Author Topic: Retirement isn't Biblical  (Read 15597 times)

gillstone

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Retirement isn't Biblical
« on: June 10, 2015, 08:25:33 AM »
MT GOP candidate for Governor Greg Gianforte apparently thinks retiring and collecting Social Security checks isn't biblically sound.  What must he think of this group?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/09/greg-gianforte-montana_n_7536568.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2015, 08:51:03 AM »
Not the first time I've been considered an unwashed heretic.

mrshudson

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2015, 09:24:24 AM »
Oh, here:

http://www.zompist.com/meetthepoor.html

Uhm, so, the bible isn't biblical?

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2015, 10:54:25 AM »
I've gone to churches from at least 8 different Christian denominations and only once met a tiny offshoot group at a church that didn't believe in retirement.  The kicker?  They were all retired, in effect.  They were non-working spouses of married men, thus effectively retired themselves and didn't want their husbands to retire for fear that would mean they wouldn't have enough money to keep not working.

Granted we're talking like 3 ladies out of probably tens of thousands of Christians I've shared various church attendance with over the decades.  Telling people that they can't have rest is ridiculous, especially in light of the creation account, where God rests at the end, and the old Mosaic Law, which required rest at the end of the week.  Rest has always been a huge part of a biblical life.

MgoSam

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2015, 10:59:51 AM »
I looked up this guy yesterday and apparently he is proud of not separating his faith from his public agenda. This might be admirable, but the problem I have with people that want to instill a theist government is that their views are often batshit insane...and I'm a Christian. Many are pro-life, but don't seem to care about helping single mothers raise their children. A friend of mine went on a rant about how it isn't her responsibility to help women that "screwed up," and yet she is willing to condemn them and vote for candidates that would remove any choice for these women. As people that claim to love life, they don't seem to do a very good job at it. This is my view and I hope not to get into a theological debate on here, but it really gets on my nerves.

Drifterrider

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2015, 11:08:40 AM »
The Bible also doesn't mention tooth brushes, eye glasses, corrective surgery.  Does that mean that although it is "universally accepted" we should disregard it?

The Bible does say something about charging interest (wonder if the subject of the article gains any interest or dividends?).

Louis the Cat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2015, 11:40:07 AM »
How about Noah being 600 years old when he built the ark? If that's the logic we're starting from, there's absolutely nowhere to go from here.

gillstone

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2015, 12:05:41 PM »
I would say the problem with his analogy is that Noah was 600 years old - so old he forgot to load all the dinosaurs on the ark. 

One Noisy Cat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2015, 12:14:33 PM »
    Ranks right up there with the time Hillary Clinton told us Joseph and Mary were homeless.

JetBlast

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2015, 12:40:07 PM »
Sounds like his definition of retirement is the same as the Internet Retirement Police. It's too bad he thinks retirement has to mean sitting around watching Judge Judy all day and doing nothing productive for yourself or society.

enigmaT120

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2015, 02:22:12 PM »
How about Noah being 600 years old when he built the ark? If that's the logic we're starting from, there's absolutely nowhere to go from here.

By the time Noah got to be 600 he was plenty wealthy from his investments, so he was retired.  That's why he had time to build the ark.


gillstone

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2015, 02:43:45 PM »
Also when Noah was done and they were on land he got drunk, got naked and then passed out - sounds like a helluva retirement party to me

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2015, 03:30:07 PM »
On the 7th day, God rested. Sounds like retirement to me.

solon

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2015, 04:11:16 PM »
In Numbers 8, God is giving the priests instructions about their duties. Verse 25 says,
Quote
but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.

surfhb

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2015, 05:24:06 PM »
Wow!    Republicans sure can give a shit about votes I guess.     

MoneyCat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2015, 05:39:54 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Kris

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2015, 05:41:48 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Are you seeing this thread turn into Christian bashing? Because I'm not seeing it...

MoneyCat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #17 on: June 10, 2015, 05:44:50 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Are you seeing this thread turn into Christian bashing? Because I'm not seeing it...

Yes, things turned into "dinosaur riding" and "600 year old man" and other straw man territory pretty quickly.  Just asking people to be respectful.

El Marinero

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #18 on: June 10, 2015, 05:47:36 PM »
In Numbers 8, God is giving the priests instructions about their duties. Verse 25 says,
Quote
but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.

Am I reading this right?  You should retire and wear Levi's by the time you are 50?  That sounds OK.

Kris

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #19 on: June 10, 2015, 05:54:14 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Are you seeing this thread turn into Christian bashing? Because I'm not seeing it...

Yes, things turned into "dinosaur riding" and "600 year old man" and other straw man territory pretty quickly.  Just asking people to be respectful.

So, I'm not trying to be a troll here, but... I actually think that these were directed at people who are biblical literalists/young earth creationists, not Christians in general.  And I'm sorry, but I actually do think those ideas are to be mocked.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2015, 06:00:56 PM »
Wow!    Republicans sure can give a shit about votes I guess.

I know, right?  I'm also amazed that Democrats get anyone to vote, since every single registered Democrat is a convicted criminal.  Yay generalizations!

For the record, I haven't affiliated with any political party since I turned 30 or so.  It makes you susceptible to bias more than usual and prevents people from seeing that we're all in this together, not fighting against each other.

MoneyCat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2015, 06:05:09 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Are you seeing this thread turn into Christian bashing? Because I'm not seeing it...

Yes, things turned into "dinosaur riding" and "600 year old man" and other straw man territory pretty quickly.  Just asking people to be respectful.

So, I'm not trying to be a troll here, but... I actually think that these were directed at people who are biblical literalists/young earth creationists, not Christians in general.  And I'm sorry, but I actually do think those ideas are to be mocked.

The problem is that people have a tendency to lump all Christians together with weirdo fundies when they make those kinds of statements, which is what makes it so offensive.

Kris

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2015, 06:06:50 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Are you seeing this thread turn into Christian bashing? Because I'm not seeing it...

Yes, things turned into "dinosaur riding" and "600 year old man" and other straw man territory pretty quickly.  Just asking people to be respectful.

So, I'm not trying to be a troll here, but... I actually think that these were directed at people who are biblical literalists/young earth creationists, not Christians in general.  And I'm sorry, but I actually do think those ideas are to be mocked.

The problem is that people have a tendency to lump all Christians together with weirdo fundies when they make those kinds of statements, which is what makes it so offensive.

Perhaps, but I haven't seen that being done here.

paddedhat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2015, 06:13:07 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

Hey now, what ever happen to the bit in your story book about "judge not.......?  BTW, it's sad that you wallow in ignorance, and judge those that do not think like you, however the vast majority of non- believers are pretty quiet about their philosophy,  and far from cynical and hateful.

fb132

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2015, 06:38:20 PM »
I hate when politicians use religion in order to win some votes.

surfhb

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #25 on: June 10, 2015, 08:08:50 PM »
Wow!    Republicans sure can give a shit about votes I guess.

I know, right?  I'm also amazed that Democrats get anyone to vote, since every single registered Democrat is a convicted criminal.  Yay generalizations!

For the record, I haven't affiliated with any political party since I turned 30 or so.  It makes you susceptible to bias more than usual and prevents people from seeing that we're all in this together, not fighting against each other.

What I should have said was:   Without the religious right, the entire GOP would implode.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #26 on: June 10, 2015, 11:38:10 PM »
Hey now, what ever happen to the bit in your story book about "judge not.......?

http://www.christianissues.biz/judging.html

TexasStash

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2015, 09:08:26 AM »
Things that bug me about people believing some things "deserve to be mocked":

Mockery does absolutely nothing to persuade a person or change their mind
Mockery inherently creates an us vs them mentality
Mockery also creates a superiority complex
I doubt anyone among us has zero beliefs that a simple majority of people would consider silly or ridiculous
The larger the group of mockers gets, the faster people decide that laws should be put in place to restrict others based largely on what they believe

While I am certainly guilty of mocking those I disagree with, it's usually in groups or online with the intent of creating some sad sort of superficial bond with others to make myself feel part of the group. Can't we do better?

FrugalShrew

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2015, 09:29:32 AM »
To respond to the OP, on some level, all of the apostles "retired" to follow Jesus. They quit their day jobs to follow him and later to preach the good news. In fact, Jesus himself likely worked as a carpenter before "retiring" to devote his time to ministry. This is in line with the idea of retirement in the "early retirement" sense: doing what you love without concern for making money. 

gillstone

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2015, 10:36:01 AM »
No snark is meant against Christians in this OP, even the incredibly thin-skinned ones.  But this guy's opinions are noteworthy because he is taking a very narrow and literal interpretation of a few select passages of the Bible to justify public policy.  The remarks on dinosaurs are appropriate because he is a young earth creationist who funds a museum that argues that dinosaurs died in Noah's flood and that the earth is only 6,000 years old. 

By his odd viewpoint, FIRE folks are a bunch of lazy heretics who refuse to work until they die.

zephyr911

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #30 on: June 11, 2015, 11:12:03 AM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.
Are you familiar with the term "observation bias"?
Most people in today's public scene who are vocal about their belief, or lack thereof, are dicks about it.
There is a direct causal relationship between the "being a dick" part and the "vocal/public" part. If you assume that they are a representative sample, you'd be demonstrably incorrect.
I'm sure you don't think Ann Coulter is a good example of a modern American Christian, considering she's shamelessly hateful and un-Christlike toward anyone who disagrees with her on any subject - yet her kind are damn near the only ones found on TV, or debating with atheists on social networks.

Louis the Cat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #31 on: June 11, 2015, 01:01:40 PM »
Whoops! Didn't mean to start something with the 600 year-old Noah thing. It was a combination of "if you think someone has ever lived to be 600 years old, you are starting from a different reality" AND even if we concede the point that Noah did live to be 600 years old, clearly things have changed drastically from that time and perhaps we shouldn't be basing modern expectations on such a radically different time.

TheGrimSqueaker

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #32 on: June 11, 2015, 01:28:54 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

By "Christian bashing" I assume you mean criticism of some of the beliefs, customs, or behaviors associated with radical evangelical Protestantism.

You do realize that the vast majority of the criticism and/or mockery of those beliefs, customs, and behaviors comes from other people who also identify as Judeo-Christian, right?

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #33 on: June 11, 2015, 07:39:38 PM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

By "Christian bashing" I assume you mean criticism of some of the beliefs, customs, or behaviors associated with radical evangelical Protestantism.

You do realize that the vast majority of the criticism and/or mockery of those beliefs, customs, and behaviors comes from other people who also identify as Judeo-Christian, right?

Some mockery is justified. This politician did the equivalent of walking into a public debate butt naked except for clown face make up.  No he's not a good representation of Christianity or Christians.  Just as I hope any atheists here would not stoop to using him as ammunition I hope Christians would consider doing so.  Literally from a cannon.

milesdividendmd

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #34 on: June 11, 2015, 08:45:20 PM »
This just in:  reality isn't biblical.

Kris

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2015, 05:42:45 AM »
Can we please not let this thread turn into Christian bashing?  In return, we can also skip talking about what cynical and hateful people most atheists seem to be.

By "Christian bashing" I assume you mean criticism of some of the beliefs, customs, or behaviors associated with radical evangelical Protestantism.

You do realize that the vast majority of the criticism and/or mockery of those beliefs, customs, and behaviors comes from other people who also identify as Judeo-Christian, right?


Case in point, here is a Christian mocking the hell out of this guy: 

http://www.forwardprogressives.com/montana-republican-uses-story-noahs-ark-justify-americans-dont-need-social-security/

RetiredAt63

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2015, 04:40:32 PM »
This IS the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy - if not here, where?

Things that bug me about people believing some things "deserve to be mocked":

Mockery does absolutely nothing to persuade a person or change their mind
Mockery inherently creates an us vs them mentality
Mockery also creates a superiority complex
I doubt anyone among us has zero beliefs that a simple majority of people would consider silly or ridiculous
The larger the group of mockers gets, the faster people decide that laws should be put in place to restrict others based largely on what they believe

While I am certainly guilty of mocking those I disagree with, it's usually in groups or online with the intent of creating some sad sort of superficial bond with others to make myself feel part of the group. Can't we do better?

deborah

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2015, 08:17:05 PM »
This is a fascinating thread. We can assume that Noah didn't work much, and that is why he had the time to build the arc. Retirement at 50 in Numbers? Are there any other quotes?

Bob W

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2015, 11:02:27 PM »
Ironically Jesus apparently retired around age to thirty and started a large community of followers while doing part time carpentry and living a sparten life drinking homemade wine.  Sound familiar?

milesdividendmd

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2015, 02:16:38 AM »
Well played Bob W!

Of course he was also a Jewish socialist revolutionary.

deborah

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #40 on: June 13, 2015, 03:31:31 AM »
And of course all his disciples retired too...

They became tourists and had festivals and banquets.

Bob W

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #41 on: June 13, 2015, 08:25:37 AM »
Well played Bob W!

Of course he was also a Jewish socialist revolutionary.
back at yeah.

forummm

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #42 on: June 13, 2015, 12:22:45 PM »
One of the reasons why religious texts like the Bible continue to attract followers is that you can find something in there that supports pretty much anything you want it to say. And then people who follow that religion are frequently going to give more credence to whatever your position was because they are supposed to believe whatever's in the book. And since most people haven't actually studied the whole text, they don't know when your argument is actually counter to a lot of the other stuff in the text. This is a case in point. Certain politicians love to cloak themselves in "Christian values" language and throw in gratuitous references to God and the Bible, in order to get support from Christians. And at the same time argue to cut funds for the poor and give money to the rich, while trying to put more religious practices into laws. Kind of the opposite of everything Jesus said. I'm always surprised that the disingenuous nature of these Bible thumping charlatans doesn't make more real Christians realize the inconsistency of the politicians' words and deeds.

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #43 on: June 14, 2015, 11:07:01 AM »
That guy should lead by example & work hard physically all day/ everyday, give away all his $ & never retire.  Let's see how that works out for him?

paddedhat

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #44 on: June 14, 2015, 09:18:51 PM »
"When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether itís the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of Godís creation are prostituted for evolutionism,"

Truly fucking unbelievable, eh?

This is from the website of a creationist museum that this idiot has given major backing to. Sorry if I hurts anybody's tender feelings here, but fuck this stupidity. This guy is living a fantasy that deliberately choses to ignore centuries of well documented, peer reviewed facts, in order to perpetrate gross ignorance, based on nothing but faith based lies. Screw him and all those that justify his bullshit, in the name of tolerance and political correctness. We cannot advance as a society until the majority are willing to call bullshit on this garbage. This is not a difference of opinion, this is living a fantasy, and spending large amounts of cash, in an effort to  convince others to check their brains at the door, and join the movement toward the continued stupidification of American society. If you are a "Christian" who believes in things like a giant, yet scientifically impossible flood, an Ark that could not exist based on the "facts" presented, or that the earth is only a few thousand years old, YOU need to get your head out of YOUR ass, and join reality, Spending time here, with intelligent members, trying to justify your own stupidity, or whining about intolerance,  doesn't cut it!

forummm

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #45 on: June 15, 2015, 10:46:13 AM »
"When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether it’s the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of God’s creation are prostituted for evolutionism,"

Truly fucking unbelievable, eh?

This is from the website of a creationist museum that this idiot has given major backing to. Sorry if I hurts anybody's tender feelings here, but fuck this stupidity. This guy is living a fantasy that deliberately choses to ignore centuries of well documented, peer reviewed facts, in order to perpetrate gross ignorance, based on nothing but faith based lies. Screw him and all those that justify his bullshit, in the name of tolerance and political correctness. We cannot advance as a society until the majority are willing to call bullshit on this garbage. This is not a difference of opinion, this is living a fantasy, and spending large amounts of cash, in an effort to  convince others to check their brains at the door, and join the movement toward the continued stupidification of American society. If you are a "Christian" who believes in things like a giant, yet scientifically impossible flood, an Ark that could not exist based on the "facts" presented, or that the earth is only a few thousand years old, YOU need to get your head out of YOUR ass, and join reality, Spending time here, with intelligent members, trying to justify your own stupidity, or whining about intolerance,  doesn't cut it!

I think you picked the wrong examples here. I don't think the flood or an ark is impossible. Many old cultures have some flood story, and there are many reasons why a flood could have happened, or why a flood could have been somewhat localized but seem to people without engines or satellites to cover anything they could see or know about.

I do agree that it would be better if everyone (Christian and not) were more skeptical of what was presented to them and were more connected to objective and testable forms of evidence.

wenchsenior

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #46 on: June 15, 2015, 11:33:30 AM »
"When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether itís the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of Godís creation are prostituted for evolutionism,"

Truly fucking unbelievable, eh?

This is from the website of a creationist museum that this idiot has given major backing to. Sorry if I hurts anybody's tender feelings here, but fuck this stupidity. This guy is living a fantasy that deliberately choses to ignore centuries of well documented, peer reviewed facts, in order to perpetrate gross ignorance, based on nothing but faith based lies. Screw him and all those that justify his bullshit, in the name of tolerance and political correctness. We cannot advance as a society until the majority are willing to call bullshit on this garbage. This is not a difference of opinion, this is living a fantasy, and spending large amounts of cash, in an effort to  convince others to check their brains at the door, and join the movement toward the continued stupidification of American society. If you are a "Christian" who believes in things like a giant, yet scientifically impossible flood, an Ark that could not exist based on the "facts" presented, or that the earth is only a few thousand years old, YOU need to get your head out of YOUR ass, and join reality, Spending time here, with intelligent members, trying to justify your own stupidity, or whining about intolerance,  doesn't cut it!

+ 1 million.

I'm never going to apologize for bashing fundy religious beliefs, because NEWSFLASH...they are ridiculous and people who believe them are very silly. Doesn't mean they aren't nice people, but I'm not bashing their interpersonal skills, or other aspects of their personalities. I'm bashing their religious beliefs, because...SILLY.

milesdividendmd

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Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #47 on: June 15, 2015, 12:32:10 PM »
"When you visit a major natural history museum today, you will see wide-eyed elementary and preschool children (not to mention their parents and teachers) being funneled into an abyss of scientific deception. No matter whether itís the study of animals, earth science, or astronomy, the wonders of Godís creation are prostituted for evolutionism,"

Truly fucking unbelievable, eh?

This is from the website of a creationist museum that this idiot has given major backing to. Sorry if I hurts anybody's tender feelings here, but fuck this stupidity. This guy is living a fantasy that deliberately choses to ignore centuries of well documented, peer reviewed facts, in order to perpetrate gross ignorance, based on nothing but faith based lies. Screw him and all those that justify his bullshit, in the name of tolerance and political correctness. We cannot advance as a society until the majority are willing to call bullshit on this garbage. This is not a difference of opinion, this is living a fantasy, and spending large amounts of cash, in an effort to  convince others to check their brains at the door, and join the movement toward the continued stupidification of American society. If you are a "Christian" who believes in things like a giant, yet scientifically impossible flood, an Ark that could not exist based on the "facts" presented, or that the earth is only a few thousand years old, YOU need to get your head out of YOUR ass, and join reality, Spending time here, with intelligent members, trying to justify your own stupidity, or whining about intolerance,  doesn't cut it!

+ 1 million.

I'm never going to apologize for bashing fundy religious beliefs, because NEWSFLASH...they are ridiculous and people who believe them are very silly. Doesn't mean they aren't nice people, but I'm not bashing their interpersonal skills, or other aspects of their personalities. I'm bashing their religious beliefs, because...SILLY.

If you are judging others harshly perhaps you should be suspicious of your own religiosity. And this is coming from a completely secular perspective.

The following is copy and pasted from my siteÖ

I am a deeply unreligious person. I have a firm belief in just about nothing spiritual.

Which is not to say that I am in any way more rational than the next guy. Not at all. My lack of piety simply reflects my own particular (and somewhat random) cultural heritage.

Both of my parents, and three out of four of my grandparents were secular Jews. (The fourth was my German Catholic grandmother who converted to Judaism to marry my grandfather in Nazi Germany and then fled with him to Palestine where my mother was born. And she was the most unreligious of them all.)

So my skeptical agnosticism is in no way an original thought on my part, itís just my cultural heritage. Itís how I was raised to see the world. Much as a born-again, or a Shiite, or a Mormon or a Hassid has inherited his own specific cultural perspective.

But one of my best friends in college and my roommate was the son of a Lutheran pastor who went on to become a pastor himself. And I found that there was very little difference in the way that he saw the world and the way that I saw the world. We had an almost indistinguishable sense of what was right and what was wrong, and what was decent and what was perverse. We simply used different metaphors to describe our perspectives.

So in my experience religion is neither good nor bad. Itís just a broad category of cultural frameworks that use extra-human authority as a metaphor. In this way my own secular agnosticism is almost another religion (minus the extra human authority.)

So religionís no problem, per se.

Itís religiosity that can be counter-productive.

And what do I mean by religiosity?

Religiosity, as I am using the term, has nothing to do with religion or God.

It has to do with fundamentalism.

It has to do with dualistic ďeither/orĒ thinking.

But most of all it has to do with certainty.

To my way of seeing things the world is a mysterious and beautiful affair born of randomness and probability and chaos.

Although we humans constantly attempt to chip away at the fabric of our reality with scientific inquiry and abstract thought experiments, the fact remains that the universe is an inscrutable mystery with an ever unknowable future.

This is an unsettling state of affairs, even to secular types like me.

My usual approach to dealing with this great unknown is pretty standard. I simply pretend that it doesnít exist.

I go about my life focussing on its reassuring and routine patterns and repetitions, and generally ignore the enormous precariousness of my own existence and future.

But there are areas of life where it is almost impossible to escape the discomfort of how little I know.

Mortality and finances come to mind.

When a friend or an acquaintance unexpectedly dies the take-home message is unavoidable and clear.

We are all headed for death, and none of us knows what happens after our last breath passes through our lips.

And thatís about as uncomfortable a message as I can imagine.

And this discomfort makes us do interesting things when we are confronted with death.

As an example when an unusual and life threatening illness befalls a young person unexpectedly in the hospital, I generally find myself trying to search for a reason for the bad outcome like ďpatient X was a smokerĒ (and Iím not.) or ďpatient Y did not have his medical needs attended to by society,Ē (whereas I have.)

In this way I pretend as if death were an avoidable consequence of a moral failing, or the unfortunate sequela of inadequate access to resources. (As opposed to say the final destination for all of us.)

Which is odd, no?

Similarly (though perhaps to a lesser extent) I am very concerned about the unknown when it comes to investing my hard earned money for the future.

Itís uncomfortable to remind myself that the Great Depression was merely our worst economic downturn to date, and certainly wonít be the worst in the future. Stockmarkets do go to zero (Just ask the Russians). And empires do eventually collapse, (Just ask the Greeks.)

The best that we can hope to do is to play the probabilities based on past history, and to take the best odds available to us. It all amounts to little more than an educated guess.

But what we all crave, of course, is a guarantee. A cause and effect world where if we do ďA,Ē ďBĒ must necessarily follow.

Which is where religiosity comes in.

My feeling is that fundamentalism is an overreaction to lifeís uncertainties, and particularly the great unknown of our own mortality. Religiosity is the building of a rigid and unbending conceptual framework to buffer ourselves psychologically against all that we canít know.

It is comforting to imagine a world of simple laws and a unified source of authority. But what is comforting is not necessarily true.

Furthermore religion is certainly not the sole domain of religiosity. Fundamentalism is everywhere that there are people believing in things.

There are fundamentalist Bogleheads, and fundamentalist mustachians, and fundamentalist trend followers, and fundamentalist value investors, and fundamentalist vegans, and fundamentalist tango dancers, and fundamentalist cross fitters etc. (you name it.)

These fundamentalists can be recognized a few key attributes.

An inflexibility of thought.
An extreme inability to process data that conflicts with their own assumptions. (we are all guilty of this one to some extent. Itís a matter of degree.)
An impulse to evangelize.
And as you may have gathered Iím very suspicious of fundamentalism of all sorts. This impulse to simplify the world around us with little more than pretty stories seems to me analogous to little kids who close their eyes and imagine that they can not be seen.

Why should reality conform to our own specific and ridiculously insignificant perspective?

But I do realize my potential for hypocrisy here. After all my complaints about fundamentalism could very well be a simple reflection of my own tribalism.

In other words, whoís to say that I am not simply a fundamentalist secular humanist?

Surely I should put some checks on my own inherited beliefs in order to avoid this hypocritical fate.

Here then are some rules of thumb that I Have cobbled together on the fly to try to follow in the future in order to mitigate my own subconscious need for certainty.

The 8 Commandments Of Un-Religiosity. (Irony Intended.)

Be very suspicious of my own generalizations about other peopleís beliefs.
Remember, that at all times, I am probably making some very faulty assumptions.
Strive for empathy. And remember that human disagreements are often about random differences of personal history.
Give others the benefit of the doubt and assume that the people with whom I disagree are sincere, and every bit  as human as I believe myself to be.
Be open to admitting that I am wrong, especially when I realize that I am.
Resist trying to make other people more like me. (After all, Iím no great shakes.)
If I am convinced that Iím right, then I should try harder to prove myself wrong. (Because I probably am.)
Be very suspicious of data that confirms my own beliefs.
Thatís it. Those are my first 8 commandments for avoiding false certainty.

They arenít complete* and they certainly arenít written in stone, (only in blog.)

And while Iím certainly going to try to adhere to them, it wonít be easy for me. After all they were only published by a random guy on the InternetÖ

wenchsenior

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2015, 04:05:52 PM »
That's quite a speech. Generally speaking, I agree with it. So maybe I should amend...I'm not a fan of fundamentalist thinking or black and white thinking in most situations. Where possible, I support beliefs that are based on testable premises, not faith; of course some areas of human life and philosophy don't fall into that realm.

Cassie

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Re: Retirement isn't Biblical
« Reply #49 on: June 15, 2015, 04:30:28 PM »
I totally agree Miles- very well stated.