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  • Reasons to Reject or Not Reject the Christian Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    Hi everybody,

    Richard and I just met and have had a couple of chats before now. I appreciate his inviting me to come and discuss the topic of Reasons for Rejecting or Not Rejecting the Christian faith.

    I am impressed that he has been so gracious in our conversations, and in his answers to the posts that I have read. I am impressed with his background and acumen. However, I am even more impressed that (from my perspective), God has so highly favored him to discover the Bible Wheel.

    I know that there are probably more critics of the Wheel; however, the one Christian apologist who wrote the one critique that I read, obviously had not made a thorough investigation of the Wheel. He did not specifically address all the important facts/factors in the Bible that have confluences in the Wheel that are very highly unlikely. The likelihood of the confluences of those biblical "factors" go far beyond mere happenstance. In my opinion, the Wheel is a real manifestation of proof of the supernatural design of the Bible by an Intelligence none other than God, Himself. Once again, that the Creator of the Universe would reveal the Wheel to Richard, makes him so immensely blessed and so highly favored.

    Richard, I am taken aback however, by the fact that after such an amazing discovery which you still believe is bonifide, you consider yourself to have left the Christian faith. May I ask, which essential aspects of Christianity that make a person a Christian, have you given up?

    Respectfully yours,

    Bob
    Good morning Bob,

    I really appreciate your tone, and am glad you asked these questions since many other folks have similar questions and it gives me a chance to clarify my position both for myself and others. I still have a lot to figure out.

    My departure from Christianity was a long slow process. At no stage did I make any rash decisions. My interaction with other Christians on internet forums played a big role. The more I talked with other believers, the more I found that there is no such thing as "Christianity" per se, but rather a broad range of contradictory "Christianities" based on widely divergent presuppositions and interpretations. You know the nature of Christendom. It is populated by Catholics, Greek Orthodox, ten thousand varieties of Protestants and the menagerie of fringe groups that sprang from them like JW, Mormonism, Christadelphian, Branch Davidian, Armstrongism, etc., etc., etc. It became obvious to me that it was entirely irrational to think that God would demand that a person must sort through all this confusion and come to the "correct interpretation" in order to be saved.

    These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion. For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.

    This forum also contributed largely to the demise of my faith. I started it back in 2007 hoping folks would come and discuss the Bible Wheel, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the end of the world, the rapture, and the Second Coming. This drew me in to a detailed study of eschatology (which never was of much interest to me when writing the Bible Wheel book) and I found that the vast majority of Christians adamantly held to irrational, unbiblical, and unsupportable beliefs. So again, I found that professing "faith" in the Bible meant nothing because everyone just believes what they want, and more often than not, folks will twist the Bible to fit their beliefs rather than conforming their beliefs to the Bible. What good then was the Bible?

    And this brings us to your question posed in your second post: "What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?"

    My answer: All of them. I do not believe that God is going to save or damn anyone based on what they believe about what is written in the Bible. That would be radically irrational for may reasons. First, most people in history never heard of the Bible, and of those who did, they were taught whatever doctrines flowed from the religion they were born into. Mormon children are taught Mormon doctrines, etc. God cannot use "doctrines" as a righteous standard of judgment. Furthermore, the Bible is much too ambiguous to function as any kind of guide, as is obvious from the ten thousand varieties of Christianities out there. And besides that, I now reject the Christian concept of theism. I do not believe that there is a theistic style God who is a personal agent who "does things" like answer prayers, part the Red Sea, flood the planet, design the Bible Wheel, command genocide, judge people for their sins, etc. But don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility of spiritual/mental "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I just don't think there is any evidence for a theistic style God.

    So what about the evidence of the Bible Wheel? As far as I know, it stands. I began presenting it on the internet in 2001. I discussed it on many forums such as theologyweb.com, the Christian ASA (American Scientific Association) mailing list, the Catholic Answers forum, and the Jews for Judaism forum. I have left a very long trail on the internet. I have responded to thousands of posts written by opponents. I consistently met with vehement opposition (or blunt dismissal) everywhere I went, but one thing stood out. To the best of my knowledge, no opponent has ever exposed any fundamental flaw or systematic error in the evidence. So from an evidentiary stance, the Bible Wheel stands. I have no option there.

    So what does it mean? I don't know. I am mystified. But I am convinced it cannot be what you suggest (and which I once firmly believed). It cannot be proof that the Bible was designed by Yahweh, because God cannot be as described in its pages.

    I look forward to discussing this with you more.

    All the very best,

    Richard
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Reasons to Reject or Not Reject the Christian Faith started by BobL View original post
    Comments 42 Comments
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Richard,

      I'm sorry. I should have been more specific. Personal or organizational Christian creeds or tenets of faith may or may not be biblical. What I should have asked you is: What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?

      Regards,

      Bob
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Richard,

      I'm sorry. I should have been more specific. Personal or organizational Christian creeds or tenets of faith may or may not be biblical. What I should have asked you is: What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?

      Regards,

      Bob
      Good morning Bob,

      Welcome to our forum!



      I'm really glad you have posted your questions. I began answering last night but it got too late before I could finish. I'll compose my answer now. I just wanted to say "welcome" to our forum and let you know that I appreciate your questions.

      Richard
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Hi everybody,

      Richard and I just met and have had a couple of chats before now. I appreciate his inviting me to come and discuss the topic of Reasons for Rejecting or Not Rejecting the Christian faith.

      I am impressed that he has been so gracious in our conversations, and in his answers to the posts that I have read. I am impressed with his background and acumen. However, I am even more impressed that (from my perspective), God has so highly favored him to discover the Bible Wheel.

      I know that there are probably more critics of the Wheel; however, the one Christian apologist who wrote the one critique that I read, obviously had not made a thorough investigation of the Wheel. He did not specifically address all the important facts/factors in the Bible that have confluences in the Wheel that are very highly unlikely. The likelihood of the confluences of those biblical "factors" go far beyond mere happenstance. In my opinion, the Wheel is a real manifestation of proof of the supernatural design of the Bible by an Intelligence none other than God, Himself. Once again, that the Creator of the Universe would reveal the Wheel to Richard, makes him so immensely blessed and so highly favored.

      Richard, I am taken aback however, by the fact that after such an amazing discovery which you still believe is bonifide, you consider yourself to have left the Christian faith. May I ask, which essential aspects of Christianity that make a person a Christian, have you given up?

      Respectfully yours,

      Bob
      Good morning Bob,

      I really appreciate your tone, and am glad you asked these questions since many other folks have similar questions and it gives me a chance to clarify my position both for myself and others. I still have a lot to figure out.

      My departure from Christianity was a long slow process. At no stage did I make any rash decisions. My interaction with other Christians on internet forums played a big role. The more I talked with other believers, the more I found that there is no such thing as "Christianity" per se, but rather a broad range of contradictory "Christianities" based on widely divergent presuppositions and interpretations. You know the nature of Christendom. It is populated by Catholics, Greek Orthodox, ten thousand varieties of Protestants and the menagerie of fringe groups that sprang from them like JW, Mormonism, Christadelphian, Branch Davidian, Armstrongism, etc., etc., etc. It became obvious to me that it was entirely irrational to think that God would demand that a person must sort through all this confusion and come to the "correct interpretation" in order to be saved.

      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion. For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.

      This forum also contributed largely to the demise of my faith. I started it back in 2007 hoping folks would come and discuss the Bible Wheel, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the end of the world, the rapture, and the Second Coming. This drew me in to a detailed study of eschatology (which never was of much interest to me when writing the Bible Wheel book) and I found that the vast majority of Christians adamantly held to irrational, unbiblical, and unsupportable beliefs. So again, I found that professing "faith" in the Bible meant nothing because everyone just believes what they want, and more often than not, folks will twist the Bible to fit their beliefs rather than conforming their beliefs to the Bible. What good then was the Bible?

      And this brings us to your question posed in your second post: "What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?"

      My answer: All of them. I do not believe that God is going to save or damn anyone based on what they believe about what is written in the Bible. That would be radically irrational for may reasons. First, most people in history never heard of the Bible, and of those who did, they were taught whatever doctrines flowed from the religion they were born into. Mormon children are taught Mormon doctrines, etc. God cannot use "doctrines" as a righteous standard of judgment. Furthermore, the Bible is much too ambiguous to function as any kind of guide, as is obvious from the ten thousand varieties of Christianities out there. And besides that, I now reject the Christian concept of theism. I do not believe that there is a theistic style God who is a personal agent who "does things" like answer prayers, part the Red Sea, flood the planet, design the Bible Wheel, command genocide, judge people for their sins, etc. But don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility of spiritual/mental "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I just don't think there is any evidence for a theistic style God.

      So what about the evidence of the Bible Wheel? As far as I know, it stands. I began presenting it on the internet in 2001. I discussed it on many forums such as theologyweb.com, the Christian ASA (American Scientific Association) mailing list, the Catholic Answers forum, and the Jews for Judaism forum. I have left a very long trail on the internet. I have responded to thousands of posts written by opponents. I consistently met with vehement opposition (or blunt dismissal) everywhere I went, but one thing stood out. To the best of my knowledge, no opponent has ever exposed any fundamental flaw or systematic error in the evidence. So from an evidentiary stance, the Bible Wheel stands. I have no option there.

      So what does it mean? I don't know. I am mystified. But I am convinced it cannot be what you suggest (and which I once firmly believed). It cannot be proof that the Bible was designed by Yahweh, because God cannot be as described in its pages.

      I look forward to discussing this with you more.

      All the very best,

      Richard
    1. Rose's Avatar
      Rose -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Richard,

      I'm sorry. I should have been more specific. Personal or organizational Christian creeds or tenets of faith may or may not be biblical. What I should have asked you is: What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?

      Regards,

      Bob
      Hello Bob and welcome to our forum

      I am Richards wife and would also like to answer your question as to why I'm a non-Christian. Richard and I both began our journey out of the Christian faith at the same time, but for different reasons. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my journey began with an in-depth study of Revelation, which quotes extensively from the Old Testament, so I was compelled to read its text in detail. The more I studied, the more its masculine god revealed his biased nature towards the female gender. At every turn in Scripture, the male god Yahweh was giving commands and laws to make a distinction in the treatment of women as opposed to men. Gender determined what human rights a person was afforded, with men being given the preference and ruler-ship over women. This study led me to write an article called The Male Bias of the Bible which can be found on my Blog.

      A true god cannot be just while holding to a bias based solely on gender. Using logic and reason I determined that if the god of the Old Testament is biased, then he cannot be a true god. With this in mind I naturally had to reflect on the New Testament, which shared the same god. If Jesus called the god of the Old Testament his father and said that not one "jot" or "tittle" would be changed from its law, then logic follows that the god that Jesus called father was also biased, being one and the same god. We also know from the writings of Paul that he also held to the biased laws given in the Old Testament concerning women.

      The biased nature of god was just the first stepping stone on my path out of Christianity, there are many other things in the nature of Yahweh, such as his gross immorality, and unrighteousness that added to the pile and led me to reject him as a true god. This of course is a very broad overview of my journey out of the faith that I had held for close to 28 years, but I wanted to give you another reason why a person would leave Christianity.

      Take care,
      Rose
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
      Hello Bob and welcome to our forum

      I am Richards wife and would also like to answer your question as to why I'm a non-Christian. Richard and I both began our journey out of the Christian faith at the same time, but for different reasons. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my journey began with an in-depth study of Revelation, which quotes extensively from the Old Testament, so I was compelled to read its text in detail. The more I studied, the more its masculine god revealed his biased nature towards the female gender. At every turn in Scripture, the male god Yahweh was giving commands and laws to make a distinction in the treatment of women as opposed to men. Gender determined what human rights a person was afforded, with men being given the preference and ruler-ship over women. This study led me to write an article called The Male Bias of the Bible which can be found on my Blog.

      A true god cannot be just while holding to a bias based solely on gender. Using logic and reason I determined that if the god of the Old Testament is biased, then he cannot be a true god. With this in mind I naturally had to reflect on the New Testament, which shared the same god. If Jesus called the god of the Old Testament his father and said that not one "jot" or "tittle" would be changed from its law, then logic follows that the god that Jesus called father was also biased, being one and the same god. We also know from the writings of Paul that he also held to the biased laws given in the Old Testament concerning women.

      The biased nature of god was just the first stepping stone on my path out of Christianity, there are many other things in the nature of Yahweh, such as his gross immorality, and unrighteousness that added to the pile and led me to reject him as a true god. This of course is a very broad overview of my journey out of the faith that I had held for close to 28 years, but I wanted to give you another reason why a person would leave Christianity.

      Take care,
      Rose
      Richard and Rose,

      Thank you for answering my post so soon. I am so appreciative that you are gracious people, unlike those Christian apologists and atheists one finds at other religious debate websites.

      I have never encountered "non-Christians" like you before (meaning nothing derogatory by the term, "non-Christian"). Not only am I not really experienced at discussing my or anyone else's belief or faith in a forum like this, but I have not done much of it face-to-face either; and so, I want to move forward in our discussion very thoughtfully and carefully, which will take me a little time to think and do some research, before I get back to you. I hope you don't mind. I will respond in a little bit.

      Best Regards,

      Bob
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Good morning Bob,

      I really appreciate your tone, and am glad you asked these questions since many other folks have similar questions and it gives me a chance to clarify my position both for myself and others. I still have a lot to figure out.

      My departure from Christianity was a long slow process. At no stage did I make any rash decisions. My interaction with other Christians on internet forums played a big role. The more I talked with other believers, the more I found that there is no such thing as "Christianity" per se, but rather a broad range of contradictory "Christianities" based on widely divergent presuppositions and interpretations. You know the nature of Christendom. It is populated by Catholics, Greek Orthodox, ten thousand varieties of Protestants and the menagerie of fringe groups that sprang from them like JW, Mormonism, Christadelphian, Branch Davidian, Armstrongism, etc., etc., etc. It became obvious to me that it was entirely irrational to think that God would demand that a person must sort through all this confusion and come to the "correct interpretation" in order to be saved.

      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion. For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.

      This forum also contributed largely to the demise of my faith. I started it back in 2007 hoping folks would come and discuss the Bible Wheel, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the end of the world, the rapture, and the Second Coming. This drew me in to a detailed study of eschatology (which never was of much interest to me when writing the Bible Wheel book) and I found that the vast majority of Christians adamantly held to irrational, unbiblical, and unsupportable beliefs. So again, I found that professing "faith" in the Bible meant nothing because everyone just believes what they want, and more often than not, folks will twist the Bible to fit their beliefs rather than conforming their beliefs to the Bible. What good then was the Bible?

      And this brings us to your question posed in your second post: "What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?"

      My answer: All of them. I do not believe that God is going to save or damn anyone based on what they believe about what is written in the Bible. That would be radically irrational for may reasons. First, most people in history never heard of the Bible, and of those who did, they were taught whatever doctrines flowed from the religion they were born into. Mormon children are taught Mormon doctrines, etc. God cannot use "doctrines" as a righteous standard of judgment. Furthermore, the Bible is much too ambiguous to function as any kind of guide, as is obvious from the ten thousand varieties of Christianities out there. And besides that, I now reject the Christian concept of theism. I do not believe that there is a theistic style God who is a personal agent who "does things" like answer prayers, part the Red Sea, flood the planet, design the Bible Wheel, command genocide, judge people for their sins, etc. But don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility of spiritual/mental "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I just don't think there is any evidence for a theistic style God.

      So what about the evidence of the Bible Wheel? As far as I know, it stands. I began presenting it on the internet in 2001. I discussed it on many forums such as theologyweb.com, the Christian ASA (American Scientific Association) mailing list, the Catholic Answers forum, and the Jews for Judaism forum. I have left a very long trail on the internet. I have responded to thousands of posts written by opponents. I consistently met with vehement opposition (or blunt dismissal) everywhere I went, but one thing stood out. To the best of my knowledge, no opponent has ever exposed any fundamental flaw or systematic error in the evidence. So from an evidentiary stance, the Bible Wheel stands. I have no option there.

      So what does it mean? I don't know. I am mystified. But I am convinced it cannot be what you suggest (and which I once firmly believed). It cannot be proof that the Bible was designed by Yahweh, because God cannot be as described in its pages.

      I look forward to discussing this with you more.

      All the very best,

      Richard
      Richard and Rose,

      Thank you for answering my post so soon. I am so appreciative that you are gracious people, unlike those Christian apologists and atheists one finds at other religious debate websites.

      I have never encountered "non-Christians" like you before (meaning nothing derogatory by the term, "non-Christian"). Not only am I not really experienced at discussing my or anyone else's belief or faith in a forum like this, but I have not done much of it face-to-face either; and so, I want to move forward in our discussion very thoughtfully and carefully, which will take me a little time to think and do some research, before I get back to you. I hope you don't mind. I will respond in a little bit.

      Best Regards,

      Bob
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Richard and Rose,

      Thank you for answering my post so soon. I am so appreciative that you are gracious people, unlike those Christian apologists and atheists one finds at other religious debate websites.

      I have never encountered "non-Christians" like you before (meaning nothing derogatory by the term, "non-Christian"). Not only am I not really experienced at discussing my or anyone else's belief or faith in a forum like this, but I have not done much of it face-to-face either; and so, I want to move forward in our discussion very thoughtfully and carefully, which will take me a little time to think and do some research, before I get back to you. I hope you don't mind. I will respond in a little bit.

      Best Regards,

      Bob
      Hey there Bob,

      Take all the time you need to think about things. There is no rush. Rose and I are completely open-minded to where ever the evidence may lead. Don't worry - we are not interested in "debate" for its own sake, but rather the articulation of truth as best as possible.

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. Christopher Pierce's Avatar
      Christopher Pierce -
      Hello,

      I just have a quick question for both Richard and Rose.

      First Richard, it sounds to me as if your position is Christians don't agree on Christianity. If God exists a consensus should also exist. God doesn't exist. That's my simplified version of what I think you are saying could you clarify for me?

      Second Rose, if God does something that you perceive as unfair and/or sexist, is it possible that you are looking at it from a smaller perspective and thereby missing the good reasons that God does things? I ask this because there are some things that didn't make sense to me, that even seemed cruel, but after closer examination found to be a very good choice. It's like when children don't understand some of the good choices their parents make and instead think those choices are very wrong. Often as they grow older they change their minds because they have a different perspective.

      Just Curious.
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Good morning Bob,

      I really appreciate your tone, and am glad you asked these questions since many other folks have similar questions and it gives me a chance to clarify my position both for myself and others. I still have a lot to figure out.

      My departure from Christianity was a long slow process. At no stage did I make any rash decisions. My interaction with other Christians on internet forums played a big role. The more I talked with other believers, the more I found that there is no such thing as "Christianity" per se, but rather a broad range of contradictory "Christianities" based on widely divergent presuppositions and interpretations. You know the nature of Christendom. It is populated by Catholics, Greek Orthodox, ten thousand varieties of Protestants and the menagerie of fringe groups that sprang from them like JW, Mormonism, Christadelphian, Branch Davidian, Armstrongism, etc., etc., etc. It became obvious to me that it was entirely irrational to think that God would demand that a person must sort through all this confusion and come to the "correct interpretation" in order to be saved.

      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion. For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.

      This forum also contributed largely to the demise of my faith. I started it back in 2007 hoping folks would come and discuss the Bible Wheel, but all anyone wanted to talk about was the end of the world, the rapture, and the Second Coming. This drew me in to a detailed study of eschatology (which never was of much interest to me when writing the Bible Wheel book) and I found that the vast majority of Christians adamantly held to irrational, unbiblical, and unsupportable beliefs. So again, I found that professing "faith" in the Bible meant nothing because everyone just believes what they want, and more often than not, folks will twist the Bible to fit their beliefs rather than conforming their beliefs to the Bible. What good then was the Bible?

      And this brings us to your question posed in your second post: "What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?"

      My answer: All of them. I do not believe that God is going to save or damn anyone based on what they believe about what is written in the Bible. That would be radically irrational for may reasons. First, most people in history never heard of the Bible, and of those who did, they were taught whatever doctrines flowed from the religion they were born into. Mormon children are taught Mormon doctrines, etc. God cannot use "doctrines" as a righteous standard of judgment. Furthermore, the Bible is much too ambiguous to function as any kind of guide, as is obvious from the ten thousand varieties of Christianities out there. And besides that, I now reject the Christian concept of theism. I do not believe that there is a theistic style God who is a personal agent who "does things" like answer prayers, part the Red Sea, flood the planet, design the Bible Wheel, command genocide, judge people for their sins, etc. But don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility of spiritual/mental "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I just don't think there is any evidence for a theistic style God.

      So what about the evidence of the Bible Wheel? As far as I know, it stands. I began presenting it on the internet in 2001. I discussed it on many forums such as theologyweb.com, the Christian ASA (American Scientific Association) mailing list, the Catholic Answers forum, and the Jews for Judaism forum. I have left a very long trail on the internet. I have responded to thousands of posts written by opponents. I consistently met with vehement opposition (or blunt dismissal) everywhere I went, but one thing stood out. To the best of my knowledge, no opponent has ever exposed any fundamental flaw or systematic error in the evidence. So from an evidentiary stance, the Bible Wheel stands. I have no option there.

      So what does it mean? I don't know. I am mystified. But I am convinced it cannot be what you suggest (and which I once firmly believed). It cannot be proof that the Bible was designed by Yahweh, because God cannot be as described in its pages.

      I look forward to discussing this with you more.

      All the very best,

      Richard
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Hi, Richard!

      Thanks so much for your very thorough explanation of why you have rejected Christianity and the tenets of the Bible which Christians consider to be the truth.

      You said:

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post

      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion.
      Richard
      However, isn't it true that there are corrupt people in almost every, not only religious system and institution, but EVERY institution, including institutions and systems of government, non-religious benevolent organizations, sports organizations, etc., etc., etc. -- you name it -- in virtually every society on the face of the earth? So, it would seem that it's not Christianity that functions as an agent of corruption, but the commonality between those institutions, which is the evil tendencies of human nature that functions as an agent of corruption. It has been many years since I have studied formal logic, but to find fault with Christianity, because of the moral failures of individuals or sub-groups of people associated with it, seems to be a kind of guilt by association. Just because people who have moral failures are associated with other people, their family members, or an organization, or a religious system, does not mean that the other people, their family, or that organization or that religious system are inherently faulty, evil or morally bankrupt. Would you agree with me on that?


      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.
      So, if the tenets of Christianity are perceived as an embodiment of constructs of moral integrity (which you obviously in part accept, as is evident by the way you have judged/evaluated those men), one should be able to see that it is not Christianity that is the agent or purveyer of corruption. The source of corruption is those who are associated with Christianity who show a measure of corruption as evidenced by their failer at some point, to embody the integrity that comes from executing or exercising those tenets -- tenets, the practice of which are meant to help engender integrity in the people who practice them.

      In regard to the supposed "representatives" of the tenets of Christianity (who in my view should only be God and Jesus Christ, because according to the Scriptures, even the patriarchs and apostles had moral failures), like all other people, neither Caner nor Geisler are perferctly moral men and did not claim to be, but tried (and I assume continue) to practice the tenets in order to grow toward the model of integrity that the tenets represent. In putting into perspective the degree of moral violation committed by these morally imperfect men: the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham lied, and Jacob stole from his brother; the prophet and king of Israel, David committed adultery with and killed the husband of Bathsheba; Peter showed racial favoritism/bigotry; and Paul the apostle, confessed that he did not keep the tenets of Christianity in the way that he wanted. There is no one reading this post who has never lied. We all have lied or will lie, i.e., flex or color the truth to one degree or another, at some point. Even children, as "innocent" as they are, do lie. Because God and God alone is perfect morally, we might ask, as a way for finding some standard of moral integrity, "How do we ourselves measure up to our perceptions of God's integrity as a measure of our own?" To go a step "lower, even if we have our own personal standards of integrity and God judged us by our personal standards, instead of His own, we would be guilty, because we all violate even our own personal moral standards and consciences, unless our standards and consciences hinge upon situational ethics, in which, the case can be made that those standards would be either very loose standards or no standards at all.

      For virtually anyone reading this post who has a strong moral standard for lying, if you have said to yourself that you have not lied, you've lied to yourself. Even slightly flexing or shading the truth is not the total truth, so that part of "the truth" is really a lie! There is no one reading this post that has not done it in one form or another. All men are morally faulty, to one degree or another and have or will lie, to one degree or another ("All have sinned [even in violating their own moral standards and moral consciences] and fall short of the grace of God;" "...all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives." [Rom. 3:23, NIV, AMP]). The virtue and value of a religious or moral philosophical system or their set of tenets is not in the followers, but in the construct of moral integrity that they embody, as perceived from the perspective of the human evaluator of that construct and in the potential virtue developed in the one who practices them.

      Most of us would say that breaking the standard of lying maybe morally ok, in some cases. It depends upon the motive. If you consider lying to be morally wrong, you might do it, to help or save someone from an uncomfortable or emotionally or physical painful situation -- possibly death. Richard, Rose and my other dear readers, would you lie to save a parent or a child from death? Would you lie to save a parent or child from emotionally or mentally debilitating or injurious worry? If you were a teacher hiding terrified kids during the Newtown shootings, if a child asked you, "Are we going to get killed?," most of you would take the babes in your harms and say, "No honey, you're going to be ok." However, that wouldn't be the whole truth. A truthful answer would be, "I'm sorry honey, I truthfully don't really know!" And, you would say that it was ok to break your moral standard to not lie (if you have one), but "My motive was right; so that makes it ok." Or, "It was not ok to lie, but I had to choose the lesser of the two evils -- to scare the kids out of their minds, so that they scream and possible bring the killer to our location, or to lie to make them feel safe and keep them quiet." My whole point is this: There is no perfect man or woman reading this post who who has not lied. Motive matters. A key question is: Do you truly know the motives of all of the people who committed all the supposed "cover ups?" (We don't truly know if they are cover ups until we truly know the motives -- what was in their thoughts/hearts/emotions -- that made them remove the information from the websites. Otherwise, we would be judging them by outer appearances.) A second key question is: Could removal of the information by those ministers/ministries from their websites been motivated by or for the sake of avoiding inflicting some form of pain to all who may have been directly or indirectly involved? The one single primary tenet of Christianity is love. The Scripture says, "Love covers a multitude of sins." ("Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]." 1 Pet. 4:8, AMP) As evil as you may think Caner is, compared to whomever, another question is: Is he a human being, who despite his moral failures or mistakes, once his sin was discovered, needed to get this lie behind him and to get on with his life? (Before answering that question, read the example, below.) No one reading this post has not made big moral mistakes that they don't want others to focus on. Regardless of what yours are, would you would others to cover your sins, instead of broadcasting them all over the world?

      Example: You discover that your teen-aged daughter, the president of her graduating class, has been stealing from several stores (which is worse a lier or a theif?). She's been published on the school website as a leader and one of the most promising and popular girls at her high school. What are you going to do -- go up to the school and make sure that the school publishes her sins on the web? "You guys -- teachers, principal or whoever -- need to make sure that everyone knows of my daughter's great moral failire, because she represented the integrity of this school and my integrity as a parent!!! We both stand for moral integrity and her moral failure needs to be EXPOSED!!!" I would hope that you would not do that because this might hurt the school's reputation, the emotions of the students and staff, your relatives and your parents, as well as you, as a parent who obviously would love your child very much! You would love your daughter and hopefully, all the people involved as well, too much, to do that! So, because Caner, Geisler and all those ministries are Christian, that makes it different? Where is the love for them? Or, would you have greater love for your daughter than for them? So, can you say that you know all the motives of all the people involved in the Caner-Geisler situation and that having the love "to cover a multitude of sins" was not a motive in the hearts of ANY of them?

      We, as human beings, cannot depend even on our own selves to keep our own personal moral standards or depend on ourselves to not violate our own personal moral consciences, 100% of the time, in every instance (of course, unless you have vague nebulous standards of situational ethics, e.g., the ends justifies the means). In light of that fact, it is a severe mistake to base the acceptance or rejection of a faith or a religious or moral philosophical system on the basis of the integrity of the people who are supposed to be representatives or practitioners of that faith/system. One of the other serious faults in human nature is that we all tend to do it.

      Once again, you said:

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post

      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion.
      Richard
      In answer to your statment, I have listed below, groups that comprise "public expressions of that religion," "most" of which you say function as agents of corruption. Each one has it's own number of individual congregations which are all public expressions of Chritianity. My question to you is: Which "public expressions" below, have been agents of which moral failures? (Please do consider the public expressions of the individual congregations in those organizations, as well. Along with that, I would like for you to be balanced and list all the loving, humanitarian aid that your list of the culprits have given to their own immediate communities and societies and the world).

      Best Regards,

      Bob

      Catholicism - 1.2 billion people.
      Catholic Church - 1,166 million[1] Latin Church - 1,149 million
      Eastern Catholic Churches - 17 million Alexandrian Rite Ethiopian Catholic Church - 0.2 million[2]
      Coptic Catholic Church - 0.2 million[2]

      Antiochene Rite Maronite Catholic Church - 3.1 million[2]
      Syro-Malankara Catholic Church - 0.4 million[2]
      Syriac Catholic Church - 0.1 million[2]

      Armenian Rite Armenian Catholic Church - 0.4 million[2]

      Chaldean Rite Syro-Malabar Catholic Church - 3.8 million[2]
      Chaldean Catholic Church - 0.4 million[2]

      Byzantine Rite Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church - 4.3 million[2]
      Melkite Greek Catholic Church - 1.3 million[2]
      Romanian Catholic Church - 0.7 million[2]
      Ruthenian Catholic Church - 0.5 million[2]
      Hungarian Greek Catholic Church - 0.3 million[2]
      Slovak Greek Catholic Church - 0.2 million[2]
      Italo-Albanian Catholic Church - 0.1 million[2]
      Belarusian Greek Catholic Church - 0.1 million[2]
      Georgian Byzantine Catholic Church - 0.01 million[3]
      Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]
      Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]
      Croatian Greek Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]
      Greek Byzantine Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]
      Macedonian Greek Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]
      Russian Greek Catholic Church - 0.01 million[2]

      Breakaway Catholic Churches - 25 million

      Apostolic Catholic Church - 8 million[4]
      Philippine Independent Church - 6 million[5]
      Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association - 5 million[6]
      Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church - 5 million[7]
      Old Catholic Church - 0.6 million
      Society of St. Pius X - 0.5 million

      Historical Protestantism - 350 million Baptist churches - 100 million[11] Southern Baptist Convention - 16.3 million[12]
      National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. - 8.5 million[13]
      National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. - 3.1 million[13]
      Nigerian Baptist Convention - 2.5 million[13]
      Progressive National Baptist Convention - 2.5 million[13]
      Baptist General Convention of Texas - 2.3 million[13]
      Baptist Union of Uganda - 1.5 million[13]
      American Baptist Churches USA - 1.4 million[13]
      Brazilian Baptist Convention - 1.3 million[13]
      Baptist Bible Fellowship International - 1.2 million[14]
      Baptist Community of the Congo River - 1 million[13]
      National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A. - 1 million[14]
      National Missionary Baptist Convention of America - 1 million
      Myanmar Baptist Convention - 0.9 million[13]
      Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches - 0.8 million[15]
      Korea Baptist Convention - 0.8 million[13]
      Baptist Convention of Kenya - 0.8 million[13]
      Myanmar Baptist Convention - 0.7 million[13]
      Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India - 0.6 million[16]
      Cooperative Baptist Fellowship - 0.5 million[13]
      Nagaland Baptist Church Council - 0.5 million[13]
      Baptist Convention in Tanzania - 0.5 million[13]
      Orissa Evangelical Baptist Crusade - 0.5 million[13]
      Baptist General Association of Virginia - 0.5 million[13]
      National Baptist Convention (Brazil) - 0.4 million[13]
      Church of Christ in Congo–Baptist Community of Congo - 0.4 million[17]
      Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches - 0.3[13]
      American Baptist Association - 0.3 million[18]
      Union of Baptist Churches in Rwanda - 0.3 million[13]
      Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda - 0.3 million[13]
      Garo Baptist Convention - 0.2 million[13]
      Baptist Community of Western Congo - 0.2 million[13]
      Baptist Missionary Association of America - 0.2 million[19]
      Conservative Baptist Association of America - 0.2 million[20]
      National Association of Free Will Baptists - 0.2 million[21]
      Canadian Baptist Ministries - 0.2 million[13]
      National Baptist Convention of Mexico - 0.2 million[13]
      Manipur Baptist Convention - 0.2 million[13]
      Convention of Baptist Churches of the Northern Circars - 0.2 million[13]
      Baptist Community in Central Africa - 0.2 million[13]
      Baptist Convention of Malawi - 0.2 million[13]

      Lutheranism - 75 million[22] Evangelical Church in Germany - 24.5 million[23]
      Church of Sweden - 6.7 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania - 5.6 million[24]
      Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus - 5.3 million[24]
      United Evangelical Lutheran Churches in India - 4.5 million[25]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in America - 4.5 million[24]
      Church of Denmark - 4.5 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland - 4.4 million[24]
      Batak Christian Protestant Church - 4.2 million[24]
      Church of Norway - 4.0 million[24]
      Christian Protestant Church in Indonesia - 3.6 million[24]
      Malagasy Lutheran Church - 3.0 million[24]
      Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod - 2.5 million[26]
      The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria - 1.9 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea - 0.9 million[24]
      Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil - 0.7 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia - 0.7 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa - 0.6 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia - 0.4 million[24]
      Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod - 0.4 million[27]
      Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Slovakia - 0.4 million[24]
      The Indonesian Protestant Church - 0.4 million[24]
      The Protestant Christian Church - 0.4 million[24]
      Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession in Austria - 0.3 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon - 0.2 million[24]
      Church of Iceland - 0.2 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil - 0.2 million[28]
      Simalungun Protestant Christian Church - 0.2 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe - 0.2 million[24]
      Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia - 0.2 million[24]
      Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Hungary - 0.2 million[24]
      Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine - 0.2 million[24]
      The Lutheran Council of Great Britain - 0.2 million[24]
      Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church - 0.2 million[24]

      Methodism - 75 million United Methodist Church - 12 million[29]
      African Methodist Episcopal Church - 2.5 million[30]
      Methodist Church Nigeria - 2 million[31]
      Church of the Nazarene - 2 million[32]
      Methodist Church of Southern Africa - 1.7 million[33]
      Korean Methodist Church - 1.5 million[34]
      African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church - 1.5 million[35]
      The Salvation Army - 1.4 million [36]
      United Methodist Church of Ivory Coast - 1 million[37]
      Free Methodist Church - 0.9 million[38]
      Christian Methodist Episcopal Church - 0.9 million[39]
      Methodist Church Ghana - 0.8 million[40]
      Methodist Church in India - 0.6 million[41]
      Methodist Church in Kenya - 0.5 million[42]
      Wesleyan Church - 0.4 million[43]
      Evangelical Free Church of America - 0.4 million[44]
      Methodist Church of Great Britain - 0.3 million[45]
      Methodist Church in Brazil - 0.2 million[46]

      Reformed churches - 75 million Presbyterianism - 40 million Presbyterian Church of East Africa - 4.0 million[47]
      Presbyterian Church of Africa - 3.4 million[48]
      Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - 3.0 million[49]
      United Church of Canada - 2.8 million[50]
      Church of Christ in Congo–Presbyterian Community of Congo - 2.5 million[51]
      Presbyterian Church of Korea - 2.4 million[52]
      Presbyterian Church of Cameroon - 1.8 million[53]
      Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian - 1.3 million[54]
      Church of Scotland - 1.1 million[55]
      Presbyterian Church of the Sudan - 1.0 million[56]
      Presbyterian Church in Cameroon - 0.7 million[57]
      Presbyterian Church of Brazil - 0.7 million [58]
      Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana - 0.6 million[59]
      United Church of Christ in the Philippines - 0.5 million[60]
      Presbyterian Church of Nigeria - 0.5 million[61]
      Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa - 0.5 million[62]
      Presbyterian Church of Pakistan - 0.4 million[63]
      Presbyterian Church in Ireland - 0.3 million
      Uniting Church in Australia - 0.3 million[64]
      Presbyterian Church in America - 0.3 million[65]
      Presbyterian Church of Korea - 0.3 million[66]
      Presbyterian Church in Rwanda - 0.3 million[67]
      Presbyterian Church in Taiwan - 0.3 million[68]

      Continental Reformed churches - 30 million Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar - 3.5 million[69]
      United Church of Zambia - 3.0 million[70]
      Protestant Church in the Netherlands - 2.5 million[71]
      Swiss Reformed Church - 2.4 million[72]
      Evangelical Church of Cameroon - 2.0 million[73]
      Protestant Evangelical Church in Timor - 2.0 million[74]
      Dutch Reformed Church - 1.1 million
      Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa - 0.7 million[75]
      United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands - 0.6 million[76]
      Protestant Church in Western Indonesia - 0.6 million[77]
      Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua - 0.6 million[78]
      Protestant Church in the Moluccas - 0.6 million[79]
      Reformed Church in Hungary - 0.6 million[80]
      Reformed Church in Romania - 0.6 million[81]
      Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa - 0.5 million[82]
      Toraja Church - 0.4 million[83]
      Reformed Church of France - 0.4 million[84]
      Lesotho Evangelical Church - 0.3 million[85]
      Evangelical Christian Church in Halmahera - 0.3 million[86]
      Christian Church of Sumba - 0.3 million[87]
      Karo Batak Protestant Church - 0.3 million[88]
      Reformed Church in America - 0.3 million[89]
      Christian Reformed Church in North America - 0.3 million[90]
      Christian Reformed Church of Nigeria - 0.3 million[91]
      Reformed Church in Zambia - 0.3 million[92]
      Kalimantan Evangelical Church - 0.2 million[93]
      Javanese Christian Churches - 0.2 million[94]
      Indonesia Christian Church - 0.2 million[95]
      Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv - 0.2 million[96]
      Church of Lippe - 0.2 million[97]
      Evangelical Church of Congo - 0.2 million[98]
      Evangelical Church of Gabon - 0.2 million[99]
      Christian Evangelical Church of Sangihe Talaud - 0.2 million[100]
      Central Sulawesi Christian Church - 0.2 million[101]
      Evangelical Reformed Church in Bavaria and Northwestern Germany - 0.2 million[102]

      Congregationalism - 5 million United Church of Christ - 1.2 million[103]
      Evangelical Congregational Church in Angola - 0.9 million[104]
      United Congregational Church of Southern Africa - 0.5 million[105]

      Anabaptism and Free churches - 5 million Schwarzenau Brethren/German Baptist groups - 1.5 million[106]
      Mennonites - 1.5 million
      Plymouth Brethren - 1 million[107]
      Moravians - 0.7 million[108]
      Amish - 0.2 million
      Hutterites - 0.2 million

      Quakers - 0.4 million
      Waldensians - 0.05 million

      Modern Protestantism - 274 million[citation needed] Pentecostalism - 130 million Assemblies of God - 60 million
      International Circle of Faith - 11 million[109]
      Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)- 9 million
      International Church of the Foursquare Gospel - 8 million
      Apostolic Church - 6 million
      Church of God in Christ - 6.5 million[110]
      United Pentecostal Church International - 4 million
      The Pentecostal Mission - 2.5 million
      Christian Congregation of Brazil - 2.5 million
      Universal Church of the Kingdom of God - 2 million
      Church of God of Prophecy - 1 million
      God is Love Pentecostal Church - 0.8 million

      Nondenominational evangelicalism - 80 million Calvary Chapel - 25 million
      Born Again Movement - 20 million
      Association of Vineyard Churches - 15 million
      Christian and Missionary Alliance - 4 million[111]
      True Jesus Church - 2.5 million
      Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) - 1.2 million

      African initiated churches - 40 million Zion Christian Church - 15 million
      Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim - 10 million
      Kimbanguist Church - 5.5 million
      Church of the Lord (Aladura) - 3.6 million[112]
      Council of African Instituted Churches - 3 million[113]
      Church of Christ Light of the Holy Spirit - 1.4 million[114]
      African Church of the Holy Spirit - 0.7 million[115]
      African Israel Church Nineveh - 0.5 million[116]

      Seventh-day Adventist Church - 17 million
      Restoration Movement - 7 million Churches of Christ - 5 million
      Christian churches and churches of Christ - 1.1 million[14]
      Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) - 0.7 million[117]

      Oneness Pentecostalism - 6 million United Pentecostal Church International - 4 million
      Pentecostal Assemblies of the World - 1.5 million

      Eastern Orthodoxy - 230 million
      Autocephalous churches Russian Orthodox Church - 125 million
      Romanian Orthodox Church - 23 million
      Serbian Orthodox Church - 11.5 million
      Church of Greece - 11 million
      Bulgarian Orthodox Church - 10 million
      Georgian Orthodox Church - 5 million
      Greek Orthodox Church of Constantinople - 3.5 million
      Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch - 2.5 million
      Greek Orthodox Church of Alexandria - 1.5 million
      Orthodox Church in America - 1.2 million
      Polish Orthodox Church - 1 million
      Albanian Orthodox Church - 0.8 million
      Church of Cyprus - 0.7 million
      Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem - 0.14 million
      Czech and Slovak Orthodox Church - 0.07 million

      Autonomous churches Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) - 7.2 million[118]
      Moldovan Orthodox Church - 3.2 million
      Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia - 1.25 million
      Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia - 0.62 million
      Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric - 0.34 million
      Estonian Orthodox Church - 0.3 million
      Patriarchal Exarchate in Western Europe - 0.15 million
      Finnish Orthodox Church - 0.08 million
      Chinese Orthodox Church - 0.03 million
      Japanese Orthodox Church - 0.02 million
      Latvian Orthodox Church - 0.02 million

      Non-universally recognized churches Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) - 5.5 million[118]
      Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - 3.8 million
      Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - 2.4 million
      Macedonian Orthodox Church - 2 million
      Orthodox Church of Greece (Holy Synod in Resistance) - 0.75 million
      Old Calendar Romanian Orthodox Church - 0.50 million
      Old Calendar Bulgarian Orthodox Church - 0.45 million
      Croatian Orthodox Church - 0.36 million
      Orthodox Church in Italy - 0.12 million
      Montenegrin Orthodox Church - 0.05 million

      Other separated Orthodox groups Old Believers - 5.5 million
      Greek Old Calendarists - 0.86 million
      True Orthodox Church - 0.85 million

      Anglicanism - 85 million
      Anglican Communion - 80 million[119] Church of England - 25.0 million[120]
      Church of Nigeria - 18.0 million[121]
      Church of Uganda - 8.1 million[122]
      Anglican Church of Kenya - 5.0 million[123]
      Episcopal Church of Sudan - 4.5 million[124]
      Church of South India - 4 million[125]
      Anglican Church of Australia - 3.9 million[126]
      Episcopal Church in the United States - 2.4 million[127]
      Anglican Church of Southern Africa - 2.3 million[128]
      Anglican Church of Tanzania - 2.0 million[129]
      Anglican Church of Canada - 2.0 million[130]
      Church of North India - 1.5 million[131]
      Anglican Church of Rwanda - 1.0 million[132]
      Church of the Province of Central Africa - 0.9 million[133]
      Anglican Church of Burundi - 0.8 million[134]
      Church in the Province of the West Indies - 0.8 million[135]
      Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean - 0.5 million[136]
      Church of Christ in Congo–Anglican Community of Congo - 0.5 million[137]
      Church of Pakistan - 0.5 million[138]
      Church of Ireland - 0.4 million[139]
      Church of the Province of West Africa - 0.3 million[140]
      Church of the Province of Melanesia - 0.2 million[141]

      Continuing Anglican movement and independent Anglican churches - 1.5 million Traditional Anglican Communion - 0.4 million[142]
      Church of England in South Africa - 0.1 million[143]


      Oriental Orthodoxy - 82 million
      Autocephalous churches in communion Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church - 48 million[144]
      Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria - 15.5 million
      Armenian Orthodox Church - 8 million
      Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church - 2.5 million
      Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church - 2 million[145]
      Armenian Orthodox Church of Cilicia - 1.5 million
      Syriac Orthodox Church - 1.05 million

      Autonomous churches in communion Jacobite Syrian Christian Church - 1.2 million[146]
      Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople - 0.42 million
      Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem - 0.34 million
      French Coptic Orthodox Church - 0.01 million
      British Orthodox Church - 0.01 million

      Churches not in communion Mar Thoma Syrian Church - 1.1 million
      Malabar Independent Syrian Church - 0.06 million

      Restorationism - 45 million
      Latter Day Saint movement - 14.7 million The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormonism) - 14.4 million[147]
      Community of Christ - 0.2 million[148]

      Members Church of God International - 7 million
      New Apostolic Church - 10 million[149]
      Jehovah's Witnesses - 7.65 million [150][151]
      Iglesia ni Cristo - 6 million[152]
      Church of Christ, Scientist - 0.4 million
      Friends of Man - 0.07 million
      Christadelphians - 0.06 million

      Unitarian Universalism - 0.6 million[153]
      Unitarian Universalist Association - 0.2 million[154]

      Nestorianism - 0.6 million
      Assyrian Church of the East - 0.5 million
      Ancient Church of the East - 0.1 million
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ber_of_members
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Pierce View Post
      Hello,

      I just have a quick question for both Richard and Rose.

      First Richard, it sounds to me as if your position is Christians don't agree on Christianity. If God exists a consensus should also exist. God doesn't exist. That's my simplified version of what I think you are saying could you clarify for me?

      Second Rose, if God does something that you perceive as unfair and/or sexist, is it possible that you are looking at it from a smaller perspective and thereby missing the good reasons that God does things? I ask this because there are some things that didn't make sense to me, that even seemed cruel, but after closer examination found to be a very good choice. It's like when children don't understand some of the good choices their parents make and instead think those choices are very wrong. Often as they grow older they change their minds because they have a different perspective.

      Just Curious.
      Hey there Christopher,

      The problem is not merely that "Christians don't agree." The problem is the reason they do not agree, which is that the Bible is far too ambiguous to serve as any kind of objective guide in morality or religion. The fact that the Bible has spawned such a wide range of contradictory interpretations only demonstrates this fact.

      The shortcomings of the Bible have nothing to do with the question of whether "God" exists. That's an entirely different issue. The problems with the Bible only prove that the Bible is not anything like the "authoritative Word of God" as evangelical Christians insist, let alone the "inerrant and infallible Word of God."

      As for your comment to Rose: It is certainly possible that we are offended by some things in the Bible because of our limited perspective, but if you want to pursue that possibility you will have to cite a specific example. As far as I know, none of our critiques would be explained that way.

      Thanks for taking time to comment. I hope the conversation continues.

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. Rose's Avatar
      Rose -
      Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Pierce View Post
      Hello,

      I just have a quick question for both Richard and Rose.

      First Richard, it sounds to me as if your position is Christians don't agree on Christianity. If God exists a consensus should also exist. God doesn't exist. That's my simplified version of what I think you are saying could you clarify for me?

      Second Rose, if God does something that you perceive as unfair and/or sexist, is it possible that you are looking at it from a smaller perspective and thereby missing the good reasons that God does things? I ask this because there are some things that didn't make sense to me, that even seemed cruel, but after closer examination found to be a very good choice. It's like when children don't understand some of the good choices their parents make and instead think those choices are very wrong. Often as they grow older they change their minds because they have a different perspective.

      Just Curious.
      Hi Christopher,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with us. You make a very good point of bringing our attention to individual perspectives, which at times is the case. I have been very careful in the examples I use in my article The Male Bias of the Bible to only focus on those incidences where true unequal treatment of women takes place, which is based solely on gender. It is one thing to set up an order based on abilities and quite another to set up an order based on gender alone. Things like women being the property of men, and being put under the rule and authority of men, because they are female is intrinsically unfair. These things have nothing to do with perspective and everything to do with the male-dominated and male-bias of the Bible.

      Unfortunately there is no resolution to the numerous cases of gender bias found in Scripture, but there is an explanation. The Bible was written in an era that was dominated by men who viewed the world through masculine eyes, consequently the god they constructed was of a male warrior nature, which put women as the property of men and under their rule. There is no reason people today should take at face value the god that primitive man invented, we know why many things happen that at one time needed a god to explain.

      Take care,
      Rose
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Hi, Richard!

      Thanks so much for your very thorough explanation of why you have rejected Christianity and the tenets of the Bible which Christians consider to be the truth.

      You said:

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      These problems were greatly amplified when I began to see that Christianity functions as an agent of corruption in many, if not most, public expressions of that religion.
      However, isn't it true that there are corrupt people in almost every, not only religious system and institution, but EVERY institution, including institutions and systems of government, non-religious benevolent organizations, sports organizations, etc., etc., etc. -- you name it -- in virtually every society on the face of the earth? So, it would seem that it's not Christianity that functions as an agent of corruption, but the commonality between those institutions, which is the evil tendencies of human nature that functions as an agent of corruption. It has been many years since I have studied formal logic, but to find fault with Christianity, because of the moral failures of individuals or sub-groups of people associated with it, seems to be a kind of guilt by association. Just because people who have moral failures are associated with other people, their family members, or an organization, or a religious system, does not mean that the other people, their family, or that organization or that religious system are inherently faulty, evil or morally bankrupt. Would you agree with me on that?
      Hey there Bob!

      I'm really glad you found time to share you insights.

      I agree, of course, that there are corrupt people in any human activity. But some activities, such as science, have built in corrections for corruption. The Piltdown man, for example, was a hoax. Scientists corrected that error and very publicly rejected it and very publicly exposed the perpetrator. They know that this is absolutely necessary for science to thrive. We don't see anything like this in religion. Indeed, creationists know that the Piltdown man hoax was just that, a hoax, and that it does not represent evolutionary scientists at all, but they continue to CONSISTENTLY LIE and say that it does [see here]. This is despite the fact that the KNOW they are lying and have been corrected a million times. This is how I know that they are corrupt in a much deeper way than any ordinary group of people. Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church consistently covers up the crimes of their members and actually aides and abets them. Likewise, the entire leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, the entire leadership of Liberty University, and countless other leading Christians did everything in their power to cover up the gross crimes of Egrun Caner who to this day sits as professor in a fundamentalist Christian college. The corruption found in religious groups is much worse than most others, and they consistently fail to clean it up.

      Now it is important to note that I am usually more careful with my words. It was a slip for me to blame "Christianity" without qualification. I am usually very careful to make it clear that I am talking about "evangelical/fundamentalist" Christianity and more generally all dogmatic religions and even more generally, dogmatic ideological systems. But now that I think about it, there is good reason to conclude that all "faith based" religions are indeed the root source of the kind of corruption of which I speak, as explained below.

      I agree that it would be a logical error to conclude that evangelical Christianity is a corrupting influence merely because of a few bad apples. That would be the fallacies of hasty generalization and guilt by association. But that's not how I came to my conclusion. After noting the broad corruption found throughout evangelical Christianity, I asked the simple question "Why?". The answer was easy to find. Evangelical Christians are explicitly committed to falsehood. They actively pervert logic and deny facts in their efforts to justify a false presumption, namely, that the Bible is the "authoritative" or "inerrant and infallible" Word of God. That doctrine is the root of their corruption. Furthermore, I think it likely that the fundamental doctrine of Christianity may be to blame, namely, the doctrine that blind faith is a "virtue." If people are taught that their eternal destiny depends critically upon believing propositions that cannot be proven, and then they are taught doctrines that directly contradict reality, they must corrupt their minds to save their souls!

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      For example, in 2010 Ergun Caner was exposed as a serial liar who had been lying for TEN YEARS about being a former Muslim terrorist when in fact he grew up as an ordinary American kid in Columbus, Ohio. He was president and dean of Jerry Fallwel's seminary at Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world. I watched dumbfounded as the entire LEADERSHIP of Liberty University systematically LIED to cover up Caner's crimes. My disgust grew as I watched one of the most prominent Christian apologists, Norm Geisler, do everything in his power to cover up Caner's lies. And John Ankerberg lied too, and many small Christian ministries removed the evidence of Caner's lies from their websites. I finally realized that the entire body of Evangelical Christianity was entirely corrupt and saturated with perverse people who would knowingly lie to protect other liars. See my article Ergun Caner's Crimes against God and the Global Community if you are interested in the scatology of Christianity.
      So, if the tenets of Christianity are perceived as an embodiment of constructs of moral integrity (which you obviously in part accept, as is evident by the way you have judged/evaluated those men), one should be able to see that it is not Christianity that is the agent or purveyer of corruption. The source of corruption is those who are associated with Christianity who show a measure of corruption as evidenced by their failer at some point, to embody the integrity that comes from executing or exercising those tenets -- tenets, the practice of which are meant to help engender integrity in the people who practice them.
      You begin with a false premise. There is no reason to believe that "the tenets of Christianity are perceived as an embodiment of constructs of moral integrity." Yes, some of the tenets are, but others most certainly are not. For example, the sexism taught throughout the Bible is definitely immoral (see my article The Inextricable Sexism of the Bible). Likewise, the Gospel itself is problematic because it is impossible to transfer judgment from the guilty to the just. That idea makes no sense at all. And worse, God is unfair to the guilty. Some he punished forever (damnation, however you interpret it) while he rewards others who are equally wicked with eternal happiness in heaven. Thus, the Gospel appears to be both immoral and irrational.

      And most significantly, the doctrine that the Bible is the "authoritative" or "inerrant and infallible" Word of God most certainly contradicts all reason and so corrupts both the minds and morals of those who try to defend it. This fact is confirmed by an analysis of any such defense. They are universally corrupt as far as I can tell.

      Again, I did not mean to say that "Christianity" itself is the source of the corruption, but rather the kind of Christianity that asserts the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. That is the primary root of the corruption. But then there is the deeper root which stems from the central doctrines of Christianity, such as the teaching that a person must have unfounded "faith" in a set of propositions, and that the eternal welfare of your very soul depends critically upon the acceptance of those propositions. Such teachings are a profound agent of corruption because the believers must corrupt their minds to save their souls!

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      In regard to the supposed "representatives" of the tenets of Christianity (who in my view should only be God and Jesus Christ, because according to the Scriptures, even the patriarchs and apostles had moral failures), like all other people, neither Caner nor Geisler are perferctly moral men and did not claim to be, but tried (and I assume continue) to practice the tenets in order to grow toward the model of integrity that the tenets represent. In putting into perspective the degree of moral violation committed by these morally imperfect men: the Hebrew patriarchs Abraham lied, and Jacob stole from his brother; the prophet and king of Israel, David committed adultery with and killed the husband of Bathsheba; Peter showed racial favoritism/bigotry; and Paul the apostle, confessed that he did not keep the tenets of Christianity in the way that he wanted. There is no one reading this post who has never lied. We all have lied or will lie, i.e., flex or color the truth to one degree or another, at some point. Even children, as "innocent" as they are, do lie. Because God and God alone is perfect morally, we might ask, as a way for finding some standard of moral integrity, "How do we ourselves measure up to our perceptions of God's integrity as a measure of our own?" To go a step "lower, even if we have our own personal standards of integrity and God judged us by our personal standards, instead of His own, we would be guilty, because we all violate even our own personal moral standards and consciences, unless our standards and consciences hinge upon situational ethics, in which, the case can be made that those standards would be either very loose standards or no standards at all.
      Your assertion that Geisler and Caner have "tried (and I assume continue) to practice the tenets in order to grow toward the model of integrity that the tenets represent" is directly contradicted by the facts. Caner has never admitted to any of his many lies repeated over and over and over again during his ten year marathon of deception despite the fact that the evidence is absolutely incontrovertible and undeniable. And Geisler continues to promote him and has never admitted he lied. Furthermore, his brother Emir knew without any doubt that Egun was lying, but continues to participate in the cover up even as he "serves Christ" at a Christian college, just like his brother. The corruption of their minds and morals is total and complete. From a Christian perspective, they are sons of the devil.

      Your assertion that "all have lied" seems irrelevant to me. We are not talking about normal moral failings common to humanity. We are talking about a level of corruption that totally contradicts any claim to any truth of their belief in God. From a Biblical perspective, we are talking about reprobates.

      The idea that Yahweh is "morally perfect" is problematic because there are many moral abominations attributed to God in the Bible. You assume it is true merely because some passages say so. But why believe those passages? Why begin with the assumption that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God? As shown above, it is that very assumption that corrupts the minds and morals of believers.

      As for your idea that "situational ethics" allows for our standards to change - that is a common misconception. All moral questions are "situational." If you believe in objective morality as I do, the same standard is applied to each situation. I believe in objective morality, but it has nothing to do with any God. I explain my position in my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality.

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      For virtually anyone reading this post who has a strong moral standard for lying, if you have said to yourself that you have not lied, you've lied to yourself. Even slightly flexing or shading the truth is not the total truth, so that part of "the truth" is really a lie! There is no one reading this post that has not done it in one form or another. All men are morally faulty, to one degree or another and have or will lie, to one degree or another ("All have sinned [even in violating their own moral standards and moral consciences] and fall short of the grace of God;" "...all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives." [Rom. 3:23, NIV, AMP]). The virtue and value of a religious or moral philosophical system or their set of tenets is not in the followers, but in the construct of moral integrity that they embody, as perceived from the perspective of the human evaluator of that construct and in the potential virtue developed in the one who practices them.
      I agree that all people "lie" in the sense of not speaking the "full truth" - that is a consequence of the limitations of language if nothing else. But it also is because we are limited beings with conflicting desires and partial understanding. Many factors come into play. But none of this has anything to do with the point being discussed. Evangelical Christianity is an agent of corruption. False doctrines force Christians to believe and defend lies to save their souls. That's the problem.

      Your appeal to the universal moral failings is a profound error. It suggests that the best of us are no different than the worst of us. It suggests that feeding the poor is as evil as genocide, since surely some minor sins (such as pride) may have been part of my motivation for doing good. This is a prime example of how Christian philosophy corrupts the minds and morals of believers. Such issues should never be raised in defense of the kind of corruption we are discussing.

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Most of us would say that breaking the standard of lying maybe morally ok, in some cases. It depends upon the motive. If you consider lying to be morally wrong, you might do it, to help or save someone from an uncomfortable or emotionally or physical painful situation -- possibly death. Richard, Rose and my other dear readers, would you lie to save a parent or a child from death? Would you lie to save a parent or child from emotionally or mentally debilitating or injurious worry? If you were a teacher hiding terrified kids during the Newtown shootings, if a child asked you, "Are we going to get killed?," most of you would take the babes in your harms and say, "No honey, you're going to be ok." However, that wouldn't be the whole truth. A truthful answer would be, "I'm sorry honey, I truthfully don't really know!" And, you would say that it was ok to break your moral standard to not lie (if you have one), but "My motive was right; so that makes it ok." Or, "It was not ok to lie, but I had to choose the lesser of the two evils -- to scare the kids out of their minds, so that they scream and possible bring the killer to our location, or to lie to make them feel safe and keep them quiet." My whole point is this: There is no perfect man or woman reading this post who who has not lied. Motive matters.
      I totally agree that "motive matters." There are no "absolute moral rules" in the sense of regulations like "do not lie." For every such rule, I can give you an example of when it would be morally right to violate that rule. That's why it is impossible to define morality by a list of rules. Morality is defined by empathy and love. That's why the "Divine Command Theory" of morality is so utterly absurd.

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      A key question is: Do you truly know the motives of all of the people who committed all the supposed "cover ups?" (We don't truly know if they are cover ups until we truly know the motives -- what was in their thoughts/hearts/emotions -- that made them remove the information from the websites. Otherwise, we would be judging them by outer appearances.) A second key question is: Could removal of the information by those ministers/ministries from their websites been motivated by or for the sake of avoiding inflicting some form of pain to all who may have been directly or indirectly involved? The one single primary tenet of Christianity is love. The Scripture says, "Love covers a multitude of sins." ("Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]." 1 Pet. 4:8, AMP) As evil as you may think Caner is, compared to whomever, another question is: Is he a human being, who despite his moral failures or mistakes, once his sin was discovered, needed to get this lie behind him and to get on with his life? (Before answering that question, read the example, below.) No one reading this post has not made big moral mistakes that they don't want others to focus on. Regardless of what yours are, would you would others to cover your sins, instead of broadcasting them all over the world?
      There are no "supposed" cover ups. The evidence is absolute and incontrovertible and very public. Their cover up was also public. They had only one morally valid choice - to come clean, admit the truth, and repent. There is no more fundamental doctrine of Christianity than repentance, so they directly contradicted their fundamental claim to being Christian. They made a mockery of their claim to be followers of Christ. And I know their motives. To protect their jobs and their pride and their positions of power. I know it was not love because LOVE DOES NOT LIE FOR TEN YEARS ABOUT BEING A TERRORIST!!! Love does not choose to offend my moral sense by covering up sins so that the sinners can continue in their deceit, keep their jobs and pride and positions of power. When leaders are allowed to publicly sin and not repent, it teaches all the "sheep" that repentance is unnecessary and makes Christianity a farce.

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Example: You discover that your teen-aged daughter, the president of her graduating class, has been stealing from several stores (which is worse a lier or a theif?). She's been published on the school website as a leader and one of the most promising and popular girls at her high school. What are you going to do -- go up to the school and make sure that the school publishes her sins on the web? "You guys -- teachers, principal or whoever -- need to make sure that everyone knows of my daughter's great moral failire, because she represented the integrity of this school and my integrity as a parent!!! We both stand for moral integrity and her moral failure needs to be EXPOSED!!!" I would hope that you would not do that because this might hurt the school's reputation, the emotions of the students and staff, your relatives and your parents, as well as you, as a parent who obviously would love your child very much! You would love your daughter and hopefully, all the people involved as well, too much, to do that! So, because Caner, Geisler and all those ministries are Christian, that makes it different? Where is the love for them? Or, would you have greater love for your daughter than for them? So, can you say that you know all the motives of all the people involved in the Caner-Geisler situation and that having the love "to cover a multitude of sins" was not a motive in the hearts of ANY of them?
      So you think that it is LOVING to let a bunch of perverse lying WOLVES lead the flock, take their money, LIE LIE LIE to them and not be exposed? Do you think it was LOVING for the Catholic Church to move the PEDOPHILE PRIESTS from parish to parish so the could continue RAPING LITTLE BOYS?

      I'm sorry Bob, but your answers seem morally perverse to me, and I'm an atheist. How ironic is that?

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      We, as human beings, cannot depend even on our own selves to keep our own personal moral standards or depend on ourselves to not violate our own personal moral consciences, 100% of the time, in every instance (of course, unless you have vague nebulous standards of situational ethics, e.g., the ends justifies the means). In light of that fact, it is a severe mistake to base the acceptance or rejection of a faith or a religious or moral philosophical system on the basis of the integrity of the people who are supposed to be representatives or practitioners of that faith/system. One of the other serious faults in human nature is that we all tend to do it.
      As noted above, I agree it would be a logical error to reject Christianity merely because some followers are morally corrupt. But as I also explained, there is good reason to reject Christianity if it is found to be the REASON for the corruption. It's too bad you wrote all those words defending the liars since that really has nothing to do with my argument. My argument is that Evangelical Christianity is an agent of corruption because it teaches people that they must corrupt their minds to save their souls.

      All the best,

      Richard
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      Hey there Bob!


      As noted above, I agree it would be a logical error to reject Christianity merely because some followers are morally corrupt. But as I also explained, there is good reason to reject Christianity if it is found to be the REASON for the corruption. It's too bad you wrote all those words defending the liars since that really has nothing to do with my argument. My argument is that Evangelical Christianity is an agent of corruption because it teaches people that they must corrupt their minds to save their souls.
      Richard
      Hi, Richard.

      A little piece at a time. From my perspective, my defending the liars would be if I had said something like, "Yes, it was ok for Caner, Geisler and all the others to lie in that situation because of...(whatever)." I was assenting to possibilities of unknown factors in the situation that may have precluded my ability to rightly judge the people involved in the "cover up" (again, that term, IMHO, may not convey what may have been motives coming from redeeming qualities of the human heart). I did not say that I thought it was ok for Caner or those involved to lie or hide truth that "should" have been exposed (from God's point of view; I don't really have His omniscience or wisdom). Defending liars was not my intent. My intent was to point out the fact that as human beings, we are all flawed and that some people's motives in that situation (not mine) may have been to: 1) save the innocent from pain and suffering and 2) make an attempt at redemption by lovingly "covering" the sins of a repentent violator of a moral code, the way a parent might cover those of a beloved child. Whether Caner repented after ten years of lying, I have no idea. Whether he in private, confessed his sin to and asked for forgiveness from his superiors, colleagues, and maybe other parts of that community, I have no idea. If that is what happened, was public confession to the whole world also required? IMHO, maybe; maybe not. Whether all of them should have come forward and confessed to the public, I'll leave that to their consciences and others like you to judge that, who probably know much better than I do, in that regard. I'm just saying that I don't know every factor in that situation. I don't know anything about whether he confessed being a liar and was truly repentent (unfortunately, after caught), to whom he may have confessed and whether or not everyone did all that was required, from God's point of view. I don't know if confessing to the public personally should have been done or not. I won't judge hearts; I just don't feel that I know enough factors about the situation to judge. If I were God, with the my limited ability to judge, His Power and a desire to punish people (of course this statement is kind of self contradictory), the world and its people would really be a mess and in a "world of trouble." :-)

      My analogy of the high school daughter was to show that if love was involved, i.e., if those around Caner who may have really grown to love the guy from knowing many other things about him -- his heart and his character, in many other situations -- if he showed a true attitude of repentence that they felt was real, they may in love, like one might treat their own son or daughter -- tried to protect him; or they might have tried to protect others (possibly many) who might potentially have been hurt by his exposure. And, I'm aware that all analogies break down somewhere. So, there may be a breakdown in mine. By the same token, I personally, would not equate the Catholic situation to Caner's.

      You said:

      Quote Originally Posted by Richard Amiel McGough View Post
      I'm sorry Bob, but your answers seem morally perverse to me, and I'm an atheist. How ironic is that?
      Richard, I was under the impression that you believed in God. Guess I was mistaken. My experience is that atheists and believers in God (whether Christian or not) operate in philosophical systems that are so diametrically opposite, that there will never, ever be much agreement. If you truly are an atheist, I can totally understand why my answers seem morally perverse to you. My experience is that the differences in values, points of reference and points of view between believers in God and atheists is such a great "divide" -- such a vast chasm -- that the meaning of the saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" is "exponentially" amplified. So, if you are truly an atheist, I believe that our discussion will be of no practical value to either of us. I misunderstood you and still am a bit confused in that regard. Please clarify your position. If you are, then, this is our last conversation, no ill feelings at all; I don't have any criticism of you personally; and Richard, incredible scholar and discoverer of the awesome Bible Wheel, I wish you all the very best!

      Bob
    1. BobL's Avatar
      BobL -
      PS: Forgot to thank you for taking the time out to read all my patter and to explain and help me understand your viewpoints and opinions.

      Bob
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      Hi, Richard.

      A little piece at a time. From my perspective, my defending the liars would be if I had said something like, "Yes, it was ok for Caner, Geisler and all the others to lie in that situation because of...(whatever)." I was assenting to possibilities of unknown factors in the situation that may have precluded my ability to rightly judge the people involved in the "cover up" (again, that term, IMHO, may not convey what may have been motives coming from redeeming qualities of the human heart). I did not say that I thought it was ok for Caner or those involved to lie or hide truth that "should" have been exposed (from God's point of view; I don't really have His omniscience or wisdom). Defending liars was not my intent. My intent was to point out the fact that as human beings, we are all flawed and that some people's motives in that situation (not mine) may have been to: 1) save the innocent from pain and suffering and 2) make an attempt at redemption by lovingly "covering" the sins of a repentent violator of a moral code, the way a parent might cover those of a beloved child. Whether Caner repented after ten years of lying, I have no idea. Whether he in private, confessed his sin to and asked for forgiveness from his superiors, colleagues, and maybe other parts of that community, I have no idea. If that is what happened, was public confession to the whole world also required? IMHO, maybe; maybe not. Whether all of them should have come forward and confessed to the public, I'll leave that to their consciences and others like you to judge that, who probably know much better than I do, in that regard. I'm just saying that I don't know every factor in that situation. I don't know anything about whether he confessed being a liar and was truly repentent (unfortunately, after caught), to whom he may have confessed and whether or not everyone did all that was required, from God's point of view. I don't know if confessing to the public personally should have been done or not. I won't judge hearts; I just don't feel that I know enough factors about the situation to judge. If I were God, with the my limited ability to judge, His Power and a desire to punish people (of course this statement is kind of self contradictory), the world and its people would really be a mess and in a "world of trouble." :-)

      My analogy of the high school daughter was to show that if love was involved, i.e., if those around Caner who may have really grown to love the guy from knowing many other things about him -- his heart and his character, in many other situations -- if he showed a true attitude of repentence that they felt was real, they may in love, like one might treat their own son or daughter -- tried to protect him; or they might have tried to protect others (possibly many) who might potentially have been hurt by his exposure. And, I'm aware that all analogies break down somewhere. So, there may be a breakdown in mine. By the same token, I personally, would not equate the Catholic situation to Caner's.
      Hey there Bob,

      I understood that you were not consciously trying to defend lying, but rather how to deal with it. But to my mind, your answer only exemplifies why it is so rampant in evangelical Christianity. We are told that the early Christian were willing to DIE for the truth. That's a far cry from your response to the corruption in the church. To me, the corruption revealed by Caner, the apologists, and the leaders like Jerry Falwell who installed him in his office as President and Dean of Liberty Theological Seminary, proves absolutely that they are utterly corrupt and are as far from Christ as Satan himself (to use a biblical metaphor). If you can't see this, then you and I are entirely different kinds of people. Its one thing to see people consciously and deliberately persist in such blatant corruption, coupled with greed, perverse arrogance, and SLANDER they spewed out on those who exposed their crimes. Its quite another to see it coming from people who claim to be followers of CHRIST! It makes my blood boil, as I'm sure you can see.

      I think the conversation got distracted with the examples of corruption. It would have been much more interesting (and fruitful) if you had answered my answer to your question. Here it is again:

      And this brings us to your question posed in your second post: "What BIBLICAL components of or specifications for the biblically-defined condition of salvation do you reject and no longer want applied to yourself, that make you non-Christian?"

      My answer: All of them. I do not believe that God is going to save or damn anyone based on what they believe about what is written in the Bible. That would be radically irrational for may reasons. First, most people in history never heard of the Bible, and of those who did, they were taught whatever doctrines flowed from the religion they were born into. Mormon children are taught Mormon doctrines, etc. God cannot use "doctrines" as a righteous standard of judgment. Furthermore, the Bible is much too ambiguous to function as any kind of guide, as is obvious from the ten thousand varieties of Christianities out there. And besides that, I now reject the Christian concept of theism. I do not believe that there is a theistic style God who is a personal agent who "does things" like answer prayers, part the Red Sea, flood the planet, design the Bible Wheel, command genocide, judge people for their sins, etc. But don't get me wrong. I'm open to the possibility of spiritual/mental "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I just don't think there is any evidence for a theistic style God.

      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      You said:
      Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
      I'm sorry Bob, but your answers seem morally perverse to me, and I'm an atheist. How ironic is that?
      Richard, I was under the impression that you believed in God. Guess I was mistaken. My experience is that atheists and believers in God (whether Christian or not) operate in philosophical systems that are so diametrically opposite, that there will never, ever be much agreement. If you truly are an atheist, I can totally understand why my answers seem morally perverse to you. My experience is that the differences in values, points of reference and points of view between believers in God and atheists is such a great "divide" -- such a vast chasm -- that the meaning of the saying, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" is "exponentially" amplified. So, if you are truly an atheist, I believe that our discussion will be of no practical value to either of us. I misunderstood you and still am a bit confused in that regard. Please clarify your position. If you are, then, this is our last conversation, no ill feelings at all; I don't have any criticism of you personally; and Richard, incredible scholar and discoverer of the awesome Bible Wheel, I wish you all the very best!

      Bob
      You answer mystifies me. I had a problem with your answer because it appears that by your standards evil people would continue to rule in the church. How is it possible that an atheist would find this morally perverse, and a Christian not?

      Your assertion that our "philosophical differences" are "diametrically opposite" is probably based on a false understanding of what "atheist" means. It means only that I reject theistic style gods. It does not mean that I am a materialist. It says nothing about my metaphysical or philosophical understanding. So please, don't jump to conclusions. I see nothing that would stop us from having a fruitful discussion, unless, of course, you insist on propositions that have no foundation in any logic or facts. Of course, I can understand why you might be confused about atheism, since Christians almost universally teach that atheism is identical to materialism. And there are plenty of atheists that are materialists, so the confusion is compounded. But there is nothing about the rejection of theistic style gods like Allah, Apollo, Brahman, Yahweh, or Zeus that implies materialism. Atheists can be every bit as "spiritual" as anyone. Personally, I am inclined towards something like the Perennial Philosophy that sees a spiritual "Ground of Being" or "Cosmic Mind." I'm not committed to any view because it is beyond the limits of my knowledge. But I am completely open to such ideas. I just don't believe in theism because it seems obvious to me that none of the theistic style gods proposed by the religions is true.

      And I don't see why we would have any fundamental differences in values. I am committed to nothing but truth. I believe in objective morality. See my article The Logic of Love: A Natural Theory of Morality.

      I hope this clarifies my position. I am totally open minded to where ever the evidence leads. I am an atheist because that is the word that describes people who don't believe in theistic style gods.

      And I hope the conversation will continue. I think it could be very fruitful. And remember, there are many people who will be reading both our comments, so many could benefit. And besides, I'm in a very strange position and I want someone to talk to because I am mystified by the Bible Wheel. The evidence stands but I don't know what it means. The simplistic answer, which seemed self-evident to me for all the years I was a Christian, that it was proof that God inspired the Bible doesn't work anymore because I can't believe that the God described in its pages is true. I doubt that will change, but I think it would be great if you wanted to explore and challenge my reasons.

      In any case, you will always be welcome here. And I really appreciate the time you have taken to share you insights.

      All the very best,

      Richard
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
      PS: Forgot to thank you for taking the time out to read all my patter and to explain and help me understand your viewpoints and opinions.

      Bob
      That's what I just said to you (before I saw your comment)! I said "In any case, you will always be welcome here. And I really appreciate the time you have taken to share you insights."

      So there you go - we obviously share many values. Great minds think alike.
    1. Christopher Pierce's Avatar
      Christopher Pierce -
      When I discuss things I like to keep things simple and cut through clutter. I say that because it seems that much of the discussion on this thread has been about the alleged corrupting influence of Christianity. To me that is a point that, no disrespect to what I understand Richard to believe, is moot. The root religion of Christianity is Judaism and Jesus himself had many problems with the leaders of Judaism and Paul pointed out that the very giving of law encourages lawlessness. So I would like to start by asking is it possible that there is a personal God that exists. At this point I'm not asking if it is the God of the bible or if there is any evidence of such a God. At this point to establish a base line in the discussion I want to know if such a God is possible. If he is I will move on from there if not than I will (or anyone else can) attempt to establish a base to build the conversation on.
    1. Richard Amiel McGough's Avatar
      Richard Amiel McGough -
      Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Pierce View Post
      When I discuss things I like to keep things simple and cut through clutter. I say that because it seems that much of the discussion on this thread has been about the alleged corrupting influence of Christianity. To me that is a point that, no disrespect to what I understand Richard to believe, is moot. The root religion of Christianity is Judaism and Jesus himself had many problems with the leaders of Judaism and Paul pointed out that the very giving of law encourages lawlessness. So I would like to start by asking is it possible that there is a personal God that exists. At this point I'm not asking if it is the God of the bible or if there is any evidence of such a God. At this point to establish a base line in the discussion I want to know if such a God is possible. If he is I will move on from there if not than I will (or anyone else can) attempt to establish a base to build the conversation on.
      Hey there Christopher,

      We have two things in common. First, I very much like to keep things simple and cut through the clutter. One question at the time is best since the answer will usually evoke two or three questions. It's a big challenge to stay focused because good conversations tend to branch exponentially.

      Second, I also desire to find a "base line" of agreement based on clear definitions. Voltaire said it right: "If you want to discourse with me, define your terms."

      Is it possible that there is a personal God that exists? The answer depends entirely upon how we define God and what we mean by "personal" with respect to God. In the broadest sense, there is no reason such a God could not exist. I am partial to the idea that there is a metaphysical (mental/spiritual) "Ground of Being" that could be called "God." The idea of that God having "personality" is problematic though. It's may be possible, but it may be that the concept of personality is restricted to finite localized beings. There is something about "omnipresence" that seems to suggest the category of "personality" (which is an entirely human concept) probably does not apply to the conscious Ground of Being. Or if it does, it would probably not have a "will" in the sense that we think of persons having a will. It's a very complex subject.

      Bottom line: I have no problem with the possibility of a God, but it would require a lot of conversation to clarify what that really mean.

      I will be on the road today, going to visit family in Seattle (a 150 miles away) so I won't be available for most of the day. So don't be surprised if you don't get a quick answer.

      But while I'm here, I'll give you a little more information so you know where I'm coming from and can think about it when I'm gone. I have no reason to believe in the speculative Christian philosophical concepts of God that were largely invented during the Medieval times and which are often contrary to the God as portrayed in the Bible. I'm talking about the idea that that God is "eternal" in the sense of "timeless and unchanging" (in an absolute sense). That entails some serious logical conundrums and it may be that such a god is logically incoherent and so could not exist in "any possible world" as the philosophers like to say. Ironically, such a God could not even be a creator because he could never do anything since all actions are done in time and entail a change in the changeless cause. We have a direct contradiction. We have a similar problem with the idea of absolute omniscience. A God who knows all things never had a chance to make any decisions. He could never choose anyone or anything. He is more like a brute unchanging fact than a loving person. Indeed, he is nothing like a "person" and so is not "personal." And of course, all these philosophical speculations about God are not well-defined in the bible, and they seem entirely contrary to the God portrayed therein.

      Great chatting!

      Richard
    1. Unregistered's Avatar
      Unregistered -
      The way I see it is you are lumping all christians into 1 group "christians". But, looking at all the "christian" groups you mention are - not christian! Take for example a traditionally thought of protestant group - the presbyterians. If you read their statement of faith not one thing is biblical. And so it goes with 99% of these or better. so what separates real christians from false christians? Let us ask a couple questions. What are the typical, generic questions someone asks? Q. what makes someone a christian? A. they believe in Jesus Christ. Yes & really NO! Why because just proclaiming you believe in A "jesus christ" is too vague because muslims believe in a j.c. - he was a great prophet before mohammed. Jehovas Witnesses believe in a j.c. he is a great arcangel who is yet to come. Mormons believe in a j.c. but he is just a lesser god and spirit brother of satan - do you see where this is going? or how about this? Q. are you born again? A. yes I have been born again. Well even satanic churches, witches covens, luciferians, freemasons all get born "again" into their religion! Or how about - Q. have you been baptized? A. all these same groups baptize each other also! So what separates a real believer from a false believer? Awnser, That you believe what/who Jesus Christ is and that you hear/understand what he has commanded and you do it, and keep at it, not just hear it and put it to the side. - This is why the "lukewarm" will be spit out of his mouth. This is why the road to heaven is narrow and difficult compared to the road to hell being wide and broad and easy. Also, this is the "great falling away" not that people are falling away from "church" but, people are falling away from the true gospel/doctrine that has bee given to us. Now the reason why paul and all others still sin is not because of any other reason except we are trapped in sinful human bodies. That doesn't mean that we sin willingly it means when we do sin we feel bad about it and try not to ever do it again, and if possible make it right. We can't reach perfection - no one can. Now sexism is not biblical - yes women do have a lesser role to a point but, look at the biblical examples - women are given great honor and are great examples for all people. Deborah, Esther, the 6 mary's, etc. Eve caused sin in the beginning and was rightly judged because of it, she wasn't killed off - she still was the progenitor of us all. Denominations are wrong also, we are not to follow "man" we are to follow GOD, we can learn from some of the denominations but we can also be heavily misled. This is why there is so many "christian denominations" to confuse and destroy all those that might possibly be saved. satans master plan to kill, lie and destroy. This is why there is so many bible versions - look at the niv - missing 1/6th or 66,000 words and everything that leads to salvation and most miracles or supernatural events. Please don't look for the 1 true church, look for the true belief. Don't look for the fruit only because even non-believers can have great fruit. Do this read the KJV or any other "textus receptus" based bible, repent, fast, pray and trust in the 1 true living GOD, Jesus the Christ. and you will be saved. There is no other choice for all other roads lead to death. And don't blindly trust look at the evidence still here on earth, the rock at Horeb, the real Mt. Sinai., the chariots at the bottom of the red sea, Noah's Ark in the mountains of Ararat, plus many more - no other faith even has anything as far as proof. God's works are proveable in multiple ways. but especially in the lives of true faithful believers. Please think and pray and you will find - GOD. Stay true.
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