12.13.2008

i don't have enough faith to be an atheist

thats it! i simply don't have the faith to believe in nothing (how can you believe in nothing? the word belief denotes the fact that there must be ''something'' to believe in). to believe that all of this (universe, earth that we live on, the family i have, the home i am living in, etc....) is just random selection! what sense, if any, does all of this make? take apart a wind up clock, place the contents in a bag, now shake. do not stop shaking until the clock comes back together in a full working manner. what are the odds of that happening? thats how insane all of this evolution jargen is to me.

no staring into the endless void, not for this guy. i will keep praising my God and living this life as i was created to live it. i will never stop seeking the God of all creation, the Star Breather, the galaxy maker. He who holds the universe in His hand. for He is my source of life.

amen and good night.

149 comments:

Lee said...

Ryan,

Do you really believe what you just wrote, or are you having a laugh?

I don't believe in nothing as you say - so you can put your strawmen to bed straight away.

Neither do you have an understanding of the theory of evolution it seems. So your argument again is empty – but I will still be more than happy to discuss it and explain what little I know about it.

Once you tell me what a 'kind' is, as mention in the Flood account.

However, to respond directly to your post, simply put, you don't need faith to be an atheist (no more faith than the faith I have the sun will raise tomorrow.)

Atheism is just the position of non-belief in gods and the supernatural since no good evidence or reason has been provided to think otherwise

I just don't increase my assumptions beyond what I have to.

What more do I need to say?

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, or the invisible blue unicorn? Why not?

Think about it

Good night

Lee

Lee said...

I forgot to add e-mail follow up

Oops

David Clark said...

for me i can believe and have faith in God(the christian God) because he has shown himself to be true in my life through answered prayers, healing me of asthma when i was 13, providing for myself and my family, and just seeing him move in other parts of the world other then my own church or home in the same way. in other words seeing him move when i was in Romania in the same manner i have seen him move or touch people'e lives here in the states (hope that made sense) i am not sure what everyone in particular 'needs' in order to beleive in God, i wish i knew because i would try to help those people get what they 'need' in order to come to the knowledge of God. however, i do often hear "if god is real, why doesn't he just show up when i sarcastically say "hey God if you';re real then appear before my eyes" i wouldn't show up if someone said that to me, like i am supposed to be some genie in a bottle and appear when you rub my lamp. doesn't work that way.
no more will the Queen of england appear before us when we snap our fingers and make our statments will God show up, but it is by humbling ourselves and bowing our hearts and saying with a sincere heart " Lord reveal yourself to me that i may know your way"
the pslamist said it this way "teach me your ways oh Lord that i may walk in YOUR truth unite my heart that i will FEAR YOUR NAME psalm 86:11

Jesus himself said "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God"

as far as evolution since it was mentioned i would like to address it briefly. i Do not believe in evolution. to me it takes away the sanctity of life. if we trully belief that we evoled from other organims millions of years ago, then there is no value to human life. if all we are are drawings in a biology book then i should be able to shoot the lame, kill the mentally handy cap, beat up a pregnant woman or punch a baby. the basis as i understand it for Darwins theory is that all sepices originated from a simple cell organism. however when darwin made that theory which is a theory by the way. (we more often then not turn evolution into fact and tend to forget the word theory that goes with it.) he had no idea of the complexity of these 'simple' organisms, he had no clue as to the perfect balance that our earth is in to keep everything working properly. i encourage every intellectual to see a movie called "the priviledged planet" when i look at my beat up 1997 saturn i would be an idiot to think that it didn't have a maker, that it randomly came together in just the right order to produce a blue 1997 saturn that runs. as complexly simple a car is, how much more goes into a human being? I ama nationally registered paramedic here in the good ol' U S of A. and i can tell you that the human heart alone is a marvelous piece of work, how the electricity goes through in just the right order how the blood pump just the right amount through the atrium into the ventricles, the SA Node, the bundle branches, all within something the size of the persons hand. incredible. so with my whole heart i worship the God who the bible says "knew me before i was in my mothers womb" and has knit me together" and has made all the "delicate parts of my body" as well as the God whose "thoughts for me are more numerous then the sands of the earth" and who "keeps me as the apple of his eye and hides me under the shadow of his wing"
-thats my two cents
-David

David Clark said...

ok, i know this is an athiest talk blog, but i found this video. gotta add a link


http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=8f328547d9d4cee54d3f

Lee said...

Hi David,

I've got to catch a train now, but I will be back.

Just a quick question, you say God healed your asthma when you were 13... does this mean God gave asthma for fun for years 1 - 12?

Lee

ryan said...

hey lee,

i must admit that i'm mildly jealous that you have to ride trains. i can see the nuisance of it all but the trouble of cars makes me want to drive it off a cliff.....only sometimes.

on to the thought, or question.

God does not give sickness, sin gives sickness. God fashioned us in His perfect image. when Adam and Eve ate of the tree they brought sin into the game. prior to this there was no sin, thus we were in direct communion with God. after the fact however sin came in and began to corrupt the perfect creature (man/woman) that God made. now this is a hard concept to grasp. man, perfect? bah! this is in no way visible. true. however, this was during a time of no sin, none

since the death of Jesus Christ man has had the chance to be forgiven of all sin and cleansed of such a stain. when this happens, and only when this happens, God see's us as washed white as snow and perfect. not by our own dealings and work, rather by the sacrifice of God in giving up His son for us.

sin is the corrupter, not God.

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,

You were first to respond, so I will reply first to you before I get onto David’s comment any further.

hey lee

Isn’t that a girl’s name? Must be the long hair :-)

i must admit that i'm mildly jealous that you have to ride trains.

You wouldn’t be jealous if you have to catch one everyday to get to work… the service isn’t great - but it could be worse.

on to the thought, or question.

It was a fast ‘throw away’ comment on my part, but I am glad that you want to address it.

It seems to me that the theist is happy to attribute anything that is ‘good’ to God, but anything that is ‘bad’ is the fault of the person (or mankind in someway).

A bit of a selective bias one would say – is there no ‘wrong’ that God can do?
(And this is a serious question, if He can do no wrong, what does it mean to be good?)

God does not give sickness, sin gives sickness.

Erm… who created sin? Did man create sin, or did man merely commit a sin?

God fashioned us in His perfect image.

Does this mean man ‘looks’ like God (in. image) or merely could ‘think’ like God…

Actually, sorry – I never understood this ‘perfect image’. Not been raised a Christian you see. Can you help me out, in your own words

when Adam and Eve ate of the tree they brought sin into the game

Can you please explain what the ‘sin’ actually was?

If it was gaining the knowledge of ‘right and wrong’ (which I think is what the bible says happened) does this not imply that before eating the fruit Adam and Eve didn’t know the difference?
(And wasn’t it a snake/serpent that tempted Eve, so isn’t it in fact the serpent, created by God(?), actually the true source of this ‘sin’? If you believe this account to be literally true – which I don’t)

So, an analogy from me to help me understanding - isn’t the account of Adam an Eve with the tree a bit like me leaving a chocolate cake on my kitchen table, and me telling my 3 year old son NOT to eat it… but then ‘surprise, surprise’ when I turn my back for 5 minutes the cake has a large piece missing with teeth marks.

Then, and this is the ‘best bit’, I punish not only my 3 year old son, but his children, their children, and their children, on and on for generation after generation for thousands of years?

Makes no sense when I think about it, but it does to you?

Shouldn’t I have known that my son would eat the cake, so in fact, it was my fault?

I think if I leave some chocolate cake on the kitchen table within easy assess of my 3 year old, it is my fault, and my fault alone when (not if) my son eats some of the cake.

What do you think? How is my analogy any different to the account in Genesis?

prior to this there was no sin

So mankind DID create sin? I wonder how we did that?
(Or was it the serpent?)

now this is a hard concept to grasp. man, perfect?

You’re right there… Did Adam still have a blind spot in his vision or did we ‘de-evolve’ this trait years later?

since the death of Jesus Christ man has had the chance to be forgiven of all sin and cleansed of such a stain.

I’ll come back to my ‘chocolate cake analogy’…

If your belief is true/fact – for thousand of years God has been punishing people for their great-great-great….grandparents love/curiosity of chocolate cake – sorry, fruit.

Does this seem right, fair, just? (Of course, you have to say it is, you believe in an all-loving God, but it makes no sense to me. Please help me understand)

Now, what you seem to be saying is that in order to gain ‘forgiveness’ for this ‘chocolate cake crime’ of my great, great… grandparents who were unknown to me…. The person who created the cake/fruit has to come down, get themselves killed in a horrible way and I am to believe this with all of my heart?

Makes no sense. Can you explain it?

I have heard, from some, that Jesus took all the pain and suffering on his shoulders (so to speak) when he died on the cross. Is that right? How can this be, and why couldn’t God just ‘forgive us’ without this ‘show’?

Also, Jesus didn’t seem to be on the cross for that long (compared to the ‘normal’ crucifixion of the time that usually lasted for days) this means the account in the bible seems odd and thus needs explanation.

when this happens, and only when this happens, God see's us as washed white as snow and perfect.

Is this when He cures some people’s illnesses? Does this cure always happen?

I wonder why God doesn’t also cure amputees in a similar manner – I mean, some might question the curing of asthma, in our example, since it is one of those illnesses that can have many causes, and so, for some, could ‘just go away’ i.e. my sister ‘had asthma’ – she ‘caught it’ when she was working as a baker with all that fine flour dust… she is no longer a baker, and ‘amazingly’ she doesn’t have asthma anymore. I don’t recall any Christian conversion happening, just a change of jobs.

My point is that it is not so easy to dismiss whole limbs growing back… at first no limb, then we have a limb – it is very black and white and cannot be debated.

Or is a cure for asthma seen more important to God than a ‘cure’ for amputees?

OK.. I am now starting to touch on David’s reply – so I will press on with that.

Hello David,

for me i can believe and have faith in God(the christian God) because he has shown himself to be true in my life through answered prayers, healing me of asthma when i was 13, providing for myself and my family….

I’ve already asked one ‘quick’ question on this which Ryan responded – my follow up question to you then is this, “How would the world looked if there was no God?”

My point here is that what you have described (so far) is for me, precisely how the world would look if there was no gods BUT we have humans with the desire for answers/purpose and a dislike of unknowns.

To phrase the question more ‘directly’, you have described observations in your life that ‘proves’ to you that God exists… what observations could you expect to see in the world that would/could ‘prove’ your idea false (or unlikely)?

Without the possibility of a ‘negative observation’ that would disprove your idea (of a Christian God) EVERY observation will be evidence FOR God, and as such, is no evidence at all.

i am not sure what everyone in particular 'needs' in order to beleive in God, i wish i knew because i would try to help those people get what they 'need' in order to come to the knowledge of God.

For me this is ‘easy’ – ‘a miracle’.

I will need to be more specific I know, since I foresee a few strawmen coming my way.

There is much in this world that I don’t fully know the finer details for – how life or the universe ‘began’ for example.

We could debate these points but since I don’t have a full understanding, I could not look in these places for examples of ‘miracles’.

However, there are areas where I do have a ‘good’ understanding – my physics is pretty good for example.

So a good example for a miracle would be in this area of ‘what we do know’.

For me to start to believe in God, I would need to see a miracle that breaks the known laws of physics.

An example I normally raise for this is if tomorrow some priest tells the world that God has told him, as a gift and in His wisdom, God will speed up the rotation of the moon so (at last) mankind on the planet Earth could see the far side of the moon within the month. And then, by the end of the month I could see this event – not only would I be impressed, but you have yourself a new believer.

Ah I hear you say… God doesn’t ‘play tricks’ like this, why should He?

But I say to you that God has (IF you believe in the inerrant bible) done such a task in the past.

Isn’t it written that God held the Sun and Moon still for 24 hours so one little tribe could kill another tribe?

So, God today could save the souls of 6 billion people with one ‘simple’ act…

How easy is that? How loving is that?

Shall I pencil the event in my diary?

i do often hear "if god is real, why doesn't he just show up when i sarcastically say "hey God if you';re real then appear before my eyes"

I wonder if this is your response to my earlier comment (you predict me) – I was not being sarcastic though.

OK then, another thing you could do - if you don’t think your prayers to God asking for the moon to rotate faster and thus proving His existence to all of humanity alive today, that it isn’t likely to happen or it would seem that I am asking God to perform ‘party tricks’, that I am asking too much (And don’t get onto the ‘freewill’ of being able to choose to come to God nonsense, I don’t have ‘freewill’ to chose to believe in the Moon, so why should it be any different for God?) - is this, to find good evidence for the Sun and the Moon being held still all those years ago for 24 hours… again, I would start to believe in your God. (And please, please – don’t mention any NASA claims of a missing day… not again)

The physical evidence should be there if the event described in the bible really happened (unless you can explain why it wouldn’t be? I can think of one, the bible is wrong and it didn’t happen)

Note I am not saying God could not stop the Earth/Sun and the moon (it would just be a miracle if He did and what I am looking for)

What I am saying is that around the world tens of thousands of astronomers were looking at the sky, it was their pagan religion after all and the Sun-god and Moon-god were very, very important in their lives (why do you think we celebrate Dec 25th?)

So, if such an event happened, it should be seen and recorded – either in the written record of these other cultures (you claim that the bible writers could record the event, so why not others) OR maybe the death and destruction of these cultures as they fear the world was about to end (which, after all is a likely interpretation for the Sun/Moon worshipers could you not agree?) Such a story, such an event would be recorded and remembered the world over. If not, why not.

Now I have provided two lines of evidence that could change my mind on God - What will it take for you to change yours?

but it is by humbling ourselves and bowing our hearts and saying with a sincere heart " Lord reveal yourself to me that i may know your way"

I have been provided no reason to do this… so why should I do it?

Why should I bow down to your Christian God, and not Allah, or Woden, or Zeus?

Also, I could point to many a former Christian who could report that they did just as you say, and no one answered.

Of course, you will probably blame the person I guess, and not God.

However, I don’t see how I am being ‘unreasonable’ – since in everyday circumstances you too will require reason and evidence before believing, if not, I have some magic beans that will cure all known cancers I could sell you, yours for only $10,000

the pslamist said it this way "teach me your ways oh Lord that i may walk in YOUR truth unite my heart that i will FEAR YOUR NAME psalm 86:11

I don’t know the bible that well, but are you saying I should want to ‘fear’ the name of God? I thought Christians believe He is all-loving? Isn’t this a contradiction to your belief of what God is?

Jesus himself said "blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God"

So, again, it is my fault for not having a ‘pure’ heart… how convenient.

You know, my magic beans really do cure cancer – if they don’t it is because you don’t believe in them with a pure heart, it isn’t my fault or the beans. So sorry, no refunds.

i Do not believe in evolution. to me it takes away the sanctity of life.

That doesn’t make sense…

Do you use the same logic for gravity?

So a man falling from a high building can say “I don’t believe in gravity because it takes away my sanctity in life” and by doing so ‘proves’ gravity does not exist?

It matters not what the person falling ‘believes’ – facts are facts, and they can hit hard.

Evolution is a fact… you might want to question the ‘theory of evolution’ but that is very different.

I used a strong phrase there, which I guess you might want to come back on – ‘Evolution is a fact’

Before you do, answer me this… do you ‘believe’ in dog breeding?

That over time, man has ‘changed’ what was once a wolf to a Jack Russell?

Do you ‘believe’ in antibiotics? How about the flu vaccine? Why do you think it has to be changed and retaken year after year?

Think about these points, and then you might understand why I say evolution is a fact.

if we trully belief that we evoled from other organims millions of years ago, then there is no value to human life.

Rubbish… I truly believe in evolution, and I value human life very highly. I would challenge that I value this life more than many religious folk – after all, the theist believes in an afterlife, I do not.

An aside, have you ever noticed that the more religious a state/country is – the more likely it is that state/country has the death penalty? Just a thought, what could it mean? The religious don’t actually value life that much? Maybe, maybe not.

if all we are are drawings in a biology book then i should be able to shoot the lame, kill the mentally handy cap, beat up a pregnant woman or punch a baby.

We have prisons for people who do that, and mental hospitals for those who think it.

This is how society works… and it has worked for a very, very long time.

the basis as i understand it for Darwins theory is that all sepices originated from a simple cell organism.

Darwin didn’t know about cells BTW – but I get your point, close enough for me (I’m not a biologist)

however when darwin made that theory which is a theory by the way

So is the ‘theory of gravity’ BTW, so anytime you want to test it… feel free.

Just make sure you try only low walls at first, high buildings and gravity can kill.

(we more often then not turn evolution into fact and tend to forget the word theory that goes with it.)

Dealt with this already.

Evolution, like gravity, is a fact.

Our ‘theories’ are the best explanations we have to model these observations. Don’t confuse the two.

They might be wrong on some level (and I can point out areas of issue with gravity if you like) but they are only that… theories. The observations are fact however.

he had no idea of the complexity of these 'simple' organisms, he had no clue as to the perfect balance that our earth is in to keep everything working properly

Yes, and amazingly his ‘simple’ idea is still proven more and more correct every day.

Do you know anything that has been found that has falsified it? It could have happened… after all, Darwin didn’t know about every fossil yet to be found or anything DNA coding.

. i encourage every intellectual to see a movie called "the priviledged planet"

Really? Do you ‘believe’ what is being said in this movie?

If you do, aren’t you disagreeing with Ryan with his belief in Adam and Eve with a young Earth? No problem with this, many Christians disagree.

I’ve not seen the movie BTW, but read enough of the book.

I’ve blogged about it, so take a read and tell me what you think.
strawmen-cometh.blogspot.com: ID

when i look at my beat up 1997 saturn i would be an idiot to think that it didn't have a maker, that it randomly came together in just the right order to produce a blue 1997 saturn that runs. as complexly simple a car is, how much more goes into a human being?

Ah, we are moving into the argument from design…

So, your analogy if I understand it correctly is that your 1997 Saturn required a team of builders to put it together, and many designers to think how the car should look for the builders to put it together, which was influenced by the market forces of the environment by what people wanted in a car, etc etc etc….

What you are saying then is ‘human kind’ being more complex than your 1997 Saturn ‘of course’ required an even larger team of demigods to put us together, and a further team of demigods to design us.

Fair enough… erm, but how do you ‘jump’ from this team of demigods, that follows your analogy, to ‘One God’ which does not?

You see, your argument has clear logical flaws in my book.

I ama nationally registered paramedic here in the good ol' U S of A.

Excellent… you will know all about medication and stuff. The flu virus/vaccine question I asked earlier would be easy for you understand.

Erm… can you explain why the flu virus and vaccine are not evidence for evolution?

I’ve no qualifications in biology or medicine like you, so maybe you could help me out.

so with my whole heart i worship the God who the bible says "knew me before i was in my mothers womb" and has knit me together"

What were ‘you’ before you were in your mother’s womb? Before the sperm and egg met all those years ago?

Just curious… since I don’t know what this statement means in reality.

thats my two cents

Thanks David, I think I have given you a ‘few dollars change’ in return :-)

Hope you keep talking, I would love to learn more.

Lee

David Clark said...

Lee,

Excelent responses very thought out. i will be adding more in the coming days to try to answer some of your questions.

a few quick notes...

your question about dog breeding. yes i believe in dog breeding, but isn't evolution about changing a species? one species becoming another? if so we can have a variety of dogs, i agree, but can we get a fish to change into a goat? to my understanding evolution is about the changing of a species?


you said "So a man falling from a high building can say “I don’t believe in gravity because it takes away my sanctity in life” and by doing so ‘proves’ gravity does not exist?"

firs tthe term sancitity of life i am referring to the value of human life. that we as a whole view, the value that we as a society put on individual life (death penalty statement we can talk about some other time) the main basis for the term sanctity of life is usually geared around abortion. which, also we will get to at a later time i guess. so for someone to jump off of a building to me, they just needed someone to talk to. which christian or not, we should all look to our fellow man and be willing to help those out who need us. i know should is an irrational word (so my psychology professor once said) but hey we can all dream right? as far as the main point i want to make is out of only a portion of the previously quoted statment.

"“I don’t believe in gravity because it takes away my sanctity in life” and by doing so ‘proves’ gravity does not exist?"

the point i think you are trying to make is just because someone chooses NOT to believe in something doesn't mean it doesn't exsist? am i correct in my interpetation? if i am then by saying "i don;t believe in God" doesn't mean he doesn't exist...

Lee, there is a God and he is very real, and he does care about you. and i have to use the freewill speech here for a moment.... he wants you to choose him.

the term "fear your name"
you said doesn't this contradict the loving God idea?

no it doesn't.. you have to understand that the term fear is not used in a way to depict being scared and afraid that if i screw up he is gonna smite me.

i don;t know if you know anything about martial arts, but i have studied Kyokushin-kai and shotokan for the majority of my life, both are japanese systems. and i have a Sensei, one that i fear. the fear isn;t the afraid, scared fear, but a reverent fear, one of respect and humility. my sensei deserves respect because he is my teacher, friend, confidont, etc... so to Fear the name of God and to Fear God is to have a reverence for him, to aknowledge that he is deserving of respect.


i'll add more later, but we are moving our offices to the building across the street and i don;t have anymore time to add right now.

by the way, i am jealous too about the taking the train to work. when i was in japan we used to take trains everywhere. much better for the environment and economy in my book, plus healthier, because if you miss the train you are walking to work !!!!

Havok said...

Mostly posting to get email updates, but hey, while I'm here...

David: if so we can have a variety of dogs, i agree, but can we get a fish to change into a goat? to my understanding evolution is about the changing of a species?

You're question is a little confused. The theory of evolution infers from the available evidence that both modern fish (eg. a tuna) and a modern goat have a common ancestor, probably a billion years ago (don't quote me on that) :-)
The theory of evolution is a model to explain the facts of evolution which we observe - fossils, changes in gene/allele frequencies in a population, mutation, speciation events, etc etc.
It has a large body of empirical evidence behind it and is currently the best explanation for the current observed facts. It makes good predictions and is, on the whole, good science.

David: irs tthe term sancitity of life i am referring to the value of human life. that we as a whole view, the value that we as a society put on individual life

You explained what "sanctity of life" means to you without invoking a deity. I agree that it is we humans who put these values on things, and not a god or gods. That's probably not what you meant to say though... :-)

David: am i correct in my interpetation? if i am then by saying "i don;t believe in God" doesn't mean he doesn't exist...

Not wanting to steal Lee's thunder, but I think that is the point Lee is making. The theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution, just as the theory of gravity explains the fact of gravity. Both are attested by large amounts of evidence.
And no, by me saying I don't believe in the Christian deity, and you saying you don't believe evolution, doesn't make either of our statements true. It's down to the arguments and evidence, which brings us to...

David: Lee, there is a God and he is very real, and he does care about you. and i have to use the freewill speech here for a moment.... he wants you to choose him.

I've mentioned that there is plenty of empirical evidence to support the theory of evolution, just as there is for the theory of gravity. I can probably argue from the evidence to a decent understanding of evolution (though I'd have to stop at a fairly rudimentary level, as I'm no biologist).
Care to demonstrate that your god is "very real", in any fashion you see fit, through evidence and arguments?
You say you know he's real by him moving through your and others lives, but Muslims say similar things (it's basically the same deity, so you might have me there). Buddhists also say following the teachings of Buddhism has a great effect on their lives. Hindu's to. I'd bet that worshipers of the Norse and Greek pantheons of deities also saw these beings moving through and making a difference to their lives. Why is your experience different?

Lee said...

Hi David,

Excelent responses very thought out. i will be adding more in the coming days to try to answer some of your questions.

Thanks... and thanks for your reply.

I look forward to your additional points – I have to rush out to work now, will pick up on this later.

See ya

Lee

ryan said...

drat! i have to run as well but i will be jumping in in the coming days. have a good one.

Lee said...

Havok Not wanting to steal Lee's thunder

Stop thief!!! You can’t leave anything around these days without someone stealing it… the youth of today.

But seriously, you cannot steal my thunder – I give it to you :-)

I cannot even remember where I left my thunder anyway, so it is good that someone finding thunder and throwing it around.

+++++++++++++++

Hi David,

I will respond to this mornings comment (or is it yesterday’s comments, or evening? These time zones can get confusing – it was my morning when I read it anyway)

your question about dog breeding. yes i believe in dog breeding

Then a can rest my case… you believe and accept evolution.

If you disagree still with ‘evolution’ it has to do with the definition of evolution.

I use it to mean no more than the gradual change over time.

No more, no less – if you want it to mean something else, then please explain and justify.

My definition seems to nicely describe what we see in dog breeding – a gradual change over time.

Instead of ‘a gradual change over time’ – I will use ‘evolution’ or ‘evolve’

Can you agree now to evolution?

Notice I am not talking about any theory here – merely words, but they are very important.

but isn't evolution about changing a species?

Nope, I don’t think so, but this could be the result of evolution over a long period of time, over many steps and generations.

Evolution can and does explain this changing from one species to another – but that isn’t what evolution is.

What evolution is (I think), is what you see in dog breeding, a slow change over time.

Evolution will not, in one step, create a new species. No one says it will, no one expects it to.

In fact such a demonstration would, I think (I’m not a biologist remember) falsify the theory of evolution (but we are not talking about the theory yet, just the facts and observations)

Remember, my definition for evolution is just about small little steps/changes over time. So this means we first expect to see changes ‘within a species’… as we see in dog breeding, between humans, between cats… between all living species I know.

This was my point with the example of dog breeding – although with this is artificial selection and not natural – it demonstrates evolution over a relative short period of time.

This is all I need to demonstrate that evolution is a fact.

If you want to tell me where I am wrong, I will be happy to learn.

I hope you don’t think I am skipping over the ‘changing a species’ comment – it is an important one and I can see why it might cause confusion.

My dog breeding example has already shown ‘changes within a species’ – and we can agree to that.

Now, depending how we use our English, it could also mean – ‘changes to a species’, that is, the offspring will be different to the parents. Well, this is known to all isn’t it?

For example, I think everyone can spot the difference between a Great Dane and a Chihuahua if they were asked to do so. (One is the size of a rat, the other the size of a donkey)

So before we continue to0 far (though I feel I’ve gone rather far already) – I need you to define ‘species’ for me. Rather important this for our discussion.

In my simple mind a species has a lot to do with breeding and making babies.

Could you agree?

If two animals can naturally breed to create further fertile offspring, then they can be said to be part of the same ‘species’.

If two animals cannot naturally breed and make fertile offspring they can be said to be a different species.

Are we still agreeing?
(And I will highlight the word ‘naturally’ I used above to be clear.)

If we agree so far, then might you also agree that a Great Dane could not naturally breed with a Chihuahua? (I certainly don’t want to picture it in my mind how it could be done… poor Chihuahua)

Are these then different species?

You would say ‘of course not’, and I suppose then tell me that mankind could, artificially, take the sperm and egg from these two animals and create a fertile offspring and therefore they are the ‘same species’.

A fair point – but we have only demonstrated a few thousand years of (artificial) evolution… my point would be that naturally they could not breed and in a few million years could, following naturally selection, might form a creature that could not breed together even in a lab.

So maybe what we are seeing with the Great Dane and Chihuahua is the first step of on the long road of evolution into forming two new species.

To come at this from another angle - over time – a long time – looking back when from an example of any animal today (lets call it “today’s child”) to it’s great, great, great, great times a million grandparent we might see major differences between the two (if natural selection has been in play)

You will say that the child of today, and this great X million grandparent are different species – BUT, if you followed the family tree, step-by-step through mother and child back through the generations over these millions of years, you will not notice any real difference between the mother and child.

Each link/birth was the result of a natural birth and resulted in a fertile offspring.

Similarly, if you stepped back a little and compared period of merely several hundred generations of mother/child relationships you will see something similar to what we do in dog breeding today. Same species, in that they can breed to have fertile offspring, but looking very different.

Of course, this isn’t an experiment I can perform today with any large animal… I’ve not got the time. (Though there is an experiment with bacteria I seem to remember over 20 years and millions of generations)

However if what I describe did happen, we would expect to see certain ‘fossils’ at certain places in the historical record. Certain patterns of DNA within certain species of animals.

Can you guess what we see?

I’ve must have now laboured my point on this for long enough.

Any questions or issues – please ask away.

I’m learning about this topic too, as I said, I am not a biologist and have no biology qualifications. In fact, looking back, evolution and biology were taught to me rather poorly at school.

but can we get a fish to change into a goat?

Now I hope I have explained myself enough now to be brief on this point.

Give evolution and natural selection a few hundred million years, then yes…

Notice the time frame… you can go from fish to goat with evolution, but only in millions of small steps, this takes time, this means you will NOT expect to see this ‘jump’ within your lifetime.

If you did observe this, you would have just falsified the theory of evolution.

So in fact, what you seem to be asking for as ‘evidence for the theory of evolution’ is in fact evidence AGAINST the theory of evolution.

It would be like you asking me to prove that a shape I have just drawn on a piece of paper is a triangle by pointing out its 4 sides.

If I prove the shape has 4 sides, I have just proven it isn’t a triangle.

If I don’t prove it has 4 sides, you are not convinced it is a triangle.

It makes no sense.

RE: "So a man falling from a high building can say “I don’t believe in gravity because it takes away my sanctity in life” and by doing so ‘proves’ gravity does not exist?"

firs tthe term sancitity of life i am referring to the value of human life.

My point is valid however you define ‘sanctity’ I think…

All you have said is “I don’t believe in X, because I want to believe in Y and because I believe in Y it means X cannot be true”

One does not prove the other. Your argument is a logical fallacy.

You have not shown evolution is false by your argument – and this seemed to be your main (emotional) argument against it.

(death penalty statement we can talk about some other time) the main basis for the term sanctity of life is usually geared around abortion.

Agreed - Both the death penalty for adults and abortion can be discussed another time.

It is interesting though that some seem to differentiate the two – happy for one, but not the other.

Another time… abortion is a topic in of itself – Ryan has a post on the topic somewhere on his blog and I have commented there if you are interested on my current take. (I say current, because my views have changed overtime, and they may change again – being a parent does that)

so for someone to jump off of a building to me, they just needed someone to talk to.

I was using an analogy… I was not suggesting the best way to demonstrate/test gravity was to jump off a building.

We can talk about apples falling off trees if you like :-)

Not important.

the point i think you are trying to make is just because someone chooses NOT to believe in something doesn't mean it doesn't exsist? am i correct in my interpetation?

Yes… as simple and as plain as that.

if i am then by saying "i don;t believe in God" doesn't mean he doesn't exist...

Havok has touched on this already.

Just because you say it, doesn’t make it so :-)

Lee, there is a God and he is very real,

David, I know you believe this – I trust you when you say this is what you believe. I have no reason to doubt your belief in your conclusion.

However, to repeat myself… “Just because you say it, doesn’t make it so”

I need a little more than your word, remember I told you I have some ‘magical beans’… I really do believe that they are magic and that they can cure cancer… you just have to believe also.

Do you believe me right, or do you want to see some evidence first before you give me $10,000?

I think my analogy is close enough on this one.

the term "fear your name"
you said doesn't this contradict the loving God idea?

no it doesn't.. you have to understand that the term fear is not used in a way to depict being scared and afraid that if i screw up he is gonna smite me.


I read text plain and simple… if someone says ‘fear me’, I don’t think it means ‘love me’ since this isn’t what was said.

Neither do I think the person means ‘respect me’ – since you do not earn respect through fear and neither can ‘respect’ be instructed. I cannot respect you just because you tell me to. Same goes for ‘love’.

Back to analogies - If you were walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night and someone rather large man jumps out holding a knife and said ‘fear me, and fear my name’

What interpretation would you take away from this experience?

Would you have ‘reverence’ for such a person?

How is this any different?

So I really do not understand the example you gave… if I took martial arts and the leader of the group was one of the best persons in the world at this art I could ‘respect’ their skill, ‘admire’ the time spent learning and training. I would know that, if they chose they could beat me up in a moment but I would not ‘fear them’ IF the person has shown no reason for me to fear them. This is the point.

Using the phrase ‘fear’ would not be appropriate in any honest use of the word.

If however they just beat the crap out of me and cause unnecessary suffering – then I would ‘fear them’ with good reason. All the ‘respect’ or ‘love’ that I might once have had would be lost.

So yes, anyone demanding ‘fear’ and ‘respect’ I would consider to be no more than a thug – and I could never say that such a person shows any ‘love’ towards me.

The contradiction remains, if we are being honest. I assume this is how we are to read the bible, with honestly?

i'll add more later, but we are moving our offices to the building across the street and i don;t have anymore time to add right now.

Good luck – as I said, look forward to further discussions.

by the way, i am jealous too about the taking the train to work.

You don’t know Connex – the train supplier here in Melbourne.

However, I do get to read books or listen to my ipod, so it isn’t so bad… just takes a long time when they cancel 3 trains on the trot.

when i was in japan we used to take trains everywhere.

I hear they run a good service there

much better for the environment and economy in my book

I agree – I don’t understand why the government here is sending billions on more roads for a few people to sit in traffic jams and relatively little on trains. Certainly not when they keep talking about the city’s ‘carbon footprint’

Getting the commuter off the roads and into trains, frees up the roads for the causal user or those that really need to use them.

plus healthier, because if you miss the train you are walking to work !!!!

I wait for the next train… it’s a long walk.

See ya

Lee

Havok said...

I can't compete with Lee's voluminous responses. Think I'll take a back seat :-)

Lee said...

Oops... sorry. I got carried away.

Lee said...

Oh... and here is a good bit of reader I was just told about.

http://en.wikipedia.org
/wiki/Ring_species

It's good knowing people who know what they are talking about.

Unlike me, who just makes it up as I go along

Billy said...

Hi Guy's,

I don't have too much time at the moment, but have a few comments.

Ryan - do you believe in fairies? That is what it is like to not believe in something.

David, your arguments are rather subjective and I have heard muslims use similar arguements - why do you think you are right and they are wrong?

Were you receiving any other treatment for asthma? If so, you cant claim it was prayer that worked.

I am truely puzzled as to why people think that the fact we evolved means that people don't matter (you also make the error of starting with the assumption that there is a sanctity of life - you need to argue the case first). To me christian theism devalues life. However, the truth is independent of what we atually feel.

Ryan, must a creationist not believe that god specifically created disease causing organisms? Look into how good these organisms are at surviving in their hosts - the mechanisms used to overcome the immune system are amazing - look up antigenic variation in trypanosomes.

At what point did man actually sin? The story goes that adam and eve never knew right from wrong before eating the fruit that told them what it was - they could have had no concept that the snake (which god put there) was not to be trusted either. This also means that man could not be made in god's image as he lacks certain qualities inherent in god.

David,

Ken Miller (a catholic) has a nice video on youtube concerning chromosome 2 - this is pretty good evidence that humans evolved - I would recommend you check it out.

That's all I have time for. Don't know when I can pop back

Billy

Lee said...

I wish I could be as brief as Billy...

I just go on, and on, and on, and on...

David Clark said...

Billy,
concerning the muslim faith, and why i think they are 'wrong' is one based on religious and biblical texts, which in term have nothing to do with what this comment blog thing has turned into concerning evolution.

Billy,
"At what point did man actually sin? The story goes that adam and eve never knew right from wrong before eating the fruit that told them what it was - they could have had no concept that the snake"

in the 'story' adam and eve did know not to eat from two certain trees. they were instructed by God not to eat from the tree of knowledge as well as to not eat from the tree of life. they had direct instructions from God NOT to eat. now, enter the snake who said "indeed had God said' you shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?.... it goes on to say that eve said they could eat from any tree except the one in the middle...then eve added to what God had said and added the words "or touch it" (goes to show, if it weren't for eve we would all be naked... thanks eve :) ) so the serpent chims in with you surely shall not die....
it can all be found in genesis chapter 3.

so back to your original statement.. the story goes, they were dieobedient to God's commands thus entering into sin.

i have a 21 month old daughter, and she knows when daddy says "don't touch daddy's laptop, that she is not supposed to touch it." at that point she knows that if she touches the laptop she is being disobdeient to Dad's command of not touching the laptop.

thus Adam and Eve first sinned when they disobeyed God and ate of the tree of knowledge.

as for the asthma... when i was 13 i physically felt a hand go inside my chest cavity and pull something out. the hand felt as big as my chest and i f=could feela squeeze on my lungs and then a pull. after that i took the deepest breath i have ever taken until that time, went to the doctor the following week, no asthma, not even a single symptom. haven't had one since.

Lee said...

David,

RE: SIN

Please read my reply to Ryan - it covers everything you said. Certainly your comments about your 21 month year old child. They do NOT know the difference... just wait for the terrible two's... and don't talk to me about the fearsome threes. WHEN your child disobeys you (and they will) what punishment do you feel appropriate for say, eating a chocolate cake YOU left on a table within easy access

Most go...

Lee

CF said...

I think my brain just exploded.

Havok said...

David: they were instructed by God not to eat from the tree of knowledge as well as to not eat from the tree of life. they had direct instructions from God NOT to eat.

Yet before they ate from the tree of good and evil, how could they have known it was wrong to disobey?
It would have been difficult, not having any knowledge of good and evil.

David: enter the snake

Why does God create the serpent (no indication it was Satan - that seems to be a much later interpretation) and then leave his greatest creation, who were ignorant and naive alone with it?
I'd call that being negligent :-)

David: she knows that if she touches the laptop she is being disobdeient to Dad's command of not touching the laptop.

And of course, when she does touch the laptop you curse not just her but all of her offspring to suffer, right? :-)

David: when i was 13 i physically felt a hand go inside my chest cavity and pull something out.

And you know this "hand" (which I assume you couldn't see) was Yahweh/Jesus/Spirit and not a physiological phenomena because?

Perhaps it was the FSM touching you with his noodly appendage? :-)

Billy said...

Hi David,

The muslims would say the same things, so we have not resolved the issue. I would ask you to read Isaiah 7:14 in context and tell me if it is reasonable to believe that this says jesus will be born of a virgin - remember who the verse is addressed to and what it concerns.

As for evolution, have you checked chromosome 2 yet? At the end of the day, many creationists accept evolution within "kinds", what they fail to do is accept that happened to humans. I could give you lists upon lists of intermediate fossils and the ages of them (all occuring at the right time - dont you think that is odd - even if you have to deny conventional dating methods - that all results give the right age?). However, the battle ground here relates to humans. So, what of chromosome 2? If you have a chromosome that looks like 2 other chromosomes joined together, is it not reasonable to concluse that 2 ancestral chromosomes fused? particularly when the fused ones can be recognised in closely related species - like chimps and gorillas (in unfused form)

Just a quick response. As has been already pointed out, Adam and Eve did not know it was wrong - is that fair? I say not.

The analogy with your daughter also fails - to remain consistent, your daughter would have to have no concept of right or wrong - if you believe that mankind inherited this from that "sinful" act, then she does know right from wrong and the analogy fails. If you say she doesn't know right from wrong, then is it right to label her sinful from conception as the bible would demand?

I'm glad you are asthma free, but I am still unclear as to whether it was a one off attack that hasn't happened again (quite common really) or whether you had a history of it and were on medication and it hasn't happened again (also common). I'm not surprised you had a sensation in your chest as part of the disease involves a constriction of your air ways - if they suddenly oppened up (also common) You would almost certainly have felt that as it allowed much more air into your lungs.

It will probably be the weekend before I can return, but You will have your hands full with Lee and Havok

Lee said...

CF I think my brain just exploded.

Sorry to hear that... hope it gets better :-)

CF said...

Thanks Lee!

I think these comments are well put. I also think that it shows the fact that we believe what we believe because of the proofs that we have been shown in our own personal lives; based on the facts that we have sought out in many different ways. Like David, things have happened in my life in which God has "shown" Himself, either by answered prayers or other means, including the physical (documented) healing of my own son.

The proofs we use to try and convince the "other side", in the end, are difficult to "make them believe" because they are different worlds. Both sides, Creation Science and Evolution, have shown excellent proofs for and against the respective other side. As far as Creation Science and Evolution is concerned, both sides have legitimately documented scientific proof as to why their theory or argument or hypothesis are correct. They also have reasons to debunk the supposed "truths" the other side has proposed.

David Clark made mention to Lee that "God has chosen Lee". And I believe that with all my heart. That, I think, was the first time "relationship" has been addressed in any of these discussions. I think, Lee, that God has shown Himself to you already, in ways you may not expect or had been looking for. In a sense you have put yourself (or allowed yourself to be put) before Christians purposefully. With Ryan, with the lady and her daughter at the train, with others online. I'm not sure what your intentions are, nor will I speculate, and I'm not trying to offend or judge. When people seek God with all their hearts they WILL find Him. Just as when people seek sex, drugs, knowledge, flowers, gravity, wind, etc. they will find those things also. The relationship of a Christian walk with Jesus is NOT, nor will it ever be, something that science can prove. Knowledge apart from experience leaves room for doubt.

The views in regard to the Old Testament God being a God of wrath, damnation and revenge are often emphasized over a God of love. A God who continually PROVED Himself, physically in different forms, to the people of the Old Testament. The Bible is not a PG rated book, nor is God a PG rated God; but He is a God of Love. I know this isn't a "solid argument for the proof that God exists", but I also know it to be true to me, and I have experienced this truth through others. This is the only language I can use.

We live lives on earth where there are uncertainties. Bad things happen to good people, and the like. But there is much justice also. Bad things also happen to bad people, and vice versa. Good things happen to good people.

Science has little, if anything, to do with ideals such as relationship, love, character, miracles, trust, etc. Solomon was considered the wisest man to ever have lived, yet he died sad. He had knowledge that surpassed other kings, but allowed his relationship with God to fade.

Again, do I have scientific proof for all of this? No. Neither do I have scientific proof my children love me, or my wife. I have evidence in things I cannot touch. I have experiences that can only happen over time, not instantaneously. I have moments that I have to look BACK to to see the proof. And that is the way with God...with Jesus.

My family and I are going through some very tough times right now. My wife and I were praying just yesterday, together, asking "God...where are you?" I was reminded of the times that I have leaned on Him and trusted in Him because everything else around me had broken down. That's relationship and it's something that takes time.

Maybe this isn't the appropriate time or place to say these things, but I don't know chromosomes or DNA or philosophies of Kant. But I have a great deal of respect for Lee for continuing to come reason with us, and appreciate the fact that you are the first I've "met" who has kept the foul language and childish arguments away from the threads. The same goes for "Billy" and "Havoc".

Thanks
Chris

ryan said...

Hebrew 11:1

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

i have never seen God in the physical sense but i have faith that He is there.

its the faith to believe in God that is required. in the end, if we don't have faith, we have nothing.

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."
C. S. Lewis


---------

and i too want to thank you guys, Lee, Havok and Billy, for keeping all of this respectful. it is rare to find people that differ so greatly that can have such awesome conversation. thanks guys! i look forward to more of the same.

Havok said...

CF: Both sides, Creation Science and Evolution, have shown excellent proofs for and against the respective other side. As far as Creation Science and Evolution is concerned, both sides have legitimately documented scientific proof as to why their theory or argument or hypothesis are correct. They also have reasons to debunk the supposed "truths" the other side has proposed.

Creation science, scientifically speaking, doesn't have a leg to stand on. The only reason to believe that the earth is mere thousands of years old, or that there was a single global flood which killed every one and everything apart from those on the Ark, or that complex life was created fully formed is due to a persons belief in the truth of a story.
The process of science is the only game in town for investigating the world around us - there is no other process which has been as successful in studying reality, nor results in such objective results.

I wonder why the main aim of creation science appears to be attempting to debunk mainstream scientific theories (only when they conflict with scripture, mind you) and trying to force high schools to teach it as legitimate?
Where are the research programs, the advances in knowledge, the technological breakthroughs, the peer reviewed papers etc from those practicing creation science?

CF: When people seek God with all their hearts they WILL find Him.

When people seek Allah with all their hearts they WILL find Him.
When people seek to emulate the buddha with all their hearts, they WILL find enlightenment.
When people seek Vishnu with all their hearts they WILL find Him.
When people seek Ahura Mazda with all their hearts they WILL find him.
When people seek Aten with all their hearts they WILL find Him.
When people seek Zeus with all their hearts they WILL find Him.

I can't for the life of me figure out what makes your statement different from those I've offered. Have you even investigated these other deities with all of your heart?
Sathya Sai Baba would seem to be proof of Hinduism's truth. He performs miracles, has raised the dead, and has an enormous worldwide following.He is claimed to be a god-man, much like Christians claim of Jesus. There is much documentary evidence of his miracles - eyewitness accounts of him raising the dead and healing the sick.
Why should I accept Jesus and not this fellow?

CF: The relationship of a Christian walk with Jesus is NOT, nor will it ever be, something that science can prove.

Research into the brain seems to show that religious experiences originate in the brain and can be induced. Is the Christian walk with Jesus more than a feeling you have?

CF: A God who continually PROVED Himself, physically in different forms, to the people of the Old Testament.

Why doesn't he show himself, prove himself today? I've heard it claimed by Christians that God is unchanging, so I'd expect him to be doing it today if he did it in the past?

CF: Again, do I have scientific proof for all of this? No. Neither do I have scientific proof my children love me, or my wife. I have evidence in things I cannot touch.

You could hypothesis that your wife and children love you, then make predictions as to how you'd expect them to behave on your hypothesis (and also how you'd expect them to behave on the alternate hypothesis - "My wife and children do not love me"), and then gather data on their behaviour, and see which hypothesis is better supported by the evidence, so yes, you could have evidence to support your hypothesis that your wife and children love you.

We could also do the same with god - if he existed, what might we expect (and conversely if he didn't exist, what might we expect). So far, the world seems to look exactly as we'd expect if there was no god. Now, this doesn't "prove" there is no specific god (ie. Yahweh of Christianity, or Yahweh of Islam, or Yahweh of Judaism, or Zeus of the Greek pantheon etc), but it does lend greater to support to that hypothesis.

CF: My family and I are going through some very tough times right now.

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope it all works out for the best, and soon.

CF: My wife and I were praying just yesterday, together, asking "God...where are you?"

What if you were talking to nobody but yourselves?

CF: I was reminded of the times that I have leaned on Him and trusted in Him because everything else around me had broken down. That's relationship and it's something that takes time.

To me it sounds like you have a relationship with yourself, though you seem to externalise the source of your strength and resolve.

Havok said...

Oh, and just to bring it back to what was originally posted in the blog:

Ryan: take apart a wind up clock, place the contents in a bag, now shake. do not stop shaking until the clock comes back together in a full working manner. what are the odds of that happening? thats how insane all of this evolution jargen is to me.

You may want to watch this video of simulated clock evolution which is similar to your analogy above. Enjoy! :-)

Pony said...

Unbelievers,

It is too bad that you think all of this talk is foolish.

(Do you really believe what you just wrote, or are you having a laugh?)

If you want a better argument, read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. He once was an atheist, then converted to Christianity.

"Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should have never found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark.Dark would be a word without meaning."

"Aren't all your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?"

"When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them the most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view. But, of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong. As in arithmetic-there is only one right answer to a sum, and all the other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than the others."

-Lewis

As a believer in Jesus Christ, the word of God tells me to "avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the truth"(Titus3:9)

(2Peter2:1-3)
"just as there will be false teachers among you.they will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves.Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping"

(2Timothy3:7)(3:8-9)
"always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth."

"men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned , are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone."

(2Timothy4:3-4)
"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths."

(Colossians2:8)(2:22-23)
"See to it that no one takes you captive through the hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather then on Christ."

"These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

(1Corinthians1:18)
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

I used to argue that Christ didn't exist, and if He did exist, then He would just want me to live as happily as I wanted to, without consequence. Recently, I stopped ignoring God and the power which saves is life altering, and has transformed me inside and out. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago.

It is too simple to not believe in God, throw in as much science and physics as you want, it will not change my belief of the Father of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

Thank you. I pray that God has spoken to your hearts, and you might be willing to stop ignoring Him one day.

Havok said...

Pony, I've not read "Mere Christianity", but judging by the quotes you offer, it doesn't seem that it will be convincing unless you're already convinced.
I'll add it to the list of books I should read :-)

Pony: I used to argue that Christ didn't exist, and if He did exist, then He would just want me to live as happily as I wanted to, without consequence.

Did you investigate the evidence (or lack thereof) for the existence of a supernatural Jesus in 1st century Palestine, or did you just claim that he didn't exist?

Pony: Recently, I stopped ignoring God and the power which saves is life altering, and has transformed me inside and out. I am not the same person I was 2 years ago.

I to am not the same person I was 2 years ago, yet I a god or gods had nothing to do with it.
Seems all religious traditions have believers who claim they have been transformed by their belief. If those other claims are unfounded (not due to the intervention of Allah, Vishnu etc) then why is how experience different?

Pony:It is too simple to not believe in God, throw in as much science and physics as you want, it will not change my belief of the Father of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

If you and I had a time machine and we went back to 1st century Palestine, watched the body of Jesus being put into the tomb, and then waited for a few weeks for him to emerge, only to find out that his body was still inside, would you belief truly not change?

Pony: Thank you. I pray that God has spoken to your hearts, and you might be willing to stop ignoring Him one day.

And I pray that one day you'll accept Ahura Mazda and leave this foolish belief in Yahweh behind you :-)

Lee said...

Hi Chris

Looks like I am getting behind already, I started this reply this morning, but had to go out to the shops – now Havok and pony has responded. Oh well... more the merry eh?

I also think that it shows the fact that we believe what we believe because of the proofs that we have been shown in our own personal lives; based on the facts that we have sought out in many different ways.

Almost... I also try and cross check my ‘proofs’ and evidence and always try and chose the most likely, the one that makes the least number of unproven assumptions.

Like David, things have happened in my life in which God has "shown" Himself, either by answered prayers or other means, including the physical (documented) healing of my own son.

This is where I would get onto the cross checking and choosing the most likely explanation.

The proofs we use to try and convince the "other side", in the end, are difficult to "make them believe" because they are different worlds.

“they are different worlds”?

I only know of the one world... this world. If someone starts talking about another world, they have better start explaining themselves how this ‘different world’ can be understood in this one (and how it can be observed and tested in this world)

The ‘proofs’ that I have been using are ALL from this world... they have ALL been observed in this world, by ALL of us.

No one is challenging the dog breeding example are they, and it is on such evidence that I rest my case for evolution, the fact of evolution. If you wish to deny it, then please explain yourself.

How do you interpret the evidence and why?

If it is based on the assumption that the bible is inerrant and the universe must fit into this assumption, then how do you test your original assumption?

If you are interested, the other week I wrote a letter/response to a Jehovah witness I see each week at the train station, it refers to the Flood and the inerrant bible. You might see by reading it that I do not see that the bible is inerrant if we are being honest with ourselves.

http://strawmen-cometh.blogspot.com/2008/12/

weekly-jw-chat-my-response-in-print-re.html

Both sides, Creation Science and Evolution, have shown excellent proofs for and against the respective other side.

Would you also say that alien abductees and alien denies have both provided excellent proofs and evidence for and against? – or would you say one side has provided wishful thinking and bad evidence?

Have both sides provided ‘excellent proofs for and against the respective other side’?

As for ‘creation science’ - Seems a strange term to me, since I do not know how you falsify its claims. What predictions does it make that can be falsified? What new predictions has it made that have be shown true later? None that I am aware of – hence it cannot be a science, but this is off on a tangent.

There are not two types of science, only one. Unless you also think astrology and the like are science?

Also, ‘Creation science’ uses the logical fallacy “If I disprove A, it must be B”... it’s nonsense.

Happy to discuss it though, but it would not be the first time that I have.

It also takes us away from the simple example that I gave on the fact of evolution... can you respond to that directly please?

As far as Creation Science and Evolution is concerned, both sides have legitimately documented scientific proof as to why their theory or argument or hypothesis are correct.

Wrong... If they have, please explain dog breeding to me and why it isn’t evolution :-)

I have gone into great detail to try and be clear – however, if I have confused you (or made a mistake) please tell me.

They also have reasons to debunk the supposed "truths" the other side has proposed.

I can see how one side requires to disprove the other, their religion says one thing, and the science says another.

However, why would science want to deny religion? In fact, many scientists are religious (Ken Miller has been mentioned before by Billy, do check him out on youtube)

If science could prove prayer, for example, just think of the funding they could get from churches...

If a scientist could disprove evolution, just think of the Noble prize and the book tours...

So I need you to back up your claim that science had reason to debunk creationism. Science seeks the truth, if creationism does not fit – don’t blame science.

David Clark made mention to Lee that "God has chosen Lee". And I believe that with all my heart. That, I think, was the first time "relationship" has been addressed in any of these discussions. I think, Lee, that God has shown Himself to you already, in ways you may not expect or had been looking for.

Well, if God has chosen me, He is working is mysterious ways to show it... (it also isn’t the first time I’ve been told this, it has been said by a few different Christians – but I don’t think you will agree on their version of Christianity)

In a sense you have put yourself (or allowed yourself to be put) before Christians purposefully.

Hope I have not been brought to the lions... there is a history of that happening I hear :-)

I'm not sure what your intentions are, nor will I speculate, and I'm not trying to offend or judge.

Merely to have a friendly discussion, by doing so I understand not only the ‘other side’ better, I am also learning more about myself , science and philosophy. Maybe also the ‘other side’ will learn a little more about non-belief along the way – so it is win-win.

Also, I’ve mention already that I am not a biologist, but having to explain evolution to others helps me understand it better.

I’ve also learnt a lot about philosophy and the bible... time well spent? I think so.

When people seek God with all their hearts they WILL find Him.

People who seek ghosts with all of their hearts will find ghosts... they find precisely what they are looking for.

So this isn’t the best way to go about finding the truth. Being sceptical first and then looking – that’s the way to go.( For the record, I would love there to be ghosts and alien landings... just I cannot find the evidence for them.)

IF God and the bible were true, then by further investigation into it we should find more and more reasons to believe. I find the opposite...

The relationship of a Christian walk with Jesus is NOT, nor will it ever be, something that science can prove.

The bible and the Christians make many claims... many of these claims can be tested with the scientific method. Let’s start looking there first.

If you say they cannot be tested, that nothing can be tested – then how do you know you are not just fooling yourself? I don’t mean this in an insulting way, just I wonder how someone ‘knows’ the beans I want to sell to David are magic or not... surely you would want some scientific evidence before you hand over $10,000?

Knowledge apart from experience leaves room for doubt.

Sounds good, but I do not know what you mean, could you expand a little.


The views in regard to the Old Testament God being a God of wrath, damnation and revenge are often emphasized over a God of love.

I was only asking David to explain why I should ‘fear’ a God of love – as he quoted from the bible

It didn’t make sense to me – still doesn’t

The Bible is not a PG rated book, nor is God a PG rated God;

It should be rated R (or 18 depending on your country)... so much killing and raping.

It is interesting that you say God is not a PG rated God... shouldn’t an all-loving God be rated G (General) or U (Universal)... you know, for family viewing.

Bad things happen to good people, and the like.

Yes... unnecessary suffering is a problem for an all-loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God... strong evidence against such a God. However, maybe you do not define your God in such a way.

But there is much justice also.

There is more injustice in nature and the world – any justice in the world seems to come about from civil laws. Mankind making the world better for themselves.

Science has little, if anything, to do with ideals such as relationship, love, character, miracles, trust, etc.

It can help explain them...

Solomon was considered the wisest man to ever have lived, yet he died sad.

Didn’t he turn away from God? Cannot remember...

He had knowledge that surpassed other kings, but allowed his relationship with God to fade.

I must be right then


Again, do I have scientific proof for all of this? No. Neither do I have scientific proof my children love me, or my wife.

Neither have I asked for any on this thread... so I think you have made yourself a strawman – an argument against something I have not argued for.

I could talk about these areas if you like, but we probably have enough to talk about with the unaddressed points on the evolution facts I have outlined already.

I am still looking forward to responses to the Original Sin issues raised by myself and others to be tackled.

I have evidence in things I cannot touch.

Can you see it, taste it or hear it...?

I have experiences that can only happen over time, not instantaneously. I have moments that I have to look BACK to to see the proof. And that is the way with God...with Jesus.

If it convinces you, then fine... this is great. I cannot challenge that, only ask you to review it.

However I’ve not seen any such evidence and/or reason to believe.

So I will remain doubtful if that is OK with you.

My family and I are going through some very tough times right now.

I am sorry to hear this – our family are also going through worrying times with the old economic downturn, people are losing their jobs left, right and centre – we don’t know when/if we will be next – though, this is only money... shame it makes the money go around :)

My wife and I were praying just yesterday, together, asking "God...where are you?"

If this helps you get through the issues, then fine. My advice would also try and be positive to help yourself through this the best you can. If it all works out, you can still thank God (Though is seems those who help themselves come out better more often)

Maybe this isn't the appropriate time or place to say these things, but I don't know chromosomes or DNA or philosophies of Kant.

I don’t know much myself... maybe we can learn more as we go alone.

I certainly learnt a lot by discussing evolution with Billy... a clever chap. You should take the opportunity to discuss such things, you might learnt stuff like I have.

Of course, don’t trust Billy or me or anyone – check out what we are saying. Ask questions until it makes sense in your own mind.

But I have a great deal of respect for Lee for continuing to come reason with us, and appreciate the fact that you are the first I've "met" who has kept the foul language and childish arguments away from the threads.

Thanks... discussions never last long when insults start to fly, and it is the discussion that I enjoy.

Of course there are foul mouth people out there (atheist and theist), and I’ve been known to say a few strong words in my time (I’m no angel) but I try to leave such language to ‘atheist’ blogs, always in ‘good humour’ and I always try and attack the argument and NOT the person.

See ya – my eldest is waking up.

Lee

Lee said...

Havok If you and I had a time machine and we went back to 1st century Palestine, watched the body of Jesus being put into the tomb, and then waited for a few weeks for him to emerge, only to find out that his body was still inside, would you belief truly not change?

Don't some interpretations of the bible (erm Paul's?) suggest that Jesus didn't come back in the same body, that the body was dead and all that.

SO it would not matter... the body is dead, but the spirit has risen. You could see a body in the tomb, it wasn’t important...

I think this is what Paul was saying – could be wrong.

Lee
PS
Oh, and how would I know that you have not taken me to some parallel universe – or didn’t in fact take me back in time (since I don’t know the physics how you could do this BTW) so in fact created a virtual world in some computer and just beamed it into my head.

So in fact, the question should be... what would it take someone to change their mind – I’ve already provided two examples on this thread, not heard how I am unreasonable in these requests.

Lee

Havok said...

Lee: Don't some interpretations of the bible (erm Paul's?) suggest that Jesus didn't come back in the same body, that the body was dead and all that.

I agree Lee. Though it seems to be the case in Paul's writings, it isn't orthodox belief. Paul also seems to claim that what he preached he did not receive from man. Make you wonder what it was that he preached, especially in light of some difficulties:
Literal Greek Translation of 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
"[a body] is sown in decay, [a body] is raised in indestructibility; [a body] is sown in dishonor, [a body] is raised in glory; [a body] is sown in weakness, [a body] is raised in power; a biological body is sown, a spiritual body is raised."
Seems to be pretty explicit about a two body resurrection.

Lee: Oh, and how would I know that you have not taken me to some parallel universe – or didn’t in fact take me back in time (since I don’t know the physics how you could do this BTW) so in fact created a virtual world in some computer and just beamed it into my head.

You'd have to trust me. You do trust me, don't you? :-)


Lee: So in fact, the question should be... what would it take someone to change their mind

Yes indeed it is. I was simply using an example hypothetical which was put to William Lane Craig, to which he resopnded that he would continue to believe as he does, regardless of what his senses told him. I find this response completely unreasonable, and was interested in how others might view the situation :-)

ryan said...

Lee,

"please explain dog breeding to me and why it isn’t evolution."

is it evolution if i have a child with a woman of a different race then me?

if i take a pitbull and a greyhound and breed them together, how is this an example of evolution? or am i completley missing the question here, i feel like i am.

and man! can you imagine a pitbull and a greyhound...we shall call it a GreyBull! =)

CF said...

Hey guys. I'm trying to answer the questions as I remember them...so they may not be in order.

Doggy breeding seems, to me, to be an argument in favor of intelligent design and NOT evolution. I will agree that dogs can be bred and that this has been done for ... a long time. But breeding is something that is caused by intelligent beings. Meaning, people who desire to see a different kind of dog will take one male dog from "over here" and a female dog from "over there" and breed them. However the result is still a dog. Dog breeding has not, to my knowledge, produced a cat. (Though if it has, that cat is probably in therapy...but I digress). It may be a Great Poodle, or a Labrador Shih Tzu, but it's still a dog. So the facts seem to me to say that an outside being (human, or intelligent "force") has intentionally manipulated two similar "types" of dog to make just another "type" of dog. The genetic makeup of dogs is still, at its core, the same. They are still dogs. I'm not sure how that is an argument for evolution. Evolution, as far as I know it, says that after the "Big Bang", the cells, acids, proteins, etc. found themselves in a pool of soup, formed an alliance and as a result we have humans, animals, birds, fish, etc.

My wife is asian and I'm white (as white can be). Our four children all look different. Our daughter is taller than both of us (and she's only 14, but that's another issue). She is a mix of Asian and Caucasian, but she's still a human.

So what that does show me is that things can be manipulated, and things can change their physical shape, and can even do so based on environment, but not the core makeup of the "being". IF things have evolved over millions of years, as evolutionists claim, why, then, is the human eye not able to see effectively in the dark? We have, however, spent half of these millions of years in the dark...why have our eyes not evolved? Or on the other hand, why do we still get sunburn? We have spent half of these millions of years in the sun.

In regards to prayer having a scientific approach...it has been done. And with scientific results. The book "Scientific and Pastoral Perspectives on Intercessory Prayer" actually touches this subject...scientifically...with a real doctor! It relates quantam physics to prayer and healing and how they are tied together.

Even science shows that there is more than just this present "consciousness". There is a natural side to life and there is a spiritual, or transcendental, side to life. Prayer is much more than a placebo. It is used and practiced in hospitals as a reputable, proven method for healing.

I think it was Havoc that made the comment about a "supernatural Jesus". It should be said that even non-Christians, non believers at the very least acknowledge the existense of Jesus Christ. There is "scientific" fact. There are writings outside of the Bible by contemporaries of Jesus who wrote about Him. In addition, whether you agree with the overall message of the Bible, it has been found time and time again to be, again, at the very least an accurate historic document by Christians and non-Christians alike. Archaeological discoveries happen that prove certain events, happenings, places, times and timelines and have lined them up with non-Biblical historic documents.

Someone mentioned the Sai Baba guy. Seriously. You couldn't have picked a worse example. I've heard of this nut before and he's continually exposed as a fake. Not to mention he likes little boys.

LEE: CF: The proofs we use to try and convince the "other side", in the end, are difficult to "make them believe" because they are different worlds.

LEE: “they are different worlds”?

That's not what I meant when I said different worlds. I simply meant two different mindsets. Maybe "two different worldviews" would have been a more accurate expression. We interpret the world around us based on our worldview. I would go so far as to say we even look for proofs based upon our worldviews. And by "we", I mean humans...not just you and me. Because you and me are not human. (jk) Anyway...My point was also that you and I view the world from two different worldviews.

LEE: No one is challenging the dog breeding example are they, and it is on such evidence that I rest my case for evolution, the fact of evolution. If you wish to deny it, then please explain yourself.

I've attempted to address this at the beginning of my comment.

LEE: It also takes us away from the simple example that I gave on the fact of evolution... can you respond to that directly please?

In "simple fact", are you referring to the dog breeding, or am I confused...just wondering.

LEE: CF:I have experiences that can only happen over time, not instantaneously. I have moments that I have to look BACK to to see the proof. And that is the way with God...with Jesus.

LEE: If it convinces you, then fine... this is great. I cannot challenge that, only ask you to review it.


I said I have to "look BACK" to see the proof. That WAS the review! :)

Blessings...and good to see you on here PONY!!

CF said...

Dang...Ryan addressed my answers already.

Billy said...

Hi Guys,

Lots to catch up with.


CF

I would have to disagree that creation science has scientific evidence. The problem is that creationism is not open to falsification as such. I feel it is more of an opinion than an area of scientific exploration.
However, finding 500 million year old rabbits (amongst other things) would kill off evolution. What do you think would prove creationism wrong?

Has anyone watched the chromosome 2 video yet?
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=zi8FfMBYCkk

Pony

Thanks for the recommendation. I have read mere christianity - I found it full of false dilemas and non sequitirs.

On what basis do you claim the bible is the word of god?

Lee said...

Ryan,

is it evolution if i have a child with a woman of a different race then me?

Its part of the process, yes I suppose – that’s breeding for you.

One tiny little step... I think this is the important bit you are missing – small, slow change.

You seem to be defining evolution as something it is not – that is, you expect to see a crocoduck or something.

This gets back to the 4 sided triangle evidence analogy I gave. The evidence you are looking for as proof, would in fact falsify evolution.

If I could not show you a 4 sided triangle – what I have done is shown you it isn’t a triangle.

if i take a pitbull and a greyhound and breed them together, how is this an example of evolution? or am i completley missing the question here, i feel like i am.

You are missing the point – but it is more fundamental than that.

The problem seems, as I mentioned earlier, that since you cannot agree what I have described is evolution, it is due to your personal definition of evolution. (Or maybe a caricature given to you at Sunday School, I don’t know)

To confirm this, can you please define evolution for me... I described it as very small little steps and changes. It seems clear you do not agree to this definition.

What I think you are maintaining then is a strawman and false view that evolution that it is the huge major leap of changes in one or two generations. This has never been observed – so why would someone try to answer something never seen?
Maybe your God could do it, your version of evolution (I would call it creation though) but if seen would be a miracle and so evidence for the supernatural. So you see, what you are asking for is not evidence FOR evolution, but evidence FOR God... I don’t expect to see it, you don’t see – I can make conclusions from this.

and man! can you imagine a pitbull and a greyhound...we shall call it a GreyBull! =)

Oh no, you just made the crocoduck joke... show me a ‘GreyBull’ or ‘crocoduck’ and I will believe in your God. Can’t say fairer than that :-)

OK, have to go - nice sunny day and all to enjoy with the family.

Thanks CF for your reply, I will return come darkfall

Lee

Lee said...

Ryan,

Just thought of a better analogy for you – I’m losing you on the 4 sided triangle.

I want you to prove Newtonian gravity for me.

I want YOU to show me an apple leaving the ground and rising to the tree branch.

Do this, and I will believe in Newtonian gravity.

Seems fair?

Seems like what you are asking of me and evolution...

Must go, the wife is getting the kids in the car.

Lee

Pony said...

Thanks CF, I am glad to share thoughts about the way we live.

This conversation could go back and forth and back and forth, and not get anywhere.

You could argue science, creationism, and everything that is based on theory, and educated guesses to try and understand and believe there is no God. All of it is based on human doctrine, and teachings. God would not create us to do a couple math problems, mix chemicals together, and boom find all there is to know about him.

Its not about religion anyway, or science or breeding animals. Its a relationship with God. Its a daily commitment of dying to self and choosing him. Its about "LIFE". In other religions, nothing is taught about death and resurrection. This is what sets us apart.

I cannot compete with you, I choose not to because its not my place. If you witnessed how I lived my life on a daily basis, you might catch on. It is clearly not duty and obligation(like facing towards the east 5 times, daily).

I am not dependent on anything this world offers. but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

We can all hide behind our computer screens, typing away, sounding very intellectual, and using great sound teachings, with or without an ugly picture. It is the way we live and walk out our lives each day that make us who we are. Either way "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is the Lord."(Phillipians2:10-11)

(2Peter4:5)"but they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge to living and the dead."

(Romans1:18-20)
" The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

This is my last post. It is raining so hard in NC right now-how is Richmond looking boys?

Havok said...

CF: But breeding is something that is caused by intelligent beings.

Breeding does seem to happen in nature. I've seen documentaries which show it happening, no humans involved :-)

CF: Meaning, people who desire to see a different kind of dog will take one male dog from "over here" and a female dog from "over there" and breed them.

If you want a larger dog, you breed your largest dogs together, right?
In nature, if being faster is an advantage for an animal, say a cheater, then the fastest animals will tend to have more offspring (a simplistic example, I know). The "selection" isn't done by an intelligent agency, it is simply those animals whose traits make them more successful at passing on their genes will pass on their genes to more of the next generation. Pretty simple really.

CF: However the result is still a dog.

This is the baby steps thing lee is talking about. Between one generation and the next, animals of the same "species" are going to look similar. It is over extended periods of time that we see "large" changes.

CF: IF things have evolved over millions of years, as evolutionists claim, why, then, is the human eye not able to see effectively in the dark?

I'd think it's because we're not nocturnal animals - we tend to sleep at night, so there has been little advantage to having good night vision.

CF: We have, however, spent half of these millions of years in the dark...why have our eyes not evolved?

As above - we have them closed at night :-)

CF: Or on the other hand, why do we still get sunburn? We have spent half of these millions of years in the sun.

You know that africans have increased pigment (malanin) in their skin which helps protect against the sun in africa. Europeans, due to the different climate don't need the increased pigment, and therefore it was lost.

CF: In regards to prayer having a scientific approach...it has been done. And with scientific results. The book "Scientific and Pastoral Perspectives on Intercessory Prayer" actually touches this subject...scientifically...with a real doctor!

Does this doctor conduct a scientific study, with control groups and the like, to avoid introducing bias into his results?
As far as i'm aware, any study which has attempted to test intercessionary prayer has found no positive results, and in one study, when the patients were told they were being prayed for, they actually fared worse than the control group.

CF: It relates quantam physics to prayer and healing and how they are tied together.

Sounds a bit too much like Depac Chopra to me. Quantum physics is statistically deterministic. It doesn't seem to leave room for god or anything else to do much.

CF:Even science shows that there is more than just this present "consciousness".

What do you mean? Consciousness itself, as far as the current evidence can show, is completely correlated to brain activity - the mind and the brain are one in the same, no "soul" or anything else outside of it is required (as yet) to explain the mind.

CF: Prayer is much more than a placebo. It is used and practiced in hospitals as a reputable, proven method for healing.

As I mentioned above, all of the studies I've read about have found that prayer is, at best, a placebo.

CF: It should be said that even non-Christians, non believers at the very least acknowledge the existense of Jesus Christ.

An historical Jesus is acknowledged by most scholars - the mythical position is a minority view, correct. This doesn't mean they think this historical Jesus said or did many of the things attributed to him in the NT.

CF: There is "scientific" fact.

Actually it's historical probabilty. Currently it seems, based on argument and evidence that the legendary accounts in the NT are probably based upon a real person.

CF: There are writings outside of the Bible by contemporaries of Jesus who wrote about Him.

Actually, there's no contemporary mention of Jesus from any authors of the time.
The first mention is in Paul's epistles (if we accept the tradtional date of 50-60CE for them). Then we have the gospels (Mark ~70, Matthew and Luke later), and I think the first non-Christian mention of Jesus is in the works of Jospehus. One passage has certainly undergone later Christian interpolation (The testimonium Flavium) and is therefore completely suspect (though most scholars think there is an original core in there), and another passage which mentions "Jesus, the so called Christ" which is possibly talking about Jesus the son of Damneus who is said to have gained the High Priesthood later in the same paragraph.

CF: In addition, whether you agree with the overall message of the Bible, it has been found time and time again to be, again, at the very least an accurate historic document by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Like Luke placing the birth of Jesus during the census of Quirinius (6CE) and Matthew during the reign of Herod the Great (~4BC)?

CF: Archaeological discoveries happen that prove certain events, happenings, places, times and timelines and have lined them up with non-Biblical historic documents.

Like the main cities sacked by Joshua during the conquest of Canaan either not existing at the time, not being destroyed, or (in the case of Jericho) not being inhabited and having no walls?
Or the lack of any archaeological evidence for an exodus of ~2,000,000 people from Egypt in any period?

CF: Someone mentioned the Sai Baba guy.

Guilty as charged.

CF: Seriously. You couldn't have picked a worse example.

Actually I could have, but he'll do for now.

CF: I've heard of this nut before and he's continually exposed as a fake.

Compare Sai Baba's raising the dead with that of Jesus. In Sai Baba's case modern medical professionals confirmed the man was dead. On what grounds do you dismiss this account, yet accept the account's in the gospels?

CF: Not to mention he likes little boys.

I don't think any of those charges have stuck.
Jesus never had a wife, and seemed to prefer the company of men and boys also ;-)

John 13:25 "and that one having leant back on the breast of Jesus, respondeth to him, `Sir, who is it?'"
Mark 14:51-52 "A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind."

Havok said...

The direct words of God:

Koran 3:85: “And whoever seeks a religion other than Islâm, it will never be accepted of him, and in the Hereafter he will be one of the losers.”

Koran 3:118: “O you who believe! Take not as your helpers or friends those outside your religion since they will not fail to do their best to corrupt you. They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. Indeed We have made plain to you the verses if you understand.”

Koran 5:14: “And from those who call themselves Christians, We took their covenant, but they have abandoned a good part of the Message that was sent to them. So We planted amongst them enmity and hatred till the Day of Resurrection, and Allâh will inform them of what they used to do.”

Koran 9:34: “O you who believe! Verily, there are many of the Jewish rabbis and the Christian monks who devour the wealth of mankind in falsehood, and hinder men from the Way of Allâh. And those who hoard up gold and silver, and spend it not in the Way of Allâh -- announce unto them a painful torment.”

Koran 5:73: “Surely, disbelievers are those who said: "Allâh is the third of the three (in a Trinity)." But there is no god but Allâh. And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall the disbelievers among them.”

:-)

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Havok has responded to many of your points, so I will try not to repeat his (which I agree with.)

Doggy breeding seems, to me, to be an argument in favor of intelligent design and NOT evolution.

Well spotted – I did state it was artificial selection – with man as the designer - and not natural selection.

My point was only that it is an example of evolution (small changes over time) in the animal kingdom.

I will agree that dogs can be bred and that this has been done for ... a long time.

And again I rest my case :-)

Evolution is a fact. Now we just have to discuss the difference between natural and artificial selection in evolution.

But breeding is something that is caused by intelligent beings. Meaning, people who desire to see a different kind of dog will take one male dog from "over here" and a female dog from "over there" and breed them.

So biologically – it happens. You agree. Excellent.

However the result is still a dog. Dog breeding has not, to my knowledge, produced a cat.

I responded to this already – no one is saying a dog will produce a cat. The crocoduck/GreyBull strawmen.

You are confusing what evolution IS.

See my earlier analogy on 4 sided triangles and proving Newtonian gravity by observing an apple raise from the ground to a tree.


It may be a Great Poodle, or a Labrador Shih Tzu, but it's still a dog.

Responded already – just give it time. Please define what a species is before we can go further.

So the facts seem to me to say that an outside being (human, or intelligent "force") has intentionally manipulated two similar "types" of dog to make just another "type" of dog. The genetic makeup of dogs is still, at its core, the same. They are still dogs.

It has only been a few thousand years – give it time. As I said, I’m not sure how you could naturally breed a Great Dane with a Chihuahua. Does this make them new species? Please define species then we can discuss further.

I'm not sure how that is an argument for evolution.

This is why I think your definition is wrong since what I have described is precisely evolution (changes over time) the only difference is one is artificial (in the case of dog breeding), non-domesticated animals it was natural selection.

Evolution, as far as I know it, says that after the "Big Bang", the cells, acids, proteins, etc. found themselves in a pool of soup, formed an alliance

Have to stop you there – are we talking about the theory of evolution now, since it has nothing to do with anything you have just described, or how we got here from the “Big Bang” to now?

Can we talk about the evolution of stars now :-)

... and as a result we have humans, animals, birds, fish, etc.

The theory of evolution, for the record, only deals with after life began. Happy to discuss the Big Bang theory with you though, this is more my area of expertise :-)

My wife is asian and I'm white (as white can be). Our four children all look different. Our daughter is taller than both of us (and she's only 14, but that's another issue). She is a mix of Asian and Caucasian, but she's still a human.

You have described only one generation – to evolve into a new species takes millions. You have though created the first step of a long evolutional chain of events, but only one small step.

Your children are different from you though – so they might have advances you don’t, so in a few million years... who knows.

IF things have evolved over millions of years, as evolutionists claim, why, then, is the human eye not able to see effectively in the dark?

Havok has already touched on this, your argument is a fallacy.

ANY situation, any feature of the human body you could say “Why is this like this, and not this?” It is a meaningless question.

A question I would ask you though, IF God is perfect, and He created us perfectly – why have we so many faults? How about the blind spot in our eyes... a bit of a flaw that.

Oh, I know... the Fall - already discussed that on this thread, but no one is picking up on it.

We have, however, spent half of these millions of years in the dark...

Asleep... :-)

why have our eyes not evolved?

Are eyes have evolved... why do you think you can see only a certain part of the electromagnetic spectrum which just so happens to match the peak output of radiation from our sun which can penetrate our atmosphere down to sealevel

In addition, whether you agree with the overall message of the Bible, it has been found time and time again to be, again, at the very least an accurate historic document by Christians and non-Christians alike.

I could challenge much of the so-called history of the bible, however it is just another issue to discuss.

Shall we stick to just the one we are talking about for now i.e. evolution and the Fall.

Once we are bored of these topics we can moved onto something else. You can chose.

That's not what I meant when I said different worlds. I simply meant two different mindsets. Maybe "two different worldviews" would have been a more accurate expression.

There are millions of different worldviews, but how do you test the one you have is correct?

That is my question.

There isn’t ‘two types of truths’... there is one truth, and we have to discovery it or at least work towards it.

Science seems to do rather well on this.

Anyway...My point was also that you and I view the world from two different worldviews.

Maybe, it seems that way.

However my point was there are people who view alien abductions are true, and those that don’t.

Are both worldviews valid? How do you know, and how would you determine which, if any, is correct?

That is where we differ, you seem to be saying that both the alien abductees and denies are right. Makes no sense to me

In "simple fact", are you referring to the dog breeding, or am I confused...just wondering.

We seem to be talking past one another - sorry about that - maybe because we have different definitions of evolutions – I have outlined my several times now, can you help me further understand yours?

phew... this is taking a long time to write, but it is fun.

More later if I can.

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Pony,

This conversation could go back and forth and back and forth, and not get anywhere.

Evolution has been discussed for 150 years, gods for thousands... this is why I don’t expect it to ‘go anyway’.

This isn’t my point – it is just about having a friendly discussion.

Hope we are all here for only that reason.

You could argue science, creationism, and everything that is based on theory, and educated guesses to try and understand and believe there is no God.

‘theory’... can we hope to be more certain than theory? Please explain how.

God would not create us to do a couple math problems, mix chemicals together, and boom find all there is to know about him.

So you know the mind of God?

You assume a lot do you not?

Its not about religion anyway, or science or breeding animals. Its a relationship with God.

For me it is about ‘finding God’ (if He exists) Is God revealed in the bible, or do I have to assume God first?

Is the bible correct, maybe it is one of the other million and one religions who have it... how can I know?

Should I trust you? Trust a priest? Or the man trying to sell magic beans on the street corner?

Or should I trust what I can test for myself?

Its a daily commitment of dying to self and choosing him.

How do you know you are not wrong?

In other religions, nothing is taught about death and resurrection. This is what sets us apart.

So it is the lure of immorality that gets your biscuit?

Do you know anyone, personally, who has come back from the dead? Or is it just all hearsay.

So why do you trust the ‘salesmen’... Would you buy magic beans from a stranger and not ask questions? No?

So why do you still trust what you were sold as a child, when you did not have the means to question?

I cannot compete with you, I choose not to because its not my place.

Fair enough – it has been fun talking to you, hope you feel you can join in on other discussion as and when they arise.

If you witnessed how I lived my life on a daily basis, you might catch on.

Why don’t you walk just a few miles in my shoes... size 12 – plenty of room :-)

I am not dependent on anything this world offers. but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

How did you confirm it was from the mouth of God? No not, well, yourself?

We can all hide behind our computer screens, typing away, sounding very intellectual, and using great sound teachings, with or without an ugly picture.

Thanks that you feel I am using sound and intellectual arguments, and great sound teaching – but I am confused about the ugly picture... it is not my fault how I was born. (Though I suppose it is my choice not to cut my hair)

Have to go now... I feel like a glass of wine.

Merry Christmas if I don’t talk to you before.

Lee

Billy said...

Pony

For anything you say to have any weight, you have to demonstrate the bible is the word of a god. Can you do that - why is 2Tim 3:16 right and Havok's Koranic verses wrong? Surely you have to know you have not been fooled - I presume you think that muslims have been fooled - so, why not you?

I dont think anyone here would claim that science disproves all gods. What it can do is show that certain god hypotheses are false - like young earth creationist god. My feeling is that the unbelievers here are unbelievers because theists have produced nothing convincng to them. It would also be a mistake to think that some atheists were not once commited to seeking god - it would also be an even bigger mistake to believe that they were not seeking properly.

I presume you areaware of oblems of faith without evidence. Many muslims claim Allah has changed their lives. By your thinking, they cant be in a relationship with god - yet, like you, they claim Allah has an influence on their life - why are they wrong? Why do you think you are right?

Imagine you thought god wanted you to kill someone (something he has commanded in the bible) What evidence would you require to be sure that god was asking you? You cant use the bible as there are plenty of examples of god commanding killings, so what evidence would you require.

Lee

Simply put, evolution is a change in the frequency of particular genes in a population over time. It happens on a second to second basis. However, It would be helpfull to hear what the believers think it is.

ryan said...

the koran is not a text that any of us prescribe to. we do NOT see it as the word of God and neither does the true Christian faith.

just wanted to highlight that point. using that text to us is as useless as the Bible is to you.

would love to "talk" more but its sunday and sundays were made for naps!

have a good one.

Lee said...

Billy Simply put, evolution is a change in the frequency of particular genes in a population over time. It happens on a second to second basis.

Second by second?

Makes sense now you point it out... those cells must be splitting all the time. I just took it to be in the breeding – sex and all that.

However, It would be helpfull to hear what the believers think it is.

Reading between the lines, it seems the definition on this thread is crocoduck. Or that a monkey should be able to give birth to a duck...

During your time at university - have you ever heard such a definition used by any biologist? Maybe you could ask some of your work colleagues.

Surely someone has written a paper on such a process... no? Wonder why?

Lee

Havok said...

Ryan:just wanted to highlight that point. using that text to us is as useless as the Bible is to you.

That's exactly the point I was making :-)

I am curious as to how or why you can tell that you're right and Muslims are wrong, as Billy also asks.

Billy said...

Lee, basically any time an organism is born or dies, the gene frequencies change.

Ryan,

Why dont you guys consider the Koran to be the word of God? And why do you consider the bible to be the word of god?

Lee said...

Billy asked Why dont you guys consider the Koran to be the word of God? And why do you consider the bible to be the word of god?

This does create me a problem also.

Some group is claiming book A is holy and the word of God.

Some other group is claiming their book B is holy and the word of God.

They contradict one another so I am left with the valid conclusion that they both cannot be right... however, if one is wrong, why can't they both be wrong?

In fact, given the number of so-called holy books known in the world - this is the more likely assumption. No holy book is correct and they are all the inventions of man’s wishful thinking.

To be moved from this default assumption we need good evidence - evidence that not only could stand up in a court of law, but isn't claimed by all the other religious books. (For example, they all claim their god created the universe one way or the other)

Lee

ryan said...

evening all. i will return later, the wife is on her way home with sushi. that, in my book, equals awesome!

have a good night, day, afternoon or whatever it is.

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,

I'm hungry now... sushi - lucky boy. At least we can agree on somethings.

Nearly time for lunch here - for the record it is 10:50am where I am.

See ya

Lee

Epeeist said...

i will return later, the wife is on her way home with sushi. that, in my book, equals awesome! A total aside - apparently squid have better eyes than we do, they apparently see normal TV as a series of still images. It takes HDTV with its higher scan rate before they register it as a moving image - brief details here - http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/12/21/1229794225193.html

Now why should squid have better eyes than us?

CF said...

Wow. I should have been more careful in keeping up with the discussion. Sorry fellas. I don't think I've seen an answer to what to Christians think of evolution, so I'd like to attempt to give you MY interpretation of what I think evolution is. Again, I'm not a scientist and don't know all the words and appropriate connections, so I'm doing my best.

I think that there are different types of evolution; one that represents small changes over time. I agree with that, and have not/will not dispute that small changes are possible, and not only possible, but exist. These changes are, I guess, mutations. These are facts.

Another type of evolution seems to me to be the "theory", which falls under Darwin's Natural Selection category. The survival of the fittest, and what have you. As far as I know, this is still a theory. Under the umbrella of the theory we see the evolutionists claim that life randomly happened from a big bang and a lightning bolt striking a pool of "primordial soup". I think it's important to note that the theory has STILL not been able to be proven in a controlled environment.

Based upon the facts of evolution, I believe living organisms change. Call it evolution, call it mutation, call it cell changes. Based upon the theory of evolution, I do NOT believe, nor have I seen evidence, that out of nothing came all life. In addition, I do NOT believe the facts of evolution provide evidence of organisms becoming more complex as time goes on. In cells, there is order and organization. There are elements of design found in all nature. There is placement that, if changed, will cause cells to breakdown.

In nature, if left unattended to the elements, things die. Nature, from birth, is going toward the direction of death. There is no evidence of survival of the fittest...that, to me, implies that things should be getting stronger.

In addition, IF the theory were true, what was the origin of life? Nature shows that life begats life. Things are created from something. Humans create humans, (very tiny humans create very big messes), everything that is was created by something that either is or was. What was the original "was"? If the cells in the soup, then what created them? What created the soup?

The reason I ask this question is this:
Based upon my understanding of the theory of evolution, the most complex things of life evolved from the most simple form of life. If that is to be true, then there had to be a starting point. Someone said the theory of evolution is supported by the facts of evolution. Well, the facts of evolution are stating that from a single cell, life gradually mutated over millions of years into the complex structures we have today. So to use the facts of evolution, things get more complex as time goes on. So if we take that in reverse, there has to be a moment in which the most absolute, simplest form of life existed. But what created that simplest form of life? The fact of evolution also shows that you cannot create nothing from nothing. Multiply anything times zero you still have zero.

Even Darwin admits this assertion is unbelievable: Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certainly the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

Darwin then goes on to say, in paraphrase, "but when you begin to see my views, you will believe." Yet Christians are challenged when we adopt that same attitude towards God and, more specific, Jesus Christ.

So if I haven't said it outright, I agree with the facts of evolution, but disagree with the theory. And I do not see how the theory can be supported by the facts presented because there is a lack of proof for the origin of it all. So while there are some facts that do support the theory, there are also some questions that cause doubt, which in turn allow it to remain a theory.

I think some other facts to note are also important, such as the fact that support for evolution in both the scientific community AND the general public is fading. In addition, not only do almost half of Britons believe that evolution is NOT an acceptable description of life, 40% believe "Intelligent Design" should be taught in schools. I think these are substantial figures what with the availability of information.

IF the theory of evolution and the facts of evolution are supported by each other, what is the end result? What is evolution working towards and how is man involved in the process? What role, if the theory is true, do we play on the planet? IF the theory of evolution is accurate, what, simply, is the beginning and the end? As we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in details and small changes visible with only a microscope, what is the bigger picture of the purpose and meaning of life on this planet?

CF said...

Why I Believe In The God Of The Bible Is The God

The question has been posed several times as why the God of the Bible is any different than the God of Islam, Hindu, etc. I will attempt to address those issues here.

One of my major arguments against Islam, specifically, is the intent and overall message. We can use scripture, taken out of context, to prove just about anything. But taking the writings as a whole message is what is important.

One major difference is that even the Koran recognizes the Bible as the final word of God.

"It is He Who sent down to thee (step by step), in truth, the Book, confirming what went before it; and He sent down the Law (of Moses) and the Gospel (of Jesus) before this, as a guide to mankind, and He sent down the criterion (of judgment between right and wrong)" Koran 3:3

The book Mohammed mentions is the Bible. The Bible was in existence when Mohammed wrote the Koran. The book of Moses was the Torah and the Gospel of Jesus is, well, the Gospel of Jesus. Even Mohammed himself recognized Jesus.

If you claim the Bible has contradictions...take a look at the Koran and it's views on the creation of man:

"Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood," (96:2).
"We created man from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape, (15:26).
"The similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be". And he was," (3:59).
"But does not man call to mind that We created him before out of nothing?" (19:67, Yusuf Ali). Also, 52:35).
"He has created man from a sperm-drop; and behold this same (man) becomes an open disputer! (16:4).

Well, which is it?

Much of the focus of Islam is war, self-serving and financially based. If anyone does not believe is Islam, they are to be put to death. It is acceptable to "beat women lightly". Violence is prevalent throughout the Koran, not from a subjective point of view, but as a means to an end, and un-provoked violence is acceptable. "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah." The Koran advocates lying, says sperm comes from the chest, advocates polygamy (directly states it is acceptable, and encouraged) "As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly)..." Koran 4:34.

The religion is one of violence and power, of lording over another and dominating submissives. There is a time and a place for war, unfortunately. The Israelites were commanded by God to war against His enemies. The God of Peace is the same as the God of war. He commanded the Israelites to fight, always, against the unrighteousness of nations. Just as you or I would fight against injustices posed against us, so too did the people of the Bible. These were not simple nations of people who just didn't believe in God. These were nations of people who revelled in child sacrifice, witchcraft, cannibalism, homosexuality, blatant drunkenness, laziness and greed. With the Muslim, the simple unbelief in Allah is reason enough for THEM to kill you.

But the Old Testament does not work without the New Testament. God put a stop to those things when His Son came to the earth. Remember...even the Prophet Mohammed acknowledged Jesus was light and truth, and the Bible was the infallible word of God.

Most of the other religions have doctrine that is related to self. The answers are found inside ourselves and takes little consideration to those around us. The Book Of Satan says, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." If it feels good, do it. But there is very little accountability found in these religions. The moral lines established are grey and spirituality is found in material things.

People ask for proof of God. To ask for proof of God is to understand that the God they are asking me to prove is Spirit. Spirit, not being something physical, cannot be proven. Eternal cannot be proven, yet that does not negate its existence. People ask for proof, scientifically, something that transcends all laws of nature and science. And are also asking ME to prove it, or Ryan, or Pony or any other Christian. It is not our place to prove that which others presuppose does not exist.

If God came down in physical form, they would most likely attribute it to another being. If He were to strike a tree with lightning the exact moment one asks Him to prove Himself, one would blow it off as the weather. Even if He were to come perform a miracle before them, they may not choose to believe. Why, then, does one continue to ask for proof? And if it is acknowledged that God is beyond science, why is science requested as proof?

In regards to the Bible, of all the religions it is the most accurate, historic document. I've said this before, it is accepted by non-Christians as well as Christians. While I believe the Bible as the infallible word of God, any disputes over the supposed fallability of the Bible do NOT arise over basic doctrine. The principles of morality, salvation, the Trinity, etc. are not in question. The Bible has been proven against historic documents as well as itself and archealogical finds. The Bible also speaks of scientific issues that are accurate.

As Mohammed recognized Jesus as light and Josephus wrote of Jesus and Pilate, Jews acknowledge Jesus, the question is thus: If Jesus were real, He is either a liar, a lunatic or He is who He says He is. No other diety on earth has made the claims Jesus did. No other diety on earth fulfilled the prophecies, both Secular and Religious, that were spoken of the man Jesus. The bones of Confuscious have been found, the bones of Mohammed have been found, the bones of Sai Baba will be laid to rest. Where are the bones of Jesus? There's no dispute as to the location of His tomb...where's His body? Analyze the claims of Christ and the documented evidence of those claims being fulfilled and you will find your proof.

Havok said...

CF: one that represents small changes over time. I agree with that, and have not/will not dispute that small changes are possible, and not only possible, but exist. These changes are, I guess, mutations. These are facts.

It looks like you understand the theory of evolution - small changes in gene frequency over time.

CF: As far as I know, this is still a theory.

Gravity is "still a theory". Theory, as used by scientists, is as close as you get to "scientific fact".
The way in which laymen like you or I use theory is not the same manner in which the term is used by scientists.

CF: Under the umbrella of the theory we see the evolutionists claim that life randomly happened from a big bang and a lightning bolt striking a pool of "primordial soup". I think it's important to note that the theory has STILL not been able to be proven in a controlled environment.

Now you're talking about abiogenesis, not evolution. Evolution concerns existing life, not the initial creation of life. While Abiogenesis hasn't been "proven in a controlled environment", there are currently many promising research avenues, and it is a hot research topic which doesn't seem to have any inherent impossibilities (or improbabilities) facing it.

CF: There is no evidence of survival of the fittest...that, to me, implies that things should be getting stronger.

"Survival of the fittest" is a poor term. It should really be survival of those genes who contribute to the reproductive success of the organism, or something similar.

CF: In addition, IF the theory were true, what was the origin of life?

We're again talking Abiogenesis, not evolution.
If Abiogensis is shown (which, as I pointed out above, seems possible), then the origin of life was simple chemical reactions.

CF: Nature shows that life begats life. Things are created from something. Humans create humans, (very tiny humans create very big messes), everything that is was created by something that either is or was. What was the original "was"?

Very simple replicating molecules, as that is all that's required to "kickstart" evolution.

CF: If the cells in the soup, then what created them?

Simple chemistry. Research into Abiogenesis has created organic chemicals (like amino acids etc) from simulated "soup"s in controlled environments.

CF: What created the soup?

That would probably be the population II (hope I got the numbering right) star from whose remains the solar system formed. If we get back to the big bang, then we simply don't know, though even here there are promising hypothesis.

CF: Based upon my understanding of the theory of evolution, the most complex things of life evolved from the most simple form of life.

Sounds about right to me. As I pointed out above, the theory of evolution, from what I understand, is only useful once we have replicators. It doesn't cover the creation of those intial replicators.

CF: If that is to be true, then there had to be a starting point.

As above, Abiogensis.

CF: The fact of evolution also shows that you cannot create nothing from nothing. Multiply anything times zero you still have zero.

Quantum vacuum fluctuations (particles pop into and out of existence in a vacuum ie. nothing) show that our common sense ideas regarding this are incorrect.

CF: I think some other facts to note are also important, such as the fact that support for evolution in both the scientific community AND the general public is fading.

You may be right concerning the general public, which is a sad statistic and doesn't speak too highly of science education.
You are not correct concerning the scientific community however.

CF: In addition, not only do almost half of Britons believe that evolution is NOT an acceptable description of life, 40% believe "Intelligent Design" should be taught in schools. I think these are substantial figures what with the availability of information.

That is indeed quite a sad statistic. I thought it was only the states which showed this sort of trend.


CF: IF the theory of evolution and the facts of evolution are supported by each other, what is the end result?

There isn't one. Well, unless you mean the predicted heat death of the universe in billions of years (or the Sun turning red giant and engulfing the earth, again in billions of years).

CF: What is evolution working towards and how is man involved in the process?

Evolution is a process, not a person. There is no goal. Man is not "involved" any more than we're simply another set of genes replicating.

CF: IF the theory of evolution is accurate, what, simply, is the beginning and the end?

As far as we can currently tell
Beginning: Big Bang singularity
End: Heat death of the universe

CF: As we allow ourselves to get wrapped up in details and small changes visible with only a microscope, what is the bigger picture of the purpose and meaning of life on this planet?

You're looking for teleological answers to something which is inherently non-teleological.

Havok said...

CF: One major difference is that even the Koran recognizes the Bible as the final word of God.

The Koran reconises that the message (Gospel) given to Jesus was the word of Allah. It also recognises that the books written about Jesus are corrupted. It asks that you compare other teachings to the book (the koran) to see which teachings are correct, which would be those which correspond to the Koran.

CF: If you claim the Bible has contradictions...take a look at the Koran and it's views on the creation of man:

Can't we just agree that they're both rife with errors, contradictions and inconsistencies? :-)

CF: Much of the focus of Islam is war, self-serving and financially based.

Which is understandable, as Mohammed was supposed to have been a general.

CF: If anyone does not believe is Islam, they are to be put to death.

Unless they're people of the book (Jew's, Christians, and I think Sikhs are included), then you simply need to pay the dhimmi tax.

CF: It is acceptable to "beat women lightly".

Neither the old or new testement really stacks up where womens rights are concerned.
Also, the bible explicitely condones slavery and rape (the young women captured in battle were given to the victors).

CF: Violence is prevalent throughout the Koran, not from a subjective point of view, but as a means to an end, and un-provoked violence is acceptable

Have you read the OT recently? :-)

CF: These were nations of people who revelled in child sacrifice, witchcraft, cannibalism, homosexuality, blatant drunkenness, laziness and greed. With the Muslim, the simple unbelief in Allah is reason enough for THEM to kill you.

Apart from the biblical hyperbole, there is little to no evidence that the neighbouring peoples of Israel behaved any worse than did the Israelites.
With Christianity, simple unbelief in Jesus is reason enough to suffer an eternity of torment. Seems a little unjustified too :-)

CF: Remember...even the Prophet Mohammed acknowledged Jesus was light and truth, and the Bible was the infallible word of God.

Jesus is just another Prophet in Islam. An important one, but not more than a man.

CF: People ask for proof of God. To ask for proof of God is to understand that the God they are asking me to prove is Spirit. Spirit, not being something physical, cannot be proven.

This is a something/someone who is said to have acted and still act in the material world. We should expect evidence for this.

CF: People ask for proof, scientifically, something that transcends all laws of nature and science.

How do you know anything about it?

CF: And are also asking ME to prove it, or Ryan, or Pony or any other Christian. It is not our place to prove that which others presuppose does not exist.

Why is it wrong to ask for proof of something which acts. If I asserted that my pet dog died and then came back to life, would you simply accept my word on it?
I don't presuppose god doesn't exist, I simply see little evidence in support of that conclusion (and none in support of the specific god of Christianity). It's not a presupposition, it's a conclusion I've reached after looking at the data I've found. I'm happy to revise my position should more evidence come to light.

CF: In regards to the Bible, of all the religions it is the most accurate, historic document.

It is an historic document, and it does document some history, but calling it accurate is a bit of a stretch.

CF: While I believe the Bible as the infallible word of God, any disputes over the supposed fallability of the Bible do NOT arise over basic doctrine.

What leads you to believe that it is infallible?

CF: The principles of morality, salvation, the Trinity, etc. are not in question.

Perhaps among current Christians, but the moral message of the bible (while having some high points) is pretty obscene. There is a reason we don't stone adulters and disrespectful children anymore. Nore do we keep slaves, or force an unmarried rape victim to marry her rapist. All of these things are a parts of biblical morality - parts which we've discarded.
There were also many variants of Christianity from the beginning, which had widely different views on things which are now accepted as "orthodox". The Ebionites (A jewish christian sect in jerusalem) didn't accept the virgin birth. Gnostics, Marcionites, arians, cathars, docetists, adoptionsists all had views which are not compatible with what we today call "orthodoxy" but which was initially simply another (or more than one) variant of the Christ cults.

CF: The Bible has been proven against historic documents as well as itself and archealogical finds. The Bible also speaks of scientific issues that are accurate.

Many archaeological finds do not support the biblical account. The conquest of canaan and the exodus are unsupported.
Also, on scientific issues the bible fails - the order of creation does not match the evidence, neither does the supposed age of the earth, not geology nor cosmology match the evidence. The bible promotes a geocentric, flat earth model of the universe (though there is much twisting of interpretations to avoid this conclusion).

CF: As Mohammed recognized Jesus as light and Josephus wrote of Jesus and Pilate, Jews acknowledge Jesus, the question is thus: If Jesus were real, He is either a liar, a lunatic or He is who He says He is.

Mohammed was surrounded by Jews and Christians, and he was obviously influenced by their beliefs. I also doubt he was much of an historian and simply took the gospel accounts of Jesus at something approaching face value (changed by the revelation given him by Allah, of course).
The passage in which Jospehus mentions Jesus and pilate has certainly been tampered with by later Christians, and therefore can't really be trusted.
We also have NO contemporary documentation or evidence about Jesus, and explicit references to him from non-christian sources don't show up until the second century.
The "Trilemma" is also a pretty poor argument giving a false shortage of choices.


CF: No other diety on earth has made the claims Jesus did.

Tammuz, Attis, Dionysis, Mithras all made very similar claims to Jesus. I think all were called "The Son of God" or similar.
The dying/rising god-man is a mythic archetype, found throughout pretty well every culture.
That Jesus adhere's so closely to this archetype is grounds enough to doubt the historicity of the claims attributed to him.

CF: No other diety on earth fulfilled the prophecies, both Secular and Religious, that were spoken of the man Jesus.

Neither did Jesus. The majority of the "prophecies" aren't, and at least Mark's gospel (the earliest) appears to be strictly symbolic allegory, using the existing scripture (the OT) to support his theological/religious position.

CF: The bones of Confuscious have been found, the bones of Mohammed have been found,

Actually, there are those who claim he (Mohammed) never existed, and their position seems to not be ridiculous (though it is a minority).

CF: the bones of Sai Baba will be laid to rest.

That's alright, Vishnu will be back in another avatar before you know it, raising the dead and healing the sick :-)

CF: Where are the bones of Jesus? There's no dispute as to the location of His tomb...where's His body? Analyze the claims of Christ and the documented evidence of those claims being fulfilled and you will find your proof.

I have (and am) analysing the historical evidence, and it doesn't hold up well under skeptical enquiry.
I find that early christian writings (Paul's epistles etc) tend to support a 2 body resurrection, so his body would still have been there for all his followers cared.

Would you say the evidence for Jesus' miracles is better or worse than that for Sai Baba?
In Sai Baba's case we have eyewitness accounts written very shortly after the alleged miracle.
For Jesus we have accounts which are 40+ years afterwards, written by persons unknown. Even if you accept the traditional authors as having written them, which is a very minority view, we still don't actually know anything much about these people.

The evidence for the resurrection is actually very poor, especially considering the extraordinary thing it asks us to believe.

Lee said...

WOW... if you don't pay close attention, this thread can move on real fast.

Only have a few moments today (Xmas Eve and all that) while the little ones are sleeping.

Havok Gravity is "still a theory".

Yep and the comparison with gravity is an interesting one I always try and raise.

Not only has the 'theory of gravity' changed dramatically since Newton first came up with it - even the best theory today (Einstein’s General Relativity) is still considered wrong - it is not compatible with Quantum mechanics - and since the 1930's and the discovery of the high rotation speed of galaxies was challenged with new theories seriously considered by many until rather recently.

I cannot think of any such issues with the theory of evolution... of course, my background is physics and not biology but I’ve not heard of any issues. Only strawmen and misunderstandings from the religious – but these are raised to maintain their preconceived ideas.

Many theists have ‘problems’ with the ‘theory of evolution’ but none, zero, nil, zip, nowt - seem to have any problems with the theory of gravity.

Can anyone here answer me this one?

My ‘best guess’ is the literal interpretation of the bible and ‘Original Sin’ is causing a few hang-ups. Shame really, because without an understanding of evolution – nothing in biology, medicine, breeding or farming makes any sense without it.

Doesn’t this suggest where the problem really rests? i.e. The Bible.

To maintain the account in a 2,000 year old book such a theist has to make a lot of mental loops that I just cannot understand.


is as close as you get to "scientific fact".

You can never be 100% certain – if you thought this you are deceiving yourself. Funny really, because the theist is 100% certain of their god. Guess you just need faith.

Lee

Lee said...

Havok: That would probably be the population II (hope I got the numbering right) star from whose remains the solar system formed. If we get back to the big bang, then we simply don't know, though even here there are promising hypothesis.

FYI
The first stars are known as population III stars, these were thought to be very massive stars and hence short lived.

Our Sun is a population I

And yes, all the heavy elements came from the stars. Only Hydrogen and Helium was made in any number at the Big Bang (there was trace deuterium – heavy Hydrogen – and Lithium but little else)

Evidence that Gen 1 account goes against observation.

The Earth was not made first, and neither was our sun.

Lee

Havok said...

Lee: My ‘best guess’ is the literal interpretation of the bible and ‘Original Sin’ is causing a few hang-ups. Shame really, because without an understanding of evolution – nothing in biology, medicine, breeding or farming makes any sense without it.

It's not even evolution as such, as CF has demonstrated - he has a reasonable grasp of the "genes changing over time". It's the common descent part which seems to cause the most problems.

Does that sound about right CF, Ryan, David & Pony? You're happy to accept that things change over time (ie. Lee's dog breeding example), but don't accept common descent?

Lee said...

CF: "The fact of evolution also shows that you cannot create nothing from nothing. Multiply anything times zero you still have zero."

Havok: "Quantum vacuum fluctuations (particles pop into and out of existence in a vacuum ie. nothing) show that our common sense ideas regarding this are incorrect."

I agree with Havok, and CF you are just talking about the 'first cause agrument' and not making an argument against evolution.

The theory of evolution doesn't say how to make a good curry - but it isn't suppose to.

Oh, and CF - if you wish to talk more about the first cause argument, I will be happy to do so, I never bore of that old chestnut - but please have a read of what I have already written on the subject

http://strawmen-cometh.blogspot.com
/search/label/first%20cause

Thanks... I really have to go now.

Keep up the good guys

Merry Christmas all

Lee

ryan said...

hey lee,

i'm glad to see that you brought up the central issue to this whole thread, faith. it is essential to a relationship with God. without faith we have nothing.

You can never be 100% certain – if you thought this you are deceiving yourself. Funny really, because the theist is 100% certain of their god. Guess you just need faith.

Hebrews 11:1
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

i cannot argue evolution with you (i leave that to my wife, she's the science minded one in the house) and i don't fully grasp how gravity is still a theory. if i drop something, or let the bottom out of something, it will fall......right? there is nothing theoretical left in that one, i assume. i could be wrong, its been known to happen. =)

back to the start, faith. without it we have nothing. i have faith in God to come through in all times and all situations. there is nothing that my God cannot do. He has proven Himself countless times in my life, saved me from myself and i have seen people healed.

i have a high respect for you Lee so i beg of you not to take this the wrong way, its not intended to be offensive. i have learned that no matter what is said in the case for God there will be something against it. if i pray that God would shoot lighting down on the exact spot that was requested it would be written off to a fluke weather pattern.

God has no need to prove Himself to us because He already has. His creation is prove enough..........Guess you just need faith.

have a wonderful Christmas gentlemen and God Bless.

CF said...

CF:...What was the original "was"?

HAVOC: Very simple replicating molecules, as that is all that's required to "kickstart" evolution.


If the molecules are self replicating, what created them? Self replicated molecules implies there has to be a previously existing molecule. Does it not also imply the replicated molecule would simply be a copy and not a mutation?

CF: What created the soup?

HAVOCK: That would probably be the population II (hope I got the numbering right)


What created the population II (or as we have since learned, population III) star from whose remains the solar system formed?

HAVOC: If we get back to the big bang, then we simply don't know, though even here there are promising hypothesis.

Is God a promising hypothesis? In addition, does this mean you are simply putting your faith in something that has yet to be proven?

CF: Based upon my understanding of the theory of evolution, the most complex things of life evolved from the most simple form of life.

HAVOC: Sounds about right to me.


YEAY! We are in agreement on SOMETHING! Let's just sit here a moment and relish...ahhhh! That was nice...let's move on! ;-)

CF: The fact of evolution also shows that you cannot create nothing from nothing. Multiply anything times zero you still have zero.

HAVOC: Quantum vacuum fluctuations (particles pop into and out of existence in a vacuum ie. nothing) show that our common sense ideas regarding this are incorrect.


Why then, in the case of the theory of evolution (or abiogenesis) have the particles only popped into existense? And isn't a vacuum "something", i.e. "energy"? If it is nothing, how can it be measured and, thus, named?

HAVOC: You are not correct concerning the scientific community however.

"My attempts to demonstrate Evolution by an experiment carried on for more than 40 years have completely failed. At least, I should hardly be accused of having started from a preconceived antievolutionary standpoint." -Dr Heribert Nilsson, geneticist and Prof. of Botany at the University of Lund

"In any case, no real evolutionist, whether gradualist or punctuationist, uses the fossil record as evidence in favour of the theory of evolution as opposed to special creation." -Mark Ridley, Professor of Zoology, Oxford University

Both non-Christians...and there are others.

HAVOC: Evolution is a process, not a person. There is no goal. Man is not "involved" any more than we're simply another set of genes replicating.

Are you saying human life has no meaning, purpose or goal?
---------------------------

HAVOC: The Koran reconises that the message (Gospel) given to Jesus was the word of Allah. I agree. It also recognises that the books written about Jesus are corrupted. I believe this to be an incorrect statement. Muslims will SAY the book is corrupted, but the Koran acknowledges the Bible as the infallible Word of God (Allah).

"Rejected were the messengers before thee: with patience and constancy they bore their rejection and their wrongs, until Our aid did reach them: there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) of Allah. Already hast thou received some account of those messengers," - Koran 6:34

"The word of thy Lord doth find its fulfillment in truth and in justice: None can change His words: for He is the one who heareth and knoweth all," - Koran6:115

"For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity," - Koran 10:64


Granted I'm using a book I consider inaccurate to prove a point...I see the error of my ways. My intent is to simply show the emphasis that even Muslims (or more accurately Mohammed and the Koran) put on the Bible.

HAVOC: Can't we just agree that they're both rife with errors, contradictions and inconsistencies? :-)

No.

HAVOC: Neither the old or new testement really stacks up where womens rights are concerned. Read of Deborah, Ruth, Naomi, Mary Magdaline, Lydia. Women had leadership roles, women were honored, women were given place in society as much as men. Jesus tells men "Love your wives as Christ loved the church", i.e. be willing to die for them. The preparation for marriage was an event that lasted over a week. I hardly see how the Bible removes womens rights. Did bad things happen to them? Yes. Did God command them? Not to my knowledge.

HAVOC: Also, the bible explicitely condones slavery... As you have corrected me in my terminology and misunderstanding of some words in relation to evolution, allow me to correct you in your misunderstanding of "slavery." I will submit that slavery was not the best option or way of life. However, slavery in the Bible was several things:
1. It existed before the Jews and before Israel was a nation.
2. It cannot be attributed as a command by God as a way of life.
3. Slaves were exempt from extradition.
4. They were afforded the same rights as everyone else.
5. Strict limitations were put on the masters as to the treatment of slaves.
6. Slaves were a part of the masters household and family and were not considered outcasts or inferior.
7. To compare slavery from the Bible to slavery today looks more like you and I...workers who earn a wage and are submitted to an authority, i.e. a boss. We get paid. We are subject to punishment if we fail to do our jobs. We are afforded the same rights as if we "had no job", in fact, in some cases, we have MORE rights (health care, vacation, etc.)

The Biblical societies were not abundant with independant businesses as we have today. The businesses of the Bible were individual families. They were an agricultural nation and relied on "strength in numbers".

CF: Violence is prevalent throughout the Koran, not from a subjective point of view, but as a means to an end, and un-provoked violence is acceptable

HAVOC: Have you read the OT recently? :-)


Yes. I like 1 Chronicles 15 - 16. The point I was trying to make is that the violence found in the Koran is vindictive, as it is simply directed against those who don't believe in Allah. The violence found in the Bible was a response. It was a restoration of God's people and necessary for their survival. What I bring light to is the intent, not the action. Intent is recognized even in law. For lack of a better term, fighting for your rights is more honorable than fighting because you don't believe in my God.

HAVOC: Apart from the biblical hyperbole, there is little to no evidence that the neighbouring peoples of Israel behaved any worse than did the Israelites.

There is evidence. Their idols and places of worship that represented the gods they worshipped and sacrificed to.

HAVOC: With Christianity, simple unbelief in Jesus is reason enough to suffer an eternity of torment. Seems a little unjustified too :-)

Unfairness does not mean wrong. If the potential for punishment is presented to me, I am going to see what I can do to prevent myself from being punished.

Jesus is just another Prophet in Islam. An important one, but not more than a man.

That's the problem. IF the Koran acknowledges the Gospels are the inspired Word of God, then it must believe that ALL the Gospels are thus. The Gospels say that Jesus was/is more than a man; that He was God in the form of man. So if the Koran says the Gospels are the infallible word of God, why then do Muslims not believe that Jesus is who He says He is?

HAVOC: It is an historic document, and it does document some history, but calling it accurate is a bit of a stretch.

Why?

Many archaeological finds do not support the biblical account. The conquest of canaan and the exodus are unsupported.

This, I believe to be an incorrect statement, but will address at another time.

HAVOC: Also, on scientific issues the bible fails - the order of creation does not match the evidence, neither does the supposed age of the earth,...

I will take the stance here, that the Bible does NOT even attempt to provide evidence for the earth's age. The "young earth" many Christians adhere to, I believe, is vague. I honestly do not have a specific view on the age of the earth. I will note that the Bible neither proves or disproves a 4 billion year old earth or a 6,000 year old earth.

HAVOC: The bible promotes a geocentric, flat earth model of the universe

Isaiah 40:22 "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth..."

HAVOC: The passage in which Jospehus mentions Jesus and pilate has certainly been tampered with by later Christians, and therefore can't really be trusted.

Stephen Gould writes "Haeckel had exaggerated the similarities [between embryos of different species] by idealizations and omissions. He also, in some cases — in a procedure that can only be called fraudulent — simply copied the same figure over and over again.…Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start."

Unfortunately that's all I have time for right now!!

Chris

Havok said...

CF: If the molecules are self replicating, what created them? Self replicated molecules implies there has to be a previously existing molecule.

It comes down to simple chemsistry. Add a few substances together and you get some new molecules being formed.

CF: Does it not also imply the replicated molecule would simply be a copy and not a mutation?

I'm not sure whether a perfect replicator would be possible.
I would think that molecules which can cause copies of themselves with varying degrees of fidelity to be created would be much more probable than one which causes perfect copies, at as far as complex replication goes - I don't mean acting as a simple catalyst.

CF: What created the population II (or as we have since learned, population III) star from whose remains the solar system formed?

Population III stars were formed from the hydrogen created from the big bang, collapsing under gravitational attraction. This is all very non-controversial cosmology :-)

CF: Is God a promising hypothesis?

No God isn't. The more scientific hypothesis have rigorous mathematics and theoretical physics underpinning them, which the God hypothesis lacks. The God hypothesis seems to consist of Logical arguments (See Kalam Cosmological Argument), but stops short of being testable or falsifiable or verifiable (it would be a stretch to call it a scientific hypothesis).

CF: In addition, does this mean you are simply putting your faith in something that has yet to be proven?

As I said, "We don't know". It is a blank spot or gap in our knowledge, which we're trying to fill.
I'm not putting "faith" in any particular hypothesis, though I might think one of them is more likely (I don't however know enough about them to compare them).
Simply finding a gap in knowledge and placing the supernatural in there doesn't work - for example, how do you know the Christian god created the universe, and that, for example, the hypothesis that the universe sprang from a quantum fluctuation in a larger framework is wrong?
The God hypothesis sits on a lower epistemological footing as it involves introducing an entirely new "substance" (an immaterial god) which we are unable to objectively investigate - there is no process or method.

CF: Why then, in the case of the theory of evolution (or abiogenesis) have the particles only popped into existense?

See here for information on why there is matter.

CF: And isn't a vacuum "something", i.e. "energy"? If it is nothing, how can it be measured and, thus, named?

A "vacuum" isn't energy as far as I know. It is "space-time" but if it contains nothing (no particles, no photons etc), then these "virtual" particles still pop into and out of existence.
I called attention to virtual particles, not because they are related to the theory of evolution (they're not, it's quantum mechanics), but simply to demonstrate that our common-sense prediction (nothing comes from nothing) can be mistaken.

CF: Both non-Christians...and there are others

Two quotes without context doesn't mean the theory of evolution is being abandoned.
Where did you find those quotes? Did it include the context in which they provided those responses? I would hazard a guess that neither of them rejects the theory of evolution, though they may disagree with the maintsream on some points of it.
Check out "Ken Miller", a staunch Catholic who is also a well respected evolutionary biologist.

CF: Are you saying human life has no meaning, purpose or goal?

No meaning purpose or goal outside of ourselves.
That doesn't prevent us from having meaning, purpose or goals however, it simply means that there is nothing imposed upon us, as the Christian God is said to do.

-------------------------
And on to the Koran...

CF: I believe this to be an incorrect statement. Muslims will SAY the book is corrupted, but the Koran acknowledges the Bible as the infallible Word of God (Allah).

The koran acknowledges the gospel (good news) given to Jesus as the word of god. It also acknowledges that the injil (the actual written gospel accounts) contains a corrupt form of the message as given to Jesus.
When the Koran speaks of the book or the word of Allah, it generally means only the Koran, as according to the Muslims, no other words had been directly written from Allah.

CF: No (concerning agreeing the bible and Koran are full of errors)

I thought we were making progress. Back to the drawing board... :-)

CF: Did bad things happen to them? Yes. Did God command them? Not to my knowledge.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29"If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days."

1 Corinthians 11:3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God."

1 Corinthians 14:34-36 "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."

Isaiah 3:12 "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." - this is derogatory to the nation of Israel, and it is certainly derogatory to women.

CF: However, slavery in the Bible was several things:
1. It existed before the Jews and before Israel was a nation.


Agreed. I vaguely remember Abraham having a contingent of slaves.
Genesis 12:5 "5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there."


CF: 2. It cannot be attributed as a command by God as a way of life.

Yet the word of god says you can take slaves of the nations around you, as well as of your fellow country men. There doesn't appear to be ANY statements from Yahweh saying "Though shalt not keep your fellow man as an possesion".

CF: 3. Slaves were exempt from extradition.

What do you mean? If you aquired a slave in a foreign land, you couldn't bring them home?

CF: 4. They were afforded the same rights as everyone else.

Exodus 21:20-21 "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money."

They were property, they certainly did not have the same rights as everyone else.

CF: 5. Strict limitations were put on the masters as to the treatment of slaves.

As in Exodus above, as long as the master didn't outright kill the slave, he could beat him. The slave was his property.

CF: 6. Slaves were a part of the masters household and family and were not considered outcasts or inferior.

In the same fashion as his money and other possessions were a part of his household - his property.

CF: 7. To compare slavery from the Bible to slavery today looks more like you and I...workers who earn a wage and are submitted to an authority, i.e. a boss. We get paid. We are subject to punishment if we fail to do our jobs. We are afforded the same rights as if we "had no job", in fact, in some cases, we have MORE rights (health care, vacation, etc.)

Leviticus 25:44-46 "Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever."

Granted, the African slaves in the US were somewhat different to slaves in Ancient times, though the bible was used to justify even this.
That does not mean that ancient slavery was like "wage slavery" today. I can quit my job, or start my own business. Slaves certainly couldn't just up and leave, they were their masters property.

To make such a comparison is to ignore the evidence of history (and that found in the bible) and excuse a repugnant practice (both varieties) on the pretense of protecting the supposed "moral high ground" of your holy book. I find it disgusting that someone would think in that fashion.

CF: Yes. I like 1 Chronicles 15 - 16. The point I was trying to make is that the violence found in the Koran is vindictive, as it is simply directed against those who don't believe in Allah.

And hell is not violent, and isn't simply for not believing in Jesus? And people say the NT is much less violent than the old?
And the Canaanites, who for the most part were simply living on their own land. Seems Yahweh was being vindictive because they'd moved in to squat.

CF: There is evidence. Their idols and places of worship that represented the gods they worshipped and sacrificed to.

Practices which the Israelites shared. Every nation/culture was about as bad or good as the others, practices were adopted from neighbours.

CF: Unfairness does not mean wrong. If the potential for punishment is presented to me, I am going to see what I can do to prevent myself from being punished.

It's exactly as you claim the Koran to be - " vindictive, as it is simply directed against those who don't believe in Allah"
The people which the Koran asks to be killed could chose to convert, the Koran says they're to be presented with the opportunity.
Same argument, both or neither are vindictive.

CF: That's the problem. IF the Koran acknowledges the Gospels are the inspired Word of God, then it must believe that ALL the Gospels are thus.

No where (to my knowledge) does it say the injeel (the written gospels as found in the NT) is the inspired word of god.
The message or good news given to Jesus was the inspired word of god, but it was written in a corrupt form.

CF: The Gospels say that Jesus was/is more than a man; that He was God in the form of man. So if the Koran says the Gospels are the infallible word of God, why then do Muslims not believe that Jesus is who He says He is?


All of that does not come into the argument, as the Koran doesn't accept the written bible as being directly inspired, only (in the case of the NT) the message which Jesus delivered. This is why it asks that the gospels be compared with the koran, so you can find the authentic teachings in the gospels.

CF: Why? (in regards to the bible not being accurate)

- Matthew and Luke give different dates (and accounts) for the Nativity.
- There is no evidence for a massive global flood as depicted in the bible
- the evidence doesn't support special creation.
- The conquest of Canaan as depicted in the bible doesn't match the historic evidence. Some of the nations and cities mentioned in the conquest of Canaan did not exist until well after any reasonable date for the conquest.
- Evidence that a large (~2million) group of homogenous semitic peoples left Egypt as a single group and wanderd around the sinai desert for 40 years doesn't exist outside the bible.

Should I continue? :-)

CF: This, I believe to be an incorrect statement, but will address at another time.

For example, the time of the traditional date of the conquest (~1400BCE), Jericho had no walls and was pretty much uninhabited, Ai had been abandoned for ~500 years (and would be for another ~500) and Gibeon did not exist.

CF: I will take the stance here, that the Bible does NOT even attempt to provide evidence for the earth's age. The "young earth" many Christians adhere to, I believe, is vague.

I'm glad to hear it. The bible is used as justification for those early dates, however. Do you accept the scientific evidence for an old universe and earth (~14billion and ~$billion years old, respectively)?

CF: I honestly do not have a specific view on the age of the earth. I will note that the Bible neither proves or disproves a 4 billion year old earth or a 6,000 year old earth.

- Scientific evidence "proves" the earth is ~4 billion years old.
- Scientific evidence "proves" that all life today evolved from earlier life, sharing a common ancestor.
- Scientific evidence "proves" the order of creation as given in the genesis account is wrong.
- Scientific evidence "proves" the biblical flood never happened.

We don't need to stick with a young earth to show the bible is not accurate scientifically.

CF: Isaiah 40:22 "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth..."

Last I checked, circles were 2 dimensional, and therefore flat. It's the only way to sit above the entirety of the earth :-)
I'm aware of the argument that the Israelites didn't have a name for a spherical object, and that the word for "circle" is sufficient. It isn't, it's simply twisting the words to match what we now know. The context (as above) indicate a flat earth cosmology, regardless of the word used to describe the shape.
This image depicts the "universe" as understood by Ancient peoples (including the Israelites).
The book of Enoch, which explicitly describes this, was written ~100BC and was accepted as authentic (written by Enoch thousands of years earlier) by Jews (of various sects and educations) and the early church fathers, shows that though the Greeks knew the Earth was spherical (and had a pretty accurate estimate of it's size) centuries beforehand, this knowledge had not penetrated or been generally accepted in Palestine, hence Satan taking Jesus up a high mountain to see all of the Earth.

Re Jospehus, and evolution.
The passage in Jospehus contains Christian interpolation.
Experts are divided as to whether the Christian interpolation was an embellishment (and there is a core reference to Jesus) or if it was an insertion.
I'm really not sure how that relates to Gould's quote however:
Gould "Haeckel’s drawings never fooled expert embryologists, who recognized his fudgings right from the start."
Seems pretty straight forward to me.

Lee said...

Merry Christmas... Just had our best Christmas Day Ever, our eldest (3 y.o.) has just worked out what Christmas is... it was great.

Anyway, he’s just gone to bed, so I will be short... the wife is opening the sherry (been sober all day and that doesn’t feel like Christmas to me)

i don't fully grasp how gravity is still a theory.

Ah... you misunderstand.

Gravity is a fact... our explanations and models for gravity are just theories.

The same for evolution. Evolution is a fact, just our explanation and models for it is ‘just a theory’.

Thing is, as I explained, the ‘theory of gravity’ is in many ways worse than the theory of evolution – in that the ‘accepted’ theory of gravity has been challenged since it was first invented, changed beyond recognition, AND is still agreed by all physicists to be ‘wrong’ (well, incomplete).

Not so with the theory of evolution – yet one is challenged by the religious very strongly, and the other ignored? Go figure?

if i drop something, or let the bottom out of something, it will fall......right? there is nothing theoretical left in that one, i assume. i could be wrong, its been known to happen. =)

The devil is in the detail... I could bore you with it if you like, but not today.

The dropping of objects is something you observe, but HOW you explain it is what the theory is all about.

i have a high respect for you Lee so i beg of you not to take this the wrong way, its not intended to be offensive.

You cannot offend me, but I am glad for the warning :)

i have learned that no matter what is said in the case for God there will be something against it.

Ah, that could be a problem – however, I have provided two examples. One was something God could do tomorrow. Another was for evidence of an act you believed happened in the past.

I would honestly changed my view if you could provide either...

if i pray that God would shoot lighting down on the exact spot that was requested it would be written off to a fluke weather pattern.

Please re-read what I said about miracles... I’m running short of time now.

God has no need to prove Himself to us because He already has. His creation is prove enough..........Guess you just need faith.

Many different gods make the same claim... I need a little more before I choose one :-)

See ya

Merry Christmas once again.

Lee

Billy said...

Wow, too much to catch up on here, so I will throw in just a couple of things.

CF

Natural selection works on the small changes - it works on the mutation of genes that you accept happens - classic examples are anti biotic resistence and the observed evolution of nylon metabolism.

Small changes over time cause large changes. Some small changes (like a small deletion in the ALX-4 gene can increase the number ofclaws in mammals - or a mutation in UBX can give flies an extra pair of wings). It is like adding sand a grain at a time to more sand - it starts off as a single grain, but becomes a dune (imperceptably)

Evolution is also a blind process - there is no direction, so to ask what the end point is is not really a meaningfull question. All we can say is that at this one point of time that we arean endpoint in a particular lineage - just like a wasp or a beetle are current "end points" in their lineages.

You seem to confuse evolution with the theory of abiogenesis, and there is evidence for that out there if you care to look - simple molecules can organise into more complex systems - essential molecules also exist in space and are found in meteroites too. would it however be fair to say that you do not accept that man could come from other apes? If so, let's concentrate on that and leave abiogenesis as it is not as well understood.

Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other too.

In 1, god makes man and woman after the animals. In 2, it is man, then animals, then woman.

Do you believe that all animals were "created" vegetarian too?

Epeeist

Unlike us, squid dont have an inverted retina - that means that blood vessels cant leak over it and cause blindness. It also means that unlike us they dont have a blind spot either. The reason for these differences are of course phyllogenetic constraints on developmental mechanism.

Falcons also have better acuity than us (8 times better).

That will do for now. Merry christmas everyone

Lee said...

Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other too.

How is this issue resolved? Do we have to read one literal, and re-interpret the other to match the first (or second) depending on how you feel that day?

And of course, both Gen1 and Gen2 go against observations in the real world (and/or common sense).

Gen1 has the Earth first, then Sun, Moon and the rest of the 100 billion galaxies each with 10's of billions of stars and planets on “day 4” summed up in the bible as an afterthought of "and He also made the stars"?

And doesn't Gen2 have Adam naming ALL the animals one after the other? How many species are there in the world again?

Hope you had a great Xmas

Lee

ryan said...

so what of faith? i have made mulitiple remarks towards it, in fact Lee has made one himself and no response.

have a good one gents.

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,
” so what of faith?”

So what of it? You tell me... I’ve never been shown any value what so ever in faith.
For example, let’s suppose we have two very religious people... both state they have ‘faith’ in their god and holy book – only problem is that they don’t agree with one another (i.e. One Muslim, one Christian).
So, how does faith help resolve who is right?
It has clearly failed. Faith has no value.

Am I wrong? Then please show/explain some value of faith? Has it ever been used to develop a new drug to cure illness? Has faith ever moved knowledge forward? Nope... not that I am aware of.

Have to go

Lee

Lee said...

Hope this thread hasn't gone dead... it was just getting interesting.

Lee

Billy said...

How is this issue resolved?

I dont think it has. A common explanation is that one talks of creation out with the garden of eden and the other after man was placed in it. This still ignores many issues.

ryan said...

Billy you'll have to expound on your last statement, you lost me.

Hope this thread hasn't gone dead...

Lets kick it back up then Lee.

Have a good one.

Lee said...

Lets kick it back up then Lee.

Happy to do just that... but later.

Taking my sons to the beach now to have a BBQ with my folks.

I think I've left enough unaddressed questions for others to tackle while I am away :-)

If there are any for me, just remind me.

See ya

Lee

CF said...

Hello All! I've been out with strep throat and sick babies and holiday celbrations. I've missed a LOT! I'd like to pick up on Genesis 1 & 2 if I may, as that is the last account I've read.

Genesis 1 & 2 do not contradict each other. Genesis 1 is simply an overview of the creation timeline. One needs to look at the language and tense carefully to see the order that the author wrote and the purpose.

In Genesis 1:27 there is repetition. In the Hebrew language repetition is used for emphasis; as if to say "take a close look here". The author simply repeats himself and then clarifies. "So God made man in His own image," he repeats "...in the image of God he created him..." he now clarifies "...male AND female, He created them."

I think to understand these chapters is to understand that regarding the creation account, the Bible says that Adam was not made IN the Garden of Eden. Adam was made from dust, that is, outside the garden. Genesis 1 is a generalization of creation. Genesis 2 shows the specifics. It's as if the author is saying, "O.k. Now that I've given you the overview, let me go back and 'fine tune' the details so you better understand."

Genesis chapter 2 is the detailed account. We've already learned the order they were created in Chapter 1; animals then man then woman. It shows what God had already done (i.e. "planted a garden", "formed beasts of the field") Verse 8 shows the fact that man was not created INSIDE the Garden of Eden, but that it was a place that God had created for man to live in. Two times in chapter 2 it says God PLACED Adam IN the Garden (vv. 8 and 15). Again, the author is repeating himself.

So verse 19 describes the naming of the animals with the idea that Adam would find a "suitable helper". So we see God bring in the animals that have already been created for Adam to name. It says that God brought the animals to Adam. The wording and the tense show that the animals were already in existense. (v. 19 - "Now God had formed out of the ground all the beasts...") So, just like Genesis 1, the order is animals then man, then woman.

When a suitable helper was not found amongst the animals, THEN God created woman.

In regard to the slavery topic, I have one comment. I have not, nor do I support slavery. Apparently neither do you, nor anyone else on this blog. With that being said, I also do not believe God supported slavery. God tolerated many of the sins of man that are the result of our "fallen" nature. He always worked in and through the sin of man for His desires and goals to be met. The point is, NOTHING, neither sin nor perfection, ever stopped God's will from being done. This attitude is also reflected in Matthew 19:8 where Jesus tells the people this with His own mouth. Moses tried to encourage the people to "do the right thing" (in this case "put away your wives") but they would not listen. Jesus says "but from the beginning it was not so." Meaning, this is not the way God meant for you to live...BUT...you have freewill.

In the majority of todays societies slavery is an abomination and widely unaccepted. In that respect would these not be "small, gradual changes over time" which evolutionists ask Christians to accept?

And I think it to be a hyberbole to use "select scriptures" from the Bible that show examples of slavery, as if to imply slavery was the worldwide norm for that time and it was God's will that we live that way. It was not, but that is not cause for God to disregard humans. I do not ignore history and won't try to hide the fact that Christians make mistakes and people have made mistakes in the name of God, but that's the nature of humanity.

Havok said...

CF: Genesis 1 & 2 do not contradict each other. Genesis 1 is simply an overview of the creation timeline. One needs to look at the language and tense carefully to see the order that the author wrote and the purpose.

Genesis 1
v1: Heaven and earth created, though formless
v11-v12: Plants created.
v14-v18: Sun and moon and stars.
v20-v21: Fish and birds created
v24-v25: Land animals created.
v26-v28: Man and woman created.

Genesis 2
v1: Heaven and earth and all their hosts (including the sun moon and stars, as they are a part of the hosts of heaven)
v7: Man created
v8-v9: Plants created
v19: Land and flying animals created (no mention of fish in this account)
v21-v22: Woman created

The order of the two is irreconcilably different.

CF: I also do not believe God supported slavery.

In Exodus 21, words directly attributed to Yahweh support slavery the purchase and ownership of slaves. The 10 commandments condone slavery by saying you shouldn't covet your neighbours property, including his slaves (and incidentally, his wife)..

This link has a nice comparison of pro and anti slavery passages. It's curious that none of the anti-passages actually says something like "though shalt not own thine fellow man".

CF said...

Havoc, you're killing me buddy. ;-)

Let me go through this again. First off, don't read Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 as two separate writings by two different people written hundreds of years apart. The original writings were not organized into Book, Chapter, Verse, they were continuous...possibly on two different tablets, but a continuous thought.

The account of Gen. 1 is a step by step, chronological order of the creation of the "heavens and the earth." When Hebrew scribes wrote, they often recapped their stories to expose greater detail. Gen. 2 is a focus on man, the garden and the purpose for placing man in the garden.

So Gen 1 shows the creation. Gen. 2:1 is a summation of the entire previous chapter. A better start for Gen. 2 maybe should have been verse 4...but that's null and void now. Gen 2:1 says, "Thus God created the heavens and the earth." The word "thus" means, "consequently" or "in the manner described". So the beginning of chapter 2 is a reference to the events described in chapter 1. It's not the beginning of a new tale.

v. 7 - again, this is not a chronological order, nor is it meant to be. In Hebrew grammar, the precise tense of a verb is determined by context. The context in this case is the chronology exhibited in chapter 1. Therefore the verb "formed" is in relation to, and complimentary of, the whole context. The Jewish scholars of the time understood this, you can too!

vv. 8-9 - "God planted" is not any reference to God creating plants. As I mentioned, the garden was a place God created on the earth He created. The place was meant for Adam. Adam was created outside of the garden and later placed in the garden. God could have used what had already been created or he could have created some new plants just for the garden; but this does not imply the brand new creation out of order.

v 19 - "Now God HAD FORMED..."; again, this is reminding us of what happened in chapter 1 to clarify what is going on, and the purpose of man, in chapter 2.

vv. 21-22 - again, the animals mentioned in v. 19 had already been created (as referred to in chapter 1), so after Adam named the animals, God made Eve.

Ch.1 Verses 24-26 - God makes animals. He sees that it is good. He makes man and says "Let man rule over the animals" (described in greater detail in Ch. 2) God makes woman.

Ch.2 Verses 19-22 - God brings the animals already created to Adam. Adam names them. God creates Eve.

I checked out the SAB website. Absolutely stunning. (?)

Havok said...

CF, you may have a point regarding plants in Genesis 2, but prior to creation of man in genesis 2, it pretty plainly states there were no plants - that this was prior to the creation of plants seems to be the intent (v5).
Even if you're correct that plants in Gen 2 were created prior to man, you're still left with the other discrepancies :-)

Regarding animals, the wording used for animals seems to be the same as for man (u-itzr? meaning "and he is forming" according to my friendly interlinear bible) which implies a chronology, ie. After forming man, God noticed man was lonely, then God formed the animals so man would not be lonely. After none of the animals was an appropriate "help-meet" for man, did God form woman.

You seem to be forcing an interpretation which preserves agreement between the different accounts.
A plain reading, even in Hebrew (note, I'm no scholar and have to rely upon bare translations), doesn't seem to support this interpretation.

As for SAB, a lot of it does seem to be tongue in cheek.
The specific link seems to show that slavery is explicitly condoned and only implicitly condemned (and very vaguely and weakly even then). I linked to it so I didn't have to produce all of the specific pro slavery verses verbatim :-)

Havok said...

ps. I'm not wedded to the idea of Gen 1 & 2 being contradictory, they just seem that way to me.
Even if the problem can be/has been adequately resolved, the biblical account of creation still goes against the scientific evidence regarding the origins of the universe, the earth and species on earth, and as such those problems would also need to be overcome :-)

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Hope you and your family are feeling better.

I will respond in order if I may.

”I'd like to pick up on Genesis 1 & 2 if I may, as that is the last account I've read.

Genesis 1 & 2 do not contradict each other.”


I’ve heard that they do (and it seems that way when I read them for myself) but it wouldn’t matter to me if they were consistent with one another either since, and this is the important bit, they contradict what we observe in the universe.
(As Havok has pointed out… curse this not being able to post from work!!!)

A story can be consistent within itself but it doesn’t make the story true.

Take Harry Potter for example, the account in the books are consistent (so the wife tells me) but I doubt either of us believe that Harry Potter existed and can perform magic.

Also, if I take both accounts literally (and accept that they are consistent for a moment) I still have problems. They do not make sense and I am forced to make too many assumptions.

1. Both accounts describe a very, very small universe – a universe that in fact only involves this solar systems and a ‘few’ bright lights in the night sky that can fall as figs to the Earth (OK, the fig bit is from another part of the bible, but I will assume the author thought this as well since he had the same hotline to God).

Oh, and Gen 1 goes against observation, did I mention that? The order is all wrong. The account on day 4, “and He also created the stars” about does it for me.

2. All this business about ‘Original Sin’ – I just don’t get it.

What actually was the crime/sin committed by Adam and Eve?

I heard recently an interpretation of the ‘forbidden fruit’ business that does not involve sin at all, and makes perfect sense of the story but unfortunately for the Christian teaching has no reference of sin (Has a lot to do with mankind becoming gods themselves, so have to be thrown from the Garden so that they will not remain immortal by eating from the ‘other tree’ of life.) Makes more sense than ‘original sin’ that is passed down through all children of mankind – this isn’t the actions of a loving god after all.

3. If Gen 2 is correct – God only ever intended one human to walk the Earth to keep the garden tidy, Adam. God needed, and wanted no more (if He did, why didn’t God make them?).

However Adam needed a companion – God shows him ALL the animals of the world (and Adam names them – that must have been a fun day. A beetle, another beetle, a bigger beetle, a bigger beetle that likes dug… etc etc) but Adam didn’t like anything he saw – so God created woman (from man).

Only 2 humans now.

If it wasn’t for all the business with the forbidden fruit, there would not have been anymore humans – at least this is my interpretation. Why am I wrong?

No, at best – if I am to be honest – Gen 1 & 2 can only be said to be metaphoric (but of course, this introduces further problems as you know).

That’s my interpretation anyway. My common sense could be wrong (it has been before and will again.)

If you would like to show me where I am wrong, I will be happy to learn.

In regard to the slavery topic, I have one comment. I have not, nor do I support slavery.

We can all agree…

God tolerated many of the sins of man that are the result of our "fallen" nature.

Anything that is bad is ‘man’s fault’ – anything good is ‘thanks to God’?

Remember though that I have a major problem with the sin/fallen business… probably one of the reasons why I am not a Christian.

So I do not accept your assertion of our ‘fall’, you have to back it up.

In the majority of todays societies slavery is an abomination and widely unaccepted. In that respect would these not be "small, gradual changes over time" which evolutionists ask Christians to accept?

Firstly, we are not talking about biological evolution here – however it is my ‘belief’ that morals changed slowly over time. Morals evolve.

Let’s take slavery as an example of this slow change. We both agree that we are unable to find a single date – one morning – when mankind woke up and thought, “You know what, slavery is bad”?

It just doesn’t exist, what we find in our history books is a slow and gradual change over time of society moving away from the notion that slavery was moral.

This shows to me that morals evolved/change – and there are no absolute morals as a result.

Another subject, for another time – but I could not resist mentioning it. Sorry I mentioned it now...

Lee

CF said...

Um. Lee. No, you cannot answer in order. Well, o.k. just this once.

1. Why do you say the Biblical account of creation shows a very small universe? I'm not familiar with this assertion, and I have not heard that claim before. (I'm afraid to ask this but...) please expound!

2. The original sin, as far as I know, was the disobedience. I don't think it had anything to do with the fruit since the results were irrelevant BEFORE they disobeyed.

3. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Bible implies that there would have only been two people had A&E not sinned. Only that one of the results of the sin of disobedience was that she would experience pain during childbirth.

LEE:...and Adam names them – that must have been a fun day. A beetle, another beetle, a bigger beetle, a bigger beetle that likes dung… etc etc Ha ha! I could only imagine!

LEE: Anything that is bad is ‘man’s fault’ – anything good is ‘thanks to God’?

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Generally in the Christian worldview "events" (good or bad) are attributed to either God, Satan, nature, or man. I think that from a philosophical standpoint whether an issue is good or bad is relative to the situation and who is saying it is good or bad.

(NOTE: I am going to share some things out of humility and honesty that I hope would not be used against me, or abused as a weapon to attempt to prove or disprove God. I am not posting this in an attempt to prove God, but to answer a comment. Please have respect for me and my family in this matter.)

Does God "do" bad things? It depends on who you ask. When my niece was four years old, she fell off the bleachers at a high school stadium and landed on a sidewalk on the top of her head. Of the hundreds of feet of bleachers, there were two sidewalks she could have hit. Both walks were about 4-6 feet wide. The rest was "soft" gravel. A boy had fallen from the same bleachers three months prior, landed on the gravel and walked away unscathed. Anyway, she was in the hospital for just a few hours before my brother and sister-in-law decided to take her off life support. Her brain would not stop hemorrhaging; even if she lived she would have been totally incapacitated for the rest of her life. The reason they made the decision so quickly was to harvest her organs. The harvesting of her organs saved the lives of two children and possibly a third.

Even in nature we are shown that through death, comes life. The decay of trees and other vegetation provides rich, nutritious soil for future vegetation to grow. In fact the soil is often RICHER. So, is Sarahs death an act of God, Satan, nature or man? I think the answer is "yes".

It is an act of God: the lives of others were saved. One died that three would live.
It is an act of Satan: Sarahs death was, I think, a catalyst in the eventual divorce of my brother and sister-in-law.
It is an act of nature: if it weren't for that dang gravity...
It is an act of man: Sarah was playing where she shouldn't have been.

Again, was her death a bad thing? It depends on who you ask. Having children of my own, I think the worst thing imaginable is to bury a child. If you've never seen a coffin built to fit a child, it is a completely disturbing image. There's just something unnatural about it. But if you ask the parents of the children who's lives were saved, Sarah's death was bad, terrible, unfortunate...however...it saved them from having to see the tiny coffins. So was the death a good thing or a bad thing? Unfortunately, my Christian view makes me believe that, pragmatically, the death was a necessary thing. The motto of Air Force Pararescuemen is "That others may live."

LEE:...what we find in our history books is a slow and gradual change over time of society moving away from the notion that slavery was moral.

I agree totally. And it shows me that good ultimately triumphs over evil.

Havok said...

DC: The original sin, as far as I know, was the disobedience.

Without knowledge of good and evil, how could they have known that disobeying God was a sin?

CF, I'm sorry for the loss you and your suffered during the story you just related.

You did however basically prove Lee's point:
Saving of lives = good = act of god
Divorce, death = evil/bad = act of satan and/or man.

It seems that God is unable to do evil through definition. He's defined as "all good", therefore anything He does or commands is "good", regardless of what the act is ie. Murder is bad. Murder commanded by God is good.

"Divine command theory" (as I think this model of morality is called) is pretty abhorrent :-)

CF said...

Havoc. You are, I think, correct. They may not have known. I don't think "knowing" was the issue...obedience was. Christians, please correct me if I'm wrong!

I don't know if you have children, but I use this example. If I tell my two year old not to do something, I expect his obedience. (Now, I'm talking first time obedience.) I don't need to explain myself to him, nor do I need to explain my reasons or even the consequences. I MAY, if I choose, but I do not have to, nor am I required to. A similar example may be found in the workplace. Let's say your boss tells you not to go into a certain room. He doesn't have to tell you why. You may ask, and he very well may decide to tell you. But he is certainly not required to, and he's definitely not required to comply with your demands.

Just curious...is it your belief that God is wrong, or unfair, for not informing Adam and Eve of the reasons for His command?
*************************************************
In regard to the other topic, the issue of "good" vs. "evil" is based upon the motive of the heart. You say "murder is wrong", and you are correct. You say "if God commanded murder, then it's o.k." There you are mistaken. God would not command murder. He would (and did) command killing. There is a difference. And I don't see any instances where God commanded killing that was not justified in the purposes of God. God commanded killing under the institution that it protected the preservation of the Jewish people. Off the top of my head I cannot think of ANY instance in which God "commanded" killing that was outside of war or that was not in response to a threat or attack against the Jewish people.

And God didn't just leave "the dirty work" to His "minions" either. There are accounts in the Bible in which God Himself took matters into His own hands. Was he wrong? I don't think so, in that the motive was, again, the preservation of the lineage of the Jews. And God has not been a respecter of persons...He commanded Moses to kill Jews that were rising up against God and Moses. "But Jews were God's chosen people!" Yes...and they lost sight of the big picture, got impatient and became a threat to the lineage of the Jews.

But I think it's important to keep in mind that IF God is God, and He did these things, they were His to do. If we are His creation, then why can we not also become His destruction?

I've been meaning to ask: What do you guys think happens to our souls after we die? (I guess I should first ask if you believe in a soul.)

Havok said...

CF: I don't think "knowing" was the issue...obedience was.

How did they know disobedience was wrong? Without any knowledge of right and wrong, they could not have know that not obeying was a bad thing.

I doubt you expect your child to never disobey, especially when they're very young and unable to comprehend that disobeying you is a bad idea.

CF: Just curious...is it your belief that God is wrong, or unfair, for not informing Adam and Eve of the reasons for His command?

The command is fine, though it doesn't make sense - why put the tree there to begin with?.
The punishment is unjust, especially from a supposedly omniscience, omnipotent, omni benevolent deity (who would therefore have known it was going to happen, had the power to prevent it, the will to forgive it and the power to make things right afterwards).

CF: And I don't see any instances where God commanded killing that was not justified in the purposes of God.

When, by your definition of God, the purposes of God are always good, then the term good becomes meaningless to us, especially when it doesn't match up with our own sense or definition of "good" when applied to ourselves. You might as well say the acts of God are "shmigle" :-)

Had Abraham carried out the command to kill Isaac, it would have been a "good" (or "shmingle") thing (in line with the purposes of God), yet I cannot see child sacrifice (even the command to carry it out) as anything other than wrong, regardless of who orders it.
The same goes for the various genocides which God commanded the Israelites to carry out in various parts of the OT.

CF: If we are His creation, then why can we not also become His destruction?

If I were to create a race of conscious androids, who were mentally and emotionally similar to humans, would I be within my rights to arbitrarily kill them? By your logic I would be within my rights to do anything to them.
You could also argue similarly that you and your partner, having created your child, can do what you want to them.

CF: I've been meaning to ask: What do you guys think happens to our souls after we die? (I guess I should first ask if you believe in a soul.)

I haven't seen any evidence for the existence of a soul, so I don't think they exist.
I'm not sure what adding a soul to what we know about the human body does for a person?
All mental states correspond, to the best of our knowledge, with brain/physical states.
There doesn't seem to be evidence to show that a "mind" can exist without a physical substrate (lets call it a "brain" :-) ), so I'm not sure what a soul would do after death, even if we had one.

Lee said...

I cannot reply from work to blogs at the moment, but that doesn’t stop me drafting a response… in my spare time :-)

The only ‘problem’ is that I am in danger of repeating comments from others (such as Havok).

Apologies then for any repetition, I will not change my draft though even if Havok has commented similar as I think it might still be useful to see where ‘we’ agree and disagree.

Havok, Keep up the good work :-)

----

Hi CF,

Um. Lee. No, you cannot answer in order. Well, o.k. just this once.

Does this mean I have to reply now out of order?

1. Why do you say the Biblical account of creation shows a very small universe? I'm not familiar with this assertion, and I have not heard that claim before. (I'm afraid to ask this but...) please expound!

To keep it brief (Ha – ya right) since I thought I already commented on this…

“He also made the stars.”
Gen 1:16

Just those 5 words show to me the importance and understanding the Genesis writers had of the universe.

Great detail (which just so happens to be wrong) is given about the Earth, a little more about the Sun and the Moon (though not much), nothing about the other planets in our solar system that I am aware of, nothing about their moons and, rather importantly for my claim, the billion of galaxies (each containing billion of stars and planets themselves). The fact that the rest of the universe is summed up in just 5 insulting words (insulting in the sense of it lack of understanding of the universe vastness) shows to me the writers had a view of a very small universe.

That is how I make my claim.

Oh, the stars in the night sky can fall down like figs…

and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.
Revelation 6:13

All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved
and the sky rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
Isaiah 34:4

So the writers really thought the stars were tiny little objects floating in the sky… can you get a smaller (or more incorrect) view of the universe than that?

Need I say more? How about the idea the Earth was immoveable with the sun orbiting us? Makes the Sun out to be rather small and maybe the reason why the bible’s idea of holding the Sun and Moon still in the sky for 24 hours didn’t seem that big of a deal. I mean, all God had to do was hold a couple of small bright objects still… (Dare I ask for any evidence of this event happening BTW?)

I’ve better stop… you will be regretting you ask me :-)

2. The original sin, as far as I know, was the disobedience. I don't think it had anything to do with the fruit since the results were irrelevant BEFORE they disobeyed.

I wrote a post on this (forbidden fruit/Original Sin) over at my blog a couple of days ago – so will not go into much detail here.

How can an innocent child of 12 months old, who does not know about right and wrong, be punished so severely by merely eating a chocolate cake left in clear view and reach of them?

So the disobedience part is darn right unjust (and this is from an all-knowing, all-loving God)

As for the fruit itself, my interpretation is that it is at the core (no pun) of the issue. They learnt the difference between right and wrong and became like gods…

Update: I don't know if you have children, but I use this example. If I tell my two year old not to do something, I expect his obedience.

I do have children thanks, 2 boys. 5 months and 3 years.

Oh, and speaking from experience, and hence my analogy with the chocolate cake, you might ‘expect’ obedience, but you certainly will NOT get it… maybe if you are watching all the time, but turn your back and the child will test their boundaries.

Just last night my 3 year old was playing outside in the garden, I told him he could not play in his sandpit (I didn’t want him dirty just before bed)… it took of all about 5 minutes before he was in the sand. Bless.

Of course, taking God and the bible as an example I should have thrown him out of my garden straight away, and curse his children and there children for 6,000 years… oh, and cause his future wife to have a painful childbirths.

I just told him “No, you broke the rules, you are coming in”

Of course, I’m not an all-knowing, all-loving deity… what do I know?

Just curious...is it your belief that God is wrong, or unfair, for not informing Adam and Eve of the reasons for His command?

Not important… being innocent and ignorant of ‘good and evil it would not have matter if they were told. How would they ‘know’ that eating from one tree was ‘bad’ and every other tree it was ‘good’?

3. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Bible implies that there would have only been two people had A&E not sinned. Only that one of the results of the sin of disobedience was that she would experience pain during childbirth.

Interpretation… don’t you just love it :-)

Gen 1 clearly says to me ‘go out and multiply’ but Gen 2 gives a very different picture.

As you claim, it gives us the ‘detail’.

In the detail does it not say that Adam was created to look after the garden?

If God required more people to do this, why didn’t God create them? God didn’t, and God should know how many people were required… so my claim is implied in this very act (or lack of). Only one Adam was needed for the task :-)

Eve was only created because God realised (at a later date, so not actually all knowing) that Man could not live alone.

Oh, and on the ‘pain during childbirth’… I reminded my wife of this passage when she was giving birth to our 2nd child. I shall not repeat her words here, the language was rather strong as you might imagine :-)
(I have a dark sense of humour)

RE: ”Anything that is bad is ‘man’s fault’ – anything good is ‘thanks to God’?”

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Generally in the Christian worldview "events" (good or bad) are attributed to either God, Satan, nature, or man.

Can you name me one ‘bad’ event you attributed to God?

If not, my point stands.

I could however point too many instances described in the bible that, if true, attribute a lot of ‘bad’ things to God. Could you agree to these ‘bad’ points? I’m thinking of genocide and the killing of all men, women, children and animals of a fallen/defeated city.
Oh, and that business about the she-bears… always makes me smile and why I don’t call anyone ‘boldie’

You cannot say any of these actions are bad, for if you did you will be conceding that God isn’t ‘all-good’ which I believe is rather important for a Christian?

This means, does it not, that God cannot do an evil/bad act and so then it is meaningless to say then “God is good’… I think.

I think that from a philosophical standpoint whether an issue is good or bad is relative to the situation and who is saying it is good or bad.

Erm… so are you saying morals are also ‘relative’?

(NOTE: I am going to share some things out of humility and honesty that I hope would not be used against me, or abused as a weapon to attempt to prove or disprove God. I am not posting this in an attempt to prove God, but to answer a comment. Please have respect for me and my family in this matter.)

Sorry, I am really, really sorry to read your account. Your story is very sad and I don’t know what else to say. A life lost so young is… well, I’m lost for words. I’m actually quite upset reading it, and I am not just saying that.

My eldest is 3 years old (as I have said) and you cannot really tell them not to play in such and such a place, or not to do such and such a thing. You just hope when they test their boundaries, because they will, nothing serious happens… I will have to change the subject; my imagination is getting the best of me.

I certainly do not wish to debate on such a specific case so close to home to ‘gain points’.

I’m not sure however I can agree with you that it was ‘necessary’, but I will just to say the obvious that our different worldviews interpret the situation differently - it doesn’t take away the sorrow, grief, pain and anguish. I hope your family well.

I wish to respect your earlier note, so if you would like to hear more from me on the subject, please ask, but can we do it on a neutral and hypothetical example?

I agree totally. And it shows me that good ultimately triumphs over evil.

I like to believe that also… but it depends on the timescale and the definition of ‘good’ and ‘evil’.

I’m of the opinion that the phrase “History is written by the victorious” is rather close to the truth. So if this statement was true and the winning side says this is ‘good’, it is ‘good’ merely because they had more swords.

Now I’ve mentioned this in passing several times before, and you have not addressed it, so I will ask directly.

Do you believe in ‘absolute morals’?

Many Christian’s say they do, but the example about the opinions of slavery changing suggest to me that they do not exist (or can be known) to man. A simple yes or no will suffice for now – I just want to know where you are coming from and checking for inconsistencies.

Thanks for your time and openness

Lee

Lee said...

Hello again CF,

Just a little more on your latest comments.

I don't see any instances where God commanded killing that was not justified in the purposes of God.

Ah, so whatever God does ‘is right’… there are problems thinking this way I believe.

Certainly if you believe in absolute morals…since the two ideas are contradictory are they not?

But I think it's important to keep in mind that IF God is God, and He did these things, they were His to do

Can you justify this please?

It goes against my ‘moral compass’ and what little I know about parenting. (And God is said to be ‘Our Father’ is He not?)

Shouldn’t God set us, his simple minded children, a ‘good example’?

If it is ‘right’ for God to kill, why isn’t it ‘right’ for me to kill also?

The analogy is this, if I steal and beat my children – I can hardly expect them to grow up thinking that stealing and violence is wrong can I?

“Do as I say, not as I do” is bad parenting in my book and you imply this is what God is doing.

I've been meaning to ask: What do you guys think happens to our souls after we die?

You have first assumed we have a soul – I suppose there is nothing wrong with that IF you can tell me how this assumption can be falsified?

Also, I would need you to answer some simple questions as well.

What is a soul?
Where was it before I was born?
When did I ‘get’ a soul?
Do identical twins share a soul or do they each have a unique one of their own?
Do animals have souls?
Can a soul be created or destroyed?
Can a soul be transmitted/changed between bodies?
Can a soul influence the physical world? If so, how? If not, how does it influence the body?

You might now have guess that I have seen no reason (or evidence) to believe in a soul since it creates more problems than it answers.

When we die, we die I think - can’t say I am happy about that, but I see no evidence to think otherwise.

Oh, and what Havok said :-)

Lee

CF said...

LEE: Do you believe in ‘absolute morals’?

Yes. I believe absolute morals exist. Do I always apply absolute morals? Unfortunately, no.

Lee said...

Yes. I believe absolute morals exist.

Thought so... and thanks for the confirmation.

We can discuss this further when you are in the mood. I think morals are relative (but I bet you knew this)

Thanks

Lee

CF said...

I'm going for it.

I'm going to try to prove God using the scientific method. Correct me if I'm wrong. (These are all true statements by the way.)

OPERATION: My faith in Jesus Christ and prayer to the Christian God of the Bible should prove the Christian God of the Bible exists. When I pray, I call the specific names and/or attributes of God as outlined the the Christian Bible. I do not use "vague", "general" or "basic" names such as Allah, Holy One, etc. I use specific names such as Jehovah Nissi or Jireh or Tsidkenu; God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; or The God Who Heals.

In said prayers I also do not allow any room for confusion for any other gods that may be listening by specifically asking said gods to leave, in Jesus' name.

HYPOTHESIS: I think that if I pray ONLY to the Christian God of the Bible in regard to what the Bible says about prayer and what to pray for, and He responds consistently and in accordance with His Word, that that will show His existence.

EXPERIMENT 1: Uganda, Africa in Feb.-Mar. 2006. The Lake Victoria area had been suffering a drought for the better part of one year. The night we arrived in Africa we prayed to the Christian God of the Bible for rain. It began to rain less that 3 hours later. OBSERVATION: Our prayers to the Christian God of the Bible were answered. Of 16 days we were in country, it rained a total of 12 entire days. (See also the Biblical account in 1 Kings 18)

EXPERIMENT 1A: Also, while in Africa, a blind woman was brought to the platform. With faith + prayer, again to the Christian God of the Bible, we prayed over her and asked that God would specifically restore her eyesight. OBSERVATION: Our prayers to the Christian God of the Bible were answered. Her vision was restored. (See also Biblical account in Mark 8, and others.)

EXPERIMENT 2: Seeking a place to live. This experiment lasted over the course of several months. I had a dream one night of a certain scenic view in Flores, Azores. I told my wife about it. Several weeks later we began looking for a house to rent, something large enough to accomodate our growing family. We had seen several on the internet, but did not commit to looking at any in person. While praying to the Christian God of the Bible at the computer one day I saw a house show up on a website that I had not seen before. The page refreshed before my eyes and there was the house. We made an appointment and went the next day to see the house. We did not know the tenants. OBSERVATION: Our prayers to the Christian God of the Bible were answered. When we walked upstairs to the den, the tenants had a framed photograph (that THEY took) of the exact scenic image of Flores, Azores I had in my dream. There were many witnesses to this account. (See also Job 33, Joel, etc.)

EXPERIMENT 3: I had been praying to the Christian God of the Bible about getting a new keyboard for myself, but could not afford it. I asked Him to provide one as I had just started playing keyboard at my church. At the same time a friend of mine was telling me how he wanted a keyboard. I gave him mine. Two weeks later 9-11 occured and my neighbor was called to transfer for duty. He had to do a "quick move" and didn't have time to sell any items as he was limited to the amount of "weight" he could bring with him. OBSERVATION: My prayers to the Christian God of the Bible were answered. He put his piano by the street to be thrown away. I didn't know he had a piano and he didn't know I wanted one. When the garbage men came, I asked them to help me push the piano into my house, and they did. The Christian God of the Bible provided me a piano. (See also Luke 6)

EXPERIMENT 4: I was in church one day and saw a man I had never seen before. He was dressed nice...nothing really stood out about him though. But I had a very strong "feeling" to pray to the Christian God of the Bible for him. I prayed God would give him peace in his heart, but I didn't know why. As I began to walk over to him to talk to him, I had a vision of a fistfight and I could physically feel pain in my body. I also suddenly felt emotions like depression, anger and rage...I couldn't explain it. I went over to one of our church leaders and told him what I experienced. As he was leaving the church to go home, one of our leaders stopped him and began talking to him. OBSERVATION: My prayers to the Christian God of the Bible were answered. The man revealed that he had been released from prison the day before and was going home to kill himself. As a result of someone reaching out to him, he was able to get counseling he needed, renew his relationship with his estranged dad (who had him put in prison) and got a solid job. (See also Matthew 10 and Luke 12)

There are many more, but I have to go to bed!

Havok said...

CF: There are many more, but I have to go to bed!

What you relate is anecdotal evidence, which tends to be the worst kind. A quick search of the internet will show up an incredible amount of conflicting anecdotal evidence, which, sadly, means yours is next to useless in actually demonstrating something (apart from a few coincidences etc that you've experienced).

You would need to account for many variables (selection bias and the like) and conduct some kind of controlled study before your evidence would be admitted as supporting the case that the Yahweh exists.

I think I posted an anecdotal account of the raising of a dead man by Sathya Sai Baba. How can I distinguish between them?

ryan said...

i have said this many times over and i'll say it again. if i die as a follower of Christ and your right that there is no God, i'm okay. if i'm right however and there is a God then what of you the atheist? this is not anecdotal its simply a question.

have a good evening.

Rian said...

Ryan: i have said this many times over and i'll say it again. if i die as a follower of Christ and your right that there is no God, i'm okay.

You will have spent your life under a delusion. I'd rather not do that, personally. I'd rather KNOW what I can know :-)

Ryan: if i'm right however and there is a God then what of you the atheist?

Well, Yahweh and his son will have a lot of explaining to do.
Why give man the facility of rational thought, and make it the best way of separating the "wheat from the chafe" as it were, only to punish those who exercise that gift?
It would be more of a set up than the whole Adam & Eve thing.

Then there is the whole "the god you imagine doesn't seem worthy of worship" line of argument.

Ryan: have a good evening.

Tis mid afternoon here (Aus), but thank you. You too

Lee said...

Ryan: i have said this many times over and i'll say it again. if i die as a follower of Christ and your right that there is no God, i'm okay.

Nope... and I've replied to this already on this thread have I not? (and created a new religion over at my blog)

Please reply to that before we move on...

Thanks

Lee

CF said...

Lee, I can't find the response you said you gave in regard to Ryan's comment above. Would you mind reiterating?

By the way...I read (only half so far) the comments regarding your first cause frustration at Checkmate 101 blog. I'll continue tomorrow perhaps. Very interesting. I have a question though. Not trying to offend or attack... If you're tired of hearing the same answers over and over from Christians, why do you keep asking us? We're all going to say pretty much the same thing aren't we? Just wondering.

Don't get me wrong...it challenges me and I'm glad to have met someone to challenge me and my faith. So cheers to that. I'm just curious as to your intentions.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

I can't find the response you said you gave in regard to Ryan's comment above. Would you mind reiterating?

Sorry about that – it turns out I provided an answer to this over on another thread ("so where...."), I thought it was on this thread. Oops

It also took me a little time to find it…. So I will quote myself here to make it easy.

-------- start quote
Ryan Asked If you do run into God when you die, what will you say?

I've been asked this many times before, so I hope I am consistent.

On the topic we are currently talking about, how about :-

"Why did you God give me the power to reason, to think, to observe, to experiment, to theorise, to be able to filter good evidence from bad, but provide no such evidence for your own existence?

You God should have known what it was I required, since I was able to outline it myself and explain it to others, but you God provided none of this. So the question is why did you choose to hide from me? Oh, and God… which holy book (and interpretation) was correct, and why? I've been dying to know"

Ryan wrote You see if I die right now and there is no God my life has not been in vain.

Excellent – we can agree. We can live life as if there is no God, and our life is still not in vain.

If only more Christians could understand this fact.

Now if I die and God is real Heaven is my next trip.

And how do you know, for certain, that Heaven isn't waiting for me also?

So I'm not really sure what it is you are arguing for here.

It seems what you are saying is that if we both live a 'good life', then this is all we can hope to do. Anything after is a bonus, but what happens next is really unknown to you as well. (You just have faith :-)

How do you know that you are not following the wrong God, and that God will not throw you to Hell for following, on faith, a false God – ignoring the reasoning and logic He provided you with?

Maybe faith is 'evil' and a 'sin'?

Maybe the ultimate test is rise above 'blind faith' and to reason, IF there is a God, we cannot know anything about Him in this life (unless He chooses to reveal Himself of course). By being certain, as you are with your faith, you could be making a grave mistake…

Maybe, maybe not.

Lee

---------------
- End quote -

Now, are we really talking about Pascal's Wager?

The problem with Pascal's Wager is it is silly.

It assumes that there is a God that is stupid enough to fall for dishonest belief (which I cannot give – can you believe in a 4 sided triangle?) or belief that that it is possible to know for certain the 'right belief' – which evidence shows is not possible (i.e. all the difference versions of religion in world history)

It also assumes to know what God 'wants', and that using 'reason' and 'evidence' is NOT the way to go. That it is 'faith' which is the path to heaven (and this is why I tried to start my own religion on my blog which you have commented on saying that faith is in fact a sin)

By the way...I read (only half so far) the comments regarding your first cause frustration at Checkmate 101 blog. I'll continue tomorrow perhaps.

You are reading the whole debate??? That will take forever (and will be painful)

Very interesting.

Thanks. If you want to raise any points/questions… please fire away. I do actually enjoy talking about the subject...

I have a question though. Not trying to offend or attack... If you're tired of hearing the same answers over and over from Christians, why do you keep asking us?

Ah, I've been asked that once or twice before also – and I have a long answer.

Firstly, what it is NOT about is 'de-conversion', in a similar way I do not assume you are talking to me with the end goal of my conversion into Christianity.

Simply put, for me, it is about intellectual conversion, I enjoy the discussion.

I assume this is why you are talking to me – so we are not that different in our reasoning.

I've learnt so much these pass months having such discussions on various blogs/forums. About history, science and philosophy – who would not want to continue and learn more?

I've learnt a lot about belief (and the belief in belief) and probably one of the most important books man has ever written - the bible - though of course many might want to debate this.

Also, I like to be challenged – I want to be shown where I am going wrong.

I'm not going to learn something 'radically new' by talking to people who agree with me all the time now am I?

I've mentioned before that I have been a non-believer all my life, but this has not stopped me looking. I even chose to go to a Roman Catholic college for my A-levels education (17-18 years old college – just before we get to go to uni) to ensure I was not 'missing out' on this religion business.

I didn't find anything… but I keep asking questions. The only way I will learn.

We're all going to say pretty much the same thing aren't we?

If only… no - I get many different answers. (Which is a problem for me)

And I wonder why some people believe what they do… why some ideas can be challenged and good evidence demanded – yet in other fields, it is not.

Weird… so I want to make sure I am not making such a mistake.

Don't get me wrong...it challenges me and I'm glad to have met someone to challenge me and my faith. So cheers to that.

You are more than welcome… glad to be a challenge :-)

I'm just curious as to your intentions.

Hope I am a little bit clearer now?

No 'evil' agenda from me.

Just friendly discussion.

I am not the devil trying to test your faith… Hope you are not disappointed? :-)

Lee

CF said...

LEE: Ryan Asked If you do run into God when you die, what will you say?

I think Lee would say, "G'day mate. Can I see some ID"

Get it? "ID"? Oh, I slay me. I'm going to take that on the road.

CF said...

RYAN: if i die as a follower of Christ and your right that there is no God, i'm okay.

LEE: Nope...


I don't see how your argument validates Ryans comment. Pascals Wager was not purposed to provide proof for God. What Ryan is saying is that if he lives his life based on Jesus' teachings and there ends up being no God, he's lost nothing because he's dead. The decisions he made while alive are therefore irrelevant and he won't be able to prove God anyway; so his family and friends and church members continue to live the same way.

If there's nothing on "the other side", then why does it matter whose teachings he followed? Given, if he dies and discovers there is no God (assuming he followed the teachings of Christ) and actually finds that there is the Great Shoe that is the be-all-and-end-all of all things...then he may have a slight problem. But in that respect Ryan living based on his convictions is no different from you living based on your convictions. You both lived based on what you thought was valid information. Which leads back to, "Well big deal anyway...I'm dead." I like Will Ferrels impression of the late baseball commentator Harey Carey. He says, "But hey! What do I care? I'm dead!"

LEE: Firstly, what it is NOT about is 'de-conversion', in a similar way I do not assume you are talking to me with the end goal of my conversion into Christianity.

Actually...Uhh..one can hope, can't one? ;->

I assume this is why you are talking to me – so we are not that different in our reasoning.

If you want the truth, I'm talking to you because Ryan keeps taking my lunch money and beating me up and said he wouldn't stop unless I did. So...

Actually, I've never been involved in anything like this and didn't realize the debate was so hotly contested because I've never met an atheist who wasn't calling me names or acting like a complete child after the first 15 seconds. In the same respect, just as you find Christians with different beliefs and answers, I have found different atheists with different answers and beliefs.

LEE: I'm not going to learn something 'radically new' by talking to people who agree with me all the time now am I?

Oh. You've learned something radically new by talking to us? Do share!

Lee said...

CF What Ryan is saying is that if he lives his life based on Jesus' teachings and there ends up being no God, he's lost nothing because he's dead. The decisions he made while alive are therefore irrelevant and he won't be able to prove God anyway; so his family and friends and church members continue to live the same way.

If there ends up being no God, true – but Ryan has missed out on many more possibilities, and that’s my point.

What Ryan has assumed is only the possibility of the God he believes in, and no God.

Well, the many religions of the world shows the first assumption is highly unlikely

CF Actually...Uhh..one can hope, can't one? ;->

Of course, and I have provided ‘paths to my conversion’ on these threads. What I require.

Some can be provided only by God... others can be provided by believers in God.

I’ve seen zero from both groups to date, but still keep looking.

If you want the truth, I'm talking to you because Ryan keeps taking my lunch money and beating me up and said he wouldn't stop unless I did. So...

Ah, that makes sense now...

Actually, I've never been involved in anything like this and didn't realize the debate was so hotly contested because I've never met an atheist who wasn't calling me names or acting like a complete child after the first 15 seconds.

I hate those idiots as well, but of course they are not ‘true atheists’... just kidding, I know my fallacies :-)

They are normally the ones who are certain there are no gods... which truly is a faith position, so are in fact in the same camp as the theist. They hate being told that :-)

In the same respect, just as you find Christians with different beliefs and answers, I have found different atheists with different answers and beliefs

‘we’ atheists have never claimed to know all the answers, you are right then that you will get different answers

I'm running out of time... eek.

Lee

Lee said...

Oh. You've learned something radically new by talking to us? Do share!

You never know... could happen.

Lee

CF said...

What is a soul?
Mind, will and emotion
Where was it before I was born?Not sure. Heaven?
When did I ‘get’ a soul?
One idea is at conception, transferred by the parents.
Do identical twins share a soul or do they each have a unique one of their own?
I think I see where you're leading, but they have unique souls. There does seem to be a stronger connection, however, between twins.
Do animals have souls?
I don't know.
Can a soul be created or destroyed?
I think so.
Can a soul be transmitted/changed between bodies?
Not to my limited knowledge.
Can a soul influence the physical world? If so, how? If not, how does it influence the body?
If our mind, will and emotion influence the physical world, then yes. Can the soul 'touch' something and move it? No. But it influences the physical responses of the body.

The most common teaching I've heard of the soul represents the doctrine that man is a trichotomy; body, soul and spirit. I think this teaching is sound and also helps to give an understanding of the Trinity...Father, Son, Spirit.

The body is made up of flesh and science stuff that you know more about than I. The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotion. The spirit is the connecting and directing 'force'. All three are important and all three can be exercised. The 'ideal' Christian life desires the three to be as close to being 'in sync' as possible.

Christian teachings say that the fall of man caused sin. Man is born into sin and is not inherently 'good' according to the Bible. The problem of sin is connected to the body and the soul. The body has certain natural desires/needs/wants (food, water, clothing, comfort, etc.) and the soul has certain needs as well (acceptance, love, sexual desire, etc.) Just as exercising the body produces specific results, the exercising of the soul produces results. We are controlled by our mind, will and emotion, which have a sinful nature and therefore desire to be satisfied by material, physical things. The spirit is also given and can be cultivated. The desire of God is that the spirit be the Holy Spirit, however the Bible shows there to be many spirits. I think that spirits can (and do) affect the physical world and seem to fit closer to your question above regarding the soul.

If you didn't think I was crazy already, I'll tell you that three times in my life I have experienced spirits in the physical sense, I have felt and seen them. (I'll need some help here, but I'm simply explaining to you what I understand.) Each man has a spirit. Once a man accepts the Holy Spirit, it will not leave, however, as God it also will not impose rather it will guide, convict, etc.

However this is not to minimize the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described many times in the Bible as having personal characteristics such as sadness, joy, leading, speaking, etc.

ryan said...

i would love the chance to sit over a cup of coffee with you Lee. that would be (as we Californian's say) rad! i do have a very close friend who lives in your country, maybe one of these days!

Havok said...

CF: What is a soul?
Mind, will and emotion


Evidence from neuroscience points very strongly to all of these things originating in the brain. Is your brain your soul?

CF: Where was it before I was born?
Not sure. Heaven?


That would mean it was something other than your brain, which the evidence doesn't support :-)

CF: When did I ‘get’ a soul?
One idea is at conception, transferred by the parents.
Do identical twins share a soul or do they each have a unique one of their own?
I think I see where you're leading, but they have unique souls. There does seem to be a stronger connection, however, between twins.


If identical twins have unique souls, then souls cannot be "gained" at conception

CF: Can a soul influence the physical world? If so, how? If not, how does it influence the body?
If our mind, will and emotion influence the physical world, then yes. Can the soul 'touch' something and move it? No. But it influences the physical responses of the body.


If the mind/will/emotion are results of the brain (as the evidence strongly supports), this is not a problem.
If the soul is some "other substance" then it must directly touch the physical somehow, to cause the brain to operate the body etc. This is a serious problem with dualism :-)

CF: If you didn't think I was crazy already, I'll tell you that three times in my life I have experienced spirits in the physical sense, I have felt and seen them.

Get the straight jacket!
Many people have these experiences, and for the most part we can assume that they're hallucinations or delusions (unless you think Mohammed did ride to heaven on a winged horse).
Thanks to science we know that the brain fools itself, and does so quite easily and convincingly.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Thanks for getting back to me on the soul… I thought you overlooked it (I do write so much nonsense, it would be easy to be overwhelmed. I don't mean to do it, I am just trying to answer your points in full while I have the time – which I probably won't in the coming weeks)

RE: What is a soul?
Mind, will and emotion

Erm… doesn't give me much to get my teeth into.

Would you agree that 'mind, will and emotion' seem to be located in the brain and can be affected by chemicals and physical influences?

i.e. Drink beer, get drunk… your 'mind, will and emotion' will change.

Receive a large hit on the head and/or damage the brain… your 'mind, will and emotion' will change.

Experiments have shown my view very likely correct… (I can confirm the beer test anyway)

Does this suggest that 'whatever it is' - the 'soul'- is actually physical even if not fully understood today? I say yes.

Unless you know how the physical can interact with the unphysical?

RE: Where was it before I was born?
Not sure. Heaven?

Until you can prove Heaven is likely, this is just an unproven assertion.

You might as well say our soul was hiding in a brown cardboard box orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter. Just as likely… actually, more so – I know a physical location.

Also, where was it before Heaven? Where was it before Adam and Eve? (And does Eve have a soul coming from the spare rib of Adam? What about Adam himself, he was not conceived was he? (Oops – getting ahead of myself)

RE: When did I 'get' a soul?
One idea is at conception, transferred by the parents.

This introduces many problems. Just mentioned a couple with A&E

Secondly then, the identical twins problem (which we will discuss later)

Thirdly, are you suggesting that my mummy had 'half my soul' and my daddy 'the other half'? Were these 'hiding' in the eggs and sperm of my parents? In 50/50 states?

What happens to all these 'half souls' in the men's sperm if no conception occurs? Is it only the 'successful' sperm that contains 'half a soul'?

Thirdly, where does this 'soul chain' stop? Did my grandparents each contain a quarter of my soul that went into my parents?

RE: Do identical twins share a soul or do they each have a unique one of their own?
I think I see where you're leading, but they have unique souls.

Then your idea that the soul comes in at conception is flawed. Identical twins 'form' after conception…

There does seem to be a stronger connection, however, between twins.

What do you mean by 'connection'?
(Remember, I'm a bit of a sceptic, so mindreading or the such like will need some justification and scientific evidence)

Biologically between identical twins we should not be surprised that they are similar physical (and also mentally to some degree) and this is explained without the need for a soul.
You might have yourself a redundant explanation.

RE: Do animals have souls?
I don't know.

But you know man does?

Your thinking seems strange to me… so you don't actually know what it 'takes' to have a soul? Do we have a contradiction or special pleading going on? You don't seem to be consistent with your 'certainty'

RE: Can a soul be created or destroyed?
I think so.

So they are not infinite – but I thought you would believe this was the case with your idea of "Heaven and Hell"?

Could you maybe expand on this further?

RE: Can a soul be transmitted/changed between bodies?
Not to my limited knowledge.

It wouldn't make any sense to me if they did… but you believe that the soul 'lives on' after the physical body dies (I thought) – so you would claim it can at least be 'transmitted' somewhere?

What stops the soul jumping into another body? (I think I have just entered the realm of a bad horror movie)

RE: Can a soul influence the physical world? If so, how? If not, how does it influence the body?
If our mind, will and emotion influence the physical world, then yes.

I assumed you would say yes, but I still then to know the 'how'.

The idea of the soul has not helped solve any unknowns – you have merely introduced another unknown as I hope I am showing.

Can the soul 'touch' something and move it? No. But it influences the physical responses of the body.

Erm… this seems a little odd.

How does it 'influence the physical' if it cannot not 'touch' (interact) with the physical? Your very claim rests on answering this doesn't it?

The most common teaching I've heard of the soul represents the doctrine that man is a trichotomy; body, soul and spirit. I think this teaching is sound and also helps to give an understanding of the Trinity...Father, Son, Spirit.

Since I am questioning the foundations, the fundamentals, of the soul – I cannot jump to the conclusions of a soul to answer what 'is' a soul.

This would be rather circular logic.

Also, since the foundations don't look that good to me, I have plenty of reasons to doubt the conclusions.

Oh, and since you mentioned the Trinity…. I've never understood it. Doesn't it give you 3 gods for the price of 1? Not monotheism, but a tri-theism?

The body is made up of flesh and science stuff that you know more about than I.

I'm willing to share what little I know… but biology is my weakest science subject as I think I said before.

The soul is made up of the mind, will and emotion.

Sorry… your answer is like me telling you how many angels can dance on a pinhead.

It might be all very interesting, but since I've not shown that angels exist OR that they can dance it could be considered pretty meaningless.

The spirit is the connecting and directing 'force'. All three are important and all three can be exercised. The 'ideal' Christian life desires the three to be as close to being 'in sync' as possible.

I have to admit you have lost me… but I will try and follow along the best I can.

Though it sounds rather 'new age' to me and it is difficult for me to know the difference between one 'new age' claim over another 'new age' claim.
(Or maybe yours is 'old age'… but what is the difference between 'old age' and 'new age' metaphysical ideas?)

Christian teachings say that the fall of man caused sin.

Ah, good – we are back to sin. (Don't we all just love it :-) )

Man is born into sin and is not inherently 'good' according to the Bible.

'according to the Bible'… that's the key point isn't it?

What I have been doing is trying to make 'sense' of such a claim and what it would mean to both God of the bible and ourselves.

The problem of sin is connected to the body and the soul. The body has certain natural desires/needs/wants (food, water, clothing, comfort, etc.) and the soul has certain needs as well (acceptance, love, sexual desire, etc.)

Erm… have you proven that the body doesn't also have 'desires/needs/wants' of this 'acceptance, love, sexual desire, etc'?

Until you do, you have only another assertion.

We are controlled by our mind, will and emotion, which have a sinful nature and therefore desire to be satisfied by material, physical things.

I think it has a 'blue nature' and not 'sinful nature' – how am I wrong?

However, if, as you say, our 'mind, will and emotion' do indeed have a 'sinful nature' (and not blue)… isn't this fault of the design?

So it isn't the 'products' fault, but the designers fault (or maybe even the manufactures).

Now, I don't believe in a 'designer' (merely physical laws and natural selection) so I don't have this problem.

Christian's however blame themselves… this is sad.

the Bible shows there to be many spirits

It does… bad spirits and possession seemed rather common – Jesus certainly believed in them (as written about with the Legion and the pigs story)

Doesn't this show that there is a problem with the biblical account? All these 'bad spirits' have disappeared in the modern age with the progression of science.

I think that spirits can (and do) affect the physical world and seem to fit closer to your question above regarding the soul.

Oh… sorry – I didn't see this coming.

You will now be familiar with my answer of, "have you any evidence for this belief?" (apart from the bible of course)

If you didn't think I was crazy already,

Why would I think you are crazy?

I think you are holding onto a wrong conclusion… but you think this of me don't you?

I'll tell you that three times in my life I have experienced spirits in the physical sense, I have felt and seen them.

This isn't uncommon… my mother-in-law believes she has honestly spoken to her dead mother.

I've told her many times that I believe her when she tells me that she believes she spoke to her dead mother - but I don't accept her conclusion that she actually spoke to her dead mother since it is outside my own personal experience on how the world works.

The mind does some 'weird' things though… this is why we have optical illusions and magicians can make a living.

(I'll need some help here, but I'm simply explaining to you what I understand.) Each man has a spirit. Once a man accepts the Holy Spirit, it will not leave, however, as God it also will not impose rather it will guide, convict, etc.

Isn't this just stating that I need to believe in God to be able to believe in God?

However this is not to minimize the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described many times in the Bible as having personal characteristics such as sadness, joy, leading, speaking, etc.

You know, I honestly don't know where in the bible it says this… I don't doubt you it does, just interested where so I can read it for myself.

Can you help me out?

Lee

Lee said...

Hi Ryan,

i would love the chance to sit over a cup of coffee with you Lee. that would be (as we Californian's say) rad! i do have a very close friend who lives in your country, maybe one of these days!

It would be different…I think I would enjoy it also - having a 'face to face' rather than the 'impersonal' blog discussion.

It would be a long walk home for one of us though :-)

However there is an advantage with the blog method – we can take our time to 'think and research' before we answer… well, when I say research, I mean of course wiki (just kidding - I don't research, just talk rubbish).

Lee

CF said...

'sup fellas. Thanks for your questions Lee. It just further confirms that I probably shouldn't have been the one to address the 'soul' issue. I freely admit that I am unsure of a lot of the answers, and indicated that where appropriate.

I also wish to make a correction.
RE: Can a soul be transmitted/changed between bodies?
CHRIS: Not to my limited knowledge.


Yes souls can be transmitted. The best example is the rapture. It says the dead will take upon new bodies and I think (though I am not 100%) they are to be joined with their souls...or spirits...I'm not sure.

It would probably be wise for me to concede to you the issue of the "soul" simply for the fact that...I don't know! Maybe Ryan or Tim or someone else can help out here. Someone...? Anyone...?

You did ask some questions I can answer though!

CHRIS: However this is not to minimize the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is described many times in the Bible as having personal characteristics such as sadness, joy, leading, speaking, etc.

LEE: You know, I honestly don't know where in the bible it says this… I don't doubt you it does, just interested where so I can read it for myself.

Can you help me out?


Acts 8:29 & 13:2, the Holy Spirit speaks.
Ephesians 4:30, the Holy Spirit is grieved (sadness).
1 Corinthians 12:1-11, the Holy Spirit equips men with different spiritual gifts
Romans 8:14, the Holy Spirit leads
Ephesians 2:18, the Holy Spirit gives us access to God the Father, through Jesus (Trinity -- which I will address later.)
Romans 8:11, the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead
Galatians 5:22-23, is evidenced by "fruits" of the Spirit (character)
Job 33:4, the Holy Spirit creates
Romans 8:9-14, the Holy Spirit can live in us, guide us and direct us (also Galatians 4, the Holy Spirit lives in us.)

If you'd like more, please let me know. The Holy Spirit is one person of the Trinity.

LEE: Doesn't it give you 3 gods for the price of 1? Not monotheism, but a tri-theism?

No. The Trinity is not a "blue light special". It is God in three forms. Do you believe in time? Time is three forms; past, present, future. Do you believe in matter? Matter is three forms; solid, liquid, gas. Do you believe in space? Space is three forms; height, width, depth.

I think you (Lee) and Ryan had a discussion when Ryan posted a picture of a nebula or galaxy or something and made the comment "My God made this." His reply to your comment was something of 'recognizing the Creators signature'.

Romans 1:20 hints at this. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made."

The invisible attributes of God, i.e. the Trinity are seen through all nature which is, in fact, a trinity of trinities. You have three trinities which are all measurable; space, time and matter. Those are the signature of God, the unmeasurable Trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit. It's not that God cannot be measured. He has given three aspects of Himself...His signature...His design...His creation, that can all be measured.

You are adding the attributes of the Trinity to fit your argument. (3-for-1 deal). 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, yes, but why not multiply? This is a logical equation that helps explain the Trinity. 1 x 1 x 1 = 1. Thus, 3-in-1. Time is not "past + present + future". They are three distinct aspects of the nature of time. Matter is not "solid + liquid + gas", etc.

CF said...

LEE: However there is an advantage with the blog method – we can take our time to 'think and research' well, when I say research, I mean of course wiki...

Dang. Nobody told me we were supposed to think. Athesists love wiki don't they? What's up with that?

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Have to go to work now, so I will be quick

Dang. Nobody told me we were supposed to think. Athesists love wiki don't they? What's up with that?

wiki is good, but you should not trust it 100% - there are many mistakes in it.

Lee said...

however, it is self correctinh

Havok said...

CF: Yes souls can be transmitted. The best example is the rapture. It says the dead will take upon new bodies and I think (though I am not 100%) they are to be joined with their souls...or spirits...I'm not sure.

Aren't all the resurrections supposed to be of the same "type" as Jesus'?
Paul's epistles seem to support what you're saying here, that there is a "corrupt" body and an "incorruptible" body, and in the same way Jesus was risen with an incorruptible body, so shall Christians be raised in a separate body, ie 2 body resurrection.
The gospels of Matt, Luke & John are pretty explicit about a 1 body resurrection, however.

Also, since the evidence shows that our minds are our brains, and since we also have no evidence of there being "minds" without a physical substrate, if/when your soul is placed into a new body, in what way will it be you? (memories, personality etc all reside in the mind)

CF said...

LEE: The gospels of Matt, Luke & John are pretty explicit about a 1 body resurrection, however.

In what way?

Also, since the evidence shows that our minds are our brains, and since we also have no evidence of there being "minds" without a physical substrate,

I am not aware of this. What evidence are you speaking of. I was under the impression (not that I follow this field closely anyway...) that this was a very uncertain area, the mind and its relation to the physical. I also understood that any physical evidence of our minds were simply the chemical reactions that occur after or even during a thought. In that light, it was also my understanding that the "stream of consciousness" initiated the chemical reaction, not vice versa. Again...I've already conceded I'm not well versed in this arena. Didn't pay much attention to Psyche class in college!

LEE (cont'd): if/when your soul is placed into a new body, in what way will it be you? (memories, personality etc all reside in the mind)
That's a great question. Something we Christians often ponder, but I think it's one of those answers that may never be revealed on this planet!

CF said...

Lee, I'm quite interested in your response to my trinity explanation.

Havok said...

CF: In what way? regarding a 1 body resurrection in the gospels (except Mark)

The body Jesus uses after the resurrection is the same as before the resurrection, only "glorified".

CF: I am not aware of this. What evidence are you speaking of.

To the very best of our ability to image the brain (fMRI etc), mental states and brain states correlated - they're the same. The brain state also tends to precede awareness of the mental state.
Damage to the brain incurs damage to the mind (there's also the influence of drugs).
There is no proposed mechanism for an "immaterial" mind to interact with a physical brain (it would violate conservation of energy as far as I can tell).
Basically, while we do not have great understanding of function of the brain, from what we do know, there is currently no need nor reason to postulate a mind which is not a phenomenon arising from the brain.

CF: Didn't pay much attention to Psyche class in college!

It's neuroscience rather than psyche, but I did neither in college, so what would I know ;-)

CF: That's a great question.

Shucks :-)

CF: Something we Christians often ponder, but I think it's one of those answers that may never be revealed on this planet!

Given that what makes "you" "you" seems to be due to the brain, I can't see how you could be you without it, even if there were evidence that minds can exist without physical "brains".
Seems a little too much like wishful thinking to believe otherwise :-)

Lee said...

Hi CF,

It just further confirms that I probably shouldn't have been the one to address the 'soul' issue. I freely admit that I am unsure of a lot of the answers, and indicated that where appropriate.

I hope you don't think I was trying to nail you down on any of these points – my questions were leading ones I know, but not for that.

I wanted to show that there are real problems in thinking that there is something call a soul in my view.

This provides plenty of reason to doubt such a thing exists.

This was all I was arguing for – I don't think there are any good answers/reason to believe in the soul. (Maybe it is a faith thing?)

You did clearly state that you didn't know the answers to several of my questions, so I am wondering do you 'doubt' your conclusions of a soul now?

At least to the point that further research is required?

This is not to say that your conclusion is wrong, just how much 'faith' should one have in it (or is that trust?).

I try and keep faith to a minimum as you might have noticed :-)

I also wish to make a correction.

Excellent…

RE: Can a soul be transmitted/changed between bodies?

Yes souls can be transmitted. The best example is the rapture.

Erm… are you using an example that has yet to be shown?

No matter, you are right to say that you should be consistent in your arguments/beliefs.

If you believe in the rapture, it has implications to what a soul can 'do' as you point out.

It says the dead will take upon new bodies and I think (though I am not 100%) they are to be joined with their souls...or spirits...I'm not sure.

There are philosophical questions that come from this idea of yours (and being philosophy they don't give answers, just questions)

However, I will leave this for now…

I would recommend a book that was able to simplify all philosophy stuff to a level I could get my head around (i.e. very simple).

It is "The Philosophy Gym" by Stephen Law and a chapter that touches on what you are talking about is "Brain transplants, teleportation and the puzzle of personal identity".

Maybe you could get it from a library or something.

The author is an atheist, but being a philosopher leaves such questions as "I don't know… what do you think" A very well argued book I think for the layman

It would probably be wise for me to concede to you the issue of the "soul" simply for the fact that...I don't know!

I'm not trying to 'win points', this for me is a discussion, not a debate.
(If/when I ever get into 'debate talk', please remind me of this fact)

I will then take this to mean "let's move on and discuss something else".

Fine with me

Oh, and thanks for the bible quotes for the Holy Spirit – I look forward to reading them when I've time - getting busy at work (and home) at the moment.

No. The Trinity is not a "blue light special".

Is this when they place a flashing blue light on some products to sell them? Don't think I've ever seen that done in the shops I go to – maybe it is an American thing?

It is God in three forms.

Is God limited to just 3 forms?

And why 3? (Oh, I think you are going to get into this logic)

Do you believe in time?

ARGH…. I hate thinking about time – it freaks me out.

I don't just mean in the "I've not got enough time to write this reply", but what actually time 'is'… its weird stuff.

What is time to a photon travelling at the speed of light? Time stops according to Einstein… My time and your time are not necessarily the same, it's all relative… and what is this 'arrow of time' anyway that means it points in just the one direction?

I hate time, and love it as well :-)

Time is three forms; past, present, future.

From your point of view/reference - maybe

But what is future for you, will be some else's past… given enough space-time.

And don't forget that "today is just yesterday's tomorrow"

But I will grant you though the classical English language approach for your point (which at the moment I don't see anyway)

Do you believe in matter? Matter is three forms; solid, liquid, gas.

You mean 'states of matter' (given your examples)… and there are 4 of them, you forgot plasma. :-)

Does this mean you are already on shaky grounds?

Do you believe in space? Space is three forms; height, width, depth.

Actually, no… Einstein showed we should be thinking of space-time and in 4 dimensions.

Getting very wobbly now I think…

I think you (Lee) and Ryan had a discussion when Ryan posted a picture of a nebula or galaxy or something and made the comment "My God made this." His reply to your comment was something of 'recognizing the Creators signature'.

Erm… 4 states of matter, 4 dimensions (in the macro world – don't get me talking about string theory – I think they are on 11 dimensions at the moment with M-Theory)

What is this telling me about the universe?

Sorry CF, I don't see your point with the trinity – you have been very selective on your data points (ignoring the 4th dimension and the 4th state of matter) and jumped to a conclusion about 3 'states' of God.

Maybe, just maybe… this '3 business' came from old astrological beliefs (and knowledge)

We have the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth… 3 major (and therefore important) astrological objects. (The stars remember as just like small figs in the ancient minds.)

Who knows… not me, I don't know enough history on this subject – but it makes as much sense as what you quoted.

Romans 1:20 hints at this. "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made."

This says that God attributes are invisible, then how/why do Christians claim to know anything about God?

And more importantly - if I am to believe this verse - then I am, with my reason and science, closer to God then many Christians.

I have, after all, a pretty good understand of what we see around us in a physical sense – which the bible here is claiming to have been made by God and anything else is invisible to me

Funny thing interpretation :-)

And I forgot to ask, are you a 'literalist' when it comes to the bible or a little more moderate in your views… I cannot believe I've not asked this before.

With your objection of evolution, I am assuming you are pushing towards the literalist – but I cannot be certain.

What about the Big Bang and the age of the universe… are you with me on this? (I don't wish to derail the conversion here – so just a brief reply would be great)

The invisible attributes of God, i.e. the Trinity are seen through all nature which is, in fact, a trinity of trinities. You have three trinities which are all measurable; space, time and matter.

I gave you 'time' (past, present, future) purely based on our use of English and my lack of knowledge what time physical is… but maybe it could be "past, present, now, future"

And I would argue of course that 'present' and 'now' are distinct (and I think I could make a pretty good argument for this, whether I believe it or not)

This gives me 4, and not three characteristics what you are arguing for.

This is a logical equation that helps explain the Trinity. 1 x 1 x 1 = 1.

1 x 1 x 1 x 1 = 1

My argument for the quad-nity is valid now as well :-)

Have to be honest here, I am not sure about this argument of yours.

I'm not a mathematician and see much of maths as merely a 'toy' unless if can be shown to have valid in the 'real world'.

My first reaction then is that you have merely used the model/logic of mathematics and not shown how this relates to God in anyway.

If we take the distinct characteristics instead you have given me, what does it mean to multiply God by Son by Holy Spirit?

Can you help me understand that?

Lee

Lee said...

Hi CF,

" LEE: The gospels of Matt, Luke & John are pretty explicit about a 1 body resurrection, however."

I think you have me confused with Havok/Rian on this one.

My knowledge on the bible isn't great enough to make such a statement – to be honest, I get confused with what Paul wrote and the Gospels…

I will leave this one to Havok.

RE: Havok "Also, since the evidence shows that our minds are our brains, and since we also have no evidence of there being "minds" without a physical substrate"

I am not aware of this. What evidence are you speaking of.

Again, the question here was posted by another – but I have already commented on this on one of these threads.

Both chemical and physical interactions with the brain change our behaviour.

Drink beer, you get drunk – and say things you regret and don't 'act like yourself'

Hit your head very hard, you may lose consciousness. Brain injuries (and illness) also show the close connection between brain and mind.

RE: "LEE (cont'd): if/when your soul is placed into a new body, in what way will it be you? (memories, personality etc all reside in the mind)

That's a great question. Something we Christians often ponder, but I think it's one of those answers that may never be revealed on this planet!

Again, not me so I cannot take the credit… but I have addressed this in my earlier reply. Philosophy has tackled the question with more success than religion in my view.

Lee, I'm quite interested in your response to my trinity explanation.

I hope after reading it (above) you are still interested :-)

Lee

Havok said...

Lee: Again, not me so I cannot take the credit

You're more than welcome to take credit for what I write, though doing so would lower the average quality of your comments ;-)

CF said...

Sorry guys...now I'm twisting all your comments. Let me get myself together and answer appropriately. Don't know how that happened!

CF said...

HAVOK: The body Jesus uses after the resurrection is the same as before the resurrection, only "glorified"
That shows Jesus as the exception, which is consistent with all of His claims.

LEE: do you 'doubt' your conclusions of a soul now? Haha! No! Silly rabbit!

LEE: At least to the point that further research is required? I'll agree to that, but I'm not waiting for them (researchers).

LEE: This is not to say that your conclusion is wrong, just how much 'faith' should one have in it (or is that trust?). Faith...trust...what's the difference?

LEE: CHRIS: No. The Trinity is not a "blue light special".

LEE: Is this when they place a flashing blue light on some products to sell them? Don't think I've ever seen that done in the shops I go to – maybe it is an American thing?

Sorry...yes. K-Mart used to put a blue siren at the end of an aisle and turn it on. It was so obnoxious. Guess I need to keep my cultural nods to a minimum.

LEE: Maybe you could get it from a library or something.
What's this library you speak of? I am not familiar with this term. ;-)

LEE: And more importantly - if I am to believe this verse - then I am, with my reason and science, closer to God then many Christians.
Does this bother you? You may very well be correct.

LEE: This gives me 4, and not three characteristics what you are arguing for.
Space, time, matter, God. 4. :-)

Havok said...

CF: That shows Jesus as the exception, which is consistent with all of His claims.
Paul is fairly insistent that:
1) Our resurrection bodies will be like that of Jesus'
2) Our resurrection body is not the body we had in Life - it is spirit, not corruptible matter.

And the gospels are clear that:
1) Jesus was man
2) Jesus resurrection body was his body in life, glorified.

So, there appears to be a problem between the gospels (excluding Mark), with Jesus body in life glorified (physical), and Paul with Jesus' ressurection body being different to the bodies we have in life (spirit)
So, do we go with orthodoxy (and ignore Paul's spiritual resurrection body) or docetism (and ignore the gospel accounts of Jesus' resurrection body).
I can't see any way to resolve this "issue", can you?

CF: Sorry...yes. K-Mart used to put a blue siren at the end of an aisle and turn it on.

Here in Aus it was a red light, and I don't remember a siren. Still annoying though.

CF: Space, time, matter, God. 4. :-)
Weren't you trying to show the trinity is relfected in nature?
Is there a black sheep of the holy quadrity who doesn't often show their face?

Space-time (encompassing matter and energy), God. 2 (though one does seem superfluous) ;-)

CF said...

HAVOK: 1) Our resurrection bodies will be like that of Jesus'
2) Our resurrection body is not the body we had in Life - it is spirit, not corruptible matter.

And the gospels are clear that:
1) Jesus was man
2) Jesus resurrection body was his body in life, glorified.


Can you please give me specific scriptures you are talking about so I can address this accordingly?

Paul mentions several times (Romans (I think 8), Hebrews and maybe 1 Thess) how senseless the resurrection of Jesus is if the dead do not rise. He often discusses the resurrection of the dead, so his (Pauls) view is that the dead will rise like Jesus, as you say. Paul does say in 1 Cor. 15 that the resurrection body is spirit-UAL, not spirit. The context of the end of this chapter is what we've been talking about before...the sin of Adam. Jesus, called the second Adam, came in Spirit, brought Spirit and was raised in Spirit in His glorified body. Paul is making a comparison here to flesh and spirit that through Adam came death, through Jesus came life.

Havok said...

CF, 1 Cor 15 is probably the most explicit, but Paul seems to imply a 2 body resurrection (even if only "spiritual" and not "spirit" it still goes against the gospel accounts).

This chapter of a larger work concerning the resurrection, makes a general case for a 2 body resurrection.
This FAQ accompanies an expanded case which was published in "The Empty Tomb: Jesus beyond the grave".
This essay appears to be a rebuttal (at least in part) to some of the previous, arguing a 1 body resurrection (I'm only just reading it myself) :-)

Id be interested to know what you people think (of both arguments)

Lee said...

Hi Rian/Havok

You're more than welcome to take credit for what I write, though doing so would lower the average quality of your comments ;-)

I thank you kind sir, but I will have to politely disagree – your comments are very good, in particular to biblical 'history'

Lee

Lee said...

Hi CF,

LEE: do you 'doubt' your conclusions of a soul now?
CHRIS Haha! No! Silly rabbit!
LEE: At least to the point that further research is required?
I'll agree to that, but I'm not waiting for them (researchers).

And this is where we differ…

I've provided many reasons to doubt your conclusions, you have stated you don't understand yourself how these issues can be resolved – yet you still believe you are right in your conclusion of a soul and are happy to do so even before the research is there is suggest you are right.

CHRIS Faith...trust...what's the difference?

I could quote a dictionary definition, but you will tell me that they are Christians are something and laugh at me :-)

CHRIS Guess I need to keep my cultural nods to a minimum.

If you are happy to explain them, no problems… use them.

What's this library you speak of? I am not familiar with this term. ;-)

It's a place I am told that contains many books that can be freely borrowed for a short period of time… they will never catch on :-)

RE: LEE: And more importantly - if I am to believe this verse - then I am, with my reason and science, closer to God then many Christians.
CHRIS Does this bother you? You may very well be correct.

It has been pointed out to me by a Christian before – it doesn't bother me, why should it? I tried to start a new religion on the topic remember?

Maybe though it should be a question the Christian should answer… does it bother you?

It should certainly bother the fundamentalist/literalist – but I still don't know which side of the fence you are sitting.


LEE: This gives me 4, and not three characteristics what you are arguing for.
CHRIS Space, time, matter, God. 4. :-)

He, He… but you know you can insert any word into last place.

Space, time, matter, doG :-)

What's that old joke again?

Lee

CF said...

LEE: I've provided many reasons to doubt your conclusions, you have stated you don't understand yourself how these issues can be resolved – yet you still believe you are right in your conclusion of a soul and are happy to do so even before the research is there is suggest you are right.
Lee, I didn't say I am "right" in my "conclusion" of a soul. In fact I did tell you I am unsure what it is and how it interacts. I don't have a conclusion, other than I believe it exists. And you have shown me nothing, you've simply told me that research is there. Where is there and where do I look outside of the Bible? (And I have no problem with that, that's not what I'm saying...) In order for me to look into this information, I will (and I will) do so on my own, but not at the request of someone who's entire library of sources seeks to disprove the most important thing in my life, God.

Please, no offense intended (and none taken) but you can't expect me to look for proof from people who simply want to disprove that which I'm seeking. If I were having this discussion with a Jew, the sources would be entirely different as would the topics. If I were having this discussion with a Sikh, again, different topics, different "proofs".

LEE: Maybe though it should be a question the Christian should answer… does it bother you?
Does it bother me that you may be closer to God that some Christians? No, not really. A personal relationship with God is just that...personal. If you are truly seeking God, as I think you've said before, then all I can say is keep seeking. (If you didn't say it, then please have that last comment striken from the record!)

It should certainly bother the fundamentalist/literalist – but I still don't know which side of the fence you are sitting.
What are your definitions of these terms? I'm not sure how you are labeling "us people" (as HAVOK so eloquently put it!)

LEE: What's that old joke again?
"I drove past a crematorium the other day. They had a sign outside that said '50% discount for burn victims.'"
That joke? No...?

Lee said...

Hi CF,

It seems my responses yesterday have come across a little 'raw'…

Oops, sorry and all that.

I suppose it can happen when talking about something we 'hold dear' I guess… especial when one of us (i.e. me) has no idea or comprehension on what it means to 'hold dear' the object of discussion (i.e. God)

I hope you can forgive an honest mistake (one that I will make again no doubt due to my ignorance)?

CF Lee, I didn't say I am "right" in my "conclusion" of a soul. In fact I did tell you I am unsure what it is and how it interacts. I don't have a conclusion, other than I believe it exists.

'other than I believe it exists' sounds a little like a conclusion… so I hope you can see how I got confused :-)

And you have shown me nothing, you've simply told me that research is there.

'told' seems so hard and cold… how about 'pointed out' or 'highlighted'… Nah, they are all rubbish.

I hate English.

I didn't know that you were aware of such research, it wasn't clear in your responses that you did.

So I pointed them out for you to take a read/look if you can… What you do with the information or think of it is up to you.

Where is there and where do I look outside of the Bible?

I don't know what you mean here – sorry.

Do you want the precise study/research papers?

In order for me to look into this information, I will (and I will) do so on my own, but not at the request of someone who's entire library of sources seeks to disprove the most important thing in my life, God.

Your last point first, my children are the most important things in my life… you have children don't you? So do you place God higher than your children?

Or did you mean God is one of the most important things in your life?

Remember, I never had a belief in God so don't understand (and so no doubt this is me causing offence, but I really don't mean to)

On the subject of the most important thing in my life… my children.

You could try and disprove them if you like. Having a discussion about the evidence for and against their existence would not offend me in anyway. In fact, I could find it assuming that you think you could try…(Make any sense?)

Back to God, your most important thing in your life.

I do not seek to disprove your God… firstly, because it is logically impossible to do so, and secondly, it is not for me to even try.

I am questioning for my own reasons, for me.

I am glad you are sharing and helping in this journey.

So lets be clear - What you believe in the comfort of your own home is up to you – I am however interested in why you believe what you do (and dare I ask, what would make you change this belief) This isn't to change what you believe, merely so I understand why people believe what they do. Call it intellectual curiosity if you like.

My request for you to investigate further on the soul and brain was merely a friendly suggestion – not a demand, I'm sorry if it offended you (frustrated you, whatever) in anyway.

Oh, and since my library consists of 2 bibles (3 if you count a Greek version I bought second hand for a bit of fun for the wife, but I cannot hope to read) do these books in my library also go as resources to disprove God? :-)

Please, no offense intended

Not sure how you could offend me… I think the idea of 'freedom of speech' is a good one – don't you?

To get offended by words or an idea is rather strange… now actions, that is different. Words or ideas that promote an action, those are different. (And a very different story)

but you can't expect me to look for proof from people who simply want to disprove that which I'm seeking

I have already stated, it is not my aim to 'de-convert' you and I hope you have enough respect for me that you are not trying to convert me either.

Provide information and personal experience about your religion, your God – yes please, I expect that. I will in turn provide my reason (and dare I say evidence) why I don't believe.
But your motive I hope is not to 'save soul' but to share knowledge. It is for the adult individual to decide what to do with the information as I hinted at before.

Does it bother me that you may be closer to God that some Christians? No, not really.

It would be funny though wouldn't it? You have to admit that… What did you think of 'my new religion' I tried to start on my blog BTW?

It could work couldn't it?

If you are truly seeking God, as I think you've said before, then all I can say is keep seeking.

I don't think I would phrase it quite how you just did. I hope I have not been misleading.

I am questioning and challenging the idea of God (for myself remember)… where the dice fall, is where they fall.

I have no control over that.

For the record, I'm over 30 years old now (I try not to be too precise, it makes me feel really old), been questioning for over half my life this God puzzle. The more I read, the more I learn… the less reason I see to believe. I find that very odd, if there was a God.

I mean, it isn't as if I am trying to reject God… just trying to use reason and evidence to find Him.

Still, I keep thinking about it, because by doing so I learn more about myself, people and the universe around me.

It is this curiosity that drove me to get a physics with astrophysics degree – so it has not been a wasted journey and so I continue it happily.

RE: "It should certainly bother the fundamentalist/literalist"
CF What are your definitions of these terms?

I keep them loose and free (and probably missing the finer points).

Simply put, 'one who believes in the inerrancy of the bible'. Yeah, that will do for now.

For example, if someone told me that 'the bible says 6 days of creation, then 6 days it is, and the order in correct and without question'

Then that person is taking the bible as inerrant - a bit of a literalist, dare I say fundamentalist.

Maybe another addition could be if a person, when shown evidence from science that contradicts something they believe state, "Well, the bible says this, so that is what I believe – their must be something wrong with your science" (Though not sure about many Christians would agree with this?)

It is a label, but we all need labels in order to discuss a group of ideas.

I assume you will call me an atheist (I use the term myself, so why not) yet I probably don't agree on your definition of an atheist, or indeed the definition that other atheists use.

In the same way you will not be insulting me if you call me an atheist, if I use the label X to describe your Christian belief; I hope you would not take offence.

After all, with me using 'Christian' I have in fact already used a label and I don't think you find this offensive in anyway?

Basically, it helps to keep things brief in a discussion. (I write enough as it is…)

RE: "LEE: What's that old joke again?"

CF "I drove past a crematorium the other day. They had a sign outside that said '50% discount for burn victims.'"
That joke? No...?


Oh dear...

No, my old joke was (in reference to doG) is along the lines of:-

" What do you get when you cross an agnostic with a dyslexic? Someone who lies awake all night wondering if there's a dog."

Or sometimes

" Why was the dyslexic agnostic an insomniac?
He stayed up all night worrying about whether there was doG or not"


Probably no better I know but I didn't say it was a good joke – just old.

Lee

CF said...

Lee, my response was to the specific discussion in regard to the soul, not everything else.

LEE: I didn't know that you were aware of such research, it wasn't clear in your responses that you did.
I know it exists, but I don't know where to find it.

LEE: Do you want the precise study/research papers?
Exactly. Normally you guys are good about providing references, which gives me an avenue to research and respond, but none were provided in specific regard to the soul. Which is why I said:

CHRIS: Where is there and where do I look outside of the Bible?
The only research or place to find information on the soul is in the Bible. But you don't accept arguments from the Bible, so I want your references, your point of view.

LEE: So do you place God higher than your children? Yes
Or did you mean God is one of the most important things in your life? No I meant what I said.

LEE: My request for you to investigate further on the soul and brain was merely a friendly suggestion – not a demand, I'm sorry if it offended you (frustrated you, whatever) in anyway. No, no, no...I wasn't offended or frustrated. You should know I usually take you up on your suggestions to research...I was just stating you provided me no direction in this specific instance. Normally you do.

LEE: It would be funny though wouldn't it? You have to admit that… What did you think of 'my new religion' I tried to start on my blog BTW? For starters, where's your 'book'? Secondly, it was seriously lacking evidence. Otherwise, it's totally plausible. After all, it is just another 'religion'. ;-)

LEE: Oh, and since my library consists of 2 bibles...
This isn't the library I was referring to. I was referring to the "library" of hyperlinks that you guys have been providing to the Christians. They're mostly atheistic websites and anti-God. This is one of the things I find suspicious...during discussions the atheists point out in arguments with Christians such as "well why can't it be Allah, or Buddha or blah blah blah or the spaghetti monster?" Yet the majority the atheistic websites simply show evidence against God. VERY few (if any...and I can't think of any right now) try to disprove Islam or Hinduism or even Satanism for that matter?

I made a reference on your blog about the 'local rag' article and asked the question (in summary), "Why didn't the reporter interview anyone who represented the "hoodies"; only the people who represent Islam."

Am I making sense? Now, I know you say you don't claim to be atheist but accept it as a generality. I recognize that. You actually seem to fit in the agnostic camp more than the atheistic camp. However, I would say the atheist stance is "one who disbelieves in the existence of God or gods." First off, if the definition of atheist is all inclusive of gods, why is God segregated even in the definition? If atheism is disbelief in all gods, why are the atheist weblogs, links and posts all directed at disproving the Christian God and then add "oh yeah, that goes for Allah also." Why is the Christian God the sole conversation piece to "disprove"?

I would consider myself an Historic Contextualist. Not Literalist nor Fundamentalist. Meaning I take the Bible in its context and its statements as true history. (Actually I just made that all up.) I just believe the Bible. I don't believe a literal 6 day creation, I do believe a literal exodus, I do believe a man named Jesus lived, performed miracles, is the Son of God and loved me enough to die for my eternal salvation.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Normally you guys are good about providing references, which gives me an avenue to research and respond, but none were provided in specific regard to the soul.

I don’t have any single piece on hand – it is basically ‘everything science knows’ about the brain goes against it.

I’ve just started listening to the following podcast about the brain – see if there is anything of interest there download it from itunes for free. It is what I am doing.

http://brainsciencpodcast.wordpress.com/

However, when I have time – I will try and look for something more specific.

Must go – wife wants to go shopping.

Lee

Lee said...

They're mostly atheistic websites and anti-God. This is one of the things I find suspicious...

It is hard to find a Christian website arging against God

Havok said...

CF: Exactly. Normally you guys are good about providing references, which gives me an avenue to research and respond, but none were provided in specific regard to the soul. Which is why I said:
Alongside Lee's podcast, this blog has a lot of content, especially refuting those who would claim science currently shows the mind must be more than the brain.

CF: The only research or place to find information on the soul is in the Bible. But you don't accept arguments from the Bible, so I want your references, your point of view.
I think other traditions would not accept that - ie. Hindu, Buddhist, mystics in general etc. The bible is a place to find out about the Christian conception of a soul (I think many later Christian writers have expounded on the subject also).

CF: Yet the majority the atheistic websites simply show evidence against God.
I;d prefer to use a more specific term than god, myself. While I know that you're using it in the Christian sense, I prefer Yahweh|Jesus as it does not encompass any other traditions (you'll se that link for Sai Baba uses the term "god" but is not referring to Yahweh at all) :-)

There is also the fact that Christianity is the largest, and therefore most familiar religion to me (and likely Lee and others).

CF: VERY few (if any...and I can't think of any right now) try to disprove Islam or Hinduism or even Satanism for that matter?
Allah is the Judeo-Christian God, the Koran being a further and final (and absolutely correct) revelation from that god. Demonstrate that belief in Yahweh is unjustified and all three faiths fall :-)
I'm not familiar with Hinduism, though it seems it is very pluralistic and universal. There are groups who travel India demostrating the fraud of Hindu Guru's. I'm not familiar with (nor do I know of any websites for) this religion.
Satanism relies upon Christianity also (as far as I know).
Basically, Christianity is the largest religion, and also the one which is most familiar in the west. I haven't come across too many websites which welcomed comments for Islam, Hinduism etc.

CF: Now, I know you say you don't claim to be atheist but accept it as a generality. I recognize that. You actually seem to fit in the agnostic camp more than the atheistic camp.
I prefer agnostic atheist. "I lack belief in the existence of god, but I'm not sure there are no gods".
Lee is probably similar in his lack of belief and lack of certainty.

CF: However, I would say the atheist stance is "one who disbelieves in the existence of God or gods." First off, if the definition of atheist is all inclusive of gods, why is God segregated even in the definition?
You've got the definition a little wrong. "Atheism is a lack of belief in, or an assertion of the nonexistence of a god or gods". That sums up string (No gods exist) and weak (I don't believe in any gods) atheism, from my understanding.
Yahweh is not singled out any more than Ahura Mazda is :-)

CF: If atheism is disbelief in all gods, why are the atheist weblogs, links and posts all directed at disproving the Christian God and then add "oh yeah, that goes for Allah also." Why is the Christian God the sole conversation piece to "disprove"?
Largest and most familiar target, as I mentioned above. Why would I address the Druge or Zoroastrians when there are so few of them?

CF: I just believe the Bible.
Fair enough.

CF: I don't believe a literal 6 day creation,
Great. Do you also believe in a literal Adam & Eve? (From the comments on "prior..." I'd assume yes)

CF: I do believe a literal exodus,
Without archaeological evidence to back it up, the exodus is pretty unlikely. The conquest of Canaan which concluded the exodus has a number of problems also (Jericho seems to have had no walls and was abandoned, Ai was abandoned from 2200BCE-1200BCE and Gibeon doesn't seem to have existed at all).

CF: I do believe a man named Jesus lived,
Nothing extraordinary about a man existing. I'm agnostic about it myself.

CF: performed miracles, is the Son of God and loved me enough to die for my eternal salvation.
That, however is extraordinary. The evidence of these claims seems to be of the same type (though some 30+ years after the fact) as my link to Sai Baba raising the dead.
Why accept one and not the other?

CF said...

LEE: It is hard to find a Christian website arging against God
Well maybe you aren't looking hard enough. All kidding aside...my problem is the exclusivity with which your sources seek to disprove God. That doesn't seem atheist, it seems Anti-God.

HAVOK: Why would I address the Druge or Zoroastrians when there are so few of them?
Because...uh...you're atheist? You know..."all gods" and all that. Why does population have any part in it? Besides, it goes against all bases of science, which is to examine all evidence isn't it? If you're knowingly leaving them alone and attacking Christianity simply because there's more of us, that just seems...well...lazy! ;-)

HAVOK: Without archaeological evidence to back it up, the exodus is pretty unlikely. The conquest of Canaan which concluded the exodus has a number of problems also (Jericho seems to have had no walls and was abandoned, Ai was abandoned from 2200BCE-1200BCE and Gibeon doesn't seem to have existed at all).
Jericho was excavated scientifically and considered to be the "oldest inhabited and fortified city ever excavated" (Horn, Siegfried H., Biblical Archaeology: a Generation of Discovery; Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan; 1985. p. 37), (Achtemeier, Paul J., Th.D., Harper’s Bible Dictionary; San Francisco: Harper and Row, Publishers, Inc.; 1985.), (The New Bible Dictionary; Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; 1962.). Let's not also forget about Arad, Bethel, Chorazin, Capernaum, Dan, Ephesus, Gaza, Gezer, Hazor, Hesbon, Joppa, Ninevah, Shechem, Susa, the Assyrian empire, Celtic-Scythian commerce routes, Megiddo, Nehemiahs wall, King Davids palace, Solomon's Temple, Moab, King Ahabs ivory temple, etc. There has been no archeological evidence that disproves the Bible. There have been places that haven't been found, but there are no places that have been found that disprove the Biblical accounts.

I will give you the exodus evidence is "vague" at best. However there is promising work that has recently come out. I haven't seen the video...trying to get it though. You can look here.

HAVOK: That, however is extraordinary. The evidence of these claims seems to be of the same type (though some 30+ years after the fact) as my link to Sai Baba raising the dead.
Why accept one and not the other?

Have you seen Sai Baba's hair? Would you trust him?

Kidding.

A couple of issues arise here, with me.

First, Jesus says that people will claim to do miracles in His name (and not in His name) and will deceive even the "elect". So while I can't say Sai Baba didn't raise the dead guy (or others), I can say Jesus warned us about people like him.

Second, (I've said this before and can't believe you keep bringing him up simply for this reason...) the guy has more legal troubles than he knows what to do with. Child molestation, rape, blackmail...he doesn't come even close to living up to the most basic morals, much less his claims to be a god-man or whatever he is. Now if he had a stellar record in the public eye, media and within his own religion (oh, think Billy Graham) then maybe there would be enough for me to at least acknowledge...which leads me to my third point.

Third, you haven't walked a mile in my shoes and seen the evidence of where my life of faith has lead me.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

my problem is the exclusivity with which your sources seek to disprove God. That doesn't seem atheist, it seems Anti-God.

Erm… sorry.

I actually didn’t realise that I gave you that many links – I remember richarddawkins.net, but that was merely to show some ex-Christians that left not because some person was rude to them or the like – but rather because of reason.

I remember Russell’s ‘why I am not a Christian’ – but that was a post, not a response to anything you said.

I gave a wiki link on this thread, but the was a science link – no anti-God there.

Oh, and a brain science postcast I just started to listen too… don’t think there is anything anti-God in that, but I’ve not heard that many. I very much doubt it though.

I think CF you are being a little unfair to me – but maybe my memory is a little rusty, could you show me one of the anti-god links I provided you?

More importantly - why would I be anti-god anymore than I am anti-fairy?

I don’t understand.

Lee

Lee said...

CF There has been no archeological evidence that disproves the Bible. There have been places that haven't been found, but there are no places that have been found that disprove the Biblical accounts.

This sounds like an interesting challenge, but I need to know first what type of archaeological evidence would disprove the Bible.

Can you provide some examples?

Since, as you rightly say, not finding the Ark doesn’t prove it didn’t exist.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

I feel like being naughty now - since I have been told off for giving atheist anti-god links, I may as well now do the crime... right?

On the history of the bible - please take a look at this web page. I found it rather interesting, I wonder what your views are on it.

http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm

There was another link I was going to give, but later.

One at a time.

Lee

Havok said...

CF: Because...uh...you're atheist? You know..."all gods" and all that.
Yeah, lack of belief, no evidence, etc
You make a claim for another god and we'll talk about it ;-)

CF: Why does population have any part in it?
I've never personally, or online, met a member of the Druge, nor a Zoroastrian. I'm living in a society which is predominantly Christian, with some Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. I'm commenting on a Christian Blog. Does that answer your question?
Why would I cite evidence against Ahura Mazda to someone who thinks, as I do, that it doesn't exist?
(I have had discussions, with Muslims online, and I cited evidence against Islam specifically or god in general, not evidence against Christianity).

CF: Besides, it goes against all bases of science, which is to examine all evidence isn't it? If you're knowingly leaving them alone and attacking Christianity simply because there's more of us, that just seems...well...lazy! ;-)
Not at all. I'm examining all of the evidence. I find no evidence for any god or gods, not just yours. I'm questioning your beliefs (and investigating my own at the same time).
That there are more Christians means that I will find more opportunities to converse with people of a similar belief to yourself.
If you know of any Zoroastrians (or Druge) I could converse with, I'd be more than happy to :-)

CF: Jericho was excavated scientifically and considered to be the "oldest inhabited and fortified city ever excavated"
Which has no bearing on whether it was inhabited or had a wall at the time of the conquest of Canaan. Current archaeology shows that for (most estimates of) the conquest it wasn't and didn't - ie no walls for the trumpets of Joshua/Jesus to topple.

CF: There has been no archaeological evidence that disproves the Bible.
Archaeology shows, as I said, Jericho had no walls, Ai was abandoned (for centuries either side), and Gibeon did not yet exist, for most of the common timescales for the Exodus and conquest of Canaan (around 1500BCE-1300BCE). See here for more information. The link is old, but to my knowledge the issues have not been resolved.
Now, if you were to accept the archaeological evidence, would that not be evidence to "disprove" the bible?

CF: There have been places that haven't been found, but there are no places that have been found that disprove the Biblical accounts.
Did Gibeon exist during the conquest of Canaan (as stated in the bible)?
Was Ai occupied (as stated in the bible)?
Gibeon has been found, and it doesn't date back to the period of Exodus, and the region of Ai was abandoned (both as I mentioned above).
Was Jesus born in Nazareth?
Archaeology seems to show it was a Jewish graveyard (with maybe a small farming community) during the first century until ~67 CE?

CF: You can look here.
When an institution states it's mission as "BASE exists to reaffirm the Bible as our reliable message of hope from God to mankind" you have to wonder about their objectitivty, right?
Would you trust an institution whose stated intent was to reaffirm the Koran as our reliable message from God?
Is there particular findings of theirs I should read (which I hope is objective)?

CF: Have you seen Sai Baba's hair? Would you trust him? Kidding.
Have you seen Jesus, at all? ;-)

CF: First, Jesus says that people will claim to do miracles in His name (and not in His name) and will deceive even the "elect".
If we wanted to be technical, we'd say "the gospels claim Jesus said...". We have no written word from Jesus, and no contemporary account of his life and ministry. None.

CF: So while I can't say Sai Baba didn't raise the dead guy (or others), I can say Jesus warned us about people like him.
So do you think Sai baba raised this person from the dead (with eyewitnesses, medical certificates, and modern knowledge of medicine and science)?
Why do you trust what Jesus is supposed to have said (according to the gospels) as apposed to what Sai Baba has said?
(Note, there are a lot more stories of the miraculous which would be used in preference to Sai Baba, he's simply convenient)

CF: Second, (I've said this before and can't believe you keep bringing him up simply for this reason...) the guy has more legal troubles than he knows what to do with. Child molestation, rape, blackmail...he doesn't come even close to living up to the most basic morals, much less his claims to be a god-man or whatever he is.
Now, if he is as he says, an incarnation of god, who are we to judge his morality?

CF: Now if he had a stellar record in the public eye, media and within his own religion (oh, think Billy Graham) then maybe there would be enough for me to at least acknowledge...which leads me to my third point.
Sai Baba has not been found guilty of anything (whether he is or not is a different matter).
None of the charges against Sai Baba, even if true, invalidate the claims of his miracles. You haven't addressed why your answered prayers are fine (or why the gospel accounts are all ok) and Sai Baba's miracles are not.
I'll ask again, why do you accept the miracles of Jesus (and the miracles you claim God performed in your presence), when you dismiss the miracle claims of every other religious tradition?

CF: Third, you haven't walked a mile in my shoes and seen the evidence of where my life of faith has lead me.
You've not walked an inch in mine, so please don't be so quick to judge :-)

You've also not walked a mile in Lee's, nor Billy's, nor a Hindu's, nor a Buddhists, nor an ancient Greeks, nor a Christian Gnostic, nor a Christian Docetist, nor a Marcionite, nor an Arian, nor a Cathar, nor a Muslim, nor a Messianic Jew, not an Orthodox Jew, nor a Wiccan, nor a Satanist etc etc etc.
Even though you've only walked in your own shoes, you seem to easily reject the "evidence" for every other religious and mystical experience of many many multitudes of people, but accept your own.

My "claims" above are based upon the latest research I can find. If I'm mistaken I'd like to know, so I can not make the same mistake in the future.

CF said...

LEE: I actually didn’t realise that I gave you that many links
Sorry...when I'm saying "you" here, I'm referring to all of you guys; Havok, Billy, you and any others that have provided links.

Guys, I gotta go off on a rant here. This is not directed at anyone in particular:check this out. This precisely explains the confusion. You've got Expelled the movie, you've got Expelled Exposed.com (which I read), you've got Expelled Exposed -- Exposed and in another few months we'll probably have the "straight to DVD" Expelled Exposed Exposed Exposed with the Bonus Features containing the new, updated "My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad" documentary mini-special web site book.

Where does it end? Every smidge of "evidence" I show you, you will show me three more that disprove it. Every piece of evidence you show me, I'll find stuff to disprove it. All written by experts, all written by PhD's and professionals and Biologists and Neurologists and Hebrew Scholars and Greek theologians, all with letters behind their names.

I watched pieces of Expelled last night. There were great arguments for both sides, but what do I know? I'm a Kitchen and Bath Designer!

Basically at the end of the movie both sides shrug their shoulders and say, "I don't know, but you don't either. Let's go dancing."

LEE: http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm
I actually found this a couple weeks ago. I saved it to my favorites and have been slowly picking through it, but I haven't made it that far. It's been hard for me to drudge through it because of a comment he made in the beginning. He says, "The overriding theme of the Bible is that of cultural conquest."

I heartily disagree with that. When I read the Bible, I read the overriding theme as one of love. But so much focus is put on the negative aspects of the Bible. But what is better to focus on? All the negatives only or the positives in light of the negatives? There are stories in the Bible that describe Israel "conquering" but there are also stories that show Israel getting its collective tails whipped. What about the positive things that happened in the Bible?

HAVOK: I'm commenting on a Christian Blog. Does that answer your question?
Touche'

HAVOK: I've never personally, or online, met a member of the Druge, nor a Zoroastrian. I'm living in a society which is predominantly Christian
But aren't they entitled to the same information we are? (sarcasm) You need to go forth into the nations and spread the good news so they do not die in the error of their ways!(/sarcasm) (Where do you live, by the way?)

HAVOK: Archaeology shows, as I said, Jericho had no walls
This doesn't say that,, nor this , neither does this nor this.

This shows the search for Ai is being reconsidered.

HAVOK: Have you seen Jesus, at all? ;-)
Have you seen the wind? ...or me? (Yikes!) Or the beginning of time? Or a blind woman healed?

HAVOK: If we wanted to be technical, we'd say "the gospels claim Jesus said...".
I think that's a valid statement and see nothing wrong with that fact. The telling of stories via word of mouth was the most common method of communication; the Hebrew people went to great lengths to preserve their oral history as it was the most common (at the time) way of transmitting information. This is a perfectly legitimate form of "documentation". I see no reason the writers of the Gospels would have to lie about a mythical figure since they knew their words would be examined closely. It was just the nature of their society.

HAVOK: We have no written word from Jesus, and no contemporary account of his life and ministry. None.
Today contemporary writings are considered to be anything just post WWII which ended in 1945, over 60 years ago. The first writings of Jesus (I think) were Pauls writing of 1 Corinthians 15 which was written 24 years (give or take) after Jesus died. That, by definition, is contemporary. So even the works that were found up to 60 years after the resurrection would be considered contemporary. Because of the oral nature of their language, even beyond 60 years would still be considered contemporary because of the concern they took in passing the message.

HAVOK: Now, if he is as he says, an incarnation of god, who are we to judge his morality?
Are you condoning his behavior?

HAVOK: I'll ask again, why do you accept the miracles of Jesus (and the miracles you claim God performed in your presence), when you dismiss the miracle claims of every other religious tradition?
I haven't disputed his evidence. I frankly don't know if he did or not. What I've tried to show you are the people who were with him that have attempted to expose him as a con-man, i.e. Robert Priddy et al. The point of my scripture was to show that it's said even non-Christians can perform "miracles". Miracles are not the essence of life. In the account of Moses speaking to pharoah, pharoah's magicians performed "tricks". It didn't mean they were Godly (or Yahwehly...?)

HAVOK: You've not walked an inch in mine, so please don't be so quick to judge :-)
I don't mean to come across as judgemental. I pass no judgement on to you. This was precisely my point...neither of us knows exactly what the other has been through. Our perception is our reality. The way we've been raised is our reality. I can't take that away from you and you can't take that away from me.

Let's admit it, we believe what we believe. Is it my desire that you, Lee, Billy and the boys accept Christ? Definitely. It's probably your desire that we Christians stop trusting in "fairy tales". Then what? But if salvation does not come as a result of your time me or Ryan or Tim or David Clark or anyone else, the absolute best we can give you is our honesty and attempt to show you not all Christians are "fundie nutbags". The best we can do is fulfill the promises we've made to God to 1) know Him and 2) make Him known.

Lee said...

Hi CF,

Sorry...when I'm saying "you" here, I'm referring to all of you guys; Havok, Billy, you and any others that have provided links.

Then why didn’t you say so :-)

Guys, I gotta go off on a rant here.

Excellent... that’s what we want – a good rant. You know where you are with a good rant.

This precisely explains the confusion. You've got Expelled the movie, you've got Expelled Exposed.com (which I read), you've got Expelled Exposed -- Exposed and in another few months we'll probably have the "straight to DVD" Expelled Exposed Exposed Exposed with the Bonus Features

You have only one scientific view... the ID folk have not, at any point, falsified the theory of evolution (and they should be able to since it is their claim)

They have not provided any good science to replace the theory of evolution

What they have is “God did it”, how do we falsify that? We cannot, so it isn’t science – it really ends there.

On “who is right?” - Remember the court of law analogy I gave all those weeks ago, it applies here. At the end of the day, you have to judge the evidence provided and draw a conclusion (which in science is always tentative)

If you have any specific questions or challenges from these web sites – ask away. If I don’t know the answers, I could alway ask Billy :-)

Lee

Lee said...

Have you seen the wind?

I have seen the effect of wind... need I do more?

...or me? (Yikes!)

I have seen many people in my time, spoke to many on the internet and then seen them in person.

So, I have no reason to doubt that you are in fact human, sitting at a computer typing your ideas.

Unless you have a better idea on who I am talking to right now?

Or the beginning of time?

I seen lots of evidence pointing to the ‘Big Bang’... the theories tell me this is where space-time in our universe ‘began’ (whatever that means)

Oh, and did you know it was a Christian priest who was one of the first to suggest the theory that went on to become the theory of the Big Bang?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

I suppose this is why the Catholics don’t see the theory as evil (unlike evilution)

Or a blind woman healed?

And neither did the woman ‘see it’... get it?

I’ve commented on this type of evidence at length already, I shouldn’t have to say more.

Thanks

Lee

Havok said...

The link fo Ai is from 1970, while the link I gave, from 1989 mentions that Ai is still abandoned for a 1000 year period.
As for Jericho, the author of the piece you linked to, Dr Bryant Wood, did indeed redate the pottery found by Kathleen Kenyon, and found them to have a date of ~1400BCE, which is inline with the conquest. In 1995 however, some fresh evidence, in the form of charred ceral grains from the destruction layer (supposedly from the destruction by the Israelites), showed this destruction occurred durin the late 17th or the 16th century BCE, in line with Kenyons findings (though the result are stated as preliminary and I can't find a later reference). This link is also interesting.

The magazine which your link was published in "Bible and Spade", is an innerantist magazine dedicated to "supporting the inerrancy of the Biblical record". Dr Wood is also a member of the "Asociates for Biblical Research", an organisation which is "committed to demonstrating the historical reliability of Scripture through excavation and research". I have to wonder about the magazine and Dr Wood's objectivity on this matter.

Would you accept the findings from a person or organisation whose specific goal was to "demonstrate the historical inaccuracy of scripture and prove the biblical record false"?

CF: I see no reason the writers of the Gospels would have to lie about a mythical figure since they knew their words would be examined closely. It was just the nature of their society.
It depends on how they viewed what they were writing (I'd say Mark and possibly Matthew knew they weren't writing history, just reinterpretting scripture and anchoring it in their recent past.
Would their words be examined for historical accuracy or for their "deeper" meaning, for their use in instructing?

CF: Today contemporary writings are considered to be anything just post WWII which ended in 1945, over 60 years ago.
This is a reference to a change in the way history was recorded and historical enquiry was conducted which occurred after WWII. History as a discipline became a much more rigorous and scientific discipline, while previously it was more literary in nature.
When I say contemporary with Jesus, I mean there is nothing written by anyone at the time he was alive, even though there were quite a few historians who, had Jesus been as big of a figure as the gospels make him out to be, would certainly have made record of him.
The writings of Paul, which are at least 20-30 years after the time of Jesus (assuming traditional authorship is maintained) do not make note of a person who was recently on earth. Paul is more concerned with his spiritual saviour, post resurrection, than with an earthly Jesus who existed post resurrection. You could move the earthly life of Paul's "Christ Jesus" (anointed saviour, like a title) a hundred years into the past (or remove it entirely) with little effect on the epistles.

CF: Because of the oral nature of their language, even beyond 60 years would still be considered contemporary because of the concern they took in passing the message.

While the passing on of oral history may have been accurate, we still can't say anything of the original form it had, only the form which was finally recorded.
Christianity seems to have gotten it's members predominantly from the poor and lower classes during the first 100-200 years. I'm not sure if these people would have been trained in the passing on of oral history with accuracy, as the priests of the temple would have been (to keep the oral law or Moses).

CF: Are you condoning his behavior?
Not at all. I also don't condone the behaviour attributed to Yahweh. Do you condone the genocide carried out by the Israelites at Yahweh's request, or Yahweh's request of child sacrifice to Abraham, or perhaps the drowing of everyone and everything on earth, bar the small number of animals and people on the Ark?
The answer I usually hear about this is "who are we to judge god". I'm merely saying that if Sai Baba's claims to be an incarnation is correct, who are we to judge him? It seems a double standard to condone Yahweh and comdemn Sai Baba.

CF: The point of my scripture was to show that it's said even non-Christians can perform "miracles". Miracles are not the essence of life. In the account of Moses speaking to pharoah, pharoah's magicians performed "tricks". It didn't mean they were Godly (or Yahwehly...?)
Aren't signs and wonders one way to recognise who is from god? Don't the gospels state that the miracles were a major reason why Jesus was taken to be holy? Acts shows Paul being taken as a holy due to his miracles in the name of Jesus.
What if they were performing miracles in the same fashion you suspect Sai Baba and Pharoahs magicians did, without the "blessing" of Yahweh?
How can you know either way?
What if those who accuse Sai Baba of these crimes are actually tools of some evil force, trying to discredit this holy, blameless man?

CF said...

LEE: And neither did the woman ‘see it’... get it?
I love British humor (or is it humour?) I was actually going to use this on someone that this actually was a 'double-blind' experiment. She was blind in both eyes. (Sorry. Too soon?)

LEE: At the end of the day, you have to judge the evidence provided and draw a conclusion
But when all the evidence is contradictory, what's a layman like myself to do? Like I said, perception is reality. I would think the average person does not know the "scientific method". They use perception. I mentioned to Billy, I don't necessarily have the luxury to pass every single question through experiments and labs and research and controlled experiments, etc.

I mentioned worldviews a while back. The way we were raised as children is so critical how we interpret the information we've been given as adults. The way we view the world, the way it treats us back, that is our reality.

Science has made changes over the years, just as society, religion, philosophy...ideas that were extreme have moved over into acceptable and vice versa. There is an innate desire within, I think, all mankind to be able to put "hope" in something. For years I put my hope in things of the 'world' and came up just as empty. Searching and at the end of my rope, with nothing else to believe in I said a prayer, "God, if you're real, I need you."

In a day my whole world was changed. I've never in my life believed in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. Does science not teach this? For the first time in my life I had something not just to hope for, but to put my hope in.

I say all this, Lee, in response to your statement that 'at the end of the day you have to take the evidence provided and draw your own conclusion.' It's so funny you said that because I was driving around today, thinking about these big questions in life, God, science, morality, etc. and said to myself, 'at the end of the day, what is the evidence of God in my life?'

I don't reject science. I don't reject scientific evidence. I'm also not a scientist. But science has not, nor will it ever, disprove God. Plain and simple. In the world of science, God is still a theory yet to be proven by physical evidence. That's science.

To me, God is not a fairy tale. To the Muslim, God is not a fairy tale. To the Hindu, Vashti is not a fairy tale. And so on. What we all have in common is hope. I wrote on my blog a little about an experience I had the other day. I don't point you there to gloat or brag, but to simply express what I've experienced.

Havok said...

CF: Normally you guys are good about providing references, which gives me an avenue to research and respond, but none were provided in specific regard to the soul.

This is a podcast which goes into free will, and the lines of evidence which suggest the mind is the brain (ie. no need to invoke an immaterial "soul" to explain the mind).

Lee said...

Hi CF,

I wish I have time to comment more... but time is short, and it will get shorting over the weeks.

Hope you don’t mind me missing some points...

But science has not, nor will it ever, disprove God.

But science has not, nor will it ever < insert word of choice >

How about Zeus, Apollo, Woden, the toothfairy, bigfoot, etc etc etc.

Science hasn’t disproved any of these either... so, is that reason to believe?

I’ve said many times that science will never disprove God, however it has also shown zero reason or evidence FOR God... that is the telling bit for me.

Lee

Lee said...

This is a podcast which goes into free will

Excellent... it has already been downloaded to my ipod. I'll try and listen to it tomorrow.

Reasonable doubt is a rather good show.

I like this show:-

http://doubtreligion.blogspot.com/2008/12/
episode-27-cross-examining-four.html

CF said...

LEE: Science hasn’t disproved any of these either... so, is that reason to believe?
No. That's what I was alluding to yesterday. If I had been raised believing in Zeus or Woden I may be in the same situation, only defending my faith in them. Though I've never even heard of Woden, Zeus has always been taught to me as myth, not religion or a way to salvation or etc. But this is all semantics and we don't need to debate the existence of Zeus, Woden, etc. (At least I don't think we do. ?)

Anyway...what I'm saying is, God is what I know. Things have happened in my life that I attribute to God. The Bible says things that I have "tested" in my own way. I have found them to be true and according to what the Bible says.

And you do the same, don't you? You say, paraphrasing, "I won't believe until I see proof." (I think Havok takes it a step further and says that even with proof, he wouldn't follow God.) That's fine. We'll find out eventually!

When Christian answers have no refute to atheistic/agnostic claims I will certainly examine that closely. But as long as I can continue to find proof that supports my faith in God (in and out of the Bible) my faith in Jesus Christ stands firm.

Havok said...

CF: (I think Havok takes it a step further and says that even with proof, he wouldn't follow God.)
If shown evidence I would have no choice but to believe in your God, though given my understanding of it would not worship it as it certainly isn't worthy of adoration :-)

CF: God is what I know. Things have happened in my life that I attribute to God. The Bible says things that I have "tested" in my own way. I have found them to be true and according to what the Bible says.
Don't you find it a little unusual that Muslims, Hindu's etc, can all be found saying the same thing as you - the supernatural object of their beliefs has acted in their lives, and they've tested things and found them according to their own doctrines/books?.
How do you justify your own belief in the face of this contradictory evidence?

CF: But as long as I can continue to find proof that supports my faith in God (in and out of the Bible) my faith in Jesus Christ stands firm.
Do you think it is reasonable for me to say " as long as I continue to find proof for the existence of fairies, then my faith in fairies stands firm"?
No body has shown fairies do not exist, and I could make a long list of evidence supporting their existence if you like, for example, the sense of contentment many people get when they sit in their gardens, comes from the fairies who live there :-)

Lee said...

CF If I had been raised believing in Zeus or Woden I may be in the same situation, only defending my faith in them.

And that is the point...

'raised to believe'

Take anyway what you have been told by preachers and friends, take away the bible

What actually do you know about Jesus?

Close to zero... (and what little there is outside the bible is hotly debated as being a fraud for some reason?)

This would worry me.... but you were raised to believe in Jesus.

I was not... I think that is the difference.

Though I've never even heard of Woden, Zeus has always been taught to me as myth, not religion or a way to salvation or etc. But this is all semantics and we don't need to debate the existence of Zeus, Woden, etc

You were not raised and told about Zeus as a fact, and you believe it to me myth.

Isn't that the point?

Do you believe in Jesus because you were taught as a child, before you learnt critical thinking skills, that Jesus was a fact?

An honest question I hope you agree, please take no offence.

So think about that for a moment please.

When did you first learn about Jesus and was he taught as fact or just a possibility?

Lee

CF said...

HAVOK: Don't you find it a little unusual that Muslims, Hindu's etc, can all be found saying the same thing as you - the supernatural object of their beliefs has acted in their lives, and they've tested things and found them according to their own doctrines/books?.
No I don't find it unusual. You do. I stand by the argument that there is a spiritual side to life. One that we do not fully understand. One that has truths and lies and one that is not bound to natural laws as it is not a natural, but a supernatural arena.

How do you justify your own belief in the face of this contradictory evidence?
My belief is the only one that requires nothing from me. The belief in Jesus Christ and life in heaven is not dependent upon anything I've done; in fact, the opposite is true for Christianity. My life in heaven is not based upon works. My relationship with Christ is not based upon works. My relationship with Christ is not based upon money or financial status.

I'll just address the two you mentioned: In Islam your access into heaven is still based upon works done on earth. There is NO guarantee that even after a person becomes a Muslim he/she will be granted access to heaven. Everything is based upon works. And what's the incentive? Virgins? Wow. How spiritual is that. How long do you think that's gonna last in light of eternity?

There are Five Pillars of faith in Islam. Two (possibly three) of them are financially based works. It's still materialism and works that are the major factors in Islam. In the Hindu faith, heaven, if there even is one, is entirely based upon works. If you get it wrong, you get reincarnated as a rock. You get it right, maybe you get reincarnated as something a little better. Whatever the case may be, there is much demanded of the Hindu. It is also a reflection of the Indian caste system which is still in existence today.

So why do I think Christianity is the way? Because, among other reasons, it requires very little from me in the respect of reaching Heaven based upon my works. I don't have to strive, try, buy or reincarnate my way into Heaven.

Do you think it is reasonable for me to say " as long as I continue to find proof for the existence of fairies, then my faith in fairies stands firm"?
It's reasonable. Though I wouldn't chastise you for continuing to look.

LEE: Take anyway what you have been told by preachers and friends, take away the bible

What actually do you know about Jesus?

It's interesting you bring this up. I asked my mom when I was probably 8 or 9 how people that live in the jungle get saved. Her answer stuck with me my entire life. She said, "God lives everywhere and can reveal Himself to those people. It's also important for us to try and meet those people and tell them about what we know of Jesus."

Three years ago my wife and I were having dinner with a couple that had recently moved to the US from Kenya. They were both raised in small, poor, agricultural villages. They were Christians, and had been for a number of years. When asked about their "faith" in Kenya her response blew me away. It was as if she confirmed what my mother had told me all those years ago.

Basically the people of the village knew of a "higher power". They had a "missionary" come and stay with them. (I don't remember what he was, but it was not Christianity...something like Bahai or Hindu...) After the missionary left the people of the village didn't "feel right" about what he had taught them. There was a "spiritual doctor" in the village who took some of the elders and prayed to "the god of the mountain" about what they had just heard.

Several days later a Christian missionary came through the village. As he explained God, Jesus and Christianity to them, they begin to understand. They knew that this God the Christian missionary spoke of was the same as the God of the mountain.

As she continued her story she told that there was "just something" inside of them that knew there was a higher power; something greater than themselves. When she and her husband moved to the states and begin to read the Bible, there were many questions that were answered. It's similar to the story that Paul told about the people of Mars Hill who had a statue with the inscription "To The Unknown God". Paul said that this was the God he (Paul) was speaking of.

Science is not something that is readily available to the poor or destitute. Science is not something that can be explained to the "average" person in a third world country who is seeking a reason to live. Whether or not you agree with the answer, the question remains.

LEE: Take anyway what you have been told by preachers and friends, take away the bible
I know that there's something inside me that believes in a higher power; that believes there is more to this world than dust, water and air.

Do you believe in Jesus because you were taught as a child, before you learnt critical thinking skills, that Jesus was a fact?
Well...how can I answer that if it was "before I learnt critical thinking skills"?

I know what you're saying though. First, I think this is kind of like asking "What came first, the chicken or the egg?"

Second, as far back as I can remember I've always believed, as the Kenyan people in the village, that there was "something else". Even before I got saved I prayed to God. I've just always known I guess. I can't really say, honestly.

Havok said...

CF: No I don't find it unusual. You do.
So you don't find it unusual that your claims for Yahweh|Jesus interacting in your life (thereby confirming your faith) are the same claims that confirm the faith of religions which are mutually exclusive to your own?
Wouldn't you expect these claims of divine intervention to confirm the "true" faith?

I stand by the argument that there is a spiritual side to life. One that we do not fully understand. One that has truths and lies and one that is not bound to natural laws as it is not a natural, but a supernatural arena.
And the arguments and evidence that this "supernatural arena" is anything more than a product of the imagination are?
This is a good treatment of this problem

CF: My belief is the only one that requires nothing from me.
Believing the irrational and unbelievable is a pretty big requirement as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps you feel differently.
Do you think the evidence for the resurrection adequate to support the conclusion that it was an historical event, or do you believe it because of something else?

CF: My life in heaven is not based upon works.
The NT is not particularly clear as to what is required for salvation. "Faith" alone (your position)? "Faith" and "Works" (some of the earliest Christian sects - Ebionite and Nazarene, held that faith and works were required)? Being one of the "Elect" (see Calvanism)?
You could probably find support for "works" alone being sufficient.
Why are you so confident of your own interpretation?

CF: So why do I think Christianity is the way? Because, among other reasons, it requires very little from me in the respect of reaching Heaven based upon my works. I don't have to strive, try, buy or reincarnate my way into Heaven.
So Buddhism, which as far as I can tell (in it's "simplest" form) is a set of guidelines to live by would be even better? No punishment for failing to live up to the standard, and no need to have irrational faith in spite of evidence :-)

CF said...

HAVOK: So you don't find it unusual that your claims for Yahweh|Jesus interacting in your life are the same claims that confirm the faith of religions which are mutually exclusive to your own?
No. Just like I don't think it's unusual for you, Lee, Billy and Co. to believe in no God or gods. I don't expect everyone to believe what I believe. It's not my job to convince you or anyone else. It's my job to defend my faith.

Wouldn't you expect these claims of divine intervention to confirm the "true" faith?
In their eyes they believe. I've found no reason to follow their gods. They've found no reason to follow mine. I've found no reason to believe that evolution is anything short of God's design. We can't all be right. Sad thought, I know, but it's true. Isn't it? I err on the side of caution!

And the arguments and evidence that this "supernatural arena" is anything more than a product of the imagination are?
The fact that we're having this discussion.

Believing the irrational and unbelievable is a pretty big requirement as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps you feel differently.
Of course I feel differently. I'm a Christian! In my mind, and the minds of most Christians, it's not irrational or unbelievable. It's logical, it's redemptive, among other things.

Do you think the evidence for the resurrection adequate to support the conclusion that it was an historical event, or do you believe it because of something else?
I do. Was I there? No. But I do believe it as an historic event. Something else? What would that be?

Have you ever considered, SERIOUSLY, what if...? Or is it beyond you to even entertain the idea?

The NT is not particularly clear as to what is required for salvation. "Faith" alone (your position)? "Faith" and "Works" (some of the earliest Christian sects - Ebionite and Nazarene, held that faith and works were required)? Being one of the "Elect" (see Calvanism)?
I agree the Bible is not clear in the respect that there is not one singular verse that says, "Hey guys! It's me, Jesus! If you want to be saved, you need to [insert action here]!" Maybe the most blatant description is John 3. The important factor is, as I mentioned regarding our Genesis discussion, read it in context. Examine the scripture in light of scripture.

You could probably find support for "works" alone being sufficient.
You're probably right. I'm very adamant about the danger of taking scripture out of context. I firmly believe you can prove anything if you take a couple verses, stitch them together, add some salt, pepper and garlic and sautee them for 7-8 minutes. Thus the danger of people not reading the Bible in context, as a whole.

Why are you so confident of your own interpretation?
Study and application.

So Buddhism, which as far as I can tell (in it's "simplest" form)
You mean Buddhism gets complex?

is a set of guidelines to live by would be even better?
yeah, that's cool. The book of Satan says, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." Basically, whatever you decide, that's cool. It's like a bunch of potheads running around looking for a job. Which probably explains why so many potheads "claim" Buddhism. There's no repercussions for ANYTHING! Who wouldn't love that?

No punishment for failing to live up to the standard, and no need to have irrational faith in spite of evidence :-)
Sweet. Smoke a bowl, shoot a dude in the face, rip-off a bank, go to "a" hell, come back, repeat. Learn from your mistakes, smoke a bowl, shoot a dude in the leg, rip-off an old lady, go to "a" heaven (cause you learned a little...), hang out there, come back, repeat. Sounds good.

Hey...when are you gonna get your own blog?

Havok said...

CF: I don't expect everyone to believe what I believe. It's not my job to convince you or anyone else. It's my job to defend my faith.
Wouldn't you expect the evidence for the "correct" belief to be, well, better than everyone else's? I certainly would, yet you don't seem to mind that the evidence for yours seems no better than that for Hinduism.
Isn't that alone cause for concern regarding your faith?

CF: In their eyes they believe. I've found no reason to follow their gods. They've found no reason to follow mine.
Wouldn't you expect the god of Christianity, who supposedly wants everyone to be saved, to provide excellent evidence so that people can make an informed decision and have rational decisions (generally) be for belief in Jesus?

CF: I've found no reason to believe that evolution is anything short of God's design.
If Yahweh does nothing but watch an undirected process without intervention, then sure, evolution could be his "design".
You end up with Yahweh being deistic (non-interventionist) as opposed to theistic though :-)

CF: We can't all be right. Sad thought, I know, but it's true. Isn't it? I err on the side of caution!
How is you're the side of caution? Remember, if you don't die a warriors death you won't get to Asgard!
No offence, but you seem to be erring on the side of ignorance here, regarding scientific (and even historical) findings :-)

CF: The fact that we're having this discussion.
Huh? That people discuss things which are imaginary means that those things aren't imaginary?
I don't see how that's an actual argument.
(I've discussed the "Star Wars" universe, and the force etc, quite seriously in the past, but I don't think it is "real") :-)

CF: I do. Was I there? No. But I do believe it as an historic event.
And what historical evidence do you find convincing in this regard?

CF: Something else? What would that be?
I've heard (quite a few now) Christians claim that the "self authenticating witness of the holy spirit" provides them with the knowledge and certainty that the resurrection and Christianity are true.
It's a pretty poor argument, but one which seems pretty popular with evangelical Christians. It boils down to "I'm right because I think I'm right".

CF: Have you ever considered, SERIOUSLY, what if...? Or is it beyond you to even entertain the idea?
I've considered it. Surely the people who wrote the gospels had to have been basing their stories on "something" right?
I've investigated the gospels and many of the epistles in reasonable detail. Turns out the gospels are not particularly good examples of "historic records", nor is there any particular agreement between the theological views put forward by them (and the rest of the NT - Paul's 2body vs Luke/Matt/John's 1body resurrection for a blatant example).
Why would I accept the miraculous accounts as "historical"?

CF: I agree the Bible is not clear in the respect that there is not one singular verse that says, "Hey guys! It's me, Jesus! If you want to be saved, you need to [insert action here]!"
Shouldn't we expect better from and all powerful, all loving god who wants all of us to be saved?

CF: Maybe the most blatant description is John 3. The important factor is, as I mentioned regarding our Genesis discussion, read it in context. Examine the scripture in light of scripture.
John was written quite late, around the turn of the first century (if not later), by an unknown author (not the apostle), and the theological position advocated within it is somewhat at odds with the previous gospels and Paul's epistles.
Have you looked into the history of the Christian canon, or have you accepted it at "face value"?

CF: Thus the danger of people not reading the Bible in context, as a whole.
I prefer reading each book separately, and comparing them to each other (and external data) for consistency and reliability. As far as I can tell it's the only reasonable way to assess history.
Do you read the bible as a single "book", and assume consistency throughout?

CF: Study and application.
Not just of the contents of the bible, but the history of each of the books, as well as the cultural setting in which they were written, as well as contemporary books which were not included in the canon?
Have you looked into the various cults of "Christ" which existed in the first century (and beyond)?
The various "messianic" figures who appeared in the first century? The complete lack of reference to Jesus from non-Christian sources for ~70 years? Do you find these things "troubling" to your faith at all?

CF: You mean Buddhism gets complex?
"Simple" buddhism has no gods, just guidelines for living.
There are (more complex) theistic varieties.

Didn't you earlier claim that the lack of burden placed upon you by Christianity was a point in it's favour?
Now you're saying that Buddhism is too simple?

Consistency, please :-)

CF: Hey...when are you gonna get your own blog?
Got one, just have no content.
I do have a debate with an evangelical Christian regarding the historical reliability of the gospels which I've been meaning to transfer from an earlier blog incarnation :-)

Havok said...

Me: Got one, just have no content
Has some content now :-)

CF said...

HAVOK: Wouldn't you expect the evidence for the "correct" belief to be, well, better than everyone else's? I certainly would, yet you don't seem to mind that the evidence for yours seems no better than that for Hinduism.
I didn't say that our evidence is no different. I think our case is much tighter. In the end, though, it's not the evidence, it's the perception and how well the individual relates to what's being taught. It's not that I don't mind, it's that I can't do anything about it here, now. If I were in India, it would be a different story, but I'm not. What would you expect me to do?

HAVOK: Wouldn't you expect the god of Christianity, who supposedly wants everyone to be saved, to provide excellent evidence so that people can make an informed decision and have rational decisions (generally) be for belief in Jesus?
No. Proverbs 25:2 - It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. I think that in the hearts of men is the desire to seek out a higher power.

HAVOK: No offence, but you seem to be erring on the side of ignorance here, regarding scientific (and even historical) findings
How's that? If there's no God, why does it matter and why should anyone care?

HAVOK: Have you looked into the history of the Christian canon, or have you accepted it at "face value"?
Have I looked into it into the extent you have? No way! I have looked for specific answers to specific topics as they've arisen over the last few years, but I have not made a "steady commitment" to researching Christian history, no. Yes, I accept it at face value. I've done more research in the last month than I have probably in my entire life. I still have yet to see something that raises serious questions. Sorry! Just being honest!

HAVOK: Not just of the contents of the bible, but the history of each of the books, as well as the cultural setting in which they were written, as well as contemporary books which were not included in the canon?
You have to understand the differences between atheists and Christians. I'd say the majority of Christians' research is not dedicated to proving whether or not the Bible is real, because we are already assuming it is. Our study goes into learning it as it is, looking for teaching topics, stuff related to our place in our churches, i.e. teaching topics, etc. So we teach scripture according to scripture. Only when you get into the more advanced studies (pastors, elders, teachers) do people start to begin looking outside of the Bible on a regular basis and for historical documentation. And even with that, most turn to trusted names within the Christian community, Strobel, MacArthur, Hanegraff, etc.

Personally, I'm a Worship Leader. I've been in that capacity for almost 10 years, so I tend to study historic information based upon Hebrew worship, the temple, instruments, music, etc. I do this because I also teach it. I teach it to a group of people who already believe.

I am also interested in cults, which is to answer your next question on the post. I have read about cults, and actually am reading about them now. "Kingdom of the Cults" by Walter Martin. I've also read "The Universe Next Door" by James Sire.

HAVOK: Do you find these things "troubling" to your faith at all?
Are they troubling to my personal faith? No. Are they troubling to the Christian faith? Again, no. Christianity was here long before most of them and will be here long after most of them. All I can do is my part.

HAVOK: Didn't you earlier claim that the lack of burden placed upon you by Christianity was a point in it's favour?
Now you're saying that Buddhism is too simple?

Sorry. Sarcasm doesn't always translate through the web very well!!

Havok said...

CF: I didn't say that our evidence is no different. I think our case is much tighter.
Well, if you didn't then you wouldn't be a Christian, right?
I'm interested in why you think your case is stronger - what is it which makes Christianity "better supported" as it were?

CF: If I were in India, it would be a different story, but I'm not.
If you were born in India you'd likely be a Hindu or a Muslim :-)
Religious belief has a strong correlation to the "faith" you were born into, which surely raises some questions.

CF: What would you expect me to do?
Question the basis of your faith (your presupposition of the existence of Yahweh|Jesus), basically.

CF: No. Proverbs 25:2 - It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. I think that in the hearts of men is the desire to seek out a higher power.
What do you mean "heart" here?
You know the saying comes from a time when people thought the heart was the centre of consciousness/the soul? :-)

Curiosity (the desire to seek out) seems to be an evolutionary advantageous trait which many species have (it's said to have killed at least one other :-).
I'd say it is curiosity (coupled with "consciousness") which leads us to ask questions and seek explanations. I don't see the need for a "higher power" to exist for this to be the case, nor do I see that people have an innate desire to seek out a "higher power", just explanations :-)

CF: How's that? If there's no God, why does it matter and why should anyone care?
Because we're empathic social animals who generally care for those around us (which, given modern communications technology, includes an awful lot of people).
We have a name for people who do not fit this general "caring" mold - Sociopaths :-)

If there's no god then there are terrible things being done in "his" name, as well as ignorance being perpetuated because "god" gives an easy explanation for questions, and these things should be addressed.
If you were a sociapath, then I could overlook your implied lack of care for your fellow man, but you do not seem to be one.

How would the universe be different if there were no god?
Why is nihilism always the "default" option if there is no god, as apposed to, say, altruism?

CF: Have I looked into it into the extent you have? No way! I have looked for specific answers to specific topics as they've arisen over the last few years, but I have not made a "steady commitment" to researching Christian history, no.
That seems to be more than many Christians do. Reading the bible seems to be more than what many Christians do. :-)

CF: Yes, I accept it at face value.
Why?
Why accept the gospels at face value and not the Koran, or the stories of Greek gods and heroes, or the Zoroastrian Gathis or Hindu Vedas?
Is it simply that you were taught the gospels were "true" while the others were myth (or the work of satan, as I've heard the Koran called) while growing up?
Lee alluded to this earlier, somewhere...

CF: I've done more research in the last month than I have probably in my entire life. I still have yet to see something that raises serious questions. Sorry! Just being honest!
What research (apart from being badgered by Lee, Billy, myself etc)?

CF: I'd say the majority of Christians' research is not dedicated to proving whether or not the Bible is real, because we are already assuming it is.
Why? This seems, to me, to be an unjustified assumption which should be addressed, or at least acknowledged as such.
"Most Muslim's research is not dedicated to proving whether the Koran is real, because they already assume it is."
How do you know the bible is "real" and not the Koran? :-)

CF: So we teach scripture according to scripture.
Why does the bible, and no other documents in history, get this special treatment?
Do you think what the bible purports to be is supported by the evidence, or is it an assumption you've made?

CF: Only when you get into the more advanced studies (pastors, elders, teachers) do people start to begin looking outside of the Bible on a regular basis and for historical documentation. And even with that, most turn to trusted names within the Christian community, Strobel, MacArthur, Hanegraff, etc.
Please tell me you Don't include McDowell in that list?
His scholarship is abysmal. By all accounts Strobel is not much better :-)
Are these people trusted because their work is solidly researched and objective, or because their conclusions fit the conclusions the readers have already come to?

I'll have to look into MacArthur and Hanegraff - don't recall encountering their names before :-)

CF: so I tend to study historic information based upon Hebrew worship, the temple, instruments, music, etc.
Historic investigation into the methods of worship of the Hebrews sounds interesting.
That doesn't mean the object of their worship exists, except in their minds :-)

CF: Are they troubling to my personal faith? No.
I cannot see why they aren't.
There is evidence, both historic and scientific, which purports to demonstrate that your beliefs and faith are incorrect, you've proclaimed ignorance on these topics, and yet you don't find this at all troubling?

CF: Are they troubling to the Christian faith? Again, no. Christianity was here long before most of them and will be here long after most of them.
Zoroastrianism was here long before Christianity. Age is not an indication of "truth".
It seem to me to be more a testament to Christianity ignoring that which causes difficulty than in addressing these concerns.

CF: Sorry. Sarcasm doesn't always translate through the web very well!!
I should have picked it up, damn it! ;-)