Monday, August 14, 2017

Why You Worship a False god (Part Two)

[You should go back and read part one of this, because I'm not going to provide any kind of recap or summary, and this probably won't make sense without the previous post.]

I left you all last time with "Christianity is the worst," and I meant it. Why? For one simple reason:
"Christianity" provides a solution to the linear god problem then turns its back on it and walks away.

Imagine three cages with people all locked up inside each one, one for Jews, one for Muslims, one for Christians. No one can get out. Except there are people inside the Christian cage with keys to the door, but they like being in the cage and like having all the other people locked in with them, so they don't bother to tell anyone. They could, but they don't want to. That's pretty despicable. At least there isn't anyone in the other cages concealing keys.

Look, it's even true of Paul. The asshole. To paraphrase:
When Paul was approached with the idea that sin didn't matter anymore because all sin was forgiven under Christ, Paul said, "Sure, you're right. Don't sin anyway." Basically, get back in your cage and sit down and shut up. Because Paul was a legalistic douche bag, kind of by his own admittance. He was a Pharisee among Pharisees.

And this is where we get to the point:
The whole point of the idea of Jesus is that he was a final sacrifice for all sin. All sin. Everyone's sin for all of time. Yes, you have to accept it, but, if you do, all of your sin has been atoned for. All the sins you've already done and all of the sins you'll do in the future, because it's only past and future for you. God sees you as a whole human being throughout the entire timeline of your life, so the one act of accepting the forgiveness offered through the sacrifice of Christ cleanses you of all of the sin. Therefore, it doesn't actually matter what you do; all sin is forgiven.

Now, this is the point where you really need to pay attention to get to the same place that I'm going.

Only a God outside of Time can do this. Only a God who can see your whole life at once and take away all the sin at once. That's what makes God, God.

If your god demands constant repentance and/or sacrifices to be on good terms with "him," then your god is no god at all. A god who is locked into judging you based upon your latest prayer, act of contrition, or sacrifice is a fraud. If your god is a fraud, then there is no sin, and it doesn't matter what you do. If your god is a fraud and you insist on dogmatically following some esoteric list of rules, you are also a fraud, propped up only by your legalism.

If your God is outside of Time and able to look at a person as a holistic being and has given you a way to purge your sin once and for all, then there is also no sin, and it doesn't matter what you do. Because let me be clear, no little prayer of "asking Jesus into your heart" is going to fool that kind of God into forgiving you. Whatever that means. Either that kind of God is up there judging people and it doesn't matter if you've "prayed the prayer" or not, because "He" knows more about what's going on in you than you do; or that kind of God is not judging people at all because, seriously, why would God even need to do that? Either way, it doesn't matter what you do. Neither can you "be good enough" to get into Heaven, nor can you be bad enough to get kicked out.

Which leaves us all in a very uneasy space, I know. A place of real moral ambiguity.
I mean, I've just stated that it doesn't matter what you do! How will we know if people are good or if people are bad or whether they're going to get into heaven or go straight to hell or whether we should look up to them because of how "righteous" they are or look down at them and spit because they're dirty, rotten sinners?

But here's the thing, man clearly has a moral compass of sorts. Humans have a pretty standard idea of what's right and wrong across cultures. It doesn't matter whether you believe if that's something divine or if it's some kind of genetic inheritance because we're a social species, there is a clear call to uphold the social good. Maybe the idea is to be good for goodness' sake, not out of fear of some kind of punishment. Maybe the idea is to do the Right thing because it's the right thing.
And God doesn't matter in that decision.

Here are the things I can tell you for sure:
1. Any God is so far above man that we are incapable of any kind of understanding about who or what God is. Anyone who tells you differently, anyone who tries to tell you what God is about and what God approves of and what "he" doesn't, is a liar and a fraud. Any person claiming to know God's mind worships a false god. Anyone who ever utters the phrase, "You need to get right with god," worships a god trapped in a linear timeline, and that god is not a god at all.
2. The current "christian" establishment in the United States (possibly the entire "christian" establishment across the world) clearly worships a linear god; therefore, the current "christian" establishment worships no god at all.
3. Anyone supporting "christianity" and Trump are clearly not even "christians," let alone a Christian. There is nothing in "christianity" which supports the support of a person like that. He is the antithesis of what it is to be a Christian, so anyone supporting him is clearly paying lip service to a religion they know nothing about. Clearly those people are worshiping a god they have made up in their own minds, not a God who lives outside of Time. The fact that they can't see the glaring divide between the character of Jesus in the Bible and the caricature that is Trump highlights their ingrained hypocrisy.

What I'm saying here is that most of you out there, if you believe in "God," have no idea what you believe. You've been told what to believe by other people and your idea of God is flawed. If your idea of God is flawed, you can't believe in God, only god. You have no idea what the Bible is about or what it says because you've never bothered to read it. And reading the Bible should only be the beginning of your learning about what you believe. That is, if you believe it. Because, really, most of you don't believe in anything; you just think you do.


  1. And I'm sure if any of those people saw this post, they would call you evil and blasphemous and a bunch of other things. They don't seem to care as much about loving or humanity as they do about controlling others.

  2. Hey Andrew,
    First, I apologize for the size of this response.
    Second, why am I responding?
    When I take this many issues with something said by a person I follow, I can either stop caring (unfollow) or care (respond). I chose what I consider to be the latter. In the end, I'm speaking for me, not any group at large. What I'll say is based on my simple understanding. Ride it out and it might just be worthy of your attention. I may surprise you.

    My view of God (I capitalize because grammar) is in flux. It evolves. So does my understanding of Christianity (I capitalize and spare the quotes because, again, grammar) and Christians and sin.

    I was raised Baptist. In 38 years, I've attended churches with Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostal Holiness, and surely others I've forgotten. They tend to run together. (How alcohol and homosexuality are viewed can give hints as to what denomination you're dealing with)
    I went to a Christian college. I only mention that here to say where I'm coming from.

    Two things to note:
    -I agree that Donald Trump is an antithesis of Jesus Christ.
    -You never define sin.

    I’ll respond to your points as if this is my critique group. Since I can't annotate, I'll copy your words & paste with quotes around them. As with my writing group, I don't mean anything personally and I hope you don't take it as such.

    1. David: Okay, I'm going to respond bit by bit (and probably over some amount of time because I'm busy).

      1. "God" does not need to be capitalized because of grammar; otherwise, you'd have to capitalize god no matter what context you were using it in. We (Americans) capitalize god out of convention to differentiate "him" from "false" gods. So grammar is not an excuse for god or christians, though Christian has more grammatical reason than god.

      I was raised Southern Baptist and went to Christian university. I have a degree in religion. I've worked in and around churches most of my life. I'm speaking as one coming from inside. I know what I'm talking about.

      Sin is undefinable and non-existent except in the individual's mind.

    2. Oh, ignore that I started that with "1." I was going to bullet point it, then didn't but, because I was rushed, forgot that I was doing that.
      There is no "2" other than what is already above.

    3. Regarding the grammar of it, I just meant when used as a proper name. Same as "I'm his father" vs "Hello Father"

    4. And, I agree abt sin. It is a largely a religious construct, its definition up to the user.

  3. POST 1

    "Until we get to the part where we're dealing with what it means to be outside of Time, but I'm not got to get into that, because that's kind of like asking a fish what it's like to be outside of water."

    Small quibble: If we're referring to Time as a dimension--not unlike the X, Y, or Z axis-and us humans are prisoners to Time in the same way a horizontal line is bound to a single number on the Y axis--then it's a bit more complex than moving from dense (underwater) to less dense (Earth's atmosphere).
    I'd say it's more like asking a two-dimensional object to describe a three-dimensional object. There simply is no understanding. There is only conjecture, which is worth as much as assumption.

    "And the fact that most of you probably don't get the part where Time is not some linear stream that has always existed."

    This reads like an insult and although that fits with the general narrative, I don't see the value in insulting your audience right out the door unless your intent is to offend.

    "Because you can't go to heaven if you have sin, and you're only as good as your last repentance."

    This is Catholicism, which you never mention by name.

    "The writer of the book of Hebrews is unknown, but it was almost certainly NOT Paul."

    Not sure your source on this. According to even Wikipedia, he is a likely author of Hebrews.

    "Of course, the writer …, a few verses later, says that, basically, since you've been forgiven of your sins -- all of them past, present, and future -- don't ever sin again."

    I read the rest of Hebrews 10 but couldn't find what you were referring to. I did find what I took to be urges to try not to sin.

    "...neither Judaism not Islam have any mechanism for dealing with sin in a non-linear fashion. Their god is completely Time-linear and can only deal with men based upon their most recent actions."

    I'm not sure what problem you're referring to, unless you've determined that no higher being can both transcend time and also react within it.
    That seems like as safe an assumption as a square discussing what a cube can or cannot do. In fact, if God is truly omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, then there is no choice but that God be greater than three-dimensional.

    "You "Christians" can stop patting yourselves on the back, because, in a lot of ways, you're even worse. Probably in the most important ways, you're worse."

    * I react to this at the very, very last comment. Skip to there if you grow bored.

    1. David: response to Post 1:

      It doesn't matter what kind of comparison I make; the point stands. I figured people could better empathize with a fish than a point. People are familiar with fish and what's it like for them to be out of water. However, a fish having survived being out of water would not be able to adequately describe what had happened to it, nor would it even remember the experience for long afterward. That sounds pretty human to me.

      It only sounds like an insult because I'm not trying -not- to insult. From experience, I can say that MOST people cannot comprehend that concept. If you get it, great; most people don't.

      That's only Catholicism by doctrine. By practice, it's pretty much everyone. Been in church, done that; that's how they all work. "Come get right with god..." blah blah blah

      Sorry, do some research beyond wikipedia. Theologians pretty much agree that the writer of Hebrews was almost certainly anyone else BUT Paul. Paul makes it pretty clear that he's doing the writing when he's doing the writing, and that's not Hebrews.

      The writer says something along the lines of how you need to honor god for forgiving you by not sinning anymore. It would be an insult to god to do otherwise.

      Sure, god could act within time; you're missing the point completely, though, if you're trying to say that I'm say he can't do that. If you're missing the point, then either
      1. you need to re-read what I'm saying or
      2. you're not going to get it, but I don't really have time to try to explain it some other way. I was as clear as I'm going to be. There is a distinct difference between being able to operate in time and being confined in it.

    2. My research beyond Wikipedia includes classes at a Christian college, but is not limited to those. I'm open to change my mind on the author of Hebrews if I read (watch, listen to, etc) a convincing source.

      I would agree that the general idea and consensus is that most Christians (or "Christians") can tell you the moment they converted and at that point forward made the choice to stop all that "sinning"

    3. David: Well, you must be consulting traditionalist sources is all I can say. And, yeah, there's a lot of stuff out there supporting Paul as the author of Hebrews, but if you look at pretty much any more objective scholarly work, they're going to say that the author of Hebrews is one of the great mysteries of the Bible.

  4. POST 1 - Comments

    "My struggle with religion has led me to decide that all religions are false."

    I can absolutely identify with this. Especially if I'm looking toward my fellow human for examples. I do think, however, that I'm too young and simple to cement my ideals in any direction.

    "[Someone comments on the injustice of Dahlmer earning heaven and Gandhi earning hell]
    "Christianity does all kinds of gymnastics to get around all of these issues, but that stuff only works for people who don't use their brains. Which they pat themselves on the back for doing. Or not doing, as the case may be.
    But even C.S. Lewis knew that the idea that someone like Gandhi would go to Hell was ridiculous."

    Again, insulting in a slightly humorous way. But not true, not as you've phrased it. I have seen CHRISTIANS waffle on the subject, with or without using their brains.
    But the most obvious response that came to me was Matthew 5:45 - [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
    C.S. Lewis was a smart dude, based on what I've read of his and I agree with what you've postulated that he said.

    1. David: I'm not sure what your point is here. You agree with me but don't like how I said it? Because I "insulted" people?

      At any rate, I'm not talking about the Bible because, honestly, most "Christians" have nothing to do with the Bible beyond having one in their houses. And your obvious response there implies the stereotypical response: Gandhi didn't accept Christ, so he went to Hell. That's what sending the rain upon the righteous would be.

      So you're agreeing with me while quoting something which undermines your point?

      At any rate, the standard response about Gandhi is something along the lines of, "Oh, too bad for him."

    2. What I disagreed with was specifically "Christianity does all kinds of gymnastics to get around these issues, [which only work for people] who don't use their brains."

      Christianity (and I'm basing this solely on things stated in the Bible, not church) states that every one sins and all are bound to hell. It does no gymnastics. Does no sugar coating. It strongly implies 'too bad for him.'
      Christians, on the other hand, may be largely uncomfortable with that, and rightfully so. It's shitty.

    3. David: But that's not really what the Bible says; that's what one verse says. The Bible, taken as a whole, lends to the belief that the righteous (those striving to good or however you want t say that) go to heaven whether they've heard of Jesus or not. But "Christianity," pretty much across the board, wants people to jump through the Jesus hoop so that they can bring you under control.

    4. Interesting. I may be (he admits, days into the discussion) basing lots of this on religiosity.
      But it's verses like "...I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes unto the father but by me" and "all have sinned and fall short..."

      Lol, the Jesus lasso.


  5. POST - 2

    ""Christianity" provides a solution to the linear god problem then turns its back on it and walks away."

    I'm guessing the problem you're referring to here is still the time thing?

    You make a cage metaphor that I won't stuff into this comment. I didn't really follow it and I don't want to assume. But it sounded like you're saying Christians aren't willing to let in others. If that's the case, I think you might be misinformed about missions (* also addressed below).
    A Bibley response to that is 2 Peter 3:9 - Instead [God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    "When Paul was approached with the idea that sin didn't matter anymore because all sin was forgiven under Christ, Paul said, "Sure, you're right. Don't sin anyway." Basically, get back in your cage and sit down and shut up. Because Paul was a legalistic douche bag, kind of by his own admittance. He was a Pharisee among Pharisees."

    I don't know your source on this and can't vouch for any of it except for the last two sentences. Paul WAS a legalistic douche bag Pharisee who persecuted the early church "beyond measure" (in his testimony). Then he had a "miraculous conversion" (also his testimony).
    Then he began writing letters to churches (eventually making up most the New Testament). No lessons or even quotes from his Pharisee days are in the Bible.

    "Because let me be clear, no little prayer of "asking Jesus into your heart" is going to fool that kind of God into forgiving you.
    Either that kind of God is up there judging people and it doesn't matter if you've "prayed the prayer" or not, because "He" knows more about what's going on in you than you do"


    "... Or that kind of God is not judging people at all because, seriously, why would God even need to do that?"

    I don't honestly know. To create the problem (Hell) and the solution (Jesus) seems like extortion on a mafia-level.

    "How will we know if people are good or if people are bad or whether they're going to get into heaven or go straight to hell or whether we should look up to them because of how "righteous" they are or look down at them and spit because they're dirty, rotten sinners?"

    What an amazing question. We don't know. We can't know. And so, we shouldn't judge others.
    Matthew 7:1-6, Luke 6:37, John 8:7, James 4:12, Romans 2:1, … [I won’t post all 37 references I found]

    "But here's the thing, man clearly has a moral compass of sorts."

    I'm cynical. And I look at far off human history. As atrocious as religious wars have ever been, other wars (territorial, xenophobic, greed-based, whatever) have been as bad or worse. That said, I want to know your source on this assertion.
    I'd love to think as a species we're growing more accepting, "loving," tolerant, less-violent toward one another, etc. But maybe that's just an extension of me being a fantasy author.

    1. David:
      Okay, first, before I get into your comments, I'm going to say that the Bible doesn't work here as any kind of proof or evidence. In this circumstance, it's like trying to define the word with the word, Like this one time we were at a Chinese restaurant and my brother asked the waiter, "What's curry, anyway?" and his response was to laugh and say, "Curry is curry." That proved to my brother that he should never eat anything with curry in it.

      No, I was not saying anything about whether "Christians" will let anyone in or not, though they have a bad record of it. I'm saying that "Christianity" has the key to removing sin from religion, but "Christianity" persists in making itself about sin and being right with god. All the time! The Bible says ALL sin is forgiven, but "Christians" persist in the need to ask forgiveness on an ongoing basis even though the sin, according to the Bible, has ALREADY been forgiven. It's kind of like having your kid come and ask if he can go to the bathroom every single time he needs to go to the bathroom. After a while, you just want to yell, "YOU DON'T HAVE TO ASK TO GO TO THE BATHROOM! JUST GO!"

      As for the moral compass thing, it's based on anthropology. Across cultures throughout time,cultures have tended to consider the same things as wrong: don't murder, don't take what doesn't belong to you, don't tell falsehoods. Those kinds of things are very consistent and show that we have some form of universal-ish sense of right and wrong.

    2. I think, based on your very first sentence, that I'm using the Bible as a basis of truth, rather than a basis of Christianity. What I personally consider truth, I'm not actually postulating on (until the end of my 'rant'). I comment on your arguments against Christianity and/or Christians at large.

      [[I need to take a moment to mention that I took a personality-type quiz AFTER my tirade here to learn that I'm an ENTP... Which apparently means I'll debate a subject into the dirt, even if I don't believe what I'm arguing. While that's not ENTIRELY the case here, it may factor in :) ]]

    3. David: In this circumstance, since I'm approaching the Creative Being from a stance outside of the Bible, the Bible doesn't work as a source for proof. What the Bible says, effectively, doesn't matter.

      [You should take the Enneagram personality test.]

  6. POST – 2 (continued)

    "1. Any God is so far above man that we are incapable of any kind of understanding about who or what God is."

    The Bible literally says this.

    "2. The current "christian" establishment in the United States … clearly worships a linear god; therefore, the current "christian" establishment worships no god at all."

    I was a bit confused by this. 'Linear' is kind of the only anchor I could find here. I guess you're talking about the Time thing again.

    "3...anyone supporting [Trump] is clearly paying lip service to a religion they know nothing about."

    I know individuals who prove this false. Whether it's because they have extremely limited news sources, or consider most sources outright lies, or live in a cave, or what, I don't know. But I know some incredibly smart, incredibly good human beings (Not racist, not homophobic, not rich, or greedy or even wealthy) who support Trump. I don’t know why they do.

    "The fact that they can't see the glaring divide between the character of Jesus in the Bible and the caricature that is Trump highlights their ingrained hypocrisy."

    Again, I know individuals who prove this false, despite that I agree about that glaring divide.

    "What I'm saying here is that most of you out there, if you believe in "God," have no idea what you believe."

    What a broad brushstroke.

    "You've been told what to believe by other people and your idea of God is flawed."

    What a mighty assumption that is.

    "Because, really, most of you don't believe in anything; you just think you do."

    I guess if you're going to open with an insult, close with one?

    1. David:
      So, first of all, when I speak in generalities, I never mean each specific individual. That's kind of a given in rhetoric and, generally though, if you're offended, you have reason to be. So there's that.

      To deal with your points:
      1. The Bible is not evidence in this argument as A. the Bible only relates to "Christians" very peripherally and B. see above and the whole defining something with itself.

      2. Yes, I'm talking about the "Time thing again." This whole thing is about the Time thing. Since that is the basis of my argument, you can see back to point 1: the Bible has no bearing on this conversation.

      3. Sorry, unless they're supporting Trump as a name only and have no idea about the man, which, come on? Really? If they have any idea about the person of Trump #fakepresident AND claim to be a "Christian," they are displaying clear hypocrisy. You can't paint around that.

      And, sure, a broad stroke and an insult. But more than 99% of the "Christians" I have known (and having been in church work for much of my life, I have known a lot of "Christians") have not read the Bible and know only what they are told to know about it, which includes a lot of stuff that's not in it or taken out of context. So, well, it's not really an assumption. It's an accurate statement based experience. Again, if you're insulted, you probably have cause to be.

      But I've read the Bible straight through twice not to mention all the other reading I've done from it that was not in any particular order and not to mention all of the other associated research and study I've done.

    2. Regarding generalities, I might say they're a pet peeve of mine when it comes to educated debate.

      I comment on the insults I find, but would like to say I'm not necessarily insulted (though I'd imagine most every Christian I know might be?) even if a me of the past would be.

      I have not had deep sit-down conversations with the 'good' individuals I know who support Trump. Partly because I have low expectations for their arguments. Partly because although I prefer to be open minded to all sides of every argument, I can't fathom theirs.
      However, to say that 45 has absolute-zero to offer civilization is false. And if you make me do it, I'll find some proof of this. Therefore, there must be SOME redemption to their support.

    3. David: At this point, no. Trump #fakepresident has NOTHING positive to offer civilization and, actually, never has. There is nothing he's been involved with that has had a positive impact on society. How could it? Everything he does is masturbatory.

    4. Ok fine. I'm going researching.

  7. FINALE!

    * How shitty are Christians?
    * How wasteful and despicable and dishonest are "missions?"
    * How hypocritical and judgmental are church goers?

    I play bass guitar at a church and occasionally offer part of my paycheck to the little bowl they pass around. When some of my friends ask why I'd do that, while expressing any number of reasons why they wouldn't, I answer as such, with no judgment to them:

    The church I go to has a black preacher who is married to a white woman. They have two children. We've kicked it and drank beers together (not the children).
    The fellow who is running lights at Sunday services is gay and is going to be married in the next couple of months to his fiancé. His brother, who works closely with the church youth group (middle - high schoolers), is officiating the marriage.
    Several of the members of the church band (more in the church itself) are recovered/recovering addicts or alcoholics. One is an atheist. I'd say a third of the musicians are black.
    In our congregation are white people, black people (or PoC if that's the thing), Mexicans, and Asians.
    I only keep bringing up race because this is deep south - northeast Georgia... the supposed "racist" part of America.

    Our church raises money for substance abuse support, for missions to build homes in impoverished communities, for missions to build homes or general disaster-relief in third-world countries. I've built homes in poor neighborhoods in Savannah, Georgia. My wife has built homes in Jamaica.

    The above (and I'm not even doing it a service with these words) feels more like heroism to me than most anything else I could be doing with my time, and none of it hinges on legalisms or technicalities of the Bible. None of it hinges on us fleeing judgment by brimstone.
    Rather - Jesus preached Love. That's what we're about. The idea is that he was without "sin" and as we emulate him, we separate from "sin."

    Can we, as a species, do good for the sake of good? Without the prompting of the Bible or fear of Dante's Inferno-level punishment?
    Yes. My wife and I have a memorial in our daughter's name to raise awareness of, to combat, and to support families affected by SIDS and pregnancy loss. We won't stop until it reaches $10k and it's over halfway there.


    I hope this adds something to the conversation.


    1. David:
      Again, I'm not talking about any specific person or body. There are always exceptions.
      What I have found is that, generally, the exceptions are churches based around working with people with substance abuse issues and/or the homeless. However, those are great exceptions, completely atypical of churches, and I think you probably know that. So pointing out how exceptional your particular church is in no way undermines the greater argument I'm making; in fact, it serves to highlight that exact point. Tell me; how accepted is your church among other churches? Because I can guess.

      So, well, good for you, I guess, but I'm not patting you on the back for it. If I'm not talking to you, I'm not talking to you.

      (And, by the way, I did notice that you "cared" so much as to unfollow me on twitter, so I don't know what that statement says about your above statement. Just sayin'.)

    2. Didn't realize I actually unfollowed you... :) gut reaction.
      (but I followed you again!)

      "However, those are great exceptions, completely atypical of churches, and I think you probably know that."

      Sigh... Maybe.

      "Tell me; how accepted is your church among other churches? Because I can guess."

      Lol They fucking hate our church.


      As far as I'm concerned, you back up your argument in these responses. (I still don't get exactly what you're saying w the time thing but I'm going back to read your first post again and attempt to do so sans-Bible input)

      There was a point when I'd have gotten hell-fire offended at what you've said (even though you're just a person sharing your mind). But a little over two years ago a thing happened that sort of shook my belief in heaven, hell, prayer, and frankly God.

      Have a read if you'd like. It's sad, though.

    3. David: First, the time thing is a difficult concept, which I know, because I've been having these sorts of conversations (about time, etc, not God) since I was in elementary school. The easiest analogy is that God is kind of like someone watching a movie... except that he's watching all of the movie at once and it's actually infinite movies at once.

      Don't worry about it. 30 years ago, I would have been offended by my self. Maybe even 25 years ago, though, by that point, I probably would have given myself a listen.

      I'll give your post a look when I get a chance.

    4. Thanks for your words on my blog.

      The conversation about the God (or any entity) being able to exist in every moment, and knowing the beginning, middle, and end, and the ramifications of such 'knowledge' is a cool topic for me, and one I'd much rather discuss in person than through keys...
      I don't know how familiar you are with the Silmarillion but I'm reminded of what Tolkien says about the creation of Ea (universe(s?)). As I understand it (and the Silmarillion reads like the KJB) it occurs as a chorus sang by a choir of beings, including Melkor, who was dissonant. Once it's sung, and they know the song, then the specifics are played out (which include all the ages of existance).

      I'm checking out that personality test right now.

    5. David: Let me know if you need a link. I've done some posts on the Enneagram related to its usefulness to writing, so I have some links to a couple of good tests.

      Yeah, I've read 'The Silmarillion,' but it's been since college, so a good 25 years.

      Conversation by its very nature is difficult through a keyboard.

  8. I'm not going to read the other comments as they will make me forget what I was going to say. Ahem...

    Religions were created by man. The purpose of the organized religions is to control the population. If you tell the population that they can do no wrong (they can't sin), then they'll get into all sorts of trouble, making controlling them more difficult. It's easier if they self police. At least, that's what I believe is the reason that they keep this idea of sin out there.

    I'm not a Christian. Gave it up at 12 (although I wasn't very devout before that). While the topic rarely comes up, you should hear the howls when it does. "You don't believe in God?" they ask tremulously. I generally shut the conversation down, because while I do believe in a higher power, they wouldn't understand the higher power I believe in.

    Okay, enough of this. I agree with you. I could write a book on what I believe, but none of it will contain the Bible. (I've never read it. Never studied it. Not a Christian, remember?)

    1. Liz: Which is exactly my point, in a way. How can you be legitimate when you propagate a belief that is clearly opposed to the stated purpose of your central tenant? Either Jesus came to offer forgiveness for sin or he didn't; you can't have it both ways.

  9. I enjoyed this post too. As well as your exchange with David. I have thoughts on that back and forth but not sure anyone cares.

    Do hope you tackle the mystery of what the deal is with blood and god at some point. I mean. That is bonkers weird. I'll elaborate at some point if it isn't obvious upon me mentioning it.

    1. Rusty: Well, I care. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

      I think the whole blood thing is pretty simple, actually, and it has nothing to do with god and everything to do with people and their view of it as the life force. Which makes sense because, well, if you bleed out...

  10. I sort of skimmed through the David-vs-Andrew parts, because it seemed more like he was critiquing you than offering a differing viewpoint or thoughts.

    The conceptual difficulty I have with one point you make may have to do with my inability to picture that kind of a regime. You say that God has seen to it that all of our sins are forgiven, in advance, and it seems to me that you're implying that we should not worry about trying to do good or avoiding doing evil.

    It doesn't seem accurate to say that, though. If my moral state is truly irrelevant, because God has forgiven all my sins, even the ones I have yet to commit, this implies either absolute freedom on my part with no moral compass -- i.e, I can lie, cheat & steal with equanimity -- because it does not matter, my sins have been forgiven; or, alternatively, I have no free will: what I have done and what I am destined to do are unchangeable, and God has forgiven them in advance (perhaps because of that?)

    The question of free will is an interesting one; would we KNOW if we had free will? But if we truly don't have free will, then why did God bother to have our sins forgiven? If we had no free will then Adam and Eve could not have sinned (or they were cast out of paradise on purpose.) But if Adam and Eve had free will, and we don't, then that would make no sense (and again would vitiate the need for a Savior.)

    In addition, the question of whether we ALL are forgiven suggests that even people we all would seem to agree are evil -- Hitler (don't invoke Godwin's law on me I'm going somewhere with this), e.g. -- are going to Heaven.

    1. You kind of pegged me here... my viewpoints are... liquid at best.

  11. That kind of concept actually would seem to indicate that there is no Heaven, or would undermine any concept of an afterlife that I or most other people have had. Which means there is no afterlife, or if there is it's a state of existence much like this one.

    Which then means that there would be no God, or no God that mattered. If we accept that there was a God that (force of habit capitalizing, I just realized) created the Universe, but then say that this God imposes no judgment, no sorting, no reason for us to pay attention to him anyway, then there really isn't a GOD, is there?

    Consider this: I am home to billions of bacteria. I know little about what they do in their everyday lives, and pay no attention to them in any deliberate way. I can destroy them by taking antibiotics, or I can strengthen them by eating yogurt, but whether I do so or not is completely random to the bacteria. That's the sort of God you seem to posit: a God whose existence impacts those lower life forms, but who pays no attention to them.

    Because if God is not judging, in any way, is he also granting prayers? Or punishing people? and if so, isn't he judging in some way or other? Choosing among this person and that person is judgment, even if done randomly. If I say I will give $100 to you, or Rusty, based on the outcome of a coin toss, all I am really saying is that in my system I am deeming you both equally worthy of reward. If I say it's based on the first one to touch his nose, I'm saying speedy reflexes are worth rewarding. So bestowing any kindness, or withholding it, is judging.

    1. Just scrolling through to see everyone's thoughts. I could use $100. I flipped a heads.

    2. Wait! What if I flipped a heads, too?

    3. I think this means we finally figured out a way to beat the system. Brian now owes us $100 a piece.

  12. So your god pays no attention to us whatsoever, is about the only outcome I can think of from what you're positing. Which makes "God" irrelevant, in the way that earthquakes are irrelevant: they can affect you, but you have no way of predicting or controlling them.

    If God doesn't care, then why should people not behave badly, if it suits them? I would say that takes us back to the state of nature, and Hobbes, and why we band together into a society. We COULD live in a way that says everyone can do everything they feel like any time, but we've opted not to do so, not because of a 'natural law' or anything such a thing might imply. We have opted to select, as the norms we want out of society, those rules that help make life a little less nasty, brutish and short.

    Anyone looking at a group of people with truly no laws or morals would immediately say 'we've got to get some rules on these people.' So you'd start with the obvious ones: don't kill each other. Don't take each others things. Those aren't natural laws or morals or inherent virtues; those are common-sense rules that any group of people larger than 5 would impose almost immediately.

    So I'm not sure where that leaves us. If God doesn't (for all intents and purposes) exist, and we only have 'morals' because 'morals' are the combined judgment of society that creates rules which are necessary to let us live in groups, what does that say about the existence of laws and morals in the larger context?

    All organizations, and organisms, exist with a primary goal: to continue to exist, as much as they can. Corporations, governments, religions, people, will all do whatever they can to ensure that they exist. Ultimately, this means seeking control over other people, to a greater or lesser degree. But the greater the control, the greater the more need to exert ever greater, and greater, control. Rules beget rules beget rules. If you are going to have a rule against stealing, you are going to have to have a rule for what happens to people who steal, which means someone has to determine who has stolen, which means we have to have a rule for picking the judge and then a rule for how to punish the thief, and those rules end up with even more rules, and so on.

    That is how basic morality -- 'morality' meaning the most minimal set of rules necessary to let a given group of people function without violence and chaos -- ends up being government and organized religion and hate and control.

    This, too, was pretty rambling. But I wanted to work through what it might mean for a universe to truly have no way of judging who is good and who is evil, other than by what the majority of people think. And, sadly, I think that we would end up exactly where we are... so maybe you're right about God after all.

    1. I don't know if you'll come back and read this or not, but I can totally appreciate the mental meandering going on here. I spend a lot of time world-building for fantasy nations. These places exist outside evolution and all things Christian or Biblical and your thoughts have provoked some thoughts of my own.
      So, thank you. :)

    2. Briane: So, yeah, I'm not saying any of this is easy or painless; I'm just looking at the things that are, so to speak, not what they mean.

      The first thing I would say is that people clearly have some sort of moral compass. Whether it was put there by a Creator or just evolved is probably irrelevant but, for this conversation, let's say it was put there by a Creator.

      If a Creator put a moral imperative in us, "he" certainly intends for us to use it. But I think the point is for us to do the Right thing for the sake of it being the Right thing, not because we're worried about being punished for sinning. And I think that's the point of Christianity:
      Jesus came to do away with sin, because we can't live without sinning. It's an impossibility. We have to have another way.

      So... Judgement. I have no idea how it would work or whether it matters. Maybe it's so individual as to be based on when an individual believes he's done something wrong or not? Or whether a person loses site of the internal compass so that he never feels he's doing anything wrong? I don't know. What I know, from the Bible, is that Jesus said he came to release us from the chains of sin and that his sacrifice covered ALL sin once and for all. It's not that the sin doesn't happen but that it's already been forgiven.

      What are we supposed to do with that information? I don't know. Not be so hung up on sin, I suppose. Do the Right thing for the sake of it being the Right thing? That's my guess. Not because we're scared of some divine punishment.

      If Christianity and religion is all bunk, then I have to suspect that the moral compass is there to keep us on track. I couldn't begin to guess how we may or may not be judged, but I would have to assume that we have a moral compass for a purpose. If what we did truly didn't matter, why would we have a compass at all?

      That's the best I can do.

  13. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew...This sort of blunt force antagonism is something I inadvertently ended up doing in my own blogging, both as a blogger and a commenter. It ruined blogging for me and I'm still trying to recover from it.

    I haven't really gotten back into reading other bloggers, but it's fun to check in now and again. Your random comment to David's loss two years back reminded me to see what you were up to, and apparently it actually came from David's..,epic comments here and telling you to look there...

    Anyway. Religion is a funny thing. I say "religion" and not "Christianity" because it amounts to the same. You'll find that there are no stronger defenders for and against faith than those who once strongly believed one way and then then strongly believed the other. It's the nature of the mentality. You spend all your time totally convinced and it's a great comfort either way.

    As far as I can tell, the best way to understand it is to accept that the loudest voices are probably not the ones you should listen to. They represent the guidelines, and nothing more. Without them the idea has no form. But they do not define the beginning or the end of the idea.

    ...That God (because, grammar) (which is to say, habit) is nonlinear is the only way the idea makes any sense. "Bad things" don't happen to "good people." Bad things happen. To everyone. Religion exists as a building block for civilization. It exists to keep people civil. The idea of sin is that aren't being civil. Plain and simple. If God once said, "I'm forgiving humanity once and for all for all the horrible things it has done and will continue to do," especially in a context where he demonstrably used to go apocalyptic at the drop of a means he's saying, just TRY to be civil, okay? TRY. Because he knows better than anyone that we're going to fail. Because he has literally seen everything. But he's never going to give tacit approval to just do whatever you want. If you hurt someone or hurt the community, it's always going to be a bad thing. And you shouldn't do it. But it seems we sort of need a...constant reminder. Because we keep doing it anyway, and we invent all sorts of stupid excuses as to why. We lie to ourselves all the time. The idea of it is...we don't actually get away with it. Someone is still getting hurt. We may die without ever feeling the repercussions. But if we don't, I assure you, realizing what we've been doing all this time... That, my friend, is hell.

    1. Tony: Um... I'm not sure exactly what your point is other than that you're re-saying some of the things I said. Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me?

      I'm not questioning what religion has been used for historically or anything related to that. I'm not questioning whether that has been a good thing or a bad thing. I'm pointing out a thing that IS. That summary is in my last response to Briane.

      As for blunt-force antagonism (I like that phrase), like I said to David, it's not that I'm being antagonistic, it's that I'm not trying not to be. The time for pussyfooting around is over, at least for the moment.

    2. You probably have to go back and read how negative you are in this post. Literally what you said and what I said are nothing alike.

      The time for civility is always now. Or do you not see the irony of complaining about Trump while behaving just like him?

    3. Tony: So you're saying religion is completely valid and true? Because that's not what it sounds like you're saying. It sounds like your saying that religion is a construct made up by society to keep people in line, which is what I was saying. So... if that's not what you mean, maybe you should go back and read what you said.

      I was as civil as I intended to be. Again, if people are offended, they probably have cause to be. And, well, if you're equating my behavior to Trump's #fakepresident... I don't know what to say to that other than that you're having the same perception problem as Trump #fakepresident when he says the violence is from "many sides."

    4. The main difference, and it's kind of a major one, is that you're now committed to thinking that's a bad thing. This is not the sort of thing you can force other people to just accept.

      Also, very cute hashtag. #committedtothebit

    5. Tony: I'm not trying to get people to just accept it. I want people to think about it.

      I don't have a problem with societal constructs for behavior. Like the speed limit is a good thing. We've agreed upon it, as a society, and people should follow it.

      What I have a problem with is when people try to enforce rules upon others which they don't themselves follow, which is the entire "christian" establishment at this point. "Love your neighbors" as long as they're white just like you but, if they're some other color, do what you want, because they're not real people anyway. Or however you want to phrase that.

      Besides, in the piece and in the comments, I mentioned an inborn moral code which people should use for guidance, whether it's biological or whether it's divine. The problem, here, is false judgements of other people because they don't follow the EXACT rules you do.

      And, yes, now you're going to say that I'm being the same way, but I also fully believe that it's not just okay but a good thing to be intolerant of intolerance. People need to leave other people alone to choose how they want to live and stop trying to force arbitrary "religious" rules on them. It's okay to intervene and stop people from doing that.

    6. Here, David would suggest you're making unfair generalizations. And he's absolutely right. That's what's so wrong about this moment in time. You keep admitting that you're making generalizations, but you're so convinced they're on the whole true...That's called profiling. Bigotry. On the whole I think we agree that this is a bad thing. The trick is getting you to admit when you're making a mistake.

    7. Tony: So, basically, you're not here to say you disagree with my point but that you disagree with my tone... and that somehow makes my point my wrong?

      You're incorrect on what profiling is. Profiling is when you take the generalization and apply it on the individual level. On the individual level, you can never tell what is the truth. So, yeah, I haven't done that, because I haven't approached anyone individually and accused them of a particular behavior based on the stereotype or the statistics. So that's your mistake.

      Also, as I already said, intolerance toward other people's intolerance is a preferred state. So, yeah, if you want to call me a bigot against bigots, go for it, but we, as a society, have tolerated the intolerance of the Right for far too long. That's what's brought us here. So, no, I'm not going to tolerate the "christian" bigots who have put us where we are. The more tolerance they get, the more they push it and the more dead people we'll get. Tolerating that would be the mistake, has been the mistake.

      If they followed the book they say they believe in, we also wouldn't be here. But, you know, they'd have to read it first. And, sure, that's a generalization, but I know pastors and preachers who have NEVER read the Bible, not as a whole book. They've just picked and chosen the particular verses they wanted to use to make people do what they say. I'm pretty comfortable saying that "christians" have never read the Bible, because well more than 99% have never read more than a few verses.

      Anyway... I don't know what your point is other than to get me to apologize for being harsh? Insulting? Again, generally speaking, the people who will get offended by what I said are offended for a reason, and it's not because I'm wrong.

    8. Pardon my confusions. You're deliberately insulting a community you admit you used to be a part of. You know and knew a lot of very specific, individual Christians. Explaining how this doesn't apply would go a long to assuaging concerns readers of this course of logic are entitled to have.

    9. Tony: By what logic are my readers entitled to anything? That's like assuming you're entitled to enter my house any time you want to just because you know me.

      And, as I said, I'm not deliberating insulting anyone. I'm deliberately not trying to not insult anyone. Going out of your way to make sure you're not insulting anyone dilutes the power of the message. And people will be insulted anyway. Just because.

      If you have a specific question, feel free to ask.

    10. Let me rephrase my last comment, then:

      You just spent two posts explaining why Christians are ninnies. Did you feel this way when you were Christian; does it retroactively apply? If not, why? Because your generalization certainly suggests this. Before you say, "Yes, but I got better," this would automatically negate your argument, by admitting that people can change and therefore not the unbending assholes you are currently making them out to be.

      ...Listen, all I'm trying to say is, you're perfectly entitled to your opinions. But please keep in mind that if there can be said to be an objective absolute truth to reality, please be assured that you have not been granted exclusive access to it. Learn to loosen up. The very minute they come for you, I guarantee that I will mourn you. And so on.

      Have a nice day.

    11. Tony: Yeah, your comment makes no sense whatsoever and has less logic than that.

      If someone is in a cult (and, yes, I'm comparing "christianity" to a cult (by their own definition, they are one; they just say that it's not because it's Christianity)) and comes out of it, their argument of "that cult is bad" is not negated because they used to be a member of it. To suggest that it is is ridiculous.

      And I never said anyone is or was an unbending asshole. Those are your words. People can always change (most don't, but they COULD). So none of what you're saying actually applies to anything here other than your own words.

      Also, I never said I have the objective absolute truth to reality. These two posts have all been about how there is no actual fathoming what God is and no way to understand "his" being. However, the idea is that based on the few things we know about a quality a Creator must have, then almost nothing about religion can be true. I'm not offering any kind of counter truth, just an "I only know these other things are wrong."

      As for closing, I don't even know what you're talking about... unless you're saying that the "christians" are going to come for me for blasphemy...?

    12. I'm talking about your hashtag. You and your cult friends. You've decided to join a cult, friend. You just don't see it. You drank the coolaid again.

    13. Tony: Okay, Tony, you can just move along, now. The same Tony who spews things that don't make any sense until you get to something that has nothing to do with what was being talked about.

      The only cult member I see around here is you, you and your gun cult. I'm not the one drinking the Kool-Aid.

    14. gun cult? Ironically only you and Pat Dilloway are convinced I'm a gun enthusiast.

      Well, I bid thee farewell.

    15. Tony: Well, there was that whole thing a few years ago where I suggested that we have some kind of gun control and you came in praising guns and stuff. So...?

    16. I suspect there was some misunderstanding. I don't believe I've ever praised guns...I don't condemn them, either, of course, so therein would lie the rub, I suspect...

    17. Tony: To quote you:
      Guns are not the problem. People are the problem. People, many people, use guns very responsibly.

      So, you see, you spent as much time defending guns and people's rights to own them and use them in my post in which you said that as you have with all of your missing-the-point comments in this post, so... If there was any confusion, it's probably understandable considering how hard you argued for people's rights to OWN guns. (Which, by the way, was not what was intended by the 2nd Amendment and not even interpreted that way until the 60s.)

    18. That may because back when the Constitution was created, owning a gun was taken for granted. If you were a settler somewhere, I guarantee you were very happy to have a gun. It's the modern day where most people if urban areas have never lived anywhere populated by hunters where we suddenly find guns in themselves to be a problem, where if there are guns in urban areas they're being used to shoot people and not animals. Gun enthusiasts, I would be willing to wager, are not living in urban areas shooting people, but that's the absurdity of the guy reaction you prefer.

      But what do I know? I'm a crazy person who makes unrelated comments to the points you're trying to make.

    19. (I mourn my inability to edit these comments before posting them. But you get the general idea.)

    20. (Hopefully. I should just quit while I'm behind.)

    21. But somehow (and I will try to make sure this comment is properly edited), I think you still won't concede a single point based on what I've already said, so...

      By the logic you're professing, cars should be the next target. But then, cars were never a target of environmentalists. They've helped bring back the idea of the electric car (thank god for that), but they seem pleased with hybrids as an answer, too. By your extreme views, they should've accepted nothing less than the total elimination of the whole concept, just as now, because they have been used in terrorist attacks across the globe in recent weeks, they should be taken permanently out of commission.

      Are you going to argue that, Andrew? In the Wild West, gunslingers (although exaggerated in the popular consciousness) would not have been bothered to accept laws banning guns, anymore than mobsters and moonshiners caring that liquor was constitutionally illegal. Today, guns exist in urban settings because of the extreme alienation and the resulting fear these settings create.

      You won't solve this by making guns illegal. The popular argument you don't seem to understand is that people who go around shooting other people are not going to bother with the legality of owning guns. If your target is school shooters, how about solving the alienation there that results in these acts?

      You grasp at straws and keep alienation itself at a premium. We've created a society where it doesn't matter who the "other" is because they're everywhere. We create straw arguments for why *that* segment or political party or skin color or whatever is behaving that way, and if we just *tell* them it's unacceptable or try and ban the tools they turn to in desperation it'll solve the problem.

      What about tearing down barriers? You mock "fakepresident" in part because he envisions new walls...but your wall is taller and thicker. The "plank in your own eye" argument from that thing you hate and all that.

      You keep putting moral superiority in all your conclusions, and you "resist" when you don't get your way and say the school system "failed" a son who is literally still in it...

      I don't get you, Andrew Leon. I'm not afraid to admit that.

    22. Tony: You don't "get" me because you don't read carefully. To add to that problem, you jump to the farthest illogical conclusion from anything said.

      I never said nor do I support guns being illegal. That you even think I said that or think that shows that you didn't do more than skim what I wrote and jumped to a conclusion based on your own arbitrary thinking. So, see, a lot of the impasse we're having is because you're just not paying attention. And, actually, I'm tired of saying the same things over and over again.
      Gun control does NOT equal making guns illegal.

      And no hunter needs a machine gun to hunt with.

      What would make you think my son is still in the school system? If that was your takeaway from that, again, you failed to read successfully. He is LITERALLY not in the school system.

      As for cars, actually, I can't wait for self-driving cars because I'm tired of drivers and the fact that, at least out here, 90% of people (or more) can't seem to read a speed limit sign. So, yeah, I kind of want cars to go away, at least cars driven by autonomous humans.

      The plank seems to be in your own eye, Tony. That's probably why you have such a difficult time with the reading of what is actually on the "page."

  14. would seem we're doing the same thing. Congratulations if you put your son somewhere else, but your incredibly long series about that spent a lot of time in the school system. If I missed the point where you finally put him somewhere else...At that point, or maybe it's just my memory, but that long series of diatribes led me to assume because you spent so long getting to the point, then your whole point was to vent.

    If you're basically okay with guns, how or why did you assume my comments meant I was part of a "gun cult"?

    Excuse me for drawing conclusions. You tend to have extreme opinions.

    The hunter is not the one with the ridiculous guns. The gun enthusiast is. The gun enthusiast is not the one shooting people. The hunter is not shooting people. Stop deliberately trying to confuse these things.

    The whole point of gun control is a gut reaction to shootings. What part of limiting a hobby is going to help things? What part of people who are going to shoot other people not caring how they get a gun?

    And why are you pretending you don't put up massive barriers?

    1. And okay, look, we're not doing either of us a bit of good. So I'm unsubscribing from these comments, and will likely never read any additional responses from you. I didn't subscribe to the comments on the last school post I did earlier this evening, either. It's just best if we all move along.

      I likely will not trouble you with additional visits to this blog, and I suspect you're not going to be sorry about that.

    2. Tony: Well, since you're not here, I'm not going to bother with responding to anything about guns. Clearly, you're not familiar with the general types of gun control legislation that have been proposed and are just going with your own knee-jerk, gut reactions about the -idea- that there should be a limit on guns.

      And, you know, this is not the FIRST time (or even the second, I think) that you have said you're swearing off my blog, so I'm sure I'll be seeing you again in good time.