Discussions Religion and Theology, Scriptures, Bible Debate, etc.
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While I'm an Atheist, I still keep in touch with my Christian friends and family.
So, I was talking with my brother a few weeks ago, who happens to be a Christian. I said "No, I'm not a Christian. He says, "So, you're a follower of Satan?". I say, "As an Atheist, we don't believe in God, or Satan or any Deity.". He says, "OK, we will see how much you don't worship Satan and how fake he is when you're in Hell!".
Now, this was over the phone, and I automatically thought "Are Christians really afraid of the Devil?". Yet, when God says to only fear him? So, he said that I'm denying Satan and I'm going to Hell. Isn't it the other way around, lol.?
I decided they only think they don't fear him. But, do you only fear him because others do or because you do?
This is the most mad I've been at Christianity.
This mostly goes out to SkepCop, but anyone else is free to reply!
You must first understand the Who & What of the Christian devil and why, in all truth, they have been taught to fear him and see him in any and all things NOT OF THEIR PARTICULAR VIEW...
... I stress that latter part in that you have "Christians" that would point fingers at Catholics, Mormons, 7th Day Adventists and other CHRISTIAN sects and claim that they too are Satanic... my mother's church even claims that 12-Step groups are "anti-Christian" because they encourage folks to invent their own God (last I checked, it was their own "Higher Power" and god wasn't part of the discussion... but hey...)
In the older Hebrew times "Satan" was nothing more than the clerical office held by a member of the Jewish priesthood. It was a position shared (rotated annually, as I understand it) and one that required the clergyman in that position to challenge his fellow rabbi on points of scripture and the law; he was literally one designated to manipulate, tempt and challenge FOR THE SAKE OF AIDING his fellow priests in better KNOWING the sciptures. Even today, you will find gatherings of the more traditional Jewish leadership as well as congregational members, gathered in reasonably large groups debating scripture. The sole purpose is to LEARN and in so doing KNOW what they believe and why...
... this is where the Christians lose, in my opinion. They accept things blindly, based on what they are told to believe rather than KNOWING what the scriptures say and probably mean. The ancient Jewish tradition allowed the faith to be living and malleable for the most part, while much of what we find guised as "Tradition" in either camp, is far more dogmatic. For Christians however, it is far more cruel because they really don't have the cultural encouragement to KNOW what they have bought into; most of whom aren't even real christians but rather, christians by birth and association.
In the mid-5th Century the Council of Constantinople removed the original (traditional) Reincarnation elements found in the oldest known Christian texts and of course, made any such teaching (including those scriptures that supported such) heretical. What was put in its place was the Zoroastrian "one way ticket to Heaven or Hell" idea and extreme expansion on the issue of "Sin"... this is where the whole "give me a dollar and I'll forgive your sins" practice came to life and the Clergy had their means by which to "legally" rip off the public... kind of like those faux psychics out there who prey on desperate. But the cash flow needed a bit of help after a generation or two so they decided to fall back on a long standing military philosophy; the Gods of the defeated were the Demons & Devils of the conquering army. In that 90+% of the world in those times worshiped a "Horned God" guess who became the scapegoat (no pun intended).
The Orthodoxy superimposed the traits of numerous male deity figures (including a certain "fallen" Angel who seems to have been introduced well after "the fact" so to speak) into one demonic being and thus, a new Satan was born, along side an amazing propaganda campaign that placed him beneath every stone in every community throughout the yet conquered world. So this is the "Satan" all our bible thumping friends fear (based on the antics of "the church" I think I'd trust him far more than them... at least you can hold the devil at his word... )
Psychologically, the patrons of any faith have been manipulated into "buying" a particular point of view. While they claim "freedom of will" they've essentially surrendered it and embraced a life of fear, self-loathing (because they are "sinners" and beneath God), and my favorite of all niche, Bigots (they hate and fear anything that don't agree with them; as we've seen in recent history, you can claim to be a Born-Againer and make it into presidential office... especially if you're a red neck claiming Texas as your home...) But that really is the rub; agreeing with their point of view. If you nod and accept all the garbage they spew, then you're obviously a Patriot and Good Christian, after all Jesus was an American... ask any of them! There is no way he was a "Towel Head" or "Camel Jockey" as so many of our born-again friends would word things... No sir... blond hair, blue-eyes... the kind of boy uncle Adolf would gladly welcome into the Reich
Ok, crude, but it does reveal just how gullible these folks are and thus, why they still buy into the political propaganda of the latter Dark and Middle-Ages. It is why they refuse to see the blight within the auspices of "the church"... unless the media exposes all the child molesters and other such saintly figures for what they are; greed driven men with a lust for power and little other.
PARDON... I just get a bit heated when it comes to these schmucks.
When it comes to you being able to cope with the friends & relatives that want to call you a Satanist, hand them a list of history and anthropology books and tell them to READ and LEARN... they aren't too abashed about greasing up a bible and trying to cram it up your rear, so do in kind... besides, we have more than one book.
UNDERSTAND... I have a very strong belief that "something" is out there, just not "god" as defined by any one group/cult. I believe that good/evil comes from man and mankind alone; taking a more eastern point of view as to what a "demon" is and isn't (Demons were viewed as men who turned their back on society for the sake of personal obtainment of wealth, power, etc.... kind of like modern day banking, preachers, insurance and paid off government leaders). I do not believe that my "something" created the heaven's and the earth, nor did it put Adam & Eve in some mythical garden. Yet, I am a theologian of sorts and student of religion (not just Christianity); as such I can readily see the common threads most all of the major world religions share and the very few places where they actually differ or contrast. I credit the late Manly Hall (see http://www.prs.org) for encouraging me to dig deeper into such things, his lifetime of travel and discovery offering to a unique group of perpetual students in this field, a treasure trove of resource. It's a shame the christian movement has chosen to shun it, even call it part of Satan's plot.
On a regular basis I must deal with parents well into their 70's and bitterly clinging to their Southern Baptist programming. They see the changes in world culture and what they refer to as "Globalization" and know that it is part of the biblical prophecies (Daniel & Revelation) pertaining to the rise of the anti-Christ and of course J.C.'s ultimate return (yet again... he missed the previous 3,000 or so scheduled dates it would seem; hell, Paul said it would happen in his life-time. You'd think that would have ended all this silliness when it didn't happen, wouldn't you?) My point is, we simply can't help these people THINK or REASON because of how thorough the indoctrination has been planted into their minds so that they will, as sheep, follow the will of the shepherds (a.k.a. the clergy). Any attempt to convince them otherwise is merely Satan using you as an instrument to corrupt them...
Oh... when it comes to all that historical data we have that challenges biblical claims or even the KNOWN validity of the bible and how it was actually "written"... my favorite explanation to that is that "Satan built a time machine and went through to plant all this false information so we would come to doubt the bible..."
But there is one last thing we need to remember when it comes to all of this... Many will will the path most trod upon while few will embrace the path less followed, and it is they who shall know true salvation...
This is an idea that's quite universal; it was taught by JC, Buddha, Mithra, and a long list of other popular stars of the spiritual tradition. So maybe it is we, the Agnostic and moderate Atheist (in other words, no zealots "fit" the idea) who might very well be walking on that less trodened path? Marching to the beat of our own drum and doing as the prophets said... listening to the voice of our own heart & mind vs. the opinions of clergy.
Yeah. But, while everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs... I must say, the Catholics are the really good listeners of the Bible and who don't listen to what their priests and leaders tell them. In fact, some even think that Jesus is fond to Catholicism, like Christians think Jesus's is for Christianity. But, I disagree...
That's confusing... they are "good listeners" and yet they don't listen to what their priests & leaders tell them?
Ok... last I checked anyone or group of people that recognize Jesus as the "messiah", that he died on the cross and rose from the tomb 3 days later, ARE CHRISTIANS a.k.a. followers of the Christ. Catholics, and in particular the Roman Catholic, is the original form of Orthodox Christianity (though they do tend to run toe-toe on that claim with the Eastern & Greek Orthodox aspects of the same faith... the three kind of agree to disagree whilst supporting the same general cover-story). Historically speaking NONE OF THEM actually teach or represent what JC &Co. actually taught... it is impossible to do such in that there are no original texts from the early/mid 1st century c.e. that is accepted by the "authorities" (that's an important point to note here in that there are writings, a few of which seem to be written in the 2nd person, that do date to this era. The "Church" as an all inclusive entity, refuses to accept these texts because they are "Gnostic" in format).
You also need to understand that most of the "secondary" Christian groups either sprang directly from Catholicism or as the result of certain social-political revolutions (for some reason King Henry VIII keeps coming to mind...). Then we have the American Inventions that range from the Quakers & Shakers in the east, to Baptist in the south and Mormon's way out west; ALL OF THEM are the new kids on the block and as such, the more troublesome source when it comes to misrepresentation and misunderstanding of what it means to be Christian let alone what the approved texts actually suggests... then again, they haven't learned how to live by the one and only commandment given by Jesus yet, so how is anyone to take them serious when they trying to force us all to live according to their gospel?
SALVATION and/or REDEMPTION within Christian lingo comes by holding to the "Oath of Faith" noted above re; the Crucifixion followed by baptism; but that's where the elder Orthodox sects and the Protestant/New sects start to separate... especially the Americanized versions of the faith in which you are supposed to renounce your sins and change your lifestyle in a manner that reflects the example as to how JC & the boys conducted themselves... for some reason I have serious doubts that they were racial bigots, womanizers, homophobes and antisemitic but hey... I've been wrong before...
The Big 3 or Orthodoxy on the other hand, believe that being a hellion all week long but coming to confession once a week absolves you and keeps you in good running for the heavenly after life.
BOTH ARE WRONG OF COURSE, but I'll not get into that.
I bring these points out though, because I think that's what you were driving at in this second comment of yours, you just don't understand the topic well enough to know the nomenclature that's to be used, which brings me back to my theory (mentioned in a different thread) about you simply being another young person that's just mad at god and/or the church and not someone that understands why, let alone what he's referring to.
Are you aware that some of the most revered scholars on the bible and biblical history are/were Agnostics & even Atheists? (most of them taking on those labels as the result of what they learned when studying "their faith" and yet, at least a few, are still seen as leading and reliable experts on the topic in question.) In fact, there are several "Christian" oriented scholars that are Jewish by both, birth and acts of faith. Yet, they know the bible (New Testament) better than the typical Christian... of course, we can say the same about the majority of we Pagan sort born before 1970 (in my case, quite a bit before )
PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT I'M NOT TRYING TO BUST YOUR BALLS FOR NOTHING... I simply want you to THINK a bit and more importantly, STUDY the subject matter you want to bitch about. This is especially important when it comes to the issue of Church & Bible and is paramount for anyone calling themselves an "atheists" or agnostic or even pagan and residing in the good ole U.S. of A.
Because over 80% of those that think they are a Christian are likewise ASS HOLES and BIGOTS they will do their damnedest to convert you and when that fails they will start playing dirty pool (especially if you fall into certain minority brackets; being non-white & European is at the top of the list but may the gods help you if you happen to be a foreign national, Jewish, Gay/Lesbian, and in some parts of the country, a voting Democrat... If you are going to poke these clowns with the stick of personal opinion you'd best be educated enough on the FACTS about JC, his chums, the hustler's that made a living by putting words in his mouth early in the game (like Paul/Saul of Tarsus... but it seems others did the same to him centuries later)... that is IF you hope to not become part of the converted average and too, if you hope to feed some of them enough solid insight to break down their grip on "faith" long enough to start asking some serious questions for themselves.
Know thine enemy!
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