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Thread: Forum Life Lessons: Questioning the TOL Experience

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    Out of Order Town Heretic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    What you're saying here reads somewhat like a retroactive rationalization for an inadvertent apples-to-oranges comparison
    And yet it wasn't.

    because the two questions are identical except for the last word.
    That we agree on, at any rate.

    It's a good thread idea, though. I've enjoyed reading the various responses.
    Two of three. Not bad. Same here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fool View Post
    Limit new threads to one per day per user.
    That's a good one.

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    It was the one time...ONE TIME.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post


    It was the one time...ONE TIME.
    Ceiling tiles never forget.
    Everyman is a voice in the dark.
    I II III IV

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ask Mr. Religion View Post
    My exposure here has not modified my views of non-believers. They hate God with every breath they take. Sadly, they just do not know it to be the fact of the matter.
    Not to derail the thread too much but this is such an oxymoronic statement (not just espoused by you to be fair) that it needs to be addressed. If you hate something or someone then that involves passion, just as it does with its counterpart love. There are no illusions on the matter and you can't "not know" you're hating along with the reasons that prompt such a reaction, just the same as when you fall in love with or love someone. To say that atheists "hate God with every breath they take and don't know it to be fact" is simply nonsense. I'm presuming you're applying this to agnostics etc as well? The lack of belief in a deity isn't synonymous with hate. Atheists don't believer in a deity or the likelihood of one existing to hate.
    Well this is fun isn't it?


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    "To say that atheists "hate God with every breath they take and don't know it to be fact" is simply nonsense."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Brain View Post
    Not to derail the thread too much but this is such an oxymoronic statement (not just espoused by you to be fair) that it needs to be addressed. If you hate something or someone then that involves passion, just as it does with its counterpart love. There are no illusions on the matter and you can't "not know" you're hating along with the reasons that prompt such a reaction, just the same as when you fall in love with or love someone. To say that atheists "hate God with every breath they take and don't know it to be fact" is simply nonsense. I'm presuming you're applying this to agnostics etc as well? The lack of belief in a deity isn't synonymous with hate. Atheists don't believer in a deity or the likelihood of one existing to hate.

    Iím glad you did.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    And yet it wasn't.

    Okay, let me try it this way. Here's your 8 and 9:


    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post

    8. Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of religion? [system]

    9. Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of atheists? [person]

    Here's what I'm trying to get at:

    Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of religion? [system]

    Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of atheism? [system]

    and/or:

    Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of Christians? [person]

    Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of atheists? [person]


    You said you made the distinction because "religion is much more of a piece than atheism," but that doesn't explain why you asked about impressions of atheists but not of Christians, or religion but not atheism - not to mention that "religion" could be seen as amorphous, while "atheist" is very specific.






    (Using Christianity for this instance because it's the predominant forum religion both by mission statement and by membership.)
    So keep your candles burning

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  14. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Brain View Post
    Atheists don't believer in a deity or the likelihood of one existing to hate.
    Of course they don't ... the better question is why it brings such an emotional response (via unsubstantiated accusation) towards someone who doesn't believe as they do. I am confident enough in my own beliefs to the degree that it is not necessary for me to convert others to depart from their own.

    Simply put,I do not see someone else believing in a deity (God) as a personal insult because it is about them and their beliefs. Just as my non-beliefs is my own and should not be viewed as a personal slight towards the religious beliefs of others.
    As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes."
    When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics."
    When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty
    -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by annabenedetti View Post
    You said you made the distinction because "religion is much more of a piece than atheism," but that doesn't explain why you asked about impressions of atheists but not of Christians
    Because atheism isn't a united system of belief. I don't think there's much value in approaching it that way. But I am curious about how most people here, who are religious and largely Christian, view atheists.

    It's a bit like my old favorite Faulkner approach to racism, with the Southern racist's love of the individual and hatred of the race and the northern racist's love of the race and hatred of the individual. I know from statistical polling, that atheists as a group are among the least liked and trusted by religious people. It's a given, poll after poll. But, I suspect (and the question is aimed at this) that when we get to individuals that sort of generalized bias can break down. So the sub rosa inquiry is about how intimacy has influenced opinion.

    , or religion but not atheism - not to mention that "religion" could be seen as amorphous, while "atheist" is very specific.
    With religion I'm interested in two potential responses, contextually. The first is the lens of self-examination and the second a judgment of the other. Or, I'm wondering if someone will critique their own particular understanding or approach that other by that lens and pass judgement.

    As to the atheist and religion, I suppose that my expectation is a negative, because so much of what happens here can support the most negative, stereotypical impressions of Christians when you look in from the outside.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Brain View Post
    Not to derail the thread too much but this is such an oxymoronic statement (not just espoused by you to be fair) that it needs to be addressed. If you hate something or someone then that involves passion, just as it does with its counterpart love. There are no illusions on the matter and you can't "not know" you're hating along with the reasons that prompt such a reaction, just the same as when you fall in love with or love someone.
    Gills Commentary on a bit of Paul's writing in scripture may help here. On Romans 8:7

    "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God..."

    "These words contain a reason why the issue of carnal mindedness is death; because the carnal mind, the wisdom of the flesh, is not only an enemy, but enmity itself against God: against his being; it reasons against it; it wishes he was not; it forms unworthy notions of him; thinks him such an one as itself; and endeavours to bury him in forgetfulness, and erase out of its mind all memorials of him: it is at enmity against his perfections; either denying his omniscience; or arraigning his justice and faithfulness; or despising his goodness, and abusing his grace and mercy: it finds fault with, and abhors his decrees and purposes; quarrels with his providences; it is implacable against his word and Gospel; especially the particular doctrines of grace, the Father's grace in election, the Son's in redemption, and the Spirit's in regeneration; and has in the utmost contempt the ordinances and people of Christ. This enmity is universal, it is in all men in unregeneracy, either direct or indirect, hidden or more open; it is undeserved; it is natural and deeply rooted in the mind, and irreconcilable without the power and grace of God. It shows itself in an estrangedness from God; in holding friendship with the world, in harbouring the professed enemies of God, in living under the government of sin and Satan; in hating what God loves, and in loving what God hates; in omitting what God commands, and committing what he forbids; it manifests itself in their language, and throughout the whole of their conversations."

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  19. #26
    TOL Legend Arthur Brain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    Gills Commentary on a bit of Paul's writing in scripture may help here. On Romans 8:7

    "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God..."

    "These words contain a reason why the issue of carnal mindedness is death; because the carnal mind, the wisdom of the flesh, is not only an enemy, but enmity itself against God: against his being; it reasons against it; it wishes he was not; it forms unworthy notions of him; thinks him such an one as itself; and endeavours to bury him in forgetfulness, and erase out of its mind all memorials of him: it is at enmity against his perfections; either denying his omniscience; or arraigning his justice and faithfulness; or despising his goodness, and abusing his grace and mercy: it finds fault with, and abhors his decrees and purposes; quarrels with his providences; it is implacable against his word and Gospel; especially the particular doctrines of grace, the Father's grace in election, the Son's in redemption, and the Spirit's in regeneration; and has in the utmost contempt the ordinances and people of Christ. This enmity is universal, it is in all men in unregeneracy, either direct or indirect, hidden or more open; it is undeserved; it is natural and deeply rooted in the mind, and irreconcilable without the power and grace of God. It shows itself in an estrangedness from God; in holding friendship with the world, in harbouring the professed enemies of God, in living under the government of sin and Satan; in hating what God loves, and in loving what God hates; in omitting what God commands, and committing what he forbids; it manifests itself in their language, and throughout the whole of their conversations."

    Well, this is one guy's commentary and again, it still doesn't speak to or explain how atheists or agnostics are "hating God with each breath they take" on any logical level TH. Frankly, it smacks of pious judgement on behalf of the writer. Did you consider yourself to be actively "hating God" when you were an atheist?
    Well this is fun isn't it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Brain View Post
    Well, this is one guy's commentary and again, it still doesn't speak to or explain how atheists or agnostics are "hating God with each breath they take" on any logical level TH. Frankly, it smacks of pious judgement on behalf of the writer. Did you consider yourself to be actively "hating God" when you were an atheist?
    Gills is just one of the major commentaries that are fairly united on the point. I thought it did as good a job of explaining the Biblical context set out in Paul's writing.

    On the other point, I'd say that it doesn't matter what I considered myself to be. All sorts of people believe themselves to be things they aren't or don't believe themselves to be what they are, as with people who will make a racist statement while declaring, "Now, I'm not a racist, but..." Sometimes the denial is evidence of at least a subconscious recognition that the declaration is hollow. At best, assuming we act contrary to the truth, we're simply declaring from a perspective that is by its nature ignorant of that truth. The question then becomes is our ignorance willful or not? Within the context of Biblical truth the answer is that we are responsible, willfully disobedient. And the why of that is fairly complicated, but where a lot of the argument within Christendom really begins.

    The Biblical standard doesn't give anyone a pass for being conflicted, or indifferent, or undecided. There are two masters to serve and everyone will and does serve one or the other. To serve one is to oppose the other and what we oppose, as a matter of moral truth, we hate, at least in the righteous sense, not in the pettier and self-serving sense of, "I hate you or it because it diminishes me or mine."

    This is starting to feel like another thread. If we're going to continue this one it should probably be in the Religion section and under a title that encompasses the point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    Gills is just one of the major commentaries that are fairly united on the point. I thought it did as good a job of explaining the Biblical context set out in Paul's writing.
    From what seemed like a rather Calvinistic perspective.

    On the other point, I'd say that it doesn't matter what I considered myself to be. All sorts of people believe themselves to be things they aren't or don't believe themselves to be what they are, as with people who will make a racist statement while declaring, "Now, I'm not a racist, but..." Sometimes the denial is evidence of at least a subconscious recognition that the declaration is hollow. At best, assuming we act contrary to the truth, we're simply declaring from a perspective that is by its nature ignorant of that truth. The question then becomes is our ignorance willful or not? Within the context of Biblical truth the answer is that we are responsible, willfully disobedient. And the why of that is fairly complicated, but where a lot of the argument within Christendom really begins.
    I'd say it's integral. Did you ever consider yourself to be wilfully hating a God that you didn't believe existed? This isn't about 'ignorance' or 'disobedience' but whether you were consciously "shaking your fists" (as some term it) at a God that you believed in and yet denied?

    The Biblical standard doesn't give anyone a pass for being conflicted, or indifferent, or undecided. There are two masters to serve and everyone will and does serve one or the other. To serve one is to oppose the other and what we oppose, as a matter of moral truth, we hate, at least in the righteous sense, not in the pettier and self-serving sense of, "I hate you or it because it diminishes me or mine."
    You're sounding like a fundamentalist preacher at this point. This rhetoric about "serving one master or the other" means what exactly? If you're not a "born again believer" you're serving "Satan" or something?

    This is starting to feel like another thread. If we're going to continue this one it should probably be in the Religion section and under a title that encompasses the point.
    As it happens I'd already started one right there so we can continue there if you wish...

    Well this is fun isn't it?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Brain View Post
    From what seemed like a rather Calvinistic perspective.
    Gill was actually a Baptist theologian, but his soteriology was definitely Calvinistic.

    I'd say it's integral. Did you ever consider yourself to be wilfully hating a God that you didn't believe existed? This isn't about 'ignorance' or 'disobedience' but whether you were consciously "shaking your fists" (as some term it) at a God that you believed in and yet denied?
    I'd say I answered this point in distinguishing between the subjective personal context/moral pretext and the Biblical doctrine.

    You're sounding like a fundamentalist preacher at this point.
    Depends on what you mean by fundamentalist. I don't eschew the label in the sense the movement arose, rejecting theological modernism.

    This rhetoric about "serving one master or the other" means what exactly?
    Every moral act, each choice serves one of two. Gills fleshed that out well enough, particularizing my point.

    As it happens I'd already started one right there so we can continue there if you wish...
    I might take you up on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Town Heretic View Post
    So, 10 questions for people about their TOL experience. I'm going to create an index of posters/answers using the second post and move my answers to the latest post.

    1. When you first arrived how much experience did you have with internet forums and were you surprised by what you encountered?
    In the mid to late 90's I cut my internet debate teeth "debating" against The Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism... old-style via to-and-fro emails.
    Later, I discovered the forum form e.g. Political Crossfire, Online Infidels and one other Theism forum I can't remember its name. (all now defunct) before discovering ToL.


    2. Is the person you appear to be an exaggeration of who you actually are, who you actually are, or is it unlike who you are in the real world?
    I wouldn't call it an exaggeration, rather ToL allows an emergence of aspects to my personality that I rarely indulge within my personal, one-on-one interactions. ToL allows me to be more direct, blunt, confrontational..etc. upon controversial subject matters to a degree I rarely take with family and friends. I (generally) don't care if I bruise egos or hurt feelings here (as opposed to family)...as I view this as a public arena; it's par for the course thus, "all's fair....." as they say.

    3. If you could change one thing about the way things are here what would it be?
    I originally came here to for deep philosophical/spiritual debate...98.6% of which, is not!

    4. Is there a rule you'd like to add to the TOL list?
    Not really. I've always enjoyed the ToL Christian bias. I've viewed it as a challenge and I ,quite frankly, enjoy forums where the primary philosophy differs from mine. Who the hell wants to spend time on a forum that agrees with everything you say?!

    5. Have you changed ideologically or personally since you first arrived and if so did TOL play a role in that change?
    Yes and yes, indirectly. At first post I had an anti-Christian attitude which was to be employed in demonstrating how wrong every Christian was! Nowadays, I believe that everyone develops their particular spirituality by different means and timeframes. I'd likewise expect the same consideration...yet, realize some use this forum as an echo chamber to embolden their own fragile, spiritual ego.

    If yes, then how dramatic or slight was the change?
    Dramatic by way of slight, intermittent awareness.

    If no, has TOL given you a wider appreciation of different perspectives, or do you hold the same opinions about them?
    Supra (As you would utter. )

    6. What was your primary reason for deciding to stick around here for a while?
    Spiritual exploration.

    7. Do you believe that anonymity has an overall liberating and/or negative effect on posters and posts here?
    Both. It can bring to boil aspects of the personality that are in cathartic need of exploration...mayhap dwelling within the shadow side of the soul.

    8. Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of religion?
    Same critical impression; different personal reaction.

    9. Has your exposure to the views found here contributed to your having a more/less favorable impression of atheists?
    Same critical impression; different personal reaction.

    10. Are you more or less emphatic in your beliefs of in any particular belief you came to TOL with as a direct result of your time here?
    More...regarding monotheism writ large; Less, regarding the the divisiveness, close-mindedness and bigotry it occasionally cultivates.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited by quip; May 20th, 2018 at 04:25 PM. Reason: TH is being captious and crabby! ;)
    _/\_

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