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 #121

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:Newton wasn't even a Christian as he secretly disavowed the trinity.
Just because he is not a Trinitarian doesn't mean he wasn't a Christian. Even though he was a great scientist (perhaps the greatest of all time), he wrote more on theology than on science and math!

"There’s roughly 10 million words that Newton left. Around half of the writing is religious, and there are about 1 million words on alchemical material, most of which is copies of other people’s stuff. There are about 1 million words related to his work as Master of the Mint. And then roughly 3 million related to science and math."
https://www.wired.com/2014/05/newton-papers-q-and-a/

"Although Newton is best known for his theory of universal gravitation and discovery of calculus, his interests were much broader than is usually appreciated. In addition to his celebrated scientific and mathematical writings, Newton also wrote many alchemical and religious texts and he left many administrative papers in his role as Warden and then Master of the Mint."
http://www.newtonproject.ox.ac.uk/

Because of his heretical views on the Trinity and love of alchemy, his papers were kept confidential for many years after his death. We can thank John Maynard Keynes for his purchase and research of Newton's works.
https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2011/jan ... t-magician

Though he held unorthodox beliefs, he definitely believed in God and the Bible. His religious beliefs was foundational for his scientific works.

"When I wrote my treatise about our Systeme I had an eye upon such Principles as might work with considering men for the beliefe of a Deity and nothing can rejoyce me more then to find it useful for that purpose."

"This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being. [...] This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called "Lord God" παντοκ�ατω� [pantokrat�r], or "Universal Ruler". [...] The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, [and] absolutely perfect."

"Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious ... aac_Newton

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Post #122

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote:Mayhap I was misconstruing just how bad it really was?
Unless you can provide evidence to support your claim, then yes, it is just misconstruing how bad it really was.

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Post #123

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

otseng wrote:
ElCodeMonkey wrote:Mayhap I was misconstruing just how bad it really was?
Unless you can provide evidence to support your claim, then yes, it is just misconstruing how bad it really was.
To be fair though, my quote is indeed a question and not an answer (albeit a bit loaded with an assumed answer...). A good part of it was questioning how many people choose religion over science like I did (which might still be a lot) but I was still under the impression that a lot of people were also killed for saying things that didn't jive with the church. They still tortured for other things, of course... I still blame Christianity though because it promotes a book which, when taken extremely seriously, leads to behavior such as mine. I can similarly blame the Koran for the twin towers since it leads to people doing such things. The tree is clearly bad in both cases since they both produce bad fruit.

I hope it's becoming clear within the book (or perhaps might be more clear in future chapters) that I was attempting to be as faithful as possible and sought God rather than self. By doing so, it led to this radicalism which made me renounce school so I can be a faith-healing evangelist. I could have done nothing differently with what I had and thus the problem lies solely in the book or else God himself. I couldn't have tried any harder and did everything with a very clear conscience. Not everyone goes that route, sure, but I dare say that most people do not actually take their faith particularly seriously. Those that do take it seriously often keep away from earthly things like science because they're too busy trying to win converts or follow the mission to attempt learning about quantum mechanics and the like. Some "Christians" do, of course, study such things, but back to the question "how many don't?" My own understanding of Christianity at the time would say that such people weren't truly Christian to begin with if they didn't focus on the mission. I'd still say that nearly all Christians are now Paulians rather than actual Christians, but if we go by what is a Christian today, then it's pretty much just a normal people group rather than having any particular meaning. Some are good, some are bad, some are smart, some are dumb, some are educated, some are not. It really has no meaning or predictive power which is not at all what Jesus would have wanted. You're supposed to know his people by their love for one another. It's supposed to have predictive power. Now it's just like saying "a human who claims to believe something" which may or may not have any real impact on behavior. Both my neighbors are "Christian" and yet both of them have threatened me and currently hate me. Such is the predictive power of the label. So if my neighbors study science, it doesn't so much show that Bible-believing honest Christianity accounts for it. They don't truly believe their Bible and their God or else they'd treat me a heck of a lot better.

Of course, this makes the goal post so narrow that a Christian, by my definition, must reject scientific endeavors and thus "all" of them do. Not a particularly useful statement at that point, but again, it is all very much supported in the book and derivable by one who tried is absolute hardest to be sincere. A problem with the faith and/or God to be sure or else I'm a liar that I tried or else I'm mistaken that I tried. Quite sure I did though... :-)
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Post #124

Post by otseng »

ElCodeMonkey wrote: To be fair though, my quote is indeed a question and not an answer (albeit a bit loaded with an assumed answer...).
Yes, I was addressing your assumption in your loaded question that Christianity is anti-intellectual.
I still blame Christianity though because it promotes a book which, when taken extremely seriously, leads to behavior such as mine. I can similarly blame the Koran for the twin towers since it leads to people doing such things. The tree is clearly bad in both cases since they both produce bad fruit.
I look at it differently. Just because something has the potential to produce bad things does not itself make it inherently bad. Money can corrupt people, destroy relationships, lead people to commit crimes, and cause people to kill themselves. Does that mean money is bad? Religion and money are not bad, but they are powerful. Religion is one of the most powerful forces out there. Yes, it can cause bad, but it can also cause good.
I hope it's becoming clear within the book (or perhaps might be more clear in future chapters) that I was attempting to be as faithful as possible and sought God rather than self.
Yes, it's a recurring theme and I can understand how you reached your position.

As mentioned before, I was once quite involved in a charismatic church that was considered radical by mainstream Christians. At the time, I believed they were right and everyone else was wrong. All other Christians seemed so lukewarm. I remember one time a girl from the Baptist student union came up to us and complained about how we were open air preaching. She said we were turning people off from Christianity. I wanted to ask her, "And exactly how are you reaching others for Christ?"
Not everyone goes that route, sure, but I dare say that most people do not actually take their faith particularly seriously.
That might be true, but one doesn't necessarily need to be a fanatic to take Christianity seriously.
Those that do take it seriously often keep away from earthly things like science because they're too busy trying to win converts or follow the mission to attempt learning about quantum mechanics and the like.
This, again, I would disagree with. God does not call all Christians to be evangelists or missionaries and preach full-time. God calls some people to be scientists. They would be in God's will just as those who are called to be missionaries in Africa.
You're supposed to know his people by their love for one another.

They don't truly believe their Bible and their God or else they'd treat me a heck of a lot better.
Yes, I agree. God does command Christians to practice love. If people aren't following this command, they are in disobedience with God's will.
Of course, this makes the goal post so narrow that a Christian, by my definition, must reject scientific endeavors and thus "all" of them do. Not a particularly useful statement at that point, but again, it is all very much supported in the book and derivable by one who tried is absolute hardest to be sincere. A problem with the faith and/or God to be sure or else I'm a liar that I tried or else I'm mistaken that I tried. Quite sure I did though... :-)
I guess then I'll be addressing more that Christianity is not anti-intellectual as we go through the book.

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Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #125

Post by otseng »

Chapter 8.

"Looking around, we saw so many people professing to be Christians, and yet they all seemed so similar to every other secular person. They focused their attention on TV, video games, fashion, money, careers, friends, drinking, music, sports, hobbies, and some even focused on school of all things."

I would agree that most Christians here in the US are just cultural Christians and it makes little difference in their lives. They live practically just the same as non-Christians, but they might just spend a few hours on Sunday morning differently.

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Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #126

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

otseng wrote:I would agree that most Christians here in the US are just cultural Christians and it makes little difference in their lives. They live practically just the same as non-Christians, but they might just spend a few hours on Sunday morning differently.
So what is a real Christian then? You note that it doesn't affect most Christians' lives and that they are merely cultural Christians. Does that mean they are not "real" ones? What does it mean to truly be a real one? As I've mentioned, it's a life-altering fanatacism of a sort from my perspective. What is it from yours and what would it look like?
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Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #127

Post by Elijah John »

otseng wrote: Chapter 8.

"Looking around, we saw so many people professing to be Christians, and yet they all seemed so similar to every other secular person. They focused their attention on TV, video games, fashion, money, careers, friends, drinking, music, sports, hobbies, and some even focused on school of all things."

I would agree that most Christians here in the US are just cultural Christians and it makes little difference in their lives. They live practically just the same as non-Christians, but they might just spend a few hours on Sunday morning differently.
Saying they live the same as "non-Christians" seems a bit off the mark. Devout people of different religions can and do live holy lives, as do sincere and committed Christians.

And, as we have seen here and elsewhere, even some skeptics who are commited to ethics and the Golden Rule live "holier" lives than some Christians.

I would agree that there is little difference between cultural, nominal Christians and the more secular minded.

But to compare the uncommitted Christian to non-Christians in general, seems a leap too far.

I think "committed" is the key word here.
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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Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #128

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 126 by Elijah John]

That is a fair point if I understand what you're saying. To put it in other words, that "Christians" act no different than "non-Christians" is potentially akin to throwing non-Christians under the bus. If we're talking ethically, then what's so bad about a "non-Christian" such as myself? I consider myself quite ethical overall with my own share of faults, of course. So then in what way should we be so different? More church-going and/or prayer? A Christian acting like a non-Christian might act just like me which, by my standards, isn't too very non-Christian.

I think this is a kind of logical fallacy though. Let's consider "Christians are kind" or "Christians imply kindness." If they are not kind, they are therefore not Christian. This isn't quite the same as saying they are "behaving as non-Christians" since the converse is not guaranteed that being non-Christian requires being unkind or that being kind guarantees a Christian. So they are certainly behaving in such a way as to prove "non-Christians" but not necessarily behaving AS a non-Christian as a label. A very subtle difference :-).
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Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #129

Post by Elijah John »

[Replying to post 127 by ElCodeMonkey]

I'm just saying that there is little difference ethically between good and committed Jews, Christians, Muslims or atheists.

When I day "committed" I mean committed to the Golden Rule, which transcends belief.

The Christian who is not committed to abiding by the GR, is not as ethical as the atheist who is.

Said Christian may believe the "right" things but their orthodoxy does them no good. Nor does it do others any good. And arguably it does not set them right with God, who according to Jesus cares more about a person's behavior and heart than He does about their beliefs. (The parables of the Pharisee and the Publican, of the Sheep and the Goats, etc. and "Why call me "Lord Lord"..The book of James, and so on.)
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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Re: Ch. 8 - Power of God Revealed

Post #130

Post by ElCodeMonkey »

[Replying to post 128 by Elijah John]

Which leads to an interesting question: How good is good? If separating sheep and goats and caring more for behaviors than beliefs, then how good is good? Personally, I argue that it's not for us to know. We are to do our best with the hope that our best is good enough while knowing it's what God wants. To that end, I argue that an ethical atheist is quite possibly accepted into God's kingdom and much sooner than a less ethical Christian. Any atheist that is more ethical than the least ethical of acceptable Christians should clearly be just as acceptable if the behavior is more important than the belief. And if an atheist is not acceptable despite being more ethical than a Christian who is acceptable, then this negates action as being of any consequence. You can say "both" are necessary, but if the wrong belief is enough to kick one out, then belief itself is of extreme importance for some reason. But to what end? Why would a belief be as important as deeds?
I'm Published! Christians Are Revolting: An Infidel's Progress
My Blog: Friendly By Nurture
The Wisdom I've gleaned.
My Current Beliefs.

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