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Objections to God: harm done in the name of religion?

I found this bit of lengthy excerpt quite relevant while reading Francis collins’, The language of God.


A major stumbling block for many earnest seekers is the compelling evidence throughout history that terrible things have been done in the name of religion. This applies to virtually all faiths at some point, including those that argue for compassion and nonviolence among their principal tenets. Given such examples of raw abusive power, violence, and hypocrisy, how can anyone subscribe to the tenets of the faith promoted by such perpetrators of evil?

There are two answers to this dilemma. First of all, keep in mind that many wonderful things have also been done in the
name of religion. The church (and here I use the term genetically, to refer to the organized institutions that promote a particular faith, without regard to which faith is being described) has many times played a critical role in supporting justice and benevolence. As just one example, consider how religious leaders have worked to relieve people from oppression, from Moses’ leading the Israelites out of bondage to William Wilberforce’s ultimate victory in convincing the English Parliament to oppose the practice of slavery to the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s leading the civil rights movement in the United States, for which he gave his life.

But the second answer brings us back to the Moral Law, and to the fact that all of us as human beings have fallen short
of it. The church is made up of fallen people. The pure, clean water of spiritual truth is placed in rusty containers, and the subsequent failings of the church down through the centuries should not be projected onto the faith itself, as if the water had been the problem. It is no wonder that those who assess the truth and appeal of spiritual faith by the behavior of any particular church often find it impossible to imagine themselves joining up. Expressing hostility toward the French Catholic Church at the dawning of the French Revolution, Voltaire wrote, “Is it any wonder that there are atheists in the world, when the church behaves so abominably?”

It is not difficult to identify examples where the church has promoted actions that fly in the face of principles its own faith should have sustained. The Beatitudes spoken by Christ in the Sermon on the Mount were ignored as the Christian church carried out violent Crusades in the Middle Ages and pursued a series of inquisitions afterward. While the prophet Muhammad never himself used violence in responding to persecutors, Islamic jihads, dating to the earliest of his followers and including present-day violent attacks such as that of September 11, 2001, have created the false impression that the Islamic faith is intrinsically violent. Even followers of supposedly nonviolent faiths such as Hinduism and Buddhism occasionally engage in violent confrontation, as is currently occurring in Sri Lanka.

And it is not only violence that sullies the truth of religious faith. Frequent examples of gross hypocrisy among religious
leaders, made evermore visible by the power of the media, cause many skeptics to conclude that there is no objective truth or goodness to be found in religion. Perhaps even more insidious and widespread is the emergence in many churches of a spiritually dead, secular faith, which strips out all of the numinous aspects of traditional belief, presenting a version of spiritual life that is all about social events and/or tradition, and nothing about the search for God.

Is it any wonder, then, that some commentators point to religion as a negative force in society, or in the words of Karl Marx, “the opiate of the masses”? But let’s be careful here. The great Marxist experiments in the Soviet Union and in Mao’s China, aiming to establish societies explicitly based upon atheism, proved capable of committing at least as much, and probably more, human slaughter and raw abuse of power than the worst of all regimes in recent times. In fact, by denying the existence of any higher authority, atheism has the now-realized potential to free humans completely from any responsibility not to oppress one another.

So, while the long history of religious oppression and hypocrisy is profoundly sobering, the earnest seeker must look beyond the behavior of flawed humans in order to find the truth. Would you condemn an oak tree because its timbers had been used to build battering rams? Would you blame the air for allowing lies to be transmitted through it? Would you judge Mozart’s The Magic Flute on the basis of a poorly rehearsed performance by fifth-graders? If you had never seen a real sunset over the Pacific, would you allow a tourist brochure as a substitute?

Would you evaluate the power of romantic love solely in the light of an abusive marriage next door? No. A real evaluation of the truth of faith depends upon looking at the clean, pure water, not at the rusty containers.



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Keep Christ in Christmas: A lesson from history.

Contrary to popular belief  the X in Xmas, is not what it is often seen as. I have a lot of time, including my dear loved ones, assert that we really should not replace Christ in Christmas. Frankly why are we so down with a pagan holiday is beyond me but nonetheless, for those who truly love Christ and would have him the centre of their lives, this thing kind of becomes a problem. A lot of people do not even know that the tree and the Santa are not really Christian concepts, to me personally Christmas is more of a remembrance that Christ came, I hold nothing more than that, I am sure a lot of people do it for the same reasons. But we have to set the record straight.

The “X” in Xmas has been around for a long time. It’s not a replacement of Christ (although some who don’t know the history might intend it to be.) It’s the Greek letter “Chi” which looks like an X and it has been a symbol for Christ as a form of shorthand, since the earliest of Christian times.

Another example is the symbol of the Christian “Fish” Symbol.

The Greek word for fish is “Ichthys” The phrase, Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, was used probably from the very first century as a symbol for faith in Christ by Christians as a symbol because it used the first letters of that phrase and made the word Ichthys.

So next time somebody uses the phrase “Keep Christ in Christmas” as a form to shame others or to try to get people to think there’s something wrong with using the “X” instead, you can do some good and let them know the real history and maybe even let those who want to use the X to replace Christ, that that X has been a part of recognizing Christ for a long, long time!

I sometimes just don’t get people when they show honest zeal but which is nonetheless misplaced, if only most believers would study more, it would do a lot of people much good, including their selves. I wish all, the very best for the holiday season. You want to celebrate Christmas, go out help someone rather than spend money on fancy trees, just as Christ wanted us to do.

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This average guy I know…

So, there is this guy I know. He is not someone with great wit or style, no scientific achievements or even a good educational background. This guy belongs to an average family, I would not call it a rich family, a poor one, may be close to  trailer folks. From a background like this, one can not boast any real world connections in politics and society. Suffice to say, he is an average guy, may be at times even more average than us. But there is something very unique about him. In fact it is so unique that at times he seems like the only one who actually has it. The truth is he is now one of the most well known personalities in the world.

When I first got to know this guy, I was met with a plethora of myths and legends about him. Some say he was born of a virgin; what? you have heard about this? okay, then please read a little more. So it was said he was born of a virgin. I am also told that this is the same claim that many people throughout history have held.

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Faith vs. Stupidity: things we should always remember

I encourage you to read and see that we as Christians should avoid the nonsense and follow a spirit filled life:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. …

Matthew 25:1-46




Faith: Love your enemy.

Stupidity: Judging people and feel good about it.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 

Matthew 5:46


Faith: I need to pray about my weaknesses

Stupidity: God is tempting me…

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:13-15

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Dear angry atheist: an open letter

Dear angry atheist,

I get it why you are angry at me. May be you were brought up by bad religion, may be you were taught to believe in God and you didn’t feel anything, may be your prayers went unanswered, may be you are a big fan of hitches and Dawkins. May be you just do not like the idea of  a God in the first place, may be you are scared of hell, may be you are a free thinker who despises boundaries and commandments in a book called Bible, may be you are confused which God is to be followed. May be you went though something bad, or may be you are too sensitive and can not comprehend the idea of God and an evil world, may be you just like free sex, may be you are a very good person who does not need God, may be you live better than most Christians, may be you think you are above others, intellectually or may be you just don’t give a fuck. For whichever reasons you are an atheist, is none of my business.

I am also sure you are a human being who is honest to his doubts and convictions, I respect that. I also realize that not all atheists are angry people. But when you talk to me like an angry atheist

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New papyrus found… Jesus had a wife

Jesus mentions “my wife”

Yeah, and for those of you who do not know her, she is called “the Church”. 

Read the full CNN article here

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God gave us pot and the idiot who opened up the Bible

Most people who read the Bible never realize that they in fact are not reading the Bible, they are reading a translation of the Bible. There is indeed a barrier of language which is a great hurdle for many to not know and understand the original languages i.e Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, in which the Bible was originally penned down. What is worse is that the system of interpretation which is the most common and the most popular among Christians and atheists alike is that they read the Bible plainly.

What usually follows is a faith based system of taking verses out of context and treating them as they were universal objective true principles applied to everyday life and person.

What I have seen more is that, atheists have started using the same system of reading the Bible too and that is why they are hilariously wrong at times, at others they make it sound very rational and intellectual to take out their english bibles and point to you a verse, isolating it completely and then asking for explanations. 

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Narrow is the road that leads to life

“You’re both fired,” my new boss, who had joined the organization only a week ago, told me and my christian coworker. The new boss was a man who had jet black hair and a long beard, the one that almost reached down to his chest, a man who went to the mosque five times a day to say his prayers. This was the same time when the American war on terror had started and I was working in a small software house as a web designer and animator, in the city of Lahore, Pakistan.

When I asked him why he had fired me, he told me that me and my other Christian friend were always slowing down work, we were not regular and we were not doing any work which was satisfying to their standards. It was far from the truth. The only thing important to note was that me and my christian friend were the only working Christians in the small organization. We were both fired on the same day, at the same time with the same accusations. We were handed our termination letters and were told to exit the premises immediately, we were not even allowed to clear out our cabins or take away any personal files, no sir. I know why he fired us, it was nothing to do with our work, it was because he thought that Christians should not be allowed to sit alongside Muslims and that it was due revenge because Afghanistan was being attacked by a Christian nation, America, so any chance he could get to humiliate us was a good opportunity.

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Water Baptism, Declaration of Faith and why these are not needed for Salvation

Water Baptism

This is one of the topics that most Christians are very sensitive about. I remember the other day when four of my friends were actually convincing someone to repent and accept Christ. And their focus was on two things, water baptism by immersion in water and a verbal declaration of faith.

I have nothing against water baptism or verbal confession of faith but nonetheless I ended up offending all of them.  The only person who listened to me was the guy who was yet to accept Christ. Why? because both of these things in my opinion are not required for salvation, at all.

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How I learned the Bible is not the Word of God

It was one of the toughest things to admit for me, going back an year from now when someone whom I deeply respect, said this to me in a forum, I was shocked and felt wronged. I felt it was necessary to object to this and I did. With fervor and passion I tried to argue that the Bible indeed is the word of God and to claim otherwise with however noble motivations one might have, would be a wrong presentation of what makes up the Christian faith.

But now when I look back, I see why I was wrong. With time and help from a couple of very good people I came to know and who helped me understand what real faith is, I slowly learned what seems now as clear as day but utterly felt wrong back then. The contents of this post are not original to me in the strictest sense, if it wasn’t for some people I could not understand this and write about it.