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Terrible Wizard
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Twister:
I'll just focus on the direct questions. For reasons of space I'll keep my answers brief.

Was I always a Christian? No.
Was my family always Christian? No.

Why do I believe the God of the bible to be real? Well, the 'of the bible' thing is an issue here, as God is portrayed in various ways in the bilble. So I'll separate out this question into two:
Why do I think God is real? Because the evidence and arguments for His existence are slightly more compelling and reasonable than the arguments and evidence against.
Why do I think God is the Christian God? Because the arguments and evidence for the Christian God, as opposed to Zeus or whoever, are more compelling and reasonable and philosophically and morally satisfying.

How do I know Allah/Horus etc isn't he one true God? Well, I don't think Horus would even make the claim, but that aside, I think Christianity, as opposed to Islam or Old Egyptian pantheons, not only has the best arguments and evidence, but it also by far the most morally,philosophically and aesthetically satisfying.

How do I recomcile the contradictions? Depends upon the specific contradiction in question. I'm not a biblical literalist, so that removes many of the problems you may be thinking of.

Why do I believe I'm right? Because I've looked (to some degree) at the evidence and arguemnts on both sides and reached a reasoned conclusion with an open mind. I think the weight (however slight) of evidence and argument is on my side.

Invoking old men? No, invoking experts in their field. If you read any of them it would be clear to you why their conception of God is quite different to the FSM.

I've played devil's advocate with many Christians, challenging their beliefs with the strongest arguments I can muster. Again, as I said before, it's kinda my job. And also a hobby. I like arguing on the Internet and in person on many issues Smile
Terrible Wizard
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RS:
Again, because of the length of posts and number of questions I'm getting from multiple sources I'll just try and focus on direct questions and answer them briefly.

Do I consider it an attack on science/secularism when Christian Creationists mount a concerted effort to impose their agendas on public school science curriculums? Yes.

Seriously, do you think I (or anyone) can simply hector a Christian into giving up their faith? Yes. Have you met teenagers, lol? Some folk can lose faith, or more importantly hide faith, because of poor treatment. But deconversion isn't what I was thinking about. I was thinking more of general cultural atmosphere being an influence upon whether people become Christians in the first place. This I think is a real influence.

What specific “privileges” have Christians lost due to their Christianity? That's gonna depend upon each country and what privileges they had to begin with. Christians have 'smuggled' in various privileges, for example prayers at council meetings or religious statues near court houses, that flew by in previous generations. Now they get taken to court, or governments legislate to remove them. These are just trivial examples of loss of privilege, which I generally agree with for secular states - I don't think Christians should have privileges like that.

What legislation has stifled Christian’s ‘free expression of faith at work’? Hate speech and anti-discrimination laws are the big ones. Did you see the entries on the list I linked to a little while ago? There were hundreds of such cases.

And why on earth should anybody be expressing their faith in the workplace to begin with? Because freedom of expression is a human right and essential for peaceful secular governance. It is unreasonable to command people to not wear hijabs or turbans or crosses at work. It is unreasonable to command people to never even mention their core values or beliefs in conversation.

Are you OK with Muslims expressing their faith in your workplace? Absolutely.

And how about the fact that 8 states have provisions in their laws banning atheists from holding public office? Well that's daft. Are they enforced?

Sure, they’re no longer enforceable, but the states refuse to remove them from the books. What does that say about the “zeitgeist”? It says you're in a culture war. I agree that religionist anti-atheism is part of the zeitgeist, but I don't agree that atheist anti-theism isn't. You're in a period of cultural transition. Again, things are bit different in Europe.

“Mississippi’s Constitution states, “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.” Arkansas' Constitution goes even further; it bars atheists from testifying in court.” Do you see that as problematic? Yes, of course. Have you read my posts? You do realise I've multiple times said I'm a libertarian free speech fundamentalist and held up secular democracy as the least worst form of government? I sometimes wonder if people actually read each other's posts, lol.

As far as a ‘cultural zeitgeist containing an anti-Christian element’, that’s simply your opinion – not evidence of an “attack” on Christianity. - That's just rubbish. I e already provided a stack tonne of evidence, see the link I put up earlier. Honestly, this statement is pure drivel. Sorry, but you cannot have seriously looked at the evidence and arrived at this conclusion.

Do you have a problem with the bigger cultural zeitgeist containing an anti-Muslim element? I'm not sure I have a problem with the anti-Christian element, lol. But seriously, I disagree with violence and unfair laws - any other criticism is legitmate. So as long as we're not talking about violence, I have no problem with an anti-Muslim element in the zeitgeist. I think an anti-Christian sentiment in popular culture more worrying, though, since I think Christianity is far better for society than either Islam or atheism, especially given the historic records of Islamic and atheistic states. I'd rather live in, say, America than Iran or Cuba anyday.
Terrible Wizard
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RS:
I missed this one:
"As a Christian, what religious activity can you not do today that you once used to do as a practicing Christian?"
A few things. I can't post here under my own name for fear of losing my career; I can't pragmatically/really become leader of the Liberal Democrat party; I can't refuse service on some matters because of an issue of conscience. My chances of being subject to religously motivated violence or arson have significantly risen. I can't preach or distribute Christian literature in certain contexts without a risk of arrest and possibly prosecution. I can't engage in certain pro-life protests in certain contexts. There's certainly an increased likelihood of workplace discrimination, especially in academia. And I can't expect fair and balanced treatment of Christianity in the media. There may be other minor issues I can't think of right now.

The most egregious things are the curtailments of freedom of speech and the increased, though still relatively minor, risk of violence.

In case it was missed first time around:
https://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/i......75387966

Edit: that link isn't working, huh Smile. I could post all the lists it originally connected to, but it would fill a couple of pages .... Are people that interested in the evidence for the 'attack' of Christianity in the West?

Try this one:
https://www.reasonablefaith.org/forums/i......75387966
TomBoleware
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Well Done TW.

Just want to say your posts are being read.

Maybe not by all but some here do appreciate you. Smile

Tom
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Terrible Wizard
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Thank you Tom, it's appreciated.
Terrible Wizard
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Jonathan:

I note you want recommendations for reading etc. It's difficult to give blanket recommends without knowing a) what specific area you're into, and b) what sort of level you're working at (are you already conversant with the philosophy of religion; have you never read any religious philosophy at all or do you already have a PhD in it, etc).
rockwall
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Surprised to find this on CNN. (You have to dig to find it.) I guess not all Democrats think Trump is racist. (None of them seemed particularly evil OR irrational. Smile )

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/19/politics/o......dex.html
Terrible Wizard
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Cool link.
TomBoleware
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Well look at CNN. If they could pick up a few Trump supporters they might just come out of the gutter a little.

Well actually I do watch a little CNN because I’m just curious to see what they are saying about Trump. But watching is not agreeing, and I often wonder what their ratings would be if the polls for the ratings didn’t include the ‘just curious’ limited watchers. Once Trump leaves CNN will probably have to leave too. Smile

Tom
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R.S.
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Quote:
On Jan 20, 2018, TomBoleware wrote:

But seriously Ron, if you don’t think Trump was running against Obama and all his administration then you don’t know much about politics. Trump beat Obama, The Clintons, the FBI, the Media, all the Democrats, and half the Republicans.


Tom


Says the guy who just got done posting a lengthy list of false/unarticulated talking points.

By the way, one year in, Trump's approval rating is the lowest mark for any elected President at this point in their term in the last seven decades!

Ron
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
Dannydoyle
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Too bad that didn't show in election results. RUN SOMEONE ELSE! Anyone else. It is your parties fault.

You guys caused this now sit back and blame everyone else.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
R.S.
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Quote:
On Jan 21, 2018, Terrible Wizard wrote:
RS:
Again, because of the length of posts and number of questions I'm getting from multiple sources I'll just try and focus on direct questions and answer them briefly.

Do I consider it an attack on science/secularism when Christian Creationists mount a concerted effort to impose their agendas on public school science curriculums? Yes.

Seriously, do you think I (or anyone) can simply hector a Christian into giving up their faith? Yes. Have you met teenagers, lol? Some folk can lose faith, or more importantly hide faith, because of poor treatment. But deconversion isn't what I was thinking about. I was thinking more of general cultural atmosphere being an influence upon whether people become Christians in the first place. This I think is a real influence.


So who goes around bullying teenagers into giving up their faith? And nobody loses faith because of ‘poor treatment’, lol. That’s ridiculous. People either hold certain core beliefs to be true or they do not. If someone has a REAL change of heart it’s because they were convinced otherwise by their own thinking process. Anyway, I think it’s MUCH more common that fire and brimstone preachers (and more mainstream religious figures) target the youth, as they are vulnerable to indoctrination. You are correct that a general cultural atmosphere is an influence upon whether people become Christians in the first place. And as I noted before, in this country that culture is overwhelmingly Christian. Any perceived “attack” on Christianity is merely the realization by Christians that in the modern era of information sharing their Kung Fu grip on the cultural influence is eroding.

Quote:

What specific “privileges” have Christians lost due to their Christianity? That's gonna depend upon each country and what privileges they had to begin with. Christians have 'smuggled' in various privileges, for example prayers at council meetings or religious statues near court houses, that flew by in previous generations. Now they get taken to court, or governments legislate to remove them. These are just trivial examples of loss of privilege, which I generally agree with for secular states - I don't think Christians should have privileges like that.


Then we agree – the things you mentioned should never have been privileges in the first place. Therefore, it’s disingenuous to then count them as “lost privileges”.


Quote:
What legislation has stifled Christian’s ‘free expression of faith at work’? Hate speech and anti-discrimination laws are the big ones. Did you see the entries on the list I linked to a little while ago? There were hundreds of such cases.[/quote[

Do you have a specific example? I didn’t have time to go through that entire list. I read one link about gay fashion designers who spoke out against same-sex families. The article just didn’t seem to be relevant. I have a feeling other links may be tangential as well. What law was enacted that specifically targets Christians, and not any other religious group?


And why on earth should anybody be expressing their faith in the workplace to begin with? Because freedom of expression is a human right and essential for peaceful secular governance. It is unreasonable to command people to not wear hijabs or turbans or crosses at work. It is unreasonable to command people to never even mention their core values or beliefs in conversation.



Are you arguing that it's necessary ("essential") to express religious views in the workplace in order for peaceful secular governance? And how about everybody do the job they were hired to do, dress in a way that’s appropriate for the job and not an impediment to it, and then worship as they please in the appropriate places of worship? And which organizations commanded their workforce to not mention their core values/beliefs in casual conversation?


Quote:

Are you OK with Muslims expressing their faith in your workplace? Absolutely.

And how about the fact that 8 states have provisions in their laws banning atheists from holding public office? Well that's daft. Are they enforced?

Sure, they’re no longer enforceable, but the states refuse to remove them from the books. What does that say about the “zeitgeist”? It says you're in a culture war. I agree that religionist anti-atheism is part of the zeitgeist, but I don't agree that atheist anti-theism isn't. You're in a period of cultural transition. Again, things are bit different in Europe.

“Mississippi’s Constitution states, “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.” Arkansas' Constitution goes even further; it bars atheists from testifying in court.” Do you see that as problematic? Yes, of course. Have you read my posts? You do realise I've multiple times said I'm a libertarian free speech fundamentalist and held up secular democracy as the least worst form of government? I sometimes wonder if people actually read each other's posts, lol.


Glad you agree. As I said, it says a lot about the historic, and strident, anti-atheistsic sentiment in the country. Much of which still persists. For crying out cornflakes, it was actually codified into law! Imagine if several states had laws specifically stating that “Christians cannot hold public office” still on the books!

Quote:

As far as a ‘cultural zeitgeist containing an anti-Christian element’, that’s simply your opinion – not evidence of an “attack” on Christianity. - That's just rubbish. I e already provided a stack tonne of evidence, see the link I put up earlier. Honestly, this statement is pure drivel. Sorry, but you cannot have seriously looked at the evidence and arrived at this conclusion.


Again, please post your best example of an “attack” here.

It may come down to how we each define “attack”. IMO, mere criticism, or a decline in church membership is not really a concerted “attack”. And again, my example of Creationists mounting repeated concerted efforts through the courts to impose their agenda on PUBLIC SCHOOL CURRICULUMS is what I consider an actual attack on secularism. What’s an equivalent example of a targeted attack on Christianity?


Quote:

Do you have a problem with the bigger cultural zeitgeist containing an anti-Muslim element? I'm not sure I have a problem with the anti-Christian element, lol. But seriously, I disagree with violence and unfair laws - any other criticism is legitmate. So as long as we're not talking about violence, I have no problem with an anti-Muslim element in the zeitgeist. I think an anti-Christian sentiment in popular culture more worrying, though, since I think Christianity is far better for society than either Islam or atheism, especially given the historic records of Islamic and atheistic states. I'd rather live in, say, America than Iran or Cuba anyday.


What makes Christianity far better for society than atheism? Also, do you think Islam is better for society than atheism? What about Hinduism? Or Mormonism? Are THEY better for society than atheism?


Ron
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
TomBoleware
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Ron I can’t believe you still believing the same ole fake polls that that said he wouldn’t win. Your news source is terrible but you go on being sucked in by all the lies. His base is still the same and steady gaining. After next month when millions start receiving his tax cut it will grow even bigger. That tax bill bought him a lot of votes and if things keep improving look for him to win by a landside next time. Main thing right now is to get that wall up.


Better get you a MAGA Cap before the prices get any higher. Glad I got mine early on.

Tom
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1KJ
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I am not a fan of Trump, and I didn't vote for him either. However, if you set all the personality BS aside, his policies have been IMPRESSIVE to say the least! The economy is doing better, the stock market has SOARED, his executive order fixing the "amnesty" scam improved immigration problems day one, he has taken some good steps related to crappy trade deals (like the Paris Accord), he has continued the rebuilding of infrastructure, he has broken barriers in hiring women to key positions, and the new tax law is likely to have a HUGE beneficial impact on average Americans.

I doubt he will get re-elected because he caught the media, both parties, the academia, and the rest of the elite by surprise the last time and I doubt they will let that happen twice. He has likely opened the door for someone like Oprah Winfrey to win the next election.

Maybe the next President will continue with policies that favor regular Americans and not just the elite as the past 50 years of presidents have done.

KJ
imgic
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Quote:
On Jan 21, 2018, 1KJ wrote:
I am not a fan of Trump, and I didn't vote for him either. However, if you set all the personality BS aside, his policies have been IMPRESSIVE to say the least! The economy is doing better, the stock market has SOARED, his executive order fixing the "amnesty" scam improved immigration problems day one, he has taken some good steps related to crappy trade deals (like the Paris Accord), he has continued the rebuilding of infrastructure, he has broken barriers in hiring women to key positions, and the new tax law is likely to have a HUGE beneficial impact on average Americans.

I doubt he will get re-elected because he caught the media, both parties, the academia, and the rest of the elite by surprise the last time and I doubt they will let that happen twice. He has likely opened the door for someone like Oprah Winfrey to win the next election.

Maybe the next President will continue with policies that favor regular Americans and not just the elite as the past 50 years of presidents have done.

KJ



Thanks. The laughter I got from reading this made my day...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
TomBoleware
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Quote:
On Jan 21, 2018, 1KJ wrote:
I am not a fan of Trump, and I didn't vote for him either. However, if you set all the personality BS aside, his policies have been IMPRESSIVE to say the least! The economy is doing better, the stock market has SOARED, his executive order fixing the "amnesty" scam improved immigration problems day one, he has taken some good steps related to crappy trade deals (like the Paris Accord), he has continued the rebuilding of infrastructure, he has broken barriers in hiring women to key positions, and the new tax law is likely to have a HUGE beneficial impact on average Americans.

I doubt he will get re-elected because he caught the media, both parties, the academia, and the rest of the elite by surprise the last time and I doubt they will let that happen twice. He has likely opened the door for someone like Oprah Winfrey to win the next election.

Maybe the next President will continue with policies that favor regular Americans and not just the elite as the past 50 years of presidents have done.

KJ


Thanks for posting KJ.

I voted Trump, and I admit that I don’t like the way he talks at times, but in the end I think he will be judged by his actions more than his words. Politics is a nasty business and I’ve always said we needed a non-politician in there and I think he was the best we had at the time. It’s going to be interesting to see how this coming year plays out.

If Trump fails there won’t be any need for Oprah to even try, most will go back to backing the normal politicians. Now if he does really well then she might have a shot, she is a woman and that alone will get her a lot of votes.

Tom
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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On Jan 21, 2018, Terrible Wizard wrote:
I note you want recommendations for reading etc. It's difficult to give blanket recommends without knowing a) what specific area you're into, and b) what sort of level you're working at (are you already conversant with the philosophy of religion; have you never read any religious philosophy at all or do you already have a PhD in it, etc).


Thanks. I'm starting out with ho background in theology and need to look things up when I come across phrases in latin or greek.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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