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Is God dead? Atheism finds a market in U.S
Reuters ^ | 10/18/06 | Michael Conlon

Posted on 10/18/2006 5:25:05 PM PDT by wagglebee

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A fresh wave of atheistic books has hit the market this autumn, some climbing onto best-seller lists in what proponents see as a backlash against the way religion is entwined in politics.

"Religion is fragmenting the human community," said Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation," No. 11 on the New York Times nonfiction list on October 15.

There is a "huge visibility and political empowerment of religion. President George W. Bush uses his first veto to deny funding for stem cell research and scientists everywhere are horrified," he said in an interview.

Religious polarization is part of many world conflicts, he said, including those involving Israel and Iran, "but it's never discussed. I consider it the story of our time, what religion is doing to us. But there are very few people calling a spade a spade."

His "Letter," a blunt 96-page pocket-sized book condensing arguments against belief in quick-fire volleys, appeared on the Times list just ahead of "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins, a scientist at Oxford University and long-time atheist.

In addition, Harris' "The End of Faith," a 2004 work which prompted his "Letter" as a response to critics, is holding the No. 13 Times spot among nonfiction paperbacks.

Publishers Weekly said the business has seen "a striking number of impassioned critiques of religion -- any religion, but Christianity in particular," a probably inevitable development given "the super-soaking of American politics and culture with religion in recent years."

Paul Kurtz, founder of the Council for Secular Humanism and publisher of Free Inquiry magazine, said, "The American public is really disturbed about the role of religion in U.S. government policy, particularly with the Bush administration and the breakdown of church-state separation, and secondly with the conflict in the Mideast."

They are turning to free thought and secular humanism and publishers have recognized a taste for that, he added.

"I've published 45 books, many critical of religion," Kurtz said. "I think in America we have this notion of tolerance ... it was considered bad taste to criticize religion. But I think now there are profound questions about age-old hatreds."

The Rev. James Halstead, chairman of the Department of Religious Studies at Chicago's DePaul University, says the phenomenon is really "a ripple caused by the book publishing industry."

"These books cause no new thought or moral commitment. The arguments are centuries old," he told Reuters. Some believers, he added, "are no better. Their conception of God, the Divine-Human-World relationship are much too simplistic and materialistic."

Too often, he said, the concept "God" is misused "to legitimate the self and to beat up other people ... to rehash that same old theistic and atheistic arguments is a waste of time, energy and paper."

Dr. Timothy Larsen, professor of theology at Wheaton College in Illinois, says any growth in interest in atheism is a reflection of the strength of religion -- the former being a parasite that feeds off the latter.

That happened late in the 19th century America when an era of intense religious conviction gave rise to voices like famed agnostic Robert Ingersoll, he said.

For Christianity, he said, "It's very important for people of faith to realize how unsettling and threatening their posture and rhetoric and practice can feel to others. So it's an opportunity for the church to look at itself and say 'we have done things ... that make other people uncomfortable.' It is an opportunity for dialogue."

Larsen, author of the soon-to-be-published "Crisis of Doubt," added that in some sense atheism is "a disappointment with God and with the church. Some of these are people we wounded that we should be handling pastorally rather than with aggressive knockdown debate."

These are also probably some of the same people Harris says he's hearing from after his two books.

"Many, many readers feel utterly isolated in their communities," he said. "They are surrounded by cult members, from their point of view, and are unable to disclose their feelings."

"I get a lot of e-mail just expressing incredible relief that they are not alone ... relieved that I'm writing something that couldn't be said," Harris added.


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"Religion is fragmenting the human community," said Sam Harris

Actually two are, your secular atheism is one and Muhammad's death cult is the other, and you seem to be allied with one another against our Judeo-Christian culture.

1 posted on 10/18/2006 5:25:06 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: 69ConvertibleFirebird; Alexander Rubin; An American In Dairyland; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee or little jeremiah to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

FreeRepublic moral absolutes keyword search
[ Add keyword moral absolutes to flag FR articles to this ping list ]


2 posted on 10/18/2006 5:25:36 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee
Is God dead? Atheism finds a market in U.S

Reuters, we all know who you speak for.

3 posted on 10/18/2006 5:26:04 PM PDT by the invisib1e hand (* nuke * the * jihad *)
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To: MineralMan

BUMP


4 posted on 10/18/2006 5:26:39 PM PDT by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Why can't Republicans stand up to Democrats like they do to terrorists?)
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To: NYer; Coleus; narses; Salvation; Pyro7480; Gamecock; sionnsar; newheart; Huber; FormerLib; ...

Ping.


5 posted on 10/18/2006 5:27:53 PM PDT by wagglebee ("We are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." -- President Bush, 1/20/05)
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To: wagglebee

The fool says in his heart,
"There is no God."


6 posted on 10/18/2006 5:29:01 PM PDT by Michael Goldsberry (Lt. Bruce C. Fryar USN 01-02-70 Laos)
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To: wagglebee

Bring it on baby! Light always overcomes the darkness.


7 posted on 10/18/2006 5:29:13 PM PDT by GOP Poet
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To: Michael Goldsberry
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

Amen! He's clearly not dead...but sometimes I wonder whether He really gives a damn about us or not considering what we put Him through.

8 posted on 10/18/2006 5:30:49 PM PDT by meandog (While Bush will never fill them, Clinton isn't fit to even lick the soles of Reagan's shoes!)
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To: wagglebee

".......and the breakdown of church-state separation......."


OK, my BS meter just went off.


9 posted on 10/18/2006 5:30:50 PM PDT by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: wagglebee

Oh boy...Not another evolution thread. ;-)


10 posted on 10/18/2006 5:30:56 PM PDT by My2Cents (The Democrat Party's '06 platform: Offering a "Suicide Pact With America.")
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To: wagglebee
A greater number of "atheists" and "pagans" adopt the same hackneyed tenets of a faux Judaic-Christian ideal (golden calf). They also subscribe to the Judaic fetishism of "sin," but will fight to their death in denial of it.

Most of them are so wrapped up in their own polemics that they have become nothing more than pathetic anti-Christians with the same false hypocritical philosophy. They just slap a new label on it hoping nobody will notice - - they replace the idea of "avoiding sin" with "morals."

Morality and all of its associated ideals are rooted entirely in the presupposition some higher power defines what is correct for human behavior.

Today, "morals" are a religious pagan philosophy of esoteric hobgoblins. Transfiguration is a pantheon of fantasies as the medium of infinitization. Others get derision for having an unwavering Judaic belief in Yahweh or Yeshua, although their critics and enemies will evangelize insertion of phantasmagoric fetishisms into secular law.

11 posted on 10/18/2006 5:36:20 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: Michael Goldsberry
The fool says in his heart,

"There is no God."

Great bible quote! Here are a few more of similar quality and wisdom:

Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. (Isaiah 16:11)

"and lusted after her paramours there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose emission was like that of stallions." (Ezekiel 23: 21, NRSV)

"But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?" (II Kings 18:27)

Yep. Plenty of wisdom in the good-book.

12 posted on 10/18/2006 5:37:13 PM PDT by mc6809e
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To: wagglebee

I'm starting to think that having a book on the New York Times best seller list is like getting a Nobel Peace Prize. It just don't mean $hit anymore.


13 posted on 10/18/2006 5:46:52 PM PDT by NurdlyPeon (Wearing My 'Jammies Proudly)
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To: wagglebee
a disappointment with God and with the church

Or simply don't need them.

14 posted on 10/18/2006 5:46:58 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: GOP Poet

"There are people who don't believe in Hell until they get there"

There's a village atheist in my small South Carolina hometown, always writing in to the local paper, denouncing believers as ignorant superstitious peasants, threatening to sue local churches for ringing their Sunday bells and invading `his space', but most of all, proclaiming the intellectual superiority of himself and his fellow "brights" (his term!).

Yep, atheists are smarter than everybody else. Don't believe it? Just ask 'em.


15 posted on 10/18/2006 5:47:28 PM PDT by elcid1970
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To: wagglebee
Religion is fragmenting the human community.

Interesting notion. Religion is generally what keeps a community together.
16 posted on 10/18/2006 5:47:30 PM PDT by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: mc6809e
What website did you get those quotes off of?
17 posted on 10/18/2006 5:48:22 PM PDT by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Yes, because they are disappointed with them.
18 posted on 10/18/2006 5:48:53 PM PDT by escapefromboston (manny ortez: mvp)
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To: meandog

It is really ironic in my view that atheism is held by many to be the 'educated' view. Irrespective of he details of what one believes, it is much less defensible, logically, to believe that all of existence has no meaning, than to believe that there is a reason we are here.


19 posted on 10/18/2006 5:50:09 PM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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Atheism = self-deception carried to the extreme!


20 posted on 10/18/2006 5:52:55 PM PDT by crghill
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood
Morality and all of its associated ideals are rooted entirely in the presupposition some higher power defines what is correct for human behavior.

Or a civilization devises a system of morals and then invents a higher power to give them enforcement.

Try a simple logical exercise: If God said murder is okay, would you agree that it is okay? If no, then is murder wrong because God said it's wrong, or is murder simply wrong?

For another example, slavery was allowed under God's word (the Bible) and existed for a very long time in Christian societies. Today it is not acceptable in Christian societies. God's word -- and his morals regarding slavery -- remained the same, but the society evolved and decided that slavery was no longer moral despite God's word.

21 posted on 10/18/2006 5:54:00 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: meandog
He's clearly not dead...but sometimes I wonder whether He really gives a damn about us or not considering what we put Him through.

I don't get this.

Not sure if God "gives a damn about us or not"?

After sending His Son to die of the cross to take all of our punishment, just to redeem us and win us BACK to Himself?

Could there be any question?

22 posted on 10/18/2006 5:54:01 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: headstamp

".......and the breakdown of church-state separation......."


OK, my BS meter just went off.


How, exactly, has Pres. Bush "broken down" separation of church and state? They don't bother to elaborate.


23 posted on 10/18/2006 5:55:09 PM PDT by Redgirl (I'm going straight to Hell, just like my mama said.)
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To: wagglebee
Atheism finds a market in U.S

Agitators who know how to make a buck find a market in U.S.

24 posted on 10/18/2006 5:59:32 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: tacticalogic

OK but don't get "Left Behind".


25 posted on 10/18/2006 6:08:16 PM PDT by Locomotive Breath (In the shuffling madness)
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To: mc6809e; Michael Goldsberry
Let's try quoting the Bible accurately and see what we get, shall we?

Therefore my heart shall resound like a harp for Moab, And my inner being for Kir Heres. Isaiah 16:11 (New King James Version)

Gee, that read differently than what you posted, didn't it? Let's check the next one.

Thus you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth, When the Egyptians pressed your bosom Because of your youthful breasts.Ezekiel 23:21 (New King James Version)

Hmmm, well you really hosed up that one, didn't you! Next?

27 But the Rabshakeh said to them, "Has my master sent me to your master and to you to speak these words, and not to the men who sit on the wall, who will eat and drink their own waste with you?" 2 Kings 18:27 (New King James Version)

Hey, you seem to have gotten that one right at least. Congratulations, you scored a 34%. That's a failing grade just about anywhere.

Yes, there is a lot of wisdom in the Bible, but fools are allowed to post nonsense about it in spite of it.

26 posted on 10/18/2006 6:08:17 PM PDT by FormerLib (Sacrificing our land and our blood cannot buy protection from jihad.-Bishop Artemije of Kosovo)
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To: Jorge
Could there be any question?

Honestly, no Christian has ever been able to explain this to me, and I've read a LOT of apologetics. Jesus is God, correct? God is an omnipotent, omniscient and eternal divine being, right?

So God comes to Earth in his aspect of Jesus Christ, knowing what will happen. This divine and eternal being does a lot of good on Earth, then is subjected to physical death for stirring things up too much. God goes back home to continue his rule.

Now, given that God is omnipotent and eternal, it seems that a little crucifixion wouldn't seem like much to him. At worst it was a slightly unpleasant end to a business trip.

So the end question is, where is the sacrifice?

27 posted on 10/18/2006 6:08:28 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: tacticalogic
Agitators who know how to make a buck find a market in U.S.

I have to agree. I doubt most of these books are sincere scholarship, just the authors looking to exploit a market. I haven't bought any of these recent books.

28 posted on 10/18/2006 6:11:19 PM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: wagglebee
"Religion is fragmenting the human community," said Sam Harris, author of "Letter to a Christian Nation," No. 11 on the New York Times nonfiction list on October 15.

There is a "huge visibility and political empowerment of religion. President George W. Bush uses his first veto to deny funding for stem cell research and scientists everywhere are horrified," he said in an interview...

His "Letter," a blunt 96-page pocket-sized book condensing arguments against belief in quick-fire volleys, appeared on the Times list just ahead of "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins, a scientist at Oxford University and long-time atheist...

These are also probably some of the same people Harris says he's hearing from after his two books.

"Many, many readers feel utterly isolated in their communities," he said. "They are surrounded by cult members, from their point of view, and are unable to disclose their feelings."

"I get a lot of e-mail just expressing incredible relief that they are not alone ...

Uh, if Harris is right, we are ALL quite, quite alone. So "lonely" atheist, stop whining and take it like the random, pointless freak of a mindless, meaningless universe that you believe yourself to be.

29 posted on 10/18/2006 6:12:05 PM PDT by Semi Civil Servant (Colorado: the original Red State.)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Or a civilization devises a system of morals and then invents a higher power to give them enforcement.

Morality is entirely esoteric...

Plato’s Euthyphro is a great illustration. Socrates advances the argument to Euthyphro that, piety to the gods, who all want conflicting devotions and/or actions from humans, is impossible. (Socrates exposed the pagan esoteric sophistry.)

Likewise, morals are such a construction of idols used by the Left as a rationale for them to demand compliance to their wishes in politics, which most often are a skewed mess of fallacies in logic. Morals are a deceptive replacement for the avoidance of sin.

An atheist who says I am immoral is no different than a rabbi or preacher saying I am a sinner. They just slap a new label on it hoping nobody will notice - - they replace the idea of "avoiding sin" with "morals."

Try an experiment. The next time you are confronted by a neo-pagan, New Age animal rights eco-fascist who claims humans were not "designed" or "meant" to eat animal flesh, ask them about the origin of their creationist philosophy. Inherent in such a claim is the idea that there is a "designer" or some divinity of "meaning" in human existence. Would they apply this to abortion, embryonic stem cells, or homosexuality? No?

30 posted on 10/18/2006 6:13:35 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: elcid1970
Yep, atheists are smarter than everybody else. Don't believe it? Just ask 'em.

You know, the great atheist "boom" of the 1960's combined with "mind expanding" drugs gave birth to "New Age Spirituality" -- another religion. And a very primitive, irrational one at that. Perhaps, scientifically, the human brain is hardwired for religion. This is likely for a good reason. Whether one is a Christian, like myself, or any of a number of advanced religions, they are better off for the fact in this life and likely beyond. The more primitive religions don't always work so well for the world community (ie. the murder cult within Islam or the similar Aztec rites of sacrifice).

31 posted on 10/18/2006 6:15:31 PM PDT by JimSEA
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To: mc6809e

Feel better?


32 posted on 10/18/2006 6:30:44 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: antiRepublicrat

It is simplistic to argue that the Bible explicitly commends or permits slavery. The Mosaic code speaks of slaves as being such for 7 years, at the end of which the slave was freed. If the slave wished to stay with his master, then the master could if he wished pearce the slave's ear with an awl which made him a slave for life.(Our nation's beginnings included the use of Indentured servants by some folks who worked usually for a period of time no greater than 7 years to pay for their passages to the New World, an acknowledgement of the Hebrew system by our Puritan forebears)

The NT did not condone slavery per se but rather taught that slaves should remain subject to their masters even though they had become Christians. It did teach however that in Christ all were one, "There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, all are one in HIM"!

So much for scriptural approval...The whole of the Bible speaks of the available freedom from the SLAVERY from sin.... thru Christ Jesus!


33 posted on 10/18/2006 6:33:02 PM PDT by mdmathis6 (Proof against evolution:"Man is the only creature that blushes, or needs to" M.Twain)
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To: pieceofthepuzzle

Atheism elevates the reason of man over the wisdom of God...and that makes the atheist fell superior. And there is no accountability for one's actions.


34 posted on 10/18/2006 6:33:12 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Now, given that God is omnipotent and eternal, it seems that a little crucifixion wouldn't seem like much to him. At worst it was a slightly unpleasant end to a business trip. So the end question is, where is the sacrifice?

Where do I begin. It's a great question but one that astounds me no less.

I don't know how you could describe being crucified as "slightly unpleasant".

It has been called one of the most horrific and painful forms of execution invented.

And this was only the beginning.

He went on to take the punishment for the sins of all mankind, so that He could purchase our redemption...not because He had to, but because He loved us.

This is beyond incredible.

Can you imagine someone you commit an unspeakable crime against, such as murdering his entire family coming to your trial and offering himself to die in the electric chair so you could go free?

What God did through Christ is such a magnificant act of mercy toward us, that come Judgment Day, there will be absolutely no question that God has done everything possible to save us, those who reject salvation have nobody to blame but themselves.

35 posted on 10/18/2006 6:34:56 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: wagglebee
Proof positive Ann Coulter is right: liberals relish being godless!

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

36 posted on 10/18/2006 6:35:12 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Jorge
After sending His Son to die of the cross to take all of our punishment, just to redeem us and win us BACK to Himself? Could there be any question?

Our concept of God comes from Judaism, specifically Abraham which Christianity, Judaism and Islam all claim as a patriarch--but only Christians regard Jesus as the Son of God. Although I do not believe Islam to be a legitimate religious belief because of its inherent Mohammad-inspired violence, I am somewhat of a universalism Christian in that I believe everyone who strives for a Jesus-like life of goodness and mercy has a chance at salvation but the question today is how many are leading such a life? I think that God the Father is mighty P.O.ed with us in allowing Satan so much control (i.e. look at deteriorating American families, entertainment venues where sex and violence dominate, porn, drugs, alcohol, crime, AIDs, etc., etc., and, giving the devil his due, such avoidance of evil things is the only reason that I give Muslims credit with certain religious tenets and practices). So the question really is a question.

37 posted on 10/18/2006 6:36:20 PM PDT by meandog (While Bush will never fill them, Clinton isn't fit to even lick the soles of Reagan's shoes!)
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To: wagglebee
Sam Harris wrote the Secular Jihad Bible. Leave God out of America. Godlessness is fundamental to the faith of the Church Of Liberalism.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." -Manuel II Paleologus

38 posted on 10/18/2006 6:38:37 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: wagglebee

The DBM have been pusing atheism since Time published a cover story titled "God is Dead" back in the 1960s.


39 posted on 10/18/2006 6:39:04 PM PDT by WashingtonSource
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To: wagglebee
CHICAGO (Reuters) - A fresh wave of atheistic books has hit the market this autumn, some climbing onto best-seller lists in what proponents see as a backlash against the way religion is entwined in politics.

Atheism IS a religion, or worldview. It does not get a pass just because it elevates man to position of God. The playing field is level.

40 posted on 10/18/2006 6:40:11 PM PDT by Lexinom (www.VoteYesForLife.com -- the only chance?)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Now, given that God is omnipotent and eternal, it seems that a little crucifixion wouldn't seem like much to him. At worst it was a slightly unpleasant end to a business trip.

You falsely portray the situation. Since God is omnipotent, He can allow whatever He desires to come to pass, even to Himself. The question is not what CAN God do, it is what will God CHOOSE to do.

God comes to Earth in the form of a man. When He does this, He immediately makes Himself subject to whatever a human male suffers. For the first time, God has to eat, drink water, use the bathroom, suffer pain, etc. He doesn't have to, but being omnipotent, He can choose to. And He chooses to as a simple act of compassion.

Now that he is temporarily existing in the form of a human male, God is subject to the extreme agony of crucifixion. This is possibly one of the most painful deaths a human can suffer. It's true that God does indeed go back to heaven and continue His reign, but here's the point: the sacrifice doesn't lie in the fact that He died. The sacrifice lies in the pain He suffered. Essentially, He took on the pain that we humans are required to suffer because of sin. We are required to suffer the pain of existence in Hell. But since crucifixion is such a painful death, and since it quite possibly was as painful as going to Hell, God was suffering the pain of Hell FOR us so that we wouldn't have to. And therein lies the sacrifice.

It's true that God went back to heaven to continue His rule. But He does not forget the sacrifice He made. He chooses to remember it, because He knows he did it out of His love for us. We continue to spit in His eyes and mock and curse Him...but He still remembers out of His love that He endured the pain of Hell for us. It is also worth mentioning that despite being omnipotent, he bears the scars of his death. God, or Jesus, still has scars in His hands where the nails penetrated...and for time and eternity, He will always wear those scars. They will eternally remind Him of the "agony and ecstasy" of creating humanity.

Honestly, no Christian has ever been able to explain this to me, and I've read a LOT of apologetics.

The answer being fairly simple (pardon my long-windednes), I find that hard to believe.

41 posted on 10/18/2006 6:40:48 PM PDT by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: Jorge

See post 41, too. Was that a good answer, do ya think?


42 posted on 10/18/2006 6:43:12 PM PDT by pcottraux (It's pronounced "P. Coe-troe.")
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To: Locomotive Breath
OK but don't get "Left Behind".

HAHAHAHAHA!

Nice post!

43 posted on 10/18/2006 6:46:20 PM PDT by NoCurrentFreeperByThatName (You lie, cheat and steal.)
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To: wagglebee

Atheism sells bumperstickers, just like other useless things do, say, the Oakland Raiders. That's all there's too it!


44 posted on 10/18/2006 6:49:10 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (We all need someone we can bleed on...)
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To: meandog
I am somewhat of a universalism Christian in that I believe everyone who strives for a Jesus-like life of goodness and mercy has a chance at salvation but the question today is how many are leading such a life?

Actually according to Jesus Christ Himself, salvation is a free gift, that nobody could possibly earn by good works of any kind.

A gift that He's paid for totally and completely and gladly gives to ANYONE who will simply believe in and trust Him.

That means none of us will have any excuse whatsoever for missing out on salvation, EXCEPT for outright and consistant rejection of God. Period.

45 posted on 10/18/2006 6:51:16 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: antiRepublicrat
So the end question is, where is the sacrifice?

I think you are using the word "sacrifice" as as a verb meaning a voluntary deprivation as in "I'm sacrificing my vacation to paint my elderly aunt's house".

While that would be an accurate description of what Jesus did, the word "sacrifice" is also used as a noun, as in:

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." Ephesians 5:2

A sacrifice is a substitute. Jesus became a substitute (noun) and offering (noun) for our sins. Explaining the significance of that means getting into heavy duty theology way beyond my ability to capsule in a few words. But I'm just pointing out that to understand Jesus' sacrifice, you have to understand both meanings of the term.

I'm sure you have gotten the response that Jesus' "sacrifice" was "voluntary deprivation" in the extreme (which it was), but I understand why you might not think it was that big a deal given a Divine perspective. But you have to dig into the other meaning of "sacrifice" to understand the full meaning of what Jesus did and became.

Hope that advances the argument for you.

46 posted on 10/18/2006 6:52:17 PM PDT by Semi Civil Servant (Colorado: the original Red State.)
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To: wagglebee

Faith Does Breed Charity
We atheists have to accept that most believers are better human beings. Roy Hattersley

Hurricane Katrina did not stay on the front pages for long. Yesterday's Red Cross appeal for an extra 40,000 volunteer workers was virtually ignored.

The disaster will return to the headlines when one sort of newspaper reports a particularly gruesome discovery or another finds additional evidence of President Bush's negligence. But month after month of unremitting suffering is not news. Nor is the monotonous performance of the unpleasant tasks that relieve the pain and anguish of the old, the sick and the homeless - the tasks in which the Salvation Army specialise.

The Salvation Army has been given a special status as provider-in-chief of American disaster relief. But its work is being augmented by all sorts of other groups. Almost all of them have a religious origin and character.

Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers' clubs and atheists' associations - the sort of people who not only scoff at religion's intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a positive force for evil.

The arguments against religion are well known and persuasive. Faith schools, as they are now called, have left sectarian scars on Northern Ireland. Stem-cell research is forbidden because an imaginary God - who is not enough of a philosopher to realise that the ingenuity of a scientist is just as natural as the instinct of Rousseau's noble savage - condemns what he does not understand and the churches that follow his teaching forbid their members to pursue cures for lethal diseases.

Yet men and women who believe that the Pope is the devil incarnate, or (conversely) regard his ex cathedra pronouncements as holy writ, are the people most likely to take the risks and make the sacrifices involved in helping others. Last week a middle-ranking officer of the Salvation Army, who gave up a well-paid job to devote his life to the poor, attempted to convince me that homosexuality is a mortal sin.

Late at night, on the streets of one of our great cities, that man offers friendship as well as help to the most degraded and (to those of a censorious turn of mind) degenerate human beings who exist just outside the boundaries of our society. And he does what he believes to be his Christian duty without the slightest suggestion of disapproval. Yet, for much of his time, he is meeting needs that result from conduct he regards as intrinsically wicked.

Civilised people do not believe that drug addiction and male prostitution offend against divine ordinance. But those who do are the men and women most willing to change the fetid bandages, replace the sodden sleeping bags and - probably most difficult of all - argue, without a trace of impatience, that the time has come for some serious medical treatment. Good works, John Wesley insisted, are no guarantee of a place in heaven. But they are most likely to be performed by people who believe that heaven exists.

The correlation is so clear that it is impossible to doubt that faith and charity go hand in hand. The close relationship may have something to do with the belief that we are all God's children, or it may be the result of a primitive conviction that, although helping others is no guarantee of salvation, it is prudent to be recorded in a book of gold, like James Leigh Hunt's Abu Ben Adam, as "one who loves his fellow men". Whatever the reason, believers answer the call, and not just the Salvation Army. When I was a local councillor, the Little Sisters of the Poor - right at the other end of the theological spectrum - did the weekly washing for women in back-to-back houses who were too ill to scrub for themselves.

It ought to be possible to live a Christian life without being a Christian or, better still, to take Christianity à la carte. The Bible is so full of contradictions that we can accept or reject its moral advice according to taste. Yet men and women who, like me, cannot accept the mysteries and the miracles do not go out with the Salvation Army at night.

The only possible conclusion is that faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make them morally superior to atheists like me. The truth may make us free. But it has not made us as admirable as the average captain in the Salvation Army.

By Guardian Unlimited © Copyright Guardian Newspapers 2006
Published: 9/12/2005

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/9-12-2005-76579.asp


47 posted on 10/18/2006 6:54:50 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: mc6809e

Ping


48 posted on 10/18/2006 6:55:41 PM PDT by PetroniusMaximus
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To: pcottraux
See post 41, too. Was that a good answer, do ya think?

Excellent. You nailed it.

It's great to read a post that's true to the Gospel.

49 posted on 10/18/2006 6:56:05 PM PDT by Jorge
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To: wagglebee
Their conception of God, the Divine-Human-World relationship are much too simplistic and materialistic."

Yea, God in his simplicity was doomed to a slow death once humanity came to realize that they held more wisdom than the creator of human kind.

50 posted on 10/18/2006 6:56:26 PM PDT by EGPWS (Lord help me be the conservative liberals fear I am.)
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