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To The Followers of Christ, Oregon City PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Alison Smith   

Oregon City teenager Neil Beagley died in June 2008 following complications from an untreated congenital urinary tract blockage that flooded his system with urea, causing renal failure, heart attack, and death.beagleys

 Neil Beagley didn't die in a hospital. He didn't die surrounded by doctors who were stumped regarding his next stage of treatment. Sixteen-year-old Neil Beagley didn't die peacefully with an IV in his arm pumping in morphine to lessen what must have been excruciating pain. He died in his grandmother's bed, without having received any medical treatment of any kind. Doctors say that Neil's illness was treatable right up until the day he died.

Jeff and Marci Beagley, Neil's parents, are members of Followers of Christ Church of Oregon City - a fundamentalist organization that teaches a literalist interpretation of scripture, and relies heavily on faith healing. The cemetery behind the church contains graves belonging to seventy-eight minors. It is estimated that at least twenty-one of these children's lives could have been saved with medical treatment.

However, Followers of Christ Church shuns medical treatment - and the devout followers of the church refuse all medications and treatments, and visits to medical professionals of any kind.

Jeff and Marci Beagley have been found guilty of criminally negligent homicide in Neil's death, and they are scheduled for sentencing on February 18th of this year. Of the twelve jurors deciding the case, ten found the couple guilty. Two found them innocent.

Oregon, prior to 1999, viewed faith healing as a Get Out Of Jail Free card. An individual could not be convicted of homicide in a case where religion was used instead of medical care. Then an act was passed that allowed for a compromise - faith healing could still be used as a treatment, but could not be the only treatment in cases involving children. Parents were thereafter required to (and it seems this should be obvious) take care of their children, despite their beliefs in deities, the laying on of hands, or the efficacy of anointing someone's body with oil.

It brightens my day to know that Jeff and Marci Beagley were found guilty by a jury of their peers. It gives me faith in humanity to know that they will pay for what, to us, is so obviously a crime. What disturbs me beyond measure is defense attorney Wayne Mackeson's comments following the trial. He stated that the trial was never about Jeff and Marci's religious beliefs, but was instead about the care that they provided as parents.

It would seem, to me, that in fact one followed the other.

Marci and Jeff Beagley face potential prison sentences of sixteen to eighteen months. The main line of defense during their trial was their claim that they did not know how sick Neil was. They stated, in fact, that his illness looked like a bad cold or the flu. And it seems to me that the darkest possible brush of irony stains that concept. These people who do not believe in modern medicine were, after all, playing at diagnostics like monkeys playing trombones.

I am inclined, when hearing about a story like this, to utter the phrase, "What kind of person...?", but when reading about this one, I instead thought, "What kind of God...?" I'm talking to you, Followers of Christ of Oregon City. I want to know, truly, what kind of God wouldn't want a person to get better. I want to hear, at length, about exactly what kind of God wants people to die in pain. And, before you tell me that this is not God's fault, but the devil's, let me go ahead and say -

It makes exponentially more sense to side with the devil, over and over again, to put your faith in him and believe in him and trust in him, than it does to believe in the kind of God who has the ability to save you and chooses not to do so.

To keep up this fictional argument, I do not want to hear about how death isn't really so bad and God is just calling us all home. Opioid pain medication was not invented because death is such a peaceful journey into the arms of Christ.

Followers of Christ of Oregon City - this one goes out to you. Your God is a sadist and a torturer. And if He really attempted to make you in His image, then he has done a fine job. Because so are you.

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Take the Church to court
written by likelystory, February 03, 2010
Maybe the Church Elders who force their flock to obey their word should be taken to court.This type of thing(murder) happens in many different Churches,refusing the children the right to ample medical treatment.

The Pastors brain wash the parents,the parents brain wash the children,and the children die.

It's the Pastors that should be publicly flogged for these sort of crimes or the better preventive measure is to tell the Church Flock their Pastors has no God given special powers,then watch the ministers bank accounts run dry also smilies/wink.gif
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Thankyou
written by Dionigi, February 03, 2010
The last paragraph really needed to be said. I agree entirely.
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written by iiwo, February 03, 2010
While growing up as a Christian, it was made very clear to me that God gave us gifts--some were personal abilities (music, medicine, teaching, etc), others were to society (the invention of medicine being a prime example here, or the desire to keep order).

I have much more respect for a God who gives us gifts (say, of figuring out how to heal each other) and expects us to both use and respect them than I do for a God who would make us curious, resourceful, and intellegint enough to figure things out yet does not allow us to. (That is to say, demands we wait in faith instead).
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written by advancedGIR, February 03, 2010
The justice stance really seems to have been written by one of their partisans, who obviously know faith healing doesn't work and therefore has to be protected at all cost, no matter how many innocent people have to die.
To be consistent, if anyone claim divine powers, accepting to take full responsibility of the fate of the people he choose to "heal" before a jury of his peers would be a bare minimum compared to his blind devotion.
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The "Power" of Prayer
written by houdin654jeff, February 03, 2010
So a person with faith can move mountains, ascend to the greatests heights of God's kingdom and is impervious to disease... except urinary tract infections. Ironically, that's how the last Pope went out too. Maybe it'll become trendy in the religious circles... anyway...

As is obvious, religious faith is a difficult concept for me to grapple with, much more difficult than vanilla faith. I have faith that my family and friends are good people, mainly because I have ample evidence that they ARE good people. I have faith that my car will work, because I take good care of it and it's relatively new. I have faith that tomorrow, objects will continue to fall towards the ground at the rate of 9.8m/s/s accounting for wind resistance, because something TERRIBLY wrong would have had to happen to prevent that. Whether you call those genuine "faith" or just observation is up to you.

However, deciding that a few hundred years of medical science is COMPLETELY bunk because of a several thousand year old game of telephone that has caused this little globe and the people on it more pain and suffering than ANY disease, curable or not, is crossing the line between faith & blind faith. I imagine that The Followers of Christ didn't lose many patrons following Neil Beagley's tragic death. "It's God's will, he's gone to a better place," They all said. Ok fine, but that's a ridiculously outdated way of looking at life. This 16 year old boy died of a completely treatable condition that could have allowed him to live on and service God for another 60, 70, perhaps even 100 years if he was very healthy. Their loving, caring, benevolent God preferred him to die an excuciatingly painful death at the age of SIXTEEN. As I said when I finished reading the Book of Exodus, if this is how God operates, he is unworthy of my attention, respect or worship. Good book my ass.

Call me crazy, but I'd rather see 16 year olds learning to drive, failing math classes and/or getting laid (preferrably not all at once) rather than... I don't know, being dead. Just a little quirk of mine.

And I agree that Satan seems a much more capable being at doing his job than God does. Plus, he's responsible for a hell of a lot (Get it? It's a pun!) of good music, if you listen to the Christian Right. Thank God, for He made Satan for us.
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written by metzomagic, February 03, 2010
@houdin654jeff

because of a several thousand year old game of telephone


I like that one. I shall remember it (but you could make it 2000 years).

When people ask: "What's wrong with religion?". *This*!

Truly tragic, but it is incidents such as this one that sometimes result in better/stricter laws being enacted to protect the vulnerable. Only time will tell...
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written by metzomagic, February 03, 2010
Doh. "several thousand" := 2000. Never mind smilies/cry.gif
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@TDjazz
written by JWideman, February 04, 2010
lolwut?
Where did you read they had him connected to IV?
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@JWideman
written by TDjazz, February 04, 2010
Ooooooops! I read this immediately after I got up this morning and misread the article. He "didn't die peacefully with an IV in his arm pumping...morphine"--I missed the "didn't."

I have to stop reading these things before I'm fully awake! (OK. I'll start counting the votes down now.)
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Human Sacrifice
written by razmatazspaz, February 04, 2010
It would have been better to cut his heart out while it was still beating as was done in some religions. It would have been more humane. He was a sacrifice no less than was offered by the Inca's or other primitive tribes. He died in a vain attempt by his parents to say, "Look what our god has done through us! Aren't we special?" Isn't that what sacrifices were really about? - "My god pays attention to me!"

To those who ask, "What's the harm in allowing people to teach their innocent kids whatever nonsense the parents believe?" This is one of many answers.
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to houdin654jeff
written by advancedGIR, February 04, 2010
"Whether you call those genuine "faith" or just observation is up to you"

It is technically faith, the fact that we never observed the law of physics change does absolutely not mean it can't happen tomorrow. In fact, we can't even be sure it didn't already happened and we couldn't notice it (see last thirdayism).
Of course, I'm so sure it won't happen (based on observations) that I'm ready to bet my life on that, but that's the exact definition of faith.

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Devil's Advocate
written by Son of Rea, February 04, 2010
It isn't just the devil that believers blame. They are more likely to espouse the benefits of suffering.

Suffering builds character.

Suffering leads to greater heavenly rewards.

Suffering makes you more capable of knowing happiness.

Jesus was tortured and suffered without godly intervention, after all. Are we to expect better treatment than God's own son?

Of course, these arguments are all bullshit. Has anyone ever seen a young child on the playground, or at their birthday party, at the circus, etc? What purer happiness is there? Did they have to experience the horrors of life in order to be so happy? No. In fact they are usually pretty sheltered against such evil. And the ones who have known great suffering, are just the opposite of the carefree happy children--morose and withdrawn.

Were they to suddenly die, would God deny them heavenly happiness because they had not suffered enough?

And as for building character...that's just another word that means being a good person. We don't need horrific suffering for that.
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written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
I've never wanted to go to heaven. It doesn't sound like a fun place.

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written by Gnardude, February 04, 2010

written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
I've never wanted to go to heaven. It doesn't sound like a fun place.


Me neither, I would prefer to use my immortality to fight evil. Rather than relaxing in heaven, smugly looking down on the less fortunate, I would join my friends in hell, battling the demons that cause pain and suffering. Maybe God would help us with some enchanted weapons? What's the worst that could happen?

I'm an Atheist, so I don't believe in these magic places, but I do stand up for myself and others. I wouldn't let the Devil or God have his way with my children as these Christians have.

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written by Jamie F, February 04, 2010
Son of Rea's got it right. What kind of God? The kind that makes the rules beginning with "I'm a big jealous bully and your children are mine if I want them." Demands a sacrifice of a precious child(Abraham and Isaac). Offers redemption and help only through the torture and humiliation of his only son.

Rather not be a child of that particular god. Couldn't sleep at night.
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As a former fundie...
written by Griz, February 04, 2010
...in the faith healing game there was a hierarchy, these were the people everyone else looked down on. Sure we believed if you had enough faith god would heal you, and he "healed" people in the service every Sunday (sometimes the same ones over and over again) but you went to the doctor too.

I remember an old joke: this fundie couple was caught in a flood, and they were on the roof of their house. A neighbor rowed up in a rowboat and said "come on, I'll save you!" They said, "no, god will save us!" A little while later some firemen came up in a boat. The couple refused rescue saying, "god will save us." A while later here comes a helicopter so pick them up. Same response: "no, god will save us." Then water rose over the top of the house and they drowned.

Now in heaven, the couple stood before god and said, "god, we waited and waited...why didn't you ever save us?" And god says, "I sent two boats and a helicopter, what do you want?"

I have two nits to pick with this article. One is "it is estimated that 21" children in the graveyard could have been saved. That's just a baseless accusation if you have no information to back it up.

Second, the last four paragraphs. For starters, you cannot argue with a fundie based on logic and reason. They have to believe what they're told or they'll go to hell. God could be Ouchy the Clown (warning: don't google Ouchy) giving three square whippings a day and they'll still believe what they believe because they HAVE to or they lose eternal life. There's nothing you can say that will trump eternal life whether it makes sense or not.

But your audience for this article is largely unbelievers. For those who do believe in a deity, it's not likely any of them are fundies here on the JREF enjoying all this reason and elightenment. You can't judge or argue against a religion by attacking beliefs they don't hold. All this nonsense about if god is so powerful why doesn't he stop suffering doesn't do anything to convince people that already don't beleive that they shouldn't believe, and it is worse than futile as an argument against a believer. Every religion has an answer to the problem of suffering. When you are looking at eternal bliss in heaven, billions upon billions of years of orgasmic ecstasy in the greatest place in the universe, no one's going to be too moved about a few days or months of suffering in this world.

Okay, you don't want to hear about how death isn't so bad. Well, sorry, that's their argument and you can't counter it. Why do skeptics constantly deny that god exists then argue with beleivers on the basis that he does? You can't win that way because it's a fantasy, they get to make up the rules. If you find a problem with their fantasy, then they just make up new rules why it's okay. You're not going to get anywhere saying "well if god exists why does he...?" They've had 2000 years to get their apologetics in order.

You have to argue from your own standpoint. "God doesn't exist because..." or "Show me evidence that god exists..." After ten or twelve times saying "God exists, I just know it in my heart..." one starts to wonder what one really knows. If you follow that up with examples of how the brain, being an optimistic pattern matching device, tends to support what you WANT rather than what really IS, you might get a wedge in a chink. If you stick with the "god is a sadistic torturer" gambit, you will get absolutely nowhere.
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Deny the Deniers
written by DKrap, February 04, 2010
At some point in the not too distant future, the parents will be suffering the inevitable pain that will accompany their own death. Let's hope that whoever is around them will have the courage and fortitude to treat these people the same way they treated their son. No matter how much they cry out in pain and request medical assistance, it should be denied. Afterall, isn't that what their omnipotent, omnisient religion advocates? It would be so wrong to deny them the privilege of following their faith to the bitter end.
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@William
written by Son of Rea, February 04, 2010
We get it, William. You still believe in something for no good reason. Just because you've assigned "your" god better personality traits that other peoples' gods doesn't make it any better.
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@ William
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
If we can each have our own god, I'll take the Easter Bunny.

He hasn't killed anyone yet, he delivers candy, and, he's a mammal with eggs.

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Murdering your children for god
written by eternalcontrol, February 04, 2010
What is even worse are the people who kill their children before killing themselves in the belief that they will all join up in heaven and meet Christ. It always amazes me how many people don't understand what eternity means. After a few trillion years you would expect to have memorized everything god-thingy might say.
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Alan3354
written by Griz, February 04, 2010
Anton LaVey's premise behind his Church of Satan was that since all gods are imaginary and created by man then if you're going to have a god it might as well be yourself.
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written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
The only "god" that made any sense at all was the Sun God. The sun is to thank for everything we have on Earth.

And, when the Sun is down, we can get down too. You're on your own when it's dark.

Yay, Sun !!!


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written by Stanfr, February 04, 2010
I wish Griz had written this article because im growing tired of the constant shallow arguments attempting to link the very belief in a deity with moronic human behavior that arrises out of particular believers' naive beliefs. If you want to argue that the idea that a God allowed his "son" to be tortured in order to save us from sin is unssuported by the evidence or is even silly or insane--have at it! But as Griz implies, if one follows this belief, than there is nothing inconsistent with a God allowing a child to die painfully--and it doesnt make the God a sadist or torturer if one accepts the belief system that constitutes Christianity
All of this does raise an interesting thought experiment: Assume that the universe had evolved somehow so that no one suffered--the lions lay down with the lambs and everyone was experiencing eternal bliss. Would the belief in a deity arise in such a universe (assuming there was no direct evidence of the deity)?
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written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
A god allowing a child, or anyone, to die painfully certainly does make that god a sadist and a torturer.

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@William1965
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
The distinction is valid for most situations.

However, if a god is all-powerful and all-knowing, it's more difficult to separate the two.

He's either responsible for everything, or for nothing.

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@William
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
It's not clear that the pain, and all pain, is not caused by god. As I said, god is either responsible, or he's not.

What people think has no effect on what is.

He created polio, malaria, and other sources of suffering. Despite that, some people still think he loves us ???

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@ William
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
What the Beagleys believe has nothing to do with me.

What people think has no effect on reality. Not too long ago, people thought the Earth was flat. That didn't make it flat.

Malaria, as one example, is caused by small worms, a life-form. Who but god can create life? If god didn't create malaria, who did?

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written by MadScientist, February 04, 2010
A few hundred years ago natural disasters, famines, plagues, and so on were blamed on witchcraft or the devil. These days people say "oh, god must have done it". Witches and other "consorts of the devil" were brutally murdered in that epoch, but the god who does the very same thing is praised. However there is a resurgence in the "god didn't do it but he leaves humans to decide how to clean up" excuse - an old excuse which we can even see in the bible (though who knows what year that part of the bible was added). No matter how the religious put it, it looks like baseless superstition to me.
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written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
Religion = Superstition + $$$$$
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written by MadScientist, February 04, 2010
@Alan3354: The malaria parasites are not worms - in fact they're nothing like worms.
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written by MadScientist, February 04, 2010
@likelystory: I tell people that the churches that propagate such beliefs should be heavily fined for each death they've caused. At the moment the preachers literally get away with encouraging murder.
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@Griz: "21 or more could have been saved"
written by numenaster, February 04, 2010
Actually, there IS some data to back this up. The State of Oregon has investigated & prosecuted members of this church on other occasions, this is just the first time there's been a complete conviction.

Since the law changed in 1999 to remove the absolute immunity from prosecution, the state has investigated deaths of 3 infants and now this poor young man; the graveyard includes 6 infants who lived less than a day, which is a pretty good indicator. So that gives you 7, in the last 10 years alone. Followers of Christ have been at this location for much longer than that.

Oh, and the legal results? Full convictions here; the previous case (daughter and son-in-law of these most recent defendants) had mother not guilty, father guilty of criminal mistreatment in the death of their premature (6 months) daughter.
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@MadScientist
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
My mistake, I confused it with trichinosis, another symbol of god's love for us.
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A little more on the "21 or more"
written by numenaster, February 04, 2010
Per the Wikipedia article for Followers of Christ, the church has been in OR City about 70 years now, and the 21 figure comes from an investigation by my own hometown newspaper (The Oregonian) and was based on looking at causes of death and picking out the obviously preventable ones. The state medical examiner has offered a figure of 25 for the same time span, and mind you this is only the children.

PS, the Wikipedia article says Larry Lewman is the former state medical examiner; I had the unfortunate need to speak to the gentleman last June, and he was still the guy as of then.
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@William
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
I thought we have moved beyond "my god...", each person's god having whatever attributes a person might want to claim.

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@William
written by Alan3354, February 04, 2010
written by William, February 04, 2010

My God has given humans brains and hands with opposing digits. Such tools were given to us to heal those who are sick, using all that He has provided on Earth. WE are His tools in this world. It wasn't MY God who called that innocent child home--the parents SENT him there. THAT'S the difference.


Have you changed your mind then?
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@ William
written by Stanfr, February 04, 2010
Presumably Adam and Eve had "direct evidence" of God--Genesis wouldnt make much sense otherwise, unless you feel the Old Testment promotes the idea of dellusional humans talking to imaginary beings. smilies/wink.gif
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@ William
written by Human Person Jr, February 04, 2010
Ummm....

William, I hate to break it to you. The Old Testament shares a trait with the New Testament. It isn't history. It's a fabrication with many contributors. So, yes, The Old Testament (like the New Testament and nearly every church existing today) promotes the idea of delusional humans talking to imaginary beings.
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@Human Person Jr & @Alan3354
written by William, February 04, 2010
HPJ-
I never claimed either set of books was history. I admit that it is not considered history. I take exception to the "delusional" part, though.

A3-
No. And if you think I did, you do not get my point.
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@ William again...
written by Human Person Jr, February 04, 2010
You're gonna piss off your God, talking like that. I hope He doesn't smite you.

You took exception to the "delusional" part. A true believer maybe should take exception to the "imaginary beings" part.
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@Alison
written by CasaRojo, February 04, 2010
"Your God is a sadist and a torturer."

For some of us it's difficult not to get angry at a being like that or the belief in such. Others embrace him, why? Fear? Fundamentally, ignorance is to blame for the most part I think. But they might would be just as frickin' crazy no matter what. The human condition is certainly an interesting one.

I find it hard to believe that some people can be so cruel and believe that their god loves them and will reward them for their "faith" even though their faith killed their son. Who'd want to spend 15 minutes with a being like that much less eternity? Who'd want to spend time with people like this......

Great article Alison!
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written by KingMerv00, February 04, 2010
I have nothing of value to add. I'll just agree with everything Alison said.
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@William
written by Dooyoowoowoo, February 05, 2010
Quote-"WRT your points: What people believe affects how they interact with reality. In the 1300's, people feared sailing off the edge of the Earth. To them, THAT was reality, and they lived their lives accordingly. There was nothing in their faith to provide any alternate reality. If two are arguing on points of faith, each will have their own unshakable reality. "

You might want to do some research on that one. The ancient Greeks were familiar with a spherical earth, as were most civilisations. They knew very well what reality was, they could see it. Faith does not create reality, you are talking about delusion.
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No jail time
written by paiute, February 05, 2010
These poor parents should not be sent to jail.

They should be let go with the provision that they will never be able to receive any kind of medical or dental treatment for the rest of their short and brutally painful lives.
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written by William, February 05, 2010
When did this become a discussion about me, and criticism against my beliefs?

I agree that the Beagley's should be held fully responsible for their son's death. I'm only trying to explain their perspective as best I can. If someone is purely atheistic, it may be hard to grasp what makes people so strong in their faith (or "delusion", as you call it).

If you are going to pick a side from which to argue, stick to it rather than argue from conflicting points of view. If you are from the POV that God is imaginary, you can't argue with a point that includes "your god..." I can't explain my whole belief system here in a series of comments about a couple who didn't save their son. I can't explain their whole belief system either, and have noted where I lack knowledge on that topic. I have spent time learning about different religions, to understand what "leap of faith" step makes their belief different in the world.

BTW: I may disagree with you, but I NEVER vote down. Keep that in mind.
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written by paiute, February 05, 2010
@ William

I have spent time learning about different religions, to understand what "leap of faith" step makes their belief different in the world.


Maybe you should spend your time learning about human psychology, to understand the pathology where a "leap of faith" replaces evidence as a foundation for decision-making.

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
-Mark Twain
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William, dear William...
written by Human Person Jr, February 05, 2010
When people say "your God is..." (fill in the blank), they're not admitting the existence of any such being. They're just expressing puzzlement that you worship an imaginary being that has such terrible traits attributed to it, by the very drunken, ignorant savages who wrote and promoted the fantasies in your "sacred text." There is no dichotomy in their statements.

And atheists, or skeptics of any stripe, can't possibly address each individual nuance of faith held by the millions of faithful. The one fact that shines through is that you people (religious nuts) are NOT faithful to your sacred texts. (Well, a few Islamic terrorists live up to their religious creeds, but they're the exceptions.) The fact is, if Christian Americans tried to live by their sacred text, the Holy Bible, most of them would (deservedly) land in jail or the local loony bin. Your religion teaches some insane stuff, and the only way you can get by in a semi-rational world is to discard the parts of your text that would get you institutionalized, one way or another.

You brought up your own "special" set of beliefs. No one asked you to. When you drag the insanity out into the light, people will comment. It's in the very nature of people to do so.

Good on you that you don't vote down. I vote up and down, by my own standards. That function is built into the site. I use it. If that makes you morally superior, I can live with that.
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Delusions Cause Real Harm
written by MarkNS, February 05, 2010
William,

You believe the Beagly's should be punished. Good. We agree on that. What we don't seem to agree on is whether belief in a god is dangerous in and of itself.
I think it is. If you surrender your reason the "leap of faith" as you call it, then you can rationalize any behaviour, no matter how heinous. All it takes is for you to "believe" that your god wants you to do it and it is automatically the "right" thing to do. People fly airplanes into buildings, watch their children die painful deaths and deny legal marriage to homosexuals because of this type of belief.
Most atheists base their moral code on a meme of allowing maximum personal freedom while not hurting others. While its true that there are sociopathic atheists who don't care what harm they bring to others, a theist doesn't have to be mentally ill to do great harm to others.
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What a weak defence ...
written by Mark P, February 05, 2010
The main line of defense during their trial was their claim that they did not know how sick Neil was.


Which should have fallen apart in an instant. I presume the prosecutor had the wit to ask "would it have made any difference if the parents had known how sick he was?" When pressed they would have answered "no", and thereby invalidated their defence.

It seems to me that defences like this are beyond pathetic. If they believe that God tells them to reject medical treatment, then they should stand by this. Not play the "I didn't know" card whenever trouble looms.
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In truth...
written by Griz, February 05, 2010
...Alan3354 has it right. The only play you can usually find a chink in the christian armor is the problem of evil. If god is omnipotent and omniscient, which is a feature of god in all Abrahamic religions (judaism, christianity, and islam), then god created adam and eve and deliberately put them in the way of temptation knowing they'd fall to it. People will argue that until you ask them "so god didn't know what was going to happen?" Of course he did, he's omniscient. "Then why did he do it?" The answer to this is usually some semantic dance about free will. You ask "does god always get what he wants?" This is a trick question because it counterposes free will and omnipotence. If we have free will then we have the power to deny god what he wants. If god ALWAYS gets what he wants, then we do not have free will. If you're faced with a calvinist (non-free will predestination) then the answer to the problem of evil is usually "without good we can't understand evil." Then you have to ask, if god is omnipotent, why did he just not create us with that knowledge.

The true answer, of course, is that the pagan deites that the abrahamic "God" is based on were neither omnipotent nor omniscient. The creation myths are reworked from the earier pagan myths. If you read the first few book of the old testament, especially genesis, in that light, god is clearly the caananite sky god wishing to carve a people for exclusive worship. He does not deny that there are other gods, nor does he claim to be the only one, he simply says to his chosen people "you will worship me, not those others, and I will make you prosper." The idea of eternal life as a reward for service to the one god is a much later concept. The god of the old testament, if you strip away all the later revisionism, promises only wealth, prosperty, and progeny.

But this problem of evil, who created satan and why, why god can't control him if he's omnipotent, or doesn't control him if he wants to clearly shows the hebrew god of the old testament was either not omnipotent or he intentionally created satan to give an evil component to the world. Both of those ideas are nearly impossible to reconcile with modern fundamentalism.

The final nail in the fundie coffin comes from the Noah story. Even if someone is a blind young earth creationist it's self evident the story of noah cannot have happened as described. The point here is not the mechanics of the noah story (which ends with god putting his bow in the heavens which becomes the rainbow) but the idea that a story told as literal fact is a myth, a figurative parable meant to teach a lesson. Fundamentalism is based entirely on bibel literalism and when you can demonstrate that one literally reported part is figurative, then it prompts the question: "how do I know what's literal and what isn't?" This allows a person to examine all the weirdness of fundamentalism in light of the idea that many things taken literally are meants figuratively. Suddenly everything makes a lot more sense, but then it also destroys the foundation of fundamentalism. Central christian concepts like the resurection of jesus, eternal punishment, the existence of hell, can now easily be questioned.

If you want to argue religion with fundies, this is where you have to take it, but you need to really understand their belief system to counter arguments, because they must be countered from inside the belief system, not by any outside reasoning or logic. Even then, nine times out of then, you'll simply hear the believers mind clanging shut behind a vault like door, and they will flee the conversation either physically or intellectually with something like "I just know in my heart that jesus loves me."
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@Griz
written by William, February 05, 2010
Griz-
Well said. I'm in 95.7% agreement.
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The courts now have it easy...
written by Willy K, February 05, 2010
The courts in the US now have an easy way to judge whether a person is mentally competent. If the defendants makes any of the claims below they are explicitly stating that they are NOT responsible for their actions. Not trial is necessary, no defense lawyers are needed, even the prosecutors office can take the day off. The judge can simply assign the defendants to a pre-described sentence to a high security hospital for the criminally insane and be done with it. The patients can be held for as long as it takes to make them aware that they must take responsibility for their actions.

Claims that will prove you are not responsible for your actions:
“It's the Lords will”
“My faith will cure....”
“God was calling him home”
“I am doing the Lords work” (This claim is the one recently used by those “missionaries” arrested in Haiti. They tried unsuccessfully to kidnap and/or outright buy children to take home with them.)

There are many variations of these claims. People who say them are a danger to the Human Race. smilies/cry.gif
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@ Willy K...
written by Human Person Jr, February 05, 2010
Excellent work!

It so happens I'm a part time evangelist, specializing in the laying on of hands (no, not a healer, just a layer onner). Once when I was caught in flagrante delicto, I yelled out, "Nosirree bob, I weren't adoin' no such a THANG!! I wuz just ashowin' the sister here what NOT to do. It's a lie put out by the DEVIL, I tell ya.!"

Didn't work, but still, it was sorta inspired, in an uninspired kinda way.
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written by bookitty, February 05, 2010
How is it that these faith-killing parents refuse doctors but embrace lawyers? Isn't the outcome of their trial God's will as well?
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@bookitty
written by Son of Rea, February 05, 2010
Good point. Which also leads to: why did they put their trust in any modern technology/convenience, such as the cars they drive and the clothes they wear?
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Worse than animals
written by Willy K, February 05, 2010
written by Son of Rea, February 05, 2010
Good point. Which also leads to: why did they put their trust in any modern technology/convenience, such as the cars they drive and the clothes they wear?

Son of Rea, you're correct in pointing out that these people will use/abuse Human technology EXCEPT when it comes to healing the sick. These people are worse than animals. smilies/angry.gif

I'd bet that if a chimpanzee parent with a sick child could talk, it would ask for the best medicine available!
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Old joke
written by kuberar, February 05, 2010
I don't want to go to heaven -- I won't know anybody there.
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@ Wiliam
written by J.C. Samuelson, February 05, 2010
I sympathize with you. I think your heart is in the right place - you, like the rest of us, are attempting to make sense of the senselessness in accordance with your worldview. However, you're missing the boat here. I'm sorry.

To put a bit of a finer point on the generic criticisms being thrown at you, the key problem is that you seem to want to have your cake and eat it too.

You write:

WE are [God's] tools in this world. It wasn't MY God who called that innocent child home--the parents SENT him there.


This is where your logic breaks down. If the Beagley's are faithful Christians (and God exists), they are as much God's tools as you think yourself to be. If the parents sent their child to heaven, they did so acting as "God's tools in this world" as surely as you are acting as "God's tool in this world" when others are helping the sick. You are in no position to say otherwise unless you are in a position to know whether the Beagley's are "tools" in good standing or not. And let's face it, you're just not in that position no matter how you look at it (i.e., whether god exists or doesn't).

The majority god of the Bible, whether you care to admit it or not, is a manic-depressive, sado-masochistic narcissist. While I'm happy to agree that Jesus 'meek and mild' is more palatable than the divine freak who dominates the OT, it is Christian theologians who have made the two (Jehovah-god/Jesus-god) co-equal if not the same entity entirely. Much more could be said about this but this isn't the forum.

And, incidentally, you invite criticism of your beliefs when you attempt to explicate someone else's actions in light of your belief system. Sort of like me explaining why Richard Dawkins says what he says; as soon as I say "because atheists think that..." I offer myself as an authority on the subject of atheism and you would certainly be welcome to assert yourself as a critic of atheism.

In other words, those who offer themselves as explanatory agents don't get a pass just because the original topic wasn't about them. Hope that clears things up a bit for you.
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The crux of the issue (for me) re: religion...
written by Human Person Jr, February 06, 2010
The argument, "Your god is a ruthless bastard," or any other pejorative you'd care to insert (OUCH), while true, isn't, in my view, the central point.

I believe in no religion because they're not true.

However, if, say, Christianity were true, we'd be within our rights to stone gay men and women to death, or mount a crusade to the "Holy Land" in search of a religious icon. In fact, we'd be wrong if we FAILED to do so.

In other words, if Christianity were true, all the barbaric atrocities it requires of us would be, by definition, morally upright actions. The millions who've been slaughtered in its name wouldn't be victims of horric crimes. They would either be collateral damage in an ongoing Holy War, or criminals themselves, who received the punishment God wants them to receive.

So, I guess my operative phrase is: God is only evil because He's a mythical being, only a conception. He's not there. If he WERE there, and operating as described in the Holy Bible, why, he'd be a jolly old chap, for sure.

Religion is evil, of necessity, because it's untrue. Take the untruth out of it and all bets are off.
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These people are mentally ill!!
written by pieinthesky, February 06, 2010
I am amazed that they will only be given such a short sentence.
I think I would be wasting my time preaching to the choir (pun intented) about how bad religion is, so I won't spend my time discussing that aspect.
What these two parents really need is psychological help and maybe drug intervention. They have been brain washed by a dangerous religious cult. What society needs to do is to recognise that these groups of believers are mentally unstable, they do not apply reason or logic to there lives. Maybe, they are incapable, maybe the memes are too entrenched. The problem with this situation is that these parents will not feel any remorse for their actions. They will stand behind their beliefs that they do not have to answer to mans' earthly laws, they will be held accountable by their God. They need to be made to see that their actions/beliefs were the cause of their sons death. They need to be held accountable for their actions. Punishment alone won't work, they will simply become martyr's.
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I feel Sorry for ya'll haters of the one and only LIVING GOD!!!, Lowly rated comment [Show]
@Emtre3
written by Dooyoowoowoo, February 06, 2010
So, bottom line, YOUR religious view is the correct one. Just like every other believer in a mythical being. At that point it all falls apart.
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@Dooyoowoowoo
written by William, February 06, 2010
That was not Emtre3's point. He believes that his is the correct view, but like anyone can't prove it. It's a matter of faith.

And again, people vote down anyone who presents a non-atheistic view. As if you are correct. You can't prove there isn't a God, any more than deists can prove there is one.

My point was as Emtre3 stated. But, I was trying to make the point that each religion--and possibly person--may have their own view of who or what "God" is. To continue to rail against all deists simply because one couple had a view that caused pain, suffering, and even death is the point Emtre3 is making.

Separate "belief" from "reality" when discussing faith.
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#Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 06, 2010
"In the bible, Jesus came to help the HOPELESS, so I guess since you guys have it "all figured out","

LOL! Obviously I disagree. If the bible's quotes of Jesus are accurate then he was a creep just like his dad and very emotionally disturbed. You should read your bible more and not just the parts that you like. Jesus: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34-39 NASB)

" I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism* to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished! 51 Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52 for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father* against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law. (Luke 12:49-53)"

"NASB
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

And in Luke 22:35-38

"But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36 NASB)
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written by The SonicGamer, February 06, 2010
@William
As much as alot of us disagree with your beliefs, you do have a point. It isnt about reality, it is about faith.
Alot of athiests need to understand and remember that they cant prove God doesnt exist, just as much as deists cant prove God doesnt exist. Athiests choose to not believe in God because there's no evidence for God, which is fine.
It's just that alot of the problems that Athiests have with Religion is that not only does it exert so much control over its followers lives, but it also, from time to time, tries to exert its control over others. A fine example, I know, I tend to bring this up alot, is Creationism and Evolution. Do you accept Evolution? If you're religious and you do, that's great, I respect that, much more so then creationist fundies because you looked at the theory, saw the evidence, and made your religion fit into that. Alot of Christians have.
Really, it ought to be a private thing. We dont rag on people who are religious and keep it to themselves, we rag on ones like Emtre3 cause they come here and insist their religion is correct, like they can scientifically prove it. You can believe it all you want, its fine, but insist on other people to believe it as well, then we have a problem.
I noticed Randi does rag on religion alot, and maybe he should tone down, but that doesnt mean his points arent valid.
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Give William a break...
written by Alencon, February 06, 2010
Give Will a break guys. He makes a valid point. Not everyone is as arrogant as the fundimentalists who think they understand the mind and the will of their God.

I'm not a believer, but if I were, I hope I wouldn't be as arrogant as the Beagleys and their congregation.
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written by vino, February 07, 2010
It's sad this child had to suffer for the sins of his parents. On the other hand it could be considered simply another proof for the theory of natural selection.
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@Sonic Gamer and @Dooyoowoowoo
written by Emtre3, February 07, 2010
Hey guys! It is everyone's choice what to believe. I love all of my friends, believers or not, equally. I just know that just recently, one of my ATHEIST friends had a daughter and she was 3 months premature. the little angel is fighting for her life, and I pray and BELIEVE she will live, and have been praying with her mother as well. Of all the things that people say to her on FACEBOOK, my stories of strength in GOD and Bible stories demonstrating healing and faith are the ones that she ALWAYS sends a special THANK YOU comment to, calling me out by name. So if I can be the person that as enough faith for two, or more, than I will live my life that way! We all have something to give in this world. I just choose to stand in faith for all those who are not strong. The important thing for me is to be strong for myself AND OTHERS, which is something that I have not been able to achieve by any means but GOD and Jesus. That may not be your experience. FINE! I was just expressing myself like everyone else on this board. If anyone seems to belong to a cult or want everyone to believe like them, ITS YOU!! Obviously most people that sit here and read these types of articles on a day to day basis only want to spend their lives "exposing" lies. I was routed her yesterday because of a pyschology assignment. I would rather spend mine promoting truths and positive people and things. Is it all in the mind, the matter of GOD? Was the Bible "created by man"? Of course! So was this computer Im typing on, but does that make it any less real?? Nope. And as in Psychology 101 will tell ya, most things are a matter of the mind. Most of what we see is based by our perception. So I simply choose to see a wonderful, living God in everything I do, and you just choose not to. No sweat.
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 07, 2010
In any good fight, you have to have a weapon, hon. And this fight against negative forces(Satan) is real. Are you not one human being, but a person of several emotions? It is pretty stupid to assume that good people will never have to fight. But that is not your fault for taking way too literal of an interpretation. It is "religions" fault. Religion has definitely bastardized the real meaning of alot of truths.

As for the mother father brother daughter thing,If I had 365 days it wouldn't be enough time to express the things I am just learning in the bible. There are things I don't like or understand yet, Im not claiming to be GOD! I Just think he is the ISH!! What some of those verses mean are really giving people in bondage the strength and courage to rise up and against ALL who oppress them. That's what I see in those scriptures, anyway. I certainly don't know it all, and maybe I will understand them more at a later time. I am certainly not claiming to understand everything in the bible but let me ask you this: Have you read the entire CONTEXT of this verse?? Alot of times you are right, people find the ONE verse and want to be like "AH HA!!! GOTCHA! That is an AWFUL THING TO SAY!" or "THAT IS BEAUTIFUL POETRY" But upon closer review there is actually a whole story behind the context of the verbage. So I challenge you to really grasp a full understanding of what that means. I have always wondered that myself. HAVE A GREAT DAY!!

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written by William, February 07, 2010
Careful when posting here. If you express ANY non-athiestic view in your post, folks will vote down, even if the point you are making agrees with the conversation.

"Yeah, you have a point. But you are still a diest and you are wrong!"

I'll save ya'll the trouble and vote this one down to start.
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written by GeekGoddess, February 07, 2010
This article would have better served the community without the last two paragraphs. I try to get some of my non-fundie friends interested in the broader voice of skepticism, and get my employer to give matching contributions to my donations to the JREF. I heartily agree with the sentiment expressed, but when the VP says "I googled JREF, it's an atheist org" and won't come back to learn about alt meds, dowsers, ghost hunters, etc., I think we've lost something.

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written by The SonicGamer, February 07, 2010
@Emtre3
Um, this is a site about a foundation founded by a guy who spent a good amount of his life DEBUNKING stuff?
One of the things that have already been debunked is the Bible, someone already posted up an example of that. It's ok to have belief, but you've already stated that you're "learning" stuff from the bible. I'm sure everyone would love to know what you're learning. If its morality and being a good person, alot of people learn that without the bible. If it's history, gimme a second, I need to go laugh my ass off.
If its about to giving moral strength, then good for you, but again, people can do that without the bible.
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written by RichVR, February 07, 2010
God isn't a sadist. You have to actually exist to be something.
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@Sonic Gamer
written by Emtre3, February 07, 2010
The mere fact we are all STILL even talking about the Bible shows there is History in it. DUH! And one last time, I learn things from a lot of different books, and the Bible is one of them as well.

Also, my church does ALOT for the community, and the world. One of my church brothers was lead to Haiti a couple of days before the earthquake. God told him to go, he did not even know anyone there. My pastor actually thought maybe it was not a good idea for him to go. On his way there, on the plane, his seating got switched around and he ended up sitting next to a Haitian pastor. He was very skeptical at first, but then he felt the Holy Spirit of this man to be true. Instead of being on his own out there, this pastor IMMEDIATELY took him under his wing. The next day, my church bro wanted to minister around his hotel in Port Au Prince and then get back in early so he could study up and go to sleep, so he could get up early the next morning. The Pastor urged him to go with him about an hour outside of the Port to another town to minister. Now I know my brother and he is hard-headed. He wanted to stay in his hotel room, and he owns a few streets in my town along with many businesses, so he is not used to letting others take charge. he put up a little "fight", but then was convicted to go.

YOU GUESSED IT! On their way back ,the earthquake hit, and by the time they got back to his hotel, it was damn near leveled. What was once his room was rubble.

Now I am not saying that GOD is a man on a throne, shakin his stick at people, but I personally KNOW there is a Divine presence that can lead people through dangerous, treacherous ground. Some people like myself NEED to KNOW there is someone to guide them, or the pressure of achieving everything themselves would be far to great to bear.

My pastor is a great man and we are a great community as a church. We have already raised $54,000 to help the Haitian pastor and their community, which was all pretty much leveled. We are helping them rebuild their church and home, and because Pastor Lugere(Haitian) is already inside of Haiti, we are able to send them money directly, which he can immediately begin to feed the hungry right away. Several trucks and shipments going directly into Haiti are stopped for sometimes weeks due to security issues.

So I am happy about what we are doing and how we are helping folks, and that makes me happy. Jesus is the example I choose to follow, and you may have your heroes, too! It doesn't really matter.

I have enjoyed the time on this thread, but I must move forward in life now. This has been great, and I wish the best for you all!!!!

PS. A SPECIAL PEACE OUT TO WILLIAM!!
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written by kennypo65, February 07, 2010
There has been a lot of talk about the existence of god(God). The trouble is, the existence of god(God) can not be proven, as it is a matter of faith.(I'm probably wrong here) As scientifically literate people, how can you say for certain one way or another? I personally call myself an agnostic, which means I don't know and neither do you.
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@Kennypo65: Atheists
written by Gaius Cornelius, February 08, 2010
If you wish to call yourself an agnostic that it is fine, but I would encourage you to consider whether you might, in fact, be an atheist. The term atheist is widely misunderstood - and misrepresented - as necessarily being certain that gods do not exist.

Atheists generally find the existence of gods implausible, few claim that they can prove that gods do not exist at all or and some will opine that it is technically possible that they do. What atheists are sure of is that there is no convincing evidence for the existence of gods and that they choose to live without belief in any gods.
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@Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 08, 2010
"Have you read the entire CONTEXT of this verse??"

Yes. So in what context do you think that the following is acceptable or desirable? Jesus: "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple." (Luke 14:26)

And Jesus said "In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:33)

Emtre3, Would Jesus consider you a disciple?



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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 08, 2010
Oh, that's an easy one. I am MOST DEFINITELY not a disciple of Jesus, not at this juncture. A student, yes.

And when it comes to those verses, I am going to really read the entire context of what he was saying and truly absorb the whole mood of the scenario in which he said it. Jesus was known to speak in parables, so he could have meant it in a way that is not so literal.

Lastly, just because I truly respect someone and believe in them does not mean I agree with EVERY SINGLE DRIPPING WORD that they say. I think it is foolish to assume that there is anything or anyone whom we completely understand and agree with in this world at all times. This might be your OOOHHH GOTCHA!! moment towards me, but I'm not trying to prove anything to you. Some things are just a matter of the heart and mind, not something that you can truly hold. All I know is that when I fellow ship with God and ask something to be made clear to me or ask for help, I receive that help. That's all I can say. Maybe you've never needed help or you have always had someone in the physical form to help you out in your time of need. That has not been the case with me. But I know when I have had faith and believed, God has come to my rescue. Sometimes immediately, and sometimes it has been the very storm in my life that has caused me to grow closer, and on the other side of the rainbow has always been green, peaceful pastures. That is MY REALITY, and I am grateful to have it. AGAIN, not everyone needs "someone else" to lean on. I'm just suggesting that most people on this green earth do, and if they do, I can be there to guide them to that special place that GOD can come into their lives.
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 08, 2010
Its kinda like the Presidents that have been around since I've known of them. Clinton, I liked him most of the time. W. Bush, I wasn't the fondest of him all the times, but sometimes I liked him and where he was coming from. Obama, I liked him a whole lot at first, lately he's been kind of wearing me out. In fact, I really don't like ANY Politicians nor trust them either. I still give them all a chance though.
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@Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 08, 2010
"Oh, that's an easy one. I am MOST DEFINITELY not a disciple of Jesus, not at this juncture."

Whew. That's a relief 'cause it sure looks like ya gotta hate a bunch of people to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. He probably didn't mean it though, some kinda mind game with Judas perhaps. Kinda like the one that his dad played on Abraham. That wacky holy trinity....

"All I know is that when I fellow ship with God and ask something to be made clear to me or ask for help, I receive that help."

Certainly you are in God's favor. Good luck to you.
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written by CasaRojo, February 09, 2010
Ya certainly don't wanna fall out of favor with the biblical God. He'll get you and your unborn.

"Samaria will be held guilty for she has rebelled against her God, they will fall by the sword, their little ones will be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women will be ripped open."

- Hosea 13:16
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
Thanks for reminding me of how things were in the Old testament! I'm glad you are getting quality time studying the Bible, son!
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
If it makes you feel any better, I don't like those moments either. All of the good times happen to outweigh the bad in my opinion though. Just like with this country. Or white people. There have been a WHOLE LOT OF BAD TIMES, but there are some great times too! HAHAHA I get your point, Casa, but again until I actually study those verses with you, and TRULY KNOW the context of what was going on, then I cannot comment. And also, I don't agree with EVERYTHING that has been written or everything that has happened in history. I only can tell MY STORY and understand my relationship with God. Nice try, though. Keep reading!
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@Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 09, 2010
Bible Verses Your Pastor Won't Preach---> http://apps.facebook.com/bibletouch/

Landover Baptist is looking for you! http://www.landoverbaptist.org/

A couple more generations and Xtianity, and hopefully all faith based foolishness, will have gone where all myth eventually goes.
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
OOOHHH!!! I read the ENTIRE context of this verse and HONEY, you can't only read the stuff you like either! God was speaking about the sin that was taking place in Samaria and Israel, and that verse was talking about the Reaping of Sinful Living, not that MY GOD was just viciously killing the people. The VERY NEXT VERSE SAYS," O Israel, return unto the LORD THY GOD, for thou hast fallen by THINE INEQUITY." If you go on to read the rest of the scriptures, dear, God is actually trying to save the people from their wicked ways, which always ends in destruction. THANKS FOR STRENGTHENING MY FAITH, SUCKA!!!! j/k You have to admit that is pretty funny though.
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
So much HATE! It must suck to live to hate. I still love you thoughsmilies/wink.gif
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@ Emtre
written by Human Person Jr, February 09, 2010
I do feel sorry for you folks, having to defend the indefensible, over and over again.

Hatred is not part of my makeup -- but when it comes to religion, I'm willing to make an exception. Religionists are the most dangerous people on Earth.

Luckily, not all religions are faithful to their sacred texts. In the U.S., Christians would quickly find themselves behind bars (or in a padded room) if they were. Have you ever wondered about the morality of stoning gay people to death, Emtre?

You're defending something that is simply not worth anyone's time, not to mention, there is no effective defense to the insanity you accept. Fallback position after fallback position, logic twisted into pretzel shapes to accommodate the false predictions, unkept promises, the bloodlust and all the other insanity. This is truly sad. I can't wait until this foolishness is bred out of us, and believe me, it's happening today. It is in process.
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@Human Person Jr
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
I love you too, boo! Take care, and don't hold your breathsmilies/wink.gif I find it funny that YOU are twisting my perception around, not the other way around. It does not bother me in the slightest that you don't feel the same way I do. I am not angered at all. You guys, on the other hand, seem to be the ones who are upset. I'd rather be in my happy place than in your angered, frustrated position anyday, hallucination, imagination, or not. BTW my mother is lesbian and I love her more than anything in this world. So put that in your pipe and smoke it! Peace!
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@Emtre
written by RichVR, February 09, 2010
The self-satisfied condescension just drips from your every word. You disgust me. You preach humility and revel in the belief that you are better than everyone who doesn't agree with you. Hypocrite isn't strong enough to describe you. And before you babble at me. Yes I'm angry. Don't worry about it. Stupidity doesn't make me angry, but people who revel in their ignorance do. Stupid can be educated. Your kind of ignorance is forever.
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@RichVR
written by Emtre3, February 09, 2010
OH. I get it. Everyone here is mad because I'm happy and satisfied with myself. Im not preaching anything. I love all of ya'll, I think it is pretty pathetic if you can be angry about someone you are chatting with on a chat room discussion. I don't even know you enough for you to ever come close to disgusting me. I do feel for ya, though. I actually understand how you feel as well, because I've been there before. I still even have my moments. Im human, I love life, and don't wish to make anyone unhappy at all. In fact, I wish you well! But don't be mad because I can still want the best for you, and want you to live a SENSATIONAL LIFE!!! Peace and Blessings.
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Emtre3, have you read the other comments?
written by Human Person Jr, February 09, 2010
I asked you specific questions, and you gave very general answers, to questions neither I nor others ever asked. Could that be considered evasion?

I'll try once more: Have you ever wondered about the morality of stoning gay people to death? If you're not willing to deliver a righteous stoning to those who've offended God, why do you bother calling yourself a Christian? C'mon, cowboy up and do the right thing.

Lemme ask ya sump'n else: When people just piss off the Good Lord (and I use the word "good" in the loosest possible sense), and he "withdraws his protection" from them, why does it take so long for bad things to happen? Wouldn't you think God would prefer something a bit snappier, something directly attributable to His loving withdrawal of protection? (You know, shopkeepers pay neighborhood goons for protection, and when they stop paying, the goons withdraw the protection.)

So, can we safely say the Christian God is an Extortionist? Another thing, does God know exactly what bad things will happen (to places like Haiti or New Orleans, for example) once he withdraws his protection? If he does know, He's a Bastard for allowing such a thing. If He doesn't know, He's not omniscient, after all.

Why did God let John Lennon live for more than fifteen years before letting the crazy guy shoot him to death? It was so long after John's offense that some (the sane, for example) didn't even realize it was the Long Arm of God that really pulled the trigger repeatedly.

Religionists make me want to puke. Listen, we live and then we die. Get over it! Stop making up fantasies about going to live with Michael Jackson when you die, or with Jesus or whatever your particular fantasy for an eternal playmate might be. What a bunch of weakminded boneheads! (I love 'em, though, and don't want anything bad to happen to 'em. And that's da trooff.)
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Human Person Jr.
written by Griz, February 10, 2010
Please, like I've said a million times, just take a minute to understand the religion you are arguing against. Christianity as it's presented in the new testament does NOT want anyone to stone gays. According to the actions and words of Jesus, the old laws were superseded. You're arguing apples and oranges, and it's no wonder you're getting nowhere because to believers you sound just as crazy as believers sound to you. Take a minute and educate yourself, please.
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Hi, Griz...
written by Human Person Jr, February 10, 2010
So, the omniscient God in the Old Testament admitted He was wrong? Or maybe had just enjoyed as much blood as He needed for a while?

"Listen here, Boy. It was fun for a while there, seein' them there perverts with rocks bouncin' off their heads, but I dunno, I guess I'm just getting a little older, and my tastes are maturing. Now, Boy, I want you to get on down there and tell 'em, like that Bob Dylan guy said (well, will say), 'the times, they are a-changin'' Tell 'em I was just kinda funnin' and don't forget to give the impression that untimely, brutal death isn't all so bad as they might think, in the larger scheme of things. Oh, one last thing, Boy, and I do so hate to tell You this, considering You're actually Me and all, but You're gonna have to die a horrific, human (to all appearances) death while You're down there."

Oh, thanks for clearing that up. And there I was thinking the whole damned thing was totally insane.
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@Griz
written by CasaRojo, February 10, 2010
More Jesus: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished." Matthew 5:17-18

But then in Matthew 5:38-39 Jesus suggests not adhering to the law. "You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

This is from the sermon on the mount which includes Jesus' literal suggestion to pluck your eye out and cut off your hands. "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away." Mathew 5:27-30

And it goes on about divorcing your wife for unfaithfulness only and how if anyone marries her is an adulterer.

Jesus preaches turn the other cheek unless it's your wife. Jesus was very much against the family unit. It seems he was very jealous of it. What a load the sermon on the mount is. The bible is confusing and a contradiction AT BEST to a thinking person. What a load of BS it is.
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@emitre3
written by CasaRojo, February 10, 2010
"God is actually trying to save the people from their wicked ways,"

By ripping open pregnant woman's bellies. Hey, if you're into that kind of stuff I suppose you'd defend an entity that suggests it. As I said, good luck to you and I hope that your god doesn't ask you to do something insane. If he does, I hope that you recognize it as such and refuse.
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...
written by GistGrant, February 10, 2010
Emtre, kudos on what your community is doing for Haiti!

However... this Divine Presence of yours who saved your bro from the earth quake. What? he/she/it didn't see fit saving any of the over 200 000 victims?

Just wondering is all.
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@GistGrant
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
Hi!

I thought that question would come up, but I personally feel that the reason he was spared was so that through him, more people could be saved and helped after the catastrophe. To date, we have personally sent as a church almost $100,000 in relief directly in the hands of the Haitian pastor. Look, I'm not claiming I have all the right answers, or all the answers at all for that matter. I just know what works for me and my life, and those around me. THANKS!
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
What that verse was saying was that by not heeding to the direction and guiding principles THE LORD THY GOD gave them for fruitful living, the immediate future was destined to bring them grief. In my opinion, there are certain lifestyles that are going to be more prone to bringing strife and death into your life. Like the drug underworld(in which I am very familiar personally), alcohol abuse,promiscuous lifestyle(know that pretty well too) and the like. Anyways, if I broke down EVERY SINGLE word or phrase you have written, I would never get anything done, as I am a student, working woman, and entrepreneur starting my own business as well, and I have already spent alot of valuable time conversating with you. Rather than you trying to get to know me and where I am coming from though, you are spewing nothing but hate. I thought this was a thread where everyone could talk about how they feel about things, but I can see it is just a place for non believers to make every molehill event that happens with someone who calls themselves "believers" into a volcanic mountain of hate. OK OK. I get it. So I crashed the party, I was never invited to share and engage in a conversation. My bad. Im pretty much done now. Peace to ALL!!!!
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@Emtre3
written by GistGrant, February 10, 2010
As I said kudos on the help smilies/smiley.gifAt least give these kinds of questions some thought.
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@Human Person Jr
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
I really have to move on in my life now, but it has bee fun talking to you guys. If you read my comments, I told you how I felt about things that people have said. Just because I love the Lord and Jesus as well does not mean I understand everything that has been said or done in the Bible. That is just the truth. I love this earth but have no idea how it does what it does. To think that you will agree with or understand everything and everyone that you have respect for or love is simply ignorant. I have never even read the Bible in it's entirety, how could I possibly logically defend it's every word? Dumb. I do not have time to address EVERYTHING, because unlike some of ya'll obviously on this site, I have a life. I am in school, working, and building a new business. So my contribution to this site has only been for the few minutes that I need some entertainment during a study break. But like I said to Red House, I realize that the people that regularly contribute to this thread are almost more narrow minded than any Christian I've ever met. After every word I have said, someone comes to me with another verse from the Bible like,"Well explain THIS ONE THEN." No one is even addressing most of MY contributions and interacting with me in a mature manner in which we can understand each other, but even agree to disagree on some things, which is how normal conversations when you have social skills go. I entered this conversation because I wanted to share with you guys that not ALL students of Christ are fanatical lunatics trying to force others that their way is the only way. Some of us are just enjoying the journey and are just happy to know a God that can help others as well as help ourselves. It was fun but now that the name calling and accusing are going on, its wearin me out. You guys are probably 18 year olds on this site. I'm glad we got to toss some ideas and understandings around, but if you want to spend your lives trying to prove all that is wrong with the bible and being mad at me for emitting self-knowledge and satisfaction, go ahead.You could use this time to talk to someone who is a strong believer to try to understand why we feel this way, even if you don't agree, especially since I am not going to treat you like you are an idiot and simply say,"because I'm right, that's why." I sure as HELL am not going to spend any more of my time in this precious life defending myself or my beliefs to people who just want to find a place to poke a hole in my existence or perception of this life. PEACE OUT AND GOD BLESS!!!!!

PS and I do not condone stoning anyone, that is not in my nature. I am more of a person who takes the best in every culture,teaching, and book and make it my own. Also, Jesus never called anyone a Christian. That was a term other people put on it. So no, I am not a Christian. I am of no religion, I just know where my help has come from in this life.
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...
written by CasaRojo, February 10, 2010
"you are spewing nothing but hate."

Specifically, WTF are you referring to? It's your holy book that I was quoting from. Certainly not mine. Looks like your projecting the evilness of your god onto people here at this website.

"I was never invited to share and engage in a conversation."

Perhaps you could answer the questions put forth to you? Seems you were invited but you declined.

"What that verse was saying was that by not heeding to the direction and guiding principles THE LORD THY GOD gave them for fruitful living, the immediate future was destined to bring them grief."

So your god suggested ripping open the bellies of their pregnant woman. I get it. Fine, if you think that's just. I don't. Not something that a loving god would suggest in my book. Get some practice defending this monster. You're gonna need it.
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@GistGrant
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
PS I always give those questions thought. It may seem as if I am just a Rose Colored Glasses kind of person, which I am, but it is only due to having lived a hard life and finally choosing to just believe in the positive and go for the best. I do believe that there are evil forces, but I also believe that some things happen for a greater good in the long run. That something can be that the Earth freezes over completey, killing all man kind, so that it can replenish itself. Not every good thing that happens means that there will be no death or dying. Then of course, there are some deaths in my life that have no good explanation. Does that mean I must take a hard crusted attitude towards life? I don't think so. I positively effect people around me because of gratitude and happiness, and that's what my life is about. Yes, I have the same questions that everyone on this board has, for real. I always have. I guess I'm just grateful that in all the situations that have surrounded me in this life, things have always turned out great in the end. I believe that more people can have better life experiences if they open their hearts to Jesus and his teachings. Some people will, some won't. And I don't think that EVERYTHING in LIFE that happens is because of God, either. Some things are evil forces, some are good forces. Just because I believe in God and Jesus does not mean I am naive or unreasonable, and that sometimes I don't know what the F#%$ just happened, either. Thanks for being cordial and a reasonable person to talk to.
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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
My bad, I think I was talking to someone else that was writing me in this thread. Although it's not like you are being the most gentle person on the planet, though. Someone else was like seething at me earlier. Anyways, take care. I'm glad you feel strongly about something in life though. It does make it more worth the living and more interesting, doesn't it? I hope you are putting this much passion into something you actually love or enjoy. You would be unstoppable!
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@Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 10, 2010
"I hope you are putting this much passion into something you actually love or enjoy"

Only doing what brings one's self happiness and joy is not necessarily the responsible thing to do. Perhaps the best that one can hope for is the feeling or understanding that they did or are doing the right thing, with the knowledge that they gathered as much credible information as possible.

You'll get good information here and I encourage you to personally verify what you find. I hope that you'll continue checking the Swift articles on a daily basis and maybe even look through the archives.
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Human Person Jr.
written by Griz, February 10, 2010
How the change occured has nothing to do with mainstream doctrine. If you ask me, organized religion exists simply to reinforce political power structures with eternal rewards and punishments. There is disagreement amongst various christian sects about the degree to which the law changed, abolished, or fulfilled, but these generally exist to justify using the parts of the old testament which are useful to modern religion. The things about stoning people or selling children or segregating your meat and dairy are no longer useful to the power structure so they are no longer "believed." Some things, like tithing for instance, is completely an old testament concept but many fundie churches' doctrine revolves around it because it's just like Verizon signing you up for a two year contract, it guarantees cash flow.

You're pointing out that there's a significant difference between the gods of the old testament and the new testament, and that's true. They are two entirely different deities. The vengeful god of Exodus is an old polytheistic Canaanite sky god whose word was applicable to a small group of united tribes whereas Jesus and Paul's loving god and his incarnate son are hellenified deities influenced by Mithraic and Zoroastrian traditions elevated into a much larger position of importance in the universe. That's what mythologies do over time, they evolve. I don't see you complaining about the conflation of Appollo and Helios in later Greek religions, or the evolution of Dionysus from birth-rebirth redemption god into the hedonistic Bacchus of later roman times.

My point is if you're looking for a logical hook to use to argue against christians, stoning gays isn't going to get you there, because no one, including jews (but excluding certain batshit christian sects) has that as a doctrine any more. It's messy and inconvenient. If you confront a believer saying his religion is invalid because they believe in stoning gays, or because they don't stone gays even though it says they should, all they're going to say is "what are you talking about, we don't believe that."
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Emtre3
written by Griz, February 10, 2010
"What that verse was saying was that by not heeding to the direction and guiding principles THE LORD THY GOD gave them for fruitful living, the immediate future was destined to bring them grief."

That's a little disingenuous when you consider god killed thousands of children of Eqypt with his own hand (Ex 11:4). You can't rationalize the fact that the god described in the old testament was a vengeful killer whether he did it himself or used someone like David for a tool.
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CasaRojo
written by Griz, February 10, 2010
The religion we know today as christianity has little to do with the words of Jesus as reported in the gospels and much more to do with the writing of Paul. Jesus of the gospels makes a lot of sense in historical context. Heir of the throne of David and potential leader of a revolt against the Romans, his story was told in a way that any Jew of the time would recognize as a would-be messiah, and any historian would recognize (if they accept the veracity of the stories) as a failed messiah, which were a dime a dozen during the Roman occupation. The later influence of Paul turned that idea into something entirely different and launched christianity. At the time, it was a call to immediate action: leave your family and join me to take back the throne of David and jewish self rule! Paul later turned that into devotion to the church above all else.

The bible is a collection of writing from different times and traditions, and it's definitely a mish-mash of traditions and revisionism. But if you recognize it for what it is, it's not a load of crap, it's just another marginally historical mythological collection, like Odessey or the Aenid. Your problem is not with the bible, it's with the people that try to make it more than it is by giving it some imposed structure and rationlizing away the internal consistencies.
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Inconsistencies!
written by Griz, February 10, 2010
Last word in my last post should INconsistencies.
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...
written by CasaRojo, February 10, 2010
"Your problem is not with the bible, it's with the people that try to make it more than it is by giving it some imposed structure and rationlizing away the internal [in]consistencies."

That too but trust me, I have much problem with the bible itself. If Genesis was prefaced with a disclaimer that stated exactly what the bible is ("just another marginally historical mythological collection"), the origins of the stories, the midrashic nature of the texts etc., then I probably wouldn't take issue with it but as it stands...

"and any historian would recognize (if they accept the veracity of the stories) as a failed messiah, which were a dime a dozen during the Roman occupation."

And there's still plenty today. I'd wager that if one contacted any given mental institution that they'd tell you that they housed any number of "Jesuses".

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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
Not to start something, but doing the RIGHT THING is objective, and you are right! Whatever that right thing is, even when it hurts, you continue to do it because it brings a sense of joy to your spirit. Maybe not sugarplums and skipping down a road paved in chocolate and gold, but whatever your purpose, your spirit is yearning for, joy in that. And as expressed by you, challenging me and my beliefs is your way of "doing the right thing." Well, I'm glad I could be that fo ya!!!!
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@ Griz
written by Emtre3, February 10, 2010
When I have time to actually read that portion of the bible and glean my understanding on it, I will get back to you. Just as a side note, I happen to be a pretty artistic, creative person, who finds joy in finding the meaning in all things, maybe things that were never meant to mean much to the average person. So maybe that is a part of who I am as well, and why I don't get all bent out of shape about the same things others do. Peace!
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@Emtre3
written by CasaRojo, February 17, 2010
"Not to start something, but doing the RIGHT THING is objective"

I think that you meant subjective instead of objective. Yes, it is subjective. But as I said, I think it's best if one is secure in the knowledge that they've acquired sufficient data. By you're own account you have a limited knowledge of the bible.

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@Casa Rojo
written by Emtre3, February 18, 2010
Limited knowledge of Bible; unlimited Personal encounters with GOD, which to me is not something you can study on how to do. Guess I'm just blessed! I understand what you mean though.
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Speaking of being blessed...
written by Human Person Jr, February 18, 2010
I try my hand at fiction writing every now and again. It might be ok at times, not so wonderful at other times, but it is NEVER as imaginative (or comedic) as the bullshit I read and hear about "personal encounters with GOD."

If I could write this kind of stuff, I would truly consider myself lucky. (To claim I was blessed would involve an imaginary Blesser.)
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@ Human Person Jr.
written by Emtre3, February 18, 2010
Sucks for you! Have a good day. smilies/grin.gif
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Lack of Callous Comment
written by Pickerel, February 22, 2010
Normally I would have a callous comment here, such as 'Religious people dieing due to their religions? Natural Selection works in mysterious ways.' However we have the case of their 18 month old kid dying of pneumonia? She never even had a chance to think lengthy coherent thoughts before they killed her. Who dies of pneumonia anymore? Do they use their faith to justify that their kids are frankly and irrevocably dead? Or is this another case wherein the faster you kill them while they are young, the less sins they have and the more likely they are to get into heaven? Wasn't there a catholic woman that used that justification to drown her 5 children or something, because so long as they hadn't reached the age of reason, they get a free ticket into heaven? I even had a christian say 'but then she is going to hell for murder' and I had to point out that she is therefore the best mother ever: Assuming her premise, not only did she just trade 5 units of eternal good for 1 unit of eternal torture, but she took the torture part onto herself. Net gain is 4 units of good, with the recipient of the bad being a willing one.

Question, though: the article in the link does not actually say whether the kid did or did not personally choose the faith healing over actual treatment? (The way it is written it seems as though he did, but I can't be sure).
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