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post #106 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 05:37 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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My husband is a very intelligent man. A doctor, scientist, healthcare researcher, and also a qualified accountant. He is also highly logical. He also has one of the strongest faiths I have ever known in a person, and a very close relationship with his Dad as he calls Him.
Do you feel your faith is rooted in the fact that your husbands' faith is strong? It seems people often change their beliefs depending on who they are with at the time (it seems to play a big part).
I know of only very few scientists who also have faith (in the biblical god). As soon as you approach the subject logically, it really does tend to fall apart...There must be an emotion involved that switches something in the brain (which I seem to be lacking).

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post #107 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 08:37 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Do you feel your faith is rooted in the fact that your husbands' faith is strong? It seems people often change their beliefs depending on who they are with at the time (it seems to play a big part).
I know of only very few scientists who also have faith (in the biblical god). As soon as you approach the subject logically, it really does tend to fall apart...There must be an emotion involved that switches something in the brain (which I seem to be lacking).
It really doesn't fall apart, and we know several scientists and doctors who have a very strong faith.

When we met I had been a christian for about 30 years, so no its not his faith that keeps me going, my faith was strong before that.
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post #108 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 08:54 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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It really doesn't fall apart, and we know several scientists and doctors who have a very strong faith.

When we met I had been a christian for about 30 years, so no its not his faith that keeps me going, my faith was strong before that.
Then why do you mention your husband's belief and the fact that he is a scientist & logical I wonder. My problem with belief is not so much the belief itself but the fact that many chose to believe things without having examined them themselves properly and relying on hearsay or others to "guide" them. The danger with giving up critical thinking is that we could end up believing all kinds of things that might inadvertently harm us or the ones around us (for example belief in the idea that vaccinating children could make the children autistic - there are some who believe it even though studies have refuted these claims beyond doubt). Or, on the much smaller scale, that having faith strengthens a marriage event hough studies show that there is no correlation (or even untrue).
Or, choosing to believe that heaven is real, this world is too evil and 72 virgins await you in paradise if you sacrifice your life for a greater good and follow god's wishes...You see where this can go wrong.
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post #109 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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I am quite interested in this topic and was surprised to find that data actually points to lower divorce rates amongst atheists:

Atheist marriages may last longer than Christian ones - Salon.com

"When I was young, a slogan made its way around my church: The family that prays together stays together. Tom Ellis, former chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on the Family boldly claimed that “born-again Christian couples who marry…in the church after having received premarital counseling…and attend church regularly and pray daily together… experience only 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000 marriages.”

But then came data. According to research by the Barna Research Group over a decade ago, American divorce rates were highest among Baptists and nondenominational “Bible-believing” Christians and lower among more theologically liberal Christians like Methodists, with atheists at the bottom of the divorce pack. When the findings were made public, George Barna took some heat because Christians expected the difference to be more dramatic and to favor believers. Ellis suggested that maybe Barna had sampled badly. Perhaps some people who called themselves born again had never really devoted their lives to Christ. But Barna held his ground, saying, “We rarely find substantial differences” [in the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians]."
I have a few Christian friends who rushed into marriage, and I don't think that's uncommon for some Christians. They feel it's ''God's calling'' and so they rush things. I follow Christianity, but I don't believe that God selects one special person who is your soul mate, etc. I believe that is a person's wishful thinking, honestly. I do believe though in praying before you marry someone, before you consider marrying them, as to if this could be the right situation for your life.
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post #110 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 11:30 AM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Then why do you mention your husband's belief and the fact that he is a scientist & logical I wonder. My problem with belief is not so much the belief itself but the fact that many chose to believe things without having examined them themselves properly and relying on hearsay or others to "guide" them. The danger with giving up critical thinking is that we could end up believing all kinds of things that might inadvertently harm us or the ones around us (for example belief in the idea that vaccinating children could make the children autistic - there are some who believe it even though studies have refuted these claims beyond doubt). Or, on the much smaller scale, that having faith strengthens a marriage event hough studies show that there is no correlation (or even untrue).
Or, choosing to believe that heaven is real, this world is too evil and 72 virgins await you in paradise if you sacrifice your life for a greater good and follow god's wishes...You see where this can go wrong.
The years that I have been following Jesus Christ have taught me that Gods guidance and ways are aways for our own good.
We have free will, and can choose to act how we like but there are always consequences.
I have never relied on others to guide me. I have had very long periods away from church where I wasnt at all influenced by others, and it was just me and God. I am also a critical thinker, I test things said and taught and never accept things at face value.
My christian faith has never harmed me or anyone round me, on the contrary has helped me and those around me. I hope it has made me a better more kind person. It has helped me get though some truly terrible times and come out stronger.
The radical muslims have these awful ideas that if they kill and maim and torture they will be rewarded. What sort of god do they think would do that!! We are told to forgive those who hurt us, love and pray for our enemies, the complete opposite.
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post #111 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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The years that I have been following Jesus Christ have taught me that Gods guidance and ways are aways for our own good.
We have free will, and can choose to act how we like but there are always consequences.
I have never relied on others to guide me. I have had very long periods away from church where I wasnt at all influenced by others, and it was just me and God. I am also a critical thinker, I test things said and taught and never accept things at face value.
My christian faith has never harmed me or anyone round me, on the contrary has helped me and those around me. I hope it has made me a better more kind person. It has helped me get though some truly terrible times and come out stronger.
The radical muslims have these awful ideas that if they kill and maim and torture they will be rewarded. What sort of god do they think would do that!! We are told to forgive those who hurt us, love and pray for our enemies, the complete opposite.
I agree, my faith has been my strength. I left the faith for a few years, and identified as an atheist for a few of those years. It was a lonely, dark time then, at least for me, without faith. My fiance and his family are Christians, but he is more on the moderate side.

I have read that couples where one is religious and the other is atheist, have the strongest marriages lol Idk why that might be, I've always thought it might be hard to be married to someone who doesn't share your overall worldview.
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post #112 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 06:21 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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I agree, my faith has been my strength. I left the faith for a few years, and identified as an atheist for a few of those years. It was a lonely, dark time then, at least for me, without faith. My fiance and his family are Christians, but he is more on the moderate side.

I have read that couples where one is religious and the other is atheist, have the strongest marriages lol Idk why that might be, I've always thought it might be hard to be married to someone who doesn't share your overall worldview.
I am glad (and slightly envious) to read about people deriving strength from faith.
Personally, I find it hard to reconcile reality I see around me with the idea of a personal god. I was speaking about it with my wife today (who has the same views as me, except she is not trying to get into other people's brains as hard as I do when it comes to those things) and for me, in order to make myself believe something for which there is no evidence whatsoever, would involve a lot of mental acrobatics I am not sure I am capable of performing. As soon as I open the bible and start reading it, very little makes any sense at all. People say that anything that happens is god's plan or that he's testing your beliefs when hardship strikes, it's easy to go about life thinking like this. Does it make it true though?
How is it for anyone's good to take away lives of millions of children who die for no apparent reason from diseases or natural disasters (where the "free will" argument doesn't work, sadly). We can console ourselves that they end up in a better place and that we will see our loved ones after we die. It's comforting. Does it make it true just because some others share the same belief?

I wonder what is the miracle that you encountered during your "atheist" time out that made you change your mind?

I always tried living my life deriving strength from within yourself, without outside influences. It's not easy but I feel I am being truthful to myself.
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post #113 of 379 (permalink) Old 03-26-2017, 07:32 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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The years that I have been following Jesus Christ have taught me that Gods guidance and ways are aways for our own good.
We have free will, and can choose to act how we like but there are always consequences.
I have never relied on others to guide me. I have had very long periods away from church where I wasnt at all influenced by others, and it was just me and God. I am also a critical thinker, I test things said and taught and never accept things at face value.
My christian faith has never harmed me or anyone round me, on the contrary has helped me and those around me. I hope it has made me a better more kind person. It has helped me get though some truly terrible times and come out stronger.
The radical muslims have these awful ideas that if they kill and maim and torture they will be rewarded. What sort of god do they think would do that!!
Could it be related to any of the things that "our" god did by any chance?

1) Sending Bears to Murder Children
So a guy named Eliseus was traveling to Bethel when a bunch of kids popped up and made fun of him for being bald. That had to suck, and you can't blame Eliseus for being pissed and cursing them to God. But God had Eliseus' back, by which I mean he sent two bears to maul 42 of these kids to death. For making fun of a bald dude. I have to think Eliseus was looking for something along the lines of a spanking, or maybe the poetic justice of having the kids go bald, but nope, God went straight for the bear murder. But on the plus side, that pile of 40+ children's corpses never made fun of anybody again. (4 Kings 2:23-24)

2) Turning Lot's Wife to Salt
Most folks know about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities of sin God decided to kill everyone in instead of, you know, making them*not*full of sin. But this was a town that, when two angels were staying at Lot's place, gathered en masse and asked if they could rape them. I repeat:*They wanted to rape angels. So they kind of had their destruction coming. Lot and his family were sent from the city before things went down, and Lot's wife looked back, and God turned her into a pillar of salt. It's generally understood that Lot's wife was looking back in a wistful kind of way at her angel-raping hometown, but the fact is there's nothing in the Bible to suggest this. Nor was Lot's family warned about looking back. Maybe Lot's wife wanted to see Sodom and Gomorrah get what was coming to it. Maybe she was thinking wistfully of the things she had to leave behind. Maybe she wondered if she had left the oven on. We'll never know, because God turned her into seasoning for breaking a rule she didn't know existed. (Genesis 19:26)

3) Hating Ugly People
In what should be good news for intolerant religious conservatives, God really does hate people who are different from the norm. Of course, God isn't as worried about skin color or sexual orientation as he is about whether you're ugly or not. Because if you're ugly, you can just go worship some other god, okay? (Even though God will punish you if you do and also they don't exist.) Here's the people God does not want coming into his churches: People with blemishes, blind people, the lame, those with flat noses, dwarves, people with scurvy, people with bad eyes, people with bad skin, and those that "hath their stones broken." Given that God is technically responsible for giving people all of these afflictions in the first place, this is an enormous **** move. (Leviticus 21:17-24)

4) Trying to Kill Moses
In terms of people who God likes, you'd think Moses would be pretty high up on the list, right? I mean, God appointed him to lead the Jews out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea for him, and even picked him to receive the 10 Commandments, right? Yet this didn't stop God from trying to kill Moses when he ran into him at "a lodging place." There is literally no explanation given in the Bible for God's decision to murder one of his chief supporters. The line is "At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him." The only sensible explanation for this is that God was drunk out of his mind and looking for a bar fight, and you better hope that's correct because the alternative is that God's a psychopath. How was God stopped from murdering his #1 fan? "But [Moses' wife] Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it ... So the Lord let him alone." Either the sight of a very unexpected circumcision sobered God up quickly, or he didn't want to touch a dude who just touched a severed foreskin. Still, it's Moses' son who's the real victim here. (Exodus 4:24-26)

5) Committing So Much Genocide
God has killed so many people, you guys. Okay, I mean technically, God has killed*everyone*if you subscribe to Judeo-Christian thought, but I'm not talking about indirect methods, I'm talking about God murdering countless people in horrible ways simply because he's pissed off. God drowning every single person on the planet besides Noah and his family is pretty well known, but he also helped the Israelites murder everyone in Jericho, Heshbon, Bashan and many more, usually killing women, children and animals at the same time. Hell, God once helped some Israelites kill 500,000 other Israelites. God's*crazy.

6) Ordering His Underlings to Kill Their Own Children
God is obviously good at big picture dickishness, but he also took the time to be a **** on a more personal level. Abraham was another devout man God decided to **** with, apparently because he knew he could. God ordered him to sacrifice his son to God (God was a fan of human sacrifice at the time). We know Abraham loved his son, so he was probably kind of upset with this, but hey, God's God. So Abraham tricked his unsuspecting son up a mountain onto a sacrificial altar and prepared to murder him. This story actually has a happy ending, in that right before Abraham drove a knife into his son's throat, God yelled "Psych!" and told him it was only a test. And then Abraham received some blessings after that for being willing to kill his own child at God's whim. And all it took was the dread of being forced to kill his own child on behalf of his angry deity and, presumably, a ****-ton of awkward family dinners for the rest of his life. Abraham got off better than Jephthah, who had to follow through with murdering his daughter (burning her alive, specifically) in order to get on God's good side before battling the Ammonites. (Genesis 22:1-12)

7) Killing Egyptian Babies
Let's be completely up front: The Egyptians and the Jews did not get along. According to the Bible, the Egyptians enslaved the Jews, but the Jews had God on their side, if you kind of ignore God letting his people be enslaved in the first place. Rather getting his worshippers the hell out of there, God wanted to show those damned Egyptians what for, releasing 10 plagues that began with turning the river Nile into pure blood, and ending with the slaughter of the first-born of every single Egyptian man and animal. Now, I suppose it's possible that some, or even most of these first-borns were adults who were ****ty to the Israelites. But some of them were babies who didn't even have the*time*to persecute the Jews yet. And what the hell did the animals do to the Jews to get caught up in this nightmare? You realize there were cats in Egypt, right? Cats who had first-borns?*God killed kittens. (Numbers 16:41-49)

8) Killing a Dude for Not Making More Babies
So you're a dude named Onan and you have a brother named Er. God does not care for Er, and kills him. Standard God operating procedure. Then things gets weird. Onan's dad orders Onan to have sex with Er's wife — not marry, by the way, just have sex with. This is actually pretty awkward for Onan, sleeping with his sister-in-law, and rather than give her any more kids (she had two with Er already) he pulls out. God is so infuriated that Onan did not **** his sister-in-law to completion that he kills him, too. Now, you could argue that God demands that intercourse be used specifically for procreation, but given how much God loves killing babies and children, I don't think his motives here are exceptionally pure. (Genesis 38:1-10)

9) Helping Samson Murder People to Pay Off a Bet
More evidence that God is possibly a low-level mobster: When his pal Samson got married, he was given 30 friends, and he posed them (a completely insane) riddle. Then he made a bet that if they could solve it in a week, Samson would give them all new clothes, but if they couldn't they would give Samson 30 pairs of new clothes. Well, Samson's wife wheedled the answer out of him and then told these dudes, at which point an angry Samson had to pay up. And here's where God comes in — literally, into Samson, giving him the power to murder 30 random people for their clothes. Only a true friend would help you commit mass murder to settle a completely stupid bet. (Judges 14:1-19)

10) Trying to Wrestle a Guy, Cheating, and Still Losing
And here's more evidence that God is a drunk maniac: Jacob was traveling with his two wives, his 11 kids, and all his earthly possessions and had sent them across a river. At that moment, a guy essentially leapt out of the bushes and started wrestling. It's God! They wrestle all night, and God cannot beat Jacob, so he uses his magic God powers to wrench Jacob's hip out of its socket. But Jacob*still*won't let him out of a headlock until God blesses him, because Jacob has figured out who this bizarre man is. God blesses him and wanders off, presumably to go get in a bar fight somewhere. (Genesis 32: 22-31)

11) Killing People for Complaining About God Killing Them
To be fair, after God freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, they were extraordinarily *****y about not instantly being in a land of milk and honey. It got so bad that God was ready to kill all of them and let Moses start the Jews over, although Moses managed to talk him out of it. But one of their more sensible complaints was that Moses was lording himself over the rest of them, which was probably true, seeing as God had given him the 10 Commandments and all that. So Moses summoned the three tribal elders who had made the complaint to a Monday morning staff meeting, but two of them didn't come. Neither Moses nor God cared for that, and God opened up the grounds beneath their people's tents, killing both tribes (God also set fire to 250 Israelite princes who'd made the same complaint). Having been well admonished that Moses was putting himself above the rest of the people with God's permission, a number of surviving Israelites were kind of pissed that Moses and God had killed so many of their fellow people to prove a point. God responded by killing another 14,700 of them with a plague. The complaints stopped. (Numbers 16:1-49)

12) Everything He Did to Job
Oh, Job. Other than a ****-ton of babies, no one had it worse in the Bible than Job, who was a righteous, good-hearted man who believed in God with every fiber in his being — which is when God decides to see how miserable he can make this dude before he gets upset. Note: This is a result of a bet between God and Satan. Also note: The bet is God's idea. He's literally just hanging out with Satan — which is kinda weird when you think about it — when he started bragging about how awesome Job is. Satan points out that Job's pretty blessed — he's rich, he's got a lot of kids, etc., and he probably wouldn't be quite so thrilled with God if he didn't have that stuff. God downs his bourbon, presumably, and tells Satan he can mess with Job all he wants. Satan does. He kills all of Job's children and animals, burns down his house, destroys his wealth, and then covers him in boils. Job doesn't curse God, but he does wish he'd never been born (literally) and begs God to kill him, but no dice. This lasts a long time until finally Job wonders why a just God would be so cruel. This is when God pops up and basically tells him, "Shut up, I don't have to explain anything to you." Job, having finally done something wrong, pleads for mercy, and God eventually gives him back animals and children — new ones, because the old ones are still dead. Because of a bet. That God made with Satan. For kicks. (Job 1)


http://www.alternet.org/12-craziest-...-old-testament

Last edited by inmyprime; 03-26-2017 at 07:38 PM.
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post #114 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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I am glad (and slightly envious) to read about people deriving strength from faith.
Personally, I find it hard to reconcile reality I see around me with the idea of a personal god. I was speaking about it with my wife today (who has the same views as me, except she is not trying to get into other people's brains as hard as I do when it comes to those things) and for me, in order to make myself believe something for which there is no evidence whatsoever, would involve a lot of mental acrobatics I am not sure I am capable of performing. As soon as I open the bible and start reading it, very little makes any sense at all. People say that anything that happens is god's plan or that he's testing your beliefs when hardship strikes, it's easy to go about life thinking like this. Does it make it true though?
How is it for anyone's good to take away lives of millions of children who die for no apparent reason from diseases or natural disasters (where the "free will" argument doesn't work, sadly). We can console ourselves that they end up in a better place and that we will see our loved ones after we die. It's comforting. Does it make it true just because some others share the same belief?

I wonder what is the miracle that you encountered during your "atheist" time out that made you change your mind?

I always tried living my life deriving strength from within yourself, without outside influences. It's not easy but I feel I am being truthful to myself.
That's the important thing, I think, is to be true to who you are. I didn't make a very good atheist lol I felt lost, empty. That's just my experience. Perhaps I felt that way because I was raised in a Christian household, and to walk away from it all for a few years, felt strange, to be honest. But, I didn't come back to faith on my own, I had an experience of faith. It led me back. I understand what you're saying here, faith should be more than a security blanket, or something to comfort us when things get tough. But, I can't judge others' faith or even lack of faith. We're all on a journey and we find what works for us, I guess.

My experience of faith was the holy spirit. I ended up coming back to Christianity from the experience. I hear you about the Bible, I don't take it all literally. I'm not a fundamentalist, and honestly don't go to church regularly. But, my faith is my own, now...It's not just something handed down to me from my upbringing. My relationship with Jesus is personal, my own. The Bible can ''teach'' one about the faith, but the Bible can't ''teach'' faith. I think as much as we can read a holy text about faith, we also have to experience it.

I think it's interesting that you envy people who have faith. Do you wish that you had faith? I appreciate your post here, and look forward to your reply.

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post #115 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-01-2017, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Could it be related to any of the things that "our" god did by any chance?

1) Sending Bears to Murder Children
So a guy named Eliseus was traveling to Bethel when a bunch of kids popped up and made fun of him for being bald. That had to suck, and you can't blame Eliseus for being pissed and cursing them to God. But God had Eliseus' back, by which I mean he sent two bears to maul 42 of these kids to death. For making fun of a bald dude. I have to think Eliseus was looking for something along the lines of a spanking, or maybe the poetic justice of having the kids go bald, but nope, God went straight for the bear murder. But on the plus side, that pile of 40+ children's corpses never made fun of anybody again. (4 Kings 2:23-24)

2) Turning Lot's Wife to Salt
Most folks know about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities of sin God decided to kill everyone in instead of, you know, making them*not*full of sin. But this was a town that, when two angels were staying at Lot's place, gathered en masse and asked if they could rape them. I repeat:*They wanted to rape angels. So they kind of had their destruction coming. Lot and his family were sent from the city before things went down, and Lot's wife looked back, and God turned her into a pillar of salt. It's generally understood that Lot's wife was looking back in a wistful kind of way at her angel-raping hometown, but the fact is there's nothing in the Bible to suggest this. Nor was Lot's family warned about looking back. Maybe Lot's wife wanted to see Sodom and Gomorrah get what was coming to it. Maybe she was thinking wistfully of the things she had to leave behind. Maybe she wondered if she had left the oven on. We'll never know, because God turned her into seasoning for breaking a rule she didn't know existed. (Genesis 19:26)

3) Hating Ugly People
In what should be good news for intolerant religious conservatives, God really does hate people who are different from the norm. Of course, God isn't as worried about skin color or sexual orientation as he is about whether you're ugly or not. Because if you're ugly, you can just go worship some other god, okay? (Even though God will punish you if you do and also they don't exist.) Here's the people God does not want coming into his churches: People with blemishes, blind people, the lame, those with flat noses, dwarves, people with scurvy, people with bad eyes, people with bad skin, and those that "hath their stones broken." Given that God is technically responsible for giving people all of these afflictions in the first place, this is an enormous **** move. (Leviticus 21:17-24)

4) Trying to Kill Moses
In terms of people who God likes, you'd think Moses would be pretty high up on the list, right? I mean, God appointed him to lead the Jews out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea for him, and even picked him to receive the 10 Commandments, right? Yet this didn't stop God from trying to kill Moses when he ran into him at "a lodging place." There is literally no explanation given in the Bible for God's decision to murder one of his chief supporters. The line is "At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him." The only sensible explanation for this is that God was drunk out of his mind and looking for a bar fight, and you better hope that's correct because the alternative is that God's a psychopath. How was God stopped from murdering his #1 fan? "But [Moses' wife] Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son's foreskin and touched Moses' feet with it ... So the Lord let him alone." Either the sight of a very unexpected circumcision sobered God up quickly, or he didn't want to touch a dude who just touched a severed foreskin. Still, it's Moses' son who's the real victim here. (Exodus 4:24-26)

5) Committing So Much Genocide
God has killed so many people, you guys. Okay, I mean technically, God has killed*everyone*if you subscribe to Judeo-Christian thought, but I'm not talking about indirect methods, I'm talking about God murdering countless people in horrible ways simply because he's pissed off. God drowning every single person on the planet besides Noah and his family is pretty well known, but he also helped the Israelites murder everyone in Jericho, Heshbon, Bashan and many more, usually killing women, children and animals at the same time. Hell, God once helped some Israelites kill 500,000 other Israelites. God's*crazy.

6) Ordering His Underlings to Kill Their Own Children
God is obviously good at big picture dickishness, but he also took the time to be a **** on a more personal level. Abraham was another devout man God decided to **** with, apparently because he knew he could. God ordered him to sacrifice his son to God (God was a fan of human sacrifice at the time). We know Abraham loved his son, so he was probably kind of upset with this, but hey, God's God. So Abraham tricked his unsuspecting son up a mountain onto a sacrificial altar and prepared to murder him. This story actually has a happy ending, in that right before Abraham drove a knife into his son's throat, God yelled "Psych!" and told him it was only a test. And then Abraham received some blessings after that for being willing to kill his own child at God's whim. And all it took was the dread of being forced to kill his own child on behalf of his angry deity and, presumably, a ****-ton of awkward family dinners for the rest of his life. Abraham got off better than Jephthah, who had to follow through with murdering his daughter (burning her alive, specifically) in order to get on God's good side before battling the Ammonites. (Genesis 22:1-12)

7) Killing Egyptian Babies
Let's be completely up front: The Egyptians and the Jews did not get along. According to the Bible, the Egyptians enslaved the Jews, but the Jews had God on their side, if you kind of ignore God letting his people be enslaved in the first place. Rather getting his worshippers the hell out of there, God wanted to show those damned Egyptians what for, releasing 10 plagues that began with turning the river Nile into pure blood, and ending with the slaughter of the first-born of every single Egyptian man and animal. Now, I suppose it's possible that some, or even most of these first-borns were adults who were ****ty to the Israelites. But some of them were babies who didn't even have the*time*to persecute the Jews yet. And what the hell did the animals do to the Jews to get caught up in this nightmare? You realize there were cats in Egypt, right? Cats who had first-borns?*God killed kittens. (Numbers 16:41-49)

8) Killing a Dude for Not Making More Babies
So you're a dude named Onan and you have a brother named Er. God does not care for Er, and kills him. Standard God operating procedure. Then things gets weird. Onan's dad orders Onan to have sex with Er's wife — not marry, by the way, just have sex with. This is actually pretty awkward for Onan, sleeping with his sister-in-law, and rather than give her any more kids (she had two with Er already) he pulls out. God is so infuriated that Onan did not **** his sister-in-law to completion that he kills him, too. Now, you could argue that God demands that intercourse be used specifically for procreation, but given how much God loves killing babies and children, I don't think his motives here are exceptionally pure. (Genesis 38:1-10)

9) Helping Samson Murder People to Pay Off a Bet
More evidence that God is possibly a low-level mobster: When his pal Samson got married, he was given 30 friends, and he posed them (a completely insane) riddle. Then he made a bet that if they could solve it in a week, Samson would give them all new clothes, but if they couldn't they would give Samson 30 pairs of new clothes. Well, Samson's wife wheedled the answer out of him and then told these dudes, at which point an angry Samson had to pay up. And here's where God comes in — literally, into Samson, giving him the power to murder 30 random people for their clothes. Only a true friend would help you commit mass murder to settle a completely stupid bet. (Judges 14:1-19)

10) Trying to Wrestle a Guy, Cheating, and Still Losing
And here's more evidence that God is a drunk maniac: Jacob was traveling with his two wives, his 11 kids, and all his earthly possessions and had sent them across a river. At that moment, a guy essentially leapt out of the bushes and started wrestling. It's God! They wrestle all night, and God cannot beat Jacob, so he uses his magic God powers to wrench Jacob's hip out of its socket. But Jacob*still*won't let him out of a headlock until God blesses him, because Jacob has figured out who this bizarre man is. God blesses him and wanders off, presumably to go get in a bar fight somewhere. (Genesis 32: 22-31)

11) Killing People for Complaining About God Killing Them
To be fair, after God freed the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, they were extraordinarily *****y about not instantly being in a land of milk and honey. It got so bad that God was ready to kill all of them and let Moses start the Jews over, although Moses managed to talk him out of it. But one of their more sensible complaints was that Moses was lording himself over the rest of them, which was probably true, seeing as God had given him the 10 Commandments and all that. So Moses summoned the three tribal elders who had made the complaint to a Monday morning staff meeting, but two of them didn't come. Neither Moses nor God cared for that, and God opened up the grounds beneath their people's tents, killing both tribes (God also set fire to 250 Israelite princes who'd made the same complaint). Having been well admonished that Moses was putting himself above the rest of the people with God's permission, a number of surviving Israelites were kind of pissed that Moses and God had killed so many of their fellow people to prove a point. God responded by killing another 14,700 of them with a plague. The complaints stopped. (Numbers 16:1-49)

12) Everything He Did to Job
Oh, Job. Other than a ****-ton of babies, no one had it worse in the Bible than Job, who was a righteous, good-hearted man who believed in God with every fiber in his being — which is when God decides to see how miserable he can make this dude before he gets upset. Note: This is a result of a bet between God and Satan. Also note: The bet is God's idea. He's literally just hanging out with Satan — which is kinda weird when you think about it — when he started bragging about how awesome Job is. Satan points out that Job's pretty blessed — he's rich, he's got a lot of kids, etc., and he probably wouldn't be quite so thrilled with God if he didn't have that stuff. God downs his bourbon, presumably, and tells Satan he can mess with Job all he wants. Satan does. He kills all of Job's children and animals, burns down his house, destroys his wealth, and then covers him in boils. Job doesn't curse God, but he does wish he'd never been born (literally) and begs God to kill him, but no dice. This lasts a long time until finally Job wonders why a just God would be so cruel. This is when God pops up and basically tells him, "Shut up, I don't have to explain anything to you." Job, having finally done something wrong, pleads for mercy, and God eventually gives him back animals and children — new ones, because the old ones are still dead. Because of a bet. That God made with Satan. For kicks. (Job 1)


12 Craziest, Most Awful Things God Did in the Old Testament | Alternet
Sometimes, I view the Bible as a compilation of stories from another time period that don't necessarily mean we should mirror in this time period. Maybe that is how the people of that time ''understood'' God. I tend to focus more on the NT, than the OT, but the OT serves as a foreshadowing of the NT, in some ways.

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post #116 of 379 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 02:32 PM
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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That's the important thing, I think, is to be true to who you are. I didn't make a very good atheist lol I felt lost, empty. That's just my experience. Perhaps I felt that way because I was raised in a Christian household, and to walk away from it all for a few years, felt strange, to be honest. But, I didn't come back to faith on my own, I had an experience of faith. It led me back. I understand what you're saying here, faith should be more than a security blanket, or something to comfort us when things get tough. But, I can't judge others' faith or even lack of faith. We're all on a journey and we find what works for us, I guess.

My experience of faith was the holy spirit. I ended up coming back to Christianity from the experience. I hear you about the Bible, I don't take it all literally. I'm not a fundamentalist, and honestly don't go to church regularly. But, my faith is my own, now...It's not just something handed down to me from my upbringing. My relationship with Jesus is personal, my own. The Bible can ''teach'' one about the faith, but the Bible can't ''teach'' faith. I think as much as we can read a holy text about faith, we also have to experience it.

I think it's interesting that you envy people who have faith. Do you wish that you had faith? I appreciate your post here, and look forward to your reply.


Yes I do, because after we die, I don't really think it makes any difference what we believe. The only difference it will make, will be to our lives now. I often imagine that somebody with faith will perhaps be much more at peace while alive, knowing that our worst nightmares, such as losing somebody close to a horrible illness or being completely lost/rejected/hurt/unloved etc, will be according to 'god's plan', whatever it may be and that everything will be 'revealed' at the end and that Jesus or <insert god of choice> will take good care, no matter what.

But in reality, I don't think it's that simple for people even with very strong faith: it might be the case if one was 100% convinced but having 'faith' is very different from 'knowing', a concept that many atheists perhaps fail to identify with.
Some religious people may proclaim they are 100% convinced but I am not so sure they think as they preach. Speaking with some of my friends who have "faith"' on one level or another, it seems to me that faith to them is more like hope and I think atheists and the 'faithful' are actually not as far apart as the arguments between both camps may imply. Basically both feel lost and hopeless at times, except one may turn to god when in despair and the other will turn to something else.
So my idea of 'faith' may be based on an idealism that may not exist. All I can say is that there is no way for me to be able to accept something as fact, or even to hope for something that may sound like a nice story, for which there is absolutely no rational reason, no indication or hint of any kind (except what we narrate ourselves about what we see around us: which is a highly subjective perception of reality).
I think it is possible that reality may be way more quirky than we can suppose, it can even be possible that there is no such thing as 'reality' except what we make it out to be. Or it can be many other different things. But if I was looking for 'truth', it would not be in the bible or church etc. The only reason I might look at the bible was if I was a historian.

I'm not sure how to phrase these things without sounding condescending to the ones with faith. But I hope I was able to lay out my thinking more or less.

I think you are right, we are conditioned to think more closely from the way we were brought up. Or I may just be lacking that 'faith' gene. Yes, I sometimes wish I had one.


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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Sometimes, I view the Bible as a compilation of stories from another time period that don't necessarily mean we should mirror in this time period. Maybe that is how the people of that time ''understood'' God. I tend to focus more on the NT, than the OT, but the OT serves as a foreshadowing of the NT, in some ways.


Yes I agree, except I would substitute the word "God" with "the world". The thing is, the more we find out about the world around us and get closer to the intrinsic nature of it, the less of an importance 'god' seems to play in it (as understood from the texts anyway; there is also plenty of incoherence in NT too, I'm afraid to say). For me, there certainly is no reason so suppose that there is a personal god.
'Consciousness' is an interesting subject and kind of difficult to explain but something we can be certain of (because most of us experience it directly but we don't really understand how that happens). Though I don't really know how god can come into it.
I often have 'spiritual' experiences. I think most of us do when we are in awe of something for example but not all of us ascribe it to holy spirits.
You wrote that you 'identified' yourself as an atheist. I'm not sure atheists identify themselves as 'atheists' to be honest. Being an atheist is just an absence of a belief, not believing that there is no god. I can't say I identify myself as a non-golfer or non-astrologist. I just don't really read horoscopes and don't play golf (that much).



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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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Yes I do, because after we die, I don't really think it makes any difference what we believe. The only difference it will make, will be to our lives now. I often imagine that somebody with faith will perhaps be much more at peace while alive, knowing that our worst nightmares, such as losing somebody close to a horrible illness or being completely lost/rejected/hurt/unloved etc, will be according to 'god's plan', whatever it may be and that everything will be 'revealed' at the end and that Jesus or <insert god of choice> will take good care, no matter what.

But in reality, I don't think it's that simple for people even with very strong faith: it might be the case if one was 100% convinced but having 'faith' is very different from 'knowing', a concept that many atheists perhaps fail to identify with.
Some religious people may proclaim they are 100% convinced but I am not so sure they think as they preach. Speaking with some of my friends who have "faith"' on one level or another, it seems to me that faith to them is more like hope and I think atheists and the 'faithful' are actually not as far apart as the arguments between both camps may imply. Basically both feel lost and hopeless at times, except one may turn to god when in despair and the other will turn to something else.
So my idea of 'faith' may be based on an idealism that may not exist. All I can say is that there is no way for me to be able to accept something as fact, or even to hope for something that may sound like a nice story, for which there is absolutely no rational reason, no indication or hint of any kind (except what we narrate ourselves about what we see around us: which is a highly subjective perception of reality).
I think it is possible that reality may be way more quirky than we can suppose, it can even be possible that there is no such thing as 'reality' except what we make it out to be. Or it can be many other different things. But if I was looking for 'truth', it would not be in the bible or church etc. The only reason I might look at the bible was if I was a historian.

I'm not sure how to phrase these things without sounding condescending to the ones with faith. But I hope I was able to lay out my thinking more or less.

I think you are right, we are conditioned to think more closely from the way we were brought up. Or I may just be lacking that 'faith' gene. Yes, I sometimes wish I had one.


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There are many of us who are 100% convinced. I for one. I cant remember a time when I didn't know that Jesus Christ was real and alive.
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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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There are many of us who are 100% convinced. I for one. I cant remember a time when I didn't know that Jesus Christ was real and alive.

What about his whereabouts? Or is that something the president will announce AFTER they make contact? (Bit like the Bin Laden assassination).
I will join you in your conviction if you show me where he lives.
Also: can he be 'alive' and still be god? Seems contradictory.
Sorry, this was my envy typing


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Re: Has faith/religion helped your relationship?

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What about his whereabouts? Or is that something the president will announce AFTER they make contact? (Bit like the Bin Laden assassination).
I will join you in your conviction if you show me where he lives.
Also: can he be 'alive' and still be god? Seems contradictory.
Sorry, this was my envy typing


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In spirit, and He dwells within us. As believers, we believe this, anyway.

It's funny you say that you envy people who have faith, I've somewhat envied people who grew up with atheist parents, because then, if as adults they turn to faith, nothing from their childhood brought that on, you know? For me, I can't deny that the pull of my childhood ''indoctrination'' into faith, caused me probably to feel lost when I left Christianity, and identified as an atheist.
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