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A Simple Letter back from a Christian
Posted: 28 September 2006 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]  
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[quote author=“homunculus”]Waltercat, if only everybody could make so much sense. I’d vote your post as an answer to some serious questions in the FAQ section, if we had one. Another eloquent piece was written a few days ago, also deserving of a permanent residence somewhere. Have you seen it?:
http://www.samharris.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=37183#37183

Thanks, but that doesn’t exactly cure my arrogance problem.

Yes, I saw that post and was very impressed.  The post contains much wisdom and I wish we could enshrine it somehow.

[quote author=“Mark Howard”]And it all makes no sense to me, and it greatly saddens me. And the polarization is really all for nothing, because the only thing I know with certainty is what I don’t know, and can’t know. And that gives me the capacity for doubt about any worldview that I might decide to adopt. And it also gives me the ability to know what is impossible for you to know with certainty.

We do need to really push this point over and over and over.  Christians do not KNOW with certainty that they are correct.  The feel that they are or have faith that they are.  Such feelings and faith are no substitute for knowledge.  I have said this before in other ways and in other forums, but life is just too important to base our decisions on a hope or a feeling that Jesus died for our sins.  And the lives of others are too important to them to require them to conform to a world view, which is, again, based on a hope or feeling.

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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: 28 September 2006 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]  
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Hello, FranklinBR.  It is indeed a fine thing to be able to discuss theology in the manner this thread is going.  Very refreshing.  I fear I am appearing like I wish to convert you over to another ideology on non theism. 

FranklinBR wrote:
P.S. Concerning Mormonism, I could probably write down a hefty list of likes and differences but that would probably go off on a tangent and be several pages long…

And I do not doubt that you could do it.  I could do it.  The point being made is that Mormonism is completely and utterly degenerate from your Christianity yet it thrives.  It cannot be killed.  Mormonism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses and yourself all know each others beliefs are false.  Just imagine the contorted ven flowchart diagram it makes!  There is zero doubt in each head: 

I humbly assert that you are wrong
—No I humbly assert that You, sir, are wrong
— Ahem.  No YOU are
—**fist clenches** NO YOU ARE…
—**Jaw tightens, speaks through teeth** NO!! I AM RIGHT AND THE REST OF YOU ARE WRONG AND THAT IS FINAL!!

and so on to infinity…

until one of them murders another—and even with this warped funhouse mirrored type logic behind the bloodshed, the endless hedging continues

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

What is the genesis of your certainty? 

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

Noggin

post script: Homunculus, I raise my beer mug to Waltercat too.  Extremely well put, Waltercat.  Thanks.

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Posted: 28 September 2006 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”].

P.S. Concerning Mormonism, I could probably write down a hefty list of likes and differences but that would probably go off on a tangent and be several pages long…instead I will refer to a wonderful book that examines the likes and differences between the major religions and ideologies and philosophies of today with that of Christianity (general Christianity, not specific Christianity…general Christianity is just that, a generalized view of Christianity, while specific Christianity would be the beliefs and doctrine of, say, an ARP church or a Methodist church or a Baptist church).  I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll give the info again:  So What’s the Difference? By Fritz Ridenour.  Another book, now that I think about it, shows the fascinating differences between Christianity and that of Eastern religions and philosophies, a book entitled Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias.  Mr. Zacharias grew up in India in the faith of Hinduism but his life is changed by confronting Christianity and by accepting Christianity.  Both books are very intriguing and I keep them in my library.

Have a great day!  :wink:

Wow. I have to say this..no offence…you have to be the most happy-go-lucky guy on this forum.  You kinda remind me of Squeezit Henderson in the movie The Forbidden Zone.  “The queen is a very important person….she hurts me alot, but I respect her”. :wink:

Seriously tho,

There are TONS of books by and about people who grew up very devout in one faith and then found their true calling in another.  Their arguments all have the same weight.  I’m sure if you looked around, there are plenty of books by former christians who converted to Islam or Hinduism.  I can think of a few off the top of my oddly shaped head.
These testimonies just don’t make it necessarally so.
I’ve had lots of friends over the years who have rejected the faiths of their familly, only to glom onto another, foreign faith.  They just couldn’t handle this huge God-shaped hole in their lives.  In my city, there are many catholics who have converted to Orthodoxy, and many others (usually central american immigrants who have converted to Pentacostalism.  I’ve known many Catholics who turn to eastern faiths…not ‘cuz it’s right or correct, but because they need to fill the void.  They can’t believe in Yahweh, but they must believe in some kind of spirit.

I spend (for some reason) alot of time in Marriott Hotels.  One time I looked in my drawer and found the ubiquitous Book of Mormon.  I thought, “Well, I’m not tired yet, so let’s see what this is all about”.

35 minuites later:  “What the Hell was J. Smith smoking when he wrote this?”

Now, to Noggin in his teens, this was perfectly rational.  The thought that Mr. Smith might have made it up would never have entered his mind.  Only after study and torturous soul-searching did he come to the same conclusion that most Christians and Atheists find on the first reading ( Noggin, JSYK, I am not belittling your struggle in any way).  I mean, when you read the Qu’ran, you probably think, “interesting, but wrong”.  Same with the Bhagavad Ghita, same with any other non christian text.  Can’t you see that that is the only rational way to view any myth?  Look at Christianity in relation to the Roman Mithratic cults…see any similarity?  Or Horus?  Why is yours more plausible.  You can’t use the “‘cuz I belive” argument with this one.  Prove to me I am wrong.  Prove to me empirically that you are correct.  You cannot do this.  Your faith is no more plausible than those of the animists of ancient Europe or present day africa.


Try to put your mind in the position of a Buddhist.  Imagine you are one.  Then think how the Bible would appear to you.  Not the sermon on the mount parts, but the “I come not to bring peace but a sword” parts.  How absurd would that seem to you?
You have a right to believe anything you want.  You can believe in the old Norse Gods for all I care ( I think they’re cooler anyway).  I respect that.
But I will try to poke holes in it, ‘cuz I think you are close to the real shape of things and it scares you.

Laters,

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Posted: 28 September 2006 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]  
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Hey Noggin,
Didn’t you say in another thread that you read Breaking the Spell by D.C. Dennett?

I just started it.  Pretty cool.

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

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Posted: 28 September 2006 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]  
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[quote author=“switch”]Hey Noggin,
Didn’t you say in another thread that you read Breaking the Spell by D.C. Dennett?

I just started it.  Pretty cool.

Hey Craig!

I had plowed through Dennett’s Consciousness Explained.  BUT Breaking the spell is totally in the cue.

Let’s do this, why not.. One of us (hint: you) start a thread on the book in the forum labeled “Other reading”.  And after each chapter or so give a brief (or not) post on current thoughts open for public consumption?  Anyone can comment and if no one does at least I can check the pulse as to what I am digesting or not.

Dennett is deep.  One can’t just flit lightly through the pages.  He almost requires a book club type format wink  eh?

I have been really wanting to read a book this way.

Nogs

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

all hail craig’s vocab!

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Posted: 28 September 2006 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]  
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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.

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Posted: 28 September 2006 06:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]  
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Hey everyone I hope all of you have had a jolly good day.  Just got home from work.  Brain dead but I am sure I can make a fairly good conversation for all of you.  I have never seen the movie Forbidden Zone, but most people tend to think of me as a Christian version of Doctor Who…due to the fact that I tend to wear a more Victorian men’s style of clothing and I am anything, if not hyperactive.  For me, most of the time, I do not let things bother me and I tend to be with a smile and some kind of candy…

“I come not to bring peace but the sword.”  What does that mean?  You can always pick small passages out of the Bible and, by not taking them into fuller context, use those for whatever means you wish.  I am sure you can take a Dilbert book and, taking a quote out of it, and use it to give your boss a wedgie.  Which, mind you, might be a good thing wink  The passage that you refer to is that of Matthew 10:34—39.  What this passage is talking about is not a physical sword, but instead discusses division brought about by Jesus.  And for the most part, this is a truthful passage.  Jesus does bring division, and in the community of the Christian faith, that being the Jews, families were split apart because of faith in God through Christ, even more so as the faith was spread from the Jewish world to that of the larger Roman/Mediterranean world.  Often times it is our very husband or our wife or our parent or our child who, when we express our faith, turns their back on us.  Division is what the quote you are using is talking about in the overall arch of the passage you refer to.  Further, the passage discusses the fact that sometimes you have to make painful choices between God and others.  Sometimes even between dying for God or living for yourself, sometimes even between enjoying creature comforts or going out into the world, into the wilderness, and living the sacred romance.

“Prove to me that I am wrong.”  Prove to me that I am wrong.  Just as you can’t really fully prove there isn’t a supreme being, neither can I…then again, He (I believe) isn’t some dog that comes to you every time you whistle.  So.  You are right in a sense.  I cannot empirically prove to you beyond a shadow of a doubt by bringing you face to face with God.  I am neither prophet nor magic user.  I am only myself with my own experiences, my own learning, my own decisions, my own considerations, my own examinations.  Then again, as the saying goes, that isn’t my job.  My job isn’t to make you believe anything, or to tell you that you must follow me or “the devil will get you” or anything like that.  Again, I am not you, nor are you me, our experiences are different as are our worldviews.  But I am in peace with who I am as a Christian, as a believer in God and through God a believer in the honor that I have learned and the integrity that I have learned as well.  Something that I will first and foremost admit I lacked in a great degree before I came to God those five some years ago.  Not that I was some kind of Friday the 13th maniac or anything like that!  But people can see that I am far different from who I was and who I am now.  I am at peace, both intellectually and emotionally and spiritually, but then again, that doesn’t mean I have doubts.  Doesn’t mean that I wonder, or I feel anguish, or I feel hurt, or distress.  It just means, instead, that I will accept that God through Jesus is by my side even when…like Elijah, who is a prophet I am very fond of by the by…I can’t see Him before me. 

Same goes to the question “Prove Genesis is real.”  Well.  I could point to you toward several books that I studied along side books on evolution.  I could show you charts, diagrams, statistics, et cetera.  I could probably even create a five-point essay that Genesis is real in terms of concise evidence in and outside the Bible.  But would that really change your mind?  Don’t know.  Like the request to prove you are wrong, it is not in my job description.  We could talk about it.  I could probably explain points out of books that I’ve read through that have shown me, both mentally and spiritually, that I can trust Genesis; but then again, I am not you.  I will honestly say that it took several years worth of study, alongside other studies, to bring me to my faith in Genesis.  It isn’t something you can, like some stage magician, pull out of a hat.  The evidence is there and the evidence is intricate and you have to look for it yourself.  Or not.  It is your decision.  It is your free will.  But as for me and who I am, I will say that I have had enough to know that I can trust Genesis.  I don’t have all the answers, I mean even in the Christian communities you have such issues as theistic evolution, you have Old Earth theories and Young Earth theories.  This is something, like the rest of the Bible, that you have to fully sit yourself down with and explore over a long period of time filled with a lot of wrestling both mentally and spiritually.  I realize that this might seem like a cop out kind of answer, because I can’t wave a magic wand and say “here’s Adam and here’s Eve.”  Then again, as I pointed out earlier on in another posting, can you 100% prove that Shakespeare wrote every one of the plays ascribed to him?  Can you 100% show for a fact that the Illiad and Odyssey were composed by a chap by the name of Homer?  There are many uncertainties that you just have to look at what is there presented before you and you have to make up your mind…and I know this is a hard lesson…but you have to make up your mind by faith. 

Concerning my essay on Buddhism, which is several years old by the by, it is one that is a part of a greater “work” that I wrote a while back as an examination of worldviews. Smith, Huston.  The World’s Religions.  New York; HarperSanFransisco, 1991. Eerdmans, William B. Eerdmans’ Handbook to the World’s Religions.  William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.  Grand Rapids, Michigan.  1994. Ridenour, Fritz.  So What’s the Difference?  California; Regal, 2001.  Ridenour isn’t the best, as you yourself pointed out, but he is someone that (here) I have pointed toward several times because, and while yes he does come at it with a Christian point of view, he does a quick and interesting compare/contrast between worldviews.  The other two books are more in-depth.  I have read, over time between when I wrote that essay and now, other works dealing with Buddhism.  I respect Buddhism as a philosophy, and I am one who wishes for their religious freedom, but I do feel the need to respectfully agree to disagree with them on points and issues.  One of the reasons I bought a copy of Harris’ Letter (I checked out End of Faith, read it, and turned it back in at work), is because I am vastly fascinated with worldviews.  I enjoy hearing them, exploring them, examining them, agreeing with them in parts, disagreeing with them in other parts.  For me at any rate, I believe that you can’t just say “I’m Christian” and be done with it.  You have to know what others believe, what others say, what others feel, and what others decide.  You cannot live in a glass house nor can you live with visors on!  At least that’s how I go about things.

Game Set Match.  Hm…I would rather play Dungeons & Dragons myself but that’s me :-D Why indeed did God use Abraham and Abraham’s descendants from Isaac forward instead of spreading His message all across the world?  Why would God give the Law to Moses and from Moses to the Israelites?  Why would Jesus Christ come to the Jews?  Quick answers first.  Realize that the Law does not make one righteous, it instead shows the unrighteousness of humanity.  Abraham, for example, did not have the Law but he was justified by faith.  Through the Law and forward to Jesus, the Law is used to show that there needs to be something more.  For example, every year there were sacrifices but the sacrifices had to be made again and again.  Why?  Because there isn’t enough that the Jews, and any of us, can do on our own accord to make ourselves righteous.  Which brings to Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ, who is Son of God, Son of Man, is the One able to place Himself as a sacrifice for all.  So why did Jesus only come to the Israelites?  Well, if you study even Acts and Acts alone, you see that very quickly, from Palestine and in all directions, the message of the faith spread despite persecution from many groups and individuals.  Furthermore, remember as well, by the time of Ezra and a little after, the Old Testament was canonized and spread across the Mediterranean world to the different Jewish communities and also for the Gentiles.  In other words, the OT was there, it was readily available and was written in Hebrew, but also in Greek.  Thus by the time Jesus Christ came, and after His resurrection, and as the apostles and other witnesses spread across the Mediteraranean empire, people (again, both Jews and Gentiles) could easily pick up the canonized OT and say “ok here’s a question and there’s a question.” 

Now to the harder question, why not any one else?  I personally, and this is my belief and my opinion based upon what I’ve studied, believe that the answer can be found in Genesis Chapter 10 and 11.  Chapter 10 is a toldot, or generations, of Noah’s offspring.  We see a vast migration pattern outward across the face of the earth.  One of the set of sons of Japheth, for example, is that of Javan.  Javan being an archaic name for the Greek people.  Cush=Ethiopia.  Mizraim=Egypt.  And so on.  So why was there a vast migration?  I believe that the story of the Tower of Babel shows the answer.  The people, after Noah, and down through the many, many years between Noah and Abraham, started coming together and worshiping themselves through the creation of the Tower of Babel.  God placed judgment upon them, and thus scattered them.  This might seem like a “myth” but I think that, while it (chapter 11 of Genesis) is a simplistic version, I believe that there is historical merit.  If you do not mind, I am going to differ to a chap by the name of Allen P. Ross who was one of the writers of the Commentary that I use in seminary.  He says: 

“The table of nations is a ‘horizontal’ genealogy rather than a ‘vertical’ one…Its purpose is not primarily to trace ancestry; instead it shows political, geographical, and ethnic affiliations among tribes for various reasons, most notably being holy war.  Tribes shown to be ‘kin’ would be in league together.  Thus this table aligns the predominant tribes in and around the land promised to Israel.  These names include founders of tribes, clans, cities, and territories.  The table shows which people in the ancient world shared in the blessing and cursing motif.  The table also stresses how they spread out and replenished the earth, though not in obedience.  They all came from one, Noah, and were therefore one people; but some were closely related and others were distant.  The table also shows the plight of the human race, scattered across the face of the earth and living according to their own cultural and linguistic afflictions.  Wars and conflicts inevitably resulted from this arrangement.”

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.”  They made this clear at the Tower of Babel.  God wanted them to spread and to multiply, and so He had to push them and make them spread instead of coming together and trying to be their own deity.  And so, much like the Prodigal Son, God allows His children, humanity, to do as humanity pleases…all the while, from Abraham forward…setting up the grand witness of Himself so that, when the time came and the time was right, the people of the earth would indeed be blessed by the spreading of, first, the canonized truth found in the Torah all the way through the prophets and writings, and then, secondly, through Jesus Christ and His message of redemption within the Great Commission.  You might believe this to be truly unfair.  Sometimes, though, you have to let people find out for themselves what they need to find out.  Humans are a stubborn lot.  No matter what point in history!  For those people at the time of Babel, they had the witness of Noah up to the time of the Tower, and because they choose idolatry toward themselves (placing themselves amongst the stars and the heavens) they needed coaxing to spread and to multiply…and within time, to come back to the Father by way of the spreading of the canonized OT and then the spreading of the Great Commission.

This is probably most definitely not an answer you like, but it is my answer.  Again, I dont know everything, but I do strive to use my mind even at 2 am in the morning LOL 

Well…I’m exhausted!!  Am I’m still wondering what the heck Forbidden Zone is.  I hope all of you have a great morning, and I’m sure we’ll talk some more.  Be well everyone, until then!

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Posted: 28 September 2006 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]  
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Hey Franklin!
I actually enjoy the harsh weather. First snow fell yesterday! But it’s still too warm for it to settle. I’d say it’s still two, three weeks before the ground turns white. Last year we were pretty close to getting our first x-mas without snow. This year seems more normal, except for the extreme warmth we have had this summer.

Adam and Eve grew up. That’s what I always thought of the story. A child doesn’t understand good or evil until you show them. When they want to learn something they first look at your reaction before reacting themselves. Eve learned that all is not good in the garden and told Adam. Gaining knowledge is not bad. She should get an applaude, not a smack over the head.

Children do not care about nudity until you say it’s wrong. Adam and Eve grew until they got into puberty and realized what they could use their bodies for. They went the way we all go, when leaving our parents home, our Eden.
It’s not a story about the fall of man, it’s a story of maturity and coming of age. But that’s me talking.

As you are not going to have children, I suggest you spend some time at a daycare center with young children, 2-5. Observe them and ponder on where they get their behavior. How they learn and who their real teacher is. Kids don’t do as you say, they do as you do. I had the good fortune of being invited to listen to a speaker recently. Yesterday actually. She was a former kindergarten teacher and told the story of how she realized that she was unknowingly educating the kids to “Not think for themselves, just do as being told”, “To badmouth others that weren’t present”, “To kill any form of creativity”, not by her words only, but by the way she behaved around them.

On free will. It really doesn’t matter if you know of don’t know if an event will occur. The fact remains that it is “written in stone”. That means it can’t change no matter what. If all 6 billion of us jumped of a cliff tomorrow, no matter how high, a large number would still survive to be present at the rapture to be slaughtered. Not knowing when it will happen changes nothing. It is a predetermined event. It doesn’t appear out of our actions. In your idea of free will we are trapped in a cell. We can move around only as far as the walls. And the walls are closing in. We don’t know how fast, since it’s pitch black. At least we think they are closing, because someone told us they are.
In the world of a Christian version of free will my actions are pointless as the predetermined events will take place anyway. The walls will crush me. My actions will carry no substance into the future in a world like that.

In my version the future is open. It can go either way. It has no limits. No walls. We can go anywhere and do anything, given enough time.

Funny thing about the rapture. It takes place on earth. Sin, it seems, is constricted to the planet. If we had colonies on mars for example, they would not be affected. Or at least they are not mentioned, as far as I know. So if us sinners managed to leave the planet we would be unaffected. Funny thing that…

I do enjoy this little debate, it’s fun and civil. And I always enjoy other people’s worldviews, even if I don’t agree all the time.
cya!

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Posted: 28 September 2006 08:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]  
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[quote author=“Franklin”]
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.” They made this clear at the Tower of Babel. God wanted them to spread and to multiply, and so He had to push them and make them spread instead of coming together and trying to be their own deity. And so, much like the Prodigal Son, God allows His children, humanity, to do as humanity pleases…all the while, from Abraham forward…setting up the grand witness of Himself so that, when the time came and the time was right, the people of the earth would indeed be blessed by the spreading of, first, the canonized truth found in the Torah all the way through the prophets and writings, and then, secondly, through Jesus Christ and His message of redemption within the Great Commission. You might believe this to be truly unfair. Sometimes, though, you have to let people find out for themselves what they need to find out. Humans are a stubborn lot. No matter what point in history! For those people at the time of Babel, they had the witness of Noah up to the time of the Tower, and because they choose idolatry toward themselves (placing themselves amongst the stars and the heavens) they needed coaxing to spread and to multiply…and within time, to come back to the Father by way of the spreading of the canonized OT and then the spreading of the Great Commission.

Hello Franklin,

I’m taking on this particular area, not because it’s the only place I find holes in your reasoning, but because it’s foundational, and I consider your position morally and ethically outrageous.

Christians portray their God as being in possession of supremely powerful attributes—all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving. And yet when confronted on why he required his Word to be spread via canoe, via rowboat, via caravan and camel, etc., instead of by some means worthy of The Master of the Universe, they quickly and reliably put the blame on humanity. “Well, those people just weren’t ready to hear the truth”. Or, as you put it, they “didn’t want to worship the One that is true”, and they were more interested in “doing it their way”.

Franklin, people cannot worship what they know not of. The Native Americans were not invaded by The Word for more than a millennia after the dawn of Christianity, so they were not defying anyone or avoiding God. You may think the Word was not given to people any sooner than they were ready to accept it, or sooner than God intended, but the Bible tells us that those who die without knowledge of Jesus and/or surrender to him. . . are hellbound. I assume you are kindhearted enough not to see that as a literal fact, but more as a mere possibility, but the Bible states these things quite emphatically, and it would be cherrypicking to deny that Jesus’ involvement in one’s life is considered an absolute requirement.

If we are a stubborn lot, Franklin, guess who (supposedly) made us that way? Guess who, according to all you’ve been taught, made doubt and reason and logic not only possible, but necessary to our very survival on a hostile planet? Without those abilities, we would all be extinct. Please do not make the mistake of blaming the creation for what the Creator apparently intended. Like an abused child, you are too quick to make excuses for the parent, who not only knows better, but had the power to do everything better, if he really existed. For you to write off billions of unsaved souls as being “stubborn” is just incredibly chilling. Are 1.2 billion Muslims being stubborn right now, or are they merely faithful followers of the religion their parents taught them was the truth? How can you even dare to suggest a child is being stubborn in following his parents’ teachings? You would align that somehow with idolatry? They believe as surely as you do that they have chosen the very most sacred and absolute path to Heaven.

Your numbness on the subject does not shock me, sadly, since anyone who can accept that a parent-inflicted worldwide flood was morally correct . . . can accept literally anything.

.

[ Edited: 28 September 2006 10:03 PM by ]
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Posted: 28 September 2006 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]  
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Well put, Mia.

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Posted: 29 September 2006 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]  
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[quote author=“Mia”][quote author=“Franklin”]
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.” They made this clear at the Tower of Babel. God wanted them to spread and to multiply, and so He had to push them and make them spread instead of coming together and trying to be their own deity. And so, much like the Prodigal Son, God allows His children, humanity, to do as humanity pleases…all the while, from Abraham forward…setting up the grand witness of Himself so that, when the time came and the time was right, the people of the earth would indeed be blessed by the spreading of, first, the canonized truth found in the Torah all the way through the prophets and writings, and then, secondly, through Jesus Christ and His message of redemption within the Great Commission. You might believe this to be truly unfair. Sometimes, though, you have to let people find out for themselves what they need to find out. Humans are a stubborn lot. No matter what point in history! For those people at the time of Babel, they had the witness of Noah up to the time of the Tower, and because they choose idolatry toward themselves (placing themselves amongst the stars and the heavens) they needed coaxing to spread and to multiply…and within time, to come back to the Father by way of the spreading of the canonized OT and then the spreading of the Great Commission.

Hello Franklin,

I’m taking on this particular area, not because it’s the only place I find holes in your reasoning, but because it’s foundational, and I consider your position morally and ethically outrageous.

I agree 100% Mia.  And, though I really do hate to bring this up; FranklinBR’s “explanation” smacks of racism.  Now I am not calling Franklin a racist; I am certain that he is not.  Rather I am saying if this is the correct explanation, then God is a racist.  This explanation lumps people of a certain geographic region and declares that they are unteachable because, in essence, they are too stuborn.  But this is nonsense.

Franklin, are you really sure that every Native America wanted to “do it on their own”?  Do you think that none of them, if confronted with the power, mystery and majesty that you insist emmanates from the person of Jesus Christ, that none of them would have chosen to follow Him?  THe point is that God did not even try.

But wait, when Asians and Native Americans finally did hear the message of the Gospels, many did indeed convert to Christianity.  Somehow they were able to overcome the stubborness of their ancestors.  (And they did so, by the way, without ever having the privlege, afforded to Israelites, of meeting Jesus in person).

Again, I don’t want to be rude, but this “explanation” is a cop-out.

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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 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]  
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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.” They made this clear at the Tower of Babel. God wanted them to spread and to multiply, and so He had to push them and make them spread instead of coming together and trying to be their own deity.

I still have a real hard time believing that anyone alive in the 21st century could possibly believe that any of this rot is true.  Children of Noah?  Why do you encourage him by responding to this worthless garbage?

I just don’t get it.

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Posted: 29 September 2006 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]  
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[quote author=“FranklinBR”]Then again, as I pointed out earlier on in another posting, can you 100% prove that Shakespeare wrote every one of the plays ascribed to him? Can you 100% show for a fact that the Illiad and Odyssey were composed by a chap by the name of Homer? There are many uncertainties that you just have to look at what is there presented before you and you have to make up your mind…and I know this is a hard lesson…but you have to make up your mind by faith.

You are quite correct, FranklinBR, that I cannot prove that Shakespeare wrote everything that is attributed to him.  But I do not direct my life around a belief that a particular interpretation of Hamlet is truly inspired, from on high, by Shakespeare.

This kind of argument, which you hea often (and in different forms) from Christian apologists, has to be nipped in the bud, exposed for the fallacy that it is.  It is true that all of us believe many things that we cannot povide 100% secure proof for.  That Shakespeare wrote all of the plays and sonnets attributed to him is just one example.  But this belief is of inconsequential importance compared to the belief that Adam and Eve stole a piece of fruit, of that Jesus is the incarnation of God. 

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).  That Shakespeare wrote Twelfth Night is really irrelevant to how you or I live our lives.  But if I am going to jump into Christianity with both feet, I need solid evidence.

Now, I’m sure you are thinking to yourself that I need the same sort of evidence to justify my very important belief that God does not exist.  Well, first, I think that the existence of Evil is precisely this kind of very solid evidence (NOT proof, but very strong evidence).  And second, I have spent most of my adult life thinking about moral issues and questions.  I have investigated different religious claims, different moral systems, and I think that I try to live my life in a way that is consistent with both the facts as we confront them, and with the value that is inherent in the world.

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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 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]  
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I do not have a lot of time, I hope all of you are doing well today?  So what I’ll do is respond to those important points that are made by individuals.

>Christians portray their God as being in possession of supremely powerful attributes—all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving.

Close.  But you are also missing one more point.  And by missing a point, you are having a distorted version of the systematic theological examination of which God is.  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. 

The Flood?  Yes, of course He gave many a chance for the society that lasted for multitudes of thousands of years between Adam and the Flood.  He had given humanity the promise of Savior.  He had sent His word into the lives of people like Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah.  Humanity could have easily said “Hey, let’s change our ways!” but humanity didn’t.  Humanity choose to fall deeper and deeper into depravity.  As a Holy God, though He loves His creation, He must bring judgment before there is too much darkness, before there is no hope whatsoever.  And so He saved Noah and his family through faith, and so He, in sadness, brought about judgment upon the world (a world who had Noah witnessing to for around one hundred years, so it wasn’t as if the flood was a shocker!). 

Thus the reason for the Law, the Law shows human depravity and the Law shows the need for something more to be done to cure the human cancer.  The sacrificial system of the OT was to show them that they needed something even more than a yearly sacrifice.  What the Israelites needed was a final and all fulfilling sacrifice.  That sacrifice is Jesus Christ.  What the sacrificial system did was to point toward the final sacrifice needed for those whom, in their free will, will choose Christ over going before a Holy God under their own merits (which sadly falls short, way short).  Because Jesus Christ was God as Man while also being fully a Man, the Second Adam as Paul I believe spoke of, Jesus is able to place upon Himself the sins of the world so that whomever believe in Him will have eternal freedom and eternal righteous.  Doesn’t mean that, on this side of eternity, we Christians are perfect.  Just means that we are justified through the sacrifice and the resurrection of Christ. Our judgment has been placed upon Him, we recognize that, and so we are cleansed.

>
Your numbness on the subject does not shock me, sadly, since anyone who can accept that a parent-inflicted worldwide flood was morally correct . . . can accept literally anything.

I disagree.  First off, I am not God.  I am not the one that makes the decisions for God.  Instead I trust in Him, walk with Him.  Does the worldwide flood shock me?  Yes.  Do I understand why He did this.  Somewhat.  Then again, I was not there so I could not see the total evil that had flourished throughout this world before the Flood.  And no that doesn’t mean I can accept everything and anything.  For example, I would be mindful in saying that I would, for example, stand with such people as Ten Boom who stood up against the Nazis so that she could save as many Jewish people as she could.  Here was a human being, a simple woman, standing up against a force of full evil for the sake of God’s chosen people.  I hate racism.  I hate bigotry no matter what, whether it is to Christians to homosexuals to Wiccans or even to Atheists.  I hate sexism.  I dislike violence, in the sense that while I am all for supporting the troops, I am against the very idea of humans waging war against humans.  The Flood?  Yes but this was a last resort.  Not something that “Hey it’s a Tuesday, I think I’ll flood today” kind of decision made by God.  Society’s very heart and soul, at that time, were blackened by the very darkness of their choices.  I think that He had no other recourse because there would be total worldwide chaos and wickedness that would only fall southward as time went on, this saddened Him, but humans brought it upon themselves and despite the witness of Seth’s generations, humans would not listen to reason.  Sometimes you have to cut the cancer out in order to heal the wounds.  This might seem cold. But medically speaking, sometimes something drastic has to be done.

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Posted: 29 September 2006 04:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]  
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>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.  That’s just me.  I impose my beliefs on no one, I force my beliefs on no one, and yes I do not that there are a good number of my fellow Christians who do try to do this.  I only ask, humbly, that you allow me to have my say, in a non-confrontational setting like this, and you can agree, disagree, laugh, or make remarks.  I’m fairly easy going, so, my feelings wont get hurt one way or another. 

>I agree 100% Mia. And, though I really do hate to bring this up; FranklinBR’s “explanation” smacks of racism. Now I am not calling Franklin a racist; I am certain that he is not. Rather I am saying if this is the correct explanation, then God is a racist. This explanation lumps people of a certain geographic region and declares that they are unteachable because, in essence, they are too stubborn. But this is nonsense.

And you can just call me Franklin, that’s what everyone else calls me.  And yes I am not a racist.  And do I believe that God is a racist?  No.  Why?  Because time and time again He gave His message, from the Seth line up to the Flood, and the Flood itself, and after the Flood and the blessings upon Noah.  And did the people still respond and become a holy nation through the children of Noah?  Nope.  I can say that the small time that I was in the Educational system where I am at that if you are stubborn enough you are certainly not teachable.  Again, it is like the Prodigal Son, sometimes you have to let humans let their human nature stretch to a point until, hopefully, they wise up and come back.  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.  And that is what the Prodigal Son’s father did, until the son came back and sought forgiveness, and that is what God does through setting up the nation of priests (which is what the Israelites were for through the good times and bad, as they aimed toward the coming of Jesus Christ, whether they recognized this or not).  I think that God did not fully give up on the other human races during this time.  I believe that through His majesty, that there were, underlying as they were, truths that there is indeed God.  I believe that despite the fraction, that He did speak to the hearts and souls of everyone from European barbarians to those who would be later known in history as the Native Americans.  That is why when Jesus came He was not just telling the disciples to go to just the Jews, but to go across the ends of the earth and spread the Gospel.  And with the coming of the Gospel there comes the “Aha, so that’s why we believed this or that all through this time.”

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