I post mostly messages and commentary about religion and politics, and the scary occasions when they collide.
I am a: Liberal, Green, Christian, Math teacher
Lover of Math, Philosophy, Animals, Civil Rights, and Arguments of all kinds.

18th July 2014

Link reblogged from The Iranian Atheist with 42 notes

You can do anything and it will be forgiven, except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit →

iranianatheist:

iranianatheist:

I guess you can do whatever you want, rape, murder, and destroy nations on earth, but don’t you dare say anything bad about the Holy Spirit, now that’s bad!

As Jesus says in Matthew 31-32 “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy…

And you consider yourself a “Liberal” Christian?

You actually said being a life-long atheist is a serious offense, meanwhile, other sins such as rape and murder are forgiven if one has belief in God and the Holy Spirit!

Just because a book of fairy tales told you!

Please read it for yourself people, and tell me religion does not damage the mind to cause serious harm!

I’m curious to know your own definition of “liberal”, since you’ve decided I’m not based on the interpretation I applied to one biblical passage.

And no, that is not what I said. What I said was that the meaning of that passage(according to the commentary I found) is that belief is a prerequisite for God’s forgiveness. If you’re an atheist, why do you care if God forgives you for sin or not?

Based on your response, however, it seems clear you’re not interested in a rational discussion of anything related to religion. Thus, I will decline further comment, and wish you a good day.

18th July 2014

Post reblogged from The Iranian Atheist with 42 notes

You can do anything and it will be forgiven, except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit

iranianatheist:

I guess you can do whatever you want, rape, murder, and destroy nations on earth, but don’t you dare say anything bad about the Holy Spirit, now that’s bad!

As Jesus says in Matthew 31-32 “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

This is an interesting passage, and there’s a lot of question about what it means, so I decided to look it up myself. There’s two different(related) types of blasphemy one could commit against the Holy Spirit: To deny the existence of it(atheism) is one. Or, one could attribute false action as being caused by the Holy Spirit(“the Holy Spirit made me sin”) or deny a true action from the Holy Spirit to another being(Satan, other gods, etc.)

In that regard, it makes sense that this is a serious offense. However, in all cases the nature of the heart is known by God. If someone denies His existence one day and repents of it the next(and I would use myself as an example, not a random atheist), they would be forgiven, so long as they were sincere. Disbelief in the Holy Spirit is a sin, but not an unforgivable one in the sense that a person can never believe again later.

The forgiveness of other sins mentioned(rape, murder, etc) is conditional on one’s belief in God and the Holy Spirit, and the message spoken through the gospels. Taken out of the negative, that’s all this passage means.

17th July 2014

Post reblogged from Lit by the fires of the numinous with 18 notes

entanglingbriars:

liberalchristian:

dasbaron35:

If your reason for saying that something like homophobia is wrong is because “God loves everyone”, or some other similarly religious reason, then I distrust your motives. It makes me wonder whether you’d have a problem with said bigotry if your God didn’t say it was wrong.

It’s awful, I guess, when people agree with you, but not for the reasons you want them to agree with you. It makes me wonder if you really believe in freedom of religion.

There’s a difference between believing in freedom of religion and being willing to trust cishet Christians not to suddenly turn on you when you least expect it.

I agree, those are two completely different thoughts.

However, the contention of the OP was that being against- actually, let’s say ‘pro-homosexual’ for religious reasons is suspect because the morality comes from God rather than some other source that a person might change their minds about. My question is, why is ‘having a religious belief’ somehow less trustworthy than ‘having a political/moral belief?’ They’re both beliefs. 

Also, according to the OP, either: 1. God exists, has said homophobia is wrong, and the fictional religious person believes in both. Since the first two premises cannot be changed(according to the definition of ‘God’ and ‘God’s will’), the only thing that should change a fictional religious person’s mind about homophobia is if they lose their religion. In which case, how could such belief be suspect?

OR, 2. The OP doubts God’s existence, and believes that the fictional religious person is using a convenient excuse to cover up their deep, dark, desire to be a decent human being. Scandalous!

Regardless, I find it amusing.

Source: dasbaron35

17th July 2014

Link reblogged from Delve deeper than the surface with 3 notes

Article: I'm a Feminist Because I Love Jesus So Much →

letsgetdeep:

Interview: “I’m a Feminist Because I Love Jesus So Much”

17th July 2014

Post reblogged from Stuff, Things, and Crap with 18 notes

dasbaron35:

If your reason for saying that something like homophobia is wrong is because “God loves everyone”, or some other similarly religious reason, then I distrust your motives. It makes me wonder whether you’d have a problem with said bigotry if your God didn’t say it was wrong.

It’s awful, I guess, when people agree with you, but not for the reasons you want them to agree with you. It makes me wonder if you really believe in freedom of religion.

10th July 2014

Quote reblogged from AZspot with 210 notes

The Right has successfully rebranded the brown-skinned liberal Jew, who gave away free healthcare, was pro-redistributing wealth, and hung with a prostitute, into a white-skinned, trickledown, union-busting conservative, for the very fact that an overwhelming number of Americans are astonishingly illiterate when it comes to understanding the Bible. On hot-button social issues, from same-sex marriage to abortion, biblical passages are invoked without any real understanding of the context or true meaning.

10th July 2014

Post reblogged from Overthinkings of a Philosophy Student with 21 notes

Not exactly an atheist but…

I like these sorts of questions, even if I hate the way they’re asked.

opinionsrfacts:

The site Today Christian posed 10 questions for every atheist andclaimed that it is unanswerable by honest people. So I gave it a try and tried to be 100% honest about it. These are the questions and my corresponding answers

1.       How Did You Become an Atheist?

Actually, by some definitions, I am. And I was an atheist back in high school. It was 2 things. 1. Evidence, or lack thereof. 2. Logic. the definition by organized religion of God really doesn’t hold up to logic.(See Heavy Rock Omnipotence paradox or something). The arguments by Saint Aquinas and other medieval philosophers are seriously flawed because 1.) it wrongly assumes the infinity of time and 2.) It’s basically a form of “I can’t provide an answer, therefore God”

Some of these questions, my problem with them is that they’re phrased in a way that eliminates the complexity behind them. There are legitimate questions that apologists ask atheists… but the ones asking kinda need to understand them to be credible.

With 1, the idea behind it is that there is no evidence that can point toward the non-existence of God. No one can come to the conclusion “naturally” that one does not exist, they can only fail to be convinced by the evidence. It’s somewhat meaningless to talk about the evidence for atheism, which is why I think agnosticism is more logically sound- still, that doesn’t mean that someone can’t be a legitimate atheist. Just means that I’ve yet to hear a logical argument for how they come to the conclusion that there is no God, only that they aren’t convinced by the alternative. Alright. The ‘Heavy Rock Omnipotence’ paradox is not a paradox, and it has been answered before.

Not sure how the infinity/finiteness of time is related, though. There are arguments for the existence of God, thus, it’s not a default position of a ‘lack of knowledge’. We have to learn religion, same as anything else.

2.       What happens when we die?

The people who loved us will miss us, mourn for us maybe, then we would decompose. We exist as memories to them, we decompose, and the energy in our molecules get dispersed to be reused in some other part of the cosmos. The deeds we have done would be remembered, and that would be pretty much it.

You’re attacking with the problem of nothingness, I presume? How can “nothing” exist and if it does, is it really “nothing?” I’m familiar with this argument. A language professor told us once that nothing is a qualifier. it’s an adjective. it’s descriptive. it’s not a noun, simple as that.

Also, if we reach “The Singularity” death would, theoretically, be obsolete.

I’m not fond of this particular question, because I don’t know how I’d answer it either. I believe certain things about the afterlife, but pretending to know my place in it seems arrogant and counterproductive when it comes to just living my life now… And saying that ‘nothing’ happens to us is an unsatisfactory answer for many people, but it’s not a good challenge that the atheistic one is wrong.

3.       What if you’re wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

Pascal’s wager eh?

I really don’t think an all loving God would create a place of eternal punishment. As stated in answer #1, contradictions

Stating that one’s definition of a loving God is one that wouldn’t create a place of eternal punishment is circular reasoning- it assumes the definition of loving, therefore no eternal punishment, without defining either independently of each other. There are many theories on how both could coincide: My belief is that God allows us exactly as much of a relationship with us as we ask of Him. If don’t want a relationship with Him, therefore, He leaves us alone(thus explaining Hell and atheism). Hell is not described in the Bible as a form of eternal punishment, but one of eternal shame for our mistakes. Unpleasant, I’m sure, but no more than what we ask for, and what we deserve.

If one is an atheist though, Pascal’s wager should be pointless. Why  theorize about Hell(non-place) or what a loving God(non-existent) would do?

4.       Without God, where do you get your morality from?

Empathy maybe? Recognizing the rights of other human beings? Various schools and systems of ethics such as utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, the like?

Religion is not a prerequisite for morality. We should be better than that, doing or not doing stuff because of fear of eternal death or for the promise of eternal life. 

I would reverse question #3 here. What if there is no heaven or hell? Then would all the good deeds you have done in your life be for nothing? I don’t think so.

This has got to be one of the most misunderstood questions ever asked or answered. I think it helps to take the YOU out of it, because where YOU, personally, get your morality is not the point. “Where does morality come from, if not from God?” Where does empathy come from? Why did we develop a need for social justice and compassion for humans(and animals), even when it serves us no evolutionary purpose? Most religious arguments about morality don’t invoke Heaven or Hell as the ORIGIN of morality- only as the consequences of it. The origin is with God. Those who align themselves with His morality have a place with Him, in Heaven. And vice versa for Hell.

If there were no Heaven or Hell, I would still believe in God, and still believe in the existence of objective morality, as revealed by Him. Thus, nothing in my life would change.

5.       If there is no God, can we do what we want? Are we free to murder and rape? While good deeds are unrewarded?

 Refer to answer above. Again, religion is not a prerequisite for morality.

That doesn’t really answer the question. Again, whether an individual ‘you’ or ‘we’ wants to rape or murder is not the issue- ultimately, if there is no “real” standard for judging good or evil, does it matter if one commits acts that a particular society has laws against? Who is the judge of whether an act is right or wrong, and what gives that authority? If the answer is ‘collective society’, then why one society’s laws versus another’s? If there is no judge, does it matter if someone commits a crime and is never caught? 

6.       If there is no god, how does your life have any meaning?

With or without God, the meaning of life will always be a debate. The inner nerd in me wants to answer ‘42’ but meh.

Personally, I believe that the meaning of life is what we, as humans make of it.

I think this is a variation on the question about the afterlife. Truth is though, many people who believe in God ask themselves about the meaning of life all the time. ‘Doing God’s will’ isn’t always so clear an answer.

7.       Where did the universe come from?

Nobody’s actually sure. So please don’t pretend that you actually know everything, that’s just not a healthy kind of thinking.

The prevalent theory for now is the Big Bang Theory. Don’t go saying “but it’s just a theory!” on me. Know what it means for a hypothesis to become a scientific theory. This is in the language game of science, mind you.

I have no objections to the Big Bang Theory(which answers ‘how’ but not ‘from where’), which leaves the problem of what started it, and why. There are theories about it, and some of those theories point to God. Saying ‘no one’s sure’ doesn’t answer the question. Plenty of people are pretty darn sure they do know in the scientific and religious community(and both). You can’t claim atheism and a lack of knowledge about that question at the same time. If God doesn’t exist, He didn’t create the universe, so something else did- simple.

8.       What about miracles? What all the people who claim to have a connection with Jesus? What about those who claim to have seen saints or angels?

Keyword here is “claim”. Nuff said? No? okay.

And saints can be seen, maybe, in everyday people who selflessly do good deeds.
Maybe Jesus is connected to those who really apply his teachings (which is basically love thy neighbor)
And maybe angels are in Supernatural, portrayed by the likes of Misha Collins. JK. maybe angels, meaning good people, are among us.

That’s a lot of maybes, but no specific miracles addressed.

9.       What’s your view of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris?

 Honestly? interesting people. Their thoughts are interesting and thought provoking.

They’re ignorant of theology, philosophy, a great bit of science and logic, and they’re rather proud of it. At least two of the three are sexist, at least one of those is also racist and xenophobic. Not much fond of them myself, and they’re hardly a credit to atheism.

10.   If there is no God, then why does every society have a religion?

Karl Marx is credited with saying that religion is the opium of the masses. Anthropology suggests that religion was made to fill in the knowledge gap for things yet unexplained by science. 

And no, i don’t think every society has a religion.

If Karl Marx says it, he must be right? That’s not an answer, and neither is the claim from anthropology. If there have been societies which lacked religion, the thing to do would be to research them. You thinking it doesn’t make it true. To date, I’ve yet to hear of a society that was without a religion… theoretically, at one time the Soviet Union and China  counted, but the ‘state’ was a form of religion there, too. 

At the very least, it should be an interesting question of WHY human societies create so much religion- enough to do some research into it!

Tagged: religiontheologymoralitygodatheism

10th July 2014

Question with 2 notes

Anonymous said: What is you opinion on male infant circumcision

I have no opinion on it, as it has almost no relevance to my life, and there are plenty of other issues that do. I have no male infants, my religion doesn’t claim it as a necessity, and I’m not a medical professional. So, I’m just not going to get involved!

8th July 2014

Question

provoice said: Oops - that Deuteronomy verse was supposed to be chapter 27, verse 19. Sorry!

Ah, right! That’s another one! :)

8th July 2014

Question with 4 notes

provoice said: Re: your refugee children post: I've been reading my Bible from Genesis (working towards Revelation) and when I was in Leviticus, I came across Leviticus 19:33-34 - I read it over a couple of times and was like, "Why haven't I heard anyone talk about this?" I also found Deuteronomy 29:19. I'm disappointed in how the people of our country are treating these children, honestly. Do you have any thoughts on those verses?

Leviticus 19:33-34- “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 10:19(I think this is the one you meant?)- “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

And also:

Leviticus 19:10- “And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”

Exodus 23:9- ““You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

Of course, the sojourner was presumed to be adults in those passages, not children. I couldn’t even quote the number of passages dealing with our treatment of the poor and outcast, which would be more applicable. I would also quote one of my favorite passages in contrast: 

Matthew 25:40- “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

-Because the ‘sojourner’ described in the first four could not even be considered the least of our brothers and sisters. They were adults, in no immediate fear for their lives(beyond poverty), requiring temporary assistance in their travels. And the command from God is to give them that assistance, to treat them the same way we would treat our neighbors and friends.

But the refugees coming across the border are children who have no safe home to return to, and in large part have absolutely nothing. How much greater obligation do we have to them? 

Still, I don’t want to give the impression that the choice is easy, cause only the moral outrage part of it is easy. I understand where those in opposition are coming from, and at the same time I firmly believe that their opposition to helping is reprehensible. Christianity isn’t supposed to give us easy moral decisions, and if it is, we’re doing it wrong. That it’s something not many are talking about as a moral issue is a symptom of our culture of rigid individualism(shifting responsibility to the ‘other’) and of feel-good Christianity: God loves us, God forgives our sins, and nothing more is required of us than that.

Bullshit. Christians are called to emulate Christ. We are forgiven for not meeting His standard, but not absolved of making the attempt. Christ gave of himself to feed the poor, to comfort those who were suffering, to reach out to those in need, and ultimately to die for their sake. Whatever less than that we do for these children is still far more than the ‘nothing’ that many Christians are willing to offer- and that fact should make any ashamed to call this a “Christian nation”. 

Tagged: religionchristianityrefugeesbiblemorality