Peace above the storm (in Off-topic)


Matshi February 3 2008 2:09 AM EST

"For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth
in Him should not perish, but have
everlasting life." John 3:16.

Nature and revelation alike testify of God's love. Our Father in heaven is the source of life, of wisdom, and of joy. Look at the wonderful and beautiful things of nature. Think of their marvelous adaptation to the needs and happiness, not only of man, but of all living creatures. The sunshine and the rain, that gladden and refresh the earth, the hills and seas and plains, all speak to us of the Creator's love. It is God who supplies the daily needs of all His creatures. In the beautiful words of the psalmist, "The eyes of all wait upon Thee; And Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand, And satisfiest the desire of every living thing." Psalm 145:15, 16.

God made man perfectly holy and happy; and the fair earth, as it came from the Creator's hand, bore no blight of decay or shadow of the curse. It is transgression of God's law--the law of love--that has brought woe and death. Yet even amid the suffering that results from sin, God's love is revealed. It is written that God cursed the ground for man's sake. Genesis 3:17. The thorn and the thistle--the difficulties and trials that make his life one of toil and care--were appointed for his good as a part of the training needful in God's plan for his uplifting from the ruin and degradation that sin has wrought. The world, though fallen, is not all sorrow and misery. In nature itself are messages of hope and comfort. There are flowers upon the thistles, and the thorns are covered with roses.

"God is love" is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green--all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy.

The word of God reveals His character. He Himself has declared His infinite love and pity. When Moses prayed, "Show me Thy glory," the Lord answered, "I will make all My goodness pass before thee." Exodus 33:18, 19. This is His glory. The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin." Exodus 34:6, 7. He is "slow to anger, and of great kindness," "because He delighteth in mercy." Jonah 4:2; Micah 7:18.

God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent His love. Though all these evidences have been given, the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,--one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men.
God's Son: the Ultimate Display of Love

The Son of God came from heaven to make manifest the Father. "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." John 1:18. "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." Matthew 11:27. When one of the disciples made the request, "Show us the Father," Jesus answered, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" John 14:8, 9.

In describing His earthly mission, Jesus said, The Lord "hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." Luke 4:18. This was His work. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house, for He had passed through them and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love, mercy, and compassion were revealed in every act of His life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. He took man's nature, that He might reach man's wants. The poorest and humblest were not afraid to approach Him. Even little children were attracted to Him. They loved to climb upon His knees and gaze into the pensive face, benignant with love.

Jesus did not suppress one word of truth, but He uttered it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He spoke the truth, but always in love. He denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity; but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, which refused to receive Him, the way, the truth, and the life. They had rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness. His life was one of self-denial and thoughtful care for others. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He ever bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with the tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.

Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father's heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God "manifest in the flesh." 1 Timothy 3:16.
Jesus Sacrificed His Life

It was to redeem us that Jesus lived and suffered and died. He became "a Man of Sorrows," that we might be made partakers of everlasting joy. God permitted His beloved Son, full of grace and truth, to come from a world of indescribable glory, to a world marred and blighted with sin, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. He permitted Him to leave the bosom of His love, the adoration of the angels, to suffer shame, insult, humiliation, hatred, and death. "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5. Behold Him in the wilderness, in Gethsemane, upon the cross! The spotless Son of God took upon Himself the burden of sin. He who had been one with God, felt in His soul the awful separation that sin makes between God and man. This wrung from His lips the anguished cry, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Matthew 27:46. It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God--it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God.

But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father's heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19. God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption.

Jesus said, "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again." John 10:17. That is, "My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father; for by My sacrifice, God can be just, and yet the Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus."

None but the Son of God could accomplish our redemption; for only He who was in the bosom of the Father could declare Him. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it manifest. Nothing less than the infinite sacrifice made by Christ in behalf of fallen man could express the Father's love to lost humanity.

"God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son." He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is "not ashamed to call them brethren" (Hebrews 2:11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father's throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed--the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.
The Value of a Person

The price paid for our redemption, the infinite sacrifice of our heavenly Father in giving His Son to die for us, should give us exalted conceptions of what we may become through Christ. As the inspired apostle John beheld the height, the depth, the breadth of the Father's love toward the perishing race, he was filled with adoration and reverence; and, failing to find suitable language in which to express the greatness and tenderness of this love, he called upon the world to behold it. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God." 1 John 3:1. What a value this places upon man! Through transgression the sons of man become subjects of Satan. Through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ the sons of Adam may become the sons of God. By assuming human nature, Christ elevates humanity. Fallen men are placed where, through connection with Christ, they may indeed become worthy of the name "sons of God."

Such love is without a parallel. Children of the heavenly King! Precious promise! Theme for the most profound meditation! The matchless love of God for a world that did not love Him! The thought has a subduing power upon the soul and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God. The more we study the divine character in the light of the cross, the more we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice, and the more clearly we discern innumerable evidences of a love that is infinite and a tender pity surpassing a mother's yearning sympathy for her wayward child.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 3 2008 10:36 AM EST

selling out of the game for usd and proselytizing whilst doing it? priceless!

Matshi February 3 2008 1:37 PM EST

Sharing what makes me happy cannot hurt :)

QBBast [Hidden Agenda] February 3 2008 2:03 PM EST


It makes me really happy to put people inside of clothes dryers, so long as they're the windowed-front variety, and watch them go round and round and round.

It doesn't hurt _me_ to share what I enjoy. Those on wrinkle-free tumble claim a different experience, however.

In fact, it is their "different experience" of what makes me happy that also makes it an activity I am barred from enjoying.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 3 2008 2:42 PM EST

i find sharing ones religious beliefs more analogous to the sharing of ones flatulence. if i dined with you last night on beans, cabbage and boiled eggs, i am more likely to understand your gastric release and commiserate with you. however, everyone else in the room will likely be uncomfortable and possibly even disgusted.

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] February 3 2008 2:48 PM EST

Not any different from that thread where we talked about books we liked, you know. I did not read most of those books, and still ain't bothered...

QBOddBird February 3 2008 2:56 PM EST

I find that many people share (often in Chat) how they feel about their own beliefs, be it agnostic, atheistic, or what have you: and we all manage to remain civil about it.

I wish that would carry over to forums.

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] February 3 2008 2:59 PM EST

Exact. The worse that can happen is that you will not be agreeing.

So?

Relic February 3 2008 3:03 PM EST

"i find sharing ones religious beliefs more analogous to the sharing of ones flatulence."

Wow, just wow.
I guess as a society we really haven't developed a tolerance for beauty in all its forms, including personal beliefs that differ from our own. Whether or not you agree with a person, there is no reason to be condescending or rude regarding the expression of said differences.

Matshi February 3 2008 3:07 PM EST

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties putting people in dryers. I wish you we able to do what makes you happy.
Maybe you should try not forcing people into the dryer -- just leave the dryer out. If people aren't interested in the dryer they can ignore it and be on their way. If they are interested in climbing in the dryer then everyone's happy. However, if they're not interested yet climb into the dryer anyway, it's pretty narrow-minded and foolish for them to complain about it. I guess that just shows that they have issues with dryers.. interesting.

AdminG Beee February 3 2008 3:55 PM EST

Kinda still on-topic. I think...

Hanging Out Washing

QBJohnnywas February 3 2008 3:58 PM EST

Personally I find it far safer to close the dryer firmly, to avoid small children and kittens climbing inside and getting trapped.

Anybody who is old enough to decide to use the dryer themselves will be old enough to open it up.

j'bob February 3 2008 5:26 PM EST

just leave the dryer out. If people aren't interested in the dryer they can ignore it and be on their way. If they are interested in climbing in the dryer then everyone's happy.

Matshi FTW!!!!!!!! If people can't keep enough control over their kittens or children then it's not MY fault if they end up in the dryer. They should be happy they're not ending up in my SPIN cycle! Yeah baby! Booo yah! And if no one wants to climb in my dryer at all, well then maybe I should think about making my dryer more appealing to people. I can't just sit around and blame the rest of the world for my lack of happiness, I gotta do something 'bout it!

Eurynome Bartleby [Bartleby's] February 3 2008 5:37 PM EST

Super Bowl is here, right? I'd say, head to the nearest outdoor celebration, and start a trail of beer/chicken wings from there to your dryer.

You ought to get at least one person to ride in it.

"But I was drunk!" Will probably work as a defense in this case.

TheHatchetman February 3 2008 5:44 PM EST

"However, if they're not interested yet climb into the dryer anyway, it's pretty narrow-minded and foolish for them to complain about it."

Very true. Nobody was forced into the dryer, just as nobody was forced to read this thread. I personally am an Atheist, and not offended by this thread in the slightest. I clicked it (like I do every thread) and noticed it was a religious one, and moved on... Had I been required to read the thread and take a quiz on it afterwards before spending BA, that would have annoyed me. Or if botchecks were excerpts taken out of the Bible or Quaran, missing a word, and required me to read the excerpt and find the missing word... Force religion on me, and I would find it annoying. Post it, and it's pretty easy to skip the thread until replies start rolling in...

(NOTE: I do not find "ohmygod!", "God belss you.", "In God we trust" offensive, and I can live with "under God" in the Pledge of allegiance, so long as people are not required to say it.")

(Another note: These are strictly my views of things. Feel free to deem me an evil son of a wolf. But do not try to change them ;)

j'bob February 3 2008 5:56 PM EST

"Feel free to deem me an evil son of a wolf."

pippy is your father? /me puts an arm around hatch...
if you ever need to talk, we're here for you.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 3 2008 7:21 PM EST

There were a couple of questions with the Bible I've never been able to answer for myself...

First, man didn't write the Bible. God wrote the bible thorugh people. It is in essence, the perfect word of God (A perfect being in every way). Cool. So did God have a hand in the translations? The existance of the 'Wicked' bible (copyist/typist/whoever left the 'not' out of the deadly sin of 'Thou shall not commit adultery....) throws that into doubt. If not, then anyone not reading from the original text, is in fact reading a work produced by a failible, non perfect human being. Which cannot guarantee you the perfect word of God.

Secondly, if we take the Bible (whichever version) to be the perfect word of God, then we must follow what is written within literally, without any interpretation on our part. It would be utter hubris to assume our flawed, non perfect reasoning could glean any correct meaning from interpreting the perfect word of God.

Next, why are Bats called birds inthe Bible, when they are actually Mammels? Throw on top of that all the other perceived inconsistancies, such as colours and names.

And lastly (for the moment), how can we reconcile the existance of a being that exists out of time, and knows everything that will, could, and is happening, everywhere, at once, with Free Will?

Colonel Custard February 3 2008 7:48 PM EST

"It would be utter hubris to assume our flawed, non perfect reasoning could glean any correct meaning from interpreting the perfect word of God."

"Any" is a misused absolute, here. I agree that interpretation by fallible beings is bound to create challenges for some, but an all-knowing God who created human beings would surely know that we do interpret things and process information before just absorbing it, however minimally. It was inspired by God, and written by men, who communicate the ideas as clearly as they can, using figurative language, cultural context, and metaphor (in places) to better put a point across to the intended audience.
Cultural context really does need to be taken into account as well, though.

I don't know where the Bible calls bats birds. Please give me a reference or something.

As for free will, think of it this way:
God knows everything. Everything. As I mentioned above, he understands how people work, because he created them. Give him any hypothetical situation, and he would know the outcome, not limited to just physical reactions, etc, but he would also have a full knowledge of how each person involved in the situation would react. People actions are shaped and influenced by their experiences, assumptions, particular hormone balance, whether or not they got enough sleep the night before, etc. All these factors come together, and God has more than enough RAM to figure it all out.
Furthermore, he is not limited by time. He doesn't determine that he wants something to happen and then it does, because things he does don't happen before and after each other. As far as he is concerned, he's never created anything in his life, and he's already brought all creation to completion. The Universe has started and has ended, will start and will end, or is starting and ending right now, all while nothing exists or ever has. It's not possible to describe it in terms of time, because it is not confined to time, but I'm trying to think this through in human terms the best that I can. God is outside of time, so he knows what all of it is.
There's a way in which everything has/is/will happen... but that doesn't make you do what you do. It's as if someone from 20 years in the future could just watch, and know in advance what you would do. That wouldn't make you do it. You just would, because that's how you choose to act in that particular situation.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 3 2008 7:57 PM EST

CC, I'd have to hunt out the exact passage. It was an exmaple ages ago from discussion with a Work collegue who was a Witness. ;)

As for the free will question, I never implied that God had a hand in 'choosing' what we do.

What my question is, is that as the outcome (and all possible outcomes, but the actualy one nether the less) to every event is already known, who can we ever differ from the single path that already exists for us since the creation of everything?

For example, below I'm going to type a single capital letter formt he alphabet at random.

J

Cool.

Now, this result to this event, while not influenced by God in any way, was know to him before I was born. Before the world was creatd even.

There is no possible way I could have typed anything other than the J I did. I had no choice in my action, I would always have had to type that J. That I thought I could have chosen one of the other 25, and that 'free will' to chose any of the 26 is actually a lie, as I couldn't. I think I have free will, but the exact events of everything I will ever do, is already known, and already set in stone.

They cannont chance one ince fromt he path that has existed for me from the moment of creation.

j'bob February 3 2008 8:06 PM EST

GL, while I will NOT say you are right or wrong I will contribute my idea on that matter. And it is simple. The Lord's knowledge of what we "consider" the future does not effect our free will. Just because He knows what you will or will not do in your life doesn't mean the choices are not being made by you. Just that He already knows.
My 2 pennies on a matter of Millions.

Matshi February 3 2008 8:21 PM EST

On the subject of interpretations, man was never intended to interpret the scriptures because the bible interprets itself. The bible is wholly right and man is corrupt, therefore you have to use the righteous to interpret the righteous. If you use the corrupt mind and heart of man to decipher the righteous Word then you'll end up with the babbling of fools -- and that's why there are so many confused churches out there today -- because their theology is base off a human opinion instead of the Word of God.

Isaiah 28:13
"But the word of the LORD was to them,
'Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little,'
That they might go and fall backward, and be broken
And snared and caught.

Isaiah 28:10
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little.ヤ

And I agree with j'bob's explanation of fate. Nothing is planned out, but that doesn't mean God doesn't know what's going to happen.

Godpanda February 3 2008 8:55 PM EST

The bible is the written word of man. Calling it God's will, God's though, or even pertaining to God is blasphemous ;P

Just my interpretation of course.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 3 2008 9:05 PM EST

If God knows what's going to happen (which he must) then everything is planned.

It's that simple.

While he may have (or had have) no hand in determining the outcome of an event, that it is foreknown means no other outcome is actually possible.

I may delude myself into thinking I have any choice in what I have to eat tomorrow, that its my will to go to Gurger King instead of McDonalds, it is already known which of the two I will actually go to.

My 'choice' is meaningless. I cannot choose to go to the one it is already known I won't go to.



drudge February 4 2008 2:45 PM EST

just came in here to say no way in hell would i ever read all those words; but big ups for typing all them out on here

QBOddBird February 4 2008 3:40 PM EST

GL - but isn't the family of mammals a human-created school of thought? If God is really God, and he's the supreme being of the universe, then if he calls them birds, they are birds. Even if we come up with a different word and family for them. ;P

QBOddBird February 4 2008 3:40 PM EST

Besides, the word mammal hadn't been invented.

Yukk February 4 2008 4:43 PM EST

Hmm, just last night I was reading this List of top 100 religious forum quotes

Kinda reminds me of that. Not that I'm suggesting Matshi is a fundi.

Lochnivar February 4 2008 4:55 PM EST

I always find it interesting when people quote a King James Bible...

I'm not sure of the impartiality of work commissioned by and English king in the 1500s (or so).

However.... what ever you (I mean anyone) choose to believe is fine with me with the following two provisions:
1. That it makes you happy and makes you're life better
2. It is never used to justify mistreatment of, or condescension to, any of your fellow humans.

Yukk February 4 2008 5:00 PM EST

That's pretty much how I feel (the last bit) Loch.
Believe whatever you like so long as you keep it between yourselves and don't go forcing it on other people at gun/bonfire-point.
Then again, I haven't been indoctrinated, so maybe I'm missing the whole point.

QBOddBird February 4 2008 5:04 PM EST

Yukk, that's incredible. It's like they've taken the most hardcore idiots claiming to be Christians and posted them all there...

QBsutekh137 February 4 2008 5:08 PM EST

GL, it depends on whether or not you think time is linear, doesn't it?

If so, then yeah, I guess someone being able to skip up the line means things are "known", and in that sense, my line has been chosen for me.

But if time is non-linear, then there are a lot of people (including myself) who already "know" what I am about to do tomorrow, the next day, the day after... They know because they simply exist in a time where my future is their past.

In that scenario, would you say I am controlled by their knowledge? If they suddenly have memory of me breaking out into song in the middle of my workplace, would that mean they have "controlled" me into starting to sing in a few minutes?

I have never subscribed to knowledge controlling choice. I might know that someone jumping off a building will result in their certain death. I could even model their exact splatter given enough computing resources and reliable parameters about the incident.

That doesn't mean I can make them jump. *smile* I might know they did jump, but that doesn't mean I pushed then, neither literally or figuratively. I just know they jumped. If time suddenly changed somehow, to a time-line in which that person DIDN'T jump, my awareness of the matter would instantly change, and I would have no knowledge of the other time-line.

As far as the Bible goes, I judge most things on internal consistency. That's just about the only reliable way of determining if something can be "trusted" (still in quotes, because trust is still a tough not to crack, even in consistent situations). Going by that litmus test, the Bible really isn't any more trustworthy than a lot of other books. Because while I don't feel omnipotence and omniscience necessarily dictate control, I do think they should at least result in consistency. *smile* I was writing more consistent works than the Bible when I was in third grade.

Colonel Custard February 4 2008 5:54 PM EST

Sutekh, thank you for that. That explained what I was trying to get at about time much more successfully than the way I explained it.

As far as the bird thing goes, I think that probably has to do with translation errors. In 4000 B.C., for example, they didn't have animal classifications like we do now. They basically had animals and plants, and the animals were divided into the flying ones, the swimming ones, and the land-dwelling ones. It is entirely possible that the original writings mention "flying creatures" (an entirely accurate description of a bat), which was considered to be interchangeable with the word "bird" at the time, because there were no such things as "mammals."

Sutekh: "I was writing more consistent works than the Bible when I was in third grade."
Most of the inconsistencies that people point to in discussions of the Bible tend to involve Old Testament vs. New Testament. I had a thought hit me recently that is rather hard to sum up, but the basic idea is that God bears many characteristics which, from our view, seem conflicting, but which are not mutually exclusive in a universal sense. We see a linear spectrum with two extremes, and we view the extremes as opposites... but that entire spectrum is just a cross-section of a much larger universal gamut at the point where it crosses our existence. For example: one of the most obvious characteristics of God, if you only look at the Old Testament, is that he administers swift and harsh justice to those who disobey his commands, often in the form of annihilation. In the New Testament, the Jesus aspect of the Christian God takes the forefront, with one of his chief characteristics being merciful, compassionate forgiveness for those who have done wrong. These are not opposites. Despite Jesus' forgiving approach to other human beings, he still acknowledges that those who reject God, his law, and his forgiveness will incur punishment and retribution. In the Old Testament, likewise, the nation of Israel in particular was given many opportunities to be redeemed after turning away from God repeatedly.
Let me know what you think of that, please, anyone.

Obscurans February 4 2008 7:08 PM EST

Well, since you're flaunting determinism, then whether I get proselytized or not is already set in stone. Not happening. And god knew before my birth I was going to hell, and even set Jesu into my path so that a defence of "never heard of him" doesn't work. He most definitely is screwing me over.

My standard counterargument to "god is beyond time": the word "before" invokes time indirectly. When you're saying "a happened before b", you mean "b is later than a on the (presupposed-ly) linear scale of time". What's more, from relativity events are tied to what time they occur, and from our own reference point, it occurs "later" commensurate with how far they are from us.

In simpler words: each event occurs at a definite time (well, existence continuously occurs) and we observe that through information transmitted at the speed of light (or any speed slower) - to be later. What it means is that time and space are linked (well duh relativity).

So, to say something exists, we always imply "that thing started existing at some time t and continued until now". "That bridge was built two years ago". We reference the starting point - two years ago. Another weird part of relativity: time and space are linked, so without time, there IS no space. And to be beyond space, you have to be beyond our universe (by definition).

And by definition, things beyond the universe can't be observed. Can't be observed means with any means, squat. You can't detect it. No telescopes, smoke clouds, mediums, or voices in your head. To exist "before" or "beyond" time, your existence, to this world, must be completely, utterly identical to the world as if you didn't exist.

Which makes existence moot. For god's traits to even be, he forces himself to either bend physics or not touch the world. If he bends physics, then physics is wrong (since the assumption is that it works everywhere in this universe), and no Jesu-ite nor scientist has shown that.

Yes, Newton was inaccurate, but since his instruments cannot detect the difference, you can't show him wrong in his age. I.e., you can't show that the error in observation is due to more than measurement. Example: you have a ruler, with 1mm markings. Can you measure the length of a pencil to 0.001mm accuracy? Not with the ruler you can't, so if you say it's 105mm long, and it's 105.024mm, you're not wrong, you're not accurate enough.

So, more on god bends physics. He is also omnipotent. So can he create a rock so heavy even he can't move it? If he can, then he can't move the rock, and so can't do everything. If he can't, then he can't create the rock and can't do everything. Liar paradox.

To those who would reply "god doesn't want to": he simply can't do both, so even if he would never want to, he still isn't omnipotent. And his mental block means he's far from omnipotent.

Now, he's omniscient. He knows everything, including what he's about to do. So can he do something he doesn't expect himself to do? If yes he doesn't know everything, if no he can't do everything. Omnipotence is a can of worms dear.

Enough bashing on the basic aspects of god you all claim, so that I don't need to go over all the inconsistencies in the Bible. Yes, copout, I shot your other leg first.

Well, if this religion (and others) isn't true, then somehow science can't explain it (so it must be true). But we can. Ignore for a second all the BS we get about evolution being wrong, and take a step back. Evolution works on the level of an organism - something that can reproduce itself. An idea can also fit there (tell me about it).

An idea that spreads and maintains itself is memetically successful, just as an organism that has many children and doesn't die out is genetically successful. A couple of basic things success requires: 1. simply put, spread me. An idea that explicitly calls for its replication will fare far better, just as humans have a sex drive. Evangelism, anyone? 2. self-defence. An idea that defends its credibility, and better still attacks other competitors, does better. "I'm right, you're wrong". "Believe and go to heaven, disbelieve and go to hell (with its unimaginable horrors [I have no obligation to supply my own source of fear if you can't tell me {quotation mark spam}])". OK that was more sugarcoating as well.

So, stripped of all mysticism, religions are basically very successful (and by now deeply implanted) ideas. What did you think "saving people" was for? Spreading the faith, duh! Donations? Successful buisnessmen hijacking the system for cash, lol. Think of the wealth amassed in the Vatican - and they talk about YOU donating for Africa. It's more than 9 0's on the bankroll... they're holding on to.

Now, how it survived is done. How it came about is another question. Early people knew jack all about the world. The sun, world, sky, sex, death, etc. Fear of the unknown was rampant (well, think how scared you are when you walk into unknown woods - no tracks). Any system that had at least a plausible explanation, fills that gap. God put the sun there and it goes up and down to give light. Heaven awaits you after death.

In short, a sugar pill. Then someone actually proved the earth was round, and the arcane rituals were tacked on. Christianity is a highly successful religion, mostly due to the utter unabashedness in which they copy other (at that time) successful religions. Mithra, sun god, was reborn at the winter solstice (December 25th) - and the church acknowledges (somewhere hidden) that the date was used as a sun festival.

Osiris, Egyptian god of the dead, himself died and was reborn three days later. Hades, the eponymous realm of the Greek god of the dead, had three parts: Hades itself, where the normal people went and waited... for nothing, the Elysian Fields, where the blessed, virtuous and heroes went (with the option of rebirth), and a crappy place called Tartarus, where the bad guys suffered forever. Sample: Sisyphus was a Greek king who did BAD. The gods cursed him to roll a stone up a hill, but everytime he got halfway the stone would escape, shatter or otherwise elude him. Rinse and repeat. See, at least they tell you what horrors you get.

http://www.pocm.info/

Don't just stand there *believing* me, see for yourself.

My whole stance on the point is religion is an outdated *evolutionary* artifact (snicker) that persists because of the utter efficiency at which it gains and brainwashes converts. The questions of god and Jesu are inherently moot because they are the carrot and stick of the bogusman, err bogeyman.

I at least have my own beer volcano. RAmen.

Obscurans February 4 2008 7:12 PM EST

So, I've actually done this many times before, and I know most of the standard arguments (and counterarguments) you put up. I'll give detailed refutations on request (i.e. throw them).

"and brings the mind into captivity to the will of God". Yes. Exactly what I want. To have my brain chained down. Are you sure you're actually proselytizing? Plus, while the rest of you converts think fellating god for the rest of eternity is a GOOD end, I don't like your rotten carrot. I'll eat your indescribable hell-stick instead. OK excuse that crassness, but that was the point.

His Noodly Appendage touches all.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 7:38 PM EST

:D

"GL, it depends on whether or not you think time is linear, doesn't it?

If so, then yeah, I guess someone being able to skip up the line means things are "known", and in that sense, my line has been chosen for me.

But if time is non-linear, then there are a lot of people (including myself) who already "know" what I am about to do tomorrow, the next day, the day after... They know because they simply exist in a time where my future is their past.

In that scenario, would you say I am controlled by their knowledge? If they suddenly have memory of me breaking out into song in the middle of my workplace, would that mean they have "controlled" me into starting to sing in a few minutes?"

No. I've never infered influence or control by thier knowledge. ;)

But, that they know (even if it's non linear, and thier past) that you have broken out into song in the middle of your workplace, then there's no chance you *cannot* break out into song is there? ;)

Unless you want to delve into multiple universes. Which is actually the same problem, just on a larger scale. As to remain omniscient, God must know the events (true and potential) in every universe, not just a particular one (and if there is an infinite amoun of them, there must exist one where God does/doesn't/might/should/could exist simultaniously at once. ;) )

"I have never subscribed to knowledge controlling choice. I might know that someone jumping off a building will result in their certain death. I could even model their exact splatter given enough computing resources and reliable parameters about the incident."

I'm not imfering control at all. Just that if the outcome of an event is known, there can be no other possible outcome. Regardless of the knowledge (or lack of) of the participants. ;)

"That doesn't mean I can make them jump. *smile* I might know they did jump, but that doesn't mean I pushed then, neither literally or figuratively. I just know they jumped. If time suddenly changed somehow, to a time-line in which that person DIDN'T jump, my awareness of the matter would instantly change, and I would have no knowledge of the other time-line."

I stated I never infered that God had any hand in the choices above. ;) I'll be happy to assert nothing did (there in lies another problem, with inherated behaviour, but I'll leave that for another night!)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 7:40 PM EST

"So, more on god bends physics. He is also omnipotent. So can he create a rock so heavy even he can't move it? If he can, then he can't move the rock, and so can't do everything. If he can't, then he can't create the rock and can't do everything. Liar paradox."

Logical flaw. ;)

God, being all powerful, isn't bound by physical restraints. Or if he is, it's because he wants to be.

He could, without contradiction to his existance, create a rock so heavy and physical manifestion he took cou;dn't lift it. Then he could, moments later throw the rock lie a paperweight, or atomise it on the spot.

Tough to tell what an all powerful being would do. ;)

Obscurans February 4 2008 8:02 PM EST

Well yeah, but I'll modify the paradox to be worse. Can god make a rock and then forever, for all time that has been, will be, and will never be, bar himself from being able to move it, with physical, metaphysical or any other godly means? If so he can't move it (forever), if not he can't do it, and now he can't use the "switch times" argument. The crux is "can he NOT"?

Time is linear because human experience by definition creates the time. You know that it was yesterday BECAUSE you knew what you did. You know it is tomorrow BECAUSE it hasn't arrived yet. We explicitly call the future "that is to come", so if you've seen it, then it's the past. We said so.

Ah, nobody said god had a hand, but he was omnipotent, knew I was going to hell, and did nothing. Not stopping a murderer is being (passive) accomplice to murder. If he didn't do anything, he's still bad because he didn't do anything to help me - he knows Jesu words won't turn me and so divine revelation required. And no, he's stingy. If he shaped my path to lead to hell... damn it.

Mind starting to respond to my attack on the entire basis of religion :)?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 8:09 PM EST

Of course he can bar himself. It's in his powers as omnipotent. ;) nothing wrong there. He can unbar himself at any time. Or he can bar himself in such a fashion he *can't* unbar himself (otherwise he wouldn't be all powerful). It's still no contradiction. ;)

I'll start with;

"And by definition, things beyond the universe can't be observed."

How do you know that's true? How do you know that the method to observing beyond out universe just isn't available to you?

Obscurans February 4 2008 8:14 PM EST

It's simple. We *call* what we can see (with telescopes) the observable universe. We *call* what we can infer must exist (by gravitational effect) the universe.

It's by definition. If we can't see it, then we don't know if it exists or not, and both are the same to us. We can't care.

And so, he can't unbar himself, and let's make it better. Make it such that he cannot unbar the bars, an strongly inaccessible cardinal number or times. Lol, waaaay bigger than infinity. And similarly bar himself from using any trick imaginable or not, and from violating the bans. Meh, the point is can god be un-able to do something? That's in itself something to do.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 8:17 PM EST

So you're sure that only things you can see/interact with exist?

I can't see you, you must not exist. ;)

Obscurans February 4 2008 8:19 PM EST

But if I was sure you exist, and searched for you 1000 years with the most sophisticated instruments (at each time), and find but no evidence of your existence, and that you, if extant, would have such a great and powerful effect on the world that it must be immediately evident, I can then regard you as bogus. Lol. 'Nuff said.

Obscurans February 4 2008 8:21 PM EST

By the laws of physics, everything interacts with everything else. Gravity, electroweak forces are vector integrals over the entire universe. And as I said, if you don't interact with me (as in ANY way), then if you exist, I don't know, it doesn't matter, and who cares if you don't exist? You change exactly nothing.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 8:21 PM EST

I'm more sophisticated than you, and can easily evade detection by your primative instruments.

Still, I don't have to worry about that, because you don't exist. As I can't see you. ;)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 4 2008 8:23 PM EST

"By the laws of physics, everything interacts with everything else. Gravity, electroweak forces are vector integrals over the entire universe. And as I said, if you don't interact with me (as in ANY way), then if you exist, I don't know, it doesn't matter, and who cares if you don't exist? You change exactly nothing."

Do I need to interact with you?

I can interact with others, that will by proxy have an effect on you, and you'ld never know.

do you think our current knowledge is enough to claim we know all about the energy/forces at work now? I'm sure we thought the same thing 50, 100, 500 years ago. ;)

TheHatchetman February 4 2008 9:38 PM EST

When did this become about proving/disproving the existence of God(s)?

That, my friends, is total bulldung... Some have their beliefs about God(s), others don't. To try to deny them of something, that has shaped so many things, is retarded... People have created, destroyed, killed, been killed, given up hope, and persevered, all in the name of religion. While I personally do not believe in God(s), I still belief in Him/them has an extremely powerful effect on this planet, and should not be disrespected.

Far as I'm concerned, religion has two guidelines:
1)It is everyone's right to believe what they will.
2)It is nobody's right to try to change their beliefs, or perceptions.

QBOddBird February 4 2008 10:09 PM EST

I actually enjoy watching the logical debate, but I agree with Hatchet nonetheless. Continue though, it's rather interesting.

As far as things that you believe in, but cannot touch/find/etc, isn't that something close to dark matter/energy? I might be wrong, I'm no physics person. That's Brent. :P

TheHatchetman February 4 2008 10:18 PM EST

"I still belief" should be "I still feel that belief"

Ulord[NK] February 4 2008 10:26 PM EST

An robf thread and a debate about religion, all in one day. Forum sure is lively...

QBsutekh137 February 4 2008 10:28 PM EST

Hatchet, I agree with you.

Problem is, the evangelical nature of many beliefs makes others NOT play by those rules.

Then it's "game on" as far as I'm concerned.

As Sheridan's dad always says, "Don't start a fight, but don't be afraid to finish it."

GL, I understand your point, but I still don't care. Who care if "something" out there knows everything? Time itself already knows everything. So what? How is that meaningful in any way.

Yes, as long as I am alive, I have to progress through time. Actions take place thoughts, words... That's called "existence". What's your point? It has nothing to do God, free will, or anything. All points in time are here at all times. Choice is about having to make a choice. You know that time will tell all of your tales when you die. Does that ever make you hesitate on a choices? Does it make you give up? Or decide not to choose at all?

I'm thinking "no". So what is your point, exactly?

Obscurans February 4 2008 11:00 PM EST

AFK

Interact means through the electroweak or gravitational forces. Not social interaction. And I state again, observe means in any way at all. Dark matter is unobservable by conventional telescopes, just as relativity needs something like a solar eclipse to prove (read). It can be inferred extant, however, by how the rate of expansion of the universe is changing. That, is from fluctuations in the microwave background radiation and parallax measurements (distance) versus redshift (speed), since distance is directly related to time ago.

Hatchet, I agree as well. Regardless of the existence of god(s), enough people have been affected by the idea that (he) does. And I contend the balance is negative. News flash from teh[sic] Pope: "Some science shatters human dignity... we must preserve the idea that human life is sacred and begins at conception... must not let science be the judge of all that is good... etc". And without science, you don't even know jack about what conception is.

So, anyways, the Pope would (and does) block research on life-saving treatments, such as contraceptives (not unrelated, it blocks HIV transmission) and denies abortion even when the mother's life is at stake (god decides all). Et cetera, but the thing is organized religion will, for its own survival, implant its ideas and by duress or largess (my favourite phrase), wipe out other competing ideas.

And I choose not to ignore it, because the Jehova's witnesses are not sitting at home watching god. They're knocking on my door and actively wasting my time. The least I can do is to restate the tired old arguments, those which have no answer, and see them evade. I do think evasion is overpowered.

QBOddBird February 4 2008 11:10 PM EST

Jehova's Witnesses are not Christians (another faith entirely), and the Pope is not infallible...pretty sure that 'infallibility doctrine' no longer exists. Either way, such examples are silly.

I can tell you this much: Anyone who tries to 'push' faith on you is certainly of another faith than Christianity, or very misguided. That's supposed to be entirely a choice thing, and it's not their perogative to tell you it's something you have to do.


On side note: I don't believe science contradicts the notion of a God existing (on the contrary, I find it amusing to think everything came from nothing.)

Obscurans February 4 2008 11:28 PM EST

No it doesn't, since god by definition is undisprovable (id est "he's so powerful you can't see him"). That's what's wrong about the entire god debacle. That they can't be absolutely utterly completely proven wrong. It's untenable.

And so, similarly you can't prove there was no arson in the burnt house, but after forensics teams left no stone or fragment unturned and find nothing more than an electrical short, you can't prosecute anyone. Of course there's this miniscule chance a master arsonist dunit. But you don't know, and for all that matters it doesn't matter.

And for thousands of years nobody has come up with *positive* proof that god is here, only reiterating that "since science does not disprove god, he must exist". Nor did anyone disprove Russell's Teapot. He's the true god, and all of you nonbelievers are going to coffee hell. It's just as meaningless as the rest of it.

You can't show you're right, and you know we can't show you wrong. So what's the point? Other than "winning souls"? And the big bang singularity was "something" in the sense it's mass/energy.

QBsutekh137 February 4 2008 11:30 PM EST

Um, OB, the three tenets of Catholicism are still to be:

One, holy, Catholic, and apostolic.

Trust me, it's in the creed. *smile*

"Apostolic" is essentially the same as evangelical for all intents and purposes. The Spaniards came to the New World to spread the faith (and look for gold). The Inquisition said screw the gold and just exerted power.

I'd like to think that pushy religious folks stick only to tents on the side of the road, but it simply isn't true, hoss.

As for the Pope being considered infallible, last I checked, the Pope is still considered God's instrument on earth. He IS essentially infallible, it's just that parishes and congregations don't eat it up any more. That's not a change in doctrine, it's a change in society.

QBsutekh137 February 4 2008 11:32 PM EST

Oops, the Spanish Inquisition Monty Python skit got the better of me... I meant, the FOUR main tenets. *smile*

Obscurans February 4 2008 11:33 PM EST

And the word "doctrine" itself means something stubbornly insisted upon. They even published a book on all the Catechisms.

QBJohnnywas February 5 2008 12:16 AM EST

My wife is the black sheep of her family; my in-laws are Born Again Christians. Their church says that it is their duty to spread the word. And part of that spreading the word is essentially recruiting. Because the more people worship at their church - and their church is not alone in this - the more money can be made for the church.

I'm not criticising the faith/belief here. But after being brought up Catholic I have a serious problem with organised religion.

My mum - not brought up Catholic, converted in order to marry my dad - is a completely different animal. She has a very strong faith, which she considers personal and private. She doesn't need to share it for it to be strong.


Organised religions - like any organisation I guess - finds strength in numbers. And part of that strength has always been financial. It's that I don't agree with.

QBJohnnywas February 5 2008 12:19 AM EST

I should add - I'm not a believer thanks to being able to choose my own path by my parents. But I have the greatest respect for those people with private quiet faith. Those people who feel the best way to serve their faith is through 'deeds not words'.

QBOddBird February 5 2008 12:27 AM EST

Far as I remember, sut, pushing your faith on others as the Catholics did is nowhere to be found in the Bible (though the Latin Vulgate could have had anything in it they pleased, at the time)...that was my point. I'm somewhat sure that God never said "Go, and conquer in my name!"

As far as the infallibility doctrine I spoke of, I meant the actual infallibility promulgation, and I was questioning whether or not it was ever revoked. :P Apparantly the answer is no, as I've now looked it up. It was first asserted at the Vatican Council I, and never revoked.


Relic February 5 2008 12:47 AM EST

To quote a few passages from the Bible in regards to sharing Christianity. "Feed my Sheep", and "When thou are converted, strengthen thy brethren". Whether you believe in Christianity or not, the cause of any religion is bring the goodness of that religion to others out of love. That love has obviously been warped many times and used in very evil and vile ways using religion as the banner.

I highly doubt Christ, Mohamed, Buddha or any of the central figures in the main religions of the world truly desired bloodshed or even contention over their beliefs. It is when people distort and desecrate good religious beliefs for personal gain and power that problems arise.

Just as light has its opposite in darkness, good religions have their opposites in zealotry, bigotry, fanaticism, and condescension of others. Most of the time people only see (or care to see) the extremes in situations and do not use their own intellect to delve into the underlying goodness that exists in almost all organized religions.

I marvel at people who are so willing to give others the right to believe as they so choose and in some cases that belief is a desire to share with others a happiness derived from living or believing a certain way, and yet they have major problems with a person's freedom to share (or attempt to share) their beliefs with others.

If a person truly does not stand to gain anything from sharing what gives them happiness, is it really that damaging to simply hear them out, decide for yourself how you feel and/or believe and simply carry on as normal or adopt said beliefs for yourself?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 3:31 AM EST

"GL, I understand your point, but I still don't care. Who care if "something" out there knows everything? Time itself already knows everything. So what? How is that meaningful in any way.

Yes, as long as I am alive, I have to progress through time. Actions take place thoughts, words... That's called "existence". What's your point? It has nothing to do God, free will, or anything. All points in time are here at all times. Choice is about having to make a choice. You know that time will tell all of your tales when you die. Does that ever make you hesitate on a choices? Does it make you give up? Or decide not to choose at all?

I'm thinking "no". So what is your point, exactly?"

This wasn't supposed to be singularily aimed at the Christian God, but fits when discussing it. It's really a question about the existance of any thing that already knows the future.

It's more of a schrodingers cat question. If there exists something that already knows the outcome of an event (be that a God, or even time itself, if it is able to 'know' events), then everything is predetermined.

If nothing exists with this knowledge, the outcome of any event isn't fixed until the moment of the event itself, and its outcome.

I hope that's a better explaination.

I'd also lean toward time not actually knowing anything.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 4:41 AM EST

"Jehova's Witnesses are not Christians (another faith entirely)"

;)

The Witness I used to work with would have a fit at that! Acording to her, Witnesses are the only true Christians, as they follow the bible without interpretation.

As for the Pope, it seems that God has recently changed the rules on how the afterlife works, with Limbo disappearing entirely. (I can't quite remember his new stance on what happens to unbabptised babies when they die)

Either that, or he's making it up. ;)

Obscurans February 5 2008 8:18 AM EST

@Glory

The only cause of religion is to perpetuate itself, just as humans are born to... give birth to more humans. All those rituals, mass, eucharist, or whatever, are to create a sense of superiority (over the gentiles) and chain them to the cause. "Goodness" may be a side effect, but never was it the main point. Religion is neutral. Main religions have currently adopted the route that sucks (in my eyes).

So the words of those "important" people have been warped. Does it really matter? Like a condensation nucleus, they were merely the starting point of an amalgamation that doesn't care. Similarly the genome of the first organism has been mutated beyond recognition (well, besides the Krebs cycle, but nevermind).

I have no obligation to work my head off to "see" the "goodness" in the religions. All that is good among religions (a community centre, cohesion, emphasis on a collectively effective way or reproduction, et cetera) can be done without reference to a "higher power", or more simply by secular means. However, by definition of religion, DOGMA, things held true without proof (and often in the face of disproof), is the one Achilles' heel that has been retarding human progress.

To give people the choice to believe in whatever they want simply means the person either sucks at eloquence, doesn't care, or doesn't have a belief system that compels spreading of itself. Id est, either stone-in-mouth Witnesses, lazy ("spiritually") Christians or agnostics. The rest WILL attempt to convert. Of course they think spreading the faith is good. What they never will think is that maybe, somehow, the intended sheep have already heard that tired spiel, and find the evidence nonexistent, logic faulty, and truth wanting.

Oh, you would think they have nothing to gain from conversion. They get happier. They gain social standing ("I'm an missionary lookit me I'm so holier-than-thou heathens") and they gain heaven points. All non-material (sans boasting rights), but still they have this vested interest.

And I don't lose anything? I lose my time. I lose my concentration at work when stupid guys knock on my door to tell me something I've heard enough times to be bored out of my mind and start writing run-on sentences without commas for. I lose my mental agility and freedom. I lose my next research grant to protests by fundies. I lose the should-be-here-now-years-ago stem cell treatments that save lives, possibly some connected to me. I lose the sight of the next generation seeing the world, as they shy away from physics and biology. I lose progress in humanity. I lose... enough to make me declare dis-holy war.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 8:58 AM EST

Can we (as a person, or even a species) exist without a belief system?

QBJohnnywas February 5 2008 9:02 AM EST

I think everyone has a belief system; be it religion, science, politics or any other thing that both shapes how you live you life and describes it.

Even language can be seen as a belief system. We seem to need to live within a framework of some kind.

Even basic human needs create a framework. Sleep, Wake Up, Eat, Do What Comes Naturally Afterwards, Go Back To Sleep, Wake Up....

Obscurans February 5 2008 9:15 AM EST

An antitrust suit against organized religion then? We need some belief system, not one single system, or at least those who would want to be the only system. Worse, one that actively denies any thought but its sanctioned. Now that the "holiness" is not the point, I say that by the Crusades, the Inquisition, and Inteligunt Desin, religion is nowhere near a useful belief system in this time.

Obscurans February 5 2008 9:21 AM EST

Language is inherently consensus, as is science and politics. Words mean what they do, but only because most readers agree on it - if the world decided "please" actually was 4 letters, nobody will use it the same way again. Laws are enacted but only because more than half of the chosen support it. A theory stands or falls on the unerring voice of observation. Religion stands alone: we alone are right, and you're going to hell. No compromise.

Your framework and belief system are different, one a scaffold for action and the other for thought. Of course, the lower down the scaffold, the more freedom and more truth can be incorporated. The more assumptions made at the scaffold, the more constraints you build your entire worldview on. And ibid, an infallible literal book written three thousand years ago is too much imo.

Relic February 5 2008 9:44 AM EST

@Obscurans

Your statements have a distinct theme. You believe/value scientific theory more than religious thought. That is wonderful that you can belief how you do _and_ share those views with others. =)

Most religious beliefs are founded more on personal experiences and family tradition rather than the 3,000 year old book as you call it. It is the feelings and emotions that one experiences studying or trying to live certain teachings that define their belief rather than words in a book. Subjective experiences while not quantifiable are nonetheless _very_ real for the individual. It is very narrow-minded and precocious imo to assume that just because a belief is founded on a subjective experience it is of less worth than something which is extrinsically quantifiable and testable.

Also, to continue with my above statement about sharing beliefs, how is loving God and loving your neighbor, and being a good Samaritan wrong in any situation? Didn't Christ teach to love your enemies, pray for those who would hurt you and be a generally good person.

While I value science and religion both, I believe that God is the grandest scientist in the Universe. Just because our scientific understanding _and_ religious understanding are not the same or as far advanced as they could be, I believe that ultimately they are in complete harmony.

QBsutekh137 February 5 2008 10:01 AM EST

GL, yes, I agree that things are pre-determined in the sense that they will have happened at some point, will have been going to happen happen yet, or will have been an event that has actually occurred (watch some Doctor Who or choice episodes of Red Dwarf as a refresher on verb tensing *smile*). A particularly funny bit from Red Dwarf when Lister is told he is going to die, but is also told he had a hat on when said death occurred:

LISTER: Well there you go, I won't wear the hat. Then it can't happen,
can it? I can live without a hat.
RIMMER: Lister, it *has* happened. You can't change it, any more than
you can change what you had for breakfast yesterday.
LISTER: Hey, it hasn't happened, has it? It has "will have going to have
happened" happened, but it hasn't actually "happened" happened yet,
actually.
RIMMER: Poppycock! It will be happened; it shall be going to be
happening; it will be was an event that could will have been taken
place in the future. Simple as that. Your bucket's been kicked, baby.

*****

I'm still sitting here not quite understanding what your point _means_. If it doesn't mean anything, then OK. If it does, I am still waiting to have that explained to me. If pre-determination doesn't have anything to really do with control, freedom, or belief, then it doesn't really have anything to do with this discussion, does it?

The Schroedinger's Cat analogy is interesting...except in this case, _I_ am the cat. So it DOES matter to me what happens inside the box. Who cares what people see when they open the box and look at me? Who cares if zero, 1, or a million other sentient beings already know what happened? My life "in the box" is still free, controlled by my will -- that sounds like "free will" to me.

If this boils down to definitions, in that you just won't use the word "free" as long as the outcome is known (and thereby rendering the "will" useless too), then I have to say that's just semantics. I don't define "free" that way.

@Glory, I understand your point about "what's so wrong with spreading the word?" I will tell you what I feel can go wrong with it.

If all people were perfect: sensitive, wise, gentle, unselfish...then I would agree with you 100% -- Spread the word! All interactions would be pleasant! But humans are not that way. Many humans are insensitive, ignorant, brash, and self-centered. And many such humans are religious (just like many of the non-religious ones -- I am not drawing polarizing lines here).

So, in our realistically-imperfect world, someone coming to me to tell me about their faith doesn't always stop there. That person will probably start telling me how to behave. When I can have sex. How to interact with my own body. This angers me. I don't go around telling other people how to behave (due to faith or not). So no one should tell me. It's that whole pesky "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness thing." Saying, "why can't you just hear them out?" can easily be countered with, "why can't I just be left alone?"

Which weighs more? No one has the RIGHT to spread happiness. That's not a human right.

Like I said, if we were all just perfect, then all exchanges would be cordial and relaxed. People would discuss land, resources, money, and then share in a beautiful meadow while sipping lemonade and reminiscing about what a sweet, wonderful exchange they just had. But you know as well as I do that isn't how it works. Person A tries to impart beliefs and influence on person B, and if it doesn't work, things happen. Things can even escalate into violence and wars. Big wars. That would probably happen without religion, too.

But an issue I have with religion is that it takes normal human conflict and jacks it up one notch by injecting righteousness. I GET to tell you and HAVE to tell you about God because He told me to! I am RIGHT to do so. Don't get me wrong, righteousness comes in many forms, many having nothing to do with religion (and actually nothing to do with this thread -- I don't think anyone has been particularly righteous here...I am being hypothetical). Manifest Destiny would be a prime example of American frontier entitlement. Why did we DESERVE to reach the Pacific and take everything in sight? Because we SAID so!

In summary, for me, religion just offers specific examples of entitlement and righteousness. These are two things I find very, very annoying, and also very dangerous. A criminal who misbehaves but knows he's wrong is tractable. A criminal who misbehaves but knows he's RIGHT is quite a different matter entirely.

I could not possibly agree with you more about the fact that Christ would want absolutely nothing to with wars or bloodshed. That's why militant fundamentalists acting righteous and entitled in the name of God are the worst criminals of all. The ultimate epitome of inconsistency. Problem is, I have no idea how to overcome that and find common ground with such a sect or person. When you point at a righteous person and try to tell them about inconsistencies in their behavior, you generally only succeed at one thing -- making them feel more righteous (only now they are mad, too).

Obscurans February 5 2008 10:20 AM EST

Well yes, I do "believe" science more than whatever religion you are talking about (a blanket generalization, something I don't do often). What is the basis of science or religion? Religion bases itself on either holy writ, divine revelation, or generally what teh Pope says so. Science bases itself on pure logic and inductive reasoning.

I "believe" 1+1=2 insofar as I accept either the Peano axioms of arithmetic, or Zermelo-Frankel set theory, both of which claim some statements to be true by definition and build up to 1+1=2. No system can ever prove everything, since all logic does is say "A is true so B is true". It can never start out showing A is true (since infinite descent arrives).

If you have the time, read up on Godel's incompleteness theorems (2nd one). They state simply, any axiomatic system that proves its consistency is inconsistent. Axiom means "statement held true without proof", like "there exists an infinite set". It can be justified, like "if there aren't an infinity of numbers, arithmetic as we know it fails flat", but cannot be proven... except by fiat. A system is a collection of axioms, like ZF or ZFC. Proving means show true by logical deduction alone. Consistency means the system never simultaneously proves a statement true AND false at the same time. To prove you never prove a contradiction? Now that's cool.

The Pope says quite clearly, that he is infallible. Which is an admission that he is a contradiction. Major lulz ensue.

One of the most reused arguments again. Science and religion ARE opposed, insofar as there is ONE way the sun was made, ONE way life is created and ONE way the universe started. Religion claims one, science another. And they are mutually exclusive, up to meaningless semantic squabbles ("yes evolution happened but it was god's will", "days was a metaphor for geological ages", ad so forth).

Science will by definition accept any theory if it fits the evidence and has valid predictive power. Religion by definition (cf DOGMA) will mold the evidence to fit the conclusion, or just ignore the evidence. As far as "belief" goes, yes, I subscribe to the former. ZF makes far more sense than any 3000 year old human-written book.

I'm in math, and math is in all of science. All those weird names are pioneer set theorists, and they formalized the foundation of mathematics. Read up if you will.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 10:34 AM EST

Nice RD quote. ;)

I'll try to be clearer. Without pre-determination, we are able to make choices, and the outcome of any single event has multiple actual possibilities.

With pre-determination (and I attribute the existence of any being that accurately knows the outcome of an event that hasn't happened yet, to validate pre-determination), while we believe we are making a choice, the actual outcome of a single event only has a single actual possibility.

While we think we have multiple possibilities open to us, there's no way (like Lister above) we could change the outcome form the single actual one. In essence we deceive ourselves into thinking that our choices have any effect on the actual outcome.

As for Schroedinger's Cat, of course it matters to you. ;) But with pre-determination, the box has been opened before youメre put into it, and itメs already known if you will live or die. Thereメs nothing you could do within the box to change the outcome. Regardless of what you think you might do.

Sorry if this is still rambling!

QBsutekh137 February 5 2008 10:57 AM EST

It's not rambling, but I still entirely disagree with you.

You have agreed that pre-determination does not mean someone else can control what I do.

But then you say that pre-determination makes our choices have no effect on the outcome. How so? Cause and effect still exist. The simple knowledge of the effect (and how it was caused) does nothing to diminish the fact that A caused B, and _I_ caused A!

If what you are saying is true, that pre-determination makes all outcomes moot, then why read a book? It has all been written, and the author knows the outcome. There is nothing you can do to change the course of the book or outcome for the characters. Yet you still read.

And humans are far more alive than a book. *smile*

I agree that there is nothing I can do to change an outcome. There is going to BE an outcome. That's simple time dynamics. But that doesn't mean I _know_ the outcome, nor does it diminish the effect of the outcome. I'm still not understanding your point. There's no "there" there. You are basically just stating platitudes: outcomes are known, you cannot change the outcome, etc. So? If that doesn't lead to some more in-depth conclusion, then I am not sure I understand why we are discussing the nuances of outcomes, etc. I have never disagreed that my actions will have an outcome, and that I can't change that outcome -- I never thought I could change the outcome in the first place! And someone else knowing the outcome has absolutely nothing to do with that.

You say that without pre-determination, a choice can have multiple outcomes. What? What makes you think that? If I drop a hammer, it is going to be operated on by physical forces and act accordingly. One outcome. What multiple outcomes are you referring to? The only way there can be multiple outcomes is with multiple choices (parallel universe type of things). But even in that scenario, cause and effect still holds (there are just multiple cause/effect pairs operating along their own timelines).

So no, GL, I'm still not understanding your point. *smile*

Incidentally, Lister didn't die. That's because it wasn't him that Rimmer saw in the first place. Cause. Effect.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 11:26 AM EST

:D

"But then you say that pre-determination makes our choices have no effect on the outcome. How so? Cause and effect still exist. The simple knowledge of the effect (and how it was caused) does nothing to diminish the fact that A caused B, and _I_ caused A!"

No, nothing wrong with that. But I would contest the existance of choice (with pre-determination). And not semantically.

You (from your non pre-determined perspective) enter and event, see multiple options and multiple outcomes. With no control on your actions, you use free will to decide which option to take and which outcome happens.

I don't dispute that.

I don't dispute that that perspctive doesn't change if pre-determination exists.

What I contest is that regardless of your perception or choice, if events are foreknown, only a single outcome is possible.

While you still think you have choice and free will (and you're personal experiences and perspectives aren't changed in any fashion), your choice, in the grand scheme of things, is moot. As there was nothing else (for the observer that can see the future) that you could have done.

The book analogy is nice. But in this case, we would be the characters *in* the book. Our lives play out to a scrip unkown to us, the reading of the book doesn't effect us in any way.

Still, there's no way the plot will ever change.

As for the hammer, not every event will have multiple choices or outcomes. But those that do (even as simple as deciding to go to Burger King or Maccy D's for lunch) would have been set in stone, from the moment the outcome of the event became known.

I'm not sure I'm explaining this any better. Sorry. :(

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 5 2008 11:39 AM EST

Actually, I do think you can "prove" God.
First off, how much of the universe do we actually know? Let's say we know 1%. That means that 99% of the universe is, undiscovered. Now, how can you say that there is no God, as a fact? You can't. Because you would have to know the love life of the fleas on the back on Napoleon's great-grandmothers black cat, which is impossible. So; in 99% of the universe isn't there the possibility of God?
OK, now that we see we have established that you can't know everything, let's see what the facts say. Darwin (as in, the founder of evolution; as in the atheist) said: "To say that the human eye occurred by natural process, is, absurd." So in nature, there is evidence that points to a creator. If someone saw the Encyclopedia Britannica, and said it occurred by an explosion in a printing shop, you would laugh them out of the room. But the odds more in favor of that happening, than the entire _universe_ occurring out of a 'Big Bang'.
Now, the theory of evolution can be disposed by literally book loads of evidence, but I won't get in to it here. (If you want evidence, I would go to: http://www.answersingenesis.org).
So, if we see a Car, then we say that there most be a car-designer, if we see a book, then there must be an author, if we see a skyscraper, then there must be an architect. So, wouldn't it seem likely that there is an creator for the universe?
Just my take.

QBsutekh137 February 5 2008 11:39 AM EST

You are explaining it better, but I do still find it semantic. For example, "moot" and "meaningless" are not the same in this case.

Yes, my choices, no matter how varied they are, will end up having only one outcome. I am fine with that. I _know_ that, regardless of pre-determination. If I go to a soda machine, it doesn't matter how many options there are: one, two, ten -- there will still only be one outcome of various faces: I will leave with zero, 1 or more sodas. Just because pre-determination knows I leave with a Coke does not make the choice less important, does not make the Coke any less real, and does not change the fact that initiated a case/effect pair. I chose Coke, I got a Coke, and I drank it. Everything did exactly what it should have. Nothing is "moot", except for the triviality of my example. *smile* I could have made it more meaningful, like saying whether or not to pull the plug on a life-support patient. I still have a choice there, regardless of pre-determination, and my choice will have exactly one outcome.

You see, (and maybe this is the difference between us), I see the choice as an inherent part of the outcome. I don't make choices in a "see what happens" way. I am not flotsam. I make a choice, and the choice BECOMES the outcome. Cause-effect. I don't choose Coke and then act surprised when I don't find a Pepsi in my hand. I chose Coke, so therefore there could be one and only one outcome. Doesn't matter who knows about it, knew about, or will know about it. I don't spend money and run up huge debts and then later wonder why I am broke with bad credit. The cause leads to, and becomes, the effect. And _I_ am responsible for both.

So no, I don't think my choices can have multiple outcomes, and I have NEVER thought that way (regardless of pre-determination). And yes, I am a character in a book called "time", but that doesn't mean that my choices aren't writing that book. A history book is a record of things that already happened, but you don't consider it fiction, do you (inaccuracies and revisionism notwithstanding *smile*)?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 5 2008 12:32 PM EST

I suppose this comes down to my linear view of time.

Without pre-determination, while every event can only have one actual outcome (I never meant to dispute that), that outcome consists of a number of possible outcomes.

With pre-determination, there is no possibilty of any other outcome than the one already known.

With pre-determination, Your choices cannot be writting your book, as it's already been written before you make your choices. They no longer answer to cause and effect (nothing does, as everything always happens in one set way), even while the characters in the book might still percieve casue and effect.

But I'm happy to leave this here, I feel I'm just rehashing what I've already said and not adding anything new. :(

QBsutekh137 February 5 2008 12:57 PM EST

Marlfox, a valid take, I suppose. However, for me, the issue is one of defaults. You are correct, I cannot know all the Universe holds. I wholeheartedly agree with you, and am 100% fine with that. And that's what I say. "I don't know". I allow the void to stay a void -- that's important, in my opinion. If one can't allow a void to stay a void (until such time as facts can be placed in the void to make it less voidlike), then how can one be sure any of his/her conclusions are based on straightforward deduction and facts? If I fill the void with any idea more than a rudimentary hypothesis (placing small things in the void for testing purposes has to be allowed) before I have any reason to do so, then I have already become inconsistent. AND, I now have to work twice as hard to reach "truth"...because not only do I have to figure out what the void REALLY holds, I have to now DISPROVE what I already assumed was there. As I said, assuming small things in order to test (the "hypothesis" stage of the scientific method) is necessary, otherwise the void would HAVE to stay a void. But scientific method is very strict on that part of things. A hypothesis is meant to be thrown away as soon as it doesn't work out. Holding onto a hypothesis for too long defeats the whole method.

Disproving a non-affirmative is very hard. If a policeman came up to me and asked me to prove that I didn't have drugs on me, how could I comply? Short of reducing myself to a pile of inanimate atoms, how could we _really_ know I didn't have drugs somewhere in me? We couldn't, because hey, the universe is a big place! *smile*

That's one our justice system goes with "innocence until proven guilty". In other words, "the absence of guilt until the guilt is discovered/proven". That's because if someone states I am guilty, and I have to prove I am not, I am having to prove a non-affirmative. I could be charged with any number of guilty charges and would have "empty the void" of them, when it would have been much simpler (and more just) to simply leave the void empty to start with (innocence) and slowly prove the guilt (fill the void with facts).

The inability to say "I don't know" and let the void be a void lead directly to righteousness and entitlement, in my opinion. Once one decides to fill the void on his/her own, one has invested him/herself into the void. In that way, truth has been lost. And worse, it is harder to undo. Once someone has invested him/herself in something, it is a LOT harder to get back to "I don't know" and leave it there.

Colonel Custard February 5 2008 1:53 PM EST

"Um, OB, the three tenets of Catholicism are still to be:

One, holy, Catholic, and apostolic." I missed this part. The foundational principles of a religion are... adjectives?!

Obscurans, I don't understand why you seem to find the Christian faith to be so oppressive. JohnnyWas explained his position well, and I think that those people in question are very misguided, as he accurately pointed out.
Putting the emphasis on "organized" in organized religion is exactly the wrong way to go about it (from the participants' point of view as well as the critics'). Obscurans, I see how you don't want to have to work to find the good in a religion. I think the reason that it is hard to find is because there are so many people who are more interested in being a member of a self-righteous group of people than there are people interested in being Christians.

Love is the most important thing in the Christian faith. If someone displays another (negative) characteristic over love, they are misguided at the very least.

Adminedyit February 5 2008 3:20 PM EST

I've always felt that my personal beliefs were just that. Mine and personal. Not something I try to force on someone else or try and dispute someone else's own views because they may be different from my own. (within reason some things are just dead wrong)

Keeping an open mind and being able to accept things that are different is the key to us advancing as a civilization and not being a mindless followers swallowing everything that is spoon fed to us.

th00p February 5 2008 3:40 PM EST

/me points out how edy spoon fed his kid

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 5 2008 4:13 PM EST

I guess, Sut, that is where faith comes in.

QBsutekh137 February 5 2008 4:45 PM EST

I do have faith. I have faith that there are voids in this Universe, and it isn't my job to fill them. *smile* I have faith in "I don't know."

I don't have a problem with faith, I have problem with faith in something that might possibly be wholly contrived in order to not have to face the void and say "I don't know." That pretty much sums me up on the faith/religion front.

Obscurans February 5 2008 11:17 PM EST

Most of my misgivings about religion in its entirety:

-The almost-universal tenet to "spread the faith", by all means possible
-That includes personal door-knocking, up to political manoeuvring
-The whole basis of religion is by definition the acceptance of certain things sans proof
-These things invariably (in major religions) are old books with more holes than cheese
-They also conflict directly with observational evidence
-And by religious dogma, they are still held on to, because that's what dogma is
-One of the major ways of justification they use is "disprove me or I'm right"
-Which means the burden of proof has been reversed. Disprove you stole my bike or restitute me now.
-Christianity IS a self-righteous group. "I'm going to heaven you're going to hell". How is it not pure hubris?

@Marlfox: the celebrated "you can't disprove me so I'm right" argument
To positively prove something, you either show that every other possibility is untrue (proof by exhaustion), or definitively show your hypothesis holds (constructive proof). To prove god, it never suffices to say "we don't know therefore god". That's only "god of the gaps", which means all we don't know is god. And god shrinks day by day. I see answers in genesis. I suggest my own:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html

A quote by Darwin does nothing. I quote you "GOD IS DEAD" - Nietzche. He was theist so you see, god is dead. Quotes are meaningless without the evidence.

Now, regarding my blindness to its goodness, I know there is usefulness in religion. I did say, community centres, societal cohesion, et cetera. But all, in the end, are objectives achievable by completely secular means. But the faults (closed-mindedness) are religion's alone. By purely utilitarian views, I shoot you.

Relic February 6 2008 12:00 AM EST

"-The almost-universal tenet to "spread the faith", by all means possible"

There is no shortage of media coverage, books, and school curriculum that jumps on every new scientific theory, how is that barrage of sometimes unwanted "spreading of the scientific faith" any different? After all if man is so infallible in his quest for scientific knowledge, then why cannot he possess a measure of the same in regard to faith.

"-That includes personal door-knocking, up to political manoeuvring"

Salesman go door knocking, telemarketers call you at home, religious people door knock and hand out pamphlets, is there really much difference?

"-The whole basis of religion is by definition the acceptance of certain things sans proof"

Science can be argued is only understanding of things limited ultimately by our extremely finite minds. There is a lot in science that is no more valid in regard to evidence than old scrolls, books and writings from long ago. They all have the same validity. Who is to say that because a fossil is found in a cave in some nether part of the globe that it was not part of another world altogether that a creator used pieces of to fashion a new one? We know that nothing can be truly destroyed only changed.

"-These things invariably (in major religions) are old books with more holes than cheese"

Scientific theories don't have holes and science is always right, right? Don't forget that the bible has been translated many times, and if any scientific journal was translated and transcribed over thousands of years, some of the meaning and cohesiveness would also be lost.

"-They also conflict directly with observational evidence"

Examples?

"-And by religious dogma, they are still held on to, because that's what dogma is"

For centuries people believed that the earth was flat, and later that the earth was the center of the solar system. There exists a ton of dogma within science as well.

"-One of the major ways of justification they use is "disprove me or I'm right""

Science is not all that different. And yes, the argument is true, unless you can prove a personal belief and faith wrong, you have nothing to stand on. If I say I have an experience that is not quantifiable, who are you to say I subjectively did not experience it?

"-Which means the burden of proof has been reversed. Disprove you stole my bike or restitute me now."

You are taking quite a few liberties making this statement, and for those in religion that make claims similarly they are walking a mighty thin line of credibility.

"-Christianity IS a self-righteous group. "I'm going to heaven you're going to hell". How is it not pure hubris?"

Wow, I can't recall the last time someone told me they were going to heaven and I was going to hell. All I can say to this, is either a religion is right or it is wrong, if you do not have personal conviction and faith then can you be held responsible for not having that? Only a very narrow person would think so imo.

Nothing comes from nothing, and the miracle of life, thought, existence, conscience, emotion, love, relationships is all the "evidence" I need to know that we are not here by chance, nor did we occur through a random chain of events.

Just as descarte said "Cogito Ergo Sum" (I Think Therefore I Am), he also said "The idea of the Infinite cannot originate from the Finite." There is something/someone more.

QBsutekh137 February 6 2008 1:55 AM EST

Glory, I don't ask for much around here, but maybe reading my post would align with what Obs is saying...

I could copy your whole reply, but I will be more casual about it and just sort of go paragraph by paragraph...

It is true that you hear a lot of "science" on TV. Neither Obs (nor I) said we appreciated that type of science. But if someone is bringing facts to you: Vitamin C stops scurvy. Building muscle mass burns more calories metabolically, basally. Staring at the sun is bad for the retina. Are these not true things? Are they not imminently provable? If someone has scurvy and Vitamin C helps _every_ time, is that not a _fact_?

Salesmen and telemarketers? I hate them too. If that's your support for evangelists, then it's pretty weak. I'm consistent. If you come to my door and want my time, you better have something DAMN fine for me. It had better be 100% consistent, otherwise you shouldn't have even carried it up my steps. My time is valuable. What about yours?

If a best defense is to quote how finite our tiny minds are, then why not just say, "I don't know"? Why fill the void with something and then take umbrage when someone else wishes to stick to deductive reasoning? Deductive reason tries to make the best of our stupid, human brains. Anything else just tries to fill an emptiness in order to...what...protect? our minds? That deductive person isn't hurting you. Say nothing. Go live your life. I have no problem with the Good Samaritan. He/she walks away, asking for nothing (truly Christlike). I do, however, have a problem with the Righteous Evangelist. He/she is Never Satisfied until I become like him/her.

You can experience all you like. I encourage it. I support it. This portion of the thread is about when those experiences sprawl to others. Experience what you want to the LIMIT. Go ape-crap CRAZY! But I don't have to care. Don't ever ask me to or bother me to care. Because I don't ask you to accept the void. I can see you don't wanna. And I'm fine with that. I don't go door to door about it like telemarketers, salesmen, or evangelists. I don't need to be saved. Please, for the love of God and Jesus Christ Himself, let me go to Hell. Because that would be where such a person thinks I'm going.

But I don't think that. And that, quite frankly, is all that matters. Leave. Me. Alone.

I respect your line of saying the zealots who push are overstepping. So why are you defending anything at all? Why does Obs bother you? At all?

Relic February 6 2008 2:14 AM EST

Sometimes it is interesting to simply argue the otherside of the coin to spark a few more ideas. I recognize our differences and frankly enjoy the differences. Pushing anything as absolute is where I have problems both in the scientific realm and in the religious realm.

Another real irk point for me is trying to explain away or disprove faith. It can't be done, just like me trying to argue against vitamin c fighting scurvy, imo it's just silly. If you don't believe then simply do just that don't believe, but you better not tell me I am wrong about something I believe. =)

QBOddBird February 6 2008 2:24 AM EST

Sutekh - I agree with you on many points. I'm not a fan of those who would try to push their faith on others (Christian or non) - as it is taught at the church I attend, "God gives you a choice to accept Him after stating the reasons why you should. He does not force you or predestine you to do so - that is the whole concept of Free Will. To make it into an analogy, God is a gentleman. He offers, but does not use force."

Personally, I prefer the choice of Christianity on many grounds, and one of them is also logic. If I'm a Christian and I live according to a Christian standard, then if I was right, I lived a good life and I go to Heaven, which is claimed to be a place of pure joy and happiness. If I'm wrong, and there is no God, then I simply cease to exist. I've still lived a life that pleased myself and others, and I would have no regrets.

Plus, there's no reason to condemn anyone. "You're a sinner! You will die and burn in hell! Why don't you change your life?!" Well, if they are an unsaved sinner, then they are acting as they should. Christians should feel convicted of their sins (which, btw, everyone does) - but there's no reason to expect an unsaved person to feel the same way. As before, it should be a choice...my approach is usually to ask a friend whom, of course, I don't want to go to hell should Christianity be true (I believe it is) if they would like to attend church with me sometime, or go on an outing/ to an activity with some other Christian friends of mine. I'll end up bringing up the topic, but it's never anything forceful or pushed upon them...


I guess what I'm trying to say is that there's polite Christianity, and then there are those who take it upon themselves to force the world into their personal belief system. I don't believe both groups should be lumped together, nor do I believe that they both are accomplishing a similar goal. "Narrow is the way, and few are those who find it."


Hope that makes a little better sense to you. I believe God wants us to have fun (no, no, you should live boring, stale lives! That's a real catch for a religion!), and I see no sin in bootydancing in Chat. ;'D




As far as logic goes...I find it more acceptable to believe that a God outside of time/space/etc created the universe than to believe that it spawned from nothing.
I find it easier to believe that the world has lead to the point it has technologically and scientifically through Providence than that we all simply stumbled into a state of better living.
I find many places in the Bible that inexplicably state things that should not be known (look in the book of Job to find that "[God] hangeth the earth on nothing (which can be translated to the earth floating in space - how else do you explain it to someone living so many centuries before science discovered thsi fact?)," "Have you walked in the recesses [valleys] of the sea?" -- I think I have reason to believe that many centuries pre-A.D. that people hadn't discovered the geographical surface of the Earth beneath the oceans.

But that's just my viewpoint on the subject. It is logical to me. Of course nothing can be proven (neither can be evolution, but this is taught nonetheless), but that's how I see things.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] February 6 2008 3:18 AM EST

I really shouldnt be responding to this because I always get in trouble when this issue comes up.

IF there is a god in the physical universe god is an object no object can be omnipotent therefore there is no god. a transcendent god would be from another plane of a multiverse there again being an object in that section of the multiverse, therefore in its own plane not omnipotent.

Science is a fancy word for magic. Magic is a fancy word for miracle. Miracle is a fancy word for trickery.

And lastly, Arguing religion is like arguing over whose sheet ghost costume is scarier at halloween.

I'll go away now

QBOddBird February 6 2008 3:21 AM EST

What if omnipotency denotes being transcendentally present in all multiverses in any given time? :P

It all comes down to a matter of opinion. As far as Science has come, it still cannot answer all the questions we have.

Flatcap [East Milwaukee Devival] February 6 2008 4:07 AM EST

To exist in all universes at once would to be all universes at once and a particle cannot change it's own nature :P

Science doesnt have all the answers but it's a stronger base.

I dont have a problem with religion in general, wanna beleive in something thats cool, I like Santa and Bob Dobbs. But I do have a problem with christianity, It implies that humanity is inherintly evil and you must be washed in the blood of the holy jebus to go to an all exclusive resort. HEck even the stillborns being damned doesnt bug me, I dont like babies. But insisting on servitude does.

Obscurans February 6 2008 4:18 AM EST

OB, and all who think like him, I agree with not forcing your views on others. As that line goes, Jews are the best religion in that they don't actively convert at all. Except for hoarding money, which they realize is power. Which led to Hitler... nevermind.

Also, it's as impossible to prove gravity as it is to prove evolution. You can't "definitively" say the next rock I let go of won't just float there. You can only say it happened millions of times before when we tried, and for all intents and purposes it's safe to assume it continues onward. To deny this would be equal to saying "I won't eat forevermore since there's this chance every biochemist was wrong about food". The point is people have tried, and every time they tried, ... they died. So we assume that food is required for survival.

Evolution has no "absolute" proof, since anything that predicts inherently "can" be in error, in some far-off scenario. But the evidence that exists is compelling:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html

Well, they have many links, and my word isn't worth that much, I'm only one biochemist/mathematician. Check the journal Science, in 2005 their breakthrough article was Observing Evolution in Action. Insofar as using it to predict the future goes, evolution works. And if you wish, I can give you a long introduction about the field of evolutionary computation. Simply put, using the biological ideas of evolution to solve computational problems. It's not *biological* evolution, but at least the basic concepts WORK.

And also, per sutekh, if you find believing the universe came from nothing is hard, and believing that it came from god's will is easier, and also know that there's not much evidence for either, why can't you just have the (true) view that we simply don't know (yet). Monkeys banging on typewriters will eventually (re)produce Shakespeare's Sonnets. In the same way, once a book is long enough, eventually something will ring true. It's the favourite strategy of "psychics": they throw out many vague statements, listen to the response to see which are possibly wanted, and slowly zoom in on... what the listener wants to hear. In the same way, you're moulding the words of the Bible until they literally fit what you want to look for: godly knowledge humans shouldn't have known yet.

And yet, the Greeks already knew that the earth was round, before the Bible was written. How did they do it? They stood up really long poles vertically and 1km apart. They then measured the separation of the shadows at their ends and bingo: they weren't 1km apart. The logical conclusion: the earth is round. Don't misunderestimate human ingenuity - even in the olden days. Science was already extant then.

Lastly, evolution provides a route whereby we can "stumble" upon better living. Do you think scientific research always is "work for two months and prove theory"? 90% of the time, it's "find good idea", and I speak from personal experience. Science literally stumbles upon good ideas, it's the system that vets out the good ones. Knowing how to make a wheel lets you survive better. So the guy who accidentally learnt has more kids. The kids are taught how to make the wheel. They spread. Rudimentary knowledge is usually geared towards survival, and better yet, they grant massive boosts, so once someone gets it, it spreads fast.

Actually OB, that logical reason to believe is called Pascal's wager. You didn't say "if god doesn't exist then I simply rot if I believe and die, if I don't believe I go to hell". But there's something missing from that bet. "If god exists but I believe in the wrong one, I go to hell a heretic". That's why Pascal's wager doesn't hold: it (mistakenly) assumes there is but one possibility of god existing. And the Jewish god throws you to hell as Christian (read their books, Jesus is considered an idol), and Muslims same (you do not accept the Prophet's teachings). Your conviction that you live a better life by doing Christ's work on earth is unassailable, but I can tell you that I don't need Hell on one hand and Heaven on the other to force myself to be philanthropic.

All I need to know is that man evolved as a societal animal, purely because 100 minds are better than 1. So preserving societal cohesion (id est don't shoot the guy down the road), is selected for and collectively enhances human survival. No appeal to the mystic here.

Glory, explaining "away" religion is as "bad" as explaining "away" the political system or economic system. To say the origins of religion is taboo, is to implicitly state religion as something above and beyond the rest of society. Nobody can disprove faith, because the statements faith makes are undisprovable. "You can't detect god with your mortal instruments". But, I can show god's direct influence on this earth is minimal if at all. Not arguing that the thought of god's existence has major effects here.

If you believed 1+1=3, am I disallowed to tell you that by the usual Arabic conventions of writing numbers, conventional real arithmetic system and mathematical symbols, you are wrong? Anything that holds itself above disproof is itself weakened. Science derives it strength from "anyone can attempt to disprove anything" tenet.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 6 2008 4:33 AM EST

I had a very interesting lecture at uni where one of my Tutors proved 1+1=3.

If only I could remember how he did it. ;)

Obscurans February 6 2008 4:40 AM EST

Well, I have a good stock of invalid math proofs:

Let a, b be any two numbers such that a = b + 1 (say 1 and 2)

a = b + 1

(a - b) * a = (a - b) * (b + 1)

aa - ab = ab +a - bb - b

aa - ab - a = ab - bb - b

a * (a - b - 1) = b * (a - b - 1)

a = b

b + 1 = b

therefore: 1 = 0

Every number = 0 now, so math is completely gibberish.

-spoiler-





The problem is (a - b - 1) is 0, so you divided by zero there.

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 6 2008 6:05 AM EST

i thought this article was very enlightening regarding intelligent design:

http://www.livescience.com/health/050922_ID_main.html

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 7 2008 12:56 PM EST

I think I have an answer to your question, Sut.

But it's another question. ;)
And the question is:

What is absolute truth?

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 1:04 PM EST

There is no such thing, in my opinion. Absolute Truth could only be known by an entity with infinite knowledge, infinite perspective, and infinite ability to see into the gestalt life experience of every living creature involved in whatever scenario from which you are attempting to divine the truth.

In my opinion, no such being can be created. Filling the void with a being that DOES have those capabilities, and therefore can be a judge of Absolute Truth, is begging the question. It's circular.

That's why, to me, the ability to say "I don't know" is so important. If one is unwilling to accept there is no absolute truth, if one MUST have a universe where there is, then one MUST construct an entity that I mention at the start (or simply believe there already is one). That sounds like circular logic to me, and I don't go for it. It seems much more logical to me to say "I don't know" and "No" to the related questions, "Is there a God, and if so, can that God determine absolute truth?"

deifeln February 7 2008 1:22 PM EST

Perhaps you should all just tithe Jon. Sending 10% of my CB earnings to central bank makes me happy, makes Him happy, and helps the CB economy.

"For Jon so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten MMORPG, that whosoever blendeth
in CB should not perish, but have
everlasting life." Jon 3:16.

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 1:36 PM EST

I love it!

Colonel Custard February 7 2008 2:59 PM EST

Flatcap: You assume that God is contained within the (or any) physical universe. No one else in this argument is coming at it from that perspective, so you're basically making no point, as far as "countering" or "disproving" anything goes. And you're using finite human logic, anyway :P
...And your assertion that he cannot be omnipotent in whatever plane he is in is based on observations of objects and other finite beings, which he is not. That's like saying an apple can't be sweet because all lemons aren't, when you've never actually tested an apple.

For what it's worth, humanity is inherently evil. This doesn't mean that we're completely incapable of executing any good, honorable action for ourselves. It just means that everyone has selfish motives that influence their decisions and actions from time to time, everyone makes errors in judgment, etc. I'm human, and I'm ok with admitting that. And the only thing you need to be saved is to admit that. I see how you wouldn't like it, but I don't see how that's hard. And, I suppose people who don't like admitting that they're finite and imperfect and that God is infite and perfect wouldn't like heaven, anyway :P


Obscurans: "-Christianity IS a self-righteous group. "I'm going to heaven you're going to hell". How is it not pure hubris?"
A lot of people, on both sides of the equation, have improper perspective on this. Let me explain it, as I understand it:
I am evil, finite, imperfect, spiritually/morally weak, and limited. Any and all of these characteristics prevent me from getting into Heaven on my own merit. This is the starting point: "I'm not going to heaven, and neither are you."
As I said above, though, all you need to do to be saved is basically to admit that there is a God who is far too holy/perfect for you to earn your way into his good graces, due to your fill-in-the-blank shortcoming. I believe this, and I admit it.
So now, I'm going to Heaven. Are you? It's up to you. I try my best not to say to people "As it stands now, I'm going to heaven and you're going to hell", because then it sounds like I'm condemning you. I'm not. I don't want to condemn you, nor do I have the authority to, regardless.
I believe that I am going to Heaven. Based on what you've said you believe, I believe that you would go to hell, were you to die right now. That doesn't mean that I want you to go to hell, that doesn't mean that I think I'm better than you, that doesn't mean that I hate you, and it doesn't mean a whole long list of other things that I could sound like I'm implying.
I don't have the power to condemn someone to hell, and to act like becoming a Christian gives you that authority is preposterous. I know a lot of people do it. I do believe, though, that God can and will condemn those who reject him to Hell.
God's the one doing the condemning, and he has full authority to do so, if anyone does (as he has infinite knowledge and infinite perspective, as sutekh mentioned). It's an easy sentencing to get out of, by simply pleading guilty.
If I ever tell you that I believe you're going to hell, it's not a threat of something I'm going to do, but it's a warning of something that I believe is going to happen to you, though there is something you can do to avoid it. I agree with OB that it's your own choice and I can't make you make it. Evangelism shouldn't be about anything more than that. I'm giving you the heads up. Take it as you will.

sut: "I don't need to be saved. Please, for the love of God and Jesus Christ Himself, let me go to Hell." Please don't. I can't do anything about you having this attitude, but I feel that I have to ask you to reconsider it at least a little bit.
"If a best defense is to quote how finite our tiny minds are, then why not just say, "I don't know"?"
I feel that people who substitute in God for "I don't know" on every occasion are over-simplifying thought. There are plenty of things I don't know, both about God and about other things. I can still say "I don't know", despite my knowledge of God. For the record, I do believe that scientific knowledge is both valid and valuable. I leave gaps in my scientific understanding to be filled by scientific discoveries. I think that's reasonable, and tend to think that putting God in the gaps is a bad idea, even beyond the fact that it makes people think you're unintelligent and loses your credibility in scientific circles. I guess this was as much of a response/comment to Glory as it was an agreement with you, sut.

As for absolute truth, you say "If one is unwilling to accept there is no absolute truth, if one MUST have a universe where there is, then one MUST construct an entity that I mention at the start (or simply believe there already is one)." This implies an assertion that there is no absolute truth, nor any possibility for such a thing to exist. I would make the argument that someone who makes the assertion that there is not and cannot be such a thing as absolute truth is, in addition to being self-contradictory, as dependent on the non-existence of absolute truth as someone who constructs a God is dependent on its existence. In other words, your seeming unwillingness to accept the possibility of there being absolute truth is as blinding as my unwillingness to accept that there could not be such a thing.

OB: Pascal's Wager... :-\
I think that Pascal's Wager, while a logical reason to "believe" out of fear or convenience, really misses the main point of salvation. Furthermore, I think that using it to evangelize can lead to someone becoming a "Christian" without them really even having a faith in God, as a sort of "Heaven Insurance". Which, again, bypasses salvation completely, and gives that person a false sense of possible-after-life security that may stop them from spiritually seeking anything further, in which they may have found the truth. It's one of those things that's true enough and near enough the main point that it can have the effect of completely preventing one from actually finding that main point. You know what I mean?

I hope these thoughts all made sense and that it was clear what I was addressing.

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 7 2008 3:16 PM EST

Sut, aren't you defining an absolute truth, by saying that there is none?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 7 2008 3:28 PM EST

CC, as for Heaven and Hell, why sohuld I even care if they exist?

My Soul (or spirit, depending on interpretation) has to be spiritual in nature, to move on to a psiritual realm.

My thoughts and emotions are physical, as can be exmapled by various mood altering drugs, and amnesia.

My physical self can't travel to the spritiual realms of Heaven and Hell, otherwise our bodies would go there when we die.

Therefore, my soul/spirit doesn't contain my emotions or memories. In that case, is it actually me? And if I can remember being me anyway, nor feel anything, why should I care what happens to my soul/spirit after death?

Just what exactly is my soul?

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 3:28 PM EST

@CC:

You say, "I would make the argument that someone who makes the assertion that there is not and cannot be such a thing as absolute truth is, in addition to being self-contradictory, as dependent on the non-existence of absolute truth as someone who constructs a God is dependent on its existence."

That's exactly my point. The term "dependent on the non-existence" is a misnomer in the context of what I am trying to explain. There IS no such thing. I cannot be dependent on a non-existence. Non-existence is the DEFAULT for everything until it is PROVEN to exist. I have not seen anyone PROVE that absolute truth exists, and have offered several requirements (subjectively) for it to exist. Do you disagree with my opinions on what would be required for an entity to discern "absolute truth"? Do you think anything less than a perfect being could even define, much less know, such a thing?

I'm willing to discuss the concept rationally and openly. I was asked if I thought there was absolute truth, and I said "no". Because for me, the truth is in the knowing, and I have not seen anyone prove that anything in this Universe could do that knowing. So, I don't believe in it. It's like believing in the ideal of "absolute perfection". I think the IDEA exists, as a definition. I just don't think it can be REALIZED. Therefore, it is not "real" to me.

Break those ideals into smaller, consistently defined systems, and parts of truth and perfection CAN be had. If I define a perfect human as one who breathes, then right now I am a perfect human. That's trivial, though, as such a definition is neither absolute nor useful. Truth comes from knowledge and identification. That's why knowing ABSOLUTE truth requires absolute knowledge and absolute identification. How could anything less tackle such a mind-blowing concept?

Maybe at the moment of the Big Bang there was absolute perfection and truth... When the entire Universe was all occupying the same moment in space and time. That would be about as absolute as it could get. It also happens to be a very simple concept, one that did not last long. A concept not too much different than the void the Bang is filling. *smile*

drudge February 7 2008 3:52 PM EST

101th post

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 7 2008 4:03 PM EST

Big Bang... considered by most scientists as the most disgusting and impossible theory yet conceived.

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 4:08 PM EST

GL, we agree in scary-similar fashion on the afterlife question!

I came to the conclusion a long time back (more than 20 years ago) that eternal life didn't really make sense to me. Either it can't be eternal, can't really be "me", or both.

My favorite observation was to say that let's hypothesize I AM still me in heaven, and I can do ANYTHING! So, I do everything I can think of, and it takes 10^100000000000 eons to complete. That should be long enough to do everything in the Universe across all of space and time. Remember, the Universe is finite both spatially and temporally (that is what I believe anyway). It may be huge, but any large number divided by infinity is still some value infinitesmally small so as to be akin to zero. So, I do everything in the Universe, all of space and time, 100 million times. Then what? I've still got eternity left! What am I going to do, twiddle my thumbs? So, it is clear to me that to maintain my sanity, I either wouldn't have any sanity to maintain (meaning I am not me), or the concept of eternity wouldn't drive me insane (again meaning I must not be me).

As years progressed and the legions of faithful could see through my parlor logic tricks, the answer to my quandary became: "You can't imagine what it will be like, because God will provide, and you cannot understand God's plan or what heaven will be like."

In that case, it ain't much of a reward then! *smile* I can't remember the last time I did something for a reward that I didn't know what the reward _was_ (if I even needed a reward in the first place). Granted, I think there are plenty of reasons to just be a good person even without the afterlife (it's easier, for one thing...) So, the word "moot" barely covers the heaven/hell question for me. Iit all falls down in so many ways for me I end up being unable to keep track. *smile*

And yes, before anyone says it, I know that's where "faith" comes in. Except instead of the word "faith", I like to replace it with "begging the question", as that is what the circular construct ends up doing (in my opinion).

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 4:14 PM EST

@Marlfox:

Really? Do you have a link or something I can read to that effect? I know the super simplistic Big Bang idea has gotten a lot more detailed and morphed into a lot of things involving string theory, dark matter, weird rules about time and space in those first few attoseconds, etc, but I had no idea MOST scientists found the overall concept of a big bangish start to be disgusting AND impossible! I would be very interested to read more about that, so any information or references you can send my way would be very much appreciated...

Marlfox [Cult of the Valaraukar] February 7 2008 4:27 PM EST

Here
is what I was talking about. (Sorry if I came off a bit strong).

And here is more evidence against Big Bang.
But you still have not answered my question, aren't you defining absolute truth by saying there is no absolute truth?

Lochnivar February 7 2008 4:44 PM EST

Considering that both those references are from clearly creationist camps I don't know if I'd grant the 'most scientists' argument.

The first line even states "Answers magazine is the Bible-affirming, creation-based magazine from Answers in Genesis."

Given that there is science vs faith aspect to this discussion I would hesitate to ascribe these passages to the 'wrong' side. (wrong as in inaccurate, I am not passing judgment here)

interesting forum thread btw....

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 4:52 PM EST

Marl, thanks for the links. If your original post about the Big Bang had said most _creationist_ scientists, or scientists whose goal is to reconcile the Bible with the Big Bang, then yes, I am sure they find the Big Bang Theory disgusting and do everything they can to discredit it.

However, you didn't say that. Most scientists (the non-Genesis, non-Bible-centric ones) would, I think, support the Big Bang theory, as I noticed when I went and googled after you brought up your point. The Big Bang is supported by many mathematical and astronomical models. The flaws are there (and are openly admitted), but the bulk of science still supports the idea. I don't really want to get into a "Big Bang vs. Creation" debate any more than I want to get into an "Intelligent Design vs. Evolution" debate. Those are worthy topics, I just think the discussion here has already strayed off-topic enough (largely because of me).

On to absolutely truth.... I am not defining anything. I was asked it I believed there was absolute truth, and I clearly stated that, in my opinion, truth lies in being discerned, and since absolute truth would require an absolute power to do that, I personally do not believe it can be discerned.

Does it exist as an idea? Sure. I can even spell it: a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e t-r-u-t-h. See, it exists. I can believe OF it. I just don't believe IN it. I'm not defining it by it's absence. In fact, it's absence is the default (I wouldn't have to say a thing to endorse its non-existence).

May I ask you a question? If you do believe in absolute truth and its ability to be discerned, can you describe to me the entity or creature that can do that discerning? Then, can you describe how such a creature would describe that absolute truth to lesser minds?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 7 2008 5:49 PM EST

:D

Hehehehehe Sute, I've been having the 'nature of he soul' discussion since I first logged GentlemanLoser as my username on Gamefaqs. ;)

I really would like someone to actually tell me how my soul relates to me.

Or spirit. As sometimes soul is used to mean the spark that allows sentient life, and Spirit is what travels on after you die.

I think the closest to an explaination I ever had was from a Christian who explained the soul as the link between the Physical Body and the Immortal Spirit. This link/bridge/doorway wasn't secure, and open to letting supernatural creatures into you. Namely the Devil. Unless you had given your soul already to Jesus, in which case it was closed to everything else.

But then, unless my 'spirit' is an exact spiitual/immortal replica of myself, created the moment I die, it still doesn't relate to "me" in any shape.

And if it can cary thoughts and emotions, sucks if you suffered amnesia/lobotomy/dementia before you died.

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 5:51 PM EST

Yikes, an eternity as an end-game Alzheimer's patient? You've depressed me, GL... :\

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 7 2008 7:42 PM EST

Although some Christians don't see the afterlife as an eternity in the clouds (and hey, if you've got no emotions, how can you enjoy it?). One view is that after the second coming, and judgement day, those deemed worth will be reborn on earth, with Jesus, and wil live an eternal life, with the world remade as the garden of eden (before the eating of the apple).

Oh here you go, anyother question.

Eve is blamed by God for eating a fruit God told her not to. The fruit containing the knowledge of Good and Evil, right? Before eating said apple, Eve was pure. Had never been exposed to evil, wrongness, treachary or betrayal.

Now excusing the fact Lucifer has no free will (only Humans were given that) and God made him to fall, and made him fall (really benevolent that...), why blame Eve for being tricked by the Devil?

She had no knowledge of trickery or bretrayal, as she could not possibly have experience 'Evil' or know the difference between right or wrong. (Having not yet eaten the fruit that would explain all that to her)

So when she's up against a 'supernatural' creature created by God, purely to trick her, which an innocent 'pure' person would have had no defense against, God then punishes her for her wrong doing...

Anyone else see a problem with that?

QBOddBird February 7 2008 7:49 PM EST

If you check throughout the Bible, it isn't referred to as the sin of Eve, but as the sin of Adam. The blame largely falls on him for, after she had eaten and presented the fruit to him, eating of it himself.

Nonetheless, she had received a direct command from God not to...and when presented with a choice between following a command from her God or accepting a proposition offered by a lesser being, she chose the proposition.

If the question is 'Why would God tempt her?', then I would probably assume the answer is 'so she would choose to do the right thing.' After all, what better way to prove one's allegiance than to give them an option between what you want them to choose and something tempting?

There's my 2 cents on the last question presented. :) Unfortunately, I've not been keeping up with the discussion up to that point...I had forgotten this thread entirely.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 7 2008 7:55 PM EST

OB, it wasn't a choice.

A supernatural being of power greater than her, tempted and tricked a 'pure' women who had no understanding of right or wrong.

No understand of decieit. She didn't even know you *could* be tricked.

Hell if the Devil had simply said "God told me to tell you it's ok to go eat that apple now" she would have had no idea it was even possible he could be lying.

Not until after eating the fruit.

Of course, you could then say the blame lay with her, as after eating the apple, and reaslising she was *probably* tricked by the Devil, she then pursaded Adam to eat as well.

That's why it's Eve's sin. ;)

Still, she was totally set up in the first place. Top notch trap.

QBOddBird February 7 2008 8:06 PM EST

On the contrary, you just stated that human beings were given free will. Therefore she -could- choose not to eat the apple.

Additionally, God had told her not to eat the fruit from that tree. Therefore the two commands given (not so much a command from Satan, as a persuasive effort, but nonetheless) were in opposition to one another.

Yeah, she was totally set up, but she was not forced.


As far as the blame laying with her afterwards, I agree with that, but again Adam had a choice as well.

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 8:12 PM EST

Or, as the Family Guy would have us believe...

...God was just trying to protect his pile of pr0n!

Jamba in da Juice February 7 2008 8:33 PM EST

Some Christians have this thing (which is contradictory to Christianity) where they're trying to force people to converting to their religion, as if converting someone else has to do with the converter and allot less to do with the convertee, which isn't true in any way. The reason why us Christians try to convert is because we want to share eternal life with those around us, not because we want them to be constricted by this and that. There are also whole churches who don't get it, you can say "ha!" but then again none of us are perfect. There was one church we visited once where the pastor made good points about some subjects (i don't remember any of them though) and he would quote time and readers digest and things but never actually mentioned the bible, again, nobody's perfect.

Ok, so some ppl were mentioning the Christianity vs science, though really science proves allot of things about Christianity, there is one specific book that talks about this, called Case for the Creator, Darwin once said that eyes could never have happened by chance, i would have to add everything else about the human body as well, the liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, the brain, the heart, arms, legs, muscles to move, bones to make the main structure of the body, nerves, the ear, mouth etc. i personally think that ur brain making sense of all your senses (no pun intended) is incredible, you feel, hear, taste smell and see things just because of electrical signals each "senser" is receiving and you get rough and smooth surfaces, loud and soft sounds and notes, spicy, sweet, sour and bitter tastes, bright and dim colors, and disgusting and "soothing" smells, and for these to all be received at once can't just be because some random explosion happened and we suddenly had all this stuff in us that works together to keep us alive and keep us amused, that's only part of it

Jamba in da Juice February 7 2008 8:40 PM EST

um..... she could have chosen not to, i don't know, maybe being told by the creator of the universe wasn't good enough for her, God has said in the bible to the effect of "i will not allow temptations to be so overpowering that you cannot resist it" thus meaning everyone has choice to give into sin or not, though it is true it's allot easier to give in than not.

Jamba in da Juice February 7 2008 8:45 PM EST

i'm just saying that maybe, just maybe, God was a little more powerful/supernatural than beings he created

Admindudemus [jabberwocky] February 7 2008 8:58 PM EST

as for the eye argument, here is a good article on it:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041030215105.htm

science never has all of the answers at any one time, it is merely a process of gathering data proving or disproving theories.

a good scientist must inherently be willing to totally discard her beliefs if the aggregate data proves it false. a good Christian inherently must resort to faith when faced with lack of evidence or contradictory evidence. can the two ever really be reconciled? which one is truly seeking enlightenment/wisdom/truth/knowledge?

Relic February 7 2008 9:00 PM EST

@GL

Here are my beliefs on the subject. The spirit and body compose the "soul" of man. The spirit looks just like the body (only in its prime/perfect form). The spirit is made of matter like the body, but a more refined matter that is invisible to the human (limited) eye. Christ was able to do the things that he could being the Son of God due to him being a God in spirit and mortal man in body. After all he had a God as his literal father (the same father our spirits have come from) and whose image we are fashioned, and a mortal mother (Mary).

He was able to heal, teach, exemplify goodness, suffer and die for mankind because of his spirit possessing the attributes of Godliness, yet he was able to take on the pains, sins, and griefs of all God's children due to his mortal nature being subject to infirmities.

Christ's gift to mankind was two-fold. First, he overcame physical death through the Resurrection (the re-uniting of his immortal spirit and perfected, glorified body) into a perfect state. Second he overcame spiritual death. Because God lives in a state of perfection, anything that is unclean (imperfect) cannot return to live with him after death, without the intercession of Christ. He is our mediator with the Father. Because he suffered for our sins, he will intercede with the father on our behalf and the justice of God will be met with the mercy that Christ is able to extend and we will be able to once again re-gain the presence of our Father. It is up to us to choose whether we will accept his intercession because we all have the free agency to do so or deny his help.

Just like any child can become like their mother/father, the ability also lies within each of us to become like God and enjoy all that he enjoys. And yes, this involves the creation of worlds, procreation of spirit children and living in a state of perfection where our children becoming like we are, adds to our joy and glory.

The old adage of "heaven" and "hell" is a bit limited. There are varying degrees of righteousness and as such there are varying degrees of reward that each will receive in the next life. Jesus told Thomas "There are many mansions in my father's house, and I go to prepare a place for you.".

In Corinthians 15:39-44 in the New Testament, it states:

39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

There are different degrees of glory that God's children can attain (with the intercession of Christ).

Feel free to flame away and try and argue my beliefs but I share out of a respect for the great minds that play and communicate here. I am not "pushing" anything, so take it for what it's worth.

QBsutekh137 February 7 2008 9:19 PM EST

Totally agree, JJ. And when He comes down to talk to me, I'll be the first to say, "You rock, dude!"

The whole, "Can't let 'em really know I'm here except through faith," is fairly lame, in my opinion. What's the downside of just _talking_ to us?

That part of it really irks me because Jesus Himself talked about doing things for effect. He said, flat out, that there should be no show offs, no false modesty. I've just always wondered why He doesn't tell His Dad about all that... :\ Maybe Junior could make the Old Man see things could and oughtta change.

I'm here, have always been taught to be accepting and open (by Catholic parents and teachers), and yet the Dude I'm supposed to believe in thinks it's OK to not follow by those same rules. If there was a good reason, explained to me (He made me pretty darn smart, I swear I'll do my best to "get it"! *smile*), that would be one thing. But there isn't.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2008 3:55 AM EST

Glory, while I might argue your beliefs with you, it's in no way to demean or flame you. It's purely to increase my own understanding, as I agree with Sutekh, and I'm one of those poeple that say "I don't know".

And deep down, I really would like to. One way or another.

So I ask, and ruminate upon the different answer I get. They might lead me to more questions, but I feel that the ability to question your own faith is a strength.

OB;

"On the contrary, you just stated that human beings were given free will. Therefore she -could- choose not to eat the apple."

And I'm saying that "choice" was influenced (heavily!) by a supernatural being created soley to decieve and influence that choice (among other things...).

Let me ask you, if you had never been exposed to lying and deceite, had no knoweldge of right or wrong (she could *not* have known disobaying Gods request was wrong...) do you think you could have resisted the Devil in Eve's situation? I pretty sure I couldn't. Hell, if the Devil (an immortal being with more cunning and guile than I could possibly imagine) tried to trick me, I doubt I'd be able to resist him. How could I?

Could you?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2008 3:59 AM EST

Glory, why do we require a spirit? If it's material, and the physical body can be cleansed of sin/impurity by confesion and communion, why can't it continue to exist? Why can't it transcend to the material planes that Heaven and Hell (and Limbo?) must be?

If Heaven and Hell are material (to take a material spirit), would it be possible to find a way to get pur physical bodies to both before we die?

Relic February 8 2008 9:43 AM EST

@GL

"Glory, why do we require a spirit? If it's material, and the physical body can be cleansed of sin/impurity by confesion and communion, why can't it continue to exist? Why can't it transcend to the material planes that Heaven and Hell (and Limbo?) must be?"

The spirit is what gives us life. When the spirit leaves the body, that is when physical death occurs. The physical body is mortal (can die) and the spirit is immortal and eternal. The physical body is not what is cleansed of sin, it is the spirit. This has reference to baptism. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward commitment to God. The water is symbolic of cleansing our physical bodies, and the spirit of God (Holy Ghost/Spirit) is what cleanses and purifies our spirit. In the scriptures it is called a "baptism of fire". The physical body cannot continue to exist because it is mortal and as such has flaws (disease, hunger, thirst, etc..). As I explained above Christ overcame physical death, and as such, his gift to us is the Resurrection. After we die our spirit will be re-united with a perfect version of our body that is immortal and free of infirmities. In essence we will have a body like God and Christ.

"If Heaven and Hell are material (to take a material spirit), would it be possible to find a way to get pur physical bodies to both before we die?"

Heaven and Hell are not really "places" as much as they are states of being. A person who tries their best and accepts the Atonement of Christ will be able to progress in knowledge, understanding, wisdom, love, patience and all the virtues we strive for in this life in the next life (Eternal Progression). While a person who does not choose to accept Christ will be in a state of damnation, the term damnation seems harsh and is often misunderstood. It simply means their progression will be limited or stopped. They will only be able to progress to a certain limit and the "hell" for them is knowing they could have been more. The old adage of Devils and unquenchable flames is very misconstrued.

Life with God will actually be hotter than life with Satan because God's life includes Light and Satan lives in Darkness.

After we are judged by God (after death), we will either be in a state of Heaven (peace and rest to our soul) or Hell (unrest and damnation). We can experience a measure of Heaven or Hell in this life, but since judgement will occur after we die, we cannot attain the ultimate Heaven or Hell with our physical (mortal) bodies.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 8 2008 10:17 AM EST

(If you don't mind carrying on with this, it's very interesting!)

What is the next life? Why does it require a perfect body and why can't we have that perfect body now?

Where do you go in this next life, as no one has returned to this world? Or is everyone still waiting in limbo (doing what?) until Judgement day?

Relic February 9 2008 9:57 AM EST

@GL

"What is the next life? Why does it require a perfect body and why can't we have that perfect body now?"

The next life is where we continue our progression in becoming like our Father (God) and Christ. This life is a test of sorts, we are being tried or proven to see if we will obey the commandments of God with a veil of forgetfulness that has been placed over our minds. In order to understand this life, it is imperative to understand our pre-earth life.

We lived with God as his spirit children before we came to earth. We reached a point where we could no longer progress in our current state (spirit bodies only). There were two plans presented to us, one from the Father and one from Lucifer (later to become Satan).

The Fathers plan was presented by Christ. This plan involved us coming to earth, receiving physical bodies, and being tested to see if we would be faithful in following the commandments of God and the example of Christ. In this plan we had the freedom (agency) to choose our own path in this life, and as such we also had to the pay the consequences for our sins. That is why Christ was asked by the Father to atone for the sins of mankind, so that we could overcome the demands of justice in regard to sin keeping us from God and be extended the mercy of Christ.

The second plan presented was that of Lucifer (also called son of the morning). His plan was to rob man of his agency and force all God's children while in mortality to be righteous. The draw was that not one soul would be lost, but it took away our ability to choose and as such, our ability to progress. We can only progress when we make choices that have either positive or negative consequences. There must be choice in order to receive reward and positive change to occur. Lucifer was so convincing in his argument that he drew away 1/3 part of the host of heaven when he was cast out of God's presence for rebellion.

Those of us that have come to earth all chose the Fathers plan with Christ as our Savior. We knew we would fall short, we knew that our physical bodies would be weak, frail, and prone to sin. But we also knew that Christ would come and provide a means for us to return to our Father through his Atonement. This life is an extension of that life and now with the veil placed over our eyes/minds, we must choose by faith. It required faith then to believe that Christ would do what he said he would do and suffer and die for us. Now we continue that faith by needing to accept his sacrifice and try to live as he taught.

"Where do you go in this next life, as no one has returned to this world? Or is everyone still waiting in limbo (doing what?) until Judgement day?"

After you die, your spirit and body separate. Your body is laid to rest here and your spirit goes to a place called the spirit world. It is simply a place for the spirits of the just and unjust to await certain future events. It is not a place of limbo, but more like a transitory state where we will be re-united with loved ones and we will continue our progression. Those individuals who did not receive and opportunity in this life to hear the truth about God's plan will be taught and be able to choose to accept it in the spirit world. There after all many people that die without a knowledge of Christ and/or God's plan.

There are some spirits that proved themselves worthy enough that they have already been resurrected (after Christ, because Christ was the "first fruits of them that slept", the first person resurrected). Some of these spirits have come to the earth at different times to direct God's work and help his oracles (prophets) in their work.

When Christ comes again to the earth, one of the things that will occur will be the resurrection of the dead. Those spirits that have been waiting in the spirit world will receive perfect bodies and again continue their progression.

Obscurans February 9 2008 10:21 AM EST

Oh dear. A weak point.

What is physical death? Is it when your lungs stop breathing (CPR), heart stops (cue defibrillators), your brain ceases to function (Terri), or all of them (cryopreservation), or something else?

Remember, there is no widely accepted definition of WHEN death occurs. Although in most cases, death is pretty certain (aka blown up, decapitated 2 hours ago, rotting corpse), so, tell me when death occurs.

And hell, rest is boring. I like unrest.

Plus, enough evidence is amassed that no brain, no thought. I refer you to simply google.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2008 10:26 AM EST

So originally, we had immortal material spirit bodies. Then to further our progression, we had to take on flawed, mortal material physical bodies?

How does our testing allow us to progress any further? This I don't understand.

We get our mortal flawed bodies and if we follow Gods commandments our perfect immortal material spirit body is then able to progress into a perfect immortal material physical body?

Why do we need to progress from our perfect immortal material spirit bodies anyway?

What do people do in the spirit world do while they wait for Judgement Day, and the decision on whether they get a new perfect imortal material physical body?

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2008 10:41 AM EST

Sorry Glory, a few more questions (leading back to the topic of afterlife Sute and I were talking about).

I suppose having a soul (a spiritual and phsyical body) I was originally one of the spirit children up with god, that accepted his plan and was reborn on Earth into a physical body.

With my mind wiped.

If so, then the GL I am now, is nothing like, or nothing to do, with the orignal 'me'.

And why should I then care if this spiritual 'me', which has none of my values or memories (does it just gain the memories of my mortal life when I die?), gets to progress anywhere or not?

It's not 'me', and I can't remember my time up in the spirit workd with God, nor agreeing to his plan.

Everything I know, love and want to be a part of will go when I die. Why should I care if the original spiritual 'me' gets a new perfect body or not?

QBsutekh137 February 9 2008 11:51 AM EST

Furthermore, GL, let's say you DO want to use this pathetic earthly form to help your spirit that came before and came after... From the discussion, it sounds like that would be like using a dog to save an angel. Or using a plastic knife to try to cut down a tree.

Even if we DO care about our own spirit, why are we given such a weak mechanism to try to help out our higher being? Even worse, how does God have the gall to judge our spirit (and send it to Hell) based on this lackluster, mortal manifestation of our "true" selves?

If that is God's plan, then I assure you I never want to meet this guy. He sounds egotistical, arrogant, judgmental, and inconsistent -- several things of which Jesus spoke out directly against in the New Testament. I don't worship or respect entities that don't live by their own rules, and the main defense I have heard on that, "God doesn't have to, it is His plan and we can't understand it. So just have faith." is the Universe's biggest cop-out.

Obscurans February 9 2008 12:02 PM EST

"Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child." - Robert A. Heinlein

QBOddBird February 9 2008 12:41 PM EST

Furthermore, GL, let's say you DO want to use this pathetic earthly form to help your spirit that came before and came after... From the discussion, it sounds like that would be like using a dog to save an angel. Or using a plastic knife to try to cut down a tree.

---On the contrary, the Bible states that man cannot save himself, he has to rely on God.

Even if we DO care about our own spirit, why are we given such a weak mechanism to try to help out our higher being? Even worse, how does God have the gall to judge our spirit (and send it to Hell) based on this lackluster, mortal manifestation of our "true" selves?

---Again, we can't. We can only be saved by trusting in Christ, there's nothing that we ourselves may do to assure our own salvation. God can judge us based on our actions due to free will.

If that is God's plan, then I assure you I never want to meet this guy. He sounds egotistical, arrogant, judgmental, and inconsistent -- several things of which Jesus spoke out directly against in the New Testament. I don't worship or respect entities that don't live by their own rules, and the main defense I have heard on that, "God doesn't have to, it is His plan and we can't understand it. So just have faith." is the Universe's biggest cop-out.

---Nobody's telling you that you -must- accept Christ, though. It's just a choice. Heck, you don't even have to believe that you're sinning: why be convicted of something when you don't believe there's truly even a Judge? Either way, I'm sick of the God-bashing in these arguments that inevitably comes forth - I don't bother to provoke those who are not of my faith, and I generally expect the same kind of respect.

QBOddBird February 9 2008 12:44 PM EST

On a side note - Glory and I are from different sects of Christianity, after reading his arguments. Just noticed that. :)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2008 12:48 PM EST

OB, in that case, what's the test?

Seriously.

I can't do anyhing to save myself, other than accept Christ. And that's a test?

Relic February 9 2008 12:59 PM EST

I will write a longer answer to your questions GL, but for now I will just say that the spirit is _not_ perfect. Immortal yes, perfect no. Gaining a physical body with inherent weaknesses allows the opportunity to fight those weaknesses and strengthen our true self our spirit. Memories will be retained from this life into the next, in fact the desires, and appetites we have here will continue with us into the next life. The veil will be removed after this life (whether it is right away or after a short time I am unsure, but it will happen) and then our combined memories of the pre-earth life, and mortality will both influence the person we truly are not just have been with limited understanding here on earth.

Godpanda February 9 2008 3:46 PM EST

I love the notion that God created all man, accepted that they will sin, because he created them and knew it and apparently forgave us these sins. There are different ways this plays out among religions, and in some, he he hasn't forgiven this sin... But what seems to hold constant to me is if God is so great, yet I make the mistake of not believing in something with no proof, I am doomed to eternal suffering and pain. Sounds like God in every religion is very selfish and egotistical. I think I'd be just as happy to NOT follow this religion, if following it means I support the suffering of billions of souls after death because they didn't agree with me.

Honestly... If I died tonight, and was brought face to face with God, I'd have a-lot of questions before I accepted him. And, honestly, if he didn't answer because it was some grand plan, or he is all knowing and cannot be questioned, or maybe his answers just SUCK, I think I'd be much more comfortable in hell, pain and all.

SimplyNic February 9 2008 5:19 PM EST

To be the devious, somewhat rebelious individual that I am... I actually spent some time thinking about this. In church one day (yea I'm forced to go, lay off me) they brought up Satan the wicked one and how his realm, Hell, is a painful and dark place... I found myself never to feel so curious before. But why would we be punished by being sent to Satan's realm? He was not banished, but he left on his own terms.

Also, I love the way the bible has blinded so many people. "God loves all his children", yet he hates satanists. He hates gays and bi's. Why? What have they done wrong against him?

Plus the things he has tried to hide. Halloween for one. Look into it. The cover up of Spring, a pagan holiday, which just so happens to be the end of lent. Jesus' rising on the 3rd day, the same belief to the Egyptians long before he was born. When the Egyptians died and were mummified, they descended to the land of the dead for 3 days and ascended to their next life.

Oh so much more I have to say... But I've said enough as it is. Good day.

Relic February 9 2008 7:09 PM EST

"God loves all his children", yet he hates satanists.

The first statement is true, the second is not. God loves us unconditionally, but he cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. You can love your child even if they do things you know are wrong, the same applies to God.

As far as the pain and suffering, as I said previously Christ has _already_ suffered for all our sins. We can either accept his sacrifice on our behalf or we will suffer for our own sins, justice cannot rob mercy, they are two eternal laws that must life in harmony.

Unless we keep the commandments perfectly in this life (which no one but Christ has done or can do) we must be held accountable for our actions. Because of the foreknowledge of God, a Savior was appointed and provided for all God's children to provide a way to return to God's presence. It is entirely up to us whether we will accept or reject the gift Christ has given every living soul.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 9 2008 8:08 PM EST

What happens if we accept his sacrifice, but as you say can't keep to the commandments?

What's the more relevant?

Relic February 9 2008 11:44 PM EST

"What happens if we accept his sacrifice, but as you say can't keep to the commandments?"

We receive his intercession (mercy) when the Father judges our deeds in this life. He paid the price for our sins and can offer himself as having met the demands of justice. Justice requires we either keep the commandment or pay for the sin. Christ suffered for all so that no one has to suffer.

"What's the more relevant?"

I am not sure I understand your question. Both the acceptance of Christ must take place and we must strive to keep his commandments. When we do fail to keep the commandments we can ask God for forgiveness and try again. It is by grace we are saved, after all we can do. Faith without works is dead. Believing is not enough. Some Christian faiths disagree on this point. But even Satan knows that Christ is Christ. The difference is what we do with that knowledge.

QBOddBird February 10 2008 12:28 AM EST

See, this is why I hate these discussions, even though I'd like to have them. People who don't really have anything to bring to the conversation wanna pop in with their (often unsupported) opinion as a way to bash someone else's faith.

"Also, I love the way the bible has blinded so many people."

"Plus the things he [God] has tried to hide."

One of those was entirely off, and the other was completely unfounded. Can we close this thread already? This and other posts are just the latest examples of the lack of civility CB contains when trying to hold a logical discussion about a religious subject.

It's not like the latest few posters even really had a serious question. It was just another example of an attempt to start a 'my belief system is superior to yours' quarrel, and I don't think it's really forum material.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2008 12:32 AM EST

Open forum, man. We don't make those kind of "worth" judgment calls here, nor should we (in my opinion). If we did, shouldn't we have banned the whole original post? Words like "unfounded" and "not adding anything" are entirely subjective. The openness of forums is the most sacred of our beliefs here in CB-land, at least I thought so.

QBOddBird February 10 2008 1:08 AM EST

Sutekh, really, from you? I think it is perfectly obvious that 'unfounded' fits well. You can't say that Egyptians were doing something before Christians and make the logic leap that says they ripped them off. You know bad arguments just as well as I do.

Additionally, I say it isn't adding anything because it is contributes nothing to the logical debate in this thread. If we're discussing the damage produced by an ELB, and someone pops in to say "Speaking of ELBs, Jon totally ripped them off of Tolkien's stories!" - I think you'd agree that that doesn't really contribute.

I agree that this is an open forum. But I don't approve of jumping away from the topic at hand to make a jab at someone's faith, especially when it isn't even good logic! And yes, I totally considered that a jab. There was nothing but biased accusations, no asking for an explanation, no 'I'd like to contribute, and maybe see your viewpoint.'

Maybe you wouldn't be offended if someone said your mother was a whore and she slept with Clinton. An unfounded accusation? Probably. But hey, he's just making a point, eh? I know this is an extreme example, but it shows how personal a faith can be to some. After all, there -are- martyrs.

(Btw, that's the problem I have with this type of forum discussion. Religion is a -personal- topic, so if you make a jab at someone else's, you'd better damn well be capable of backing it up.)

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] February 10 2008 8:10 AM EST

"You can't say that Egyptians were doing something before Christians and make the logic leap that says they ripped them off."

No you can't. ;) But it wouldn't be too much of a streach, after the Roman practice of subjugating new territories by subsuming thier religious icons and festivals with your own, to help rule the populace.

"A winter festival was traditionally the most popular festival of the year in many cultures. Reasons included less agricultural work needing to be done during the winter, as well as people expecting longer days and shorter nights after the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.[10] In part, the Christmas celebration was created by the early Church in order to entice pagan Romans to convert to Christianity without losing their own winter celebrations.[11][10] Certain prominent gods and goddesses of other religions in the region had their birthdays celebrated on December 25, including Ishtar, Sol Invictus and Mithras. Various traditions are considered to have been syncretised from winter festivals including the following:"

As far as I'm aware, no where in the Bible does it give a date for Christs birth, and the surroundings described are attributed to not being in the winter.

But, this was a creation by the church, and Religion is supposed to be personal. (doesn't Jesus decry worship in groups of two or more?)

And while someone shouldn't make a jab at soemones personal faith, isn't it different to point out the flaws of a Religous Organisation, especially one detailed to pick and choose things they want, just to make it easier for themselves.

Like the Pope getting rid of Limbo.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2008 10:11 AM EST

First of all, there is no "can't". If there were "can't", I would take several excerpts from the original post and simply state "prove it" after each one. But then I'd probably get a bunch of people calling me a persecutor for trying to apply proof and logic to a personal belief system.

So, I didn't do that. And if the OP can state his/her beliefs openly, then so can everyone else. It is obvious that proof and fact do not have to be a part of it, since it has been admitted numerous times that God cannot be proven/disproven.

As for the consistency argument, you are right. Some recent posts aren't all that consistent or well-worded. But actually, I find the Bible to be a rather inconsistent and poorly worded tome a great deal of the time. So it shouldn't be on this thread then either by that logic.

I'll tell you what "can't" be done (in my opinion). One can't pay lip service to the idea of "let's just all get along and have a nice discussion" but then reject part of that discussion and ask the whole thread to be closed. I have seen several posts on here that I consider fictional on the God/belief front, but I didn't ask for the thread to be shut down, did I? No. I used the same openness that allowed folks to state their mind to state my own.

THAT'S openness.

QBsutekh137 February 10 2008 10:20 AM EST

By the way, if you want to talk about the practice of "bad" arguing, I would say that copying text from another web site without any explanation or additional interpretation constitutes as pretty darn lame on that front:

Linky.

At least a few complete paragraphs come directly from that site (like the last one, for example, that's how I found it).

If you want to start with getting a handle on inconsistencies or "bad" arguments, you should probably start with plagiarism. Spreading the Word or not, copying someone else's writing is still plagiarism.

Now, if Matshi wrote that whole thing on that other web site, then I recant all I have said. But I don't see any links or attributes in the original post.

At least CrazyNic wrote his own material!

Relic February 10 2008 11:16 AM EST

"It is obvious that proof and fact do not have to be a part of it, since it has been admitted numerous times that God cannot be proven/disproven."

Great point Sut, however I will add that it is very possible to have the knowledge of the existence of God proven to you subjectively (i.e. personal experience), but I whole heartedly agree that objectively proving God is difficult at best. In my view, if you look at the wonder, intricacies and beauty that is life, birth, civilization, emotion, relationships, and many other things. It is hard to deny (for me) that there is not a grand design. The scientific side of me knows that chance in relation to order is all but impossible. The laws of nature, physics, and atomics, all follow order, and rules.

Let everyone have their voice, I have no problem with any of the posts thus far. The only time I have issue is when personal attacks are brought into light, and thankfully that has not taken place.

Matshi February 10 2008 11:22 AM EST

Well here's another chapter. I haven't really read replies but it seems to me people are getting upset that I didn't site where I acquired that first chapter. All this is from a book printed under the titles of Peace Above the Storm, Happiness Digest, and Steps to Christ. There are many copies of it available on the internet. My reason for posting is that this book has brought happiness and insight of the Truth to my life and I thought maybe it would do the same for others. As I told CrazyNic, if it makes even one person happy, it's well worth it.

If anyone wishes to read further chapters, you can find them here: http://www.preparingforeternity.com/hd/hdcontents.htm

AS your conscience has been quickened by the Holy Spirit, you have seen something of the evil of sin, of its power, its guilt, its woe; and you look upon it with abhorrence. You feel that sin has separated you from God, that you are in bondage to the power of evil. The more you struggle to escape, the more you realize your helplessness. Your motives are impure; your heart is unclean. You see that your life has been filled with selfishness and sin. You long to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to be set free. Harmony with God, likeness to Him--what can you do to obtain it?

It is peace that you need--Heaven's forgiveness and peace and love in the soul. Money cannot buy it, intellect cannot procure it, wisdom cannot attain to it; you can never hope, by your own efforts, to secure it. But God offers it to you as a gift, "without money and without price." Isaiah 55:1. It is yours if you will but reach out your hand and grasp it. The Lord says, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26.

You have confessed your sins, and in heart put them away. You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours. Jesus healed the people of their diseases when they had faith in His power; He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see--leading them to believe in His power to forgive sins. This He plainly stated in the healing of the man sick with palsy: "That ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith He to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house." Matthew 9:6. So also John the evangelist says, speaking of the miracles of Christ, "These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name." John 20:31.

From the simple Bible account of how Jesus healed the sick, we may learn something about how to believe in Him for the forgiveness of sins. Let us turn to the story of the paralytic at Bethesda. The poor sufferer was helpless; he had not used his limbs for thirty-eight years. Yet Jesus bade him, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." The sick man might have said, "Lord, if Thou wilt make me whole, I will obey Thy word." But, no, he believed Christ's word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the power. He was made whole.

In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,--believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,--God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, "I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised."

Jesus says, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24. There is a condition to this promise--that we pray according to the will of God. But it is the will of God to cleanse us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life. So we may ask for these blessings, and believe that we receive them, and thank God that we have received them. It is our privilege to go to Jesus and be cleansed, and to stand before the law without shame or remorse. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1.

Henceforth you are not your own; you are bought with a price. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold;... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1 Peter 1:18, 19. Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.

Now that you have given yourself to Jesus, do not draw back, do not take yourself away from Him, but day by day say, "I am Christ's; I have given myself to Him;" and ask Him to give you His Spirit and keep you by His grace. As it is by giving yourself to God, and believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him. The apostle says, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." Colossians 2:6.

Some seem to feel that they must be on probation, and must prove to the Lord that they are reformed, before they can claim His blessing. But they may claim the blessing of God even now. They must have His grace, the Spirit of Christ, to help their infirmities, or they cannot resist evil. Jesus loves to have us come to Him just as we are, sinful, helpless, dependent. We may come with all our weakness, our folly, our sinfulness, and fall at His feet in penitence. It is His glory to encircle us in the arms of His love and to bind up our wounds, to cleanse us from all impurity.

Here is where thousands fail; they do not believe that Jesus pardons them personally, individually. They do not take God at His word. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know for themselves that pardon is freely extended for every sin. Put away the suspicion that God's promises are not meant for you. They are for every repentant transgressor. Strength and grace have been provided through Christ to be brought by ministering angels to every believing soul. None are so sinful that they cannot find strength, purity, and righteousness in Jesus, who died for them. He is waiting to strip them of their garments stained and polluted with sin, and to put upon them the white robes of righteousness; He bids them live and not die.

God does not deal with us as finite men deal with one another. His thoughts are thoughts of mercy, love, and tenderest compassion. He says, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins." Isaiah 55:7; 44:22.

"I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." Ezekiel 18:32. Satan is ready to steal away the blessed assurances of God. He desires to take every glimmer of hope and every ray of light from the soul; but you must not permit him to do this. Do not give ear to the tempter, but say, "Jesus has died that I might live. He loves me, and wills not that I should perish. I have a compassionate heavenly Father; and although I have abused His love, though the blessings He has given me have been squandered, I will arise, and go to my Father, and say, 'I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son: make me as one of Thy hired servants.'" The parable tells you how the wanderer will be received: "When he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him." Luke 15:18-20.

But even this parable, tender and touching as it is, comes short of expressing the infinite compassion of the heavenly Father. The Lord declares by His prophet, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." Jeremiah 31:3. While the sinner is yet far from the Father's house, wasting his substance in a strange country, the Father's heart is yearning over him; and every longing awakened in the soul to return to God is but the tender pleading of His Spirit, wooing, entreating, drawing the wanderer to his Father's heart of love.

With the rich promises of the Bible before you, can you give place to doubt? Can you believe that when the poor sinner longs to return, longs to forsake his sins, the Lord sternly withholds him from coming to His feet in repentance? Away with such thoughts! Nothing can hurt your own soul more than to entertain such a conception of our heavenly Father. He hates sin, but He loves the sinner, and He gave Himself in the person of Christ, that all who would might be saved and have eternal blessedness in the kingdom of glory. What stronger or more tender language could have been employed than He has chosen in which to express His love toward us? He declares, "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee." Isaiah 49:15.

Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; for Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Thank God for the gift of His dear Son and pray that He may not have died for you in vain. The Spirit invites you today. Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and you may claim His blessing.

As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity. The great heart of Infinite Love is drawn toward the sinner with boundless compassion. "We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." Ephesians 1:7. Yes, only believe that God is your helper. He wants to restore His moral image in man. As you draw near to Him with confession and repentance, He will draw near to you with mercy and forgiveness.

GummyBear February 10 2008 12:44 PM EST

Are people seriously flaming a post related to Jesus? Y'all need more church I reckon :P

QBsutekh137 February 10 2008 3:08 PM EST

Indeed, Glory, I have felt grace, joy, and peace many times in my life -- I just don't attribute it to God. I give credit where credit is due: family, friends, and myself.

As for the rest of creation, a lot has already been explained and a lot remains. For what is known, I point to science and fact, and for what is yet unknown, I say, "I don't know." Other people handle that differently, and that is fine by me. Whatever floats your boat!

SimplyNic February 10 2008 3:36 PM EST

X,x;; This is still going on? Lol... Hey comin' from me as of this point, its kind of a low... But lets leave this thread be. Perspectives have been stated, what more is there to be said?
This thread is closed to new posts. However, you are welcome to reference it from a new thread; link this with the html <a href="/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg.tcl?msg_id=002LFG">Peace above the storm</a>