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Thread: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

   
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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    I've enjoyed those vids.. especially the second, a little more 'hit home' feeling since she is from Libya! somewhere I called home once and is where my dad lives now.
    **He lives forever within us**

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Another great podcast by Sam Harris.

    Waking Up With Sam Harris #82 - The End of the World According to ISIS (with Graeme Wood)





    In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Graeme Wood about his experience reporting on ISIS, the myth of online recruitment, the theology of ISIS, the quality of its propaganda, the most important American recruit to the organization, the roles of Jesus and the Anti-Christ in Islamic prophecy, free speech and the ongoing threat of jihadism, and other topics.

    Graeme Wood is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has written for The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other publications. He was the 2014–2015 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and he teaches in the political science department at Yale University. He is the author of The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State.
    I bought this book on Kindle now as I am really interested how Islamic end time prophecies compare to Christian ones. I know that apocaliptic thinking is very integral to ISIS and important in understanding their actions.

    There was a passing remark by Wood in the podcast that I didn't agree with though. It was mentioned how end time prophecies aren't that much of a central theme in Christianity. Well, in fundamentalist/evangelical churches they are. At least that was the case with the Church I belonged to and my relatives who are still in that church can't stop talking about the end times and how Jesus is coming back "very soon" every time I visit them and religion comes up. Armageddon, Judgement Day, how we are in the end times etc. is very much a central theme in some Christian churches as well and some Christians anticipate it just as much as these fundamentalists Muslims do.

    I also think the US had and has people in its government who subscribe to these teachings. It's been speculated that a lot of George W. Bush's foreign policy was influenced by his fundamentalist Christian beliefs. I don't think Trump believes in such things (he is more an opportunist without principles) but I am pretty sure some in his administration in powerful positions do (probably starting with Mike Pence).

    The difference is, though, that in Christianity it isn't taught that we can do anything to actively move forward the date - it's actually a secret of God when that day comes and it will be a surprise. I don't know if in Islam that's different and if ISIS thinks their activities can move forward the day of the final big battle. I will have to read more of the book to find out.

    So far one interesting parallel I found his how much these Salafists play on people's guilt and fears while trying to recruit them. Forever talking about Hell and the eternal torture that people will face there unless they convert to the one "true version" of Islam. I have very similar experiences with my fundamentalist Christian background. In fact, it was the fear of Hell that kept me in as long as I was in, even though I wasn't very happy in it for most of the time. To be able to leave I had to realize that Hell isn't real. And even today I see my fundamentalist Christian relatives use Hell as an argument to convert people all the time. They hardly ever talk about Heaven. And frankly, the Christian version of Heaven seems boring and the Muslim version primitive with its focus on sexual pleasures (and even that only if you are a man, I guess women do not get 72 sexy men or something LOL). Most of the time it is trying to scare people into their version of Christianity with Hell. That, BTW, reflects well on why THEY are in, IMO. Much of it is about fear. As I see it is the same in Islam. Hell is probably the single most powerful doctrine of both Christianity and Islam. Maybe that's the reason why most people on Earth belong to these two religions. IMO probably the Hell doctrine is the biggest contributor to their success. It is is easy to play on people's guilt and fears and manipulate them with that.

    Wood makes the argument that this is why it is such a common theme with these ISIS recruits and terrorists that only a couple of years before they didn't seem all that religious: they drank alcohol, they went to strip clubs or gay bars etc. Then they "found God" and they became the most zealous Muslims - to make up for their "sins". That's actually very similar in fundamentalist Christianity. In my church I didn't see many people who converted from a more moderate version of practicing Christianity. Most people converted from either a non-religious background (like my father and his wife did) or from a nominal Christian background where they haven't been particularly observant before. And it always starts with playing on people's guilt and making them feel guilty about their "previous life" (and many people might have issues in their lives that they genuinely feel ashamed of, so they are easily manipulated with that message). Talking about adult converts, of course, who convert on their own, not being born into it or dragged into it like kids and teenagers often are by their families. That was the case with me and I remember when I was a kid and shortly after I converted the church had this practice of having to "confess your sins" to a brother or sister. And I remember how at the age of 11-12 I had to think so hard to be even able to come up with something to "confess". LOL. These religions really are great at making you feel guilty over even petty things. They are telling you there is no human without sin. Even babies are sinful. The moment you are born you are a sinner. Then of course they are selling you the salvation. That's the trick.

    There is, again, a big difference between Islam and Christianity though. In Christianity the teaching is that you get salvation by the simple act of believing in Jesus, acknowledging him as the son of God and following him. In Islam there is no guarantee for salvation. Actually even Muhammad himself couldn't be sure of his salvation. There is one way out of that uncertainty though: martyrdom. When someone sacrifices his or her life for the cause of Islam he is guaranteed immediate salvation and absolution from all of his sins. That is what makes "martyrdom" so popular - and of course when someone's idea of martyrdom is suicide bombing then you get all the terrorist acts that we are seeing today.
    Last edited by respect77; 17-06-2017 at 12:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Just thought I'd weigh in on this thread. I don't consider myself an atheist or a believer per se, I'm kind of on the fence, which is very unlike me in most aspects of my life.I did attend an Alpha course about ten years ago, and found myself marginalised by the group for daring to ask too many questions. I wasn't disrespectful of anyones beliefs, infact, I was very mindful of being respectful to all involved, but I was surprised that my basic questionning wasn't really welcomed by the group. I wanted to know how they could be so sure of their beliefs that they were prepared to base their entire lifestyle around it. What if they were wrong? What made them so sure Christianity was the correct religion? How did they know Jesus was the Son of God? What historical evidence was there to suggest that Jesus performed any miracles and was ressurected? How trustworthy are the Gospels and those who wrote them? These were the kind of questions I wanted satisfied to even begin to consider that Christianity was for me. Unfortunately, the answers I was given were either vague or lacking in historical credibillity.

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJam View Post
    How trustworthy are the Gospels and those who wrote them?
    I can answer this.

    The Gospels weren't written by Jesus' contemporaries and they weren't written by those who Christian tradition credits them to (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Their authors are actually unknown. They were all written decades after the period when Jesus supposedly lived, the earliest of them is Mark written in ca. 70 AD. Matthew and Luke around 80-90 AD and John around 100 AD. This is pretty widely accepted by most scholars.

    So they aren't eye-witness accounts, they are hearsay several decades removed from the alleged story. Plenty of time to twist and embellish a story according to the agenda of the authors - ie. early Christians who of course had an agenda with presenting Jesus as a deity.

    There isn't actually any contemporary witness account of Jesus. Nor any independent source. The most Christians can quote is Josephus Flavius' (a Romano-Jewish historian) so called Testimonium Flavianum from his book called "Antiquities of the Jews" in which he writes:

    About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Christ. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
    However, this was written around 93-94 AD, so once again hearsay at best, not actual witness testimony. Morover, many scholars believe that parts of it are actually a later Christian forgery. Why would a Josephus, a Jew, declare Jesus "the Christ"? And if he did how come he never converted to Christianity? Doesn't make much sense.

    And if Jesus was indeed the miracle worker that he is claimed to be in the gospels it is odd that no contemporary Roman texts make any mention of him. According to the Bible when Jesus was resurrected:


    And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
    - Matthew 27:51-53

    If something like that would happen in Jerusalem wouldn't there be recordings of it, not only in Christians texts written decades later but also in contemporary and independent sources? Something like that would be pretty memorable.

    I find scientific research on the Bible pretty interesting and very eye-opening. As it turns out not only are the gospels not eye-witness accounts but they also contain several forgeries and later additions. For example, the famous story of Jesus saying to the adulterous woman: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” - it is a nice story about forgiveness and not to take Old Testament rules so seriously any more (thankfully), but this story is actually a later addition. They know this because the earliest manusrcripts do not contain it. There are many things like that. I read a book about it from scholar Bart Ehrman entitled "Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible’s Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are" (https://www.amazon.com/Forged-Writin...JRDB3P1G84ZXHR ).

    But you can also find lectures and interviews by Ehrman on YouTube. For example.



    If you have more time for his, here is a longer lecture by him.

    Last edited by respect77; 17-06-2017 at 07:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    ..Or how about how many "modern" religions have stories that were written with different dates, places, and names but are recycled.. Stories from Buddhist texts in the bible, or stories from Greek mythology in all Torah, Bible, Quran.. there are so many texts that are simply revamped and changed to fit cultural/political sense for the time.
    **He lives forever within us**

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Hello, I would like to introduce myself.... I've been on MJ forums in the past but it's been a while as well as some of them have been closed. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime. Much love.
    Cele

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Quote Originally Posted by Cele View Post
    Hello, I would like to introduce myself.... I've been on MJ forums in the past but it's been a while as well as some of them have been closed. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime. Much love.
    Cele
    Hi Cele!

    Any reason you introduced yourself in the atheist thread?

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    My grandmother passed away last week She had metastatic breast cancer. My sister, brother and I were entrusted with arranging the cremation ceremony. My grandma comes from a very religious family (one of her sisters even became a nun) but she wanted nothing to do with religion herself so we created an entirely secular service. We asked people to tell personal stories about her, some funny, some sweet, some emotional. We played pop songs that she liked. We made a video collage of pictures of grandma through the years, from when she was a little girl in the 1930s until the day before she died. We wrote a poem for her. We surrounded her with all the flowers she loved. We made sure to have lots of fancy sandwiches and drinks afterwards because my grandma's biggest fear was people thinking she was cheap.

    Afterwards, a lot of people came up to us and told us that this service was a lot more beautiful than the religious ones they had attended for some of my grandma's siblings. As I was organising my grandma's stuff today and found the program for her sister's funeral ceremony two months ago, I could see why. It was a 2-hour long church service and it was basically prayer - choir song - prayer - lighting candles - religious poem - choir song - prayer etc. My grandpa's service was the same way and I remember how disappointed I was. There was nothing personal about it at all. Those generic prayers and church songs didn't do justice to the person he was.

    I really felt a sense of closure after my grandma's service and grateful that I was able to do this for her, that we hopefully left a final positive memory of her with the people who attended. I can't imagine feeling satisfied with a religious ceremony even if I were religious myself.

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    ^ LindavG, Sorry for your loss. I glad some closure came through the service and wish you the best!
    **He lives forever within us**

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    I didn't realize it was LOL I just saw General Discussion.... so woops on my part.

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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    My sincere condolences for the loss of your grandma, Linda. Although, I'm glad to hear you were able to do and being part of a service that celebrated her life, the person she was and the memories she left among her loved ones rather than a generic and repetitive religious service that would't have represented her as a human being. She must be one with the stars by now.
    When he shall die,
    Take him and cut him out in little stars,
    And he will make the face of heaven so fine
    That all the world will be in love with night
    And pay no worship to the garish sun.” -William Shakespeare




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    Default Re: Athesit Thread (For non-believers only)

    Quote Originally Posted by LindavG View Post
    My grandmother passed away last week She had metastatic breast cancer. My sister, brother and I were entrusted with arranging the cremation ceremony. My grandma comes from a very religious family (one of her sisters even became a nun) but she wanted nothing to do with religion herself so we created an entirely secular service. We asked people to tell personal stories about her, some funny, some sweet, some emotional. We played pop songs that she liked. We made a video collage of pictures of grandma through the years, from when she was a little girl in the 1930s until the day before she died. We wrote a poem for her. We surrounded her with all the flowers she loved. We made sure to have lots of fancy sandwiches and drinks afterwards because my grandma's biggest fear was people thinking she was cheap.

    Afterwards, a lot of people came up to us and told us that this service was a lot more beautiful than the religious ones they had attended for some of my grandma's siblings. As I was organising my grandma's stuff today and found the program for her sister's funeral ceremony two months ago, I could see why. It was a 2-hour long church service and it was basically prayer - choir song - prayer - lighting candles - religious poem - choir song - prayer etc. My grandpa's service was the same way and I remember how disappointed I was. There was nothing personal about it at all. Those generic prayers and church songs didn't do justice to the person he was.

    I really felt a sense of closure after my grandma's service and grateful that I was able to do this for her, that we hopefully left a final positive memory of her with the people who attended. I can't imagine feeling satisfied with a religious ceremony even if I were religious myself.
    I am sorry for your loss, Linda.

    My grandparents are old and sick and we fear there is not much left for them and this is the kind of funeral they would want too. They have never been religious, in fact they have a very low opinion of churches and they don't believe in God at all. My grandfather told me several times how it doesn't make sense to him at all.

    I remember when my great-grandmother died it was akward to have a church funeral for her just because that was the custom in her village although she wasn't that religious either. Well, I can't speak for her because I never really talked about that with her (I was a child) but she never went to church, although she lived next to it. And she didn't have a good opinion of priests or churches either. But I can't tell for sure if she believed in God or not. But I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't.

    The most akward thing I have ever seen re. church funerals was the funeral of a co-worker that I went to. It was in a church and the speech of the priest made me annoyed and if he had been my family I would have been so upset. Basically he was shading and admonishing him for not being a church goer. It was a pretty negative speech on him, not a positive one. I don't even know why people who aren't that particularly religious want a church funeral - or why their families want one for them. Instead of remembering him in a nice way the priest used it to be a dick about him not being that religious.

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