Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist...
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#721 May 4, 2013
Big Al wrote:
<quoted text>
I won’t be able to respond for a few days myself but I can tell you this…
What religion or belief system a person has is predominantly dictated by the culture in which a person was raised. 88% of the people in Italy profess to be Catholic because of the culture not because it is required by law or because they all gave careful consideration to all of the possibilities before choosing Catholicism. Of course the depth of belief varies throughout all religious denominations and belief systems.
Although you claim that you were raised in an “anti-Christian environment” you were raised in a country where there is a Christian Church on every other street corner and Mosques are few and far between. What do you think the odds were that when you finally did choose to accept a belief system it would be Christian; pretty high I think.
No, the chances are very low. There was absolutely no natural/logical reason for me to have become a Christian. This is what I mean by stating that you are now forced to claim you know more about me than I do. I don't fit into your philosophical idea, so you're now forced to rewrite my history, and claim to understand my overall psychological make-up as well.

While there are numerous Christian churches in my area, there are also Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, and mosques. The fact that Christian churches are the majority would normally cause me to favor the minority. I really initially did not want to believe the Gospel to be truth.

I think you 'might' be associating my "American Experience" with your own. Even though we're in the same nation, our life experiences are probably quite a bit different other than the common experiences of sweaty locker rooms, keg parties, etc. The world of "Christian Schools" was 'far' from 'my' world. When I was in school, I heard rumors of their being a Catholic school across town. That's my experience with Christian schooling (slight exaggeration there).

From what I gather, you were subject to cultural Christian upbringing. You may have been placed into a Christian school, and thus a Christian environment as a pre-adult. In your earlier years, you believed the basic Christian tenets due 'to' Christian cultural influence. At some point, you embraced certain literature promoting logic and reasoning, like that of Thomas Paine, that generally tends to confront Christianity.

Again, I'm making certain assumptions that may not be accurate, but based on our past conversations.
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#722 May 5, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
No, the chances are very low. There was absolutely no natural/logical reason for me to have become a Christian. This is what I mean by stating that you are now forced to claim you know more about me than I do. I don't fit into your philosophical idea, so you're now forced to rewrite my history, and claim to understand my overall psychological make-up as well.
While there are numerous Christian churches in my area, there are also Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, and mosques. The fact that Christian churches are the majority would normally cause me to favor the minority. I really initially did not want to believe the Gospel to be truth.
I think you 'might' be associating my "American Experience" with your own. Even though we're in the same nation, our life experiences are probably quite a bit different other than the common experiences of sweaty locker rooms, keg parties, etc. The world of "Christian Schools" was 'far' from 'my' world. When I was in school, I heard rumors of their being a Catholic school across town. That's my experience with Christian schooling (slight exaggeration there).
From what I gather, you were subject to cultural Christian upbringing. You may have been placed into a Christian school, and thus a Christian environment as a pre-adult. In your earlier years, you believed the basic Christian tenets due 'to' Christian cultural influence. At some point, you embraced certain literature promoting logic and reasoning, like that of Thomas Paine, that generally tends to confront Christianity.
Again, I'm making certain assumptions that may not be accurate, but based on our past conversations.
There are those in every society who are brought up in an environment outside of the predominant belief system. The point is that any rational gambler would bet his last dollar that if a person brought up outside of a society’s predominant belief system decides to become religious at some later date he/she will opt for the predominant belief system of that society and win that bet a very high percentage of the time.

I would venture to say that you never seriously considered the tenets of Islam or Hindu. Just as those born into an Islamic or Hindu society without a religious indoctrination would be unlikely to seriously consider the tenets of Christianity should they opt for a religious belief system at a later date.

“Culture has been defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.”- University of Manitoba

Whether you acknowledge it or not you are Christian (to a large degree) because you were raised in a Christian culture.
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#723 May 6, 2013
Big Al wrote:
1. <quoted text>
There are those in every society who are brought up in an environment outside of the predominant belief system. The point is that any rational gambler would bet his last dollar that if a person brought up outside of a society’s predominant belief system decides to become religious at some later date he/she will opt for the predominant belief system of that society and win that bet a very high percentage of the time.

2. I would venture to say that you never seriously considered the tenets of Islam or Hindu. Just as those born into an Islamic or Hindu society without a religious indoctrination would be unlikely to seriously consider the tenets of Christianity should they opt for a religious belief system at a later date.

3.“Culture has been defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.”- University of Manitoba

4. Whether you acknowledge it or not you are Christian (to a large degree) because you were raised in a Christian culture.
1. I personally think the reasons these claims are made to begin with is because the people who make them are not at risk of 'losing' a large sum at the betting table. And for real gamblers without any sort of bias, they would probably look deeper into the issues than the alleged experts, just for the sake of betting successfully.

2. I never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity either. If I wanted to choose a religion because I 'wanted' to have/practice a religion, it would probably would have been Buddhism. I may have even preferred Islam and Hinduism over Christianity just 'for' the fact that in my mind Christianity was more 'American'. Yes...before I became a Christian I wan "anti-American". Now the fact that I never considered the tenets of Islam and Hinduism is really irrelevant. The fact was, I had no interest in actually 'practicing' any religion.

3. The cultural environment I grew up in did have an influence on me. The influence it had on me was to be my own god. But this quote doesn't answer questions as to why Muslims in Middle Eastern countries, and Chinese nationals become Christians when not only is it not a part of their culture, but forbidden.

4. As I said, now you have to claim to know more about me than I know myself. The truth is, you know absolutely 'nothing' about how/why I became a Christian. This is uncomfortable, so you're now forced to trying to squeeze a round peg into a square hole, and claim it's a perfect fit. Did anything I stated before about the difference between yours and my upbringing make any sense?
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#725 May 6, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
1. I personally think the reasons these claims are made to begin with is because the people who make them are not at risk of 'losing' a large sum at the betting table. And for real gamblers without any sort of bias, they would probably look deeper into the issues than the alleged experts, just for the sake of betting successfully.
It’s not that complicated. Professional gamblers deal in probabilities. The mathematical probability (based on statistics)that you would become Christian was very high while the mathematical probability that you would adopt Islam was very low.
Job wrote:
2. I never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity either. If I wanted to choose a religion because I 'wanted' to have/practice a religion, it would probably would have been Buddhism. I may have even preferred Islam and Hinduism over Christianity just 'for' the fact that in my mind Christianity was more 'American'. Yes...before I became a Christian I wan "anti-American". Now the fact that I never considered the tenets of Islam and Hinduism is really irrelevant. The fact was, I had no interest in actually 'practicing' any religion.
You evidently became a Christian on the basis of an emotional experience and rational thought had very little to do with it?

"When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself." - Bertrand Russell

You are obviously not in the habit of reasoning.
Job wrote:
3. The cultural environment I grew up in did have an influence on me. The influence it had on me was to be my own god. But this quote doesn't answer questions as to why Muslims in Middle Eastern countries, and Chinese nationals become Christians when not only is it not a part of their culture, but forbidden.
I think your cultural environment had a lot more effect on you than you seem to realize.
Job wrote:
4. As I said, now you have to claim to know more about me than I know myself. The truth is, you know absolutely 'nothing' about how/why I became a Christian. This is uncomfortable, so you're now forced to trying to squeeze a round peg into a square hole, and claim it's a perfect fit. Did anything I stated before about the difference between yours and my upbringing make any sense?
I claim no personal knowledge of you only knowledge of people in general. A person becoming religious later in life and adopting the predominant belief system of the culture he was born into is certainly no surprise to me or anyone else.
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#726 May 6, 2013
Big Al wrote:
1.<quoted text>
It’s not that complicated. Professional gamblers deal in probabilities. The mathematical probability (based on statistics)that you would become Christian was very high while the mathematical probability that you would adopt Islam was very low.
<quoted text>

2. You evidently became a Christian on the basis of an emotional experience and rational thought had very little to do with it?

3. "When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favour of the belief which he finds in himself." - Bertrand Russell

4. You are obviously not in the habit of reasoning.
<quoted text>

5. I think your cultural environment had a lot more effect on you than you seem to realize.
<quoted text>

6. I claim no personal knowledge of you only knowledge of people in general. A person becoming religious later in life and adopting the predominant belief system of the culture he was born into is certainly no surprise to me or anyone else.
1. The probability of me becoming a Christian was very low due. The probability was very high that I would remain an atheist (or agnostic as I was not staunch about non-existence.

2. Are you actually posing this as a question?

3. Are you changing your opinion from 'A'(cultural influence) to 'B'(emotional experience)?

4. You obviously feel that you habitually use logic and reasoning. In your Christian/believer years, were you irrational?

5. How so? Given the info I've provided you, explain what you mean. I have to ask again, have you switched from 'A' to 'B'? Or are you still working on 'A'?

6. Perhaps you can explain to me the Christian conversions in China and Muslim nations...
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#727 May 6, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
1. The probability of me becoming a Christian was very low due. The probability was very high that I would remain an atheist (or agnostic as I was not staunch about non-existence.
The probability of you becoming “religious” may have been low but the probability that you would adopt some form Christianity if you did become religious was very high.
Job wrote:
2. Are you actually posing this as a question?
I arrived at the conclusion that you didn’t put a lot of thought into it on the basis of your statement “I never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity either”. If it wasn’t a rational conclusion it must have been an emotional experience.
Job wrote:
3. Are you changing your opinion from 'A'(cultural influence) to 'B'(emotional experience)?
Your particular emotional religious experience would have been inspired by the Christian culture you grew up in just as the emotional religious experience of a person from an Islamic culture would be shaped by the Islamic culture.
Job wrote:
4. You obviously feel that you habitually use logic and reasoning. In your Christian/believer years, were you irrational?
Absolutely!

It was a long difficult process to get myself to look at my beliefs objectively. I think Einstein explained this process very well…

“Thus I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking…”

I am certainly not the world’s best rational thinker. It was much more difficult for me than Einstein. In order to think rationally you have to learn how to do it correctly; it’s not just any random thought that comes into your head. I may not always get it right but I am open to correction; I am no longer bound by the idea that my beliefs are the absolute and unalterable “word of “God”.
Job wrote:
5. How so? Given the info I've provided you, explain what you mean. I have to ask again, have you switched from 'A' to 'B'? Or are you still working on 'A'?
Your cultural environment affects practically everything about you (me too) including your thinking patterns, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, customs, world view etc. etc.

"There is an objective reality out there, but we view it through the spectacles of our beliefs, attitudes, and values." ~David G. Myers, Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Social Psychologist

Once you realize how much your culture affects you it's much easier to deal with.
Job wrote:
6. Perhaps you can explain to me the Christian conversions in China and Muslim nations...
That’s nothing new. There have always been “religious heretics” in every culture. There have always been people who for one reason or another arrived at the conclusion they cannot accept the predominant religious belief system of the culture. Going against the cultural influences is of course more difficult than going with those influences and requires either a strong antagonism toward the accepted belief system or a strong desire for objectivity. Antagonism will usually lead to acceptance of a different belief system and objectivity usually leads to atheism or agnosticism.

Satanic Priest

“There is no god”

Since: Jul 12

War, WV

#728 May 6, 2013
Lordofnuts wrote:
Top Ten Signs You're a Fundamentalist Christian
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanised" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Trinity of Gods.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who committed suicide while praying to himself for help, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.
Can I get an Amen?
Well said and true
Job

United States

#729 May 6, 2013
Big Al wrote:
<quoted text>
1. The probability of you becoming “religious” may have been low but the probability that you would adopt some form Christianity if you did become religious was very high.
<quoted text>
2. I arrived at the conclusion that you didn’t put a lot of thought into it on the basis of your statement “I never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity either”. If it wasn’t a rational conclusion it must have been an emotional experience.
<quoted text>
3. Your particular emotional religious experience would have been inspired by the Christian culture you grew up in just as the emotional religious experience of a person from an Islamic culture would be shaped by the Islamic culture.
<quoted text>
4. Absolutely!
It was a long difficult process to get myself to look at my beliefs objectively. I think Einstein explained this process very well…
“Thus I came - though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents - to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of freethinking…”
I am certainly not the world’s best rational thinker. It was much more difficult for me than Einstein. In order to think rationally you have to learn how to do it correctly; it’s not just any random thought that comes into your head. I may not always get it right but I am open to correction; I am no longer bound by the idea that my beliefs are the absolute and unalterable “word of “God”.

1. But I just recently told you that I was un-American, and if I would have decided I wanted to affiliate myself with a religion, it would have been a culturally non-American religion. More than likely, I would have either chosen Buddhism, or there is a chance I also may have chosen to be a Russian Orthodox, not because it's Christian in origin, but because of my ethnic background which is contrary to typical American culture. Certainly not an evangelical Christian as I related that to the "Mayflower" immigrants who I felt had a superiority complex to us more recent generational immigrants. Now....since you supposedly don't make any claims to know about me personally, do you think I'm lying?
Although you've said that you don't make any specific claims knowing about me, that's obviously not the case. You're having a very difficult time just stating "I don't know". Rather than just admitting this, you're floating around different theories, turning absolutes into vague references, etc.

2. First off, there was very little emotion involved. Secondly, if it 'was' an emotional oriented conversion, it probably wouldn't have lasted very long as emotions change. Thirdly, much thought has been put into the Christian tenets 'after' conversion.

3. Accept there was 'no' Christian cultural influence whatsoever. I saw churches from time to time. But I was as far removed from them as I was to the Girl Scouts.
The people that come up with these theories do have the luxery in that even though the people they are claiming to psychologically understand 'see' through their claims, they can still potentially fool everyone else. If an innocent person was put into prison; the person who framed him only has to deal with the fact that it's only the framed party who knows the truth. The person doing the framing can potentially have everyone else believing him.

4. If you were unable to think rationally then, and as you stated for quite sometime, what reason is there to believe that you're thinking rational now?
.
Job

United States

#730 May 6, 2013
Big Al wrote:
<quoted text>

5. Your cultural environment affects practically everything about you (me too) including your thinking patterns, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, customs, world view etc. etc.
"There is an objective reality out there, but we view it through the spectacles of our beliefs, attitudes, and values." ~David G. Myers, Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, Social Psychologist
Once you realize how much your culture affects you it's much easier to deal with.

6. <quoted text>
That’s nothing new. There have always been “religious heretics” in every culture. There have always been people who for one reason or another arrived at the conclusion they cannot accept the predominant religious belief system of the culture. Going against the cultural influences is of course more difficult than going with those influences and requires either a strong antagonism toward the accepted belief system or a strong desire for objectivity. Antagonism will usually lead to acceptance of a different belief system and objectivity usually leads to atheism or agnosticism.
5. My cultural environment was atheistic.

6. When we're talking about the Christian movement in China, we're talking about a rapidly growing phenomenon. We're not talking about individuals who have a tendency towards 'heresy'. So yes, it is something new. By your rules the majority of these Christians should never have converted. Your theory about heresy would really only apply to random individuals sporadically.
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#731 May 6, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
1. But I just recently told you that I was un-American, and if I would have decided I wanted to affiliate myself with a religion, it would have been a culturally non-American religion. More than likely, I would have either chosen Buddhism, or there is a chance I also may have chosen to be a Russian Orthodox, not because it's Christian in origin, but because of my ethnic background which is contrary to typical American culture. Certainly not an evangelical Christian as I related that to the "Mayflower" immigrants who I felt had a superiority complex to us more recent generational immigrants. Now....since you supposedly don't make any claims to know about me personally, do you think I'm lying?
I don’t pretend to know what caused you to “think” you were “un- American” but if you were born and raised in the USA you grew up in and were influenced by the general American culture. It is impossible to have been born and raised in the USA and not be influenced, to some degree, by the general American culture regardless of what you as an individual think or believe. It affected you by causing you to eventually become Christian.
Job wrote:
Although you've said that you don't make any specific claims knowing about me, that's obviously not the case. You're having a very difficult time just stating "I don't know". Rather than just admitting this, you're floating around different theories, turning absolutes into vague references, etc.
No you’re not that hard to figure out in a general sense. You’re not as much of a unique individual as you think you are.
Job wrote:
2. First off, there was very little emotion involved. Secondly, if it 'was' an emotional oriented conversion, it probably wouldn't have lasted very long as emotions change. Thirdly, much thought has been put into the Christian tenets 'after' conversion.
If you “never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity” your conversion certainly had nothing to do with anything intellectual and I doubt if anybody put a gun to your head and forced you to become Christian so the only possibility remaining is an emotional experience.
Job wrote:
3. Accept there was 'no' Christian cultural influence whatsoever. I saw churches from time to time. But I was as far removed from them as I was to the Girl Scouts.
The people that come up with these theories do have the luxery in that even though the people they are claiming to psychologically understand 'see' through their claims, they can still potentially fool everyone else. If an innocent person was put into prison; the person who framed him only has to deal with the fact that it's only the framed party who knows the truth. The person doing the framing can potentially have everyone else believing him.
There is virtually nowhere in the USA where there is “no Christian cultural influence” just as in India there is virtually nowhere in that country where there is no Hindu cultural influence even though there are other beliefs.
Job wrote:
4. If you were unable to think rationally then, and as you stated for quite sometime, what reason is there to believe that you're thinking rational now?.
I had to learn how to do it. Accepting something on faith requires no effort or learning. I now try, to the best of my ability, to base my beliefs on verifiable evidence, logic and reason rather than blind faith in the unverifiable supernatural claims of holy books and invisible beings.
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#732 May 6, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
5. My cultural environment was atheistic.
Your family environment may well have been atheistic but if you were born and raised in the USA you grew up in a cultural environment where Christianity was the predominant belief system. Within any society there are small pockets of cultural dissimilarity but the predominant culture still affects everything including those small pockets of diversity.
Job wrote:
6. When we're talking about the Christian movement in China, we're talking about a rapidly growing phenomenon. We're not talking about individuals who have a tendency towards 'heresy'. So yes, it is something new. By your rules the majority of these Christians should never have converted. Your theory about heresy would really only apply to random individuals sporadically.
Heretic simply means someone who rejects the predominant belief system. You seem to think Christianity is rapidly taking over China when nothing could be further from the truth.

Although the Chinese government is officially atheist “The 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees freedom of religion". However,“a survey taken by Shanghai University found that only 31.4% of people above the age of 16, or about 300 million people, considered themselves religious. About 200 million of those consider themselves Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures, while Christianity accounted for 12% of believers, or 40 million people.”- China Daily (2011) BBC News (2007)

Those statistics serve to show exactly what I pointed out earlier that those who choose a belief system will tend to choose the predominant belief system of that culture.
little lamb

Maribyrnong, Australia

#733 May 6, 2013
Big Al wrote:
<quoted text>
There are those in every society who are brought up in an environment outside of the predominant belief system. The point is that any rational gambler would bet his last dollar that if a person brought up outside of a society’s predominant belief system decides to become religious at some later date he/she will opt for the predominant belief system of that society and win that bet a very high percentage of the time.
I would venture to say that you never seriously considered the tenets of Islam or Hindu. Just as those born into an Islamic or Hindu society without a religious indoctrination would be unlikely to seriously consider the tenets of Christianity should they opt for a religious belief system at a later date.
“Culture has been defined as the system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviors and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.”- University of Manitoba
Whether you acknowledge it or not you are Christian (to a large degree) because you were raised in a Christian culture.
Wrong big Al...because i researched other religions, because if i believe Jesus is the Christ..then i have to know what the others believe..to know for sure what i believe is truth..

and to be a Christian is a calling from god..and i agree many people are just brought up in the denomination of their parents..but to be a Christian is a calling and so if you don't hear the call of god..you are free to go..
little lamb

Maribyrnong, Australia

#734 May 6, 2013
What are you doing on a Christian forum, trying to promote your atheistic agenda..because atheism has no hope and no future and is a dead philosophy.

Atheism is based primarily on the philosophy ..eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow you die.' and is only used by those caught up in sinful pursuits to justify a life of sin.
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#735 May 7, 2013
Big Al wrote:
1. <quoted text>
I don’t pretend to know what caused you to “think” you were “un- American” but if you were born and raised in the USA you grew up in and were influenced by the general American culture. It is impossible to have been born and raised in the USA and not be influenced, to some degree, by the general American culture regardless of what you as an individual think or believe. It affected you by causing you to eventually become Christian.
<quoted text>

2. No you’re not that hard to figure out in a general sense. You’re not as much of a unique individual as you think you are.
<quoted text>

3. If you “never seriously considered the tenets of Christianity” your conversion certainly had nothing to do with anything intellectual and I doubt if anybody put a gun to your head and forced you to become Christian so the only possibility remaining is an emotional experience.

4. <quoted text>
There is virtually nowhere in the USA where there is “no Christian cultural influence” just as in India there is virtually nowhere in that country where there is no Hindu cultural influence even though there are other beliefs.
<quoted text>

5. I had to learn how to do it. Accepting something on faith requires no effort or learning. I now try, to the best of my ability, to base my beliefs on verifiable evidence, logic and reason rather than blind faith in the unverifiable supernatural claims of holy books and invisible beings.
1. As I said, I think you're mixing my life experience with yours. Me becoming a Christian based on your philosophy would be like a staunch Republican in a conservative part of the country becoming a Democrat because "Democrats" are a 'segment' of American culture. Or someone from Chicago become a "cheesehead", because a segment of American society's culture likes to put plastic cheese on their heads at Lambeau Stadium. Remember, you went to a Christian school probably because you were placed in one. My situation was the opposite.

2. That's right. I was brought up as your 'typical' non-Christian person in a region fairly hostile to Christianity. I'm not from Iowa.

3. What exactly do you mean? Do you think I was in a fit of rage? Was I feeling unusually happy, and all of a sudden I decided "I'm so happy, I think I'll become a Christian"? What 'exactly' do you mean?

4. I lived in Berkeley for awhile where they say every cult/religion is practiced within a 40 mile radius. Christians are quite unpopular, except for "maybe" very 'liberal' Christians (or metaphysical, Christ-Scientists, etc.).

5. Isn't Paine's god invisible?
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#736 May 7, 2013
Big Al wrote:
1. <quoted text>
Your family environment may well have been atheistic but if you were born and raised in the USA you grew up in a cultural environment where Christianity was the predominant belief system. Within any society there are small pockets of cultural dissimilarity but the predominant culture still affects everything including those small pockets of diversity.

2. <quoted text>
Heretic simply means someone who rejects the predominant belief system. You seem to think Christianity is rapidly taking over China when nothing could be further from the truth.

3. Although the Chinese government is officially atheist “The 1978 Constitution of the People's Republic of China guarantees freedom of religion".

4. However,“a survey taken by Shanghai University found that only 31.4% of people above the age of 16, or about 300 million people, considered themselves religious. About 200 million of those consider themselves Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures, while Christianity accounted for 12% of believers, or 40 million people.”- China Daily (2011) BBC News (2007)
Those statistics serve to show exactly what I pointed out earlier that those who choose a belief system will tend to choose the predominant belief system of that culture.
1. Where I'm from, Christianity 'is' the dissimilarity.

2. The Chinese government attempted to remove Christianity completely out of the country. Because of the uncontrollable spread of Christianity, it had to be controlled. Are the majority of Chinese Christians? Of course not. China is 'gigantic'. The numbers aren't so much the issue as is the rapid 'spread' of Christianity in the last 50 or so decades. The fact is, they could not 'control' it's rapid growth. It has nothing to do with Christianity "taking over".

3. They guarantee freedom of religion in principle, not in practice. They have government appointed churches as a means to control Christianity. Do you honestly mean to tell me that you think there's religious freedom in China?

4. Wow!

Stats like that of 'religion' and 'ethnic groups' are provided by the countries themselves, and left up for their 'own' interpretation. As an example, the Greek government claims that 'Greek' is the 'only' ethnic group in Greece, which some believe is merely a way of covering up discrimination of ethnic minorities. But many pure ethnic Greeks take exception to that. The French governent claims that "French" is not an ethnicity, but many French take exception to that notion. Those stats you read concerning religion in China involve Christians registered with the "3 Self Church" which is government controlled. They don't include the "underground church" which is what they 'cannot' control. The underground Christians are the one's being imprisoned as we speak. It would be 'impossible' to number how many believers there are in China. Probably even if China truly 'did' have religious freedom.

Do you 'really' think those stats are accurate?
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#737 May 7, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
1. As I said, I think you're mixing my life experience with yours. Me becoming a Christian based on your philosophy would be like a staunch Republican in a conservative part of the country becoming a Democrat because "Democrats" are a 'segment' of American culture. Or someone from Chicago become a "cheesehead", because a segment of American society's culture likes to put plastic cheese on their heads at Lambeau Stadium. Remember, you went to a Christian school probably because you were placed in one. My situation was the opposite.
No we all have different life experiences but our life experiences are also affected by the cultural environment. You don’t deal with a Hindu as often as you encounter a Christian. I think you just don’t understand the extent to which we are all affected by the overall cultural environment we live in. There is no doubt in my mind that had you been born in India you would be praying to Brahma.
Job wrote:
2. That's right. I was brought up as your 'typical' non-Christian person in a region fairly hostile to Christianity. I'm not from Iowa.
Your family environment is certainly has a big effect upon you but that can certainly be much different within context of the larger cultural environment. I and all of my friends were the second generation of immigrants from different European countries. We all were affected by the different European cultures of our families but we all were also affected by the American culture in which we were raised. There was a lot of discord and animosity among the different ethnicities in the first generation but we in the second generation were more blended and laughed at things that would have started fights among those in the previous generation. The overall cultural environment will affect the smaller micro-cultural environment.
Job wrote:
3. What exactly do you mean? Do you think I was in a fit of rage? Was I feeling unusually happy, and all of a sudden I decided "I'm so happy, I think I'll become a Christian"? What 'exactly' do you mean?
There is no doubt in my mind, based on your comments in this forum, that your religious beliefs are centered purely on emotional conviction.
Job wrote:
4. I lived in Berkeley for awhile where they say every cult/religion is practiced within a 40 mile radius. Christians are quite unpopular, except for "maybe" very 'liberal' Christians (or metaphysical, Christ-Scientists, etc.).
There are many pockets of diverse cultural environments but they all exist within the larger cultural environment and all of the smaller pockets are affected by the larger one.
Job wrote:
5. Isn't Paine's god invisible?
Absolutely not! All you have to open your eyes and look around to see Paine’s “God”. You don’t seem to be able to get past the concept of “God” as some sort of anthropomorphic supernatural being.

Since: Sep 08

Neon City Oh.

#738 May 7, 2013
You can tell you are a fundamentalist, if you believe that a person with an (R) after their name should be exempt from having morals and values.
Big Al

Grand Rapids, MN

#739 May 7, 2013
Job wrote:
<quoted text>
1. Where I'm from, Christianity 'is' the dissimilarity.
Christianity cannot be a “dissimilarity” from the general American cultural environment. You are simply saying that your local cultural environment was different from the overall American cultural environment.
Job wrote:
2. The Chinese government attempted to remove Christianity completely out of the country. Because of the uncontrollable spread of Christianity, it had to be controlled. Are the majority of Chinese Christians? Of course not. China is 'gigantic'. The numbers aren't so much the issue as is the rapid 'spread' of Christianity in the last 50 or so decades. The fact is, they could not 'control' it's rapid growth. It has nothing to do with Christianity "taking over".
Atheists and agnostics vastly out number believers and believers in traditional belief systems vastly out Christians just as one would predict based on the overall cultural environment.
Job wrote:
3. They guarantee freedom of religion in principle, not in practice. They have government appointed churches as a means to control Christianity. Do you honestly mean to tell me that you think there's religious freedom in China?
True but the point is that the vast majority of Chinese who do choose to be religious choose the traditional religions rather than Christianity.
Job wrote:
4. Wow!
Stats like that of 'religion' and 'ethnic groups' are provided by the countries themselves, and left up for their 'own' interpretation. As an example, the Greek government claims that 'Greek' is the 'only' ethnic group in Greece, which some believe is merely a way of covering up discrimination of ethnic minorities. But many pure ethnic Greeks take exception to that. The French governent claims that "French" is not an ethnicity, but many French take exception to that notion. Those stats you read concerning religion in China involve Christians registered with the "3 Self Church" which is government controlled. They don't include the "underground church" which is what they 'cannot' control. The underground Christians are the one's being imprisoned as we speak. It would be 'impossible' to number how many believers there are in China. Probably even if China truly 'did' have religious freedom.
Do you 'really' think those stats are accurate?
Those statistics are probably not all that accurate but I’m pretty confident that Christianity is not taking over the country by storm. Again I think accurate statistics would also show that those who do choose a belief system would more frequently choose one of the more tradition belief systems of that culture.
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#740 May 7, 2013
Big Al wrote:
1. <quoted text>
No we all have different life experiences but our life experiences are also affected by the cultural environment. You don’t deal with a Hindu as often as you encounter a Christian. I think you just don’t understand the extent to which we are all affected by the overall cultural environment we live in. There is no doubt in my mind that had you been born in India you would be praying to Brahma.
<quoted text>

2. Your family environment is certainly has a big effect upon you but that can certainly be much different within context of the larger cultural environment. I and all of my friends were the second generation of immigrants from different European countries. We all were affected by the different European cultures of our families but we all were also affected by the American culture in which we were raised. There was a lot of discord and animosity among the different ethnicities in the first generation but we in the second generation were more blended and laughed at things that would have started fights among those in the previous generation. The overall cultural environment will affect the smaller micro-cultural environment.
<quoted text>

3. There is no doubt in my mind, based on your comments in this forum, that your religious beliefs are centered purely on emotional conviction.
<quoted text>

4. There are many pockets of diverse cultural environments but they all exist within the larger cultural environment and all of the smaller pockets are affected by the larger one.
<quoted text>

Absolutely not! All you have to open your eyes and look around to see Paine’s “God”. You don’t seem to be able to get past the concept of “God” as some sort of anthropomorphic supernatural being.
1. Long before becoming a Christian, A friend of the family was a Buddhist, and I was exposed to a number of New Agers. There was no contact with Christians at all until shortly 'before' becoming Christian. In fact, even after becoming a believer, I was handed New Age material attempting to link Jesus Christ with New Age philosophy. This theme you're trying to hang onto is paper thin.

2. The overall cultural environment is 'secular'. This is a 'secular' nation, in the sense that there's no official religion. Even though Christianity is the 'predominant' religion, most of the larger cultural environment consists of secular media. That's what we're all exposed to. Methodist churches spread out throughout the country that I have no contact with is not going to influence me, because it's not influential to secular media. The subliminal messages that cause us to run to Taco Bell late at night also gives many anti-Christian messages.

To admit to a 'guilty pleasure', I used to watch a lot of professional wrestling. One of my favorite personalities was Jesse Ventura, who is an outspoken atheist. As much as I respect Billy Graham, I never watched him before becoming a believer because there was no interest (I may not have even heard of him prior to conversion), and not after becoming a believer, because his message seems to be aimed more at non-believers. The media figures I admired had lifestyles and philosophies contrary to Christianity.

3. I fully understand what you think. But there's a problem here. I have acted out on emotion before. But when my emotion changed, as it always does usually shortly following, I changed my mind or had regrets.

4. See #2.
Job

Santa Clara, CA

#741 May 7, 2013
Big Al wrote:
<quoted text>

Absolutely not! All you have to open your eyes and look around to see Paine’s “God”. You don’t seem to be able to get past the concept of “God” as some sort of anthropomorphic supernatural being.
For one, the concept you're 'basically' referring to is what can be stated in reference to the God of the Bible. The similar idea that we can 'see' Rembrandt or Picasso today on the walls of a art museum is just as valid for the God of the Bible as it is Paine's god.

What I suspect that you're getting at is that Paine's 'potential creator would be the universe itself. There are different types of deists, and some lean towards that more New Age theme that everything in the universe is tied together...we are all "one"...or, we are all 'one' with the universe, or, we are all 'one' with god...

For one, there's no scientific evidence to support such a theme. And in addition, from Paine's various quotes it would appear that he believed in a distinct divine personality. A 'creator' doesn't create himself.

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