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Author Topic:   Christianity is Morally Bankrupt
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 107 of 652 (694854)
03-29-2013 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Jazzns
03-25-2013 11:47 PM


Re: Missing the point
Jazzns writes:

The idea of heaven and hell is another good one. Which one you go to is solely determined by the agency of God! You can draw a similarity between hell and the Earth engulfed by the sun but the sun is not making a choice between burning the Earth or between burning some people on the earth for eternity.

I don't want to butt in on your conversation but I thought that maybe CS Lewis might be able to add something to this. Here is a CS Lewis quote from the book the great divorce.

quote:
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”

The gospel is very clear that it is all about our hearts. We keep the laws, (all encapsulated in love of God's creation and its inhabitants), because we find ourselves wanting to keep them for their own sake, not about how perfectly we keep them.

I know this sound's pretentious but I'll quote what I wrote in the thread "morality without god". "(If I'm going to repeat myself I might as well do it precisely. )

GDR writes:

Speaking as a Christian I would say that there is no objective standard as such and frankly I think that if we think about it that is a reasonable position to take.

I was raised in a home where I was loved and valued. I was raised in a home where the hallmarks were honesty and generosity. If God exists and if there is some form of ultimate judgement I suggest that it would be unreasonable to judge some one who grew up in a home like mine to the same standard as some one who grew up in a cold unloving home.

It is obvious that every person ever born has been subjected to their own unique combination of genes and circumstances. My contention is that even though we might behave badly as humans we can never tell what kind of person we are with all that has influenced our lives, (or maybe even mental illnesses), stripped away. Maybe at the very core of a mass murderer is a heart that hates what he is doing and desperately wants to live out a life characterized by unselfish love. As a Christian, I'm not prepared to say how God will ultimately judge anyone, (which Paul says as well by the way).

As others have pointed out there is a wide divergence of belief amongst those that call themselves Christian. There is a wide divergence between Faith's belief and my own. The idea that we try to understand the Bible as essentially being dictated by God is at odds with the Bible itself.

Just read my signature. If this is what God wants of us the it becomes ludicrous to think that He would sanction genocide or public stoning. I think that being a follower of Jesus is very different thing than being a follower of a God dictated Bible.

Jazzns writes:

It is an immoral concept because immorality can only come from things with an agency to decide to be immoral. When a person throws a stone, it is not possible for the stone itself to be immoral.

Absolutely. Again, it is about where our hearts are. Are we motivated by selfishness or do we genuinely care for others as we do for ourselves.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Jazzns, posted 03-25-2013 11:47 PM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 108 by Rahvin, posted 03-29-2013 7:05 PM GDR has responded
 Message 115 by Jazzns, posted 03-30-2013 12:08 AM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 111 of 652 (694858)
03-29-2013 9:07 PM
Reply to: Message 108 by Rahvin
03-29-2013 7:05 PM


Re: Missing the point
Rahvin writes:

The situation remains a false dichotomy. God is the one who created hell, and he's the one who makes heaven/hell the only two choices. Even Lewis' quote simply screams "do what god says or he''' burn you forever."
It's nothing more than blaming the victim with some absurd rationalization to make the speaker feel good about what is, at its very nature, a reprehensible moral act.

I think if you read the whole of my previous post you would see that this does not portray my views. It isn’t about doing what God wants or he’ll burn us, but about what are truly the desires of our hearts and the idea that God will grant those desires.

As for the idea of burning in hell I don’t buy into that either. I’d suggest that understanding comes from ancient Jewish apocalyptic language. If you read the whole book “The Great Divorce” it is pretty clear that Lewis’ view is that hell means separation from God.

If I had to guess, I think that hell is likely pretty similar to our current existence which is largely driven by selfish desires, whereas life with God is a life in a truly altruistic society.

The other thing I’d suggest that deep down we pretty much all want to see justice done. (Except maybe for ourselves.)

22 years ago there was a child abduction in the city that I live on the outskirts of. The little boy’s name was Michael Dunahee. Someone took that little boy and nobody seems to have any idea who it was. From our point of view there was never any justice for either Michael, his family or for the abductor. We might think that the abductor should burn in hell for eternity but maybe if we knew that he had been brutalized as a child himself we might feel a little differently. It is my belief that ultimately there will be perfect justice done for all.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but I’m prepared to worship a loving God whose desire is that all of us should humbly love kindness and do justice. I see that God in the life of Jesus Christ.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 108 by Rahvin, posted 03-29-2013 7:05 PM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 116 of 652 (694872)
03-30-2013 1:42 AM
Reply to: Message 115 by Jazzns
03-30-2013 12:08 AM


Jazzns writes:

It really is hard to think of an idea, that is MORE pathetically evil than this idea.

Why? In this life we make choices as to where and how we live. Is that evil? Out of curiosity did you ever read "The Great Divorce"?

Jazzns writes:

I wasn't talking about the morality of people. I am talking about the morality of ideas held by Christians and why we should be allowed to judge those ideas.

I think that we should always question. The fact that we believe that morality exists does indicate that morality actually does matter and have meaning. There does seem to be a moral standard which would indicate that there is a foundation for that standard that is external to our present existence.

The various concepts we have a God reflect our understanding of the nature of God. Of course we should judge the morality of ideas held by Christians just as we should the morality of ideas of other faiths and even atheists for that matter.

Personally I accept the morality espoused by Jesus in the Gospel accounts and believe them to be accurate, as I believe that God affirmed Christ's message by resurrecting him. That message is that we are to love God and neighbour as he first loved us. Our actions are a by-product of where are hearts are, and if we have hearts that truly care about others as much as or more than we care for ourselves then our actions will reflect that.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 115 by Jazzns, posted 03-30-2013 12:08 AM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 4:33 AM GDR has responded
 Message 188 by Jazzns, posted 04-01-2013 11:26 AM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 126 of 652 (694888)
03-30-2013 12:01 PM
Reply to: Message 118 by Tangle
03-30-2013 4:33 AM


It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

I lead a decent and moral life - take that as fact.
But I'm an atheist, so according to most Christians this means I'm going to hell. (Even in your moderate view, I'll be denied perfect happiness for all eternity).
My atheism isn't a result of a some kind of hatred for Christianity or Christ, it's purely an act of reason. I've thought it through and considered it using the very tools you believe that your God gave me.
Now explain to me why I deserve, at best, everlasting denial of happiness and why an entity that is supposed to be perfect love, would do this to me. And then explain why it would be a moral act.

Your first statement doesn’t represent my views nor does it represent the view of Jesus in the Gospel. I was an agnostic and I too looked at the evidence and came to the conclusion that Christianity was essentially true. I do believe that the Bible is both culturally and personally conditioned which of course means that it isn’t inerrant, but I do believe that Jesus embodied God’s return to the world that He brought into existence.

Here are a couple of passages from the words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels. The first is Matthew 7:21.

quote:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Firstly I’d like to say that “Kingdom of Heaven”, (same as Kingdom of God” in the other Gospels), is not talking about going off to some disembodies spirit land. The Kingdom is the kingdom that Christ established in the hearts of His people in this world for this world, as in the Lord ’s Prayer where Jesus asked us to pray that “God’s Kingdom would come on Earth as in Heaven”.

The point being that it isn’t a matter of intellectually agreeing that Christ is Lord that makes you right with Him.

It isn’t belief as defined as intellectual ascent that makes us right with God, it is about doing His will. What then is His will?

Here is the parable from Matthew 25.

quote:
31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his thronein heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' 37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' 44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

In this parable we can see that there is no mention of believing Christian or Jewish doctrine. It is all about loving and caring for others. Even at that though if we consider other Gospel quotes it isn’t just a matter of doing those things but it is a matter of what actually motivates us.

This is from Mark 7.

quote:
18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") 20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' 21 For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.' "

As I said earlier it is all about the heart. So in the end the choice we make is to have hearts that love selfishly our do we have hearts that love unselfishly. I remember two phrases that were popular in the 1960’s that are perfect examples of the type of thinking that separates us from God. The first is “looking out for number one” and the second is, “if it feels good do it”. If we choose a life spent looking out for number one then that is a lifestyle that we choose for eternity apart from God. If however we choose a life that is based on loving our neighbour as our self then that will form the basis for our eternal existence with God.

In some ways it is easier for an atheist to be right with God as the loving things that he/she do are done without any thought that there might be something for them in the end, whereas if a Christian does what appears to be loving acts thinking that this will get God on His side then those acts are being done out of selfishness in the same way that if we do them to get the approval of other humans. I do believe though, that for Christians who have truly given their hearts to Christ out of a love for Him and His Gospel message of peace, love, forgiveness etc will have their hearts changed by God and His spirit to love the things that are of God no matter how imperfectly they live it. It is however a gradual process as we continue to evolve both as societies and as individuals.

AbE: I know it is easy to cherry pick Bible verses to make a point, but it is my contention that I picked verses that depict the overall thrust of the message of Jesus. The theme of building a Kingdom made up of those whose hearts were characterized by genuine love, peace, forgiveness, compassion etc is what the Gospel message is primarily all about.

I also suggest that the OT verse I quote in my signature encapsulates the message that God would have us take from the entire Bible.

Edited by GDR, : Added last couple of paragraphs.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 118 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 4:33 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 127 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 12:30 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 130 of 652 (694905)
03-30-2013 3:44 PM
Reply to: Message 127 by Tangle
03-30-2013 12:30 PM


Re: It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

So which is it, do I, as a decent bloke, but an atheist, get to go to heaven or not?

The direct answer is I have no idea, but if you read my last post it would be obvious that I don't see you being excluded from life with God based on your theological beliefs.

The other point I'd make is that the idea of going somewhere else to some form of disembodied existence is actually platonic and not Biblical. The Bible message is that this world will be part of a new creation, which is why, from a Christian perspective, that we take good care of the planet that God has given us responsibility for.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 127 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 12:30 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 131 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 3:48 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 132 of 652 (694909)
03-30-2013 5:43 PM
Reply to: Message 131 by Tangle
03-30-2013 3:48 PM


Re: It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

But why do you have no idea? A truly moral God would have no difficulty making it absolutely clear what was required to get into his heaven. After all, it's the most monumentally devastating thing to get wrong.

I believe that God in some way embodied (was incarnate in) the man Jesus and spoke to us directly about what it is he wants of us. The thing is though, it isn’t about what it is that we do, it is about who we are at the core of our being. It is about who we are when no one is watching.

The great commandment is that we are to genuinely care for and want the best for our fellow man and for that matter all of this creation. If you do that then you have fulfilled all of the laws and have been made right with God. The question is of course, how can you be commanded to feel that way about the guy who just cut you off in traffic. How can you be commanded to love. The answer is that you can’t. As I said in the end we make a choice about the kind of world that we want. Do we want a world that is characterized by unselfish love or do we want a world where the primary concern is for the self.

So it is clear in that sense but it isn’t as simple as saying that if you spend 3 hrs a week at the soup kitchen you’re in. It is about the real you and that is between God and you.

Tangle writes:

How come there is room for you to disagree with other Christians who absolutely know, I'm going straight to hell without passing go?

If there was no ambiguity then we have pretty much lost our ability to freely choose. There are those who have decided that the Bible is to be understood as being essentially dictated by God. A cursory reading of the Bible should be enough to dissuade people of that notion but however there are those who want definite answers so if the Bible is understood as being read in that manner they can always find something that will confirm their preconceived ideas.

I’m not saying that I don’t do that as well, but I do believe that my views are consistent with the thrust of the entire narrative that makes up the Bible. My starting point is the resurrection. I have read a considerable number of views on the authenticity of the Gospel accounts of the resurrection and am firmly convinced that Jesus died on the cross and was later resurrected in a new bodily form by God. That is my starting point and my understanding then of the Bible is that all of it should be understood by what Jesus has to tell us in the Gospels. I also accept that even the Gospels are going to be personally and culturally conditioned but the Kingdom message of Jesus is consistent throughout all of the Gospels and the message of love, forgiveness, peace etc. can be trusted.

If Jesus was not resurrected then as Paul says, it is people like myself who are to be pitied above all.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 131 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 3:48 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 133 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 6:08 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 134 of 652 (694911)
03-30-2013 6:14 PM
Reply to: Message 133 by Tangle
03-30-2013 6:08 PM


Re: It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

The thing is, you've told me an awful lot about what you believe and totally failed to answer the questions I asked.
I suppose that's all you can do really.

You seem to want a definitive answer as to what eternity will be like for you. Nobody can give you that answer which is an answer in itself.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 133 by Tangle, posted 03-30-2013 6:08 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 138 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 3:36 AM GDR has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 167 of 652 (694972)
03-31-2013 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 159 by Tangle
03-31-2013 2:41 PM


Re: It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

However, I don't have to assume anything on behalf of GDR because GDR has already told us that his belief is that hell is not being in heaven.


Actually I think I said that hell is being separated from God. However, that doesn’t fully explain my belief either. First off, I think that we are wrong to think of heaven and hell as places at all. The Biblical understanding is that God is active in this world and essentially omnipresent with us. I believe that we talk about “the still small voice” or our conscience it is God reaching out to us and as often as not, at least in my case, that voice gets ignored.

In a lot of ways I have gained my understanding of heaven and hell from elementary books on science by authors such as Brian Greene and even to people on this forum such as cavediver. My view is that science is a natural theology which is actually consistent with Paul’s thoughts in Romans. The Biblical notion of God existing with us, but with us not being able to perceive Him with our 5 senses, leaves us with nothing but an incomprehensible puzzle on its own. If however we read about theoretical science and worlds of dark matter or of other universes we gain a new perspective on it. A headline a few issues ago in SA asked the question, “Is there an entire universe silently interwoven with our own”.

If we stop thinking of heaven and hell as simply two different locations and start thinking of various universes or dimensions that interlock in ways that presently exceed our understanding we can get a very different picture than simply considering heaven and hell as two different locations. I agree however that is all very speculative, but as we are considering whether or not any concept of hell is immoral then maybe it is something worth considering.

Another consideration is that when people who reject Christ’s message of peace, love and forgiveness and reject a world governed by those principles are allowed to be part of God’s society, then you are forever condemning everyone to have to live in an existence that the opposite of those attributes are still part of the society.

In the end I don’t know what it would be like to live apart from God and frankly I don’t know what it would be like to live with Him either.

I do believe that He has connected with us directly through Jesus and I accept the Gospel message and with His help I hope to make it more and more a part of my everyday life.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 159 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 2:41 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 170 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 5:37 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 169 of 652 (694974)
03-31-2013 5:26 PM
Reply to: Message 165 by Tangle
03-31-2013 5:09 PM


Re: it's all about knowledge and honesty.
Tangle writes:

You all believe different things and I listen to you all. Who should I believe? is a better question.

That approach is very similar to the approach of fundamentalists. Both of you want absolute certainty. The fundamentalist claims that they have it by pointing at a specific Bible verse whereas you reject all of it because you can't be certain.

Yes the Christian faith is ambiguous, and I doubt that you could find any two Christians who would agree on everything. I believe that reason is a gift of God. You have applied your reasoning to the question and, like others, have become an atheist. I have applied my reasoning, faulty though it may be, and like others have come to the conclusion that Christianity makes sense of the world and my life.

Ambiguity makes sense IMHO, as certainty requires no choice or faith and I believe that God is asking of us that we choose goodness for its own sake, and not because we see a reward at the end of the tunnel.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 165 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 5:09 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 177 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 7:04 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 174 of 652 (694979)
03-31-2013 5:55 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Tangle
03-31-2013 5:37 PM


Re: It's all about the heart
Tangle writes:

The immorality of the message is that many Christian believe that because you reject Christ, you go to hell - or at least, can't get to heaven - even if you accept the values.


I agree that is an immoral concept. I also believe that view of Christ's message is anti-Biblical. I also think that at least in the western world, (I only separate that out because of my own ignorance of third world Christianity), the majority of Christians would reject that notion as well. Yes, there are a number of Christians, particularly in the US and to a lesser degree in my own country that would hold to that view.

Tangle writes:

The error here is the presumption that it's Christ's message. It's not - it's any sane and decent person's message. What is being rejected - by me at least - is the idea of Christ, not the ideal.

We don't need Christ to have those ideals and much of the world doesn't - but still has the ideals. Christ is redundant - Occam has sliced him out of existence.

Of course and if God is real isn't that what we would expect? I was so taken with the Book of Buddha as I was stuck by how closely the message of the first Buddah resembled what we have in Jesus. God is a god of all or He isn't a god of all. He is for all people and I would expect that he reaches out to all people, even those heathen atheists.

Jesus wasn't just presenting us with a moral life style but was also giving us the news of God's plan for the renewal of His creation.

As far as Occam's razor goes - you tell me which is the simpler answer. That our first cause was intelligent or that our first cause came about as a result of some presently unknown chance chemical combination that resulted in the first incredibly complex cells forming.

Edited by GDR, : No reason given.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 5:37 PM Tangle has not yet responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 180 of 652 (694988)
03-31-2013 9:20 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by Tangle
03-31-2013 7:04 PM


Re: it's all about knowledge and honesty.
Tangle writes:

No, that misrepresents my views. I do not want or expect certainty, what I require is evidence. Any evidence at all. I have no reason to believe what you believe because you have given me no reason to do so - it's pretty straight forward.

If you consider evidence only that which is conclusive you are right I have none. However if you accept inconclusive evidence I do have the following.

If we look at the natural world we can see that everything that we perceive is made up of either non-dimensional or uni-dimensional, lifeless non-intelligent non-moral particles. Presumably your atheism leads you to conclude that from this there has been a chance combination of these particles that has resulted in intelligent life that has the ability to contemplate moralism. Personally I find that position unreasonable and conclude that we are the result of a pre-existing intelligence.

If we accept that we are the result of intelligence I also find it unreasonable to conclude that this pre-existing intelligence would bring the life in this world into existence and then simply abandon it here. It seems to me that an intelligence that great would be highly unlikely to abandon the whole project and so I have concluded that he/she is still involved in one way or another.

Even secular writers such as Robert Wright in his book The Evolution of God writes that mankind is evolving, (I’m paraphrasing from the memory of reading the book a couple of years ago), into more compassionate loving people. On the basis of my first two conclusions it then seems reasonable to me that this is the direction that this pre-existing intelligence would have us go. With all that together I think it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddah etc were all on the right track. Doing unto others as we would have them do unto us appears to be the perfect concept for the well being of all of us, and from that I conclude that this would also represent the characteristics of this pre-existing intelligence. You may not view any of that as evidence but it provides me with enough information to conclude that at least the social message of Jesus is consistent the aforementioned pre-existing intelligence.

Then we come specifically to Christianity. IMHO what separates Christianity from any other religion or social movement is the resurrection. Without the resurrection Jesus was another in the list of failed messiahs except that he had some rather strange ideas. I have read several books discussing both sides of the question of the resurrection. The best two books are the debates between NT Wright and Marcus Borg, The Meaning of Jesus- Two Visions and NT Wright and Dom Crossan The Resurrection of Jesus

Wright argues in favour of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Borg concludes that it is a metaphor and Crossan argues for the resurrected Jesus appearing in the same way as people who believe they have been visited by someone close to them after their death, and is likely an illusion.The Gospels are evidence in that someone wrote them out and obviously believed them to be accurate. The question of course is – did they get it right. Frankly the arguments against the resurrection are based on the idea that it couldn’t have happened and then they go looking for an alternative answer. It does seem to me that if my first two conclusion are correct, (an involved pre-existing intelligence), then the possibility of the resurrection is very possible.

When it comes to the Bible I do believe that God uses that book to reach out to us but I don’t believe that makes it in anyway inerrant. As you pointed out there are obviously too many flaws to understand that way. Even aside from the inconsistencies and the contradictions there are too many other reasons such as personal anecdotes etc not to understand it that way.

However, just because that is true it does not mean that we reject the whole thing. If God has been reaching out to us over the span of time, and people have been recording their thoughts on God then we should read it using the gift of reason that we have been given to sort out the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

Is any of that evidence? I’ll leave that up to you.

Tangle writes:

The fundamentalists at least claim that the bible is the inerrant word of god; they're obviously wrong because, as has been pointed out here, it errs regularly and often. Given that that is the only actual evidence apparent to me for a belief in a Christian God I must then reject it.

Again, because some of it is obviously off track does not mean that it all is.

Tangle writes:

As I understand it, your belief stems from revellation. That's a personal thing which is hard for anyone else to comment on, other than to say 'why you?' (And ignoring bogus freewill and dellusion arguments.)

I can’t say that there was any specific revelation that led me to my beliefs. It started out from deciding that I wanted to come to a conclusion about Christianity and reading CS Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” and going from there. Frankly the more I read, the more convinced I become.

He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by Tangle, posted 03-31-2013 7:04 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 182 by Tangle, posted 04-01-2013 5:15 AM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 189 of 652 (695010)
04-01-2013 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 182 by Tangle
04-01-2013 5:15 AM


Re: it's all about knowledge and honesty.
Tangle writes:

I've heard, read and discussed all the arguments for and against a belief in God, there's no need for you to rehearse them here for my benefit, but I appreciate you taking the time. I have reached different conclusions.

Fair enough, but you had asked for evidence and so I gave what I believe constitutes evidence whil agreeing that the evidence is inconclusive.

Tangle writes:

No, but the fact that Christians can't agree on what is on track or off track is good evidence to doubt any of it. Simply choosing what you prefer to believe isn't rational.

I have given you what I contend is a rational reason for believing what I believe. It is my contention that believing that intelligent moral beings, with incredibly complex cellular structures, and with all that goes into our DNA can some how be born out of a a chance combination of non or uni dimensional, non-intelligent particles isn't rational.

With my understanding of the Christian God I would expect that there would be ambiguity in our understanding of God, and would be suspicious if we all agreed.

JMHO


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 182 by Tangle, posted 04-01-2013 5:15 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 194 by Tangle, posted 04-01-2013 5:32 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 192 of 652 (695015)
04-01-2013 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 188 by Jazzns
04-01-2013 11:26 AM


Re: Hell as a choice....really?
Jazzns writes:

And nearly all of those choices are temporary because we are temporal creatures with a focus on the present. Lewis is speaking of an eternity in hell. If hell does exist, I can guarantee the people who are in there do not continue to choose to be there. It is unfathomable to me, how a just person could come up with the idea that a choice made in a singular moment in time, could have eternal consequences and moreover it is the existence of that choice that somehow makes the fallout okay. It is not only evil, it is apologetic for that evil.

I don’t see it as a choice made in a single moment of time. I see it more as a trajectory of the choices that we make. Do we overtime make choices that more and more reject the love of others in favour of the love of self, or do we continue to be more and more concerned with others and less concerned about our own self interest. I am only saying that the trajectory that we establish extends in to the next life. Again, if you read CS Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” that is, IMHO, roughly what he is saying.

GDR writes:

I think that we should always question. The fact that we believe that morality exists does indicate that morality actually doe s matter and have meaning. There does seem to be a moral standard which would indicate that there is a foundation for that standard that is external to our present existence.

Jazzns writes:

You had me on the first two sentences. Then you packed a whole bunch of assumptions into that one last sentence. That therefore morality has a standard and that the standard is eternal is a totally unevidenced product of a particular belief system.
In my belief system, morality is a product of consensus. I don't expect anyone else to 100% agree with me on that but they don't have to. I just happen to think that the world actually functions more akin to my sense of the origins of morality due to how dramatically it changes with human progress.

In my view morality isn’t about what we do. It seems to me that what we do is a result of our morality and where we agree is that what we do is largely affected by the consensus of our society. Certain acts in some societies would be considered to be moral but the reverse in other societies.

IMHO morality is about why we do what we do. For example if you go on the computer and without telling anyone donate $100 to a third world charity because you are concerned about the plight of the people there then you have performed a moral act. If however you decide to donate to the same third world charity by announcing it in front of a group of people in order for them to see what a generous guy you are then it ceases to be a moral act. The act is the same but the morality is different.

So I go back to saying that there does seem to be a moral standard that is universally true that has nothing to do with the consensus of individual societies and of course that standard is essentiallyto do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Societal consensus may or may not adhere to that universal standard but I think that we would both agree that if they did we would live in a much better world.

My belief is that that universal standard would be universally adhered to when God renews all that is for those whose trajectory of life here has led them to that. If we choose to make concern for ourselves, even at the expense of others, the focus of our lives we will be allowed to do that for eternity.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 188 by Jazzns, posted 04-01-2013 11:26 AM Jazzns has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 198 by Jazzns, posted 04-01-2013 11:54 PM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 196 of 652 (695025)
04-01-2013 7:26 PM
Reply to: Message 194 by Tangle
04-01-2013 5:32 PM


Re: it's all about knowledge and honesty.
Tangle writes:

I suspect that you know that the evidence you accept is a bit less than inconclusive.

It may be inconclusive but I suggest that the atheistic position is a great deal more inconclusive than the theistic one.

Instead of showing where the evidence is faulty you just dismiss it and don't provide any evidence for the atheistic position. What evidence do you have for atheism?

Tangle writes:

From what you say, you went looking for an answer and, not surprisingly, you found one.

I was looking for truth, knowing that it becomes belief in the end as does everyone else. Certainly nobody starts out with a completely blank slate.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 194 by Tangle, posted 04-01-2013 5:32 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 199 by Dr Adequate, posted 04-02-2013 1:05 AM GDR has not yet responded
 Message 200 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2013 3:51 AM GDR has responded

  
GDR
Member (Idle past 251 days)
Posts: 5409
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005


Message 202 of 652 (695052)
04-02-2013 10:31 AM
Reply to: Message 200 by Tangle
04-02-2013 3:51 AM


Re: it's all about knowledge and honesty.
Tangle writes:

Believers understandably fuse the two and atheists get bored of having to point out that the difference is vital. Most atheists would say if asked, that they do not believe in any theistic postion because the evidence is not only non-existent but actually proveably wrong, but would concede a roughly agnostic position on deism.

I understand the difference between theims and deism but as a starting point you have to look at whether you conclude that there is any intelligent agent responsible for life. Only at that point can you decide to believe whether that agent continues to be involved or not. An atheist believes that there is no intelligent agent period. If you are a deist then it is a different discussion. Just to say that your agnostic about whether we are the result of an intelligent agent just an easy out. What is it that you believe and why?

Tangle writes:

Now that's unworthy of you. Surely I don't need to take you through the Russell teapot stuff?

That's a total cop-out. I didn't ask you to prove theism wrong. I looked at things that we know. Your claim as an atheist is that incredibly complex cells somehow formed from non-intelligent particles and then evolved into incredibly complex life forms some of which are intelligent and capable of morality all without any pre-existing intelligence being involved. What evidence or rationale do you have for making this case.

I looked at the evidence and gave my rationale for my theistic beliefs and even went further and gave my rationale for my Christianity. I'm just asking that you look at the evidence and tell me how it is that it points you to atheism. I'm not asking you to prove that there is no god.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2013 3:51 AM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 204 by Stile, posted 04-02-2013 11:11 AM GDR has responded
 Message 207 by Tangle, posted 04-02-2013 1:16 PM GDR has responded

  
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