The Bible Not Fit For Today (II)

Christians, I have some questions for you, and I would like some honest answers. These are all very important questions and I want them treated as such, with "book, chapter, and verse" from the Holy Bible. No other answers, rationalizing, speculation, or philosophizing will be accepted. I am looking for straight-up biblical answers...

To which passage will you direct me to provide me with the Bible's take on cryonics? Will it be a scriptural practice with humans once we learn how to safely freeze, and in the future, unfreeze a human to find a cure for a disease? Or are we dodging your God's will on the fact that he wants us to face the consequences of any condition/ailment he sends our way?

To which passage will you direct me to show Bible authority for the cyborgization of replaceable/repairable body parts. If I lose a hand, I do have Bible authority to replace it with a genetically engineered one, no? If I don't, are all the old people with pacemakers and artificial joints going to Hell along with me? Surely not, right? For that matter, why not show the Bible authority for removing a non-life-threatening mole or deformity, or for allowing an extremely homely person to undergo plastic surgery? If our bodies are the temple of God, how dare we alter them, right?

To which passage will you refer me in an effort to show me that life begins at conception? Which passage(s) deal with artificial insemination, invetro fertilization, test-tube babies, contraception, etc. I, for one, would love to know just how you determine as a Christian that when the first cell division occurs at conception, you have a life. I would have thought that perhaps it is after the initial cell divisions occur and the embryo splits...say, into twins or triplets, and that is the point at which life really begins, but I'm not a Christian. You tell me, and please don't fail to direct me to the Bible passage from whence you arrived at your conclusion.

To which passage of scripture would you advise I adhere to, to provide a doctor counsel on how to deal with a baby born with the anatomical parts of both the male and female sexes? Would there be any bible authority to surgically fashion a newborn baby into a complete male or female? Which passages deal with how we should treat transgender people? I would really like to know.

To which passage would you lead me to find authority and the motivation to pursue a space program? Should we even try to visit far distant planets? By what authority? As far as the Bible is concerned, we shouldn't even expect to find pond scum on those distant worlds, and their certainly wouldn't be any sentient, intelligent life out there. So why should we even bother investigating those lofty matters when earth was created as our portion for life and well-being? Should we ever discover aliens from another world who are sentient, what should we do? Evangelize them? Do they have souls? Do they have sin? On the one hand, if they have no souls and are to be considered as mere sheep and oxen, what if they are capable of doing the same moral things we humans do, like exhibiting advanced forms of love and compassion? What if they are truly moral beings? What if their morality actually exceeds our own? On the other hand, if we say yes, that they do have souls and sin, and need to be evangelized, have all those who died on their planet thus far without our "gospel of Jesus" headed to hell? These are some pretty serious issues!

Then, of course, there is the issue of cloning - where in the Bible do we find the go-ahead to proceed with this branch of science? Was it wrong to clone Dolly, the sheep, like we did back in the nineties? Will it be wrong to clone humans? Does cloning somehow encroach on God's plans for man? Will these future human clones have "souls"? Will they be able to go to hell for sins? Will they get off scott-free for wrongs committed? If these soulless things reproduce, will they be capable of having offspring with souls if one of the partners is a normal, "ensouled" human? Won't the children have to get the soul from the non-clone parent who has a soul? Or is the soul sent down from heaven at conception? Might God decide to send down souls for these clones since, for all practical purposes, they are still created in God's image?

Also, what about DNA banks, sperm banks, egg banks, and fertility treatments? Please give me the scriptures on these deep topics. I have other questions on the creation of artificial intelligence, but I think I know what the answers will be. All I want is a good and hearty "Thus saith the Lord" from the word of God to help mankind on these morally crucial matters.

As a former minister, I myself tried many times to find the answers to these questions in the "good old book", but never could. I give up! I am curious to see the Bible's teaching on how to proceed on these subjects from some current believers who are confident that they can do better than I did. I am now fully convinced that the Bible doesn't have these answers, and therefore, is a book that is far from fit as a reliable and applicable guide for matters of life today. Maybe someone can yet prove me wrong on these things.

Now I do hope that any wayfaring Christians who take to answer these questions will realize how much I appreciate their effort in doing so, but I also hope they realize that if their answers don't match up with the answers of their fellow believers, then this suggests that their book does not clearly offer these answers, if at all. Either all that is in the Bible is only what we have authority for (then we'd have to eliminate anything extra-biblical, like cars and planes, etc.), or the Bible implicitly authorizes and guides us today, authorizing a number of extra-biblical things that must be carefully and tediously studied out. However, it is worth stating that this has proven to be an impossible task to undertake, since no one has yet reached a consensus on these "answers" provided by the bible.

Stereo instructions for a type of stereos might be well written, useful, and relevant for a whole product line of a given stereo type, but as time passes, those instructions will inevitably become obsolete. Time and learning will render them useless. The same, I contend, is true of the Bible. It cannot be a valid means of answering today's complex questions and issues. We must look for answers elsewhere.

(JH)

66 comments:

centuri0n said...

Turns out the Bible also doesn't have a decent recipe for meatloaf, and doesn't tell us which episode of ST:Voyager is the best one, also.

However, as a glanced through my library, neither does my Copelston multi-volume survey of Philosophy texts from college, and neither does my old Physics textbook.

How can those books be authoritative if they don't tell me anything about meatloaf or the adventures of Captain Janeway?

The answer to that question is the answer to your question: scope of authority. The Bible doesn't claim to be the Encyclopedia Galactica. It claims to be God's revelation about His purpose in this world.

In the same way that Copeston wasn't concerned about TV when he wrote his survey, and in the same way that a Physics textbook is not concerned with meatloaf, the Bible is not concerned about things which are frankly outside of the work and purpose of Jesus Christ.
_________________________

And before I tottle off for the day, this blog, which is supposed to be debunking Christianity, doesn't seem to talk too much about Christianity: it seems to talk a lot about what you atheists wish Christianity was.

You people are supposed to be the smart and clear-eyed ones. Time to get there.

Jeff Schmidt said...

I think one of the points of this is that the Bible is not and can not be a one-stop source of all knowledge, as some Christians assert. I've actually met individuals (well, one at least) that claimed that there wasn't anything else in the world that he or his family needed to know that wasn't found in the Bible. Strawman? Maybe, but one of this fellow's own creation, and one that exists in all sincerity.

It also brings to light the more limited claim that all morality can be found in the Bible. Really? All the lessons in there point to one, unified and true set of morals? If not, if we find that there are conflicting and inscrutable lessons therein, what criteria are we using to suss them out? If those criteria are good enough to untangle the conflicts, why not use them directly without appealing to what a select handful of tribal leaders and dissidents thought thousands of years ago?

Finally, if it seems to you that atheists only discuss what we "wish" Christianity is, that's probably because Christianity takes so many forms. I don't "wish" Christianity was anything. It is what it is. All I've seen here is a set of arguments and discussions addressing exactly what a) Christians claim Christianity is, and what b) the Bible and supporting documents claims it is. That those positions may occasionally (often?) differ from what you think it is doesn't mean we wish it were different. All in my opinion, of course, contributers here may think otherwise.

Gil Stone said...

I'm not an atheist, but I have debunked Christianity in 61 pages. I challenge any Christian (or anyone else for that matter) to refute my paper (www.indefenseofgod.com).

If you're not capable of refuting my paper, maybe you can respond to a few simple questions about the Bible posted in my blog (http://speak.blogs.com/god_jesus_christian_bible/).

Sandalstraps said...

To which passage of the Constitution will you direct me to speak directly to abortion, without first deriving some philosophy of interpretation and application? To which passage of the Constitution will you direct me to speak directly to the interogation of suspected terrorists?

If the Constitution fails to, without having some philosophy derived from it or interpretive framework applied to it, speak to troublesome contemporary issues, what are we to make of this?

If we have any sense, nothing at all.

I'm sure that at some point some Christians tried to sell you on the notion that the Bible is God's manual for how to lead the human life. Of course that approach to scripture is fatally flawed, as it imposes a modern genre (the encyclopedia, or even the manual for your lawnmower) onto an ancient collection of writings written in many different genres, none of which remotely resemble the kinds of work in question.

I know that this isn't the sort of answer you are looking for, but that's because you are making an extreme form of a category error. Your question is impossible to answer because it is a nonsenical question.

Or, to put it another way, you ought not, in your criticism of Christianity (as though there were a single thing, Christianity, which can be criticized) make the errors of the worst sorts of Christians, who don't even understand the texts the consider to be sacred.

exbeliever said...

Centuri0n,

Before you "tottle off," it would be terrific if you provided us with some kind of argument supporting the belief in your god.

If you are a presuppositionalist, maybe you could start by supporting the first premise of TAG. If you are an evidentialist, maybe you could support the first premise of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. Or explain the anthropic principle.

Or just give any reason for us to believe that your god exists. You are backed up by the creator of the universe, right? The Bible has made you wiser than all of your counselors. We are fools. It shouldn't be hard for you to give just one sound argument. Just one, then tottle.

exbeliever said...

Centuri0n,

One last thing. If you are a presuppositionalists, can I get 5 questions on your debate blog? You know my first question already. If you are a presupper, I can already guess your first question, "How do you account for universal morality and the universal laws of logic in an 'atheistic worldview'?" Am I right?

DagoodS said...

Sandalstraps – let me ask you, then—what is the Bible designed to be?

Your analogy of the United States Constitution is accurate; however, the Constitution was designed to be modified. In the event new issues arose (as they did) and new problems occurred (as they do) it has established a procedure to address those instances. In fact, the Constitution could be abrogated by its own terms.

And (just like various forms of Christianity) arguments have risen over whether it is to be treated as a “living, breathing” document, or strictly construed by the limits of the language contained. Of course, since it is a human-made document, this is not a surprise and even expected.

But the Bible is supposed to be more. Depending on one’s particular taste, it could be a historical document, an allegory, an inerrant Word of God, a form of divine spark, or even just a direction to look at God.

Normally, I would think the notion that looking at a book inspired by God for a recipe on meatloaf is a bit ridiculous. But then I would also find a God fixated on whether or not to eat rabbits (Lev. 11:6) just as unimportant, yet there it is. Or a God so concerned about traditions he would kill a man over it. (Gen. 38:9) Or a God cursing a tree to make a point. (Mark 11:14)

You say the Bible is not a manual for how to lead the human life—then what is it? You say we impose a modern genre on an ancient collection of works—how is it supposed to be applied today? Was it only to be applied in a historical fashion? Was Paul writing, thinking it should only be applied to First Century Christianity, or that his writings would be applicable forever? Was the Author of Mark writing a story that he thought should only be applicable at the time, or could be taken as mythos/logos forever?

On the one hand, I agree with your assessment that not all Christians determine that the Bible is a word-for-word instruction manual. Yet I assume you would disagree with my determination the Bible is solely and 100% man-made, giving us no more insight into a God than a rock. Where, then, do you fall as to what we should do with the Bible? What is it designed for?

Or is even the asking the question an error? That we should not look for design, or question its reason, and simply accept it, as is?

David Poehlein said...

I've been coming here for just a short time. In that time, it has become quite clear that people here are looking for proof. You're not looking for a glimmer of hope, or some form of validation. The soul-searching seems to be over, and raw skepticism has taken its place. You're looking for a miracle to come down a hit you all on the head. *WHAMO. Well, maybe you're not, but that's the only thing that would convince you. "Now I can believe because I saw it" seems to be what's needed. The concept of faith seems foreign here, and that's what all these arguements begin with. That's our fundamental difference. To have faith, or not to have faith is at the center of this blog.

I'll say something like "my faith leads me to......"
Someone will respond something like "Yes, but where's the proof about....."

There is not one Christian on this Earth who can give a perfect arguement for every topic. NOT ONE. There is not one athiest who can disprove ANYTHING in The Bible, and I mean ANYTHING. Sure, people can argue about this or that, state that this verse contradicts that verse. It's been done ad-nauseum. National Geographic Channel can go in search of Noah's boat, attempting to disprove the entire thing for ratings, only to find that, historically, the data that they do find fits with the Biblical story.

Honestly, I don't need to watch T.V., or listen to non-believers, or believers for that matter. My faith is my own. I hold it dear and feel extremely fortunate to have been gifted it by God.

You should all understand that Christianity is no picnic. I've heard several times on this blog that when people "deconverted" (as if it's some form of psychological debreifing from horrific brainwashing) they were finally at ease, knowing they didn't have God to answer to anymore. Sorry, but you do. Don't mistake that sense of ease for anything other than pushing aside your conscience and purpose in life. Christianity, quite often, means hardship and turmoil and difficult, soul-wrenching agony. We are all the better for the journey we take in God, though. Of course, this all sounds like a bunch of hogwash to those without faith. I know, I've seen it here. Everything is met with skepticism. "Show me the proof". I can't even believe that people state that "The Bible isn't fit for Today" and "Where is Biblical text about cryogenics". Are you KIDDING ME? Are some of you so jaded against God that you would ask a ridiculous question like that? The Bible is what is is. God's inspired words for us to consume and live by.

The aggregate I.Q. is quite high, I'm sure in this blog. Please, though, if you cannot get beyond numbers and scientific data, what are you here for? If you need proof for everything, we get back to my last point causing the blog title: "To David and All Others Who So Flippantly Dismiss Our Past Faith". How many times has my faith been dismissed since I've been here? Please, go back and read. My God has been taunted, put down, and dismissed repeatedly.

To those of you who bring science into this equation, you probably know that about 90% of published hypothesis' are incorrect. The "Big Bang Theory" is constantly being bombarded as inaccurate. Some scientists think that dual membranes collided, others think multiple bangs occured, others just throw their hands up in the air. This is where you hang your hat over God? I'm the one who's supposed to be quoting Bible verses to bolster my defense? Science is not absolute, it is quite often mistaken. Is 90% of The Bible inaccurate? No. Not even 1%.

Jesus did not rise from the tomb by sleight of hand, past multiple Roman guards. How did none of them see ANYTHING? Where did he go? Did some disciple take out their perfectly silent tractor and dig a hole on the back-side of the tomb and rescue Jesus, then fill the hole perfectly with nobody noticing? You want proof?????? Tell me, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Are your hearts so against God that you can't see the simplicity of this? Are you so jaded that you believe just because we live in America, we're predisposed to Christianity, so it's all a sham?????? Seriously? You'd rather put your faith in the Big Bang theory as if it's the true answer? Sorry. Not me. Maybe I'll start a "debunking scientific myths" tommorrow. It'll have things like "kids shouldn't have sugar before going to bed because it makes them hyper" and "staring at T.V. too much makes your eyes 'tired'".

Come on folks. You're all too smart to fall for humanism and all its' trappings. God is not the answer only for the gullible. It is THE ANSWER. Don't let your intelligence fool you, or lead you astray. Just because you've questioned things, it's not too late to re-examine your own faith and maybe realize that you still have a candle burning in your soul. Maybe you don't want it to anymore, but it's still there.


Can't wait for the responses to this one.

exbeliever said...

David,

You can't have it both ways. Either you simply believe because you believe or you believe because you have reasons. You are trying to play both sides of this coin.

The problem with simply believing is that there are competing claims. Some people tell us Islam is the one true religion, others Hinduism, others Judaism. Telling us to "just believe" doesn't cut it because you would have to explain why we should suspend all doubt about Christianity but keep it for all of the other religions. You reject every god we do except one. Why?

But we see that your claim to believe without proof is really insincere. You do have reasons. You mention a couple above.

Your argument is something like:

There is no good explanation for the existence of the universe in science, therefore God must have created it.

The fault, here, (or, actually, one of the faults here) is that you assume "I don't know" is an illegitimate answer. What if we can never know how the universe came into existence, does that mean that a god created it?

The laws of physics are based on the existence of the universe. How can physical laws describe events without a physical universe? We may never be able to know how something happened, but that doesn't mean we should cram this unproven notion of "god" into the equation just so that we have an "answer" that really doesn't answer anything.

[As an aside, the evidence for a Big Bang is so convincing that many Christians adopt it. They just say that the Christian god caused it. All of the galaxies are speeding away from each other. The ones farthest away are going faster than the ones closer. There is cosmic background radiation (i.e. left over "noise" from the explosion of the universe). The Big Bang probably occurred, but atheists do not rely on this religiously. I'm comfortable saying that I don't know how the universe came about. I'm uncomfortable squeezing a non-answer in as a place-holder in knowledge.

I've written more about your underlying argument here.

You also present another argument. Jesus' empty tomb.

Tell me, how do you know Jesus' tomb was empty? Did you read it in the New Testament? You do realize that the books were written anywhere between 50 - 150 years after the fact right? This was well after anyone could have proven it wrong.

What if none of the Jewish leaders really cared about Jesus during his life? What if they weren't concerned at all? What if they didn't post any guards at the tomb? What if Joseph of Arimathea was a faithful Jew who offered his tomb for a couple of days because he didn't want a stinking body up during Passover? What if he simply stored the body over the holiday, got up early and dumped it in an unmarked mass grave?

The thing is, you only know about the empty grave because of the New Testament, a very biased book on the subject, don't you think?

Read this for more information.

So, pick a stance here, David. Either you are believing without reasons or you are believing because you have reasons that you can state like you did above.

If you want us to simply believe, please tell us why we should "simply believe" Christianity and not Hinduism or Islam. If you want us to believe because of reasons, give us those reasons.

John W. Loftus said...

No. No. No. We're not looking for anything at all like proofs. For me the case was/is a cumulative one.

There were just too many individual problems that I had to balance like spinning plates on sticks in order to keep my faith. At some point they just all came crashing down.

Aaron Kinney said...

Good post Joe! :)

David Poehlein,

You said:

You're looking for a miracle to come down a hit you all on the head. *WHAMO. Well, maybe you're not, but that's the only thing that would convince you. "Now I can believe because I saw it" seems to be what's needed. The concept of faith seems foreign here, and that's what all these arguements begin with. That's our fundamental difference. To have faith, or not to have faith is at the center of this blog.

Faith is not foreign here. Faith has been analysed and rejected here. Faith is belief without any evidence or logical reasoning behind it. David, when the only reason a claim can be accepted is through "faith" then you are conceding that it cannot be accepted on its own merits.

I'll say something like "my faith leads me to......"
Someone will respond something like "Yes, but where's the proof about....."


Your faith leads you to whatever imaginary fairy tale you want, just like faith leads children to believe that their dollies are alive or that their favorite Ninja Turtle really does exist in some secret sewer hideout.

There is not one athiest who can disprove ANYTHING in The Bible, and I mean ANYTHING. Sure, people can argue about this or that, state that this verse contradicts that verse. It's been done ad-nauseum. National Geographic Channel can go in search of Noah's boat, attempting to disprove the entire thing for ratings, only to find that, historically, the data that they do find fits with the Biblical story.

Actually that is not true. You only believe that bullshit because your preacher or TVN told you so. Factually you are incorrect. The factual, irrefutable disprovings of the Bible begin at Genesis 1:1, and get worse from there.

David my friend, we have proof that matter/energy cannot be created nor destroyed. So much for a creator God. We have proof that stars existed in the universe before the Earth, before water, and before any life existed. So much for Genesis. It goes on and on and on.

Honestly, I don't need to watch T.V., or listen to non-believers, or believers for that matter. My faith is my own. I hold it dear and feel extremely fortunate to have been gifted it by God.

How immature and inhumane. You are holding up high your blind devotion to an idea without any evidence or logical reasoning as if it were virtuous or something to be proud of. Faith in itself is nothing to be proud of anymore than irrational stubbornness is something to be proud of. Faith in itself is nothing to be proud of anymore than terrets syndrome or obsessive compulsive behaviour is something to be proud of.

David, how did you acquire your faith? As a gift from God? As what age? Since everything you know you came to know through observation, what did you observe that gave you faith? The Bible, or some miraculous event?

David, what brought you to have faith in God, and what could bring you to lose your faith in God? If your belief in God isnt falsifiable in some way, then it isnt a very secure, nor a very communicable, nor a very trustable, beleif -- to be sure.

You should all understand that Christianity is no picnic.

Especially so for those under its foot. Christianity has done nothing good for society that society could not have done better without it. At least you admit that Christianity is no fun.

I've heard several times on this blog that when people "deconverted" (as if it's some form of psychological debreifing from horrific brainwashing) they were finally at ease, knowing they didn't have God to answer to anymore.

That is exactly what it is David: a brainwashing. You, as a Christian, are brainwashed to hold as virtuous the idea that the most sacred belief is the one that is held without any good reason (faith). It is an absolutely horrid, inhumane, and altogether nauseating delusion that poisons the minds of billions of people across the world. It is mankinds worst enemy.

David, I can tell you that my deconversion didnt lead me to be "at ease, knowing [I] didn't have God to answer to anymore." Quite the opposite. For over a year I was afraid that I was going to be cast in hell by God for not believing in him anymore, even though I couldnt help it! Hows that for cognitive dissonance? Christianity fucks you up so hardcore that you STILL feel afraid of Gods wrath for awhile after you dont believe he is real. He is like the imagined monster in the closet that takes years to stop truly believing in. Eventually, I did come to peace and felt at ease, but it took quite a long time after my deconversion to finally rid myself of the fear of God punishing me for no longer being able to belive that he existed. I WANTED to believe in him still. But I no longer could.

Obviously you know nothing about deconverting from a brainwashing. You should try it sometime! ;)

Sorry, but you do. Don't mistake that sense of ease for anything other than pushing aside your conscience and purpose in life. Christianity, quite often, means hardship and turmoil and difficult, soul-wrenching agony.

To those under its boot, yes. Dont you love your God so much David, knowing what you just said?

We are all the better for the journey we take in God, though.

Prove it, liar. Atheists are demonstrably and factually superior people in their conduct regarding themselves and in relation to others. I guess you could say that people are "better" for the journey they take through religion, especially when they finally rid themselves of it. THAT kind of experience really DOES make you a better person.

Of course, this all sounds like a bunch of hogwash to those without faith. I know, I've seen it here. Everything is met with skepticism. "Show me the proof". I can't even believe that people state that "The Bible isn't fit for Today" and "Where is Biblical text about cryogenics". Are you KIDDING ME? Are some of you so jaded against God that you would ask a ridiculous question like that? The Bible is what is is. God's inspired words for us to consume and live by.

Your emotional appeal for the stifling of independent thought only exposes the inhumane, antilife brainwashing that you are stuck in. What is ridiculous is not the questions being asked of the Bible, but the answers it provides (or doesnt provide). And what is ridiculous is your attempt to justify it with an open admission of "faith" whereas you believe in something that is by definition unjustifiable.

The aggregate I.Q. is quite high, I'm sure in this blog. Please, though, if you cannot get beyond numbers and scientific data, what are you here for?

I dunno about the authors in this blog, but I am here personally to help rid the world of superstitions, starting with Abrahamic religions like Christianity. And Ive done a rather fine job so far of leading people away from the cult of Christianity I think.

If you need proof for everything, we get back to my last point causing the blog title: "To David and All Others Who So Flippantly Dismiss Our Past Faith". How many times has my faith been dismissed since I've been here? Please, go back and read. My God has been taunted, put down, and dismissed repeatedly.

Your God does not exist. It is your imagined idea of him that has been put down and dismissed. The fact that you seem unable to understand that the people who write for this blog (as well as myself) spent the majority of their lives as Christians just like you and then finally managed to wake up means that we have already been where you have, and we have already mentally worked past the little issues you are raising. It feels somewhat like an adult telling a child "I know because I used to do that too. Ive already been there."

To those of you who bring science into this equation, you probably know that about 90% of published hypothesis' are incorrect. The "Big Bang Theory" is constantly being bombarded as inaccurate.

Correction: the BIBLE is constantly being bombarded as inaccurate.

Some scientists think that dual membranes collided, others think multiple bangs occured, others just throw their hands up in the air.

Not one of them says "god did it".

This is where you hang your hat over God? I'm the one who's supposed to be quoting Bible verses to bolster my defense? Science is not absolute, it is quite often mistaken. Is 90% of The Bible inaccurate? No. Not even 1%.

Um, quite a bit more than 1% of the Bible is inaccurate David. Genesis starts out with "creation" of everything, which the first law of thermodynamics proves cannot even happen. Then Genesis gets al lthe order of things mixed up, with stars appearing long after plants and the earth and water. How ridiculous! Do you even know what the big bang and physics say about how we got here? How our planet, and our bodies, and literally everything in the universe except the stars themselves are made of starstuff? I imagine I probably lost you. But long story short, you are absolutely wrong about your Bible, and it is much more inaccurate than you were led to believe.

But what does it matter anyway? You have FAITH right? So with your FAITH, you can believe anything you want and it doesnt MATTER if the Bible is 100% WRONG or 100% RIGHT. You will still believe what you believe regardless of logic or evidence that points to the contrary, right?

Jesus did not rise from the tomb by sleight of hand, past multiple Roman guards.

That is correct. Jesus did not rise from the tomb, period.

How did none of them see ANYTHING? Where did he go? Did some disciple take out their perfectly silent tractor and dig a hole on the back-side of the tomb and rescue Jesus, then fill the hole perfectly with nobody noticing? You want proof?????? Tell me, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Are your hearts so against God that you can't see the simplicity of this? Are you so jaded that you believe just because we live in America, we're predisposed to Christianity, so it's all a sham?????? Seriously? You'd rather put your faith in the Big Bang theory as if it's the true answer? Sorry. Not me. Maybe I'll start a "debunking scientific myths" tommorrow. It'll have things like "kids shouldn't have sugar before going to bed because it makes them hyper" and "staring at T.V. too much makes your eyes 'tired'".

An emotional appeal and an ad hominem attack.

Come on folks. You're all too smart to fall for humanism and all its' trappings.

But you are apparently not smart enough to understand the ridiculousness of "faith", nor apply it consistently to your worldview.

God is not the answer only for the gullible. It is THE ANSWER.

It is the answer for those who are content to fit a non-answer into their questions. How did I get here? God. Why did my mom die? God. Why did I survive the car crash? God. Why did the tornado hit? God. What can I place all praise and blame on for when I am too scared to believe in myself or too shifty to be responsible for myself? God.

Don't let your intelligence fool you, or lead you astray. Just because you've questioned things, it's not too late to re-examine your own faith and maybe realize that you still have a candle burning in your soul. Maybe you don't want it to anymore, but it's still there.

Dont let your brainwashing fool you David. Belief in something without evidence or logic is no reason to believe at all. Belief in rising dead bodies, talking snakes and bushes, turning people into salt, splitting oceans, cursed trees, ghosts, angels, demons, and all that stuff is unjustifiable, and unbecoming of a proper adult. You should look at WHY you believe what you believe. Was your faith a gift from God totally uninfluenced by anything else, or was it a brainwashing implanted by your culture, such as your parents, friends, peers, and other people close to you?

Can't wait for the responses to this one.

Neither can I.

Daniel said...

David,

Three points:
1) To those of you who bring science into this equation, you probably know that about 90% of published hypothesis' are incorrect. The "Big Bang Theory" is constantly being bombarded as inaccurate.
You seem to have a misunderstanding of how "Branes" seek to correct long-standing questions in the BB, not to "overturn" it. I would love to read those publications which reject the conclusion that general and special relativity, modern astrophysics and astronomy, and the brightest people I've ever met -- cosmologists, are all "inaccurate" in positing a "singularity". Please read what I wrote about cosmology HERE to another Christian with the same question. The three long-standing problems with the Standard Model, flatness, monopole, and horizon, all have the potential to be solved should supersymmetry hold and the mathematics of string theory advance. Do you have a scientific alternative? I'll wait and listen to the crickets chirp as "creation scientists" work on it. Remember that just as Einstein did not "contradict or overturn" the observations and theory of Newton, so string theory stands poised to add to the BB and correct some long-standing issues, rather than completely overturn it
2) Don't mistake that sense of ease for anything other than pushing aside your conscience and purpose in life.
First, what is my purpose in life? I asked God this many times, only to hear my echoes bouncing off the walls and ceiling. Second, my conscience is clean and clear, those things I do not know I admit, and those things I cannot explain I do not try to. I am as virtuous or more virtuous than I was as an Xian, largely because of the absence of overarching fear and guilt for things which I could not control, and could not explain, and could not justify. It is only Xianity in which a "just God" demands perfection, and rewards nothing short of it, placing a burden of shame and guilt upon us all. No other religions do so.
3) Tell me, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Are your hearts so against God that you can't see the simplicity of this?
Why do you presuppose that the story as related in the gospels is factual? There are many alternatives to an "either/or" fallacy as you presented. If you are serious in pursuing them, look them up. A good question for you is -- why do you reject the miracles of Mohamed? Many Muslims were literate in 610 CE, and many died for their faith. Much more believable that this time period produced reliable history (Sunni is most widely accepted) than in 70-150CE, when suddenly the Jews are anxious to know why the Romans destroyed their temple and open to new explanations from one of their culturally-evolved offspring [ignore the fact that Judaism had been tainted by Greek thought for over 200 years, like the idea of "hades, gehenna, tartarus," etc. Ask yourself, "why would the Muslims lie and die and make up stories?" and you may hit the heart of the matter.

David Poehlein said...

To exbeliever:

I only put the examples there to help you. My faith does not hinge on examples such as these. If you don't believe that, ok.

To the other people with rational viewpoints: Thank you for your candor and reasonable speech. We just disagree on many levels, all centering on having, or not having faith as the genesis.

To Aaron Kinney:

Your breath stinks and you have B.O. Go take a shower and try again, sir. Make sense this time.

Aaron Kinney said...

Yes, an ad hominem attack as a response to my reply to you. Obviously after reading your statements that my breath stinks and I have B.O., I am now fully convinced that your faith is well reasoned, that the Bible is 100% acurrate, and that you have the perfect Bible-based response to any objection that can be raised by any ex-believer.

You have shown me the light. Praise Jesus! :P

I made perfect sense David. It is your ad hominem attack that makes no sense... Stop projecting.

When people can no longer defend their belief or respond reasonably to their critics, they instead attack the critics. It is a very clear sign that their position is undefendable.

You should be more careful what you say David, for you reveal the absurdity of your beliefs when you fail so utterly to justify them.

But Im still willing to hear what you have to say. Why dont you try to answer some of my questions, or at least quote me so that I can see what parts of my response didnt "make sense"?

Othello said...

David Poehlein,

Please note very carefully how exbeliever spells "argument". (Sorry, must be my picky IQ)

David Poehlein said...

"accurate" is the correct spelling. Almost Freudian that you'd spell accurate, inaccurately.

Anyway, peace be with all of you. If anyone would like a nice, peaceful dialogue, I'll be here, watching. This attacking each other is wrong and we're all being juvenile about it, me included. Please remember, faith, by definition, does not demand proof. It centers on belief and trust. God be with you.

exbeliever said...

David,

I only put the examples there to help you. My faith does not hinge on examples such as these.

1 Corinthians 15:14--"And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

According to the apostle Paul, your faith does hinge on Jesus' resurrection. But what evidence do you have for it? The testimony of people writing many years after the fact who were already followers of a religion.

David, you seem like a nice guy. My guess is that you love your faith. You love going to church, singing the hymns and/or praise songs, "fellowshipping" with other Christians, etc. Christianity makes things easier for you. Prayer keeps you from feeling useless when those you love are having a hard time. Your Christianity makes things easy to understand; there are good people and bad people, right political issues and wrong ones, etc.

Listen, I liked that too. But like faith in all things that seem too good to be true (e.g. Santa Claus), it needs to be put out of the mind. Why? Because its deceitful. You deceive yourself.

Here's the deal. You are a nice person. You don't want to see me suffer in hell for eternity. You want me to believe what you believe so that I can have what you believe you have.

So, you come here and you tell us that you believe and that we should also. But you have one belief, Sandalstraps has an entirely different Christian belief, Hindus have another, Muslims have another, and they are all telling me that their belief is the right one.

Now, if I'm going to just accept one "by faith" why must it be yours? If I'm going to turn my mind off and not question my beliefs, why should I choose Christianity instead of one of the other religions?

Help me out here.

Would you be happy if I just said, "Okay, I'm going to have faith now. I believe in Vishnu."? Wouldn't you still say that I'm going to hell? But, then, because I was an adherent to my new faith, I would simply say, "No, your religion is wrong, mine is right."

David, it has to be something besides faith. What if you had grown up in a country where 99% of the population claims to be Muslim? Would you have simply believed that religion? Why not?

exbeliever said...

Holy Crap!

If we start correcting spelling errors in comment sections, I'm screwed! You guys are making me nervous, stop! ;-)

othello said...

DP,

Why do you assume that Aaron Kinney is Othello? Can't your god give you good information just once? Pray for the gift of knowledge!

Lord Timothy said...

"To which passage will you refer me in an effort to show me that life begins at conception?"

I don't think there is a verse that proves it does or doesn't but since we don't know when life begins isn't it our responsibility to look for the earliest possible landmark, and until we know for sure assume it begins there? The alternative of course is to commit what could very well be avoidable murder justified on ignorance alone.

"To which passage will you direct me to show Bible authority for the cyborgization of replaceable/repairable body parts. If I lose a hand, I do have Bible authority to replace it with a genetically engineered one, no? If I don't, are all the old people with pacemakers and artificial joints going to Hell along with me? Surely not, right?"

You either completely misunderstand Christianity here, or blatently misrepresent it. Medical devices have no bearing on salvation, one does always need to search for a place in the Bible that someone did X thing that they intend to know they can do it with a clear consience giving thanks to God.

centuri0n said...

It's funny that for all the new challenges that came up here after my response to the question of how the Bible can claim authority, all of them now change the subject.

I have extended an invitation to anti-theist Brian Flemming which he has accepted at DebateBlog. After that exchange, I'd be willing to field others of his ontological persuation, one at a time.

However, that offer is premised on people answering the question asked -- just as I did here.

That said, there are a couple of questions in this thread I'd like to clean up before I am out of pocket tomorrow. I have 10 minutes. Let's see how I do.

centuri0n said...

ex-believer:

I wouldn't argue TAG or Kalaam. I'd argue that Jesus Christ is all the evidence one needs to be a theist, and in that He doesn't allow for mere theism but only full-throated Christian trinitarianism. The other two arguments are for people who aren't interested in knowing anything about God, and in that, they are lousy arguments.

If I wanted to prove to you that my friend Matt exists, your first response should not be, "I don't believe that Matt exists, so fire away": your first answer should be, "Let's assume that Matt does exist: who cares?" Whether Matt exists or not is such a paltry question that it's not even worth debating; whether Matt's existence has any bearing on your existence is really the question, and that's the point of knowing whether or not Matt exists.

Te existence of God is so much more far-reaching than the existence of Matt that to argue in favor of His "Being" without including the necessity of His "Doing" is just loose talk.

centuri0n said...

gil stone:

while ex-believer has volunteered to be the next guest at DebateBlog, I'd like to invite you. After Brian Flemming, your views interest me more than EB's does.

You can e-mail me at carm.centuri0n@yahoo.com of you are interested.

centuri0n said...

last thing for EB:

My first question to you at DebateBlog would be, "Is the scientific method fallible or infallible? Please explain your answer."

Aaron Kinney said...

Othello????

No offense to anyone, but I am certainly not Othello. If you click on my name you will see that I am a wholly seperate person who has my own blogger profile and writes for numerous blogs.

David,

Im suprised you got so personally offended at my response to you.

Keep in mind David that I only attacked the Chrisitan belief system to which you subscribe, while you attacked me personally and refused to actually engage with anything I wrote.

You even posted another comment spouting off about faith without answering any of my questions asking how you acquired your faith in the first place.

I would love to have a dialogue with you, but, despite your claims to desire a dialogue, you are obviously refusing to begin one with me.. at least not one that actually involves talking about faith.

I promise you that I will never make insults about your breath of body odor.

I also promise you that I will pull no punches in criticizing your belief system that, by its nature, threatens me with eternal suffering and declares me guilty of actions that I did not perform.

But I believe my second promise is the one that scares you away. What a shame.

exbeliever said...

centuri0n,

I'd argue that Jesus Christ is all the evidence one needs to be a theist, and in that He doesn't allow for mere theism but only full-throated Christian trinitarianism. . . If I wanted to prove to you that my friend Matt exists, your first response should not be, "I don't believe that Matt exists, so fire away": your first answer should be, "Let's assume that Matt does exist: who cares?" Whether Matt exists or not is such a paltry question that it's not even worth debating; whether Matt's existence has any bearing on your existence is really the question, and that's the point of knowing whether or not Matt exists.

No thanks, then. After about 25 years of "communion with Jesus," bible college, and two seminary degrees, I think I already know enough about who the New Testament says Jesus is. I assumed your god existed for all of that time. That was, in fact, my starting point. I guess I don't feel the need to reheat that old meal. It doesn't seem that I have anything to learn from you.

My first question to you at DebateBlog would be, "Is the scientific method fallible or infallible? Please explain your answer."

No. Though the scientific method, as it is traditionally stated, appears to have served us well (and, therefore, inspires a good deal of confidence in me), this does not mean that it is infallible. There might be another method that yields "truth" more effectively than the scientific method.

This is similar to the way that I think about Einstein's theory of general relativity. It certainly seems to explain gravity well and many experiments seem to support it, but I am open to the possibility that a better explanation exists (e.g. whatever theory can reconcile quantum theory and general relativity).

Anyway, like I said, I don't think a debate like the one you propose would hold my interest.

Happy tottling!

Anonymous said...

there is no such thing as the scientific method.

exbeliever said...

Anonymous,

You are right that it is usually better to speak of "scientific methods" instead of "the scientific method." I tried to qualify my statement with "as it is traditionally defined." I'm thinking of the high school textbooks that talk about Observation, Hypothesis, Prediction, Experimentation. I'm pretty sure that this is what centuri0n had in mind.

Point well-taken, though.

David Poehlein said...

To exbeliever:

I am a pretty nice guy, and I am frustrated. You're a much more organized thinker than I am, more intelligent, and more in control of your emotions than I am. You seem like a nice guy too. I'm not perfect, I may fly off the handle from time to time.

Let me start, here, with an explanation to your 2:42pm April 18 response. Your use of 1 Corinthians 15:14 shows me that I need to clarify. I do believe that Jesus' resurrection means everything to me. The evidence (although I don't need it to believe it-I can't state that strongly enough) is as follows:

1. The New Testament. This source has been looked at by many microscopes for thousands of years and held up very well.

2. Tacitus' writings.
3. the Pliny letters.
4. Testimonium Flavianum
5. Babylonian Talmud
6. Lucian of Samosata's writings

....and on and on and on. Now, I'm not saying that you should believe that Jesus arose from the tomb and was resurrected based on ANY proof I might give you. Proof will not give you your faith back.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

Faith has nothing to do with proof. You cannot find faith by seeking proof. Faith just is. It stands on its own. No matter the empirical data or alternate viewpoints, it is unwavering. Even in times of my life where I felt estranged from my church, or people in it, I still had my faith. I knew who I answered to. God. I didn't know this because my mother and father told me so. I had an active mind and questioned EVERYTHING as a child, but here I am. My faith is my own, given to me by God.

I cannot give you faith, or point you to any formula for attaining it. You know this all more than me. In fact, you are more knowledgable in many areas concerning religion than me. You know what faith is to believers. Please, if you would, tell me what started the ball rolling when you felt your faith slipping away. What you once did not question, you began to doubt. Please illuminate this for me. You're right in that I feel it's my duty as a Christian to attempt to help you. More than that, though, I feel as though you are a kind soul who is worthwhile to talk to, even if I can't change you or give you any meaningful help. Deep in my soul, I feel as though your faith may not be lost. I hope and pray for this. I'm sure I'm not the first to make these attempts, but I enjoy the effort. It's not pleasurable to debate with you because we just plain do not see eye-to-eye. I do appreciate your candor and sincerity though. Thank you for putting so much time into your thoughts.

Ken Fields said...

Open question to all,

Please be patient with me if you have answered this question previously, I cannot read everything here ... especially in light of how many comments each post receives.

DOES ANYONE HERE BELIEVE IN OBJECTIVE TRUTH?

If so, where does one find it?

Discussing and arguing subjective points (i.e., "are you telling me that my 'Christian experience' was a figment of my imagination") is wearisome and pointless.

If there is no objective truth, all is relative. And if all is relative, on what basis do you argue against Christianity?

Visarian said...

I believe in absolute truth, Ken, since, once a truth is proven as self evident, all other things that are truth can be hinged on it. This is the self evident truth, "Something either exists or it does not. A thing cannot both exist and not exist at the same time, nor can it not be and still be." There are religeons that teach otherwise, but I have yet to see a mullah step in front of a speeding bus and not be injured severely.

The questions put on the actual page of this blog are specious at best. Christianity hinges itself on one fact, and that is the only one needed to prove the authority of scripture, and the Diety of Christ. That is that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, even the apostles knew that. Christianity could have been stopped almost immediately by the Jewish or Roman leadership rolling the body of Jesus down the streets of Jerusalem. You can ask all of the questions you wish, attempting to shake the faith of believers; or you can come up with lots of new and unique theories on how Jesus' body was never crucified/got up in the grave/was stolen by his disciples/ or whatever else. The evidence still stands that Jesus was killed on a cross and got back up. That is the answer that gives us hope.
Joel

Daniel said...

Joel,

Couple of questions for you:
Even granting the Bible's factuality regarding post-resurrection events, let's think about this --
1) was Jesus embalmed? Bible says no
2) when the the disciples start preaching that Jesus had resurrected? Bible says after Pentecost, more than a month after the crucifixion
3) what would an unembalmed body look like after a month of rotting? would it sufficiently resemble the face of the person before?

Note, this is granting the post-resurrection history is accurate, and the recorded non-embalming. The "trot out Jesus' corpse" thing is silly, either way. Read here for more.

DagoodS said...

David Poehlein,

But faith in a Man/God that rose from the dead in First Century Palestine does have to do with proof. It is not solely faith.

Without Christian writings, you would have no knowledge of the basis of Christian belief. No Jesus. No disciples. No Canon. No Parables, no sermons, no miracles, no crucifixion, no burial, and no resurrection. Obviously these things did not “pop” into your brain by virtue of having faith, you read them somewhere, and must have done some study. (“Lucian” is not on the tip of every Christian’s tongue.) It is to your credit that you have read in these areas.

But why would you, if it is solely faith? If faith has nothing to do with proof?

See, we started to look at the proofs underlying the faith. Studied where the Bible came from, how it developed, who wrote it, when it was written, the people of the time, how it was modified, and so on. And realized that this faith is not in the absence of evidence, but rather was contrary to the evidence. We, too, looked at Pliny the younger, Josephus, Tacitus, Papias, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Phlegon, Thallus, and other early church fathers. But we also looked at Philo, Seneca, Justus, the Synoptic Problem, textual criticism, lack of authorship, development of myth, other Gospels, other Epistles, other Apocalypses, and more and more and more, until we could no longer ignore the fact the Bible is a human creation.

Often, when I engage in these discussions with Christians, the Testimonium Flavianum, or the New Testament writings, or the early Christian writings are brought out as proof of the viability of Christianity. Yet when I start to investigate and demonstrate some of the problems and ask questions of the Christians, I hear, “Well, you have to have faith.” If so, why bring out the proofs in the first place.

I am NOT saying that you are doing this, Dave Poehlein, but what I am saying is that even with your faith, there is a basis of proof, of claims of historical events, which we can inspect and extrapolate and wrestle with its viability.

I am curious, though, if you stay consistent in holding to it being solely faith. If we are to not review the underlying proofs, and rely exclusively on faith, is the same standard to be applied to apologists that attempt to “prove” Jesus was resurrected? Are they equally at fault for using proof instead of faith?

Would you say, for example, “The Case for Christ” is just as misguided in its mission as “The Jesus Puzzle”? Because both use proofs (for different end results, to be sure) and both should be using just faith?

DagoodS said...

visarian –

In addition to what brother danny said:

1) Demonstrate that Jewish authorities or Roman authorities even had a desire to stop Christianity. There were at least 30 different competing Jewish sects, and an unknown number of Christian sects. The Jews and Romans had enough troubles of their own, to worry about some new upstart religion that would probably die off as 1000’s had before, and 1000’s had after.

2) Equally, if Christianity claimed an empty tomb, why not point it out as well? In the first recorded sermon, post-resurrection, Peter talks about Christ being raised, and mentions King David’s tomb nearby. Easy to slip in, “and go look at the empty tomb where Jesus was buried.”

3) Do you know the punishment for desecrating a grave? At the least it was banishment, more likely it was death. Why does everyone presume the Jews (or even the Romans) would have the authority to just “go in and exhume the body” regardless of its condition? This is NOT 21st Century America!

Even if the Priests wanted to get that body, and gnashed their teeth, they could not have as it would have meant death. However, the one person that could open a grave was the owner—Joseph of Arimathea. He was a disciple of Jesus. Jn. 19:38 The only person in control of opening that tomb was the Christians themselves!

Either Joseph tossed in more bodies. (Highly likely, as that was what tombs were designed for) or he didn’t If he did, then opening up that tomb at a later date, would have bodies in it anyway. Not helpful. If he did not, it would be most natural to leave it open and venerate the tomb. It was not.

To say some burden was on the Jewish priests to “produce the body” as proof there was none is to ignore history.

Albert said...

I like the following quote written by G.NM.Tyrrell who was a physicist and also did research into psychic phenomena. Keep in mind this was written in the 1940's and therefore was quite "prophetic" when you see what has happend to religion since.

"To see this, we must ask what is chiefly sapping the efficacy of religion in Europe today. The brief answer seems to be that, in so far as religion depends upon a belief in other-worldly realities, it has ceased to carry conviction or to invoke a sense of reality. It has lost its grip on the intellect. People acknowledge the validity of Christian ethics; but they try to harness them to a Religion of Man, because they no longer believe in any higher power. The reason for this is that science has entirely changed our outlook on the universe and our views about the origin and nature of man. The background of thought is totally different from what it was when Christian dogmas were formulated, and the meaning of dogmas depends on the nature of the background. A proposition in any age has to be interpreted in terms of the prevailing background of thought. To take the central dogma of the Christian faith - that Jesus is the Son of God - this, twenty centuries ago, could be interpreted almost literally. It provoked the question: Is it true? Today it provokes the question: What does it mean? The change is due to a changed background of thought. Since those far-off days, science has exalted our conception of nature and has imbued our minds with the idea of the ubiquity and, efficacy of the forces of nature. It has discovered the vastness of space and the minuteness of our little planet, shown causal law at work on every hand, traced our emergence from the brutes, and displaced man and his world from the central position which he once fancied they occupied. Thus, the whole perspective is different from what it was when the universe was thought to centre about one human and divine family. A proposition which seemed to be almost literally true in the earlier epoch recedes into a region of myth in the later. Psychologists now speak of the other-worldly hopes and beliefs of religion as projections from the mind of man made when it was passing through its earlier stages of development - myths which have served their usefulness and are now outworn.

Yet, the protagonists of Christianity continue to state their religion in terms of the mental background which was universal when Christianity began. They indeed make common ground with the scientific humanists; but that is about the project of making a better place of this world. The gulf between the other-worldly position, which is essential to religion, and that which has arisen out of the study of science is becoming wider and wider. The other-worldly part of religion is more and more coming to be looked upon as a cultural survival to be labelled and stored in a museum."

exbeliever said...

ken,

I think you want to know if people here believe in universal, objective truth.

Truth can be objective without being universal. I've repeated given the example of motion. One can say, objectively, "My car is not moving; it is parked." This statement, while objective, is not universal. The car is on a continent that drifts, an earth that rotates and revolves, a pin-wheel galaxy that spins and is moving away from other galaxies.

But yet, it makes sense to say, "My car is not moving; it is parked." This is an objective statement because it actually refers to a spatio-temporal framework.

This is how I discuss moral truth objectively.

Non-moral statements are a little different. Here, we are talking about logical laws. Concepts and language provide the conditions for objectivity. If people accept certain definitions of words (i.e. certain conceptions), then laws of logic emerge from those accepted definitions.

I've written about my particular position on this here.

The funny thing is, ken, that if we asked you the same question, you would simply say, "God," as if this is an answer in the first place. What if my answer to this question was "Snargaggle"? That's not much of an answer, but it's as definable as this concept "god" you are referring to.

Anyway, other people here hold to "objective truth" differently than I do. I speak only for myself.

Rich said...

If you were to find the a fertalized egg dividing and starting to become a fetus on another planet or moon it wuld be evidence of life, yet for purpose of abortion its not. So why the difference? There is just as little evidence against an existance of God as there is for. Just because our observable universe follows strict laws and we see evidence to support BB, evolution, and other scientific theories is no evidence against the exsistance of a creator. You can look at evidence with a presupposition one way or the other and come to 2 different conclusions. If you choose to say no God exists you will find all the support you need. Speaking of that proof here it is in this and many similar blogs. All of your best scientific data comes from obsevation, you pose a question, put together an experiment and observe and record results. The experiment itself is run by an intelligent designer so to speak is it not? Yes there are many things we can observe and let me just say for the record that I have a great respect and admiration for science and the knowledge gained within. I don't believe the bible has all the answers to your questions but neither does science. We are all looking for truth asnd your disbelief in God doesn't make him nonexsistant. I don't have to prove to you or anyone that God does exsist, if you so choose to not believe so be it.

exbeliever said...

Wow, these comments really don't have much relation to the post anymore.

David,

I'm sorry this conversation is frustrating to you.

Two things (the first isn't very important, the second is more so):

1) All of the writings you mention come well after the time when the resurrection could be proven. Read Brother Danny and DagoodS above.

2) If faith is something that is done without any factual basis, then why shouldn't I choose faith in Hinduism or Islam or Judaism or physicalism? Why should I choose Christianity?

Daniel said...

Rich,

You seem to be jumping around to a few different topics.

As to "life", no one denies that a totipotent cell is "alive" in the chemical/biological sense. So is a yeast. The questions are: is there any intrinsic value in one clump of cells that is not in another? Does a woman's uterus belong to her, to do as she wishes with, and therefore its entire contents are hers as well? Do people have complete sovereignty over what their bodies contain, to do as they wish with? Fortunately, our civil (secular) law makes it clear that individuals have complete sovereignty over their own bodies, or else, you'd have to get governmental permission to have a tumor removed, or a hysterectomy, or an amputation, or a tattoo, etc.

The rest of what you say is not half-bad, but you seem to confuse "evidence" in the scientific sense with "evidence" in the logical/philosophical sense. For example, if we stack up the arguments for god's nonexistence, based solely on philosophical concepts (how does the immaterial interact with the material? how can so much evil exist if a good god does?), against arguments for god's existence (Aquinas' five "ways" to know god, etc), we actually can make a judgment call as to which set of arguments is more convincing. Science comes in to knock the legs out from under many arguments from creation/design, so in that sense, science refutes a few philosophical arguments for god's existence.

I would simply say that Ockham's razor is sufficient to convince me that, given the relative scarcity of a "gap" for a god to exist in, why stuff one there? IOW, if we know 80% of how most "stuff" works, why make up a "divine answer" for the 20% that we are ignorant of? This is induction, and there has been some argument here about it, but that argument, too, has to be looked at from one set of premises or another.

I certainly agree that science doesn't have "all the answers" and I don't try to deify it or invent answers when they aren't present. We all need to decide moral frameworks outside of science, and, thankfully, outside of religion.

You are right that disbelief or belief in god do not determine god's existence. The prevalence of both is not "evidence" of the truth of either.

You certainly don't have to do anything, but I would ask, why did you stop in here if you didn't want to either argue or ask a question? Thanks for stopping in, Rich.

David Poehlein said...

to DagoodS:

Christians who search and search to prove their faith is valid are searching in vain. The Bible, along with countless other sources, document history from that time period. Years ago, I briefly studied history from that time period in a college class and it stuck with me. The information in the class was not presented in a "pro-Christian" light though. Despite this, my faith was not diminished. I'm not saying that because I feel like I deserve a cookie or something, but that my faith was given to me, not to be taken away again. I have looked at many different things in my life and can easily see how faith was continuously present. This isn't because I was seeking information to bolster my knowledge base. My faith was just there. My intellect is at peace with my faith. That's the reason that when I see so many uses of Bible verses on this blog, I read them, and move on. I don't feel a lump in the pit of my stomach as if I was thinking...."uh oh. What if that's right?".

I think that this conversation would be much better in person where we could share ideas more quickly and personably. Too many things get misconstrued or taken out of context here. The problem is, either you believe in The Resurrection, or you don't. You can mold history accounts into whatever you wish, so can I. I'm pretty sure that I haven't said one, single thing in all the time I've spent on this blog this past week that most of you haven't heard, or seen before. You've been in my position. When I think of a life without God, it does not ease my mind. I do not expect that being a Christian means having an easy life, but it does mean that I'm confident and steely-eyed when it comes to my after-life. This doesn't mean I'm not without weaknesses. I had many times, in the past, where I would sit there and think "What if this is just all not true?" The problem was, deep down, I didn't really believe it. It's kind of like going to a car dealership and the salesman gives you a hard pitch and it sounds better and better the longer you're there. You go home, and then you realize that the enticing pitch really wasn't what you were looking for. You're happy with the car you have and should have known it because it was so obvious. That's how it felt to me. I didn't choose faith, faith chose me. We can all debate Bible verses and meanings forever and still be divided. Faith is what divides us. Some people decide that the salesman is right and buy the car.

exbeliever said...

rich,

Your comment is certainly everywhere. Are you trying to make a point about abortion? This is an atheist site, not a political one. Try another site.

Maybe you are trying to get to Joe's question about where in the Bible this belief can be found, but if that is the case, it might help to mention the Bible.

There is just as little evidence against an existance of God as there is for.

There is just as little evidence against the existence of shy, invisible, magic monkeys as there is for them. If I told you there were shy, invisible, magic monkeys around, it wouldn't be your responsibility to prove me wrong; it's my responsibility to support my statement.

You are the one claiming that the Christian god exists. Others claim other gods exist. I'm not making the claim that no "god" exists. I'm claiming that I see no reason to believe that a god exists. My responsibility in this debate is to show that the reasons typically given for belief in god do not prove that god's existence. Your responsibility is to give reasons why I should believe your god exists.

I don't have to prove to you or anyone that God does exsist, if you so choose to not believe so be it.

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. . ." (1 Peter 3:15)

Rich, I was wondering if you could give me the reason for the hope that you have.

centuri0n said...

EB said:

No. Though the scientific method, as it is traditionally stated, appears to have served us well (and, therefore, inspires a good deal of confidence in me), this does not mean that it is infallible. There might be another method that yields "truth" more effectively than the scientific method.

In what way has the scientific method served us well?

What would "truth [yielded] more effectively" look like?

exbeliever said...

I didn't think we were doing the "DebateBlog" thing.

In what way has the scientific method served us well?

It's yielded medicines that keep babies from dying, etc.

What would "truth [yielded] more effectively" look like?

I don't know. I only said that it might be possible. I'm thinking in the Khunsian sense--i.e. another method might answer anomalies better.

I'm not a scientist.

***

Anyway, like I said, I'm not interested in your method of supporting your assertion that the Christian God exists. I already started at you starting point and it led me here.

If you wanted to make a less emotive/more rational case it might be different. As my last few posts indicate, I am specifically looking for a presuppositionalist who is willing to support TAG. I thought that maybe you, as a Calvinist, held this position. You don't, however.

Daniel said...

centuri0n,

Are you just asking questions to hear yourself talk, or are you serious?

So, in your opinion, has, say, "revealed truth from God" served us better in understanding the natural world than "discovering natural law through the toil and sweat of science"? Since science only attempts to answer questions about the natural, we should compare vis-a-vis, no?

what would...look like

Perhaps if God had boomed down from Sinai, "Write THIS on those tablets: thou shalt boil thy water to kill parasites and micrboes, so that thy children do not die of dysentery and parasitic disease for the next thousands of years, thou shalt ferment alcohol via [X] method to use as a cleaning agent for your bodies and medical instruments to prevent disease, thou shalt..."

Would it look like that? Maybe even:
"Even though thou thinkest the earth is flat, it is an ellipsoidal solid orbiting the star that gives you light -- the sun, and there are no "monsters" out there, no "dragons", no "magic", no "psychic powers"...only I, God have those powers..."

I mean, God could've neatly saved us millions of agonizing deaths via sepsis and parasitic infection and etc. and etc. and ad nauseum, but for whatever reason, not eating shellfish and rabbits was more important for us to "write down and keep the law" of...

I will work on a post which will be an argument from God's silence concerning the working of the natural world, insofar as it would have prevented agony and pain, and yet God's divinely big flapper was shut concerning these "mysteries" and we had to wrestle them away from mute Nature through our own toil and efforts. Biblical scientific "foreknowledge" [lack thereof] is always a fun topic. Not likely to convert people either way, but just one more argument to pile up that God either does not exist or does not care about us.

DagoodS said...

David Poehlein –

Thank you for your response. I doubt you would like to discuss with me in person. I type at 30-40 words per minute, but speak in excess of 300 wpm when excited. (Court reporters clock me.) I define the ability to talk your ear off. And you write quite a bit—a coffee between us would turn into a weekend!

Let me grab two sentences out of your post to hopefully demonstrate what I am talking about:

The Bible, along with countless other sources, document history from that time period. This is no longer a faith statement—it is a positive assertion that requires proof. Focusing on just the New Testament, we have a variety of documents from that time period. Satirical plays. Are they historical? In one aspect, no, they are a farce. In another, yes, because they are demonstrating what is happening in that time. We have documents that purport to be historical. Yet history was written differently. Facts were not explicitly necessary, if words were placed in a person’s mouth, and the author felt it was something they would say, but may not have, this was acceptable.

Josephus did this with Moses. I would agree that the New Testament records cities (like Corinth) and people (like Pilate) that are historically correct. But to claim that everything the Bible states is history takes us out of faith and into proof. Otherwise, someone else could say “The Bible contains NO history whatsoever and I take that solely on faith” and you cannot argue with that position. You both use the same methodology to get completely different results.

What if I told you I take it solely on faith that Jesus never existed? You would have to agree that my position is just as viable as your own, as we both use the same method (faith) to reach our conclusion. If you say, “what about the Bible, the historians, the establishment of the church?” I reply, “I take it on faith. Faith has nothing to do with proof.” What contention could you have with this position?

How do we determine what is historical in the Bible or not, or is it all in the guessing world of faith?

Another statement:

…Either you believe in The Resurrection or you don’t.” What Resurrection? How would you even know of this thing, if you didn’t have some source? Your faith starts with some knowledge—what if that knowledge is wrong? Do you have faith in Osiris’ resurrection? Tammuz Resurrection? Mithra resurrection?

No, you have limited it to just Christ’s resurrection. Isn’t it peculiar that you happen to have faith in what happens to be the most popular resurrection of your time? If you were in Egypt, you would have had faith in Osiris. If in Hellenized Greece, in Mithra. You have deliberately chosen the most common religion of your locale, I suspect.

If God gives faith, and the Resurrection is true, not on proof, not on word of mouth, not on books, why is it that we have never encountered anyone that has had this faith in a Jesus of first century Palestine resurrecting, before they ever hear about it? Why is it that in Muslim countries, there is no springing forth of this faith? In Aztec cultures—unheard of? In African nations—nothing?

Dave Poehlein, you may want to remove the basis of your faith as being a fact question, but it simply must be. Have you EVER heard of anyone having faith in the Resurrection BEFORE hearing about it? No, we can review what people are hearing, and if it is contrary to the evidence, point that out. If they cannot help but believe it anyway, all I can do is keep pointing it out. Just like others did for me, at one time.

Finally, you said, You can mold history accounts into whatever you wish, so can I. Why bother molding historical accounts? You have faith, so molding or not molding is irrelevant. I do not have any agenda with what history states, so I am free to say, “I don’t know, but the evidence of this, this, this and that would have me believe these events happened. Upon new information, I may change.”

Can a Christian say that? Can a Christian find out that archeology 100% supports the notion that an Exodus did not occur, and say, “Fine, that fits within my historical scheme.” Can a Christian review the Testimonium Flavianum, and agree that it is an inserted, and modified text, which was not in the original? Careful, if one starts to argue, this takes us out of faith!

If tomorrow, somehow a great discovery was made, and DNA of the person of Jesus was demonstrated, would that change my history? Sure, I could put away any of the problems presented by a mythical Jesus, and confidently declare Jesus was a historical person. But if a discovery was made tomorrow that placed the Gospel of Mark written in 135 C.E., would a Christian likewise modify their historical outlook?

Just thinking about these things seems to take us out of faith. DNA, Dates, history, books, all of these items are evidence(s)—the opposite of faith.

Maybe you and I are truly on opposite sides of the planet. You have no interest in these proofs, and I can’t tear myself away from them. Still makes me wonder why your God is so one-dimensional, He can only convince those that need no convincing. Notice that you actually spend more time convincing us than your God will.

Makes you a better person than your own God.

Rich said...

Not just stopping by after all and here are some questions.
Aaron Kinney said" We have proof that matter/energy cannot be created nor destroyed."
I'll grant you that statement but my question is does that mean it has always existed? If not when did matter/energy come to be? It can have no beginning because it cannot be created? How can there be no beginning? I can creat light, a formn of energy by running electricity through a filament made of tungston. That is created energy isn't it?
I'm not making a political statement and I realize what the site is for, it is very well spelled out, not hard to figure out what the site if for. While we of coarse have rights to our own bodies we have restrictions about what we can do to others. When does life start then? A fetus becomes another person at what point? So my argument remains intact even for an athiest site. When does it cross from doing to your own body and doing to another body? We certainly have labels for different stages of developement, but then comes the problem of when does it become another person?
EB: I never said I believed in a christian God by the way you implied that. I just said God. Wether you call it supreme being, great spirit, Christian God, Hindu God, or what have you it's all actually the same being. That people have a different perception of this beings traits, desires, personality, ect... is no suprise at all but it is the same person. You ask for the immpossible in proof for everything from the bible and gloat when no one can meet the task. You want my reasons for believing? Fine. I was certainly brought up in a religion and what I learned from such was to question even what those church authorities said and take the matter to God through prayer. He didn't show up in my room and talk to me but then thats not how prayers are answered. I first study the matter out in my mind and make a decision as to wether I accept what I am told or not then ask through a prayer with faith. I recieve an answer through feelings given to me. Of coarse this sounds whacked to not only athiest but also many so called Christians. So I have studied a graeat many things out and decided for myself if I believe them to be true or not and I then take the matter up between me and God an he lets me know through feelings if I am on the right track or not. This will certainly not satisfy you quest for proof in the scientific world but it isn't about that anyway. Aas for bible scripture to back that up try James 1:5-6. Many times throughout the bible we are taught to pray, it means to ask God in Christs' name. I believe we are Gods children and as our father his is concerned for our well being and will help if asked. Is this so different from us? Do you not help your child if he asks and sometimes even when he doesn't? And doesn't it depend on how he treats you when he asks? You certainly aren't specific in what hope I have when you asked the question but based on the premis of you entry I assumed that to be hopew in the existance of God, am I wrong?

Tommykey said...

When you get right down to it, the real question is: why should I believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Creator of the Universe? Why?

The ancient Israelites or Hebrews or whatever one wishes to call them, were a semi-nomadic confederation of tribes who knew little of medicine, engineering, agriculture, astronomy and the sciences, and yet an all-powerful entity that created this essentially infinite universe filled with galaxies, stars, planets, comets, asteroids etc. picks one guy on one planet in this vast universe and makes a pact with him and his descendants who become the ancient Israelites. When it comes right down to it, this is what Bible believers are asking us to believe.

I know the standard response "well, we mere mortals cannot fully grasp the reasons why God does what he does." That's a nice copout answer because it relieves the person who utters it of having to offer any proof to back up what he says.

Again, if the Bible is the inerrant word of the Creator of the Universe, why is it that civilizations were able to thrive around the world who never had any contact with the ancient Israelites and develop moral and cultural traditions of their own? If God wanted all of humanity to follow the 10 Commandments, why not make it known to all of humanity at the same time?

The laws of the Old Testament of the Bible belong to that of a tribal Bronze age culture, whose priests invented an angry and jealous God as a means of enforcing a sense of cohesion on a fractious people who had endured repeated conquests and dislocations at the hands of their neighbors.

That's why it also cracks me up when fundamentalists Muslims in Southeast Asia start wearing Arabic clothing and growing beards in imitation of Arab muslims. What these knuckleheads are doing is adopting Middle Eastern desert clothing in a tropical Southeast Asian climate! That is probably how most Arabs of the desert dressed even before Islam ever arrived on the scene. But the SE Asian muslims have this stupid idea that wearing Arabic clothing makes them more holy or something.

David Poehlein said...

To Exbeliever:

I only put those other references there, as previously, to show that there are multiple accounts of the same event which, generally speaking, agree on the basic happenings of the time of Jesus' resurrection. I don't believe that ANY of them will ever offer concrete proof that It happened. Otherwise, why would we need faith? There will never be a smoking gun.

As far as faith being based on fact, I can only speak for myself. I did not ask for faith, it found me and worked within me. I truly believe that. I'm no great shakes that God just had to come down and grant my wish to have strong faith. I believe that I'm a tiny, little, almost insignificant pawn, but I'm ok with that. If you were to say to me, you know, I really associate with Islam, I would say GREAT!!!!! You believe in God, now, let's start talking! I believe you should choose Christianity because my soul tells me this. Every fiber of my being tells me that it is truth. Again, I understand that this really doesn't mean as much as a hill of beans in southeast China to anyone here, but it means everything to me. I don't believe in Jesus' resurrection because The Bible tells me it is so. I believed first, then found out the details. Even a lot of Christians don't believe this, but as I've previously said, my faith is my own.

I'd like to ask you again about the reason(s) for your "deconversion".

By the way, if it's difficult to think of me as a positive influence here, maybe this will help. You have had almost 50 hits on this particular blog, and 28 on the last one. I think that if this continues, you could begin advertising here and make a profit. See, I'm not so bad after all. God works in mysterious ways through miserable sinners like me.

To DagoodS:

As I was saying to Exbeliever just now, the historical evidence of what took place back then is just window-dressing. It's not what I base my faith on. I had my faith first, then started delving into history later (honestly, doubt and humanity were the reasons for a lot of my research). Even though I always knew I believed in God, I still had my weaknesses and questioned a lot.

As far as the viability of not believing in God, I completely agree with you. I wish it were not so, but I cannot argue that point. Your faith against God is your faith just as mine is mine.

As far as determining what is historical, as if some people were in a room saying something like "OK, let's make it historically correct so people will believe it. Then, let's add the untruths about Jesus and God and nobody will ever know." I just don't buy it. Get two different people who saw the same thing and you'll likely get 2 different answers. The details will be fuzzy. As a believer, though, I don't worry about that stuff anymore. I don't feel compelled to try to prove my faith to myself. I know I believe, and I know why. I'm ok with that.

As far as the locale thing, who's to say that God chose certain people in a certain area? Does not The Bible say that Israel will be fought over through the history of the world? Is this the place where He was to make His stronghold? I don't pretend to know God's plan and why it reaches to certain areas more than others. Nobody knows. All the demographic studies ever done could never come to a conclusion on that. I believe it's God's plan and realize you do not. We just disagree on all these faith-based decisions. Christians are called forth to evangelize and we do. Many parts of the globe have many missionaries in them. However, The Bible states that the road to Heaven is narrow. The number of people getting there will be small.

As far as my faith needing a factual basis, or reading The Bible, then stating "I believe this" or "I don't believe this", it's just not so. The more study of The Bible I do, the more I know ABOUT God, but my beliefs were already there. This may be the hardest thing for people here to accept. The need for factual or empirical data is all over this blog. The fact that I deny this need for information is shunned and I think most of you believe that even I don't believe what I'm saying here. The problem is that I do. I lived this life and look back on it. I see how faith has done things in my life and what it is currently doing. I believe my faith keeps bringing me back here to talk with you. If not for your salvation, then for mine. I have learned many lessons here, including a good one on being more humble.

All I can say, in conclusion, is look deep into the depths of your soul. Is there a longing deep in there to know God? I have that longing. I don't feel like I need to know every fact in order to maintain my faith. I just need to do God's work and live as best as I can as He instructed me.

Okay, you all have to give me a couple of days to rest. My wife is getting mad at me for the time I've spent here.

Daniel said...

Rich,
I'll grant you that statement but my question is does that mean it [matter/energy] has always existed? If not when did matter/energy come to be? It can have no beginning because it cannot be created? How can there be no beginning?
The universe we live in, and the matter we interact with, photons, baryons, hyperons, etc., originated from a mathematical "singularity" approximately 13.7 +/- 0.2 Bya. Hawking and others in the sixties extrapolated the equations of general relativity into this singularity [which is not philosophically justified] and determined that time and matter itself originated in the singularity. If the equations of general relativity hold (if there is no conflict with quantum gravity, which there is) past the Planck length, this would actually mean "something came from nothing". But they don't. The singularity is a mystery to us, because the very laws of physics we use to describe the universe emerged from the singularity, and not vice versa. Thus, it is ridiculous to posit that the 2nd law, or the 1st law, have to be applied to the singularity itself, when de facto, that is why it is a singularity. The singularity boggles the mind, and is called "unphysical" because we cannot physically describe it. Try. Try to describe mass without volume.

It is here, at the singularity, that we do not throw up our hands and say, "Therefore, God did it!" Instead, we say, "General relativity, and the Big Bang cosmology, breaks down at the quantum level, and thus is unreliable and we need a new model to describe this."

In the nineties, Shapiro showed that a naked singularity could exist inside each black hole (versus being masked by an event horizon). This would be akin to producing the same physical state of the pre-universe inside a collapsed star. What does this mean? Is it possible that all the matter in the star is now "gone"? Was the singularity that started our universe "from nothing"?

This is why, logically [in my opinion], I side with a cyclic universe. The common objections, based on the 2nd Law and the accelerating expansion, have already been dealt with by Turok and Steinhardt, and those are ignorant extrapolations of general relativity to conditions under which they need not apply. Steinhardt also has a preprint of an article about the pre-BB worth reading.

I can creat light, a formn of energy by running electricity through a filament made of tungston. That is created energy isn't it?
No. That is the conversion of electrical energy (moving electrons through a "band gap") into light as the excited electrons in the higher-energy orbitals of W fall down to the ground state, and as they do, the energy lost is emitted as a photon (hv) with a frequency equivalent to somewhere between 200-700 nm in wavelength.

A fetus becomes another person at what point?
Good question. We all have different opinions about abortion. Mine is simply that late-term abortions are unnecessary [except in rape, incest, and medical cases] and come after the development of brain tissue which incontrovertibly senses pain. I object to them on that ground. Get an abortion while it is a clump, before it develops a brain, and to me, it is little different than destroying a rat fetus or yeast, or etc. But opinions are like...***holes, right?

So my argument remains intact even for an athiest site.
I never saw you make one. You just asked questions.

When does it cross from doing to your own body and doing to another body?
The question is -- if it is inside your body, are you free to do with it as you wish, regardless of whether you recognize it as separate?

We certainly have labels for different stages of developement, but then comes the problem of when does it become another person?
Define person.

...it's all actually the same being.
Hmmm. Interesting opinion, but religious adherents of each of those would love to sit you down and point out the differences, I'm sure. Not that it matters to me, since I discount all gods.

That people have a different perception of this beings traits, desires, personality, ect... is no suprise at all but it is the same person.
Why is it no surprise? The 3 blind men in a room with an elephant analogy? You know where that breaks down? The elephant can't talk, but God can, and supposedly does, and contradicts itself. Indeed, God may exist, my friend, but if It does, It doesn't care to give you a few hints as you blindly grope and guess, "snake! [trunk] wall! [broadside] tree! [leg]"

You ask for the immpossible in proof for everything from the bible and gloat when no one can meet the task.
No, my friend, we don't ask for much. A believable God, with a reliable message and way of knowing It.

You want my reasons for believing? Fine.
You came here. I asked you if you had a specific point or question or argument. You even said:
don't have to prove to you or anyone that God does exsist, if you so choose to not believe so be it.

I said, sure, you don't have to, but what did you stop by for?

I was certainly brought up in a religion and what I learned from such was to question even what those church authorities said and take the matter to God through prayer.
Well I agree with that. In fact, that resonates quite strongly with me. i got very tired of other people telling me about a God who didn't seem to care enough to tell me Itself.

He didn't show up in my room and talk to me but then thats not how prayers are answered.
Ok. I would bet it's because, even though the Bible records such things do/can/have happened, and even though the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons, the Bible is wrong and God doesn't show up because God doesn't exist.

I first study the matter out in my mind and make a decision as to wether I accept what I am told or not
Good first step -- if God gave you a brain, you ought to use it.

then ask through a prayer with faith. I recieve an answer through feelings given to me.
While I understand, I have to ask you to look at this objectively -- if everyone asked God the same question, and had different "feelings", what would we conclude?

Of coarse this sounds whacked to not only athiest but also many so called Christians.
It's not very nice to call people "so-called" anything. if you come here with the presumption that "they were never Xians to begin with", I suggest you read this very recent post

We give you guys the credit for your faith. We don't say, "oh, you know there's no god, you're just deluding yourself to comfort your hopes and fears." To do so is a fallacy of presumption. If we don't give each other the right to present their position without defining the position for them [eg, you were never really a Xian to begin with], then this debate is futile.

So I have studied a graeat many things out and decided for myself if I believe them to be true or not and I then take the matter up between me and God an he lets me know through feelings if I am on the right track or not.
Well, if it's good enough for you, and you're happy, then great! If you want to tell me why I should believe, then fire away.

This will certainly not satisfy you quest for proof in the scientific world but it isn't about that anyway. Aas for bible scripture to back that up try James 1:5-6.
Ok, and juxtapose this against:
Eccl 1:18
Eccl 7:24-26
1 Cor 1:17-27
1 Cor 3:18-21
1 Cor 2:5-7
And tell me if I ought to try to be wise, seek wisdom, and think wisdom is a good thing, or not? Eccl 2:26 suggests wisdom is a gift that God gives, which the Reformed/Calvinists aboard this merry pirate ship immediately nod and bob along with. Could wisdom lead me to pride? Does knowledge puff up [1 Cor 8:1-3]?

Many times throughout the bible we are taught to pray, it means to ask God in Christs' name.
And a promise is made that whatever is asked in Christ's name, Christ will do, right? Want to go to bat for how many people have died uttering that very prayer?

I believe we are Gods children and as our father his is concerned for our well being and will help if asked. Is this so different from us? Do you not help your child if he asks and sometimes even when he doesn't?
Exactly. In fact, since God knows what we have need of before we even ask [Matt 6:8], God's response is about God's desire to help and lack of response is not due to God's ignorance of our need for help. In fact, if I was a perfect father, I would meet my child's needs in such a way that they knew it was me meeting their needs and they would love me more for it.

And doesn't it depend on how he treats you when he asks?
As a human being, maybe. As a selfish and limited human being. But if you are a perfect and all-good God...then...it's about the kid's needs, right, and not your own ego or self-importance?

You certainly aren't specific in what hope I have when you asked the question but based on the premis of you entry I assumed that to be hopew in the existance of God, am I wrong?
Not sure what you meant by that last sentence. I asked you if you came to make a point or argue or ask a question. You seem to have done just that. Good. Let's see what you think of my response. Regards, D

Anonymous said...

Lord Timothy said...
"To which passage will you refer me in an effort to show me that life begins at conception?"

I don't think there is a verse that proves it does or doesn't but since we don't know when life begins isn't it our responsibility to look for the earliest possible landmark, and until we know for sure assume it begins there? The alternative of course is to commit what could very well be avoidable murder justified on ignorance alone.


Life does not begin or end at conception. It is just one stage in a long transition process (hint:the sperm is already alive).
Unfortunately, it seems like you are taking a "pro-life" stance, which is morally relativistic.
I can't intellectually justify that position but if you want to, that's your call.

For more info, please go here:
http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/03/black_white.php

centuri0n said...

| I love that old reformed saying about
| babies sitting on father's lap slapping
| them in the face; we can only do the
| act because he is supporting us. Now
| the puppet playing arguing with the
| puppeteer. Good stuff. Would be a
| little better if you could give a reason
| or two to believe that a puppeteer
| existed, but I guess I'll settle for you
| non-answers.

Covered that. Sorry for the confusion.

| Definitions are meant to tell you
| about something you know nothing
| about. So let's look at yours and see
| what we discover about god.

I realize that your view is that God does not exist. We would agree that, for example, Zeus does not exist. But neither of us argue against Zeus by typing “zeus” as if that was making a point. I ask in this discussion that you accept the convention (not the philosophical fact, nor make a concession which is unreasonable) that “God” is a proper noun.

| creator--all creators I know create
| something from something else, right?

I would say that certainly all creators create something different out of something else. I’ll bet that I can come up with an example, however, that challenges what you mean by “something else”, and it will be one which involves you personally as a creator.

| Are there any other ex nihilo creators?
| No. So what you are saying is that this
| thing "God" is a creator, but unlike
| any other creator. So the adjective
| doesn't really mean any thing to me
| because I have no experience with ex
| nihilo "creators."

Well, since you bring it up, I think you have fudged the definition of ex nihilo here. What the Christian theist means when he says “ex nihilo” is that God, on the first day, didn’t create the heavens and the earth out of some other dilithium crystals and warp fields: he means that God spoke the universe into being. In that, there was something prior to God’s creation: God’s will, and God’s purpose. God substantiated His will and His purpose in creation.

Thus, I place my sock puppet on my hand so that the word “HANES” is in his mouth, and I make him say, “but cent: even if that’s what ex nihilo means, there are still no examples of ex nihilo creators since that moment. You’re talking about something that doesn’t have any referent in the universe because nothing else happens like that.”

Personally, I think that’s an interesting position for someone who thinks he is creating a meaningful stream of information which is being transmitted through the internet. I assume you’d agree that your objection exists, and that the reason it exists is because you made it, and that its existence is primarily propositional and not physical – you know, we can’t measure how many angstroms of logic you used, or how many grams of facts you employed.

You’re not God, and neither am I. But sending messages via the internet looks suspiciously like something coming from nothing but the will to express meaning or purpose. You might have a different take on that, and I’d be willing to review your response.

| sustainer of all things--sustains every
| atom in the universe? Is that what you
| mean? What do you mean that god is
| a sustainer?

I mean that everything depends upon Him intending it to still exist. You understood that when you thought I was calling you a puppet – I wonder how you have forgotten what it must mean so quickly?

| holy--literally "set apart." So God is
| unlike any thing that I have ever
| experienced. What is this supposed to
| tell me again?

The literal meaning of “holy” is certainly “set apart” – but apparently you missed the context of almost every use of that word in both Greek and Hebrew in the Bible: set apart for a purpose.

I’m not a fan of Rick Warren, but when in Lev 11:44 God says, “be Holy as I am Holy,” God is saying “be set apart for my purpose, as I have set myself apart for My own purpose.”

“Set apart from what?” asks the sock puppet. Why Hanes, my boy, set apart from sin.

| just--but in a way that says it is okay
| to kill Amalikite infants because of
| sins committed 400 years earlier. Oh,
| just in a way unlike any justice I
| understand.

I submit to you (as an atheist) that you cannot define justice in a way which is actionable. That is to say, I’ll bet that any definition of justice you would advance as what you mean by the term does not give you any logical warrant to take action on “justice”.

However, the Christian view of Justice is all actions which support the distinction between sin and virtue. Justice treats sin like sin, and treats virtue like virtue.

| merciful--but can threaten to send an
| army to rape women if they disobey.
| but must have blood for offenses. So,
| you mean "merciful" in a way that is
| different than any other being.

The refrain “different than any other being” is an interesting one because you seem to think that nobody else has attributes that someone else might try to usurp. For example, nobody else can legally drive over the speed limit except police and rescue vehicles with their gum-ball machines running. So when you speed and you get a ticket, is it unjust and immoral, or is it human justice based on human authority and human law?

If the executors of human law can do such things and not be called unjust, I suggest to you that God himself has at least as much latitude in providing justice.

“But cent, you fool!” says the sock puppet, “EB is talking about mercy and not justice. You have changed the subject!”

My dear Hanes: the definition of “mercy” is “compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power”. There is no mercy without justice. EB sadly misses the point that mercy is not “giving everyone the same shake” but in fact, “showing patience and compassion when none is warranted.”

| loving--but loving in a way that
| creates an eternal hell and laughs at
| the wicked who are sent there. Loving
| in a way that I don't understand.

I suggest you ask your wife how loving it would be for you to go and marry a second woman. She will probably not tell you, “Love isn’t love until you have given it to every single person you can possibly give it to.” In that, I’ll bet you do understand that Love must be exclusive in some way in order to be Love at all.

| revealed in creation--how again?

In the same way you are revealed in your posts to this blog.

| through special verbal revelation--the
| Qu'ran or the Bible or both?

Through the Bible, EB. I assume you have read the Qu’ran: can you tell me where in the Qu’ran it attempts to justify its claims to being revelation from God? There’s an interesting difference between the writings of Mohammed and the texts of the Bible: the latter provides prophecy as a basis for validating its claims, while the Qu’ran – like all other religious writings – doesn’t do anything to substantiate its origin.

| Jesus--the guy who through evil
| spirits into a bunch of pigs causing
| them to run off a cliff, causing their
| unnecessary deaths and a farmers
| financial loss?

Yes. That’s the one. Although I can’t seem to find any substantiation that the farmer suffered a financial loss. The herdsman was certainly scared, but which ancient record shows you that the farmer was never compensated?

It’s an interesting thing about evidence: once you set a standard, it becomes real obvious when you apply a second standard.

| Doesn't help much.

Most of your argument against the definition is that God is a different kind of “X” than I would mean if I called you “X”, but that’s not any more of an argument against God being any of there things than when I would admit that when I say I can play soccer, I mean that in a much different way than I would mean when I say that Mia Hamm can play soccer. If the new atheist position is that God can’t be God because we can’t really understand “better” or “greater” concepts, or because we can’t be one like that, I wonder why atheists like science so much?

See: Science is about having, as EB has said elsewhere, “a better explanation.” The presupposition of all modern science is that we have one explanation of the phenomenal world, but a better explanation exists. The argument EB has posted against God is that because God is described (for example) as the ontologically-first creator and there are none like Him, we ought not to believe in Him. I suggest to you that, in that case, you had better abandon science today. The answer you are seeking in science does not exist because there is no answer like it today. For example, there is no better explanation regarding the cure of AIDS than we have now (which is that it is incurable), so to image that one exists is foolishness.

Does that throw you off science? Then why should it throw you off God?

| By the way, would you be willing to
| justify the first premise of TAG for
| me? Or respond, in any way, to this
| post. It's getting lonely here.

It seems a little absurd to ignore my own statement that I would not argue TAG. Is there a reason that I must defend TAG? It’s Paul’s argument, and I’ll leave it to him to defend.

centuri0n said...

BroDanny replied:

| Are you just asking questions to hear
| yourself talk, or are you serious?

I’m serious. I just don’t take much of what has been said here seriously. When someone is willing to argue against God by saying he can’t imagine what a creator who starts with nothing and comes up with something has done or is doing, but is willing to assert that science is in search of a “better answer”, it’s hard to keep a straight face.

| So, in your opinion, has, say,
| "revealed truth from God" served us
| better in understanding the natural
| world than "discovering natural law
| through the toil and sweat of
| science"? Since science only attempts
| to answer questions about the natural,
| we should compare vis-a-vis, no?

In answer to your first question, I think revealed truth from God has served us better than science. For example, science didn’t invent modern republican democracy: theists (particularly Christian theists) did. Science didn;t end slavery in the wets: Christianity did. Science didn’t invent poverty relief on a global scale: Christian ethics did.

As for science only attempting to answer questions about the natural, why is science always invoked to subdue God? I think you’re fudging your on views pretty badly here, but I could be wrong about that. We’ll see how many times over the next month you invoke Modernist, scientific criteria to demand that God doesn’t exist, and then we can come back to your plea to be easy on science because of its scope.

| Perhaps if God had boomed down
| from Sinai, "Write THIS on those
| tablets: thou shalt boil thy water to
| kill parasites and micrboes, so that thy
| children do not die of dysentery and
| parasitic disease for the next
| thousands of years, thou shalt ferment
| alcohol via [X] method to use as a
| cleaning agent for your bodies and
| medical instruments to prevent
| disease, thou shalt..."

Wow! You didn't even make it one day! Let's see: if God had given us a medical science text book rather than 10 commendments or a savior from sin, then he’d be reputable in your book. But because God didn’t give us science at Sinai, He’s a flop.

What were you saying above about cutting science some slack? It seems to me that unless the metaphysical immediately renders the practical in the way you would grasp it immediately – that is, unless it renders science – it’s useless to you.

I suggest that if science cannot answer questions like “What is the greatest commandment?” it is second rate. And it cannot, so I think you had better use it for something else.

| Would it look like that? Maybe even:
| "Even though thou thinkest the earth
| is flat, it is an ellipsoidal solid
| orbiting the star that gives you light --
| the sun, and there are no "monsters"
| out there, no "dragons", no "magic",
| no "psychic powers"...only I, God
| have those powers..."

You mean something like Job 26:7?

“He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.”

| I mean, God could've neatly saved us
| millions of agonizing deaths via
| sepsis and parasitic infection and etc.
| and etc. and ad nauseum, but for
| whatever reason, not eating shellfish
| and rabbits was more important for
| us to "write down and keep the law"
| of...

What is interesting to think about is that God intended for all those deaths to happen. See: in the atheist box, God has the problem of having to be just like man, working inside a finite timeline for only immediately-tangible goals.

But that view of God is exactly like an infant’s view of his parents. Why does Daddy have to go to work – doesn’t he love me? If he loved me, he’d play with me right now. Any adult can recognize that the greater love is exhibited by the parent who goes out and serves the child’s greater needs over and above the child’s perception of its needs.

But, of course, you guys are the ones who can’t decide if "better" and "greater" are valid conceptions of reality. Sure, they are for science, but for God it’s a little loopy to think that He could be a greater kind of provider than one who merely heals all the sick people right this very second.

| I will work on a post which will be an
| argument from God's silence
| concerning the working of the natural
| world, insofar as it would have
| prevented agony and pain, and yet
| God's divinely big flapper was shut
| concerning these "mysteries" and we
| had to wrestle them away from mute
| Nature through our own toil and
| efforts. Biblical scientific
| "foreknowledge" [lack thereof] is
| always a fun topic. Not likely to
| convert people either way, but just
| one more argument to pile up that
| God either does not exist or does not
| care about us.

In which case, I’m going home to play with my kids and never come back to my job. I am sure they would much rather that I play doll house and Legos with them right now -- perpetually right now, which is the only tangible moment -- than provide for greater needs which they either cannot conceive of or have wrongly prioritized. Thanks in advance for making me a better father.

centuri0n said...

One thing my bible doesn;t have is a spell-checker.

I wrote:
Science didn;t end slavery in the wets: Christianity did.

I ought to have written:

Science didn't end slavery in the West: Christianity did.

Thank you. I'm going to hand in my resignation now.

Tommykey said...

Centurion writes:

"But that view of God is exactly like an infant’s view of his parents. Why does Daddy have to go to work – doesn’t he love me? If he loved me, he’d play with me right now. Any adult can recognize that the greater love is exhibited by the parent who goes out and serves the child’s greater needs over and above the child’s perception of its needs."

That analogy doesn't work Centurion. A child who has a father knows that who is father is. His or her father is a real, tangible person with whom the child can interact. A more correct analogy would be if a child did not have a father, but his mother hid this fact from him, telling the child "your father wants you to dress this way", or "your father does not want you to eat sugary foods" etc. The mother instills the belief in the child that he or she has a father in order for the mother to get the child to do what the mother wants.

And I look forward to you and Dave Pohlein responding to my post above wherein I ask on what basis I should even believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of the creator of the universe.

Tommykey said...

Just to be clear, I meant that the child's father in my version of the analogy is either dead or just ran off somewhere and is not involved in any way in the child's life.

Daniel said...

centuri0n,

I'm not nitpicky about spelling.

You presented a false dichotomy: the Bible was either/or regarding spirituality and the natural world.

Why could God not have added any one sentence, [the boiling water being but one of millions possible] considering the fact that it would've prevented so much pain and suffering and death, especially on the part of children? To be honest, I think you are smart enough to know that you presented a false dichotomy, but you did it anyway. The point is, God didn't restrict the Bible [granting your premise that God exists and inspired it] to information concerning a Savior.

Must I list thousands of inane dietary restriction laws, and miscellaneous other absurd items to prove my point? The reference you made to Job 26:7 is mighty funny, considering the verses before and after, and the references to "stretching out" the sky -- which was called "the firmament" in the ancient cosmology. Do you really want to go there? Want to go into detail about the Hebrew words used, and the thousands of clear references (as here, in v.11) to "foundations" or "pillars" of the earth, and how it is "not moved, shaken, etc."? As I said, I'll answer this more in detail with a post on supposed Biblical "scientific foreknowledge" [lack thereof].

While science is purposely restricted to questions of natural philosophy, no such restriction exists upon the God you believe in. In fact, a God who cares about us would want to help us spiritually and physically, and you pretend to believe this yourself when you read about the healings and miracles done by God to alleviate pain and suffering [from Elijah with the Shummamite woman to Jesus to Peter and the mat-lain paralytic]...

You pretend that as a loving father, I cannot sit down with my child and explain how I am limited in money and must work, to spend hours away from them each day, but hug them and tell them if I only could stay home, that I would...

In this case, poor Sky Dad doesn't even apparently have the time to tell us this, and apparently Sky Dad's resources are finite and He can't stay home with His kids. He has a choice imposed on Him by lack of resources, like the father leaving for work...[eye roll] Tommykey already made this point.

Sorry, centuri0n, but I leave my words as they are -- your God's silence on how to prevent so much pain, suffering, and death, yet your God's choice to tell us how to influence goat heredity with sticks, and how to cleanse leprosy with bird blood, and how there are "four corners" of the earth [yep, if you quote the one passage that suggests the earth is a circle, I will cite the dozens quoting the earth as flat, you may just want to admit the poetic language here], somehow this was the "wisest and most loving choice" our Sky Dad could make?

...nah.

DagoodS said...

David Poehlein –

You may have had faith in God, first, but no one has faith in a Man/God appearing in the First Century Palestine, being crucified and resurrected first and later finds out the facts. Those facts as to that particular God, always come before faith.

Is Gone with the Wind historically correct? It has the Battle of Atlanta, and people that certainly reasonably could have lived. Did the author think, “I will make it historically accurate, and then add untruths about Scarlet O’Hara and nobody will ever know?” Of course not. It is fiction, it is designed to be fiction, and it uses the Civil War as its backdrop.

But we can research and determine the author’s intention as to the fact it was fiction. We can’t do that with the authors of the New Testament. Was it fiction? Was it historical? Was it a combination? Was it apologetic writing to promulgate a particular brand of theism? We can review it, in light of how people wrote and believed at that time, what other writings looked like, where it conforms to other historical events, and where it does not. But in the end, there will always be a matter unknowing speculation. The arguments for it not being historically accurate are very convincing.

Many times, in having these discussions over the Bible, Christians respond with “Oh, so you think it is ALL made up” or “Oh, so you think the authors are lying.” Please, I beg you, stay away from dualistic dichotomies. That it must be “either…or.” Just because I do not hold to it as not being literal history, does not mandate that I must therefore fly to the other end fo the spectrum and hold to the whole thing being a pack of lies.

There are many, many, many places to fall in-between those, and you will find Biblical scholars landing in various places in that scale. Ask what events in the Gospel of Matthew are factual, or not, or unknown of 20 different scholars, and you will 20 different spots on the scale. It does not have to be deceit, the authors could have really believed what they were writing, and still be just as wrong. At the time, it would have been acceptable to add or subtract to a historical event, as the story warranted. The authors were using the writing style of the time.

Paul was clearly writing apologetic support for his new brand of theism. He would write in a bias fashion. Does that mean he was lying? Of course not, he thought he was right, so why bother writing about things he thought were incorrect!

The evidence convinces me, though, that the author of Mark was writing primarily fiction. It may have been based on a person that actually lived, and roughly framed about Him, but the literary style, the Elijah-Elisha cycle, the conformance to events in the Tanakh all appear to be tools of fiction.

I agree that witnesses will disagree. But what we have is the equivalent of one witness testifying that the room was lit by a candle, and another testifying that all the windows were open and gale-force winds were blowing the contents of the room about. Then all the apologists come out and attempt to rectify this with candles under glass, or winds that miss candles, or that the witnesses went into the rooms at different times, or (if all else fails) miraculous candles that do not blow out.

Yet these very same apologists scoff at such claims of other religions. What I see is a human mistake in the witnesses, human justification for that mistake, and nothing divine at all about resolving such difficulties.

Does the Bible say that Israel would be fought over for all of history? Has Israel been fought over for all of history? Again, you make positive assertions, and if I dare ask for a demonstration of this, you are caught in a quandary—if you provide it, then it is no longer faith-based, but proof-based. If you don’t, then you have no argument against anyone else saying that their faith says Israel will NOT be fought over for all of history.

No, David Poehlein, I think most of the contributors here most certainly feel that you believe what you are saying. You believe it with every ounce of your brain, and would gladly die for it, based on that belief. See the funny thing is—we did too at one point. We were willing, though, to look at the claims upon which our faith was based. And realized it was not solid ground, but a veneer, covering much greater problems.

And, no, I have no longing to know God. As people discuss, I certainly look at their proofs of their God concept, and research, and investigate and inspect, and discuss myself. But there is no God. Do you long to know Allah? Of course not. You believe that description of a God is inaccurate. Human made. There is no desire, because it is not real. Do you long to know the Mormon God? Again, not real to you, no desire.

I spent many years asking and begging to know more about God. The invitation always remains open. If he wants to know me, he knows where to find me. Instead, all I get are humans that tell me about their God, and how He can’t know me, because I am doing something wrong. Not enough faith. (Which he provides.) Not elect. (Which he provides.) I question too much with my intelligence. (Which he provides.) Somehow God does everything, in this concept, and I get the blame for not believing what other humans tell me. The same humans that tell me not to believe in other humans’ concepts of God.

Have a good few days off.

DagoodS said...

centuri0n:

If you care to peruse, I dealt with the concept of justice here and the idea of love here. No reason to go over that again.

I define Justice in a way that is easily actionable, and demonstrable, and determinable. A difficulty the Christian cannot get around. You use the definition of “treating sin as sin and virtue as virtue.” Can you apply that to David’s Baby? What was the sin of the Baby, how was that sin to be treated, and why did it require 7 days for the treatment to take effect? What was the sin of David, how was that sin treated, and why did he receive mercy?

I did not follow your analogy of the speeding police car. The law allows police (in certain circumstances) to exceed the speed limit. The law does not allow civilians to do so. To give a policeperson a ticket for speeding within those circumstances would be unjust. To give a civilian a ticket for speeding is just. We read the law, apply it to the facts, and see what the result would be. How is that difficult to apply?

At least I can read the law, and see, “Aha. That is when the exception applies.” With your God, we have no clue what exceptions are there, when he is being just, when he is being merciful, what the law says, and how often the law can or did change. This is why God’s “justice” is nothing like our human idea of justice.

The Bible uses prophecy to validate its claims? So other Christian writings that also use prophecy (say 1 Clement) are also inspired? Where does the Bible claim validity through prophecy?

exbeliever said...

centuri0n,

The time I've spent on blogging has caught up with me so I must be brief and then retire for a while.

Nothing you said above makes me feel the need to do anything other than, again, point out the fact that whenever Christians give an "attribute" to god, they mean the word in a totally different way than it is used otherwise. This means that the term is not defined at all. "Good" is not "good" in a way that we can understand. "Merciful" is not merciful in a way that we can understand. Etc.

| By the way, would you be willing to
| justify the first premise of TAG for
| me? Or respond, in any way, to this
| post. It's getting lonely here.

It seems a little absurd to ignore my own statement that I would not argue TAG. Is there a reason that I must defend TAG? It’s Paul’s argument, and I’ll leave it to him to defend.


It seems a little absurd to say that I am "ignoring" your statement that you would not argue TAG when I made the statement you quoted above at 5:26 PM, April 17, 2006 and you made your statement that you "wouldn't argue TAG or Kalaam," at 5:00 PM, April 18, 2006.

Are you suggesting that I knew what you would say 23.5 hours later about TAG and I intentionally ignored that? I apologize, I guess, for "ignoring" you.

exbeliever said...

DP,

The time I've spent on blogging has caught up with me so I must be brief and then retire for a while.

I'd like to ask you again about the reason(s) for your "deconversion".

David I can't really point to any one event. This may sound pretentious, but my deconversion can best be thought of in Kuhnsian terms.

I was a very conservative Christian. I noticed anomalies that were not explained in my conservative worldview. Eventually, the anomalies outnumbered that which was explained by my worldview. I found that mainstream Evangelicalism explained everything I believed before and better handled the anomalies. Soon, I noticed more anomalies. The anomalies outnumbered what was explained by Evangelicalism. I shifted paradigms to liberal Christianity. I noticed more anomalies.

At this point in my life, physicalism best explains what I see in the world and accounts for most of the anomalies. I'm not as solidly physicalist as I was Christian (I'm a lot more skeptical of the idea that any one worldview explains everything), but, for now, it explains the world better than any other worldview that I know about.

I'm sure this isn't what you were looking for, but that's the best description I can give.

Rich said...

I should start by saying I do agree with the science findings about our universe, I myself find no conflicts with my beliefs and science. You can relate findings of the singularity and it is an event that most certainly happened. I never just throw my hands in the air and say well God did it. Although finding out how something happened doesn't necessarily take away Gods hand in the event. I think we are suppose to learn all we can. I don't stop at "God did it" I want to know how. I believe string thoery is starting to pick up the slack so to speak for a new model. I'm no scientist but I try to keep on top of all I can to better understand what is seen physically around us. While God is All powerful I still believe he would function within the laws of the universe. I think the big quetion to answer is why are we here? There are a great many things that Are in the bible that are really confusing which is why I don't put my whole trust in it. It has been through too many hands of men who could have, and probably did, change alot and leave out alot that they pressumed to not be important. If the creation of the universe took place over 13 billion years and was covered in a few verses i suspect alot is missing. For religious purposes the fact that God created everything is sufficiant to begin with and you don't need to know how it happened to be saved. That doesn't mean we should not learn about it though.Is that enough circles? Sorry about the wandering. On to why are we here.
Lets just say we all lived with God prior to life on this earth. In that existance we were spirit children of God and he wanted us to become like him, a perfected being with flesh and bone. So he devised a plan for us to do just that. We were to come to earth and not be in his presence. He could then test our loyalty to him by giving us guidlines to live by and a means to know of his will and plans for our future with him. Scince we were to come here and not be able to see, walk, and talk with God he knew we would make mistakes. He wants all to return to him so he provided us with a savior that would conquer both Physical death(resurrection) and spritual death(attonement) to make it possible for us to return to his presence. The first death or physical death is the gift given to all regaurdless of what is done while here on earth. the second death or spiritual death can only be overcome by following Christs example and partaking of his attoning sacrifice. Just because a person doesn't believe in God or follow his teachings doesn't put him in hell, that takes an outright rebelion against God like cain. The heaven/hell teachings throughout christianity I don't believe to be
completely accurate. To say someone is going to hell for something is judging a person which we have no right to do.
How do we know what God wants us to do? He has always communicated through prophets to us and had one as the head of his church. In the time of christ he was the head of his own church with twelve apostles below him. The point I want to make here is that why would God change all of a sudden and not have a Prophet? Isn't he unchanging? So he should have a prophet at the head of his church here and now just like he always had before. That prophet would recieve revelation for that church as a whole to guide us towards our goal of returning to live with God. We individually can pray and recieve answers to guide us and help us along the way. If we can follow Christs example and be the best we can be then we can return to live with God after this life. I also believe that we will be with our friends and family that did the same.
It is very hard to look and see all the suffering and destruction in the world and see a loving caring God. How much of that suffering is at the hands of mankind? answer is all of it, God is not to blame for this.
I wasn't trying to offend anyone by calling someone "so called chistians" its just that some who claim to be christian sure don't act like it. I cetainly wasn't refering to you. Will my telling you why you should believe matter to you? Not sure thats up to you, you've obviously been through plenty and have come to this point and I may never be able to give you enough reasons to change your mind but I am explain ing my reasons for believing and yes they are good enough for me and make me plenty happy. I watched my dad die in front of my eyes when I was 15, not easy on anyone and it sure brings alot of doubt and emotion to anyone who experiences such things. It ain't easy to get over some things.
I will finish answering in a minute I am at work and I need to do a few things.

Daniel said...

Rich,
There are a great many things that Are in the bible that are really confusing which is why I don't put my whole trust in it.
That's pretty wise of you.

Lets just say we all lived with God prior to life on this earth. In that existance we were spirit children of God and he wanted us to become like him, a perfected being with flesh and bone. So he devised a plan for us to do just that.
Well, considering God must've made a universe before becoming "flesh and bone", aren't you getting your chronology a little off? IOW, God only recently supposedly became flesh and bone, whereas the universe, and the precursors to people within it, go back much further.

He could then test our loyalty to him by giving us guidlines to live by and a means to know of his will and plans for our future with him.
So let me get this straight -- we're in a perfect paradise of shimmery apparitions glowing and bouncing and God decides to screw it up by creating matter, knowing beforehand we're going to sin, which presupposes that God creates a "free will" [or the equivalent of moral agency] and sets out what "sin" is, and requires "blood" for the "remission of sin", painting the Big Guy into another corner, so that now this God has to provide perfect blood (not just any blood) to atone/redeem...

...kind of a dumb story. Let's go back to that "we're in perfection with God," part, and think, "why would God screw all that up?"

Scince we were to come here and not be able to see, walk, and talk with God he knew we would make mistakes.
WHy is the "spirit realm" perfect, but the "physical realm" had to be screwed up? After all, angels fell from God's own presence. Will we do the same in heaven if we should return there? Is our identity and freedom taken away once we return?

The heaven/hell teachings throughout christianity I don't believe to be
completely accurate.

That's pretty wise of you. You ought to check out the origin of the word "hell" and how the Greek conceived of an aftelife, versus how the Jews did [and still do], and you'll find a perversion of original doctrine.

That prophet would recieve revelation for that church as a whole to guide us towards our goal of returning to live with God.
And why do we need some person to be our intermediate?

How much of that suffering is at the hands of mankind? answer is all of it, God is not to blame for this.
Wait. You said earlier we were in this paradise with God, but God was the one who decided to create the universe and all that would follow

How am I to blame for something I never set in motion?

Will my telling you why you should believe matter to you?
I don't know that you've yet done that. You've told me what you believe, but I'm not sure you justified the speculations and opinions, eg being in heaven with God and God wanting to test our "loyalty" [as if there was anything else to pledge allegiance to]

I watched my dad die in front of my eyes when I was 15, not easy on anyone and it sure brings alot of doubt and emotion to anyone who experiences such things. It ain't easy to get over some things.
I'm sorry, and I'm sure you're right that it isn't. A theist I respect very much, Swinburne, admits that the most convincing argument for God's nonexistence is the problem of evil. The presups we spend a lot of time arguing with try to make the problem go away by telling us we cannot determine what evil is [of course, this is in direct contradiction to their own Bible, cf Gen 3 -- man acquires "the knowledge of good and evil"]

Rich said...

Bro Danni
"Well, considering God must've made a universe before becoming "flesh and bone", aren't you getting your chronology a little off? IOW, God only recently supposedly became flesh and bone, whereas the universe, and the precursors to people within it, go back much further."
Not when considering God created the universe. I missed where God recently got his flesh and bone body, unless you are refering to Christ?

..kind of a dumb story. Let's go back to that "we're in perfection with God," part, and think, "why would God screw all that up?"
We didn't have a body as we were spirits. we needed this life to gain a body. The paradise isn't screwed up as you say its still there waiting for our return.

Will we do the same in heaven if we should return there? Is our identity and freedom taken away once we return?
I suppose it could happen I can't answer that for sure but since it apparently happened once it could probably happen again.

And why do we need some person to be our intermediate?
Christ had his twelve apostles with while he was on the earth and they were asked to spread his gospel to the world. He organized a church and asked that they convert people to that church. We need certain things to be able to return to their presence on being babtism for the remission of sins. Christ was babtized even though he was without sin, why? To be our example in all things. We still need a prophet and apostles, ect.. today just as we did then for an organized religion to help everyone we can return to live with God.

How am I to blame for something I never set in motion?
I never said you personally were to blame for anything and please don't take it as such. Are you implying that God should never allow anyone to suffer at all? What part is he personally responible for? Just because he created the universe he is now responsible for all that is bad? I'm not sure what you are asking here.

I didn't get to finish with the last post yet so I will back up a little too.

Hmmm. Interesting opinion, but religious adherents of each of those would love to sit you down and point out the differences, I'm sure. Not that it matters to me, since I discount all gods.
I didn't say there weren't differeces in how people percieve God because there are hundreds, but regaurdless of those differences they are the same person.

Why is it no surprise? The 3 blind men in a room with an elephant analogy? You know where that breaks down? The elephant can't talk, but God can, and supposedly does, and contradicts itself. Indeed, God may exist, my friend, but if It does, It doesn't care to give you a few hints as you blindly grope and guess, "snake! [trunk] wall! [broadside] tree! [leg]"
Its no surprise because even when God does speak not every one listens. I'm not saying its an easy task either and certainly it doesn't help with all the contradictions that seem to abound.

No, my friend, we don't ask for much. A believable God, with a reliable message and way of knowing It.
Well its there you just have to find it. We are back to a living prophet now who could maybe help shead light what God wants us to do. He has consistantly spoken to prophets throughout history and asked us to read about their teachings and follow, it still continues today sir with a living prophet who can talk face to face with God. His gospel has been given to us to follow and he has set up his church to help us along with a prophet at the head. Could I be right? I think so and I try my best to follow but yet I still struggle continually.

I said, sure, you don't have to, but what did you stop by for?
Actually I hit this site from a link on another blog BABlog to be exact as your site had a story that used a couple of his blog entries. I started readin more because I am always curious about others beliefs. I chose to try and answer some questions as well as pose some of my own and here we are

Ok. I would bet it's because, even though the Bible records such things do/can/have happened, and even though the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons, the Bible is wrong and God doesn't show up because God doesn't exist.
That could be of coarse but it also could be that he expects us to follow him in faith and not see him as this would change our free will to some extent, much like how we act when a boss is present as to when he isn't. Not that everyone has that problem but most do.

While I understand, I have to ask you to look at this objectively -- if everyone asked God the same question, and had different "feelings", what would we conclude?
I should expound a little and say that we study something out and come to a conclusion then ask if we have reach the right conclusion. That way there us yes or no

And tell me if I ought to try to be wise, seek wisdom, and think wisdom is a good thing, or not? Eccl 2:26 suggests wisdom is a gift that God gives, which the Reformed/Calvinists aboard this merry pirate ship immediately nod and bob along with. Could wisdom lead me to pride? Does knowledge puff up [1 Cor 8:1-3]?
Prov.10:14
Prov.19:20
Dan.12:3
2Tim.3:15
As is always how you gain wisdom and what you use if for matter.

And a promise is made that whatever is asked in Christ's name, Christ will do, right? Want to go to bat for how many people have died uttering that very prayer?
Qualify whatever? What do you mean go to bat for? Sure people have died for christ. How does this make God non existant or non caring? You are back at the act of a person, while God can and sometimes does sove people from death that doesn't mean everyone does or else he doesn't care about us. If someone puts a gun to my head and says see if your God can save you and hten pulls the trigger, chances are I'm dead. Is that Gods fault? I mean in that itme I asked him to save me and did it in christs name so he should save me right? My best friend tried to commit suicide at least 20 times including the last time when he actually pulled the trigger on a shotgun to his head, the gun misfired. Sure the story has every evidence that something went wrong with the gun but you can't say for sure that he didn't have an intervention. I'm just using an example here I am not saying I know God intervined but at the same time he certainly could have. I've shot that gun with him a few times and it works pretty good.

As a human being, maybe. As a selfish and limited human being. But if you are a perfect and all-good God...then...it's about the kid's needs, right, and not your own ego or self-importance?
I disagree here, you seem to mean that we should have our needs be met regaurdless of our thankfulness or demeaner in asking. God is bound to give us blessings when we do what he asks of us but when we choose to disobey we have no such promise.

exbeliever said...

Rich,

Same premise, different scenario.

Lets just say we all lived with God prior to life on this earth. In that existance we were spirit children of God and he wanted us to become like him, a perfected being with flesh and bone. So he devised a plan for us to do just that. We were to come to earth and not be in his presence. He could then test our loyalty to him by

making up religions in which he is said to do things like dash infants against stones, order armies to kill babies and animals, condoning slavery, threatening rape for disobedience, etc. Also, this god would give us great ability to discover and answer many things, but leave no evidence of his existence.

The test is for those who are brave enough to stand against any "god" who would do such things and who leaves no evidence of his existence in the face of eternal torment in hell. Those who would refuse to serve a god (or believe he existed) would prove that they were more moral than anyone who would follow such a god.

That seems a better test than yours.

Back into retirement for me.

Rich said...

You dismiss miricle stories as lies and fairy tales yet readily seem to believe these tales that describe a horrid vengeful, rotten, nasty God. While I'm not saying anything about wether or not those things happened, although I don't recall a rape threatning story, lets not ask for any bad consequences for anything we do, please don't punish me for wrong doings. Maybe those are exagerated stories also, seems pretty fair to me to say that since the miricles and other stories, creation are dismissed as only stories or exageration.
Now to me you are at some sort of presupposition, if there is no God there is plenty of evidence against his existance, if there is a God there is plenty of evidence to support his existance. A whole universe as far as the hubble can see full of evidence. As for the rest you have to ask yourself why are we here? What is the purpose of our existance? If we have a purpose for our existance then where does it lead us? Is the hell spoken of a place where those who reside there lament not having listened to Christ and learned of Gods plans for us then reject those teachings then spend an eternity wishing they hadn't? Seems to me we can have hell on earth, I certainly went through that with the passing of my father and then later older sister, and then worse of all divorce from lucifers sister(kidding). So maybe the hell spoken of is not always a particular place but a state of existance? You certainly describe what would seem like a personal hell to me while deconverting. My particular faith is hammered pretty hard by evangelical faith and according to them I will join you in hell, so I guess at least we'll have a few things to talk about there eh?

"The test is for those who are brave enough to stand against any "god" who would do such things and who leaves no evidence of his existence in the face of eternal torment in hell. Those who would refuse to serve a god (or believe he existed) would prove that they were more moral than anyone who would follow such a god."
If that makes you feel brave as you say I wish you luck but if your wrong here what would be the eternal cost of that mistake? If Christ attoned for our sins then we can obtain redemption from them through him. If we don't repent we pay the price ourselves for our own sins, which made Christ, fathered by diety with a mortal mother, the greatest of all as he says bleed from every pore and beg for the cup to be passed from him before he went through the suffering for our sins. If that was his reaction knowing full well what he was doing and what it was going to be like then I don't want to pay the price for my sins. While I don't understand exactly what that will entail, he did and tried to find a way around it even knowing there wasn't any. I realize all this is based on what a person believes but if I'm right it would really suck to be on the wrong end of that. I would rather err on the side of following Christ and find it was wrong than the other scenario. If you're right and there is no God then all anyone does won't make any difference in the end, be that OJ simpson, Billy Graham, Sadam, Bin Laden, Oral Roberts, Joseph Smith, Moses, Paul, Cain, just picking a few extremes. If I'm right and there is a God then everything we do will make a difference in the end. While I don't believe you guys are bad people in any way at all and I truely believe you are living great productive lives full of happiness for yourselves, I want all that good going to something in the end. If I do good like you and in the end there is no God then we'll be on the same page anyway right?

Anonymous said...

I hate to ask this, since right now it seems to support the Christian side of things (forgive me if this has already been addressed, since I haven't read each and every post)

I am agnostic, and pretty much agree with the anti-religious sentiment in this blog, I am just curious - I can't imagine any way to completely eliminate human perception from any study, or experiment. Since that is the case, isn't all truth subjective? Just curious if there is an answer to this, as it seems to be the main reason to me that there isn't a slam dunk for either side.