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Source: (consider it) Thread: Atheist church
Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by CL:
If all these people want is a Sunday morning social club with a vaguely "religious" feel I don't see why they don't just join the CofE.

CL, someday you'll grow up and have a little charity for your Christian brothers in sisters in the CoE. Until then, could you kindly bugger off and get a blog instead of cluttering every thread you post in with your pointless, pissy, small minded remarks?

Thanks.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Zach82
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We both oughtta be ashamed for feeding the troll, evensong. Sigh.

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:


Atheism provides no answers at all.

What fills the vacuum are other values derived from Christianity.

[Killing me] [Killing me]

And those who live in Hindu countries? Or in central south america? or ...

Sorry, you may be joking, I'm not good at spotting irony.

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kankucho
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^

Touché, Evensong [Big Grin]

But it's only the religious who would call the experience 'vaguely religious', thereby attempting to claim spurious credit for anything so uplifting as communal support and creative pleasure.

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
It's precisely the God bits that stop church from becoming merely a weekly assembly of tacky guitar music and peer pressure.

I hate to admit it, but you're right. Well said. [Overused]

The God bits matter.


As for not feeding the troll, I'm afraid it's too late.

You are hereby called to hell CL.

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a theological scrapbook

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Evensong
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:


Atheism provides no answers at all.

What fills the vacuum are other values derived from Christianity.

[Killing me] [Killing me]

And those who live in Hindu countries? Or in central south america? or ...

Sorry, you may be joking, I'm not good at spotting irony.

George Spigot is no Hindu.

I believe he is English.

Your point?

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a theological scrapbook

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Yorick

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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
Atheism provides no answers at all.

Maybe, but it begs less questions.

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این نیز بگذرد

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George Spigot

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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Re responsibility, I meant that with no concept of sin, there is no sense of humanity as a whole being responsible for evil. Perhaps accountability would be a better word.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. People are held responsible and accountable for things in the secular world all the time.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
I’ll settle for ‘God is not’.

<snip>

Maybe I will go to an atheist church gathering!

I have been composing responses in my head whilst reading through this thread, but instead I'll just nod very much in agreement with your post which has the above start and finish. [Smile]

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Mark Wuntoo
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Evensong: I may have missed the point. But this statement

What fills the vacuum are other values derived from Christianity.

sounds to me like Christian exclusiveness and pride. As if no-one outside of Christianity can provide any good.

That's my point - people who do believe in other GODS or in none at all do suggest answers to life's challenges, so they do, in that sense, fill the vacuum.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Evensong:
George Spigot is no Hindu.

I believe he is English.

I wasn't aware those were mutually exclusive categories.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Anselmina
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I can understand some non-religious people wanting to get together to affirm the 'wonder' of life in the way described by Simon's report. Just as there are believers who do their religion better in company with others, maybe there are atheists who live their lives better with the support and companionships of a secular and quasi-religious set-up.

But, personally, I imagine if I were a non-theist I'd have no interest in an atheist service. If I wanted to be encouraged by good comedy, thoughtful reflection and music I'd probably kick-back in the comfort of my own home and do it myself in my own time. And as for the companionship or fellowship bit - the pub.

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Mark Wuntoo
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Anselmina: [Overused] [Overused]

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Mark Betts

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I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but...

Oh please! As we know on this board, atheists thrive on winding up and deriding people of faith - hence the spectacular press releases.

But how long will this daft "church" last? They will soon get bored when they find they have no-one to antagonise except other atheists!

So at the opening "service" there were around 200 "adherents." How many do you think will still be attending regularly in 6 months time? 6 maybe.

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"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."

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KHANDS
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In the US, the Free Thinkers hold the beliefs (more non-theistic than atheistic)individuals should not accept ideas proposed as truths without recourse to knowledge and reason. They meet in mutual support (as do most Christian congregations) as responsible citizens of the world with the moral responsibilities that implies.

I've attended Free Thinker meetings. The are a warm and caring group who I can only view in a very favorable light as good neighbors.

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IconiumBound
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So what's a "becoming atheist" to do? I have been attending church even as I become more convinced that it is based on mythology. I do this because I have been actively involved when a believer and have a body of friends who have the same moral codes that I live by. I still find the companionship and opportunity for service to be rewarding. To move out of this engagement would be difficult and I would have to find some sectarian body that meets these needs.

I don't think the Rotary would suffice.

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Mark Betts

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quote:
Originally posted by IconiumBound:
So what's a "becoming atheist" to do?

You can, of course, do anything you want to do - but in all seriousness, would you get up every Sunday morning to attend something like this, once the novelty had worn off?

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"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary."

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
But how long will this daft "church" last? They will soon get bored when they find they have no-one to antagonise except other atheists!

Well, in the Humanist Group I belong to the number of members has continued to increase over the years and that depends, as most orgaanisations do I suppose, on the speakers and of course our common interest.

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The Great Gumby

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quote:
Originally posted by IconiumBound:
So what's a "becoming atheist" to do? I have been attending church even as I become more convinced that it is based on mythology. I do this because I have been actively involved when a believer and have a body of friends who have the same moral codes that I live by. I still find the companionship and opportunity for service to be rewarding. To move out of this engagement would be difficult and I would have to find some sectarian body that meets these needs.

Indeed.

Most of religion is very easy to drop without noticing anything more than a slight (or possibly massive) reduction in your level of cognitive dissonance. The thing that's hardest to replace is the sense of community. It didn't bother me greatly at first, but it does leave a sort of hole in your life, as I discovered over Christmas.

Calling it a church is probably a very good way of getting publicity, but from everything they've said about it, the idea is far more of a like-minded community. To be honest, if I'd been anywhere near, I'd have wandered along to see what it was like.

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The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. - Richard Feynman

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Re responsibility, I meant that with no concept of sin, there is no sense of humanity as a whole being responsible for evil. Perhaps accountability would be a better word.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. People are held responsible and accountable for things in the secular world all the time.
But not universally, only if they are caught. For the Abrahamic faiths at least, sin is still sin and still wrong even if nobody knows but oneself.

Atheism is by nature inward-looking - when there's nothing/no-one higher than oneself, that will happen.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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lilyswinburne
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Church for atheists - great idea!

Secular society has far surpassed traditional religion in its upholding of moral values - time to celebrate.

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Pomona
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quote:
Originally posted by lilyswinburne:
Church for atheists - great idea!

Secular society has far surpassed traditional religion in its upholding of moral values - time to celebrate.

Because oppression and evil never happens in atheist states.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by lilyswinburne:
Church for atheists - great idea!

Secular society has far surpassed traditional religion in its upholding of moral values - time to celebrate.

This indeed is a problem for theologies that imagine Church is about making us better people than everyone else and gratifying us with warm feelings. I dunno about that, m'self.

"For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away..." 1 Peter 1:24

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kankucho
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
quote:
Originally posted by George Spigot:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Re responsibility, I meant that with no concept of sin, there is no sense of humanity as a whole being responsible for evil. Perhaps accountability would be a better word.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. People are held responsible and accountable for things in the secular world all the time.
But not universally, only if they are caught. For the Abrahamic faiths at least, sin is still sin and still wrong even if nobody knows but oneself.
So you're saying if I (eg) injure someone, I haven't actually done wrong unless I get caught? My victim would surely disagree with you there.

quote:
Atheism is by nature inward-looking - when there's nothing/no-one higher than oneself, that will happen.
Alternatively, we may chose to cultivate the 'highest' self we possibly can, for our own and others' sakes. How does that differ in any practical way from the earnest theist's endeavours?

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Atheism is by nature inward-looking - when there's nothing/no-one higher than oneself, that will happen.

I would respectfully disagree. IME; atheists are neither more, nor less, introspective than theists. It appears to me to be a trait of the individual.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Jade Constable:
Atheism is by nature inward-looking - when there's nothing/no-one higher than oneself, that will happen.

I would respectfully disagree. IME; atheists are neither more, nor less, introspective than theists. It appears to me to be a trait of the individual.
Many people find their god/God within. For some that is a good thing (mystics), for others a very bad thing (those who make God in their own image).

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but...

Oh please! As we know on this board, atheists thrive on winding up and deriding people of faith - hence the spectacular press releases.


If you'd read the thread you may not have said this!

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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Organ Builder
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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
I haven't had time to read this whole thread, but...

It's a big mistake not to read a thread before contributing, especially when it is less than two pages. It's a bigger mistake to admit it.

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:
As we know on this board, atheists thrive on winding up and deriding people of faith ...

I would be seriously surprised if the atheists we get on this board are a properly random statistical sample, but a few of them have been Shipmates longer than you have, and to suggest that they are "thriving" by winding us up and deriding us is wrong. It is possible some of them enjoy winding you up, but I suspect the same might be true of some of the people of faith...

quote:
Originally posted by Mark Betts:

But how long will this daft "church" last? They will soon get bored when they find they have no-one to antagonise except other atheists!

So at the opening "service" there were around 200 "adherents." How many do you think will still be attending regularly in 6 months time? 6 maybe.

It sounds very much like a congregation of American-style Unitarian-Universalists. Less than 20% of UUs now describe themselves as "Christian" in the US, and many describe themselves as atheists or agnostics. I don't know how they are doing now, but during the 1990s they were growing as a denomination (I lived in New England then, and there were more of them about). There are healthy, established congregations in most large US cities. They don't seem to be quite as fissiparous as most Christian groups, so their congregations are usually a decent size, if not large--150-300 or so in average Sunday attendance.

So--if as Christians we are unable (or unwilling) to understand the appeal of these groups, we will NEVER be able to understand why they can thrive. Even more to the point, we'll never have much clue about what it is in our own churches that attracts or drives away people.

It seems to me that in many of our churches there are people who are there because they like the sense that a particular group has "all the answers", and they are proud to be a part of that group. They bang on about at every chance, and tell anyone from another faith grouping why those choices are inferior. That seems true on the Ship as well. I could name names (which would almost certainly violate the Commandments) but I'm quite certain most Shipmates--including the hosts--could think of a few names on their own to illustrate my point. There is no reason why an atheist or humanist group wouldn't have that particular appeal as well.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Many people find their god/God within. For some that is a good thing (mystics), for others a very bad thing (those who make God in their own image). [/QB]
This is the basis of non-theism - that we do not believe in a god but can accept that others create their own gods and find them meaningful and so on.

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Blessed are the cracked for they let in the light.

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lilyswinburne
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"Fissiparous" - ! great new word for me.

Philip Gulley points out, in "If the Church Were Christian", that there are approximately 39,000 Christian denominations. Apparently fans often ask him to start a new denomination, but he advises them to look at one of the existing 39,000 instead.

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Organ Builder
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lilyswinburne, I learned it on the Ship!

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Zach82
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quote:
Philip Gulley points out, in "If the Church Were Christian", that there are approximately 39,000 Christian denominations. Apparently fans often ask him to start a new denomination, but he advises them to look at one of the existing 39,000 instead.
I have heard this statistic about infinity times, but NEVER have I seen where this number comes from. [Roll Eyes]

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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lilyswinburne
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"According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations. "


http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm

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kankucho
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quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:

It seems to me that in many of our churches there are people who are there because they like the sense that a particular group has "all the answers", and they are proud to be a part of that group. They bang on about at every chance, and tell anyone from another faith grouping why those choices are inferior. That seems true on the Ship as well. <snip> There is no reason why an atheist or humanist group wouldn't have that particular appeal as well.

There is a reason. It is preposterous to tell a fellow non-god-believer that they are disbelieving in the wrong god — or disbelieving in the right god but in the wrong way. [Big Grin]

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Zach82
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quote:
Originally posted by lilyswinburne:
"According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world. This statistic takes into consideration cultural distinctions of denominations in different countries, so there is overlapping of many denominations. "


http://christianity.about.com/od/denominations/p/christiantoday.htm

That link kinda only confirms my suspicion that this number people keep slinging around doesn't mean what people tend to think it means. But it's largely a tangent, since that's not why you brought it up, so never mind.

[ 24. January 2013, 16:48: Message edited by: Zach82 ]

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Don't give up yet, no, don't ever quit/ There's always a chance of a critical hit. Ghost Mice

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
Many people find their god/God within. For some that is a good thing (mystics), for others a very bad thing (those who make God in their own image).

This is the basis of non-theism - that we do not believe in a god but can accept that others create their own gods and find them meaningful and so on.
I thought the basis of non-theism was lack of sufficient evidence for theism? [Confused]

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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# 38

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There are different non-theisms though, are there not? Jack Spong's variety seems to be a belief in a God that is an emergent property of things.

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Mark Wuntoo
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# 5673

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I go along with David Boulton’s ‘Godless for God’s Sake’

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
There are different non-theisms though, are there not? Jack Spong's variety seems to be a belief in a God that is an emergent property of things.

I think here we run into a problem in the definition of "non-theism." If that includes Deism, then it includes Spong, but I don't think that's what the OP is about. Spong is clearly not a theist in any normal sense of the term, but he is not an atheist, either.

[ 24. January 2013, 19:11: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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Mark Wuntoo
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
[QUOTE]I thought the basis of non-theism was lack of sufficient evidence for theism? [Confused]

Isn't that agnosticism? An entirely different belief, I think.

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mousethief

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# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Mark Wuntoo:
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
I thought the basis of non-theism was lack of sufficient evidence for theism? [Confused]

Isn't that agnosticism? An entirely different belief, I think.
We've had threads about this definitional problem since God was a sprog. One person's agnosticism is another person's atheism is another person's non-theism. Atheism is very much a moving target. "Entirely different" is vastly underestimating the confusion and overlap between the categories and how the people claiming to fall into one or another of them define themselves.

[ 24. January 2013, 19:15: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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The Silent Acolyte

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# 1158

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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Philip Gulley points out, in "If the Church Were Christian", that there are approximately 39,000 Christian denominations. Apparently fans often ask him to start a new denomination, but he advises them to look at one of the existing 39,000 instead.
I have heard this statistic about infinity times, but NEVER have I seen where this number comes from. [Roll Eyes]
It comes, fer cryin' out loud, from a fucking CONTENT FARM, which is, in fact, a fucking CONTENT FARM, despite this weasley special pleading.

lilyswinburne, About dot com is a CONTENT FARM. Despise it.

In this case, however, just a little bit of effort on your part brings you to this link in which is contained this statement
quote:
CSGC [Center for the Study of Global Christianity] has obtained denominational membership information from about 41,000 organizations worldwide. [24]
to which is attached this this debunking footnote:
quote:
24 This is the global sum of the total number of denominations in each country. There is overlap between countries because many denominations are present in more than one country.
So, they are counting "organizations", despite their words. And, they are double, triple, n-tuple counting these organizations. Forty-one thousand is shite.


Zach82, your little schoolhouse library is probably good enough to have this book, dubious itself, on its reference shelves:

Handbook of denominations in the United States
Frank Spencer Mead 1898- Samuel S Hill
Nashville, Tenn. : Abingdon Press 1995. (BL2525 .M38 1995)

What I remember from it suggests that the size of the constellation of denominations in the Fissiparous West (any number is frankly immaterial) is so staggering it gives lie to the phrase, Christian Unity.

[ 24. January 2013, 19:53: Message edited by: The Silent Acolyte ]

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SvitlanaV2
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# 16967

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quote:
Originally posted by The Silent Acolyte:
The size of the constellation of denominations in the Fissiparous West (any number is frankly immaterial) is so staggering it gives lie to the phrase, Christian Unity.

Or it could be proof that the Christian religion is highly flexible, and that it adapts to different circumstances and environments. For me personally, the idea that all Christians should live under one priestly hierarchy is rather unpalatable. This is not where our unity should lie.

Getting back to atheism, maybe that too comes in different varieties. What does 'atheist church' spirituality have in common with Buddist atheism? Quite a number of atheists online say that trying to get atheists together to form a single unit would be as successful as herding cats; they're proud of that diversity, and don't go around complaining that there should be more 'unity' in atheism. A quick look around the net reveals that there's no unity over the 'atheist church' idea - some atheists approve, and some don't.

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Or it could be proof that the Christian religion is highly flexible, and that it adapts to different circumstances and environments. For me personally, the idea that all Christians should live under one priestly hierarchy is rather unpalatable. This is not where our unity should lie.

I think the idea that a church should suit one's tastes (which is what "palatable" means) is at the very least questionable. "This church doesn't have exactly the right amount of reverb on the bass guitar, so I'm leaving for another." Suiting my palate isn't the criteria I think I should use in determining which church to go to, and that attitude is what makes Protestantism so fissiparous.

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The Silent Acolyte

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# 1158

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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by The Silent Acolyte:
The size of the constellation of denominations in the Fissiparous West (any number is frankly immaterial) is so staggering it gives lie to the phrase, Christian Unity.

Or it could be proof that the Christian religion is highly flexible, and that it adapts to different circumstances and environments.
I'm guessing the better proof of flexible adaptation to different environments and circumstances is the stubborn, two-millenia-long, world-wide persistence of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Church.

All the rest are no older than one-quarter that time, with the vast majority having sprung up since the middle of the 19th century. I'm thinking Matt. 13:20f.

But, this is a far distance from the Atheist Church.

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Latchkey Kid
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Oops. Your prejudice is showing.

Well, lets be thankful that you weren't given the job of separating the sheep and the goats, to mix metaphors.

[ 25. January 2013, 03:17: Message edited by: Latchkey Kid ]

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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Suiting my palate isn't the criteria I think I should use in determining which church to go to, and that attitude is what makes Protestantism so fissiparous.

Didn't you move from some sort of Protestantism to Orthodoxy? What criteria did you use?

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
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The Silent Acolyte

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# 1158

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quote:
Latchkey Kid sed:
Oops.

Are you pointing that oops at me? If so, where do you see the prejudice? The Catholic and Orthodox Church is old. The effusion of Protestantism is not.
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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by The Silent Acolyte:
quote:
Latchkey Kid sed:
Oops.

Are you pointing that oops at me? If so, where do you see the prejudice? The Catholic and Orthodox Church is old. The effusion of Protestantism is not.
Correct me if I am wrong, but it appeared to me that your reference to Matt 13:20f was to
quote:
He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field; 25but while everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and then went away. 26So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared as well. 27And the slaves of the householder came and said to him, “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where, then, did these weeds come from?” 28He answered, “An enemy has done this.”
If not, what were you thinking of in Matt 13:20F?

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The Silent Acolyte

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# 1158

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Latchkey Kid, my cite was vv. 20 and 21, paired with vv. 5 and 6, the implication being that without the rich soil of tradition, these novel denominations spring up and then wither away. I count my crowd among them.

Your cite is the next parable and starts three verses later.

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