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I'll concede on your second point that, yes, bringing in other religions was unnecessary on my part - the claim of Christianity being the one true faith ought to be saved for another arena. As for your third point, I don't appreciate that in the least. I simply offered a constructive critique of your typing that would make your responses easier to understand - insult was completely unnecessary on your part.
I will agree that the marriage with A'isha was a political marriage, but Muhammad still took advantage of her at a young age - 9 years old, if I'm right.
If I may say, only someone with a strong Shi'ite background makes comments like yours. You place very high emphasis on the Prophet's family who, according to Shi'ite doctrine, are the true successors to the caliphate. And yes, A'isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr, good friend of the Prophet and first of the "political caliphs". I can only assume that one of her "attempts to destroy" Islam occurred during the Battle of the Camel where Ali ibn Abu Talib, the first Shi'ite imam and cousin of Muhammad, took victory and spared A'isha's life.
Yes, I'm showing off a little, but it makes your inherent bias more apparent. Who's to say that your facts aren't just as distorted as those of the Sunni? No one can really say, but both sides hold the above facts as true, seeing as that they are historical and actually occurred and all. It's all a matter of spin after that.
But I digress again. Having sex with a nine-year-old girl constitutes pedophilia in the modern sense of the word.
I have to oppose you on several grounds.
Firstly, regarding your statements on the amount of time in a day. A day could last a few hours or a few years depending on what planet I'm on - but it doesn't matter. If you are convinced that the amount of time in the day of a deity is absolutely essential to faith, please tell me what kind of moral message I am supposed to obtain from that.
Secondly, with the multitude of religions and worldviews scattered across this Earth, what honestly gives this faith the right to call itself the one and only "true" faith? I have no problems with atheism, Islam, Buddhism - all of these viewpoints have their strong points and focus of morality. I cannot say that Christianity is THE path; I can only say it has a strong ideal message. By putting Christianity on a pedestal and excluding other lines of thought from entering the fold, you effectively exclude others from reaching higher mental and moral grounds, Christians included. Should that exclusion turn to prejudice, can you really hold true to the core - love all men as you would love yourself?
Thirdly - and this is only on a technical note - please put spaces between the period and the beginning of the next sentence. Granted, no one is perfect, but it would be much appreciated.
If men truly wished to seek some kind of answers regarding spirituality and morality, then religious debate is imperative. As a Christian, I personally am not satisfied with a lot of things that my religion teaches, though I do believe several key points that men ought to hold ideal. When I hear the atheist side, I hear some thoughts that men should understand, but I still have my reservations against some key issues and beliefs. My personal experience and overall dissatisfaction with popular belief leads me to question all sides in hopes of refining my own personal morality and state of mind. Men should debate as a form of mental exercise and as a path to further understanding of mankind as a whole.
Well, I've got to concede that much. I really am a sucker for controversy; semantics are usually what get me. You using the phrase "almost no evidence" in a question of definite existence or non-existence - especially without thoroughly backing yourself up - is like holding up a bright neon sign saying "HAVE AT ME!"
But again, enough of that. Damned hooks...
I agree with this. Morality formed as an ancient social convention to maintain order and peace. Without morality, the whole of humanity would amount to nothing more than apes, killing each other for food and humping each other for survival. The construction of religion helped foster and potentially improve morality over time, but to say that religion created morality is a falsehood.
13th century Islamic philosophers, while still religious, determined that morality could be obtained and recognized through logic and reason - those who didn't believe in Allah still possessed some degree of moral responsibility, even if it wasn't necessarily perfect according to Islamic standards. This brilliant summation of atheist morality applies to all settings - one does not need religion to be moral - one can logically determined what is right and what is wrong. Religion can help and often accelerates moral understanding, but it is not necessary.
"The greatest commandments"
I cited my source, but I'll cite it again - Matthew 22:36-40 - yes, there are two extra verses than my initial citation, but those verses are relevant. Whether or not I hold the commandments to be true is irrelevant. Jesus - core figure of the faith - cites those commandments as the greatest. By that respect, all Christians should fundamentally hold those beliefs closest. Anything deviating from that constitutes a failure to recognize the greatest teaching of the faith - missing the mark.
You still have not convinced me that the core beliefs of Christianity rest in torturous punishment in hell - you have referred to a more ancient version of God's covenant that, though Jesus endorsed, is archaic to the faith itself. While many Christians still hold them dear, that sad fact is the result of generations of misunderstanding and a mindset devoted to clinging to tradition.
Your understanding of Christianity rests in fundamentalism, a trend both atheists and the lay share - only someone who takes the Bible word for word could come up with that argument. By refusing to think about the faith in itself, denying multiple interpretations of the text, and fundamentally accepting everything in the Bible to be absolute, you've demeaned yourself to nothing more than a Godbot, though in the reverse sense - someone who relies solely on the fundamental text as a means of discrediting the faith - an anagodbot or antigodbot or some other convolution of words.
Of course, we must agree to disagree. You see Christianity as solely bent on control and exclusion; I see it as an ideal message corrupted by control and exclusion. Whatever your vendetta is, I don't know or care - personal problems, mine or yours, have no place here. Yes, the Catholic Church and auxiliary Christian teachings have been corrupted and abused over centuries - I don't deny that; that constitutes as missing the mark of the core teaching. And yes, I don't agree with some of Christ's "teachings" - over time and translation, text becomes corrupted - I don't deny that either. But, working with what is available, Jesus' core commandment holds true.
See, the trick here is to argue against me with the fact that I'm using the Bible in a fundamental sense or that the text of the core belief itself is potentially corrupted through translation. That's fine by me - it's highly possible. But, for the sake of this argument, we rest on the premise that Matthew 22:37-40 is the core of Christian morality, as stated by Christ himself. Until then, your "message [on] the tallest mast" amounts to nothing more than the corrupted abuses and/or intentional mistranslations of men using religion as a control device which, while still wicked, has nothing to do with the core moral message of Christianity.
"nails its message to the tallest mast"
That statement could have had more force - "nailed its message right to the cross" would evoke much more pathos, though I don't mean to criticize.
The greatest commandments: to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.
If we accept your premise as true - that modern Christianity preaches segregation and intolerance - then it clearly missed its core belief, didn't it? If that's the case, then why do you believe that Christianity's core teaching is one of hate and bigotry? If you do not, then why is your argument on the wrong side of this board?
Any shock-value atheist can tell me that faith is ignorant or that prayer is useless, so unless you have meaningful material to contribute to this argument and are willing to explain why you think Christianity's main message is one of segregation and intolerance, do so.
True, chances are unlikely, but the chance is there; those who believe could be just as wrong as those who don't. The problem is that such a far-fetched notion has pervaded society for generations. With that timespan comes the continual tweaking of the notion to be potentially true - instead of simply dismissing a viable God as a childhood imaginary friend, people have crafted the workings of exactly how and why a God could exist.
The method of attack should not focus on the Bible - it's very easy to discredit pieces of literature and, as shown by the American atheist movement, it is highly overdone. It should focus on the doctrines of the faith itself - predestination, heaven and hell, sin, the miracle of Jesus - everything. Deconstructing the notion of God should encompass the major aspects of God; focusing on the scrawls of ancients instead of the beliefs themselves amounts to child's play. For people who think the Bible nothing more than rubbish, they certainly hang on to it as much as the believers do. If someone could deconstruct the Catechism, THEN I'd be impressed.
I am probably a good person but I haven't taken the time to fill out my profile, so you'll never know!