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Are their any "friendly" Christians?

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#1
FlatEarth1024

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So maybe there are no truly friendly Christians.  If the text and ideology they base their entire being on is abhorrent, then aren't they by definition to be considered "enemy".  It's a little like saying "compassionate Nazi" or "tolerant Klansman".  Maybe over a stein of brau, old Erich will trade a few laughs with you.  But make no mistake.  He's SS all they way.  He hates you.  He always has.  He always will.  You disgust him.  You're very existence is contrary to what he believes.

That's why whenever Christians visit an atheist forum, it always turns bad.  You can maintain a cordial relationship for years, but eventually the leopard's spots become visible.  That is why forums with a high visitorship of Christians invariably implode.  That is why certain people on other forums become what they become.  They have had enough of the hypocrisy of love thy neighbor and hate homosexuals, hate fornicators, hate women's rights, hate freedom of thought/speech/expression.  They no longer have the stomach for even 30 seconds of religious bullshit and hatespeak, and unfortunately they have reached the point where their response is immediate anger and belligerence.

I'm not saying it's right to get to that point, but I do understand how it could happen.  We all have issues that trigger us, and when that trigger is pulled all bets are off.  Then there are no friendly Christians...just "THEM".

#2
Ungodly

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First please let me say that it is great, very good that you are stimulating this conversation. Thanks.

Of course there are people who identify themselves as Christians and who are sincerely friendly and without malice. Just as there were citizens in Nazi Germany who did not personally execute Jews, Gypsies, or homosexuals.

But it is the moderate base of Christianity that enables the extremist voice of the religion, or cult if you will.

By contributing to the body politic of Christianity with their voices and their majority votes for fear and hate mongering Christian candidates, the "friendly" Christians who would never egg the car windows of the gay couple down the street are harming them none the less.

I can't recall the last time that a Christian organization sent anyone to my door to ask me to vote in favor of equal rights for some oppressed minority.

I can't remember ever seeing a Christian TV Evangelist arguing against homophobia.

I can't remember the last time any Christian organization sponsored a ballot initiative that was not designed to persecute someone.

All I see coming in my direction from Christian groups is unwarranted condemnation based on bullshit ancient superstitions, and malicious campaigns of lies and smear tactics intended to take away the partial equal rights I have now.  If there is a part that should be giving me warm cuddly feelings about the world's most successfully violent religion, I seem to have missed it so far.

Sure there are individual Christians that do not personally wish me harm, but what the fuck are they doing about the psychopathic leaders of the Christian community? Nothing that I'm aware of. They might be friendly in the sense of not intentionally trying to harm me specifically, but they are a part of a social movement that is absolutely desperate to do me harm.  These are not my friends.

Religion is the problem. It is a cancer that requires treatment before it causes mortal injury to human civilization. My contempt for Islam is equally great, it would like to be as mercilessly cruel as Christianity, and it is trying hard to catch up, but when it comes to body count it's hard to keep up with Our Glorious Christian Leader.

There may be Christians that consider themselves friendly, but I certainly do not count them among my friends.

#3
TopHat

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Religion is the problem. It is a cancer that requires treatment before it causes mortal injury to human civilization.


I have thought a lot about this. Could religon be a disease? I think that if we use Christianity as an example and go into the Nature vs Nurture debate we could find some interesting things. By taking a step back and looking at what Christians do and how they do it, you find almost an equal balance of Nature and Nurture influences.

First Nurture:    If a child is raised in a Christian household which holds all the values that Christians undertake, then there is a positive chance the child will grow up Christian. Now taking that child and putting him in an uncomfortable setting, such as being with a group of Atheists and Agnostics discussing religon, the child would guard his beliefs for this is all he knows.

Nature : I think that classifying Christianity as a disease is close, I think of it more as a psycological disorder. The brain has 16 safeguards for daily life, used by everyone. Denial, lying, procrastinating. Next we have Maslow's Motivation. Maslow stated that people need to satisfy their basic human needs first then their psycological needs.

I guess what I am trying to say in this paragraph is that Religon is a built in safeguard, which is used to deny certian aspects of life(i.e. the inevitablilty of death) ; when combined with the need for love, need for acceptance, and need for self-fulfillment a Christian will use his Christianity as a safeguard for these needs to be filled (god loves me, the other Christians accept me, I donated and helped the poor so I have done good for my life).

In my theory, I will state now I think each person has a Religious safeguard in their mind which some people use whilist others do not.

Now safeguards can be abused and cause dependeny problems. Abusers pent-up anger from work and then take it out on a child. If we apply this same idea with the Theory of a Religious Safeguard, than we can say when people fall unto using this safeguard can also become dependent upon it. A good example is using Religon as justification for doing deeds considered bad by society, or falling upon religion when one wants to "repent". Examples could be The Christian father who shot and killed his whole family then ran away.

With the growth of our society and our intellectual advances, we seems to slowly rely less on some safeguards but still rely on them.This is where I want to get into a small part on genetics. If there is a religious gene, then we can state that it is not a dominant gene. I'll use eye colour as an example. Brown  is dominant over Blue. A man and women reproduce a child. he man had blue eyes and the women brown. There is a likely chance the babies eyes will come out brown. Now using religion and atheism. Atheism is the dominant gene, due to the fact that no one is born religous, but once someone is grown up in a religious setting it seems to open this gene more so.

This is all I came up with, maybe I'll expand it, fix it and and find a place it on a website with other articles. :Smiley:

#4
lady

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Hi TopHat, I think you got a good beginning to your book.... :snork_blin: :snork_blin:  And I think you put a lot of smart things here regardless of your sig.  :Smiley:

What I am wondering about is what makes it so easy for some of us to discard religion so easily and others have such a hard struggle trying to rid themselves of the baggage.

I was a "Methodist Child".  I don't think they are as strick as some but I still had the traditional upbringing.  I went to Sunday School, sang in the choir ( egad...there's where she got her musical wanna be ) went to summer bible school, attended all the youth activities etc etc.
But had no trouble saying ...this is a bunch of stupid stuff.  I felt no guilt, felt no inner need to sort through the stuff, felt no need to consult anybody, didn't even read any "God Delusion" books.  As a matter of fact I didn't even realize anybody else felt the way I did.  I can't even say I reasoned it out.  I didn't come to any big conclusions after thinking about it.  The religious stuff was just stupid.

So how did I just come to this so easily and others are sweating it out?  Darn Lucky! maybe.  :snork_tanz:

#5
The White Coyote

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If you go by the strict adherance to what it is to be a christian then I would say no, there are no friendly christians. I would also say there are NO christians at all. As we have discussed many times "christians" are able to pick and choose those parts of their religion that seem to suit them. We have seen this particulrly in the old testament, new testament debate. They will discard that part that says you can't eat lobsters, saying well that's old testament stuff. Then, turn right around and say the ten commandments are gods law. So in order to know if there are any friendly christians first we have to have a definition, and that seems impossible.

Interesting that Lady should talk about Methodists. The Methodist church, particularly "First Methodists" are perhaps the most liberal of the christian denominations. Very inclusive, they have organized and welcomed gay and lesbian folks into their church and have even embraced some lesbian ministers. Although they are not militant about it, they are perhaps the "friendliest" christians around. I have many christian friends and carry no truck against them just because we have different beliefs. To each his own.

#6
FlatEarth1024

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It all gets very murky, doesn't it?  The Methodists include gays and lesbians, that's great.  But it still leaves the root question unanswered.  Is a 'tolerant' Methodist truly a Christian?  And if he/she is, does the belief in the most horrid tome ever scribed negate said tolerance?

There are tons of bad analogies that don't quite fit, but make the point.  For example, imagine a slave owner.  He's a fairly jovial fellow.  He gives his slaves plenty to eat and eases their workload on very hot days.  He only whips his slaves whenever absolutely necessary, and then very reluctantly. 

Now, standing him next to the stereotypical slave owner, he's a real prince.  I'm sure his slaves are glad to have such a benevolent master.  But putting aside the window dressing, and putting him under the harsh light of subjective reality... isn't he still a slave owner?  Isn't he contributing to the subjugation of his fellow? 

I say he does as much damage with his benevolence as his neighbor does with the whip, maybe more, because he lulls the masses into thinking that if more slave owners were like him, then slavery wouldn't be all that bad.  He causes you to forget the horror of the institution itself and focus on the less repulsive aspects of individual decency.  But at the end of the day, no matter how you slice it up, he's still a slave owner, they are still slaves, and slavery is being practiced.

So, if you forgive my journey WAY off the track, that sums up my feelings towards Christians of any and all varieties.  I actually prefer the nasty Fundie SOB's.  At least they come at you frontally.  All these "happy" sects are just trying to make you forget they worship the greatest mass murderer in history.

#7
Unbeliever

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[quote author=Ungodly link=topic=176.msg1152#msg1152 date=1161911616]
I can't recall the last time that a Christian organization sent anyone to my door to ask me to vote in favor of equal rights for some oppressed minority.[/quote]


[quote name='"Voltaire"]You will notice that in all disputes between Christians since the birth of the Church' date=' Rome has always favored the doctrine which most completely subjugated the human mind and annihilated reason.[/quote']

This quote doesn't only apply to the RCC, but to all of the Abrahamic religions.

#8
The White Coyote

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You have to remember. You are trying to undo 2000 years of negativity and ignorance by a very large group of people and you want it overnight. It just doesn't happen that way and it never will. If you don't at least try to support the attempts of these people to change, then real change will never happen. Look how far they have come . Remember it wasn't that many years ago that these same people who are at least attempting to be inclusive of gays and lesbians would have been branded as heretics and burned at the stake.

#9
Ungodly

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I don't see an improved version of Christianity as a realistic goal. Certainly Christianity might be tamed somewhat, but that fails to address the root problem. Religion is the problem, not just Christianity, but the inherent weakness in human beings that makes us so prone to accept mumbo jumbo explanations instead of doing the research required to understand reality.  All of the greatest evils in human history, up to and including today, have been justified and promoted by the current, locally dominant religious delusions.

Much of the trouble in the world today is because of one stupid religion clashing with another equally stupid religion. Instead of trying to improve religions we need to cure the people afflicted with them.

And over the course of the last ten years Christianity in the United States has become much less tolerant, much more violent, and desperately eager to obtain political power to pursue their hateful agenda.  Unfortunately they have been largely successful.

I still say NO to all religious delusions, and I think it is our responsibility to confront, oppose, ridicule, castigate, and challenge all forms of religious affliction.

#10
The White Coyote

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I agree with you Steve but in the real world in which we live, to believe we are even remotely able to change an entire world is a delusion at best. You are correct in that all religion is a curse and we would be much better off without it. We would be much better off without prejudice, bigotry, and hate too but it just isn't a reality based objective. The longest journey starts with one small step and if we can start by changing the hate of any group into tolerance and hopefully acceptance then we are much further along.  There's an old saying that goes; "It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness." We have to work for the equality of all people but that work must take place in the real world. Idealism is great for stories and ideas but in the world we live in it is nothing more than a pipe dream for our generation. That is not to say we shouldn't have ideals to strive and work for, but to think that we can change a world in a single generation is a dream.

#11
TopHat

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I don't think it will be one generation. As the movement has been happening for years(149?). Since the publishing of Darwin, we are growing, the dillusions are breaking. I fear though that one dillusion will be switched to another.

I can already see differences in generation on this board, but that only teaches me to learn from all of yo, the intelligent,the rational, and the humorous members of this board so that if my generation does not suceed it will be passed on again and again.

I think I was wrong when I said it has started from darwin. We've always been here passing down knowledge, or else who would know what an atheist was?

#12
Ungodly

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My good friend, I don't think there really is anything material that we disagree about here. I'd be just as delighted as you if the Fundamentalist voting bloc, or a big portion of those voters, turned on the Party of Jesus next month and decided to try the Demoncrats for a change. That would be, at best, just an incremental improvement, but it would be an improvement.

I'm not so pie in the sky starry eyed as to think we can cure religiosity in one or two generations, but if you look at the example of the UK and compare it to the USA, dramatic reductions in the levels of religious obsession are possible.  I'm sure that religion will be around in some form for prolly another thousand years, but I think it might be the case in our grandchildren's lifetimes that religious people are embarrassed to reveal the stupidity of their beliefs in public.

I think we can have a case where we teach schoolchildren about religion in a dispassionate, clinical way and expose them to the fact that atheism is a viable alternative to idiocy.

Education is the key to reducing the influence of religion, that is why the Fundamentalists are so deathly afraid of science.

What we can do, those of us who see these facts, is be more vocal, open, and honest about the fact that we are not afflicted with religious beliefs and yet we are perfectly decent people.  Well, at least you are  :Wink:

It seems you agree with what I'm saying, and I agree with what you are saying, but you are looking at the next bend in the road while I'm looking out at the horizon.  I guess it's a good thing I'm not driving  :Happy:

#13
TopHat

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I like comparing the United States to Canada in many ways. I would like to see the U.S in a generation or 2 become  more Canada religious.Religon is small is Canada. People can believe but I do not hear much prosocution of people due to their religion(except islam but that i everywhere). i don't like driving bu a least I'm not driving with Jeebus.

#14
The White Coyote

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I think we are all right. I do tend to look not only at the here and now, but at history. My thoughts are look how far we have come. Just a few hundred years ago they would burn everyone on this forum at the stake for what we are saying right now. If you spoke openly only a hundred years ago about your homosexuality they would have strung you up. We have come very far in the areas we speak about. Not nearly far enough but so much progress has been made it is astounding really. This present administration is only a bump in the road and soon will be forgotten. This fundamentalist rubbish is a temporary crutch holding up a lame government that is slowly drowning in it's own shit. People will wake up and see what has taken place and again take back this country and stop all this religious mumbo jumbo and begin accepting the reality and rational thought we have always resorted too. But Religion will rise to the top again someday, another temporary set back and the cycle will start all over again. History repeats itself again and again. The only thing we can take heart in is that each time it repeats, there are more and more rational and realistic people left to begin again. These super churches are the last dying stronholds of a religion that has used up it's purpose. The members gather together to feel powerful and asure themselves that they are a majority. Not true. The reason these superchurches exist is because the neighborhood church is failing dismally. The military calls this regrouping. A method in which a scattered and weary force can gather itself together for one last attempt at winning the battle. Sometimes it works but not if the army you are fighting against is based in reality and your only weapon is some fictitious amorphic blob in outer space.

#15
Unbeliever

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I still say NO to all religious delusions, and I think it is our responsibility to confront, oppose, ridicule, castigate, and challenge all forms of religious affliction.


Mind if I quote you on this? I don't think it's ever been put quite so succinctly, except perhaps by T. A. Edison, who simply said, "Religion is bunk!"

#16
Unbeliever

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You have to remember. You are trying to undo 2000 years of negativity and ignorance by a very large group of people and you want it overnight.


No, we don't want it overnight, like Express mail, we want it yesterday! But we do realize that these things take time, so maybe we can wait just a bit longer, like last night.

#17
lady

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I am trying to be a friendly atheist.....

How does one as an atheist give comfort to those of faith? 
I had a call the other night from a school friend of my daughter's.  The caller was a young lady of 30 and she said she had lost contact with my daughter and wanted desparately to speak to her.  After visiting with her a short time she revealed that she had cancer and was in hospice and had about 6 months to live and wanted to talk to old friends.  Of course it was an emotional conversation on both sides. I said how sorry I was and we talked a bit of old times when the kids were young. After a bit she said the only thing that was sustaining her was her faith in god.  She knew that although he hadn't healed her now he would heal her later.
I didn't say anything "ugly" and she didn't ask me to pray for her etc. If it made her feel good it was OK with me.  But I couldn't really think of much to say.  I know I have said in the past to others who have lost loved ones.."oh they will be with god and in a better place etc etc."  Not that I actually believed it, but it was just part of the ritual. I no longer say those kind of things. But I just couldn't think of anything to say to this poor girl.

Now, I am not looking for any talking points on how to console a believer, because I know it has to come from the heart and be sincere. And perhaps the less said is better too.  But perhaps someone has some thoughts.

#18
Ungodly

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Lady, I'm sure you did the right thing. It would be unkind to pull a crutch out from under a dying person, after all. And religion is apparently a crutch for her right now.

It would be a different case if some slimy TV evangelist was exploiting her illness with false claims about some faith-based cure, but that does not apply here.

I think I would have done the same as you, simply stayed positive and avoided the subject of her religious affliction. She has enough to worry about right now anyway.

#19
FlatEarth1024

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I think it should be handled that way even in the opposite circumstance.  Death or its imminent arrival should temporary suspend the No God Rule.  If I found out I was terminally ill, several friends and family would pray for me and many would go out of their way to say so, hopeful of the comfort that knowledge might bring.

Naturally, I am of the mind that a letter to Santa would do more good than folded hand begging on bended knee to Claude Rains.  But A) what harm could it do?  It would at least assuage some of the pain of my family and friends, since they would be unable to offer much more.  And B) what purpose does it serve for me to rebuke the best intentions of my loved ones, however misguided they may be?  Why make my last days unhappy ones at odds with those who only wish me well?

Some of us here have discussed having to deal with this when attending the funerals of family members.  "Don't worry, he's in a better place", or "It's okay...she's with God!".  How many times have we heard that at a funeral?  So what?  I don't let that bother me one bit.  If saying that will dry someone's tears or soothe their heart even just a little sooner, then knock yourself out.  We both know you're full of shit, but just this once I'll bite my tongue, nod my head and say "Amen, sister".

#20
Ungodly

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  We both know you're full of shit, but just this once I'll bite my tongue, nod my head and say "Amen, sister".


That really does sum it up very nicely. It's a matter of being kind to people at a time when they need it more than ever. Thanks for saying it so well.


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