1. Joined
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    25 Oct '10 22:16
    “God is no longer a habitual concern for human beings. Less and less do they call him to mind as they go through their days or make their decisions. . . . God has been replaced by other values: income and productivity. He may once have been regarded as the source of meaning for all human activities, but today he has been relegated to the secret dungeons of history. . . . God has disappeared from the consciousness of human beings.”—The Sources of Modern Atheism.

    It was not many years ago that God was very much a part of the lives of people of the Western world. To be socially acceptable, one had to give evidence of faith in God, even if not everyone earnestly practiced what he professed to believe. Any doubts and uncertainties were discreetly kept to oneself. To express them in public would be shocking and perhaps even lay one open to censure.
    Today, however, the tables are turned. To have any strong religious conviction is considered by many to be narrow-minded, dogmatic, even fanatic. In many lands, we see a prevailing indifference toward, or lack of interest in, God and religion. Most people no longer search for God because they either do not believe he exists or are unsure about it. In fact, some have used the term “post-Christian” to describe our era. Some questions, therefore, must be asked: How did the idea of God become so far removed from people’s life? What were the forces that gave rise to this change? Are there sound reasons for continuing the search for God?
    Backlash of the Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation of the 16th century brought about a marked change in the way people viewed authority, religious or otherwise. Self-assertion and freedom of expression took the place of conformity and submission. While most people remained within the framework of traditional religion, some moved along more radical lines, calling into question the dogmas and fundamental teachings of the established churches. Still others, noting the role religion had played in the wars, sufferings, and injustices throughout history, became skeptical of religion altogether.
    As early as 1572, a report entitled Discourse on the Present State of England noted: “The realm is divided into three parties, the Papists, the Atheists, and the Protestants. All three are alike favoured: the first and second because, being many, we dare not displease them.” Another estimate gave the figure of 50,000 as the number of atheists in Paris in 1623, although the term was used rather loosely. In any case, it is clear that the Reformation, in its effort to throw off the domination of papal authority, had also brought into the open those who challenged the position of the established religions. As Will and Ariel Durant put it in The Story of Civilization: Part VII—The Age of Reason Begins: “The thinkers of Europe—the vanguard of the European mind—were no longer discussing the authority of the pope; they were debating the existence of God.”
    The Assault by Science and Philosophy
    In addition to the fragmenting of Christendom itself, there were other forces at work that further weakened its position. Science, philosophy, secularism, and materialism played their roles in raising doubts and fostering skepticism about God and religion.
    The expansion of scientific knowledge called into question many of the church’s teachings that were based on erroneous interpretation of Bible passages. For example, astronomical discoveries by men like Copernicus and Galileo posed a direct challenge to the church’s geocentric doctrine, that the earth is the center of the universe. Furthermore, understanding of the natural laws that govern the operations of the physical world made it no longer necessary to attribute hitherto mysterious phenomena, such as thunder and lightning or even the appearance of certain stars and comets, to the hand of God or Providence. “Miracles” and “divine intervention” in human affairs also came under suspicion. All of a sudden, God and religion seemed outdated to many, and some of those who considered themselves up-to-date quickly turned their back on God and flocked to the worship of the sacred cow of science.
    The severest blow to religion, no doubt, was the theory of evolution. In 1859 the English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-82) published his Origin of Species and presented a direct challenge to the Bible’s teaching of creation by God. What was the response of the churches? At first the clergy in England and elsewhere denounced the theory. But opposition soon faded. It seemed that Darwin’s speculations were just the excuse sought by many clergymen who were entertaining doubts in secret. Thus, within Darwin’s lifetime, “most thoughtful and articulate clergy had worked their way to the conclusion that evolution was wholly compatible with an enlightened understanding of scripture,” says The Encyclopedia of Religion. Rather than come to the defense of the Bible, Christendom yielded to the pressure of scientific opinion and played along with what was popular. In so doing, it undermined faith in God.—2 Timothy 4:3, 4.
    As the 19th century wore on, critics of religion became bolder in their attack. Not content with just pointing out the failings of the churches, they began to question the very foundation of religion. They raised questions such as: What is God? Why is there a need for God? How has belief in God affected human society? Men like Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche offered their arguments in philosophical, psychological, and sociological terms. Theories such as ‘God is nothing more than the projection of man’s imagination,’ ‘Religion is the opium of the people,’ and ‘God is dead’ all sounded so new and exciting compared with the dull and unintelligible dogmas and traditions of the churches. It seemed that finally many people had found an articulate way of expressing the doubts and suspicions that had been lurking in the back of their minds. They quickly and willingly embraced these ideas as the new gospel truth.
    The Great Compromise
    Under assault and scrutiny by science and philosophy, what did the churches do? Instead of taking a stand for what the Bible teaches, they gave in to the pressures and compromised even on such fundamental articles of faith as creation by God and the authenticity of the Bible. The result? Christendom’s churches began to lose credibility, and many people began to lose faith. The failure of the churches to come to their own defense left the door wide open for the masses to march out. To many people, religion became no more than a sociological relic, something to mark the high points in one’s life—birth, marriage, death. Many all but gave up the search for the true God.

    "Mankinds Search for God"....1990.
  2. Standard membermenace71
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    25 Oct '10 23:03
    So your own personal thoughts on this?






    Manny
  3. Standard memberKellyJay
    Walk your Faith
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    25 Oct '10 23:142 edits
    A friend of mine told me of dream she had years ago.

    In her dream she was standing in front of a church building when she saw the
    sky start to part and Jesus was coming in the clouds. There were those with
    her that could see him, and others who could not because the church building was
    blocking their view.

    The trouble with many is that they have a group, they have a denomination, they
    have a lot of things, but they are missing the best thing about Christianity which
    is God Himself.
    Kelly
  4. Melbourne, Australia
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    25 Oct '10 23:23
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    A friend of mine told me of dream she had years ago.

    In her dream she was standing in front of a church building when she saw the
    sky start to part and Jesus was coming in the clouds. There were those with
    her that could see him, and others who could not because the church building was
    blocking their view.

    The trouble with many is that they have a ...[text shortened]... of things, but they are missing the best thing about Christianity which
    is God Himself.
    Kelly
    Wow, I couldn't disagree more.
    The only good thing about religion is the social dimension - bringing people together, helping others, and so on.
    The notion of an omnipresent, omniscient, omniwhatever god is absolutely abhorent.
  5. Account suspended
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    25 Oct '10 23:401 edit
    Originally posted by menace71
    So your own personal thoughts on this?






    Manny
    that the churches adoption of secular liberalism, the adoption of materialistic values and theories, its abhorrence and intolerance of true science or anything that threatened its power has led to and been a contributing factor in the emergence and proliferation of Atheism!
  6. Joined
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    25 Oct '10 23:45
    Originally posted by menace71
    So your own personal thoughts on this?






    Manny
    Pretty much what Robbie said. Do you not agree?
  7. Joined
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    26 Oct '10 00:24
    Originally posted by galveston75
    “God is no longer a habitual concern for human beings. Less and less do they call him to mind as they go through their days or make their decisions. . . . God has been replaced by other values: income and productivity. He may once have been regarded as the source of meaning for all human activities, but today he has been relegated to the secret dungeons ...[text shortened]... eath. Many all but gave up the search for the true God.

    "Mankinds Search for God"....1990.
    I dispute the claim that the Protestant Reformation resulted in a new religious culture of pluralism and diversity, over submission and authority. Many Protestant were quite dangerously authoritarian. Firstly Protestant churches were increasingly dependent on secular power. Very often bishops were chosen by national rulers. Until recently, bishops for major sees in the UK were appointed by the Queen by prime ministerial recommendation. Secondly, Protestant churches were on the whole more doctrinally strict. I think particularly of later Protestant movements, such as the Plymouth sect, which condemned secular literature almost completely.
  8. Standard memberKellyJay
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    26 Oct '10 00:58
    Originally posted by amannion
    Wow, I couldn't disagree more.
    The only good thing about religion is the social dimension - bringing people together, helping others, and so on.
    The notion of an omnipresent, omniscient, omniwhatever god is absolutely abhorent.
    Well, I'm telling you that God is the best part of Christianity, and yes it is great
    that people helping and loving one another is good, but that does not compare
    to God. I'm not sure what you think of when you view God, I doubt you have a
    clue, but simply find distasteful what you think God is and is like. For me your
    dislike of God would be akin to one political party member hating another from
    another political party just because they were only fed the point of view of those
    that oppose him and dislike him/her never having met or troubled to find out for
    themselves the truth about them for themselves without the propaganda. In
    order to grasp God you need more than the point of view of those who dislike
    Him, and in my opinion even those who profess to love Him; you really need to
    seek Him for yourself, if not, you are only drawing upon second hand information
    that no matter strong the love or hate is, all of it would be just another’s point of
    view leaving you no better off. If you think it not worth your time or effort to seek
    God if He is real or not, than that is your stance like it or not.
    Kelly
  9. Donationrwingett
    Ming the Merciless
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    26 Oct '10 01:06
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    A friend of mine told me of dream she had years ago.

    In her dream she was standing in front of a church building when she saw the
    sky start to part and Jesus was coming in the clouds.
    Did he tell her to seek the Holy Grail?
  10. Standard membermenace71
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    26 Oct '10 01:12
    Originally posted by robbie carrobie
    that the churches adoption of secular liberalism, the adoption of materialistic values and theories, its abhorrence and intolerance of true science or anything that threatened its power has led to and been a contributing factor in the emergence and proliferation of Atheism!
    Nice and no argument the church has done these very things.







    Manny
  11. Standard membermenace71
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    26 Oct '10 01:14
    Originally posted by galveston75
    Pretty much what Robbie said. Do you not agree?
    That was Robbie's thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

    I think it is true the church should be the beacon to the world however it just mirrors it in many ways.




    Manny
  12. Joined
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    26 Oct '10 01:20
    Originally posted by menace71
    That was Robbie's thoughts on the subject. What are yours?

    I think it is true the church should be the beacon to the world however it just mirrors it in many ways.




    Manny
    Get off it Manny. If that wasn't something I didn't agree with I wouldn't have posted it. Stick to the subject if you can.
  13. Melbourne, Australia
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    26 Oct '10 01:51
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Well, I'm telling you that God is the best part of Christianity, and yes it is great
    that people helping and loving one another is good, but that does not compare
    to God. I'm not sure what you think of when you view God, I doubt you have a
    clue, but simply find distasteful what you think God is and is like. For me your
    dislike of God would be akin to on ...[text shortened]... e or effort to seek
    God if He is real or not, than that is your stance like it or not.
    Kelly
    No, your political analogy is very different.
    If I reject a political party or their policy it will be based on a rational preference for some other party or policy - and that is (or should be) based on evidence: what policy works (or what do I think will work) and what doesn't.
    I don't reject god based on evidence (there is none), nor do I reject god based on whether I think it will work for me or not (it won't.)
    I reject and abhor the concept of god because I reject and abhor the notion that our universe is controlled by supernatural elements, and the implication that any sort of supernatural being - loving god, vengeful god, satan, angel or any other - could allow suffering and death, while having the power to prevent these.
    I don't want to live in such a world, and so I reject utterly the notion that such a world could exist.
  14. Joined
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    26 Oct '10 02:20
    Originally posted by amannion
    No, your political analogy is very different.
    If I reject a political party or their policy it will be based on a rational preference for some other party or policy - and that is (or should be) based on evidence: what policy works (or what do I think will work) and what doesn't.
    I don't reject god based on evidence (there is none), nor do I reject god bas ...[text shortened]... t to live in such a world, and so I reject utterly the notion that such a world could exist.
    Sounds to me like it's just to confusing for you for some reason so it's easier to hide your head in the sand..... maybe? Just my observation.
  15. Melbourne, Australia
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    26 Oct '10 02:42
    Originally posted by galveston75
    Sounds to me like it's just to confusing for you for some reason so it's easier to hide your head in the sand..... maybe? Just my observation.
    Confusing?
    No, couldn't be clearer.
    There's a universe that is governed by rational laws, and then there's the one that is governed by the supernatural where anything can happen.
    I don't live in that world.
    You may wish to, although for the life of me I can't imagine why.
    Where's the sand?
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