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Debate me about the bible

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[quote name='HappyCoder' timestamp='1306950761' post='4818365']
The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]
[/quote]

I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.

This is probably not something you did on purpose, but I noticed some people constantly using this rhetoric and I thought this should be clarified.
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[quote name='Hedos' timestamp='1307117613' post='4819117']
[quote name='HappyCoder' timestamp='1306950761' post='4818365']
The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]
[/quote]

I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.
[/quote]

I think it is more like the Null Hypothesis.

That itself is a belief. It is just a negative belief.

Not having evidence of your test case does not necessarily prove the null hypothesis.


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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1307119214' post='4819131']
[quote name='Hedos' timestamp='1307117613' post='4819117']
[quote name='HappyCoder' timestamp='1306950761' post='4818365']
The belief of athiesm is nothing new. [...]
[/quote]

I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating. The sentence "the belief of atheism" is a misrepresentation of what atheism is. Atheism is the lack or rejection of a belief in some form of a god (this is *not* agnosticism). The sentence "the belief of atheism" has implications, it is meant to suggest that atheism is an equivalent philosophical stance as is the belief in other religions, because it also requires a leap of faith. That is not the case, because the burden of proof is on religions. They make extraordinary claims, so they require extraordinary proofs. Atheism does not make any extraordinary claim.

This statement above is essentially the same as the statement that an atheist would need to "prove that atheism is true". Would you require me to prove to you that Santa Claus does not exist? Would you require me to give you proof that the Tooth Fairy or that the Flying Spaghetti Monster don't exist? Of course not. If you choose to believe in any such fairy tale, you are the one expected to provide very strong evidence.
[/quote]

I think it is more like the Null Hypothesis.

That itself is a belief. It is just a negative belief.

Not having evidence of your test case does not necessarily prove the null hypothesis.



[/quote]

You might be interested in the wikipedia article on the Null Hypothesis. Quote: "It is important to understand that [i][b]null hypothesis can never be proved[/b][/i]." Thus, this is why I'm saying there is no such thing as a "belief in the Null Hypothesis". Is is a contradiction in itself, because the Null Hypothesis can't ever be proven.

This is a subtle issue, but the main point I am addressing is just that of terminology. Stop saying that "atheism must be proved", it's a contradiction. We just refuse to believe in gods because of the lack of evidence, and we can point to this lack of evidence or we can criticize the weakness of the evidence or we can show the contradictions in the proposed evidence, but we are not trying (and don't need to try) to prove atheism.
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[quote name='Hedos' timestamp='1307119955' post='4819135']
Stop saying that "atheism must be proved", it's a contradiction. We just refuse to believe in gods because of the lack of evidence, and we can point to this lack of evidence or we can criticize the weakness of the evidence or we can show the contradictions in the proposed evidence, but we are not trying (and don't need to try) to prove atheism.
[/quote]

Checkmate. :o
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[quote name='Hedos' timestamp='1307117613' post='4819117']
I'd just like to make a small note here, because this is something that I've heard often lately and that I find irritating.\
[/quote]
Atheists believe that there is no god-like deity.

Agnostics are closer to not believing in anything, but that's not always the same either.

Believing in nothing is not the same as not believing in anything.
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I only have one thing to say dude... God is alive! We are human, we question the unquestionable, we are infinite.

I say, you should have had this thought with God first before blogging about it. Have faith brethrin but also remember you are human and it is good to question because that power to do so was given to you.
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Im not christian so I always wondered about this: If satan is evil and the enemy of god, why does he punish non christians and bad/evil people? shouldnt he be doing the opposite?
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[quote name='ScareCro' timestamp='1307136320' post='4819226']
I say, you should have had this thought with God first before blogging about it. Have faith brethrin but also remember you are human and it is good to question because that power to do so was given to you.
[/quote]
That's an example of something I always found quite alienating with many religions: this 'humblification' of humans, who are always classified as some kind of submissive species in relation to their respective god. Some religions seem to equate them more positively with 'children', for others we are just slaves to god.

In fact, we as humanity have come an extraordinarily long way from our roots to where we are now. We may certainly have our faults, but I think we can be damn proud of what we have achieved - [i]without[/i] the help of any god or supernatural being. You may say that this deity gave us the 'equipment' enabling us to develop ourselves, but however you want to see it, fact is that [i]we [/i]were the ones who advanced ourselves, not some deity.

We are now at the brink of some technological developments that may question the whole definition of what makes a god. With the advances in life sciences and bioengineering, we can manipulate, change and even create life in ways that were unfathomable even 100 years ago. Ways that were supposedly only available to a god. Give it another 50, maybe 100 years of technological development, and we could basically do anything God or Jesus did as described in the Bible. You know the quote that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - and also from religion.

The one big breaking point for most religions relying on the concept of one god will come sooner than most may realize. It's when we first manage to technologically create an artificial consciousness. Creating an entirely new type of life, within its own entirely new type of universe, which we have total control over. For such a being, we would be omniscient and omnipotent. According to current definitions, this would make anyone a true god over his own creation (and create a whole new category of ethical problems). And if we ever manage to copy our own biological consciousness into an artificial reality, giving us true immortality, then all limits are off. Because in the end, it's the physical limitations of our biological bodies that makes us weak and mortal. This can be technologically overcome given enough time.

So I guess my point is that there may be some supernatural being that created us and our universe. But it's [i]us[/i] who developed our species. We should be proud of this and take both credit and responsibility for it. There is no reason to be humble or subservient to any deity (nor will it probably expect this, should it exist). Ultimately, we can advance in such a way to become gods ourselves at some point. Maybe it's all a cycle in the end. Maybe our future artificial intelligences will write Bibles over their creators. Who knows.
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[quote name='Yann L' timestamp='1307289890' post='4819783']
[quote name='ScareCro' timestamp='1307136320' post='4819226']
I say, you should have had this thought with God first before blogging about it. Have faith brethrin but also remember you are human and it is good to question because that power to do so was given to you.
[/quote]
That's an example of something I always found quite alienating with many religions: this 'humblification' of humans, who are always classified as some kind of submissive species in relation to their respective god. Some religions seem to equate them more positively with 'children', for others we are just slaves to god.

In fact, we as humanity have come an extraordinarily long way from our roots to where we are now. We may certainly have our faults, but I think we can be damn proud of what we have achieved - [i]without[/i] the help of any god or supernatural being. You may say that this deity gave us the 'equipment' enabling us to develop ourselves, but however you want to see it, fact is that [i]we [/i]were the ones who advanced ourselves, not some deity.

We are now at the brink of some technological developments that may question the whole definition of what makes a god. With the advances in life sciences and bioengineering, we can manipulate, change and even create life in ways that were unfathomable even 100 years ago. Ways that were supposedly only available to a god. Give it another 50, maybe 100 years of technological development, and we could basically do anything God or Jesus did as described in the Bible. You know the quote that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - and also from religion.

The one big breaking point for most religions relying on the concept of one god will come sooner than most may realize. It's when we first manage to technologically create an artificial consciousness. Creating an entirely new type of life, within its own entirely new type of universe, which we have total control over. For such a being, we would be omniscient and omnipotent. According to current definitions, this would make anyone a true god over his own creation (and create a whole new category of ethical problems). And if we ever manage to copy our own biological consciousness into an artificial reality, giving us true immortality, then all limits are off. Because in the end, it's the physical limitations of our biological bodies that makes us weak and mortal. This can be technologically overcome given enough time.

So I guess my point is that there may be some supernatural being that created us and our universe. But it's [i]us[/i] who developed our species. We should be proud of this and take both credit and responsibility for it. There is no reason to be humble or subservient to any deity (nor will it probably expect this, should it exist). Ultimately, we can advance in such a way to become gods ourselves at some point. Maybe it's all a cycle in the end. Maybe our future artificial intelligences will write Bibles over their creators. Who knows.
[/quote]

What you're saying makes sense if you equate success with technological advancement and knowledge acquisition. If God's goal is to create a loving relationship with people, I would say it's rather irrelevant, more likely it's contrary to that kind of success. I've seen that from experience during mission trips. Oftentimes the simplest conditions create the happiest people. Secularism has proposed similar ideas, Fight Club comes to mind, "The stuff you own ends up owning you." Sometimes I think if the word went to hell and everyone had to farm, hunt, and watch out for their neighbor to survive, Xanax would be irrelevant.

Matthew McConaughey said it for me in Contact, but science in itself doesn't make people happy. The day that people create the technological breakthrough to live forever is the day that suicide rates start to climb exponentially. I fail to see why this should allow us to exalt ourselves before God, assuming you believe in that.
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[quote name='ScareCro' timestamp='1307136320' post='4819226']
I only have one thing to say dude... God is alive! We are human, we question the unquestionable, we are infinite.

I say, you should have had this thought with God first before blogging about it. Have faith brethrin but also remember you are human and it is good to question because that power to do so was given to you.
[/quote]

Another example of flawless logic from a Christian.

To generalize:

It is good to X, because that power to do so was given to you.

To extrapolate:

It is good to murder, because that power to do so was given to you.
It is good to worship the devil, because that power to do so was given to you.
etc.
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People believing in god have experienced something that agnosticists have not. Whether that "something" is being talked dumbed by missionaries, or a spiritiual revelation, what matters after all is the faith: Because faith can get you through life much better than apathy. You can believe in God and still think rationally. You can accept that stuff beyond mortal grasp can quite possibly exist. You needn't to believe in God and She may still love you. You aren't forced to believe. If you decide not to believe, God may still love you as well.

TL; DR: God wants us to become what we can be. That's what I believe.

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[quote name='demonkoryu' timestamp='1307379073' post='4820156']
TL; DR: God wants us to become what we can be. That's what I believe.
[/quote]

Based on what? I understand it's nice to believe that. But what logic do you base this belief on?
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[quote name='Machaira' timestamp='1307038415' post='4818783']
[quote name='HappyCoder' timestamp='1306950761' post='4818365']
Anybody who wants to know the truth needs to read the scriptures, ponder of them, then ask with a sincere heart if it is true. If done with faith the Holy Ghost will releal the truth of this directly to our minds. That is why I beleive.
[/quote]
What happens though when contradictory answers are received by different people? How do you determine which is true?
[/quote]
Any examples there?
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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307384110' post='4820196']
[quote name='Machaira' timestamp='1307038415' post='4818783']
[quote name='HappyCoder' timestamp='1306950761' post='4818365']
Anybody who wants to know the truth needs to read the scriptures, ponder of them, then ask with a sincere heart if it is true. If done with faith the Holy Ghost will releal the truth of this directly to our minds. That is why I beleive.
[/quote]
What happens though when contradictory answers are received by different people? How do you determine which is true?
[/quote]
Any examples there?
[/quote]


How about unbaptized infants go to purgatory for eternity vs. nevermind, they go to heaven? Or female clergy are expressly forbidden vs. it's fine to let women respond to a call? Or priests shouldn't ever marry vs. they should probably be allowed to?

Demanding examples of inconsistencies in religious thought, particularly examples of inconsistencies between interpretations of scriptures, is like asking if there's such a thing as wind while a hurricane is barreling down on you.
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307374355' post='4820109']
What you're saying makes sense if you equate success with technological advancement and knowledge acquisition. If God's goal is to create a loving relationship with people, I would say it's rather irrelevant, more likely it's contrary to that kind of success. I've seen that from experience during mission trips. Oftentimes the simplest conditions create the happiest people. Secularism has proposed similar ideas, Fight Club comes to mind, "The stuff you own ends up owning you." Sometimes I think if the word went to hell and everyone had to farm, hunt, and watch out for their neighbor to survive, Xanax would be irrelevant.
[/quote]
Antibiotics, ie. not dying from a simple wound infection would not be irrelevant. Access to clean water and food wouldn't be. Having a life expectancy over 35 would be quite relevant. Not being enslaved by your neighbor because he happens to belong to a tribe that is more powerful than yours would also be quite nice. We take all these things for granted, at least in the western world. It's technological advancement, knowledge acquisition and social evolution that brought us all that, not a personal relationship with a deity. Maybe some technological achievements don't contribute to happiness. You don't really need an iphone, a flatscreen TV and a sports car to be happy. You could certainly live a very happy life in a pre-industrial civilization. But some parts of technology do absolutely and objectively increase your well-being, especially those related to the medical sector.

[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307374355' post='4820109']
The day that people create the technological breakthrough to live forever is the day that suicide rates start to climb exponentially.
[/quote]
I'm not sure if artificially induced eternal life will increase suicide rates. It will depend on the type of environment you would be living in and how adaptable it would be. Given the digital consciousness version, we would probably progressively modify the way we think and the way our mind works in order to fit this new society. Essentially artificially guided evolution. And who says that the eternal life religions promise would not also lead to increased suicide rates (if such a thing would be possible there), because some people could not cope with it any longer ? If you say that they will be eternally happy because they're close to their god, what is the difference to eternally pumping large amounts of serotonin and dopamine into your brain (or doing the digital equivalent to an AI) ? After all, the feeling of happiness is just a biochemical reaction.

[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307374355' post='4820109']
I fail to see why this should allow us to exalt ourselves before God, assuming you believe in that.
[/quote]
I'm a pragmatic agnostic, so I don't believe in a god, at least not in the form it is described by any major religion. I believe that whatever entity created the universe (if any) did not meddle with it after its initial creation. Everything humanity has achieved, we achieved it on our own. While this doesn't give us the right to put ourselves above some god, we shouldn't put us under a god either. I equate divinity with knowledge, and as always, everything is relative. I think that given 'enough' knowledge, we can become gods ourselves.

[quote name='demonkoryu' timestamp='1307379073' post='4820156']
People believing in god have experienced something that agnosticists have not. Whether that "something" is being talked dumbed by missionaries, or a spiritiual revelation, what matters after all is the faith: Because faith can get you through life much better than apathy.
[/quote]
How can you say something like this ? This holier-than-thou attitude is really off putting. How can you know that you experienced something that we lack ? Maybe it is the other way round ? You don't need faith to lead a happy and fulfilling life. And there are many things in life besides apathy and faith into a deity. Believing in yourself, your own abilities and the ones of your loved ones, for example.
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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307384598' post='4820199']
How about unbaptized infants go to purgatory for eternity vs. nevermind, they go to heaven? Or female clergy are expressly forbidden vs. it's fine to let women respond to a call? Or priests shouldn't ever marry vs. they should probably be allowed to?

Demanding examples of inconsistencies in religious thought, particularly examples of inconsistencies between interpretations of scriptures, is like asking if there's such a thing as wind while a hurricane is barreling down on you.
[/quote]
I always ask for examples as I have yet to encounter issues that are more than a simple lack of understanding. People either have not been told the whole story or simply lack the background and assume based upon information they don't have.

No where in scripture have I read that unbaptized infants go to purgatory. The no female clergy thing is a misunderstanding of the culture and time that was written. There is no scriptural mandate that a priest must be unwed.

Scripture was not written to be a dogmatic stick to beat people with generation after generation. It's highly contextually sensitive as it was written for the specific culture and time it was written. Concerning infants there is a standard that says that in order to saved you have to accept Jesus as your lord and savior after you reach the age of accountability. The Bible does not mention when this is but it is commonly accepted to be when a child can reasonably define right from wrong within themselves. As such this exact moment is determined only by God since he is the only being designated to be all-knowing that we know of. Prior to that is sort of a gray area. Scripture is silent on the specific but the Bible does say that God is love. If he is love then should a young person die before they reached this age then it only makes sense that God would accept them exactly as they are. I believe this because in the garden of Eden Adam and Eve were in a naive state as they were without knowledge of good and evil. In this state they were sinless and in a state of such grace that the Father himself literally walked with them and conversed with them face to face. It is only after they disobeyed God and gained knowledge they were naked and hid from their father that they were punished not because God suddenly hated them but because they broke God's law and since everything in the universe has a natural order of things what followed was them simply no longer being able to be in God's presence as they once were because they were now tainted from his original design.

The single scripture concerning not suffering a woman to speak in church was written during a time when there was a sect of priestesses of some other deity, I'd have to look it up, that went into churches and actively disrupted the services such that others could not receive the word of God. So, for that area in that time to whom that letter was written there was a very plain answer to the problem: not to let them speak. The reason this is not a blanket mandate is because Christ himself often times helped women and healed them letting us know that women as well can beseech him. Paul also met with a sect of female Christians in Greece that were spreading the gospel and he praised their efforts. In the Old Testament as well there were female prophets and I believe a king or two. The fact is there is a pattern of women taking the same roles as men in the Christian faith. That letter was written to address a specific circumstance to a specific church.

The issue with priests not marrying is an entirely man-made mandate. In the scritpures where it lists requirements for the officers of the church very specific wording is used: "to only be the husband of one wife." This was to combat polygamy. The reason the Catholic church implements a no marriage rule is because Paul made a comment that in the choice between marrying or not marrying he said he would rather not marry. This is because when you are married you and your wife and literally one so she is literally your other half in God's sight. However, when you devote your life to spreading the gospel you can't just go and do because you have another person to consider. God respects this because it is his law, "for this reason a man leaves his family and takes a wife and they become one flesh," so this could potentially limit how he could use you. To keep the priest as flexible and as susceptible to God's will as possible the Catholic church implemented this rule so they could focus entirely on the church, their ministry and God and not be weighed down with the concerns of marriage. At one point they were allowed to marry but this was changed over time as there were issues with polygamy, perversions and such that weren't Christian.

The Bible is not a literal text but a framework in the sense that it's content was written to the people at the time it was written. The proper way to draw from scripture is to take its precepts and examples and see how they apply to ourselves instead of literally holding the letter of the books contained at face value without considering why they were written.
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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307386200' post='4820208']
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307384598' post='4820199']
How about unbaptized infants go to purgatory for eternity vs. nevermind, they go to heaven? Or female clergy are expressly forbidden vs. it's fine to let women respond to a call? Or priests shouldn't ever marry vs. they should probably be allowed to?

Demanding examples of inconsistencies in religious thought, particularly examples of inconsistencies between interpretations of scriptures, is like asking if there's such a thing as wind while a hurricane is barreling down on you.
[/quote]
I always ask for examples as I have yet to encounter issues that are more than a simple lack of understanding. People either have not been told the whole story or simply lack the background and assume based upon information they don't have.

No where in scripture have I read that unbaptized infants go to purgatory. The no female clergy thing is a misunderstanding of the culture and time that was written. There is no scriptural mandate that a priest must be unwed.

[lots of detailed and excellent explanations of the above in my post]

The Bible is not a literal text but a framework in the sense that it's content was written to the people at the time it was written. The proper way to draw from scripture is to take its precepts and examples and see how they apply to ourselves instead of literally holding the letter of the books contained at face value without considering why they were written.
[/quote]


That's exactly the point. Each of the examples I gave are the result of meditations of humans on scriptures. Each of those positions was held by the Church (sorry for the largely Catholic examples, but that's the denomination I have the most experience with) and was determined to be justified by scriptures.

The idea that unbaptized infants wound up in limbo (purgatory was a typo in my above post, but the point remains the same) was an extension of the idea that you go to hell for original sin unless you are cleansed of it through baptism. Since infants wouldn't have comitted any sins, they wouldn't be consigned to anyplace worse than that, but still would spend eternity the same way as others who had sins bad enough to deny access to heaven. The Church recently reversed themselves on this, though not necessarily for a scriptural reason.

The other two examples you do an excellent job of explaining how they are not enshrined in the Bible at all, but rather are the result of (what you assert to be) [i]incorrect interpretations[/i] of passages that you reference. Do you think that these were the policies of the Church for centuries (including today) in the absence of any spiritural or theological reflection?

My reflections on these were largely the same as yours. But that only demostrates that different people can reach different conclusions based on their reflections on scriptures. If there are current believers in the Church that hold an interpretation perpendicular to that of you and I (and there are, including high-ranking Church officials who have theology as a profession), then one interpretation must be false or at least significantly less correct than the other. You can certainly claim that one side's is divinely whispered and the other's mistakenly assumed to be, but that only doubles down on the comment by Machaira that you responded to: What do you do when there are multiple, contradictory claims to divinely-granted or grace-derived interpretations of scripture?

There are other differences that are not so, like the different beliefs of different denominations which use the same (or largely the same) text as their inspiration. Even with the same text, it will always necessarily be filtered through human interpretation and perception. Resulting in a lack of certainty about which are correct and which mistaken, whether in the presence or absence of divine revelation to any particular party.
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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307387931' post='4820218']
But that only demostrates that different people can reach different conclusions based on their reflections on scriptures.
[/quote]
As it should be.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307387931' post='4820218']
If there are current believers in the Church that hold an interpretation perpendicular to that of you and I (and there are, including high-ranking Church officials who have theology as a profession), then one interpretation must be false or at least significantly less correct than the other. You can certainly claim that one side's is divinely whispered and the other's mistakenly assumed to be, but that only doubles down on the comment by Machaira that you responded to: What do you do when there are multiple, contradictory claims to divinely-granted or grace-derived interpretations of scripture?

There are other differences that are not so, like the different beliefs of different denominations which use the same (or largely the same) text as their inspiration. Even with the same text, it will always necessarily be filtered through human interpretation and perception. Resulting in a lack of certainty about which are correct and which mistaken, whether in the presence or absence of divine revelation to any particular party.
[/quote]
The Bible is a personal and universal text. Ultimately we are each only accountable to ourselves and God. The Bible tells us each to "work out our own soul salvation with fear and trembling." We each ultimately hold the power to go to Heaven or to go to Hell. That is an awesome responsibility. Considering this, we should collaborate with one another with the end goal of improving ourselves and not trying to down one another. We should take in criticisms and knowledge and apply it to our lives according to each of our own perceptions of things but ultimately all that matters is your relationship with Christ and only you are the steward over that relationship. There is no excuse postmortem for not going to Heaven if that was your wish to go there. Why would someone choose to go to Hell? I don't know but several people make that choice daily by their actions.

So what happens when two people die fervently believing two separate viewpoints on the same subject? The only hard and fast measure the Bible gives us on this is that if all we do is accept Jesus is Lord we will be saved. No ifs, ands or buts necessary there. The particulars of being able to conclude that are between yourself, in knowing that you're doing what you know is right and holy to do as you understand it, and God. Nothing else matters in that aspect. To me, that is truly awesome.

[bquote]For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[sup]1[/sup][/bquote]
[source]Romans 8:38,39[/source]
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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307386200' post='4820208']
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307384598' post='4820199']
How about unbaptized infants go to purgatory for eternity vs. nevermind, they go to heaven? Or female clergy are expressly forbidden vs. it's fine to let women respond to a call? Or priests shouldn't ever marry vs. they should probably be allowed to?

Demanding examples of inconsistencies in religious thought, particularly examples of inconsistencies between interpretations of scriptures, is like asking if there's such a thing as wind while a hurricane is barreling down on you.
[/quote]
...
The issue with priests not marrying is an entirely man-made mandate....

The Bible is not a literal text but a framework in the sense that it's content was written to the people at the time it was written. ....
...
[/quote]

Could you possibly explain to me which mandates are not entirely man-made, and how would one recognize the ones that are not man-made from the ones that are? If the Bible is not a literal text but a "framework", written to the people at the time it was written, how does one choose which parts of the Bible to accept as Divinely Inspired and which are context-sensitive man-inventions? Is it you that decides which parts of the Bible are man-made and context-sensitive and thus not worthy of following and which are God's Word?

[quote][color=#1C2837][size=2]The Bible is a personal and universal text[/size][/color][/quote]

So.. the Bible is context-sensitive and written for one culture of people alive during the time it was written... and yet it's a universal text?
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[quote name='A Brain in a Vat' timestamp='1307389161' post='4820226']
[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307386200' post='4820208']
[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307384598' post='4820199']
How about unbaptized infants go to purgatory for eternity vs. nevermind, they go to heaven? Or female clergy are expressly forbidden vs. it's fine to let women respond to a call? Or priests shouldn't ever marry vs. they should probably be allowed to?

Demanding examples of inconsistencies in religious thought, particularly examples of inconsistencies between interpretations of scriptures, is like asking if there's such a thing as wind while a hurricane is barreling down on you.
[/quote]
...
The issue with priests not marrying is an entirely man-made mandate....

The Bible is not a literal text but a framework in the sense that it's content was written to the people at the time it was written. ....
...
[/quote]

Could you possibly explain to me which mandates are not entirely man-made, and how would one recognize the ones that are not man-made from the ones that are? If the Bible is not a literal text but a "framework", written to the people at the time it was written, how does one choose which parts of the Bible to accept as Divinely Inspired and which are context-sensitive man-inventions? Is it you that decides which parts of the Bible are man-made and context-sensitive and thus not worthy of following and which are God's Word?

[quote][color="#1C2837"][size="2"]The Bible is a personal and universal text[/size][/color][/quote]

So.. the Bible is context-sensitive and written for one culture of people alive during the time it was written... and yet it's a universal text?
[/quote]
Yes, because the Bible applies to all humanity insofar as it describes how we can come to know our creator. It is the documented journal of several authors over a large span of time of their insights, personal dealings and view of events that unfolded before them in the context of God and his people. The Bible is both literal and a framework. It's the literal documentation of the author about what they experienced and what happened and it's a framework in that we can draw upon it's examples and apply them to ourselves for the goal of becoming closer to God.

The mandates that are man-made are the ones that have no basis is scripture. For you to be able to pin point which ones those are will take your study of the scriptures. Don't expect an easy out. It is up to you to discover and read for yourself.
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[quote name='Yann L' timestamp='1307385478' post='4820204']
[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307374355' post='4820109']
What you're saying makes sense if you equate success with technological advancement and knowledge acquisition. If God's goal is to create a loving relationship with people, I would say it's rather irrelevant, more likely it's contrary to that kind of success. I've seen that from experience during mission trips. Oftentimes the simplest conditions create the happiest people. Secularism has proposed similar ideas, Fight Club comes to mind, "The stuff you own ends up owning you." Sometimes I think if the word went to hell and everyone had to farm, hunt, and watch out for their neighbor to survive, Xanax would be irrelevant.
[/quote]
Antibiotics, ie. not dying from a simple wound infection would not be irrelevant. Access to clean water and food wouldn't be. Having a life expectancy over 35 would be quite relevant. Not being enslaved by your neighbor because he happens to belong to a tribe that is more powerful than yours would also be quite nice. We take all these things for granted, at least in the western world. It's technological advancement, knowledge acquisition and social evolution that brought us all that, not a personal relationship with a deity. Maybe some technological achievements don't contribute to happiness. You don't really need an iphone, a flatscreen TV and a sports car to be happy. You could certainly live a very happy life in a pre-industrial civilization. But some parts of technology do absolutely and objectively increase your well-being, especially those related to the medical sector.
[/quote]

I think you misunderstood me. You're saying success is these breakthroughs we've made as a species. I'm not arguing the merits of the achievements. Certainly modern medicine and science have achieved great things that have done a lot of good for society. What I'm saying is that these breakthroughs don't make us joyful. If ease of life or life expectancy equaled joy, then certainly this would be the happiest time in the life of man. To the contrary, suicide rates are the highest they've ever been (up 60% globally in the last 45 years).

I assume God would rather have us be technically illiterate but filled with joy. What's better, to live 35 years of a satisfied life, or 75 with chronic depression? In terms of putting ourself on the same level as God because of our progress, I think it would not impress him in the least. To the contrary, I think when we act simply but in a fulfilling way (giving food to a hungry stranger, forgiving our enemies, etc.) that is when we elevate our position. My biased opinion...
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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307389109' post='4820225']
The Bible is a personal and universal text. Ultimately we are each only accountable to ourselves and God. The Bible tells us each to "work out our own soul salvation with fear and trembling." We each ultimately hold the power to go to Heaven or to go to Hell. That is an awesome responsibility. Considering this, we should collaborate with one another with the end goal of improving ourselves and not trying to down one another. We should take in criticisms and knowledge and apply it to our lives according to each of our own perceptions of things but ultimately all that matters is your relationship with Christ and only you are the steward over that relationship. There is no excuse postmortem for not going to Heaven if that was your wish to go there. Why would someone choose to go to Hell? I don't know but several people make that choice daily by their actions.

So what happens when two people die fervently believing two separate viewpoints on the same subject? The only hard and fast measure the Bible gives us on this is that if all we do is accept Jesus is Lord we will be saved. No ifs, ands or buts necessary there. The particulars of being able to conclude that are between yourself, in knowing that you're doing what you know is right and holy to do as you understand it, and God. Nothing else matters in that aspect. To me, that is truly awesome.

[bquote]For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[sup]1[/sup][/bquote]
[source]Romans 8:38,39[/source]
[/quote]

It seems like you're shifting a bit now. Your first issue was that you'd never heard of an example where two people honestly disagreed on the meaning of a passage once they had reflected on it honestly. Now you're saying that that is the normal and even preferred result of such reflection.

It's all well and good to say that we should all work together to advance ourselves (another position I agree with, theological reasoning or no). But it seems odd to discount that striving because it's irrelevant after a personal relationship with the lord. But nevermind my particular questions, because there is a larger conceptual issue in play.

That result is based on your personal interpretation of the scriptures and the nature of God and christianity. You believe that accepting Jesus is [i]the[/i] criterion. The quote that you provided, which I assume you did to support your point, would seem to suggest that even that criterion is not relevant, as nothing at all can separate man from God.

Some people disagree with such a position. The Catholic Church certainly does. While they do maintain that there is nothing which can prevent a person from going to heaven through the boundless love and forgiveness of Christ, they posit that you can't access that unless you go through the sacrament of Reconciliation (among other things).

If one of your positions is objectively correct and the other incorrect (at least one must be incorrect between them), that would have pretty profound implications both for theology and for daily life. You could not have provided a better example of what Machaira was referencing. Your interpretation does not square exactly with a different one, and (naturally) you believe that your position is the correct one. If you are in fact correct, then no worries, because your particular interpretation of the Bible and its import as very broadly encompassing. It is a fine and generous position to be sure, one that I personally feel suits the god of endless love described by Christians quite well.

But if you are not correct, if your position is not the one that God espouses, and a different one is (say Catholicism), then a lot of people could be in real trouble, as far as their immortal souls are concerned. It would be not pushy or bad for the Catholic Church to minister to people, to try and guide them to the practices that will in fact allow them to gain heaven and avoid an eternity of separation from God. It would be a bad thing for people to interpret the Bible differently, at least on this issue, as their incorrect interpretation may doom them.

It may just come down to how you define "accepting Jesus as your savior". Even then, different interpretations may well have very different conequences. The idea that a person's particular interpretations aren't so important is indeed only the case if an interpretation like the one you yourself have reached is the objectively correct one. Like all people who use the scripture to guide their faith, you have reached a conclusion which you feel is the right one, whether divinely granted or mortally attained. But that does not mean that you are in fact right, and the only way that your own correctness on this matter can really make so little difference is if, tautologically, you are essentially right after all.
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[quote name='landlocked' timestamp='1307389792' post='4820230']
The mandates that are man-made are the ones that have no basis is scripture. For you to be able to pin point which ones those are will take your study of the scriptures. Don't expect an easy out. It is up to you to discover and read for yourself.
[/quote]

You said yourself the scripture is man-made and context-specific. Are you saying the New Testament is God's Word but it must be read through a filter of understanding that it specifically applies to the culture and time at which it was written? Does that mean each person is personally responsible for studying that culture and time to know how much of a grain of salt to take when reading the New Testament? What about the various cultures who have translated the New Testament before it reached your eyes? How is a Good Christian to know what is legitimately God's word and what they inserted, distorted, or removed?

How is a Good Christian woman supposed to know how deferential and submissive she should be to her husband, for example? The New Testament is pretty clear that a woman should obey her husband, but is that not simply the way things were then? Haven't we come a long way since then? But how do we know that's not what God wants? [b]How can a Good Christian tell[/b]?


What about the Old Testament? How do you pick and choose what to believe from that? That's obviously written to a culture much older than the New Testament, and with very different ideas... and yet, Jesus said:
[quote][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.[/size][/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2] [/size][/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.[/size][/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2] [/size][/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2]Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.[/size][/font][font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][size=2] [/size][/font][/quote]
Matthew 5:17-19 (NIV)

How does a Good Christian know whether to cut off his own hand for masturbating, or whether to gouge his own eye out for lusting?

How does a Good Christian know whether he or she will spend eternity in Hell for the sin of divorce?

How does a Good Christian know whether The Pledge of Allegiance is a sin, since he specifically says that to make an oath comes from the evil one?

Above all, why is it so confusing? Why doesn't God make his Word clear by providing us with a magical changing bible that modifies itself with the times? Why are we forced to choose between different versions? Why are we forced to choose which parts to listen to?

Why is nothing in Christianity logical? Have you ever wondered that?
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[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307390207' post='4820235']
I assume God would rather have us be technically illiterate but filled with joy. What's better, to live 35 years of a satisfied life, or 75 with chronic depression?
[/quote]
What about 75 years of a satisfied life ? Both aren't mutually exclusive. I don't really subscribe to this 'simple but joyful life' ideal. Sounds a bit too Utopian and naive to me. Having grown up on a farm in a backwards rural place, which is about as near to this type of life I could probably get here in western Europe, I'm honestly thankful I got away from it.

[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307390207' post='4820235']
In terms of putting ourself on the same level as God because of our progress, I think it would not impress him in the least.
[/quote]
Why would that matter ? Given our current rate of technological progress, coupled with human nature, it will inevitably lead there. For the better or the worse, we always strive for power and knowledge. Maybe it will takes hundreds, thousands or even millions of years, provided we do not self-annihilate, we will inevitably get into a situation where the student surpasses the master. If there is a master to begin with. Also note that I do not believe in a 'creator entity' being omniscient. This would imply our universe to be perfectly deterministic, which would imply we don't have free will, which would again imply that we couldn't be held accountable for our relationship with a god (or the lack thereof). In the end, only our universe is the limit - and we already know that there are ways out of it. Even if they're still a bit unapproachable (and black ;) )

[quote name='ChurchSkiz' timestamp='1307390207' post='4820235']
To the contrary, I think when we act simply but in a fulfilling way (giving food to a hungry stranger, forgiving our enemies, etc.) that is when we elevate our position. My biased opinion...
[/quote]
Noble goals, which I fully agree with. But they don't prevent you from taking pride in our achievements and pushing them forwards to achieve even higher goals. It's in our genes.
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[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
It seems like you're shifting a bit now. Your first issue was that you'd never heard of an example where two people honestly disagreed on the meaning of a passage once they had reflected on it honestly. Now you're saying that that is the normal and even preferred result of such reflection.
[/quote]
I did not say that. I said:

[quote]I always ask for examples as I have yet to encounter issues that are more than a simple lack of understanding. People either have not been told the whole story or simply lack the background and assume based upon information they don't have.[/quote]

That does not necessitate people to universally accept something the same way from person to person. We are individually going to accept information in a way unique to each of us. That's simply part of being human. My point there was that the Bible does not go back and forth on itself. Overall it is a document in unity with itself. It is possible to be unable to accept a fact or point of view due to one's life experiences. This does not mean they did not honestly consider a matter.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
It's all well and good to say that we should all work together to advance ourselves (another position I agree with, theological reasoning or no). But it seems odd to discount that striving because it's irrelevant after a personal relationship with the lord. But nevermind my particular questions, because there is a larger conceptual issue in play.
[/quote]
Again I did not say that. I never discounted striving together for other purposes than growing in a particular faith. I simply mentioned one application of coming together in the context of this thread which is the Bible.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
That result is based on your personal interpretation of the scriptures and the nature of God and christianity. You believe that accepting Jesus is [i]the[/i] criterion. The quote that you provided, which I assume you did to support your point, would seem to suggest that even that criterion is not relevant, as nothing at all can separate man from God.
[/quote]
A person can separate themselves from God. It was not the serpent who came between Adam and Eve and God. It was the act of their disobedience that they themselves performed in directly contradiction to his only command to them. Accepting Jesus [i]is[/i] the [i]only[/i] criterion in order to get into Heaven. The Bible is very clear on this.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
Some people disagree with such a position. The Catholic Church certainly does. While they do maintain that there is nothing which can prevent a person from going to heaven through the boundless love and forgiveness of Christ, they posit that you can't access that unless you go through the sacrament of Reconciliation (among other things).
[/quote]
The [b]ONLY[/b] measure laid out in the Bible to be saved is to accept Jesus as your Lord and savior. Any modification to that requirement is not a biblical one. The purpose of sacraments is to make a conscious, deliberate effort to devote your mind and attention toward a certain thing. If the only way to Heaven was through sacraments then what about the people that simply don't have access to them? Are they going to Hell simply because they do not follow a certain script? Surely not. That directly contradicts the Bible in several places. Namely, and most importantly according to what I can recall, that God [i]is[/i] love.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
If one of your positions is objectively correct and the other incorrect (at least one must be incorrect between them), that would have pretty profound implications both for theology and for daily life. You could not have provided a better example of what Machaira was referencing. Your interpretation does not square exactly with a different one, and (naturally) you believe that your position is the correct one. If you are in fact correct, then no worries, because your particular interpretation of the Bible and its import as very broadly encompassing. It is a fine and generous position to be sure, one that I personally feel suits the god of endless love described by Christians quite well.

But if you are not correct, if your position is not the one that God espouses, and a different one is (say Catholicism), then a lot of people could be in real trouble, as far as their immortal souls are concerned. It would be not pushy or bad for the Catholic Church to minister to people, to try and guide them to the practices that will in fact allow them to gain heaven and avoid an eternity of separation from God. It would be a bad thing for people to interpret the Bible differently, at least on this issue, as their incorrect interpretation may doom them.
[/quote]
Ah, but what if both people are wrong? The truth of the matter there is that they will both need to wait until they get to Heaven to be able to look God in the face and ask him about such things. The point is to not let those differences divide you or disrupt your faith by clouding your judgement because you are choosing to focus on something small and irrelevant where your salvation is concerned. I can not fathom an issue where two people who are earnestly working to know God better and to do all they can to be pleasing to him would fundamentally divide them to the point where they risk damnation.

[quote name='Khaiy' timestamp='1307390827' post='4820239']
It may just come down to how you define "accepting Jesus as your savior". Even then, different interpretations may well have very different conequences. The idea that a person's particular interpretations aren't so important is indeed only the case if an interpretation like the one you yourself have reached is the objectively correct one. Like all people who use the scripture to guide their faith, you have reached a conclusion which you feel is the right one, whether divinely granted or mortally attained. But that does not mean that you are in fact right, and the only way that your own correctness on this matter can really make so little difference is if, tautologically, you are essentially right after all.
[/quote]
All I can say to that is this:
[bquote]...God is love[sup]1[/sup][/bquote]
[source]1 John 4:8[/source]
Any interpretation that endangers this statement or contradicts it can not be a Biblical one. I do not hold myself out to the end all be all of scripture interpretation. I have simply examined within myself, as you've stated, concerning issues against that statement. For, if God be love, then the Bible is love and it's teachings, and meanings are those of love. However, if God not be love, or his attributes be not of love, then he is not the god of the Bible. Therefore, if an interpretation can not be reduced to the foundational statement that "God is love" then that interpretation is wrong. Otherwise, we're not discussing the Bible.
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