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Old 04-15-2008, 09:50 PM   #49
Achilles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
God's not being concerned with all suffering is an answer for a good bit of it, but you're right that it isn't a direct answer, because there are a number of people that have faith and have certain kinds of illnesses that have never been observed and recorded as having been cured. And you're right. There is no proof that they don't hope in vain that I can drag out and show you.
Okay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Since faith is a personal matter, I'm not going to be drawn into defending ideas that I don't personally believe are true, regardless of who holds to the idea. I'll confess to being somewhat a Calvinist in my interpretation of Christianity, so the idea that God's already decided that He doesn't love some people, but universally calls all His children to love every person that God has created is an idea I've had to reconcile to long ago.
Okay. So for the purposes of this part of the conversation, you're not going to comment on the first three questions because they are based on the commonly held belief that god loves us and answers our prayers. Fair enough.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Who argues that? It's certainly not something I've given any credence to since I was a teen.
Well according to theologians and apologists, the bible does *shrugs*.

Probably good that we're acknowledging that you have your own flavor of christianity here. Difficult to answer questions about god's nature if you have your own take on what that is. The obvious question I'm dying to ask is why *your* version is "right" and these others are "wrong" is probably fodder for another thread through.

Suffice it to say that many christians do believe that god loves them and answers their prayers and these individuals will hopefully opt to try to answer these important questions at some point.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
All in all as it was originally given, I live my life as though it was the word of God.
Okay, and how do you know what it said when it was originally given?

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
It has been corrupted by men though, with translator errors, changing definitions of words as languages evolve, and cultural context that the original hearers of a message have that doesn't get passed on to later hearers.
Agreed, but if that's all we have to go on, how does one know what it said *before* it was changed? Seems to me the best we can do is guess. Wouldn't you agree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I've considered the possibilities both ways, and I hedge in the direction of it may not be perfect, but it's the best we have, and I choose to live my life depending on what has worked for me. I know that view would not make me popular in any major denomination.
That's cool. But if you've decided to use your own powers of observation and deduction to determine right, wrong, etc, why choose to have religion at all?

This is the thing that get's me: it's almost like getting sucked into a black hole. Once you pass the event horizon, there's no going back. So if one chooses to accept theism, it would seem to me that it would be of paramount importance to figure out which flavor is right and then do every single thing that ideology told me to do. It's like knowing that daddy will whoop the bejesus outta ya for riding your bike in the house, but doing it anyway. If you're going to accept god, it seems to me the smart money is in doing it all the way.

As much grief as I give the fundamentalists, I have to tell you, they're the ones who's actions make the most sense to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well if you're trying to convince me that "I'm" wrong (which is the entire point of this thread from what I can see) you'll have to deal with this point of view at some point, because it's central to how I understand my faith.
Not trying to convince anyone of anything. If you answer the questions honestly, I don't have to.

The reality is that your take is one opinion. Fundamental catholocism is another. Mormonism a third, et cetera, et cetera. If you want pass your opinion off as fact, then yes, I imagine that we are both going to have to address that at some point. However, if you acknowledge that you interpretation has equal weight and is as equally valid as any of these others then I don't think there's any conflict.

Of course, you are still left to resolve the question as to why the bible has so much bad information in it, but that's not something that you and I necessarily need to discuss any more so than you care to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to how fundamentalists think, every religion has them, and I refuse to take the blame for the ones that claim to be affiliated with my religion. A lot of the stuff they spout I find embarassing and a discredit to what I hold sacred.
I understand the sentiment, but I guess I don't understand why. They're just behaving like the bible tells them to. Of course, the problem is that other messages can be cherry picked out of the bible too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
As to your second point, the New Testament contains bad information about how to live a life?
Sure. No doubt it also contains some great stuff too, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have it's share of whoppers as well.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's essentially what ground rules are.
Ok, so what is the old testament then? And how do you feel about the parts of the new testament that advocate the positions laid out in the old testament?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
I mean, you've got idiots that try to go out and legislate obscure points of bible poetry into the education system or legislate morality, but that has nothing to do with following the ground rules or not.
Well, just as you have arbitrarily determined that these verses are meaningless, they have arbitrarily determined that they are not. Let's be fair: if you get to pick and choose and call it "good" then so do they.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
That's just people getting worked up about making non Christians act like Christians (thus precluding the possibility that they'd ever actually want to be a Christian by being so militant over trivial stuff) so they don't have to deal with the hypocrisy in their own lives.
Well, technically they have orders from god to kill us, so forgive me if I don't considering school prayer as "militant" as you do.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
That has nothing to do with the "ground rules," other than by negative example.
Sir, it sounds as though you've opted to cherry pick your "ground rules". You're not the first and you won't be the last, but let's at least acknowledge that fact.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
It's still commonly practiced in much of the world.
In predominantly christian nations? If not, then your valid point does not apply to the discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
And you're right. It doesn't make it okay, but it's still present and modern ideas haven't really gotten rid of it. Just driven it "underground." Not saying that it shouldn't be stigmatized, but if it was so terrible when it was legal in much of the ancient world, what's made it less so now that it's legal and still goes on?
I think you might be very close to making my point here: if god never pulled the plug on the whole slavery thing, then who are we to suddenly decide that it's wrong? Clearly we did not get to that conclusion via a literal interpretation of the holy bible.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
As much as you attempt to use the socratic method to lay traps for people who haven't thought about their faith, of course you would say this. Believe it or not, I agree that self consistency of a world view is consistent.
I'm not entirely clear on what your point is here. Your contention seemed to be "shame on the atheists for posting such things". My argument is that no one is being forced to read or respond to these posts. If you choose to participate, please don't expect the kid gloves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally I don't need other than what my own experiences in life tell me.
That's fantastic. I promise that I really got it the last time you said it. However, that doesn't change the fact that *your expectations* have nothing to do with the question. Your experiences and your expectations do not have any bearing on whether or not the question is important to anyone other than you. If you would like to make a compelling argument for why it shouldn't matter to anyone, I'd be happy to hear it but repeating this point isn't moving the dialog forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Q: How do you know who your daddy is?
A: Your mom told you.
Actually no. There was this guy, that I kinda look like, that I grew up calling Dad. To the best of my recollection, my mother never offered a formal introduction.

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Originally Posted by Jvstice
Do you feel the need to run out and get this tested? Most people are happy enough to accept their family relationships are what their family tells them and not dig deeper demanding genetic tests. What would you find that would change what was or was not already true anyway? How would this make your life more complete?

I've considered the possibility that I'm right. I've also considered the possibilty that I'm wrong. I think Vicktor Frankl had it right.
Please help me understand the relevance of this train of thought. Thanks in advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
True. Reality exists. The presence or absence of a higher power doesn't depend on my belief or nonbelief in that higher power's existence.

Something I've already considered, and is central to everything you've tried to say. You believe I'll look at my beliefs at this point and conclude that it doesnt matter what I believe, and conclude you're right. Actually the opposite is true. I look at my life and beliefs, and conclude that life such as you advocate would be largely meaningless. Overall I see a downward quality of life (not in terms of comforts, but if you are familiar with Frankl, you'll know what I mean) if I started living like you were correct instead of what I believe now.
Without knowing precisely what you assume about "what I advocate", I really can't comment intelligently here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well I don't pray towards mecca, I do eat pig (though rarely), I don't believe that Mohammad spoke for God, and I haven't ever done Ramadan. They probably wouldn't be too thrilled with my attachment to the belief in the trinity. Otherwise, I live a life that most muslims would consider me to have lived decently, and their religion does make provision for modern Christians having been "misled" by the early apostles, so that God doesn't judge us harshly for that in their own belief system.
I think you're taking the same risk with Islam that you're taking with your own religion: you're cherry-picking parts of it and assuming that it represents the whole. The argument that you've gone out of your way to avoid acknowledging is this: what if your beliefs are wrong?

With all due respect, you've appeared to invest almost no critical thought into religion in general yet still somehow managed to arrive at the conclusion that it's central to your being. How does one do that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Personally, I found much of the video irrelevant to my actual point of view because it tries to punch a hole in people's beliefs in an omnibenevolent god (which I don't believe in. God does play favorites both in terms of physical benefits and salvation according to his own word, and the beneficiaries of one often are not the beneficiaries of the other, often sitting aside and watching as small children suffer, or tortured, and die.) and goes from assuming that the audience will be so shocked by the audacity of saying that people suffer and there are prayers that aren't answered that they'll happily accept the solution the maker of the video offers to the viewers.
As I pointed out earlier, the omnibenevolent god myth is not some fringe concept within religion, so it's not as though the author it trying to appeal to some radical sect of christianity. You've apparently decided at some point to adopt a worldview that crappy things happen and it's all part of god's plan. I can't help but think that has to foster a profound sense of apathy ("nothin' I can do about it - god's plan" *shrug*) which with seem to fly in the face of the the parts of the new testament you attempted to point me towards earlier. And furthermore, this is somehow better than "the life I advocate" (?).

The point remains that we're still left with mental gymnastics. I'm sorry to hear that the author's point passed you by, but hopefully you at least got an enjoyable discussion out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Well references in the Bible say that the early Christian church were accused of canibalism as the Bible was still being written. It does point to a lot of people contemporary to that time taking Jesus' words at face value and running with the literal interpretation, since there's nothing else I could think in any interpretation of Christianity that could be interpreted as condoning canabalism..

And it would have fit with their purposes. Attracting people that were going into it with the expectation that it would be hard. Secret societies under the penalty of death would want some method of making sure that only those that weren't going to spill their guts about something disasterous to the Romans were ever given enough information to potentially be dangerous.
I'm trying to imagine what kind of individual would be attracted to this early christian church you're proposing. The results aren't flattering.

FWIW, you may or may not enjoy the PBS documentary From Jesus to Christ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jvstice
Not in terms of durability obviously. Simply in the matter that a Christian marriage a gift from God and something more to be thankful for a show of trust from God in return for. Not that the marriage is likelier to perform better if people take it for granted than any other marriage, or that the people that get into them have it made or anything.
This still doesn't address the point, but I suspect that doing so is not a priority for you.

Take care and thanks for the interesting discussion, sir.
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