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  1. #41
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Try not to take what follows personally. It isn't meant to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    The New Testament gets a lot of good press because more emphasis is placed on verses and chapters that emphasize God's redemptive work through Jesus, and how amazing and awesome God's grace is.
    It gets good press because for the most part Jesus taught that man should be forgiving, gentle, and kind. He never kills anyone, threatens anyone with death, or calls for anyone to be murdered. He's a nice guy who taught other people to be nice. Instead of glorifying wealth and power, he glorified humility and grace. He has a few moments of being harsh and sometimes takes the acts of contrition too far, but for the most part he's a good guy with a good message.

    What you might miss is Jesus' teaching on Hell
    True, hell is more an invention of the new testament by and large and despite what some would claim, Jesus seems to use it as a threat plenty of times. But, while that has some of the old wrath in it, Jesus mostly just uses it as a teaching tool to get folks to come around and it is in itself a strong theological difference from the old testament where they use a different word entirely with an entirely different meaning. Jews don't believe in hell because the Torah does not teach it. Nor does the OT.

    Jesus clearing out the temple
    Nothing too exciting there, he chased some folks and knocked over their concessions. Not exactly wrathful.

    Jesus saying that no one can be saved unless they believe in Him, and the cost of following Jesus in a world that was so repulsed by His teaching that they murdered Him in a fashion that rivals the most gruesome of torture methods.
    A mis-characterization. The Romans were not repulsed by his teaching, they killed him because he was branded a criminal by rival religious groups, namely the priests of the Jewish temple. I suppose they may have been repulsed but they were mostly irritated at his heresy and his direct challenge to their authority. Most people who met Jesus seemed to like the fellow fairly well. And he was not technically murdered but executed under roman law, but since I don't agree with their justification, I'll go with murder anyhow.

    As to calcification being the most gruesome torture method. Sorry but its not that bad compared to a lot of old time tortures and deaths. The bronze bull was one of the worst of all time, slowly roasting you to death without suffocation such that your screams make it sound like the bull is bellowing. And there is being drawn and quartered and burned alive at the stake, being sawed in half from the ass to the neck, being flayed alive, and many more. Crusifiction is no picnic but it doesn't even rate in the top 10.
    http://listverse.com/2007/09/12/top-...-of-execution/

    It is also important not to categorize the Old and New Testaments as two different texts. They are not two texts, but rather are a collection of writings sourced over thousands of years of Jewish history.
    A: They are two different texts, originally written in different languages, at different times, by different people. Its hard to get more different. They are themselves collections of different texts as well, but the NT was compiled in a more narrow time frame and the old testament we don't really know much about how it came together.
    B: The new testament is not Jewish, it was created by people who split off from Judaism and called themselves Christian.

    Throughout this history we are exposed to people that lived in near-constant rebellion against God. Yet even in those stories we find God's immense grace at work.
    Not much grace there, mostly hurting various people at various times. Generally when God helps someone its at the expense of someone else. There are exceptions but they are less common than they killing and what not.

    At the very beginning after being banished from Eden, God covered Adam and Eve with the skins of animals to keep them warm.
    So god's consolation prize for an eternal multi generational curse and expulsion from paradise for the crime of eating a piece of fruit at the urging of a talking stake are some pelts. Fantastic! Talk about your crappy consolation prizes. I'd wager Adam and Eve could have managed that for themselves as humans have clothed themselves for quite some time without divine aid.

    Abraham pleaded with God not to destroy Sodom, and God promised Abraham that if He found but one righteous person (that is a person that wasn't totally evil), He would spare the entire city for the sake of the one.
    That is the city God razed to the ground killing all but a select few and turning lot's wife to salt for the great moral crime of having a look. God didn't spare the city children and all. Not much grace there.

    Moses killed a man, ran away from Egypt to avoid persecution, and had to be confronted by God via a burning bush for him to realize his calling.
    Moses killed one man who pretty much had it coming. God on the other hand killed every first born child, kids who did not have it coming to them, not to mention all the other horrors God visited upon the egyptian people all in an effort to spite their monarch who he specifically hardened so he wouldn't relent until all the killing was done while doing nothing to the actual ruler himself but embarrass him. That's some awesome justice right there there!

    Even after following God and leading the Israelites to freedom, he still failed to follow God's commands--yet Moses is considered one of the most revered men in Judaism.
    Curious: Which commandments did Mosses break?

    Within all the stories of rebellion--God's immense grace for a people that don't deserve it is present.
    So Grace is when you make grand demands of people, command them to destroy their enemies, then they they get kind of corrupt, then you allow them to be nearly destroyed. Ya... not my definition of grace. Grace is when you remain calm, poised, and grant favor mercy and charity. Didn't see much of that on God's part, mostly he ravaged the world he created and then picked a tribe who he favored for a time, killing all who opposed them, then abandoned them to their enemies. Not graceful.

    This leads to God's ultimate act of grace and mercy--sacrificing His Son for the sake of all mankind's sins.
    And yet the nature of the world remains largely unchanged. Sin remains much as it ever was. We are now saved from some menace the old bible never preached, created by the guy who pro-ports to be saving us from the dire fate he invented.

    Jesus bore the entirety of God's wrath on the Cross--the punishment we deserved. Every story in the Old Testament points to the Cross and for that reason the proper way to view the Bible is in light of the redemption narrative of Christ.
    Lots of people died on crosses who didn't have the benefit of being gods who could just get back up when it was over and go live in heaven after a life where they have magical powers to help people. All in all Jesus didn't really suffer nearly as much as many mortal humans did and there is little practical sacrifice when you can't actually loose anything from it. It's about like sacrificing breakfast and then going to the all you can eat brunch buffet of eternity. Many humans live lives of suffering without any magic powers or protection from god and then die horrible lingering deaths and are rewarded with Jack and Squat. Jesus led a charmed life with a single moment of suffering followed by eternal lordship over the universe. I'm not too impressed by this so called "sacrifice."
    Last edited by Sigfried; January 27th, 2012 at 04:10 PM.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  2. #42
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    Reasonable, but it makes the use of analogies kind of pointless if the subject matter is simply beyond comprehension.
    Are you implying that you think Christ is beyond comprehension? Just because language has certain limitations, doesn't mean man can't come to understand the meaning of the space between the letters.
    L O V E is also an example of such a word.

    Yet man's mind and behaviors are quite different in this day and age as well, why don't we have a new religious teaching that is relevant to the times we live in?
    We do. It's the religion of the heart -- which, btw, works really well with the guidelines that are offered in the NT, many of them referenced in the Beatitudes. So you think those do's and don'ts shounldn't apply today?

    I agree the times explain many of the philosophical advancements in the new testament, but for me that does not create a bridge between the two texts.
    Why not?

    Its good stuff, no doubt. I find apologetics to be quite impressive and sophisticated, even if I rarely find them very convincing.
    What do you need to be convinced about?

    Great add copy by the way!
    I seriously think you have a marketable product.
    "The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” --"The Mental Universe” | Nature
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  3. #43
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Ref. the thread title:

    Well here we go again, fallible critters of limited knowledge and capacity of reasoning, trying to know and understand That which cooked up everything [directly or indirectly] except 'Himself'. The best humanity can ever hope to do, this side of the grave anyways, is skirt around and nibble a bit at such a topic.

    I find it interesting and indeed very hopeful for the future, that Jesus is reported as saying if you want to know the qualities of 'The Father' that all you have to do is study the life and teachings of Himself {Jesus].

    The following article, Why did God Create Us? by John D. Morris, Ph.D. appears to nicely encapsulate that which we may be able to know/believe and understand about God, Humanity and the relationship between them.

    Why did God Create Us?
    by John D. Morris, Ph.D.

    Some things cannot be fully comprehended. Infinite things, eternal things, matters of God's sovereignty—these transcend our finite and temporal minds. For example, why did He create us? Certainly He doesn't need us, for He existed in perfect love and unity before He even created time. Furthermore, He even knew beforehand that His image, recreated in man, would reject Him and His Kingship over their lives, resulting in unthinkable pain and suffering and death of all things placed in man's dominion. He foresaw ruinous mutations, debilitating injuries, devastating cancer, etc., as consequences. We can only approach an answer to this unanswerable question by following the hints given in Scripture.

    In a more ultimate sense, God knew that man's sin would force His only begotten Son to die an unthinkably horrid death in sacrificial payment for man's sin, and that ungrateful man would even carry out the execution, for Scripture identifies His Son as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). In order to accomplish this fully sufficient sacrifice, the Son willingly set aside aspects of His deity, and "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7), forever limiting Himself to bodily form. Why would He do this? If we had not been created, it would not have been necessary. Why did He create us?

    While we can never fully answer the question, it helps to recognize that the answer will come only as we recognize the character and attributes of God. First and foremost, God is a God of love, and love must be demonstrated by showering it upon the object of that love. His grace comes only to those who deserve punishment, and the demonstration of His love and grace and mercy stands without parallel among humans.

    The rest of the article is on the following link:
    www.icr.org/article/why-did-god-create-us/Cached - Similar

    Here is another useful and pretty fulsome Christian based explanation:

    http://www.carm.org/christianity/......make-youCached - Similar
    Last edited by FruitandNut; January 28th, 2012 at 01:49 AM. Reason: Addendum
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  4. #44
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    I most certainly do not agree. The theory of evolution has never been used to manipulate people into enslaving people, committing murder or torturing men, women, and children. Also "On the Origin of Species" was not written with the intent of controlling people. It was written with the intent of providing a point of view which may or may not be correct. There is also strong evidence backing Darwin's opinion which he provides in his book.
    I assumed you wouldn't agree, which is why I continued:

    If you do not, then your viewpoint is inconsistent. People can and have used the Bible to manipulate others. People can and have used Darwin's On the Origin of Species to manipulate others. The common thread is that humans manipulate other humans. What does the Bible actually say, though? Does it advocate such a position? Most of the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity have been directly counter to its teachings. The Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery (in the Slave Trade era)--all of these are in direct contrast with Biblical teaching yet they are used by non-believers as a means by which to justify their disbelief in Christianity. It isn't a very good argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    Experiments in psychology have proven that eyewitness testimony is the worst kind of evidence there is.
    Could you support this assertion, please?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide
    There is extraordinary evidence that evolution is true.
    What you mean to say (and correct me if I'm wrong) is that there is compelling evidence that evolution is true. The evidence presented for the theory of evolution is no more extraordinary than you presenting me with a turtle to show me that turtles exist.

    The position you seem to be espousing is that when presented with evidence for the existence of a turtle (say a turtle shell)--because you so staunchly disbelieve turtles exist--believe the turtle shell to be a fake, a fabrication, or that it simply isn't "enough" evidence to prove the existence of turtles. It's hyper-skepticism that flows from a belief in scientism--something that is incredibly anti-intellectual and ironically in direct contrast with the scientific method itself.

    There are numerous arguments for the existence of God that even most reasonable atheist philosophers agree are at least logically sound. The cosmological argument, teleological argument, transcendental argument among others are examples of evidences for a supernatural (beyond nature and the directly observable) creator. Whether you accept these arguments as compelling is your decision. They are, however, no more extraordinary than the turtle shell.

  5. #45
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    There are numerous arguments for the existence of God that even most reasonable atheist philosophers agree are at least logically sound. The cosmological argument, teleological argument, transcendental argument among others are examples of evidences for a supernatural (beyond nature and the directly observable) creator.
    No philosopher holds such a position. They may agree that the arguments are valid but they sure as hell do not agree that the arguments are sound. If they were sound, that would mean that empirical evidence has been produced that proves the premises of the argument to be true, making it a sound argument.

    Challenge to support a claim.Prove that the cosmological argument, the teleological argument and the transcendental argument are sound and not just valid.
    abc

  6. #46
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Try not to take what follows personally. It isn't meant to be.
    This is why I get the feeling (and I may be wrong) that a portion of your disbelief in Christianity stems from the actions of its adherents. When confronted with a Christian that isn't forgiving, gentle or kind, you naturally assume that this is what flows from the Christian belief system. It's somewhat embarrassing to know that there are non-believers out there that know more about Christianity than some Christians, and that the reason they don't convert is because the non-believer voices a very legitimate concern: Why would I want to follow a God that has such hypocritical followers doing all kinds of things He disapproves of and putting His name on it?

    That said, it is important to understand that while Christians do make mistakes (and some of them downright tragic), the patient observer must be able to differentiate behavior from actual Christian doctrine (denominationalism being another issue within the Christian church that Paul warns us of in 1 Corinthians) when discussing the Christian worldview.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    It gets good press because for the most part Jesus taught that man should be forgiving, gentle, and kind. He never kills anyone, threatens anyone with death, or calls for anyone to be murdered. He's a nice guy who taught other people to be nice. Instead of glorifying wealth and power, he glorified humility and grace. He has a few moments of being harsh and sometimes takes the acts of contrition too far, but for the most part he's a good guy with a good message.
    A "nice" guy that commands his followers to drink his blood and eat his flesh...

    You see, you can't really pick and choose what you like about Jesus and leave out the parts you don't like. Either Jesus really was the Messiah, Son of God, Savior of all mankind--or a very dangerous psychopath with a god-complex or worse. He told people that their sins were forgiven--and for this reason He was executed. Think about it: that Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins means either He truly is God and that all of the sins of mankind were against Him, or that He was the most deluded, self-righteous, prideful individual of all time. There doesn't seem to be much leeway here. If Jesus wasn't God, his teachings were no more worthy of being followed than Hitler's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    A mis-characterization. The Romans were not repulsed by his teaching, they killed him because he was branded a criminal by rival religious groups, namely the priests of the Jewish temple.
    I specifically said "world", not "Roman". The primary people-groups Christ dealt with were Jews because He lived in an area primarily occupied by Jews.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Most people who met Jesus seemed to like the fellow fairly well.
    Did they? We certainly have many people that were healed, cleansed, and even brought back to life by Jesus--but to say that all these people "liked" him is a bit of a stretch. Even Jesus' closest followers deserted Him when He was arrested and the movement was pretty much dead until Jesus was resurrected.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    As to calcification being the most gruesome torture method. Sorry but its not that bad compared to a lot of old time tortures and deaths. The bronze bull was one of the worst of all time, slowly roasting you to death without suffocation such that your screams make it sound like the bull is bellowing. And there is being drawn and quartered and burned alive at the stake, being sawed in half from the ass to the neck, being flayed alive, and many more. Crusifiction is no picnic but it doesn't even rate in the top 10.
    I'm fairly certain it was pretty painful. Consider also that Jesus was beaten and flogged prior to being nailed to a cross. This is irrelevant to my point however, which was that crucifixion rivals the most gruesome of torture methods. I didn't claim it was the most gruesome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    They are two different texts, originally written in different languages, at different times, by different people. Its hard to get more different. They are themselves collections of different texts as well, but the NT was compiled in a more narrow time frame and the old testament we don't really know much about how it came together.
    So are they two different collections of texts or two different texts? Make up your mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    The new testament is not Jewish, it was created by people who split off from Judaism and called themselves Christian.
    Most of the New Testament writers were originally Jewish. Christianity is essentially the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, therefore it is incorrect to say that the New Testament (literally "New Covenant") is not Jewish. The NT is of course a Covenant for all of mankind, not just the Jews, but it's primary protagonist was a Jew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Not much grace there, mostly hurting various people at various times. Generally when God helps someone its at the expense of someone else. There are exceptions but they are less common than they killing and what not.
    The important thing we have to ask is: what reason does God have for killing these people? Is it possible that there is a scenario in which the most gracious thing a God can do is destroy a city?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    So god's consolation prize for an eternal multi generational curse and expulsion from paradise for the crime of eating a piece of fruit at the urging of a talking stake are some pelts. Fantastic! Talk about your crappy consolation prizes. I'd wager Adam and Eve could have managed that for themselves as humans have clothed themselves for quite some time without divine aid.
    The crime was not "eating a piece of fruit". It was exchanging the focus of our worship from God to ourselves. God created us to have Him as the center of our lives, and when we decide to make ourselves the center, it's akin to putting diesel in a gasoline engine--it just doesn't work properly.

    Think about this also--if as a parent your child does something wrong and you catch them in the act, do you approve of them and hug them and tell them they did nothing wrong? Of course not--you've seen the results of parents who do this. They produce the most intolerable children imaginable. The most gracious thing a parent can do is discipline their children so that they learn from their mistake. This is exactly what God did by banishing them from Eden--this was the punishment for putting themselves first instead of God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    That is the city God razed to the ground killing all but a select few and turning lot's wife to salt for the great moral crime of having a look. God didn't spare the city children and all. Not much grace there.
    Again, is it possible that a scenario exists in which it would be the most gracious act for God to raze these cities to ground?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Curious: Which commandments did Mosses break?
    In one instance, Moses did not trust the Lord and disobeyed His command: read Numbers 20:1-12. For this reason God forbade Moses from being able to enter the Promised Land.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Lots of people died on crosses who didn't have the benefit of being gods who could just get back up when it was over and go live in heaven after a life where they have magical powers to help people. All in all Jesus didn't really suffer nearly as much as many mortal humans did and there is little practical sacrifice when you can't actually loose anything from it. It's about like sacrificing breakfast and then going to the all you can eat brunch buffet of eternity. Many humans live lives of suffering without any magic powers or protection from god and then die horrible lingering deaths and are rewarded with Jack and Squat. Jesus led a charmed life with a single moment of suffering followed by eternal lordship over the universe. I'm not too impressed by this so called "sacrifice."
    Most of us "normal folk" can understand what it is like to have one's heart broken. If our best friend in our entire life cheated on us and left us for dead we would be devastated. If we lose a dear family member, we grieve for them and it is painful. It is because we loved them that their loss hurts us so much and the separation is what causes that grief.

    Now picture for a moment the triune God. For all of eternity God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were one in the same. You hear all the time how God is love. When you truly love someone, you would do anything for them to make them happy. Imagine God the Father loving the Son, God the Son loving the Holy Spirit, and God the Holy Spirit loving the Father--all at once and each part of the trinity sacrificing themselves to make the other happy. This is what perfect love is, and why God is fully self-sufficient.

    Picture now God wanting to share this love. He creates us as an expression of that love, so that we would share in this relationship. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and Man. We failed though--we put ourselves at the center.

    So our loving Heavenly Father did what any loving parent does--He disciplined us. He knew though that we would never be able to bear the weight of what we truly deserved for our sin, so God the Father sent His Son to take on human form so that He could bear the punishment we deserved. This punishment was complete separation from God the Father. Since Jesus was with God for all eternity--it was like losing your best friend that you had known forever, that you had never been apart from--an eternal separation. That is what I imagine happened on the Cross when Jesus bore the weight of God's wrath.

    Jesus was sweating blood because He knew what was coming, asked that there would be another way--but ultimately knew there was no other way.

    So imagine how you felt or would feel if you lost someone you loved dearly, but magnify that on an infinite scale. This is exactly why we owe Him our eternal gratitude, why He is worthy to be praised, and why He is my Lord and Savior. He did this for YOU and ME!

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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by FruitandNut View Post

    Why did God Create Us?
    by John D. Morris, Ph.D.

    Some things cannot be fully comprehended. Infinite things, eternal things, matters of God's sovereignty—these transcend our finite and temporal minds.
    Not to quibble too much but:

    Isn't the entire branch of mathematics concerned with infinity in all its myriad forms? And are numbers, formulas, and algorithms not eternal? Doesn't writing and other forms of knowledge preservation as well as teaching of such knowledge allow humanity to transcend our finite and temporal minds?

  8. #48
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    This is why I get the feeling (and I may be wrong) that a portion of your disbelief in Christianity stems from the actions of its adherents. When confronted with a Christian that isn't forgiving, gentle or kind, you naturally assume that this is what flows from the Christian belief system. It's somewhat embarrassing to know that there are non-believers out there that know more about Christianity than some Christians, and that the reason they don't convert is because the non-believer voices a very legitimate concern: Why would I want to follow a God that has such hypocritical followers doing all kinds of things He disapproves of and putting His name on it?
    Only indirectly. I would think that if the bible were truth and if that truth were in some way valuable, that it would lead to appreciably better results than other world view that were essentially a bunch of make believe. But when I look at peoples lives and characters in various faiths and in no faith at all I see little appreciable qualitative difference. People are basically about the same no matter what religion they follow. Therefore I conclude that none of them are uniquely valuable or uniquely good. Each has interesting ideas that when applied to life offer advantages, but I'm not seeing any of the overall systems displaying what I would expect of something inspired by divine absolute truth.

    I'd never say that disproves them, but it is a piece of evidence that suggests they are not of divine origin.

    That said, it is important to understand that while Christians do make mistakes (and some of them downright tragic), the patient observer must be able to differentiate behavior from actual Christian doctrine (denominationalism being another issue within the Christian church that Paul warns us of in 1 Corinthians) when discussing the Christian worldview.
    I find as much fault with the doctrine as the practice. In fact in many cases I think that people rightly skip over the more problematic teachings and justify their omission with apologetics or heuristics. Ultimately it is the people that are good or bad, not the doctrine.

    A "nice" guy that commands his followers to drink his blood and eat his flesh...
    A purely ritualistic and symbolic gesture for dramatic effect. I see nothing nice or mean about it.

    You see, you can't really pick and choose what you like about Jesus and leave out the parts you don't like.
    I can and I do. So do most people who worship him and many who admire some of his message. Like any person or character or message I can make of it what I will and try to separate the good from the bad just like we would with anything else. Only a mind numbing adherence to dogma would prevent such a rational approach.

    Either Jesus really was the Messiah, Son of God, Savior of all mankind--or a very dangerous psychopath with a god-complex or worse.
    He may have been a person with a good message for others but was dealing with people who would only listen if the words were supposedly backed by divine mandate. Some people are just kind of foolish that way and would rather be told the truth from on high than think for themselves. Some need the fear of hell to do good for themselves and others instead of simply wanting to be kind of their own accord. There are a great many possibilities. Jesus was no psychopath. He never seriously hurt anyone or called on anyone to commit acts of violence. Through history many genius level people have been a bit crazy. It often takes a fairly radical thinker to come up with new ideas, but not all of their ideas will be winners. If Jesus was a charlatan, he was a good one.

    He told people that their sins were forgiven--and for this reason He was executed.
    No. He was executed for being a heretic who opposed the established religious order. A far more political crime than philosophical one. The message they more greatly opposed was his teaching on holyness, that it was not reserved for priesthoods or hereditary dynasties. It was a more religiously democratic message that challenged the system of authority held by the elites of his day. Something the Christian church eventually lost sight of until the reformation.

    Think about it: that Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins means either He truly is God and that all of the sins of mankind were against Him, or that He was the most deluded, self-righteous, prideful individual of all time. There doesn't seem to be much leeway here. If Jesus wasn't God, his teachings were no more worthy of being followed than Hitler's.
    Again, he could have knowingly crafted such a message to make people feel better about themselves and believed in that enough to allow his life to be taken. Also it may just well be that most of the story is legendary and the real figure is remarkably different than the one the story speaks of. We can't really know, we can only draw meaning for ourselves from the story as we see fit. For you, a literal truth, for me, an examination of human nature.

    I specifically said "world", not "Roman". The primary people-groups Christ dealt with were Jews because He lived in an area primarily occupied by Jews.
    And not all Jews found it all that horrible. And the world is significantly larger than just Jews. Jesus's message is one that appeals to pretty much anyone who has been told they are dirty and nonredeemable by those who hold power and wealth. It appeals to those who are looking for some outside force to help them in their personal struggles. It has a lot of appeal compared to the Jewish faith which is much more bleak and exclusive in its core philosophy. (though that doesn't mean Jews are bleak, again each person or group makes their own meaning from it)

    Did they? We certainly have many people that were healed, cleansed, and even brought back to life by Jesus--but to say that all these people "liked" him is a bit of a stretch. Even Jesus' closest followers deserted Him when He was arrested and the movement was pretty much dead until Jesus was resurrected.
    They gave up their possessions and followed him. And ya, generally when your leader dies, some of the wind goes out of the sails, though not always. I really cant say with certainty but it seemed to me his followers were quite fond of him and very devoted. I've even seen decent arguments that Judas's betrayal was arranged with Jesus to fulfill his destiny. Bottom line is that if Jesus were so hated and vilified, we wouldn't be talking about him today. He has a pretty sizable fan club.

    I'm fairly certain it was pretty painful. Consider also that Jesus was beaten and flogged prior to being nailed to a cross. This is irrelevant to my point however, which was that crucifixion rivals the most gruesome of torture methods. I didn't claim it was the most gruesome.
    I'm sure it was painful. Crusifiction is pretty nasty, but its not nearly as horrible as the deaths suffered by many others before and since Jesus went up on the cross. It's not very special or unique. Christians tend to make it out as the most horrible thing that could ever happen to anyone. It's not.

    So are they two different collections of texts or two different texts? Make up your mind.
    Just depends on the level of detail you want to go into. The two books are mire dis-allike that their respective parts are. The old testament largely agrees wtih itself and the new testament largely agrees with itself, but the new and old hold a great many essential differences in my opinion.

    Most of the New Testament writers were originally Jewish. Christianity is essentially the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy, therefore it is incorrect to say that the New Testament (literally "New Covenant") is not Jewish. The NT is of course a Covenant for all of mankind, not just the Jews, but it's primary protagonist was a Jew.
    The book of Mormon was written by Christians so is it a Christian document? They would tell you it is, most other Christians would tell you its not. Same gig. Jews who actually call themselves Jews to this day, do not see the new testament as part of the Jewish tradition. Its an offshoot cult grown into a major faith.

    The important thing we have to ask is: what reason does God have for killing these people? Is it possible that there is a scenario in which the most gracious thing a God can do is destroy a city?
    No, there isn't a possible scenario where the most gracious thing to do is destroy an entire city and all its people. Especially not if you are an all powerful and all loving God. No matter how you slice it, there are more gracious and more merciful ways to handle the situation. It was a petty act of wrath and anger.

    The crime was not "eating a piece of fruit". It was exchanging the focus of our worship from God to ourselves. God created us to have Him as the center of our lives, and when we decide to make ourselves the center, it's akin to putting diesel in a gasoline engine--it just doesn't work properly.
    What hyperbol. Adam and Even never worshiped themselves. They broke a rule, that's it. They were innocent and ignorant and easily manipulated by a talking snake to question what they were told by a rather mysterious figure. For that they and all mankind are cursed by said mysterious figure for all times. They made an error in judgement and for that all mankind is cursed for all time (or at least till the mythical end times). That is not just or loving or kind. Its just the action of a petty and self obsessed jerk.

    Think about this also--if as a parent your child does something wrong and you catch them in the act, do you approve of them and hug them and tell them they did nothing wrong?
    Both actually. I make it clear I disprove, administer appropriate punsihment so they have a sense of the harm the did and I then reassure them I still love them despite the mistake. I don't curse them for all time, kick them out of my home, and punish their descendants for all time for the error of their ancestors. I'm much nicer and more thoughtful than the God of the OT. I also keep them away from talking snakes for good measure.

    Of course not--you've seen the results of parents who do this. They produce the most intolerable children imaginable.
    Darn kids have a mind of their own, how dare they! I've actually found that kids personalities tend to be not totally dependent on their parents style of parenting. Siblings can often be very different despite similar rearing. I will say that spoiled kids are kind of a pain, but I've also known kids from strict but generally loving homes that are deeply deceptive and immoral. Parenting is a very complex dynamic and its hard to make any sweeping generalizations about what is the best way to do it.

    The most gracious thing a parent can do is discipline their children so that they learn from their mistake. This is exactly what God did by banishing them from Eden--this was the punishment for putting themselves first instead of God.
    Sorry but if you kicked your kids out of the house the first time they made a mistake, none of them would survive. Its a very over simplistic analogy. God could have kicked the talking snake out of eden, and given Adam and Eve a time out and a lesson it divine wisdom. When you try to relate that story directly to modern morality it just makes no sense. It is an allegory for coming into adulthood and dealing with the moral responsibility of adulthood as well as a kind of Asops fable to explain why life is hard and dangerous. It is very illustrative when read in that light, and very irrational when read in the traditional christian way.

    Again, is it possible that a scenario exists in which it would be the most gracious act for God to raze these cities to ground?
    No it's not. If you have some evidence for a good justification for such a heavy handed approach, be sure and let me know. Till then I will consider blanket destruction of men women and children to be an abhorrent act of brutality that far surpasses whatever crime they were supposedly engaged in.

    In one instance, Moses did not trust the Lord and disobeyed His command: read Numbers 20:1-12. For this reason God forbade Moses from being able to enter the Promised Land.
    Mosess did not disobey god, he simply failed to be an effective mouth piece for him. There was no commandment saying "Though shalt always tell the ungrateful bastards how awesome I am no matter how crappy the situation looks." Sorry but god's just being an ass here. It is actually a classic tactic of abusers. You constantly berate those you abuse that the abuse is always their own fault and no matter what they do, if there is any issue you find fault in their behavior. This crushes a person's sense of self and makes them utterly dependent and obedient to you. It's evil. Any reasonable person would wonder why the promised land is a barren place with no food or water. Only an asshole would berate them for merely asking the question.

    Most of us "normal folk" can understand what it is like to have one's heart broken. If our best friend in our entire life cheated on us and left us for dead we would be devastated. If we lose a dear family member, we grieve for them and it is painful. It is because we loved them that their loss hurts us so much and the separation is what causes that grief.
    Sure but that is a normal part of everyday life for nearly all of us, not something special.

    Now picture for a moment the triune God. For all of eternity God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were one in the same. You hear all the time how God is love. When you truly love someone, you would do anything for them to make them happy. Imagine God the Father loving the Son, God the Son loving the Holy Spirit, and God the Holy Spirit loving the Father--all at once and each part of the trinity sacrificing themselves to make the other happy. This is what perfect love is, and why God is fully self-sufficient.
    But it wasn't a sacrifice at all. Jesus didn't actually die, he just took a little time out before coming back a blink of an eye later as the most powerful and privileged entity in the universe. If our loved ones sprang back to life we wouldn't be all that upset when they died. Not much more than if they just took an extended nap.

    Picture now God wanting to share this love. He creates us as an expression of that love, so that we would share in this relationship. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit and Man. We failed though--we put ourselves at the center.
    We didn't fail, we fulfilled the mission. According to christian doctrine Jesus had to die, had to be sacrificed for the whole thing to work out properly. Where would Christianity be if Jesus died of old age?

    So our loving Heavenly Father did what any loving parent does--He disciplined us. He knew though that we would never be able to bear the weight of what we truly deserved for our sin, so God the Father sent His Son to take on human form so that He could bear the punishment we deserved.
    It didn't work. The same punishment God met out from day 1 is still going on. The curse was not lifted. Life is still challenging and people are still sometimes dicks. Snakes still get stepped on and bite people. Jesus suffered only a worse than usual punishment, and then lost any value form it by popping back to life a short time later. This aspect of the religion is so incredibly hollow, I just don't comprehend why folks are so impressed by it. Jesus didn't suffer any real loss, and the world has not appreciably changed in the ways in which god is said to have cursed us.

    This punishment was complete separation from God the Father. Since Jesus was with God for all eternity--it was like losing your best friend that you had known forever, that you had never been apart from--an eternal separation. That is what I imagine happened on the Cross when Jesus bore the weight of God's wrath.
    For about 1 week. The horror! Consolation prize, ruler of the universe eternally united with dear old dad.

    So imagine how you felt or would feel if you lost someone you loved dearly, but magnify that on an infinite scale. This is exactly why we owe Him our eternal gratitude, why He is worthy to be praised, and why He is my Lord and Savior. He did this for YOU and ME!
    Imagine is exactly the right word, because all this is imagination. In the story Jesus died only for a moment and is now ruler of the universe and savior of all mankind. What mortal wouldn't take that deal if offered? Sorry but even in the myth its not too impressive without a heck of a lot of spin.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  9. #49
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    I think you've established one common thread throughout your post. Whether you intended to do this or not, I'm not sure, but it stuck out to me. This thread being absolute morality. You've convincingly argued that such a thing must exist, which I find somewhat curious and at odds with your arguments against my position that the God of the OT and NT are one in the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    No, there isn't a possible scenario where the most gracious thing to do is destroy an entire city and all its people. Especially not if you are an all powerful and all loving God. No matter how you slice it, there are more gracious and more merciful ways to handle the situation. It was a petty act of wrath and anger.
    To make such a claim (There is no possible scenario in which destroying an entire city can be viewed as the most gracious action) presupposes omniscience. Since neither you or I can claim omniscience, the argument fails. As omniscience is one of God's characteristics, it remains possible that God--knowing all outcomes of a particular action--could choose to act in such a way that would be the most gracious in light of what would or would not have happened had said city not been destroyed.

    From a narrow perspective, a doctor cutting into a patient could be construed as hurtful to the patient and if we were to restrict our view only to the surgery, one could say that the gracious thing to do would be to not hurt the patient. From a wider perspective, however, that patient had a tumor that if it weren't removed, would continue to grow and ultimately cause greater pain and suffering for the patient.

    Would it not be reasonable to at least acknowledge that we don't have all the facts in this case? Claiming that "there are more gracious and more merciful ways to handle the situation" is essentially no different than claiming "there are more gracious and merciful ways to handle the situation than cutting into the patient".

    Here also arises another problem: How do we determine "good" from "bad"? If you argue that God's actions here are morally reprehensible (which you are), you claim that your moral standard is better. The problem with this is that you are measuring God's and your actions by an independent standard. You are in essence arguing that your actions adhere more closely to this independent standard than God's actions. However by arguing this you acknowledge that there is a moral system that is objectively true.

    If this is the case, you must identify the standard and be capable of proving its objectivity. For instance, the fundamental principles of logic are objectively true as they are independently valid (A = A is true on Earth, on Venus, and has always been true). We as humans can certainly come to know these fundamental principles, but they did not come from us as they are not dependent on human thought. If you can prove the objectivity of your moral system in the same way, then your argument will have merit.

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that it ultimately leads to the conclusion that there must exist an intelligent law-giver. Whether that is the Christian God is up for discussion, but this is certainly what Christians believe to be true.

    Back to the original argument. I suggested earlier that in order for someone to claim that it was impossible that there be a scenario where the most gracious thing someone could do would be to destroy an entire city, that they meet two requirements: 1) that they be omniscient and 2) that they provide an objective moral system by which actions could be judged.

    You and I naturally cannot satisfy these requirements. Therefore it must remain at leastpossible that a scenario exists in which the most gracious thing God could do would be to destroy an entire city.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    But when I look at peoples lives and characters in various faiths and in no faith at all I see little appreciable qualitative difference. People are basically about the same no matter what religion they follow. Therefore I conclude that none of them are uniquely valuable or uniquely good. Each has interesting ideas that when applied to life offer advantages, but I'm not seeing any of the overall systems displaying what I would expect of something inspired by divine absolute truth.
    What would you expect to see of something inspired by divine absolute truth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    I can and I do. So do most people who worship him and many who admire some of his message. Like any person or character or message I can make of it what I will and try to separate the good from the bad just like we would with anything else. Only a mind numbing adherence to dogma would prevent such a rational approach.
    If you pick and choose what you like from Jesus' teachings and discard the rest, then you aren't a Christian. The definition of Christian is "Christ-follower", and that implies accepting His worldview to be true, because it truly is an all-or-nothing worldview:

    "Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."" --John 14:6 (NET)

    Discarding any of Jesus' teachings and claims means you disagree with the above statement and are therefore not a Christ-follower. Discarding any of Jesus' teachings means that (according to Jesus) you are going to Hell (note: that's not to say Christians don't ignore or put off some of Jesus' commands for a while, but ultimately a Christian will admit that Jesus is right and submit--i.e. accepting Christ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    He was executed for being a heretic who opposed the established religious order.
    ...and Jesus was accused of being a heretic because...? I would expect if you are truly well-versed on Christian doctrine that you would at least know this. It says to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you have made up your mind on Christianity before making a sincere effort to understand its doctrine. It's like trying to BS an essay on a final exam that you didn't really study for. Sure, you might get some things right but flawed understanding of the material and poor reasoning will undermine the strength of your argument.

    Don't misunderstand what I am saying here--you might very well have read through the Bible and on the first read through come away with your current perspective. That's not necessarily wrong. I would argue however that it isn't complete. Studying literature--especially ancient literature--requires a more thorough analysis in order to better understand the intentions of the author(s), connect the historical background to the narratives, bridge contexts, etc.. It has taken me years of reading, years of going to church and hearing the gospel preached—and I still don’t have it all down. It’s only by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s conviction and guidance that I am where I am today.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Again, he could have knowingly crafted such a message to make people feel better about themselves and believed in that enough to allow his life to be taken. Also it may just well be that most of the story is legendary and the real figure is remarkably different than the one the story speaks of. We can't really know, we can only draw meaning for ourselves from the story as we see fit. For you, a literal truth, for me, an examination of human nature.
    I guess He could have, but there is simply no evidence to support such a theory. The problem with thinking the gospels are legend is that we have accounts being written and copied little more than 30-40 years after the death of Jesus. Paul’s earliest letter was written in 51 AD (1 Thessalonians, which along with six other Pauline epistles, is almost unanimously considered genuine by scholars).

    Legends develop over hundreds of years, not decades. The earliest NT manuscript we have is only about 50-70 years removed from the original document. The sheer number of copies available of the gospel narratives outstrips by far every other piece of literature in antiquity. The authors of the gospel accounts do not begin with “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago in a land far, far away…”. Here is how the synoptic gospels begin (John is more theologically mature, so the introduction is substantially different, however no more written as legend than the synoptics):

    “This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” –Matthew 1:1
    “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” –Mark 1:1
    “Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the words from the beginning. So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.” –Luke 1:1-4

    You might be able to make a case for Matthew and Mark--but Luke? Does Luke sound like legend? While I understand that the supernatural events surrounding Jesus might be more difficult to believe in such a hyper-skeptical society in which scientism has overshadowed science—that hyper-skepticism alone does not constitute evidence. The burden of proof is on you to show that the gospel accounts are legend.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Bottom line is that if Jesus were so hated and vilified, we wouldn't be talking about him today.
    No—we wouldn’t be talking about Jesus today if He didn’t come back to life. There is a difference. Any other explanation for the existence of thousands of manuscripts, the spread of churches across the Roman Empire within decades of Jesus death in a politically and religiously hostile environment—simply fails in explanatory power. A Jewish carpenter living in a backwater region of the Roman Empire has more written about him than most of the emperors of Rome. Think about that for a while and tell me that doesn’t strike you as odd.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    I'm sure it was painful. Crusifiction is pretty nasty, but its not nearly as horrible as the deaths suffered by many others before and since Jesus went up on the cross. It's not very special or unique. Christians tend to make it out as the most horrible thing that could ever happen to anyone. It's not.
    This sounds like you are trying to justify your disbelief instead of making an argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    The old testament largely agrees wtih itself and the new testament largely agrees with itself, but the new and old hold a great many essential differences in my opinion.
    Such as?

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    The book of Mormon was written by Christians so is it a Christian document? They would tell you it is, most other Christians would tell you its not. Same gig. Jews who actually call themselves Jews to this day, do not see the new testament as part of the Jewish tradition. Its an offshoot cult grown into a major faith.
    The Jews of today aren’t exactly the same as the Jews of the OT. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and animal sacrifice no longer occurs. This is what has always struck me as odd and this pretty much eliminates the possibility of the Messiah of OT prophecy from appearing.
    The point the NT authors make is that the Jewish Messiah has come. It’s just not what most Jews expected.
    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Adam and Even never worshiped themselves. They broke a rule, that's it.
    Just to be clear, “worship” entails giving reverence and honor to someone or something. Adam and Eve had a direct, full-blown relationship with God in which He met their every need and then some. Yet they decided to trust what a snake was saying to them instead of trusting what God had said to them—they changed their focus of reverence and honor away from God and put more trust in their own intellect and ability. There are far more implications that you seem to be ignoring here.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    They were innocent and ignorant and easily manipulated by a talking snake to question what they were told by a rather mysterious figure.
    In Eden, God wasn’t a mysterious figure. He was readily available to Adam and Eve so much that when they sinned, they tried to hide from Him. They lived in a perfect world—where God was at the center of their lives but in so doing they had no need or want.
    That aside, by what standard are you judging Adam and Eve innocent and why should that standard be upheld?
    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    That is not just or loving or kind. Its just the action of a petty and self obsessed jerk.
    Same question: By what standard are you judging God’s actions to be unjust and unloving and why should that standard be upheld?

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Both actually. I make it clear I disprove, administer appropriate punsihment so they have a sense of the harm the did and I then reassure them I still love them despite the mistake. I don't curse them for all time, kick them out of my home, and punish their descendants for all time for the error of their ancestors. I'm much nicer and more thoughtful than the God of the OT. I also keep them away from talking snakes for good measure.
    Since neither you or I have the benefit of omniscience or the ability to fully comprehend all the ramifications of sin, “appropriate” punishment is relative. It goes back again to this arbitrary standard you seem to be judging God by—why is this standard better and can you prove this objectively?

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Darn kids have a mind of their own, how dare they! I've actually found that kids personalities tend to be not totally dependent on their parents style of parenting. Siblings can often be very different despite similar rearing. I will say that spoiled kids are kind of a pain, but I've also known kids from strict but generally loving homes that are deeply deceptive and immoral. Parenting is a very complex dynamic and its hard to make any sweeping generalizations about what is the best way to do it.
    I’m glad you agree that parenting is a very complex dynamic and that it is hard to make any sweeping generalizations about the best way to go about it. Perhaps you shouldn’t make sweeping generalizations about God’s actions, either. You don’t have all the information.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Mosess did not disobey god, he simply failed to be an effective mouth piece for him.
    This is just shifting blame back to God. Moses did disobey God—God told him exactly what to do and Moses didn’t do it! How is that not “disobeying” God?

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    But it wasn't a sacrifice at all. Jesus didn't actually die, he just took a little time out before coming back a blink of an eye later as the most powerful and privileged entity in the universe. If our loved ones sprang back to life we wouldn't be all that upset when they died. Not much more than if they just took an extended nap.
    You clearly do not understand the resurrection. Jesus died a human death, was buried in a tomb, and was resurrected from the dead. Jesus still had to be separated from the Father as punishment for the sins of mankind. Even if that were but for a split-second on earth, comparatively speaking for Jesus, who had spent eternity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit and had never been apart from Him, that separation probably felt like an eternal separation.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    It didn't work. The same punishment God met out from day 1 is still going on. The curse was not lifted. Life is still challenging and people are still sometimes dicks. Snakes still get stepped on and bite people. Jesus suffered only a worse than usual punishment, and then lost any value form it by popping back to life a short time later. This aspect of the religion is so incredibly hollow, I just don't comprehend why folks are so impressed by it. Jesus didn't suffer any real loss, and the world has not appreciably changed in the ways in which god is said to have cursed us.
    Yes—people still rebel against God. You act as if God causes all the suffering in the world. The change that has come to this Earth by Jesus’ sacrifice is that we now can share the righteous relationship that Jesus has with the Father. Through Jesus, we can come to the Father where before there was a deep chasm between us and God created by our sin. God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, now sends His Holy Spirit to us to enable us to do good, to begin to remake our sinful bodies in preparation for our future, restored bodies in Heaven, and to bring glory to God.

    That doesn’t mean Jesus has crushed the Enemy yet—God is giving us time to proclaim the message of Jesus to those that do not know Him, so that many can be saved. Once Jesus comes back, and God comes down to Earth in all of His glory—the time for decision-making will be rendered moot. Once God comes down—there won’t be any meaningful pledges of faith because you will already be on your knees either in absolute horror or absolute joy by the sheer power of God’s glory. Like C.S. Lewis stated it, it will be much like a Frenchman who waited until the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced that he was on the Allied side—at that point the pledge of belief doesn’t mean anything.

  10. #50
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Taking this one in chunks....

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I think you've established one common thread throughout your post. Whether you intended to do this or not, I'm not sure, but it stuck out to me. This thread being absolute morality. You've convincingly argued that such a thing must exist, which I find somewhat curious and at odds with your arguments against my position that the God of the OT and NT are one in the same.
    Christians rarely understand that aspect of me. My moral judgments are my own. I find they are commonly shared by a great many people, but they are uniquely my own judgments. I often attempt to persuade others of them based on my reasoning and observation to appeal to the common human threads of life experience. That does not mean I think there is absolute morality. Morality is a human invention that describes the value of ethical decisions in a social context.

    Now often when talking about the bible and its meaning I use the bible itself as a point of reference. God calls on mankind not to murder one another. If God then murders people I find that immoral on human terms. Certainly God could say anything he did was moral, and that is the kind of thing human tyrants like to say as well. Since I think God is fictional I can judge him as a hypocritical character. If I thought he was real I would have to simply accept whatever he told me for how could I ever know if God was lying to me.

    ---------- Post added at 09:07 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:45 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    To make such a claim (There is no possible scenario in which destroying an entire city can be viewed as the most gracious action) presupposes omniscience.
    Near any claim of absolute truth requires omniscience. Without perfect knowledge there is always doubt. If you actually want to dispute the claim, you will need to do more than try to sew some small measure of doubt. You will need to provide me with an argument that I cannot refute demonstrating why destroying an entire city is superior to less crewel alternatives.

    I have not known any situations where the solution to an immoral people was to annihilate them and all their offspring and any traveler who happened to be there at the time. Do you?

    From a narrow perspective, a doctor cutting into a patient could be construed as hurtful to the patient and if we were to restrict our view only to the surgery, one could say that the gracious thing to do would be to not hurt the patient. From a wider perspective, however, that patient had a tumor that if it weren't removed, would continue to grow and ultimately cause greater pain and suffering for the patient.
    This argument fails. Wickedness has in no way been expunged from the world nor is there anything in the bible that leads us to believe god felt that Sodom would somehow cause great harm to it. He found the people offensive so he killed them all. So you have no basis to say that Sodom represented a threat to the whole of humanity and no cause to show this surgery improved the overall health of the patient.

    Secondly God is not a surgeon with fallible skills, he is an all powerful magical being that can simply wish the cancer away without harm. He has the power to change men's hearts and minds. He can transport them to other dimensions. He could make a giant glass dome to enclose them. He could do all manner of things to try and redeem them. He could have forgiven them and taught them to be holy. he could have made it so each time they tried to commit an act of evil they became paralyzed. He could have selectively killed only those who performed acts of evil while sparing any who did not rather than razing the entire city.

    Would it not be reasonable to at least acknowledge that we don't have all the facts in this case? Claiming that "there are more gracious and more merciful ways to handle the situation" is essentially no different than claiming "there are more gracious and merciful ways to handle the situation than cutting into the patient".
    We do not have all the facts (we only have a brief piece of likely fiction in fact) but even without them, we can imagine to ourselves the way real people behave and the nature of real cities and ponder how destroying an entire city of men women and children could ever be morally justified. I cannot imagine such a thing given that the people are not just story book characters and are in fact real human beings. Have you ever known a real city where every last man woman and child were irredeemably evil?

    Here also arises another problem: How do we determine "good" from "bad"? If you argue that God's actions here are morally reprehensible (which you are), you claim that your moral standard is better.
    Correct. My moral standards are better than those of the God of the bible.

    The problem with this is that you are measuring God's and your actions by an independent standard. You are in essence arguing that your actions adhere more closely to this independent standard than God's actions. However by arguing this you acknowledge that there is a moral system that is objectively true.
    Wrong, it is a moral system that is subjectively true. We each must make our own moral judgements and whatever we decide they are, they are by definition subjective. Objective truths are those that do not come from people. Gravity is a good example. Gravity happens with or without us. Moral actions do not, they are utterly dependent on us for their existence and our judgement of them being good or bad. They are therefore inescapably subjective. Your judgement may differ than mine and there is nothing I can do to "prove" this true or false, I can only appeal to others that my view is more persuasive than yours.

    meet two requirements: 1) that they be omniscient and 2) that they provide an objective moral system by which actions could be judged.
    Both your standards are rejected. The first is unreasonable grounds for any argument, the second misjudges the very nature of morality.

    The standard should be...
    1) Judgement given the information available to us
    2) Based on our shared and individual standards of morality or those of our audience.

    ---------- Post added at 10:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:07 AM ----------

    What would you expect to see of something inspired by divine absolute truth?
    Something demonstrably superior to a non divine or fictional alternative.

    If you pick and choose what you like from Jesus' teachings and discard the rest, then you aren't a Christian. The definition of Christian is "Christ-follower", and that implies accepting His worldview to be true, because it truly is an all-or-nothing worldview:
    I'm not a Christian, I thought that was pretty clear. I view Jesus as a character or possibly a real person surrounded by a lot of myth. But even a fictional character can speak wisdom.

    ...and Jesus was accused of being a heretic because...? I would expect if you are truly well-versed on Christian doctrine that you would at least know this.
    For a number of reasons.
    Primarily he claimed to speak for God when only the Jewish priest class was supposed to be able to do so. More so he challenged the very notion that the priesthood were holy and that others were not. He rejected their ritual practices and their social hierarchy as well as its profiting from the practice of the faith.
    He rejected all materialism and the trappings of wealth for the priestly class in favor of embracing everyone.
    He maintained that gentiles could be accepted by god as where Jews felt that they were a chosen people and were the only ones who could be holy.
    You could say his claim to actually be God was part of it too, though its not clear to me the Priesthood of the time was under that impression, I suspect this rose in the religion after he had died.

    I'm sure there are more but those are some of the themes I find most memorable from my last reading.

    It says to me (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you have made up your mind on Christianity before making a sincere effort to understand its doctrine. It's like trying to BS an essay on a final exam that you didn't really study for. Sure, you might get some things right but flawed understanding of the material and poor reasoning will undermine the strength of your argument.
    I was not a Christian when I first read the bible or encountered the beliefs of Christians. I was baptized but not trained in Christianity from a young age. My mother did not go to church. I learned about the bible from reading it, asking Christians and Jews about their belief, and by reading what others had to say about it (mostly Christian and Jewish scholars). Iv'e read the whole of the bible once and read portions of it many times. I know the Gospels and Genesis best, generations worst. I would not call myself a scholar of the bible but I have a fairly broad understanding of it and its context. I have also read the Koran, Bagadavita, Book of Mormon and a few other religious texts by way of comparison.

    I often hear my understanding is flawed and I often disagree and contend that their understanding is flawed. Such is the way of argument. I do not ascribe to many of the theistic heuristics that are often used finding them highly biased in that they will only accept an interpretation assuming the bible is truth to begin with.

    Studying literature--especially ancient literature--requires a more thorough analysis in order to better understand the intentions of the author(s), connect the historical background to the narratives, bridge contexts, etc.. It has taken me years of reading, years of going to church and hearing the gospel preached—and I still don’t have it all down. It’s only by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit’s conviction and guidance that I am where I am today.
    "Years of indoctrination and self reinforcing heuristics in a persuasive group setting with emotional decision making." That is pretty much how I read the above. I know it doesn't seem that way to you, but nor does it to the people who say the same thing about the Koran, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wicca or any other faith people profess is true after years of study and dedication.

    Normal non-fiction books don't require years of study, interpretation, or inspired guidance to understand. You read them and you understand them. You might need a re-read here and there to refresh but they aren't that hard to get through. Fiction books on the other hand will have scores of scholars analyze and look for hidden meaning or reflect upon their meaning for our lives etc... The bible reads much more like fiction than non-fiction. I think that is because it is fiction. Just about all religious texts share this in common.

    I guess He could have, but there is simply no evidence to support such a theory. The problem with thinking the gospels are legend is that we have accounts being written and copied little more than 30-40 years after the death of Jesus.
    Legends can arise in a matter of days. 30-40 years is plenty of time to transform something into what it was not.

    Paul’s earliest letter was written in 51 AD (1 Thessalonians, which along with six other Pauline epistles, is almost unanimously considered genuine by scholars).
    I am aware. Though it does not change my opinion.

    Legends develop over hundreds of years, not decades.
    False. A great many Americans believe Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Despite the fact it is well documented that neither are true. Legends can form almost instantly, especially in cultures where hearsay is the standard means of communication and information sharing. All it would take is one person to claim Jesus made some fish, and soon it would be heard by a great many and professed to be true. A day later and it could be the talk of the town and hardly any of them could know whether it was true or not.

    The earliest NT manuscript we have is only about 50-70 years removed from the original document.
    Irrelevant. The book of Mormon was written by the man witnessing the events in short order, does that make it highly reliable?

    The sheer number of copies available of the gospel narratives outstrips by far every other piece of literature in antiquity.
    Also irrelevant. There are a great many copies of dietetics, it does not make it accurate.

    The authors of the gospel accounts do not begin with “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago in a land far, far away…”. Here is how the synoptic gospels begin (John is more theologically mature, so the introduction is substantially different, however no more written as legend than the synoptics):
    Many fictional stories are not written as Once upon a time either. The trappings of non-fiction do not mean it is non-fiction.

    The bottom line is the stories in the bible are implausible, sometimes self conflicting, similar to many other religious stories, and are the product of a rather ancient and superstitious culture where belief in magic was commonplace. They are not well corroborated by any other source and all in all there is little rational reason to accept them, on balance, as wholly true.

    –Matthew 1:1
    –Mark 1:1
    –Luke 1:1-4

    Most of the original manuscripts do not even have those authors listed on them. We only have a kind of consensus view formed in the second century. None of the authors specifically identify themselves, who they are, or how they came to know what they wrote. We really don't know with certainty who the authors were though we have various clues and the names listed are our best guess, but it is still little more than that.

    You might be able to make a case for Matthew and Mark--but Luke? Does Luke sound like legend? While I understand that the supernatural events surrounding Jesus might be more difficult to believe in such a hyper-skeptical society in which scientism has overshadowed science—that hyper-skepticism alone does not constitute evidence. The burden of proof is on you to show that the gospel accounts are legend.
    Yes it sounds like legend since it is full of magical deeds and mystical portent. Mark of any of them sounds least like legend being far more like the world we actually know in our lives.

    No—we wouldn’t be talking about Jesus today if He didn’t come back to life. There is a difference. Any other explanation for the existence of thousands of manuscripts, the spread of churches across the Roman Empire within decades of Jesus death in a politically and religiously hostile environment—simply fails in explanatory power.
    So Islam, Hinduism, Zorastiranism, Mormonism, Wicca and Buddhism are all also true? Sorry but popularity does not equate spiritual truth. Christians themselves are divided in to a large number of sects and branches that disagree with one another about the nature of God, Jesus, and what the bible teaches. Basically there are as many beliefs as there are people.

    A Jewish carpenter living in a backwater region of the Roman Empire has more written about him than most of the emperors of Rome. Think about that for a while and tell me that doesn’t strike you as odd.
    That would be false. There is a great deal written about a number of Roman emperors, it just isn't as popular or widely shared because for the most part we don't much care. Other faiths have just as much or more literature regarding their legends as yours does.

    This sounds like you are trying to justify your disbelief instead of making an argument.
    I am not justifying it, I am explaining it while also attacking your beliefs. To justify it I would be explaining how my belief leads to a better life than yours. I don't know enough about you to do so.

    Such as?
    In the old testament the messiah is a Jewish political leader who re-establishes the jewish kingdom and conquers its enemies. Jesus in the new testament is a spiritual teacher who embraces both Jews and Gentiles and who rejects the jewish state.

    In the old testament there is no hell, only Sheol which is a place of waiting. In the new Jesus talks of Gehena which is a place of fire and torment. Neither makes an appearance in the text of the other in that context.

    The OT praises wealth and political power, Jesus rejects those things.

    The OT is filled with ceremonial laws and prescriptions of moral judgement, Jesus rejects such laws and reserves moral judgement for god alone.

    The list goes on but those are some of the more significant ones.

    The Jews of today aren’t exactly the same as the Jews of the OT. The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and animal sacrifice no longer occurs. This is what has always struck me as odd and this pretty much eliminates the possibility of the Messiah of OT prophecy from appearing.
    The Torah says that they can only be performed in a places commanded by God and the last place that happened was the great Temple of Jerusalem. Until the Temple is rebuilt they cannot make burnt offerings as God commanded them. The site of the Temple happens to be rather occupied at the moment by lots of other folks.

    The point the NT authors make is that the Jewish Messiah has come. It’s just not what most Jews expected.
    Yep, just like when the Mormons say Jesus came back again in south america, not something other Christians expected. Acknowledging that its different, does not mean its the same. The two books promote very different religious views and themes. Sure, the latter claims to be connected, that doesn't make it seem like it comes from the same divine source.

    Just to be clear, “worship” entails giving reverence and honor to someone or something. Adam and Eve had a direct, full-blown relationship with God in which He met their every need and then some.
    He apparently didn't meet their curiosity or need to know of good and evil. God in walked around with them in the garden too. Christians often claim they have a relationship with god too, but they still worship him. Adam and Eve were not said to do so, nor did god command it of them in the story.

    Yet they decided to trust what a snake was saying to them instead of trusting what God had said to them—they changed their focus of reverence and honor away from God and put more trust in their own intellect and ability. There are far more implications that you seem to be ignoring here.
    Yep. What do they know about talking snakes and gods? They didn't go to God school or were given some books about talking snakes or anything else. They were like children and you can tell children things all you like but they will inevitable make their own decisions not really understanding your wisdom or authority. Again this is really an allegorical tale about growing up, or at least it makes far more sense that way. Certainly simple disobedience is not exactly cause for eternal damnation of you and all your progeny.

    In Eden, God wasn’t a mysterious figure.
    You base that judgement on what? That we walked around in it? Did god explain all of creation to Adam and Eve? Nope, in fact that tree they were not to eat from... tree of knowledge. Adam and Eve were commanded to remain ignorant, innocent, unknowing. In that state much of the world is quite mysterious even if you see it in front of you every day.

    He was readily available to Adam and Eve so much that when they sinned, they tried to hide from Him.
    Availability does not equal understanding. And furthermore they hid because after eating the fruit they had knowledge of good and evil and of God's approval and disapproval. Now knowing they understood their error and its implications of God's displeasure. Indeed they had reason to fear.

    They lived in a perfect world—where God was at the center of their lives but in so doing they had no need or want.
    But for knowing. Ignorance is bliss they say and this story certainly tires to illustrate that idea.

    That aside, by what standard are you judging Adam and Eve innocent and why should that standard be upheld?
    By my human standard.

    Same question: By what standard are you judging God’s actions to be unjust and unloving and why should that standard be upheld?
    Same answer:By my human standard.

    Since neither you or I have the benefit of omniscience or the ability to fully comprehend all the ramifications of sin, “appropriate” punishment is relative. It goes back again to this arbitrary standard you seem to be judging God by—why is this standard better and can you prove this objectively?
    Arbitrary is not subjective. I judge God by the only standard I have to judge with and while limited, it is rational and experience based. Moral standards can never be proven objectively. I can only say I would have treated Adam and Eve with more kindness. I would have prevented deceptive talking snakes from bothering them. I would have explained to them about the tree of knowledge and shared with them the fruit that they might be as I was, both immortal and knowing. I would not have cursed them nor would have kicked them out of Eden. I would have been kind and loving rather than crewel and capricious.

    I’m glad you agree that parenting is a very complex dynamic and that it is hard to make any sweeping generalizations about the best way to go about it. Perhaps you shouldn’t make sweeping generalizations about God’s actions, either. You don’t have all the information.
    I know enough about parenting that if you flay your child alive for eating the cookies and then cripple their offspring for all eternity you are a bad parent. God's more dramatic actions do not enter into the realm of a complex dynamic. They are simple acts of selfish brutality told in the style of a fairy book tale.

    This is just shifting blame back to God. Moses did disobey God—God told him exactly what to do and Moses didn’t do it! How is that not “disobeying” God?
    God did not tell him exactly what to do. Show me where God commanded Mosses to "uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel," on that occasion. I'm not blaming God, I'm only saying its reasonable to ask why you have been led into a wasteland when you have no food or water and not an occasion for great punishment when you broach the question. Its like if the kids asked... once "are we there yet?" and you took them back home without dinner for the audacity of posing the question.

    You clearly do not understand the resurrection. Jesus died a human death, was buried in a tomb, and was resurrected from the dead.
    I do. Humans do not rise from the dead. Human death is permanent. Human beings can't perform miracles like walking on water or making loaves and fishes. Human beings don't speak with the voice of almighty god. Jesus was not really human by any normal standard. He was not mortal. Mortals don't get resurrected.

    Jesus still had to be separated from the Father as punishment for the sins of mankind. Even if that were but for a split-second on earth, comparatively speaking for Jesus, who had spent eternity with God the Father and the Holy Spirit and had never been apart from Him, that separation probably felt like an eternal separation.
    Jesus never said anything like that. In fact he spoke for god and said that anything you say unto Jesus you say unto god. That doesn't sound like a separation to me. I'm currently separated from my wife who is at home. I love here very much but I am fine because I will soon return to her. you can imagine all the exaggeration of the situation you like, but humans suffer more and don't have the benefit of instant resurrection.

    Yes—people still rebel against God. You act as if God causes all the suffering in the world.
    In the bible he does. God creates this world, created mankind with foreknowledge of everything that would cause to happen. God is the first cause in your beliefs. The first cause yields all others that come after it. Only if you can blind god to the outcome can you say he has no responsibility for the act. God cursed mankind to struggle, he expelled us from eden, he cursed the earth itself to be harsh. God placed the tree of knowledge within our reach knowing we would. god is responsible for all the suffering in the world in the bible. Of course I think its all just a story so I don't honestly think god is responsible for anything at all, good or bad.

    The change that has come to this Earth by Jesus’ sacrifice is that we now can share the righteous relationship that Jesus has with the Father. Through Jesus, we can come to the Father where before there was a deep chasm between us and God created by our sin. God, through Jesus’ sacrifice, now sends His Holy Spirit to us to enable us to do good, to begin to remake our sinful bodies in preparation for our future, restored bodies in Heaven, and to bring glory to God.
    So you and Jesus have the same relationship with god? Are people really better than they were before Jesus came along? Do we sin less? The only reason we could not come to God before was he booted our ass out of eden. So after ages he decides now he supposes a some folks can come back at some designation future time. You sound like someone praising their torturers because they decided to let you come out of the torture room. How kind of them.

    That doesn’t mean Jesus has crushed the Enemy yet—God is giving us time to proclaim the message of Jesus to those that do not know Him, so that many can be saved.
    You missed a few trillion over the years and the score isn't getting much better.

    Once Jesus comes back, and God comes down to Earth in all of His glory—the time for decision-making will be rendered moot. Once God comes down—there won’t be any meaningful pledges of faith because you will already be on your knees either in absolute horror or absolute joy by the sheer power of God’s glory.
    Keep telling yourself that.

    Like C.S. Lewis stated it, it will be much like a Frenchman who waited until the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced that he was on the Allied side—at that point the pledge of belief doesn’t mean anything.
    And much like Godot, real life will be happening while you are waiting.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  11. #51
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    I'd appreciate it if you would not go line-by-line from this point forward--you certainly can address individual points but my overarching points are missed because you spend so much time in the details.

    I'll explain why and address your points--but it will take a while (no thanks to you!).

  12. #52
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    “Then the two visitors said to Lot, “Who else do you have here? Do you have any sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or other relatives in the city? Get them out of this place because we are about to destroy it. The outcry against this place is so great before the Lord that he has sent us to destroy it.” –Genesis 19:12-13 (NET)
    Where do you think this “outcry” the angels speak of came from? It came from the people being persecuted and sinned against in or around Sodom. These people were apparently so persecuted and were so great in number that God, who is described as incredibly patient, could no longer allow such suffering to continue unabated. God’s grace is in full view here—Abraham argued with God, asking that if but 10 people who are godly or righteous (which can be extended to just a single person) were found, that He would spare the city, and God agreed.

    This did not work out. God sent angels to investigate and apparently not one man or woman was found righteous or godly. This means that Sodom was completely and unabashedly evil and was persecuting the peoples around it to the point where the most gracious thing to do would have been to destroy the city. There were no travelers in the city so that one might protest—all one has to do is read what happens to Lot (an outsider), a person who came too close to the city and was nearly killed for it.

    So why couldn’t God do ____________ instead? My guess is that God has a better perspective on the situation than I do. Sure, I could recommend my solution, but I don’t have all the information. It goes back to the surgeon metaphor—if you insist on stopping a surgeon from cutting into the patient because you think you know a better way (even though you know nothing of medicine or the situation at hand), you either need to know more about the situation or admit to the reality that there might be a good reason the surgeon is acting in such a manner.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Have you ever known a real city where every last man woman and child were irredeemably evil?
    Whether I personally know of a city like this is irrelevant. That is something I cannot know. I do know however from my own experience that I am a rebellious individual. I do know that evil people exist. I simply cannot with 100% certainty say that any one person is irredeemably evil as I do not know the hearts of other men—but I can extrapolate from my own selfish nature that if left unfettered, that certainly could happen.

    Your moral view, without an objective standard, is nothing more than preference. You like the color blue. I like the color green. You can certainly point a gun to my head and try and force me to say that blue is better than green, but that doesn’t make blue objectively “better” nor green objectively “worse”. Your moral viewpoint is dependent on who has the bigger gun. This means if I killed a person because I “wanted” to, the only reason you could say that I was wrong was because more people agreed with you than me. Of course, this doesn’t make me objectively wrong, as it is an argument ad populum.

    Your moral view is extremely lacking in explanatory power. It cannot explain altruism. It cannot explain why people would risk their lives to save others. It cannot explain why we get upset if someone deliberately tries to trip us up yet do not get upset when it happens by accident. It cannot explain why we feel we should tell the truth instead of lying.

    If morality is independent, however, all of these things can be explained. If there is a moral system in which there are absolutes, then we can explain why we feel that we ought to help those in need. It can explain why we would risk our lives to save others. It can explain why we don’t get mad at the person who tripped us up accidently and do get mad at the one that was trying to do it all along.

    Now for your benefit (regarding why Jesus was sentenced to death):
    The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were trying to find false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find anything, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Sot the high priest stood up and said to him, “Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?” But Jesus was silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Now you have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?” They answered, “He is guilty and deserves death.” –Matthew 26:59-66 (NET)

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    I do not ascribe to many of the theistic heuristics that are often used finding them highly biased in that they will only accept an interpretation assuming the bible is truth to begin with.
    As opposed to your view which assumes the Bible is false to begin with or rather a legend? Regardless, that’s not how Biblical scholarship works. Most Biblical scholars aren’t even Christian. The form-critical method that started in Germany and rose in prominence in the 20th Century was spearheaded by scholars that did not believe the Bible to be true to begin with at all. One of the biggest hurdles that most scholars have with the NT manuscripts is the miracles. This has not been aided by the conflation of science and scientism and the pervasiveness of materialism and post-modernism in the modern era.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Normal non-fiction books don't require years of study, interpretation, or inspired guidance to understand. You read them and you understand them. You might need a re-read here and there to refresh but they aren't that hard to get through. Fiction books on the other hand will have scores of scholars analyze and look for hidden meaning or reflect upon their meaning for our lives etc... The bible reads much more like fiction than non-fiction. I think that is because it is fiction. Just about all religious texts share this in common.
    If what you said were actually true, there would be no point in historical scholarship. One only has to turn on the History Channel in the US to see how much has gone into the study of World War II. Countless books have been written. Every detail has been scrutinized hundreds of times. This is about an event in which there are still those that are alive today that experienced it.

    What about events that are hundreds of years in the past? There is (normally) much less information available, which makes it that much more important to take time to study each detail.

    All that being said—you are erroneously applying modern standards of interpretation to ancient documents. By ancient standards, the style in which the NT accounts are written are decidedly non-fiction. Please refer to Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses for a scholar’s take on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    False. A great many Americans believe Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya. Despite the fact it is well documented that neither are true. Legends can form almost instantly, especially in cultures where hearsay is the standard means of communication and information sharing. All it would take is one person to claim Jesus made some fish, and soon it would be heard by a great many and professed to be true. A day later and it could be the talk of the town and hardly any of them could know whether it was true or not.
    It is well-documented that neither is true. You’re right. There are living eyewitnesses and written documentation to support the fact that Obama was born in Hawaii and he attends a Christian church. Likewise, the gospels could have been scrutinized by those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry, to Jesus’ death, and to Jesus’ resurrection, and this scrutiny should have appeared relatively quickly in such a hostile environment. There is no evidence available that discredits the eyewitness testimonies. In contrast, the very survival of eyewitness testimony in written form years after the fact, as well as the existence of countless Churches formed throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, can be counted as evidence that supports the assertion that what these eyewitnesses were reporting was true and not mere legend. That creates quite a problem for your “legend” hypothesis.

    Regardless, these eyewitnesses weren’t proclaiming something they believed, they proclaimed something they saw. The central message of the disciples and those that believed them was that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead and that they saw it happen.

    Lots of people die for false or misguided beliefs. Few--if any—willingly go to their deaths proclaiming something they hadn’t really seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Irrelevant. The book of Mormon was written by the man witnessing the events in short order, does that make it highly reliable?
    Thank God that we have four independent accounts from two eyewitnesses, a friend of an eyewitness, and someone who interviewed eyewitnesses in order that we might have confidence that these accounts are more than just reliable but actually true. Tack on Paul’s letters and the evidence goes from solid to overwhelming. Add to that mentions of Jesus in the works of historians of that era and it becomes readily evident that the resultant hyper-skepticism--for the most part--is a fear of the consequences of the accounts actually being true.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    None of the authors specifically identify themselves, who they are, or how they came to know what they wrote.
    Now many have undertaken to compile an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, like the accounts passed on to us by those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the words from the beginning. So it seemed good to me as well, because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know for certain the things you were taught.” –Luke 1:1-4 (NET)

    Like I said, Biblical illiteracy is a big problem in the West. I’d really wish you would stop making absolute statements that can be disproven so easily—you’re smarter than that!

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    We really don't know with certainty who the authors were though we have various clues and the names listed are our best guess, but it is still little more than that.
    It is quite a bit more than “our best guess.” Please see the aforementioned Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Christians themselves are divided in to a large number of sects and branches that disagree with one another about the nature of God, Jesus, and what the bible teaches. Basically there are as many beliefs as there are people.
    Which is unfortunate. Paul even argues against undue denominationalism in 1 Corinthians. That of course does not mean that all of these churches are adhering to proper doctrine. For the most part denominations arose much the same way people argued for the Crusades—by ignoring clear teaching from scripture and refusing to submit to God’s will in all areas.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Other faiths have just as much or more literature regarding their legends as yours does.
    Support?

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    You base that judgement on what? That we walked around in it? Did god explain all of creation to Adam and Eve? Nope, in fact that tree they were not to eat from... tree of knowledge. Adam and Eve were commanded to remain ignorant, innocent, unknowing. In that state much of the world is quite mysterious even if you see it in front of you every day.
    I’m beginning to think you’ve been more careless in your study of the Bible than you’ve led me to believe. You even said you knew the gospels and Genesis best…

    The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it. Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” –Genesis 2:15-17 (NET)

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Availability does not equal understanding. And furthermore they hid because after eating the fruit they had knowledge of good and evil and of God's approval and disapproval. Now knowing they understood their error and its implications of God's displeasure. Indeed they had reason to fear.
    As you can read above, God had warned them of the consequences of disobedience. This implies that they understood a bit more than you think they did.
    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    God did not tell him exactly what to do.
    ”“Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak to the rock before their eyes. It will pour forth its water, and you will bring water out of the rock for them, and so you will give the community and their beasts water to drink.
    So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, just as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the community together in front of the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock for you?”
    Then Moses raised his hand, and struck the rock twice with his staff. And water came out abundantly. So the community drank, and their beasts drank too.” –Numbers 20:8-11 (NET)
    Did God tell Moses to strike the rock? Nope.
    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    I do. Humans do not rise from the dead. Human death is permanent. Human beings can't perform miracles like walking on water or making loaves and fishes. Human beings don't speak with the voice of almighty god. Jesus was not really human by any normal standard. He was not mortal. Mortals don't get resurrected.
    …so Jesus’ disciples were also not human? It is recorded in Acts the various different miracles they performed. It is not by our own power, but by the power of God that these miracles happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by ”Sigfried”
    Jesus never said anything like that. In fact he spoke for god and said that anything you say unto Jesus you say unto god. That doesn't sound like a separation to me. I'm currently separated from my wife who is at home. I love here very much but I am fine because I will soon return to her. you can imagine all the exaggeration of the situation you like, but humans suffer more and don't have the benefit of instant resurrection.
    If you want to read the Bible like a 5 year-old, be my guest (the children's Bibles do have more pictures, so it's probably a lot more fun to read!). I'm a patient person (by God's grace), but if you are not going to at least support your arguments with scripture and make an effort (or at least look like you are) to try and understand the larger context of what is going on, then you are wasting my time. Let me know when you want to continue on a more adult level.

    I'll address the remainder of your post later.

  13. #53
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    There is no evidence that the Bible is the word of God.

    ---------- Post added at 12:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:15 PM ----------



    I agree with Someguy's definition of credible.

    "the quality of being believable or worthy of trust"

    The Bible is a tool of manipulation. It has been used as such throughout history. Thus it is not worthy of trust. I do not trust what a manipulator wrote.

    The Bible is not believable because there is no evidence backing what it says. Extraordinary claims, claims such as a God existing, require extraordinary evidence. The Bible provides anecdotal evidence which is the worst kind of evidence there is.
    --------------------------------------------
    How could you say that the Bible has no evidence to be the word of God?... I will give you verses with context that proves and gives evidence that the Bible is the word of God...

    Firstly, When does the man knows that the earth was circle?.. Hmmm, i think when this time period "@AD"... then, the Bible prophesy that the earth was circle before man knows. read this, "Isaiah 40:22 (KJV)" because Isaiah write the book from when the time “BC”

    Secondly, Before, mans hypothesis that the earth was being hold by atlas. Then, the Bible was also prophesy that the earth hangeth upon nothing, read "Job 26:7 (KJV)"
    So, that things which the bible speaks before man knows, then that proves that the Bible is the word of God. Because if the Bible was lying or make by man, then, that person cannot prophesy or cannot predict that things. Because no man knows what beyond earth is at that time before technologies appears., and that was only God can knows.
    ..................................
    So that verses which proves that the Bible was the word of God, and God reveals that things before man knows. So, there's still no evidence? LOL... and that things which openly sees, still don't you believe it?...

  14. #54
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharmaK View Post
    Not to quibble too much but:

    Isn't the entire branch of mathematics concerned with infinity in all its myriad forms? And are numbers, formulas, and algorithms not eternal? Doesn't writing and other forms of knowledge preservation as well as teaching of such knowledge allow humanity to transcend our finite and temporal minds?
    Yup, there sure is - it is referred to as pure or theoretical maths - the problem being that in order to turn it into applied or practical/real workable maths suitable for use in our 'our' physical and temporal universe of11 or so dimensions, that infinity based calculations need to be 'rounded up or down' into finite 'solid/hard' numbers.

    ps. A cautionary tale about trying to 'tame' infinity and claiming transfinite numbers: Georg Cantor became clinically depressed while trying to mate infinity to 'real' numbers.
    Last edited by FruitandNut; February 2nd, 2012 at 07:27 AM. Reason: Addendum.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crescentmoon View Post
    --------------------------------------------
    How could you say that the Bible has no evidence to be the word of God?... I will give you verses with context that proves and gives evidence that the Bible is the word of God...

    Firstly, When does the man knows that the earth was circle?.. Hmmm, i think when this time period "@AD"... then, the Bible prophesy that the earth was circle before man knows. read this, "Isaiah 40:22 (KJV)" because Isaiah write the book from when the time “BC”

    Secondly, Before, mans hypothesis that the earth was being hold by atlas. Then, the Bible was also prophesy that the earth hangeth upon nothing, read "Job 26:7 (KJV)"
    So, that things which the bible speaks before man knows, then that proves that the Bible is the word of God. Because if the Bible was lying or make by man, then, that person cannot prophesy or cannot predict that things. Because no man knows what beyond earth is at that time before technologies appears., and that was only God can knows.
    ..................................
    So that verses which proves that the Bible was the word of God, and God reveals that things before man knows. So, there's still no evidence? LOL... and that things which openly sees, still don't you believe it?...
    So the book that was written to prove that the book is the word of God says that the book is the word of God. I have a book that says that I am God and therefore I am God, because the book says so. God needs money, please send me $100 otherwise, no heaven for you!
    abc

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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyXenocide View Post
    I have a book that says that I am God and therefore I am God, because the book says so.
    Can you please provide a link to your book?

    God needs money,
    You mean God would like Xeno to get help with his college loans?
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Freund View Post
    I'd appreciate it if you would not go line-by-line from this point forward--you certainly can address individual points but my overarching points are missed because you spend so much time in the details.
    I will try, but you tend to say a lot of things that require refutation so I refute them.

    ---------- Post added at 03:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:45 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Crescentmoon View Post
    How could you say that the Bible has no evidence to be the word of God?... I will give you verses with context that proves and gives evidence that the Bible is the word of God...
    That would be circular evidence... an example.

    This post is the word of God. (This statement does not mean this post is actually the word of god, neither do claims in the bible for the same reasons.)

    Firstly, When does the man knows that the earth was circle?.. Hmmm, i think when this time period "@AD"... then, the Bible prophesy that the earth was circle before man knows. read this, "Isaiah 40:22 (KJV)" because Isaiah write the book from when the time “BC”
    The earth is not a circle, it is a sphere, a globe. That verse also said the heavens are like curtains, they are not.

    Secondly, Before, mans hypothesis that the earth was being hold by atlas. Then, the Bible was also prophesy that the earth hangeth upon nothing, read "Job 26:7 (KJV)"
    The earth does not hang at all it moves in space at a given velocity and and orbits the sun. It does not "hang."

    So, that things which the bible speaks before man knows, then that proves that the Bible is the word of God.
    It only shows that in a large book you can find some words that you can re-interpret to relate to something later discovered. You can also search through there and find things that are just plain wrong about later discoveries.

    ---------- Post added at 04:41 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:54 PM ----------

    Subject: Sodom

    First off this story is a bit odd in that God displays a lack of knowledge, he expresses uncertainty as to whether the folks in Sodom are bad or not. He does mention that he has heard the outcry against them. What it is exactly we have no clue yet but will get a taste later. But it seems to say God has no idea exactly what is or isn’t happening. (He’s also standing around talking to people which is supposed to be deadly according to other texts but he actually does that a lot in the bible.)

    So then Abraham and God negotiate about destroying the place, though as of yet god hasn’t mentioned he’s going to destroy it but God tends to kill the wicked so it’s a safe assumption if he goes there blood will run. God offers to spare the whole town if they can find 50 good people, then negotiates down to 10.

    Ok, kind of friendly of God but why not just kill the guilty and spare the innocent and leave the city itself be? Our own meager justice system likes to punish the guilty and not the innocent. It’s that whole accountability thing.

    Now you got the bit about Lot wrong, he lives in the city and was not a traveler, he has a house and family there. All the men of the town show up to rape the angels (how exactly do you rape angels anyhow?) and lot offers them his daughters instead. The angels blind all the menfolk and lot and his daughters and wife leave, the wife looks back and is saltofied.

    While apparently “all the men” were would be angel rapists (as ridiculous as such a notion is) it didn’t say anything about the women of the town, nor did it say anything about any of the children. Presumably the kids were not in the angel raping business, especially those of a young age. But since god kills them all, surely the local toddlers were into some form of witchcraft or necromancy… not that the lord would know because he never shows up to check it out and all the angels have to go on are the local rape patrol.

    So he just burns everyone out. But the lord spares Lot. Kills his wife because she had a looksee. Then of course we have the lovely story of Lots daughters seducing dear old dad. Not sure why those two princesses got spared but so be it, better than the slaughter I say.

    God could have saved the kids, could have tried to teach the folks of Sodom not to rape angels or whatever else they liked to do. Should have known exactly what was happening but apparently didn’t. Could have spared Lot’s wife and thus likely prevented the ladies shagging their father. God could have done a lot better here.
    Also whomever wrote the thing could make a more cohesive and consistent story. As it is its ridiculous, absurd and slightly incoherent. Not what I would call divinely inspired.

    So why couldn’t God do ____________ instead? My guess is that God has a better perspective on the situation than I do. Sure, I could recommend my solution, but I don’t have all the information.
    Then you can’t really make any judgment about it good or bad can you? I just know what it says and what it says isn’t impressive. I could and did offer superior resolutions that are consistent with our sense of justice and compassion. You can cop out with “I’m not as smart as god” but I don’t find that kind of excuse even remotely convincing.

    It goes back to the surgeon metaphor—
    Surgeons can explain their reasoning and offer evidence for it. God just works on “cause he says so.” for justification.

    Whether I personally know of a city like this is irrelevant. That is something I cannot know. I do know however from my own experience that I am a rebellious individual. I do know that evil people exist.
    More cop outs. The situation in the story is utterly unrealistic, flies in the face of actual human nature, and is inconsistent in its theology and message. What it really is a piece of propaganda to explain why the supposed modern decedents of the city the Moabites and Ammonites are bad guys in the later bible stories. Yes people are evil, but you won’t find whole communities of angel rapists where every man woman and child is a depraved killer and sexual pervert. Communities like that could not likely survive much less have trade with anyone. (PS apparently Lots son in laws were angel rapists too, nice pick there Lot!)

    ---------- Post added at 05:18 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:41 PM ----------

    Subject: My Moral View

    --Your moral view, without an objective standard, is nothing more than preference.
    Utterly wrong. Any time you want to go and tell someone what they think you are probably going to be wrong.

    I’ve explained to you what objective and subjective mean, it appears to have vanished into the ether somewhere. I’ve explained that all morality is subjective because it comes from and applies to human beings but you have conveniently ignored that.

    Let me say it again then. All morality is subjective, including yours. Your morality is judged by your thoughts and that makes it subjective. You cannot follow an objective moral law because the moment you get involved in making a determination it becomes subjective. Unless you can write a computer program that performs moral calculations, morality is subjective. It requires human beings to have meaning, and it requires human beings to perform moral or immoral acts or make judgments of the same.

    Morality is Subjective!

    Morality is not just a personal preference. It is too complicated to simply be some kind of preference. Morality is a complex and situational decision making process based on a whole range of reason and experience. My moral viewpoint is utterly independent of anyone’s guns. I might be persuaded to commit an immoral act at gunpoint, but it’s not going to make me think that it is a moral act.

    Someone could persuade me with argument and evidence that something is moral or immoral by pointing out the consequences of the act or offering a moral framework I can see the reason of. These ultimately appeal to our common sense of community and self-fulfillment. Most moral decisions have a component of intent and information that together guide decision making. Understand someone’s intents and you can provide information that is persuasive. Motivations are complicated and nuanced in many cases and understanding them is not always easy. Many aren’t fully aware of their own motivations.

    It doesn’t matter who is “truly” right or wrong. It is our responsibility to work that out for ourselves. If we want others to follow our opinions, then we may have to use force to do that. But how is that different from an Objective standard that people do or don’t follow according to their own free will? It isn’t. You can go point at some bible passage and claim it is objective moral reality till you turn blue in the face, that won’t influence anyone who doesn’t believe in your interpretation of it or your god.

    No matter what you believe about morality, it is still up to individuals to make their own subjective opinions about it and choose their actions. If we feel we need to collectively enforce certain moral rules, then we must use either persuasion to convince others to agree to follow them, or force to try and guarantee compliance. There is no easy single answer that makes everything perfect. We have to sort it all out for ourselves and do the best we can. When two groups conflict, the most persuasive or powerful will always prevail. In America we more or less decided that unless the action is harmful to someone else, we don’t try to force our moral views on others, we only use persuasion. We reserve force for actions that are demonstrably harmful. That itself is a kind of meta-morality we as human beings have constructed to create social harmony in large diverse groups of people.

    --Your moral view is extremely lacking in explanatory power. It cannot explain altruism.
    It can easily do so. We as social creatures have a natural instinct to work with others. Altruism is an essential motivation of human beings and without it we could not socialize or survive. We choose it because it makes us feel good and it makes us feel good because it is beneficial to our species.

    -- It cannot explain why people would risk their lives to save others.
    It can. Humans are social creatures that live or die by the group. Even if an individual fails, his family members or loved ones are still dependent upon the group. Social creatures extend their sense of personal identity to other members of the group and make decisions as if they were the whole rather than simply a part. This dynamic is found through human behavior. Sports fans have no personal glorification from rooting on a team, but they best in the team part of their own identity and feel a gain or loss as the entire organization does. It is part of our nature to help others.

    --It cannot explain why we get upset if someone deliberately tries to trip us up yet do not get upset when it happens by accident.
    It easily explains that. The human mind is a predictive engine and when a person intends to trip you, it is easy to foresee that they will do so again and they pose a danger to you. If it is an accident the likely hood of a repeat performance is small and the person is likely a trusted or neutral party in your social group. An intentional tripper is a danger so an social signal such as anger that indicates a warning they should change or be in conflict with the group makes a lot of sense. Ostracizing someone who is otherwise trustworthy due to an honest error would be counterproductive likely weakening group cohesion and strength.

    --It cannot explain why we feel we should tell the truth instead of lying.
    Again you fail to even try to think about these things or at least seem to. Social dynamics require a great deal of trust and accurate information for decision making. Liars both erode group trust and create false information leading to bad decision making and bad outcomes for individuals and the group.

    Bottom line. Just because you haven’t thought it through or understand how other people think, doesn’t mean there is no explanation for it. It just means you are as yet ignorant of the information. You should ask instead of making grand proclamations about the "facts" you don’t understand.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Regarding Sodom:

    First, yes I was incorrect when I stated that Lot was not living in Sodom at the time. Thank you for calling me out on that.

    Lot was, however, still in a city that was hostile to outsiders. The angels here are clearly in the form of men, as they are referred to as men throughout the passage. This occurs throughout the Bible. The people of Sodom only saw the angels as visitors, in a city where hospitality was essentially a crime. Lot, who had lived in Sodom for a while, had been influenced by the sinful culture and these angels were here to convince him to repent and flee the city--God was saving Lot and his family from destruction in spite of Lot's sinfulness.

    I think you raised an important question: "Why not just kill the guilty and spare the innocent and leave the city itself be?". What do you think God is doing in this situation? He is sparing Lot, someone who had been influenced tremendously by the culture of Sodom and was at risk of losing his "innocence" as a result. Several times in the passage God is lenient with Lot, trying (through the angelic messengers) to convince him to leave or be destroyed with Sodom. Lot's trust in God is the only reason he escapes the city unscathed.

    Lot's wife apparently had been so influenced by the sinfulness of Sodom's culture that even though she saw that the city was being razed to the ground, she "gazed longingly" towards Sodom and rejected God's grace in saving her from the destruction. I think this indicates that there was no man or woman in Sodom that was not completely corrupted by sin. Whether there were children, we do not know. It does not mention children, so we cannot assume that there were children. Even if there were children, we cannot assume their innocence in such a culture. Children are a product of their parents' behavior and lifestyle.

    I think God gave Sodom plenty of warning. Their actions had simply hardened their hearts to their consciences to the point of no return. Whether you think this is a plausible scenario is irrelevant.

    This leads to a discussion on morality:

    You did not explain what objective and subjective mean, unless it is buried somewhere I seem to have overlooked. Let's look at your statement, however:

    "All morality is subjective because it comes from and applies to human beings"
    To support this you offered this:

    Your morality is judged by your thoughts and that makes it subjective. You cannot follow an objective moral law because the moment you get involved in making a determination it becomes subjective.
    Sure you can. God commands that we do not steal. So you don't steal--in any circumstance. God commands that we do not commit adultery--so you don't commit adultery. God commands that you do not lie--so you do not lie. Choosing to adhere to the standard does not make the standard itself subjective.

    Back to the drowning man metaphor: There are two decisions that you can make, either helping the man or leaving him to drown. The first appeals to our impulse to preserve our kind, our herd instinct. The second appeals to our impulse for self-preservation and survival. What I am talking about here is the overwhelming sense we have to help the man. This is not the herd instinct, nor is it the instinct of self-preservation, but rather an independent impulse that tells me the first option is better than the second.

    If you don't help the man--you feel remorse. Why? Because you went against this third, independent impulse. This impulse did not stem from societal constructs (herd instinct, self-preservation), and could not have come from your own mind.

    The "feel good" effect of altruism is a result of a morally good action, not the action itself. The independent impulse rears its head here as well--it tells us we "ought" help out those who cannot help themselves.

    Regardless, stating that the result(s) of a morally superior action determines its moral "rightness" or "wrongness" is committing the naturalistic fallacy or "is--ought fallacy".

    If we are to truly believe that morality is subjective, we cannot as a species make any meaningful moral judgments, for each judgment is based on our ability to persuade others of its correctness. We can no more judge the actions of Nazis in WWII wrong than we can judge the actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. right. It is entirely dependent on who carries the bigger stick.

    Your example in which you "might be persuaded to commit an immoral act at gunpoint" presupposes a perfect standard by which you can classify the act as moral or immoral. If you could be persuaded to change your morality, then the exchange wasn't meaningful--it could easily change back and forth provided a good enough argument could be made. This is of course, not realistic nor helpful.

    However, if we were created by a supernatural being, whose very nature prevented it from doing anything wrong, and who ordered the world to work according to this nature, then we can identify the source of this third, independent impulse. It is the perfect moral system by which we can judge a certain action good or bad and by extension our moral actions have meaning because they are not subject to the might vs. right principle.

    Evil itself cannot exist apart from this perfect moral system, for evil by definition is something wholly wrong--the furthest apart from wholly good, which requires the standard to be perfect and written into the very fabric of creation. The only source of this perfection is God.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    Just because you haven’t thought it through or understand how other people think, doesn’t mean there is no explanation for it. It just means you are as yet ignorant of the information. You should ask instead of making grand proclamations about the "facts" you don’t understand.
    This is what happens when one gets lost in the details. None of your "explanations" are relevant if the reasoning is flawed to begin with.

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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Subject: The Bible

    --As opposed to your view which assumes the Bible is false to begin with or rather a legend?
    No. I just read it and see what I think. I try to judge any book by how I can relate it to what other things I know, my experiences, and my observations. I think using certain historical approaches are helpful for the bible. Certainly an understanding of the language is helpful (and something I have to rely on others for). I think you need to consider human nature and typical behavior. Using corroborating independent sources is another good system for verifying truth.

    I neither assumed it was true or not, I just read it and compared it to my own experience and knowledge and I continue to approach it that way.

    --Most Biblical scholars aren’t even Christian.
    I find this claim unlikely. Certainly there are many secular biblical scholars but they are far from a majority. Naturally Christians have a far greater interest in the work than non-Christians do. I do read some non-Christian bible scholars work, but I don’t think you would much like or agree with what they have to say.

    --If what you said were actually true, there would be no point in historical scholarship. One only has to turn on the History Channel in the US to see how much has gone into the study of World War II. Countless books have been written. Every detail has been scrutinized hundreds of times. This is about an event in which there are still those that are alive today that experienced it.
    The battle of pearl harbor doesn’t have any miracles happening nor does it require scholarly interpretation to understand its meaning or significance. Yes, granted there is much scholarship but it is of a rather different sort and tends to be more conclusive on the basic facts. The number of independent sources are huge. It is not myth for the most part.

    --What about events that are hundreds of years in the past? There is (normally) much less information available, which makes it that much more important to take time to study each detail.
    It is curiosity and a desire to understand that make people do it. I never intimated the act of scholarship was unimportant. I am only pointing out that biblical scholarship is very often a practice of deciding the meaning before doing the reading and a great many “systems” were developed to justify the conclusions that we would never apply to a study of late 50s television or what have you.

    --All that being said—you are erroneously applying modern standards of interpretation to ancient documents. By ancient standards, the style in which the NT accounts are written are decidedly non-fiction. Please refer to Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses for a scholar’s take on it.
    I’ve read some of that and was far from impressed by his contortions used to justify what he wanted to prove. Stories of seven horned seven eyed bleeding lambs and arcs containing all the world’s animals and talking snakes are generally fictive and not history. We don’t consider the Icelandic saga’s as history but they are written in that kind of style too. Given that kind of story telling I have to question its overall validity as history. To sustain that those things actually happen, some extra corroboration would be required. I haven’t seen it.

    --Likewise, the gospels could have been scrutinized by those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry, to Jesus’ death, and to Jesus’ resurrection, and this scrutiny should have appeared relatively quickly in such a hostile environment.
    They were written decades later in another country. How exactly would they be scrutinized? The average age of people in that time was at best in the early 40s (of course some lived longer but many died early) There are certainly many who did deny such events, namely the bulk of the Jewish population but it’s not like new religious groups actually listen to deniers. There are plenty who claim Joseph Smith made up the book of Mormon but they aren’t buying it. As if one person says “hey that’s not what happened” and then all the faith full will say “Oh really, well never mind then.” That kind of thing just doesn’t happen with the faithful and the committed.

    --There is no evidence available that discredits the eyewitness testimonies.
    We can start with the fact that the gospels are in disagreement in multiple places, and we can move on to the fact that some of the things they witnessed are largely considered impossible by any known laws of nature. There is no evidence that discredits much of the Koran but you don’t believe its true do you? Faith is simply a required component in most religions because the claims are typically impossible to verify. (From time to time someone like Camping comes along and gives you something concrete you can point at and say Wrong! But generally all the claims are ephemeral.)

    -- In contrast, the very survival of eyewitness testimony in written form years after the fact, as well as the existence of countless Churches formed throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, can be counted as evidence that supports the assertion that what these eyewitnesses were reporting was true and not mere legend. That creates quite a problem for your “legend” hypothesis.
    How? Many other ancient religious writings survive to this day, some older than Christianity. We don’t assume they are correct just because they are old or just because they are popular. Go study some other religions and you will see what I mean. They make the same arguments and face the same criticisms.

    --Regardless, these eyewitnesses weren’t proclaiming something they believed, they proclaimed something they saw. The central message of the disciples and those that believed them was that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead and that they saw it happen.
    It is what they claim. What they actually saw, who they actually were, and whether they were truthful or not is all unknown and unverifiable. You choose to believe it and that is fine by me, but I find it far from convincing.

    --Lots of people die for false or misguided beliefs. Few--if any—willingly go to their deaths proclaiming something they hadn’t really seen.
    People do it all the time. People die for their country for their religions and many people claim to see miracles or aliens or all manner of things. And if you challenge someone’s self-claimed identity they will face death to defend it because it is who they are. It isn’t evidence of anything beyond the conviction of human beings which can be found in all faiths and in secular groups.

    --Thank God that we have four independent accounts from two eyewitnesses, a friend of an eyewitness, and someone who interviewed eyewitnesses in order that we might have confidence that these accounts are more than just reliable but actually true.
    Because how else could an all powerful god ever hope to get his message out to the world but by semi-anonymous authors two thousand years ago on old and uncorroborated manuscripts. Of course that seems to be how all the gods get their messages out to the people. You don’t actually know who wrote the gospels, they are ascribed authors by tradition and little else.

    --Tack on Paul’s letters and the evidence goes from solid to overwhelming.
    I don’t find it overwhelming. Overwhelming would be god descending from the heavens to proclaim himself. Then I’d be overwhelmed. Perhaps if he wrote his name on the moon, that would be pretty overwhelming. The sudden appearance of bibles in everyones home glowing in a golden light. Definitely overwhelming. A man who was part of the faithful wrote letters 2000 years ago, not so overwhelming.

    The bible has been pretty stable for at least 1800 years so I don’t question that it is the bible and that it hasn’t been mucked with much since that time except for the work of collecting its volumes. But that doesn’t make it true, just consistent.

    --Add to that mentions of Jesus in the works of historians of that era and it becomes readily evident that the resultant hyper-skepticism--for the most part--is a fear of the consequences of the accounts actually being true.
    There really isn’t much of that at all. There are roman records of the Christians themselves but I’ve never doubted there were Christians, that is rather self-evident. There is a mention of Christos, which could be Jesus, might not be, but its only in that the Christians followed this person (they said Jews at the time of course) but it’s no shocker that Christians would claim to follow Jesus Christ.

    But there is no mention of Jesus himself or any interaction with him (not surprising even if he existed) and no record of his execution (also no shocker) nor are there Jewish temple records of this (also not too surprising as if there were they would likely end up destroyed when the temple is sacked) but what is kind of surprising…. There are no records of the mass resurrections the bible claims, which I’d think would be a might bit noteworthy. Also none of the earthquakes etc reported in some of the gospels surrounding his death. There is on second hand account of an eclipse around that general time frame that alter Christians try to link to the darkening of the sky. Very sketchy at best. Eclipses are a known phenomena, darkening messiah sky’s are not. I’d go with the original account rather than its hopeful re-imagining.

    --Like I said, Biblical illiteracy is a big problem in the West. I’d really wish you would stop making absolute statements that can be disproven so easily—you’re smarter than that!
    I am smarter than that. The only think that quotation proves is that Luke thought he was using the eye witnesses testimony to create his account. What he doesn’t know is if they are accurate or whether they were actually written by them. Again it was already the tradition of the church this was the case, but the actual documents do not claim any authorship themselves. He is simply following the tradition of the time. I’ve little doubt he believed it, but I don’t have good reason to believe it myself as I tend to doubt accounts of supernatural magic until they have been thoroughly investigated or widely corroborated, ideally both.

    --Which is unfortunate. Paul even argues against undue denominationalism in 1 Corinthians. That of course does not mean that all of these churches are adhering to proper doctrine. For the most part denominations arose much the same way people argued for the Crusades—by ignoring clear teaching from scripture and refusing to submit to God’s will in all areas.
    Exactly the sort of thing they would say about you. Everyone thinks they know the truth and everyone else is wrong. I choose to reserve judgment until I have good information. I go with what I think is likely true rather than what I feel is certainly true.

    --Support?
    Naturally
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_text

    This page lists a large number of the world’s religious scriptural texts for a large number of religions. Many of them have more works than Christianity that are part of their canonical scripture.
    A couple in detail
    Buddhists: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_texts
    Hindu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_texts

    One of my favorites: Zorastrianism – world’s oldest monotheistic faith
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

    No matter the volume of the age, it doesn’t make any of them true. It just means people have faith and the willingness to write about what they believe.

    --I’m beginning to think you’ve been more careless in your study of the Bible than you’ve led me to believe. You even said you knew the gospels and Genesis best…

    The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it. Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” –Genesis 2:15-17 (NET)
    I said that God had forbidden them knowledge, and that is exactly what your quote explains. I fail to see any mistake on my part. God’s only explanation is they would die if they ate it, not how or when or in what way or why.

    --As you can read above, God had warned them of the consequences of disobedience. This implies that they understood a bit more than you think they did.
    How so? If I told my child, Don’t watch TV, you will ruin your eyesight, does that mean they understand TV even though they have never watched it or had it explained? I don’t think so.

    --Did God tell Moses to strike the rock? Nope.
    Are you serious? God specifically castigates Mosses for not maintaining God’s wisdom in the face of the people questioning when they came to a barren place. He says specifically that is why they will not go into the promised land. He does not say that it’s because Mosses struck the rock when not ordered to. Mosses also likely breathed and god didn’t tell him to do that either. Perhaps I misunderstand the point you are trying to make… Are you saying that there are things required of mosses that god doesn’t say? If mosses had instead waved the staff instead of striking the rock he’d be disobeying a commandment that was unspoken? That doesn’t make much sense either.

    Bottom line is God is intolerant and vicious sometimes. Especially when the rabble are moaning about this or that. Sometimes he’s not such as in the Lot story where he lets Abraham barging with him. Because folks had a question and Mosses didn’t properly vouch for the lord, they had to forgo the promised land. You can say this was to teach them all a good lesson, but if so, God’s teaching plan kind of sucks because it didn’t really work in the end, god eventually gives up on them when all is said and done because they just can’t obey properly. (though yes, that is generations later)

    --…so Jesus’ disciples were also not human? It is recorded in Acts the various different miracles they performed. It is not by our own power, but by the power of God that these miracles happen.
    They were not called God. As characters I would say they are human even if they have some magic powers, though it makes me doubt the accounts of them are real and they are then more likely just legendary figures.

    --If you want to read the Bible like a 5 year-old, be my guest (the children's Bibles do have more pictures, so it's probably a lot more fun to read!).
    Thanks for the kind words but I do not read it like a 5 year old, I read it with an open mind and without trying to twist and turn its words to justify a theological position. Christians have a hard time when I don't simply accept their traditional interpretations, but I often find them flawed. The most common problem is when they say "Because it seems like a flaw, it must fave a different meaning that it does at first glance." with a book written by many hands over many centuries, in many voices, I don't buy that kind of argument. It is much more likely it simply has some flaws in it.

    -- I'm a patient person (by God's grace), but if you are not going to at least support your arguments with scripture and make an effort (or at least look like you are) to try and understand the larger context of what is going on, then you are wasting my time. Let me know when you want to continue on a more adult level.
    You are never under an obligation to argue with me or respond to my posts. Any waste of time is your own fault.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

  20. #60
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    Re: Why did God create us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    The battle of pearl harbor doesn’t have any miracles happening nor does it require scholarly interpretation to understand its meaning or significance.
    I guess this is the reason you don't consider the Bible, or specifically the Gospels anything but legend. You haven't personally observed miracles, you don't know anyone who has observed a miracle (and if they did, you'd doubt them), therefore they cannot happen, therefore the Bible is myth.

    I'd really like to focus the debate on this topic--I realize I don't have to respond to what you write, but as you said of my posts, you say a lot of things in your posts that require refutation. My aim in asking you to diverge from your primary technique was not because I am frustrated your posts were so long, but that you for the most part missed the larger points because you only focused on small bits and pieces. That means I have to essentially repeat what I already said. That is frustrating. To be honest, I don't blame you for discussing the way you do, it is certainly effective. Most people just give up because it takes too much time to respond.

    What kind of crazy person would read through the whole thing anyway? ;-)

    They were written decades later in another country. How exactly would they be scrutinized? The average age of people in that time was at best in the early 40s (of course some lived longer but many died early) There are certainly many who did deny such events, namely the bulk of the Jewish population but it’s not like new religious groups actually listen to deniers. There are plenty who claim Joseph Smith made up the book of Mormon but they aren’t buying it. As if one person says “hey that’s not what happened” and then all the faith full will say “Oh really, well never mind then.” That kind of thing just doesn’t happen with the faithful and the committed.
    Nero was able to pin the blame for the fire that broke out in Rome in 64 AD on the Christians.

    Please explain how Christianity spread to Rome in less than 30 years without established eyewitness tradition (even though Paul mentions this in his earliest letters).

    Please explain why we cannot trust Paul when he says that he learned the teachings, stories and events of Jesus' life from eyewitnesses.

    Please explain why we cannot trust Luke either, when he says he interviewed eyewitnesses.

    As if one person says “hey that’s not what happened” and then all the faith full will say “Oh really, well never mind then.” That kind of thing just doesn’t happen with the faithful and the committed.
    The Jewish leaders could have provided a body. They could have faked it. They could have done a whole lot of things to quash the start of Christianity before it even began--we're talking about a whole bunch of Jews believing in Christ in Jerusalem mere weeks after his death and resurrection. The leaders of this new cult were beaten nearly to death for preaching what they saw. Could all of them really have been deluded or making this up? In a modern court of law their testimony would be pretty tough to discredit.


    Normal non-fiction books don't require years of study, interpretation, or inspired guidance to understand.

    There is a mention of Christos, which could be Jesus, might not be, but its only in that the Christians followed this person (they said Jews at the time of course) but it’s no shocker that Christians would claim to follow Jesus Christ.
    Josephus also mentions Jesus by name. Tacitus mentions "Christus" suffering "extreme penalty at the hands of one of our prosecutors, Pontius Pilatus". There's not really much detective work that has to be done here. "Jesus didn't exist" is such an extreme minority opinion that even atheist historians find it ludicrous:

    This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a myth.... But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. Certainly, there are all those discrepancies between one Gospel and another. But we do not deny that an event ever took place just because some pagan historians such as, for example, Livy and Polybius, happen to have described it in differing terms.... To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serious scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.--Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels

    Perhaps I misunderstand the point you are trying to make… Are you saying that there are things required of mosses that god doesn’t say? If mosses had instead waved the staff instead of striking the rock he’d be disobeying a commandment that was unspoken? That doesn’t make much sense either.
    Is your "s" key stuck? Anyway, God told Moses to speak to the rock and the water would flow out. Moses got angry and struck the rock. After all God had done for the Israelites and for Moses, Moses didn't trust God enough to just do exactly what He asked. How hard could it be? What could you possibly be struggling with here, or are you just being deliberately obtuse?

 

 
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