272: How to Shoot Real Demons

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That was a strange story, thanks for sharing it. I personally have never been believed that Satan was real, despite a Christian upbringing (albeit, a lazy one) and always seemed to think that the stories...were stories. Were you really taught to think that Satan had demons ready to attack? Why?...because I never really got that impression from my youth....it also didn't help that I had a tenancy to over-think it.

Robyrt:
I grew up under similar circumstances, but was thankfully disabused of the notion that I was being literally stalked by Satan at an early age by some fabulous parenting.

I had just finished reading The Door in the Dragon's Throat, a "Christian thriller for kids" where an intrepid archaeologist finds the door to Hell complete with winged scorpions, devils, etc. In order to close it, he commands his children, "Pray harder!" My father took me aside and explained that the entire premise was flawed, that God isn't a character from an action movie and the "Shield of Faith" wasn't going to arrive by mail next week. I never took the evangelical End Times hysteria seriously again.

My favorite conception of Satan is from Job, where he serves as God's prosecuting attorney. He still "prowls about like a roaring lion," but not to eat your soul and laugh maniacally; rather, he is looking for an excuse to bring you up on charges of pride, greed and malice.

I read The Door in the Dragon's Throat a few days ago as well...and it was bad. Did you notice how the author kept on altering Gozan's character so he would flip from bing scared (and accidentally spoiling the ending mid way through. He actually said that there were demons behind the door at more than one point, and later flipped to saying there was treasure) to greedy (despite his loyalty to the president guy) to Christian (because it's always nice for a climax to feel completely rushed).

The author was also has amazing skills at writing characters by making every character, including the president, believe that Christianity is the right religion...but they don't believe...or something...it was interesting the way the author handled non-believers by making them believe while also not. I think it was because the author didn't want any of the characters to call Christian faith into question, but if that was the case, why even include them. There was some really sloppy writing in that 'book'.

I open the article, and see a Bible quote.

My first thought: "Damn! The comments are gonna get ugly!"

And so they did. You people never fail to disappoint in this area.

EDIT: It appears that I'm the only person on this site who believes that demons exist. Who knew.

snowman6251:
Atheists think for themselves.

They never, EVER say "Religion is involved, throw it out!", then?

They never automatically assume they know how someone's going to respond because they're in a confessional, or synagogue, or mosque?

They always have a well-researched opinion on absolutely everything they talk about, and no religious people could conceive of this?

They never spew smelly, unjustified hate at religions, simply because they're religious?

Really, no one group "thinks for themselves" more then any other group. It's the way people work.

"Dear Lord: please protect me from your followers..."

At their heart, most religions have some good ideas and founding principles that helped to shape many aspects of our modern civilisation. As an earlier poster suggested, there are some people who have a hunger for power and control who have taken people's faith and the words of various holy texts and twisted it for their own purpose... This has resulted in a lot of the backwardness and horror throughout history.

I look forward to the day when we can move forward as a species without needing the spiritual crutch that religion provides. Holy texts I think were always supposed to be guidelines on how to live a good life (at their heart), but people who take the translation of a translation of a translation (often done by people with an agenda of their own) as a literal rule-book... scary mo-fo's :-)

This was a fantastic article though - quite intriguing to see the different aspects that strike people when they play various games though, depending on who they are as people. Especially when you take the whole faith aspect into account.

LINC

lacktheknack:
EDIT: It appears that I'm the only person on this site who believes that demons exist. Who knew.

Out of interest, why do you believe this? I have friends who believe they've witnessed miracles or seen God himself (though naturally, they lack any kind of proof) and even they don't believe in demons. It doesn't seem like a very popular concept these days except with the militant right-wing fundie types.

twistedmic:
And of the religions you've listed, most of them seem to preach the importance of preforming good deeds, being kind to others, etc (basically- don't murder, don't steal and treat others the way you want to be treated)

Sure, they preach that, but they also preach the "Do what we tell you or face punishment" part. It all depends on what an individual believes; more liberal types will emphasize Jesus' teachings about loving thy neighbour, and play down Hell as being a misunderstanding to try and make it seem as if the religion is all about peace and love. The more right-wing Christians will give much more time to the fire & brimstone aspects, with less time for tolerance and love. Very few people accept their religion as a whole, without trying to put a personal spin on it to write out the bits they don't really like.

Prince Poetic:
I'm fine with religion dying.
But Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship.
You can "kill" religion all you want, but you can't kill Jesus, or what He's done.

It's a religion. I'm pretty sick of hearing this excuse - "Oh yeah, religion is bad. Luckily, my beliefs aren't a religion, they are a personal relationship with a spiritual being who very definitely exists". It's very smug, a way of saying that what you believe is true and that what others believe can merely be dismissed as 'religion'. It also ignores the fact that people of every religion believe they have a personal relationship with their deity which is every bit as valid as yours is.

FYI, killing Jesus is easy. You just need a tree, a hammer and four nails. Getting him to stay dead is the tricky part ;-)

TheTygre:
So, as I understand you, all atheists are completely free thinking? They're not affected by society, or the economy, or even the state of nature around them?

Being an atheist has nothing to do with free thinking. You either believe or you don't, and no amount of wishing can change that. It's my belief that the majority of people who self-identify as Christian, Muslim, Hindu and so on are atheists; they were raised in the faith, some may practice it's rituals out of tradition or to be seen doing it, but few ever take the time to question whether they believe in the mythology of their faith. Many people in the UK or the US, when asked, will tell you they're Christians. To many, this is just because they were raised by people who called themselves Christians, or a result of being told they live in a "Christian country" or whatever. In reality, they're probably just saying it out of habit.

I happened to enjoy reading this article. The biggest problem I have with it however, is that I cannot relate to anything more than the actual experience of playing the games you mentioned. I wasn't raised with any religion being practiced and didn't feel like I was missing anything.

I understand the words you wrote, but I don't really get it, if that makes any sense.

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
EDIT: It appears that I'm the only person on this site who believes that demons exist. Who knew.

Out of interest, why do you believe this? I have friends who believe they've witnessed miracles or seen God himself (though naturally, they lack any kind of proof) and even they don't believe in demons. It doesn't seem like a very popular concept these days except with the militant right-wing fundie types.

Well, a benevolent God can't exist without the devil. God would have had to of A. introduced evil himself (not benevolent) or B. made humans evil from the start (goes against Biblical teachings, literally or metaphorically). The whole "Free Choice" thing only really works if Satan is involved, otherwise, the only tempting offer would be anything God offered.

Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

I don't, by any means want to argue.
I was just saying that when you treat Christianity as a religion, it turns you into a legalistic radical extremist.
It starts to either make you think that you're better than everyone else, or it gets you to believe that your salvation is dependant upon your actions and how you preform.
This is not how Christianity should be.
Hence, where all of those "Crack-pot Christians" come from.

Prince Poetic:
I'm fine with religion dying.
But Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship.
You can "kill" religion all you want, but you can't kill Jesus, or what He's done.

Said by Sonic waffle:

It's a religion. I'm pretty sick of hearing this excuse - "Oh yeah, religion is bad. Luckily, my beliefs aren't a religion, they are a personal relationship with a spiritual being who very definitely exists". It's very smug, a way of saying that what you believe is true and that what others believe can merely be dismissed as 'religion'. It also ignores the fact that people of every religion believe they have a personal relationship with their deity which is every bit as valid as yours is.

FYI, killing Jesus is easy. You just need a tree, a hammer and four nails. Getting him to stay dead is the tricky part ;-)

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
EDIT: It appears that I'm the only person on this site who believes that demons exist. Who knew.

Out of interest, why do you believe this? I have friends who believe they've witnessed miracles or seen God himself (though naturally, they lack any kind of proof) and even they don't believe in demons. It doesn't seem like a very popular concept these days except with the militant right-wing fundie types.

twistedmic:
And of the religions you've listed, most of them seem to preach the importance of preforming good deeds, being kind to others, etc (basically- don't murder, don't steal and treat others the way you want to be treated)

Sure, they preach that, but they also preach the "Do what we tell you or face punishment" part. It all depends on what an individual believes; more liberal types will emphasize Jesus' teachings about loving thy neighbour, and play down Hell as being a misunderstanding to try and make it seem as if the religion is all about peace and love. The more right-wing Christians will give much more time to the fire & brimstone aspects, with less time for tolerance and love. Very few people accept their religion as a whole, without trying to put a personal spin on it to write out the bits they don't really like.

Prince Poetic:
I'm fine with religion dying.
But Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship.
You can "kill" religion all you want, but you can't kill Jesus, or what He's done.

It's a religion. I'm pretty sick of hearing this excuse - "Oh yeah, religion is bad. Luckily, my beliefs aren't a religion, they are a personal relationship with a spiritual being who very definitely exists". It's very smug, a way of saying that what you believe is true and that what others believe can merely be dismissed as 'religion'. It also ignores the fact that people of every religion believe they have a personal relationship with their deity which is every bit as valid as yours is.

FYI, killing Jesus is easy. You just need a tree, a hammer and four nails. Getting him to stay dead is the tricky part ;-)

TheTygre:
So, as I understand you, all atheists are completely free thinking? They're not affected by society, or the economy, or even the state of nature around them?

Being an atheist has nothing to do with free thinking. You either believe or you don't, and no amount of wishing can change that. It's my belief that the majority of people who self-identify as Christian, Muslim, Hindu and so on are atheists; they were raised in the faith, some may practice it's rituals out of tradition or to be seen doing it, but few ever take the time to question whether they believe in the mythology of their faith. Many people in the UK or the US, when asked, will tell you they're Christians. To many, this is just because they were raised by people who called themselves Christians, or a result of being told they live in a "Christian country" or whatever. In reality, they're probably just saying it out of habit.

I don't, by any means want to argue.
I was just saying that when you treat Christianity as a religion, it turns you into a legalistic radical extremist.
It starts to either make you think that you're better than everyone else, or it gets you to believe that your salvation is dependant upon your actions and how you preform.
This is not how Christianity should be.
Hence, where all of those "Crack-pot Christians" come from.

P.S. I'm still trying to figure out how everything on the forums work. That would be the reason for the three subsequent posts.

.

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
EDIT: It appears that I'm the only person on this site who believes that demons exist. Who knew.

Out of interest, why do you believe this? I have friends who believe they've witnessed miracles or seen God himself (though naturally, they lack any kind of proof) and even they don't believe in demons. It doesn't seem like a very popular concept these days except with the militant right-wing fundie types.

twistedmic:
And of the religions you've listed, most of them seem to preach the importance of preforming good deeds, being kind to others, etc (basically- don't murder, don't steal and treat others the way you want to be treated)

Sure, they preach that, but they also preach the "Do what we tell you or face punishment" part. It all depends on what an individual believes; more liberal types will emphasize Jesus' teachings about loving thy neighbour, and play down Hell as being a misunderstanding to try and make it seem as if the religion is all about peace and love. The more right-wing Christians will give much more time to the fire & brimstone aspects, with less time for tolerance and love. Very few people accept their religion as a whole, without trying to put a personal spin on it to write out the bits they don't really like.

Prince Poetic:
I'm fine with religion dying.
But Christianity isn't a religion, it's a relationship.
You can "kill" religion all you want, but you can't kill Jesus, or what He's done.

It's a religion. I'm pretty sick of hearing this excuse - "Oh yeah, religion is bad. Luckily, my beliefs aren't a religion, they are a personal relationship with a spiritual being who very definitely exists". It's very smug, a way of saying that what you believe is true and that what others believe can merely be dismissed as 'religion'. It also ignores the fact that people of every religion believe they have a personal relationship with their deity which is every bit as valid as yours is.

FYI, killing Jesus is easy. You just need a tree, a hammer and four nails. Getting him to stay dead is the tricky part ;-)

TheTygre:
So, as I understand you, all atheists are completely free thinking? They're not affected by society, or the economy, or even the state of nature around them?

Being an atheist has nothing to do with free thinking. You either believe or you don't, and no amount of wishing can change that. It's my belief that the majority of people who self-identify as Christian, Muslim, Hindu and so on are atheists; they were raised in the faith, some may practice it's rituals out of tradition or to be seen doing it, but few ever take the time to question whether they believe in the mythology of their faith. Many people in the UK or the US, when asked, will tell you they're Christians. To many, this is just because they were raised by people who called themselves Christians, or a result of being told they live in a "Christian country" or whatever. In reality, they're probably just saying it out of habit.

Hmmm. Good point. It brings up several points about sociology, anthropology, and geography. But this isn't likely to lead anywhere good for either side of the argument. I'm a moderate christian, you're an atheist. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

lacktheknack:
Well, a benevolent God can't exist without the devil. God would have had to of A. introduced evil himself (not benevolent) or B. made humans evil from the start (goes against Biblical teachings, literally or metaphorically). The whole "Free Choice" thing only really works if Satan is involved, otherwise, the only tempting offer would be anything God offered.

Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

However, if Satan is behind evil and God created Satan, then God indirectly created evil. You could say that Satan had free will and chose to do evil, but who gave him that option? God did, and the very fact that he allowed choice indicates that evil existed before Lucifer fell. Satan did not create evil, God did, and tacitly offered it up to Lucifer as an option.

Consider also the garden of Eden, and the fruit of the tree. What was granted by the fruit? Knowledge of good and evil. A truly benevolent God, having just created humans from scratch and thus knowing how insatiably curious and easily tempted we are, would not put a giant neon flashing temptation in front of us and expect us not to take it. Yes, the argument is that Eve had free will and could choose not to eat the fruit, but reading Genesis it becomes painfully obvious that the whole gig was set up by God with the intention of getting someone to eat the fruit. It's a con-job, and a rather amateurish one at that.

Prince Poetic:
I don't, by any means want to argue.
I was just saying that when you treat Christianity as a religion, it turns you into a legalistic radical extremist.
It starts to either make you think that you're better than everyone else, or it gets you to believe that your salvation is dependant upon your actions and how you preform.
This is not how Christianity should be.
Hence, where all of those "Crack-pot Christians" come from.

What other options are there? Either Christianity is a religion and you follow the rules God has laid down for you, or it's a relationship and none of it matters - there is no salvation through works, you can be a total bastard all the time and still go to Heaven as long as you believe. The two aren't really compatible, because if salvation is totally independent of your actions then why has God given so many rules? The Old Testament is full of what, at the end of the day, boils down to threats; don't screw your own sex, don't eat shellfish, don't do anything I tell you not to or I'll smack you so damn hard! Jesus himself (supposedly) said that he did not come to alter those laws but to enforce them (Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."), so by his own admission those laws are just as valid now as they were when they were written. Surely, for a Chrisitan, failing to follow those rules is going to get you into a lot of trouble with God, or why else would he have them?

Prince Poetic:
P.S. I'm still trying to figure out how everything on the forums work. That would be the reason for the three subsequent posts.

No worries, welcome to the Escapist :-)

TheTygre:
Hmmm. Good point. It brings up several points about sociology, anthropology, and geography. But this isn't likely to lead anywhere good for either side of the argument. I'm a moderate christian, you're an atheist. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

I never said I was an atheist ;-)

I'm open to the idea of a higher power, be it a God, the Force, or Alien Space Bats. I just find the current human views on spirituality and especially deities to be a joke; it stands to reason that God, if he were to exist, would be so utterly alien to our minds we wouldn't even be able to comprehend him. When you look at religion today, and the Abrahamic God in particular, it becomes obvious that people have attempted to humanise the unknowable. For a being beyond space and time, so far beyond our level of understanding that we aren't even aware of his existence, he sure does seem to be a projection of some very obvious father issues. He spanks you when you're bad and rewards you when you're good. He watches over you but allows you to make your own mistakes, though he's always there to bail you out when you really need it. Most of all, he lays down a great many rules which appear pointless and arbitrary to us, but waves off our objections with "I'm the grown-up" or "While you live under my roof, you'll obey my rules!". You see my point? The idea that a supreme being, if he did exist, would have the characteristics of a rather grumpy middle-aged man is laughable.

I'm open to the idea that God exists, but not as any of the ridiculous perceptions of him the human race currently has - all we're doing is trying to reduce our sense of fear and loneliness by putting a very human face on all of life's mysteries.

Hi,
I enjoyed your article and can both sympathize (and empathize) with your points. Though I come at it from a different angle as I became a Christian around the time you rejected it (University era). I was not raised as a Christian though my parents were Catholic - in name only.

I can sympathize with you because it sounds like you had a pastor who didn't exemplify key attributes of JC - gentleness and kindness, especially in the preaching of the gospel. Having said that we are all imperfect and I can't really comment more about your childhood situation.

I can also empathize with you as I find killing demons enjoyable for similar reasons - bringing the fight to the enemy in a direct and tangible way (albeit just a game). I tend to see it as emulating JC since it was he who fought and defeated Satan and his cronies. Its an imperfect emulation but as a video gamer and a Christian I still find it satisfying. Its an example of the Biblical meta-story seeping through into the game world - hero comes along, saves the world from the big bad, restores peace.

"One of the verses from the Good Book that I was instructed to memorize was 1 Peter 5:8 and it scared the living crap out of me: "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Perhaps some Christians took it as a metaphor for sin and the destructive effects it could have on one's soul, but my 14-year-old self thought, "Holy shit, Satan is going to morph into a Thundercat and eat my soul. I'm dead."

Satan isn't all powerful, even if you reject Christianity entirely, you should understand that within that framework that Satan cant willy-nilly turn people into Linda Blair or some such. Or, for a more modern version, the demons in Supernatural fit what you describe (having the ability to posses/dominate anyone they like) but that isn't Biblical theology. As you said, its the 14 year old view of things.

As a side note I find all the anti-religious rhetoric interesting albeit typical. Since religion is the enemy of Christianity. Religious nutjobs killed Christ and Jesus' harshest verbal attacks were against the religious. So anyone calling themselves a Christian - "little Christ" - should be as hardline as Jesus was and is. Christianity is about a relationship with the Creator God Jesus Christ and everything outflows from that - charity, kindness, obedience etc. So its somewhat amusing when people lump Christianity with religions since the relationship part makes Christianity unique vs any other belief system. Having said that people love to warp Christ's message into religiosity. And Jesus makes it clear that those people are not Christians and are not getting into heaven.

You can usually tell the difference between someone who is religious and someone who isn't - religious people always where funny hats and robes....

Religion saves and other myths: http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves

/mm

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
Well, a benevolent God can't exist without the devil. God would have had to of A. introduced evil himself (not benevolent) or B. made humans evil from the start (goes against Biblical teachings, literally or metaphorically). The whole "Free Choice" thing only really works if Satan is involved, otherwise, the only tempting offer would be anything God offered.

Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

However, if Satan is behind evil and God created Satan, then God indirectly created evil. You could say that Satan had free will and chose to do evil, but who gave him that option? God did, and the very fact that he allowed choice indicates that evil existed before Lucifer fell. Satan did not create evil, God did, and tacitly offered it up to Lucifer as an option.

Consider also the garden of Eden, and the fruit of the tree. What was granted by the fruit? Knowledge of good and evil. A truly benevolent God, having just created humans from scratch and thus knowing how insatiably curious and easily tempted we are, would not put a giant neon flashing temptation in front of us and expect us not to take it. Yes, the argument is that Eve had free will and could choose not to eat the fruit, but reading Genesis it becomes painfully obvious that the whole gig was set up by God with the intention of getting someone to eat the fruit. It's a con-job, and a rather amateurish one at that.

I'll concede for a while as I think about this one...

...But the "con job"? I mean really, Adam and Eve were allowed to do ANYTHING - ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING - except eat off that blasted tree. That doesn't seem like such a tall order. It's not like he dropped them in an empty room with one button and said "Don't press this button."

lacktheknack:
I'll concede for a while as I think about this one...

...But the "con job"? I mean really, Adam and Eve were allowed to do ANYTHING - ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING - except eat off that blasted tree. That doesn't seem like such a tall order. It's not like he dropped them in an empty room with one button and said "Don't press this button."

'And there's the sign, Ridcully,' said the Dean. You have read it, I assume. You know? The sign which says "Do not, under any circumstances, open this door"?'
'Of course I've read it,' said Ridcully. 'Why d'yer think I want it opened?'
'Er...why?' said the Lecturer in Recent Runes.
'To see why they wanted it shut, of course.'
(This exchange contains almost all you need to know about human civilisation)

It's a helpful quote in this situation, and for your convenience I've even bolded the relevant (and 100% correct) observation about human nature. Let's assume God designed us, and then dumped us in the garden. Now, being as he'd just designed us and every aspect of the human mind, he'd know exactly how we work. He'd know that if put in the room you mention, we'd almost immediately press the button. The driving force behind human advancement has often been "I wonder what happens if I do this...", and even more so when we are forbidden to do things.

Why do so many kids drink, smoke and do drugs? Because they are forbidden, and therefore alluring. In your scenario, God has built us to have a gravitational pull towards the forbidden. Then he gives the shiny new humans a whole garden of wonders to play in, with one very obvious tree - after all, he could have hidden it on Jupiter if he didn't want anyone to eat from it - and hangs a huge sign on it saying "Do not eat this fruit! Do anything else that you want, but DO NOT EAT THIS FRUIT!". Then he says "Oh hey, I'm just going to go over there and stare at the horizon for a while. Don't eat the fruit, OK?". Then he tips Adam & Eve a huge wink, and turns his back.

This isn't starting to look like a set-up to you? It's what, in legal circles, we would call entrapment; purposefully putting someone in a situation where it is easy for them to commit a crime, and then arresting them for it. God makes it so very easy for Adam & Eve to do the one thing he supposedly doesn't want them to do, and then makes it so very tempting for them to do it. Remember, he just built us to his own specifications. He knows the workings of the human brain better than Adam & Eve do, and he knows that the forbidden fruit is irresistable. However, just in case that isn't enough, he has the snake tempt them (remember that animals do not have free will, so the unfortunate snake has been ordered to or is being forced to tempt Eve - and we know the snake is not a demon or Satan in disguise, as God later punishes it by making it crawl forever more, which means it is a genuine snake and the ancestor of all modern snakes rather than a demonic presence) whilst at the same time carefully not paying attention to the snake, the tree, or Eve. Remember that this guy is not only omniscient (so he'd be well aware that Eve was tempted) but omnipresent (so he was there when she was being tempted) but still takes no notice. It's not even as if he had a whole world to watch over at that point - he was only concerned with the two people in his garden, and that one piece of fruit.

Basically, what it boils down to is that God set up this whole situation very carefully, watched it all play out and then punished mankind for playing along with his scenario. It's a scam, and a particularly transparent one at that. Only the fact that before they ate the fruit Adam & Eve did not know about evil was preventing them from spotting this and saying "Hang on, God, why are you being such a dick?"

Isn't it simple? If you stab someone in the heart with a wooden stake then they were a demon. Or was it a vampire? Hmm, either way you've thwarted the minions of evil.

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
Well, a benevolent God can't exist without the devil. God would have had to of A. introduced evil himself (not benevolent) or B. made humans evil from the start (goes against Biblical teachings, literally or metaphorically). The whole "Free Choice" thing only really works if Satan is involved, otherwise, the only tempting offer would be anything God offered.

Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

However, if Satan is behind evil and God created Satan, then God indirectly created evil. You could say that Satan had free will and chose to do evil, but who gave him that option? God did, and the very fact that he allowed choice indicates that evil existed before Lucifer fell. Satan did not create evil, God did, and tacitly offered it up to Lucifer as an option.

Consider also the garden of Eden, and the fruit of the tree. What was granted by the fruit? Knowledge of good and evil. A truly benevolent God, having just created humans from scratch and thus knowing how insatiably curious and easily tempted we are, would not put a giant neon flashing temptation in front of us and expect us not to take it. Yes, the argument is that Eve had free will and could choose not to eat the fruit, but reading Genesis it becomes painfully obvious that the whole gig was set up by God with the intention of getting someone to eat the fruit. It's a con-job, and a rather amateurish one at that.

Prince Poetic:
I don't, by any means want to argue.
I was just saying that when you treat Christianity as a religion, it turns you into a legalistic radical extremist.
It starts to either make you think that you're better than everyone else, or it gets you to believe that your salvation is dependant upon your actions and how you preform.
This is not how Christianity should be.
Hence, where all of those "Crack-pot Christians" come from.

What other options are there? Either Christianity is a religion and you follow the rules God has laid down for you, or it's a relationship and none of it matters - there is no salvation through works, you can be a total bastard all the time and still go to Heaven as long as you believe. The two aren't really compatible, because if salvation is totally independent of your actions then why has God given so many rules? The Old Testament is full of what, at the end of the day, boils down to threats; don't screw your own sex, don't eat shellfish, don't do anything I tell you not to or I'll smack you so damn hard! Jesus himself (supposedly) said that he did not come to alter those laws but to enforce them (Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."), so by his own admission those laws are just as valid now as they were when they were written. Surely, for a Chrisitan, failing to follow those rules is going to get you into a lot of trouble with God, or why else would he have them?

Prince Poetic:
P.S. I'm still trying to figure out how everything on the forums work. That would be the reason for the three subsequent posts.

No worries, welcome to the Escapist :-)

TheTygre:
Hmmm. Good point. It brings up several points about sociology, anthropology, and geography. But this isn't likely to lead anywhere good for either side of the argument. I'm a moderate christian, you're an atheist. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

I never said I was an atheist ;-)

I'm open to the idea of a higher power, be it a God, the Force, or Alien Space Bats. I just find the current human views on spirituality and especially deities to be a joke; it stands to reason that God, if he were to exist, would be so utterly alien to our minds we wouldn't even be able to comprehend him. When you look at religion today, and the Abrahamic God in particular, it becomes obvious that people have attempted to humanise the unknowable. For a being beyond space and time, so far beyond our level of understanding that we aren't even aware of his existence, he sure does seem to be a projection of some very obvious father issues. He spanks you when you're bad and rewards you when you're good. He watches over you but allows you to make your own mistakes, though he's always there to bail you out when you really need it. Most of all, he lays down a great many rules which appear pointless and arbitrary to us, but waves off our objections with "I'm the grown-up" or "While you live under my roof, you'll obey my rules!". You see my point? The idea that a supreme being, if he did exist, would have the characteristics of a rather grumpy middle-aged man is laughable.

I'm open to the idea that God exists, but not as any of the ridiculous perceptions of him the human race currently has - all we're doing is trying to reduce our sense of fear and loneliness by putting a very human face on all of life's mysteries.

Ah, then I misjudged you, serah. I thank you for the lesson. :)

SonicWaffle:

lacktheknack:
Well, a benevolent God can't exist without the devil. God would have had to of A. introduced evil himself (not benevolent) or B. made humans evil from the start (goes against Biblical teachings, literally or metaphorically). The whole "Free Choice" thing only really works if Satan is involved, otherwise, the only tempting offer would be anything God offered.

Satan's greatest victory was convincing the world that he doesn't exist.

However, if Satan is behind evil and God created Satan, then God indirectly created evil. You could say that Satan had free will and chose to do evil, but who gave him that option? God did, and the very fact that he allowed choice indicates that evil existed before Lucifer fell. Satan did not create evil, God did, and tacitly offered it up to Lucifer as an option.

Consider also the garden of Eden, and the fruit of the tree. What was granted by the fruit? Knowledge of good and evil. A truly benevolent God, having just created humans from scratch and thus knowing how insatiably curious and easily tempted we are, would not put a giant neon flashing temptation in front of us and expect us not to take it. Yes, the argument is that Eve had free will and could choose not to eat the fruit, but reading Genesis it becomes painfully obvious that the whole gig was set up by God with the intention of getting someone to eat the fruit. It's a con-job, and a rather amateurish one at that.

Prince Poetic:
I don't, by any means want to argue.
I was just saying that when you treat Christianity as a religion, it turns you into a legalistic radical extremist.
It starts to either make you think that you're better than everyone else, or it gets you to believe that your salvation is dependant upon your actions and how you preform.
This is not how Christianity should be.
Hence, where all of those "Crack-pot Christians" come from.

What other options are there? Either Christianity is a religion and you follow the rules God has laid down for you, or it's a relationship and none of it matters - there is no salvation through works, you can be a total bastard all the time and still go to Heaven as long as you believe. The two aren't really compatible, because if salvation is totally independent of your actions then why has God given so many rules? The Old Testament is full of what, at the end of the day, boils down to threats; don't screw your own sex, don't eat shellfish, don't do anything I tell you not to or I'll smack you so damn hard! Jesus himself (supposedly) said that he did not come to alter those laws but to enforce them (Matthew 5:17 "Think not that I came to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."), so by his own admission those laws are just as valid now as they were when they were written. Surely, for a Chrisitan, failing to follow those rules is going to get you into a lot of trouble with God, or why else would he have them?

Prince Poetic:
P.S. I'm still trying to figure out how everything on the forums work. That would be the reason for the three subsequent posts.

No worries, welcome to the Escapist :-)

TheTygre:
Hmmm. Good point. It brings up several points about sociology, anthropology, and geography. But this isn't likely to lead anywhere good for either side of the argument. I'm a moderate christian, you're an atheist. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

I never said I was an atheist ;-)

I'm open to the idea of a higher power, be it a God, the Force, or Alien Space Bats. I just find the current human views on spirituality and especially deities to be a joke; it stands to reason that God, if he were to exist, would be so utterly alien to our minds we wouldn't even be able to comprehend him. When you look at religion today, and the Abrahamic God in particular, it becomes obvious that people have attempted to humanise the unknowable. For a being beyond space and time, so far beyond our level of understanding that we aren't even aware of his existence, he sure does seem to be a projection of some very obvious father issues. He spanks you when you're bad and rewards you when you're good. He watches over you but allows you to make your own mistakes, though he's always there to bail you out when you really need it. Most of all, he lays down a great many rules which appear pointless and arbitrary to us, but waves off our objections with "I'm the grown-up" or "While you live under my roof, you'll obey my rules!". You see my point? The idea that a supreme being, if he did exist, would have the characteristics of a rather grumpy middle-aged man is laughable.

I'm open to the idea that God exists, but not as any of the ridiculous perceptions of him the human race currently has - all we're doing is trying to reduce our sense of fear and loneliness by putting a very human face on all of life's mysteries.

Romans 5:18-6:4
"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

Because of what Jesus did, those who believe and repent (To realize sin, and turn from it) are saved from condemnation, eternal separation from God. Those who are "saved" are viewed as holy and blamless in God's sight. (Eph. 1) We are viewed as justified.
No one who is truly a Christ follower will delight in sin. We still stuggle with it, but this world is still fallen and will continue to be sinful until Jesus comes back.

runedeadthA:
Wow that's a cool article, it raises a question which has always bugged me. Is it Okay to teach little kids that terrible monsters are waiting to do nasty things to them at any moment? I mean, jeeps you can get some messed up kids.

There's a dude who used to be in my class raised in a strict christen family, he sincerely believes that at one point a demon possessed him and caused him to run around naked and contemplate suicide. Ignoring the fact that the sentence before that he mentioned that he was taking large amounts of alcohol and drugs...

I'm a christian and here's my answer this: i personally disapprove of teaching children about hell to the degree it's done in the article, but i do believe in education, not the previously mentioned horror tales.
About your colleague I can't judge, he may believe he was possessed, it may just be an excuse for being a douche, or maybe it was the genuine deal. i dunno. I'm no expert and have never had first hand experience but have met people who claim to have so, i have also met people who have been/are addicted and they generally tell stories like: When i was high i couldn't do anything, when i was detox i was in so much pain i couldn't do shit and after woulds i just wanted another hit. But on the same hand it doesn't sound like the tales i here from people who claim to have attended and exorcism.
But you know this is all just an opinion from a person who you can (and probably will) disagree with.
OT: this article was interesting but i wasn't impressed by the "Christian are childish idiots" subtext. Whatever maybe the subtext wasn't even there and I'm paranoid.

y1fella:

runedeadthA:
*snip*

I'm a christian and here's my answer this: i personally disapprove of teaching children about hell to the degree it's done in the article, but i do believe in education, not the previously mentioned horror tales.
About your colleague I can't judge, he may believe he was possessed, it may just be an excuse for being a douche, or maybe it was the genuine deal. i dunno. I'm no expert and have never had first hand experience but have met people who claim to have so, i have also met people who have been/are addicted and they generally tell stories like: When i was high i couldn't do anything, when i was detox i was in so much pain i couldn't do shit and after woulds i just wanted another hit. But on the same hand it doesn't sound like the tales i here from people who claim to have attended and exorcism.
But you know this is all just an opinion from a person who you can (and probably will) disagree with.
OT: this article was interesting but i wasn't impressed by the "Christian are childish idiots" subtext. Whatever maybe the subtext wasn't even there and I'm paranoid.

Just want to say thanks for replying, I do disagree with your belief's but I respect your opinions (insert quote backing up statement here).

runedeadthA:

y1fella:

runedeadthA:
*snip*

I'm a christian and here's my answer this: i personally disapprove of teaching children about hell to the degree it's done in the article, but i do believe in education, not the previously mentioned horror tales.
About your colleague I can't judge, he may believe he was possessed, it may just be an excuse for being a douche, or maybe it was the genuine deal. i dunno. I'm no expert and have never had first hand experience but have met people who claim to have so, i have also met people who have been/are addicted and they generally tell stories like: When i was high i couldn't do anything, when i was detox i was in so much pain i couldn't do shit and after woulds i just wanted another hit. But on the same hand it doesn't sound like the tales i here from people who claim to have attended and exorcism.
But you know this is all just an opinion from a person who you can (and probably will) disagree with.
OT: this article was interesting but i wasn't impressed by the "Christian are childish idiots" subtext. Whatever maybe the subtext wasn't even there and I'm paranoid.

Just want to say thanks for replying, I do disagree with your belief's but I respect your opinions (insert quote backing up statement here).

I can accept that. You won't believe the amount of flak i cop for my beliefs. not on topic at all but here's a quote from when a friend found I'm a christian "Really? But you play games and are all smart and shit."...... believe me anything is better than that.

Get away from the church full of irrational nutjobs. Stop seeing Satan everywhere. Live your life and stop worrying about how you got here. You have too little time to spend it pondering questions there are likely no good answers for.

Achievement unlocked 8x!

Now you are a true gamer!:--- Played Doom.
Fearless:--- All this time I was made afraid, of THAT?!
Atheist's blessing:--- Relax man, you are a victim of indoctrination, no more!
True night-vision:--- Successfully managed to eliminate a multitude of opponents, in the dark, navigating by your own muzzle flashes.
Righteous Fury:--- On Earth we call it buckshot.
Human power:--- Did someone say something about an eternal war between heaven and hell? Really now, I just ended a demonic invasion, alone.
Real life win:--- Managed to solve a difficult personal problem by playing a game.
Internet win:--- Shared your experience with others on the internet. And they really REALLY liked it.

edgeofblade:
Get away from the church full of irrational nutjobs. Stop seeing Satan everywhere. Live your life and stop worrying about how you got here. You have too little time to spend it pondering questions there are likely no good answers for.

/Thread.

Edit: Awww this is what I get for not paying enough attention to the post dates. Sorry.

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