of false gods
I first wrote this poem in 2016, on April 1, and called it “April’s Fool.” My own personal experiences inspired the writing, though my experiences weren’t so blatant. Poetry is good for expressing the hidden or mysterious in obvious ways.
He comes in warmth and beaming smile to rouse her from her rest,
and in his heat she’s soon beguiled to give him all her best.
By showering her with full attention, gentle fingers trace her skin,
he melts her bare of all protection and she yields to let him in.
First petals open, tender green exposed and willing fruit,
all excited readiness is she, trembling from tip to root.
And then, as quickly as he came with sun and song to take her to his heart,
as fast he leaves, abandons her, and, with him, all her stays depart.
Vulnerable now to cold and wind, which threatened not when she was veiled,
she longs for shelter once again, the blooming bud now hard and paled.
Too soon she left the feathered nest, too soon she sprouted from the soil,
she jumped at shining thrill’s behest, no thoughts of risk, nor strife, nor toil.
Lust masqueraded as love and pleasure as joy,
and now the bounty of her harvest is victim to his ploy.
Fooled was she, her blossoms, tricked, are spoiled by the travesty;
recognition came too late. Full penitent is she.
Real Love waits, and she will bide, bowed and broken by her shame,
in hope that Beauty Pure shall rise … when He but calls her name.
© 2021 Christina Chase
Feature Photo by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash
Christina Chase View All
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.
“Real Love waits, and she will bide, bowed and broken by her shame,
in hope that Beauty Pure shall rise … when He but calls her name.”
Real love isn’t when a magical being who could help people doesn’t.
I completely agree with you – there is no magical being who could help people but doesn’t.
“I completely agree with you – there is no magical being who could help people but doesn’t.”
I’m guessing you are trying to play word games here. Can you show that *your* god does anything to help people that isn’t humans doing the work, coincidence or parlor tricks? Or things that no one can actually see?
Yes, I was being playful with my first reply to you. But I wasn’t being untruthful. I don’t believe in a magical being called God. I know that the infinite, eternal source of all being and of all life is real. I am in awe of the Divine.
When I was a child, I asked God to cure me of my debilitating disease. I was not cured. This naturally led to countless questions. I was going to share with you my journey, beliefs, love of God Incarnate, and the transformative power of a non-consumer relationship with God, but then I realized that if you are anything like I was around the time of my atheism, you probably won’t really care. You may even pity me.
You are asking me to show that God actually does things to help people without talking about anything that is unseeable by the human eye. Can we see love? Forgiveness? Can we see anything that matters most to human joy? Of course, anything that I may offer to you could be interpreted by you as “humans doing the work.” I could point to your human existence as the work of The Uncreated Creator (God), as well as to the existence of the entire natural world. As a former atheist, however, I know that you’re probably rolling your eyes. So I am very willing to meet you where you are, securely generous in where I am.
There is a question that I truly want to ask you, human to human, with no gotcha mentality in me at all. It’s an honest question because I don’t know the answer and I sincerely want to learn it:
What is it that you have sought from God?
“Yes, I was being playful with my first reply to you. But I wasn’t being untruthful. I don’t believe in a magical being called God. I know that the infinite, eternal source of all being and of all life is real. I am in awe of the Divine.”
And you know what I mean when I say magic, since you claim your god is supernatural. Do show how you know you version of your god is real. If you cannot, then you just one of many who has made such a being up.
“I was going to share with you my journey, beliefs, love of God Incarnate, and the transformative power of a non-consumer relationship with God, but then I realized that if you are anything like I was around the time of my atheism, you probably won’t really care. You may even pity me.”
I suspect that this is not true and you known that your claims will not be accepted blindly. That is why you do not want to share anything. And no, I do not pity you for your illness. There are plenty of people the same, just as happy, and making excuses for their particular gods for their gods’ impotence.
Yes, I am rolling my eyes at the ignorance you display. You try to avoid the question of showign your god does something, by trying to pretend we don’t see love, forgiveness and joy. I see those all of the time. The actions of humans demonstrate them. They are not invisible. The actions you claim your god does evidently are, especially the healing. Surprisingly, any noticeable illness or injury is too hard for your god to deal with. Amputations, your disease, all strangely never healed.
You seem to be trying to claim that this god somehow “gives” us things like modern medicine. The problem with this is that this shows your god to be a vicious bastard to everyone who dared to be born before it got around to “giving” us these things. How many children died of the lack of antibiotics because this god didn’t “give” them until the mid 20th century?
All theists try the “you were created by my god” claim as if this were evidence for your god. You do need to show it was your god.
“What is it that you have sought from God?”
What it promised. Shall I cite chapter and verse? Mark 16, John 14, James 5. I was a Christian, was losing my faith and prayed for help. Unsurprisingly, there was none. Despite all of the promises by the bible and by Christians that for sure this god would come.
I have taken some time with my response, so that I may treat you fairly. Your fellow Christians who did not help you when you were falling away in your faith may or may not have been living up to their Christian identity, I don’t know. I do sense that you may have experienced some real pain or grief, and if that is so, you have my sympathy. Pain and grief can easily make us angry. I’m sure that you must be aware that you are coming across as a stereotypical angry and embittered atheist, but you may not understand that this is not productive to your cause. I won’t treat you like a stereotype, however. You are a unique, individual, unrepeatable human being.
You know my name. May I ask yours?
“You seem to be trying to claim that this god somehow “gives” us things like modern medicine. The problem with this is that this shows your god to be a vicious bastard to everyone who dared to be born before it got around to “giving” us these things. How many children died of the lack of antibiotics because this god didn’t “give” them until the mid 20th century?”
I did not claim and don’t claim that God “gives” us things like modern medicine. I do claim that God, in creating us humans, gives us intellect and freewill. Human beings have developed antibiotics just as human beings have developed nuclear weapons. What we choose to do with our intellect is up to us. The sufferings caused by Man’s developments are brutal and cruel — think of the devastation and horrors of World War II. The sufferings caused by disease and injuries are also terrible — cancer in a young child, for example, is a pain and sorrow that should not be dismissed. We truly live in an imperfect world, where change is inevitable and living things die. What would the universe look like if nothing ever changed and nobody ever died? The answer is not this universe. You know that Christianity — along with other religions in the world — uphold the belief in the human soul and the immortality of the soul. You say that this cannot be scientifically proven. Some may come close (Father Spitzer’s work might be worth looking into) but the problem is that it is not intelligent to think that the supernatural can be utterly reduced to natural parameters.
These are important questions:
Do you claim that nothing exists unless it can be experienced by the five physical senses or computed mathematically? Do you believe that everything in existence can be reduced to what is detectable to humans or comprehensible to human brains?
Yes, Christians believe in the eternal justice and mercy of God and that perfect bliss is lived out eternally in the life of the world to come, the foretaste of this bliss being experienced in real love. You scoff. You laugh. I understand. You don’t want to BELIEVE anything anymore. You want to KNOW. Perhaps this is not how you feel, if it’s not then I apologize for making the assumption. It’s how I felt when I was a falling away Christian, just before I became an atheist, and while I was one. I enjoyed being an atheist because it was so simple, and because, with no meaning to life, I could simply do as I please.
You did not believe me when I wrote that I was going to share some of my faith journey with you. Your response was this:
“I suspect that this is not true and you known that your claims will not be accepted blindly. That is why you do not want to share anything. “
I don’t expect you to accept any of my claims blindly. In fact, I don’t want you to. I don’t do that in my adult life, and I respect the fact that you don’t either. I’ve shared my spiritual experiences publicly many, many times. That’s what this blog is. I even wrote a book that’s been published by Sophia Institute Press. Currently, I am writing a book about my faith journey, which is the story of my life. (I had planned on starting this weekend, but I wanted to take the time to answer you.) As I told you, I was briefly an atheist. I was a thorough, true atheist for less than a year. Then, something unexpected happened that caused me, as a lover of truth, to no longer be an atheist. As I have shared the experience publicly already, I invite you to check out the short version here: authorChristinaChase.com/my-journey. I also tell something of the experience in an interview on Kresta in the Afternoon, which you can listen to on this page: its-good-to-be-here.com/interviews. The full description will appear in the new book, along with the telling of the years when I was falling away from the Christian faith, when I rejected it, and how I became an atheist mostly because I didn’t want to BELIEVE anymore, especially not out of fear or wishful thinking — I wanted to KNOW. My journey continued after atheism, as I explored the whole idea of religion (or mythology, as I thought of religion at the beginning of this search) for seven more years.
This journey needs a book to do it justice. (Even though this response might be long enough for a book! 🙂 ) Pick apart the bits of my experience that I’ve already offered publicly and trash me as you wish. I’m not a fool and I know that my experiences will probably have no effect on you whatsoever, especially not if you are unwilling to experience or know anything beyond the physical. You and I know that I can’t scientifically prove the existence of a personal God beyond a shadow of a doubt. You and I know that you can’t scientifically prove the nonexistence of a personal God. You may believe that the burden of proof falls on me, but do you use a method of doubt in every aspect of your life? I don’t think so, because if you did, you would not have written that you can see love through the actions of human beings. Humans can lie, humans can even lie with their actions. I’m sure you don’t have loved ones in your life get a brain scan to make sure that the right parts of their brain are lighting up to give evidence of what we call affection before you believe that they love you. Maybe you do want to do that, I don’t know. Like it or not, sane, intelligent, normal human beings go by faith quite often in our daily lives — not blind faith. Faith based in reason.
I’m not a scholarly expert, not someone who can give you a highly intellectual debate, if that’s what you desire. I am little. I am a student. I am a disciple. But let’s get to what you seem to be the most concerned about: miracles.
Was the god that you used to believe in a god that performed jaw-dropping miracles whenever a believer asked for one in prayer? I’m not demeaning you for that kind of belief, it does seem very popular in some circles. As I told you, God didn’t cure me of my disease. Why not? Is it because God (as you write *your god*) isn’t powerful enough to deal with it? No. As an intelligent person, do you honestly maintain that if an omnipotent God is real then that omnipotent God should prove His power by doing whatever one of His creatures asks whether it is a good idea or not? Surely, we aren’t like children in a schoolyard saying to God, “I double dog dare you.”
But that takes us to the biblical chapters that you shared. I looked them up. (Not being an expert.)
Mark 16: 17-18 “These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents [with their hands], and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
These signs did accompany the apostles (including Paul) according to the Bible. Those gathered in the upper room at Pentecost were able to speak in the languages of the people outside, who were from various regions. St. Paul was bitten by a snake and no harm was done to him. (Acts 28:3-6) These “signs” were proof enough for some people that the Christian God is real. The sign of the serpent actually made some people think that Paul was a god. Simple people. These seem to be the same kinds of signs that you want to see today in order to believe.
In Acts 9, when the apostles were fearful of Saul/Paul, doubting that he had truly become a disciple of Jesus, Barnabas testified on his behalf. Barnabas didn’t offer examples of Saul performing miraculous cures as proof. He told the apostles that the doubter had an encounter with Jesus and became a believer, speaking openly and boldly about Jesus, declaring that Jesus is the Messiah. This was enough proof for the apostles. The performance of miracles is not a prerequisite to discipleship, not even back then.
In the Bible, Jesus usually cures someone in order to show His divine power and thus get people to sit up and take notice of His words. These signs and wonders accompany the apostles and immediate disciples (in the name of Jesus) in order to do the same. Why don’t we see all of these miracles now? (No matter how I answer this, you will probably accuse me of making excuses. So be it. Do what pleases you.) Miracles were not the central part of Jesus’s ministry. The miraculous cures that happen today are definitely not the norm. They are rare exceptions to the rule. Ask someone else to give you examples, because I have not made a study of miracles, or miraculous claims. I don’t really know why anyone needs to be miraculously cured of anything. When you wrote about my illness, you declared that someone can have an illness like mine and still be happy. (You then went on to try to insult me by basically declaring that your claims of “God” being made up by me and others like me are absolutely true and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant and stupid.)
What is promised prominently in the Bible chapters that you cited is forgiveness of sins and eternal life. In fact, Jesus’s words in the Bible are mostly about this. (I explore this in It’s Good to Be Here: A Disabled Woman’s Reflections on God in the Flesh in the Sacred Wonder of Being Human.) The the jaw-dropping cures are not primary in the narrative of Jesus’s ministry. Jesus assures the immortality of the soul. Jesus’s words should be taken in this context, because we can’t take a small part of a picture while ignoring the big picture and then expect to understand what the picture is. John 14:12 is understood most clearly with this in mind: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” Jesus refers to the miraculous physical cures “the works” that the apostles will perform, as recorded in the Bible, (“will do the works that I do”) as well as their fulfilled prayers for spiritual healing and eternal life for those for whom they pray (“and will do greater ones than these”).
This last vein is continued in James 5: 14-16 “Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Note that James makes a distinction between people who are sick and people who are suffering in this chapter, as just before these lines in this chapter he writes: “Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise.”
I can attest that someone who is sick does not necessarily suffer any more than someone who is physically well, in fact, many people who are physically well and healthy — no severed limbs, no motorneuron disease — can suffer more than the disabled.
The only biblical passages that you needed to cite for your claim that the Christian God does not do as promised are those like the one from John 14:12-14. “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”
To ask in the name of Jesus isn’t as pedantic as some Christians (and you) make it out to be. To ask in the name of Jesus is NOT to use a “magic” word so that we can get what we humans want (— we who are too limited to see the ultimate big picture). When the disciples said to those who would persecute them that they were healing in the name of Jesus, they were saying that they were healing with the authority of Jesus, with His power. Not their own. And not “magic” as it was known in that time. It also has a much deeper meaning: to ask for something in the person of Jesus or with the heart of Jesus. As in John 15:7 — “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” The thing that may be difficult to accept in your current state is that when somebody recognizes the infinite, eternal reality of the Uncreated Creator and takes the words of Jesus to heart with faith, then what that person wants changes. We are no longer childish creatures continually asking for things from a more powerful being. No consumer-based relationship. We glimpse things the way that God sees them — always with the understanding of self-giving love and eternal life.
The best disciple in the world is one who is selfless and willing to make personal sacrifices in order for wrongs to be righted (as we believe that Jesus did.) Remember, we take Jesus at His word when He promises eternal life and everlasting blessings and joys for those who live His commandment of love. For the fulfillment of perfect, endless bliss we are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and ailing, visit the imprisoned, be merciful, patient, and forgiving, give reason for our hope with gentleness, and be in awe of the reality of divine love, now and forever. I’m not trying to make you believe any of this. I know I can’t make you do anything. I’m trying to help you understand the Bible in the context of those who do believe. We are not making excuses — we have become transformed in a way that is not limited to the physical.
How much contemptuous disdain will you meet me with? Probably a pit full, though I give none to you. Don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings. You won’t scare me away. I’ve been near to where you are. Though I never preached atheism with the intent to convert others, as you might be. Would it be fair to say that you are kind of religious in your zeal? Agnostics may be a bit lazy, sitting on the fence, but at least they understand the limits of material human knowledge. To be an atheist or theist is to make a choice.
The truth is that you don’t know that theists are wrong. You BELIEVE that we are.
That’s your choice. No one can force you out of it. Even God, who created you with free will, won’t force you to do anything.
You get to choose.
So call me whatever names please you. I have no desire to fight you. I’m not desperate. I’m not putting my fingers in my ears and making loud noises to drown you out. I’m not angry with you or infuriated by you. I accept you and desire the best for you.
The greatest commandment is love.
Thanks for taking the time, Christina. You can call me Vel.
Christians have repeated told me to talk directly to god again when it comes to losing my faith so your claim that Christians are at fault does depend on who you think is doing the work. I talked directly to this god. I saw no need to depend on flawed humans. I have read my bible and know that’s the story.
The claim of “Christian identity” is also a problem since Christians don’t agree on what that is and we see no indication from your god on what it wants.
You sense wrong, but a lot of Christians want to pretend that anyone who has dared disagree with them must have been injured in some way. This is a common tactic since that allows the Christian to try to claim that the conclusion of atheism is just an emotional thing, not based on thoughtfulness.
I am not coming across as a “stereotypical angry and embittered atheist”. That is how you feel you must claim am with your attempt to make my reasons for atheism only emotional.
You are right, I’m unique and not a stereotype. It was you who claimed I was. I am not definitely not.
That is good that I was wrong and you are not a Christian who has said that your god is responsible for humans having invented modern medicine. We do indeed good and bad with our intellects, and no god is needed for those intellects nor for our illusion of free will. We act like we have it, but we do not since we cannot completely know what influences us. And we also do not have free will per the bible, when your god interferes in human actions repeated, controlling human minds and supposedly having chosen who it will allow to accept it long before everyone was born. BTW, if I do mention something I read in the bible, I can cite chapter and verse, but am not currently to save space. Let me know if you like the the verses cut and pasted into our conversation.
Yes, we do live in an imperfect world, and per your religion’s stories, your god caused that when it did not allow Adam and Eve to know what good and evil were intentionally and then either didn’t know that Satan was in the garden or intentionally didn’t warn Adam and Eve. Since we have no evidence of such a just-so story, the universe is inimical to human life since we aren’t its pride and joy. We are simply a production of physical laws, which can be just as eternal as any god.
Hmmm, now what would a world look like where no one died and nothing changed. How about heaven as claimed by Christians? And yes, I know about the soul, and how there is no evidence for such a thing at all. That there is no evidence for supernatural events, there is no reason to think it happens at all. It is quite intelligent to not assume some baseless story is real. You simply wish no one to look at your claims and find them to be false. That’s wanting willful ignorance so your stories aren’t questioned.
You seem to be trying to claim that since many religions claim some magical soul, then it must be true, as many theists try to claim that if humans have religions, then there must be some truth to the magical nonsense. That is a poor logical fallacy, appealing to popularity. Spitzer’s baseless claims are quite interesting but again have nothing to show that they are anything more than wishful thinking. It’s quite a leap to say that magical souls suddenly were stuck in humans around 70K years ago with the nonsense that humans can only make art with a soul. That he also implies that people who aren’t religious are somehow damaged is just the usual need for a theist to pretend he is special. He also says “Scientific evidence has to come from observation of things within the universe, and God is outside the universe.” This is a common but baseless claim by theists who ignore their bible when convenient. If this god is somehow “outside” the universe, how does it interact with the universe? How does it know to start or stop something if it has no awareness of time being “outside” time, as theists also claim. All it ends up being is “mysterious god” and magic. At best he may be able to claim a creator but it is not hard to show that the Christian god (catholic style) doesn’t exist. The essential bible events tht this god supposedly did cannot be shown to have happened. Unsurprisingly, he has the lies about emotional reasons for atheism the same as you appear to.
Your “important questions” are not, but I will answer them. I do claim that nothing exists unless it can be perceived by a human or one of the many instruments we have invented to extend our senses. Mathmatics are descriptions of reality, so they are stuck with reality. You have yet to show any supernatural events, entities/forces, or results. There may be things we cannot perceive yet. Still no god needed.
You, like Gould, want to pretend there is a separation of magisterial and have no evidence that this is true.
You claim that Christians believe in the eternal justice and mercy of God. You also all believe in different versions of this and how justice and mercy are defined and dealt out. You don’t believe the same things and I can cite you all calling each other wrong, heretics, deceived, Satanists, etc, when you disagree with your baseless claims contradicting each other. You believe that each other deserve eternal torture for having different version of this god/religion.
I’m in real love, and no god, or Christine, is needed. Now, your claim that I don’t “want to believe anymore” is nonsense. There is no evidence so I have no reason to believe anymore. Just like you probably don’t believe in the tooth fairy anymore. I do want to know and supposedly Thomas did too and JC had no problem showing him evidence, chiding him but not making excuses like Christians do.
There is nothing simple about being an atheist. I have to make my own decisions. And again, with the false claim of no meaning to life. Alas, for you, my life has meaning. My existence shows that no one needs your god or you. I don’t “do as I please”. You may have, but do not assume any other atheist does. We are just as compassionate, law-abiding and caring as any theist. As Penn Teller says: “he question I get asked by religious people all the time is, without God, what’s to stop me from raping all I want? And my answer is: I do rape all I want. And the amount I want is zero. And I do murder all I want, and the amount I want is zero. The fact that these people think that if they didn’t have this person watching over them that they would go on killing, raping rampages is the most self-damning thing I can imagine. I don’t want to do that. Right now, without any god, I don’t want to jump across this table and strangle you. I have no desire to strangle you. I have no desire to flip you over and rape you.”
You were a Christian and then an atheist and then ran back to your religion. Nothing new here at all. Many people want a foot inside those pearly gates when they realize they are mortal. You also again try to pretend that no one but you and those who agree with you are “lovers of truth”.
Your story is like many others, vague and subjective. You assign it to one version of one god/religion because that is what you know since you were taught it by people you have reason to trust. You misplaced that trust in them who didn’t know any better than you. Your story is just that to me, as the same stories of other theists are just that to you.
Shall I tell you that you are unwilling to know the truth since you aren’t willing to experience anything from Allah, Krishna, the Wiccan Goddess, Ahura-mazda? There’s no evidence for them either.
If your god exists, then yep, you can indeed scientifically give evidence for your god. No problem with that at all, show a massive worldwide mountain deep flood in a one huge flood deposit, graded from coarse on the bottom to fine on the top, over most of the world (except where eroded), that has humans, dinosaurs, sharks, etc all mixed together. But you know that doesn’t exist. What does is many layers, each graded individually, and sharks, humans, and dinosaurs don’t appear together. You can show evidence that the dead were walking around in Roman-occupied Jerusalem on a Passover. You can show the path of 600,000 men plus women and children and animals leading from Egypt to Palestine. There should be latrines and trashpits. There aren’t. All of this is evidence you could provide if your stories were true. They aren’t.
You make false claims when you say the burden of proof isn’t on you, the claimant. It’s very amusing to see you say this is true because I know love exists. Sorry, no god needed for love and others are quite sure their love comes from other gods, not yours at all. Chrisians do love to try to often claim their god is the only “right” one and others are just mistaken versions of it. Catholics say this directly in their nonsense that only they have the right religion and others are only misunderstood pieces of it. The baseless arrogance is always fun to watch.
Humans can lie. Per the bible, so can your god. And nice to see you try to claim that people are lying to me if they say they love me. It’s not faith, it’s trust. I believe what I see. And one can see love easily. If you can’t tell if someone loves you, that is your problem, not mine. Your belief aka faith in a magical god is not based on reason. It is based on hope and desire for something better than you have now.
Unsurprisingly, at this point in the conversation, the Christian tries to claim how I shouldn’t expect any expertise from them. That’s a great excuse to give when you know you’ll fail and then you’ll try to insist that your god is still real, it’s only you who fail. Funny how it’s all humans who fail then, not one able to show that their god does exist.
Funny how the god in the bible is the one who “performed jaw-dropping miracles when a believer asked”. Seems like you are saying that the bible is lying or somehow I’m just not getting it right when I read that this god causes a world-wide flood, changes the language of everyone, has a pillar of fire and smoke, raises the dead, etc. It’s interesting that you want to depower your god, Christine. You need an excuse why your god doesn’t do what it promises in the bible.
You try the common “how dare I think a god should do things to prove its power.” Your messiah says that is exactly why he did miracles and this god did miracles. “8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me[e] for anything, I will do it.” John 14.
I can understand these verses are very hard for a Christian to acknowledge to be in the bible. It goes against all experience you have. So you must insist that they aren’t right. You have to pretend that somehow curing you would be a bad idea, that it would be bad to not let children starve, bad to return the limbs to amputees. If your god is omnipotent, it doesn’t need to worry about something being a good idea or not. Things will always be what it wants, death by starvation or not. You claim you know things like we can’t question your god, but then you insist you aren’t an expert. Yes, I double dog dare your god to fulfill its promises, promises that came with no exceptions as you would try to place.
Christians can’t agree on who can do miracles or when they can happen. How can we tell who is the TrueChristan™? There is no limitation to the apostles in the verse from Mark. You assume it so. Christians claim miracles happen now Are they lying? Is Lourdes a lie? Are the actions of those who are deemed saints lies? You also seem to be using the “simple people” in a common Christian attempt to pretend that their “sophisticated theology” is better than others.
You do know that repeating baseless stories isn’t a way to make a point? I know your bible contradicts itself. Per the story, it was enough proof. So what? And Paul is claimed to be able to miracles in Acts. No evidence of that either. Unsurprsingly, he never seems to do a miracle again, though miracles are mentioned that anyone can do, or at least elders< in James.
You want to have your cake and eat it too. You want miracles to be true in the bible, but then you want them to be considered rare now, and you ignore what your bible says in James. I find it quite unbelievable that you, with your illness, has not looked into miracles.
The reason that people need to be cured miraculously is because your god promised it with no exceptions. If the miracles claimed are false, then why believe the rest of the bible since your god says believe in those miracles if you need to. I suspect you would be happier if you could walk, use the bathroom by yourself, get up a curb, etc.
I have no problem insulting you if that is what you consider showing that your claims are wrong.
No, those verses I cited were about physical healing and not “prominently” about sins and heaven. You try to ignore what your god has promised. It’s not surprising. You have to hope that you’ll get something better in the next life. Your god’s promises for this one aren’t coming true. The jaw dropping cures and raising the dead are primary in JC’s ministry. You want to change the context of what JC was talking about to again avoid the problem of a god that promises to heal the sick and injured but doesn’t. He should be able to do both, but he doesn’t. So it’s the invisible part that you must focus on.
In James 5:14-15,we have that there is indeed suffering *and* being sick. Both are to be healed by the elders. Funny how no elder can do this at all. I work in the health care industry. I’ve seen unstageable pressure injuries so I know that it’s no fun to have severed limbs or motor neuron disease or spinal injuries.
No, I didn’t need to only cite John 14. All of the others are failed promises too. You again try to pretend you know more than other Christians. So much for not being an “expert”. Per John 14, James 5, and Mark 16, using the name of Jesus is literally a magic word to be used. You would prefer that early Christians weren’t so primitive in their beliefs. Again, your god offers no exceptions, not tht it has to be according to its supposed “plan” etc. You are correct, you are not childish creatures who were supposedly promised magic. You are modern creatures who know that the magic is not forthcoming.
There are plenty of selfless and willing people who aren’t Christians, Christine. You have quite a transactional agreement: heaven for work on earth. But that’s not what the bible says. It’s not work that gets on into heaven, but whether or not this god has chosen you already to go. It is interesting that your god doesn’t do what it wants humasn to supposedly do. Why is that? Indeed your god is the opposite, causing harm that it expects humans to fix in its “plan”.
You do try to play the martyr. Contemptuous disdain? I show you who you are wrong. You seem to think your baseless claims deserve respect just because you have them.
It would be a typical Christian false claim to say I am religious in my zeal. Christians do need to pretend everyone is “really” like them. I don’t preach atheism. Exactly how would that work, Christine? I do show how Christians are wrong.
I have evidence that the supposed god events in your bible never happened and completely different things did. What do you have? I do know theists are wrong, unless you want to claim some vague force as your god and that the bible has no truth in it.
Where have I called you a name, Christine? How does free will work with your god interfering in the bible?
Hi Vel, it appears that we are writing books to each other. I will try to keep my reply shorter this time. I have to reread your comments several times in order to be fair to you, and sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether you are telling me what I personally think or if you are telling me what a generalization thinks. I will not be responding to everything you wrote — most things I have already addressed here, or in my first book, or will be addressed in the new book (which I really need to get working on). Allow me to try to set straight some of the things that you made crooked.
“You were a Christian and then an atheist and then ran back to your religion.”
That’s not what happened.
“Many people want a foot inside those pearly gates when they realize they are mortal.”
I wonder how old you think I was when I realized that I am mortal. It was before I chose to be an atheist.
I did not claim in my words to you, nor would I ever claim, that all atheists are merely making emotional choices. I didn’t choose atheism because of emotions, so I do not assume that others do.
You do, however, come across to me as what people perceive to be a typical angry and embittered atheist. I often feel the need to tell people that I didn’t become an atheist out of anger, because some theists do tend to make this assumption. Unfortunately, you are playing into this assumption of others with your overall tone and choice of words, whether you are aware of it or not. “Vicious bastard,” for example, is the kind of language that I use when I’m really mad. I interpreted that and other data to suggest that you, yourself, might be angry and embittered as a human being. Tragedies can sometimes cause anger, and my concern that you may have suffered pain or grief stemmed from legitimate compassion. You have corrected me.
“And nice to see you try to claim that people are lying to me if they say they love me.”
I did not try to claim that in any way. Please reread the part where I use the scenario of the brain scan to make a point. By your words, it looks like you understood why I did that and what I meant about faith and the method of doubt, because you went on to try to distinguish between faith and trust. “I believe what I see,” you continued. “and one can not see love easily.” That could have led to a thought-provoking conversation here, a chance for you to reach me as a fellow human being. Instead you went with “If you can’t tell if someone loves you, that is your problem, not mine.”
I do not claim, as you accuse, that only I and people who agree with me are lovers of all truth. Your love of truth led you to atheism, didn’t it? (Mine did.) I want the truth, the whole truth. That’s why I questioned and chose atheism — and that’s also why I had to stop being an atheist. (See below.) Coming to atheism out of the love of truth means that you have been a lover of truth. If I didn’t think that you were, I might not have bothered to reply to you again.
After my encounter under the grape arbor, an experience that repeated even though I didn’t want it to, my mind was opened to the infinite. (This could not automatically make me a Christian. The truth is that I didn’t want to be a Christian. Coming to Christ resulted after a much longer journey of exploring, studying, reflecting, and thinking for myself. The book that I’m supposed to be working on will cover this in much more detail. I can send you a free copy once it is published, if you like.) I could no longer deny the existence of anything beyond the physical senses and the computations of which the human brain is capable after my experiences. Yes, subjective experiences, as divine love is fully received, experienced, and expressed through faith. God’s love is personal as in person-to-person — not personless blatancy. I do not expect you to understand this or to even want to understand this in your current state. To your knowledge, I am flat out wrong.
As an atheist, you wrote, “I don’t ‘do as I please’. You may have, but do not assume any other atheist does.” You then contradicted yourself with the quote from Penn Jillette.
But I know what you mean. So to continue, you also wrote: “We are just as compassionate, law-abiding and caring as any theist.”
That’s a good point and I do not disagree. I am not a person who thinks that atheists can’t be helpful and generous people because they don’t believe in God. I believe that most people are generally loving. When I was an atheist, for example, I cared for my family and friends, did no harm to strangers, and was also law-abiding. I did what pleased me (thankfully, it pleases me to be generally good) without thinking about any kind of eternal me or what it actually means to love divinely. (I didn’t know then how transformative and profoundly powerful divine love is.) Violently cruel people can be professed atheists or professed theists. I don’t know you personally, all I have are your words, but I give you the benefit of the doubt. Your work in healthcare certainly suggests that you want to work hard to help others.
“And again, with the false claim of no meaning to life.”
That was how I saw things as someone who believed in nothing. I thought that we humans give meaning to life, the meaning is not given to us by some supreme intelligence or author of life. You then wrote, “Alas, for you, my life has meaning. My existence shows that no one needs your god or you.” By that, I think that you mean that your existence as a good and loving person shows that nobody needs the God of the Bible or Christina Chase. God is needed to know the depths of divine love, but, Vel, do you really think so little of me that you believe I am arrogantly claiming that I’m particularly needed by you or anybody in order to love? If you have such a low opinion of me, then why have you been spending time here?
When I asked you if you are preaching atheism, I want to know if you hope to cause Christians to stop believing in God and come to see things the way that you do, which is the way that you say things really are. Christians are exhorted to proclaim the Gospel, which is translated to good news, because we believe that it is good news and that all people will benefit from it both now and forever. I know that you claim that you’ve proven this “good news” to be blatantly false. You believe that I have been deceived or that I am deceiving myself, or a combination of both. Are you telling me that because you think I should convert back to atheism, that I would be better off knowing the truth and not living a life of lies? It seems like your reason for writing to me would either have to be to help me or to harass me.
My important questions you said are not, but I do thank you for answering them anyway. “I do claim that nothing exists unless it can be perceived by a human or one of the many instruments we have invented to extend our senses.” This is the heart of our difference. I embrace science as a way to learn about reality and am amazed by all that we have learned and are discovering, but I also maintain that science alone is limited because we are limited, and so it might not disclose the fullness of reality.
I believe there’s something other than the material. You do not. You insist that you know there is nothing other or more, that there absolutely cannot be.
I am drawn toward the mystic (you first commented on a poem, remember), and appreciate the mystical wisdom found in other religions. I’ve long been intrigued by the Persian poet Rumi. I seriously considered Sufi Islam and Taoism. The Eternal Now and God’s omniscience, and God being outside of time and yet entering into time confuses many, but surely human confusion is not itself proof of utter nonsense.
I’m a member of the Catholic Church, by the way. That’s easy to discover in this blog. (The word “catholic” speaks to the universality of Christ.) Contrary to the common belief that you expressed as nonsense, the Catholic Church does not teach that everybody who isn’t Catholic is absolutely going to Hell. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 846-856.) I do not believe that non-Catholic Christians “deserve eternal torture for having different version of this god/religion.”
I have read the varying styles of the books of the Bible and have paid close attention to the miracles in the New Testament, writing several chapters reflecting on some in It’s Good to Be Here. I have not, however, made a study of miraculous claims — like the ones reported at Lourdes or as having been done by Saints. I don’t know why you don’t believe me. I’m not an expert in this field, and that’s not a copout. You and I both know that there are specialists and people who are more expert than others in many areas, like healthcare. If you want to know about miracles, I’m sure you can look it up.
You suspect that I would be happier if I wasn’t disabled. I don’t know if I would be happier. Seriously. I don’t know. Would I like to be able to take care of my daily needs on my own? Yes. But how can anyone possibly know if a radical change of life (outside of going from a life of terrible abuse to a life absent of terrible abuse) will make them happier? Happiness isn’t conditioned upon physical independence. Look at all of the people who are able to toilet themselves who are not happy. Compared to many people in the world, my life is easy and even beautiful. The difficulties of my life have taught me valuable things like patience and deeper empathy. That’s true about life challenges for atheists and theists alike, if we are open.
From you: “The reason that people need to be cured miraculously is because your god promised it with no exceptions.”
With no exceptions? The promised healings that we cited are promised conditionally — either directly with “believers” and “if” and “remain in me” and “keep my commandments” or indirectly. Along with intimately following Christ, “Not my will, but Thy will be done,” faith is a prerequisite. There’s that part in the Bible where Jesus can’t perform mighty miracles because of the amazing lack of faith among many people in His hometown. I’m sharing this because you are claiming that the words of the New Testament promise miraculous cures without exception. But there are exceptions clearly stated in the Bible. Miraculous cures are not the norm, as I wrote previously.
Another thing you wrote: “No, those verses I cited were about physical healing and not “prominently” about sins and heaven.”
If you go back and check, you will see that you cited chapters without any verse citations. In my previous reply, I pulled out the verses that talked about healing. Reread the chapters themselves and you will see that they are predominantly (John 14, for example, has twenty-six out of thirty-one verses) about faith, sins, the Resurrection of Jesus, and eternal life.
This response is much longer than I intended it to be. I really can’t keep doing this, I have a deadline. I hope that you will come to know the reality of Christ. Yes, I am proclaiming.
Needing to take my already scheduled time off from the blog to work on my book, I’m going to let you have the last word here.
In the Peace of Christ,
your fellow human being,
I have written a long reply. I posed it here if you are interested: https://clubschadenfreude.com/2021/05/12/not-so-polite-dinner-conversation-a-discussion-with-a-catholic/
The one thing I do wish you to consider:
You said “From you: “The reason that people need to be cured miraculously is because your god promised it with no exceptions.”
With no exceptions? The promised healings that we cited are promised conditionally — either directly with “believers” and “if” and “remain in me” and “keep my commandments” or indirectly. Along with intimately following Christ, “Not my will, but Thy will be done,” faith is a prerequisite. There’s that part in the Bible where Jesus can’t perform mighty miracles because of the amazing lack of faith among many people in His hometown. I’m sharing this because you are claiming that the words of the New Testament promise miraculous cures without exception. But there are exceptions clearly stated in the Bible. Miraculous cures are not the norm, as I wrote previously.”
This is one of the big reasons I do take the time to show how ignorant Christianity is. You must always blame the victim for this god’s failure. Someone doesn’t have the “right” faith, prayer, sect, etc and this god won’t heal them. Consider this, if I was omnipotent, and omniscient, I would heal them. I’d heal you. I wouldn’t need misery or pain to teach people.
Awesome! Sad to an extent, but real and true.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I saw your post on CWG and thought I’d take a look — and now see that you are Carol’s wonderful sister who I met a couple times at soccer. I think you did a great job in patiently explaining things to Vel. It doesn’t seem like she wanted to learn anything, but just to attack your faith. So you’re blessed– hated because of your faith in Jesus. Good stuff. Happy writing. I don’t know if the verse I’m putting here applies to this situation, but when I read through Vel’s vitriol, I couldn’t help but think of it.
Mt 6:7 Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.
But I think you’re nicer than me.
I’m glad you found me here, I remember you and your great sense of humor! I didn’t know that you are also a member of the Catholic Writers Guild! It’s a wonderful group of people. Several members are responsible for helping me to write my book and get it published.
Having once been an unbeliever myself, I invite conversation. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to continually address long responses like Vel’s.
Thank you for your support and for reflecting with me! Hopefully, you become a regular visitor 🙂