry preserves, roast beef (a leftover) and fig and olive relish from Tait Farms.  All with baguette like bread.

I watched Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. This is a Dreamworks animated film from the early 2000s. Though it is not a “real” Sinbad movie (those are the ones from the 60’s-70’s with Harryhausen stop motion animation), it was good. A strong female character, a good villain and fun dialogue, some of which may generate uncomfortable questions from children to their parents. A good adventure flick.

Also watched Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Just beautiful and a good story. nothing particularly new but are there really any “new” stories?   I also loved Besson’s The Fifth Element.

I got a copy of What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. for Christmas This is by the fellow who does the XKCD webcomic. I chortled over it as I was reading it and had a great bit of fun learning new facts, like exactly how amanita mushroom toxin works. You can see what if questions and answers on the website if you follow the “what if” up in the left corner or here: https://what-if.xkcd.com/

The weather has been colder and snowier than usual (we’re getting a touch of the nasty noreaster coming up the coast of the US), at least usual for the overly warm winters we’ve had recently. I have a pair of Carolina wrens as visitors and have given them a stick of butter to peck at, as well as some bread and cat food.   Two years ago, we had a nest of them in a roll of carpet I had put out to dispose of. They are notorious for putting nests in silly places, and this was right outside of our kitchen door too. We went out once without paying attention and there was a sudden explosion of fledglings. We tried to catch them and put them back but they took off under the hostas, never to be seen again. No idea if the little critters survived. We never saw this species before until that incident two years ago.

Well, that’s about it. Next post will be about a recent discussion I’ve had with a theist and some information about how facts and evidence work in supporting claims. Fair warning, if you don’t want to see my unvarnished opinions on politics and religion, avoid blog post starting with “Not So Polite Conversation”.

What the Boss Likes (kinda) and From the Bar – the great kitchen remodel continues and some beers

We are a week into the Great Kitchen Remodel of 2017. The kitchen (and the small bathroom just off it) has been gutted to the studs. One of the guys doing the work (and they are really talented) said plaintively  “Why did you use so MANY nails mr. guy from the early 20th century!) This was mostly in plaster and lathe, and as the project manager has said, just about every other known wall material. The folks who made this house sure did get creative with reusing materials.

In case you are terribly curious on what an ugly worn out kitchen looks like (and our long ago attempts to make it nicer), and what it looks like gutted, feast your eyes. Since my spouse and I grew up on farms, we find the gutted room rather comforting with all of the old and dark rough wood.

We are, of course, living on sandwiches, microwave meals, and take out. Happily, the contractors were able to move our fridge and plug it in again so at least we have that. Along with some Chinese food, we got a mixed six-pack to try.

River Horse Belgian Freeze – I got this because it had a hippo on it, and they fascinate me with just how cranky and deadly they are. It’s a good starter Belgium ale, not too sweet and not too high in alcohol. I’m of course one of those who likes the Rochefort and Delierium Tremens ales.

Innis & Gunn Original – This is from Scotland, an oak aged scotch ale. Very complex and a bit sweet, you’d not want too many of them in a sitting but definitely worth getting one.

Full Pint Festivus – a nice and tasty brown ale, which I’m always fond of.

Thomas Creek Brewery Banana Split Chocolate Stout – a brewery out of South Carolina, this is a stout that has been brewed with dried bananas. Very good, but not exactly a banana split, which I associate with having many more confused flavors. Good banana flavor. A great beer for the colder months. Reminds me of a dopplebock with a hit of the banana phenols.

Saucony Creek Maple Mistress – one of the few spiced beers that I could actually tastes the spices. This has a very nice hit of nutmeg and it came through very clearly when I was eating my crab Rangoon.

DuClaw Sweet Baby Java – this is a riff on the Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter beer which tastes like a Mr. Goodbar (a Hershey’s product of chocolate and peanuts). Good but not appreciably different from the original.

That’s all!  Three more weeks to go!

(fair warning to anyone who has happened here and might wish to follow the blog. It often has my entirely unvarnished political and cultural opinions on it. If you don’t want to read those, avoid anything titled “not so polite dinner conversation”. )