A Sunday Morning Sermon worth listening to

Taken from 'Godless' by Richard Barker, a former evangelical preacher, now an atheist. (Ratter, more recommended reading for you).

//The claim that I am an atheist because I don't understand "love" is particularly ironic. I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self-denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your fragile ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.//

Can anyone argue with that?
10:16 Sun 08th Jan 2012
 
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Love is unquestionably one of the most abused terms in any language.

Thanks for sharing that lovely sermon Naomi.
No, that cannot be argued with.

It's strange though...some of the born agains that I know are lovely people. Kind and caring...I'm sure they must say lalalalalalala when they come to certain parts of the bible.

Or are they only kind out of fear?
I don't think that religious people who are kind only exhibit kindness because they fear divine retribution. I think they are most probably kind people anyway. Kind religious people often wrongly attribute their kindness to God but it is more likely that kindness is just innate in them – as it is in many atheists and agnostics.

As the old argument goes: if the existence of God was disproved tomorrow, would previously kind, caring and compassionate religious people immediately turn to dishonestly, violence and debauchery? No, because they are good people - not because of God, but despite Him.
Naomi, thank you for sharing that. An admirable piece of writing.
Sounds about right
The good people of religion are not good because of their religion but despite their religion.
Genuine love, even of an ordinary human being, is not characterised by worship or given in response to worship.

Worship is an anathema to genuine love.
Question Author
I think Birdie is, in the main, right in saying that good people are good not because of God, but in spite of him. However, I do think some people do good deeds just to score Brownie points with their God. I have a Christian acquaintance who is convinced she's pretty holy and already has a place saved for her in heaven, but has let it slip that she does good deeds because...

1. Other people will think she's nice.

2. She might want a favour from them at some time.

3. It makes her feel that she's 'good'.
Question Author
Sorry, just realised there was a mis-type in the question. For anyone who wants to read it the author is Dan Barker - not Richard Barker.
Nice piece of writing...

I have two friends from a heavy duty christian back ground one a Christadelphian one a born a gain... but they'd be nice caring folk if they were atheists, hindus, or church of Ab Editor... its just them and they probably have warm loving parents as examples.. they just believe in a god and think that their faith guides them in living better lives... personally I think its their internal moral code
lol lol, thanks Naomi, you know me too well!! xx
Stephen Weinberg

Without religion good people would still do good things
Bad people would still do bad things.
But for good people to do bad things

That takes religion .....

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