This is an actual, real quote from a blog that apparently does not allow the comments of women:

“This is a blog, not an organisation. It’s a fellowship of like-minded local men in Christ, intended for mutual instruction, admonition, and edification. Because it is a plenary meeting of members of the body of Christ and because instruction will be involved, I will not allow a woman to teach on the blog so as not to risk violating the NT restriction in I Timothy 2:12. However, we welcome sisters to ‘audit’ the discussion and take these matters up with their fellow sisters in Christ and their husband at home.”

It is so hard for me to believe that people actually think this way!

85 thoughts on “Unbelievable!

  1. What blog is this? Reading such things are quite amusing, because the language is so archaic and almost has a tone of transcendent smugness.

    Was reading an article on complementarinism (or whatever it’s called) about how women are equal but different and there should be no problem with forbidding them to do minstry. Want to ask the question, if it’s because women are ‘different’ tell me what women can do that men can’t if it’s down to difference and not equality….

  2. Tom,
    I’m not linking to the blog for obvious reasons. It was one I happened across in a search for something else, not one I normally frequent.

    I appreciate and enjoy gender differences and certainly wouldn’t advocate “sameness.” I think masculinity and femininity are important.

    In the discussion of different “roles,” the underlying conclusion is usually that it is the woman’s “role” to be subordinate.

    As you said, gender difference doesn’t adequately explain forbidding ministry.

    I am envisioning a whole new series of posts at your blog by guest blogger “Roberta Mac”. ;)

    Fortunately my experience with these attitudes was minimal, because apparently my tolerance for them is very low!

    I am currently resisting the temptation to stir things up. :)

  3. Grace,

    Aw, that ain’t nothin’! ;-)

    I used to be “in the ministry” and whenever I’d get up to preach there would almost always be a few men who get up and leave so as not to be taught by a woman. They would literally leave the room until I was done, and then come back in once a man was “closing out the service” or whatever.

    People are sometimes so silly :).


  4. Several rude words come to mind. I’m frequently irritated by the tone of complementarianism. This is especially true as there’s very little “complementing” going on. The argument usually centers on women are biblically subordinate to men and that’s just how it is notwithstanding the many, many examples to the contrary — also biblical.

  5. Grace, I understand your reluctance to name the blog but I, like Tom, would really appreciate a good laugh. Maybe we can convince you to email it to us. Oh, but that might be construed as teaching a man and you could get in trouble for that. Ok, how’s this: we’ll just pretend that my name is Sarah.

  6. They’re just worried that some uppity woman will show them as the charlatans they are … with their little tiny man parts and all.

    Oh … sorry … did I say that in my outloud voice? ;)

  7. I don’t want to listen to a conversation among KKKers either, as “enlightening” as that might be, I just don’t think I’d have the stomach for it.

  8. Heh,

    It’s like those websites that tell you in their legal section that by reading the page you agree their terms and conditions and promise not to look at their html code.

    One does wonder how this kind of thing is regulated.

    I am suddenly reminded of the stoning scene in Monty Pythons Life of Brian.

    “Are there any women here today…?”

  9. Well…The Abbess found it on her second Google attempt. And it’s not just women who aren’t welcome…very interesting. I just don’t feel free to waste any of my precious energy on worrying about them ;)

    Of course, I did not mention that I stopped by to check on what the brethren were up to 8)

  10. That’s the kind of attitude that was prevalent in the circles I grew up in. I’m sure they would tell the husbands of these women to keep an eye on what their women folks are doing on the internet and make sure they stay away from the “deep” theological blogs and frequent the ones where other women discuss cleaning the house and cooking for their men.

  11. I found it, I found it. Do I get a prize?

    I think you should to join the discussion as G. Inyaface. Or something much more rude. Prize goes to Grace’s new “name” in which to post her comments as.

  12. By the way, what are the rules if I have inadvertently learned from a woman? Is is like the rules of evidence gathering? I have to strike such knowledge from my mind unless or until I have independent teaching from a male source?

    I took a couple of classes on Paul from woman professors and I’m wondering if now I should refrain from using Paul in anything I say, lest I sin by using the teaching I was taught, and thus spreading the womanly teaching yet further.

    Please advise.

  13. Ok, I just got my husbands permission to comment, so all I have to say is: You have to be @#%& ing kidding? Now I need to get back in the kitchen.

  14. Patrick! LOL … too funny. You should definitely refrain from all of Paul … then, see, you’re free of all that Pauline restriction on male headship. So, you can listen to Paul again. hahaha … see I can use circular logic with the best of them!!

  15. That is so sad that people believe that crap and are wholeheartedly convinced that they are honoring God with those attitudes and actions. I can’t read it and laugh. I know people who actually say things like that. I have a close friend who is moving in that direction after being exposed to some pretty serious conservative reform theology. Back when I was a fundie I thought that all Presbyterians were liberal. Little did I know that there are fundamentalist Presbyterians who are very “family oriented” as they put it.

  16. I see what you mean, for sure. I guess I’d need to think more about it though. If a bunch of guys who imagine that as guys they’re spiritually superior to women (all women? Mother Teresa?) want to imagine that and hang out with other guys similarly deluded, they must have that right, right? I mean, a blog gives you the ability, for example, to moderate comments. It’s a little like deciding who to invite over your house, I think.

    I’m not sure how he manages to control the gender thing in virtual reality, however, LOL…

    – Cindy

  17. dangit. I’ve googled key phrases like a half dozen times and I just keep getting Grace’s post. Can somebody email the link to me? I love to audit. I’m a good auditor. Some could even say I’m gifted at it, really gifted. Imagine. A gifted female auditor. Oh, the audacity of God to give women intellect as well as snarkiness.

  18. I should have known the people who hang out here are a bunch of rabble-rowsers. Don’t get me in trouble while I’m gone. ;)

  19. I have never, never been able to help anyone find anything on the internet but just so I can say that I did….
    I went to Google homepage, then to search blogs and then typed in the phrase from the middle of the post: “However, we welcome sisters to ‘audit’ the discussion.”
    It is the one under Grace’s.
    Sigh…I feel so accomplished already today.

  20. thanks Barb! it worked!

    What’s interesting to me is how there is otherwise agreement with a lot of what is said round these parts. The blog is against a lot of the forms of church that upset the rest of us, and apparently is really interested in returning to a NT model.

    Only, and pardon me for again getting on my soapbox, I can’t help think that what that blog represents is how to pursue all the forms of NT church, using the model and the language, but missing out on the absolute crucial aspect of the Holy Spirit.

    And, in that, I can’t help think how it really reminds me of some emerging/missional churches I’ve seen over the years. Maybe not with the woman issue, but with their own particular versions of it, that somehow think assuming the form is the answer. Legalism can abound even in reforming.

  21. “Legalism can abound even in reforming.”
    That is what drives me crazy. I probably “agree” with most of what these guys are saying. But then there is the huge issue that they interpret scripture to be saying something that it does not. My only hope is that when they do find some things that need to change in their minds (and it seems as if they have gone through this process) that they will also be open to God changing other things too.
    Which is my prayer for myself. Legalism abounds in my heart also…I just don’t know where yet.

  22. erin sent me the link. i agree, nearly all of it was like yeah, i’m on that same page, too. until that part. argh.

    i did leave a really nice, diplomatic comment and a link for the Center for Biblical Equality. But comments are moderated so I don’t know if it’ll make it online or not. I wasn’t snarky at all. Really. I’m sure the guy is just going by the conviction of what he knows and has been taught about women in the church. Which is why I sent him a nice comment with a link for further investigation if he’s willing. Ya never know. I used to think women could not be pastors, that it was unbiblical until a friend challenged me and gave me a book to read. That was a turning point for me in regards to discovering that in the kingdom of God there is no stained-glass ceiling.

  23. Funny thing: I once posted this very argument against a very anti-emergent blog run by 2 women a few years ago…

    I pointed out that while championing reformist/calvinist principles in their attack on anything emerging/emergent they were putting themselves in the place of ‘teaching men’…

    My objection, of course, completely ignored. :)

    A not so funny thing: some of the responses that came fast & furious regarding the blogger’s criteria for participating in his own review of Pagan Christianity were very unkind. What happened to that quintessential ’emerging’ quality of tolerance, acceptance & willingness to dialogue?

    Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

    We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.

    One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

    You know, that ol’ “Do unto others” concept…

    Since there are so many more truly offensive blogs & websites out there that could be singled out for justifiable scorn, this one at least seems sincere, godly & theologically stimulating…

    I am sure most posters here do recognize many sincere brethren holding to firm biblical conviction that runs counter to theirs. This issue about women not just held by a small minority in the greater Body of Christ. In fact, many women actually agree with the principle & it does not cause them any problems. And I am sure they have their own opinions about those ’emergent types’ that do…

    All that to say this: nobody contacted the guy, did they? Nobody got to know him or heard him tell his side of the story.

    [off my soapbox now] ;)

  24. Pagan Christian’s *Blog* No More

    Looks like he got wind of your post Grace, or something spooked him. It’s gone, but anyone wanting to see what all the fuss was about can simply search for “pagan christians no more” and use google cache on the ‘book study’ link.

    FWIW it was a good first(?) post right up till the “violating NT restriction” part.

    Guy sounded like Robocop just then.

  25. “What happened to that quintessential ‘emerging’ quality of tolerance, acceptance & willingness to dialogue?”

    Joseph, I think that’s a great question. For me at least my response comes from having already participated in that conversation in other places. I’ve gotten called heretic, etc. by suggesting women have a place to converse. So, for me, when I read something like that I interpret according to the many others I’ve heard making that argument.

    Also too, what if he had said only white people are allowed to comment? Would there be a place for conversation or would he be revealing his own biases that have nothing to do with his own story? That adds another piece for me. He’s not sharing his story, he’s retreating behind a doctrine that makes him personally anonymous.

    It’s only conversation if there’s a mutual interest in learning and sharing.

  26. I thought ‘heretic’ thee badge of honor in the emergent camp… :)

    Hey, I was simply pointing out the log in other’s eyes, however it justifies the view from said viewer…

    Since blogs are a public invitation based on the “rules of engagement” established by the blogger, it should not be cause for proverbial knee-jerk reactions resulting from past injustices suffered. Where is the charity in that?

    And who really cares if he limited participation to white, educated, rich, handsome, witty males? And then he cites scriptural backup for such criteria?

    Since when does attacking a person for personal beliefs get the high-five from God?

    It was for a similar reason I ’emerged’. Didn’t like the scriptural elite telling me that their interpretation of scripture the ‘real’ application of God’s motive & intent. So should I get bent-out-of-shape because there are others that do, in fact, hold contrary opinions on things I feel so strongly about also?

    Shoot. There’s enough self-appointed doctrinal sheriffs out there to police the internet. It is not the posse I wish to join no matter what side of the unorthodox label is being hunted down…

    I know some of the banter was done tongue-in-cheek & simply being funny. But behind the comments some visceral feelings emerged. And if all this emergent talk ends up looking like the very thing it takes issue with, then that kingdom surely cannot stand…

  27. “Since when does attacking a person for personal beliefs get the high-five from God?”

    Have you read the prophets? :-D Have you heard how Jesus responded to the Pharisees:

    “You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.”

    Jesus got a high-five from God, I’d say. And he really was just attacking the personal beliefs of those fellas.

    I get what you’re saying Joseph. But what if I responded by telling you that you have no right to share or express your opinion. I don’t care what you think about Scripture because you, inherently, have no right to share it.

    Emerging, as I see it, isn’t about just whatever goes, it’s realigning the priorities.

    If I said that the rich deserve a lot of priorities and the poor really do deserve not to eat… then that’s going against a re-formed priority.

    It’s looking closer at Jesus, and less close at cultural additions over the centuries. It’s not, for me, a matter of being more open and free and unopinionated. I could become a unitarian if that was the case. It’s a matter of finding what really does seem to matter. What matters is finding the freedom and liberation of the Spirit that brings us all closer to God and allows us all unity and diversity, rather than slavery and restriction.

    Having a conversation means I can tell another person they are wrong, and they can tell me I’m wrong, but it isn’t a conversation any more if they tell me, or I tell them, to just shut up and accept it. That’s rejecting their participation in God and rejecting what the Scriptures have said about participation. It’s not ‘recognizing the Body’ properly.

    Some do, by the way, take ‘heretic’ as a badge of honor. I, however, think it a very, very serious charge that is thrown around way too much over things people mistake as really having God’s stamp on it. And I take it as a form of prophecy, that someone is telling me how I stand before God. They better be on firm ground or else they’re a false prophet and liable to God’s punishment.

  28. Jesus not the best example of setting a precedent being that He was, you know, sinless & could in fact read peoples thoughts…

    The rest of us woefully out of His league IMHO…

    Yet people do use that very confrontational aspect of Jesus or Paul to treat heretics the way they do. I understand that all too well…

    Many things Jesus did were not for precedent. He did not teach anyone to approach any supposed Pharisee as He did. Nope. Only He could do so without sin…

    Sure, many emergent types feel justified in turning over the money changer’s tables! Same with reformist folk. And Catholics & Orthodox. They too feel justified in getting fired up about preserving right doctrine in faith & practice & upending anything considered defiling the Temple…

    Having a conversation is by invitation only. Some people wish to play by mutually agreed to rules, some don’t. Some have a soapbox they carry with them wherever they go. You know the type. Out to correct the blind spots in others so obvious to them. I can appreciate zeal. And I think I can discern true conviction. But I am not all that fond of being ‘preached at’…

    So, yes, I know where you are coming from. And I was not simply pointing fingers because I happen to be a self-appointed sheriff myself. But was that blog really that offensive? Just for being there. Not over here. But simply being found by a random search? And why take offense for something that is not yours to take?

    That’s what I was getting at. We (fragile human opinion holders) so eager to take offense for something or someone that really isn’t ours to carry.

    Of course if I was suddenly ‘anathematized’ off this blog I would end up somewhere else. Even my viewpoints not the most pristine example of acceptance & inclusiveness. Something I write will indeed chap someone else’s hide & I could get the big heave-ho. But I know when to avoid certain sacrosanct boundaries others hold dear & so I choose not to challenge them. I am not out to set anybody straight. Many websites & blogs up & running today that do not reflect my theological viewpoints. And sure, if I even peeked in for a brief look I would immediately be identified by some magical software feature as being an intruder. ZAP! I would be permanently banned. Not everyone wishes to listen to what I have to say. Heck, not even my closest relatives are so open! But then they know me, most message forum exchanges only an electronic representation.

    Heretic has been watered down due to the constant reevaluation many people have participated in. Whether or not they would identify as ’emergent’ or ’emerging’ they are revisiting the reasons why they believe what they do. It does not have the negative connotation it once held. I think my views are contrary to some & yet very conservative in other areas. But I am neither heretic nor iconoclast (non-historical sense). I have opinions & some I share others I don’t. Sometimes I dialogue, sometimes I don’t. I just hope the graciousness we all desire from others is the same we extend. Thanks for the exchange.

  29. “The rest of us woefully out of His league IMHO…”

    Well, we have been given his Spirit. :-)

    Seems like Paul got feisty too. With Peter. With the ‘Judaizers’. John the Baptist got at religious leaders before Jesus did. Anyone, really, who restricted access to God got the brunt.

    But it’s a fair warning to watch the log in our own eye. Cheers.

  30. @Patrick,

    Thought I’d add my 2 cents and be serious for a moment.

    1. The guy was obviously new to blogging and does not understand the anonymous and intense ways of the blogoforce.

    I mean, he wasn’t just trying to exclude women- he was trying to exclude Non-Texans! Anyone who is not a Texan take offense at that? I mean are Texans now the superior race or something? No, of course not, he was simply using the wrong medium for setting up his local mens ministry.

    2. Nothing wrong with a mens ministry, men need help in modern times to discover their place, learn how to ‘be a man’ and also relate much differently to women. In fact mens ministries can help men to relate to women better, and discuss relationships from a mans perspective, help men to discover their identity.

    3. On the basis (2), it’s a long shot but being a bit of n00b, what if he was simply misappropriating the scriptures to basically say “hey, this is guys only time”.

    4. If not (3), the guy had some good ideas, he seemed to really ‘get’ the pagan christianity thing and we also have to assume he is on a journey out of the ‘traditionalist’ mindset.

    You guys should be celebrating that he is able to see a different way of doing church. This could have been an opportunity to help a fundamentalist/traditionalist to embrace new ideas, but instead you… we… all simply poured scorn on his early blog attempt.

    I’ll believe a movement is of God when it desires to leave no man (or woman) behind- when it will embrace even those that reject it. When a movement simply abandons, mocks or derides the people from organisations/movements that have gone before, it’s not the spirit of God, it’s political.

    This is why early Chistians sought to win over their fellow Jews, with whom they shared the same beliefs apart from a few differences. Christianity was meant to bring the Gentiles and Jews together in one faith, through Jesus. I don’t think God’s intention is to simply forge ahead with ever new movements- God is very interested in the old as well as new.

    OK so that was 5 cents.

  31. Patrick & Alex Fear: Hey, good thoughts. Yes, we do have the Holy Spirit & it is He that judges the thoughts & attitudes of our heart. He is not so inclined to let you in on another’s spiritual mail as a regular happening. Those that claim such prophetic insight & accuracy not going to be paid much attention by me in particular & many that ‘emerged’ out of the prophetic movement debacle of the past decade. But yes, we can be sensitive to the posturing other people take & with gentle inquisition enter into an exchange of ideas.

    Good five cents worth Alex. All of us at different points of maturity on the journey we have undertaken. And maybe that feeble attempt at inviting other Texan males within 100 miles of the blogger in question could indeed have been a ‘divine appointment’ for such gentle inquisition.

    None of us, of course, going to be ‘like Jesus’ in our response to others 100% of the time. He did establish some tough benchmarks about praying for enemies & returning blessing for insult & going the extra mile. Heck, I would rather throw stones at perceived religious stereotypes that do not react according to the WWJD criteria I have created in my own mind. Why should I extend mercy to the Pharisee, High Priest or Pilate when they’re obviously violating every kingdom protocol God established from before the foundations of the earth?

    Okay, enough with the hyperbole. You get the idea. And that’s it for my spare change on the subject… :)

  32. Okay, Alex … now … consider this. I can’t hear you because innately you have nothing to say to me. You are less than me because of your very being. You will never ever be able to tell me anything … ever. Because of your gender … how you were born. Now … just sit there … be quiet and deal with it. It’s no big deal really.

    Oh … and when you’re ready to accept everybody’s opinion equally. Then, we’ll be able to hear you.

    The shoe squeezes a bit when it’s on the other foot … and the back of the bus is dirty and stinky. But it’s not so bad when you’re not forced to sit back there. Too bad you’ve never been forced back there. When you have … then you get the right to tell us how to feel and how to respond. K?

  33. His new blog is almost as humorous.

    People like this strike me as a great argument for a more authoritative episcopacy: a living example of the wonder of being an authority unto oneself.


  34. There’s quite a bit of hubris in these comments, not to mention an unwarranted predisposition for talking about subordination as if it is an inherently negative concept. Please remember that there is subordination in the God-head. The Son is subordinate to the Father and the Spirit is subordinate to the Son. They are still equally God. They have different roles and voluntary subordination is a natural part of their relationship to one another. I’d wager that there isn’t a whole lot of whining about so-and-so thinks he’s better than me . . . blah, blah, blah.

    Children are subordinate to parents, and yet, they are not of lower value. Workers are subordinate to their managers (else nothing would get done), and yet, they are not of lower value. We are subordinate to God, and yet, God considered us of such worth that he gave his perfect Son for us when all we deserved was condemnation. If subordination is handled properly, then it can be a wonderful, n0t to mention valuable part of God’s creation.

  35. Gary,
    Actually the theology of subordination in the god-head has only emerged in recent years in an attempt to prove the subordination of women. It is not the most orthodox view of the trinity.

    For those interested in reading about this specific topic, I recommend this post by Ben Witherington.

  36. I should point out right away that I am a hell-bound heathenous Atheist so may not want to read this.

    Women are generally subordinate to men. This is not because of an inability to perform to the same standard; it is much more to do with male/female nature. Women are generally quite happy to follow a man’s lead. That may be nothing more than an absence of ego, but then women are often attracted to men who are in control or powerful positions. In other words, many women like a man in control. This is of course a generalization. Not all women feel this way. It also has a lot to do with societal conditioning. Men are more powerful than women. They are stronger physically and in general are more aggressive/ambitious. Unfortunately the world in which we live is not a paragon of reason and fairness. The strong rule over the weak. If you doubt the truth of this, consider the following. A relatively physically strong, fit, determined and socially powerful female executive in charge of a major corporation is alone in an alley with a destitute, relatively weak, overweight male. Who will dominate in that situation? Who will be nervous? It would be great if we lived in a world where this was not the case. We do not, however, live in that world. While it may seem to have little bearing on something like women ministering/teaching, that simple animal level disparity of power has permeated society’s thinking for countless generations as reflected in the patriarchal social hierarchy throughout history. I suspect that the gentlemen you mention in the original post as less motivated by scripture and more so by ‘keep barefoot and pregnant’ style thinking.

    On a personal note, I have always felt that a man who scorns a powerful woman (replace powerful with, ‘wealthy’, ‘strong-willed’, ‘intelligent’ as per your own particular hang-ups ) is betraying his own fear and weakness. I personally find no trait more attractive than intelligence but that is my particular bent. Great legs don’t hurt either 

    Those of a more sensitive nature may find this a little offensive
    To change the subject a little, I simply can’t control this. I have tried to walk away from the keyboard and just leave it alone. I can’t do it. I simply have to comment on the other gary’s religious reasoning.

    ‘The Son is subordinate to the Father and the Spirit is subordinate to the Son. They are still equally God.’

    If there is a God, I think he will be rather pissed off at the egregious nonsense spouted in his name. I doubt any God that made a universe so ordered as ours would look kindly on such illogical contradictory drivel. It is not possible to be subordinate and equal at the same time. That is what is called a contradiction. One necessarily eliminates the possibility of the other.

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of subordinate is :
    1: placed in or occupying a lower class, rank, or position : INFERIOR
    2: submissive to or controlled by authority
    ‘Workers are subordinate to their managers (else nothing would get done), and yet, they are not of lower value.’

    Perhaps in some absract ‘inherent value’ hippyish way this may be sort of true. However, workers are to a company most assuredly worth less than managers. That is why they are PAID LESS. They are of lower value.

    I am quite happy for folk to hold to whatever superstitions they feel are important, but please don’t let those ideas rob you of good old fashioned common sense.

    This comment got way longer than I had originally intended. Apologies.

  37. Fellow Christ-followers,

    Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

    I moved the blog to WordPress because the comment protocols at Blogspot are too onerous for most people, not because I was scurrrying away from snippy comments on some other blog.

    The blog is intended as a LOCAL (read: ‘accountable to one another face to face’) study of a very important Christian book. If you are a Christian MAN but you live 300 miles away (yes, still in Texas) then I’d rather you start your own book study with others in your vicinity. “The Church at San Antonio”, in the New Testament model, is what I have in mind; not to have brethren (and sistren!) from all over the world, literally, mixing it up.

    Why? Because tasteless, idle jesting and invective is amazingly common in the blogosphere. I think I’m safe in saying that most of us who have left the denominational circus (or meat-grinder) have done so because we had had enough of such things; we wanted Christ.

    I have also learned in 15 years of ‘ministry’ that arguments between the sexes tend to be much bloodier and harder to heal than those between men only. I see two fellows beating one another’s brains out, and sitting down to a few cold ones just a few hours later. But having grown up with four brothers and five sisters, I’ve not known women to be that way.

    Yes, I am generalising. From 53 years’ experience. But still, I have removed that offending section of the blog introduction so that any sister who lives within 150 miles of San Antonio will be welcome to take part in our local book study. Your point is well taken, and I have much to learn.

    Pam, I got your note; thanks.

    Joseph, I really appreciate your defense. I wouldn’t be too hard on the brethren; these jibes come from broken hearts, as Sonja put it, “on the back of the bus”.

    Thanks, sisters, for opening my eyes to the offense.

  38. Gary,
    Good points. In the physical world, the power of the sexes will never be equal. In the social world, things are slowly changing. In the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom, participation should be equal, and power isn’t the point. I agree with your conclusion that subordination and equality are contradictory and that intelligence and great legs are attractive, although our perceptions of great legs are likely different.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I hope you read in my following post that this was not intended to be directed at you or your blog. My apologies that it was ultimately linked to you.

    Personally, I have found the discussion and participation of both men and women in the comments to be beneficial. Working hard to maintain a respectful discussion and refrain from a bloody brawl strengthens all of us. That standard of conversation shouldn’t be dependent upon gender.

    I appreciate that you were willing to see the offensive nature of that particular quote to the women who might run across it. Thank you for your sensitivity and humility in responding to that offense.

  39. Joseph, I really appreciate your defense. I wouldn’t be too hard on the brethren; these jibes come from broken hearts, as Sonja put it, “on the back of the bus”.

    Quaecumque Vera Doce Me

    David: I am pleasantly surprised you made the effort to show up here & comment.

    I did not handle my ‘sawdust speck identification’ process as diplomatically as I should have. I believe I exceeded the graciousness extended to me as a guest on this blog.

    I could have handled it better. Alas, we are indeed much wiser in hindsight…(once we remove that damned log out our own eye)

    The exchanges elicited responses that were strongly felt. Mostly over the concept that grace pointed out was the very reason for even mentioning it. And the issue of gender roles from a theological viewpoint still a very sensitive one.

    I think I jumped in where it may not have been appropriate for me to do so. Simply trying to point out inconsistency in response or attitude not my gifting. I ended up becoming defensive myself from responses directed at me. But it was too late. I had already said more than what was necessary.

    The regular people posting here probably better mannered & more saintly than myself. I am not the paragon of patience, inclusiveness or graciousness I would like to think I am. Simply put, I would be more likely to be the one corrected, not they.

    There is a sore spot in all of us that if poked at just right will cause immediate reaction. And any woman that has been subjected to church attitudes that diminish her personhood will indeed identify with similar situations strongly. Much more so than I could understand or identify with. I should know better than to expect people to magically become stoic, objective & unaffected when touched by such sensitive topics they have every right to address strongly.

    So, I apologize to everyone here for my messy way of handling things.

    I hope you will not become gun-shy in your pursuit of what you believe is God’s direction for you blog & topic of study. Yes, we all have much to learn. And it could be we can learn from others of diverse perspective. Wow. I am just amazed that a chance search became such an intense exchange of posts & that you actually ended up here even when you didn’t have any idea it was all about your blog. I think this emerging phenomena of conversation & exchange of ideas just might be of God after all…


  40. Joseph,
    No claims to sainthood from me. We muddle through the messier conversations the best we can. I believe that you handle disagreement quite graciously.

  41. grace: I am in need of patient persuassion of a spiritual nature. I have been a skeptic way too long. So I jumped in here really uninvited. Just dropped int your blog one day. But you have been kind. Thanks…

    I need to ‘see’ God’s oil of divine workings soothe the eventual friction any 2 people will cause no matter how valiant attempts at civility are handled. I need to see how God would bring together dissimilar types & work in & through them to be better for the experience. I too have a lingering knee-jerk tendency regarding my own past hurts. Heck, just look at my response to anything remotely related to ‘prophetic’! I get as bent-out-of-shape as the next guy…

    Anyway, thanks for the graciousness extended…

  42. Hi Grace,

    On the nice legs thing, I had a smiley face after the comment. It didn’t publish properly. I generally blog on a different format. It was not meant too seriously. :)
    I’ll use this :) smiley from now on.

    I am in general agreement with your comments.
    Socially, equality is definately worth striving for. The contributions of women to shaping society has often been underestimated and definately undervalued. I wonder how much positive progress has been squandered in virtually all societies by the marginalisation of women thoughout the ages. Finally, in progressive western societies women are being taken seriously. They have given good account of themselves so far. Very few men who engage with women in intellegent discourse are able to hold on to any backward notions for long about what women can contribute.

    On this

    ‘In the spiritual realm of God’s kingdom, participation should be equal, and power isn’t the point.’

    I have to wonder if you have just conviently overlooked the old testament. God throws his weight around quite a bit. Not even God is beyond using force. After all, eternal damnation is about a solid a threat as you can get. You might be tempted to suggest that this was the thinking of the time when the OT was penned. I would agree. I also think it is sharp evidence that the bible has nothing to do with God. No reason to believe the NT does either. The world undeniably bends to the will of the strong. God, if one exists, made it that way. I can think of no good reason why a just God who believes in equality would make a world like this one. Now before you start claiming free will, the animal kingdom also relfects this ethos. Not to mention the fact that God being omnicient knew ahead of time just what would become of man. He created man anyway. That is frankly perverse.

    No offence intended to anyone here, I’m just saying it as I see it. All the best.

  43. The world undeniably bends to the will of the strong. God, if one exists, made it that way. I can think of no good reason why a just God who believes in equality would make a world like this one. Now before you start claiming free will, the animal kingdom also relfects this ethos. Not to mention the fact that God being omnicient knew ahead of time just what would become of man. He created man anyway. That is frankly perverse.

    Gary: Yes, from just a quick glance any thinking person can observe the survival of the fittest a daily occurrence. Nature echoes this theme. The world as we know it suffers violence.

    Mankind has been guilty of the most inhumane treatment to his fellow man, the animal kingdom & the environment. Nobody would deny that man can resort to the darkest aspects of selfishness, greed, cruelty, indifference, etc. And yet man can also choose to express the heights of selflessness, contentment, kindness & love. And even do so sacrificially…

    This world is wack. No doubt about it. And sure, if you want to include the concept of a creative deity that not only built it up from the beginning, but now holds it all together in its twisted, tarnished state, it would leave one wondering just who the heck this god is.

    You know, I cannot reconcile the Jehovah of the Old Testament with the Jesus of the New Testament. It is a head scratcher to be sure. And I can’t adequately ascertain the motivations of a god that were indeed what we term omniscient, omnipotent & omnipresent, would permit the most intelligent & ingenious of its creatures to run around willy-nilly doing just what they please.

    Nope. If I were a god & I had my own universe to run it would look quite different.

    Quite frankly, most of the canned Protestant evangelical company line that claims it can reconcile all the apparent conundrums to this present existence are found wanting. They just don’t answer it sufficiently for me. Or you. Or many others as a matter of fact.

    If you look at the manner which God did interact with mankind in the stories of the Old Testament He seems harsh, or capricious, or casual. And throughout all of human recorded history, He seems more aloof than interactive. The actual number of people recorded in the bible that had an encounter with Him a very small percentage of the entire human population. And then in the New Testament we have a different example: Jesus. Say what you will about the man, He is quite the enigma. A radically different human being. Seems He deliberately set out to run counter to the default human condition.

    Whether you want to accept His origin or even if the historical records are accurate, you must admit what Jesus represents is the desire of some people to challenge that default human condition. They do not want to succumb to genetics or environment or cultural mores or blind instinct or self preservation. And I would have to say that even if they only partially succeed the world is a better place for it. Of course, many that claim to be His followers the least like Him in practice. Christians do behave badly. Just as if ‘Jesus’ only a password used by members of a club. History shows the dark side of religious abuses no matter what god was being worshiped. Unfortunately, for all the good that goes unnoticed, it is the historical excesses that many non-Christians point out to discredit its adherents…

    If you are indeed a ‘pure’ atheist, then you are in the minority & to be commended. If you haven’t been jaded by an abusive religious past or been the recipient of rude behaviors from those that claimed to be Christians, then I encourage your rational inquiry. It should be unhindered by the knee-jerk reactions many have because of actual negative experience with something ‘Christian’. You would be open to the idea of a god unlike that of Old Testament wrath. And you might be able to interact with those that do claim a vibrant relationship with a God they cannot see. Stranger things have happened, eh?

    Oh yeah, most of what a real atheist has concluded about God or Christians or any religious adherent not offensive. After all, if there is a God that created your ability to reason I would assume He would want you to use it to the best of your ability… :)

  44. Joseph,

    A lucid post, measured and genuine. Though I am certain I will always be an Atheist and indeed will probably continue to argue the debate from that perspective, I can honestly say that if all theists thought as you do, I probably wouldn’t bother. If all believers considered their faith as you do, I think most of the excesses you allude to would never have occured and indeed religion might even have proven of some benefit to humanity. Whilst I applaud any individual who just wants to make the world a better place, I cannot, when faced with the facts of history, consider faith a positive. It all too often leads to rules and stictures and lends divine authority to the whims of evil men. I think I am with Nietzsche on this one. If people would stop looking to God and look instead to one another, we might just be able to build a better world. The simple facts are, even if all the claims of Christianity were true, we are alone in this life. So I say, lets not waste our time on idle worship, lets not squander our resourses building churches. They are not even nessesary for worship. Instead of a church build a shelter for the homeless. What would Jesus make of the Vatican. I visited there recently and was appauled by the sheer opulence and capitalism of the place. It seemed truly absurd to me to find an offering box in the middle of one of the most spectaular and priceless structures in the world. St. Peters.

    Check this link and if you can read the entire page without feeling a little sickened by it then you have a stonger constitution than me.


    I think it is the ceremony, the pomp, the rehersed prayer, the costumes and the sheer garish, nearly vulgar wealth of the church that declares loudly: We do not follow the example of Christ!!! that makes me wonder why people file into pews week after week. The church like the bible is overlooked hipocracy.

    Despite all that, I think you believe for the right reasons. You want to believe that at the very least there was a guy once who just wanted everyone to be good to each other. A noble aim. If indeed it was left that way, I think we could all doff our hats to Jesus and agree that he was a stand up guy and maybe he had some damn good ideas. He was a guy worth listening to. Unfortunately, it isn’t left there. There must for some reason be magic, and devils and all that. Odd how there seemed to be so much demonic possesion in Jesus’ day but not so much anymore. Now we just have crazy people :)

    Occam’s razor. All that we can see about us is exaclty what we would exspect to see in a Laissez-faire universe. Why not just accept the simple explanation?

    What is it that those of faith are so afraid of. What is God doesn’t exist…. So What? What are we losing? Eternal life? Have most people ever consider the idea, I mean REALLY considered it. It seems to me to be the worst possible torment that could possibly be visitded upon a consiousness.

    I know I am rambling a little here so I’ll shut up now. By the by, I never had any bad experiences with Christians or any representative of that faith, well no more so than those not of that faith anyway :) I have no particular beef with Christianity. It is faith in intangibles in general I desagree with. I am truly curious about what makes people believers. Also, if by ‘pure’ Atheist you mean ‘definately does not believe in any God’ then yes thats me. I don’t suggest that the existence of a God is impossible just that it is about as probable as the existence of leprachauns. There is zero empirical evidence for either.

  45. Just something to note. I had originally found my way here by some convoluted link chain. I briefly browsed the post and comments, left a quick thought that just seemed to need more and more qualification………you know how it goes, and then I went on my merry way. I decided to return largely thanks to the comments of Grace and Joseph, I thought the ‘vibe’ or ‘tone’ of this place seemed quite reasonable. Both seem willing to have their minds changed. (not that I have any intention or desire to change their minds – I’m sure they are quite capable of deciding on their own what is good for them) I think that the investigation of any topic can only be progressed by open minds. I hope to encounter more theists like you. It makes for much a more valuable exchange.

    All the best.

  46. Gary,
    I didn’t mind the leg comment. I probably should have put a smiley by mine also.

    It is likely I’d have as much success proving to you that God exists as you would have proving to me that He doesn’t.

    I’m not really a debater, not nearly as fluent as Joseph, and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

    God is real to me, and I couldn’t imagine this life without Him. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about afterlife, but I do believe there is a greater reality that already exists in a spiritual dimension.

    The same faith that you put in trusting your reason, I put in trusting the ways I have known and experienced God.

    We would probably find areas of agreement on the evils of religion. Jesus was pretty hard on religion at times also. Aside from trying to reconcile the OT, the point of the NT is that Jesus instituted an alternative kingdom and an alternative way of living that was subversive to the ways of power and self-interest.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the conversation, thanks for your contribution. My posts might not be of interest to you, but feel free to drop by anytime.

    All the best to you too.

  47. There is a blog I read (mostly because I find it hilarious) that has disclaimers all over it telling men that this blog is for women only, and comments from men won’t be published. Not because it discusses womens’ issues (other than the blogger has an unhealthy bent for home-making and headship & submission) but because they believe that a woman shouldn’t teach a man and if men are reading the blog it might be seen as “teaching”.

    The whole thing is just ridiculous!

  48. Heather,

    I has always saddened and to no small degree amazed me that women so often seem to be the instruments of their own oppression. Much like a Muslim woman who chastises her own daughter for being ‘immoral’ because she wants to wear normal clothes. I suppose it is the idea being drilled into young minds…….still, I think I will always be puzzled by it.


    Thanks for the pleasent message. I would be delighted to drop by now and again but I can’t promise I won’t be doing the devil’s work :)

    ‘The same faith that you put in trusting your reason, I put in trusting the ways I have known and experienced God.’

    I would have to say that I don’t put ‘faith’ in reason. I take it to be a reliable route to the truth as it has proven itself so consistantly. Beware the dangers of ‘knowing by other means’. People of the varying faiths around the world trust their intuitions about their God, or Gods. It is a simple matter of basic logic to know that they cannot all be right. In fact, only one group can be right. That means that most of the people in the world who ‘know by revelation’ or ‘know by insight’ of by any of the other ways of knowing are actually wrong. This would at the very least suggest that people cannot know by these means and any such knowledge should be treated with the greatest scepticism. While I’m suggesting that you ignore any feelings you might have that cannot be backed up by emperical evidence, I would suggest that those feeling be the subject of serious scrutiny. If a theory does not fit the facts it is probably wrong or at least incomplete.

    The principle difference between reasoning and belief is that anything held to be true by reasoned deduction will be immediately thrown out if it should be found in disagreement with obvious facts. Where faith is concerned, facts are simply reinterpreted to fit the belief. Anything and I do mean anything can be viewed as providence if you connect enough dots. Any form of unusal emotional state or state of mind, though entirely natuaral can be viewed in a theistic light. It is by virtue of the fact that ‘faith’ and the associated ‘feelings’ or ‘experiences’ are completely vague and undefined that they are rendered immune to verification.

    I suppose a good question is this:

    When you feel the presence of God, how do you know it is the God you think it is? How do you it is Jesus and not Shiva or Thor or Mohammed?

    If you were born in Iran, do you think you would believe in Jesus?

    I ask these questions not that I might dissuade you from your beliefs, I have no illusions there :) but only so that you may, and hopefully I may vicariously also gain a better understanding of why you believe what you do.

    I really want to know why you believe in God but not in unicorns. :)

    Best Wishes.

  49. Gary,
    I think we all put faith in our understanding of things in order to accept our conclusions. For me personally, I think that if my beliefs were simply a matter of accepted doctrines, I would struggle with certainty.

    I can’t think of a metaphor to explain it, but when you meet God, there is a knowing that supersedes empirical evidence. I am a fairly intelligent person, but I would never attempt to explain my relationship with God at an intellectual level.

    I believe in God because I “know” Him. I am at a loss to explain that “knowing” to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

    And unicorns are just silly. ;)

  50. What! Unicorns are silly? I guess that means that Dragons are out as well? Sigh….

    Just because something does not currently exist (or can’t be found, I should say), does not mean they never, in fact, existed, does it?

    The mythology of Unicorns is lovely. One might be considered presumptuous to say they never existed….hmmm.

    I, too, believe in God because I “know” him…and I am no better at explaining that intimacy. There are many books which do a much better job explaining the “theory”. But I do know about darkness as the absence of light and about cold as the absence of heat and so believe that without God, there is, well, nothing. But you certainly can’t prove that in a laboratory!

    Fortunately, God is more than able to take whatever doubts and barbs humans may through his way…because he will never give up on light and heat breaking into human hearts in the person of Jesus Christ. And as long as he doesn’t give up, we have hope that more will come to know him.

    But don’t try to blame global warming on the increased heat of more hearts on fire for Christ. :)

  51. And David, hey, nice to see someone else uses the term “sistren.” :)

    Be blessed as you and the San Antonio folks tackle the job of processing “Pagan Christianity” and the opportunities it may provide for strengthening the Body of Christ and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.

  52. Peggy,

    ‘The mythology of Unicorns is lovely. One might be considered presumptuous to say they never existed’……ummmm no. They never did.

    But lay off the dragons :)

    Peggy and Grace,

    What would you think if a muslim told you that he ‘knows’ Allah and that he ‘knew’ in his heart that killing those of other faiths was the right thing to do. Would you think that perhaps he only thought he ‘knew’. If so, whats makes you different? Anyone who ‘just knows’ something becomes immediately immune to reason. Given the state of the world, I think it is fair to say that such ‘knowledge’ is dangerous.

  53. Gary wrote: “When you feel the presence of God, how do you know it is the God you think it is? How do you it is Jesus and not Shiva or Thor or Mohammed?”

    hehehe … well, Gary … what makes you think that Jesus/God could not also be Shiva or Thor or Mohammed or the sun god Ra? The Hebrew God we know as God and the Jews call Yhwh made it pretty clear that S/He revealed Himself to all people throughout time. I’d be pretty hesitant to say that S/He limited Herself to the time/space continuum that we’re familiar with.

  54. Gary,

    If you’re secretly conflicted about your atheist faith and hoping to maybe come clean, I don’t mean to offend you or run you off. But you’d have to come clean before God, not a blogger group.

    And in our way of believing (yes, yes, it’s an alternate universe, I know) there aren’t any unicorns, but there’s something just as rum, for all that: you’ll be forced to call Christ “Lord, Lord!” at some point right after the worms get to work on your eyeballs and innards.

    I know you think it’s daft, but we’re taking Pascal’s side of the wager, based on what we see in history, and in our own hearts when nobody’s around. So naturally, Christians are going to get all goo-goo about the nice visiting atheist, and most conversations will turn to a game of “let’s save him from the worms!”

    But we can’t save you, and you can’t save you. Only Christ can save you, and you rule out His existence.

    It’s perfectly fine that you believe as you do, as long as you don’t try to push your religious faith every time you comment in an obviously Christian meetingplace. I know you see the offensiveness as well as the futility of it.

    Praise chaos, and happy marmot’s feet to you!

  55. Gary,

    I know you’re not here now, but you do exist. So if you do intend to hang around with us Christians for the sake of improving mankind (or whatever your stated aim was), perhaps we should banter about your religion?

    I think we Christians will agree with you (and either weep or chuckle) about the monstrous past of theists of all varieties. It’s not a pretty picture, even for the ones who ran under the supposed banner of Christ.

    But if your ethical gyro is operational, you will then have to do the math (of war and genocide) with us for that period fom Darwin and Marx up until our day. You will be forced to concede that those whose epistemological and ethical ground was a-theism (I posit anti-theism instead) killed a great deal more people than the theists did.

    Numbers don’t lie, right? As a determinist (“atheist”) you have to stay with your model, which is Determinism. Or some call the mechanical model ‘Necessity’. But if you like that sandbox, you can’t steal our toys; that was my earlier suggestion that you can’t have it both ways.

    You said earlier that “Socially, equality is definately [sic] worth striving for.”

    But your model of the universe has no sane, or logical, or causally coherent place for consciousness, or for values. “Wrth-ness” and “ought-ness” don’t exist in chaotic universes, you see. Such ideas as right and wrong are meaningless in a chaotic void.

    You deny the sun, but bask in it anyway. Your skin may remain lily-white, but at least you’re not dead on an uninhabitable ice-world.

    But of course you posit that this is by pure chance, this providential sun, and oxygen, and photosynthesis, and DNA. Pure chance…

    Leaving aside for a moment the consideration of love or goodness (impossible in a determinist universe) or any other values that have kept humanity from self-annihilation, molecular biology (as of DNA) demands that sustained life is impossible under your religious model. And yet here we are, alive and breathing and “striving for” good.

    If you did the math for atheist vs. theist warfare and genocide and are still unipressed with the God you think doesn’t exist, then try the math (several orders of magnitude more impressive( that British scientist and cybernetics guru David Foster posited 20 years ago:

    We all agree that organic life is programmed by the DNA, and that the protein heboglobin is specific to 10 to the 650th power…and the DNA of the T4 phage is specific to 10 to the 78,000th power. Discount the values all you like, for molecular biologists’ fudge-factors.

    OK, now let’s drag your high priests Messrs Darwin and Sagan into the classroom, and see if they agree with the regnant wisdom of the age of the universe. Most of their faithful followers appear to agree that the universe is something like 10 to the 18th power seconds old.

    Run the math. Your model doesn’t work, and couldn’t work even if you tried 100 million such universes in parallel. Or 100 billion.

    In other words, your faith is the closest thing to lunacy that is still allowed to walk around outside the asylum. And as long as you don’t hurt others with the lunacy, it’s perfectly fine.

    But as I said earlier, the record of atheists hurting others is a long, bloody one. That’s why I was suggesting that nice atheists like you should go and train up your fellows on the atheist blogs, in those good things “to be strived for”.

    Thanks for your ear.

  56. davidmzuniga,

    What can I say, WOW. That was an impressive rant. I feel I should point out a couple of things.

    First off, I have already asked Grace if she objected to my commenting here. I acknowledge that this is a Christian blog and my comments were never intended to cause offence. I think it was Rev Sam’s site Elizaphanian that originally brought me here through a few links. Rev Sam frequently comments on Atheist sites, as do many other people of various religious traditions. Their comments are as welcome as anyone elses. I also comment regularly on Atheist sites. Grace, graciously, welcomed me and we both acknowedged that changing each others mind about anything was neither likely nor an intent for either of us.

    My original aim, visiting here and from my discussions with Rev Sam was to gain an understanding of why people of faith believe what they do. I ask questions to see how Christians view the issues or reconcile the more conflicting beliefs.

    Atheism is not a faith or a religion. I think Douglas Adams put it quite well. “To say Atheism is a faith is much the same as saying that ‘not’ collecting stamps is a hobby”. If you wish to discuss it, please do. You may say anything you like about it, I will not be offended. Your opinion is your own and you entitled to it.

    Atheism does not require determinism. Not sure where you got that from but it is not the view of most Atheists. Also, who said the universe was chaotic? I am quite familiar with many of the governing laws of the physical universe. They are pleasingly orderly.

    Your grasp of evolution is severly lacking. The vast majority of evolutionary theory has nothing to do with chance. If you don’t believe me, research it for yourself.

    Goodness is not possible without God? The concepts of good and evil far predate christianity. Maybe goodness is also only possible because of aphrodite or buffalos or any of the innumerable Gods and creatures that were worshipped through the ages. Why do you think that mority needs a God? Do you actually have a reason for believing this or did someone just tell you that it was so?

    As I stated already, the mechanisms of the universe are reasonably well understood, no chaos, no chance required. I can only hope you see the problem of darting one minute from claiming I believe in a deterministic universe to claiming I believe in pure chance the next. Those two don’t go together.

    As for the worms. I believe that is my fate and it does not bother me at all.

    On a final note, if it is indeed the majority opinion that my comments are not welcome here then I shall most certainly refrain from further comment. It was never my intent to upset or offend. Most people who have responded to my comments here did not seem offended. They most certainly did not agree with me but I never believed that was nessesary for a mutually repsectful debate or exchange of ideas.

    And as for the sarcasm about requiring evidence.
    Are you suggesting you don’t require evidence to believe things. If so I have some magic beans you may be interested in…


    I would not limit God to the dimensions we are familiar with.

    The reason I would suggest God, Allah et al are not the same God is because the behaviours they require/inspire in their followers is very different. Though come to think of it all those extra arms Shiva has would have been handy creating the universe :)
    Also some religions like Hinduism are polytheistic which seems a fairly serious departure from ‘one true God’.


    I will not consider it discourteous if you would prefer I did not comment here. Do not hesitate to let me know if you think my comments are unsuitable.


  57. Gary: I will just jump in here since this type of rumination is what I do enjoy…

    Historically, mankind has dabbled in many religious expressions. And they will conform to some rite or ritual based upon the qualities or characteristics of the god that is being given homage. Some religious rites were dark: human sacrifice comes to mind. And then there is the coercive Allah that some Muslim adherents claim to follow…

    Curiously, it is the God of the Hebrews that first ordered the complete annihilation of a specific demographic: the Canaanites ensconced in the newly claimed Holy Land.

    I don’t know what it would have been like to be in the army of Moses & Joshua. Ordered to kill old men, old women, pregnant women, children & babies. Fighting then was the very crude but efficient hand-to-hand type, not the push-button type of modern warfare. You had to take your victim in hand, look them in the eye & thrust a hand-held weapon through their flesh.

    And all because God ordered them to…

    Ethnic cleansing in the name of God. Not something I could have stomached. Maybe I could have opted for a conscientious objector reprieve & then relegated to the medical corp. Or the clean-up detail. Whatever. I do know this part of Old Testament chronology one reason some do not accept such a directive was from God but that it was misunderstood or simply made up to justify the ensuing slaughters…

    Who could follow such a God? Doesn’t make sense. Puzzling. Even more so if you actually attempt to place yourself there. How would I have responded? Refused? Been swallowed up by the earth? Consumed by fire from heaven? Stoned for cowardice/insubordination? Only to become a footnote in the bible about how not to respond to God’s anointed?

    But then that’s another meaty topic in & of itself. Let’s get back to that religious Muslim intent on being Allah’s eyes, hands, legs & suicidal bomb delivery service for the cause of jihad.

    Personally, I am convinced no such god exists. A god of destruction resorting to external force to secure human compliance more along the lines of a demon, not a god. It is not difficult to make the conclusion such a god does not fit into my concept of what God is like. But this does not answer your question, does it?

    That voice screaming in a suicide bomber’s head has to drown out all reason & common sense in order to activate the detonator. And it goes against what you & I would consider sane motivation. One cannot put Mother Teresa & a suicide bomber in the same category based solely on level of commitment & self-sacrifice. One we revere, the other we take pity on…

    I would think the world a much better place with a multitude of Mother Teresa’s expressing the love of Jesus to the least of these. There is no beauty, truth, love, tenderness, mercy or respect in the dismembering of innocent bystanders with an explosive device strapped to one’s body. Even St. Paul makes such a distinction in his famous 1Cor 13 treatise on love.

    I have approached my belief in God with a mixture of faith & reason. Not faith alone. Not reason alone. I cannot not believe in God. That may be poor English & dismissed as simply maudlin in content. But that is the truth however you categorize it. Now my reason & my faith cannot ‘prove’ anything. Nothing empirical to the observable results of faith, mercy, kindness, etc. God is not empirically verifiable directly. But my rational observation of life, existence, love, sacrifice, goodness, beauty, grace, communicates to me creative expression. And from my perspective it demands closer scrutiny. It does result in some perplexity. The issue of good & evil. Free will vs. determinism. The radical difference between Jehovah & Jesus. The motivations of a deity that does not intervene in every situation He is passionately petitioned to address. I do not understand it all. But I cannot accept that He is just a well intentioned myth either…

  58. Gary,

    “Your catharsis framed within a mythology you were taught. ”

    No not at all- when Jesus came in – He identified Himself quite plainly – it wasn’t me – or mythology.

    Your questions are kind of funny to me because – I usually relate everything to scripture – it’s just the way I think now. But I don’t have your point of reference to things….

    And he said, Who are you, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus …. (Acts 9:5)

    The Apostle Paul didn’t know who He was – at all – so He identified Himself to Paul (Saul at the time).

    So some of your thought process – I agree with – — if you have no point of reference – you may not know who’s talking to you – but He’ll let you know.

    Oh – I read Zen and Tao and Castenada and Srimad too – but I never found anything there. I was really searching – I found Jesus. He is real – not just another philosophy – but a real entity. Someone you can talk to – and He talks back to you.

  59. Whoa. He doesn’t talk back to me.

    If you mean in Scripture, yes of course, I see Him address the saints (and that includes me). And I do often have urging in my heart from what I hope is the Holy Spirit; but it might also just be what I had for supper the night before.

    As for Jesus Christ ‘talking back to me’, never had that experience. Must be amazing.

  60. David,

    He doesn’t talk back? So your only information about what he wants is from a notoriously unreliable ancient book? A book so edited, translated, added to, taken from that at this point there is not telling what it should contain.
    Do you find it odd at all that no one who was alive when Jesus was apparently alive actually commented on him at all. The only historical accounts (other than the somewhat biased bible) of Jesus were written decades or centuries after his death. Are you aware also, that at the same time as Jesus there were many other supposed saviours doing the rounds. Mithras is the best example because he has soo much in common with Jesus. He came before Jesus though which suggests that if anyone was copying…. The number of similarities between Mithras’ story and that of Jesus Christ are staggering. Food for thought.

  61. Grace, are you still up to your hijinks, posting messages from false garys?

    I just exposed the last gary’s religious faith to be several thousand times (at least) more dubious than faith in God, just on the math and molecular biology alone.

    Can call me a raving antigary, Garce; but this garian belief is irrational just based on mathematical probability. To maintain that this world and all its systems sprang into being without an intelligent Creator is lunacy.

    (Scroll up a few posts and run the numbers; you can’t make random atoms produce what we see around us…not in a billion trillion years, in ten universes simultaneously. The math doesn’t work, and Carl Sagan is busy at the blast furnace for the next eternity or so. He won’t be here to help massage the numbers, I’m afraid.)

    Using this latest gary’s newest measuring stick for Jesus’ credibility, most of the well-loved figures of ancient history can be labeled imaginary. But that’s just silly; so I contend that gary doesn’t exist. He’s just another cruel trick by Grace here.

    Grace, you’re not going to convince me that this gary character of yours is real; nobody’s that silly. I’m still an antigarian agnostic.

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