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4/9/07

Official ibankingoasis belief in God poll. Any religion with a God accepted. I'll start.

Don't.

Comments (795)

Best Response
4/10/07

I just sacrificed to Phoebus Apollo.
Those who do not worship all the Olympian Gods and Goddesses are in for a rude awakening (Tartarus) one day.

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4/9/07
4/9/07
4/9/07
4/9/07

Well I'll let my name speak for itself.

4/9/07

Do

I would strongly recommend reading C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity for those of you that are skeptical.

It has helped change the way I look at many things...

4/9/07

Affirmative here. Atheists will have a rude awakening one day.

4/9/07
4/9/07

Okay guys, let's stick to the topic and try not to get personal and respect the views of others. I really don't want to see another long drawn-out thread filled with flames.

4/9/07

Point well taken. Good reminder.

4/9/07

I truly believe I am God. Not even kidding here.

4/9/07

For those that answered yes, how have you been able to maintain your faith amidst all the pressures?

4/9/07

I truly Believe in GOD.
GOD exists,i have no doubt about that.Nothing in our lifes happens randomly without a reason.everything has a reason behind.and GOD is the guy :) that makes this whole puzzle called "our life"

In reply to carl87
4/9/07
carl87:

I truly Believe in GOD.
GOD exists,i have no doubt about that.Nothing in our lifes happens randomly without a reason.everything has a reason behind.and GOD is the guy :) that makes this whole puzzle called "our life"

Not to disagree with your your views or say that they are right or wrong, but the flip side of that argument (i.e. all the bad, horrible things that happen to ppl every day) is the reason why I don't.

4/9/07

If your Atheist what do you look forward to in the long run?

In reply to guyjer
4/9/07
guyjer:

If your Atheist what do you look forward to in the long run?

Having a good life, and trying to make the most of it for me and the people around me. I personally think it makes a better person out of me, because when I do something good I do out of a desire to be a better person, rather than because of a fear of hell.

4/9/07

I believe in God but get a little skeptical sometimes. I think of the little kids that are dying of diseases, poverty and starvation in third-world countries and ask myself "Is God willing to help these people but not able or is he able to help these people but not willing or is he neither willing nor able to help these people, in which case, why do we call him 'God'" People like to chant the mantra, "Everything happens for a reason" but a reason behind a suffering of such magnitude that these innocent kids are confronted with seems illogical. Maybe somebody could someday justify such inhumane acts(but then again, God isn't human).

4/9/07

Was once slightly agnostic, now very much a believer.

4/9/07
In reply to carl87
4/9/07
carl87:

I truly Believe in GOD.
GOD exists,i have no doubt about that.Nothing in our lifes happens randomly without a reason.everything has a reason behind.and GOD is the guy :) that makes this whole puzzle called "our life"

No offense, but there's no way you can say you have "no doubt" about it. If so, what proof could you offer. Personally, I've thought about it both ways (good things happen for a reason vs. all the bas things that happen), and I believe in God, but on what grounds, I'm not sure. You could not explain the unexplainable, but you cannot prove much either. Oh well, my 2 cents.

4/10/07

Do: 10
Dont: 3.
Lets keep them coming. Remember to write "Do" or "Dont" at the top. It will make keeping a tally easier.

4/10/07
4/10/07

People have mentioned suffering, and it is one of the most common obstacles for many people.

Again at the risk of sounding like a dork(even though I don't care if I do), "Mere Christianity" has rocked my world. It touches on Suffering, Morality, "right and wrong as a clue to the meaning of the universe", faith, cost of faith, what Christians believe, Christian behavior etc..

4/10/07
4/10/07

I always love asking this to my fundamentalist friends, If God knows the future - and what is going to happen has already been decided - do you think that praying will "Change God's Mind" persuading him to grant you a favor?

4/10/07
4/10/07
4/10/07

yes - something along the lines of intelligent design but not quite

In reply to guyjer
4/10/07
guyjer:

If your Atheist what do you look forward to in the long run?

I don't look forward to anything in the long run. I really can't give you a good reason for why we all shouldn't kill ourselves other than maybe we are afraid to die or rather life just is like it or not.

You hit on the main reason why I don't believe in god, though. It is clearly a comfort to man to believe in some purpose. The truth is usually uncomfortable. I refuse to believe just to make me feel better and sleep at night.

4/10/07
4/10/07

Nuh uh.

In the really long run, we all die.

Anyway I'm atheist because I am my own keeper, not a deity of any kind. I got into college because I worked hard to get in, not because some deity put my name on the roster.

And besides, how am I supposed to believe in something that's scientifically impossible. And my view of christianity is jaded by people that run places like Jesus Camp. YouTube it. It's scary. Looks like some sort of christian fundamentalist jihad.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

4/10/07

When I was younger I went back and forth with this. But really, people give God way to much credit for everything in their lives (someone I know once said it was because of "Him" that they did well on a Calc test...give me a break). As far as what I look forward to, just living life as best I can and being happy. Do I really need to have a book or another person who claims to be an expert of said book help me to achieve that? I don't think so. But, to each his own. If someone needs that feeling of not being alone in order to be happy, then that's what they need to be happy.

In reply to fraser24gt
4/10/07
fraser24gt:

When I was younger I went back and forth with this. But really, people give God way to much credit for everything in their lives (someone I know once said it was because of "Him" that they did well on a Calc test...give me a break). As far as what I look forward to, just living life as best I can and being happy. Do I really need to have a book or another person who claims to be an expert of said book help me to achieve that? I don't think so. But, to each his own. If someone needs that feeling of not being alone in order to be happy, then that's what they need to be happy.

Amen.

Crap! As an atheist, what am I supposed to say?

4/10/07

Do, for sure.

4/10/07

For posters that said they believe in God, I have a couple of questions: First, we all believe that humans came into existence through God's creation but how did God himself come into existence? Second, who actually compiled all the books in the bible into one book?

4/10/07
4/10/07

I am always astonished that people let a certain group of Christians actions affect their views.

It comes down to this for me: Christ made some very bold and radical statements here on earth. As C.S. Lewis said, "Jesus was either a Liar, Lord, or a Lunatic."

If he is Lord, there are MAJOR implications. If what he said REALLY is Truth, then how can you let how other people act prevent you from that Truth? Not all people that claim things actually live obedient lives.

4/10/07
In reply to uppereastside
4/10/07
uppereastside:

Not all people that claim things actually live obedient lives.

In my experience, that is a major understatement. I have found religious people in general (some groups definitely more than others) to be among the most hypocritical. I obviously haven't let this observation affect any personal views, but I just get irritated by the fact that others feel they can preach to me when I feel I have my life more in order than they do, and in some cases, probably have a better/clearer moral compass. That is my biggest hang-up with religion, is the constant need to "spread the gospel/Word", "save" people, etc. Forcing religion down peoples throats is not to my knowledge something that entails the principles set forth by God/Jesus/Yahweh/Allah/Buddha/FSM/Etc.

4/11/07

You do not have to believe in Christianity but I find it refreshing to have a spiritual life. I discourage fundamentalism because it discourages the evolution of religion. If an idea cannot change then it cannot adapt to the times and that leads to trouble.

4/11/07

Strong Don't ...

What I've never understood is: If two different religions claim that non-believers are going to hell (and you can't follow more than one religion), either someone (or both) is lying or we're all going to hell anyways. I have an uncle who is a priest, a grandmother that is a minister, and other religious ties. I've had a lot of exposure to religion but I just don't buy it.

PS: I don't mind if others practice at all, as long as it doesn't come to the detriment of those that don't agree with them.

CompBanker

4/12/07

You can be spritual without being religious. You can be moral without being religious. Notice how enron's CEO and Ken Lay were both male WASPs.

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-

4/14/07

Believe in God.

4/14/07

I'm an orthodox athiest

--------------
Either you sling crack rock or you got a wicked jump shot

4/14/07

Challenge: We should each identify what our definition of God/'the gods' is.

I have a hunch that a good section of the atheists became that way after observing the behavior and mentality of those with a poor definition.

My definition: Universal organizing principle(s). Although randomness as a basis for reality may be appealing to some. I believe in a harmonious underlying structure, it tends to promote a harmonious underlying structure in myself.

4/14/07

those who do not resonate with that structure, tend to find themselves in dire straits(hell/tartarus/gehenna) at some point or another.
Take it from me...

- Ex-atheist

4/15/07

How is a guy driving down the freeway getting killed by a semi-truck tire that came loose and crossed over the divider wall into the opposing lane of traffic part of a "harmonious underlying structure"? What about the 6 year old leukemia patients? Maybe I missed the gist of your philosophical outlook, but I don't see how such things tie together the universe.

4/15/07

First, I don't believe in the things that cannot be proved, but I don't deny the possiblity of such proof arising later. Basically, I'm an agnostic, lately leaning towards atheism.

Second, even if I were to believe, I certainly wouldn't join any of the current followings. Seriously, how can you read Bible/Torah/Koran without ridiculing it? The stuff they talk about are basically fairytales. And in any case, I feel that it's important for me to figure out my own position rather than jump on the bandwagon with other believers in the standardized deities, rituals, and customs. Sitting through a religious ceremony is by far the last thing I'd spend my time on.

4/16/07

Atheist

Too much bad stuff in the world to think there is. I think it's all a ploy to control the masses. There is too much historical context and evidence of corruption, deception, and fraud in the church for me to believe otherwise.

4/16/07
4/16/07

I think its key to remember that spirituality and "religion" are two different things.

In reply to Bucs47
4/16/07
Bucs47:

I think its key to remember that spirituality and "religion" are two different things.

I don't believe in spirituality either.

There are atoms and electrons and all the good science stuff. Beyond that is our imagination or better yet fear.

While I'm at it, another pet peeve of mine are agnostics. "Well, I don't know." I was agnostic once, because I didn't have the balls at the time to be atheist.

So to all agnostics out there, stop being afraid. if you really don't believe in god, he can't punish you. If you really don't believe in god, you are an atheist.

4/16/07

Realize that Atheist simply means "not a theist".
Agnostics simply say, "I can't accept or deny God, for I don't know how to define this God."

For those who point to the hypocrisy of Christians as grounds for not joining a church or believing in God; look to Christ not the Christian, we will always let you down, Jesus wont.

Also, you ask, "why does God let so many people suffer and die?" People who focus on this miss the point. This speck of our existence is our one brief chance to secure our salvation with Jesus and to spread the news that eternal life is a free gift. Funny how people are so concerned with this life when there is an eternity to look forward to.

I don't believe that God uses the "hell incentive" to force people to believe. This was cooked up by the early Catholic Church. 70% of the versus in the Bible will use language that implies destruction (end result) and the other 30% sound like "eternal" punishment until you put it into context. You can research this for yourself, just don't ask your pastor/priest (they may have bias); if YOU truly search for Biblical truths, you will find them (on your own) without outside influence.

Lastly, you can't "prove" the existence of God. Even if we could, I wonder if people would (choose) to believe; look at all the people who saw miracles with their own eyes (people with Jesus and Moses) some still didn't believe. It basically comes down to this: over 2000 years ago a man walked upon the face of the Earth and claimed to be the son of God. He was poor, humble, and well acquainted with grief, and claimed to have died for our sins. He promised that if we call upon his name we (will) be saved. Who do you say this person was/is, and why do people get so angry at someone who died so that we can exist after this life.

Sorry for the sermon.

In reply to Maynard
4/16/07
Maynard:

For those who point to the hypocrisy of Christians as grounds for not joining a church or believing in God; look to Christ not the Christian, we will always let you down, Jesus wont.

There is one time in history where people did not let someone down.

They didn't let Jesus down...from the cross.

4/16/07

Your comment bugged the shit out of me and I had to reflect on it. For what it's worth...

If you can acknowledge that it was awful not to have let Jesus down from the cross is to admit that you are at least compassionate...
If you are compassionate, that comes from having a deeper feeling of empathy toward others...
If you have empathy towards others means that you desire to do good unto others...
If you desire to do good unto others, means you understand the significance of love...
If you love, then you know Christ..

Sigh. I feel better now.

In reply to aadpepsi
4/16/07

aadpepsi

I don't at all believe in god, but I have morals and I follow them.

The fact that I have considered my own morals rather than just accepting them from religion makes me more likely to follow them because they are my own.

I am a very nice, loving, compassionate person, who happens to not believe in god.

If me and Christ can hang out in the same treehouse then, well that's cool. I just won't believe that's he's god.

I hope you feel better.

4/16/07

Alexey, I accept you as you are.

Although as far as I'm concerned, there is no atheism. Either you love or do not love.

4/16/07

Also, I made no reference to immorality...

In reply to aadpepsi
4/16/07
aadpepsi:

Alexey, I accept you as you are.

Although as far as I'm concerned, there is no atheism. Either you love or do not love.

That's funny. You don't believe in Atheism. There is something kind of ironic in that.

If I love I do it because I feel it and not because I feel obliged to.

I went through 13 years of Catholic school. I know how it works.

In reply to aadpepsi
4/16/07
aadpepsi:

Also, I made no reference to immorality...

OK. Maybe that is not what you intended.

I inferred from the bits about compassion and love that you were equating my lack of belief in god to being a bad person.

My inference must have been incorrect.

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4/16/07

Do

Vaguely Christian but disagree with a lof of it, particularly its views on women and relationships.

4/16/07

Yes, wrong inference. Never said you were a bad person. Au contraire.

Also, don't we all love because we feel it? Love is everything. Would feeling obliged to love be truly love?

4/16/07

Do. Intelligent design. There are terrible things in the world because we have free-will, not because God wills it. If there were no terrible things in the world, God would have no need to exist.

In reply to aadpepsi
4/17/07
aadpepsi:

If you love, then you know Christ..

I don't see how this statement comes close to being true. Does that mean Jews either can't love or are somehow going against their own religion's doctrine? This is exactly my problem with Christianity...well, religion in general, but Christianity specifcally, and even more specifically the whole Southern Baptist/Evangelical contingent. All I've ever seen of religion is exclusion. Christians can never accept someone for who they are. Mission trips are a good example, where the missionaries go and build a school in some 3rd world country and then spend the rest of their time trying to convert the natives. If people don't want to believe, that is their prerogative. Getting back to the point, no offense aadpepsi, but I really think your logic is flawed. One can't say that feelings of goodwill and compassion are exclusive to believers in Christ. And before you try to get technical, I see you used the word "know" (rather cunningly I might add) rather than "believe." I think its safe to say that in the Christian lexicon "know" can reasonably be equated to "believe (in)." Unless we are talking strict biblical sense of "know"...j/k

4/17/07

religious people scare me. people who judge others based on a fairy tale. I mean what is god's purpose anyway? Why did he "create" earth and human beings? It seems just to have people worship him so he can eventually let us live with him in "heaven"- sounds like a pretty selfish project to me.

Heaven sounds horrible to me anyway. who wants to live in a worry free existence anyway? think about that.....

4/17/07

also when all you religious people die and go to heaven what happens if your first wife dies when youre 30 and she's "waiting" patiently for you in heaven. then a few years later you get re-married and eventually you both die from old age.

Can you imagine how awkward it would be in heaven?! you and your two wives!

oh but don't worry, its heaven. everything works out up there. where is heaven anyway? some part of the universe? another dimension?

also, if heaven is so great, how come any person will flinch when a gun is pointed at them? shouldn't they welcome death if its so great up there? no, of course not. we are animals and we have the instinct to not want to die. just like an ant who runs away when you try to squish it. we are all just animals on earth like anything else. we are children of nature, not of some made up god.

but hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.
thats my sermon

In reply to IronBanker
4/17/07
IronBanker:

religious people scare me. people who judge others based on a fairy tale. I mean what is god's purpose anyway? Why did he "create" earth and human beings? It seems just to have people worship him so he can eventually let us live with him in "heaven"- sounds like a pretty selfish project to me.

Heaven sounds horrible to me anyway. who wants to live in a worry free existence anyway? think about that.....

I don't judge anyone because I'm no better than they are. People should respect other's right to believe whatever they want. Also, was God selfish when he sent his son to be murdered by us so that we would have a chance at eternal life?

I have no idea who you are, but I will pray to God for you tonight. I will pray that He blesses you with whatever you're looking for in life (wealth, career, doesn't even have to be salvation through Christ). You can even flame me after this thread and I'll still pray for you.

In reply to fraser24gt
4/17/07
fraser24gt:
aadpepsi:

If you love, then you know Christ..

I don't see how this statement comes close to being true. Getting back to the point, no offense aadpepsi, but I really think your logic is flawed. One can't say that feelings of goodwill and compassion are exclusive to believers in Christ.

Feelings of goodwill and compassion are not exclusive to believers in Christ. When did I say that? Feelings of goodwill and compassion are in the essence of every person.

Fundamentally, my perspective on love is very much aligned with Thomas Aquinas. And I'm not talking of romantic love. I'm talking about love love. If you are inclined to do so, if but for the sake of perspective, I encourage you to read "An Deus sit?" and his quinque viae or "The Five Ways".

In reply to aadpepsi
4/17/07
aadpepsi:

And I'm not talking of romantic love. I'm talking about love love. .

There were three types of love in the ancient Greek, which might help clarify the discussion.

Agape- Love for your fellow man/family

Philos- deep love a subject/person, but now more used non-physical love of another person

Eros- hot raunchy sex (or physical love/lust)

In reply to Maynard
4/17/07
Maynard:
IronBanker:

religious people scare me. people who judge others based on a fairy tale. I mean what is god's purpose anyway? Why did he "create" earth and human beings? It seems just to have people worship him so he can eventually let us live with him in "heaven"- sounds like a pretty selfish project to me.

Heaven sounds horrible to me anyway. who wants to live in a worry free existence anyway? think about that.....

I don't judge anyone because I'm no better than they are. People should respect other's right to believe whatever they want. Also, was God selfish when he sent his son to be murdered by us so that we would have a chance at eternal life?

I have no idea who you are, but I will pray to God for you tonight. I will pray that He blesses you with whatever you're looking for in life (wealth, career, doesn't even have to be salvation through Christ). You can even flame me after this thread and I'll still pray for you.

listen maynard, i thank you for praying for me. and i know what i said was a little harsh. and believe me, i respect people who follow a religion. but i was just trying to vent my own opinions about the fallibility in religion. I grew up going to church and for awhile tried to force myself to believe. but to me, theres just too much out there telling me there can't be religion.

and this whole thing of "was god being selfish when he sent jesus to save us", i mean to me thats the type of argument that makes me laugh because well.....i dont believe jesus was the son of god and thats the sort of fairy tale i think religion exemplifies.

mel gibson put it pretty frankly, "if you dont believe in ALL of the bible, then you shouldnt believe in any of it" and although dismissing evolution and dinosaurs and heaps of scientific evidence seems easy for some people, its pretty ridiculous to me. and its really kind of true what gibson said i know christians that say "oh i mean i dont believe is creationism, but i can still believe in christ"- i dont get how some people can believe in some of this supernatural stuff and not some of the other. its all just a heap of hypocritical storytelling mumbo jumbo to me.

but all that aside, my parents are very pious and so is my girlfriend and her parents. which probably means if i marry and have kids with her, my kids will be brought up that way. so i respect religion and i think its based on great morals. but so is harry potter

4/18/07

Haha, well said IronBanker. I would have to agree with everything you just said. I've never understood that myself, why so much scientific evidence is thrown out of the window because of a book that was written 2,000+ years ago.

4/18/07

""Jesus was either a Liar, Lord, or a Lunatic.""

The famous trilemma...I'll take choices 1 and 3 Alex. With a little slice of 'Paul completely manipulated/created christianity.'

4/18/07

Another thing (and I actually do believe in God), but arguing that atheism is nihilistic or unpleasant is not an argument against it's being true. the truth/falsehood of something is independent of how it makes you feel.

4/18/07

"There are terrible things in the world because we have free-will, not because God wills it."

what about natural disasters?

4/18/07

Yea, same thing with diseases such as cancer. I don't think any of those people chose to get it, except smokers perhaps. I guess it depends on people's definition of God. You either have the loving, benevolent God, or the fire and brimstone, fear me God. If he's benevolent, again, why so much suffering in the world? If he's so angry and harsh towards us on purpose, why worship him?

In reply to fraser24gt
4/18/07
fraser24gt:

Yea, same thing with diseases such as cancer. I don't think any of those people chose to get it, except smokers perhaps. I guess it depends on people's definition of God. You either have the loving, benevolent God, or the fire and brimstone, fear me God. If he's benevolent, again, why so much suffering in the world? If he's so angry and harsh towards us on purpose, why worship him?

Reading this post just gave me a plausible explanation for how god actually might exist.

Basically, many of us atheists have trouble believing in god because he is seemingly irrational and contradictory.

HOWEVER, if god was a WOMAN, that would explain everything.

4/18/07

HAHAHAHA! Has to be one of the funniest things I've read on this site!

4/18/07

Ja, that made me smile :-)

God is a woman. The whole story about Adam's rib was made up for man's ego so that he believes he contributed something ;)

4/18/07

it's not rib actually, it's 'side'

4/18/07
4/18/07

no, that's a common misconception and mistranslation. the word means side, not rib.

4/18/07
4/18/07

Tzela, as in Exodus 26:20. they're not making tabernacles out of ribs....

I would generally avoid the JPS translation by the way, stick with the artscroll...the orthodox are better at these sort of things...

Christian translations often mistranslate, sometimes intentionally...like the famous 'behold a virgin shall conceive' bit in Isaiah 7:14

4/18/07

See, now I appreciate your knowledge of Scripture :-)

Indeed, plenty of misconceptions or mistranslations from scripture...

4/18/07

that's why you should try to read it in the original, or at least have a translation that includes the original (like artscroll)

In reply to Jimbo
4/18/07
Jimbo:

that's why you should try to read it in the original, or at least have a translation that includes the original (like artscroll)

Nobody knows exactly how to translate this. Especially considering that most of the stories weren't written down for many years.

Even with modern foreign languages there can be multiple translations of the same word depending on context etc.

In this particular case the discussion is irrelevant because aadpepsi was simply referencing the story (and in terms commonly known) and not trying to begin a debate about translation.

Not sure who Jimbo is trying to impress, but in the end it's open to interpretation and even more importantly nobody gives a rat's ass.

In any case, here is what wikipedia has to say, go to wikipedia to check out the citiations:

"Adam's rib

Anatomically, men and women have the same number of ribs - 24 (unless they have an extra bi-lateral cervical set of ribs). When this fact was noted by the Flemish anatomist Vesalius in 1524 it touched off a wave of controversy, since it was thought to contradict Genesis 2:21:

"And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man" (King James Version, Genesis 2:21aEU"22)

Controversy regarding the "rib" continues to the present day, regarding the Sumerian and the original Hebrew words for rib. The common translation, for example, that of the King James Version, is that xO*x--O*xa xzO'x|O*O1/4xoeOdegxC/O1xaO,x(tm)x* means "one of his ribs". The contrary position is that the term x|xoexC/ a1PSelaE?, occurring forty-one times in the Tanakh, is most often translated as "side" in general.[8]. "Rib" is, however, the etymologically primary meaning of the term, which is from a root a1PS-l-E?, "bend", cognate to Assyrian a1PSAalu "rib".[9] Also God took "one" ( E3/4ea,>IuI...Ia?PI1/2 I+-a1/2I,,I?a?|, with a1/4! IEUI>>IuI...II! choosing a Greek term that like the Hebrew a1PSelaE? may mean either "rib", or, in the plural, "side [of a man or animal]" in general. The specification "one of the IEUI>>IuI...II!" thus closely imitates the Hebrew text. The Aramaic form of the word is xC/xoexC/ E?alaE?, which appears, also in the meaning "rib", in Daniel 7:5.

An old story of the rib is told by Rabbi Joshua:

"God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned with Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam's head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into all things; if from the ear, she will wish to hear all things; if from the mouth, she will talk much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the hand, she will desire to take all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore I will create her from the member which is hidden, that is the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked. ..."[10] "

4/18/07

keep in mind that God and organized religion are not equal. humans are fallible, so when we try to interpret/understand/rationalize God, we will inevitably make mistakes. I don't know/care who wrote the Bible, but if I knew I were going to die tomorrow, I would say a little something to God before I went.

(disclaimer: this poster attended a private catholic secondary school)

4/19/07

"Not sure who Jimbo is trying to impress, but in the end it's open to interpretation and even more importantly nobody gives a rat's ass."

i'm not out to impress anyone, least of all strangers on the internet, my friend.

In reply to Jimbo
4/19/07
Jimbo:

"Not sure who Jimbo is trying to impress, but in the end it's open to interpretation and even more importantly nobody gives a rat's ass."

i'm not out to impress anyone, least of all strangers on the internet, my friend.

I'm just talking trash...

4/19/07

"I'm just talking trash...
"

No worries, if the internet is good for anything it's for insulting strangers annonymously :-)

Jimbo

In reply to Jimbo
4/19/07
Jimbo:

"I'm just talking trash...
"

No worries, if the internet is good for anything it's for insulting strangers annonymously :-)

Jimbo

touchA(c)

4/19/07

Believe in God...kind of...I do NOT believe in organized religion and it really annoys me when people claim they're better people than those who don't believe

In reply to BABanker
4/19/07
Alexey Kirilov:
fraser24gt:

Yea, same thing with diseases such as cancer. I don't think any of those people chose to get it, except smokers perhaps. I guess it depends on people's definition of God. You either have the loving, benevolent God, or the fire and brimstone, fear me God. If he's benevolent, again, why so much suffering in the world? If he's so angry and harsh towards us on purpose, why worship him?

Reading this post just gave me a plausible explanation for how god actually might exist.

Basically, many of us atheists have trouble believing in god because he is seemingly irrational and contradictory.

HOWEVER, if god was a WOMAN, that would explain everything.

My friend went to an interview with a recruiting firm for some European bank, and for the personal interview, the opens up with, "Tell me about God."
He responded with God must have been a woman and got to the next round.

In reply to potentate88
4/19/07
4/19/07

This sermon is by Tim Keller, the Pastor of Redeemer here in NYC. He gave it right after 9/11. For those of you who have questions about evil in the world/bad things happening/etc, this is a great teaching.

I would love to hear everyones unbiased opinion. This is a very insightful and scripturally sound teaching. Here it is....

Questions on Everyone's Mind
Pastor Tim Keller, WTS '81, of Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, gives some thoughts on Questions people are asking

September 14, 2001

1. How can you trust God after this kind of an event?

The Christian answer to issues of suffering and tragedy always has to do with the Cross. Imagine you are an admirer and companion of Jesus Christ during his ministry. He is such a powerful worker of miracles that disease and hunger are almost banished from the countryside when he is present.

He is such a powerful teacher and spiritual guide that thousands of people hear him gladly and get hope. Then suddenly this man who is the one to help the whole country is cruelly, unjustly cut off in the very midst of his life--at only age 33.

What if you stood at the foot of the cross in front of this apparently senseless act of violence and tragic waste of life, and you said, "I can never, ever trust God again after an event like this!" And what if you went home and completely renounced all belief in God saying, "This proves that
God is either a monster or indifferent or he doesn't exist"? If you did that, you would have been missing the greatest act of God's love and redemption in history. But of course no one at that time (and only a few for a good while afterwards) could fathom what had happened.

The Cross of Jesus Christ is the main reason I can trust God after this kind of event. First, the Cross is the best proof that God is not remote from us in our suffering. (See question #3 and #5 below.) Second, the Cross and its aftermath shows us how dangerous it is to judge God on surface appearances. His way is to work strength through weakness and bring resurrection and new power through death. (See question # below.)

2. Is this a judgment from God on our country?

I don't think we can infer from prosperity that God is pleased with us, nor can we know from disaster that he is displeased with us. In Romans 1:18ff Paul hints that the worst punishment may be to get the happy life you want! That way you never wake up to your pride, self-righteousness or need for him. On the other hand, Luke 21:16-19 is a remarkable assertion that God's loving protection of his people does not mean exemption for suffering. Jesus says, "They will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish." This is startling to us. We would think that 'not a hair of your head will perish' must mean that we can't be attacked and killed, but that is not so. Jesus is saying that God exercises the most detailed and loving control of our lives ("not a hair"), and that in the broad scope of things every event works out for our good and his glory (Romans 8:28). But our life-plan may still include terrible tragedy, just as did Jesus' life plan. (Why should servants be above their master?) What do we learn from all this?
We learn that we cannot be sure that disasters imply divine judgment nor that prosperity implies divine approval. So how can we know whether God is displeased with America or not? The only way to know that for sure is to consult the Scriptures and its standards.

But this does not mean we cannot 'hear God's voice' in a time of tragedy. We can. Jesus was also asked whether certain corporate and personal tragedies were "judgments" of God. In Luke 13 he was asked if a massacre and (ironically) a falling tower were signs of God's judgment on those killed. His answer was an unequivocal "no", but he added cryptically "you yourselves should repent." That fits with C. S. Lewis' famous statement that "in prosperity God whispers to us, but in adversity he shouts at us." God speaks to us in all troubles. So what is God saying in times of tragedy and suffering? I think the message is different depending on how touched you are by the disaster.

If you have actually lost a loved one, I think you are being called to look to the only God (so to speak) of all the faiths of the world who literally lost a child. Jesus was himself the victim of a hostile, physical attack. I don't think you will really be able to handle the brutality of life either with a) a general God who has not suffered, or with b) a universe without any God in it at all. Both of those options bring no consolation. If there is no God, then even your outrage is trivialized. This is just the way life is. There is no justice. On the other hand, if there is a general God up in the sky, how do we know he cares? But the God and Father of Jesus Christ gives us a new resource that comforts deeply. He proved his commitment to ending our suffering by getting involved in it himself. If you have not directly lost a loved one, but rather find yourself dazed, shaken, and fearful, God is saying to you: "Wake up to your need for me and wake up to what real security is. No military power or technology or human factor can make you safe. Only in the very center of my will is there any safety. You don't have the human ability to control things. You need me." C. S. Lewis pointed out that times of war or disaster don't really increase the amount of misery and death in the world, but they concentrate it and wake us from our illusion that life is manageable. "If we had foolish hopes about human culture, they are now shattered. If we thought we were building up a heaven on earth, if we looked for something that would turn the present world from a place of pilgrimage into a permanent city satisfying the soul of man, we are disillusioned, and not a moment too soon. In ordinary times only the wise realize it. Now (in war-time) the stupidest of us knows it." (C. S. Lewis, "Learning in War-Time")

3. How does vengeance not manifest itself in the Christian community?

In most people's minds there is a false "either-or" between vengeance and forgiveness. But that is a mistake. Forgiveness is not simply resignation or capitulation to evil. In vengeance we simply pommel the enemy to hurt them worse than we were hurt. Our motivation is neither the common good nor the upholding of justice and truth per se. We simply want to assuage our own pain by seeing our enemy in worse pain than we were. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is not 'letting him off scot free'. Forgiveness is a means of giving up the hate and the desire for personal vengeance so that we can then pursue justice and maybe even reconciliation. I have personally found that I can't really confront a wrong-doer effectively about his or her sin until I've forgiven it. Then I am sometimes able to help the person see their wrong, or at least I am able to wisely pursue justice and restitution. But if I keep my heart full of hate, I never get anything done except fuel the cycleof retaliation. When I aim not to bring a person to see the truth, but rather only to hurt them, I never get anywhere. In other words, forgiveness does not 'let a person off'--rather it frees my heart to pursue justice and/or reconciliation, depending on the reaction of the wrongdoer. At the very least, forgiveness prevents me from becoming as evil as the other party. The basic plot-dynamic of The Lord of the Rings revolves around the conundrum of the Great Ring of the Dark Lord. The 'good' people have found his ring, but they can't use his own power against him without becoming just like the one who made it. They can, as it were, defeat the Dark Lord, but only by becoming an evil Dark Lord in his place. Unless we forgive our enemies, our anger could turn us as demonic as it has turned them.

Now that we know what forgiveness is, how can we do it? I don't know how to do that without embracing the message of the cross. The Cross means at least that a) God so hates evil and injustice that he is willing to come suffer himself in order to end it, but b) we are so tainted by evil as well that Jesus had to die so that we could be forgiven. Both of these truths are absolutely essential for forgiveness. Croatian theologian Miroslav Volf puts it perfectly: Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans and exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of [the Cross] for long without overcoming this double exclusion....When one knows that the torturer will not eternally triumph over the victim, one is freed to rediscover the torturer's humanity and imitate God's love for that person. And when one knows that the love of God is greater than [my] sin, one is free to see oneself in the light of the justice of God and so rediscover one's own sinfulness. (Volf, The Spacious Heart, p.57)

4. How do both nation and individual cope with grief?

It is interesting to see that the basic process of grief works itself out at both the individual and the corporate level. First comes numbness, shock, and an air of unreality. In the first stage it is necessary to simply express emotions together. We hold hands, cry together, and embrace. It is not a time for moralizing and instructing and looking for lessons. It is a time to "weep with those who weep" (Rom.12:15).

But second comes a stage of anger and/or creeping despair. In this stage there is a persistent need to 'make sense out of all this'. People have to find a way to think about the tragedy so that it does not make the rest of their lives meaningless. Ironically, there seems to be no way for people to deal with grief at this level without having recourse to the basic gospel dynamic of death-leading-to-resurrection. This is the basic approach that the mayor and governor have invoked and used. They say: "Out of the loss of good things will come even greater good things. We will come together as a community as never before. We will be brave as we have not been before. We will find victory through this defeat and strength through our weakness. This 'death' will lead to a resurrected city better than the one before."

I personally believe that this is the right way for NYC to deal with its grief. It must reflect the gospel dynamic of death-into-resurrection at a civic level. Through this New York could become less a place of individualistic achievement and more of a community. Through this Americans could become on the one hand humbler and more sensitive to the injustice and pain in the world and yet more committed to and (rightly) proud of our nation than ever before. In summary, we could become stronger through this weakness, not just in spite of it. That is the basic gospel dynamic.

However, the very deepest and best way to handle grief is to believe and use the gospel itself on the heart. Unlike any other religion, Christianity has at its very heart an act of tragic and unjust suffering and death. It has at its heart a man literally abandoned by God, crying out and unheard, yet this is the way God brings his salvation and hope into the world!

How does this help us?

First, when we trust in his death on our behalf, it takes away fear for ourselves. We know that now even death can't harm us. "Death used to be an executioner, but the gospel has made him just a gardener." (George Herbert) This frees us to love and sacrifice for others in such a way that makes the broken world more livable. We don't need to amass power and wealth in order to prove ourselves.

Second, when we see how the very best man who ever lived had to suffer, it undermines our own self-pity or bitterness. If God could bring life and good out of the tragedy of the cross, then he can work through other suffering as well. Third, the cross gives us hope for the whole future. The Cross means that God is so committed to ending the suffering and brokenness of the world that he would himself become embroiled in it and pay the ultimate cost! And if we ask: "Why isn't the suffering over yet?" the answer is: "We don't know, but here's the proof that he's committed to it! The cross!" Only Christianity has a God who has suffered, proving his commitment to us in our brokenness. "To our wounds only thy wounds can speak, and no God has wounds but thou alone." (Edward Shillito)

If I have hope like that--not just for a slightly stronger city, but for a literal new creation--then I can face anything. In The Lord of the Rings, one character is facing terrible evil, and suddenly he looks at a star in the sky. "Like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now for a moment his own fate...ceased to trouble him...putting away all fear..." Hope is not the same as defiance. Many people will turn to defiance to deal with their grief and pain rather than to hope. Hope comes from a certainty that there is a Judge and a Redeemer. The Cross proves that God is both.

5. Should America retaliate?

Under question #4 we looked at the problem with simple cries for vengeance. But what should America do now? This question moves outside of my area of competence and wisdom. But here are a few observations that should be kept in mind as we move forward.

This is 'post-modern' war, and it is different than anything we have seen before. a) First, there are no rules. (We can kill civilians, children, whatever.) b) Second, it is not nation-on-nation. It is an international network of world terrorism attacking the multi-national corporations of world capitalism. c) Third, it is 'semiotic', aimed not at factories and air bases but at our icons and symbols in order psychologically debilitate and demoralize. d) Fourth, it is deliberately and bitterly ironic. It uses no bombs or guns, but our own technology against us. It is the very picture of Neitzschean ressentiment.

This is a new chapter in history. A knee-jerk 'warfare as usual' reaction will not likely be effective. Instead, I think that what is called for is a deeper change in the way America thinks about itself and the relationship to the rest of the world. When commentators say that the frivolous, me-centered decade of the 90's is officially over, that rings true to me. But I am not able to see what lies ahead. That's beyond my expertise.

6. What are Christian people to do?

In The City of God St.Augustine contrasts the "City of Man" (which is the nexus of human systems based on power and pride) and the "City of God" (which is God's Spirit working through the message of the Cross to create new human communities based on love, service, and giving.) Augustine tells Christians to love the human city in which they live but to remember how it is distinct from the coming City. The City of God does not respond to an 'attack' with the firepower of guns but with greater and more sacrificial service in word and deed. And this is the way it 'wins' over the world. The hymn goes: For not with swords loud clashing, nor roll of stirring drums, but deeds of love and mercy the heav'nly kingdom comes. Christianity is unique because its central reality is that real influence comes not to those who take but those who give, not to those who rule but those who serve, not to those who accrue power but to those who sacrifice.

This is a tremendous moment for the "City of God" to show Jesus' love in more powerful ways. We should be available to our neighbors and friends spiritually to listen and pray with and for them, not to preach at them. We should also be available to our whole city to meet material needs. Christians should not sit back and wait for the phone to ring--we should pro-actively fan out through the city and look for ways to help. After all, nobody asked Jesus to give himself for us. He came to us and gave us what we needed.

4/19/07

Do!!!

Everyone who asks how does God let all these bad things happen, well humans have free will. If you want to go hurt someone tonight, you have the free will to do it. No one is stopping you. Just like that kid in VA tech had the free will to shoot others. However, he will pay the ultimate price.

In reply to AgreeWitMe
4/20/07
AgreeWitMe:

Just like that kid in VA tech had the free will to shoot others. However, he will pay the ultimate price.

Ultimate Price?

He will have to sit through 6 days of non-stop Celine Dion?

No, he killed himself. He's safe from "the utlimate price"

4/20/07

I think science and math can explain pretty much explain how the universe works, and up to a point, how the human mind works as well...but what we don't know is how things like atoms and protons and quarks and were formed..we know about the big bang..but the big bang had to have come from some tiny particle or the other..but we don't know where that particular particle came from...I believe in evolution, I love science, I don't believe in religion, nor do I agree with intelligent design and I certainly can't picture God as an old man with a beard..but what I do believe is that there is some sort of force (perhaps there is a scientific explanation for this force as well...I for one, hope there is) out there that is behind everything, because that force was responsible for that tiny particle that started the big bang..does that make sense to anyone? One more thing, when I was a kid, I would try and imagine life and our universe without "god"...but what I imagined was empty space...then I told myself that empty space was also "something"...and that's when I couldn't come up with anything new...
Incidents like Virginia Tech, and various wars can be explained by the fact that human beings are essentially quite nutty (we're all bad people even though we don't admit it) but it's wrong to put all your faith in and either thank or blame "something" or "someone" for everything that has happened.
Plus, religious people shouldn't take this personally, but I (and quite a few other people) think that it is absolutely ridiculous for people to believe in "books" that are more than 500 years old (2000 in some cases) and base their whole lives upon heaven and hell and all that stuff..those books are stories and a lot of things in them have been proved wrong...Noah didn't live for 900 years..thank you very much...and are you trying to say that Adam and Eve came before the dinosaurs? You're welcome to practice your various faiths, but please do NOT tell us that we are stupid, or not humble, or just plain wrong, simply because we don't believe in those books or messengers...
Anyway, I'm blabbering...I'm going to go and study statistics....

4/20/07

"Everyone who asks how does God let all these bad things happen, well humans have free will. If you want to go hurt someone tonight, you have the free will to do it. No one is stopping you. Just like that kid in VA tech had the free will to shoot others. However, he will pay the ultimate price.
"

natural disasters?

4/20/07

No, he will go to hell.
Big Bang is one horrible twisted theory and evolution is just another word in the dictionary. "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth"

4/20/07

If you have actually lost a loved one, I think you are being called to look to the only God (so to speak) of all the faiths of the world who literally lost a child. Jesus was himself the victim of a hostile, physical attack. I don't think you will really be able to handle the brutality of life either with a) a general God who has not suffered, or with b) a universe without any God in it at all. Both of those options bring no consolation. If there is no God, then even your outrage is trivialized. This is just the way life is. There is no justice. On the other hand, if there is a general God up in the sky, how do we know he cares? But the God and Father of Jesus Christ gives us a new resource that comforts deeply. He proved his commitment to ending our suffering by getting involved in it himself. If you have not directly lost a loved one, but rather find yourself dazed, shaken, and fearful, God is saying to you: "Wake up to your need for me and wake up to what real security is. No military power or technology or human factor can make you safe. Only in the very center of my will is there any safety. You don't have the human ability to control things. You need me." C. S. Lewis pointed out that times of war or disaster don't really increase the amount of misery and death in the world, but they concentrate it and wake us from our illusion that life is manageable. "If we had foolish hopes about human culture, they are now shattered. If we thought we were building up a heaven on earth, if we looked for something that would turn the present world from a place of pilgrimage into a permanent city satisfying the soul of man, we are disillusioned, and not a moment too soon. In ordinary times only the wise realize it. Now (in war-time) the stupidest of us knows it." (C. S. Lewis, "Learning in War-Time")

4/20/07

a few things. one the fact that something seems unpleasant doesn't make it true or false. secondly to the jesus thing...if you believe in that, then god wanted jesus to die, so how is it 'suffering'. god can't suffer, it's an inapplicable concept.

maybe you'd like to believe in mithras or one of the other 'god fathers mortal offspring' stories?

4/20/07

Do people actually believe that Jesus was god's son?

4/20/07

Of course and He was. Essentially, Jesus is God but in human form. It's called the Trinity (God - Father, Jesus - Son, Holy spirit - force)

4/20/07

you can believe anything you want but it's a bit presumptuous to think that someone will agree simply because a book says that it's true...a book..there's absolutely no scientific evidence...besides...since god is great..isn't it a bit silly to come to Earth in human form and then be crucified?

4/20/07

I always had a lot of questions, but it made me really look into Jesus' life here on earth, his claims, and Scriptures.

4/20/07

it's good that you investigate your religion. do you really think jesus believed all the claims paul later made about him?

4/20/07

Paul's claims about Christ's life, or about his character and divinity?

4/20/07

i guess all of it...in my casual reading of the gospels it doesn't seem like jesus thought he was divine. such a concept is heretical in judaism.

4/20/07

I don't need to look at evidence to prove that God exists, I have prayed and asked for assurance, forgiveness, etc, and following my relationship/prayer with God, I (know) that he exists. The same way the atheist believes that what he experiences is a real experience, my experience with God assures me that he is real. I would like to see anyone prove that I don't know what I know. You prove that I don't know it... may take a while.

Also, if people are rational and they want to maximize their utility in this life and the "potential" next life, why don't they call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. What are the potential opportunity costs of being a Christian, Muslim, etc, probably not a whole lot next to eternal life with the loving God. I think that it's safe to assume that there is one religion (Christianity) that (strongly) asserts that there is but one path to eternal life, through Christ. Using this "assumption" there is a 50/50 chance that I will make it to heaven if I'm a "good" Christian. I mean, logically, even if there is a 1% chance of the Bible being accurate and heaven being real and full of infinite reward, it would be irrational not to accept that proposition. One option has the potential payout of 1% x infinite utility and the other option would have a payout of 99% x zero utility, both with negligible costs.

It's really funny to me how science and atheists want to spend their whole lives rejecting the concept of God the creator. What happens if/when you finally do succeed and youaEU(tm)re old and grey? Do you say to yourself, "Well, I finally proved those Christians wrong, ha ha, they sure don't have anything to look forward to when they die...wait a minute, neither do I--crap!

4/20/07

I don't doubt the fact that there is a god..I just don't believe in God..the judge...plus I think life is a gift and we shouldn't waste our time thinking about the afterlife when we can just enjoy life as it is..

4/20/07

You are right, we shouldn't waste our time thinking about the after life because God makes that decision. What you do is try to build a relationship with Him. I know you don't think the "book" means anything but you should read a parts of it to see for yourself. The Bible makes perfect sense and there are no contradictions.

"A man went to a barber shop to have his hair cut as usual. He started
to have a good conversation with the barber who was cutting his hair. They
talked about many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched
the subject of God.

The barber said, "Look man, I don't believe that God exists!"

"Why do you say that?" asked the man. "Well, it's so easy, you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Tell me, if God existed, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God existed, there would be no suffering nor pain? I can't think of loving a God who permits all of these things."

The man thought for the moment, but he didn't want to respond so as to cause an argument. The barber finished his job and the man went out of the shop. Just after heleft the barber shop he saw a man in the street with long hair and beard. It seemed that it had been a long time since he had his hair cut and he looked so untidy.

Then the first man again entered the barber shop and he said to the barber: "You know what? Barbers do not exist!"

"How can you say they don't exist?" asked the barber. I am here and I am a barber."

"No!" the man exclaimed. "You don't exist because if you did there would be no people with long hair and beard like that man who walks the streets."

"But, I do exist, and that is what happens when people do not come to me."

"Exactly!" - affirmed the man. "That's the point. God does exist, and see what happens when so many people don't go to Him and do not look for Him? That's why there's so much pain and suffering in the world."

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

I don't doubt the fact that there is a god..I just don't believe in God..the judge...plus I think life is a gift and we shouldn't waste our time thinking about the afterlife when we can just enjoy life as it is..

Thinking/pondering is enjoying life. Do you exclude from your thoughts all things that point to God and heaven? Life is so much more enjoyable, for me, knowing that there is a God who cares about me enough to send his son to die for my sins. We are not just the derivative of space junk and bacteria drifting aimlessly and dying forever after a lifetime.

4/20/07

It's also funny and typical how people always associate God with the pain and suffering of this world. Example: "If there is a loving God, why is he letting people suffer?" Or "You mean to tell me that free will is the reason why we are suffering on this planet?" As a Christian I would argue that this is a diversionary tactic used by Satan. The reason why this world is so dark is because sin and pride was found in Lucifer's heart. He then got Eve to sin in the garden. God then cursed the Earth in the book of Genesis. Yes, Satan had free will, but his free will didn't necessitate his sin. He is the root of sin and is trying to make God look like the bad guy, as usual.

4/20/07

Hey...I'm a spiritual person...but I don't have to believe in god the same way you do...everyone is different..I can safely say I'm a fairly good and moral person who wants the most out of life..I do NOT believe in messengers from god and I don't believe god sent his son to die for our sins..besides..why do something like that in the 1st century anyway? Men have committed plenty of sins in the 2000+ years since then...which child will god send next to atone for all our sins?

Maynard:

We are not just the derivative of space junk and bacteria drifting aimlessly and dying forever after a lifetime.

Perhaps we are simply the derivative of space junk and bacteria..maybe we're not that important..doesn't religion teach you to be humble? Remember..the sun does not revolve around the earth

4/20/07

you think god is gonna look kindly on someone who believes, not out of sincere motives, but bc of a pascal's wager, expected utility type of argument? and there are many claimants, and many claim their way is the only way.

4/20/07

"As a Christian I would argue that this is a diversionary tactic used by Satan"

and god allows this to go on? i really think that, trinity aside, this dualism of having a power indepent of and in opposition to god is a form of idolatry.

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

Hey...I'm a spiritual person...but I don't have to believe in god the same way you do...everyone is different..I can safely say I'm a fairly good and moral person who wants the most out of life..I do NOT believe in messengers from god and I don't believe god sent his son to die for our sins..besides..why do something like that in the 1st century anyway? Men have committed plenty of sins in the 2000+ years since then...which child will god send next to atone for all our sins?

Maynard:

We are not just the derivative of space junk and bacteria drifting aimlessly and dying forever after a lifetime.

Perhaps we are simply the derivative of space junk and bacteria..maybe we're not that important..doesn't religion teach you to be humble? Remember..the sun does not revolve around the earth

I'm sorry, was I implying that you have to believe in God exactly the way I do, if so I'm simply sharing my understanding of what the Bible says; I assume no unique authority for myself.

God sent his son in the 1st century because it was prophesied that he would. And right you are, people have sinned before, during, and after Jesus, and the Bible teaches that his blood atoned for ALL sins, including those in the future.

That's quite an inference you made from my statement about space junk. Right you are again, (most) religions teach humility. The Bible teaches us to be humble to God and our fellow man, I'm not sure it says anything about being humble to space junk or that itaEU(tm)s prideful to think that were are more than evolved bacteria.

In God's eyes we are very important, even important enough for him to send his only son to die for us.

4/20/07

I also do believe that Satan is responsible for many of the bad things that go on in the world. God gave us the choice to either love Him or not (Satan). Without choices, there would be no love or faith and that is exactly what God wants from us.

4/20/07

When you say god's son, do you mean Israel? As in exodus 4:22 "Israel is my first-born son"

4/20/07

No I believe he is talking about Jesus.

4/20/07

No, I mean Jesus of course. Jesus also went by many names as we both know (the word, bread of life, son of man, etc). You're obviously asking a rhetorical question in an attempt to provide a verse that maybe you believe is inconsistent with the rest of the Bible. Well here's another: "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we (humans) should be called children of God." (1John 3:1) Versus such as these are gestures of emotional proximity.

4/20/07

no i don't know. i'm not christian...but to state my point, obviously i don't believe in jesus' divinity, and actually i don't think he did either. paul turned the religion into something else entirerly, causing a clean break from judaism and incorporating a decent chunk of pagan influence as it spread outwards.

4/20/07

"in my casual readings of the Gospels Jesus didn't think he was divine.."

Read it carefully, and you see that he does - clearly. In fact this weekend, I will find specific verses for you.

In reply to Jimbo
4/20/07
Jimbo:

no i don't know. i'm not christian...but to state my point, obviously i don't believe in jesus' divinity, and actually i don't think he did either. paul turned the religion into something else entirerly, causing a clean break from judaism and incorporating a decent chunk of pagan influence as it spread outwards.

I think you know a lot more than you think. All the Old Testament scripture pointed to the coming messiah who is Jesus, mainstream Judaism failed to recognize him as such. Paul's writing's were also in harmony with the rest of the Bible; the same God who inspired the early writers also inspired Paul.

The paganism you refer to was brought on by the early roots of the Roman Catholic Church. One example of this paganism is Christians worshiping Christ on the same day as pagan sun worshipers, i.e., the changing of the Seventh Day Sabbath to the first day or Sunday.

Example: "On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost." Constantine the Great (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sol_Invictus) In addition to this, most Catholics don't even realize that the statue of Peter that they kiss in St. Peter's Basilica is actually the Statue of Apollo.

In reply to uppereastside
4/20/07
uppereastside:

"in my casual readings of the Gospels Jesus didn't think he was divine.."

Read it carefully, and you see that he does - clearly. In fact this weekend, I will find specific verses for you.

This is quite simple actually; just ask the question, "Why was Jesus crucified?" Jesus was crucified because of blasphemy, which means to put oneself in the place of God. Jesus claimed that he was the son of God in the flesh, to make this claim is to say that you are equal with God (the Pharisees reason for crucifixion).

Here are some more versus:

The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple. (John 8:57-59)

"I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God." (John 10:30-33)

And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness." (John 12:44-46)

4/20/07

I. Undeniable Biblical Evidence

This section is devoted to proving to non-Christians that the divinity of Christ was evident historically, scientifically, and logically. However, there are those (such as many Muslims) that would dare to say that the Bible itself does not institute Christ as God. And so I will begin by briefly showing the undeniable Biblical Evidence for Christ's Divinity.

First of all, let us examine the fact that on several occasions in His lifetime, Christ allowed people to worship Him freely. In Matthew 2:11, we find that the wise men worshipped Jesus. They did not honor Him nor venerate Him-- they worshipped Him. In Matthew 8:2, we find that Christ allowed a leper to worship Him. In Matthew 14:33, Christ allows people to worship Him as well as give Him the divine title of Son of God (which will be discussed later.) In Matthew 28:9, the disciples drop to the knees and worship Christ, with no opposition from Him. In John 9:38, we see that a sinner confesses his belief in Christ and then worships Him, again, with no opposition from Jesus. Perhaps the most explicit instance of worship is that of Thomas, found in John 21:28. Thomas believed Christ to be "My Lord and My God!" (Gk., Ho Kurios mou kai ho Theos mou--lit., "The Lord of me and the God of me!") He proclaimed this, and yet Christ did not oppose it. The men and woman living during the time of Christ's life knew very well that only God was to be worshipped. They worshipped Christ for one reason-- He was God.

Let us secondly examine Christ's claims to be God. Now of course, Christ doesn't just come out and say "I am the almighty God." That would do two things: get Him killed on the spot; and make Him look like a lunatic. And yet Christ, in His infinite wisdom, explicitly declared His divinity in a more subtle way. He sees it fit to make Himself equal with God by claiming things only true about God. For instance, we are told in the Old Testament that: " ... the seventh day is the Sabbath of YHWH your God ... For in six days YHWH made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them: therefore YHWH blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." EXODUS 20:10-11. And we find that Christ Himself claimed to be "Lord of the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:8). Christ is clearly exalting Himself to the status of "YHWH your God." And even more astonishing claim is that of John 10:30, where He specifically declares that 'He and His Father [God] are One'. The classic "I AM" text is always very useful as well. In John 8:58, Christ declared to the Pharisees: "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." Here Christ was claiming eternal existence. He was claiming to be God Himself. The words "I AM" are used in Exodus 3:14 clearly to indicate Jehovah, a title used to indicate God the Father. The Pharisees understood that Christ was claiming divinity, and immediately picked up stones to kill Him (John 8:59). In John 5:18, after Christ testifies to a unity with the Father (v. 17), the Pharisees wish to kill Christ because He was "making Himself equal to God." Christ again claims unity with God the Father in John 14:11, where Christ says, "Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me..." Another clear picture of Christ's divinity is found in Mark 2:7, where, after Christ had forgiven the sins of a paralytic, some scribes challenge Him by saying, "Why does this Man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Christ responds with the claim that He has authority to forgive sins (v. 10), eliminating the scribes' doubt about Christ's claims to divinity.

The most significant claim of Christ's divinity, however, is that He claims that Salvation itself is found through Him. He claimed that "Nor does the Father judge anyone, but He has given all judgment to His Son." (John 5:22). On numerous occasions, Christ tells us that He, and He alone, is the way to Salvation (e.g. "I am the way, the Truth, and the Life.") and that belief in HIM is necessary to attain eternal life (John 3:36). Throughout His life, Christ personally forgives the sins of others, something done only by God. In at least one instance, Christ assures a man of salvation, an act divine in itself.

Furthermore, the New Testament writers (we will focus mainly on Paul, Jude, and John) unanimously agreed that Christ was on a Divine level with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Matthew records Christ's words in Matthew 28:19, which commands us to baptize "in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit", an obvious Trinitarian testimony. The unity of Christ with God the Father and the Holy Spirit is also testified by Paul, who writes: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you" (2 Cor 13:14). A very explicit claim to Christ's divinity is Paul's words in Romans 9:5, which read, "...according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God." Virtually every attempt to undermine the statement of Christ's divinity Paul is making in Romans 9:5 end up becoming ridiculous and totally unacceptable. Paul again writes of Christ's divinity: "...Christ Jesus, who, being in the very form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God." The writer of Hebrews, probably Jude, also attests to Christ's divinity. "But to the Son He [God] says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.'" Again, a blatant testimony of Christ's Divinity. Also significant are passages which apply the title "the First and the Last" to Jesus. This is one of the Old Testament titles of Yahweh: "Thus says Yahweh, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, Yahweh of armies: 'I am the First and I am the Last; besides me there is no god" (Is. 44:6; cf. 41:4, 48:12). This title is directly applied to Jesus three times in the book of Revelation: "When I saw him [Christ], I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the First and the Last'" (Rev. 1:17). "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: 'The words of the First and the Last, who died and came to life'" (Rev. 2:8). "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Rev. 22:12-13). This last quote is especially significant since it applies to Jesus the parallel title "the Alpha and the Omega," which Revelation earlier applied to the Lord God: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8). John, the writer of Revelation, obviously believed that Christ was Yahweh. James calls our Lord Jesus Christ, "the Lord of Glory," (James 2:1) creating a mind picture of Christ's Godliness (although not proving His divinity). The belief in Christ's divinity was not doubted by the New Testament writers.

Hundreds of verses could be cited to prove the Divinity of Christ. However, this particular section is not intended to prove Christ's Divinity Biblically, and so I will stop the Biblical discussion here. One thing is for certain: If a person denies that the Bible exalts Christ to the level of God, that person is obviously desperately grasping at straws, deceiving himself, and not reading the Bible as it was meant to be read. All attempts at disproving Christ's Divinity Biblically have failed pitifully.

4/20/07

So...how do religious people feel about atheists and those who believe that science provides a plausible explanation for everything?

4/20/07

what about the verses were he says that God knows things he doesn't...and who was running the show while jesus was wandering around israel?

4/20/07

Where's the evidence that any of these men existed? It's kind of like King Arthur and Excalibur and whatnot

4/20/07

Are those verses above not concrete evidence that Christ claimed divinity?

4/20/07

Yeah, or i guess he didn't mind if ppl claimed it. i'll defer to you on that one. just don't get the statements that 'only the father knows' or why he prays to god to save him when he's on the cross etc.

4/20/07

Those are tough questions - I admit. I haven't studied those passages in depth, although I have heard sermons on them. (Blame my poor attention span for failing to remember what they said about it!!)

I'll be happy to research those from sound biblical teachers if you wish.

There will always be little issues that people can question, butt in the end it really does come down to Faith. Faith that Jesus is who he said, faith that his sacrifice is enough to save us from our sin. In the meantime, I will study those myself.

FYI, C.S. Lewis thinks very much like you, and you would really enjoy his writings. Def worth a look at "Mere Christianity"

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

So...how do religious people feel about atheists and those who believe that science provides a plausible explanation for everything?

I believe that science and Christianity can co-exist. A good example of this can be found in the Old Testament (Leviticus I believe) where the Jews were told what "clean" fish they could eat (those having scales). A few years ago the Navy did a study on which species of fish are safe to eat if sailors were stranded at sea; after millions of dollars and numerous scientists working on the project, they concluded that scaled fish is a good rule of thumb to go by--Science & religion. I would also have to state that science has been wrong numerous times and the theory of evolution is constantly evolving.

It is also my strong belief that people should have the right to choose to believe or live however they wish and that there shouldn't be hostility between believers and non-believers. I just want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to hear the un-diluted message of the Bible so that they can make (their own choice), one that is free of misconceptions and misinterpretations. I pray for believers and non-believers alike and I hope that all atheists (assuming they're good people--not Hitlers) find happiness in this life. You have nothing to fear after this life according to the Bible; there will be no eternal torture (that's not Biblical).

4/20/07

thank you Maynard...you must believe me when I say I respect your faith...

In reply to Jimbo
4/20/07
Jimbo:

you think god is gonna look kindly on someone who believes, not out of sincere motives, but bc of a pascal's wager, expected utility type of argument? and there are many claimants, and many claim their way is the only way.

Jimbo, belief is not enough, the bible states that "even the demons believe and tremble" James 2:19. Obediance to God's word is what's important. Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." My logical illustration was simply to point the logical non-believer in the direction of religion in general. This

Can you name one religion where it's leader/god/etc states that they are the only way to salvation?

In reply to Jimbo
4/20/07
Jimbo:

"As a Christian I would argue that this is a diversionary tactic used by Satan"

and god allows this to go on? i really think that, trinity aside, this dualism of having a power indepent of and in opposition to god is a form of idolatry.

God sure does allow this to go on. Do you expect him to be all controlling, wouldn't that voilate free will. "All this" will go on until Jesus' second return, then there will be no more sin or suffering.

And I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with your statement, "this dualism of having a power indepent of and in opposition to god is a form of idolatry." Are you implying that Jesus is the power that is in opposition to God (his will is the will of the father)? Maybe not becuase you said trinity aside. Or do you mean that the dualism of power is Satan? Satan isn't on par with God; there is no dualism of power.

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

Where's the evidence that any of these men existed? It's kind of like King Arthur and Excalibur and whatnot

Well if they didn't exist, they sure left one heck of a legacy. Jesus is probably the most popular person in the history of the world, even 2000 years after his death.

4/20/07

"Jesus is probably the most popular person in the history of the world, even 2000 years after his death."

No that'd be mohammed.

"And I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with your statement, "this dualism of having a power indepent of and in opposition to god is a form of idolatry." Are you implying that Jesus is the power that is in opposition to God (his will is the will of the father)? Maybe not becuase you said trinity aside. Or do you mean that the dualism of power is Satan? Satan isn't on par with God; there is no dualism of power.
"

A power in opposition to god, which god cannot prevail over is what i was talking about. though the trinity does seem a little idolatrous too.

"Can you name one religion where it's leader/god/etc states that they are the only way to salvation?
"

Numerous cults (branch davidians, jonestown, moonies) as well as most forms of christianity.

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

thank you Maynard...you must believe me when I say I respect your faith...

Please know this Elaine, I will pray that you find whatever it is you're looking for in life. For what it's worth, someone on this planet (a complete stranger) is going to pray for your happiness and prosperity. I will do the same for jimbo.

If the both of you ever do find yourselves pondering the decision to join a church or follow Christ, please ignore the hypocritical attitudes that we Christians sometimes display. We are no better than non-believers; we've all broken God's commandments, look to Christ as the ultimate example. I would ask that you just sincerely ask yourselves, "who was that humble Jew that claimed to have died for my sins nearly two thousand years ago, is he really who he says he is?"

In reply to Jimbo
4/20/07
Jimbo:

"Jesus is probably the most popular person in the history of the world, even 2000 years after his death."

No that'd be mohammed.

"And I'm not quite sure what you're getting at with your statement, "this dualism of having a power indepent of and in opposition to god is a form of idolatry." Are you implying that Jesus is the power that is in opposition to God (his will is the will of the father)? Maybe not becuase you said trinity aside. Or do you mean that the dualism of power is Satan? Satan isn't on par with God; there is no dualism of power.
"

A power in opposition to god, which god cannot prevail over is what i was talking about. though the trinity does seem a little idolatrous too.

"Can you name one religion where it's leader/god/etc states that they are the only way to salvation?
"

Numerous cults (branch davidians, jonestown, moonies) as well as most forms of christianity.

How is mohammed the most popular? I thought Christianity was number one in terms of popularity, with it's focus being on Christ, of course. Islam is number 2, see: http://geography.about.com/od/culturalgeography/a/...

You still didn't really specify which power it is that's in opposition to God; it certainly isn't Jesus--He is God. Hard concept to grasp...I know.

Regarding your statement about the numerous cults, I believe that all of your examples are Christian-based, meaning that their authoratative scripture is the Bible. I funny thing is that Jesus is the only way to salvation (according to the Bible), Christians can't say that their church is the only way to salvation unless they are in perfect accordance with the Bible--that being the derivation of their beliefs.

4/20/07

Actually (according to my history teacher) Hitler is the most researched person in history followed by Jesus.

In reply to ElaineSeinfeld
4/20/07
ElaineSeinfeld:

thank you Maynard...you must believe me when I say I respect your faith...

Have you ever read the Bible or part of it?

In reply to AgreeWitMe
4/20/07
AgreeWitMe:

Actually (according to my history teacher) Hitler is the most researched person in history followed by Jesus.

Hitler may be the most "researched" person in history after he died (approx. 60 years), but Jesus may have had a little more time to be "researched" (2000 years and still going). Besides, I'm not sure he was the most "popular". Interesting piece of information though.

4/20/07

Yeah I'm not really sure. That is what a history teacher once told me. I would assume that is true but overall, I think it would be Jesus.

4/20/07

Thank you all for the discussion.

4/20/07

Interested to see if anyone here is Jewish or Muslim.?
Also, upon reading the Quran you will find backings of scientific evidence such as the Big Bang Theory, an ever expanding universe, the movements of planets in orbits and many more. It really is possible for religion and science to live in harmony. For if God was really to exist, and our knowledge of science is correct...they should all point in the same direction shouldn't they?

4/21/07

I wanted to pose a question to those that are well-versed in the Bible and consider themselves believers in God:

Given the size of the universe, isn't there a reasonable probability that there exists some form of life (even if that means slime mold) somewhere besides earth? This would also have implications as to the origins of life on earth. Of course, this would be in direct contradiction to what the bible says...but I don't know anything really about the bible and what it says so I may be wrong. I'm interested to hear people of faith comment on something that scientists generally take on faith, although scientific faith has probability/statistics as part of its foundation.

4/21/07

Good question. I'll let Maynard answer that one. I don't think the Bible makes any references to things such as Aliens if that is what you mean.

4/21/07
In reply to fraser24gt
4/21/07
fraser24gt:

I wanted to pose a question to those that are well-versed in the Bible and consider themselves believers in God:

Given the size of the universe, isn't there a reasonable probability that there exists some form of life (even if that means slime mold) somewhere besides earth? This would also have implications as to the origins of life on earth. Of course, this would be in direct contradiction to what the bible says...but I don't know anything really about the bible and what it says so I may be wrong. I'm interested to hear people of faith comment on something that scientists generally take on faith, although scientific faith has probability/statistics as part of its foundation.

This is a very good question. As far as I know, the Bible makes no (explicit) references to life of any kind on other planets. With that said, the Bible does, however, make references such as, "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them." Job 1:6 Some theologians believe that this verse infers that there could be other planets with intelligent life. The next verse reads, "And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' So Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From going to and fro on the (earth), and from walking back and forth on it." verse 7 From this, it almost sounds as if this was some kind of meeting with God and the various planets each had some sort of representation, Satan being Earth's representative. So the Bible doesn't eliminate science's possibilities, nor does a scientific possibility create contradictions in the Bible.

As far as your comment goes with slime mold, I don't see how slime is any more important on other planets versus the slime we have here--no more implication as to the origins of life on earth. This may be a bit presumptuous of me but I don't believe that would provide any type of proof of evolution if that's what youaEU(tm)re implying.

This may be a little off topic, but there are several archaeological/scientific/historical artifacts that corroborate certain events in the Bible. Also, the Bible, as we know has made several predictions about various events. The book of Daniel, for instance, actually predicts which kingdoms would come in the future. In case you're wondering, I don't think there are any carbon-dated writings (by) Daniel putting him at a date prior to these events occurring, so you could argue that Daniel wrote about these kingdoms after they had already passed; which would put him over a thousand years after his time. Here are some references that may just prove otherwise: http://www.aboutbibleprophecy.com/daniel_2_32.htm

And here is a historical corroboration that places the Jews, Daniel included, in hands of the Babylonians (as the Bible states):
http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk/forgottenempire/...

4/21/07

I just found two more potential versus considering the topic at hand. the first says, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the (worlds)" Heb 1:1 also, "By faith we understand that the (worlds) were framed by the word of God..." Heb 11:3

4/21/07

My point with the slime mold is that if God is so powerful to be able to create Man from dirt, then why would he bother with making slime mold on some planet that we may not even find? Also, why would he create life on other planets? Wouldn't he have his hands full with everyone/thing on earth? I don't take much from those passages either. That's the problem with the bible, is that there are so many parts that are up for interpretation. Hell, even earlier in this thread there was an argument over whether or not Adam's rib or side was used to create Eve. Obviously I'm talking about interpretation over translation though.

As far as the evolutionary point you seemed to take from my slime mold comment, I wasn't submitting it as proof. If I wanted to do that, I would point you to all the various bacteria and viruses that are mutating and evolving so that they are no resistant to certain medications that have worked for years. This is thoroughly documented, and there is no other word for it besides evolution. Did God change those bacteria? If so, then isn't that rather evil of him? If you do agree that these bacteria have evolved on their own, wouldn't it then be logical to extrapolate the trend to larger forms of life?

In reply to fraser24gt
4/22/07
fraser24gt:

My point with the slime mold is that if God is so powerful to be able to create Man from dirt, then why would he bother with making slime mold on some planet that we may not even find? Also, why would he create life on other planets? Wouldn't he have his hands full with everyone/thing on earth? I don't take much from those passages either. That's the problem with the bible, is that there are so many parts that are up for interpretation. Hell, even earlier in this thread there was an argument over whether or not Adam's rib or side was used to create Eve. Obviously I'm talking about interpretation over translation though.

As far as the evolutionary point you seemed to take from my slime mold comment, I wasn't submitting it as proof. If I wanted to do that, I would point you to all the various bacteria and viruses that are mutating and evolving so that they are no resistant to certain medications that have worked for years. This is thoroughly documented, and there is no other word for it besides evolution. Did God change those bacteria? If so, then isn't that rather evil of him? If you do agree that these bacteria have evolved on their own, wouldn't it then be logical to extrapolate the trend to larger forms of life?

I really enjoyed reading your opinion, I hope I provided you with mine concerning your question, "I'm interested to hear people of faith comment on something that scientists generally take on faith..." The passages I provided were not to convince you of anything, I simply used those as supporting text regarding the Biblical perspective on your "life on other planets topic." Why would you take anything from any scripture you read, you don't believe it anyway.

You're not expecting me to comment on God's intentions/will, because that would probably be pure speculation on my part?

Also, your comment, "I wasn't submitting it as proof. If I wanted to do that, I would point you to all the various bacteria and viruses that are mutating and evolving...." Well, fraser, if this is "proof" then evolution wouldn't be a (theory), would it; Evolution in the context that we humans evolved from bacteria.

Are you asking me if it's logical to assume that slime/bacteria evolved over millions of years to a being that can question its very existence with a mind that the most intelligent scientists can't understand...hmmm.

Sorry fraser, I don't have time to debate you. Besides, I think our motives would be a bit asymmetrical; I'm trying to convince you that there is hope in life and that you could have eternal happiness to look forward to after you die, and you're trying to convince me that the starving Somalian who cries out to God in hope of something better than this has nothing to hope for after a short life of suffering.

If you're an atheist, don't even acknowledge theological debates. But you probably won't be able to resist, you're someone's tool and you don't even know it.

4/22/07

I think there is a single fundamental flaw in the arguments of the believers. I have just read dozens upon dozens of passages from the bible that prove or disprove one thing or another. However, there is a huge problem (and I am definitely going to infuriate a lot of people with this comment):

The bible is a book of fiction.

I can write a book that states Jesus was the son of god and did a million wonderful things in his life. Heck, I'll even write it in a way that is very straight-forward and doesn't use cryptic language. Just because the bible states that XYZ event happened doesn't make it true. Every argument above is based on the assumption that every word and event in the bible is 100% accurate. Unfortunately, this is more than difficult for me to believe. God certainly didn't write the book. Jesus didn't write it. The holy ghost would probably have had a difficult time as well. So basically, the bible was written by some guy. Do you mean to tell me that the guy who did write it just happened to know the complete innerworkings of the universe and afterlife as well as full explanations for all that God does (including a perfect knowledge of thousands of years of history without the aid of CNN)?

I simply can not bring myself to believe in the writings of the bible without proof of its accuracy. The great thing about modern day science is that if you don't believe something, they can show it to you.

CompBanker

4/23/07

You are forgetting that the Bible is actual historical accounts of Jesus' life. His existence, life and character has never been disputed by historians.

In reply to uppereastside
4/23/07
uppereastside:

You are forgetting that the Bible is actual historical accounts of Jesus' life. His existence, life and character has never been disputed by historians.

This is a joke, right?

The "accepted by the church" gospels sometimes even contradict themselves, and were written well after Jesus died.

The apocryphal gospels such as Thomas and other documents, like some of the Dead Sea Scrolls give even different accounts of Jesus's life.

Is the virgin birth a historical fact? What about the convoluted, and no doubt fabricated, story linking Joseph to the house of David in order set up Jesus as the fulfillment of one of Isaiah's prophecies regarding the Jewish savior?

That is a classic example of how the gospels were being used as propaganda rather than fact.

I have no problem with this. Every culture has tales that impart lessons, morals, and identity to its people. But viewing the Bible as any more factual than say, the Iliad or the Aeneid is simply turning a blind eye to the truth.

I've always found it funny how people think Roman and Greek mythology are cute and funny and surely not true, when the exact same ludicrous antics occur in the Bible, except the Bible is true. Sure it is.

In reply to fraser24gt
4/23/07
fraser24gt:

How is a guy driving down the freeway getting killed by a semi-truck tire that came loose and crossed over the divider wall into the opposing lane of traffic part of a "harmonious underlying structure"? What about the 6 year old leukemia patients? Maybe I missed the gist of your philosophical outlook, but I don't see how such things tie together the universe.

Not believing in an underlying order to reality is, firstly, not to be debated. One need only look for logical descriptions of reality in science, and to perform simple tests of something like... gravity. There are regularities extant in our reality.

Those kinds of reactions come from a fear of death, which although understandable, seems to be somewhat irrational. It will happen, after all. To help myself with this theodicy, I sometimes look to the animals below me from my privileged(human) vantage point. And you see, the tiger eats the boar, and the snake eats the mouse, and... We understand that the web of life is Good. Because the Disorder Death Chaos that would ensue from a lack of balance would certainly be much worse. In this way, I believe 6 year olds with leukemia and getting into car accidents, etc... are Good, although it may be difficult to achieve the proper perspective. The Goal is to attempt having a universal perspective. There are various theoretical/theological systems out their for doing so.

I would assume the atheists on this forum believe in Science (correct me if I am wrong)

If you believe so wholeheartedly in the atom or the electron. why? can you tell me what it is? look for yourself, and you may find that you are not satisfied with the answer unless you first accept the theoretical/non-observable nature of your foundational principles.

- Ex-Atheist

In reply to goldstandard
4/23/07

goldstandard,
I understand that death is an inevitable part of life, but it is not as harmonious or guided by a supreme being as people seem to think. There are so many instances of someone being in the wrong place at the wrong time that I find it hard to believe that they were somehow guided there. Also, in the case of 6 yr olds w/ leukemia, what is the point in causing such a young person to endure such a painful death. If God was truly merciful, why wouldn't he just take such children in their sleep instead of allowing them to go through long, drawn-out illnesses? I don't really understand the point you are making with accepting theory before believing in the actual object. I'm pretty sure that when I took physics, and was learning about gravity, we didn't just accept gravity on blind faith. We learned about Newton's derivations and his theoretical equations for how gravity should act, and they turned out to be accurate.

In reply to Maynard
4/23/07

I agree that any debate is not going to get either of us anywhere, but it is still interesting.

"Well, fraser, if this is "proof" then evolution wouldn't be a (theory), would it"

This is a common misconception amongst people who believe in intelligent design, creation, etc. Just because something is a theory does not mean that there is a lack of evidence, but rather that it can not be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, scientific theories are often the best basis we have for explaining the world around us. Without such theories, we would not have many of technological advances we have today, because these technologies are designed based off of theoretical formulas to describe certain situations. Darwin's documentation of the finches on Galapagos apparently has nothing to do with evolution, correct? I wasn't saying that bacteria mutating to become resistant was proof that humans evolved from bacteria, but rather that evolution is in fact based on observable situations. Let's just put it this way, there is much more proof for evolution than there is for creation or intelligent design.

In reply to fraser24gt
4/24/07

I think you misunderstand me. I also have great faith in science(science major). Although, I certainly agree that science has a great degree of confirmation, an electron is no more real than the Tree of Life.

The process of theoretical formulation begins with inspiration, an in-breathing, of the order and art within the observations and empirical laws right before our eyes. Like an artist, a theoretician/priest(ancient) draws a hypothesis from his experience, just like an artist draws shadows in a scene to evoke melancholy. or a musician plays certain chords to evince joy. these snippets of experience(light and sound) are put in their place, and with reason. This is the dialectic process between man and nature(mater). Example, as the planets revolve around eachother, so shall the subatomic particles revolve around the nucleus(an old theory), now confirm and repeat. Or Einstein's, "Let light be constant and it was Good", now confirm and repeat. What a horendous thing to separate faith and science. Because in the end it blinds one from the other, like a mind believing it has no brain or a brain believing it has no mind. But each essential to the others definition. Like having a heads with no tails, really two sides of the same coin.

Machines have given us a great many toys, but unfortunately not very much understanding. And as far as I can tell from Hiroshima, technology doesnt really further our ability to bolster morality, or expand our awareness of our place in the universe. Are we passive objective observers, or are we the other side of the coin?

Do not throw the baby out with the bath water.

There is more proof for evolution than there is for creation??
I understand your faith in science, but I am not sure how to devise experiments to observe that your claim is true, yet you believe it. I am not using that as an excuse, for not proving what I believe, but rather to show you that what you are doing is dangerous. What you put your faith in determines your reality, and it should be revered because it is your very foundation. Whatever it may be. And what more beautiful object for your veneration? Almost like an inner sun/sol, that shines light on your path through this world.

And yes it will set. As it should.

I certainly do not believe in a literal translation of the bible if you are insinuating that. It represents the remnants of a spectacular natural metaphor for an ancient theoretical system.

- Ex-Atheist

4/25/07
In reply to ibser
4/25/07
ibser:

Christianity all the way.

You know what would be cool. Is we could just have like a major Religion Royal Rumble.

We can have Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hindi, Buddhism, whatever else and some atheists. Put them in a WWF cage match or something. The pope, some rabbis, imams, brahmins, all that good stuff.

Whoever wins, gets to be the world's one belief.

Our god is better than yours...na na na na!

4/25/07

You know what the worst part about religion is? At the end of the day, there is this intrinsic feeling of "my religion is better than yours"...isn't that why you choose to stick to a certain religion instead of practicing a melange of every religion?

In reply to ibser
4/25/07
ibser:

Christianity all the way.

Amen to that.

4/26/07

One thing I've never understood; why do people who believe in 'God' only believe in one? Why not 2? Or 10? Or hundreds? Why not a Mr & Mrs God? There are 2 of most creatures, so why not gods?

4/28/07

I do not believe in religion but I believe in God. I feel that God is with me all the time and that is why usually I am not afraid of quick death. All people and animals on earth are God's creation.

5/1/07

I think Kirilov's idea of public theological debate - that is what you mean right? - would be a sign that our modern society is taking another good step out of the dark ages. I don't see that coming anytime soon though.

I also find polytheism vs. monotheism interesting, Cheeselog. Different theological systems, I guess, operate under different assumptions for the underlying order of reality. The same way there is a race in modern science for the unified field theory. I guess you can ask a theoretical physicist why he feels there is one theory that will be able to explain everything.

Incidentally, the giants among men who created the theoretical underpinnings of science, the religion of atheists, seem to be almost unanimously non-atheists. Newton, Maxwell, Einstein . Let's start with these guys... the ones with the biggest insights. It is a head scratcher.

I have to say.. I came to the conclusion that I was missing something. Thoughts??

- Ex-Atheist

In reply to goldstandard
5/1/07