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From poster @Jray:

Hey guys I would love to hear y’all’s answers to these 7 questions. I’m personally a theist and interested in the answers of the other side.

  • What is your religious or spiritual background, if any?
  • Was there ever a time you believed in God? If so, why did you think it changed?
  • How important is spirituality to your life now? What are your current religious beliefs about God?
  • Do you put Jesus in the same category as other religious figures? Why or why not?
  • What do you understand the core of the Christian message to be? In other words, what is your understanding of the gospel?
  • Are there any things that attract you to Christianity? And are there any things that turn you away?
  • What would it take for you to believe in God in general and Christianity in particular?

Really appreciate it guys! Let me know in the comments what y’all’s answers would be

  1. None
  2. No
  3. It’s not and none
  4. I don’t even try, but Xtians seem to put the character there.
  5. Well, I’ve read the book and find it tedious for the most part, confused, and not convincing.
  6. No to the first part and yes to the second
  7. Overwhelming evidence

BTW, you asked a dozen questions, not seven.

Welcome to AR.


I was a Christian in the Early 70s. Evangelic Assemblies of God, I was a real Holy Roller, who had a personal relationship with the Lord my God, Jesus Christ. I witnessed all across the great state of Kansas, which explains why they are so far behind the times.

(See above.)
I was a Sociology major at university. An interest of mine was religion. After studying dream cultures, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam, Cargo Cults, and some others, it was only natural to put the Christian faith where it belonged along with the other man-made religions of the world. There is absolutely nothing special about the Christian faith. Nothing.

Anything and everything you associate with spirituality, I can attribute to a brain state. To assert there is anything outside the brain state called ‘spirituality’ needs to be demonstrated. I have seen no demonstration of anything called spirit. A hypothesis is a statement that contradicts the null hypothesis and can be accepted as true, only if there is convincing evidence for it. There is no convincing evidence for anything called ‘spirit’ that stands apart from a brain state.

I don’t put Jesus anywhere. The Jesus myth is certainly akin to all other religious categories. Can you separate the man from the mythology? Can you demonstrate the man actually existed? Certainly there is no problem asserting that some man, someplace, was named Jesus and began a movement. The problem arises when you begin attributing magic and witchcraft to the man or embuing him with characteristics of the divine. Nice story, but that is all you have. A man-made myth.

They are not even close to the same thing. You are showing your bias. There are over 6000 Christian sects and on any given day 1/3 will assert the other 2/3 are going to burn in hell for following false teachings. When you actually get your shit together and all the Christians agree that there is a core teaching or central message in the bible, please let us know. If you currently believe there is, you need to spend some time with a Catholic, A Mormon, A Jew, The Way International, Unitarian Christian, and some others. Your own religions debate each other on soteriology and the core teachings of Jesus and the Bible. “Remove the mote from your own eye first.”

As for the Gospel. Are you referencing the ‘gospels’ or the ‘bible?’ In any event, they are all literary works, written by ancient educated mend of their times. The goal of the books is to perpetuate the Christian religion. The gospels themselves are anonymous. They have been edited, added to, and subtracted from, for a thousand years. There are no official or original manuscripts. The hand of men can be seen in every chapter and every verse. The Bible itself is an anthology, a collection of books written over a thousand years and even today subject to changes by modern authors. The books were selected among hundreds of gospels in use at the time. If you imagine the Christianity of the past to be anything at all like the Christianity of today, you are delusional. Our versions of the Christian faith are the result of an evolutionary process that occured over thousands of years. The Bible is the evidence of that process.

Not to Christianity specifically but to religion generally. Religion is a way to help communities bond. Religions have had thousands of years of practice at this. Atheists are just entering the bonding game. We are bonding over the internet. Connecting to fellow atheists all over the world. Sharing knowledge and experience. The religions of the world are better at this than we are, but we are catching up quickly.


But you have made a significant error here. Belief in god does not equate to ‘worship.’ Even if I believe that the piece of shit god of the bible was true, why would I worship a child-killing, murdering, piece of crap like that? A dumb fuck asshole who needs a blood sacrifice to forgive? A piece of shit that murders every living thing on the planet. An asshole who creates a place of torture and then says “If you don’t love me I will throw you into my place of torture for all eternity.” Are you insane? Even if I knew your insane piece of shit god existed, why in the fuck would I worship it. That’s just stupid.


Well, howdy, Jay. Welcome to the AR. Thanks for stopping by. Always interested in answering questions from our theist guests. If I may ask, are you working on a school assignment, or is this just for personal knowledge? Just curious. Anyway, let’s begin, shall we?..

  • What is your religious or spiritual background, if any?
    Born and raised in a Baptist/Methodist family. My Granny and Mom were solid Baptists, and one of my Uncles was a Methodist preacher. Grew up in a small town smack in the middle of The Bible Belt. Church every Sunday and most Sunday nights, with Wednesday evening services attended every so often. Two weeks of Vacation Bible School each summer.

  • Was there ever a time you believed in God? If so, why did you think it changed?
    Of course I believed in god/heaven/Satan/hell. What choice did I have? It was the only thing I was ever taught, and to even remotely SUGGEST any other belief(s) was a one-way ticket to getting in trouble and being shunned in the community. Got baptized when I was 8 years old. Problem was, however, that as young as 7 years old I started noticing how so many things I was being taught about the bible/god/etc. simply did not make sense. Too many contradictions and inconsistencies. (Even though I did not know what those two words meant at that time.) So, basically, I pretty much just went-along to get-along. Especially when asking tough questions either got me a stern lecture, or “answers” that often made even LESS sense than what I was being taught. And since my young impressionable little brain did not have the means of “protecting” itself during those early years, the fear of Satan/hell became firmly seated into my psyche. Took me over 40 years to finally break free from the indoctrination that tormented me and held my mind captive during all that time.

  • How important is spirituality to your life now? What are your current religious beliefs about God?
    Simply put, I do not believe in any god(s). (You might want to look up the definition of “atheist”.) As for “spirituality”, I happily left all that behind once I broke away from the religion chains. If I ever do think about such things, though, it is only in the interest of amusing myself for the sake of mental speculation and stimulation. In other words, just sometimes fun to play the whole “What if?” game for entertainment purposes.

  • Do you put Jesus in the same category as other religious figures? Why or why not?
    Jesus is no different to me than Odin, Zeus, Santa, The Easter Bunny, or any other such fictional characters. Who knows? MAYBE there might have actually been some dude called Jesus that got crucified back during that time period. My understanding is that “Jesus” was a rather common name back then, and the Romans most certainly loved to hang trouble makers from various posts. So it stands to reason there may have been a few dudes named Jesus who got nailed up over the years. Doesn’t mean any of them were “god-in-the-flesh.”

  • What do you understand the core of the Christian message to be? In other words, what is your understanding of the gospel?
    I find it ironic that I now know more about “The Gospel” as an atheist than I ever really knew during my Christian days. That being said, what do I understand about the core of Christianity? Easy: Obey and worship God, or go to hell. Pretty much the same core values of Islam, actually. Basically, it goes something like this: “Believe as we believe, or you will suffer the consequences of thinking for yourself and questioning anything having to do with the bible.” Granted, there are very few “faithful” nowadays who will actually come right out and say that. I assure you, however, the message and intent are still there. They just keep it sugar-coated and more “politically correct” now since the development of laws over the centuries has made it more difficult for them to burn witches, kill homosexuals, own slaves, treat women as property, and so forth and so forth.

  • Are there any things that attract you to Christianity? And are there any things that turn you away?
    I can’t say there is anything that attracts me to Christianity. However, I DO understand why so many people still need it in their lives. For better or worse, there are those who take comfort in the thought of having some type of “heavenly father figure” watching over them and providing an eternal “Paradise” after they die. I understand even BETTER, though, why it is so difficult for most people to expel it from their lives. FEAR is a very powerful control mechanism, and it is literally FEAR that keeps most folks glued to the religion into which they were born. (I think that pretty much answers the second part of your question.)

  • What would it take for you to believe in God in general and Christianity in particular?
    I personally have NO IDEA what it would take to make me believe in your god. BUT, considering your god is supposedly OMNISCIENT AND OMNIPOTENT, I would surmise your god should know EXACTLY what it would take. Furthermore, your god should EASILY be able to DO whatever it would take to convince me. Maybe you could ask him for me? Just a suggestion… (shrugging shoulders)… As for Christianity, I ALREADY believe in Christianity. Never stopped believing in Christianity. It is an actual REAL religion that dominates many countries around the world. Anybody who does NOT believe in Christianity should probably seek mental therapy. I also believe in Islam, Judaism, Paganism, Catholicism, Satanism, and many other religions that are practiced all over the world, because those religions actually exist. I would like to add, though, that even IF your god somehow managed to make me believe in it, that does NOT mean I would ever worship it. Aside from the fact I am not one to worship anything/anybody, the god of the bible does not even deserve respect. MUCH LESS being worshiped.

(Edited a couple of times for clumsy fingers and a short circuit in my memory circuits.)

  • What is your religious or spiritual background, if any?

My Dad was C of E, he was a high ranking Freemason, my Mum a Scottish Presbyterian (nearly as bad as the “Wee Frees”, my Grandpa, a card carrying Socialist who described the clergy as leeches on society. Due to these conflicts they all answered my questions honestly but left my choice of belief to me. My school, on the other hand was the good old hymns every morning, prayers at bedtime, thanking god for small mercies and beating small boys.
For the last 40 years I have been looking into the 1st century origins of Christianity as we know it today.

*Was there ever a time you believed in God? If so, why did you think it changed?

a) About the same time I believed in Santa so about 6-7 years old…b) I read more

  • How important is spirituality to your life now?
    What? Please define “spirituality” so I can answer you

*What are your current religious beliefs about God?
I have no religious beliefs about any god.

  • Do you put Jesus in the same category as other religious figures?

No, the jesus story is, like islam, a story for its time. Like judaism was a story for its time and Mormons tell a story for their time and circumstances. Scientology is a religion for the mid 20th century CE. Most other religions have stayed fairly static. The jesus figure has morphed from being the perfect law abiding jew to the present white, judgmental figure we have today, in all its horror and hypocrisy, and in its latest 20th century form dealing out planets to the “saved” (males) when deceased.

  • What do you understand the core of the Christian message to be? In other words, what is your understanding of the gospel?

Which gospel exactly? “Mark” had a meaning as an expansion of Paul’s hallucinations, it was for those who needed a story. It was for Hellenistic, greek speaking people. “Matthew” was largely Mark, but with the errors in jewish law and lore rectified. It was a message for the original jewish christians and did not, originally, contain the birth nonsense. “Luke” was for the greek speaking community and, although, again more than half a direct copy of Mark, had a different message for that more sophisticated market. “John”, as we know was cobbled together from maybe 4 different authors around the turn of the 1st/second century CE, it expanded on the synoptic stories to give more verisimilitude and to give authority in the early church.

All the “gospels” are anonymous, none of them eye witness accounts.
I left out Marcion’s Gospel as I don’t want you breaking into the sweaty trembles.

  • Are there any things that attract you to Christianity?

The money and riches hoarded by all the churches.

*And are there any things that turn you away?

The hypocrisy of pastors, church functionaries and those who proclaim their gospel, hoard and worship money and yet still refuse charity to the needy.

  • What would it take for you to believe in God in general and Christianity in particular?

Hard evidence that the gospel jesus existed and then…that such a being was divine, miraculous and the son, father and holy penis, all in one…that I’d like to see. Then I would shake the hand of that old hypocrite Tertullian.

Your tutors will not like these replies, I wonder if you have the intellectual fortitude to actually do some real research into the historical basis for your beliefs?


What do you understand the core of the Christian message to be?

Do what you are told in this life; so you can get a magical reward in the next one.


I put Jesus in the same category as any other religious figure from any other culture. There is nothing unique and/or special that distinguishes Jesus from any other similar mythic or semi-mythic figure. I believe that Jesus existed . . . and that he was simply an early Reformed rabbi.

As I’ve indicated several times in other threads, an entire body of fictional mysticism can grow from a small seed over time. A modern example (recounted in detail in other threads) is the Amityville haunted/demon-possesed house.

There are many more candidates more deserving of the title of “Saviour” than Jesus of Nazareth. One of my favorite candidates is the 15th Century Polynesian pacifist, sea-faring captain, and tribal chief (Hamata tribe) named Nunuku Whenua of the Maoriori people of Chatham Island and Pitt Island.

He placed his body between warring tribes, raised his arms, and said: “Enough! From this moment forward, there will be no cannibalism, no murder, and no war. Anyone who violates this law will have their bowels rot. You will love and cherish each other.”

He founded a culture of pacifism that lasted hundreds of years . . . until the 19th Century, when European influence screwed everything up.

As for my understanding of The Gospel . . . it’s very complicated. Even if I decided to become a Christian tomorrow, there are hundreds of sects, and almost each one says that the others are not Saved and are destined for Hell or eternal death. The Catholics believe that they are the only ones Saved, the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that they are the only ones, and this same point is true of the vast majority of other Christian denominations.

So . . . if I convert to Christianity tomorrow and become very pious, the odds are still overwhelmingly against me and I’ll choose the wrong denomination and damn myself to Hell anyway. Atheism is the smart bet under these circumstances.

As for what drives me away from Christianity (as a philosophy), I can’t stand the homophobia, violence, and misogyny that’s associated with the faith. I have a problem with Christians venerating the AR-15 rifle as a religious icon while praising the recent murder of an LGBTQ teenager.

I have a problem with Christians using their money and influence to change the politics of Uganda so that LGBTQ people are subject to the death penalty. I do–on occasion–volunteer in religious soup kitchens, and I’ve seen gay families (including their hungry children) turned away from food because they were LGBTQ. This is a part of why I can’t stand the religion . . . no offense intended.

Biblical literalism–which seems associated with Evangelical Christianity–also kills people. The example that I often use (in several other threads) is the Brescia church explosion in Italy, which killed about 2,000 people and destroyed almost 20% of the town. This tragedy happened purely because of Biblical literalism (and–I suppose–human stupidity).

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@Jray, are you going to respond to any of this? Are you going to debate? I’m sure I’m not alone in an interest in a conversation with you. This is, after all, a debate forum. I’m hoping you’re not just a hit and run driver :wink:

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  1. None
  2. No
  3. It’s not important at all. My current religious beliefs are nonexistent.
  4. Yes. He’s a mythical figure with little evidence to support his actual existence, just like most other religious figures.
  5. Whatever it was originally intended to be, it has been corrupted over the years into the mess we see today.
  6. Nothing attracts me to christianity and their constant attempts to force their morality and beliefs down our throats turn me away.
  7. Objectively verifiable evidence. Even then, I would not worship it.
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To be honest you could click on people’s names. and answer most of these from their profiles. I’m also wondering what you want to debate, since this is a debate forum?

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Ok, I’ll bite.

None. And given my close to 15 years of, for example, dealing with creationist mischief and lies in particular, this isn’t going to change.

Seeing the manner in which Christian creationists in particular regard the Ninth Commandment as discardable whenever it suits their duplicitous apologetic convenience, has ensured that I will never want anything to do with the religion motivating said conduct.

No. A proper science education led me to regard cartoon magic men from pre-scientific mythologies as an irrelevance from an early age.

I cite as an example of relevant influences, The Children’s Encyclopaedia, edited by Arthur Mee. Said editor was interested in compiling an educational work, with the aim of instilling the “God, King and Country” ethos in English schoolchildren, and both its Edwardian history and tone are painfully apparent to even an elementary reader today.

However, Mee did take one step that was admirable - he deliberately set out to find the finest educational writers of the age to contribute to his work, and moreover, paid them frequently out of his own pocket. Which made the enterprise an expensive one to launch.

But, it paid dividends come sales time, to the point where Mee was able to build his own palatial house on the proceeds, even after paying his expensive contributors.

But here’s the rub. As a child, the science sections, though today woefully outdated, were fascinating to read. Not only were they beautifully written, but they passed on a compelling message that I found riveting to behold. The science sections basically said, “you don’t have to take what we say on faith blindly, instead, you can find out for yourself. Go forth and experiment!”

Even at the age of six, this was music to my ears, and later, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the benefit of a stellar collection of science teachers who acted vigorously upon that message, frequently in compelling manner.

By contrast, the sections of Mee’s work devoted to religion were boring in the extreme. Their essential message was, as one might expect from text devoted to peddling the last gasps of Victorian Christianity, “treat these assertions uncritically as fact, and don’t ask questions”.

Just what do you think I was going to pay more attention to?

Mee, in my case, subverted his intent hilariously through this juxtaposition of polar opposites. In a contest between “Go forth and discover!” and “Shut up and don’t ask questions”, what do you think is going to grab a child’s attention?

Which is why, of course, religious fundamentalists of all stripes seek to kill any opposition to their indoctrination.

The previous paragraphs answering the previous question should already answer this question amply as well. But of course, there’s more.

Apart from the fact that science has provided me with real answers to major questions, instead of vacuous and frequently absurd platitudes, religion has several major problems.

First, it relies upon treating unsupported blind assertions uncritically as fact. A process that is utterly useless as a means of obtaining genuine substantive knowledge.

Second, the assertions presented by religions, without exception, are known not merely to be wrong, but fatuous and absurd, especially to people who paid attention in science classes. The resulting “holy books” are nothing more than low grade mythologies as a corollary.

Worse still, mythology fanboys are unable to agree among themselves on a global scale, which of the numerous mythologies humans have invented is purportedly the “right” mythology, and adherents of a particular mythology cannot agree among themselves, what said mythology is purportedly telling us.

Yet against this backdrop of rampant and hilariously absurd anti-consilience, mythology fanboys posture as being in a position to tell me that the science I spent decades learning, is purportedly “wrong” when it disagrees with their favourite choice of mythology.

Worse still, many mythology fanboys regard themselves as entitled to coerce me into adopting this ridiculous view. You have three guesses what I think of this, in the light of my previous paragraphs.

Indeed, the entire basis of religion has, over time, exposed itself to me as consisting of utterly farcical and hubristic pretension, summarised best as “if reality and my mythology disagree, reality is wrong and my mythology is right”.

You should now be well placed to understand how darkly I view that arrogance.

The answer, in the light of my foregoing comments, should be obvious.

Indeed, one of the aspects of mythology fanboy hubris I encounter time and again, is that none of them are ever willing to countenance answers to questions that don’t involve their choice of mythology, or their choice of cartoon magic man. The possibility that they could all be completely wrong, never enters their heads.

But, with entirely typical hypocrisy, they loudly berate me with the “what if you’re wrong” question, for accepting scientific postulates that have passed ruthless experimental tests aimed at destroying them.

Frankly, I ceased caring some time ago, not least because of the vast disconnection between posturing and practice. American evangelical Christians are among the most obnoxious in this regard, as well as annoyingly vocal on topics they manifestly know nothing about.

Creationists are the worst of the lot - a more duplicitous gang of wilfully mendacious ideological stormtroopers for a worthless doctrine you will be hard pressed to find.

Oh, and the supposed message of “peace and love” is counterbalanced by any number of exhortations in the same mythology, to kill all who do not conform, a message gleefully adopted by murderous mythology fanboys in Europe over a 1,500 year period, and which many of today’s Christian Nationalists cannot wait to put into practice again.

If you’re unable to discern the answer after reading this far into my reply, then nothing I can do will remedy the deficit.

Not going to happen plain and simple. See all of the above.


Or to quote Obi Wan, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy”.

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Looks like @Jray was another hit and run driver. :frowning:

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If he had stayed around, my post would probably have given him an aneurysm …

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Damn, everytime I open my heart… :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :smirk:


I was born into the cult of later day saints.

I probably did at some point when I was young but it was more like I took it for granted and never gave it much thought. When I did I realized how bat shit crazy the whole Joe Smith story was at which point it became a joke.

I looked at a few things Buddhism a bit and I kind of liked the Hari Kristina chants. Oh and I went one time to a gathering of the Rainbow Tribes and everyday sat in a big circle and chanted omm for hours but again nothing significant ever happened unless you count all the nudity. I was always hoping to find that girl that Paul Simon sang about who would, “lead me to the woods saying here comes something and it feels so good” and when it did she was an atheist. She is stardust now. Currently I believe that the notion of god is a man made artifact which arose to answer the questions we don’t have answers for yet. It was employed with great success by shysters to empty the pockets of the poor with false promises. Joe Smith being just one of millions.

Is it even proven that Jesus was more than just some jewish schmuck? Many biblical scholars, of which I am not one, contend that there is no evidence that his story is factual.

I’m not sure there is a coherent message. The message in the OT seems to be, “Obey me or I’ll kill you. Oh and by the way I’m going to constantly test your loyalty.” The NT seems to be a kinder gentler message but still “Obey me above all others or spend eternity in hell”. Wait that’s not kinder is it. Interesting aside: I thought the NT was meant to over ride the OT but in most churches its the OT that is most often quoted. I think that might be because fear is the great motivator with the weak minded.

No!!! Too many to list but mostly the intolerance and hypocriticalness and their desire to make everyone live how they think people should live and their take over of government and …

Umm appearing in person or at least firing a lightening bolt at DT. But if that’s too big an ask how about that Pentecostal girl mentioned earlier?

Oh dear. Intestinal fortitude needed?


“Put your strength in the lord, because your ass belongs to me.”

Or MTFU if they prefer? :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :wink:

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I have none, grew up in a household with spiritual parents but they were kind enough to never mention religion and allowed me to work it out without a bia for or against.

Apart from Dennis Bergkamp playing for my beloved Arsenal FC, no.

It has zero importance to me directly, but my partner again, whilst not a follower of a religion, is spiritual, we just agree to not discuss it and respect on another thoughts.

My currently ‘belief’ on god(s) are that they are man made bollocks.

I genuinely couldn’t care about Jesus, one way or another.

Was he likely a historical figure? I’d say it’s reasonable to assume so, did he rise from the dead? Id say that is bollocks.

Again, I couldn’t care in the slightest, i concern myself with what is real or has a prior probability for being real.

Good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things.

The only thing that would turn me TO christianity was some sort of evidence that was confirmed to be true, rather then the god of the gaps bollocks currently being peddled.

What turns me away? The fact its fuckjng nonsensical.

Anything that could be genuinely proven to be true.

Hey, just out of curiosity, had anybody else been contacted in PM by Jray? Or am I just special? Been having a private chat with him off and on over the past week or so. Just wondering…

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