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Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 9:28 AM Reply   
Because you display it publicly, I'm going to ask publicly because I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one wondering:

Wes, why is God/Christianity such a hot button topic with you. You spend a lot of energy on the topic. What's going on with that...?
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 9:29 AM Reply   
Oh, okay.. thanks for the clarification.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 9:35 AM Reply   
Oh, the guilt of skimming.. Sorry, Chris.. you pretty much asked the same question. I'm a tool.
Old     (sjmedic)      Join Date: May 2004       01-16-2010, 9:44 AM Reply   
Maybe its kinda like this.....forgive the simplicity of it all, but the arguments are becoming nasty and exhausting. I guess i see it this way.....Religion and belief in God can be two very different things. I liken it to car insurance. Now hear me out before you start rolling on the floor laughing.
I have car insurance because I want to be covered if I get into an accident. Regardless of whether that person has insurance or not. I they also have insurance, no sweat, we talk to our agent, get the matter resolved, car is fixed, we go on our merry way. If I get hit by someone who does NOT have insurance, two of MANY things can happen.....the person is a stand-up person who pays for the damage, and is a little short on money for the next few months...or if injured, I sue them personally and they are short on money a whole lot longer. The other alternative is that they run and deny that they hit me, lie about whose fault it really is, skip out on paying damages and medical and flee the scene......or a prosecuted for the above.
Either way, both parties are responsible for the outcome of the accident.......regardless of who is guilty of the cause. I, personally, would rather have the insurance.....But again, that is only my OPINION....nothing more. Feel free to roll on the floor laughing, i just thought some humor should be injected into an overheated conversation.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 9:49 AM Reply   
Wickedwakes - I'm assuming you're making a joke :-)

You are way too intelligent to buy into Pascal's wager...
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 10:05 AM Reply   
I grew up in the church. Many of my closest friends to this day are friends I made there (and my youth leaders I count among 2 of the people I most respect and am closest to). I couldn't say exactly when but I realized pretty early on that many of these stories were just that - stories. Not too different from George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. For whatever reason I have always been something of a "people-watcher" - probably part of the reason I ultimately became so interested in history/sociology despite hating history in high school (likely more to do with horrible curriculum and teacher).

By the time I reached high school I realized that numerous people I encountered in various churches felt the same way, but stuck around for similar reasons - relationships and the community. The power of these things is not lost on me. There is much to be said for a "higher power" and we could fill pages and pages of threads on the nature of that power (supernatural beings, communities coming together, etc etc etc) - just see Eubanks' cardboard thread - I would never deny that there isn't something powerful going on in the lives of the people there, it's just that Eubanks chooses to label that power "Christ" and I don't see it that way. There are countless Christians who are more universal in their views - who see their religion not as THE way but A way to the sacred, acknowledging the potential validity of others. These Christians obviously tend not to view the bible as the literal and historical document that more fundamentalist believers do (which in turn makes them heretics in the eyes of such groups) - but they are numerous nonetheless. Obviously they have quite different theologies of the cross and of what things like salvation, heaven/hell mean etc.

Anyways, back to what you asked about. I initially started college as an Integ. Bio major on a premed track. Despite Rod's ranting and raving to the contrary, Berkeley is not the place it was in the 60s. Asian American representation in the student body now makes up anywhere from 45-50% of the total, and with this demographic shift the number of Christians (and Christian organizations) on campus has risen dramatically. Politics have shifted as well, with the Berkeley College Republicans a large and healthy organization. A sea change in the faculty that started in the 80s has changed the landscape there as well. It is an incredibly diverse place in all senses of the word - which is a large part of why I love and respect the university and what it offers as much as I do.

I arrived freshman year with orders from my piano teacher to hunt down Michael Chung, another student of hers who I vaguely recalled from piano recitals in years past. I figured in a sea of 4,000 freshman my chance at finding this guy anytime soon would be nil. Oddly enough, we happened to be randomly assigned as roommates.

Michael was (is) a hard-core Korean Presbyterian fundamentalist. We got along great. We were both respectful roommates and a little bit nerdy (he had an edge on me there - he didn't do much other than study and play ping pong - he was deathly afraid of girls). He did, of course, do his best to save me from my hellbound plight as a sinner who listened to (gasp!) Nirvana. We had numerous conversations about religious issues (it was obviously an important topic for him) and I found it fascinating that as a premed history major (interesting combo) he could apply all the typical tests to any historical text he might encounter, yet throw all that out the window when it came to the bible. It was my first real glimpse into the amazing feats of brain pretzeling that intelligent believers such as Eubanks and Jeff (and my genius cousin) have to go through in order to harmonize the biblical record with reality. I'm not sure I can overstate how the process fascinated me.

Gradually, through a combination of remembering how much I hated chemistry and talking more and more with my RA and others on the pre-med track, I began to realize that the med school lifestyle was not for me. I had taken a class on the origins of Christianity to fulfill one of my breadth requirements and despite falling asleep many times (2pm classes on warm days right after eating lunch are just brutal) I enjoyed it. By this time I had been doing IT work in the summers and realized that may be a direction I'd head anyway and that - screw it - I was going to study what interested me even if it freaked my parents out in a practical sense. I talked to the professor later that year and got my pass/notpass grade changed to a letter grade and started the religious studies major (basically a combo of history/sociology and other disciplines depending on how you wanted to frame your course of study). Throughout much of this time I also had the privilege of attending church now and then at Trinity United Methodist near campus to hear the amazing and widely-respected Huston Smith would speak from time to time (Smith was born in China to missionary parents and his book The World's Religions is widely regarded. Bill Moyers did a multipart special on him that is very much worth checking out).

I had a number of amazing classes - my main focus was religion and ethnicity, especially in the American context, but I also had a few classes that focused on the history of Christianity (montanism, millenialism, orientalism, etc etc etc). I also had a number of classes in other departments regarding US history that helped cement my love for history.

So why does Christianity in particular interest me above other religions? I think the degree may be exaggerated in the minds of many here - I find followers of many other religions just as curious as my bookshelf would attest. But Christianity is likely a slightly taller dandelion simply because I grew up in the church, studied what I did in school, and because we live in a society where even today the majority of the population is at least Christian in name (as we all know, most are not true Christians like Eubanks, Jeff, Barry, et al - they are far outnumbered by people like Rod and Flight).
Old    deltahoosier            01-16-2010, 10:07 AM Reply   
Don't bother me, football is on today.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 10:08 AM Reply   
The church of football is one many of us can agree to attend Rod!
Old    deltahoosier            01-16-2010, 10:17 AM Reply   
Well, anyone is welcome at my alter as long as they keep their lesser team to themselves in the back rooms and worship the one true team.....The Colts. Anyone want to go raid a carvan?
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 10:18 AM Reply   
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 10:19 AM Reply   
Hey man it was 1995! lol
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 10:26 AM Reply   
p.s. I also think the perception here is somewhat a function of the fact that there aren't really any devout Muslims (or other religious reps) on this board. We all pretty much agree right off that it's silly to believe in Allah!
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 10:36 AM Reply   
I appreciate that explanation, Wes..
I'm trying to wrap my brain around your apparent disdain for.....any type of fundamentalist...I think? I can't quite place my finger on what you're fired up about, but it's pretty apparent that you get fired up. That's what I'm asking.

Also, I'm curious, what the distinction... "Eubanks,Jeff , Barry... true Christians", but "Rod and Flight... Christians in name"?
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 10:43 AM Reply   
At the gym on the bike pardon typos pls...

What you said about believers in your post above speaks to Flight

re: disdain I see threat of harm physically from Muslim fundies and threat of harm to many psychologically/emotionally/politically from Xian fundies
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 10:59 AM Reply   
Your answer to my second question (real Christian vs. In name)is unclear to me..Would you mind helping me out a bit more?

Your position is something I try to understand which each of your posts on the topic..and after all these years and hundreds of posts I still fail.
I don't post much, but I do read them.
Old     (greatdane)      Join Date: Feb 2001       01-16-2010, 11:07 AM Reply   
I seriously value these religious debates on WW. Its my only avenue for such discussions and I learn a ton from believers and non-believers who stay on subject and avoid hostility.

Its also interesting that otherwise we pretty much are bombarded with pro "god" messages in the public eye (politicians saying "god bless america" and athletes/entertainers saying "thanks to god").

Outside of an occasional bit on a talk show, we so rarely hear from people who are willing to challenge the masses and assert that god is "very likely a man made delusion".
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 11:17 AM Reply   
Dane, people like you make up at minimum 10% of the population in the US; a not-insignificant minority. It is simply out of fashion to speak in such a way. The only worse than being a muslim is being an atheist (not that denying Yahweh makes one an atheist). I think you would really enjoy Sam Harris' "The End of Faith." I like his writing style and he calmly and clearly takes fundie Muslims, Christians, and other believers to task. He also has some interesting ideas regarding the concept of "moderate" religion - I don't always agree with him but he definitely is worth the read.

Barry you said "followers of Christ do not 'behave' for the purpose of being excused from, or due to the threat of hell" and I am running with your definition (and agree with your statement) - my use of the word "true" is to emphasize the fact that many who do not fit your definition still call themselves Christian.

p.s. - another issue important to me (as I'm sure you know) is religious fundamentalists of all stripes fighting to continue to deny civil rights to many of my friends and family members simply because they stick to some of Yahweh's words (and ignore many others)

(Message edited by pesos on January 16, 2010)
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       01-16-2010, 11:34 AM Reply   
So what about agnostics?

Also how did these guys relate to God? Or did they never exist?
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 11:49 AM Reply   
Peter.. put the fuel can away!

I understand now, Wes.
Like Dane, I enjoy these topics as long as they stay on topic and remain informational rather than fire storms. I don't think I know enough to be of value to the conversation(and I don't want to argue) so I usually only read. Also, I'm a pretty poor example of a Christian and we certainly don't need any more of those like previously mentioned "leaders" who seems to think they speak for all of us. And for that, I apologize.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 11:51 AM Reply   
I know enough to know that both those statements are patently false ;-)
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 11:58 AM Reply   
No, really.. I enjoy these topics , but I don't want to argue them.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 12:01 PM Reply   
I can appreciate that, but I was referring to you 1) not knowing enough and 2) being a poor example
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 12:07 PM Reply   
Proof that even smart people can be fooled by the entarweb!
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       01-16-2010, 12:18 PM Reply   
Sorry Barry, are you afraid of science?

Don't worry 2012 is coming soon enough!
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 12:34 PM Reply   
I am not afraid of science.. I am afraid the thread will erupt in flames by introducing a new element.

What happens in 2012, Peter? Are you talking about the predicted solar activity?
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       01-16-2010, 1:14 PM Reply   
How come science is always suppressed in a religious community?

You can take 2012 for whatever it means to YOU.
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 1:42 PM Reply   
To me it's just another year on the calender.
I am asking what you meant by the 2012 reference since you made it.
What did you mean by it, sir?
Old     (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       01-16-2010, 1:54 PM Reply   
Answers can be found here.
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 1:57 PM Reply   

Now THERE is a bunch of winners. Don't get me started on Scientology
Old     (sjmedic)      Join Date: May 2004       01-16-2010, 1:58 PM Reply   
Wes...yes, it was a joke. Things are not always a simple as they seem was the point. But, thanks for the nod of confidence in my intelligence!
Old     (pesos)      Join Date: Oct 2001 Location: Texas       01-16-2010, 1:58 PM Reply   
Obviously wrong photo, oops. But if you're in New York be sure to stop by Shake Shack for one of those babies!
Old     (sidekicknicholas)      Join Date: Mar 2007       01-16-2010, 2:05 PM Reply   
I was just in LA and couldn't believe that Scientology actually had a following.

I think religion is great... give tons of people something to live for and an overall good moral code to live their life.... but some of it is just plain old nuts.... If anyone has seen religious (sp?) - it was Bill Maher's movie from a few years ago its a great watch all about religion.

My favorite part -- some EXTREMELY Catholic/something guy talking about how you should be totally willing to die for God if you are ask/feel he wishes it *Cut to middle-east carbomber screaming ALLLLLAH!*

I am not really religous at all, but when I'm close to death odds are, I'll be praying.
Old     (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       01-16-2010, 2:21 PM Reply   
Here you go Barry as it relates to the this thread...

"Maya sources on the subject are scarce and contradictory, suggesting that there was little if any universal agreement among them about what, if anything, the date might mean"

We will all find out when we cross that line. Get it?
Old     (fogey)      Join Date: Mar 2002       01-16-2010, 2:34 PM Reply   
So much to say - and, alas, so pointless to write about it here. When atheists (and no, Wes, I'm not talking about you) flatly say my statement of basic Christian theology is wrong, there's no hope of any reasonable discussion. So I'm outta here. I know that doesn't seem like a big loss to many here, and it isn't for me either.
Old     (tomcat22)      Join Date: Jun 2007       01-16-2010, 3:04 PM Reply   
Can't we all just hug and get along? Sure thing is we're all going to find out the real truth in the end!!

Yeah, we will all find out the real truth in the end. John 3:16 says it all to me.
Old     (stxr_racer)      Join Date: Jun 2006       01-16-2010, 4:45 PM Reply   
Hope I can still wakeboard whever it is I end up..haha!
Old     (barry)      Join Date: Apr 2002       01-16-2010, 9:41 PM Reply   
Your 2012 reference caught my attention because I caught part of a television show not long ago called "Conspiracy Theory". It was hosted by Jesse Ventura and the topic was 2012... wow! What a bunch of kooky ideas these people have. Turning abandoned government missile silos into 15 story it-will-survive-anything condos. wait for it.... because the government is supposed to unleash a strain of Hepatitis that will wipe out 2/3 of the worlds population..Don't believe me? There's a mural of the events that are to take place at, where else?.. The Denver airport! While us serfs kill off from this strain, government officials will be whisked off to secret underground bunkers to ride out the fury and emerge to rule the world! *cue maniacal laughter*..
Yeah...I pay 70.00 a month for 2xx channels and watch no more than 1.5 hours of TV a week.. this is what I'm paying for.
Old     (jimmy_z)      Join Date: Jun 2009       01-17-2010, 12:44 AM Reply   
Im looking forward to 2012.

I have a fortified bunker and look forward to the glassy conditions after the demise of humanity.

I have mutiple 55 gal drums stored with gasoline to last through the summer.

The summer of love '12. I wish you all could be there to see it!!!!!!!


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