You know Kathy, we’ve been fairly blunt with you today. Flippant, too. And it’s tough when people talk to/about you that way. I’m sorry for that.
If we could cut through all the rhetoric for a second, I’d like to commiserate with you. A little over 4 years ago, I was a very dedicated Christian. I had some doubts, but they weren’t about the Christian faith, just my understanding of it.
I felt like there were problems in my beliefs about the gospel. I believed in a literal Hell, and I believed a lot of people would be going there. But I had a very hard time squaring that with a loving God. I had matured enough to realize that most people were pretty decent. Not perfect, certainly, but good people who cared about others and typically wanted to do the right thing. I didn’t think such people deserved Hell. In fact, like Paul, I often thought that if God would accept it, I’d gladly go to Hell myself, if it would save my friends and family. And if everyone else could be added into that deal too, even better.
So if I felt that way, could I be more compassionate than God? Of course not. But I had a very hard time finding anything in the Bible that backed up an idea that most people, regardless of creed or belief would be saved.
I didn’t give up though. I knew about Universalists, so I decided to read up on their reasons for thinking everyone went to Heaven. It sounded good, but I just wasn’t convinced by their arguments. I just didn’t see the Bible teaching such a doctrine, and I still believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God.
I was in a state of flux.
And that’s the position I was in when I first ran across articles that pointed out flaws in the Bible. I was shocked by what the articles said, but since I didn’t have any answers against them at the moment, I got busy with research. I didn’t even comment on the articles — I just went to work. It wasn’t about winning any arguments; it was simply a search for answers.
I think that frame of mind I was in made all the difference for me. Deep down, I was already struggling. The doctrines I had long believed in, and even taught to others, didn’t fit together in my mind as well as they once had.
That’s probably the difference between you and me. I get the feeling that you question nothing about your faith. Not trying to put you down about that; just making an observation.
For me, discovering that the Bible was not the perfect book I had always thought it to be, and finding out that some of these church leaders I had always admired knew of these problems but never spoke of them, helped me make sense of a lot of things. It took time, and it wasn’t easy to come to the realizations, but everything finally fell into place for me when I realized Christianity was just another religion. For the first time, I finally understood the sentiment of that line from “Amazing Grace,” I once was blind, but now I see…
I don’t know if that’s helpful to you at all. Maybe one day it will be. Maybe one day, something will make you ask a few questions, and you’ll think back to those non- believers who were so insistent that Christianity was certainly not the only way. If that day comes, I hope you’ll find this exchange helpful and realize you’re not alone.
2,018 thoughts on “Letter to Kathy Part 2”
Sad to say, but that comment, however wise, will go in one ear and out the other, there’s nothing in there to stop it. Expect invective.
You needn’t worry about that KC, Kathy will never allow the facts to interfere with her beliefs.
“Faith is believin’ what you know ain’t so.”
~~ Mark Twain ~~
I appreciate your sincere attempt to help me see where you are “coming from”.. you’ve given specific attention to helping me see how objective you were when you came to your conclusion. But, here’s the problem… you are failing to see something that I see very clearly.. you have a real problem being objective. At this point it’s pretty much a well known fact to people who apply objectivity. It took me a lot of effort to get you to answer my question and when you finally did, you didn’t follow through when I asked you to explain WHY you believe Buddhism has more credentials than Christianity. So, it looks like we’re back to square one.. so, thank goodness you started a part 2 of the post!! Sigh. How long will it take for you to answer this follow up question Nate?
Bottom line, you don’t know how to be objective.. and I am honestly starting to wonder if you.. and William and Arch and Ruth and every other liberal here can even see your lack of objectivity.
So, I don’t trust your judgment in becoming an atheist.. I believe you lack the credentials.. you lack the most important one.. objectivity.
And as to my objectivity.. you said: “I get the feeling that you question nothing about your faith.”
Nate, I’ve made several comments on “Part 1” that prove your feeling wrong, I’ll find them if I have to… I’ve agreed with you when you’ve stated things you are/ were struggling with… how can ANY Christian not struggle with some of the things in the Bible?? I’ve already explained that it takes a real effort to search out the answers.. but you didn’t allow any of that to sink in.. you NEED to believe that I’m the one who isn’t objective.. and that you are the objective one. And I don’t think any amount of proof.. re: PART ONE comments.. will cause you to believe otherwise.. and so goes the proof that PRIDE is a very powerful tool.. satan uses it because.. IT WORKS! And you all have demonstrated exactly how well it works… you are literally blinded by it.. pride actually STEALS objectivity.
You seem to think that making the claim that you were once a Christian is “proof” or “evidence” for your belief.. yet you so quickly and hypocritically dismiss that very same evidence when I claim it… that which is in the mind of the witnesses.. their “conviction”. You can’t have it both ways.. but you sure are trying.
The more time I spend on this blog, the more I’m convinced that none of you were truly Christians who loved God. You didn’t “lose” your Christian faith.. you never had it to begin with.
Actually liked this post to be honest. It finally admits clearly to what I had picked up long ago. Its a n admission that Nate’s “dillemma” with Christianity did not start with facts but his issue with hell and the unchristian (and naive) belief that people are all in all pretty good. He’s said it before but here he makes it even clearer
By the time he began to read Till he was already disposed to leaving whatever faith he had for emotional reasons. As time went along he fooled himself as I have indicated before that he had no bias when in fact he had and has EXTREME bias
“The more time I spend on this blog, the more I’m convinced that none of you were truly Christians who loved God. You didn’t “lose” your Christian faith.. you never had it to begin with’
Well thats been my view for some time and when you analyze this post it s even easy to see that Nate didn’t start out with a Christian perspective at all. Read carefully and you realize as central tenet of his world view he just didn’t believe people were sinners –
“I had matured enough to realize that most people were pretty decent. Not perfect, certainly, but good people who cared about others and typically wanted to do the right thing”
I don’t know any believer that held that view and Nate claims to have had it (even begging that its mature) while still allegedly a Christian.
Its a hazard of Christianity (at least protestantism) that there is no central body that gives out certification of membership. So whether they like it or not are offended at it or not we have to go off of beliefs and understandings. Believing that people are of the nature that they just want to do the right thing isn’t a belief a true Christian has
Frankly it also betrays a lack of Christian morality since its pretty impossible for a person in the 21st century with possession of a television to see the world is not living in line with biblical morality So Nate’s sense of “the right thing” was already non (and even anti) Christian.
“In fact, like Paul, I often thought that if God would accept it, I’d gladly go to Hell myself, if it would save my friends and family. And if everyone else could be added into that deal too, even better.
So if I felt that way, could I be more compassionate than God? Of course not.”
Why would such a preposterous question even come into the mind of a true Christian? You add the words “of course not” but that entire thought process indicates (within the context of Christianity) you thought your desire exceeded God’s compassion.Thats obvious. A Christian even with basic understanding would never need go even close to there because of what happened at the cross. Your sanctimonious hypothetical caring was already exceeded by the actual in the trenches sacrifice of God himself.
“You seem to think that making the claim that you were once a Christian is “proof” or “evidence” for your belief”
That’s the whole passionate emotional plea to you Kathy. Like A TV evangelistic testimonial. I was where you are, I saw as you saw and feel as you feel so let me show you the light. Pretending all along that any one who does not accept their “facts” hasn’t studied them. Don’t believe that lie. I’ve been debating atheists for a decade a half at least and I have studied and studied beyond where they are to see as you have seen here – that they offer almost no primary evidence but just regurgitate other skeptics before them as evidence – a great may who have already been debunked or are as in the case of Finkelstein in the process of being debunked (in particular his King David hypothesis).
Strain out a gnat and swallow a camel
If you, like Kathy, feel none of us were ever true Christians, could you please explain the difference between yourself and Nate for example.
What is it that you understand as fact that Nate and the rest of us came to understand as myth, legend and interpolation.
Nate, I’ve been following the two letters you wrote to Kathy – and the responses. I must say that all of the commenters (and you) have offered sensible, logical, well-thought-out arguments to Kathy and TBlacksman’s assertions. However, it’s clear to a neutral observer like myself that the reason none of you are ‘getting through’ to Kathy and TBlacksman is because their responses illustrate their stance; that of standing – fingers in ears – saying,
“I can’t heeeear you!”
You’ve all given it your very best shot, though! Kudos for trying!
” However, it’s clear to a neutral observer like myself that the reason none of you are ‘getting through’ to Kathy and TBlacksman is because their responses illustrate their stance; that of standing – fingers in ears – saying,
“I can’t heeeear you!”
Which only goes to show that atheist who don’t post usually are capable of being as much of liars as those that do.
Not for disagreeing but for claiming to be a “neutral observer”
I’m pretty busy for the next several days so won’t be posting much. The back and forth has become rather grinding, each side accusing the other of not being objective, of being ignorant, of being too liberal, too atheist, too theist, too conservative….too whatever. I’m deeply sorry for my part in that.
Condescension and dismissive attitudes usually don’t lend to productive conversation; both sides claiming to know more about the other than they know themselves; both sides claiming to see so much more clearly than the other; both sides attempting to remove the speck of dust from the other’s eye. It’s difficult to expect another person to take anything you say seriously when they feel their own point of view is dismissed summarily. I think it’s safe to say both sides feel this way over this conversation whether it is entirely true or not.
We all feel we’ve looked at the evidence presented and, with whatever amount of objectivity or bias, we’ve come to different conclusions. I’m not at all convinced that an impartial jury would be impressed or convinced by either side. It would most likely come away hung.
The last thing I’d like to say about this entire matter is about the definition of evidence. Kathy has asked a number of times for us to declare which religion has the most evidence for it’s truth regardless of what value one puts on the evidence. I’m finding that paradoxical. If little to no value is put on a “piece of evidence” that evidence would be inadmissible – a non-starter, which is why this particular question keeps going round and round. Evidence that carries no sway wouldn’t be evidence.
Yes, TBlacksman; I should have called myself a ‘casual’ observer. Even so, I am still getting the visual. . . .:)
Where to begin?
“I’ve already explained that it takes a real effort to search out the answers.. but you didn’t allow any of that to sink in.. you NEED to believe that I’m the one who isn’t objective..” – I’ve given you a half-dozen pieces of information – “answers,” if you will – that you’ve not even bothered to look at, much less consider, and yet you accuse us of not putting forth “real effort to search out the answers”. How hypocritical! When it’s YOUR point of view, it’s “answers,” when it’s ours, it’s “liberal propaganda”! Who is it again who “can’t have it both ways”?
“I NEVER asked for which one Nate thought was true William. Please re-read my comments.. you’re twisting and distorting just like everyone else in order to get Nate out of this dilemma he has put himself in by refusing to apply honesty and objectivity.” – kathy
You asked which religion had the most credentials toward it being true. I don’t thinK i misread anything.
I’d still like for you address my questions to you.
““I had matured enough to realize that most people were pretty decent. Not perfect, certainly, but good people who cared about others and typically wanted to do the right thing”
“I don’t know any believer that held that view”
What a horribly sad outlook you Christians must have! Pathetic, really.
This is the point, Ruth. And is the one that Kathy, Mike and every believer cannot seem to grasp.
There is no evidence for the foundational claims of any religion that is based on the supernatural.
Such claims of veracity exist only in the minds of believers, and are usually there because of indoctrination. You should know, you’ve been there.
And how long did you/have you had to endure the derisive “You were never a real Christian” taunts?
I would guess you may have leveled a similar accusation to other deconverts before your own deconversion.
This is why, engaging with people like Mike and Kathy will likely as not never produce a positive outcome.
True enlightenment comes from within via a willingness to be open to critical thought and inquiry.
Religious Indoctrination actively discourages this.
“Frankly it also betrays a lack of Christian morality since its pretty impossible for a person in the 21st century with possession of a television to see the world is not living in line with biblical morality So Nate’s sense of ‘the right thing’ was already non (and even anti) Christian.”
Mikey, if this is truly the way you see things, then I’m beginning to get a much clearer understanding as to why you’re such a bitter person. How sad for you. You must have lived a horrible life. The good news is, it’s nearly over – you’ll finally be free of the grip of your parents.
“you’re twisting and distorting just like everyone else in order to get Nate out of this dilemma he has put himself in by refusing to apply honesty and objectivity” – kathy
and kathy, I’m certainly not trying to do this. i don’t even think there’s anything to this point you’re trying to make, so have no reason to try and distort anything – I don’t think there’s any dilemma.
For me at least, i think christianity has as much credentials for being divine (or true or good or whatever it is you’re looking for) as a a ditch digger has for being a jet fuel engineer.
If you think christianity is has more than any other religion, the put up your evidence side by side with the ones it’s better than. This is your point, and your concern, you show something. You say christianity is better – well show it. It’s your claim, not ours.
I’ll be honest, i dont think you’ve looking into other religions or anything as much as you have for your religion, so I dont think you really have an educated opinion anyways. I could be wrong, and you could prove me wrong, but so far you havent and have only avoided the real questions presented to you and mike.
Yes, Ark. You are right. And yes, I did level that accusation at others. I never, in a million years, would have believed that I could be a non-believer. Christians would like to narrow it all down to: you had a bias against the faith and left it (or never were part of it) due to emotional reasons.
The truth is, that is partially true; there had to be a reason to begin to question, a crack, a catalyst.
If they were honest with themselves they would acknowledge they are Christians for some emotional reasons as well. So? What does that prove? It doesn’t make it not true just the same as it doesn’t make it true. That has nothing to do with the truthfulness or veracity of the claims being made.
Like I said yesterday about the “never a real Christian” thing: I’ve been told that for more reasons than I care to count, more times than I care to count. *shrug*
“Why would such a preposterous question even come into the mind of a true Christian?” – so we’ve switched the “No true Scotsman” fallacy for the “No true Christian” fallacy! Sad.
A religious man wants to look at his religion without the blinders-on bias that you and Kathy are amply demonstrating, and in your mind, that makes him, “No True Christian”? So essentially, you’re implying that “No True Christian” would ever make an effort to take an unbiased look at his/her religion. I WILL say that that explains a lot, that’s certainly one way to keep the flock together —
Sorry, Carnmen – the way it works, is that if you dare to examine your religion, you’re “No true Christian,” and if you observe without agreeing with Frick and Frack, you’re no true “neutral observer” – that’s how things work in Blacksman’s Universe.
And we haven’t even touched on any emotional reasons/issues at all ( far as I know) on these posts.
I doubt Kathy or Mike will countenance that emotions have any validity in their reasons for belief in Christianity.
As they are adults, they will not likely concede that their beliefs/faith may be due to childhood indoctrination or later emotional trauma and peer pressure.
This would undermine their evidentiary claims based on logic.
And as we all know, there is no evidence for the foundational claims they make. None.
Otherwise, what is the point of faith?
“Why would such a preposterous question even come into the mind of a true Christian?” _ Mike
well, because it’s honest. the bible calls god merciful and perfect, and so on. yet he’s sending people to an eternal place of torment for a wide range of reasons. I wouldn’t do that. So am i more merciful than god, and if not, then in what way would god be more merciful than me?
These questions come up when you think about what the bible says about itself. You are happy to not think about it because in your mind the bible truly from regardless of anything, but i want to think about what it says as mush as possible and then see if i have a correct understanding by weighing the options.
If the bible was perfect, that fact would prove true again and again, but i don’t see it doing that. So some of these questions that come up through self examination and meditation on the words of the bible, the question that eventually surfaced was “is the bible really from god, and how would I Know?”
“What is it that you understand as fact that Nate and the rest of us came to understand as myth, legend and interpolation.”
Ark as I have said before in most controversial subjects the truth comes after
You have read a position
Then read a rebuttal to a position
Then read the first rebuttal to the rebuttal
Then read a rebuttal to the first rebuttal
THEN asked the pertinent questions
and heard back from both
What I understand is the end of that process and that skeptics are RARELY ever skeptics they are just skeptical of one side. What do I know in regard to his issue because I have researched it to the point listed above?
That things like the documentary hypothesis and Jesus seminar (ish) material upon which a lot of you rely is really just opinion and a lot like tea leaf reading . As nate has said in another place the Bible like all ancient documents was written and closed centuries ago. theres no science that changes that. textual criticism has a great deal of relevance when dealing with variants but its limited scope is usually expanded upon into highly subjective areas.
That claims of “no historical support” or “not supported by history” have a LONG history of not panning out as authoritative since we are constantly finding new data that overturns them AND which your group has refused to address time and time again Chronological systems presently employed have many issues unresolved.
That Nate’s claims of contradictions are all weak and with very plausible answers with origins that would happen in any ancient text (his and thomas’ barf that they should not happen in the bible if its inspired betraying a total lack of understanding of how cultures and languages change and requiring the ridiculous condition that god intervene in fallen society to ensure that they do not)
An understanding of Hebrew and Greek which inexplicably and rather foolishly half the time you people do not even reference (like critiquing a work in french while refusing to read it). William even claiming he doesn’t need to among the drop down silliest
Apparently that Israel IS a nation though I notice with entertainment that Ruth linked to some sources that dispute that ( ROFl to the extreme).
and finally (for now since my time is limited) that none of you have any grasp of any primary evidence. You merely reference another skeptic or skeptical scholar AS evidence with no concept of the difference between the conclusions DRAWN FROM PRIMARY EVIDENCE and the primary evidence itself.
Not sure you can be blamed too much. GIven that you consider yourself informed by a blog whose owner’s chief “research” resource is the dearly departed Till who wasn’t a scholar in anything – its to be expected.
“This is the point, Ruth. And is the one that Kathy, Mike and every believer cannot seem to grasp.
There is no evidence for the foundational claims of any religion that is based on the supernatural”
Thats known as a priori and the insertion of it within the premise to prove a point is circular – otherwise known as begging the question
Thats the other thing I have come to know
You are not the brightest bunch online.
Carmen, thanks for the comment!
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