The Flight of Reason

Title From Paul Johnson's "Intellectuals"

Finding a Dependable Belief System (Boring Title? I Think Yes) August 1, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — dinkerson @ 6:23 pm

 

 

What do you believe in? How do you respond to the things that you believe? When everything ends, what then? How long has it been since you seriously re-evaluated your belief system?

I believe that none of us are good. I truly admire our attempts at it, but none of us are really any good at being good. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for me because He understood that I was bad at being good, and nothing short of perfection could ever approach God the Father.

As an aside, the above statement is what it means to be a Christian; yet, I’ve always thought it strange that most Christian’s claim to believe the above statement, and still have garnered the worst reputation for being judgmental toward other people’s “bad” behavior.  If we believe that we have no good in us, then how can we demand, or even suggest, that others should model their behavior after our own? How can we judge the behavior of anyone when we believe that it literally required the death of the Son of God to save us from our own bad nature?

It was such pious Christian behavior that led me into being an atheist, and eventually an agnostic.

I was young then, and like many young people, I formed a belief system based on the limited understanding of an immature mind. Now, not only atheists are guilty of this behavior. You see, I’ve noticed that many Christians have done the same. At a young age, many become convinced that their church has all the answers. Now they are much older, and yet they’ve never re-evaluated and tested their belief system.

Consider for a moment the life of Antony Flew. He was, perhaps, the most renowned atheist of the 20th century. Flew brought a kind of dignity to the philosophy of atheism that was much needed in the last century when guys like Bertrand Russell and eventually Richard Dawkins achieved just the opposite.

Flew was more than eighty years old when he seriously reconsidered his position on atheism, and subsequently became a deist. In fact, in his book titled “There is a God”, Flew expressed some interest in the Christian faith, labeling it the most tangible of the existing faiths.

Perhaps you’re an atheist, or a Darwinist, or even an atheistic Darwinist.  When did you become such? Could it be that you’re still responding to a belief system brought about by a young mind filled with foolishness, misunderstanding, anger, resentment, and immaturity?

When was the last time that you reconsidered the evidence and formulated a better perspective based on the reason and reflection that can only come with age?

Perhaps you’re a Christian who lacks substance because years ago you walked an aisle, declared your faith, and that was it – no more. Maybe now you’ve become unsure, or maybe you’ve been satisfied with the fundamentalism of your youth. There may be little substance to your faith, there may be no experience of God in your walk, yet still you keep the course because… well, it’s easy; reasonably popular; minimally time consuming; and might even keep you out of hell.

Allow me to offend my Mother: If that’s your faith, then what you have is horse shit. Your faith is likely less effective than all the other faiths that you so vehemently denounce. It is likely that you’ve fallen into the category of Christian that Richard Dawkins described as resembling a little old lady who knits. She’s never gonna hurt anyone, she’s never going to change the world or even her best friend, but she’s found something to pass the time. “She’s harmless”, says Dawkins.

I gave up my faith at a young age. My reasons were typical. Christians sucked, and I didn’t want to be one of them.

One afternoon, when I was 24 years old, I was flying down a highway on my motorcycle at ungodly speeds; it was then that I re-considered. Perhaps at 130mph my motivation was fear of death. Certainly death was more real to me at that moment than at most others.  I remember thinking about my Dad’s church and all that had gone wrong there. How badly I hated every living being that darkened the doors there on every Sunday. I thought of the deacon who had rallied against a black family joining the church; the chairman of deacons who was found guilty of violently raping more than five women in the congregation, yet boasted of his unwavering tithing habits; the hit-men, no doubt hired by an angry ex-church member, who arrived at the doorstep of the old parsonage where we no longer lived; the obscene phone calls from Darryl, the music minister, who thought that I could not recognize his voice. I bloody well (expletive removed) hated them!

Suddenly – and while still on that stretch of highway and riding like I stole it – the words of Jesus, while speaking on behalf of the adulterer, entered my mind, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. The point, in my mind, wasn’t that Jesus was reminding everyone that none is without sin, the point is that He was publicly defending the very type of person whom Christians feel compelled to reject and denounce! Even in this very example it was the church leaders who wanted to stone her to death. They felt that they were somehow better than she, and they never did understand that they themselves were in need of a God who would die for their own sins just as was she! Jesus had compassion. I love that, just as I loved it then, that day on my bike.

“Simon”, said Jesus, “Oh Simon, I have something to teach you”. A known prostitute had just washed the feet of Jesus, and Simon was offended. Jesus recognized Simon’s immaturity and began to teach him a lesson of grace, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus then spoke to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven; your faith has saved you”.

Jesus was patient with Simon. Although Simon was pious and judgmental, by all indications, he was teachable. Thus Jesus invested in him with His words. Keep in mind, however – and this was the key – that Jesus was not so patient with the obstinate church leaders in those days.

“Why do you disobey the Word of God because of your silly traditions?” He’d say to them.

“Why do you test me you hypocrites?” He’d admonish them.

“Fools and blind! Who is greater, God or the church building?” He’d ask them.

“Woe to you church leaders! You hypocrites. You consistently tithe, and yet completely neglect the real and weightier matters of mercy and faith!” He’d remind them.

“Serpents”, He called the church leaders, “Brood of vipers, how can you escape the condemnation of hell?”

Yes, I re-evaluated. I liked this guy. Through my tears under my sleek helmet, I considered how foolish I’d been for turning away from a God because of a class of phony Christians who God himself had so harshly criticized?

What about you? Whether atheist, agnostic, Christian, or Buddhist, when is the last time you reconsidered? Would your faith, or lack thereof, hold up against even your own examinations?

 

48 Responses to “Finding a Dependable Belief System (Boring Title? I Think Yes)”

  1. lolabees Says:

    Dink! You’re back! I appreciate your take on what your religion means to you. It’s very real– the good, bad, and the ugly. No phoniness here. I was raised Jewish and still consider myself Jewish; though I would jokingly call myself a “bad Jew” because I only go to services 2 times a year! :) It’s amazing, though, that while I’ve forgotten a lot of the history and the teachings of Sunday school, the culture is still ingrained in me. I’m sure that part never left you either. I don’t know, maybe it’s avoidance, but I don’t think of it too much. Sometimes I think it’s too big for my tiny little brain. I care about it, but I don’t really know where to put all of my thoughts about religion in general. Not sure if that makes sense, so maybe it’s time I quit typing ;)

    • dinkerson Says:

      Thanks for your thoughts here Lolabees. I think I’m going to start calling you Lola. Let me know if you think it’s awful, but I like it.
      Surely you must know by now that I may be confused, I may have lost my mind long ago, but I’m certainly never phony. Undecided about certain things? Sure. Not always perfectly unwavering? Perhaps, but phony is something by which I cannot abide.
      So you’re Jewish? I’m glad we can be friends then. Really, I am. I know that the protestant faith is offensive to many Jews. And certainly we believe differently, but I tend to… at least – and this is not saying it all – respect any sincere pursuit of God. Whether He agrees with me will one day be determined.
      By the way, I’m currently reading “Schindler’s List”. What a book!!! You may have read it, and if not, I recommend it.
      Just so you know, what you said makes perfect sense, and even feels familiar. Here’s what I think, Lola. I think that life is too uncertain to only dabble in our faith. Don’t get me wrong, if you and I were stuck in a room, the room would have more than one person who is guilty of doing that on occasion. Or maybe more than just sometimes, but my point is that I’m not speaking down to you.
      I have two questions for you, and they are as follows:

      1. How long does a crown last? (I needed to ask that for my wife before I forgot :-D )

      2. And I forgot the second one.

      • lolabees Says:

        Lola is great. I’ve never bothered to ask if I could call you dink… just did it ’cause I liked it, so I hope you don’t mind ;)

        Interesting about the Jewish Protestant thing… I’m unaware of that interaction. I even googled it to see if I could find anything about it, but no luck there. I think one thing that offends Jewish people is when people of other religions try to push their own religions on us– maybe in an attempt to convert or even save (the saving thing is even more offensive.) Not sure if that’s a Protestant-specific thing, but I doubt it. I personally haven’t experienced anything like that very often, and I haven’t gotten offended by that stuff because I don’t think it matters that much if someone else thinks they need to show me the light. That’s more about them than me, so why should it bother me, right?

        Anyway, I’ve always had friends with different religions, so it has never factored in for me. I should note, though, that the topic of religion doesn’t come up often. I know they celebrate the holidays, but they are not the super religious types, whatever that means.

        “I think that life is too uncertain to only dabble in our faith.” Here’s a question to ponder. I understand that faith can be a very helpful guiding, healing, or comforting thing (or whatever it provides in the moment.) Do you think life becomes more certain if you have faith? What would change if you didn’t plant yourself firmly in your faith? Is it a matter of perception, because after all, our beliefs are really just ideas that we hold to be true. So, are they just beliefs or actual truths. I don’t have the answers to this (obviously,) :D nor do I know where I’m going with this… your posts have this effect on me. So I’ll just go back to my safe place and not confuse my little brain anymore by thinking too much. Haha!

        Now for a question I can answer clearly. Crown lifespans are so dependent on so many things including quality of crown and materials, quality of the work actually performed, the patient’s personal oral hygiene habits, even genetics, and sometimes a bit of luck can help or hurt (Sometimes freaky shi*t happens that no one can control.) The dental insurance companies will cover a new crown every 5 years. They reached that # by using data that showed that the average crown last 4.9 years (or some close # like that.) If my patient’s crowns last only 5 years, I’m seriously bummed about that. Crowns should last for many years. If it’s my work, 10 years is good, but still slightly disappointing; 20 years is great; and 30 years is what I’m shooting for. I hope that answer isn’t too vague. If you have a specific situation that you’re asking in reference to, feel free to email me.

        Anyway, glad to see you back here!

      • dinkerson Says:

        Dink Works. In fact, the name “Dink” came first. I just improved it a little for the purpose of my blog. It’s funny that you and a few others have shortened it back down to dink. :-)

        Well, first, I may stand corrected here. I thought that there was friction between the two faiths. But I think that I only thought so because I always heard it growing up. So… I may just be wrong there. I mean, maybe. ;-)

        Despite my strange talent of always being right, and knowing it (except just now), I too have always done very well with people of many different walks of life and religious persuasions. Just as long as they see my beliefs as strongly superior to theirs.

        I’m only joking with that (and being terribly inappropriate), but you have raised some good questions that I want to take seriously. That being said, we then simply have to go back, as quickly as we can, to being light hearted and carefree as always.

        Just so you know, I could write a book here. Because I needed to edit three-hundred pages out, these points may seem disconnected and off topic. If make it through this response, you’ll have to do so by imagining all of the other things that I was going to say.

        You asked, ” Is it a matter of perception, because after all, our beliefs are really just ideas that we hold to be true”
        I do believe that the foundations of a person’s faith can contain ultimate truth (cliche, sry) and certainty, because one’s faith can be examined to see if it’s supported by well grounded evidence. To only adopt a faith because it is settling, familiar, or any one of many reasons other than the belief that that faith contains merit and is well supported, is something other than faith in the context in which we’re using it. Unfortunately I cannot tell you that I know my faith is true because I’ve just come from Starbucks, where I met with God and he confirmed my beliefs – it’s always bothered me that such a level of confidence isn’t made available to me – but I do believe that I can base my faith on something more than my own desire to believe it.
        Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and almost every other faith in existence are exclusive belief systems. In order to claim to believe one, you must believe all of the others to be false. In my mind – perhaps because I perceive myself, somehow, to be kinder than God – that is an unfortunate reality; nevertheless, it remains true. One cannot believe one of any of these faiths, and truly hold to the meaning of that faith, and still believe that other religions may be true as well.

        You asked, “. I understand that faith can be a very helpful guiding, healing, or comforting thing (or whatever it provides in the moment.) Do you think life becomes more certain if you have faith? What would change if you didn’t plant yourself firmly in your faith?”
        I do think that life can become more certain because of Christianity (again exclusive by nature), and even more grounded. My boss once told me that he doesn’t need all of that “god shit”, he was “way to grounded for all of that”. My reply was that it’s my faith that makes me grounded. It is, in fact, the one thing that I know I can hold to, and it will never waver. Christians will waver, my own understanding of Christianity will waver, and my beliefs will have to adapt with any new found understanding of God, but the God of my faith will never be moved. I like that, and yes, I find certainty in that.
        Lola, if I did not plant myself firmly in my faith, I believe that the immediate consequence would be that I would quickly become a much different kind of guy. Before I became a Christian, I used to have inexplicable bouts of depression; I had a general sense of purposelessness despite my quite charming life; In order to cope, I distracted myself from what would seem like a life that, to others, would have seemed to bring some serious satisfaction; I would find something to make me happy, and it would turn out to not be what I thought; I always wanted something. Something more. Everything would change if I were not grounded in my faith. I remember those days too well.

        I’m going to stop there because this is just getting ridiculous. If you’ve actually read this, please know that I did my best to make this the short version.

        Thanks for the crown info. :-)

  2. rangewriter Says:

    I re-evaluate my belief system daily.

    I agree that nearly non of us are “good.” Perhaps that is why we are here? Works in progress? I’m still re-evaluating that concept.

    I am not a Christian. If I believe in any deity, it surely doesn’t include the son of god.

    All that said, I really do admire your journey. That is why I keep coming back to read your surprising take on Christianity. In recent years I’ve done cursory study of ancient religions and I think you are much closer to the original…well, sorry…the whole Christ thing doesn’t work for me, but the whole supreme prophet thing.

    Something that is very interesting to me is my mother’s journey. She raised me to be the questioning heretic that I am. As she lay, near death, I gently prodded her. I wanted to know if she had changed her mind about the cosmology of the universe. I’ve often thought that ( or worried) we don’t seriously consider these issues till “judgement day” is looming. As far as I can tell, my mother went to her grave (ashes) not believing in Christ and if she believed in God, God was in a far different form than organized religion presents it.

    Your careful probing and gentle questions intrigue me and require me to re-think what I think I believe. For that alone, you are a superior being. The more people who can probe their own belief systems, the better the world we will have to share.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Ah, yes. I’ve no doubt that you are one who re-evaluates. Your response took a second and third reading in order to properly feel the tone. The first reading sounded curt; the second, terse; and the third, efficient. :-) I can handle that. Even liked it.
      You admire my journey? Then the admiration is mutual. Thus far, I’ve loved following along with your stories of your childhood, and your reflective thought processes of recent years. You’ve stretched me and pissed me off sometimes, but I like you, and your stories and examples have grown me. That’s why I keep coming back (not to mention, I kind of idolize your writing mojo).
      I’ll not comment on the story you told here of your Mother, except to say that it was an interesting and much appreciated window inside that you gave.
      I wonder what makes my take on Christianity seem surprising to you? Also, what makes me closer to the original? And why not say original Christian? Is it because the title would seem derogatory, or because the word chafes at you. Kind of like the word “snacks” does me.
      Or maybe it’s that the term “Christian is too new”, and the original existed before that term did?

      • rangewriter Says:

        Oh dear, curt? Terse? I surely didn’t mean to come off that way. Efficient…well…I’m not one to mince words, I suppose. People tell me I’m direct, I cut to the chase, sometimes like a Michael Tyson in a glass house.

        Your take on Christianity is unique today in that far too many self-proclaimed Christians seem to do the exact opposite of what the prophet, Christ, did and preached. Too many Christians use their supposed faith as a mantel to hide behind, a pat set of answers that guide them. Answers that come from someone else’s interpretation of history and language. Answers to questions they have never really considered. (This is true of many religious followers of other faiths as well, not just Christians) Hense the very pertinence of your post. ;-)

        I guess I think that you come closer to actually thinking like Christ and walking the walk than most people do. So yes, I guess the word Christian has been cheapened by its followers, in my humble opinion.

        I love the challenging questions that you ask. Challenging in a good, open, and honest way, not in a talk-show, one-ups-manship way.

      • dinkerson Says:

        Your comments are always wonderful, Linda. And you should never worry about “breaking the china” on my pages ;-)
        God knows I must’ve come close to the line, a time or even two, recently on your blog. Your willingness to follow my humble blog is something that I cherish. :-)

  3. ssrijana Says:

    i am a Hindu by birth and ill never consider changing my faith for this religion keeps me firmly rooted to the ground while at the same time allowing me to seek other religions it helped me develop my faith in humanity and respect all religions for in the end god is 1.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Really? How interesting! Hinduism has allowed you to seek other religions? I wonder how so?
      Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting here that anyone should change their faith. I’m only suggesting that we re-evaluate the foundations of our faith in order for it to strengthen.
      Thanks for the great response. Would love to hear more.

      • ssrijana Says:

        i think its a most liberal faith adapting and changing with times i am a Hindu but i go to churches mosque more than i go to temples if i want to i can just put my faith in a sect of it after all its a very vast religion Hinduism i think is just the cover

      • dinkerson Says:

        Must be vast indeed. Eastern religions have always confounded me. Thanks again for clarifying and giving your much appreciated thoughts on this crazy subject. :-)

  4. abtwixt Says:

    Awesome. Just awesome.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Great to see you abtwixt! I will stop by your blog soon. It always makes for a great read :-)
      I’m glad that you liked this post. In all of my writing, this is the first time that I’ve really explained anything at all about my personal faith. Thus this write up was important to me.
      Thanks again for reading. It means a lot to have you sticking with me even through my extended break.

      • abtwixt Says:

        Your testimony and wisdom really struck/strike a chord with me. If you visit my blog you will see that I too have been on an “extended break”! I’ve reverted to being more of a WordPress stalker than contributer. Always glad to put in my two cents to excellent writing! Keep up the good work!

      • dinkerson Says:

        Thank you, abtwixt (I have no idea how to pronounce that :-) )
        And I love blog stalkers.

  5. Glad to see you returned with a great topic. Yes I too in my younger years (20′s) turned away from the Catholic church due to things I felt were unacceptable or I feel at that time I just could not agree. had a friend who lived next store to me commit suicide. The family was devote Catholic’s from the Phillippines. Upon here burial the church did not allow an open casket for her as family requested. This was due to her suicide status. In addition, the priest had taken her confession knowing she was suicidal and offered no assistance in any other way that may have prevented her death. This was a defining moment in time for me as a young person. I was already on the fence back in those days about the church/faith. The church had treated my mother poorly when she met my father (she had previously been married and had I young child when she met my dad). My mother went to Catholic church to ask if she could become a Catholic in order to marry my father. The response of the priest in charge of parish “you should know better than to come to us and ask this question.” My father in support of my mother never returned to that church and in fact stop practicing his faith for a good 20 years. This was another deal breaker for me. Later in years my parents met a wonderful Catholic priest who was now in charge of our perish “Father Jude.” My mother again wanted to be a Catholic and be able to have some form of marriage within the church for my Father. Father Jude came to my mother and said “we welcome you with open arms, you should never have been treated as such back then and never will again. We are not without fault as priests.” My mother went thru classes to become a Catholic in her 60′s … some 30 years later from her early request. This gave me and my family the strength and belief to return to the church. The priest was also able to council me on what occurred during my friends suicide. I agree that people are just people and we strive everyday to become better human beings. Sometimes we fail …miserably. In fact some of the people we may hold in the highest esteem and greatness will fail. However, being able to go back re-exam it all has made me a much better Catholic. I don’t throw up the line when I fail at being a good person “oh but God will forgive me and knows the truth.” No, I stand behind my actions good or bad and the results fall will they may for my poor actions.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Hey Kellie! What a story. The mishandling, on the Church’s part, of such sensitive moments in life is something that few who experience it ever can move beyond. I’m glad that you and your parents have found a respectable priest to help guide you back into your faith. It wouldn’t surprise me if, just because of the kindness and levelheaded guidance of your priest, your faith and that of your parents will be even a great deal stronger than it was before all of this.
      What a story to share here, Kellie. I appreciate your willingness to let loose and tell it! :-)
      Good to have you back reading my work, even though I’ve all but abandoned you for the last… really long time. Always love your comments.

      • Oh you NEVER abandoned me. Our lives are so busy. I am in full interview/job hunt. Having been out of the market for a few years. So my time is limited as well.
        Thank you so much for the feedback. Yes I was at mass last weekend with my parents and we thought of Father Jude recently (he passed a few years back). Fondly recalling having him over for dinner and sending hand made floral basket which my mom created. (she is very talented). I love being able to take a negative situation and be able to come out on the other side and better person. Glad to hear from you my blogging friend.

  6. well im not the praying kind you would find in a church or temple but yes i do have faith because its one way to trust something good or positive in life.. faith is one way to keep the hope alive..
    Good to hear from you again… :)

    • dinkerson Says:

      How interesting that you say you have faith, presumably in a superior being, and yet you would not pray to Him. I wonder why not? Do you believe that He doesn’t listen? Understand that I support your prerogative to pursue your faith however you may choose. I simply can’t wrap my mind around a person believing that there is a god out there who may have a plan for their life, and they choose to only acknowledge that he’s there, nothing more. Why not talk to Him?

      Please keep in mind that tone is difficult to convey in text. If this response sounds condescending or overtly challenging, that is not my intention. I have an overactive curiosity about me.

      • oh i think i confused you…well yes i believe in God or a superior power ..but i do not go to church or temple.. i often talk to God without paying him a visit…
        i like to say thankyou to him everytime i pass by a church or a temple or whenever i’ve had a good day…i like to say sorry to him when i think i end up being wrong..but i dont really like to go to a church or temple and pray like everyone else does…i dont know if its bad…maybe because im not very religious..i am thankful for what i have and i like to be thankful to him in my way…am not sure if confused you again

      • dinkerson Says:

        Nope, I’m tracking with you now. It may shock the world, but I myself seldom attend church services. I do, however, mingle with like-minded Christians (not exclusively, of course) and I listen to a great many sermons. But I have a hard time with the phonies at church.

  7. Ammon Says:

    Welcome back! You’ve been silent far too long :)

    “Never judge a man’s wealth or his piety by his appearance on Sunday (attr. Mark Twain).”

    • dinkerson Says:

      Thanks, Ammon. Good to see you again.
      Perfectly appropriate quote that you’ve posted here. My employer routinely recites Twain, and it seems the man possessed near infinite wisdom.

  8. Dink,
    After reading other bloggers comments (I which I love all) I had to share this true experience of mine while in 2007 traveling to Poland and Czech Republic to do some of my family genealogy. While staying a month in these two countries I was able to learn some interesting things about the difference in the two countries/people regarding faith/religion. Of course, I was raised Catholic and I wanted to attended mass in both countries (they have such gorgeous churches it makes you cry when you walk into them). Even though I don’t speak Polish or Czech (both seriously hard to learn). I realized it did not matter if I attended mass and could not completely understand what was being said in the mass. So much was universal in meaning. Upon attending mass in the Czech Republic (which used to be heavy in Catholism in the days of WWII) and a huge Jewish population.I realized a very few percentage of Czech’s attended any mass. However, without doubt the church would hold their schedule masses regardless of little attendance. Then upon traveling to Poland I attended mass and the churches were over flowing with Catholics and deep in faith still. Upon meeting up with my Czech friend I asked why this was so. He advised me that the Czech Republic now has an agnostic or atheist base of about 59% and catholic 26%. While Poland has a much higher rate. He advised my during the war of course neither country was free to express their religious beliefs. However, if done it was done covertly. it made me ponder why did one countries faith base hold up stronger than another during and after the fact? Or did it? I know there are many facts in google to perhaps why the change in faith percentages after the war. However, I find this to be an interesting subject. Was one countries faith stronger in the mist of oppression by Nazi Germany? I have visited several Nazi concentration camps in my travels. Auschwitz, Dachau to name a few. No bigger expression of faith was shown by the Jewish people during this time. Why did more not lose their faith during such horrific times. All questions that I think about often.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Really? They made you cry? What a perfect way for you to describe them. :-)
      You know, this is an interesting story and certainly an interesting question that you raised at the end.

      I’ve heard that C.S. Lewis tackles this subject in his book, “The Problem With Pain”. That is one of the few of his works that I haven’t read, but I intend to soon.

      James 1: 2-4, “My brother, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

      And there are many such verses in the Bible that indicate that trials can be used by God to vastly increase our faith.

  9. The Hook Says:

    I liked this title! The post was incredibly well done, as well!

  10. WordsFallFromMyEyes Says:

    I’m glad you’re back sharing your world, Nathan. I don’t know what happened, but you sorta disappeared on me somehow.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Thanks! I’m glad to be back. Also, I’ll soon return to following your blog as usual. Life has been in the way of this blogging think lately. Good to see you around. :-)

  11. WordsFallFromMyEyes Says:

    “Teachable”. That’s what mostly I take from all of that, Nathan. “Teachable”. It is a tragedy when one becomes unteachable. aka ‘dead’.

  12. aFrankAngle Says:

    Dink … glad to see that you are back. :) … and with a well-written post. A couple of points.

    1) No … I don’t believe that “we have no good in us.” . we have much good – but – are prone to (and will) fall to the dark side of our behavior all too often.

    2) You left my group out …. theistic Darwinist … and there are many of us.

    3) I don’t care for Richard Dawkins.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Frank, I must apologize for not responding to your comment sooner. I think it’s rude when people exhibit this very behavior, but I was not intending to be rude. Only, I’ve been busy and distant from my blog for the last few months.
      As to your points, I did leave out your group; However, you and your group are certainly included in my invitation.
      I haven’t cared for Richard Dawkins since I’ve heard him deceitfully misquoting Einstein and many great scientists of history.
      I’m glad that you liked this post, and seemed to agree with some of my initial points.
      As always, thanks for reading, Frank.

  13. SimplySage Says:

    I really like this! It sounds like my “More About Me” page that I’m rewriting. At least the “Less About Me” page is up!
    I am a former “near atheist”. Nearly forsook all notions of God during college, for different reasons than you, but still I was very near.
    A verse was what caught me, though, just like you. When I read “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” I was completely undone.
    I’ve never been the same and I am so glad.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Yeah, I’m with ya. Never been the same is right. It’s like your faith becomes you, and is manifested through you. I was too subtly making that point in my analogous post titled “Subjective Cool”. Actually, I was going to tie in the correlation a bit more clearly, but sometimes I like being vague; perhaps just to see what people will take from it.
      Thanks very much for visiting. I very much enjoyed what I read of your blog. :)

  14. such an interesting discussion, have enjoyed reading through this. Though I am late to the party! I grew up in Yorkshire, with it’s ‘dark,satanic mills’ where everyone went to church and Baptists and Methodists were dominant. My church going was driven by my mother who played the church organ, I often sat with her up in the top of the church whilst she banged out hymns for the service on the great big pipe organs that churches excel in. For all that we were never ‘religious’ and our church attendance was dependant on which church Mum was playing the organ in, she was multi denominational! I was in the church choirs and learned to harmonise with other kids and people, and I think that’s the greatest lesson I learned about religion…forget the title and be in harmony with your fellow man. I find churches of all kinds such spiritual places to be, and like one of your other persons (Kelly) I have sat in several and cried at the beauty and peace within, a special moment for me was in the Temple of the Green Buddha in Thailand when I had such spiritual feelings flowing through me. I don’t believe we are born good, or bad, just that we have the capacity for either and the circumstances of our lives leads to our choices made one way or the other. I am lucky to have had a non prescriptive (religiously speaking) Mother who’s teaching to me of right and wrong, fits in with most religious doctrines, and I still try and follow that.

    I love your photo blog Dink, but think you should not give up the writing one. :)

  15. Why, Dinks! You dumped my comment! That’s strange. Perhaps, I didn’t hit “post”.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Really???!??! You did hit post. Maybe I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I really thought I did. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. What an ass I am, it seems.
      Your comments are always some of my favorites.

    • dinkerson Says:

      Wait… On second thought, I was thinking of another comment that you left and I *did* respond to.
      That was on another post. You must not have hit the post button on that one. Damn…

    • dinkerson Says:

      Now I’m curious… Was it controversial? Incindiary?

      • No, it wasn’t controversial. I was just a little surprised that you had a blog discussing Christianity. I joked that I’d follow along until you started talking about the planet being six-thousand years old, at which point I’d tiptoe quietly away. :-) I am not ambivalent about Christianity. I am just impatient with the way in which people who profess to be the faithful behave. I have come to pretty much brace myself when I hear anybody use the term. I confess that it does modify my instinctive feeling about people who use the Christian “jargon” as I’ve come to think of such catch phrases as “Christian values” which I find small-minded and hardly words that I believe would have come out of the mouth of Jesus. I will be in your silent audience, Dinks. I do find our description of Christianity as “exclusive” to be surprising since I do not recall having found Jesus to have behaved or to have taught in any way that was not completely inclusive. Perhaps, I misunderstood. Ignore me, Dinks. If I have a question, I’ll let you know.. Otherwise, I find your posts to be interesting since they reveal who you are. We know so little about most people who blog here. Thanks! :-)

      • dinkerson Says:

        I see. You did leave that comment, and I responded. The comment was left on a post titled “Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Things More Grim”.

        You may find that I’m not your typical Christian. I hope so anyway. Christians bother me in a very powerful way. Some of the early posts on this blog explain this further.
        As for the term “exclusive”, I don’t think that Jesus was an exclusive fellow, and I don’t think of myself as part of an elite and exclusive clan.
        We are not exclusive, but the truth is. A belief system can be exclusive without its proponents exuding an air of exclusivity. Make sense?
        So when Jesus said, “… No man comes to the Father except through me…”, he was stating an exclusive belief system, but he was including everybody, and welcoming everybody into that system.
        So our beliefs are exclusive; they don’t include creeds of other faiths in their entirety. Our beliefs will be at odds with certain other beliefs and cannot be changed to accommodate those other religions.
        I’m hopeful that my clarification has been satisfactory.

      • dinkerson Says:

        And, I also want to say thanks. I appreciate that you’ve taken an interest in who I am.
        I think we would be fast friends in person.
        Anyway, back to the fourth, the beer, and the pyro kids almost burning down the house. :)


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