PDA

View Full Version : Resurrection Debate Update:


Kurgan
02-17-2000, 03:06 AM
Well, I recorded the resurrection debate we had today at ISU, however I warn you that the tape quality isn't very good (you lose a few words here and there), so listen carefully. There is a RealAudio file (about 4 megs) uploaded to my server, and there will probably be an MP3 version uploaded in the next week, and perhaps a written transcript if anyone is interested.

It was held between Professor of Religion, Dr. Avalos and an anonymous student (we'll call him Mr. X). ; )

Avalos begins the debate by arguing in favor of the Resurrection of Jesus happening, and X reponds with his own arguments against it. Questions follow.

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~kurgan/res2.ra
Resurrection of Jesus Debate: 2/16/00

Please do not use this for anything other than non-profit purposes. ; )

Comments welcome...

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Kurgan (edited February 17, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-21-2000, 02:15 PM
Can you just post a short, written summary of this for those of us that aren't able to listen to the debate?


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Darth Kurgan
02-21-2000, 11:31 PM
http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/Forum3/HTML/001231.html

That's the for argument right there.
The against argument I can summurize as follows:

The stories about Jesus, especially his miracles, and including his resurrection, are not new, in fact many cultures before and since have similar if not identical stories about healing preachers, resurrected prophets, mythical god-men, etc.

Miracles are not historical. Why? Because they violate natural laws that cannot be broken, and since we cannot verify any claims to miracles in history, we can only regard them as myth.

The women could have perhaps gone to the wrong tomb, as it was dark. Also, why were they coming back exactly three days later? Seems pretty suspicious.

The Gospels contradict one another on numerous important points, and since there is little to no outside evidence to confirm the Gospels, we must conclude they were fabrications or exaggerations by Jesus's followers. The Gospels were written by Christians, so of course they were going to say the resurrection happened, but this is just supporting their own agenda.

It is possible that Jesus was merely a magician and his followers were in on the "hoax." Perhaps, as one source puts it, there was a "Passover Plot" involving Lazarus (who would fake his death and be "raised" by Jesus at a convenient moment for all to see, etc), Jesus, and some other close followers. This plot theory goes on to say that Jesus actually died, since they were unable to save him from crucifixion, but they stole his body from the tomb (Joseph of Arimathea may have been in on it), and made up the story of his resurrection to cover for it. They were a bunch of con men perhaps. (Remember those men in white? Those guys were probably in on it too!) The idea was to convince everyone that Jesus was the Messiah (for power, fame, or whatever reasons), but it backfired, so they made up the story.

Perhaps, having seen Jesus die, they produced a "fake" Jesus (an impersonator) just good enough to fool some people and create some phoney "witnesses" to the miracle.

Regarding prophecies, the disciples knew the scriptures, and anybody could read about what was supposed to happen, then, following the "plot" idea, they could simply stage events and plan ahead to "fulfill" the prophecies.

Also, since the Gospel accounts were written centuries after the incidents (the earliest being 100 years after by a non-eye-witness), they cannot be trusted to be accurate, especially since these are ancient times we are talking about.

Jesus may have survived the cross, as he seemed to be dead awfully quickly. Perhaps he faked his death, or merely lost consciousness, and was later revived by his followers and escaped. The guards could have been bribed. Why was Jesus wearing gardner's clothes? (A disguise?)

The only reason so many people believed in the resurrection was because they were afraid of death, and they wanted to believe so badly, that they accepted it blindly, even though there was clearly too many holes in the story to make it reliable. They wanted to believe.

Many modern scholars doubt the resurrection ever occured for the above reasons combined to cast too much doubt on the resurrection of Jesus. So it can never be proven, but it most likely did not happen.

And as far as criminals converting is concerned, we also have to realize that some people can be "healed" from some terrible illness by a sugar pill (placebo), so perhaps they think Jesus cured them or forgave their sins, etc, when they were just believing it did, which allowed for natural healing.

Avalos went on to refute his statements, which if you want to hear those I can post 'em later.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 21, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-22-2000, 01:10 PM
Hmmm, well, those are all very valid statements against (thanks for the summary BTW).

I think most people will agree that there is significant historical evidence to accept that Jesus was an actual person.

Did he do all of the miraculous things that are attributed to him? Well, that's what it sounds like this debate really boils down to.

All I know is that people tend to label phenomenon they don't understand as miracles. Furthermore, whenever an obscure pattern resembling a Human face is seen in tree bark or on a potato chip, it's immediatly proclaimed by some to be the face of Jesus, rather than the milk man or that kid you saw at the mall last weekend. And then people who want to believe it's true spread the story, and it snowballs.

So does this Human tendency to substitute miracles in place of our own ignorance mean that Jesus didn't perform miracles? No. But if he didn't, this could explain how the stories got started.

But me personally? I don't know and actually don't care. It's not the miracles that interest me about Jesus. It's the good, tolerance person that he was that I admire. I don't even care if he was the son of God or not. I just care that he was good.


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Conor
02-22-2000, 04:58 PM
You think Jesus was tolerant? Guess you haven't read anything He said. He condemned things left and right, told people it was His way or the highway, and pissed the authorities off doing it.

Jesus loves us, but He is certainly not tolerant of sin, and made sure everyone knew exactly how He felt about it.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Darth Kurgan
02-22-2000, 06:05 PM
I don't know and actually don't care.

Spoken like a true Agnostic (was that your intention?). ; )

If the Jesus of the new Testament is the "real" Jesus (people like the "Jesus Seminar" are trying to find out just that, and they tend to assume that this wasn't the real Jesus, but only the Jesus of faith and legend), then we must assume that he did have some genuine mystical powers (unless the Gospels were purely symbolic, but I think most people would be forced to deny it under close scrutiny of the writing), and that either those powers were:

hoaxes
from Satan (or some other evil spirit)
or from God (which would imply he himself was divine in some way)

If you believe the whole New Testament, you would be forced to conclude that Jesus was the Son of God, indeed God himself. Otherwise, you'd only be selectively accepting pieces of the New Testament while denying others.

The "Jesus Seminar" people have many theories about Jesus. Basically to an outside it sounds like, they cannot deny the historicity of the person Jesus, yet they are unwilling to accept him as God, and they do not believe in miracles (most of the people on that panel are not traditional Christians). So they then ask, if Jesus was not a miracle worker, or divine, then who was he?

They thus have decided he was some sort of revolutionary (not a Zealout, but at least a revolutionary philosopher). He may have been a Cynic, a nihilistic type of person who rejected the norms of the day in favor of new spiritual insight and social understanding. The Cynics rejected legalism in favor of "natural law." They also didn't bathe very often (at least we are led to believe).

They think he was a good man, a peasant, an advocate for the poor and disenfranchised of the population. He advocated sharing of what goods we have (in a very socialist manner). He was anti-Rome (this land belongs to our God, not you or your gods), and pro-Jewish. He had obvious disagreements with the Sadducees (who were an aristocratic minority, and loyal to Rome), and the Pharisees (who saw themselves as "holier than thou" because they followed all kinds of obscure traditions and had much authority).

This Jesus, according to them, as given mythical and legendary prowess by the faithful disciples or others. Why? Because they admired him SO much that they invented stories about him, that grew with time, OR, they were written to grant their leader divine power, so as to give more authority to his teachings (he was God, so do what he says or you're disobeying God!).

As a person of faith, believing that the New Testament account is accurate is no problem. The Jesus Seminar and other groups, while they may be interesting from a historical perspective, are basically designed for those who do not believe in Jesus as divine, who want a reason to accept his teachings, or at least people who want to acknowledge his influence, without acknowledging his divinity.

Yes, I think you're right, Jesus was a real person, we all agree, but as to whether or not he could do miracles or was God in the flesh, we disagree over.

Incidentally, the miracles of Jesus were recorded as being practical (both in that they helped people who were in need, and they served to help people's faith in the one true God), not special-effects shows to get money. There weren't any cinnamon buns with pictures of faces in them or anything like that. I think in those cases (in modern times) we merely have people with vivid imaginations based on random occurences.

Still, if a picture on a potato chip helps you believe in God, fine, there's nothing wrong with that, although most people would laugh at you. ; )

Kurgan

Vagabond
02-22-2000, 08:32 PM
Spoken like a true Agnostic (was that your intention?). ; )


Oh, I don't know that I intended it to sound agnostic, but that's really how I feel. If he really is the son of God, then that's cool. If he's not that, that's cool too. See, I just like the way he was.

And he was tolerant, Conor. He hung with hookers - he didn't approve of what they did, but he didn't treat them disrespectfully. He did council them on other career aspirations however. And it was Jesus who said that, "He who is without sin cast the first stone", which is one of the most insightful pieces of Human philosophy, IMO. That along with, "Treat others the way you want to be treated".

No, even though I'm no religious scholar, my mom was, and I know enough to know that Jesus didn't go around being a prick to people because that's not a very good way to get converts. He talked the talk and he walked the walk. He won followers by being a good example, not for scolding people into submission.

Jesus didn't go around saying, "I'm the son of God, do what I say, I am holier than thou". He wasn't like that man. He was cool, compasionate, and very insightful. People were interested in what he had to say, not because he condemned people, but because he loved them.

That's my 19 cents!


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Conor
02-22-2000, 10:46 PM
I can partially (well, mostly) agree with you. He was more than tolerant of people, He accepts them, and loves them, and treats them with respect. However, He never once tolerates evil, never says different morality than His is acceptable, and always corrects people when they are wrong.

He was found in the company of the sinners not because He accepted their behavior, but because He wanted them to change, to come to the truth. After He tells the people not to stone the hooker, He doesn't tell her to continue with her life, He tells her to sin no more. Jesus would only be tolerant of people's actions if He didn't love us. Because He loves us, He refuses to tolerate our sin.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

[This message has been edited by Conor (edited February 22, 2000).]

Darth Kurgan
02-22-2000, 11:58 PM
But, I think people get the wrong idea if they think Jesus was never "preachy." Like many philosophers of his day (before, during and since the first century), he went around questioning people about their beliefs. So if somebody thought one thing, he'd say "why do you think that?" etc, to encourage people to seek the truth for themselves. Alot of folks had the wrong idea about him in his own time.

For example, many thought he was going to overthrow Rome, or that he was trying to destroy the scriptures, or to physically destroy the Temple. Others were disapointed because he was not more radical in what he proposed (his kingdom was not "of this world").

He did piss off some people in his time: the Romans (for distrubing the peace), the Sadducees (for opposing their views and implying that they were unbelievers), the Pharisees (for calling them hypocrites, and opposing many of their traditions), the Herodians because of his connection with John the Baptist (who had spoken out against them), and some traditionalists because he claimed to be God (which in their minds was blasphemy, as no man could ever be God).

Oftentimes it says they wanted to "stone him" or "kill him" (and they eventually had their way). So it wasn't like he was all accepting, and non-judgemental either. Of course the Gospel writers say that it was inevitable that Jesus would be killed for the truth, and that it would be on trumped up charges.

Also not the opposition in many places that the Apostles and early disciples faced when they went out preaching.

I guess you could say that Jesus was patient with sinners, especially those who showed signs of repentance.. but he was more oppositional to those who maintained they were pure when they were anything but (hypocritical).

Most Christians would say that if Jesus was not the Son of God, then his message is null, because he would have been lying, or maybe telling half-truths. Jesus Seminar folks would simply say that he never really claimed to be God, that was just a later exaggeration by his followers. Of course that makes you wonder why the only surviving Christian groups were the ones that ascribed to him divinity.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 22, 2000).]

wizzywig
02-23-2000, 04:37 AM
Kurgan--

Thanks for posting the transcript and summary. Good stuff. Though it's ground I think we largely covered before in the God thread, this debate sums it up very concisely.

Vagabond--

You say you find the arguments against the resurrection "all very valid." Did you read the arguments for the resurrection that Kurgan posted at http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/Forum3/HTML/001231.html ?

It was actually a concise summation of the more lengthy presentation I posted at http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/Forum3/HTML/001110-38.html . I know you prefer the shorter version, and I hope you examined at least the condensed form of those arguments carefully (though I think the more detailed arguments are very much worth your consideration).

The argument against the resurrection is fraught with problems:

The stories about Jesus, especially his miracles, and including his resurrection, are not new...

The historical existence of Jesus is well-attested and not seriously questioned by historians. If there are resonances between his story and any other story (and I don't know if the person Kurgan cites actually listed such resonances or not, but let's assume that some exist), then what does that prove? We can find resonances and similarities between many unrelated events and people in history. Look at all the similarities betwen Lincoln and JFK--both succeeded by men named Johnson, Lincoln warned by someone named Kennedy not to go to Ford's theater, Kennedy warned by someone named Lincoln not to go to Dallas, etc., etc. Does that mean that JFK was a mythical figure because of resonances to a prior person named Lincoln? This is a weak argument.

Miracles are not historical. Why? Because they violate natural laws that cannot be broken...

This is a tautology. It's tantamount to saying miracles can't happen because there's no such thing as miracles. And why is there no such thing as miracles? Because miracles can't happen.

Natural laws are generalizations based on inductive reasoning from samplings of reality. The fact that a natural law has been formulated does not mean that it holds true in all cases. Take the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy which states that all things ultimately wind down. But look at the universe. Yes, it is winding down--but how did it get wound up in the first place? The Big Bang is the grandest violation of the second law of thermodynamics imaginable--a stunningly antientropic event. How did the universe get pumped up with negative entropy in the first place? Fact is, it's a miracle (the Anthropic Principle demonstrates the miraculous nature of the Big Bang and the universe as a whole).

So we know that at least one miracle has occurred which violated the laws of nature. In my own personal experience, I have seen other events that I would classify as miracles--events that violated the laws of nature. No one can tell me that miracles don't exist when I have witnessed miracles with my own eyes.

This argument against the resurrection is specious and without merit.

I won't take any more space to deal with the other arguments against the resurrection, since I already dismantled them in my resurrection post at http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/Forum3/HTML/001110-38.html .

I think it is important to note that the debater who argued for the resurrection only produced one coherent chain of events, one plausible and well-evidenced scenario, while the debater against the resurrection invented a chaotic series of mutually conflicting scenarios, none of which covers all the evidence: Well, Jesus may have pulled off a hoax, or maybe it was the disciples who stole the body, or maybe Jesus didn't really die, or he did die and no one stole the body but the women actually went to the wrong tomb...

Puh-leeeeze! It quickly becomes apparent that a miracle, however much we might like to disbelieve in the miraculous, sounds oh-so-much more plausible than this patchwork quilt of conflicting and unconvincing "explanations."

--wiz

wizzywig
02-23-2000, 04:44 AM
Vagabond--

One more thing...

You write:
It's not the miracles that interest me about Jesus. It's the good, tolerance person that he was that I admire. I don't even care if he was the son of God or not. I just care that he was good.

In reply to this statement, I will just quote the response of C.S. Lewis from his book MERE CHRISTIANITY:


I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him, 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the sort of thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or He would be the devil of hell. You must make a choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

C.S. Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY, p. 56.

Was Jesus a liar? Was he crazy? The purity and depth of his teaching convinces even skeptics that he was both honest and sane. That is why most skeptics try to straddle the issue by saying he was a "good man," a "great moral teacher." But Lewis is absolutely right when he calls that "patronising nonsense." There really are only three options: Jesus was a liar, or he was a lunatic, or he was exactly who he claimed to be.

--wiz

Darth Kurgan
02-23-2000, 11:28 AM
The Jesus Seminar folks would suggest of course that the Gospels are not reliable, because 100-200 years of corruption occured, thus Christianity became distorted from the get go.

I contest this because:

Apostolic Tradition. The Apostles were put in charge of Jesus's mission when he died, as leaders of the Church, they would have protected it from error, (and guided by the Holy Spirit, if you believe in God), and condemned as heresy (which they did, as many heresies arose in the early days.. and no, heresy was not a capital crime) anything that strayed from the core sacred that was preached by Jesus. Quotes I have read from prominent First, Second and Third century Christians seem to confirm this hypothesis of Apostolic Tradition preventing vast corruptions as the Jesus Seminar folks claim.

The apostles were devout Jews.. if Jesus was a liar or a faker, they would have exposed him right away. It was considered blasphemy to believe a human being was God, unless that human really was God, and surely a person would need sufficient evidence to overthrow this basic belief. Also, if it was so clearly a lie, why was the message so widespread even to the present day?

The critics also seem to be working from the tautology that Jesus was not God, and that miracles are impossible, so.. etc.

Also, since we have no documents that predate the Gospels and show a different "de-mystified" version of the history, we cannot back up any claims that the Gospels were corrupted versions of the truth. Where is the evidence? It's all based on speculation with a preset "non-mystical" mindset.

The possibilities I think of Lewis are a bit limiting.

Let us consider the following.

Either Jesus believed he was divine, or he didn't.

If Jesus claimed to be divine, he was either right, or he was wrong.

The Gospels and New Testament writings have Jesus claiming to be divine.

If Jesus believed he was divine, and he was wrong, then either:

1) The Gospels were corruptions, so that means shortly after the events occured, the message was immediately corrupted, as the Jesus Seminar and other groups claim. There is little evidence to back this claim up however. The Gospels confirm that he was right, so they are therefore wrong.

2) Jesus was a failed prophet, as he claimed things that were not true, even if he sincerely believed them himself. If he failed though, why did others believe in him even so long after the fact, as it would be exposed easily.

If Jesus believed he was divine, and he was right, then:

1) Jesus is God, and the Gospel accounts are probably accurate (not necessarily infallible accounts of history, but close enough to make modern Christianity legitimate)

2) Jesus is God, but the Gospels still might be completey wrong, but this assumes again the message was corrupted from the start, without evidence to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

If Jesus did NOT believe he was divine, then:

1) The Gospel accounts are false, again, they were corrupted from the very start, and the apostles and everyone else were either lying, or just stupid, to forget the message right away. I doubt they would go to their deaths for it simply because they "wanted to believe" or some other nonesense.

2) Jesus was a persuasive liar, a clever magician, and may have recruited the stupidest, most gullible followers imaginable (and/or they were fellow hoaxers). This still is shaky, considering the widespread growth, and the willing martyrdom (for a lie?). It would suggest the Gospels were wishful acceptance of a false message.

I was talking with another guy the other day, and he claimed that the Bible never claimed Jesus was God, only the "Son of God." I think we've already established here that the Bible, if you accept it, says that, yes, Jesus is God. It is implied in Matt and Mark, and spelled out in John and Luke. Most early Christian groups (including the heresies) believed that Jesus was God (except the Adoptionists), so it's not what they believed, it's how. Some believed Jesus was fully God, but only appeared to be human, some believed he was God, but then so were alot of other human beings (the elect), others (the ones who won out) believed he was both fully God and fully Man.

Faced with those possiblities, I would conclude that either, Jesus thought he was divine (and so did everyone else), and he was right, Jesus was a clever liar (and everyone was fooled). If the sceptics can produce reliable testimony that the resurrection and miracles did not happen, or a "true Gospel" from the time that was earlier than the ones we have in the Bible, perhaps their claim of a "corrupted Gospel" can be substantiated.

Kurgan

Vagabond
02-23-2000, 01:06 PM
wizzywig,


...but I don't accept His claim to be God....

...Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse...

C.S. Lewis, MERE CHRISTIANITY, p. 56.


First of all, I never said I don't accept his claim to be God. I'm undecided, and neither accept nor reject. Also, one of you who knows every word of the bible can help me here, but did Jesus actually come out and say full on, "I am God". This is a simple question, so please don't tell me anything about implications and conjecture. Did he ever say, "I am God"? If not, then he made no claim.

Secondly, I totally disagree with this C.S. Lewis, whoever this Joker is. If Jesus wasn't the son of God, that makes him a lunatic?! This Lewis character sounds like the lunatic. If Jesus wasn't the son of God, I'd say that puts him on par with other great philosphers of history: Ghandi, Socrates, etc.

Kurgan,

I don't have my dictionary with me as I'm at work, but what is the defintion of miracle? My guess is that it's probably officially defined as a phenomenon attributed to divine intervention. I submit that miracles are merely (1) phenomenon that we don't understand yet, or (2) an improbable, yet possible event; remember that improbable <> impossible. Winning PowerBall is highly improbable, but people win it all the time.

So how about we try a little game? How about if some of you rattle of some of the miracles attributed to Jesus, and let's see if we can find non-miraculous explanations for them. Any takers?



------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Darth Kurgan
02-23-2000, 02:21 PM
Okay, Jesus rose from the dead.

How about that one?

My dictionary (Webster's New World) defines "miracle" as: "1. an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws 2. a remarkable thing"
(emphases mine)

So a miracle doesn't have to be of divine origin, and it doesn't have to have no scientific explanation. Like a gyroscope could be a miracle. Evolutionary processes could be considered miraculous.

Avalos refuted the claim that miracles are not historical by asking:

Have you ever seen a miracle?

The answer was "knowingly, no."

Then the next question was "Have you been everywhere, through all of history, observing everything?"

"No."

"Then you have to concede that you may simply have missed observing miracles."

Another point is that the universe itself is a miracle (Anthropic Principle again), and if one miracle is proven possible, what makes other, lesser miracles possible. (sorry, I was tired when I wrote that!)

Also, if God is omnipotent (as the Bible states) then believing in miracles is no stretch.

Did Plato, Ghandi, etc claim to be God? I don't think so.

If Jesus claimed to be God, and he wasn't, then he was either lying, or having delusions of grandeur (mental illness).

If I say I'm the great Emperor Napolean, I'm either, crazy, lying, or I'm the reincarnation of the Little Colonel himself!

C.S. Lewis was a Christian apologest (probably one of the most famous in recent history). He wrote numerous Science Fiction and Fantasy novels as well as theological apologetic pieces. He wrote "The Chronicles of Narnia" (probably his best known) a series of fantasy children's novels.

Logic states that Jesus claimed to be God. If you wish to ignore logic, then by all means, Jesus was probably just kidding, he didn't mean he was God.

If a human being can be equal to God, and exist in the beginning with God, and people can only know God through that person, then isn't that person divine?

Keep in mind we're only talking ONE GOD here, not a polytheistic system. If it were a polytheist system you'd readily assume that there were at least two Gods, Yahweh and Jesus. But, since it isn't, they are obviously one and the same.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 23, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-23-2000, 02:36 PM
Jesus rising from the dead is a miracle? First of all, since no body was found, it is plausable and actually more believable that someone moved or hid the body. This is something that could physically and reasonably happen. It is not reasonable to conclude that since his body is gone, then obviously he has risen from the dead. That's like leaving your house one morning, finding that your car isn't there, and concluding that your car must have come to life and rode off into the sunset. The more reasonable and plausible explanation is that someone stole your car. The more reasonable explanation for Jesus's resurrection is that someone else moved his body.

No, I've not seen the entire world for myself, but enough neutral, credible parties have observed the rest of the world that I feel confident in accepting the truth that the rest of the world exists. When a gathering of religious zealots claim that they spoke to a stranger and then somehow got the feeling that it was Jesus, I feel confident in concluding that this is not evidence of a miracle, but rather an example of over-active imaginations.


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Conor
02-23-2000, 03:52 PM
You obviously haven't read Wizzywig's evidence for the resurrection, and I suggest you do before saying stealing the body was a simple matter, or even possible.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Conor
02-23-2000, 04:17 PM
Jesus very clearly claimed to be God.

In John 10:30 Jesus says, "The Father and I are one." It is obvious He is referring to Himself as God, as the Jews immediately got stones to throw at Him. When He asked them why they were going to stone Him, when He had done much good, they answered, "We are not stoning you for doing a good work but for blasphemy: you are only a man and you claim to be God."

"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him." John 14:6-7

There are more, but I don't know the Bible as well as some. I will look. http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/smile.gif

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Vagabond
02-23-2000, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the quotes Conor.


...No one can come to the Father except through me. If you know me, you know my Father too. From this moment you know him and have seen him...


This quote is confusing to me. First he refers to the Father as another being by stating that no one can come to him, except by going through Jesus. Then he says that if you know Jesus, then you also know the father, no implying that they are one and the same. Weird.

Do you think Jesus really spoke so convolutedly? I have a hard time reading this and I's be an college students. He was merely the son of a carpenter.

Also, the time when Jesus was being questioned before his crucifixtion about whether he was the Son of God. Were there any apostles there? How do we know what really happened there?



------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Darth Kurgan
02-23-2000, 06:27 PM
Hence the doctrine of the Trinity (three equal persons in one God), this being just one passage that supports that theological doctrine of the early Church.

Speaking convolutedly by our standards perhaps, but from an eastern way of speaking, and an ancient culture, there would have been nothing odd about speaking in riddles or parables. Luke and John tended to put the tale into more flowery terms, as they were probably more "the men of letters" of the Gospel writers.

I'm sure some of the gaps of the story had to be filled in. Unless somebody was there, when Pilate was questioning Christ, nobody would have known (perhaps Pilate was interviewed, or there were guards who converted).

We may never know. A traditional Christian would simply say, if God wanted the authors to know this information, he could simply have revealed it to them in his own way. An omnipotent God could surely perform such a feat. Or it could have been added by the authors, "in character" of what they think the characters would have said.

Kurgan

Darth Kurgan
02-23-2000, 06:31 PM
Oh, and how many people do you know who have risen from the dead?

Let's say your car was locked deep inside an underground fortress that only you knew where it was located, with massive security, and required all kinds of ID to get in.

This analogy doesn't quite fit, because we're talking about God here, not an inanimate piece of machinery that requires a human to run it.

You're still operating from the "it can't be true" mindset, so you aren't willing to consider the evidence.

The Romans were very meticulous in the way they killed people, and they wouldn't have wanted to give him any undue publicity. Punishment for disobedience by the soldiers would have meant their own deaths. How would it be so easy to hide the body? I said this in my other post btw (and it WAS EASY TO READ!)

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 23, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-23-2000, 07:02 PM
...This analogy doesn't quite fit, because we're talking about God here...


Correction. You're talking about God. I'm talking about a guy who may or may not have been the son of God.

Regarding the sentiment that if God really wanted them to know, he's have just told them, brings up an interesting point. If God is so powerful and mighty, why be so coy? Why the ruse? Why go through all the trouble of the petty game of life? Just use your omnipotent powers and be done with it.

I meant to comment on this earlier, about your statement about the Universe not being able to be created in the Big Bang because you felt it would violate some laws of physics as we currently understand them.

1. Obviously we don't possess a complete understanding of all physical laws.

2. There are theories that account for how a black hole can explode, thereby releasing all its matter, if I'm recalling correclty. Basically, if no matter falls into a black hole for a very, very long time, it begins bleeding away energy, and mass, somehow. Don't ask me for I'm not the author of this theory; it comes from smarter people than myself. Anyway, in time, the black hole eventually becomes unstable and explodes. Since if all the universe's mass existed in one geometric point, a singularity, that's essentially what a black hole is, then this theory could explain how the big bang occured as well. I'm no astrophysicist and I may have stated the black hole dissipation theory incorrectly, but regardless of how I've stated the details, I believe the end result is the same. If there are any cosmologists out there, please correct me.


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Conor
02-23-2000, 10:03 PM
I think those black hole theories, and that is what they are (if not mere guesswork), are trying to explain how the big bang could possibly happen according to what we know.

I think they are doing their best to explain creation, by any means possible. If we didn't think the universe started in the big bang, we wouldn't have people trying to explain how such a thing could happen. Myself, I think there may be a scientific explanation of the big bang theory (using black holes as mini-bangs or what-have-you).

Believe me when I say every little tidbit about science I have ever heard only convinces me the argument against God is foolish. Everything is simply too wonderful (that is an oversimplification, I'll grant you, but it sums up a lot of the concrete evidence Wiz posted in the old God thread).

I find it fascinating that the parting of the red sea may have been caused by a comet the size of Venus (and maybe actually being Venus, there are different stories) passing near the earth at the right time. I don't know what evidence there is to back this up, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Back to the Trinity, Jesus talks about His Father in almost every statement. He constantly talks about doing His Father in Heaven's work, also calling Himself the Son of God. Yet He also claims to be one with God, that they are the same being. This is part of the reason one must reject Jesus as a lunatic or liar if He isn't what He says He is. If He is right, then God is a very interesting being, with three different persons within one God (the Holy Spirit is also treated as a member of the Trinity, presumably because of revelation from God). Of course, humans can never understand how such a being could exist, it is beyond our scope, that is why it is called a mystery.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Darth Kurgan
02-23-2000, 11:10 PM
Vagabond, what would convince you that Jesus was God? Be honest now.

If nothing, then why not just be out with it and say you don't believe in him. Are you waiting for some magical answer to just appear and you'll accept it? If he wasn't God, then why all the comparisons and innuendos. Why was he constantly making himself out to be God's equal? How is "son of God" any different from being divine (God)? Tell me in your own words.

It seems in our dealings, you have made up your mind to accept anything other than a "supernatural" or "miraculous" conclusion that involves a transcendant being.

Or maybe you're just hanging around for the fun of a good argument, in which case I can kinda identify with the feeling. ; )

Kurgan

Vagabond
02-24-2000, 01:10 PM
Conor,


...Yet He also claims to be one with God, that they are the same being. This is part of the reason one must reject Jesus as a lunatic or liar if He isn't what He says He is...


We just have a difference of opinion here. Even if he wasn't the son of God and merely delusional or a fraud, he still came up with some valuable philosophies for people to live by, no matter how you look at it. At least in my opinion.


Vagabond, what would convince you that Jesus was God? Be honest now.


I guess the only thing that would convince me was if I died and actually met God, or if I were able to somehow sit down with God and have an in depth conversation with him. I'd ask him things like, "Why would you do this, create a universe filled with galaxies and then create people? What's the purpose? If you're so powerful that you can create beings and souls, then why not just populate your Heavens with these life forces immediately rather than have them go through the exercise of life? Why not just create them as good from the start? What's the point of all of this? Why does you need our souls? What does you get out of this?

While these are legitimate questions, I also believe that there may be no correct answers. Perhaps the implication is that God is not powerful enough to populate Heaven with good souls out of thin air, and may only obtain their souls once they pass the test of life; this shows a weakness with God - that he is not all powerful.

Now having said all that, this doesn't mean I flat out disbelieve in God because that's not the case. It's just that I don't take the word of another Human Being as evidence of the God. And I don't attribute the beauty and order of the Universe to divine creation; to me that is very presumptive and unfounded.

As for why I don't just come out and say it, it's because I can't. Like I said, to come out and say full on, "I believe in God", or "I don't believe in God" takes a leap of faith since no concrete evidence exists to support either statement.

As an aside, this conversation is much better than previous ones because we're keeping the discussion focused rather than meandering all over the place http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/biggrin.gif


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

wizzywig
02-24-2000, 02:37 PM
I'd like to add some thoughts on the Trinity and Jesus' claim to be God. The idea that God can be both one and three at the same time is just one of many paradoxes that we have to wrap our minds around in order to accept reality as it is.

For example, Einstein's theory of relativity tells us that time is a dimension, just like the three dimensions of space, and if this is so, then we live in a deterministic universe, with the future as fixed as the past. At the same time, quantum physics tells us that reality in indeterminate and percolating with randomness, superposed states, and free will. In the same universe, two completely contradictory realities operate at the same time--determinism and indeterminism. It's a paradox, but it's true all the same.

Another example is wave-particle duality. A photon cannot logically be both a wave and a particle, it must be one or the other, according to common sense. But experiments show it is both. If you perform one sort of experiment on a photon, it behaves as a wave; if you perform another sort, it behaves as a particle. This is a paradox, but it is absolutely true.

The same with the paradox of the Trinity, in which God is both three and one. If the Christian religion were a mere human invention, I would not expect to find such paradoxes in it. Human beings would have worked out all the "kinks" so that everything would appeal to our human common sense. The fact that the Trinity is a subtle paradox suggests to me that it is true at a very deep and meaningful level.

I just came across an interesting approach to explaining the nature of the Trinity in the book THE CREATOR AND THE COSMOS by astronomer Hugh Ross, Ph.D. (NavPress, 1995), pp. 158-160. He suggests that the reason God is not visible to us and the reason God exists as both one and three is because God inhabits more dimensions than we do. Instead of our three dimensions of space and one of time, Ross suggests that God exists in at least six dimensions of space and three of time.

I apologize for the length of this post, but it's hard to write about a subject of this magnitude in twenty words or less. I scanned Ross's argument from the book and pasted it in this post as follows:

The Trinity is a mathematical absurdity in the context of just the four dimensions of length, width, height, and time. Then I share with them the evidence from general relativity the big bang, and particle physics for the existence of sev-eral more dimensions of space and time besides the four we humans experience. In particle physics, for example, all workable theories for the unification of the four fundamental forces of physics require that a minimum of nine dimensions of space and time must have existed in the first 10^-34 seconds following the creation event. Since God controls all these dimensions, He must be able to fully operate in them all. In fact, who is to say that He does not operate in spiritual dimensions completely distinct from space and time?

Given all this extra-dimensional capacity, it is fairly easy to demonstrate (but not visualize) that the Trinity becomes mathemat-ically feasible.

We'll begin with a simple example of an extra dimension trans-forming a contradiction into a resolved paradox: In two dimensions in which only length and width exist, triangles can never be equal to circles. Triangles have three corners and circles have none. But in three dimensions of length, width, and height, a triangle could be flipped up on its base so that the third corner resides above the base in the dimension of height. Then the triangle could be rotated on its base so as to transcribe the shape of a cone. Also, a cone is a series of concentric circles ending at a point (the third corner of the triangle). Thus, in three dimensions of space, it is possible in one context for a triangle to be a circle and in another context (such as on a piece of paper) for a triangle not to be a circle. Therefore, one could conclude that in three spatial dimensions triangles can simultaneously be circles and not be circles.

In the same manner, a few extra dimensions of space and a few more of time would make possible the existence of God as a Trinity, an Entity who is simultaneously singular and plural. Such demon-strations of extra-dimensional resolutions of several aspects of the Trinity are currently available, but are beyond the limitations of this brief review. What can be considered, however, is how extra dimensions elucidate some of the ways the Triune God relates to us.

Nearness of God

The Bible declares forthrightly that God is very close to each and every one of us. But, it just as forthrightly states that God is invisible. The Apostle Paul says that no one has ever seen God, nor can see Him. Evidently, it is impossible for us humans to make physical contact with God. How, then, can God be so close and yet be beyond physical contact?

An analogy that might help was developed partly by Edwin Abbott, a nineteenth-century schoolmaster and preacher who published the book Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions in 1884. Imagine a universe where only two dimensions of space exist rather than three. In such a universe, flatlanders would be confined to a plane of length and width with no possibility of operating in the dimension of height. A three-dimensional being then could approach the plane of the flatlanders and place his hand just a tenth of a millimeter above the two-dimensional bodies of two flatlanders separated from one another by just one centimeter. Since the three-dimensional being is slightly above the plane of the flatlanders, there is no possibility that the flatlanders can see him. And yet, the three dimensional being is a hundred times closer to each of the flatlanders than they are to one another.

As with the flatlanders, so it is with human beings. God is closer to each of us than we ever can be to one another. But because God's proximity to us takes place in dimensions we cannot tangibly experience, we cannot possibly see Him.

The only way we could see God is if He were to place a portion of His being into our dimensional realm. [NOTE FROM WIZZIWIG: Ross does not say so, but it is intriguing to note that one implication of this statement is that God has already placed a portion of His being into our dimensional realm in the person of Jesus Christ. That is why Jesus is able to say (John 14:9, another statement of His own self-proclaimed deity), "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." Jesus is an aspect of a transdimensional God which God has placed in our dimensional realm in order to make Himself visible to us. Now, back to Hugh Ross…]

This would be analogous to the three-dimensional being poking his finger through the plane of the flatlanders. If one of the flatlanders were to investigate, he would draw the conclusion that this visitor to their realm is a small circle. But what if the three-dimensional being were to reveal separately to the friend of that flatlander three of his fingers? The friend then would draw the conclusion that the visitor to their realm was not one small circle but rather three small circles. We could then imagine a theological debate between the two flatlanders that would end up with the first flatlander founding the Church of the One Circle while the second would establish the Church of the Three Circles.

This analogy may appear amusing, but it fairly represents what nonChristians have done with the Trinity or Tri-Unity of God. Some have accepted God's singularity but rejected His plurality while others accept His plurality and reject His singularity. Only Christians accept that God is simultaneously singular and plural.

Something to think about.

--wiz

Darth Kurgan
02-24-2000, 03:44 PM
Most Christians (at least the ones who follow what the original Apostles taught) believe in the Trinitarian concept, that is, God is one, but God is made up of three "persons" (or beings), Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are equal and indivisible. They existed all at the same time, and have always existed, and always will exist. There are not three gods, but one God.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims call claim to accept the same God, but Jews and Muslims of course do not make any distinctions between the number of "persons" in that one God. Muslims (at least if you read the Qu'ron) seem to think that Christians believe in three Gods, or they worship Jesus as a seperate God, which is not true of most Christians (some fringe groups do).

Those that accept a unified God, (no Trinity) are Unitarian Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and I'm sure some other groups too.

If you accept the New Testament as God's word, then I think unless you make tons of symbolic interpretations (as some Protestant groups do), and claim alot of it as "corruptions" (as many Muslims do), you cannot deny the concept of the Trinity. There is just too much evidence to support it. The "term" Trinity is not in the bible, but that doesn't mean anything, it's just a name given to that doctrinal concept.

Kurgan

Conor
02-24-2000, 03:45 PM
Woah, very interesting stuff there, Wiz.

To Vagabond, yes we can accept Jesus' teachings even if He was insane or lying about His mission. I think you have to admit that if He wasn't correct He was very likely unstable on a number of levels though, right?

In that case, if we accept His teachings, but not His main point in life, aren't we picking and choosing what we want to hear and throwing away what we don't? If we can take Jesus and accept some things and reject others, why not do that with everything? If we do such a thing, there is no justification for any laws or rules, and there is no authority which says we ought or ought not to do something, except in our own minds.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

[This message has been edited by Conor (edited February 24, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-24-2000, 04:52 PM
Kurgan,

Actually I completely understand the concept of the trinity. I was raised Catholic, remember? I especially understand the Jesus & God being the same concept, although the Holy Spirit just seems to be something that was tossed into the mix. If we were on Sesame Street we could play the One of these things are not like the others... game. But I understand idea.


...you cannot deny the concept of the Trinity. There is just too much evidence to support it...

Not sure what you mean by this. I don't know of any evidence to support the trinity.

Conor,


..I think you have to admit that if He wasn't correct He was very likely unstable on a number of levels though, right?


Perhaps he was unstable, but no more than many of the people in our government. In any event, I think he'd be an interesting guy to sit down and talk with.


...if we accept His teachings, but not His main point in life, aren't we picking and choosing what we want to hear and throwing away what we don't? ... If we do such a thing, there is no justification for any laws or rules, and there is no authority which says we ought or ought not to do something, except in our own minds.


Yes, but I wouldn't use the term picking and choosing. I don't think one can control which philosophies one will tend to gravitate towards, any more than one can control what flavor of pizza one likes best.

I disagree about there being no justification for laws. Laws need not be based on religion. Certainly the bible says nothing about insider trading or espionage. I think Humans combined with Democracy can come up with valid justification for laws based off of a majority concensus of the population.

------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

We are all but actors, and the world is our stage...

Conor
02-24-2000, 05:27 PM
But that just brings us back to the question of where the majority gets such authority. I certainly don't believe in majority rules when it comes to morality, I couldn't care less what the majority says.

Almost every law ever created (there might be a couple that aren't) is a statement of morality. A law against murder declares emphatically that someone ought not to do such a thing. Religion claims God as the authority behind the laws. No human has the authority to tell another human what to do, unless you believe some humans are innately superior to others. Why should anybody follow rules they disagree with if such laws come from humans in the first place?

You seem to be saying people should follow the majority in such situations. Bluntly put, why? What gives a majority of human beings more authority than a minority?

If God wants us to follow certain rules, we should follow them. If God does not exist, all legislation of morality is worthless, and nobody has any duty to follow it.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Vagabond
02-24-2000, 06:01 PM
You seem to be saying people should follow the majority in such situations. Bluntly put, why? What gives a majority of human beings more authority than a minority?


Because in order to have a civilized society, there must be laws which governs acceptable and nonacceptable behaviors by its citizens. These laws have more justification when they come from a government of the people rather than a monarch or dictator. The majority rules because that is the way to create the most harmony within a Democracy and is in fact at the heart of the Democratic system. This is self-explanitory.


If God wants us to follow certain rules, we should follow them. If God does not exist, all legislation of morality is worthless, and nobody has any duty to follow it.


According to this argument, then anyone who was an athiest, an agnostic, or even a person of a different religion than that which the laws of the land are based on, would be exempt from following those laws since they didn't accept that particular god's moral authority. The result would be anarchy and chaos. There needs to be one set of laws that apply to all people equally, regardless of religion, race, sex, etc.


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

All the world's a stage,
and all the men and women merely players...

theahnfahn
02-24-2000, 06:52 PM
I am not even understanding what difference all this makes. NOTHING is singular and plural at the same time. The arguments put forth in this discussion are leading me down a path that I don't even perceive has an end.

I am me. I am a singular entity. Nothing can be as I am, which would entail existing in the same place in space and time. If it did it would be me, as it is that which defines me. It is blatantly obvious that my classification of myself is short-lived, so extremely so that my existence is impossible to pinpoint. I undergo an infinite number of changes for any given finite amount of time. Thus nothing of substance is ever singular for anything more than an infinitely small amount of time. This classification of singularity with respect to time is also witnessed in my material makeup. Am I not billions upon billions of smaller and smaller particles that have gathered to form a large heap?

To the best of any ability ever imaginable there will never be a means to classify a substantial unity. Nothing exists of substance that is singular. The only rightful form of classification that we can employ is the classification of CONCEPTS. The number 7 is singular throughout space and time because it exists in neither. The CONCEPT of a given person - the classification of a lump of matter into a singular object, is merely a relation that was fabricated by the human intellect. When I say I exist the extent of this truth is that my CONCEPT of what "I" really means is perceived by me.

God is not both plural and singular at the same time. To be singular God would merely be a conceptual classification existing outside of space and time. To be plural God would have to have substantial existence, perhaps consisting of smaller parts making up a whole, or maybe undergoing changes in time. To be both would God not still be plural, as the definition of plurality is more than one and "both" implies this?

Classifying God, it is obvious that any classification will yield singularity. Difining God, it is obvious that God as a witness of humanity undergoing changes in space and time is too undergoing changes, and is thus more than a unity. In short, I have failed to see how making a choice between classifying God and defining God has any relevance to the NATURE of God.

------------------
And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn

Conor
02-24-2000, 07:31 PM
Vagabond, laws do make statements about what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, I know, but in your view these ideas of acceptable and non-acceptable come from people. I don't see any reason why I should listen or care about anything anybody says I should do, even if it is the majority and the governemnt. What authority do they have over me, and who gives it to them?

Sure a majority consensus will be more harmonious, except for the people who still disagree and add cacaphony to your society. You have not given them any reason to follow rules they don't agree with. Even a country ruled by a dictator can achieve harmony through fear, although a democracy is better at it. I am saying laws have to come from somewhere beyond us, they must come from an authority that we cannot change. If laws come from people and people alone, the whim of an evil majority is just as valid as the will of a kind majority.

I think you misunderstood my last statement. I am saying that if God and His rules exist, we are all bound to obey them, or face the immutable and very real consequences. If God has made rules, then these rules apply to all of us, atheist or not, whether we like it or not. It doesn't matter whether we believe they exist or not.

If God doesn't actually exist, then there is no central authority for truth or morality. Any rules I make up are as valid as anything you make up, and any person's rules are just as valid as the majority's decision, because there is nothing to say which view is right or not, or even to say a bunch of people agreeing makes it right. Again if God didn't exist, believing in Him would be irrelevant, as would any rules said to have come from Him.

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Conor
02-24-2000, 07:52 PM
theahnfahn, I think you are making several mistakes when talking about God. You seem to be saying that God would have the same laws of space and time (physics) acting on Him as we do. This doesn't make any sense, as God would have had to create those laws when He created reality. Reality is physical and needs a beginning, so whatever created it would certainly not be bound by the rules set to govern reality.

God is outside of time, and by definition that means He is unchanging. He is the same as He was before the universe, and will be the same forever. That, of course, is Christian belief, but I see nothing to say God would be affected by time in any way.

God makes the rules, all that have to do with reality, including any notions of singularity and pluralty. He most certainly would not have to abide by the rules we observe governing us. I think you are looking at God as a creature, when God is outside of all boundaries and definitions.

I didn't really like the one idea put forward by Ross, in that he seems to be limiting God to some idea of dimensions. He may not have meant it that way, but when you look at God as a being taking up several dimensions at once, you are in effect putting finite limits on Him. You could say God uses these dimensions when dealing with us, but I think He must be above even these attempts to classify Him, He cannot in fact be contained by our thought.

The Trinity would be God's way of explaining Himself to us, in a way we can see clearly but still never grasp, but it is the best we have. Perhaps we will be able to experience the actuality of God's nature when we reach Heaven.

Am I making any sense? I don't do this kind of heavy reality debating much, but I at least understand what I am saying. http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/smile.gif

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

[This message has been edited by Conor (edited February 24, 2000).]

Vagabond
02-24-2000, 08:26 PM
Well Conor, we just have a fundamental disagreement. I believe that people have the right to choose how they live, and you believe that God dictates how people should live.

However, since the existence of God is unprovable, us Humans must devise a way to live together in a civilized manner, hence rule by law.

If the minority doesn't like the majority rules, then they can either leave the jurisdiction and create their own society elsewhere, or else they can attempt to peacefully persuade others to share their point of view. However, as they saying goes, no matter how hard you try, you're never going to please all the people all the time. You must be pragmatic.


------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players...

Conor
02-24-2000, 09:06 PM
Since you don't like long posts you almost certainly haven't read the old God thread in its entirety. Believe me, God's existence is very, very provable. Actually, don't believe me, go read it for yourself. Finding out what He wants is a little more difficult.


------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Conor
02-24-2000, 09:10 PM
Oh, and I believe people have a right to choose how they live too. They just have to be willing to live with the consequences. It is God's universe, and as long as we are in it we should play by His rules. http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/smile.gif

------------------
"There cannot be any 'story' without a fall - all stories are ultimately about the fall - at least not for human minds as we know them and have them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

wizzywig
02-25-2000, 12:15 AM
TheAhnFahn--

Nature shows us that things are not always either/or. Sometimes they are both/and.

If God cannot be one God in three persons, then a photon cannot be both a wave and a particle.

--wiz

Vagabond
02-25-2000, 01:39 AM
Conor,


Believe me, God's existence is very, very provable.


Again, we seem to have a fundamental disagreement. Things that in your eyes are proof of God's existence, to me are not proof. We have different sets of criteria.

For myself the existence of God is unprovable, short of an actual first hand conversation and demonstration of power by the big man himself. For you, it seems that circumstantial evidence in the form of the order and beauty of the universe is enough. We'll just have to disagree about the provability of God since it seems we can't even agree on what constitutes proof.

------------------
VagabondNomad on the Zone...

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players...

Kurgan
02-25-2000, 03:42 AM
Actually, he can't read the old thread, as it no longer exists..

Here I have posted the entire thread, in Word97 file format, for all to view.. compiled faithfully by wizzywig, who was involved in the original "Does God Exist?" discussion (begun by rougetwo in the Racer forum) along with myself and many others including our esteemed skeptic, The AhnFahn.

http://www.public.iastate.edu/~kurgan/GodThread.doc

Download, and read! (Please use only for non-profit, educational purposes)

It's big (a big file, and long) but well worth the read, as it contains many interesting points of view and arguments on both sides (it also discusses other theological topics).

Kurgan

theahnfahn
02-25-2000, 04:22 AM
Wiz and Conor:
I still feel as though my argument has a stronger basis, if you could even call it an argument. Wiz says "Nature shows us that things are not always either/or. Sometimes they are both/and." I say they are neither/nor, and I feel my argument is sound. This universe has 4 dimensions in which substance of defined properties resides. We DEFINE any such object in this universe by x,y,z, and t coordinates - along with the nature of the substance. All of these values define a UNITY. My argument is that this singular object exists for a specific point in time, but it is then no longer the same object in any other point in time because the nature of its existence has been altered.

What I don't understand is what Wiz says: "If God cannot be one God in three persons, then a photon cannot be both a wave and a particle." Who says a photon is a wave and who says it is a photon? A photon is a photon, whose properties encompass properties perceived of particles and waves. It is not a particle and it is not a wave. The CONCEPT of a photon is a unity, and the photon exists in and of itself as nothing more than a substance with defined properties.

This type of thinking is far from foreign. I see a person running and say "Look at that runner." The next day I see the exact same person walking and I say "Look at that walker." Clearly the person the first time was a runner and the next time a walker, but he is never both. The classifications we gave the person were labeled on the individual who was defined at a certain point in time. That person does not exist now and will never exist again.

As for God. I don't think it matters that God exists above and beyond the bounds of space and time. We can DEFINE God as 1,3, or any number of different things. But the CONCEPT of God is a singular one which is not duplicated. Again, it fails my eager mind to even see what the Christian argument is trying to convey. I am a son, brother, and student, but these three persons are merely aspects of me that in no way obstruct logical reason. This is not a debate over whether one thing can be a unity and a trinity at the same time. This will always be impossible.

------------------
And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn

wizzywig
02-25-2000, 05:55 AM
Vagabond:

For myself the existence of God is unprovable, short of an actual first hand conversation and demonstration of power by the big man himself. For you, it seems that circumstantial evidence in the form of the order and beauty of the universe is enough. We'll just have to disagree about the provability of God since it seems we can't even agree on what constitutes proof.

The existence of God is a scientific fact. Rejection of this fact can only be made on the basis of bias and a will to disbelieve. The evidence is overwhelming. Rather than take space to cite the evidence here, I will refer you to an article from The London Telegraph, which is a short course in the Anthropic Principle:
http://userzweb.lightspeed.net/jdenney/anthrpic.htm

This is not merely about "seeing order and beauty in the universe." This is about ironclad evidence for intelligent design. The universe is an artifact of an intelligent designer, no question.

--wiz

wizzywig
02-25-2000, 06:10 AM
TheAhnFahn--

How do you feel about paradox in general? Do you find paradoxes to be logically unacceptable? Are you of the opinion that all paradoxes must have a logical resolution? Do you see paradox as a contradiction which indicates error?

The wave-particle duality of quantum objects such as electrons and photons is indeed a paradox. When you perform one kind of experiment on the particle, it behaves as a wave and in such a way that particlehood is excluded. Another kind of experiment, and it behaves as a particle and wavehood is excluded. It is a paradox, but it is true.

The number pi is a paradox. It is both finite and infinite. With a value of approximately 3.14159..., it is a mathematical constant that expresses the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. But it cannot be calculated precisely without infinite regression.

I get the impression that some forms of paradox offend you as being logically untidy. Personally, I tend to see true paradox (not mere contradiction) as an insight into a deeper and more logical truth.

I see the paradox of the Trinity or Tri-Unity of God as one of the most profound and sublime truths of the universe. Through Jesus Christ--fully God who became fully man--God Himself entered into the human condition. No one can say that God is remote or unable to understand our lives, our struggles, our pain--because God Himself has entered into it all and lived it all alongside us, through Jesus.

The Trinity is a mystery and a paradox and a deep truth.

"We dance around in a ring and suppose,
But the Secret sits in the middle and knows."
--Robert Frost

--WYSIWYG

wizzywig
02-25-2000, 06:28 AM
TheAhnFahn--

On Wave-Particle Duality--

Here are some web resources on the subject:
http://theory.uwinnipeg.ca/physics/quant/node5.html http://www.qmw.ac.uk/~zgap118/ http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/glossary/wave_particle.html http://www.cafebabe.demon.co.uk/QM/Quantum_Reality.htm

http://www.cafebabe.demon.co.uk/QM/SSH.gif

--wiz

Darth Kurgan
02-25-2000, 10:44 AM
I guess one way to state it TAF, would be to say that God is outside of time, and thus is unchanging (if God were part of time, God would probably be changing, and maybe not even permenant). The theory is that in this way, God can see all of time at once, thus is able to both predict the future, and see events as they transpire, and also to "remember" the past. Because of this, God is immortal, since time has no effect.

The Trinity is how we perceive God. If God was changing, then yes, the same criteria as to the runner/walker would apply, it would stand to reason.

This Christian God is also an active God. At points in time (as per God's plan) God will intervene in history (in the form of miracles, the prophets, signs, angelic messengers, Jesus, the Resurrection, etc).

Since Jesus is part of time (as a human being) but also God, (outside of time), then here we have the bridge between the inside and out.

Why must we assume that God is outside of time? We earlier established, that for God to be all powerful (as believers claim), God must be outside of time. Otherwise, God had a beginning, and God will probably have an end. That is, unless God is ever-changing. However that poses some difficult questions if we decide that God is changing. For example, are we worshiping the same God as our ancestors? Are God's laws eternal, or do they change? Will God one day not exist? Will morality be reversed over time? etc.

If God is unchanging, then any percieved "changes" are merely the fullness of God's "plan" taking shape. This would also allow for a God that is active in daily life. Thus you don't have the Deist conception of a God who simply throws everything out there.

If the Deist God is allknowning, unchanging, and inactive in daily life, then:

isn't prayer useless?
are we judged?
do we even have free will?

It brings up alot of questions. (Deists please chime in and explain!)

The Son is God's "mediator" in time, an intervention.

The Father is God's initial contact with matter, space and time (which if God created them, God is not subject to their limitations).

The Holy Spirit/Ghost is that aspect of God that we detect in our lives. This is the spirit that wills us to do good and speak the truth. Mankind is of a sinful nature and thus the Spirit of God is sent to help him overcome his temptation to sin, and to lead him back to the right path.

There is only one God. Otherwise, if there are many Gods, they cannot be all powerful. Each would be limited by the power of the other. And how many would there be? Why not an infinite number? Then would they be "gods"? They might as well be midichlorians, or little white cars (they're pretty common where I live, the cars).

If there is only one God, then we can't say, look, Jesus was one God, then you have the other creator God, then you have the other "spirit God" that's in our hearts, etc.

It's all the same God, but they are specific functions that are eternal.

If a person were always a runner, no matter what, outside and inside of time, then they would be in that respect like God.

Then let's say that runner was also a walker (a paradox, but then again so is being a Son and a Father to yourself). Now let's say that Walker/Runner was also a sleeper. There, you have a Trinity. Three beings, all equal, all one, all pre-existing and unchanging. If we don't recognize the Trinity, we are merely ignoring an understanding of the nature of God.

The question is, would the Trinity ever change? That is, would a new being of God be revealed in the future? If God is unchanging, then no, because that aspect would have always existed prior to our knowing it, and would have always existed. God would simply have to reveal it to us, and I would wonder why it hadn't been revealed already. However that is not to say it could not happen, but it is unlikely given the model we've already established.

That's one way of explaining it (pretty much the way I see it), and one I think many Christians would accept.

Comments? ; ) (who am I kidding anyway? of course there will be)

Kurgan

theahnfahn
02-25-2000, 03:19 PM
I find that the concept of human free will, the concept that God is unchanging, and the concept that God is an active participant outside of time is a complete contradiction in and of itself. How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome? Again, I see no reason to accept in full the premises put forth when they don't even form deductively valid conclusions. Am I not understanding the Christian faith, or is this yet another contradiction that should just be accepted as something we will never understand? More later today...

------------------
And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn

wizzywig
02-25-2000, 11:04 PM
TheAhnFahn:

A question. You write:

How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome?

I ask you: Is human free will a good thing or a bad thing?

(Humor me. I'm headed somewhere with this.)

--wiz

theahnfahn
02-26-2000, 04:55 AM
Relative to what? "Good" and "Bad" have whatever definitions we may choose to give them. If you are asking for my opinion then I will give it to you, but I hardly see how it is relevant.

I can't grasp why or how I came to this conclusion, but I feel as if free will plays a very integral role in awareness, thought, and emotion - all neatly classified under what we call "the human experience". I simply can't imagine something that does not have free will to be able to comprehend personal identity, to not only learn from the environment but contemplate concepts for mere personal amusement - to even have amusement. Through an anthropocentric worldview free will would be considered the "greatest gift".

If free will does not exist then everything is predestined in one form or another. Imagine for a moment that although it is not physically possible to witness the totality of the universe and make a prediction on a given outcome, it is still conceptually feasible if free will is removed from the equation. In essence, without free will the universe is nothing more than a function. Knowing the nature of the universe and knowing the input would allow a prediction of the output.

Is free will good or bad? In my opinion that question is analogous to "Is the human experience good or bad?" This isn't my place to give an answer to this question. My human experience is meaningful and enjoyed, and I share my happiness with others in hopes that they too will fulfill a purposeful existence. But this is me and may only be me.

Everyone knows by now that I keep my mind open to any and all insights into the human experience. Just this morning I heard Bohemian Rhapsody on the radio, and I'm sure everyone remembers this part:
I don't want to die,
I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all.
This reminded me of a line from Spartacus, where Antoninus asked Spartacus if he was afraid to die and Spartacus replied "Not as much as I was to be born." That is truly a depressing thing to think about, that someone would be afraid to enter this world, would suffer throughout their lifetime, and would die for a cause they would never enjoy.

Spartacus is my example in which I portray the fuzziness of your question Wiz. Spartacus feared his gift to make moral choices, lived in agony, and died in agony. Clearly, in this sense free will is a rather horrifying application that spawned nothing but anguish. But when looking at the larger picture and establishing the fact that Spartacus achieved a feat that was purposeful not to himself but to humanity, free will is a glorious thing. I suppose the heart of the matter is that free will is used to serve a greater purpose than self-gratification. A purposeful life is one of total giving, even if that entails the giving will end in death. A "reward" of sorts should not be taken into account (i.e. heaven), for loving your fellow man is something that should be done without the expectation of a returned favor.

Sorry to stray. I don't think I quite answered your question, but I really couldn't without further specification. Perhaps I humored you enough and you can just share your next post with me so I will know under what context "good" and "bad" are defined.

------------------
And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn

wizzywig
02-26-2000, 09:13 PM
theahnfahn--

Thanks! Here's where I was headed with my question.

Your original statement was:

I find that the concept of human free will, the concept that God is unchanging, and the concept that God is an active participant outside of time is a complete contradiction in and of itself. How can we allow for free will if God knew His creation and knew His outcome?

Correct me if I misinterpret you, but as I understand it, you are saying that a perfect God who is outside of time, who can see the entire time-dimension of the universe from beginning to end, who knows the final outcome of history, would never create a world with free will in it, knowing that evil would come from human free-will choices. Is that what you are suggesting?

A lot of people view the world that way and say that God, then, must be the author of evil, since God knew in advance that evil would come from the free will he gave to human beings.

There have been times in my life when I did things I later regretted, when I wished that I didn't have free will. I would have much rather been a robot, programmed to only do what is right.

And I have also wished that individuals like Hitler or the Columbine killers could have been programmed robots (programmed to do good, of course) instead of monsters with free will, inflicting death, pain, and destruction on our world.

But I have since come to see free will as a good thing, regardless of how it is used. There are many things like that in the universe, things that are a good thing, but which produce harm and evil when misused. Fire is a good thing when handled carefully, but when handled negligently or with evil intent (say, by an arsonist) it produces evil results. Food, cars, computers, sex, art--all of these are good things that can produce harm and evil when misused.

I see free will as a good thing. Genesis pictures a God who, upon completing creation, looked upon everything that was made (including, presumably, free will) and called it "good." Sometime after that point, human beings came on the scene and used human free will to do evil.

Free will is, in my mind, the firewall between God and the evil in the world. God did not create evil. Rather, he created human beings, miniature reflections of himself with the godlike power to make moral choices. In the process he created a good and perfect universe that was capable of bringing into existence things he had never made, including evil itself.

All that God created, including free will itself, was good; it would not have been good for God to create a universe without conscious choice-making life, nor would it have been good for God to create a universe populated by unconscious robots without free will, capable of nothing but executing programming. The only good thing would have been a universe populated by free beings, capable of 360 degrees of choice.

That is why I asked if you viewed free will as a good or bad thing.

From what you said, I don't think you and I see this question very differently, since you seem to think that free will can be a good or evil thing depending on how it is used.

I can't grasp why or how I came to this conclusion, but I feel as if free will plays a very integral role in awareness, thought, and emotion.

I absolutely agree. I believe free will is the very essence of human awareness, thought, and emotion. It's our ability to make free, nondetermined choices that makes us human, IMO.

BTW, I can see now that I'm going to have to go out and rent Sparticus...

--wiz

theahnfahn
02-27-2000, 05:39 AM
Correct me if I misinterpret you, but as I understand it, you are saying that a perfect God who is outside of time, who can see the entire time-dimension of the universe from beginning to end, who knows the final outcome of history, would never create a world with free will in it, knowing that evil would come from human free-will choices. Is that what you are suggesting?

No, not at all. What I am pondering is that will free will cease to exist if the outcome of each and every event is known in advance by God? This is really a hard thing to answer because "in advance" does not even seem to apply to an entity outside of time itself. I always thought free will was something unique to the user - an application whose outcome is SOLELY produced and thus SOLELY known by the user alone. My question, in a roundabout manner, was asking "How can free will exist when an omnipotent God knows all?"

You know from some of the emails I have sent you how I feel about free will and the like. I have never felt that free will is an evil gift because it may produce evil. Free will may be neither good nor evil and may simply be the means to have these things.

And do I read you wrong, or are you saying you have never seen Spartacus? I am most definitely sure you have. The line I quoted is not precise. I spent about 20 minutes yesterday trying to find the script to that movie so I could have an exact quote. I've been leaning towards a purchase of the widescreen DVD version. That movie will always bring a tear of joy to your eye :'O)

(P.S.
Give your daughter a "deprived night" and rent Braveheart and Radio Flyer as well http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/smile.gif Although the latter is meant for her, I'm sure you and the fam would enjoy them both immensely http://www.jediknight.net/mboard/smile.gif Go for one of those two-for-one deals at Blockbuster!)

------------------
And there he is. The reigning champion of the Boonta Classic, and the crowd favorite-TheAhnFahn

wizzywig
02-27-2000, 08:28 AM
TheAhnFahn--

Aha! I misunderstood you. Thanks for the clarification.

What I am pondering is that will free will cease to exist if the outcome of each and every event is known in advance by God? This is really a hard thing to answer because "in advance" does not even seem to apply to an entity outside of time itself.

I see free will as being nothing more or less than the ability to make moral choices. God does not tell us, "My will is that you only do good; therefore you will do good." While it's true that His will is that we only do good, we have been given the ability to do what is bad, what is in violation of the will of almighty God. That is an awesome power that God has placed in our possession.

The fact that God knows what we have done, what we are doing, and what we will do does not (in my mind) cancel out free will. To me it is as if God stands outside of time and outside of our lives, in a sense, watching our lives as if we were living out a movie on a DVD disc. He can cue up any frame, past, present, or future (tense is from our POV, of course; from God's POV, it's all the same). He is timeless; we exist within time. He knows the beginning, middle, and end; we are playing it out, not knowing the conclusion of the drama.

Now, the fact that our lives are known by God does not mean that our lives are determined by God. We still get to choose. We have free will. God does not interfere with our choices. He simply watches the movie of our lives and sees the choices we have made.

This is an imperfect analogy, but it maybe gives a glimpse of how God can know our past, present, and future, while still preserving for us complete and unrestricted free will.

On movies: That's right. I've never seen SPARTACUS. I should. I've enjoyed other Kubrick films like 2001 and DR. STRANGELOVE. (Though I'm giving his last film, the Tom Cruise one, a pass--everything I've heard says it's a real turkey.)

We'll have to look into BRAVEHEART and RADIO FLYER--two others we've never seen. Thanks for the tip!

--wiz

Darth Kurgan
02-27-2000, 08:26 PM
Actually, I'm not sure if I believe in free will (or the opposite, fate).

I guess I WANT to believe in free will. I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my destiny (to quote "the Matrix").

However, it's just my belief, for all I know, we're all just following pre-set patterns, or perhaps our ends are inescapable.

Whether or not the existence of free will proves or disproves a God, I can't say. What do you think?

Perhaps God knows the future, but it is constantly changing, because of the choices we make? So then God would have to simply recalculate the ends every time anything happens (that's alot of processing power). Thus you could have your cake and eat it to.. maybe.

Kurgan

Darth Kurgan
02-27-2000, 08:34 PM
As for why I don't just come out and say it, it's because I can't. Like I said, to come out and say full on, "I believe in God", or "I don't believe in God" takes a leap of faith since no concrete evidence exists to support either statement.

Just to answer an older comment of your's Vag, to say you believe would not take a leap of faith. The "best evidence" etc that you have tells you.. X.

If you believe the question is unanswerable, then you could say that.

I'm not asking you to definitively say "There is a God" or "There is no God."

Which one makes more sense to you? Or are you simply saying that no matter what, you don't WANT to pose a theory, or you just don't know. If that's the case, say "I don't know" (don't worry, no green slime will fall on your head for saying it). That way, you can ride the fence until an answer comes (or wait forever).

I have some catching up to do!

Vagabond (again): I didn't realize you understood the concept of the Trinity and was just playing Devil's Advocate. You acted like you didn't.

Look, the evidence is:

The Bible. IF the Bible is the word of God, then you can bet it's authoritative, right? God's telling you what's what. The Bible says that Jesus is the Son of God, and one and the same substance with God. The Holy Spirit, is "another comforter" that Jesus sent, that is "My Spirit." I don't think it was just "thrown in there." Three might seem like a magic number, but I think it makes enough sense in this case.

The Apostolic tradition. If the Apostles were right about Jesus, (that is they understood his message correctly), then they would have passed this on and taught it to others, etc. There is evidence that the Early Christians (those under the teaching authority of the Aposltes) believed in the Trinity. That is, first, second, and third century Christians (many prominent ones too) mention the Trinity, and the members, etc. They seem to be in agreement (ignoring of course fringe groups of heretics that come along every so often).

If Jesus was wrong, then the Bible is wrong, and so were the Apostles, and hence the Orthodox and Catholic Churches (and thus the Protestant Churches in so much as they agree with the Catholic and Orthdox) and thus Christianity is wrong. Makes sense?

All we know about Jesus comes from those two sources (Bible and Apostolic Tradition).

Historically, we know alot of the people who were mentioned as living alongside Jesus really existed, such as Caiphas, Pontius Pilate, Herod, etc.

Well, there are other sources, but they say next to nothing (Josephus being one). The Dead Sea Scrolls appear to be talking about Jesus, of course they call him the "Wicked Priest" (there is evidence they were enemies of Jesus.. John the Baptist was their guy, not Jesus, in their minds, the world was coming to an end, and Jesus had failed in his mission).

Do you doubt the existence of Jesus? It sounds like you acknowledge that he existed.

Kurgan

[This message has been edited by Darth Kurgan (edited February 27, 2000).]

Darth Kurgan
02-27-2000, 08:45 PM
Sorry for the long string of posts, I'm just trying to break up my posts so Vag will read them. ; )

Now, it seems we're fluctuating between two topics. Was Jesus really God? and Does God exist?

I ask you, if Jesus was not God, why should we listen to him, anymore than any other ancient "philosopher?" If God does not exist, then what does that say about Jesus?

Kurgan

wizzywig
02-28-2000, 05:11 AM
Darth Kurgan and TheAhnFahn--

Two quotes on Free Will:

"We must believe in free will. We have no choice."
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER :-)

And, on a more sober note:

"I am impressed by the ability of individuals who exhibit compulsive behavior, such as an addiction to alcohol or drugs, to alter the course of their self-destructive behavior either through the strength of their free will or the appeal to a transcendent power to help support that will. No animal can do that. The dignity of our humanity rests on the evidence that our will is free."
HEINZ R. PAGELS
The Dreams of Reason
(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988)
pp. 229-230.

--da wiz

Darth Kurgan
03-02-2000, 03:43 PM
Nice quotes, I like that first one. ; )

Btw, I found a site that debunks most of what that Muslim guy (his name is Ahmed Deedat) said about how the Bible and Christianity were all corrupted and false, etc (while Islam and the Qu'ran were not). The site is pretty good, although they don't seem to proofread their pages (alot of typos), and they get some facts wrong (about the canon of scripture). Still, they poke alot of holes in that guy's arguments (which isn't suprising).

Ahmed Deedat's page (the original one I mentioned in another post):
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/1053/contents.html

I was curious as to how traditional Christians would respond to his arguments against their teachings/beliefs, but then I found the other site.

Rebuttals of Deedat's writings:
http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Deedat/

Kurgan