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March 10, 2005 12:47 PM   Subscribe

"I felt like hurting someone before, now I feel like hugging people". Only weeks after professing his belief in Jesus Christ, former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch was baptized in the Jordan River last Saturday. With “Jesus” tattooed across his knuckles and “Matthew 11:28” along his neck, Welch received full immersion in the historic river, along with 20 other white-robed Christians from a Bakersfield, CA church. Welch said the ritual baptism, “washed away his anger.” "My songs are God saying things to me, him talking to people. He's going to use me to heal people and people are going to be drawn to it, just watch, they will be.” For the latest information (and a free mp3) go to Welch's personal website, http://www.headtochrist.com/
posted by matteo (148 comments total)

 
You can download a mp3 of Welch's testimony here
posted by matteo at 12:49 PM on March 10, 2005


This just underscores the disdain/doubt/skepticism that tons of people have about religious faith. Not many turn to religion through some sincere and thoughtful exploration of their universe and world, they turn to it because they were in pain/alcoholism/depression/sheltered childhood/a really bad rock band. Looks like just another crutch to me, albeit one that inspires positive elements instead of negative ones.
posted by xmutex at 12:53 PM on March 10, 2005


I never cared much for Korn, the epileptic Cookie Monster stylings of the vocalist always gave me agida.

But if this guy's found something that gives his life some meaning, well, more power to him.
posted by jonmc at 12:56 PM on March 10, 2005


pain/alcoholism/depression/sheltered childhood/a really bad rock band. Looks like just another crutch to me

Not really. If you're hungry, and due to that hunger you go out and eat a hamburger, that's not a crutch for your hunger because you didn't make a full analysis of the necessary nutritional content needed for your future survival before eating it. People make decisions based on their environment all the time. It doesn't make their decisions any less valid.
posted by unreason at 12:58 PM on March 10, 2005 [1 favorite]


On a side note: Maybe Korn will break up. Yay!
posted by unreason at 1:01 PM on March 10, 2005


unreason: I think it's a little bit different. With faith there's belief that something exists which cannot be experientially proven. So if I say that X healed my pain, therefore X is something I believe in (and, moreover, generally with the Christian faith, X is something I should tell everyone I come into contact with that they should believe), I am saying essentially that X healing my pain confers some veracity to X. That's the part that bugs me.
posted by xmutex at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2005


matteo: +10 points for an appropriate and funny post title.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:03 PM on March 10, 2005


Wow, so he was a meth addict. If he needs Jesus to kick that, I can't say I blame him.
posted by gwint at 1:05 PM on March 10, 2005


How korny.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:05 PM on March 10, 2005


I am saying essentially that X healing my pain confers some veracity to X. That's the part that bugs me.

Except he's not saying that, exactly. He's saying "X is great. One of the reasons that it's great is that it does Y." He's not saying "X exists because it creates effect Y."
posted by unreason at 1:07 PM on March 10, 2005


I don't want any part of this "Jesus" thing until Munky gets in on the act, too.
posted by uncleozzy at 1:11 PM on March 10, 2005


from headtochrist:

Brian has big plans for his new record stating, "I'm gonna finish my record quick and then sell it on my website," He explains. "That way, there are no hands on the money that I make, so I can give it back to my people by building something positive, like a skatepark or something."

"My people"? Why didn't Jesus cure Mr. Welch's megalomania along with the meth addiction?
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:12 PM on March 10, 2005


It's all fine and dandy to me so long as he doesn't start trying to make ME think "X" is great. Whatever heals you/makes you feel better/ makes you feel more complete and fulfilled is fine with me, so long as you don't then try to ram that down my throat. So, more power to him, but it's been my experience that people that make this kind of transformation aren't content with their own transformation, they have to make everyone else want it too. That's when it gets annoying.
posted by spicynuts at 1:14 PM on March 10, 2005


This isn't surprising to me at all. Korn is from Orange County, California, home of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, Robert Schuller, and more. The place is a really odd mix of counter culture, corporate culture and Jesus freaks. No, not Christians. Jesus freaks. People that wander around the TBN/Crystal Cathedral Jesus-Bermuda Triangle hugging their bibles to their chests, muttering under their breath about being saved from Satan and avoiding sin, and spontaneously gathering at bus stops for speaking in tongues and stuff. No, I've actually seen this. Dozens of times. It was a daily battle of being accosted by this damnable zombies. I'm pretty sure most of them are mentally challenged in the not-really-quite-functioning sense, in the literal needing treatment and medication sense.

I used to (unfortunately) see Korn show up to play at random keg parties and stuff like that. A dirtbag hippy friend of mine used to book a lot of shows in the area as well, underground punk stuff at the church basement at Old World, the funky old ampitheater at Golden West College. He booked Korn a few times, and they sucked from the very beginning. He acknowledged that the only reason he was booking them was that lots of poser kids seemed to like to spend their money coming to see them.

Anyways, the random point I'm trying to make is that this sort of haphazard fanaticism is predictable. Yeah yeah great, you found religion, Brian. The next step - already begun in earnest - is that he's going to start bludgeoning everyone over the head with his new-found religion in an attempt to validate it to himself.

On preview, what unreason and gwint said: Everyone I've met has had the hunger, and some sort of crutch to feed it with.
posted by loquacious at 1:17 PM on March 10, 2005


Mayor Curley doesn't have any people.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:17 PM on March 10, 2005


Not really. If you're hungry, and due to that hunger you go out and eat a hamburger, that's not a crutch for your hunger because you didn't make a full analysis of the necessary nutritional content needed for your future survival before eating it.

But if you'll only eat the hamburger because you are so hungry that it is finally a valid option then what does it say?

If the Christian faith is so wonderful then why is it that people don't seek it out until their lives are in such a state that they need some form of salvation?

To me it says that Christianity doesn't fulfil any meaningful part in people's lives and isn't required for them to have a meaningful life until such point as they are incapable of enjoying that life due to drugs, debt, a bad spouse, disease, what have you.

And, sorry, but that sounds like a crutch to me.
posted by pixelgeek at 1:21 PM on March 10, 2005



You will often see this in new Christians, then years later these same ones have little religion in their life.
He is literally on fire for the Lord. Wish I could recall the name for this. Point out this person sometimes can be difficult having a religious discussion with. As their newly aquired beliefs are very head strong, even to another shared belief Christian. Now to see if he fizzles out in the end which is his business.

Witnessed this many times, and could almost predict their next move. This type will attach themselves with a Christianity that has emotional drama in the church sermons. Because they want to "feel the love back" which was often quoted to me as a why.

Bet you could have guessed his actions here from his personality traits that may have made his past life fast, alcohol abuse & such. Also, this type will burn themselves out it they go at to hard, try to live it one moment than day by day.

This is not the first person to leave the band. So will they break up, probably not. I think the band will find some replacement through reality TV?
posted by thomcatspike at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2005


What if I'm hungry for crutches?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:26 PM on March 10, 2005


but it's been my experience that people that make this kind of transformation aren't content with their own transformation, they have to make everyone else want it too.

I dunno. I've known many Christians who keep it to themselves, unless you ask them. It's just that the loud, obnoxious ones, are well, louder and more obnoxious.

Jesus freaks. People that wander around the TBN/Crystal Cathedral Jesus-Bermuda Triangle hugging their bibles to their chests, muttering under their breath about being saved from Satan and avoiding sin, and spontaneously gathering at bus stops for speaking in tongues and stuff.

I thought "Jesus Freaks," were the ex-hippies who turned to religion after frying their brains on drugs back in the early seventies. For a while, I was on a kick of listening to some of the music from that period. It's oddly guileless compared to today's "Contemporary Christian" culture machine. Some of the bands, like the Water Into Wine Band, and Joyous Celebration almost help that whole weird cultural moment make contextual sense in a way.
posted by jonmc at 1:26 PM on March 10, 2005


Except he's not saying that, exactly. He's saying "X is great. One of the reasons that it's great is that it does Y." He's not saying "X exists because it creates effect Y."

Well, I think what he is saying (pardon if I did not phrase it well) is this: I believe in the Christian faith because it healed my pain. The Christian faith says A, B, and C about the world (and, well... beyond). Therefore I believe in A, B, and C because the Christian faith healed my pain.

I don't know any other way to summarize his point and it's a point I've seen time and time again, and to me it dilutes any value that the Christian faith may have. I realize here that it is saving a man from hellish pain, and for him I'm glad, but if we go further to say (which he and everyone else like him says) that it is therefore a valid system of belief, we err.
posted by xmutex at 1:26 PM on March 10, 2005


burn themselves out if they go at it too hard than living life one moment at a time, like "day by day."
posted by thomcatspike at 1:32 PM on March 10, 2005


I keep thinking about an interview that I read with Jonathan Davis about how he had this sex-chair custom made for his wife. I couldn't find a link, but I think it was in Rolling Stone.
Here's one I did find. [probNSFW]

I guess it's that I'm not that surprised by Head's leaving... but if Jonathan left, to go do this sort of jesus-y thing, I would be truly shocked.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:32 PM on March 10, 2005


He is literally on fire for the Lord. Wish I could recall the name for this.

"Sprititual high" was the label I've often heard. In addition to new converts, those returning from a church retreat are often afflicted as well.
posted by DaShiv at 1:33 PM on March 10, 2005


but it's been my experience that people that make this kind of transformation aren't content with their own transformation, they have to make everyone else want it too.
Agree as that's what I call, "on fire for the Lord."
posted by thomcatspike at 1:33 PM on March 10, 2005


But if you'll only eat the hamburger because you are so hungry that it is finally a valid option then what does it say?

In order to understand Christianity, you have to divorce belief from truth. It isn't god that makes you happy, it's believing in him. If you believe in god, you're happy, regardless of whether he exists or not. It’s really about a side effect of believing something then that particular something.
posted by delmoi at 1:34 PM on March 10, 2005


I believe in the Christian faith because it healed my pain. The Christian faith says A, B, and C about the world (and, well... beyond). Therefore I believe in A, B, and C because the Christian faith healed my pain.

It's an open question as to which way he meant it. I got the impression that he was merely listing the healing of pain as a benefit, not that he was using that as self proof.
posted by unreason at 1:34 PM on March 10, 2005


"Oh, it's not a crutch, Dad. It's just something I've come to depend on to help me through life."
--Bobby Hill
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2005


Forget the avian flu -- we need a vaccine for the Jesus virus.
posted by showmethecalvino at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2005


thomcatspike wrote " He is literally on fire for the Lord."

Literally, you say? I'm surprised he can sit through his interviews, then.

spicynuts : "but it's been my experience that people that make this kind of transformation aren't content with their own transformation, they have to make everyone else want it too.

Jonmc: "I dunno. I've known many Christians who keep it to themselves, unless you ask them."

Well, yes, but presumably most of them are not people that have made this kind of transformation?
posted by Bugbread at 1:35 PM on March 10, 2005


delmoi : "But if you'll only eat the hamburger because you are so hungry that it is finally a valid option then what does it say?"

Not that it affects anything (pretty neutral on the subject), but I'd say, "It doesn't say anything. What are you expecting it to say?"
posted by Bugbread at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


jonmc: Yeah, I'm using the phrase outside of its original etymology. The people I speak of aren't mentally sound, generally speaking. They all seem to have severe psychological issues with their sexuality. We're not talking about normally dogmatic Christians and Baptists, we're talking about fringe psuedo-evangelicals that'll be quite promiscuous, and then immediately blame it on demonic possession or something and then go atone for their sins somehow or another. I'm assuming it involves flagellation. Possibly on public streets, using illustrated hardcover bibles.
posted by loquacious at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


"He is literally on fire for the Lord. Wish I could recall the name for this."

Literally? Then I believe the term you were looking for is "spontaneous human combustion." For The Lord.
posted by Man O' Straw at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


If the Christian faith is so wonderful then why is it that people don't seek it out until their lives are in such a state that they need some form of salvation?

That's a good question, pixelgeek.

As evidenced by the majority of respondants on any topic on mefi related to Christianity, it takes a significant interruption to one's humanistic self-important perception of reality to jar them to the realization that they are not the source of absolute truth, and that moral relativism is the reason we're in this mess.

As for why Christians try to ram that down [your] throat, spicynuts, it is because there really is something great about knowing Christ and receiving forgiveness, and having the constant grace and support of the Lord. And, as you are perturbed by Christians "ramming" their perspective down your throat, we also get pretty tired of having secular humanists telling us how obnoxios we are.

It's odd how it isn't really news when a famous person's life is filled with debauchery and less than ethical behavior...in fact, it's almost expected. But when they make a spiritual committment to living a life guided by Biblical principles, many start to degrade them and bring out the "crazy Christians" banner.
posted by intheory at 1:37 PM on March 10, 2005


Great, just when we were rid of Creed, Korn is striving for their throne. Admittedly, it'll be a big pay raise for Korn... when was their last big hit?
posted by mek at 1:38 PM on March 10, 2005


-- In order to understand Christianity, you have to divorce belief from truth.

And War is Peace, right?

If there was any real inner truth to Christianity then why would its adherents need to resort to this sort of reasoning?

The belief that one has to cast aside doubt and simply believe is, to my mind, the last rationalisation of those that don't actually have any compelling answers.
posted by pixelgeek at 1:40 PM on March 10, 2005


Well, yes, but presumably most of them are not people that have made this kind of transformation?

Or they just don't have exhibitionistic personalities. Faiths and philosophies sacred and secular have their pushy, mouthy adherents and their quiet, dignified adherents.

Also, what's the matter with crutches? We all have them in one form or another. Life's a cold, hard business. Whatever gets you through the night, within reason.

Also, like Kirk Cameron before him, this Head guy dosen't seem to have much to gain (in a material sense) from this public conversion, so I'm inclined to believe he's sincere. His brand of Christianity is not neccessarily my bag, but what the heck, neither was his band.
posted by jonmc at 1:43 PM on March 10, 2005


This is not the first person to leave the band.
my memory failed me there, wrong I'm sure
posted by thomcatspike at 1:44 PM on March 10, 2005


If he is happy now, good for him. If he runs around annoying people with his beliefs, is that really any worse than annoying people with his old band?

The people I feel sorry for are the young Korn fans whose parents will this, .... "Well Brian took Jesus into his heart.... blah, blah,blah..."
posted by R. Mutt at 1:45 PM on March 10, 2005


Not many turn to religion through some sincere and thoughtful exploration of their universe and world, they turn to it because they were in pain/alcoholism/depression/sheltered childhood/a really bad rock band.

my minimal understanding of scripture indicates that it was / is precisely christ's purpose to save those / us people.
posted by quonsar at 1:46 PM on March 10, 2005


"The people I feel sorry for are the young Korn fans..."

AKA, the children of the Korn. Don't feel sorry for them. Fear them. Or watch them late at night with popcorn and bourbon.
posted by Man O' Straw at 1:48 PM on March 10, 2005


thomcatspike wrote " He is literally on fire for the Lord."
Literally, you say? I'm surprised he can sit through his interviews, then.


What do you think is making him feel the passion to resonate his feeling to all? Especially since he is a noobie at it. Has he made the statement, he is becoming a preacher and opening a church yet?… 5,4,3,2, 1.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:50 PM on March 10, 2005


OC Weekly did an article on the original Orange County Jesus Freak. Mr. Welch has some interesting sandals to fill.
posted by killy willy at 1:53 PM on March 10, 2005


Korn is from Orange County, California

Everything I've ever seen says they're from Bakersfield. Bakersfield is not in Orange County, although it does have its own reptuation for Jesus-ness. Oddly, the OC is better known for '80s west-coast hardcore punk acts. And No Doubt.
posted by LionIndex at 1:56 PM on March 10, 2005


jonmc: "For a while, I was on a kick of listening to some of the music from that period. It's oddly guileless compared to today's "Contemporary Christian" culture machine. Some of the bands, like the Water Into Wine Band, and Joyous Celebration almost help that whole weird cultural moment make contextual sense in a way."

Ha! I had an odd fascination with early 2nd Chapter of Acts (a similar group), in all their hippy-dippy, harmonizing glory. Occasionally enlivened by Floyd-lite guitar solos. Good times.
posted by emjaybee at 1:58 PM on March 10, 2005


thomcatspike wrote " He is literally on fire for the Lord."
Literally, you say? I'm surprised he can sit through his interviews, then.

What do you think is making him feel the passion to resonate his feeling to all?


tcs: What they're getting at is that if he really was "literally on fire" he would have flames coming out, smoke, 3rd degree burns, terrible pain, etc. "On fire for the lord" is by definition figurative, not literal, though the intensity may be equivalent to literally being on fire.

Sorry if that was a bit pedantic.

posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:58 PM on March 10, 2005


If his band is Korn, does that make him a Kristian?

Possible album title: Korn Again.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:01 PM on March 10, 2005


I had an odd fascination with early 2nd Chapter of Acts (a similar group), in all their hippy-dippy, harmonizing glory.
posted by emjaybee at 4:58 PM EST on March 10


Isn't this the kind of music that The Polyphonic Spree is riffing on, only in a more secular way? If you like that type of music, definitely check out the Spree. They're sort of like The Flaming Lips doing "Godspell."
posted by BoringPostcards at 2:04 PM on March 10, 2005


"My songs are God saying things to me, him talking to people. He's going to use me to heal people and people are going to be drawn to it, just watch, they will be.”

Doesn't it sound a bit like megalomania? e.g. I'm special so God is talking to me. Xmutex, it sounds like a shiny new crutch to me, too.

In any case, unless God is a no-talent head banger, I think he's going to be a little upset about the quality of "His" message.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:06 PM on March 10, 2005


Guess we wish he would live like "common people."
posted by thomcatspike at 2:06 PM on March 10, 2005


'twas ever thus

http://www.alvinlee.de/alvmems10.htm
posted by vronsky at 2:13 PM on March 10, 2005


In his testimony he spoke about money a lot. Although I find his idea of building skate parks as somehow being helpful a bit strange, at least he is rejecting materialism.

I've always found it odd that people "on fire" believe that this omnipotent god who can cure meth addiction and keep track of what billions of people are doing at all times is incapable of communicating except via indirect channels like a dj's choice of a song on a radio station or a chain email or a taco.
posted by Cassford at 2:15 PM on March 10, 2005


my minimal understanding of scripture indicates that it was / is precisely christ's purpose to save those / us people.

quonsar, once again displaying reason through brevity. Well done.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:18 PM on March 10, 2005


I've always found it odd that people "on fire" believe that this omnipotent god who can cure meth addiction and keep track of what billions of people are doing at all times is incapable of communicating except via indirect channels like a dj's choice of a song on a radio station or a chain email or a taco.

They don't, actually. Christians believe that God can communicate directly, they just think that he usually doesn't, probably due to a preference for retaining free will.
posted by unreason at 2:20 PM on March 10, 2005


Having known a few meth addicts in my time, I wouldn't give a shit if Odin saved his sorry ass. Something did, and that's ... something.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:20 PM on March 10, 2005


I'd have to agree with quonsar...I'm not willing to make the full association between "nowhere else to turn" and "Jesus." Sometimes, people look for answers randomly and find something to cling to, but Christianity is especially

Pixel, I'm not sure what you mean by divorcing belief from truth. A lot of Christians do it, but it's not really a prerequisite.
Fellow Christians have always irritated me with the claims of inner peace and the like. Few seem to realize it's an extremely simple religion, and one that makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. I don't feel like an inner peace comes from Jesus, but a different set of endgame goals arise that allow some Christians to overcome the stresses of society's priorities. Our society is largely based on popularity, wealth, and power...contrary to the behavior of modern Christians, our heroes were those who humlbed themselves, gave up their possessions, and were stoned to death by an angry world.
Freedom from what the world values is an incredible draw, and if you can maintain it, an incredible peace.

Modern Christianity, however, seeks to reattach the belief with a hybrid system that allows them to have their cake and eat it, too. Therefore, without freedom from the world's priorities, Christians must create and "inner peace" that comes from Jesus, one that replaces have to love thy neighbor or stop killing people for just five damn seconds.

Unreason, sort of. The problem most Christians have is that God doesn't NEED to communicate directly; it's generally pretty obvious what he wants. It's just hard to swallow.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 2:21 PM on March 10, 2005


Uh, make that first paragraph "christianity is especially I HAVE ANOTHER POINT TO MAKE NEVERMIND."
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 2:22 PM on March 10, 2005


intheory : "As for why Christians try to ram that down [your] throat, spicynuts, it is because there really is something great about knowing Christ and receiving forgiveness, and having the constant grace and support of the Lord.

Something great for you. Personally, I think it's great to live free from superstition and not to require the perceived knowledge, support or forgiveness of a dead/mythical being. But I've never tried to convert a Christian to that view.

And, as you are perturbed by Christians "ramming" their perspective down your throat, we also get pretty tired of having secular humanists telling us how obnoxios we are.

Um... stop being obnoxious? I don't think that secular humanists are breaking down the door of your church to call you obnoxious. I'm sure they'd be very happy to ignore you if you'd only return the favor.
posted by Turd Ferguson at 2:34 PM on March 10, 2005


I've seen KoRn like eight times, and would see them again and again... Whatever anyone needs to get by is cool with me, not that anyone needs my approval, just sharing. I just hope he's happy, and I hope the band will find a replacement by Summer for yet another tour!

All Day I Dream About Sex
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:43 PM on March 10, 2005


If the Christian faith is so wonderful then why is it that people don't seek it out until their lives are in such a state that they need some form of salvation?

Bascially they wake up, like when a person has a brush with death in car accident or whatever. Sometimes it makes them realize their own limitations such as their mortality, not just intellectually but at a gut level, and they start to see themselves and other people differently.

What's wrong with that?
posted by scheptech at 2:56 PM on March 10, 2005


I liked korns self-titled album - after that it seemed their talent just vanished. Never saw them in person fortunately. I like that this guy seems to have his priorities in order even if he is a christian. I'll let that slide.
posted by puke & cry at 2:57 PM on March 10, 2005


Anecdotal evidence, just to give insight to his new & improved godliness:

I've witnessed Christian Church groups undergoing large-number baptisms at the Jordan River in Israel, and it's very intense. There was one group in particular of old U.S. southern women -- all very hearty, stout ladies -- and after their immersion, they were trembling, collapsing, and completely hysterical all over the place. I truly believed that these women were somehow seeing and feeling "GOD", but also knew that their god was not my god. Whatever...I didn't care because they were in the throes of ecstasy and belonging, something i've never felt on a spiritual level concerning a god.

Anyway, my point is that I can certainly see how Brian Welch transformed into a "new person" after his dunk in the stinky water, as it seemed to be an overwhelming, emotional, regenerative experience for every loon that had submersed.

(Btw, the Jordan River stinks to holy fricking hell...like stinky egg farts and sul-furious gas. They warn you upon entrance not to drink or ingest the water, as it will make you very sick.) So, give him a few days to recover from the toxic water-poisoning, and i'm sure he'll be back to normal.
posted by naxosaxur at 2:58 PM on March 10, 2005


intheory:
It takes a significant interruption to one's humanistic self-important perception of reality to jar them to the realization that they are not the source of absolute truth

Why do atheists or agnostics have problems with some christians? Statements like that, for starters - it seems to suggest that somehow, when a christian looks at the world, they see *reality* - like, the real reality. Whereas the rest of us just have a *perception* of it. In suggesting that, a christian forgets that they are a human with a faith that they cannot conclusively prove.

A massive, all-powerful god just forgot to leave his signature? Left a book instead? I read books all the time. I'll need something more concrete than a book as proof.

when they make a spiritual committment to living a life guided by Biblical principles, many start to degrade them

Here's another perspective: Christians know that they'll go to heaven if they live a good life, surely? Security. Absolute security. So why the *anger* when dissenting questions are put? Christians are ecstatic about their faith after a retreat, but defensive about it, disgruntled, and unhappy, when questioned in depth. I suspect that stems from a universal insecurity in faith-based systems of thought. I am never ecstatic about evolution or physics, and never defensive about them either.

If I am going to hell, that makes no difference to any christians - a wry, regretful smile in my direction would seem to be the fitting reaction. A reaction which would actually be based on that faith. Instead of an insistence that I, too, must believe, to bolster the collective faith of others.
posted by paperpete at 3:00 PM on March 10, 2005


Why do atheists or agnostics have problems with some christians? Statements like that, for starters - it seems to suggest that somehow, when a christian looks at the world, they see *reality* - like, the real reality.

paperpete: Well, isn't that the logical result of any belief system that holds maxims concerning reality? You almost have to assert such a thing, if not outright then at least implicitly by your belief in the faith.

It doesn't make any sense to say "I am Christian" but then assert that someone who believes something that contradicts your own belief (e.g. "There is no god(s)") can still be right, even partially.

If you believe in A, and I say there's no A, you have to say that I am in fact wrong. Well, what everyone should say is that if my beliefs are correct, then yours must be incorrect if they contradict (and a Christian's and an atheist's certainly do w/r/t reality).

There's only one reality. There's not room for more.
posted by xmutex at 3:10 PM on March 10, 2005


paperpete: If I am going to hell, that makes no difference to any christians - a wry, regretful smile in my direction would seem to be the fitting reaction. A reaction which would actually be based on that faith. Instead of an insistence that I, too, must believe, to bolster the collective faith of others.

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."

John Donne Devotions, XVII

I think the missing emotion to make that leap from wry detachment to active aid is compassion. Humanists call it humanity, Christians the Body of Christ. It is the recognition that the business of mankind is the mutual business of all men. I can't see how you would possibly think that the correct reaction of a follower of Christ would be such detachment. Certainly not this man. Perhaps your interpretation of what the correct response of the faithful is not honestly based on the tenants of that faith but rather on your own beliefs.
posted by Endymion at 3:21 PM on March 10, 2005


and then again...

Does anyone need another faulty shuttle
Blasting off to the moon, venus or mars
Does anybody need another self-righteous rock singer
Whose nose he says has led him straight to god

Does anyone need yet another blank skyscraper
If you're like me I'm sure a minor miracle will do
A flaming sword or maybe a gold ark floating up the Hudson
When you spit in the wind it comes right back at you

Lou

posted by LouReedsSon at 3:34 PM on March 10, 2005


xmutex - my fault for not expressing myself more clearly.

I was referring to the standard of proof along with that comment, and suggesting that a faith which can't point to physical proof of its assertions might change / inform / flesh out my understanding of the world and my place within it, if only it could.

As it is, it seems rather pointless for someone who has, if you will, a 'faith-based belief-system' to expect credulity from someone who has a 'proof-based belief-system'.

Endymion - I understand well the emotions of compassion, understanding, care, and humanity. But the type of compassion of which you speak only has meaning to me in this context if you can prove to me that life after death exists and that hell is certain for those who do not believe. That is the point.

I do not mean to be rude or dismissive, as discussions like this fascinate me. But in the absence of proof that hell exists, or that any dead have gone to hell and suffered there, christian compassion for atheists in this context is a rather empty, and to some degree patronising, compassion as far as atheists are concerned.
posted by paperpete at 3:35 PM on March 10, 2005


Oh, fer chrissake...
posted by bricoleur at 3:36 PM on March 10, 2005


A massive, all-powerful god just forgot to leave his signature?

He didn't forget to leave His signature paperpete, you just don't know how to read His handwriting.

I'll need something more concrete than a book as proof.

How about 500+ eyewitness accounts of Jesus coming back from the dead?
posted by walljm at 3:51 PM on March 10, 2005


i have heard it said that religion is for those who don't want to go to hell, and spirituality is for those who have been there, and don't want to go back.
posted by quonsar at 4:05 PM on March 10, 2005


How about 500+ eyewitness accounts of Jesus coming back from the dead?

Your not talking about the 2000 year old, copy of a copy of a copy of a copy ... of a copy of hear-say are you?
posted by Bort at 4:12 PM on March 10, 2005


Christians know that they'll go to heaven if they live a good life, surely?
Never read to go to heaven you had to live a "good life."
Look at the man that was on the cross next to Christ.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:29 PM on March 10, 2005


Christians believe that God can communicate directly,
Through the Holy Spirit who is a God in the Trinity. Unlike the Old Testament time, He could not indwell you. Why the burning bush or Angels talked to Moses. Knowing about the Church age, today is where you find knowledge in this.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:35 PM on March 10, 2005


"X" is great

The rave drug or the LA hardcore band?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:44 PM on March 10, 2005


For those wanting proof of God's existence or hell or whatever aspect I don't think you're going to find it.

The thinking goes like this: ambiguity is necessary, it has to do with the exercise of your free will, specifically your ability to chose to believe or not.

As it stands, you're in charge. However, if God were to actually manifest in the physical world in some sufficiently convincing way, it would be too late for you to decide. Any 'deciding' or choosing at this point would be moot, meaningless.

So anyhow that's the thinking, we're here to freely choose or not, and the reason we could argue forever and never prove anything one way or the other is because our freedom to chose must be maintained.
posted by scheptech at 4:49 PM on March 10, 2005


Never read to go to heaven you had to live a "good life."

Hence the infamous deathbed conversion?
posted by R. Mutt at 4:54 PM on March 10, 2005


xmutex >>> There's only one reality. There's not room for more.

There is room, however, for myriad perceptions of it.

I think the issue that most atheists have with regards to religion, particularly the more Pentecostal flavours of Christianity, is that many adherents simply stop thinking. They have found an answer that works for them, and stop questioning anything. Those of us who have a religious faith of some variety, but inform that faith with questions and examination, find such conversions equally perplexing.

That said, atheists in general need to learn something: most of us who do believe in something have no interest whatsoever in getting you to do the same. That's your stuff to deal with, not ours; neither viewpoint is intrinsically better than the other. Atheistic fundamentalism, which gets displayed all too often here on MeFi, is just as unpalatable as the religious sort. If I have a belief, is it any skin off your nose? Of course not. So why this constant smug superiority, characterized by phrases like "living a life without superstition"? Why the need to proclaim loudly why your way is so much better? Is that not precisely what the hardcore religious folks you profess to despise do? Someone in the Bible said something about looking to the beam in your own eye before commenting on the mote in your neighbour's. Whether or not you believe the Bible to be the literal word of God, that's some pretty good advice for living, don't you think?

The major problem is, groups tend to be characterized by their extremes. Thus the perception many people have of homosexuals is limp-wristed drag-queen slutty interior designers, jocks are all dimwitted lumps of muscle, and religious people get lumped in with the Phelps' and Bakkers of the world. The vast majority of people I know who have religious faith don't see the world the same way as the fundamentalists do. The Torah, Bible, Qu'ran, Bhagavad Gita, etc, are stories, allegories, tools which can help one get closer to understanding the Divine in some fashion, which really ultimately means trying to understand people. Creation myths or the Big Bang; there's no tension between the two. One is a literal and mundane explanation that shows us what happened... the other is an attempt to understand why it did. For some people, there is no need to ask the second question. And that's great for you. Some people do feel that need, however, and so we search for answers to the questions that we have. My/our way is not better than yours; it's just a different way of looking at the world.

The whole point being, a smug assertion that your way is the only way, and your answer is the only right answer is just as narrow-minded and ugly from one side of the fence as the other.


quonsar >>> i have heard it said that religion is for those who don't want to go to hell, and spirituality is for those who have been there, and don't want to go back.

An interesting distinction to make, quonsar. And a useful one, in many ways. It's the difference between gnosis and... curses, I can't think of the correct other word. Hopefully someone else will be able to fill in the blank there for me.


scheptech >>> As it stands, you're in charge. However, if God were to actually manifest in the physical world in some sufficiently convincing way, it would be too late for you to decide. Any 'deciding' or choosing at this point would be moot, meaningless.

Thanks. I was trying to figure out how to address that, and you did it wonderfully. According to Christian theology, we must have the free will to choose our own way, else the whole shebang becomes rather meaningless.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:55 PM on March 10, 2005


The whole point being, a smug assertion that your way is the only way, and your answer is the only right answer is just as narrow-minded and ugly from one side of the fence as the other.

dirtynumb: If you provide two contradicting answers regarding some position, one is true and the other is not. Whether you will ever know which is beyond the point. It's not smugness, it's logic.
posted by xmutex at 5:08 PM on March 10, 2005


dirtynumb: I didn't really mean to come off as arguing with you there, as I agree with what you are saying. The truth of the matter is that we will not know whether there is a God, so to tell someone that your way is correct, that you know the truth of the matter, is very much smugness.

But to assert that there is some correctness, that if the Christian is right the the athiest is wrong (and of course vice versa) is not so smug.
posted by xmutex at 5:11 PM on March 10, 2005


xmutex >>> But to assert that there is some correctness, that if the Christian is right the the athiest is wrong (and of course vice versa) is not so smug.

Well, clearly not. That is, however, a really, really huge 'if.'

And it's hardly the point of what I wrote.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:19 PM on March 10, 2005


scheptech >>> As it stands, you're in charge. However, if God were to actually manifest in the physical world in some sufficiently convincing way, it would be too late for you to decide. Any 'deciding' or choosing at this point would be moot, meaningless.

dirtynumbangelboy: Thanks. I was trying to figure out how to address that, and you did it wonderfully. According to Christian theology, we must have the free will to choose our own way, else the whole shebang becomes rather meaningless.

I don't understand that argument. If God convinced me he existed, I could still choose to follow or be against him. Right? I have been given sufficient evidence that a government exists, but I still have the free will to choose whether to follow or oppose it.
posted by Bort at 5:20 PM on March 10, 2005


Not precisely, Bort. Once you've seen proof of something with your own eyes, belief is (theoretically) inevitable. It's enforced belief, unless your powers of denail are particularly strong.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:24 PM on March 10, 2005


Denial, even. Denail is what I hit with dehammer.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:25 PM on March 10, 2005


Seeing is believing, but salvation does not lie in believing. It lies in following (at least that was what I got from the teachings of my non-denominational church before I "lost my faith" - and how I believe most Christians believe).

Once I believe in God, whether through faith or over-whelming physical evidence, I still have the free will to accept salvation and follow him, or reject salvation and not follow God.
posted by Bort at 5:34 PM on March 10, 2005


BTW, "follow God" would be more accurate as: repent for my sins and accept the crucifixion of Christ as a payment to cleanse me of my sins.
posted by Bort at 5:38 PM on March 10, 2005


Now everybody sing along:

Gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside...

Actually, I think that the reason that so many addicts are drawn to the more dramatic forms of Christianity (and this is by no means a condemnation of Christianity) is that both drugs and religion are a form of surrender of the will and intellect, which is very attractive for those of us who feel...befuddled and confused.* The sensation of making the decision to give yourself over to either bourbon or the Bible is remarkably similar in certain ways. It's like laying down a burden. And the off-the-wall trappings of both lifestyles are attractive to those who revel in the strange and unrestrained. Witness the antics descibed in Salvation On Sand Mountain.

*not that I've ever "given myself over" to any such church. I'm too much of a good lapsed Catholic for that, but events like this made me see some similarites between "feelin' the spirit," and dionysian revelry. Which is why there's always been this uneasy connection between rock and roll and religion. Most of rock's founding fathers and mothers learned to sing in church, and there's more than a passing similarity between the feel of those writhing on the church floor speaking in tongues and those flailing around in the mosh pit. Plus all the feelings of instant community and emotional release. Just a theory. I'm babbling, I realize.
posted by jonmc at 5:48 PM on March 10, 2005


xmutex: From a dualistic logical perspective this is correct, at least in terms of the correspondence theory of truth. But what makes you think reality is the slave to logic.

Vast emptiness, nothing sacred

Tao gave birth to One
One gave birth to Two,
Two gave birth to all the myriad things.

Truth is only applicable in terms of the a separation of things. There must be at least two objects for truth to be possible. Yet you are not separated from the universe how can you reflect it. How can what you say be true. Yet religions talk of a truth that is more fundamental than logic and words; a direct apprehension or gnosis. This kind of knowledge has very much gone out of style in philosophy at least but it is the essence of Descartes cogito. How does one know that one is thinking, simply that one is thinking. I believe also that Ramsey wrote on truth as simply the thing itself.

Shuzan held out his short staff and said, "If you call this a short staff, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a short staff, you ignore the fact. Now what do you wish to call this?"

We usually think of truth as having some tint of existence but it would be foolish to think that existence is rooted in truth as opposed to truth being rooted in existence.

Daibi asked Baso: "What is Buddha?"
Baso said: "This mind is Buddha."

A monk asked Baso: "What is Buddha?"
Baso said: "This mind is not Buddha."

Some would say that both are true, although they are logically mutually exclusive. Logic is just a tool, like grammar. One can speak without being grammatically correct and one can live without logic.

The truth of the matter is that we will not know whether there is a God, so to tell someone that your way is correct, that you know the truth of the matter, is very much smugness.

I'm not sure who that we includes, but some people would very much disagree with you. They would say that they do know that there is a God, that they have heard his voice, been in his presence, even been consubstantial with him. If I say that I am in love, you would not think to say to me 'You are not in love' or 'It cannot be love for the woman whom you love is not who you think she is, you have been deceived' or 'Your love is unrequited therefore it cannot be love.' My love is a fact that proves itself. There is no delineation between God and the belief in God. The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.

Lastly I don't see how this affirming the existence of God is necessarily smug. JC said "I am the Way the Truth and the Life... If you really knew me you would know my Father also. From this point on you know him; you have seen him" Yet he also repeatedly said that he was the servant of all, that he did nothing of himself, that it was only to the Father that glory should be given, that his disciples should be the lowest and most humble of men. This seems very much humility and not smugness.
posted by Endymion at 5:57 PM on March 10, 2005


So anyhow that's the thinking, we're here to freely choose or not, and the reason we could argue forever and never prove anything one way or the other is because our freedom to chose must be maintained.

kinda like a cosmic catch-22, eh?
posted by telstar at 6:55 PM on March 10, 2005


I want to hear music by people on the other end. People who were christian, but then saw the light and started making REAL music. Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music.
posted by Lusy P Hur at 7:04 PM on March 10, 2005


Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music.

This box set will set you staright on that misconception.
posted by jonmc at 7:07 PM on March 10, 2005


thank you for that, Endymion.
posted by quonsar at 7:13 PM on March 10, 2005


Honestly, I feel Christians should be ashamed to show and support such cultish behavior. A lot of the things this guy says (along with many things said in this thread, notably delmoi's remark about believing in spit of the truth) are just completely creepiness^2.

What also gets me is the distinction between this guy's spirituality and his lifestyle. It doesn't seem like there is any.
posted by nixerman at 7:30 PM on March 10, 2005


turd ferguson
I don't think that secular humanists are breaking down the door of your church to call you obnoxious.

No, they seem to have every loudspeaker, cable channel, (okay, except maybe fox news), movie studio, and community blog around and take some sort of pride in running us down and calling us obnoxios, cultish, superstitious, fanatics, smug, illogical, judgemental, dogmatic, irrational, and proceed with ad hominem etcetera slights and attacks on the fundamental beliefs and practices of the various forms of individual spirituality practiced by Christians.

Perhaps a few other religions, but it seems that Baha'i or atheists don't get the same sort of ridicule us quiet faithful receive. Lest we forget, all of those other religions (or lack thereof) are simply worldviews/belief systems just like Christianity, and for one to call any of these "superstitious" or "a crutch" is similarly calling into question their own belief structure.

I'm not one to go around deriding others for their belief system, but as xmutex indicated, for me to assert that my belief system is correct means asserting that yours is wrong, or at least not entirely right. Additionally, a number of religions require believers to fully adhere to its teachings alone, meaning if I say I'm a Christian (or a Muslim) and I say, "sure, you can worship that tree/Krishna/yourself and get to heaven/allah" then I'm not really practicing my faith.
posted by intheory at 7:45 PM on March 10, 2005


he who sneers at a crutch has yet to break a leg.
posted by quonsar at 7:59 PM on March 10, 2005


OMG you're like a cybermystic dewd.
posted by xmutex at 8:00 PM on March 10, 2005


intheory, are you kidding? Anti-Christian movie studios? Cable channels? In America? I hope you're kidding. Otherwise I'd have to say this widespread anti-Christian exists in your superstitious, irrational mind.

And if there are people attacking your beliefs--so what? You should be prepared to defend them. Is that what bothers you? Having to defend your beliefs? You can make a strong case that for many people Christianity is a crutch. I'm not sure how you get around this exactly.

And honestly, I'd think faithful Christians would be similarly repulsed by "news" stories such as this that just highlight what an enormous media spectacle modern Christianity is.
posted by nixerman at 8:01 PM on March 10, 2005



OMG you're like a cybermystic dewd.


*glows brightly, levitates*
posted by quonsar at 8:03 PM on March 10, 2005


/me runs away from the glowing, fuming, sputtering and spark-emitting quonsar and seeks shelter to taunt him from.
posted by loquacious at 8:13 PM on March 10, 2005


in the beginning was the WORD -- that song is ass... so are religious proponents and/or naysayers... shut the fuck up your BABIES ARE CRYING.
posted by Satapher at 9:00 PM on March 10, 2005


Just a theory. I'm babbling, I realize.

no theory. god is dead. art is mirror.
posted by Satapher at 9:09 PM on March 10, 2005


Lusy P Hur writes "Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music."

A life-long atheist, I'm a nevertheless a big fan of Bach; religion subsidized -- and inspired -- much of his work. And we can thank the Catholic Popes, some of them quite sleazy fellows, for commissioning lots of great art.

I also really enjoy Wagner, but am not an anti-Semite, and even enjoy Soviet songs commissioned by that totalitarian mass murderer Stalin and sung by the Red Army Chorus, perhaps in earshot of political prisoners being tortured in Lubyanka. And Pete Seeger songs that pushed the Comintern line against the U.S fighting in Europe during the days of the Molotov - von Ribbentrop Pact, and Pete Seeger songs damning Hitler, written after Operation Barbarossa began (and they're on the same album, which is especially amusing). And Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia is breath-taking to this day, even though its purpose was to glorify Hitler, his Volk and his Reich.

Art is art, and one can make good art, one can even be inspired to make good art by incorrect or ignoble or frankly immoral impulses.

When you think about it, one could argue that resources spent on any great art -- or any art, for that matter -- are resources that could be spent to feed a starving child, and that by going to the opera or the movie-house, we're condemning a little Biafran child to a slow and unpleasant wasting death.
posted by orthogonality at 10:21 PM on March 10, 2005


Anti-Christian movie studios? Cable channels? In America? I hope you're kidding. Otherwise I'd have to say this widespread anti-Christian exists in your superstitious, irrational mind.

Nixerman, I don't think he means an anti-Christian conspiracy. But if one is a quiet, liberal sort of Christian one is very, very likely to encounter Christian-bashing every day, and from one's friends no less. Since so many conservative movements have fundamentalist Christian bases, liberals ascribe conservative actions they see as stupid to Christianity instead of fundamentalism, and thus end up bashing Christianity itself. I mean, just read this thread! If you're Christian and you want to hang around with liberals, it's very likely your faith is going to be looked down on.

And it's not like you can tell them to take comfort from the "JEEZUS RAH RAH RAH" people in power, because the liberal Christian and the fundamentalist Christian are similar in belief on only the most shallow level. It's like expecting a conservative American to be bestest friends with a liberal American just because they're both American.
posted by schroedinger at 10:31 PM on March 10, 2005


What schroedinger said. I'm an Episcopalian, and I gotta say that it's pretty galling that on the one hand, we're in the process of getting tossed out of the Anglican Communion for being too liberal (pretty much the only place where the Americans are too liberal for the Europeans), while on the other hand the American political left seems intent on tarring us with the same brush as the Pentecostals.
posted by hob at 10:57 PM on March 10, 2005


Lusy P Hur >>> "Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music."

Um, beg pardon? You'd like to ignore 90% of the Western classical music canon, perhaps? Almost all of it is religious in nature, or religiously inspired.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:09 PM on March 10, 2005


As someone who grew up in a quiet Christian family there is indeed a lot of "Ick! Jesus!" bullshit to be put up with, but it doesn't make one a unique and beautiful snowflake as any other minority or alternatively-beliefed, differently-abled, or otherwise marginalized group of people will tell you.

A difference that I find between these two frequently recurring political/religious extremes that one end wishes to represent - or even enforce and prioritize - a particular religion or belief system upon the structure of society as a whole and the other wishes to remove reference or influence of any specific religion from the structures of government and society, ostensibly to allow for freedom of worship ranging from none at all to devout snake handler, and/or alternately to keep it clear of superstition and dogma in general.

And I'm not even speaking strictly about the US and liberals vs. conservatives or aetheists vs. Christians. Burma. India. Russia. China. Almost anywhere.

The simple difference I find between the two ends of this is that one wants to modify or legislate the behavior - freedom - of human beings other than themselves, sometimes or often for dogmatic/superstitious reasons, and the other wants to increase or defend freedoms to modify, alter or control themselves. Be it in mind, body, or spirit for either the former and latter.

Morals vs. Ethics, ad nauseum.

As an aside regarding the overwhelming nature of the experience of things like baptisms, or prayer meetings, or healing sessions, or even sweat lodge ceremonies with peyote.

The experience of assembling together in a group with a single minded metaphysical purpose has been, is, and always will be a heady experience.

Sometimes it doesn't even matter much if the assembly is a beer-sloshed sporting event, a Sunday Mass, a High School dance, a barn raising, a rollerskate night, a rave, a fireside chat or whatever. Some are more intense than others, and the more you believe and the more your peers believe the more intense the experience is likely to be. Each experience of course is different in flavor, texture, and intensity, as well as purpose and goal, but the theory remains the same.

And there's nothing wrong with that, as long as we're honest about it.

It does seem to fulfill a very particular human need that seems to be directly related to this sort of existential hunger that many or most of us have.
posted by loquacious at 11:18 PM on March 10, 2005


(Sorry for the double-post)

Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music.

Add Mozart, Handel, Berlioz, Golijov, Gregorian chants, Beethoven, Bach, Verdi, etc etc to jonmc's recommendation.
posted by schroedinger at 11:35 PM on March 10, 2005


Oops, meant to post that after my last comment and didn't refresh. So yeah, like dirtynumbangelboy said!
posted by schroedinger at 11:37 PM on March 10, 2005


intheory : " No, they seem to have every loudspeaker, cable channel, (okay, except maybe fox news), movie studio, and community blog around and take some sort of pride in running us down and calling us obnoxios, cultish, superstitious, fanatics, smug, illogical, judgemental, dogmatic, irrational, and proceed with ad hominem etcetera slights and attacks on the fundamental beliefs and practices of the various forms of individual spirituality practiced by Christians. "

Interestingly, I find the American media to support Christianity over every loudspeaker, most cable channels, fox news, and most movie studios. I will agree that blogs tend to have more anti-Christianity, but my experience is that pretty much all places that rely on revenue (movies, tv, etc.) support Christianity.
posted by Bugbread at 5:19 AM on March 11, 2005


One day, or perhaps it was night, God proved to me he did not exist. He found this Absolutely hilarious. He is still laughing, and it has been many years. I suspect the laughter will continue for all eternity, or, perhaps, the laughter was there all along.

Someone said "There is only room for one reality". How do you know how much room there is? Did you make it? Or was that just wishful thinking on your part?

Liberal Christians: Be assured, they are regularly abused by many oh, so enlightened, so liberal atheists, as well as the pantheists and the terribly dogmatic agnostics.

Today's 'fundamentalist' Christians are neither fun, nor Christians. They are merely mental, in an evil sort of way. Their main function would appear to be making a enemies of Christianity, in much the same way the Islamic fundamentalists do for Islam.

Of course many of us, Liberal Christians and atheists alike, will agree: RELIGION is the problem! What a pile of shite that is! Just remember that little fact and direct your ire in the appropriate direction.

As for Mr. Welch and his Jordan River experience: I am extremely unimpressed by anyone professing the importance of baptism finding it reasonable to fly to a war zone to do it, when they could have done it close to home. And, really, tattoos for Christ?!
posted by Goofyy at 5:59 AM on March 11, 2005


Goofyy : " Someone said 'There is only room for one reality'. How do you know how much room there is?"

Er...because "reality" means "all that is real", and therefore, by definition, there is only one. If anything else is real, it becomes part of reality. You can't really have two.

Kinda like Big Omega. Depending on your math theory, you can have numbers bigger than infinity. But Big Omega's definition is "the biggest number". You cannot have a number bigger than Big Omega, by definition, because if you do, it is Big Omega.
posted by Bugbread at 6:52 AM on March 11, 2005


> copy of a copy of a copy of a copy...

Bort, someone who makes a claim like this either hasn't done his homework or is deliberately using a contentious straw man. The bibles we read today are accurate (or at least close-to-accurate) copies of manuscripts close to the originals that were circulated through the early church. There hasn't been a slow degradation through centuries because biblical scholars base their translations on the earliest possible material that they can. If changes ever crept into the process, they would have been noticed immediately against the backdrop of thousands of other copies of the same manuscript.

The different translations you see circulating today are updates for language or paraphrases of hard-to-translate Greek and Hebrew, with footnotes for any possible discrepancies. It doesn't make sense to accuse Christians of using a Bible whose meaning has been deteriorated by time; we're essentially reading translations of the same texts used by Christians at the start of the church -- although now we have the benefit of footnotes, printing, binding, concordances, and the intarweb. These documents are backed up by archaeological evidence and simple church tradition, so even if you don't believe what they say, their authenticity as translations of early Christian manuscripts is beyond doubt.

</derail, sorry>
posted by brownpau at 7:03 AM on March 11, 2005


Korn Gives God Head
posted by mikeh at 7:29 AM on March 11, 2005


bugbread: The existence of Big Omega is conditioned upon the particular axioms you are building your math with. These axioms are not absolute. They may not be consistent and still yield a math in which you can do real work. If you choose other axioms, Big Omega may or may not have the properties you describe.

brownpau: Correctimundo. There are still issues beyond translation error in understanding biblical-era texts. The authorship of some documents may be in doubt, and there are certainly differences of opinion about the interpretation. For instace, taking Revelations, there is the Left Behind reading, the Coded Messages About Rome reading, and the Mystical Treatise of John reading where the Seven Churches are identified with the chakras. There's more. Those are just off the top of my head, and about one book.
But modern translations are often pretty dang good.

mikeh: heehee.
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:52 AM on March 11, 2005


Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music.

To add to jonmc's elegant refutation: Palestrina, Tallis, Bach, Byrd, Howells, Mozart, Willan...

I understand that a lot of modern christian pop tends to be shallow crap where all the artist has done is bolt religious platitudes onto musical platitudes. But this isn't the fault of religion any more than it's the fault of music.
posted by weston at 8:53 AM on March 11, 2005


Sometimes it doesn't even matter much if the assembly is a beer-sloshed sporting event, a Sunday Mass, a High School dance, a barn raising, a rollerskate night, a rave, a fireside chat or whatever. Some are more intense than others, and the more you believe and the more your peers believe the more intense the experience is likely to be. Each experience of course is different in flavor, texture, and intensity, as well as purpose and goal, but the theory remains the same

Hmm, I think comparing a beer sloshed sporting event to religious conversion is a bit of a stretch. Those who've been through it would suggest the latter in fact replaces, finally, all that other empty stuff.

Religious conversion is an intensely personal thing, and any associated public ceremonies or celebrations are hardly the main point. One attends, in humility, to appreciate and give thanks rather than to contribute to some sort of group ego boost such as happens in barn raisings, rollerskate nights, and raves. Nothing wrong with any of those things at all, they're just qualitatively different events.
posted by scheptech at 8:58 AM on March 11, 2005


Personally, I've always believed any religion was a deterrent to good music.

Two words that completely refute that: Nick Cave

http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2004/11/18/cave/index.html

http://members.fortunecity.com/vanessa77/index700.html

(for some reason, I can't seem to get the link feature to work today)
posted by echolalia67 at 9:25 AM on March 11, 2005


<a href=> works every day.
posted by quonsar at 9:41 AM on March 11, 2005


Unlike my bruddah-in-law! Ah-chachacha!
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:59 AM on March 11, 2005


Ah, yes... overreliance on the pop-up field box, lack of sleep, and preoccupation with a sick dog (and the inevitable massive vet bills that he will incurr) have blurred my brain.

Nick Cave
posted by echolalia67 at 10:52 AM on March 11, 2005


Hey, Dudes, Chicks, Whoever.

You can worship whoever you want all you want --- but it is absolutely fucking stupid that anyone should have to consider this choice of yours any differently than your favorite kind of food or shoelace, I dont hate Jesus, I dont even think about him.... its just like Oprah.... i dont hate oprah... she never enters my fucking mind! So should i have to tiptoe around my own opinions on Oprah because ALOT of people DO like Oprah? fuck no! you can put as much weight on anything you want to!!! to the true disaffected atheist pagan waste of breath... Jesus is no more important than Oprah... you may think the rejection of religion is secretly a inner battle for eventual righteousness.... but no! its just a detail... if youre a christian, thats about as exciting as which clubs you were a part of in school.... whoopdie shit... no one owes you dick. not a lick of consideration is to you due. It is fucking ridiculous that Religion is a "sensitive matter" that shouldnt be discussed at work or anywhere that it may offend someone.... if it offends you thats your own goddamned problem... maybe you should work on your quote unquote faith... fucking crybaby.... if youre gonna go for jesus, you dont need my fucking approval, or anyone elses.... im sick of it... take your collection of politically correct baby wipes and shove them up your politically correctional asses.
posted by Satapher at 12:18 PM on March 11, 2005


Wanna try rewriting that in English?
posted by Bugbread at 12:35 PM on March 11, 2005


We're supposed to care about how little he cares.
posted by jonmc at 12:50 PM on March 11, 2005


Ah, thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2005


But if one is a quiet, liberal sort of Christian one is very, very likely to encounter Christian-bashing every day, and from one's friends no less.

Your persecution complex is ridiculous. Be a vegetarian for a week. Are all those hamburger commercials bashing your religion? Of course not.

Don't complain just because we think your belief system is stupid. You think they exact same thing about ours.

pretty much all places that rely on revenue (movies, tv, etc.) support Christianity.

Amen. See a connection?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:20 PM on March 11, 2005


Satapher actually makes a great point about political correctness. Christians are the some of the worst "PC police" around today.

apparently it's OK to be "against PC" when PC means putting black lesbians in the "literary canon," but when anyone starts shitting on the Christians, then we need to be "respectful of people's personal beliefs." WTF?

PC isn't just a "liberal" affliction. try voicing some philosophical support for Al-Qaeda in the U.S. today and see how your opinions are "respected." (i guess that's a comment for the other thread ...)
posted by mrgrimm at 1:31 PM on March 11, 2005


bugbread: "pretty much all places that rely on revenue (movies, tv, etc.) support Christianity."

mrgrimm: "Amen. See a connection?"

I'll point out the obvious connection: most people in the US believe in some kind of god, and most of them are Christian. The goal of sales is maximal returns, so it makes sense that entertainment media which relies on large numbers of low-payment customers (as opposed to specialized equipment manufacturers and the like, which rely on small numbers of high-payment customers) would target as many people as possible. It's the same reason that most media that relies on revenue uses music based on Western 12 tone octaves as opposed to the pentatonic scale. Nothing to do with religion itself (or musical scales themselves), just that people who market things to the masses like to, you know, support the stuff the masses support.
posted by Bugbread at 1:41 PM on March 11, 2005


Your persecution complex is ridiculous. Be a vegetarian for a week.

mrgrimm, I'm not Christian. I'm strict agnostic, a hippy-dippy liberal, and I've been vegetarian for nearly a decade. So I think I can safely say that in my experience, from my discussions with my liberal friends, Christianity gets a far harder rep than it deserves. When McDonald's runs Big Mac commercials it doesn't add "AND ALL VEGETARIANS SUCK AND THEY'RE STUPID AND WE HATE THEM AND THERE'S NOTHING GOOD THEY'VE DONE EVER" to the end.

My point is not that any bashing of Christianity is bad. My point is not that any criticism of belief is bad. My point is that it is absolutely moronic the way much of the liberal community tried to make fundamentalist Christians and liberal Christians out to be the exact same people with the exact same beliefs.

Furthermore, as I stated in my first post, the pro-Christian shit that's in the media comes from conservative Christianity and doesn't make any liberal Christians happy--in fact, many liberal Christians I know would be happier if that stuff wasn't there because they believe sharing Christ's love comes from one's actions, not through wearing a neon cross on your chest and beating people to death with Bibles.
posted by schroedinger at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2005


Neon Cross (I'm not sure if they beat people with bibles)

When McDonald's runs Big Mac commercials it doesn't add "AND ALL VEGETARIANS SUCK AND THEY'RE STUPID AND WE HATE THEM AND THERE'S NOTHING GOOD THEY'VE DONE EVER" to the end.

What's the comparable criticism of Christianity? And from whom? I don't think anyone here has claimed that Christian religion has never done anything good. Hello, Middle Ages?

If you're familiar with Carl's Jr. and/or Jack in the Box, you can't tell me that their commercials don't mock vegetarians. I also don't eat meat (I'll raise you 15 years), and I honestly take very little offense at the "humor," but I do think it is comparable to any anti-Christian sentiment that might be out there (though I honestly can't see it).

My point is that it is absolutely moronic the way much of the liberal community tried to make fundamentalist Christians and liberal Christians out to be the exact same people with the exact same beliefs.

Of course all Christians don't share the exact same beliefs, but fundamentalist Christians and liberal Christians share lots of similar beliefs that deserve to be challenged.

I'll point out the obvious connection: most people in the US believe in some kind of god, and most of them are Christian. The goal of sales is maximal returns, so it makes sense that entertainment media which relies on large numbers of low-payment customers (as opposed to specialized equipment manufacturers and the like, which rely on small numbers of high-payment customers) would target as many people as possible.

Exactly. My point was that probably 95% of the wealth and therefore political power in the U.S. is in the hands of Christians. They have essentially constructed a totalitarian regime based on interpretations of their religion.

To complain that "one is very, very likely to encounter Christian-bashing every day" would be laughable if our political situation wasn't so one-sidedly Christian. It's like monarchies in the 18th century complaining about the royal-bashing that they have to deal with every day. Get real.

Religion as Traumatized Personality Disorder
posted by mrgrimm at 4:16 PM on March 11, 2005


To complain that "one is very, very likely to encounter Christian-bashing every day" would be laughable if our political situation wasn't so one-sidedly Christian.

I think hyperbole has gotten the better of the discussion here. I'd guess that what he was trying to say is that for an intellectual, liberal Christian, things can be somewhat uncomfortable since many people in liberal, intellectual circles hold religion in mockery, if not outright contempt (often understandably, although I'd add that Bush & Co. are Christian like Stalin was a liberator of the proletariat). And that can be alienating, and it does a disservice to both sides.

Hopefully, I stated that delicately enough.
posted by jonmc at 5:12 PM on March 11, 2005


if someone makes a snide comment about the length of some hippies hair its no different than if someone makes a snide comment about the cross around your neck....

its just a snide comment, neither of which deserve any sort of protection or need contain any degree of taboo, no one will ever agree with you, we can all cry in our closets collectively!

your feelings cannot be secure!

and i only embarass jonmc, im his freak phone home.
posted by Satapher at 6:21 PM on March 11, 2005


jonmc hit it exactly. Less words and more clarity, too!
posted by schroedinger at 6:36 PM on March 11, 2005


Nicely put, jonmc.
posted by Bugbread at 6:37 PM on March 11, 2005


bugbread, schroedinger: thanks. it's nice when i actually manage to communicate what I'm thinking.

satapher, a word of advice: incoherence != profundity.
posted by jonmc at 6:47 PM on March 11, 2005


My point was that probably 95% of the wealth and therefore political power in the U.S. is in the hands of Christians. They have essentially constructed a totalitarian regime based on interpretations of their religion.

By the same token, a huge percentage of wealth and power in this country is in the hands of college graduates. Do you want to tell me that there's a college cabal that's taken over the country and is keeping the self-educated down?

People talk about how wacky Christian belief is, but Christianity as practice basically instills and re-enforces all kinds of traits, habits and perspectives that tend to lead you to be successful but which it often seem counter intuitive to view as "success" traits.

If someone told you that in order to be financially or socially successful you should be humble, generous, fair, community-minded and more focused on your inner life than on your bank account, you might be skeptical; but those are precisely the traits that will make you rich and happy.

Those beliefs that seem so crazy are actually stories about why you should act in ways that seem counterintuitive but will bring success and happiness. The less these values jive with you own -- the less they mesh with the way you were brought up to look at the world -- the more emphasis you're likely to put on their literal truth, because you're not looking at this as a system but as a spell -- some motions to go through and some words to say in order to make good stuff happen; so getting the motions and the words -- and the stories -- exactly right is of paramount importance.

Practicing Yoga will make you stronger, more limber, more healthy; the babbling about chakras and "energy" flowing here and there is just a handy understanding of this stuff which is adapted for a human brain's comprehension rather than for literal factuality
posted by hob at 6:51 PM on March 11, 2005


dang this just keeps going and going...guess I'll stick with it too.

I wasn't saying specifically that media/bloggers/"they" are outright bashing Christians. What I do experience is that media and society in general practice, preach and proscribe a lifestyle and belief structure that is abhorrent to conservative (and apparantly liberal) Christianity.

To draw a comparison, the Snickers commercial doesn't say "Apples are stupid!", it says "If you're hungry, eat a Snickers." Not a pointed degrading of apples or people who eat apples, but posits a belief that hungriness is best cured by candy bars.

MTV doesn't say "Christianity is stupid!", it says "non-monogomous relationships/causal sex, pornography, drinking, and the constant pursuit and glorifcaiton of material wealth is how to be cool and accepted and live life." Again, not pointedly bashing Christians, but certainly railing against Christian values. To an extreme.

What I meant to communicate is that for many Christians, we (meaning humans/society) are assaulted with messages that regardless of intention are anti-Christian and pro-secularist, which is depressing and at times demeaning. If all vegetarians heard about was how "right" or acceptable a carnivorous diet was, I'd think they may start to get tired of hearing that too, and may start to get offended by the barrage; and be concerned that as they try to raise their children to be vegetarians, fighting the messages their children receive from media/teachers etc... would get pretty tiring as well. That's what Christians go through. At least for the most part, secularists have the ability to simply avoid churches, the gospel channel, and street evangelists to keep their kids from hearing about Jesus. Christians turn off the tube/movies/radio and watch where they step to filter the mixed messages their kids receive between Sundays and home.

nixerman commented that I should be able and ready to defend my faith...and I believe that I am, and will continue to do so. In fact I think that I've just that here.

It's been real, ya'all, and I'm sure I'll have other opportunities to join in here @ mefi. That's part of why I became a member, so I could share my point of view. I appreciate the other Christians, agnostics, and others who have commented without getting nasty about it.
posted by intheory at 8:07 PM on March 11, 2005


I'm happy for him.
posted by rxreed at 8:14 PM on March 11, 2005


I think that the anti-Christian attitude is just an attack on this huge straw man. I'm a Christian myself, and I don't see why Christians have to take offense at religious epithets thrown at them. Jesus didn't throw the cross back at the Romans, he just did what he was supposed to and died.

It's funny how all Jesus ever did in life was perform miracles, and talk about love and common sense. He didn't go to the governor or to the Pharisees and try to enact some wild legislation. So I'm really not seeing why modern Christians are so worked up about family values and getting those legislated.

That's where the straw man I mentioned earlier comes from: According to Christ's teachings, prepotent Christians aren't true Christians, especially when they preach hate and fear against people. When real Christians get bashed, they don't get so haughty about it.
posted by Tlahtolli at 10:19 PM on March 11, 2005


hob : " If someone told you that in order to be financially or socially successful you should be humble, generous, fair, community-minded and more focused on your inner life than on your bank account, you might be skeptical; but those are precisely the traits that will make you rich and happy."

That assertion seems to be countered by actual experience for me. None of the rich people I know are "humble, generous, fair, community-minded and more focused on [their] inner life than on [their] bank account". Some are generous and fair, many are very very nice, but to a word are not humble, community minded, or focused on inner life instead of money. I wonder what you base this statement on.

Besides which, one can only hope that it isn't true: if it were, and these personality traits were a result of being / acting Christian, it would pretty much fuck up Christians. "To be a Christian, act like this! If you do so, you'll be happy! Happy people can get into Heaven! And you'll be rich! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God!"

IE "Be Christian, and you'll significantly lower your chances of going to heaven". Something doesn't seem quite right there.

intheory : " I wasn't saying specifically that media/bloggers/'they' are outright bashing Christians. What I do experience is that media and society in general practice, preach and proscribe a lifestyle and belief structure that is abhorrent to conservative (and apparantly liberal) Christianity. "

That makes much more sense, and I agree. Hollywood, radio, TV, and media in general love to play up to Christianity, while at the same time glorifying and promoting contents that are very counter to Christianity. It's like a more-distanced, toned down version of Bush's "Hey, I'm Christian, so lets go fucking kill some kids!". Entertainment media tends to be more like "Hey, check out this chick fucking everyone in town. Her boyfriend's a hit man, isn't that cool? He's gonna go piss on some kids. Extreme! And, oh yeah, Christianity is like, obviously true, by the way"
posted by Bugbread at 2:16 AM on March 12, 2005


mrgrimm >>> Of course all Christians don't share the exact same beliefs, but fundamentalist Christians and liberal Christians share lots of similar beliefs that deserve to be challenged.

And you are who, precisely, to determine whose beliefs 'deserve' to be challenged? The arrogance displayed here is breathtaking. You have your beliefs, I have mine. You're welcome to yours, so why am I not allowed to have mine?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:38 AM on March 12, 2005


dirtynumbangelboy : " And you are who, precisely, to determine whose beliefs 'deserve' to be challenged? The arrogance displayed here is breathtaking."

I don't think you have to be anyone special to determine whose beliefs "deserve" to be challenged. If a belief about reality has significant gaps or inconsistencies, it deserves to be challenged. For example, if someone were to say that the Earth is made of cheese, it deserves to be challenged. I don't need to be someone special in order to determine that.

I'm not trying to compare Christianity to wackos who believe the Earth is made of cheese. I'm just providing an example of a belief that, I hope, we can all recognize "deserves" to be challenged, even if we don't have an official license in our pocket authorizing us to "determine whose beliefs deserve to be challenged".

There are core beliefs of Christianity which might or might not be worthy of being challenged: murder is bad. Being nice is good. Stuff like that. However, these don't necessarily glaringly conflict with the evidence at hand. In the same way, there are core beliefs of humanity (generally) which might or might not be worthy of being challenged: Humans are discrete creatures, not just colonies of cells. Heavy things fall when released. Stuff like that. However, these don't necessarily glaringly conflict with the evidence at hand.

However, there are other beliefs that conflict with evidence: Creationism. Lack of belief in god resulting in immorality. Stuff like that. When reality and belief don't match, the belief deserves to be challenged. You don't need to be someone special to say that.

As for "why am I not allowed to have mine?", I doubt many people really care what you believe. However, if your beliefs don't reconcile with reality, people would probably prefer that you not try to make real decisions based on your beliefs. I don't care if some guy thinks all people named "Mike" are evil. I do care if he then decides to buy a gun and shoot them.

This is the core issue that a lot of folks don't seem to catch on to. Belief, in a vacuum, is fine. Believe whatever you want, I won't stop you. And I'll believe whatever I want, so don't try to stop me. But if someone's beliefs don't match reality, I don't want them to try to affect reality based on those beliefs. Don't make an airplane if you believe that wings are unnecessary because steel is lighter than air. (Or, rather, make what you will, but don't put commercial passengers on your airplane). Don't shoot people because you believe that your god has given you the OK. And, critically, and extremely unfortunately: please, please don't vote for other people who are planning on using their non-reality-matching belief systems to affect reality.

It's a pillar of society, really, that just gets an exemption when the religious belief is widespread. When people try to affect reality based on beliefs that don't match reality, we generally call them "crazy", and, if no-one is being hurt, we chuckle, and if someone is being hurt, we put them in an institution. If that same belief happens to be part of a popular religion, the argument for some reason becomes "I have my beliefs, and you have yours."
posted by Bugbread at 6:33 AM on March 12, 2005


Again, you're conflating the fundamentalists (who are, it seems, the only ones interested in changing laws based on their beliefs) and everyone else, the vast majority of whom make the important distinction between the secular and the sacred. You really need to work on that.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:02 AM on March 12, 2005


Er...no, I'm not. You're conflating me with the people who conflate Christians with Fundamentalists, though.

As I said, "Belief, in a vacuum, is fine. Believe whatever you want, I won't stop you. And I'll believe whatever I want, so don't try to stop me. But if someone's beliefs don't match reality, I don't want them to try to affect reality based on those beliefs."

I'm cool with folks (Christian, Jew, or Miscellaneous) who don't try to affect reality based on their beliefs. I'm annoyed at people (Christian, Jew, or Miscellaneous) who do.

Two separate categories. I.e. the opposite of "conflation". Please don't conflate me with the knee-jerk anti-Christian variety of atheists. You really need to work on that.
posted by Bugbread at 1:45 PM on March 12, 2005


However, there are other beliefs that conflict with evidence: Creationism. Lack of belief in god resulting in immorality.

Thos are both beliefs espoused by the fundamentalists, and not by Christians as a whole. So if I interpreted that you were conflating the two, it was by your own words.

That, I believe, was the sound of your own petard, hoisting.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 2:24 PM on March 12, 2005


At what point did I conflate?

Creationism (as expressed in Genesis) is a belief of Christianity, is it not? A belief of Islam, Judaism, and a few other religions I'm probably forgetting as well. It is not a universal belief, but I didn't say that "only beliefs held by all Christians should be challenged". If you are Christian, and don't believe in Creationism, then good for you, and why would you be upset if someone were to challenge Creationism? Why does a belief have to be held by all Christians in order to be challenged?

Some Christians don't believe in creationism. A whole bunch do. In fact, while I've met plenty of Christians, I don't think I've ever met, face-to-face, one who believed in creationism. If anything, it would seem that would support the contention that beliefs that don't match reality should be challenged.

The "lack of belief in god resulting in immorality" was a weak example, though. It's a belief of many Christians, true, but it is not a belief of Christianity (that I know of), any more than the belief that Big Macs taste good may be a belief of many Christians, but not a belief of Christianity.

I strongly suspect you're just assuming that I'm in the same boat as the knee-jerk atheists in here, and interpreting my words thusly.

I will apologize, though for using the structure "There are core beliefs that don't necessarily deserve challenging...(different stuff)...However, there are beliefs that conflict with evidence". Phrased like that, it would appear that the "beliefs that conflict with evidence" are "core beliefs", which is not what I was trying to say.

Still waiting for the petard to blow up. If I have said anything that appears to conflate, though, I assure you it was poor phrasing, not conflation. Point it out and I'll correct my phrasing.
posted by Bugbread at 2:44 PM on March 12, 2005


This thread has been very interesting. As a former evangelical Christian turned atheist, I previously had the mindset that says "you can't have it both ways, either this is true or it's not, relativism is stupid." Now that I'm an atheist and don't feel the need to evangelise my thoughts on the matter or influence my fundamentalist family, I find much more in common with the more liberal stream of Christianity, which I really had no contact with before. My experience growing up in (a few) evangelical churches and going to two bible colleges before leaving the faith showed me lots of examples of the persecution complex, and I'm getting more and more curious about it now. Why does it seem to go hand in hand with evangelical Protestantism? I'm not really sure.

I don't think evangelicals have much in common with liberal Christians though, it's a whole other ballgame. When you compare someone who takes the whole Bible literally (and any other option is anathema to them) with someone who says "It doesn't matter whether Jesus died and was resurrected, that's not the point," there's actually not much in their beliefs that are held in common, even though they both call themselves Christians. One is focused on following Jesus's ideas to become better people, the other believes that all their good works are "as filthy rags" and worth nothing before God. (Not to say that evangelicals don't try to be good people, but it's not as important as having faith, in my experience.) I've heard it said that liberal Muslims and liberal Christians would have more in common than with fundamentalists of either religion, and I think there's probably a lot of truth to that.

As for Welch, it is very common to be very enthusiastic about a dramatic conversion at first, and such people usually get thrown into leadership far before they are grounded in any type of theology, and usually end up burnt out and disillusioned in a few years. I wonder how he'll make out.
posted by heatherann at 3:51 PM on March 12, 2005


Why does it seem to go hand in hand with evangelical Protestantism?

Evangelical Protestantism seems to be strong among black Americans, poor white southerners, and other groups who could lay legitamite claims to hardship and persecution. Plus, it's often prostletized to homeless people, prisoners, addicts and other people who might have persecution complexes to begin with.

Plus, the idea of martyrdom and suffering for your faith is lionized in many religions.

Just theories.
posted by jonmc at 4:24 PM on March 12, 2005


Is it just me, or does it seem that "liberal" Christians want the best of both worlds? To not be mocked or called illogical, and yet still get to go to heaven?

At least fundamentalists commit to it. They aren't wishy washy about it. like these
folks, and this
guy.

There's a bible, with stories, and rules for living life in it. Some of the rules and stories contradict themselves, but that's another point.

Doesn't it seem reasonable that to call yourself a "Christian," You pretty much have to believe what's in the bible... Jonah and the whale, Adam and Eve, Jacob beating God in a wrestling match, She-Bears coming down from the sky at God's command to murder 40 children who called Elijah the Prophet "baldhead", Noah's ark, 900 year old people, the world being 6000 years old, and the rest of it?

If somebody's playing basketball, then all the sudden decides that it's perfectly fine to start kicking the ball, is that person still a basketball player?
posted by suckapunchy at 1:29 AM on March 13, 2005


Wait, I have a better basketball analogy. If some who was playing basketball, all the sudden decided they didn't believe in dribbling. That's a better analogy, right?
posted by suckapunchy at 1:52 AM on March 13, 2005


suckapunchy : " Is it just me, or does it seem that 'liberal' Christians want the best of both worlds? To not be mocked or called illogical, and yet still get to go to heaven? "

No, but you say that like it's a bad thing. "They want respect and heaven!" Yeah, well I want a payraise and more days off from work. I want a good restaurant to open nearby, and I want it to be cheap. What's wrong with those?
posted by Bugbread at 2:33 AM on March 13, 2005


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