1. Illinois
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    23 Jul '07 20:08
    There has been an awful lot of talk around atheist water-coolers lately, about how faith has had it too easy for too long now and that it is high time that the freethinkers of the world unite in order to make it infinitely more socially taboo for believers to express their views publicly, or to hold their views at all.

    The degree of such ostracization is never clearly delineated, of course. Most claim that they would not condone violence or extreme public humiliation or worse, but such p. c. veneer, history attests, can quickly erode. I don't foresee that being immanent, but with the rising percentage of atheists and the falling percentage of believers in America it no doubt could be a reality in the relatively near future.

    As a Christian I welcome such persecution. The more the better, I say. Persecution can only be a good thing for the kingdom of God. No doubt many professing believers would fall away from the faith if their livelihood, reputation and lives were at stake for holding their beliefs, but ridding the church of the lukewarm could only be a good thing. Indeed the whole process almost similar to God's law of natural selection, where carnivores are meant to keep the herd genetically fit by weeding out the weak, i.e. the church being kept fit by the loss of its members to the tidal force of prevailing opinion.

    Richard Dawkins and the water-cooler conversation which he fuels, then, to me as a Christian, is a harbinger of blessings. It would delight me to no longer have to be associated with the overly-sensitive, indignant Christians who take offense at every public slight to their faith, and who constantly demand apologies from their persecutors. They'd be the first to jump ship, in my opinion.

    "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  2. Illinois
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    23 Jul '07 20:411 edit
    Personally, I have no problem with Richard Dawkins. He is a bright, engaging fellow, who doesn't seem to take himself too seriously. I don't sense any high-mindedness in his rhetoric, as he seems to be a genuine skeptic (i.e. an atheist without the emotional baggage), which gives him a certain levelheadedness his more spiteful and hateful brethren lack tackling the subject of God and faith. Of course, there is nothing original in his assertions, but they are timely.

    For myself, I don't see what the big deal is. His book is essentially an embellishment of what a Christian already knows, that "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Richard Dawkins, of course, cannot understand why people believe because he has never tasted the assurances of faith, and so he calls faith the only thing he can, a delusion, and sets about explaining it away as best he can. All of which is no surprise.

    I respect Dawkin's intelligence and scholarship, and I would only fault him if I thought his bold assertions weren't arrived at in complete ignorance of the assurance which genuine faith in God provides. Without being familiar with the presence of God filling one's spirit, which believers enjoy, Dawkins could not be expected to arrive at any other conclusion than what he has. At worst, Dawkins is a tragic figure.

    "Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Heb. 11:6).
  3. Donationrwingett
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    24 Jul '07 05:43
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    There has been an awful lot of talk around atheist water-coolers lately, about how faith has had it too easy for too long now and that it is high time that the freethinkers of the world unite in order to make it infinitely more socially taboo for believers to express their views publicly, or to hold their views at all.

    The degree of such ostracization ...[text shortened]... n.

    "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    How would your martyr complex hold up if your beliefs were simply ignored?
  4. Cape Town
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    24 Jul '07 06:29
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    I don't foresee that being immanent, but with the rising percentage of atheists and the falling percentage of believers in America it no doubt could be a reality in the relatively near future.
    Do you have any stats to support that? I am not disputing it, just interested.
    Where I come from - Zambia - the population is over 90% Christian whereas 100 years ago it was over 90% non-Christian so except for very short term trends the percentage of believers in Zambia has shot up dramatically.
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    24 Jul '07 06:35
    In the modern age, nobody loves a victim.
  6. Illinois
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    24 Jul '07 07:00
    Originally posted by Starrman
    In the modern age, nobody loves a victim.
    I know, that's why I'm movin' to Montana.
  7. Illinois
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    24 Jul '07 07:33
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Do you have any stats to support that? I am not disputing it, just interested.
    Where I come from - Zambia - the population is over 90% Christian whereas 100 years ago it was over 90% non-Christian so except for very short term trends the percentage of believers in Zambia has shot up dramatically.
    Wow, if that is accurate, Zambia is a more Christian nation than America is. Judging from you prior posts, that must not sit too well with you... 🙂 Well, perhaps you are fortunate enough to live in a Christian country that actually reflects the teachings of Christ? (BTW, here is a link to an absolutely brilliant article which may also be of interest to you... http://www.harpers.org/archive/2005/08/0080695). America had been hovering close to 90% since the old days, until fairly recently. Now the figure sits at 77%, at least according to the 2001 census. It's anybody's guess where it will be in 2011. Here is that link: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm
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    24 Jul '07 07:44
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    There has been an awful lot of talk around atheist water-coolers lately, about how faith has had it too easy for too long now and that it is high time that the freethinkers of the world unite in order to make it infinitely more socially taboo for believers to express their views publicly, or to hold their views at all.

    The degree of such ostracization ...[text shortened]... n.

    "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    If free thinkers united they would no longer be free
  9. Illinois
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    24 Jul '07 08:09
    Originally posted by smartrrrrs
    If free thinkers united they would no longer be free
    You may be right, but I was referring to those who believe strictly in "freethought". I should have been more clear.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought
  10. Standard memberPalynka
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    24 Jul '07 08:41
    There's nothing like a boogeyman to get people to support a movement.
  11. Cape Town
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    24 Jul '07 09:06
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    Wow, if that is accurate, Zambia is a more Christian nation than America is.
    It was a guess but I am fairly sure that it is over 90%.

    Judging from you prior posts, that must not sit too well with you... 🙂
    You are correct.

    Well, perhaps you are fortunate enough to live in a Christian country that actually reflects the teachings of Christ?
    The government actually declared Zambia a "Christian Nation" (for political reasons) but if you think that the country actually reflects the teachings of Christ then think again. Our previous president spent quite a lot of time traveling around the country bribing churches and they were queuing up to be bribed!

    And according to this website which was pointed out by AThousandYoung in another thread:
    http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Jesus/Intelligence%20&%20religion.htm
    Some studies have shown "there is a negative correlation between theism and morality" so it is possible that the higher the percentage of Christians the less a country actually reflects the teachings of Christ.

    Now if you are worried that as a Christian you are going to get persecuted because only 77% of the US is Christian then you must truly have a persecution complex. Note that at more than 81% are theist. So your apparent fear that less than 19% of the population (who do not identify themselves as a single organized group by the way) is going to persecute the other 81% is ridiculous.
  12. Standard memberPalynka
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    24 Jul '07 09:23
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    http://kspark.kaist.ac.kr/Jesus/Intelligence%20&%20religion.htm
    Some studies have shown "there is a negative correlation between theism and morality" so it is possible that the higher the percentage of Christians the less a country actually reflects the teachings of Christ.
    Those studies suffer from the same flaws as the infamous Bell Curve, namely the problems of missing variables that lead to spurious correlations.
  13. Cape Town
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    24 Jul '07 09:30
    Originally posted by Palynka
    Those studies suffer from the same flaws as the infamous Bell Curve, namely the problems of missing variables that lead to spurious correlations.
    Quite likely. However my point remains. There is no reason to believe that a higher percentage of Christians in a country makes the country more likely to 'reflect the teachings of Christ'. I don't know a lot of atheists (most of those I know are on this forum), but many of the Christians I know are far from honest or moral and do not in my opinion 'reflect the teachings of Christ'. I didn't say 'all' nor am I generalizing, I am just saying that there is no hard and fast rule which says that Christians 'reflect the teachings of Christ' and atheists don't.
  14. Standard memberPalynka
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    24 Jul '07 09:37
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Quite likely. However my point remains. There is no reason to believe that a higher percentage of Christians in a country makes the country more likely to 'reflect the teachings of Christ'. I don't know a lot of atheists (most of those I know are on this forum), but many of the Christians I know are far from honest or moral and do not in my opinion 'refle ...[text shortened]... rule which says that Christians 'reflect the teachings of Christ' and atheists don't.
    I agree, I don't find atheists any less moral than theists. Coming from a country with more than 90% of Christians, I understand very well all that you have saying.

    Sometimes if a post makes a lot of sense to me but has a small detail that bugs me out, I tend to call it out. I wasn't attacking the general sense of what you were saying, since I fully agree with it.
  15. Standard memberRajk999
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    24 Jul '07 12:261 edit
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    There has been an awful lot of talk around atheist water-coolers lately, about how faith has had it too easy for too long now and that it is high time that the freethinkers of the world unite in order to make it infinitely more socially taboo for believers to express their views publicly, or to hold their views at all.

    The degree of such ostracization n.

    "Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Bear in mind that persection that is created by your own stupidity or obnoxious behaviour is not a blessing.
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