Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 62393 times)

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #150 on: May 25, 2017, 04:17:16 PM »
Or at least I'm happy to when the newborn settles down a bit ;)

Congrats!

Lepetitange3

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #151 on: May 25, 2017, 04:28:12 PM »
Thanks!  Fourth and last child !  A decidedly un-mustachian number of small people running around here ;)

Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #152 on: May 25, 2017, 04:43:24 PM »
There are people who love ritual for some reason.  They just do.  I don't understand how doing something like Catholic mass over and over again could  possibly be enjoyable in any way.  I resent the hours of my life I will never get back from being made to attend for many years of my life, but yet I know people who aren't Christian in any way who will occasionally attend for the ritual.

I will admit as to liking buildings with arches and stained glass, but not enough to want to sit through rituals.

+1

I dragged myself through Catholic services for many years as my parents made me go.  I would agree it is hard to "love" or even like it if you do not believe why you are there.  I learned to focus at a very young age about how long this was going to keep me there.  I figure out very quickly if the priest picked option 3 for the 4 prayers leading up to the Eucharist that we just added 10 minutes to my torture.  Most of my thanking of God in those years was when he picked any of the other 3.  If we got the priest that did not do the chant and long that was another "Thank you God!"

To be clear, I find non-denominational services, mainline Protestant services, graduation ceremonies and funerals every bit as tedious.  Catholicism has no monopoly on ritual.

libertarian4321

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #153 on: May 25, 2017, 05:52:25 PM »

So I would urge any skeptic to investigate and find any Biblical fallacies because none have been discovered yet.

For some people, faith and dogma will always win out over logic and reason.

I can only go forth and try to help people use logic and reason, rather than "faith" as the guiding principle in their lives.   

In the mean time, humanity is doomed to suffer from the violence and destruction so often perpetrated in the name of some God/religion or other.  Senseless tragedy.

In the interest of fairness, I'd like to point out that religion is not the only thing people use to perpetrate violence.  Sometimes logic and reason can be used to promote violence.  For example, consider eugenics.  It is very logical and reasonable to agree that people with good genetics will produce more healthy offspring then people with bad genetics.  However, that was once taken to its logical extreme with very violent results.  Senseless tragedy?

I agree with the first part, that religion is not the ONLY cause of war and senseless violence.  Though it is far too often the prime reason that people commit acts of senseless savagery.

I'm not sure how many wars have been started in the name of "eugenics."  None?  Maybe one (in small part)?  But hundreds of wars, large and small, have been fought in the name of religion. 

Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, animists, and many others senselessly slaughtering each other in the name of their God/religion.  All utterly convinced that they were doing it "in God's name."  All utterly wrong.

Even more pathetic, religious people slaughter each other over minor differences in their beliefs (e.g. Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox Christians slaughtering each other.  Sunni and Shia slaughtering each other all over ridiculous minor differences in their religious dogma.

Stupid, senseless savagery.  All in the name of, frankly, fairy tales.

And yeah, senseless tragedy.  I can't think of anything sadder and more pathetic than people slaughtering each other over varying versions of myth/God/fairy tale.

At least when they fight over land or food or treasure, they fight for something real...

libertarian4321

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #154 on: May 25, 2017, 05:58:29 PM »
I know I sound harsh toward religion.  That hasn't always been the case.  It's taken some time.

At one time, I thought religion (all of them) was nothing more than harmless delusion.

But as I read more and more history and the idiotic killing, torture, and violence, all in the name of religion, I've gotten to the point where I just wish humans would "grow up" and get past this nonsense, and start acting like rational beings.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #155 on: May 25, 2017, 06:31:05 PM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 07:03:38 PM by Kris »
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #156 on: May 25, 2017, 06:48:07 PM »
I know I sound harsh toward religion.  That hasn't always been the case.  It's taken some time.

At one time, I thought religion (all of them) was nothing more than harmless delusion.

But as I read more and more history and the idiotic killing, torture, and violence, all in the name of religion, I've gotten to the point where I just wish humans would "grow up" and get past this nonsense, and start acting like rational beings.

To be fair, religion is essentially tribalism.  If we get past religion, we'll still do these things in the name of politics.  Or for glory and empire.  Or racial purity.  Its the 'us vs them' thinking that's inherent in tribalism that we really must overcome.
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Freedom2016

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #157 on: May 25, 2017, 08:37:29 PM »
This whole topic brings up so many reactions from me that I hardly know where to start. What follows is pretty jumbled, so I hope you can bear with me.

OP, I feel you. I wish you peace as you sort out all of these very tough questions and issues.

I was raised in a Bible-based, evangelical home. This meant literal interpretations of the Bible; the various posts by caracarn remind me very much of my former life. I was a wholehearted believer (accepted Christ as my savior, and did my best to 'walk the talk') for nearly 30 years. Was a Josh McDowell apologist with the best of them; evangelized during college outreach trips; spent a summer as an evangelist one year. Led Bible studies, was considered a leader in my church and in the faith groups I was part of.

In my early thirties a crisis of faith descended on me. I'm not going to re-litigate it all here, but suffice it to say that I spent 5-6 years in a "dark night of the soul" where questions I had glossed over for years took center stage, and I finally let myself ask the questions for real. When I did, I was horrified to discover that my faith did not stand up to close scrutiny at all. "Truth" as I knew it, didn't exist the way I had always understood it. I went to Calcutta, literally served the poorest and sickest people on earth, as I sought God's face. I consulted theologians; I read every apologetics book I could; I explored Catholicism; I prayed incessantly; I searched my soul for some unconfessed sin; I examined whether I was letting my emotions lead me or my intellect. I spent about six years in a particular hell of questioning my faith and finding no satisfactory answers. I started a blog to try to sort out my questions, and in the process connected with others who have de-converted. I begged God to clear out the cobwebs, to lead my path. I received silence.

In the end, I discovered that the gift of faith that had sustained me for decades had... evaporated. The faith didn't hold together for me anymore. Not from an intellectual perspective, not from an emotional perspective. The "presence" of God that I had felt repeatedly throughout my life was simply... gone.

At one level it was a sucker punch, but on another level the most freeing thing I have ever experienced. At still another level, a lonely journey. At yet another, a grief-filled process of losing the community and storyline that had sustained me most of my life. I have yet to recover from that last one.

It has been devastating to my devout mother to hear of my de-conversion. I have no doubt that she prays for me daily. I hate that she worries for my soul (though theologically she adheres to "once saved, always saved" so you'd think she could relax!). We had one conversation about it four years ago; we don't talk about it anymore. Though I notice all the holiday cards she sends me these days are religious, whereas they used to be irreverent jokey cards.

I found myself having reactions reading caracarn's posts. They're not directed toward me at all but I feel angry and insulted by what comes across as prostheletyzing. Which I used to do myself by the way. Having been on both sides of that kind of exchange, the arguments ring so hollow to me now whereas they used to feel so obviously true when I was a faithful adherent. For example: regarding the thing about the KJV translation of unicorns being wrong. Caracarn I think at one points says basically, "well the KJV people have been shown now to have been wrong in how they understood the original language." For this and other areas of scriptural interpretation that have shifted over the years (see, for example, slavery), I ask: if God is unchanging, yet people have gotten their "understanding" of God wrong at various points in history, what makes you think YOU are right? Why would God obscure his truth to millions of the faithful over thousands of years, but now he's revealed his full truth to your particular denomination, your version of the 'truth'? I stopped believing that my evangelical church had a lock on the truth when I reflected on the likelihood that God had hidden the fullness of his truth until a bunch of Nordic immigrants to Minnesota figured it out and founded the First Evangelical Free Church.

For awhile I considered joining the Catholic Church - by my research and study and reflection, their theology hangs together MUCH more consistently than the evangelical dogma (and make no mistake, "bible-based" faith communities have their share of extra-biblical 'rules' that you are expected to abide; saved by 'faith alone' is total bullshit lip service given the behavioral codes that can be in play in such communities). But I could not honestly pledge, as a convert, that I believed everything the Catholic Church taught in its dogma. So I hung back and didn't join. The ceremony and pageantry never quite sat well with me.  And eventually faith fell apart altogether.

So. At one level I am a much happier person; I had felt the weight of the world on my shoulders as an extremely faithful adherent who grappled with questions like - should I give everything up to serve the neediest and poorest in the world? What does God want of me? Why is God such a jealous, shallow fuck, to insist that we worship him? Is he a narcissist or what? Why is a transactional confession of belief the thing, the technicality, that will erase an otherwise shit life that hurt lots of other people? What justice is there in that? Why through an accident of birth do I have every possible fucking advantage over someone else who through accident of birth is starving in Somalia? The Christians I knew who praised Jesus for finding their keys or getting them that job when there is serious fucking human suffering that God seems to ignore elsewhere in the world started to drive me batty. That God is a petty-as-fuck god and patronizing explanations that God cares about the smallest things started to ring pretty damn hollow once I was working in the international humanitarian and conflict resolution fields. Etc. Etc.

On another level, I do feel like I have lost a handle on my core purpose in life. And I have lost community. Which I still mourn. I'm not sure I've figured out who I am absent "evangelical Christian." That said, I met my husband after my crisis of faith, which I am endlessly thankful for, because he's no evangelical himself and we are largely on the same page when it comes to the role of faith/community in our lives. We go to a Quaker meeting now and we really appreciate it. I can't imagine how hard it would be to be navigating these incredibly hard questions with a partner who still felt strongly that the truth resided in the faith of my upbringing.

I'm sorry for the word vomit here. Like I said, I kept a blog for several months where I grappled with various aspects of my faith questions. I'm not comfortable sharing the link here but if anybody is interested in reading it you can PM me. My only caveat here is that this is not an invitation to find places to evangelize me back into the faith. I have extremely bad reactions these days to any effort to 'educate' me on apologetic arguments I may not have considered in my de-conversion process. I desperately prayed not to lose my faith and I examined *everything*. Please don't assume you know more than me on these questions. Thanks. :)

MayDay

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #158 on: May 26, 2017, 03:16:17 AM »
Freedom 2016, very moving.

I didn't know the E free church was founded in MN. I grew up in northern Iowa and then loved in MN, and knew a lot of people in that church. Even at the time when I was going to Methodist church, I had an E free friend proselytize to me?!? What the heck! Any religion that proselytizes automatically gets a huge side eye from me.

I guess I was lucky I never was a true believer because I don't have any identity crisis about leaving religion. I'm just glad I get to work in my garden and go to the grocery on Sunday mornings!
Journal:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/mayday's-journal/350/  featuring children, chickens (new!) and other ch words.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #159 on: May 26, 2017, 04:05:24 AM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.

Other than context.  Take a peek at the dangers of focusing on a word or turn of phrase here of there to "hang your hat on" as Lepitange3 points out a few posts ago.  He would certainly qualify as a translation expert, as opposed to me who is simply passing along what I have learned with a layman's level of research, versus a scholar such as he/she.  If I read a poem written in the Renaissance that speaks of dragons or unicorns that poet is not more saying they are real than is the Bible in any of these contexts.  The poet also does not have this called out to tell the reader that this is not a real because as a writer he wrote in the real world, knew these creates did not exist and did not belittle his readers and assume they were idiots and had to have it explained to them.  The Bible was not a research paper with footnotes, so sorry they did not insert a superscript to call out every nuance.  Study bibles on the other hand have added things like that to help people understand the immense context in which each book was written.  You are pointing to dragons in prophetic books (John was describing a vision, and Isaiah was actually a prophet) and saying because there is not a footnote saying this was a vision. 

I'm not going to convince you if you are insistent that the text is saying dragons are real.  Much research and scholars who understand a lot more than you or I say you are wrong.  I again, go with the preponderance of the evidence, not the insistence of someone on the internet who has most likely spent only the time to retort to my posts to goo to a website and search for the word dragon, and name their occurrences and insist they are real, contrary to the evidence.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #160 on: May 26, 2017, 05:34:30 AM »
Hope that helps.

No offense intended, but not really.  You essentially said 'all the evidence and history,' and I guess what I was looking for (if I wasn't being clear) was some specificity.
I probably could have asked my original question better.

It was also the fact that much of the evidence that points to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God and that actual historical evidence for the resurrection keeps being found is what did and continues to tip me that way.

Could you list just a couple of pieces of that evidence?
No need to defend them all, I'm more than willing to do my own research.

OK will give you a few.

First question.  Were the gospel writers who say they were present at the time of Jesus and speak as eyewitnesses, really there?    Gina Vermes said this in "Changing Faces of Jesus", Penguin, 2002 - "The so-called Gospel of John is something special and reflects ... the highly evolved theology of a Christian writer who lived three generations after Jesus".  She means to imply that after having many years to pull together a coherent story, the Gospel of John, a book which most Christians will point any new believer or interested party as the place to start in the Bible to build and solidify their faith, was written by someone else under John's name with the intent to create a convincing narrative.  And one of the skeptics favorite authors/sources, Bart Ehrman said this in "Jesus Interrupted", HarperCollins, 2010 - "Why was the tomb supposedly empty? I say supposedly because, frankly, I don't know that is was.  Our very first reference to Jesus' tomb being empty is in the Gospel of Mark, written forty years later by someone living in a different country who had heard it was empty.  How could he know?"  Again, suggesting second or third hand testimony and significant delay creating doubt of eyewitness veracity.  Ehrman has been making similar arguments long before this was published seven years ago, and I get hit with this to convince me of my lunacy somewhat regularly.  I totally agree, that is the writing can be shown to occur not in the first century when eyewitnesses would have been alive and closer to AD 363 when the council that established the Catholic Church took place then maybe they could not be relied on.  So some of the evidence for this.

1. Destruction of the temple
This was the most significant event in Jewish history in the first century, occurred in 70 AD and is recorded in several documents of the time including by Flavius Josephus, Complete Works of  Flavius Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Antiquities of the Jews.  Yet it is not mentioned at all in the Gospels or in anything in the New Testament.  This would be like writing a book now about major attacks that have occured on the United States and failing to mention Pearl Harbor on 9/11.  Add to this massive omission that would corroborate skeptics belief these works were written much later the fact that in Matthew 24:1-3 Jesus predicted the destruction of the temple.  If I'm making up bullshit and want to convince someone of the powers of our leader Jesus, wouldn't I or at least someone in the 20+ books of the New Testament include a mention of this to corroborate Jesus' predictive powers and show what a badass he was? 

2. Luke said nothing about the deaths of Paul, Peter and James
Luke is regarded as a centerpiece of Christian history and he is credited with writing Acts (for again vastly researched scholarly reasons that make it quite clear he wrote both the Gospel of Luke and Acts which you can look for and dig into if you need more).  The book of Acts is the history of the early church.  It talks about how Christianity began starting immediately after Jesus' resurrection.  Again, the Romans trying really hard to suppress this "cult" or whatever you want to call it then, killed Peter in 65 AD, Paul in 64 AD and James in 62 AD.  Yet in an account that tells of other deaths for the faith like Stephen (Acts 7:54-60) and James the brother of John (Acts 12:1-2) the deaths of three of the most important church leaders, and ones that could add a lot of corroborating value to the suffering of Christians, were not there.  Again, makes little sense if you are writing a fable to convince people of bullshit. 

3. Mark appears to protect key players
This hinges on how eyewitness accounts tend to work.  To protect people witnesses will at times not name them.  Mark does with several key people to the Christian "story".  In Mark 14:47 he talks of the "one of those who stood by, drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear".  Yet in the Gospel of John, Peter is named, and John's gospel is acknowledged as the final gospel written.  Back to this later.  In Mark 14:3-9 he fails to identify the woman who anoints Simon the leper, although again John tells us it is Mary.   The Jewish leaders were furiously trying to find key people in the early Christian movement to stifle it.  If these people were still alive it would make sense that Mark was trying to protect them.  John's gospel account was most likely written after the deaths of Peter, Malchus (the slave whose ear was cut off) and Mary, so just like eyewitnesses or your relatives are more comfortable naming someone after they died but not so much when they are alive to protect them from punishment or embarrassment, this fits exactly what we'd expect to see in eyewitness accounts. 

There are a lot of pieces of evidence that place gospels in a timeline, but these are the first points that shove everything well before 70 AD when they absolutely can be eyewitness accounts. 

So next.  Is evidence corroborated by people outside the conspiracy who have no reason to lie and every reason to cry bullshit?

There are internal things such as undesigned coincidences that and unintentional support when you look across the four gospels and how one fills in gaps of the other.  Again, for sake of brevity I'm not going to dig into this here but you can look at the Wallace book or J.J. Blunt for 1847.

1. Josephus (circa 37 AD-100) described Jesus
In Antiquities of the Jews he described the death of John the Baptist, the execution of James and Jesus as a "wise man". 

2. Thallus (circa 5 AD -60) described Jesus
Like much in the ancient world, original writing themselves may not survive, but we find other original writing that reference them,  Sextus Julius Africanus wrote History of the World in 221 AD.  The passage from Thallus talks about a "most fearful darkness", rocks rent by an earthquake and collapsing buildings during Jesus's crucifixion.  Thallus was not a friend of Christians.  Yet he provides evidence that Jesus was crucified and that darkness covered the land when it happened.

3. Claims skeptics used for years of non-existence of key officials in Luke's gospels shown possible and likely by new archaeological discoveries.
Quirinius is one that was pointed out as being incorrectly placed on a timeline proving Luke was unfamiliar with chronology of leaders.  Kind of like someone two decades from now writing a book and saying Obama was president after Trump.  19th century archeological records revealed a proconsul by that name, and a coin and a statues base in Pisdian Antioch have now also verified someone by that name was in a leadership position Luke describes during that time period.  Lysanias s identified as a tetrarch in Luke 3:1.  Two inscriptions have been discovered that mention Lysanias by name and one, dated between 14 AD and 37 AD identify him as a tetrach.  For detail you can dig into John McRay, Archeology and the New Testament, 2009.

Third, you want to validate accuracy.  Can anything be found that invalidates their testimony and again show that they were fabricated later?

John taught Ignatius and Polycarp who taught Irenaeus who taught Hippolytus.  Paul taught Linus and Clement of Rome who taught Evaristus who taught Pius.  Peter taught another slew of people.  So you ask, "And why do I care?"  Because this establishes chain of custody and also in their writings we see very early evidence of the books of Scripture that were ackowledged, not at the Councils in 300 and later as skeptics like to claim but starting in the first and second centuries. 

From all their writings is we take the non-biblical ones we learn:  Jesus has been predicated by the OT prophets, He was a man in the line of David, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary and announced with a star.  He came from God and manifested God's knowledge and will, baptized by John, and dozens of other details.  If you want to get into the hundreds of details you can, but at the very least the major themes and claims of the Gospels that Jesus was described as God, walked with His disciples, taught the masses, died on a cross and rose from the dead are confirmed by the first students of the Gospel writers.  They are not claims or exaggerations invented later but existed from the first telling.

So what about the accuracy of the text.  While we have no discovered proof any reasonable person would assume that scribes who copied the texts worked in the Masoretic tradition, which existed for hundred of years before and after the first century.  They created the Masoretic Text and are used in translations.  Here are some of the procedures they used to protect the text against changes.

When they noted an obvious error in the text, they labeled iit as a "kethibh" ("to be written") and placed a correction called a "qere" ("to be read") in the margin.  When they considered a work textually, grammatically, or exegetically questionable they placed dots above the word.  The kept detailed statistics as a means of guarding against error.  Leviticus 8:8 as an example was identified as the MIDDLE VERSE of the Torah.  In Leviticus 10:16 the word "darash" was identified as the MIDDLE WORD in the Torah, and the "waw" located in the Hebrew word gachon in Leviticus 11:42 was identified as the MIDDLE LETTER of the Torah.  The also placed statistics at the end of each book, including the total number of verses, the total number of words, and the total number of letters.  By assembling these statistics they could measure each book mathematically to see if there was a copyist error.  They created a crude manual hash-like process like we use in computers to verify accuracy of computer files.  This was the tradition that scribes of the time for centuries operated in for religious texts.  To assume that the entire Christian set of documents, including the four gospels as the core of the New Testament, were somehow handled differently is a jump to absurdity that any prudent investigator would have difficulty explaining.  It's certainly an easy excuse, but one that I clearly see as indefensible to say that only the copies of the Christian books were altered. 

Last, and I only mention this point to questioning, because I think I've given enough to start you out, there is a lot of evidence to show they were not biased in their account.  They were not motivated by the normal conspiracy theories that drive bullshit.  There was no financial gain, no gain in sex or relationships, and not pursuit of power.  As the apostles rose to positions of leadership they became bigger and bigger targets for persecution and death and most of them died for their faith.  They died gruesome, awful deaths that are documented.  Arguing that they were all insane is again not reasonable.  You'd be hard pressed to show people not recanting a fabrication that provides them completely zero benefit when faced with death.  A defense attorney of them could certainly ask "Why would my client have done such a thing when it would not benefit him in any way?"

If you want more bibliography information to look at for the above notes (I had to get to work so I got sloppier at citing as I went on), let me know.

Éowyn MI

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #161 on: May 26, 2017, 06:11:39 AM »
I know I sound harsh toward religion.  That hasn't always been the case.  It's taken some time.

At one time, I thought religion (all of them) was nothing more than harmless delusion.

But as I read more and more history and the idiotic killing, torture, and violence, all in the name of religion, I've gotten to the point where I just wish humans would "grow up" and get past this nonsense, and start acting like rational beings.

To be fair, religion is essentially tribalism.  If we get past religion, we'll still do these things in the name of politics.  Or for glory and empire.  Or racial purity.  Its the 'us vs them' thinking that's inherent in tribalism that we really must overcome.

Yes, thank you, tyort.  I think that was the point that I was trying to make.  Eugenics was just the first example that came to mind of a non-religious justification for killing the people who are deemed as 'those who are not us.'

It is true that religion has been used to justify violence.  However, it is extremely unlikely that getting rid of religion will get rid of violence.  Humans will just think of a different rationalization.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #162 on: May 26, 2017, 06:12:15 AM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.

Other than context.  Take a peek at the dangers of focusing on a word or turn of phrase here of there to "hang your hat on" as Lepitange3 points out a few posts ago.  He would certainly qualify as a translation expert, as opposed to me who is simply passing along what I have learned with a layman's level of research, versus a scholar such as he/she.  If I read a poem written in the Renaissance that speaks of dragons or unicorns that poet is not more saying they are real than is the Bible in any of these contexts.  The poet also does not have this called out to tell the reader that this is not a real because as a writer he wrote in the real world, knew these creates did not exist and did not belittle his readers and assume they were idiots and had to have it explained to them.  The Bible was not a research paper with footnotes, so sorry they did not insert a superscript to call out every nuance.  Study bibles on the other hand have added things like that to help people understand the immense context in which each book was written.  You are pointing to dragons in prophetic books (John was describing a vision, and Isaiah was actually a prophet) and saying because there is not a footnote saying this was a vision. 

I'm not going to convince you if you are insistent that the text is saying dragons are real.  Much research and scholars who understand a lot more than you or I say you are wrong.  I again, go with the preponderance of the evidence, not the insistence of someone on the internet who has most likely spent only the time to retort to my posts to goo to a website and search for the word dragon, and name their occurrences and insist they are real, contrary to the evidence.

As for your last paragraph insulting and dismissing me because I am challenging you, as I said above to someone else, I have read the Bible cover to cover. And I have a Ph.D. in language studies. And have been a professional translator.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

maxpower

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #163 on: May 26, 2017, 07:05:13 AM »
 
Anyone gone through a similar time in their life?

I've not read the comments here, nor will I likely have the time (a bit busy, see!), so this is just a quick note to the OP. I empathize with your situation here. My own conflict between honesty and faith eventually led me to a PhD. in systematic theology. It turns out that many of the greatest theological minds are very much aware of the mythological nature of the scriptures and yet consider themselves to be people of faith. That was news to me, raised as I was within fairly conservative circles.

At any rate, I've found that these matters tend to be more easily resolved on a personal/philosophical level than on the social level. That's to say, discussing these issues with family, worshiping with a community, etc... has and remains difficult even though I've come to my own peace on much of this. I haven't written in awhile, but I used to blog fairly regularly about my own walk, and my dissertation deals explicitly with this inner conflict. In the event any of that may be helpful to you, I'll drop this link here, and end with the abstract for my dissertation. Best wishes!

It is often thought that Christianity keeps its adherents in a state of perpetual immaturity. As a sociological fact, this may be hard to argue against. Much that goes by the name Christianity looks quite near to what Ernest Becker described as a fearful “death denying ideology.” In theological terminology, such ways of being amount to self-salvation programs. The terror of death drives us to avoid all forms of death. Yet, at the heart of Christianity stands one who chose his own death and encouraged his followers to take up their own crosses and follow him. Such an act, apparently, has an important role to play in an understanding of Christian salvation. In this thesis, I make use of developmental stages theory to illuminate what that role is. I argue that Christian salvation is founded on a paradoxical death that is best made sense of in light of contemporary developmental stages theory, in particular, at the thresholds of developmental stage transition. To illuminate this claim I trace out the logic across the rational, desirous, and active dimensions of human being. These dimensions are explored, in order, by way of Paul Tillich’s philosophy of religion, Sebastian Moore’s spiritual Christology, and the practice of Centering prayer. Taken together, it is concluded that Christianity has tremendous resources for helping its adherents come to grips with their death denying strategies and therefore enlarge their capacity for psychological and spiritual maturity.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 07:07:23 AM by maxpower »

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #164 on: May 26, 2017, 07:35:57 AM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.

Other than context.  Take a peek at the dangers of focusing on a word or turn of phrase here of there to "hang your hat on" as Lepitange3 points out a few posts ago.  He would certainly qualify as a translation expert, as opposed to me who is simply passing along what I have learned with a layman's level of research, versus a scholar such as he/she.  If I read a poem written in the Renaissance that speaks of dragons or unicorns that poet is not more saying they are real than is the Bible in any of these contexts.  The poet also does not have this called out to tell the reader that this is not a real because as a writer he wrote in the real world, knew these creates did not exist and did not belittle his readers and assume they were idiots and had to have it explained to them.  The Bible was not a research paper with footnotes, so sorry they did not insert a superscript to call out every nuance.  Study bibles on the other hand have added things like that to help people understand the immense context in which each book was written.  You are pointing to dragons in prophetic books (John was describing a vision, and Isaiah was actually a prophet) and saying because there is not a footnote saying this was a vision. 

I'm not going to convince you if you are insistent that the text is saying dragons are real.  Much research and scholars who understand a lot more than you or I say you are wrong.  I again, go with the preponderance of the evidence, not the insistence of someone on the internet who has most likely spent only the time to retort to my posts to goo to a website and search for the word dragon, and name their occurrences and insist they are real, contrary to the evidence.

As for your last paragraph insulting and dismissing me because I am challenging you, as I said above to someone else, I have read the Bible cover to cover. And I have a Ph.D. in language studies. And have been a professional translator.
I was not insulting you.  Sorry for making you feel that way.  Certainly the dismissal is valid, because I've got better things to do than convince someone who refuses to be convinced.

Respectfully, with regards to your most recent comments.  Is your Ph. D. in Aramaic, ancient Hebrew or ancient Greek?  Unless it is then what Lepetitange3 indicated comes into play.  Ancient language and any type of translation of modern (after Latin) are incomparable.  I do not have a Ph. D. in language, though my wife does have a Master's in it.  She does not feel any of her coursework would make her qualified to question Biblical translation.  I also speak multiple languages and can translate, but I stand on the same principle of my expertise being irrelevant for Biblical translation as it is world's apart. 

Scripture clearly says the Word of God is utter foolishness to an unbeliever as stated clearly in 1 Corinthian 1:18.  So reading the Bible cover to cover really does not help either.  No religious text is meant to be your source of belief.  It is a source to deepen your understanding and to find guidance once you believe.  As part of discipleship is someone came to me interested, I tell them to read the Gospel of John (not the whole Bible) and then come talk to me about it, so I can help answer the hundred of questions they normally have.  The Bible is not the manual for becoming a Christian, it is the owners manual for life one you are one.  I get the desire by many to come to faith by that research alone.  I personally have never met anyone who came to any faith from non-belief by just picking up a text.  It always involved a personal connection with someone to walk alongside them and answer their questions and let them discern on their own.  That is the course of my dismissal.  You do not appear to be actively searching, you appear to have made up your mind on dragons in the Bible and I've explained and you still not only doubt but insist that something that is not there is there.  Those references are not in the Bible to convince you as a non-Christian to become one.  They are there to instruct Christians.  We understand it as colorful language describing Levithan a large beast, whose best description is sea monster or dragon by the poet who was expressing that vision.  Likewise, perhaps Satan really will take on the actual form of a dragon during the last battles with God, or perhaps it is figurative.  I believe you are looking for certainty in the text.  The ability to take everything in the Bible as literal.   Only historical books of the Bible are meant to be interpreted literally.  The books with the word dragon used in the translation, for at least the  fourth time are not those kinds of books, but you appear to be challenging me on the basis that they are.  That's why I dismissed it.  It's pointless for me to say it's black when you insist it's white.  Challenge away, but that was why I responded as I did.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 07:38:58 AM by caracarn »

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #165 on: May 26, 2017, 07:45:20 AM »
Still kinda wondering about this.

Cara mentioned in another reply that it's the NASB (New American Standard Bible, I believe).

I've used and read multiple translations (NKJV, NIV, ESV).  There are not "versions" of the Bible, though I get the confusion because there is the King James VERSION, but  I think this creates confusion be making people who do not understand what that means think that the content of one "version" versus another is different.  It's like if I told you that I read the abridged VERSION of War and Peace you understand that there is text that is missing that I had not read to I do not have War and Peace.  That is not the case with the Bible translations.  A true translation is fully complete and not a "version" in the common definition of that word.  I'm not sure if that is your understanding and that is why this answer is so important to you. 

You just need to be careful what you chose.  To confuse people even more there are versions that are paraphrases and things like The Message.  You can learn what the goals of each group of translation were.  The ESV's goals are "essentially literal" whereas the NASB is focused on a precise translation that is readable.  The nuances can be small, but NKJV for example while striving to eliminate the translation errors is still very difficult to read due to the grammar, and the NIV was a little looser than I preferred in their goals to make the Bible more contemporary, but many denominations use it.  My focus was the translation that went through the most rigor with the belief that that would keep it as close as humanly possible to the original texts that they came from.  Since I can't read Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek, this is my best option.

There are different versions of the Bible, though. The Catholic Bible has seven more books than the Bible that most protestant uses. And some of the books are in a different order. So the protestant bible is an awful lot like the example of War and Peace that you just gave.

And as for translations... well, translations are inherently interpretations, yes. Which means, people are changing the text to suit their own understanding. They may choose to be "faithful" to the original, but I think it's pretty much inevitable that human interpretation creeps in.

As for the New American Standard Bible, my research shows references to a dragon in Revelation, yes -- but those references talk about a dragon as something recognizable -- not a made-up beast, but something the person hearing the story would be familiar with. And there are also references to dragons in Nehemiah and Isaiah in that "translation."

There are but just do you not know what a dragon as a mythological creature is and would you not recognize a drawing of it? I think you would and if not you can go to Amazon and look up Dungeons and Dragons and you can see one.  Just because it is "recognizable" is not saying it is an actual thing on the earth.  Is this dragon going to be real at the time?  I guess we'll find out but Revelation is about things to come not what has happened in regards to the dragon, which is Satan.  The reference in Isaiah and Nehemiah as also covered.  They are poems and the word dragon is used to refer to a sea monster and again neither of those books are historical books like Exodus or Judges.  Therefore making the leap that this means the Bible means that dragons existed is not accurate. 

The Catholics did create their own Bible.  They needed to adhere to what they came up with.  They deviated from the original accepted manuscripts so my stance is that is not a Bible.  I get that Catholics will say it is.  I'd also challenge you to find a Catholic who owns or has even read their bible.  It will take you a long time.  I never had access to a Bible until a got one from a Protestant friend, and guess what my priest said when confronted with my questions to show me why what he told me was true was.  "You can't use that Bible, you have to use ours."  So you are right there, they do have a different book.  The Catholic Bible's added books are not able to have a proven chain of custody, were not written in Hebrew and did not appear anywhere in Christian cannon for centuries.  It is the opposite of the War and Peace example I gave.  It took War and Peace, and added seven chapters and said, "Now this is War and Peace (because I needed to add this for purgatory and to make people do things for my benefit)"

On the translations part, I want to be sure you understand how the translation process works.  It is not five people sitting down and each doing pieces of it.  There are hundreds of people involved and at least 10-20 people are involved in each book to remove the "human interpretation".  They are not inventing words.  Think of it like taking Beowulf from the Orignal Olde English which would be unreadable and not understandable to someone today other than a scholar of Olde English, and then translating it to something understandable.  Or like taking Valley Girl speak from the 80s or texting abbreviations from today and writing them in a way my 90 year old grandmother could understand.  This is a group of people that studied for years how to read dead languages like Aramaic, or "old" versions of Hebrew and Greek and follow agreed upon principles of what re'em or si'ir or logos for example means.  Now if you want to suggest that the agreed upon meaning of those has somehow been changed over time and no one knows it and that has crept in to all translations, I can't prove that is impossible, but it would be highly unlikely.  And is it relevant.  If "pizza" is not actually a round piece of dough with tomato sauce and stuff on it when I translate it from the Italian word or words that had the meaning of "round piece of dough with tomato cause and stuff on it" and those Italian words "really" meant "loaf of bread dropped in a mud puddle" no one would know and the commonly accepted understanding would be round piece of dough with stuff on it.  Not sure if that is what you are getting at here.  In any event I believe the translation process is rigorous enough in the translation commonly agreed upon to be most direct to avoid the changes you believe might be there.

ETA:  I see Lepitange3 above added something on the translation process above, which I think, explains better than I the rigor involved in Bible translation.  Though to be honest it was such a complex post it was unclear to me whether it was meant to help show the accuracy of translations or to prove your point.  I guess they'll have to re comment to clarify.

Yes. I would. But I wouldn't say that it is an actual animal, as the Bible seems to. I see no parentheses after the references to this creature in that book that say, "By the way, dragons are a totally mythical creature made up by humans, and totally don't exist". Failing that, there's little reason to presume the passages are not referring to the animal as an actual thing.

Other than context.  Take a peek at the dangers of focusing on a word or turn of phrase here of there to "hang your hat on" as Lepitange3 points out a few posts ago.  He would certainly qualify as a translation expert, as opposed to me who is simply passing along what I have learned with a layman's level of research, versus a scholar such as he/she.  If I read a poem written in the Renaissance that speaks of dragons or unicorns that poet is not more saying they are real than is the Bible in any of these contexts.  The poet also does not have this called out to tell the reader that this is not a real because as a writer he wrote in the real world, knew these creates did not exist and did not belittle his readers and assume they were idiots and had to have it explained to them.  The Bible was not a research paper with footnotes, so sorry they did not insert a superscript to call out every nuance.  Study bibles on the other hand have added things like that to help people understand the immense context in which each book was written.  You are pointing to dragons in prophetic books (John was describing a vision, and Isaiah was actually a prophet) and saying because there is not a footnote saying this was a vision. 

I'm not going to convince you if you are insistent that the text is saying dragons are real.  Much research and scholars who understand a lot more than you or I say you are wrong.  I again, go with the preponderance of the evidence, not the insistence of someone on the internet who has most likely spent only the time to retort to my posts to goo to a website and search for the word dragon, and name their occurrences and insist they are real, contrary to the evidence.

As for your last paragraph insulting and dismissing me because I am challenging you, as I said above to someone else, I have read the Bible cover to cover. And I have a Ph.D. in language studies. And have been a professional translator.
I was not insulting you.  Sorry for making you feel that way.  Certainly the dismissal is valid, because I've got better things to do than convince someone who refuses to be convinced.

Respectfully, with regards to your most recent comments.  Is your Ph. D. in Aramaic, ancient Hebrew or ancient Greek?  Unless it is then what Lepetitange3 indicated comes into play.  Ancient language and any type of translation of modern (after Latin) are incomparable.  I do not have a Ph. D. in language, though my wife does have a Master's in it.  She does not feel any of her coursework would make her qualified to question Biblical translation.  I also speak multiple languages and can translate, but I stand on the same principle of my expertise being irrelevant for Biblical translation as it is world's apart. 

Scripture clearly says the Word of God is utter foolishness to an unbeliever as stated clearly in 1 Corinthian 1:18.  So reading the Bible cover to cover really does not help either.  No religious text is meant to be your source of belief.  It is a source to deepen your understanding and to find guidance once you believe.  As part of discipleship is someone came to me interested, I tell them to read the Gospel of John (not the whole Bible) and then come talk to me about it, so I can help answer the hundred of questions they normally have.  The Bible is not the manual for becoming a Christian, it is the owners manual for life one you are one.  I get the desire by many to come to faith by that research alone.  I personally have never met anyone who came to any faith from non-belief by just picking up a text.  It always involved a personal connection with someone to walk alongside them and answer their questions and let them discern on their own.  That is the course of my dismissal.  You do not appear to be actively searching, you appear to have made up your mind on dragons in the Bible and I've explained and you still not only doubt but insist that something that is not there is there.  Those references are not in the Bible to convince you as a non-Christian to become one.  They are there to instruct Christians.  We understand it as colorful language describing Levithan a large beast, whose best description is sea monster or dragon by the poet who was expressing that vision.  Likewise, perhaps Satan really will take on the actual form of a dragon during the last battles with God, or perhaps it is figurative.  I believe you are looking for certainty in the text.  The ability to take everything in the Bible as literal.   Only historical books of the Bible are meant to be interpreted literally.  The books with the word dragon used in the translation, for at least the  fourth time are not those kinds of books, but you appear to be challenging me on the basis that they are.  That's why I dismissed it.  It's pointless for me to say it's black when you insist it's white.  Challenge away, but that was why I responded as I did.

So, my challenging your arguments -- which you have put out here as a way to convince others -- is my "refusing to be convinced."

I would say, instead, that your arguments are not convincing.

You have told us that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And haven't really given good "evidence" of that. It seems as though you expect me to be convinced without good "proof." In my book, that is not refusing to be convinced. That is expecting good reasons to change my mind. I've been respectful and asked questions that I feel are important ones, giving counter arguments where I see fit -- but haven't been satisfied with the answers. "Refusing" to be convinced implies that I somehow know you're right but just can't bring myself to say it, or that I'm willfully blinding myself to the fact that you're obviously correct. Sorry, neither of those things is true.

If you don't want to respond to the questions I ask -- and have sometimes asked twice -- then, that's fine. Tell me you're not interested in debating with me and I will stop asking you questions. But don't put it off as some failure on my part.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 08:00:03 AM by Kris »
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caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #166 on: May 26, 2017, 08:42:39 AM »
for brevity omitted....

So, my challenging your arguments -- which you have put out here as a way to convince others -- is my "refusing to be convinced."

I would say, instead, that your arguments are not convincing.

You have told us that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And haven't really given good "evidence" of that. It seems as though you expect me to be convinced without good "proof." In my book, that is not refusing to be convinced. That is expecting good reasons to change my mind. I've been respectful and asked questions that I feel are important ones, giving counter arguments where I see fit -- but haven't been satisfied with the answers. "Refusing" to be convinced implies that I somehow know you're right but just can't bring myself to say it, or that I'm willfully blinding myself to the fact that you're obviously correct. Sorry, neither of those things is true.

If you don't want to respond to the questions I ask -- and have sometimes asked twice -- then, that's fine. Tell me you're not interested in debating with me and I will stop asking you questions. But don't put it off as some failure on my part.
Oh goodness.  I rarely pull out the "where to begin".

I can't prove to you the God said those words.  No one can, so I'm not sure how that does not become futile.  All I can provide are reasons for my belief that the texts I am looking at and basing my faith on are unaltered, hence preserving the the text accurately which I as a Christian believe is in inerrant because it says so.  I've just spent two hours putting together a response to MrDelane (see reply #160) that walks through some of those proofs, with the understanding that he said that he would do his own research beyond that, so they are not exhaustive.  If they were, I would have written by own book like the authors I cite did.  I just do not have the time for that as they got paid, and I'm not, so my level of effort will match my perceived level of your interest.  I get that you are not satisfied with the answers, and my feeling it is an exercise in futility is that these are not things I'm fabricating on my own.  I'm using multiple sources that have done a lot of what I feel are exhaustive research, and your dispute is with their detail.  I am not going to retype entire chapters of books here to provide proof.  At time point, as MrDelane has said he will do, you need to take the nugget that you are given and go do some work yourself.  Are you expecting me to spoon feed it to you?  I mean you're "challenging" me to explain things where hundreds or thousands of books have been written on the  topic and want me to come up with things that satisfy you on such a complex topic as why we believe the Bible to be accurate in a few paragraphs?  Wow.  If I or anyone could do that, they would be hailed as the greatest theological mind of all time.  My point being, is all I have been trying to show is this single point:  Taking the word "dragons" appearing in two prophetic books literally is an incorrect way to interpret those books.  It's not me that says that, it is hundreds of Biblical commentators.   Your beef is with them, not me, if you are not satisfied and some of them explain at length why a book is not to be taken literally.  I expect at some point if this is truly a mental exercise you want to go through that you will take the effort and invest your own months, weeks and hours digging in.  "Refusing" to be convinced is my explanation to you that hundreds of commentaries aligning and saying these books (Isaiah and Revelation) are not to be interpreted literally is not enough for you, and so with what I consider a mountain of "evidence" yes, you are blinding yourself to what many others have said is the best interpretation.  Can anyone raise John or Isaiah from the dead to get them to quote "I wrote as prophecy or as poetry".  I guess Jesus could do that for you but as He said in Luke 16:31 "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

The other thing I feel is inappropriate is that you want an answer to Biblical inerrancy in a few short sentences as you've expanded this topic to that from dragons and unicorns appear in the Bible so bah humbug.  This is the first I've seen you ask about inerrancy, but I may have missed it.  Again, I can tell you what I have learned on Biblical ACCURACY, meaning the story staying the same from its writing until now, and I described above.  The case for Biblical inerrancy is only that is it stated by Scripture as such in multiple places and a Christian believes that.  There is as I said no "proof" to offer.  If you have a line of reasoning that would satisfy you, that allows for not speaking to God directly and asking him to tell us they are His words, then share with me, and I'll do my best to share what I know about that topic, but what you ask for to satisfy you is not a path that seems reasonable.

As to your last point of not answering your repeated questions, there is a lot on this thread and sorry I missed you asking.  I like many, do not have time to read in detail and have to skim and I missed them.  Someone pointed out one of yours and I noticed it then.  I'm not intentionally missing them, and sorry if that then pisses you off that I am somehow meaning something by it, but it's nothing more than not seeing them because I am doing other things in my life.

ETA:  So I do like your word better "satisfy" versus "convince".  I cannot convince anyone of anything, not have I truly tried.  I get that was the word I used repeatedly, because that's what it seems like is happening, but you bring up a good point.  I went back through this whole thread and searched for where I used "convince" and it was with you and MrDelane, but yes what I an offering is not "satisftiying". 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 08:51:10 AM by caracarn »

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #167 on: May 26, 2017, 09:08:53 AM »
for brevity omitted....

So, my challenging your arguments -- which you have put out here as a way to convince others -- is my "refusing to be convinced."

I would say, instead, that your arguments are not convincing.

You have told us that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. And haven't really given good "evidence" of that. It seems as though you expect me to be convinced without good "proof." In my book, that is not refusing to be convinced. That is expecting good reasons to change my mind. I've been respectful and asked questions that I feel are important ones, giving counter arguments where I see fit -- but haven't been satisfied with the answers. "Refusing" to be convinced implies that I somehow know you're right but just can't bring myself to say it, or that I'm willfully blinding myself to the fact that you're obviously correct. Sorry, neither of those things is true.

If you don't want to respond to the questions I ask -- and have sometimes asked twice -- then, that's fine. Tell me you're not interested in debating with me and I will stop asking you questions. But don't put it off as some failure on my part.
Oh goodness.  I rarely pull out the "where to begin".

I can't prove to you the God said those words.  No one can, so I'm not sure how that does not become futile.  All I can provide are reasons for my belief that the texts I am looking at and basing my faith on are unaltered, hence preserving the the text accurately which I as a Christian believe is in inerrant because it says so.  I've just spent two hours putting together a response to MrDelane (see reply #160) that walks through some of those proofs, with the understanding that he said that he would do his own research beyond that, so they are not exhaustive.  If they were, I would have written by own book like the authors I cite did.  I just do not have the time for that as they got paid, and I'm not, so my level of effort will match my perceived level of your interest.  I get that you are not satisfied with the answers, and my feeling it is an exercise in futility is that these are not things I'm fabricating on my own.  I'm using multiple sources that have done a lot of what I feel are exhaustive research, and your dispute is with their detail.  I am not going to retype entire chapters of books here to provide proof.  At time point, as MrDelane has said he will do, you need to take the nugget that you are given and go do some work yourself.  Are you expecting me to spoon feed it to you?  I mean you're "challenging" me to explain things where hundreds or thousands of books have been written on the  topic and want me to come up with things that satisfy you on such a complex topic as why we believe the Bible to be accurate in a few paragraphs?  Wow.  If I or anyone could do that, they would be hailed as the greatest theological mind of all time.  My point being, is all I have been trying to show is this single point:  Taking the word "dragons" appearing in two prophetic books literally is an incorrect way to interpret those books.  It's not me that says that, it is hundreds of Biblical commentators.   Your beef is with them, not me, if you are not satisfied and some of them explain at length why a book is not to be taken literally.  I expect at some point if this is truly a mental exercise you want to go through that you will take the effort and invest your own months, weeks and hours digging in.  "Refusing" to be convinced is my explanation to you that hundreds of commentaries aligning and saying these books (Isaiah and Revelation) are not to be interpreted literally is not enough for you, and so with what I consider a mountain of "evidence" yes, you are blinding yourself to what many others have said is the best interpretation.  Can anyone raise John or Isaiah from the dead to get them to quote "I wrote as prophecy or as poetry".  I guess Jesus could do that for you but as He said in Luke 16:31 "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

The other thing I feel is inappropriate is that you want an answer to Biblical inerrancy in a few short sentences as you've expanded this topic to that from dragons and unicorns appear in the Bible so bah humbug.  This is the first I've seen you ask about inerrancy, but I may have missed it.  Again, I can tell you what I have learned on Biblical ACCURACY, meaning the story staying the same from its writing until now, and I described above.  The case for Biblical inerrancy is only that is it stated by Scripture as such in multiple places and a Christian believes that.  There is as I said no "proof" to offer.  If you have a line of reasoning that would satisfy you, that allows for not speaking to God directly and asking him to tell us they are His words, then share with me, and I'll do my best to share what I know about that topic, but what you ask for to satisfy you is not a path that seems reasonable.

As to your last point of not answering your repeated questions, there is a lot on this thread and sorry I missed you asking.  I like many, do not have time to read in detail and have to skim and I missed them.  Someone pointed out one of yours and I noticed it then.  I'm not intentionally missing them, and sorry if that then pisses you off that I am somehow meaning something by it, but it's nothing more than not seeing them because I am doing other things in my life.
[/quote]

Please do not patronize me and insult me again.

I am not asking you to prove that God said those words. What I'm asking is for is explanation as to how, if the texts are unaltered as you say they are, they can be expected to be evidence for an all-powerful God who is speaking through the text when the text itself is so self-contradictory and inconsistent -- and sometimes just myopic.

In other words, I'd say that at least accuracy and consistency might be the least first step that one might expect in a book that is supposed to be the inerrant word of God.

I started out as a Christian. I have studied the Bible, and have studied other foundational books of other religions. I have also read the entire Bible, and been stunned by the contradictions therein. It is difficult for me to believe that all of those contradictions can possibly be explained away by translation inaccuracies.

I chose two examples out of many, many glaring "WTF" moments I've seen in the Bible, because I figured that it would be possible to at least get to the heart of some of those consistencies by limiting the discussion to those. Your explanation of the unicorn/goat thing? Sure, I'm willing to provisionally accept that one. But the dragon one is just... sorry, very unconvincing. That's not me refusing to be convinced. I've read your explanation, I've read others' explanations, and I remain unconvinced that the people who wrote those parts of the Bible didn't actually think dragons existed.

As I said, there are many, many other things I could get into. I'm guessing you'd prefer that I not do that.

I see many strong Christians who take the Bible mostly as a bunch of stories that are, if not factually true, then symbolically relevant and offering lessons for their lives of how to be in the world, and what to hope for in the next. That makes complete sense to me. I can take Aesop's fables as good stories about moral code, without having to believe that rabbits and frogs actually talked. And I can take the story of the loaves and fishes as a wonderful story about being generous and giving without counting.

But when someone makes the claim that the Bible is accurate? Then yes, I do find myself curious as to how they have determined that. And when it feels as though the argument is twisting itself in pretzels to convince me, I am understandably skeptical.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 09:58:19 AM by Kris »
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #168 on: May 26, 2017, 09:12:03 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?
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Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #169 on: May 26, 2017, 09:26:42 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?

Yeah. Not entirely convincing.
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tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #170 on: May 26, 2017, 09:28:59 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?

Yeah. Not entirely convincing.

You know that was snark, right?  It's hard to convey humor on the internet.
Frugalite in training.

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #171 on: May 26, 2017, 09:39:39 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?

Yeah. Not entirely convincing.

You know that was snark, right?  It's hard to convey humor on the internet.

LOL sorry. Yeah. I was agreeing with you.

By the way, can I join Tyortism? Sounds like kind of a good deal.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #172 on: May 26, 2017, 09:58:54 AM »

OK will give you a few......


Thank you for taking the time to write that all out - it will, obviously, take me a little while to dig into these and do some reading on my own.
I'll dive into it this weekend.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #173 on: May 26, 2017, 10:01:53 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?

Yeah. Not entirely convincing.

You know that was snark, right?  It's hard to convey humor on the internet.

LOL sorry. Yeah. I was agreeing with you.

By the way, can I join Tyortism? Sounds like kind of a good deal.

I anoint thee!  You now get to hang with god after death.  Which you would have anyway, hahahaha.
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Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #174 on: May 26, 2017, 10:08:05 AM »
The bible is the inerrant word or god, except in poor translations, dontchaknow?

Yeah. Not entirely convincing.

You know that was snark, right?  It's hard to convey humor on the internet.

LOL sorry. Yeah. I was agreeing with you.

By the way, can I join Tyortism? Sounds like kind of a good deal.

I anoint thee!  You now get to hang with god after death.  Which you would have anyway, hahahaha.

Sweet! Who knows, maybe being a Tyortian will get me a better seat!
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #175 on: May 26, 2017, 10:20:06 AM »
Sweet! Who knows, maybe being a Tyortian will get me a better seat!

Haha, hard to do when there's no seats.  :P

On a more serious note, it really is my actual belief system.  It's funny because it changes my perspective a lot, here and now.  For example, I feel no need to be right about any of this stuff.  Or for anyone else to be right.  Since belief or non-belief gives exactly the same (awesome) outcome, there's no need to compete or be correct.  Which means I don't need for everyone else to be wrong so that I can be right. 

That 'exclusionary' thinking (ie, I'm right and your wrong so I get into heaven and you don't, but I feel sorry/sad for you, you misguided soul) that's absolutely rampant with most religious thought.  We see it demonstrated writ large in this thread.  Its the source of the antagonism. 

Get rid of that, and suddenly everyone has a lot more reason to get along. 

But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.
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J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #176 on: May 26, 2017, 10:49:33 AM »
But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

No, they cannot both be right.  If one is 100% correct, then the other is not 100% correct.  I acknowledge that the great faiths have many core universal truths/values in common, but their stories do conflict in ways big and small. 

If someone says 2+2=4, do you tell them their mind is too small to consider the idea that it could also equal 5 and 6?

Yours is the approach I refuse to take.  I am interested in living according to what is true - I'll never know definitively who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe, but I'd like to either embrace a theory (even if it is a very broad one, like deism) or check it off the list of potential theories (like I am close to doing with Christianity).  Biblical accuracy is quite important for this.


Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #177 on: May 26, 2017, 10:52:18 AM »
Sweet! Who knows, maybe being a Tyortian will get me a better seat!

Haha, hard to do when there's no seats.  :P

On a more serious note, it really is my actual belief system.  It's funny because it changes my perspective a lot, here and now.  For example, I feel no need to be right about any of this stuff.  Or for anyone else to be right.  Since belief or non-belief gives exactly the same (awesome) outcome, there's no need to compete or be correct.  Which means I don't need for everyone else to be wrong so that I can be right. 

That 'exclusionary' thinking (ie, I'm right and your wrong so I get into heaven and you don't, but I feel sorry/sad for you, you misguided soul) that's absolutely rampant with most religious thought.  We see it demonstrated writ large in this thread.  Its the source of the antagonism. 

Get rid of that, and suddenly everyone has a lot more reason to get along. 

But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

I'm sure it does change your perspective, for the better. It makes one hell of a lot more sense to me than basing your faith or moral code on one book rather than another when there's no way at all to prove which one is right, if any of them. (Though one can certainly point out the inconsistencies of them, and even the silliness of them at times.)

I'm kind of the same way, but from a mostly non-theistic POV (though I do like to debate, so it might not seem this is true from my posts). I don't really believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I figure, you know what? The only afterlife worth envisioning is one that doesn't separate people into lines based on whether they've been immersed in water or eaten some unleavened bread or (insert your religious practice here). All that stuff seems so small-minded that I can't imagine an actual god bothering with it. So why bother with it?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 10:53:52 AM by Kris »
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #178 on: May 26, 2017, 10:59:33 AM »
As I said, there are many, many other things I could get into. I'm guessing you'd prefer that I not do that.

I see many strong Christians who take the Bible mostly as a bunch of stories that are, if not factually true, then symbolically relevant and offering lessons for their lives of how to be in the world, and what to hope for in the next. That makes complete sense to me. I can take Aesop's fables as good stories about moral code, without having to believe that rabbits and frogs actually talked. And I can take the story of the loaves and fishes as a wonderful story about being generous and giving without counting.

But when someone makes the claim that the Bible is accurate? Then yes, I do find myself curious as to how they have determined that. And when it feels as though the argument is twisting itself in pretzels to convince me, I am understandably skeptical.
Thanks for your response.  Totally get that the explanations of dragons are not satisfying to you, so I believe that one is done and we just agree to disagree.

As I said, I'm happy to share what I can on any topic, so to the first point above, if you want to raise anything else, please do. 

Moving to the last paragraph next and then I'll return to the middle.  I think from how you explain your position you are not understanding my definition of "accurate" as it applies here.  When you boil it down the core tenets to "believing" Christianity (without its variants of denominations, just flat out first century Christianity) is that you accept Jesus was the Son of God and that the Bible is what it says it is, God speaking to mankind through the Word of God, or the Bible.  Because the Bible is a pillar of the faith, the most common form of attack is either accuracy or contradiction which you seem to view both.  When I speak of accuracy if is not, I believe what you are holding things to, which is reasonable as well, but my defense is that the text we read today is the same meaning that was available from the first century with regard to the NT and from before that with regard to the OT since the Torah began with Moses' first five books after leaving Egypt.  By this I mean, think of a typical conversation we have and which I might say, "I love my wife".  I can say that in multiple ways and get the same meaning.  It is not the specific words or order of them that matter, it is that you clearly understand that I care deeply for my wife and that expression in the English language is "love", "adoration", "burning desire" etc.  When I speak of accuracy it is not to say that we can guarantee not a single letter of the text we different at some point, but that we have a chain of custody and thousands of source documents that are cross referenced that allow us to show a very compelling case for no change in meaning.  There are more copies of Biblical books spanning more centuries of time, vast regions of the world, and which can be compared over spans of hundreds of years of difference that show complete accuracy in this regard.  That is the point of Biblical accuracy.  Can I as a Christian in the 21st century feel confident that what I read today is the same things I would have read had I had read it in the 1st or 2nd century?  I think that may be part of the confusion of what I am trying to defend.  I think your version of "accuracy" is using a literal interpretation of everything in the Bible.  And I would say that is an error. 

Here is a section from No God but One dealing with some of this.  I assume you are not coming from a Islamic background, but I think some of the comparisons align when taking a literal interpretation of the Bible, because a Muslim does the same when pressing it.  It also incidentally happens to touch on our dragon debate. 

"Ranging from history to law to poetry and even a loving relationship of Solomon and his bride, the Bible is a collection of very diverse books, and we ought not to read all the books in the same way.  The genre of a book effects the way we interpret it.  For example, one should not read the book of Psalms in the same way as the book of Romans; the former is a book of poetry and should be read as a sanctified expression of the heart, whereas the latter is an epistle that explores Christian doctrine and should be among the first foundations of a systematic theology.  Another poor example of exegesis would be reading the gospel of John in the same way as the book of Revelation.  Even though they are written by the same author, their genres are very different:  The gospel of John is historical and biographic, whereas the book of Revelation is a book of apocalypse, and intends to be understood in prophetic terms.  So although we can be quite confident that Jesus literally walked in Galilee (e.g., John 1:43), it is poor exegesis to read about a dragon sweeping away the stars in the same literal way (Rev 12:4)!  Understanding genre is an essential was of interpreting Scripture, yet Muslim apologists often raise the challenge of contradiction without taking genre into account.

Second, the Quran serves as the basis of Muslim confidence in their religion; it is the "why" of Islamic faith.  Muslims understand that the Quran is the keystone of Islam's truth, and they assume the same for the Bible.  But the Bible is not the "why" of Christian faith, it is the "what".  The "why" of the Christian faith is the  life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  So Muslim apologists direct much dialogue toward Christian Scripture, assuming is ought to have the same impact as a challenge to the Quran would, though that is not the case."

As I said, I believe you can remove Muslim and insert any skeptic type in it's place.  What the Bible is for a Christian and why it is attacked as contradictory has no relevance on the "why" of why we believe.  Arguing about the contradictions feels like something worthwhile to those outside trying to "disprove" it, but that is because they completely miss the point of the what the Bible is for a Christian, and I think Mr. Quereshi's explanation is a wonderful one.  He ends that section on contradictions with "Even though Quran contradictions far more devastating the case for Islam than Bible contradictions are to the case for Christianity, I find these arguments about contradictions to be unproductive and bordering on fatuous.  I prefer the constructive dialogue of giving each text the benefit of the doubt and discussing the merits of what they are asserting, rather than reading the texts inimically and accusing the of contradictions wherever possible."  I like this because it would be like if you are trying to convince me that roller coasters are fun, and we keep focusing on the fact that three of my friends say wooden coasters are bumpy and rough, and three friends say they are crazy they are smooth and they show me reviews of the same coaster with contradictory reviews, we're no longer discussing the main topic, roller coasters and fun, we've not resorted to destroying any chance to get there by focusing on underlying things that have much less importance.

So the issue of preserving the meaning, the "accuracy" of which I am talking is again covered in much more detail in post #160 above, so head there please.

Not the middle paragraph which is the most squishy.  A lot of what I would say and what you seem to say hinges on how we each define a key thing here.  What makes a "strong Christian"?  I can be quite certain that how you describe the rest of that they do with my definition means we are not even close in that meaning.  I will venture to guess you take the secular view of a "strong Christian" being someone who goes to church often, maybe even weekly or more often, lives a "good" life, loving everyone and being a positive role model.  Please correct me where I went the wrong way, but I just toss my guess out there as a point to start and lay that against my view.  Some of that can be a Christian.  My definition is much more deep.  First, I actually thought of this earlier  in this thread when someone challenged a point I was making about accountability and tossed up a on prison statistics by religious affiliation.  I coupled that in my mind with the many psychological studies I have read that  many time people will claim a religious affiliation because of outward appearance.  It may make them feel they will be more accepted, viewed for favorably etc.  There was one study I read once that compared how often people said they went to services and then monitored them for several months afterwards at random times to see how often they did and found that almost 100% of the people said they went more often than they actually did, and when asked about it later, the responses were mainly around how they felt they'd be perceived and they wanted to be viewed as a "good xxxxx" (you can place Christian there  for some of the respondents).  So a list of inmates who said they were a certain faith who are then in prison is not an example of my faith being a problem.  It is an example of people who are not "christian" or whatever else, but identifying that way on a survey.  Sure a tiny few of them may have been, but I say that over 99% of those people were not actually abiding by the tenets of their proposed faith.  So this takes me to my yardstick of a "strong Christian" and it is the apostle Paul's yardstick and one that he tells any Christian to use against a fellow Christian.  What is the fruit in your life?  And then to hold each other accountable in truth and love when we see another believer stumble.  A Christian has accepted Jesus wholeheartedly as their savior.  Paul talks about throwing off the old man and becoming a new creation.  Truly saved people are almost unrecognizable to their friends and family in what their old life was like and what they do now.  What they liked to do, they no longer participate in.  In most cases their entire circle of friends has changed because the were surrounded by people who lived and indulged in the world and did not aspire to be like Christ.  My church mission is very simple in words "exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness" but very difficult in fruit in my life.  Christ very clearly did not view Scripture as a story like Aesop's fables.  I cannot and will not judge if the people you are referring to would be "strong Christians".  Jesus is the only one who can judge that and he will.  But the Bible is filled with people and Jesus strongly rebukes many of them including saying to some to get away from Him because he never knew them.  They professed to the world they were Christian, but they were not, and their unbelief will be judged by Jesus at the end times and they will go into the lake of fire.   So on the surface, with the only example we are taught as Christians I would have a stern talk with those people you know that live and believe the way you say they do, that they are not following Jesus as they should by discounting the Word of God as a fable.  Part of what I hated about my Catholic church was the hypocrisy and it is a well known joke of Catholics in general, "Church on Sunday, do whatever the hell they want on Monday", because they would just run off to confession get forgiven and do it again.  While they may have accepted Jesus as their Savior, they were not salt and light in the world with their behavior.  Your examples sound different from their perspective and I pray that the only poor example they are providing is the one you provide of "taking the Bible as mostly a bunch of stories".   

I can get into a lot about how we are to live in the world but not be of the world and such.  We all try to do out best and we all fall short of God's expectations all the time, but what you talk about is what religion of any kind has devolved to for the majority.  Take what I like and discard the rest.  It does not work that way, and Scripture teaches we will be judged.  Judgment is God's, but if I said what you say those "strong Christians" said to some one and a fellow believer heard me I pray that they would grab me at the first chance and set me straight.  Again, this will all appear ridiculous to most, and I get that, but while we do not currently live in the age of miracles, nor did people in Jesus' time, Jesus certainly performed those feats and that is why he was so hated an ultimately condemned an but to death by the Jewish leaders.  It wasn't because he was generous and gave without counting.  It was because what people saw was so powerful that is scared those with something to lose and risked their way of life and so they fought tooth and nail.  I believe it was because those things really happened and nearly a dozen close followers and many hundreds more were martyred for their refusal to lie and claim they did not either. 


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #179 on: May 26, 2017, 11:03:45 AM »
Sweet! Who knows, maybe being a Tyortian will get me a better seat!

Haha, hard to do when there's no seats.  :P

On a more serious note, it really is my actual belief system.  It's funny because it changes my perspective a lot, here and now.  For example, I feel no need to be right about any of this stuff.  Or for anyone else to be right.  Since belief or non-belief gives exactly the same (awesome) outcome, there's no need to compete or be correct.  Which means I don't need for everyone else to be wrong so that I can be right. 

That 'exclusionary' thinking (ie, I'm right and your wrong so I get into heaven and you don't, but I feel sorry/sad for you, you misguided soul) that's absolutely rampant with most religious thought.  We see it demonstrated writ large in this thread.  Its the source of the antagonism. 

Get rid of that, and suddenly everyone has a lot more reason to get along. 

But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

I'm sure it does change your perspective, for the better. It makes one hell of a lot more sense to me than basing your faith or moral code on one book rather than another when there's no way at all to prove which one is right, if any of them. (Though one can certainly point out the inconsistencies of them, and even the silliness of them at times.)

I'm kind of the same way, but from a mostly non-theistic POV (though I do like to debate, so it might not seem this is true from my posts). I don't really believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I figure, you know what? The only afterlife worth envisioning is one that doesn't separate people into lines based on whether they've been immersed in water or eaten some unleavened bread or (insert your religious practice here). All that stuff seems so small-minded that I can't imagine an actual god bothering with it. So why bother with it?

Just to clarify what I believe you hold as a truth by what you said to what is the Christian doctrine.  Being immersed in water has nothing to do with which of the two "lines" you get placed in. 

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #180 on: May 26, 2017, 11:11:18 AM »
But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

No, they cannot both be right.  If one is 100% correct, then the other is not 100% correct.  I acknowledge that the great faiths have many core universal truths/values in common, but their stories do conflict in ways big and small. 

If someone says 2+2=4, do you tell them their mind is too small to consider the idea that it could also equal 5 and 6?

Yours is the approach I refuse to take.  I am interested in living according to what is true - I'll never know definitively who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe, but I'd like to either embrace a theory (even if it is a very broad one, like deism) or check it off the list of potential theories (like I am close to doing with Christianity).  Biblical accuracy is quite important for this.

I completely agree with your perspective here, J Boogie - and have struggled with the same things myself.
When I used to bring these concerns up to my family the response was, "why do you have to take everything so seriously?"
I honestly couldn't believe it, I mean what could possibly be MORE serious than this?

In regards to deism - while it may be a tempting thought, I found it ultimately lacking in that it is an unfalsifiable position, making it pretty useless in regards to having any teeth as a truth claim.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #181 on: May 26, 2017, 11:16:24 AM »
Sweet! Who knows, maybe being a Tyortian will get me a better seat!

Haha, hard to do when there's no seats.  :P

On a more serious note, it really is my actual belief system.  It's funny because it changes my perspective a lot, here and now.  For example, I feel no need to be right about any of this stuff.  Or for anyone else to be right.  Since belief or non-belief gives exactly the same (awesome) outcome, there's no need to compete or be correct.  Which means I don't need for everyone else to be wrong so that I can be right. 

That 'exclusionary' thinking (ie, I'm right and your wrong so I get into heaven and you don't, but I feel sorry/sad for you, you misguided soul) that's absolutely rampant with most religious thought.  We see it demonstrated writ large in this thread.  Its the source of the antagonism. 

Get rid of that, and suddenly everyone has a lot more reason to get along. 

But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

I'm sure it does change your perspective, for the better. It makes one hell of a lot more sense to me than basing your faith or moral code on one book rather than another when there's no way at all to prove which one is right, if any of them. (Though one can certainly point out the inconsistencies of them, and even the silliness of them at times.)

I'm kind of the same way, but from a mostly non-theistic POV (though I do like to debate, so it might not seem this is true from my posts). I don't really believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, I figure, you know what? The only afterlife worth envisioning is one that doesn't separate people into lines based on whether they've been immersed in water or eaten some unleavened bread or (insert your religious practice here). All that stuff seems so small-minded that I can't imagine an actual god bothering with it. So why bother with it?

Just to clarify what I believe you hold as a truth by what you said to what is the Christian doctrine.  Being immersed in water has nothing to do with which of the two "lines" you get placed in.

That seems to contradict both Catholic and Protestant teaching.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).

Protestant Martin Luther wrote: "Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted" (Large Catechism 4:6).

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #182 on: May 26, 2017, 11:18:09 AM »
But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

No, they cannot both be right.  If one is 100% correct, then the other is not 100% correct.  I acknowledge that the great faiths have many core universal truths/values in common, but their stories do conflict in ways big and small. 

If someone says 2+2=4, do you tell them their mind is too small to consider the idea that it could also equal 5 and 6?

Yours is the approach I refuse to take.  I am interested in living according to what is true - I'll never know definitively who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe, but I'd like to either embrace a theory (even if it is a very broad one, like deism) or check it off the list of potential theories (like I am close to doing with Christianity).  Biblical accuracy is quite important for this.

I completely agree with your perspective here, J Boogie - and have struggled with the same things myself.
When I used to bring these concerns up to my family the response was, "why do you have to take everything so seriously?"
I honestly couldn't believe it, I mean what could possibly be MORE serious than this?

In regards to deism - while it may be a tempting thought, I found it ultimately lacking in that it is an unfalsifiable position, making it pretty useless in regards to having any teeth as a truth claim.

As do I.  It's just in my nature to give up on a problem and say, "Eh, whatever!"  That's what started my search as soon as I was "allowed" (out of my parent's house) to find what was most likely true and ended up where I am.  If something ever comes along to move me from that, I'll follow the truth where it leads.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #183 on: May 26, 2017, 11:39:06 AM »
But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

No, they cannot both be right.  If one is 100% correct, then the other is not 100% correct.  I acknowledge that the great faiths have many core universal truths/values in common, but their stories do conflict in ways big and small. 

If someone says 2+2=4, do you tell them their mind is too small to consider the idea that it could also equal 5 and 6?

Yours is the approach I refuse to take.  I am interested in living according to what is true - I'll never know definitively who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe, but I'd like to either embrace a theory (even if it is a very broad one, like deism) or check it off the list of potential theories (like I am close to doing with Christianity).  Biblical accuracy is quite important for this.

I completely agree with your perspective here, J Boogie - and have struggled with the same things myself.
When I used to bring these concerns up to my family the response was, "why do you have to take everything so seriously?"
I honestly couldn't believe it, I mean what could possibly be MORE serious than this?

In regards to deism - while it may be a tempting thought, I found it ultimately lacking in that it is an unfalsifiable position, making it pretty useless in regards to having any teeth as a truth claim.

Right on.

So your beef with deism is that it doesn't make any claims that can be proven wrong? That's why I like it! ;)

One of my main issues with Christianity (and probably other faiths I don't know well enough to say for sure) is that there is a huge emphasis on the virtue of faith - encouraging us to accept dogma based on faith.  Like Sam Harris says, it’s a very strange sort of loving God who would make salvation depend on believing in him on bad evidence.


caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #184 on: May 26, 2017, 11:50:33 AM »
That seems to contradict both Catholic and Protestant teaching.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).

Protestant Martin Luther wrote: "Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted" (Large Catechism 4:6).

Just trying to explain my understanding here.  It is a broken record of Scriptural interpretation but, "context is king". 

John 3:5 mentions water yes, but if Jesus meant baptism then why did he just not say that?  After all this was after he was baptized by John the Baptist in Chapter 1 of the same gospel.  It is also important to keep in mind that when Jesus said this to Nicodemus, Christian baptism was not yet in effect, so context again tells us this is not a reference to baptism.  How do we know it was not in effect?  Because the thief who died on the cross with Jesus, which occurred after this, was told very directly by Jesus that he was saved but was not baptized.  This is the problem with grabbing a verse (so easy to do with the internet I get it.  I found I debated these questions much less before everyone could Google something and say, "but see here!" :) ) and not interpreting in in context.  The biggest part of why this is not baptism is what water refers to here is that many other places in Scripture indicate works have nothing to do with it, it is by faith alone that one is saved.  No works are necessary, including baptism (though yes the Catholic doctrine perverts this and actually translates it as baptism because they want to.  Again man making it profitable for himself by creating more rituals that they can charge for).

Luther did take that stance.  Again, it was his interpretation, but I'd love to hear how he squares it with John 3:16, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5.  This is why there are "first-century churches" around today that leave all the "new age" thinking like Luther and go to the source and rely on what is in the Bible.  Here is an example of explaining why in this authors view, Luther made a mistake http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sola-fide-compromised-martin-luther-and-the-doctrine-of-baptism  I'd also encourage you do note that the Lutheran church, Luther's own offspring addresses this misunderstandign on their own website couching it as "As you also no doubt are fully aware, we teach that it is not the lack of Baptism that necessarily condemns, but it is the despising of this precious gift that endangers faith, for God Himself has instituted it and attached His promises to it.".  They backpedal to align with justification by faith alone to not look foolish and now indicated it is the "despising" of baptism that would mean you are not saved, which would align with fruits of the spirit, for a Christian should want to be baptized as the act of obedience it is.  You can read the full text for the LCMS at https://www.lcms.org/faqs/doctrine#saves and then clicking on the second link "Does baptism save?"

It is also interesting to note the Titus mentions the "washing of regeneration" which is in line with the normal explanation of what John 3:5 means with "water" as a spiritual cleansing.  The work of the Holy Spirit was often compared to water even in John in John 7:38-39. 

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #185 on: May 26, 2017, 11:51:07 AM »
As I said, there are many, many other things I could get into. I'm guessing you'd prefer that I not do that.

I see many strong Christians who take the Bible mostly as a bunch of stories that are, if not factually true, then symbolically relevant and offering lessons for their lives of how to be in the world, and what to hope for in the next. That makes complete sense to me. I can take Aesop's fables as good stories about moral code, without having to believe that rabbits and frogs actually talked. And I can take the story of the loaves and fishes as a wonderful story about being generous and giving without counting.

But when someone makes the claim that the Bible is accurate? Then yes, I do find myself curious as to how they have determined that. And when it feels as though the argument is twisting itself in pretzels to convince me, I am understandably skeptical.
Thanks for your response.  Totally get that the explanations of dragons are not satisfying to you, so I believe that one is done and we just agree to disagree.

As I said, I'm happy to share what I can on any topic, so to the first point above, if you want to raise anything else, please do. 

Moving to the last paragraph next and then I'll return to the middle.  I think from how you explain your position you are not understanding my definition of "accurate" as it applies here.  When you boil it down the core tenets to "believing" Christianity (without its variants of denominations, just flat out first century Christianity) is that you accept Jesus was the Son of God and that the Bible is what it says it is, God speaking to mankind through the Word of God, or the Bible.  Because the Bible is a pillar of the faith, the most common form of attack is either accuracy or contradiction which you seem to view both.  When I speak of accuracy if is not, I believe what you are holding things to, which is reasonable as well, but my defense is that the text we read today is the same meaning that was available from the first century with regard to the NT and from before that with regard to the OT since the Torah began with Moses' first five books after leaving Egypt.  By this I mean, think of a typical conversation we have and which I might say, "I love my wife".  I can say that in multiple ways and get the same meaning.  It is not the specific words or order of them that matter, it is that you clearly understand that I care deeply for my wife and that expression in the English language is "love", "adoration", "burning desire" etc.  When I speak of accuracy it is not to say that we can guarantee not a single letter of the text we different at some point, but that we have a chain of custody and thousands of source documents that are cross referenced that allow us to show a very compelling case for no change in meaning.  There are more copies of Biblical books spanning more centuries of time, vast regions of the world, and which can be compared over spans of hundreds of years of difference that show complete accuracy in this regard.  That is the point of Biblical accuracy.  Can I as a Christian in the 21st century feel confident that what I read today is the same things I would have read had I had read it in the 1st or 2nd century?  I think that may be part of the confusion of what I am trying to defend.  I think your version of "accuracy" is using a literal interpretation of everything in the Bible.  And I would say that is an error. 

Here is a section from No God but One dealing with some of this.  I assume you are not coming from a Islamic background, but I think some of the comparisons align when taking a literal interpretation of the Bible, because a Muslim does the same when pressing it.  It also incidentally happens to touch on our dragon debate. 

"Ranging from history to law to poetry and even a loving relationship of Solomon and his bride, the Bible is a collection of very diverse books, and we ought not to read all the books in the same way.  The genre of a book effects the way we interpret it.  For example, one should not read the book of Psalms in the same way as the book of Romans; the former is a book of poetry and should be read as a sanctified expression of the heart, whereas the latter is an epistle that explores Christian doctrine and should be among the first foundations of a systematic theology.  Another poor example of exegesis would be reading the gospel of John in the same way as the book of Revelation.  Even though they are written by the same author, their genres are very different:  The gospel of John is historical and biographic, whereas the book of Revelation is a book of apocalypse, and intends to be understood in prophetic terms.  So although we can be quite confident that Jesus literally walked in Galilee (e.g., John 1:43), it is poor exegesis to read about a dragon sweeping away the stars in the same literal way (Rev 12:4)!  Understanding genre is an essential was of interpreting Scripture, yet Muslim apologists often raise the challenge of contradiction without taking genre into account.

Second, the Quran serves as the basis of Muslim confidence in their religion; it is the "why" of Islamic faith.  Muslims understand that the Quran is the keystone of Islam's truth, and they assume the same for the Bible.  But the Bible is not the "why" of Christian faith, it is the "what".  The "why" of the Christian faith is the  life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  So Muslim apologists direct much dialogue toward Christian Scripture, assuming is ought to have the same impact as a challenge to the Quran would, though that is not the case."

As I said, I believe you can remove Muslim and insert any skeptic type in it's place.  What the Bible is for a Christian and why it is attacked as contradictory has no relevance on the "why" of why we believe.  Arguing about the contradictions feels like something worthwhile to those outside trying to "disprove" it, but that is because they completely miss the point of the what the Bible is for a Christian, and I think Mr. Quereshi's explanation is a wonderful one.  He ends that section on contradictions with "Even though Quran contradictions far more devastating the case for Islam than Bible contradictions are to the case for Christianity, I find these arguments about contradictions to be unproductive and bordering on fatuous.  I prefer the constructive dialogue of giving each text the benefit of the doubt and discussing the merits of what they are asserting, rather than reading the texts inimically and accusing the of contradictions wherever possible."  I like this because it would be like if you are trying to convince me that roller coasters are fun, and we keep focusing on the fact that three of my friends say wooden coasters are bumpy and rough, and three friends say they are crazy they are smooth and they show me reviews of the same coaster with contradictory reviews, we're no longer discussing the main topic, roller coasters and fun, we've not resorted to destroying any chance to get there by focusing on underlying things that have much less importance.

So the issue of preserving the meaning, the "accuracy" of which I am talking is again covered in much more detail in post #160 above, so head there please.

Not the middle paragraph which is the most squishy.  A lot of what I would say and what you seem to say hinges on how we each define a key thing here.  What makes a "strong Christian"?  I can be quite certain that how you describe the rest of that they do with my definition means we are not even close in that meaning.  I will venture to guess you take the secular view of a "strong Christian" being someone who goes to church often, maybe even weekly or more often, lives a "good" life, loving everyone and being a positive role model.  Please correct me where I went the wrong way, but I just toss my guess out there as a point to start and lay that against my view.  Some of that can be a Christian.  My definition is much more deep.  First, I actually thought of this earlier  in this thread when someone challenged a point I was making about accountability and tossed up a on prison statistics by religious affiliation.  I coupled that in my mind with the many psychological studies I have read that  many time people will claim a religious affiliation because of outward appearance.  It may make them feel they will be more accepted, viewed for favorably etc.  There was one study I read once that compared how often people said they went to services and then monitored them for several months afterwards at random times to see how often they did and found that almost 100% of the people said they went more often than they actually did, and when asked about it later, the responses were mainly around how they felt they'd be perceived and they wanted to be viewed as a "good xxxxx" (you can place Christian there  for some of the respondents).  So a list of inmates who said they were a certain faith who are then in prison is not an example of my faith being a problem.  It is an example of people who are not "christian" or whatever else, but identifying that way on a survey.  Sure a tiny few of them may have been, but I say that over 99% of those people were not actually abiding by the tenets of their proposed faith.  So this takes me to my yardstick of a "strong Christian" and it is the apostle Paul's yardstick and one that he tells any Christian to use against a fellow Christian.  What is the fruit in your life?  And then to hold each other accountable in truth and love when we see another believer stumble.  A Christian has accepted Jesus wholeheartedly as their savior.  Paul talks about throwing off the old man and becoming a new creation.  Truly saved people are almost unrecognizable to their friends and family in what their old life was like and what they do now.  What they liked to do, they no longer participate in.  In most cases their entire circle of friends has changed because the were surrounded by people who lived and indulged in the world and did not aspire to be like Christ.  My church mission is very simple in words "exists to glorify God by evangelizing the lost and equipping the saints with the goal of Christ-likeness" but very difficult in fruit in my life.  Christ very clearly did not view Scripture as a story like Aesop's fables.  I cannot and will not judge if the people you are referring to would be "strong Christians".  Jesus is the only one who can judge that and he will.  But the Bible is filled with people and Jesus strongly rebukes many of them including saying to some to get away from Him because he never knew them.  They professed to the world they were Christian, but they were not, and their unbelief will be judged by Jesus at the end times and they will go into the lake of fire.   So on the surface, with the only example we are taught as Christians I would have a stern talk with those people you know that live and believe the way you say they do, that they are not following Jesus as they should by discounting the Word of God as a fable.  Part of what I hated about my Catholic church was the hypocrisy and it is a well known joke of Catholics in general, "Church on Sunday, do whatever the hell they want on Monday", because they would just run off to confession get forgiven and do it again.  While they may have accepted Jesus as their Savior, they were not salt and light in the world with their behavior.  Your examples sound different from their perspective and I pray that the only poor example they are providing is the one you provide of "taking the Bible as mostly a bunch of stories".   

I can get into a lot about how we are to live in the world but not be of the world and such.  We all try to do out best and we all fall short of God's expectations all the time, but what you talk about is what religion of any kind has devolved to for the majority.  Take what I like and discard the rest.  It does not work that way, and Scripture teaches we will be judged.  Judgment is God's, but if I said what you say those "strong Christians" said to some one and a fellow believer heard me I pray that they would grab me at the first chance and set me straight.  Again, this will all appear ridiculous to most, and I get that, but while we do not currently live in the age of miracles, nor did people in Jesus' time, Jesus certainly performed those feats and that is why he was so hated an ultimately condemned an but to death by the Jewish leaders.  It wasn't because he was generous and gave without counting.  It was because what people saw was so powerful that is scared those with something to lose and risked their way of life and so they fought tooth and nail.  I believe it was because those things really happened and nearly a dozen close followers and many hundreds more were martyred for their refusal to lie and claim they did not either.

So, I'm intrigued and a little confused, by your definition of what a strong Christian is. Based on the above, I'm trying to figure it out, because your language is excluding some people who would clearly think of themselves as Christian. Help me make a list please:

- has accepted Jesus wholeheartedly as their savior
- goes to church.... (How often?)
-   are almost unrecognizable to their friends and family in what their old life was like and what they do now (so, presumably, started out in a life that wasn't very Christian? So do you have to start as a non-Christian and then have an awakening that makes you unrecognizable to your friends and family?)
- You no longer enjoy the things you used to like doing

Can you give me the rest of the sort of requirements for being a strong Christian? Do you have to only listen to music that sings about Christ? Can you dance? What about movies that have secular, non-religious themes? What things do you have to stop enjoying? What about sports? Alcohol? Can you read novels? Are there any worldly (read: non-Christ-focused) that you can do and enjoy? Can you enjoy a friendship or a family relationship with someone who is not a Christian or does not share your view of what a Christian is, and has expressly asked you not to try to convert them?

Please forgive me if these questions sound pointed, but I would truly like to understand whether it is possible in your view to enjoy these things when you are "in" this world but not "of" it, as you say.
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #186 on: May 26, 2017, 12:03:56 PM »
But of course, people rebel at the idea.  "I'm a Christian and he's a Hindi, we can't BOTH be right!"  Yes, you can.  But their minds are too small to even consider that idea.  So you end up in the weeds, focused on irrelevant crap like Biblical accuracy.  Blah.

No, they cannot both be right.  If one is 100% correct, then the other is not 100% correct.  I acknowledge that the great faiths have many core universal truths/values in common, but their stories do conflict in ways big and small. 

If someone says 2+2=4, do you tell them their mind is too small to consider the idea that it could also equal 5 and 6?

Yours is the approach I refuse to take.  I am interested in living according to what is true - I'll never know definitively who or what is responsible for the creation of the universe, but I'd like to either embrace a theory (even if it is a very broad one, like deism) or check it off the list of potential theories (like I am close to doing with Christianity).  Biblical accuracy is quite important for this.

I completely agree with your perspective here, J Boogie - and have struggled with the same things myself.
When I used to bring these concerns up to my family the response was, "why do you have to take everything so seriously?"
I honestly couldn't believe it, I mean what could possibly be MORE serious than this?

In regards to deism - while it may be a tempting thought, I found it ultimately lacking in that it is an unfalsifiable position, making it pretty useless in regards to having any teeth as a truth claim.

Right on.

So your beef with deism is that it doesn't make any claims that can be proven wrong? That's why I like it! ;)

One of my main issues with Christianity (and probably other faiths I don't know well enough to say for sure) is that there is a huge emphasis on the virtue of faith - encouraging us to accept dogma based on faith.  Like Sam Harris says, it’s a very strange sort of loving God who would make salvation depend on believing in him on bad evidence.

J, I was not familiar with Sam Harris or this statement.  Is this his 2010 statement from Nightline?  I could not find where he explains his "bad evidence", so if you could help that would be awesome.  I am always interested in hearing new arguments, but from what I saw on Wikiquote of this, he's just saying that having to believe in Him on faith is the bad evidence, so he's just spouting off the same general argument, that cause I can't prove God, he's not there.  Is that what you get out of it?

Does your church teach that you just accept without question?  This is where I encouraged you to seek another church before you give up, as I think your struggle is being caused by those supporting your faith journey than by any aspects of the faith itself.  This is what I love about the church I attend.  We push back and ask questions all the time to challenge for the evidence in Scripture for a belief.  When people ask why I attend the church I do, my response is, "Because every question I have ever had was answered with time and thought by walking me through the Scriptural references along with the explanation."  It is not on faith that you should accept.  It is because you can point to a chapter and verse, or preferably verses that show you why.  This is where I found the Catholic church to be very lacking.  I totally agree that the message there is "believe because I said so".  That's what drove me away.  I'd suggest being open to finding a solid Bible focused church and spending some time exploring your questions with people there before you give up.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #187 on: May 26, 2017, 12:09:18 PM »
That seems to contradict both Catholic and Protestant teaching.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Lord himself affirms that baptism is necessary for salvation [John 3:5]. . . . Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament [Mark 16:16]" (CCC 1257).

Protestant Martin Luther wrote: "Baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved. We are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, then, like putting on a new red coat. It is of the greatest importance that we regard baptism as excellent, glorious, and exalted" (Large Catechism 4:6).

Just trying to explain my understanding here.  It is a broken record of Scriptural interpretation but, "context is king". 

John 3:5 mentions water yes, but if Jesus meant baptism then why did he just not say that?  After all this was after he was baptized by John the Baptist in Chapter 1 of the same gospel.  It is also important to keep in mind that when Jesus said this to Nicodemus, Christian baptism was not yet in effect, so context again tells us this is not a reference to baptism.  How do we know it was not in effect?  Because the thief who died on the cross with Jesus, which occurred after this, was told very directly by Jesus that he was saved but was not baptized.  This is the problem with grabbing a verse (so easy to do with the internet I get it.  I found I debated these questions much less before everyone could Google something and say, "but see here!" :) ) and not interpreting in in context.  The biggest part of why this is not baptism is what water refers to here is that many other places in Scripture indicate works have nothing to do with it, it is by faith alone that one is saved.  No works are necessary, including baptism (though yes the Catholic doctrine perverts this and actually translates it as baptism because they want to.  Again man making it profitable for himself by creating more rituals that they can charge for).

Luther did take that stance.  Again, it was his interpretation, but I'd love to hear how he squares it with John 3:16, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5.  This is why there are "first-century churches" around today that leave all the "new age" thinking like Luther and go to the source and rely on what is in the Bible.  Here is an example of explaining why in this authors view, Luther made a mistake http://themelios.thegospelcoalition.org/article/sola-fide-compromised-martin-luther-and-the-doctrine-of-baptism  I'd also encourage you do note that the Lutheran church, Luther's own offspring addresses this misunderstandign on their own website couching it as "As you also no doubt are fully aware, we teach that it is not the lack of Baptism that necessarily condemns, but it is the despising of this precious gift that endangers faith, for God Himself has instituted it and attached His promises to it.".  They backpedal to align with justification by faith alone to not look foolish and now indicated it is the "despising" of baptism that would mean you are not saved, which would align with fruits of the spirit, for a Christian should want to be baptized as the act of obedience it is.  You can read the full text for the LCMS at https://www.lcms.org/faqs/doctrine#saves and then clicking on the second link "Does baptism save?"

It is also interesting to note the Titus mentions the "washing of regeneration" which is in line with the normal explanation of what John 3:5 means with "water" as a spiritual cleansing.  The work of the Holy Spirit was often compared to water even in John in John 7:38-39.

Thanks for providing your understanding of baptism (along with the Lutheran's backpedaling of their founder's words).  Being Catholic, I wasn't too aware of how relatively little importance many protestants place on baptism. 

I think I misunderstood you as saying that "Being immersed in water has nothing to do with which of the two "lines" you get placed in" is in accordance with Christian doctrine (rather than your personal belief)- my post was intended to demonstrate that many Christians do indeed regard baptism as essential for salvation.


MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #188 on: May 26, 2017, 12:12:43 PM »
Right on.

So your beef with deism is that it doesn't make any claims that can be proven wrong? That's why I like it! ;)
Ha.  I realize you're kidding - but just for the sake of anyone else reading...it cannot be proven wrong, and it cannot be proven right.  The problem is that, from our perspective, a God that does NOT interact with the world would be completely identical to a God that does not exist.  If you could detect a God it would not be the Deistic God.

Quote
One of my main issues with Christianity (and probably other faiths I don't know well enough to say for sure) is that there is a huge emphasis on the virtue of faith - encouraging us to accept dogma based on faith.  Like Sam Harris says, it’s a very strange sort of loving God who would make salvation depend on believing in him on bad evidence.

Well there's your problem... you've been reading Harris. :)
Next thing you know you'll be into Hitchens... then it's all downhill.

I'm kidding, obviously.
But you're right - faith is definitely not a pathway to truth, and things for which we have adequate evidence do not rely on faith.

J Boogie

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #189 on: May 26, 2017, 12:39:43 PM »
J, I was not familiar with Sam Harris or this statement.  Is this his 2010 statement from Nightline?  I could not find where he explains his "bad evidence", so if you could help that would be awesome.  I am always interested in hearing new arguments, but from what I saw on Wikiquote of this, he's just saying that having to believe in Him on faith is the bad evidence, so he's just spouting off the same general argument, that cause I can't prove God, he's not there.  Is that what you get out of it?

Does your church teach that you just accept without question?  This is where I encouraged you to seek another church before you give up, as I think your struggle is being caused by those supporting your faith journey than by any aspects of the faith itself.  This is what I love about the church I attend.  We push back and ask questions all the time to challenge for the evidence in Scripture for a belief.  When people ask why I attend the church I do, my response is, "Because every question I have ever had was answered with time and thought by walking me through the Scriptural references along with the explanation."  It is not on faith that you should accept.  It is because you can point to a chapter and verse, or preferably verses that show you why.  This is where I found the Catholic church to be very lacking.  I totally agree that the message there is "believe because I said so".  That's what drove me away.  I'd suggest being open to finding a solid Bible focused church and spending some time exploring your questions with people there before you give up.

The Sam Harris quote I share because it resonates with me as someone who is perplexed by the idea that faith is regarded on the same level as charity (3 theological virtues).  Charity is obviously good no matter who practices it, but it seems faith is 100% dependent upon what the person has been taught to believe.  No one says "well, but they do have great faith" when a fundamentalist executes a suicide mission.  I think faith and its promotion is bad, because it can quite easily cause people to believe things that are not true and potentially dangerous.

Regarding bible based churches - my issues are not with Catholicism, they are with Christianity.  I have not been discouraged from reading and learning and questioning (though the Catholic Church definitely earned its reputation for stifling/controlling).  Catholics are of course discouraged from going the "choose your own adventure" route with Christianity as they have very well defined dogma and moral codes.  I actually appreciate this, as you have a clear idea of whether or not you belong there.

For example, when it comes to accepting things on Faith, the Catholics aren't crazy (or alone) in promoting this idea.  According to John 20, Jesus himself promotes this idea with Thomas.   Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Clearly, Jesus is showing a strong preference for those who believe without evidence.  Or maybe the gospel writer is.  Either way, I'm not very comfortable with it.






ooeei

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #190 on: May 26, 2017, 12:50:44 PM »
I am always interested in hearing new arguments, but from what I saw on Wikiquote of this, he's just saying that having to believe in Him on faith is the bad evidence, so he's just spouting off the same general argument, that cause I can't prove God, he's not there.  Is that what you get out of it?

Here's an example that may help clarify the meaning of the statement:

I personally believe there are invisible unicorns flying through space who are extremely intelligent and able to prevent us from ever detecting them.  These unicorns poop out stars, although since they're invisible you can't tell that's what's happening.  They also pooped out some tablets 500 years ago that tell us how to live.  The tablets contain knowledge that was commonly available at the time and place in which they were found, along with some claims of magical events happening.

Can you disprove these unicorns exist?  Of course not.  Then again, I can't prove they do exist.  Is believing in these unicorns despite there being no good evidence for their existence a reasonable position?  Nope.  Just because it's logically possible something exists, does not mean believing in it is a reasonable thing.

Now imagine there were whole subsects of humanity killing each other because these unicorns supposedly told them to in those tablets 500 years ago.  The politician from your home state publicly argues for policies based on doing what the unicorns would like.  This politician points toward the existence of stars as evidence that these unicorns exist, even though we have a solid scientific understanding of how stars are made.

Now I'm sure you'd never say "Those unicorns definitely don't exist," but you might say "I don't think they exist" or "I don't see any evidence that they exist" or "all you people killing each other are insane and I think it's ridiculous people take your arguments seriously in the year 2017." 

There's a big difference between saying "Something doesn't exist" and "I don't believe something exists."  The first statement is making an affirmative statement that you're sure about.  The second statement is only stating your current lack of belief.  Lack of belief =/= disbelief.  Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean you think it's impossible, it just means you see no reason to currently think it is true.

If you asked me if I believe there's a million dollars in cash in my living room right now, I'd say no.  That doesn't mean I think it's impossible, there's just no evidence to make me believe it at the moment.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 12:53:34 PM by ooeei »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #191 on: May 26, 2017, 01:33:47 PM »
I am always interested in hearing new arguments, but from what I saw on Wikiquote of this, he's just saying that having to believe in Him on faith is the bad evidence, so he's just spouting off the same general argument, that cause I can't prove God, he's not there.  Is that what you get out of it?

Here's an example that may help clarify the meaning of the statement:

I personally believe there are invisible unicorns flying through space who are extremely intelligent and able to prevent us from ever detecting them.  These unicorns poop out stars, although since they're invisible you can't tell that's what's happening.  They also pooped out some tablets 500 years ago that tell us how to live.  The tablets contain knowledge that was commonly available at the time and place in which they were found, along with some claims of magical events happening.

Can you disprove these unicorns exist?  Of course not.  Then again, I can't prove they do exist.  Is believing in these unicorns despite there being no good evidence for their existence a reasonable position?  Nope.  Just because it's logically possible something exists, does not mean believing in it is a reasonable thing.

Now imagine there were whole subsects of humanity killing each other because these unicorns supposedly told them to in those tablets 500 years ago.  The politician from your home state publicly argues for policies based on doing what the unicorns would like.  This politician points toward the existence of stars as evidence that these unicorns exist, even though we have a solid scientific understanding of how stars are made.

Now I'm sure you'd never say "Those unicorns definitely don't exist," but you might say "I don't think they exist" or "I don't see any evidence that they exist" or "all you people killing each other are insane and I think it's ridiculous people take your arguments seriously in the year 2017." 

There's a big difference between saying "Something doesn't exist" and "I don't believe something exists."  The first statement is making an affirmative statement that you're sure about.  The second statement is only stating your current lack of belief.  Lack of belief =/= disbelief.  Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean you think it's impossible, it just means you see no reason to currently think it is true.

If you asked me if I believe there's a million dollars in cash in my living room right now, I'd say no.  That doesn't mean I think it's impossible, there's just no evidence to make me believe it at the moment.

The best analogy I've heard to understand the difference between lack of belief and belief of the contrary is the jelly beans in a jar scenario.

I have a jar filled with jelly beans.
The number of jelly beans is obviously either even or odd - it must be one or the other and cannot be both.

I ask you if you think the number of jelly beans is even.
Not having any idea what the number of jelly beans is, you say that you do not believe it is even.

Does that mean you believe the number of jelly beans is odd?
Of course not.

The same goes with any other claim - refusing to accept a claim does not mean we accept the contrary.

Would it be reasonable to accept the belief that the number of jelly beans is odd?
No.  Not without further evidence (such as counting them).

Once again, the time to accept a claim is when the evidence supports it.
If evidence does not support it then the most reasonable position is 'I don't know.'

wenchsenior

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #192 on: May 26, 2017, 01:40:09 PM »
One reason that I think the angle of 'you just have to believe/have faith' seems to be emphasized so much in so many religions is that it really is the only foolproof way to approach the thing with no doubt.  There is no test that we have devised to disprove 'magical' or supernatural things (see ooeei's post), unless and until such time that we have  broadened our understanding to the point where the thing in question is found to operate under natural physical laws.

I think the problem that the OP and others who struggle with faith is that they desire definitive evidence that supports or doesn't support the existence of god/jesus/miracles/etc.  Evidence for and against may be found or interpreted in both directions, but the problem is that you can never have objective certainty about such matters because they are, by definition, not falsifiable.  So you can never know the correct answer in any absolute way.  You can 'feel' that you 'know', and you can hang out with people who agree with you, and you can research evidence for and against, but you cannot ever definitively know (at least at this point in time and in this life).

So of those people inclined to be attracted to the idea of the supernatural/god/heaven/whatever; or who were raised with intense cultural conditioning that prevents them from even considering that there might be a non-faith option, you end up with a subgroup that eventually becomes extremely uncomfortable with the above problem.  While others just more or less happily carry on, either not noticing this problem or not bothered by it.

At any rate, some of the malcontents decide there MUST be a way to 'prove' (more properly, it would be disprove) their beliefs, and start researching. And of course they find lots of evidence against, some evidence for, and still no definite answer.

Those people, I assume, must then make a decision. Either the evidence they found is 'good enough' to equal 'proof' in their mind (though it can never be definitive, that's why it's called 'faith' after all), and they return fully to their belief system, content. Or the evidence is not satisfactory, and they start picking and choosing what they believe so as to retain faith in some form.  Or the evidence is not satisfactory, but they appreciate the other aspects of the faith community, and participate without literal belief.  Or the evidence is not satisfactory, and they reject faith and the practice altogether.

I suspect where you fall out depends more on inherent personality than anything, though of course personal experiences likely affect it as well, as would the sheer strength of the social connections pulling you toward one group or the other.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #193 on: May 26, 2017, 01:59:46 PM »
So, I'm intrigued and a little confused, by your definition of what a strong Christian is. Based on the above, I'm trying to figure it out, because your language is excluding some people who would clearly think of themselves as Christian. Help me make a list please:

- has accepted Jesus wholeheartedly as their savior
- goes to church.... (How often?)
-   are almost unrecognizable to their friends and family in what their old life was like and what they do now (so, presumably, started out in a life that wasn't very Christian? So do you have to start as a non-Christian and then have an awakening that makes you unrecognizable to your friends and family?)
- You no longer enjoy the things you used to like doing

Can you give me the rest of the sort of requirements for being a strong Christian? Do you have to only listen to music that sings about Christ? Can you dance? What about movies that have secular, non-religious themes? What things do you have to stop enjoying? What about sports? Alcohol? Can you read novels? Are there any worldly (read: non-Christ-focused) that you can do and enjoy? Can you enjoy a friendship or a family relationship with someone who is not a Christian or does not share your view of what a Christian is, and has expressly asked you not to try to convert them?

Please forgive me if these questions sound pointed, but I would truly like to understand whether it is possible in your view to enjoy these things when you are "in" this world but not "of" it, as you say.
For perfect transparency, there are varying views on pieces of this, and there are more hard line people in my congregation, but no this is not a congregation that eschews sports for example.  I am going to share our senior pastors stance and where we differ a bit it on music and drinking.  Our senior pastors sons play basketball and baseball at the high school, and now collegiate level and he regularly posts on Twitter about it, so as you can see it is not "technology evil".  Where people are more hard line is on music and drinking, but again as my last post because I look and push for Scriptural proof and as my wife and I pointed out Jesus and others drank wine, Jesus made it, and no referenced to musical genres.    So the difference is this.  Pastor suggests, does not demand, but asks everyone to question themself, if they listen to anything musical outside of church music.  He does not even endorse Christian radio.  And he does not drink and suggests it as a model.  But unlike other churches I have attended over time (several down when I lived in Nashville) there is no stigma attached to pressure you, just the fruit.  So I listen to music of various types including popular music, and once in a while I will have a drink but I have always been a light drinker.  My dad drank too much.  I'd not say he was an alcoholic, but when he drank at a family party or whatever, he DRANK.  To the point that I was fearful for my life many times as we drove home from grandma's because he still refused to turn the keys over to my mom.  Then my first wife also had an alcoholic father and I started dating her right after high school and before legal drinking age and she would flip out if I even got near a drink, so I just never developed any desire for drinking for those reasons.

But again, I have asked our pastor about this, and gotten what I feel are great responses to his position on music and alcohol.  There are passages in Titus, I believe (sorry I've been looking up so many passages this week for this thread, and I just don't have the energy to dig for these, but if you want I can find them), that talk about how God will hold you responsible, especially as a pastor, if you drive another believer to sin.  As a leader he feels if a member of the congregation saw him having a beer or a glass of wine and then later became drunk (sins of alcohol in the Bible are related to drunkenness, not the consuming if alcohol) and/or an alcoholic because "I saw Pastor drinking" then he would be guilty of this act.   Similarly his belief on music is that un-Christian sinful behavior is encouraged in secular and at times in contemporary Christian music and if he listens to it and someone else takes that as an OK to listen and heads down a sinful path because of his example, God holds him accountable.  So in my position on these, I'm comfortable with that and understand the "line". I have been given the Scriptural justification so I hold myself and those I would say are showing the fruit  or a "strong Christian" in their lives to not crossing it.  If they get rip-roaring drunk and act like fools (look at all the examples in Genesis where fathers got drunk and their daughters used that to have sex with them) that is not a "strong Christian".  I would counsel that person in love.  My father has backed of on his drinking as I have become and adult and I've never seen him like he was when I was a kid, but if I did, he'd get an earful.  So I no longer hang around with friends who just want to go to bars and are upset if I go an order a soda.  That's not much of a change for me, as I never was a heavy drinker, but they pressure me to drink and ridicule me for not, I'm not friends with those people any more.  When I go to work functions, I may have a single beer and nurse it all night.  I am not going to cross the line and get drunk.  I still listen to almost any kind of music, but I am uncomfortable and shy away from anything that has a lot of cursing or glorifies inappropriate behavior or treatment of people.  In high school I was way into heavy metal, and I still listen to it now, but I listen to very different songs than I did then.  Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch" is not on my playlist, but I have some Hinder.  I have Cee Lo Green's toned down "Forget You" instead of the original "F* You".  My radio is now mainly on the contemporary Christian station most of the time because I'm not going to hear a lot of inappropriate crap.  Again in high school and college I used to listen to Mancow Muller and Howard Stern.  Zero interest in them now.  I do avoid listening to anything that comes close to that "line" when I am in the company of someone who may be influenced by it.  Music is the area I would have the most work on to improve on as I like a good beat.  I would not go to a strip club or a bar with a wet t-shirt contest as that would dishonor my wife.  I will not regularly spend time with a woman alone who is not my wife.   In business I may need to meet a woman for lunch to a meeting, or work on a problem after hours (though that is almost never just me and someone else, so it stays away from this, as there is a group of co-workers).  Again, this is because it honors God and shows respect to his expectations.

There is not a list.  I do not condemn anyone for what they choose to do.  I would simply admonish them, where appropriate, as Scripture says using the rules of church discipline which do not allow one on one confrontation.  Again, the teaching behind this Scripture is sound in my mind.  By having two or three discipline the offender it avoids the judgment and shows that the behavior is enough to have multiple people in agreement that it needs to change.  I have NEVER had to go down this path at all, but that is what I would do for serious issues where someone was very clearly moving away from positive fruit. 

So some of the other things you asked.  Movies, I watch secular movies, but certainly no porn, X-rated and I then use the same assessment as the music or alcohol.  If it makes me uncomfortable reading the description, then it's not something I participate in.  We (wife and I) did not see or read "Fifty Shades of Grey", for example, but I still enjoy Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hidden Figures etc.  I would prefer Game of Thrones focused less on the gratuitous sex for example as the storyline does not really need it contrary to George R.R. Martin's insistence it does.  I read novels all the time, but I prefer to read a lot of books on religion or other non-fiction like history more.  I just finished Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and have read Girl, Interrupted before that.  I enjoy the Cara Black series of mysteries lately, love James Bond.  We are also in the middle of Winston Churchill's 6 volume set on World War II after just finishing Page Smith's 8 volume history of the US, and are also reading a commentary on Romans, and before that Revelation.  Read the No God But One book this summer and added it to my Top 5 books I've ever read for thoroughness and logic. 

I have been friends with a Jewish man for over 15 years and he was best man at my wedding and we debate religion.  Do I pray he may convert one day?  Of course.  But like anyone, that is between him and God.  I just answer his questions and plant the seeds, and I realize that sounds calculating and underhanded since you probably picture me saying it like Gru from Despicable Me, but it is just neutral.  If he asks a question about why I believe something, I answer and that's all the planting.  If God compels him to learn more he will.  If not, I'm good with that.  Again, our Pastor has shared his evangelism with us.  He has friends of 20-30 years that are not believers.  He goes to things with them that are OK to him and excuses himself where he is not.  They know why he does it.  They respect him for it.  At times this bears fruit.  We just had a woman saved and then baptized this last month whose testimony was that she watched Pastor over twenty years as his kids went through the high school basketball program.  His example drew her to Christ in the same way.  A question every year or two eventually led to a new baby Christian.  I think and have seen hard-core Bible thumping turn people off.  Jesus did not get in people's faces and yell "Believe, you heathen!"  He simply lived his life and when people wanted to know why he did what he did he told them.  That's what a good Christian does.  They look for opportunity.  Many prayer requests in our weekly Sunday School/Bible study class as in regards to neighbors who got invited for dinner and asked questions that the answers would bear fruit.  We have a couple in our class who was married a Jewish wife.  It got to the point where she threatened to divorce him if he did not stop trying to covert her.  He asked and received council from godly men, and two years later, Barb began questioning.  She had seen Tony's honoring of her request after so many years of asking and God did a work on her heart and she wanted to know more.  Her entire family is Jewish and her mother and sister's were furious when she converted.  It was very hard for her and we'd hear the stories in class.  It has been about two years since that happened and with no prodding, again simply being available to talk and answer, her mother and one of her sister's that were initially ready to disown her and that did not speak with her for months after she converted are now asking more and more questions and truly seeking. 

With regards to how you teach each other "equipping the saints" as our mission says, men teach men, women teach women, or couples teach couples in discipleship.  It's not a dating circle to bring in some vulnerable member of the opposite.  The Christian model is not that our pastor is the only one teaching, (which was another thing I hated about the Catholic church), but rather than we all teach each other.  More mature believers helping newer ones and then the newer ones.  Each of us should always be learning and teaching all the time that we can.  We steer clear as a congregation of anything that takes away from either learning about the Lord or worshiping him in our church.  What that means is we do not follow the traditional church building model in Evangelical Christianity since the 60s of programs and things to "bring people in".  God and the message grow the church, not man.  That means you will not see drums and guitars with people appearing to be at a concert on Sunday than many churches feel they need to do to attract young people and families.  We do not offer all kinds of programs like churches do trying to make them social clubs or places to come play.  Yet, while churches in our area are shrinking we will be voting on a building campaign to take our capacity from about 500 people to eventually accommodate 1,750 in small phases of adding capacity for 300 at a time.  We do not offer service "types".  It's not contemporary one service or classical the other like many Protestant churches do, it's one service on Sunday.  We preach through the Bible in an expository way, meaning one book at a time, every chapter every verse.  It usually takes about a year lately to get through a book.  Genesis took about a year and a half.  We've been on Romans since February and we are in Chapter 3.  As I've said in another post, I love it, because I learn so much about the Scriptures and it's not what @ J Boogie says about dogma just because.  Our pastor tells other pastor's "our people would be happy with just a book and a box".  That book obviously being the Bible and box for the pastor to speak from.  And yet, while most Christians would say that is boring (and I have people when I told them we were moving to this church, said "oh, they're too old school.  I like the new music etc. etc.") but it's the most fun I have had at church in my life and I've tried over 20 churches in my life before this one, so I've got some experience.  We love the Lord and we love each other, all 500 members and the visitors we get each week.  For all the boredom, we grow at about 10% a year.  People come and hear the message and stay to learn more and it is so evident to me after being at this church for over five years now that the problem is not God, it's all the crap wrapped around him by churches and congregations who attend the seminars about how to be Joel Osteen and Jerry Falwell and all those other folks who only preach what people want to hear, because after all it's all about making people feel wonderful rather than preaching what God says.  After five years we've covered some books of the Bible that are pretty negative by the world's standards and make you fell pretty inadequate and "bad" but yet people come and more come, so I see the result, and it is wonderful.   We work with like minded churches around the world who eschew the trapping of shopping mall churches working to entertain people and the growth is there because Christians are hungry for good teaching.  Sorry, for getting so excited about what God is doing in the world, but it is wonderful.

Church attendance is as often as you can get there.  We have four "times" as we slice it.  Sunday School , Morning Service, Evening Service and Wednesday Prayer Service.  People are encouraged to attend at least three and it is not like a lot of churches when it's the same sermon, it is different for every service.  Being divorced and remarried and with six kids we only able to currently attend two the Sunday School and Morning Service.  That starts at 9-10 for Sunday School and Service is usually 10:15-11:45 depending on when pastor stops preaching.  Again, not ritual, just a basic old school Christian service focused on worshiping God, so all we do is sing for about 30 minutes and then have a sermon for 45-60 where we learn a ton and keep improving ourselves.  Keep in mind I could not stand the 60 minute or less Catholic mass, but 3 hours on Sunday is not a problem.  This is why I told @J Boogie I think sometimes the problem is more the church than the faith.  I've lived it.  Finding a place where your soul is fed makes all the difference, not where you watch a professional speaker tell you all kinds of anecdotes while trying to relate one phrase of scripture to "God and Money" or "Our 6-Week Series on Faith" our "8 Week series on Women in the Bible".  That piecemeal "study" is not fulfilling for most and our drop in church attendance shows that.  It's not God that is the problem, it's how we do church these days. 

So the last piece is clarifying the "unrecognizable".  It is a summation of everything above where for most people in American culture life is around money, entertainment and making themselves feel great through experiences or things that give them pleasure for pleasure's sake.  Being a Christian is about every day striving to be more like Christ which means more and more of your time and energy is spent on things of eternal value, i.e. helping people understand God's love for them.  Do I have hope that answering these questions will have just one person who reads this stuff begin asking and possibly eventually find God?  Certainly, but I simply enjoy helping and writing these posts has been wonderful, but not for the pleasure of me, but for what I will never know that God will do with it.  I certainly appreciate the comments from people about being impressed with my Bible knowledge, but I cower from that praise as it's not about me, it's about God.  I'm just sharing why I have the hope and joy within me because I'm certain of where I'm going and why I am here.  As I've said before, my parents keep trying to get me to be Catholic again, and I just engage as they are interested with why I will not do that because of all the errors and distortions of the Catholic teaching.  I would never have engaged in this in depth of a discussion before I was saved, so this is one "unrecognizable" piece in my own life and one that continues to confuse my family.  I cannot express the contempt I have for the Catholic faith because of the damage they do to belief because of the shallow teaching they do and the distortions that insist are real.  I get the Jesus is part of it, but it's almost not Christian because of the focus on Mary and other things that are totally idol worship.  Sorry, off tangent.  Many people who I have seen saved come from what even secular society would call "hard lives".  Drugs, promiscuous sex, drunkenness as the only way to have a good weekend etc.  Those things go away and they are unrecognizable to those who new them before.  And then in all the other areas we talked about the behaviors shift from watching a movie and commenting "man she's hot, I'd do that!" to maybe not watching that movie at all and instead suggesting a nice drama or documentary, or your tastes just change totally because what you did before led you down sinful paths and you just have no desire for that.  That's the change that is hard to explain.  You are not just consciously avoiding things, which is certainly how everyone begins, but as you become a deeper and deeper Christian those things are not even appealing to you anymore and it's I guess subconscious and so people around you see such a profound change that it is startling. 

So hopefully that gives you a solid picture of things and sorry there is not a checklist.  It is just as our pastor says "winning more battles for Christ than you lose" that drives the fruit of a Christian.  As I answered before, judging a "strong" Christian is not for me to determine.  I'm just a saint trying to help other saints along and one of the things NOT on my checklist is saying the Bible is a bunch of  stories like Aesop's fables.  And if I see someone who says they are Christian doing something that steers people away from the truth of Scripture and Christlikeness, they are not acting as a "good Christian" in that moment and if I have the opportunity to point it out to them, I will do so in love so they can be made aware and determine how they will respond. 

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #194 on: May 26, 2017, 02:08:45 PM »
I am always interested in hearing new arguments, but from what I saw on Wikiquote of this, he's just saying that having to believe in Him on faith is the bad evidence, so he's just spouting off the same general argument, that cause I can't prove God, he's not there.  Is that what you get out of it?

Here's an example that may help clarify the meaning of the statement:

I personally believe there are invisible unicorns flying through space who are extremely intelligent and able to prevent us from ever detecting them.  These unicorns poop out stars, although since they're invisible you can't tell that's what's happening.  They also pooped out some tablets 500 years ago that tell us how to live.  The tablets contain knowledge that was commonly available at the time and place in which they were found, along with some claims of magical events happening.

Can you disprove these unicorns exist?  Of course not.  Then again, I can't prove they do exist.  Is believing in these unicorns despite there being no good evidence for their existence a reasonable position?  Nope.  Just because it's logically possible something exists, does not mean believing in it is a reasonable thing.

Now imagine there were whole subsects of humanity killing each other because these unicorns supposedly told them to in those tablets 500 years ago.  The politician from your home state publicly argues for policies based on doing what the unicorns would like.  This politician points toward the existence of stars as evidence that these unicorns exist, even though we have a solid scientific understanding of how stars are made.

Now I'm sure you'd never say "Those unicorns definitely don't exist," but you might say "I don't think they exist" or "I don't see any evidence that they exist" or "all you people killing each other are insane and I think it's ridiculous people take your arguments seriously in the year 2017." 

There's a big difference between saying "Something doesn't exist" and "I don't believe something exists."  The first statement is making an affirmative statement that you're sure about.  The second statement is only stating your current lack of belief.  Lack of belief =/= disbelief.  Just because you don't believe in something doesn't mean you think it's impossible, it just means you see no reason to currently think it is true.

If you asked me if I believe there's a million dollars in cash in my living room right now, I'd say no.  That doesn't mean I think it's impossible, there's just no evidence to make me believe it at the moment.
OK but my question was related to someone telling me id Harris is saying anything new, because I think he is not.  I just want to validate that before I go explore his new argument. 

I believe your well put explanation, if it was meant to explain to me through analogies, what you think Harris means, is that "no, he's just arguing the since you can't prove God, the he's probably not there" much like your awesome pooping unicorns.  In that case I do not need to investigate further because there is no claim to investigate.

If I totally missed your point, please redirect.

ETA:  Sorry was thinking of this when I started and then left it out.

In that case I'd say Harris is a poor communicator because he should have used the phrase "poor evidence" or "not enough evidence" or "no evidence" instead of "bad evidence".    Similar to "I don't see any evidence they exist".
« Last Edit: May 26, 2017, 02:11:07 PM by caracarn »

Kris

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #195 on: May 26, 2017, 02:11:07 PM »
So, I'm intrigued and a little confused, by your definition of what a strong Christian is. Based on the above, I'm trying to figure it out, because your language is excluding some people who would clearly think of themselves as Christian. Help me make a list please:

- has accepted Jesus wholeheartedly as their savior
- goes to church.... (How often?)
-   are almost unrecognizable to their friends and family in what their old life was like and what they do now (so, presumably, started out in a life that wasn't very Christian? So do you have to start as a non-Christian and then have an awakening that makes you unrecognizable to your friends and family?)
- You no longer enjoy the things you used to like doing

Can you give me the rest of the sort of requirements for being a strong Christian? Do you have to only listen to music that sings about Christ? Can you dance? What about movies that have secular, non-religious themes? What things do you have to stop enjoying? What about sports? Alcohol? Can you read novels? Are there any worldly (read: non-Christ-focused) that you can do and enjoy? Can you enjoy a friendship or a family relationship with someone who is not a Christian or does not share your view of what a Christian is, and has expressly asked you not to try to convert them?

Please forgive me if these questions sound pointed, but I would truly like to understand whether it is possible in your view to enjoy these things when you are "in" this world but not "of" it, as you say.
For perfect transparency, there are varying views on pieces of this, and there are more hard line people in my congregation, but no this is not a congregation that eschews sports for example.  I am going to share our senior pastors stance and where we differ a bit it on music and drinking.  Our senior pastors sons play basketball and baseball at the high school, and now collegiate level and he regularly posts on Twitter about it, so as you can see it is not "technology evil".  Where people are more hard line is on music and drinking, but again as my last post because I look and push for Scriptural proof and as my wife and I pointed out Jesus and others drank wine, Jesus made it, and no referenced to musical genres.    So the difference is this.  Pastor suggests, does not demand, but asks everyone to question themself, if they listen to anything musical outside of church music.  He does not even endorse Christian radio.  And he does not drink and suggests it as a model.  But unlike other churches I have attended over time (several down when I lived in Nashville) there is no stigma attached to pressure you, just the fruit.  So I listen to music of various types including popular music, and once in a while I will have a drink but I have always been a light drinker.  My dad drank too much.  I'd not say he was an alcoholic, but when he drank at a family party or whatever, he DRANK.  To the point that I was fearful for my life many times as we drove home from grandma's because he still refused to turn the keys over to my mom.  Then my first wife also had an alcoholic father and I started dating her right after high school and before legal drinking age and she would flip out if I even got near a drink, so I just never developed any desire for drinking for those reasons.

But again, I have asked our pastor about this, and gotten what I feel are great responses to his position on music and alcohol.  There are passages in Titus, I believe (sorry I've been looking up so many passages this week for this thread, and I just don't have the energy to dig for these, but if you want I can find them), that talk about how God will hold you responsible, especially as a pastor, if you drive another believer to sin.  As a leader he feels if a member of the congregation saw him having a beer or a glass of wine and then later became drunk (sins of alcohol in the Bible are related to drunkenness, not the consuming if alcohol) and/or an alcoholic because "I saw Pastor drinking" then he would be guilty of this act.   Similarly his belief on music is that un-Christian sinful behavior is encouraged in secular and at times in contemporary Christian music and if he listens to it and someone else takes that as an OK to listen and heads down a sinful path because of his example, God holds him accountable.  So in my position on these, I'm comfortable with that and understand the "line". I have been given the Scriptural justification so I hold myself and those I would say are showing the fruit  or a "strong Christian" in their lives to not crossing it.  If they get rip-roaring drunk and act like fools (look at all the examples in Genesis where fathers got drunk and their daughters used that to have sex with them) that is not a "strong Christian".  I would counsel that person in love.  My father has backed of on his drinking as I have become and adult and I've never seen him like he was when I was a kid, but if I did, he'd get an earful.  So I no longer hang around with friends who just want to go to bars and are upset if I go an order a soda.  That's not much of a change for me, as I never was a heavy drinker, but they pressure me to drink and ridicule me for not, I'm not friends with those people any more.  When I go to work functions, I may have a single beer and nurse it all night.  I am not going to cross the line and get drunk.  I still listen to almost any kind of music, but I am uncomfortable and shy away from anything that has a lot of cursing or glorifies inappropriate behavior or treatment of people.  In high school I was way into heavy metal, and I still listen to it now, but I listen to very different songs than I did then.  Buckcherry's "Crazy Bitch" is not on my playlist, but I have some Hinder.  I have Cee Lo Green's toned down "Forget You" instead of the original "F* You".  My radio is now mainly on the contemporary Christian station most of the time because I'm not going to hear a lot of inappropriate crap.  Again in high school and college I used to listen to Mancow Muller and Howard Stern.  Zero interest in them now.  I do avoid listening to anything that comes close to that "line" when I am in the company of someone who may be influenced by it.  Music is the area I would have the most work on to improve on as I like a good beat.  I would not go to a strip club or a bar with a wet t-shirt contest as that would dishonor my wife.  I will not regularly spend time with a woman alone who is not my wife.   In business I may need to meet a woman for lunch to a meeting, or work on a problem after hours (though that is almost never just me and someone else, so it stays away from this, as there is a group of co-workers).  Again, this is because it honors God and shows respect to his expectations.

There is not a list.  I do not condemn anyone for what they choose to do.  I would simply admonish them, where appropriate, as Scripture says using the rules of church discipline which do not allow one on one confrontation.  Again, the teaching behind this Scripture is sound in my mind.  By having two or three discipline the offender it avoids the judgment and shows that the behavior is enough to have multiple people in agreement that it needs to change.  I have NEVER had to go down this path at all, but that is what I would do for serious issues where someone was very clearly moving away from positive fruit. 

So some of the other things you asked.  Movies, I watch secular movies, but certainly no porn, X-rated and I then use the same assessment as the music or alcohol.  If it makes me uncomfortable reading the description, then it's not something I participate in.  We (wife and I) did not see or read "Fifty Shades of Grey", for example, but I still enjoy Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hidden Figures etc.  I would prefer Game of Thrones focused less on the gratuitous sex for example as the storyline does not really need it contrary to George R.R. Martin's insistence it does.  I read novels all the time, but I prefer to read a lot of books on religion or other non-fiction like history more.  I just finished Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and have read Girl, Interrupted before that.  I enjoy the Cara Black series of mysteries lately, love James Bond.  We are also in the middle of Winston Churchill's 6 volume set on World War II after just finishing Page Smith's 8 volume history of the US, and are also reading a commentary on Romans, and before that Revelation.  Read the No God But One book this summer and added it to my Top 5 books I've ever read for thoroughness and logic. 

I have been friends with a Jewish man for over 15 years and he was best man at my wedding and we debate religion.  Do I pray he may convert one day?  Of course.  But like anyone, that is between him and God.  I just answer his questions and plant the seeds, and I realize that sounds calculating and underhanded since you probably picture me saying it like Gru from Despicable Me, but it is just neutral.  If he asks a question about why I believe something, I answer and that's all the planting.  If God compels him to learn more he will.  If not, I'm good with that.  Again, our Pastor has shared his evangelism with us.  He has friends of 20-30 years that are not believers.  He goes to things with them that are OK to him and excuses himself where he is not.  They know why he does it.  They respect him for it.  At times this bears fruit.  We just had a woman saved and then baptized this last month whose testimony was that she watched Pastor over twenty years as his kids went through the high school basketball program.  His example drew her to Christ in the same way.  A question every year or two eventually led to a new baby Christian.  I think and have seen hard-core Bible thumping turn people off.  Jesus did not get in people's faces and yell "Believe, you heathen!"  He simply lived his life and when people wanted to know why he did what he did he told them.  That's what a good Christian does.  They look for opportunity.  Many prayer requests in our weekly Sunday School/Bible study class as in regards to neighbors who got invited for dinner and asked questions that the answers would bear fruit.  We have a couple in our class who was married a Jewish wife.  It got to the point where she threatened to divorce him if he did not stop trying to covert her.  He asked and received council from godly men, and two years later, Barb began questioning.  She had seen Tony's honoring of her request after so many years of asking and God did a work on her heart and she wanted to know more.  Her entire family is Jewish and her mother and sister's were furious when she converted.  It was very hard for her and we'd hear the stories in class.  It has been about two years since that happened and with no prodding, again simply being available to talk and answer, her mother and one of her sister's that were initially ready to disown her and that did not speak with her for months after she converted are now asking more and more questions and truly seeking. 

With regards to how you teach each other "equipping the saints" as our mission says, men teach men, women teach women, or couples teach couples in discipleship.  It's not a dating circle to bring in some vulnerable member of the opposite.  The Christian model is not that our pastor is the only one teaching, (which was another thing I hated about the Catholic church), but rather than we all teach each other.  More mature believers helping newer ones and then the newer ones.  Each of us should always be learning and teaching all the time that we can.  We steer clear as a congregation of anything that takes away from either learning about the Lord or worshiping him in our church.  What that means is we do not follow the traditional church building model in Evangelical Christianity since the 60s of programs and things to "bring people in".  God and the message grow the church, not man.  That means you will not see drums and guitars with people appearing to be at a concert on Sunday than many churches feel they need to do to attract young people and families.  We do not offer all kinds of programs like churches do trying to make them social clubs or places to come play.  Yet, while churches in our area are shrinking we will be voting on a building campaign to take our capacity from about 500 people to eventually accommodate 1,750 in small phases of adding capacity for 300 at a time.  We do not offer service "types".  It's not contemporary one service or classical the other like many Protestant churches do, it's one service on Sunday.  We preach through the Bible in an expository way, meaning one book at a time, every chapter every verse.  It usually takes about a year lately to get through a book.  Genesis took about a year and a half.  We've been on Romans since February and we are in Chapter 3.  As I've said in another post, I love it, because I learn so much about the Scriptures and it's not what @ J Boogie says about dogma just because.  Our pastor tells other pastor's "our people would be happy with just a book and a box".  That book obviously being the Bible and box for the pastor to speak from.  And yet, while most Christians would say that is boring (and I have people when I told them we were moving to this church, said "oh, they're too old school.  I like the new music etc. etc.") but it's the most fun I have had at church in my life and I've tried over 20 churches in my life before this one, so I've got some experience.  We love the Lord and we love each other, all 500 members and the visitors we get each week.  For all the boredom, we grow at about 10% a year.  People come and hear the message and stay to learn more and it is so evident to me after being at this church for over five years now that the problem is not God, it's all the crap wrapped around him by churches and congregations who attend the seminars about how to be Joel Osteen and Jerry Falwell and all those other folks who only preach what people want to hear, because after all it's all about making people feel wonderful rather than preaching what God says.  After five years we've covered some books of the Bible that are pretty negative by the world's standards and make you fell pretty inadequate and "bad" but yet people come and more come, so I see the result, and it is wonderful.   We work with like minded churches around the world who eschew the trapping of shopping mall churches working to entertain people and the growth is there because Christians are hungry for good teaching.  Sorry, for getting so excited about what God is doing in the world, but it is wonderful.

Church attendance is as often as you can get there.  We have four "times" as we slice it.  Sunday School , Morning Service, Evening Service and Wednesday Prayer Service.  People are encouraged to attend at least three and it is not like a lot of churches when it's the same sermon, it is different for every service.  Being divorced and remarried and with six kids we only able to currently attend two the Sunday School and Morning Service.  That starts at 9-10 for Sunday School and Service is usually 10:15-11:45 depending on when pastor stops preaching.  Again, not ritual, just a basic old school Christian service focused on worshiping God, so all we do is sing for about 30 minutes and then have a sermon for 45-60 where we learn a ton and keep improving ourselves.  Keep in mind I could not stand the 60 minute or less Catholic mass, but 3 hours on Sunday is not a problem.  This is why I told @J Boogie I think sometimes the problem is more the church than the faith.  I've lived it.  Finding a place where your soul is fed makes all the difference, not where you watch a professional speaker tell you all kinds of anecdotes while trying to relate one phrase of scripture to "God and Money" or "Our 6-Week Series on Faith" our "8 Week series on Women in the Bible".  That piecemeal "study" is not fulfilling for most and our drop in church attendance shows that.  It's not God that is the problem, it's how we do church these days. 

So the last piece is clarifying the "unrecognizable".  It is a summation of everything above where for most people in American culture life is around money, entertainment and making themselves feel great through experiences or things that give them pleasure for pleasure's sake.  Being a Christian is about every day striving to be more like Christ which means more and more of your time and energy is spent on things of eternal value, i.e. helping people understand God's love for them.  Do I have hope that answering these questions will have just one person who reads this stuff begin asking and possibly eventually find God?  Certainly, but I simply enjoy helping and writing these posts has been wonderful, but not for the pleasure of me, but for what I will never know that God will do with it.  I certainly appreciate the comments from people about being impressed with my Bible knowledge, but I cower from that praise as it's not about me, it's about God.  I'm just sharing why I have the hope and joy within me because I'm certain of where I'm going and why I am here.  As I've said before, my parents keep trying to get me to be Catholic again, and I just engage as they are interested with why I will not do that because of all the errors and distortions of the Catholic teaching.  I would never have engaged in this in depth of a discussion before I was saved, so this is one "unrecognizable" piece in my own life and one that continues to confuse my family.  I cannot express the contempt I have for the Catholic faith because of the damage they do to belief because of the shallow teaching they do and the distortions that insist are real.  I get the Jesus is part of it, but it's almost not Christian because of the focus on Mary and other things that are totally idol worship.  Sorry, off tangent.  Many people who I have seen saved come from what even secular society would call "hard lives".  Drugs, promiscuous sex, drunkenness as the only way to have a good weekend etc.  Those things go away and they are unrecognizable to those who new them before.  And then in all the other areas we talked about the behaviors shift from watching a movie and commenting "man she's hot, I'd do that!" to maybe not watching that movie at all and instead suggesting a nice drama or documentary, or your tastes just change totally because what you did before led you down sinful paths and you just have no desire for that.  That's the change that is hard to explain.  You are not just consciously avoiding things, which is certainly how everyone begins, but as you become a deeper and deeper Christian those things are not even appealing to you anymore and it's I guess subconscious and so people around you see such a profound change that it is startling. 

So hopefully that gives you a solid picture of things and sorry there is not a checklist.  It is just as our pastor says "winning more battles for Christ than you lose" that drives the fruit of a Christian.  As I answered before, judging a "strong" Christian is not for me to determine.  I'm just a saint trying to help other saints along and one of the things NOT on my checklist is saying the Bible is a bunch of  stories like Aesop's fables.  And if I see someone who says they are Christian doing something that steers people away from the truth of Scripture and Christlikeness, they are not acting as a "good Christian" in that moment and if I have the opportunity to point it out to them, I will do so in love so they can be made aware and determine how they will respond.

Good enough. Thanks for clarifying.

I do have one more question. And I promise I will not argue, or even respond, really, because I'm just curious. And you can also feel free not to respond. It is related in my mind to this topic, but it may not be to yours.

How do you feel about Donald Trump?
Please note: Libertarian4321 did not vote for either Hillary or Trump. He voted for Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian candidate.

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #196 on: May 26, 2017, 02:39:55 PM »
One reason that I think the angle of 'you just have to believe/have faith' seems to be emphasized so much in so many religions is that it really is the only foolproof way to approach the thing with no doubt.  There is no test that we have devised to disprove 'magical' or supernatural things (see ooeei's post), unless and until such time that we have  broadened our understanding to the point where the thing in question is found to operate under natural physical laws.

I think the problem that the OP and others who struggle with faith is that they desire definitive evidence that supports or doesn't support the existence of god/jesus/miracles/etc.  Evidence for and against may be found or interpreted in both directions, but the problem is that you can never have objective certainty about such matters because they are, by definition, not falsifiable.  So you can never know the correct answer in any absolute way.  You can 'feel' that you 'know', and you can hang out with people who agree with you, and you can research evidence for and against, but you cannot ever definitively know (at least at this point in time and in this life).

So of those people inclined to be attracted to the idea of the supernatural/god/heaven/whatever; or who were raised with intense cultural conditioning that prevents them from even considering that there might be a non-faith option, you end up with a subgroup that eventually becomes extremely uncomfortable with the above problem.  While others just more or less happily carry on, either not noticing this problem or not bothered by it.

At any rate, some of the malcontents decide there MUST be a way to 'prove' (more properly, it would be disprove) their beliefs, and start researching. And of course they find lots of evidence against, some evidence for, and still no definite answer.

Those people, I assume, must then make a decision. Either the evidence they found is 'good enough' to equal 'proof' in their mind (though it can never be definitive, that's why it's called 'faith' after all), and they return fully to their belief system, content. Or the evidence is not satisfactory, and they start picking and choosing what they believe so as to retain faith in some form.  Or the evidence is not satisfactory, but they appreciate the other aspects of the faith community, and participate without literal belief.  Or the evidence is not satisfactory, and they reject faith and the practice altogether.

I suspect where you fall out depends more on inherent personality than anything, though of course personal experiences likely affect it as well, as would the sheer strength of the social connections pulling you toward one group or the other.
This is an excellent post. 

To add a personal piece to it, I and many people I know, regularly have doubt.  It's natural.  And if it gets bad enough you go through that searching as I did and found things "more than good enough" to come back to Christianity, just not what I viewed as the bullshit artist group I was raised in.  When a 10 year old can feel doubt and go to the priest because they doubt purgatory and the  can't defend it enough to convince a kid you know they have a problem. 

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #197 on: May 26, 2017, 02:49:15 PM »
Good enough. Thanks for clarifying.

I do have one more question. And I promise I will not argue, or even respond, really, because I'm just curious. And you can also feel free not to respond. It is related in my mind to this topic, but it may not be to yours.

How do you feel about Donald Trump?

:) :) :) :)

I had things in the last post about him and I took them out, so this may me laugh heartily.

And no, feel free to respond.

The short answer that I was going to put in and then took out was in the paragraph about fruit of the Spirit was "and our president Donald Trump is a perfect example of someone who clearly shows no fruit and in my judgment is as far from a Christian as you can get".

More detail.  I get he says he is.  He sucks at it, and he gives people who look at him a legitimate reason to say "If that's what a Christian does, then #%@#%^@#$ them!"  Yes, the man drives me to cursing!  I can literally not think of even a single small thing that I could point to and say "he models Christianity well here" and that's really sad because I'm really really trying.  After all the guy is our president and I love my country and want it to succeed, but not, sorry I can't, not one single thing.  He is a secular Christian thinking it means (do this in Alec Baldwin's voice) "I'm a good person, that's what it means to be Christian.  I'm good, so good!  I'm good at talking about myself, I'm good at saying things that fake news does not understand, I'm good at using my thumbs to play that Twitter game and spell works and stuff."  Oh, I could go on forever.  So bad.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #198 on: May 26, 2017, 04:10:32 PM »
Whenever all has seemed lost in my life and I've lost all hope, things turned around in epicly magnificent ways that seemed absolutely impossible to me. I look back at my life and the way things turned out seems like a miracle. That's all the proof I need that there is a God. And my church was always there for me. Every step of the way. Even when I acted like a dick and denied God and Christ. Because of all of this, I will be Christian for all my days.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #199 on: May 26, 2017, 04:51:36 PM »
Caracarn -

I have started delving into the list you wrote out for me (and will continue to) but something struck me as I went through it for the first time.  While I appreciate the effort that it took, I can't help but notice that nearly everything in that post aims to prove the historical accuracy of the Bible.  Now, while that is not unimportant, it doesn't really do much to get you to evidence of a God or the divinity of Jesus.  It may very well help you prove the historicity of Jesus, but it does not prove divinity any more than the evidence of New York City being a real place proves the existence of Spiderman (no offense, I am simply searching for an example of a supernatural thing existing in a real place).

I do see there is one item that references what could be seen as a 'supernatural' event, and that is the writing of Thallus.  You said:

Quote
2. Thallus (circa 5 AD -60) described Jesus
Like much in the ancient world, original writing themselves may not survive, but we find other original writing that reference them,  Sextus Julius Africanus wrote History of the World in 221 AD.  The passage from Thallus talks about a "most fearful darkness", rocks rent by an earthquake and collapsing buildings during Jesus's crucifixion.  Thallus was not a friend of Christians.  Yet he provides evidence that Jesus was crucified and that darkness covered the land when it happened.

From what I have seen so far (and I am still reading), while you said that Thallus was "not a friend of Christians," you didn't mention that the only references we have to this 'darkness' quote come from Christian writers (to be fair, you mentioned Africanus, I just didn't realize he was a Christian - I am not suggesting you were being dishonest).  Also, I'm not certain where your date of 5-60AD came from, but the earliest known reference to Thallus that I could find was estimated to be 180AD, which means he could have written any time before then.  I'm not sure why we could cut off our assumptions at 60AD, but that isn't the most important thing here.

The more important point is that it doesn't seem like Thallus made a connection to Jesus and the crucifixion at all, instead that is a connection that Africanus made much later.  If Thallus had actually reported on the darkness and earthquakes AND tied it to the crucifixion of Jesus as early as sometime between 5-60AD then we should expect it to be quoted and circulated much earlier and wider than it seems to have been.  Instead what we have is a Christian writer nearly two centuries after Jesus finding an earlier reference to an eclipse and making the connection to Jesus in his own writings.

So, while I'm still delving into all the details in your post (and I appreciate the effort you took in writing it all out), I have to say that on the surface (with the exception of Thallus) it seems like a defense for historical accuracy, but not a proof for any supernatural claims.  Unless, of course, you would argue that if the historical facts of the bible can be proven then we must accept the supernatural claims it makes as well (but I doubt that would be your position - you seem much too reasonable for that).

For the record, I have no problem accepting a historical Jesus (I have not delved into it deeply, mind you).
It's the supernatural claims that I have a difficult time accepting.