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A Simple Letter back from a Christian
Posted: 29 September 2006 05:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 106 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]>Here is the important point. If you are going to direct your life around a belief, then I think, given that life is so important and your own autonomy so valuable, you had better have pretty good evidence that you are correct. This is all the more true if you are going to try to impose your beliefs on others (which I am not suggesting you are, Franklin. But you are well aware that many fundamentalist Christians have such an agenda).

Hey waltercat, I hope you are doing well today?  Things going well for you?  Again, you have to realize that, as I mentioned another time or two, you and I are not face to face as we talk.  I read many books for and against Genesis up to the point and through the first year or so of becoming a Christian.  I can only really say that through the books that I read, comparing and contrasting, that I have come to the conclusion that I myself can trust Genesis.  This conclusion might not be right in front of me in the sense that I don’t have Adam and Eve’s bones in the closet of my room.  If you wish, I can give you a list of the works that I read that are pro-Genesis, though I have already mentioned a few of them already.  If I was to take quotes out of all these works, I am sure that it would probably burst this website due to being so heavy and long!  Again, in the end, all I can say is that I…through my studies…believe that I can have faith in ID and the history that began with Adam and Eve.  Doesn’t mean I know everything, doesn’t mean I understand anything, just means that after a long period of study, I believe I can trust Genesis.  This might seem like a cop out.  But it really isn’t.  I feel that I can honestly, intellectually, can make the leap of faith into the trusting of Genesis.

You have obviously read a lot, Franklin, but I am by my nature suspicious of arguments from authority.  I want to see to see the evidence myself (if H. Finn, from Missouri were around, he’d proably invoke his state’s motto).  You refer to this or that text, this or that piece of evidence, but I really don’t have the time to read all of the apologetics you refer to.  Nor do I have the inclination to do so without some sort of indication that I will actually find anything of value there.

So I am asking you, as a favor to me, to provide me with a glimpse of the evidence that you have seen that convinces you that Adam and Eve stole a piece of fruit. (I’ll even settle for evidence that God spoke to Abraham and told him to sacrifice Isaac, or evidence that God wrestled with Jacob).

Your claim that you believe that you “can have faith in ID and the history that began with Adam and Eve” really is revealing.  It suggests that you don’t really have evidence for any of these claims; rather for you it is a matter of faith.  Is that the case?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 September 2006 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 107 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]Racism would say that they are unteachable because they are this or that race, that is, the colour of their skin. On the other hand, what this is saying is that for a lot of people they suffer from a severe spiritual mar, not because of their skin colour (which would be racism), but instead because of the cancer upon their soul…a cancer that humans allow for themselves because, being stubborn, humans want to do things their way.

But that Native Americans are unteachable because of their race is precisely what your answer implies:

Thus we again look at the question, why not the Native Americans? Why not the Asians? Because I believe that none of them truly wanted to worship the One that was true. It is my belief that these many “children of Noah” wanted, for the most part (remember, Abraham himself came from a pagan background before he was called by Faith to follow God), to…as the song goes…“do it their way.”

You say that none of them wanted to worship the One that is true.  This is a strong statement.  Essentially, you are saying that God abandoned them to lead lives of sin and lack of salvation because, as a people, they were too stubborn.  But, as you say, there were stubborn people in Palestine, and yet God chose to send His Law and His savior to the Israelites and to do nothing for Native Americans.  Why?  I suppose he believed that some Israelites would believe [Heck, I’d believe if Jesus came and raised a man from the dead and walked on water and was resurrected.]

So were all Native Americans so stubborn that, when confronted by the power and mystery of Jesus, they would still refuse to believe?  Your suggestion implies that God believed that, as a race, Native Americans were unwilling, no matter what [even if witness to the miracles he performed] to believe in Jesus.  If that is not racism . . .

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 September 2006 05:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 108 ]  
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Hey Storm! 
Fresh snow?  Eh?  Then I think that, under obligations, you should then send to each and every one of us a package of said snow!  Where I am at we rarely get snow, maybe for a handful of days a year, but it isn’t deep snow.  Can’t make a single good snowball out of it.  But boy, does it get the chickens running to the store to buy bread and milk! 

You are right, gaining knowledge isn’t bad at all.  But there is a right way and a wrong way to gain knowledge.  To gain experience, to gain understanding.  Take the Manhattan Project as an example.  I would hazard to guess that the scientists like Oppenheimer were stunned, if not shocked, if not mortified, by the realization of what they did.  And just as Oppenheimer felt guilt, so too did Adam and Eve, but while I would say that the guilt felt by Oppenheimer and Adam and Eve were polar opposites—Oppenheimer’s guilt was felt toward the human race in the new nuclear age while Adam and Eve’s guilt was guilt focused solely on themselves.  God gave Adam and Eve everything, a paradise, a chance to be Suzerainty lord over the creation that God created.  That is, they were given the chance to take their rightful place and humanity’s rightful place as children of God but also as overlord and keeper of God’s creation of Earth.  God allowed Satan to come because of the nature of God and the nature of man the relationship had to have this test of fealty.  Man lost because man, having heard the simple temptation of Satan, decided to worship themselves and be their own god.  You have to realize that the test was not just simply “hey let’s not touch that apple” the test was a test of obedience, both physically and spiritually, both on the physical but also on the metaphysical plane.  Because man failed the test on both a physical and a metaphysical plane, the fall occurred.  But remember, as mentioned, with this fall so too was there a promise.  With the punishment so too was given the promise of a redemption from that punishment. 

What about free will and prophecy.  Again, you must realize that while prophecy does foretell events, that doesn’t mean that we <A> know when for a fact that event will occur and <B> know fully how that event will take place and <C> if we would really even recognize the event has come to pass.  For example, no one knew when Jesus Christ would come.  In fact, there was four hundred years of silence between the last prophet and the coming of Christ, during which Israel faced both spiritual and physical civil wars against themselves (due to the influence of the Hellenistic world).  Another example, just because a prophet spoke it, doesn’t mean we know exactly how the event will play out.  Point to consider is Isaiah 61:1-3.  This is an overall Messianic prophecy.  Jesus Christ read from the first half of this prophecy saying that it was fulfilled that very day.  He did not speak the second half of the prophecy because that portion had not occurred yet, and it hasn’t occurred yet still.  I would like to say that prophecy does allow free will because prophecy is yes a foretelling of events in the future but there is no way to know when these will happen.  Because we do not know when the said events will happen, we are obligated right here and right now to live our lives.  Just because I believe that there will be a Second Coming as foretold in Scripture, that doesn’t mean I hide in my closet with Adam and Eve’s skeletons, fearfully waiting the coming of the AntiChrist or what not.  I live my life here and now.  I act in my worldview, I Trust in my worldview, I love others, I care for others, I love God, I live my life as best as I can being obedient to God.  Don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will have plenty of worries on its own!

And no, sin is not constricted on to Earth.  Sin is constricted to our minds, our hearts, and our soul.  I could be a million light years away and still I will sin because that is the human nature, the fallen human nature, that is a part of me.  I just hope that when the rapture occurs I can bring my chihuahua with me.  I’d late to leave him on earth… :shock:

I enjoy our time talking too, Storm, I’ll be looking for the snow in my mail box soon.  I think what I will do is take the snow you send to all of us here and roll it up in a ball and throw it at my manager! Muhahahah!  :twisted:

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Posted: 29 September 2006 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 109 ]  
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>Your claim that you believe that you “can have faith in ID and the history that began with Adam and Eve” really is revealing. It suggests that you don’t really have evidence for any of these claims; rather for you it is a matter of faith. Is that the case?

This is how it worked for me.  I take, using my skills that I learned through gaining a history degree in my undergrad years and an Education (i.e. so I could teach) degree in my first Master’s degree programming, and I use those skills.  I take books that are about ID, I take books about evolution, I take books that are about Genesis.  I read.  I think.  I juggle.  I consider.  I read a bit more.  I examine works a bit more.  I talk to people.  I do a bit more juggling.  I come to my conclusion.  That conclusion is a leap of faith, yes I freely admit it is, but it is not as if I had someone hitting me in the head telling me I had to believe this or I’m hellbound.  I do my studies, I come to my conclusions.  I may not have the DNA strands of Adam and Eve right in front of me right now.  But I am comfortable with what I have learned on both sides of the debate, and I am comfortable with making my faithful conclusion.  Yes my conclusion is grounded on faith, but I firmly believe that, for me at any rate, that that faith is based upon solid ground.  What I made was an educated conclusion that is fulfilled in faith but not blind faith (i.e. a faith forced unto me by anyone in particular).

> Your suggestion implies that God believed that, as a race, Native Americans were unwilling, no matter what [even if witness to the miracles he performed] to believe in Jesus. If that is not racism . . .

To call that racism would be like saying that the father of the Prodigal Son was a bad parent.  You sometimes HAVE to let your creation, your child, do what he or she wants to do…you have to let the child learn the hard way.  You have to let the child face the dirt before looking to the heavens.  If you had a son who was 18 and went off to college would you force your child to do everything you want him to do, that is, make every decision for him, or would you be willing to let him learn the hard way if that is the only way he could learn?  You love your son, you love him dearly, but you cannot subject your son to the same guidelines of life that he lived under while he still lived under your roof.  Sometimes it is hard to be a parent, or in God’s case, a Creator, but you must let your creation learn the hard way.  You have to.  A creation would not have a love affair with the Creator if force to by the Creator making every single decision for the creation.  God loves His creation, loves His creation enough to let the payment of sin fall upon His own shoulders on Calvary, so that whomever believes in Him…a belief founded on both an intellectual decision to believe and a spiritual decision to believe…will know true love.

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Posted: 29 September 2006 05:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 110 ]  
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I want to go back to a sub-thread in this mutli-facted conversation, one that is very important and often ignored.

Some posters have expressed the thought that God could easily convince us all of his existence.  If He so badly wants us to believe in Him, all he has to do is come and show us.

About this Franklin said:

[quote author=“FranklinBR”]Yes GOD could just easily walk up to your door and ring the doorbell and say “hey, how goes it!” That would be easy. Yet I wonder, how many of us would even consider even if He did do that to us? I wonder how many of us would still rather look toward ourselves or society, anything rather than looking toward something greater than even the world around us?

Many other Chritian defenders have, in this forum (and elsewhere) have said that the point is to have faith in God.  God wants us to have faith in Him.  This faith would be less valuable if God were to come and remove all doubt.

If find this kind of thinking to be entirely disconnected from reality.  People who say such things obviously have never read the Bible; or, more likely, have conveniently forgotten that God appears, in corporeal form on Earth, on many different occassions.  He comes to wrestle with Jacob, for example.  Such defenders must also ignore the fact (central to their beliefs) that, according to the Bible, Jesus is a real person, the son of God, and He came to Israel, performed many miracles (such as raising Lazarus from the dead, turning water into wine, coming back from the dead himself); and, furthermore, many people are said to be witnesses of these events.  Thus, if we are to believe the Bible, God does not have any principled objection to making His presence obvious.

Why has he abandoned modern time to the intellectually unsatifying position that belief in Him is a matter of faith? 

Odd.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 September 2006 06:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 111 ]  
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Well I will only speak for myself, waltercat, and so I shall.  The more I study the history surrounding Jesus Christ, the more I study the Gospels, the history within and outside the Bible concerning both the apostolic age and the early church age, the more I see that there is enough evidence to warrant a believe that there was indeed a Jesus Christ.  And as I see enough for myself that is evidence that there is indeed a Jesus Christ, then I see that, more closely, the realization that I can trust the Gospels surrounding Jesus Christ, and because of that, I can then trust Jesus Christ as whom Jesus Christ Himself said of Himself through the Gospels along with the rest of the Scripture (that is, taking the Messianic prophecies of both the First Advent and the Second Advent into consideration toward the first Advent of Christ and the forthcoming Second Advent of Christ).  And because I believe Jesus Christ can and is whom He says He is, then I can believe the prophecies, the Law, the sacrifices, and the rest going back toward the first prophecy of Jesus in Genesis all the way through the prophecies of the fulfillment of the Second Advent.  Jesus Christ is who He says He is and I firmly believe this after careful, meticulous study.  Pilate asked what was truth?  Jesus Christ is truth.  Jesus Christ is the final verdict, the final word, on God’s revelation to mankind toward who He is and toward His love and toward His will.  Yes in the past He did come into history as the Angel of the Lord as seen in Joshua, along with signs from heaven as when Elijah asked God to call fire from the heavens as he stood up against the Baal worshipers.  The visit to Jacob, for example, was for Jacob, and later, for those Israelites to see that the very God created the world, is the same God who had an intimate one-on-one connection with the Patriarchs (as with the wrestling between God and Jacob) and is the same God who saved the Israelites from Egypt, and is the same God who will, through Israel, bless all the nations of the earth.  Has He then abandoned modern man?  No!  I suggest you look carefully through the stories of the people from Voice of the Martyrs, Jews for Jesus, and Gospel for Asia.  Here are real men and women willing to face life and death because there is something greater than mere human life and death, here are real men and women willing to live a life no matter what in order to spread the Gospel.  Ask these people if they see God and they will triumphantly say yes!  Can they wave a magic wand and make Him appear before your eyes?  No!  But.  But.  They can show the fruition, the growth in the garden, the winter into spring—spiritually and physically, for those people who are willing to go and risk their lives in order to bring the Gospel across the world and for those who embrace the Gospel’s message, and thus the Bible’s message, even at the risk of being killed.  They do this because there is indeed something, Someone greater, far greater, than any social consideration, or social rulling, or social morality, they are doing this because there is a Creator, a God, a Champion, a Great Lover to their minds, their hearts, and their souls.  These aren’t people being force or forcing anyone to do anything, they see the truth and that truth sets them free!  So is God here today?  Yes!  Is God making His will known?  Yes!  Does everyone see?  No!  But to those who see, to those who are like the seeds planted on fertile ground, they will grow ten, twenty, thirty times greater than any harvest around them.

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Posted: 29 September 2006 07:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 112 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]To call that racism would be like saying that the father of the Prodigal Son was a bad parent.  You sometimes HAVE to let your creation, your child, do what he or she wants to do…you have to let the child learn the hard way.  You have to let the child face the dirt before looking to the heavens.  If you had a son who was 18 and went off to college would you force your child to do everything you want him to do, that is, make every decision for him, or would you be willing to let him learn the hard way if that is the only way he could learn?  You love your son, you love him dearly, but you cannot subject your son to the same guidelines of life that he lived under while he still lived under your roof.  Sometimes it is hard to be a parent, or in God’s case, a Creator, but you must let your creation learn the hard way.  You have to.  A creation would not have a love affair with the Creator if force to by the Creator making every single decision for the creation.  God loves His creation, loves His creation enough to let the payment of sin fall upon His own shoulders on Calvary, so that whomever believes in Him…a belief founded on both an intellectual decision to believe and a spiritual decision to believe…will know true love.

It is so wonderful that you are such an amicable guy, Franklin, so that I don’t have to be worried about offending you with my criticisms of your arguments.

However. . .

This is a total non-sequitor.  I did not accuse God of racism on the basis of how he “punished” Native Americans.  I accused Him of racism on the basis of his apparent belief that ALL Native Americans are so stubborn that,  if confronted with the mircales and majesty of Jesus Christ, they will still refuse to believe.  This was the heart of your answer to the question of why God did not send a savior to Native Americans.

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 September 2006 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 113 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]Has He then abandoned modern man? No! I suggest you look carefully through the stories of the people from Voice of the Martyrs, Jews for Jesus, and Gospel for Asia. Here are real men and women willing to face life and death because there is something greater than mere human life and death, here are real men and women willing to live a life no matter what in order to spread the Gospel. Ask these people if they see God and they will triumphantly say yes! Can they wave a magic wand and make Him appear before your eyes? No!

This is not to the point either.

The point is that, in the past God, according to the Bible, has made his existence obvious by coming to earth in corporeal form (wrestling with Jacob/Israel, coming as Jesus; also speaking to people directly in a booming voice, etc. etc.).  He no longer does this.

Abraham is held up as a prototype of religious faith.  But Abraham had the advantage of having God communicate to him directly.  Abraham did not have to take a leap of faith, he had the testimony of his senses.  Same with Jacob, Noah, and all of Jesus’ disciples.

The kind of faith that a Christian living today must have is very different from the faith of Abraham.  Abraham had concrete evidence in the form of God’s voice.  Today, God does not literally speak to us (sure, he speaks to us, you’ll tell me, he speaks to our hearts; But he spoke to Abraham’s ear!  And he WRESTLED with Jacob.  Not much room for doubt).  Today, when a person of faith has doubts, there is no physical evidence of God’s existence to appeal to, no voice from on high, no divine wrestling partneer, no water into wine, no raising from the dead, not plague of frogs, no parting of the red sea).  The faith of a Christian today is indeed a LEAP.

Why did Abe and the rest of the Old Testament gang, and Peter and all of Jesus’ cohorts have it easy.  Surely God knows that people need evidence.  We shouldn’t devote our lives to a religious life without concrete unambiguous evidence of the sort God provided to Abraham and Jacob and Moses, and Peter, etc.  But God does not provide concrete evidence of that sort any longer.  Why?

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 29 September 2006 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 114 ]  
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[quote author=“frankr”]I posted this review last March, It is my favorite book review of all time. When anyone mentions the book I print out a copy of this review. If you search the Times you will even see your beloved Sam Harris writing to the editor about the harshness of this review.


Breaking the Spell, NY Times Book Review

Note this is the NY Times not the Discovery Institute.

frankr,
I have not read the book, so my opinions are rather uninformed.  But I thought I would share some thoughts about Dennett and this review nonetheless.  I have read other books by Dennett and I have always been very unimpressed. 

One of the most annoying things that Dennett has ever done is to propose that atheists call themselves “brights.”  I have to say that this is ridiculous and offensive.  There are plenty of very bright religious people.  I think a better term is “freethinker.”  I think that term was more common in the past, and it used to mean someone who was not shackled by particular dogmas.  (Thought perhaps that is the problem with Dennett, maybe he is shackled to the dogma of scientism).

If this reviewer gets Dennett right (and I have a strong suspicion that he does), then you are quite correct, it is an excellent review.

Here are a few important quotes:

[quote author=“Weiseltier”]You cannot disprove a belief unless you disprove its content. If you believe that you can disprove it any other way, by describing its origins or by describing its consequences, then you do not believe in reason.

If the claim is correct, Dennett has committed a large genetic fallacy.  Has anyone read the book?  I’d be interested in an informed response to the review.

THE question of the place of science in human life is not a scientific question. It is a philosophical question. Scientism, the view that science can explain all human conditions and expressions, mental as well as physical, is a superstition, one of the dominant superstitions of our day; and it is not an insult to science to say so. For a sorry instance of present-day scientism, it would be hard to improve on Daniel C. Dennett’s book. “Breaking the Spell” is a work of considerable historical interest, because it is a merry anthology of contemporary superstitions.

I have to disagree with this.  Scientism is not a superstition. It is a metaphysical belief though, and I happen to think it is a false one.

Materialism is also a metaphysical belief.  I have a hard time accepting it not because I am certain that there are non-material phenomena, but because I am wary of metaphysical doctrines in general.

If someone were to ask me “Are you a materialist?” , my reply would be, “Of course not, I’m an atheist.”

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What do I care for a hell for oppressors? What good can hell do, since those children have already been tortured? And what becomes of harmony, if there is hell? I want to forgive. I want to embrace. I don’t want more suffering. And if the sufferings of children go to swell the sum of sufferings which was necessary to pay for truth, then I protest that the truth is not worth such a price.
-Ivan Karamazov

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Posted: 30 September 2006 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 115 ]  
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[quote author=“Noggin”]

post script:  After reading your post, I am determined to look up the definition of the word “glom” and use it in one of my forthcoming posts wink

Probably one of the many words I’ve made up over the years.
I think I heard it first amongst computer hackers who would “glom” onto unsecured wireless networks.  e.g. “this building has a whole lotta open nodes..you can probably glom onto one of them.”

The Amazing Mrs. Switch, being of the south-side Irish/Hungarian variety, has a vocabulary all her own. I could’ve gotten it from her.  Maybe I just glommed onto it “after living over here by her alla dese years.”

I like your idea Nog.  I’ve just started the first chapter, and I like where it’s going.  I’m gonna re-read it and perhaps post about it.  I’ve got my first day off in almost a month, so after I get done defoliating my victory garden, I might get started.

Must go, the Amazing Mrs. Switch is asking me to “Go bring her the ting.”

Me: “What thing”

AMS: “You know,  The thing on the thing!  No, not that ting, the udder thing!” rolleyes

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History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.

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Posted: 30 September 2006 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 116 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]
This point is, sadly enough, even missed in a lot of Christian circles.  That is this, God is all holy.  That means that, as much as He loves, He also has full, total, holiness/moral standards.  In other words, He IS the pinnacle of what it means to be morally just.  That means that, no matter how much He loves, He also must accept that there is a need for moral standards for His creation.  We are humans.  We are fallen humans.  We are humans who have disobedience in our hearts and stubbornness in our souls.  We pervert the world through our actions because we are corrupt, no matter how good we say we are, no matter how honest we say we are, no matter how rightful we say our society is, there is still the mar upon our souls.  God, in His holiness must judge that mar upon the souls.  And He will.  But.  He does give chances.

FranklinBR, your posts are long.  I hope you don’t mind that I only comment on one portion of your world view.

FranklinBR wrote:
no matter how much He loves, He also must accept that there is a need for moral standards for His creation.  We are humans.  We are fallen humans.  We are humans who have disobedience in our hearts

But you don’t throw the obvious into the mix!  You bend the ear of the Christian soul who will support you till the cows come home… talking in terms of a helpless god who just happened to create humans who, golly, just so happened to turn out decidedly evil, grossly wicked, and perfectly perverse negates the effect that a perfect god, no matter how holy you claim god is, still failed in the design for humanity.

Fallen humans could still be fallen humans without rape, murder, genocide, incest, and other heinous crimes against humanity.  There could have been limits imposed… a hardwired gene perhaps… yes, a god sanctioned gene in our dna that prohibits ourselves from performing at such depraved levels.  If you will, for a minute, indulge me.  Let’s posit a god.  Okay and the god creates humans with pain thresholds.  Pain thresholds so real and terrible that it serves as a mighty fine deterrant for humans to say take razor blades and use them to scratch a bothersome itch on our back or pour acid on our face to take our make up off at night (I don’t wear make up btw).  Your god did that (positing a god).  Why didn’t he/she/it go one step further and make it so it was naturally so inconvenient that we would not murder or rape each other?

A benevolently all kind all knowing all powerful creating god would do it… otherwise he is not omnimax.

My inquisition got lost in the shuffle of this fast moving thread so I will put my questions to you again in hopes that you might take a paragraph and respond to them.  I read two posts of yours that came after I posed the following questions and could not find that you answered them so here they are once more:

FranklinBR, here is my last question regarding this and then we can move on if you prefer:

1.  What is the genesis of your certainty [that Christianity is the only truth]?

2.  How do you know your Truth is more true than the other claims to Truth?

It’s okay for you to preach if you need to in order to explain how you know what you know is more true than what your religious counterparts know as truth. Be lengthy if need be on this one. I won’t mind the least.

If it is only faith that sustains your certainty, then

3.  Are you able to say that you know all other religions other than yours are incapable of saving a soul? Yes or No?

And lastly:

I am prepared to assert that faith equates to nothing more than a hunch in the religious realm of things. If faith is all that sustains you, and to be fair, we shall also say that faith is all that sustains Mormons, Muslims, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Catholics…

4. then how can any religion polarize as to claiming it is the true one?

These questions are open to any drive by Christian knee jerk response.  All are invited to comment.

Noggin

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Posted: 01 October 2006 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 117 ]  
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[quote author=“waltercat”]
If this reviewer gets Dennett right (and I have a strong suspicion that he does), then you are quite correct, it is an excellent review.

I have read the book, and it’s one of the most notoriously bad reviews that the Times has printed in recent years. In fact, this particular review has become something of a embarrassment for the Times, judging from the letters they got objecting to it. But then, what were they thinking, having a literary editor write a review of a book on science, psychology, and religion?

The subject of the book is not even about the truth or falsity of relgion, but rather a call for a scientific study of religious beliefs, rather than treating it as a sacred cow that no one can examine, let alone question. Dennett isn’t trying to disprove religion. He’s not a believer, but that is irrelevant to the book itself or the kinds of research he’s advocating. What he wants to be able to do is conduct psychological and neurological studies of religious belief, why people believe or don’t believe, what they believe, and what effects their beliefs have. He wants to be able to do scientific research to really establish whether the claims made for the effects of religion are actually true, and he wants to be able to do this without people crying foul and claiming that religion is off limits to scientific study. This attitude actually makes such research very difficult to do; currently almost the only research supported is research expected to confirm the benefits of religion. Hence the title; he wants to break the taboo against studying religion objectively.

My biggest complaint about the book is that it is mainly a book of questions and suggestions for further study, but apparently even this was enough to send Wieseltier shrieking and foaming at the mouth (almost half of the review is ad hominem—in all that scribbling he still never explains what the book is actually about.) Wieseltier’s hysterical reaction is proof of Dennett’s main argument—that you can’t even talk about a scientific treatment of religion without arousing this type of reaction.

And if Wieseltier thinks that the burden of proof regarding an idea or theory lies with those who don’t believe in it, he has no business talking about reason at all.

[quote author=“waltercat”]
Materialism is also a metaphysical belief.  I have a hard time accepting it not because I am certain that there are non-material phenomena, but because I am wary of metaphysical doctrines in general.

Metaphysical doctrines are non-material claims—that’s literally what metaphysics means (before physics). The basis of materialism is a rejection of metaphysics . So what you are saying is that you don’t believe in materialism because you’re a materialist…

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Posted: 01 October 2006 06:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 118 ]  
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Hi everyone.  I am sorry I haven’t been able to fully reply the past few days, over the past few days at work I’ve had a lot of situations going on, and over the next week I will be working on the finalized studies for my first exam in New Testament.  So I’m sure you’ll all miss me as much as a target misses the knife thrower at a circus!

>This is a total non-sequitor. I did not accuse God of racism on the basis of how he “punished” Native Americans. I accused Him of racism on the basis of his apparent belief that ALL Native Americans are so stubborn that, if confronted with the mircales and majesty of Jesus Christ, they will still refuse to believe. This was the heart of your answer to the question of why God did not send a savior to Native Americans.

> Fallen humans could still be fallen humans without rape, murder, genocide, incest, and other heinous crimes against humanity. There could have been limits imposed… a hardwired gene perhaps… yes, a god sanctioned gene in our dna that prohibits ourselves from performing at such depraved levels. If you will, for a minute, indulge me. Let’s posit a god. Okay and the god creates humans with pain thresholds. Pain thresholds so real and terrible that it serves as a mighty fine deterrant for humans to say take razor blades and use them to scratch a bothersome itch on our back or pour acid on our face to take our make up off at night (I don’t wear make up btw). Your god did that (positing a god). Why didn’t he/she/it go one step further and make it so it was naturally so inconvenient that we would not murder or rape each other?

No.  I disagree.  Simply put, God knows the heart of man.  God sees the heart plainly.  God knew the heart and soul and mind and body of the men and women, the many men and women, who came from the children of Noah and saw that just like before, they had the revelation of God through the Flood, but they wanted, they lusted, they desired to have their own say…their own utopia…their own pleasure palaces and Vanity Fairs.  He is the Creator and understands the very nuance of the human spirit.  The human spirit is fallen not because of God…blaming God for this or that, whether it is the tragedy of abortion to that of the tragedy of war, is foolish.  Whether it is the Native Americans or the Germanic barbarians, or whomever you wish to point out, God knew their spirit.  God saw what they want.  God gives them the freedom to do what they want.  Yet at the same time He began to work His plan of salvation into overdrive starting with Abraham and going through Christ and to the faithful of today, whether we are the faithful in the United States or the faithful in Africa or the faithful in China or the faithful in Western Europe.  Abraham was the one who held faith in God even when he himself doubted.  And it was placed through him, through the lineage of the Jews, that one day all in the world may be saved by faith in God’s very plain, very clear, very historical, very archeological, answer…that being Jesus Christ. 

We are the ones who are broken, I know I am, I see my sins easily.  And I see, as I have studied history, the failure of humanity to lift humanity up by humanity’s strength.  The Greek Hellenistic culture tried to do this and it failed, the German Nazi party tried to do this and they failed, and so on.  And even if the humanists get their utopia, still it too will fall because man is more than just social rules and social obligations.  Man is body and man is soul.  And to allow the corruption to grow within the soul, instead of seeking God, will bring about everything from school shootings to wars to abortion to suicide.  God doesn’t make us sin, God doesn’t make us fail, we do that on our own very well.  God gives us a clear choice through the many instances He has stepped into human history to follow Him or follow ourselves.  For me to blame God because I may lust after a woman, or to blame God because I am envious of another man’s job, or whatever the case, is silly and pointless.  I am a sinner.  As I am a sinner there are no good works, no social works, no social gains, that I can do to save myself or the world around me.  Only by placing myself into the hands of God through trusting Him…even when I may doubt, even when I may not understand why I am in this or that particular storm…will I find calm and peace and trustworthy eternal assurance.

And about us choosing not to rape and murder?  Hah!  Like we are God’s puppets!  The truth is simple and powerful, knocking the wind out of your gut.  Sin is our cancer.  This is a cancer that we choose and that we embrace time and time again because we want to.  We like to think of ourselves as nice chaps or ladies, but deep inside there is a self explosion waiting to happen to show that we really aren’t the nice neighbors or socializers we tried to make people think we are.  We choose this sin to be our cancer.  Even if we just look at another woman in lust, we are failing to do what God wishes of us because we choose to spend the 10 bucks on the porno mag.  Even if we just look at another man with the desire to kill him, no matter what he has done, we are allowing anger and hatred to eat out our heart and mind instead of taking care of such situations through lawful means.  I say that we openly, so many a time, choose to scratch the itch with the knife instead of going to God and asking for help…I know I’ve been there myself!...simply because we like what we see and we like to see and think that we ourselves can solve every problem through this or that social program instead of finding the truth in God.  Human inclination is, as we see with the Fall and throughout history, is that we want to do things ourselves.  We come to God through finally having eyes that see and ears that hear and minds that realize and hearts that know but we do this first by going through our “valley of the shadow of death” and embrace the truth of our brokenness because we are indeed broken because we caused us to be broken, no one else made us that way.  You dont make me sin and I dont make you sin.  You and I do this on our own free will very easily.  And God speaks to us again and again, but it is through humility and wisdom that we accept that very clear voice instead of turning away from it and wanting some social action to “solve all the problems.”  Simple.

>The point is that, in the past God, according to the Bible, has made his existence obvious by coming to earth in corporeal form (wrestling with Jacob/Israel, coming as Jesus; also speaking to people directly in a booming voice, etc. etc.). He no longer does this.

If you have read the NT you would see that He doesn’t need to come up to your door, knock, and say “Hey everybody, I’m God!”  He came into the world through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of God’s expression and revelation to the human race that came forth from the First Advent that we read in the Gospels and will come in the Second Advent of the End of Days as we see in such works as Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, the letters of Paul, along with the Book of Revelation.  I am sure, I am positive that people like Ten Boom would say that God is quite visible for her, same with those who struggle in underground churches as examined in such wonderful organizations as Voices of the Martyr and Gospel in Asia.  God is indeed visible, I know that He is here in my life through both the times of pain and the winds of chance.  God doesn’t have to come to my house wearing a siren on His head to make me believe!  I believe the same way you may believe that there are black holes.  You don’t see black holes, you haven’t seen them with your eyeballs but a lot of astrophysicists believe in them…not because they physically see them…but they can see the environmental changes and transformations around the black hole to logically assume that the black hole is right there.  It is quite easy to understand.  The faithful Christian doesn’t need to believe that Jesus Christ is going to ask him to go to Burger King tomorrow.  Hang out.  Watch a ball game.  No.  The faithful Christian sees the evidence of the mind and of the spirit and he makes the logical deduction, the logical decision, that God is indeed there and with him through Jesus Christ.  Simple.

> Why did Abe and the rest of the Old Testament gang, and Peter and all of Jesus’ cohorts have it easy. Surely God knows that people need evidence. We shouldn’t devote our lives to a religious life without concrete unambiguous evidence of the sort God provided to Abraham and Jacob and Moses, and Peter, etc. But God does not provide concrete evidence of that sort any longer. Why?

Have it easy?!  They did not have it easy, even if you read the Bible as a study of World literature you would easily see that these people did not have it easy.  Abraham, Moses, Peter, John, they all had struggles they all had pains they all had uncertainties.  Abraham had to hold faith in God even though he was an elderly man and could not believe that he and his wife would ever have a child.  Abraham went through struggles all through his life, but even in the most severe of storms he had faith in God.  Same with Peter.  Peter denied the Lord at that fateful night and into the morning three times.  Then he ran.  None of the people, whether OT or NT, had it easy.  They all struggled.  They all cried out to the Lord.  They all had their doubts.  But God walked with them and helped them and forgave them and showed them the greater plan, the greater story, and I am willing to bet if … at the very least they themselves were here… they would say strongly that they never had an easy time.  They went through the good times and the bad times through joy and through struggle because they relied intellectually and spiritually on God even when they stumbled, even when they fell.  God always helped them back up to stand with Him again.  Just look at Peter, after the Resurrection Jesus Christ took Peter to par and brought him back into His fold, like a shepherd to a straying sheep.  And He does the same with me, when I stray, when I doubt, when I get angry, or whatnot, I will hear His voice speaking deep in my mind and my heart…not some “imaginary friend” or anything of that sort mind you…and I will come back to my Shepherd through intelligent and spirited faith.  This life is filled with multitudes of struggles and pains.  We either can 1 blame God 2 blame society 3 sweep it under the rug or 4 turn to God.  I will choose to turn to God.  I choose God.  Simple.

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Posted: 01 October 2006 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 119 ]  
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Hey Franklin! Sorry, wasn’t fast enough to collect any snow before it all melted. Next time perhaps.  smile

I don’t know if I’m bad at explaining or if you don’t want to understand. I am after all Swedish, so I might be bad at expressing myself. If there exists a prophecy, it means the game is rigged. It means you can play it however you like, but you will still end up with the same result. Prophecy means there are pre-determined events. It doesn’t matter if you know about them or not, or don’t understand them. Not knowing, just gives you a feeling of having free will, when you in fact have none. There is no free will in a locked cell. The free will to go anywhere and do anything is constricted by the said events(the walls of the cell).
You are not differentiating between an open future and a closed future. What you believe free will to be is a very limited version. You think you are free in your cell. I believe there is no cell. To you the world is linear, events somewhere on a string sort of thing. To me it’s open ended, Earth might get blown to pieces by an asteroid in 50 years or we may colonize Alpha Centauri in a 100 years.
Simply put. You believe in Nostradamus. I don’t. And I say that you can’t believe in both Nostradamus and Free Will. One cancels out the other.

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Posted: 01 October 2006 11:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 120 ]  
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[quote author=“Franklin”]The human spirit is fallen not because of God…blaming God for this or that, whether it is the tragedy of abortion to that of the tragedy of war, is foolish. Whether it is the Native Americans or the Germanic barbarians, or whomever you wish to point out, God knew their spirit.

Since he supposedly made us, one would hope he knew every single thing about us. But Franklin, that includes the beginning, middle and end. For everyone and every thing. As Storm points out, he could foresee all our failures ahead of their occurrance, ahead of our birth, even. Yet still he created us, knowing many would be sent to Hell. That is nothing short of pre-meditated serial killing of your children.

God is omniscient, so there is no possibility of escaping that conclusion. Although I know you will (like an abused child) die trying.

[quote author=“Franklin”]The truth is simple and powerful, knocking the wind out of your gut. Sin is our cancer.

This is a cancer that we choose and that we embrace time and time again because we want to.

We choose this sin to be our cancer.

We come to God through finally having eyes that see and ears that hear and minds that realize and hearts that know but we do this first by going through our “valley of the shadow of death” and embrace the truth of our brokenness because we are indeed broken because we caused us to be broken, no one else made us that way.

Sigh. No, babe. You refuse to see what you’re even repeating, over and over and over: We are cancerous in this tale of yours, because he made us riddled with cancer. I can not pop out of the womb being evil unless he (or nature, which is my vote) allowed for that aspect of our personality to be present. Your embrace of the magic inheritance of this cancerous sin, and how God has no responsibility for what is, in fact, ALL his responsibility. . . is truly astonishing. You are the perfect puppet to the ultimate unseen puppetmaster, which is, sadly, only yourself.


[quote author=“Franklin”]He began to work His plan of salvation into overdrive starting with Abraham and going through Christ and to the faithful of today.

First of all. . . “overdrive”? Oh, now that’s funny wink. Guess God ‘chooses’ to move slow as molasses on purpose, eh? But moving on. . .

Let’s say I was a super-human woman and had ten kids, but they all turned out too normal-human for my liking. This was not a shocker, of course, since I am omniscient, and knew they would turn out weak and prone to sin.  I was close to murdering them over this problem of being normal-human, since I wanted super-human (in fact I had already drowned about 30 of my previous kids in the tub, along with their pets, for this very same problem). . .  but would it then make sense to have an eleventh child that I could put to death on a cross, for the purpose of saving my other ten kids from my murderous temper? Better yet, how could I be both myself (the super-mother) and also the super-human savior child, all at the same time? And if I could make the one super-human kid, how come I didn’t just do that formula with all the others, so that everyone could live a great and powerful life where I wouldn’t have to murder any of them?

Moreover, how would my killing a mock-up of myself make my other children ‘free’? If I loved my children enough to begin with, and I was *God*, I can think of far more elegant and beautiful ways to communicate both my love and my parental guidance to my creation.


No need to hustle up a reply, Franklin. It would make me sad to see how much further you can debase yourself in the attempt. It also saddens me to see how you view the rest of us, which is far from shocking (I know Christians, and if they do anything well, it’s to paint us as wretched), so. . .  I leave you to your self-loathing.


.

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