Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#261  Postby Fallible » Oct 01, 2013 3:12 pm

And again.
She battled through in every kind of tribulation,
She revelled in adventure and imagination.
She never listened to no hater, liar,
Breaking boundaries and chasing fire.
Oh, my my! Oh my, she flies!
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#262  Postby Cito di Pense » Oct 01, 2013 3:13 pm

Monas wrote:
archibald wrote:
Monas wrote:

Do you really think solitary imprisonment is a good control group for a voluntary silent retreat?


And do you really thing that you feeling all affected is a good test for whether prayer has any supernatural connections?


No, and I specifically said earlier I didn't mean "feeling" anything as essential. The "evidence" that prayer is having an affect, I would say, is whether our lives are changed in any way in line with our prayers.


Bzzzzzt! Game over, Monas. Thanks for playing, but whether your life is changed by prayer is described in an anecdote. You do all sorts of other things besides pray, and what changed your life is way over-determined to provide credence for your own anecdotes as to what changed your life. You're repeating yourself, and rather tediously, at that. It is your 'feeling' that prayer changed your life. Not good enough. It's an anecdote.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#263  Postby Monas » Oct 01, 2013 3:16 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:Bzzzzzt! Game over, Monas. Thanks for playing, but whether your life is changed by prayer is described in an anecdote. You do all sorts of other things besides pray, and what changed your life is way over-determined to provide credence for your own anecdotes as to what changed your life. You're repeating yourself, and rather tediously, at that. It is your 'feeling' that prayer changed your life. Not good enough. It's an anecdote.


What is an anecdote to one person is an experience to another. Do you treat your own experiences with equal weight to hearing about other people's experiences? If not, then I suggest that treating the two as the same category is an error.

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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#264  Postby Regina » Oct 01, 2013 3:21 pm

The bishop aka Monas wrote: But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an affect on you

Affect is another word for emotion. But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an emotion on you.
Is that what your are trying to say? It's an expression I'm not familiar with, being a foreigner an' all.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#265  Postby Monas » Oct 01, 2013 3:25 pm

Regina wrote:
The bishop aka Monas wrote: But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an affect on you

Affect is another word for emotion. But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an emotion on you.
Is that what your are trying to say? It's an expression I'm not familiar with, being a foreigner an' all.


No, I certainly didn't mean emotional (though perhaps that may be part of it for some, such as relief from depression or anxiety). In my own case a significant change was escape from addiction. This wasn't a warm feeling (quite the opposite at the time) but a real change in life. Handing control over to God is still an approach many addiction centres recommend - it is at the heart of Twelve Step programmes.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#266  Postby Matthew Shute » Oct 01, 2013 4:12 pm

As far as anyone here can tell, Monas, it was you and those around you who were able to beat your addiction.

Now, you feel that God somehow helped you with the addiction because you did some praying? You feel this. So what? Why would anyone else find your subjective guesswork convincing? Given that you're choosing to tell us all this, I mean.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#267  Postby Cito di Pense » Oct 01, 2013 4:18 pm

Monas wrote:
What is an anecdote to one person is an experience to another. Do you treat your own experiences with equal weight to hearing about other people's experiences? If not, then I suggest that treating the two as the same category is an error.


I don't blab about my experiences unless I can point to something that somebody else can experience. Prayer? Show us how it's done.

Quite evidently, you experienced yourself, and from my perspective, your reaction to that is not making a good case for anything but self-absorption. If you say it was of more than that, come up with the evidence and we can talk. What do you say you experienced? Oneness with the All? My experience of you is of tedium and boredom. Bend a spoon, man. Wake up the room.

Monas wrote:Protracted silence does often affect people in a surprisingly strong way.


Given all the blabbing you seem capable of anonymously in skeptic internet forums, I've got no evidence whatsoever that you're in any way prone to episodes of protracted silence.

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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#268  Postby Monas » Oct 01, 2013 4:43 pm

Regina wrote:Affect is another word for emotion.


It also simply means "make a difference to", as in "the heat began to affect my health".
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#269  Postby Cito di Pense » Oct 01, 2013 4:46 pm

Monas wrote:
Regina wrote:Affect is another word for emotion.


It also simply means "make a difference to", as in "the heat began to affect my health".


But that is not how you used it, above, where 'effect' was the appropriate spelling, and you used it as a noun rather than a verb.

Monas wrote:[But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an affect on you - if it affects 1,000 other people but not you then you'll remain skeptical, but if it affects you while 1,000 others are unaffected then you'll probably continue.


If I were you, I'd pray for better diction.
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Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#270  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Oct 01, 2013 5:58 pm

Monas wrote:
Scar wrote:Quite. Hence: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

Monas, any idea?


Oh, wow, that's a bigee! It's essentially the "why does God allow some, but not others, to suffer?" The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes is in sympathy with all of us who struggle with that question - "Everything is in vain!". I like the writer of that book, I think he (assuming a "he") sums up what we all feel and think at times. The writer of Job nearly goes there as well, but essentially says "you can't judge God, you don't know enough", whereas the writer of Ecclesiastes just says it as it is.

The short answer is "I don't know", though that doesn't necessarily stop me talking about it Monas @ Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?:)

You don't find it all convenient that the miraculous healings provided by your God don't extend to obvious physical things like regrowing limbs or healing deformities?
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#271  Postby Regina » Oct 01, 2013 6:05 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Monas wrote:
Regina wrote:Affect is another word for emotion.


It also simply means "make a difference to", as in "the heat began to affect my health".


But that is not how you used it, above, where 'effect' was the appropriate spelling, and you used it as a noun rather than a verb.

Monas wrote:[But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an affect on you - if it affects 1,000 other people but not you then you'll remain skeptical, but if it affects you while 1,000 others are unaffected then you'll probably continue.


If I were you, I'd pray for better diction.

But in the more hands-on monastic way, i.e. by consulting a dictionary, which also happens to be quite meditative. So many birds with one stone! :thumbup:
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#272  Postby Scar » Oct 01, 2013 7:59 pm

Matthew Shute wrote:As far as anyone here can tell, Monas, it was you and those around you who were able to beat your addiction.

Now, you feel that God somehow helped you with the addiction because you did some praying? You feel this. So what? Why would anyone else find your subjective guesswork convincing? Given that you're choosing to tell us all this, I mean.


You know, God helps people with their addiction in some undetermined way. Yet, he heals no amputees... or saves starving children and stuff.

What a nice dude.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#273  Postby Rumraket » Oct 01, 2013 8:26 pm

Scar wrote:
Matthew Shute wrote:As far as anyone here can tell, Monas, it was you and those around you who were able to beat your addiction.

Now, you feel that God somehow helped you with the addiction because you did some praying? You feel this. So what? Why would anyone else find your subjective guesswork convincing? Given that you're choosing to tell us all this, I mean.


You know, God helps people with their addiction in some undetermined way. Yet, he heals no amputees... or saves starving children and stuff.

What a nice dude.

God always does these vague, invisible deeds that can't be really checked and verified. Like, causing cancer to go into remission... or helping with some kind of psychological disability. But something concrete, something observable and tangible, like curing downs syndrome or regrowing lost limbs.. NEVER.

To anyone who can think it's pretty obvious what's really going on. God doesn't really exist, which is why tangible, testable and concrete actions are never undertaking but it.

In the end it's simply human beings fixing their own problems. The human psyche is complicated and intricate, and human beings can sometimes come to certain realizations all by themselves, or make themselves believe they have been cured of their psychological ailments. Cancers sometimes naturally go into remission because the cancer cells mutate and begin to die, or your immune system somehow finds a way to combat them. All of these things can happen naturally, but regrowing an entire lost leg can't. That's why god doesn't do it, because god isn't actually there doing these things, it's really just nature doing it's things the way we understand them through science.

It really is baffling to me why the religious can't simply get this. It is so utterly fucking obvious. Wake the fuck up for fucks sake, please, for your own sake and everyone around you.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#274  Postby Alan B » Oct 01, 2013 9:55 pm

Perhaps, Monas, you could read this book and find out just how non-unique this Jesus fellow was:
Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings: The Common Teachings of Four World Religions by Richard Hooper.

You can read an excerpt at Google Books here.

Just a thought.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#275  Postby Byron » Oct 02, 2013 12:00 am

nunnington wrote:With reference to the posts by archibald and Cito above, I would have thought that non-believers would be less interested in Jesus himself, and more in why people have been interested in him. In relation to eschatology, this could be opened up to consider its recurrence in human thought, including political expressions of it, as in the French Revolution. Indeed, arguably Marxism is the most dramatic modern form of eschatological thought, although of course it seemed to end up aborted, in the frozen gulags, or the execution cellars of the KGB. 'Storm the gates of heaven' was the cry over the Paris Commune, and religious language has often been borrowed to describe political movements.

I suppose one might argue that eschatology and soteriology are now redundant, both in a religious and a political form. Maybe.

Yep, the reasons behind the apocalyptic instinct is a major source of my interest. Most obviously, it's rooted in feelings of desperation and helplessness in the fact of unbearable suffering, but it also manifests among people who are materially and socially fixed. All those stockbrokers with Alpha Course flyers and "verse for the day" fortune-cookie emails. I'm not overcome with sympathy for those whose ennui is rooted in comfort, but it undoubtedly exists, and fuels self-help evangelical Christianity. "There must be something more to life than this!" Well yes, there is, but it'll take more than a taxi to HTB to find it.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#276  Postby Byron » Oct 02, 2013 12:09 am

archibald wrote:There is an elephant in the room here, and it's often seen here in the Xianity forum.

Whatever is or was interesting about Jesus (assuming he existed at all, which is not an unreasonable position, imo) it has to be what nuggets, if any, of general philosophical 'wisdom' he spouted, and I'm sure, like anyone whoever spouted a lot, as he apparently did, some of it may have been of interest, simply by the law of averages and because he may have been a tad charismatic and perhaps even revolutionary, in the sense that he had at least some ideas that had not until that time been as well developed or articulated (though even here I'm sceptical as to how much he moved things along and while his historic role may have amounted to something, he's arguably both overrated and outdated).

But, and here comes Dumbo, there is no rational reason to pay any attention to his eschatology, in the fudgy way that has been done in the last few pages here by several xianity-leaning club members who can't see the wood for the trees.

In essence, a consideration of Jesus' eschatology is the litmus test for any appraisal. It failed. Of course it did. How on earth could it not? He was, if he existed, just a bloke, a superstitious fool, steeped in nonsense, just like all so-called gurus and prophets and apocalyptics before him and since. All the rest is just commentary, and has the whiff of fetish about it, for it manages to dodge the question, 'well, if Jesus was soooo wrong about his theology, why should we even talk about it and indeed is his credibility not badly crippled as a result?'

Instead we get questions like 'Are you suggesting that Jesus' resurrection was not the coming of the kingdom in power?' from a person who surely knows full well that there was not only no resurrection, but that eschatology as a general topic is worthless to the rational mind, but doesn't want to admit that this ought to make any discussion on 'the kingdom coming in power' so irrelevant to meaningful rational discourse that it arguably doesn't warrant considering and that laboured and embarrassing exercises in apologetics, such as have been cited, are nothing more than lame attempts to rescue from the trash heap what could only ever have been woo in the first place, if you think about it, because how on earth can an atheist think that theology is anything else, at bottom?

As I said to nunnington, my interest is anthropological as much as it is anything. I'm also interested in an abstract sense, in much the same way that I enjoy sci-fi musing about a fictional universe's internal consistency. How did Jesus' endtime thinking slot into 1st century Jewish thought, and so on. Jesus' worldview and cosmology were, undoubtedly, wrong in a scientific sense, just as Horace's were, but a failure to possess 21st century knowledge doesn't invalidate everything they said and did.

I do agree, as it happens, that interest in Jesus' life can get fetishistic. Before I abandoned it to itself, I expressed the view in the Thread Without a Prayer that the general historical "quests" into his life have gone about as far as they can go. There'll always be minutiae about Jesus' life and teaching to explore, but the wider picture of an apocalyptic folk preacher is set. You can only do so much with the available data.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#277  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 02, 2013 12:15 am

willhud9 wrote:Vengeance belongs to the Lord. Turn the other cheek applied to our reactions on earth towards fellow man. Sin is still sin in theology.


That's fine if we're supposed to turn the other cheek in the knowledge that the Lord will avenge the slight, but it still doesn't resolve the problem.

The Christian prays the Our Father: "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." And, turning the other cheek like a good disciple, he gets his sins forgiven. The heathen, who does not pray for God's forgiveness and seemingly can't expect to receive it, gets eternal hellfire. God won't turn the other cheek himself, yet he gives his sycophants a free pass on the basis of their credulity. Whatever this is, it's not justice and it's not consistent. What's good for the goose ought to be good for the gander.
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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#278  Postby Moses de la Montagne » Oct 02, 2013 12:29 am

archibald wrote:Well, minas, this is not, despite what some seem to think, a bible study website.


"Minas." Heh. I think I shall call him "Micheas," which is a melding of "Michael" and "Monas," as well as the Latinization of the Hebrew prophet Micah in the Vulgate bible. Not that he will deign to acknowledge me now, having mentioned his sockpuppetry.

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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#279  Postby MarkP80 » Oct 02, 2013 12:58 am

Monas wrote:
Regina wrote:
The bishop aka Monas wrote: But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an affect on you

Affect is another word for emotion. But surely what matters most is whether prayer has an emotion on you.
Is that what your are trying to say? It's an expression I'm not familiar with, being a foreigner an' all.


No, I certainly didn't mean emotional (though perhaps that may be part of it for some, such as relief from depression or anxiety). In my own case a significant change was escape from addiction. This wasn't a warm feeling (quite the opposite at the time) but a real change in life. Handing control over to God is still an approach many addiction centres recommend - it is at the heart of Twelve Step programmes.

This is OT, but I just want to mention that I've been in a similar situation.
I was addicted to crack cocaine, and I kept praying and asking God to help me quit.
I have a very long post detailing all this.
To sum things up, when I finally beat my addiction, I was so thankful to God that I wanted to know everything about him.
So I started reading.
A lot.
I went from Catholic, to gnostic Christian, to diest, and finally, The God Delusion helped me cross the border to atheism.
I now know that all that time, it was me and my family that beat that addiction.
But my belief in God did help.
It helped because I would feel ashamed that God was watching me get high, when just a while ago I was asking for his help to stop.
But there was no one there, it was just me.
So yeah, prayer might work, in a sense.
But not because there's anyone listening on the other end.
Rather because you focus on those thoughts and it helps you reach your goal, all by yourself.


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Re: Does anyone actually find Jesus interesting?

#280  Postby MrFungus420 » Oct 02, 2013 2:52 am

Monas wrote:
trubble76 wrote:So are you saying that people don't change anyway? You say your god and faith in it changes people slowly, I think people change slowly anyway, faith or no faith, god or no god.

Perhaps is it not necessarily scripture, prayer and the sacraments that change people, perhaps it is simply inevitable that people slowly change over time.


Oh, I'm sure all people change. Each person probably knows, if they reflect, what have been the major influences of change in their lives. For me a significant influence has been time in prayer. So I think at a minimum I would say that my faith has changed me. I would, of course, say that God has done the work there, but I realise many here would not take that view.


And you are still ignoring the point that people in virtually every religion make that claim AND that people undergo such changes WITHOUT any religion at all.

So, since such changes happen regardless of a person's religion or lack thereof, what is your justification for saying that YOUR change is evidence of YOUR god?
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