Author Topic: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.  (Read 61613 times)

caracarn

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #800 on: July 03, 2017, 10:51:04 AM »
Here's an interesting question:

Suppose there was a comprehensive list of "immoral behaviors" that everyone could agree upon.

If there were data showing that we were watching more of those behaviors, but doing less of them, would that show that we were more or less immoral now?
And therein lies the rub.  How do you show the reason that someone chose to not engage in that behavior was a moral decision or something else?  You can't.  Even if they were surveyed, people could be less than honest.  Man sees the outward result, but God sees the inward motivation. 

tyort1

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #801 on: July 03, 2017, 12:09:06 PM »
I did not say it is not a good marker.  I simply said it is A marker, so trotting it out as THE marker, is what I am pushing against.

That is a totally fair point, and I would actually agree with Caracarn on this one.

The question then becomes, what other markers would you find valid, Caracarn?
I think that is where the difficulty is coming from - a few people on here are trying to back things up with data, but you seem to push back on the idea of data giving us a relevant conclusion.

So, what metrics do you think would be relevant to look at?
Or, put a better way perhaps, how would you suggest that we test your idea, that the morality of humanity is on the decline, in an objective way?
I think anything can be valid.  I'm not proposing any set or another, because frankly I think all will come up short because I think we can all agree that there are many aspects to morality that are just not studied or measured in a way we would find.  The things I look at are not only the increase in immoral acts in entertainment which I'm sure has data somewhere, but the general regression of what is acceptable in a rating that has not changed on the surface, but has in substance of that is allowed.  For example the acceptable words or actions allowed to be shown in a PG-13 rating has expanded from when it was originally created to include more and more vulgar terms as acceptable for a 13 year old to hear.  Even the PG rating has allowed more and more content to get that rating and not bump up to a PG-13. 

ETA:  Quick search found this, so maybe there is some data.  "A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that a decade of ''ratings creep'' has allowed more violent and sexually explicit content into films, suggesting that movie raters have grown more lenient in their standards."

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/14/movies/study-finds-film-ratings-are-growing-more-lenient.html

So, basically you have no real data, just a gut feeling and your anecdotal observations.  And no, I do not subscribe to the idea that watching movies with more curse words in it makes you more immoral.  You'd need to show a clear link between watching and people's actions/hearts.   
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MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #802 on: July 03, 2017, 12:32:41 PM »
And therein lies the rub.  How do you show the reason that someone chose to not engage in that behavior was a moral decision or something else?  You can't.  Even if they were surveyed, people could be less than honest.  Man sees the outward result, but God sees the inward motivation.

In that case it seem that you have another unfalsifiable position.

Pigeon

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #803 on: July 03, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
The reason someone decides to act in a moral manner doesn't matter to me.  It is their behavior that matters.

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #804 on: July 03, 2017, 08:56:41 PM »
This is completely delving off topic and losing focus... but I have to admit I still find it pretty fascinating.

I just can across this tidbit from Gallup, which I thought was interesting.

What's interesting is that according to this series of surveys, the majority of Americans seem to believe the state of moral values is getting worse (with a seven year peak this year).  Think about that for a moment.  The majority of us think we are getting worse morally.

If this is actually true, and not simply perception, then that means that as a society we are morally declining AND the majority of us are aware of it.  If the majority believe this then does this mean the minority are the ones responsible for the moral decline, or that the majority are themselves in moral decline and aware of it?

Oh, and to make it more interesting - the majority have felt we were in moral decline every year since they started doing this survey annually 15 years ago.  There is also data from 1991 that shows the same reaction.

So apparently the majority of Americans have felt we were in moral decline consistently for the past 26 years at least.  I'm beginning to wonder if we wouldn't see the same response if we had data from 1891, 1791, 1691... etc etc.

I'm starting to think this is less about the actual moral standards of society and more about how we perceive ourselves in comparison to our compatriots.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 09:02:51 PM by MrDelane »

MrDelane

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #805 on: July 04, 2017, 03:42:37 PM »
Overflow - this thread seems to be winding down, but I didn’t want to leave your last post to me unanswered.

I got the chance to study under Dr. Wallace

Oh wow.  That is very cool.
He seems like a sharp man, and his clear communication style leads me to believe he was a great teacher.

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I can confirm that his theology would be considered conservative evangelical. He recently served as the President of the Evangelical Theological Society, which would mean he holds to inerrancy.
Interesting.  I mean, to be clear, I wasn’t saying that the textual variances prove the bible is not inerrant - but that the textual variances would mean that we cannot access the inerrancy that may have originally been present.


As far as the remainder of your post - I don’t want to beat this into the ground, but I didn’t want it to be left unanswered either.


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If these text of the NT is accurate to what the Apostles wrote in the 1st century, than that means a few things:
- The doctrine of Jesus divinity didn't "develop" over the course of a few hundred years. (A good teacher, became a great teacher, because divine! Fact > myth > legend). The Apostles were making these claims about Jesus in the years immediately following his time on earth.

There are a few things here to unpack.
First off, that is a very large ‘if’ at the start of your comment, especially considering we cannot be certain that the actual apostles wrote anything at all.

The gospels were anonymous and attributed to Mathew, Mark, Luke and John much later (as I discussed with Caracarn earlier in this thread).  So we cannot reasonably make any claims as to what the apostles themselves claimed, we can only say that what we have are what others claim to have heard (and we cannot be certain of how many sources it went through).

In regards to the claim that the doctrine of Jesus’s divinity didn’t ‘develop,’ that does not necessarily mean the story itself didn’t evolve and grow over the years.
While the building blocks may have been there from the start, there is some evidence of embellishment throughout the gospels.

As we know Mark was written first, followed most likely by Mathew, Luke and finally John. 
And, as we talked about earlier in this thread, it’s clear that Mathew and Luke used Mark as the basis for their gospel (something that wouldn’t be necessary if these were actual eye witness accounts).

I’ll try to keep this short - but it is interesting to note that as you move through the gospels in the order they are believed to have been written, the story of the resurrection becomes more incredible, more detailed and more miraculous.

Most scholars agree (including Wallace in the video you shared with me) that the original ending of Mark was most likely at 16:8, with the remainder of the gospel being added much later.  This means Mark originally ending simply with the discovery of an empty tomb, and a young man in white telling the women that Jesus would be seen at Galilee.

A few decades later Mathew is written and now we have the same story but with an added earthquake, and instead of a man waiting at the tomb we have an angel who descends from heaven and rolls the stone away from the tomb himself.  The angel then tells them that Jesus will be seen in Galilee.  This time, however, Jesus also appears to the women at the tomb.

Then in Luke we have two men ‘in shining clothing’ come in behind the women to tell them of Jesus’ resurrection (most often interpreted to be two angels).  This time we also have Peter himself going into the tomb and seeing the empty shroud.  Now Jesus appears and makes it a point to say he is not a vision (something that wasn’t done in earlier writings).  And whereas in Mark and Mathew Jesus was said to appear in Galilee, in Luke we are told Jesus appeared in Jerusalem (a much larger city, once again making the claim bigger).

Finally in John (again, written decades later), we have the most ornate resurrection story told.  We are now told directly that there are two angels at the empty tomb.  And this time when Jesus appears he proves he is physically resurrected by having Thomas place his finger in his wounds. In fact, John takes up more verses than any other gospel to describing the detail of Jesus’ physical resurrection (things that were never even claimed in Mark, the earliest gospel).

I’m not saying that this evolution in detail and scope of the resurrection story proves it was a legend that grew over the decades.  However, embellishment through time is consistent with what we would expect to see with a legend (as opposed to what we expect to see with historical documentation of an event).

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These accounts spread across Jesus and Hellenist world quickly. If they were made up stories, the people who were actually there would have cried foul.

Would they have?
We’re talking about a time where literacy was most likely in the single digits.  The masses were not educated in critical thinking in any way, and highly superstitious. Scientific knowledge was largely undiscovered.  There was no mass media or communication, and claims of the supernatural were common.

And if they did 'cry foul', would we even know it?  How many could write and spread their message?  And of those who could, would they bother? I'm not certain how many ancient writings we have of people debunking the claims of other religious groups of the time.  Supernatural claims were not hard to come by - keep in mind that Julius Caesar was said to be born of a virgin by some accounts.

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The most incredible thing they claimed (the resurrection) could very likely have been debunked. When the Apostles are wondering far and wide for the next few decades claiming Jesus rose from the dead, all someone had to do was produce the tomb.
Unless the resurrection was originally taken to be a spiritual one (a common theme in many stories of the time, and before), and evolved into a literal physical resurrection after the fact (which is one potential theory I find interesting, but haven't read enough about yet).

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Jesus' crucifixion was a public event by the governing authorities and he was buried in the tomb of a wealthy Jewish leader. When Peter is preaching in Acts 2 (a mere 6 weeks after Jesus resurrection) and "God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it" don't you think someone would say "wait a second, he's buried right over here!" With abundant civil and religious authorities hating the early Christians, there was tremendous incentive to debunk the resurrection.

You mention Peter preaching ‘a mere 6 weeks after Jesus’ resurrection’ in Acts, which is estimated by most scholars to have been written around 80-90AD.  So we are really talking about a claim made roughly 50 years after the crucifixion about what happened 6 weeks later.

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In the exceedingly small chance the apostles were able pull off such a conspiracy…
I don’t think there is much evidence of a conspiracy on the part of the apostles. 
As I talked about with Caracarn, I don't think the only options are ‘they knowingly lied’ or ‘everything they said perfectly reflects reality.’

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Jesus appeared to hundred of people after his resurrection (again according text written in the 1st century). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul essentially tells his readers "Go ask all these people if they saw Jesus after his resurrection." Again, inviting people to debunk it. This isn't 11 close friends of Jesus who are working hard to keep the story alive. Jesus appeared to hundreds of people who could verify the story of his resurrection.

To be clear we do not have 500 witnesses, we have one witness, Paul (who was not a contemporary of Jesus and is relaying what he learned from other sources), telling us that Jesus appeared to 500 people (possibly in the same way that he appeared to Paul?).  And actually - I shouldn't even say he was 'telling us,' he was telling people a few thousand miles away in Greece, who had no easy way to follow up and debunk anything.

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If Jesus really rose from the grave, then I need to take a very serious look at his claims of divinity (and the existence of divinity).
Agreed 100%
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 08:19:44 PM by MrDelane »

Vindicated

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #806 on: July 05, 2017, 08:48:00 AM »
I wanted to let you guys know that Yuval Noah Harari's "Sapiens" has a large section (Part 3 - The Unification of Humankind) in which he talks about the development of religions, and why certain religions were more successful than others.  Check it out!
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Psychstache

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #807 on: July 06, 2017, 08:04:13 AM »
Delurking to ask a question. I have enjoyed this thread and hope it can continue.

I want to preface this by saying that I present this question solely as an intellectual curiosity and mean no harm by it.

Some have stated that your actions have no bearing whatsoever on your grace. You are saved or you are not and there is nothing you can do to change that. It has also been stated that God's love is perfect and amazing, while man is wretched and fallen. Given that, why would you not kill yourself?

If you know you are saved, why would you want to waste another minute among the people of this world when you could be in the perfect, awesome love of the Lord?

Edit: Typos
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 08:05:53 AM by Psychstache »

jim555

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #808 on: July 06, 2017, 08:54:42 AM »
Delurking to ask a question. I have enjoyed this thread and hope it can continue.

I want to preface this by saying that I present this question solely as an intellectual curiosity and mean no harm by it.

Some have stated that your actions have no bearing whatsoever on your grace. You are saved or you are not and there is nothing you can do to change that. It has also been stated that God's love is perfect and amazing, while man is wretched and fallen. Given that, why would you not kill yourself?

If you know you are saved, why would you want to waste another minute among the people of this world when you could be in the perfect, awesome love of the Lord?

Edit: Typos
Believers are instructed on behaviour post salvation. 
We are not told to kill ourselves but to be set apart unto holiness and service.  Working out our new natures in time.

DoubleDown

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Re: That's me in the corner... losing my religion.
« Reply #809 on: July 06, 2017, 10:01:04 AM »
Believers are instructed on behaviour post salvation. 
We are not told to kill ourselves but to be set apart unto holiness and service.  Working out our new natures in time.

I've disagreed with quite a few of jim555's views on Christianity, but I agree with this, it's a good answer.

I would also add that for myself, at least, I like this life. It's precious, I have things I want to do plus things I should do to help others and raise my own kids. I would not want to end it no matter how great the after-life might be. I personally think the after-life is going to look a whole lot like this life -- just without the evil.

Plus we all have a survival instinct. I think you'd have to be a misguided fanatic to want to kill yourself to hurry to the after-life (I'm not counting suicide for depression/mental health reasons).
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