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Author Topic: Where did sin come from?  (Read 4379 times)
avxo
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« Reply #100 on: June 12, 2012, 05:36:41 PM »

Jesus Christ, whether you believe in him or not, changed human history.

So did Genghis Khan. And Adolf Hitler. And Josef Stalin. And Oliver Cromwell. And even you. What's your point?


The Bible is the number one, all time best seller, whether you believe the Bible or not.

So what?


Christianity is by far the largest religion in the world.

Sure, if you lump all denominations together. And even if you do, the question still remains. So what? Christ either existed or he didn't. Christ either was the son of God, or he wasn't. The truth of those things isn't up for a vote. So again, I ask: So what?


Billions of lives have been changed by the message of the Gospel.  Billions of poor people, orphans, widows and victims of catastrophes around the world have been assisted by Christians and Christian organizations.  I could go on and on, but I do not have the time.

When any organization - Christian or not - does good works, they should be applauded. But what does that prove? At best it proves that they believe in the religion. Which is great, but their belief still proves nothing about the religion itself.

And of course, that leaves open the question of "why should Christian organizations work to provide relief to billions of poor people, orphans, widows and victims of catastrophes around the world" when those acts where part of God's plan? Surely, if God didn't want those people to suffer, he wouldn't have let them suffer.


None of these are proof of the existence of God, the existence of Jesus, or of his deity, or of his miracles, or proof that the Bible is the word of God, or proof that Christianity is true.

If they're not proof of those things bring them up? Let's read on, shall we?


However, the "Almighty Gnome", nor the "Spaghetti Monster", nor "Thor" nor "Odin" can claim a fraction of the above claims to Christianity, God and Jesus.

Aha! The plot thickens. Now we can seen you purpose in bringing those things up: you want to have a religion penis size contest... how pious and kinky at the same time!


So I am sorry, but yours an avxo's arguments comparing God, Jesus, the Bible and Christianity to the "Almighty Gnome" and the "Spaghetti Monster" are ridiculous and a failure.

That's only because you don't quite get what the argument is meant to convey. It's not about good works, or what the people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster do. The point is to demonstrate that there's exactly as much evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster as there is for the Christian God and that the very same arguments that are used to "prove" the existence of God can prove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other deity anyone cares to dream up.

I challenge you to find one argument that claims to prove that the Christian God exists that cannot be used to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exist. Just one. And... go!
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« Reply #101 on: June 12, 2012, 07:09:29 PM »


None of these are proof of the existence of God, the existence of Jesus, or of his deity, or of his miracles, or proof that the Bible is the word of God, or proof that Christianity is true.


I'm glad you recognize that. What it means, however, is that none of these facts -- while of great historical interest -- have any relevance to the discussion at hand.


However, the "Almighty Gnome", nor the "Spaghetti Monster", nor "Thor" nor "Odin" can claim a fraction of the above claims to Christianity, God and Jesus.  So I am sorry, but yours an avxo's arguments comparing God, Jesus, the Bible and Christianity to the "Almighty Gnome" and the "Spaghetti Monster" are ridiculous and a failure.


OK, what you've said here is that Jesus is to be taken more seriously because he is more popular. Well, I guess that's a reason to believe something, but it isn't a very good one (to be precise, it is an informal logical fallacy). Hence the continued truth of my post to the effect that there just isn't any good reason to be a Christian.
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loco
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« Reply #102 on: June 13, 2012, 07:21:32 AM »

Even if they do agree on all of that - and that's a big if - you can hardly say that there are no significant differences between Protestants, Catholic and Orthodox Christians! Catholics, for example, believe that the death of Christ created merit that is shared with sinners through the sacraments, whereas Protestants believe that the death of Christ was a substitutionary sacrifice that satisfied God's justice. That's a pretty significant difference.

That's not to say you can't claim that Christians agree on all the things you quote. You can. It would be a lie, but you can and hell, you might even believe it. But what you say and believe don't necessarily have any bearing on reality.


Even if true, this only refers to the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament - there's the New Testament too. Besides, it still leaves open the issue of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which, again, according to Michael Barber "reveal sharp divergences from the [Masoretic Text]."


Oh well, if you say I'm incorrect! Anyone who's read the Bible in two languages. Shit! That's like some crazy Biblical scholar level knowledge right there!


You need to learn to read. I didn't bring J.R.R. Tolkien up to support my argument. I brought him up to demonstrate the ridiculousness of your argument that interepretations and ambiguity are necessary because of flawed human language. If Tolkien, a mere human, could construct several highly complicated languages, from the ground up, complete with a runic alphabet, then surely God could have created just one language that could express his message perfectly since, by your own admission, the human languages of the time failed him.

I do understand what it is you're doing though: You try to misconstrue what I write, in an effort to force to continue to elaborate and explain my argument in more and more detail, in the hope that I'll finally get bored and move on, at which point you would claim "victory". That technique - which I've seen before - relies on a pretty big assumption: that I am willing to accept that you're genuinely trying but failing to understand my argument because of my own fault. But that game won't work. I have absolutely no qualms about calling you out on the fact that you're either (a) purposefully misconstruing what I say in an attempt to annoy me and get me to drop this conversation; or (b) an actual idiot who genuinely cannot understand. In either case, the problem is caused by you - your unwillingness or your inability to read.


The Catholic church admits that what you have listed as an example above is not based on the Bible, but on their own traditions.  Christians do agree on the fundamental beliefs that I listed, which we base on the Bible.

Which brings up a good point.  The Roman Catholic church for centuries had the power and the means to "modify" the Bible, yet they did not.  To this date, the Bible omits hundreds of their traditions, rules and beliefs.  And many parts of the Bible actually contradict them.  They could have "modified" the Bible just for these reasons, but they did not.

Just because human languages change over time, requiring texts to be updated, and just because all humans do not speak the same language, it does not follow that human languages have "failed God", like you said.   God's Word has done, is doing, and it will continue to do what God intended it to do.

You still fail to explain your reference to J.R.R. Tolkien, a brilliant linguist who happened to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.  So please tell us.  How would God creating one perfect language, just for the Bible, really work?  Would we all understand this one perfect language?  Otherwise, wouldn't we all need translators anyway?  And how would we humans keep later generations from adding new words to this language, while forgetting older words?  Wouldn't that eventually require updating the Bible anyway?

And no, you do not understand what I'm doing here.  I am not trying to get you bored and to move on so that I can claim "victory."  Arguing on the Internet is like the Special Olympics.  Even if you win, you are still a retard. 

And even if that's what I wanted to do, I have neither the time nor the patience for it.  I do have a life and a real job.
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« Reply #103 on: June 13, 2012, 07:22:13 AM »

Phillipians 2:12: "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."


John 5:29: "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

So, which is it?

It says "work out", not "work for" your salvation.  You cannot workout that which you do not have.  We receive salvation through faith, and then we are commanded to "work out" our salvation.

As for John 5:29, though we are not saved through good works, those who have received salvation also receive the desire and the power to do good works.  And God intended for us to do these good works anyway.

Ephesians 2:8-10
New International Version (NIV)


8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do


Another thing about John 5:29.  There is one good work which we must do to receive salvation.  Jesus Christ himself told us what this good work is:

John 6:28-29
New International Version (NIV)


28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
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avxo
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« Reply #104 on: June 13, 2012, 10:10:33 AM »

It says "work out", not "work for" your salvation.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the original Greek text actually says: "μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε" which translates to:  "with fear and terror work for your own salvation". I guess "work out" fits, although I wouldn't call it an accurate translation.


You cannot workout that which you do not have.  We receive salvation through faith, and then we are commanded to "work out" our salvation.

Why "work out" anything if salvation is something that's received through faith and faith alone? Sounds like an informercial that says "send no money now!"


As for John 5:29, though we are not saved through good works, those who have received salvation also receive the desire and the power to do good works.  And God intended for us to do these good works anyway.

Ah. So the desire to do these good works is like the fever that comes with an infection...


Another thing about John 5:29.  There is one good work which we must do to receive salvation.  Jesus Christ himself told us what this good work is:

John 6:28-29
New International Version (NIV)


28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Wait... didn't you just finish saying that there were works that we pre-ordained and which God intended we do? Now you're saying the work is to just believe. Which believers do anyways.
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avxo
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« Reply #105 on: June 13, 2012, 10:23:26 AM »

Which brings up a good point.  The Roman Catholic church for centuries had the power and the means to "modify" the Bible, yet they did not.  To this date, the Bible omits hundreds of their traditions, rules and beliefs.  And many parts of the Bible actually contradict them.  They could have "modified" the Bible just for these reasons, but they did not.

They have changed it. The Catholic Bible includes texts that others don't and omits texts that others includes.


Just because human languages change over time, requiring texts to be updated, and just because all humans do not speak the same language, it does not follow that human languages have "failed God", like you said.

If God's word couldn't be directly received by man, but required translations and extensive analysis and teaching before ordinary men could understand it, it's hard to see how human languages haven't "failed God."


God's Word has done, is doing, and it will continue to do what God intended it to do.

Oh, well if you say so.


You still fail to explain your reference to J.R.R. Tolkien, a brilliant linguist who happened to believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.

Don't confuse your inability to understand what I write with a failure on my part.


So please tell us.  How would God creating one perfect language, just for the Bible, really work?

In "mysterious ways" which seems to be the Christian God's modus operandi.


Would we all understand this one perfect language?

Sure. Why not? After all, he's omnipotent. Do you not think that, if he wanted to, he could make so that we're born understanding Godese or whatever.


And how would we humans keep later generations from adding new words to this language, while forgetting older words?

You mean the omnipotent God would be troubled and unable to deal with puny humans coining new words and forgetting old ones?


Wouldn't that eventually require updating the Bible anyway?

Well, if you really want to argue that the omnipotent Christian God isn't omnipotent, you won't get an objection from me.


And no, you do not understand what I'm doing here.  I am not trying to get you bored and to move on so that I can claim "victory."  Arguing on the Internet is like the Special Olympics.  Even if you win, you are still a retard.

 Grin

And even if that's what I wanted to do, I have neither the time nor the patience for it.  I do have a life and a real job.

And training. Don't forget training. This is getbig after all Grin
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« Reply #106 on: June 13, 2012, 10:55:19 AM »

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the original Greek text actually says: "μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε" which translates to:  "with fear and terror work for your own salvation". I guess "work out" fits, although I wouldn't call it an accurate translation.


Why "work out" anything if salvation is something that's received through faith and faith alone? Sounds like an informercial that says "send no money now!"


Ah. So the desire to do these good works is like the fever that comes with an infection...


Wait... didn't you just finish saying that there were works that we pre-ordained and which God intended we do? Now you're saying the work is to just believe. Which believers do anyways.

Oh, I see.  In your original post you highlighted the text "work out" your salvation, but after I said you can't work out that which you do not have, now you change your story and say that in Greek it really says "work for" your own salvation.  Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but the original Greek text actually says:

ἑαυτῶν your own
σωτηρίαν salvation
κατεργάζεσθε work out.

You work out your salvation to become more like Jesus Christ and to bring others to Him.

Our desire and power to do good works comes from God.

Philippians 2:13
New International Version (NIV)

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Yes, the one act that brings salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ.

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« Reply #107 on: June 13, 2012, 11:08:30 AM »

Oh, I see.  In your original post you highlighted the text "work out" your salvation, but after I said you can't work out that which you do not have, now you change your story and say that in Greek it really says "work for" your own salvation.

I quoted the English text.


Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but the original Greek text actually says:

ἑαυτῶν your own
σωτηρίαν salvation
κατεργάζεσθε work out.

It's great that you went to your favorite site to find the meaning of the Greek words. However, seeing how I read, write and speak Greek I do not need you to tell me what the word means Wink But let's play along and assume that the proper meaning is, actually, "work out." What does "work out" mean? One definition is to "bring about by work, effort, or action" or, alternatively "to solve, as a problem" and neither of those really apply according to you. I guess you could argue that the underlying meaning is: "to pay (a debt) by working instead of paying money." But what debt is there to pay off?


You work out your salvation to become more like Jesus Christ and to bring others to Him.

What does "work out" mean in this context?


Our desire and power to do good works comes from God.

I feel sorry for any person who isn't good of his own accord, but requires an external influence and force in order to be good.


Philippians 2:13
New International Version (NIV)

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Yes, the one act that brings salvation is to believe in Jesus Christ.

So all this "work out" stuff is unnecessary? You can't have both. It's one or the other.
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loco
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« Reply #108 on: June 13, 2012, 11:18:10 AM »

They have changed it. The Catholic Bible includes texts that others don't and omits texts that others includes.


If God's word couldn't be directly received by man, but required translations and extensive analysis and teaching before ordinary men could understand it, it's hard to see how human languages haven't "failed God."


Oh, well if you say so.


Don't confuse your inability to understand what I write with a failure on my part.


In "mysterious ways" which seems to be the Christian God's modus operandi.


Sure. Why not? After all, he's omnipotent. Do you not think that, if he wanted to, he could make so that we're born understanding Godese or whatever.


You mean the omnipotent God would be troubled and unable to deal with puny humans coining new words and forgetting old ones?


Well, if you really want to argue that the omnipotent Christian God isn't omnipotent, you won't get an objection from me.


 Grin

And training. Don't forget training. This is getbig after all Grin

You say that the Catholic church has changed the Bible, but you do not provide any proof or any examples.  We are all aware that the Catholic Bible includes a few books that the Protestant Bible does not.  However, the books that they both have in common have not been changed.  And they do not support many of the Catholic beliefs.  They could have changed that, but they did not.  

I am not sure what you are talking about, ordinary men not understanding the Bible.  I am an ordinary man, and I do understand the Bible.  In fact, every preacher at every church where I have been a member has always encouraged everyone to do their own reading and study of the Bible, and to check what he is saying to see if it is in line with the Bible.

Just because God has given us His Word using humans and human languages, it does not follow that God is not omnipotent or that human languages have failed God.  That is just your opinion and you are simply arguing God should have done things the way that you would have done things if you were God.

Yes, I forgot training.  Training occupies a chunk of my time too.
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avxo
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« Reply #109 on: June 13, 2012, 11:25:25 AM »

I am not sure what you are talking about, ordinary men not understanding the Bible.  I am an ordinary man, and I do understand the Bible.  In fact, every preacher at every church where I have been a member has always encouraged everyone to do their own reading and study of the Bible, and to check what he is saying to see if it is in line with the Bible.

It's always a good idea to read on your own and not rely on what others say. But if it is easy to understand, why are pastors necessary? Why are hour-long sermons belaboring a point necessary? Why do so many different people have such radically different understandings?


Just because God has given us His Word using humans and human languages, it does not follow that God is not omnipotent or that human languages have failed God.  That is just your opinion and you are simply arguing God should have done things the way that you would have done things if you were God.

Actually no. That's not what I'm arguing. I'm asking why would God not use a method of communicating that would guarantee both the integrity of his words and that their literal meaning was retained so that we would not have to have this discussion at all.
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« Reply #110 on: June 13, 2012, 11:38:28 AM »

So did Genghis Khan. And Adolf Hitler. And Josef Stalin. And Oliver Cromwell. And even you. What's your point?


So what?


Sure, if you lump all denominations together. And even if you do, the question still remains. So what? Christ either existed or he didn't. Christ either was the son of God, or he wasn't. The truth of those things isn't up for a vote. So again, I ask: So what?


When any organization - Christian or not - does good works, they should be applauded. But what does that prove? At best it proves that they believe in the religion. Which is great, but their belief still proves nothing about the religion itself.

And of course, that leaves open the question of "why should Christian organizations work to provide relief to billions of poor people, orphans, widows and victims of catastrophes around the world" when those acts where part of God's plan? Surely, if God didn't want those people to suffer, he wouldn't have let them suffer.


If they're not proof of those things bring them up? Let's read on, shall we?


Aha! The plot thickens. Now we can seen you purpose in bringing those things up: you want to have a religion penis size contest... how pious and kinky at the same time!


That's only because you don't quite get what the argument is meant to convey. It's not about good works, or what the people who believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster do. The point is to demonstrate that there's exactly as much evidence for the Flying Spaghetti Monster as there is for the Christian God and that the very same arguments that are used to "prove" the existence of God can prove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or any other deity anyone cares to dream up.

I challenge you to find one argument that claims to prove that the Christian God exists that cannot be used to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exist. Just one. And... go!

I'm glad you recognize that. What it means, however, is that none of these facts -- while of great historical interest -- have any relevance to the discussion at hand.

OK, what you've said here is that Jesus is to be taken more seriously because he is more popular. Well, I guess that's a reason to believe something, but it isn't a very good one (to be precise, it is an informal logical fallacy). Hence the continued truth of my post to the effect that there just isn't any good reason to be a Christian.

The point is that when "Man of Steel" kindly asks that you look into who was/is this Jesus Christ guy and what he did/does, it is not the same as looking into the "Spaghetti Monster" or the "Great Gnome" as you suggested.  

And to answer avxo's challenge to find "proof" that the "Christian God" exists, I believe this is not a matter of proof.  I have always believed that it is a matter of faith.  When it comes to seeing evidence, it is a personal matter.  For example, I see plenty of evidence that support my faith, but to you it is no evidence at all.  

But for the sake of the discussion, I will play along:  Christianity grew exponentially in the first few centuries, peacefully, and despite the fact that Christians were being persecuted, tortured and killed.  I happen to know a college professor who said that to him personally, this is evidence enough that Jesus' disciples, after watching him die, after scattering and hiding in fear for their own lives, later saw Jesus Christ alive again.  To this professor, that is evidence enough of the resurrection.  The disciples all died poor, powerless, and most died violent deaths.  Who would die for a lie?  And why?

Anyway, I'm curious, how would you tell this professor that the above applies just the same and proves that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?
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« Reply #111 on: June 13, 2012, 12:16:22 PM »

The point is that when "Man of Steel" kindly asks that you look into who was/is this Jesus Christ guy and what he did/does, it is not the same as looking into the "Spaghetti Monster" or the "Great Gnome" as you suggested.

How is it different? Because Christianity has more followers?


And to answer avxo's challenge to find "proof" that the "Christian God" exists, I believe this is not a matter of proof.  I have always believed that it is a matter of faith.  When it comes to seeing evidence, it is a personal matter.  For example, I see plenty of evidence that support my faith, but to you it is no evidence at all.  

I don't disagree that it's faith. Indeed, that's where we diverge. You believe that faith is a valid means for acquiring knowledge, and I don't.


But for the sake of the discussion, I will play along:  Christianity grew exponentially in the first few centuries, peacefully, and despite the fact that Christians were being persecuted, tortured and killed.

Thanks for playing along, but (a) this isn't - by your own admission earlier in this thread - proof of the Christian God, so it's irrelevant; and (b) it misses my point anyways: that any logical argument that can be used to prove that the Christian God exists, can be used, almost verbatim, to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.


I happen to know a college professor who said that to him personally, this is evidence enough that Jesus' disciples, after watching him die, after scattering and hiding in fear for their own lives, later saw Jesus Christ alive again.  To this professor, that is evidence enough of the resurrection.

I'd venture a guess that your Professor friend looks at the evidence and sees what he wants to see, not what is actually there. I'll give you an example: They disciples didn't actually see Jesus alive again. They claimed to have seen him alive again. Did they, actually? Who knows. But there is a difference between those two positions and it's not insignificant.


The disciples all died poor, powerless, and most died violent deaths.  Who would die for a lie?  And why?

You - and your Professor friend - are missing a very important point. The disciples might have genuinely believed that Christ was the Son of God. But that doesn't mean they didn't die for a lie - their belief doesn't have any bearing on reality (that is, on whether Jesus Christ was, actually, the Son of God). They could have believed and still died for a lie. It's nothing new.


Anyway, I'm curious, how would you tell this professor that the above applies just the same and proves that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?

First of all, the Professor can believe whatever he wants to - his beliefs do not concern me. However, as I've already pointed out that his logic is flawed. Indeed, it would be a great exercise to ask his class (and himself) to look at these statements objectively and to try to identify how many logical fallacies there are in his beliefs (at least as you have represented them). I've already got the ball rolling, and I'll even throw in a freebie: Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Christianity grew exponentially therefore Christianity is true).
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« Reply #112 on: June 13, 2012, 12:36:18 PM »

How is it different? Because Christianity has more followers?


I don't disagree that it's faith. Indeed, that's where we diverge. You believe that faith is a valid means for acquiring knowledge, and I don't.


Thanks for playing along, but (a) this isn't - by your own admission earlier in this thread - proof of the Christian God, so it's irrelevant; and (b) it misses my point anyways: that any logical argument that can be used to prove that the Christian God exists, can be used, almost verbatim, to prove that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists.


I'd venture a guess that your Professor friend looks at the evidence and sees what he wants to see, not what is actually there. I'll give you an example: They disciples didn't actually see Jesus alive again. They claimed to have seen him alive again. Did they, actually? Who knows. But there is a difference between those two positions and it's not insignificant.


You - and your Professor friend - are missing a very important point. The disciples might have genuinely believed that Christ was the Son of God. But that doesn't mean they didn't die for a lie - their belief doesn't have any bearing on reality (that is, on whether Jesus Christ was, actually, the Son of God). They could have believed and still died for a lie. It's nothing new.


First of all, the Professor can believe whatever he wants to - his beliefs do not concern me. However, as I've already pointed out that his logic is flawed. Indeed, it would be a great exercise to ask his class (and himself) to look at these statements objectively and to try to identify how many logical fallacies there are in his beliefs (at least as you have represented them). I've already got the ball rolling, and I'll even throw in a freebie: Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Christianity grew exponentially therefore Christianity is true).

No, I listed many more things than just "more followers", but you conveniently left them out. 

And it is not just "Christianity grew exponentially", there is much more to my statement, but you conveniently left it out in your post.

I answered your challenge, but now you conveniently dismiss it and say that I can't play?  Why don't you tell me how my statement above can be applied to proving that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?
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« Reply #113 on: June 13, 2012, 12:40:16 PM »

It's always a good idea to read on your own and not rely on what others say. But if it is easy to understand, why are pastors necessary? Why are hour-long sermons belaboring a point necessary? Why do so many different people have such radically different understandings?


Actually no. That's not what I'm arguing. I'm asking why would God not use a method of communicating that would guarantee both the integrity of his words and that their literal meaning was retained so that we would not have to have this discussion at all.


I went to college to study math and computer science.  My preacher went to seminary to study Theology, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, History, Linguistics, etc.  Why wouldn't I listen and learn from him?  Jesus taught his apostles, who taught other people, and so on and so forth.

Is your question rhetoric?  Why wouldn't God do this?  Why wouldn't God do that?  I don't know.  Does that proof that God does not exist?  No.
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« Reply #114 on: June 13, 2012, 12:45:44 PM »

I quoted the English text.


It's great that you went to your favorite site to find the meaning of the Greek words. However, seeing how I read, write and speak Greek I do not need you to tell me what the word means Wink But let's play along and assume that the proper meaning is, actually, "work out." What does "work out" mean? One definition is to "bring about by work, effort, or action" or, alternatively "to solve, as a problem" and neither of those really apply according to you. I guess you could argue that the underlying meaning is: "to pay (a debt) by working instead of paying money." But what debt is there to pay off?


What does "work out" mean in this context?


I feel sorry for any person who isn't good of his own accord, but requires an external influence and force in order to be good.


So all this "work out" stuff is unnecessary? You can't have both. It's one or the other.

You are fluent in Greek, big deal!  So what?  First you say it says "work out", then you say it says "work for", now you say it says "work out" again.  But this time you say "work out" in English does not mean what it says, but instead it means something else.     Roll Eyes

Why do you feel sorry for Christians?  Who is "good" of his/her own accord?  And who doesn't require an external influence and force(God) to know, and to want to do, and to be able to do what God requires of him/her?

"work out" is unnecessary for salvation.  However, it is necessary for growing spiritually, being more like Jesus Christ and for bringing others to Jesus Christ.
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« Reply #115 on: June 13, 2012, 01:49:02 PM »

No, I listed many more things than just "more followers", but you conveniently left them out.

I didn't conveniently leave anything out - if you think I did, by all means, bring them up again and I will answer.


And it is not just "Christianity grew exponentially", there is much more to my statement, but you conveniently left it out in your post.

Such as?


I answered your challenge, but now you conveniently dismiss it and say that I can't play?  Why don't you tell me how my statement above can be applied to proving that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?

No you didn't. The statement you provided - by your own admission - doesn't prove the existence of the Christian deity.

I went to college to study math and computer science.  My preacher went to seminary to study Theology, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, History, Linguistics, etc.  Why wouldn't I listen and learn from him?  Jesus taught his apostles, who taught other people, and so on and so forth.

If the word is self-evident and easy to understand, why do you need to listen and learn from him on this particular subject? (sidenote: cool about the math & comp.sci. choice - that was my undergraduate field of study as well)



Is your question rhetoric?  Why wouldn't God do this?  Why wouldn't God do that?  I don't know.  Does that proof that God does not exist?  No.

In a sense it is, I guess, since nobody will bother answering it. I just don't understand why, if God wanted us to be saved, he didn't give clear, unambiguous signs, instead relying on stuff that can be misinterpreted, stuff that can't be proven by logic (or which is, often, contradicted by logic), and so on.


You are fluent in Greek, big deal!  So what?

Well, I don't know how big a deal it is, but it's a nice skill to have and a beautiful language to boot. Besides, I'm a firm believer that knowledge is it's own reward. But, to get back tot he matter at hand: it means that, unlike you, I can read the text and directly understand it, without needing to go to a dictionary. And if you knew Greek, you'd be able to to at least argue that part of the Gospel was written in a language that survived (up until the late 20th century at any rate) largely unadulterated Smiley


First you say it says "work out", then you say it says "work for", now you say it says "work out" again.  But this time you say "work out" in English does not mean what it says, but instead it means something else.     Roll Eyes

I cited the English text, verbatim. I translated the Greek text to English. I don't see the problem.


Why do you feel sorry for Christians?  Who is "good" of his/her own accord?  And who doesn't require an external influence and force(God) to know, and to want to do, and to be able to do what God requires of him/her?

I feel sorry for anyone who needs to be bribed or threatened into doing good. As for who is good of his/her own accord? Unlike you, I don't believe in original sin, and I don't believe that people are inherently evil sinners, nor do I believe that people need some external push to do the right thing. Basically I don't believe that people are evil, and that when they aren't, it's only because a higher power is pulling the strings. You can certainly believe that, and it says more about you (and your beliefs) that I ever could.


"work out" is unnecessary for salvation.  However, it is necessary for growing spiritually, being more like Jesus Christ and for bringing others to Jesus Christ.

OK, now I understand how you interpret the concept. It's not working for your salvation; it's working to spread the salvation around. I'll grant you that it is a plausible interpretation. But again, it comes back to the whole "why couldn't this be made perfectly clear from the beginning?"

Surely you see where I'm coming from?
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« Reply #116 on: June 13, 2012, 02:49:32 PM »

We celebrate Pagan holidays, and claim that they are christian.
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« Reply #117 on: June 13, 2012, 09:06:25 PM »

The point is that when "Man of Steel" kindly asks that you look into who was/is this Jesus Christ guy and what he did/does, it is not the same as looking into the "Spaghetti Monster" or the "Great Gnome" as you suggested.  

And to answer avxo's challenge to find "proof" that the "Christian God" exists, I believe this is not a matter of proof.  I have always believed that it is a matter of faith.  When it comes to seeing evidence, it is a personal matter.  For example, I see plenty of evidence that support my faith, but to you it is no evidence at all.  

But for the sake of the discussion, I will play along:  Christianity grew exponentially in the first few centuries, peacefully, and despite the fact that Christians were being persecuted, tortured and killed.  I happen to know a college professor who said that to him personally, this is evidence enough that Jesus' disciples, after watching him die, after scattering and hiding in fear for their own lives, later saw Jesus Christ alive again.  To this professor, that is evidence enough of the resurrection.  The disciples all died poor, powerless, and most died violent deaths.  Who would die for a lie?  And why?

Anyway, I'm curious, how would you tell this professor that the above applies just the same and proves that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists?

Thank you for your continued responses.

1. Man of Steel asked us to ignore evidence and reason and instead engage in a "switch [of] gears and opt for a reversed, emotional position" so that we might discover Christianity's truth. This type of appeal is exactly equivalent to my appeal that you submit yourself to the Almighty Gnome, as I simply replaced the Christian terms in Steel's post with my own. Think of this in terms of a game: we are both trying to convince a reasonable person from another planet that our worldview is the right one. After hearing both of our pleas, our galactic visitor will have no more evidence for the Christian God than he will the Almighty Gnome. In short, this sort of reasoning is terrible and isn't going to convince someone with no skin in the game of anything (nor should it).

2. I agree that Jesus and the Almighty Gnome are not logically equivalent; Jesus actually existed and the Almighty Gnome never did. So, there will be arguments in favor of the former that cannot be made in favor of the latter. The point of Spaghetti and Gnome talk is to make clear that certain types of argument many Christians make in favor of their religion apply equally well to the other religions men have invented, including contemporary, satirical ones.

3. So, there is a class of arguments Christians make that aren't exclusive evidence for Christianity (e.g., faith-based arguments and emotional appeals like the ones discussed in 1.), and then there are arguments that can be said to be exclusive to Christianity. Unfortunately, I just can't see where any of these arguments have any force. I'm glad you mention evidence, because standards of evidence have a role to play in deciding our worldview. My standards of evidence are such that none of the supposed evidence for Christianity counts as such. You say that "seeing evidence" is a personal matter, and to some extent this is right: our personal psychology can very much affect our interpretation of what counts as evidence and what does not.

4. However, there need to be objective standards of evidence, or principles that enable us to discover the way reality really is. I contend that the standards deployed by the religious lead to a silly body of beliefs that has little correspondence to the reality outside of our heads, as evinced by the endless pile of false predictions/explanations of observations. Imagine a counterfactual scenario where Jesus actually did return in the lifetime of his followers, as he said he would. This would be a successful prediction of an observation and would be pretty compelling evidence that Christianity was right. Science makes these sorts of predictions and they come to fruition every second, e.g., when we continuously and correctly predict the motions and positions of planetary bodies. Christianity and all other human religions flunk this standard pretty handily, yet pretend to describe the world all the same.

5. When someone makes an argument, we can extract an "argument form" (or type of argument) from their words and see if it makes sense. Your professor friend argues that because Christianity grew in the face of persecution, it must be true and the supernatural events it lays claim to must have happened. The "argument form" we can extract from is this: "Any set of beliefs that grows in the face of fierce persecution must be true. X [some set of beliefs] grew in the face of fierce persecution. Therefore, X is true."

It's pretty clear from history that this is a terrible way to argue for a belief system and does not constitute the slightest evidence for Christianity whatsoever. Why not? One, because it applies to virtually every man-made religion in existence, all of whose disciples faced persecution in their foundational years. These religions make mutually incompatible claims, so they can't all be true. Two, hundreds of millions of people have died for lies throughout human history, including all of the religious wars (even if we exclude Christianity) and deaths in the name of whacked-out, quasi-religious political systems (e.g., Communism). They died because they genuinely believed, just as I'm sure the disciples did. This isn't evidence for what they believed, unless you want to count the fact that Al Qaeda operatives are willing to risk getting hunted down by the world's superpower and ultimately blowing themselves up, often as sexually repressed virgins, as evidence that Allah is talking to them and promising them virgins in heaven.
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« Reply #118 on: June 14, 2012, 09:52:17 AM »

Thank you for your continued responses.

1. Man of Steel asked us to ignore evidence and reason and instead engage in a "switch [of] gears and opt for a reversed, emotional position" so that we might discover Christianity's truth. This type of appeal is exactly equivalent to my appeal that you submit yourself to the Almighty Gnome, as I simply replaced the Christian terms in Steel's post with my own. Think of this in terms of a game: we are both trying to convince a reasonable person from another planet that our worldview is the right one. After hearing both of our pleas, our galactic visitor will have no more evidence for the Christian God than he will the Almighty Gnome. In short, this sort of reasoning is terrible and isn't going to convince someone with no skin in the game of anything (nor should it).


I'm not presenting a trap or a an apologetic appeal or a new brand of logic.  I suggested that you try on Christ for yourself with an honest, genuine desire to know him.  Forget reasoning him away, forget the debate and take it to the source.  If you truly desire to know Christ yourself then simply desire to know and believe in him and see if he doesn't respond....I double dog dare ya LOL!!  If you have no desire to know Christ then forget it and move on (I don't suggest that, but it's your choice).  The reply about the gnome idea has no bearing on what I'm suggesting though.  I grasp what your attempting to suggest, but you and I both know you understand what I'm suggesting.     
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« Reply #119 on: June 14, 2012, 10:01:55 AM »

When the Holy Spirit washes over a believer in a moment of prayer or worship it's quite an experience....I pray you can experience that some day in your own life.  There's nothing like calling on the name of Jesus and feeling his presence and feeling fear or darkness or evil flee.  Again I pray you have the opportunity to experience that for yourself someday....it's not out of your reach by any means.

Believe it or not, I pray for the members of this board all the time.

Thanks for your prayers, but they aren't needed. A lot of us do very well (being moral, successful, not depressed) without religion.

Apparently, not many religious people have these sorts of experiences, but obviously when they do it is amazing. However, they are experienced across the board and the Buddhist takes it as evidence of what he's been saying all along, the Muslim takes it as evidence of what he's been saying all along, and so forth. Our theory of the world helps us interpret that experience; therefore, it isn't evidence for any of the theories because it doesn't differentiate between them.

In other words, what theory you have onboard or near at hand leads to the specific interpretation that results, e.g. "That was the holy spirit I just felt!" The only you reason you said that was because you were already Christian, or are in a Christian culture where that sort of explanation was readily available. Why else do you take it as evidence for Christianity, while the Muslim takes it as evidence of Allah, the Buddhist as evidence of some sort of elimination of the self, etc.?

I also mentioned in my post that the very same sort of experience can be induced from illicit drug use. If the person is getting the same religious experience from an LSD trip, does that mean the drug is bringing on the presence of the Lord, or that the drug alters brain chemistry such that the sensation is elicited? I think it's clear that the latter and not the former is the better explanation here, and thus can explain your (and all other religious persons') religious experiences.
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« Reply #120 on: June 14, 2012, 10:09:36 AM »


I'm not presenting a trap or a an apologetic appeal or a new brand of logic.  I suggested that you try on Christ for yourself with an honest, genuine desire to know him.  Forget reasoning him away, forget the debate and take it to the source.  If you truly desire to know Christ yourself then simply desire to know and believe in him and see if he doesn't respond....I double dog dare ya LOL!!  If you have no desire to know Christ then forget it and move on (I don't suggest that, but it's your choice).  The reply about the gnome idea has no bearing on what I'm suggesting though.  I grasp what your attempting to suggest, but you and I both know you understand what I'm suggesting.     


Why should anybody ever forget about reasoning, and why in this circumstance in particular?
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« Reply #121 on: June 14, 2012, 11:36:58 AM »

Thanks for your prayers, but they aren't needed. A lot of us do very well (being moral, successful, not depressed) without religion.

Please define "being moral"!
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« Reply #122 on: June 14, 2012, 01:03:41 PM »

Thanks for your prayers, but they aren't needed. A lot of us do very well (being moral, successful, not depressed) without religion.

Apparently, not many religious people have these sorts of experiences, but obviously when they do it is amazing. However, they are experienced across the board and the Buddhist takes it as evidence of what he's been saying all along, the Muslim takes it as evidence of what he's been saying all along, and so forth. Our theory of the world helps us interpret that experience; therefore, it isn't evidence for any of the theories because it doesn't differentiate between them.

In other words, what theory you have onboard or near at hand leads to the specific interpretation that results, e.g. "That was the holy spirit I just felt!" The only you reason you said that was because you were already Christian, or are in a Christian culture where that sort of explanation was readily available. Why else do you take it as evidence for Christianity, while the Muslim takes it as evidence of Allah, the Buddhist as evidence of some sort of elimination of the self, etc.?

I also mentioned in my post that the very same sort of experience can be induced from illicit drug use. If the person is getting the same religious experience from an LSD trip, does that mean the drug is bringing on the presence of the Lord, or that the drug alters brain chemistry such that the sensation is elicited? I think it's clear that the latter and not the former is the better explanation here, and thus can explain your (and all other religious persons') religious experiences.

so basically what you are saying is that its unproven association?  (or unproven cause and effect)
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« Reply #123 on: June 14, 2012, 09:20:25 PM »

Please define "being moral"!

I'm using the word in its everyday use for convenience' sake (and so that other people can understand what I'm saying here). You know what I think about the word from another thread, but it would be confusing if I started talking about that here.

Just like I sometimes utter the expression "Oh God!" to express my feelings despite not believing, so too can I use the word "moral" to get a point across since it's such a popular linguistic token.

So, if you want the more precise version of my original sentence, just swap in "what most people would consider moral" where "moral" currently is.

Good effort trying to catch me being logically inconsistent but it's not happening! Grin
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« Reply #124 on: June 14, 2012, 10:10:32 PM »


so basically what you are saying is that its unproven association?  (or unproven cause and effect)


You could put it that way. There's no demonstrated cause and effect between the deities of the religion (cause) and the religious experience (effect). In fact, the only (pretty well) demonstrated cause for religious experience is illicit drugs that alter brain chemistry. Why should we think anything different (anything other than altered brain chemistry) is going on when a religious person says they experience Christ, or Allah?

Sorry if the other stuff I said is confusing but the point is this: the theories we adopt affect how we interpret various stimuli. So, a primitive religious person that worships the sun sees something different (interprets the visual stimuli differently) when he looks at it than does a contemporary astrophysicist. Same stimuli, different "things" seen (despite the fact that both are looking at the same big yellow ball in the sky).

That's what I think happens with religious experience: the Christians on here like Man of Steel act as if their religious experience is a theory-free proof of Christ; they ignore (or are unaware) that a supermajority of religious people around the world (Christianity was, is, and probably always will be a minority view) have the very same experiences and take them as evidence of their religion(s). Why? Because of what I described in the previous paragraph. People interpret stimuli based on their theories of the world. The Christian interprets the religious experience as encountering the holy spirit, the buddhist of becoming one with the universe, and so forth. The experience is just that: a raw experience that has to be interpreted somehow. What we believe when it happens is paramount in determining the interpretation we come up with.
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