War On God

War on God

With the magnitude of the damage and suffering that is taking place in the wake of the attack from Hurricane Katrina I am surprised that our government has not mobilized with the speed and force that we answered 9/11. The situation in New Orleans has only gotten worse in the 5 days since the hurricane hit the gulf coast and there are no signs that things are improving. New Orlean's Mayor Nagin expressed his frustration on WWL-AM last night, and it is clear that our national leadership is not taking the steps necessary to adequately help the refugees in a timely manor.

Not only must we come to the aid of our fellow Americans, but it is clear that to prevent another attack on our homeland like the one we witnessed 8/29 we will need to take on the unpresidented task of declaring war on God. Forget the war on Terror. Only a full out assault on the gates of heaven will make us safe again. And we must strike soon. The hurricane season is only half over and scientists predict that there is a 43% chance of another major hurricane developing this year.

Let's go up there and kick God's sorry ass.

For more on declaring war on God visit Bejamin Walker's Theory of Everything and listen to Holy War. Start at minute 25:20 to hear his call to arms against God. The entire show is worth a listen too.


Humor and sarcasm are great vehicles for arguements against religion. Julia Sweeney's "Letting Go Of God" is a good example of how comedy can reveal the absurdity of the Christian faith. Thanks for the reminder and links George.

I too used to think Christianity was pretty absurd, and would argue against it. I thought I made some really good points, but I recently realized that I was embarrasingly uninformed.

I read "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel. It's written by an investigative reporter who interviews "experts" on apologetics- the defense of Christianity. Except he's an athiest (and a lawyer), and really attacks the faith. So, if you want to claim Christianity is absurd, that's fine; just know what you're arguing against or you end up sounding absurd yourself. (I did. I still feel pretty lame about it.) I'll even lend you the book if you want- I work right next door. And you can write what you don't agree with in the margins. That would be interesting.

I haven't read "The case for faith" and I doubt I will after doing a search on it. The Skeptical Inquirer has a review against the book here: http://www.faginfamily.net/barry/Papers/caseforfaith.htm and Paul Doland makes a lot of valid arguements against the book at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_doland/strobel.shtml

By blanketly declaring Christianity (and therefore Christians)absurd, you insult many of my relatives and closest friends. And what about those of other faith traditions? Are they just as ridiculous? You are entitled to your opinions, but an unwillingness to respect the opinions of those who believe or disbelieve differently than you shows a narrow and closed mind on the same level of those whom you rail against. It is not necessary to embrace the diverse beliefs of others in order to respect them.

Beth, did you listen to the link to the MP3 I posted of Julia Sweeney on This American Life ( http://mirrors.geekymedia.com/talmp3/2005/file_info/download1.php?file=290%20Godless%20America.mp3 )? I think if you listen to that you may understand why I feel that Christianity is absurd.

No, I can't figure out how to get that incredibly long link to cut/paste over to my browser from this comment screen. It'd be much more fun to have you summarize it in your own words. And if Christianity is so absurd, doesn't that imply that Christians are absurd too? You know, there are all degrees of Christian, (some very ardent ones in your own family)from the closed minded fundamentalists to those who see Jesus as one of the most significant spiritual leaders of all time, no more the son of god than you or I. Many reject most or all of the church's dogma, and respect other's freedom to believe as they wish. (I place myself loosely in the latter category since my spirituality roams freely about, picking and choosing among things that resonate with me from a multiplicity of spiritual traditions... unwilling to attatch myself to any group in a formal sense... lately Buddhist thought has the most appeal.)
Do you condemn all combinations and permutations of Christianity? And what about the other faith traditions? Are they just as absurd? Are their subscribers just as idiotic? I want your own thoughts in answer to my questions, not a bunch of links.

Beth, please listen to the Julia Sweeney MP3. I'm not going to try and summarize it for you because it needs to be listened to it in its entirety.

I just listened to the Julia Sweeney bit (rather than looking up a Christian review on it). Here are the notes I wrote down:

"Limited. Surface-level look at Bible. She read the stories looking for questions, not answers. Great stories have subtexts, she tries to miss the Bible's-->fruitless fig tree=culture-only church, Lot=ex. of failure, yet God saves him."

"Went from feeling Holy Spirit 5 to 6 times, to a few questions, to atheism. When did "questions" and "evidence" become synonyms?

Embraced hopelessness."

End of notes.

One thing that jumped out at me was Julia Sweeney mentioning Jesus' speaking in parables, because her whole monologue proves his point of doing so. Jesus speaks in parables so that those who really want to know what they mean will pursue him and ask (just as those who really want him in their lives will pursue him). In the same way, God shows us enough of Himself that we CAN believe, but not so much that we we're left without a choice. He does that because he calls us to faith (belief in that which is not seen), rather than being called to knowledge. And love without choice is not love. So, He wants us to pursue Him. Ultimately, He wants us to love Him back.

Sweeney, on the other hand, has questions and goes to a Bible study and to other people for answers. She doesn't get the right ones so she gets frustrated and comes up with more questions, and then starts creating the answers herself from her own limited viewpoint. My question is: Why didn't she just go to the source? Why didn't she ask God? That would be like me asking you, Steven, a really important question about Amy. Surely you'll know more than the average person about her because you're her husband, but you're not going to know it as well as she does; so why don't I just ask her? She could have saved a lot of frustration by going to the actual subject of her questions.

All this stuff I assert about God, I got from reading the Bible. I guess Sweeney must have missed those parts, or not read as carefully, or not wanted to understand (there's a rebellion in atheism that's kind of fun-- I've tried it; it's where I started). I also got a lot from The Case for Faith. Speaking of that, Beth makes a good point in her posts: you're not forming your own opinions on subjects and telling us them; you're just telling us what other people think about those subjects and calling them your own opinions. My example is The Case for Faith: you said Paul Donald makes a lot of valid arguments, but how can you know if they're valid without reading it? Because Paul Donald tells you they are, and you like how it sounds and how it lines up with your views?

So, please, your thoughts. Why is Christianity so absurd? Have you asked God about it? Have you really given Him a chance?

Steve, regarding your comments:

Since when were questions wrong? Basically, you're saying not to question the faith, just believe it. That alone is an example of how Christianity is absurd.

You say that Julia didn't try hard enough to understand the bible. I say, "Then don't teach in parables! It's not working!"

Why not ask "god" about it? Because "god" is you talking to yourself. An imaginary friend if you will. Or if you're that convinced, perhaps multiple personalities. Also, don't try and side step the manefesto of the christian faith, the bible, by making the issue personal faith. The christian faith is based on the bible, not on whatever you come up with in your head.

If you're really interested in my thoughts, I would read or listen to anything that Richard Dawkins has to say. I agree 100% with everything he says. And I'm not telling you this because I'm a ditto head, but because he states everything I already think so much more eloquently. The british accent helps too.

Steven, I'm not saying that asking questions is wrong. To the contrary, I think not questioning the faith is wrong- that leads to an immature faith that can be easily toppled by questions or doubts, the kind that Julia Sweeney had. The "wrongness" comes in not seeking answers to the questions. And where better to go for the answers about God than God? Or to read the Bible and say, "Can I have some revelation on that? How come Jesus was mad at those guys?"

As for my imaginary friend, I was an athiest for over a decade and I was pretty immovable. I liked to argue, too. The a couple years ago I told a pastor-friend of mine that there was no way I could read a book and just believe, nor could some dude (him) tell me about God and change my mind. (I was a pretty proud guy.) He agreed. Instead of doing those things, I gave God an honest chance and asked Him to show up-- "invited Him into my heart" is the Christian phrase for it. It was the scariest moment of my life because He did, and He did so powerfully. I felt like my insides were being pushed outward, like my ribs were going to break. It hurt- I was crying and couldn't breathe (and I couldn't put my arms down so I was aware of how dumb I must have looked). It sucked. Probably went on for a couple minutes, too. Yet it was the proof I needed though-- not a book, not a sermon; I humbly went to God and He came through. It would be pretty absurd to attribute that event to an imaginary friend because it goes against both my survival instinct (couldn't breathe, and ouch pain) and my "don't want to get embarrassed" instinct. (It was actually the day of Kristy Holmes' going-away party, now that I think of it.)

And again, how would you know it's just a voice in one's head? Did Richard Dawkins say so? (ew, snarky) Did you honestly try it? (ew, challenging)

Question: what's good about being an athiest? Or agnostic? I used to like that it was something to argue about, that it made people angry. And it made me feel like I was smarter and more enlightened than all those religion-crutch-leaning Christians out there. Plus it made me unique and different. I ask because it seems (going by these posts) that you're holding onto atheism without even attempting to look into Christianity (or any type of faith). That's just what I did, too. So what's the reason for that? (Question for you to think about, not asking for reply:) Is it pride?

Steve, Atheism isn't about faith or believing and it's not "I'm the better person", "I'm superior", or pride. It's about scientifically examining the universe that we live in and making logical observations of who and where we are. It's accepting reality rather than living in fantasy. It's living life to the fullest and not being afraid.

If I've been touched by anything, it's been the Flying Spaghetti Monster's noddley appendage.

Just got caught up on the latest installments of "The Battle of the Steve's". I affirm and commend both of you and your styles of thinking about spiritual matters. Your individual beliefs or non-beliefs are worthy of respect and I urge you both to try to remain open minded to different ways of expressing the mysteries of the universe, both scientific and spiritual. For what it's worth I've been around the spiritual block a few times so permit me to share what I've experienced in the realm of religion.

My spiritual journey has many chapters both in response to my choices and what life has thrown at me. It goes like this...

Chapt 1: Childhood Faith with Deep and Sentimental Attachment to the Christmas and Easter story... I was raised by a mentally ill mother and my religious faith provided a delightful escape from painful realities and a haven of safety during some terrible emotional storms.

Chapter 2: Young Adult Irrelevancy Period... featured rejection of church during my college years while maintaining the same sentimental attachments to those childhood myths and a periodic subtle sense of God's presence, though I rarely prayed or thought that any of that spiritual stuff applied to me directly. At the same time I experienced my first great human love, got married and was temporarily enraptured.

Chapt.3: Faith/Marriage Crisis... my marriage hit the skids during year 2 due to my own lousy choices and I turned to God in a desperate attempt to salvage it... it worked and this was as near as I ever came to a "born again" experience... complete with crying, praying, pounding the floor, followed by what felt like a complete release from a number of "bondages".

Chapt 4: Conservatism and Childrearing... during this time I got more and more involved in conservative Christianity, my two young daughters atended a Fundamentalist Christian school, I ate slept drank church,prayer and the Bible learned to be fluent in "born again" speak.

Chapt 5: Backsliding My Way Right out of the Kingdom... following a nasty church split after which I questioned many things I had been led to believe by the church I was attending, especially pertaining to how the Holy Spirit leads, I began a gradual process of dismantling my faith over the next 10 years.

Chapt 6: Down to the Knitty Gritty Bottom Line or Things I Believe Today... With my mostly deconstructed faith comfortably in place, I now believe that all religions teach essential truths (here I'm talking about ethical principles like the Golden Rule) but are so fraught with dogmas and doctrines clouding truth that humans who are instructed to "love each other as the Father has loved" them are mostly at war with both words and worse. I am aware of a Presence beyond me during times of contemplation or extreme beauty or trancendent experiences. I'd rather that this Presence be nameless but God will have to suffice. I've felt the care and nearness of my deceased loved ones at times which assures me of some sort of afterlife. I sometimes attend church but mostly don't feel the need. I have to screen so much dogma when I attend that gets in the way of the transcendant for the most part. Getting quiet, listening to birds singing, watching the clouds, or a sunset, or the stars gets me to the transcendent better than most church services anyway. Oh, and I still feel warm and fuzzy about the Christmas/Easter myths.

This is a lot of stuff to share, but the whole point is that I've been through a lot of different phases of belief/unbelief over my 50 years of life and they're all okay and part of my individual journey. The same goes for you two Steves. In the end everything will be okay, and for this life, live it to the fullest and believe whatever you need to believe to get you through whatever choices you make and whatever life throws at you.



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