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  1. #21
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    You don't know God exists, nor can you know if your path is the "right" path; all you and I can do is have faith.
    Faith is not simply belief without proof. If that were the only criterion for faith, every schizophrenic would be counted among the most devout of the faithful in every religion. I have spoken of this on another thread, but in brief, faith is reasonable conclusions drawn about things we cannot verify directly from evidence of things we have experienced and know to be true. You know that adherence to the moral tenets of the faith brings certain spiritual benefits with it, and you may be able to attest personally to the miraculous power of prayer. These things are not simply isolated phenomena to be filed away and ignored; they form the basis of any rational and reasonable faith, because they are the foundation upon which our belief in those things we cannot verify - our eternal fate after death, for example - entirely rests. We see that the other promises Jesus made to us about God are true, and so we have more reason to believe that the other things that he said and which we cannot verify are also true. Faith is the "evidence of things hoped for, and the substance of things not seen." It is not an arbitrary decision to believe something without any proof or reason.

    I invite you to examine more closely what you really believe. I think you may find that your beliefs are less arbitrary than you think... or, conversely, that they are not as strong as you might have thought.
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  2. #22
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    No, I'm saying not thinking that your faith has any grounding in reality and it is to believed due to arbitrariness or feeling (taste/preference) is something that is not scriptural for one, and it is not reasonable (for it contains no reasons) for second.
    Understood.

    We are rational beings who have been given the ability to reason based on observation, experience and principles of logic.
    Yes, but that only goes so far.
    While it is true that I cannot "know" that God exists, it is not true that "all we can do is faith". There are reasons we can believe. God gave us the ability to reason on purpose.
    Ok. So you can't "know" God exists. What else is there? What other word would you use other than faith? I believe God exists. I live my life based on this belief. But it can be nothing more than a belief. I won't "know" until the end. Give me another word, if you don't know and faith isn't enough, then what other word would you use?


    Why?
    I am not 100% certain why. I spent a lot of time away from the Church and still do. I've spent more of my time trying to live a better life and be a better person. I believe this is what God want's from us. I can't give you hard concrete facts because, well there aren't any.

    The Bible is very old and much of it is history is wrapped up in approving and disapproving documents that would or would not go into it. Accounts that contradict. A God that is angry and vengeful in one book, and peaceful and forgiving in another. Perhaps this IS God; perhaps his personality is human. I don't know. But the Bible offers me nothing but some good lessons to live by. That is what I take from it.

    That is the best answer I can give you. If you are looking to debate someone on this topic you've picked the wrong person. I mean you no offense but don't expect me to stick around long. I'll do my best to answer your questions, but... I just don't care enough. Believers and non believers alike annoy me to no end.

    So why do I believe in God? I don't really know. I believe in him for many reasons. Some based on how I was raised, some based on my experiences as I got older. But I have no good answer for that.


    Why?
    Because I don't believe in the Islamic faith as it does not accept Jesus Christ as it's savior; and I do. Because I believe Jesus came to Earth as mans savior.


    So as a Christian, and despite what Christ teaches...you believe that all paths lead to God?
    I believe I am on the right path. I do. But I can't know. No, I don't believe all paths lead to God. That would imply that worshiping Satan would lead to God; and I don't believe that.

    I believe it is like my taste in music. I believe jazz is the best. I believe pop/dance/house/techno is the worst music ever; well maybe KISS, John Mellon Camp, and Bruce Springstein are the worst ever...

    But I have no grounds on which to stand. Do I say that KISS and the likes simply sell their crap to a certain group of people (middle and lower middle class America; or people who think they are in this class and "blue collar")? So does Jazz musicians. I have no grounds on which to objectively criticize.

    The same applies with religion. Islam is not for me, nor is Buddhism. Interesting, but not for me. Do I believe this path will lead them to God? No, I don't believe much like I don't know the Christian path will lead me to God. If we try to objectively look at it, we can't. We don't know enough; and I believe for an objective opinion to be found we must know. I believe; but that's all. Belief does not equal knowledge.

    No, it does not. It means that you have reasons to believe that Christ really is the Son of God and you have reasons to believe that what Christ said and taught, is correspondent to reality.
    I disagree and I don't even know where to begin. Yes, it does. If I say I am right about jazz music, it means I have enough knowledge of music in general, and more than enough knowledge in jazz, to make a decision.

    If I say I am right about my path, it means I know enough about my religion, and others, to know I am in the right; and everyone else is wrong. I believe this. But I don't know this. Therefore I cannot be right. Unless I am missing something, which I certainly could be.

    Claiming you are right/correct means you have enough knowledge to prove you are right or correct. You can't simply believe 2+2=5. You need to show proof. Proof requires knowledge. It requires some base in factual knowledge. Faith doesn't have this.

    You obviously believe for a reason...else you would accept that ALL religions are the same (teach the same things about the nature of God, man, eternity, etc...).
    You're right. I do. And I do believe that you and I as Christian (I believe you are one as well. If I am not disregard) are on the right path. But I believe, I do not know, and I cannot be right; being right implies knowing enough, factually speaking, to make an argument that is irrefutable.

    I lack that knowledge; and I think all men, believers and nonbelievers, lack that knowledge.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Faith is not simply belief without proof. If that were the only criterion for faith, every schizophrenic would be counted among the most devout of the faithful in every religion. I have spoken of this on another thread, but in brief, faith is reasonable conclusions drawn about things we cannot verify directly from evidence of things we have experienced and know to be true. You know that adherence to the moral tenets of the faith brings certain spiritual benefits with it, and you may be able to attest personally to the miraculous power of prayer. These things are not simply isolated phenomena to be filed away and ignored; they form the basis of any rational and reasonable faith, because they are the foundation upon which our belief in those things we cannot verify - our eternal fate after death, for example - entirely rests. We see that the other promises Jesus made to us about God are true, and so we have more reason to believe that the other things that he said and which we cannot verify are also true. Faith is the "evidence of things hoped for, and the substance of things not seen." It is not an arbitrary decision to believe something without any proof or reason.

    I invite you to examine more closely what you really believe. I think you may find that your beliefs are less arbitrary than you think... or, conversely, that they are not as strong as you might have thought.
    Then I invite you to give me enough factual proof to say that I am, without a doubt, factually, irrefutably, on the right path.

    I don't believe it is arbitrary. I simply cannot factually say that I am right. It's impossible. Just like I cannot argue that jazz is the best music in the world. I believe it is, but that is all.

    Give me factual, irrefutable proof that the three of us, you, Apok, and myself, are without a doubt, with NO QUESTION, right. Can you do that?
    Witty puns...

  3. #23
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Ok. So you can't "know" God exists. What else is there?
    Having sufficient reasons to believe. We believe in God on 2 fronts: reason (evaluating evidences and coming to a conclusion) and faith (the rest of the way between what we can know or believe based on evidence and what we do believe).

    I am not 100% certain why.
    Plausibility and reasonableness. Who said anything about being 100%? There is very little at all that we know with 100% certainty. Do you know with 100% certainty that when you travel you will arrive safely at your destination? Of course not. Yet, you believe it so because of reason (inductive reasoning) and faith. To suggest that reason has no place is to suggest that Christianity is unreasonable or that belief in God is unreasonable. A position that most Christians and almost all Church fathers and theist philosophers through the ages (classical to modern) adamantly disagree with. We do have reasons to believe. To suggest that we do not exposes a gross ignorance about Christianity, its history and what it has going for it my friend.

    The Bible is very old and much of it is history is wrapped up in approving and disapproving documents that would or would not go into it. Accounts that contradict. A God that is angry and vengeful in one book, and peaceful and forgiving in another.
    I think this is a serious misunderstanding of the Bible. God is quite consistent throughout, but that is for another thread.

    But the Bible offers me nothing but some good lessons to live by. That is what I take from it.
    This strikes me as odd for a Christian to say...especially considering that it is anti-Christ. Jesus certainly did not teach this...so why do you assert it? You are rejecting Christ while at the same time saying you accept him. How do you reconcile the contraction?

    Believers and non believers alike annoy me to no end.
    Yet...you are a believer...and the believers in this thread are merely restating what is taught in the Bible...it doesn't seem that your faith in Christianity is grounded in scripture. Is it a mystical Christianity, or new-age denomination? It certainly is not Catholic or any other orthodox denomination. Do you consider yourself just a "Sunday Christian" or a "casual believer"...not really subscribing to any theological thought or set of beliefs? What about any of the Creeds?

    So why do I believe in God? I don't really know. I believe in him for many reasons. Some based on how I was raised, some based on my experiences as I got older. But I have no good answer for that.
    Fair enough. Could it be that you just never cared enough to come to examine Christianity carefully enough to understand that it does have reasons to believe?

    Because I don't believe in the Islamic faith as it does not accept Jesus Christ as it's savior; and I do. Because I believe Jesus came to Earth as mans savior.
    But you only believe it "just cuz", right? Would you agree that this is "blind faith"? That is, it is faith lacking any reason whatsoever? You just "feel" it perhaps?

    I believe I am on the right path. I do. But I can't know. No, I don't believe all paths lead to God. That would imply that worshiping Satan would lead to God; and I don't believe that.
    But what is the reason that one cannot worship Satan and be lead to God? Humor me, you'll be illustrating a helpful point I believe.

    I believe it is like my taste in music. I believe jazz is the best. I believe pop/dance/house/techno is the worst music ever; well maybe KISS, John Mellon Camp, and Bruce Springstein are the worst ever...

    But I have no grounds on which to stand. Do I say that KISS and the likes simply sell their crap to a certain group of people (middle and lower middle class America; or people who think they are in this class and "blue collar")? So does Jazz musicians. I have no grounds on which to objectively criticize.
    These are personal tastes that contain to truth propositions. That is they do not speak to the reality of the world and tell us anything about it or how to live within it. Christianity contains truth propositions and it does indeed make truth claims about reality and how one ought to live in it. Either we accept those truth claims or we do not. And we accept them based on the reasons for them or reject them for the same reason. We don't "like" religion as we like music...we believe in our particular religion because it has reasons that allows us to do so.

    If we try to objectively look at it, we can't. We don't know enough; and I believe for an objective opinion to be found we must know.
    Of course we can. There are numerous philosophical arguments that assert that God exists, others that we can derive some attributes of God. We can examine the Bible, see how it was formed, who wrote it, how it measures up to history and credibility, verify its claims of prophecy (of which there are nearly 1,000), use archaeological evidence to verify its accuracy, etc... You are claiming that none of this exist...but it simply isn't true. It does exist and millions of people (like myself) have come to Christianity because of it.

    I disagree and I don't even know where to begin. Yes, it does. If I say I am right about jazz music, it means I have enough knowledge of music in general, and more than enough knowledge in jazz, to make a decision.
    No, it means that you have enough experience to know what makes you happy. In other words, it is something you like or prefer because it makes you feel good, and other forms of music do not. Christianity is not intended to "make people feel good", the purpose is to bring people to God, so that they may know God and His will. God has provided ways for people to know him. While it is true that we all may have personal experiences about God, it is not true that we cannot know anything about God or know with probability that Christianity is true.

    If I say I am right about my path, it means I know enough about my religion, and others, to know I am in the right; and everyone else is wrong. I believe this. But I don't know this. Therefore I cannot be right. Unless I am missing something, which I certainly could be.
    Being right or wrong is nothing more than being correspondent to reality. How you get there has nothing to do with being right or wrong. You could "feel" you are right, turn out that in the end you were. Just making a slight correction here.

    As far as "knowing" something...you don't have to say you know something with 100% certainty to believe you are right. We believe almost everything we do with degrees of probability. There are reasons to believe you will arrive at your destination safely...if there were none...then you would not travel (assuming you were a reasonable being). There are reasons to believe that you are the son of your parents (and not that of someone else's), but you cannot know with 100%. Belief in God does not require 100% certainty, but neither is it the case that we have 0% certainty and we ought to just "feel" our way through life, hoping our arbitrary religion selection is the right one.

    Christianity, like many faiths, is exclusive. It makes many claims about reality and how we can know it is true, but it also makes the claim that it alone is the only path to God. To suggest that it is possible that other faiths also lead to God is to reject God, Christ and Christianity itself.

    Claiming you are right/correct means you have enough knowledge to prove you are right or correct.
    It means you have enough knowledge to support you are right or correct. It is ok to make claims of true yet maintain that we are working with degrees of probability (vs absolute certainty...of which...there is very little of in anything).

    You can't simply believe 2+2=5. You need to show proof. Proof requires knowledge. It requires some base in factual knowledge. Faith doesn't have this.
    Blind faith does not, I agree. But Christianity does. Faith is the rest of the distance taken after reason has taken you so far.

    . But I believe, I do not know, and I cannot be right; being right implies knowing enough, factually speaking, to make an argument that is irrefutable.
    You only need to make an argument that is reasonable. You are setting up unrealistic standards by which to come to reason (100% certainty).

    I lack that knowledge; and I think all men, believers and nonbelievers, lack that knowledge.
    Yet...God disagrees. He says to be prepared to give reasons for your belief for when you asked. Aquinas also disagreed and offered several arguments for God's existence. He isn't alone, numerous others have done so. God gave us a mind DP...it is ok to use it, especially in the most important part of our lives (our relationship with God).

    Here's a little more explanation and some examples taken from GotQuestions.org


    The classic verse promoting apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith) is 1 Peter 3:15; which basically says that believers are to make a defense "for the hope that you have." The only way to do this effectively is to study the reasons for why we believe what we believe. This will prepare us to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ,” as Paul said we should (2 Corinthians 10:5). Paul practiced what he preached; in fact, doing apologetics was his regular activity (Philippians 1:7). He refers to apologetics as an aspect of his mission in the same passage (v.16). He also made apologetics a requirement for church leadership in Titus 1:9. Jude, an apostle of Jesus, wrote that "although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (v.3).

    Where did the apostles get these ideas? From the Master Himself. Jesus was His own apologetic as He stated time and again that we should believe in Him because of the evidence He provided for what He taught (John 2:23; 10:25; 10:38; 14:29). In fact, the whole Bible is full of miracles specifically being done by God to confirm what He wanted us to believe (Exodus 4:1-8; 1Kings 18:36-39; Acts 2:22-43; Hebrews 2:3-4; 2 Corinthians 12:12). People rightly refuse to believe something without evidence. Since God created humans as rational beings, we should not be surprised when He expects us to live rationally. As Norman Geisler says, “This does not mean there is no room for faith. But God wants us to take a step of faith in the light of evidence, rather than to leap in the dark.”
    http://www.gotquestions.org/defend-faith.html


    ---------- Post added at 10:41 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:36 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Then I invite you to give me enough factual proof to say that I am, without a doubt, factually, irrefutably, on the right path.

    I don't believe it is arbitrary. I simply cannot factually say that I am right. It's impossible. Just like I cannot argue that jazz is the best music in the world. I believe it is, but that is all.

    Give me factual, irrefutable proof that the three of us, you, Apok, and myself, are without a doubt, with NO QUESTION, right. Can you do that?
    You are expecting a standard that is unreasonable. For example, can you give me without a doubt, irrefutable, no question proof that the next time you travel to work, school, a friend's house, or a store...that you will not get into an accident and instead arrive safely?

    No, of course not. Can you give me some reasons that make it reasonable to think that you will arrive safely thought? Absolutely. You believe you will arrive not out of "emotion" or "likes" or for the same reasons you like jazz, but rather because you possess enough knowledge and the capability to reason about it to lead you to that conclusion.
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  4. #24
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Then I invite you to give me enough factual proof to say that I am, without a doubt, factually, irrefutably, on the right path.

    I don't believe it is arbitrary. I simply cannot factually say that I am right. It's impossible. Just like I cannot argue that jazz is the best music in the world. I believe it is, but that is all.

    Give me factual, irrefutable proof that the three of us, you, Apok, and myself, are without a doubt, with NO QUESTION, right. Can you do that?
    As Apok said, that's not a reasonable standard for faith. In fact, factual, irrefutable proof is the one thing that makes faith irrelevant, because faith is "the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen." If you are looking at irrefutable proof that it's true, then you *do* see it. You don't need faith to believe something that's irrefutably true. What's more, you use a much more reasonable standard for faith every day for all kinds of less extraordinary claims. Put it like this:

    When you get a call from the UPS store and someone tells you, "You have a package waiting for you, Mr. Devilpup. It will be ready for you to pick up at 2 pm," can you cite factual, irrefutable proof that you will, without a doubt, with NO QUESTION have a package waiting for you when you get there? No... of course you can't. You have to take it on faith. You have previous experiences, such as prior dealings with UPS; the understanding that when a professional business calls you to tell you something, they don't generally lie; the slip you found in your mailbox where the driver tried to deliver but found nobody home. None of these things is in any way irrefutable proof that there will be a package waiting for you when you get to the store... but they constitute a sufficiently strong body of supporting evidence that it is reasonable to believe the claim without factual, irrefutable proof. Even if you were to demand that the person call you on video chat and show you the package with your name and address on it, that would still be using a measure of faith, because you have to accept on faith the premise that they didn't mock up a package to look like something for you; the premise that the video feed is accurate and not tampered with; and the premise that even if the package you are shown is the right one, you will, in fact be allowed to pick it up and it will still be there when you get there. Even if the person that is calling you is a good and dear friend of yours whom you trust, that's still a measure of faith. You are putting faith in your prior experiences that lead you to believe that they are a) accurate in their assessment, b) will not lie to you, and c) will allow you to pick up the package when you arrive.

    Faith is not a matter of choosing to believe without evidence; it's using what you already know and can verify to arrive at further conclusions about what you can't verify. In the case of Christians, it's about the other promises that Jesus and His Disciples made about the Kingdom and the faith that we can have direct experiences with leading the way toward a deeper faith in those things we *can't* experience directly.
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  5. #25
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    For the sake of living up to my own expectations I concede on all points and withdraw.
    Witty puns...

  6. #26
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    Well, I would hope that you did so because there may have at least been something that we said that makes a little sense, and not that you just didn't want to respond to a wall of text. If the latter, then perhaps ignoring all the points except the part referenced by GotQuestions.org which provides Biblical references to having reasons and using reason for having belief in God.

    Also, this is not to say that those who wish to have just faith (or faith w/o reason) are bad, immoral, non-Christian, etc... Specifically, the issue was "Is there a reason that Christians can believe they are correct in their belief system?" You said "no", and we objected. There are reasons we can believe we are correct and that God is of the Bible is real. It doesn't mean someone is more or less of a Christian if they accept those reasons or prefer not to dive into them...it just means that reasons do exist...nothing more. I hope that point is clear and that you don't think you were being judged (if it felt that way, I apologize, that wasn't my intent).
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  7. #27
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    Re: What makes Christianity 'right' (from the eyes of a Christian)

    Matters of belief are very tricky things, and once invested in a certain course of study, it can be hard to accept that there are indisputable errors in it. It doesn't matter what religion you are (or aren't).

    For example, suppose that there was someone who was raised a Christian, didn't believe exactly as they were taught to believe, went through a whole gamut of studies and insights and in the end came back to Christianity, but to a more informed, more studied and more enlightened version of it. However, suppose that person --at relatively that same time-- also came to accept a primitive, unfortunate, but somewhat common aspect of that belief, such as Young Earth Creationism, and later on through even more study came to the conclusion that not only is Young Earth Creationism flawed, but also terribly so.

    For some people, they might see being so wrong on such an important element as enough reason to re-think everything altogether. They might consider that the texts on which these arguments are predicated might contain characteristics that make them prone to misinterpretation, or that they're simply wrong in a number of ways because the people who wrote them were profoundly less informed about the way nature works than say, the average 5th grader. They might consider that when a person is writing from a place of such deep ignorance, it's completely reasonable to think that there are many errors in their understanding, and they might think it foolish hold that these texts are without error.

    Others might be compelled to rationalize the errors as shortcomings on the parts of the proponents, but not errors with the core documents themselves; that the documents themselves are wholly and indisputably without error, and that the authors of these texts were somehow privy to facts about nature that still elude all the finest minds from then until now, from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein. They might believe, for example, that these things are not in any way obstacles for a person who is divinely inspired, and moreover that such a person in such a state cannot be in error when conveying the Word of God, and as such when the texts are misunderstood, it is not because of the texts themselves, but always because of some shortcoming of the reader.

    In either case, the person goes where they are compelled, and so if one believes that they they are the authors of their own wills, and they believe that they have chosen the path they have gone down, they still have to accept that their belief has chosen them too, to exactly the extent that the elements of that belief system resonate with them as an individual.

 

 
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