Is Christianity Reducible to Values?

Your missing the point here @Patrick.

You don’t have to agree with the Gospels, but it is worth understanding what you reject. It is the same request I make of YECs that come here attacking evolution. Understand what you reject.

I studied the Gospels like NT Wright studied Genesis - in the mindset of the culture that wrote them. In the case of the Gospels, it is actually easier to study because the morality, ethics, and values of the people 2000 years ago is pretty much understood. It is not as ancient as the OT. So when I study the Gospels, it makes sense from a 2nd Century Europe perspective. The New Testament is much softer than the old testament. Woman are treated much better in NT than OT.

But we all live in 2018 modern society. Each time someone brings in a passage from the Gospels or new testament and tries to tell me how to live in 2018, I can easily show how it is far from the moral, ethical norms of today’s society. YECs come here to attack evolution on the science. I come here to question Christian morality, ethics and values with regard to living in a secular scientific society.

That is true…

That is true too.

But I still think you are missing the point. In fairness though, I’m not sure its your fault. A lot of Christians talk and act as if their purpose is to promote Biblical moral values. That, it seems, is not your fault for taking them at their word on that.

I see it differently though. Biblical values are not the reason I am a Christian. I found something much greater here.

I think you are a Christian because the core values of Christianity gives your scientific work greater purpose and meaning. It makes you whole, it inspires you, it is something greater than yourself. I absolutely admire and respect that.

1 Like

That is very kind of you to say.

It is not the values though that keep me here. You might find this to be bizarre, but I really encountered Jesus, this living presence in the world. The person I saw in the Gospels, and he was good. There is so much to dislike about “Christianity”, especially here in the United States, where it has been about grabs for power for so long. The values I found in this were not admirable. The person I found in Jesus, however, is really good.

Maybe even saying “Christian” confuses things in our context…it is hard, honestly, to blame you for echoing what you see in society. Maybe I’m just not a Christian in the usual sense. I just found Jesus better than the “values” of Christianity.

You may find this even stranger - I saw Jesus in the Palestinian boy throwing rocks at Isreali troops shooting bullets while American Evangelical Christian Ministers proclaim the second coming of Jesus at the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. I looked at the split screen and yelled out to the screen. “Yes, Jesus is right there, He has come again, go talk to him.”

I do too.


Have you ever thought about taking that advice, and “going and talking” to him?

Sure I have. It would be very comforting to have Him by my side. Tomorrow I am having surgery. It would be great to “leave it in God’s hands”. It would be very comforting to believe that He will make sure it works out for the best for me. And if it doesn’t, well I have been a good person all my life, so I get rewarded with heaven should I die.

But I am a man of science and reason. I know the reason I am going for the surgery. I am trying to stay positive that it will work out to my betterment. I am anxious but I know the risks. I do hope the surgeon gets a good night’s sleep and he is on top of his game tomorrow. I hope the machines work properly. I hope that I recover quickly. I am grateful that I live in 2018 and have access to the absolute best medical technology and care available.

1 Like

Well, it is my sincere hope that the surgery goes well, and we have many more opportunities to converse. Peace.


Thank you.

1 Like

That is a common misconception. If Christianity is correct then no one will get to heaven “by being a good person”. But I am gonna pray that you make it tomorrow, and if the answer is “Yes” to that prayer, then perhaps it is God’s will for you to live on this earth a while longer, for a reason. “Understanding and being understood”, like it says on the marquee here, might be a part of that.

Peace to you, Patrick. I will join others here in praying for your successful surgery, and urge you to go ahead and dare that Palestinian boy to, somehow, be by your side as you recuperate. Seems like he could use a friend who will listen. Cheers!

1 Like

I have learned that everyone needs the support, help, and empathy from others. It is comforting, it gives hope, it is calming. Support from others allows one to face reality clearly, to understand.

Prayer, on the other hand, is a con, a cover up. It is an admission that there is nothing you can do for a person or situation. It is too easy to say “you are in my prayers”. The hard part is doing. Taking positive action even when the situation is hopeless.

So I sincerely thank you for your empathy, your kindness, and your desire to help.

Thank you for the kind words. Today, I am going to thank the doctor and especially the nurses and the hundreds of people necessary to do this work in a 2018 facility that clearly shows how far mankind has progressed through science and technology. Regarding the Palestinian boy, I know that Israel has the same state of the art hospitals and skilled doctors. However, I am not certain that the Palestinian boy would get the same treatment that I will be getting today. Why?

Well if you make it back, no con here- you should know that I am admitting that there is nothing I can do for your situation. So I am asking for help from Someone who can. In addition, it is hard for me to cuss you as profanely for your oneryness soon after I have done so.

LOL, don’t say that you aren’t helping me, you are! I can “feel” the empathy coming from you to me. You are doing something good for me. You are communicating with me at a time when I need it most. Thank you and I appreciate it. It is actually calming for me. It is positive, it is reassuring. I am thinking clearly.

1 Like

Hope everything goes well for you, @Patrick. Best wishes.

1 Like


Why do you insist on this kind of posting? Do you really think people are going to forget that you are an atheist?

It would be great if Atheism posters (pro- and con-) could desist with the topic for a week – just to prove you can.

Interesting thought. Let’s assume for the moment that some Palestinian boy in our day happens to be an Arab (just so we avoid some additional ambiguities inherent in the term “Palestinian.”) Based upon my own observations, these thoughts come to mind:

(1) An Arab boy in Israel probably (in the vast majority of cases) enjoys greater civil rights (e.g., rights within the justice system and education system) and access to quality health care in Israel than he would if he lived in any of the nations bordering Israel.

(2) Most nations tend to grant greater rights and privileges to their own citizens than they do to non-citizens. Many many thousands of Arabs living in Israel are eligible for full citizenship status but decline it. Even those who might wish to have full citizenship are afraid to apply for it because doing so would involve making a pledge of allegiance to the Israeli nation (a pledge expected in many nations) but there are extreme social pressures against them doing so from their own families and the Arab community. (The pledge would imply that Israel is a legitimate nation. Some Arabs in Israel have been killed by their own people for daring to “side with the enemy” in that way by applying for citizenship and getting more privileges, including citizen-related healthcare benefits.)

(3) An Arab Palestinian in Israel, even without citizenship, has far more civil rights and access to far better health care than a Jewish person living in any of the neighboring countries. By far.

I’m not trying to advocate in any particular political direction here. I’m simply observing that the conflict in Palestine is extremely complex and that there is often uneven consideration of both sides of these conflicts. Even double-standards.

It is also interesting that of the two major sides, Israel versus the other nations of the Middle East, the Jews of Israel generally reject the significance of a particular Palestinian boy who became a man in the first century, while both the Islamic and the Christian peoples of the Middle East agree that Isa/Jesus is extremely important. Devout Muslims and devout Christians all look forward to the return of Isa/Jesus. They share that in common.

What I find particularly interesting is that most American evangelical Christians are far more supportive of a secular Israeli government which is often quite hostile towards its own Christian citizens, than they are of the many many Palestinian Christians living in Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. I have heard many Palestinian Christians ask why American evangelicals don’t treat them as fellow Christ-followers and care about their plights.

1 Like

You’ll note in my original post neither unequivocal support for Israel, nor a devaluation of your life or of the Palestinian teenager’s. I did note, however, what obviously unsettles you --the callousness by which political forces easily devalue the individual. That’s part of what Christians call the evil which arises from sin. You’ll note that it’s a prominent theme in the Christian faith, and I can only encourage you to take a new look at Jesus thereby. If, in your book, this is trivial inaction, just know that in my book it’s not. A failure of the imagination is never a benign thing. In any case, I’ll keep offering my “con” prayers, so you can keep trying to con us into thinking this is of no significance to you, even if only sentimentally. Just get better, okay?!! : )