Christianity isn’t a Relationship, It’s Still a Religion

Apr 20, 2015

By David G. McAfee, author of The Belief Book

If you believe in and/or worship Jesus of Nazareth as a messiah, god, or prophet, you are religious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a fact that deserves recognition if words and definitions are important to you.

As is the case with a number of other belief systems practiced today, most notably Buddhism, some followers of Christianity have started to distance themselves from the word “religion” (likely in response to negative associations with the term). Oftentimes these believers will refer to their faith as a “philosophy” or a “relationship,” not realizing that these terms aren’t mutually exclusive–they all may be applicable.

It’s perfectly understandable, in my opinion, to find good things in the teachings of Jesus Christ or any other figure, mythical or otherwise. But to base your life on the teachings of Jesus as they are portrayed in the Bible–a religious text–and claim that you are not religious, is disingenuous and demonstrably false.

“It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship!”

Without Christianity, without its archaic and flawed holy texts, there wouldn’t be anything for you to manufacture a “relationship” with. Without the wars and forced conversions key to the religion’s spread across the globe, it may have died out long ago like so many others before and after it. If that were the case, you wouldn’t know the characters of Jesus and Yahweh–their stories and other Judeo-Christian myths might be lost.

If not from ancient religious texts, where does one glean knowledge of Jesus’ teachings? Can’t we simply be good people without doing it in Jesus’ name or because he would have done the same? The fact is that, without cultural indoctrination, no one would be “Christian” or “Jewish” or “Muslim.” People may dream up their own Gods as did our ancestors, but established religions are accepted because they are taught by families and cultures and not because they are received by divine revelation. Without the texts and churches and familial instruction, there are no independent evidences that any specific religion is true. Outside of the Bible, how would one hear of Jesus? The same goes for figures and ideas common in every supernatural belief system.1

Is Jesus God?

While some Biblical passages seem to show Jesus as merely the son of god (John 10:36, John 11:4, etc.), others portray him as God incarnate (John 10:30, I Timothy 3:16, etc.). Most Christians, however, accept the doctrine of the Trinity–making Jesus both man and God.2 In that context, Jesus and Yahweh can be seen as different representations of the same omnipotent Creator, with the former becoming the latter’s physical form while on earth.

This means that, according to Christian doctrine and the vast majority of modern Christian denominations, Jesus is God. Jesus is the same jealous3 and angry4 God that abhorred homosexuals and condemned them as “an abomination.”5 He is the same deity that gave instructions on how to beat slaves6 and the same divine Creator that recommended the stoning of non-believers and disobedient children.7 With deities and with people, you have to accept the good along with the bad. After all, Jesus said he came not to abolish the Hebrew laws, but to fulfill them.8

“But that’s the Old Testament!”

What we consider “moral” has changed greatly since the days of the Old Testament. The outdated moral laws present in the Hebrew Scriptures demonstrate Bronze Age ideals – and it’s understandable that modern Christians separate themselves from that era as much as possible. But to discount the entirety of Hebrew Scriptures is to reject the religion’s history and the actions of God Himself–and to take meaning away from Jesus’ own words and teachings.

The fact is that the jealous and angry God that allegedly justified the killings of millions and set plagues on first borns is the same God that Christians believe came to earth in Jesus. Whether Christians choose to obey early Old Testament laws or not, the deity hasn’t changed.

So, before you claim to hate religion and love Jesus (as a divine/religious figure), think about it. Take a look at what Jesus claimed and understand that the Christian religion was built upon those teachings. Accept that, if your worldview mirrors that of religious texts and institutions, you are by definition a religious person.9


David G. McAfee is a Religious Studies graduate, journalist, and author of The Belief Book, a children’s book explaining the origins of beliefs and religion, and Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer. He is also an editor for Ockham Publishing and a contributor to American Atheist Magazine. McAfee attended University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions.


Excerpted and paraphrased from Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer.
The Family Bible Encyclopedia, 1972 p. 3790
Exodus 34:14
John 3:36
Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:23
Exodus 21:20-21
Deuteronomy 13:6-10, Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Matthew 5:17
While there are a number of different definitions for “religion” in various dictionaries, it’s generally acknowledged by scholars in the field that religions have a uniform set of (supernatural) beliefs and that they relate to the creation or nature of the world around us.

92 comments on “Christianity isn’t a Relationship, It’s Still a Religion

  • Re-read the 2nd paragraph. Or do you want names ?

    As to the Lamb, Jesus, I don’t much care for characters who want to kebab me forever ! The despicable threats made by the religious against wrong or non believers, merely reinforce the evident insecurity they feel about their own position. Why else would the RCC have burnt people alive unless it were to scare the remaining doubters into compliance with dogma ?



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  • Re-read the 2nd paragraph. Or do you want names ?

    No mention of hating religion in the second paragraph; there are plenty of things that I would distance myself from (taking selfies, playing golf, voting UKIP) without hating them.

    I don’t necessarily want names, but some evidence that such people exist would help. I’ve come across people who are strongly against organised religion but who see themselves as followers of Jesus. But that’s rather different to hating religion per se.



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  • 6
    aroundtown says:

    @op

    If you believe in and/or worship Jesus of Nazareth as a messiah, god, or prophet, you are religious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is a fact that deserves recognition if words and definitions are important to you.

    Words and definitions are important but using them to prop up religious belief is not, I would agree with that type of distinction.

    “It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship!”

    Without Christianity, without its archaic and flawed holy texts, there wouldn’t be anything for you to manufacture a “relationship” with.

    It’s a relationship with unproven religious dogma.

    Christianity isn’t a Relationship, It’s Still a Religion

    Semantics aside, I would say its both. You can have a “relationship” with Christianity, and Christianity is a “religion”, but in the end it’s a relationship with fantasy proposition, nothing more.



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  • playing golf…

    If the CIA force Al Qaeda operatives to play golf instead of water boarding them, they would have gotten much more information. Golf, torture in this life. But I love it.



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  • If Christianity is a relationship then so is having an imaginary friend or talking to your teddy bear.

    Then so is a single guy with an imaginary porn-star girl friend.



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  • This is misunderstanding. That is, a Christian believes that Jesus, as the second person of the holy trinity, the divine logos, to be still living. As such, their worship is a relationship to the divine, which doesn’t depend on churches, christian vote etc.

    granted that the Bible has any number of interpretations; but that adds to its great depth.

    The Bible is a great source of wisdom. There is no doubt about it.

    The Bible is the unalterable word of God, every word of which is true, if you believe it.
    If you don’t, it must seem weird. thats just the way it is. the way to find if it is true, however, is to read the Bible in a prayerful way, and you will see that the holy spirit will move you.



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  • The Bible is the unalterable word of God, every word of which is true, if you believe it

    Hi Kay, I’m not sure if your making this claim or just saying that some people believe it. But if you are, it is worth pointing out that we don’t have the original copies of the gospels and all of the earliest Greek manuscripts that we do have contain mistakes. Most of them slight and unimportant, some pretty important, but there are no two manuscripts that are exactly the same and since we don’t have the originals to compare them to you really can’t say that their unaltered.



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  • The Bible is the unalterable word of God, every word of which is true..

    Kay. Welcome. Stick around its fun and you might learn something. Your God is perfect in every way. He can make no mistakes. Omniscient. Omnipotent. Not a sparrow falls etc. So if the bible is in fact the “Unalterable” word of god, why has he make mistakes and contradictions. And it’s not just a few, open to writing off as us being mistaken. Obvious clangers. The Jews were never in Egypt for instance.

    Since Homo Sapiens have been on the planet for around 100,000 years, why did he wait till 2000 years ago to reveal himself. What does that say for the souls of the people who live in the previous 98,000 years. He’s sent them to hell because they weren’t baptized. Pretty nasty. Why did he choose an illiterate shepherd to dictate this unalterable word of god to. Why not the Chinese, who had paper and scribes and a comprehensive written language. Why not just spell it out. Why talk in riddles to an uneducated and illiterate world. Why write two contradictory books, Old Testament where god is a genocidal maniac, and the New Testament where he turns into a socialist. Did he get the first book wrong, and had to stay in and rewrite the essay? Why is the virgin birth, a cornerstone of christianity, only mentioned in two of the gospels. The letters of Paul, are all written by a man, not god, and are administrative in nature,… Church should do this.. Why does he brutalize 51% of the human population. Why does he play favourites. God’s got a universe to run. He’s a bit busy right now. On an on. You should consider each one of these questions and I would invite you to post a reply. For far more detail on errors and contradictions in the bible try a few snippets in this link.

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

    The bible is hand made, man made. It reflects the tribal politics of the time. As do all holy scriptures for every god ever invented by man. If god wrote it, he would have got a D- for his essay. I’d send it back and make him do it again so it is consistent and without error.



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  • Kay,

    There is no hell

    There is no soul

    There is no Satan

    What you said to us in your comment is not something that would be said by a kind person. These are cruel, nasty statements. I wonder if you have the courage to get to know atheists personally and learn more about what makes us tick. Maybe you’ll take the easy way out and go back to your fear based, rigid mindset. Your choice.



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  • Kay
    Apr 20, 2015 at 7:38 pm

    If you don’t, it must seem weird. thats just the way it is. the way to find if it is true, however, is to read the Bible in a prayerful way, and you will see that the holy spirit will move you.

    Actually the way to find out which bits of it are true, is to examine the self contradictions in it, look at the history of its origins and authorship, and to test out its claims against scientific evidence are historical/archaeological records.

    You would not find out if Harry Potter stories were true, simply by reading them in an adoring way.



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  • aroundtown
    Apr 20, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Semantics aside, I would say its both. You can have a “relationship” with Christianity, and Christianity is a “religion”, but in the end it’s a relationship with fantasy proposition, nothing more.

    As you say, there is no reason for the terms to be mutually exclusive.

    People can have a relationship, with the god-delusion in their own heads, a relationship with fellow believers, and an aggressive, abrasive or abusive relationship, with those outside their own religious thinking.
    These are all characteristics of religions, regardless of individuals decrying organised religions, or competitor religions.



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  • Any move away from the dogma of organised religion is to be welcomed. It may still be “religious”, but the fact that people are uncomfortable with the term is posiitive in my view and I’m happy to let them downplay it however they like.



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  • Hi Kay,

    “This is misunderstanding”

    What a Christian believes all depends on which particular denomination or subset of Christianity is followed (Approximately 30’000). Most concede that a great deal of the bible is not literal but allegorical. So what makes you think that your interpretation is correct?

    “read the Bible in a prayerful way, and you will see that the holy spirit will move you”

    Your technic wouldn’t work for people who aren’t trying to delude themselves. If you don’t believe in deities, you would only be talking to yourself. Which is precisely what you are doing. You’re re-enforcing the indoctrination you have suffered over the years and what you haven’t realised, is that the relationship you have with Christ is probably Stockholm Syndrome, which causes feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim towards a captor or in your circumstances being a member of a cult.

    As suggested by others, you can only check whether the Bible is true if it can be historically and independently verified from other sources. The Bible at best is nothing more than hearsay evidence but more likely a complete fiction. That is of course unless you can prove differently, without asserting that the Bible is the truth because it tell us it is in the Bible!



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  • Kay :

    The Bible is a great source of wisdom. There is no doubt about it.

    About the best bit of wisdom in the Bible is :

    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die

    Most of the rest of it seems like a bad horror movie to me.



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  • About the best bit of wisdom in the Bible is :
    Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die

    Except that you’ve turned the meaning on its head by removing the first half of the sentence.



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  • We are the short of people worthy of eternal damnation.

    We have been judged and found wanting…

    I know its not what Kay herself thinks, cos she’s a nice person. Its what her god thinks.

    Er, no. Hang on….Its exactly what Kay thinks.



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  • 25
    Patrick says:

    No she didn’t. Her entire comment was:

    “This is misunderstanding. That is, a Christian believes that Jesus, as the second person of the holy trinity, the divine logos, to be still living. As such, their worship is a relationship to the divine, which doesn’t depend on churches, christian vote etc.

    granted that the Bible has any number of interpretations; but that adds to its great depth.

    The Bible is a great source of wisdom. There is no doubt about it.

    The Bible is the unalterable word of God, every word of which is true, if you believe it.
    If you don’t, it must seem weird. thats just the way it is. the way to find if it is true, however, is to read the Bible in a prayerful way, and you will see that the holy spirit will move you.”



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  • Patrick
    Apr 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    There is as much proof that homo sapiens have been “on the planet for 100,000 years” as there is that God exists.

    Nope! There is no evidence of gods existing, but there is sound evidence of humans existing from around 200,000 years ago, but the figures are approximate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_human_evolution#Homo

    These are scientific estimates, and they continually change. Regardless, you should refrain from using this number when attempting to state facts… it is not a fact.

    As David said, it is around 100,000 years or so.
    That they existed tens of thousands of years ago, is a fact, well supported by scientific evidence. The exact dates are approximate.

    If Kay were to make an explanation from the Bible, then she would be allowed to interpret it based on its teachings. In this case, the world has approximately 6,000 years of Homo Sapien existence dating back to the creation of Adam.

    The flaws in the basis of Bishop Usher’s calculations are well known, as are the ruined buildings which are around 10,000 years old.

    In which case God did not arbitrarily select a nationality as you question, but was initially in direct communication with them.

    According to the mythology.

    Kay does base her beliefs on faith, but even in that realm she is more grounded than you.

    A belief on pure “faith”, is simply a statement of what someone has chosen to believe without evidence.

    but even in that realm she is more grounded than you.

    This sounds like:- “I have not studied the scientific evidence, and don’t understand the science, therefore I deny the evidence of the figures calculated.”!



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  • Patrick
    Apr 21, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    No she didn’t. Her entire comment was:

    “This is misunderstanding. That is, a Christian believes that Jesus, as the second person of the holy trinity, the divine logos, to be still living. As such, their worship is a relationship to the divine, which doesn’t depend on churches, christian vote etc.

    I can believe that this is one person’s view of Christianity, but there is no unanimity of Christian belief. There are thousands of versions of Xtianity, with differing and conflicting beliefs!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations
    As there are reported to be approximately 41,000 Christian denominations (figure includes overlap between countries),



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  • I don’t understand why Christians like Kay get on this website and comment. It is like they have to infiltrate everything and leave their condescending you poor stupid atheists comments. There is plenty of evidence of the Bible having serious issues. Many Biblical scholars like Robert Price, Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier, and many others have written countless books on these matters. As far as praying and letting the “spirit” lead you how do you know it’s not just your own desires or delusions? Also every other religion claims to have the same “feelings” so are they all true or just yours?



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  • OK Ewan here’s the KJV :

    And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

    Luke 12 19

    Are you happy now you have made your piddling point about wisdom in the Bible ? The advice given there is sound enough, – enjoy the here and now, and of course, having worked to achieve it. No turning of meaning by me.

    Isn’t it interesting that the word ‘soul’ above appears to have been introduced into the KJV as a substitute for ‘myself’ ! But then the Bible has been a shifting sands of ‘wisdom’ since the very first story !



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  • Joel
    Apr 21, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    I don’t understand why Christians like Kay get on this website and comment. It is like they have to infiltrate everything and leave their condescending you poor stupid atheists comments.

    That is what they are led to believe by ignorant preachers who also copied their own “knowledge” using “faith”!
    Most of them don’t know who selected the gospels of the NT. or when they were chosen!

    There is plenty of evidence of the Bible having serious issues. Many Biblical scholars like Robert Price, Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier, and many others have written countless books on these matters.

    Ah! – but the faithful are not troubled with such “historical technicalities”, when “faith”, can be used as a basis for feeding mythology to uncritical believers, and then regularly reaffirming it in regular church attendances.

    All scientifically educated people know the Shroud of Turin is a medieval fake, but Pope Francis (like his predecessors), is prepared to pander to superstitions, while avoiding recognising at as genuine.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-announces-decision-to-make-pilgrimage-to-the-turin-shroud–despite-latest-research-claiming-its-a-fraud-9844567.html
    Pope Francis announces decision to make pilgrimage to the Turin Shroud – despite latest research claiming it’s a fraud

    While many Catholics believe the shroud was used to cover the body of Jesus Christ after he was crucified, previous popes have been careful to avoid saying they believe it does indeed show his ghostly image.

    Reputable scientists reject refuted claims, but wish-thinking, superstition, and “faith”, trump reality, for the Catholic hierarchy’s guidance to their sheeples!
    The pilgrimage business is still a business, regardless of if the “relics “are fakes!



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  • Bachmann, who claims to be something of an Islamic scholar, observed
    that the “Koran and Hadith…the works of Islamic jurisprudence, they
    say one complete consistent truth and that’s that they want to have a
    nuclear weapon.” Bachmann’s discovery that Iran’s nuclear weapons
    program actually began in the seventh century will surprise many but
    it is reassuring to also learn from her that “The world is embracing
    degeneracy [and]…we have very little time…left before the second
    return of Christ. That’s good news!”

    Part of a piece by Philip Giraldi condemning the theist rhetoric of the Republican party. I used to think “Ok, fine. Live and let live” regarding religious zealots. Now, not so much. My life and the lives of everyone I know may be at stake here.



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  • Mr D, your original quotation was from 1 Corinthians 15, 32. It left out the first part of the sentence, If the dead are not raised… The passage is suggesting that, without Christ’s resurrection, we are left with little alternative but to enjoy the here and now.

    Your second quotation from Luke is taken from a parable about a rich man who decides to relax, cash up and spend the rest of his life enjoying the here and now. But that night he dies.

    Neither passage is promoting “Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” as a lifestyle of choice.



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  • Jeez trying to have a serious discussion with Christians is like shadow boxing. Kay having made her profound assessment disappears, like a comet never to be seen nor heard of again for 100 years or more. Her tail always pointing away from the light.

    Show I’m wrong Kay, and answer the points.



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  • Patrick, not sure if she had a comment removed from this thread or not but she did say

    you atheists are going to hell. Its not too late. I will pray for you poor lost souls. Richard Dawkins is working for Satan; thats who pays his wages.

    on ” The challenges facing atheist in the US” thread. And she posted it before anyone had responded to her first posts.



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  • Ewan :

    Mr D, your original quotation was from 1 Corinthians 15, 32. It left out the first part of the sentence, If the dead are not raised… The passage is suggesting that, without Christ’s resurrection, we are left with little alternative but to enjoy the here and now.

    Well please forgive me for my Biblical ignorance but ‘if the dead are not raised fits perfectly with my world view that once dead, always dead. So enjoy the here and now ! Wisdom indeed from the Good Book.

    Now Ewan, enough of my shortcomings, how about some evidence of an ‘afterlife’ please. I won’t hold my breath.



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  • 37
    aroundtown says:

    @ Ewan

    Concerning the Bible and it’s quotations, I instantly gravitate to the source of the bible and it’s creation. Antiquity and Anthropological examination deems it to be a cobbling together of religious concepts and competing tales of the day that were massively edited and polished at the council of Nicaea. With that out of the way, and as concerns its contents associated with modern life, I like the seed parables. It would appear that the ability to plant the seed of religious belief into the young is losing purchase and that will certainly help mankind in the near future. We only have one life to live so I would agree with Mr. DArcy that we should get on with merriment in the here and now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea



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  • To be fair to Archbishop Ussher, he used the best available information at the time to calculate the beginning of creation to 23rd October 4004 bc, using the Bible as his source. Earlier estimates had given a younger age using the same source !

    How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb ?

    Three, but remember that Three is One !



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  • but ‘if the dead are not raised’ fits perfectly with my world view that once dead, always dead. So enjoy the here and now !

    It may fit your world view but it doesn’t fit with the world view of the author of Corinthians who, earlier in the passage, wrote But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.

    The wisdom you referred to is yours, not that of the Bible.



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  • Whereas I imagine the noble atheist looking on with some cynicism as we rich Christians, having spent a lifetime enjoying the fruits of the earth, raise a final glass to the toast “Health, wealth and afterlife.”



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  • Ewan:

    It may fit your world view but it doesn’t fit with the world view of the author of Corinthians who, earlier in the passage, wrote But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.

    Raised from the dead indeed ! What bollocks ! How can God die ? Did the Romans really do Him in ? In which case one third of God died. But maybe the the other 2/3rds brought him back to life again ?

    Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your hair.

    And the evidence for that statement is found where ? Oh silly me, in the Bible of course. The book that tells a tale of a man living in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and then surviving. Is that also true Ewan ?



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  • Oh and the evidence of an afterlife please, if it’s not too inconvenient, thanks ! Sorry to bother you with these mere trifles !

    (Ewan looks longingly at the latest smokescreen creating devices provided by the RCC )



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  • Initially, I wasn’t going to comment on this because I felt that it wasn’t in my place as I am a Christian. Even though I can admit that there is a chance that my belief could be in vain, I do feel that the author of this article is bias. I’ve also noticed that atheists aren’t necessarily anti-religion, but more so Anti-Christ. There are sooooooooooooooooo many other belief systems, religions, and “gods” that people live by. Why aren’t there any articles attacking Islam, Hinduism, Heathenism, Paganism, etc.? I’m not saying that there should be. This just feels like nit picking. There are some Christians that go above and beyond to “damn people to hell” because of their beliefs, but that isn’t most; at least not any Christians I know or hang out with. Most, including myself, are open to a wide variety of people of all faiths or non-faiths. The main message of the Bible is love.

    (Patiently waits for someone to brings up misinterpreted verses in the Old Testament that supposedly encourages unfair murders.)



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  • Why aren’t there any articles attacking Islam, Hinduism, Heathenism,
    Paganism, etc.?

    There are plenty of articles attacking Islam. But the rest? My guess is because there aren’t that many (openly) pagans in Congress.



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  • what makes people think i’m some redneck fundamentalist brainwashed by my pastor? I’m not.
    I believe in God after BOTH personal experiences AND rational thinking.

    I can’t provide the first for you, but for the second. i think God’s existence can be established through rational argument, such as the Ontological, Teleological and Cosmological arguments. Reason and Faith.

    Christianity is not a religion like others. Others are men trying to reach God through their own efforts, while in Christianity, it is God himself who came down to man.

    The Kingdom of God is within you. This is the key to prayer.



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  • Patrick

    Last night I read through the two threads that Kay deposited comments on; this one and The Challenges Facing Atheists in the U.S.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/04/the-challenges-facing-atheists-in-the-u-s-cbs-sunday-morning/
    Here is the comment she left on the latter:

    Kay
    Apr 20, 2015 at 7:44 pm
    you atheists are going to hell. Its not too late. I will pray for you poor lost souls. Richard Dawkins is working for Satan; thats who pays his wages.

    I read both threads at the same time and I should have posted my comment on the other thread. My bad.

    However, I don’t feel bad about my judgement of her as a cruel, deluded person, based on her comments that were posted minutes apart from each other on 2 threads of similar content. Her moral compass is spinning wildly.

    I understand why you were confused.



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  • Ewan. There are numerous routine raising from the dead in the bible. Here is a quick list.

    http://www.pathlightspress.com/resurrection.html

    If you were considered bad, you were excommunicated. You were considered dead as far as the movement was concerned. Just like today with the Mormons and Scientology. If you repented and were forgiven, you were reinstated to the movement. You were raised from the dead. All of the bible references to “Raising from the Dead” are references to a reversal of an excommunication order. Probably the Jesus raising was the same, until it became the greatest sales hook for the Hellenistic and Roman pagans. The claim then became a real life dead back to life medical raising, not just the removal of an excommunication order. Off goes the pyramid scheme.



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  • Hi Kay, I think you had a part in setting the negative tenor of the conversation with your comment on the other thread. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and think you were just trying to warn us with the hell comment, but to say that we’re all “poor lost souls” can’t be taken as anything else than a condescending insult.

    The Ontological, Teleological, and Cosmological arguments all have fine retorts, but even if one were to give any of them credence, they don’t really argue for anything more then deism and don’t serve as proof for any specific religious claims.

    People are going to be hard on you at first because we get a lot of fly by comments like “your all going to hell” and people write long, well thought out response only to never hear from the person again. That’s lead many here to want to get it one good verbal punch in as the theist runs for the door. But, if you stick around, and your not too preachy, we might end up have a interesting and engaging conversation.



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  • NoOnes
    Apr 21, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve also noticed that atheists aren’t necessarily anti-religion, but more so Anti-Christ. There are sooooooooooooooooo many other belief systems, religions, and “gods” that people live by. Why aren’t there any articles attacking Islam, Hinduism, Heathenism, Paganism, etc.?

    Have a look around.

    There are, where there are topics which deserve criticism, – but deluded wish-thinking is a common feature of many religions:-

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/08/a-hundred-walked-out-of-my-lecture/#li-comment-152913

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/03/myanmar-sentences-3-to-prison-for-depicting-buddha-wearing-headphones/

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2015/03/student-in-hiding-after-prison-sentence-for-atheism/



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  • And I forgot to say I have tried prayer, sincerely tried, so I’m as open minded as I ask the religious to be. Nothing happens. I’m usually told after prayer fails to accomplish anything that I most believe first, and then it will work. But then you start getting into self fulfilling prophecy territory and that just doesn’t interest me.



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  • Kay
    Apr 21, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    what makes people think i’m some redneck fundamentalist brainwashed by my pastor?

    Frankly – your comments do.

    I’m not.

    That has yet to be established.

    I believe in God after BOTH personal experiences

    Many people come here believing their god, or version of a god is the exclusively “right” one.

    AND rational thinking.

    … and many view circular thinking from assumptions and preconceptions as “reasoning”, which of course it is not.

    Quite a lot discover that many of those posting here, know a LOT more about the bible than they do!



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  • As I mentioned on the other thread in regard to Kay’s condemnations, she usurps the judgments her own religion reserves for her own God. Her own religion marks this as sinful, heretical, and enough that she be stoned to death. So, with her own words and beliefs, she joins all the other heretics, blasphemers, and apostates out there. She’s like the “good guy with a gun.”



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  • Raised from the dead indeed ! What bollocks !

    You’re free to hold that opinion, MrD, and I wouldn’t argue against it. I was simply pointing out that you took a sentence from the Bible, edited it to turn its meaning on its head and then claimed the altered meaning as an example of Biblical wisdom.



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  • Mr DArcy
    Apr 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    To be fair to Archbishop Ussher, he used the best available information at the time to calculate the beginning of creation to 23rd October 4004 bc, using the Bible as his source. Earlier estimates had given a younger age using the same source !

    Hammy has compiled a long list of biblical calculations and suggested a median, average, or collectively, they are a challenge to radiometric dating! (The delusion is strong at AIG!)



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  • Robert,
    Yes, that’s right. The hypocrisy is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The Bible says that only God can judge us and it sounds wonderful on paper but where is the action? Kay feels free to judge Atheists and any other group she deems bad, dirty, dangerous and uncomfortable, yet when someone from one of those groups point out that her morality is based on nothing but cruel crap then she is astonished and insulted! She wants her cake and eat it too.



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  • 60
    Michael says:

    “The relation with God is one of love, involving no calculation; the Covenant with God is not a system of mutual claims and obligations but a free and unconstrained personal relationship – and thus essentially an irrational one, involving no justifications or claims.” ~ Leszek Kołakowski



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  • All of the bible references to “Raising from the Dead” are references to a reversal of an excommunication order.

    Eh? As far as I can see, there’s no evidence of that in the examples you listed. Look at the case of Lazarus; if he had been excommunicated and considered dead rather than being actually dead, what was he doing in a grave for four days?



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  • “you took a sentence from the Bible, edited it to turn its meaning on its head and then claimed the altered meaning as an example of Biblical wisdom”

    Yes cherry picking to suit one’s own agenda. Isn’t that human nature? Priests etc. do this sort of thing all the time in their sermons! I attended a funeral service for a friend who’d died and the preacher announced that it was Jesus who had been talking to Moses through the burning bush! That’s not my recollection of the story! So why criticise Mr DArcy for doing exactly the same thing?



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  • “but more so Anti-Christ”

    Welcome to the site. I assure you that we’re not any more anti-Christ than we are for e.g. anti-Mohammed. There have been various articles to do with different faiths, politics and science. Most articles hale from the USA, so it’s only natural that Christianity will get greater publicity, and to be fair, the ones that gain most comments are Christianity related. This could be for a number of reasons. Science or politics don’t fan that much debate and the same for most other religions. Muslims tend to be a bit more “pro-active” when their religion is criticised so don’t debate that much! Christians however literally do offer themselves up like lambs to the slaughter and dive in with a variety of comments that will get an equal variety of responses. They’re either very brave or very stupid to take on this lot!

    “(Patiently waits for someone to brings up misinterpreted verses in the Old Testament that supposedly encourages unfair murders.)”

    Now you’re asking for it!! lol



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  • if he had been excommunicated and considered dead rather than being actually dead, what was he doing in a grave for four days?

    Ewan. You are making the mistake that many theists do. Believing a literal 2015 reading of the words. None of what is written in the bible, means what the words mean. It was written in a time when the authors would have been like capitalists trying the hide in 1950’s East Germany. They write stuff, that can be understood by those on the inside, but it doesn’t mean much to outsiders. Hence, Lazarus spent four days in excommunication. He was considered dead. In the grave. And he rose from the dead, was reinstated, after fours days. Try this approach to all the other Raisings from the Dead. You will get a result every time.

    And given miracles can’t happen, because that would require a suspension of the laws of physics, the excommunication explanation is far more plausible, given the date on which this happened.



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  • There is no great-depth to the bible – Try reading some proper works on mans genius like “On the origin of species” or Newton’s Principia, or Mr Dawkins – “The Extended Phenotype” – I have read all four of the books I have just mentioned – and one of them is an ancient book written by a bunch of misogynist ignoramus’ who intellectually are like chimpanzee’s to the likes of Darwin and Newton!!



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  • M27Holts
    Apr 23, 2015 at 8:22 am

    There is no great-depth to the bible

    Ah! – But that depends on the reader!

    After all, – there can be great depth to the interpretation of an ink-blot or of goats’ entrails!



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  • 69
    mohammed says:

    Wrong interpretation of the bible can lead to disaster.God is not angred or hard on any one in this world. whether he is unbeliever, sinner, Atheist or does not know him, what ever it is. God is love and merciful.

    Why some people trying to know God by reading difficult bible verses that are not even easy to understand by a scholar. If want to know about god learn about Jesus. Christ is the only way to know about god. God is same as Jesus. Dont just put your attention to the difficult verses. One day, we all will know under what circumstances god decided to sent plagues on egypt and also about other event.

    Some people use god name to frighten others because they misunderstand god or they do it for their own hatred. God loves all. He is love.



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  • Mohammed

    God is love and merciful.

    Only brainwashed people say that. Open your eyes and notice that there are people suffering in agony all over this world. Why would your God do something like that? God/Allah is a cruel, mean thing to kill and hurt people with pain, abuse and sickness. Don’t say he’s merciful. The Bible and Koran give cruel punishments to people for things that aren’t even serious bad behavior. God is not love-especially to women. God hates women. Jesus doesn’t like us either. He likes men.



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  • 72
    Pinball1970 says:

    “Mohammed Apr 23rd @ 10.09
    Our lives and everything around us are strong proof of god existance.”

    Strong proof?

    Like modern slavery, child labour, burning witches and torturing children (often to their death) for being possessed, FGM, forced marriage of young girls to old men, earth quakes, religious war, ebola, TB, malaria cancer….?

    All proof of gods existence?

    Before you say these are mans perversions of gods perfect creation, I will remind you that women and children are treated like chattel in the bible and slavery and killing witches is positively encouraged.

    According to you flawed and lethal DNA and unpredictable tectonic movements is also his handy work.



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  • I attended a funeral service for a friend who’d died and the preacher announced that it was Jesus who had been talking to Moses through the burning bush! That’s not my recollection of the story!

    Who do you recollect was talking to Moses from the burning bush?



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  • @ Mo:

    “Why some people trying to know God by reading difficult bible verses
    that are not even easy to understand by a scholar.”

    Isn’t it nice and loving of god to give us his holy word in such a clear and unambiguous way? That means no one has to misinterpret it, and no one has to kill anyone over it! Thank goodness he’s omnipotent, so this is easy for him.

    “God loves all. He is love.”

    Read Job. Call that “love”?

    “If want to know about god learn about Jesus… God is same as Jesus.”

    Well, I know that god hates figs! (Matthew 21:18-20, Mark 11:12-14, 20-21)

    Seriously, what sort of dick would kill a fig tree for not bearing figs out of season when, being omnipotent, he could have simply commanded the tree to produce figs?

    Steve



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  • Patrick
    Apr 21, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    but even in that realm she is more grounded than you.

    That looks very much like the air-force use of the term “grounded” in the context of competence, understanding, and people who are waayy out of their depth!



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  • If Kay were to make an explanation from the Bible, then she would be allowed to interpret it based on its teachings.

    Patrick. A competent author would be able to write a document that didn’t need interpreting, especially an author with the supposed powers of god. The fact that the bible needs “Interpreting” is an indication that it was written by men, who’s agenda’s varied over time.



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  • A competent author would be able to write a document that didn’t need interpreting, especially an author with the supposed powers of god.

    Do you feel that Jesus was wrong to use parables in his teaching, since they inevitably require interpreting?



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  • I love this reply, Roedy.

    I hate the word ‘relationship’ because it’s a weasel word that generally means fuck-all. Hating someone is also a relationship. Come to think of it, I have a ‘relationship” of sorts with every person and object I encounter in my life, and, because I write fiction, with dozens of fantasy figures who are not in my real life.



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  • I have to admire Laurie, David, M27Holts, Mr DArcy, Joel, Mark, Allan4discussion for your unflagging energy in countering the childish arguments that the believers are splashing across the site. I find it wearying simply to read it. The God is Love pablum i grew up with is just so naive and blind to the real world. And, no matter what lucidity and facts you bring to the table, they will always come back with some pronouncement of faith that shows they were not really listening.
    As for Kay, who has had a personal experience with God, are we trying to engage in serious dialog here with someone who may be psychotic?



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  • Reply to Mr DArcy Apr 21, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    How many atheists does it take to change a lightbulb?

    One. But they’re still in darkness.



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  • Christianity is a religion

    Why?? The Bible says so. Read James 1:19-27.

    21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
    22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
    23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror
    24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
    25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

    26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
    27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

    In this context, James mentions the “word” (λόγον) (verses 21; 22; 23) which is God’s Word or the Bible.
    At the same time, James also mentions the “law” (νομος) (verse 25) which is Torah in the Old Testament.
    James wraps up the “word” and the “law” as being “religious” (θρησκος) and as a “religion” (verse 26).
    James reiterates that the “word” and the “law” is a religion (θρησκος) that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless.

    The Bible teaches clearly that the “word” and the “law” which forms the foundation of Christianity is a religion. Without religion, therefore, there is no Christianity. Hence, Christianity is indeed a religion.



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  • Lers Thisayakorn #84
    Apr 23, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Christianity is a religion

    Why?? The Bible says so. Read James 1:19-27.

    Ah! The religious mindset which unquestioningly accepts mythology at face value, without even basic checking of sources!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_James

    Authorship and date

    The document presents itself as written by James: “I, James, wrote this history in Jerusalem.”[3] The purported author is thus James, the brother of Jesus, but scholars have established that the work was not written by the person to whom it is attributed.[4]

    That conclusion is based on the style of the language and the fact that the author describes certain activities as contemporary Jewish customs that probably did not exist.

    The consensus is that it was actually composed some time in the 2nd century AD. The first mention of it is by Origen of Alexandria in the early 3rd century, who says the text, like that of a Gospel of Peter, was of dubious, recent appearance and shared with that book the claim that the “brethren of the Lord” were sons of Joseph by a former wife.

    Some indication of the popularity of the Infancy Gospel of James may be drawn from the fact that over 150 Greek manuscripts containing it have survived. The Gospel of James was translated into Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Georgian, Old Slavonic, Armenian, Arabic, Irish and Latin. Though no early Latin versions are known, it was relegated to the apocrypha in the Gelasian decretal, so it must have been known in the West by the fifth century though the vast majority of the manuscripts come from the 10th century or later. The earliest known manuscript of the text, a papyrus dating to the third or early 4th century, was found in 1958; it is kept in the Bodmer Library, Geneva (Papyrus Bodmer 5). Of the surviving Greek manuscripts, the fullest text is a 10th-century codex in the Bibliothèque Nationale,

    The Gospel of James is one of several surviving Infancy Gospels that give an idea of the miracle literature that was created to satisfy the hunger of early Christians for more detail about the early life of their Saviour. In Greek such an infancy gospel was termed a protevangelion, a “pre-Gospel” narrating events of Jesus’ life before those recorded in the four canonical gospels. Such a work was intended to be “apologetic, doctrinal, or simply to satisfy one’s curiosity”.[7] The literary genre that these works represent shows stylistic features that suggest dates in the 2nd century and later. Other infancy gospels in this tradition include The Infancy Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew



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  • We need to be careful about accuracy here…on both sides of the argument.

    @Alan4Discussion, Lers is not quoting from the Gospel of James. The Gospel of James is not part of the Christian ‘cannon’ (list of ‘accepted’ writings – what we generally think of as the ‘bible’). It was never recognised as ‘authoritative’ by mainstream Christianity. The Christian cannon contains just four ‘gospels’ referred to as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    Lers is quoting from the Letter (‘Epistle’) of James – an entirely different and earlier piece of literature with no connection to the Gospel of James. This letter is part of the Christian New Testament. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_James. It’s an easy and understandable mistake, but unfortunately somewhat undermines your argument.

    @Lers. The word ‘logos’ does not refer to ‘the bible’. The concept of ‘logos’ resonates deeply across the centuries. It is rooted in classical Greek thought and philosophy, is central to understanding early Christianity and is still deeply evocative in modern times (c.f. ‘…ology’, ‘logic’, etc.) Given that it is used here in writings that pre-date the emergence of a formal Christian cannon, it cannot logically refer to that cannon. Logos means something more like ‘divine reason’. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logos.

    There is a long tradition of translating ‘logos’ as ‘word’, reflecting perhaps the classical understanding of reason and logic as intimately bound up with grammar and syntax…a concept that still plays a central role in modern logic. Unfortunately, the modern practice, especially in evangelical and protestant Christianity, is to refer to the bible as the ‘word of God’. This really confuses the issue and is highly misleading. You might even say that referring to the bible as the ‘word of God’ is ‘unbiblical’.

    Very much in keeping with the Zeitgeist of their times, the earliest Christians ‘personified’ these abstract characteristics of divine reason and creative agency, albeit in a highly distinctive way. They believed that the logos entered the world and ‘became flesh’ – a living, breathing human being who embodied the very nature and character of God. They believed that this human manifestation of divine reason, knowledge and agency could, in a tangible sense, inhabit the psyche of believers through faith.

    So, when James talks about ‘accepting the word planted in you’, he isn’t talking about reading the bible. He means an inner enlightenment, motivation and understanding that he characterises as God’s logos, embodied in Jesus, inhabiting people’s thoughts and being. James is saying that ‘real religion’ that God recognises and endorses has nothing to do with following rules of religious observance, but is all about how people, enlightened by knowledge of God communicated through Jesus, choose to meet need through social action and how they adopt a calm, controlled, thoughtful detachment from the madness, rage and evil of the world (you missed verses 19 and 20). This is very much in line with Paul’s position. He repeatedly stated that, for Christians, there are no binding rules of religious observance whatsoever, and that it all comes down to inner motivation and self-control through the ‘breath of God’.

    These ideas won’t meet much support in this forum, of course, and may even attract their fair share of madness and rage 🙂 Still, at least this gets closer to what James was actually saying, which has to be a move in the right direction if reasoned discourse is truly the goal.



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  • @Alan4Discussion, Lers is not quoting from the Gospel of James. The Gospel of James is not part of the Christian ‘cannon’ (list of ‘accepted’ writings – what we generally think of as the ‘bible’). It was never recognised as ‘authoritative’ by mainstream Christianity. The Christian cannon contains just four ‘gospels’ referred to as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

    Lers is quoting from the Letter (‘Epistle’) of James – an entirely different and earlier piece of literature with no connection to the Gospel of James. This letter is part of the Christian New Testament. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_James. It’s an easy and understandable mistake, but unfortunately somewhat undermines your argument.



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  • They only reason you call it religion is because it goes against things you want to do that’s wrong….and you want no one to answer to….but a relationship is when you trust GOD fully knowing he loves you unconditionally even though we are not GOOD


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  • If you choose not to have a relationship with GOD it’s your choice like everything else in Life is…but it’s funny in the end no matter what you always here people say BUT GOD….HELP ME GOD WHERE ARE YOU GOD…..so now what’s your excuse


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  • Ramona says:

    Show me where the BIBLE TALKS ABOUT RELIGION??????

    It spends a lot of time telling stories about prophets, preachers, and preaching.

    These are generally recognised as features of religions.

    it’s funny in the end no matter what you always here people say BUT GOD….HELP ME GOD

    That’s the thing about gods.  Prayers and gods, – apart from fortunate coincidences, consistently fail to deliver help.

    WHERE ARE YOU GOD

    God-delusions are situated as programming in  indoctrinated human brains.

    Apart from giving a little comfort and false re-assurance, they are useless.

    ….. so now what’s your excuse

    No excuses are required for having a mind free of antiquated indoctrinated preconceptions,  illusions of self-aggrandising gods, or expectations of a fictional “after-life”.

    This allows proper consideration of Humanist ethics, putting the interests of human welfare, ahead of the interests of promoting gods and religions in the one life we have.

     


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