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Mery GodDam Christmas

Hey all,

Hope you are all having a great holiday season.  We are having way too much fun with family to post a new article this week.  Check back next week to see what our new topic is for the month of January.  We are looking forward to a great new year at the God Dam Blog.  Currently we are on the verge of 3000 all time views and we are adding new followers all the time. Can’t wait to get back to it after the new year.  Hope you all have a great one.  See you next year.

 

~James

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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Religion

 

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Straight Christians for Gay Rights?

This weeks post is brought to you via our newest GodDam blogger.  Check back soon to hear more from Arayl and feel free to comment with your questions.

             Recently I had an interesting discussion about a new popular Sunday School curriculum known as “The Truth Project.” One of the sections in the curriculum deals with politics and poses the question, “Would you rather have a Mormon or an Atheist as the President?” Because the topic this week is Atheism I thought that my issue with this question might add to the conversation.

It seems that the question assumes someone’s political views and leadership abilities are strictly based on the religion that they claim. But is this really the case?  Plenty of people that would claim Christianity as their religion might also vote pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and pro-plenty of other more liberal views. Likewise, though we could find many stereotypical atheists who uphold liberal views, we could also find plenty who hold one or two conservative views.

Aside from the differences in political views within religious sects, there are plenty of people who hold my same religious and political views, who I would never put in office based on their inability to be strong leaders. One example of this is George W. Bush. As much as I can identify with him as a southern-raised-christian-conservative I would never have voted for him because of his inability to speak with confidence and be a strong leader. This standard for voting goes both ways. Though Bill Clinton claimed Christianity and had strong leadership and public speaking skills, his actions disagreed with traditional Christian morals.

I’m not trying to tell people how to vote here but what I am getting at is something much more universal. This basic principle is summarized simply by saying, “Because of the differences within religions, we can not judge people’s moral or political views strictly based on the religion that they claim.”

What I mean by this is that it is absurd to jump to the conclusion that some one is some sort of free-sex, pro-choice, hippy simply because they don’t believe in God. Rather than jumping to these conclusions we should sit down and talk to people about their views. When they say Atheist, what do they actually mean? When we say Christian, what do we mean?

So do you have any non-stereotypical views? Are you a conservative Christian who advocates gay rights or a liberal atheist who dislikes gun control?  Maybe you’re an Evangelical that doesn’t believe in innerancy, or the trinity.  That’s fine, the GodDam Blog was designed to ask those questions and struggle with those answers.  Comment below with your non-stereotyped views. We’d love to talk to you about them.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our email list over on the right hand side of the page.

-Arayl

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Atheism, Politics, Religion

 

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Know your Lenses

Know your Lenses

So this month we are talking about atheism. A great topic that I’m sure will generate plenty of hits to our blog. I want to write this week on presuppositions or the lenses which each of us views life. These are things that each and every one of us has within our minds which we bring with us as we interpret the external stimuli and ideas we are presented with. A most basic presupposition that we all carry is that gravity exists. In other words we never really have to think that when we get out of bed our feet will be pulled down, we just assume that they will. Of course this is an extremely basic one that has little philosophical weight.
However even more than something like gravity we all carry with us presuppositions about how the world should work and what should make sense. These can, and often are, a detriment to us unless we spend time double checking them. It is absolutely crucial that we as human beings become aware of these presuppositions lest we shut out ideas or individuals for illegitimate reasons.
This is an issue that time and time again gets in the way of two individuals sharing ideas and discussing them intelligently. For instance, I am a Christian and thus one of the major presuppositions I carry with me is that God exists (this of course brings with it a load of other presuppositions). Any discussion on the beginning of the world or about the nature of man is automatically put through the lens of this presupposition. It is not necessarily a bad thing but it is something that would undoubtedly put me at odds with someone who prescribes to a naturalism world view.
Now I do not have the time or the room to sit and unpack every possible presupposition that I or others have, however this is not my intent with this week’s post. Instead I simply want to begin a conversation on the importance of being aware of the self. In being aware of not only our own but also the presuppositions of others is crucial, especially in the area of philosophical and religious discussions. It allows us to be more open and less judgmental of ideas that are not our own. It makes us better defenders of our stances in that we are more readily able to discuss the issues others have with our beliefs. Most importantly it can aid in making discussions more mutually beneficial and help in keeping them from becoming a heated emotional shouting match.
So I urge everyone; Christian, atheist, naturalist, new age, young old, male or female to realize that they carry with them a lens through which they view and interpret everything in this world. It is not necessary to rid the self of these presuppositions but simply being aware of the impact they have on every aspect of our lives is crucial.
-Ender

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in Atheism, Philosophy

 

Is God Logical?

Lets get straight to the point.  All of us cling to traditions that were part of our lives growing up and now some of us are challenging those traditions.  Whether these traditions are religious or just other ways to live out life.  I’m going to attempt to add to what James was saying about looking at the Bible and reality.  I’m going to add culture to the equation (which is part of biblical interpretation) and try to help us all understand this difficult cluster of life’s crap we are all trying to balance out.

First, let me make clear that I believe all of God’s decisions are logical.  Lets not forget that we are merely human and God created logic and reason (if you believe in a God).  In life we all experience moments that seem so illogical to us that it must be certain that God forgot what he was doing.  This brings us to ask questions about religion, God, the Bible, eternity, or whatever we put our faith in.  God wants us to ask question and use the brain he gave us to grow in our faith and challenge ourselves as well as others. If we just go through life never questioning our own beliefs than shame on us.

Now that we have gotten to the point of questioning our belief system, as Christians we look to the Bible first.  We look to the Bible to find answers. Guess what? Most of the time we find the answers we are looking for.  The problem is that we find answers that we want to hear and stop there. Again shame on all of us for doing this (I’m including myself).  This is where bad traditions in the church and the “Christian life” come from and start to screw everything up.  We misinterpret the Bible and create a belief based on false foundations.

As Christians we distort reality or distort the Bible to fit our liking.  I became a writer of this blog to stop this from happening.  I’m sick of the “Christian life” and living the way the church tells me to live.  These ways of living are distorted and have created so much turmoil among the Christian community it makes me beyond angry.

Now this is where culture needs to get added to the equation.  The reality is that culture changes and since the Bible was written culture has changed a lot (that is an understatement).  I will use slavery for an example since it was used in previous comments on the last post.  Slavery in the Bible never seems to be a problem or a sin but we choose as American Christians that slavery is wrong. I totally agree with the previous statement and I’m sure most people do.  This is a great example of Christians using their own brains and questioning their beliefs.  The problem is that we stop using our brains when defining the correct way to live out our lives as believers in Christ.

I want to challenge Christians to reevaluate their traditions, church culture, and walk with Jesus.  Actually read the Bible for what it is and keep it in context.  See how the Bible can work in today’s reality and culture.  Talk to people with a different belief system and learn more about life outside the church and Christianity.  Question ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  I also want to challenge people of others beliefs to share your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs.  Share with us how you perceive Christians and dialog with us.  The GodDamblog Team wants to here everyone’s thoughts.

~K.R. Morris

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog. Lets start learning from each other, so leave a comment.

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2011 in Bible, church, Logic, Religion

 

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It’s time for a reality check!

Well, it’s time for a new topic.  In case you’re stopping by for the first time, each month we pick a new topic to talk about and one of our four authors starts it off on the first week of the month.  Then each author takes a turn adding to what the previous author started.  Our hope and goal is to eventually have a GodDam Book where we turn our “topics” into chapters.   Last month was our first month trying this out and we really got a great response and some awesome feedback so here goes round two.

In the last month or so, the God Dam blog actually got quite a bit of traffic from a site called exchristian.net.  It was really cool to connect with a community of people who have been involved in the church in the past but are now atheist, agnostic, existentialist etc… It was interesting to hear some of the stories and dialogue with some of the people involved in a community that to be honest acts more like the church is supposed to than the church usually does.

With that in mind, as well as my own fascination with naturalism, I decided to make this month’s topic atheism.  I’ve recently started following a blog called the “friendly atheist” and this weekend they posted a video of Greta Christina (check out her blog here) and her speech titled, “Why Are Atheists So Angry”.  It’s about an hour-long but at least for me, it was worth it.

She begins her talk explaining why so many atheists are angry.  She talks about the oppressed women, and the raped children that religion seems to ignore if not encourage.  She talks about stupidity and close mindedness and hypocrisy but about 28 minutes in she makes an observation that I really thought was interesting.

To start off you must know her definition of religion. She gives it at about 26:40. She says that, “Religion is a belief in supernatural entities or forces that have an effect on the natural world. These entities or forces are invisible, inaudible, intangible and otherwise undetectable by any natural means.”  Now obviously we can debate whether or not this is the best definition for religion but that’s really not the point, so for the sake of the argument just go with it.

She goes on to say that because religion is based on invisible, inaudible, intangible, and otherwise undetectable sources, it has the potential to be very dangerous because there is no reality check.  This is something that I noticed my senior year in Bible College.  I saw professors and classmates who were convinced by scripture of certain things that simply didn’t work in real life.  They were rigid and unflinching and even made the claim that if evidence could be found to disprove them, they would not change because of what was stated in the Bible.

The general consensus is that Theology informs reality.  To me, that is kind of silly.  What if you’ve read the Bible wrong?  It’s happened before, just ask Galileo.

I feel like a more balanced approach is necessary for Christians. The bible is important but if what we see in reality doesn’t match up, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate.  If God is logical, and if he spoke through scripture into a logical world, then the Bible ought to work in reality. If it doesn’t then one of two things is happening.  Either we understand reality incorrectly, or we are reading the Bible wrong.

Christians need to start using the brains that God gave them and they need to add the reality check that seems to be missing in theology.

~James

P.S. Please leave feedback below, subscribe via email, or rss feed to the right, and come back next week for more on this same topic.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Atheism, Philosophy

 

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Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

Hurt shouldn’t make us deaf

I am one of those stereotypical Christians who has been very much damaged by my relationship with the church and the Church. I have not been entirely driven away from faith, but where I currently stand in regards to God and church is a place far removed from what most Christians would consider “enough”.

I am not going to try and defend where I currently am; I understand that by definition I am not being a very good Christian. Right now I am kind of okay with that. At the same time I am doing my best to not appear as a super Christian; I am not serving in a church currently, nor am I disciplining anyone. Anyone who comes to me for any kind of counsel or theological discussion is told about where I currently am; I will still talk with them but I do my best to make it known to them that I do not want to put on a mask of false piety.

I wanted to start a discussion from this side of the road, following in the vein of our “topic” this month. Knowing all of the other authors of this blog quite well, I’m comfortable saying I am in a unique place amongst them. I know James (as mentioned in his previous post ) discussed his own questioning. I am not really at the questioning phase of this journey just yet.

I am apathetic and I know that this is a problem that falls on my shoulders. I refuse to blame this on anyone or any particular church. However a large part of my disillusionment with Christianity is that so many Christians live hypocritical lives (myself included, I gladly point the finger at myself). I feel that my current place gives me a unique view of both believers and non-believers alike; I am not fully sold out on Christianity and yet I am not walking away from God just yet. It has given me several opportunities to speak to non-believers and have them be open considering I am not “cramming Christ down their throats.”

Now you might be asking why I have spent so much time talking about this. I want us to talk about talking. Discussions between believers and non-believers are not happening enough. Any more it only seems to be Christians sit in their groups talking in hushed tones and the non-believers are on the other side of some figurative border in their own groups. Right now most of the communication across this “border” is in the form of shouts and accusations, full of anger or judgment that has not brought either side ahead of the other.

Christians: stop bringing only messages of “You’re wrong!” and judgment to the table. Listen and openly discuss with those that hold different views from you. You’d be surprised how much you might actually learn.

Non-Christians: stop closing your ears on what you might consider “silly superstitions” and anger over judgment. Not every single Christian is responsible for the hurt that has been dealt to you; in fact it is probably the vast minority that you should be angry at. Be willing to talk and listen to them in their beliefs. You might find some things that shock you in their legitimacy and positive effects on the world.

Let’s stop fighting and start talking like civilized adults instead, what do you say?

-Ender

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in church, disillusionment, Failure, Philosophy, Religion

 

Are you Scared?

It’s one thing to be willing to ask yourself life’s tough questions.  It’s another to be willing to live with the consequences of life’s tough answers.  I might just be equally terrified of both.  I think KR Morris did a good job of opening up the subject for us last week but I’d like to take it one step further.

If you didn’t catch his post, check out Pointing Fingers in the Right Place.  His basic premise, just as a recap, was that many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, blame others for the pain in their life and point fingers in all the wrong places, rather than turning the scrutiny on themselves and having the balls to ask themselves the tough questions.

This week I’d like to navigate away from the original path and follow a rabbit trail for a bit to see where it takes us.

I’m convinced that there are certain ideals in every circle of influence that you just don’t question.  They are debates that have long been decided and it’s just understood that it would be counter productive to continue revisiting them.  I can speak best in regard to Conservative Evangelicalism because that’s what I know.  For conservative evangelicals the list of things that you just don’t question is quite extensive.   The nature of the Trinity, the full humanity and full Divinity of Christ, the Inerrancy of Scripture.

Depending on which brand of evangelical and the severity of the fundamentalism that exists, the list can get longer.  The virgin birth, literal 7 days of creation, biblically defined gender roles and the restriction of women from Church office, alcohol consumption, sex before marriage, and the list goes on.  In these, and countless other issues, you just don’t ask why.  And if you do ask why, you answer it quick and move on.

About a year ago the shit hit the fan and I got pissed. I’d had enough.  I was sick of the stereotypical answers.  Sick of the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy that raged in the circles that I found myself in.  So I started asking the questions, privately at first.  Why is sex wrong?  Is it really only for marriage?  Can I legitimately back that up in Scripture?  Why can’t a woman be a pastor?  I wouldn’t settle for the typical, “because the Bible says so” answer.  I wouldn’t even settle for finding the answers in scripture.  I began to ask questions of the Bible itself.  Why does Paul not permit women to teach or exercise authority in the church at EphesusWhy does the Bible seem to call Christians to a life of celibacy?

The questioning spread and got progressively scarier.  I started to question the legitimacy of canonicity.  I started to question the doctrine of inspiration as well as inerrancy and I found that they lacked a certain “set in stone” quality that I had just assumed for the last lifetime.  When the day came that I finally began to legitimately question the authority and legitimacy of the Bible, I was terrified.  I realized that the answers to my questions might lead me away from classical evangelicalism.  They might lead me away from Christianity.  It’s a type of fear that’s difficult to verbalize and almost stopped my journey of questions.

I’ve always said that my goal in life is to seek truth and I’ve more than once dropped the line that “if you can find the body of Christ and prove that it’s him, I’ll be an atheist tomorrow.” but did I really believe that?  Was I really willing to follow-through with such a life, career, and paradigm altering switch.  Was I willing to abandon Christianity, if in fact I found that it was not true?  Some might call this a lack of faith and if you really feel that’s what it is then fine.  The relationship between faith and reason is a different blog for a different day.

The honest answer was that I wasn’t willing to walk away, but I felt that an honest search for truth mandated that I be willing to follow truth no matter what that truth ended up being.

Fear set in.  “I work at a church.  If I decide that the bible is not inerrant, that creation actually took billions of years, and that women can and should be pastors… They may not want me to continue working for them.”  I was terrified.

I’m still working through many of these issues so I don’t have the ending to the story yet.  I can say that as of right now I haven’t found anything that will put me outside the scope of evangelicalism or get me fired.  I do however hold several views that are different than those of the leaders at my church and I’m aware that those views may lead us to part ways in the future but for now I strive for unity, for tolerance, for grace, and for love.

I cannot and will not abandon the questions and the potential implications of their answers.  To do so would eat me alive from the inside out.  My conscience simply would not allow it.  Maybe this is where faith comes in to play.  I have faith that the questions that I ask, though their answers may change the way I think and live, will lead me to truth.  That if God exists, and I believe that he does, this truth will lead me to him.

I believe that faith should constantly evolve and grow.  We have done something wrong when we stop asking questions and dealing with the implications of the answers.

So far my journey has been more liberating, confirming, and inspiring that I could have imagined.  I hope that you have the same luck.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in church, Doubt

 

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