Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seeking To Find

In today’s culture people place high value on the following ideals open mindedness, uncertainty, theory, and tolerance especially, if not solely, when it comes to moral and religious matters. In efforts to live by such values some take the postmodern view that all religious views are on the same level plane and there is no way better than another as long as we all get along. Others take the view often dubbed new atheism where no religion has validity and all need to fade into the mythological past with the gods of the ancients.


There are, of course, variations of these two themes. Not every postmodern welcomes every religion on the planet as equally good, nor does every atheist think religion ought to be forgotten. Some atheists are quiet open to religion continuing as long as it doesn’t cross any lines into their freedom to non-belief.


Even within Christian circles these ideals aforementioned are close to many a heart. Some professing Christianity aren’t so sure it is alright to believe Jesus is the only way and think it more progressive for Him to be their way and keep all doctrine loose enough to never exclude falsehood from truth.


However, whatever the philosophical affiliation most believe that truth ought to have no boundaries. Certainty carries an arrogant connotation. Asserting a truth with conviction makes people uncomfortable. Even in politics there is a grass roots call for bi-partisanship. Asserting something as the right way is taboo for many ways can be thought up and no one should exclude anyone, or so the thinking goes.


The problem is there are foundational logical issues with the idea of perpetual uncertainty or the acceptance of all ideas. America is a melting pot of ideas designed for iron to sharpen iron to keep the debate open by holding fast to your convictions and making sure the other perspectives are recognized and considered. Truth comes in all packages, but when it is true it also necessarily excludes what is not true.


Truth is simply that which really is. And that which is not is false. We seem to have lost sight of these simple logical truths. A claim to knowledge of what is should not be shunned, but tested. A claim of something being false is based on something else being true. Both claims need testing, but it is okay to draw conclusions.


“Dogma--an evil word,” commented a blogger recently. Is that true? Dogma means “An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.” Sounds like an “authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion considered to be absolutely true.” The commentator said he preferred “theory.” Then it has to be his uncertain theory that dogma is evil, anything else would be dogma.


I’m not trying to pick on anyone so I’m not going to provide the link to the comment I recently read. It just aptly illustrated my point. The point is that no one can get away from dogmatic statements, even those who protest dogma, and that’s okay. We can firmly hold different ideas about the world and still all love each other unless one of our ideas about the world doesn’t allow for such love. I would need to watch my back if I were to befriend a terrorist or someone of that nature.


To anyone who says it is impossible to be certain about truth. I would retort, are you certain? The thing is the necessity of an open mind is to seek the truth and close it around truth and open it to more truth. It’s a process of learning. If it remains open all the time the person is always a seeker and never a finder. Why should anyone seek what cannot be found?


Granted there are many things we will only ever know in part, but we can know a part, or a shadow of the real. But there are other things that we can know and people do know. The problems of doctrine and dogma are not problems of truth claims, but making what is only a part the whole.


You may have heard the story of the three blind men touching an elephant and being asked what the object is. One who has the tail says it is a piece of rope. Another touching the leg thinks it is a trunk of a tree, and so one. Each only experiencing a part of the whole and each firmly believing they know the whole from the part.


Knowing something as true isn’t arrogance, but steps along a journey of truth. Anything can be used in a harmful manner, but that doesn’t make the thing bad. A person can use a firearm in a crime, but that doesn’t mean all guns are bad (though some think so). A person can start a forest fire with a match, but we don’t need to remove all matches from the country. Doctrine, dogma, certainty, knowledge, truth claims, all these are tools of our lives and they can be used in a way that gives life or they can be used in a way that brings bondage.


The problem isn’t the tool it is the heart of the one wielding it. And that heart that wields it wrongly is in each and every one of us and it is that condition of the heart that needs repair and not the tool that needs to be dispensed with. Each of us, whether religious or secular, will bear it in error at times, let us all practice caution and bear truth, as best we know it, ensconced in real love.

81 comments:

Makarios said...

Good post, much wisdom. thank you

boomSLANG said...

@ Karla,

The one point that you've succeeded in making with perfect clarity is that you *believe* that you've found "Truth". I'm pretty sure we all get that. We can all see very clearly what Karla personally believes. So then, mission accomplished, right?

Karla said...

I think you missed the point.

CyberKitten said...

I was just struggling to see what particular point you were trying to make....

boomSLANG said...

I didn't say that the "point" to which I'm refering was necessarily one that you were trying to make.

Karla said...

Cyber, basically that the point of seeking truth is also finding it in greater and greater measure as one gets closer and closer to it.

If we seek with the idea that we can never find and know something to be true, what's the point of seeking?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Cyber, basically that the point of seeking truth is also finding it in greater and greater measure as one gets closer and closer to it.

That's based on the belief that there is a Truth that can be worked towards and achieved. It may be possible to acquire all the knowledge that we can - though this will probaby take many hundreds of years - but there appears to be things that we can never know. Of course knowing that is knowledge in itself.

I for one do not believe in ultimate Truth in the same way I think you mean it.

karla said: If we seek with the idea that we can never find and know something to be true, what's the point of seeking?

Because we seek knowledge - not Truth. Because what you consider to be the Truth is not what other people consider the Truth. You have yet to convince me of how we can diferentiate between the many competing Truth claims?

How do you know that your Truth claim is more correct than a Muslim, Buddhist or any other Truth claim? Obviously it is not easy to diferentiate between them otherwise the other Truth claims (apart from the 'correct' one) would fade away. Everyone is convinced that their Truth claim is the correct one. If none of them can make a compelling case why should I give any of them the time of day?

Karla said...

karla said: Cyber, basically that the point of seeking truth is also finding it in greater and greater measure as one gets closer and closer to it.

Cyber “That's based on the belief that there is a Truth that can be worked towards and achieved.”

True.

Cyber “It may be possible to acquire all the knowledge that we can - though this will probaby take many hundreds of years - but there appears to be things that we can never know. Of course knowing that is knowledge in itself.”

So how do we know if the knowledge is true or false if there is no ultimate Truth?
How did knowing begin? If there is no God, then there would have to be a time where knowledge didn’t exist and a time where it began to exist. But how? Do you know of any studies on this?

Cyber “I for one do not believe in ultimate Truth in the same way I think you mean it.”

That still amazes me.

Cyber “Because we seek knowledge - not Truth.”

True knowledge?


Cyber “Because what you consider to be the Truth is not what other people consider the Truth.”

I think we have established everyone doesn’t have to agree for a thing to be true.


Cyber “You have yet to convince me of how we can diferentiate between the many competing Truth claims?”

We can only do that if there is an ultimate Truth by which to judge. Otherwise all ideas about such things would be equally irrelevant.

Cyber “How do you know that your Truth claim is more correct than a Muslim, Buddhist or any other Truth claim?”

The short answer is to the best of my knowledge and experience the claims of Islam, Buddhism and others do not make sense of the world, of reality, like the claim of Christ does. Truth needs to be logical and reasonable, work practically, and be able to be communicated. While most religions can be communicated, not all have a basis in logic and reason nor do they all work practically.
Cyber “Obviously it is not easy to diferentiate between them otherwise the other Truth claims (apart from the 'correct' one) would fade away.”

Not necessarily. People still believe the holocaust never happened. People still believe we never landed on the moon. The truth being evidenced doesn’t make the other believes fade away. There is more at work than ignorance.


Cyber “Everyone is convinced that their Truth claim is the correct one.”

Yes, but believing it doesn’t make it so. Even a rudimentary study of world religions will show that there are fundamental differences and they cannot be equal, unless they were equally false as you have pointed out. The only way they could be equally false is if they are all man made and the truth is as you believe that there is no ultimate truth reason for spirituality, meaning, purpose, beauty and things are simply what we see in the natural world, no more and no less. I’m mulling something over now on this topic that I hope to post soon. I still want to do a post on “spirit”, but life has been crazy busy lately and I have not been able to write out anything yet.

Cyber “If none of them can make a compelling case why should I give any of them the time of day?”

Haven’t you said that you haven’t really looked into religion at all? That you haven’t read a Bible or anything? So how could you know if any of them have a compelling case? Just speaking of Christianity, have you read or listened to much of anything from Christians regarding the case for Christ anywhere other than my blog?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: So how do we know if the knowledge is true or false if there is no ultimate Truth?

By testing it repeatedly.

karla said: How did knowing begin? If there is no God, then there would have to be a time where knowledge didn’t exist and a time where it began to exist. But how?

Knowledge begins by asking questions, searching for answers and then testing those answers against the real world.

karla said: Cyber “I for one do not believe in ultimate Truth in the same way I think you mean it.”

That still amazes me.

Why?

karla said: We can only do that if there is an ultimate Truth by which to judge. Otherwise all ideas about such things would be equally irrelevant.

No. If there are several competing truth claims we can test them. The one(s) that pass most of the tests are those that are most true - or not if they fail them.

karla said: The short answer is to the best of my knowledge and experience the claims of Islam, Buddhism and others do not make sense of the world, of reality, like the claim of Christ does.

Yet their believers think the same about christianity. I'm confident that many muslims etc think that their beliefs make much more sense of the world that your beliefs do - as I think that my beliefs about the world make far more sense than what I understand to be your beliefs.

karla said: Truth needs to be logical and reasonable, work practically, and be able to be communicated.

I agree. Which is why I don't think religion = truth.

karla said: There is more at work than ignorance.

Such as?

karla said: The only way they could be equally false is if they are all man made and the truth is as you believe that there is no ultimate truth reason for spirituality, meaning, purpose, beauty and things are simply what we see in the natural world, no more and no less.

Yes. Exactly.

karla said: Haven’t you said that you haven’t really looked into religion at all? That you haven’t read a Bible or anything?

I certainly haven't read any religious text or had any religious training. Being in a nominally christian country you can't help but pick a few things up so I'm not completely ignorant of the whole thing. There was some effort to teach us the basics in school and I actually did a Comparative Religion course in University. I've also read several books over the years that have touched on various aspects of religion.

karla said: Just speaking of Christianity, have you read or listened to much of anything from Christians regarding the case for Christ anywhere other than my blog?

Not really. My eyes tend to glaze over after about 5 minutes. It's a bit like listening to someone really struggle in English when you really don't understand what they're talking about in the first place. Christianity in particular and religion in general is pretty much alien to me. But I don't feel the need to investigate every religious idea humanity has every invented to decide that its all pretty much nonsense.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"To anyone who says it is impossible to be certain about truth. I would retort, are you certain?"

Yes, that is the one thing you can be certain of.

boomSLANG said...

Truth needs to be logical and reasonable, work practically, and be able to be communicated.

Right, which is why I am unable to believe Christianity and its "Bible" are "Truth".

I would literally have to lie to myself in order to become a "Believer". I take the position - and yes, I will wager my life on it - that if a "God" exists, that it has leaps and bounds more integrity, couth, and intelligence than the petty deity described in the Bible, in which case, it would: a) not want phonies for disciples, but *genuine* believers, and b) judge me for my character as a human being, as opposed to who I worshipped and what I believed about the origins of the Universe. But again, that's just me.

Makarios said...

"judge me for my character as a human being,"

My goodness child! That's the whole problem. You WILL be judged on the basis of your character. You don't even live up to your own moral code. You judge others by their behaviours while judging yourself by your intentions.

In comparison to the standard of perfection (and God's standard is the only one that counts) you and I and everyone else suck.

And now is when you'll say something like, well, I don't believe that God exists but if He does I'm sure that He'll change the standard for me.

boomSLANG said...

Makarios: That's the whole problem. You WILL be judged on the basis of your character.

Assuming for sake of argument that I will be judged on my character and not whether I believe Christianity is true, or not---why would that be "the whole problem"? Please elaborate.

Continues...You don't even live up to your own moral code.

What "moral code" would that be?

You judge others by their behaviours while judging yourself by your intentions.

I try to refrain from judging "others". But anyway, if you'll notice, I was speaking specifically about, if there is a "God", how it would see fit to judge me. No one here is disputing that humans exist and that they are judgmental.

I would think that a "God" could come up with a better system than anything we puny humans could ever come up with, if in fact there is such a "Final Judge".

In comparison to the standard of perfection (and God's standard is the only one that counts)

So what standard is "God's standard" based on? If you say "its own", then it has no external standard, in which case, anything it says is ultimately its opinion. A "Sovereign God" could command anything it damned-well wanted - even if it was something we all agree is heinous - and its disciples would have to see that as "Righteous". No, thanks.

you and I and everyone else suck.

Speak for yourself.

This is not to say I'm perfect---I'm far from it. However, I am not "inherently evil"(bad). If I were inherently "evil", I wouldn't be able to *ever* accomplish anything "good" or "right", which would make it all the more idiotic if I were held accountable for that.

And now is when you'll say something like, well, I don't believe that God exists but if He does I'm sure that He'll change the standard for me.

If you'd like to have a conversation, then let's do. But it will probably be more productive if you don't put words in my mouth. 'Sound reasonable?

Karla said...

Me "To anyone who says it is impossible to be certain about truth. I would retort, are you certain?"

Mike "Yes, that is the one thing you can be certain of."

Are you being serious? Logically that doesn't work.

Karla said...

Me “Truth needs to be logical and reasonable, work practically, and be able to be communicated.”

BoomSlang “Right, which is why I am unable to believe Christianity and its "Bible" are "Truth".”

And that’s why I am a Christian, because it is logical, reasonable, works, etc.

BoomSlang “I would literally have to lie to myself in order to become a "Believer".”

At present. You may see it differently in time.

BoomSlang “ I take the position - and yes, I will wager my life on it - that if a "God" exists, that it has leaps and bounds more integrity, couth, and intelligence than the petty deity described in the Bible, in which case, it would: a) not want phonies for disciples, but *genuine* believers, and b) judge me for my character as a human being, as opposed to who I worshipped and what I believed about the origins of the Universe. But again, that's just me.”

a) He isn’t looking for fakes, true.

b) He is the ultimate Judge. He can judge us based on His character if we are in Him which will deem us righteous because He is righteous and He makes us righteous. Or based on our character apart from Him, which is unrighteous because we can’t have righteousness without having Him because it is impossible to gain it from any other place than His own nature.

Karla said...

BoomSlang "So what standard is "God's standard" based on? If you say "its own", then it has no external standard, in which case, anything it says is ultimately its opinion. A "Sovereign God" could command anything it damned-well wanted - even if it was something we all agree is heinous - and its disciples would have to see that as "Righteous". No, thanks."


Have you read my post on this topic yet? If there were a Good separate from God that God has to be obedient to -- then that would be God.

Makarios said...

“Please elaborate.”

I’ll let you answer that one yourself. “What "moral code" would that be?”
====================

I would think that a "God" could come up with a better system than anything we puny humans could ever come up with, if in fact there is such a "Final Judge".

He has. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - and are justified freely by His grace that came through faith in Jesus Christ.”

Do you get that. All are guilty. All can be forgiven.
Humans, as you note would have several billion different scales of “good enough” including yours, mine and Hitler’s etc.
==============

So what standard is "God's standard" based on . . . "its own", then . . . No, thanks."

Well, lucky for you, you’re completely in error. You are of course describing Plato’s euthyphro’s dilemma. Contrary to what you’d like to believe, Objective moral Goodness and Obligation are based on God’s character, not His opinion, and certainly not your opinion or that of your community.
God’s commands are not arbitrary, for they are the inescapable expression of His Just and Loving nature. And, since our moral obligations are grounded in the Divine commands, moral values and duties do not exist independent of God.
. What God commands or permits is good for us, and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive. This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective, selective or relative to the situation. Morality is not based on the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy, or that person’s likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Karla: And that’s why I am a Christian, because it is logical, reasonable, works, etc.

Yes, it's "reasonable", "logical", etc., in your mind. To date, you haven't yet illustrated this in any *objective*(key word) terms. You have the typical personal anecdotes; you have the typical appeals to "Authority"; you have the typical inductive argument for "God" and your chosen theology. You proffer, as "evidence", things like, "If Genesis 1:1 is true, the rest is easy"[paraphrased from memory]. Of course, one word cripples your premise..i.e.."If".

You regurgitate redundant axioms like, "If there's One Truth, anything else is "false"[paraphrased from memory], yet, it is entirely meaningless, until/unless you can of course prove that you know the "One Truth". You have *not*.

I reiterate---Karla, you have not proven that the your chosen "Holy" document is "Truth", nor have you proven that its deity is real and that you have a "relationship" with this being that you continually refer to as a "person".(see request for profile)

Me, previously: “I would literally have to lie to myself in order to become a 'Believer'.”

At present. You may see it differently in time.

Perhaps, but if, and only if, this alleged biblegod takes action and decides to stop being "patient" with me(your word/your excuse on the behalf of "God"). If I die tomorrow, I will "perish" - which is just a more palatable way to say that I will get tortured with fire for all of eternity - and your biblegod could have prevented it, but held out for its own "reason(s)".

He is the ultimate Judge. He can judge us based on His character if we are in Him which will deem us righteous because He is righteous and He makes us righteous. Or based on our character apart from Him, which is unrighteous because we can’t have righteousness without having Him because it is impossible to gain it from any other place than His own nature.

Thank you, Karla. This whole paragraph actually underscores my point: WE CAN'T HAVE RIGHTEOUSNESS UNLESS/UNTIL WE HAVE HIM!!!!!!, and to "have Him" requires BELIEVING IN HIM.

So, as I said, if I am a loving, compassionate, law-abiding man who provides for his family and looks out for his fellow man, this is all immaterial to the "Ultimate Judge", because why? Altogether now---because I DIDN'T BELIEVE.

Biblegod puts *belief* over EVERYTHING, and His Highness can do this because, well, because he's "God"--"God" can do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, because "God" makes its own "standard". 'Sinking in yet?

Have you read my post on this topic yet?

No, and frankly, why should I? There's no reason that I can see that said post won't have the same problems as this...

If there were a Good separate from God that God has to be obedient to -- then that would be God.

So, once and for all--is dashing children against rocks "Good"? Can you name an offense that a child can commit where we should be "blessed" to dash him or her against rocks????????

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

Makarios: I’ll let you answer that one yourself.

Thanks, but I'm looking for your "answer", hence, "please elaborate". You said that being judged "based on our character" is, "the whole problem". If you feel up to it, please explain why/how it's the "whole problem".

Previously, I said: "I would think that a 'God' could come up with a better system than anything we puny humans could ever come up with, if in fact there is such a 'Final Judge'."

Responds: He has. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God - and are justified freely by His grace that came through faith in Jesus Christ.”[bold added]

As I stated, no amount of "faith" will help me believe a proposition that I don't find believable in the first place, much in the same way that no amount of "faith" will help you (re)adopt a belief in "Santa Claus", which is what I mean when I say that I am literally unable to believe.

You continue...Do you get that. All are guilty. All can be forgiven.

If your premise is true, then I was born "guilty", in which case, why do I need to be "forgiven" for being born with a nature that I didn't choose? That violates my "free will", which, in Christian circles, I thought this was held in high regard. 'Doesn't quite sound like a "better system", IMO.

Humans, as you note would have several billion different scales of “good enough” including yours, mine and Hitler’s etc.

So then, we're talking the "good enough" of "God", right? Yes, I believe so, in which case, that would be, "believe in me". Once you get that far, then "grace" and all that good stuff comes into play.

Me, previously: "So what standard is 'God's standard' based on? If you say 'its own', then it has no external standard, in which case, anything it says is ultimately its opinion. A 'Sovereign God' could command anything it damned-well wanted - even if it was something we all agree is heinous - and its disciples would have to see that as 'Righteous'. No, thanks."

Responds: Well, lucky for you, you’re completely in error. You are of course describing Plato’s euthyphro’s dilemma.

Yet, you haven't overcome said dilemma.

Contrary to what you’d like to believe..

Thus far, you only know *some* of what I believe. However, you cannot possibly know what I "like to believe", so again, why don't you not waste our time trying to pretend like you can. 'Sound reasonable?

Objective moral Goodness and Obligation are based on God’s character, not His opinion, and certainly not your opinion or that of your community.

I'm not sure why you are talking about my, or my community's opinion, as neither are part of my argument.

As for "Objective moral Goodness", is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God? That's the dilemma.

God’s commands are not arbitrary, for they are the inescapable expression of His Just and Loving nature.

Kind of like, it's "Just" to hold the entire human race responsible for the trespass of one man(and a possible accomplice).

What God commands or permits is good for us, and what He forbids is wrong, bad, evil, self-destructive.

What happens if "God" commands you to kill all nonbelievers? Does that become the "Moral" thing to do? What happens if "God" permits people to throw rocks at prostitutes? Should we do it? Does it then become "okay"?..you know, like the good 'ol days?

This is what it means for morality to be objective vs. subjective, selective or relative to the situation. Morality is not based on the individual’s character or personality or level of empathy, or that person’s likes or dislikes, sanity or insanity.

There is no "Objective Morality", and it surely isn't found in the "Body of Christ".

CyberKitten said...

karla said: Are you being serious? Logically that doesn't work.

Yes, it does. saying that you are certain that it is impossible to be certain about *anything* is illogical. It's self-contradictorary. But saying that you are certain that it is impossible to be certain about truth does *not* contradict itself.

Makarios said...

“If you feel up to it, please explain why/how it's the "whole problem".”
Because, based on our character we all fail. Like C. S. Lewis said, “A good man knows of the evil still left in him. A thoroughly bad man thinks that he is good.”
=============
"As I stated, no amount of "faith" will help me believe a proposition that I don't find believable in the first place,"
So don’t. You don’t believe in life after death - right? So live like that’s true instead of whistling past the grave-yard.
==============
“why do I need to be "forgiven" for being born with a nature that I didn't choose? That violates my "free will",
No it doesn’t. You and I and every single person on earth would have made the same decision as did Adam and Eve.
=================
“So then, we're talking the "good enough" of "God", right? Yes, I believe so, in which case, that would be, "believe in me".”
I think that it’s more of a case of AGREE with God; agree that you are a sinner, agree that you are in desperate need of forgiveness. If I’m not mistaken, the atheist’s creed, “I don’t need God in order to be a good person,” prevents any movement in the needed direction. That, and not belief, necessarily, gets to the heart of the matter.
===================
“I'm not sure why you are talking about my, or my community's opinion, as neither are part of my argument.”
Because apart from ultimate and objective morals, values and obligations, all we are left with, as is the case with atheists is desires and opinions.
======================
As for "Objective moral Goodness", is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?"
“His commands are not burdensome.” Pay attention and you’ll find that NOTHING that God asks of you will make you’re life worse and EVERYTHING that He asks of you will make your life better. As one follower said, “All this AND heaven?” There is no dilemma involved, only the question of a willingness to humble yourself before your Creator.
==============
“Kind of like, it's "Just" to hold the entire human race responsible for the trespass of one man(and a possible accomplice).”
You and I and everyone else would have made the same choice. You’re still making it.
=================


There is no "Objective Morality"
So sometimes love is good and sometimes it wrong? Sometimes discriminating against women is wrong and sometimes it’s not? Sometimes slavery is wrong and sometimes it’s good?
=============
“and it surely isn't found in the "Body of Christ".”
If you mean the Church, of course not. Don’t judge Mozart as a composer based on how I play his music. If you want to reject Jesus, do so based upon Him and what He taught, not by those of us who have already admitted that we are wretches saved by Grace.

boomSLANG said...

Me, Previously: "You said that being judged 'based on our character' is, 'the whole problem'. If you feel up to it, please explain why/how it's the 'whole problem'."

Makarios responds: Because, based on our character we all fail.

And this is precisely why I am unable to believe in your "God", its bible, and the philosophies that its followers espouse:

We're born a bunch of failures and then ordered to be "Good". But since we can't ever be good enough in the eyes of this "God"(whose "Justice" is supposedly "Perfect"), it pardons those who believe in and worship it, giving them a reward in exchange for this belief and worship. Meanwhile, the "elect" are no better-behaved than anyone else.

Sadly, I can't say that this sounds anything remotely like "Justice" to me. In fact, it sounds more like favoritism.

Like C. S. Lewis said, “A good man knows of the evil still left in him. A thoroughly bad man thinks that he is good.”

So, in the first example, Mr. Lewis talks about a "good", evil man, then?

I guess it's no wonder why his fan-base is largely the already-convinced.

Me, previously: "As I stated, no amount of 'faith' will help me believe a proposition that I don't find believable in the first place.."

So don’t. You don’t believe in life after death - right?

Right.

So live like that’s true instead of whistling past the grave-yard.

I find the implication utterly absurd for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, if an evil spooky in the graveyard wants to "get me", I highly doubt my whistling will thwart it.

Secondly, you are claiming to know my thoughts again, when I thought we'd been over this and determined that this is impossible. You, sir, do not possess the ability to know my thoughts, including, whether or not I live up to my beliefs/nonbeliefs. Can you kindly refrain from this? It would be appreciated.

Me, previously: “why do I need to be 'forgiven' for being born with a nature that I didn't choose? That violates my 'free will'.."

You respond: No it doesn’t.

Yes, it does, and I give an explanation below.

Continues...You and I and every single person on earth would have made the same decision as did Adam and Eve.

Then why is it that "You and I and every other person on earth" don't ALL make the "same decision" when we're faced with any other situation where we need to choose "good" over "evil"..i.e...ethical over unethical???

Is this possibly because we are individuals with individual "free will"?

I propose that logic says "yes", which, again, makes the notion that someone else can choose to be "evil" on my behalf, a bankrupt notion.

"Original Sin" is a bankrupt, illogical, not-to-mention, a silly, concept.

boomSLANG said...

Me, previously: "So then, we're talking (about) the 'good enough' of 'God', right? Yes, I believe so, in which case, that would be, 'believe in me'."

Makarios responds: I think that it’s more of a case of AGREE with God..

Common sense says I'd have to harbor a belief in "God" *before* I could "AGREE"(or disagree) with what he/she/it proposes.

agree that you are a sinner

While there's plenty of evidence that I, and everyone else, are imperfect by nature, there is no evidence that I and everyone else are "sinners" by "supernature".

...agree that you are in desperate need of forgiveness.

No, 'cant do it, which directly influences my nonbelief in this alleged, "Perfectly Just" deity.

If I’m not mistaken, the atheist’s creed..

Yet, you are mistaken: Atheism isn't a "creed", nor is it based of any "creed". Yes, nonbelievers may passively believe that, or they may actively proclaim it. In either case, it isn't a "creed"

[If I’m not mistaken, the atheist’s creed]..."I don’t need God in order to be a good person,” prevents any movement in the needed direction.

Irrelevant conclusion. If presented with credible evidence for the existence of a "God", free agency would still be in effect, in which case, I could still choose whether or not to adopt the policies of this "God", including, that I need to be "Commanded" to be "good". As if people didn't know that killing was "wrong" before Moses handed over the "Commandments".

That, and not belief, necessarily, gets to the heart of the matter.

And I reiterate: I cannot "agree" with "the heart of the matter", until/unless I can believe. I do not find any of it believable for the reasons I've delineated herein.

boomSLANG said...

Me, previously: "I'm not sure why you are talking about my, or my community's opinion, as neither are part of my argument."

Makarios responds: Because apart from ultimate and objective morals, values and obligations, all we are left with, as is the case with atheists is desires and opinions.

That would be "desires and opinions" based off the avoidance of unnecessary harm to human beings, in conjunction with an innate will to survive.

And BTW, if you worship a "Sovereign God" who has no external standard for "Morality", all you've got is his/her/its "desires and opinion". In other words, you're in the same "anything goes" boat that you attempt to put Atheists in.

Me, previously: "As for 'Objective moral Goodness', is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?"

You quote: “His commands are not burdensome.”

You elaborate...Pay attention and you’ll find that NOTHING that God asks of you will make you’re life worse and EVERYTHING that He asks of you will make your life better.

You've piled on the apologetics. Fine. Now can you answer the question?

As far as what "God asks" of me---it hasn't asked me anything. It is the bible and its proponents who ask me to believe all sorts of illogical and even abhorent propositions, which I went over in great detail as to why I regard them this way. It's there for your review.

Me, previously: "Kind of like, it's 'Just' to hold the entire human race responsible for the trespass of one man(and a possible accomplice)."

You respond: You and I and everyone else would have made the same choice.

Please see my previous refutation where I talk about how someone making an "evil" choice on my behalf is a bankrupt, illogical concept that violates individual free will.

Me, previously: "There is no 'Objective Morality'."

Responds: So sometimes love is good and sometimes it wrong?

No, I didn't say that, nor did I imply it.

Continues....Sometimes discriminating against women is wrong and sometimes it’s not? Sometimes slavery is wrong and sometimes it’s good?

Well, we have collectively decided that both "discriminating against women" and "slavery" are wrong now-a-days, but interestingly, they both sure seemed to be "moral" back when the bible was redacted. 'Need verses?

Karla said...

karla said: Are you being serious? Logically that doesn't work.

Cyber “Yes, it does. saying that you are certain that it is impossible to be certain about *anything* is illogical. It's self-contradictorary. But saying that you are certain that it is impossible to be certain about truth does *not* contradict itself.”

To be certain that one can be certain allows for certainty about some things and uncertainty about others.

But to say one is certain that no one can be certain about truth. Is a truth claim of certainty in and of itself and thus if it is true it is untrue and if it is untrue there are things we can be certain of.

Karla said...

BoomSlang “I reiterate---Karla, you have not proven that the your chosen "Holy" document is "Truth", nor have you proven that its deity is real and that you have a "relationship" with this being that you continually refer to as a "person".(see request for profile)”

Jesus. His profile is found throughout the Old and New Testaments.

BoomSlang “Perhaps, but if, and only if, this alleged biblegod takes action and decides to stop being "patient" with me(your word/your excuse on the behalf of "God"). If I die tomorrow, I will "perish" - which is just a more palatable way to say that I will get tortured with fire for all of eternity - and your biblegod could have prevented it, but held out for its own "reason(s)".”

He already did His part of preventing it. The ball is now in your court.

BoomSlang “Thank you, Karla. This whole paragraph actually underscores my point: WE CAN'T HAVE RIGHTEOUSNESS UNLESS/UNTIL WE HAVE HIM!!!!!!,”

Yes.

“and to "have Him" requires BELIEVING IN HIM.”

That would happen if you come to know Him.

BoomSlang “So, as I said, if I am a loving, compassionate, law-abiding man who provides for his family and looks out for his fellow man, this is all immaterial to the "Ultimate Judge", because why? Altogether now---because I DIDN'T BELIEVE.”

No. Because you need Him to have life. You are boiling it down to what you think in your mind, when it is about more than that.

BoomSlang “Biblegod puts *belief* over EVERYTHING, and His Highness can do this because, well, because he's "God"--"God" can do what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, because "God" makes its own "standard". 'Sinking in yet?”

God doesn’t make His own standard, His nature is Good and He is always Himself. He is that ultimate good being. He isn’t obeying Himself, He is being Himself, which is always good and just, and holy and righteous . . .

He doesn’t place “belief” in the context you keep mentioning over everything else. If He did, the devil would be righteous because He believes all this is true, but He won’t enter that truth. It is more than what you hold in your mind to be true. It isn’t about assenting to a set of doctrines or theology. That won’t help you. It’s about knowing Jesus and of course believing in Him happens when you have found Him and know Him.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"But to say one is certain that no one can be certain about truth. Is a truth claim of certainty in and of itself and thus if it is true it is untrue and if it is untrue there are things we can be certain of."

In order to be 100% certain about "truth" one would have to be omniscient. I know I'm not omniscient.

Karla said...

Cyber “Knowledge begins by asking questions, searching for answers and then testing those answers against the real world.”

I agree with that.

Cyber said “I for one do not believe in ultimate Truth in the same way I think you mean it.”

Karla said “That still amazes me.”

Cyber “Why?”

It’s just a very foreign idea to me, I live like ultimate truth exist and my life is positioned in pursuit of knowledge and wisdom that is True.

karla said: We can only do that if there is an ultimate Truth by which to judge. Otherwise all ideas about such things would be equally irrelevant.

Cyber “No. If there are several competing truth claims we can test them. The one(s) that pass most of the tests are those that are most true - or not if they fail them.”

Test them against what? How do we know the natural world is really real and a good standard to use to test things out? That seems like a ridiculous question, but do we really know, or do we believe it and take that belief for granted?

Cyber “Yet their believers think the same about christianity. I'm confident that many muslims etc think that their beliefs make much more sense of the world that your beliefs do - as I think that my beliefs about the world make far more sense than what I understand to be your beliefs.”

And I would think all of these need to be tested to see if what truth comes out and what is shown to be false, rather than dismissing all claims and settling for just knowledge and no truth.

karla said: Truth needs to be logical and reasonable, work practically, and be able to be communicated.

Cyber “I agree. Which is why I don't think religion = truth.”

Neither do I. I think God = Truth. Not all “religion” is from God.

karla said: There is more at work than ignorance.

Cyber “Such as?”

Pride and selfishness. People want to do things their way and even if truth is staring them in the face, they want to believe there way is better. You see this in children and adults all the time, in non-religious matters.

karla said: The only way they could be equally false is if they are all man made and the truth is as you believe that there is no ultimate truth reason for spirituality, meaning, purpose, beauty and things are simply what we see in the natural world, no more and no less.

Cyber “Yes. Exactly.”

But what if they aren’t all man made? What if there is a way that’s God made?


Cyber “Not really. My eyes tend to glaze over after about 5 minutes. It's a bit like listening to someone really struggle in English when you really don't understand what they're talking about in the first place. Christianity in particular and religion in general is pretty much alien to me. But I don't feel the need to investigate every religious idea humanity has every invented to decide that its all pretty much nonsense.”

If you desire knowledge, I would think you would have a sociological interest in learning about religions of the world. Much literature, culture, governments, etc are birthed out of religion.

I’m glad you and others are here to help me try and overcome the language barrier and learn how to understand yours. I’m only a beginner and have a lot of learning to do. I want to know what I sound like to others who don’t share my worldview and how I can at least communicate clearly even if agreement of those things never happens.

Karla said...

Mike "In order to be 100% certain about "truth" one would have to be omniscient. I know I'm not omniscient."

You can be certain about somethings, without knowing all things. But those things would be few, for many things we only know a small part of and as Socrates liked to point out the wise person is the one who knows how much he doesn't know.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Now I'm more confused. We can be certain about some truths without being omniscient, but not others?

Karla said...

Mike “Now I'm more confused. We can be certain about some truths without being omniscient, but not others?”

We can know God exist, but we won’t know everything about Him. We can know the earth is real, but we don’t know everything about it. We can know humanity needs God, but we won’t know everything about that relationship between God and man. We know things only in part, and not fully.

While it is possible to know that God exist because we only have to know that, we can’t know He doesn’t exist, because we would have to know everything to know a negative assertion to be true.

Karla said...

Mike “Now I'm more confused. We can be certain about some truths without being omniscient, but not others?”

We can know God exist, but we won’t know everything about Him. We can know the earth is real, but we don’t know everything about it. We can know humanity needs God, but we won’t know everything about that relationship between God and man. We know things only in part, and not fully.

While it is possible to know that God exist because we only have to know that, we can’t know He doesn’t exist, because we would have to know everything to know a negative assertion to be true.

Makarios said...

Sadly, I can't say that this sounds anything remotely like "Justice" to me. In fact, it sounds more like favoritism.
That sounds an awful lot like, “I don’t like the way I’ve been created, nor do I like that way the cosmos operates. Therefore God doesn’t exist.” Does that seem like a logical flow of thought to you?
Here - Try the first link, it’s not as detailed as the second one but neither is it as long to read
http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-god-insane.html
If you almost get it but not quite then push on into the second link
http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/09/atheist-deny-wrong-god.html
Look, boom, bottom line, it doesn’t matter what we think. Things don’t exist or not exist based upon our preference. And, if I may, this is one more piece of evidence that we most certainly did not invent Creator God.
===================

Firstly, if an evil spooky in the graveyard wants to "get me", I highly doubt my whistling will thwart it.”
That doesn’t stop people from trying
======================

"Original Sin" is a bankrupt, illogical, not-to-mention, a silly, concept.
Read my first link

Makarios said...

While there's plenty of evidence that I, and everyone else, are imperfect by nature, there is no evidence that I and everyone else are "sinners" by "supernature".

So? Boom! If you want to be judged on character the passing grade is perfection.
===============
that I need to be "Commanded" to be "good".

Yes, being a good person is a real hardship isn’t it?
============
As if people didn't know that killing was "wrong" before Moses handed over the "Commandments".

Of course they knew. Why pick that one as an example? The Commandments are laid out for people like you; those who struggle with exactly what it is that God might find fault with in such a fine specimen of human like you.
================

Makarios said...

his/her/its "desires and opinion". In other words, you're in the same "anything goes" boat that you attempt to put Atheists in.

So, you couldn’t understand what I wrote before?
================

"You've piled on the apologetics. Fine. Now can you answer the question?"

Just reread what I said before about God’s commands not capricious or arbitrary or independent of His person. Then, meditate on it till it starts to sink in.
=================

"As far as what "God asks" of me---it hasn't asked me anything."

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your soul and with all your strength.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Obey these two and you will be keeping all the rest.”

How are you doing so far?
=====================
It is the bible and its proponents who ask me to believe all sorts of illogical and even abhorent propositions,"

I missed the link - I’d be interesting in seeing that.
-----------------------
Me, previously: "There is no 'Objective Morality'." Responds: So sometimes love is good and sometimes it wrong? No, I didn't say that, nor did I imply it.

So love IS an objective moral good? And if there can be one objective moral good why can’t there be others?
=============

Continues....Sometimes discriminating against women is wrong and sometimes it’s not?
Sometimes slavery is wrong and sometimes it’s good?

Just answer the question.

Makarios said...

You know, Boom, in your back and forth with Karla, it reminds me a lot of someone contemplating sobriety and then rejecting it "Because I'd have to be sober before I could be sober." People in recovery circles actually take the time to respond to that kind of thinking and what they say is, "Fake it till you make it." Live, think and behave as though you are sober and your'll find that you become sober.


If you think that you have to believe in God before you can believe in God, live, think and behave as though you believe in God (obey His commands, read the Gospel of John and as for His revelation) and you will, come to know Him.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"If you think that you have to believe in God before you can believe in God, live, think and behave as though you believe in God (obey His commands, read the Gospel of John and as for His revelation) and you will, come to know Him."

Really? Act like you believe in someone you don't? Where does the Bible tell us to act like we believe in God even though we don't?

boomSLANG said...

In regards to "Yahweh" judging its creation on whether or not they believe and worship him, as opposed to judging them by their character, I said...

"Sadly, I can't say that this sounds anything remotely like 'Justice' to me. In fact, it sounds more like favoritism."

Makarios observes...

That sounds an awful lot like, “I don’t like the way I’ve been created, nor do I like that way the cosmos operates. Therefore God doesn’t exist.” Does that seem like a logical flow of thought to you?

No, it doesn't sound like "a logical flow of thought". 'Shocked?

Firstly, it's not about whether or not I "like" the way I was "created". The point is, I didn't *CHOOSE* to be "created", and I especially did not *CHOOSE* to be "created" in way that is displeasing to my supposed "creator". 'Get it yet?

Secondly, the available evidence points to the "cosmos" operating according to the Laws of Nature. There is not one scrap of testible/falsifiable evidence that "Nature" runs/operates according to "Super-Duper-Nature".

Lastly, I'm not saying that I know for certain that an undefinable, unknowable, Higher Intelligence doesn't exist; I'm saying, if it does, I don't believe it is the petty, three-in-one, desert-dwelling deity of the Christian bible. BTW, I implore you to learn the difference between "disproven", and "unproven". They are two different things.

Look, boom, bottom line, it doesn’t matter what we think.

Oh, fantastic. So then, it wouldn't make a drop of fricking sense for me to read your links, would it? No, it wouldn't, because it ultimately doesn't matter what I think of whatever it is that you want to show me.

You, Christian, have just closed the door on any and all conversation between you and me. This is sad for Karla, who, at least is interested in what skeptics/nonbelievers have to say. Now she has a be-all/end-all, show-stopper in her midst.

It's official...

In the end, "God" is God, and has free reign to do precisely as it wants, which evidentally includes, to knowingly create beings that would displease it, then command them to "get better", knowing that they can't "get better".

As retarded as that sounds in real-world terms, we're all stuck with it because....why? Because "Makarios" says God says so.

It's been real.....

boomSLANG said...

You know, Boom, in your back and forth with Karla, it reminds me a lot of someone contemplating sobriety and then rejecting it "Because I'd have to be sober before I could be sober."

And to top it off, Makarios, "True Christian", now attempts to equate nonbelievers with those people who willingly abuse alcohol..aka..drunks.

Is that what "Jesus" would do?...go around insulting people?

Karla said...

"If you think that you have to believe in God before you can believe in God, live, think and behave as though you believe in God (obey His commands, read the Gospel of John and as for His revelation) and you will, come to know Him."

Mike “Really? Act like you believe in someone you don't? Where does the Bible tell us to act like we believe in God even though we don't?”

It doesn’t. How can you believe in someone you don’t? It’s not about a method, or a formula, or assenting to certain ideas, it’s about Jesus.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, so you are disagreeing with Makarios statement to "think and behave as though you believe in God (obey His commands, read the Gospel of John and as for His revelation) and you will, come to know Him."?

Makarios said...

Act like you believe in someone you don't?"

Mmm, ya, that didn't come out right. It's kinda like the first step needs to be a prayer like, "Look, I don't even believe in you. But if you do exist then I need to know. So, I'm willing to ask you," - . .

you know what? I'm too sick to finish this.

I and two kids have H1N1 and I'm tired. Do what you want.

Karla said...

Mike, I do disagree. But I think Markios is rethinking his position on that.

Markios, I'm so sorry your kids are sick. That's got to be rough. Take care of yourself, and them, don't worry about this conversation right now, it will be here later.

Karla said...

Markios: Look, boom, bottom line, it doesn’t matter what we think.

Boom: “Oh, fantastic. So then, it wouldn't make a drop of fricking sense for me to read your links, would it? No, it wouldn't, because it ultimately doesn't matter what I think of whatever it is that you want to show me.”

If I may jump in here. I think, maybe, Markios meant that what we think doesn’t affect what is true. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to understand what is true, in that sense it matters what we think, but our thinking doesn’t change what is.

BoomSlang “You, Christian, have just closed the door on any and all conversation between you and me. This is sad for Karla, who, at least is interested in what skeptics/nonbelievers have to say. Now she has a be-all/end-all, show-stopper in her midst.”

See what I said above.

It's official...

BoomSlang “In the end, "God" is God, and has free reign to do precisely as it wants, which evidentally includes, to knowingly create beings that would displease it, then command them to "get better", knowing that they can't "get better". “

No, He created humans He is was very much pleased with, fully good. We changed that, not Him. But He immediately put a plan in place to fix our mistake and to redeem us to goodness again. All the while His love continued for us. We are highly valuable to Him even as sinners, which is why He doesn’t ask us to clean ourselves up and make ourselves believe, He ask us to stop trying and let Him clean us up and help us see His reality.

Karla said...

BoomSlang "And to top it off, Makarios, "True Christian", now attempts to equate nonbelievers with those people who willingly abuse alcohol..aka..drunks.

Is that what "Jesus" would do?...go around insulting people?"

Can't you see that was an analogy he was pulling from and he wasn't really equating you with an alcoholic?

Look, if he was insulting you, I would defend you myself, but I don't think that was intended as an insult.

Might you try thinking the best of people until you have reason to think otherwise?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: It’s just a very foreign idea to me, I live like ultimate truth exist and my life is positioned in pursuit of knowledge and wisdom that is True.

You are theist. I am an atheist. Is it any wonder that we are 'foreign' to each other? Our entire world view is different!

karla said: Test them against what?

The real world.... Common sense.... Each other..... Many things.

karla said: How do we know the natural world is really real and a good standard to use to test things out?

I think that its a pretty good place to start. I think that its unrealistic - and self defeating - to start out with the assumption that reality isn't actually real. I mean - where *do* you go from there?

karla said: That seems like a ridiculous question, but do we really know, or do we believe it and take that belief for granted?

There are several schools of thought that say the universe isn't anything like we perceive it to be. Its an interesting game to play and is a fun idea to run around your mind - for a while. Unfortunately harsh reality tends to intrude eventually. Like it or not the everyday world is what we have to work with - no matter what some people think.

karla said: And I would think all of these need to be tested to see if what truth comes out and what is shown to be false, rather than dismissing all claims and settling for just knowledge and no truth.

Dismissing all supernatural claims is a fair starting position. If they want to be anything more than claims they need to be far more convincing than they seem to be.

karla said: Neither do I. I think God = Truth. Not all “religion” is from God.

As someone who does not believe in God or Truth (with a capital T) I would have to disagree. All religions are cultural constructs with recognisable histories - as are all Gods.

karla said: People want to do things their way and even if truth is staring them in the face, they want to believe there way is better.

Or they simply don't see that 'truth' as truth....... What you might see as pride I might see as thoughtful reflection. I do not reject God because of my prideful independence - but because it makes no sense to me.

karla said: But what if they aren’t all man made? What if there is a way that’s God made?

...and how exactly to you determine where that particular needle is in such a large haystack? The problem is - ask 100 people and they's produce 100 *different* needles.

karla said: If you desire knowledge, I would think you would have a sociological interest in learning about religions of the world.

I have and I do.

karla said: Much literature, culture, governments, etc are birthed out of religion.

Obviously. History is full of such things. So what?

boomSLANG said...

Karla: Can't you see that was an analogy he was pulling from and he wasn't really equating you with an alcoholic?

Hey Karla,

What's the opposite of "sobriety"??? To my understanding, it is drunkedness, or...messed up on alcohol. To my understanding, your Christian guest was implying that my being unable to believe is the equivalent of one who is *not* "sober", and that I willfully, and knowingly, wanted to stay *not* sober.

If I may jump in here. I think, maybe, Markios meant that what we think doesn’t affect what is true.

Fine, as long as he knows that this applies to him, too.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to understand what is true..

Look, I've already been completely transparent in explaining to him(and you) why I'm unable to believe, and, well, you saw what I got in return. Understanding is a two-way street. I said what is "true" about myself--about my nonbelief. Perhaps he(and you) need to "strive to understand" that.

In any event, I have no desire to converse with said individual.

"By their fruits ye shall know them" ~ the Bible

Karla said...

That's fine BoomSlang, I don't know Makarios at all, he just came to this blog recently. I apologize for his manner in speaking to you. I do things a little differently, but I assume he means well and hasn't gotten to know a lot of atheists to know how to speak in a manner which would be more respectful to your worldview. Many of us Christians don't come in contact with atheists very often. I make it a point to come in contact with people who don't think like me to learn about them, and let them learn about me not to evangelize them or convert them through arguments.

Karla said...

Cyber “You are theist. I am an atheist. Is it any wonder that we are 'foreign' to each other? Our entire world view is different!”

True. But we are both humans living in the real world, so I imagine we can find some commonality to build on.


Cyber “The real world.... Common sense.... Each other..... Many things.”

Okay.


Cyber “I think that its a pretty good place to start. I think that its unrealistic - and self defeating - to start out with the assumption that reality isn't actually real. I mean - where *do* you go from there?”

Where indeed? But the point is we have to assume it, we can’t prove it. It makes sense to assume it, and accept it as real, but it is not proven. Do we agree on that point?


Cyber “There are several schools of thought that say the universe isn't anything like we perceive it to be. Its an interesting game to play and is a fun idea to run around your mind - for a while. Unfortunately harsh reality tends to intrude eventually. Like it or not the everyday world is what we have to work with - no matter what some people think.”

Yes. So we are accepting it as real, because it does make the most sense to do so.

Cyber “Dismissing all supernatural claims is a fair starting position. If they want to be anything more than claims they need to be far more convincing than they seem to be.”

Well if you dismiss all supernatural claims right at the start, one isn’t open minded to the possibility. That doesn’t seem to be a knowledge seeking position to take. If you don’t allow for it to be possible, no amount of evidence could convince you. But really there is no grounds to say it isn’t possible for there to be a supernatural world.

karla said: Neither do I. I think God = Truth. Not all “religion” is from God.

Cyber “As someone who does not believe in God or Truth (with a capital T) I would have to disagree. All religions are cultural constructs with recognisable histories - as are all Gods.”

You haven’t become omniscient now have you?



Cyber “Or they simply don't see that 'truth' as truth....... What you might see as pride I might see as thoughtful reflection. I do not reject God because of my prideful independence - but because it makes no sense to me.”

What I mean is that something can be very much true, and people can not want to go with the way that is true despite the evidence for it. I wasn’t speaking of your position, I see you as not having enough information and experience of it at present to be able to see what I claim as true.

karla said: But what if they aren’t all man made? What if there is a way that’s God made?

Cyber “...and how exactly to you determine where that particular needle is in such a large haystack? The problem is - ask 100 people and they's produce 100 *different* needles.”

There may be many variations out there, but on the core foundational level there aren’t that many. There is pretty much atheism/agnosticism, theism, or pantheism. I’m not sure if there is polytheism these days. In theism, there is just Judaism, Islam, and Christianity and then a few offshoots of these. Pantheism is usually found in the eastern beliefs. I guess there is some polytheism in Hinduism.


Cyber “Obviously. History is full of such things. So what?”

I just thought that study of world religions including Christianity as the western world was birthed out of the latter, would be advantageous for anyone in understanding the world we live in.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: But we are both humans living in the real world, so I imagine we can find some commonality to build on.

Possibly. Though my real world doesn't include God or things that generally go bump in the night - except in the fantasy books I read that is [grin].

karla said: But the point is we have to assume it, we can’t prove it. It makes sense to assume it, and accept it as real, but it is not proven. Do we agree on that point?

Yes. Most of the time it makes sense to accept that what you see is what you get. At least at first..

karla said: Well if you dismiss all supernatural claims right at the start, one isn’t open minded to the possibility.

Dismissing all superntautal claims to begin with does not rule out the possibility. It just means that they have to prove themselves - it means that you do not start from a position of acceptence.

karla said: If you don’t allow for it to be possible, no amount of evidence could convince you. But really there is no grounds to say it isn’t possible for there to be a supernatural world.

The so-called evidence for the supernatural realm is weak at its very best. All that it has really accomplished is to cast doubt and ask questions. As far as I am aware their is no positive evidence for supernatural agencies. There are inevitable gaps in our knowledge of the universe and many things that we do not fully understand but this does not mean that we have to fill these gaps with God, Ghosts or Demons.

karla said: You haven’t become omniscient now have you?

Not that I know of.

karla said: I see you as not having enough information and experience of it at present to be able to see what I claim as true.

[rotflmao] You know I've said some similar things about you too.....

karla said: I just thought that study of world religions including Christianity as the western world was birthed out of the latter, would be advantageous for anyone in understanding the world we live in.

Although knowing a bit of the history of Christianity is useful in understanding aspects of Western history the actual birth place of the West is the civilisations of Greece and Rome. That's were we get ideas of Democracy, politics, philosophy and much else besides - including much of the language we converse in.

If you want to understand the modern world you need to understand The Enlightenment rather than Christianity.

Makarios said...

Ah me! I’ve offended yet again. I’m usually held in quite high regard by those who don’t know me very well. Only later do I get the reaction that I seem to have triggered right from the get-go with you folks. Can I still play if I try harder? I guess you can simply not publish this if the answer is “no.”

"If Genesis 1:1 is true, the rest is easy"[paraphrased from memory]. Of course, one word cripples your premise..i.e.."If".

“In the beginning Godcreated . . ”
What it all boils down to is this. We believe one of two possibilities:
1) Matter is eternal - or
Creator God is eternal

2) If Matter isn’t eternal then Matter is able to bring itself into existence - or
Creator God brings matter into existence

3) Matter, against impossible odds, accidentally or purposely produces life - or
Creator God purposely produces life from Matter

4) Matter arranges and designs itself exquisitely and intricately - or
Creator God arranges and designs Matter exquisitely and intricately

5) Matter produces a life of meaning and context and purpose - NOT! - or
Creator God produces a life of meaning and context and purpose.

Neither the believer nor the non believer can get past the word “If.” We each begin with,
“If Supernatural,” OR
“If no Supernatural,”
and away we go from there. If you want proof of God beyond ALL doubt, you’re out of luck. If you want proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I think that we Christians have that available and, irony of ironies, it’s science that provides that proof.
---------------
“(see request for profile)”

http://makarios-makarios.blogspot.com/2009/04/which-god-are-we-talking-about.html
=====================

As I stated, no amount of "faith" will help me believe a proposition that I don't find believable in the first place"

Forgive me please if this sounds insulting. It isn’t meant to be so - Have you actually explored this issue from various angles? Do you know enough about historical scholarship to actually know that simply having been compiled into what we now call the New Testament doesn’t automatically make what were once individual documents of antiquity somehow untrustworthy?

Have you spent time contemplating that questions of :
Why is there a universe?
How did it appear out of literally nothing?
How is it that such finely tuned constants and quantities that govern our universe, how is it that they were all “put in” prior to Planck time? And why THESE constants and quantities when the ONLY thing they have in common is that WE need them for life to exist on this planet?

Science knows these things happened. Science knows that the answers are not and indeed cannot be natural. Do you spend or have you spent time thinking about such things?
==============
I especially did not *CHOOSE* to be "created" in way that is displeasing to my supposed "creator".

So why not accept the “fix” that is being offered? If you can believe enough to write that sentence you can believe enough to accept the offer of salvation. You don’t need to believe in God as you don’t or can’t understand Him in order to do this. Just believe in Him as you DO understand Him and you do understand Him enough to know that you don’t like how He did things; how He set things up. Your frustration requires a degree of both belief and understanding, so just go from there.
=============
“There is not one scrap of testible/falsifiable evidence that "Nature" runs/operates according to "Super-Duper-Nature".”

But there is mountains of evidence to know that at one point, nothing natural existed and then, at another point everything natural existed. Whatever brought everything natural into being existed prior to, transcendent to and outside of nature.

Karla said...

Makarios, you are welcome here and welcome to participate in the discussion.

Each person is different and I try not to assume, even though I fail at that sometimes, that all atheists think alike, because they don't. So it's good to get to know people and tread carefully.

Also when BoomSlang says "he did not choose to be created." If I may interpret for him, he isn't agreeing with the theist that he was created, he is speaking hypothetically to show that even if such a God exist -- that God isn't fair and just and good.

He doesn't believe in any God at all, nor any original sin, or sin, or need for salvation.

It's difficult isn't it, to think outside our worldview to comprehend a view that doesn't include any of these things. But that is necessary to know how to communicate meaningfully.

How are your kids doing?

Karla said...

karla said: But we are both humans living in the real world, so I imagine we can find some commonality to build on.

Cyber “Possibly. Though my real world doesn't include God or things that generally go bump in the night - except in the fantasy books I read that is [grin].”

But you enjoy fantasy books? Why is it that the fantastical allures?


Cyber “Dismissing all supernatural claims to begin with does not rule out the possibility. It just means that they have to prove themselves - it means that you do not start from a position of acceptence.”

I try to keep an open mind until the claim is proved or disproved to my satisfaction, which is all I can really do. If I say it isn’t true until proved otherwise, I am not really letting myself honestly take in all the data. However, I think if something obviously supernatural happened to you, you would probably honestly believe it. I don’t see a skepticism in you that would deny something staring you in the face. Some people are like that, I don’t see that in you.


Cyber “The so-called evidence for the supernatural realm is weak at its very best. All that it has really accomplished is to cast doubt and ask questions. As far as I am aware their is no positive evidence for supernatural agencies. There are inevitable gaps in our knowledge of the universe and many things that we do not fully understand but this does not mean that we have to fill these gaps with God, Ghosts or Demons.”

I’m not one to say anything unexplained is God or some supernatural cause. But evidence does suggest a metaphysical beginning to the entire natural universe. That isn’t God of the gaps, that’s logic and science. I think it is more fantastical to believe in infinite universes with no beginning, then to believe in a beginning which was begun by a Beginner.


Cyber “If you want to understand the modern world you need to understand The Enlightenment rather than Christianity.”

The Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation run pretty close together, do they not?

Makarios said...

The kids are still sick but not dying so I guess that's probably a plus. I'm told that sleep deprivation is good for - um - something or other.

Cyber, there are a couple amazing things that need to be accounted for; both are miracles:

The beginning of the universe is as clearly a working definition of the term miracle as you are going to find. Space, time, energy, matter / all things natural came into being not just in the absence of the laws of physics, but prior to the existence of scientific laws themselves. Whatever brought the universe into existence arranged the scientific laws, in place, right down to the correct and exacting number of nutrinos, prior to 10 ^ - 43 seconds.

Second, I went from serving myself to serving God. Like many an atheist has said, "I couldn't believe in God, even if I wanted to." Human beings are born naturally in opposition to the very idea of being accountable to a Being geater than themselvs. YET it happens. A turn around happens and it only happens through the Supernaturl work of Creator God.

Two transformations.
Both miraculous
One material
One spiritual
Both require an explanation and the one that fits the evidence is the reality of a Creator God.

CyberKitten said...

karla said: But you enjoy fantasy books? Why is it that the fantastical allures?

I prefer Science Fiction but Modern (Urban) Fantasy entertains almost as much. It's interesting to see what happens when the normal rules can be bent - or even broken.

karla said: I try to keep an open mind until the claim is proved or disproved to my satisfaction, which is all I can really do.

I too like to keep an open mind - just not so open that my brain and my reasoning facilties fall out.

karla said: However, I think if something obviously supernatural happened to you, you would probably honestly believe it. I don’t see a skepticism in you that would deny something staring you in the face.

Possibly... but a supernatural explanation wouldn't be where I would *start*. That seems to be a major difference in the way we think.

karla said: But evidence does suggest a metaphysical beginning to the entire natural universe.

No, it doesn't.

karla said: That isn’t God of the gaps, that’s logic and science.

No, it isn't. Science does not rely on metaphyisical causes. Anything that does is simply not science.

karla said: I think it is more fantastical to believe in infinite universes with no beginning, then to believe in a beginning which was begun by a Beginner.

As far as I am aware we simply do not yet know how the Universe came into existence. I am hearing some interesting things though that scientists are begining to investigate things *before* the Big Bang. It all seems rather bizarre but they seemed very excited by the whole thing.

karla said: The Enlightenment and the Protestant Reformation run pretty close together, do they not?

Only if you think 100-150 years is 'pretty close'. Without at least an appreciation of the Enlightenment I think anyone would struggle to fully understand the modern world.

Makarios said: The beginning of the universe is as clearly a working definition of the term miracle as you are going to find.

No, it isn't. We apparently understand a great deal about it. We are just unsure what 'caused' it. I'm guessing though that it will not remain a mystery forever.

Makarios said: Human beings are born naturally in opposition to the very idea of being accountable to a Being geater than themselvs. YET it happens.

So *you* believe....and? So what? People change their beliefs about things. This you regard as a miracle? I do not agree - unsurprisingly.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: Also when BoomSlang says "he did not choose to be created." If I may interpret for him, he isn't agreeing with the theist that he was created, he is speaking hypothetically to show that even if such a God exist -- that God isn't fair and just and good.

He doesn't believe in any God at all, nor any original sin, or sin, or need for salvation.


Correct.

Karla: I try to keep an open mind until the claim is proved or disproved to my satisfaction, which is all I can really do.

However, some things cannot be "disproved" to a degree of absolute certainty.

For instance, neither you, nor I, nor anyone else, Karla, can "disprove" the proposition that "Poseidon" controls the tides and earthquakes. This is where this thing called *evidence* comes into play. There is no objective evidence that a man with a Trident sits at the bottom of the sea and controls the tides and earthquakes, despite that large groups of people once believed in and worshipped said deity. Additionally, we now have testible, scientific explanations for what causes the tides to go in and out, and that plate Plate Tectonics cause earthquakes.

Considering both of the aforementioned facts, we are being perfectly rational/reasonable to reject the proposition that "Poseidon" exists and controls the tides, etc., etc.

*Notwithstanding, one cannot honestly say that "Poseidon" is "disproven", in an absolute sense. Perhaps "Poseidon" is transparent and sits at the bottom of the ocean somewhere, and when he is angered, He smashes His Trusty Trident against the ocean floor, thus, causing plate techtonics(earthquakes).

Karla? should we keep our minds "open" to the notion the "Poseidon" exists, simply because He cannot be disproven? If not, then why should I keep my mind open to the proposition that "Yahweh" controls the tides and earthquakes(and the rest of nature), simply because this supposed deity cannot be disproven in an absolute sense??

Karla: But evidence does suggest a metaphysical beginning to the entire natural universe

No, it does not. The proposition that "Supernature" is responsible for "nature" remains an inductive argument.

That isn’t God of the gaps, that’s logic and science.

Yes, it is, on the former, and no, it is not, on the latter.

Karla, science bases its explanations on what can be tested/falsified/observed. No one was there to observe the singularity or first cause, etc. And furthermore, "God did it!!" isn't an explanation, even if we had evidence for such a creature/being/thing. Saying "God did it!" explains nothing at all, until/unless you know *how* "God" did all this stuff.

I think it is more fantastical to believe in infinite universes with no beginning, then to believe in a beginning which was begun by a Beginner.

What's the difference? You are arguing that the "Beginner" is "infinite", right? If one thing that exists, infinitely, boggles your mind, then why doesn't the other thing the presumably exists, infinitely, boggle your mind?

Also, Karla, I asked you before--can you even think of time when time didn't exist? I'll wager that you cannot, and rightfully so, because it creates a philosophical dilemma.

So, it would seem existence requires time. If so, nothing can exist atemporally, in which case, a timeless "God" cannot "create" anything, because, a) it can't exist atemporally, and b) to "create" something is a temporal act.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Boom, Poseidon came to me in a dream and told me he really prefers to be called Neptune. Just an FYI. I'd hate to see your time at the beach ruined over that.

boomSLANG said...

@ Monolith Mike,

Dude!..thanks for the heads-up! 'Was plannin' on hittin' the beach(Siesta Key) this weekend, and I don't need some angry man with an overgrown fork waitin' for me. "Neptune" it is!

Makarios said...

“Saying "God did it!" explains nothing at all, until/unless you know *how* "God" did all this stuff.”

We finally land on Mars. The astronauts drive over a hill to discover a large enclosure. Upon entering, they find it filled with transmitters and receivers and all manner of electronic and mechanical equipment.

One astronaut remarks, “This is evidence that some type of Intelligence did this.”

Her companion says, “Nonsense. Until and unless we know “how” and Intelligence got this stuff here, we can’t say, “An Intelligence did it.””
======================

"What's the difference?"

The difference is that the material infinite does not and cannot exist. There are no such constrictions on the Spiritual realm.

Spirit CAN be eternal.
Material CANNOT be eternal.

That’s why it’s profoundly silly to ask:
“So what caused an eternal Being to exist?” or
“When did an eternal Being begin to exist?”

boomSLANG said...

@ Monolith Mike,

BTW, if I 'stumble' upon some skuba tanks, fins, fishing poles, trout touts, and all manner of marine-gear, while at the beach, I'll know for sure that Neptune put those there for me, and thus, is not mad at me!!!! After all, it would be profoundly silly to assume that man designed and put those things there. lol!

Neptune bless!

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"BTW, if I 'stumble' upon some skuba tanks, fins, fishing poles, trout touts, and all manner of marine-gear, while at the beach, I'll know for sure that Neptune put those there for me, and thus, is not mad at me!!!! After all, it would be profoundly silly to assume that man designed and put those things there. lol!

Neptune bless!"

That made my day! Ha!

CyberKitten said...

You guys are funny [laughs]

Karla said...

Makarios, good point.

Mike & BoomSlang, lol. There is actually a HUGE statue of Neptune at the ocean front in my city. It was made and imported from China. It is truly massive.

I often wonder if many of the mythologies were written to put truth to story forms, like parables, rather than really believed to be true. I just don't think the ancients really believed some of these tales. I've been reading a book on the myths of the Greeks and they are fascinating.

Karla said...

BoomSlang "What's the difference? You are arguing that the "Beginner" is "infinite", right? If one thing that exists, infinitely, boggles your mind, then why doesn't the other thing the presumably exists, infinitely, boggle your mind?"

Something that began without a beginner is much more mind boggling and takes much more faith than the proposition that there was an eternal metaphysical Beginner which brought time and space into existence.


BoomSlang "Also, Karla, I asked you before--can you even think of time when time didn't exist? I'll wager that you cannot, and rightfully so, because it creates a philosophical dilemma."

I'm sorry I didn't notice the question before. Yes. I can think of a time before time. Time began to exist just like everything else.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"I often wonder if many of the mythologies were written to put truth to story forms, like parables, rather than really believed to be true. I just don't think the ancients really believed some of these tales. I've been reading a book on the myths of the Greeks and they are fascinating."

Some feel the same way about the Bible, some of them even Christians.

boomSLANG said...

Monolith Mike: Some feel the same way about the Bible, some of them even Christians.

But Mike, surely you must know that those people aren't "True Christians"!

Karla: Makarios, good point.

@ Karla,

I'm not sure to which point you are refering, but if it's the astronauts on Mars syllogism, I fail to see how it's "good", because where it caves in, is here: We can logically deduce that, since "transmitters and receivers and all manner of electronic and mechanical equipment" do not grow/occur in Nature, that they were designed and put there by men, who we know design and build such things. To further satisfy our skepticism, we could go to a factory and witness those things being built. Can we go to Yahweh's factory and watch him *think* a planet or a buffalo into existence? No.

Karla: Something that began without a beginner...[emphasis added]

Again, the other option is that the Universe always existed in some form or another, just like you posit that a "beginner", which is also some-thing(aka "something"), always existed.

Karla: ...is much more mind boggling and takes much more faith than the proposition that there was an eternal metaphysical Beginner which brought time and space into existence.

To contemplate and to bring things "into existence" are temporal acts.

Karla: Yes. I can think of a time before time.

The premise is contradictory. What would you think if I said, "Yes, I can think of a married bachelor!!"?

Karla: Time began to exist just like everything else.

If this is true, then there was no "time" before time, in which case, you cannot think of that point in "time", as you claim to do just that, above.

Karla said...

Yes Mike, some would say that about the Bible too, even some Christians.

boomSlang, still making assumptions? I wouldn't say they aren't "true Christians" I would just not agree with those who think the Bible myth, I don't think it makes them less true.

Remember, it's not about adhering to doctrine, but knowing Christ.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: boomSlang, still making assumptions?

To say I'm "still" making assumptions might be an assumption, itself, because I don't recall assuming anything previously that has not been supported by reason & logic.

Notwithstanding, if I am wrong in my thinking, please do point it out, because I much, much prefer to own up to my errors, as opposed to defending them in perpetuity.

I wouldn't say they aren't "true Christians" I would just not agree with those who think the Bible myth, I don't think it makes them less true.

Remember, it's not about adhering to doctrine, but knowing Christ


Okay, so if I understand correctly, it's possible to be a Christian and believe that the bible is a myth; it's just a story. Is that a fair assessment?

Karla said...

BoomSlang, I've not met a Christian who didn't at least believe some of the Bible was accurate at least in it's portrayal of Jesus. It would be kind of hard to have a relationship with someone you thought to be fictional. There is some disagreement regarding Old Testament accounts like creation, the flood, Jonah and whale, etc.

As far as assumptions go, you've made some remarks about what my church is like and what I teach and what we do and all that and they haven't been accurate thus far. I am sure your assessment is accurate in some churches, but not all are alike.

Karla said...

Karla: Yes. I can think of a time before time.

BoomSlang "The premise is contradictory. What would you think if I said, "Yes, I can think of a married bachelor!!"?"

Karla: Time began to exist just like everything else.

lol I see your point. Wrong choice of words. To say there was a "before" is speaking in temporal terminology.

However, we all marvel at how fast time flies and how fast people grow up as if it somehow seems abnormal to age and live in a temporal world.


BoomSlang "If this is true, then there was no "time" before time, in which case, you cannot think of that point in "time", as you claim to do just that, above."

True. Good points.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: BoomSlang, I've not met a Christian who didn't at least believe some of the Bible was accurate at least in it's portrayal of Jesus.

So then, hopefully you can understand how it might raise an eyebrow when you say things like, "it's not about adhering to doctrine, but knowing Christ".

It seems to me, based on your statements, that taking a doctrinal stance as to the who/what/why/when/how of "Christ", is required and even necessary to be a "Christian".

And speaking of "knowing Christ[aka "Jesus"]", previously, when I requested some minor physical details based on your "knowing Christ", you refered me to the bible. 'Thing is, why do that if it's "not about doctrine"? Why can't you just oblige me on this seemingly simple request, based on your "personal relationship" with "Jesus"?

As far as assumptions go, you've made some remarks about what my church is like and what I teach and what we do and all that and they haven't been accurate thus far.

Today I'm not going to scroll around and look for it, but I'm pretty sure I said, "Your church might be an exception to the rule"[paraphrased], but that, "I remain skeptical"[also paraphrased].

In other words, I don't recall making any absolute claims about your church.

Karla said...

Karla: BoomSlang, I've not met a Christian who didn't at least believe some of the Bible was accurate at least in it's portrayal of Jesus.

BoomSlang “So then, hopefully you can understand how it might raise an eyebrow when you say things like, "it's not about adhering to doctrine, but knowing Christ". “

No. I don’t see one statement excluding the other. It’s like having a biography of someone and knowing the subject of the biography independently of the biography. I don’t need to read a biography of my friend to know them, but that doesn’t mean if I were to read a biography of my friend that I would think it false. If I only had the biography without knowing the person, I would only know a collection of information about that person, but nothing more. It would tell me about them, but not allow me to know them if I stopped with the book and didn’t proceed to know the person. Make sense?

BoomSlang “It seems to me, based on your statements, that taking a doctrinal stance as to the who/what/why/when/how of "Christ", is required and even necessary to be a "Christian".”

It’s helpful information, but without the personal knowledge of Jesus, it is only informative, not life giving.

BoomSlang “And speaking of "knowing Christ[aka "Jesus"]", previously, when I requested some minor physical details based on your "knowing Christ", you refered me to the bible. 'Thing is, why do that if it's "not about doctrine"? Why can't you just oblige me on this seemingly simple request, based on your "personal relationship" with "Jesus"?”

I don’t remember that question and answer, but I’ll take your word for it that I gave that answer. I think I remember you asking for a physical description, and since He is no longer walking the earth in a physical form like He did 2000 years ago and I wasn’t there 2000 years ago I cannot give a physical description from experience. I can say that I have felt His presence inside and on me like a power surging through me or a gentle electrical current of sorts with intense peace. I’ve already told you about hearing Him and seeing His miracles.

The Bible is an aid to knowing about Him. I am not denying that. I am just saying that the information about Him is meaningless without actually knowing the person. I mean, really, what good would it do anyone to believe a bunch of things about the way things are, without those things really being that way? What good is it to believe Jesus is real if you can’t know Him as such? If what I am telling you is true, it isn’t something you have to muster up belief or faith in. It’s something that you can encounter as real and then believe.


BoomSlang “Today I'm not going to scroll around and look for it, but I'm pretty sure I said, "Your church might be an exception to the rule"[paraphrased], but that, "I remain skeptical"[also paraphrased].”

I think it’s more that “the rule” isn’t really so much a rule. Church life isn’t the same everywhere. We aren’t special, and we aren’t separate from the rest of Christianity.

BoomSlang “In other words, I don't recall making any absolute claims about your church.”

Fair enough.

boomSLANG said...

Me, previously: “So then, hopefully you can understand how it might raise an eyebrow when you say things like, 'it's not about adhering to doctrine, but knowing Christ'."

You respond: No. I don’t see one statement excluding the other.

But won't you be one of the first people to refer to the doctrine if someone were to come along and make claims about this supposed person with whom you both claim to "know personally"? In other words, if Joe Blow, who had never seen a bible in his life, comes along and makes a claim about "Jesus" that you disagree with, you'll pull out Jesus' "biography" in an attempt to say that they can't really/don't really "know Jesus", will you not?

My point is this: When it comes to Christians trying to validate that they are "True Christians", both to nonbelievers, and even to other believers, the "doctrine" becomes necessary.

Karla: Church life isn’t the same everywhere.

The "Church life" might have its differences, for instance, based on how one group of people interpret scripture vs another. However, the goal is quite the same, and I'm talkng about indoctrination. After all, there is no more "Church" if there are no future generations of believers. The religious meme needs new hosts when the old die off, or it dies.

Karla: I don’t remember that question and answer, but I’ll take your word for it that I gave that answer. I think I remember you asking for a physical description, and since He is no longer walking the earth in a physical form...

If, as you claim, "Jesus" is "100% person", and also, if you claim that you frequently "encounter" this "person", then I am not being unreasonable in asking for a *physical* description. Since you now state that said "person" no longer walks the earth in "physical form", perhaps you should reconsider refering to said character as if you were refering to your neighbor. To do so is misleading, and frankly, it comes across as dishonest.

I can say that I have felt His presence inside and on me like a power surging through me or a gentle electrical current of sorts with intense peace.

Yeah, and those sensations/emotions and the subsequent feeling of "intense peace" are *not* unique to "Christians". We've been over this.

I’ve already told you about hearing Him and seeing His miracles.

Yes, and I've already told you that I'm skeptical of those claims. But I'm still curious, nonetheless. Since you've been "hearing Him", can you describe his voice? Is it an objective voice? Or is it a subjective voice, like, inside your head? If the former, can you describe this "voice"? Does "Jesus" have a middle-eastern accent? Is his "voice" closer to a tenor?..or a baritone? You will undoubtedly think I'm being facetious, but I can assure you that I'm genuinely curious, and even a bit concerned, whenever people claim to hear voices.

Karla said...

BoomSlang “But won't you be one of the first people to refer to the doctrine if someone were to come along and make claims about this supposed person with whom you both claim to "know personally"?”

That would depend if we both see the Bible as true. But even then I would still refer the person to Jesus Himself.

BoomSlang “In other words, if Joe Blow, who had never seen a bible in his life, comes along and makes a claim about "Jesus" that you disagree with, you'll pull out Jesus' "biography" in an attempt to say that they can't really/don't really "know Jesus", will you not?”

I don’t have a right to tell someone they don’t know Jesus if they say they do. What purpose would that serve? I do know people that I think have a whole lot of religion and rules and not much personal relationship with Jesus, but what I do about that, is not to point them to doctrine but point them to spending more time with Him. I trust Him to work out those things in their lives, it’s not my job. Even if people are struggling with some real moral issues and I don’t wield Bible verses at them, I point them to Jesus. Jesus transforms people from the inside, I can’t. Bible bashing people will only harm people, not help them.

BoomSlang “My point is this: When it comes to Christians trying to validate that they are "True Christians", both to nonbelievers, and even to other believers, the "doctrine" becomes necessary.”

Not really. I think people will see Jesus in our lives. Doctrine isn’t going to make any difference to non-believers or to people who go to church and have good morals but haven’t met Jesus. Jesus is the one that makes that difference, there is no purpose in me validating that to anyone. It’s either evident in me or it’s not.

I fully believe the Bible is true and useful, but I don’t use it in the context you’ve been describing.


BoomSlang “The "Church life" might have its differences, for instance, based on how one group of people interpret scripture vs another. However, the goal is quite the same, and I'm talkng about indoctrination. After all, there is no more "Church" if there are no future generations of believers. The religious meme needs new hosts when the old die off, or it dies.”

It’s not really about indoctrination at all. It’s about a community that live life together like a big family and enjoys worshiping God together and sharing with each other the things God is showing us. Each of us is like a part of the whole and when we come together all our talents and giftings join together and can be used to enhance the community and to aid the community outside our church family. The “Church” is every believer who has ever lived or ever will live. So that will never be lost, but then there is the local churches and that is people meeting together to worship together and to encourage one another on ward. While Jesus lives in each of us, when we all come together a greater dynamic takes place that is really fun.

Karla said...

BoomSlang “If, as you claim, "Jesus" is "100% person", and also, if you claim that you frequently "encounter" this "person", then I am not being unreasonable in asking for a *physical* description.Since you now state that said "person" no longer walks the earth in "physical form", perhaps you should reconsider refering to said character as if you were refering to your neighbor. To do so is misleading, and frankly, it comes across as dishonest.”

His presence is still here in me, but His physical human form is not present on the earth now. His Being is still very much here in each and every believer. He is always right here with me, a closer companion than my neighbor. He’s that real. I am being honest.

BoomSlang “Yeah, and those sensations/emotions and the subsequent feeling of "intense peace" are *not* unique to "Christians". We've been over this.”

True. That doesn’t make my testimony false. It was something different then emotions, that’s why I usually describe it as tangible because it is so different from emotion. I guess sensation would be an okay word for it.

BoomSlang “Yes, and I've already told you that I'm skeptical of those claims.”

I know.

BoomSlang “But I'm still curious, nonetheless. Since you've been "hearing Him", can you describe his voice? Is it an objective voice? Or is it a subjective voice, like, inside your head? If the former, can you describe this "voice"? Does "Jesus" have a middle-eastern accent? Is his "voice" closer to a tenor?..or a baritone? You will undoubtedly think I'm being facetious, but I can assure you that I'm genuinely curious, and even a bit concerned, whenever people claim to hear voices.”

I’ve never heard Him audibly. Some have. I haven’t. I’ve heard Him in my spirit. I’ve suddenly had knowledge I had no way of knowing. Christians call it hearing a “still small voice” something that is not our own thoughts, but His. And we learn this by spending time listening to Him. I was explaining it the other day to someone in this way. I read a lot. So often times I read an author who sounds a lot like another. For instance I’ll be reading Ravi Zacharias and I keep seeing influence of C.S. Lewis because I am very familiar with Lewis. Ravi also has read Lewis so Lewis’s influence or “voice” comes out and is recognizable for his writing has very distinct characteristics. So I know Lewis so I can distinguish Lewis from Ravi. Even more you can give me passages I’ve never read from several authors that I read and I could most likely distinguish between them because of my familiarity with them.

I know my own thoughts pretty well, so when I have one that isn’t me and sounds like Him, I know that pretty well and then I test it out. If I feel like God is telling me something to go share with someone I go and do that and if that something encourages or comforts them or brings them an answer they were waiting for then I know it was Him and I learn what He sounds like.

boomSLANG said...

Karla: That would depend if we both see the Bible as true. But even then I would still refer the person to Jesus Himself.

Refering someone to "God"(or "Jesus"), himself, won't necessarily resolve anything. Why? Here's why: Because while Christians insist that "Jesus" tells them things first-hand, many times the conclusions are in stark contrast to one another.

Karla, if "Christians" are "refering to Jesus" for their "knowledge" and his opinion on certain matters, then why is it that Christians cannot agree when it comes to things like the social issues of the day? For instance, abortion, war, right to life, capital punishment, and on and on. If "Jesus" was personally informing Christians on these matters and others, then we can safely assume that he's telling them all the same thing, right? Right, it would only make sense, yet, for some strange reason, Christians hold to differing ideas on these issues. Why? Moreover, as soon as Christians bump heads on these issues, they instantly refer, where? Yes!..the "doctrine" aka, the "Word of God"! Yet, the same problem arises. Christians do NOT agree on what is *IN* the "doctrine".

I don’t have a right to tell someone they don’t know Jesus if they say they do. I do know people that I think have a whole lot of religion and rules and not much personal relationship with Jesus, but what I do about that, is not to point them to doctrine but point them to spending more time with Him.

So, when Shirley Phelps and her congregation picket the funerals of our dead soldiers(a la, "GOD HATES THE U.S.A!!!"), and she does this because she claims that's what "the Lord" wants her to do, do you think she "knows Jesus", or not? Would you recommend that she "spend more time with Jesus"???

Even if people are struggling with some real moral issues and I don’t wield Bible verses at them, I point them to Jesus.

Oh? You mean, like, "WWJD"? Please tell me, how do you know what Jesus would do without looking at "Bible verses"??????

I think people will see Jesus in our lives.

Yes, of course...it's not about "rules" and "doctrine"; it's about Jesus' "love" and "compassion". Isn't that what you'll tell me? I believe so, yet, nonbelievers, too, can exhibit "love" and they can exhibit "passion".

So, can you therefore "see Jesus" in their lives, too? If so, then the implication is that "Jesus", and presumably "evil", too, can coexist in a nonbeliever. Wow, how queer.

Me, previously: "After all, there is no more 'Church' if there are no future generations of believers. The religious meme needs new hosts when the old die off, or it dies."

You attempt: It’s not really about indoctrination at all. It’s about a community that live life together like a big family and enjoys worshiping God together and sharing with each other the things God is showing us.

That's a wonderful description, however, said mission statement does not show how indocrination is not part of the agenda.

The “Church” is every believer who has ever lived or ever will live.

Yet, if there are no *future* believers, then a "Church" is pointless. Pews are just a bunch of trees, if no one sits in them.

Again, passing the meme(in this case, the Christian belief) to children is the only way to ensure that Christianity won't die out. You will never, in your wildest artillery of apologetics, convince me that indoctrinating children isn't on the Church "to do" list. Please---it's best to not even go there.

Makarios said...

boom those are all very good questions that all of need to address in our own lives. I look forward to Karla's response. I hope you can listen with resect and an open mind.

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

I hope you can listen with resect and an open mind.

I suspect the intended word was "respect".

As I just stated on the newest thread, "A Note to My Readers", I feel respected by Karla(and I respect her as a human being).

Beyond that, she harbors a belief that I and her other Atheist/Agnostic guests are going to burn in Hell, and worse, she endorses it as "Just" simply because of "who" is (allegedly) implementing this policy.

Let the record show that I will never "respect" such an abhorent, dispicable belief, even if it were proven true, which, once again, illustrates how the argument that biblegod must remain "hidden" because of our "free will", is a non-argument.

In any event, if I say something off-color, I'm fairly certain Karla is the one who moderates here.

As for an "open mind", I have to wonder---is it possible that someone can examine the Christian belief, find it lacking, but still be "open-minded"? Hmmmm...