Questionable Motives

October 10, 2011

Which religious movement is the correct one?

This, of course, is a fatal argument ignored by religious folk everywhere: which religious movement is the correct one and how can you know? On the up side, if a lack of evidence from reality is merely a convenience rather than a hindrance for maintaining this faith-based belief over that one, then the downside is that any and all beliefs in agencies of oogity boogity are equivalently empty.

Contrary claims between competing faiths are very amusing to behold as supporters bandy irrational arguments about undefinable agencies and their unknowable intentions. Perhaps this picture will help reveal why:

(vie Saint Thomas the Doubter Church)

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25 Comments »

  1. That’s hilarious! I love it. I’m pretty sure theology isn’t something that you get right and wrong. I mean, the issues that different denominations of christian churches disagree on are kind of ridiculous and pretty irrelevant. Such as: dancing, musical worship, proper communion, baptism, women’s roles and so on. There are a few less irrelevant issues such as: homosexuality, the existence of hell, and the like. But either way, Jesus didn’t come to set up any belief on those issues. He came to show us love. It’s sad that often times christian churches have the attitude of we’re right because of whatever stance we take on whatever contemporary issue, but it’s all silliness. Jesus came for love to teach us how to do it.

    what was your source for the pic? I’d love to share it.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 10, 2011 @ 10:56 pm | Reply

    • I give the link in the brackets beneath the picture.

      I think you need to re-examine just how much ‘love’ is brought by jesus: in the sermon on the mount, he reiterates that he’s here to uphold the jewish law to the letter. You can’t pretend he tosses aside the barbaric and misogynistic laws of Exodus, for example. Yet you will pretend that you can both keep the ten commandments while disregarding the laws of how to treat slaves. Jesus does not overturn the misogynistic laws of the appropriate roles for women any more than he condemns slavery. Yet you will pretend his message is all about love while disregarding his introduction of eternal everlasting hell for our thought crimes! At best, jesus’ message appears to be a kinder and more gentle message than, say, Leviticus, but nowhere does jesus tells us to disregard the previous laws over which so many have been killed for their supposed apostacy, which contradicts your interpretation about what is and is not jesus’ message of love. And that’s the point: you have no position of strength upon which to argue why you cherry pick this bit over that, why you interpret the ‘central’ message to be any more important than the least of the ‘peripheral’ messages. Which one is right doesn’t matter as long as what’s true doesn’t matter. And that’s the problem with religious belief: to maintain faith requires disrespecting any quest for what is true.

      Comment by tildeb — October 10, 2011 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  2. He came to show us love.

    Maybe according to movie Jesus but not according to bible Jesus. He was pretty rough on divorced women especially. Never said a single blessed word on freeing slaves or condemning slavery in general. Rather a glaring ommision for a guy who was big with love. Preachers will happily quote the nice stuff Jesus supposedly said and skip around or explain away the uncomfortable stuff.

    Jesus and the Interpreter. A modern-day christian helps Jesus get started.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 11, 2011 @ 3:02 am | Reply

  3. Thanks for commenting Cedric! I love the video!

    Tildeb, Jesus did not come uphold the law to the letter. I think the video makes it pretty clear, quoting lots of good Jesus. If you read the sermon on the mount he teaches good morals, and his thinking is rooted in eternal consequence. I’m sure you already know this, but not liking something doesn’t make it less true. That’s cherry picking my friend.
    You have not asked me what I believe to be a pious life for the modern human rooted in Christianity would be, so I seriously doubt that you know. That makes it difficult for you to say that I have cherry picked out of the law with no strength to argue my position. I believe reading Romans would help you understand my personal thought process. Paul, the author of Romans, is one of the first Apostles of Christ to preach to the gentiles. Being chosen by God to do this, assumedly, we should consider him an expert. His view is not that the law applies to everyone. It doesn’t. He says, and I paraphrase, “on disputable matters (meat sacrificed to false gods) shut up. Who cares? Don’t make your brother struggle with what he believes is sin.” He also makes an argument against circumcision for Gentiles saying that Abraham made a covenant with God before he was circumcised, so why are we trying to impose our culture on people who aren’t apart of it, and neither was our greatest Patriarch (excepting only Israel)? Paul didn’t seem to think upholding the law was necessary, but he did believe that following a righteous life was indeed paramount. This is outlined by Jesus. Jesus’ greatest command was “love the Lord your God […] and Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets rest on these two commands”. His life is a great example of this, according to the gospels.

    About Jesus and divorce… I don’t think he was hard on divorced women? He actually chatted with a Samaritan woman who had 5 husbands and an un-legit lover and she was one of the greatest evangelists converting a whole town to the Lord. So…? The people he was harsh on was the experts of the laws, and really churchy people.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 11, 2011 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

    • CJ, you assert that jesus did not come (to) uphold the law to the letter. The NI version, it quotes jesus as saying:

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished

      In my KJ version, that reads “Think not that I come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled.

      In either case, what is clear is that jesus is quoted as insisting that he comes to uphold/fulfill the law in its entirety. This is in direct contrast to what you assert. Because I assume you grant this scripture some element of truth, I think I can safely say that I am not cherry picking when I use this to show that jesus is not all about love and that it is a very special kind of denial to assert otherwise.

      What I suspect is going on is that you have raised Paul’s interpretation to represent your christian theology, which (to me) comes perilously close to worshiping a Paul-ianity rather than a Christ-ianity.

      Comment by tildeb — October 11, 2011 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  4. I’m sure you already know this, but not liking something doesn’t make it less true. That’s cherry picking my friend.

    What?
    That makes no sense at all.

    About Jesus and divorce… I don’t think he was hard on divorced women? He actually chatted with a Samaritan woman…

    Who cares who he “chatted” with? That’s got nothing to do with anything.
    Jesus made his position on divorced women very clear and…it’s not good.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 11, 2011 @ 11:38 pm | Reply

  5. Tildeb, upholding and fulfilling are not the same thing. “A prophet I will raise up for them from the midst of their brethren like you, and I will place my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all which I command” Deut. 18:18. “A Prophet from your midst, from your brethren, like me shall the Lord your God raise up. You shall hearken unto him.” Also, I am a Gentile. The law was not written for me but for the Jews. If you read through Deuteronomy, then you will read every couple chapters or so that Loving the Lord is a command, and clearly the most important since it was repeated so often. So if Jesus is about the law, then he is about the law. When asked what the most important command is Jesus says, “Love […] and love […]all the law and the prophets hand on these two commands”. So, if he is all about the law then he is hanging on love. Paul writes “[…] and over all these virtues put on love which binds them all together in perfect unity.” I disagree with Paul on some things, just so you know, but I do have to put into consideration that he is an expert far superior to me, and thus his words demand a bit of consideration, because he very well might be right, and I wrong.

    Cedric, when you don’t like something is it false for that reason?
    Also, can you explain to me what Jesus’ position was on divorced women, how he made it clear, and why it is not good. I am unfamiliar with what your talking about and merely stating a conclusion with no process for how you arrived there is not helping. I really do care about Jesus’ views on gender roles, so please help me out a little bit.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 16, 2011 @ 6:21 pm | Reply

  6. I think I have been unfair in saying things cryptic in a way that I know will induce disagreement rather than plainly stating my ideas. I said Jesus did not come to uphold the law to the letter, and I believe that’s true. However, I did not mean that Jesus did not uphold the law. I merely questioned his purpose for coming. I would say it is not to be legalistic, but rather to glorify God though relationship with people who are otherwise marginalized. I call it love. That is all.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 16, 2011 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  7. Cedric, when you don’t like something is it false for that reason?

    Why try to create a strawman? Nobody is claiming that. Focus on people’s words as they are written without any “creative” interpretation.

    Also, can you explain to me what Jesus’ position was on divorced women, how he made it clear, and why it is not good.

    Well, I would have thought that you would be reading up on that for yourself. It’s your religion after all.
    Jesus had very blunt things to say about adultery and divorced women.
    Things that don’t gel very well in the modern world and would alienate people.
    There’s nothing at all wrong with being a divorced woman.
    Nothing.
    The moral or social status of a divorced women should not be one tiny bit different from any other woman.
    If a divorced woman decided to get remarried or enter a new relationship then nothing bad has happened.
    Nothing at all.
    She and her new partner should be wished all the good luck and happiness in the world.
    No “if”, “and” or “buts” about it.
    The moral zeitgeist has shifted. It’s shifted on a lot of bible laws and commandments. Stoning, for example, is right out. No perfect being would ever allow themselves to be associated with that kind of monsterous behaviour in any way.

    Richard Dawkins – The Shifting Moral Zeitgeist

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 19, 2011 @ 7:40 pm | Reply

  8. I disagree with Paul on some things, just so you know, but I do have to put into consideration that he is an expert far superior to me, and thus his words demand a bit of consideration, because he very well might be right, and I wrong.(…)and I believe that’s true. However, I did not mean…

    Yes but then, on the other hand, let’s not forget, could possibly, when all is taken into consideration, no rush to judgement, on the one hand, mustn’t rule anything out, keep options open, etc.
    (Insert endless cycle of hand-wringing here)

    Dan Dennett on Theology

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 19, 2011 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for posting the video’s Cedric, they’re both really good! And two topics that I’m pretty passionate about. Yes, there is clearly a shifting moral zeitgeist. But I would argue that there is also a moral truth, that is transcendent of time. The reason it is necessary to assert a moral truth becomes apparent when you imagine the implications without it. If there is no moral truth, and morality is then a product of the temporal zeitgeist, the back in the day of Ghengis Kahn what he did was less wrong then, and is more immoral today than it was at the time of the occurrence. Rape and murder and massacre. Not okay, even in 1200. Which leads me back to my, apparently, straw man argument, does not liking something make it false for that reason? It’s a legitimate question, I am not placing those words on anyone. I am trying to expose that when you disagree with something it does not make it wrong for the reason of your disagreement. One cannot say I do not like Jesus, therefore he is not the son of God. To go a little deeper, one cannot make the claim that Jesus was harsh on divorced women; I don’t like Jesus being harsh on divorced women; therefore Jesus is not the son of God. What the argument is missing is an example of Jesus being harsh on divorced women, why the position of ‘non-harsh-ness’ is superior, and an assertion of moral truth, so then Jesus could be proved false, and by association, not the son of God. [or whatever anti-Jesus sentiment would be appropriate].
    As it is, taking Dawkins’s argument at face value, then Jesus could very much so be right, and the rest of the bible right as well, and in fact morality by Dawkins’s argument can defy the law of noncontradiction, because morality is a product of a shifting Zeitgeist. If that is truth, and not just trend, the implications are devastating.
    As for Dennett on Theology- I like his words. They’re good. I’m a fan of trying not to dumb down the bible while maintaing my view that the bible should be read as individual books written by individuals for specific situations, and reflect a moral zeitgeist instead of establish them (on some issues) and that the individual books should be read in light of each other. It’s a game changer when peaching looks like that last run-on sentence I wrote rather than the half-baked sunday morning lectures I unfortunately keep returning for. Anyway… Shalom.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 22, 2011 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

  10. I am trying to expose that when you disagree with something it does not make it wrong for the reason of your disagreement. One cannot say I do not like Jesus, therefore he is not the son of God.

    Nobody is saying that. Nobody is even saying anything like that. You are creating a strawman.

    …one cannot make the claim that Jesus was harsh on divorced women; I don’t like Jesus being harsh on divorced women; therefore Jesus is not the son of God.

    Then it’s a good job nobody made that claim.

    What the argument is missing is an example of Jesus being harsh on divorced women…

    You are not getting this. Jesus was wrong about divorced women. He was indeed harsh.
    There is nothing inherently bad about being a divorced woman or having a relationship/marriage with a divorced woman.

    The reason it is necessary to assert a moral truth becomes apparent when you imagine the implications without it.

    That’s awful logic. You might want to have a second shot at that.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 22, 2011 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  11. I’m still waiting for evidence that Jesus was “indeed harsh” towards divorced women. Please give an example, because as it is, I do not believe you. If you cannot produce evidence, the claim is baseless. is it baseless?

    You cannot claim a shifting moral zeitgeist without a moral truth and say Jesus was wrong about divorced women. If morality depends on what the zeitgeist considers acceptable right and wrong become a subjective matter correlated only to popular opinion of a certain time period relative to a region. You could say Jesus would have been wrong about divorced women if he lived in a culture with a moral zeitgeist similar to mine (of course then you would still be needing to prove Jesus’ opinion about divorced women). While rejecting moral truth Jesus wasn’t wrong, even if he was mean to certain people. Assuming there is an absolute moral truth then perhaps Jesus would be wrong if he was harsh on divorced women. Actually that sounds like good explanation for why he was not mean to them, after all.

    Comment by Carly Jo — October 28, 2011 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  12. Goobledy gook.

    Let me ask you a simple question that does not require any qualifiers or hapless hand waving.
    Is there anything wrong with divorced women? By that question, I mean should they be treated differently or singled out or discriminated in any way?

    Yes or No?

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — October 28, 2011 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  13. No.

    Comment by Carly Jo — November 1, 2011 @ 12:07 am | Reply

  14. Thank you.
    Thank you for two reasons.

    1) You didn’t waffle. You just gave a simple “No”.

    2) You agree with me and with the vast majority of society about the status of divorced women.
    If I get married to a divorced woman then…neither I nor my new wife have done anything wrong.
    I am not a bad person in any way nor is she.

    My mother is divorced. That is no reflection upon her as a person. She should be entitled to find happiness in her future if someone better comes along. Nobody gets to poke fingers at her or her new partner. Being a divorced woman is a total non-issue.

    Yet the words attributed to Jesus say otherwise.
    If Jesus went around today telling people (especially Christians) about the status and reputation of their friends and family who were divorced, then he would come across as a complete dick and totally out of touch. He would alienate people. People like you and me.

    Thanks again for not waffling over a serious moral issue.
    You are not the same as certain others.

    Atheist Experience – Hell, Sin and gods Judgement

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 2, 2011 @ 4:57 am | Reply

  15. That was one of the better Atheist Experience videos I’ve seen.
    There is nothing wrong with BEING divorced. There is something wrong with marital unfaithfulness, which if one partner commits divorce is not only acceptable, but also welcome. There is also a problem with divorcing for stupid reasons. To break a commitment to another person with the weight of marriage over something dumb is the wrong thing to do. I am not talking about religion. You know the ridiculous reasons people get divorced, and often times they’re legitimate problems, but they can be solved. Instead many times marriages are broken with almost no effort given to solving problems, with no advice taken, much less sought out. This is inexcusable behavior.

    Jesus did not say or imply that being divorced was a stigma. What he said was about man divorcing women, and he said it should not be done for any reason save marital unfaithfulness. He said that divorce for any other reason was the same as adultery. That is because the breaking of the union is illegitimate. Jesus did not look down on divorced women. They were people he went to be with. He found a woman who bounced around between 5 men and was now with a sixth and made her one of the greatest evangelists of the first century (I know that is meaningless to you, but the point is he helped her become something great in both his eyes and hers).

    Now, I have appeased you and told you no there is nothing wrong with being divorced. Now, will you appease me and give me some evidence of this Jesus who is mean to divorced women?

    Comment by Carly Jo — November 3, 2011 @ 12:23 am | Reply

  16. …and often times they’re legitimate problems, but they can be solved.

    That’s awful. Really, really horrible. How can you say something that disconnected from reality.
    Who are you to state that someone’s marriage may have problems but they’re “solvable”.
    Creepy.

    Instead many times marriages are broken with almost no effort given to solving problems…

    A marriage may have legitimate problems. Those legitimate problems may well have not a solution.
    I don’t see how you can not understand that.

    Jesus did not say or imply that being divorced was a stigma.

    Yes he did. Read the bits in the bible where Jesus specifically talks about divorce and women.
    All of them. He was very clear.
    Short simple sentences. There was no waffling.

    He said that divorce for any other reason was the same as adultery.

    Which would alienate most Christians. It’s a daft thing to say. It’s terribly wrong.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 3, 2011 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  17. Dude, calm down.

    Can we agree that married people should at least give effort, even a great effort into keeping their union when things get hard. If they don’t make EVERY effort it is impossible to know if the problems don’t have solutions. Let us not take it that far. Let’s just say a great effort will suffice.

    Also, can we stop having this “Yes” “No” Yes” “No” argument and just give evidence for our claims? I gave you examples of Jesus talking about divorce that support my stance. You did not refute it other than by disagreeing. PLEASE GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE, REFUTE MINE, OR AT LEAST SAY SOMETHING ABOUT WHY I AM WRONG.
    Short relevant sentences with a little content. Waffles are a food.

    Alienation is irrelevant to truth. Do you believe in an absolute ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?

    Comment by Carly Jo — November 5, 2011 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  18. Can we agree that married people should at least give effort, even a great effort into keeping their union when things get hard.

    That’s not what you said.
    That’s not even close to what you said before.
    It’s certainly nothing like what Jesus said.

    He said that divorce for any other reason was the same as adultery.

    Which would alienate most Christians. It’s a daft thing to say. It’s terribly wrong.
    How can you not see that?

    Jesus did not say or imply that being divorced was a stigma.

    Yes he did. The adultery part. Hello?

    Read the bits in the bible where Jesus specifically talks about divorce and women.
    Google it.
    Type in “Jesus” and “divorce” and they all pop right up. It’s not like I’m asking you to read the whole bible.

    .…and often times they’re legitimate problems, but they can be solved.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for this. It’s awful.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 6, 2011 @ 1:48 am | Reply

  19. So, I googled Jesus and divorce, and have found nothing other than what I have already mentioned. Which means my conclusion stands and you must be wrong. OR, you can give me the reasons for you conclusion in any kind of detail or example and we can work on it.

    I did find an interesting explanation of the word ‘adultery’. Check it out. “The Greek word translated as “adultery” in Mt 19:9 is “moicheia” and that word is usually used in the Bible to mean a sexual union involving a person who is in a marriage put together by God and another person who is not in that same marriage. Look again at Mt 19:9 and consider how Jesus used the word “fornication” in one place and the word “adultery” in another place: “Whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another commits adultery”
    I did look up the passage and found some inaccuracies. the word in the above paraphrase “fornication” would mean illicit forms of sex, such as extra-marital, bestiality, incest, those kids of things. THe word “adultery” could very well mean sex outside of marriage, but it does not denote an extreme sense of immorality.

    We started talking about solving problems within marriage and immediately you said a few disagreeable things about me not being able to tell, and in response I want us to agree that married people should give effort to staying married. Can we agree on that?
    If we can it becomes a stepping stone to understanding Jesus’ view that divorce should not happen. Jesus doesn’t say this because divorced people are ‘iky’ or unredeemable or even displeasurable to him, but because it hurts people to break commitments that are so central to our being. Imagine the couple in their 70s who have married since their late teens. Their whole lives they’ve only known each other, and they take care of each other. If that were to have ended suddenly their lives would both be much more painful.

    I think it’s time to tell you that you’re wrong. Jesus is not as hard on divorced people as you think, nor is he hard on adulterers. He is gracious, and actually a lot nicer to them than to religious people who act like they’re fine. Jesus is pretty cool and has a lot more liberal ideas than you seem to think. You’re wrong, and have been making baseless claims about Jesus’ view, and it’s a really good thing to be wrong about. Look it up and learn a little, or teach me so I can stop saying stupid things.

    Comment by Carly Jo — November 7, 2011 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  20. So, I googled Jesus and divorce, and have found nothing other than what I have already mentioned.

    No direct quotes from Jesus himself? Oh dear.

    We started talking about solving problems…

    Maybe in some other universe but not in this one.
    I never breathed a word about solving problems.

    …to understanding Jesus’ view that divorce should not happen.

    The direct quote for that is….?
    How do you get that? What did Jesus say in his own words? Did he say “People should try and solve their problems before getting a divorce”? Um, no.

    Jesus doesn’t say this because…

    Yes, of course. But…um…what did he actually say himself. What did you find from your googling?

    If that were to have ended suddenly their lives would both be much more painful.

    I have no idea what you are talking about. More painful? As opposed to what for crying out loud?

    Jesus is not as hard on divorced people as you think, nor is he hard on adulterers.

    Yes he was. You said so yourself.

    He said that divorce for any other reason was the same as adultery.

    This is hogswill. It’s not the same in the least. There’s no comparison. There’s no way to spin this into something more palatable for the 21 century audience.
    It would alienate even most Christians. It’s a daft thing to say. It’s terribly wrong.
    How can you not see that?

    …and actually a lot nicer to them than to religious people who act like they’re fine.

    They ARE fine.

    There’s nothing wrong with them. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip. Nichevo.
    There’s no need to be “a lot nicer to them” because there is nothing wrong with them in the first place.

    Look it up and learn a little, or teach me so I can stop saying stupid things.

    So far, you have a massive case of foot-in-mouth disease.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 7, 2011 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  21. Goodbye Cedric. I apologize for trying to have a conversation with you. It was a terrible mistake.

    Just one question: What was your goal? You never refuted my position, you just disagreed with it and asked google to make your case. Do you really expect anyone to be persuaded?

    Comment by Carly Jo — November 7, 2011 @ 11:18 pm | Reply

  22. I apologize for trying to have a conversation with you.

    Not that you want to sound patronizing or anything. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Jesus made his position on divorced women very clear and…it’s not good.
    In fact, it’s so bad you have to go into automatic spin mode. You can’t even bring yourself to quote your own bible. It’s that bad.

    …and often times they’re legitimate problems, but they can be solved.

    Maybe in a 30 minute sitcom on TV but not in the real world. Spend some time at a woman’s shelter and find out for yourself…or maybe speak to some of your neighbours or something. They will tell you.

    He said that divorce for any other reason was the same as adultery.

    It’s not the same.
    Not even a tiny bit.
    Go up to a divorced woman today and tell her and her family that she’s an adulteress – to her face.

    There’s no way to spin that. It’s just a horrible and mean thing to say. There’s no “love” there.
    It’s contemptable and deserves to be treated with contempt.

    Comment by Cedric Katesby — November 7, 2011 @ 11:38 pm | Reply


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