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Author Topic:   Is God determined to allow no proof or evidence of his existence? Part II
Legend
Member (Idle past 3079 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 91 of 171 (251378)
10-13-2005 5:26 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 3:09 AM


Re: This one's about debating style.
Do you really don't get it or are you just pretending you're not getting it ?

Let me repeat:

Legend writes:

Here we go again! You don't even know what my former denominational faith was but you still assume I'm carrying assumptive baggage. Nice way to support your argument! (not)

that's pretty self-explanatory.

Legend writes:

when did I admit that my questions are largely rhetorical?
even if I had how would you conclude from that I'm not very interested in understanding God ?!
I said that one question to you was largely rhetorical, the one in Re: The Purple Candle (Message 62)

I asked one question ('can you show me how do I know that God is talking to me') which I later said was largely rhetorical as I didn't really expect an answer from you (indeed I never received one).

You're saying that all my questions are rhetorical (which I never said or indicated) and -on top- you're using this false statement to conclude that I'm not very interested in understanding God (which again I never said or indicated - why would I be on a religious board asking questions if I wasn't interested in understanding God).

This is why I'm accusing you of mis-representing my position!

Get it ?!


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 3:09 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 11:57 AM Legend has responded

  
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1695 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 92 of 171 (251381)
10-13-2005 5:54 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 1:51 AM


Re: Impasse Again
Mr. Ex,

Thanks for the reply. I'll do my best to answer the questions, but ... generally I don't ask questions if I have an answer to them, so I'm afraid the answers aren't going to be very informative. But first, to ask about your comments (and sorry to add more work to your plate).

Mr. Ex writes:

Ben writes:

he has created", it has to be clear that he, and only he could have created them.

That's not true.

There can be other factors which are obscuring the truth insofar that the evidence essentially blends into the static of the background noise.

Carefully separating the background noise so as to render a more perfect perception reveals the truth of the situation.

I see. I took "self-evident" to mean "accessible without thorough examination", "screaming out to you clearly", or one particular sense of the word "obvious". Your comment makes me realize this was an assumption. I just want to confirm; "self-evident" simply means there's one clear, true answer that can be found. The level of analysis necessary may vary; in this case, we need to "carefully separate the background noise" before the "self-evident" nature becomes clear. I think I understand, but I want to double-check. And if I do understand, thanks for the clarification.

Ben writes:

Why are there other explanations of the origins of life out there that aren't "self-evidently" false?

My take? I have no idea. I don't really know God. I don't have faith in a God. So, the question really doesn't exist for me. I can't really speculate on a God that I don't know. It'd be like speculating why somebody's aunt Jane threw a cake at Uncle Bob at last year's family reunion. I have no idea of the dynamics of the personalities involved, I couldn't make a guess without feeling a good chance of slighting somebody.

If that sounds like a hedge or a dodge... sorry. I ask the question of you because you have a relationship with the God you're talking about. I don't have any answer, the relationship isn't there.

Ben writes:

How can this be resolved with the "self-evident" nature of God that you describe?

Well my intuition for an answer at this had to do with faith--that God wants faith, and this is a way to provide the ambiguity necessary for faith. But I thought you disagreed with that position, which is what precipitated my question.

A new guess about what you might think... maybe the two explanations for the origins of life are actually the same? Or maybe an explanation without God is necessarily incomplete?

Mr. Ex writes:

You've never experienced a mystical feeling about the woods you grew up around?

Honestly, not that I remember at all. The only memories I have of childhood is crying to sleep sometimes when imagining what "heaven" and "infinity" means, and going to church but feeling inadequate because no matter how loud I sang or how much I payed attention in "class" (CCD), I couldn't feel the love or find the faith that the teachers were telling us is there.

I honestly believe I tried, as much as you can expect a kid to try. I even was uncomfortable going through confirmation; even with the level of respect I had for my confirmation teacher, with whom I remain close still. Whatever it is that's supposed to be there inside me simply, I simply don't see.

Ben


This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:51 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 95 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:06 PM Ben! has responded

    
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1530 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 93 of 171 (251403)
10-13-2005 9:05 AM
Reply to: Message 86 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 1:56 AM


Re: Impasse Again
quote:
purpledawn writes:

Please describe the nature of the Christian God and what has the natural world revealed that supports that description?

I've already gone through and talked about these things in the previous thread.


Actually you haven't. You avoided it there also.

This statement to Legend in Message 102 of the other thread sums up your responses concerning nature:

Mr. Nihilo writes:

Once again, your arguments persistently lean in the direction of requesting evidence in nature that points to God -- which misses the point, because all I'm trying to determine is whether God was willing to allow proof of his existence (not whether the evidence itself is valid or not).

Although the tense has changed from the OP (is willing to was willing). The OT covers the past, but it doesn't explain today.

The full statement by Crashfrog in Message 49 of the thread that sparked you to start this one, speaks of testing revelation and you told him to use the scientific method.

crashfrog writes:

How can revelation be accessible to the scientific method? How would you tell the difference between genuine lies and a revelation from a God determined to allow no proof or evidence of his existence? There is no way. There's simply no way to test for revelation; there's no possible way to distinguish between genuine revelation and a sufficiently compelling lie.

The big problem with both of these threads is that you are arguing about a Judeo-Christian teaching that you apparently had never heard before.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Actually, I've never heard anyone who beleives in the Judeo-Christian God claim that "God is determined to allow no proof or evidence of his existence."

crashfrog writes:

The claim is that God does not allow his existence to be scientifically substantiated, because to do so would eliminate the need for faith.

In Message 39 I said: Now whether the evangelists or apologist who have preached that God conceals himself to generate faith are Biblically supported, I don't know. Didn't think about it at the time. But crashfrog is right in that those teachings are out there.

If you feel that those teachings are incorrect then correct their error reasonably.

IOW, if you want to argue that their teachings are incorrect or not Biblically supported, then approach it from that direction.

All you've actually said in all your copious verbage is that you feel God provides (present tense) ample proof or evidence of his existence to all people but you don't wish to share that proof because you don't wish to discuss its validity. How can you show that their teachings are false or inaccurate if we are not allowed to discuss the validity of your evidence against theirs?

Also crashfrog said scientifically substantiated, which is different than voices in your head or feelings from nature. I don't think you are claiming ample scientifcally substantiated proof, are you?

You have shown that the Bible speaks of God's physical exploits, but those are all in the past.

The teachings, IMO, have been generated in an effort to answer these types of questions:
Why doesn't God show himself today as he did in the Bible?
Why doesn't God make himself known physically today?
Why doesn't God allow scientist to verify his existence?

How do the Catholics answer those questions?


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:56 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 96 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:14 PM purpledawn has responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 94 of 171 (251435)
10-13-2005 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 91 by Legend
10-13-2005 5:26 AM


Re: This one's about debating style.
I do get it.

In saying that the question 'can you show me how do I know that God is talking to me' is largely rhetorical (as you don't really expect an answer from me) -- you're basically implying that you don't really care what my opinion is or whether or not God is actually really talking to you.

If you don't really care what my opinion is or whether or not God is actually really talking to you, then this single admission of rhetoric basically undermines the intent of the entire scope of all your questions about God which are directed to me.

Am I wrong?

On top of all this, you still haven't answered me what your former denominational background was.

You've been trolling me Legend right from the get go -- and it's really getting quite annoying now.

Actually, now that I think of it, why don't you go back to Pepe the Pink Parrot?

I'm sure he'll have all the answers to the questions you ask. :)

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-13-2005 01:11 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 91 by Legend, posted 10-13-2005 5:26 AM Legend has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by Legend, posted 10-13-2005 1:16 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

    
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 95 of 171 (251449)
10-13-2005 1:06 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by Ben!
10-13-2005 5:54 AM


Re: Impasse Again
Ben, I just wanted to thank you for actually taking the time to really ask your questions. I don't see any sarcasm in your text so I'll answer your questions as fairly as I can without confusing the issue.

Please remember that the answers I give are only my own thoughts and opinions. Although people have tried to thrust this thread into the arena of "validating evidence", I've really tried hard to let people know that this thread is only about speculation and theory.

Ben! writes:

Mr. Ex,

Thanks for the reply. I'll do my best to answer the questions, but ... generally I don't ask questions if I have an answer to them, so I'm afraid the answers aren't going to be very informative. But first, to ask about your comments (and sorry to add more work to your plate).

Ben writes:

he has created", it has to be clear that he, and only he could have created them.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

That's not true.

There can be other factors which are obscuring the truth insofar that the evidence essentially blends into the static of the background noise.

Carefully separating the background noise so as to render a more perfect perception reveals the truth of the situation.

Ben! writes:

I see. I took "self-evident" to mean "accessible without thorough examination", "screaming out to you clearly", or one particular sense of the word "obvious". Your comment makes me realize this was an assumption. I just want to confirm; "self-evident" simply means there's one clear, true answer that can be found. The level of analysis necessary may vary; in this case, we need to "carefully separate the background noise" before the "self-evident" nature becomes clear. I think I understand, but I want to double-check. And if I do understand, thanks for the clarification.


Actually, your summary here is fairly accurate. In a sense I'm saying that when the Judeo-Christian faith is compared to other religions, it is self-evident that the Judeo-Christian is superior to other faiths.

In other words, based on the law that is written into the hearts of all people, when one encounters the Judeo-Christian faith, the Holy Spirit should immediately confirm in their heart that they've come across the truth.

When I say that God is self-evident in nature, I'm not necessarilly implying that things which can only be known by revelation are apparent in nature.

I'm saying that the basic attributes of God can be perceived -- such that he is the Creator and that he is involved in the direction of creation. Emotions can be perceived in nature as well -- and the goodness of self-sacrifice is apparent too (since it increases a species' ability to be fruitful and multiply)

In this sense, there are many minor qualities and intentions of God that can be seen reflecting from his creation itself. As such, as the Romans passage stresses, people are basically without excuse for knowing God and doing his will (forgiving when something goes wrong).

The point of contention that I have with other Christians (and non-Christians for that matter) is the nature of salvation. They are trying to wrestle with this point in an attempt to say that this basic knowledge of God from nature is insufficient for salvation.

However, I've pointed to a few passages of Scripture now which do seem to indicate that this basic knowledge is indeed sufficient for salvation when direct revelation in unavailable.

The difference between their opinion and my opinion is that they feel these passages were spoken in order to prove that no one is worthy of salvation except through a literal confession of Christ with their lips whereas I'm saying that these passages were spoken in order to demonstrate that God is active in saving them even if they do not know specifically Christ's revealed name.

I would like to add from my own perspective that, at least in my own belief, the basic knoweldge of God for some reason seems to have permeated human history for a long time.

Many are of the assumption that religion completely evolved to it's present state, from animism to polytheism to monotheism. However, when one examines the earliest religious writings in human history, one notes a striking contrast to this assumption.

For example (and I have brought this up to purpledawn if I recall correctly):

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I've repeatedly pointed to things in nature and other religions which do bear a striking resemblance to Chrisitanity. I've also noted how these things seems to have led to a spiritual dialectic throughout all of human history eventually leading to its culmination in the Christian faith that we see today.
Here, for one example, let's take a look at Stoicism and note how many similarities it bears toward Christianity:


Holding a somewhat materialistic conception of nature they followed Heraclitus in believing the primary substance to be fire. However, they also embraced his concept of Logos which they identified with the energy, law, reason, and providence found throughout nature.

Like Christianity, they held the Logos to be the animating or 'active principle' of all reality. The Logos was conceived as a rational divine power that orders and directs the universe; it was identified with God, nature and fate. Human reason and the human soul were both considered part of the divine Logos, and therefore immortal.

The foundation of Stoic ethics is the principle, proclaimed earlier by the Cynics, that good lies in the state of the soul itself, in wisdom and restraint. Stoic ethics stressed the rule "Follow where Reason leads"; one must therefore strive to be free of the passions --love, hate, fear, pain, and pleasure.

Similar to Christians being led by the spirit of God, Stoics felt that living according to nature or reason is living in conformity with the divine order of the universe. The four cardinal virtues of the Stoic philosophy are wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, a classification derived from the teachings of Plato.

Very similar to Christianity, a distinctive feature of Stoicism is its cosmopolitanism. All people are manifestations of the one universal spirit and should, according to the Stoics, live in brotherly love and readily help one another. They held that external differences such as rank and wealth are of no importance in social relationships. Thus, before the rise of Christianity, Stoics recognized and advocated the brotherhood of humanity and the natural equality of all human beings.

Here's more for you to ponder while you're at it:


http://www.novaroma.org/via_romana/stoicism.html

For the Stoics nothing passes unexplained. There's a reason for everything in Nature. They believed there is an active "force" which is everywhere coextensive with matter. The Stoics believed that there was something acting within them -- as they put it -- "a spirit deeply infused, germinating and developing as from a seed in the heart of each separate thing that exists."

For the Stoics God was Fire (active energy) and Logos (reason) diffused throughout the Cosmos. They believed, too, that the Law of Nature was God's material presence in the Universe. As cosmic reason, God was Providence. This Providence ordained all things.God was Fate, too.The Stoics believed Fate imposed upon humanity a certain determinism that allowed for freedom only within the context of a person's inner acceptance of cosmic necessity.

As for Fire, the Stoics likened this concept of God as seed that having in itself the "reasons of all things and the causes of what was, is, and shall be."

"This energy was the vital principle from which all the flora and fauna springs. The Stoics considered that through any stage of development, it was God (as a living force) who molded and dominated passive matter in terms of "progress."

The Stoics believed in soul -- even for the animals, though not a rational soul. In rational creatures, however, they considered the Pneuma (fiery breath) to be manifested at a higher degree of intensity as an "emanation from the world-soul." This Pneuma was a spark of the celestial Fire.

Essentially the Stoics believed that what God is for the world, the soul is for man. They declared that the Cosmos must be viewed as a single Whole -- with its "variety being referred to varying stages of condensation in Pneuma." Therefore, for the Stoics, the actual nature of a human person is the universal on a small scale -- a microcosm.

There is a parallel between the macrocosm and the microcosm. God, the Soul of the World, fills and penetrates it. Similarly, the human soul pervades and breathes through all the body -- informing and guiding it. In both the macrocosm and the microcosm, there is a ruling part.

The Stoics considered each human soul a "fragment of the universal divine force, yet not completely sundered from the parent-stock." They were talking about family. They declared that "We are thy offspring!"

Out of their cosmology the Stoics developed their ethics -- which focused on Virtue. They believed Virtue to be the law that governed the Universe. For them, that which Reason (God/Logos) ordained must be accepted as binding upon the "particle of reason which is in each one of us." In turn, human law comes into existence when persons recognize this obligation -- hence justice, responsibility, and freedom revolved around this obligation to God.

The Stoics expressed these ethics further into the ideas of community. The individual must recognize the "society of rational beings of which he is a member, and subordinate his own ends to the ends and needs of this society" -- the city of Zeus (which is very comparable to the heavenly Jerusalem).

This city of Zeus was the ideal cosmopolis. In this city, the Stoics believed all is ordained by reason -- working intelligently. The citizens exist for the sake of one another, working towards contributing towards one another's good. Such intercourse would find expression in justice, in friendship, in family and political life.

More specifically -- in their own times -- the Stoics boldly and bravely declared there was no difference "between Greek and barbarian, between male and female, and bond and free." All persons were members of "one body as partaking in reason."

Does this sound familiar?

In terms of religion, the Stoics felt that its essential features were not ceremony or sacrifice, but prayer, self-examination, and praise. As they put it: "God is best worshiped in the shrine of the heart by the desire to know and obey him."

How does one explain these Greeks developing a system of living (from their perceptions of nature) which so closely parallels Christianity -- but was developed 300 years before Christianity even came about?

Now, consequently, if we go back much further into human history, we also see a very strange fact emerging -- the primitive "Sky God" which again seemed to permeate the earliest parts of human history...

For example (and I have brought this up to Legend if I recall correctly):

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:


Africa
The Akan, Ashanti, Ga, Fante, and related people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast believe the universe was created by a supreme deity variously known as Oboadee (Creator), Nyame (God), or Ananse Kokuroko (The Great Spider). Nyambe, in particular, was considred the supreme being and creator god. Wide-spread over Western Equatorial Africa, his variant names included: Nzambi, Ndyambi, Dzambu, Tsambi, Yame, Sami, Zam, Monzam, Onayame. Also known as Nyambi, he was considered the creator of all things whose wife was Nailele. They lived on earth for a time but left to avoid the evil actions of Kamunu.

Australia
The Australian mystery-rites reveal a moral creative being whose home is in or above the heavens, and his name is Maker (Baiame), Master (Biamban) and Father (Papang). The Benedictine monks of Australia say that the natives believe in an omnipotent Being, the creator of heaven and earth, whom they call Motogon. The Australian will say, "No, not seen him [i.e. Baiame], but I have felt him".

China
Long ago before the introduction of Buddhism from India and the advent of Taoism, the Chinese believed in Shang Ti, a God so great that no images were to be made to represent it and the one true God who made the heavens, the earth, and all that is in both. This supreme god ruled over lesser gods of the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain, and other natural forces and places. Shang-Ti also regulated human affairs as well as ruling over the material universe.

Egypt
In the most ancient monuments of Egypt the simplest and most precise conception of one God is expressed. For example, the Egyptian Book of the Dead demonstrates that the Egyptian people originally believed in one great God and not many. He is one and alone; no other beings are with Him; He is the only being living in truth; He is the self-existing one who made all things, and He alone has not been made.

India
In the Rig-Veda, the most ancient of the Hindu sacred books, traces of a primitive monotheism are clearly shown. The Deity is called "the only existing being" who breathed, calmly self-contained, in the beginning before there was sky or atmosphere day or night, light or darkness. This being is not the barren philosophical entity found in the later Upanishads, for he is called "our Father", "our Creator", omniscient, who listens to prayers.

Iranian
The Gathas, the most ancient hymns of the Avesta, form the kernel about which the sacred literature of the Iranians clustered in an aftergrowth. Although a duality of good and evil is expressed, they still nonethelss inculcate belief in Ahura Mazda, the self-existent omnipotent being. He is the all-powerful Lord who made heaven and earth, and all that is therein, and who governs everything with wisdom.

I think this was also brought up before to Legend as well...

Tal Brooke's book "The Conspiracy to Silence the Son of God." writes:

Wilhelm Schmidt, a Jesuit professor at the University of Vienna, spent over 40 years (1912-1955) documenting and compiling evidence for what he called "primitive monotheism." In 1931 he published his findings as The Origin and Growth of Religion, a book that revolutionized the study of religious anthropology.

Schmidt thought that such beliefs were the residue of a primal revelation of God to man, the surviving forms of a once common knowledge of the one God, which through human fallenness and error has been overlaid by magic, animism, ancestor worship, spiritism, polytheism, and other forms of spiritual delusion. Schmidt continued to validate his thesis with relentless research over the years. By 1955 he had published over 4000 pages of evidence in 12 large volumes.

Chesterton summed up the import of Schmidt's ground-breaking studies:

G.K. Chesterson writes:


There is very good ground for guessing that religion did not originally come from some detail that was forgotten because it was too small to be traced. Much more probably it was an idea that was abandoned because it was too large to be managed. There is very good reason to suppose that many people did begin with the simple but overwhelming idea of one God who governs all; and afterwards fell away into such things as demon-worship almost as a sort of secret dissipations.


_________________

God's Goodbye

Primitive theologies of the one God always include some explanation of why He is no longer present. His departure is routinely regarded as a cosmic disastrous rupture in the natural fabric of things brought on by some fault or failure on the part of human beings. In some myths, the fault seems almost trivial, involving a technical error in the performance of some (now) obscure ritual, thus causing the universe to unravel and leave man spiritually marooned. In other forms of primitive monotheism, the failure is more morally serious, involving man's betrayal of his duty to his creator, thus causing God to depart in sorrow and judgment.

The details differ, but all the myths tell a common story, and the story is clearly a part of our common heritage. Ironically, the evidence of anthropology indicates that ancient man was more in agreement concerning the nature of our spiritual problem than we have agreed about anything since that time. The reason is doubtless that their consensus was one of memory and not of opinion.

Schmidt's work uncovered one momentous fact for all to see -- namely, that humanity's most ancient and universal assessment of its own condition is simply this: "God is not with us." For whatever reason, God's personal presence has been withdrawn from us. God's absence is our problem

Alexander Brooks
The Real Jesus Already Stood Up

Please note that I'm not talking about all gods in the past -- I'm only speaking of the "primitive sky gods" which seem to abound throughout human history. The things that many of these primitive theologies (or henothologies if you wish) have in common is the following:

Similarities writes:

He lives in, or above, the sky. (Anthropologists refer to him as the "Sky-God", although the name the peoples have for him is more commonly one meaning "Father" or "Creator").

He is like a man, or a father.

However his form cannot be physically represented, and so there are almost never idols of him.

He is the creator of everything.

He is eternal (i.e. He existed before anything else, and He will never cease to be).

He is all-knowing.

All that is good ultimately comes from him.

He is the giver of moral law.

He is good, and abhors all evil.

He is all-powerful.

He judges people after their death.

People are alienated from him due to some misdemeanor in the past.

As history proceeds, and the cultures are fragmented into more and more special interest groups, he is often supplanted in religions by gods which are "more accessible"; yet these religions still often carry a distant memory of this "Sky-God" whom they have lost most contact with.

As Peter Ballard notes, the obvious response to all this is, "Where have I heard that before?" because it sounds suspiciously like the Christian (and Jewish, and Muslim) picture of God.

I will address your other questions Ben, but I have to go pick up my boys soon. I will come back to your other questions hopefully tonight when I have a chance. If not, then tomorrow. :)

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-13-2005 01:20 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by Ben!, posted 10-13-2005 5:54 AM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by Ben!, posted 10-14-2005 1:58 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

    
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 96 of 171 (251450)
10-13-2005 1:14 PM
Reply to: Message 93 by purpledawn
10-13-2005 9:05 AM


Re: Impasse Again
I have answered so many of these questions purpledawn. I'm now beginning to repost them to Ben in the message above and the ones that will follow.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 93 by purpledawn, posted 10-13-2005 9:05 AM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by purpledawn, posted 10-13-2005 1:44 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

    
Legend
Member (Idle past 3079 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 97 of 171 (251451)
10-13-2005 1:16 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 11:57 AM


Re: This one's about debating style.
Mr Ex writes:


In saying that the question ('can you show me how do I know that God is talking to me') is largely rhetorical (as you don't really expect an answer from me) -- you're basically implying that you don't really care what my opinion is or whether or not God is actually really talking to you.

If you don't really care what my opinion is or whether or not God is actually really talking to you, then this single admission of rhetoric basically undermines the intent of the entire scope of all your questions about God which are directed to me.

Am I wrong?

yes, you are! did it ever cross your mind that if I say that I don't really expect an answer from you might be because I don't think you can answer the question? It's like asking someone 'what is the square root of pi?' I'm not expecting an answer, not because I don't care about their opinion, neither because I don't want to know what the square root of pi really is, it's just because I don't think they can answer me.

I'm not expecting you to show me how God is talking to me because I know you can't. This doesn't mean that all my other questions are rhetorical too, neither than that I'm not very interested in understanding God, like you've said.

Mr Ex writes:

On top of all this, you still haven't answered me what your former denominational background was.

It's because it's irrelevant. It would just give you yet another way of evading questions by going on about what my former denominational church taught, rather than what my arguments really are.

Mr Ex writes:

You've been trolling me Legend right from the get go -- and it's really getting quite annoying now.


I've got better things to do than troll you Mr Ex. You (yet again) made an another sweeping, unsupported statement and I called you on it.

You chose to support (or divert attention from) your feeble arguments by attacking my person and misrepresenting my position, just like you did on the other thread.

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

Mr Ex writes:

Actually, now that I think of it, why don't you go back to Pepe the Pink Parrot?
I'm sure he'll have all the answers to the questions you ask.

well, you certainly don't, so Pepe it is then!


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 11:57 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:32 PM Legend has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 98 of 171 (251456)
10-13-2005 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 97 by Legend
10-13-2005 1:16 PM


Re: This one's about debating style.
Legend writes:

I'm not expecting you to show me how God is talking to me because I know you can't. This doesn't mean that all my other questions are rhetorical too, neither than that I'm not very interested in understanding God, like you've said.

And you're also not expecting me to really answer any of your other questions then, are you?

Legend writes:

It's because it's irrelevant. It would just give you yet another way of evading questions by going on about what my former denominational church taught, rather than what my arguments really are.

You're the one refusing to answer the question -- are you're accusing me of dodging questions? :confused:

Legend writes:

well, you certainly don't, so Pepe it is then!

Don't forget to give him his holy cracker while you're at it.

Pepe writes:

Rhaaaack! ....Pepe has the answers!

Rhaaak! ...pretty bird! pretty bird!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by Legend, posted 10-13-2005 1:16 PM Legend has not yet responded

    
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1530 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 99 of 171 (251459)
10-13-2005 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 1:14 PM


Re: Impasse Again
Unfortunately what you wrote to Ben and Legend does not address my post.

None of those comparisons deal with why you disagree with the Christian teaching that today God does not allow proof or evidence of his existence to generate faith (belief wihout proof).

You've already made it clear that you do not want to discuss whether God actually does provide proof or evidence that can be scientifically substantiated today.

So are you arguing against the teaching or whether the teaching actually exists?


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:14 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-14-2005 1:19 PM purpledawn has responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 100 of 171 (251761)
10-14-2005 1:19 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by purpledawn
10-13-2005 1:44 PM


Re: Impasse Again
purpledawn writes:

Unfortunately what you wrote to Ben and Legend does not address my post.

Perhaps not that particular post. But is has addressed many other questions that you've directed at me.

I've been consistently trying to establish that the passages that I've quoted do speak of God speaking to all people from the beginning of time -- or that God is perceivable in nature. You've so far disagreed with me on both accounts; yet to this extent I've demonstrated that these things can be easilly seen.

In other words, the pattern of similarities to the Judeo-Christian God throughout human history also seem to confirm, in my opinion, that the passages in Romans are quite accurate.

This is to say, this passage...

Romans 2:14-15 writes:

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

...and this earlier passage...

Romans 1:18-20 writes:

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.

...are quite acurately verified in authentic human history by the fact that peoples of various cultures (which have either preceeded Judaism by thousands of years -- or developed in locations which are quite far removed globally from the development of Judaism itself) have arrived at conclusions which bear striking resemblances to the Judeo-Christian concept of God.

Consequently, there seems to be only two choices as to why this pattern is self-evident in human history:

1) God has indeed been speaking to many people throughout human history...

or

2) ...God is evident in nature to the point that people who have not had God speaking to them directly (or access to the Scriptures) can still understand God's qualities by the things he makes.

I personally think it's a combination of the two.

I've been trying to answer your other questions and move beyond this point, but you seemed to be continually disagreeing with my understanding of the Scriptures -- and also trying to redirect this discussion in the direction of evidence. We've never been able to get past these points of contention I might add.

Do you now agree with what I've been saying all along -- and are we ready to move to the next stage now?

purpledawn writes:

None of those comparisons deal with why you disagree with the Christian teaching that today God does not allow proof or evidence of his existence to generate faith (belief wihout proof).

How did all these cultures arrive at conclusions about God which are remarkably similar to the Judeo Christian concept of God yet also "apparently" lacking proof of his existence?

purpledawn writes:

You've already made it clear that you do not want to discuss whether God actually does provide proof or evidence that can be scientifically substantiated today.

Are you understanding the direction of my inquiry now?

purpledawn writes:

So are you arguing against the teaching or whether the teaching actually exists?

Obviously I'm not arguing that the teaching does not exist. I had simply never heard of that teaching before I came here to EvC. In this sense I thank you (and Faith for that matter) for correcting me on this point.

However, once I realized that there really were Christians who held to this view, I proceeded to argue against it.

What you are currently reading is my argument why I feel Christians should most likely not hold this view. As I've said before, I find it quite a cruel view of God for a Christian to hold. In addition to this, as I've pointed out repeatedly, my understanding of the Scriptures in conjunctions with my understanding of human history makes this view an extremely weak argument in my mind. Even noting Pascal's and others points, it still simply makes no sense to me as a Christian that God would hide in order to generate faith.

As far as I can determine, this teaching is not in the Scriptures -- and it doesn't seem to exist amongst Catholic theologians either.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-14-2005 01:39 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by purpledawn, posted 10-13-2005 1:44 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by purpledawn, posted 10-15-2005 7:46 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

    
Ben!
Member (Idle past 1695 days)
Posts: 1154
From: San Diego, CA
Joined: 10-14-2004


Message 101 of 171 (251770)
10-14-2005 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 95 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-13-2005 1:06 PM


Re: Impasse Again
Hi Mr. Ex,

While I appreciate the time and effort you put into your reply, speaking honestly I think most of what you wrote addresses points you figured would be relevant. Thinking back to what you wrote (to purpledawn, I think), I think you said you're trying to antipate. It made your post hard to read for purpledawn, and it did the same thing for me. Or maybe it was Legend. I can't remember. Either way, shorter posts that directly address points and leave room for further clarification if necessary, that works better for me. Just to be up front.

Actually, your summary here is fairly accurate. In a sense I'm saying that when the Judeo-Christian faith is compared to other religions, it is self-evident that the Judeo-Christian is superior to other faiths.

Interesting point. What about all the hub-bub about floods, creation, baramins, etc? Even if with these things it's better, how does it compare to no religion necessary (science)? Seems not favorable to me. But I think this direction is OT, and not necessary to discuss my questions.

In other words, based on the law that is written into the hearts of all people, when one encounters the Judeo-Christian faith, the Holy Spirit should immediately confirm in their heart that they've come across the truth.

Then I'm wondering why this didn't happen to me? I encountered the faith, but I never felt anything like "the Holy sprit confirming in my heart that I've come across true faith." I honestly don't get what I've done "wrong."

When I say that God is self-evident in nature, I'm not necessarilly implying that things which can only be known by revelation are apparent in nature.

I'm saying that the basic attributes of God can be perceived -- such that he is the Creator and that he is involved in the direction of creation.

When I see a bush, I see a bush. When I see a fish, I see a fish. When I climb a tree, I see the things below me and above me. I simply don't see "God" in any of them, let alone more complex things like "creator", "direction", etc. I just see what's in front of me. Nothing more "pops out." Should it?

Emotions can be perceived in nature as well -- and the goodness of self-sacrifice is apparent too (since it increases a species' ability to be fruitful and multiply)

Maybe I'm talking at the wrong level. I'm expecting things to come out based on pure perception. Are you saying that if I sit at home and think about what I've seen, that is when I can see God in everything?

Right now, when I see a leaf, I see a leaf. Maybe I see that the leaf was part of a tree. Nothing really more. I really want to know what you see that I don't see. And I want to know if I can see what you can see and, if so, what it takes for me to get that ability too.

In this sense, there are many minor qualities and intentions of God that can be seen reflecting from his creation itself. As such, as the Romans passage stresses, people are basically without excuse for knowing God and doing his will (forgiving when something goes wrong).

But I don't see creation. I just see "what is." "What is" doesn't scream to me "creation." It's basically silent. I enjoy the silence of nature, that's why I often escape to natural places. It's quiet.

I hope my questions / thoughts don't frustrate you. You see something that I do not see. I can't figure out why. And I think you're telling me I should be able to see it. I want to see what you see. So I want to know why you see it, and why I don't. That's the purpose of my questions.

Thanks!
Ben


This message is a reply to:
 Message 95 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-13-2005 1:06 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 102 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-15-2005 2:18 AM Ben! has responded

    
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 102 of 171 (251905)
10-15-2005 2:18 AM
Reply to: Message 101 by Ben!
10-14-2005 1:58 PM


Re: Impasse Again
Ben! writes:


Hi Mr. Ex,
While I appreciate the time and effort you put into your reply, speaking honestly I think most of what you wrote addresses points you figured would be relevant. Thinking back to what you wrote (to purpledawn, I think), I think you said you're trying to antipate. It made your post hard to read for purpledawn, and it did the same thing for me. Or maybe it was Legend. I can't remember. Either way, shorter posts that directly address points and leave room for further clarification if necessary, that works better for me. Just to be up front.

No problem Ben.

Please remember that I'm only expressing my own views on the subject. Unlike some, I fully admit I could be very wrong. However, this understanding gives me the greatest peace with what I believe to be God as recorded through the Scriptures and church tradition.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Actually, your summary here is fairly accurate. In a sense I'm saying that when the Judeo-Christian faith is compared to other religions, it is self-evident that the Judeo-Christian is superior to other faiths.

Ben! writes:

Interesting point. What about all the hub-bub about floods, creation, baramins, etc? Even if with these things it's better, how does it compare to no religion necessary (science)?

I'm not sure what you mean. Could you clarify?

Ben! writes:

Seems not favorable to me. But I think this direction is OT, and not necessary to discuss my questions.

I don't mind listening if you want to expand on this idea a bit more.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In other words, based on the law that is written into the hearts of all people, when one encounters the Judeo-Christian faith, the Holy Spirit should immediately confirm in their heart that they've come across the truth.

I honestly can't answer that question Ben.

What I mean is, I have some ideas, but I think it varies strongly from person to person. I've maintained for time now that God judges in proportion to what is revealed.

However, what many do not realize is that I believe that many people worship Christ by their actions, including the most ardent atheist. I suspect that many people do believe in God by their actions but do not realize the Holy Spirit is moving them to act according to God's will.

Ben! writes:

I encountered the faith, but I never felt anything like "the Holy sprit confirming in my heart that I've come across true faith." I honestly don't get what I've done "wrong."

You may have done nothing wrong Ben.

What I mean is that you may have been left frustrated by a priest, pastor, or clergyman. Or, you may have had a very bad encounter with back-biting within the church. I'll be the first to admit that these things do happen in all churches, including the Catholic church.

You might have simply not had something explained to you properly. Or, for that matter, you may have had something explained to in such a terrible way that it leaves your image of God enshrouded in anger. I suggested before that not all people should seek to be teachers in the church (becuase they will be judged more strictly for one). This is why I would never take a position of authority in my church if it were ever offered -- the responsibility for leading others to the truth is an immense burden for anyone who truly cares about their "flock".

But that's not all. It may be that God simply hasn't moved in you to the level that you're ready to bear Christ within you.

When a woman is pregnant and she feels the first movement of the child in her womb this is called a "quickening". It is interesting to note that the Scriptures often describe believers in such a way that they could be compared to a woman bearing a child in her womb.

Christ himself draws the analogy this way:

NIV writes:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Paul uses a similar kind of language as well when speaking of creation:

NIV writes:


We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

And, later, he even describes himself in such language when relaying the gospel to others:

NIV writes:

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Although it's not talking about the same thing, some have also noted the phrase "the quick and the dead" found in the Scriptures too. Interestingly enough, the Jewish faith has an subcategory of writings dedicated to the Birthpangs of the Messiah, a powerful reference to the global upheavals that are thought to vangaurd the coming of the Messiah -- it's parallel in the Christian Scriptures, as far as I can determine, seems to be the Book of Revelations (which litrally has a woman going through birthpangs prior to Christ's return).

I think when the Holy Spirit finally moves in you so that you can feel Christ's love "quickening" within you, you will know it's time.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

When I say that God is self-evident in nature, I'm not necessarilly implying that things which can only be known by revelation are apparent in nature.

I'm saying that the basic attributes of God can be perceived -- such that he is the Creator and that he is involved in the direction of creation.

Ben! writes:

When I see a bush, I see a bush. When I see a fish, I see a fish. When I climb a tree, I see the things below me and above me. I simply don't see "God" in any of them, let alone more complex things like "creator", "direction", etc. I just see what's in front of me. Nothing more "pops out." Should it?

I don't think this happens all the time. I know it doesn't with me all the time. However, I often do get distracted by the utilitarian purpose of most objects and often forget the spiritual side of things.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Emotions can be perceived in nature as well -- and the goodness of self-sacrifice is apparent too (since it increases a species' ability to be fruitful and multiply)

Ben! writes:

Maybe I'm talking at the wrong level. I'm expecting things to come out based on pure perception. Are you saying that if I sit at home and think about what I've seen, that is when I can see God in everything?

Yes.

But it can also happen when you least expect it and are not looking for it.

Ben! writes:

Right now, when I see a leaf, I see a leaf. Maybe I see that the leaf was part of a tree. Nothing really more. I really want to know what you see that I don't see. And I want to know if I can see what you can see and, if so, what it takes for me to get that ability too.

In my opinion you already have the ability Ben. It probably just hasn't fully developed in you yet.

This is an important point to note.

Other Christians usually at this point strongly disagree with me. Based on the idea that God damns those who don't believe, they would (admittedly out of concern for others) warn that if they don't immediately believe, then they are guilty of unbelief.

I don't hold this view.

Whether others like to admit it or not, God does take his time to do things. I think you'll know when you're ready.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In this sense, there are many minor qualities and intentions of God that can be seen reflecting from his creation itself. As such, as the Romans passage stresses, people are basically without excuse for knowing God and doing his will (forgiving when something goes wrong).

Ben! writes:

But I don't see creation. I just see "what is." "What is" doesn't scream to me "creation." It's basically silent. I enjoy the silence of nature, that's why I often escape to natural places. It's quiet.

And that's probably a place of sanctuary for you that I would never encourage you to leave.

I guess it is a matter of perception. I always strive for the holiest perception possible and try to be open to what the Spirit reveals.

Let me ask you a question.

When you see a child on TV that is starving what do you see?

Do you see a child that is caught in the ravages of an uncairing world that is blind to the concerns of the child -- and therefore conclude that it is useless to make a difference?

Or do you see a child that is in dire circumstance and is calling out for help -- and decide to aid them in whatever capacity you can in order to make a difference?

Although there are many different other answers that could be given, if you see something remarkably close to the second option then I can assure you that God is close to your heart -- and, in this case, I don't think we see things very differently at all.

Ben! writes:

I hope my questions / thoughts don't frustrate you.

No. They don't.

Ben! writes:

You see something that I do not see. I can't figure out why. And I think you're telling me I should be able to see it. I want to see what you see. So I want to know why you see it, and why I don't. That's the purpose of my questions.

What do you see when you see someone else in need?

Ben! writes:

Thanks!
Ben

No problem.
Mr. Ex


This message is a reply to:
 Message 101 by Ben!, posted 10-14-2005 1:58 PM Ben! has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 118 by Ben!, posted 10-19-2005 2:50 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

    
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1530 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 103 of 171 (252047)
10-15-2005 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-14-2005 1:19 PM


Re: Impasse Again
quote:
As far as I can determine, this teaching is not in the Scriptures
On this one point we agree. The scriptures do not seem to support the idea that God conceals himself from scientific methods of confirmation for the purpose of generating faith (belief without proof) in Himself.

However, I still do not agree that God allows his existence to be scientifically substantiated by mankind in the present day. If he did we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I agree that the scriptures describe past episodes of objective observation, I agree that many religions have similar thoughts concerning God, but that doesn't speak for today. Today we are only presented with personal revelations, which are not open to objective observation and not necessarily provided to all people.

Since you feel this thread i only on theory a speculation, there really isn't any more to discuss.

Shalom :)


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-14-2005 1:19 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-16-2005 1:18 AM purpledawn has responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4621 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 104 of 171 (252095)
10-16-2005 1:18 AM
Reply to: Message 103 by purpledawn
10-15-2005 7:46 PM


Re: Impasse Again
purpledawn writes:

On this one point we agree. The scriptures do not seem to support the idea that God conceals himself from scientific methods of confirmation for the purpose of generating faith (belief without proof) in Himself.

Fair enough.

purpledawn writes:

However, I still do not agree that God allows his existence to be scientifically substantiated by mankind in the present day.

Why would it be different in our modern day?

purpledawn writes:

If he did we wouldn't be having this discussion.

That's not necessarilly true.

purpledawn writes:

I agree that the scriptures describe past episodes of objective observation, I agree that many religions have similar thoughts concerning God, but that doesn't speak for today. Today we are only presented with personal revelations, which are not open to objective observation and not necessarily provided to all people.

Do you want to hear of some of my own personal experiences?

purpledawn writes:

Since you feel this thread i only on theory a speculation, there really isn't any more to discuss.

I thought I had made that clear from the beginning purpledawn. Its why I persistently continued to note that I wasn't looking to debate evidence. Rather, what evidence would we expect to find if God really existed and was communicating with us.

If you wish to move this debate into the arena of validating evidence, then let's continue it here. :)

purpledawn writes:

Shalom

L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 103 by purpledawn, posted 10-15-2005 7:46 PM purpledawn has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 105 by purpledawn, posted 10-16-2005 7:37 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

    
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1530 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 105 of 171 (252116)
10-16-2005 7:37 AM
Reply to: Message 104 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-16-2005 1:18 AM


Re: Impasse Again
quote:
purpledawn writes:

However, I still do not agree that God allows his existence to be scientifically substantiated by mankind in the present day.

Why would it be different in our modern day?


Because it is different today.

And I stated in the first thread and the beginning of this one, that until we get into a dealing with real evidence, there is no more discussion.

quote:
purpledawn writes:

Since you feel this thread is only on theory and speculation, there really isn't any more to discuss.

I thought I had made that clear from the beginning purpledawn.


I don't feel that you did.

quote:
If you wish to move this debate into the arena of validating evidence, then let's continue it here.
Been waiting!


"The average man does not know what to do with this life, yet wants another one which lasts forever." --Anatole France
This message is a reply to:
 Message 104 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-16-2005 1:18 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 106 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-16-2005 12:52 PM purpledawn has responded

  
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