Re: [DarwinsTavern] Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

From: James
Sent on: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 10:54 AM
I'm of the same mind here as Steve.  Many of us are ex-fundamentalist.  I personally was quite the proselytizer a few years ago and would put my humbly put my knowledge of Christian theology/philosophy and the Christian scriptures over against the majority of believers.

I am an atheist, not because of a lack of study of scripture, but more likely due to an excess which is incompatible with maintaining the beliefs in good faith.  So, I'm curious to hear more about all this as well.

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 3, 2013, at 9:47 AM, Steve Stroupe <[address removed]> wrote:

Chris, there are many points which can be drawn from Wade’s original post. There is no “THE” point to this discussion…only a highly subjective assignation of importance which may vary considerably from individual to individual, and is evidenced by your own preferred emphasis, as well as mine and Ellery’s…or Wade’s.

I was a fundamentalist Christian for many years, was “dedicated to the Lord” as an infant, in what was presumably a non-consensual act, was heavily indoctrinated and steeped in conservative Christian theology from parents who were alumni of both Wheaton Bible College and Bob Jones University, as well as many years of being “churched” in the most reactionary elements of evangelical Protestantism.  

As my understanding of the world started significantly progressing sometime in my early 30’s, I started to adopt more liberal Christian views, simply because the evidence against some of my fundamentalist beliefs became so cumulatively staggering, that I reluctantly gave them up after a long and painful struggle… This [period] was a textbook case of cognitive dissonance, as it is with many other liberal Christians with whom I’ve conversed on this subject in depth, and while I was somewhat uncomfortable holding this position, I couldn’t be honest and return to some of my erstwhile beliefs, but the prospect of becoming an unbeliever was so horrifically unthinkable that it never even entered my mind until much later when the internal inconsistency of some cherished positions became too prominent and discomfiting to ignore any longer.

Even so, it still took a couple of strong nudges years later, to get me to even examine the position of a skeptical unbeliever as a viable alternative. I remained imprisoned in this liberal limbo for almost 10 years before gradually evolving into a staunch atheist. In this respect at least, I’m a neo-Darwinist rather than a proponent of punctuated equilibria… My emotions did play a significant part in this process…they enabled me to repeatedly ignore disconfirming evidence for almost a decade; not with impunity though, but effectively enough…

 

So in answer to your question; ”…but on what basis do you claim to understand liberal Christianity?” Experience…having been one for a long time. But having said this, one can easily understand this position before or without experiencing it…or at least I did…to be unflinchingly precise.

“I've heard/argued/once believed most everything said so far, and have come to conclude that these arguments are as intellectually naive and emotionally dishonest as fundamentalism.”

Where is any support for these sweeping declarations? You are after all, making this charge before a putatively skeptical community…you can’t just leave us hanging on your say-so alone? Show some love here… “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. The allegation of “emotional dishonesty” is an especially strong assertion, and I’m keenly interested in your reasoning behind it, as well as your interesting choice of the word “emotional”, rather than “intellectual”. Are you certain that you’re simply not projecting your own experience here, as it seems highly unlikely that you could possibly know the emotions associated with the varying beliefs held by the [contributing] individuals in this thread?


 

 

 

From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Chris Coffee
Sent: Wednesday, April 03,[masked]:24 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: RE: [DarwinsTavern] Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

 

This entire discussion about liberal Christians, internal consistency, cherry-picking, etc. completely misses the point. Christianity is neither a closed formula nor a set of conclusions on how to live, even if many approach/interpret it that way. It is the opposite, a starting point. It serves an utterly different purpose than science and one must not sacrifice any knowledge or ability to reason to adhere to both faith and science.

I usually hate it when people say "you just don't understand," but on what basis do you claim to understand
liberal Christianity? I've heard/argued/once believed most everything said so far, and have come to conclude that these arguments are as intellectually naive and emotionally dishonest as fundamentalism.

I've recently (and very privately) renounced atheism/agnosticism and have been having arguments with y'all in my head ever since. I can't go tonight, but want to have actual discussions with skeptical minds soon.

On Apr 3,[masked]:45 AM, "Steve Stroupe" <[address removed]> wrote:

Fundamentalists are the more intellectually honest of the two groups, although both groups fudge on doctrines and Bible teachings which they find too credulous and/or unpalatable. The fundies are currently stuck on homosexuality=abomination=sin=hellfire, but have been able to give up the belief in a flat earth and a geocentric universe, as two for instances.

"Liberal" Christians could be characterized as embryonic atheists, or atheists-in-training who haven’t made the complete metamorphic transition yet. Given the complete and embarrassing lack of a definitive hermeneutic used in formulating their cherry-picked beliefs, they will often come on over to the Dark Side at some point, because it's the logical thing to do. Fundies are acutely aware of this danger, which is why they stubbornly cling to absurd theological propositions...not because they find them so convincing, but because the alternative seems so terrifying to them...It's all about security...


-----Original Message-----
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Wade
Sent: Tuesday, April 02,[masked]:06 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [DarwinsTavern] Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying

In SOME ways I do too.  But liberal Christans appreciate science and agree with me on social issues.  And in general I find them much more reasonable than fundies.


-----Original Message-----
From: Ellery Curtis <[address removed]>
To: darwinstavern-list <[address removed]>
Sent: Tue, Apr 2,[masked]:34 pm
Subject: Re: [DarwinsTavern] Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying




I think I have more in common with fundamentalists in some ways.

The fundi's search for internal consistency with their beliefs...they
struggle with it, but they strive for it.

If the bible cites homosexuality as a sin:
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/gay/long.htm - then well, it is a sin
right?  For the fundi's the answer is clearly YES.

I have debated various liberal christians about their interpretation on
the gay issue....and I find their apologetics on the subject confusing
personally.  The bible in so many ways seems clear on that subject, in
both the old and new testaments.  The fact that Jesus said nothing
directly about it is not evidence.....

Another great example that comes to mind in the religion of my parents
is the apologetics of black mormons:

http://www.blacklds.org/mauss

The real conondrum is that previous mormon prophets have said racist
crap...that black folks could not hold the priesthood because their
lineage is cursed directly by god, per the scriptures (both old test.
and book of mormon).

So a prophet recieves such revelation on this subject....how do we
black mormons reconcile this uncomfortable history - that god was once
racist, but then in 1978 decided "meh, times change"?

Here is the answer:

"Obviously divine guidance does not depend upon historical context, but
it seems clear from history that some revelations have been received by
prophets in response to inquiries motivated by the surrounding social
and political environment."

So these black mormons are ok with the idea that prophets can formally
recieve "divine guidance" that is instead motivated not by god, but by
"surrounding social and political environments".....

The question then is, if you are ok with that....why believe any of
what they say is inspired by a deity?  Even If I accept that the bible
or a prophet is in parts true, other parts not....how the hell do these
people go about choosing which parts to find true and other parts
bullshit?

I suspect the way they determine this has everything to do with the
"surrounding social and political environments"

I just dont get moderates...as soon as I became a moderate it all fell
apart...the only way you can stay in that state is acceptance of
massive amounts of ambiguity, contradictions, and almost total lack of
logical consistency :D

--- On Tue, 4/2/13, Wade <[address removed]> wrote:


From: Wade <[address removed]>
Subject: [DarwinsTavern] Six Things Christians Should Just Stop Saying
To: [address removed]
Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 8:31 AM



Hello primates!
Here's an interesting article from a liberal Christian perspective.  I
have alot in common with liberal Christians, and I think this article
highlights some of the common ground.  Note the "most and least
Christians cities" in the US at the bottom.  Birmingham (according to
these people) ranks 2nd in most Christian US cities with only Salt Lake
City ahead of us.  And there is a wide gap between The Ham and number
3.  But I have no idea about the accuracy of this list.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/6-things-christians-should-just-stop-saying_b_2767507.html#slide=[masked]
I hope to see you all on Friday!  So far we have a good number of
RSVP's.  Don't let the construction deter you.  You'll get to see the
new ballpark just a few days before it opens.
Cheers!
---Wade






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