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Apologetics and Theology / Re: hypothetical questions
« on: April 25, 2016, 11:43:08 am »
Many complex, inter-related things.  Largely, like most other disciplines, theology and biblical interpretation is progressive - we get better at it.  I'd also argue that there was a degree of corruption form original 'good' understanding that crept in

This seems to hit my question more squarely. Thank you sir.

I dont know your level of education. So I will explain what I know of the scientific method for getting closer to the truth. 
A) one person comes with a hypothesis and tests it.
B) said person then gives his/her hypothesis to another person to test it.
C) this process is repeated over and over again.

At no time should the scientists feel that the hypothesis is true until it passes any and all test and even then they have to admit that new information can change what is considered fact.

In philosophy it's a bit more slippery but in general the same can be done with the ideas.  One can propose a way of thinking and living and try it out.  Then the information can be passed on to another who can then test it in their lives.

With most religions it is always assumed to be true so the avenue of doubt has to be closed.  Also if the faith doesn't work then it is assumed that it is the fault of the person not the faith.

I like your answer because it can make sense to me but can you tell me, how can one get better at scripture with the road blocks that I have presented above?

Apologetics and Theology / Re: hypothetical questions
« on: April 25, 2016, 04:45:43 am »
So far then the only real difference between the theist that interprets the same scripture with some degree of compassion and those that interpret it with violence is social economic situation. 
The only thing that this means to me is not whether the religion as a whole is bad or good but that it is inherently what the people and the situation make it.
It was said to me to imagine what would happen if witchcraft was given some scientific legitimacy and what would happen in that case.  I'm not sure that can happen with true empirical science as it has evolved but I am sure that given desparate times that religion can and will turn ugly again.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: hypothetical questions
« on: April 25, 2016, 02:12:03 am »
Still what is confusing to me now is that as science learned more and faith was needed less (as far as how to explain what was previously unexplained) witchcraft and heretic laws were abolished or found unnecessary in the mostly secular nations of the world. this was fairly recently.
From all the study I have done It seems that politics, religion, fear, and foundering new science was to blame for the witch trials (one of many atrocities of the past).  One must then conclude that if the religious could make mistakes then so could science.   empirical science, however, was very young at the time. also it is logical to assume that the scientists of the time were christian (in Europe) so to them God, Satan, and witches were real.  Today unless some one could prove a magical murder, no sorcerer would be convicted.  In other words the evidence would have to come from non religiously biased sources.  That could not have happened in all likely hood in medieval Europe.  The glasses would be a lot less rose colored today I would guess. Science is often faulted in its early stages for not being perfect yet religion has been around for as long as man has. since we are jabbing at philosophy here.
I know something about occult practice.  It is very much like praying.  Studies show that neither work yet people still pray and practice magic rituals....
As far as burning witches or non-believers/opposing religions today.....
I assume that none of you would do that but others in this world do.
What would you tell these people? this is today yes?
No matter what arguments one might make one fact becomes clear...humans will make of religion what is convenient for them at the time even if that religion is nationalism.  So far no god has corrected this. no philosophy shields us from these problems completely.  Why?
many religious, especially monotheistics, believe that we cannot fix ourselves and that some day a god will come to do it for us.  Do you think this idea is a responsible one? What do you do in the mean time?

Apologetics and Theology / Re: hypothetical questions
« on: April 24, 2016, 11:06:39 pm »
Better material circumstances played a role.
Yes that was one of my theories and statistics show that to be true.
My posts addressed part of this, actually.

The Church wasn't consistently keen on killing witches throughout this period because churchmen didn't always believe that maleficia -- harmful magic -- was possible. Many peasants did, though. So the Church accommodated these beliefs with blessings and Sacraments rather than judicial punishments, which had the salutary effect of preventing peasants from lynching their neighbors.

Also, as I mentioned in previous posts, belief in witchcraft ebbed and flowed based partly upon what we'd call "scientific" arguments.

  Could you give me a non-religious source  for the point of science supporting witch hunting?
Here’s what I have

#2. The Church was to blame for the Witch Hunts.

FACT: While Christianity clearly created the framework for the Witch Hunts, no single "Church" was to blame, and many secular governments hunted witches for essentially non-religious reasons.
COMMENTARY: When the Witch Hunts first began to intensify, in the 1400s, one church hierarchy, what I call the Latin Catholic Church, dominated Western Civilization. Even within that one church, however, uniformity in all matters of faith and belief had not been fully imposed.
During the Middle Ages, the predominant Christian view of witchcraft was that it was an illusion. People might think they were witches, but they were fooling themselves, or the Devil was fooling them. Most authorities thought that witchcraft could do no serious harm, because it was not real. It took the arguments of theologians, a number of inquisitors manuals, and a series of papal bulls (written letters of judgment and command) to contradict that traditional Christian idea, and identify witchcraft with a dangerous heresy. Ultimately in 1484, Pope Innocent VIII, in his bull Summis desiderantes, let the Inquisition pursue witches.

There is some legitimate historical debate, though, about how far the bull applied throughout the church, and how many church authorities really believed that witches were a serious danger. In any case, just about at that time the "Church" broke apart because of the Reformation. While Roman Catholicism redefined itself under a papal magisterium, Lutheranism, Calvinism and Anglicanism asserted other sources for divine authority.

Surprisingly, the Protestant reformers often agreed with Rome, that witches were a clear and present danger. All four of the major western Christian "churches" (Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anglican) persecuted witches to some degree or another. (Eastern Christian, or Orthodox Churches carried out almost no witch hunting).
None of these persecutions could have been carried out without the permission and cooperation of secular governments. In only a few small regions, like the Papal States and various Prince-Bishoprics in Germany, were religious and temporal government leaders one and the same. But in all the rest of Western Europe, secular princes ultimately decided whether or not witches were hunted.  Still, religious leaders carry a large share of the blame for the hunts, since secular princes often hunted witches on the advice of the clergy.  Princes hunted witches because Church leaders taught them that witches were disturbers of the peace, destructors of property, and killers of animals and people. 

Now if I read this right most Christians thought of witchcraft as a mental illness until the church stepped in.  Also none of it could have happened without the governments of the time.  I also am pretty sure that none of the royalty at the time were atheists at least publicly.  One could not get elected in America to the position of county sheriff in USA if they publicly said they were atheists to this day.
Your argument sounds more like a deflection than an actual “what would you do?” 
As an atheist I am often asked for the hypothetical situation “what if you found out if God existed?” or “what if you found out heaven and hell are real?”  and I answer them.  I am hoping that you all are game for the same type of uncomfortable questions.  If you weren’t you wouldn’t be here. Right?
What comes to mind as far as my question is what makes the Christian today different than the Christian of the past. The social economic improvements are the provable factors but the Bible read the same at that time as it does today. Right? Interpretation may have changed but the scripture did not.  Do you understand my question?  Is the only factor that changed the religious in Europe from a people that hunted down every pagan to a people that now have a huge diversity of pagans the ability to eat at leisure?
Still the main question stands.  How would you reach these people (ancestors) to change their violent ways if you witnessed it?  Do you think they had the wrong idea of Christianity.  If so then why?

Apologetics and Theology / Re: hypothetical questions
« on: April 24, 2016, 09:46:53 pm »
Soooo no one is going to answer the question......
Okay I'll try one more time.
religion was very important in the lives of the medieval people.  So much so that it was easy for the church and state leaders to order their subjects to kill in the name of God and king.
17th century 30 years' war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany. [DO31-32] (this is from my earlier post.)
I'm not here to debate
A) time paradox.
B) whether or not you or I are worthy to judge our ancestors.
C) whether or not the catholic's stance was originally that some one else's  "hokus pokus" isn't real.
D)what link science has with the occult.
E) I don't see many muslims here to debate this point so I focus on christianity.
F) Whether our ancestors were truly christian.
My question is simply this
If you had the power to meet and stop people that were about to commit a huge amount of unacceptable (by today's standards) violence in the name of God, would you?
My "motive" is not hidden.  My thought is what changed the violent christians of the dark, medieval, and renaissance eras into the (majority) of christians today. At what point or points in history did the majority of christianity decide that adherence to strict Biblical law was not the best way to go.  What tempered the fire to follow the laws of leviticus and  deuteronomy. 
It wasn't the passage about Christ fulfilling the law since Laws were made to root out and kill or convert heretics, witches, jews, and non-believers long after the death of Christ.
So can anyone answer these question?

Apologetics and Theology / hypothetical questions
« on: April 24, 2016, 11:36:43 am »
Historically a fair amount on nastiness has been done in the name of Christianity.

I'm not here to judge the christians of now but in a hypothetical situation here is my question.

If you (the christian) could go back and stop some or all of these actions done by the ancient (and not so ancient) christians assuming you had the power to do so would you?

If not please tell me why (assuming no paradox in history would happen you are just doing so or not doing so based on what was witnessed at the time.  I'm not asking about time paradox.)

If you would stop it how would you relate to your ancestors that what they were doing was wrong?

There are christian cults today that do try to live like this by harshly enforcing biblical law but these are not the majority. I can imagine it would be like talking to these folks but I don't have experience of them directly.

Now obviously times where different back then however, they (the past christians) were able to justify some pretty bad stuff by using bible verses.  They had the same bible(s) that we do today.  So the logical question is what happened to change most of the people that still read the same scripture in the present time?

My theory is
A). the recognition of the negative impact of following the Bible in its  entirety.
B). Improvements of the average life of the average person in most 1st world countries.
C).embracing a varying amount of secular law (IE) murder is bad even if your neighbor does practice witchcraft or if some one is sick go ahead and pray but don't avoid the doctor visit in lieu of divine intervention.

I'm not a historian or a sociologist so my study on this is only arm chair.  I have other questions but lets start with these.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 13, 2016, 09:29:17 pm »
That stance requires no faith. If you take the scenario in Noah's day, which Jesus alluded to as a model for his return, the people back then were warned about God's intentions and saw Noah and his family take decades to construct a huge vessel to save themselves. The exact dimensions were given to Noah by God and have been used for centuries as a model of height, to length, to depth ratios for sea going vessels because of its stability
that boat took too much magic for me to think it was a real story.
pluss I dont think science backs up the theory that every thing on earth was destroyed by a global flood.
It all seems like a phantom menace to me.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 13, 2016, 10:49:06 am »
It doesn't count with God either. He does not see the various denominations in Christendom as anything but divisions in an institution he hasn't recognized from its beginnings. When the church apostatised, and began to teach false doctrines and to wantonly shed human blood, Jesus left the building. (Matt 7:21-23)

Since I have not heard the actual voice of Yaweh or any other god  I cannot say what they want or what counts.
What I do know is what I can observe from what the religious take away from their teachings into the real world.  Unfortunately I see two types of religious; those that truly try to go by the guidelines of their holy book and those that are just part of the club but don't really try.  after all why try when the rules are impossible to follow and really all you need to do is believe.
When I see so many denominations I see just what religion was like before the catholic church became dominant in Europe.  I see thousands of gods vehemently worshiped and defended by the masses.  I see people being what ever faith they were raised in with but minor variations.  I see some folks attempting to evolve to a being a better person and those that just try to go along.
I don't see a god I see humanity.  You can believe if you want but until observable fact testifies that their is a divine force, I'm going to stick with humanity as the creators of the God/gods/supernatural entities.

Presumption of Atheism / Re: Did Religion Hold Progression Back?
« on: April 12, 2016, 06:56:22 pm »
I would like to bring up a point I have experienced from Christians I have encountered.  I cannot say what percentage has this view but I have heard some say "we shouldn't waste time and money on the space program because A) we have plenty of problems right here on earth (I can sympathize with this but this is a logical argument) and B) God is coming soon to retrieve the faithful and to pass judgement on the non-believers.
In the mind of a realist the last argument is most certainly not logical.  Current science states that we have had mass extinction events in the past and will have one in the future.  We as a species are unique in that we have the chance of prolonging our survival if we can get off this rock and on to other places.
The idea that God won't let his faithfull die of the natural causes that has killed 99.9% of every species that has ever lived is lazy at best and dangerous at worst.
If 1/3 of the world is Christian and most believe that God is coming soon then I see that as a large potential that is not only being unused but also could be opposing what might possibly help the human race onward.  I'm not going to assert that all 2+billion christians aren't contributing to our space race but if the idea is prevalent.....
Just s thought that is related to our science where religion is involved.

This once again needs to be shown to be tying to what Christianity teaches. Christianity never teaches "don't go to outter space, cause I am the Lord and you shouldn't do so, because I say so!" Christianity teaches that the Earth is important and that's the scene where most significant and crucial events will happen.

However, whether to oppose space programs, or not, isn't at all in the sphere of Christian teaching.

And again I'd reference my first post in the thread - you need to show connections between this behavior/belief/mindset and some Christian teaching. Just because someone is a Christian, and they believe X, or behave Y way, or have Z mindset, doesn't mean it necessarily comes from Christian teaching. Just like the scientists who created the atomic bomb, although scientists, cannot be said to be prompted up by science to create mass destruction weapons. And if one claims so, they need to show a connection, and not merely cite those, who created a mass destruction weapon, being scientists, thus science taught them to destroy and create tools for destruction.

While I understand your view, and I know such people exist - as you describe them, - I object to the underlying assumption that IT HAS TO TIE TO CHRISTIANITY! It does not have to, and if you claim that it does, then you need to show the connection, and not merely cite those, who have such mindset, being Christian, thus Christianity is responsible.

Hitler claimed to be a Christian. Then went to kill millions of Jews. According to this assumption, this must have been a Christian teaching... but Christianity never has any text that even remotely commands God's followers to exterminate Jews. And when Hitler did so, it was actually AGAINST what Christianity teaches - being merciful toward others, helping others, forgiving others, etc.

The same with the kind of people you cite - those do not hold such a mindset, because somehow Christianity has a teaching that leads to people opposing space programs.

I hope you won't take the above in the wrong way. But it indeed is true that Christianity does not speak on space programs, and if some Christian holds any kind of view toward it, it's their personal one, prompted up by personal reasons, or some other, and not religious ones.
In my view religion is a tool just like any other that is used in multiple ways by multiple people.  The fact or fiction of its teachings is not important to me and I don't think it's important to science really. As Galileo said "the bible teaches us how to go to heaven not how the heavens go."  What is important is how the human processes the teachings.   Each human will process it in their own unique way.  I dont judge the master by what the master says.  I judge the master by how the student is.  So no.  I won't be citing anything.  I dont have to when the students are all around me. Also I never said all christians are of this opinion.

Presumption of Atheism / Re: Did Religion Hold Progression Back?
« on: April 12, 2016, 11:02:56 am »
I would like to bring up a point I have experienced from Christians I have encountered.  I cannot say what percentage has this view but I have heard some say "we shouldn't waste time and money on the space program because A) we have plenty of problems right here on earth (I can sympathize with this but this is a logical argument) and B) God is coming soon to retrieve the faithful and to pass judgement on the non-believers.
In the mind of a realist the last argument is most certainly not logical.  Current science states that we have had mass extinction events in the past and will have one in the future.  We as a species are unique in that we have the chance of prolonging our survival if we can get off this rock and on to other places.
The idea that God won't let his faithfull die of the natural causes that has killed 99.9% of every species that has ever lived is lazy at best and dangerous at worst.
If 1/3 of the world is Christian and most believe that God is coming soon then I see that as a large potential that is not only being unused but also could be opposing what might possibly help the human race onward.  I'm not going to assert that all 2+billion christians aren't contributing to our space race but if the idea is prevalent.....
Just s thought that is related to our science where religion is involved.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 11, 2016, 01:07:26 pm »
"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?....For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification." (Rom 6:16, 19)

So, this "freedom" to sin with impunity is actual slavery.....whodathunk?
It doesn't take a god to inform us excess in vice can lead to slavery to them. "nothing in excess, know thy self."(Socrates) 470-399 bc
As to obedience to God,  it is all to convenient that the Bible teaches absolute obedience to God then the church claims to be the voice of God as to how the Bible is interpreted.  you must then love all which the god/church loves and shun all which the god/church shuns.  The Bible gives rewards for those obedient children (heaven) and the most horrible punishment for those naughty children(hell).  You may interpret what is said in a different fashion but this is the Christianity I and most others were taught.
The question one must ask is, does your conviction in faith come from you or your culture/geography?
I'dd bet that most people would answer emphatically "I'm a Muslim because I feel it is the truth." never mind that they were born in saudi arabia. The same with America i'm sure.  These monotheistic faiths are very quick to stress "obedience".
So ask yourself "am I a slave to the religion I was born around?" 
For purposes of this conversation going from one Christian faith to another does not count.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 05, 2016, 10:35:50 pm »
Emphasis was on family structure within the tribes as well. When families were strong, then the nation was strong. Under good leadership, everything thrives....and conversely, when poor leadership was in power, the whole nation suffered....nothing changes....the same is still true today. Whether its leadership in the family or in the nation, the end result is still the same. We can see this.

This was the bases of confucius teaching in China.  If the family was good the nation was good. he had many fairly wise teachings but he was very misogynistic. Unfortunately it was common to be misogynistic at the time all over the world.

So with that I'll end this post and see about the others.   Thank you for the participation.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 05, 2016, 03:03:06 pm »
I hope I've finally got the quote thing right. This is what was told to me and I think I read it right.

[word]Interesting experience.  Although your perception that the bible is about controlling the minds of the masses is frankly silly.  It's hard to imagine Jews over several millennia planning some elaborate conspiracy under the guise of religion to "control the mind of the masses"[/quote]

Start small with the Jews simply wanting to enforce laws so as to keep their small struggling tribe alive and distinct from other larger civilizations (thus the logical reason why sex in marriage was important due to need for children).  Then some one happened to take the faith out of  Israel to a larger civilization (Rome).  From there one emperor claimed he had a message from a god that a battle would be won if he converted to a particular faiths that happened to be prevalent at the time amongst many others.  Then, after the was battle won, he and his descendants not only made Christianity the state religion but to unite the people, they made any other religion (and any other interpretation of christianity) illegal.

Changing of the Gods

Long story short the gods of all cultures have been invented and evolved alongside the changes of civilization.  Often times these gods were used to help claim rulership and enforce laws.  If I were to say that the Egyptian ruler's claims of divinity were false you would totally agree.  What about the claims of rulership and law laid down by the early Christians (Catholics).  Our dear Martin Luther was quite the rebel in his time. Now we are back to the huge diversity of Christianity that we see today (which is what the early Catholics wanted to avoid). The wheel turns.
Now I have no good arguments against the possibility of an ultimate creator of our reality. I'm not sold on the idea of one either. 
What I can say is that I have what I feel is legitimate cause to reject any and all of the ideas of god that man has brought about including the one from a certain tribe in the desert. I just wanted to explain how I got to the logic that I have today.
All of this is somewhat moot in the real world until its time to vote on policy. As far as I'm concerned all people are allowed to believe as they choose as long as it doesn't interfere with social function. So on that note I would like to understand how you feel about issues that are taking shape in this country (USA).  I also welcome comment on other nations as well.  On the one hand you have nations like England who are trying to keep religion out of politics and policy and on the other hand you have theocratic like nations such as  the Vatican and Saudi Arabia.
The issues at hand in USA are : abortion, gay marriage, prayer/religion in public government funded institutions, and businesses citing religion for patronage and insurance coverage.
These are all important subject and hot on the minds of all sides involved.
What I don't understand is that the atheist population is only about 2-5% in the US and the dedicated Christian population is about 27-30%.  With that in mind I'm not sure how it is that many of these policies are going the way of the atheist mind set.  By my math you all should be kicking the "you know what" out of us as far as voting.
If I need to start another thread that's fine but I feel it's still is the category of understanding.  I don't want to assume that I know how you feel on these.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 03, 2016, 05:59:18 pm »
Quote"I have not met an atheist yet who was not put off Christianity by the hypocrisy of Christians.    The truth is, the hypocrites are not really Christians, except in name only." (Matt 7:21-23)/quote
In the anti-theist world they call this the “no true Christian” argument.  From what I have seen few people who call themselves Christian really act any different than any other non-religious..  Much of the time it is just a club.  My question then would be how in daily life do you think a Christian should act.  To me this would be helpful to identify a person by their actions instead of their claimed title.  For instance, what should a true Christian do once finding out that a friend or acquaintance was a non-believer or gay?
quote " Strength does not come from the inside but from the one who can sustain us by means of a power greater than man's"./quote
As you can see from my experience the question of where one’s strength of spirit comes from was answered.
"I think you've confused what Christianity teaches. Christianity teaches that you will "fully" be yourself, if you abide in faith and that process will be finished when you're resurrected into eternal life. That's the case, because God has created you with this potential and this potential is fulfilled when you listen to your Creator and let Him be your guidance. That's the very objective of your being, which many people go astray to, and like it to be only "about themselves." /quote
Remember that all of my Christian understanding comes from human teaching.  Even the Bible was written by man.  I remember singing a really cool sounding song in Bible camp between the ages of 7 and 10.  The basis of it was the one could accomplish many wonderful things and do many good things but without god that person was still nothing.  I’m sorry but I don’t think that message was confusing at all. As for the hope of eternal life, the living cannot know for sure.  Most people hope that it is true.  This is seen in most cultures as the dead are revered in various ways.  The pyramids were an excellent example.  It may be just as likely that it is a delusion to comfort ourselves about death.
One of the largest problems the anti-theist has with the theist is the idea of God taking care of the future.  At what point do you take on the task of doing the improvement yourself?  At what point do you leave the task to the divine being?  Which tasks are capable of being done by the mere mortal and what tasks must be done by the gods (I don’t like to get specific unless I mean to be).  As I have seen no direct divine intervention from the particular god (Yahwey/Jehovah) or his new name (Jesus), I feel that humanity is on its own in the universe and due to that I feel we really need to tackle all problems on our own.  Either do or die.
Quote" To a non-believer, it is hard to describe what a relationship with God is like. Unless you have had one, it's not easy to put into words. His power is awe inspiring in nature and in the universe."/quote
Actually I did have an experience that was far beyond my own existence. I was 15-16 or so.  Without going through a lot of detail of how I got there I can describe it as the feeling of connectedness with everything and everyone.  To hurt someone else was like hurting myself In this state of mind.  It only lasted for a month but in that time I felt something more than just my own identity. Due to this I feel that there must be something beyond the surface maybe our next evolutionary step (if we survive).  I still feel it now and again and it reminds me that despite differing ideology we are all still brothers and sisters of one world.
However, I did not get this experience from following the teachings of Christ.  Because of this, the Christians in my community automatically assumed it was from Satan.  After studying such occurrences in history I found that anyone of any faith (or none) of any culture can have them.  Does this mean that there is an ultimate force? Maybe. It could also mean that there is another level to having consciousness that we are only starting to emerge toward.  Who knows.  One thing I won’t do is claim that my experience is truth for anyone else.  If a creator does exist then it is as varied and complex as the rest of reality.
What this did do for me is to spur me to keep looking for a better me to make the word a better place.  It helped me realize that I can be more than just what I was born.  To that end I have found yoga, martial arts, and Zen helpful.  The Bible has some good teaching here and there so I don’t dismiss it totally but I don’t take it on hook line and sinker because it appears to be as much about control (of the mind of the masses) as it is about spiritual awakening.

I know you won’t like this article and I understand but please also understand that when I was in a relationship with God all of this was true from my perspective. Which is why I see much of it as control.
I relate to the Buddha because he never claimed godhood.  He simply decided to search the world and himself for the truth.  Unfortunately, many people deify him.  He would never have wanted that whether he was/is real or not.

Apologetics and Theology / Re: understanding
« on: April 02, 2016, 02:51:55 am »
Respect comes from within not from without.  Morals of how to treat others comes from with in not without. a tree cannot bear good fruit if its roots are weak.  That is the biggest difference between east and west on the spiritual front. In western monotheism the arrow points away to some other entity.  In the eastern way it points to look within.
we can argue on this forum until time has passed us by. What we cannot do is undo the experiences that we have had.
In my experience the christian community that raised me gave me not the opportunity to be the kind of person that could respect himself or love himself because it was made clear that I was nothing without their god.
Then I joined martial arts
The first time I got knocked out due to a kick i remember waking up and for a second I thought "should I stay down? should I give up?"  No! I got up and went on to win that fight.  I faced an opponent that scared me more than anyone else.  I could have given up.  I didn't.  I fought him and won.  My black belt test was all night.  at the end of it I could barely stand but there I was ready for the belt come dawn.  For 5 days I trained under the brutal regimen of MMA fighters in the military for 8 hours a day.  I wanted to give up but I persevered and went on to earn that certificate.
These were real accomplishments.  These brought real self respect.  In so doing brought the ability to give respect to others without fear or resentment.  This is real.  It taught me respect for myself and others because I understood what being human was about. I understood the triumph and pain of humanity.  Humanity is real.  Religion taught me none of that. I am understanding that it helped you.  please understand that it didn't help me.  please understand that your way is not for every one.

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