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Christianity… Where’s the REAL proof?
Posted: 23 June 2009 12:54 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I know i’m beating a dead horse here, but this question keeps bothering me…  It just won’t go away.

If the holy spirit is real and dwells among us, shouldn’t we be able to see physical evidence of this awesome presence manifested in the lives of believers? 

Shouldn’t we see Christian marriages that stand apart from all others?  As an example to the world?  After all, Christianity is ALL about relationship (with god and one another) right?

Why instead do we see Christian marriages that fail at the same rate as the rest of the world?  WTF!?!?

A Christian marriage isn’t just about a man and a woman…  It’s a covenant that includes God as an integral part of the union. So why do so many of these unions not offer living proof in this world that gods formula really works?  That his holy spirit is working to restore the lives of christ followers?

Successful Christian marriages could offer those who struggle with belief something real and tangible to demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the holy spirit.

But when we look around, we see no differentiation.  Nothing that truly sets Christians apart.  Why not?

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Posted: 23 June 2009 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Because Christians are no different than anybody else, they just delude themselves into thinking that they are.

All humans, regardless of chosen faith and dogma, have the same biological and emotional needs and desires. To pretend to have Christ in ones life is a facade. It fullfills the need to feel special and chosen, but that is but one of many needs that needs to be fullfilled I am afraid.

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Posted: 23 June 2009 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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I know i’m beating a dead horse here, but this question keeps bothering me…  It just won’t go away.

If the holy spirit is real and dwells among us, shouldn’t we be able to see physical evidence of this awesome presence manifested in the lives of believers? 

Shouldn’t we see Christian marriages that stand apart from all others?  As an example to the world?  After all, Christianity is ALL about relationship (with god and one another) right?

Why instead do we see Christian marriages that fail at the same rate as the rest of the world?  WTF!?!?

A Christian marriage isn’t just about a man and a woman…  It’s a covenant that includes God as an integral part of the union. So why do so many of these unions not offer living proof in this world that gods formula really works?  That his holy spirit is working to restore the lives of christ followers?

Successful Christian marriages could offer those who struggle with belief something real and tangible to demonstrate the power and effectiveness of the holy spirit.

But when we look around, we see no differentiation.  Nothing that truly sets Christians apart.  Why not?

Not only do I see them, but I’m in one.  You should come hang out with us ST.

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Posted: 23 June 2009 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 23 June 2009 05:49 PM

Not only do I see them, but I’m in one.  You should come hang out with us ST.

Clay, I’m glad to hear that you have a happy marriage (I hope that it remains that way to the bittersweet end), but the overall numbers aren’t the least bit convincing.  Too many Christian marriages are disintegrating at a “worldly” rate. I am sure there are plenty of atheists out there who have wonderful, fulfilling marriages like yours.  So what sets Christ followers apart?

What sort of fruit is this tree of “Christianity” bearing if marriages don’t hold together under the guidance and protection of the holy spirit?

The bible tells me that I am to “judge them by their fruits”.
If the fruit of this faith is no different than any other belief (or non-belief), where does it leave us?

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Posted: 24 June 2009 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Clay, I’m glad to hear that you have a happy marriage (I hope that it remains that way to the bittersweet end), but the overall numbers aren’t the least bit convincing.  Too many Christian marriages are disintegrating at a “worldly” rate. I am sure there are plenty of atheists out there who have wonderful, fulfilling marriages like yours.  So what sets Christ followers apart?

What sort of fruit is this tree of “Christianity” bearing if marriages don’t hold together under the guidance and protection of the holy spirit?

The bible tells me that I am to “judge them by their fruits”.
If the fruit of this faith is no different than any other belief (or non-belief), where does it leave us?

All good questions seeking_truth, and while I’m not sure if you’re really looking for answers (rhetorical?), I will attempt to address them.

When I said that I’m in one such marriage in my last post, I didn’t really mean that I have a happy marriage.  In many ways I have a extraordinarily difficult marriage.  What I meant by saying ‘I’m in one’ is simply that I’m in a marriage that I believe is being built and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Your first question in the last post was:  So what sets Christians apart? 

As always, I’d rather focus on what separates the Christian vision for marriage apart from the worldly vision of it, rather than the actual marriages themselves.  As you’ve already noted, divorce rates for those that call themselves Christians is very high, almost as high as the secular culture’s.  And there’s no way for us to really know if those people were living by God’s plan for marriage, as outlined in Scripture, or by their own plan.  My posit is that they were probably completely ignoring the mandate for biblical marriage, which led to divorce.

What sets the Christian vision for marriage apart from the world’s is, well, almost everything about it.  The primary difference is, I think, its purpose.  Marriage, as instituted by God, is designed primarily for God’s glory, and to be a representation of the Gospel in a very personal, intimate way.  You’re probably familiar with the Ephesians 5 passage on marriage which gives the husband the mandate to love as Christ loved and gave Himself up for the church and the wife is to lovingly submit as we, the Church, submit ourselves to the love and headship of Christ.  And the true Church is often called “the Bride of Christ.”  Now, of course, an earthly marriage is a union between two sinful people, so it certainly isn’t exactly like Christ and His Church since Christ is sinless and the Church is obviously not.  But nevertheless, God clearly lays out the foundation for marriage and a goal…to love and submit as Christ has done and to reflect Gospel truth. 

Christians divorce for the same reason non-Christians divorce, they have lost sight (or perhaps never even had sight) of the biblical view for marriage.  The sword of the Spirit, according to Scripture, is the Word of God.  Living by the Spirit is not doing whatever you want to do and saying that the Spirit will “guide me” or something (as a large majority of Christians seem to believe).  Living by the Spirit of God is living in light of His Word and meditating on it, teaching it to ourselves and to each other.  I’ve never found in Scripture any place where it says something to the effect of, “You’re married now, the Spirit is with you and will preserve your marriage no matter what…go do your thing.”  If we could simply sit around waiting for the Spirit to do something, then we wouldn’t need God’s Word to explain anything.  So to answer your question, the only Christian marriages that are “set apart”, are those that are built around God’s vision for it…I have personally never seen a Christ-honoring marriage fail.  I have seen many Christian marriages fail (meaning divorce), but not one where the biblical view of marriage is clearly held in esteem and practiced. 

I kind of already answered your second question so we’ll move on to the third:

The bible tells me that I am to “judge them by their fruits”.
If the fruit of this faith is no different than any other belief (or non-belief), where does it leave us?

As I’ve tried to make a case for, ST, the lack of fruit in Christian marriages around us is a clear indicator that the Church is taking their cues from a worldly vision for marriage, not a biblical one.  Again, no one ever pays attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who are striving for biblical marriage and do preserve it all their lives, even with blood, sweat and tears.  If Christians measure the success of marriage the same way that the secular culture does, then they are bound to fail.  How many millions of people have taken the oath to love and cherish their spouse til death and turn their back on the oath when things get rough?  A marriage built on a biblical foundation cannot fail because it is constantly striving and growing, no matter how broken or flawed it appears, it is founded on something completely outside of the whims of our human hearts.  “What God has joined together, let no man separate.”

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Posted: 25 June 2009 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

... If Christians measure the success of marriage the same way that the secular culture does, then they are bound to fail.  How many millions of people have taken the oath to love and cherish their spouse til death and turn their back on the oath when things get rough?  A marriage built on a biblical foundation cannot fail because it is constantly striving and growing, no matter how broken or flawed it appears, it is founded on something completely outside of the whims of our human hearts.  “What God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Yeah, yeah, feel free to beat your wife, she can’t leave you because

What God has joined together ...

blah, blah, blah

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Posted: 27 June 2009 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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seeking_truth - 23 June 2009 04:54 AM

Christianity Where’s the REAL proof

Don’t know about “Christian” marriages, but I’ll show you my evidence, if you show me yours.  I’ve heard all the windbags complain “you morons believe in miracles, show yer evidence for the virgin birth, blah, blah, blah.  Well the straight up answer is, I don’t have any evidence for the virgin birth, walking on water, Noah’s Ark etc.  So why should I(or anyone else) believe such nonsense, because the biggest of all Bible miracles has plenty of evidence to support it.  At the time of the 1925 “Scopes” trial, the reigning cosmological model held to an eternal universe viewpoint.  Following this great triumph of “reason” over “superstition”, one could have made this prediction - the more we learn of science the less valid the bible will become.  The problem is the exact opposite occurred, the reigning cosmological model of today is the Biblical one. ( i.e. Space, Time, Matter, and Energy all had a finite beginning.)

In “God and the Astronomers” Robert Jastrow writes   “Now we see how the astronomical evidence leads to a biblical view of the origin of the world.  The details differ, but the essential elements are the same…”.

  If I can believe in a being that pulled of this big fat miracle, the rest of em ain’t squat.  What evidence can you produce that the universe created itself(out of nothing, none the less)?

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Posted: 29 June 2009 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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EMFrimbo - 27 June 2009 02:33 PM

Don’t know about “Christian” marriages, but I’ll show you my evidence, if you show me yours…

Show you evidence?  What are you talking about?  I’m asking you why there isn’t any apparent evidence that the holy spirit is having some sort of tangible effect on the lives of believers.  I’m not a scientist or an intellectual elitist.  I am an “average joe” who’s asking a straightforward question about Christianity.  I’m not interested in delving into theories about how the universe was created.

My question is simply…  If the holy spirit is alive and working in the lives of believers, why don’t we see proof of this in the real world?  Why are there so many failed Christian marriages?  Why are there so many broken Christian families?  Why are God’s people not bearing good fruit for the rest of the world to see?  Why have Christians historically bore “bad” fruit?  To me, this would be real, tangible proof in the Christian God’s existence.  If the claims of Christianity were true, those outside of the belief would be able to see that God’s formula works. 

Fellow Christians tell me things like “human nature”, “lack of faith” or “a propensity to choose sin” are the factors that keep so many Christians from receiving God’s blessings.  They use this as justification why Christian marriages fail at the same rate as those outside of the faith.  My question is “why?”  If the holy spirit is working in the lives of Christians, would this spirit not open and close doors to guide believers into a proper relationship with one another and with God?  According to Christianity, we are a world of flawed, imperfect sinners.  God already knows this about us, isn’t he powerful enough to put people in our lives and help “wrestle” us back into a proper way of thinking?  A proper relationship with him?  Despite our downfalls?  Couldn’t he preserve a lot more marriages???

I’m asking for real world results…  The power of changed lives.

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Posted: 29 June 2009 12:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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@Seeking_Truth: You are asking a very legitimate question. If the Christian way of life is supposed to offer a ‘better’ life, why doesn’t it? If Christians really had the recipe for successful marriages, you’d expect to see the results, plain and simple, wouldn’t you?

Clay mentions…

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

And there’s no way for us to really know if those people were living by God’s plan for marriage, as outlined in Scripture, or by their own plan.  My posit is that they were probably completely ignoring the mandate for biblical marriage, which led to divorce.

Which doesn’t really mean anything. Even if only SOME Christian marriages really followed the ‘recipe’, you’d still expect the statistics to show it if it really worked…

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Posted: 29 June 2009 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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EMFrimbo - 27 June 2009 02:33 PM

If I can believe in a being that pulled of this big fat miracle, the rest of em ain’t squat.  What evidence can you produce that the universe created itself(out of nothing, none the less)?

You’ve been asking this same question for two years, and many people have offered you numerous references to help you out.  It hasn’t done any good, which leads me to believe you are either more dull witted than the normal christian to wander through these parts or a fuckwit troll who isn’t even religious but just likes the attention he gets from pretending to be a complete idiot.

Bruce and I, and Clay4him and I, and the Champ and I for that matter, may have our differences, but they don’t just squawk like a mnyah bird one little thing over and over.  I converted to christianity for you, hoping you would see your work was done.

http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewthread/12720/#159139

(Also that you would send me $100,000.00)

But since you haven’t left, and you haven’t sent me the $100,000.00, I am an atheist again.  Nice work.  Your soul harvesting is going backwards now.

So why don’t you let whoever is taking care of you take you to the library, where you can mangle some other disconnected crumbs of information.  A little knowledge CAN be a dangerous thing, but not in your hands;  a little knowledge in your hands is like a cream pie in Larry, Moe or Curly’s hands.

[ Edited: 29 June 2009 01:08 PM by sam harris is a neocon idiot]
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Posted: 29 June 2009 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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seeking_truth - 29 June 2009 04:13 PM

Why are there so many failed Christian marriages?  Why are there so many broken Christian families?  Why are God’s people not bearing good fruit for the rest of the world to see?  Why have Christians historically bore “bad” fruit?  To me, this would be real, tangible proof in the Christian God’s existence.  If the claims of Christianity were true, those outside of the belief would be able to see that God’s formula works.

This is the reason I’m surprised more Christians don’t convert to Islam. All the things they hold in high regard are statistically better among Muslims.
Just some examples:
Lower divorce rates, even among American muslims.
Lower adultery levels
Lower levels of alcoholism
Lower fall-back into crime among converted prisoners
Lower levels of pregnancies outside of marriage
Lower levels of pornography and other “immoral” behaviour
Lower levels of homosexuality (Disputed)
Higher levels of “true believers”
Faster growing religion (claim)
Religion taught in school
Religion securely connected to the state and politics

When one compares which gods “formula” works better, it’s not even a competition. Not only that, but it’s basically the same God, so who is following the right words and who is not, based on those statistics?  LOL

Still a bunch of fairy tales though. smile

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Posted: 30 June 2009 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Show you evidence?  What are you talking about?  I’m asking you why there isn’t any apparent evidence that the holy spirit is having some sort of tangible effect on the lives of believers.  I’m not a scientist or an intellectual elitist.  I am an “average joe” who’s asking a straightforward question about Christianity.  I’m not interested in delving into theories about how the universe was created.
My question is simply…  If the holy spirit is alive and working in the lives of believers, why don’t we see proof of this in the real world?  Why are there so many failed Christian marriages?  Why are there so many broken Christian families?  Why are God’s people not bearing good fruit for the rest of the world to see?  Why have Christians historically bore “bad” fruit?  To me, this would be real, tangible proof in the Christian God’s existence.  If the claims of Christianity were true, those outside of the belief would be able to see that God’s formula works.

Fellow Christians tell me things like “human nature”, “lack of faith” or “a propensity to choose sin” are the factors that keep so many Christians from receiving God’s blessings.  They use this as justification why Christian marriages fail at the same rate as those outside of the faith.  My question is “why?”  If the holy spirit is working in the lives of Christians, would this spirit not open and close doors to guide believers into a proper relationship with one another and with God?  According to Christianity, we are a world of flawed, imperfect sinners.  God already knows this about us, isn’t he powerful enough to put people in our lives and help “wrestle” us back into a proper way of thinking?  A proper relationship with him?  Despite our downfalls?  Couldn’t he preserve a lot more marriages???

I’m asking for real world results…  The power of changed lives.

I think I already attempted to answer this but I’ll reiterate.

Measuring the validity of Christian claims and the existence of God by the so-called success of Christian marriage seems to me to be futile.  Can you really say that the biblical model for marriage is a bad one, if really put into practice?  What standard are you measuring success by anyway? 

As I said before, come visit my family or my church or several churches and you will see everyday people with everyday problems seeking to please and honor God with their marriage.  That alone is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work.  Many, including my wife and I, have continually grown and worked through major problems in their marriages with the help of God’s Word and godly counsel.  If you’re looking for statistics for proof, I’m sorry, you’re going to continually be disappointed.  Our culture has bought into a philosophy of marriage that is morally bankrupt and a large majority of the Christian culture has followed suit.  In my experience, there are very few nominal Christians that actually remain in the church community who seek divorces and many pastors that will not give them at all.  Why is this?  Because both the people seeking the divorce and the pastors realize that they can’t justify their behavior by God’s Word.  But those same people still call themselves Christians and many will eventually make their way back to churches after their divorces are established.  So there are your statistics. 

The REAL proof is in the lives of people that persevere by God’s Word.  And they are spread throughout the world, but they’re not found in the latest polls and may never be.

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Posted: 30 June 2009 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

All good questions seeking_truth, and while I’m not sure if you’re really looking for answers (rhetorical?), I will attempt to address them.

When I said that I’m in one such marriage in my last post, I didn’t really mean that I have a happy marriage.  In many ways I have a extraordinarily difficult marriage.  What I meant by saying ‘I’m in one’ is simply that I’m in a marriage that I believe is being built and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Right off the bat, you move the goalposts clear out of the stadium.  Seeking_truth was pointing out that if Christian values really are worthwhile, we ought to see them paying off in the real world.  We already know what you believe, we want to see beliefs having actual, positive consequences like you would expect them to have if those beliefs had merit.  If we’re supposed to know you by your fruits, then let’s see those fruits.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

Your first question in the last post was:  So what sets Christians apart?

 

Yes.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

As always, I’d rather focus on what separates the Christian vision for marriage apart from the worldly vision of it, rather than the actual marriages themselves.

Are you aware of the irony of this statement?  “I’d rather focus on the hypothetical ideal rather than the disappointing reality.”  Not that I blame you, but that’s not a very convincing argument—particularly in a thread asking for proof.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

As you’ve already noted, divorce rates for those that call themselves Christians is very high, almost as high as the secular culture’s.  And there’s no way for us to really know if those people were living by God’s plan for marriage, as outlined in Scripture, or by their own plan.  My posit is that they were probably completely ignoring the mandate for biblical marriage, which led to divorce.

What reasons do you have for this belief, other than the obvious—if this isn’t true, then something is wrong with the Biblical mandate.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

What sets the Christian vision for marriage apart from the world’s is, well, almost everything about it.  The primary difference is, I think, its purpose.  Marriage, as instituted by God, is designed primarily for God’s glory, and to be a representation of the Gospel in a very personal, intimate way.  You’re probably familiar with the Ephesians 5 passage on marriage which gives the husband the mandate to love as Christ loved and gave Himself up for the church and the wife is to lovingly submit as we, the Church, submit ourselves to the love and headship of Christ.  And the true Church is often called “the Bride of Christ.”  Now, of course, an earthly marriage is a union between two sinful people, so it certainly isn’t exactly like Christ and His Church since Christ is sinless and the Church is obviously not.  But nevertheless, God clearly lays out the foundation for marriage and a goal…to love and submit as Christ has done and to reflect Gospel truth.

Wheras secular marriage is about things like communication, trust, dealing with household finances, child-rearing, etc.  Petty details like that. 

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

Christians divorce for the same reason non-Christians divorce, they have lost sight (or perhaps never even had sight) of the biblical view for marriage.

That’s odd; I’ve never heard any non-Xtians I know give that as reason for divorce.  One friend got a divorce because her husband was abusive.  Another because the husband was a hard-core partier who couldn’t be bothered to help raise their kids.  Another was simply tired of being in a loveless marriage with a person she simply didn’t want to be with anymore.  In fact, pretty much everybody I’ve known who got a divorce had some reason like that—infidelity, financial issues, abuse of some kind, fundamental disagreements on what they wanted to do with their lives, etc. 

Meanwhile

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

The sword of the Spirit, according to Scripture, is the Word of God.

What does that even mean?

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

Living by the Spirit is not doing whatever you want to do and saying that the Spirit will “guide me” or something (as a large majority of Christians seem to believe).  Living by the Spirit of God is living in light of His Word and meditating on it, teaching it to ourselves and to each other.  I’ve never found in Scripture any place where it says something to the effect of, “You’re married now, the Spirit is with you and will preserve your marriage no matter what…go do your thing.”  If we could simply sit around waiting for the Spirit to do something, then we wouldn’t need God’s Word to explain anything.  So to answer your question, the only Christian marriages that are “set apart”, are those that are built around God’s vision for it…I have personally never seen a Christ-honoring marriage fail.  I have seen many Christian marriages fail (meaning divorce), but not one where the biblical view of marriage is clearly held in esteem and practiced.

Well, if you honestly believe that divorce is an affront to God and that you are failing your duty as a Christian by throwing in the towel, that would cut down on divorce.  By why do other marriages which don’t meet your definition of “Christ-honoring” succeed? 

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

As I’ve tried to make a case for, ST, the lack of fruit in Christian marriages around us is a clear indicator that the Church is taking their cues from a worldly vision for marriage, not a biblical one.

Circular reasoning:  You believe that Christian marriages should survive and prosper at a higher rate than non-Christian marriages; so therefore the fact that they don’t is proof that…most married Christians aren’t ‘really’ Christian.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

Again, no one ever pays attention to the hundreds of thousands of people who are striving for biblical marriage and do preserve it all their lives, even with blood, sweat and tears.

Who’s not paying attention to them?  Who said they’re being ignored?  What about successful, happy, monogamous non-Christian marriages?  My wife and I have managed ten years of marriage, most of it happy, and we haven’t had to shed any blood to hold it together.  Yet we’re both non-believers.  What does that tell you?

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

If Christians measure the success of marriage the same way that the secular culture does, then they are bound to fail.

Well then, this entire conversation is meaningless.  How else do you measure marriage?  I know that mutual happiness and satisfaction and all that are hard to quantify, but how about divorce rates?  Infidelity rates?  Domestic violence rates? 

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

How many millions of people have taken the oath to love and cherish their spouse til death and turn their back on the oath when things get rough?

Lots of Christians have; lots of non-Christians have not.  That’s the freaking point.

clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

A marriage built on a biblical foundation cannot fail because it is constantly striving and growing, no matter how broken or flawed it appears, it is founded on something completely outside of the whims of our human hearts.  “What God has joined together, let no man separate.”

...and scene!

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Posted: 30 June 2009 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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bigredfutbol - 30 June 2009 01:32 PM
clayforHim648 - 24 June 2009 01:48 PM

As always, I’d rather focus on what separates the Christian vision for marriage apart from the worldly vision of it, rather than the actual marriages themselves.


Are you aware of the irony of this statement?  “I’d rather focus on the hypothetical ideal rather than the disappointing reality.”  Not that I blame you, but that’s not a very convincing argument—particularly in a thread asking for proof.


That’s, just, awesome.

Form over substance. Ideology over reality. It doesn’t get much more transparent than that. The most fundamental problem with fundamentalism openly exposed in a tiny little nutshell and illuminated by stadium grade flood lights.

Very nice!

I’m glad you responded BRF, because I would never have waded that deep into a CFH post, and I would have missed one of those rare, overt admissions of being full of ... oh hell, forget it. I’m not fooling anyone. I would’ve seen another one tomorrow.

Probably not this good though. This is a particularly transparent telling upon of one’s self. It is kind of special, actually.

What do you think the odds are he’ll recognize it for what it is?

Eh?

Anyone?

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Posted: 30 June 2009 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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seeking_truth - 29 June 2009 04:13 PM

My question is simply…  If the holy spirit is alive and working in the lives of believers, why don’t we see proof of this in the real world?  Why are there so many failed Christian marriages?  Why are there so many broken Christian families?  Why are God’s people not bearing good fruit for the rest of the world to see?  Why have Christians historically bore “bad” fruit?  To me, this would be real, tangible proof in the Christian God’s existence.  If the claims of Christianity were true, those outside of the belief would be able to see that God’s formula works.

I don’t think that good marriages and happier lives would be evidence for the veracity of any theism.  It would be purely anecdotal in nature, and naturally explained—a good life doesn’t require anything supernatural (unless you consider blind luck to be supernatural).

Real tangible proof of god’s existence would be a testable form of the supernatural.  How about the Word of God emblazoned in the sky in every language simultaneously?  In multiple parts of the universe as well (that might be really advanced aliens I suppose, but it would be better than the dead silence we have now).  How about casual visits from the dead as a common experience?  “Hey, Frank, how’s it going?”  How about “Made by Jehovah” stamped on the inside of every skull?

Christians make really irrational, extraordinary claims about the nature of existence.  Before they get to be believed, they need to offer some equally extraordinary evidence to support their claims.  Happy marriages and nicer lives isn’t extraordinary enough.

[ Edited: 30 June 2009 11:52 AM by Keep The Reason]
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Posted: 30 June 2009 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Right off the bat, you move the goalposts clear out of the stadium.  Seeking_truth was pointing out that if Christian values really are worthwhile, we ought to see them paying off in the real world.  We already know what you believe, we want to see beliefs having actual, positive consequences like you would expect them to have if those beliefs had merit.  If we’re supposed to know you by your fruits, then let’s see those fruits.

And I clarified why the goalposts had to be moved out of the stadium.  Looking for proof of God’s existence in marriage statistics is, I believe, a fool’s errand.  After doing a little research, the most recent statistics I could find are actually on my side!  And I still don’t think that’s really going to make someone believe or not believe in God.

Read the context of Matthew 7:20, the passage you all were referring to about their fruits.  Jesus isn’t talking about reading the latest articles in Newsweek or checking out the latest polls.  He’s talking to his followers telling them who to look out for and be careful not to be deceived.  Verses 15 - 20 is a warning concerning false prophets and false teachers, wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Verses 21 - 23 is saying that not everyone who cries ‘Lord, Lord’ is really a believer.  He goes on to say that those who heed His words are the ones who understand:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and teh winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock…”  - Matthew 7:24-25  

Aside from the fact that polls actually do show a lesser divorce rate for Christian evangelicals (even lower than atheists, believe it or not), you can’t use these simple questionnaire polls to really understand what’s going on.  You need to meet and see real people who are submitted to God’s vision of marriage, as I’ve already said.  There is much fruit to be seen, as I’ve already shared with you.  And the fruit isn’t just a successful marriage, meaning one that doesn’t end in divorce.  That’s the lowest possible standard, but one commonly appealed to.  The “fruit” of a Christian marriage involves spiritual, vital growth and glory to God.  And that fruit is something that non-Christians will never understand.

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“If you desire to be good, begin by believing that you are wicked.” -Epictetus

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