Here are my notes when I was watching my chat with Robert. I hadn’t known that he was going to include his comentary but that’s fine. These notes are long. Unfortunately for Robert, I’ve learned to not trust Christians. I’ve also put these remarks on youtube with the video. I don’t know if they’ll show up.
It is true that there are Christian scientists. We also have Isaac Newton, an antitrinitarian Christian, who got us a lot of knowledge but also thought that alchemy works. It is true that Christians had to step away from the bible and its contradictions and false claims about reality and try a more metaphorical interpretation.
References to Christian things isn’t a turn off, because I know how Christians think, a lot of different kinds of Christians. Just saying what you believe doesn’t bother me or offend me. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t show how it fails.
Before the Big Bang, we aren’t sure of what was in existence. Currently, we aren’t sure if the BB is part of a series, etc. From what we can see, it seems that there couldn’t have been time. However, we have nothing that says that the laws of physics couldn’t have existed. We also don’t know if infinities really work or not. They are really weird. The idea of a universe that ends seems to go against what the bible claims as some magical event with people flying around, being raised from the dead and either being destroyed or eternally tortured.
I do love the science fiction analogy but it fails since it doesn’t have an omnipotent being, which could do anything by interpretation. Other than Contact, the book “The Hercules Text” is an even better version of that story IMO.
I do understand what transcendence means and so do most atheists. I do see evidence that it happens as claimed by Christians. As for a “nest of vipers”, Christianity is so self-contradictory, and Christians make up their versions in their own image that there is no such thing as true Christianity. And yep, I am critical of Christianity from every perspective. Christians have little choice to be hypocrites since few read the bible, and as above, have made up their religion in their images.
I’m as doubtful about Christianity in general, as each Christian doubts each other. We can see that schism in the current splitting of the Methodist church.
To claim that one doesn’t believe in god, but being a theist is rather silly and seems to be a little bit of a dodge. For a theist to be a theist, there is a god. For Christian, there is the one defined in the bible. Catholics do have other sources they claim just as valid. If there is no god, then there is no eden, then no need of Jesus. Repeating something out of rote if you have no idea it is true then it is pointless.
Properity gospel is silly but it is as Christian as any other Chrisitan claim. JC (Jesus Christ) says that any prayer, any ask, will be answered. Shall we disbelieve that?
People who are different in IQ do have trouble in communicating. However, neither are omnipotent. IF this god can’t make itself understood, then it isn’t omnipotent. Even a smart person can modify their words to help others understand them. This god doesn’t or can’t do that.
That a Christian wants to ignore Paul or at least part of what he says isn’t new. If something is just an “interpretation by Paul” and we can discount it in favor of something else, then why consider any of the bible to be some magical truth? Claims of “mystery” is a way to dodge problematic issues in religion.
“go with the interpretation which leads towards love”. Here is a problematic statement. Christians constantly tell me that they love me, Jesus loves me, God loves me, and there is no evidence of this. Even if you go with the definition of love in 1 Corinthians, this god fails it, and if Jesus is this god, Jesus fails it (though Jesus sometimes seems far more loving with his concern with the poor, the sick, etc). In my experience, for most Christians love doesn’t mean a concern for someone for which you’d do almost anything to make them happy and to protect them. Love for them is obedience to this god no matter what in the belief that this god will protect them and give them what they want.
It isn’t interesting that someone goes to 1 Corinthians and says that it’s a pretty good definition of “love”. In the bible, where we hear about love, it is what the bible defines “love” as. And this god fails that definition. It isn’t that this atheist thinks that the bible is right, I think that it is fairly close to what love is, not that it and it alone has the right definition of “love”. And no, it didn’t make me happy at all. I wanted nothing to do with any bible nonsense. As I said, it made other people happy, Christians who I am related to who I do care about. That’s what real love is.
Nope, no Christ needed to be loving. I am entirely disappointed with Robert that he tries to make that claim.
Christians do indeed disagree and contradict each other. It isn’t using this as a tool, it is a fact that Christians differ from each other in very basic ways. It is true that Christians make Christ into what they want, and no, he didn’t supposedly said anything new or special. We’ve had the “golden rule” for vastly longer than Christianity has existed. The ancient Chinese had it, the ancient Hebrews had it and the ancient Egyptians had it. Jesus had a different interpretation of this god nonsense just like every Christian has a different interpretation of what Christ/god supposedly said. Resurrection comes from latin sugere which means to rise or spring up. In- as a prefix means insurrection means act of instance of revolting against an authority aka rebel. Of course, in- as a prefix is a pain in the ass. Does this mean “not rising”? Does it mean “on or in a rising”? that last seems more like it. In any case it means the same as rebel though I can understand it can have different connotations to people rather than the denotation that it gets in the dictionary (my English teacher taught me “D – dictionary, denotation; C – connotation, impliCation”
The claim that no one “really” knows what Christ is saying and that this is where “fundamentalism” comes from, is Christians trying to claim each other are wrong. If we can’t trust the words from the authors or the translators, then there is no reason to believe any of them. Jesus says to follow the laws in Exodus, Leviticus etc. Should they all be followed? Some?
The same holds true for the question “what is baptism?” Well, we get a pretty good idea from what John the “Baptist” did. However, as Robert says, there are many different version of what Christians think is baptism. In my area, there are the Amish which are a part of the anabaptist movement. What indeed is a “truly” baptized Christian? In Mark 16, it says that any baptized believer in Christ as savior can do magic aka miracles. Is this the reason that no Christian can since none of them were “really” baptized?
Being a “manager” doesn’t help much with facts especially when you have a baseless claim that something that has no evidence is “good” for them. It also doesn’t work when a manager isn’t omniscient and this god supposedly is. There is no evidence that this god can create anything much less a “clockwork mechanism”. This is the argument that this god didn’t want to create something perfect because it wanted “free will”. As those who have read my blog before, free will never comes up in the bible. We have miracles which is this god interfering with human actions. As soon as it interferes, there is no free will. We also have very definite times where this god removes free will: killing a child for the actions of its parents, forcing the Egyptians to give up their wealth to the Israelites, hardening Pharoah’s heart so it can show off, etc.
This god pushes people constantly in the bible. Again, what the bible says and what a Christian wants is different. If things that are perfect are “dead”, then that doesn’t give much hope for heaven.
In regards to abortion, this is another example of love as obedience.
There is no evidence that this god is “infinite”. So one can escape. It isn’t nihilistic to be good with the universe ending. Being accepting of death isn’t nihilism. Death is part of life. I get out of the way of someone new. I would miss being alive and I don’t want anyone to be sad I was gone. Not wanting this god or this heaven isn’t nihilism.
“The bible isn’t the message”. There is no evidence that the “message” is anything different than the bible or that it is “bigger” than the bible. As much as Quakers and Catholics want to pretend otherwise, this is where they started. That they have changed their minds and declared they have some new truth is nothing new; all Christians reinvent their religion in their own image. There is nothing to show that this god started the message and the universe is around 13 billion years old (we keep refining that number with new information but it is around that old per all the evidence we have) not “3 trillion years old”. Not even remotely.
There is nothing to show that the Christian claims are evolving across time. That is a modern Christian claim. And again, there is no reason for this god for not giving the absolute truth. It is materially false when the bible makes claims that aren’t true. That we are still looking at the universe and though we though it was one way e.g. “steady state” vs big bang, no one said that this was a magical divinely given “truth”. Christians claims truths and then a generation later those supposed truths change, often in response to very human changes in morality or in response to scientific discoveries. Scientists don’t say “God told me this is the truth.”
The BBT doesn’t say that the universe is expanding from a “central point”. The BBT is far more bizarre than that.
We do find and refine what we think is true. The claims of Christians shouldn’t have to do that. If this god is limited by humans, it isn’t much of a god, especially when Christians claim that this god damns people for not getting things “right”.
“who says what it says and which bible” This is in response to me pointing out what the bible says. Chrsitians all claim that they and they alone know what it “really” says. And, since this is the case, there is some truth in saying “who says what it says”. Christians make that up as they go along, with no more evidence than the next Christian who disagrees with them, “love” not withstanding. If the translation makes a difference, then why does it? Can this god do nothing about that? Why does this god allow “wrong” translations and then damns people who don’t know any better?
Robert says he is a universal salvationist which essentially means that everyone will have a chance at accepting this god and some thing that we will all agree with them that this god is what they say. Robert might not agree with this exactly but this is what I’m going with since the ‘net seems to think this is what it means. As I noted, this is very much not what the bible says or what most Christians believe. He believes that eventually that I or everyone who isn’t Christian will “eventually lose” and we will have to accept this god’s message. No matter what it is. According to Robert, the only way to avoid the heat death of the universe is to accept his god. If this god is what is presented in the bible, I don’t want it or its afterlife. I have better morals than that and as it stands this heaven can’t seem to exist since it by being perfect is “dead”.
It didn’t surprise me much to have Robert think that C.S. Lewis’ idea of hell in “The Last Divorce” to be preferable to the fire and worms that the bible presents. However, C.S. Lewis presents a hell where Christians forget those they loved. A good review of this book is here. In short form, C.S blames the non-Christian, in my opinion blaming the victim. Honest doubt is claimed to be nothing more than intellectual laziness and selfishness, if one dares to disagree with the author. Lewis also ignores the bible and has that those in hell can leave by choice. The bible never says this and the church fathers never say this either; heck, they claim that unbaptized children are damned because they dare to be born with the nonsense of “original sin”. Then as we know, the RCC invented purgatory since such nonsense seemed too cruel.
Lewis’ argument is that people have to submit, again showing what so many Christians claim as “love” to be nothing more than obedience needed by their god. When a Christians relies on false claims like this “human being can’t make one another happy for long” and “You cannot love a fellow-creature fully until you love God” then we are in classic cult territory.
“Folk beliefs”, “infantile babyfied ways of looking at heaven and hell”. This appears to be what a lot of atheists call “sophisticated theology”. That link leads to rationalwiki’s entry on it which describes how Christians are sure that other Christians aren’t quite getting Christianity “right”, when they are taking the bible at its word. In this, hell isn’t this god daming people to fire and worms, it is the non-believer choosing not to agree with the believer. It’s not their or their god’s fault that they are unbelievable.
“It is essentially pagan to think of God as Odin…” This is very similar to arguments made by people like Karen Armstrong and Tillich that somehow their god is “different” than everyone else’s god, that it is the “ground of being” and can’t be held to human description so it gets vaguer and vaguer in definition. This vague entity is very hard to reconcile some god that has a blood sacrifice to “save” people.
People that are happy in believing nonsense is most humans: Muslims, Hindus, Christians that Robert doesn’t agree with, etc. That doesn’t mean that any of their beliefs are true. One’s personal beliefs aren’t true and cognitive science accepts this. Cognitive science doesn’t say that Christianity, or any religion, is true.
“It’s okay to take the bible literally.” One would think a Christian would say this since they all take some part of it literally. It just depends on the Christian what parts. And then they declare that those Christians who don’t agree with them aren’t “really” Christians. Robert wants people to take the bible morally, literally, allegorically and what I think he is saying “anagogical” which means “a mystical or spiritual interpretation” of statements and events. Per the wiki entry on “anagogue” this is some kind of a allegory that isn’t a “simple” allegory”, it is a divine revelation.
In that Christians all make claims of how their god (or the holy spirit) tells them what something “really” meant, aka knowing anagogically, there is no reason to think one Christian has a better interpretation than another.
“Religion is like science”. No it isn’t. I don’t say that I believe in science just because it can be wrong or improved. Science does come to truth across time. We are limited humans. It is not true in religion since every religion claims it has the truth and that what it interprets Jesus/God as wanting as the “truth”. What happens is that those supposed truths, declared strongly by Christians, change to another “truth” by Christians who disagree. Science is rarely declared as some immutable truth, and shouldn’t be declared that since we know things can change when we find something new. Religions, such as Chrisitanity, depend on declaring dogmatic “truth” and then they often proceed to kill each over these supposed “truths”. Few theists ever admit that they doubt what they claim is true. If they didn’t think it was true, they wouldn’t believe it.
Science isn’t about “feeling” the truth; its about facts. All Christians claim that their version of Christ is “truth” itself. All claim that Christ manifests in them and again we have drastically conflicting messages from supposedly this “Christ”.
“when there is no ultimate, infinite goodness that exists apart from us, we have removed the fixed point toward which we can aspire.” This is an argument that this god is some moral or ultimate ideal. Most Christians try this. This assumes that somehow we need this god to get better. There is no evidence for this at all. Humans have gotten morally better (subjectively of course) and it is the religions that have constantly changed their gods to catch up. Our imaginations can always make us better. Robert wants to claim we can’t get “infinitely better without his god, but there is again no reason to think his god exists or that it is infinite or better than humans. Infinities are again, weird things, and there is no reason to think that there is an “infinite” better-ness. That idea is attached to the cosmological argument that there has to be some “perfect” being that for some reason has to make the universe, under the assumption that existence is “better” than non-existence. Every religion says that only it gets you “infinitely” better, a claim with no evidence for it at all.
Newton did come up with physics and Newtonian physics works. It still works and we did need quantum mechanics. Einstein didn’t accept quantum physics. Newton’s laws work and are true, quantum laws are true, and we don’t *yet* know how they interact or if they do. We may never know it. That makes neither untrue; this is a false dichotomy argument. Religion claims an ultimate truth and it can’t show it.
Humans are bad at truth and the scientific method helps us in finding it. What we’ve found is no “third party”, and as it stands each religion claims that they and they alone have that third party that agrees with them, with no evidence again. That we don’t need a third party confounds many theists since their world depends on a presupposition that we do. That presupposition comes from the human need to think that intelligent agency is behind everything. The fact is that it isn’t.
There is no evidence for some “far distant truth” from some god. We do rely on us humans. No god can be shown to have done anything and humans reach for the stars on their own. This religion has done its best to squash questioning, killing those who questioned like Giordano Bruno, to keep us from the stars.
That I’ve stopped being afraid of this god or any god I can achieve much. I’ve decided not to believe in a god that limits humans, that punishes humans for questioning. My subjective morality allows me to move forward. Robert, though he is a very nice Christian, does try to claim he has a truth. Searching for a truth doesn’t involve saying “I *know* that “x” is true” which is what he and I discussed on his blog in the comments. Every Christian says that every other Christian isn’t getting the right answer.
It’ll be billions of years until an “end”, but that isn’t usually the end that most Christians are predicting. They have an end where this god comes back, and judges people. That isn’t the heat death of the universe which doesn’t care about anything.
Christianity would be rather bizarre with me in it, but I appreciate the thought. Christians, imo, are terrified. One happy atheist shows that the claims of Christianity aren’t true. Christianity claims a truth and that it is “greater” than everything else.
The bible is indeed violent just like Pulp Fiction the movie. I just don’t get the analogy Robert uses. This bible has that this god intentionally assigns innocents to the worst fate ever. You can try to ignore that part of the bible but it is still there. No free will in Chrisitanity at all
Those of you who don’t know Pern, it’s a science fiction, kinda fantasy series of books with dragons on an alien plant with the descendants of colonists. You can read about it here.
But at least we agree with Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin. 😊