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Old 02-16-2014, 11:03 PM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,354,843 times
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Wow, some really good posts ... and rather frustratingly good since now I have no more thunder to present in this conversation. Well, that's not entirely true. I do have one little rumble. But it has been an interesting read thus far. (Too bad we can't take all of our collective posts, put them in a book, and find a publisher. I'll bet you a small fortune of Confederate dollars that it would sell like hot cakes (however hot cakes sell - was never very clear on that)).

Okay, now for my little rumble.

While all of the previous posts have been very interesting and logical, I think perhaps you're all over-thinking the nature of sin just a wee little bit.

Within the Bible (and I'm going to use the Bible as my poster child) there are a lot of supposed sins. Some of those sins are no-brainers - like murder and theft. Yet there are many actions that are not really regarded as sinful that probably should have, actions like rape, torture, kidnapping, child molesting and, of course, slavery.

But NONE of those things are the main focus. For instance, the Bible is constantly hounding adulterers, drunkards, fortune tellers, and fornicators but says very little about murderers. In fact, the first murderer, Cain, was allowed to go free (while picking up sticks on the Sabbath warranted a quick and instantaneous death sentence).

There is a common thread running through all of the sins the Bible focuses on, the ones even modern Christians tend to focus on: They are all actions that might be considered enjoyable. They are actions that carry a distinct likelihood of people leaving the cult, leaving the tribe, for a more pleasurable existence. Religion has often been anti-pleasure, which is why so many manastic orders required a rather dismal existence.

Pleasure is a threat to religion. It always has been. More importantly, it is a threat to the cult and to its leadership. People go astray when they engage in pleasurable activities - and I'm not just talking about sex and booze here. The Puritans even thought playing cards, going to the theater and, yes, LAUGHING on Sunday were all sins. Wearing make-up, women wearing pants, listening to rock 'n roll music, reading non-Christian literature - and how could I forget - using contraception. Suicide is another one of those sins that aren't really sins and was invented by the cult leadership (because, boy, suicide will DEFINITELY take you away from the cult, right?)

The point is that "sin" is just a classification of actions that run the risk of turning you away from the cult, the "following," or the tribe. The threat is a diminished following, or perhaps, the fledgling religion fading into vapor completely. Sin was just a mechanism whereby the religion maintains a hold on the flock by steering the flock away from things that might make you not need God anymore - things that might make you decide to take away the clergy's power.

I see sin as little more than that.
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:39 AM
 
39,039 posts, read 10,831,421 times
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The topic is more on those people who claim to know what God wants, or rather is attempting to explain the Problem of evil. Anything bad happens and 'God knows what He is doing'. If it can possibly be explained by 'He has gathered them to himself' as if a horrible and premature death was somehow doing them a favour or as some part of God's mysterious plan, then we get this ploy that irritated the OP.

If it cannot be made to look good, like Katrina or the tsunami, then it is justified by the 'teaching us a lesson'. We asked for it. We deserve to be punished, collectively, because of the sinful amongst us (accusing looks at anybody deemed Outsiders in any paticular creedo). Or, as they (the few times Christians, Muslims and Jews spoke with one voice, parroted recently in connection with the Philippines disaster by another idiot) were finally reduced to arguing, 'God just Letting us know He is there'.

And if there is not even any bad sense in it, then Satan can always be produced like a concealed Ace. I still remember someone suggesting that all the arguments I produce for disbelief in God (which can hardly be put down to some plan of God or part of some unfathomable learning curve) was down to an invisible imp perching on my shoulder and whispering Lies and deceits into me ear at Stan's behest.

I can only suggest that, if I had been getting all this from Stan, it would not have taken me years and still learning.
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Old 02-17-2014, 05:46 AM
 
Location: Georgia
485 posts, read 731,007 times
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And to add to this....another thing I've noticed (especially on the Christianity forum) is the thread after thread about "is this a sin," "is this ok for Christians?" "What would God want me to do here?" And the whole time I think to myself why not ask God yourself when you pray? They say God is all powerful and can be communicated with through prayer but maybe it's just not working if you have to ask fellow mortals what the God of the universe would want.
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Old 02-17-2014, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,191 posts, read 9,080,735 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
There is a common thread running through all of the sins the Bible focuses on, the ones even modern Christians tend to focus on: They are all actions that might be considered enjoyable.
Yes, and in addition, believers are told that activities which are relatively uninteresting and/or unpleasant, such as prayer and Bible study, are filled with pleasure and positive benefits. I know these don't really interest people, because preachers were universally and continually flogging people to do them and chiding them for not devoting enough of their time every single day to them. Even back then, I said to myself, we PAY you to do that all day every day; we have jobs or school and errands and such. One pastor of mine had a fetish for urging people, if they didn't have enough time in the day to simply get up an hour early and spend it with god. As if most of us weren't already sleep-deprived! Spend it sleeping in god's presence is more likely how THAT would play out.

In retrospect, another thing they just didn't realize was that praying to a brick wall that doesn't talk back or answer in any way distinguishable from random happenstance, and reading a book you've already read from cover to cover, only drives home the basic problems with fundamentalist belief: that god is actually conjured from our noggins and the "inerrant" Bible, isn't. Every time I re-read and studied my Bible, or asked for the umpteenth time for something good that I didn't get (please give my wife even one hour without this unremitting pain, please let her get just one good night's sleep, OR JUST TWITCH YOUR LITTLE FINGER AND HEAL HER ALREADY) -- all this day by day only laid the groundwork for my eventual "apostacy".

So this crazy inversion of pleasure and pain where bad things feel good and good things feel bad is part of the insanity and genius of many (most) religions. In some sects and eras it is taken to baroque extremes, such as "mortifying your flesh" by wearing of hair shirts and self-flagellation. That last is simply all the above taken to its logical conclusion, because it's all based on the idea that the material fallen world in general and your physical body in particular are corrupt and the locus of sin, whereas the supernatural imaginary world is the locus of all good. You must repress pleasure, by embracing pain if necessary ("if your eye offends you pluck it out") in order to get away from this sin nature or principle that is at work in you ("your lusts that war in your members") -- even though supposedly Jesus vanquished Satan and gave us the way to a new nature ("old things are passed away -- behold, all things are become new!")

Of course mortification of the flesh, taken to ITS ultimate conclusion is suicide, but as you point out, there's a special place in hell for people who commit suicide.
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Old 02-17-2014, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,113,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AREQUIPA View Post
The only reason America came in was because Japan attacked Peal Harbour.
Your complete ignorance of American history is astounding.

We had a war against Germany because they declared war against us on Dec 11, 1941. We declared war on them a few hours later.
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:12 AM
 
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Ok, I'll give you that.

While it is hardly a coincidence that Germany's declaration of war on the US is unconnected with the US declaration of war on japan (after all the 'hostilities' that Hitler complained about had been going on since September, but the declaration came just two days after Japan's) it was Germany's declaration, rather than Churchill's, that prompted the US's declaration of war against Germany.
I don't mind being educated.

And now I can't remember what the point was - other than your representation of Churchill being as big an idiot as Dubhya for getting into a war.

Last edited by TRANSPONDER; 02-17-2014 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 02-17-2014, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,113,133 times
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So what is your point?

If Germany had not declared war against us, we would not have declared war against them.

The Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor did not cause us to declare war on Germany.
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:09 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,354,843 times
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Oh, I think we would have eventually gone to war against Germany. It may have taken a few extra months, but the American people were already riled with war frenzy. The vote in congress would have been a lot closer than it was for the declaration of war against Japan, but I'm almost certain we would have gotten there eventually - even if it happened because of a major incident at sea involving our ships and the German U-boats.

(Hopefully the mods won't mind if we kind of jump back and forth between religion and history - we're still on point for the most part).
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Old 02-17-2014, 10:10 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,354,843 times
Reputation: 4055
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Yes, and in addition, believers are told that activities which are relatively uninteresting and/or unpleasant, such as prayer and Bible study, are filled with pleasure and positive benefits. I know these don't really interest people, because preachers were universally and continually flogging people to do them and chiding them for not devoting enough of their time every single day to them. Even back then, I said to myself, we PAY you to do that all day every day; we have jobs or school and errands and such. One pastor of mine had a fetish for urging people, if they didn't have enough time in the day to simply get up an hour early and spend it with god. As if most of us weren't already sleep-deprived! Spend it sleeping in god's presence is more likely how THAT would play out.

In retrospect, another thing they just didn't realize was that praying to a brick wall that doesn't talk back or answer in any way distinguishable from random happenstance, and reading a book you've already read from cover to cover, only drives home the basic problems with fundamentalist belief: that god is actually conjured from our noggins and the "inerrant" Bible, isn't. Every time I re-read and studied my Bible, or asked for the umpteenth time for something good that I didn't get (please give my wife even one hour without this unremitting pain, please let her get just one good night's sleep, OR JUST TWITCH YOUR LITTLE FINGER AND HEAL HER ALREADY) -- all this day by day only laid the groundwork for my eventual "apostacy".

So this crazy inversion of pleasure and pain where bad things feel good and good things feel bad is part of the insanity and genius of many (most) religions. In some sects and eras it is taken to baroque extremes, such as "mortifying your flesh" by wearing of hair shirts and self-flagellation. That last is simply all the above taken to its logical conclusion, because it's all based on the idea that the material fallen world in general and your physical body in particular are corrupt and the locus of sin, whereas the supernatural imaginary world is the locus of all good. You must repress pleasure, by embracing pain if necessary ("if your eye offends you pluck it out") in order to get away from this sin nature or principle that is at work in you ("your lusts that war in your members") -- even though supposedly Jesus vanquished Satan and gave us the way to a new nature ("old things are passed away -- behold, all things are become new!")

Of course mortification of the flesh, taken to ITS ultimate conclusion is suicide, but as you point out, there's a special place in hell for people who commit suicide.
^^ This ... is just plain brilliant. So much so, in fact, that I have absolutely nothing to add, but it was so spot on that I wanted you to KNOW just how spot on it was.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:48 PM
 
Location: WV and Eastport, ME
11,175 posts, read 10,995,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
I agree.

I just thought it was in very poor taste for a British person to call our beloved former president George Bush an idiot, so I had to respond in kind.
So, you think it should be reserved to Americans to call Bush an idiot?
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