Author Topic: I'm a Christian Open to Questions  (Read 42475 times)

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #87 on: January 09, 2011, 12:30:07 PM »
Yah had siblings NOT asking about Jesus we know he had sibs......explain why GOD did
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Online jetson

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #88 on: January 09, 2011, 12:34:35 PM »
Thanks for your replies JT812:

To the members involved in this discussion, can we stay focused on this latest set of replies from JT812 until they get hashed out?


Offline TopolX

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #89 on: January 09, 2011, 12:41:16 PM »
My argument is not a "god did it" argument, and I hate it when atheists claim this is the argument Christians are using, because those who don't believe in God use the "we don't understand it" argument. There is a reason Scientists don't fully understand the Big Bang. That's because it breaks so many laws of science it's impossible to understand on a deep level because it's not even possible that it could happen due to all the scientific laws we now know, which it breaks. And you say they haven't found any indication of something so fantastic it has to be called god. What about the show Through the Wormhole? In an interview Morgan Freeman stated that some scientists are at the point where they don't know what could be responsible for certain things other than God.
You are saying god did it though aren't you? If you believe the big bang is impossible and you keep mentioning god it's quite clear you believe god did it. Of course what you didn't think of is that the big bang only breaks the laws of science we understand (only some of them at that) and we understand little compared to all there is to know so no it's not impossible just not understood which is an acceptable answer as we have only just begun to progress upon the path of knowledge and understanding which will ultimately give us definitive answers for the questions we have asked since we were first capable of asking them. Also since when did Morgan Freeman become a noted academic? He's a good actor and a great narrator but he's no Steven Hawkings and I doubt he's in much of position to be considered a credible source of information.

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You obviously haven't done your research. Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of Christianity start if Jesus didn't even exist? You could know Jesus was real without any sources but I'll give you some anyway.
There is already a debate thread discussing this very thing so all I will do is point you there with this comment: Even if Jesus as a man existed none of your sources point to his divinity like in the stories so you have failed to justify your view and support your point. If you want to worship a good public speaker why not worship Ghandi or Hitler who did pretty similar and we know they existed.

Take all the time you need JT and feel free to respond to others first.
If I don't agree with anyone am I invariably wrong?

Offline Danielos

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #90 on: January 09, 2011, 01:02:09 PM »
JT, can´t we clear out each of the questions in order instead of trying to discuss them all at the same time? This thread gets very hard to follow...

Can we pick one question and properly discuss that one before we move on to the next one? Trying to simultaneously discuss and debate 10 different subjects is kind of overwhelming for everyone here...

Offline Asmoday

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #91 on: January 09, 2011, 02:05:43 PM »
You obviously haven't done your research.
Oh, but I have. Based on your replies in this thread so far and also on your extra-biblical "contemporary" historical sources you brought as evidence for Jesus existence, I'd rather suggest you spend some more time doing research.

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Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of Christianity start if Jesus didn't even exist?
And now you're just falling back to fallacies to push your point.

This is both an appeal to belief as well as an appeal to popularity. "A lot of people started believing X, thus X must be true."
That certain aspects of Christianity made it appealing to both the ruling elite (for whom it was a useful tool) as well as to the uneducated masses (for whom it made their hardship a little bit more bearable) is by no means an argument that the story of the NT is actually true.

"Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of the Islam start if Mohammed didn't even exist?"
"Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of Buddhism start if the Buddha didn't even exist?"

And as a side note it should not be forgotten that Christianity only became such a "HUGE" movement after it was declared state religion of the Roman empire and was spread by the sword. In the time before that it was far away from being a "HUGE" movement.

Shouldn't it also give you pause that according to the NT thousands of Jews revered Jesus and witnessed his miracles yet the areas where all of the NT is supposed to have taken place were also the ones where Christianity was hardly picked up at all?

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You could know Jesus was real without any sources
Can I interest you in some snake oil? A lot of people swear on it, so you can know it works without any sources to show the claim is real, right?

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but I'll give you some anyway.
I had some hopes to see something new, but unfortunately that's not the case.

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Cornelius Tacitus
I shall quote myself:

There are two very important things about this passage in Tacitus' Annals:

1) This passage in the Annals is about the persecution of Christians by Nero. It is strange however, that this is the only passage in all of Tacitus' numerous works, where he mentions this. Nowhere else in all his writings does he write so much as a single sentence about this.
It is even stranger, that early Christians, who did have access to his works, never mention this. Clement of Alexandria or Tertullian, two of the great early apologists, simply don't know about this passage or any persecution of Christians by Nero despite having access to Tacitus' works (including the Annals).
The earliest point in history, that this passage in the Annals is mentioned is in the fifteenth century. Strangely nobody ever noticed it before...

2)Assuming the passage is genuine and written by Tacitus himself, his sources are likely of christian origin instead of any official records, because there are a number of flaws in the passage in question:
a)Pilate was a prefect and not a procurator. (and if he had been a procurator then Tacitus would have written his title as “procurator of XYZ” and not just called him “procurator”)
b) Tacitus does not use Jesus' name but writes “a man called Christ was executed.” “Christ” is a title, not a name. Why should the Roman records say that “the Messiah” was executed?


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"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders." -Flavius Josephus
Ah, the good old Flavius Josephus and his "Antiquities of the Jews." It's a classic which always turns up in any discussion about historical evidence for Jesus.

It has just one little flaw: This whole passage about Jesus is a complete forgery.

There are a lot of things wrong with this passage, so I will name a few for good measure.

a) The passage does not fit in with the surrounding text.
b) The whole passage is extremely pro-christian in writing. That should make you wonder, as Josephus was a pharisaic jew, who did not hide his dislike for the new Christian cult in his other works. It even makes Josephus seem Christian, given how highly he speaks of Jesus, even going so far to wonder if he can actually be called a man.
c) In this passage Josephus calls Jesus “messiah”, yet according to the church father Origen Josephus did not recognize Jesus as messiah nor did he believe in any other Christian claim of miracles of Jesus.
d) Josephus writes about this period of time in some of his other works too, but this passage or any passage mentioning this is nowhere to be found in those.
e) None of the early apologists like Tertullian, Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and not even the church father Origen, who otherwise quoted often from Josephus' works, picked this up and you have to keep in mind that they had access to the Antiquities and were actively searching for passages and quotes like that. The earliest point in time, where this passage is mentioned in 324 AD by Eusebius.
f) As late as 891 AD this passage still does not appear in most works concerning the “Antiquities of the Jews.”
g) Even several centuries later there are versions of the "Antiquities of the Jews" that are reported to be missing this particular passage.

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"Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others" -Flavius Josephus
Another interesting passage from the Antiquities of the Jews

But once again it's of not much use since "who was called Christ" is deemed to be a later interpolation. This little line is one of the two only times Josephus ever uses the word "Christ" (the other time the word "Christ" turns up is in the forged passage you cited before this one).

And just as Christians always demand that verses out of the bible should not be taken out of context, we should also look at this passage in context. Because, surprise, the aforementioned Jesus turns up again just a few lines below that one.

"on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him [Ananus, the one who brought James to court], when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest"
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #92 on: January 09, 2011, 02:45:39 PM »
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"Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of the Islam start if Mohammed didn't even exist?"
"Why did a HUGE movement of the spread of Buddhism start if the Buddha didn't even exist?"

Not the best example, Asmoday.  There is a broad acceptance, historically, of the existence of a Hindu prince Sidhartha who became known as Buddha later on.  And Mohammad was certainly a real historical character.

The question is not one of existence, but of divinity.
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Offline Aaron123

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #93 on: January 09, 2011, 04:14:30 PM »
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My argument is not a "god did it" argument, and I hate it when atheists claim this is the argument Christians are using, because those who don't believe in God use the "we don't understand it" argument. There is a reason Scientists don't fully understand the Big Bang. That's because it breaks so many laws of science it's impossible to understand on a deep level because it's not even possible that it could happen due to all the scientific laws we now know, which it breaks. And you say they haven't found any indication of something so fantastic it has to be called god. What about the show Through the Wormhole? In an interview Morgan Freeman stated that some scientists are at the point where they don't know what could be responsible for certain things other than God.

If you're not arguing "goddidit", then why the last sentence?  You're arguing god-of-the-gaps, which is just another form of "goddidit".

Exactly what laws of science does the big bang theory breaks?  Even if it did break a lot of scientific laws, and thus, should be considered non-science; that does not gives us any reasons to assume goddidit or that any sort of supernatural beings did anything.  It would just mean we'd be back at square one on this issue.
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline Asmoday

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #94 on: January 09, 2011, 04:15:32 PM »
Not the best example, Asmoday.  There is a broad acceptance, historically, of the existence of a Hindu prince Sidhartha who became known as Buddha later on.  And Mohammad was certainly a real historical character.
I knew that this would come up if I use those examples but actually those questions are valid.

In the case of Siddhartha it is currently held that he was born around 600 BCE yet different sources and authorities even go back as far as 1300 BCE for his birth. Not to mention that practically all the names in the myth are highly symbolical. The stories about him in different texts are on par with what we would call Christians out for if they tried to sell it to us as proof or evidence.

And also in Mohammed's case we can't say with certainty that he was a historical character as he is described. It is often stated as fact but the truth is that Mohammed certainly isn't subjected to the same scrutiny as other mythological figures. Which may have something to do that your health might be in danger if you do so much as doubt the writings of the quran let alone doubt the prophet (like professor Suliman Bashear whose own students threw him out of the window of the classroom when he taught that the quran developed as a religion gradually within the historical context of Judaism and Christianity rather than being the revelation of a prophet.). The earliest biography of Muhammed dates more than 100 years after his supposed year of death and all we have of it are fragments that survived in other texts.
Especially recent research done by Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a devout muslim convert and first professor for Islamic theology in Germany points to the conclusion that Mohammed as described by muslim sources most likely never existed.


Having said that, I fully concur though that the important question is one of the assumed divinity and not of the existence as the possibility is there that there was a person being the basis for the myth.

All I'm saying though is that in the case of Mohammed and Siddhartha (as described in the quran and the hadiths and in case of Siddhartha in the Buddhacarita, Lalitavistara S?tra, Mah?vastu, and the Nid?nakath?) we don't have any more evidence for their existence than we have for the existence of Jesus (as described in the Bible).
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #95 on: January 09, 2011, 04:51:57 PM »
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Anyways, you’re also forgetting the fact that scientists and cosmologists largely agree that at this singularity and moments after the big bang, that physics as we know it was probably very different and did break most laws if not all currently known laws.  Also agreed upon and breaking the rule is that the universe expanded faster than the speed of light at the very early stage.
Cool, obviously I don't agree with them.
Why? What part of the calculation do you dispute?
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Tell me how it's possible that the Big Bang was able to break all of our current scientific laws but nothing else can.
I am disappointed that you did not consider that there must be laws that control such a singularity - we simply do not know them. The present laws, although sound as far as they go, cannot explain.

This is similar to the understanding that planets went in circles, only to later find that the orbits were ellipses. Circles were a good approximation. Or Newton's law of gravity - good enough to put a man on the moon, but Einstein altered it slightly.

You see, science it travelling along a long road, finding truth as it goes. God is sitting in a hut and denying it all.

As your answer is "God did it" do you ascribe all that you can't understand to God?
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Doctor X

Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #96 on: January 09, 2011, 05:33:03 PM »
I'm not going to be able to quote people properly (with references) because some of the quotes are from earlier pages. Sorry about that.

You better learn quickly.  From one "newbie" to another, they tolerate bad quoting about as much as U2 tolerates an innovation.  Open two browser pages . . . "paste" in the name of the person your are responding to . . . profit.

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My argument is not a "god did it" argument, . . .

Of course it is, and this has been show to you by others so I will not .

Worse, your fallacies distill to "I Don't Understand it . . . so . . . Goddidit!!"

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Jesus had siblings because he was God in an earthly form. He was fully God but also fully human.

Sorry, son, that is modern theology irrelevant to the biblical texts and earlier traditions.

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And wasn't Yahweh married at one point? lol
Nope.

Yup.

You need to actually study science as well as religions.

brkt ’tkm lyhwh šmron wl’šrth

Shantih  shantih  shantih


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Offline screwtape

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #97 on: January 09, 2011, 06:55:04 PM »
I'm not going to be able to quote people properly (with references) because some of the quotes are from earlier pages. Sorry about that.


Hi JT,

If you click the "quote" link within another person's post, it will open a reply box with their post quoted.  It will include the person's name and a link back to that post.  That makes it much easier to understand whom you are quoting and from what post.

The quoting FAQ is here, but I do not believe it has instructions for that.  I suggest you practice quoting in different ways in the test area.  If you have questions, PM any moderator.




Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Barracuda

Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #98 on: January 09, 2011, 07:07:38 PM »
I rarely get an answer from christians to this question, JT:

Why would God require human sacrifice (Jesus) in order to forgive sins? Doesn't seem to make much sense when you think about it. Wouldn't he just be able to forgive under his own will? Don't see much point, or even relevance, in the whole crucifixion part.


Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #99 on: January 09, 2011, 08:15:25 PM »
??? did it start with the Pagan animal sacrifice to the Gods,later picked up as a sacrifice to the jewish god
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Offline Doctor X

Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #100 on: January 09, 2011, 09:23:37 PM »
Specifically to the Christian myths, it is a late innovation to deal with the fact that "whatever" groups thought was "it," "it" never happened.  That "it" includes the eschaton.  So the "why" and "how" he got executed became a subject of much debate.  In Mk, he gets executed.  In Lk, it is a great injustice.  In Jn?  Junior is in control of everything.

And there a numerous "reasons" given to deal with questions like "how could he be executed?"  On of my favorites is that the human Junior was "adopted" by Big Daddy after the baptism and then departed at the execution!  I do not think Mk intended it that way, but I can see how people could--and did--interpret it that way.  In fact, the text of Mk is altered in some witnesses to "fix" that!

So, in looking for such answers, later believers looked back to sacrificial myths for an explanation.  They also needed a reason to have people still follow.  I mean, if he "died for your sins" then why bother now?  Are they not gone?  Oh wait!  Let us introduce an "original sin" we all have.  Blah . . . blah.  This is how religions develop: asking questions and making up answers.

--J.D.

Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #101 on: January 09, 2011, 09:47:03 PM »
Sorry, I'm not going to be able to respond as often as I'd like or as specifically as I like.

To Larissa concerning the verse in Deuteronomy about rape:
http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/ot_and_rape.htm
That verse is not actually referring to rape as the website will show. I'm really sorry for all that happened though.

Hey, everyone, this crazy shit is coming from a Christian who is "open to questions".  ;D

JT, I am so glad the Creator of the universe finally decided to inspire someone to come out with a website to clear this shit up. People have lived entire lives believing that the Creator of the universe actually meant rape! And guess who's fault it is? It's theirs. They chose(with their God-given "free will") to live during a time that had no internet!
Enough with your bullshit.
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Online jetson

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #102 on: January 09, 2011, 10:35:43 PM »
Sorry, I'm not going to be able to respond as often as I'd like or as specifically as I like.

To Larissa concerning the verse in Deuteronomy about rape:
http://www.answering-islam.org/Shamoun/ot_and_rape.htm
That verse is not actually referring to rape as the website will show. I'm really sorry for all that happened though.

Hey, everyone, this crazy s**t is coming from a Christian who is "open to questions".  ;D

JT, I am so glad the Creator of the universe finally decided to inspire someone to come out with a website to clear this s**t up. People have lived entire lives believing that the Creator of the universe actually meant rape! And guess who's fault it is? It's theirs. They chose(with their God-given "free will") to live during a time that had no internet!

Boy, what a mess this Bible book is.  When you stop and see it for what it has become, it's a miracle of beyond biblical proportions that anyone knows what any of it means!

And by the way, I have said this before and it bears repeating.  The Bible is not completely understood by a single human alive or dead.  And how can some doofus on this board make such a claim?  Simple.  There has never been a time when the complete set of original texts were ever put together, ever.  So, logically, no human has ever been privy to the complete set of original texts, thus no complete understanding of the entire set of books has ever existed.

Yet, here we are today, watching the believers run around and proclaim knowledge that they simply cannot possess.  The best we have are what the most agreed upon historians have come up with.  And much of that is speculation based on secular knowledge, but at least it's not tainted by blind faith and wishful thinking!

Offline Positiveaob

Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #103 on: January 09, 2011, 11:01:07 PM »
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Were Pliny's letters to Trajan referring to the apostles?  Were they referring to xtians denying the resurrection?  No.  So yes, please find more sources.

Actually, yes, they were. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/jod/texts/pliny.html

I'm not seeing any references to apostles here, nor to anyone who has supposedly witnessed a resurrection.  So...care to try again?

I hope you're not just looking at evidence that xtians were at one time persecuted as some kind of proof.  I could point to all kinds of religions throughout history who have undergone persecution and oppression.  The inquisition comes to mind off the top of my head.  The persecution of the native peoples of central and south America, etc.  In fact, I would say most religions throughout history have spread through force and oppression.  The fact that xtians once were at the receiving end certainly doesn't prove anything. 

But you seemed to want to indicate that xtianity is separate from other religions because the apostles, that is to say the supposed eye witnesses, would have had to allow themselves to be killed for what they knew was a lie.  So I'll ask again, what evidence do you have for how any of them died?

More to follow...
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Offline Positiveaob

Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #104 on: January 09, 2011, 11:28:51 PM »
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And this whole nonsense of how xtianity is the only religion where you get to heaven by grace is not true.  The same concepts exist in Hinduism and Islam to name two.  And many religions throughout mankinds history did not have a heaven and hell.

Which I said some believe in works to reach enlightenment. Hindus believe in works in order to be reincarnated into different people or things, not grace. Islam does not believe in grace either. I'm not sure why you would claim either of these did.

Before I answer this, let's backtrack a bit.  Your claim was that xtianity was separate from the others because it was the only one where you could get into heaven through grace alone, and wouldn't get sent to hell by this god, you just were or weren't given grace.

For starters, again, the concepts of an afterlife are not even close to being universal throughout the religions of mankinds history.  Among those who do, many dont or didnt have a heaven or hell, just one place.  Some believed in reincarnation.  Alot of religions just have people die.

Christianity in particular is pretty fuzzy on the subject of a heaven and hell.  I mean, I know you like to pick out the nice parts which give you some idea of a "heaven", but the bible isnt particularly clear overall.  If you believe the bible is a true story, you would have to believe that such a "heaven" was an afterthought.  After all, Adam and Eve weren't supposed to even die.  (Eve wasn't supposed to even exist at first, but I won't get into that).  So...why would there have been a "heaven"?

But as far as xtianity being the unique one where you get to eternal paradise through "grace alone" that's not true.  For islam, take a read through of the Sahih Islam chapter 39, book 15:

http://islam.us/hadith/muslim/039.smt.html

For Hinduism, read through the concept of "Kripa" and tell me what you think.

I'm gonna have to let someone else tell you how your view on the "scientific proof" behind your claims is off, because I had a long day at work and am working early tomorrow.
If you desire peace of soul and happiness, then believe; if you would be a disciple of truth, then inquire. - Neitzsche

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2011, 11:33:41 PM »
Better yet Jetson,but how is the inspired book of the lord need edidting or even translation? why if it is ALL inspired BY God has some of it been edited out? Did the editors not want some of the truth known? Did they feel it was unnessecary for God's followers to know every phrase that was the inspired word of God?
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #106 on: January 09, 2011, 11:38:25 PM »
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Were Pliny's letters to Trajan referring to the apostles?  Were they referring to xtians denying the resurrection?  No.  So yes, please find more sources.

Actually, yes, they were. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/jod/texts/pliny.html

I'm not seeing any references to apostles here, nor to anyone who has supposedly witnessed a resurrection.  So...care to try again?

I hope you're not just looking at evidence that xtians were at one time persecuted as some kind of proof.  I could point to all kinds of religions throughout history who have undergone persecution and oppression.  The inquisition comes to mind off the top of my head.  The persecution of the native peoples of central and south America, etc.  In fact, I would say most religions throughout history have spread through force and oppression.  The fact that xtians once were at the receiving end certainly doesn't prove anything. 

But you seemed to want to indicate that xtianity is separate from other religions because the apostles, that is to say the supposed eye witnesses, would have had to allow themselves to be killed for what they knew was a lie.  So I'll ask again, what evidence do you have for how any of them died?

More to follow...
The Government and the United Church had killed of 90% of my peoples population by 1862 So the christians have nothing to whine about as far as persecution goes
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Online jetson

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #107 on: January 09, 2011, 11:47:27 PM »
Better yet Jetson,but how is the inspired book of the lord need edidting or even translation? why if it is ALL inspired BY God has some of it been edited out? Did the editors not want some of the truth known? Did they feel it was unnessecary for God's followers to know every phrase that was the inspired word of God?

Easy. Every single letter, word, sentence, paragraph, and book/letter, was written by some human.  Whether or not the writings were god inspired is of little matter.  The entire Bible is an incomplete, poorly written, translated and ultra-edited set of mythological stories and non-sense.  And as time marches on, the Bible morphs and morphs into whatever someone wants it to be.

Since there was never a commission to create a Bible, we are left with a hodge-podge of writings that when put together, make about as much sense as interspersing chapters from Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Narnia and calling it the inspired works of VoldeFrodoSlan.

What is really unfortunate, is that these ancient writings could be used to help us better understand human history.  But instead, they are falsely given divine authority and claimed to be something WAY beyond what they are.  And instead of us getting a proper understanding of the texts, we have to walk on egg-shells about it, so as not to upset the deluded masses.


Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #108 on: January 09, 2011, 11:51:46 PM »
My point exactly a book inspired by god would NOT require an editor

The secret societys that hold the ancient writings could open up brave new worlds anthrpologically speaking
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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #109 on: January 10, 2011, 01:18:05 AM »
My point exactly a book inspired by god would NOT require an editor

It's worse than that. A god providing a book to people when 90% or more of those folks were illiterate? Some scholars aren't even convinced JC could read. At least god could have done it in comic book form. Shazzam! Pow!
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Offline kcrady

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #110 on: January 10, 2011, 03:08:00 AM »
*raises hand*  I have a question.  However, since JT is buried at the moment, I'll wait until the Mod gives me the go signal.
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Offline kcrady

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #111 on: January 10, 2011, 03:50:26 AM »
WRT the argument that Christianity must be true because it's the only religion that offers "salvation by grace through faith," that's question-begging.  It rests on the premise that the One True Religion must offer salvation by grace through faith.  The notion that the One True Religion must agree with Christian doctrine (and thus, be Christianity) is the issue under discussion.  It can't be simply assumed as a starting premise.

Let us say, for the sake of discussion, that human beings possessed a kind of "receiver" for "the Divine" and/or "the Spirit World" (however defined).  If it were true that all religions agreed on the basics except Christianity, which stood out as unique, this does not provide any evidence that Christianity is accurate and the other religions are wrong.  If anything, it's the other way around.  Example: Let's say you have a bunch of astronomers looking at Mars through telescopes.  They all describe pretty much the same thing--a reddish planet with blotches of darker brown and small polar ice caps.  But there's one astronomer--we'll call him Percival Lowell--who reports seeing an extensive network of artificial canals on the planet.  Proof of an advanced civilization on Mars!

Should we automatically assume that Lowell's perception is the correct one because he isn't like all the others?  To the contrary, we would lean strongly toward accepting the observations of the other astronomers, especially as their description is replicated over and over again by more observers, and Lowell's isn't.

If it were true that "all those other religions" taught that "salvation" had to be earned by good works (such as charity and demonstrations of piety), but that Christianity alone taught salvation by cognitive works (believing the right set of doctrines), relabeled as "faith," then we would be confronted with the agreement of most human observations of "the Divine"/"the Spirit World" on one conception of "how things work" while one smaller group of observers claimed the opposite.  Since "all those other religions" are separated by time and space (origins on different continents in different eras, etc.) they could not have deliberately harmonized their observations, or all come to that agreement based on cognitive bias related to adherence to their in-group.  The "agreement" transcends in-groups, linking groups that could not even have communicated with one another.

On the other side of the scale, is this one in-group pledging loyalty to a different creed.  Looking through their documents, it is pitifully easy to find dogmatic statements designed to stifle inquiry and questioning of the group's teachings.  Example: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."  --Galatians 1:8

From this, a rational person would have to conclude that the multiple, corroborated experiences/observations of "the Divine"/"the Spirit World" coming from all the spiritual teachings of mankind save one are much more likely to be accurate than the willfully closed-minded dogmas of the odd religion out.

However, it is not nearly this simple.  "All those other religions" don't teach "salvation by works" because they don't all even teach a doctrine of "salvation."  The Eastern religions (as I understand them) are about transcendence of or escape from "the self" (the "I" or "ego," which we recognize as our individual persona with its limitations and hang-ups and dramas), not about perpetuating its existence forever in a paradise.  This becomes especially clear in the more "stripped-down" versions, like Zen Buddhism.  Wicca does not have a concept of "salvation" or a notion that there's anything to be "saved" from.  There's a vague notion of a pleasant afterlife called "the Summerlands," but as far as I can tell, getting there is not even a primary concern.  Wiccans generally believe that what you "send out" ("magickally" or otherwise) comes back to you, for some Wiccans, three times over.  What goes around, comes around.  Their rituals are concerned with things in this life--celebrating the natural cycles (solstices, equinoxes, etc.) and achieving desired beneficial results through the use of "magick."

In a nutshell, many religions don't even have a recognizable doctrine of "salvation," much less one of "salvation by works."  And furthermore, Christianity is not without its own implications of salvation by works.  Look up any of the passages where Jesus describes his future act of dividing the sheep and the goats, selecting who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell.  In all cases, he makes his Judgment Call based on what the people have done, not on whether they got the right answers on a Celestial Quiz.  Example:

Quote
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, [i.e., claim him as "Lord and Savior"--get the Celestial Quiz right, say the right stuff] shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

--Matthew 7:21

The surrounding verses emphasize this over and over again.  "By their fruits you shall know them," etc., etc..  At the very least, it must be admitted that the Celestial Quiz has a lab component.  Thus, we cannot say that Christianity teaches a doctrine of "salvation" by faith (believing the right things) alone.
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Offline Cyberia

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #112 on: January 10, 2011, 03:52:12 AM »
As for scientific reasons God exists. More and more scientists who now believe in the Big Bang are beginning to believe in The Singularity.

Maybe laypeople do.  Cosmologists/physicists don't.  There was no singularity at the BB.  There was something like a singularity.  Singularities don't explode.


This was (as I understand it) an infinitely small, infinitely powerful,

Volume approached zero, but couldn't be zero.  Energy was HUGE, but finite.  We know this because the universe doesn't have infinite mass.


source of energy that exceeded time and space, created everything we now know,

It created spacetime and matter, not exceeded.


and was not controlled by our current scientific laws.

Er, well, no.  We lack, and need, a Theory of Quantum Gravity to explain the details before 10-43 seconds.  BUT.....nothing that happened then can violate currently known laws either.  It is still bound (limited) by current laws.

And yea, we can trace the ENTIRE universe back to 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 seconds.  Pretty cool, no?


I find it amazing that scientists would recognize this as the cause of the universe (exactly what God is without emotions) but refuse to even acknowledge the existence of an Intelligent Designer.

Water runs downhill.  It forms pretty droplets and pools of it swirl along the way.  Intelligently Designed, or following the laws of physics?  The same is true for the universe.  It's just unraveling according to physics.  Galaxies swirl and clump.  Particles condense and interact.  As a whole it gets quite complex, but at any given time, each interaction/event is rather mundane and regular.  There's no magic to it.


That's irrelevant though. The most important scientific problem with evolution is creation itself.

We get tired of correcting "believers" on this.  Evolution deals with the increasing complexity of biologic lifeforms over time.  Abiogenesis deals with the origin of life itself.  Big Bang Theory deals with the birth of the universe.  VERY different things.


In order for the Big Bang (or any other theory I know of for that matter) to take place it would require that the Laws of Conservation in every way (mass, matter, energy, momentum, etc) be broken in this one instance.

I can't fault you for not knowing the cutting edge of physics.  Although, cutting edge means the last 10ish years.

The breakthrough here came with the realization that Gravity is "negative energy".  Even simple equations show this, and this has been known for a long time.  But physicists just accepted this as a peculiarity with the "sign" and not physically meaningful.  They blew it off. 

Recently (10ish years) they have -- in the course of pursuing Quantum Gravity, which necessitates chasing down all the loose ends -- come to realize that: no, the sign correct and Gravity actually is NEGATIVE.  Gravity is always attractive.  Objects in a gravity field have less energy than the same object outside a gravity field....in other words...gravitationally bound objects are in an energy minima ALWAYS.  It ALWAYS take energy to escape from a gravity field.

There is also a symmetry between matter and gravity.  Matter emits gravity, gravity works on matter.

What this means, is that all the energy/matter in the universe (positive energy) is balanced by an equal amount of gravity (negative energy) at all times.  The TOTAL energy of the universe is precisely ZERO.  Conservation of Energy isn't violated then.

Several big name physicists have publicly written about this recently: Lawrence Krauss and Stephen Hawking.  It's called The zero-energy universe hypothesis.


It also required a source of energy that did not exist at one time to begin to exist (spontaneous generation).

This happens all the time for quantum mechanical objects, and conveniently, the "like-a-singularity" at the BB was just that.  :)


This phenomenon would be considered impossible to happen at another time in our universe and in order for it to happen whatever created all that we know must have exceeded the physical limits of everything we know.

Correct (finally!)  ....just joshing ya

(speculation below)
It can't happen IN spacetime.  There are energy threshold issues even if it can....ie: It's hard to gather up all the mass of the universe to test this.  This is likely the difference between singulaities and the BB.  Spacetime prevents singularities from exploding, but no spacetime existed at T=0.


That entity would have to be a divine or at least supernatural presence, namely God.

There seems to be an entirely natural, self-consisent way for this to happen.  No diety required.


I've heard some make the claim that the Universe could be eternal but that is impossible because the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that there is a gradual loss of energy in our universe meaning at some point there will be no energy left and at another point there had to be a "full" amount of energy (the beginning of the universe).

Well, if the universe is cyclic (and it doesn't appear so currently) then then energy CAN be eternal quite easily, as it just gets recycled at each Big Bang/Big Crunch.

If it isn't, then the Zero-Energy method above works.


I've had many people argue that the impossibility of creation by evolution does not equal creation by God. But my argument is not that evolution simply did not create the universe, it's that a supernatural force is the only possibility to the creation of our universe. That supernatural force is the author and creator of everything, the one whom we call God.

If you were right, you'd be right.  But you're not, so you're not.
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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #113 on: January 10, 2011, 09:14:40 AM »
*raises hand*  I have a question.  However, since JT is buried at the moment, I'll wait until the Mod gives me the go signal.


Hi all,

It is up to JT to give the go signal.  When ever he is ready for more questions, he just has to say so.  Sorry if I was vague on that. 


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Offline JT812

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #114 on: January 11, 2011, 03:09:39 PM »
I'm sorry but this is gonna be another broad response to the questions asked.

Jesus had to be killed because God set up sacrifice as the means to forgiveness of sins. Therefore an ultimate sacrifice was required to forgive sins.

The Bible has multiple translations for clarity. It was edited to be as accurate as possible as the original texts. This has nothing to do with God, just human error.
Quote
Quote
Were Pliny's letters to Trajan referring to the apostles?  Were they referring to xtians denying the resurrection?  No.  So yes, please find more sources.

Actually, yes, they were. http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/jod/texts/pliny.html

I'm not seeing any references to apostles here, nor to anyone who has supposedly witnessed a resurrection.  So...care to try again?

I hope you're not just looking at evidence that xtians were at one time persecuted as some kind of proof.  I could point to all kinds of religions throughout history who have undergone persecution and oppression.  The inquisition comes to mind off the top of my head.  The persecution of the native peoples of central and south America, etc.  In fact, I would say most religions throughout history have spread through force and oppression.  The fact that xtians once were at the receiving end certainly doesn't prove anything. 

But you seemed to want to indicate that xtianity is separate from other religions because the apostles, that is to say the supposed eye witnesses, would have had to allow themselves to be killed for what they knew was a lie.  So I'll ask again, what evidence do you have for how any of them died?

More to follow...
You asked if it was referring to Christians' denying the resurrection and being killed and said no. In fact that is what the letters were about. No, I said nothing about them being persecuted proving Christianity is true. People wouldn't have suffered for their faith during the time immediately after Jesus when they were preaching his existence and power if he wasn't doing miracles and even more so if he didn't exist. That's foolish.

But as far as xtianity being the unique one where you get to eternal paradise through "grace alone" that's not true.  For islam, take a read through of the Sahih Islam chapter 39, book 15:

Their salvation is still through works. The grace of God just helps people get to Heaven in Islam. In Christianity it is grace alone.

kcrady,
The difference here is that everyone is not claiming the same thing (like a scientific observation). They all say that works do something but completely differ on what they do and how they work. Sometimes I like analogies & sometimes I don't because you can make one up for anything so it applies to what you're saying. My point was all other religions are different from Christianity in that major way but also very different from each other (therefore it's not like scientists all making one claim). If you want me to give you verses confirming salvation by grace I will, but it's really a waste of your time to try and argue with me that the Bible doesn't teach salvation by grace.

Quote from: Cyberia
Quote
BUT.....nothing that happened then can violate currently known laws either.  It is still bound (limited) by current laws.
Then the Big Bang is impossible. I'll respond to the rest of what you said later, right now I have to leave.

Offline Tykster

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Re: I'm a Christian Open to Questions
« Reply #115 on: January 11, 2011, 03:15:00 PM »

The Bible has multiple translations for clarity.

Needed a new signature, thanks....  ;D
rhocam ~ I guess there are several trillion cells in a man, and one in an amoeba, so to be generous, lets say that there were a billion. That is one every fifteen years. So in my lifetime I should have seen two evolutionary changes.