Christians are Revolting - Sean Lauren

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Christians are Revolting - Sean Lauren

Post #1

Post by otseng »

This thread will debate the book Christians are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress, by Sean Lauren.

We will go through the book one chapter at a time and discuss the contents of each chapter. I anticipate we'll spend several days on each chapter and then move on to the next one. Please avoid jumping ahead, but you're free to discuss previous chapters (for those that join late). We'll end the debate with each person giving a general overview of the book. The thread will then be closed.

If you'd like to participate, sign up here.

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Post #111

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: You are reducing the entire life of Jesus down to a single act of death. He preached for 3 years about the kingdom.
I'm not saying his ministry should be dismissed, certainly his life and teachings are important. But, if works alone can save someone, why even send Jesus to earth? And why didn't he ever teach that good works can atone for sin? Did he ever state people can be righteous through their own works?

He did say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jhn 14:6)

This seems to exclude anyone being able to be with God through their own works.
Is it truly easier to believe that he needed blood sacrifices and perfection, knows all the hearts and minds of every soul, yet cannot come up with a better metric for his kingdom than a belief in one's mind that can easily be changed with physical trauma to a particular region of the brain?
Has God revealed a better metric for entrance into God's kingdom?
It's not a mere measure of good and bad behavior. It's about belonging to a particular way of life.
On what basis do you believe that this is true?
This only has a satisfying answer in the Simulation theory where we are in a giant AI-creating computer for future "heavenly" AI bodies if we meet their particular specs. In such a case, there is no hell and only a potential for heaven.
If we're in a simulation, I think pretty much all bets are off for everything. We're just bots at the whims of the master programmer.

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Post #112

Post by Divine Insight »

otseng wrote:
Divine Insight wrote: My question to you at that point would be to ask why you believe that the Bible is the word of a God?
Good question, but in the context of this debate, I think it's an implicit assumption that we're assuming the Bible can be considered authoritative. Sean cites the Bible in his book regularly and I don't think he ever argues the Bible is not the word of God.
But I wasn't asking you what Sean thinks.

In your post #92 you said:
otseng wrote: The problem is one sin is all that's required to disqualify someone from heaven. Unlike other religions, good works does not compensate for any sin committed. Now, do I think that's fair? No, it's not fair. But what I would like to believe does not override what the Bible has to say.
My question is why you would believe the Bible is the word of a God after having stated that you don't believe that what the Bible has to say in God's name is fair?

In other words, why do you believe a text that you feel portrays a God who is not fair actually came from a God?

Do you believe that God is not fair? :-k

And doesn't fairness equate to justice?

So I'm really asking why you believe that a religious text that you see as portraying an unjust God would be from an actual God?

It seems to me that at this point you would need to believe in an unjust God.

So I'm just curious why you would continue to believe int his picture of God?

Do you feel that you have no choice but to believe it?

Or do you find an unjust God worthy of believing in as a matter of pure faith?

I'm not the one who suggested that this God is unfair or unjust, although I would indeed be very quick to agree and support that conclusion. :D

It would seem to me that the centerpiece of Christianity is itself an unjust concept. Christianity holds that Jesus died to make possible undeserved forgiveness for unjust people. How is that fair or just?

I see from your post #110 you responded to ElCodeMonkey with the following. I also have a question concerning this:
otseng wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote: You are reducing the entire life of Jesus down to a single act of death. He preached for 3 years about the kingdom.
I'm not saying his ministry should be dismissed, certainly his life and teachings are important. But, if works alone can save someone, why even send Jesus to earth? And why didn't he ever teach that good works can atone for sin? Did he ever state people can be righteous through their own works?

He did say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jhn 14:6)

This seems to exclude anyone being able to be with God through their own works.
Why would John 14:6 exude anyone from being able to be with God through their own works? Just because Jesus said that no one comes to the Father except through him doesn't mean that he cannot accept people who are righteous on their own merit.

In fact, didn't Jesus say that people are either with him or against him? Obviously a righteous person would be with him in principle even if they don't acknowledge him.

Didn't he also say,...

Matthew 25:46 And these (the unrighteous) shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Here he is saying that righteous people will go the way of eternal life.

So if Jesus speaks the truth, then he has to embrace righteous people, otherwise he would not be telling the truth here.

He might also allow the unrighteous into eternal life if they repent and ask him for forgiveness. But according to Matthew 25:46 he also says that the righteous will go the way of eternal life as well.

Also, if there is no such thing as a righteous human, then why bother making this statement at all?

Clearly it must be possible for people to be righteous on their own merit.

I can point to another place in the Bible where Jesus actually says that 99 out of 100 people who make it into heaven do so via their own righteousness and have no need for repentance. Don't confuse this with meaning that 99 out of 100 people are going to heaven. That's not what it says. It simply says that of those who do go to heaven, 99 out of 100 do so because of their own righteousness.

Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Why would he bother saying something like this if there is no such thing as just persons who need no repentance? :-k

Orthodox Christianity seems to ignore (and even be in grave denial) of many things the Gospels have Jesus himself proclaiming.
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Spiritual Growth - A person's continual assessment
of how well they believe they are doing
relative to what they believe a personal God expects of them.
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Post #113

Post by Elijah John »

otseng wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote: You are reducing the entire life of Jesus down to a single act of death. He preached for 3 years about the kingdom.
I'm not saying his ministry should be dismissed, certainly his life and teachings are important. But, if works alone can save someone, why even send Jesus to earth? And why didn't he ever teach that good works can atone for sin? Did he ever state people can be righteous through their own works?
A bit of a strawman, don't you think? "Works"? Where did Jesus ever make the distinction between "faith and works"? That is a Pauline dichotomy, a false one, if you ask me. Yes, Jesus didn't preach that we could be good enough to be saved, or do enough good works. But he did preach the Father's mercy, and repentance.
otseng wrote: He did say, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jhn 14:6)


You're assuming he means the cross, but does the Evangelist John, or John's Jesus ever spell this out? Other interpretations, maybe he means his unique teachings. Or maybe he means his agency as the Messiah, i.e.. God's most authoritative agent on earth. Or maybe he means his way in contrast to the bloody Temple way.
otseng wrote: This seems to exclude anyone being able to be with God through their own works.


The whole "works" thing seems to focus on surface behavior and observance. Jesus spoke to, and of the heart.

otseng wrote:
Is it truly easier to believe that he needed blood sacrifices and perfection, knows all the hearts and minds of every soul, yet cannot come up with a better metric for his kingdom than a belief in one's mind that can easily be changed with physical trauma to a particular region of the brain?
Has God revealed a better metric for entrance into God's kingdom?
Speaking of "metrics" and if you do want to contrast faith vs. works, so that "no man may boast". Can't faith be quantified as well? After all, Abraham was revered as having great faith. If that's what saved him, why couldn't he boast about that? Or anyone else, saying " I was saved by my great faith?" This mindset seems to ignore the fact that we are all saved by God's grace and mercy.
otseng wrote:
It's not a mere measure of good and bad behavior. It's about belonging to a particular way of life.
On what basis do you believe that this is true?
There's the whole "broad vs. narrow path" thing, that Jesus spoke of in the Sermon on the Mount, for starters.
otseng wrote:
This only has a satisfying answer in the Simulation theory where we are in a giant AI-creating computer for future "heavenly" AI bodies if we meet their particular specs. In such a case, there is no hell and only a potential for heaven.
If we're in a simulation, I think pretty much all bets are off for everything. We're just bots at the whims of the master programmer.
You guys are getting technical now, I mean really technical. Above my paygrade. ;)

But I would like an answer to this question. Is repentance, and the willingness to forgive others, a "work"? Is abiding by God's will and obedience a "work"?

Both these things are independent of the cross, and seem to be a recurring theme in Jesus preaching and parables.

And in the bulk of Jesus preaching, (the Sermons and the Parables) does he go around preaching the importance of believing in "the blood"? If so, I think I missed it

Also, Evangelicals seem to want a certain metric of mercy from God. Cut and dry, black and white "saved vs. lost" "born again" vs "unregenerate"... What if it's really not that simple? Except doing our best, and hoping for, trusting in God's wisdom, mercy and compassion for the rest?. Isn't that what the last Judgement is for? After all, if it's all a matter of "believer" or "unbeliever" then why the Jugement, for which the Judge will have to employ His wisdom, greater than Solomon.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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Post #114

Post by otseng »

Though I'd like to address many of the points raised, I don't have the time to participate as much as I'd like. Also, this thread is to debate Sean's book, not what I believe; I don't want to drag this book debate out and have me be the bottleneck.

So, moving on...

I don't have anything to new to say about chapter 6. If others want to add something, they are free.

In chapter 7 (Fully Integrated and Fully Researched), Sean writes, "How many great achievements have gone undone for focusing on a faith rather than on scientific or philosophical progress? How many achievements and discoveries were demonized and erased due to religion and even due to Christianity specifically?" I would not completely agree with this view. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that Christianity was instrumental in the rise of the scientific revolution. Many of the major early scientific discoveries were made by religious (primarily Christian) thinkers.

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Post #115

Post by Elijah John »

otseng wrote: Though I'd like to address many of the points raised, I don't have the time to participate as much as I'd like. Also, this thread is to debate Sean's book, not what I believe; I don't want to drag this book debate out and have me be the bottleneck.

So, moving on...

I don't have anything to new to say about chapter 6. If others want to add something, they are free.

In chapter 7 (Fully Integrated and Fully Researched), Sean writes, "How many great achievements have gone undone for focusing on a faith rather than on scientific or philosophical progress? How many achievements and discoveries were demonized and erased due to religion and even due to Christianity specifically?" I would not completely agree with this view. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that Christianity was instrumental in the rise of the scientific revolution. Many of the major early scientific discoveries were made by religious (primarily Christian) thinkers.
Genetics, by the monk Gegor Mendel, any others? And when Christianity had a decided suspicion of reason and learning (during the Dark Ages), it was Islamic thinkers who stepped up to the plate and promoted advances in medicine and mathematics.
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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Post #116

Post by otseng »

Elijah John wrote: Genetics, by the monk Gegor Mendel, any others?
William of Ockham
Tycho Brahe
Johannes Kepler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Galileo Galilei
Isaac Newton
Robert Boyle
Michael Faraday
John Dalton
Francis Bacon
Blaise Pascal
Leeuwenhoek
Leonhard Euler

Sources:
http://www.adherents.com/adh_influ.html
http://www.religionfacts.com/william-of-ockham
http://galileo.rice.edu/Catalog/NewFiles/brahe.html
https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-re ... ion-part-1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonie_van_Leeuwenhoek
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/ent ... hard_Euler
And when Christianity had a decided suspicion of reason and learning (during the Dark Ages)
That might be more a popular myth than actual reality.
The majority of modern scholars avoid the term (Dark Ages) altogether due to its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate."
Science historian David C. Lindberg criticised the public use of 'dark ages' to describe the entire Middle Ages as "a time of ignorance, barbarism and superstition" for which "blame is most often laid at the feet of the Christian church, which is alleged to have placed religious authority over personal experience and rational activity".
Furthermore, Lindberg says that, contrary to common belief, "the late medieval scholar rarely experienced the coercive power of the church and would have regarded himself as free (particularly in the natural sciences) to follow reason and observation wherever they led".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages ... riography)

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Post #117

Post by Elijah John »

otseng wrote:
Elijah John wrote: Genetics, by the monk Gegor Mendel, any others?
William of Ockham
Tycho Brahe
Johannes Kepler
Nicolaus Copernicus
Galileo Galilei
Isaac Newton
Robert Boyle
Michael Faraday
John Dalton
Francis Bacon
Blaise Pascal
Leeuwenhoek
Leonhard Euler
How many of those people were Renaissance or post-Renaissance? How many were nominally Christian? Was it Christianity that propelled them to great discovery? Or their embrace of Reason?

Also, I take it that you are not denying Islamic contributions to Science, nor, does it seem that your sources are doing so. And so, it can be argued that those scientists made their advancements in spite of Christian distrust or Reason, and not because they adhered to the notion of man's "fallen reason", as posited by Calvin, and Paul before him .
My theological positions:

-God created us in His image, not the other way around.
-The Bible is redeemed by it's good parts.
-Pure monotheism, simple repentance.
-YHVH is LORD
-The real Jesus is not God, the real YHVH is not a monster.
-Eternal life is a gift from the Living God.
-Keep the Commandments, keep your salvation.
-I have accepted YHVH as my Heavenly Father, LORD and Savior.

I am inspired by Jesus to worship none but YHVH, and to serve only Him.

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Post #118

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 115 by otseng]

Galileo was actually arrested and imprisoned by the church for having shown that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around. Newton wasn't even a Christian as he secretly disavowed the trinity. Apart from that, just because we can find a list of people who were Christians who did science does not negate the fact that Christianity/Religion has persecuted and killed many a scientist for their pursuit of truth over faith. It may be that you are correct that I unintentionally over-emphasized it though. I'm trying to find a coherent list but it is not forthcoming. Mayhap I was misconstruing just how bad it really was?
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Post #119

Post by otseng »

Elijah John wrote: How many of those people were Renaissance or post-Renaissance? How many were nominally Christian? Was it Christianity that propelled them to great discovery? Or their embrace of Reason?
I don't think it really matters the time period or their level of piety. My main point is arguing this quote:

"How many great achievements have gone undone for focusing on a faith rather than on scientific or philosophical progress? How many achievements and discoveries were demonized and erased due to religion and even due to Christianity specifically?"
Also, I take it that you are not denying Islamic contributions to Science, nor, does it seem that your sources are doing so.
Islamic contributions to science also challenges the claim that religion hinders scientific/philosophical progress.
And so, it can be argued that those scientists made their advancements in spite of Christian distrust or Reason, and not because they adhered to the notion of man's "fallen reason", as posited by Calvin, and Paul before him .
My primary goal is to counter the belief that Christianity is an impediment to scientific and philosophical progress. The belief that Christianity as a whole is anti-intellectual and anti-progess (in medieval times and modern times) is a myth. It's a convenient story to attack Christianity used by atheists and even believed by Christians. Sure, there are instances and situations and particular groups that can be viewed as anti-intellectual, but it's not intrinsic to Christianity to be anti-intellectual and certainly cannot be painted as a whole that Christianity is anti-intellectual.

Later, Sean writes:

"I personally cringe at the thought of all I could have been with my strength in logic and my desire to research neuroscience and quantum physics. Starting early, perhaps I could have discovered the mechanism of consciousness or developed the first warp drive."

Can Christianity be blamed for him not developing the first warp drive? Maybe his fanatacism can be blamed, but I don't think Christianity can be blamed. There have been many examples of Christians making very important discoveries and inventions.

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Post #120

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: Galileo was actually arrested and imprisoned by the church for having shown that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around.
It is not quite so clear cut.

Many people had proposed heliocentrism prior to Galileo, but ever since the Greeks, the dominant view was geocentrism. Copernicus presented his theory of heliocentrism in 1543. And to my knowledge, he was never censured by the church for his views.

Galileo did not actually prove heliocentrism. He did provide evidence to support the view, but the evidence for geocentrism was just as equal. Plus there were many arguments against heliocentrism. It was not just the church that supported geocentrism, but it was a dominant view among many intellectuals.

Galileo published Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in 1632 which compared the Copernican system to the Ptolemaic system. Interestingly, he did not mention the more recent Tychonic system (published in 1587), which had equal explanatory power with the Copernican system.

"The Tychonian system is mathematically equivalent to the Copernican system, except that the Copernican system predicts a stellar parallax, while the Tychonian system predicts no stellar parallax."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialogue_ ... ld_Systems

Heliocentrism was only proved centuries later in 1838 when parallax measurements were accurate enough to show the earth moved. Prior to that, it was one of the arguments against heliocentrism since nobody could measure any parallax effect.

So, why was Galileo censured by the church?

I believe it was the way he presented his ideas. He could've been more civil and intellecually honest. As I pointed out, he didn't bring up the more recent Tychonic model. Of course, if he had, his case for heliocentrism would not be so strong.

He used two characters in his book to argue for the positions. Salviati argued for the Copernican system and Simplicio argued for the Ptolemaic system. Using the name Simplicio was a stab at his opponents to be simple-minded and "was depicted in the book as being an intellectually inept fool." By doing this, he indirectly called Pope Urban simple-minded. Painting your opponents this way is not going to make them receptive to your book.

The church did not have a problem with heliocentrism per se, as evidenced by Copernicus. They were willing to accept it as a theory. But, Galileo would not be content with just considering it a theory.

"Bellarmine found no problem with heliocentrism so long as it was treated as a purely hypothetical calculating device and not as a physically real phenomenon, but he did not regard it as permissible to advocate the latter unless it could be conclusively proved through current scientific standards."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair

I'm sure there are other policital, social, personal factors at play that ultimately resulted in Galileo's house arrest and banishment of his book. But, it's not so simple to just blame it on the church being anti-science.

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