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Hahaha, I can't believe the world is talking about this. I'm from her area. Hey, do you want to know some more hilarious facts about Fort Wayne, Indiana?

This is 100% true:

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If a dude marries God, will that be gay marriage or nah?

assuming god is a man

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If a dude marries God, will that be gay marriage or nah?

assuming god is a man

If god is a woman, was THIS marriage gay marriage or nah?

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CVILF, amiright?

tbh, though, the idea of virginity seems like one with a built-in bias towards inequality, not a thing that people should be celebrating. do you know if any of those priests are virgins? can you even tell? no! there is no difference! who cares! but with women, there is still an implied way of checking, even if our culture doesn't actually do it any more. i figure that because there is a way of checking if a woman is a virgin, then it becomes something that seems more important to people. there is a before and after. a empirical difference to observe. a state change. data. and if information is power, then it's easier for men to conceal that information.

like, imagine a world where men get an rfid chip implanted in them that indicates their "virgin" status, and anyone could check this if they get their phone close enough to your junk. except the chip has a bug and you can accidentally trigger it if you happen to spend too much time riding a bicycle or whatever. imagine the outrage! people already get touchy about the moisture detectors in their iphones, lol.

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If a dude marries God, will that be gay marriage or nah?

assuming god is a man

What if she married "The Holy Ghost"? Is it necrophilia?

Asking for a friend here.

The Holy Ghost was never alive to begin with. Which, depending on your interpretation of how acceptable dating age ranges works, could open up a whole 'nother can of worms.

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The Holy Ghost is also usually portrayed as a dove... so is it bestiality to even suggest it?

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As a Christian, myself, I have no idea how to respond to this nor the other similarly-related thread in a way to show my feeling about how I perceive them to be a collective circlejerk of mockery against perhaps either Christians, God, or religion in general, without being mocked and heckled myself for saying so.

I don't feel that I could pursue having a legitimate conversation about what this woman's thoughts/motivation might have been leading up to this event, or what similarities her life in the future might hold compared to a nun or some such; nor do I feel that I could have a rational, mature, legitimate discussion about analysis of following one's faith while consuming modern media entertainment without it devolving into a trollfest.

And it's a shame. You guys are my friends, and my faith is a huge part of my life.

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As a Christian, myself, I have no idea how to respond to this nor the other similarly-related thread in a way to show my feeling about how I perceive them to be a collective circlejerk of mockery against perhaps either Christians, God, or religion in general, without being mocked and heckled myself for saying so.

I don't feel that I could pursue having a legitimate conversation about what this woman's thoughts/motivation might have been leading up to this event, or what similarities her life in the future might hold compared to a nun or some such; nor do I feel that I could have a rational, mature, legitimate discussion about analysis of following one's faith while consuming modern media entertainment without it devolving into a trollfest.

And it's a shame. You guys are my friends, and my faith is a huge part of my life.

It's okay. You can make fun of atheism if you want. I'll think you're wrong, but it won't hurt my feelings at all. ;-)

On a more serious note, though, I think that's ultimately where these things break down. Theoretically a believer and a non-believer should have a "mutually respectful relationship" toward each other's position on the nature of the universe/reality, but to someone like me, it's just an empirical position, much the same as my belief in the planet pluto or my lack of belief in Zeus. You can make fun of that all day, but it won't hurt my feelings because to me it's all just data. But with christians it's not just a conversation about data and the conclusions we can draw from it. It's also sort of like having a conversation about their mother, and someone in a position like mine is sort of doing the equivalent of telling a christian that their mother isn't really their mother or something, so really ANYTHING I say that references my belief that their mother is not actually their mother is highly likely to be offensive just because of the way atheists don't incorporate their position on the matter into their identity and emotions the way a christian does.

It creates a situation where atheists---even nice ones---think christians "just need to relax" and treat it all more like mere data. Just an empirical stance. But christians tend to think atheists and christians should "mutually respect each other's feelings", which takes as an assumption that atheists have a similar kind of "feelings" or reverence about their stance or that it is similarly "important to their identity", when the two stances are actually very very very different along these lines.

I don't believe in god the same way that I don't smoke or don't eat at McDonald's. Nothing you can say will convince me to smoke, eat at McDonald's, or believe in Yahweh, but if you make fun of me for any of those things I won't really care. It's not, like, "important" to me. I think from time to time christians may forget that atheists don't have that kind of emotional relationship with their "beliefs" (i.e. lack thereof), and in just the same way, atheists sometimes forget that to christians, it's not all just data and information.

Christians are like a Mexican mamma preparing this huge dinner of authentic mexican cuisine to share with friends, and she works really hard on it, and she loves doing it, and she pours love INTO it, and she wants people to try it, and to think that it's really good, to want some more of it in their life, to learn something about her personal identity, about her cultural identity, about her love of cooking, etc. Then the atheist is like some guy that walks up and is like, "Ugh, I haaate mexican food." She feels hurt by it because to her it's not JUST FOOD. But at the same time, guy who hates mexican food isn't, like, trying to be MEAN to her. It just kinda works out that way a lot of the time, unfortunately.

TLDR: Atheists are running with scissors down a hallway made of christians' emotions. We're not always TRYING to be mean/insulting to you. We're just not always being careful! Sorry!

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i dunno man i think mcdonalds and mexican food would fill my belly better than data and information

Well, that's a misunderstanding of the analogy/argument. That being said, I reckon you are correct.

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hehe what i mean is that as an ideology, christianity often seems more substantial to me than whatever the typical internet atheist says. in christanity, there's rules, there's structure, there's community. but internet atheists often seem to just say vague things about relying on "data" or "empirical evidence." like, why not try to be more specific, figure out what you really believe and talk about that? go find some lovely flavor of humanism to tell us all about. or even nihilism, whateves. heck, make up your own ideology. to return to the metaphor, saying that you're atheist is like saying that you don't like a particular kind of food. okayyy, then why not tell us what you do like to eat? everybody eats something.

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I have a bit of a disconnect with the Faith/Data argument too. My lack of belief and reverent observation of any deity (never mind the right one) has a lot more to do with my being personally more comfortable not concerning myself with the existence of such a being than in being in any way sure that there is no such being. Which is why I don't classify myself an atheist. I totally buy that something like god might exist, it seems as plausible to me as the idea that one doesn't, it just feels better not to care either way.

Atheists "being sure that there is no such being" is a rare breed of atheist. Most atheists just think the probability of there being such a being (or at least the specific one described in any established religion) seems so incredibly low/unlikely that it's not worth worrying about it. (This includes all of the most popular "celebrity atheists", e.g. Dawkins, Dennet, Hitchens, Harris, Bertrand Russell, Penn & Teller, etc). Absolute certainty does not enter into it. A lot of atheists would call what you just described "atheism" (including me), but I also understand that some people really adamantly prefer "agnostic" and can't be persuaded otherwise. Even though I have bones to pick with that purely academically, what is the point in arguing about definitions? You basically just said you're the same kind of person as me, and why would I take issue with that just because of what you call it?

hehe what i mean is that as an ideology, christianity often seems more substantial to me than whatever the typical internet atheist says. in christanity, there's rules, there's structure, there's community. but internet atheists often seem to just say vague things about relying on "data" or "empirical evidence." like, why not try to be more specific, figure out what you really believe and talk about that? go find some lovely flavor of humanism to tell us all about. or even nihilism, whateves. heck, make up your own ideology. to return to the metaphor, saying that you're atheist is like saying that you don't like a particular kind of food. okayyy, then why not tell us what you do like to eat? everybody eats something.

Well this sort of gets back to the thing that I was saying before, which is that both christians and atheists tend to think of belief-in-god and non-belief-in-god being two sides of the same coin and are therefore categorically the same thing. I have strong doubts about that, which I believe leads to a lot of misunderstandings between them.

You've essentially answered your own question. Atheists DO have beliefs and things they care about. Humanism, the environment, or just simple every-day things like dedicating their lives to the love of friends, family, and partners. Atheists actually care about a lot of the same things christians do; it's just not connected to a supreme being (either knowable or unknowable) at all. Just because I have doubt about one type of thing doesn't mean I don't also have convictions and values about other types of things. But if I were to start a thread discussing something that is valuable to me, it would not be perceived as religiously-motivated or ideological or having some agenda, but atheism tends to get pushed back that way. Like, it feels like atheists just can't SAY anything about religion, ever, or they are being antagonists by default, and that does not sit well with me. Especially when what I'm saying doesn't really have anything to do with whether there is/is not a god..?

Like, even now, I feel like the tone of your response sort of suggests you feel like I'm "picking on" christianity and to just leave it alone and go mind my own business, when I don't feel like I'm picking on it at all. I'm just saying I feel like christians and atheists misunderstand the full nature of each other's stances a lot, and one symptom of that is christians sometimes feeling like they are being picked on when the atheist doesn't necessarily mean any harm by just discussing it. (And the flipside of that being that atheists don't always understand what will or will not make a christian feel uncomfortable--especially considering christians vary quite a lot in their practice.)

Like to me that would be like me as a democrat discussing what I think are common misunderstandings between pubs and dems, and someone being like, "Why don't you just mind your own business and stick to your democrat corner." And my response to that is.... uh... okay...?? sorry??? I guess???? Like, I feel like I'm trying to RECONCILE christians and atheists, but I'm perceived as PICKING ON christians, which is strange to me.

*edit* That's kind of a bad analogy though because republicans/democrats are in the same category, and my only point is that I don't think belief/non-belief are in the same category in some significant ways.

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i'm just saying that i think christian/atheist discussions would be a lot more productive if it were christian/humanism or whatever. it's like the difference between saying "i don't believe in that" and "i believe in this alternative." the former focuses on a problem and the latter actually suggests another solution. like, technically i am an atheist but i don't really like to call myself that. not because i prefer agnostic, but because "atheism" is a negative definition. it's a word that is defined by what it's not. i just feel like that's kinda lame. like, if the republican party called themselves the "ademocrat" party everyone would be like "pfft, try to be original and get your own name." does that make sense?

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The thing is, I very much like talking about controversial subjects. If they're confined to civil debate. I would love to have an open, honest, intelligent discussion about many topics which I feel to be too complex, too complicated to have a cut, dry and simple answer. I'm not just saying here, on these forums. I mean in real life as well. It's just unfortunate that so many people are so set in their ways, that if I would encourage discussion by admitting the most minor aspect of my view, they look at me like I'm crazy or wrong instead of jumping into further discussion about what I had said.

As far as this thread goes, my faith means very much to me. It's not that I would love having to defend myself in the most basic aspects of my faith. It's that I would love being able to discuss the more intricate, the more nuanced, the more complex aspects of it. I don't think myself a "baby Christian". I've been in the game a long time and I've grown and learned a lot. But I feel like so many, even Christians, that I know would puzzle or glaze over at my words that I find it sad that I'm unable to delve deep into those thoughts in a meaningful way that brings new ideas and new perspectives on what it actually means to be a child of God, or what certain scientific discovery might mean in our ever-evolving understanding of God's creation and how that renewed understanding of said creation helps us to know more about the nature of God himself.

So it seems to me that in my current circles of friends, on the one hand, I have people I can talk with about worldy knowledge and human wisdom, and on the other I have people whom I can talk to about my faith. To a point, of course, on both topics. Because if people disagree on certain aspects, they're more likely to discount what I said rather than further discussion about its validity or why an alternative perspective on said nuance might make more sense.

I believe God created science, and that while relying on human wisdom is folly when it comes to /finding/ God (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16), there is much that can be learned about God himself through an in-depth analysis and/or discussion about our growing understanding of his creation and how it affects our relationship with him.

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@hot:

Ooooh okay. That makes a lot more sense, and I don't think I disagree with the sentiment. I am still sort of troubled by the fact that this suggests that if I don't accept a religion, then I must have some alternative in the same category as religion. That's why I didn't like the democrat/republican analogy I gave very much. If I don't like being a democrat, then I can be a republican as an alternative within the same category of political parties. But if I choose not to be christian/religious, that doesn't necessarily mean I have an alternative to offer that has the same qualities as christianity/religion.

You see this sometimes in christian's assertion that atheism is just the religion of non-believers, or that Richard Dawkins' religion is science. It's like, if you don't have THIS religion, then you must have AN ALTERNATIVE RELIGION of some kind. But that is just not so. Maybe I just don't have ANYTHING in that religious category? Does that make sense? And since, whatever else I may happen to believe, I don't feel that I believe those things as an alternative to Christianity, is why I don't offer them as an "alternative" in contexts like these.

I agree with your sentiment, though, that purely arguing a negative can just come off as annoying, unproductive nay-saying.

I believe God created science, and that while relying on human wisdom is folly when it comes to /finding/ God (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16), there is much that can be learned about God himself through an in-depth analysis and/or discussion about our growing understanding of his creation and how it affects our relationship with him.

Sounds like christianity with the slightest hint of pantheism. People like Walt Whitman and Thoreau were believers along those lines to the extent that they felt like if they went out among nature (a walk through the woods, etc) that they were going out into the company of god, and that by learning more about nature and appreciating it more deeply (including the nature of self!), they were learning more about god and building a deep spiritual relationship with him/her/it. However, I think they also thought you couldn't directly speak to god, as through prayer, but could only spiritually connect/resonate with him through nature, which is a little different. But still! Interesting.

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Well, it makes sense to me. If you create something, you put something of yourself into that creation. That creation in a myriad of ways can be seen as a reflection of some aspect (large or small) of you and your personality at the time you created it. Meanwhile, I have, and know people who have, had first-hand experiences which give direct evidence to support the core beliefs and suppositions of Christianity.

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Well, it makes sense to me. If you create something, you put something of yourself into that creation. That creation in a myriad of ways can be seen as a reflection of some aspect (large or small) of you and your personality at the time you created it. Meanwhile, I have, and know people who have, had first-hand experiences which give direct evidence to support the core beliefs and suppositions of Christianity.

I most likely would not accept their evidence in my own court, but regardless I am happy you and they have found your peace.

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yeah, you can't make a perfect comparison between religion and other types of philosophical/ethical systems, but i don't think it's completely apples and oranges. you can still compare in terms of the tangible, practical decisions you would be required to make. it's like that ethical thought experiment where you can kill one guy to save five. what would a christian do in that situation? what would a humanist do? you can make comparisons in that way. (of course, there is no one answer for either party, but you can still compare approaches and ways of thinking about the problem. like, a christian might say "thou shall not kill" and therefore refuse to kill the one guy. but if you know the five guys will die, isn't that indirectly choosing to kill them? in a sense, you're killing either way. that's the kind of tricky thing that would be fun to talk about, imo. like, how christianity/humanism/whatever would actually influence your decisions.)

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yeah, you can't make a perfect comparison between religion and other types of philosophical/ethical systems, but i don't think it's completely apples and oranges. you can still compare in terms of the tangible, practical decisions you would be required to make. it's like that ethical thought experiment where you can kill one guy to save five. what would a christian do in that situation? what would a humanist do? you can make comparisons in that way. (of course, there is no one answer for either party, but you can still compare approaches and ways of thinking about the problem. like, a christian might say "thou shall not kill" and therefore refuse to kill the one guy. but if you know the five guys will die, isn't that indirectly choosing to kill them? in a sense, you're killing either way. that's the kind of tricky thing that would be fun to talk about, imo. like, how christianity/humanism/whatever would actually influence your decisions.)

Right. I think a christian or a humanist would both struggle with that question, because both care about fairness, justice, the well being of their fellow humans. Like I was saying, I think their morals are actually in perfect alignment on a lot of things. The only real difference is that humanist morality is seen as human-derived whereas christian morality is seen at least partially as god-derived. (Hence, the question commonly asked of atheists/humanists by the religious: without god, where do you even get meaning/morality?)

Where the two would diverge I think would be in two cases:

1) Explanations for things. The religious are more likely to attribute things to god, whereas atheists/humanists would consider that a non-sequitur. Like if you have a christian and a humanist hiking through the mountains together, and they both find the landscape absolutely beautiful and spiritually fulfilling, and then they both come up to a perfect triune waterfall. The christian is more likely to interpret the beauty of this whole experience as an indication of the goodness of god and his creation, and might even note that the triune waterfall reminds him of the trinity and could be a sign from god stamped right on his creation. Whereas the humanist would consider attributing it all to god to be a complete non-sequitur and would stop at "it was a beautiful, awe-inspiring, and spiritually-fulfilling experience". It was already a beautiful and profound experience in itself. No need to attach the ad hoc explanation that god made it so.

2) Rules/morals specific to a religion. These would be things like not working on Sunday, feeling that homosexuality is a sin, feeling that the man is the head of the household, or what have you. Some of these are more serious than others and different christians will get behind them to greater or lesser extent. But while a humanist and a christian will always agree on very human-universal morals (e.g., stealing and theft are wrong, happiness and fairness are ideal, etc) they will quickly part ways where religion-specific edicts come into play.

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Don't nuns generally consider themselves to be "Brides of Christ"? I guess quietly joining a convent just wasn't for her. *rolleyes*

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Don't nuns generally consider themselves to be "Brides of Christ"? I guess quietly joining a convent just wasn't for her. *rolleyes*
That kind of was my first thought. Though I'm not Catholic so I can't speak to direct knowledge about it.

While this ceremony probably had significant meaning for her, and in so doing she has claimed for herself a life of celibacy, I find myself wondering about the spectacle of it. God calls us to be humble, and to seek him in earnest. Not to show off how apparently righteous and loyal we think we are. To bring glory to him, not to ourselves.

I wouldn't go so far as to compare her to a Pharisee, as they were "like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean" (Mat. 23:7). I know nothing of this woman's heart nor her intent. It would appear good in that she's seeking to fully devote herself to God, but I find question in what is accomplished by the need for a public display. I think it's all of the photographs that get me.

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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

You can do that without having an everybody-look-at-me day!

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Speaking from the apostate perspective, I find it curious that she is being accused of attention-seeking. I'd argue it takes two to tango in that equation. Even if a person is just grabbing for attention, the media and gossipers who give that attention are equally culpable as the person making the bid for attention. Attention-seeking goes nowhere without attention-giving. An explosion does not come from the match or the fire alone.

But I also think it's interesting that she's being accused of attention-seeking when, really, that accusation could be made of a lot of other religious gestures. Some people balk at the practice of altar calls, because a personal prayer between you and god is just that. You can stay in your seat and keep it to yourself. But altar calls ask you to stand up, where everyone can see you, walk to the front of the crowd, and pray in front of everyone in public. This lends a certain "everyone look at me being the kind of person who is righteous enough to pray in front of everyone" quality to it. It also creates a sort of peer pressure in the congregation for those who don't go to the altar.

The same might be said (by an outsider) of anyone who decides they want to be a youth minister. Or to play in a praise band (especially a christian band that puts on concerts that sell tickets and shirts and CDs). Or the act of giving testimony. And so many other such acts.

Now in each of those cases, there is no doubt a defense. Maybe, "I'm not going to the altar / into ministry for myself, but because I feel called to do it." Maybe, "I'm not playing in this Christian rock band for fame, but as a tool to spread the good word of our lord." Etc. I'm sure there is a good, non-attention-seeking explanation for all of those acts.

And I am guessing that she probably has a good, non-attention-seeking explanation for what she did as well.

You could say, "Well, I think she's being disingenuous." But wouldn't this constitute a "judge not lest ye be judged" type situation? Doesn't judging her in that way constitute a "holier than thou art" attitude?

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I was wondering if it was a sectarian (I think that's the right word?) thing, and it looks like it is. So for us who aren't devout Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox Christians, this might seem... Improper? From the anthropological perspective it's a way for a woman to remain independent and unmarried without becoming a full-fledged nun.

You can do that without having an everybody-look-at-me day!

That's what I'm saying. "Hey everybody look at me." If it's not disingenuous, it still seems improper.

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