Minimalist And The Start of a Serious Discussion

This is a conversation that I have moved from the “About Zeb” page.

Steve Wunderink (frankie’s husband)
Aug 27, 2010 @ 20:48:06

Zeb … if you are ready for a serious discussion I am more than willing … but first you need to define a few terms for me. No meaningful discussion can take place when we use words that mean different things to different people:

Define these definitions of yourself for me:
Minimalist?
Zen Budhist
Hippie
“think independently”
slavery

#

zebulonthered
Aug 28, 2010 @ 18:24:50

Hi Steve,
How is life in the big city?
I am more than happy to define these words for you.

Minimalist – To own as few material possessions as possible. I could even
go so far as to say that I don’t believe anyone “owns” anything.

Zen Buddhist – I am not exactly a Zen Buddhist, but I follow many of the
practices. I do not believe the supernatural parts of Buddhism. I have my
own ideas of how things work. Buddha said to try all of it, and set
aside what doesn’t work.

Hippie – I say I am a hippie because I think that the System is broken
and we need to do something about it. I also think about what I do and
what I buy, how it will effect me and those around me. I don’t use soap
or deodorant and I rarely use shampoo because they are bad for me and the
environment. I think that corporate America is an unnecessary evil. I
think that we need to rethink how we do things. I could go on…

“think independently” – Independent thought is looked down upon in this
culture. If someone has the nerve to think differently, they are shunned.
People have an “understanding” of how the world works and they hold to
it, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When we
teach our children that there is only one way of doing things, we are
setting them up to be mindless zombies. We tend to get upset if they ask
too many questions, and so they learn to stop asking. That is bad.

slavery – Bondage, either mental or physical.

I could elaborate but I don’t like writing books. 🙂

What would you like to talk about?
I can make a post for the subject if you like.
Oh, can you write a little bit about yourself so I know where you are coming from? Thanks.

#

Steve
Aug 28, 2010 @ 20:09:58

WOW … where to start … I’ll ask a question in each of your definitions and see which rabbit hole we want to go down …

Minimalist: Why would it be wrong to “own” something or to “possess” something?

Zen Buddhist: You are not “exactly” a Buddhist so there is some wiggle room there but what are the “supernatural” parts of Zen Buddhism? What is your “idea” of how things work?

Hippie: So hippie is the opposite of corporate America? AND hippie is protecting the envrironment through watching what you do and buy? What are your thoughts on a better way than corporate America?

Think Independently: Why do you think independent thot is looked down on? Is “independant” thought the same thing as “different” thaought? What if there IS only one way to do things? (1+1=2, etc).

Slavery: Do you think you or anyone will/can EVER be free from some sort of bondage or do we just trade one bond for another?

there’s a start … let’s go from there

#

zebulonthered
Aug 28, 2010 @ 21:24:01

Steve ~ I think we could take them in order but I have to ask why you would care why or what I think. I have not heard from you in years and you show up here and start probing into my life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind. I am just curious about your motivations.
Also, I was hoping for some info about you. I have some vague memories but nothing more.

I will respond to you question about Minimalist: Why would it be wrong to “own” something or to “possess” something?

I never said it was “wrong” to own things I said that I don’t believe anyone “owns” anything. It is a Buddhist thing I think. I don’t keep a lot of stuff because I do not wish to be attached to things I do not need. Attachment leads to suffering… I don’t think that we can own anything anyway. All we have is our minds. Our thoughts. Our deeds. Everything else we just use for awhile. For example, how can we own land? It has been here for billions of years. We have only lived for a few decades. If anything the land owns us becuase we came from it. Owning things is an artificial human construct. And not all humans think of things in that way.
Think about it. Do you own anything that can be taken away at any moment? Your shirt? Your car? Your life? All we have is our minds, thoughts, and deeds. When those are trampled on it is a great wrongness.

Now, how about it. What is your motivation and you Bio.

#

Steve
Aug 28, 2010 @ 23:19:31

Good questions.

I care because I choose to. I have known you for a long time even though we have not spoken in years and even when we were in the same state we didn’t speak much. I am not probing into you as much as, I believe, you are probing/challenging the world (religious world, corporate world, the MAN, etc) My motivating is nothing beyond Proverbs 27:17.

My bio? I am a cultural exegete.

Minimalist: “I don’t believe anyone owns anything” I think I understand. But now we need to define the word “OWN” What does it mean to own something. Sounds like one of your definitions of ownership is “to be attached to” something. Another definition for ownership is to “come from” something. Also you define it as possessions “shirt, car” or something that can be taken away. So you gave me at least three difinitions for ownership of something. Remember without agreeing on the definitions we can’t get anywhere, it is as if we are speaking a different language.

If you define ownership as “being attached to” I would agree. We should not “own” or attach ourselves to anything worldly, anything that can rust or fade away. But we can and should attach ourselves to each other right? Isn’t that what marriage is al about? Isn’t that what love truly is? So by that definition of own we vow to own each other when we get married, when we have kids, etc. Attachement leads to suffering YES but it also is the only path to truely loving someone. You cannot love someone if you are not attached, engaged, and OWNING each other.

The second definition is to come from something signifies ownership like we come from the earth and to the dust we shall return. Buddhism teaches that we should not be attached to this world, detachment is the goal, not NEEDING the things of this world is a step to Nirvana. Okay, to follow that teaching to its completion if no one owns anything then everyone owns everything correct? Unfortunately that reasoning leads to chaos and the only thing that holds off chaos is artificial human constructs like laws on ownership, on stealing, on rape, on killing. It is NOT the artificial human construct that are the problem, they are necessary to keep chaos away. The problem is silly and stupid humans using those artificial constructs for their own gain and selfishness.

Lastly your defnition of ownership is over things that can be taken away. And you are RIGHT you should not become attached to someTHING that can be taken. But again, that referrs to THINGS and not people. You MUST become attached to people.

Let me give you a few simple definitions of “ownership” of my own and see if you can agree with them.

Ownership is a temporary economic transaction. Used to keep stability in a society.

Ownership is stewardship. To own something means that you are responsible for it. YOU must care for it, nurture it, grow it, see that it is better after you leave than it was before you came. Therefor the more you own the more responsibility you have to be a steward. If you are a good steward the more you own the better it is for society. If you are a bad steward the less you own the better it is for society.

Thoughts?

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31 responses to “Minimalist And The Start of a Serious Discussion

  1. I will accept your motives as you state them, but your Bio could use some
    work. Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Words can and do have multiple definitions. The word “own” has many
    meanings, how can we narrow it down? In different areas of life words
    mean different things. That is what is so hard and so wonderful about the
    English language.

    Ownership can mean what you suggest. What is needed, in my opinion, is a
    paradigm shift. We need to let go of the idea that things belong to us
    and understand that if done right, there would be no need to fight and no need
    to steal. I am not talking about communism. That can’t work in the long
    run. I am talking about a thought shift. Can it be done? I don’t know.
    Not today. Maybe not for a few more thousand years. Maybe not ever.
    There are too many greedy, violent people. But things need to
    change. The human world is falling apart.

    There is a big difference between being attached to people and being
    attached to things and ideas. That said, attachment to people does lead
    to suffering. After 50 years of marriage a wife loses her husband and her
    attachment to him now brings suffering. Does the suffering outweigh the 50
    years of love? NO.But it is still there.

    In the end I choose to be a minimalist because I feel that attachment to
    things is not the best way to live. I look around me and see people living
    their lives trying to fill the empty spots with “stuff”. They feel sad or unfulfilled, so they run to the mall to buy something. But the things they buy don’t fill the voids, they just distract for a
    while. It is a vicious cycle. I don’t want to be a part of it. I try to fill my life with family and understanding, free from the attachment to the unnecessary.

  2. I agree that the battle over ownership causes many MANY battles and fights. Starts with kids fighting over toys and adults fighting over a nebulous border. BUT I believe that is just a symptom of the real problem, not the problem itself. Which brings us to the nature of us humans. It is our nature (defined as our core beliefs and makeup) that is the problem. Because of our corrupt nature we fight over “ownership” of things and fight over made up offences and hurt and abuse those we love and take advantage of those we don’t.

    So my question to you is what do you believe about humans and human nature? Are we born good and corrupted by a bad world or bad people? Are we born good, are good, will always be good? Are we born bad, now bad, always will be bad? Are we born bad but pulled out of our bad by outside help? Some other option? What do you believe about human nature?

    As far as attachments go. I am an extreme introvert. Being around people is EXTREMELY exhausting for me. Yet I choose to do it because I know it is good for me. My idea of retirement is an island somewhere with NO ONE on it with me – but, again, I know that is not good for me because we NEED people in our lives. WE NEED to love and be loved. I agree that attachments to things are foolish when you depend on them for fulfillment. And you say you fill your life with family and understanding. I assume that means with people you love and who love you and with those who “get” you. If you can find a fulfilling life doing that, I can applaud that. Yet I am left searching for ways to be IN the world but not OF the world. Searching for ways to make the computer work for me but me not being a slave to the computer/game/habit/sin/or whatever.

    Its a SAFE way to live but don’t you think you are called to do more with your life? Don’t you think there is more to living than playing it safe?

    Steve

  3. “what do you believe about humans and human nature? Are we born good and corrupted by a bad world or bad people? Are we born good, are good, will always be good? Are we born bad, now bad, always will be bad? Are we born bad but pulled out of our bad by outside help? Some other option? What do you believe about human nature?”

    I think human nature is a very complicated topic. I could fill pages on the subject. I know what you think about it, or at least what most Christians think about it. ( I will have to assume you fall into the same category as your bio left out all detail.) But I see it as an easy way out and fictisuos.
    No, human nature can not be summed up into the whole “fallen” and “saved” by “grace” sinareo. I think people are what people are. We all have problems. We all make mistakes. We all hurt others and are hurt by others. We all love and want to be loved. We all have choices to make and are defined by them. I do not think that we are “fallen” because that would imply we started somewhere higher. We are of the earth. We live here and die here. We are made of the same stuff as every other animal on the planet. Any idea to the contrary is no more than speculation into the unknowable.

    “we NEED people in our lives.”

    Yes we need people in our lives. We are a social species. Like the other primates and various other animals. Some of use need more people than others. I need only a handful. Maybe you only need your wife.

    “Its a SAFE way to live but don’t you think you are called to do more with your life? Don’t you think there is more to living than playing it safe?”

    There are a few things wrong with these questions. The first is this word “safe”. You are leaving out the understanding part of my statement. Searching for understanding in the world can be very UNsafe. People don’t always want others to know the truth. And some get very angry when their way of thinking is brought into question. Men and women have died for the “sin” of trying to understand.( I can supply some names if you wish.)

    Another problem I see is this “called” word. Called by whom or what? You say god. Some say other things. I say we decide to do what we do and label it “called”. After I have learned more I might teach others. But I might not. It seems a dangerous business. Historically, men and women who went about trying to show people a better way wound up in an early grave.

  4. Yes we humans are “complicated” and that answered your question about humans begin different than other animals. It is THAT VERY complication that makes us different than all other animals. You will not find your fish or your dog questioning why they are here and what is the meaning of life. Their thots don’t go beyond where the food is coming from and who’s going to pet me next. While we are made up of the same “stuff” as all other animals you have to agree there is something different with humans. To not agree is to be blind to the obvious and it is not speculation. The FACT that you and I are discussing, the FACT that we seek to help others in need, the FACT that we create new ideas and machines and beauty is more than enough evidence to the FACT that we are different than the rest of the animal kingdom.

    I never used the word “fallen” I just used the words good and bad. You are reading the religious overtones into it that I didn’t intend. We are a LONG way away from discussing any type or religion. And you have no idea what I think about it and you probably have a warped sense of what Christians think about it from the paper think Christianity you have been surrounded by.

    Yes we NEED people. It is different than other primates but I’ll give you that one. It is similar to all but that doesn’t negate my point about being a minimalist.

    From what I understand in the world your ideas are more the norm than the UNSAFE radical you thing you are. Stand up in any college now-a-days and yell that you are a Minimalist Zen Buddhist and people will shrug and go “Okay, so what?” but if you stand and yell “I’m a Christian and if you don’t have Jesus in your life you are condemned to hell” what do you think the average student will say? What do you think the average professor would say? Which would get thrown out for mixing church and state and disturbing the peace. You are safely in the majority for your ideas I have read so far. It seems that your UNsafety comes from being surrounded by those paper thin Christians in Michigan. Leave your area and you will be bored with how plain you are and how common your ideas are.

    The word “called” should not have a religious connotation for you. I know the religous types have usurped that word so let me define a “calling”

    A calling or call on your life is a plan that fits YOU and just YOU. You combine your gifts (NOT a religious word, substitute what you are good at) with your proximity (what is around you that FITS your gifts) with your ambitions (your perseverance plus BS tolerance) and you will have your CALLING.

    You hint at that calling by mentioning “learning” and “teaching” and that may be your calling eventually so the question is. Do you let that “call” just come to you or do you go out and get it. Does it come automatically or do you have to work for it. I have three college degrees and what I do has NOTHING to do with what I learned in those college classes. I never draw on the information I was tested on. I tested and promptly forgot it all. But the fact that I have three degrees shows something. NOT the label but shows a level of persistence, stick-to-it-ness, perseverance, and an ability to put up with the hierarchical BS that you need to put up with in order to get a college degree. While I am smarter than most of my professors I still needed them to get to the “call” I believed I have on my life.

    Are you escaping or are you digging in and showing you have what it takes to get your ideas into the world. You have to earn the right to be heard. With all the noice in the world it won’t happen without the hard work.

    So two questions for you this round.

    Back to the original. What is man? What is he made of? What is the point of mankind? What is human nature?

    Second: Is your safe minimalism a running away from the hard decisions and hard work ahead to make your calling in this world? Or is it part of your learning process, part of your preparing to tackle the world with your new ideas? Or something else?

    Steve

  5. I thought you wanted to have a discussion. All you are doing is asking me questions, telling me I am wrong, and assuming “facts” followed by more questions. If I wanted to get yelled at and looked down on by people from my past I would go visit my mother-in-law.
    I am pretty sure I already explained this, but I will do it one more time. I am a minimalist because I think it is the best way for me to live. I fail to see how my choice to own as little as possible has anything to do with being safe or running away. I am not trying to be radical, I am just living my life. You can think that I am plain and common if you want. What is your opinion to me? You are just one more preacher who disapproves of my choices. I have to be wrong because you have to be right.( That is human nature.The need to be right.)
    Of course I don’t know what you think about things, you refuse to tell me. And you can’t get upset with me when I read words like “called” from their original religious context.
    Now, take a few deep breaths and come back when you really want to have that real discussion with me. You have to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with me. I sense some hostility in your words. Maybe you should work on that 😀

    …. I know, I know. I don’t know what I am talking about.

    When you think you have it all figured out, that is when you are furthest form the truth.

  6. Whoa … did I strike some nerves with that last post? There is no yelling here and no hostility .. I am calmly discussing what direction you are taking my questions and asking you questions to see how deep you want to go and now I know.

    As we discuss we will inevitably find disagreements and that is okay as long as the disagreements aren’t because we are definining things differently. I find I am in more agreement with you than disagreement. I just don’t use the terms you tend to use.

    I understand what a minimalist is in your definition, you didn’t have to redefine that for me. I understand that it is a life you have chosen and you don’t have to go over that again. What I believe is that by your definition of minimalist and your choice to BE a minimalist tells me is that you are taking the SAFE road and not an UNsafe one. THAT is where we disagree. I don’t “disapprove” of your choice, I couldn’t care less. I just challenged you to ask yourself if you should be doing more with your life than you are. Which, incidentally, I challenge everyone with because none of us are living up to our calling whether religious or not.

    Why does it upset you that you don’t know what I think about things? I am finding that you have a religious bent and hear words in a religious context instead of their intended meaning. The method of asking you questions is called the Socratic method of apologetics and is a useful way to get people to think beyond just words and into the intent behind those words.

    So okay, I will give you a break from me asking you questions. Ask me anything you want, use Socrates on me and let’s see where that leads.

  7. “There is no yelling here and no hostility”
    Really? So there is no hostility behind the words “paper thin Christians”? And you didn’t capitalize all those words? Hmmm. Remember the thing I said about honesty? You wrote a quick, impulsive response filled with emotion and you referenced feelings from your past. Own it. You wrote it.

    “Why does it upset you that you don’t know what I think about things?”
    It does not “upset” me that I don’t know what you think about things. It just makes it impossible to counter anything you say. After all, you could simply claim you meant something else and that I am misinterpreting your words…

    “I am finding that you have a religious bent and hear words in a religious context instead of their intended meaning.”
    I grew up in a religious world surrounded by religious people. Couple that with the fact that I am talking to a pastor and there you go. How should I take your words? Are you a pastor or are you not?

    “Socratic method of apologetics”

    Now here we finally have some truth! You claimed that you wanted to have a discussion with me. No wonder I felt like I was playing some game of chess I didn’t know the rules to. Imagine that, an apologist being less than truthful in an attempt to prove himself right. I don’t need your guidance, Steve. I don’t need you to help me think. “Question Everything” is my motto.

    You don’t know me. You don’t want to know me. You don’t want to have a discussion with me. You just want me to agree with you. To say that you are right. You can disagree with me if you wish, but I would like to refer you back to what I said about honesty.

    If you wish to have a real discussion with me sometime, let me know. Until then, have a good time practicing your apologetics on someone else. 🙂

    I have no interest in playing your game. Think what you like. Believe what you like. We both know you can’t prove your beliefs.

  8. There is ABSOLUTELY no hostility behind “paper thin Christians” in fact I thought that would be a term you would agree with since I believe you have been surrounded by those most your life. IF what you write is any indication of your view of Christians then they ARE paper thin and left you with a bad taste in your mouth. I wasn’t calling you a “paper thin” Christian if that upset you.

    Why is it necessary to know what I am thinking in order to explore what you are thinking. The point was to have a discussion about what you believe when you call yourself a Zen Buddhist.

    Why do you think I am a “pastor”? I don’t believe I even mentioned that. I called myself a “cultural exegete” not a pastor. I wouldn’t call myself a pastor unless I had to. So I guess we need to define what “pastor” is in order for me to answer if I am one or not. So what do you mean by pastor that I am a “reverend” or “dominie” or “priest” or “clergy”. Do you mean by pastor that I am a leader of a church like a supervisor or manager. Do you mean by pastor that I am a “shepherd of a flock” (original latin definition). Do you mean by pastor that I am a counsellor or psychologist? So you see, I cannot answer that question until I know which question you are asking.

    “here finally we have some truth” what does that mean? Now we need to define what “truth” is. You tend to use word that have SO MANY meanings that I don’t know what you are saying or insinuating. Are you saying that what I have been telling you is a lie? Are you saying that my questions of you are not honest some how? Are you saying that I am wrong? Are you saying that my truth doesn’t match up with your truth? What are you measuring truth by, what is your standard?

    I have never attempted to prove myself right. You contradicted yourself in saying that. How can I be attempting to prove myselfe right when I haven’t told you anything about what right is? Nor have I even said one thing is right or not. I have stated some facts that animals are different from humans but that is as far as I have gone in taking a stand on anything. Read again the things that I have written to you and you will find that I have agreed with you more than disagreed AND the only disagreement has been over whether you are living up to your calling or just playing it safe.

    A “real discussion”? What have we been having. It reminds me of the Monty Python skit where a guys comes in for an argument and the other guys simply disagrees with him until he finds out he had been argueing all the time. Maybe we need to define discussion so I can fit better into your definition of it.

    Frankly, you are ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. I don’t know you and it is not my job to “get you to heaven” or make you “believe” anything. I really don’t care. Your salvation (religious or not) is not dependent on me to convince you of anyting. There is no game here, just simple discussion, and I don’t have to prove anything nor do I have anything to prove.

    I threw down the gauntlet of discussion and somewhere I touched a nerve and I apologize for that. That was never my intent. I enjoy the “game” as you call it as an intellectual exercise.

    So I ask again. Ask me any question, make sure you define your terms, and I will happily answer/discuss it with you.

  9. It must be me then because I think that you are still doing it. Maybe you can’t help it… Maybe I am just crazy. How will we ever know?

    If you don’t have anything to prove, why are you using the Socratic method of apologetics? And you are right, you are not a pastor. You are a “church planter”. Same realm, I would say.

    I am tired of Christians not understanding me. I speak plainly. I say what I mean and mean what I say. There are many things in this universe that I don’t understand. Things that nobody really understands. Many claim special knowledge from a god or space ducks or cards, but that is all guess work.
    If you wish to talk about things without the Socratic method of apologetics, I might be willing to try it again. I really don’t feel like dealing with sneaky people right now.

  10. Zeb … you say NOTHING plainly!

    Remember to define your terms. What you throw out words like “mimalist” and “truth” and “right” and “real” and “discussion” etc. you are NOT speaking plainly.

    In fact, I would argue/discuss/take the side of the fact that: NO ONE can REALLY speak plainly. Whenever ANYONE says to me that “the simple truth is …” I run for cover because chances are it is not simple and probably not true.

    I am not really a church planter either. Haven’t done that for years. So here I am: As a vocation (to make money) I am a business consultant, secular convention speaker, primary teacher for a church, and I own and run 4 companies. As an avocation (what I do because I want to do it) I am a published writer (3 books so far), a tour guide in Egypt (leaving again in Oct for two weeks) and a prolific reader (3 books, 4 magazines per week and 3 newspapers per day). My “calling” or what I am good at is making difficult concepts easy and making simple concepts deeper and more meaningful. I do that through my writing, public speaking, and my teaching. Realistically I am imperfect, flawed, broken and I KNOW I need help but not the kind of help that will redefine my flaws into assets but one that will help me get beyond them and leave them in the rear view mirror.

    That is me in a nutshell. Any questions?

  11. So how should one speak if one wishes to be understood?
    Thank you for telling me about yourself.
    Does that mean you are going to stop with the apologetics?

  12. Speaking is not the issue. Defining your words is. But that still is not enough for conversation. Often the inflection of the words make a difference too. I say “I love my wife” but if you emphisize each of those four words you come across with different meaning. Therefor for CLEAR communication and discussion you must define what you mean by that simple statement.

    – Emphisize “I” meaning you don’t I do
    – Emphisize “love” meaning not just like but love, meaning I was challenged about my love so I must prove it through emphasis
    – Emphisize “my” meaning not yours or any other but MY wife
    – Emphisize “wife” meaning you are questioning whether I’ve done something wrong by loving another, a defensive statement. Or simply not your wife but my wife.

    Words have meanings and those are tainted by our experiences, motives, and education. In order to be understood by someone outside your “tribe” (excellent book by Seth Godin by the way called “Tribes”) you must break your discussion down to the essentials until you both are on “the same page” or “speaking the same language” then definition by definition build up your vocabulary together in your discussion. Really, you and I are speaking a different language and that is why we talked right by each other without understanding each other.

    We are still doing apoligetics, just not the Socratic method.

  13. I understand that we all have different definitions for words and how that can be a problem. But there is another problem that occurs when people from different world views discuss things. I run into it all the time. People understand what is said, but interpret the statement to say what they think the other person is really thinking. The most common example of this in my experience is in the area of belief in the Christian god. I will say, “I don’t believe in your god, he is imaginary.” and the Christian I am talking with will usually interpret that to mean that I am mad at god, or that I wish to do things my way, or something along those lines. I could give definitions for every word I use and point out which ones I am emphasizing but it would not help because their preconceived notions are overriding my words.

    Another example could be your belief that my choice to own as little as possible has something to do with me trying to be safe or running away. How can I convey to you or anybody else what I think and why I think what I think if everything I say is second guessed? How can real dialog happen if you do not believe me?

    Now then, can you give me you definition of the word “apologetics”? Are you using it in some secular way or in the origin religious way? In my experience Christian apologetics will stop at nothing to get people to buy into what they are selling. They lie, cheat, and steal and I will have nothing to do with that.

  14. GOOD point. Communication can’t occur when people try to READ INTO what you are saying with their own preconcieved notions and prejudices.

    As far as being a minimalist. I attempted to use your definition and found that I believe it is a SAFE way to live. MY belief of your situation. The simple fact is you will NEVER be able to communicate exactly how and why you do things because of the problems you and I both described with communication.

    That is why “paper thin” Christians will respond to your disbelief in the Christian God by thinking your are angry at God or your parents or whatever. Solid Christians cannot and should not be upset or intimidated by people who say they don’t believe. Mainly because most SOLID Christians go through times of unbelief and astrangement from God and ADMIT IT. What I call paper-thin Christians don’t admit that they ever have doubts and spout Sunday School answers to your probing questions. Like “The Bible tells us that all things work together for good …” or some BS like that to cover for their LACK of faith and honesty.

    To define apologetics. “apologia” is the Greek word for “defense” or “arguement” as in a legal defense or arguement. Christian Apologetics is defending the faith. Usually using the tools of logic or reason (if a = b and b=c then a=c, etc) Socratic Apologetics is a “Defense” or arguement Socrates devised where there is a questioner and a questionee, knowlege came (says Socrates) by understanding that you KNOW nothing and so you must continue to question everything. There is a form of apologetics called “Reduccio et absurdium” which basically means “reducing to the absurd” which is kind of a mean apologetics where you take the persons arguement and bring to the absurd extreme to show what their thinking will lead to.

    You seem to me to be a “Relational Apologetist” meaning: people have to earn the right to debate and discuss based on their relationship with you. No good relationship then no good discussion.

    Christian Apoligetics have ventured into the illogical instead of the logical/reasoned approach in my opinion and that is a result of the paper-thin Christianity most have been exposed to. I believe this is a result of the MEGA Church model of Christianity and Church Growth where the focus is on numbers (width) and not depth (meaning, reason, and logic) so the Christians we get are paper thin. If you remember the parable Jesus told about the sower where some seed landed on the rock and dried up right away, some landed in thin soil and sprang up quickly but died when the sun was too hot for them. THAT is what I would describe MOST Christians as. In thin soil and when the heat is turned up, they wither and die or fall back on religious platitudes. The LAST thing I would want to be a part of is a church full of non thinkers. These are the ones trying to sell you a bag of goods like some snake oil salesman.

    Like I said, your salvation or your belief has NOTHING to do with me. I don’t have to convince you of anything. That is not my job. In fact people who use “words” to try to get you “saved” are hurting more than helping. As St. Francis said in one of my favorite quotes; “ALWAYS preach, only when necessary use words”

    So let me ask you WHY is the Christian God imaginary? What is your evidence/logic/reasoning/apologetics?

  15. Here is a non-exhaustive list of why I think the Christian god is imaginary. Feel free to disagree where you see fit:

    There is no conclusive evidence for his existence, like unicorns and space ducks.

    Biblical inaccuracies on places, promises, and happenings.

    Prayers are “answered” in a way that looks like random chance and people of other faiths have the same rate of “answered” prayers.

    There are no real miracles today, just in the past with a promise for future miracles.

    Science shows how things work without a god.

    He was nowhere to be found until a few thousand years ago. Was he hiding?

    The premise of an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful god who sends 99% of mankind to hell is just silly.

    People who believe in god see evidence for him all over. Just like a person who just bought a green car sees green cars all over. We see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe. It is a survival skill gone awry. Nothing more.

  16. You are right and each one on your list has been exhaustively argued back and forth by both sides. I could give you all the answers to your list from a Christian perspective and you could probably give back the counter arguement. I was never convinced by the traditional biblical answers to these questions or the traditional Christian apologetics.

    In fact, I could come up with arguements against the Christian God even deeper and more upsetting to Christians like the Reformed vs Arminean dilemma, or the boredom of heaven problem, or the Divine Caveats found on prayer and salvation in the Bible. or the Controversy of 1 Co. 6:12, 10:23.

    What forced me to be a Christian is the fact that every other option open to me was even more lame than Chritianity. I explored them all for the last 30 years. I’ve read thousands (not an exaggeration) of books on Philosophy, Religions, and Eastern Thought and come to the conclusion that:

    Christianity is filled with holes, filled with contradictions, prone to abuse and misuse, logically inconsistent and presents a God that is arbitrary if not downright deceptive BUT it is still the best thing available out there and the best explination available for all the important questions of life.

    That left me with only two options: Become a Thinking/searching Christian or become a lazy/voluntarily blind something else.

    Contrary (probably) to what you have been told I encourage you to seek Zen Buddhism, faithfully search it, read everything about it, practice it in every way you are told to. Do the same with WHATEVER religious faith you wish to explore. Don’t stop searching, don’t stop digging. I believe you will come to the same conclusion I have. I believe I am just a bit farther down the path than you are. Just don’t become lazy and think you have all the answers because NONE OF US EVERY DO. I certainly don’t, I am still trying to find something that explains things better than Christianity but I haven’t yet. I thought I did a few times but once I got REALLY into it I have to come back to being a Christian.

    Most people take the lazy/blind route and just believe what they are told, or what they were brought up with or the latest trend, they simply don’t want to think. That is where you get paper-thin Christians and Muslems who blow stuff up and Buddhists who starve themselves to death and Atheist who say Atheism is not a religion.

    I find it encouraging that you are thinking for yourself and I STRONGLY encourage you to keep thinking, keep digging, keep questioning. I have a few suggestions for you in your journey which I learned from experience (good and bad)

    1) Do it with humility. Don’t come across as knowing everything. Explain that you don’t know ANYTHING and therefore need to question EVERYTHING.

    2) Remember the importance of loved ones. Your journey MAY take you away from those who love you and those you love. From experience, that is never good, those areas lead only to pain. If you find yourself down that path turn around. I say this not to limit you but to protect you.

    3) Recognize and admit your own prejudices. I have many of them and they stopped me from exploring some areas until I could admit them and push them aside. Let them come back when they have a knowledge base behind them. We all have prejudices but ones based on knowledge are good. (for example: I am prejudice against lazy thinkers because I know that leads to dangerous and crazy ideas)

    So tell me, what are you doing/reading/exploring/researching now to expand your journey?

  17. “What forced me to be a Christian is the fact that every other option open to me was even more lame than Christianity.”

    Of corse that is you opinion. Others choose different religions for the same reason. There seems to be something odd in what you say here. How can you choose to be a Christian because it is the least lame, then work so hard to get others to believe and understand it? Most of the time when people do something because it is the least lame they are not all that fired up about it.

    “Christianity is filled with holes, filled with contradictions, prone to abuse and misuse, logically inconsistent and presents a God that is arbitrary if not downright deceptive BUT it is still the best thing available out there and the best explination available for all the important questions of life.”

    What are the important questions of life and how does Christianity answer them?

    “That left me with only two options: Become a Thinking/searching Christian or become a lazy/voluntarily blind something else.”

    It seems to me that there are more than two options here. For example, what is wrong with a thinking/searching Free Thinker? Why must we pick sides? I have not seen any compelling evidence that would suggest the exitance of any gods any where.

    You suggest that I try all the options and do everything they tell me to do. I know that Buddhism has ridiculous things in it. All religions do. I don’t need to try them to see that. You picked Christianity, you say, because it was the least lame. I have done the same. That is to say I picked that which is least lame to me. It is not Zen Buddhism, but it has some of it’s properties. I reject all human religions as false. For the reasons you give and more. I can only do one thing. Many have done it before me and many will do it after me. I will find my own path. Nothing else makes sense to me.

    “So tell me, what are you doing/reading/exploring/researching now to expand your journey?”

    I am not as read as you. I have not read thousands of books on the subject. But I have only been at it for a few years. I am practicing Zen Meditation and I find it to be relaxing and a good focus builder. I have looked into other spiritual systems and have try a few of them. They all have pieces of truth, but over all they all suck…
    I do a lot of research into science and I spend WAY TO MUCH time thinking about Christianity and it’s shortcomings.

    So, there are a few questions in there for you. Hope you had a good weekend.

  18. “What forced me to be a Christian is the fact the every other option open to me was even more lame than Christianity”

    I have studied enough now that I can use the word “fact” and not “opinion” I BELIEVE that the others who choose differently do so because they haven’t studied enough (lazy) or they are simply closing their eyes to what is obvious like a child who covers his eyes and yells “I can’t see you! I can’t see you!” I could have used better words there like “What forced me to be a Christian is the fact that every other option open to me was at it’s core a lie and Christianity held the only TRUE truths available”

    You continue to assume (from past religious experience I assume) that My job is to get others to believe and understand as I do. Let me say it to you again for at least the third time. IT IS NOT MY JOB TO GET YOU TO BELIEVE ANYTHING! IT IS NOT MY JOB TO CONVERT OR SAVE YOU! THAT IS NOT MY JOB! I am in this discussion simply because I choose to and I find it helps hone my apologetic skills to do so.

    To answer another question I am fired up about Christianity because there is no choice. Again it is an all or nothing kind of thing. You cannot be a half – Christian any more than you can be half- pregnant. It is something you are or you are not. EVIDENCE that you are is how fired up you are about it. Just because my deductive reasoning lead me to believe Christianity is the least “lame” doesn’t detract from the fact that it is true and only true. What you can be is what I call “paper-thin” Christian which is a matter of obedience and not a matter of belief or salvation.

    The important Questions of Life?
    – Why am I here? (Purpose Question)
    – Why is there something instead of nothing? (Life Question)
    – Why is there good in the world? (Love question)
    – Who am I? (Identity Question)
    – What is beauty? (Creation Question)
    – What/Who is God? (Eternity Question)

    A “thinking/searching free thinker” is an oximoron (meaning a contradictory term) like saying your are a “Christian Muslem” you can’t have both. Searching implies “anchors” of some kind, something to hang onto in order to achieve the next step or the next thought or to move forward and progress. Free thinking implies no answers or “anchors” so there is no progression. Free thinking is cyclical and searching is linear. What good is searching when you go over the same area over and over again. You do not have to pick sides as a free thinker but you also will never progress. It is like saying “I believe in EVERYTHING” which, if you think about it, is the same as saying “I believe in NOTHING” which gets you no where other than the same place you are right now.

    “I have not seen any compelling evidence that would suggest the existance of any gods anywhere” Okay, but are you searching or are you “free thinking” it. God will not fall into your lap and if he did it probably wouldn’t be good for us.

    “I reject all human religions as false” which is of course YOUR religion so you have placed yourself into a “catch 22” (look it up). But I ENCOURAGE you to find your own path (again … do the searching NOT the free thinking) and that does make sense because I KNOW that if you honestly search it will lead you, in the end, to Christianity.

    A Nobel Prize winning Physician said, “Science leads one away from God, GOOD science leads them back.” Einstein said the same thing in different words.

    I am currently reading Stephen Hawkings new book “The Grand Design” in which “supposedly” he contradicts his former book “A Brief History of Time” in which he left room for God in the Big Bang theory. (Small room but it was there). I am curious to find out what the “smartest physics genius” says about the Grand Design and if there is still room for God in his description of design. I am fascinated by quantum mechanics and string theory.

    Have you read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace”? It is kind of a primer on Buhhdist thot. If you haven’t you should. Also there is a series of small books called “_____ in 90 minutes” like “Locke in 90 minutes” or “Kant in 90 minutes” which gives you the thoughts on most major philosophers in a small, concise way.

    Got to go give a lecture on Egyptian myths of Creation and Chaos now. Let me know your thoughts and maybe some answers to your “ultimate” questions”

  19. I am not ignoring you, Steve. I will try to give you a response tomorrow.

  20. “I have studied enough now that I can use the word “fact” and not “opinion” I BELIEVE that the others who choose differently do so because they haven’t studied enough (lazy) or they are simply closing their eyes to what is obvious…”

    Once again you try to pass off your opinions as fact. Funny…
    Yes Steve, all the non-Christians in the world are either lazy or they have their eyes closed to the truth. All the studding in the world will not take you to the truth if you look at everything through god-glasses. Of course your studies lead to back to Christianity, that is what your mind is lock on to.

    “every other option open to me was at it’s core a lie and Christianity held the only TRUE truths available”
    Opinion…
    All religions have bits for truth in them, but over all they are all at the core a lie. You see Christianity at truth because you choose to or because it makes the most sense to you. But don’t you think that there are people out there who feel the same way about the other religions, their religions? Maybe they think that you are lazy or that you have your eyes shut to the obvious.

    “You continue to assume (from past religious experience I assume) that My job is to get others to believe and understand as I do.”
    I was actually referring to the time in your life when you lead bible studies and gave sermons at Friendship.

    “The important Questions of Life?
    – Why am I here? (Purpose Question)
    – Why is there something instead of nothing? (Life Question)
    – Why is there good in the world? (Love question)
    – Who am I? (Identity Question)
    – What is beauty? (Creation Question)
    – What/Who is God? (Eternity Question)”

    I would like to here you answers to these questions.

    “A “thinking/searching free thinker” is an oximoron (meaning a contradictory term)”
    I would think that a thinking Christian is more of an oxymoron. The Church does have a history of looking down of free thought.
    Two other things, thanks for assuming that I don’t know what the word oxymoron means and I don’t think you have a grasp of the term “Freethinker”. Here is the definition:
    one who forms opinions on the basis of reason independently of authority; especially : one who doubts or denies religious dogma

    “I KNOW that if you honestly search it will lead you, in the end, to Christianity.”
    Again with the opinions given as facts. Here is one for you. I KNOW that if you honestly search it will lead you, in the end, to atheism. 🙂

    I have read “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I loved it.

    If we are going to continue talking, you are going to have to drop the high and might, know-it-all routine. You seem to think that you have it all worked out. You have said that you don’t, but your “fact/opinions” statements say otherwise. You need to have an open mind to have open eyes. I know it can be scary but if you are really searching for the truth, you need to open you eyes.

  21. Wow you are finally starting to take the gloves off … good for you.

    You claim many of the “truths” I hold to are my opinion. Some are, some are not. I try to let you know when they are opinion and not fact by beginning the statement with “I believe …” as opposed to “This is a fact …” or whatever. You belittle and assume A LOT of me when you say that my “opinions” are tainted by my Christianity, the truth is VERY MUCH the opposite. I did not want to be a Christian, I ran from it. I did all I could to NOT be one. Turns out I wasted a lot of good years because of that. So I would appreciate it if you would give me a little credit that over my 50 years I have gone deeper than you could imagine at your age within the “Deep, deep”. You dimiss my life with a simple “that’s your opinion” … so gird your loins my friend …

    So now we have to break down what “facts” are. You say they are opinion, I say they are fact. So either I am wrong or you are wrong, there is no middle ground. Correct? We cannot even imagine starting a conversation on the “important” questions in life without, again, understanding our terms. So we must get even more basic than I imagined we had to. You want to jump to the deep questions when we don’t have down our ABCs.

    What is a fact? How do you determine whether a fact is true or false?
    What is a truth? What is a falsehood?
    Is the opposite of fact, opinion? or Fiction? or something else?

    Tell me your definitions and I will tell you mine. THEN we can go to see if my statements are fact or opinion, true or false, deep or shallow.

    And, to answer YOUR high and mighty statements. You really have NO IDEA what you are getting into. Even Pirsig who wrote “Zen and the art of …” became a recluse for the last 30 some years because his journey left him paranoid and suicidal. So if you can move that chip on your shoulder a little and be open to the FACTS as WE define them together then we can proceed.

    I await your definitions so we can start …

  22. “You claim many of the “truths” I hold to are my opinion. Some are, some are not.”
    Which are which? The way you present them it is hard to tell. Maybe convictions would be a better word?

    “I did not want to be a Christian, I ran from it. I did all I could to NOT be one.”
    There is the difference between you an I. You ran. I did not. The act of running from a thing suggests that you are convinced that it is real. If you were not convinced of it’s reality, you would not run. So, your running tells me that you always believed deep down inside that Christianity was true.
    I, on the other hand, did not run. I was happy being a Christian. I told everybody about it. I prayed all the time and all that. Then I woke up. I saw the world was bigger and brighter than I was told all my life. I saw that Christianity was nothing more than dogma. I tried to go back, to believe again, but I could not. It seems that we had nearly opposite experiences.

    “So now we have to break down what “facts” are. You say they are opinion, I say they are fact.”
    No, I say the facts you have given are your opinion. I understand what facts are.

    “What is a fact? How do you determine whether a fact is true or false?

    What is a truth? What is a falsehood?

    Is the opposite of fact, opinion? or Fiction? or something else?”

    Instead of writing out definitions of well established words, I googled them. Hope you don’t mind. 🙂

    “The word fact can refer to verified information about past or present circumstances or events which are presented as objective reality. In science, it means a provable concept.” – Wikipedia

    “The difference between fact and opinion is that a fact is something that is empirically true and can be supported by evidence while an opinion is a belief that may or may not be backed up with some type of evidence. An opinion is normally a subjective statement that can be the result of an emotion or an individual interpretation of a fact.” – http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-fact-and-opinion.htm

    “So if you can move that chip on your shoulder a little and be open to the FACTS as WE define them together then we can proceed.”

    I am open to the facts. Empirically true facts. Facts that can be tested and proven. Everything else is just opinion. That is another deference between you and I, we have a different idea of what constitutes proof. There is no empirical evidence for god, any god. People have been looking for a long time. What have they found?

  23. So are you going by the Wiki definition of fact? Did you notice the little word “can” in that definition?

    Opinions are NOT the opposite of fact because opinions have emotions and prejudices attached to them. If fact is the opposite of fiction you can have opinions about/on the facts and about/on the fiction without effecting the “truth” of either.

    You can have “true” fiction and “false” fiction. You have have “true” facts and “false” facts.

    You say you are open to the facts. So I am assuming you are open to “true” facts and not “false” ones. I put the “” around those words because we have yet to define them. So here we go …

    When you say “true” are you speaking logically or emotionally?
    If you are speaking logically then true is a matter of validity based on a particular syllogism: If A = B and B=C then A=C. That is a valid (true) syllogism. If A=B and B not = C then A=C is a NON valid (not true) syllogism. If A = B and C=D then A=C is an illicit (not true) syllogism. So logically when I say God is Real are you saying he is NOT real based on some illicit or invalid premises, inference, or conclusion? If so, which premise, inference or conclusion? Perhaps my predicate or subject is inconsistent?

    If you are speaking emotionally then when I say God is Real your gut tells you that it is a false or untrue statement. Then I cannot argue with you from the basis of logic.

    When you say “true” are you speaking based on experience or intuition?
    Many things we hold “true” are based on experiences we have like “every time I put my hand in the fire I get burned” therefore “If YOU put your hand in the fire YOU TOO will get burned” becomes a verifiable (true) statement. This is why scientists will publish results of there experiments in order for their “true” statement to be verified by another. If it cannot be verified then it is NOT true. So do you say God is not Real based on experience? If so, how do you account for perspective, distortion, and outright deception?

    Plato believed you could arrive at NO verifiable (true) conclusions based on experience. He believed it was TOTALLY intuition. In his theory of forms he believed we were all born with an innate “sense” of the truth. We all recognize that the various forms of chairs are chairs based on that innate sense of “chairness” we all know that killing is wrong even withouth laws because we have that innate sense of “lifeness” within us. He proved this with a slave boy who, after a few guided questions, could state the Pythagorian Theorem without any previous schooling because the “truth” of the Theorem was innate in him. So do you say God is not Real based on an innate sense of what God is or is NOT? Do you believe I am not tapping into that inner voice that is telling me that God is NOT real (true)?

    When you speak of true are you basing it on a trusted expert?
    We often base truth on a trusted person who has been there, known something we don’t or is educated in that area. The simplest example is a Doctor who will look at a bunch of reports and test results that you have no idea about and tell you that you have cancer. You take that statement as truth because she is a trusted expert. When I tell you to bring your own toilet paper when you tour through Egypt and Jordan I do that based on my experience: the toilet’s free but they charge you for the paper or they rarely have it. You would take that as true since I have travelled there repeatedly. So when I say God is Real do you believe that is a false statement based on trusted experts who have told you the opposite? If you say God is NOT real and trusted experts are telling you that He is, would that change your mind? Why or why not?

    When you say something is true do you mean that there is a preponderance of evidence for or against that statement? As you well know our laws are set up based on evidence and not on knowing EVERYTHING about the crime. It doesn’t matter what you know it matters what you can prove. So each attorney builds his case on the evidence, both circumstantial (meaning it REALLY looks true so it must be) and supportable (more than one reliable witness). Both attempt to build a case based on the pile up (preponderance) of evidence in support and attempt to knock down pile of evidence against. So when I say God is Real do you mean that the preponderance of evidence is against that statement? Or are you saying there is a preponerance of evidence for another, non-Christian type God?

    When you say something is true are you meaning a simple up or down vote?
    The majority rules in many cases of what the truth is. The majority believe that the new health care bill is bad for America there for it must be true, since most believe it. Are you saying that God is Real is not true because a majority of people DON’T believe that to be a true statement and you are with the majority. Or are you saying that I am simply in the minority and the minority is never right (true)?

    When you say true are you making a moral judgment about right and wrong? True means right and good? Wrong means false and bad? True means verifiable and repeatable? Wrong means unverifiable and NOT repeatable?

    So which “true” do you wish to argue? Which pile are you willing to uncover? Or do we have to go back even farther to the basics and answer the question of “how do you know what you know”? In order to find out if something is true we must back up and understand how we “KNOW” something is true or not. We could just be living in a dream as Decartes surmised were all we can do is say “cogito ergo sum” and start from the beginning of what we can or cannot KNOW.

    Where do you want to go?

  24. Wow, you logic is dizzying. Vicini would be proud. Do you even read what I write, or are you just looking for weak spots to exploit? Why do you ask question I have already answered?
    I do so tire of debate. It was once fun, but I grew tired of it some months ago. Look back at my older posts and you will see. This is pointless. You cannot see the world from a non-Christian point of view, maybe you don’t what to. Who knows. You think I got it all wrong. Fine. I think you are imagining things. Fine. I can’t disprove your god any more than I can disprove dragons or unicorns. After all, I have not been everywhere, maybe they live someplace I have not seen. The same could be true for your god. I think that if you wish for me to believe he is out there, then you are going to have to point out where he is. You would say the same thing to a person you believe in unicorns, right?

    Anyway, maybe you should find someone else to practice with. I am obviously to lazy to want to keep up with you. Peace.

  25. You bulk at my questions as if I am burying you in paperwork and searching for “weak spots to exploit”. All I am trying to do is get you to understand that the search for truth must take you beyond Wikipedia and the simple quick answers. All I have gotten from you are the simple and quick, you have given me nothing deep to “exploit” or explore.

    You say you only want the truth and you wish Christians would take off their blinders to see the truth yet you cannot define what truth is? You give Christians a moving target and belittle us because we cannot hit it? I cannot even get into the same ball park as you because you refuse to define your terms and now call them “dizzying” and “tiresome” and “pointless”

    How can you know truth when you cannot define what it looks like?
    How can you tell what is real without defining what real is?
    How can you grasp knowledge when you refuse to think below the surface?

    Zeb, I appreciate you because you recognize the “paper-thin” Christians for what they are and you can “put them in their place” by comparing God to unicorns. People a lot smarter than you and I have debated this for thousands of years and that is why you and I don’t have to re-invent the wheel in our apologetics. BUT we must make sure we are on the same page and I believe you are right in that it doesn’t look like we are going to get there in this time and this forum.

    I can PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that God exists if you let me, but you won’t let me because you find the process of proof tedious and dizzying.

    I KNOW that Christianity is the ONLY way to heaven because I can logically prove it, I have experienced heaven and hell (yes, you can do that without actually dying), I know it because of GOOD, reliable, authentic authority, AND there is a preponderance of evidence FOR it. Yet you find the reasoning tiresome and believe, because of your prejudices against Christianity, that all of my evidence and proof would be just an “opinion” based on faulty facts and logic.

    You are right that I should find someone else to “practice” on but I also hope you find someone to challenge you too. You might or might not. Again. YOU are the one who keeps bringing up Christianity, other than this post I have purposefully stayed away from working from a Christian angle and spent more time with logic and reason. It is NOT my job to make sure you become a Christian but I do hope you are challenged and grow in your searching.

    Shalom

  26. Princess Buttercup

    Seems to me true conversation can not take place when one person keeps talking in circles and throwing out questions, never stopping to listen to the answers. Or when he does finally lower himself, he just picks one little, inconsequential bit from amongst the piles and starts circling in the other direction.

    I just get this mental image of inquisition, torture….Zeb tied up in a low chair trying to honestly, sincerely answer all the questions being thrown at him, while a large, crazy looking dude is hovering about him with this huge apologetics-shaped club in hand, barking out questions one after another, demanding better, deeper, more accurate definitions, and calling him out on any variation or inconsistency.

    Seems the longer this “conversation” goes on, the more it degrades on the end of the club-wielding dude. Frantic is a word that comes to mind. Agitated, even. Not getting satisfactory answers? Use the club. Still not? Whack him harder. Yell a little louder. Circle a little faster. Descend a little farther into delirium.

    Club-dude is trying to talk Zeb into the ground, make him cower, until he surrenders and bows down to the superior intellect circumnavigating him (that’s just another way of saying “going in circles”). Is not the whole point of apologetics to take the unbeliever down so far into the maze of logic that he breaks and “realizes” that, when taken to the ultimate end, his concepts and beliefs are, at best, faulty? Then, is not the next step to introduce all the “answers” that have been “provided” by some higher being? *cough*brainwashing*cough*

    Yet, club-dude is so consumed within his own self-righteous soliloquy (look it up) that he can’t even see the sarcasm right in front of his nose. Vicini would, indeed, be proud. Steve, are you by any chance Sicilian? If so, you should make it a point to mention this at the beginning of each and every “conversation” you embark upon. Though, this may lead to less “practice” than you would like, as everyone knows you should never get into a battle of wits with a Sicilian.

    There is a preponderance of evidence pointing to the fact that people don’t like to be assumed ignorant and/or lazy because they don’t feel the need to be searching out “answers”. I, for one, am content just as I am. My contentment does not in any way translate into laziness or ignorance. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Those who do are just blowing smoke up your bum. Pretty, myrrh-scented smoke. That smoke? It just makes you constipated. In your brain.

    I’m sorry, but you give apologetics a bad name. It’s people like you who have caused the negative connotations attached to that word to stick so firmly. Gives one a bad taste in their mouth, somewhat reminiscent of fecal matter. When apologists come to town, I start thinking that maybe we should have continued those eugenics projects, or at least set about reinstating them. Which is saying a lot, because I don’t even believe in capital punishment for murderers. At least they’re honest about their intentions.

  27. Hh … okay

  28. Princess Buttercup

    Wow. The book-writing Steve is at a loss for words.

    Is that because you truly have nothing to say in response, or is it because you only argue with people you know? I was expecting more from you.

  29. Just ready your post … you said it all … shalom

  30. Steve, didn’t you say that you were not a pastor?
    “Why do you think I am a “pastor”? I don’t believe I even mentioned that. I called myself a “cultural exegete” not a pastor. I wouldn’t call myself a pastor unless I had to.”
    http://www.gracevalleychurch.org/
    Is this not you then?

  31. It’s me … I had to call myself that … not the best designation but one that the most people understand.

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