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Stats: 2,037,999 members, 4,365,549 topics. Date: Saturday, 21 July 2018 at 05:15 AM
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 2:48pm On Nov 04, 2017|
WHY YOU BELIEVE
You are a believer; I'm not. Let's take a moment for honest reflection.
You know your god is the god you were raised to believe in. You know other people believe just as strongly in other gods and other religions. What convinces you that you've got it right is that it seems to work. Sometimes your prayers are answered and sometimes you feel close to God, you may even sense God talking to you and feel amazing.
You think there must be a god--how else can everything be explained: the universe; life; the laws of nature? So it all makes sense. You see that god explains everything. It's perfect.
But there are other things you know too you don't often think about.
You know that other gods and other religions work too. Believers in these gods think their prayers are answered and feel close to their gods and feel amazing. What you ignore is what this means. Unless you accept that there are a lot of gods, you know deep down that non-existent gods can appear to answer prayers and make you feel amazing. You know this means humans are capable of creating these feelings in their own brains.
Furthermore, if your god can explain the universe, life and everything else, then so could the other gods. And you know, you really DO know, that these unexplained things MAY turn out to have perfectly natural explanations that are just waiting for us to discover, just as we discovered the causes of earthquakes and lightning.
You know humans have worshipped gods for thousands of years--many, many different gods. So you know many gods have been INVENTED by humans. The question you should ask yourself is this; is it possible that ALL gods were invented by humans? You know the answer to this question too. The answer is "yes".
This does not necessarily mean there are no gods. But it does mean the reasons you believe your god is real are not valid reasons. They are excuses for believing.
Does it really make sense to hold strong beliefs when all you have is excuses?
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by budaatum: 3:06pm On Nov 04, 2017|
*John*: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 2:30pm On Nov 05, 2017|
WHY HAVE RELIGIONS GOT MORE AND MORE BARMY?
Religions used to be quite straightforward. For the longest time. people worshipped real things of value. For example, sun worship was common until the demise of the Roman Empire.
There is a real sense in which the sun contributed to the creation of life and sustains life. We would soon be dead without it. If you want to say "thank you" for life on Earth, the sun is as good a thing to thank as anything.
But a few thousand years ago, it started to get silly. We began worshipping invisible, undetectable gods- -so comprehensively undetectable in fact, that you would swear they don't exist at all. We can only interact with this new breed of god in our imaginations. But the barmy didn't stop there.
In Christianity for example, we have to believe God wanted to forgive human sin and decided he could do this only with a human sacrifice. So he arranged to be born as a human (from a blushing virgin, of course) and then arranged to have himself killed as a sacrifice to himself.
The more modern religions have taken barmy to a new level. Take Scientology. Scientology incorporates old favorites like humans having an immortal spirit and reincarnation and adds a new dimension. It teaches about Xenu, the dictator of the "Galactic Confederacy" who 75 million years ago brought billions of his people to Earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs.
Why can't we just go back to being grateful that the sun keeps our planet on an orderly trajectory, keeps us warm and nourishes our crops? After all, that is factual and you would not need to intensively indoctrinate infants to ensure people believe it.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 4:11pm On Nov 07, 2017|
Bàǹtẹ́, ońdè: old religion
Wrist band, handkerchief: new religion
Nigerians: same people, same superstitions. Just different religions. Always looking for short cuts. Always.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:13pm On Nov 08, 2017|
Rule of thumb: if a doctrine—any doctrine at all—needs a threat (whether of physical harm in the here and now or of damnation and suffering in the hereafter) to be accepted as truth, that doctrine is most likely false and wanting. Suspect it. Be very critical towards it and where it serves only the interests of a certain few to the detriment of many, expunge it.
The Catholic Church has spent the last 50 years apologizing for its actions, inactions and complicity through its doctrines that adversely affected millions of people, resulting in the death of many. In 1633, the Roman Catholic Church forced Galileo Galilei, a catholic scientist to recant on his views on and support of Copernican heliocentrism (the theory that the sun, as opposed to the earth is the center of the universe, and that the planets revolve around it.) and placed him under house arrest, where he eventually died. Heliocentrism was declared a heretical doctrine and books, studies and researches on heliocentrism were banned. It wasn't until some 360 years later, in 2000 that the Church tendered an apology for its treatment and condemnation of Galileo and his book/work respectively.
And while he (Galileo) was lucky to live out his life, dying within the confines of his own home, another wasn't so lucky. His name was Giordano Bruno. An Italian mathematician and philosopher. In 1600 he was burned at the stake, after a 7-year trial which condemned him for heresy for many of his theories, including that of the infiniteness of the universe, his "many worlds" theories as well as his openly challenging many of the core doctrines of the catholic church.
Today, we know that the planets go around the sun. We know that there are many worlds apart from this one we're conversant with. A lot of the doctrines of the catholic church are false, if not absurd (transubstantiation and the virgin birth for instance.) But these doctrines were spread by fear. Fear of excommunication. Fear of death. Fear of eternal damnation. We have had to watch the Church apologize for its embarrassing failures, for its errors in judgment and for the deaths it had sanctioned, allowed or executed. All because it would not allow anyone question its doctrines.
Pastor E. A. Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a collosal pentecostal church, with branches all over the world, this week reiterated the threat that has held many a tither captive. In a message, available on YouTube, the pastor addressed the growing concern, brought to the fore by a certain OAP, Daddy Freeze on the need (or lack thereof) for tithing by 21st century Christians. In his own words:
"Avoid divine curse like a plague...
"... If your general overseer curses you you can pray and fast to your father in heaven, but if God curses you, where will you go? ...
"do not let anybody get you into trouble by attracting God's curse to yourself. Please pay your tithes..."
He's hardly the first pentecostal preacher to speak up against non remittance of tithes by faithfuls. Last year, Bishop Oyedepo, Founder of The Living Faith Church, in a sermon on tithing that went viral, said:
"Everybody believes that God has an open Heaven order of blessings for His people. But you see it takes your tithing to qualify for it. So, if you only know the promise but you don’t know the condition, you will die frustrated..."
As far back as 2011, the same Bishop reiterated the threats against non payment of tithes in these words:
" Tithing is an inescapable covenant obligation. You can’t escape poverty if you don’t pay your tithes. Rather, you come under a curse because God says ye are robbing Him. The tithe is God’s. So no matter how much you give in other areas, if your tithe is out of place, you will still come under a curse, because you are robbing God. It is the master key to enjoying financial fortune..."
The internet is awash with media articles, sermons, teachings, news bits etc by prosperity preachers and pentecostal pastors on tithing and the punishments for withholding tithes. It is not the threats that bother me (I don't not take them any more seriously than the threat of divine halitosis issued last year for criticism of a certain school's exorbitant fees. I don't seriously consider that I, or anyone else for that matter, would be punished in some imagined hell for choosing to spend my hard-earned money on myself.), it is the psychological manipulation by these "Men of God". Take a very careful look at those who most actively campaign for tithing. Look at their houses. Look at the clothes and jewelry they wear, the cars they're conveyed in and the jets they fly in. Do you think their material wealth falls from the sky? Do you think their opulence is downloaded from the spirit realm? No. It is your monies that clothes and houses them. And they will employ any obfuscation, coercion or threat to ensure that you continue to fund their extravagance.
You have access to your Bible. Read it. Digest it. Understand it. Do not let any self-ordained "Man of God" live out his dreams at your expense.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 10:04pm On Nov 08, 2017|
Don't be a deliberate idiot and a public nuisance, nobody ever became rich because they paid tithes, otherwise Africa, the world's most backward continent will be brimming with billionaires. And nobody ever became broke because they didn't.
And I hear the highest number of millionaires are in China, over a billion people who don't know the meaning of tithes. This paradox doesn't slap your brain because your skull is made of concrete.
"Stupidity is also a gift of God but one mustn't misuse it."
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 12:40pm On Nov 09, 2017|
TITHING: THE GULLIBILITY AND HYPOCRISY OF THE NIGERIAN CHRISTIAN - By Nkechi Bianze.
Back in 2013, in my home Church, something happened that changed my whole perspective. An alter call for donations was made, thus:
“Praise tha Lord o. Our Daddy in the Lord is visiting us with his army of Soldiers. We need to look after our daddy very well. We need to lodge him in the most expensive hotel in town for one week. Feed him and mummy, transport him and look after him while he is with us.”
I was already making calculations in my head at this point, with the idea of the price of the most expensive hotel, and what it costs to lodge people.
Then the announcer continued...
“We are also going to look after his 50-man entourage, likewise. It would cost us at least N100k per day to look after Daddy and Mummy, and at least N70k per day to look after each of his 50-man entourage.”
I’m quite fast with numbers, most especially when these numbers are about money. Thus, it took me less than a minute to come up with a sum total of what they expected us to donate so we can “look after” the spiritual leader of the church. We are talking about a fund raising of not less than N25.2 million Naira here. For what? To have the spiritual leader come and preach to us for a couple of hours per week.
When the calls were made for those who want to give N50k and above to walk down to the “healing ground” for special prayers, I was about to go. I had N50k to give. But then, I snapped within me. I remembered that there are families who are struggling to feed. I remembered that there are children who can’t go back to school because they can’t afford tuition. I remembered that there are people in hospitals who are dying because they can’t afford treatments of N10k.
I had initially wanted to stand up to walk to the front with my N50k, but I saw myself parking my bag, and walking out of the church.
I went out, waved an okada man, and asked him to take me to the central hospital. I went into the hospital, then asked the nurse if there was anyone struggling with medical bills. I was showed two patients. One was a woman who had just put to bed, and two was a child who had just been treated for malaria. I gave them N15k each. The child could now be allowed to go home. His petty trader single mother almost rolled on the floor thanking me. What for? N15k? It was embarrassing as well as fulfilling.... I actually dropped a tear.
I took a bike to the car park, saw a crippled beggar, he was carrying his plastic plate begging the food seller for food. I gave him N5k, and also bought him food.
I went back to Church to join my parents, just like nothing happened.
The following day, I went to the primary school I attended at some point, greeted the head teacher, and asked if there was any student struggling financially. I was showed some. I chose three. I gave each of them N10k. I ended up spending over N65k on strangers who needed my money the most. I paid hospital bills, fed a beggar for at least one week, and paid tuition fees for three.
Any God who thinks that I should be in hell because I didn’t enrich an already stinking rich man who is a thousand times richer than myself and my parents, but rather gave that money to the poor, is a God I never want to have anything to do with.
This was the beginning of it all.
I don’t believe in tithing. That’s a modern day religious scam.
But I do “tithe”.
Everything that I should have dropped in the Church accounts goes directly to the poor. I pay tuition fees for people, I pay hospital bills, and I feed the poor. All these I do whenever I have the money to do it.
After this experience in 2013, I felt so happy within myself. I felt an inner Joy. I still feel joy within each time I remember that I have put and keep putting smiles on the faces of people who almost had no hope at some points, just with my N10k, N20k, here and there. So, I made a vow in 2013 that love is going to be my religion where I would be paying my tithe and offerings to people, mainly strangers that won’t recognize me again some hours after.
Even the Bible says, whatsoever you do to the least of thou brethren, so you do unto me.
Jesus Christ gave more than he received. The early missionaries that brought Christianity to Nigeria gave more than they received. They built schools, hospitals and churches for free. They did a lot to improve human lives, and asked for nothing back.... only believe.
But the opposite is what we have amongst Nigerian pastors these days. They make their gullible members milk cows to enrich themselves.
What is a sane man, who goes by the title “GO” in a country where many only survive on less than a dollar a day doing with four private jets? That has gone beyond greed, that’s insanity! And Nigerians keep enabling these brands of insanities.
Nigerian pastors and GOs will continue getting richer for as long as the average Nigerian Christian remains gullible. This gullibility is simply self-inflicted-mental-laziness. You have refused to think with your brains, so these GOs think for you. And they think for you to their own benefits.
I don’t give in Churches anymore. Heaven knows I won’t give a dime to a multi-billionaire pastor while there are still beggars on the streets.
Nigerian Christians need to start using their brains. This is URGENT!
Think man, think woman, because no one ever died of thinking critically with his or her brain.
Even though I become a billionaire today, no Nigerian pastor would get a dime from me. My “tithes”, arms, offerings and seeds would all go directly to the poor in my society. Not to some of the richest people in the world.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 3:02pm On Nov 10, 2017|
ON TITHES et al
-TIME FOR SELF REGULATION
I have carefully followed very recent discussions and arguments on tithing. A certain daddy freeze started the debate when he cited scriptures to support why tithing is not required of the Christian. The moment i read it, i knew he was stoking what would become a massive conflagration.
Expectedly, the response was fierce. On both sides. Those who agree with daddy freeze and those who don’t. Soon scriptures were being copiously cited; the combatants would shame many trial lawyers by their performance.
Then the matter escalated.
My bold, dear friend and brother Paul Adefarasin was soon quoted on the social media as weighing in on the side of tithe compliance. And what I am sure he believed was a family discussion in his magnificent church was openly shared out here and of course daddy freeze saw it and responded, further digging in. Paul reportedly responded the following Sunday and the social media quoted him, and daddy freeze was also waiting for him. It became roforofo.
Then a video of the venerable pastor Adeboye surfaced and in a few words he condemned Daddy Freeze’s doctrine of no tithing. Daddy freeze was not going to allow daddy G.O. get away with it. Politely, he gave it back to baba and kept insisting that instead of attacking him, let the focus return to the substantive issue he raised and let relevant scriptures be the arbiter.
Last week, the London/Lagos pastor Matthew Ashimolowo was on tv. He understandably supported tithing and even supported the ownership of private jets, citing daddy G.O.’s ownership of one as a blessing.
This issue of tithing is about money. Period. And as a Pentecostal pastor myself, I know why this is generating so much furore. It’s not about tithes per se. In the dock is the general disenchantment with the lifestyle of some Pentecostal ministers. Let us be clear. Orthodox churches, white garment churches etc., have been paying tithes forever. I should know. My late father was an Anglican Revd. And it’s never been an issue. No one ever made a sound. No one ever complained.
People within and outside the church are using tithing, expensive church schools, flashy lifestyles of some Pentecostal ministers as reasons to complain. I assure you that if the Anglican or Catholic Church were to acquire a jet tomorrow, the noise would be less or none. It’s about Pentecostal lifestyles. The body language. Its about US. We are in the dock and not the body of Christ.
I am hoping this ends the debate on tithing. We should not engage in fisticuffs over it. Let those who believe pay. Let those who don’t hold their money. Let everyone be fully persuaded in the matter. Christianity is bigger and has more important agenda and PROGRAMMES. Tithing is too small to distract us.
I wrote a piece on Pentecostal excesses a few months ago. I warned that resistance from the public would continue to build up. Very soon Pentecostal ministers will have more Rolls Royces than industrialists. What business do they do? What factories do they run? Even Aliko does not have a Roller! People will ask these questions!!!
What to now do?
First on tithes. I believe in it. And so I pay. But I also would feel offended if my tithe was funding some pastor’s Hollywood-type lifestyle. And if for any reason anyone does not believe in it, it’s not a condition for making heaven. Hold on to your money.
On the more serious matter, Pentecostal ministers must urgently come together and speak to one another. For some, the lifestyle is too reminiscent of what their American counterparts do. If this backfired in America, be sure it will here!!! Its not so in the UK, at least not so prevalent. It’s too showy. There must be a new code of conduct. The bible talks of sobriety and moderation. We no longer see these in the Pentecostal fold. The excesses must stop. This competition with Rolls Royces and Pjets must be contained. And must every church have a London branch? Why not Gambia and Iraq and Afghanistan?
We must not forget one thing. The only source of these monies that are being spent on luxury lifestyles is via the congregation. Tithes. Offerings etc. Okay some pastors have a thriving publishing ministry, but who largely buys the books? While many pastors are still in bed till midday, the same congregants have done six hours of labour. We must respect them.
Its a matter of conscience even if it is not a sin. Must such monies from the labours of others be so spent? Even if the scriptures don’t condemn it, it is morally decadent. I have nothing against pastors living comfortably. Anglican, Methodist and catholic clergy are comfortable but are not excessive. The Deeper Life G.S., Pastor Kumuyi is comfortable but sober.
The excuse by people like Pastor Ashimolowo that pastors need jets because staying at the airport wastes time is insensitive. So why cant Pastors stay at airports if other people do? So without private jets, the work cannot be done? The departed fathers of the faith didn’t have PJs and see how they evangelized the world. The British PM has no jet. Jesus our master had no donkey. These itinerant pastors can reduce the junketing and make use of technology to reach millions. Seriously. And why can they not fly commercial airlines? Former heads of states do!!!!
As a matter of grave urgency, an enclave should be called where these matters are discussed. Non-pastor Christians must also be invited to contribute. Its time to speak truth to ourselves in love. Its time for a serious chastisement and admonition. Lets manage this before others get involved! Self regulation is the best form of regulation.
Otherwise the public resistance will drive especially the young out of the church to undesirable places. Plus government will one day move in to control this wealth that is being spent on decadent lifestyle. This will be a pity and a shame.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 3:29pm On Nov 10, 2017|
This issue of tithing is a particularly interesting issue. Once upon a time, it was 'suicidal' to utter that tithing is not a commandment in Christiandom. Now, it has become mainstream that there are indeed Christians who do not pay tithes. Some people can now boldly confront their pastors.
Perhaps there is an awakening. Shout-out to Daddy Freeze!
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:28pm On Nov 10, 2017|
This issue of tithing is a particularly interesting issue. Once upon a time, it was 'suicidal' to utter that tithing is not a commandment in Christiandom. Now, it has become mainstream that there are indeed Christians who do not pay tithes. Some people can now boldly confront their pastors.
Perhaps there is an awakening. Shout-out to Daddy Freeze!
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 2:12pm On Nov 12, 2017|
Let's be clear. Some of the examples used to teach religious lessons are horrific. It should leave a bitter taste in our mouths to teach kids that Abraham's willingness to slaughter Isaac is a great example of obedience.
Can we take a step back: Imagine someone telling you he has received those explicit instructions from God in his dream in November 2017. What would your reaction be? That it's okay to display a supreme act of obedience?
Please don't answer until you've taken time to think about it. Happy Sunday!
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:11am On Nov 16, 2017|
THE MIGHTY INVISIBLE FLEA
It is possible that a supernatural invisible flea created the universe. We don't know for sure. But you could ask yourself four questions:
Q1: How many things do we know for sure have natural explanations?
Q2: How many things, once thought to have supernatural explanations, are now known to have natural explanations?
Q3: How many things do we now know for sure have supernatural explanations?
A3: Precisely none.
Q4. How many supernatural things do we know for sure exist?
A4: See A3.
These facts don't completely rule out the invisible flea. But they do suggest natural explanations for things we don't yet understand are MUCH more likely than supernatural explanations.
You may find the invisible flea explanation very appealing but don't bet your life savings, or your life, on it being true. And, of course, the same logic applies to all supernatural explanations.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 10:20am On Nov 18, 2017|
I can't believe I'm going to write a long post after applauding someone today of ignoring long posts on Facebook. Josh just look at me.
Well, blame the fellow who argued with me that it's possible for many people to read the same book and for all of them to have vastly different, even opposite, but equally valid opinions about the book.
Let's start with how to know what's true and what's not. What's real and what's fiction. What's myth and what's reality.
There's always been a trend of anti-intellectualism in this country that seems to pretend that "my opinion is just as good as your evidence".
Which, of course, is not true.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That's not at stake. And when someone says, "Well, I've got the right to my own opinion"....no one is debating that. That's a change of subject. Don't fall for that tactic.
No one is saying that people don't have a right to their opinion. The point is that the opinion can still be complete and total BS.
So, how do you know if a claim is true or not? Is it possible that all worldviews are valid and that science and religion and New Age and alternative medicine are all just looking at the same thing through their own lens?
This was the kind of thinking I used to be engaged in because......well, it's friendly. It feels good. But, again, it's quite possible for something to feel good and still be complete rubbish.
So, how can you tell which is true? What's real? What's mythology and what's fact?
The answer comes down to one word: evidence.
A guy says "The moon is white and thus made of semo".
Another guy says, "No, it's made of rock."
Both opinions are obviously not true.
So, what do we do? We send a rocket to the moon, take some soil samples....and -- behold! -- evidence shows that the moon is made of rock. Not stale semo from the south of Sapele.
Same thing with alternative medicine (I was surprised to find there is the Nigerian Institute of Homeopathy ���). Someone says "homeopathy cures health problems". Someone else says, "Homeopathy is nothing but snake-oil. It's a quack remedy that's good for nothing but separating a fool from his money."
So, how can we know which is true? Simple: you get two groups of people who have nothing in common except a certain health problem....one group gets drinkable water.....and the other group gets a homeopathic remedy.
At the end of the test, you see that the group getting homeopathy didn't get better any quicker than the people getting just water.
Someone says that going without food makes prayer more effective when you're praying for someone to get well. Someone else says that makes no sense.
Studies are done and the result shows that food makes no difference. In fact, there's no evidence to show that the prayer WITH food made any difference.
Someone recently said, "Tosin, you're going down a dangerous path."
Yes. Exactly. This kind of thinking DOES produce a level of danger.
But the danger is not for the person doing the thinking. The danger is for ideas that are based on superstition, wish-thinking, old wive's tales and hocus-pocus. The more people learn to think critically, the more threatened these ideas become.
Is this an easier way to live?
Definitely not. It's not for wimps. It's not for the intellectually lazy.
But it's also the only way I know of for a person to go through life in a way that will reduce the amount of BS s/he believes. It's not fool-proof. And we all believe in nonsense of some kind.
But, critical thinking is the best tool we have for reducing that amount of nonsense.
And I have never heard of any society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too desirous of evidence to support their core beliefs. But we know many who have been terribly hurt for believing and acting on beliefs that are simply not true.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Kenerd: 9:42am On Nov 19, 2017|
joseph1013:Don't stop, we are reading.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:45pm On Nov 19, 2017|
EASY TO BELIEVE BUT WRONG
You may find it hard to believe that a cumulative process of gradual change over billions of years could result in the diversity and complexity of life we see around us today.
You may find it easier to believe that all life forms were created in a few days by a higher power.
But life on earth has left a trail of evidence. And all of the evidence is consistent with a gradual, cumulative process, whilst much of it directly CONTRADICTS the idea of an orgy of creation that took place over a few days.
So this is what I don't understand, why is it easier to believe something that cannot be true rather than something that could be true but is hard to believe?
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Hardrive: 7:54pm On Nov 20, 2017|
This thread is filled with so much insight. I stumbled on it while i was trying to find answers to why atheist believe what they believe. Sir if you can send me at least 5 pdf files on some of the most important books on this topic i would be very grateful.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 9:53am On Nov 21, 2017|
I'm sending you something right away. But wait...which religion do you gravitate towards?
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 10:17am On Nov 21, 2017|
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
Just over half of the humans on Earth believe in the Abrahamic God —about 3.7 billion people. These people are confident that God is real and many of them do their best to win favour with him. They believe this is important because their ETERNAL LIFE will depend upon how God judges them.
These believers belong to three main religions; Jews, Christians and Muslims each with very different beliefs. (Jews are less than 0.4% of the total, so I'll ignore them for now.)
Let us imagine God does exist. And let's start by assuming the Christians have got it right —that God sent his son to be sacrificed for our sins and we have to accept Jesus as Lord to be saved.
In this case, there is nothing God can do to help those 1.6 billion Muslims who do not accept Jesus as Lord. These people don't even accept that Jesus was the son of God. Of course, this means they will all spend eternity in Hell.
If we assume the Muslims are right, people will need to follow the teachings of Qur'an to avoid spending eternity in Hell. So all Christians will be duly condemned.
Actually, it's much worse than this. There are two main denominations of Islam and several smaller ones with theological differences that have led to disputes and bloodshed for centuries. It is not at all clear that Heaven will be available to those who have chosen the wrong denomination no matter how good they are as Muslims.
It's even worse for Christians. There are thousands of Christian denominations and many of them differ on exactly how one qualifies for Heaven. In the most optimistic scenario, only a small proportion will make it to Heaven.
Even if you are lucky enough to have chosen the correct denomination, you will still be judged on your faith (and, perhaps, works) and many will be found wanting and be condemned. However you run the numbers, only a small proportion of people will make it to Heaven, the rest will suffer forever.
And, of course, it is possible that Abraham made the whole thing up and his God is fictional. If it is, how can you be sure there is not another God, with his own dreadful Hell waiting for ALL Christians, Muslims and Jews?
The real problem is there is absolutely no way to work out which religion and denomination and behaviour will get you to Heaven. It is a lottery. Your chances of winning are certainly less than 10% and, more likely, a very tiny fraction of that.
So, I do wonder how believers can be so confident that their eternity is assured when the odds are so awful? Do let us know.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by hahn(m): 11:21am On Nov 21, 2017|
What is your name on Facebook?
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Hardrive: 9:19pm On Nov 21, 2017|
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 7:44pm On Nov 23, 2017|
ANOTHER OF ADEBOYE'S TALES-BY-MOONLIGHT STORIES
I had just become General Overseer and I was visiting our parishes, we were very many then.
I went to this particular parish finish ministering; and I came and I stood outside, there was this young man coming towards me, he was prostrating and getting up, prostrating and getting up until he got to where I was, he dropped something in the pocket of my jacket, and he began to run.
Because of the way he was behaving when he was coming, I quickly want to check what he had dropped in my pocket, and it was a fifty kobo note – it was those days when fifty kobo were a lot of money. Those days will come back in Jesus name; don’t you agree with me?
I know some of you may think it is impossible, just don’t claim it.
I said those days will come back again.
So, I called him back.
What is the problem?
He said, I had that our father in the Lord is coming and I want to give you a gift, this is all I have.
How do you give fifty kobo to the General Overseer?
I said, Haa! My son I promise you I will spend this money myself, so that I can bless you from the bottom of my heart – I said ‘my God will bless you’; and he went away rejoicing.
I think either a year or two later, I was back to the same church, and I saw the boy smiling, coming towards me – This time now radiant.
Daddy I have a testimony. Last time you are here, I gave you fifty kobo because that was all I had.
But since then, God has done marvelous things in my life; now I have a whole school to myself.
I said you have what?
He said when you are here I had no job, so what I was doing was, I was coaching children after school. But then after you say ‘God bless you’, every child in my coaching class came first in class; and parent began to hear about it and began to bring their children, so many children that I had to be employing teachers.
I want to say to somebody on credit – God Bless You.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Kenerd: 10:34pm On Nov 23, 2017|
Lol, na really tales by the moonlight
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Elparaiso(m): 11:32pm On Nov 23, 2017|
Bolded 1. "Every"? Come on!
Bolded 2. On credit o! Which means to claim this "blessing", you have to pay today's equivalent of then 50kobo. Mind you, according to the testimony, it was big money.
It takes wisdom to be rich, you know. At least, a thousand people would pay that day. I wan be pastor abeg.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by Kenerd: 11:37pm On Nov 23, 2017|
Elparaiso:Asin ehn, every child came first, shuooo.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 3:56pm On Nov 26, 2017|
Today after watching for the umpteenth time the clip of Pastor Paul Adefarasin delivering a stumbling speech on Tithes, I am reminded of a time when I gave out my family’s feeding money for the month, to the church, as tithes.
It was 1999. I was nineteen, our mum was abroad.
She sent our feeding money for the month and in my Christian zealousness, fueled by a sermon laced with violent outbursts and an equal measure of quietly resounded admonishments, all surrounding the subject of how many of us had robbed God and this was responsible for family troubles such as having a ‘broken home’ - the kind I was from, I carried our feeding money ooooooo, I carried everything and gave church.
Every last kobo, brethren!
My siblings were stunned. I convinced them that God ‘gat us’. I would tell Mum what I had decided and she would sort us out knowing that I did what was right for the family.
That my mother didn’t kill me that day was only because the conversation had been via phone.
“You gave seventy thousand as tithes? Is it your money? Did you work for it? Are you maaaaaaad?!!!”
I felt so sorry for her. Sinner like her. She didn’t understand what I had done for her family. I had just sorted out our past problems and future ones.
My kid sister was asthmatic and particularly sickly.
My brother was in uni outside Lagos and we were always worried about his safety.
Dad and Mum were separated and it seemed like they were never getting back together.
I was bespectacled and pastor had said how no sickness (including myopia and astigmatism) was from God.
IS THIS WOMAN NOT SEEING HOW I AM HELPING HER LIFE?
And if not that the welfare of my siblings was involved, she would have probably told me to go and sell my jeans and eat food when I asked her “so will you send another feeding money? There is no food in the house”.
Ngwanu. There you go, Nk’iru. Einstein Njoku.
The other day, a friend who knows how passionately affected I am by the issue of pastors and churches siphoning money from people under any guise, felt the need to remind me again that not everyone is ‘under a spell’, not everyone feels ‘deceived’.
He insisted that he gave tithes willingly. And many people say this too, but I call shenanigans on it.
If there was no Malachi verse wetin wetin, you wouldn’t pay tithes. You give ‘offerings’ at your will, but tithes you give because it has been dressed up quite severely and as far as you’re concerned it is the only reason why you have a job, are healthy, have children, and have never been attacked by robbers.
See your head. �
Anyway, I asked my friend - okay let us agree that you have sense and nobody is scamming you because you’re not desperate and downtrodden, do you really believe in your church mind, that even people who have nothing, should tithe? Is it okay that pastors Malachi everyone into submission? Why not say “listen you don’t have to do this but if you want to, leggo!”?
Even comot for tithes sef, what about all those offerings? Sometimes you can see it in the pastor’s face that even bros knows that he has overdone it. But he go just push.
“Lemme try this last time”, he go tell himsef.
“If them too vex I just sharp sharp break into tongues and we pass there end service make people no beat me. Yes, today they have given:
Charity for missions
Prayer sanctuary workers welfare
But I can’t resist it, somebody (don’t) stop me! I’m gonna do it, I’m doing it, arrghhh....”
And he does it!
PASTOR: And church! May my people never tire to give! Somebody say amen?
The hearts of the congregants begin to beat wildly.
HEARTS OF THE CONGREGATION: Shey no be say this guy wan ask for another -
PASTOR: - so I know you’ve given seventeen offerings this Sunday. However, amen? Amen? Chiuu!!
(Chiuu is that incoherent sound that is meant to represent being in the spirit in an unplanned-for moment).
PASTOR: So put your hands in your pocket. The Lord has just told me today is a special thanksgiving Sunday for what his mighty hand is about to do for you NEXT WEEK. Amen?”
And sister Caro the solo singer of life, breaks out in “if you give, it shall be given unto you, good measure pressed down and running over!”
People go dey vexxxxxxx, dey tight face, but pastor has spoken. Not only has he Malachi-ed you into submission, he has also blackmailed you to pay in advance for a blessing, amen?
Chai! Them dey really get me da year! And all for what? All because I sabi feel guilty. Lemme just do this o, should in case this is the problem. I can’t just be making money and I won’t give first fruit.
I thank God I repented from giving him money. �
I remember how after I had seen the light and was talking to a pastor friend about these things, he said my own financial iniquity sef don full basin - say because I work in entertainment and get employed by various people sometimes doing two or more jobs at the same time, say I suppose dey do first fruit on every job.
Me? NK’IRU. NJOKU?
Like my mother asked me that year: am I maaaad?
Back to Adefarasin.
I watched that clip again and something occurred to me. This guy had to say what he said. The people he’s dealing with are the kind that will say they are not senseless. They are like my friend. They believe they can never be scammed. Pastor knows this. So he had to try a new tack.
Just say plenty things without saying anything sensible. But say it with an authoritative voice as usual. Undulate your tone though! Enunciate where necessary, and whisper as it becomes expedient. The spirit is leading you and you must stay in character. They will believe you.
But when I saw some faces in the crowd, I laugh taya. Chim ooooo!!!!
Anyway, this was the part of the speech that came in the clip I saw, which many of you have probably seen:
“God creates all species of being; he took a tithe - the family of God, which is comprised of angels, the living and the dead in Christ”
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Kai!!!!!!
“God creates the family of God; he took a tithe - Israel.
God created Israel, the Israelis; he took a tithe - Levi.”
At this point Adefarasin reminds me of Big Shaq, the moment he said “quick math”.
But pastor continues:
“In another conjecture, or in another reality, God created humanity; he took a tithe - the church.”
AT THIS POINT HE’S LOSING HIS CROWD SO HE SPEEDS UP HIS TEMPO.
“God created the church, took a tithe - the eldership. God created the eldership, took a tithe - the apostle. God created the Church, took the head of the church - christ; another tithe.”
And I stood up mentally and gave a bleeping round of applause.
“That boy good! He good!” (Coming to America, anyone?)
And in that crowd of people who always claim to have sense, who seem to have sense, will be six or seven grown arse adults who like the nineteen-year-old me, have little to give, but have bought into pastor’s charisma, live with unwarranted guilt, really want the best for their lives and families, and will be convinced that their entire lives will be saved if they give from what they do not have, to he who has.
If you fall into this category, I will pray for you tonight.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 7:43am On Dec 02, 2017|
WHEN A SMALL DOSE IS NOT ENOUGH
I remember reading about a man who was found dead in his house. Let's call him Mr A. He was a man in his forties and was found lying Unclad on his bed. There were no signs of foul play but his body was a shocking orange colour.
The post mortem revealed the man had died of liver failure. Mr A had few friends and only distant living relatives. Reporters spoke to neighbours and pieced together the circumstances of his death.
It seemed Mr A was a health food enthusiast and he had read that carrots were the perfect health food because of their high concentrations of vitamins and minerals coupled with fibre and low carbohydrates. Some two years earlier he had complained of feeling listless--lacking in energy and motivation. It was then that he decided to use carrot juice to boost his energy levels.
He invested in a juicing machine and made his own carrot juice. After some weeks, he felt he was getting no better so he increased his consumption from half a litre of juice each day to one litre. He continued to increase his consumption until, according to one neighbour, his diet consisted of some three litres of carrot daily, and almost nothing else.
His plan was to find the right dose of juice to combat his fatigue but the outcome was he found the right dose to trigger hypervitaminosis with the resultant liver failure and death.
I tell this story because it reminds me of some countries I know. The difference is, Mr A overdosed on vitamin A but these countries overdose on religion. Mr A's case illustrates perfectly, if you choose the wrong cure for your problems (he was almost certainly suffering from mild depression), you will not get better and may get worse.
If religion doesn't help you in small doses, don't expect it to help in large ones.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 12:54pm On Dec 03, 2017|
BLASPHEMY AND THE CREATURE IN YOUR ATTIC
Imagine you meet someone who strongly believed there was a creature living in his attic. A creature who watched his every move and could affect his life for better or worse. And he believed this creature needed to be appeased by performing regular rituals of chanting and singing.
Naturally, you would be sceptical. You would want to find out if there was any truth to his beliefs. Your conversation might go something like this:
You: Can you show me the creature?
Him: No. I can't do that. It can't be seen.
You: How do you know it's there then?
Him: I hear it. It talks to me and I talk back.
You: OK, can I listen to your conversation?
Him (shaking head): No. It doesn't work like that. You have to believe it is real before you can talk to it.
You: But how can I believe it's real if I can't see it or talk to it and only have your word that it's there?
Him: Oh it's definitely real. It's as real to me as you are right now.
You: I understand you believe that but how can I believe it with only your word to go on?
Him: You can doubt me but you can't prove it's not up there can you?
You: I don't suppose I can...
Him: You have to have faith. Join me in my daily chanting and soon you'll believe it too. You'll see the light and your life will be transformed. That's the only way.
If that story seems both crazy and familiar, it is. There is only one difference between the character in this story and the billions who believe in invisible gods. That difference is that your interlocutor is the ONLY person who believes in the invisible creature in his attic.
Because of this, not only would you not believe his story, but you would conclude he needed professional help for delusional disorder. And you would be right.
This story illustrates the true nature of religions. Religions are institutionalised delusional disorder. That is why they try so hard to make sure everyone is a believer--every disbeliever is a threat. The more disbelievers there are the closer believers are to becoming like the man in this story--isolated individuals believing highly improbable things that cannot be shown to be true.
Real religions employ techniques to divert us from this obvious conclusion. Most importantly, they teach children to believe at an age when they are impressionable and uncritical; religious leaders often wear impressive clothes and claim they have a privileged relationship with their invisible creature.
Then they seek to insulate their improbable and unsubstantiated beliefs from criticism. They promulgate respect for religious beliefs as a cultural norm. Sometimes, they even seek to make it a legally punishable offence to criticise religious beliefs.
I can think of nothing more damning of religious belief than the existence of blasphemy laws. It is an admission that these beliefs are so frail and indefensible that it should be a crime to challenge their truth or reality.
Truth and reality do not need to be defended by law. They can look after themselves.
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|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by budaatum: 1:31pm On Dec 03, 2017|
I will never die for my beliefs because I (have been wrong in the past and) might be wrong (now).
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 10:14am On Dec 04, 2017|
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:36pm On Dec 06, 2017|
THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE
If you are a Muslim there is a very good chance that whatever uncertainties you see in the world, your God isn't one of them. It is very likely you would say you KNOW Allah exists and Allah is the one and only god; you are likely to be CERTAIN Muhammad was the last prophet chosen by God and Islam is the only perfect religion.
You are probably so sure about these things that it is UNTHINKABLE to question them. But if these things are true why should questioning them be unthinkable? If these things are true, thinking about them should confirm your confidence in them. And, if they are not true, you can only discover that by thinking about them.
So how do you think about the "unthinkable"?
You can start by asking yourself how you know your beliefs are true. You can dismiss some reasons very easily. Your beliefs are not true because more than a billion people share them. If number of believers was a valid test, Christianity would be true. And before that Roman Paganism would have been true...
Your beliefs are not true because people you love and respect told you they are true. If this was a good test, Hinduism would also be true. Actually, every religion would be true.
You may be convinced because you have been told that the Qur'an is perfect and perfection can come only from God. But is it really perfect?
To find out you will have to read it. And you will have to read it, not with the intention of proving it is perfect but with the intention of discovering IF it is perfect. If you cannot approach the task with that attitude, don't bother because you will be wasting your time.
Does it contain verses that show an accurate understanding of the universe or does it resemble the understanding that a 7th century person might have? To be perfect, there must be NO mistakes, nothing that you have to explain away. All of it should be clear, unambiguous and correct.
Or you might like to think about other reasons that show God is real. More than 30 arguments for the existence of God have been offered over the centuries and all of them have been shown to be invalid. If you disagree, feel free to post your preferred argument below and I'll show you why you cannot rely on it.
If you dare think the unthinkable, what are you left with? You will be left with beliefs that you were told were true as a child and were reinforced as you grew up because they were deeply believed by almost every significant person you came into contact with.
This explains why religious belief is a function of geography and family. Look at a map of the religions of the world and it is clear--religious beliefs are passed from people to people and not from God to people.
Thinking the unthinkable could change your life, and it could change the world.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 6:37pm On Dec 07, 2017|
THE PROBLEM OF JEALOUSY
They say God is a god of infinite love. Yet the Bible tells us he is a very jealous god (Exodus 34:14 et al). This makes me wonder how a being of infinite love COULD be jealous?
If God has infinite love and other gods exist that humans worship, God should love those other gods so much that he should feel only joy that they are being worshiped. Think of it like this, if someone you truly love has good fortune could you be jealous of their good fortune? No, you can only be happy that they are happy. If God loves humans but not other gods, he does not have infinite love.
If there are no other gods, there is no reason for God to be jealous. I imagine God might be disappointed that humans were misguided or disobedient but not jealous.
However you look at it, God cannot be both jealous and infinitely loving and nor can he be jealous and the only god. This puts believers in a bit of a bind. They have to believe God is jealous because the Bible explicitly says so several times. But that only makes sense if God does not have infinite love AND if other gods exist.
Perhaps a simpler explanation is that the whole thing is a story invented by people who didn't bother to think it through.
|Re: My Thoughts And Questions About Religion by joseph1013: 2:34pm On Dec 10, 2017|
“Tax Compliance, Transferred Hope and Agaciro”
by Jekwu Ozoemene
I remember early this year when a friend noted in a presentation that the regional offices of Nigeria’s major Pentecostals remit a minimum of N200 Million per week to the centre while the smaller Pentecostal churches generate about N30 Million per week. He had gone beyond that slide when I called his attention to it, noting that he probably meant N200 Million and N30 Million per month respectively (both still very handsome figures), but he insisted that his numbers are correct.
It turns out that Nigeria’s 5 major Pentecostal churches alone generate between N5 Billion to N7 Billion in collections every week; N28 Billion / N20 Billion per month (if you opt for either the upper or lower figures) or N336 Billion / N240 Billion per annum.
To put this in further perspective, Lagos State with the highest Internally Generated Revenue capacity in the country managed N302.5 Billion IGR in the whole of 2016, Rivers State came in second at N85.28 Billion, Ogun N72.98 Billion, and Delta N44.045 Billion. In all, 35 States in Nigeria generated N801.9 Billion in IGR in 2016 (2016 IGR figures for Anambra and the Abuja FCT are unavailable).
And I get the argument that the funds received by these churches are “Free Will” gifts. I even understand when congregants argue that investment by the Church is not determined by the Daddy GO / Papa / Prophet / Pastor, and point to schools, football teams, hospitals, old people’s homes etc being run by these institutions.
It just scares me that the most populous and viable State in Nigeria, being Lagos, with all its responsibilities to 26 million citizens, generates considerably less revenue than the 5 major Pentecostal churches in Nigeria.
For a nation, this is a lot of “Free Will” donations that cannot be systematically and professionally channeled to strategic infrastructure needs (and yes, I know that we already have corruption in public service). The why, if you ask me, could be that there appears to exist a trust deficit (moral rule, sentiments, fairness and relationship between taxpayers and government) between the Nigeria sovereign and her people leading to low “Tax Morale” (the intrinsic motivation to pay tax).
This is further accentuated when you note that the country has one of the lowest Tax Revenue to GDP ratios in the world of 6.1%, ahead of only 11 countries; DRC at 5.9%, Angola at 5.7%, Saudi Arabia at 5.3%, Burma at 4.9%, Bahrain at 4.8%, Chad at 4.2%, Libya at 2.7%, Qatar at 2.2%, Equatorial Guinea at 1.7%, Kuwait at 1.5% and UAE at 1.4% (note the number of laggards that are emerging markets oil producing countries?). Citizens will rather give to the Church and other religious bodies (transfer all hopes and aspirations to God) than voluntarily or mandatorily contribute to government and infrastructure development.
And I hear the argument that we already provide infrastructure through various self-help initiatives; boreholes, private security, generators, even roads, schools and health care, however, all this silo resolutions will ultimately be more effective and less expensive if aggregated.
The Rwanda Government preaches the spirit of “Kwigira” – “Self-Reliance” and “Dignity” on the basis of which they have set up various investment platforms and an Infrastructure fund based simply on citizens “Free Will” contributions. So you see individual or corporate citizens who make free will contributions of up to 10% of their monthly or annual income to the fund (and I agree that there appears to be social pressure to comply), much in the same way that Christians engage in Tithing. The RNIT Iterambere Fund as well as Agaciro Development Fund, a Solidarity Fund (Agaciro is the Kinyarwanda word for “Dignity”, implying that Rwandans lost Dignity from the erstwhile reliance on foreign aid).
But that will be asking for too much from Nigerians. So for now, let us just accept that in Nigeria, “Believing God” and “Sowing a Seed” generates more revenue than taxes. Or (and I say this with all sense of responsibility, conscious of how sensitive religion is to us as a people) we tax the Churches and religious bodies. Should religious bodies act as quasi tax aggregators?
Which way Nigeria?
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