Sunday, January 31, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Desconstructionism beliefs?

A letter from Mike

DeconstructImage by SnippyHolloW via Flickr

A lot of content and study on this site. According to you an educated Christian would have to go to great lengths in order to "interpret" the Bible and still believe. Deconstructionism is a beautiful thing, isn't it?

Truth is, deconstruction is much simpler than construction... a house can come down quickly but it may take months to build... you get the point. Your conclusion is Christianity is all about faith and only fools would believe it... you celebrate those who reject the Bible and make insinuations that people who believe in Christ as being the Son of God and follow his teachings are foolish. Any one can do that.

Your response, according to what I've read on this web site, is to completely discount the Bible and blow holes in Christ's words while slamming biblical "interpretation" of educated Christians (this, of course, according to your "interpretation"). My point is interpretation goes both ways.

So you have put together your argument against Christianity... and run with the assumption your interpretation is correct. You have found what you believe to be your smoking guns. Props for whatever that is worth to you.

But if you want real props here on earth you really should try constructing something. What I'm really asking is, "What is it you do believe?" Because so far all I've read is you don't believe in a God. But the problem is you obviously believe something or you wouldn't work so stinking hard to spread your message. I mean stop taking so much time to fight against something you do not believe... If there is not a God why go to such great lengths to dismiss Him? If you are sure there is no God why not just walk away? What does it ultimately matter to you?

According to you... In the end we will die and that is all...? Why take so much time to disprove a God that does not exist and try to discourage people to who do? You say you are about "encouraging de-converting and former Christians." I guess it's all in how you word it. Because I bet you have done your fair share of "discouraging converting and current Christians." Which, to be honest, in my opinion, is more to the point... according to my interpretation of your faith... though I am not sure what you have faith in - just that you have established you do not have faith in God.

Here's the point:

If your goal is to discourage people or try to get them to not believe in God then you are accomplishing your goal. The problem is you are still cowardly hanging out as a deconstructionist (still with an undefined belief). The problem is... you are not giving these people anything TO believe in. At least be bold enough to have a message people can believe... not just state a long argument for why people should disbelieve. Sounds so discouraging, doesn't it?

Questions I would like to know... if not Christianity... what? What is your alternative? How does it answer all of life's biggest questions? How can we know it is true? What is YOUR Bible so to speak? Your framework for belief? Or do you take the "easy" way out and call yourself an athiest? I'd like to hear your answer on that one because if you simply say you are an athiest I would like to know your reasoning why you are and not your reasoning why you don't believe. Then I would ask you to defend your position for athiesm and you would have to construct your belief system (not what you do NOT believe in but what you DO believe in).

It is obvious to me that, partially, this web site is a celebration for those who have moved beyond Christianity to a state of enlightenment in the reality there is no living Christ, the Bible is a lie, etc. But, again, the problem is you haven't stated what people should believe in, what you've been enlightened to, and how you know it's not true.

I have noticed you highlight science and it seems as though you have determined Christianity and Science are opposed, but what do you believe? Construction is much harder, right? And if you state what you do believe you begin to build. And when you begin to build you would have to defend your position against those who try to deconstruct your position... or you simply change your position. In so doing people would start web sites with mantra's like, "encouraging deconverting and former athiests, agnostics, etc."

So if not the Bible... What is it we should turn to? If not Jesus, who? you? Do you have a message that is truly encouraging? Do you have a message I can go to? Or are you simply going to try to focus on what I should run from?

Finally, if you ever do decide to be bold enough to construct your belief system... shall I apply the same principles to your belief system as you do to the Bible and Jesus' teaching?

You seem so bent on stating your case against something you do not believe in. Seems like a waste of time to me. Let it go... move on... right? Either that or build something and tell me what to believe in. But please don't disguise yourself and be honest that you have no real answers... just criticism.

I think you believe you have adequately deconstructed Christianity... and if that is your goal I don't think I'll ever understand why you took on that endeavor. But even more troubling to me is, "What have you constructed in its place?"

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Humanist Charities Sends Food and Supplies to Haiti

Dear Friend,

Thank you to everyone who answered our call for donations to support the American Humanist Association's Humanist Charities project and Sebastian Velez's efforts in Haiti to bring food, water, and supplies to the people of Jacmel, a city also devastated by the earthquake but received little media attention.

Thanks to the generosity of our members, Sebastian's team of volunteers and Dominican Republic NGOs were able to work through the night to pack food, water, medical supplies, and rescue tools to send to Haiti. Yesterday, the supplies were put on a Dominican Navy boat and arrived in Jacmel. Humanist Charities' shipment of supplies was the first to arrive. Medical supplies and rescue tools were put to use immediately, and food and water were distributed successfully.

Read the letter from Sebastian and a news article in El Nuevo Diario, a Dominican Republic newspaper, that highlights the AHA's efforts.

The photos to the right show just how your donation made an immediate impact. You can see more photos on our Flickr page

Your donations were immediately put to use to buy food, medicine, water and other supplies to Haitians who desperately needed our help. Thank you.

All of this would not have been possible without the generosity and quick response of AHA members like you. Over $32,000 has been raised so far, and we want to keep sending our support. Together, as humanists, we are making a difference. Donate today.

Sincerely,

Signature

Roy Speckhardt
Executive Director

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P.S. Humanist Charities will continue to send donations from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund to aid in more shipments to Haiti. Your tax-deductable donation right now will make an immediate impact. Please give generously.


              

All contributions through Humanist Charities of the American Humanist Association are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Five percent (5%) of your contribution will be reserved for administrative and management purposes.

 

Ex-Christian Question

By Master's of Nothing

At the age of forty-something I’ve spent over half of my life engaged with, supporting and preparing to work in the xtian church. About three years ago I read Richard DawkinsGod Delusion and from the day I finished the last page, I’ve not looked back. Indeed, I’ve found atheism to be the most honest, refreshing and liberating experience of my life. That said, I now have a bit of a dilemma.

When I was in college I decided that I was going to study to become a xtian pastor. I went to school and obtained a Masters of Divinity degree. Recently my employer asked a number of workers at my company to submit standard “resume type” information because they wanted to re-evaluate our pay scales and, because of a computer problem, files for employees hired before thus and such a date had been lost. When it came time to fill out that paperwork, I found myself stuck between a rock and hard place. It’s not that I don’t believe in god. It’s that I now know that god doesn’t exist and, since I essentially have a Master’s Degree in god, I realistically have a Master’s Degree in nothing. My direct supervisor and I talked and I decided not to put my advanced degree on my paperwork even though if I had I might have received a pay raise.

On the one hand, I know that a Master’s Degree is an academic achievement and that I did the academic work and received the academic degree. On the other hand, I am no longer a xtian, my degree is useless apart from working in or teaching about religion/ the church– something I won’t do-and it’s not like I have a degree in a field with which I disagree (which I could happily live with) but, rather, that I have a degree in something that isn’t even real. It’s like having a Master’s of Flying Spaghetti Monsters or a Master’s of Pink Unicorns. I’m an “expert” is something that doesn’t exist – in nothing!

Before this event at work, I’d never considered this issue. I’ve also recently started dating again and I am perplexed when it comes to talking about education because I’m very smart, education is extremely important to me but my degree no longer reflects me as a person, what I believe or any sound sense of reality. And so, my dear fellow non-theists, I would be most grateful for your thoughts into how I might wrangle my way through this little maze of uncertainty that I unknowingly created for myself in my pre-enlightenment days.

Many thanks.






Wednesday, January 13, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Help me deconstruct this!

Palmyrene deities: from left to right: the lun...
A letter from Autumn

This would probably be better posted in the forums but, I know there are some brilliant minds on here that could help me work though this puzzle. My in-laws are challenging my husband on his lack of belief, and I struggle to understand what they're saying, let alone where they're coming from, and therefore I cannot deconstruct what they are trying to argue. They've started discussing it on his Facebook (great idea, since most of our friends don't know about his lack of belief) and I don't really have a lot of time before all our other religious friends (we attended a bible college) jump in and make a huge mess of things.

It's from a website, http://www.christcenter.net/godisnot.htm. What I think the gist of the argument is, is because god is god, god does not have to prove it's existence... or something like that. Reading it hurts my brain.

This is the part my FIL posted: "And what kind of proof is required? The answer of course is physical, empirical proof. The evidence must fit the unbeliever’s own specifications in order to meet a certain criteria for belief. In other words, the unbeliever tries to set the rules of inquiry and demands that God follow them. Making himself sovereign, the secularist proceeds to dictate the boundaries of acceptable information. Instead of considering the existing evidence, he insists on having other information as a precondition for personal faith."

If there's a section on the forum that already covers this, please feel free to direct me there!

Thanks!


Sunday, January 10, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Reverse Witnessing

by eveningmeadows

Recently I ran into a woman I knew from my last church. We really weren't friends, just acquaintances. We talked for awhile, and when asked, I said I didn't go to church anymore, and I didn't believe in god anymore. After the look of shock, I explained to her the frustration of not being able to ask questions, and the stupid responses from the elders of the church when I did. I shared the frustrations over what I saw in the church. We exchanged email addresses, and to my surprise, she actually did email me.

When emailing back and forth, she kept thinking over and over that I left the church because of the idiots in the church. She said that we are all working out our salvation, and we shouldn't blame god for what people do. Yes, they make god look bad, but we should keep our eyes on god only. Yup, that's easy. I would take the time to explain over and over that I didn't leave for that reason. I left because none of the teaching made sense to me anymore. I was frustrated because I couldn't think for myself. After many years of praying, reading, researching, I couldn't believe any of it anymore. And what do I keep getting back? I have to take my eyes off of the people.

I keep getting the statements about "truth." Of course the difficulty is knowing what she has been taught. I KNOW what's in her head. I know where this all leads. We were taught that there was only one truth, and she has it. She can never have understanding or tolerance for what I believe. There is no room for that.

How can anyone keep their sanity, and still keep friendships with xtians? How do you listen to all that dribble, and not just scream? How can you have discussions, when these people think they are the righteous ones? Since I'm just getting out of this "cult" mentality and brainwashing, this is really overwhelming at times. Can I have a friendship with this woman?

Well, I don't know if I can. We have gotten together a few times, and it's like there's this elephant in the room, and we just pretend it's not there. She seems to be very careful about what she talks about.

So I emailed her with my problem with this relationship. I told her about the "elephant." I explained that it would be nice if we could talk about what she was doing in the church, etc., and what caused me to leave, and what I believe now. An equal back and forth discussion. Of course, the statement back was we could talk about her and her church work, and how god was working in her life, and I could talk about what I believe and why I left, but I wasn't going to get her to leave her faith. Did I say that? No. I just wanted to scream. What I got out of it was she could talk about the "truth", and I could talk about my garbage. Of course she's afraid I'm going to stuff my beliefs down her throat, but that's wrong, only xtians can do that!

I find I just want to break this off. My self-esteem doesn't seem to be at the place where I can feel sorry for her intolerance and fear. I hate the feeling that she's looking down at me. I find myself avoiding xtians that I knew from my past. She said she wanted me to see that a xtian could be a kind and loving person, and I told her I hope she could see through me that there is no absolute truth, and to accept people and their beliefs.

I know I should continue this for the same reason she's continuing this, to "witness". I suppose fundamentalist thinking will only stop when exposed to people who challenge that belief system and show them something different. Reverse witnessing. Go figure.


Thursday, January 07, 2010                                                                                       View Comments

Coming out as an Atheist

by Confused Kate

Thursday Afternoon City Hall WeddingImage by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I will try to keep it short and simple.

I am a faux-baptist and my fiancee is a faux-catholic. We are both atheists and want to get married soon. My family wants him to be baptized. His family is not as demanding (yet). I've been thinking of coming out instead of doing this whole circus act. I'm not financially stable enough to move in with my fiancee, but when I am, I think I'll move in with him, come out, and live my own life, and get married whenever.

I want this more than anything, but I'm scared. My family is physically abusive, and while they are against physical abuse, they feel justified in my case. (Weird, I know.)

How do you come out with the least about of battle scars? Do you just leave and never even officially come out? I think I would prefer the latter.

I have no need to yell my beliefs from rooftops. I just want to live a peaceful life where I can make decisions for myself.

Please help.