Author Topic: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]  (Read 670 times)

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Offline DL

 
Hi GIIVideo,

I don't really know who you are, but you seem like a decent person. Unfortunately, after watching your video concerning "10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer" I do not think you did a very thorough job researching the Christian (i.e., my) faith. I'm sure your intentions were for the best; perhaps you feel frustrated seeing many "ignorant" Christians that blindly follow their beliefs and you fashion yourself a sort of champion of reason. However, I want to inform you that, frankly, as noble as your efforts may be, I consider myself an intelligent Christian, and I find it insulting that you think that I did not give my beliefs careful and considerable thought.

I, too, have some questions for you. I wonder, how many times have you actually read through the Bible, in its entirety? How much history do you know and do you recognize that much of the Bible must be taken, contextually? How much Christian apologist literature have you read? And how open-minded are you to perhaps giving Christianity a more honest shot? If so, I would recommend Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity" or C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity". Getting yourself a good Bible commentary is quite useful, as well.

When it comes to matters of what happens to us after we die, wouldn't you agree that it would be a rational and intelligent thing to thoroughly research the Bible and what Christianity has to offer before jumping to ill-informed conclusions?

I hope you don't take offense to this message, but recognize that I am genuinely trying to challenge a fellow intelligent person to dig deeper. If you want, I'd be happy to give my best shot at answering your 10 questions in a follow-up message.

Have a great day,
[name]

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2008, 01:38:06 AM »
I, too, have some questions for you. I wonder, how many times have you actually read through the Bible, in its entirety? How much history do you know and do you recognize that much of the Bible must be taken, contextually? How much Christian apologist literature have you read? And how open-minded are you to perhaps giving Christianity a more honest shot? If so, I would recommend Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity" or C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity". Getting yourself a good Bible commentary is quite useful, as well.

I'm sure it's just a rumour that there are 33.000 official takes on Christianity and thus the Bible as well. If believers in this superfluous, contradictory and ambiguous anvil of wisdom can't even agree on things like contextuality, why should a nonbeliever take the time? If I were to plough through all the apologetics of all these takes of Christianity and the 500.000 or so other religions of the world around today and the 500.000 religions that have perished already, I'd need a couple of more lives. What makes you so sure your take on it is anywhere near the exact correct interpretation and why should we believe you?

Offline elias

Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2008, 02:43:45 AM »
I, too, have some questions for you. I wonder, how many times have you actually read through the Bible, in its entirety? How much history do you know and do you recognize that much of the Bible must be taken, contextually? How much Christian apologist literature have you read? And how open-minded are you to perhaps giving Christianity a more honest shot? If so, I would recommend Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity" or C.S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity". Getting yourself a good Bible commentary is quite useful, as well.

I'm sure it's just a rumour that there are 33.000 official takes on Christianity and thus the Bible as well. If believers in this superfluous, contradictory and ambiguous anvil of wisdom can't even agree on things like contextuality, why should a nonbeliever take the time?

Hello, Gargaroth.  I'm the author of the above statement, and I thank you for taking the time to respond in a serious and thoughtful manner.

However, I believe stating that there are "33,000 official takes on Christianity", hyperboles aside, is a bit of an exaggeration.  Other than basically the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (and other, smaller non-Trinitarian denominations), Christians are in agreement over the key points of our faith, as is demonstrated by the "Apostle's Creed". 

I'm confused as to why you think Christians do not agree on reading the Bible in context.  I am fairly certain you can ask any local pastor on what Christ meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood and they will tell you he was talking metaphorically.  You are probably referring to the different philosophies on how to interpret the book of Revelations (Futuristic, Literal, Historical, etc.) when you say there are discrepancies between Christians on how to approach the Bible.  But you have to realize, the book of Revelations, itself, states that men are not meant to understand its contents, but they are simply to be read and meditated upon.

Quote
If I were to plough through all the apologetics of all these takes of Christianity and the 500.000 or so other religions of the world around today and the 500.000 religions that have perished already, I'd need a couple of more lives. What makes you so sure your take on it is anywhere near the exact correct interpretation and why should we believe you?

First of all, when seeking the truth, let's use our common sense.  Religions in the past that have died off have died for a reason: people discovered them to be false.  Second of all, once again, you are making a gross exaggeration of how many major faiths there are and how long it would take to seriously look into them.  Think about it, there are people out there who make a living studying religions.  It's a college major, for crying out loud.

And third, again, I am confused as to why you think I have an original, revolutionary "take" on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, plain and simple, and I believe everything any average Christian believes (or perhaps I should say, should believe).  I think the problem is when Christians, as individuals take their beliefs for granted and don't read enough or study enough to really understand what Christ is teaching, and confuse things.  There is nothing contradictory about the Bible.  People are contradictory.  And I am not asking you to believe me.  Far from it.  Again, I'd like to stress that people are contradictory, but not God.  Don't take my word at face value.  Stop making excuses of not having enough time, and actually find out what Christianity is about.  To this day, I am continuing to research my beliefs and test my faith.  The Bible, in fact, advocates this.  Won't you do this with me?
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 02:45:50 AM by elias »

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2008, 03:04:51 PM »
Hello, Gargaroth.  I'm the author of the above statement, and I thank you for taking the time to respond in a serious and thoughtful manner.

Thank you for posting.

However, I believe stating that there are "33,000 official takes on Christianity", hyperboles aside, is a bit of an exaggeration. 

Well, the figure that is mostly posted is even higher. I know that the source for that number is said to be wikipedia and one could argue about the way the number is derived. But I think we can both agree that there is a HUGE number of Christian denominations.

Other than basically the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (and other, smaller non-Trinitarian denominations), Christians are in agreement over the key points of our faith, as is demonstrated by the "Apostle's Creed". 

I don't know which country you're from, although from this statement I would be inclined to guess the US, but there is also a huge variety on many elements of the faith of Christianity, albeit no doubt mostly in the more moderated crowds. But I couldn't really know what you mean by 'key points'.

I'm confused as to why you think Christians do not agree on reading the Bible in context. 

Well basically because the bible doesn't offer an explanation of the context rendering it open to interpretation. And was written in a time no one has a clue about what it must have been like to live in. Furthermore it is my experience that the interpretation of just about any story varies with the amount of people you ask about it. This may very well be ignorance towards the official story, but it could just as well be the result of thinking outside of the box. You wouldn't believe what I have been told for 15 years.

I am fairly certain you can ask any local pastor on what Christ meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood and they will tell you he was talking metaphorically. 
Sure, but a methaphore for what?

You are probably referring to the different philosophies on how to interpret the book of Revelations (Futuristic, Literal, Historical, etc.) when you say there are discrepancies between Christians on how to approach the Bible.  But you have to realize, the book of Revelations, itself, states that men are not meant to understand its contents, but they are simply to be read and meditated upon.

In other words not draw any conclusions? Despite the fact that this may be the intention of this particular book, people have been known to draw conclusions anyway.

First of all, when seeking the truth, let's use our common sense. 

I protest to the usage of the word 'our' in this sentence. We may not share it.

Religions in the past that have died off have died for a reason: people discovered them to be false. 

This is a simplification towards the reason of the ending of religions. How about superimposing other religions? how about the conversion of religions (Horus vs the Jesus figure) into other religions, the dying out of complete communities who adhere to a specific religion etc etc.

Second of all, once again, you are making a gross exaggeration of how many major faiths there are and how long it would take to seriously look into them.

I think you better read up on the variety of religions and religious interpretation. I don't want to be rude but you sound suspiciously like the stereotype American Christian who only realizes what's available in the states and has some small notion of the Judean- and Muslim beliefsystems and is highly arrogant towards his own belief. Just because you don't think that minor religions can't be compared to your faith, doesn't mean that I happen to think yours is more valid or that a practitioner of such a minority faith, of which there tens of thousands, would be inclined to think that. They don't. I don't.

Think about it, there are people out there who make a living studying religions.  It's a college major, for crying out loud.

I'm not sure what is your point by saying that but the fact that people study the major religions of the world, does not falsify minor ones.


And third, again, I am confused as to why you think I have an original, revolutionary "take" on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, plain and simple, and I believe everything any average Christian believes (or perhaps I should say, should believe). 
From my experiences on this board I can wake u up now and tell you that interpretation of Christianity is as diverse as there are grains of sand in the Sahara desert which I find to be not very surprising. Not too long ago I saw someone post a survey with over 30 questions on this board for Christians to fill in prior to them engaging in debate. This person did so our of sheer frustration because everytime he argued some obvious Christian viewpoint, someone would slam dunk the argument by saying: "Well I don't happen to believe that either'. As it turns out, even the most rudimentary principles thought to be shared by what you refere to as an 'average Christian', apparently wasn't even a cohesive set of interpretation or teaching.

Stick around on this forum long enough, and you can observe this for yourself.


I think the problem is when Christians, as individuals take their beliefs for granted and don't read enough or study enough to really understand what Christ is teaching, and confuse things. 

No matter how you look at it, these teachings of Christ were once interpreted to what they are today to the particular group of people you are referring to here. To other groups, it may very well vary, whether you agree on the validity of such alternate interpretations or not. To a Muslim, Christ can't even begin to outweigh the teachings of Muhammad (In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.)

There is nothing contradictory about the Bible.  People are contradictory. 
Exactly who gives meaning to the bible then if humans are excluded? Our cousins the chimps?

And I am not asking you to believe me.  Far from it. 

What a weird premise to engage in this discourse, I would very much like for you to believe me.

Again, I'd like to stress that people are contradictory, but not God. 
I agree, a non existant entity cannot contradict itself.

Don't take my word at face value. 

You know I wont.

Stop making excuses of not having enough time, and actually find out what Christianity is about.  To this day, I am continuing to research my beliefs and test my faith.  The Bible, in fact, advocates this.  Won't you do this with me?

No thank you. I really wouldn't see the point. I am someone who cannot blindly believe in anything, not for very long anyway. And if you think you can persuade me that the bible is the word of god or the inspired word of God or whatever other interpretation like that, you are barking up the wrong tree. And I also fail to see what wisdom can be gained from what you refere to as Christianity that cannot be gained from walking any other path. And if it's not wisdom you are referring to but some kind of salvation of my eternal spirit, you must first demonstrate that I actually have an eternal spirit, or a spirit at all.

I'm not saying that religion is a bad thing for a person to have, I can see the glaring advantages (I have to admit that I was a lot happier as a child in a sort of ignorance is bliss kind of way, and life did lose some of its magic after I was told that Santa didn't exist (Actually, we have another kind of santaclaus, our version comes on the 5th of December and rides a white horse in stead of a slay and his helpers are Mores in stead of elfs) eventhough a case against (organized) religion or the exclusive nature of the Christian religion can easily be made.

So, were you brought up to believe what you do or were you once oblivious to it all and decided on a mature age to become your version of a Christian?

regards,

G.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:08:58 PM by Gargaroth »

Offline elias

Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2008, 03:11:55 PM »
Hello, Gargaroth.  I'm the author of the above statement, and I thank you for taking the time to respond in a serious and thoughtful manner.

Thank you for posting.

However, I believe stating that there are "33,000 official takes on Christianity", hyperboles aside, is a bit of an exaggeration. 

Well, the figure that is mostly posted is even higher. I know that the source for that number is said to be wikipedia and one could argue about the way the number is derived. But I think we can both agree that there is a HUGE number of Christian denominations.

Other than basically the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (and other, smaller non-Trinitarian denominations), Christians are in agreement over the key points of our faith, as is demonstrated by the "Apostle's Creed". 

I don't know which country you're from, although from this statement I would be inclined to guess the US, but there is also a huge variety on many elements of the faith of Christianity, albeit no doubt mostly in the more moderated crowds. But I couldn't really know what you mean by 'key points'.

I'm confused as to why you think Christians do not agree on reading the Bible in context. 

Well basically because the bible doesn't offer an explanation of the context rendering it open to interpretation. And was written in a time no one has a clue about what it must have been like to live in. Furthermore it is my experience that the interpretation of just about any story varies with the amount of people you ask about it. This may very well be ignorance towards the official story, but it could just as well be the result of thinking outside of the box. You wouldn't believe what I have been told for 15 years.

I am fairly certain you can ask any local pastor on what Christ meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood and they will tell you he was talking metaphorically. 
Sure, but a methaphore for what?

You are probably referring to the different philosophies on how to interpret the book of Revelations (Futuristic, Literal, Historical, etc.) when you say there are discrepancies between Christians on how to approach the Bible.  But you have to realize, the book of Revelations, itself, states that men are not meant to understand its contents, but they are simply to be read and meditated upon.

In other words not draw any conclusions? Despite the fact that this may be the intention of this particular book, people have been known to draw conclusions anyway.

First of all, when seeking the truth, let's use our common sense. 

I protest to the usage of the word 'our' in this sentence. We may not share it.

Religions in the past that have died off have died for a reason: people discovered them to be false. 

This is a simplification towards the reason of the ending of religions. How about superimposing other religions? how about the conversion of religions (Horus vs the Jesus figure) into other religions, the dying out of complete communities who adhere to a specific religion etc etc.

Second of all, once again, you are making a gross exaggeration of how many major faiths there are and how long it would take to seriously look into them.

I think you better read up on the variety of religions and religious interpretation. I don't want to be rude but you sound suspiciously like the stereotype American Christian who only realizes what's available in the states and has some small notion of the Judean- and Muslim beliefsystems and is highly arrogant towards his own belief. Just because you don't think that minor religions can't be compared to your faith, doesn't mean that I happen to think yours is more valid or that a practitioner of such a minority faith, of which there tens of thousands, would be inclined to think that. They don't. I don't.

Think about it, there are people out there who make a living studying religions.  It's a college major, for crying out loud.

I'm not sure what is your point by saying that but the fact that people study the major religions of the world, does not falsify minor ones.


And third, again, I am confused as to why you think I have an original, revolutionary "take" on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, plain and simple, and I believe everything any average Christian believes (or perhaps I should say, should believe). 
From my experiences on this board I can wake u up now and tell you that interpretation of Christianity is as diverse as there are grains of sand in the Sahara desert which I find to be not very surprising. Not too long ago I saw someone post a survey with over 30 questions on this board for Christians to fill in prior to them engaging in debate. This person did so our of sheer frustration because everytime he argued some obvious Christian viewpoint, someone would slam dunk the argument by saying: "Well I don't happen to believe that either'. As it turns out, even the most rudimentary principles thought to be shared by what you refere to as an 'average Christian', apparently wasn't even a cohesive set of interpretation or teaching.

Stick around on this forum long enough, and you can observe this for yourself.


I think the problem is when Christians, as individuals take their beliefs for granted and don't read enough or study enough to really understand what Christ is teaching, and confuse things. 

No matter how you look at it, these teachings of Christ were once interpreted to what they are today to the particular group of people you are referring to here. To other groups, it may very well vary, whether you agree on the validity of such alternate interpretations or not. To a Muslim, Christ can't even begin to outweigh the teachings of Muhammad (In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.)

There is nothing contradictory about the Bible.  People are contradictory. 
Exactly who gives meaning to the bible then if humans are excluded? Our cousins the chimps?

And I am not asking you to believe me.  Far from it. 

What a weird premise to engage in this discourse, I would very much like for you to believe me.

Again, I'd like to stress that people are contradictory, but not God. 
I agree, a non existant entity cannot contradict itself.

Don't take my word at face value. 

You know I wont.

Stop making excuses of not having enough time, and actually find out what Christianity is about.  To this day, I am continuing to research my beliefs and test my faith.  The Bible, in fact, advocates this.  Won't you do this with me?

No thank you. I really wouldn't see the point. I am someone who cannot blindly believe in anything, not for very long anyway. And if you think you can persuade me that the bible is the word of god or the inspired word of God or whatever other interpretation like that, you are barking up the wrong tree. And I also fail to see what wisdom can be gained from what you refere to as Christianity that cannot be gained from walking any other path. And if it's not wisdom you are referring to but some kind of salvation of my eternal spirit, you must first demonstrate that I actually have an eternal spirit, or a spirit at all.

I'm not saying that religion is a bad thing for a person to have, I can see the glaring advantages (I have to admit that I was a lot happier as a child in a sort of ignorance is bliss kind of way, and life did lose some of its magic after I was told that Santa didn't exist (Actually, we have another kind of santaclaus, our version comes on the 5th of December and rides a white horse in stead of a slay and his helpers are Mores in stead of elfs) eventhough a case against (organized) religion or the exclusive nature of the Christian religion can easily be made.

So, were you brought up to believe what you do or were you once oblivious to it all and decided on a mature age to become your version of a Christian?

regards,

G.

I'm sorry for the tragic waste of both of our time.  I'd offer another point-by-point rebuttal, but fifteen-ish posts on this forum later, I've come to realize you lot are impossible, and I don't know why I bother.

If your ego requires it, we can say that you won this argument.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:19:13 PM by elias »

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2008, 03:17:48 PM »
I'm sorry for the tragic waste of both of our time.  I'd offer another point-by-point rebuttal, but fifteen-ish posts on this forum later, I've come to realize you lot are impossible, and I don't know why I bother.

If your ego requires it, we can say that you won this argument.

That is very Christian of you.

Could you share with me, maybe out of respect for the time I put into the rebuttal, what you find to be 'impossible' about us?

Offline Airyaman

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2008, 03:22:30 PM »
I'm sorry for the tragic waste of both of our time.  I'd offer another point-by-point rebuttal, but fifteen-ish posts on this forum later, I've come to realize you lot are impossible, and I don't know why I bother.

If your ego requires it, we can say that you won this argument.

You mean that we don't accept conjecture and speculation as valid evidence?
If you are following God why can I still see you?

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2008, 03:24:35 PM »
I'm sorry for the tragic waste of both of our time.  I'd offer another point-by-point rebuttal, but fifteen-ish posts on this forum later, I've come to realize you lot are impossible, and I don't know why I bother.

If your ego requires it, we can say that you won this argument.

You mean that we don't accept conjecture and speculation as valid evidence?

..please don't agitate the man any further, I want to hear his answer.
:)

Offline elias

Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2008, 03:30:29 PM »
I'm sorry for the tragic waste of both of our time.  I'd offer another point-by-point rebuttal, but fifteen-ish posts on this forum later, I've come to realize you lot are impossible, and I don't know why I bother.

If your ego requires it, we can say that you won this argument.

That is very Christian of you.

Ironically: "Never give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them with their feet and then turn around and attack you." - Matthew 7:6

Not calling you a pig of course.  My tone on the previous post was a bit harsh, for that I apologize.

Quote
Could you share with me, maybe out of respect for the time I put into the rebuttal, what you find to be 'impossible' about us?

I am of the opinion, and I think you'll agree with me, that once someone's made up their mind about something, it's a daunting task changing it.  Especially grown men.  You probably think the same about me. 

It was fun swapping ideas with some of you, and not so fun with others, but it was momentary naivety on my part to think that my opinions and beliefs would be held with much respect on a site called "Why Won't God Heal Amputees".  I'm sure you can appreciate the incongruity.

Have a good day.  I won't be posting anymore and hope we can both get along merrily with our respective lives.

-Elias

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2008, 03:43:18 PM »
I am of the opinion, and I think you'll agree with me, that once someone's made up their mind about something, it's a daunting task changing it.  Especially grown men.  You probably think the same about me. 

It was fun swapping ideas with some of you, and not so fun with others, but it was momentary naivety on my part to think that my opinions and beliefs would be held with much respect on a site called "Why Won't God Heal Amputees".  I'm sure you can appreciate the incongruity.

Have a good day.  I won't be posting anymore and hope we can both get along merrily with our respective lives.

-Elias

When did we 'swap ideas'? you ran away at the first glance of actual rebuttal...
And no! If you have a valid point to make, I would change my opinion if I was in error which I am many a times about many a subject.

I hope this level of commitment isn't going to be the new standard, jeezzz..
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 03:44:51 PM by Gargaroth »

Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2008, 05:18:45 PM »
Just as an observer of Elias' posts, he brought nothing new to the discussion. He supported his arguments with nothing but inculcated fervour. His willfull ignorance, intellectual dishonesty, and now cowardice, fit the patern of most of our christian visitors here. If he stuck around he maybe could have learned a bit of morality, and made us all sick in the process.

Good riddance! Let someone else help him learn, we're at our quota already.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 08:59:11 PM by Ambassador Pony »
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 Airyaman

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2008, 08:32:02 PM »

Ironically: "Never give what is holy to dogs or throw your pearls before pigs. Otherwise, they will trample them with their feet and then turn around and attack you." - Matthew 7:6

Not calling you a pig of course.  My tone on the previous post was a bit harsh, for that I apologize.

No, let Jesus call us the pig. That way you are off the hook.
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Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2008, 01:55:36 AM »
Does anyone know where I can find the Number of Christian dedominations on wiki I referred to ?

Offline Dvhiker

Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2008, 06:46:31 PM »
Oh, you rational wretch, Garg!  You blew him out of the water. :D

Offline Gargaroth

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Re: 10 questions that every intelligent Christian must answer [#293]
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2008, 06:52:05 PM »
Oh, you rational wretch, Garg!  You blew him out of the water. :D

I guess he wasn 't prepared to face his beliefs in a court of reason. He basically told us that when he said that we people are 'impossible (to reason with)'. Kind of a pity though, I did spent some significant free time on my reply. Oh well..his god be with him..