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Old 04-24-2008, 10:19 AM   #383
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This will as a warning be a mamouth post; attempting to address several things including trying to answer all 10 questions of the youtube video to the best of my ability; I'm sacrificing reading "Against all Gods" by A.C. Grayling in the park in the beautiful sunshine, so be nice

Firstly my immature amusements asside;

Originally Posted by Ray Jones
There is no thing not bound by logic.

Case for the prosecution rests

Originally Posted by Achilles
The sources that Jae selected to defend her argument certainly did. It seems to me that since Jae quoted them, she intended for us to take their arguments as her own. Isn't that how that works?
That is something that ultimely only Jae can answer; however I would venture, that knowing her as I do, I would describe her as honourable and as having integrity (I would also say this of you Achilles); as such twisting of words if occured would be accidental.

Originally Posted by Achilles
Except that you can't. Not with any kind of intellectual honesty. How is it that you *know* the things about him (apparently we can distinguish gender with no physical evidence) that you claim to know without any evidence whatsoever? You can't.
How do I know things about Jesus?

We perhaps venture into Philosophical ground there though; how do we 'know' anything? I mean Descartes did a damn good job of causing us to doubt everthing, but not such a good job of putting things back togeather; same can be said of George Berkeley; and despite some claiming that 'kicking a stone' disproves Immaterialism, I have to disagree. I don't think science can disprove immaterialism, however I do not think such thinking is helpful for every day exsistance; I shall return slightly below to answer what I know....

Originally Posted by Achilles
Your language and the language of all theists is laden with "I believe" or "I think" or "God must", etc. You *know* absolutely nothing about him/her/they/it. You *pretend* to know quite a bit, but to *know* something objectively, you must have some sort of evidence.
All humans always use opinion though, some more informed some less informed than others; but in the grand scale of things as Socrates remarked; "True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing". Personally I couldn't speak about much if I was constrained to proof beyond doubt on any topics; due to the fact that however many books I have read, there are still more to read.

Originally Posted by Achilles
So really, none of us *know* the first thing about his attributes. Makes "discussing" them kind of a moot point.
In my opinion partly true, I never fully engaged with the debate over his attributes; I do not know if God is omnipotent or not; such a fact has little effect on my everday life; or my faith. I believe there to be a God, that he is very powerful and Jesus is his son.

Originally Posted by Achilles
I'll point out that there is some evidence for your existence (Tiggy has tangible proof that you are real). Your analogy does not apply.
Firstly I shall quote;

Originally Posted by Nancy Allen``
I've been dieing to say this, Scully from the X Files was asked by Doggett if she believes in aliens. This is her reply.

"You want me to go on record? I will go on record to say this; that I have seen things that I cannot explain. I have observed phenomena that I cannot deny. And that as a scientist and a serious person it is a badge of honor not to dismiss these things because someone thinks they're B.S."

Replace aliens with religion and that pretty much sums it up, even for a lot of people who arn't nessecarily religious.
I have seen things that I cannot explian; now I am not a usual type of believer; my locus of control is ridiculasly high on the internal side; meaning I was always (and in many respects still am); I control my own destiny type people. If I hear a noise late at night; I do not think it to be a ghost, and much like Richard Dawkins, when I see faces in curtains I go over and examine the curtain. If I hear voices late at night I do not assume them to be the dead speaking to me, but some other kind of phenomenon.

The above said I have seen things that defy explanation (such as leg healing earlier, and despite some protestations in this thread, I know what I saw and made no mistake); I myself have been 'healed' of appendicitus and of an emotional wound. I do not often represent these as 'proofs' for God as they are subject to my expierance, and depend on how much validity you wish to put into my testimony.

Originally Posted by Achilles
But ignoring that for just a moment, if god does exist on a level completely alien to us, then how is it that we can discuss his attributes in the first place. If they are recognizable enough to be familiar, then surely he cannot be all that advanced right? You can't have it both ways.
In answer to the question I dunno; if there is a God, in many respect he will beyond our comprehention (especially if said God is outside of time), if God is recognizable would depend on how intelligent and if we were at all like him. In the Christian conception you do have a relationship with God.

Originally Posted by Achilles
You may also believe that you have a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in your back yard. At some point it would become apparent that you are lying to yourself in order to maintain this belief. You may choose to argue for its existence with your friends, but without any evidence for an actual refrigerator-sized diamond in your back yard you're lying to them just as surely as you are lying to yourself. That's intellectual dishonesty.
I think that analogy somewhat unfair. (Sorry Jae for the anology I'm about to present, and I'm sure and hope it never happens); presume in 10 years time Jae's children are older, and one decides they are going to commit murder; but they need an alibi so they change all the clocks in the house, so Jae and her husband provide an alibi at the exact moment the murder took place when the police come round. Now while the alibi is untrue; there is no dishonesty on the part of the parents; they are reporting the facts as they have percieived them.

Intellectual dishonesty as far as I would understand it would be a deliberate attempt to mislead someone, for my part I am not on any concious level attempting to do so, and I don't think Jae is either.

Originally Posted by Achilles
Incorrect about what? The only position that I hold is that there is no evidence for god, therefore it is completely unreasonable to believe that "he" exists. If any evidence ever comes to light, then my position will change from neutral to positive, but in the mean time, there is nothing for me to be incorrect about.

Now, if you could present a rational argument for how I have purposely ignored or failed to consider actual evidence, then you would indeed have a very strong case that I was behaving in an intellectually dishonest manner.
I wasn't accusing you of being intellectually dishonest; lets phrase differently on a scale of 1 to 7; one being absolute belief in God and seven being absolute atheism, where would you put yourself?

Originally Posted by Achilles
My friend, Augustine is making this up. He is using his considerable skill to reconcile reality with fantasy and the product is apologetics. He's guessing. He doesn't know. And some long-dead author's best guess at the nature of his imaginary friend is not persuasive to me and it shouldn't be persuasive to you.
I ventured forth a specific quote (of a rather messed up man), which at least if God is true, would seem a logical step to me.

Originally Posted by Achilles
PS: I didn't say it before, but I'll take a moment to say it now: welcome back. I hope your studies are going well.
Nice to be back my friend, always a pleasure conversing

Don't ask about the studies! I trust you are well?

Anyways, now onto the 10 youtube questions, which I havent as yet seen anyone tackle....

Firstly I would like to note, I don't think the Bible is infallible, and if science and the Bible contradict, I am liable to believe science over the Bible.

1. Why won't God heal Amputee's?
I'm not sure if this statement is quantifiable; I mean lets assume you randomly meet a man called Fred on the street; and Fred claims he used to have no legs but God healed him, what are you going to say? Assuming if God where to heal him properly, everything would be back as it had been; so unless you knew Fred for a long duration, there would be no way to check the varacity of his claims.

I did HEAR the following story. (I am unsure as to its truth, as I don't know those involved, however it makes an interesting anecdote).

Here is the brief version; there was a que in a supermarket, with a recent convert to Christianity; he asked if he could pray for a partially blind person behind him in the que. The said partially blind person had lost an eye; the story goes that there and then the blind person grew a new eye having been prayed for. As said I don't know if its true but had heard it from a friend; my jury is out.

2. Why are there so many starving people in the world?
Is God at fault or are we?

Anways; here is one of my facebook notes as an offering; I think that there is enough resources in the world, for everyone to be well fed and educated; unfortunatly the rich steal from the poor and there aren't enough Robin Hoods....

Originally Posted by Jonathan 7
Lets make 2008 a year to be remembered; if you do nothing else please take 10 minutes to read this, it is my firm belief that changing the World is actually very simple. This may seem long to some of you but I plead with you to read it. The lyrics from Queen’s song ‘Made in Heaven’ (song found here - );

“This could be heaven for everyone
This world could be fed, this world could be fun
This could be heaven for everyone
This world could be free, this world could be one”

YOU can make a very big difference to the world! Take a look at the world around us; over 5 billion people live in poverty, wars plague nearly every continent, tyranny, poverty and death plague mankind, have you ever asked yourself why this is so? Is it because there is a lack of resources? My dear friend Toby said to me that ever year the UK flushes away enough water down its toilets provide all Africans with clean drinking water. What United States citizens spend on dog food in a year would be enough to cancel all third world debt. Consider more lyrics from Queen’s song;

“Listen - what people do to other souls
They take their lives - destroy their goals
Their basic pride and dignity
Is stripped and torn and shown no pity
When this should be heaven for everyone”

Why is the world such a horrible place? May I suggest that it is a lack of love and not caring that is the real problem? Do you realise just how important your individual actions are in the fight against evil? Phillip Zimbardo said; "Our usual take on evil focuses on the violent, destructive actions of perpetrators, but the failure to act can also be a form of evil, when helping, dissent, disobedience, or whistle-blowing are required. One of the most critical, least acknowledged contributors to evil goes beyond the protagonists of harm to the silent chorus who look but do not see, who hear but do not listen. Their silent presence at the scene of evil doings makes the hazy line between good and evil even fuzzier. We ask next: Why don’t people help? Why don’t people act when their aid is needed? Is their passivity a personal defect of callousness, of indifference? Alternatively, are there identifiable social dynamics once again at play?" (From Chapter 13, page 314; Philip Zimbardo – The Lucifer Effect). Every time you buy a fair trade you are saying no to the big corporations who are guilty for the deaths of millions every single year. Please know how important that action is! Or when you buy those discounted clothes you are really advocating atrocious working conditions for Chinese workers. Do you really know the human cost of those cheap grapes in supermarket? Is ignorance, greed or not caring an excuse to let millions die each year? Consumer power is vital; if everyone decided to only buy fair trade goods it would force companies to actually give a crap about humanity as we would be hurting them where it mattered most; their profits! See I am of the opinion that the majority is just another way of saying mediocrity; the majority may have might but it is never ever right! Please prove me wrong! Do you want to be with the majority who don’t care or would you resolve to change the world? Did you know that 20,000 African children are dying every single day! (In actual fact it’s probably higher than this as that’s 2003-2004 UN and WHO figures) Consider this; how much of a fuss was made over Madeline McCann, how much money was spent on one single middle class white girl; who is quite frankly already dead and it’s the parent’s fault she went missing! Is it an African parent’s fault that they don’t have enough food? Is it an African Parents fault their home has been destroyed by war? How much newspaper column space is wasted over celebrities? Why is that? Is it because the West doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by the suffering of millions, so would rather waste its time on trivialities? Have you noticed a contradiction in what Hollywood and mass media tell us? Hollywood tells us one person can make a difference; Newspapers tell that you can’t make a difference, so why bother? Do you know what kind of hero’s people love most? Its failed hero’s… Why? Because they can justify themselves by saying ‘look what happened to him when he tried to make a difference’. What I would say is human history shows that 1 good man or woman is worth more than a thousand evil men and woman. Think William Wilberforce, Oscar Schindler, Mother Teresa, Paul Rusesabagina etc. Your actions and conduct are vital for millions! In 1966 the late Robert F. Kennedy gave an impassioned speech against the Apartheid regime, in part of it he said; “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance”.

So what can you do?

1. Love! Love is the most powerful force in the world! It overcomes everything! Socrates said; “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others”. If humanity could do that would the world not be a much better place? Even if everything I believe of Jesus is false; 2 teachings hold true; love and forgiveness! On love he said “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Forgiveness is vital as the alternative is hate and consider what that does; Bitterness, blame anger and hatred; for humans hatred only destroys the hater; the object of their hatred is either unaware or doesn’t care that they are hated. People should let go of negative emotions such as these; it will only lead down a dark path, as the hater will only become the hated after they do that which caused them to hate in the first place. It only forms a destructive circle.
2. When buying goods consider where they have come from and the human cost; where possible buy fair-trade goods. If the product you want is not fair-trade write to the supermarket complaining; consider not buying that product until it is fair-trade. Consider just shopping at the Co-op and Marks and Spencer who are much more ethical supermarkets when compared to the others. Edit: Fairtrade link added...
3. Write to politicians complaining about the lack of action in Africa; demand they call large corporations to count. Get Political! People have forgotten how much politics does really affect them and the world; don’t let the government get away with its current mediocrity!
4. Petition friend to do the same!

This may seem a hassle, and may cost more; but how much is the life of another human being worth too you? 17p for cheaper bananas? Save £10 on food so you can buy that CD you wanted? These actions may seem small; but as Robert Kennedy’s quote illustrates it does make a difference and if enough people do it will change the world!
Haile Selassie the former Emperor of Ethiopia said during an impassioned speech to the league of nations about Mussolini’s Italy’s invasion of his country; "Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph." Suffice to say as usual the politicians heard the speech, applauded, spoke about action and did nothing. Let’s not be like the mediocre politicians, who do nothing but self-serve, caring nothing for the troubles of others. Let’s shame and petition them into action! And let’s act ourselves!

An inspirational video for you all;

That concludes my thinking if your not a Christian; however if you consider yourself one please read on. There will of course be those are going to complain about some of the contents of this and ask what is the point of this? However I will ask this question where are the Christian social reformers seeking to improve the lot of others? Is the Church loving those who no-one else will? Enculturation is insidious and too many Christians are following normal culture! Christians are meant to be a light to the world; yet constantly I meet non-Christians who have been judged and hurt by Christians! What is going on? Now I love the camp (Taunton 3) I go to because it is always of profound encouragement too me as it is a picture of Christian love, even the youngest members could teach much too most Christians much older and supposedly wiser. See the fact is that the majority of Christians are of continual discouragement too me. Where is the love? Why all the petty fallouts over doctrine? There are too many Christians who talk a good game, but never put that talk into action! See; intelligent critics are always your best friends as they show you where you can improve; too often what atheists say of Christianity is brushed off as persecution. So easily are excuses made and the persecution card played; apparently Gay people are hostile to Christianity. Has it occurred to many of you that’s because of the way Christians have treated them? When society attacks and berates any minority the Church should be there to love and care for them; the Church has far too often lead the berating of gay people. We are meant to radiate with Gods love yet, so many Christians use their faith to hurt others! Is that what Jesus would have done? Do you know what the stereotype of a Christian is? A geeky, narrow-minded, judgemental and sad; thing is there is always an element of truth to the stereotypes! As Mother Teresa said; “If you judge people, you have no time to love them”. If you are a Christian I beg and plead with you to be love to the world; don’t judge… love! The western Church will be of no success until Christians unite, in reality what your ‘pure’ doctrine and failure to get on with other Christians outside that really indicates is a deep and profound lack of love. Your doctrine maybe ‘pure’ but in reality you have missed the point of Jesus and grace! Some very good friends of mine are involved with this initiative; I would encourage any Christians to support and encourage them in anyway you can! My mood and thoughts on this is perfectly encapsulated by this song;

Peace and love! GB Jx
3. Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?
Is the OT abit bloodthirsty? Yes, do I agree with the verses used in the video? No. Why are they there? If God wrote it ask him

Am I creating rationalisations below... You decide?

First question, is anyone innocent? Why is the world a crap place to live in? Even from an atheistic viewpoint, you can't tell me most people are Mother Teresa. As for as I understand the commandments they were only for Jews, the people who were killed in the land are recorded in the Bible as sacrificing their Children to their Gods; so don't think they were a nice bunch.

4. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
Please show me places in the NIV where there is anti-scientific nonsense.

Please do not use beliefs of fundementalists to portray all Christians as thinking the same...the fact that Genesis is written in the style of a Hebrew poem seems to be conveniantly forgotten by many people. It is at least in my interpretation not meant to be taken literally.

Flood? Meh, I dunno.

Jonah; if God is God why can't he suspend normal laws if he chooses to do so? Are you not stuck in the matrix, in that you think some things are possible and others arent? But surely if you built the system, you can override it?

Theoretically isn't it possible to survive inside a whale?

Adam, dust; Poem anyone?

5. Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery
I haven't checked the verses used, but the wider context is needed, and this reply is already getting very long!

Why do you think he is? As I understand it the kind of Slavery in the old testament required the master to treat the slaves well. In the new testamanet, Paul orders that slaves should be treated well. And indeed asks for Philemon to free Onesimus from slavery.

Slavery is and was barbaric, but a fact of life still today; are you really free or are you a slave to your work or country? The Bible as far as I understand it demands slaves to be treated well...

6. Why do bad things happen to Good people?
Ahh, the age old question... Suggested reading if anyone is up for it; the Book of Job; I can return to this question if anyone wishes, there is not an easy answer to it, but I do have Peter Vardy's excellent book 'The Thinkers Guide to Evil' which has a whole chapter devoted to this question. Interesting reading, I would reccomend the book

7. Why didn't Jesus miracles leave behind any evidence?
Please indicate to me from the said miracles any evidence that should have stayed behind?

8. How do you explain the fact Jesus has never appeared to you
I have a friend in the middle east (due to the sensitive nature cannot post here, some of you I will trust with the details (Achilles)... Basically I have a friend who was a Muslim, but became a Christian because of a dream he had about Jesus. Please do not think this was an easy decision on his part; he was thrown out of his family and persecuted by the state. But he would say he has seen Jesus.

9. Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and blood?
The above in literal form is a catholic thing. I eat bread and wine in rememberance of what Jesus did for me. Much the same as we may have a 1 minutes silence to commemorate what those who died in the WW2 had done for us.

10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
Same reason many Christians don't behave like Jesus; 'Love your neighbour' and 'Turn the other cheek' maybe said alot but when are they done?

Does the above fact say anything abotu God? Yes and no....

I Hope that was an interesting read!

"Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation." - Rabindranath Tagore

"Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it but it divides us from truth." - Kahlil Gibran

Last edited by jonathan7; 04-24-2008 at 10:47 AM.
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