Names and e-mail addresses have been witheld to protect the guilty. If you recognise your letter here, and wish to have your name and address displayed, feel free to contact me.
Did you know that web sites like yours (referring to mormons) are what many people are looking for, in proving mormonism false?
Unfortunately, i'm sad, too... because i see that your bitterness towards christians in general, has lead you to believe that the bible is a false book...
(wait, don't close the mail yet! Here are some things you shoould read...
First of all, you are right into believing that the story in Genesis comes from 2 different sources. The catholic church, has always taught this...
letme quote an introductory explanation in the book of Genesis: (a catholic bible, spanish version - i'm translating to english)
"in the beginnings of the reign of Solomon, by year 970, an unknown writer, who is often called the *Yawihst*, composed a first history of the people of God which started with the tale of Paradise. Probably, this unknown author, who must be recognized a great faith and wisdom, is the same one who told most of the story of David, his friend, in the times of Samuel. But he composed this history of Israel based on very antique scripts that copied, many times, without even touching them. There that his so profound and intelligent works conserves the old ways of talking about God. In many pages, for example, we see Yaweh (that was the proper name of God for israelits) walking with Adam in Paradise, or also, grateful for the good smell from the burnt animals which came to him on heaven...
but also was written another sacred story in the kingdom of Israel in the next century: its author is called Eloist, to distinguish it from the first. And then, of these two relations came one, taking both from one and the other. We will signal the paragraphs from the first author, the Yawihst, with a vertical line at the margin..."
So, you see that in catholic teachings, we are also taught the ORIGIN of the bible, the authors, etc... now, you may think that i was also brainwashed by believing in the things that the bible says...
again, i'm sorry, but my thoughts are free, too - the problem with the bible, is that MANY PEOPLE SEEK LITERAL INTERPRETATIONS on it... and that's why they failed...
for example, you see two passages in the bible, which aparently contradict each other. The book of James, and the book of Romans. In the book of James, we are told that our faith, without good works, is worth nothing. Yet, in the epistole to the Romans, we are told that we are 'saved' by our faith alone (saved, that is a pretty common protestant belief - if you believe, no mattter how much evil you do, you'll be one of the good guys - isn't that just disgusting?
I hate these propietary protestant beliefs... but yet, not those which really are christian.
This is a very strong problem with people that reason enough to get out of mind-controlling sects. They all are lead into believing that EVERYTHING they were taught is false, and that there is no God. I understand completely your bitterness, and i find it very reasonable.
But there is a false premise there... you may have also be told some true things, that you have rejected because they are related with the lies which were taught.
I'm in no way, calling you a fool, nor anything like that. It's a very understandable psychological effect. This effect is most common, not only about religion, but about families... in example, a girl who is taught by her mom that ballet is dangerous and must be avoided... so she doesn't go to the ballet... then, she finds out ballet is a beautiful thing, and nothing which her mom taught her about it was true.
THEREFORE, EVERYTHING THAT WAS TAUGHT BY HER MOM WAS FALSE. So she goes out, escapes home, and unfortunately, gets involved with guys using drugs. She gets pregnant, and then she finds out that some of the things that her mom taught her were true after all.
Letme show you a real life example. The Jehova's witnesses. You have seen in MANY places how these people have been brainwashed by their leaders, into believing many lies... even to the point of not accepting blood transfusions, etc. etc.
I know of a person who came out of the witnesses after he read a copy of the FIRST EDITION (just like Joseph smith's 1830 edition of the book of mormon), written in the early 1900's. This edition told the people that the end of the world would come in 1914. Now, this confrontation between lies and reality, is pretty shocking. Then the mind shuts down and the only solution is to reject everything which it was taught... so the mind unlearns what it learned, and starts in a new direction. This, as i told you, is a very understandable way of thinking, and has not anything abnormal in it.
A few days ago, i knew about somebody who started to think freely, without any brainwashing, and had decided to leave the "Church of LDS".
The next day, this same person decided to re-join. It's sad... he was very close to become free from this organisation and then he, got caught again. It is very sad...
so, i decided to research about the Book of Mormon, and prove its falseness with the bible alone, to see that most mormon teachings contradict the teachings of most christians (at least, the decent teachings. The false 'christian' teachings actually started with Martin Luther, in 1560 (it would be good if you read some about him...
it has been the same with most founders of christian 'denominations' John Smyth, with the baptists, Charles Russell, with Jehova's witnesses... most people who had started a 'church' of their own actually are evil people... and that's why most people are deceived of christianity. Because of the twisted teachings that apparently came from nowhere.
Now, let's return to the book of Genesis. (bible). We'll see that VERY FEW THINGS can be taken literally. Here you can ask "why?" because, the bible is a religious book, not a scientific book. There are some things which include folklore, and should not be taken literally. For example, that there are things as dragons... (only mentioned once - actually, this was a tale, most people agree that it's a fantasy tale, to prove that evil people get punished and the good guys always triumph. It's a children tale... the book of Daniel (last part). Another thing, is for example, that the earth is flat (there was a lot of things discussing it! Yes, the church made many mistakes into believing literal interpretations (the classical example is the Galilleo affair - but then again, it comes all to believing that the bible is a scientific book.
"Genesis 1:1. 20 billion years ago, there was nothing . And God said, may a particle be. And the particle was. And God saw that this was good. Then, a couple billion years passed, and God said: Let the galaxies form.
Pretty strange for a town that had NO astronomic knowledge, don't you think? I wrote this to prove a point. In the times the bible (at least the book of genesis) was written, there were two rival religions, besides judaism. Or more, i don';t know exactly. One, the persians i think, worshipped the moon... and the egyptians, the sun. So, when the book of the Genesis says: "Let be a lamp for the day, and a lamp for the night", it means that God created both the sun and the moon, but not HOW THEY WERE CREATED. But only that THEY WERE. So with this, a simple explanation is shown to 'prove' false the persians and egyptians. They worship inanimated beings.
Now let's return to many christian beliefs:
The belief that non christians would go to hell. FALSE, completely false! This can be in no way logic... think about this.
If God is love, why would God create many people for them to go to hell just because?
Also, many are misled away from christianity because the many evil christians they see. So, actually, they reject what THEY THINK christianity is... the result: They are innocent from their unbelief.
Also, if you check out a very particular passage, Matthew 24.. you'll see this: "the judgement of Nations".
Let's return by the meaning of Nation: What did the Jews think of a nation: They thought, PAGAN nations.
So actually this statement, defends, that Non-believers' fortune will depend on their goodness/evil. Now this is much more reasonable...
next - the "rapture" maybe you have herad about 'millenialism, post-millenialism', etc. That one day, the world will come to an end, etc, etc. But there's something we keep forgetting here: We die. And we won't be sleeping all that while. That's where most protestant beliefs go in contradiction with the bible. They can't open their eyes and see that IT IS IN THE MOMENT of their death that occurs their judgement.
This can be also proven by the bible, with COMMON SENSE and reading in context.
THE DIFFERENCE between the Bible and the book of mormon, and the book of the muslims.
The bible, at least the new testament, didn't have a UNIQUE author. The bible, as you can see, was written in parts. For example , the gospel of Luke, says: "i have related here what i compiled..." so - the church - meaning COMMUNITY - came first. Then came the bible.
This refutes another great lie of protestants: Bible only.They reject anything which *apparently* contradicts the bible. The only problem: many read out of context, and in the end believe only what their pastors teach them. Why? Because they must know...
another problem is, these pastors were also taught, etc etc... it's a chain. But - if we open the bible and read carefully, study the historical context of a certain passage, the meaning of the words... and do RESEARCH - we'll be getting somewhere. The New Testament is the testimony of some people, and their writings. It is UP TO US if we believe what is written there. But its authenticity can be proven right.
For example, did you know that the tomb of St. Peter (yes, the same Simon Peter mentioned in the gospels!) resides below the cathedral of St. Peter, in the vatican?
Most researches have been found that the catholic doctrine is the oldest, and therefore, the one which follows most closely the traditions started by the apostles.
Well, i have to go... it was nice reading your apologetic works. I hope my letter lets you become less biased against christians in general, because, after all, if we stop being existing when we pass away, why the heck are we living? For no reason it would seem to me.
I would like to make one last comment about the gospels (resurrectiong of Jesus Christ). Let's remember that every author had its own way of telling things, and OMMITTED many details, because he didn't consider them to be relevant to his view of the story.
This is where i see you want a 100% accurate story, where we know that all stories were gathered, most of them, by oral tradition. Don't become dissapointed at the gospels... rather, you have two chances... to believe or not.
Why don't you take chances and find out? You can't lose anything.
Ask... 'if there is a God... show me! I want this proof'
And believe me, you will get that proof. I didn't become a fervous christian by learning... actually i was one of the worst pervs which you could hear about... but one day, and i'm not lying, i felt something inside myself. Not anywhere in the body, but believe me, it was as if my whole self was filled with joy. It couldn't come from any physical means...
so i did research and found out: "Theresa of Avila". So, if you need supernatural proof, you can have my testimony. There is Something out there, and "it" is VERY powerful. You can do some research, it won't harm you. Because i know you're missing a lot out from life...
Thanks for your words. Let me see if I can answer a few of your points.
I do understand that there are many Christians who take a more reasonable view of scripture, and don't take everything literally. The purpose of my site is to counter those who do. For example, here in America there are currently several lawsuits brought by Christians who want to stop the teaching of evolution in schools, because it conflicts with their own LITERAL interpretation of Genesis. If only they could see, like you do, that these stories are just that: stories.
A literal belief in the Bible is dangerous. The point of my website is to show that it is also illogical to believe that the Bible is without error in all things.
As for your comment about my rejecting all things Christian because of my upbringing, I think you may be correct to a degree. However, I did go a little further, and started to question all my beliefs which had no substance. I realised, for example, that I could not believe in God because I could find no good reason to do so. I realised that since the Bible was written by men, their opinion of things is no better than my own.
In my view, there is nothing wrong with religion. It only becomes dangerous when a person mistakes his own, private religion for the Ultimate Truth, and starts to think that everyone else must believe the same as him. This is where we get inquisitions and holy wars from. It is these people that I am trying to educate.
Received: 1/26/98 (in response to above)
Well, i still am a little sad because you stopped believing in God... you see, i not only believe in Him, i know He exists, because i have felt His very presence.... i know this can be hard to believe, but i can only say it must be to give glory to His name...
There is no need to explain, because I know exactly what you mean. I felt the same "presence" of God many times in my Christian life. The problem, however, is that while the experience is one thing, the interpretation of it is quite another matter. How do we know, for example, that this experience of God is not just something that happens in your brain, just like your feelings of love, anger, pity etc.
If you look closely at all religious faiths, you will see that all of them,without fail, describe their experience of God in very much the same words that you have just used. It make no difference whether this God happens to be Allah, Krishna, Jehovah or the Saucer People - the experience is always the same. Add to this the fact that we now know that this "experience" can be simulated by pyschoactive drugs, or even simple electromagnetic stimulation of the temporal lobes, and I think you have your answer.
see, there are many facts about christianity which people don't know, and can be used to discourage them from it...
Personally, I think that would be a good thing. To make a decision based on a lack of information is dangerous.
As you have written, there is a 'circular reference' in the bible. The book of acts supports the gospels, and the gospels support the book of acts'. I read that you ignored who the author of the book of acts is.
It is Luke, the same disciple of Paul, and the one who wrote the gospel with that same name...
Actually, both the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts are anonymous. The names that they have today were given to them a long time after they were written, and are pure guesswork. The bottom line is that we have no idea who wrote any of the Gospels, or the Book of Acts.
There is something very important which most protestants deny, and it's called apostolic tradition. It's the teachings and experiences that the first apostoles wrote, and this passed from generation to generation.
As i said, most non-catholics deny it because these traditions actually support catholicism in a great way. There are the 'writings of the fathers of the church', including some person named Polycarp, etc...
I have read most of the writings of the early church (Irenaus, Polycarp, the Shepherd of Hermas. etc.) From my point of view, they don't support any one sect, since it is clear that each writer had his own ideas about theology, just like the various writers of the New Testament.
There have been testimonies from people such as Polycarp, clement of alexandria, etc... all of these are mentioned in catholic apologetics web sites... why do u think they're in the apologetics section? To defend our faith of course. See, that's what most non-catholic christians lack... and it's a history. If you see, most denominations were started in europe after 16th century, (or america, in 18th century). But catholicism dates from the beginning... and we have history to prove it...
now you can see that there IS another source which supports the bible. It's called tradition. You can accept its authenticity, because they are independent. No circular reference. Tradition is not based on the bible, nor the bible is based on tradition. They complement each other.
Unfortunately, they both suffer from the same problem, which is a lack of credibility. I accept that parts of the Bible are historical. I accept that there probably was a person called Jesus. I do not accept that he performed miracles, and rose from the dead, because there is independent witness to these events. The writers that you just mentioned have the same problem - they all lived long after the founding events of the Christian era, and none of them were eyewitnesses to the actual events. Therefore they are no more credible than the New Testament.
You see, there are many apparitions and testimonies... all of them, of course, are rejected by non-catholics... why? because they support our faith. So they say 'things of the devil' and comments like that. But since you now don't believe in a devil, i think that would help you to analyze objectively these relics.
Protestant sects also have their share of miracles. They have huge healing crusades, in which the lame are made to walk, and the blind to see...at least so they claim. There is no shortage of miracles in any religious tradition - and all are just as sure as you are that they can back them up with facts. I don't believe any of them, for the simple reason that these alleged miracles have been investigated so many times, and so many times have been shown to be something other than a miracle.
The Shroud of Turin is an excellent example. Three independent radiocarbon tests have shown that the Shroud dates to the fourteenth century, about the time that is was "discovered". Yet, many people still believe that it is the actual burial cloth of Jesus. Facts make no difference to the true believer.
Btw, i would ask you a big favor, if you don't mind... to change your web page about christianity... so it stops being an 'anti-christian' apologetics page, which can be used to lead astray many starting christians...
Actually, that is precisely my aim. I believe that Christianity (along with other religious traditions) is dangerous, and I believe that history amply bears this point out. How many innocent people do you suppose perished in the Crusades? The Inquisition? The Jihads of Islam? The Witch Hunts? Calvin's Geneva? What about Bruno, the student of Copernicus, who was burned at the stake for suggesting that the earth moves around the sun, something that we now know to be an indisputable fact?
Religion is dangerous. Blind faith is dangerous, no matter what the object of that faith may be. I aim to counter that effect, in any way that I can.
Received: 2/1/98 (in response to above)
Alright. So you say all religions are dangerous. Well... that would be completely true, if God does NOT exist. But how can you be 100% sure that there is no God? Since God is Spirit, you have no physical means of proving either that he DOES exist or that he DOES NOT exist. It's just about faith.
I totally agree - it is all about faith. For me, however, faith must have a real object. No, I cannot prove 100% that there is no God - I also cannot prove 100% that there is no Santa Claus, or Easter Bunny, or invisible pink unicorns. It is not up to me to disprove the existence of God - it is up to the propenents to prove that he does exist.
And, I'm not sure I follow your logic about religion being dangerous only if there is no god. It makes no difference, as far as I can see. In fact, if there is a god, he must be pretty upset about all the atrocities that his followers keep commiting in his name.
As you said, blind faith is dangerous. But you kept forgetting that apologetics are RATIONAL ways to support faith. Now let's remember, that the middle ages were also ages of wars and misinformation. People didn't know because they weren't well informed. So the enemy is not religion, but misinformation. Take a look at Lenin. Religion, according to him (or was it stalin?) is poison. Now look at what happened with the ussr. People hunted for being either christian or jewish.
Now we see, that also atheists have a complement of prosecution... so atheism IS a religion. A 'non-god' religion. It can also cause prosecutions...
Actually, the only thing that the persecutions commited by the Soviets proved was that blind faith is dangerous, as I claimed. The Communists had their own "belief-system", i.e. dialectical materialism, which they believed in without any proof whatseover that it worked. Also, you seem to have erroneously equated Atheism with Marxism. In fact, there is no such connection. Marxism adopted atheism as one of it's central tenets, just like Hitler adopted Christianity as one of his philosophies.
Atheism is not a religion in any sense of the word. It is the very opposite of a religion - atheism is simply a "lack of belief", nothing more, and nothing less. If you are looking for a "non-god" philosophy, your best bet would be Secular Humanism, which is the belief that man must solve his own problems, because he cannot expect any outside help.
I don't defend the people who burnt the student of copernicus. But those are the opinions based on the PEOPLE.
Let's imagine this Suppose somebody tells you that e=mc^2 because the earth is flat. Now you find out that the earth is round. What do you think? e= NOT mc^2.
That's precisely what i'm telling you... about your error. Because you reject christianity and ALL religion, based on socioreligious problems...
Actually, I rejected Christianity on several different grounds. Not only for its dark side, but also because it makes no sense at all, and its central holy book, the Bible, is nothing more than a collection of myths and fables, all written by very fallible men, who frequently disagreed with one another.
let's remember about mankind. There have been wars and fights everywhere. Are they based 100% on religion? You won't find any war based on that. There are also political reasons for wars...
Correct, but I think that you will find that religion is by far the major motivating factor, even when the cause is ostensibly political. And what is politics anyway, but simply another ideology? Therefore, even a political war is actually an ideological war.
Now, let's suppose the object of that faith is the family.
Let's have a blind faith on family. Does that stop family from being good? or bad? Not at all. the thing here is misinformation again.
And i think your page is contributing to misinformation. So you're actually not solving the problem, but making it worse. Now let's look about some things in which the catholic church (as many christian churches) have helped... hospitals, houses for the poor, schools, is that bad? I don't think so.
Tell me, is there ONE freethought organisation who has contributed AS MUCH with schools and hospitals, as the catholic church?
Ever hear of the Red Cross? While not a freethought organisation, it has no religious affiliation.
Secondly, does the Catholic Church do as much damage as good? Consider the Church's irrational ban on contraception, for example. This ban is directly responsible for untold suffering and misery in third world Catholic countries, and for what? It makes no more sense than a Jehovah's Witness dying from refusing a blood transfusion, or a Christian Scientist dying from refusing to treat an infection.
Calvin. Calvin was an anti-catholic. Just as muslims , jehova's witnesses... just look at hitler. Now it's not religion which is dangerous... it's leaders who guide their followers for political and selfish reasons. If you were to attack these movements, i would strongly support you.
I know the crusades were not something pretty good... but let's also remember that the first crusades opened comercial transactions between europe and Asia. The bad thing is USING religion for political purposes... like the 4th, 5th, later crusades.
Religion, as any other way of thinking, can be used for war. Accept it.
You're aiming at the wrong goal.
What you should fight for is the rights of the poor, helping people from domestic violence, neoliberal capitalism, which sends MANY people into misery. Not poorness. Misery. You state that religion can be dangerous. What about abortion? There have been more people dead by abortions than on wars. But if you don't believe in a soul, it doesn't affect you. But then, who cares? Let the poor girl die and suffer, she asmed for it!"
Now, what happens? Misinformation.
You misunderstand me. I am personally opposed to abortion, in the sense that I would never personally be involved in such a thing. I have two young children, and the very thought of having them killed before birth fills me with horror.
However, that is just my personal opinion. I cannot speak for anyone else. I have no idea what it feels like to be pregnant, let alone an unwanted pregnancy. Who am I to force my opinions on anyone else? This is the lesson that the Church is going to be forced to learn.
So - if you want to help the society in which you live, you better fight misinformation, because christianity (at least GOOD christianity) only helps people, with faith, hope and love.
And still you don't know if there's a God or not...
you ASSUME there is no God... what is that? Misinformation. You're rejecting tons of information, and instead of doing more research, you stop reading documents. Are you sure your goal is the right one?
Yes. I read constantly, on both sides of the issue. I still see no reason to change my mind.
If you studied catholic apologetics you'd see that everything catholicism agrees with is fighting against: misinformation, wars, abuse, and sects like jehova's witnesses, dianetics, socialism, and many errors.
And at the same time, they are promoting misery by banning contraception, making criminals of woman who make there own choices, forbidding their own clergy to marry, etc. etc. etc. To say nothing of Catholocism's very bloody history.
Are you sure you're fighting the right enemy? Shouldn't you fight against the PEOPLE who killed for evil? And their real reasons?
Since I cannot directly question God or religion, the only thing that I have to go on is the actions of the people. And so far, it has not been very good...
Take a look at Christ. He fought misinformation and badly used power. The enemy: Pharisees. And you can't argue against that. They killed him for being good. Now look at a whole lot of christian martyrs, most catholic, and you'll see what i'm talking about. People who fight for peace.
People who fight for justice.
People who fight for the poor. With peace, and in a non-violent way.
People who die for morals.
Now i must stop writing, i have to go...but it would be good if you thought in all of these things. Are you sure there isn't a God?
No. Like I said before, I cannot prove that there is no god, but I see no reason to believe that there is.
Are you sure that there is no invisible pink unicorn?
Received: 2/2/98 (in response to above)
alright. I'm sorry but you hit a mortal trap.
A woman hurts herself deeply whenever she has an abortion.
Again, you're missing the point. I happen to agree with you - abortion is a bad thing. Personally, I would much rather see alternatives put in place, such as adoption.
The bottom line is this: no matter how bad you or I might think abortion is, we still have no right to dictate to other people what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Like I said, this is the lesson that the Church is going to be forced to learn. You can equivocate all you want, and mourn the thousands of unborn dead all you want, it makes no difference.
People have a right to decide what they do with their own bodies, and nothing you or I can say will ever change that.
Personally, I find that the Church's attitude to abortion is very hypocritical. How many abortions do you suppose could be avoided if proper birth control were used? So, on the one hand the Catholic Church moans and groans about how terrible abortion is, and yet on the other they refuse to allow the use of birth control, which would prevent many abortions in the first place.
Instead of complaining about abortion, why doesn't the church simply advocate the use of birth control? Why not go a step further, if abortion is truly such a terrible thing, and make birth control freely available to all people? Like I said, the Catholic church is very hypocritical in this regard.
Physical and psychological consequences. It's very interesting how you ban catholicism because they don't want to hide the SYMPTOMS of the problem... and not the cause.
The cause: Free sex. Sexual promiscuity. Emotional and sexual abuse.
Broken families, domestic violence.
The result: Pregnant teens, operations that leave a permanent scarf on the poor girl. The 'loving boyfriend' just gets away. Did you know that a girl who has had an abortion is very propense to have more abortions?
Abortion is an unnatural act. It has negative consequences. See, it's points like this where people who attack the church or religion in general fail. Most support the 'enjoying of life' while they only help people to kill themselves. And the pope knew it.
I won't bother you anymore... but i do think you need ot revise your sources.