Evangelicals and Nones: Wrongheaded Analysis by CT

(Shawn T Murphy) #21

Dear Michell,
You actually proved my point by answering the questions. Your answers did not logically address the questions in simple terms, especially the last two questions. This is why you have seen a decrease in percentage of the population calling themselves religious - no logical answers to the difficult questions that religion should be answering. Science often has better answers for them.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Mitchell W McKain) #22

Not to those question, Shaun. Any pretense otherwise is pseudoscience and deception.

except the second question… and that was the scientific answer. Without suffering there is no learning (of which evolution is just one example)… and science has demonstrated that without that there would be no life.

(Shawn T Murphy) #23

It didn’t claim science had the right answer, just a logical sounding one, better than what most preachers are offering.

(Mitchell W McKain) #24

I didn’t say there were any problem with the answers that science provides, I said that except for the second one, science doesn’t address those questions you posted. When science has answers they tend to (as in eventually) be the right answers. The real problem is whether they are even the right questions, because science is rather limited in the type of questions it can answer.

(Shawn T Murphy) #25

Let me give an example of the simple logic failures that exist today in Christianity. Take the born-again movement. People are taught that all they have to do is believe in Jesus and all their sins are forgiven: past, present and future. On the surface, it is great promise for people, and it attracts many.

But when born-again Christians try to spread this wonderful message to their friends and they meet resistance, they react in various, non-Christ-like ways. Some react by telling their friends that if they don’t believe in Jesus, they will face eternal torment. Some become self-righteous and try to exert their “moral authority”. And yet others poke holes in this superficial teaching by asking the simplest of questions: “What about the billions who never had the chance to choose Jesus?”

These are the types who end up placing their faith in science to one day answer the difficult questions I posted above, since in the last 2000 years, none of the surviving religions can.

(Mitchell W McKain) #26

I doubt the term “logical failure” applies in this case though I do think there are logical failures in some of the teachings found in Christianity today. The problems in this case are numerous, such as terrible pragmatic implications and inconsistencies with the teachings of Jesus and Paul in Bible. This is what I call Gnostic Christianity (because of its rather blatant gospel of salvation by knowledge) which has rather consistently been the type of Xtianity you react against, projecting this on all Christians as if this sort of thing defines Christianity which it does not. More importantly, rejecting this version of Xtianity does not require any kind of leap to either reincarnation or universalism.

The teaching of Jesus was… “your sins are forgiven, therefore go and sin no more.” Salvation is not about escaping the consequences of sin but about getting rid of these self-destructive habits because they are themselves the death of the spirit. Paul explains that if you think you have some way of saying who goes to heaven and who goes to hell then that is not faith but legalism. Faith means putting your salvation in the hands of God and giving yourself wholly to doing what is right for its own sake.

And that is only one of the negative consequences of this kind of distortion of Christianity. Another is an attitude entitlement directly coming from the non-Biblical inclusion of “future sins” in this already twisted formula, which I have already shown to have been responsible for turning Xtianity into a force of evil in the world.

As well they should. And I applaud them when they do so. Science is a far more valuable faith than this twisted Gnostic Xtianity. I have made it clear many times that I don’t see atheism as the ultimate evil. Bad religion is a greater evil than that – something which is made crystal clear in the Bible.

So you criticizing certain areas and sectors of Christianity is not something that I or other Christians object to. Indeed, this is frankly a major Christian pastime. But it does not follow from these criticisms that your offering reincarnation and universalism is better than other teachings of Christianity opposed to such areas and sectors of Christianity.

(Shawn T Murphy) #27

Dear Michell,
I dod not know if you have ever read the simple explanation that is the core of my belief. You have labeled it Gnostic or universalism, but is more than just a label. I find it quite intestine that my most popular post on Quora is this simple explanation. I don’t expect you to agree or disagree, I just wanted to set the record starlight that it is not simple Gnostic or universalism.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Mitchell W McKain) #28

No. I have pointed out that you have advocated reincarnation and universalism as answers to the inconsistencies of a version of Xtianity which I have called Gnostic. It is easy to observe that opponents are often defined as much by the position which they oppose as by the position which they advocate. You see this a lot among atheists, whose rejection of the existence of God is often founded on a particular theological conception of God. People do get beyond this when they come to understand the greater spectrum of beliefs which the one they are reacting to is only a part not the whole.

Took a quick look… not even remotely interested.

(Shawn T Murphy) #29

Thought so. It is a simple, logical explanation of science and all the religions combined. Christianity ignores Lucifer to its detriment, because it is he who hijacked Christianity with his servants Constantine and Justinian and every pope that followed.

I just wanted you to know exactly where I stand.

(Mitchell W McKain) #30

This is a typical cult tactic – claiming you are the true Christianity because the devil took the religion over to change all the evidence to something else. But it just isn’t reasonable – its the same kind of tactic used by creationists and flat earthers. History demonstrates that things just don’t work that way, because what we see instead is almost every ecumenical council which defined Christianity more narrowly left behind branches of Christianity which did not agree.

I often suggest that the southern Baptists have hijacked the Evangelical movement, but this is only to show why the impression of evangelicals by the public has become so one-sided and negative, confusing evangelicalism with the narrow-minded fundamentalist conception of Christanity by the southern Baptists. The fact is there are plenty of evangelicals still around which remain true to the original idea.

But there are no such groups left behind by such a hijacking as invented by Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, or this reincarnation-universalist angelism of yours Shawn. So it just isn’t credible.

To be sure Origen existed and no doubt he had few fans but not widespread enough, strong enough, different enough, or deeply rooted enough to leave behind a sector of Christianity disagreeing with Christianity after Justinian. So to the rest of us it just looks like Origen was particularly creative theologian whose ideas didn’t always agree with the mainstream of Christianity. Condemning him as a heretic was probably excessive and politically motivated at the time (just as I think the condemnation of Pelagius was excessive). The decision hasn’t been universally supported either, probably because some of his work, such as survived, was found to be good and worthwhile.

Frankly, I think it more likely that some of the distortions of mainstream Christianity can be attributed to Origen himself.

(Shawn T Murphy) #31

Just as a historical reminder for you. It was the Jewish leaders who put their Messiah to death, so I do not trust the “mainstream.” Jesus also said, that His Kingdom is not of this world. It was Constantine and Justinian that were mostly responsible for building the church in this world, and if you believe in Jesus, then you should be very skeptical of those building influential churches in this world, including Mormons and JW. It is not what he taught.

You have labeled me as a cultist, Gnostic and universalist so far, what is next? Origen was treated like Socrates and Jesus, and I know that I am in the minority, but I believe these three had something very important to teach us that the king of this world did not what us to know.

Best Wishes, Shawn


Quite possibly because this is what Jesus said. Just look at the number of times that Jesus said “believe in me”. There are quite a few times that was recorded in the NT.

(Mitchell W McKain) #33

Amen to that. You got no argument from me there. My mention of the mainstream did not imply anything otherwise. The point was and remains that there is no evidence whatsoever that Justinian altered Christianity from some previous version which agreed with the more radical ideas of Origen let alone the ideas you are pushing – no more than the similar claims by Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons.

No I did not but I will now and the label is liar. To say you have used a cult tactic is not the same thing as labeling you a cultist. To say that you have equated Christianity with a particularly Gnostic version of it is not the same as labeling you Gnostic. And to say that you have advocated reincarnation and universalism is simply a fact and not any kind of labeling, but by all means if you want to withdraw your advocacy of these ideas then go right ahead.

You want a few labels for me, here are a few and you are welcome to them. Call me an open theist with lip curled sneer if you like. Point your finger and shout incompatibilist! or monist! or pragmatist! or existentialist! I have no problem with being labeled correctly according to what I believe. Or if you really want to get nasty you can aim the labels: theist, Christian, protestant, evangelical, or liberal. And since the terms may be somewhat relative you might call me names such as “Bible thumper” or “Jesus freak.” I might find those amusing. Or you could go with the classics I have been called before: “post modernist” or “godless scientist,” but that will only prove you care nothing about the truth.

(Shawn T Murphy) #34

Dear Mitchell,
I guess you have not studied history carefully. Justinian was comparable to HItler in my book. In 543 AD, he declared the teaching of Origen anathema nearly 300 years after his death. “The Anathematisms of the Emperor Justinian against Origen”. It took the church ten years to burn the books and rewrite the doctrines to ease these teachings of Origen from existence before they ratified the emperor’s edict at the Fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in 553 AD.

In the meantime, Justinian committed genocide on the Arians, whom he had just declared heretics. Yes, this goes down in history as Justinian “defending Rome from the barbarians”, but really? It is an old trick used by Roman rulers. The main evidence that Justinian left the world is a little thing called the dark ages. He had destroyed the enlightened Christians and it would take over 900 years for them to return.

I eagerly await your lie detector!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #35

The concept of the ‘dark ages’ has some germs of truth in it which have been inflated to mythical proportions. You should read James Hannam (author of “God’s Philosophers”) - but you can read a shorter article by him on Biologos here and another one here. He brings much more objectivity and needed corrective to the still-promulgated tales of a dark millennium allegedly caused by the church.

As usual, reality is much more complicated than polemicists would have you believe.

(Shawn T Murphy) #36

Dear Mervin,
I know that is not a black and whit situation. There are many aspects to this time period. I never said that science stopped, I said that the west lost the enlightened Christians. This loss of enlightenment brought spiritual darkness and a materialistic behavior.

The same thing happened with the fall of the Ionian Greeks and the death of Socrates. The unenlightened historian does not see the great loss when the pagans gained a majority in Athens and turned the democracy into an oligarchy. At the same time, science lost it roots to the enlightened Greeks like Euclid, Pythagoras and Democritus in favor of the poor student, Aristotle.

(Jay Johnson) #37

And who rediscovered the true Christianity for us? You? The founder of whatever cult it is that you follow?

(Shawn T Murphy) #38

No Jay, it was Calvin, Luther and Zwingli that rediscovered the enlightened Christianity that Justinian destroyed. This was also the time that Galileo rediscovered the importance of Euclid, Pythagoras and Democritus over Aristotle after nearly a 1,000 years of darkness.

FYI, I have never claimed to be a prophet, I only help people to see that the “great” historical figures are often self anointed as great, and the enlightened researcher should look hard at those they destroyed to attain their status.

(Jay Johnson) #39

Does the founder of your cult claim to be a prophet, to have received new revelation from God? I’ve seen you post quite a few links to books where the authors claimed as much. I’m not sure why you are allowed to continue proselytizing for this false religion of yours, but please stop pretending that it has anything to do with Christianity, other than a misappropriation of the name of Jesus to your cause.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #40

Hopefully you are learning something from the links I posted above, because it sounds like you really guzzled the “dark ages” koolaid. The ancient Greeks, for all of their rational and mathematical brilliance, still needed much correction eventually done by luminaries during your ‘dark ages’, and Aristotle, for all his faults still gave much grounding philosophy that would prove so fertile to modern science.

Some of the Greeks you venerate may have been great thinkers indeed, but so little is known about them that it is difficult to say how much they may have been indebted to prior thinkers we know even less or nothing about. For every Democritus there seems to be a Leucippus, and before him … who knows… Pythagorus seems to have been part of a mathematical cult that is very obscured by the fog of time, and Euclid may not even have existed as a single person at all. We can certainly (and rightly) admire these legendary figures nonetheless just through works attributed to their names [or even that just mention them], but the distances of time are also very convenient toward a program of romanticizing them to levels far beyond what they likely actually achieved.

Again … not to say these weren’t great people. I’m just noting that you seem to have an incessant finger on the balance toward these ancient Greek luminaries [to an unhealthy extreme of even worshiping them] at the expense of much that was actually accomplished during the middle ages. You haven’t provided sufficient warrant for the extent of your veneration of the one and opprobrium of the other.