How I became a Christian Atheist

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Jocose
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Re: How I became a Christian Atheist

Post by Jocose » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:23 am

Onyx wrote: There may be a God, I do not know.
Its obvious to me you have never had a relationship with God.

Certainly its ok to have questions and doubts about things, we all do, but to say "I dont know if there is a God" shows you have never met him.

If I were to meet you onyx, and actually have a genuine face to face with you, I couldn't walk away questioning if you truly existed.
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Re: How I became a Christian Atheist

Post by Roadmaster » Sat Jun 27, 2009 12:34 pm

Onyx wrote: There may be a God, I do not know.
I think you will find God because you have the courage to question, you look at things and yourself clearly, but most of all you have the desire to find God, truly find him.

One reason I believe in God is living things have a spirit to them. It is easy to see this spirit in our pets and wild animals but looking at living things under a microscope, they have a spirit as well. Not saying they have a soul but a spirit. Even no two amebas behave exactly the same.

As far as church, I no longer go either. And like you, I am NOT trying to convince anyone else they should not go. CPS has become my church and I know that was never the intention of the founder(s).

I have never failed to read a single post you have made. In fact I usually read yours first. I hope you stick around.
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Re: How I became a Christian Atheist

Post by Walkman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 3:35 pm

Onyx wrote:I am an atheist because this philosophy does not require God. There may be a God, I do not know.
Actually, this would make you an agnostic, not an atheist. In either case, I will pray for you in your quest for truth. I believe you are on a circular path which will eventually lead you back home.

God's Peace
“The smoke, like burning incense, tow´rs; So should a praying heart of yours, With ardent cries, Surmount the skies. Thus think, and smoke tobacco.” Ralph Erskine

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Post by TomT_90GT » Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:16 pm

Hey Onyx, I started reading this thread a little late. I've truly enjoyed dialoguing with you in the past, or just reading your opinions. We've agreed and disagreed at times, but like the others, I value your participation here and look forward to more.

I've gotta run out for the evening, and besides, I really can't add much to what the others have already said. You know that Del and I have butted heads a bit in the past (and I still consider him a brother as I hope he does me)...I'll say this, though, he stole the words right out of my mouth.

Long story short, my path to Christianity sounds much like yours...I saw hypocrisy and stuff that didn't make sense in organized religion, and became an agnostic (which I agree with the person who said that's probably closer to what you really are right now). Through a series of events I won't bore you with here, I too got to the place where I prayed exactly the sort of prayer Del referred to, an honest one from the heart: "God, I don't know if you exist or not. If you do, I want to know you. Please reveal yourself to me as I read the Bible." I'm not suggesting you haven't been through the Bible yourself already, and maybe you aren't at the point you want to again. But I believe God is big enough, and faithful to those who honestly are seeking the Truth. You don't need to belong to a church, or sign up to any particular doctrine. But someday, it is my prayer that as an honest seeker, you will come to that point you can offer up that Doubting Thomas sort of prayer. Then empty your mind of any preconceived notions whether they come from what any of us say, or what you've already read elsewhere, or what your personal philosophy is. Just sincerely ask God, and then read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.

Take care, and keep searching, brother.

---Tom T.

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Re: How I became a Christian Atheist

Post by Kerdy » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:05 pm

Onyx wrote: There may be a God, I do not know.
There certainly is a God, and if you continue to seek Him, He will reveal Himself to you in a way you should never doubt His existence again. There are just two catches. 1) Don’t stop. When you do, He waits until you decide to continue. 2) Keep your eyes open. The moment He shows you what you need to see, the last thing you want to be doing is looking somewhere else or have your eyes closed.

God works with different people differently. For example: I have NEVER had an emotional relationship with God. Its always been fact, logic, truth. I have had emotional moments, but not a regular feeling of overwhelming joy. I have friends who do. I envy them, that is, until they tell me they envy me because emotion sometimes gets in the way of actually KNOWING God, not just feeling His presence. I truly believe God works with each person as they need it, how their personality will respond, to their strengths to help others in specific areas.

If I started thinking, "Well, I don’t get all emotional and cry every Sunday at church like others do, God must not be in me or even exist.", then I would never be able to grow. I simply keep looking earnestly for that rare emotional moment God allows me to have. I even once tried the, "I'm not gonna stop praying until you crack me open and let my heart felt feelings pour out". I was kinda tired after a few hours and realized I was putting God in a corner and He wouldn’t respond that way.

Search for Him. He WILL reveal Himself in a way best suited for you, at the proper time.

I know I said I wouldn’t get into this one, but you seem to have some pain about this so hope something I said will help.

PS-Had a CMA meeting this morning and brought you up in prayer. Not just you, but everyone who reaches the point you have found yourself. We had a short devotional and something struck me.....

In this life, as this world shakes us like an earthquake, things fall away from us. Those are the things we don’t need. Leave them, don’t pick them back up. What remains is what God knows we need. The rest is trash, useless, weighs us down. Don’t grieve over the lost, but rejoice in the refinement process and the end product.
"Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ." - Justin Martyr  ( c.160 )

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Post by Onyx » Sat Jun 27, 2009 5:06 pm

Thanks again for all the notes, and for the reading assignments here or by private message! Yes, I love reading, and I may well get to several of the recommended titles - not a promise, but I do love to read!

For all those who suggested a book, I'd like to offer a counter suggestion. Have you read The Reason Driven Life by Robert Price?
http://www.amazon.com/Reason-Driven-Lif ... 1591024765

You may have caught that the title is a parody of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren (which has sold a copy or two in the USA - I understand). The Reason book itself is a challenge to the brand of Christianity promoted by that earlier Purpose book.

Now I'm not saying that I agree with Robert Price on everything. I don't. But he sure challenged me to think. And also, I'm just handing out a reading assignment in the hope it'll make people think twice before adding another book to my to-read stack! (Just kidding - I love the book suggestions.)
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Post by Preacherman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:03 pm

Jocose wrote:
Onyx wrote: There may be a God, I do not know.
Its obvious to me you have never had a relationship with God.

Certainly its ok to have questions and doubts about things, we all do, but to say "I dont know if there is a God" shows you have never met him.

If I were to meet you onyx, and actually have a genuine face to face with you, I couldn't walk away questioning if you truly existed.
+ a zillion!!!

GOOD POST, JO!!!!!!!

I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

NO, Onyx, you are no antiChrist, but as you said in your OP:
Onyx wrote:Of course, people were either with us or against us (as Jesus taught)...
The passage does not discount you, but it it discounts you ever being a Christian.
Walkman wrote:
Onyx wrote:I am an atheist because this philosophy does not require God. There may be a God, I do not know.
Actually, this would make you an agnostic, not an atheist. In either case, I will pray for you in your quest for truth. I believe you are on a circular path which will eventually lead you back home.

God's Peace
YES!!!


YES, Onyx, PEACE!!!

Some of you guys aren't reading, look here:
Onyx wrote:No, I'm not going to pray for the gift of faith or for God to show me if He's real.
Actually Onyx is in a safer place now than he was before!!!

Onyx, I read through this thread - I saw in the OP where you burned yourself out trying to be something you were not, a Christian.

There are millions of persons who are in the same boat - they force good works, force Scripture Study, force adherence to a religious institution and its rules, and some have even forced themselves to Preach - and all this without ever having been touched by the Lord God of Israel!!!

Onyx, I have and shall Pray for you, but in a way that may sound odd to many. I shall not Pray for you to be like any of us (especially myself), but I shall Pray for the Lord to make of you what He will and in that, that one day Jesus would come to you, for it is certain you won’t seek Him out, just as none of the rest of us did either!!!!!!!

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Stick around Onyx, many here Love you, I do!!!

LORD HELP US ALL!!!
"Give a man an open Bible, an open mind, a conscience in good working order, and he will have a hard time to keep from being a Baptist." ATR

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Post by Onyx » Sat Jun 27, 2009 6:51 pm

Preacherman, I was secretly hoping you'd wade into this discourse (discourse - a perfect word for the occasion!) And you didn't let me down... what a bombshell!
Preacherman wrote:
Onyx wrote:Of course, people were either with us or against us (as Jesus taught)...
The passage does not discount you, but it it discounts you ever being a Christian.
So I wasn't ever a Christian?! Holy smoke!
Preacherman wrote: LORD HELP US ALL!!!
Amen!

Preacherman, you have a persona on this site which looms larger than life. And yet, I'm sure you're a "what you see is what you get" kind of guy. Honest, hard working, kind and big hearted, confident and over-articulate! You say what you mean, and wear your heart on your sleeve. Not really a shrinking violet - I'd posit. I've respected that from day one - even when it infuriated me. Sometimes your views echo very closely the stand that I took for 20 years. (I don't mean to flatter myself here, because I genuinely think that you are more diligent and knowledgeable than I ever was, but the sola scriptura approach and overwhelming respect for the written Word is what I had aspired to.) To put it bluntly, I'd go to your church any day before I ever set foot in a church I was running!

Others here have also won my respect, including some from the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Their faith is real, intelligent, healthy and robust. Furthermore, the tradition that they follow has proven enduring while we've all watched many spiritual heavy-weights come and go.

So I ask myself.... exactly how coherent is the Christianity of these men? So I read a thread like BigNews
http://www.christianpipesmokers.net/mod ... ic&t=11125
or HMMM...to Ctholics and Orthodox:
http://www.christianpipesmokers.net/mod ... ic&t=11135
...and I can't help but conclude - these are a bunch of good guys who haven't a clue what they're talking about.

Now you might be right. From your point of view, I was never a Christian. If I was sufficiently gauche, I'd put it to a poll... Do you think Onyx was ever a Christian...? Yes/No/Only on Sundays. But I have a faint suspicion that some of these other good men would suggest that I was a Christian. I certainly "confessed with my mouth the Lord Jesus, and believed in my heart that God raised him from the dead." For those differently inclined, I spoke in tongues and led others to similarly experience the holy spirit. I can't judge now, but I certainly did think that I was a Christian for a sustained period of my life. In fact, this is the first time I have ever even questioned the proposition. And yet, since you've brought it into question, I'd have to know what a Christian really is before I could know if I was one.

Now, how on Earth (since that's where I am right now) could I conclude that all these messages of good will have come from men who know what they're talking about with regard to Christianity?

"Arrrhhhh! But don't put your faith in men!" (I hear the cry of my devout past). Well, if God's going to reveal Himself, then I'm not going to stop Him. But any admonition to seek the Lord with this prayer, or that book, or another devotion... is coming to me from men who cannot agree among themselves what Christianity even is. Any searching of the scripture is inextricably bound to the interpretation of men, not least, my own. For if a text cannot be interpreted, then it remains ink on a page.

Sir, if this is God's church, then I kind of like it (because I also have a sense of humour). But in terms of credibility, God hasn't done Himself any favours.
Preacherman wrote: LORD HELP US ALL!!!
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Post by CaptainBlack » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:12 pm

The inconsistancies you mention seem to be inconsitancies with one's interpretation of Scripture versus one's world view rather than inconsitancies within Scripture itself - unless I missed something.

The timing of the Flood - an event documented in many cultures (and some religions) can be difficult to determine.

Why wouldn't God have placed the stars in the sky to light the earth.

As far as references of the sun revolving the earth, I believe Scripture spoke to man's observations rather than served as an astronomy lesson.

Indeed we are prone to error - but this does not prove the non-existance of God. Rather, it proves our need for Him.

I highly reccommend the following book:

http://www.amazon.com/There-God-Notorio ... 0061335290

It was written by a philospher who had some similar experiences as you.

The man spent nearly a life time trying to disprove the existance of God and changed his mind although at the time of the writing of the book did not become a Christian.

Some questions he raised include:

1. If the universe started with a "big bang," what caused it?
2. How could a planet that could sustain human life have come about when the chances of such an event occurring randomly are astronomically impossible?
3. Does the complexity of the human species point to a Creator?

... some things to think about.

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Post by Kerdy » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:19 pm

CaptainBlack wrote:The inconsistancies you mention seem to be inconsitancies with one's interpretation of Scripture versus one's world view rather than inconsitancies within Scripture itself - unless I missed something.
I agree completely. I have noticed many people I speak with who say there are inconsistancies in scripture, when asked to show what they are talking about, refer to a variety of areas....

Some are simply out of context. Others are, when read in context, written for a specific group of people. Some are OT vs. NT without the understanding of "Under the Law" and "Under Grace" and a long list of other things. I have personally have never seen any scripture that cannot be explained with proper research of the scriptures. But thats just me.
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Post by Kerdy » Sat Jun 27, 2009 9:21 pm

This is also a good book. One I really need to finish reading.

http://www.amazon.com/Whats-So-Great-Ab ... 88-8468065
"Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ." - Justin Martyr  ( c.160 )

“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” - Venerable Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Post by Walkman » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:49 pm

Onyx wrote:Sometimes your views echo very closely the stand that I took for 20 years.
That would be since you were three? :wink:
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Post by Preacherman » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:38 am

Onyx, pay no attention to Walkman, he is named for something one sticks in their ear and listens to rap music on… :lol:

Onyx, your post was way to kind to me, but I thank you!!!!!!!

The Only One Who knows the only right and proper way is the Lord Himself - SO, I can suggest nothing that will ‘get you closer to the Lord’, His being closer must be His move not only toward you, but into you - I know His coming to me was an absolute shock - I Pray soon He will surprise you too, with such a visit.

MAY THE LORD BLESS AND KEEP YOU, ONYX!!!!!!!
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Post by FoxHound » Sun Jun 28, 2009 7:08 am

CaptainBlack wrote:The inconsistancies you mention seem to be inconsitancies with one's interpretation of Scripture versus one's world view rather than inconsitancies within Scripture itself - unless I missed something.
Onyx wrote:I've spent more than 20 years teaching that they are [consistent] (so please do not lightly suggest that this perspective is simply because I lack a particular explanation).
FoxHound wrote:A cross-section of the most respected Biblical commentators from various church traditions should kill the oft-repeated evangelical notion that the Bible has a clear and consistent message.
It is not merely his or my interpretation of the scriptures that leads to incoherence and problems both internal and external. As I argued elsewhere, it is every interpretation that is problematic, not least because none of them agree. Otherwise how does one explain the proliferation of sects and denominations, each open to serious criticism because of its hermeneutical 'problem texts?' Oh, but I already hear the rebuke. 'Our interpretation is perfectly consistent and water-tight.' No, it isn't. That's why Catholics and Protestants have been taking the piss out of each other for centuries - each claiming the full weight of correct interpretive authority. Christianity, as Onyx has elsewhere stated, is incapable of speaking with unity on any point of doctrine and nearly any verse in the entire Bible. So how is this merely his or my problem of interpretation? None of you remotely agree on what the Bible means, when we get down to the nuts and bolts of it.

This particular issue goes far beyond what Onyx has stated in this thread, and certainly is not limited to the Sunday-School objections some might smugly expect. The inconsistencies to which he refers are larger in scale, as I have tried to illuminate here and elsewhere.
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Post by Kerdy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 11:26 am

FoxHound wrote:A cross-section of the most respected Biblical commentators from various church traditions should kill the oft-repeated evangelical notion that the Bible has a clear and consistent message.
Really? Hmm. It's clear and consistent to me. Perhaps it's the reader, not the material. Just a thought. :wink:

What I have found most often the problem, not saying this effects anyone here, is people tend to listen to others instead of listening to God. This has a terrible ability to scew Gods Word.

I love to hear the opinions of others; however, I take them every so lightly when applying them to the actual scriptures themselves. I try to allow God to speak to me directly with His message. Doesn't always work, so I must then look for others opinions to help me out a little until God does speak to me. Bottom line is, I develop my views based off of what God says to me, not what others say they think. Why? Because I have heard some real "whoppers" of interpretation in my time.

(Ex: It doesn't matter what you believe, as long as you sincerely believe it. God let's everyone into heaven.) I was told this included athiests, polythiests, etc. Don't know what bible they were reading, but I have a feeling it only had pictures in it.

People tend to see what they WANT to see when guided by the human spirit instead of the Holy Spirit. If I believed what I wanted when reading the bible, my views would be completely different. There are many things I wished were different, but they arent. They are as they are and I accept that. God makes the rule, regardless of how I or anyone else feels or thinks about it.

I also love it when someone says something like:

"If God did things X or Y way, I just don't think I would like that and couldn't live as a Christian any longer."

"God would never do that, I don't care what the scriptures say."

What? Amazing how this person was able to place him/herself on a pedistal above God. Psst, God does things the way He wants them done. Period. Doesn't matter what we say.

"Man wrote the scriptures, not God."

Guess they never heard the phrase, "Inspired Word of God" before or forgot God would audibly speak to people in the OT.

Well, I think I have been on my high horse for long enough. I think you guys get the jist of what I am saying.
"Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ." - Justin Martyr  ( c.160 )

“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” - Venerable Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Post by Kerdy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:42 pm

Found a nice quote, thought it may apply somewhat here.

Religion today is not transforming people; rather it is being transformed by the people. It is not raising the moral level of society; it is descending to society's own level, and congratulating itself that it has scored a victory because society is smilingly accepting its surrender. --A. W. Tozer (1897-1963)
"Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian- even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ." - Justin Martyr  ( c.160 )

“Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right.” - Venerable Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

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Post by TomT_90GT » Sun Jun 28, 2009 12:57 pm

Not to divert this thread from Onyx, but I just have to say Kerdy, I feel like you and I are of one mind. And Foxhound, I disagree with some of what you said, but you are spot on about different sects of Christianity who tend to accentuate the differences, rather than celebrate the central core which we can agree on, that Jesus Christ is Lord and is the only possible hope for man's redemption from his sinfulness. Having said that, I am NOT advocating a watering down of individual church beliefs and a "open the door to everyone" mentality. I will stubbornly maintain that there is a lot my Catholic brethren are wrong about regarding their doctrine, and they will do they same with my Protestant doctrine; however, because we do share the central core belief about Jesus Christ, I have no problem calling them my brothers in Christ, and I would hope they would feel the same about me.
Even on the Protestant side of the house, there is a certain denomination which doesn't believe instruments belong as a part of church worship. I know they are wrong, but still consider them true Christians. :wink:

As far as supposed Bible contradictions, I'm with Kerdy. Taken IN CONTEXT, in light of other Scriptures (i.e. not just pulling out a verse or two and trying to have it stand on its own), I don't see any contradictions at all. Do I understand them all? No. Are there still unresolved mysteries? Yes. Do different Scriptures sometimes appear to say different things? Well, maybe, but usually they appear to me like two sides of a coin, it isn't either or, it's both.

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Post by broc_s » Sun Jun 28, 2009 2:56 pm

Onyx wrote:Thanks folks for the comments (and the private messages). It's a real interesting situation communicating this info on this forum.
broc_s wrote:Your story is very similar to a very good friend of mine, who after a year of struggling, has now chosen to have his name removed from the roles of the church and be excommunicated. I have wept for him and will continue to. Even now, i am brought to tears with your testimony as it reminds me of his.
And this really fascinates me broc. I wonder how it worked for your friend. It seems to me that an individual can choose not to communicate, or even ask not to be communicated with, but only the church authority can actually excommunicate. Is excommunication what he wanted, or did he just want to leave? Certainly if he actually wanted no further contact from members of the church, then perhaps he had some strong feeling of wrongdoing on the part of the church. I know people in that position with considerable justification.

It's also intriguing because I mourned for those who left my church years ago. And yet when I've contacted them again (sometimes years later) they were happy to be out. Others are happy to be in. I honour their decision either way.

I also want to make clear that I have no intention of changing anyone else's mind (even if that were possible) and no desire to shake anyone else's faith.
You are right Onyx, he couldn't excommunicate himself. The excommunication was the ultimate outcome of his profession, and his own desire to be removed from the roles of the church.

I am on my way to Haiti, so I won't be responding to any posts for a while. But I am praying for you man. Coming from a Presbyterian background, I would like to hear more about your story and why you are in this place now, but it will have to be another time.

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Post by coco » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:03 pm

broc_s wrote:I am on my way to Haiti,
Please post a couple of pictures and tell us how it went when you return
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Post by CaptainBlack » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:19 pm

FoxHound wrote:
CaptainBlack wrote:The inconsistancies you mention seem to be inconsitancies with one's interpretation of Scripture versus one's world view rather than inconsitancies within Scripture itself - unless I missed something.
Onyx wrote:I've spent more than 20 years teaching that they are [consistent] (so please do not lightly suggest that this perspective is simply because I lack a particular explanation).
FoxHound wrote:A cross-section of the most respected Biblical commentators from various church traditions should kill the oft-repeated evangelical notion that the Bible has a clear and consistent message.
It is not merely his or my interpretation of the scriptures that leads to incoherence and problems both internal and external. As I argued elsewhere, it is every interpretation that is problematic, not least because none of them agree. Otherwise how does one explain the proliferation of sects and denominations, each open to serious criticism because of its hermeneutical 'problem texts?' Oh, but I already hear the rebuke. 'Our interpretation is perfectly consistent and water-tight.' No, it isn't. That's why Catholics and Protestants have been taking the piss out of each other for centuries - each claiming the full weight of correct interpretive authority. Christianity, as Onyx has elsewhere stated, is incapable of speaking with unity on any point of doctrine and nearly any verse in the entire Bible. So how is this merely his or my problem of interpretation? None of you remotely agree on what the Bible means, when we get down to the nuts and bolts of it.

This particular issue goes far beyond what Onyx has stated in this thread, and certainly is not limited to the Sunday-School objections some might smugly expect. The inconsistencies to which he refers are larger in scale, as I have tried to illuminate here and elsewhere.
While there are disagreements in the Christian community, there is also a great deal of UNITY in belief and application of in our faith. Most Christians adhere to an Apostle's Creed.

The fact that there are disagreements among Christians does nothing to disprove the existance of God.

I believe you mentioned that you are an admirer of Jesus. Not only did He claim that there is a God, He claimed He WAS God. This leaves you with a tough question to face - one you may have already heard:

Was Jesus a liar, lunatic, or Lord?

I do think before we get into biblical accuracy or consistancy among Christian denominations, we need to start first with the question: Is there a God? ... Mathematical probability with respect to creation of our universe and a life sustaining earth would suggest there is.

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