What is a “Positive Message”?

This past weekend unbelievers staged a Rally for Reason in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate there large numbers.  The Rally has been widely criticized by believers.  Critics say the message was negative.

It is true there were speakers who said gods do not exist and faith is based on myths.  From the atheists point of view the message was positive, an effort to help believers see the light.

A Christian version of a positive message would include items like: “If your god is different than mine, you go to hell.”  “My god is real, your god is in your mind only.”  “My god is the God. Your god is an impostor.”  “You have a choice, my god or eternity in hell.”  “We will be victorious, you will be vanquished and our god will be pleased.” “You are a sinner, babies are born sinners. Only my god can correct that.”

The Christian, like the atheist, sees these messages as positive because he sees them as the truth, as helpful.  Providing others with the truth is always seen as a positive message by those delivering it.

There is one difference between the positive messages of unbelievers and that of the religious.  That is consistency.

I’ve had the experience of meeting and corresponding with unbelievers in several countries.  There view is always the same, there is no god.  Religious people’s message varies depending on their god.

Which is the more positive message, believer of unbeliever,  is all in the eyes of the beholder.

 

 

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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47 Responses to What is a “Positive Message”?

  1. Henry says:

    “There is one difference between the positive messages of unbelievers and religions. That is consistency.”

    No doubt. Bob’s message is inconsistent with Jon’s message, but they are both atheists.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 11:38 “Bob’s message is inconsistent with Jon’s.., but they are both atheists.”
      Bob has not seen evidence of a god, nor have I.

      • entech says:

        Has anyone?
        If so repeat the demonstration.

        • entech says:

          If so repeat the demonstration.
          I am not impressed by words written thousands of years ago, words written about things that probably never happened by people most of whom were certainly not there.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 3:41 “words written about things that probably never happened by people most of whom were certainly not there.”

            A great piece of writing that should be up on large billboards.

          • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

            I don’t have a big problem with the words. I’m not impressed with people and institutions who perpetuate the notion that they’re anything other than literature.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            sea 2:12 “I’m not impressed with people and institutions who perpetuate the notion that they’re anything other than literature.”

            I’m with you on that. It’s really hard to understand the understand the magic placed on spoken or written words that is part of religions. I mean you can see how it might have made sense to people 2,000 years ago who believed the earth is flat, but all people should have moved on by now.

          • entech says:

            Not original I’m afraid. Just adapted. But I am sure I will use it again.

            History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren’t there.
            George Santayana

      • Michael Ross says:

        Psalm 19:

        1The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
        And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

        2Day to day pours forth speech,
        And night to night reveals knowledge.

        3There is no speech, nor are there words;
        Their voice is not heard.

        Because you are not Listening, Jon.
        Read and be wise:
        http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/sardi4.html

      • Henry says:

        And…

        Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (NIV)

        I would recommend all of Romans 1 be read.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Henry 1:24 “..so that men are without excuse.”

          I don’t really understand the point, here. Is this threat meant as a positive message?

          • Henry says:

            Very positive. The good Lord has declared His eternal power and divine nature through what has been made. Very uplifting.

  2. Doubtful says:

    As usual you display how little you know of religion by assuming that all religion takes the most absurd positions you can imagine. Considering that you recently told me you were a practicing Christian while mayor and that you now follow Dawkins and PZ Meyers, I am beginning to understand. When I was 13 I left the church because I knew that the belief in the ideas you think are religion were bogus. I think that is not unusual but you seem to have continued to believe what you had been taught until much later and it appears to me that you now believe something else you were taught. When will you start to think for yourself? It is way past time for you to put this juvenile understanding of religion behind you. That does not mean that I think you have to believe in god, of any definition. It does mean that you should learn that the ridiculous things you call religion are not at all representative of any religion.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Doubtful 12:31 What part of this blog reflects things Christians don’t believe, or, are not in the Bible?

      • Doubtful says:

        The fact that you can find people who call themselves Christian and believe the things you think of as Christianity does not prove that those ideas are representative of Christianity. The ideas you almost always allude to are quite recent, not even 500 years old. They certainly do not represent the thinking of the Christians, or Jews, or Muslims that developed these religions along with scientific thought. Creationism and literal interpretation of the Bible are two things you most commonly use as indicative of believers and they are very new. I suggest that you start reading things by members of the Jesus Seminar. They do not all agree with each other and do not assume that what any of them says represents my belief but it will certainly take you into literature that should cause your understanding to grow.

  3. Jethro says:

    The theme of everything you blog is almost always a ridiculous claim about Christianity. do you really think a “positive” message from Christianity would really sound like the third grade ideas you put together? Reading this blog is a good exercise for Christians…it solidifies how poorly thought out the freethinkers message is.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Jethro 1:33 Which parts of what I wrote are not believed by Christians or not in the Bible?

      • Steve says:

        “We will be victorious, you will be vanquished and our god will be pleased.”

        That is a part that is not true. God will not be pleased by vanquishing people because they did not have a relationship with Him. I’m not going to look up the passage but I know your quote is not from the Bible and what most Believers do not believe.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Steve 3:33 That is not a passage. It combines material in the Bible.

        • entech says:

          God will not be pleased by vanquishing people because they did not have a relationship with Him.

          Exodus 17:13,14
          So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
          Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.

          Deuteronomy 20:15,16,17
          Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
          But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
          But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

          How could He not be pleased, He commanded it.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            entech 5:15 Thank you for finding this. God smiting is a big part of the message. There is the God loves us, too. There is the both, the law and the gospel. Something for everyone.

    • entech says:

      Conversely potential apostates should learn a lot as well.
      More different thoughts more different potential for correct thinking.

  4. Michael Ross says:

    (Isaiah 11:9): “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of God, as the waters cover the sea.”
    My favorite verse and the final state of human history. Very positive, wouldn’t you say?

  5. Avatar of Mac Mac says:

    Gentlemen, as a man of faith I need to tell you . . .

    It’s time to stop with the argument “The Bible is true and accurate because the Bible says it is” and then throwing out some scripture references to support the statement.

    It is no different that a member of the flying spaghetti monster religion tossing out quotes from their holy book to ‘prove’ their faith is the one and only.

    • Henry says:

      And from the atheist side, logic is based upon man’s reasoning (otherwise known as logic). How can logic therefore be true based on this circular activity? Please advise the atheists of this philosophical dilemna.

      • Avatar of seaofstories seaofstories says:

        If the choice is between unconditional surrender to an powerful entity incapable of admitting error or muddling along on our collective and hard won wisdom which despite ego and imperfection is not entirely immune from self correction I’ll take the latter.

      • entech says:

        Reason and logic are quite distinct. Reasoning is not done within a formal system, it involves observation, sometimes an intuitive leap missing several intermediary steps, working backwards from a known result, perhaps making sketches and examining examples. Logic is the system, through reason we can reach some conclusions with different propositions that lead to those conclusions. Through logic we can formalise the propositions, check for consistency and validity, to see if the conclusion is a natural consequence of the propositions, if the conclusion can be shown to be such that IF the propositions are true and valid then the conclusion MUST be true, this is deductive, if the propositions are valid but not verifiable or are ambiguous then the conclusion is not necessarily true but can be given a higher or lower probability, this is induction. This is not from the atheist side but from all sides from the extreme scepticism of David Hume to the absolute certainty of Thomas Aquinas. Reason is part of an effort to find the truth, logic is a way of keeping reasoning rational.
        Reason and logic complement each other, they work in parallel and are in no way circular. True circularity comes from such things as the scriptural evidence thrown about in this topic, evidence of god based on things written in the bible, and the bible is true because it is the inspired (to some people dictated) word of god.
        There is another term which is appropriate here that is rhetoric, which is more interesting in producing a convincing argument or persuasion.
        In this sense Henry’s proposal is purely rhetorical, ignores or distorts the real difference between logic and reasoning in order to make a piece of nonsense seem reasonable. Quite a sophisticated approach (using sophist in its philosophical sense rather than “top hat, white tie and tales”), atheists (and Christians) should be made aware of this philosophical dishonesty.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 10:20 Logic and reasoning are not the same thing and are not circular. Circular reasoning is what religious people do.

        • Henry says:

          If logic is not developed by the reasoning of man, then who?

          • entech says:

            Will the circle be unbroken?

          • Henry says:

            Don’t know. I do know that the man of faith Mac cutting on Christianity said that it is folly to use the bible as it is based on the bible (itself).

            In contrast (or mabe not so much) the atheists’ logic is based on…….logic. How can what the atheists say be relied upon?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 12:56 “How can what the atheists say be relied upon?”

            If believing atheists will cause you to spend eternity in hell, I’d advise you not to believe them, no matter how logical they are.

          • Henry says:

            Jon, atheists aren’t logical. Many inconsistencies. Self-described skeptics, however, very believing in some things. In the end, just another religion. Sorry to have to break the news.

          • entech says:

            If you really think skepticism, or however you would like to describe it is “Just another religion” then why don’t you show it the respect that religions demand for themselves.
            Accept its claims as just as rational and reasonable as your own.

          • Henry says:

            Jon, if atheists were completely skeptical, I would grant them that they are not “just another religion”. However, atheists are not completely skeptical. They come to the table with their own beliefs and faith.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 12:41 I’d like to take the bait and debate with you, but I don’t know what you are referring to.

            I don’t use the word “beliefs” very often in referring to myself. Certainly, I don’t have “faith” in there being a supernatural being, although there remain unanswered questions that might be due to 100 or a 1000 different explanations, only one of which is the supernatural.

        • entech says:

          How can what the atheists say be relied upon? with a bit of skepticism, and a bit of thought. How can what you and yours say be relied on – not at all.

  6. Matt Slocomb says:

    So your god in essence is reason. French Revolution and Robespierre all over again.

    • entech says:

      Always a problem when people who think they know best get involved. America is so lucky that they had the likes of Jefferson and Adams rather than Robespierre. Robespierre and his Jacobins had the strange idea that they must lead the masses to enlightenment, by force is necessary, leading to the reign of terror. The possibility of a religious equivalent in America was quickly stopped by the separation of state and church, and only minor bad things happened such as the murder of Quakers by Puritans.
      This is why no group be it the religious right or the political left should never be permitted to become to dominant.
      America was very lucky because it was only one of two revolutions that I know of that did not become unmitigated disasters.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        entech 7:33 “America is so lucky it had the likes of Jefferson and Adams rather than Robespierre.”

        The older I get the more wonderful those founding fathers of the U. S. seem to me. While there seemed to be considerable differences among them, the kind of government that emerged avoided fatal flaws of, as you say, one group thinking it had absolute truths and using its power to enforce them.

        These popular phrases, “power to the people”, or, “let’s do what the majority wants” do not always work out well.

        • Henry says:

          Jon: “The older I get the more wonderful those founding fathers of the U. S. seem to me.”

          Indeed. Those old codgers even had the gall to hold church services in the Capitol building. They were very bold.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Henry 5:23 “…hold church services in the Capitol building.”

            The current Congress has a chaplin and prayers–but none representing atheists. So, I can’t blame the original guys for doing a little church. Right now, the military is institutionalizing atheistism in its ranks–can Congress be far behind?

  7. entech says:

    “Unbridled majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots.” John Adams

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 6:14 John Adams was especially interesting to me. He has been disregarded by some historians because he was not too popular with the Congress, his public personna a bit peevish and so on. But, he was one who threw a lot of rocks in the stream when conventional wisdom thought otherwise.

      That observaton about “unbridled majorities” is not so popular with those today in the U.S. who say, “The majority is Christian, let’s put Christian policies in place.”

      And, the conventional wisdom for part of his Presidency was we absolutely must go to war with France because France intended to attack us. Adams sent his own emissary there to scope things out and decided France was not our enemy–much to the frustration of saber rattlers of that time. I wish we had had a John Adams instead of a Bush II.

      • entech says:

        Adams as much as anyone convinced me of the complete justification for the American War of Independence. As I have said before that it is to my shame that it took so many years for me to realise this, as an Englishman living in Australia I have more than once been (gently) confronted by Australians of the Republican movement, most often they are surprised when I agree with them.

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