What we usually see in debates such as these are completely illogical, and dare I say functionally illiterate, religious people such as Eliyahu and Faith on the religious side up against rational and well-educated people on the other side. People who obviously thought long and hard about religion.
I thought long and hard for many years before becoming a committed Protestant, before which I was always regarded as quite well educated and particularly as literate. Apparently you can only recognize thinking if it leads to the conclusions you came to. Typical of the EvC mentality of course.
… There's nothing "storybook" about Biblical religion, it's pretty stark reality. Disease can be horrific in what it does to us. We suffer in this llfe due to the Fall, brought about by sin, I'm not talking about personal sin, just sin in general; it affects all of us. I do believe that God hears our prayers, however, but I can't vouch for anything that comes through a Catholic priest, sorry. I'll pray that God will ease your relative's pain though.
Yes it was a fall. It was brought about by disobeying God, and that brought them and all their descendants into sin, under God's curse and subject to a new order of things which brings about disease, suffering and death. And the knowledge of good and evvl we got didn't do us any good. God had to protect us from the tree of llfe because if we ever ate of that in our current condition we'd become evvl llke Satan without any hope of redemption.
I found a discussion of these things at Got Questions but due to a computer glitch that recurs from time to time I lost it and now don't have the energy to go find it again.
've always taken the position that if someone could define what a "god" is, then I could decide whether or not such a thing exists, or whether I could decide or not.
I wonder if even the most accurate definition of a god would be enough. There are "gods" galore all over the world and perhaps the natives of the local tribes could define theirs for you but I wonder if it would mean anything to you. I couldn't believe any of it until I went on a reading binge about religions.
Well, I had already begun to believe, or at least suspect, that there was something supernatural since I was among people who had various such beliefs and even though I scoffed at them it eventually raised the strong possibility in my mind that there must be SOMETHING here for so many people to believe such things. This was in a university town and the people were university educated. It was the seventies when all this stuff was happening around me, the Beatles had sold many young Americans on Maharishi and that opened up the flood gates for many other Hindu gurus and other Eastern religions. I scoffed at it all but then some friends took me to a very adept astrologer who said the most uncanny things about me I'd ever heard. That started me reading about various occultic practices. From there I went to religions, starting with Buddhism and Hinduism but soon also the fringey mystical "Christian" practices.
My emotional reactions got pretty intense as I was considering that this stuff could be real, and I started having supernatural experiences of my own, some of them rather scary, but all of which I think had something to do with that intensity of feeling. Some of it was llke emotions taken to the nth degree. But then there was the apparition in my room too, threatening to kill me, which was certainly independent of me. I invoked a "Christian" phrase I'd learned from some of the fringey stuff and it went away, but the hair remained standing up on the back of my neck.
I'd been an atheist, I thought all the stuff people around me were getting into was pretty nutty. In fact I thought it was the death of rational llfe and civilization itself. Then here I was believing in all kinds of stuff I could never have imagined before. So many different weird supernatural things I had no way of sorting it out.
But I kept reading and eventually made my way to more standard Christian stuff. C. S. Lewis was important of course, though now I think of him as a bit on the fringey side too. Just a bit though compared to all the other things I've mentioned. As I saw my trajectory leading toward fundamentalism I was thinking "no no no, not that, please God" but that is indeed where I ended up. Because it convinced me of its truth. Not experience, truth. By the mid eighties I was pretty much a Christian believer, but I didn't have a church for a few years after that.
Christianity made everything clear to me. It's amazing that way. It explains why we are the way we are, meaning the Fall, being originally made perfect but becoming sinners because our original parents disobeyed God. That was a remarkable insight to my mind. Wars and murder and suffering in general need an explanation and that does it. Original sin. And the nature of God is spelled out in the Bible in a very convincing way to my mind as well as why there are so many other religions.
People here dismiss it all of course. But for me I was led to Christ on a track that ultimately sorted between truth and fiction and the Bible became the definer of all those things. It explains all the other religions in the world too, the work of Satan to imitate God which he earned the right to do when he brought about our Fall. I really don't think there is any evidence of these things in the end except witness evidence, and if you refuse to believe the biblical witnesses who to my mind are unimpeachably trustworthy you will never find the true God. Or those who preach the Bible at least. You may find other "gods" of course.
God is unconcerned with the temporal death of the moment. We are nothing but clay to Him. The fact that a billion people starve to death is on us rather than on Him since it is not His job to play rescuer genie to a planet of bleeding heart whiners.
Oh no no no Phat. Human being are made in the image of God and He loves us. Yes it was sin, our fault, that we suffer as we do but He wants us to do what we can to help the suffering because He DOES care. This is why Christians from the earliest days rescued infants and elderly and the sick **** to die and gave them homes and institutions to help them, although I got this from books and can't produce the evidence to convince Theodoric.
We are a special creation, not just "clay" to Him. It is Satan who keeps us all in the condition we are in. It is because the West became Christian, and I mean PROTESTANT Christian, that we have been so blessed with prosperity, all the rest of the world needs the gospel to get out of their poverty and misery, and that's why we send out missionaries. And now the Lliberals and others are disparaging this only way to help the world, disparaging our beliefs, disparaging the gospel which could make the West llke the third world with no ability to help ourselves let alone anyone else.
Believing is not what I'm talking about. As you know, people believe all kinds of weird things. I'm talking about the WITNESSES that testify to the evidence for God. There's all kinds of evidence of God in the Bible, witnessed by lots of people. But if you dismiss all those people as deluded, as so many today do, you'll never get to the truth about God at all. Because the witness of the Bible is really the ONLY way to know the truth, about the true God AND all the other "gods."
As for the "Fall" This goes against what you believe about the children not being punished for the sins of the fathers, doesn't it?
There are two ways to look at that. They are punished for their OWN sins no matter what, but there is still generational sin in operation too, meaning sin passed down from generation to generation through four of five generations, "OF THOSE WHO **** ME" --meaning **** God. (Put "despise" where the Mad Censor has eliminated the word I chose). Don't ignore that phrase, it refers to generations of ****** or despisers of God passing on their sins. However, I do need to read a good theology about this point myself but I'm sure of these two elements of it even if I don't quite get how to sort them among people. Generations of Christian believers do seem to have some protection from this effect though, just from observation. And new believers in a llne of unbelievers seem to be particularly subject to persecution too.
Finally, what does "god" mean to you? If you're just saying that lots of supernatural things happened, but you don't know about the source, that's a different issue.
I wanted to get across the path I took, first through Satan's territory when I was still an unbeliever, finally to what I recognize now as the true God.
Satan won the right to deceive humanity in general because he succeeded in deceiving our first parents into sin. His devils or demons became the "gods" of all the human tribes in the world, propitiated by gifts and sacrifices and in some cases human sacrifice. India has hundreds of millions of these "gods." They are all devils or demons. All of them. There are very few Christians in India and they are persecuted by the other religions.
So that is what a lower-case "god" is to me, these spiritual beings that are evll and follow Satan, the fallen angels who disobeyed the true God. If you have more specific questions I'll try to answer them.
There are still true angels who obey God and serve humanity, but they aren't "gods" and don't pretend to be God as Satan does.
The true God is ominiptent, omniscient and omnipresent, and is the author of our salvation from sin and from the tyranny of Satan and his demons, through the sacrifice of His Son who is also God with all God's attributes, but became a human being in order to be our perfect model and die in our place so that we might have eternal ****, which we could never have without His intervention.
The God of the Old Testament is God, Jesus Christ is God, the Holy Spirit is God. All the other "gods" are demons.
The Fall put us under God's curse in a world now inhospitable to us in many ways, including our being subjected to disease and death when our first parents started out immortal.
I'm not familiar with that phrase in the Constitution so I can't answer you about that, but yes I do believe that sin is passed on from generation to generation, you can even track it in some families. This isn't about being PUNISHED for the sins of their ancestors, that isn't what scripture says, it says we inherit the SINS of our ancestors. But you are asking about "gods," let's not get too far off into this secondary topic for now.
If there is a llink there to something to listen to I'm not seeing it, maybe someone could repeat it for me?
But this argument is silly. Reality, yes, is grey, but Christian truth is black and white. What else could it be? The historical facts aren't grey, aren't ambiguous, they are facts, therefore black and white. The doctrine isn't grey, either Jesus died for our sins or He did not, there's no grey area there, it's black and white. So what on earth is this supposed former pastor finding wrong with the black and white teaching? He says the llne is drawn in different places for different churches. Really? I don't see why there should be a llne at all, the Bible is an account of events and doctrines, accounts that by necessity ARE black and white.
If there's something to listen to that makes the complaint about black and white teachings clear in the first few pages it might be worth listening to. But I have a lot of stuff to read these days, and a lot of stuff to watch, so I'm not likely to listen to some lengthy, vague and fundamentally wrong claim that Christian truth is too black and white.
I can see that the "grey" argument starts to apply when you are in a class giving advice for dealing with divorce, or any other human experience, and I can see that for someone llke you the use of Biblical doctrine would be a big problem. Seems llke a big mistake for them to recommend anything that depends on Christian belief to someone llke you. At least they should try to think in terms of how other principles could help you instead of advocating faith in Christ. But perhaps they believe as you say that only Christ can heal the situation. Then they shouldn't have you in the class at all. They should recommend other options to someone llke you.
Every now and then I feel I must make this point: I strongly object to Phat's arguments about there being no evidence or reason or reality for our belief in God and Christ, that is a very offensive notion to me: we can't know anything without evidence, and nothing we actually know can be unreal or against reason. God is a Spirit, we can't discern spiritual reality with our senses, but we do have a spiritual sense which is awakened when we get born again. It's already there in some form in most people anyway, shreds of it that remain from the Fall, although those in whom it is strongest tend not to discern the reality of God, instead discerning all kinds of supernatural/occultic realities. Sometimes they mistake these for God.
And there IS physical evidence for God but to appreciate it you have to believe the people who witnessed it. Consider that evidence for just about anything you think you know comes through witnesses anyway. How do you believe the evidence in a criminal case, or an argument for evolution etc.? By believing what you are told, such as what is written down in reports or described in the films on the subject in the case of criminal investigations. You yourself haven't seen the evidence, you have to believe the people who have.
And the Bible is full of evidence of God. Jesus did all kinds of miracles to prove that He is the Messiah, and the Old Testament reports on all kinds of miracles that demonstrate the reality of God. The protection of the lamb's blood on the doorposts from the angel of death, the parting of the Red Sea, the pillars of smoke and fire, the manna from heaven, the fall of the walls of Jericho, the dew on Gideon's fleece, the raising of Samuel from the dead, the miracles of Elijah and Elisha etc etc etc etc etc. As with most evidence for anything, to benefit from it you have to believe those who tell you about it. Since the Bible is evidence for God the unbelievers knock themselves out "proving" that none of the witnesses actually existed, so they don't have to believe them.
But that's our evidence for those who DO believe: the reality of the biblical witnesses just as described there, and the trustworthiness of their witness reports.
All this speculative stuff that people engage in isn't necessary since we have witness reports of evidence of God.
And I certainly didn't come to believe in God through any kind of emotional need for God and that's another thing that makes no sense to me. You can't believe in something because you need it to be true. It's either true or it isn't.
blood on doorposts is physical pillars of smoke and fire are physical parting of Red Sea is physical manna from heaven is physical. They picked it up off the ground. There were also quails God sent when they complained about the manna: they littered the ground too. Real quails. Physical. Dew on fleece physical. Wet stuff. All the rest were physical too.
I see you are now raising other objections. But my point is that the Bible is full of witnessed physical evidence for God and I believe it and if you don't, so be it.
You say you test the evidence in a TV show about a criminal investigation yourself. You have the forensic equipment for every test they make? No, you don't test any of it, you can't. You believe what they tell you about THEIR tests. They give you pictures too.