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Offline Goodkat

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Re: A question
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2008, 11:17:55 PM »
GoodKat:  Buddha and his disciples also said that a person's suffering was their own doing because of Karma, or kamma as said in the Pali language.  So, if someone breaks into your home and paralyzes you with a gunshot, Buddah would say that that is what you deserve because of Karma from your previous life. 

Do you find that a suitable answer to suffering?

Do you ever think we can devoid ourselves of desire?  For a man that said everything is connected, he then advocates to disconnect with everything around us, which is the only way to rid ourselves of cravings.  Even when Buddha finally said he reached "Nirvana," he still had complaints against his disciples.  How can a man have reached a place of no cravings and desires, yet desire for his disciples to change?
I do not agree with Buddha's solution, but I find it much more logical than the Christian solution.

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2008, 11:43:12 PM »
Goodkat:  So you think Buddha saying that your being beaten, raped, killed is deserved because of your faults is better than God dying on a cross to take on away your faults? 

Offline Goodkat

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Re: A question
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2008, 11:50:15 PM »
Goodkat:  So you think Buddha saying that your being beaten, raped, killed is deserved because of your faults is better than God dying on a cross to take on away your faults? 
Buddha says that rape victims deserved to be raped, Jesus says she deserves to go to hell.

Offline TboneDano

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Re: A question
« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2008, 12:03:49 AM »
Goodkat:  So you think Buddha saying that your being beaten, raped, killed is deserved because of your faults is better than God dying on a cross to take on away your faults? 
Buddha says that rape victims deserved to be raped, Jesus says she deserves to go to hell.

Let's talk this one through some more...   ???

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #33 on: October 22, 2008, 12:04:38 AM »
goodkat: yes, but Buddha can only point our the misery. Jesus stepped in to take on our misery, to free us from the path of eternal separation.

Offline Goodkat

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Re: A question
« Reply #34 on: October 22, 2008, 12:11:16 AM »
goodkat: yes, but Buddha can only point our the misery. Jesus stepped in to take on our misery, to free us from the path of eternal separation.
This would be fine if everyone was universally saved by Jesus' sacrifice, but Jesus requires that you guess correctly where to place your illogical faith.

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #35 on: October 22, 2008, 04:16:38 AM »
The question still remains:  have you really endeavored to learn what 2,000 years of Church history, and the rest of Scripture says about prayer?  The question that I see being raised on this forum stems from the mistaken notion that Scriptures teaches that prayer is like a spell or a magic formula.  I simply think it's important to disabuse oneself that the horseshoe analogy, or prayer as a magic wand, has anything to do with the words of Christ, or the teaching of the Church for the past two millenia.  If one believes that prayer is an incantation, then you're attacking a god that isn't the God of Scripture.

It's not a relevant question, as it's based upon a false premise. Nor is it a question to which I could give you an answer that you would accept, as it would appear that you have already made up your own mind on the matter. Nor does it have any relevance to the question of your own intellectual honesty, which is looking a bit sorry for itself given that you failed to answer directly a single one of my questions.

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I don't hinge any belief on it at all. The question is, why do you? You say you have "no doubt" that God has healed an amputee - despite being able to provide no evidence whatsoever of this. Why?
But it does seem that you hinge your disbelief on God on this point, and it seems to me that before one disbelieves something, they should fully understand what it is they purport to disbelieve.

Actually, the question of prayer is pretty much irrelevant to my lack of belief in any deity. And with all due respect, what you suggest is an absurdity. I am not about to conduct an in-depth study of everything from Asatrú to Zoroastrianism purely so that I can pull out some kind of intellectual superiority card in a discussion, like you're attempting to do now, in order to explain precisely and exhaustively which of their teachings I find unbelievable. All I've done here is asked you a set of questions to which, as far as I can tell, you can't give a straight answer.

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It doesn't seem like anyone here really does understand what Christ, the Church, and Scripture really teaches about prayer, based on all of the many pages and chapters strewn about this website.

You are trying to play the Magic Decoder Ring card, and the Mantra card. Your interpretation of your sacred text does not automatically trump anyone else's, and simply repeating your previous argument does not make it any more compelling.

So, are you going to answer these questions?

My "understanding" has no bearing on the facts of whether or not God heals amputees. Either he does so, verifiably, or he doesn't. So which is it? If it's the former, prove it. If the latter, why is it never God's Will to verifiably heal a single amputee?

You've made a positive claim: namely, that prayer works if it's in accord with God's Will. Now establish it. If the results of prayer come out at exactly the same rate as chance, however noble the undertaking might be, the answer is obvious. Rationalizing your way out of it isn't going to help here.

You say you have "no doubt" that God has healed an amputee - despite being able to provide no evidence whatsoever of this. Why?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 04:20:07 AM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline TboneDano

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Re: A question
« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2008, 01:58:04 PM »
The question still remains:  have you really endeavored to learn what 2,000 years of Church history, and the rest of Scripture says about prayer?  The question that I see being raised on this forum stems from the mistaken notion that Scriptures teaches that prayer is like a spell or a magic formula.  I simply think it's important to disabuse oneself that the horseshoe analogy, or prayer as a magic wand, has anything to do with the words of Christ, or the teaching of the Church for the past two millenia.  If one believes that prayer is an incantation, then you're attacking a god that isn't the God of Scripture.

It's not a relevant question, as it's based upon a false premise. Nor is it a question to which I could give you an answer that you would accept, as it would appear that you have already made up your own mind on the matter. Nor does it have any relevance to the question of your own intellectual honesty, which is looking a bit sorry for itself given that you failed to answer directly a single one of my questions.


It's curious to me that you claim that my question regarding your understanding of what Scripture, Christ or the Church teaches about prayer is irrelevant.  This entire website is based on a premise that God can be argued against, using His own words in John and elsewhere about "ask and it shall be given to you."  It is a cut and dried, scientifically provable test to determine whether or not Christ is who He says He is.  Since the website includes a video that claims that by watching it, one will become convinced that a belief in prayer is superstitious, then by looking at the video, it becomes clear what the view of atheists towards prayer is:  a magic incantation.  Christ and the Church have never taught or claimed that, so the argument is against a deity manufactured by atheists, not against the God of Scripture.

You state that my question about prayer is based on a false premise.  The reality is that the question about Why God doesn't heal amputees is based on a false premise, completely manufactured by atheists.  That false premise is this:  Christ, and the Church has taught that when one prays, you will get exactly what you want.  I demonstrated through the fact that Christ's very prayer to His Father, which was not answered is a direct refutation of the false premise that Christ taught that prayer is a magic wand.  This unanswered prayer was prayed by the very man who said, "Ask and it shall be given to you."  This is inescapable, and no one has given a sufficient answer to this common sense observation.

So I ask again the very question which I posed before, which is fundamental to the argument:  have you endeavored to study what Christ and the Church throughout two millenia have said about prayer?  If you haven't, then your arguments are against a deity that you have manufactured, and one that is not the Yahweh of Scripture.

Offline Goodkat

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Re: A question
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2008, 02:16:26 PM »
Goodkat:  So you think Buddha saying that your being beaten, raped, killed is deserved because of your faults is better than God dying on a cross to take on away your faults? 
Buddha says that rape victims deserved to be raped, Jesus says she deserves to go to hell.
Let's talk this one through some more...   ???
Oh, I forgot, the Bible also teaches karma -"Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
So the Bible not obly teaches that the rape victim deserves eternal torment, but also teaches that she deserved to be raped, I think I would take Buddhism over that. What's more, the Bible taeches that if she was a Christian, then the rape was good for her- "All things work together for the good of them that love Him." How revolting.

Both the answers of Christianity and Buddhism to suffering are flawed. Christianity says to embrace it, Buddhism says that it is an illusion. I say to end it, that is the ultimate answer.

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2008, 02:17:27 PM »
It's curious to me that you claim that my question regarding your understanding of what Scripture, Christ or the Church teaches about prayer is irrelevant.

I'm just one person. I am not the website. And what purpose would my answer serve? If I answer in the affirmative, you have no reason to believe me. Impasse.

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You state that my question about prayer is based on a false premise.

Yes, you assume that my view on the matter is precisely in accord with that of the site's author. Bad move.

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So I ask again the very question which I posed before, which is fundamental to the argument:  have you endeavored to study what Christ and the Church throughout two millenia have said about prayer?  If you haven't, then your arguments are against a deity that you have manufactured, and one that is not the Yahweh of Scripture.

I've made it clear why, far from being fundamental to the argument at all, it's irrelevant. I have asked you specific questions based on your comments, not based on the website, or the videos, or anyone else's comments. Sadly, you chose not to respond to most of my post, so it's possible that you may have missed that part.

So again:

My "understanding" has no bearing on the facts of whether or not God heals amputees. Either he does so, verifiably, or he doesn't. So which is it? If it's the former, prove it. If the latter, why is it never God's Will to verifiably heal a single amputee?

You've made a positive claim: namely, that prayer works if it's in accord with God's Will. Now establish it. If the results of prayer come out at exactly the same rate as chance, however noble the undertaking might be, the answer is obvious. Rationalizing your way out of it isn't going to help here.

You say you have "no doubt" that God has healed an amputee - despite being able to provide no evidence whatsoever of this. Why?

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2008, 02:28:57 PM »
Deus:  I always appreciate your posts.

The issue here is that on one hand, you want verifiable, scientific proof of this miracle.  If it can't be proven with scientific reasoning, then it is false.  On the other hand, you ask for something that would completely defy science.  This is stacking the deck in your favor while losing at your own game.  You can't ask for something which defies science, but then say it has to be verified by science.

peace - Micah

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2008, 02:48:05 PM »
Deus:  I always appreciate your posts.

The issue here is that on one hand, you want verifiable, scientific proof of this miracle.  If it can't be proven with scientific reasoning, then it is false.  On the other hand, you ask for something that would completely defy science.  This is stacking the deck in your favor while losing at your own game.  You can't ask for something which defies science, but then say it has to be verified by science.

peace - Micah

You could still use the scientific method to conclude 'here's something we can't explain according to natural processes', so I'm not inclined to accept your interpretation of the situation.

My case is simply this: according to our friend's reasoning, prayers are answered only in accordance with God's Will. Okay, fair enough, let's go with that. My case is further that - according to Christians - miraculous healings of one sort or another happen as a result of prayer. Presumably, then, they're in accordance with God's Will, so God doesn't have any particular compunction about healing people (if the tales are to be believed). Unfortunately, such miraculous healings as are purported to take place are such that they have far more plausible naturalistic explanations - in particular, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that you're more likely to have a case of spontaneous remission as a Christian than as a non-Christian. So the question becomes this: why, if the Christians are to be believed, if God's Will is occasionally to heal people, does God insist on being so sneaky? Why does he heal cancers at exactly the same rate as spontaneous remission among non-adherents? Why does he never verifiably heal an amputee? Why is the effectiveness of prayer indistinguishable from the placebo effect, or pure chance?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 02:50:34 PM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline TboneDano

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Re: A question
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2008, 03:00:51 PM »
It's curious to me that you claim that my question regarding your understanding of what Scripture, Christ or the Church teaches about prayer is irrelevant.

I'm just one person. I am not the website. And what purpose would my answer serve? If I answer in the affirmative, you have no reason to believe me. Impasse.

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You state that my question about prayer is based on a false premise.

Yes, you assume that my view on the matter is precisely in accord with that of the site's author. Bad move.

Do you not base your argument based on the same Scriptures as the website, namely that if Christ said, "Ask and it shall be given you" should apply to amputees?  Is your belief about prayer that it should be provable through a test?  I'm assuming that it is.  Please correct me of your assumptions then, so we can continue the discussion.

My question still remains as to whether or not you will acknowledge what Christ and the Church has really taught about Scripture.  An argument against a perceived tenet of Scripture and the Church is not a legitimate argument if that tenet is not something that Christ or the Church has ever taught. I do not know what god you are arguing against with your question about amputees, because Christ never claimed to heal everyone who asked. 



So again:

My "understanding" has no bearing on the facts of whether or not God heals amputees. Either he does so, verifiably, or he doesn't. So which is it? If it's the former, prove it. If the latter, why is it never God's Will to verifiably heal a single amputee?

You've made a positive claim: namely, that prayer works if it's in accord with God's Will. Now establish it. If the results of prayer come out at exactly the same rate as chance, however noble the undertaking might be, the answer is obvious. Rationalizing your way out of it isn't going to help here.

You say you have "no doubt" that God has healed an amputee - despite being able to provide no evidence whatsoever of this. Why?


I believe that I have answered your questions within this thread, but I will endeavor to do so again.

You've made a positive claim: namely, that prayer works if it's in accord with God's Will. Now establish it. If the results of prayer come out at exactly the same rate as chance, however noble the undertaking might be, the answer is obvious. Rationalizing your way out of it isn't going to help here.

Comparing answered prayer to the outcomes of chance is circumstantial evidence that neither supports or denies either side's claims.  On the one case, you argue that because prayer asking for direct and specific outcomes doesn't happen in a predictable, or scientifically provable manner, this proves that prayer is a superstition.  On the other hand, Christians believe that prayers are not answered in a predictable or scientifically provable manner because the will of God, which is outside of our own understanding is involved.  The occurrences of answered prayer, and the lack thereof, align directly with the Church's teaching.  This is not a rationalization.  This is what one would expect by studying what Scripture and the Church has taught for millenia.

My "understanding" has no bearing on the facts of whether or not God heals amputees. Either he does so, verifiably, or he doesn't. So which is it? If it's the former, prove it. If the latter, why is it never God's Will to verifiably heal a single amputee?

If amputees are not healed, it is God's will that they would unite themselves with the suffering of Christ.  This IS the teaching of the Church, and to claim otherwise shows that you are arguing against something other than Christ and the Church. So what god are you arguing against?

You say you have "no doubt" that God has healed an amputee - despite being able to provide no evidence whatsoever of this. Why?

Because I believe in a God who raised His son from the dead.  If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd:  that He uses the weak to confound the strong, that He would use death to conquer Death, that the Creator would humble himself to become the created, that He would declare His kingdom through a humble carpenter's son.  It is the very upside-down nature of His kingdom that makes it so appealing to me.

But my point still remains:  Christ never claimed that prayers are a magic wand. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 03:04:59 PM by TboneDano »

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2008, 03:08:08 PM »
Deus:  Thank you for your response, and I truly appreciate you trying to articulate your question more formally.  I think you were very precise.

I cannot take eveyone's experiences cases by case.  I believe that God is working in all of our experiences.  It is not that some things are spiritual, why other things are not.  Everything is spiritual.  Thinking about sub-atomic particles that seem to defy every law we have is spiritual.

I was prayed and asked God to give me direction for His glory.  You know what He did?  He allowed me to severely break my ankle.  I can in no way verify this with science or even make a non-believer to believe that God had anything to do with it, but that broken ankle altered my entire life course.  If it wasn't for that break, I would be doing what I had planned to do and would not be in Divinity School now.  The break directed me to Divinity School, just as I had prayed for direction.  We always want answered prayer to be something good, safe, or comfortable.  People may say, what an immoral God for allowing your leg to break.  This is b/c we see it as a "bad" thing, but I see it as the best thing to happen to me in my life besides professing Christ as Lord.  I still have 8 screws and a plate to remind me about how God worked in my life.

I am not expecting you to believe this, but what I am saying is that you will never prove that as an answered prayer, but it was.  He wants your heart, not your just your brain.  He wants you to believe, not to have scientific reasoning.  The underlying beauty of science is that it can't prove or disprove God, to do either would eliminate faith.

Thanks for your thoughts, I do appreciate them.  Peace - Micah

Offline velkyn

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Re: A question
« Reply #43 on: October 22, 2008, 03:08:51 PM »
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Because I believe in a God who raised His son from the dead.  If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd:  that He uses the weak to confound the strong, that He would use death to conquer Death, that the Creator would humble himself to become the created, that He would declare His kingdom through a humble carpenter's son.  It is the very upside-down nature of His kingdom that makes it so appealing to me.

so you should have no problem believing my claim that Jesus had a beer with me last night.  If you don't believe me, why?  

I find Lewis Carrol absurd too but I certainly don't worship a rabbit with a waistcoat and a watch.  
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Offline TboneDano

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Re: A question
« Reply #44 on: October 22, 2008, 03:21:17 PM »
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Because I believe in a God who raised His son from the dead.  If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd:  that He uses the weak to confound the strong, that He would use death to conquer Death, that the Creator would humble himself to become the created, that He would declare His kingdom through a humble carpenter's son.  It is the very upside-down nature of His kingdom that makes it so appealing to me.

so you should have no problem believing my claim that Jesus had a beer with me last night.  If you don't believe me, why? 

I find Lewis Carrol absurd too but I certainly don't worship a rabbit with a waistcoat and a watch. 



To say I believe in the absurd belief that God raised a man from the dead, does not imply that I believe in all absurdities.  I'm with Plato:  “My nature is incapable of assenting to any other argument than the one that, after due consideration, is clearly the best.”

For me, and all Christians, belief in the Christ of Scriptures has fulfilled this test.  The fact is that all Christians believe in something that is unprovable:  the Resurrection of Christ.  It's the great chasm over which we have all had to leap, and once we reached the other side, we've all been, as C.S. Lewis said, "Surprised by Joy."

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #45 on: October 22, 2008, 03:33:44 PM »
Do you not base your argument based on the same Scriptures as the website, namely that if Christ said, "Ask and it shall be given you" should apply to amputees?  Is your belief about prayer that it should be provable through a test?  I'm assuming that it is.  Please correct me of your assumptions then, so we can continue the discussion.

My question still remains as to whether or not you will acknowledge what Christ and the Church has really taught about Scripture.  An argument against a perceived tenet of Scripture and the Church is not a legitimate argument if that tenet is not something that Christ or the Church has ever taught. I do not know what god you are arguing against with your question about amputees, because Christ never claimed to heal everyone who asked.

I'm basing my argument on what you've written. That's it. Clear now?

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Comparing answered prayer to the outcomes of chance is circumstantial evidence that neither supports or denies either side's claims.  On the one case, you argue that because prayer asking for direct and specific outcomes doesn't happen in a predictable, or scientifically provable manner, this proves that prayer is a superstition.  On the other hand, Christians believe that prayers are not answered in a predictable or scientifically provable manner because the will of God, which is outside of our own understanding is involved.  The occurrences of answered prayer, and the lack thereof, align directly with the Church's teaching.  This is not a rationalization.  This is what one would expect by studying what Scripture and the Church has taught for millenia.

I didn't say they had to be predictable or "scientifically provable" as if it were some kind of controlled experiment. I merely asked whether prayer appears to work at precisely the same rate as chance. The reason for this is quite simple: if it does, that's one less reason to believe that it works at all. If we already have "chance", why assume "God's Will" as an extraneous factor when it appears to make no difference one way or the other in reality? Particularly when, as you concede, "God's Will" in this case translates fairly directly to "inexplicable".

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If amputees are not healed, it is God's will that they would unite themselves with the suffering of Christ.  This IS the teaching of the Church, and to claim otherwise shows that you are arguing against something other than Christ and the Church. So what god are you arguing against?

"Unite themselves with the suffering of Christ"? Why? What does that even mean? Was Christ an amputee? On what basis is your assertion that this "IS the teaching of the Church", as opposed to your interpretation of it? (Specifically, where do Scripture and Church teachings single out amputees?) Why is every amputee subjected to this, when (supposedly) at least some cancer patients that go into remission do so on account of their prayers?

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Because I believe in a God who raised His son from the dead.  If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd:  that He uses the weak to confound the strong, that He would use death to conquer Death, that the Creator would humble himself to become the created, that He would declare His kingdom through a humble carpenter's son.  It is the very upside-down nature of His kingdom that makes it so appealing to me.

So your answer to one absurdity is to invoke an even bigger absurdity? Interesting. Is this some kind of Chewbacca defence? That's not even remotely sensible. And just because something might have some appeal doesn't make it true, or right. All the more so if you admit it's absurd.

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But my point still remains:  Christ never claimed that prayers are a magic wand.

I haven't claimed this either.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 03:58:58 PM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #46 on: October 22, 2008, 03:47:09 PM »
Deus:  Thank you for your response, and I truly appreciate you trying to articulate your question more formally.  I think you were very precise.

I cannot take eveyone's experiences cases by case.  I believe that God is working in all of our experiences.  It is not that some things are spiritual, why other things are not.  Everything is spiritual.  Thinking about sub-atomic particles that seem to defy every law we have is spiritual.

I was prayed and asked God to give me direction for His glory.  You know what He did?  He allowed me to severely break my ankle.  I can in no way verify this with science or even make a non-believer to believe that God had anything to do with it, but that broken ankle altered my entire life course.  If it wasn't for that break, I would be doing what I had planned to do and would not be in Divinity School now.  The break directed me to Divinity School, just as I had prayed for direction.  We always want answered prayer to be something good, safe, or comfortable.  People may say, what an immoral God for allowing your leg to break.  This is b/c we see it as a "bad" thing, but I see it as the best thing to happen to me in my life besides professing Christ as Lord.  I still have 8 screws and a plate to remind me about how God worked in my life.

I would certainly suggest that there might be less drastic ways to direct you to Divinity School than breaking your ankle. How does a broken ankle direct you to Divinity School, and what were you planning to do before?

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I am not expecting you to believe this, but what I am saying is that you will never prove that as an answered prayer, but it was.  He wants your heart, not your just your brain.  He wants you to believe, not to have scientific reasoning.  The underlying beauty of science is that it can't prove or disprove God, to do either would eliminate faith.

Well, you see, I'm not so convinced that "faith" is a good thing. The Heaven's Gate cult members had faith. So did the people of Jonestown. So did the folks in Waco, and the guys who flew planes into the Twin Towers. So what's so great about it? Why does any self-respecting entity set any store by adopting potentially dangerous, non-evidential assumptions about reality?

As for science, it may not be able to disprove every putative entity in the phase-space of all imaginable entities that might be labelled "God", but it has done a pretty good job of exorcising quite a lot of gods in which people have believed (and in some cases, still believe). We no longer need to appeal to divine entities to explain the weather, tectonic activity, the stars and planets, the origin of species or even (tentatively) of organic life on this planet. Nor do we need them to explain human behaviour. Theists are reduced to a face-saving game of revising their understanding of the divine, fitting their deity into ever smaller and smaller gaps, such as the first 10^-43 seconds after the Big Bang, or simply declaring that the way nature works is just the way God did it, which is an Ochkam's Razor away from nonexistence. Or in a minority of cases, denying reality altogether.

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Thanks for your thoughts, I do appreciate them.  Peace - Micah

Thanks to you too. :)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 03:54:53 PM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline TboneDano

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Re: A question
« Reply #47 on: October 22, 2008, 03:58:12 PM »

"Unite themselves with the suffering of Christ"? Why? What does that even mean? Was Christ an amputee? On what basis is your assertion that this "IS the teaching of the Church", as opposed to your interpretation of it? (Specifically, where do Scripture and Church teachings single out amputees?) Why is every amputee subjected to this, when (supposedly) at least some cancer patients that go into remission do so on account of their prayers?



Thanks for the response.  Scripture, and the Church (not me, though I subscribe to the belief) have taught that we are to do some unbelievable, and seemingly preposterous things in our response to suffering.  Just a few examples from the writings of the apostles will show what I'm talking about.

Paul says that we will share in Christ's suffering:  Phil. 1:19

Peter says that we should rejoice in suffering:  1 Peter 4:13

Peter says that we should follow Christ's example of suffering:  1 Peter 2:21

And Paul says in 1 Col 1:24 that we participate with Christ in His suffering, for the redemption of the world.

The Church teaches that by embracing suffering, and offering on behalf of others, joy is brought from hardship.  It is a strange teaching that one should embrace suffering!  But the Church, and Scripture, has taught this since the beginning.

Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk wrote this of suffering:

I will not ask God to deliver you from your trials, but I will ask him earnestly to give you the patience and strength needed to suffer as long as he desires. Find consolation in him who keeps you fixed to the cross; he will release you when he judges it appropriate. Happy are they who suffer with him. Get used to suffering, and ask him for the strength to suffer as he wants, and for as long as he judges necessary. The worldly do not understand these truths, and I am not surprised; the reason is that they suffer as citizens of this world and not as Christians. They consider illnesses as natural afflictions and not as graces from God, and therefor they find in them only what is difficult and harsh for [our] nature. But those who regard them as coming from the hand of God, as signs of his mercy and the means he uses for their salvation, ordinarily find great sweetness and perceptible consolations in them.

This seems strange to modern readers, and to non-Christians.  Modern Christians have espoused this same view.  Here's a letter that C.S. Lewis wrote regarding a question of this union of suffering with Christ:

I have not a word to say against the doctrine that Our Lord suffers in all the sufferings of His people (see Acts IX.6) or that when we willingly accept what we suffer for others and offer it to God on their behalf, then it may be united with His sufferings and, in Him, may help to their redemption or even that of others whom we do not dream of. So that it is not in vain; tho' of course we must not count on seeing it work out exactly as we, in our present ignorance, might think best. The key text for this view is Colossians I.24. Is it not, after all, one more application of the truth that we are all 'members of one another'? I wish I had known more when I wrote the Problem of Pain.

God bless you all. Be sure that Grace flows into you and out of you and through you in all sorts of way, and no faithful submission to pain in yourself or in another will be wasted.


This is what is meant by uniting our suffering with Christ.  All suffering, whether physical or emotional or pyschological can be transformed and redeemed, through the love of Christ.  It is what Tolkien termed the "eucatastrophe," from the Greek word for good, thus the good catastrophe.  In Christians' eyes, the death and Resurrection of Christ is the greatest example of it. 

This is what Scripture and the Church has taught about suffering from its very foundation in the suffering of Christ.

I wish I could spend more time discussing all of this, but I need to get some work done!  I'll be checking back in tomorrow...or maybe tonight.

I'm enjoying the discussion.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 04:00:53 PM by TboneDano »

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #48 on: October 22, 2008, 04:02:09 PM »

"Unite themselves with the suffering of Christ"? Why? What does that even mean? Was Christ an amputee? On what basis is your assertion that this "IS the teaching of the Church", as opposed to your interpretation of it? (Specifically, where do Scripture and Church teachings single out amputees?) Why is every amputee subjected to this, when (supposedly) at least some cancer patients that go into remission do so on account of their prayers?

Thanks for the response.  Scripture, and the Church (not me, though I subscribe to the belief) have taught that we are to do some unbelievable, and seemingly preposterous things in our response to suffering.  Just a few examples from the writings of the apostles will show what I'm talking about.

{snipped for brevity}

You appear to cover suffering in general here (though I'll overlook, for the sake of not dragging the discussion into a quagmire, your use of Lewis and Tolkien as "authorities" on this matter) - nothing particularly astounding there, if you ask me: we learn through discomfort, and perseverance in adversity is not such a bad thing - but that still leaves a lot unexplained, particularly the second half of my question, to whit:

Specifically, where do Scripture and Church teachings single out amputees? Why is every amputee subjected to this, when (supposedly) at least some cancer patients that go into remission do so on account of their prayers?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 07:10:45 PM by Deus ex Machina »

Offline L6

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Re: A question
« Reply #49 on: October 22, 2008, 04:41:56 PM »
So, if someone breaks into your home and paralyzes you with a gunshot, Buddah would say that that is what you deserve because of Karma from your previous life. 
He said no such thing. Here is the Buddhist text:

For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.

Examples such as you gave above are clear indicators that not everything that happens is the result of any action on your part, so just as Christianity adopted the afterlife to wave away suffering, so did Buddhists adopt reincarnation.

In any case, back to prayer.

If the purpose of prayer is to glorify Yahweh, what is the purpose?

- "Yahweh, I pray that your glorious will be done."
- "It will be done, by definition, my sheep. Your prayer is my will and is therefore both pointless and glorious."
- "Hallelujah."
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline L6

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Re: A question
« Reply #50 on: October 22, 2008, 04:53:32 PM »
If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd...

Pride prevents people from admitting they believe something totally absurd, so people have to vehemently insist that it is true and feel morally superior for doing so.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire (1694 - 1778)

"Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you got 'em by the balls." - Sin City
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #51 on: October 22, 2008, 05:01:51 PM »
L6:  Thanks for the responses.

Buddha also said in the opening lines of the Buddhist scriptures that every individual is the sum total of wht he or she thought in his or her past life.

In his discourses called "Anguttara Nikaya," he said:
"My kamma is my only property, kamma is my only heritage, kamma is the only cause of my being, kamma is my only kin, my only protection.  Whatever actions I do, good or bad, I shall become their heir."

The doctrines put forth in Buddhism point to the assertion that this life brings forth the things it does based on your  previous life.  So, when you pick up a baby who is deformed from birth, you are witnessing karma or kamma in action.  What pain are you going through right now?  Buddha would say karma, your past deeds, are at work.  It is your heritage that you brought on your self.

I look forward to talking more. Peace - Micah

Offline L6

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Re: A question
« Reply #52 on: October 22, 2008, 05:38:56 PM »
Buddha also said in the opening lines of the Buddhist scriptures that every individual is the sum total of wht he or she thought in his or her past life.
Chapter and verse, please. ;)

In his discourses called "Anguttara Nikaya," he said:
"My kamma is my only property, kamma is my only heritage, kamma is the only cause of my being, kamma is my only kin, my only protection.  Whatever actions I do, good or bad, I shall become their heir."
There's nothing in that quote about past lives, though, is there?
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline Micah643

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Re: A question
« Reply #53 on: October 22, 2008, 06:41:18 PM »
L6:  yes, the language of "heritage" and "heir" have to do with past lives.

Offline L6

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Re: A question
« Reply #54 on: October 22, 2008, 07:18:57 PM »
L6:  yes, the language of "heritage" and "heir" have to do with past lives.
Wouldn't have anything to do with one's parents, would it? Naaaah. :P

(Which, incidentally, qualifies more as a "past life" than any spiritual notion does, since your parents each have half of your DNA, give or take a few mutations.)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2008, 07:22:38 PM by L6 »
God's existence is contingent upon the illusion that morality is dictated by religious authority.

Offline velkyn

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Re: A question
« Reply #55 on: October 23, 2008, 12:00:28 PM »
Quote
Because I believe in a God who raised His son from the dead.  If a man believes in this absurdity, then believing that God can, and has healed an amputee is no problem.  And this is where faith comes in.  I say absurdity purposely, because God asks us to believe something absurd:  that He uses the weak to confound the strong, that He would use death to conquer Death, that the Creator would humble himself to become the created, that He would declare His kingdom through a humble carpenter's son.  It is the very upside-down nature of His kingdom that makes it so appealing to me.

so you should have no problem believing my claim that Jesus had a beer with me last night.  If you don't believe me, why? 

I find Lewis Carrol absurd too but I certainly don't worship a rabbit with a waistcoat and a watch. 



To say I believe in the absurd belief that God raised a man from the dead, does not imply that I believe in all absurdities.  I'm with Plato:  “My nature is incapable of assenting to any other argument than the one that, after due consideration, is clearly the best.”

For me, and all Christians, belief in the Christ of Scriptures has fulfilled this test.  The fact is that all Christians believe in something that is unprovable:  the Resurrection of Christ.  It's the great chasm over which we have all had to leap, and once we reached the other side, we've all been, as C.S. Lewis said, "Surprised by Joy."

And I also agree with Plato. "Due consideration" for me includes evidence, not a presupposed notion that I am right.  You seem to think that means that your belief in something makes it true.  Your religon is based on a book that has no external confirmation of its claims, that is wrong in many ways that are obvious, etc.  You say that people who understand your religion differently than you do e.g. coming to different conclusions, haven't "studied it *enough*" because they dare to come to different conclusions than you. 

Your God supposedly did miracles and provided evidence for non-believers before.  Why has he stopped? Why this new claim that God only wants "faith" from believers when that isn't supported at all by your holy book? 

I was already on the other side of your "chasm".  There is nothing there.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: A question
« Reply #56 on: October 23, 2008, 12:11:44 PM »
I'd still like to know how an absurd notion can be termed "after due consideration, the best". You know, after due consideration, it's still absurd. Unless "absurd = best", in which case I'll order an eighth of whatever you're on, it makes no sense to me.

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Re: A question
« Reply #57 on: October 23, 2008, 12:21:00 PM »
Goodkat:  So you think Buddha saying that your being beaten, raped, killed is deserved because of your faults is better than God dying on a cross to take on away your faults? 
Buddha says that rape victims deserved to be raped, Jesus says she deserves to go to hell.
Let's talk this one through some more...   ???
Oh, I forgot, the Bible also teaches karma -"Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
So the Bible not obly teaches that the rape victim deserves eternal torment, but also teaches that she deserved to be raped, I think I would take Buddhism over that. What's more, the Bible taeches that if she was a Christian, then the rape was good for her- "All things work together for the good of them that love Him." How revolting.

Both the answers of Christianity and Buddhism to suffering are flawed. Christianity says to embrace it, Buddhism says that it is an illusion. I say to end it, that is the ultimate answer.
I would certainly appreciate a response.