Author Topic: How to remain Christian  (Read 4115 times)

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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #232 on: May 08, 2014, 05:16:08 PM »
And the evidence for the christian myth is.....?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #233 on: May 08, 2014, 05:20:47 PM »
This is becoming circular discussion, with any evidence I nominate simply being dismissed as not actually being evidence, and it appears that's a fundamental impasse in our thinking.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #234 on: May 08, 2014, 05:22:30 PM »
You haven't offered any.

I won't ask you to go into great detail, but were you by chance born & raised in a christian home/environment/culture?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #235 on: May 08, 2014, 05:34:11 PM »
You haven't offered any.

I have. In a nutshell: the fact that the world came about, the fact that the bible claims this was God, the fact that many historians accept the bible has significant historical validity, the fact that the bible describes humanity very accurately. They are not proof. But I consider it evidence. And the evidence is the starting point for belief.


I won't ask you to go into great detail, but were you by chance born & raised in a christian home/environment/culture?

I was. And just like you, came a time I challenged everything I had been taught and assumed to be true. I became a Christian in my early 20's. My older brother and younger sister had the same upbringing, and they claim atheism.
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #236 on: May 08, 2014, 05:38:44 PM »
I was. And just like you, came a time I challenged everything I had been taught and assumed to be true. I became a Christian in my early 20's.

Does it not give you pause that you landed on the belief system that you just happened to be raised with, and that this is also true for the vast vast majority of other religious people?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #237 on: May 08, 2014, 05:55:15 PM »
I was. And just like you, came a time I challenged everything I had been taught and assumed to be true. I became a Christian in my early 20's.

Does it not give you pause that you landed on the belief system that you just happened to be raised with, and that this is also true for the vast vast majority of other religious people?

Yes, of course, but I can only comment on my own experience. I am in no doubt that my faith is my own, not a mindless reflection of what I was taught to believe. I am in no position to speculate as to how much proponents of other faiths have objectively considered that faith.

If I had been raised an atheist, would I be a Christian today? I can't know, but I would say possibly not. But only because I'm a lazy prick, and when I started pondering the mysteries of the universe I probably wouldn't have bothered investigating the claims of Christianity, and would have been in no good position to respond to the Holy Spirit.

Ultimately, any suggestion that your belief is invalid because you were taught it is pretty silly, and ignores someone's ability to question and re-evaluate.

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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #238 on: May 08, 2014, 06:12:18 PM »



Wrong again.  Ever seen those science shows which show how certain particles (I forget what they call 'em - "virtual particles?") do indeed pop in and out of existence.


I haven't. And perhaps you're unaware, but I am poorly equipped with scientific knowledge. I really don't even have much of an understanding of what a particle is.

But it does occur to me, that even if particles appear to pop into existence, they are doing so within a physical universe. 
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Offline Star Stuff

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #239 on: May 08, 2014, 06:13:39 PM »
Ultimately, any suggestion that your belief is invalid because you were taught it is pretty silly, and ignores someone's ability to question and re-evaluate.


Given what we know about the power & influence of the formative years, that simply isn't true.
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Offline OldChurchGuy

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #240 on: May 08, 2014, 08:47:24 PM »
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No, it's because of what Star Stuff said in her reply to what you said above. You seem like an intelligent guy for the most part, but when you have a belief that there is something special about a 2,000 plus year old book, and you say that the god you believe exists (Jesus, who is god incarnate) is attempted to be described in the Hebrew bible and NT, that just doesn't sound intelligent to me. And yes, I do think it takes away from a person's intelligence for believing in gods that were created by man for many different reasons over thousands of years.

I understand you're not here to try and convert people to believe what you believe, but what's your best reason for believing what you believe?

There have been a variety of experiences in my life which I choose to interpret as evidence of God.  As I've said on other posts, I cannot prove this interpretation is correct and will not deny it could be random chance working in my favor and/or psychological.  I don't think so, but cannot prove that conclusion. 

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Do you believe in hell, that you'll go there if you doubt your god?
No, I don't believe Hell exists.  And before you ask, I have no idea what the criteria is for God to judge people. 

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I'm just wanting to know what it is that keeps you holding on to your god belief? Is it just a feeling or comfort to hold on, or something you truly believe with all your heart?

See the first response, please.

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And do you believe your god is the creator of all things in the Universe?

Yes.  And I also believe the known universe is about 14 billion years old. 

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I hear lots of people say this, Matt Dillahunty was the first one. "I want to believe as many true things and as few false things as possible." That's what I think most people want, would you agree?

Agreed.  How does one define a true thing vs a false thing?

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You're a heck of a nice guy, just trying to dig deeper into that brain of yours.

Thanks

Your kind words are truly appreciated. 

Sincerely,

OldChurchGuy
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle - Philo of Alexandria

Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion - Dalai Lama

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #241 on: May 08, 2014, 08:54:47 PM »
Agreed.  How does one define a true thing vs a false thing?

That pesky old thing called evidence.  Epistemology.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #242 on: May 08, 2014, 10:31:23 PM »
Ultimately, any suggestion that your belief is invalid because you were taught it is pretty silly, and ignores someone's ability to question and re-evaluate.


Given what we know about the power & influence of the formative years, that simply isn't true.

The influence of formative years is just that..an influence. It doesn't have to dictate what somebody believes. You yourself grew up with Christian teaching but upon evaluation you believed differently. Upon evaluation, I concluded that what I had been taught was actually correct. Your line of argument implies that your adult decision was based on evidence but mine was really still just 'going with the flow'. I can once again assure you it wasn't. I can't speak for anybody else.

And besides, the claims of Christianity are either correct or they aren't, totally uninfluenced by what somebody is taught or when or how. So the way I see it, your line of reasoning can result in nothing more than somebody being correct, or incorrect, by accident.

Finally, this addresses only whether somebody believes in God or accepts that Jesus was who He said He was. Ultimately, it doesn't impact upon whether somebody actually repents of their sin and asks Jesus to take it on Himself. That's a personal decision, 100%.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #243 on: May 08, 2014, 11:25:03 PM »
Upon evaluation, I concluded that what I had been taught was actually correct. Your line of argument implies that your adult decision was based on evidence but mine was really still just 'going with the flow'.

In what sense was it not "going with the flow". Did you have to battle against your parental units? Did you lose old friends? Did you change Christian faith?

Are you still evaluating what we say, or are you ignoring us?


You seemed to not answer last time: are you a Christian who thinks he has an experience of God that can't be dismissed as a random mental phenomenon? Or are you a Christian who needs the say-so of others, and their experiences of God?
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #244 on: May 08, 2014, 11:49:38 PM »
Upon evaluation, I concluded that what I had been taught was actually correct. Your line of argument implies that your adult decision was based on evidence but mine was really still just 'going with the flow'.

In what sense was it not "going with the flow". Did you have to battle against your parental units? Did you lose old friends? Did you change Christian faith?


In the sense that I don't believe what my parents believe just because they believe it...which would be going with the flow.


Are you still evaluating what we say, or are you ignoring us?

I evaluate what forum users say. Nothing I have read to date has made me think I'm wrong about the fundamental things I believe. I'll let you know if that happens.

If I had time, however, I would love to spend a few weeks doing nothing but investigate the history of the bible and the way the books were chosen. I actually respect the level of knowledge others on the forum seem to have about that.


You seemed to not answer last time: are you a Christian who thinks he has an experience of God that can't be dismissed as a random mental phenomenon? Or are you a Christian who needs the say-so of others, and their experiences of God?

I believe the bible's account of creation and salvation on an intellectual level and I recognise my inherent sinfulness as being exactly what the bible describes. When I read the bible I know it as truth on a level which I wish I could communicate to you. I have absolutely no doubt about my eternal destiny.

However... if I was isolated from those of similar convictions I have no doubt my faith would weaken. Not because my conviction of what is true would change, but because I know I would read my bible less, pray less and generally be further from communion with God. I wouldn't tale that truth and live accordingly.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #245 on: May 09, 2014, 01:20:11 AM »
I believe the bible's account of creation and salvation on an intellectual level and I recognise my inherent sinfulness as being exactly what the bible describes.

The Bible writers had access to knowledge of the human condition, and wrote philosophical stuff that they believed solved it. Those in the Buddhist traditions see the human psyche, soul and destiny described pretty accurately, as well. What would be the point in writing psychological stuff if it had obvious errors? They had hundreds of years to think about it and refine it, if any serious questions were asked.

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When I read the bible I know it as truth on a level which I wish I could communicate to you. I have absolutely no doubt about my eternal destiny.

So, you get a profound feeling, when you read the Bible. I've heard this from other Christians who have suddenly lost that feeling, when they looked at the Bible too logically.

You seem to compartmentalise the errors in the Bible, as "something to be solved later" or "TO DO". The feeling you get when you read the Bible is a non-informational proof. An informational proof is usually one based on "coincidence". Something like "I asked God for lotto numbers and shortly afterwards I won the lottery".

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If I had time, however, I would love to spend a few weeks doing nothing but investigate the history of the bible and the way the books were chosen. I actually respect the level of knowledge others on the forum seem to have about that.

As far as I can work out, influential church fathers like Origines and Eusebius created tables about who (various saints) believed which existing books. However, ultimately, the books were chosen by observing their consistency with the doctrines that the chooser wanted them to conform to. That is to say, the chooser (of that particular sect) has a belief about what is heretical, and knocks out books or verses that contain anything he doesn't like. Marcion started his own popular church and didn't include Mark and some of the Pauline epistles, because he didn't like them, and wanted to use the Pauline epistles to demonstrate that Jesus came out of nowhere. He then edited Luke to conform to his beliefs. (If you don't like it, or want it, then it can't be true.)

The redactors of Matthew clearly inserted about 66 Jewish prophecies and references into the Mark and Luke texts. This is why we see Mary and Joe going into Egypt for no good reason, and Herod killing all the first-born, and Jesus riding two donkeys, and Jesus being from a virgin. Ridiculous as they are, they were left in the texts, because nothing about it is heretical. Readers liked it all, so it stayed. Now you can't question it.

In terms of real information about Early Christianity, I find the Catholic Encyclopedia most interesting, esp. starting at this page
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

This is a collection of ALL the early documents in their believed original forms, that conform to Christian/Catholic beliefs. What you will find is that there is virtually no content from before 150AD, when Justin Martyr starts to speak. There is St Ignatius and Polycarp, but we can't know if they are real, or if their dating is correct. I only just believe the Justin is real. He could easily have been faked, and his apology reads like waffle.

Any time I read a large bit of information about some early saint, or event, I can put money on it being a hodge podge of guesswork and mythology done from later church speakers, or info from Acts. I don't believe that Nero persecuted Christians, either. The timing is all wrong.

There is a sort of black hole event horizon that you see, if you try to investigate anything prior to Justin. If anyone knows something from prior to him, you can bet his sources don't come from original documents. I'm really cynical about reading books by academics on the subject. Read the original texts, or nothing else.
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Offline Eddie Schultz

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #246 on: May 09, 2014, 01:42:08 AM »
Agreed.  How does one define a true thing vs a false thing?

That pesky old thing called evidence.  Epistemology.

I second that. Thanks Star Stuff.

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #247 on: May 09, 2014, 02:09:24 AM »
If you posit something that nothing could possibly refute...then your proposition is meaningless/invalid as it does not rely on evidence.


I don't agree. Why does the validity, or even the existence, of evidence have to rely on whether or not something can't actually be disproven?

For instance, this morning I listened to a CD in my car. That's my claim. As evidence I can point to the fact that I have a CD player, there is a CD in the slot, and I have friends/family who will attest to the fact that I often do listen to a CD in the car. Surely those things are evidence? My claim can't be proven, but there is evidence.

However, as far as I can see, my claim can't possibly be dis-proven either. So does that make it a meaningless claim?

Is that a fair analogy?

No. Based on the evidence you have provided you can't disprove that you were listening to a CD in your car that morning. However, that isn't the point because there is potential for there to be evidence that would disprove it - the simple and obvious one being secretly filmed when/if you were in your car that morning.

Just because a certain event can't be disproved because there is no evidence to do so, does not mean that there can't be evidence to disprove that event. That's the problem with your analogy - you're conflating the actual with the potential.

With a god claim, there is no potential for there to be evidence to disprove it due to the way god is defined - the cause of everything..... the cause of all evidence.
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #248 on: May 09, 2014, 02:14:10 AM »
^ Fair point. Conceded.
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Offline Ataraxia

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #249 on: May 09, 2014, 02:24:55 AM »
^And fair play to you.

So where does that leave us/you in regards to evidence for god?
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Offline junebug72

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #250 on: May 09, 2014, 07:33:05 AM »
However... if I was isolated from those of similar convictions I have no doubt my faith would weaken. Not because my conviction of what is true would change, but because I know I would read my bible less, pray less and generally be further from communion with God. I wouldn't tale that truth and live accordingly.

MM how ya been?  Missed you here.  ;)

I see this as a weakness that stems from depending on religion for a closeness to God.  I believe God is with me wherever I go because God is in my soul.  I don't need a bible or the acknowledgement of other humans to enforce and sustain my belief.  I don't need the bible for comfort.  Comfort is with me always.

The only thing I learned from the bible was to NOT be religious. :)
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #251 on: May 09, 2014, 07:52:02 AM »
....the fact that the bible describes humanity very accurately....

I've heard this a couple times (though couldn't say if it was from you or not), and I'm not sure what it means?  Clearly not in the way that an anthropology or biology textbook would describe humanity, so what exactly does it mean?  Specifically, I guess, what aspects of humanity does the Bible describe that are NOT similarly describes in the books of other religions?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #252 on: May 09, 2014, 08:37:17 AM »
If you posit something that nothing could possibly refute...then your proposition is meaningless/invalid as it does not rely on evidence.


I don't agree. Why does the validity, or even the existence, of evidence have to rely on whether or not something can't actually be disproven?

For instance, this morning I listened to a CD in my car. That's my claim. As evidence I can point to the fact that I have a CD player, there is a CD in the slot, and I have friends/family who will attest to the fact that I often do listen to a CD in the car. Surely those things are evidence? My claim can't be proven, but there is evidence.

However, as far as I can see, my claim can't possibly be dis-proven either. So does that make it a meaningless claim?

Is that a fair analogy?

If CDs didn't exist it would be disproven
If you were shown to be deaf it would be disproven
If you were shown to be bedridden at could not have gotten in a car, it would be disproven
If it way shown you were forbidden from the state from legally owning a motor vehicle(therefore it could not possibly be 'your car' as possession is a legal concept) it would be disproven

the list goes on

The issue here is that the claim has possible, though untrue, ways to be disproven. The posit "God" has no such ways.

edit...whoops didn't read all the posts.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 08:39:42 AM by Hatter23 »
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #253 on: May 09, 2014, 08:44:50 AM »
But MM, lots of people claim that their god or gods made the universe. How do you evaluate their claims, when nobody has any evidence? Old sacred texts full of poetry don't count.

So really we're going to have to define 'evidence', aren't we? What's your preferred definition?

I've always thought it quite a subjective word, like 'funny'. As in, was that funny? Sure, it made me laugh. You mightn't have, but that doesn't invalidate my use of the word funny. Or does it?

My favorite: find something in the Bible that makes it assuredly more reliable than the Iliad. I.E. what separates it from the multitude of other ancient mythologies which are composed of real fact mixed in with tales of gods, monsters, and magic.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline jdawg70

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #254 on: May 09, 2014, 08:56:33 AM »
....the fact that the bible describes humanity very accurately....

I've heard this a couple times (though couldn't say if it was from you or not), and I'm not sure what it means?  Clearly not in the way that an anthropology or biology textbook would describe humanity, so what exactly does it mean?  Specifically, I guess, what aspects of humanity does the Bible describe that are NOT similarly describes in the books of other religions?
I would extend that further and ask what aspects of humanity does the Bible describe that are NOT similarly described in other books, period.

Besides, I think the claim that 'the bible describes humanity very accurately' is simply incorrect.  Take the story of Exodus.  You have a large group of people who have been suffering as slaves for generations who are directly and unquestionably set free by god.  These people directly witness this god part the Red Sea and smite their oppressors.  These people directly witness this god provide sustenance in the desert.

At some point, these people's leader goes to have a pow-wow with god on a mountain somewhere.  What do these people do?  "Oh, Moses and god are off chit-chatting somewhere.  Let's make a cow outta gold and start worshiping it!  I'm sure that guy who drowned our oppressors and made manna magically appear to us in the barren desert is less worthy of our praise than this hunk of metal we're going to make offerings to.  Can't imagine he'll be upset.  And even if he is upset, so what?  What's he gonna do?  Drown us in a river?"  I cannot even begin to fathom what set of human beings would make such an asinine decision.

Seriously.  Take the stupidest people on the planet that you know, cut their IQs in half, and put them in this position.  Then take the most evil people on the planet you know, double their 'evilness', and put them in this position.  What subsection of humanity would have behaved the way the calf-worshiping Israelites did...such behavior seems to run very counter to human nature.

All that should be required for a text to describe humanity very accurately is for authors to have observed humanity.  Divine providence not required.  And if the story of Exodus is any indication, divine providence should be ignored when trying to understand how humanity actually behaves.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #255 on: May 09, 2014, 09:25:04 AM »
Seriously.  Take the stupidest people on the planet that you know, cut their IQs in half, and put them in this position.  Then take the most evil people on the planet you know, double their 'evilness', and put them in this position.  What subsection of humanity would have behaved the way the calf-worshiping Israelites did...such behavior seems to run very counter to human nature.

Maybe God hardened their hearts.
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Offline epidemic

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #256 on: May 09, 2014, 10:18:07 AM »
....the fact that the bible describes humanity very accurately....

I've heard this a couple times (though couldn't say if it was from you or not), and I'm not sure what it means?  Clearly not in the way that an anthropology or biology textbook would describe humanity, so what exactly does it mean?  Specifically, I guess, what aspects of humanity does the Bible describe that are NOT similarly describes in the books of other religions?
I would extend that further and ask what aspects of humanity does the Bible describe that are NOT similarly described in other books, period.

Besides, I think the claim that 'the bible describes humanity very accurately' is simply incorrect.  Take the story of Exodus.  You have a large group of people who have been suffering as slaves for generations who are directly and unquestionably set free by god.  These people directly witness this god part the Red Sea and smite their oppressors.  These people directly witness this god provide sustenance in the desert.

At some point, these people's leader goes to have a pow-wow with god on a mountain somewhere.  What do these people do?  "Oh, Moses and god are off chit-chatting somewhere.  Let's make a cow outta gold and start worshiping it!  I'm sure that guy who drowned our oppressors and made manna magically appear to us in the barren desert is less worthy of our praise than this hunk of metal we're going to make offerings to.  Can't imagine he'll be upset.  And even if he is upset, so what?  What's he gonna do?  Drown us in a river?"  I cannot even begin to fathom what set of human beings would make such an asinine decision.

Seriously.  Take the stupidest people on the planet that you know, cut their IQs in half, and put them in this position.  Then take the most evil people on the planet you know, double their 'evilness', and put them in this position.  What subsection of humanity would have behaved the way the calf-worshiping Israelites did...such behavior seems to run very counter to human nature.

All that should be required for a text to describe humanity very accurately is for authors to have observed humanity.  Divine providence not required.  And if the story of Exodus is any indication, divine providence should be ignored when trying to understand how humanity actually behaves.

One of my go to argements of the bibles error to describe thinking beings.


Offline epidemic

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #257 on: May 09, 2014, 10:19:03 AM »
Seriously.  Take the stupidest people on the planet that you know, cut their IQs in half, and put them in this position.  Then take the most evil people on the planet you know, double their 'evilness', and put them in this position.  What subsection of humanity would have behaved the way the calf-worshiping Israelites did...such behavior seems to run very counter to human nature.

Maybe God hardened their hearts.

If that is the case then god took away free will he directly guided them in a path to their destruction.

Offline Add Homonym

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #258 on: May 09, 2014, 11:18:43 AM »
One of my go to argements of the bibles error to describe thinking beings.

After you've seen too many movies, you'll believe almost anything, if it helps plot development.


Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #259 on: May 09, 2014, 03:54:36 PM »
MM, people tend to stick with the religion most prevalent in their cultural environment, because it makes more sense to them. What you say only reflects that fact. Because I was raised in an environment that was so strongly Christian, Christianity makes more sense to me than any other religion.  Although I don't think any religions are true, I "get" Christianity in a way that I will never "get" Hinduism or Islam. 

If a culture has no concept of "sin", for example, or of an afterlife, people would not get the same meaning from the bible as people whose culture has been influenced by those concepts for 2000 years. If you had been born in India and had been raised by Hindu parents, the chance of you being a Christian is almost nil. If you found a bible in the local library and read it, it would make no cultural sense to you. Even if Christianity was true.

India has about a 2% Christian population. You find similar low numbers throughout Asia and the Middle East. Doesn't it seem strange that, if Christianity is the one true faith and explains human nature and the universe so well, it resonates with so few people in vast areas of the world?

The fact remains that people of every religious faith say that their particular text tells the truth about human nature and explains everything important about the universe, that they get a feeling of peacefulness reading it, that their god speaks to them through it, etc. just like you do. Try suggesting to a devout Muslim that the Quran is not the one and only true word of god....talk about absolute certainty! Scientologists, Mormons, Hindus, you name it, all swear that their book(s) are the be-all and end-all.

So, the fact that you are firmly convinced that the bible is true does not mean that the bible is true. Otherwise, every sacred text that has some devout believers swearing by it has to be equally true. And you probably don't agree with that. Christians often ask us why anyone would die for a lie. Seems a strange question with Muslim suicide bombers making the news.  People of all different religions have died for their faith, so all the religions are true, right?

When we ask for evidence or proof, we want something that cannot be provided by a false religion. So, what have you got that is different from what people in other (false) religions have?
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 Ron Jeremy

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Re: How to remain Christian
« Reply #260 on: May 09, 2014, 05:04:37 PM »
In a nutshell: the fact that the world came about,...

The Aztec goddess Coatilicue gave birth to the universe. Do you not accept this? If not, why not?
Matthew 10:22 "and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved." - An example of a clearly demonstrably false biblical 'prophesy'.

The biblical myth of a 6000 year old Earth is proven false by the Gaia satellite directly measuring star age.