Sound off: what's your motivation?

Getting to know more about a specific belief

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Ancient Paths
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Sound off: what's your motivation?

Post #1

Post by Ancient Paths »

So Haven posted an interesting question the C&A forum (Religious beliefs: personal and subjective) that got me thinking about another question that might help us better understand where others here are coming from.

Question: What motivates you to debate these religious topics or try to convince others to join your way of seeing things? What are your reasons?

I'll start.

The God of the Bible interacts with humanity through covenants. Covenants have terms and conditions that include what the Bible calls blessings and curses, or benefits and punishments or adverse effects. These blessings and curses are directly related to our actions in relation to God's instructions in the covenant, much like the law of gravity. God says don't step off a cliff. If one steps off a cliff, one will experience the benefit or adverse effect of that action. I liken it to a user manual for some newly purchased gizmo; if you want to get the most out of it and avoid problems, read the user manual.

With this, I would be fine going about my own private life obeying the terms and conditions of the New Covenant without interfering with what others do based on their beliefs... but for two issues.

The first is that, while these blessings and curses affect me personally based on my actions, they also affect nations based on a nation's population's actions, which affects me. So, if I want to have a sexually safe environment in which to raise my children, then not opposing porn shops in my area would be akin to sticking my head in the sand. There is communal blessing as well for following God's instructions.

The second is love. If I have truly experienced the reality of the Christian God and those experiences tell me that life in covenant with the Christian God is a tremendous blessing, then my love for my fellow human beings compels me to try to persuade others to give Christianity a look-see. I understand that not all will, but the Christian God tells me through the written text of his communication that I should try.

I have a third, personal reason, which is that I'm writing a book. I don't know if it'll ever get published, but it would be helpful to run thoughts on doctrine by both other co-religionists as well as those of other religions and atheists as well.

So what are your reasons?


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Re: Sound off: what's your motivation?

Post #2

Post by Divine Insight »

Ancient Paths wrote: Question: What motivates you to debate these religious topics or try to convince others to join your way of seeing things? What are your reasons?
I speak out against the Abrahamic religions in particular because I see the detrimental large-scale affect they have on humanity as a whole. I refer to them as the "Jealous God Religions" because they are all based upon folklore that describe a self-confessed jealous-God at it's core.

I totally disagree with many of the principles taught by these religions. They are fundamentally immoral. The doctrines they are based upon teach and support male-chauvinism and even misogyny. They teach a supposedly all-wise all-intelligent creator believes that the best way to attempt to solve any problem is via violent punishments for disobedience, or threats of violent punishments.

I just don't see where they teach very many good morals at all. It is said that Jesus taught love, but unfortunately that was too little too late. Moreover, the whole crucifixion thing totally destroys that message in any case, because whilst Jesus would be teaching Love, the Father God would still be sending a message of punishing people in brutal barbaric ways as part of his divine plan.

So I speak out against these religions for their negative affect on humanity. Even people who claim to be all about love appear to only be using Jesus as a weapon of hatred and condemnation toward anyone they disagree with. Christian bigotry in the name of Jesus as the Christ reeks to high heaven if you'll forgive the religious pun.

I don't speak out against all religions or spiritual views. I see other religions as having positive merit such as Buddhism, for example.

My motivation is to "save" people from these religions that preach bigotry and hatred in the name of Jesus or Allah, or whatever.

Many Christians don't realize that they cannot "Save Jesus". Jesus was nailed to the Old Testament as the "Son of Yahweh" and there is no way to undo that. We can't create a religion based upon Jesus alone. Jesus has no feet of his own. He has no clout or authority of his own. The only thing that gives Jesus any authority at all is the claim that he is he Son of Yahweh. But Yahweh does not represent good morality. On the contrary Yahweh represents absolutely terrible immoral values.

So I speak out against these religions, because as far as I can see they are a cancer on humanity. We can't heal ourselves of these immoral religious myths until we first acknowledge that this is all they are. And that they are not even moral myths to boot.

Pretending that the God of the Old Testament represents moral values doesn't cut it. That only keeps the problem alive. The only way to free ourselves from these unholy religions is to recognize that they are clearly nothing more than man-made fables. Immoral fables at that. And they certainly don't represent any all-wise or all-moral God.

They will fall in time. There will be a future when these religions will be deemed as silly as Thor, Odin, Zeus, and all the rest of them. I just do my part to try to help speed up the processes. After all, people are killing each other in the name of these religions as we speak.

So the sooner they can be exposed as the immoral fables they are the better. ;)
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Post #3

Post by Haven »

I guess, as of now, I'm here for more or less the same reasons as Divine Insight: Christian fundamentalism is a scourge to humanity--the cause of mass ignorance untold suffering--and it needs to be countered on an intellectual and humanistic level. I also take special care to oppose homophobic and transphobic religious arguments, because they're some of the most damaging forms of religious right propaganda (mostly because politicians take them seriously). Educating people about the realities of LGBTQIA people and identities is a good counter to some of the bigoted hate out there.

On a lighter note, I'm also a big fan of religious history, liberal religion, and philosophy, so I enjoy posting on those topics, but it seems like this has become more or less a fundamentalist vs. atheist forum, so those sorts of discussions are few and far between.
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Post #4

Post by OnceConvinced »

Why do I debate? Why do I speak out against Christian beliefs?

1) I spent over 30 years of my life diligently believing and serving the God of the bible. Then one day I discovered, to my horror, that my God wasn’t real. That I had spent over 30 years of my life, wasting a lot of time with religious nonsense. I do not want others to fall into that same trap.

2) Due to living a Christian life I missed out on so many experiences due to the fact I believed certain things were wrong and that I should be putting Christ first in everything. Life is short. We do not have a whole eternity. This life is not just a test. We should not be beating ourselves up over our human nature. I do not want to see people missing out on making the most of their lives because of their Christian beliefs.

3) I was indoctrinated into Christianity from birth. Given no other options of what to believe. Taught the bible as if it were fact. I was told that evolution was a lie of the devil and Atheists were evil. But evolution is not a lie and Atheists are not evil just because they don’t believe in God. Indoctrination has to be stopped and as with me, the only way to be broken out of that indoctrination is to have ones faulty beliefs exposed.

4) Many Christians exaggerate and even lie about what the bible says, claims made about Jesus, their own lives, miracles, the things that Jesus has supposedly done in their lives. These things need to be exposed. People need to speak up otherwise others will be suckered into it. One thing that really irritates me on this site is when Christians claim certain things which I know are just not true. I have to stand up and I have to say these things are not true.

5) Threats from Christians. Hell and damnation. This needs to be stood up against. It needs to be exposed for the rubbish that it is. Fear tactics are not a good thing.

These are the immediately reasons that came to mind. I have typed them up so I can copy and paste them in the future (and add to them if necessary).

Society and its morals evolve and will continue to evolve. The bible however remains the same and just requires more and more apologetics and claims of "metaphors" and "symbolism" to justify it.

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Post #5

Post by Wootah »

I started debating online because I've always liked philosophy. I'm a Christian because it is the most sound ground I've found to debate from.
Proverbs 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

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Post #6

Post by Zzyzx »

I entered on-line religious debate about ten years ago totally unintentionally. At the time I was an active participant in the old Mother Earth News forums (since disbanded or changed). When I made some small comment indicating I did not believe god tales several Christian "defenders of the faith" attacked personally and viciously. I stood my ground and eventually received an actual physical threat (to which I responded with an invitation to come experience my 12 gauge answer).

That is an example of how to turn a neutral or uninvolved person into a capable and determined opponent.

In an internet search DC&R came up high and seemed interesting. There were fewer personal attacks even then (much less now) and occasionally debates were high quality reasoned discussions of issues rather than personalities and egos (we're working toward improving that now).

During the past eight years I have not only enjoyed the debates but have begun constructing a "book length manuscript" on the topic of debating theism. Presently I am sorting through thousands of pages of examples of various topics and debater responses, separating them into topics and/or chapters. Some are classics of how-to and how-not-to debate.

A couple years ago I was asked to consider becoming a moderator. At first I declined, then agreed to fill-in when someone was going to be absent or needed a break. That quickly resolved into being full-time on the Moderating Team (a great bunch to work with). Prior to that time I had been (let's say) a bit fiery. Otseng said that moderating tended to encourage civility – which has proved to be true.

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Post #7

Post by ttruscott »

I thought I joined to tell people about a superior Christian theology.

I have since decided that I really was presenting my theology so it would come up against Zzyzx's proverbial 12 gauge and get blasted along with everyone else's criticisms, many of which I had never considered.

I not only refined my explanations to be more palatable to a pov not my own but I patched holes and even wandered into hallways of thought that had some very interesting pictures upon it walls.

I do still think that more could be done in a dialectic model without being forced into the debate mould but a lot of conversations are happening and that is good to see.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Re: Sound off: what's your motivation?

Post #8

Post by enviousintheeverafter »

[Replying to post 1 by Ancient Paths]

I'll keep my answer as short and sweet. I participate in sites like this because:

-debate is fun, and intellectually stimulating
-I don't like being wrong, and the only (or at least the best) way to discover which of your beliefs are false and which of your arguments bad is to actually put them to the test
-I find certain viewpoints, namely religious anti-intellectualism and the religious justification of prejudice/oppression of certain groups (women, gays, Jews, etc.), to be highly pernicious and think they need to be opposed and spoken out against

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Post #9

Post by Ancient of Years »

I find debating, with its requirements for careful thinking and research, to be a good way to keep the stuff between my ears in reasonable working order. I am aware that physical longevity is influenced by mental acuity (not to mention quality of life). I see being here as a way to help stay alive and to make it worthwhile doing so.

Also I enjoy intellectual sparring... :tongue:
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

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Post #10

Post by Hamsaka »

Civil debating is a lot of fun, a kind of sport where I can improve a skill set, learn fascinating things about the perspectives and experiences of others, a huge curiosity of mine. It's a great way to learn about whatever the debate topic is. Debate continuously reminds me I am human, not nearly as nice and well-behaved as I like to think I am. I can learn to 'speak up' while juggling manners, being reasonable and sometimes getting really angry without acting out over-the-top aggression. Not easy stuff, so it might as well be a challenge for improvement.

Rather than killing and oppressing infidels, maybe we can get some things straight with opposing views, develop an actual dialogue.

Like DI, the fundamentalist/literalist/conservative version of Christianity appears harmful to society as well as individuals. For all the good it's done, it's failed to adapt, and has become one the last safe places to hate and discriminate from, while claiming to be godly. The hypocrisy is begging to be addressed, and firmly.

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