A bride and groom place their hands on a Bible during a wedding ceremony. Photo by Greg Kendall-Ball

A bride and groom place their hands on a Bible during a wedding ceremony. Photo by Greg Kendall-Ball


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) For decades, evangelical leaders have touted “virginity pledges” as a way for teens and young adults to “save themselves for marriage.”

But what happens after the wedding day?

According to a researcher at the University of Washington, young adult men who took the pledge and had male friends who held them accountable before marriage find themselves suddenly adrift and unable to talk to trusted friends — and sometimes even their new wives — about sex.

“Because these men understand sex as a gift for the marriage bed, it is unthinkable to discuss sexual activity anywhere outside of their married relationships,” wrote Sarah Diefendorf in a paper presented at the American Sociological Association’s convention this week in San Francisco.

“Positive conversations around sex do not occur — and these men assume that conversations regarding sexual practices would only occur in what they think of as promiscuous, risque scenarios (such as a swinger party).”

Diefendorf, a doctoral student in sociology, interviewed 15 young evangelical Christian men in a Southwestern megachurch in 2008, then followed up with them in 2011 — when all but one had married.

The men had a clear demarcation in their views about sex before and after marriage, she wrote: “While sex within marriage is sacred, sex before marriage is a beast that must be controlled.”

But Diefendorf found that what were considered “beastly” temptations — pornography, sex outside of marriage — did not disappear after the wedding ceremony.

Three million students in thousands of churches worldwide have made the True Love Waits pledge, in one of the most popular campaigns for sexual purity. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Church Resources

Three million students in thousands of churches worldwide have made the True Love Waits pledge, in one of the most popular campaigns for sexual purity. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“It’s a myth that I think is kind of perpetuated by the lack of communication, is that once you get married, suddenly all those desires are fulfilled in your spouse,” said “Aidan,” the fictitious name she used to protect the confidentiality of one of her interviewees. “It’s not true. Guys are so visually driven. The desire for porn, especially if you struggled with that in the past, is still there. It doesn’t go away once the ring slips on!”

Diefendorf found that the men were uncomfortable speaking with each other about the intimate details of their married lives, in part because they were now talking about their wives as well as themselves.

“These men, who four years prior, had engaged in a very open discourse about sex and sexuality, now find it both highly inappropriate and awkward to engage in these conversations,” she said.

Marty King, spokesman for LifeWay Christian Resources, said an estimated 3 million students in thousands of churches worldwide have made the True Love Waits pledge, in one of the most popular campaigns for sexual purity. In 1994, more than 200,000 pledge cards were displayed on the National Mall.

Three million students in thousands of churches worldwide have made the True Love Waits pledge, in one of the most popular campaigns for sexual purity. In 1994, more than 200,000 pledge cards were displayed on the National Mall. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Church Resources

True Love Waits drew national headlines in 1994 when more than 210,000 cards from teenagers pledging to remain sexually pure were displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Recently, South Carolina evangelist Clayton King has co-authored with his wife, Sharie, a relaunch called “True Love Project,” which focuses on helping students “understand their sexuality in light of the gospel,” including questions such as “What if you’re not a virgin?”

Clayton King said he is not surprised by Diefendorf’s findings.

“I think there’s been a big emphasis on accountability prior to marriage and then an assumption that once you get married you’re just going to figure it out, it’s going to be easy and all sexual temptation will go away,” he said. “And that has not been the case for most of the men that I know.”

The evangelist said the new “True Love Project” book addresses post-marriage sexuality as well as premarital abstinence.

Although it can mean sweaty palms and feeling sick to your stomach, Clayton King said men need to be given permission to talk to their wives first, then trusted mentors and, if necessary, professionals about their questions about marital sex.

“That’s the hurdle that married people have to overcome early in their marriage — having difficult, awkward, tense conversations,” he said. “If you skip over your spouse and just start talking to other people about the marriage, then you are literally cutting out half the marriage and you’ll never be healthy that way. You’ll never reach relational health by only talking to outsiders.”

True love waits logo courtesy of LifeWay Church Resources

“True love waits” logo, courtesy of LifeWay Christian Resources


This image is available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Diefendorf said the removal of the premarital support group from the men’s lives after they married caused them to “now struggle in isolation with how to best manage their desires.”

As “Aidan” put it: “I would stand up and cheer figuratively if our pastor got up there and said, ‘Hey, I am going to spend the next month talking about sex.’”

KRE/MG END BANKS

77 Comments

  1. All sin needs to be talked about! Ephesians 5:18 says don’t get drunk and
    1 Corinthians 6:10 says that all drunkards go to hell. The wine that Jesus
    made was from the fruit of the vine/new wine/diluted and the Bible says
    don’t get drunk on strong wine so people who get drunk with wine are also
    wrong! The Bible says if you have a sharp tongue your religion is worthless
    so people who gossip,be mean/don’t bridle their tongue need to stop and
    hating,coveting,gambling,jealousy,fornicaters in any form and people who
    get drunk in any form need to stop as well. Bible says Repent or perish!
    Bible says Repent and believe the Gospel to be saved! We must Repent!

    • I don’t know how to respond to this jihadist diatribe because I don’t think anyone is really home that can think for themselves… it makes again me so grateful that I am no longer under that set of controlling beliefs.

    • If Jesus drank grape juice then why did the jews call Him a drunkard???!!! Matt 11:19 Your seriously illinformed. Hay, How about you get a Bible and read it sometimes!

      • Of course Jesus drank real wine. But wine is to drunkenness as food is to gluttony. The point is that we are to be ruled by the Spirit and not by our appetites.

        • @Shawnie,

          JESUS WAS AN ALCOHOLIC

          “The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a drunkard…” (Matthew 11:19)

          Nobody who fits that reputation
          should stand in judgement of other men for what they do!

          No one should doubt that Jesus was just a regular man.
          The ridiculous idea that he was ‘god’ came long after his death
          when deluded, superstitious people decided a human blood sacrifice had happened just for their benefit.

          You should be embarrassed that you believe this nonsense.

          • Atheist max it’s obvious that you read into this verse what u wanted to read into it to suit ur atheistic deceptive needs . If you were honest you would have read a little deeper into it , but atheism and honest are like fire and oil,they just don’t mix when a persons heart becomes darkened to goodness and the truth.

            Jesus was Not a glutton and a drunkard, the high priests and scribes were saying this As they always were claiming He was a fake. he drank in moderation. period.

            It’s obvious that you are exactly like the pharasees in that you are trying to trip naive believers into thinking Christ was a drunkard.

            Not very honest, but then again your an atheists and u simply can’t help lying.

        • 10 wonderful Christian grandchildren! That is terrific news! Your grandchilden are a like a quiver full of holy arrows fired at the forces of darkness! They will represent Christ’s love for us and his triumph over the Satanic athiests and gays.

          Praise be unto your fruitful loins and your children’s fruitful loins! Hallelujah!

      • Firareed- They called Him a drunkard because they wanted to make Him
        look bad and so they could justify their sin and get drunk. Ephesians 5:18
        says don’t get drunk on wine for it is debauchery but be filled with the Spirit
        so you are the one who is misinformed and you are the one who needs to
        read the Bible! People who still drink always try to twist the Bible so you
        are the one who needs to read the Bible! Wine Jesus made was new wine
        and it was diluted! Read the Bible! It is clear that all drunkards go to hell
        and the Bible says don’t get drunk on strong wine so if there was strong
        wine that must mean there was wine that wasn’t strong like the diluted
        wine that Jesus made. 1 Corinthians 6:10 says all drunkards go to hell.

        • @Karla,

          “all drunkards go to hell.”

          1. If a drunkard is one who drinks every day, Winston Churchill is in Hell even though he saved your freedom to worship Jesus instead of Hitler.

          2. If a drunkard is one who binges on alcohol occasionally
          all of the Benedictine Monks of Normandy are going to Hell.
          They make, drink and sell bottles of Benedictine an herbal Liqueur.
          Every bottle of Bénédictine has the initials D.O.M. on the label, which stands for “Deo Optimo Maximo” (“To God, most good, most great”).

          3. If a drunkard is one who GOT DRUNK ONCE OR TWICE that would include almost every Pope, every Saint and every Priest!

          Corinthians is INCOHERENT NONSENSE.

          • 1) No one is “in” hell currently-for it does not yet exist. Hell is the lake of fire in the end which consumes the wicked once & for all.
            2) As for where all the above may end up-u may be right. But based on your snide comments u would likely be right next to them.

        • h- Hell is real and the Bible says it is! Revelation 14:10-13 says those
          who don’t remain faithful to Jesus will be in the lake of fire and they
          are tormented forever not burnt up like you said. Hell is described
          as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth! Bible even says there are
          different judgments for people and for some people it will be worse for than others. Jesus is part of the Trinity/was there from the start and is
          not an angel/created being and hell is real because Jesus warned us
          it is real/the Bible says that it is real! Hell is the holding place for those
          who are waiting to be thrown into the lake of fire. Hell is real! Read the
          Bible and hell is described/talked about all through the Bible! Read
          about Lazurus who is in hell and wanted to go warn his brothers so
          they wouldn’t go there and was told he couldn’t cross over. Bible says
          when Jesus died He went to the heart of the earth. Jesus said many
          will say to Me Lord,Lord and not enter heaven so read the Bible!

  2. Adelle, an amazing, fascinating story. Thank you.
    I hardly know where to begin!

    “3 million students in thousands of churches worldwide have made the True Love Waits pledge, in one of the most popular campaigns for sexual purity.”

    This is profoundly, sick and disturbing. It amounts to nothing more than a slavish obedience to bronze age sexual self-repression and denial. How many more children need to be injured this way before people awaken to the disaster?

    1. Sexual repression: Religion is clearly a huge contributor to mental illness.
    2. Religion is inhuman as it puts an imaginary dictator in a superior place over one’s own well-being.
    3. Stories like this are what make Atheists furious about religion.

    The pressures of life are bad enough
    without the misery and immorality of Jesus
    and these primitive, despicable commands around sex.

    If you believe in a god, you are victim of a terrible lie.
    This story has me so upset I can barely think straight.

      • @Art Deco,

        Since you brought your Grandmother into it.
        Let’s look at the evidence of her likely mental illness:

        1. She worried someone powerful was watching her.
        2. She worried she would be punished for secret thoughts
        3. She believed Jesus turned into a cracker
        4. She thought Hell was possible
        5. She thought certain goblets of wine were really Jesus’ blood.
        6. She was bigoted against homosexuals
        7. She hated herself for normal masturbating which is actually healthy.
        8. She felt guilt for masturbation
        9. She felt guilt for sexual lust of any kind.
        10. She was bigoted against Atheists.

        How do I know all this, Christian?
        The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

        • ive discovered this is how atheist’s think..

          I said homosexuality is wrong. Because God has judged it wrong and it would be wrong for me as a Christian to participate in some one sinning
          this way

          and because of that Atheists on this site have called me personally unloving a kkk member in my thinking and a bigot..

          so what you write about some ones grandmother should not surprise Christians its the way atheist’s think.. and we can accept that with out
          hating you personally yet hating the sin of disbelief in Jesus..

          • Hey Rob, you want special treatment to discriminate against others because of your Christian faith. You ARE a bigot and like to use arguments the KKK loved.

            Complaining about being called a bigot is not actually disputing the truth of such things. Pretending God agrees with your prejudices only means you are a spineless bigot. One too afraid to own up to his own views.

          • @Rob,

            No.

            Imagine a religion which says
            ‘people named MAX’ are hated by God
            and they should be killed.

            1. I can choose to kill MAX as “I am doing god’s will”
            2. I can choose to NOT kill MAX for “God also preaches love”.
            3. I can choose to NOT kill MAX but instead just hate people named MAX the way God does.

            That is why Christians are commanded to be bigots – though they may not engage in it – THEY HAVE TO WORK AT AVOIDING IT!

            The Bible is a manual which preaches bigotry. That doesn’t mean all Christians are bigots. But it means they are likely to be inclined to bigotry – as I WAS WHEN I WAS A CHRISTIAN!

          • LOL! Max must have had a real prune of a grandma. My grandmother was the most devout Christian lady you can imagine and her only problem with sex was that she would have liked a bit more of it than my grandfather had the stamina to deliver.

            Gotta love those atheists’ caricatures of us. Better than comics.

        • to atheist max- apparently someone as FOOLISH as yourself could only spout the nonsense (rooted in your own bigotry) as u did.
          For only a FOOL says there is no God.
          Everything around you, from the clock on the wall to your shoes, to your kitchen light bulb was obviously DESIGNED. But something like the complexity of the human body wasn’t? You FOOL….

          • @H,

            “You fool”

            Why? You have no evidence for any gods.

            It appears water “knows” how to exit a bath tub through a drain.
            It appears oxygen “knows” how to catch fire.
            It appears the sun “knows” how to radiate energy to the earth.

            But Nature does not “know”. Nature just does.
            Gods are silly nonsense. Prayers and childish.

      • @Roberta,

        Yes. Jesus was an immoral monster.

        Let’s review:

        Who is the FIRST CHRISTIAN sinner?
        “Sin” is a religious term for going against God’s laws.

        Supposedly, these would be some sins
        according to the Bible:

        Hate,
        bigotry,
        Not forgiving,
        Incitement to violence,
        attacking a foe,
        weaponizing for battle,
        Not loving neighbors,
        telling lies,
        stealing,
        cursing,
        killing just for vengeance,
        judging others,
        racism…

        SO…HOW WELL DOES JESUS DO?

        JESUS LIED. Isn’t lying a sin?

        “‘Go to the festival yourselves.
        I AM NOT GOING to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee. BUT after his brothers had gone to the festival, THEN JESUS ALSO WENT not publicly but IN SECRET.”
        (John 7.8-10).

        JESUS COVETED HIS NEIGHBORS GOODS
        AND INSTRUCTED FOLLOWERS
        TO STEAL THEM –
        Isn’t coveting and stealing a sin?
        “Untie them” ..”bring them to me”…”if the owner asks, tell him it I need it” (Matt. 21:2-3)

        JESUS DIDN’T FORGIVE
        – he sent everyone to Hell! (Mark 16:16)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS CURSED his enemies
        – “Thou Fools!” (Matt. 23:17)
        Isn’t cursing a sin?

        JESUS DESTROYED HIS ENEMIES WITH VENGEANCE
        – “bring to me my enemies….execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
        Even though it is in a Parable, JESUS is making note that he will do the same to you! – Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS DID NOT LOVE MOST OF HIS NEIGHBORS
        – They are ‘Dogs’! (Matthew 15:26)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO JUDGE OTHERS HARSHLY
        – “If you deem them unworthy…Remove your blessings of Peace”!
        (Matt 10:14)
        Remove your PEACE? Judge them unworthy? Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS WAS BIGOTED
        – “They are swine” (Matthew 7:6)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS VIOLENTLY WHIPPED PEOPLE
        – “He made a whip of cords and attacked them” (John 2:5)
        Didn’t that hurt them? Couldn’t he have found a better way?
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS CAME TO INCITE VIOLENCE
        – “I do NOT come to bring peace.” – Jesus (Matt 10:34)
        “I come to bring fire to the world…Division! – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS PREPARED FOR WAR
        – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO IGNORE THE LOVE OF PARENTS
        – “hate your mother and father…hate your very life” (Luke 14:26)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO KILL THEIR CHILDREN
        - doesn’t that sound like a sin?
        “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:3).
        Capital punishment? He is no better than a Texas ranger!
        Are these NOT sins?

        JESUS INCITED VIOLENCE AND WAS IMPATIENT
        – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!….and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but CONFLICT.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)

        Is this not the sin of pride? Isn’t patience a Virtue?

        —–
        Your Jesus sinned more than most of the Atheists I ever met !!!
        And that is only according to the laws within the Bible…

        JESUS WAS A SINNER.

        DID JESUS REPENT?
        DID JESUS ASK FORGIVENESS?
        IS JESUS IN HELL?

        Jesus showed contempt for the laws of Yahweh,
        while ENFORCING THEM !!!!! (o_O)

        Jesus is the most two-faced, obvious garbage
        in the history of religious nonsense.
        Which is saying a lot!

        • Stephen Radditz

          Atheist Max for President! I must say U have succeeded in blowing me away…that is the most shocking destructions of Jesus I have ever seen. I’m amazed it hasn’t been obvious before.
          Man, oh man. Now I have to ask my priest about this LOL!

        • Robert the Agnostic

          Atheist Max :-) – I appreciate your forthright attitude. Why not kick down the whole house of cards? You make great points. Kick down that barn door ! Cold water and ….what other mixed metaphors do I have? lol.
          You are very fun to read.

        • Hi Max,

          You said:

          JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO KILL THEIR CHILDREN
          - doesn’t that sound like a sin?
          “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? …. ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ (Matthew 15:3).

          I wrote an article in my blog (about a year ago) about this “claim”. Here is the link in case you want to know what is going on in this passage.

          http://www.deaconharbey.com/2013/03/helping-atheists-understand-bible.html

          I also did an extended and updated analysis of this passage in my podcast. I intend to update the blog article eventually with the research I did for the podcast but I think the article still holds.

          Have a great weekend!

          “Viva Cristo Rey!!”
          DHS

          • @Deacon Harbey Santiago,

            “Kill unruly Children” is a direct law from Yahweh.

            When Jesus scolded the Pharisees he was arguing with them ABOUT THAT LAW and challenging them regarding their lack of practice of the law.

            But Jesus cannot be equal to God if he does not agree with the LAW created by God.

            My point:
            If a policeman (Jesus) breaks the Law he cannot be equal to the judge (Yahweh).

            If Jesus is defending Yahweh’s law he is as evil as Yahweh.
            If Jesus is arguing against Yahweh’s law he is not equal to God.

  3. My wife and I were married in 1968 we have 3 grown children and 10 grand children ,, And I just learned now from reading the article we should have been talking about sex all this time with the whole world .. instead of enjoying it.
    us crazy fundamental Christians when will we ever learn ..

  4. Atheist Max…..

    Good grief!
    Talk about misuse of words, and an injustice to honest intellectual discussion!
    Two examples will suffice…
    1. You wrote above… “No one should doubt that Jesus was just a regular man. The ridiculous idea that he was ‘god’ came long after his death.”

    What??!! Are you kidding me??!!!!!! Does this statement even need a reply? How about the Apostle Paul who shortly wrote after Jesus death. You mean to tell me he wrote nothing of Jesus’ divinity? Not to mention the whole New Testament was written shortly after Jesus death etc…

    2. You wrote…… “JESUS COVETED HIS NEIGHBORS GOODS
    AND INSTRUCTED FOLLOWERS
    TO STEAL THEM –
    Isn’t coveting and stealing a sin?
    “Untie them” ..”bring them to me”…”if the owner asks, tell him it I need it” (Matt. 21:2-3)”

    Max. Are you serious?? Max, look, I’m not very religious or anything, but your use of scripture to justify the above action by Jesus as stealing is blatantly wrong! It is downright dishonest to say the least. Look, if you are going to engage in discussion, then for heaven’s sake try to curb your obviously hatred against Christianity and stick to honest reason. The Mathew passage above, the owner ASKS what they are doing and the disciples explain, and then the owner of the donkey GIVES PERMISSION. How is that stealing??!!! You KNOW the story no doubt, and yet you bend this story to fit YOUR agenda rather than being honest. And YOU accuse Christians out there??? You are certainly no better than they to say the least.
    Come on, swallow your obvious repulsiveness against the Christian, look at what you wrote and apologize to this board for your lack of integrity. I understand. Passion sometimes gets the best of us. But it shouldn’t blind us. It would go a long way towards your credibility.

    • @Good Grief,

      “your use of scripture to justify the above action by Jesus as stealing is blatantly wrong!

      No it isn’t. JESUS STOLE THE DONKEYS!

      Jesus: “Go and take those donkeys. I saw them and I want them. If anyone spots you taking them, tell them they are for me. (in other word, do not offer them money, just take them).”

      OR, if you prefer the actual text:
      “Go into the village in front of you, and you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say, it is I who wants them,’… (Matthew 21:2-3)

      For shame.

      I treat these texts for what they are; ancient, silly, outdated scribblings by illiterate desert bedouins. They are little more than tissue paper, and it shows!

      good grief.

    • The Triumphal Entry (MATTHEW 21)

      “Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

      “Say to the daughter of Zion,
      ‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
      humble, and mounted on a donkey,
      on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

      The disciples WENT AND DID AS JESUS HAD DIRECTED THEM. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

      NOWHERE DO THE DISCIPLES BUY THE DONKEY OR THE COLT.
      NOWHERE DO THEY INTERACT WITH THE OWNER OF THE DONKEY OR THE COLT.

      JESUS COMMANDS STEALING ! FOR HIS OWN ENDS!
      SELFISH JESUS AND HIS DESPICABLE BIBLE IS NONSENSE!

      • @GOOD GRIEF,

        “so that scripture would be fulfilled”

        What a scam!

        If I go to a restaurant and order a steak well done
        and the waiter brings it to me
        HE IS NOT FULFILLING PROPHECY!

        JESUS is ridiculous. It is nonsense.
        And it is an insult to human intelligence.

        • @ Atheist Max

          As always, you present some interesting viewpoints.

          They could easily be used in some kind of Bible study to stir up everyone’s mind. They’re some of the best ‘food-for-thought’ presentations I’ve ever read.

          All the more reason why Paul mentioned another interesting and related viewpoint —

          1 Cor 4:20
          “The ‘Kingdom of God’ is not in “word” (scripture verse or anything that’s written down), but “power” (the Spirit of God at work in the world)”

          That scripture verse alone puts the Bible and its contents below the ‘Spirit of God’ and its work.

          After all, isn’t the basic Christian faith in the “Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost”? The Bible is not in that statement.

          • @Billysees,

            Thanks for bearing with me.
            You said,

            “(1 Cor 4:20)
            ‘The ‘Kingdom of God’ is not in “word” (scripture verse or anything that’s written down), but “power” (the Spirit of God at work in the world)’ ”

            But how does this power manifest? Could god’s behavior run contrary to Biblical preaching?

            Then how would one know the power is not manifestation of a different god other than the God of the Bible?
            How would one avoid being suckered into superstition?

        • @ Atheist Max

          Also, the Bible simply is not that important to the believing rank-and-file.

          Believing is NOT academic, nor ecclesiastical nor theological.

          Why….because the just (rank-and-file minded believers) live by faith and ‘FAITH ALONE’.

          • Billysees-If people say they love Jesus then don’t follow the Bible
            no Truth is in them! Bible says we must Repent! Bible says Repent
            and believe the Gospel to be saved! Repentance/faith in Christ alone
            saves us!

          • @Billysees,

            What is one’s ‘faith’ in Jesus
            if it is constructed contrary to the Bible?

            Your decisions about what Jesus is and isn’t – appears to be entirely your own construction.

            If the Bible is not relevant, “He is risen” is not relevant. That means Jesus and Hell and Savior are as meaningless to you as they would be to me.

            My suggestion (which you are free to ignore – you didn’t ask for it):
            Ask yourself whether your belief is based on strong emotional connections and memories of being with your loved ones. That is what kept me Christian for many years. I mixed up my love of my family and grandparent’s with a love of Jesus – they were entwined.

            I have learned to love my family without loving their religion – since the religion makes absolutely no sense.

    • Good Grief….you said…”the owner ASKS what they are doing and the disciples explain, and then the owner of the donkey GIVES PERMISSION.”

      I agree with Atheist Max, there is not interaction with the owner of the donkey and no indications Jesus is going to pay for it. If Jesus is god does he figure he already ‘owns’ everything and can do as he wants? But then why does Jesus later tell people to “buy swords” if he already ‘owns’ everything.
      This is a bigger set of problems than you are apparently ready to deal with.

  5. Earold D. Gunter

    “Although it can mean sweaty palms and feeling sick to your stomach, Clayton King said men need to be given permission to talk to their wives first, then trusted mentors and, if necessary, professionals about their questions about marital sex.”

    Men need to be given “permission” to talk to their wives. This is what religion brings to the table for humans. Control.
    Off your knees fools, and wake up!

    Hitch was right, religion truly poisons everything!!!

  6. Nt surprise that a poll and story about sex has engendered so many reactions. It demonstrates how very much sex is a part of physically mature life, how very much it is “on the mind.”

    Even more than religion, to which it is related, polls about sex receive the responses that are expected, responses that make one fit comfortably in the group to which they are presumed to belong. That is one of the vitally important cautions related to Diefendorf even more than Pew.

    We do not need the admonition to not discuss religion. Relatively few people do because they realize it is an area about which they know little and genuinely care little, especially beliefs based on ancient mythological writings.

    Fifteen evangelical Christian guys can hardly be considered a meaningful sampling, especially when those same guys are the ones to whom the aspiring pollster returns only three years later for follow-up.

    Big surprise that Diefendorf found little change in the attitudes of these fifteen men in those three short years even though marriage, supposedly their first sex with another person, intervened. Few people change radically in three years.

    It would have been better to explore the happy and healthy sex attitudes of these guys and their wives before and after marriage. Interestingly, masturbation or other sexual relief, before or during marriage, were left out of the mix.

  7. “No,” not ” “Nt” at the start of my comment above. We desperately need the option to edit our comments to correct typos and other errors noticed after the postings.

  8. GoodGrief-

    Paul never says he thinks Jesus is God. The closest one can come is by looking for God and Jesus doing similar things, often by including the forgeries that weren’t written by Paul anyway (Titus, 1&2Tm, eph, etc.). Paul really didn’t have too much to say about Jesus himself. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2012/12/what-did-paul-know-about-jesus-not-much/

    The New Testament as a whole was not “written right after Jesus’ death”. some parts, like John, were clearly written over a half century after his death, and others like 2 Pet appear to date well into the 2nd century. This is what the Bible Scholars explain, based on evidence.

    Atheist Max – great posts, as usual!

  9. “After evangelical virgin guys marry, then what?” easy – he gets the same thing any other guy gets – yelled at, disrespected, broken hearted and loses everything when she decides to get out of he marriage, which she ultimately will do because they ALL do and they do it because its to their advantage to do so. The courts are stacked against men in every way possible.

    MEN – DO NOT MARRY – IT IS NOT WORTH IT. Paul said if you can control yourselves its better to NOT marry. LISTEN TO HIM. Beat your bodies into submission to God and turn away from women altogether. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose in them.

  10. Atheist max and others regarding the Bible passage of Jesus stealing the donkey.
    You are abusing the scripture. You are not being honest. Your over jealous fury against religion blinds you to argue honestly and with integrity. And if you the “enlightened atheist” stoop to such depths, then surely your atheistic world would be no better than our current religious world. Read what the Bible actually says:
    Matthew 3 “And if anyone says something to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

    NOTICE: it SAYS “he” will send them.
    Who is this “he”???? the owner?? friends???? How conveniently for you to leave this out and not address it.
    In Mark 11:1-11 we are given more details – “And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” ….. “And some of the bystanders were saying to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ And they spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and THEY GAVE THEM PERMISSION.”

    This is not theft! I demand an apology from you for your blatant dishonesty. How conveniently to leave out certain texts just to promote your virulent hatred against religion. For heaven’s sake, if you are going to argue against religion, then do all atheist a favor and at least argue honestly and with integrity. Your complete lack of an apologetic spirit displayed here in this forum, and your lack of respect for honest discourse makes me wonder what kind of a hell we would be in if your atheism would gain the day.

    Goodgrief!

    • @Goodgrief:

      ” Luke 19:33 we read, “And as they were untying the colt, its OWNERS said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’”
      “Mark 11:1-11…“And if anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ you say, ‘The Lord has need of it’; and immediately he will send it back here.” ….. “And some of the BYSTANDERS were saying to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’ And they spoke to them just as Jesus had told them, and they gave permission”

      Nonsense!
      WHO IS LUKE? WHO IS MARK?
      THEY ARE NOT LISTED AMONG THE APOSTLES !!!!
      WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THEIR ACCOUNTS ?

      MATTHEW WAS AN APOSTLE!
      Even though he did not write his own gospel, the version attributed to him has to carry the true weight of whatever these books are supposed to record!

      Who are you to claim Luke’s account takes precedence over Matthew?
      Who are you to claim Mark’s BYSTANDERS were the “owners”?

      YOU OFFER TWO DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS FROM COMPLETE STRANGERS !
      THEY ARE NOT EVEN APOSTLES!!

      Matthew’s version is clear that the DONKEY WAS STOLEN!
      MATTHEW WAS SUPPOSEDLY AN APOSTLE! THE OTHERS WERE NOT.

      DON’T YOU THINK AN APOSTLE WOULD *KNOW*??

      “Try a little respect towards others! Start by apologizing for your blatant dishonesty.”

      I have NOTHING to apologize for! I don’t steal donkeys!
      And I don’t excuse theives – as you do!

      • @Goodgrief:

        WHO IS LUKE? WHY SHOULD HIS VERSION BE MORE TRUE THAN AN APOSTLE’S?

        WHO IS MARK? WHY SHOULD HIS VERSION BE MORE ACCURATE THAN MATTHEW?

        NEITHER ARE LISTED AS APOSTLES OR DISCIPLES!

        “The names of the twelve apostles are these:
        first, Simon, who is called Peter,
        and Andrew his brother;
        James the son of Zebedee,
        and John his brother;
        Philip and Bartholomew;
        Thomas and MATTHEW the tax collector;
        James the son of Alphaeus,
        and Thaddaeus;
        Simon the Zealot,
        and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
        (Matthew 10:24)

        WHO IS LUKE?
        WHO IS MARK?

        WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ME THEIR VERSIONS ARE SUPERIOR TO MATTHEW’S WHEN THEY CONTRADICT EACH OTHER ANYWAY??

    • @Goodgrief,

      “I demand an apology from you for your blatant dishonesty.”

      You should give ME an apology for dishonesty!

      One of your versions (Luke) says the Owners were present.
      The other version says (Mark) says only ‘bystanders’ were present.

      ONE of your accounts (or BOTH) IS CERTAINLY a lie since they contradict each other!

      I offered the only HONEST version of the Donkey account (AS HONEST AS ONE CAN GET WITH PRIMITIVE TEXTS) which can be attributed to a name of one of the Apostles!

      Of all three versions it is the only one that can be connected to an actual APOSTLE!

      You should apologize to ME for presenting contradictory versions from total strangers when I presented you with the version attributed to the authority of an Apostle!

    • @Goodgrief:

      “NOTICE: it SAYS “he” will send them.
      Who is this “he”???? the owner?? friends????”

      Matthew is claiming that nobody will interfere because it is “THE LORD” who demands use of the donkeys and it would be outrageous to get in his way.

      It is like saying “Tell them THE GANG LEADER needs it and they will ‘understand!’”
      Yes. They will understand
      that they better not get in the way of the Gang Leader.
      Or else!

      The are “swine” – JESUS (Matthew 7:6)

    • Robert the Agnostic

      @Atheist Max, I’ve shrugged off the details in the bible for years.
      Been very doubtful of the bible stories all my life. but I did not realize that Mark and Luke were not apostles.
      I’m gleefully shocked :-) to have not noticed the important discrepancies in the story about the colt. Should Matthew’s gospel be the only one considered valid? LOL!
      What a can of worms. :-)

  11. Atheist Max……..

    You wrote above:
    “NOWHERE DO THEY INTERACT WITH THE OWNER OF THE DONKEY OR THE COLT.”

    In Luke 19:33 we read, “And as they were untying the colt, its OWNERS said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’”

    Atheist Max, you wrote. “JESUS is ridiculous. It is nonsense.
    And it is an insult to human intelligence.”
    JESUS COMMANDS STEALING ! FOR HIS OWN ENDS!
    SELFISH JESUS AND HIS DESPICABLE BIBLE IS NONSENSE!

    Could we not rightly agree in light of the evidence above that surely, using your own words, “Atheist Max is ridiculous, It is nonsense. And it is an insult to human intelligence.”
    How about… “Atheist Max COMMANDS Lying! FOR HIS OWN ENDS!
    SELFISH Atheist Max AND HIS DESPICABLE atheisism IS NONSENSE!”

    Try a little respect towards others! Start by apologizing for your blatant dishonesty.

    Goodgrief!

    • “Try a little respect towards others!”

      That’s rich.
      You sell me a donkey story from two people who were not there – who had nothing at all to do with apostles – and you dare to think these stories are superior?

      Who is Mark and why should I believe a word he says?
      Who is Luke and why should his version (which contradicts Mark’s) be of any value at all?

      Matthew says the donkeys were stolen.
      Nobody needs other versions provided by strangers!

    • @Goodgrief,

      Furthermore, the Apostle Matthew
      explicitly says Jesus told his entourage to go and take the donkey AND a colt.

      LUKE (a stranger) leaves out the donkey
      Mark (a stranger) also leaves out the donkey.

      Were they uncomfortable explaining how Jesus stole more animals than he would NEED? Even Jesus only had one butt to sit on to ride into Jerusalem!
      What happened to the donkey?
      Laughable nonsense.

      • Wow. If you are willing to stoop to such depths in your argumentation, then I guess anything goes.
        First: YOU were using and referring to the Bible using many of its letters. The conversation did not revolve around different text etc. but you are the one who used the Bible as a whole to point out your side of the argument. And now, when I did the same thing you lambast me. For example regarding Luke or Mark etc. you write,,,,,

        “Nonsense!
        WHO IS LUKE? WHO IS MARK?
        THEY ARE NOT LISTED AMONG THE APOSTLES !!!!
        WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THEIR ACCOUNTS ?”

        And yet what do YOU do when it fits YOUR agenda????
        YOU USE LUKE AND MARK!
        For example, no less than five times you refer to Luke or Mark….

        JESUS DIDN’T FORGIVE
        – he sent everyone to Hell! (Mark 16:16)
        Isn’t that a sin?
        “JESUS DESTROYED HIS ENEMIES WITH VENGEANCE
        – “bring to me my enemies…execute them in front of me” – JESUS (Luke 19:27)
        JESUS CAME TO INCITE VIOLENCE
        – “I do NOT come to bring peace.” – Jesus (Matt 10:34)
        “I come to bring fire to the world…Division! – Jesus (Luke 12:49-51)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        ¶JESUS PREPARED FOR WAR
        – “if you have money, buy a sword” (Luke 22:36-37)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        ¶JESUS TOLD PEOPLE TO IGNORE THE LOVE OF PARENTS
        – “hate your mother and father…hate your very life” (Luke 14:26)
        Isn’t that a sin?

        JESUS INCITED VIOLENCE AND WAS IMPATIENT
        – “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!….and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but CONFLICT.” – Jesus – (Luke 12:49-51)

        OK, you refer to Luke and Mark (horribly fallacious and misconstrued mind you), but nonetheless YOU refer to them. OK, I reject your argument because as YOU SAY: “WHY SHOULD WE BELIEVE THEIR ACCOUNTS?”

        OK, why are you referring to them if we can’t believe their accounts?
        If we can’t believe their accounts, then your argument regarding Jesus is false. And you need to apologize. But if we can believe their accounts, then your account of the colt story is false, and you need to apologize.

        So which way is it Atheist Max?????

        Obviously, when ever the bible fits your agenda, then all is fine, but when it clearly points out your fallacious arguments, then you bend over backwards to justify your blatant dishonesty and lack of integrity in this matter.

        You lambast Christians and religion and extol the virtues of atheism to bring peace and love upon this world. An atheism that is willing to stoop to such depths would bring nothing short of another Stalin era.

        Having said all that………
        Forget it.

        What is more important here is the question, what ever brought you to such a point in your life? You say you once went to church for 44 years. What happened? Only someone who has been involved so deeply could come out hating it so richly. What event happened that galvanized it for you? Something surely did, and now you vent with a passion and a fury that defies all sound reasoning and logic. Atheist Max, be careful. Such fury is very blinding and ultimately very destructive. For what it is worth, I am sorry for whatever happened to you, I can’t imagine what, and no doubt nothing anyone says on this board can change it. I wish I could, you are very hurt. Historically, hurt coupled with fury, unleashed upon a society, leads to unspeakable atrocities. When cooler heads prevail, you will see that yes, religion can be hurtful beyond our imagination because nothing touches us so deeply than religion, BUT, on the other hand, nothing can elevate the human spirit to greater depths and heights of love than religion. Take Mother Teresa for example, serving in the slums. Mere philosophy will not take you there, only “religion” will. And unfortunately, inversely, religion can also take you to the depths of hell as well.

        I honestly wish you well…….

        • @Goodgrief,

          “OK, why are you referring to them [Mark and Luke] if we can’t believe their accounts…?”
          “So which way is it Atheist Max?”

          I don’t know the answer and neither do you.
          And that was my point all along. You cannot claim anything as ‘true’ in such a confusing batch of texts.

          If Matthew is true, then Luke and Mark are garbage.
          If Luke or Mark is true, then Matthew is garbage.
          And nobody will ever know.

          The Bible is completely unreliable.
          There are 40,000 kinds of Christians in the world because of such discrepancies.

          It is not my place to apologize for an impossible text which I did not write.
          And it is not your obligation (or mine) to believe one lousy page of it.

          Why did I change my mind about these things after 44 years?
          Because the claims in the Bible are impossible.
          They don’t add up in the end.

          Here is a short summary of the bible:

          “I am yahweh, I am perfect and all powerful but I created a very flawed humanity so I turned myself into my own son and arranged for myself to be tortured, slaughtered and to spill my innocent blood on the ground to fix the situation to save humanity from the hell I created by accident for the Humans I made – and this was the only way to fix the problem to save my humans.” – Yahweh
          “And by the way, if you don’t believe this bloody story I will do worse things to you by sending you to Hell for eternity” – Yahweh.

          It makes
          no sense.

        • @Goodgrief,

          I point to the Bible not because I prefer one Gospel over another
          but to highlight the countless flaws in these texts
          and the ways in which these gospels are violently at odds
          with each other.

          One says “Judge not” – Jesus
          But the other says “Judge the house unworthy” – Jesus

          Christianity is a parlor trick.
          And a very dangerous one.

        • @Goodgrief,

          I became an Atheist the same way most of us do. Very RELUCTANTLY.
          And it took several years of growing doubt.

          I’m someone who discovered through no fault of my own
          that humans are simply not supervised nor protected by a god.

          Though most atheists do not mind it if others keep their beliefs in gods, the claims that saying certain prayers or going to church will result in a god interceding to save (for example) beautiful, innocent children from being killed in a tornado – is false.

          It follows that Jesus’ preachments then, are not ‘good’ but are evil.
          “Whatever you ask…you will receive it..” – Jesus

          This is clearly a lie.
          or a very gross misunderstanding !
          for the true meaning of such promises is lost to time. (from the Atheist point of view). Maybe Jesus meant it to be true – but no matter. It isn’t working for thousands of children in hospitals worldwide.

          For example: If god sends tornadoes one cannot thank god
          for the two people who survive! It is not helpful to say the Devil sends tornadoes (so don’t try that one on me, it is a rabbit hole of argument.)

          Atheists appear angry because from our standpoint,
          priests are just telling lies to people, over and over again.
          LIES make me angry.
          That is part of the shock and anger that comes to us.

          Atheists were hurt by religion only because we really believed it to be true – most were not abused – most of us were very strong believers once. I’ve said more rosaries than I can count.

          Upon learning that I could not believe the bible, I re-read it to examine how I ever fell for these stories. And that made me even more angry.
          The Bible – it turns out – is a contradictory disaster.

          I am not unusual.
          I am the normal atheist. An ex-Christian.

          Does that help?

        • @Goodgrief,

          “An atheism that is willing to stoop to such depths
          would bring nothing short of another Stalin era.”

          I agree that Atheists must be careful.
          That is why I support the separation of church and state.
          But so should Christians be careful, the wall has been falling!

          Where your bible spews nonsense – you need to challenge it.
          Don’t wait for the Atheist to point out that
          The Bible sanctifies every possible position:

          “They are dogs” – JESUS
          “Love your neighbor” – JESUS

  12. @ AM… I really do respect you, and your right to comment… notice I didn’t say blather… As for “love” (from one of your other posts) being the “biggest” how did Love come about? The cosmos? I know… in the nation with the most freedom let’s build a bigger telescope and look for another habitable planet… hmmm… we need a bigger scope… hmmm… no a bigger one… the universe just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger… like we are the only people around. Go figure!

    • @Art,

      “how did Love come about?”

      It doesn’t matter. Love is.
      Love is connected to trust and passion – it is the reason to live.

      But it is impeded, disfigured and destroyed
      by any philosophy which compels it conditionally as in; “Love, or else”

      Love is destroyed when it is commanded.
      To “love an enemy” is to destroy the meaning of both trust and love.
      Love does not mix with fear as in, “Love God or go to Hell”
      Love does not mix with obedience as in “Love God’s Laws or go to Hell”
      To “Love and fear the Lord” is a recipe for sadism. Not love.
      The Prodigal Son which you mentioned earlier – is a sadistic, evil story.

      Love is enough. Meditate on love and it sets your mind right.
      LOVE is the right way to start the day.
      But no gods are needed for this.

      • Well Atheist Max, there is a lot that we could discuss here. We should get together sometime somewhere and have a discussion. It certainly would be a good one! It is interesting that you were in the church – Catholic – for 44 years and now have gone complete opposite. I come from the opposite side. I was never raised in the church nor participated in any church rituals such as Catechism or Sunday school etc.. One thing I did do, however, was read the Bible rather faithfully. Then one day I decided to go to church against the warning of my Mom, believe it or not, who said, “You’ll regret it.” I was in my late 20′s and was curious. Wow! I was not impressed!! I went to all kinds of churches, and couldn’t believe what I was experiencing. Now to people who grow up in the church and enjoy it, they don’t have a clue what I am talking about, but someone from the outside, like me, looking in I couldn’t believe what was going on. I mean, I envisioned the church as clean, pure, at least somewhat holy in a sense, but WOW, I found adultery, fornication, and almost anything else. I asked my self.. “This is the Church”???? Are you kidding me???? What I read in the Bible of how Christ wants the church to be, and how the church actually was/is, was two different things. I can imagine someone like you forever having gone to church and then one day looking around and realizing that something BIGTIME here does not compute. I totally agree. I looked at the Bible, and I looked at the church and I realized that one of them is totally incorrect. The contrast between theory (Bible) and reality (church) was simply too great. I asked myself, was this book (Bible) that I had been reading all my life a pack of lies? Because when I look at the church, I see little of what the bible says it should or ought to be like. I got to a point where I was ready to chuck the whole thing. I mean EVERYTHING!! Church just seemed so horribly plastic, shallow, and the vast majority of the people there are only there for psychological purposes. They don’t go to church because it is True or anything like that….. the whole thing seemed a sick comedy or something.
        Do you follow what I mean so far?
        So, in my disgust (to say the least!) I was ready to chuck the whole mess. I really wanted NOTHING to do with any of it. And to a VERY large extent I still feel the same way. I still don’t go to church. I find it impossible to swallow. If I go for any length of time, I feel ill. Honestly! But I couldn’t chuck the whole thing. Why? because when all was said and done, it boiled down to this: Could I deny what Christ had done in my life? And in all honesty, as honest as I can possibly be to you, I even WANTED to deny what Christ had done in my life, just to get away from the whole mess!!! but IF I were to be honest, I had to admit that yes He had worked in my life and was real. AUGH!!! Yes, I definitely had the freedom of choice to walk away, but I chose to remain honest. You have no idea how heart wrenching the whole thing was. OK, so NOW what? Suffer it out in church?! Oh GOD please no!!! I still say that!!!! Well, it turns out that God is very patient, and believe it or not Atheist Max, very loving and He has shown me many things – about myself, the church, the world, and who He is too. If there is one book that shows true religion, it is the story of Hudson Taylor. The book is called, “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” Edited by Gregg Lewis.” There are several Hudson Taylor books out there but if you do decide to read it, it must be the Gregg Lewis version. It is the best. And all it is is a story of a man who goes to China. Of all the books that I have read, I found that this book portrayed what I felt and knew and know to be true. If I hadn’t known Christ, then I could totally see myself as a die-hard atheist. Totally! Catholics I find, have a die-hard faith in rituals and church. For them, church and rituals and Christ are almost if not synonymous. I find they have this attitude that says, “go to church and do the rituals and then you not only serve Christ, but know him too.” If you come from such a back ground, then I can see that if one steps away from such a background one steps into atheism. How can one not?
        Atheist Max, there is a huge difference between church and God. And as far as the Bible is concerned, I’ve learned some things. For example, put passion aside and think for a moment. Just think of the whole of history and all the scholars and even schools who were built up and/or studied and continue to do so the Bible. Physicists, scientist, doctors, and some of the most brilliant minds have examined and studied the Bible – such as Giesler, Karl Barth or Pannenberg, If you want to read one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century, read Pannenburg. You’ll quickly discover that it isn’t as simple as you often make it out to be. You treat the Bible as if any moron could easily see the garbage it is if only they wanted too. Think of what you are saying – that the whole scholarly world for the last 2000 years, not to mention another 1000 years of Jewish scholarship, is all….. what???? That all these, some very bright people, are all dishonest or something? Mislead? How so? When I read Pannenburg’s Systematic Theology, I quickly realized I had never read anyone, even remotely close, as informed as he was. Even his critics say, quote: “Is there anything this man does not know?” When I read it, I didn’t think it was humanly possible to know so much. Seriously. All these scholars are not just mislead or something.
        Well anyway, enough said. Far more could be said! I may touch up on some more direct points that you have made later. I just thought it may be helpful to know where all this is coming from and why.

        Anyway, my wife is calling…….

        Goodgrief!

        • @Goodgrief,

          “Think of what you are saying – that the whole scholarly world for the last 2000 years, not to mention another 1000 years of Jewish scholarship, is all….. what?”

          Indeed.

          But notice:

          1. NEUROLOGY. In recent decades we have learned the neurological reasons for WHY people believe in gods. It is not difficult science.

          2. INCONCLUSIVE. “The Whole Scholarly World” has been inconclusive for 2000 years. The ‘correct’ faith has never been shown or demonstrated despite all of the competing claims and thousands of Christian sects. Perhaps one interpretation is correct, but nobody knows which one. They are conflicting accounts and conflicting conclusions. And god seems not the least interested in helping to sort it out. A god who doesn’t care WHAT we believe
          is hardly going to care WHO believes and WHO doesn’t.

          3. FAITH. Religion says, “faith is a good method” to determine whether something is true or not. But if this statement were true, it would validate every religion that ever existed since they all depend not on evidence but faith. Embrace Jesus on Faith? Want to cleanse the temple? Okay, but don’t argue with the Muslim who embraces Allah on faith and decides to follow Islam wherever it leads – even to suicide bombings.

          Religion is a serious problem in our world.
          People should be more skeptical – not more faithful.

          • Atheist Max….
            I stated the following:
            “Think of what you are saying – that the whole scholarly world for the last 2000 years, not to mention another 1000 years of Jewish scholarship, is all….. what?”

            You wrote: “Indeed”.

            I take it then, that you would say that all those scholars were/are simply duped. Can you be so kind and summarize how so?
            What ties into this is your comment:

            “INCONCLUSIVE. “The Whole Scholarly World” has been inconclusive for 2000 years. The ‘correct’ faith has never been shown or demonstrated despite all of the competing claims and thousands of Christian sects. Perhaps one interpretation is correct, but nobody knows which one.”

            Your comment above could equally apply to the whole of psychology, social sciences, humanities and even branches of science. For example: “The correct social science or psychology or philosophy etc has never been shown or demonstrated despite all the competing….etc.”
            Do you see what I am getting at? Theology is not something to be discovered for once and all and then that’s it. It is similar to psychology etc. where competing theories/views get discussed argued etc.. This on-going “debate” does not render X obsolete as you would have it. You see the whole smorgasbord as a huge hopeless mess and wonder why brilliant men have bothered over the course of X years. Two thousand years of wasted time. Not so. Read Pannenberg and you would soon find out. There is continual insight and growth – similar to science. Yes, there are many questions and different opinions – similar to any field of study
            - but also a large consensus and continual new revelations.
            You write, “Perhaps one interpretation is correct, but nobody knows which one. They are conflicting accounts and conflicting conclusions.” EVERY field of study has many interpretations and at the moment know one knows which one is correct. They are conflicting accounts and conflicting conclusions. Take any field you like, this is the norm. In fact, there is no such thing as an area of study where this is not the norm.

            I think what you are saying is that when someone looks at the whole Christian landscape and you see thousands of sects etc and competing claims, and then in light of this one should rightly conclude that no one is correct or that there is no way to find out IF anyone is correct.
            If you look a bit deeper, what you will find is that there is GREAT agreement among the so called 1000 sects. For example, C.S Lewis wrote, “Mere Christianity” which the vast majority if not close to every Christian – from protestant to Catholic – agree upon. Yes there are disagreements but those disagreements I would argue are similar to any other field of study that is out there. Disagreements come about for many reasons:
            1. We humans are limited finite beings. No one knows it all, not even Atheist Max. Which means that all of us have a limited view of Reality. Simply by virtue of the fact that we ARE limited etc. we WILL have different views. FACT! This is true in any given field. 2. We may all be looking at the same thing but seeing something different. For example, take 5 people standing around an old oak tree and ask them what they see. In general, their views will agree, but there will be great disagreements – one will insists on seeing a big bare limb, while another will insist that there is no such thing but rather a grouping of smaller long branches, and another will insist that there is…. etc.. What we often forget is that many times, despite our differences, it is the same tree.
            3. Also, even the tree that we do see, there are many parts of it that are not so clear. Even what we do see, those parts that are not so clear to us, we could be mistaken. It is always possible that what we think we see, we may be incorrect. We’re finite
            4. Add to this picture the fact that some people are standing around the tree and LYING! In other words, there is evil in the world.
            So, we have a difficult time trying to figure out just what we ourselves are seeing let alone what others are seeing and then trying to figure out who is telling the truth or not.
            Yes, it is messy. Yes, no doubt there will be great debate around the tree. Some will be frustrated enough to throw up their hands and claim agnostic-treeism or even worse, tree-atheism.

            To a tree-atheism, it would appear that god seems not the least interested in helping to sort it out. A god who doesn’t care WHAT we believe about the tree is hardly going to care WHO believes and WHO doesn’t.
            Not so. God does care. The real question here is how do we see Truth? The answer is FAITH. Hold on! Now faith is NOT in conflict with evidence. Evidence plays a roll, even a big one, but it is not the final authority. Faith is, as it were, not in conflict with evidence but as St. Thomas Aquinas states, “the queen of science”. One needs to ask then, what IS faith. Faith is NOT simply a blind belief in something. In fact faith is actually a KNOWING. It is a SIGHT. Who sees truth? Those who actually know God like you know your wife etc. There are many who believe in God but that is not faith. The apostle Paul had great belief in God and thought he was doing God a favor when he went out of his way to persecute Christians to bring them to trial and have them put to death; only for him to discover that he didn’t have faith at all until God met him on the road to Damascus and asked him “why are you persecuting me?”
            The Jews in the Old Testament were very religious and did all the rituals, but for example, Jeremiah the prophet KNEW God and stood up to warn them for their sins – such as stealing from their neighbor or committing adultery etc.. What then, is faith?
            Let me give you an example. Suppose a bunch of you came to five bridges spanning over a vast chasm; will any of the bridges hold you up? How can one decide?
            Fellow one: simply picks one and states “that one”.
            Fellow two: I don’t know.
            Fellow three: Does a number of tests like pulling on the cords and swaying it and jumping on the edge etc.. and picks accordingly.
            Fellow four: None will suffice because no sufficient evidence for any of them.
            Fellow five: finds a tortoise shell and cracks it and reads the lines to see which bridge will hold up and chooses accordingly.
            Fellow six: Picks bridge C because he “knows” for a fact that it will hold up.

            Who are these people?
            1. believer
            2. agnostic
            3. scientist
            4. atheist/skeptic
            5. mystic
            6. faith

            People use the word faith incorrectly. It is not a blind belief. It is not contrary to evidence or science. It is not dabbling in the unseen world either like magicism. Faith is a “knowing”.
            Take the line of Jesus: “ask and it shall be granted you”.
            According to our bunch of people above:
            #1 believes this but doesn’t know how to practice it.
            #2 doesn’t know what this means
            #3 wants to know how one could test this
            #4 claims there is nothing to know here – a load of garbage
            #5 he thinks this is an “abracadabra”.
            #6 knows Him who said it.

            How does a person of faith practice what Jesus said? Faith is never separated from knowing Jesus. I tell my daughter, “ask me and I’ll do it”. Does she now take my words and use it as magicism? No. Can she test me on it? I suppose. Can she be skeptical? If she doesn’t know me well enough. But the fact is that she KNOWS me. She knows what and when and how to ask.
            That is faith….

            Talk to you later….

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