An Apology and Challenge to all Christians

Dear Christian brothers and sisters,

I would like to formally apologize for any and all deliberate attacks I may have launched against your faith or world view from this blog. I am sorry. It is not my place to tell you what is true or false any more than it is your place to tell me what is true or false. I started this blog with the hope that some may see the “Truth” and turn away from self delusion and make-believe. That is to say my “Truth”, the way I see things. Because deep down I “know” I am right. Logically this idea, that I am right and you are wrong, can not, and should not, be held. I see the world and so do you. How is it that we do not see the same world?

You are convinced that the world functions in a set way. I can not change your mind. I know I have tried. 🙂 I am also convinced that the world functions in a set way. A way very different than the way you see it. You cannot change my mind either. What does this leave us with? We can do three things, I think; continue to fight, stick our heads in the sand and hope we all go away, or learn to live together with mutual love and respect.

I vote for that last option. The first two only breed suffering and hate. The fight is a pointless one that none can win, and sand will make our ears itch badly. Besides that, we should not live in ignorance. At least I do not wish to. That really only leaves the option of learning to live together with mutual love and respect. I am up to the challenge if you are. It will take teamwork and a real desire for understanding from both of us. We will need to tear down walls of preconceived notions, stereotypes, and prejudices so that we can see one another for who we really are, not just what we think the other is.

Sincerely,
Zebulon The Red
Atheist and Zen Buddhist

P.S. So… Is anyone game?

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22 responses to “An Apology and Challenge to all Christians

  1. Zeb,

    I don’t have but a minute now, but I think that anyone should gladly treat all others with respect. Sometimes I may fail but that’s what I believe in. I also appreciate honesty, because I don’t think we can solve problems without it. I know that you and I disagree on some key things, but I appreciate your post.

  2. theagnosticswife

    I’m game.

  3. That’s very big of you Zeb. It won’t be easy, though. There’s always going to be some smartass that’ll tempt you to make fun of the magic unicorn. 😀

    Much love.
    bradley

  4. … I am not sure how this kind of thing can be done. Any ideas?
    I know how I would go about “tear down walls of preconceived notions, stereotypes, and prejudices” in the real world. That seems obvious. But how is it done online? Maybe a forum or jointly run blog? Some place where Christians and Atheists can really get to know one another.

  5. I’ll tell you what my Bible tells me to do. I look for people that need help, and I do what I can to be that help. Then, while getting to know each other, we both go through life’s ups and downs. Then, somewhere along the way someone directly involved, or ancillary to the situation, sees a hope within me during the midst of suffering. Then, Christ is glorified and the gospel spreads.

    That’s how I try to do it. It doesn’t always work, and I’m usually a poor conveyor of the gospel… But, anyone can help someone out in need, ya?

  6. I read this piece on the very day I started reading “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris! The irony…

    What’s up Zeb????

  7. Bradley ~ I don’t see any problem with that as long as you don’t force your beliefs on others. As long as you can see that non-Christians are not missing anything. Not everyone needs a god to have hope. If you do fine. I am glad you have a system that works for you. It is not the only system. Mine works better for me than Christianity ever did. If we are going to coexist we all need to realize that our own system is not the only one and not the best one for everybody. Please don’t see this as an attempt to control you. 🙂

    Jetson ~ Long time no see. How is it going?
    While I do not disagree with Harris’s book, I do not agree with it either…
    Yes there are bod people out in the world doing things in the name of religion. But there are good people too. I think that fighting religion is a lot like pissing up a rope… You just get yourself wet and stinky. Let me ask you something. After all this time on the internet how has your writing against religion help to bring peace and understanding between us and Christians? Can you prove to them that you are right? Can they prove to you that they are right? What is the point in arguing? I think we should learn to get alone. We have to at least try.

  8. Ah, sorry. I thought the question was “how to break down barriers and preconceived ideas about our world views”. Does serving others not help understand Buddhist? I figured it would be universal. What is the Buddhist mission?

  9. Bradley ~ What are you talking about? Of course you can serve others. And that is what Buddhist try to do to. But serving others is not the same thing as spreading the gospel. Maybe I don’t understand what you are saying…

  10. That IS the gospel. We serve others for Christ, just as He served humanity for the Father.

    What is the Buddhist gospel?

  11. Bradley ~ The word “gospel” is Geek for “good news”. I am pretty sure that the “good news” that the bible talks about is Jesus “dying” for our sins and coming back to life. And that we all need to believe that if we don’t want to go to hell for ever… Yes helping others is a part of what many Christian do for god, but it is not the Gospel. It seems to me that helping others so that they will come to see the world my way is a self-centered way of doing things. Or it at least not very authentic in the love area. Why can’t we help others because it is the right thing to do? Why do we have to hope for them to change? Maybe they are good the way they are. Why must everyone be like ourselves to be whole and right?

    Buddhist don’t have a gospel. There are no gods and there is no savior. We need to work out our own salvation. If there was a gospel it could be the realization that we can wake up and there is a way to end suffering.

  12. You’re missing it completely. Sadly, that’s probably why you’ve “moved on”. Why would anyone stay and worship a slave master?

    That’s an interesting gospel for buddhism. How does someone end their suffering? I’ll tell you the way my Bible tells me to do it. I praise God even in the midst of my suffering. When people see that my trials don’t get me down, they are encouraged during their trials… plus, I can also lend a hand if I’m not just constantly focused on myself.

    Does that work for Buddhism?

  13. PS..

    Not everyone needs Christ. But, we’re not talking about them. We’re talking about those that are suffering, right? I’m not talking about converting everyone. I’m talking about spreading the good news.

    Sorry, but I’m trying to stay focused instead of generalizing all of Christendom and beyond.

  14. Bradley ~ … … I “moved on” because I realized that gods are imaginary. Why would I want to worship an imaginary friend? You can do what you like, but if you really wish to understand your fellow Earthlings you could try to listen. We have been over this before and it is not what we are talking about now.

    If you want to know how to end suffering, google “the 8 fold path” and “the for noble truths”. There is all kinds of information on them out there. Maybe I will write about that some time. I will say this, suffering is caused by attachment. Attachment to things and ideas, attachment to places and people. All things are impermanent. If we can recognize this simple fact we can let them go when they go and live at peace with the world….

    A person who is suffering needs help not a belief in Jesus. Praising god in the midst of suffering does noting to remove said suffering. It just takes your mind off of it. That is my view on it any way. Wathing a movie can do the same thing.
    Buddhism is not self centered. It is an attempt to see the world for what it really is and to make it a better place. This is done with “right thinking” and “right actions”.
    Maybe it is because most of the people I know are Christians, but the most self centered people I know are Christians. For example, if something bad happens to them and several other people that was out of their control they might think “this is god testing me” or “this is punishment for a sin”. They totally forget that others were affected too.

    Again you talk about “spreading the good news”. Is this not what I mentioned above? Is this a different gospel?

    Here I am getting frustrated again. Maybe this can’t be done. Maybe the average Christian can not really communicate with the average Atheist. I mean, you have one side that can not even imagine living without worshiping and believing in a god and the other side not understanding why anybody would want to. Bradley, I want you to tell me the true. Can you honestly say that you don’t think that I believe in your god deep down inside? I get the feeling a lot of the time when talking to Christians that they think I am lying to myself when I say I don’t believe you god. How can their be any real community or discussion when one side thinks the other side is lying?

  15. Pardon, I thought you wanted to break down barriers and preconceived ideas. I’m trying, but all you want to do is tell ME what Christianity is. I’m not telling YOU what Buddhism is about. I’m interested in hearing from you.

    We have been over this before and it is not what we are talking about now.

    Believe me, I don’t want to go over this again and again either. Again, you wanted to do this. I’m telling you what Christianity is about. Tell me what Buddhism is about.

    If you want to know how to end suffering, google “the 8 fold path” and “the for noble truths”.

    Gotcha. Wikipedia ends suffering. It all seems so easy. 😀

    Attachment to things and ideas, attachment to places and people. All things are impermanent. If we can recognize this simple fact we can let them go when they go and live at peace with the world

    I agree with this 100%… one of the main principles in Christianity. This is a fantastic way of explaining it. [Matthew 6:19-24] But you really need the whole package and a lifetime of “learning the hard way” to understand it, like I seem to. 😀

    Praising god in the midst of suffering does noting to remove said suffering. It just takes your mind off of it. That is my view on it any way. Wathing a movie can do the same thing.

    How does watching a movie help other people’s suffering. Christianity is not about “me”… “me” was taken care of through Christ’s death and resurrection. Christianity is about loving your God and neighbor.

    It is an attempt to see the world for what it really is and to make it a better place. This is done with “right thinking” and “right actions”.

    Uh, ok. My Bible sort of says that to, but how do you propose it to be done. Do we need to “whip people into shape” like all of the other priests have tried to do? I tend to think that if freedom from suffering requires all mankind to be on the same page, it ain’t happening. Am I missing something?

    Maybe it is because most of the people I know are Christians, but the most self centered people I know are Christians.

    Hey, you don’t have to tell me. I get tired of reading over and over and over that we’re ALL sinners and fall short of the glory of God. Sheesh… you’d think we’d get it by now. I’ll be honest with you. No one needs God’s Word like I do. That’s why I do my best to read it everyday.

    For example, if something bad happens to them and several other people that was out of their control they might think “this is god testing me” or “this is punishment for a sin”

    How would you explain it. May I try some slightly different language?
    For example, if something bad happens to them and several other people that was out of their control, they might think “I don’t need to lose sight of the true perspective. This single occurrence has the potential to negatively shape my whole outlook on life” or “This is the consequence of an unwise decision we made. I see the error of my ways and I’m going to use this single occurrence to shape my whole outlook on life in a positive way.”
    Does that help? That’s what it means. God is good.

    “spreading the good news”. Is this not what I mentioned above?

    Yes, but you’re missing it. Some people are “the glass is half full” type of people, and some are just the “spreading the bad news” type of people. 😀

    Here I am getting frustrated again. Maybe this can’t be done.

    I’ve tried to explain my worldview, but “you already know it all and dismiss it”… I’ve asked about Buddhism every comment, to merely get “google it”. That’s like me telling you to just go read the bible. That didn’t work for you… and my bookshelf didn’t work for me.
    I’m still on my fast. I’m doing it for my own personal reasons, but I’m also putting some thought in the morality of eating meat. And, quite frankly… how do you distinguish between choppy off the head of a pig, and chopping up celery? We live in a sacrificial world Zeb. That’s why I thank God before every meal I eat. Thank YOU God for giving this food to eat. Do you take a minute to remember the black beans before you eat?

    Can you honestly say that you don’t think that I believe in your god deep down inside?

    I think you have a problem with pride like I do, and like I think your neighbor does, my aunt, my pastor, my son, daughter, and wife does, and like my Bible tells me every other person ever lived does. It’s human nature, but we don’t have to let it rule our lives. I don’t think you believe the biblical mythology, but I don’t think you’ll ever be able to hide from the Truth. You can call it by different names and do your best to convince yourself that it’s not true, but the reason I sing songs of worship is the same reason you meditate, my friend plays guitar, and my wife reads. God is and always will be, and we are not and never will be.

    If you ever really want to know what Christianity is about, don’t hesitate to ask. You’ll get a far more honest answer from someone that believes, than an atheist trying to convince everyone to not believe.

  16. Bradley ~ Let us just drop it… It seems we are speaking french to each other.
    You may want to keep in mind that I was a Christian for most of my life. I know what it is about. Maybe the version I was brought up in is slightly different than yours, but i would bet the fundamentals are the same. 🙂

  17. That’s like saying you gained your sight and then went blind again, but ok. 😉

    Have a good one.

  18. Maybe from you point of view. I see it as being blind my whole life then gaining my sight.

  19. ”Bradley ~ Let us just drop it… It seems we are speaking french to each other.”

    I know some french… can I help with something?… lol

    Hey, that was very interesting guys! God bless you both!

  20. And you oldchurchfan!!
    I’ve got something for you then, if you’re up for it oldchurchfan. I heard a sermon on the good Samaritan a while back. It was fantastic… really changed my view from just a “neat little story” to a true dilemma. Well… I woke up this morning with that same sermon on my mind, with a new thought.

    The original impact of the sermon was that the priest wasn’t just a hypocrite, or w/e. The priest and the levi were probably ceremonial clean as commanded by God. If they HAD helped they would have directly interfered with their ability to “serve” in the capacity specifically reserved for them.

    Anyway, my thought this morning was that Jesus is the priest that actually DID become ceremonial unclean for all mankind. Am I way off base?
    ——————-
    zeb…
    I’ve been thinking of the whole french comment more. I don’t understand how it can be french if you understand it, eh? I’m just poking fun a little… oldchurchfan brightened my day!!

  21. I get the feeling that Bradley is deliberately misinterpreting nearly everything that zebulonthered is trying to say. Otherwise, how could he be so completely blind to what is smacking him right in the face?

    Bradley, you go on and on about the “truth” and yet never seem to grasp that your “truth” is just a figment of your imagination, some fairy tale land that you have made up to make yourself feel better. While I find nothing wrong with you living there, I find it wrong that you feel you must bring everyone else to live there too. Some people don’t need a crutch to stand. Why would they want to lug it around when they don’t need it?

    It seems to me that everyone on earth can find their own version of the truth and be completely content in it. Why can’t you just leave them alone? Christ isn’t a comfort to all. Neither are all the platitudes the average christian doles out. “Oh, it was all in God’s plan.” Right. It’s god’s plan to make everyone feel guilty for being happy, to feel that they are entitled to great amounts of wealth, and to look down on those who eschew the need for money as inferior. What kind of god do you serve? Certainly not one I’d want to believe in.

    And your constant sarcasm. Do you deliberately try to pick at people and piss them off? Seems like you do. That’s not very christian of you. How can you show love when you’re being so abrasive?

  22. Zeb,

    I pasted one of your comments here. We only disagree on a couple of points.

    “The word “gospel” is Geek for “good news”. I am pretty sure that the “good news” that the bible talks about is Jesus “dying” for our sins and coming back to life. And that we all need to believe that if we don’t want to go to hell for ever… Yes helping others is a part of what many Christian do for god, but it is not the Gospel. It seems to me that helping others so that they will come to see the world my way is a self-centered way of doing things. Or it at least not very authentic in the love area. Why can’t we help others because it is the right thing to do? Why do we have to hope for them to change? Maybe they are good the way they are. Why must everyone be like ourselves to be whole and right?”

    “Buddhist don’t have a gospel. There are no gods and there is no savior. We need to work out our own salvation. If there was a gospel it could be the realization that we can wake up and there is a way to end suffering.”

    In this world Zeb, I do think we must agree to disagree, because there are differences that can’t be resolved. Some difference exist even within our own families, but the Bible says that “Love covers a multitude of sins.” That is not saying that we should never change. We all need to change. On our own, mankind will never be able to end suffering, therefore we have to hope for change.

    The Bible says that none of us are good. In order for a perfect society to exist, mankind needs saved from itself. The same goes for me as an individual, and I have come to accept that. I have come to believe, and trust that Jesus can, and will do exactly that. I want to see the time when “the lion will eat straw like the ox,” and lie down with the lamb, as it was in the original creation.

    I think our goal should be to become a part of Christ, and what he’s all about. I believe there is plenty of room within that for individual expression, though it doesn’t work out that way very often in this world. I wouldn’t want you to be like me, or Bradley, or whoever. God didn’t create us in the image of each other, but in his own image. God wants us to be individuals.

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