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  1. Hi Jeff. I honestly don't know what the government has to do with that story. All the government did was charge and convict the parents for negligent homicide after the fact. The family didn't need the government's permission or resources, they just needed the desire to get their child to a doctor when it was obvious that something serious was going on, and it was their faith that prevented them from doing that. How do you think the government interfered with the parents? When you say if they had the "truth" they could have saved the child, do you mean they would have taken them to the doctor or that God would have healed the child if the parents had the correct belief or prayer ritual or something? Edit: I appear to be effectively banned for simply not being a believer; I cannot respond to any thread that I can find nor make a thread in the Q&A section to ask what is going on. If the purpose of this site is for believers ONLY I am perfectly fine with that, just make it clear. The video I saw from the site leader said that certain sections were open to nonbelievers, like this section, where other sections like the upper room was for believers only. I feel like I wasted my time and I'm a little bit upset and frustrated because I was lied to by this site that I could participate when I could not. Clearly, the administrators of this site do NOT want any nonbelievers here, which is fine, just STOP pretending that you do and make it clear to people joining that you do NOT want any nonbelievers here even if they are respectful. I'd like to thank you, Thomas, for being reasonable and trying to have a respectful and civil conversation with me. I truly do appreciate it. If it is outreach to nonbelievers you are looking for, as your "interests" state, you will not find it here; kind of hard to do that if all nonbelievers are automatically banned de facto. If you or anyone else wants to stay here and converse only with Christians that's okay. I understand that sometimes people want to commune with others like them, but there are other forums out there that do allow nonbelievers to actually participate if you want to try your hand at an actual conversation with a nonbeliever that goes beyond two posts. (I know a forum run by Christians that you can join and start a thread on Dawkins' arguments and you will get several atheists and Christians to participate. PM me if interested.) Now, it is time for me to brush the dust off my sandals and leave this inhospitable place. Edit take 2: I just noticed that a new section opened up for me, the "worthy pavilion", which apparently I can kind of participate in. I cannot reply to any thread in there, but I seem to be able to make my own thread, and then only (pre-approved?) Christians can respond. I may voice my opinion there, but that kind of discussion is not what I was looking for. I am fine to converse or debate with highly skilled and knowledgeable Christians, but I was looking for a free and open discussion forum where people from all sides can get together and talk/debate respectfully. I wasn't looking for a place where I can only start a thread, and not participate or comment on any idea or topic anyone else has. That is not a forum or a community, that is the actions of someone scared to let me (and all other nonbelievers) out into the world of free exchange of ideas, and so my thoughts are figuratively jailed to prevent the masses from getting corrupted by hearing my ideas. They seem to do this to say that they don't ban nonbelievers when in fact that is exactly what they are doing. Nonbelievers are simply not welcome here.
  2. I'm still here and seem to be able to post just fine. It is a little worrisome that I keep hearing that I'm going to be effectively banned just because I don't believe. It was my impression when I joined that there was a Christian only section like the "upper room" and "worthy ministries", but places like the apologetic section were open to nonbelievers so long as they are respectful. Is there something that I'm missing?
  3. I don't know if there is a specific denomination or sect, but every now and then you hear on the news that some child died because the parents refused to seek medical help due to their faith. Like I said I think it is rare, and I'll add that not all bad medical practices are due to religion or faith, but it is an example of faith hurting others without explicitly being violent. I kind of shot from the hip in my last post when it came to specific points. I didn't make them up, but it's been a few years since I looked them up so let's see what I can find on google lol. I found this news article from 2018 about a couple charged with negligent homicide of their newborn for not seeking medical attention when it was obvious that their newborn needed help: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/07/10/a-religious-oregon-couple-didnt-get-medical-care-for-their-newborn-the-child-died-and-now-theyre-going-to-prison/?utm_term=.c6e716363daf From the article: "The Mitchells are the fifth set of parents from the Followers of Christ Church to face criminal charges after failing to secure medical attention for their children in the past nine years, according to the prosecutor." .... “For far too long, children in this church have been needlessly suffering and dying because their parents, as a condition of their religious beliefs, have refused to seek medical care for their children,” the district attorney’s office stated. I found this (quotes italicized for convenience): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3194801/ Excerpt from abstract (2011): "Using the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates. This trend remains significant after accounting for socioeconomic status, teen educational attainment, ethnic composition of the teen population, and availability of Medicaid waivers for family planning services in each state. These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S." I also found this review of abstinence only education from 2017 (AOUM = abstinence only until marriage): https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(17)30260-4/fulltext "Although abstinence is theoretically effective, in actual practice, intentions to abstain from sexual activity often fail. Given a rising age at first marriage around the world, a rapidly declining percentage of young people remain abstinent until marriage. Promotion of AOUM policies by the U.S. government has undermined sexuality education in the United States and in U.S. foreign aid programs; funding for AOUM continues in the United States. The weight of scientific evidence finds that AOUM programs are not effective in delaying initiation of sexual intercourse or changing other sexual risk behaviors." ..... "While advocates of AOUM policies and programs have asserted their effectiveness, scientific evidence suggests otherwise. A 2007 systematic review by Douglas Kirby [32] found no scientific evidence that AOUM programs demonstrate efficacy in delaying initiation of sexual intercourse, reducing the number of sexual partners, or facilitating secondary abstinence. Moreover, a rigorous national evaluation was completed in 2007 by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., with support from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [33]; among four-model AOUM programs, no impact was found on initiation of sexual intercourse, numbers of sexual partners, or other behaviors. A 2007 Cochrane meta-analysis of 13 AOUM programs found that evaluated programs consistently showed no impact on sexual initiation, frequency of vaginal sex, number of partners, condom use, or the incidence of unprotected vaginal sex [34]. More recently, a 2012 meta-analysis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined 66 comprehensive risk reduction (CRR) sexual health programs and 23 abstinence programs. CRR programs had favorable effects on current sexual activity (i.e., abstinence), number of sex partners, frequency of sexual activity, use of protection (condoms and/or hormonal contraception), frequency of unprotected sexual activity, STIs and pregnancy [35]. In contrast, the meta-analysis of risk avoidance (AOUM) programs found effects on sexual activity, but not on other behaviors. (Equivocal changes were found for a decrease in frequency of sexual activity and an increase in pregnancy.) Importantly, the effect on sexual activity was only significant in the nonrandomized control trial subgroup and not significant in the stronger randomized control trial subgroup. Thus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that while CRR programs were an effective strategy for reducing adolescent pregnancy and STI/HIV among adolescents, “no conclusions could be drawn on the effectiveness of group-based abstinence education.” [35]. More recently, a 2016 review of 37 systematic reviews, summarizing 224 randomized controlled trials of school-based sex education programs concluded that abstinence-only interventions did not promote positive changes in sexual initiation or other sexual behaviors [36]. ..... Add Health data suggest that many adolescents who intend to be abstinent fail to do so, and that when abstainers do initiate intercourse, many fail to use condoms and contraception to protect themselves [37, 38]. Other studies find higher rates of human papillomavirus and nonmarital pregnancies among adolescent females who took a virginity pledge than those who did not [39]. Consequently, these studies suggest that user failure with abstinence is high. Thus, although theoretically completely effective in preventing pregnancy, in actual practice the efficacy of AOUM interventions may approach zero." Sorry for the long quotes. I wanted to show that it wasn't just one study but many studies including several meta analyses with the same basic conclusion. In actual practice abstinence only education is not really effective at preventing premarital adventures (hormones are a powerful thing), and when those kids do break abstinence they don't have the education to properly mitigate the chances of pregnancy or STIs resulting in an increase of those things. I don't have time right this instance to pour over the literature, but I want to get this post out so I'll just post some of the statements about conversion therapy from respected psychological associations (quotes italicized for convenience). https://www.hrc.org/resources/policy-and-position-statements-on-conversion-therapy "The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds no evidence to support the application of any “therapeutic intervention” operating under the premise that a specific sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression is pathological. Furthermore, based on the scientific evidence, the AACAP asserts that such “conversion therapies” (or other interventions imposed with the intent of promoting a particular sexual orientation and/or gender as a preferred outcome) lack scientific credibility and clinical utility. Additionally, there is evidence that such interventions are harmful. As a result, “conversion therapies” should not be part of any behavioral health treatment of children and adolescents." From: http://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/National_Orgs_Letter_in_Support_of_Legislative_Efforts_to_End_Conversion_Therapy.pdf?_ga=2.186555564.40106729.1560443091-986116726.1560443091 We, as national organizations representing millions of licensed medical and mental health care professionals, educators, and advocates, come together to express our professional and scientific consensus on the impropriety, inefficacy, and detriments of practices that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, commonly referred to as “conversion therapy.” .... We emphasize the dangers of sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts, particularly for youth, which include increased risk of anxiety, depression, decreased self-esteem, social withdrawal and isolation, homelessness, substance abuse, and suicidality. I am happy to see the Revelations 11:18 quote. I liked your post because of that. While I think believing God wants you take care of the Earth is a good motivator, I do not think it is necessary to be appreciative of the Earth and wanting it to stay 'healthy'. If nothing else, I wager self preservation and quality of life ought to be a powerful motivator to keep the planet healthy.
  4. I mean dangerous for other people too. The contraceptive example is a good one I think. I don't know much about the culture outside of America, but I could come up with a few examples of how some Christians here in America, based on their religious beliefs, are dangerous and potentially harmful to others. The specifics are probably controversial in that whether or not they are dangerous or harmful depends on your point of view. Off the top of my head you do have Christians in America advocating for abstinence only (until marriage) education for teens, and we know that is not effective and ironically leads to more teen pregnancies and abortions than comprehensive education. Then there's also orientation conversion therapy to turn people straight, which doesn't really work and more often than not psychologically harms the person. It is rare, but some Christians refuse medical help for their children when they get sick due to their religious interpretations. One thing that has stuck with me is that I saw a politician (congressman) say that we don't have to worry about taking care of the Earth because the Bible says God will destroy the Earth and not humans. If your religious belief is that we can recklessly pollute the Earth with no consequences and you have the political power to shape the laws I think that is cause for concern and a danger that spreads across generations for the whole Earth. I'm not saying faith is always a bad thing, but it can cloud judgement. On the other hand, dogmatic zealotry of atheism is not healthy either.
  5. Hello Thomas. You could say I'm an atheist. I think I'm allowed to post here. Apologies if this is a Christian only section. I know who Dawkins is, but I'm not too familiar with his material. Still, this seems like a fairly standard point atheists make. I don't think "dangerous" is necessarily about violence. If people have wrong ideas then that can lead to bad outcomes even if the motive is pure. Faith, as I understand it, is about believing in something despite not having strong enough evidence to justify that belief on the basis of evidence alone. I think that is where the "non-thinking" comment comes from. If you believe in things without proper justification you are more likely to get things wrong resulting in bad/unwanted outcomes, which can be dangerous.
  6. David95


    Hi Omega! I agree that debate for the purpose of debate and propping up your own ego is a hollow victory. I am certainly not perfect in this regard, and I admit that at times I value "winning" more than "self-improvement" and having the courage to be humble enough to admit that the other person made a good point that I can't refute, but I do consider this a vice and not a virtue. The purpose of debate should be to put your ideas through a crucible so that your flaws may be revealed and your understanding revised based on the best evidence/logic/reason you are aware of. Thanks for the welcome, Godismyloveforever!
  7. David95


    Hi all, my name is David. I want to be upfront and say that I am not a believer. I am here because I find the big questions interesting and I like to debate and talk about them, and I saw that this place has an apologetics section so I figure why not give it a shot. I read the terms of service and didn't see anything preventing nonbelievers from participating so long as they are respectful. I like to think that I am respectful while stating my position and thoughts, so here I am.
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