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Kellerman

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Kellerman last won the day on August 1

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  1. Hmm...you don't seem to be understanding my central point, but I'll assume that's on me and not on you.
  2. No, no diminutive. I've somehow managed to avoid them my entire life. To relate what I'm saying back to the topic at hand though, all "facts" exist within a context and are subject to interpretation. So even if the vast majority of Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God and died for our sins, there are enormous variations in how that is interpreted and what that actually means for any given person interpreting it at any given time. Its the same with scientific facts. One of the things I do is disabuse medical professionals of the myths that they are sold in the name of "evidence based medicine" where "facts" have been interpreted to support clinical approaches, when in reality, those "facts" have been divorced from their contexts. My area of scientific research was so specialized that even fellow scientists in my exact same discipline couldn't understand it. Unless they studied the exact same subject for years, their only understanding of what we did was in how we explained it. Sure, the objectives measures were available for anyone to see, but why we measured the way we did, why we categorized the way we did, why we analyzed the way we did, that was all up for interpretation. A lot of science is just that, a collective agreement as to how to collect and process certain information. But there is a fair amount of subjective human judgement that goes into a lot of that, which influences the interpretation. No information just exists in a purely objective vacuum. Not science and definitely not religion. So sure, "Jesus died for our sins", but what does that even mean? The interpretation of what sin is can be so unbelievable broad, and typically has been heavily influenced by political convenience of the time. Meanwhile, there are perfectly valid interpretations of sin that don't even describe it as an individual failing, but more as a collective capacity for destruction. An even more radical interpretation is that sin is the source of suffering, but that suffering isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it's a crucial part of life, and that Jesus suffered to demonstrate divine suffering. That it's not so much forgiveness as enlightenment when we are able to connect to Jesus' experience. A western puritanical lense likes to cast it that we're a bunch of dirty, sinning dirt pigs who will never be good enough, no matter how hard we try, and the only way to be clean enough to enter heaven is to be forgiven for our horribleness by God, and that Jesus had to suffer immensely to compensate for our fundamental moral grossness. But that lense isn't necessary, nor is it universal. Also, just because a western version of Christianity crushed almost all eastern Christianity historically through conquest, doesn't mean it's the most valid interpretation. Again, context matters. There's a historical context as to why the majority of Christians may have been taught to interpret scripture a certain way. There's also a historical context as to why science is taught a certain way. A dear friend is an expert in cognitive bias in scientific measurement. His entire career involves picking apart the way things are supposedly "objectively" measured, which is mostly based on how things were done historically. Kind of like the scientific measurement version of keyboards, which historically were designed to be as inefficient for typing as humanly possible for the purposes of slowing typists down so that the units wouldn't jam. And yet, in a world where fast typing is so valuable, we still use this historical, purposefully inefficient design. The world of "facts" is filled with these historical artifacts of judgement and approach. Which in turn influences how facts are gathered, and then those facts are interpreted through the lense of context of the time in which they are evaluated. The statements "Jesus died for our sins" and "the comet is X length and will come X miles close to earth" are far more similar than they seem on the surface, but once you start breaking down all of the historical and contextual factors that influence why those statements are made the way that they are, it becomes self evident that they are both subject to an enormous amount of historical and current interpretive factors.
  3. There are Christians all over the world, many, many, many of which are not evangelicals. There is a huge range of Christian beliefs and shockingly little consensus, especially when viewed through a global and historical perspective. Many Christians wouldn't consider most evangelicals to be Christian. I personally look pretty sideways at any Christian who promotes intolerance of other humans.
  4. Well, there is no "whole of Christianity", so how would you propose going back to first principles? There are Christian organizations that don't put any emphasis on original sin. So there are groups that have "gone back" and moved on from there. There are so many types of Christians out there, it's impossible to say where Christianity as a whole is off base.
  5. I'm not going to continue arguing with you. But to be absolutely clear, I'm not trying to convince you to believe anything, or say that what you believe is wrong. I'm saying that *I* don't hold the same beliefs and that a lot of other Christians don't hold them either. But we're still Christians. You don't get to dictate what Christians have to believe, but you are 100% entitled to believe it yourself. Feel free to respond, but I won't be responding anymore on this matter. I've been as clear as I humanly can be.
  6. I'm not the one trying to dictate some form of "truth" about what Christianity is to you though. I'm only sharing what my Church teaches as an example that Christianity isn't always a consistent monolithic message even though they use the same Bible. I'm not trying to convince you to believe what I believe, but you are trying to dictate that what you believe is the one truth that all Christians must believe. Sure, Jesus existed, but at the end of the day, you've read about him in a book written by people, and interpreted by people, and people are deeply fallible, and tremendous capable of interpreting the exact same things in wildly different ways. My whole point is that neither of us should have the hubris to try and dictate to others what the "truth" is. But you seem determined to try and tell me what my faith should consist of. Well...you can try.
  7. Sorry, autocorrect must have corrected Rom to Ron. As for not caring and spirituality not being compatible, that's actually the *only* way for me that they're compatible. Like you, I can't resolve a spirituality that actually makes any damn sense, so it's only in letting go of trying to make any sense of it can I tap into any sense of spirituality. I feel *something*, I have no idea what it is, it might be a brain tumour, who knows, I don't really care because it doesn't matter. So yeah, agnostic, sure. My church makes space for that, we even have an openly atheist minister. That why I like my church, so that's why I identify as a Christian. I'm also Jewish, which also makes space for agnosticism and atheism, and makes space for us to shrug and say "we cannot possibly understand this, we just follow the rules". I'm none too fond of the rules though, which is why I'm just an ineffectual Jew, but I did always love that it was always okay as a Jew to have no clue what the heck was going on. As for my Church "begging the question", I have no idea what you mean. The church has an 8 page document outlining their position, and it starts with something along the lines of God is holy mystery, wholly unknowable. I like it. It works for me.
  8. Tell me, where do you get your certainty as to the "facts" of God's will? Did human beings who are equally certain of said "facts" teach you this? Because I wasn't taught by such certain, "factual" clergy. If you and I traded upbringings, you would probably be the one who had more vague notions of faith and I might be berating strangers on the internet that their version of faith is "factually" wrong. Who knows. That's one of the most fascinating parts of studying religion. The inability to separate out faith from social conditioning.
  9. My church has a very, very abstract doctrine, and doesn't fuss too much about any "factual" details of the Bible. My church teaches of God as unknowable, not as a discrete being with a specific will, but as a larger concept of the interconnectedness of all living things. However, it doesn't really matter what my church teaches, I'm not trying to preach anything. My point is ONLY that YOU don't get to dictate what Christianity is. You are entitled to believe what you believe, entitled to preach what your particular version of Christianity claims to be the truth, but Christianity is not a monolithic belief system. There are different types of Christians all over the world with vastly different beliefs and moral systems. You don't get to define what they should believe. You don't have to agree with my church, but you also don't get to invalidate them. My church is not some obscure fringe, it's one of the oldest and largest Christian institutions in my Country. They have as much claim to Christianity as any. You've been taught what you've been taught, and you are entitled to believe it, but don't for a second assume that others aren't entitled to a different interpretation of what it means to be Christian. You don't own that. No one imbued you with the power to own that.
  10. Ron, I've already told you that if you want to consider me an agnostic, then go ahead. Please stop arguing with me that you think I'm agnostic, I'm perfectly fine with the label. Like the facts/theories/information conversation, it's largely semantic. I truly don't really care. And yes, I can tell that you and I are highly aligned in our thinking, but that we approach it semantically differently, which is also perfectly fine by me, but you seem determined to convince me of something, which you really don't need to convince me of, because I already largely agree with you except in the most abstract and truly not important of terms.
  11. Sure, we functionally engage with information as factual, but there's a reason there are so few laws in science, and a ton of theories. Now, I'm not saying that in the pop culture sense of "oh it's just a theory". Obviously you and I both know the burden of evidence necessary for something to become a theory. However, that doesn't take away from the philosophical basis of science being the exploration of the unknown, not the dictation of the known. Technically, none of us ever run an experiment to prove a fact. We try to best understand unknowns as far as we're able to observe them, but if for any reason the observations consistently went against what we colloquially work with as "facts", we would immediately reformulate the theories to incorporate the new observations. This happens in medical science all the time. We "know" something to be fact for decades, but then new information comes along that allows us to know new "facts". Same with physics, biology, anything. It's not a fact if new information could change it. Hence, we don't actually deal in very many facts. We certainly as individual scientist shouldn't have the obscene hubris to think that our personal research has ever generated a single "fact". Can you even imagine the level of arrogance it would take to believe that as a scientist???
  12. Yep, it's entirely possible that Jesus, being human, had a fundamentally limited understanding of divinity, like every other human being who has ever lived. To me, that's a huge part of faith, the fundamentally unknowable aspect, and getting to a spiritual state where that feels absolutely okay, in fact, it's kind of the point. I personally didn't see any point to any religion until I studied many of them and saw central themes through them. Then it was like: hmm, okay, there's something, but I have no reliable sources to help me grasp it because they're all fundamentally human sources, which are all fundamentally flawed. So then there is no human authority to which I can turn to define divinity...and oh...yeah...that's the whole point of faith. Neato. So to me, it doesn't really matter whether Jesus actually said a specific thing, or what he meant by a specific thing, or what may have been changed or translated along the way, making specific things less specifically valid, because in the end, even the source, Jesus, was a human being, incapable of fully grasping and communicating divinity. Jesus provides a pin-point view into a galaxy. A faint whiff of divinity on earth. You can read about him and his apparent words and tap into the vaguest, transient of senses of divinity, the same way you can through meditation or being in nature, or whatever your jam is. At least that's how I see it, others choose to put their faith in humans who said things, and humans who wrote what those people said, and then humans who had political interests in which words got published, and then humans who translated those words, which change in meaning over time because y'know, humans, and then humans taught those translated, changed meaning words in certain contexts to suite their particular human ideology, and so on and so forth. For me, humans are always unreliable narrators, but that's not a bad thing.
  13. Uhh...I literally can't even parse what you are trying to say. But gay people don't pursue anything, they're just gay. If a gay person is celibate, they're still gay. If a gay man is married to a woman, he's still gay. Where choice comes in is if that person chooses to pursue a lifestyle that is truth or lies. Many gay people choose lies because living their truth is too dangerous. That's where gay rights come in, it's an effort to make it less dangerous for gay people not to live a lie. I'm straight, but if I lived in a world where being openly straight could get me savagely beaten in broad daylight, I might choose to live a lie too, but I would still be 100% straight.
  14. Yeah...uh...all I said was that my church doesn't emphasize this stuff. So obviously, not all Christian churches promote the same teachings that you seem to dictate are "Christian".
  15. Lol, as a former scientist, we never traded in facts, we only hypothesized things. It's kind of fundamental to science that you never actually claim anything as fact, you only claim to not reasonably be able to claim something not a fact. Seriously, that's science. I hypothesize that something may have an effect on something else, but my statistical analysis always presupposes that there is no effect. I never prove anything, I only fail to prove that there's nothing. As for Christianity, well that's not a monolith either. My particular church, which is quite old and well established, not a rare fringe church, doesn't put any particular emphasis on the whole "dying on a Cross as the only means to accept you back into Himself". My church ordains indigenous spiritual leaders, so the fundamental basis of the church needs to be compatible with both Christian theology AND indigenous spiritual beliefs, so the teachings are pretty broad and philosophical and very different from many other Christian churches out there. So no, science is nowhere near as sanitized as people make it out to be. Science is philosophical, abstract, and in practice deeply political and profoundly corrupt, like every other manifestation of human institutional power. Just like churches. What is true is that each camp has some pretty powerful branding and PR behind them that has shaped public opinion, when really, they're both just a bunch of disparate organizations perpetually in fighting and trying to influence the dominant narrative. Again, like EVERY SINGLE manifestation of human institutional power. Seriously, anyone who thinks the institution of "science" is some kind of coordinated force for truth has obviously never worked as a professional scientist. Lol, that's like saying the law is about justice. Sure...that's the PR, but any lawyer will tell you that that's not the reality.
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