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Debate me about the bible

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[quote name='Yann L' timestamp='1306690809' post='4817175']
Can't really say much on the topic, not being Christian nor knowing the Bible and all that, but I think that when a religion promises paradise by requiring the mindless following of some rigid dogma, then something is fundamentally wrong.

If you lead your life according to some basic and fundamental ethical guidelines, like not voluntarily harming others and trying to make this place a better place for all (within your possibilities), then a loving god is gladly going to accept you regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you read some old book or visited temples or churches. It's just basic logical reasoning. If you believe that our world was created by that god, then he must be a quite rational and logical thinking fellow.
[/quote]
This pretty much exactly reflects my thoughts on the subject. After spending the first 36 years of my life as a practicing Mormon, and doing mental gymnastics to justify some of the inconsistencies in what I was being taught, I finally came to the conclusion that God would not have given me the capacity to reason, and then require that I suspend that in order to accept those teachings. I also came to the conclusion that if God does have some elaborate set of rules he wants us to follow, he's done a pretty piss poor job of communicating them to us, given the number and diversity of religions in the world.

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[quote name='Dave Astle' timestamp='1306692273' post='4817182']
I also came to the conclusion that if God does have some elaborate set of rules he wants us to follow, he's done a pretty piss poor job of communicating them to us, given the number and diversity of religions in the world.
[/quote]

The rules are there to make you realize you cannot follow them. All those rules became just "one" with the Christ.

[font="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"][size="2"]
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[b][quote]1 Corinthians 15:56 [/b]


[sup]56[/sup] For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.

[/quote]

[/size][/size][/font]

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[quote name='D.Chhetri' timestamp='1306641237' post='4816980']
[list=1][*]Originally there was a lot of contradiction in the bible because it was written by humans[list]These contradictions were refractor-ed by a humans, specifically some committee of who's name I can't recall[/list][/list]
[list]If it wasn't for all of these refractor, more and more people will be aware of such contradiction and hence people will start to question and possible see the problems with the bible. Which could cause a tremendous loss in the business of selling bibles and spiritual objects[/quote][/list]There aren't that many contradictions in the Bible, and purely as a historical document, it hasn't been changed very much at all from it's original versions to the versions we have today. I'm pretty sure the bible has the least variance of any document from a similar period.


[quote name='rip-off' timestamp='1306681170' post='4817122']
Proof is antithetical to religious faith.

From my way of seeing this, you've got a few choices:[list][*]Require proof. Some of the greatest thinkers through the millennia have put their intellects into this, and no definitive "proof" has so far emerged.[/quote][/list]Isn't that kind of backwards? If proof is antithetical to religious faith (kind of the point of it being faith) it shouldn't matter the quality of the intellect trying to prove it. If we could prove the existence of God it would kind of go against the point anyway.

[quote]One thing to think about is why you are emotionally attached to the idea that the bible is true. If you were coming from a totally rational perspective, this would not be an issue.
[/quote]
Why does being rational have anything to do with emotions being or not being an issue. Why are you emotionally attached to your wife or significant other? Do you find it irrational? If so, does it being irrational make it any more or less important to you?

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Thanks for all your guys help and responses. I've read and watched video's suggested, and as of right now, I'm still thinking things out. But I would for now like to cherry-pick some responses and respond to them.

@frob
[quote]
Analogy time: A baby starts eating mother's milk, then gets weaned to mashed fruits and veggies, and slowly expands their diet to cover a full range of foods; you don't start by stuffing steak in a newborn's mouth. Next analogy: School children being with basic concepts and simple statements, gradually expanding in detail, depth, and nuance as the child's capacity to understand it increases; many times the concepts are incomplete or only partially true. You start a first grader on basic addition and subtraction, you hold off mathematical proofs of basic operations until number theory courses in college and have the capacity and background necessary to understand. And yet.... when science reveals that the food we give our babies is actually toxic and causes cancer, and new scientific theories completely destroy those currently being taught, what will people in the future think of our basic actions?

So too with how God would communicate to man. The recorded word says that God spoke with Moses, and Moses was shown the entire world from beginning to end. Do you suppose that Moses would understand the world as we see it today? Or that he would understand the world as it was seen in the 1400s? Or that he would understand the world as it was seen 2000 years ago? Or 4000 years ago? No, that isn't reasonable. Moses would have interpreted what he saw and experienced in terms he was familiar with. He would have recorded (or caused the scribes to record) his own interpretations of what he heard and saw. He could only process it in terms of what he already understood.

There are many things that we see and experience today that are completely outside the realm of understanding of people even a few decades before. How would you explain the Internet to those who have no concept of electronics just a century ago?
[/quote]

No I do not expect Moses( a human ) to comprehend how to world starts and ends. But actually, I didn't know that god showed moses how the entire world began and ended, mainly because I do not read the bible that much. But this statement implies determinism. That it is already determined how everything will start and end, so why then do we have free will, assuming we do have it in the first place.

[quote]
Next up, the concept of literacy. Many of the people in Bible stories were illiterate. Many prophets and kings relied on scribes to record their words. Many stories were not immediately recorded at all, traveling through many people before getting recorded. Some, like the story of Job, were written in poetic form. Does that mean that they cease to be divinely inspired? I don't believe so. Instead, you must take that at its value and accomidate for it within your beliefs.
[/quote]

But that leaves the question just how much of it is real and attributed to god? Why should we believe this part versus others? It also leaves the possibility that all words in the scripture are wrong and falsely misinterpreted. If you defend that the bible is the scripture of god's disciples, then you cannot say that this part is from god and that isn't because it was or might have been misinterpreted. If you defend it, then you have to defend the whole thing.

[quote]
You say they are fairy-tale like, and several are. I tell my own children stories of my own life and they enjoy them; I often start with "Once upon a time there was a little boy named Bryan, and one day he went out on an adventure..." These are stories of my life being recounted to my children, they are true to my memory, yet they are in fairy tale form. Would you say that immediately makes the story false? Would the life lessons I learned the hard way become less true simply because I use a format they enjoy? Does it harm the facts to reduce the story down to just those most relevant details expressed in a way they understand? I don't think so.
[/quote]
No I guess I didn't say it clearly, when I say fairy-tale like, I do not mean how it was presented, I mean the content of whats being presented. Obviously, you telling your kids your life experience in a nicely wrapped version doesn't imply your story to be false, because your story are explainable. The story presented in the bible( from my little readings), are claims made such that its hard to believe and naturally/scientifically unexplainable.

[quote]
Are you saying that all miracles must be outside of a particular probability? Are you saying that miracles must lay completely outside of science? I don't see how that works. Why would we need to be surrounded by mighty miracles that defy description?

I see a world where we are surrounded by miracles. Does it seem far-fetched that world is filled with miracles, divine inspiration, and at the same time is utterly mundane? How many stories are there where a mother feels prompted to check on her child only to discover them in a life-threatening situation? Was that divine inspiration or just some pattern of subconscious thought, or perhaps both? How many stories are there where people were protected from harm and they attribute it to God, where it can just as easily be attributed to a chaos butterfly effect? A thing can have a perfectly mundane scientific explanation and still be a miracle. Even our modern science itself I attribute to miracles and inspiration. Is a premature baby spending six months in a NICU and ultimately turning out just as healthy as a full-term child any less a miracle simply because doctors employed machines while the family spent time a few rooms away in the hospital's chapel? I spent two summers working in a hospital and saw enough for myself; go visit a hospital and ask some friendly doctors and nurses if they believe in everyday miracles.

Combining these I take it as refuting this group of claims. I believe there is plenty of evidence that supports stories in the bible, and that while the stories were told by people with a different understanding and interpretation of the world, they still contain inspired truth, and that miracles are all around us if we care to open our eyes to them.
[/quote]

But the problem here is that your attributing miracles when some goods happen and saying when some good doesn't happen, its just bad luck. For example, two people are diagnosed with cancer. Both are christians, both families and supporters prayed heavily for them. In the end, one of them was cured, while the other died. Now your saying that the person that was cured, was a miracule, while the person that died just had bad luck. That doesn't constitutes as a miracle. You cannot simply say when something good happened, that it was a result of devine intervention and completely ignore the fact that the all other situation of similar kind that resulted in a bad was as bad luck. Thats just being ignorant.

[quote]
The bible is not a single work. It is a compendium of a bunch of records that were kept in various languages, translated many times, consolidated, and more. Errors were made in copies. Errors were made in translations. There were many times that scholars collected multiple copies, compared the differences, and attempted to resolve errors between them, or gathered copies and attempted to translate them. Many records were left out because the scholars and clerics decided against it, perhaps through revelation and inspiration, or perhaps not. Many records were lost or destroyed, for reasons I'll let you ponder yourself. Perhaps records were added that should not have been, or omitted in error.
[/quote]

You use the term scholars, as if they are better than 'regular' folks. Just because they are scholars, doesn't make their opinion correct. What you said in the above statement, makes the bible seem even more controversial. If what you said above is true, then that makes me even more furious. It seems like the "scholars" are just trying to turn profit and hide the evidence.
[frustration](*&(&(&@&)(((*********::<~)(***(**(jnfkdjfbhkbar]]/frustration]

Personally, I want to say thank you frob for all your help. You have helped me tremendously in this forum.

@RedPin:Go Kick rocks, others have already pointed out the flaw and ignorance of your post. You are not a Heretic, but rather stubborn.

@owl
[quote]A christian is person who is able to enjoy life as it comes....
[/quote]
What you described there is not religion, but rather following some philosophy like
[quote]
[u]By Yann L:[/u]
If you lead your life according to some basic and fundamental ethical guidelines, like not voluntarily harming others and trying to make this place a better place for all (within your possibilities), then a loving god is gladly going to accept you regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you read some old book or visited temples or churches. It's just basic logical reasoning. If you believe that our world was created by that god, then he must be a quite rational and logical thinking fellow.
[/quote]


In the end, it ultimately comes to my decision, and I hope I can come to a resting conclusion that eases my mind. Until, then I'm screwed in the head.

regards, D.Chhetri

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To the OP:

[quote][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.[/size][/color][/quote]

I agree with rip-off and some others on here. If you want to think rationally, then you're going to end up finding out that religion isn't for you. The Christian faith is like any other faith in the world. All your criticisms of Christianity are reasonable ones, and will inevitably lead you to the same conclusions myself and increasing numbers of people are finding. The most important one being: god is created by man, not the other way around. That's the only reasonable explanation for the myriads of religions throughout the world, the myriad of differing denominations within each of those religions, and the inconsistencies religious dogma always encounters with observable reality.

And there is nothing wrong with not believing in some deity, or a particular faith. In fact I applaud you for considering your faith logically (i assume you would currently describe yourself as religious as you said 'I am a confused Christian'). If you want to think rationally about such things, make sure you do so from an unbiased perspective, and don't just fall into the trap of trying to 'justify' what you already believe.

On the assumption that you still believe or feel compelled to believe in a god, one way or the other, then just remember that the nature of such a being means it is not something man can easily understand. What is recorded in the bible is the record of fallible men, even if it was recorded with the best of intentions. The pope will tell you that 'man can not understand God's ways' on one hand, and then claim to know how God wants you to live your life on the other. And why should you believe the Bible when the Qur'an says something different? Books are written by man. They are translated and edited by man over thousands of years. Councils and committees change the morals of a religion under the guise of divine inspiration; in order to more appropriately reflect the morality of the times and the surrounding culture; largely in order to attract members.

Most importantly, no religion or holy text or anyone else can tell you how to live a good life. You know how to behave well towards your fellow man, you don't need step by step instructions for it. All that's really left of any value beyond that is what waits for us beyond death. Personally, I'd suggest trying not to worry about that too much now, and concentrate on enjoying the one life you can be absolutely sure of :)

Good luck overcoming your dilemma.

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[quote name='Fox89' timestamp='1306711946' post='4817275']Most importantly, no religion or holy text or anyone else can tell you how to live a good life. [/quote]Of course they can. Whether you agree or not is a different matter.

I think the OP would be better discussing with an expert on the subject, or reading a book on it, to at least get good answers. He can then decide if he likes those answers, but at least an 'official' answer lets you know where you stand.

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@D.Chhetri


I'm a little burnt out at the moment on religious debates so I don't want to dive into yet another one, but I did want to refer you to a religious TV show where people of faith and atheists sit down and have (sometimes) productive discussions on the meaning of religion, the bible, etc. I have learned an enormous amount from the people who run this show (and the people who call in to the show) about religion, science, history, and so many more topics. If you're looking for someone to seriously debate you on the bible, these are the people to do it with. They are both knowledgeable about the bible (despite being non-believers) and respectful of others, so long as they are shown equal respect.

[url="http://www.atheist-experience.com/"]The Athiest Experience TV Show[/url]


Watching the entire shows (which run 60-90 minutes) can be a bit tiring and the topic and discussions are not always the greatest. I'd recommend you search youtube for "atheist experience" and you can find some of the best moments of the show in the clips there. Here's one in particular from February that is great.

[url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAuFJKQh83Y"]Youtube - The Real Cost of Religious Faith[/url]


I've heard about the experiences of people like yourself that have called in to the show enough that I know you're going through a very delicate and confusing phase right now. The best advice I can give to you is to just continue studying, researching, and thinking for yourself. Don't let anyone else decide for you what is or is not true, especially if they don't offer any supporting evidence to their claims. Good luck in your journey and I hope whatever you end up deciding to believe, it makes your life better.

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[quote name='D.Chhetri' timestamp='1306641237' post='4816980']
So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.

regards, D.Chhetri
[/quote]

If you're looking for reaffirmation of your faith you posted this in about the worst forum on the internet. This board is pretty anti-theistic, I would even call it militantly atheistic at times. That being said, here's my take:

[quote]
[list=1][*]Originally there was a lot of contradiction in the bible because it was written by humans[list]These contradictions were refractor-ed by a humans, specifically some committee of who's name I can't recall[/list][/list]
[list]If it wasn't for all of these refractor, more and more people will be aware of such contradiction and hence people will start to question and possible see the problems with the bible. Which could cause a tremendous loss in the business of selling bibles and spiritual objects[/list][/quote]

There are still some contradictions in the Bible, google Bible errors and you'll see a list of them. The contradictions I see are of two varieties, obvious literary errors (ie one book says 5000 soldiers at one battle and another says 500), and theological interpretations. The first is hard to dispute, where they exist doesn't typically undermine faith. We're reading from a book thousands of years old so there's bound to be some mistakes like that in it. The second is a paradigm issue. A good example is the creation story. An atheist reads Genesis, says that there are two conflicting accounts of the creation story, and claims it as proof the story is a lie. A person believing in the Bible as the inspired word of God will read the "two" stories and make an explanation for how it can make sense. That's all I can really say about that, it boils down to your paradigm when you read it.

As far as your refactoring, I would disagree about it. There's been councils about what to include in "THE" Bible, and there has definitely been some manuscripts that are altered to fit a desire. However, almost every Bible I have seen reads like Wikipedia, where there are differences, they are clearly labelled and marked so you can research it farther for yourself. Great example is the last chapter of Mark , the footnote always reads (this is only in the Vulgate, does not appear before the 16th century, blah blah blah). There are more manuscripts of the Bible then any other ancient work, by far, by like a factor of 10,000 to 1. Every time they find an older manuscript, it is scrutinized and usually identical to your version today. The difference may be in how some versions interpret the actual physical words, but I'm not aware of any interpretations that "fix" any sort of contradiction, unless it's one of the "inspired" versions like The Message or something that was not meant to be an exact reproduction of the Bible. If you're aware of any specific examples please let me know, I'm personally not aware of any.


[quote]
There are things in the bible, still, that regular people find disturbing, such as the topic of homosexual, or parsing men more important than women.
[list]Really, if it was written by god's disciples, and were the words of god, then such discrimination shouldn't exist, because god is suppose to love everyone of every type.[/list][/quote]

The Bible is always written by a human person and every human has a cultural paradigm. I think you have to distinguish between what is a commandment from God and what is a cultural paradigm. I've never been to a church (I know they exist) that required women to cover their head, and yet I don't think they are going to hell over it. God makes it clear in Genesis that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman, and yet he calls David (a guy with tons of wives and concubines) a man after his own heart. So to me it's clear he is less interested in cultural fads and more interested in people loving God and loving others.

I haven't done a good word study, it's probably the next big thing I do, but go here to this site: [url="http://www.biblefood.com/7wrdsin.html"]http://www.biblefood.com/7wrdsin.html[/url] . Sin doesn't mean direct defiance of God, most of the time it means "missing the mark". So to say homosexuality is a sin could be the same as saying drinking soda and eating oreos is a sin. And for the most part this is kind of my take on it. My object isn't to get people to stop overeating, or to stop binge drinking, or to stop having promiscuous sex, it's to show people a joyful life. And typically when one replaces those things that we think make us happy (which we all have in one form or another), with God, the other things kind of lose their appeal and people start living a happier life. Unfortunately, most christians make a big deal of certain cultural issues to the point of turning people away from a message of complete mercy and joy.

[quote]
It also says that unless you follow him specifically, you will live eternity in hell? WTF!!! My family members are hindu, they are one of the best people that I know. My friend is not a believer in jesus, but possibly of a believer of there being a creator in general. He is one of the nicest and caring person that I know. Should he goto hell? For what? For some minuscule sins? So the bible is saying, I could kill thousands of people, and ask for forgiveness with all my heart and be truly sorry, and from there be the best person I can be, then I will goto heaven, but my friend who does nothing* wrong, tries to pleases people before him, will go to hell because he didn't believe in jesus in particular! Come on now, that does not sound like "god's words".
[/quote]

I guess it depends on what your definition of "hell" is. I always had kind of a CS Lewis "Great Divorce" type thought on hell, even before I read the book. My take on it is that hell (and heaven for that matter), is what you make of it. If you spend your life devoted to God (loving God and loving your neighbors), your life will be more joyous, and your heaven can start now on earth. If you're only concerned with yourself, then your hell starts now, and when you die you're essentially getting what you want, a life without God.

Now what form that takes I don't know. Is God going to take people who lived on a remoted island and never heard the name Jesus and throw them in a molten hot pool of magma for all eternity? I honestly don't know, but from what I know of his character, it doesn't really fit in. I recommend reading the Great Divorce, because it provides a setting for how heaven/hell could work.

I do know one thing though, if you genuinely don't like God, like if you literally hate the idea of someone who loves you and is benevolent, then spending all eternity in his unfettered presence isn't really a reward.

[quote]
There is no type of evidence that supports the bible and anything in the bible
[list]Most events declared in the bible are "fairy tale" like, and nothing supports their claims.[/list]
[list]Some events, were explained by science and thus was not a supernatural. It was an actual explainable event with some probability.[/list][/quote]

There's a lot of evidence that supports events in the Bible. There's not really any evidence in the miraculous. For example, there's definitely evidence that there was a battle of Jericho. No, there's no evidence that God handed them the victory on a silver platter. By nature this kind of thing doesn't really present "proof" as far as proof is concerned. Science explaining events doesn't necessarily discount spiritual miracles either. I for one, don't really care if God used an earthquake to stop the rivers of Jericho, but I would still call it a miracle given the fact that he timed it perfectly with the movement of his army.

I've personally witnessed things that if were cooincidence, were very improbable. I won't share them on this forum but if you're interested you can PM me and I'll share them with you.

[quote]
<li>In factual sense, the bible is no more true than the Quran( the religious text of Islam) . The reason why many people believe this book than others is because they were brought up by it. When they were little, they had no intelligence to rebuttal and question the content of the bible deductively. And thus the result is that they take it true for granted from day one. Honestly, imagine you were a christian brought up with parents who believes hinduism. You would most likely believe this hinduism, especially if you were never able to leave india( assuming thats where you were born) which in turn would cause you to never find christianity with a high probability, because of their strict culture.[/quote]

People believe in different things for a variety of different reasons. There are thousands of former Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, who grew up in one tradition and decided to follow Christianity for whatever reason. Likewise, there are people who grow up in a christian household and follow a different path. There are people who believe in what they believe because it is ingrained in them, and there are people who look critically at their beliefs and continue to maintain them. There are millions of christians in the world, not all of them are in the former group. Some in fact, are persecuted harshly for their beliefs and yet maintain that they are correct and true despite their hardships.

I will say this, that if you are looking for The Bible to strike you on the head and show you that it is the truth, it's not going to happen. Christianity is not about knowledge. If you believe the story, God didn't send his son to die for the iniquities of the world so that we could sit on our collective fat asses and just put together scientific proofs about how true it is. Christianity is about personal relationships. It's about the ability for us to have a relationship with God and to manifest that with love for other people. This is the power and the gift of christianity. To be honest I don't see much of a difference in the person who believes IN God and yet it has no impact on his life vs. the person who professes no faith. If you're just looking for brain affirmation that the Bible is or isn't true, but it doesn't effect your life, what does it matter? To me this is what the Bible is referring to when it talks about faith and works. If you're really faithful to God, in the real sense of being reliant and dependant, then you can't help but have your life changed to the point of it being noticeable. Faith in God is not the same as believing in a God. Faith is a watered down concept that has become a synonym for unproven belief in a concept. The greek words for faith have a much more important meaning to encompass ideas like adherence, trust, committment, like a child has faith in their parents

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Here's my (somewhat meta-) take on your dilemma.

Your (and everyone else's) opinions on the content of the Bible, it's accuracy, consistency, meaning, manner of composition, and everything else that is discussed in this type of thread is irrelevant by necessity. The basic reason is that God (any Abrahamic conception, certainly) > man. By a lot. The following section assumes that God both exists and exists and at least roughly matches the common Judeo-Christian ideas of him.

One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.

If there are passages of the Bible that are not consistent with others (and there are plenty, as has already been discussed), those inconsistencies could just as easily be attributed to God's design as a perfectly consistent narrative. The assumption that the information inside it is both 100% factually accurate and should be internally consistent makes sense to me if I'm going to base my life on it, but there's no particular reason that God needs to feel that way. If I don't or can't understand why God would act differently, that doesn't really matter. My understanding can't constrain an infinite and omnipotent being.

Any one person's understanding or interpretation of the Bible or anything else God-related has infinitely more to do with what that person thinks or imagines God to be than any correlation with reality. The same goes for anyone else's interpretations (that is, asking someone else what X religious curiosity isn't any more likely to be accurate than your own).

And if God either doesn't exist or doesn't exist in the Judeo-Christian mode, then any analysis or interpretations aren't theistically significant. They might happen to correspond to a different faith which happens to be true, or good ideas in their own right (and many of them are). But they won't be divine in the sense that believers tend to consider that they are.

So my point is that you shouldn't let your confusion ruin yourself or your faith. It's not an ultimate obstacle, but rather the proper (and humble) starting point for any religion. You aren't going to ever understand everything about your faith or God or anything like that, because you can't. If that causes you to feel that you can't participate in your religion as an active believer, then you'll know what you have to do. If you can live with it, then you'll be able to channel your faith through that knowledge and be better for it.

But no one can patch your beliefs for you if you no longer believe them, especially because they have the same existential fetters as you do. If you don't believe, you don't believe.

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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1306722209' post='4817335']
One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.
[/quote]

I've heard this argument so many times and each time I hear it I cringe. Last time was in [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnrJVTSYLr8&feature=player_embedded"]this video[/url] where the subject compares us to pots of clay questioning the motives of the potter. But here's the thing, we're not pots of clay. We can think and reason. It might be fairly puny reasoning compared to some hypothetical omniscient deity, but it's still a world away from an inanimate object.

Let's assume that god is real, and he (directly or indirectly) caused humans to turn out roughly the way we are. We constantly hear how god granted us free will. Ok, if the gift of free will is so important, surely the ability to reason and more importantly [b]to question[/b] is equally important. Otherwise we are simply exercising our free will based on faulty judgement.

The other argument I've heard is that we're like children compared to god, and children even though they are sentient must sometimes be made to do things they don't like for their own good. Fair enough, but if you parent a child in this way without explaining your actions, [b]you're a bad parent.[/b] "Because I say so" is never a good response, not to a child and certainly not to an adult.

You say that to think we can understand gods actions are "the greatest possible height of pride"; on the contrary, I believe to [b]not[/b] try to understand gods actions is the height of moral cowardice.

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[quote name='ChaosEngine' timestamp='1306726045' post='4817344']
Let's assume that god is real, and he (directly or indirectly) caused humans to turn out roughly the way we are. We constantly hear how god granted us free will. Ok, if the gift of free will is so important, surely the ability to reason and more importantly [b]to question[/b] is equally important. Otherwise we are simply exercising our free will based on faulty judgement.[/quote]

Not only did God endow us with these qualities, he created us [i]in his image[/i].

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I normally stay the fuck away from religious threads, so I don't read the entire thread.

Here's a piece of advice for your confused mind:

[b]You don't need the Bible to believe in God.[/b]

[b]God does not need the Bible to prove Its existence.[/b]

God and the Bible are two separate things. To illustrate this point, let's talk about Elvis. Elvis was a superstar. He was famous, and people adore him. Then he died. People have been imitating Elvis since then. They made movies about Elvis. They wrote stories about him. Do those stories define Elvis? Do you think by reading/watching/listening to tales of Elvis will make you understand Elvis? Do you think those stories will make you see through Elvis and understand all about him? Obviously not. Even if he was still alive, you still wouldn't understand him, because he's a person, he's just as complex as you are.

Now, we are not talking about a person, we are talking about...God. If all great minds collectively write stories about God trying to define God, they still would only capture a fraction of God.

So, who cares if Bible is true or not and how it was translated. Who cares if the original transcript was "virgin" or "young girl". The foundation of your faith should not be the Bible.

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[quote name='ChaosEngine' timestamp='1306726045' post='4817344']
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1306722209' post='4817335']
One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.
[/quote]

I've heard this argument so many times and each time I hear it I cringe. Last time was in [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnrJVTSYLr8&feature=player_embedded"]this video[/url] where the subject compares us to pots of clay questioning the motives of the potter. But here's the thing, we're not pots of clay. We can think and reason. It might be fairly puny reasoning compared to some hypothetical omniscient deity, but it's still a world away from an inanimate object.

Let's assume that god is real, and he (directly or indirectly) caused humans to turn out roughly the way we are. We constantly hear how god granted us free will. Ok, if the gift of free will is so important, surely the ability to reason and more importantly [b]to question[/b] is equally important. Otherwise we are simply exercising our free will based on faulty judgement.

The other argument I've heard is that we're like children compared to god, and children even though they are sentient must sometimes be made to do things they don't like for their own good. Fair enough, but if you parent a child in this way without explaining your actions, [b]you're a bad parent.[/b] "Because I say so" is never a good response, not to a child and certainly not to an adult.

You say that to think we can understand gods actions are "the greatest possible height of pride"; on the contrary, I believe to [b]not[/b] try to understand gods actions is the height of moral cowardice.
[/quote]

I never said that we were pots of clay, or inanimate or any such thing, so we can let that go.

I'll agree that the abilities to question and reason are important; in fact, I think that those are the very things that make us human, and are the proper behaviors of mankind (I'm non-religious, by the way). But the idea that the exercise of free will is necessarily good because our ability to reason is inherently good I don't agree with. Some people reason badly, and so they do in fact exercise their free will based on faulty judgement. The ability to reason in no way dictates or even suggests that your reasoning will be good or correct.

And explain stuff to your kids all you want. I agree that that's an important thing to do for a lot of reasons. But you don't sit a toddler down and explain the dangers of drowning to him or her. You keep the kid away from the water, or you supervise them pretty minutely to keep them safe. You don't trust a toddler's free will to combine with their reasoning abilities to equal safety.

But the gap between children and adults is not very similar to that between god and anything else. "Because I say so" is a cop out for a parent, even if the child fails to understand the reasons for actions regardless of effort. But the rules for the omnipotent creator of the universe are going to be a bit different than for me talking to my kid.

As I said above, I think that the ability to think and reason are the pinnacle of humanity. If you believe in god (as large an assumption as anything else), then go ahead and speculate as much as you can. It'll be good for you, and worlds better than not bothering to do so. But to think that you will reach the [i]objectively correct[/i] conclusions is as hubristic as you can get. And that means that certitude is never going to be part of the equation for you in theistic reasoning.


[quote name='cowsarenotevil' timestamp='1306726382' post='4817347']
[quote name='ChaosEngine' timestamp='1306726045' post='4817344']
Let's assume that god is real, and he (directly or indirectly) caused humans to turn out roughly the way we are. We constantly hear how god granted us free will. Ok, if the gift of free will is so important, surely the ability to reason and more importantly [b]to question[/b] is equally important. Otherwise we are simply exercising our free will based on faulty judgement.[/quote]

Not only did God endow us with these qualities, he created us [i]in his image[/i].
[/quote]

...which means what, exactly? I could trot out the standard replies (so does god have two kinds of genitals?), but the statement itself is subject to my critique. Regardless of how literally you take the Bible, or how strongly you believe that it is a faithful transcription of the Word of God (in the sense that you don't think it was diluted by human misunderstanding, translation, etc.), you are still making tremendous assumptions about what that line means and what the implications of it are.

Is it a physical thing only? Is it the capacity for love and goodness? It's certainly not power or wisdom or knowledge. Per the creation story, god didn't create mankind with the ability to know good from evil, which is arguably one of the more important strands of theology. It's definitely going to be the cornerstone or moral reasoning.

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[quote name='ChaosEngine' timestamp='1306726045' post='4817344']
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1306722209' post='4817335']
One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.
[/quote]
[b]
You say that to think we can understand gods actions are "the greatest possible height of pride"; on the contrary, I believe to [/b][b]not try to understand gods actions is the height of moral cowardice.[/b]
[/quote]

Quoting for extra emphasis.


On a tangential topic, one thing that irritates me about apologists is that, by necessity, they dictate that any and every action "that God takes" (or doesn't take) is necessarily good. I live in Austin Texas where last year, [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Austin_plane_crash"]an angry individual flew his small airplane into a building[/url] that is not more than five miles from where I live. In the early stages after the attack, it was believed that everyone in the building made it out alive. One of my Christian friends on Facebook posted something like "Praise Jesus! No one was killed!" (except for the attacker). A few minutes later it was found out that one innocent man was killed, and I posted on my friend's wall informing them of the death. Their response was "Well still its a miracle that more people weren't killed", which made me facepalm. I bet if everyone in the building was killed she would have still thanked Jesus that more people weren't hurt. Some believers like to point to horrible disasters and say "Well it would have been [i]so[/i] much worse if God hadn't stepped in."


Here's a great example from recent memory. [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSXhHDjrt6o"]This is a clip from the TV show I mentioned in an earlier post[/url] (skip to the 10:00 mark for the relevant part of the dialogue). This caller calls the 2011 Tucson shooting "a miracle" because Gabrielle Giffords survived a gunshot to a head and the show hosts rightly point out that its hardly a miracle when innocent people and children are murdered in cold blood.

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[quote][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.[/size][/color][/quote]

In my limited time here on this earth, here's my advice...

Why all the fear? Don't be afraid to question the very foundations of your belief systems. Even the things that you may have been taught that if you disbelieve you'll go to hell, be excommunicated, etc... For example if you're Catholic, you'll have to question if Mary was really a virgin, or if that's really Christ in the bread.

These aren't your beliefs, they've been thrust upon you by well-meaning parents, religious authorities, and countless others before you...

Until you can cross that threshold, you'll never know what's beyond. The funny thing is that God (if you believe in him) works in mysterious ways and even after crossing over, it doesn't mean that you need to abandon your faith that you grew up with. Sometimes you just see with new eyes and can now filter the hokey pokey from what really matters.

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First, I don't think that you are [color="#1C2837"][size="2"]christian [/size][/color]at all. I honestly think that you are hungry for attention, judging by the drama that emanate from every word in every sentence you've wrote.
Second, and I believe that I say this in behalf on all the Christians: I don't care if you are homosexual, or heterosexual (just don't be anything deviant), and stop bring that up in hope that you will gain more follower that will agree with you opinion.
[font="Arial"]Third, it is not possible that even heretic from page 1 that don't have absolutely any obligation to think about bible, to realize that "[color="#1c2837"][size="2"]unless you follow him specifically, you will live eternity in hell.." is metaphor, and you as a Christian don't.[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"]Fourth, this [/color][/size][/font][bquote][font="Arial"][size="2"][color="#1c2837"]"[/color][/size][/font][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]Should he goto hell? For what? For some minuscule sins? So the bible is saying, I could kill thousands of people, and ask for forgiveness with all my heart and be truly sorry, and from there be the best person I can be, then I will got[/size][/color][font="Arial"][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]o heaven, but my friend who does nothing* wrong, tries to pleases people before him, will go to hell because he didn't believe in jesus in particular! Come on now, that does not sound like "god's words"."[/size][/color][/font][/bquote][font="Arial"][color="#1C2837"][size="2"], looks like either, petty attempt to try to [/size][/color][color="#333333"][size="2"]provoke members from different religions to take place in this otherwise hollow discussion, or lack of reading hours, members of gamedev.net are likely to have high IQ,you know?[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Fifth, you are putting equivalence between Jesus and Bible way to easy, this is also one of the reasons for first claim.[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Sixth you are looking for scientifically explainable religion?[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Seventh, if you even bother to read Quran you would have surely noticed confirmation of Bible in it.[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Eighth try to respect other religions, because you sometimes in them, can find confirmation of your own.[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Ninth, you (and I for that matter) have much to learn from Roots's friend: see good in everything.[/size][/color][/font]
[font="Arial"][color="#333333"][size="2"]Tenth: to admins please ban religious posts. [/size][/color][/font]

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[quote name='owl' timestamp='1306688926' post='4817161']
[quote name='KidsLoveSatan' timestamp='1306672869' post='4817071']
[quote name='owl' timestamp='1306666063' post='4817044']
A christian is person who is able to enjoy life as it comes.[/quote]A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ.
[/quote]

You make it sound as if Jesus didn't enjoy his life.
[/quote]You make it sound like that's the only requirement.

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[quote name='KidsLoveSatan' timestamp='1306739334' post='4817417']
[quote name='owl' timestamp='1306688926' post='4817161']
[quote name='KidsLoveSatan' timestamp='1306672869' post='4817071']
[quote name='owl' timestamp='1306666063' post='4817044']
A christian is person who is able to enjoy life as it comes.[/quote]A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Christ.
[/quote]

You make it sound as if Jesus didn't enjoy his life.
[/quote]You make it sound like that's the only requirement.
[/quote]

You make it sound like if it [i]was[/i] a requirement.

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[quote name='D.Chhetri' timestamp='1306709042' post='4817265']
@frob

No I do not expect Moses( a human ) to comprehend how to world starts and ends. But actually, I didn't know that god showed moses how the entire world began and ended, mainly because I do not read the bible that much. But this statement implies determinism. That it is already determined how everything will start and end, so why then do we have free will, assuming we do have it in the first place.
[/quote]

Determinism is a fun one.


I believe the end is known, but not through determinism.

I've got children, and I know them pretty well. I know a lot of struggles they are going to make. I have stood by and watched as they struggled through certain things because I know that they will be better for it. I know the child and I know they will reach a specific conclusion, especially if I guide them. When I watch my daughter do her math homework I can peek over her shoulder and see what she is doing. I can make very small suggestions and ask very small questions that can completely transform the way she thinks about the assignment. And yet I let her struggle, I watch as she makes mistakes, because I know she will be better for it.

Using my limited knowledge and being a far from perfect parent, I can watch my child struggle and try to intervene at the critical moments. Step in too early and they won't learn, they won't learn how to struggle and come up with solutions. Step in too late and they will give up or fail. Intervene just the right amount at the right time and they will excel. I imagine God is pretty good at that.



As for knowing the whole plan, we do it all the time with computer programs. we know what will happen, we know to expect from a game, we designed it and know how it will turn out even if individual players make different choices as they play. If we were perfect programmers and were able to design a system without error, we could allow every player to have freedom within our solution and yet still know the entire course the program will take. Does that make it deterministic? Does that mean the players are not free to make choices?

Nothing prevents a player from jumping into a pit millions of times, they are still free to do so; that is part of the reason we employ testers to do things like bump into every wall in the game when going backwards, or play an entire RPG without ever equipping a weapon. We know there are the crazy people who play Nethack that try to do odd things. The web has accumulated a large number of amazing YAAP end-of-game stats. Many of these stats are so improbable or difficult to achieve that they seem impossible... And yet, the whole plan of the game was well known in advance by those who play it. Players are free to act however he want, yet the end results are easily predictable.




The scriptures have many accounts of prophets being shown the world from beginning to end, how the prophets should learn their part, learn what matters and what doesn't. I imagine that if I were shown a single impending earthquake or serious tragedy I would do a lot to prevent it or reduce damage. However, if I were shown the entire world from end to end I would have a different perspective; I'd see earthquakes as just one event out of millions that people should prepare for, and I'd understand that in the Grand Scheme of Things it is best to let tragedy happen since it is often followed by compassion, service, repentance, improved understanding and general advancements, and also better preparation for future events.

Imagine for a moment that you were God. You were smart. You know how things work. In fact you've got a perfect knowledge of how everything works. You don't have to run an experiment about effects because your knowledge of physics is so perfect that you already know. You have a perfect knowledge of how to teach and inspire and guide. You've got a perfect knowledge of how people are going to react in certain situations, if they will panic or turn to a leader or behave in other ways. And as God you've have a perfect knowledge of what it takes to nudge the people to be in the right place at the right tome, and how to do the same with other creatures to alter the course of nature. Not only do you know chaos theory and which butterfly can flap its wings to cause a storm around the globe, but would also be able to prompt that butterfly at the right time, and know exactly how to do it, to get the desired response. As God you would know what it would take for a tiny whispering to the right people. You would know exactly what inspiration would need to be given, and the exact time and place, to reach the conclusion you want. Being perfect seems awesome.

Still imaging yourself with such perfect knowledge, would you not be able to look at the world and show someone the entire course from beginning to end?


I plan out trips during the holidays, and involve my whole family in the process. We plan out what we want to see, what we want to do, what roads we will take generally. We plan where we will stay. Some events are major and need significant planning, but we also allow for spur-of-the-moment changes. We check schedules in advance and buy tickets and reserve rooms. But our plans are not so inflexible that we cannot deal with a simple road closure or unexpected storms; these happen but the plan can still be followed. We've had vacations where people were sick or injured and generally our plans were flexible enough to allow for this. We had a plan, and we could tell extended family in advance where we would be each day, what we were doing, how we could be contacted, and when we would return. We knew what would happen, we knew the end from the beginning, all that was left was to enjoy the journey.

Why would God's plans be anything less than perfect? I'm certain they account for everything that needs to be considered, I trust that he's God and he can do that. The major course is already set and will be followed. There may be detours and course corrections to account for things, just as when you plan a major cross-country trip you may find detours, but they can be easily dealt with and destination is known, the plans are in motion, and the perfect captain is at the helm. The only serious question is where we individually will choose along the way.

[quote][quote]
Next up, the concept of literacy. Many of the people in Bible stories were illiterate. Many prophets and kings relied on scribes to record their words. Many stories were not immediately recorded at all, traveling through many people before getting recorded. Some, like the story of Job, were written in poetic form. Does that mean that they cease to be divinely inspired? I don't believe so. Instead, you must take that at its value and accommodate for it within your beliefs.
[/quote]

But that leaves the question just how much of it is real and attributed to god? Why should we believe this part versus others? It also leaves the possibility that all words in the scripture are wrong and falsely misinterpreted. If you defend that the bible is the scripture of god's disciples, then you cannot say that this part is from god and that isn't because it was or might have been misinterpreted. If you defend it, then you have to defend the whole thing.
[/quote]

Yes, that is a good question. That is just one of many reasons why we still need guidance from God. If we believe that God didn't change the rules mid-game, then he still speaks to us individually and he still gives guidance to prophets today.

I don' t think there is a need to defend the entire bible as the literal word of God and directly applied to each of us today. I'll still hold that it contains messages from prophets to the people at that time which have been handed down, translated, and passed through generations. But when it comes to what applies to me directly, I will pray and ask what I can learn from the lessons, what guidance I need. And I will also look to the prophets in our own day to give guidance to me.

Noah tried to warn his people of the flood and called them to repent. That was the message from God to his people at that time. Does that mean mean we should be building arks today?

Moses led the exodus from Egypt to Israel, making clear demands to the king to let the people go interspersed with a series of plagues of increasing severity. That was the message at that time. Does that mean we should be packing our bags and preparing for plagues of locusts?

The prophet Nathan is in a couple books in the Old Testiment, among his prophecies to the then-king David included that his 4th son would try to gain control by force and murder and that he should give his kingdom to Soloman. Does that mean we should all beware of murder from the fourth-born children because a prophet once warned of it?

Elija warned the then-king of Israel about a multi-year drought and to prepare for it to avoid famine. Jacob the prophet who was sold to Egypt by his brothers had the same for a seven year drought in Egypt. Does the existence of these prophecies mean we need to stockpile for a seven-year drought in our time?

Isaiah was a great prophet who had a great many Messianic prophecies. He was also heavily involved with the political leaders and gave prophetic guidance to them as well. One of Isaiah's prophecies to a king that he didn't need to worry about an invading army leads to one of my favorite translations: "and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses." Perhaps that means if there is an army of a quarter million invaders camped at the bottom of the hill, perhaps just like Isaiah's prophecy to his king we don't need to worry because God will send in destroying angels (or perhaps angels with bags of poison) and about 180,000 of them will die during the night.



While it is interesting to see what prophets told people back in their day, I'm more concerned about my own day.

I also note that Isaiah's message to not worry about an army was quite different than a mass exodus like Moses. Different time, different message from the prophet of God.

I want to know what are today's prophets warning us about.

God spoke back then and I don't believe he has changed into a silent role. In my church we believe in prophets, and they still give God's word for our world today. Old prophets gave simple lines in most cases: be prepared for famine, be prepared for flooding, repent, be moral. Rarely did they have specific intervention at major points in history, and so it still is today. The prophets in my church have given similar council about preparedness and morality, some topics are rather frequent about preparedness against disaster, the importance of strengthening the family including church-wide programs to help, the importance of service and the blessings that come from it to both the servants and those served, and so on.


[quote][quote]
You say they are fairy-tale like, and several are. I tell my own children stories of my own life and they enjoy them; I often start with "Once upon a time there was a little boy named Bryan, and one day he went out on an adventure..." These are stories of my life being recounted to my children, they are true to my memory, yet they are in fairy tale form. Would you say that immediately makes the story false? Would the life lessons I learned the hard way become less true simply because I use a format they enjoy? Does it harm the facts to reduce the story down to just those most relevant details expressed in a way they understand? I don't think so.
... I see a world where we are surrounded by miracles. Does it seem far-fetched that world is filled with miracles, divine inspiration, and at the same time is utterly mundane?
[/quote]
No I guess I didn't say it clearly, when I say fairy-tale like, I do not mean how it was presented, I mean the content of whats being presented. Obviously, you telling your kids your life experience in a nicely wrapped version doesn't imply your story to be false, because your story are explainable. The story presented in the bible( from my little readings), are claims made such that its hard to believe and naturally/scientifically unexplainable.
[/quote]

Let's look at a few.

In the book of Numbers, where for certain skin diseases (some translations talk of lepers) priests were told to make an offering using certain woods and barks and spread the resulting slime and ash onto the disease. Modern science shows us that in fact many of these were antibiotic, antiseptic, and anti-fungal concoctions. Burning a few specific kinds of branches with certain types of animal blood may seem odd at first glance, but when you consider the sources of most modern medicines often rely on burnt plants, creature parts and mold extracts, is it really so different from our modern pharmacy?

Consider when Naaman was told by a prophet to go bathe for a week in a river that was basically an open sewer at the time to have his serious skin diseases cleansed. He complained about it and preferred to go to a clean river, but eventually did it and was healed. Modern science shows that this is actually rather plausible. Many seriously dirty places like cesspools are also filled with natural germ killers. What could be better than telling the guy with a skin infection to go bathe in antiseptic for a week?

How about Joshua breaking down the walls at Jericho. The writings say the camp of about a half million people walked around the city every day for a week. The last day they walked around seven time and then started shouting. It sure sounds like an implausible way to knock down a cities defenses. And yet, modern science uses the same kind of heavy repetitive pounding to break down subterranean rocks. Mythbusters even hit some of the science of using simple mechanical resonance of some people walking for a few minutes to break down a bridge. Audio percussive blasts cause resonance and can break not just wine goblets but also fairly large structures. There's a perfectly legitimate physical explanation, but who would have used that as a method of demolition?


Or maybe we'll look at when Jesus reportedly healed a guy who was blind from birth. He spit in the dirt, made some mud balls, rubbed them into the guys eyes, told him to go to a specific river and wash, and the guy could see for the rest of his life. We do similar stuff with modern eye surgery, although we tend to use lasers and micro-abrasives rather than mud balls, so it it really so impossible?

Why couldn't God who has a perfect knowledge of the natural world direct and inspire a holy man to tell someone to use antiseptics, or tell a prophet to use then-unknown solid scientific principles to destroy city walls, or perform improbable but not impossible medical care?




We are surrounded by things that fit into biblical miracles all the time and we ignore them as simple science.


Wine from water may sound impossible. My kids loved coolaid when they were younger, mixing a tiny packet of powder with water gave a refreshing beverage. My state passed new regulation on a bunch of "just add water" mixes readily available online that ferment into alcoholic drinks very quickly. Considering a bit of chemistry, and understanding how stories are recounted and retold before they were recorded, Wine from water is far from impossible, but something we can reproduce with modern basic chemistry.


Sure it is possible that the ancient prophets had advanced knowledge of chemistry, mechanics, and medicine that exceeds our own. Or it is possible that they were very lucky and discovered them and immediately forgot. Or maybe steps were left out of the recorded words. ...
... Or perhaps they were divinely inspired by one who has a perfect knowledge of the topics. Inspiration of "go mix this", or "Find this open container that is filled with dust and dump in water", they can have both a mundane scientific explanation and also be miracles.

[quote]
But the problem here is that your attributing miracles when some goods happen and saying when some good doesn't happen, its just bad luck. For example, two people are diagnosed with cancer. Both are christians, both families and supporters prayed heavily for them. In the end, one of them was cured, while the other died. Now your saying that the person that was cured, was a miracule, while the person that died just had bad luck. That doesn't constitutes as a miracle. You cannot simply say when something good happened, that it was a result of devine intervention and completely ignore the fact that the all other situation of similar kind that resulted in a bad was as bad luck. Thats just being ignorant.
[/quote]
I said miracles do happen. I didn't claim to understand why one case is different from another.


I have had family members and neighbors die from cancer. I have seen people die from various causes. I have watched death and injury. It is part of life, and I can see good reason why God wouldn't intervene.




I have seen things that I will attribute to the power of God. I have seen things that I can only explain as miracles. I mentioned a bit about a hospital for two summers.

How do you define a miracle? When do you say something was unlikely and natural, and where do you draw the line to say divine intervention may have been involved? I am perfectly fine with miracles that have natural explanations, I would expect God to nudge things just a tiny bit at just the right time, not rearrange the universe every time.


I have seen serious large second-degree burns that hours later were minor first-degree burns after ministration by church members. Is it likely it was misdiagnosed by about ten people who saw it immediately after the injury, or the person had a very quick healing response? Sure its possible, but I don't think so. I'm calling it a miracle.

There was a child with a massive head trauma, kicked in the head by a horse on a rainy muddy day, with a visibly deformed mashed in head covered in blood and mud and gore, treated by his church members and given priesthood blessings walk away from the hospital hours later apparently uninjured and after lots of medical scans showed no damage. Not minor damage, but none whatsoever. This was in spite of him being covered in blood and gore. I heard about a follow up that the kid had no lasting injury. I heard a few people try to explain it as a 9-year-old's head may have been still soft like an infants, or perhaps realigned, and perhaps his brain was just lucky to only have a minor concussion that went away after a few minutes. I don't think so. I'm sticking that strongly in the miracle category.

I'm good friends with a man who loves motorbikes; he was injured in a pretty nasty crash while jumping hills on his little 4-wheeler. Ambulance arrived, they called in the for a helicopter to get him to the regional hospital to deal with serious trauma. Less than 24 hours later he was out of the hospital and those who treated him at the scene said there was no way he should be out that quick. Again, improbable and still possible with various explanations, but that goes into my miracle category.

I've seen infants in NICU that I cannot fathom how they survived. They had people praying all the time, various church people coming and going, praying with the families. I've heard feeble claims about how perhaps their infant body managed to heal right, or they were lucky. You don't need to spend more than a few days in there before relying on the "act of God" response for seeing how some cases respond. Yes there are tragedies, but there are many others that defy description. The stories of Jesus where he asked them to bring the children forward and ministered to them first, said that God loves little children and all mankind should become like little children to be saved. From my experience I'll stick little children in the miracle-prone category generally.


Yes, people die. That is part of life, and even those who pray for miracles need to understand it. While individual circumstances are sometimes tragic, I am able to celebrate death. My wife thinks I'm weird that way. Everybody gets to be born. Everybody gets to die, and their spirit returns to live with God, and they will still have opportunities to grow and develop beyond the grave, and they will get resurrected. I'm a very strong believer in the scriptural line "this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. ... O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? "

I see no issues with one person getting miraculous healing, while another dies. Life runs its course. One family may be blessed with a particular miracle and another has different daily miracles, and I'm okay with that.

[quote][quote]
The bible is not a single work. It is a compendium of a bunch of records that were kept in various languages, translated many times, consolidated, and more. Errors were made in copies. Errors were made in translations. There were many times that scholars collected multiple copies, compared the differences, and attempted to resolve errors between them, or gathered copies and attempted to translate them. Many records were left out because the scholars and clerics decided against it, perhaps through revelation and inspiration, or perhaps not. Many records were lost or destroyed, for reasons I'll let you ponder yourself. Perhaps records were added that should not have been, or omitted in error.
[/quote]

You use the term scholars, as if they are better than 'regular' folks. Just because they are scholars, doesn't make their opinion correct. What you said in the above statement, makes the bible seem even more controversial. If what you said above is true, then that makes me even more furious. It seems like the "scholars" are just trying to turn profit and hide the evidence.
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[/quote]
Considering history, those who were literate and educated were quite rare. Scholars often were different from regular folks.

Most regular folks were illiterate, often poor farmers who spent the days raising herds and tending crops, or working in trades of iron working and leather working to support their community.

Many scholars came from rich families, but historically they would often give heavily to religion. I don't think they were "trying to turn a profit and hide the evidence", I think well of humanity generally, and would prefer to attribute it to their better nature rather than malice and greed. Generally malice and greed are short-lived and self destructive.

There were also many that came up through the churches, were educated by the churches, and performed their work in maintaining scriptures as a service to the church.




Some of them may have had negative motives, but I think those whose efforts brought us the bible were doing the best they could with the resources they had. I won't condemn my relationship with God simply because of the mistakes of a few mere mortals in how they transcribed records.




So finishing up (wow, this turned into a long reply) I think this is more a matter of how you choose to interpret the world according to your own faith and beliefs. If I can help more in your crisis, please let me know.

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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1306722209' post='4817335']
One cannot independently assess God's actions, because He is infinitely greater, wiser, more powerful, etc. than you are. To posit that you, or any other imperfect mortal, can understand the motivations and actions of such a being are almost necessarily false, and is pretty much the greatest possible height of pride.
[/quote]
This.
That's why I'm not religious. Maybe I'm coward or lazy though...

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[quote name='loom_weaver' timestamp='1306737267' post='4817407']
[quote][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]So in desperate help, I ask you to prove me false. I ask you to rebuttal each and everyone of these statements. My mind is going crazy these last few nights. The more I think about it rationally, the less I believe.[/size][/color][/quote]

Why all the fear? Don't be afraid to question the very foundations of your belief systems. Even the things that you may have been taught that if you disbelieve you'll go to hell, be excommunicated, etc... For example if you're Catholic, you'll have to question if Mary was really a virgin, or if that's really Christ in the bread.

These aren't your beliefs, they've been thrust upon you by well-meaning parents, religious authorities, and countless others before you...

Until you can cross that threshold, you'll never know what's beyond. The funny thing is that God (if you believe in him) works in mysterious ways and even after crossing over, it doesn't mean that you need to abandon your faith that you grew up with. Sometimes you just see with new eyes and can now filter the hokey pokey from what really matters.
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I'll strongly agree here.

If you have a religion, make sure it is YOUR religion. If you cannot believe it, then don't.

You may look at other religions and decide that your church is the one you want to be with. You may look around and decide to change. You may look around and decide that you need to become an agnostic or atheist, or you may say that such things are completely contrary to your beliefs. You may decide to stick with your religion and incorporate what you learned in studies from other religions into your own personal beliefs. You may discover that you cannot accept any religion that you've found and keep looking. You may decide to revisit those you have already dismissed and search them for truth. All of these are okay.

I've got a bunch of core beliefs, some already mentioned in my earlier epic-length posts. Like you I want some evidence, and I don't like the "it just happened that way" explanation, I want something more plausible. Another belief is that if a church cannot help you in this life it's a pretty poor indicator of its ability to help in the life to come, so I want a church that has strong social programs and strong evidence of service by its members. I want a church that is not afraid to embrace science, and note the few churches that encourage both religious and secular education at combined church-affiliated schools and even universities, rather than completely separate "normal education" and "church education" that are contradictory.

Educate yourself, and then make the best decision you are able to make with the information you have. Follow your convictions and your passions.

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[quote name='Yann L' timestamp='1306690809' post='4817175']
Can't really say much on the topic, not being Christian nor knowing the Bible and all that, but I think that when a religion promises paradise by requiring the mindless following of some rigid dogma, then something is fundamentally wrong.[/quote]Well then, it's a good job Christianity doesn't teach that. Obviously some people interpret it that way and wrap it in rules and dogma as a way to make it "easier". But I'd argue they are missing the point.

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