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Christianity vs. All Other Religions/Atheism/Agnostic

CarrieAnn13 replied...
Mar. 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

All the same, why didn't He warn them that Satan would try to tempt them?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

Hey there, sorry I haven't replied in a long time.  Spring break kept me away from the computers.

To answer your question:  I think that, in a way, God did warn Adam and Eve.

Firstly, Adam and Eve had a close relationship with God before they sinned.  God walked in the Garden of Eden and talked to Adam and Eve.  They were not ignorant newborns, I'm sure they understood what had happened with Lucifer in heaven.

And secondly, God did warn them about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:  "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2: 16-17)  So they knew what would happen if they ate from the tree.  God had warned them of the consequences.  He never warned them directly that Satan would decieve them into eating from the tree, but they should have known better anyway.  Am I making any sense?

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Of course you're making sense.  I should have known, but I haven't read the Bible in probably close to four years now.  I really should read it again.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm

CarrieAnn13:

Yeah, I just started reading through my Bible verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book.  But I'm only in Exodus!  :/

I need to read more.

Anyways, I was just wondering why you decided to be atheist.  I'm really curious.  Do you full-heartedly believe that there is no God?

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 6, 2012 at 12:37 am

Why I decided to be atheist?  Well, it's kind of a sob story.

 

My grandmother died.  She was the most devout person you would ever meet, believe me.  But she had such a hard life, an abusive husband, a still born child and a long, lingering and painful death.  Seeing that happen to her, such a good person broke me.  I was ten years old.

 

It wasn't until I was twelve years old that I really began studying religion, trying to learn why she had believed.  What I read was utterly unsatisfying.  Some of the things in the Bible utterly repulsed me, some of the antiquated ideas. 

 

I also looked at the people around me.  My community is a very religious community, but it is full of horrible people.  In fact, I was bullied mercilessly for five years by some of the kids who sit in the front pew at church.  While that was happening, I would pray every night for relief, for something to change...but I felt nothing.  There was no reprieve, there was no sense of someone or something there.

 

So after a lot of contemplation, soul-searching and study, I have come to believe that there is no God/gods/deities/Great Spirit/whatever.  Why does there have to be?  Sure scientific theory has its holes and we may never know how the universe began, but there is no proof of a higher power.  I believe one day we may be able to find out more about the origin of the universe, but that's not really important to me.

 

To answer your question, I full-heartedly believe there is no God.  Despite all the arguments for why there is evil in the world, I cannot and will not accept that a loving, caring being would allow so many people to suffer.  I believe that when I die, my mind will cease to function and I will have no 'afterlife'.  I am content with the life I have; there doesn't have to be a meaning to life, there doesn't have to be another life after this one.  Does that make sense?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 3:35 pm

That does make sense, and I admire you for actually studying things out before you made a decision.

Lots of people have the same thoughts as you.  They figure that if there is a loving God, wouldn't He stop all the pain and suffering on the planet?  My answer: He is!  That is why God sent Jesus to die for our sins.  It was all part of his loving plan for the redemption of the human race.  Through Jesus, we are given the same opportunity at eternal life and happiness, as was given to Adam and Eve before they sinned.

I know what you're probably thinking:  "What about good Christian people who don't seem to deserve the pain and misery that we must endure in this life?"

Admittedly, it is rather unfair that someone like your grandmother suffered so much, but if she really was a devout person and found favour in God's eyes, than you can be sure that her reward in heaven will be great.

This life is a test.  Those who diligently seek and find God will spend eternity with Him.

I respect that you don't believe in God.  You have every right to.  It's terrible that you suffered such abuse from kids who claimed they were Christians.  But being a Christian doesn't make someone perfect or free of sin.  We all make mistakes.

I have to say, I'm very tempted to try forcing my beliefs on you, but that wouldn't be the loving or respectful thing to do.  You are obligated to come to your own conclusions and live your own life.

I do wish to offer you the opportunity to study out Christianity once again, but with someone who can answer any questions you might have.  You don't have to, if you'd rather stick with what you already decided.  But I'd still like you to explain your beliefs to me.  I don't have much of an understanding about atheism and would appreciate it if you told me more.  And if you have any questions for me, you can ask.

I'll start:

What do you believe about how the world was created?  Do you endorse the idea of the Big Bang Theory and evolution?  Is it really possible for the universe to come from nothing and not an intelligent designer.

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NamesKill. replied...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Hi, I'm agnostic and you can ask me some questions if you like? :)

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Sure, thanks.

First off, sorry if this is a stupid question, but what is an agnostic? Is it kind of like an atheist?  What are the differences?

Also, what do you believe about creation?  Do you believe there is a God?

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NamesKill. replied...
Apr. 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

You're welcome! :)

No it's not a stupid question, I think it can mean a variety of things but for me personally it means that I don't believe in any particular religion as of yet but I do want to believe in something.

As far as I'm aware, please correct me if I'm wrong anyone but if you're an atheist you outright don't believe in any religion, whereas if you're agnostic, you still don't believe in any religion but you haven't flat out decided that there is nothing out there for you.

Hope that makes sense, urmm, well I don't have any strong beliefs on creation as I don't feel that I know enough about it to have much of an opinion on it.

The only thing which really bugs me (got nothing against Christians by the way) but if God does exist, is such a positive being, and did create everything in the world, why does disease, poverty, famine, war etc exist?... Did he create that too? Because if that is the case then he/she really didn't help us out as much as some people say it did right?

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 9, 2012 at 12:14 am

half.note: Thank you for understanding and not forcing your beliefs on me.  I truly respect that.

 

I believe in the Big Bang, but I think it is incomplete.  There's a really complicated explanation, but the 'nothing' before it happened may not really be 'nothing' because some scientists have actually researched so-called empty space and came up with some interesting conclusions.  As for evolution, yes it is flawed, but is on the whole a sound theory.  It makes more sense to me than the world being created in six days and is only six thousand years old.

 

Okay, my turn: Why are you Christian?  What particular denomination are you?  And what makes your particular denomination different from the others?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm

NamesKill:

Thanks for the clarification.  So, as an agnostic, you're just kind of neutral about religion?

Anyways, you mentioned that the problem you have with God is that if there's a loving God, why would He allow us to suffer.  I have actually been discussing that same subject with CarrieAnn13 this past week or so.  It might help if you go back and read our previous posts.  To sum them up: I believe that disease, poverty, famine, war, and all that exists because of sin.  God does not enjoy our suffering, that's why God sent Jesus to Earth to suffer in the same way as we do.  Even though Jesus had a sinful human nature like all of us, he was able to resist temptation and live a sinless life. Jesus' life is an example to us and even though we will go through pain and trials, if we are successful in our efforts to be like Jesus, than God's original plan for the human race will be restored. We will be sinless once again, and we won't have to suffer pain or sadness anymore. We must endure it now because God has lovingly given us the chance to make our own choice: God and eternal life, or sin and destruction.

I hope this makes sense and isn't just a long rambling.  Any other questions?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 9, 2012 at 11:53 pm

CarrieAnn13:

I'm the opposite of you: you find it hard to believe the world was created in six days and has only been around 6000 years, while I find it hard to believe that the universe came about without being created.  If there really is a God who is all knowing and all powerful, is it too big of a leap to think he could create us?  I find it impossible to believe that such an intricately designed universe just "happened". Like you said, science can't fully explain our origins. But religion can.

To answer your questions:  I am a Seventh-Day Adventist, which is a Protestant religion that originated from the Millerite Movement in the 1800s. Adventism is vastly different from most other Christian religions. Like the name describes, we believe in the seventh-day sabbath and the second return (advent) of Jesus. For us, the sabbath starts at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.  During the sabbath we refrain from secular activities such as TV and music, and we go to church Saturday morning. Most Adventists are vegetarian (including me) but some will eat chicken, turkey, and fish.  Feel free to look up the Seventh-Day Adventist church on the internet if you want to know more, or just ask me. But be careful when you are researching Adventism, and look at both sides. There are lots of anti-adventist sites that completely misrepresent us (in fact, it's not uncommon for people to accuse us of being heretics, or even a cult!).  If you read anything you're not sure about, please check with me.

I was actually born into my religion. Both my parents were Seventh-Day Adventists, so I grew up with those beliefs. That's not the reason I believe it though.  When my mom left the church, I was given the opportunity to question my beliefs, before I finally decided to stick with them. God had blessed me with the truth from an early age and he continues to teach me. My religion is my life.

So what about you? How do your beliefs affect your life? Is religion an afterthought or an important part of you?  I've never really known, or can imagine, what life is like without belief in God, and I'm curious to hear your perspective on it.

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 10, 2012 at 12:20 am

Religion never really played a part in my life because both of my parents are agnostics.  But it played a big part in my school life because I was the only one not in Religion class.  And of course, the whole bullying thing, because of my lack of belief and for other reasons that included sticking up for my best friend who was being bullied worse than me.  Overall, religion is kind of an afterthought, though.

 

I've studied quite a few religions, but the one I live by the most is the ancient Egyptian one.  Now, I know you're thinking I'm crazy, but their belief system is actually much more strict than any of the Christian sects. 

 

I obviously don't believe in their gods, but I think their religion was created by very smart men and women who wanted to bring some peace to a warlike culture, much like Numa brought religion to Rome.  When I am on my deathbed, I want to be able to recite the 42 Decrees of Ma'at truthfully (Ma'at being the concept of justice and rightness). 

 

Of course I also follow Christian morals because they are a huge part of society, but really all religions have similar guidelines about ethics and morality.  My basic rule is 'do no harm' and that's what I try to live by.

 

So what annoys you most about the cultural perceptions of Seventh-Day Adventists?  Do you think your religion is unfairly represented in the media?  What do you think about religious extremism in general?

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm

CarrieAnn13:

It's interesting what you believe. I personally think that religion should be about your relationship with God (or gods/goddesses even), but I guess if it works for you to choose only the moral aspects of the religion to live by, than who am I to protest?

I wouldn't say that what people think of Adventism annoys me, but it does surprise me. It's strange how wrong people can be about us. The most common thoughts on Adventists involve us being extremely anti-catholic or even a cult.  I once encountered an anti-adventist site that said Adventists absolutely hate Catholics. Which is not true, I even attend a Catholic school. Admittedly, I don't like the Catholic religion (I believe it is actually a continuation of Paganism) but I have nothing against people who believe in Catholicism. Another misconception that causes me to cringe, is when Adventists are called a cult because our accusers believe we "worship" a woman named Ellen G. White. She lived in the 1800s and was one of the founders of our church, but I assure you, we DO NOT worship her. We believe she was a prophetess and that the books she wrote were inspired by God, but we hold God and His Word over all other authorities and writings. We consider Ellen White as the same as everybody else. Though she was an excellent writer.  ;)

I’m not sure what you mean by religious extremism. Are you asking if I think my religion is extreme, do other people see it as extreme, or what? Please expand.

Anyways, how much do you know about the evolution theory? No offense, but I think it’s ridiculous. If we evolved from apes, would we not see all the different stages between apes and humans living today? And there is no proof that we are evolving any further. Also, carbon dating has been proven wrong, so it is possible the Earth is only 6000 years old. Which puts the score at: Religion- 3, Science- 0.

And I know you believe there are holes in the theory, but I believe the holes are much too big to ignore. I don’t expect you to change your views, only explain to me why I should ever even consider changing mine. Only one theory can be true.

Thanks for suffering through my rant, and sorry if this post is too long. It’s probably the size of a novel by now!

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

CarrieAnn13:

On a completely unrelated topic, I just peeked at your Teen Ink profile and happened to notice you're a fellow Canadian. Goodsoil is in Saskatchewan, right? Since I'm from Alberta, that means I'm your provincial neighbour. True North strong and free!  :)

p.s.-  I love your Douglas Adams quote (he's one of my favourite writers).

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 11, 2012 at 1:09 am

I mean religious extremism both in your own church (obviously, the fringe elements only) and in other religions.  Do you think it's detrimental to the majority of worshippers who aren't extreme?

 

I don't really know all that much about the theory of evolution, but I can counter your points.  Why we don't see different stages between apes and humans is because we are only cousins to modern apes.  We evolved from a different species of apes.  As for why we're not evolving now.  Do you know how much time it took us to transition from apes to humans?  Even six thousand years isn't enough to really develop many new traits.

 

You say carbon dating has been proven wrong.  Who has proven it?  Can you provide any citations?

 

Ah, yes.  Finally a fellow Canadian!  Yes, Goodsoil is in Saskatchewan.  It's actually only an hour from the western Alberta border.

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 11, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Okay, CarrieAnn13, brace yourself for another one of my novel-like posts/rants. I’ve put this particular one into two separate posts, so that it might be easier to read. I apologize in advance for forcing you to suffer through its length. God speed. ;)


___


Religious extremism can take many forms, I find. The Seventh-Day Adventist church is often called extreme because of how different we are. We are very strange, in many people's eyes, because of our ideas on health, the Bible, and the sabbath. Are we extremists? Is not the definition of an extremist someone who goes to extreme lengths beyond what society expects or views as normal? Then maybe Adventists are extremists in some ways, but we of course don't infringe on other's rights and we don't break the law. We are calm and peaceful, and normal by non-religious standards. Still, we are definitely different.

I don't really have enough experience with other religions to know about the amount of extremism involved. There are some strange religions and ideas out there, though.

And I absolutely think extremism is detrimental to the majority. Remember Ellen White, the woman I mentioned before? When the Seventh-Day Adventist church was in its infant stage, she spent most of her time traveling around the country to reprove those who were giving a bad name to Adventism. There were fanatical groups that claimed to be Adventists, but really weren't. You can still find that today, and is one of the reasons people can develop so many misconceptions about our religion.


___


I never knew that theory about apes being just our cousins, thanks for informing me. I still think the idea of evolution is flawed, because monkeys turning into humans seems even less likely than a powerful, loving God creating the universe. Just think of how intricately the world has been made. The environment is perfectly tuned for our survival. The Earth is the optimal distance from the sun. How nature interacts and depends on each other, and the way the sun sets each night and rises every morning seems to be a design in and of itself. Or the ability we have to think and reason, and to create civilizations and works of art. I personally don't believe it could happen by accident. It seems to me that we were created as part of Master plan we can't quite comprehend without insight from the Master Designer Himself.

You don't have to agree with me, in fact, I don’t expect you to. I just find it degrading to humans to think we are merely a coincidence that has been given a fraction of this world's time to live a life filled with pain. With Christianity, it explains that God has a plan for us. A plan for eternal life and happiness. Why do people insist on believing the former, rather than the latter? -->

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half.noteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Apr. 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm

--> Continued from last post...

In regards to carbon dating, it can be right sometimes, but overall, it is unreliable. An experiment was done in which scientists used carbon dating to determine the age of something that they didn't know was actually only a couple years old. Through carbon dating, they mistakenly pegged it as thousands of years old. I'm just passing this on to you through word of mouth because I couldn't find the exact experiment on the internet. In all honesty, I'm not an expert and I don't claim to be. There is a chance that carbon dating is accurate, but more often than not carbon dating has been proven to be inaccurate.

___

Are you interested in reading a book that explains creation? Ellen White has a book called Patriarchs (pronounced pay-tree-arks) and Prophets which I think gives an excellent and interesting description of the beginning of the world. If you're not into reading religious books, that's fine. You don't have to feel obligated to read it just because I say so. Still, it's free online if you're curious. Just look up Patriarchs and Prophets on Google and a link to the book should come up. You only need to read the first four chapters (no need to go any further) to get a clear idea of what creation and the start of sin is all about. Are you interested? And if you could recommend a book about evolution, I'd be happy to read it. Like I said, I just want to learn as much as I can.

___

Question time: What are your views on religious texts and books? That includes major documents such as the Bible, or even those less important, like Ellen White's books. Is it all just nonsense that was made up, or do you think there's some truth to it? If evolution is true, why did man conjure up the idea of God or gods and goddesses if these would later be abandoned by most? What would be the point of religion to those evolving from apes?

___

On a different note, I live about three or four hours from the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. Is Goodsoil a big city or a small town? On my Teen Ink profile I have my home town set as Edmonton, but I actually live about 15 minutes south in a city called Leduc. I just figured it would be easier for someone to recognize the capital of Alberta rather than some obscure city.

Is the weather nicer in Saskatchewan than in Alberta?They're probably about equal, but I'm not sure. Did you get snow last week? We did. About 1/2 foot. It melted quickly, thankfully! :)

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 14, 2012 at 2:47 pm

As for the carbon dating, I'm sure in that one experiment they took the least experienced, most inept scientists. That's because carbon dating IS generally accurate. It's often used to determine the date of bones found on archaeological digs. You honestly can't dismiss decades of scientific research because of one experiment you can't even cite.

Of course I am interested about creationism. I will look up that book as soon as I am all caught up in reading for my book reviewing blog. As for a book on evolution, I would recommend Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne. Rather than the junk Richard Dawkins writes, it focuses much more on the evidence. You may have to order it in from your local library, unless you know where you can read it online.

You know, there could be some truth in the basic stories of religious texts. I mean, the Exodus, while there is absolutley no evidence for it, could have occurred on a much smaller scale and gradually grew into legend. I think many religious texts were written by very smart men and women who wanted to bring a little morality to the world they lived in. You don't have to have divine inspiration or guidance to realize that harming another human being is wrong. You just have to be able to sympathize with your fellow human.

As for why man would conjure up the idea of a higher power, try to think from my perspective. I know that this is my only life, that there will be no punishment or rewards for being good or evil and I will not meet my loved ones who have died. A lot of people can't accept that there is only one life; they want reassurance, they want to have a feeling of belonging to something bigger to themselves. That's why organized religion exists. Don't you feel like a part of something bigger when you go to church?

Questions: I know this is an uncomfortable topic for religious people, but what are your views on ho.mo.se.xu.al.ity? Your church probably thinks its sinful, but why would God create people like that if it is a sin? I personally don't think it's a choice; I haven't met anyone who is g.ay who has told me they chose to be.

Ha, Goodsoil is a village of less than 400 people. I've been to Leduc when I was going to a concert in Edmonton because the accommodations were cheaper. As for the weather being nicer here, are you kidding? We've barely had any snow this year; it hasn't snowed for about a month now. The trees are starting to bud and the grass is becoming green again. Usually, our weather is just as miserable as yours, but not this year!

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CarrieAnn13 replied...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Okay, I'm going to try typing this again.

 

As for the carbon dating, I'm sure in that one experiment they took the least experienced, most inept scientists.  That's because carbon dating IS generally accurate.  It's often used to determine the date of bones found on archaeological digs.  You honestly can't dismiss decades of scientific research because of one experiment you can't even cite.

 

Of course I am interested about creationism.  I will look up that book as soon as I am all caught up in reading for my book reviewing blog.  As for a book on evolution, I would recommend Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne.  Rather than the junk Richard Dawkins writes, it focuses much more on the evidence.  You may have to order it in from your local library, unless you know where you can read it online.

 

You know, there could be some truth in the basic stories of religious texts.  I mean, the Exodus, while there is absolutely no evidence for it, could have occurred on a much smaller scale and gradually grew into legend.  I think many religious texts were written by very smart men and women who wanted to bring a little morality to the world they lived in.  You don't have to have divine inspiration or guidance to realize that harming another human being is wrong.  You just have to be able to sympathize with your fellow human.

As for why man would conjure up the idea of a higher power, try to think from my perspective.  I know that this is my only life, that there will be no punishment or rewards for being good or evil and I will not meet my loved ones who have died.  A lot of people can't accept that there is only one life; they want reassurance, they want to have a feeling of belonging to something bigger to themselves.  That's why organized religion exists.  Don't you feel like a part of something bigger when you go to church?

 

 

Questions: I know this is an uncomfortable topic for religious people, but what are your views on h o m o s e x u a l i t y?  Your church probably thinks its sinful, but why would God create people like that if it is a sin?  I personally don't think it's a choice; I haven't met anyone who is g.ay who has told me they chose to be.

Ha, Goodsoil is a village of less than 400 people.  I've been to Leduc when I was going to a concert in Edmonton because the accommodations were cheaper.  As for the weather being nicer here, are you kidding?  We've barely had any snow this year; it hasn't snowed for about a month now.  The trees are starting to bud and the grass is becoming green again.  Usually, our weather is just as miserable as yours, but not this year!

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