Gotta Serve Somebody

WE can’t really ignore the great questions of life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said we all worship something, even if we claim we do not.
“We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character.
“Therefore, it behoves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.’’

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39 thoughts on “Gotta Serve Somebody

  1. Testimonies about the power of atheism to change lives are difficult to find. When you do find them, most atheists talk about being free to think critically – being a “free thinker.” However wonderful this freedom is, one must acknowledge that the atheist’s freedom is not at all complete, but is very much limited by the philosophy of atheism. According to atheism, all phenomenon have a naturalistic explanation. With this as its overriding paradigm, the atheist never considers a supernatural explanation, even when such an explanation makes more sense. In fact, the atheist will believe in wildly unlikely explanations, for example, regarding the origin of life and the origin of the universe. How much “freedom” does an atheist really have?

    Most atheists believe that Christianity teaches Christians to ignore the facts and base their entire lives upon some sort of touchy-feely kind of “faith.” Contrary to that view, the Bible teaches the importance of knowledge and wisdom and making rational decisions based upon the facts. The Bible challenges believers to “Test everything” and “Hold on to the good.”1 God Himself in His revelation to Isaiah stated, “Come now, and let us reason together…”2 The very reason why atheists attack Christianity above all other religions is because Christianity directly challenges the atheist’s assertion that belief in God is irrational.

    When it comes to morality, atheists tend to be very quiet about what role atheism plays in shaping their personal morality. You won’t find atheists saying that their atheism was influential in getting them off of drugs, stopping their alcoholism and ending their addictions . The fact is that atheism has no power at all to change personal morality

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    • “the atheist will believe in wildly unlikely explanations, for example, regarding the origin of life and the origin of the universe.”

      Such as?

      “The Bible challenges believers to “Test everything” ”

      Including the Bible?

      “When it comes to morality, atheists tend to be very quiet about what role atheism plays in shaping their personal morality.”

      An absence in belief in certain gods, gives me no reason to discriminate against homosexual people, for example.

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      • Atheists say, “There is no god,” like they know what exists in every speck of the universe

        There is no such thing as an atheist because no human being knows everything and has all knowledge.

        I was an atheist until I believed this. Now I believe.

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      • “An absence in belief in certain gods, gives me no reason to discriminate against homosexual people, for example.”

        Ah, so does that mean that all atheists have absolutely no reason to discriminate against homosexual people….and don’t? Does that mean that being an atheist makes you morally superior to believers?

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      • “Ah, so does that mean that all atheists have absolutely no reason to discriminate against homosexual people….and don’t?”

        Good question, and the answer is no. I asked a homophobic non-believer once for a rational reason why he was against SSM. I’m still waiting for an answer. You don’t have to be religious to be a bigot, but when you have scripture or interpretations of scripture that are homophobic, it gives the basis of said bigotry.

        “Does that mean that being an atheist makes you morally superior to believers?”

        Not at all. But I’m happy to provide you with reasons why inclusiveness (say on SSM) is a superior ethical standpoint than homophobia and discrimination against homosexual people.

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      • “Not at all. But I’m happy to provide you with reasons why inclusiveness (say on SSM) is a superior ethical standpoint than homophobia and discrimination against homosexual people.”

        No need to Stu,

        that’s a no-brainer. But I do wonder what your definition of ‘discrimination’ is as opposed to a believer’s. I do think that a believer who condemns homosexuality as sin is unfairly accused of practicing discrimination and bigotry. It’s not the same thing……”To say that condemning homosexuality is wrong is a statement dealing with morality–not with legality.

        If an atheist were to say that condemning homosexuality as a sin is morally wrong, then on what basis does such a statement gain its moral objectivity by which a blanket condemnation can be made? If someone says that the majority of society determines what is morally right and wrong, that is called the fallacy of Argumentum ad populum. Just because a majority of people think something is right or wrong doesn’t make it right or wrong.

        So, when a person objects on moral grounds to my objections or other Christians condemning homosexuality as a sin, he has no objective moral basis by which he can make such an assertion. At best, all he is doing is giving his opinion; and it would be arrogant to think that his opinion is the standard of morality for everyone else.

        Condemning homosexual practice as a sin is not discriminatory in a legal sense; but it is one in a spiritual sense, and that is alright.”……..CARM

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      • If God is not real then you can play by whatever rules you like. But if God is real then it is a whole new ballgame. It is interesting to note that the vast majority of people do believe that there is a God.

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      • “But I do wonder what your definition of ‘discrimination’ is as opposed to a believer’s.”

        Discrimination is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice.

        “I do think that a believer who condemns homosexuality as sin is unfairly accused of practicing discrimination and bigotry. It’s not the same thing…”

        It is if you support denying homosexual people rights based on your religious beliefs.

        “If someone says that the majority of society determines what is morally right and wrong, that is called the fallacy of Argumentum ad populum.”

        I haven’t made an argument against discrimination of homosexual people based on “what the majority of society determines”. I offered you a rational basis for not discriminating and you said “No need to Stu, that’s a no-brainer.”

        “Condemning homosexual practice as a sin is not discriminatory in a legal sense; but it is one in a spiritual sense, and that is alright.”

        It is exactly “discriminatory in a legal sense” if you deny their freedom to marry based on your beliefs. On basis do you think your beliefs should deny people who don’t share them?

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      • It is exactly “discriminatory in a legal sense” if you deny their freedom to marry based on your beliefs. On basis do you think your beliefs should deny people who don’t share them?

        If the homosexual community stayed separate from the church, its institutions, etc. I would not have any problems with them doing it. In fact I would welcome it for the simple fact that it would give the LGBT community enough rope to hang themselves. Just like the ancient Greek and Roman societies that eventually became convicted that there was something wrong with the LGBT orientation and needed to be regulated.

        The first problem is when the LGBT community attempts to break down the separation between church and state by forcing the churches to marry them, to employ them, to accept their lifestyle in opposition to the said churches’ doctrines.

        If they want to become religious, let them live in accordance with the doctrines of the church they want to join. If they are not happy to do so, then let them make their own exclusive GLBT religion, but don’t ever call them Christian.

        The second problem is that history has not taught us anything. It was often the church that had to step in and become political in order to pick up the pieces when GLBT crossed the line. Let the LGBt community create their own institutions similar to the churches for the welfare of their members, instead of infiltrating churches.

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      • “On basis do you think your beliefs should deny people who don’t share them?”

        What beliefs are you referring to and what exactly would I be denying people davinici?

        “If the homosexual community stayed separate from the church, its institutions, etc.”

        If you are talking about SSM, fine and who’s taking that line anyway? If you are talking about the employment of people in bodies contracted or funded or given tax breaks by the wider community then no (churches do not have sign contracts if they don’t want to).

        “It was often the church that had to step in and become political in order to pick up the pieces when GLBT crossed the line.”

        When? What pieces? What line? In fact, just what.

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      • Stu says

        “The Bible challenges believers to test everything
        Including the Bible?”

        Yep!
        “O taste and see that the Lord is good…” Ps 34:8
        “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good…” 1 Thess. 5:21

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      • Stu says
        “When? What pieces? What line? In fact, just what.”

        Paedophilia for one.
        1. Various denominations in the US are still picking the pieces when children molested by the Man-Boy-Love-Association-of America come forward. The GLBT was dragged kicking and screaming into disassociating itself from this organisation. But the damage is done.
        2. Infiltration of the Catholic Priesthood. If the GLBT community was honest with itself, it would be the first to condemn infiltrators into a community that does not want them. Instead, it uses problems within the RC church to justify their agenda for more LGBT infiltration. And we are left to pick up the pieces.

        Polygamy and Pornography
        There is a series of video documentaries entitled “Lesbian Sex and Sexuality”, which document that pornography is socially acceptable within that community. The same series document instances of polygamy amongst women, as a progressive “think outside the box” mentality. Once again it is the church that has to pick up the pieces.

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      • “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good…” 1 Thess. 5:21”

        Excellent advice. It’s probably why many (or is it most?) Christians reject homophobia.

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      • “Paedephilia for one.”

        Conflating paedephilia with homosexuality is just plain wrong, ethically and factually.

        “Various denominations in the US are still picking the pieces when children”

        Because they ordained people without proper checks and then ignored allegations and evidence to shore up their positions. Churches, not the GBLT are the responsible parties.

        “The GLBT was dragged kicking and screaming into disassociating itself from this organisation.”

        Probably because they were falsely associated with it.

        “Pornography is socially acceptable within that community.”

        Hardly just that community.

        “(Polygamy) amongst women”.

        As far I as know polygamy is illegal everywhere. Did you mean polyamory? If so, why is that any of your business?

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      • To Davinci’s statement:
        “The GLBT was dragged kicking and screaming into disassociating itself from this organisation.”
        Stu writes
        Probably because they were falsely associated with it.

        And Davinci comments:

        Sex between two males is homosexual in nature irrespective of whether one party is or is not over the consent age. Perhaps the GLBT community deserves to be excluded from the Christian community on the basis of telling lies and breaking not only one of the ten commandments but two.

        To Davinci’s statement:
        “(Polygamy) amongst women”.

        Stu writes
        As far I as know polygamy is illegal everywhere. Did you mean polyamory? If so, why is that any of your business?

        Davinci comments:
        Firstly Stu plays semantic games between polyamoury and polygamy and ignores that one is a form or variation of the other. But we’ll ignore this for the moment.
        Bill Shorten recently said that he could not stand silent when Christians claim that homosexual marriage is a portal to polygamy etc. Now we have the gay supporter Stu asking Christians why is it any of their business if the lesbian community practices polyamory. Furthermore the documentary that ran the story on polyamory was produced in a part of the US where the LGBT community have more unrestrained freedom than anywhere else in the world. Is this what we can expect from the GLBT community if we give them more unrestrained freedom (including inclusion within the Christian Church)?

        In fact it is Davinci’s business whether someone practices polygamy, polyamory, or whatever other practice that the GLBT community endorses.

        Under Freedom of Religion we have the right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience. This does entail discriminating against whom we allow in the church, what doctrines we adopt, etc. By pressuring Christians to accept the GLBT community (with all its permissiveness) into the church, religious freedom is threatened as is the separation of church and state. Our religious beliefs do not condone these practices that the GLBT would have us adopt.

        To come to the title of this blog we serve a different God to that preached by the GLBT community. And we are entitled to do so. And discriminating against GLBT is our right!

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      • “Sex between two males is homosexual in nature irrespective of whether one party is or is not over the consent age.”

        Then why conflate homosexuality with paedephilia? It’s a lot easier for you for you to demonise homosexual people and reinforce other lies in your own mind, I suppose.

        “Perhaps the GLBT community deserves to be excluded from the Christian community on the basis of telling lies and breaking not only one of the ten commandments but two.”

        Not all marriage is Christian, so why should you be able to impose your values on others in relation to SSM marriage?

        “In fact it is Davinci’s business whether someone practices polygamy, polyamory, or whatever other practice that the GLBT community endorses.”

        On what basis do you get to impose your religious values on anyone? Nobody is forcing you to accept anyone into your church, where you can refer to yourself in the third person all you like or organise cameras in your bedrooms to police the specifics of your sexual morality.

        “And discriminating against GLBT is our right!”

        Not in the real world!

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      • “Atheists can be morally good. They can even be people of integrity.”

        Talk about damnation with faint praise.

        “Having good morals doesn’t mean you have objective morals.”

        “Good” is subjective term. “Objective” suggests an impartial approach not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. What you (Viv) are referring to to is an absolutist approach to morality.

        “Objective morals are those that are based outside of yourself.”

        Yep. On things like reason and compassion.

        “In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong… if the atheist so decides…”

        It’s got nothing to to do with what the “atheist” decides. If you are falsely deprived of home and income and then steal from your accuser to feed and shelter your subsequently denied child to save them from death and then lie about it to an authority based on what happened to your neighbour in similar circumstances – is that ethically okay? Hey, it’s either right or wrong, it’s been real first born.

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      • Hi Viv,
        Anything goes, without a god? So everyone who has a god belief comes to exactly the same conclusions about faith and morals? How interesting. Up till now, I’d always had the stupid understanding that moral and ethical principles can vary most considerably among god-believers, and even among members who share a common faith?

        You know, the funny thing I notice is that the atheists I have known over the years, have almost without exception, seemed law-abiding, and decent folk, who I would trust with anything. Maybe I’d better go back and investigate each one of them a bit more searchingly. Surely they must be just hiding their ‘anthing goes’ approach.

        Rian.

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    • “the atheist never considers a supernatural explanation,”
      I believe many scientists recognise that much once considered supernatural has been shown to be natural. Going far enough back, lightning is such an example, and there will be many more to come in the future. God reveals more and more in his own good time, through scientists.

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    • Quoting Asimov:-
      Have I told you that I prefer “rationalism” to “atheism”? The word “atheist,” meaning “no God,” is negative and defeatist. It says what you don’t believe and puts you in an eternal position of defense. “Rationalism” on the other hand states what you DO believe; that, that which can be understood in the light of reason. The question of God and other mystical objects-of-faith are outside reason and therefore play no part in rationalism and you don’t have to waste your time in either attacking or defending that which you rule out of your philosophy altogether.

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    • Rod B.
      ” When it comes to morality, atheists tend to be very quiet about what role atheism plays in shaping their personal morality. You won’t find atheists saying that their atheism was influential in getting them off of drugs, stopping their alcoholism and ending their addictions . The fact is that atheism has no power at all to change personal morality”

      No one claims atheism itself is or has a power. Such a claim is made for religion, but there are other sources of beneficent power. Something akin to the 19 commandments seems to be innate in all cultures. It is inbuilt for us to help and protect our own against strangers, and the more we find fellowship with erst-while strangers, the more we can care for them. There is power too in medical treatments, in psychological treatments, knowledge is power. Those who experience love often testify to its power, whether atheist or not.

      Why should atheism have any role to play, in itself?

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      • Atheists can be morally good. They can even be people of integrity. But that isn’t the issue. Having good morals doesn’t mean you have objective morals. One atheist’s good morals might only be coincidentally consistent with true objective morality where another atheist’s isn’t.

        Objective morals are those that are based outside of yourself. Subjective morals are those that depend on you, your situation, culture, and your preferences. Subjective morals change, can become contradictory, and might differ from person to person. This is the best that atheism has to offer us as a worldview.

        In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong. They are phenomena to which, if the atheist so decides, moral values can be assigned. Sure, the atheist might say that we all should want to help society function properly, and it does not benefit society as a whole to lie, cheat, and steal. But, this is weak intellectual reasoning.

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      • Sorry, my reply to Viv should be in this thread:

        @Viv: “Atheists can be morally good. They can even be people of integrity.”

        Talk about damnation with faint praise.

        “Having good morals doesn’t mean you have objective morals.”

        “Good” is subjective term. “Objective” suggests an impartial approach not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts. What you (Viv) are referring to to is an absolutist approach to morality.

        “Objective morals are those that are based outside of yourself.”

        Yep. On things like reason and compassion.

        “In an atheistic worldview, lying, cheating, and stealing are neither right or wrong… if the atheist so decides…”

        It’s got nothing to to do with what the “atheist” decides. If you are falsely deprived of home and income and then steal from your accuser to feed and shelter your subsequently denied child to save them from death and then lie about it to an authority based on what happened to your neighbour in similar circumstances – is that ethically okay? Hey, it’s either right or wrong, it’s been real first born child, but you have to starve/ freeze.

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      • Hey Viv,
        But, this is weak intellectual reasoning.

        Why? I dunno about you but I’m no Bear Grylls without a functioning society I’d have extreme difficulty feeding, clothing, supporting myself or my children. It’s in my best interests for society to be working as well as possible.

        By the by a very quick google search would indicate that you’ve taken material by by Matt Slick over at CARM and you’ve done it without any acknowledgment that you’ve used his work.

        That would be stealing. You’ve stolen somebody else’s work to lecture us all on morality. So is stealing sometimes ok ? How does that work with that ol “objective morality” ?

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      • Hey Paddy,

        What if Viv is new to blogging and doesn’t know to acknowledge material borrowed from another? In that case it would not be stealing. And I don’t think Matt Slick would mind his words being borrowed if used for the right cause. I would have thought that taking the moral high ground (agreeing with God) is always the right cause. 😉

        Hey Viv,

        Welcome to the blog! I’m not sure about blog rules myself, but my understanding is that borrowing a sentence here and there is okay and does not have to be attributed to the original auther, but if you are quoting more than that then it is expected that you use quotation marks at beginning and end of borrowed material and show who wrote it or give the link to it.

        Cheers

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      • Hi Susan,

        “What if Viv is new to blogging and doesn’t know to acknowledge material borrowed from another? In that case it would not be stealing”

        Ahh so taking somebody else’s stuff is ok in the right circumstances. So much for “true objective morality” then 🙂

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    • Stu
      “On what basis do you get to impose your religious values on anyone? Nobody is forcing you to accept anyone into your church…”

      No? Nobody is forcing me to accept anyone in my church?

      On 9 November you wrote

      “An absence in belief in certain gods, gives me no reason to discriminate against homosexual people, for example.”

      Because discrimination has negative connotations in our society, you only need to utter the word “discriminate” to put pressure on somebody to do something you want. So when yourself and the LGBT community use this word, the pressure to conform to the homosexual agenda is implicit in the word usage.

      On November 10 you wrote:

      “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good…” 1 Thess. 5:21”

      Excellent advice. It’s probably why many (or is it most?) Christians reject homophobia

      Because homophobia has negative connotations in our society, you only need to utter the word “homophobi” to put pressure on somebody to do something you want. So when yourself and the LGBT community use this word, the pressure to conform to the homosexual agenda is implicit in the word usage.

      In fact your statement is false for a number of reasons:
      – Your definition of who these Christians who discriminate against homos, are the religious institutions who get various tax breaks and benefits from the government. The reality Stu, is that the “many (or is it most) Christians” who reject homophobia (as you define it) come from these organisations. So what is the situation; do they discriminate and are homophobic or not? You can’t have it both ways.

      “It is if you support denying homosexual people rights based on your religious beliefs” (Stu to Monica on November 10).

      So if you make this claim, Stu, how can you say that nobody is forcing Christians to accept homosexuals in their churches?

      One would have to ask why you introduced the topic of discrimination against homosexuals, in a topic on whom one serves. Could you be serving the one the Scriptures call the Deceiver?

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      • @ davinci:
        “No? Nobody is forcing me to accept anyone in my church?”

        Who’s forcing you? What did “they” force you to do. I notice you failed to answer the substantial question: On what basis do you get to impose your religious values on anyone?

        “the word “discriminate” to put pressure on somebody to do something you want.”

        How do I put pressure on you? The only thing I “want” you to do is to not restrict the freedom of others (SSM) based on your religious opinion.

        “In fact your statement is false …
        – Your definition of who these Christians who discriminate against homos, are the religious institutions who get various tax breaks and benefits from the government. The reality Stu, is that the “many (or is it most) Christians” who reject homophobia (as you define it) come from these organisations. So what is the situation; do they discriminate and are homophobic or not?”

        Do you care to rephrase this? It really doesn’t make any sense as it stands.

        “So if you make this claim [denying rights – Stu to Monica Nov 10] …how can you say that nobody is forcing Christians to accept homosexuals in their churches?”

        How is allowing SSM “forcing Christians to accept homosexuals in their churches?”

        “Could you be serving the one the Scriptures call the Deceiver?”

        An improbability unworthy of consideration.

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      • Davinci, “Homos” is a derogatory term usually used by heterosexual men against other heterosexual men Also used by immature teenagers as the ultimate insult word.

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    • Well Rod B,
      You state very blithely that ‘you wont find atheists saying that their atheism was influential in getting them off drugs …. etc’. You are falling into the old trap of assuming that atheism is an entity, a being or an authority. Totally wrong. Of course ‘atheism’ has never done anything or achieved anything. But plenty of atheists have done much and achieved much over the years.

      Individual atheists on the other hand, have indeed been perfectly successful in getting themselves off drugs or etc. Individual atheists have indeed started or conducted movements or systems that have assisted people with mental or physical problems. Immediately I call to mind the Director of the London Publishing house that accepted and issued my own book.

      In his teen years, he made just about every mistake and committed crimes and etc, until he was institutionalised and diagnosed with Bipolar. Without the aid of Christianity, he took himself in hand and learnt to deal with his difficulties and mistakes and has taught loads of people with mental issues, how to deal with and succeed over their problems.

      Rian

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  2. The unanswered questions fo atheism soon surface, both in their assumptions and their conclusions. Academic attempts have been made to run from these questions, but they have a way of painfully catching up in life’s most tender moments and inescapable realities

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