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About Gaylordcat

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  • Birthday 06/29/1939

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    Terry, writing, reading, computer coding, web development, cooking, gardening, animals, my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren
  1. matteoamThank you for responding. That I am an antheist is true, but I'm new at it. I was a Christian for over 60 years, and during those years, I worked very hard to find meaning in Christianity and did find a lot. In all religions can be found great truths, rules to live by, reasons for doing unto others as we would wish them to do unto us, and just generally give people guides by which to live their lives. I include all relgions of the planet, including indiginous religions that define special cultures. My respect is deep for all of them. I do not believe, however, that one need be a theist in order to be a good person. But, I am a child of science, of the scientific method, and of emperical evidence. Faith in religious teaching is just that, faith, which includes belief, confidence, conviction, and much more. And faith is a good thing, allowing human beings most of whom are not trustworthy but contentious to at least shake hands (most of the time) and get along. We have faith in each other much of the time. However, Christianity demands that be believe in facts that the church defines as true and historic. Unless we believe in the tenents of the Apostle's Creed or some other affirmation of faith, we cannot in reality call ourselves Christians, and if we mumble through the creeds each Sunday, we feel like hypocrites, or at least I do, did. There is no emperical evidence that a man called Jesus was born of a virgin after being overshadowed by the so-called Holy Ghost, aka God, aka Yahweh. It didn't happen. If this God, Yahweh, Holy Ghost whom we are taught created heaven and Earth and all that is therein, then he, she or it created the laws of biology, physics, chemistry, etc. If this god chooses to break any of those laws for any reason, it is no longer a god but a despot. Therefore, no virgin birth took place except in the myth created to give Jesus an entrance on the stage. Laws were not broken so Jesus could heal leprosy, deaf-mutes, or blindness, nor raise peopleto life who were dead and buried. Water cannot be made into fine wine, storms cannot be calmed by any person, and he was not raised from the dead after being executed by Rome unless he was not dead when taken from the cross and resusitated in the tomb. These are not emperical events; they are insults to reason if we are meant to believe them without question. They are attempts to make myths into history, including, I believe, the existance of Jesus. For me the Jesus of the NT is another tale of the God Sun, or Sun God, known to and worshipped by human kind since before Egyptian civilizations. But that's just me; I do not ever proselytize. I don't have time to go on today, but suffice to say, if Jesus appears in the sky at any time, anywhere, and can prove who he is, I will believe. Right now after swallowing whole the teaching of the church for over 60 years, I am regurgitating and feeling very sad that I can no longer in good conscience call myself a Christian. But, the good things I learned about love from Christianity I retain and try very hard to practice every day. If I appear arrogant and wear my atheism on my sleeve, I apologize. I don't think I do wear it on my sleeve because most of my friends who are practicing theists don't know I am atheistic; the subject does not come up because we have more important things to discuss. Again, thank you for your response. F
  2. Romansh, thank you for your reply and the suggestion. I did look up Ehrman's book and read parts of it. I find his thesis just one of many and not definitive. In fact, I do not believe it is possible to have the definitive answer. We, including scholars, historians, theologians, etc., simply do not know and have precious little evidence to support what they believe; all that I have read is opinion. I am a mythicist. Myths arise often from historical occurrences. Example: Davy Crocket was a real person. Stories about him include his stopping the sun. Myth created by someone who either wanted to deify Davy or make fun of him. My point: First, in 1st century Palestine the name Yeshua (Jesus' Aramaic name) was very common. It means, I am sure you know, God is with us, or the Lord is with us. Everyone wants God to be with them. So, it is possible that one of the Yeshuas of the time was exceptionally charismatic and imparted his wisdom so dynamically that he had a loyal following. He was, perhaps, the Martin Luther King, Jr., of his day, around whom I believe myths will be created someday. After Jesus' death, his followers created a new Judaism around him that eventually became Christianity. However, he was not divine. He was not born of a virgin who was visited by angels, etc., and when he died, however he died, he was dead. He did not rise from the dead. I believe if he had been divine and all that is said about him in the NT is true, i.e. historic, it would take away the impact of his life and his deeds; none of us can be gods so he's a bad role model is he is a god. We can strive to emulate his life if he is human, but not if he was a god. And, if he was a god, especially the Yahweh-god of the OT, he was faking all he did. On the cross he wasn't suffering or dying. He was putting on an act. If he did exist, he was not the Jesus described in the NT. That person was a creation of many imaginative minds over the centuries. As an atheist I can accept his existence as a human being, but not as a god. I personally do not think there is enough evidence to support his existence as portrayed in the NT. I find no corroborative evidence anywhere. References in Josephus, etc., are themselves not corroborated. Does anyone believe an earthquake at the moment he died that destroyed buildings would not have been recorded by historians of the time? Does anyone believe that corpses came out of graves and walked among the people of Jerusalem when he died and would not be mentioned by Josephus and other historians of the time? All of that has myth smeared all over it. Ermann doesn't like mythists, so he denigrates us gently by saying, essentially, that we don't know what we're doing. I think he does understand what we do, which is search for the truth in myths. As a mythist I see Jesus as a mythological character in a play that imparts incredible truth; ways to live life by loving and caring for each other. That does not make Jesus unreal. He is real, as real as Buddha who may never have existed. It is what we learn from the stories, a.k.a. myths, surrounding these characters that is important. What about the Hindu gods that left us the Vedas packed with truth? Did they exist? Lots of Eastern religions are based on myth that imparts wisdom. Existence is not important, in my view. What is important to me is the truth that is imparted. Thanks for allowing me to rave about a subject that fascinates me.
  3. BillM, I couldn't agree with you more. If the world lived as the Jesus of the NT taught, we would be in a kind of paradise. I think we can say the same for other religions that teach love and compassion. My god, to use the word, is the universe. We are all stardust and will return to that state when we die. Believing thus, I can be pigeon-holed, but I don't mind; I like pigeons. My search for the flesh and blood of Jesus is simple curiosity. Not believing he existed does not diminish my admiration for whoever created him because that creator gave us some very good ideas on how to behave. Indeed, I know Pip was a creation of Charles Dickens, but after reading Great Expectations a hundred times and teaching it in senior English classes for many years, Pip has been a good mentor in many ways. Thank you for responding. I love to discuss religions.
  4. I am an atheist but I am open to discussion of religion in general and Christianity in particular because I was raised in that faith. The place of religion in human life is significant to say the least. Religion is so vital to human beings that I do not believe there was, is, or ever will be a culture that does not espouse a faith in something. During my 74 years I have studied religions extensively, and the reason I am an atheist is because no religion has empirical proof of an extant god. As our ability to improve evidence-based research, I see the need for a god diminishing in geometric progression. At one time, for example, people believed babies came from alone; the mother was just the incubator. Indeed, the so-called virgin birth of Jesus supports such a belief if considered objectively. In fact, I sincerely believe that the Jesus we meet in the NT never existed. I doubt the existence of any character of the NT, with the ironic exception of Pontius Pilate who is verified by Roman historians. Josephus' writings are not substantial proof, either. I have read Reva Aslan's book Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth and I am now reading D.M. Murdock's (a.k.a Acharya S) Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection. Impressed by both, I ask this question of the members of this forum: What is your opinion of Aslan and Murdock, and what is your belief in the existence of Jesus? Any enlightenment will be appreciated.
  5. Just my lame attempt at humor, romansh. You're right about agnostic/atheist semantics.
  6. Is that potato/potatah, romansh?
  7. I do not believe the Jesus portrayed in the NT ever existed. Possibly, a man exited at that time in Roman Palestine who was extremely charismatic, was followed by many people, maybe hundreds, and who so impressed them that they made him the long-awaited messiah. Dunno. However, I do not believe he walked on water, brought the dead back to life, healed lepers, etc. I do believe whoever invented the person we meet in the NT left us with some wonderful suggestions of how to live in love with our neighbor. Perhaps the historical Jesus, if he existed, said a lot of what is quoted in the NT but that does not make him a god. I've finished read Zealot by Reva Aslan and pretty much agree with him about Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, two different men. Whoever Jesus was, he lived surround by a Greco-Roman culture and after his death his followers had to "sell" him some way, so I believe they "sold" him as a Greek demigod that the Greek-minded could understand. The Jews? They had to have some liturgical basis for believing in Jesus, and I think the mythology created around whoever Jesus was helped create that liturgey. I recommend Dr. Aslan's book. For me it answered and vindicated much of what I believe.
  8. I discovered Bishop Spong several years ago when I was researching a play I subsequently wrote. He was a breath of fresh air, to use a worn out expression, and I have read everything he has written up to the present. Bishop Spong has a connection with where I live, I think: Roanoke where I think he served for a time. His last visit was in 2001 when he preached at Christ Episcopal Church. He spoke about the possibility of Jesus being married. I had read his discussion of the same subject in one of his books, but most of the congregation listening to him that Sunday had not. Anyway, he ended the sermon by saying, "I don't know if Jesus was married, but I do know this: None of you will ever forget this sermon." I loved that. A bit about me: I am a novelist, former teacher now retired, widower in a wonderful releationship, and an atheist. I am very comfortable with my atheism, and I have written often on the value of religion, any religion, in the lives of people. If I am anything I am a mythicist; I believe most all the Bible and all other religious scriptures are compellations of myths, which are essential to cultures if they are to understand who they are. Indeed, I am here because I like Bishop Spong and his approach to Chistianity. I am not here to debate religion as either right or wrong, but to have discussions on the importance of religions in our culture. I would also welcome discussions about the efficacy of myths in our lives. I am a great devotee of Joseph Campbell. So, that's part of who and what I am. Looking forward to discussions that can be had here.
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