Author Topic: The admittedly powerless god.  (Read 1712 times)

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Offline Graybeard

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The admittedly powerless god.
« on: April 24, 2013, 07:33:01 AM »
This is from the site of a Catholic priest https://www.facebook.com/cuyos.stephen?group_id=0&filter=3

 

And comes with this prayer:

Quote
Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side.

We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?
...See more

Am I the only one to think the priest is saying: “Christ is powerless.”

It could well be that Christians of all flavours believe that Christ/God does nothing on earth. If so, I am surprised.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Mrjason

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 07:53:41 AM »
Yeah, it seems to be saying if we don't do (whatever) no one will because he's gone.

But in an unbelievably twee way.

I think they need to add a sad kitten for emphasis.

Offline Jag

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2013, 10:09:23 AM »
In a way, this actually fits quite well with how I remember Catholics viewing their faith, in the dark corners of my memory. I slipped away from the church in my late teens, so my recall is filtered by both years and an older, hopefully wiser, perspective.

Nonetheless, it seems about right, even when compared to my very Catholic family today. God is great, but we need to do his work. No one ever stops to ask why, they just take for granted that he will not intervene.

Unless someone loses something, then it's all prayers to the patron saint of lost objects. Funny, none of them ever thinks to ask for assistance in locating their common sense.
My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 10:39:08 AM »
Quite an admission really! Having had a look at the page, I see that the top poster claim the guy loves Jesus yet the picture on this site makes it clear that there is nothing worth loving Jesus for. I wonder hy the guy stays with the church?  ;D
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Jag

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2013, 10:49:04 AM »
^^^His training in theology leave his with few options for employment?
My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.

Online Aaron123

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2013, 11:16:39 AM »
It seems that after Old Testament times, god decided not to directly intervene in human affairs anymore.  Wonder what caused him to change his mind all of a sudden...
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Offline Mrjason

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2013, 11:27:30 AM »
It seems that after Old Testament times, god decided not to directly intervene in human affairs anymore.  Wonder what caused him to change his mind all of a sudden...

Sadly God PLC went the way of all large corporations and had to outsource divine intervention to keep a competitive edge in a tough global market.
I suspect that prayers are now diverted to a Bangalore call centre.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2013, 11:40:28 AM »
It seems that after Old Testament times, god decided not to directly intervene in human affairs anymore.  Wonder what caused him to change his mind all of a sudden...

Sadly God PLC went the way of all large corporations and had to outsource divine intervention to keep a competitive edge in a tough global market.
I suspect that prayers are now diverted to a Bangalore call centre.

Does that mean Hinduism is now the true religion?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2013, 03:18:00 PM »
Well Hindu gods at least have arms. Sometimes a whole lot of arms.  :o
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline pianodwarf

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2013, 03:19:02 PM »
Well Hindu gods at least have arms. Sometimes a whole lot of arms.  :o

Yeah.  Crucifying any one of them would have been a real hassle.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2013, 03:24:41 PM »
Well Hindu gods at least have arms. Sometimes a whole lot of arms.  :o

Yeah.  Crucifying any one of them would have been a real hassle.

You'd need a lotta nails and a giant fan instead of a cross. Much nicer design for the jewelry later.
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2013, 07:35:25 PM »
Like K crady said in that one thread...

all christian arguments boil down to excuses why yahweh (or jesus or whatever you want to call him) exists but does nothing.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2013, 07:53:04 PM »
I only read the part of the poem shown in the OP, but I see it as a message to Christians to live every day as possibly the last chance to point others to Christ. That we shouldn't assume somebody we know has read the bible or had the gospel message explained. I don't think it is meant to portray Christ as literally powerless.
The 2010 world cup was ruined for me by that slippery bastard Paul.

Offline The Gawd

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2013, 05:41:05 AM »
I only read the part of the poem shown in the OP, but I see it as a message to Christians to live every day as possibly the last chance to point others to Christ. That we shouldn't assume somebody we know has read the bible or had the gospel message explained. I don't think it is meant to portray Christ as literally powerless.

What its meant to portray and what is does portray are two different things. Simply because christians dont think critically about what the photo says doesnt mean that it says something different. Just like most of the bible. The Abraham/Isaac story isnt supposed to suggest that Abraham was a damn homicidal lunatic, but thats EXACTLY what is confirms when he was willing to murder his son because of voices in his head. It wasnt supposed to make yahweh out to be a homicidal monster, but thats exactly what it showed him to be since he apparently convinced a man to attempt a 1st degree murder on his son.

Maybe you get "love" from that story, bur sane people see it for what it is...

Now ask yourself, why would PEOPLE (and not Jesus) be the ONLY way Jesus' work (as if he has any) would get done? Why is Jesus incapable of doing this stuff when people wont do it? He's either incapable, unwilling, or he doesnt exist, and neither one of the three answers suggests an entity worth my praise.

Offline keitho1122

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2013, 05:54:01 PM »
This poem is not saying that god is powerless.  Its rationale is biblically based.  Following Christ's ascension to heaven he promised to actually come back (in spirit form).  The disciples were anguished that he was going and that they would be alone.  He said "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you" (John 14.18).  This, and other texts build the story that Christ is now here on earth in spirit form in the church.

The idea is that he continues his work but does it through the church. So, he used to heal people but now the church 'lays hands on the sick', he preached the gospel now the church does, he spoke words of power and now the church does ('whatsoever you ask in my name ...') etc.

So, this poem is just confirming the story that he has passed his power to the church.  It is actually a call to arms for church members - if they don't do the works that he did then his works wont be done.  This is a very common theme in evangelical and pentecostal churches.

We can see now that god is not powerless because he has passed his power to his church.  Because the church is powerful then he is too.  But hold on, I thought that the church was powerless, after all, if they were powerful then they would heal amputees . . . so maybe you're right after all but you've got to understand the middle bit.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #15 on: April 26, 2013, 03:12:09 AM »
This poem is not saying that god is powerless.  Its rationale is biblically based.  Following Christ's ascension to heaven he promised to actually come back (in spirit form).  The disciples were anguished that he was going and that they would be alone.  He said "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you" (John 14.18).  This, and other texts build the story that Christ is now here on earth in spirit form in the church.

The idea is that he continues his work but does it through the church. So, he used to heal people but now the church 'lays hands on the sick', he preached the gospel now the church does, he spoke words of power and now the church does ('whatsoever you ask in my name ...') etc.

So, this poem is just confirming the story that he has passed his power to the church.  It is actually a call to arms for church members - if they don't do the works that he did then his works wont be done.  This is a very common theme in evangelical and pentecostal churches.

We can see now that god is not powerless because he has passed his power to his church.  Because the church is powerful then he is too.  But hold on, I thought that the church was powerless, after all, if they were powerful then they would heal amputees . . . so maybe you're right after all but you've got to understand the middle bit.

Interesting idea, but I have to say not that convincing.

The idea that Jesus is around in spirit form (whatever that means) in the church (es) means that the power he had - healing, bringing back from the dead etc. is now available to the churches to dispense. So, why are the churches not doing just that? I don't mean the silly healing services when people get wound up and then feel better - no, I mean actually curing people from illness and injury. After all, if this power from Jesus is real, we would not need hospitals, the churches would be full and the world would be wonderful.....

Except, it doesn't happen like that and the churches provide nothing that cures people of their illnesses / injuries. For that to happen we have had to create hospitals and medical science. We have had to research and research in order to find out what goes wrong and how to put it right. This work is secular in nature and many of the researchers are not even religious at all, yet we now have all sorts of breakthroughs in medicine that are making our lives longer and better. Explaining how all this works requires science and, importantly, does not have any need for any gods in the process.

Of course, you may mean,  keitho1122, that it is looking after the poor and the sick that is the thing Jesus needs people to do but this sort of thing is often being done by the non-religious. The Red Cross was founded as a secular organization for example. So it is  a fair bet that the work such as this is being done because of the concern we have as people for others and not in the name of Jesus.

So, keitho1122, tell us - how do we recognise the work of this spirit Jesus and how do we even know that there is a such a  thing as a spirit Jesus ( apart from an old book of course.)
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Online Aaron123

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2013, 10:51:30 AM »
This poem is not saying that god is powerless.  Its rationale is biblically based.  Following Christ's ascension to heaven he promised to actually come back (in spirit form).  The disciples were anguished that he was going and that they would be alone.  He said "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you" (John 14.18).  This, and other texts build the story that Christ is now here on earth in spirit form in the church..

So what does "in spirit form" means, and how are we so sure it's there?  It doesn't sound at all like there's a god in place, it sounds more like "well, lets' imagine god is working through us..."  If a god wanted to do things, it would simply DO, not this vague, backhanded thing.  What you've offered were buzz words designed to muddle the issue rather than address it.
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2013, 11:15:09 AM »
Good point, Aaron, maybe it's like doing what Hank would have wanted.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Graybeard

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2013, 02:12:19 PM »
This poem is not saying that god is powerless.  Its rationale is biblically based.  Following Christ's ascension to heaven he promised to actually come back (in spirit form).

This seems to be quite improbable. I am sure nobody knows what "come back in spirit form" means. Who's seen a spirit, or heard one speaking English?

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The disciples were anguished that he was going and that they would be alone.

An anguish that they did not seem to express anywhere after he had gone.

Quote
He said "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you" (John 14.18).

But never mentioned coming as a "spirit" - whatever that is.

Quote
This, and other texts build the story that Christ is now here on earth in spirit form in the church.

You're making this up, aren't you? (Or someone is!)

Quote
The idea is that he continues his work but does it through the church.

Just a minute, how is this different from "people doing what they can."?

Quote
So, he used to heal people but now the church 'lays hands on the sick',

Is this why we don't need doctors, dentists and surgeons?

Quote
he preached the gospel; now the church does, he spoke words of power and now the church does ('whatsoever you ask in my name ...') etc.

But the church extracts money - is that the only difference?

Quote
So, this poem is just confirming the story that he has passed his power to the church.

And that is just what I said: "Jesus does nothing."

Quote
after all, if they were powerful then they would heal amputees . . . so maybe you're right after all but you've got to understand the middle bit.

I don't think anyone who hears it could possibly really believe the middle bit; it's just like a fairytale.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2013, 04:16:22 PM »
What exactly is a spirit? If it has no material form, how does it do anything?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2013, 10:11:52 AM »
What exactly is a spirit? If it has no material form, how does it do anything?

Isn't this question immaterial?

More seriously, we have always been told that god, angels etc are spirit beings, like ghosts and the like. Now I presume this is said to account for the fact that one cannot see these things and, or course, an immaterial being doesn't have the problems of a body that wears out.

Against the whole idea if the question you raise, Nogods, how does anything that is non-material do anything. We might go one further and say how could a non-material god create matter and then interacts with it to, for example, raise the dead. The quick answer to all this is that the reason we don't see any of the things  mentioned above is, purely and simply, because they do not exist. The hardest things to see are things that don't exist. However that might not be that, though.....

Maybe, rather than being spirits, these various beings exist in other dimensions from us so that we never interact. String TheoryWiki posits a universe like our might have  up to 10 dimensions rather than the 4 which we are used to so maybe these beings could inhabit other dimensions rather than being spirits. That won't work for a god, though, as it would have to be outwith the universe since, it is claimed, it created the universe.

A god need not be a spirit at all but a real physical creature. As it inhabits somewhere outwith the universe we cannot see it. Now its time and size differ from ours, it might have constructed the universe in the morning and now be watching it in its afternoon rather that the billions of years that have passed here. In that case, that god might not be that old though, being physical, it is likely to die some time.

OK, that's quite enough science fiction. All we really need to say is -

  • The most obvious and Occam approved reason that we cannot see something is that it doesn't exist. This applies to god, ghosts and anything else claimed to be a spirit
  • If anyone is claiming that a god is a spirit then it is up to that person to show why that statement makes any more sense than saying 'this god doesn't exist'.  Years of research have found no evidence of spirits or a spirit world. There is no reason to believe this sort of thing until the term 'spirit' can make actual sense.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline keitho1122

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2013, 09:17:09 PM »
To all who responded to my original post on the 'powerless god'.  Firstly, did you actually read what I wrote!  I was explaining why the poem means something to christians and to recap in different words: christians believe that christ came back to earth in the form of the holy spirit (don't get hung up on the persons of the trinity or try to make sense of this claim - it doesn't make sense) and that he is now 'in the church' because a true christian is baptised into the body of christ by the holy spirit (don't get hung up on this, I know its tripe but this is what they actually believe).  The church now does the miracles that he did ('the works that I do shall you do').  How can the dead be raised and amputees healed - because the miracle working christ is still doing miracles through the members of they church ('they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover').

Having been a christian for a long time I can assure you that this story is actually true (i.e. it is what they believe). It is not 'improbable'.  And I'm not 'making this up' - they believe that the church is the body of christ on earth and seen in this light the poem makes perfect sense to them.  And, of couse all of the arguments against miracles still apply.

Cheers


Online Aaron123

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2013, 12:28:59 AM »
To all who responded to my original post on the 'powerless god'.  Firstly, did you actually read what I wrote!  I was explaining why the poem means something to christians and to recap in different words: christians believe that christ came back to earth in the form of the holy spirit (don't get hung up on the persons of the trinity or try to make sense of this claim - it doesn't make sense) and that he is now 'in the church' because a true christian is baptised into the body of christ by the holy spirit (don't get hung up on this, I know its tripe but this is what they actually believe).  The church now does the miracles that he did ('the works that I do shall you do').  How can the dead be raised and amputees healed - because the miracle working christ is still doing miracles through the members of they church ('they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover').

Having been a christian for a long time I can assure you that this story is actually true (i.e. it is what they believe). It is not 'improbable'.  And I'm not 'making this up' - they believe that the church is the body of christ on earth and seen in this light the poem makes perfect sense to them.  And, of couse all of the arguments against miracles still apply.

Cheers

We're not arguing about what they believe or how they think.

What we are arguing, however, is whenever their ideas are factual, or even makes sense.
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2013, 01:28:29 PM »
I found this whilst wandering the interwebs:


Here is proof that the bible (as far as gods is concerned) is nothing more than a fairy story with an eternal battle waging between the hero and villain and both need each other for the story to continue. The hero could kill the villain but then the story would end... I wish it would.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline keitho1122

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2013, 08:53:18 PM »
Quote
from Aaron123
We're not arguing about what they believe or how they think.

What we are arguing, however, is whenever their ideas are factual, or even makes sense.


I am not arguing about whether their ideas are factual or providing any rationale for them.  I am simply pointing out what the poem means to them which does not seem to be understood by the contributers.  To them it is an affirmation that the church is the entity responsible now for performing christ's work (preaching the gospel, working miracles etc).  To them, the 'church' is the 'body of christ on earth' into which all have been baptised and of which all are members.  This is a widely accepted doctrine amongst evangelical christians.  The fact that the church does not live up to this is irrelevant to the explanation.

If one of the aims of this forum is to convince christians that they are misguided then members have to start by being able to understand what they believe and what they are saying.  If you think that the poem is just an admission that god is powerless then they will just laugh and accuse you of not knowing and you will make no progress.  When you understand what it means and you point out they the church is powerless (even though they have delegated authority) then you have a chance.


Offline Jag

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2013, 10:42:58 PM »
^^^Everything here isn't always deadly serious. Believe it or not, sometimes we're just amusing ourselves and each other.
My tolerance for BS is limited, and I use up most of it IRL.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2013, 03:35:00 AM »
.....To them it is an affirmation that the church is the entity responsible now for performing christ's work (preaching the gospel, working miracles etc).  To them, the 'church' is the 'body of christ on earth' into which all have been baptised and of which all are members.  This is a widely accepted doctrine amongst evangelical christians. 

Well, I quite understand what church members think this stuff means. However, on your explanation above, we would expect to see some evidence of this action of Christ via his church. Somewhere, we would expect to see a church able to perform miracles - able to perform healings that actually heal real disease - Yet what do we find? Churches more concerned with growing their congregations, improving the church buildings. In the UK its more trying to hang on as a church with less and less members.  If what you say is true, the churches could be filled immediately if they started healing people by the power of Christ, yet the churches are powerless.

It really is not of any importance that this cannot happen in any particular church - they may be a sinful church perhaps - but if no church on earth can do this, then the concept you give is plainly wrong.


Quote
The fact that the church does not live up to this is irrelevant to the explanation.

No it is not! If you are saying that the Churches have the power of Christ in them the somewhere, something ought to be possible. If nothing is possible, then the church being the body of Christ is just another way of saying the church members follow the teaching attributed to Jesus. if the churches have power that they don't use that would be interesting but selfish. Oh and it wouldn't be how Jesus would act.

Quote
If one of the aims of this forum is to convince christians that they are misguided then members have to start by being able to understand what they believe and what they are saying.  If you think that the poem is just an admission that god is powerless then they will just laugh and accuse you of not knowing and you will make no progress.  When you understand what it means and you point out they the church is powerless (even though they have delegated authority) then you have a chance.

I don't think there are specifically aims on a forum of this sort. We engage in discussion and, if something presented does not seem to be right, we will say so. 

Now if Christians want to go round and talk about their god that's fine. However, if they want people to believe that their god is real and needs worshipping; that the god is all-powerful and has given his power to the churches, then that is a different matter. It is easy to explain to a congregation how the power is their but cannot be used. Its even easy to explain that all the worship of a god  is fine but that the god doesn't really do anything and Christians will believe this. yet its logic is flawed.

There is no difference between a god that cannot do anything and an imaginary god. There is no difference between a church filled with the power of a god that can't actually use it and a church without any power. This talk of the power of Christ is just a story whilst it is never demonstrated. A church with power to heal would be healing people. So, really, until there is a start of healings in the churches - this is all fiction.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline Tonus

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2013, 09:48:04 AM »
If one of the aims of this forum is to convince christians that they are misguided then members have to start by being able to understand what they believe and what they are saying.

Ehhh, if we understood that, we'd be Christians. ;)

On a more serious note-- I think that it's a valid approach to try to understand the mind of the believer, but I also think it's good to simply say "I saw this, and it seems to be saying..." or "I saw this, and I don't get it."  A great way to engage others in discussion is to bring up a topic that you don't understand.  In getting clarification (as in your first post) the discussion can become more relevant and ask questions that matter.

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Re: The admittedly powerless god.
« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2013, 12:23:16 PM »
I am not arguing about whether their ideas are factual or providing any rationale for them.  I am simply pointing out what the poem means to them which does not seem to be understood by the contributers. 

Oh, I'm pretty sure most of us understands what the poem is trying to say.  What it unintentionally ends up saying, however...


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To them it is an affirmation that the church is the entity responsible now for performing christ's work (preaching the gospel, working miracles etc).  To them, the 'church' is the 'body of christ on earth' into which all have been baptised and of which all are members.  This is a widely accepted doctrine amongst evangelical christians. 


Again, nobody disputes this.


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The fact that the church does not live up to this is irrelevant to the explanation.

I dunno... if there's suppose to be this idea that Jesus himself is working through the church "in spirit", I should fully expect to see the result of that.


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If one of the aims of this forum is to convince christians that they are misguided then members have to start by being able to understand what they believe and what they are saying. If you think that the poem is just an admission that god is powerless then they will just laugh and accuse you of not knowing and you will make no progress.

Again; what they're trying to say is understood.  There's just that issue of unintended statement.


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When you understand what it means and you point out they the church is powerless (even though they have delegated authority) then you have a chance.

Well, I think they're just try to rationalize it away, but thanks for the vote of confidence.
Being a Christian, I've made my decision. That decision offers no compromise; therefore, I'm closed to anything else.