Author Topic: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question  (Read 11899 times)

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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #29 on: August 01, 2011, 10:31:19 PM »
Sorry, was having a side conversation with a buddy...we were actually kind of discussing the same thing.

Again, I don't think that these healing stories are necessarily true but when you know these people and you look at possible motives and alternative explanations and chronological relevance, my mind has trouble completely disregarding the possibility of some supernatural intervention.

Sounds great...except that only 1/10010 of the people in the history of people have seen what you claim to have seen. Why should I believe you?

Behind my sarcasm, desperate memories lie.

Offline ddavisso4

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #30 on: August 01, 2011, 10:50:21 PM »
Here's what I'm kind of thinking:
Unless I can present evidence that would prove to the whole world in one fell swoop that God exists and Jesus was resurrected, the only possible direction of this discussion is me becoming a little more knowledgeable about the history of religion and a little bit more of a critical thinker, especially when it comes to comparative religion. Actually, that doesn't sound half bad...to the history books!

I'm willing to stick around but I'm not sure what more I can contribute. I could present my idea of a morality dependent on love for God or the supposed continuity of YHWH throughout history or my understanding of how to interpret certain Bible passages or how Jesus promises to change us from the inside out but it all really comes down to evidence, reasons for faith. I certainly understand that and respectfully admit defeat. I suppose in a sense it's kind of my job to cook up some miracles anyway, right? Wish me luck  ;)!
Joyfully,
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Offline JeffPT

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #31 on: August 01, 2011, 11:41:57 PM »
Unless I can present evidence that would prove to the whole world in one fell swoop that God exists and Jesus was resurrected, the only possible direction of this discussion is me becoming a little more knowledgeable about the history of religion and a little bit more of a critical thinker, especially when it comes to comparative religion. Actually, that doesn't sound half bad...to the history books!

One piece of evidence would not be strong enough for such a claim.  It's an extraordinary claim.  It requires extraordinary evidence.  Would one piece of evidence be enough to convince you that my great grandfather rose from the dead 3 days later?  Even more so... if I told you my great, great, great, great grandfather rose from the dead and all I had to prove it was a dusty old book that said he did, would that be enough for you? 

You could become an atheist :)  That's a direction you could find yourself going.  In fact, a whole boat load of people on here found that direction to be the correct one. 

I can tell you from personal experience that when I became an atheist, studying religion became almost an obsession.  I didn't believe a word of it, but for some reason, I had to know more and more and more about it.  Funny that.   

I'm willing to stick around but I'm not sure what more I can contribute. I could present my idea of a morality dependent on love for God or the supposed continuity of YHWH throughout history or my understanding of how to interpret certain Bible passages or how Jesus promises to change us from the inside out but it all really comes down to evidence, reasons for faith. I certainly understand that and respectfully admit defeat. I suppose in a sense it's kind of my job to cook up some miracles anyway, right? Wish me luck  ;)!
Joyfully,
Daniel

I like you kid.  You've got spunk! 
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Online wright

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #32 on: August 02, 2011, 12:30:19 AM »
I like you kid.  You've got spunk! 

Seconded. I hope you stick around, ddavisso. Far too many theists who post here turn out to be hothouse flowers for their faith: they just shrivel up, rustling with death-threats and ad hominims when we dare critique their beliefs.

You, OTOH, have the stones  to admit that you don't have evidence of your god to show us, but that you still might learn something here. That puts you in a slim minority of intellectually honest theist posters, for what that's worth.
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Offline Rare96ws6

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #33 on: August 02, 2011, 12:42:21 AM »
 

I've got my life jacket on, realized pretty quickly a seat belt wasn't going to cut it. Also, what we need are audio forums so we can say more in less time.

I spent some time in the MailBag. Interesting but kind of makes my organizational mind restless...

Overall, I don't know how beneficial this is. I honestly don't think there is universally acceptable & available evidence for the existence of God. My question is if this was designed into the "system" by God. My understanding of Christianity is that this is the case (take for example the parable of the narrow gate where only a few find the gate to life and the rest go down the path to "destruction"). This, of course, is not at all satisfying if one also assumes that people will burn forever if they do not believe in God. I have found bible-truths.org and my own studies to be very helpful with this dilemma. I do not think that we are all "destined" to find God in this life and I think that the "hell" and "punishment" and "destruction" that follow this life will be in accordance with our actions in this life. The most important thing I can discern about God's judgment is that it will be just. You may question whether or not I believe the Bible if I take this theological stance, and I do. Of course, I have to believe that there are a few places where translation could be improved (actually it's only one word in several places) but it really makes a lot of sense to me overall. I would imagine that you all are trying to live in a morally respectable manner and I don't think there is much more that one can ask. The rest is up to the "big guy", if such a being exists.

I'll try to get back to you guys on specific issues but from reading other posts it seems to be common that theists get overwhelmed. You've definitely got plenty of ammo and I respect your arguments. I've seen a lot of issues with Biblical interpretation but I think that's pretty common and I don't claim to be free from it (heck I just claimed something that goes in the face of the entirety of modern Christendom). Also, I do need to spend more time looking at other religions. I've got a copy of the Quran which maybe isn't a good place to start. Actually, what do you guys think? Maybe a religious studies class? I'm honestly asking for advice (I think it's easy for stuff to come across as sarcastic).

Finally, just wanted to share with you a story to kind of explain my predicament (the fact that I have faith)...
My buddy and I have lived together for a couple years and I have known him for four years. About a year and half ago he began dating someone. I got to know her and her family and I also know my buddy's family very well. Her family seems about as normal as an American family can be; they are Christians and generally raise there children by Christian values. My buddy's family is more involved in the charismatic side of Christianity. His dad is the second most logical person I have ever met (next to my buddy) while his mom is a little bit more of a free thinker (and talker, don't tell her I said that). Anyway, the girlfriend's mom gets severe migraines if she eats processed sugars, gluten, etc; basically, she can eat lean meat and veggies. Several times she has spent weeks on end in bed in the dark enduring migraines. Anyway, moral of the story my buddy's parents pray for her. She feels a warm sensation running down her spine. She thinks God tells her to eat a cookie. She eats the cookie. She feels fine. Hasn't had a migraine since. I don't know how this comes across but maybe you can imagine if your close friend was dating someone and his or her mother (who you know well) claimed to have this "sensation" and have been healed in a manner seemingly chronologically relevant to the prayer that was offered for her healing.

The problem is that I've got dozens of these stories (many of them more dramatic, don't know if they are worth writing down, let me know) and although they don't mean much to other people, it's just tough to explain them in a purely natural way. I don't claim to come across them everyday and I don't claim that they have happened to me but I will say they have influenced my worldview.

I'll keep my "seat belt" on for a little longer and see if this seems to be going anywhere...
It's just that I prefer vocal conversation so much more. What it lacks in permanence is made up for in that human aspect of it that just can't be replicated by a monitor.

Gluten intolerance has been known to disappear in some people, so no miracle is needed here.
Extrordinary claims require extrordinay evidence - Carl Sagan.

Offline naemhni

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #34 on: August 02, 2011, 09:21:54 AM »
(I started this before the last couple posts...)

Whew, you guys are just too quick!

Hang in there, friend.  Believers are obviously in the minority here, but we sympathize with those who find themselves overwhelmed.  If you need some time to respond, just say that you're feeling swamped, and we'll give you some breathing room.

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In terms of the Bible being historically reliable I don't know where you are getting 99% false. Is that the general consensus here?

Pretty much.  Most of the historical claims made by the bible cannot be verified (e.g., Tower of Babel, the book of Joshua), and some are demonstrably false (e.g., global flood, the exodus).  There is almost nothing reported as historical in the bible that is independently confirmed by historians.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline screwtape

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #35 on: August 02, 2011, 10:05:41 AM »
bm
What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline gonegolfing

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #36 on: August 02, 2011, 11:31:19 AM »

ddavisso4:

Quote
Finally, just wanted to share with you a story to kind of explain my predicament (the fact that I have faith)...
My buddy and I have lived together for a couple years and I have known him for four years. About a year and half ago he began dating someone. I got to know her and her family and I also know my buddy's family very well. Her family seems about as normal as an American family can be; they are Christians and generally raise there children by Christian values. My buddy's family is more involved in the charismatic side of Christianity. His dad is the second most logical person I have ever met (next to my buddy) while his mom is a little bit more of a free thinker (and talker, don't tell her I said that). Anyway, the girlfriend's mom gets severe migraines if she eats processed sugars, gluten, etc; basically, she can eat lean meat and veggies. Several times she has spent weeks on end in bed in the dark enduring migraines. Anyway, moral of the story my buddy's parents pray for her. She feels a warm sensation running down her spine. She thinks God tells her to eat a cookie. She eats the cookie. She feels fine. Hasn't had a migraine since. I don't know how this comes across but maybe you can imagine if your close friend was dating someone and his or her mother (who you know well) claimed to have this "sensation" and have been healed in a manner seemingly chronologically relevant to the prayer that was offered for her healing.

The problem is that I've got dozens of these stories (many of them more dramatic, don't know if they are worth writing down, let me know) and although they don't mean much to other people, it's just tough to explain them in a purely natural way. I don't claim to come across them everyday and I don't claim that they have happened to me but I will say they have influenced my worldview.

The testimony of others is sometimes easily, but mistakenly, accepted as valid for truth. But when it comes to the question of the truth of a god however, there's no room for credulity based on friendship and emotions.

That's a nice story with a good ending of course, but it's not your story. The questions for you should be "what has god done for me lately or ever?" "what miracle has he done for me lately or ever?" "Has he healed me lately or ever?" "Has he answered my prayers lately or ever?" "Has he provided undeniable evidence of his existence, goodness, and care for me lately or ever?"

What clear, reliable, unambiguous, and definitive evidence is available for you to perceive by your own senses that this supposed loving, caring, and intervening god has done anything at all for you ?

Can you in all honesty to yourself, justify a belief in the existence of a real external of the mind god having had no real experiences with that god ?  ;)
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline velkyn

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2011, 12:42:52 PM »
Dan,

You are certainly full of the usual Christian nonsense.  Just how do you want to define “divinely inspired”?  Like the bible does, aka that God directly influenced the bible right there in the NT ?
Quote
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Or do you have a new magical way to redefine words so you don’t seem like such a willful ignoramus?

Again, there is NOTHING about the NT that is historical.  I’ve seen this attempt to excuse your magic book too, that there are magical different “context” to read it, where you can pick and choose what is metaphor and what is literal. 

Quote
I don't believe there are some that will "never be saved" or will be "condemned to eternal torture" and, as such, can believe in a God that is benevolent and has different journeys for people right now.
So you’ve just demonstrated that you have no idea what predestination means when you claimed you belived in it.  Sigh. 

Quote
Jesus doesn't say to give away all your money to follow him. He says it is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven and he tells a rich young man to give all his money away because his heart is not in the right place; the kid loves money more than God.
Unfortunately for you, yes he does say exactly that. “Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  I do love how Christians magically find that JC was only talking to the young man in this case when they decide that JC was talking to everyone when it’s convenient for them.  So, Dan, can I say that the words of Paul were *only* to the particular congregation he addresses? That JC was only talking to the people right in front of him and that no one else has to listen?  Because that’s what you’ve managed to argue for. 
Quote
In terms of the Bible being historically reliable I don't know where you are getting 99% false. Is that the general consensus here?
Wow, you are really trying to delay the inevitable aren’t you? Gee, you don’t know where I’m getting that the bible is 99% false.  I’m getting it from the fact that none of the claims of the bible have proven true. Do you comprehend that?  NONE of them. 

And nice backing away from calling me an extremist.  I am always amused at Christians when caught in being stupid, have to pretend they didn’t really mean something.  You want to exchange verses on love and God?  Well, how about the story of the plagues of Egypt.  Your god killed people showing off, people who had no choice in the situation.  Your God did the same in the flood myth.  Most interestingly, your god makes a claim in Revelation that shows anything but love.  We have your god imprisoning the “devil”, killing all people who don’t accept him, and then allowing JC to reign over earth for a millennium or so.  Then, after this time of supposed peace and light, we have your god intentionally releasing the devil again, to corrupt people again.  Is this love, intentionally wanting to damn more people for one more battle?  Is it love to damn people for things they didn’t do?  And ah, yes, Job.  You have a god that makes a bet with its supposed archenemy.  This god says “do whatever you want to Job and his people. I bet he won’t crack”.  So God is responsible for the murder of Job’s family and Job’s pain over a wager.  This is an omnipotent/omniscient being here, why does he care about the opinion of “satan”?  Job does question and your god does nothing but be a arrogant blowhard.  Job’s friends keep telling him he did something wrong, and Job knows better.  Finally, at the end, your God admits he was wrong when he tells Job’s friends they were wrong.  Job did nothing to deserve this treatment.  God tries to make up for it by giving him a brand new family and more stuff.  I don’t know about you, but I would nto accept a gift, much less a new family for my murdered one, by the being that intentionally caused them to be killed.  And, not surpisingly, you want to excuse your god by saying “but but, things die anyway so it’s okay for my god to kill them”.  What horseshit.  Death isn’t necessarily bad. Murder is.

Quote
Your point about God allowing people to reinterpret Scripture to suit their own needs seems first of all inevitable and second of all part of life. If we had it all figured out from birth, there would be no journey, no life, no meaning. Of course, as Richard Dawkins says, the universe owes us no meaning. I think this is probably the default but again, I see good reason for faith. I gave you some more public ones...what do you think about the Milk Miracle or the "ministry" of William Branham or the Azusa Street Revival. I mean, sure they may not be true but there is some evidence for these supposed "miracles".
And now we get the usual Christian thing, that we for some reason “need” to be unhappy for God to “teach” us.  And I have plenty of meaning in my life without your primitive petty deity.  The milk miracle is a hoax, the healings have no evidence and your revival doesn’t either. Really, Dan, do you think just repeating nonsense and lies will make a difference?  Do you pray real hard before you repeat them again in hopes we’ll suddenly all become stupid?  There is NO evidence for your supposed miracles and even you admit that.  &)

Your god suddenly playing hide and seek is a contradiction in what it claims in its supposed holy book.  You willfully ignore where it claims to be active for believers. You fail repeatedly to show any evidence for your supposed miracles, much less your god, and that seems to be because you never dared questioned them.  You have no idea if they are real or not, you just try to throw shit at a wall and “pray” that something sticks. 

For being so sure what you believe when you came on this thread, you seem to be quite happy to say you don’t know so much now.  That’s good and there still might be hope for you.  But not until you realize that your baseless claims are just that.
Quote

I take the evidence that is presented to me and try to create a worldview out of it...
and amusingly enough, you can’t find that evidence to supply to anyone else.
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Offline albeto

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2011, 03:10:14 PM »

Finally, just wanted to share with you a story to kind of explain my predicament (the fact that I have faith)...
My buddy and I have lived together for a couple years and I have known him for four years. About a year and half ago he began dating someone. I got to know her and her family and I also know my buddy's family very well. Her family seems about as normal as an American family can be; they are Christians and generally raise there children by Christian values. My buddy's family is more involved in the charismatic side of Christianity. His dad is the second most logical person I have ever met (next to my buddy) while his mom is a little bit more of a free thinker (and talker, don't tell her I said that). Anyway, the girlfriend's mom gets severe migraines if she eats processed sugars, gluten, etc; basically, she can eat lean meat and veggies. Several times she has spent weeks on end in bed in the dark enduring migraines. Anyway, moral of the story my buddy's parents pray for her. She feels a warm sensation running down her spine. She thinks God tells her to eat a cookie. She eats the cookie. She feels fine. Hasn't had a migraine since. I don't know how this comes across but maybe you can imagine if your close friend was dating someone and his or her mother (who you know well) claimed to have this "sensation" and have been healed in a manner seemingly chronologically relevant to the prayer that was offered for her healing.

The problem is that I've got dozens of these stories (many of them more dramatic, don't know if they are worth writing down, let me know) and although they don't mean much to other people, it's just tough to explain them in a purely natural way. I don't claim to come across them everyday and I don't claim that they have happened to me but I will say they have influenced my worldview.

I'll keep my "seat belt" on for a little longer and see if this seems to be going anywhere...
It's just that I prefer vocal conversation so much more. What it lacks in permanence is made up for in that human aspect of it that just can't be replicated by a monitor.

I know you're getting bombarded with so many posts, but if you don't mind yet another comment, I'd like to ask you a question about this.  This is the kind of story that used to give me goosebumps because I'd heard a few myself, some involving people close to me.  But I have to say, now that I'm no longer persuaded by the faith, that the questions this leaves open are quite problematic.  See, I have a son with an autistic spectrum disorder and while we were figuring out just what was going on, we tried everything we could think of, including restrictive diets. Gluten and casein free diets are pretty popular, but we found ourselves going all the way to specific carbohydrate diet (meaning, if a food source wasn't just plucked from the ground or just shot off its feet within the last 24 hours we didn't bring it in the home).  Add to that the Feingold diet that addresses ADHD and most fruits were off the menu as well.  I am familiar with the effect food has on one's health, even neurological.  I've met many many parents with children whose autism is crippling, destroying the family, providing no discernible future other than dependent living facilities for life.  I'm talking about autism that compels children to put anything in their mouths (pica), compels children to spin, rock, stem in hopes of avoiding the kind of intense and never ending anxiety and physical pain the source of which they simply cannot reveal.  I'm talking about autism that results in violent aggressive actions in hopes of solving just. one. problem. in a world where *nothing* makes sense.  Autism that is so problematic a school in Massachusetts uses shock therapy for discipline because medicines and behavior modification do. not. work.  Autism that fills our prison cells and sucks our retirement funds dry.  Autism that steals a child's life, leaving him or her in a shell of a body, held hostage by his/her faulty neurology.

 But God cures your friend's girlfriend of migraines so she can eat cookies again. 

Meanwhile our friend Elliot here ponders life without sight, mram is packing his cooler and addressing it so should God get around to finally smiting him, Elliot can see life and read music through his eyes.  I'm asking sincerely now, would you please ask your buddy's family to pray for Elliot and if Elliot reports a warm sensation and the end of his degenerative condition, I will pay for transportation for you and your buddy's family to come heal my son of autism, and then we can go on tour, at my expense, and do some real good.  I'll even bake cookies. 

Offline velkyn

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2011, 03:23:28 PM »
great post, albeto.  These claims of "miracles", this one and the magic gatorade bottle of another Christian forum member"theFLEW" alway seem to be just simple declarations of "oooh, look how special Christians are".  The degree of what an be declared a "miracle" always comes down to coincidence and parlor tricks sought in some desperate need of affirmation of this religion. 

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Offline Brakeman

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2011, 05:38:27 PM »
Don't stop at autism! That's one of hundreds of mental disorders.  I've seen my own daughter lay in the floor drooling, in too deep of a stupor to even go to the bathroom and too irrational to wear a diaper or catheter.  Watch another human sit in their own excrement and know you'll have to wrestle them like a wild animal to clean them up. Watch the panic in the eyes of a physically restrained child, her arms and legs strapped to a bed.

Yet you claim that you merely have to mumble a few words to your god to alleviate her  suffering, but nothing happens?
 >:(
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline ddavisso4

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2011, 11:33:33 PM »
Hey everybody...

So, I've been thinking a little bit (probably a little too much) and I've decided that I occupy a very unique position in this forum. First of all, I'm like (or may appear to be like) a gazelle being closed in on by lions. In some senses this is accurate as my brain works in a way that requires everything to make sense when it comes to ideals, especially practical ideals and there is the very good chance that by hearing what you all have to say as well as doing additional research that you inspire me to do (and already have) I may change my worldview. As I already said, I'm around 80/20 (it's crazy how we can live in a world where both 100/0 and 0/100 can exist simultaneously). However, this also gives me some sort of monopoly created by rarity as I feel that, from looking around (and your own comments), I am in the minority. The practical result of this is I feel like I can (and am forced to) kind of wade through what you have to say, summarize and then address things in general.

I think it may be helpful to present my worldview instead of just coming across as a guy who just claims one questionable miracle and then thinks he knows everything. I am not sure my worldview is correct (because I believe that is impossible and requires universal proof). I do know that it's not totally ridiculous and you can say that it is but I just don't see how that gets us anywhere.

I think I can do that by addressing 4 issues that seem to be very common to posts in this forum:
(1) The existence of God
(2) An explanation of miracles
(3) The problem of pain/suffering
(4) The Bible

I think I can address the first 3 in a self-contained post but for the fourth I'll ask for specifics. I've got to help my buddy replace his clutch right now (have you every smelled manual transmission fluid? Yikes!) but I'll try to get to this tomorrow morning. You really don't have to respond to this, just wanted to let you guys know where I stand.

Also, a couple years ago people stopped annoying me. I think something kind of clicked in my mind and I realized how irrational it was; it just doesn't seem to serve much useful purpose 99% of the time. I said that to be purposefully extreme and of course I still do get annoyed but I'm pretty good at staying calm in highly emotional situations or when I'm being verbally attacked, etc. You're more than welcome to but I'll probably sift through what you are saying for something that makes sense and try to address that.

Uni (that's what they call me when I play Ultimate Frisbee, result of riding a unicycle around campus for a year,  :?)

Offline velkyn

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2011, 08:22:30 AM »
Hey everybody...
So, I've been thinking a little bit (probably a little too much) and I've decided that I occupy a very unique position in this forum. First of all, I'm like (or may appear to be like) a gazelle being closed in on by lions. In some senses this is accurate as my brain works in a way that requires everything to make sense when it comes to ideals, especially practical ideals and there is the very good chance that by hearing what you all have to say as well as doing additional research that you inspire me to do (and already have) I may change my worldview. As I already said, I'm around 80/20 (it's crazy how we can live in a world where both 100/0 and 0/100 can exist simultaneously). However, this also gives me some sort of monopoly created by rarity as I feel that, from looking around (and your own comments), I am in the minority. The practical result of this is I feel like I can (and am forced to) kind of wade through what you have to say, summarize and then address things in general.
 
Dan, we know you are beset by a lot of people.  I’m guessing you didn’t’ look much around on the forums and simply didn’t realize that this is an forum inhabited with atheists who actually ask questions and demand facts.  This was careless on your part and I do not see it as a valid excuse for your behavior.  You still have not answered questions posted by us here.  We are willing to wait but not when you spend your time trying to excuse yourself.
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I think it may be helpful to present my worldview instead of just coming across as a guy who just claims one questionable miracle and then thinks he knows everything. I am not sure my worldview is correct (because I believe that is impossible and requires universal proof). I do know that it's not totally ridiculous and you can say that it is but I just don't see how that gets us anywhere.
It may be helpful but you are the one who wants to claim miracles and then when asked for evidence or why this god of yours does nothing to people who are really suffering, you avoid answering.  This reminds me, and I’m guessing a lot of folks here, of the usual Christian antics.
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I think I can do that by addressing 4 issues that seem to be very common to posts in this forum:
(1) The existence of God
(2) An explanation of miracles
(3) The problem of pain/suffering
(4) The Bible
I think I can address the first 3 in a self-contained post but for the fourth I'll ask for specifics. I've got to help my buddy replace his clutch right now (have you every smelled manual transmission fluid? Yikes!) but I'll try to get to this tomorrow morning. You really don't have to respond to this, just wanted to let you guys know where I stand.
My father’s a mechanic and I practically grew up in his garage.
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Also, a couple years ago people stopped annoying me. I think something kind of clicked in my mind and I realized how irrational it was; it just doesn't seem to serve much useful purpose 99% of the time. I said that to be purposefully extreme and of course I still do get annoyed but I'm pretty good at staying calm in highly emotional situations or when I'm being verbally attacked, etc. You're more than welcome to but I'll probably sift through what you are saying for something that makes sense and try to address that.
No idea why you are going on about this, except to make more excuses.  Show how any one has “verbally attacked” you.  We do ask very hard questions, questions that Christians fail at.  Being asked for evidence for your claims is not being attacked.  If you think someone doubting you is being “attacked”, you are going to have a hard time in this world and it only seems that you are trying to play the martyr card.
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2011, 08:52:14 AM »
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Hey everybody...

So, I've been thinking a little bit (probably a little too much) and I've decided that I occupy a very unique position in this forum. First of all, I'm like (or may appear to be like) a gazelle being closed in on by lions.

Excellent. All we'll ever ask of you here at WWGHA is to think a lot more, and for yourself.

Pondering the ideas of gods, faith, and religion is like walking around on a giant block of Swiss cheese. Just make sure that you take notice of, and are intellectually honest about, all the holes that you see in that cheese  ;)

We're not lions, we're more like happy and confident lambs. It's the legend of the lion of judah that's one of the many different religious beliefs that's creating problems in this world.

Hang in there  ;)
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2011, 10:45:06 PM »
Excellent. All we'll ever ask of you here at WWGHA is to think a lot more, and for yourself.
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We're not lions, we're more like happy and confident lambs.


Dan, we know you are beset by a lot of people.
 
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We do ask very hard questions

Believers are obviously in the minority here, but we sympathize with those who find themselves overwhelmed.


Am I the only one who sees a problem here? What's all this "we" stuff?



Behind my sarcasm, desperate memories lie.

Offline learnin

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2011, 11:55:11 PM »
Hi ddavisso 4,
     I've read your posts with interest and complement you on your generally kind posts.  I was a long time fervent Catholic believer (40 years of adult life) and now don't exactly know where I fit as of this time.  I guess you could say I'm a skeptic...been fooled too many times...way too many times.
     Some comments about the "cure" you provided in regards to migraines.  Migraine headaches should never be used as example of miraculous healing.  I write this respectfully.  You should be aware that these types of "healings" comprise the bulk of Christian claims.  There are a great many causes of migraine headaches including light, stress, hormones, food allergies and even psychological reasons.  My wife suffered from migraines as a young lady and then, for about 25 years, they disappeared.  Recently, she has been having a few once again although they are not as severe.  My opinion is that your lady's migraines will return at some point unless they were psychological in nature.
     The human mind, and it's effect on our physical state, is an incredible thing.  Some people are vulnerable to suggestion and many illnesses such as migraines might be improved by a magnet....a chiropractic adjustment or the laying on of hands.   I had a Catholic friend once who began dabbling in the art of pentecostalism (charismatic to Catholics) and became convinced main stream Catholicism was of the devil.  He tried to convince me by talking of all the "cures" he witnessed by the laying on of hands.  Yet, his own wife, stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, was wheel chair bound by age of 35.  She was dead at the age of 40.  They prayed over her a thousand times during those years and, though she felt the electricity and heat, there was no cure.
     Thus, as Screwtape pointed out, "WWGHA's?"  Another question:  Why won't God raise the dead?  Doesn't have to be all the time, how about 20 or 30 times a year in the U.S.?   Think of how many people would believe.  You mentioned that maybe God doesn't want to give this kind of proof.  As far as I'm concerned, if God won't raise the dead child of a hysterical parent just once in a great while, God can stick the migraine cures.  It's baloney.  I'm not arguing the existence of some sort of god...I'm simply saying I don't buy the "god cured me of my arthritic thumb or bad ear..."


Offline velkyn

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2011, 08:11:26 AM »
Am I the only one who sees a problem here? What's all this "we" stuff?

okay, everybody but Jay can see these things and ask hard questions.  &)
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Offline gonegolfing

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2011, 09:03:43 AM »
Excellent. All we'll ever ask of you here at WWGHA is to think a lot more, and for yourself.
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We're not lions, we're more like happy and confident lambs.


Dan, we know you are beset by a lot of people.
 
Quote
We do ask very hard questions

Believers are obviously in the minority here, but we sympathize with those who find themselves overwhelmed.


Am I the only one who sees a problem here? What's all this "we" stuff?

As you well know, you're perfectly free to exclude yourself. Which I believe you have now ;D

Cheers  ;)
"I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond atheism"....Penn Jillette.

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #48 on: August 04, 2011, 03:50:39 PM »
Naw, you got it all wrong...It's not that I don't want to be included. It's just that from time to time I have seen people refer to this atheist community as a whole and speak for the community as a whole. This is can be very confusing for the new member who happens to be a theist. It could reinforce their preconceived notion that all atheist are essentially the same, and may lead them to continue their arguments using vague broad stokes aimed at the whole community when that may or may not be their intention.

Dave says as much in this reply
Hey everybody...

The practical result of this is I feel like I can (and am forced to) kind of wade through what you have to say, summarize and then address things in general.

This puts Dave at a disadvantage from the start. That's all I was saying.
Behind my sarcasm, desperate memories lie.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #49 on: August 04, 2011, 04:51:07 PM »
What is the deal with Christians who pray for god to heal something? Why?
Doesn't god know that the woman has migraines, chilblaines, knee pains, varicose veins? (He knows all.)

Why wouldn't he just smite the migraines, knee pains, etc. to begin with? (He can do anything.)
 
He has to wait until asked in the right way, by the right people at the right time, under the light of the silvery moon, in the merry month of June, while holding a magic spoon, and screaming like a loon. Ooookay then.

And of course, god never does the obvious big heal of all the world's autistic kids, or all disabled vets, all babies with birth defects, or people like my brother with mental problems so severe he has never been able to hold a job or care for himself.

But. But. But you see, it is not part of god's great plan to do anything major that would really help anyone. Because then, you see, we would all be better off and he doesn't want that. Because he wants to prove that he loves us by letting us suffer. Because he is actually working through us human beings, so when we finally manage to solve the problem ourselves, using say, science or something, we will then know that it was god all along! Yeah, that's it!  &)

Begin the complicated rationalizing and justifying, way more mind-bending then just saying, "There is no god." That would be too easy.

BTW, god(s),  a whole group of little kids going without food in Somalia right now patiently await your attention. Just in case you have missed the news. &)
When all of Cinderella's finery changed back at midnight, why didn't the shoes disappear? What's up with that?

Offline ddavisso4

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #50 on: August 04, 2011, 05:57:35 PM »
First of all, I will say that I'm glad velkyn is the mechanic in the bunch. I feel like we really started off on the wrong foot and it's nice to see that while we do not share the same wordlview at this particular moment in time, we may often share greasy hands and a dislike for stuck bolts.

I'm not sure where to start because many of these ideas are so interrelated. It might be helpful to read everything through first although I will readily admit I have not earned the privilege to necessarily request that. I can provide additional Bible verses and logic where necessary but I want to keep it of reasonable length.

Existence and nature of God
I think there is a God and I think he reveals himself to those he chooses to. Take the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament and the example of the "elect" in the New Testament. This is called predestination (see Romans 9) and I think it mutually excludes free will although the logic can be approached the opposite way. I do believe we have a will and must make choices but the choices merely results of the our past, genetics, supernatural interventions, etc. The concept of free will to me is purely metaphysical and illogical. One conclusion of this is that God reveals himself and gives faith to only certain people right now. This can happen through miracles or any number of other circumstances. Faith is relative and on a spectrum. You can have more or less faith and your actions will show that. Faith in bad ideologies will lead to bad actions and faith in good ideologies will lead to good actions.

I think God is loving and I think he can be known.

I am what would probably be categorized a "universalist", someone who believes in the eventual salvation and restoration of all things. I think we are all on different journeys there but that is our destination. I believe this view is Biblically supported; however, I will let you check it out at http://bible-truths.com (a good place to start may be http://bible-truths.com/hagee1.htm). The main arguments are a mistranslation of the word eternal (aionios in the Greek), a better understanding of destruction (Greek apollumi and apoleia) and the obvious logical contradictions. What this allows me to do logically is create a concept of everyone going on their own respective journeys towards God. It allows me to have God choosing some people right now and it allows me to see a reason to the wrath and punishment that I believe are coming for people that need some attitude adjustment, if you will; I believe God is a just judge and people will be punished accordingly to their actions and not grouped together after some cut off line and throw in hell-fire forever. It also allows me to make the claim that I think if you honestly believe there is no evidence for the existence of God he will judge accordingly (meaning he knows that you had no chance to have faith and will no punish you for not having it). Jesus warnings are most severe for the Pharisees and teachers or the law, the hypocrites, those who had reason to believe in Jesus who showed them miracle after miracle but whose pride and stubbornness and the fact that they used religion to take advantage of people got in the way.

Miracles
Miracles are one way in which God will communicate faith to the people that he wants. I think they are critical for the scientific, analytical mind (and will increase faith for pretty much anyone) but the whole world is not scientific and analytical. People will have faith for different reasons. Granted we all agree that we want people to have faith in things for the right reasons but saying that is like saying we want the government to solve all our problems. You have taken a step in the right direction with this site (which I for one am grateful for).
I think it's critical to realize that miracles are not designed to get ride of suffering although they sometimes have that side effect. For example, in the hypothetical case that God did part the Red Sea the result would be that the people of Israel believed in Him and the Egyptian army died; faith at the expense of suffering. Alternatively, in the case of Jesus supposedly feeding 5000 people the result was faith and alleviation of suffering.
Miracles are designed to provide evidence to specific people. Note: in the next couple sentences I will of course grant that it's possible the miracles didn't happen; however, they are critical to understanding the reason for miracles themselves so bear with me. Jesus' miracles only reached a small area of Israel. Paul's miracles (and those of the apostles) only reached a small area of the world and only a small number of people. The miracles of the OT were generally only for the Israelites (although on occasion you have other nations hearing rumors and getting worried). The miracles I have supposedly seen in my life were for me to believe. This does not make someone inherently better than someone else. It means that my journey is taking me on the road of belief in God.
Of course the idea of miracles is one of semantics as well. Not everything that people claim as miracles are, in fact, miracles.

Pain/suffering
I think the relativity of suffering is important to consider. There is some limit to the amount of suffering that a person can be induced to endure given the bodies pain receptors, our mortality, and how our brains work. Correspondingly, there seems to be some limit to the amount of happiness one can experience here on this earth (and especially for some given activity). I'm not sure where humans draw the line and say that this or that is an acceptable amount. It seems very relative. Of course, we would like things to be better but to disprove God on the basis of some arbitrary level of suffering that is present is not right. As I've alluded to above, in one sense, I think Christianity provides a present and future solution for those who are suffering, an incentive for those who are not suffering to take some of the suffering of those who are, and the hope for a time without suffering. I too can conceive of a world without suffering (I think we can safely call this heaven) and I believe that our sojourn on this earth is simply a part of our journey to get there. Again, I do think how we live now will have an effect on our afterlife and this is fairly common to all religions.
The best analogy I can give is to think of God as a painter. Paintings (relative to other paintings from the same artist) are often not considered better or worse than one another but rather with different nuances and different appeals. It is the same with this world. Sure, in our very small understanding (I like to say we understand this world as much as dogs understand us) we can conceive of things that are relatively superior to other things in a very narrow way but we cannot make absolute determinations.

Bible
Bible is a core premise of the WWGHA argument and is important to consider for other reasons as well. I am certainly more liberal in my interpretation of the Bible that most (as you can probably imagine) and will concede that parts of the O.T. may be anywhere from mythical to legendary to traditional. I find that trying to come to conclusions on them historically can be divisive and very unhelpful. Difficulties can be explained away by Biblical scholars and created by critics and the disciplines of archaeology and history will always be unable to provide decisive proof either way. Better that we understand the concepts that are being presented and see if they help explain the world.
I think a core part of understanding the Bible is knowing that the Old Testament is just an allegory for the New Testament (give or take). Becoming unclean after ejaculation, prohibition of murder and lying, and becoming circumcised are all part of the Old Testament Law. All of these laws can be safely ignored now. I can explain more about the rationale behind these OT laws but now the "law" is one of our hearts. It is our motivation behind things that is important.
I also want to briefly touch on the idea that the Bible says that Jesus or God will answer every prayer. This of course is quite inaccurate. There are a multitude of instances in the Bible where prayers are left unanswered. Jesus himself doesn't get all his prayers answered. It's important to consider the audience and the rhetoric used when Jesus is speaking. The reason this is important is because it is a basis for some of the WWGHA arguments. Now, I understand that these may be addressed at a certain breed of Christian and in that vein I think it is helpful in getting people to think about what they believe.

Briefly, the result of my belief (ideally and to a lesser extent practically and increasingly) is that my love for God allows me to live a sacrificial life that is independent of what I get out of my sacrifice from this world because my goal is God's love. It gives a motivation and a very powerful one. It allows for decisions that are not based on what I get back but the fact that it makes God smile, if you will. I will agree that it is partially out of fear although for me it moves ever more towards love (maybe at 90 love/10 fear right now). The problem is that fear will always cause people to do the minimum amount required whereas love will make people go above and beyond the call of duty. Fear can be a tool but it does not have the same power as love. At the end of the day, we can talk in the clouds all we want, but it comes down to what our lives end up looking like on a day-to-day basis. What are we living for and why? As I said above, I think is what we will be judged on, I think it makes God smile when we do what he wants, and I think you agree on the basis of some type of social morality (which of course I agree with syncretically too).

On a scale of 1 to 10 let me know how much this makes sense. I don't think it's less than 2 but, heck, I'm living my life according to these principles so I'm biased. Feel free to set me straight.

One a side note, here's a possibly more satisfactory "miracle story" for you. There's a women named Heidi Baker who has been working in rural Mozambique for years now. Her organization is called Iris Ministries. She primarily works with orphans. Recently a group of scientists and doctors went over there with some equipment to check out her (fairly non-publicized) claims of healings for the blind and deaf. I believe the scientists are primarily theists although I don't know how many people would volunteer to go otherwise. In any case, they released a peer-reviewed study on their findings (I attached it). Not the amputee story your looking for but take it for what it's worth...
Edit: couldn't attach it. Here's the link: http://pdfs.journals.lww.com/smajournalonline/2010/09000/Study_of_the_Therapeutic_Effects_of_Proximal.5.pdf?token=method|ExpireAbsolute;source|Journals;ttl|1312499622606;payload|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;hash|Fiz0BxPAJKfHZD5TgQy68w==

Joyfully,
Uni

P.S. Just picked my copy of the Quran and I've started reading the Bhagavad Gita (in which I've seen striking similarities to my own views)...
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 06:31:47 PM by ddavisso4 »

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #51 on: August 04, 2011, 06:40:00 PM »
The experimental design / methodology of that study is like a brick of swiss cheese.

The Templeton Foundation loves swiss cheese.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline JeffPT

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #52 on: August 04, 2011, 09:20:11 PM »
Existence and nature of God
I think there is a God and I think he reveals himself to those he chooses to.

Could this not be claimed by any religion?  How would you accurately prove that this was, or was not the truth?  And if you couldn't prove this revelation to another person, couldn't it all just be in their head? 

The concept of free will to me is purely metaphysical and illogical. One conclusion of this is that God reveals himself and gives faith to only certain people right now.

To what end? 

And if your answer is "I don't know", could I suggest that since people are often indoctrinated to have faith early in their life, then fear, peer pressure, social stigmas and the like are the main reason people believe God has revealed himself to them, when in reality, they've just been brainwashed to believe it?  While you may cry foul at this, please explain why other religions cannot claim this exact same thing?   After all, if you do not believe in Allah, then perhaps Allah has not revealed himself to you.   

This can happen through miracles or any number of other circumstances. Faith is relative and on a spectrum. You can have more or less faith and your actions will show that. Faith in bad ideologies will lead to bad actions and faith in good ideologies will lead to good actions.

Not always.  Good and bad are in the eyes of the beholder.  What constitutes a "good" ideology is different for me than it might be for you... and therein lies the biggest problem of religion.  Belief that homosexuality is an abomination may be perfectly "good" for a Christian, but completely awful for non-Christians. 

I think God is loving and I think he can be known.

If you truly believe that, then you must demonstrate that.  And if you cannot demonstrate that, you must accept that this idea is more likely wrong than right.

I am what would probably be categorized a "universalist", someone who believes in the eventual salvation and restoration of all things. I think we are all on different journeys there but that is our destination.

And what of the people hit by buses, killed by heart attacks, murdered in their sleep?  Do you think they have completed their destiny?  Do you think it's possible that you simply wish what you believed were true because it makes you feel good? 

What this allows me to do logically is create a concept of everyone going on their own respective journeys towards God. It allows me to have God choosing some people right now and it allows me to see a reason to the wrath and punishment that I believe are coming for people that need some attitude adjustment, if you will; I believe God is a just judge and people will be punished accordingly to their actions and not grouped together after some cut off line and throw in hell-fire forever.

And I wish ice cream didn't make me fat. That doesn't make it true. 

But if you believe that God is a judge, do you see him with a cosmic naughty and nice list, checking off a naughty demerit every time we jack off or think about someone elses wife, and giving us a bonus point every time we help a little old lady across the street?  Does our eternal fate come down to a scorecard?  If I never kill anyone, don't drink, don't smoke, don't steal, respect and love my wife and children, never cheat on my wife, but also jack off several times a week, frequently go a few miles per hour over the speed limit, and spend large chunks of time trying to convince people that they are completely wrong about God, what will my grand tally be? 

It's a nice thought, though.  It's just not supported by facts at all. 

It also allows me to make the claim that I think if you honestly believe there is no evidence for the existence of God he will judge accordingly (meaning he knows that you had no chance to have faith and will no punish you for not having it).

Earlier you said God chooses who he gives evidence to.  In that respect, you should have used that as your excuse as to why God has no right to judge atheists.  It makes more sense.  It's still wrong, and there is no such thing as God, but it's a better argument for you than the one you're using. 

The bible disagrees with you, however.  I don't think there's any way to say the God of the bible will not punish non-believers. 

Miracles
Miracles are one way in which God will communicate faith to the people that he wants.

Then we would need to see evidence of one.  And by miracle, it must be something that isn't simply "highly unlikely".  It must be unambiguous evidence that the hand of God intervened.  Something such as "The Miracle on the Hudson", but instead of just landing in the river safely (which the pilots are trained to do, and which is why they say your seat can be used as a floatation device), the river instantly turned into a long, paved runway.  That would be a miracle. 

I think they are critical for the scientific, analytical mind (and will increase faith for pretty much anyone) but the whole world is not scientific and analytical.

For the critical, analytical mind, miracles do not exist. 

People will have faith for different reasons.

Among those reasons you will never see verifiable, testable, measurable information.   

For example, in the hypothetical case that God did part the Red Sea the result would be that the people of Israel believed in Him and the Egyptian army died; faith at the expense of suffering.

When God killed all the Egyptian soldiers, did he love them too? 

Alternatively, in the case of Jesus supposedly feeding 5000 people the result was faith and alleviation of suffering.

That's either a true or a false story.  With no evidence to back it up, then the notion that any person could feed 5000 people in the way it was described in the bible is vastly more likely to be false. 

Note: in the next couple sentences I will of course grant that it's possible the miracles didn't happen; however, they are critical to understanding the reason for miracles themselves so bear with me. Jesus' miracles only reached a small area of Israel. Paul's miracles (and those of the apostles) only reached a small area of the world and only a small number of people. The miracles of the OT were generally only for the Israelites (although on occasion you have other nations hearing rumors and getting worried). The miracles I have supposedly seen in my life were for me to believe. This does not make someone inherently better than someone else. It means that my journey is taking me on the road of belief in God.

Or you are just gullible.  Or that you really want to believe the stories.  Or that you don't have any scientific training.  Or that you don't truly understand how statistics work.  Or it's the work of an invisible, undetectable, all powerful sky man.  Come on man.  Wake up with this stuff.  You're smarter than this. 

I have seen many things in my life that I do not understand.  To say those things are evidence for a supernatural sky man is just one guess in a trillion, trillion guesses.  I am content that I don't understand everything.  I'm not perfect.  But to say the things I don't understand are evidence for God is simply foolish.  One doesn't follow the other without evidence.

Pain/suffering
I think the relativity of suffering is important to consider. There is some limit to the amount of suffering that a person can be induced to endure given the bodies pain receptors, our mortality, and how our brains work.

It seems God is very fond of testing the limits on a daily basis. 

Correspondingly, there seems to be some limit to the amount of happiness one can experience here on this earth (and especially for some given activity).

Also tested on a daily basis... though I think a lot less often. 

Of course, we would like things to be better but to disprove God on the basis of some arbitrary level of suffering that is present is not right.

No, but you can categorically reject the notion that God loves us, given the amount of suffering that so many people are exposed to.  That much we can conclude on.  No human loves someone and does the things that God does to people. 

As I've alluded to above, in one sense, I think Christianity provides a present and future solution for those who are suffering, an incentive for those who are not suffering to take some of the suffering of those who are, and the hope for a time without suffering. I too can conceive of a world without suffering (I think we can safely call this heaven) and I believe that our sojourn on this earth is simply a part of our journey to get there. Again, I do think how we live now will have an effect on our afterlife and this is fairly common to all religions.

Who cares whether it provides hope to people with suffering? There are LOTS of different religions that give that.  Where is your proof that your version of God exists? 

This is all wishful thinking.  Do you have any proof of any of this stuff?  You just want it all to be true.  I don't fault you for that; but I do fault you for thinking it actually is just because you want it to be.  That's not how reality works. 

Some people suffer, others don't.  The factors that go into their suffering are many, but for the most part life circumstance, and choices are the main issue, and the theory that explains that the most accurately and with the fewest questions is the one where we first assume there is no such thing as God. 


Briefly, the result of my belief (ideally and to a lesser extent practically and increasingly) is that my love for God allows me to live a sacrificial life that is independent of what I get out of my sacrifice from this world because my goal is God's love.

And where is there room for accepting truth in a world view that you have adopted simply because of the way it makes you feel or what it allows you to do?  I, personally, am fond of the truth.  I live a life that is probably comparable to yours in every single way, and I do not need to prostrate myself in front of an invisible being for which I have no evidence.  You're need to have God in your life in order to be a better person is a weakness, not a strength.   

It gives a motivation and a very powerful one.

It's also given motivation to others as well.  Inquisitors, witch burners, crusaders, etc.  Dogmatic attachment to one's belief in God makes them more unmoving and arrogant in their beliefs, and thus less likely to compromise in any situation.  Look at the Teabaggers for example.  I don't think my opinions and my morality is given to me from on high, so in that respect, I am open to hearing alternate views.  I can compromise. 

Just because I have come to a very comfortable conclusion about the Christian God, that doesn't mean I won't listen to other arguments on the subject.  I've just never seen a really convincing argument for the Christian God.  Some arguments for deism are decent, but nothing for the Christian God is worthy of respect (in terms of truth).

It allows for decisions that are not based on what I get back but the fact that it makes God smile, if you will.

This is just so weird.  Have you read the bible to know what really makes God smile? 

Psalm 137:9 Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!

Killing babies makes God smile.  Do you do that?  No?  Then aren't you simply exorcising your OWN judgement as to what makes "God smile" versus what doesn't?   

I will agree that it is partially out of fear although for me it moves ever more towards love (maybe at 90 love/10 fear right now).

You don't need God to be a good person.  And you can keep that fear for yourself.  I feel sorry for you if you have to love something you fear.

At the end of the day, we can talk in the clouds all we want, but it comes down to what our lives end up looking like on a day-to-day basis. What are we living for and why? As I said above, I think is what we will be judged on, I think it makes God smile when we do what he wants, and I think you agree on the basis of some type of social morality (which of course I agree with syncretically too).

Honestly, if your God exists, then you don't have the first clue about what makes him smile.  If you read the bible, then half the things that make you frown, make God smile.  What you are really doing is SPAG.  You are projecting yourself and your morality as if everything that makes YOU smile also makes GOD smile.  It's nuts man.  Nuts. 

On a scale of 1 to 10 let me know how much this makes sense. I don't think it's less than 2 but, heck, I'm living my life according to these principles so I'm biased. Feel free to set me straight.

I give it a 4 for making sense.  I give it a 0 for truth.  A theological position has to make sense in order to be believed, and when you suggest an all powerful God that can do anything, it doesn't take all that much to make it coherent.  I could probably make up one right now that makes more sense than yours but it would be a waste of time.  Hell, there are 38,000 branches of Christianity... all of which have to be somewhat coherent or nobody would believe them.  You fall flat in terms of proof though.  There is not a single thing in everything you've said that couldn't simply be fiction or wishful thinking.  And there are lots of things that are far better answered (especially your suffering idea) by first assuming there is no God. 

Whenever events that are purported to occur in our best interest are as numerous as the events that will just as soon kill us, then intent is hard, if not impossible to assert. NDT

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #53 on: August 04, 2011, 09:55:26 PM »
It allows for decisions that are not based on what I get back but the fact that it makes God smile, if you will.

This is just so weird.  Have you read the bible to know what really makes God smile? 

Psalm 137:9 Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!

Killing babies makes God smile.  Do you do that?  No?  Then aren't you simply exorcising your OWN judgement as to what makes "God smile" versus what doesn't?
   


So yeah, I guess the Dreamboard's creators and members put a big ol shit eatin grin on Gods face eh? Add to it the fact that 20 of the 72 individuals charged "remain at large and are known only by their online identities" probably has the Grand Pu Bah of pedophiles doubled over in righteous laughter. You know, some of the children featured in the images and videos were just babies and, in many cases, the children being victimized were in obvious, and intentional, pain -- even 'in distress and crying,' just as the rules for one area of the bulletin board mandated! Now THAT must get the whole HOST of heaven on it's wings in jubilation! CAN I GET AN AMEN?!!!

I asked the forum member "FLEW" if there was anything he could do about it since God gives him and his buddies water when they get all careless out in the desert but maybe you have some insight into this? I mean, cause if that sort of thing puts a smile on God's face I guess it would explain why prayers don't help the victims of pedophilia.
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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #54 on: August 04, 2011, 10:23:29 PM »

On a scale of 1 to 10 let me know how much this makes sense. I don't think it's less than 2 but, heck, I'm living my life according to these principles so I'm biased. Feel free to set me straight.

I think your reasoning is fine enough (although I'm not sure how you reconcile the theology of the elect with universal salvation), but it's based on some premises that are simply unfounded.  That alone makes the entire argument fall like a house of cards. 

One of the premises you've misidentified is the premise of knowing God.  The idea of "knowing God" is really the method of assigning natural experiences the identity of supernatural occurrences.  Take for example reading the bible for "confirmation" of God's will.  Reading is primarily a visual experience.  Your brain translates light and symbols into meaningful ideas, assigns them logical emotions according to past event/emotion pairings, and files them into your memory (what we perceive to be "now" is really a very short term memory file).  As you read those passages that refer to the elect, for example, you're instantly drawing on those memories of past experiences of this concept.  One such experience would be the trustworthy friend or parent who first explained this concept to you.   Those emotions of well-being, safety, intimacy that are correlated with this person is now shared with the idea of the god he or she told you about (through the process called opperant conditioning).  Now this idea has been assigned an emotion (secure, loved, valued) and when that idea comes up, these emotions are recalled.   You think of the elect and you feel secure in its operation, loved by this god.

 Another way this works is by assigning events into a pattern that reflects this idea.   Certain people in your life come to mind, and choices they've made and choices you've made as well as the consequences of those choices.  These are all plotted into this pattern you were first taught exists and have learned to apply events to.  Information you learn, such as from the articles you've linked, contribute to this pattern, helping you plot more and more events according to the details learned.

Prayer is another way we're told we can "know God," but this works in a similarly natural way.  Focusing on a an immediate problem means your brain is putting in a lot of effort into attending to this problem.  The brain constantly solves problems (even when we sleep), so by vamping up this process, you'll find lots of reminders of this problem.  For example, if you're worried about getting the car repaired, you'll notice car repair commercials on tv more.  Reminders of money will be connected to the problem of your car.  Money issues will seem to increase.  When you find yourself with the money needed for repair, you will have been conditioned to assume it was an act of God (miracle, or supernatural nudge).  This event will be placed in the pattern as an example of God Answering Prayers or God Taking Care Of Needs As A Loving Father.  Those events that don't work out are placed in the pattern as examples of God's Sovereignty To Be Revealed Later. 

These are just two examples of the idea of "knowing God" that are more accurately explained by natural mechanics (neurophysiology).   Because, at this point, it could conceivably be of natural or supernatural origins, your next responsibility is to look at the history in an objective way.  That is, don't assume the stories are true because they are written in the bible.  The bible is a terribly unreliable source (imagine trying to convince yourself the Quran is a divinely inspired source, or the Bhagavad Gita and you'll see the kind of objective scrutiny you should be placing on the history of Christianity.  This article should give you an idea of what you'll find.  I can skip right to the end of this process if you don't mind spoilers - there is no evidence for the claims made in the bible and no evidence for the existence of the god you've been conditioned to identify as the source of your most rewarding emotions.   

P.S. Just picked my copy of the Quran and I've started reading the Bhagavad Gita (in which I've seen striking similarities to my own views)...

Sure.  Nothing in the bible, before or after Jesus, was unique to the Jews or Christians, not even a resurrected messiah. 

Offline velkyn

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #55 on: August 05, 2011, 08:56:09 AM »
Dan, we started off on the “wrong foot” because you, like so many Christians make claims you cannot support. I have little patience for nonsense.  Consider how you can be a mechanic and I can be one too (I’m not much of one, my father is the wizard at that).  Now, a car or a truck can have something wrong with it and anyone can fix it as long as they know how a vehicle works and the facts of the matter.  In your religion, there are no facts, only baseless claims and assumptions.  I think I can safely wager that in no other portion of your life, you depend on such ridiculous nonsense. 

You want to claim predestination and that God only reveals himself to a chosen few.  That in effect damns everyone else, per your bible.  Is this fair or good? No, it’s might makes right and that argument has been a bane to humankind because it makes people greedy and stupid.  They want to claim that they have some preferential treatment from a magical omni-everything deity and somehow that gives them the “right” to do what they want.  They also don’t question anything since that could show them that they are *wrong*.

You want to claim “supernatural” interventions. Well, show that they exist.  If not, then you are just spewing woo like any tarot card reader.  You also want to claim that
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Faith in bad ideologies will lead to bad actions and faith in good ideologies will lead to good actions.
Faith in that which cannot be proven leads to ignorance and the above mentioned stupidity and greed.  Voltaire said, quite accurately “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

You want to claim that God can be known, but earlier you state that God will only make himself known to a select few.  Which is it?  You claim to be a universalist, but that only makes you one more Christian who cherry-picks his bible.  You all think you are the only ones with the “right” answer on what God “really” meant.  Every Christian believes their view is “biblically supported”.  You know why, because all of you pick and choose.  And no one has any more proof than the next that they have it right.  Why can’t your omnipotent, omniscient and supposedly omnibenevolent god make its message clear? 

You also want to claim that “everyone” is going toward your god.  Sorry, I’m not and I can guess that more than a few here would agree with me.  This seems jus tone more attempt by a Christian to claim that all “good” people are “really” with God.  Sorry, your god, by all descriptions, is a petty deity, no different from any other deity from the Bronze/Iron age.  Even if it did exist, I would never offer it worship. 

And oh, I love this
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It allows me to have God choosing some people right now and it allows me to see a reason to the wrath and punishment that I believe are coming for people that need some attitude adjustment, if you will; I believe God is a just judge and people will be punished accordingly to their actions and not grouped together after some cut off line and throw in hell-fire forever.
So, for daring not to believe in your god, people need an “attitude adjustment” by being murdered, tormented, etc.  Your god has never been portrayed as a just or fair judge.  We have story after story of this god damning others for things they didn’t do.  We constantly have innocents who have no ability to change things, just being collateral damage.  Consider Job’s family or the people of Egypt.  What did they do wrong to be murdered by the will of this god?

Your god makes no allowances for people who don’t believe in it. You’ve made that up wholesale so you dont’ feel so bad.  You completely ignore the bible when it says you are *wrong* and that’s what always amuses me about Christians.  You create your own god and your own religion, each and every one of you.

The Jews had plenty of reason to disbelieve JC.  He doesn’t fulfill the supposed prophecies for the Jewish messiah.  If you actually cared about knowing things, you’d know that already.  As for miracles, why don’t I get one to show me the way? Or am I just one of those who is “predestined” to be damned?  I was a Christian and I turned away willingly from this nonsense god.  I at one point knew it was real and now I know it’s not. I prayed and prayed not to lose my faith, but not surprisingly, your god did nothing. Not a peep, no evidence like Thomas, no miracles to show he existed at all. 

The whole world *is* scientific and analytical. You use it everyday and only ignore it when it shows your religion to be false. The same science that shows that your myths are nonsense is the same science that you use for modern medicine, computers, cars, etc.  And no we do not all agree that we want people to have faith.  I don’t want faith at all, this thoughtless ignorance to accept things without evidence.  I want earned trust from actual knowledge. I want surety from theories that have been tested. 

I find it ridiculous that you want to claim that miracles only have the alleviation of suffering as a “side effect”.  That does work well with a preening arrogant god that wants nothing more than attention.  It doesn’t care one whit about helping people.  For a supposedly omnipotent/omniscient/omnibenevolent god, this one shows it is not any of those since it can’t do things without causing suffering.  Judging by the claims of your magic book, we have a god that can’t do somethings, that is ignorant about many things, and only supposedly cares for a very small number of people, and those people can’t even demonstrate that he does since their lives are no better.

All I see in your excuses is the usual attempt of a Christian to depower their god so its ineptitude and inaction are not so glaring.  You want to claim that the miracles only reached a small number of people.  Which doesn’t make sense since the bible claims that they were of sufficient magnitude to be noticed by lots of people.  Why didn’t the occupying Romans and their puppet rulers notice a gathering of thousands of people?  Why did no one notice that Egypt suddenly lost her army and was beset by plagues?  That certainly would have made them a tasty target to their enemies?  Why no evidence of any of this at all? 

You also want to claim to have seen miracles.  That certainly makes you feel special, doesn’t it?  God cares about you and only you and to hell, literally, with everyone else. If your god wants everyone to believe in it, why not miracle for everyone?  You also want to try to claim that your miracles are the “real” ones and those “others”. Can you tell us how you can tell the difference between your “miracles” and those others? 
You then want to address the problem of pain/suffering.  You make a claim that “here seems to be some limit to the amount of happiness one can experience here on this earth”.  Where in the world does this come from? Your own excuses?  And it is right to attempt to disprove that your god doesn’t exist based on the problem of pain/suffering.  Your god claims to be good, and claims to answer prayers promptly and positively.  We know that it doesn’t answer prayers to help people.  So there goes the “good” part.  We know that no prayers aer answered, so there goes the promptly and positive part promised by your bible.  All you have is the pathetic carrot that Christianity promises, that life will be “better” after you are dead. Awfully convenient, that, since no one has come back and said it’s true.  And no, we cannot “safely” call a world without suffering “heaven”, that’s not how your bible defines it.  If you want to create your own religion, fine but it has no resemblance to Christianity as commonly understood. As it stands, your god could make the world without suffering in an instant. If this is what it wants, then it can happen now. Why doesn’t it? 

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Again, I do think how we live now will have an effect on our afterlife and this is fairly common to all religions.
and which fails if you claim predestination.


You also want to claim, as many Christians are wont to do, that in effect, we can’t understand the world or your god. 
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Sure, in our very small understanding (I like to say we understand this world as much as dogs understand us) we can conceive of things that are relatively superior to other things in a very narrow way but we cannot make absolute determinations.
But as always, you Christians always can find things to understand, right up to the point of your claims of understanding making more problems for your claims than it solves.

I do see that you want to pick and choose what you think the Bible stories are.  I, and others, often call this the magic decoder ring effect.  All of the sudden, the Christian in question can magically determine what is literal, mythic and metaphor.  However, your bible depends on certain things to be literal.  The creation, the “fall”, the flood and the cruxifiction and resurrection. 

Archaeology and history can and *have* provided decisive truth either way.  So has geology, and other sciences.  your claim that they “will always be unable” is purely based on willful ignorance.   

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I think a core part of understanding the Bible is knowing that the Old Testament is just an allegory for the New Testament (give or take).
Wow, nice declaration of your own “truth” there.  So, prove this.  And please do tell this to the Jews. As for your claim that the laws of god can safely be ignored now, what makes you say this?  JC said you are wrong.  Are you saying it just because your god does nothing when someone breaks those rules? 

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I also want to briefly touch on the idea that the Bible says that Jesus or God will answer every prayer. This of course is quite inaccurate.
And this is demonstrating either an amazing ignorance of your own bible, or an amazing belief that we dont’ know what the bible says and you think we wont’ know your claims are wrong.  Where are prayers left unanswered in the bible, Dan?  I’m guessing that like other Chrisrtains, you want to claim that JC’s prayer to “have this cup pass away” is his prayer not being answered. I always laugh at that since it sure would make it hard for God’s claims of prophecy to come true wouldn’t it?  Additionally, your gospels also show that this prayer doesn’t always exist in the story.  We have in John no prayer about this at all but a JC who is looking forward to his ascension. 

And now for not understanding god, we have you claiming that you know what makes God “smile”.  Yeesh.  You again claim that God loves everyone but every action in the bible shows that this is not true.  And continually repeating it will not make it true.  You mention that your believe is also based on fear.  Why, if you are convinced about this presdestination and universalism?   

Your beliefs are not uncommon for liberal Christians who want to shed the god that actually exists in the pages of your bible. They make no more sense than those of Fred Phelps or Pat Robertson.  They may be more palatable in this modern era but they are still based on mythical nonsense.

As for the Heidi Baker “miracle”, the one line from the paper is interesting “But the conviction that we live in a closed system governed only by naturalistic processes is an expression of faith in a world view rather than a conclusion logically demanded by the scientific method.”  Well, as soon as anyone can show that this isn’t true, I’ll be happy.  Please do show the supernatural working.  In the paper, it attempts to draw a distinction between “proximal” and  long-distance prayer intervention. Always nice to see the magic spell effect being used with prayer, how to get the right “recipe” to get God to respond.  And how does this work with your predestination idea, Dan?  Why should prayer work at all if God already knows what will happen and had intended everything to happen as it is?  As has been said, why does this god need to be asked at all?

The study was by believers of approximately 25 people.  Your argument that “I don’t know how many people would volunteer to go otherwise” seems to be the usual “but atheists don’t want to believe so they ignore our claims” nonsense. Here’s a review of the paper by someone who finds it to be as ridiculous as I do: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/08/templeton_prayer_study_meets_e.php   It’s not suprising that something funded by the Templeton Foundation came up with theistically positive result.  It’s too bad for them that every other bit of research on this shows that prayer is no different from a prayer to another god or the placebo effect.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #56 on: August 07, 2011, 07:14:46 PM »
davisso4,why did God choose one particular ethnic group(the jews)....kill em off a few times only to expand his interest to all men who will believe in the Son that he had killed?

 Why is he so particular,why does he require faith,when in the old days he used to show off to everybody that he existed? science and technology advance to the point where God can be shown to be a hoax,right then he pulls a vanishing act,why? This God character had no trouble interacting in the story book known as the bible......then poof verifiable evidence required he pulls a no show. WOW, EPIC FAIL
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Offline ddavisso4

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Re: An Alternate Approach to th WWGHA Question
« Reply #57 on: August 09, 2011, 12:53:34 AM »
Sorry for the delay. I've actually been doing my homework. I'm several hours into the Quran, a couple hours into the Bhagavad-Gita and have spent way too many hours trying to come to some consensus in my mind about the history behind Christianity, Judaism, and to a slightly lesser extent, the other religions (to be fair there is less info on them). I will continue my efforts although I will probably be starting a new job this week or early next week and I'm putting off the ones I love a little too much. Anyway, enough anecdotal chatter...

I thought the analogy of fixing a car is a good one. We both agree the car is broken. We both want to fix it. In fact we both know what needs to be fixed (get rid of war, get rid of child abuse, get everyone to work hard, have everyone respect each other, etc). I am merely presenting how to fix it. I will state this again and elaborate a little more but I DO NOT think that what I will say can be proven. That is a core tenet of Christianity (and I will elaborate). You must understand this before we can go any further. Now, I totally understand if you are unwilling to go there and are purely concerned with what can be proven. That is, of course, a very respectable intellectual framework.

Returning to my homework, I don't think Google will give me the answers I'm looking for. Maybe a course on (or degree in) comparative religion or a career in archeology or a lifelong study of ancient history would make me lean one way or the other but it really seems that there is just too much uncertainty. I don't know where people got the idea that the Bible is a historical document free of errors and uninfluenced by other cultures. I don't think it is a necessary assumption and I don't think it helps anybody because none of it can be proven. This is true of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. I think it is rather incredible that someone can say with a straight face that Jesus definitely did not exist and at the same time someone can say right back that they are absolutely sure that he did not. I think in the face of history's complexity and uncertainty we should fear to tread too far to either extreme.

The point I would return to is that at its core Christianity (and, in fact, the precursor to it, Judaism) are very clear about the non-universality of faith. I suppose that is unclear to some people so you can take out the "very clear" if you would like and I can explain it in a more detailed fashion. At no point in history has God "shown off" to everybody; I think that is important to realize and I would be interested to see where people get that idea. He has, purportedly (though as I stated above, definitely not certainly) shown up to certain people throughout history. I think it is fair to ask, "Why did God do it like this?" I use the analogy of asking the question of why did a painter paint a certain piece of art over another. Of course, I must stress a belief that God will ultimately "reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Col 1:20). Please see bible-truths.com for more information. I will try to insert Bible verses and trains of logic throughout my posts but I really can't do the job that he (L. Ray Smith, a retired roofer) does. He's actually quite an interesting writer and I think at least former theists would find it moderately enjoyable. The point is that God does not "damn" everybody if my interpretation of what you mean by that is correct. There will be a time of judgment and purification at which point people will "get it".
Another important point is that being given faith is no reason for a feeling of superiority because we cannot earn faith.

I understand your concerns about suffering. I feel that I addressed them to some extent in my previous post but I will try to explain it again in different words. Humans are beings of contrast and so we need suffering to experience happiness. Now we don't need to necessarily use those terms and could say that we need a state of "less happiness" to know what "more happiness" but that doesn't help us too much. I think it's easy to get caught up on the suffering of this life (at least our own suffering, I can't believe some of the things I saw in India when most of us live like kings over here) and fail to see how relative it is. Of course, we can go as far as we want in the other direction and say that we should experience more suffering so that we can experience more happiness later but I think this stretches the capacity of the human mind to put absolutes on things. As I said before, Jesus provides hope for the suffering and a strong incentive to alleviate suffering. (that's one of the reasons I don't like to post here, it just seems so impractical and impersonal).

I would like to point out what I see is a misrepresentation of religion. Lately, all I hear about is that religion is for stupid people and it makes people do bad things and it makes people arrogant. I think this is a perfect example of the same issue we run into when interpreting history. There is a tendency to step to far to one extreme. One can point to at least some benefits of religion whether or not God exists. I can testify to it making me a "better" person whether or not there is a deity and I have friends that could say the same. It is easy to pick out the bad stuff and I will admit I often do that same...

My faith, in particular, is based on hearing supposed supernatural occurrences from people that are close to me, from seeing the lives of people that are close to me changed, and because I think my worldview goes a long way in explaining some tough questions.
I do not claim that I am right. I do claim that I make sense. I do not claim that I can universally prove what I believe (though as I said before I don't think that will ever be possible and was never designed to be). I do claim that my worldview (which I believe is the Biblical worldview) can change your life for the better (I'm going to get flak for that...).

I will briefly state what I think are the core components of Jesus' teachings that have changed my life. Again, none of this is based on miracles or faith or the supernatural per se...
  • He does not necessarily tell us how to live. He teaches us that we can have the right motive for our actions, namely one of love, and the "how to live" will result.
  • My love for him is, ideally, all I need. He asks me to give to those that I don't necessarily expect to get anything back from. His love gives me a special incentive to do so.
  • To me, relational love is the paramount human desire and having a worldview founded on love makes a lot of sense to me.
  • He promises to live "in us" and change us which is unique.

I think it would be profitable to provide some specifics:
God's Choice/Predestination in the Bible
  • (Deu 7:6)  For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.
  • 1Sa 16:10-12  Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The LORD has not chosen these."  (11)  So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?"
       "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep."
       Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down [a] until he arrives."
     (12)  So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features.
       Then the LORD said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one."
  • Mat 22:14  "For many are invited, but few are chosen."
  • Rom 9:18  Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
  • 2Ti 1:9  who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
Universalism in the Bible
  • Col 1:19-20  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,  (20)  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
  • 1Ti 4:10  (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
  • Joh 12:32  But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."
  • Rom 5:18  Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
  • 1Co 15:25-28  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  (26)  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  (27)  For he "has put everything under his feet."[c] Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.  (28)  When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.
  • Rev 22:2  down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
God as a just judge
  • Joh 5:30  By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
  • 2Co 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
  • Rev 20:13  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.
  • Rev 19:2  for true and just are his judgments.
    He has condemned the great prostitute
       who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
    He has avenged on her the blood of his servants."
  • 2Th 1:5  All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.
A loving God
  • Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
  • 1Jn 3:16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
  • 1Jn 4:19  We love because he first loved us.
  • Exo 15:13  "In your unfailing love you will lead
       the people you have redeemed.
       In your strength you will guide them
       to your holy dwelling.
  • Psa 57:10  For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
       your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
  • Joh 13:34  "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
  • Joh 15:9  "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
Faith in the Bible (please note that these stories are for illustrative purposes and I am not implying that they are necessarily historically accurate though that may be the case)
  • Noah saved - God talked to (and saved) Noah and not anybody else.
  • Red Sea - Only the Israelites and Egyptians saw this. CNN missed it.
  • Canaan - The Israelites felt that their success was directly correlated to their obedience to God.
  • Abraham - God gave him a kid when he was too old.
  • Jesus' ministry - He ministry was centered in a very small area and was often outside of populated areas. He could have had a 30-year ministry instead of a 3-year ministry...
  • Paul - Paul saw a light from heaven and heard a voice.
Again, the point there was to show that these events were not global. I am not saying this proves God, I am saying God, if he exists, is not attempting to prove himself. There is no contradiction here, only a proposed explanation for the "way things work".
Prayers not answered in the Bible
  • David's Son
    2Sa 12:15-23  After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill.  (16)  David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground.  (17)  The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
     (18)  On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate."
     (19)  David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked.
       "Yes," they replied, "he is dead."
     (20)  Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.
     (21)  His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!"
     (22)  He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.'  (23)  But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."
  • Paul's thorn
    2Co 12:7-10  To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  8  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  (9)  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  (10)  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • Disciples with demon
    Mar 9:17-18  A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  (18)  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
  • Moses and the promised land
    Deu 3:23-26  At that time I pleaded with the LORD :  (24)  "O Sovereign LORD, you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?  (25)  Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan--that fine hill country and Lebanon."
     (26)  But because of you the LORD was angry with me and would not listen to me. "That is enough," the LORD said. "Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.
Miracle Stories
Not sure how profitable these are for you. Let me know if you want them. I've been working on this for over 2 hours and I need to call it quits.

Joyfully,
Daniel
« Last Edit: August 09, 2011, 01:20:36 AM by ddavisso4 »