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  1. #2386
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    "We don't know why" is a perfectly acceptable answer when trying to make sense of "miracles" or tragedies.

    But I know this much... The event that cemented my atheism was my father's Alzheimer's and death. My father was what many would call "a faithful servant of the Lord." Had been his entire adult life.

    When the Alzheimer's hit, and he recognized everyone at his 55th high school reunion and recognized everyone in his family except my mother, who he was convinced was an impostor who had done something horrible with his real wife to steal his money...

    When the Alzheimer's attacked his involuntary ability to swallow correctly and led to his aspiration pneumonia...

    When the Alzheimer's forced us to have the feeding tube inserted...

    When the Alzheimer's forced us to have the feeding tube removed and let him starve to death over the course of a week...

    Well, that was when I learned that "loving God" I grew up on, that "loving God" that was force-fed to me as a child, was a complete and utter farce. No "loving God" would have allowed such a "faithful servant of the Lord" to suffer in such an unimaginably cruel and inhumane manner.

    Participating in the decision to kill my father via starvation was far more loving and merciful than anything that so-called "loving God" had to offer. I only wish we had had even more merciful options to us. Which is why I am a big supporter of Compassion and Choices (https://compassionandchoices.org/).
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  2. #2387

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    I can't believe that after 160 pages we are still at "The Lord works in mysterious ways".
    Which simply translates into: he does not exist. Or if he does, he does not care one iota about you.
    (Shtexas: on the money.)
    Missing winter...

  3. #2388

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    You can't believe it? Why not? This thread more often than not isn't really about religion, it's about open hostility and hatred of religion and judgments about those who believe in a religion. For those who incorporate religion into their daily life who might have more to contribute, I haven't seen much to encourage their participation.

    Sometimes you get what you give. If you want a honest to goodness conversation about religion where you're getting much more in-depth discussion, then the tone would have to change drastically. @shtexas and @dry's posts could provoke an interesting discussion, they provide context for their questions and comments about the way they feel. But I don't see that happening.


    @dry, I'm sorry to hear about your father's illness and how it affected your family. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. Also sorry to hear it was the final straw for your belief in God, though completely understandable that it was.
    Last edited by JazzNU; 02-11-2020 at 07:52 PM.

  4. #2389
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    It is hard to defend something that cannot be defended except by saying, "It was God's plan," or "The Lord works in mysterious ways"--both of which are among the most intellectually lazy things I have ever heard or read.

    And then there's "We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." Uh huh... Tell THAT to my father's corpse.

    So, it is no mystery to me that defenders of faith have long left this board or do not read this thread. You cannot defend the indefensible. That's not my fault.

    That said, I harbor zero animosity toward people of faith. As long as they aren't trying to kill me, someone I care about, or someone I don't yet care about--but should.
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  5. #2390

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Because I can't. I came into this thread in page 18, quoting H.L. Mencken. And then the unholy trinity of Woody, Vlad and myself went all the possible ways. Politeness. Logic. Pointing out the fallacies. The inconsistencies. We ridiculed the ridiculous, we pointed out at the hypocrisy of calling for our voices to be respectful when your religions have burnt to the stake millions, have caused thousands of wars, have enslaved entire nations and have been instrumental in oppressing countless.
    So yes, I can't believe that somebody in the XXI century can still claim that theodicy is explained by saying an imaginary being decides to pursue his final plans in ways that involve evil. And can't be questioned.
    I really cannot believe it.

    And yes, we are open about our hatred of religion. As I would hate any other form of thinking that expressly states that homosexuals are abominations, that slavery is acceptable, that condones rape, and that beheads people simply because they do not agree.
    Missing winter...

  6. #2391

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    I don't really want to add much, except to say that Dry and Ponchi have brilliantly stated what my exact position is.

    Whoops, can't resist adding this little anecdote: I remember a story the religious right was spewing a few days after 9/11. Someone had been found alive in the mass of rubble a day or so after the event. This person had been in the stairwell and was trapped, significantly injured, but alive. I believe the person survived and more or less recovered fully. Anyway, the religious right source said "How could you not believe in God after this happened (the person surviving)?" Of course, my response was, "Where was (s)he for the other almost 3000 people who died that day and the countless others who sustained life-altering PTSD, respiratory illnesses, etc.?

    I also don't want to offend people who choose to believe these things. BUT....Christianity, and especially the Southern Baptist religion I was brought up in, has spent my lifetime offending me and everything I think is right and good. And they are still at it in so many ways. See the last paragraph by Ponchi just above.

    GH

  7. #2392

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNU View Post
    You can't believe it? Why not? This thread more often than not isn't really about religion, it's about open hostility and hatred of religion and judgments about those who believe in a religion. For those who incorporate religion into their daily life who might have more to contribute, I haven't seen much to encourage their participation.

    Sometimes you get what you give. If you want a honest to goodness conversation about religion where you're getting much more in-depth discussion, then the tone would have to change drastically
    . @shtexas and @dry's posts could provoke an interesting discussion, they provide context for their questions and comments about the way they feel. But I don't see that happening.


    @dry, I'm sorry to hear about your father's illness and how it affected your family. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease. Also sorry to hear it was the final straw for your belief in God, though completely understandable that it was.
    Ponchi already said it, but I'll also chime in. I must've posted and added my logical and coherent reasons around page 1 (exaggeration to make a point), but here we are, still wondering. And I'll tell you why, because Ponchi, Vlad, et al use logic for an illogical argument. There's no way to penetrate a mystical argument with science unless the believer wants to explore the possibility that he/she is wrong. Now I know that sounds pretentious, but hear me out:

    I/we use logic for everything in daily life, sometimes it may be failed logic, but still, there is a cause-effect fact-based mechanism in place. We use if for everything from health decisions, handling money or deciding if we can or cannot stay up to 2AM watching the AO. I maintain the same formula for religion and it fails every test.

    Believers on the other hand, use logic for their daily life EXCEPT with religion. There they accept blindly that a man (how could it be otherwise?) created everything and made humanity in his image. I'll stop here, the other examples are known by everyone and redundant.

    Finally, I HATE religion, but not those (except fanatics that meddle into other people's lives) who practice it. I see it as a disease. It's there and it's inevitable for some. There's nothing much that can be done, save education and critical thinking (good luck with that on a global scale).
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  8. #2393

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    From Drop: "...except fanatics that meddle into other people's lives..." My problem, of course, is that there are SO very many people who use religion as a justification for meddling into other people's lives. For thousands of years, religion has been the justification for millions of murders, wars, etc., as well as too-numerous-to-count less-fatal types of discrimination.

    .....just restating the obvious, I guess. GH

  9. #2394

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    This is what @dry wrote on Page 3 of this thread in 2008 and I'd say that's the best response to @drop's logic comments because it is how I think many people go about their lives. Not sure if he still believes this himself, his earlier posts make it clear that his overall beliefs have evolved since then.

    There's no reason why science, fact, and logic can't coexist, or even thrive, within just about any spiritual structure.
    Seriously, if you guys don't actually hate people who are religious, I'd try saying that a bit louder than the rest of what you're saying. Because, please believe me when I say, reading this thread of late, that does not come through often. I can see from glancing through a few of the earliest pages, the tone was completely different than it is now, but it has devolved. I feel really bad about religious people who have likely clicked this thread thinking they were going to read something interesting and uplifting and instead are being told what delusional uncaring imbeciles they are. And now apparently diseased.

    I have zero interest in changing anyone's thoughts on religion. But I do think the tone of this thread is especially unfortunate given the title. Switch it to "Let's Insult Religion" and I think you're good to go.

    I doubt many of you care given the things you've said, but church is an incredibly important figure in the black community. I encourage you to read about the history of it in the US if you're not familiar, maybe it'll provide a different perspective for you. It's not just about religion, it's about community. With faith and hope as the cornerstones of it all.

  10. #2395

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    I'm a practicing Catholic convert after being raised Episcopalian and I read this thread all the time. I even post stuff every now and then.

    I don't have any problem with people who don't follow any organized religion - we live in a society where they're free to do that.
    A little back story may explain why my approach to religoin is not only spiritual but intellectual.

    I had a Sunday School teacher back in the day who encouraged us to be inquisitie, to look into the "why" of a particular belief, to look at its intellectual foundation. He turned out to be a miserable human being but that is besides the point.

    I was also raised in a dual religion home. My mother, who was from the Bahamas, was Episcopalian. My father, from South Carolina, was Baptist. I was exposed to both and felt more at home with Episcopalian beliefs before converting, as my mother did very late in life, to Catholicism.

    I have never felt the need to condemn someone for what their life experiences have taught them to believe. If they are comfortable, and have reasons for how they feel who am I to judge what is right or wrong for that person? What right do I have to tell Dry how he "should've" reacted to his fathers death? I have no right because in the end there is no "right" way to feel about something as personal as religious belief.

    Pope Francis was under a lot of pressure from wthin the church (I didn't capitalize it) after he talked about allowing men from Amazonian tribes to marry and become priests. He announced that for now that will not be allowed to happen. Do I agree with his final position? No. Am I less Catholic for my disagreement? No.

    I know I'm an outlier as far as many in the African American community are concerned (my hair dresser tries to preach to me every now and then as well as my sister who is a deacon in her church) but that is why I don't think that the experiences of people who don't think as I don should be looked down upon.

    Just my two cents. I hope I made some sense.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.

    ― Frank Zappa





  11. #2396

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    @Ti, have you ever met Rev. Jim Goode? More often than not just called Father Goode. He's a Franciscan friar in NYC.


    And yeah, I'm also an outlier in the black community. First I'm barely practicing. And second, Black Catholic is a bit rare, but especially in the Northeast. Louisiana and Maryland were the Catholic slave states so those are where the numbers are traditionally much higher. Though there are sizable numbers in recent decades in Chicago and Detroit due to migration from the South. My mom's side are the Catholic ones and from Maryland, by way of Louisiana, apparently slaves that escaped LA and were directed towards the other Catholic state, less likely to get caught and sent back there.

  12. #2397
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    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Taking Jazz's comments to heart, I want to say this.

    There are many segments of organized religion for which I hold tremendous respect. Several examples come to mind... The Christian Left, which, yes, is more of a political organization. But their objective is to shift the paradigm in terms what Christianity means and how you operationalize it. It has strong pangs of interfaith inclusion, but obviously, as The Christian Left, they place strong emphasis on what are believed to be the commonly accepted teachings of Christ. You might also think of them as "Red Letter Christians" who are trying to transform political policy from a perspective of compassion, inclusion, and acceptance. The membership overwhelmingly supports a woman's right to choose, LGBTQIA rights and inclusion, etc. They are the antithesis to modern evangelicalism. I am 100% down with that. They also accept atheists and agnostics and members of other faiths. I must admit, however, that, given that I have no time for Facebook anymore, I have lost touch with them. My guess would be that they are stronger than ever.

    I was a big fan of Sister Simone and the Nuns on the Bus. I loved their work and hope they are still going strong.

    I love inclusive, interfaith events and when people of different faiths unite and mobilize around causes of mutual concern, particularly as it relates to poverty, anti-racism, etc.

    I could cite numerous other examples. I have a great deal of respect for religion when it is a catalyst for positive, healthy change. At the same time, I have zero tolerance when the primary purpose of religion is to do harm, reinforce patriarchy, advance the prosperity gospel, etc.

    And back to one of Jazz's primary points, there are many positive things white evangelicalism could learn from Black Christianity, Catholicism, etc... Especially as it relates to working to address the needs of the community's poor or needy. My experience has been that Black people of faith are far better about this than white evangelicals who are quick to assume your poverty must be your own fault. (Though, of course, there are bad apples in every "group". Hey there, Creflo...)
    Winston, a.k.a. Alvena Rae Risley Hiatt (1944-2019), RIP

  13. #2398

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNU View Post
    I doubt many of you care given the things you've said, but church is an incredibly important figure in the black community. I encourage you to read about the history of it in the US if you're not familiar, maybe it'll provide a different perspective for you. It's not just about religion, it's about community. With faith and hope as the cornerstones of it all.
    But is this suppose to be an argument? I mean, just because it has positive / negative features doesn't make it real by itself.

    I mean, this is the real point of the thread. Are religions real and what they state real? And by real, I mean existing without the need of human fabrication. Just to be clear. If we were to disappear, the oceans and trees and stars would all still be there making them very much real by themselves.
    Other things "exist" as long as we, humanity, exist to deposit values and meaning in them, for example money and art.

    Others and I have forwarded all our reasons to sustain that religion is a fabrication. Those who think otherwise can offer their reasons.

    And going back to my initial question "Is it an argument?", that a thing (like religion or money) has negatives/positives doesn't make it any realer in itself.
    So just because religion has had a positive effect in a certain situation doesn't really count as an argument for existing.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  14. #2399

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Somewhere along these pages we also discussed how a religion that has "Aryan-ized" a historical figure that, if he really existed, must have certainly NOT been a man of European white stock, must have affected, in either positive or negative ways, the institution and practice of slavery in the USA.
    "YOUR savior is a man of white skin and blue eyes, with long flowing golden hair. He is NOT like you. Therefore, you must admit that, at a minimum, you are different, at worst, you are inferior".
    The same logic applies to the concept of a WHITE MALE ELDER oppressing women. So even if religion brings some good into some people's lives, the overall result is far from beneficial to the flock.
    Missing winter...

  15. #2400

    Re: Let's Discuss Religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    Somewhere along these pages we also discussed how a religion that has "Aryan-ized" a historical figure that, if he really existed, must have certainly NOT been a man of European white stock, must have affected, in either positive or negative ways, the institution and practice of slavery in the USA.
    He must have been Jewish or maybe Greek. I've met a fair few of both - look European enough to me (minus the blond hair). Not that it is an argument for anything...
    Roger forever

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