Behind closed doors Cypher Avenue has always struggled with attempting to approach the topic of religion. We understand readers and followers are a diverse group and we have always tried to be respectful of others faith and beliefs. Personally, I rarely talk about my beliefs via social media for good reason. If you have observed some of these conversations like I have, you know they can get nasty with the back and fourth’s between the participants. I feel a believer is never going to convert non-believer via social media if one’s mind is already made up. So why engage in pointless bickering over the internet?
I came across a public religious conversation on social media and subsequently interjected myself, where I summarized my current belief or ideology. Yes, I broke one of my own rules but I gave myself a pass because the ongoing dialog and discourse was very civil. The conversation started because the host posted an article from Daily Mail titled Jesus NEVER Existed and asked followers to share their thoughts. What followed was a pretty interesting discussion. I wanted to share a portion of the exchange between a believer and non-believer in hopes to initiate a similar civil exchange here. For privacy the names of the participants have been changed excepted for my own.
Brandy: My question is why is it such a horrible thing to believe in Jesus? People question his existence when they have no proof he didn’t. Oh, but they’ll say but there’s no proof he did. What about Jesus should we hate? To each their own, however it’s called Faith.
Rob T: It is not a question of HATE. No one has suggested Jesus the figure should be hated; quite the contrary. What is however, so horrible is the history of the treachery of the acts done by the purveyors, leaders, and practitioners of this faith (just as in Islam) who do it in the name of and with the “proclaimed” blessings and orders of the Jesus Christ figure. It is not To Each Their Own – because if it had of been, you wouldn’t have 2 billion Christians on the planet, which happened through generations of genocide, democide, massacres, forced conversion, oppression and subjugation in the name of a figure who maybe never existed. So that is what should be questioned – the HATRED that is caused by those who claim and teach they are doing the work of Jesus Christ. It is also a belief system that collectively continues to exert power and oppression over societies, often infringing on human and civil rights. Just look at the current state of our government – a convoluted mess of conservatism backed by evangelist and extremist Christianity. It is just the truth of the matter. This is the result of the believed and accepted legacy of a figure extolled by an imperial power that became a religious power. The same powers that once worshiped Hercules (Son of God), and Zeus, and Jupiter, who we now know and accept as folklore, but replaced by Jesus who no one wants to question.
Brandy: Even those who claim they are Christians question Jesus. They have had their own questions and doubts, though chose to go forth in their Faith or not. Also, those who claim they are doing God’s will by being violent towards others should be the ones questioned. Jesus was hated before we were even here and Yeshua (Jesus in Hebrew) is not the same as Zeus. Yeshua is the Son of the Living God.
When I say to each their own, I am saying that people will believe what they want to believe. Scriptures are twisted and taken out of context all the time. The government for which we have does not follow in Christian faith, but more so to benefit themselves. If they did, our Government wouldn’t be the way it is today. From what it seems, there are very few ‘true followers’ of Jesus which makes it so others don’t see the meaning to do so. There is a difference between those Christians who follow Jesus and love how he loved and those who claim they’re Christians by killing others in His name.
Rob T: What is the Christian faith?
Brandy: It is loving one another. That is what Jesus told his disciples. Are those who claim they are followers who kill people in His name because they say God wanted them to true believers? And Deuteronomy 4:35 and 4:39 Basically state there is no other but God.
Rob T: FYI Christianity has never been a benign, peace loving, organized religion. Regardless of how we or you choose to practice it or believe in it now, that is not its record of note. Not in 2000 years has it come in peace until 21st century. African Americans may be vigilant and loyal to their Jesus today, but 100+ years ago Jesus was beaten into them, forced on them by overseers and masters, used to pacify them and make them controllable. That is the same story for almost every ethnic country that was overtaken by Europe. Prior to the whip and chains, Jesus had not given 1 person of color a vision or an epiphany to come to Christ. Christ came with the fear of death at the hands of power. We are merely the progeny of the generations of those broken people who have passed down those forced beliefs and we now make them our own. #STUDY #QUESTION #PROVE
Octavius Williams: Following a heavily censored and edited book but saying it’s the truth…is like watching only 20 minutes of the first movie in a trilogy and saying it’s the best movie trilogy ever. I will always question that logic and faith.
Brandy: People focus on organized religion rather than having a relationship with Jesus. It isn’t just about The Bible. There’s way more to it than that. It seems people would rather go their whole lives not believing or believing in aliens before they ever believe that Jesus Christ loved and died. Are you saying Jesus singled out those of color on purpose?
Rob T: I am saying… that Jesus the Christ did not have any relevance to anyone of color prior to them being killed, forced, and subjugated for hundreds of years to accept this belief system under the swords and whips of European Christians. And if you are to believe that GOD wanted the world to be saved by his son, why where the only people he told that, gave a vision to, those Emperors, Popes, and Kings of Europe who were out to conquer foreign lands? This all knowing, omnipresent, loving GOD and this spirit of Jesus chose death and violence to spread their message to everyone else?
Random Person: There’s no need to stand up for Jesus. If he’s in your heart and you believe he existed, it wouldn’t matter what others think. Doubt is a very uncomfortable feeling, especially if you doubt something that gives you comfort. That’s why most people who believe in supreme beings try to convince all around them that they existed. If everyone believes, it strengthens your faith. True faith doesn’t need support from others.
Brandy: Especially when a woman is standing up for faith like I have, I expected that to be thrown at me sooner or later. It still does not sway the Faith I have. People question His existence more than have Faith. People would be content believing in Unicorns without hesitation than believing in God, even on Sunday. We are supposed to be disciples and spread the word to others and to Love.
Rob T: What I am asking is that we not continue this revisionist history of Christianity, seeking to defend it by separating what you glean from it apart from its real origins and it’s real truths. A Klans member can extoll the virtues of brotherhood and ethnic pride but that does not negate the fact that the KKK is a hate group that murdered and intimidated thousands of people of color.
Brandy: Questioning if Jesus exists is like questioning if I exist.
Rob T: But you do exist because guess what, the records will prove that 200 years from now. You have a birth certificate, a soc security card, a driver’s license, maybe a passport, credit card and banking statements, employment history, hopefully no criminal record LOL. FB is a living record of your existence alone. You will probably one day leave bones and DNA. There will be no problem of you being proven to have existed. Jesus is the world’s first and best Catfish ever.
Octavius Williams: Wait, wait…so believers and non-believers are actually discussing Jesus, faith and religion in a Facebook thread?
Brandy: In a respectful manner as well. If Faith in Jesus is not your choosing what is it that you believe?
Octavius Williams: Just as you have a right to believe I have a right not to believe…my point was for me this is pointless. If your soul existed 4000 years ago before “Jesus” was born what would you have faith in? Faith comes from being taught to believe…if you never knew of it how would your life be? That question is for anyone reading not any particular people on the thread.
Brandy: You guys need evidence and facts and visuals. Faith is believing even when you don’t see but having hope. If we were never taught what we know now, we wouldn’t know it. We wouldn’t know Racism is wrong or killing or raping people is wrong.
Rob T: That’s not true at all.
Brandy: What is not true?
Rob T: Racism was taught and supported for hundreds of years using Christianity. The abuse and subjugation of women was taught and is continued to be taught by Christianity.
Octavius Williams: and lies are taught just like truth…
Brandy: What is Truth to you Octavius?
Octavius William: When I look up at the night sky and realize I’m the universe and not bond to the pale blue dot.
Brandy: Do you see Christianity as having power and authority rather than believing Jesus suffered and died? I can sense I’m standing alone in this, but so be it. I respect both of your view points.
Octavius Williams: No you are not alone…there are hundreds of millions of people who share your views and only maybe 10’s of millions who share mine. You are not the minority here.
Rob T: What is the point of Jesus suffering and dying? What do you think that did for you?
Octavius Williams: Brandy I will not question your faith….I have no right to; it belongs to you.
Rob T: Did you know that the concept of Original Sin, was created by St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354-430) to explain why bad things happen to good people and it was argued and fought and voted upon by a council of men before it was accepted as a doctrine in Christianity?
Brandy: I just want to ask, what is not believing do for you?
Octavius Williams: Q: What is not believing do for you? A: It allows me to be free and unbound. I’m not obligated to believe or have faith in something outside of myself and follow rules originated 1000’s of years ago to prove I’m relevant today. I believe in myself and all of my insecurities and understand that my life is all about the journey. I look within myself for faith and courage and not in a scripture or deity. I’m made up of all the elements in the universe and its known and unknown laws and not those of just one planet in one solar system in one galaxy out of hundreds of billions or perhaps trillions.
Brandy: I respect that response. I would much rather sit down with the both of you instead of over a Facebook post, however, I’m interested in people’s thoughts and why they think or believe the way they do. Loving others should be the only goal. I’ll still choose to love others despite whether or not they believe.
Rob T: I first and foremost believe in reason. I believe in the human capability to make sense of the world he is given, to err and to improve. I believe in the ability for the human mind to develop laws and morality based on its needs for survival. I believe that the awe and wonder of life lies in the natural not the supernatural. I believe that life before death is of more importance than life after death. I believe that all the capability for joy and peace and love comes from you and is not given to you. I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic GOD figure who sits in Heaven selfishly dictating the lives of the toys it he/she plays with. Instead I believe in the greatness of a living and intelligent universe that we are all made from and a part of, not separate and independent from, thus it is in our own best interest to respect that and not of the interest of some supernatural being. I believe that religion is a scapegoat for responsibility and a crutch for the avoidance of pain.
Brandy: I don’t believe God just sits up there waiting to cast us into Hell.
Octavius Williams: I agree god wouldn’t do that either. He needs our souls for his army to fight Satan’s army in the coming apocalypse. Sorry I was being an asshole and trying to lighten the mood. I will leave the thread now
Rob T: It also serves as a scapegoat and avoidance for the responsibility of making your own joy and peace. I understand that existentially people developed the need for something to explain that they cannot until those stressors can be alleviated, so religion serves that purpose as does training wheels provide stability and confidence for a child learning to ride a bike. However, I believe that religion is crippling like it would be to see a 35 year old man still riding a bike on training wheels.
Brandy: I do not rely on Christ alone, but myself as well. It is a relationship that goes hand in hand. He is not my religion, He is my Savior. I am responsible for my actions and words. I don’t blame God for my bad actions.
Rob T: What bothers me most is that we so easily throw out the term belief when it comes to Jesus, Satan or certain doctrine when in fact there is very available, re-searchable, studied, historic, and documented proof of when and how those figures, concepts or belief systems were created and formed by MEN. Any well respected seminary school teaches this information. Yet and still, the idea persists that all you need is to BELIEVE. Sorry, the world is not flat. We have mapped the planet, left the planet and took video and pics of it. Saying it’s a matter of belief is frightening to me. And that suspension of reason is dangerous and has always proven to be dangerous throughout the history of mankind.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts.
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