The fact of Jesus and Satan is not a fact. It is a Belief. Now...what if this belief were real? 1) People known as Christians would be made out to look as ignorant and stupid as possible. Much of it would be their own fault, for they would try and live as believers and as worldly people at the same time. 2) Other religions would appear tranquil and quiet. Satan would have no need to mess with them. 3) People who practiced and studied occult and ancient mystery religions would be quite intellectual and bemused by all of the hoopla over supernatural reality. They would consider it all an exercise in intellectual mystic states of achievement. 4) Many would call themselves Christians who were not. 5) The Bible would be ridiculed and scorned for its fantasy, yet concepts such as alternative universes and the Tao of Physics would be reverently considered. 6) Jesus would love all of us...buffoon and bartender, professor and psychotic. 7) Satan would not let us know about him. He would make us think that we were the ones in control of our future by refusing to bow to anyone! 8) Anytime that the topic was brought up, people would attempt to either refute the basic message or distract attention from it.
[This message has been edited by Phatboy, 01-26-2004]
While I may be so polite as to join you in the observer status concerning thisquestion, I must point out to you that we have no business in proclaiming gullibility as an issue IF the "what if" were true. If human behavior is any barometer of a spiritual conflict within human nature which "could" exist, one of the benchmarks of empathy vs arrogance is intellectual disdain. Please keep an open mind on the possibility of such a supernatural infusion for the sake of this topic. Tell me, Consequent: What IF you were in error and these supernatural myths were actually true? Would you go to a Psychiatrist..hoping to find solace in a human expert? Would you submit yourself to the "good guy" aka Jesus so that you would be safe? Or would you laugh and respond to my post with something like "OK What if I won the Lottery? What if the Easter Bunny were real? What if we are all a dream of another alien? My point is this: To respond to this post, you must entertain the possibility of "What If" seriously.
Do you think it is possible that Jesus is not God and did not die for our sins?
In my belief, the answer is No. For the purposes of debate and discussion, I can entertain the possibility so as to see the puzzle from a different view.
So if you were to construct a "what if" such as "What If Jesus is a myth?" I would go along with it....thus, we would be able to debate and discuss. It is a useful quality to be able to look at an issue from the mind and heart of the opposition in a debate. For example, many atheists view Christians as non intellectual, brainwashed, in a state of comfort and denial. Many Christians view atheists as arrogant and unwilling to accept blind faith. Perhaps many who are atheist are perfectly happy where they are. They have a support group of friends and family who share their interests, love them unconditionally, and laugh about life in a loose, non uptite way. Several atheists were onetime Christian believers. Perhaps they were shunned and hurt by the church and support group that should have loved them. Faced with this in addition to re examining the facts from another view, the ex believer may still be searching and has concluded that the facts do not support the belief. Now...I as a believer have the facts that support my belief, but these facts are unique to my own experience and cannot be used to convince anyone else. So I'll bite: If I take the position that Jesus is unreal as is Satan, you take the position that He and the devil are Real. Where do we go from here?
I as a believer have the facts that support my belief, but these facts are unique to my own experience and cannot be used to convince anyone else.
What if the Jesus stories are myth (or, at least, legend)?
Believers, being unable to meet the criteria of objective evidential support, would tend to support their belief systems with "facts" that are unique to their own experience. These "facts" (read, subjective inferences) would lead to numerous religious denominations each espousing mutually contradictory religious "truths".
Such believers would be compelled to devise strained and convoluted rationalizations in order to mentally reject objective evidence which threatens their belief system.
Adherents would be required to ignore or rationalize the literary and historical evidence which indicates that their religious texts were not divinely inspired and/or preserved.
Such belief systems would require that adherents rely on such unsupportable concepts as "faith" to maintain their faith. Any alleged adherent suspected of harboring doubt regarding said faith would be made to feel guilty, dirty or deceived.
Buildings would be erected in which to hold organized pep rallies at which adherents would provide/receive mutual assurance that other people believe this stuff also.
Anyone in a professional field (such as archaeology) that uncovers evidence contrary to any given belief system would be assumed to be in a conspiracy to maliciously destroy that belief system. [As in: he really knows the belief system is true but he'll do anything to destroy it because he's evil].
When the occasion arises that they are forced into facing hard, objective evidence contrary to their beliefs, adherents would retreat to vague references about "higher truths", "God testing us", "uncomfortable accomodations in hell", etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum . . .
Not to deliberately derail this thread, but the question just occurred to me: is Satan the second-ranking diety in the Christian pantheon (after the Trinity as a unit), or is he fourth (after the Trinity as Separate Persons), or perhaps is he third (ahead of the Holy Ghost, who doesn't seem to have a terribly good press agent)?
I now realize that people can be quite blind to their own statements. In the world (Universe I guess you could say) in which we live, people are very aware of the fact of opposites. For example, the opposite of up is down, the opposite of go is stop, the opposite of good is bad, the opposite of hot is cold (to some degree , the opposite of love is hate, the opposite of wet is dry, the opposite of envy is contentment ... the list goes on. It are these things, that keep the world in a balance you could say. What would our world be like if it was impossible to not like something or someone. Or what if EVERYTHING you did was good, even if it was bad. It really is a paradox in itself. When you think about it, its a complex system of running things, one that is designed perfectly. The tiniest switch around, and who knows. The fabric of society, perhaps even the fabric of the Universe would fall apart. So yes, these things are all available to us. But humans have made the right decisions, as of yet, as to shunning the wrong for the most part, and going with the good. When they've done otherwise, the consequences were only disastrious. God wants us to make the right decisions. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to make the wrong decisions. As I stated before, it would be a paradox if it was impossible to do something wrong. So yes, I suppose God created the possibility to do wrong. But He didn't want people to accept that, as it can only lead to our detriment. The Bible does state though, that we were made as relatively perfect humans. Therefore, doing the right thing wouldn't be a challenge as long as we wanted to. But because of the balance required, that didn't mean it would be impossible. Probably one of the most powerful agents, envy, cause Satan to rebel against God. But it only took one spirit to open the box that should have remained forever enclosed. And by that I mean 2 things. 1) Him choosing the wrong course caused Adam to sin, therefore taking away relative perfection and making it much much easier to take the wrong course. 2) Satan would now be able to influence people even MORE into taking the wrong course. So I know I've sorta been rambling, and haven't put this together very well, but here's a sum up. Evil is a POSSIBILITY, just one of the many things that keep the world balanced. Yes, God did create this Possibility, but the actions of one, caused the whole thing to get way out of control. And in closing, God wants us to serve him out of our own desires and will. If it was only possible to do right, we wouldn't be able to show anything. Everything would be out of whack... Man this topic is sorta confusing, but I hope your catching my drift. The way it is, is just the right way. If it were any other way, I'd have more reason not to believe in a God. Why am I even having to say this?
For the definitions of the paradigms within this "what if" scenario, I will use the majority opinion within orthodox belief. Satan was created by God, but not as an evil entity. Satan chose to exalt himself rather than be under Gods authority...and once an angel chooses, they cannot unchoose or change their mind. Yes...why God allowed it is a mystery, but within the definitions of Gods omnipotance, there is a purpose to it all. Perhaps evil made free will possible, for without a choice besides good, we too would have been good creatures under our own authority. For some reason, this does not work. Why would God make creatures who question His authority and even His existence? Getting back on topic, however...assume that God is all powerful, all knowing, and beyond human understanding. Assume that Satan is the very definition of lies and deceit and that satan is clever at twisting our thought concepts. Given these realities, we cannot fathom the true meaning of reality by ignoring these forces. We thus must be in alligience with one of them. By definition that they exist,(per topic) they are more powerful than we are.
Thank you Yaro, for confirming my argument. I was simply explaining why such a thing would be necessary, or even to our benefit. For example, knowing we took the right course, when there was a potential wrong course. I also explained how although God created potential evil, it wasn't his intentions for evil to be chosen. In doing this, I put into question your intitial statement, which really seemed to serve no purpose.
If I were to again use more detail in my statement, I would have put God outside the realm of "paradoxes" that we may associate with ourself.
[This message has been edited by roboto85, 01-25-2004]