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Denise
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125 posted 11-15-2002 11:25 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I guess this thread has confirmed to me what I've known for awhile, that generally speaking, people cannot be convinced either of the existence of God or persuaded into trusting Christ by means of logical arguments until/if they are open and receptive. This doesn't come as a surprise to me. It just confirms to me that God, who possesses all wisdom, is not to be found in or through the wisdom of men. That's stated in the bible also. God will convince those who are open to being convinced. All we can do is help to shed a little light on the path.

Whenever I have seen "religious" discussions, by far the most reviled of "religions" has been Christianity, hands down, while others are handled with care, ranging from common respect to PC tolerance. That doesn't come as a surprise either. The bible states that this world will hate us as it hated Him. It's something that we can gladly endure, knowing that it helps to conform us more into His image. It is refreshing though at times to read level-headed statements such as yours, Hush. You are definitely in the minority, at least in my experiences so far.

I suppose that Christianity can be viewed as exclusionary. It is, only to the extent that it is through Christ, and Christ alone, that we can come to God for forgiveness because Christ was the only one who was sacrificed for us to pay the price for us. But it is something that God makes available to the entire human race (all-inclusive)through faith in Christ's all-sufficient sacrifice. Christ is the Truth. This can also be found in the bible. Now, although it is true, Ron, that none of us can presume to claim to know the totality of the mind of God, we can surely know what He has declared of Himself, and He clearly states that Christ is the only way to Him. The idea that there are various paths, or truths, contradicts what is plainly stated througout the bible.

I'm not a theologian or an apologist or an eschatologist, Jim (it's great to see you here again!). I'll gladly leave those fields to the more learned. I just share what I have come to know and believe to be the truth when the opportunity presents itself. For those who wish to further explore the evidence, it's certainly there to be found. I can't say it any better than Stephen has already.

Phaedrus, to me an agnostic is one who says that he doesn't know and cannot know whether God exists or not and an atheist is one who firmly believes that there is no God.
Does it really matter whether you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist, whether you say you doubt or disbelieve, what meaning you attribute to each respective word? Either way, the bottom line is still that you currently lack faith, no matter how you decide to describe it. It's just playing with semantics and not an argument of substance, wouldn't you say?

Ron
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126 posted 11-15-2002 11:27 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Jim, if I were to run across a religion that was based on the victory of Cornwalis at Yorktown, like you, I might be inclined to doubt its validity. So far, that hasn't happened yet.

And, no, I'm not being facetious. Well, not entirely. Every religion I have studied is based on faith, not on events or provable facts. Every religion is based on revelation in one form or another. My point is simply that if God speaks to you and says something entirely different from, even contradictory to, what he tells me, I'm not going to call you a liar. The differences or contradictions could (and I believe do) exist only because we don't know the whole story. Indeed, we can't know the whole story.


Stephanos
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127 posted 11-16-2002 12:04 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Denise,

Glad to hear your voice!  ... well, sort of. (see your voice???)  

Anway, I want to reiterate the point you brought out.  I did mean by the "exclusivity of Jesus", the excluding of any other means of salvation, not the excluding of people.  Jesus died for the fullness of the world, all nations, all people who will come will be saved.  That's good news!  

Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-16-2002 12:04 AM).]

Ron
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128 posted 11-16-2002 12:20 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

What would you do if God appeared in your living room tonight and told you that Jesus was not His Son? I'm talking no doubt about it being God and no ambiguity to his statement. You would KNOW it was God, just as Abraham did, and you would feel His truth, just as Moses did.

Were that to happen to me, I don't think it would change anything about what I believe. I wouldn't call the Bible a lie, and I wouldn't suddenly think Jesus was a fraud. I would, instead, realize that God was revealing a truth that was beyond my understanding. That it seemed to directly contradict everything I previously understood is not a reflection on God, Jesus, or the Bible. It is a reflection only of my understanding. That Jesus is the son of God, and one with God, would not be disproved by something so simple as a contradiction. Every miracle ever performed was, by definition, a contradiction. God is not bound by human limitations or human understanding.

God denouncing Jesus is an extreme example, and no, I certainly don't expect it to happen, but it's really no different than if God told me a stone was white and told you it was black. It doesn't mean He lied to one of us. It simply means neither you nor I can ever see a stone the same way He does.

Stephen, Denise, like you I believe in the words of Jesus. Does that mean I understand everything He has said to me? Not by a long shot. Does it mean I haven't misunderstood at least some of what He's said to me? I think that's pretty much a given. But all I can do is go with the understanding I feel I have, live my life accordingly, and have faith that my faith will be enough.

How can I find fault with another for doing the same?

Christopher
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129 posted 11-16-2002 01:13 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

If he did do that though, Ron, wouldn't that lead you to doubt the other perceptions you had surrounding your faith? Wouldn't you have to then question your perception of any event that was drawn from Christ being God's son?
Stephanos
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130 posted 11-16-2002 01:32 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron,

you wrote, "What would you do if God appeared in your living room tonight and told you that Jesus was not His Son? I'm talking no doubt about it being God and no ambiguity to his statement. You would KNOW it was God, just as Abraham did, and you would feel His truth, just as Moses did. "


This is a dangerous line of thinking in at least one way.  In scripture we are told that Satan appears as "an angel of light".  There are many experiences in history where people felt that God spoke to them.  Mohammed.... Joseph Smith.... David Koresh... all had their "angels of light".  But feeling is no guarantee, if bedrock revelation has been given and something counters it.  Remember when Paul said to the Galatians, "If we, or an angel from heaven should preach any other gospel to you than that which you recieved, let him be accursed"  Interesting scripture to think about.  There is a difference between truth "felt" and truth "known".  And by the way, sonship seems to be an irreversible union ... you'll never not be your son's Father.  Why and how could God trick us that way?  Why would he be so emphatic that it was his Son who was the way, and then relent and say "well, he died for all, but you really don't have to believe that dogmatically ... religious rituals will work for some"  Why the commission to "Preach the Gospel"?  What "gospel"?  That anything will work?  

I think there's truth in what you are saying though, and may be expressed in the life of  Abraham... God told him to sacrifice Isaac, the son through which God had promised would come Abraham's posterity.  A seeming contradiction.  The scripture tells us that Abraham exercised complete trust and obedience and did so... "reasoning that God could raise the dead".  But God never denied or reversed  what he promised to Abraham.  He never said "Your seed shall not come through Isaac".  This is called lying.  The bible even says that "It is impossible for God to lie".  Is this some kind of cosmic lying that God is referring too that is different from our lying?  Can he lie and then just say he's telling the truth?  I don't think so.  I think when we understand lying, we have his understanding, as we were created in his image.  God often does or says one thing that challenges us as to what he has previously revealed, but never flat out denies it.    


If someone of great power and majesty appeared to me, professing to be God, and said "Jesus is not my son".  I would have to conclude he is not God, no matter how impressive the light show.  There are some scriptures Ron to which God has bound himself to forever.

One of many examples is Hebrews 1:8   "But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom."


I see your point that we cannot know everything God is or does.  But a god who contradicts himself at every point would be the problematic god of the existentialist, not the God of the Bible.


It is not arrogance or presumption to believe that the Bible teaches absolutes.  It is rather humility.  Do I know all truth?  Ha!  I am pitifully in the dark about soooooo much.  But I know God has nailed down some things as surety.  


As the beloved Physician Luke wrote,  "...that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed."


Stephen.
    

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-16-2002 01:38 AM).]

Christopher
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131 posted 11-16-2002 02:12 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
I see your point that we cannot know everything God is or does.  But a god who contradicts himself at every point would be the problematic god of the existentialist, not the God of the Bible.
The Bible is just a book. You're not taking the word of God that it is, in fact, His word, but rather the word of fallible men, men who likely would understand God as little as you or anyone else.

Besides, I wouldn't be the first in line to try and hold a major deity to a contract written by men and based on my faulty understanding.
Opeth
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132 posted 11-16-2002 07:32 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I searched for the truth with an open and willing heart, Denise. You are only reading my words after the fact. When I went on my truth seeking mission, I prayed on my knees to God, asking that He would give me His wisdom, not men's wisdom. I wanted to live the correct way. The way He would want me to.

I searched for the true church and humbly searched the truth. So, if you were referring to me, you couldn't be more wrong about me.

Let's see if your hearts and minds are willing to be opened with no or little bias and subjectivism...okay?

If Christianity were the only way of salvation. If the Christian God, which included Christ in the Godhead, is the only and true God, the critical proof would be found in His Holy words: The bible.

Can we agree on this? If yes, let's continue.

Do the writer's of His Holy word claim infallibility? Yes. This is not my opinion, this is from the bible.  II Tim 3:16 states that all scriptures are God's inspiration. Of course, this meant only the OT (at that time), but we could logically assume it included the NT.  Other scriptures support the claim of the Bible's infallibility, in that they were Holy Spirit inspired (cannot be broken): John 10:35, IIPeter 1:20-21.

Can we agree on this (that the bible's writers claim infallibility)?

Since the claim that Jesus is God and that He ressurected from the dead is found in the Bible, and if the Bible were indeed infallible, Christianity would have an excellent case to prove that their saviour is the true God.

Agreed? If yes, let's continue...

But the bible is not infallible. Many fallibilities are to be foun. I would like to start with a crucial one. Maybe one you Christians out there can explain this FACT that I found regarding Christ's death.

Bible Fallibility 1


Luke 23:53-54
The day before the Sabbath
Jesus, having died was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb

Agreed? Before the Sabbath.

Luke 23:56
The day before the Sabbath
The ladies prepare the spices and rest on the Sabbath.

Agreed? The ladies prepared the spices before the Sabbath.

Mark 16:1
The day after the Sabbath
They purchased spices, that they might anoint Jesus.

Agreed? The ladies purchases the spices AFTER the Sabbath.

BUT...how could that be if they prepared the spices before the Sabbath?  These authors should of gotten their story straight before writing. Cops do this to witnesses all the time, you know.

This is just one fallibility. Unless, I made a mistake?

I will wait for replies and then we could move on, if anyone cares to.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-17-2002 10:08 AM).]

Phaedrus
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133 posted 11-16-2002 08:29 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Hush

If you mean the conclusion that Iím an atheist and not an agnostic the answers pretty simple, I read a line in an article by Michael Martin published in The Philosophers Magazine:

ďFor atheism to be rationally justified it is only necessary that it be more probable than theism. Certainty is no more required in the case of atheism than it is in the case of scientific theories.Ē

I had up until that time described myself as an agnostic believing that atheism was too severe a stance and equated to a total rejection of the possibility that God exists. Yet I found myself arguing against such an existence at every turn, I doubted that God could exist but doubted that he could not but after measuring one doubt against the other I concluded that it was more probable that he did not.

quote:
Have you ever had the experience where a friend or acquaintance lies to you to see whether or not you'll believe something? You can usually tell when somebody's doing it. (personally, even as a joke, I absolutely abhor it when someone does this to me...) Anyway, you don't believe what this person is saying, but you have no proof that they are lying to you. You can call them on it, but if they deny the lie, you have nothing to back you up besides having a 'feeling' that they are not telling the truth. Considering that lack of proof, it's also possible that you are being overly suspicious, and that they are telling the truth. So, you don't call them on it.

The important part of your example is this:

quote:
Anyway, you don't believe what this person is saying

You say that a lack of belief is not the same as disbelieving based upon the evidence that you have not voiced your disbelief. Iím saying that your lack of belief is sufficient evidence, at least for me, to believe that you do not believe, whether you voice that disbelief or not. (I also believe Iíve just invented a tongue twister   )

quote:
But the thing is, I can plainly tell you this is not true in my case. How could you prove otherwise? Is my belief/disbelief hidden somewhere in my unconscious?

No, in most people religious disbelief is in plain sight and written bold in their actions and words, if I truly believed that God exists I would worship him regardless of the fact that I could not prove his existence. If I truly believed he did not exist I would not, you can not be ďa little bit religiousĒ, a person who believes in the existence of one God is a theist and worships that God, a person that disbelieves is an atheist and does not worship that God.

Iím willing to set semantics aside if you like and label anyone that does not believe in God as an agnostic, my argument is that three separate categories do not exist, you either believe or you do not itís all a matter of faith (see below).

Denise

You said:

quote:
Phaedrus, to me an agnostic is one who says that he doesn't know and cannot know whether God exists or not and an atheist is one who firmly believes that there is no God.
Does it really matter whether you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist, whether you say you doubt or disbelieve, what meaning you attribute to each respective word? Either way, the bottom line is still that you currently lack faith, no matter how you decide to describe it. It's just playing with semantics and not an argument of substance, wouldn't you say?

I disagree with some points and agree with others.

quote:
Does it really matter whether you call yourself an agnostic or an atheist, whether you say you doubt or disbelieve, what meaning you attribute to each respective word?

I agree in fact that is my whole point, it doesnít matter if I call myself a pixie, regardless of the label I do not believe God exists, the normal classification for a person that holds those beliefs is an atheist. Your description of an agnostic and an atheist describe the same thing whatever label you assign to them.  

quote:
Either way, the bottom line is still that you currently lack faith, no matter how you decide to describe it.

I donít lack faith, on the contrary I have an abundance of faith in my conviction that God does not exist, I have to itís what I believe. You may be mixing me up with those people who doubt that God exists but have no faith in their conviction, they exist but they are not theists either.

quote:
It's just playing with semantics and not an argument of substance, wouldn't you say?

No, itís an argument of deduction although as I said earlier Iím quite willing to enter into a discussion of substance if by substance you mean facts, evidence and bodies of proof from independent and impartial sources.

Thanks for the chance to read and reply.

[This message has been edited by Phaedrus (11-16-2002 08:40 AM).]

Denise
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134 posted 11-16-2002 09:09 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Hi Stephen, it's always good to hear you as well! Yes, I knew what you meant. I was merely reiterating the point that you were making, not trying to clarify it. You did that quite well.

Ron, again, like Stephen, I wouldn't believe that God would come and flat out contradict something that He has already declared to be His truth. I would attribute the appearance and declaration to be of an origin other than God. Don't you find it peculiar that most of the supposed "revelation" subsequent to Christ by various folks who started their own religions were preceded by visitations and revelations from angels of light? I'd say that they were either delusional or were actually influenced by a deceiving entity. God states that He has spoken to us (the world) in these last days through His Son. Christ is God's final message and answer to us, not messages from angels or messengers subsequent to Christ.

Chris, I believe that there is enough evidence, both within and without the bible to convince someone that it is the revealed will of God and not just a book. For anyone who wishes to research the issue there are many apologetic books on the subject.

Opeth, no, I wasn't referring to you in particular, but to the world in general. I have no doubt that you did what you said you did. That you have currently arrived at the conclusions that you have in no way precludes the possibility that you will one day change your views as your search continues. Those who are open and receptive will arrive at the truth eventually. Not everyone's journey toward the moment of belief will be identical. I don't doubt that some need more convincing than others, simply due to differing backgrounds and psychological makeups. As to the seeming contradictions that you pointed out, Mark mentions particular women by name, Luke mentions a group of women from Galilee. I see it as referring to different women purchasing spices at different times, not as an inconsistency or as a proof that the bible is fallible. Unfortunately I don't have the time to take numerous such issues that you would present here and research them. What I would suggest is that you take your list of such seeming contradictions and prayerfully re-study them in context and see if you can't reconcile them to your own satisfaction.
Denise
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135 posted 11-16-2002 09:18 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Phaedrus, my mistake, I didn't finish my thought. You still currently lack faith in Christ as saviour. In my opinion it takes more faith for an atheist to believe that there is no God, than for someone to believe that there is a God. But belief in God's mere existence isn't even the bottom line. The bottom line is coming to a point where one places their faith/trust in the finished work of Christ on one's behalf.

[This message has been edited by Denise (11-16-2002 09:19 AM).]

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136 posted 11-16-2002 09:33 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


No problem Denise, I understand the difficulty of coalescing thoughts into words without losing at least some of the meaning or intention along the way.
Opeth
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137 posted 11-16-2002 09:40 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Denise, that is not a good use of common sense. Of course all four gospels speak of the same group of women. That one gospel doesn't particularly name them, doesn't mean it isn't the same group. Utilizing common sense and rationality, they are the same group of women.

If we are to throw out common sense in order to try to prove and sway the truth of a matter to make it fit one's beliefs, then we can do that with the entire bible - This is the same group of women, unless we want to take it out of context for our own purposes.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-16-2002 09:46 AM).]

Opeth
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138 posted 11-16-2002 09:56 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Not only what I just stated above, but if the spices were purchased after the Sabbath, when did they have time to prepare them and annoint the body when the body was also gone after the Sabbath - early morning upon visiting the tomb, Christ is already gone.

Also read that the women who prepared the spices were the women from Galilee, and these same women include the women from the so-called other group ~ they were the same group. It is like 1+1=2.

Please people, if you are following this, don't be subjective or biased.

I will wait for another explanation, Denise's, with all due respect, fails to disprove this fallibility.

And I am only on the first of many falliblities.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-16-2002 09:57 AM).]

hush
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139 posted 11-16-2002 10:42 AM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Opeth-

Honestly, if your disbelief is based on something so trifling, I don't get it.

The Gospels were written by different people, at different time periods. Like I said, you seem to have this problem with literalism. That contradiction withstanding, that is not what gives me doubt about the truth of Jesus' resurrection.
Contradictions in small things, in my opinion, are easy to overlook, considering the nature of the four Gospels.

My problem with believing this is that it seems highly unlikely to me that he was resurrected. I have trouble swallowing that just because a book (that I don't view as undeniable truth) tells me so. Do I have to do more research regarding the historical surrounding of the event? Of course.

A theory that I've heard is that Jesus didn't actually die on the cross. Since Pilate didn't actually want to crucify him, he had him taken down- hence his death occurring in a relatively short time. Now, people seeing Jesus walking around alive and well with puncture wounds in his hands and feet are pretty likely to believe that he has been risen from the dead.

Do I believe this? No, but I think it's a possibility. Like I said, before I commit to believing anything, I need more historical documentation and proff supporting either side.

Stephan-

'Just wondering if you could, as speaking to someone who is only interested in Scriptural authority in matters of faith, point to something in scripture that might suggest that the exclusivity of Jesus Christ is not indispensable to saving faith... or that it should be believed for oneself but not proclaimed as truth to others.'

I was just reading (last night, in fact) a theory of pluralist theologians that the exclusive phrasing in the Bible about Jesus reflects the disciples intense love of him, just as a husband/wife will tell their spouse they are the 'only' one for them. It was not meant to portray Jesus as the exclusive means to forgiveness and salvation, but rather, to express their belief that he is the only on for them.

Personally, I think this is twisting the context of the Bible a little too much, and that people are trying to reconcile (what I see as) a terribly unfair tenet of Christianity with what they think is right. I don't think you can have it both ways, according to Christian belief, but the fact that people want to have it both ways indicates to me a sense of injustice surrounding that very basic creed of the religion.
Opeth
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140 posted 11-16-2002 10:54 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Hush,

One has to look at the "entire picture."

This is just the first of many Bible fallibilities, however, it is important.

Follow...

If it is the Bible that states Jesus is God.

and...

If the writer's of the Bible claim (as does Christian leaders today) that the Bible is infallible because it was actually written THROUGH the Holy Spirit.

and...

If the Bible can be proven to be fallible

then...

How can one claim that Jesus is the only God or THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH? God would then be a fallible god.

Not only that, there is much more, I am only providing the beginning strokes of the entire picture, how could one come to a judgement so quickly?

It is an important matter, this detail of the preparation and annoiting of the spices...as important as a topic of Jesus' ressurection is, I would hope to think (and would be common sense to do think so) that the Holy Spirit inspired, infallible, ubreakable Word of God would not contain such a crucial error with regards to the saviour's death, burial and ressurection.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-16-2002 11:04 AM).]

Opeth
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141 posted 11-16-2002 11:09 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I hope courts of law do not have problems with literalism, if they did, then here would be a likely scenario...

"Mr. Mike, you stated to the police that you killed your wife...now you are changing your testimony?"

"No I am not, I didn't meant that I actually killed her, it was only a figure of speech, I meant that I killed her mentally, by destroying her self-esteem."

Jury member: "Oh, I understand now, you never said that you physically killed your wife. Agreed.
Ron
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142 posted 11-16-2002 02:58 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Chris asked: If he did do that though, Ron, wouldn't that lead you to doubt the other perceptions you had surrounding your faith?

I do that any way. To think is to doubt. Complete and utter conviction (which is probably impossible for anyone except God) denotes the absence of thought.

quote:
Stephen said: But a god who contradicts himself at every point would be the problematic god of the existentialist, not the God of the Bible.

When I was about three or four years old, after watching a particularly disturbing news cast I think, my mother told me that bad men were put in jail where they couldn't bother little boys. A few years later, shortly after I started school, I remember her warning me to stay away from a specific neighbor because he was a bad man. To my young mind, those two statements were contradictions. If he was a bad man, he should be in jail?

Neither statement was a lie, because my mother would never do that to me, but years later, I now realize that neither statement was the whole story either. My mother told me what I needed to know, without ever lying about it, but also refrained from confusing me with things I couldn't possibly understand at the time.

When my mother contradicted herself, I didn't lose my trust in her. I asked questions, she answered them, but even when I couldn't quite understand her explanation, I never lost my trust in her. That would have been unthinkable to me, and even then, I knew my confusion was MY problem and not proof of Mother's fallibility.

People who believe in an omnipotent and omniscient God have to be willing to accept the consequences of that belief. For us, time moves in only one direction, we can never travel faster than the speed of light, and sonship seems to be an irreversible union. But those are obviously human limitations, and the moment you assign ANY limitation to God, you have artfully circumscribed His omnipotence. There can be no lies from God, and no contradictions from God, because His power both defines and redefines our reality. Truth exists within, and can only be measured by, His acts of creation.

When you explore the ramifications of true omnipotence, it becomes clear that consistency isn't just the hobgoblin of little minds. It's a gift from God. That deterministic science exists at all is an indication that God shields us from inconsistency. From that evidence and the very constant state of the Universe, I really don't think for a moment that God is going to directly contradict something He has already said to me. But I also realize that every miracle Jesus ever performed was inconsistent with deterministic science, so I know God's gift of consistency was never meant to be absolute. God "could," under the very definition of omnipotence, say something completely at odds with what he has said before. It would be no less true, because He is the definition of truth. And, just as with my mother, I still wouldn't lose my trust in Him. My confusion would be MY problem and not proof of God's fallibility.

Inconsistency and seeming contradictions are an inevitable result of omnipotence. Without them, omnipotence is limited and thus is no longer omnipotence. I believe God purposely shields us from inconsistency and contradictions, and - like my mother - lets us see only what we need to know and what we can understand. The only real question in my mind is whether God shields humanity as a whole or treats each of us as individuals. If it is the former, than I know that my Bible, and my Jesus, and my convictions are true for the entire world. All other religions are false. But if God is a personal god and deals with each of us as individuals, I can no longer be quite so certain. It is within His power, as defined by omnipotence, to give one set of consistencies to me and give another very different set to, say, Mohammed. Both sets could be equally true, because God defines our truths, and any contradictions would be a result of our imperfect understanding. " If he was a bad man, he should be in jail?"

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I could be barking up the wrong tree entirely. Maybe I am simply justifying my own difficulty with admitting I know next to nothing and then immediately trying to force-feed my limited understanding to another human being. Should someone ask, I will share. But I cannot tell someone they are wrong when my own knowledge is less than complete. I am convinced my own conviction are right, but if I accept the omnipotence of God, that doesn't necessary mean everyone else has to be wrong. I don't know that because I can't know that. But that's okay, because I trust that God DOES know.

quote:
hush said: Personally, I think this is twisting the context of the Bible a little too much, and that people are trying to reconcile (what I see as) a terribly unfair tenet of Christianity with what they think is right.


Those who read the Old Testament with a clear understanding of the New are often dumbfounded by the web of intricacies woven into the words of God. Things that made perfect sense in that old worldview take on much deeper meaning in the context of the new. The old meaning was and is still true, but the greater truth was often revealed only through the life and death of Jesus.

I've often wondered how much of the New Testament is still waiting to be revealed by the promised return of Christ?

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus is the one true path to salvation and happiness. I am considerably less certain that I fully understand exactly what that means. When you and I use a personal pronoun there is little room for ambiguity. When a monotheistic God who is defined by His plurality uses the pronoun, my mind tends to run around in little circles. I doubt my confusion is an accident, and I think there is meaning in there we are not yet ready to see.

The one thing I don't doubt, however, is that when the final truth is known the seeming injustice of Christianity will be profoundly just.
Wind
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143 posted 11-16-2002 04:20 PM       View Profile for Wind   Email Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Wind

I don't want to get involved in any argument, but I am an adeist. Not an Atheist, they are very different. I simply do not agree with many of the things that the bible, or any other religion tells you, so I decided to do it by my own standards of what relion should be. This is not because I do not believe, but because there are so many different versions, so many lies and people streatching the truth, that I don't want to believe something just because someone tells me. I was quite unfairly thrust at religion as a child, and I was not allowed to develop my own beliefs. Allthough I am not thankfull of this, I do think that if this never happened, I would not be the strong and indepenant person I am today. After that, I learned not to believe someone just because they say it is true. Allthough this may have been a little indirect, I felt it nessicery to say that I don't believe in arguments over religion. Please do not try to tell me that my beiliefs are wrong, because I don't believe that anyone can have incorrect beliefs.

"Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will break my heart"

Wind
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144 posted 11-16-2002 04:28 PM       View Profile for Wind   Email Wind   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Wind

I also have a story that goes allong with this:

"A girl who was in about the forth grade had behavior problems. The councilers wanted to find out what was wrong, but because she was so young, she had trouble telling them. They asked her to draw pictures. The only things she drew were birds: big, evil looking birds with spikey feathers. They did an investigation, and It turned out that her parents were involved in a devil worship group, and were making her go with them. There were animal sacrifices where people would slaughter inoccent birds, and this had deeply disturbed the child."

Now what I am trying to bring about with this story is that we cannot truely say that her parents were doing the wrong thing. It is exactly the same as parents forcing their children to go to church. As for the killing of inoccent creatures, christians used to kill old ladies that kept cats. Not just black ones, but any cats at all. So forcing any religion is wrong. Well, just my opinyon, you cant think what you want. Sorry for changing the subject...

"Sticks and stones will break my bones,
But words will break my heart"

Denise
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145 posted 11-16-2002 04:34 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

quote:
Opeth said: Denise, that is not a good use of common sense. Of course all four gospels speak of the same group of women. That one gospel doesn't particularly name them, doesn't mean it isn't the same group. Utilizing common sense and rationality, they are the same group of women.


I don't agree, Opeth. If one gospel names them and another doesn't, yet the time frames indicated are different, I don't see that common sense and rationality dictate that they are the same group. To me, common sense and rationality would dictate that they are indeed a different group being spoken of by different authors. To me it seems that the ones who are specifically mentioned by name were actually a smaller circle from within the larger group of women from Galilee mentioned elsewhere. Perhaps the smaller group for some reason didn't get to market along with the others and went later? Couldn't you see that as a possibility? I don't see why one has to presume that the group is the same in order not to violate common sense. I think that most supposed inconsistencies are seen as inconsistencies precisely because people come to them with presuppositions in mind. When one is open enough to discard presuppositions when approaching these texts, the "inconsistencies" fall by the wayside. And then again, I'm sure there are some people who don't want to reconcile supposed inconsistencies because they would then have to admit to themselves that maybe, just maybe, the bible is the infallible word of God, and they would much rather content themselves to majoring in finding as many of these perceived inconsistencies as they possibly could to try to insulate themselves as much as possible from ever coming to that eventual conclusion. As to your other point:

quote:
Not only what I just stated above, but if the spices were purchased after the Sabbath, when did they have time to prepare them and annoint the body when the body was also gone after the Sabbath - early morning upon visiting the tomb, Christ is already gone.


Common sense and rationality would suggest to me that they were not yet aware when they purchased and prepared the spices after sundown, when the Sabbath ended, that Christ would not be in the tomb when they arrived to annoint the body. And of course they didn't actually annoint Him, since He wasn't in the tomb when they arrived.

I agree, 1+1=2, and it all adds up to me. I'm not twisting the truth to try to fit preconceived ideas.    
hush
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146 posted 11-16-2002 04:36 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

Opeth-

I don't believe that Bible to be infallibe. Maybe that's why I have less of a problem with the concept of reapplying ancient meanings to modern life.

Think of it this way- maybe it wasn't a matter of Matt and Luke (or one or the other) being wrong, but they could have just interpreted the events differently? You know how eyewitnesses are bad in court because their perceptions don't exactly match reality? Same thing here- and I think that's why four gospels are provided, so that we can read the perceptions of more than one person, and, from that, decide which parts we believe to be accurate and which aren't.

I find that fundamentalist approaches to religion are usually dangerous- i.e., a white slaveowner telling his salves that Jesus preached to turn the other cheek, and so should he (the slave). Taken more symbolically, slaves could relate to Jesus as a fellow sufferer, and apply his message of salvation to their own lives.

Taken out of context and literally, people can justify anything with the Bible. I think it's important to see what is really meant by certain codes and stories- just as it's important to think about the symbolism in Jesus' parables.
Opeth
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147 posted 11-17-2002 09:51 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Think of it this way- maybe it wasn't a matter of Matt and Luke (or one or the other) being wrong, but they could have just interpreted the events differently?

~ Interpreting differently and fallibility are not the same. Describing an event in various ways would not lead to fallibility, as my example clearly shows. With regards to those court witnesses, for a mere mortal witness, yes, there will be mistakes, however, the Bible is supposed to be infallible and unbreakable, from the Holy Spirit Himself, so I expect infallibility, unlike I would expect from those witnesses in your example.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-17-2002 09:51 AM).]

Opeth
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148 posted 11-17-2002 10:50 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Fallibility 2

The Bible states,

God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34).
God desires all to be saved (1Tim 2:4).

~ Therefore God gives everyone a chance to become saved. This could also be looked upon as there is no such thing as predestination.

Agreed?

However...

Acts 2:39 ~ "...as many as the Lord our God will call."

~ If God is going to give everyone a chance to be saved, why would Peter make it like God may not call someone?

But that is just one example, if that were the only one, it wouldn't be enough proof, so let's continue...

John 6:44 ~ basically says the same thing, that God has to call someone, meaning he is not going to call everyone. If it meant that, then why would Jesus even state this?

John 6:45 states that all will be taught by God...but has everyone? No. Being taught by man, meaning a preacher, is not being taught by God. I will talk about that later.

John 6:65 Jesus says that no one can come unto him unless the father calls that person. Meaning? An individual cannot just decide to become saved, they must be called.

So far any errors?

2Cor 4:4 (weird passage, indeed) So people are blinded to the truth? Why? Why would a God who wants all to be saved and does not respect any one person blind these people?

Read it again. It says that GOD has blinded them. Not Satan. Not themselves, but GOD.

Mark 4:10-12  ~ Jesus says to the apostles that he speaks in parables for what purpose? SO THAT THEY WILL NOT BELIEVE!!! Read it again.

There are other biblical examples, but I will stop here and move on to the saving part.

If God desires all to be saved, but then does not give everyone a chance, then the Bible is again proved fallible and not only that, it shows that this God is an unjust God.

Millions upon millions of people have lived and died without ever hearing the name Jesus. According to the Bible, they cannot be saved. Read the above examples for one reason, but I submit to you this...The bible explicitly states that in order to become saved one MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

Now, in order to be born again, one must do these things

1. Repent
2. Be baptized
3. Most importantly, receive the Holy Spirit.

If one does not receive the Holy Spirit, one CANNOT be saved.

Now, I have already heard the argument of people are only accountable for what they know, and will be judged accordingly, but that does not mean they are saved. It can't mean it. The bible clearly states HOW one is to be saved. It gives no other way.

So everyone has not been taught by God. Therefore, this is yet another fallibility.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (11-17-2002 10:52 AM).]

jbouder
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149 posted 11-17-2002 05:11 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

quote:
The Bible states,

God is no respector of persons (Acts 10:34).
God desires all to be saved (1Tim 2:4).

~ Therefore God gives everyone a chance to become saved. This could also be looked upon as there is no such thing as predestination.

Agreed?


No, not agreed.  You are doing something called "proof texting".  You yank a sentence or part of a sentence out of the text and then claim that the meaning of the text, in isolation, contradicts another verse you've quoted similarly.

Acts 10:34 describes the conversion of Cornelius, a gentile.  Jesus' atoning death was just as much for the gentile as it was for the Jew.

In 1 Timothy 2:4, Paul is instructing the young pastor Timothy to pray for all men.

Neither verse should be construed as a didactic passage concerning election or reprobation.  That was not their intent.

quote:
However...

Acts 2:39 ~ "...as many as the Lord our God will call."

~ If God is going to give everyone a chance to be saved, why would Peter make it like God may not call someone?


This is not a difficult passage at all.  It is half a line from 28 verses describing Peter's sermon in the day of Pentecost following Jesus' ascention into Heaven.  He is testifying to the fulfillment of the Messianic prophesies, that God would send a savior.

quote:
But that is just one example, if that were the only one, it wouldn't be enough proof, so let's continue...


So far, I would argue it isn't even part of a proof.

quote:
John 6:44 ~ basically says the same thing, that God has to call someone, meaning he is not going to call everyone. If it meant that, then why would Jesus even state this?


Considering other scriptures, I believe Jesus is saying, because of man's total depravity and separation from God, he is incapable on his own to make even the smallest step toward God.  

quote:
John 6:45 states that all will be taught by God...but has everyone? No. Being taught by man, meaning a preacher, is not being taught by God. I will talk about that later.


Your hermeneutic is jumbled.  This isn't what the passage is saying at all.  In fact, the context of the verse hasn't changed from 6:44 yet.  Also, I'm not sure what translation you are using, but the passage clearly indicates Jesus' intent.  Read the passage again.  Read 6:22-65 to get the big picture you're missing.

quote:
John 6:65 Jesus says that no one can come unto him unless the father calls that person. Meaning? An individual cannot just decide to become saved, they must be called.


You got the gist of this verse.

quote:
So far any errors?

2Cor 4:4 (weird passage, indeed) So people are blinded to the truth? Why? Why would a God who wants all to be saved and does not respect any one person blind these people?

Read it again. It says that GOD has blinded them. Not Satan. Not themselves, but GOD.


No, no, no, no, no.  The "god of this world" is common verbage to indicate Satan or the deceiver.  Even if it was God who blinded them, why is it so offensive that a sovereign God has the authority to use any part of his creation to fulfill his purpose.  Moses in Exodus writes repeatedly that God "hardened Pharoah's heart" ... why? ... so that his plan would be fulfilled.  Namely the release of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.

quote:
Mark 4:10-12  ~ Jesus says to the apostles that he speaks in parables for what purpose? SO THAT THEY WILL NOT BELIEVE!!! Read it again.


If you read the parallel verses of Matthew 13 describing the event, I think you will understand why he was doing this.

quote:
If God desires all to be saved, but then does not give everyone a chance, then the Bible is again proved fallible and not only that, it shows that this God is an unjust God.


This presupposes man is deserving of salvation ... that, beyond God's desire to save mankind, man has qualities that are meritorious and deserving of God's grace.

What is interesting to me is that the vast majority of your quotations were from narrative portions of the New Testament.  Whether intentionally or out of ignorance, you avoided the didactic passages of the New Testament.  Didactic passages often deal directly with doctrines.  Romans and Galatians clearly state man's condition and the nature of God's grace.  Theologians shy away from developing doctrine from biblical narratives if didactic teachings exist that address the issue.

quote:
Millions upon millions of people have lived and died without ever hearing the name Jesus. According to the Bible, they cannot be saved. Read the above examples for one reason, but I submit to you this...The bible explicitly states that in order to become saved one MUST BE BORN AGAIN.


Again, you presuppose even one person is deserving of grace.  This may sound harsh, but if God's standard is blamelessness and perfection, then all men fall short of the mark.  The righteousness of Christians is forensic righteousness ... that is, Christ's righteousness applied, in a legal sense, to the Christian by faith.

quote:
Now, in order to be born again, one must do these things

1. Repent
2. Be baptized
3. Most importantly, receive the Holy Spirit.

If one does not receive the Holy Spirit, one CANNOT be saved.


I let this one go for now.

quote:
Now, I have already heard the argument of people are only accountable for what they know, and will be judged accordingly, but that does not mean they are saved. It can't mean it. The bible clearly states HOW one is to be saved. It gives no other way.


See Romans 1:18 through 2:16.

quote:
So everyone has not been taught by God. Therefore, this is yet another fallibility.


No, I'm afraid not.  The Bible does not say that every single person on this big blue marble will be taught by God in the way you assert.  You've created quite the straw-man here.  The "All persons" passage you've referred to twice is a quotation from Isaiah's prophesy (Ch. 54).  Read it, and I think you'll understand where you've gone wrong.

Verses in the Bible should not be interpreted independent of previous lines and paragraphs, just as any other piece of literature.  In addition, many passages have a more narrow meaning and audience than others, some deal with events unique in history that are not intended to be construed as relevent for today, some have didactic purposes, others poetic, and others are narratives describing historical events.  Two are apocolyptic that are far more difficult to interpret.

My recommendation, before you toss Christianity out the window, is that you get a good, beginner's book on biblical interpretation.

Here is a link I think you may find helpful to begin with.

http://www.modernreformation.org/mr96/mayjun/mr9603interperet.html


Hope it is useful to you.

Jim


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