Statesboro, GA, USA
There are many such examples throughout the Bible, which resembles mythology more than anything and does not stand up against any reason or logic.How does Christianity handle this issue?.....by saying one must BELIEVE, one must have FAITH, in other words close your mind to what it tells you is irrational and just FEEL. Close your mind and open your heart..
Well, if you are referring to miracles, then there's no a priori reason to think them impossible, or contrary to reason. For by definition miracles are exceptional. There are some who feel the difficulties (particularly of certain Old Testament passages) can be explained in terms of didactic parables. Some feel that the Noah story can be explained in such a way. I actually think that Job may be such a story (though I don't doubt that there was such a man). C.S. Lewis (a philologist who was also a Christian) once said that the writing style of the story of Jonah was that of mythic parable. I'm not sure I'm ready to admit the necessity of giving up the strict historicity of Noah, Job, or Jonah. But I don't think the faith would crumble if these were parabolic in nature. The question would be, of course, where to draw the line. If you rule out everything because it is miraculous, then you've predetermined rather than discovered history. When you get over into the New Testament, especially in the gospels (which Lewis definitely called narrative reportage, a type of literature much different than myth), you run into a history that is much harder to mythologize. If you insist on doing so at this point, you simply paint a picture that is much harder to believe than what is said in the texts. At least it runs you into the business of historical reconstruction where the solution is more fantastic than the problem seems to be.
If I could at least suggest this to you ... Due to the historical nature of the Christian faith, it has never been necessary to just say "Believe by turning your brain off", or "Just accept what is obviously implausible". I think you'd be surprised how persuasive the history is, if you actually researched it for yourself. Of course historical analysis can only take you so far. Faith is necessary to believe the gospel. But it isn't so much a matter of believing the incredible versus the rational ... as it is believing the incredible versus the more incredible. As much as you yourself see the natural order screaming intelligent design, there are those willing to rather believe it happened by chance ... something which I don't have enough "faith" for.
I was serious about the suggested reading, if you're ever interested, particularly works surrounding the life, death and ressurrection of Christ. I think it might be worth your time.
Ok, that's the religious version, completely unsubstantiated by anything outside the Bible, of course. Actually I have read one version where christianity was invented for a completely different reason. i'll try to remember where i saw that article.
The Bible actually contains several documents written about the life of Jesus. These documents are the earliest attestable documents (and represents the best manuscript attestation of any ancient literature, in number and proximity to events, bar none). Other conflicting documents about Jesus (pseudapigraphal) are shown to be few in manuscript attestation, of false claims of authorship, and much later on the time line. Those documents are simply the closest to the actual events. Therefore I don't see why you should want to rule out the New Testament as source material for the life of Jesus.
Stephen: So your appeal to the Crusades as a proof of the corruption of religion, is just that ... proof that something good can be corrupted. Proof that something straight can be twisted
Balladeer:A milestone has been reached in our conversation. We agree!!
So you also agree that the Crusades could represent a deviation from the original religion of Jesus, as recorded in the gospels? My point was that poor deviations and innovations cannot reasonably be used to discredit originals ... though I also recognize that it is human nature to do so.
Stephen: Man was created in the very image of God (no small epithet of honor).
Balladeer: Another non-fact you cannot know for certain.
In the context of our discussion, you were saying (along with Rand) that Christianity is somewhat misanthropic. I was showing you, on Christianity's own terms (ie, Imago Dei, and the Passion), that it is not. Proving what Christianity asserts, at this point, is irrelevant to the conversation. I supposed you were making a statement about Christianity according to its own data, not a misrepresention of it.
I will point out however, since you brought it up, that being made in the image of God is at least more in line with your view that mankind should be respected and honored, than any other view I can think of. Naturalistic Darwinism fails at this point for sure, and provides no reason for honor.
Stephen: Mankind (not only mankind, but every indivdual man woman and child) is considered worth God sending his own son to die for.
Balladeer: Oh, is Jesus dead? Or you say he's not dead because God resurrected Him? So I don't understand how God sending his Son to die with the purpose of bringing him back to life is a sacrifice. When something is sacrfiiced it is GONE...but, then, I'm tossing a little logic in there.
Actually that's Rands peculiar definition of sacrifice. Sacrifice in proper context is not without a return. Whether you believe that "what comes around goes around", or the law of "sowing and reaping", or "Karma", the principle is the same. Your statement is therefore only logical if sacrifice means lost forever. The etymology of the word actually means to "make holy", not to "throw away". Remember that logic requires the proper information.
I think you've made another mistake in assuming that Jesus' death (and particularly the unsavory task of 'becoming sin' for the world) could mean little or nothing simply because his life was regained. If you gave your life to rescue someone would it mean nothing?? You already said you don't believe you'll just rot in the ground. Hey, I'm just using logic here.
Blaise Pascal: What a chimera, then, is man! what a novelty, what a monster, what a chaos, what a subject of contradiction, what a prodigy! A judge of all things, feeble worm of the earth, depositary of the truth, cloaca of uncertainty and error, the glory and the shame of the universe
balladeer: and yet you claim that God created Man in his image.
I certainly did. Didn't I already explain how the highest fall the lowest? If a god-like creature were to fall, turn the wrong way, and become corrupt, it would be probably be bad right? An image is still an image, not the original. And an image with a will of its own, comes with a certain risk. None of that is incongruent with God creating us in his image, nor restoring us again to glory.
Nope. You want to offer proof that Jesus was not? (not counting the 'because the Bible tells me so' standard answer) You can't anymore than I can....they are ours views, nothing more.
Why are the documents of the New Testament ruled out as invalid, a priori? They are indeed more than "just our views". I'll be glad to look at the tracks if you want, but not if you've (contrary to logic) ruled out the Bible as source data ahead of time. You certainly must have some substantial reason to think that Jesus was simply "made up" by a group of people.
Stephen: Actually I never said that "one cannot know".
Balladeer: My apologies. No, you didn't but I certainly heard it enough from my parents and the preacher in the town where i grew up. You will also hear it everywhere Christianity is questioned. "It is not for us to know", "God works in mysterious ways", "You must believe", "You must have faith", "You must accept without question".....all these and more are standard replies to whoever would dare ask for reasonable explanations to the mysteries of religion.
I accept your apology.
Seriously, there is sometimes an anti-intellectualism in the Church which relegates everything to a kind of pseudo-faith, and denies the importance of the mind. Personally I call it having faith in faith. But not all Christian answers are so threadbare. You should listen to the radio archives of Ravi Zacharias some times. I think he's one of the greatest Christian apologists (in word and deed) of our time. Here's the website if you're interested in listening:
But I have to give the preachers and teachers you mentioned the benefit of the doubt. Yes, statements like "you just have to have faith" are made, because they are true. Human knowledge is insufficient to lead us to certainty in any area. In science, it is expressed a bit differently, by saying "We'll know one day". But even though one is a faith God-ward and the other Man-ward, it is the same kind of answer. God has given us much of what may be called evidence. But the thing about question marks (especially if they are rhetorical) are that they can repeat themselves ad nauseam. Pascal also wrote that "There is sufficient light for those who desire to see, and there is sufficient darkness for those of a contrary disposition." (Pensees 149). That's not an insult to you or anyone else, it is simply a human truth. I think you have a desire to see or you wouldn't even see what you do, namely that there is a God. But I just feel that it is necessary to point out that all so-called evidence has boundaries, and not only for religion. You're in a philosophy forum, so I think its appropriate for me to mention that its been no small task in Western Philosophy even to believe in one's own existence. It just goes to show you ... Anything can be doubted, but that doesn't necessarily make it doubtful.
Maybe I can get a cot near Ghandi, who will also be banned from the Christian heaven for not having accepted Jesus Christ as his savior.
If that's the case, then I wouldn't want a cot next to him.
Stephen: Upon what are you basing your personal opinion of her theism?
Balladeer: Her same tools...reason and logic.
We're both using reason and logic, btw. The question, as always, is who is using it properly.
I'm not saying you're wrong here. But didn't she say that she was an atheist?