Last-modified: July 5, 1999
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS alt.flame.jesus.christ This material is protected by copyright. Please refer to the appropriate section for more information. 0. Disclaimer 1. Introduction 1.1 What is the purpose of this document? 1.2 What is a FAQ? 1.3 What is alt.flame.jesus.christ? 1.4 Do I have to agree with anything in this FAQ to post anything to alt.flame.jesus.christ? 1.4.1 alt.flame.jesus.christ is an unmoderated newsgroup. 1.4.2 This FAQ does not contain rules or posting guidelines. 1.4.3 This FAQ is largely opinion. 1.5 Are you new to Usenet? 1.5.1 Some helpful websites. 1.5.2 Some helpful newsgroups. 2. Flaming 2.1 What is a flame? 2.2 What is the purpose of flaming in general? 2.3 How are flames used in alt.flame.jesus.christ? 2.4 Why refer to Christians as "xians"? 2.4.1 An "X" is a handy abbreviation for "Christ". 2.4.2 Substituting "X" for "Christ" annoys Christians. 3. Christianity In A Nutshell 3.1 What is a Christian? 3.2 Who was Jesus Christ? 3.3 Who do Christians think Jesus Christ was? 3.4 Why is a major religion based on Jesus? 4. Modern Christianity 4.1 What do Christians believe today? 4.1.1 Jesus is alive. 4.1.2 Jesus is God. 4.1.3 You are a sinner. 4.1.4 You are going to Hell. 4.1.5 Jesus loves you and wants to save you from Hell. 4.2 How do Christians practice their religion? 4.2.1 Christians try to live the way God wants them to. 4.2.2 Christians attend structured meetings. 5. Some Raw Truths About Christianity 5.1 Is Christianity valid? 5.2 What might suggest that Christianity is invalid? 5.2.1 The Holy Bible itself. 5.2.2 Christians themselves. 5.3 Is there a basic, underlying motivation for Christians? 5.4 Who becomes a Christian? 5.4.1 Children born to Christian parents. 5.4.2 The vulnerable and impressionable. 6. Christians As Enemies 6.1 Christians seem like nice people. Why oppose them? 6.1.1 Many Christians are liars. 6.1.2 Christians are often ignorant. 6.1.3 Christians are narrow-minded. 6.1.4 Christians are very hateful. 6.1.5 Christians condone child abuse. 6.1.6 Christians are predators. 6.1.7 Christians have stunted value systems. 18.104.22.168 Only a relationship between an adult man and an adult woman is allowable. 22.214.171.124 A woman's place is in the home. 6.1.8 Christians are blind to their own faults. 6.2 Are Christians dangerous? 6.3 How should Christians be dealt with? 6.4 How should Christians be dealt with in-person? 6.5 How are Christians dealt with in alt.flame.jesus.christ? 7. Opposing Christianity 7.1 Why spend so much time denigrating things you don't believe in? 7.2 Why focus on Christianity? There are plenty of other religions to oppose. 7.2.1 Christians are annoying. 126.96.36.199 Christians are encouraged to "share" with everyone. 188.8.131.52 Vocal Christians will try to force their values upon you. 7.2.2 The basic motivation of Christianity is silly. 7.2.3 Christians take their beliefs way too seriously. 8. Final Words 8.1 Who "owns" this document? 8.2 May I copy this document? 8.2.1 Yes, as long as you don't change it or profit from it. 8.2.2 There are some specific things you *can't* do with any copies. SECTION 0 - DISCLAIMER 0.1 This article is provided without any expressed or implied warranties. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the factual information in this article, be advised that this article also contains many opinions that are not necessarily endorsed by anyone other than the author. The author assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. SECTION 1 - INTRODUCTION 1.1 What is the purpose of this document? This document explains the purpose of the alt.flame.jesus.christ newsgroup. It includes a brief guide to flaming, a general description of Christianity, and some of the issues surrounding Christianity that are subjects of debate. 1.2 What is a FAQ? FAQ stands for "frequently asked questions" or "frequently answered questions", depending on who you ask. These are documents on various topics, usually composed by enthusiasts in order to answer certain questions that constantly come up in some newsgroups. They are periodically posted to their home newsgroups, and to news.answers. This FAQ doesn't contain many frequently asked questions and their answers (although there are a few); it's more of a fact file, and a summary of opinions shared by most of the people who contribute to the critical conversations in alt.flame.jesus.christ. It may be best to think of this document as more of a "guide" than a FAQ. 1.3 What is alt.flame.jesus.christ? A flame newsgroup (see definition of "flame" below) dedicated to exposing, ridiculing, and critically discussing Christianity. Some of reasons for this activity are explored below. 1.4 Do I have to agree with anything in this FAQ to post anything to alt.flame.jesus.christ? No. 1.4.1 alt.flame.jesus.christ is an unmoderated newsgroup. Nobody decides what is or is not an appropriate post. Ideally, posts should somehow relate to Christianity, but that is not a requirement. No posts are ever canceled due to content, as far as I know. 1.4.2 This FAQ does not contain rules or posting guidelines. Some FAQs contain specific posting instructions for a newsgroup, but this one does not. The general consensus in alt.flame.jesus.christ is that anybody ought to be allowed to say anything they want to say. Since posting rules hinder the freedom of expression, or at least distract the poster, there are no such rules. 1.4.3 This FAQ is largely personal opinion. Most of the subjective material in this document is merely the opinion of the author, but others have helped shaped it to varying degrees. The FAQ author's opinions are offered to serve as a basis for understanding opposition to Christianity, but nobody is expected to agree with them. 1.5 Are you new to Usenet? Welcome, newbie. A "newbie", if that term is unfamiliar to you, refers to someone who has little, if any, experience with Usenet newsgroups. If you have never read the messages, or "posts", in a newsgroup then pick a newsgroup that focuses on something you enjoy. Don't start with a flame group (see the definition of "flame" below) because, if you do, your first experiences with Usenet will probably be bad. For example, if you like to photograph wildlife then check out rec.photo.technique.nature. There are resources available to introduce you to Usenet, if you want to use them. 1.5.1 Some helpful websites. http://www.newbie.net http://www.newbie-u.com http://www.netlingo.com 1.5.2 Some helpful newsgroups. news.answers (Tip: Look for messages titled "Welcome to Usenet!" and "What is Usenet?", both by Mark Moraes.) news.announce.newusers news.newusers.questions alt.answers SECTION 2 - FLAMING 2.1 What is a flame? A "flame" is a message intended to insult and provoke, often directed with hostility toward a particular person or people. A closely related activity is "trolling", wherein one posts a message intended to cause others to post flames as responses. 2.2 What is the purpose of flaming in general? This is a highly subjective topic, but most flames are usually intended to put down another person or their ideas, or start a critical discussion. 2.3 How are flames used in alt.flame.jesus.christ? They are usually used to expose, denigrate, or insult Christians. This is accomplished in many ways which include sarcasm, humor, contrary evidence, and outright hostility. 2.4 Why refer to Christians as "Xians"? There are a couple of reasons... 2.4.1 An "X" is a handy abbreviation for "Christ". The first letter of the Greek word for "Christ" is the letter Chi, which looks like the English letter "X"; therefore, an "X" is considered by some to be an appropriate abbreviation for the word "Christ". As you can imagine, regular contributors to alt.flame.jesus.christ can find themselves writing the word "Christ" quite a bit. Abbreviating the word to just an "X" can save a surprising amount of typing. 2.4.2 Substituting "X" for "Christ" annoys Christians. Although a single "X" is a valid abbreviation for "Christ", many Christians like to hold the cynical view that "it means you're crossing out Christ". Such people are blind to the obvious fact that they're exposing their ignorance of issues related to their own religion. We who oppose Christianity can savor some delight in annoying Christians with the abbreviation, and then rub their noses in their ignorance by demonstrating its validity. SECTION 3 - CHRISTIANITY IN A NUTSHELL 3.1 What is a Christian? Somebody who participates in a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Most Christians accept the Holy Bible as the main record of those teachings, although some denominations claim that other books also contain some of his teachings. 3.2 Who was Jesus Christ? The answer to that question depends on whether you believe he really existed or not, and in what form you believe he existed (if at all). A discussion of the various theories concerning who Jesus Christ was is beyond the scope of this FAQ. 3.3 Who do Christians think Jesus Christ was? First of all, his name was just Jesus. (Joshua, actually. The Bible's New Testament was originally written in Greek, and "Jesus" is the Greek transliteration of "Joshua".) "Christ" means "messiah", and actually refers to what Christians believe was his life's purpose. It is more accurate to say "Jesus the Christ", but this has been shortened to "Jesus Christ". According to the Holy Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod. He lived for approximately thirty-five years, during which time he reportedly healed sick people at the touch of a hand, cast "demons" out of people, and taught people about how they ought to live and prepare for the afterlife. Many Jews of the time thought Jesus was a heretic, and that his claims and teachings were blasphemous. For this, he was eventually executed by crucifixion. 3.4 Why is a major religion based on Jesus? According to the Holy Bible, Jesus was born to a virgin who had been impregnated by God. Being the son of God, Jesus was perfect and was the ultimate authority on the afterlife. This also explained his reported ability to heal the incurably sick, and cast out demons. Christians believe that Jesus' execution was a sacrifice to God that symbolically "paid" for all the sins of mankind. They believe that he returned to life after remaining dead for three days, thus proving that he was the son of God. Jesus' death and resurrection are therefore sufficient to "pay" God for everyone's sin, allowing them to enter Heaven and escape punishment in Hell. This explains Jesus' title of "christ" or "savior". Today, Christians believe that Jesus is fully aware of everything that happens in the lives of every person on Earth. They believe that it is possible to have a strong, personal relationship with him while alive on Earth, and that he can influence one's life in powerful ways. After leading such a life, one can enter Heaven. SECTION 4 - MODERN CHRISTIANITY 4.1 What do Christians believe today? There are many different denominations of Christianity, each with its own beliefs, ceremonies, and values. Detailing the beliefs of every denomination would be a monumental task, and one that I simply cannot perform. However, below are a few beliefs that a great many Christians around the world share. 4.1.1 Jesus is alive. According to the Bible, Jesus was crucified but rose from the dead. He now lives in Heaven, along with various other beings including God. 4.1.2 Jesus is God. I know what you're thinking: "Hey! I thought Christians believed that Jesus was the *son* of God, and that he now lives (with God) in Heaven?" That is correct. Many Christians (but not all) believe in a concept called "the trinity". Here's how the trinity works: There is just one God. But God is so complex that no human could ever understand him, so he simplifies himself by representing himself to humans as three beings: The son (Jesus), the father (God), and the Holy Spirit. In this way, Jesus is both God *and* the son of God. Confused? Don't feel bad. Many Christians are also confused by the theory of the trinity, or "godhead". Some denominations don't even believe in it, because they view it as polytheism. 4.1.3 You are a sinner. Everybody is born a sinner. You can't escape it. You sin all the time whether you realize it or not. This has been true ever since Adam and Eve first disobeyed God in the garden of Eden. 4.1.4 You are going to Hell. As a sinner, you cannot be in God's presence. God and sin, like oil and water, simply do not mix. Anyone who cannot be with God is sent to Hell (and, later, the Lake of Fire) to be tormented with fire for all of eternity. 4.1.5 Jesus loves you and wants to save you from Hell. Jesus wants to get to know you, and be your personal friend in spirit. He can hear you and see you, and he knows your thoughts. If you believe in him, you will go to Heaven instead of Hell because Jesus will tell God to consider the crucifixion as payment for your sins; thus, you will no longer be a sinner and can be in God's presence. Most Christians also feel a strong urge to share this with everyone, especially anybody who doesn't seem to know it already. This is called "sharing" or "spreading the word". 4.2 How do Christians practice their religion? It's practiced on two levels: Everyday life, and in structured meetings. 4.2.1 Christians try to live the way God wants them to. Every Christian tries to act the way they think Jesus wants them to live, and this is reflected in nearly everything they do. They study the Holy Bible and then apply their learning to everyday life. They will avoid "sinful" activity, pray a lot, and to try encourage non- Christians to become Christians. Christians often exhibit a cheerful, calm, pleasant demeanor to demonstrate that they have a "spirit-filled temperament". 4.2.2 Christians attend structured meetings. Most Christians will attend church services, where a minister (probably a man with a Master of Divinity degree) teaches the congregation about Biblical matters. Serious Christians will also attend informal "Bible studies" or other meetings to discuss their beliefs and how they relate to the rest of the world. SECTION 5 - SOME RAW TRUTHS ABOUT CHRISTIANITY 5.1 Is Christianity valid? A debate on this question could fill a library. There are so many arguments and counterarguments both for and against the validity of Christianity, that there is simply no room for them in this FAQ. 5.2 What things might suggest that Christianity is invalid? I'm not going to attempt to list and discuss every possible suggestion that supports the idea that Christianity is invalid, but I will briefly present a couple of common ideas. 5.2.1 The Holy Bible itself. The Bible was written by men who may not have fully understood some of the things they recorded in it. In some cases, symbolic Biblical descriptions can be explained by science. In other cases, events described in the Bible can be interpreted as "mad" just as easily as they can be beheld as "divine". 5.2.2 Christian behavior. There are many different types of Christians, each following slightly different beliefs. Some of those beliefs directly contradict others, sometimes even for the same person. It can also be said that some Christians merely extract the Bible verses that support the things they want to believe, and ignore the rest. Also, some Christians, including entire denominations, have been known to use their own scripture to justify truly appalling behavior. Finally, it is not uncommon for a Christian to twist scripture to justify his own views about the world. 5.3 Is there a basic, underlying motivation for Christians? Yes, and it is very simple. A Christian's entire belief system is founded on the offer of eternal bliss (Heaven) as opposed to eternal torment (Hell). If there were no threat of Hell, Christianity would cease to exist. 5.4 Who becomes a Christian? Theoretically, anybody who believes what is written in the Holy Bible. It is interesting to note, however, that many Christians were "saved" or "converted" when they fell into one of these categories: 5.4.1 Children born to Christian parents. Children usually adopt the religion of their parents. Parents who are unwaveringly devoted to a particular religion have great difficulty understanding why a child would choose another religion, and will try to persuade their offspring that other religions are simply not smart alternatives. Christian parents ensure that their children think all other religions, including other Christian denominations, are evil. Exploration of other religions or denominations is highly discouraged. 5.4.2 The vulnerable and impressionable. Anyone who has "hit bottom" (deeply depressed, imprisoned, dying) may have an unusually open mind. The idea of a powerful personal friend who offers eternal bliss may be very attractive, even though the friend cannot be seen or touched. A well-versed Christian can easily persuade such a person that Jesus is real and active by acting in a "holy" or "righteous" manner and claiming that their actions are directly affected by Jesus himself. SECTION 6 - CHRISTIANS AS ENEMIES 6.1 Christians seem like nice people. Why oppose them? Yes, Christians may seem nice in certain ways. Many avoid harsh language, try to "love" everybody, and do other things that tend to endear them to others. But behind the pleasantries there are darker sides to some Christians. 6.1.1 Many Christians are liars. Whether accidentally or intentionally, many Christians routinely try to deceive themselves and others by simply making things up. Strangely, the Christian may not be aware that he is, in fact, confusing fact with fantasy, for various reasons. The lies are sometimes accompanied by verses, or fragments thereof, extracted from the Holy Bible in an attempt to disguise their falsity. 6.1.2 Christians are often ignorant. Many Christians are not even familiar with the very religion to which they have dedicated their lives. A good example is Christmas, a pagan holiday that Christians have come to recognize as the "birthday of Jesus". Amazingly, Christians can come up with many Holy Bible verses to justify a "holy" holiday that has nothing to do with who they claim Jesus Christ was. 6.1.3 Christians are narrow-minded. Christians are continuously taught that a certain set of beliefs and values *must* be followed, and that any deviation may bring grave consequences. Because of this, Christians refuse to even consider alternative perspectives on a wide variety of subjects. Any Christian who does "stray" is said to have been "lost" and is assumed to be doomed to eternal torment in Hell. 6.1.4 Christians are very hateful. In a dark extension of their narrow-mindedness, Christians do not hesitate to hate people who act in ways that they consider "evil". Satanists, abortionists, and homosexuals often top the list of people who Christians loathe, even though most Christians really do not understand (or want to understand) the true issues surrounding those people. Christians have been known to violently attack homosexuals and abortionists. 6.1.5 Christians condone child abuse. Corporal punishment is the norm in a Christian household. Apparently, Christians do not believe that a child can learn properly unless physical violence is involved. Additionally, many Christians support the practice of circumcision (a surgical procedure performed on the genitalia of infant boys without anesthetic), which has very little medicinal value. 6.1.6 Christians are predators. Christianity, like any organization, must recruit new members if it is to survive. Christians have little difficulty in this, however, as they are eager to "share Jesus" with anyone who will listen. Interestingly, the people most willing to listen are often at a very vulnerable or impressionable stage in life. Christians will swoop down on these poor people like lions rushing in to take a wounded wildebeest. The new convert will experience some relief from his predicament (from the attention of his "friends"), and he will be told that he experiencing the "joy of the Lord". 6.1.7 Christians have stunted value systems. A lot of Christians cling to values that are considered old-fashioned. Progress in some key facets of life, most notably sexual relationships and women's' roles, seem to contradict what Christians think are "allowed". That doesn't sound like a reason to oppose Christians, does it? Actually, it is. You see, Christians feel obligated to share, or even force, their values on everybody else - especially anybody who openly adheres to contradictory values. Some Christians even resort to activism, sometimes violently. A couple of "family values" that Christians want *everybody* to cherish, whether they like it or not, are discussed below. 184.108.40.206 Only a relationship between an adult man and an adult woman is allowable. A discussion of the various legal and moral issues related to this Christian idea is beyond the scope of this FAQ. Essentially, Christians hold the narrow-minded, not to mention old-fashioned, view that a sexual relationship of any kind is restricted to an adult man and an adult woman who are legally married to each other. Christians strongly oppose all other kinds of sexual relationships, legal or not. 220.127.116.11 A woman's place is in the home. Christians still feel that a man is "king of his castle" and that his wife should submit to his superiority. Her family role is restricted to that of home maker and child bearer, not to mention servant to her husband. Needless to say, Christians fear the feminist movement. 6.1.8 Christians are blind to their own faults. A Christian's inherent narrow-mindedness, hatred, and tendency to lie sometimes combine to make it difficult for a Christian to recognize his or her own erroneous ways. The result is a person who strongly encourages or discourages inappropriate issues, yet refuses to recognize the problems with the assertion. In a dark extension of this, a Christian may actually attempt to create a facade to make his or her activities seem more acceptable to those who don't know any better (usually other Christians). An example of such behavior would be the Christian who claims to support women's issues, yet consistently asserts Biblical ideology that modern society generally recognizes as anti-woman. The Christian will reject all counterarguments. Fellow Christians will almost unwaveringly offer support. 6.2 Are Christians dangerous? Yes, to varying degrees. A Christian may simply be a mild threat to a normal person's individuality and freedom. More seriously, a Christian could be a very real threat to one's life. As noted above, Christians have been known to physically attack certain practitioners of "evil". 6.3 How should Christians be dealt with? That depends on whether you meet one in person, or if you are communicating via a medium such as alt.flame.jesus.christ. 6.4 How should Christians be dealt with in-person? Avoidance is the best policy, especially for people who are experiencing temporary hardships. If avoidance is not possible, make it clear in no uncertain terms that you are NOT interested in what the Christian has to say. Do not negotiate or try to find "middle ground", because you will lose. Remember: Christians are deceitful, and will employ a variety of attractive tricks to gain your attention. 6.5 How are Christians dealt with in alt.flame.jesus.christ? In alt.flame.jesus.christ, an unspoken goal of many non-Christian members is to expose the lies, hatred, and other dark features of the religion. This is done with various flame-posts that strip away the various facades of Christianity, leaving the truth open and exposed for all to see. Of course, being a an unmoderated flame newsgroup, Christians can also expected to face raw and merciless insults, sarcasm, laughter, mockery, and other forms of verbal abuse. SECTION 7 - OPPOSING CHRISTIANITY 7.1 Why spend so much time denigrating things you don't believe in? People cannot be expected to make informed decisions, or form logical opinions, about a subject if they do not consider alternative perspectives. We can critically discuss Christianity and shed new light in its features to present a more well-rounded set of ideas on which religious opinions and decisions can be founded. 7.2 Why focus on Christianity? There are plenty of other religions to oppose. Different people have different reasons for choosing to oppose Christianity in general. The reasons are so large in number, and so varied - indeed, specific reasons depend on the individual - that there is not room in this document to discuss them. However, I will briefly offer a few general suggestions that many non-Christians may cite as reasons for actively opposing Christianity. 7.2.1 Christians are annoying. 18.104.22.168 Christians are encouraged to "share" with everyone. Christians feel the need to "share the gospel" with absolutely anyone who will listen. Sometimes they can seem like annoying little flies, buzzing 'round ones ears, that refuse to go away. It is easy to understand how one might be embittered by such experiences, and decide to oppose all Christians. 22.214.171.124 Vocal Christians will try to force their values upon you. More vocal Christians can be very annoying, because they will try to get governments to outlaw (and businesses to reject) anything that they don't like and don't think anybody else should do or have access to. It doesn't matter that the Christian doesn't do it or have access to it -- the Christian doesn't want any ANYBODY to do it or have access. 7.2.2 The basic motivation of Christianity is silly. Christianity is based on fear. Christians are afraid of being sent to Hell, so they "love" Jesus and use the Holy Bible to govern their lives in an effort to gain access to Heaven instead. Some people think that it's silly to base one's entire life on an inaccurate, and possibly fictional, set of instructions simply because one is afraid of an unseen entity who may not even exist. 7.2.3 Christians take their beliefs way too seriously. It's not hard to oppose a religion that brainwashes its followers into reducing their lives to one of hatred and narrow-mindedness in the name of "love" to escape an imaginary place called Hell. SECTION 8 - FINAL WORDS 8.1 Who "owns" this document? A single person wrote most of this document, but it is offered for review by those alt.flame.jesus.christ posters who oppose Christianity. The entire contents are copyright 1999 by the author. Feedback should be posted to alt.flame.jesus.christ, but it can also be sent to the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. 8.2 May I copy this document? 8.2.1 Yes, as long as you don't change it or profit from it. Feel free to copy, transmit, and distribute this FAQ in unmodified form for any not-for-profit use in any medium you desire. 8.2.2 There are some specific things you *can't* do with any copies. You may not include all or part of this document in any for-profit publication or in connection with any for-profit service. You may not distribute a modified version of this document, or a modified portion of this document, for any purpose.