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Passions in Poetry

The Bible

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Christopher
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0 posted 08-03-2004 12:43 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Why is it accepted that the men who wrote the Bible were passing along the word of God, when today, we would institutionalize the very same people?

Should we then discount the authors of the Bible as insane, or should we get those we now institutionalize a typewriter?
Aenimal
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1 posted 08-03-2004 01:01 AM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

grins..
Ron
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2 posted 08-03-2004 05:30 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

That's not as difficult to answer as some might think.

Was David Sarnoff, head of RCA, institutionalized when he called the first television "a new art so important that is bound to affect all society" at the 1939 World's Fair?

Was Harry Truman institutionalized in August, 1945, when he announced the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima?

Was journalist Walter Cronkite institutionalized in 1969 when he chronicled Neil Armstrong's historic "great leap for mankind" to a breathlessly waiting nation?

The unbelievable will always be amazing, but it stops being unbelievable when it becomes verifiable. Some 3,500 years ago, a whole lot of people trusted Moses and presumably had some personal experience that reverberated with his message. Two thousand years, a whole lot of people trusted Mathew, Mark, Luke and John because the tales they told were witnessed and corroborated by others. They weren't institutionalized in part because many others had seen and experienced their truths, and I think, because the results that followed from their truths was equally verifiable for millions more. I didn't have to live through the Sixties, or reach out and touch a moon rock, to believe the Space Race happened because, every day, I use a satellite that couldn't exist had not Cronkite been telling us all the truth. Similarly, though we didn't live through it and can't reach out and touch it, for many the peace and comfort that result from the teachings of the Bible give proof to the truth of the Gospels.

Verifiability. Given a verifiable instance of someone healing the sick and raising the dead, even Geraldo Rivera would gain a smidgeon of credibility.
LeeJ
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3 posted 08-03-2004 06:27 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

my own belief is that there is credibility to the Bible...but do question, how much, being those who wrote the Bible were men.

That doesn't suggest that I don't believe in God..I do, but due to mankinds needs and desires, I must question what content might have been left out of the Bible or changed to fit demands and control society.  I believe rules are important and not all rules are fair, but there for specific reasons...factoring in laws.  Which also factors in a certain amount of fear, and consequence for actions...responsiblity for living a moral and lawful life.  Rules are needed in any society...I'm simply wondering what was the first and authentic Bible?  And why then, only the priests could read it...I'd love to know, where that authentic, 1st Edition is...and there are specific reasons why I feel this way.

First and Foremost, women's sufferage?  It should have never been...and folks, I'm not a woman's libber...love men, and having the door opened for me...but also realize, I don't belong in the men's locker room, but must admit, it would be an experience...seriously...I'm thinking there might be a whole new perspective that might shake the communities of many religions.  To me religion becomes like the left and right extremist communities...and believe me, I've attended and studied several religions...and there is truthfully
many good aspects but also hypocracy to all of them.  Why?  Because they are all man made religions which opens the door to man made errors.


Susan Caldwell
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4 posted 08-03-2004 07:16 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

How many of us have taken a small amount of truth and exaggerated it for the sake of a poem?  a short story?  a book?  

Might not the same be true of the bible?  

If I witnessed a small portion of truth would I not be more inclined to then believe the exaggerated portion?

"cast me gently into the morning, for the night has been unkind"
~Sarah McLachlan~

Toerag
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5 posted 08-03-2004 07:38 AM       View Profile for Toerag   Email Toerag   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Toerag

"Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible......okay, whether believers or not, there's one thing that can't be disputed...an old Jewish bud of mine told me this and it stuck.....whether you believe in Christ or not, whether you believe in the bible or not...."even us Jews believe it is one of the very best works ever written to live by"....(This is the same guy I used to wheel and deal with when buying/selling photographic equipment...I'd call him, get a price, tell him I'd give him about 2/3 of that price, he'd tell me he couldn't sell it for that because he had four kids at home and they were hungry....I'd tell him he has two kids at home and they're both fat)...
Susan Caldwell
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6 posted 08-03-2004 07:43 AM       View Profile for Susan Caldwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Susan Caldwell

LOL@Toe...

When asked about the bible my reply is always:

"It's the best work of fiction I have ever read"

(and yes I can say I have read it....I was a sheltered teen)...

"cast me gently into the morning, for the night has been unkind"
~Sarah McLachlan~

LeeJ
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7 posted 08-03-2004 11:23 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

hey Toe & Susan, I'm right there with ya...your friend was very wise, Toe and Susan, we couldnt' agree more

Christopher, what are your views?
Christopher
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8 posted 08-03-2004 11:40 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Ron - I wouldn't be incarcerated for speaking of going to the moon, even mars. Nor would I be incarcerated for any of your other examples (except for the bomb thing... and that's a whole different type of incarceration). When the unbelievable becomes verifiable, it loses the stigmata of speculation.

Why then, is it not generally accepted that people HEAR God? None of your other examples address the opposite side - or current responses. I can accept that people "then" accepted it, but why not now?
Ron
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9 posted 08-03-2004 01:27 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
Ron - I wouldn't be incarcerated for speaking of going to the moon, even mars.

Nor would you likely be incarcerated for talking to God, Chris. Not today. But a few hundred years ago, similar claims would have seen you burned at the stake. I think the analogy will stand equivalent tests in equivalent times.

quote:
Why then, is it not generally accepted that people HEAR God?

Probably for the same reason, Chris, that I generally accept that I don't HEAR my first wife. She hasn't spoken to me in nigh onto twenty years, and on those cold, dark nights when the finger tips of silver maples brush against the window and I think I hear her shrill words in the wind's hail I know it's just my old feelings and imagination speaking to me.

Doesn't mean I never heard her, though. Those old feelings have their roots in truth.


Essorant
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10 posted 08-03-2004 01:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Even if yoredays' religious men did not always work no selfish or worldly thoughts of their own,  vices, superstitions, doubts and lies, witsicknesses etc overall I think a more earnest and unselfish and steadfast reputation --a special link- was much more strongly conveyed by religious wonderers, writers, speakers and general people, than it ever is today.  That spiritualty's  reputation and trust is simply not worked in this age.  After people are overbitten so many times by mad-like men that use the name of God and spiritual things for selfish or immoral things, obscure or destructive things, they no more wish to follow or have much to do with such things, in fact they often become paranoid and fear such things. Man now trusts man for a rational and scientific going now, cold pragmatism more than piousness.   Religion is almost  like knighthood and chivalry now--things mostly only in books, that only the former ages had the truest manners and substance to earnestly perform. I think it is a great avoidence of cleaning up a mess that was and is made of the religoius and spiritual side of things, that places an ill reputation on everything that is towards a more religious going.  Man now flees and tries to shelter him in an allrational and scientific world, and more physical goings altogether take him away from facing and answering the deeper consequences  and answers.  However that "world" is just as inadequate when it lacks spiritual substance.  Men know that and ignore;  many see, and yet believe the human world in the its ever-less religious state is too mechanically forced into everything to change, and successefully reviving religion is a hopeless endeavour.   I don't believe that at all.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-03-2004 02:29 PM).]

Aenimal
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11 posted 08-03-2004 05:14 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
Nor would you likely be incarcerated for talking to God, Chris. Not today. But a few hundred years ago, similar claims would have seen you burned at the stake. I think the analogy will stand equivalent tests in equivalent times.


I disagree Ron, anyone adamantly claiming to hear voices or have visions of God would be evaluated/commited or drugged for delusions or schizophrenia. And those who were not would be viewed as objects of ridicule or contempt(think Rev. Moon and other cult figures)

quote:
None of your other examples address the opposite side - or current responses. I can accept that people "then" accepted it, but why not now?


Education and the growth of science and rationality. We're far better equipped and likely to scrutinize and study a situation than ever before. What may once have deemed magic/miracle can be exposed and explained.

Would a God or aliens descend upon earth today, many of us would still be skeptical until all possible explanations were exhausted.
Severn
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12 posted 08-03-2004 09:09 PM       View Profile for Severn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Severn

I haven't read the other replies yet so I'm just going to say the first two words that came to mind:

cultural context

I'm sure that's been discussed though. I'll have time to read the other replies later.

Ron
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13 posted 08-03-2004 09:45 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I disagree Ron, anyone adamantly claiming to hear voices or have visions of God would be evaluated/commited or drugged for delusions or schizophrenia.

Com'on, Raph. I personally know people today who wear aluminum foil in their hats. They haven't been committed, nor will they be until someone shows they pose "an immediate harm to self or others." As far as ridicule or contempt go, you don't have to hear voices to become a target of that. I mean, you have been following the political threads here, haven't you?

There seems to be an unspoken assumption here that the voice of God is necessarily limited to one's own head. I'll certainly admit that would make claims suspect, both today and two thousand years ago. However, when a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased," there is no indication the message was a private one (Mathew 3:13-17). When dozens, or hundreds, or thousands, hear the voice of God I have to guess the suspicions amongst them quickly dwindle. We need only find agreement between twelve of our peers today, after all, to arrive at the truth.

quote:
Education and the growth of science and rationality.

That's exactly my point, Raph.

How many people do you think understand the math behind a black hole or can design the circuits for a computer chip? Yet very few doubt the existence of such things. That has very little to do with rationality, and a whole lot to do with authority and trust. Today's Moses is named Stephen Hawking. Today's priests all have tenure. The shift has not been as great as one might think.


Aenimal
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14 posted 08-03-2004 10:57 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

Perhaps committed was a little strong, but you'd have to admit that if a friend or family member sat at a typewriter and told you they were writing a new new testament, dictated to them by god, you'd have them examined and medicated.

As for ridicule (yes, i may have glanced at the political threads once or twice   ) I understand what you're saying. But what I'm saying is that be it Moon or David Koresh, the vast majority scoff at a modern revelations and relegate them to hoaxes or whacked out cults, and with reason.

quote:
How many people do you think understand the math behind a black hole or can design the circuits for a computer chip? Yet very few doubt the existence of such things


You're right, most accept them on blind faith. However a rational mind could, if it chose to, learn to understand/practice those things first hand. How many religious adepts can say that?
Essorant
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15 posted 08-04-2004 02:24 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Science = perfectionism

Religion = perfectionism

Nature = perfection

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-04-2004 04:26 AM).]

Skyfyre
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16 posted 08-04-2004 10:10 AM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

quote:
You're right, most accept them on blind faith. However a rational mind could, if it chose to, learn to understand/practice those things first hand. How many religious adepts can say that?


What you're asking for here is empirical evidence of the existence of God.

The problem, other than the fact that God's not likely to submit Himself for inspection, is that the entire basis of Christianity is faith - belief without certain proof - or in this case, belief because the Bible tells you it is truth.

Thus, empirical evidence of God's existence is, essentially, diametrically opposed to the core of the Christian faith.

Messy ain't it?  

Here's another bit to chew on: even if God were to appear to your average human to prove His existence, what's the chances we'd be able to comprehend His nature any more than, say, advanced quantum physics?
jbouder
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17 posted 08-04-2004 10:33 AM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Skyfire:

I don't think Ron is saying this.  I believe he is saying there can be a rational basis to belief.

For example, we cannot prove empirically that Plato existed.  This does not mean that believing that Plato existed is irrational.  It simply means we have to apply a different mode of inquiry (i.e., induction) if we are to prove Plato did indeed exist.

Even if you are right about not being able to offer proofs for God's existence empirically (natural theologians might disagree with you here), I believe the examples Ron alluded to above support a legal-historical case for God's intervention in time and space.

Jim

P.S. Why are faith and reason necessarily at odds, as you suggest?  To what "core" of the Christian faith are you referring?  Doesn't faith require an object, and if that object has been active in history, would not that object be, to some degree, verifiable?
Essorant
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18 posted 08-04-2004 01:09 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

* God must be ALLPERFECT.

* Heaven must be ALLPERFECT

* Hell must be ALLPERFECT (as a punishment)

* Bible must be ALLPERFECT


Science's perfectionism is just as obvious.  

*For every question, it tries to give a perfect machine for an answer, and if the machine is not currently perfect, as in the case of any machine, we must expect that it shall eventually be perfect. In the meantime we must live with the increased by-products and hazards caused by increased engineering and machinery, pollution, toxic waste, excessive haste, side effects from chemicals, dependency on those artifical and engineered things, and etc.

*It tries to control more than harmonize with nature because it thinks everything is less than perfect naturally on its own; not only that but often thinks that nature, instincts, unmanmade and unmanhandled things are often more towards disorder and chaos, and it therefore must save everything from that, and force and control into the right order: the perfect control.

*Technology and urbanization are made out as "civilization"   Man persists in thinking science is towards perfection, while corruption and endangerment caused by scientific and technological things seems to be higher than ever before in any less technological and urbanized age.  And yet man still entertains his fancy that this is more toward perfection and a more natural and unurbanized life is more towards chaos.

It seems we may observe a parallell between the massive moves to Christianity from much paganism, and that of ruralness to much urbanization: both were moves from a more natural and earthy approach and manner to a more manhandled and perfectionist one.  But christianity and other religions in general at least usually observe God(s) and Nature as governing specific things that humans shouldn't try to govern themselves, while Science often tries to play both Nature and God.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (08-04-2004 02:43 PM).]

Aenimal
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19 posted 08-04-2004 02:10 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

quote:
What you're asking for here is empirical evidence of the existence of God.


Skyfyre, not at all, I know the evidence doesn't exist. I was merely pointing out the difference between Ron's examples and religion. I could learn the mathematics needed to prove a black hole theory or I could learn the circuitry needed to understand or even reproduce techonology for myself. But I cannot, reproduce,prove or disprove a vision or voice.

Essorant
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20 posted 08-04-2004 02:46 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

There is spiritual evidence for the existance of spiritual things.  And there is physical evidence for the existance of physical things.  What more do we need to go by?
Ron
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21 posted 08-04-2004 02:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
I could learn the mathematics needed to prove a black hole theory

That's an oxymoron, Raph. If you can prove a theory, it becomes a fact. You can never learn quite enough math to reach out and touch a black hole, of course, so it will remain a theory -- albeit it, a widely accepted one -- for a bit longer. Indeed, a hundred years after the fact, both Einstein's Special and General Theories of Relativity remain theories, despite overwhelming evidence of their truth. Some things simply evade proof.

Starting to sound familiar?

Want to move on to my other example of a computer circuit? The one that depends on quantum theory and seems to work remarkably well even though we have no idea WHY it works as it does? Gee, that sounds strikingly familiar, too, I think.
Skyfyre
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22 posted 08-04-2004 03:55 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

Hi Jim.  Let's just call me Linda, so as not to get confused between SkyfYre (me) and SkyfIre (not me).  

quote:
I don't think Ron is saying this.  I believe he is saying there can be a rational basis to belief.


I agree.  I don't think Ron is saying this either, but you'll notice my quote came from Aenimal's post, not Ron's.  

quote:
For example, we cannot prove empirically that Plato existed.  This does not mean that believing that Plato existed is irrational.  It simply means we have to apply a different mode of inquiry (i.e., induction) if we are to prove Plato did indeed exist.


You are correct; this may be applied to any of the classical philosophers and writers as well.  However you must admit some distinction between a human being who left behind record of his existence in the form of philosophy, mathematics, or literature with someone who claimed to be the Son of God.  No one doubts that the Bible exists; it is only the claims made therein regarding the nature of the man called Jesus and the inspiration of men who wrote the Bible: were they divine, or insane?

quote:
Even if you are right about not being able to offer proofs for God's existence empirically (natural theologians might disagree with you here), I believe the examples Ron alluded to above support a legal-historical case for God's intervention in time and space.


Admittedly, I have no formal eductation in theology, so I have no idea what you mean when you suggest that empirical evidence of God might be shown.  However, each of Ron's examples are based on events or objects that can be observed and measured scientifically.  A television is a device, the moon visit was recorded on film and tape and we have mineral samples to show for it.  Black holes, though their exact nature is only speculation, can be seen through an appropriately powered telescope and their properties measured by a myriad of other instruments.

So show me a picture of God.  Let me open Him up and see how he works, heck even a piece of him that I can hold in my hand would work.  I realize you could say the same for Plato, but Plato never claimed his father was all-powerful or that his words came directly from God.  He also didn't do little things to annoy the scientists, like turn water into wine or come back from the dead.  

Most athiests can agree that the Bible is, at the very least, a history book.  What is left to faith is whether it is something more.

quote:
P.S. Why are faith and reason necessarily at odds, as you suggest?  To what "core" of the Christian faith are you referring?  Doesn't faith require an object, and if that object has been active in history, would not that object be, to some degree, verifiable?


I never suggested that reason and faith were at odds.  I said that we were unlikely to see empirical (relating to or based on direct experience or observation alone)evidence of God.  Reason is a much broader concept which conflicts with faith only occasionally as one may base reason on presumed facts as well as hard data so long as you remain fairly abstract in your conclusions.  

In short, science requires proof.  Reason often involves proof - data or other observable facts - to support the conclusions.  Faith, by definition, is belief without need of certain proof.  In fact, one might argue that proof of God's existence might invalidate one of the very foundations upon which Christianity was built: that only by faith in God and the fact that Jesus is His Son that died for our sins may you be given eternal life.

I am not saying that a man cannot be reasonable and have faith in God.  I simply don't think the two compare well.  Faith is at once much simpler and yet more complex than reason, and infinitely more personal.  

However, if there had been TV in Jesus' day, the world (not to mention the Christian faith) would be quite different, I expect.  

Linda
jbouder
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23 posted 08-04-2004 05:05 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Linda:

quote:
In fact, one might argue that proof of God's existence might invalidate one of the very foundations upon which Christianity was built: that only by faith in God and the fact that Jesus is His Son that died for our sins may you be given eternal life.


I disagree.  For Jesus' contemporaries, his actions and miracles were directly observable, and he often performed miraculous signs as proof of the authority of his spiritual teachings.  After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to numerous eye-witnesses.  Certainly, it is on the basis of faith alone in the sufficiency of Christ's atoning death that we are forgiven of our sins, but having the direct evidence of eye-witness accounts of the resurrected Jesus, we have both evidence and a reason to believe that his death achieved what he said it would.

Eye-witness evidence can be tested and scrutinized, and few have done a more thorough job at this than Dr. Simon Greenleaf (19th century American Harvard legal authority on the Laws of Evidence) in his treatise, [u]The Testimony of the Evangelists[/u].  Granted, legal-historical tests are not likely to be as precise as mathmatics, but I think one can prove the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ to the very high legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

To your earlier statements, natural theologians (of which Aquinas was the most prominent) strive to prove that characteristics of the universe reflect the handiwork of God.

Going back to Christopher's original question, I would say that the writers of the Biblical books and letters were able to back much of what they wrote with fulfilled prophesy and/or the miraculous.  If Christopher would drill down on the subject, I think he would come to realize that there is actually very little for him to doubt - so little, in fact, that maintaining such doubt would become glaringly unreasonable.

Back later.

Jim
Ron
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quote:
Black holes, though their exact nature is only speculation, can be seen through an appropriately powered telescope and their properties measured by a myriad of other instruments.

Not entirely true, Linda. What we can see and measure (we think?) are the effects of what is presumed to be a black hole. Many would contend we can also see and measure the effects of God. The biggest difference is that our understanding of singularities *greatly* exceeds our understanding of God. Makes it a whole lot easier to know what to look for.

  
quote:
I disagree. For Jesus' contemporaries, his actions and miracles were directly observable, and he often performed miraculous signs as proof of the authority of his spiritual teachings. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to numerous eye-witnesses. Certainly, it is on the basis of faith alone in the sufficiency of Christ's atoning death that we are forgiven of our sins, but having the direct evidence of eye-witness accounts of the resurrected Jesus, we have both evidence and a reason to believe that his death achieved what he said it would.


And yet, in spite of that, Jim, many refused to believe. I think that is Linda's point, and I agree with her on it. Faith does not preclude extremely strong evidence, which is what you have listed above, but it does preclude proof. When we each stand face-to-face with God, unfiltered through human flesh, faith will cease to exist (right along with free will).

In my opinion, faith doesn't depend on reason but neither can it contradict reason. When it appears to, as seems to so often be the case for many people, I think it is perfectly valid to question one or the other. Seems to me, though, that faith takes more than its share of the burden. Reason isn't infallible.
 
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