The Tragic Flaw

Whenever I tell an atheist or skeptic that God didn’t kill Jesus but we did, they get all riled up, usually saying things like,“I wasn’t there 2,000 years ago…don’t blame me!”  Of course, you weren’t there and, no, I’m not saying you personally killed Jesus. All of this misses the point. 

It is true that preachers have manipulatively said things like “every sin you commit puts another stripe on Jesus’ back, nailing Him to the cross,” in order to guilt unwary souls into the Kingdom, but that’s not how I mean it either. When I say we killed Jesus I mean that we all belong to the same club as those who actually did. A New Testament word for this “club” is kosmos, or “world.”

There are several ways kosmos is used in the New Testament. In this context it means, “the human sociological realm that exists in estrangement from God.” (See “Jesus Christ: Savior of the World” for further study on this concept.)

Scapegoating (blame-shifting) is foundational to this sociological construct. René Girard did a seminal work on this insidious stronghold in his book, The Scapegoat, tracing the practice all the way back to the beginning of civilization.

According to Girard, whenever things got tense between warring tribes, finding a common enemy was the way bring peace and form these unholy alliances. We see this with Herod and Pilate when Jesus was offered as the scapegoat in order to quell tensions between the religious and political forces working in Jerusalem (see Luke 23:10-12).

Even today, political parties and nations unite when there’s a common enemy (like 9/11). Even when it’s for a just cause, it’s the pattern of this kosmos. But unlike pagan scapegoats, Christ was innocent and He also didn’t stay dead, so the ritual myth was exposed. As Girard points out:

“Christianity is a founding murder in reverse, which illuminates what has to remain hidden to produce ritual, sacrificial religions.” (Battling to the End: Conversations with Benoit Chantre)

For more on scapegoating, read my post, “Religion, Politics, and Scapegoating.”

But the problem with understanding all of this isn’t just with atheists; we Christians have been taught a concept of sin as infractions of rules and punishments for those infractions. Jesus was punished by God in some seemingly arbitrary jurisprudence-based cosmic court, which is more anthropological and medieval than biblical in origin. And, worse, it only deals with the symptoms, not the source.

What is sin, actually?

The Greek word for sin is hamartia (ἁμαρτία). Its etymology is really quite illuminating when you study it out. Hamartia was a common word in the Hellenistic Greek tragedies of Jesus’ day. Its origin probably comes from Aristotle’s Poetics:

Hamartia refers to the tragic flaw in the character of the protagonist which ultimately leads to his downfall. In most cases, the hero defies a moral law which results in a series of events and unfavorable circumstances leading to his destruction. The result is that the audience instantly feels pity for the main character and is also gripped with fear as he is able to identify with the human nature of the error committed by the tragic hero.” (from “What is Hamartia in Greek Tragedy?“)

Here’s a couple of classic examples of Hamartia in Greek tragedies (from the same article):

“A classic case of Aristotelian hamartia occurs in the tragedies of Oedipus and Antigone when the moral flaws cause a tragic turn in the events of the plot. An example of Oedipus’s hamartia is when he holds Teiresias responsible for plotting the murder of Laius. Antigone insists on burying her brother defying Creon’s law forbidding anyone from doing the same. Antigone’s pride makes her value the eternal law and she buries Polyneices which sets the tragic action of the play.”

The mind behind this tragic flaw, to quote Morpheus, is the world that’s been pulled over our eyes. It’s the fishbowl we’ve been swimming in, and there’s no way out on our own because at the end of the day we’re still stuck inside our own heads. You can read more about sin as a tragic flaw in my post, “Why Jesus? Part Two.”

However you interpret the Adam and Eve story, something tragic happened when our eyes were opened. Good and evil became “us against them.”

So, it’s in this way that I’m saying we killed Jesus. We took part because we all belong to the same kosmos, the same way of living that always does this to pure other-centered, self-giving love.

Why? Because we would rather demonize, even kill our enemies than love them, bury our victims rather than expose ourselves, blame our flaws on someone else rather than own up to them, marginalize the disadvantaged rather than include them, and label and dismiss those we disagree with rather than understand them. It’s this foundational sin that the cross exposes.

As Brian Zahnd put it so well:

“The cross is where all that is wrong with humankind, and the world that together we have built, is dragged into the light where we can see what’s wrong. And it’s also the place where we encounter God’s forgiveness and redemptive alternative that is offered to the world.”‘( Lamb of God – The Last Scapegoat)

You only have to watch the news for five minutes to sense there’s something systemically wrong with the world. That is, if you dare consider it at all. Yet, this tragedy has a happy ending because God is the audience in this drama. And He’s taken pity on us, using humankind’s most horrific invention of torture and humiliation as the means to rescue us from our misguided self-destruction.

10 So if while we were still enemies, God fully reconciled us to himself through the death of his Son, then something greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, and because we share in his life, how much more we will be rescued from sin’s [tragic flaw] dominion!
(Rom.5:10 TPT, brackets and emphasis added)

Advertisements

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 37 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Father Heart of God, Grace, Love and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

255 Responses to The Tragic Flaw

  1. Nan says:

    Mel, one of your very first comments in this post … It is true that preachers have manipulatively said things … is a big reason why some of us non-believers “get on your case.” You may feel you are “different” than other preachers and you would never “manipulate” anyone to justify your position. But truth be known, this is what every preacher does.

    Further, you repeatedly say your approach is not like the “Fundamentalists,” and perhaps in the strictest sense, it isn’t. But the meaning of fundamentalism (no capital) is, according to Wikipedia, “unwavering attachment to a set of irreducible beliefs.” Can you deny this is your stance?

    One last thing … in this post you write: You only have to watch the news for five minutes to sense there’s something systemically wrong with the world. I doubt few would disagree. But somehow, I cannot see that God is going to resolve any differences between humans when “He” seems unable to even establish agreement among Christians. It seems the best “He” has been able to do is convince (some) people that their life (and their future life) will be better off if they read their bible and pray.

    • Mel Wild says:

      …a big reason why some of us non-believers “get on your case.” You may feel you are “different” than other preachers and you would never “manipulate” anyone to justify your position. But truth be known, this is what every preacher does.

      If you mean every preacher wants to influence and convince someone of what they believe, I would agree with you. But if you mean its always manipulation, that’s just not true. Every person who has a conviction, including atheists, will try to frame their argument in a convincing way. That is not necessarily manipulation.

      Further, you repeatedly say your approach is not like the “Fundamentalists,” and perhaps in the strictest sense, it isn’t.

      Right, it isn’t. Period. Your generic dictionary definition is not what it means to be a fundamentalist in a religious sense. Otherwise, everyone who has a core conviction is a fundamentalist. All you’ve done is evacuated any meaning from the term.

      But somehow, I cannot see that God is going to resolve any differences between humans when “He” seems unable to even establish agreement among Christians.

      But that is a human problem, not a problem with Christianity itself. God is not going to directly resolve our differences; He’s left that up to us while we’re here. And let me ask you. Honestly, if people practiced other-centered love, even loved their enemies, treating others as they would want to be treated, never sought revenge, always forgave, not greedy or covetous, and all the other things Jesus taught, would there be wars, murders, injustice? The simple answer is, no. And why don’t we?

      And this gets to the point. Nothing you’ve addressed here actually touched my point about the tragic flaw. I am not talking about the “sins” we commit against each other but the dysfunctional reason we commit them in the first place.

      • sklyjd says:

        “Honestly, if people practiced other-centered love, even loved their enemies, treating others as they would want to be treated, never sought revenge, always forgave, not greedy or covetous, and all the other things Jesus taught, would there be wars, murders, injustice? The simple answer is, no. And why don’t we?”

        This is a lovely myth, but because we all have emotions and we all deal with them differently, so this will never happen. Loving enemies is fine; however, it depends on what they did and if your emotions are controllable.

        In your world we would not have enemies because we love each other all the time, nobody argues or gets angry but you are instantly forgiven if you do, nobody says anything detrimental about anybody and everyone shares everything they have with each other, everyone would be polite at all times to everyone, nobody would steal your possessions or your wife and children, accidental causing of death would be forgiven, nobody would be in jail, Nobody would die from murder or wars…… but everyone would die from boredom.

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is a lovely myth, but because we all have emotions and we all deal with them differently, so this will never happen. Loving enemies is fine; however, it depends on what they did and if your emotions are controllable.

          So you think it would require some robotic form of emotionless humanoid where there’s never disagreement? That’s an interesting comment; it seems to imply that you think agreement is more important than understanding one another. Your description of this world is certainly not one of other-centered love! Quite the opposite. Let’s just not have an emotion. And unconditional love does not depend on conditions so, no, it would not depend on what they did.

          Your point also seems to imply that we need conflict, murder, covetousness, greed, revenge, unforgiveness, war, etc. to make the world interesting. You have a strange view of “interesting” to me.

  2. Hi Mel. I feel I am obligated to state this for other readers. I hope you will allow it.

    I am very happy to announce here that myself (and millions-billions of others on Earth!) have yet to be “arrested,” or detained, much less “indicted” for any such glaring crime. And for myself (and millions-billions of others on Earth!) I/we have been roaming freely and happily this planet for many decades because if this above fairy-tale were actually true, we would’ve been BORN inside a prison with our parents, siblings, grandparents, ad infinitum, and executed for dissension or refusal of stating guilty. But it isn’t so. It hasn’t been so for well over 2-millenia! LOL

    You see, I am accountable for all of my behavior and that simple fact EMPOWERS me and highly motivates me to do and say what is best for the greatest good for the greatest number. It is really very, very simple.

    Warm, respectful regards to everyone. ❤

    • Mel Wild says:

      Sorry, but your assertion is no more than an abstraction that has no bearing in reality.

      So everything is just going great on the earth today? (Let’s not forget about the other seven billion people). No problems, everyone is just getting along fine. Why? Because we have finally found the answer for world peace and prosperity for all. Everything is resolved by everyone doing what’s right in their own eyes.
      Now, THAT’S a fairytale!

      • The same applies to your assertions as well Mel. 😉

        • Mel Wild says:

          Sorry, not the same. I can’t let you get away with your dismissal. Your Pollyanna version of “we’ll all just get along” in the world is an abstraction, pipedream, a fictional tale for people who aren’t living in fear for their lives every day…I have concrete empirical evidence called everyday life in this world to prove you wrong. There is no contest here when we look at the hard evidence. It doesn’t take an intellectual to intuit that this societal construct we are immersed in is not what it should be. It never has been. And besides, what would be the basis of some universal morality, and how would you enforce this morality on peoples and cultures who don’t agree with your worldview? Sounds pretty abstract to me. Hence, a fairytale.

          I’m all for world peace, even among disagreeing groups of people. I’m just not naïve enough to think we’ll achieve it by just telling people to get along when there’s something systemically wrong with the system. In that sense, I’m a critic.

        • Mel,

          You would’ve done better and saved yourself time and wasted words by asking me specific questions rather than going off onto your own tangent that in no way would reflect my articulations. These are your own guess-work. None of what you’ve said here or in the previous reply would be what I would say. Sorry.

          And to save both of us and your readers valuable time, I would back WAY UP and start at a more feasible, productive point — one you’d probably feel is not relevant for this tiny tunnel-vision subject — that must be resolved first before any of your theological postulations serve any value:

          If God (in particular your version of God) were to exist, how can you sufficiently, empirically, and coherently demonstrate/prove His monistic (standardized) revelations to you specifically or anyone else on Earth? Answer: There are only two methods (with sub-forms) of revelation.

          1. — General Revelation… or Nature, and
          2. — Special Revelation — which breaks down into 2a) miracles, paranormal or extraordinary events, and 2b) 4th century CE canonical Scripture.

          I assert that you will be unable to show either of these “Godly” forms of revelation to be exclusively tailored to one strict form of “Christian” interpretation or exegesis, much less your particular denomination. IMO and many, many other secularists and non-Christians, unless the veracity of “revelations” are established first, human derivatives such as this post’s assertions are imaginations… fairy-tales. And remember, orthodoxy does not equal truth or facts.

          I’m off to bed now Mel. Until later… 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          You would have done better and saved yourself some time if you would have commented on what I wrote about instead of this. But thanks anyway

        • Perhaps. But as I stated earlier, this post is very debateable a posteriori that is irrelevant until valid “Revelations” are first establlished. 🙂

          Thank you again Mel for your courtesy shown. Have a great week.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yes, I agree, it is very debatable. But the subject of what seems to be inherently wrong with the “world” does not need to “prove God” in order to show that there is indeed a flaw. I’m simply explaining it from a Christological perspective.
          Thanks for your comments.

        • John Branyan says:

          If atheism (in particular your version of atheism) were true, how can you sufficiently, empirically, and coherently demonstrate/prove your monistic (standardized) revelations to you specifically or anyone else on Earth? Answer: There are only two methods (with sub-forms) of revelation.

          1. — General Revelation… or Nature, and
          2. — Special Revelation — which breaks down into 2a) personal experience, paranormal or extraordinary events, and 2b) Arbitrary writings from various authors throughout history

          I assert that you will be unable to show either of these “Godless” forms of revelation to be a plausible explanation for reality. And remember, orthodoxy does not equal truth or facts.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly. This is why this is an absurd argument. But they keep trying….

        • John Branyan says:

          I’m confident that Taboo will ignore this comment on the basis that I have been “discourteous”. He gets offended when he’s confronted with his own questions.

        • As I’ve repeatedly told you JB, I am not an atheist.

        • John Branyan says:

          I know. Atheists don’t exist.
          Feel free to substitute whatever word you prefer for atheist /atheism. I doubt it makes a difference. Your worldview is incoherent no matter what you call it.

        • Nan says:

          Your worldview is incoherent — HA! I think many would say the same about yours. 🙂

        • John Branyan says:

          Ha! Most of those people have blocked me on their blogs so their opinions don’t matter.

  3. John Branyan says:

    Before we can grasp our culpability in Christ’s crucifixion, we have to believe that sin exists. Atheists do not believe in sin which makes the concept of atonement incoherent.

    It also makes Taboo’s suggestion that he is “accountable for all his behavior” incoherent as well. Accountable to whom?

    Nan’s objection to preachers “manipulating” people is equally silly. Atheists don’t believe in evil except when it comes in the form of “religious indoctrination”.

    Atheism is, without question, the stupidest worldview in the world. It is “the fool” who says there is no God.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I totally agree with your points, John. It does seem so silly that they would argue so vehemently against something they don’t believe exists. Quite incoherent.

      Another thing I would add to is, neither one actually addressed what I said. They obviously didn’t get it. I thought that was interesting. Oh well, I guess it is hard to see outside your fishbowl. 🙂

      • John Branyan says:

        They are not equipped to deal with actual theology. Arguments that aren’t constructed from straw are enough to thoroughly confound them.

        They didn’t address your article because they didn’t read it.

        • Nan says:

          John, you have no idea what I read or don’t read. As a matter of fact, I did read what Mel wrote and referenced two of his comments (maybe you’re the one who isn’t reading?). The fact that I didn’t directly speak to his primary topic is because it wasn’t worth my time or effort since “SIN” is such a ridiculous subject.

        • John Branyan says:

          I stand corrected.
          Why is sin a ridiculous topic?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Sorry, Nan. You did not actually address the meaning of what I wrote at all. You simply commented on terms I’ve used. You seem to think you understand but, at least by your comments, you don’t.

          And your mockery of the word “sin” proves John’s point. Of course, if someone robbed you and clubbed you over the head, that would not be a problem, right? It’s just their perspective. They have a right to believe what they want; in this case, a right to your stuff. Yup, sin is stupid.

        • Nan says:

          Yup, sin is stupid.” HA! Glad you finally admitted it. 😈 😇

        • Mel Wild says:

          Haha. I hope you’re joking.

      • Hi Mel,

        No need to get curt as JB is in the poor habit of doing. I know you have more maturity; that’s what keeps me visiting here every so often and I appreciate that. 😉 Nevertheless, as show of respect to you I’ll address what you wrote here in your opening sentence:

        Whenever I tell an atheist or skeptic that God didn’t kill Jesus but we did… …all of this misses the point.”

        Though I thought there was no reason to ask because it was implied, I must ask it here. Define “we” in that sentence please.

        Missing the point? Mel, I’m not sure in what 4-year Christian seminary you did your post-grad work, but all theology, sin, the judgement of Pontius Pilate, the Jews, or humanity in this context derives from the 4th-century CE canonical Bible and in the end, it is the ultimate source. Am I wrong?

        If I am correct, then I have studied the one true source extensively, been quite active in discussions and debates over its content, context, and the nature of its author/God over several years amongst brilliant Christian minds and souls, and was found “accomplished” in its meaning and teachings. So on the contrary and with due respect, the point, your point here is not any mystery and easily understood.

        Conclusion? In my mind, and Nan’s, and millions-billions of others on Earth… your perceptions and those of similar Christian persuasion simply do not apply to everyone. End of discussion. No need to carry on about this when — according to your beliefs and bible — it will all be decided at death or the End of Days, correct? So let’s let your God do His work. Yes? 🙂

        Hope you have had a good weekend sir.

        • Mel Wild says:

          With all due respect, I’m not being curt. You can disagree and dismiss it if you want. I’m just saying you didn’t address what I was talking about.

          This post is not talking about particular sins that people commit and punishments for infractions; it’s dealing with something much deeper and more insidious: the systemic flaw that the cross exposes for all the world to see, if we’re paying attention; the scapegoating mechanism that is deeply embedded in our culture going back to the founding murder. In fact, it’s so deeply embedded and entwined that we don’t see it for what it really is. We don’t see it because it’s part and parcel to the fishbowl we’re swimming in—the matrix, if you will.

          And I did define “we” in the post. It’s the “we” because we all participate in this construct everyday. Jesus brilliantly exposes it for what it is in his Sermon the Mount and other places. It’s what’s wrong with the system and why we see things the way we do.

        • You are right Mel, I disagree.

          But typically there is not enough time — especially here on WordPress or this one blog-post — to get deeply into ALL necessary mechanics of your assertions and theology. Am I right? 😉

          So, suffice to say that many of us (as in the “we’s”) are in disagreement with you. Now, if “God” would just speak-up and help out all of us with these crazy, confusing, contradicting messages we get from religous zealots, particularly the Abrahamic believers, and their holy bibles, none of this would be so… “flawed,” right? Begs the question, why bother with all the games? 😉

  4. I appreciated this, Mel. We said.

    I grew up with atheism and sin did not exist. It’s actually cruel to subject kids to that kind of deception. Insisting that sin is not real does not actually make it go away. So it’s actually very crazy making to refuse to name things for what they are. I used to call this nameless thing that I observed all around me, “the giant sucking sound of stupid.” If we are allegedly so progressed and evolved, why do we persist in hurting ourselves and others in such foolish and compulsive ways?

    Love this verse from, “how deep is the Father’s love for us,”

    Behold the man upon a cross
    My sin upon His shoulders
    Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
    Call out among the scoffers…

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks IB. I never got atheism because it’s completely irrational to me, so I appreciate your perspective.

      It is just silly to me to not want to call a spade a spade. If I hit you over the head and took your money, what do we call that? A generous donation? 🙂 Okay, a crime. But a crime is a…. I think these folk just don’t like the word. It reminds them of what they don’t want to think about.

      And, besides, all of this still does not address the deeper, more important issue that my post was trying to address. The actual systemic flaw that makes us not get along like we should. The “world pulled over our eyes.” It doesn’t matter if we think we’re law abiding and haven’t been caught, we’re still seeing things through this flawed paradigm. When we focus on whether we think we sinned or not we’re still missing the whole point.

    • sklyjd says:

      So, after telling the child they are born a sinner because God says, do you then literally scare the hell out of them?

      • Mel Wild says:

        @sklyjd. You are talking about something I am not talking about. I don’t believe a child is born a sinner (neither does the Bible actually teach this), they are born into a tragically flawed construct where they will sin. That was Paul’s point in Romans 5:12.

      • No. You give them a Rock to hang onto and you replace their fear with faith.

        • sklyjd says:

          You say, “No. You give them a Rock to hang onto and you replace their fear with faith.”

          This does not wash; how can a child handle what are emotional issues at such a young age when many adults have problems with them?

          This “rock” you speak of may be for you, however we are all very different, one size does not fit all.
          Preaching adult ideology with the intent to indoctrinate, to have children believe your personal beliefs who are not old enough to tie their laces and not developed enough to make meaningful decisions regarding their future life is just not right.

        • Seems the proverbial “fishbowl” Syndrome is rampant around here. LOL

          Perhaps if we used our fins to walk up on land and out of the contaminating water might help!? 😉

        • “Preaching adult ideology with the intent to indoctrinate, to have children believe your personal beliefs who are not old enough to tie their laces and not developed enough to make meaningful decisions regarding their future life is just not right.”

          Yep. And that is exactly what many atheist parents do. They often heap their own emotional issues upon their children.

        • sklyjd says:

          This is a knee jerk reaction, realistically all parents share their emotional issues to some extent with their children. However, when the emotional issue involves a life changing experience advocated regularly to them by the parents they love that will ultimately alter the child’s brain (proven by science) and initiates various emotions it simply is propagation of an ideology, commonly known as religious indoctrination.

        • ” …it simply is propagation of an ideology, commonly known as religious indoctrination.”

          Exactly. It is the propagation of the religion of atheism where children are indoctrinated into a cult of non belief.

        • Nan says:

          IB, when you write: It is the propagation of the religion of atheism where children are indoctrinated into a cult of non belief., you are merely self-projecting. Most atheists do NOT “indoctrinate” their children with their “non-belief.” They simply tell them to investigate, learn, and make up their own minds. If Christian parents would do the same, they might be surprised at how their children turn out. But of course, they’re too “fearful” of the supposed end result to do this.

        • “They simply tell them to investigate, learn, and make up their own minds….”

          No they do not. They project all their hostility, disgust, and contempt onto their own children. The same hostility, disgust, and contempt that you guys pour all over Christians on the internet.

          Children who often desire to be pleasing to their parents, will internalize those atheistic projections and reject God out of loyalty to their own parent’s dysfunction.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Exactly, IB. That’s a favorite atheist myth. The truth is, there is no such thing as unbiased and disinterested parents! They will project their agenda, whether they be atheist or Christian.

        • Nan says:

          They project all their hostility, disgust, and contempt onto their own children. And you know this how? Do you visit every atheist household and witness this? Methinks you are overly biased.

          Also, I would appreciate it if you would please direct me to any comment I have made on the internet where I have poured “hostility, disgust, and contempt” on a believer. I may say things that you — or any Christian — may not like, but I do try to remain civil in my disagreements.

          Oh and one more thing … Mel repeatedly talks about the love of Christ being predominant in the life of a True Christian.™ I sure didn’t feel much love in your remarks. Oh well.

        • Nan, as I mentioned below to misterkiddo — from the Pew Research Ctr and National Geographic, Religion Declining, Secularism Surging, the stats and studies show globally that increasingly more and more teenagers and adults are turning away from religiosity, blind-faith, etc, for more secular humanist principles! A very good sign; the trend has been steadily rising! 🙂

        • John Branyan says:

          The consensus of the experts is still pending. You should remind Nan that history is not static. Past events will likely change with the passage of time. I’m continually shocked by your monistic perspective of reality.

        • sklyjd says:

          Your statement “Exactly. It is the propagation of the religion of atheism where children are indoctrinated into a cult of non- belief.”

          Is this is your only defence, based on your own fathers actions, and this is why you really think atheists are stupid enough to waste their time and effort preaching atheism?

          You may imagine that is the case, but your situation was far from normal. Most of the atheists I know who have kids send them along to the private catholic or local theist-based schools for their education. I have sent my own daughter along to the church to be with her religious friends over school holidays on many occasions when she was younger.

          Most atheists have nothing to prove and couldn’t give a toss if their kids became involved with religion, we atheists inherently understand the right to choose how you live your life.

        • Actually that’s not a defense at all, it’s a statement of fact.

        • sklyjd says:

          “Actually that’s not a defense at all, it’s a statement of fact.”
          Ok what evidence do you have? Where do kids go to learn atheist ideology? Are public schools and science books designed for atheist learning in your world? Do atheist camps exist? What about atheist Sunday schools, atheist preachers and churches? Atheist prayers to the devil? Are there atheist story books and cartoons for toddlers or atheist baptisms’? Please, can you inform me how these indoctrinations take shape?

    • Judy says:

      “Sin” is a subjective word, isn’t it. It depends on who is doing what to whom, what the rules are at any given time, and while in one religion a particular event or bit of clothing or an attitude is sinful, sometimes punishable by death or flogging, and in another it’s not even on the books as anything.
      Sin as a general term means nothing. It was a sin in the catholic church to eat meat on Friday. then they changed the rules and it wasn’t. It was a sin for a woman to enter the church with her head uncovered. Then it wasn’t. In some religions and cultures if you sin by having an affair with someone, you can be stoned, burnt, or beaten to death. In others, you get to confess and forgive yourself.

      Among the colonial Puritans here in America it was sinful to whislte, sing, or even laugh on Sunday. Bright colors were not allowed. If you had a baby on a Sunday, that meant you had had sex on Sunday nine months earler, you naughty girl, you.

      It’s all relative. My first question is, ‘define sin” and my second is, “who says so?”

      • That’s a valid point. You often see the “subjectivity of sin,” at play in the Christian world, with all sorts of people trying to use “sin” as a way of policing and controlling other people’s behavior.

      • Mel Wild says:

        “Sin” is a subjective word, isn’t it. It depends on who is doing what to whom, what the rules are at any given time….”

        When talking about specific sins people commit you have a valid point, Judy. It’s often cultural issues more than some objective standard. But my post is not about particular sins.

        Theologically speaking, sin (harmartia) means tragic flaw, which is what my post is about. Some call it “missing the mark.” But then we have to ask, missing what mark? All kinds of answers have been given but from what I can gather from Scripture it generally means falling short of acting according to other-centered, self-giving love, as Jesus defined it. All particular sins are subsumed under this description.

        12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.(Matt.7:12)

        So, stealing from you or harming you would not be loving you the way I should love myself. That's the essence of all the law and prophets. And most rational people would agree with that concept in principle.

        But our proven innate inability to actually do this in society is the systemic tragic flaw that I’m talking about. We know intuitively that the world isn’t as it should be.

  5. sklyjd says:

    There is another way of looking at this Mel, and it is far more accurate.

    “In the beginning,” the Bible is totally a human construct and the stories were written over many decades using the knowledge of other people, previous older religious superstitions interlaced with personal messages, ideals and myths.

    The old God was revived through a belief in Jesus. After a few decades some refinements were accidentally or willingly added by the writers to this Jesus character who was in reality a mortal man who was most likely an extrovert and a con artist of his day, claiming to be God and possibly had been executed by the Romans.

    The masterstroke of all religions is to keep people in complete ignorance regarding the facts and in a state of emotional love, sorrow and low self-esteem just as almost every religion to date has done to some degree or another.

    Creating the theory that every human is born a sinner due to the stupidity of God’s first humans Adam and Eve was easily believed because nobody had any idea how the first humans or anything else was created, and a God had always made logical sense in this regard and to explain every event that happens on Earth, just like yourself many thousands of years later.

    Inherited sin by all humans for ever and ever, is quite a convenient aspect for a religion don’t you think?

    The claim we are all sinners and responsible for this man’s death on a cross, comes with a get out of jail card being the promise of eternal life through dedication and worship of God. Somehow the whole thing fits together well enough causing many disagreements, one would believe man had something to do with it.

    The promise of eternal life through subservience, dedication and worship of God is the noose around the neck, and this of course is highly motivated by narrow emotional beliefs without factual verification, however, if you are going to believe all the other stuff it works like a charm.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Nice straw man, sklyjd. So, how is this more accurate? What proof have you that it’s all made up? Your whole comment is full of nothing but baseless conjecture. But you have a right to believe what you want to believe.

      • sklyjd says:

        Most of the Bible is based on conjecture.
        And guess what, you cannot prove that my story is baseless conjecture, but you have to admit that my story is more “down to Earth” than yours.

    • For Sklyd and Mel — I hope this comment makes it in or is approved for the sake of free and relevant information…

      What proof have you that it’s all made up? Your whole comment is full of nothing but baseless conjecture.

      There is indeed proofs and highly compelling evidence that the narrative given in the 4th-century CE Canonical New Testament is NOT exactly accurate and in some cases a completely Greco-Roman hijacking and distortion of the grossly misunderstood tradition of Jewish Messianism.

      Sklyd’s comment actually can be shown to be supported by actual independent historical and archaeological evidence as well as Jewish, Judeo-Christian, and non-Canonical Christian evidence. It really becomes a matter of whether one wants to examine (as impartially as possible) ALL relevant data, evidence, and sources to see the truer overall picture of Jewish Messianism and Sectarianism — the roots and proper context of the 2nd-century CE Judean movement “The Way” in which Yeshua was one of the focal points. May I suggest two starting points for necessary INDEPENDENT study:

      Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ …and…

      The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus

      Further information and study can be provided for those interested. Well done sklyd. 🙂

      • Mel Wild says:

        I finally got a chance to read your links, Professor Taboo. I’ve heard variations of these arguments before from skeptics, but a lot of it is based on an interpolation of history. This stuff gets propagated a lot by atheists/skeptics but it’s debatable, at best. A better, more honest look at Christian history from skeptics comes from people like Tim O’Neill’s “History for Atheists: New Atheists Getting History Wrong.” Posts like “The Great Myths 4: Constantine, Nicaea and the Bible“, in particular, would be a good example in regard to refuting the pseudo-history on Constantine's alleged influence on Christianity propagated by its detractors.

        A good scholarly work on Christian history is David Bentley Hart's "The Story of Christianity.” His expertise is in classic Christianity and history and does a lot to debunk these popular myths.

        Having said all that, we seem to be drifting far afield from the subject of my post.

    • Sklyd,

      I entered a comment here in support of your comment offering a counter-argument and independent study and evidence to Mel’s above comment of…

      What proof have you that it’s all made up? Your whole comment is full of nothing but baseless conjecture.

      But it appears Mel has blocked it or deleted it — perhaps because it had links to further scholarly work. Sorry, sklyd. But wanted you to know it was attempted. 😉

      • Mel Wild says:

        Links automatically go into moderation. I will look at it when I get a chance.

      • sklyjd says:

        Thanks Professor, maybe your answer was far too accurate for him.
        From what I read I think he is quickly learning that you have a knowledge of his religion that most people, including himself, does not have.

        • Mel Wild says:

          “…maybe your answer was far too accurate for him. From what I read I think he is quickly learning that you have a knowledge of his religion that most people, including himself, does not have.”

          Then your assumption would be wrong, sklyjd. Of course, you don’t know me or know what I know. But there is nothing here that I haven’t heard many times before, and have read the counter-arguments to. And I’ve researched these things myself and have read many of the source documents from Ante-Nicene fathers and other sources. And, no disrespect intended here, but just because someone can seem to be giving authoritative information, alleged facts and details, and sound like they’re accurate does not necessarily determine accuracy. History is not an exact science and its riddled with interpolation from even the best scholars.

        • I find that to be likely sklyjd, unfortunately for them, but FORTUNATE for me, huh? I do understand the marketing schemes/scams of the product. 😉

    • John Branyan says:

      “The masterstroke of all religions is to keep people in complete ignorance regarding the facts and in a state of emotional love, sorrow and low self-esteem just as almost every religion to date has done to some degree or another.”

      What “facts” are religious people ignorant about? I’m super-curious to know what “religion” is hiding from me!

      • sklyjd says:

        The facts I mention are obviously the ones in the real world, or to be more exact scientific facts considering religions do not have any.

        • John Branyan says:

          That wasn’t the question.
          Do you understand the question?

        • Mel Wild says:

          The facts I mention are obviously the ones in the real world, or to be more exact scientific facts considering religions do not have any.

          I’m curious, sklyjd, what scientific facts are you referring to in your statements? I didn’t see anything scientific mentioned by you.

  6. Judy says:

    Oh, why not. Jesus is also a whole-cloth construct, created to give the new religion, Catholicism, a martyr, a victim, a bit of bloody “reality’ that the Romans of the time needed to hang their hat on. Their old gods were fading, losing favor, and having a new God appealed to them To make it more palatable, many of the Jesus stories were lifted whole from the Roman and Greek pantheon of gods and godesses. Mary was originally Astarte, Jesus went back 1000 years or more, and Im sure if i wanted to we could find Moses, David, and even Goliath floating around in there in other names, other guises.

    Most of the Catholic saints and saintesses were orignally Greek and Roman gods, in new outfits and with new histories, which is surely an oxymoron in any language.

    Many of the older Winter festivals and Fertility spring rituals were cleaned up and turned into part of the Jesus story. There are just so many days in a month, and room for just so many ritual days. Out with the roman bacchanalia, in with the Catholic days of penance, fasting, and self-flagellation.

    And the Bible now is mostly a collection of stories, fables, myths, and arguments, vague enough that anyone can make up anything to suit their own purposes. Add a bit of fear, a huge wad of guilt and anger, and anyone can pass the hat and make a mint out of it.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Judy, while some of your accusations are vacuously true, they do not define Christianity. An angrily constructed straw man, more likely. Sorry you had such a bad experience with whatever it was you were part of.

    • This is a very good and historically accurate comment Judy. Well done!

      • John Branyan says:

        History is fluid so the accuracy of Judy’s statements will fluctuate with the passage of time. That’s what you told me anyway. There are multiple perspectives that encompass historical accuracy. Don’t be so monistic and closed-minded!

        • Wrong. That is not what I said.

          However, please do go find EXACTLY what I did say, bring it here and put it in quotes designating verbatim. Then I’ll break it down for you JB.

        • John Branyan says:

          No. I’m not going to slog back through your drivel to find the exact quote.
          This is the essence of what you’ve told me.
          History is subject to change.
          Monism is bad.
          We need a consensus of experts to agree about anything before we declare it to be true.

          Feel free to respond with a billion word explanation of how I’ve misunderstood your brilliance.

        • Thank you for admitting you’ve misunderstood.

          So in this case “Essence” = personal extrapolation or projection

          …unless you find exactly where I said that then I can break it down for you. Laziness is no excuse.

        • John Branyan says:

          Unless you can explain how I’ve “misunderstood” then you’re guilty of the same personal extrapolation you’re hanging on me.

          I noticed that you didn’t actually deny any of those statements.
          You should. You should emphatically deny every one of those statements.

        • Without the exact quote verbatim and its context JB-ish 😉 …that you are too lazy to provide, then it makes this very difficult to explain how you did indeed misunderstand or intentionally maligned or wrongly paraphrased what I actually said. Why don’t you help by providing it.

          Nevertheless, I will try to help. In a broad GENERAL sense, what I was possibly/probably talking about then was history in the context of Agnotology: the manufacturing of ignorance and hence the dismantling of ignorance and how it is best done. This recognition (at minimum) and its solution or improvement (maximized) is critical when seeking truths and highly plausible truths. That might be what you are confused about and do not understand.

          And just because I do not confirm or deny (ignore?) your claims or statements doesn’t mean anything more or anything less than… “No Reply.” Sort of like “No Comment.” Go ahead and ask someone else. 😉 Also, JB-ish, as we’ve discussed already last year and again one or two times this year, despite both of us speaking and writing English (haha!) we both know there is an obvious, mysterious, and severe language barrier between us similar to the ones you have on several other blogs. 😮 It’s probably best for everyone that our dialogue is kept to a bare minimum! Perhaps near non-existent! 🤣

          Enjoy your evening JB-ish.

      • Judy says:

        Thank you, professor. Did anyone tell you you have a discerning eye?

  7. All I see in these comments are a bunch of people projecting their own abstracted versions of religion while simultaneously completely missing the point of ANY of the blog posts you write Mel. It’s amazing how people can miss that when you LITERALLY talking about that exact blindness inherent in our human condition. lol Thanks for the good read.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks. Yup, quite interesting. They don’t get it. But that’s life inside the fishbowl. 🙂

    • Not our own.

      And not any more or any less than Mel’s or yours. 😉 It might help if you also read ALL the comments… and not just here but on previous Mel blogs too. Gives better and more accurate perspective MK. Have a good day.

      • For misterkiddo —

        Just needed some free-time to find this. Apologies for the delay. To further demonstrate these are not “our own abstracted versions of religion” consider the updated May 2017 Huffington Post article: Religion Declining, Secularism Surging by Phil Zuckerman.

        The article gives the latest extensive stats and facts* and…

        Suffice it to say that most countries have experienced notable degrees of secularization over the past century, and for the first time in the world’s history, there are now many societies where being secular is more common than being religious.

        …churches are closing across the world, faith is fading, and those men and women who live their lives according to secular values and humanist principles are on the rise.

        Several demographic patterns emerge when examining the various secular nations/regions versus religious. One distinguishing pattern is the difference between broad curriculum, under-grad and post-grad public education offered and accessible to the populations versus those with poor or no education, or restricted (biased) collegiate public education in traditionally religious areas/nations. It is undeniable.

        * The direct link can be provided if necessary and if Mel approves it.

  8. Judy says:

    oh, and Mel, actually I was raised Cat’lic, and gently, as to religion. I didn’t leave the church in horror at escaping, I just wandered away for lack of interest. It had changed to something far more Protestant than Catholic, and I missed the ritual, the weekly comfort that ritual gave. So obviously I wasn’t a huge dedicated fan of religion or I’d have stayed and, as many of my friends did, continued to shun meat on Friday, and read their latin missals during mass, and make their own penances and fasts even though none was ever required in the same way again.
    I don’t miss what it became, and I don’t think it misses me, either. I’d say we’re even.

    but–and this is important–once you back away from whatever religion you’re immersed in, you do gain a much broader perspective of all of it. It becomes less important in your life. You start seeing it in a different context. When you’re nose to nose with your beliefs its really hard to see them for what they are. Back away from it, and they start to look–err–strange.

    • John Branyan says:

      “When you’re nose to nose with your beliefs its really hard to see them for what they are. Back away from it, and they start to look–err–strange.”

      Backing away from one set of beliefs immediately puts you “nose to nose” with other beliefs.
      Do you ever consider the possibility that your “broader perspective” might not be more true than Catholic tunnel-vision?

    • Judy, to your point about “a much broader persepctive“… as one of our most iconic American writers, lecturers, and humorist wrote:

      “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” — Mark Twain

      Having lived on 4 of the 6 inhabitable continents on this fantastic planet, that was a very good last paragraph and I could not agree with you more. 😉

      • John Branyan says:

        We will need to wait and see if the consensus of experts supports Mark Twain’s perspective. Of course, you’ll need to provide verifiable, repeatable, falsifiable evidence that you have lived on 4 continents before any of us can believe your claim. Surely you don’t expect us to just accept your testimony on blind faith.

      • Judy says:

        Twain’s “Letters to the Earth” which I discovered when I was about 17, was seminal in my move away from organized religion. He made a LOT of sense.

  9. Mel, I admire the way you handle your skeptical commenters. But don’t you often feel like it’s a waste of your time? Few if any of the ones I’ve encountered personally or on your blog and others seem genuinely open to considering that what you’re saying may actually be true. Many seem intent on only bogging you down with feeling the need to address every misconception or inaccuracy they present. Can we? Yes…but is it worth all the time because when we do they just come back with more? Probably not.

    I suspect for many of them, “engaging” with Christian bloggers is not a serious endeavor at all but merely sport. Would you agree?

    • Judy says:

      Darlin’, it’s not going to change them, and it’s not going to change us, as to belief. Think of it as mutual target practice. But it does make the believers articulate the what and why of their beliefs. In order to leave a religion one really does have to think about why it no longer works, why your belief in the Invisible Man no longer fills you with joy and reverence.

    • Mel Wild says:

      I would agree, Caroline. Call it research. 😊
      I don’t for a minute think they’re going to actually listen to me, or even want to understand what I’m saying, but I do want to know why they think this way and why they’re so angry about it. Also, this is to show us that their argument is
      not based on reason any more than ours. That is an atheist myth they believe. We have every reason to question everything they assert. It’s often incoherent, fallacious, and not based on actual science but their religion of scientism.
      And me thinks they doth protest too much. 😊 Many sounds more like angry ex’es to me. It’s been a very interesting and enlightening experience.

    • Caroline, we often feel the same from our perspective, that it is a waste of our time too. 😉

      That said, when opponents can dialogue respectfully as equals where there are more questions asked than personal projections pushed (forced?), a lot does get accomplished. However, those sorts of discussions/debates, environments, are primarily in the hands of the blog-owner/moderator. For me personally, Mel generally does a pretty good job of nurturing compelling discussion/debate. I do appreciate that about him. Unfortunately, there will always be those who are simply and purely agitators; they dilute and pollute these discussions/debates. I guess that is where our stoic tolerance must be summoned, no matter how nauseating. 😉 😛

      Hope you are having a good week.

      • Ben S. says:

        I feel Caroline was referring to me when she commented on here. But maybe not. I responded to one of her posts and she responded to one of mine. I did my best to be respectful. I wasn’t there to agitate but rather have a civil debate. You can see the discussions here:

        https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/34573002/posts/3183#comment-3003

        https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/87943226/posts/1325#comment-90

        • Ahhh, thank you Ben. I will go read those comments and discussions.

          I was just responding in general to her comment about “sporty” not-serious non-Christian bloggers. There is no disparity between the two groups she mentions; they are found in all schools of thought. There are some commenters/bloggers who are mature, civil, and intelligent, then there are immature, disrespectful, agitating, and irrational commenters/bloggers. The proof is in their pudding or writing. 😉

          Warm regards Ben.

        • Nan says:

          There are some commenters/bloggers who are mature, civil, and intelligent, then there are immature, disrespectful, agitating, and irrational commenters/bloggers.

          Couldn’t have said it better myself. And you didn’t even name names! 🙂

        • Hahaha! Trying to be diplomatic Nan. 😉

        • Ben S. says:

          I knew you were speaking generally. I just thought it’d be helpful to show how I was “bogging” Caroline down with my request for her to explain my inaccuracies and misinformation. Maybe she was speaking of someone else. Somehow I doubt it. Take care.

        • Great. Ben, I do often try to be very clear in my communications. Thank you for your understanding. As I mention down below in other comments, too often the unlearned are too lazy to go the necessary distances to exhaustively scrutinize a concept, data/evidence, belief-systems, theories, etc,, what they term as “bogging down.” LOL 😉

          You take good care as well Ben.

    • Ben S. says:

      This comment sounds very much like you are referring to the back-and-forth we had last week. Even if it wasn’t directed at me personally, I will respond to it anyway. No I don’t engage Christians for sport. As a former Christian I respond to misinformation coming from current Christians. Again, speaking personally, I’m not looking to bog anyone down, but I do expect someone to clarify a statement without avoiding a question.

      Is it a waste of your time? Depends on what you think of unbelievers. Are some more worthy of salvation than others? More deserving of Hell? If a Christian is confident they have their facts straight, then questions for clarity from an unbeliever shouldn’t upset them, but should present an opportunity to witness. If we have “misconceptions” or “inaccuracies” then shouldn’t a Christian be more than willing to correct us so we can be on the right path? Not just saying that we are wrong or that we don’t understand, but explaining what is right so we can understand? Or is dismissal the better way to bring people to Christ?

  10. Scottie says:

    Hello Mel. I would like to address your response here

    I don’t for a minute think they’re going to actually listen to me, or even want to understand what I’m saying, but I do want to know why they think this way and why they’re so angry about it.

    Just as you claim atheists don’t listen to you I think you do not listen to what is being said to you in your comments section. I get this idea because I get a different idea of what is written than you respond back to, and I have often felt you responded to something other than what I myself commented on or about. Also I do laugh at your assertion all atheist are angry about your religion or posts. Such a generalization should be above you. Also I have read John claim that you support that atheism is a religion. You again should know better. I get the feeling you are projecting.
    You claim to have a reason to question everything an atheist asserts, but really the atheist has a much greater right to question the theist position. Basically it starts from the fact that a god who is invisible, can not affect reality in any measurable way, and speaks to his followers only in their feelings which no one else can attest to, is really no different than no god at all. Your view is god is there and you believe it. Great . But you can not show your god, can not offer concrete reality based evidence of your god. Yet you want others to agree with you on your god and accept they have a responsibility and carry a “sin” against that god for us who do not believe in your non existing god. You can’t show it, so it is not a reality for anyone not in your faith view. I personally hold no more responsibility for your mythical story than I do for the ending of the Harry Potter saga.
    Atheism is a lack of belief. Theism is a belief. So please don’t project your foibles off on those of us who do not agree to carry them. That is when I push back on religion, when it tries to put its rules on others and make their faith cover the non-faithful. There is more reason to reject religion than to accept it, as there is no evidence for your god.
    That is my response to the post and the comments. I know you hold the opposite view from me and I am sure some of your viewers would agree with you. However I am hoping some of the readers will think about the things addressed here in the comments and see how the burden of proof keeps getting pushed to the wrong place. How the goal posts get moved, how the vague assertions against a whole group are made. You have made an assertion based on your faith in a myth I reject, so I reject your conclusion. Asking me to be responsible for a sin is the same as asking a non smoker to be responsible for second hand smoke. Sin doesn’t exist in the real world because there is no evidence of a god to sin against. Have a great week. Hugs

    • John Branyan says:

      “Sin doesn’t exist in the real world because there is no evidence of a god to sin against.”

      Cool.
      Sin doesn’t exist.
      So what do we call it when Muslims kill homosexuals?

      • Scottie says:

        A crime John, it is a secular crime against
        a person and society. You should know this. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          But it’s not a crime under sharia law.
          In fact, it’s honorable. There are rewards for doing it!

          So crime isn’t the right word.

        • Scottie says:

          Yes crime is the correct word. It is against the wellbeing of community and society. John you know Sharia law is religious! Therefore should have no bearing on what is a crime or not. It is a faith, a system of belief based on a myth.
          A crime / Legal systems should be and in most cases are based on a secular state system. In places where sharia laws are in force there is also the state laws. Laws of the land. Laws backed up by the state or country. To break the laws is to commit an action against the legal state, but a sin is an act in violation of a mythical fable which is only based on feelings. Hugs

        • Scottie, any suggestions on how to rid ourselves/myself of stalking gnats? 😉 🤭

        • Scottie says:

          Bigger flyswatters? Did you see the post I reblogged from Jerry Coynes web site? A religious flat earther attacked him in an email. The flat earth part in the post was one thing, but the religious part he added to the comments and it was a complete off the rails delusion of belief. Have a great week. Hugs

        • I hadn’t. I will go read it! Thank you Scottie. 🙂

        • Scottie says:

          Only if you have time. I know you get really busy and have limited time for blogs. There maybe more important topics for you today. Hugs

        • Many kind thanks Scottie for your understanding. You are wonderful Sir. ❤

          I find my schedule even MORE full now with my recent move: work, more post-grad studies, charity & social obligations, and now a very special long-term interest — a Soul Mate & Twin Flame — is filling up much of my free-time! LOL 😄 Well, that's a white lie… most ALL of my free-time! ❤

        • John Branyan says:

          Sucks being held accountable for the stuff you say, doesn’t it?

        • It doesn’t suck at all JB-ish. I’m accountable to many and the ones who really count. Sorry, I hope you are not crushed. 😉

          Have a good week JB-ish.

        • John Branyan says:

          “A crime / Legal systems should be and in most cases are based on a secular state system.”
          What “secular state system” says homosexuals should not be killed?
          You’re picking out the parts of religion you like.
          Hugs.

        • Scottie says:

          John, try to let go of your religious bias and follow the line of reasoning.

          First I want to respond to this:

          Killing gay people is not a crime under sharia law.

          What gives you the right to pass judgment on Middle Eastern culture?

          As a reasonable human I can see that the culture that kills part of its people for an unjust religious reason is not a healthy onne and needs to be adjusted and addressed. Regardless of sharia , which is a religious position ( which means a feelings based mythology ) , killing a person based on religious ideology is a crime. Just like my killing redheads because the pink unicorn doesn’t think they should live would be a crime.

          I think I can not be reading what you wrote correctly. Are you really asking what secular state system says don’t kill others even if they are something you don’t like? How about just for starters the one you live in? I am sure if you go kill a person, gay or not, the law might have an issue with it.

          Again your last part is prue projection on your part. I am not picking any religious parts, as I don’t believe in yours or others fairy tales of mythical beings and their wishes. My response to any comments will now be delayed. I have to go start Ron’s supper. I asked my golden dragon to do it but it was more worried about the sex life of my cats. 🤔😃😄😋Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Scotty, try to let go of your non-religious bias and follow the line of reasoning.

          Killing redheads because the pink unicorn doesn’t think they should live would not be a crime. Crime doesn’t exist in the real world because there is no pink unicorn to commit the crime against.
          Hugs.

        • Scottie says:

          You know John, I agree with you. I Also should have known you wouldn’t or couldn’t follow the conversation.
          You asked me: “What gives you the right to pass judgment on Middle Eastern culture?”

          I replied :”As a reasonable human I can see that the culture that kills part of its people for an unjust religious reason is not a healthy onne and needs to be adjusted and addressed. Regardless of sharia , which is a religious position ( which means a feelings based mythology ) , killing a person based on religious ideology is a crime. Just like my killing redheads because the pink unicorn doesn’t think they should live would be a crime.”

          John please note you asked how I could judge a culture which had religious laws and killed based on those religious laws. My response just switched out their religious icon with a pink unicorn. They both have the same chance of being real. Now I am trying hard to withhold some snark, as I know you are smart enough to understand what I was referencing. OR do I give you too much credit? Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          I asked Taboo what gives him the right to pass judgment on Middle Eastern culture. He chose not to respond.

          Your position is that “sin” doesn’t exist in the real world because there is no evidence of a god to sin against. My response just switched out sin with crime. By your reasoning they have the same chance of being real. The problem arises when you toss out “sin” but still want describe some behaviors (like killing homosexuals) as “wrong”.

          I appreciate the jab at my intelligence, though.

        • Scottie says:

          Well I am glad I cleared that up for you since the Professor did not get back to you. 😋😄😎 Hugs

        • Scottie says:

          Oh and thank you for showing why rules and laws shouldn’t be made on unproven deities wishes, and the morals of desert dwellers from thousands of years ago. To kill in the name of religion, in the name of a god, in what could be a delusion is not honorable in anyway. We have seen those “morals” are not very moral. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          A crime John, it is a secular crime against
          a person and society.

          True. Crime is a legal term, an offense that may be prosecuted by the state and is punishable by law. Bu that is not what this post is about. While sins can be crimes, crimes are not necessarily sins. For example, if I drive over the speed limit to get my wife to the hospital, I broke the law but I did not sin, but if I deliberately drive over my wife with that car, that would be a sin.

    • Very well stated Scottie. Bravo and hugs for you too! ❤

    • Mel Wild says:

      Just as you claim atheists don’t listen to you I think you do not listen to what is being said to you in your comments section.

      Well, this post is a case in point, Scottie. Very few of these comments are actually about the post. Everyone seems to just chiming in with their beef about Christianity. Obviously, people are reading what they want and ignoring what I’m actually saying (or they don’t care about what I’m saying). But I agree that I can do the same in comments. I don’t always fully understand a point until it’s further clarified. But you should know by now that I do apologize if I wrongly understood something. 🙂

      And, seriously, is my argument going to change your mind? I’m not so naïve that I think it will.

      I get this idea because I get a different idea of what is written than you respond back to, and I have often felt you responded to something other than what I myself commented on or about.

      Again, good point. As I said above, I don’t always get the point on the first try.

      You claim to have a reason to question everything an atheist asserts, but really the atheist has a much greater right to question the theist position….

      This is only true from a naturalist worldview, Scottie. You cannot prove that the physical world is all there is, and you cannot use natural science to make your case. Science is limited to the natural world. Yet there is metaphysical evidence for “God” spanning thousands of years. And to dismiss it as “feelings” is not really addressing the issue. And we intuitively know that nature cannot create itself. So, while it may be easier to ignore these things and only believe in what you can see and test, the burden of proof actually goes both ways.

      But, as you said yourself, we will just believe what we want to believe and use our worldview to justify it.

      Atheism is a lack of belief. Theism is a belief.

      Actually, these terms are about belief or disbelief in God (theos). And even there, this is only true by definition. For instance, I’ve never met an atheist who has no belief. They believe in a lot of things! They believe in naturalism, materialism (ontological materialism), and/or scientism. These are all worldviews that many of the atheists I’ve met hold to dogmatically, just like a rigid, religious Fundamentalist.

      Asking me to be responsible for a sin is the same as asking a non smoker to be responsible for second hand smoke. Sin doesn’t exist in the real world because there is no evidence of a god to sin against. Have a great week. Hugs.

      Okay, now I need ask, what do you mean by “sin?” Remove the religious connotation for a moment. Are you saying no one does anything wrong in the world? That we don’t violate one another as a species? Or, that other-centered, self-giving love is never violated in our relationships with one another and as a society? Because that’s not the world I’ve experienced. That is what is meant by “sin.”

      This is the central point I’m making. The world is not as it should be because it’s flawed at a systemic level. We have empirical proof every day we watch the news or read our history books. Whatever you make of that is another issue. My theological answer to this “flaw” is following Jesus, of course. 🙂

      • Scottie says:

        Hello Mel. Between stirrings supper. I thought I had understood, but will go back and reread it. I admit I was in a hurry and may have missed the point. I will get back to you on the rest you wrote as best I can later. Hugs

      • Nan says:

        Re: your response to Scottie, you wrote: Remove the religious connotation for a moment. Are you saying no one does anything wrong in the world?

        Surely you are aware that the core definition of “sin” is religious. Various and sundry definitions all say this or something similar: “Estrangement from God; An act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will; The act of transgression against divine law; Any thought or action that endangers the ideal relationship between an individual and God.”

        People do “wrong” things all the time. But in the “real world,” they are not “sinning” based on the generally accepted definition. And so Scottie is correct when he writes, Sin doesn’t exist … because there is no evidence of a god to sin against.

        • Mel Wild says:

          People do “wrong” things all the time. But in the “real world,” they are not “sinning” based on the generally accepted definition. And so Scottie is correct when he writes, Sin doesn’t exist … because there is no evidence of a god to sin against.

          Okay, Nan, why do they do wrong things all the time? Why is that the norm? I can conceive of a world where it’s not the norm. You’re trying to dismiss the word by confining it to its religious use (“sins against God, etc.) but you are still missing the point.

          The word “sin” was originally taken from a very secular Hellenistic word, hamartia (as I pointed out in my post). So, from a purely secular standpoint, we can conclude that the world is flawed, causing all kinds of tragic results, right? We do have actual evidence for that people do immoral things all the time. As you said, they do wrong things all the time. So, we must be honest and say, yes, the world is not as it should be. So, if our world is flawed, THEN we must logically conclude that there is a reason for this systemic flaw. To simply dismiss the word because you don’t believe in God doesn’t change the inherent problem. Do you see what I’m saying? The elephant is still very much in the room, so to speak.

        • Nan says:

          Mel, I don’t mean this to be ugly … but you seem unable to simply see that life is what it is. I understand why you feel you must put a “Christian” spin on it … but I don’t. And I won’t. For me, life just is. You can discount that remark until the cows come home, but it won’t change my outlook … just as I most likely won’t change yours.

          ❤Happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow❤ May you and yours celebrate the cultural, religious, and commercial aspects of romance and romantic love.

        • John Branyan says:

          “Mel, I don’t mean this to be ugly … but you seem unable to simply see that life is what it is. I understand why you feel you must put a “Christian” spin on it … but I don’t. For me, life just is.”

          And yet, here you are criticizing Mel’s perspective on life.
          I understand why you feel you must put an “Anti-Christian” spin on it…but I don’t.
          Hopefully, the religious edict that says “life just is” brings you some comfort because it certainly doesn’t provide any rational substance.

        • Nan says:

          Hopefully, the religious edict that says “life just is” brings you some comfort

          It does. 😀 ❤ ❤

      • Scottie says:

        Hello Mel. Let me address the points of your post as I am encountering them, so I don’t go too far off the trail.

        This is the point where I disagreed most with your post. “When I say we killed Jesus I mean that we all belong to the same club as those who actually did.” Mel, my whole comment was in refuting this idea. I do not belong to that club. I do not believe in the club. I know some people like this sort of club, but I don’t even agree with what the club is based on. So nope, not included in the whole responsible for it and having sin stuff.

        Also you mention Jesus was innocent unlike other scapegoats. Normally a scapegoat is the innocent one by definition. They are settled with the believed sins and evils of the others. A scapegoat lets someone get away with what they have done without punishment.

        “However you interpret the Adam and Eve story, something tragic happened when our eyes were opened. Good and evil became “us against them.”” Again I guess it goes without saying I do not even believe in Adam and Eve. The human genome project clearly shows that the biological mother of us never met the biological father. They are removed in time. Hard as it was for me to understand that, that is what the data shows. I also dislike the “us against them” thing, but I don’t call it sin, nor do I think it is inborn in everyone. I think we learn it.
        So see this is basically what I tired to say in my first response. I could add that if you wish me to address the little bit at the end, it comes back to I think humans can be assholes and pricks to each other, but they don’t need a supernatural reason to be that way, it just makes a handy excuse.

        OK This is long for a comment so I will send it and then get another bowl of supper and respond to the rest of your reply. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          I do not belong to that club. I do not believe in the club. I know some people like this sort of club, but I don’t even agree with what the club is based on. So nope, not included in the whole responsible for it and having sin stuff.

          Okay, fair enough. I would expect you to say that. But if it is true, then it wouldn't matter if you think you belong or not, you belong. In other words, your denial is only true if what I'm saying is proven false. But then, we're still left with the elephant in the room. Why is our world the way it is? Why do we do immoral acts (generically defined) to one another.

          Also you mention Jesus was innocent unlike other scapegoats. Normally a scapegoat is the innocent one by definition.

          Actually, only in Judaism was the scapegoat considered innocent, otherwise, the scapegoat was always considered guilty (whether they actually were or not). Warring tribes used this “guilty party” to form an alliance and create a temporary peace. We can see this same M.O. throughout human history. The Jews were blamed for the Black Death and massacred in the 12-13th century Europe, etc. A modern example for the Western world would be Osama Bin Laden in 9/11. He was the common enemy that united the Western world. Historically, the scapegoat is determined, the bodies are buried, and then tribal or national myths are created from it. Every nation has their myths. Of course, it’s always written from the point of the persecutors. I don’t want to go into more depth here, but Rene Girard has written brilliantly on it.

          I also dislike the “us against them” thing, but I don’t call it sin, nor do I think it is inborn in everyone. I think we learn it.

          Okay, now you might be misreading me. 🙂 I would totally agree with this statement, Scottie. I never said it was inborn, I said we are brought into a “world” (societal construct) that is flawed, and because it’s the “fishbowl” we’re swimming in, we will sin. So, yes, we learn it. That’s precisely what Paul is saying in Romans 5.

          I have to go, too. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Enjoy your supper. 🙂

        • Scottie says:

          The first part of your response makes totally no sense to me. It is a word salad. You go from saying “if true” to saying “proven false”. The fact is the claim WE are all responsible for the death of what could easily be a mythical character ( and this characters divinity is mythical ) is silly. The idea I am in any way responsible for the death of this person is beyond silly. If you are trying to say something else in that paragraph you will have to reword it.

          Scapegoat:
          a person who is blamed for the wrongdoings, mistakes, or faults of others, especially for reasons of expediency.

          That is the definition I was going under. “considered guilty” is different from what I wrote. I wrote “A scapegoat lets someone get away with what they have done without punishment.” You just confirmed that.

          Osama Bin Laden was NOT a scapegoat in 9/11. He was the leader of the organization that committed the horrible act. He also claimed his god was on his side in doing it.

          At the end of your reply are you saying you do not believe we are born with the sin of the death of Jesus? Are you saying you don’t think humans are born with an “original sin”? Again I ask only to get your own words on it, as I know I don’t believe we are because I don’t believe in sin or gods. I am delaying doing the dishes. Guess I have to go do them. Oh well. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          The first part of your response makes totally no sense to me. It is a word salad. You go from saying “if true” to saying “proven false”.

          Sorry, I have no idea what you’re talking about here. You’ll need to clarify.

          At the end of your reply are you saying you do not believe we are born with the sin of the death of Jesus? Are you saying you don’t think humans are born with an “original sin”?

          If you mean by original sin that we’re all born sinners, I don’t believe that and the Bible doesn’t actually teach it. I don’t want to create another “word salad” but that doctrine was invented by a man named Augustine in the fifth century based on a mistranslation of Romans 5:12 (He could not read Greek). We are sinners because we sin. And we sin because we live in a flawed societal construct. It’s the CONSTRUCT that led to Jesus’ death at the hands of the Romans and Jews. We are part of that construct. That’s very different than saying we’re born sinners. If everyone were born sinners then Jesus would’ve been born a sinner and that would create a theological absurdity, which a proper understanding would not do.

        • Scottie says:

          But if it is true, then it wouldn’t matter if you think you belong or not, you belong. In other words, your denial is only true if what I’m saying is proven false.

          This is what I am talking about. It is twisting everything. There is no way I can be part of a club that believes what I don’t and thinks they are responsible for something I do not think even exists. I am not a member or part of the made up club you claim exists. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          This is what I am talking about. It is twisting everything.

          No, it’s simple logic, Scottie. If this construct does exist, then it wouldn’t matter whether you believe in it or not

          I am not a member or part of the made up club you claim exists.

          Made up club? Actually, I have hard empirical evidence that this world is flawed. Watch the news for five minutes. I didn’t make up the world we live in. I’m simply making logical observations. We know intuitively that it’s not as it should be. There is something wrong. And, again, it’s not something you can join. You can only deny it exists, but it still would not change anything. If what I’m saying is true, then it exists whether you believe in it or not.

        • Scottie says:

          Mel please stop shifting the goal posts. The club we have been addressing is the religious belief that Jesus lived and we are all responsible for killing him. Sorry but I do not agree with either premise. Again with the intuitively knowing stuff. We covered that also. We developed new ideas and ways and if we can get some people to stop clinging to the past we can advance the way of life for everyone. You are saying you feel there is a better way. Most people think they could do it better if it as all just the way they demand. Everyone from tRump to the guy in the pulpit. But they mistake their dislike for something being a certain way for “knowing it ain’t right”. Ask many a fundy about same sex marriage and they will tell you they “know” it is wrong. Hugs

        • Scottie,

          Your frustration here on “moving goal posts” is exactly what I was referring to above… putting the cart before the horse; i.e. too many apriori (undefined presuppositions/theories) assertions made that ARE NOT established, probably non-existent! Mel is arguing from a source that is ambigious at best: the 4th-century CE canonical (or amputated) Bible. Then the later 5th thru 8th century “Church Fathers” such as Augustine of Hippo who was one of some 19 saintly Church Fathers! 😮 The goal-posts constantly MOVE because Christian apologists/theologians and amateur pastors are taught 7-8 centuries of evolving, convoluted, confused doctrines and tenets that originally possess little to no true, pure Jewish Messianism of Antiquity. So…

          …the goal-posts are always moving depending on what a group or denomination favors and benefits their own interests. 🙂

          I do greatly admire your patience here and resilience Scottie. Well done! ❤

        • Scottie says:

          Thanks again. I admit I was getting tired and frustrated. I know from past experience when I get too tired or frustrated I can get snippy or say something inappropriate, so I tire to stop before then or be more careful of what I say. I like to exchange ideas and comments, but when it gets to a certain point where animosity starts to develop, you know no one is hearing what is said and it is time to stop. Hugs

        • Scottie says:

          Your construct is simply reality. Life as it exists naturally. As Nan says , it simply is. No more and no less. Call it a construct , call it Camelot, call it dungeons and dragons, it still is the same thing, reality. Got to go see a doctor. Be back latter. Have a great day. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          Your construct is simply reality. Life as it exists naturally. As Nan says , it simply is. No more and no less.

          Sorry, but that’s a cop-out. Why is the world the way it is? I can imagine a world much better than this, can’t you? Why do we imagine such things if this is just the natural way things are? This why I can say that the world is flawed at a systemic level.

        • Scottie says:

          We covered this Mel. The world is the the way it is because of human nature and a lot of the problems can be traced right back to religious beliefs. To expand that thought humans are animals that evolved from a lower state. As we mature we should get better except we have ideas and regressive beliefs held by some dragging us at least 2000 years into the past. We need to let go of that and move to the future for the betterment of us all. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          “The world is the way it is because of human nature and a lot of the problems can be traced right back to religious beliefs.”

          You’ll have to make up your mind, Scottie. If there’s no such thing as sin, then there are no “problems” to trace back to religion. If there is no God, people are just evolved animals. Our behavior isn’t “a problem”. It’s not a problem when crocodiles eat their children. It’s just nature doing what it does. You can’t have problems without some idea of how things “are supposed to be”.

          Being able to “imagine a world much better than this” is strong evidence that a better world exists. There is no evolutionary reason to yearn for a better world. That is your soul trying to tell you something your brain doesn’t want to hear.

        • Scottie says:

          John your being a jerk. You are adding apples and subtracting oranges to get bananas. The fact that there is no sin because there has been no evidence of a god shown doesn’t stop people like you from believing in the myth and acting on it. You remind me of theist that say with out a god they would just rape and murder and steal all they want. Really! They have no conception themselves of well being. They are so depraved that they would commit those horrible acts on their own will?

          As for imagining a better world and that makes it exist, I assume next you will show me Hogwarts? Thousands of people write stories and create movies / TV. Doesn’t mean those world exist. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Calling me a jerk doesn’t address the issue, Scottie.
          Comparing me to mythical theistic rapists doesn’t address the issue either. You are introducing things into the conversation that I haven’t said and don’t believe. That’s called strawman arguments. Please stick to the topic.

          Do you know the word “depraved” appears in the Bible? It’s used in reference to…wait for it…”sin”.

          When you throw out the idea of “sin”, then you don’t get to keep using words like, “depraved” and “horrible”. You are fixated solely on the atrocities people commit in the name of “religion”. But we both know that godless heathen can be depraved too. Horrible acts are committed by people who deny the existence of “sin”.

        • Scottie says:

          I am John, you said.

          If there’s no such thing as sin, then there are no “problems” to trace back to religion. If there is no God, people are just evolved animals. Our behavior isn’t “a problem”. It’s not a problem when crocodiles eat their children.

          So everything I wrote is with in that conversation. No strawman at all. IF you can not see the problem with horrendous actions regardless if god exists I feel real sorry for you. And as I think you can and do know better, you were being a jerk.

          Get off your religious high horse. Words are man made to express ideas. They are not owned by any one group, cause, or any other sub grouping. They mean what we have decided as a society they mean. That is why new words get introduced into the dictionary every year. You do not decide what words someone can use, sorry you are not king of the world yet.

          I am not fixated on the harm religions have caused and leep causing , but I am aware of the damage they do to society. You seem to not be. I have never claimed that non-religious people commit horrible acts, in fact I did say the opposite. Talk about building strawman. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          I DO see the problem with “horrendous actions regardless if god exists”!!!! That’s what I was writing about!

          I would call all horrendous actions “sin”.
          It doesn’t matter whether the act is committed by “religious people” or “non-religious people”. All horrible acts are “sin”.

          Why do you find this objectionable?

        • Scottie says:

          I would call all horrendous actions “sin”.
          It doesn’t matter whether the act is committed by “religious people” or “non-religious people”. All horrible acts are “sin”.

          This falls apart at the point where you claim ALL horrible acts are sins.

          an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
          “a sin in the eyes of God”

          We really covered this before. Sin is a transgression against divine law. No god, no divine laws. It would be more correct to say that all horrendous acts are a crime. You can finish it off with crime against humanity, against the state, whatever secular agency is responsible for prosecuting criminal acts.

          As to your first part. I reread what you wrote.

          When you throw out the idea of “sin”, then you don’t get to keep using words like, “depraved” and “horrible”

          and

          If there’s no such thing as sin, then there are no “problems” to trace back to religion. If there is no God, people are just evolved animals. Our behavior isn’t “a problem”. It’s not a problem when crocodiles eat their children. It’s just nature doing what it does.

          Which leads me to say I don’t think you do understand that sin or not, god or not, horrendous acts are horrendous acts and we do know they are wrong because we are humans who don’t want those acts committed against us. We don’t want our kids, our friends kids, our countries kids eaten by crocodiles. You don’t need a god to know having a kid’s life cut short sucks. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          The problem with your argument is fundamentally this: why are these acts conferred immoral? What standard are you appealing to?

        • Scottie says:

          Here is a quote from Matt Dillahunty

          Your god isn’t real. He’s not moral. The Bible isn’t moral. Islam isn’t moral. None of these religious systems— anything that deteriorates the value of human beings, anything that hangs on to Bronze Age ideals about genocide and slavery and murder and deference to higher powers. None of those things are moral. We’ve graduated beyond that, and I’m sorry that we’ve had to drag religions kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but some of you gotta let this stuff go. You’re not gonna get anywhere until you realize that it’s OK not to be afraid. It’s OK to say, “you know, I think slavery is wrong. I think slavery was probably always wrong. I think that you’re a good person, and yeah it does sound like a crappy system.”

          I won’t include links to his talks on what is moral and morality as that would not be something you or others might watch and this would go to moderation. From the quote above you can see we have grown in understanding and so has our ideas of morality and what is moral.

          You have read me use the term wellbeing. It really comes down to the wellbeing of all of us. You can see Matt uses the words degrades the human condition.

          The fact is Mel we make up our morality both individually and a collect community / society . We always have. The idea that it came from a god has never been shown. Mankind, humans decided what was right based on what we understood at the time. As we grew / grow in understanding we have high and higher standards of conduct. We need not be ruled by the ideas of morality from 2000 years ago. Females are not property, slavery is wrong, stoning people for sexual activity is wrong. These things and so much more were always wrong, we just did not know better and from the bible neither did this christian god. We know racism is wrong. It always was we just were not grown up enough to understand it was wrong. If morality came from a deity then that deity would have known these things were wrong before humans decided they were wrong. We wouldn’t have had such troubles with these issues. But each and every time it takes people learning / growing / understanding something is wrong before it suddenly becomes wrong in the eyes of a god.

          Not all people grow to understanding at the same rate. We have a lot of deplorables that need to catch up. But the rest of us can help them do so.

          You asked Mel, so I hope this answers the question. Have a good day. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks for sharing Dillahunty’s opinion, but no, it doesn’t answer why we are moral . It doesn’t address why we call it we’ll-being. Why is this so? What standard are you appealing to?

        • Scottie says:

          Mel, it does so. You know what well being is. You know when something improves the human condition and when something negatively impacts it. There are a lot of other words that go along with it. Hey here is a simple definition from the web.

          Definition of well-being
          : the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous

          Things that work toward that goal for all humanity are good, things that work against that or cause a negative wellness are bad. Seems really simple to me. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          Things that work toward that goal for all humanity are good, things that work against that or cause a negative wellness are bad. Seems really simple to me.

          Of course, but that’s not my question. Why is this so? Why does this cause well-being? You still haven’t answered by which standard by which you are basing this well-being.

        • Scottie says:

          I have Mel, repeatedly, but you don’t want to see it. You want it to be a standard from on high. It is not. We create the standards. I said this. All ideas of right or wrong, positive acts or negative acts, are man made. We humans created the language, the communities we live in, the things we accept, and yes the things we won’t accept. It all comes down to us. This is our story and we are making it up as we go along. But that is not what you want to hear and it is not what you will accept. Sorry but from all the evidence we have this is the truth. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          We create the standards. I said this. All ideas of right or wrong, positive acts or negative acts, are man made.

          But that’s not a standard, Scottie. That’s a moving target that has no coherence. What you’ve given me is popular opinion or cultural pressure. But then I have to ask, why do we say that the slaveholders in the Old South (pre-Civil War) were immoral since that cultural norm (cultural pressure) was to own slaves? Who are you to judge their culture from your 21st century morality? By what right do you claim a superior morality?

          And I could take it a step further. Who are you to judge those who sell their children into slavery as immoral where it’s accepted in other cultures, even to this day? Or, in some Asian cultures where it’s considered honorable to lie to save face. Why should we judge lying as immoral? Furthermore, by what standard do you judge God to be a “horrible deity?”

          My point is, are there things that are always wrong (rather than progressive, or culturally wrong), and if so, why is this so? What standard are you appealing to?

        • Scottie says:

          Yes Mel it is a standard. And yes the standards improve over time. You know how science works right? We add new information to what we already know. We build on what is already established. What we know to be acceptable or correct behavior also improves.

          An example is smoking. For the longest time people were of the idea that smoking was good for you. Then it became questionable. Now we know it is harmful and so it is going away. Has everyone stopped, no. It takes some time for some people to catch up with the rest of society. But they do abide by the laws of the land which says where , when, and who can freely smoke.

          Slavery. We can judge right and wrong by our accepted standards of today. We do so. We compare what history says was done and why to what we understand today to be a positive or negative force of wellbeing. I do claim we are morally superior to those holding slaves in any century, even way back in the old Testament times. We know it is wrong, we don’t do it or allow it, so yes we have moved forward in understanding what is right or wrong. What I find funny is your god did not know it was wrong. The god in the old testament had no real problem with slavery, even included the rules in his holy book. But you know it is wrong. You are more moral than the god of the old testament. And as god never changes you are also more moral than the god of the new testament. Dang Mel, welcome to secular morality.

          We could go culture by culture and item by item but the result is the same. We know that somethings done in a culture are a negative pressure on wellbeing / the condition of humanity as a species and the planet as a whole.

          Mel you know you have discovered things you may have once thought OK that as you developed understanding and grew as a person you now think are wrong. So it is with the entire humanity. Again sorry it is not carved in stone tablets and handed down from on high. We did it. We created the whole thing and we are learning as we go along. Did we make mistakes, yes. We can admit that we screwed that or this up, we don’t need to blame a devil or supernatural being. Just as we can admit we are getting better, we don’t need a deity to carry us. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Sing with me:

          Feeelings.
          Nothing more than feeeeeelings.
          Scottie offers feeeeelings because that’s all he knows.

          Feeeeeeeelings!
          Whoa, whoa, whoa
          Feeeeelings.
          Whoa, whoa, whoa
          Feeeeelings.
          Again and again and again…

        • Scottie says:

          And we are back to childishly acting like a jerk. Say it with me, grade school mentality. You are so impressive John, your work is done, your deity is very proud. I am so much more enlightened now by your singing. Oh if only I could use words to show how smart I am as someone who acts like a child. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          I hope you stamped your feet while you typed this!
          That’ll show me!

        • Scottie says:

          😃😆😋😘😉🙄

          Not a chance John. I laughed at you. I also shared what you call wit with some friends. You lost the vote by the way. John do understand. I do these comments because I enjoy ideas. I do put effort into them. But I don’t take them overly seriously. I know Mel is not going to suddenly announced I changed his world view. I know you will get to a point where you act up as you do with everyone who will respond to you. I do place more value on some peoples comments than others, take that as you should. When it gets stupid or not fun anymore I just stop as I did earlier and have on other venues. I know there are people reading these comments and they can see each response for what it is and evaluate the information themselves. You must know that when you lower yourself to childishness or obstinacy others reading can see that. To me it matters not if you ruin your own argument. I think it funny you think I care that much about you to be upset by your antics. 😋😏
          Be well. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          As I said before, feelings are not part of my argument.
          Laugh.
          Take a vote(?) and declare that I “lost”.
          Call me childish.
          Remind me that you don’t care about me.

          None of that is a defense of YOUR argument.
          Your position is that you personally dislike slavery, or the killing of homosexuals, or the eating of children. This is merely your opinion. There is no compelling reason anyone should agree with you.

          Keep laughing!

        • Scottie says:

          John I will address your second part because I see where you are missing the point. It is not just me. It is not morality by a single person. It is not a personal dislike by me or any other single person. We know as a society what is an improvement on ways we use to act and so we adjust accordingly. Does that help ya? Call it opinion if it helps but think of it as a mass opinion of the collective society. Just as we know not to burn our fingers on a hot object after doing it ( some people repeatedly ) we know things that impact our wellbeing as a society in the negative are wrong and need to be changed. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          “It is not just me. It is not morality by a single person. It is not a personal dislike by me or any other single person. We know as a society what is an improvement on ways we use to act and so we adjust accordingly.”

          I am not missing the point. Apparently I’ve articulated the point precisely.

          Appealing to mass opinion as the standard for right and wrong doesn’t work either. The overwhelming majority of people have opinions informed by religion. The majority of people believe religion positively impacts wellbeing. If morality is determined by majority, then it is immoral to disagree.

          Slavery was not abolished in the United States because the majority of the people just “knew” it was wrong. There was a substantial “mass opinion” that wanted to perpetuate slavery.

          We think it’s wrong to kill homosexuals no matter how many people agree with us, right?

        • Scottie says:

          John we know the history of religion shows it was not a positive impact over all. Slavery was backed up by people using the bible. You do not see the point at all. Please read what I just responded to Mel. The least religious societies in the world today have much higher well being than religious countries. Slavery was abolished in the USA due to public opinion John, it was called the civil war. Both sides were arguing it out, one side growing and evolving a better understanding of the detriments of slavery to the wellbeing of the person and society. After the war there was no question , except today in the minds of those deplorables that need to catch up with humanity before they miss the last train out.

          No John you are missing the point. I guess I can’t help you understand. There is not objective always to be right and wrong given by stone tablets from a deity. Understand John we humans are making it up as we go along. The christian bible proves this. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Got it.
          Killing homosexuals is not wrong under sharia law because that’s the majority opinion.
          Hugs.

        • Scottie says:

          Wrong John. You really try not to understand don’t you. We know the killing of homosexuals for a religious law has a negative effect on the wellbeing of society. In fact any enforcement of religious laws has a negative impact on society. So religious laws are a crime against humanity and therefore immoral. It is just murder in the name of a god or deity. I already explained to you why murder is wrong.

          Oh john this is the second or third time I explained about sharia law and why it is wrong, including the part about killing homosexuals. I don’t want to repeat it again OK. Hugs

        • Nan says:

          Scottie, you’re wasting energy trying to have an intelligent, well-researched conversation with JB. As you’re already noted, all he can offer is sarcasm … which, I must admit, he’s quite talented in. No doubt because it’s part of his acclaimed comedy act.

        • Scottie says:

          I guess you are right Nan. Thank you. I admit I am tired. I have been at this all day, even while waiting for Ron at the doctors office. ( I took my Ipad to keep up on ) I feel frustrated because it seems he deliberately doesn’t want to see what I am writing or meaning, he wants to shift between being childish and insulting to thinking he has just written the definitive last words, which totally misrepresent what I tried to say. I guess I will give up on him. Thanks again. I am reading your post right now. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Wrong Scottie.
          You can’t appeal to “mass opinion” as the basis of morality then appeal to “individual wellbeing” to keep Muslims from killing homosexuals. This is why your worldview doesn’t work.

        • Wrong John. You really try not to understand don’t you.

          Bingo! He is simply an agitating gnat, an agaçant provocateur. Nothing more. Pick your battles wisely Scottie and ignore the other chidish antics is well-known for. 😉

        • *he is well-known for. LOL 225+ comments really slows down the WordPress cache horribly. 🤔

        • Scottie says:

          Thank you Professor. I need to do better in that regard. I live and learn. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          I agree with what you’re saying but this still does not address the standard by which we understand improvement. In other words, by what standard do we think we’re improving?

        • Scottie says:

          Mel we add what we learn to what we know. It develops, it evolves. We know if it is better by the effect is has on the wellbeing of the species and the planet as a whole. We can compare what we knew to what we now understand and see which is better. Again the standards of behavior and morals are not static, they are dynamic. They change because we humans change.

          Ok rather than repeat myself let’s see if I can think of a way we know something is better. OH yes sanitation. In the old days it was thought too many baths could kill you. Now we know it is better to stay clean and be clean aas it keeps us from sickness and death. Cause and effect.

          Or we know that depleting the oceans and ruining the food chain is wrong because it will hurt all of us eventually. We grew to understand better.

          The standard is us Mel. What is best for wellbeing of us and the planet. We know if it is better if it improves our wellbeing. We have already given that definition. Have a good one. Hugs

        • Scottie, IMO you have answered more than adequately “the standard by which we understand improvement.” Bravo to you and your INCREDIBLE patience to rampant horse-blinders. Be well and hugs for you. ❤

        • This is an excellent reply Scottie! Very well done. 😉

        • John Branyan says:

          He can’t answer that question.
          It is both fascinating and terrifying to see the mindlessness that accompanies the belief that “there is no God”. He cannot see the contradiction of claiming sin doesn’t exist and people do horrible things.

        • Scottie says:

          @John I did answer the question and quite well in fact. What is both fascinating and terrifying to see the mindlessness that accompanies the belief in God(s)”. See John bull headedness and snark work both ways. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          You didn’t answer the question at all. That’s why I made my comment.
          It wasn’t snark. Dismissing me as “bull-headed” is another irony that you’ve failed to grasp.

          Your worldview is unworkable. Mel and I have both explained it multiple times in many different ways. It doesn’t matter how you feel, your position is illogical, irrational, and circular.

        • Scottie says:

          Oh sad child. We hope you will join the grown ups someday. Hugs

        • Scottie says:

          Mel I thought of a way to explain it better. You understand slavery is wrong. IF you were transported to a time where slavery was common and legal , you would still know it is wrong. You know this based on the improved standards of right and wrong you developed in our time. SO you have improved morals. Does that help? Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, I agree with the idea of improved moral standards on a cultural level, but, as you said, there are things that aren’t just culturally wrong, they are absolutely wrong, like slavery, even though they may be culturally legal. And it has always been morally wrong to murder from the beginning of civilization. That has not changed or evolved. So, again, my question is, why is this always wrong? By what standard are you basing this sense of morality that exists apart from cultural pressure or popular opinion?

        • Nan says:

          it has always been morally wrong to murder from the beginning of civilization.

          Yet the bible tells us that god did it consistently (or told his “followers” to). And don’t insert “but Jesus” because the fact still remains that murder existed in “the beginning of civilization” and was approved, even commanded, by the god of the bible.

        • John Branyan says:

          Yes.
          God commanded MURDER.

          But you don’t believe in God…so what’s your problem with murder?

        • Scottie says:

          @John that is easy to answer. How would being murdered affect your wellbeing. The wellbeing of your family? Now extend that to society as a whole. The negative effects of murder on the wellbeing of both the person and the extended effect on society clearly makes murder a crime against humanity. That is why we say it is immoral. Simple. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          You’re flip-flopping now.
          Mass opinion supersedes individual wellbeing. On your view, morality is determined by the majority. Homosexuals are the minority so their wellbeing is irrelevant.

        • Scottie says:

          No John, you think too small. I use society as a whole, as a planet wide humanity. What is beneficial to the human race and the planet as a whole. The status of a minority population has no meaning on this. I also note the problem is religious laws, again. It doesn’t matter the majority opinion if the effect is harmful. We can show this because things thought to be moral by the majority of the beings in the bible we know now are not moral. So you see where you fell off the rails I hope.

          John did you not read what I wrote to you on murder. Go back and read it. I am done repeating myself for you. Go chase a mouse or something. I feel sad you have brought the conversation in circles so many times but I guess I can not reach your lower levels. Yes that was an insult if you read it correctly. Good night. I am moving on to others who want my6 attention and will read and try to understand what I am writing. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          “It doesn’t matter the majority opinion if the effect is harmful.”
          Right.
          That is exactly the problem with your worldview. Amazing that you can write it and STILL not understand it.

          I’m never insulted by people I don’t respect.
          You can save your hugs for the “others who want your attention”.

        • Scottie says:

          Again you deliberately misread or misunderstand what is written. Either you do so on purpose thinking it makes you look good or you can’t follow a conversation John.

          I wrote this “I use society as a whole, as a planet wide humanity. What is beneficial to the human race and the planet as a whole. The status of a minority population has no meaning on this.”

          Then you break it down to one country having religious laws against a minority.
          I am done with you today.
          Hugs 🤗🤗🤗

        • John Branyan says:

          Society as a whole includes the minority.
          You’re consistently incoherent.
          I’m returning these unused: (Hugs 🤗🤗🤗)

        • Nan says:

          You’re consistently incoherent. Takes one to know one.

        • John Branyan says:

          Zing!
          I know you are but what am I?

        • Mel Wild says:

          Yet the bible tells us that god did it consistently (or told his “followers” to).

          Hmmmm….where did God tell his followers to murder people?

          Murder is the killing of another person without justification or valid excuse, and it is especially the unlawful killing of another person with malice aforethought.

          Not to mention, that would totally contradict His command not to murder.

          And don’t insert “but Jesus” because….

          That would be an invalid request because, according to Christian theology, Jesus explains God (John 1:18); He is the “exact representation of God” (Heb.1:3); therefore, whatever is like Jesus is like God, whatever is not like Jesus is not like God. To say that God is different than Jesus would be false. It would constitute an anthropocentric projection of what people thought God was like, which Jesus proved to be false.

          So, your argument is false on two counts. First, you have not established that God commands His followers to murder; second, you cannot depict God in any way that’s different than Jesus, no matter who said it in the Old Testament.

        • Nan says:

          *Gong!” (circa 1976)

        • Scottie says:

          It is more than just a local culture Mel. We would agree some things that are acceptable in some cultures are morally wrong, or a crime against humanity. In our world some cultures / countries are more advanced in the wellbeing of the people who live there, and so better for the wellbeing of the entire society. So we grow , we learn by seeing an improvement and we incorporate that improvement. We use as a measure how it affects us personally and as a society. We started out needing group support, so killing each other was not good for the group. Slavery is wrong because of how it negatively impacts a person’s wellbeing / humanity. Remember our definition of wellbeing. ” the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous”. Well we know being a slave takes all that away, so it is a crime and always will be. Even as I said should you go somewhere it is legal you know it is not moral because of what it does to the person who is a slave, plus the negative aspect to the whole society. It is about the beneficial aspects for society.

          As I said, the standard is the wellbeing of the person, planet, and society as a whole. The standards are fluid for us as we grow but set for the past when we did not know better. So we can look back and say something was wrong to do as the people who come after us will see where we were wrong. We learn to be better, understand more, grow, evolve.

          Mel you want me to say that what is the right or wrong actions are set in stone and perhaps handed down from somewhere above our existence. The thing is they are not. There is no evidence for that. If you like the words objective and subjective, morals are accepted by society on a subjective level and become an objective standard when enough of the society demands it be so.

          SO while even today there are pockets of slavery , we know they are wrong because the majority of us have determined it has a huge negative impact on the wellbeing of the person, the society and civilization in general.

          Hope this helps. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          There you go, Mel.
          Did you not realize well-being is defined in the dictionary?

        • John Branyan says:

          He is appealing to the universal standard of Matt Dillahunty.

        • John Branyan says:

          You said:
          “Sin is a transgression against divine law.”

          Then:
          “…sin or not, god or not, horrendous acts are horrendous acts and we do know they are wrong because we are humans who don’t want those acts committed against us.”

          Both of your comments work depending on your definition of “divine law”. Some people reference “natural law” which is a basic sense of right and wrong that people just possess. It isn’t learned from the Bible. It isn’t indoctrinated into us in Sunday School. Religious and non-religious people all possess this sense of “natural law”. It is how we know it’s wrong to eat children.

          When you say, “You don’t need a god to know having a kid’s life cut short sucks.” that’s not just your opinion. You believe that is universally true. In essence, it is a “divine law”. You don’t need a god to know that divine law is essential to human existence.

        • Scottie says:

          John, please see the reply I made to Mel, it should answer your question without me repeating all I just wrote. Your idea of nour inbred sense of natural law is just the idea of we don’t want that stuff happening to us and so we expand that on to the entire community / society. No divine laws, no need. It is all based on wellness of the human condition. We know this because as I mentioned to Mel what is right behaviors have changed over the years as we grew wiser. Divine laws wouldn’t change. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          I read your reply to Mel.
          And we’re back to where we started!

          Scotty says: “We know that cutting a kid’s life short sucks.”

          Abortionist says: “How do we know that?”

          Scotty says: “It has nothing to do with god!”

          Abortionist says: “Right. So how do we know?”

          Scotty says: “Sin doesn’t exist!”

          Abortionist says: “Gotcha. How do we know cutting kids life short sucks?”

          Scotty says: “Matt Dillahunty says so.”

        • Scottie says:

          Nice set up John. Did you really think I wouldn’t see the shift here. OK john from the top. Abortions do not kill children! Zygotes and fetuses are aborted.

          I said cutting a kids life short sucks. We know that, as I said, because it is against the wellbeing of us from family to neighborhood to community to society.

          I don’t get your attempt to drag it out as more than what I said. You inserted a bunch of lines that don’t need to be there. Here let me fix it for you.

          Scottie: We know that the ending of a child’s life sucks.

          Other person(s): Yup that is true. Hurts us all to see a kid die.

          The end.

          So I dismiss your argument as a failure.

        • John Branyan says:

          Zygotes and fetuses are children.
          Immorality is sin.

          Your worldview requires you to deny the meaning of words.
          You should think about that sometime.

        • Scottie says:

          Nope.
          zy·gote
          ˈzīˌɡōt/Submit
          nounBIOLOGY
          a diploid cell resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a fertilized ovum.

          As for fetus if it can not survive outside the womb it is not a child. It is tissue inside a female.

          I guess you could say it will be a child if born. So let’s say it is not a independent living child.

          I do not deny the meaning of words, I already said they express the ideas we give to them as a society. However words can be twisted, made to mean things they do not, disagreed on even. I do not share your world view John,. Is that a surprise? Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          You’re getting your morality from the dictionary. Impressive!

        • Scottie says:

          John, we covered this. You are not being impressive. I really have spent a lot of my day including while waiting at the doctors chatting with you, but I think we have hit a dead end, don’t you? Have a great day. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Yes. You’re at a dead end.
          Hopefully, you won’t be content to stay there.

        • Scottie says:

          Again John, your acting like a jerk. But we covered that before also. Hopefully you will grow up and develop understanding along with social skills. Hey have a great day. Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          Actually, Scottie, YOU are the jerk.
          Have a great day.

        • Scottie says:

          Well said John, very convincing. 😃😄😋😘😎 Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          😃😄😋😘😎
          I guess you’re the only one allowed to call names?

        • Scottie says:

          Ah John, don’t get your feelings hurt. We are so much older than grade school don’t you think? Never mind, lots to do as Haggard says.
          Hugs

        • John Branyan says:

          My feelings don’t get hurt. My feelings have nothing to do with this conversation.

          You, on the other hand, have built your worldview on nothing BUT feelings.

        • Reminiscent of a 2nd or 3rd grader isn’t it Scottie? 🙄😒

        • Scottie says:

          John I do see a difference between crocodiles and humans eating their young. I just moved it from nature to human reason for you. Hugs

        • Scottie says:

          Sorry John. I miss a typo.

          I have never claimed that non-religious people commit horrible acts, in fact I did say the opposite

          should have been: I never claimed that Non-religious people do not commit horrible acts, in fact I did say the opposite. Hugs

      • Scottie says:

        If you could show me your god exists I would believe that. I wouldn’t worship him as I think the christian deity is a horrible being not worthy of worship. But your assertion that I would just dismiss what you wrote is not correct. I had to do a lot of looking up on the whole quantum physics junk to get in my head what was wrong with your post on that could explain god doing miracles. I asked a lot of people for feedback on it. I did learn something, Tildeb has a lot of technical in depth knowledge of physics to share. 😄

        I think I do not have to prove the physical world is all there is, no one has proven there is more than that. The burden of proof is not on me Mel. This world is all we can be assured of. It is here, we are in it. We have the ability to function in the real world. We have nothing but natural science, science of any and all kinds. The rest is guess work, day dreams, myths, want to be fantasy. IMO you want there to be more so you believe there is, but there is no evidence for it. Until proven I can not believe in it. Now in response to a point that there are things we do not understand yet. Yes there are those things and we can see the effects of them on the real world, we don’t need to jump to a “god of the gaps” to explain them.
        Feelings don’t count as evidence and we don’t intuitly know. Again you are lumping everyone in to your club of feelings and ideas. I do know that nuature came about quite naturally based on the evidence scientist have found and the laws / theories they developed.
        This is the point of my response you miss. Just because you feel it, think it, have a whole church that agrees they are moved, doesn’t make it so. I get really tired of being told what I know, what I believe , and how I think. Everyday I run into someone who wants to tell me how I feel sexually or that I know deep down that god exists because their bible says so and they feel it. I know I am not gay I just want to rebel and sin. See how silly that sounds to you Mel? So to say we know intuitively that nature did not come about naturally is also silly.

        Sorry Mel, the idea that god existed before man was here to dream him up again is unsupported and there simply is no evidence. You have a cart before the horse problem with that. No one can say oh yes the pink unicorn existed before the universe. Russell’s teapot orbiting the sun existed before the galaxy and solar system.

        The burden of proof doesn’t go both ways Mel. It is on the one making the positive assertion. I can show you the natural world as evidence and proof. You can not show me supernatural evidence as it is not possible to do so in the natural world. The burden of showing the supernatural is the one claiming it is there. I can show reality to you, I do not have to depend on feelings of it. So the burden is not mine, but yours.

        I know a lot of theist like to claim atheist have a belief / faith in science. No not true. I have a trust in science based on the evidence. I trust the discoveries and information developed by scientist as they have earned my trust by backing up their claims with proofs and evidences. Faith of a theist is belief without evidence or despite lack of it. Very different.

        Sin: an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.
        “a sin in the eyes of God”

        As I do not believe in a god or divine law, no I do not believe in sin as an act. What you described are crimes. They are wrong and should be punish, but not because they transgress a divine law, but because it is against the wellbeing of the community and society. We humans are responsible for what we deem morally correct behavior and we should punish based on violations of secular laws. I know to rape , murder , steal , is not good for the society as a whole nor is it good for me personally, so I will try to not do those things. I will try to have laws made to prevent and punish actions against the greater good. That is why we make laws and rules. For the greater good. As we grow we learn and as we develop as a species we change our understanding of that greater good.

        Your last bit I agree with. The world has some really messed up stuff going on in it. Some can be blamed on human nature and some can be blamed on religion. Back to John’s sharia laws and killing gays. I know you think the go to position is Jesus or god. That helps you. I don’t really mind that and for some I think they should cling to it as it is the only thing keeping them from doing bad things against the laws and others.

        My issue Mel is not you being religious. It is that some of your brethren want to make the entire world in their holy views. They want to assert things with no evidence and claim it is a proven fact. They want to do as you did in this post and claim everyone is in your club regardless and know that deep down they are responsible for your mythology. That is when I push back.

        Great gravy this got long. But I wanted to answer everything you asked or wrote as I do not want you or john or others to think I cherry pick or won’t answer. I have to go do dishes now. I may not be able to get back to your responses for a few hours. Hugs

        • Mel Wild says:

          If you could show me your god exists I would believe that. I wouldn’t worship him as I think the christian deity is a horrible being not worthy of worship.

          So, tell me if you know. What is it specifically about Jesus that you find so revolting? After all, he is called the exact representation of God in the Christian Bible. Whatever is like Jesus is like God, whatever is not like Jesus is not like God.

          I have a trust in science based on the evidence.

          Sorry, but science CANNOT prove anything outside of the natural world so your position is self-refuting. If God exists, it will never be found by scientific inquiry. As I’ve said before. it would be like Hamlet trying to prove Shakespeare’s existence by looking for him in the play. It’s a category mistake.

        • Scottie says:

          Mel the god of the christian bible ( and all the abrahamic faiths really ) is the same as Jesus, described as unchanging, and the actions described of that being is a monster I wouldn’t follow on pain of death. Sorry as I know you love Jesus, at least the one you have decided exists. Not everyone with your faith or who is christian sees the same Jesus. But the fact that Jesus is god, and god of the bible is Jesus, coupled with the actions of that god makes him a real asshole. Face it, if a person acted as god in the old testament did you wouldn’t have anything to do with them, you would hate them.

          The natural world is all that can be shown to exist, the supernatural can not be shown. As Aron Ra likes to say ” If you can’t show it, you can’t claim to know it”. But I went all through this in two or three rather long paragraphs didn’t I? You are simply proving my point. IF god exists he should be able to be detected or his actions on reality would be. But nothing! So what is the difference between a god that has no evidence in any way of and a made up god that doesn’t exist. Every action accorded to the Jesus can be said of any other man made mythical deity. You Hamlet thing is cute but flawed. Hamlet can only do as he is written by the author who made him up. We are real thinking people. Hamlet is made up. It is like watching a movie a dozen times and wondering why the characters don’t do something different in the same scenes.
          Hugs

    • Judy says:

      nicely put, Scottie

  11. Ron says:

    Of course, you weren’t there and, no, I’m not saying you personally killed Jesus. All of this misses the point. . . . When I say we killed Jesus I mean that we all belong to the same club as those who actually did. A New Testament word for this “club” is kosmos, or “world.”

    Your argument boils down to guilt by association.

    But then you’ll also have to acknowledge that God — the all-perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful architect of all that exists — orchestrated its own execution.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Your argument boils down to guilt by association.

      No, it doesn’t. You totally missed the point, but thanks for trying.

      • Ron says:

        No I didn’t miss your point. But thanks for being dismissive. And when you have some time, review your October 15, 2017 sermon on 1 Peter 3:15. It’s on your church’s media page. 🙂

        • Mel Wild says:

          No I didn’t miss your point. But thanks for being dismissive.

          So, you tell me exactly how my post was about guilt by association. And if I sound dismissive it’s only because I’ve explained what I meant in detail, both in the post itself and in several comments now. Ironically, it’s your conclusion that’s rather dismissive.

        • Ron says:

          How much clearer can it be? You wrote:

          “When I say we killed Jesus I mean that we all belong to the same club as those who actually did.”

          We’re all humans
          Some humans killed Jesus
          Therefore we all killed Jesus.

          This is faulty logic.

        • Mel Wild says:

          No, Ron, yours is the faulty logic.

          I said the WORLD (societal construct) is flawed. We all live in this “world” of blame-shifting, fear, revenge, murder, greed, envy, and “us against them.” Therefore, it’s this MINDSET that killed Jesus. It’s the same mind behind the system we are all a part of, whether we like it or not. You cannot escape the “fishbowl,” Ron. You are swimming in it. You can only mitigate against being like it, which is precisely what Jesus addresses. Of course, he was killed for it because that’s what this world does to pure other-centered, self-giving love.

        • Ron says:

          Cosmos – everything that exists.

          So we’re back to square one:

          God — the all-perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful architect of all that exists — orchestrated its own execution.

        • John Branyan says:

          There you go, Ron! You figured it out!
          Don’t stop now!

  12. Judy says:

    Sin is a religious construct. Every religion in the world has their own idea of what sin is, and which events are sinful, from the Puritans who believed bright colors were sinful (vanity) and whistling, and sex on Sundays, to people who believe that thoughts are sinful, and looking at or touching your own body is, too. It’s a wide rainge.

    Non believers distinguish right and wrong and the degrees between, and each person has his or her own sense of that, based on personal temperament and public pressure. But I don’t believe we use the term “sin” in the same way. since there is no hell in our lexicon, or heaven, it has little meaning.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Sin is a religious construct.

      So, if I decide to start selling children in the sex trade where it’s legal to do so, that’s okay, right? After all, sin is just a religious construct. And it’s accepted in that culture.

      Non believers distinguish right and wrong and the degrees between, and each person has his or her own sense of that, based on personal temperament and public pressure.

      On what basis? By whose moral standard is this right and wrong determined? Public sentiment? Okay, so according to this standard, then the South was morally right to own slaves since the “public pressure” in their culture was to own them. So, by what right do you have to judge slaveholders? And there are still parts of the world where selling children is normal. Who are you to judge those cultures? And on what grounds is your moral superiority?

      I’m sorry but your argument not only has little meaning in the real world, it’s incoherent.

  13. sklyjd says:

    John and Mel, you want clarification. Scientific fact number one, dead people do not rise from the grave, this only happens in movies. Number two, science says women do not get pregnant as a virgin. Number 3, Dynamo walked on water across the Thames, therefore science says if Jesus did it he was only a clever magician. Number 4, science tells us that humans and the universe and everything else were definitely not created by any gods. Number 5, science has not found evidence of a world flood or Noahs Ark. How many more do you want?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Sklyjd, first, what does this have to do with my post? We are talking about why the world is flawed, not bringing up every atheist argument you can think of. Second, you are parroting a shop-worn 250 year old argument by David Hume that didn’t even survive those who followed after him. Here’s his (and Bart Ehrman’s) circular argument:

      – I don’t believe in the resurrection (or miracles) because it violates natural laws.
      – Miracles, by definition, are the least probable thing that can happen.
      – Therefore, the resurrection of Jesus did not happen (or highly improbable).

      But, as Amy Orr-Ewing said;

      “It’s fascinating this [Hume’s argument] is coming back because, actually, what philosophers coming after Hume discovered is that Hume’s idea itself collapses; it’s neither true by definition nor is it empirically verifiable.”

      So, basically, Hume and Ehrman are saying, I don’t believe in miracles because they violate regularities in nature and they have no experience with them. But this is not proof. It would only be true is naturalism were true. But science cannot prove naturalism. It can only test things within the natural world; it cannot go outside of its own bounds. To believe science can answer everything is not science, it’s scientism, which is a worldview.

      So, here are the facts:

      FACT 1: Science only deals with regularities in nature so you cannot use scientific inquiry to prove or disprove something that would go outside of nature.
      FACT 2: Something supernatural (beyond natural regularities) would not be a natural event or even a common event.
      FACT 3: Christians are not claiming that Jesus’ dead body raised itself from the dead by natural means. We are saying that God raised Jesus from the dead by supernatural means. And, if God exist, He would certainly be able to do this for His particular purpose.
      FACT 4: Supernatural events are only impossible if we live in the Enlightenment closed-world of Hume. But quantum mechanics proves that we do not live in a closed system.

      As John Lennox said:

      “What Christians are claiming about the resurrection of Jesus is not that He rose by some natural process. No, they say He rose because God injected enormous power and energy from outside the system. Now, unless you have evidence that the system is totally causally closed, you cannot argue against the possibility of miracles.”

      Or, as former atheist, Antony Flew said:

      “Hume’s skepticism about cause and effect and his agnosticism about the external world are of course jettisoned the moment he leaves his study.”

      We can have more fun with Hume’s circular reasoning another time, but for now, if you would care to actually talk about the subject, I won’t have to waste more time on this.

      • John Branyan says:

        You can live your life however you want, Mel. I’m not telling you what to do.
        My unsolicited advice is that you’re giving these idiots WAAAAAAAY too much in your replies. Their comments are not worthy of such thoughtfulness.

        “Scientific fact number one, dead people do not rise from the grave…” LOL! That’s not a scientific fact!

        Just ask Sklyjd to cite his sources for his “scientific claims” and get on with your day. There are genuine questions to be answered.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Very true, John. I don’t respond to their incoherent arguments because I think they’ll listen, but for others who may be reading this and might be duped into thinking they may have a coherent argument. 🙂

          And I actually do need to get on with my day. Talk to you later.

  14. Judy says:

    The Bible is a collection of apocryphal stories, meant to explain to an emerging society, in the simplest of terms, why the sun rises, why we die, how the earth was created, and why you shouldnt eat pork. It had and has little to do with us in a modern world.
    It was stories told around a campfire in the desert, in the dark. It must have been terrifying to lose the sun every day, and look up and see nothing but darkness and points of light. So they made up stories to explain all of it away. We still do the same thing around campfires when we’re kids, only we talk about Three Fingered Willie and vampires.

    It was only a few hundred years ago that the Bible was actually converted into English, and only a few hundred years before that that it was even printed (go, Gutenberg) for wider dissemination. I suspect that in the 1500 years between the beginning of Christianity and the printing press more than one weary monk might have slipped up and messed up the spelling or meaning of ,more than one laboriously copied passage. That’s a lot of translating and transcribing, one letter at a time.

    To take it literally makes as much sense as using a 400 year old dictionary for pronunciation and the meanings of words…

    • Mel Wild says:

      And you can prove this how?

      Besides, what you seem to be explaining is a god of the gaps. Like Zeus. God is the placeholder for explaining reality until science can explain it better. But that’s not the Christian view at all.

      • Judy says:

        prove what? gutenberg invented the printing press. do I need a link for that? Before that time the bible was transcribed, one letter at a time, with a quill pen and a monk. Men are fallible, and they make mistakes. Everytime a mistake is made, it gets incorporated into the main structure. Soon it becomes part of the wallpaper.

        End of discussion. Have a nice night, Mel.

        • Mel Wild says:

          prove what? gutenberg invented the printing press. do I need a link for that?…

          Now, you are being churlish and dismissive. I meant your assertions that the Bible is just a bunch of made-up stories.

          Everytime a mistake is made, it gets incorporated into the main structure. Soon it becomes part of the wallpaper.

          Do you have proof of that, or are you just making stuff up as you go? Because your assertions would be a surprise to most textual Bible scholars. Even agnostic Bart Ehrman admits that about 99% of the New Testament text we have today is what was originally intended. So, what is your superior evidence? You obviously have no understanding of actual Bible history or textual criticism.

  15. What matters to me about the bible is, does it work? Are God’s promises true? Does the word literally save lives? Are we transformed by it? Does it draw us closer to Jesus Christ? Does it reveal the Father’s great love for us? Is there wisdom to be found there? Can I talk to a Christian on the other side of the world and share the same revelation with Him? Do we suddenly realize we serve the same Father?

    Something happens to people when we are washed in the word, something wonderful, something supernatural and mysterious. That is an undeniable truth, something tangible that we can observe.

  16. Mark Dohle says:

    Thank you, Mel, for your blog. I admire your ability to continue to ‘debate’ with those who are atheist. I gave up long ago, and respect their stance, but arguments can be presented from both sides, over and over and over again, ad nauseam. We live in a world where we eventually have to make a commitment one way or another. Atheistic arguments make no sense to me, yet for others it seems to. I do believe that faith is a gift, but it has to be nurtured and developed over one’s lifetime.

    My faith in Jesus Christ is a choice that I have made and i seek to live it out as fully as I can. I would not have the energy nor the intelligence to do what you do. Your responses are always respectful and to the point. I do have a blog, but however one responds, I just thank them for their taking time reading what I wrote.

    Peace
    Mark

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Mark. And I agree with your comments. It’s been more of an experiment/adventure for me, to understand where atheists are coming from. And I also agree, it doesn’t make sense to me either. But I’m not trying to win an argument, but to make us think. And, in end, it is a matter of faith…either way, actually.
      Blessings to you.

  17. Pingback: The sticky thing about right and wrong | In My Father's House

  18. I often wonder at your anger, Mel. I ask a simple question, make a simple statement, and you howl at me. And I also wonder, quite seriously, at your need for US to PROVE something that we don’t even subscribe to. Saying something is so is not proof. Believing in fairy dust doesn’t prove its existence, only your belief in it.

    Many times people who react with anger are scared. Are you scared, darlin’? Does the dark worry you? Are you afraid that there might not really BE an afterlife? And people who lash out are often terrified that they might be wrong, after all. For your sake, I hope you get what you believe in.

    • Mel Wild says:

      My anger? That’s a new one. So, how am I angry?

      • Nan says:

        If I may … it’s possible you don’t feel angry, but it shows up through the words you use in many of your comments.

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, fair enough, Nan. I try to stay respectful but I do get a bit frustrated with some of commenters and their fallacious arguments and accusations. I guess I’m human in that regard. By it’s a bit funny because some others say I’m too nice to you guys. 😊

          But one thing I certainly don’t have is fear of the dark, etc. So this comment seems to come out of left field to me, more of a projection than discernment. It only shows that Judy doesn’t know me at all. And I’m not angry about that either, btw.

      • John Branyan says:

        This post is 2 months old.
        Here’s Judy! “You seem angry, Mel.”

        Great point! Tell us whether or not you’re angry, Mel. I need to know this before I can evaluate the content of your blog.

        Sometimes it seems as though you’re hungry. Are you hungry? Why are you so hungry, Mel? I don’t think I can dialogue when your hunger level is so outrageously high.

  19. sklyjd says:

    It is not anger or hunger levels that concern me, it is the level of ridiculous non-evidenced delusion claimed as facts that I find concerning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s