Statesboro, GA, USA
You said, "It is not detestable to me even if the biggest bulk of these things were borne of the Human mind to fill in blank spaces--God, Heaven, Hell, etc.††that some people still earnestly believe in hope for or fear.††It shows that these things are what we make of them in ourselves, that we are as Gods of our own religions"
You are a thoughtful person and I appreciate you defending the need to respect others, no matter where one stands on these issues. However, I must differ with you on a point. Respecting someone's person and someone's doctrine are two different things. It's the difference between respecting a test-taker and respecting wrong answers on a test. I for one believe that these questions of religious belief do have answers.
If Christianity were some kind of legendary tale to make us feel better somehow, and yet wasn't objectively true, then I would refute it. For the claims of Jesus are pretty sickening if they are not really the truth. We don't doubt the authenticity of Homer's "Illiad" with some 640 surviving manuscripts and the first completely preserved texts dating from the 13th century. Yet the New Testament has some 24,000 complete and partial manuscripts, which date from the 2nd century. Being authentic documents, and accurate renderings of the teachings of Jesus and the apostles ... and no doubt written with intent of others taking it as the truth, makes these claims more to be despised if they are not true. I would wholeheartedly agree with Opeth, if I deemed Christianity to be false, that Jesus was an egomaniac. I deem C.S. Lewis as being right when he says that Jesus Christ is either Liar, Lunatic, or Lord. He is either someone to be taken for who he claimed to be, or despised. He didn't leave a whole lot of room to take a middle stance and didn't intend to.
"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty" -- 2Peter 1:16
I see a crossover from tolerance (which I agree in) into a relativistic view of truth (which I don't agree in). It says "what is true for you may not be true for me, and what is true for me may not be true for you." This is impossible just like the square circle! This absoluteness does not involve every detail in life, as there is a lot of flexability and freedom in the nature of things. But what I am talking about is mutually exclusive claims, historical, philosophical, scientific, etc... involving two opposing statements that cannot be both true. This stark insistence of logic extends into religious questions as well. As I stated earlier, there either is a Heaven and Hell or there is no Heaven and Hell. Christ either bodily rose from the dead, or he did not. Either God exists or he does not.
I would encourage you to look for yourself to see if Biblical Christianity is true. I'll be glad to help you if want to know where to start. But know this... it cannot be true and not true. Opeth is more right than you think (though he's a little rough at times) if Christ was a liar and a deciever. He wasn't a liar and a deciever, I still assert. Opeth is wrong in his conclusions. But I respect his feelings more than patronizing ones. Don't get me wrong. I agree with your plea for respect and tolerance. You are always chivalrous in your responses and a kind person. I appreciate that because that quality in itself is lacking more and more among people .... especially in debate. But I guess I draw a line which you do not yet draw. I will respect people, but not all beliefs, in the same sense that I will not respect wrong math when it comes to my bank account.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-14-2002 11:13 PM).]