Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pro-Christmas/Anti-Atheist Campaign

Well, atheists pushed the public's awareness of the possibility of no God/gods by purchasing advertising space on buses. As a counter measure, Catholics have taken out advertising space on a US bus line, also.

I guess it won't be long now before religious factions everywhere are doing the same thing, and our buses read like some sort of syncretistic cult show.

Let the games begin!

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm; almost seems like atheism is edging closer to becoming a religion, in its advertising practices at least. Though, slap me silly for suggesting it, as any atheist reading this will now be frothing at the mouth over my ignorance of their belief...er, lack of belief. I understand that atheists simply do not believe that God does exist, and that this belief is not a matter of faith. They simply do not believe, but to take out ads on public transportation seems (to me at least) to suggest that they believe enough in not believing to spend a considerable amount of cashola on that not believing. Of course, an atheist denies that atheism is religion or faith and that a lack of belief does not require any measure of faith as there is no element of blind trust involved. I get that, what troubles me though, is if an atheist simply lacks belief in the existence of God(s), then why would they bother to place ads to try and sway others toward the lack of belief in a God they do not believe in? If there is nothing to believe in, what's to advertise? Unless, of course, one is promoting ones dogma of not believing. And, isn't dogma generally reserved for the hallowed halls of religion practice? I find it difficult to believe a true atheist could rationally justify spending on advertising, as atheism is supposedly happily free from either religious dogma or blind faith and thus free from any need to promote what is essentially a dogma of nothing.
I wonder, if I can not say I believe in atheists, does that make me an atheist atheist?
I think I'm confused.
Wyatt

toshido said...

The confusion is simple. it seems that those that do believe and gravitate towards organized religion cannot understand living outside of an organized system of beliefs, or lack of beliefs...
I am an atheist. I do not belong to a group of atheists. Atheists did not take out a billboard any more then Christians protest at funerals for servicemen killed in the line of duty. or all Christians roam around farmer's markets preaching and handing out brochures. Remember that Chris?
An atheist, that would be one individual, decided to advertise his beliefs. Although he would have likely called it teaching. Most likely he did get others to help finance him.
Dumb in my books but I am more laid back then most.
Anyways getting a little but rambly here.
Important point though...

Atheism will never be a religion because we don't have a rulebook (bible, Kuran, etc..). Just like in religions, there are also atheist nutjobs as well.

As for not believing in atheists??? When was the last time you met someone that did not believe in Christians, or more importantly people?

And this can get me started on a whole other subject about intolerance and how I believe religion teaches it, and you kinda prove me right in your labelling of people.

Anyways enough for now I am deviating and rambling too much now.

ta ta for now.

toshido said...

Chris I expect more from you...

I just read some of the sideline blurbs in the first link you posted, the one about atheist advertisement.
In that it says that the atheist themed ads were in response to catholic ads. Quite the opposite from what you are saying and changes the aggressor in this whole thing.

Christopher said...

Randy,

It seems like you responded to Wyatt's comments in your first note. Is that true?

As for who is the aggressor: I don't care. In either case, it's a little ridiculous to be starting a culture war through pop-culture advertising schemes, whether atheist, Catholic, or not? Don't you think? That was the point of my comment:

"I guess it won't be long now before religious factions everywhere are doing the same thing, and our buses read like some sort of syncretistic cult show."

I'll respond more in-depth to your other comments a little later.

Christopher said...

"The confusion is simple. it seems that those that do believe and gravitate towards organized religion cannot understand living outside of an organized system of beliefs, or lack of beliefs...

Is the confusion that simple, bud? Do you recall that I wasn't always a Christian; that I only became one at 18, almost 19? Shouldn't that indicate that not all believers were a) always believers, and b) can more-than-likely understand what living outside of an organized system of beliefs is like? I think your quote above wields the proverbial 'over-wide' paintbrush.

"I am an atheist. I do not belong to a group of atheists. Atheists did not take out a billboard any more then Christians protest at funerals for servicemen killed in the line of duty. or all Christians roam around farmer's markets preaching and handing out brochures. Remember that Chris?"

Yes, Fred Phelps and Westboro Baptist Church did picket the fallen soldiers. Are you suggesting that fringe-group, radical fundamentalist bigots define, or give scope to the mainstream views of Christianity? Would it be fair then, in turn, to suggest that the 'cleansing' propagated by Stalin and his cohorts (26,000,000+ dead) defines and gives scope to the views of most atheists?

I'm sure you're rational enough to answer "no." So, if we're going to compare, or attempt parallels, let's make sure they fit, or reflect the reality they're dealing with.

More, "all Christians roam around famer's markets preaching and handing out brochures" is another exaggeration. The least of the exaggeration comes in using the words "all Christians", and I'm sure you know why. But what I remember is not 'all Christians' but one particular older lady who was known for being a little off-kilter. Do you recall laughing when I told you the story of her approaching me while I was in my clerical collar and telling me that I need Jesus or I'm going to hell? When I pointed to my collar and told her I'm a minister in a Lutheran church, she shoved a tract in my pocket and told me to "read this, just in case."

So yes, I remember a single, older woman known to be off-base and blindly fanatical, running around asking people to take out "fire insurance". That again, does not define the scope of mainline Christianity.

"Atheism will never be a religion because we don't have a rulebook (bible, Kuran, etc..). Just like in religions, there are also atheist nutjobs as well."

First, what needs to be defined is the word, and the nature of "religion". I don't know what you think it actually is, and I'm pretty sure Websters doesn't have the lot out on the issue.

Second, when religious folks make the tongue-in-cheek remark that "atheism seems like a religion", or "atheism is just another religion", or any number of obvious misnomers, they're alluding to the fact that in recent years atheism has taken on the tactics of the religions they hope to deconvert, and erase. And even if they don't hope for that, they want to dissuade those who are not religious from becoming so. Hence they take up campaigning measures like the Atheist Bus, or establish foundations to help free people from religion, or even radical crusaders to seek out and actively turn people away from belief in God.

The point is that even if we can't call atheism a 'religion' per se, it certainly has taken on some of the more nefarious tactics that religions have in order to achieve their objective. In effect, they're turning into what they reject: an organizational system with certain practices, and a common objective. I don't call that a religion, but it is a driving ideology, and it's gaining momentum.

"As for not believing in atheists??? When was the last time you met someone that did not believe in Christians, or more importantly people?"

Again, since you're not on the 'in' with organized religion, you wouldn't recognize a comment such as "I don't believe in atheists" for what it is understood to mean. It's not a statement suggesting that atheists don't exist; it's quite obvious they do. However, it is another tongue-in-cheek remark that some people who believe in God make to suggest that atheism is not natural to a person's heart, that all people, deep down, because they are created in the image of God, know the reality of God (Romans 1:18-20), and therefore are only atheists by virtue of declaration, and (hopefully temporary) blindness to the reality of God.

"And this can get me started on a whole other subject about intolerance and how I believe religion teaches it, and you kinda prove me right in your labelling of people."

Ascribing, or prescribing a noun is not intolerance, so you're going to have to get started because, so far, suggesting that a label equals intolerance is, at best, a fallacy of the undistributed middle.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion. Warms the brain. My labeling of atheists as a group betrays my ignorance of the mindset and I do apologize for that. I have, in fact, never, in all my decades of living, actually met a person who claimed with absolute certainty to be an atheist. Forgive me for appearing to be facetious, but maybe this particular atheist was feeling lonely, especially in a multi-cultural city like London which is beset with myriad spiritual beliefs and associated tensions. Ever stood in London's Hyde Park and listened to the debates? Now that's an exhilarating mind rush.
Wyatt

toshido said...

yes it is an over wide brush. it also applies to you Chris, or at least it has in the past and seems to still apply now.
Examples...
" atheism has taken on the tactics of the religions they hope to deconvert, and erase."
"The point is that even if we can't call atheism a 'religion' per se, it certainly has taken on some of the more nefarious tactics that religions have in order to achieve their objective."

These are the actions of individuals, or at least small groups of individuals and they have no bearing on other atheists, even saying that it is an atheist movement is lumping atheists together the same way as saying Christian lumps all Christians together. I am sure you would like to be linked to the KKK no more then I would like to be linked to these idiots that are essentially preaching atheism.

"However, it is another tongue-in-cheek remark that some people who believe in God make to suggest that atheism is not natural to a person's heart, that all people, deep down, because they are created in the image of God, know the reality of God (Romans 1:18-20), and therefore are only atheists by virtue of declaration, and (hopefully temporary) blindness to the reality of God."

I could not have come up with a better example of how Christianity teaches intolerance, or at least plants the seeds. Right there you are saying that all people are born Christian and if they say they are otherwise they are wrong. That is a belief that is intolerant of other beliefs.
I have never told anyone that what they believe in was wrong, religion wise. I have never based any decision on a persons religion. have you Chris?
That is of course rhetorical because I know you have. I have already commented on how you based a decision to advise a girl to not date me because I was not Christian.
That my friend, is a decision based on religion.


Labeling of a person as atheist, or catholic or christian etc. is the beginning of forming a biased opinion of that person. You yourself, Chris, have told me I act more Christian then a lot of Christians you know. yet at the same time you were advising a girl to not date me because I was not Christian.

Anon...

Labeling people atheist would be very much like lumping all Christians into the same group. That means people like Fred Phelps, members of the KKK, and other groups I don't feel like researching all into one. Would you like it if I said Christians were bigots? Or Christians protest funerals of servicemen?

I think one of the main issues here is that all atheist get lumped in together. Agnostics likely get lumped in there as well. Meanwhile everyone realizes that each Christian church is its own entity and has its own teachings and beliefs. Yes the core beliefs are largely the same but the details are different. If that was not the case then you would not have people bouncing around churches looking a good fit because they would all be the same.

Craig said...

I was thinking about syncretism, as I do sometimes. Isn't it a word that we use to over simplify a much more complex problem? Most of us have a syncretism of Christianity and Science, don't we? Or does that not count? If the average human being was able to handle much larger amounts of information, wouldn't it be the norm for people to process all of the available information and hold a syncretism of sorts?
The christian protest of syncretism is a really interesting concept. It's kind of like if humans needed to eat grapefruit in order to live eternally and only sobey's sold grapefruit, and therefore shoping at a variety of grocery stores is evil.
Mind you, worshipping a variety of gods does stand in sharp contrast with Christianity, but not all modern day religions have something to do with worshipping a god. Don't other religions have principles and wisdom that we can benefit from? Isn't there a form of syncretism that is completely natural and even that Christians should be naturally drawn to, that is often ignored due to lazyness or fearful shallow thinking?
I think the apostle paul would never worship a variety of gods, but he did what he could to engage people in kind of syncretistic conversations in order to draw them to Christ.

Christopher said...

Wyatt,

"My labeling of atheists as a group betrays my ignorance of the mindset and I do apologize for that."

Labelling atheists as a 'group' is not misplaced; you were fine to do so. The argument that has been brought against the idea of atheists as a group is that certain individual atheists have done such-and-such, and cannot thus be a group. That logic is nonsense, however, since it takes certain individuals to constitute a 'group'. Logically, there cannot be a group of one individual. So you were right to suggest atheists as a group, Wyatt. Atheist groups label themselves that way, too (refer to the links I placed in my response to Toshido).

"Ever stood in London's Hyde Park and listened to the debates? Now that's an exhilarating mind rush."

I would love to do that some day. And I'll bet it's mind-blowing!

Cheers!
Christopher

Sarah said...

From the above comments:

Christopher--"However, it is another tongue-in-cheek remark that some people who believe in God make to suggest that atheism is not natural to a person's heart, that all people, deep down, because they are created in the image of God, know the reality of God (Romans 1:18-20), and therefore are only atheists by virtue of declaration, and (hopefully temporary) blindness to the reality of God."

Toshido- "I could not have come up with a better example of how Christianity teaches intolerance, or at least plants the seeds. Right there you are saying that all people are born Christian and if they say they are otherwise they are wrong. That is a belief that is intolerant of other beliefs."

Of course, the sword cuts both ways; if you say that Christopher is wrong in this belief, then you are intolerant of his belief. This is a useless method of determining the viability of an argument. If what you mean is that you have seen that Christianity is notorious for teaching bigotry, then I will wholeheartedly agree; however, we also may not agree about what constitutes bigotry or even who is Christian.

For instance, I absolutely believe that you would be ultimately and eternally better off if you accepted Jesus' saving grace, executed specifically for you. In this regard, while I am sympathetic to your unbelief, I cannot 'tolerate' it any more than I find it tolerable that you would die an eternal death. So saying, you will call me intolerant. I accept the label; I *am* intolerant. I probably tolerate less than I do tolerate, but this is essential or fundamental to the ability to discern what is real from what is not.

I cannot simultaneously tolerate two opposing values or ideals in the same context. I cannot tolerate both loving and hating Jesus as being equally possible with equal value. I cannot simultaneously tolerate an equality of atheism and belief in God.

You'll notice that I am (purposefully) not using the word 'Christian' and that is because I am intolerant, lol. I cannot simultaneously tolerate both what I know to be a real relationship with my Saviour and much of the contradictory institionalised dogma of Christianity; so yes, like anyone of sane mind, I am intolerant.

Accepting or tolerating opposing values as eternally/ultimately/perfectly equal is actually impossible, in a healthy mind. It is absurd to suggest that I can simultaneously tolerate opposing views in my own mind as being utterly equal. It is usual and necessary to hold opposing opinions and feelings, thoughts too, but they cannot be equal at all times in the same manner. If this were the case, discernment would be impossible and we wouldn't be here today; it would have been the fatal flaw in our species; even animals demonstrate this ability and necessity.

I think that in political speak, we come dangerously close to completely losing sight of reality, as in with this idea of intolerance. I am intolerant, but I am not a bigot. I am intolerant, but I am compassionate. I am intolerant and I am also aware of my own contradictions because at the other end of the same spectrum, I am *absolutely* tolerant- just like you. I am not letting myself off of a hook, here; what I am expressing is that lacking perfection, I must possess the capacity for discernment, and there can be no discernment if I tolerate all things simultaneously as being equal in the same manner.

Toshido- "I have never told anyone that what they believe in was wrong, religion wise. I have never based any decision on a persons religion."

Definitions are in order, once again. You have never based any decision on another's religion, you say, but this is inconceivable for two reasons. The first is that you must know that you can take the ivory tower position here because of the excusionary principles within most religions (erroneous or not), which would exclude you from participating without holding the same beliefs, and then claim innocence. It is easy to say, 'I haven't rejected anyone based on what they believe; they rejected me' but this position is even less noble than if you had done so based upon your convictions, even if they were erroneous.

It would be highly unlikely that you could remain friends as a devoted and loving father with someone who was disinterested in looking after her own children, right? You must be capable of some little smidgen of discernment, even if it is erroneous in the end, no?

Are you suggesting that you can judge others in general, but your judgment is ignorant of what the other holds in his/her heart? Are you aware that those who have faith cannot be dissected into the person and the faith as two separate parts? That whatever decision you made regarding another person automatically took into account what they believe, religiously or not?

Toshido- "Labeling of a person as atheist, or catholic or christian etc. is the beginning of forming a biased opinion of that person."

All opinions are biased. You know this- even yours, even this one that you've shared. Labels can be used to divide, and often are, but as you pointed out above, it is helpful for me to be able to use labels to distinguish myself from the KKK, who if they didn't have a label, would be much harder to avoid, right? You are very capable of using those labels to your personal benefit, and have, and do. I can say that I follow Christ, that I love Him, know Him and trust Him eternally, and I can say all of this while choosing to *not* take the label 'Christian,' and I do that because that label doesn't suit me, although most others may not be able to distinguish the difference. I would be much happier to not have to use the label to divide, but in my case, even amongst people who are supposed to be the same 'religion,' I find this necessary; I am using the label, and it is a sad necessity for me, just like KKK is, and I'm sure you realise that it would be rather impossible to communicate without using any labels whatsoever (and even allowing for the formation of opinions and biases!).

There is no doubt that I make decisions based on what I know others believe; I have a dear friend who is a Buddhist; if I didn't consider her beliefs when I spoke with her, I am sure our friendship would be strained at best, and it would be nearly impossible to converse at all. If you do not do this, then you are admitting an immaturity and willful neglect of your friends and others.

I think you may *like* the idea and maybe even think you are capable of seeing directly into the hearts and minds of others, past all the 'fluff' that is their belief/religion, but you are then fooling only yourself and others who have convinced themselves likewise.

I know it is completely possible and in my opinion, preferable to not judge the motives, hearts, minds and intentions of others, since we cannot see into one anothers' hearts, but even that is very difficult even when practised, and much less difficult than your idea that you are able to completely disregard the beliefs of others and still relate to them.

Christopher said...

What I find interesting is that if atheists are not a group, then what do we make of this?

A quote from the link:

"Atheist Alliance International (AAI) is an alliance of 58 atheist organizations around the world, 48 of which are located in the United States.[1]

AAI was founded in 1991. Its stated goal is "to help democratic, atheistic societies become established and grow" and "to work in coalition with like-minded groups to advance rational thinking through educational processes."[2] Its unofficial aim is to unite atheists to give them a cohesive voice."


Some of the vocabulary used: 'atheistic societies', 'work in coalition', 'like-minded groups', 'unite atheists', 'cohesive voice'.

Atheists are most definitely not just individuals without a group. This is strong evidence against that assertion, Toshy.

toshido said...

"What I find interesting is that if atheists are not a group, then what do we make of this?"

People of like belifs do form groups.

I am not tryign to say there are not atheist groups. I am sayign that atheists are not a singular group.
if you want to talk about the AAI then talkabout the AAI, not about atheists.
Kinda like me starting a conversation about about how Christians burn crosses and hate anyone that is not a white American. Then later on after debating for a while I mention that I am talkign about the KKK.

Sarah...

"It would be highly unlikely that you could remain friends as a devoted and loving father with someone who was disinterested in looking after her own children, right? You must be capable of some little smidgen of discernment, even if it is erroneous in the end, no? "

WHAT?!?!!?

What does this have to do with religion? What does this have to do with me not basing decisions on a persons religion?
Are you implying that atheists or some other religous belief belief teaches them to not care for their children?
You are right I would not remain freinds with someone negligent of their children, That decision is NOT based on religion though.

"Of course, the sword cuts both ways; if you say that Christopher is wrong in this belief, then you are intolerant of his belief."

Wrong Sarah. I have no problems with his beliefs. I am intolerant of people saying that I am wrong based on their beliefs. There is a large difference there.

"Accepting or tolerating opposing values as eternally/ultimately/perfectly equal is actually impossible, in a healthy mind."

Tolerating something has nothing to do with accepting it or thinking they are equal. We are also nt talkign about opposing values, or values at all.

"Are you suggesting that you can judge others in general, but your judgment is ignorant of what the other holds in his/her heart?"

No. My judgmemnt has very much to do with that person has in their heart and mind. Just has nothing to do with religous beliefs. Maybe religous practises, if they practise human sacrifice or similar.
but I chose to not be friends with mean people,because they are mean in their hearts.

"Are you aware that those who have faith cannot be dissected into the person and the faith as two separate parts?"

Sure. That persons beliefs are definately a part of them. But I do not base decisions based on the religion, or faith.


"That whatever decision you made regarding another person automatically took into account what they believe, religiously or not?"

Wrong. While I take into account religion and beliefs regarding what I do with that individual to accomodate them, i.e. not feeding pork to a muslim. I do not base any of my decision about a person based on their religion.
That may change if I ever meet someone that follows some form of religion that promotes hurting people or some such activity.
Even then my decision will be based on a persons actions, not beliefs.

Christopher said...

"People of like belifs do form groups.

I am not tryign to say there are not atheist groups. I am sayign that atheists are not a singular group.
if you want to talk about the AAI then talkabout the AAI, not about atheists."


So, you don't want me to say things like "atheists believe that..." and then reference the AAI because the AAI is not representative of atheists everywhere, and on individual levels. You want me to call-out specific atheists, like yourself, apart from any commonality you might share with other atheists (e.g., non-belief in God/gods).

Okay. This should prove to be very interesting at points.

Sarah said...

Toshido,

"No. My judgmemnt has very much to do with that person has in their heart and mind. Just has nothing to do with religous beliefs. Maybe religous practises, if they practise human sacrifice or similar.
but I chose to not be friends with mean people,because they are mean in their hearts."

Your judgement of another has absolutely nothing to do with what is in that person's heart, and can only include what s/he has shared of his/her mind with you-- and even then, depends entirely upon your complete and accurate understanding of what was shared based upon it's complete and accurate transmission, both of which are less than likely. It is not possible to know the heart of another; even our actions oftentimes betray our intentions and the reality in our hearts, which is why it takes a very long time, with many many experiences with another person, and a hugely open heart and mind toward them to even gain an inkling of how their actions convey their heart and mind.

In Holy scripture, we are told that we shall know them by their fruits; what is assumed in this is that we would have adequate experience with them. Of course, there are some actions that quickly convey mind-- murder of passion, showing a lack of foresight and insight, but very little of the heart except its deep hurt that would allow a person to commit such an act. In the absence of such obvious acts, you are not privy to the deep inner workings of another human being. Not even if you think you are; and then, even less than you would have been had you waited and observed.

It is difficult to cull your meaning from what you write. Instead of dealing with what you've written, I am gong to try to convey to you what I think you must be trying to communicate (in no specific order):

1) You don't harbour ill-feelings and thoughts against others based solely upon what you understand to be their set of beliefs. For example, you would not decide against being friends with someone simply because of the knowledge of their religion; everyone, regardless of this is a real possibility for friendship. If I am correct in interpreting your writing, then we agree about this.

2) While you acknowledge that there are groups of atheists, you take exception to being included by label in their activities and specific beliefs. You would prefer that this acknowledgment is made at each use for the term 'atheists', and I'm hoping you'll accept that for the sake of brevity, it would be impossible to write 'atheists exclusive of Toshido' each time the label comes up, and much less possible if every other atheist required the same.

The best way to opt out of this, Toshido, is to not label *yourself.* I have many beliefs in common with Christians- *many*- but in not taking the label for myself, I am not forever having to qualify and exclude myself every time the label comes up and includes activities and beliefs that I do not hold/ with which I do not agree. Now I am free to interact without threat to my own understanding with Christians and unbelievers alike, as well as those who hold the same view as myself. It is not a threat to my reputation and understanding that KKK members call themselves Christians; I also don't have to determine whether or not they in fact are-- I don't have to judge their hearts and regardless of their actions, I can still love them, and hope that their hearts will be turned from accepting their present beliefs to embracing unconditional love instead.

There is always hope, and since I don't 'camp' anywhere, I am free to just be. Nobody can validly expect me to tow a line. It may be a lonely position, but at least its authentic. :)

3) You *do* consider and are willing to accommodate the beliefs of others.

The difficulty with communicating in words is that you and I have no way of knowing if what each of us writes is being understood as it is intended, even if we agree on definitions; connotative nuances require an intimacy of relationship to make for even the *possibility* of an accurate understanding between two people.

The internet is a great place for spouting off and arguing, but not so great for fostering true understandings and friendships between actual people.

To this end, I am making a concerted effort to at least look into what you've written to try to figure out your meaning as much more important than your words. This problem is the precise reason why many do try to write as accurately and concisely as possible, though; it potentially reduces the variables. If word-choice isn't important to you, you have that many more variables and walls to tear down before you can communicate you actual thoughts and feelings.

Please also take into consideration the following (real tone and intention from kindness and concern):

Toshido, it is apparent from at least your writing, that it would be of great benefit to you to purpose time and effort to some self-observation. This would allow you to begin to better understand the way that human beings work in all of our facets. It seems that you make fuzzy distinctions where they are not necessary and completely miss where they are necessary for better understanding. You could go a long way by casting off mainstream ideas about what people do, and how to conform.

You probably view yourself as not conforming, but based on my own observations, I am confident that you've fallen prey to one of the most successful tricks of mainstream cultural engineering-- it is amazing that most people think they are unique while being cardboard cut-outs of mainstream culture.

I'm not suggesting that you become a radical of any sort, just that your tendency to rely on mainstream culture to inform your senses, including your intellect, will not end in greater understanding and ability. It stunts you currently and your future potential as a human being.

Before reacting to this, please take some time to think about it, feel about it, sense about it in any way that you can, and then maybe try it before responding. If you do, I think you'll like that the possibilities are far greater and more enjoyable than you currently view them. You and everyone around you is more than you currently perceive them to be.

It might be easiest to first cast-off the 'ages-and-stages' mentality. It's bunk (and I know from experience ;).

Warm regards,
Sarah

toshido said...

Chris, if you want to talk about the actions of a specific group you should talk about that group. So you should have started you blog by stating that the British Humanist Association oushed the public's....
Instead of doing that you lumped every non-believer in the same boat as this association.
Again it is like me lumping you with people like Fred Phelps, the KKK, and the markets fairy dust lady. Yes she tried to sprinkle dust on Wanda once.

toshido said...

Sarah...

Chris was first talking about Atheists when he should have been talking about one specific group that is trying to inform people that it is oksay to not believe in god. He should have been talking about that group, not atheists in general.

And I am sorry. I was under the understanding that you and Chris considered yourself Christians. but since you and Chris love definitions let's try some.


"following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn"

"A believer in Christianity; An individual who seeks to live his or her life according to the principles and values taught by Jesus Christ; Of ...
en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Christian"


"christianity - a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior"

"christianity - Christendom: the collective body of Christians throughout the world and history (found predominantly in Europe and the Americas and Australia); "for a thousand years the Roman Catholic Church was the principal church of Christendom"
wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn"

"A person who believes in biblical person of Jesus who claimed to be God in flesh, died, and rose again from the grave and who lives according to the principles of Christ's teaching.
www.carm.org/atheism/terms.htm"


"that religious or Spiritual Seeker that follows Christianity (See below)
www.iamuniversity.ch/moodle/mod/glossary/view.php"

"christianity - The belief in Jesus Christ as Savior of the world.
www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/cultural/religion/christianity/terms.html"

Christopher said...

Toshido,

Thank you for posing those definitions. I'll get back to them when I have more time here at work.

In the meanwhile, are you going to address the arguments brought against your position by Sarah?

toshido said...

Wont let me post!!!!

Christopher said...

"Wont let me post!!!!"

Uhh... Are you sure?

Are you a fan of irony? ;)

sarah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarah said...

Toshido, your definitions show very clearly why even if we agree on them, we can still have completely different real/actual meanings for the very same words.

As I already wrote, I share much in common with people who call themselves Christians (all of what you included in your definitions), and you with your understanding of what that is may also call me one. What I decline is the label taken for *myself* which in declining to do so, gives me the freedom to just be and believe as I do, enjoying the company of everyone and anyone, regardless of their beliefs.

You may have noticed that the freedom to love unconditionally without being ostracised is nearly extinct from the institutional church, and since it is the church which calls itself Christian, and my life and my beliefs are far too 'liberal' to be included without more qualification than not, it makes more sense to me to not call myself a Christian.

I do believe whole-heartedly that Jesus is my Saviour, just so there is no confusion. I am by no means or definition of which I am aware wishy-washy; I have very strong convictions- they just don't line up with historical/traditional/institutionalised Christianity. They do line up with Holy scripture though, interestingly enough. ;)

I am not sure if you were trying to call me out on an error; it seems that you were trying to point out how I am a Christian even though I don't call myself such. If this is the case, it would be an interesting irony coming from a self-labeled atheist who considers it intolerant for me to believe that he has an innate need for God.

Nevertheless, you've not answered to me whether or not I've summed up the meaning behind your posts, and now it seems that you are more interested in telling Christopher what he should and should not write on his own blog, which is a journaling of his thoughts and impressions, and not purposed to be a statement of the ultimate truth in all of its facets. It's a bit bizarre to be placing a moral imperative such as 'should' implies on someone's expressions of impressions, don't you think?

What is your intention Toshido? It's become increasingly confusing to unravel and detangle the layers of thoughts and feelings mingled with mobile definitions of phrases and words throughout your posts. It would be very helpful to know what you're after here. Is it just discussion with no purpose for conclusion?-- a puzzle of disparate thoughts?

Whatever your intention, you are welcome (of course, but just so you you know with certainty); it would just be so much easier to communicate with you if I wasn't having to try to decipher your meaning and intention. If it is just friendly conversation, then there is no need; if you intend to correct and teach, then there is.