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Sep 28 2009

First Day As Story Assistant; Argument with Apparently Illiterate Religious Types

I just had to sign a confidentiality agreement which says I can’t reveal the nature and details of my employment.  Does that mean I can’t tell people what I do?  Like, if I was an editor on Toddlers and Tiaras, would I have to be like, “I work on a show in some capacity, that’s all I can say.”

Weird.

I am working on a show, I won’t tell you what it is, but it is a show I absolutely adore.  So far my duty seems to be to go through the last season to find high drama/conflict clips to put together for montages in a reunion type thing.

I had a religious argument with a bunch of people who seem to lack… well, brains.  A friend of mine posts these relationship questions on her facebook page, I often respond because almost all of her friends are extremely religious southern African Americans, and I like to be a different POV.  If anyone can tell me what CN is saying, I’d love to know.  I think he’s saying that the Devil wrote the constitution…

Two major questions I have:

1. Why is having faith an acceptable reason to not look critically at your belief system?

2. Why is it OK to demand atheists be well versed in the Bible when they disagree with a theist, but not OK to demand that theists read secular philosophy to argue with an atheist?

—-

The discussion

SJ: According to the Biblical tale, woman was made from man for man. Where does this fit in our postmodern society? Is there room for submission? What is the role of the woman to the man?

CN: 2 submit and be his help mate… As in da man is da provider and protector who is supposed 2 love his wife like Christ love da church…

AFM: I think it fits in the same trash bin as things like stoning children for disobeying their parents, not wearing clothes of mixed fiber, and the belief that homosexuality is wrong. Just because a belief is old doesn’t mean it’s worth anything. The role of woman to man is the same of man to woman, mutual respect and interdependence.

BJ: All sin is wrong whether it be murder or homosexuality it’s wrong. As far as mixing of clothing it was to show distinction between God’s chosen nation and the other surrounding nations he didn’t want them mixing with other nations and engaging in their customs or worshipping theirs gods. As far as the stoning of children or anyone we ought to thank God for sending his son to remove the ordinances that were against us (Colossians 2:14). Blame Eve for the role of a woman but submission to your husband isn’t forced like it was in the days of Mr from the color purple or Ike Turner. Submission is a form of respect for your partner by allowing them to operate in their divine roles…it’s called compromise with each other and obedience to God’s word but if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?

AFM:”if you are not obedient to God’s word how can you expect to compromise?” Um, by talking and discussing things and coming to reasonable conclusions. I don’t need an invisible dude threatening me to choose to do something moral. That’s just silly. As for homosexuality, how can you put that in the same boat as murder? Murder takes away someone’s life. Homosexuality doesn’t take anything away from anybody.

SeJ: Oh my goodness! I’m so glad I know where I stand…whew!

CN: Well da best way 2 put it all at da end is either U gon follow his word or U not… God gave us free will.. He gives us an option… He allows us 2 make da decision 2 love him or not… Its not complicated, but people make it dat way and try 2 use everything in their own way and outta context… God gave us dominion over da earth, which yes Eve was manipulated out of, but things didn’t change until Adam ate da forbidden fruit, because God made him da head and gave him da specific direction 2 not eat of it… It was his job 2 tell his wife not 2 and even in her disobediance he should have not eaten of it…But dats da free will.. Now thru his son which is still God(Jesus Christ) he gave us 2 new laws dats still prevelant 2 da 10 commandments, but is more in line with Grace and Mercy… Which is 2 love God and love ur neighbor as U love urself and so on and so on… Its deep but U just have 2 seek dat wisdom and knowledge and he will answer..

AFM: Genesis also has two creation stories, one of which presents men and women as being created at the same time, so the bible itself isn’t in agreement on whether women are created from men or not. The first account says male and female [God] created them (Genesis 1:27), which has been assumed by critical scholars to imply simultaneous creation, whereas the second account states that God created Eve from Adam’s rib because Adam was lonely (Genesis 2:18 ff.).

CN: U also have 2 take in consideration dat God didn’t literally write da bible tho he has all power 2 change any word in it… He had man 2 write wat was going on so therefore it may not be wrote in exactly da order we prefer.. Just as da fall of satan and da other angels.. Its not known if dat fall was during man or b4. Dats just one of those great mysteries dat won’t be discovered till dat great day of judgement… But with dat said it still doesnt mean take a part from da bible and try 2 justify da wrong. He gave us rules 2 live by 2 be prosperous and 2 C Heaven. Why, because he knew man would manipulate da world. Have u heard freedom of speech, but U can’t say a man made bad word… Right 2 bare guns, but u catch pistol cases 24/7 cuz in order 2 obtain a gun u gotta have dis and u gotta have dat. Da constitution and everything is deceived by da devil… All I can say is if u wanna find out then study as U would anything else, but in dis particular subject, belief and faith is needed.

AFM: I can’t actually read anything you’ve written Courtney, but I have read the bible and you’re right, you need a certain amount of disregarding reality and faith in the nonsensical to understand it. I really recommend Bart D. Ehrman for some really interesting and accessible biblical scholarship which examines all the inconsistencies as well as the overarching messages contained within the different books of the Bible. It’s useful I think for both the faithed and unfaithed to really understand what it is they’re professing to believe in or not, as the case may be.

BJ: The Bible is plain and simple either you serve God or not but you are going to serve. If you are not serving God then who do you serve (1 John 3:7-8)? People should really study his word before babbling off their erroneous philosophies. When I said sin is wrong, that was Bible but maybe in attempt to convey the seriousness of sin and God’s take on it maybe I should have said there’s no difference in homosexuality and liars or homosexuality and stealing…would that be more appeasing? For those who no me “the invisible guy” know that I’m really not the appeasing type so I’m taking one for the team.

BJ: The Bible isn’t in chronological order…Chronological Bibles are for sale invest in one and it will really open your understanding

AFM: @Bethel That’s nice and all, but I still don’t get how a thinking person could actually believe that someone loving another person is a bad thing. I don’t really care about God, I care about people. Your irrational hatred of homosexuals makes it clear that you put your own belief over actually taking care of the people around you, physically and emotionally. Whether it’s chronological or not, the books don’t agree with each other. They tell the same stories differently, and they don’t agree on what it all means. I’ve read the bible, I’ve read the scholarship, I know what I’m talking about, but it’s not clear that you do.

BJ: @ Ashley I’ve studied the whole Bible in its entirety I didn’t just read it I studied it. Inordinate affection of any kind is sin because it goes against the nature which God intended but since you and I aren’t on the same team this whole conversation is pointless because I love God with my whole heart and with his love I love his people but like you said you Don’t care about God just his creations which befuddles me because isn’t the creator greater than his creation? The Bible does say if this gospel be hid it is hid to those that are lost.

AFM: I have studied it, I was raised in a church, went to Sunday school, went to bible camp, went to university with a major theological school. In all these places I spent a lot of time with the bible and learned that I cared a lot more about reality than fiction. I took the time to understand what I’m talking about, why don’t you study Darwin, Hume, Bentham, Paine, and Epicurus before deriding anyone who has chosen not to believe? Or is your faith of such weak stuff that it’s all you have, anything else might break it?

BJ: My faith in God is just that strong that I chose him over any man’s vain philosophies. You don’t know me you don’t know the journey I took to become a believer of Christ so don’t make assumptions because you don’t know what i’ve studied. I know Darwin, Hume, Paine, Bentham or Epicurus can save anyone from hell’s fire. Like I said you and I are not on the same team we do not serve the same God so our conversation is pointless and starting to become a circular argument. I can tell you right now that there is nothing that you or anyone else can say in this entire world that can shake my faith in God.

AFM: Obviously I don’t know you, and you clearly don’t know me.  Everyone has individual journeys, all I’m asking is that before you dismiss my point of view offhand you allow for the fact that I did come to it from a place of learning and study, not from a place of shallow rejection.  And if you were truly trying to understand other people rather than lump them into some category of Damned, you’d be willing to look at their perspective rather than making assumptions.  Nothing I recommended for your reading would make you stop believing, it would merely allow for you to understand that there are other perspectives in life that allow people to make good, moral and just decisions, regardless of whether they’re religious or not.  But again, you show a preference for being overly protective of your faith rather than understanding of the humans that share this world with you.  If it’s that important to you to hate on gay people, fine, just don’t expect anyone to think you’re a very good person.

BJ: Don’t try to make me out to be something I’m not because I harbor no hate towards gays or anyone else I don’t care what people do with the free will that God gave them. I’m just flabbergasted that you feel that you are the only one who comes from a learned perspective and that you are the only person who have looked into different philosophies. Don‘t make ignorant assumptions of someone else’s intellect because you assume they are not as keen on a subject as you people don’t like intellectual arrogance.

AFM: You’re the one who said I needed to read the bible as though I was coming from a place of ignorance. Don’t make accusations you don’t like hearing thrown back at you, someone might accuse you of being a hypocrite.

BJ: I said study it because anybody can read it

AFM: Do you see how that’s the exact same thing you’re saying I shouldn’t do? How is it OK for you to assume that I haven’t studied the bible but not OK for me to ask you to study other points of view? You are a hypocrite and a not particularly astute one, enjoy your ignorance and misplaced vitriol.

BJ: When I said study I was talking to everyone that’s why I said people should study not Ashley and if that makes me a hypocrite Ok I’m a hypocrite….YOU HEAR THAT FACEBOOK WORLD BETHEL JOHNSON IS A DUMB HYPOCRITE.

AFM: Yeah, I’m pretty much OK with that.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Shamelessly Atheist

    1. Why is having faith an acceptable reason to not look critically at your belief system?

    This is exactly what the so-called ‘New Atheism’ brings to the table. When Richard Dawkins came along and posited the idea that religion should not be immune to scrutiny, I was in disbelief that I had never looked at it that way before. I was stunned. That rock was started rolling down the hill and is still gaining speed, as well it should.

    2. Why is it OK to demand atheists be well versed in the Bible when they disagree with a theist, but not OK to demand that theists read secular philosophy to argue with an atheist?

    Good point, particularly when it comes to evolution. I have yet to encounter an evolution denier who has a grasp of even the most basic concepts of natural selection. Or don’t understand that the Big Bang theory is not about the origin of the universe, but rather is a description of the expansion of the universe from a singularity. Not the same thing. Or that evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life, which is taken care of by abiogenesis.

    Atheists typically are typically far more knowledgeable not only of scripture, but of the history of the books in question. But it looked like you were tilting at windmills there…

  2. 2
    Ashley F. Miller

    Hello, new friend :)

    My hope in tilting at windmills is that even one person might go, “Hey, that’s an interesting point, maybe I should look into this critically and gain a better understanding of my own faith.” The original poster has about 840 people who follow her facebook page.

    I’m guessing you also didn’t quite manage to follow CN?

  3. 3
    Shamelessly Atheist

    I can’t stand anyone who writes like a rapper. It’s not cute- only incredibly annoying. I can picture CN with a baseball cap on backwards selling lemonade in her church parking lot.

    The biggest problem with invoking some introspection in fundie types is that their religion actively discourages that kind of thing. They are too used to being spoon fed answers that don’t make sense to anybody but believers. It certainly can happen, but don’t expect it.

  4. 4
    Ashley F. Miller

    Yeah, CN and BJ are both dudes. Poor, stupid man-children.

    I also think there’s some cultural dissonance in that they don’t like being told what to do by women or by white people, so a white woman trying to explain something to a black man is some sort of affront.

    Whatever, I know lots of black men who are intelligent, thoughtful, and have decent grammar. Albeit they’re all gay, but they totally exist and don’t mind me talking to them.

  5. 5
    Scott

    Wow… I have to give you props for being able to uphold your half of a reasonable dialogue with those people for that long. I would have walked away slowly shaking my head after the first comment.

    And I have no idea what that stuff about the Constitution means.

  6. 6
    Ashley F. Miller

    Thank you, I got a bit pissy at the end, but I wanted a nice punchy ending. You know how it is.

    I wish babelfish had a translator for ebonic text retard speak.

  7. 7
    kgmadman

    Somebody once posted the old riddle on a yahoo answers board: “There are two doors side by side…one leads to heaven, one to hell…there are two gatekeepers, one will always lie and one will always tell the truth. How do you figure out which door leads where?” A fucking riddle, mind you. Meant for logical analysis.

    You would not believe the Christians who responded. “But thats ABSURD! the door to heaven ain’t next to the door to hell!” or “Jesus loves you and that’s all you need to get that door open!”

    Don’t feed the animals. They just get angrier and make stupid faces.

  8. 8
    steveonfilm

    A very interesting read Ashley. Sort of like when I try to discuss religion with my mother who went from a 60s hippy who instilled in me individual though, self confidence, and a willingness to walk the path less traveled to a born again who regurgitates conservative talking points, and votes for whomever the church tells her to.

    Like Shamelessly Atheist mentioned (in regard to CN), if you want to be taken seriously like an adult, write like an adult. Way to promote the stereotype CN.

    As for God, and the bible and whatnot…

    I’m not against the idea of some sort of higher power, but I’m not sure I’m for it either. I don’t know. I guess the term is agnostic. If there is and “ism” that I might consider subscribing to is be deism. That’s where God created things (perhaps he/she/it is the one that pushed the start button for the big bang), and just let things roll however they may go.

    What I do find entertaining is that people think that some all-powerful omnipotent entity is intricately interested in their day to day lives, because, you know, they most certainly don’t have anything more important to do.

    Why would such a perfect entity create such imperfect beings, and then subject them to such games to get to the magic happy land after they die? That doesn’t sound like something an omnipotent entity would need to do. That sounds like something a human with a power trip would do.

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