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Dirty Politics And The Doctrine Of The Trinity


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Conclusion: Theological debate is a rough & tumble world – not for the faint-hearted. Because extremely weighty matters are in the balance and passions run high. But to think that politics was the determining factor to establish Trinitarian doctrine – that does not match history. Politics became involved – but God overrules in the affairs of men to accomplish His purposes.

 

Ray, I've got a question or two, if you don't mind.

If politics wasn't the determining factor in establishing Trinitarian vs. Non-trinitarian doctrine, what was? Who do you think was right, Athanasius or Arius? They both believed in God, they were both Christians, so why all the drama, and the power plays, and controversy? Sounds an awful lot like politics to me. :)

 

Thanks for the great article Reverend A.!!!

Got me interested in the "Letters Concerning the Decrees of the Council of Nicaea"

Here's a little excerpt from the book "They Never Told Me This in Church" that I found interesting.

 

Speaking of His son in that wonderful Messianic Psalm, God says "Though art my son, today I have begotten thee."(Psalms 2:7)But church tradition says that Jesus is eternally begotten and there never was a time when Jesus did not exist. We may well ask, then,if no verse in the scripture calls Jesus the eternal son of God, where did this teaching come from?

And why are there no bible verses that speak of Jesus being begotten by the father in eternity?

It must be important, because without it there is no doctrine of the trinity! The Bible's silence on this subject is deafening.

This kind of "forked-tongue" explanation has it's roots way back in the church tradition of the early post-apostolic days. Athanasius wrote:

Nor again is it right to seek how God begets and what is the manner of His begetting. For a

man must be beside himself to venture on such points; since a thing ineffable and proper to

God's nature and known to Him alone and the Son, this he demands to be explained in words.

It is better in perplexity to be silent and believe, than to disbelieve on account of

perplexity.(1)

This dreadful attempt to cover up a direct contradiction of the Bible should alert us to how Scripture has been severely mishandled. Indeed it is not only Athanasius who confesses his inability to adequately expound this complex doctrine, but he acknowledges that the council fathers at Nicaea were also troubled over the fact that they could not answer Arius in purely Biblical categories.

 

(1)Athanasius, "Letters Concerning the Decrees of the Council of Nicaea", 5.18-21;NPNF Series 2,4.161-164

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Bible study = reading books and/or passages many times to observe the facts presented and then drawing out the meaning see what God is doing - and then determining how we can apply these truths and please God in our particular situation.
If I didn't know better, I'd say this was some kind of Freudian slip. As it happens, this is what this statement is actually saying:

 

Bible study = Reading books and or passages with the presupposition that what is being presented are facts, and that the god described therein actually exists, and had anything to do with it's contents. And then determining how we can apply those presumed facts and please God etc. etc.

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quote name='DevaLight' date='04 July 2009 - 04:55 PM' timestamp='1246744553' post='465389]
Bible study = reading books and/or passages many times to observe the facts presented and then drawing out the meaning see what God is doing - and then determining how we can apply these truths and please God in our particular situation.

 

Why is not just one reading sufficient? Why is it so difficult to determine "what God is doing..." ? He seems incapable of making his meaning clear. Christians simply cannot even agree among themselves. Who in fact is qualify to interpret the Bible?

 

For the same reason you would read any piece of literature several times - knowing that we may have missed something the first time, and making sure that we catch everything in its context and see the flow of what's happening. And for the same reason you would watch a movie a few times, - maybe The Matrix would be an example - we wonder whether we caught everything the first time. SO the problem is not with the Bible - its with our abilities of observation and comprehension.

 

Why is it necessary to "please God"?

 

For the same reason its necessary to please our spouse, or our parents, or our friends - we have a personal relationship with God that is encouraged by pleasing and damaged by dis-pleasing each other.

 

I seriously don't understand why a perfect and complete God would require worship. Makes no sense....

 

God does not require worship for His benefit, as though He needed anything - though He is glorified by our worship, which is our acknowledgement that He alone is worthy of our devotion, adoration, worship, etc. We derive great benefit when we worship God - because we are doing that which is right & consistent with reality. The Biblical God exists as the Sovereign LORD of the universe - as such He is worthy of our worship and our lives. To live in any other way would be immoral and a colossal waste of time.

 

Act 17:19 And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?

Act 17:20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean."

Act 17:21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.

Act 17:22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.

Act 17:23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

Act 17:24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,

Act 17:25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.

Act 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

Act 17:27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us,

Act 17:28 for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'

Act 17:29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

Act 17:30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,

Act 17:31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

Act 17:32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, "We will hear you again about this."

Act 17:33 So Paul went out from their midst.

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Ray, I've got a question or two, if you don't mind.

If politics wasn't the determining factor in establishing Trinitarian vs. Non-trinitarian doctrine, what was? Who do you think was right, Athanasius or Arius? They both believed in God, they were both Christians, so why all the drama, and the power plays, and controversy? Sounds an awful lot like politics to me. :)

 

Athansius (and Tertullian ) are correct. The determining factor was the assessment by the assembled bishops re: the Nature of God which was debated from the Scriptures and human reasoning. Because of the influence of Christianity in culture at that time, the emperors felt compelled to inject themsleves into this process. But after Nicea, the Cappadocian Fathers, Greory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nanzanius - further formulated this doctrine which was agreed upon through the writing of what we call The Apostle's Creed in 381AD in Constantinople.

 

This was a controversy mainly in the Eastern Church, as Tertullian in Italy had already expounded the Trinitarian doctrine and was fully accepted.

 

But the import is this - God deserves to be worshipped as He truly is, as He has revealed Himself, not a corrupted charicature of who He is. So the Church takes this responsibility very seriously, and there was a process to ensure all Christians understood the truth. False doctrine devised by false teachers (whom Jesus Christ and Paul had warned about) have often plagued the Church.

 

Mat 7:12 "So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Mat 7:13 "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.

Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Mat 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Mat 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mat 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

 

Act 20:27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

Act 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

Act 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

Act 20:30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

 

 

II ask that you read the three post I made above.

 

Indeed it is not only Athanasius who confesses his inability to adequately expound this complex doctrine, but he acknowledges that the council fathers at Nicaea were also troubled over the fact that they could not answer Arius in purely Biblical categories.

 

No human can, and I don't believe any human ever will fully understand God and be able to explain Him. God's Nature is so far beyond our nature - and so far beyond our abilities to fully discern. It'd be like asking an amoeba to explain human existence. And I believe much of the wonder of heaven will be our continual learning and being amazed as we learn and appreciate more and more of God as eternity progresses. So this tyoe of statement is often made by all theologians - we do the best we can from what God has revealed and aS we seek to know Him experientially moment-by-moment.

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For the same reason you would read any piece of literature several times - knowing that we may have missed something the first time, and making sure that we catch everything in its context and see the flow of what's happening. And for the same reason you would watch a movie a few times, - maybe The Matrix would be an example - we wonder whether we caught everything the first time. SO the problem is not with the Bible - its with our abilities of observation and comprehension.

 

But this isn't just "any piece of literature" is it? With what is at stake (according to Christians) it certainly is not. If I misunderstand the message of The Matrix what difference does it make to my eternal destiny? With so much riding on our belief or rejection of it, don't you think God, being almighty, could have done better?

 

 

For the same reason its necessary to please our spouse, or our parents, or our friends - we have a personal relationship with God that is encouraged by pleasing and damaged by dis-pleasing each other.

 

One reason why I reject this anthropomorphic idea of God - human relationships are difficult enough, why should God, who is responsible for all this anyway, require that we please him?

 

Personal relationship- what a bunch of crap. Every scrap of evidence about reality indicates that if he exists, God doesn't need or desire anything.

 

God does not require worship for His benefit, as though He needed anything - though He is glorified by our worship, which is our acknowledgement that He alone is worthy of our devotion, adoration, worship, etc. We derive great benefit when we worship God - because we are doing that which is right & consistent with reality. The Biblical God exists as the Sovereign LORD of the universe - as such He is worthy of our worship and our lives. To live in any other way would be immoral and a colossal waste of time.

 

Nonsense. If he didn't need it then why make it into a heaven/hell situation? Wouldn't you say that is pretty important to him to throw most of the population that ever lived into hell because they refuse to acknowledge his existence or didn't know about him?

 

You have absolutely no proof whatsoever that the last three sentences of your post are true or correspond to reality in any way.

 

You are simply wasting space when you extensively quote the Bible at us.

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Athansius (and Tertullian ) are correct. The determining factor was the assessment by the assembled bishops re: the Nature of God which was debated from the Scriptures and human reasoning. Because of the influence of Christianity in culture at that time, the emperors felt compelled to inject themsleves into this process. But after Nicea, the Cappadocian Fathers, Greory of Nyssa, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nanzanius - further formulated this doctrine which was agreed upon through the writing of what we call The Apostle's Creed in 381AD in Constantinople.

 

This was a controversy mainly in the Eastern Church, as Tertullian in Italy had already expounded the Trinitarian doctrine and was fully accepted.

How do you know who was correct? So you accept that truth simply because it was accepted by others? Are those people more intelligent than you? Do they have a better understanding of God than you? I know about the Apostle's Creed and the Council etc. etc. I'm asking you what you believe to be correct and why? I've yet to run across anything in the Bible that tells me that Jesus was God. I've seen plenty in there that says Jesus was the Son of God.

 

But the import is this - God deserves to be worshipped as He truly is, as He has revealed Himself, not a corrupted charicature of who He is. So the Church takes this responsibility very seriously, and there was a process to ensure all Christians understood the truth. False doctrine devised by false teachers (whom Jesus Christ and Paul had warned about) have often plagued the Church.

The church is a joke and they'll tell you what they want you to think, I am of the opinion that Paul was a false prophet, so I can't very well accept his word. Jesus' word is different however. The Christian side of me doesn't think that God deserves to be worshipped as He truly is, the Christian side of me, thinks that God demands that He be worshipped as He truly is. And He usually gets His way. :)

 

 

II ask that you read the three post I made above.

I read them.

Athanasius could not answer Arius's questions, nor could the Council or anyone else for that matter. That should tell you something. It's not necessarily a question of who's right and who's wrong. If the questions of the curious cannot be answered by the knowledgeable then it seems false. It's a belief system that wants everyone to believe and yet doesn't have the answers for even the simplest of questions.

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Ray, post links for your "myriad occurrences" and everything else you claim or I'm not going to bother reading your nonsense. The burden of proof is on you, not me. Argue all you want, if you're not going to provide links i.e. factual examples of your claims, then just be silent.

 

Contact New Tribes Missions and request the video "Ee-Taow"; then go to the Gideon Bible Society website and review the conversion testimonies. And I met a man in Albania 2 weeks ago. He was a Muslim Albanian who moved to Germany for several years, he took an Albanian Bible that was offered to him, read it several times over a couple of years on his own and knew it was the Truth - he then became a Christian now he just graduated from an evangelical seminary in Albania. He's moved back to his poor village to serve his people - and our church just conducted a youth camp in his village to help.

 

Here's the issue;

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

 

You spend too much time supressing what you intuitively know to be true, and insufficient time & effort in applying the truth to your life.

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For the same reason you would read any piece of literature several times - knowing that we may have missed something the first time, and making sure that we catch everything in its context and see the flow of what's happening. And for the same reason you would watch a movie a few times, - maybe The Matrix would be an example - we wonder whether we caught everything the first time. SO the problem is not with the Bible - its with our abilities of observation and comprehension.

 

But this isn't just "any piece of literature" is it? With what is at stake (according to Christians) it certainly is not. If I misunderstand the message of The Matrix what difference does it make to my eternal destiny? With so much riding on our belief or rejection of it, don't you think God, being almighty, could have done better?

 

By reading the Scripture, we can easily understand the message of who God is, who Man is, what are God's purposes (redemption, restoration, etc are fairly obvious). The amount of information and faith required to be saved and walk with God are easily managable - even young children understand the basics and often place their faith in the God of the Bible. Not to mention that people intuitively know they can pray to God to seek Him.

 

What do you think the message of the Bible is? What is your understanding, having read whatever you've read? I'd be very intereseted in your answer to this question.

 

The issue now is: what else is there to understand beyond the basics? Anyone desiring to know the God if the Universe would pursue a study of God revealed by Him in His Word.

 

I have a question: When you receive a love letter - do you not read that letter many times, do you not keep it to read it again-and-again? Do you not savor each word and seek to fuly understand the message you've received? Do you not experience great joy with each reading, yet knowing already what it says?

 

The same is true when believers read the Bible - because the Christian is a child of God, a beloved member of the family, a citizen in the Kingdom of God. We long to hear from our great & loving Heavenly Father.

 

One reason why I reject this anthropomorphic idea of God - human relationships are difficult enough, why should God, who is responsible for all this anyway, require that we please him? Personal relationship- what a bunch of crap. Every scrap of evidence about reality indicates that if he exists, God doesn't need or desire anything.

 

Again, mutual pleasing is an integral aspect of any personal relationship - do you disagree with this? We suffer from displeasing God - mainly from the true moral guilt we experience, but also from the consequences of our own unwise decisions and actions. As any parent, God grieves when we walk in our own stubborness and He seeks to deliver us from ourselves; so He provides instruction on how best to live. Did your parents not do all this for you?

 

If he didn't need it then why make it into a heaven/hell situation? Wouldn't you say that is pretty important to him to throw most of the population that ever lived into hell because they refuse to acknowledge his existence or didn't know about him?

 

The issue is as follows:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity?

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How do you know who was correct? So you accept that truth simply because it was accepted by others? Are those people more intelligent than you? Do they have a better understanding of God than you? I know about the Apostle's Creed and the Council etc. etc. I'm asking you what you believe to be correct and why?

I believe that God exists as a Tri-Unity; God is one single spiritual essence, and three separate personages. I derive this belief from the Scriptures >> as laid out an any number of Systematic Theology teaxts which expound on all the AScripture that bears on this issue - both in the OT and NT.

 

I've yet to run across anything in the Bible that tells me that Jesus was God. I've seen plenty in there that says Jesus was the Son of God.

A reading of John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1 shows proof of the Deity of Jesus the Messiah. There are also a number of other passages which equate Jesus with God (Phil 2, Isa 48, etc).

 

Re: Jesus as the Son of God - absolutely. But what do you think people mean when they refer to you as "the son of your father?" Are they not saying that you are of the same nature and character of your Dad? To use a vulgar example - what do people mean when they call you an SOB? What are they saying about you?

 

That is exactly why the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy;

 

Joh 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad."

Joh 8:57 So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?"

Joh 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."

Joh 8:59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Joh 10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Joh 10:25 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me,

Joh 10:26 but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Joh 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Joh 10:29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

Joh 10:30 I and the Father are one."

Joh 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

Joh 10:32 Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?"

Joh 10:33 The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God."

The church is a joke and they'll tell you what they want you to think

 

Every church should encourage its people to search and study the Scriptures themsleves, while providing guidance in this pursuit of God;

 

Act 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

 

Athanasius could not answer Arius's questions, nor could the Council or anyone else for that matter. That should tell you something. It's not necessarily a question of who's right and who's wrong. If the questions of the curious cannot be answered by the knowledgeable then it seems false. It's a belief system that wants everyone to believe and yet doesn't have the answers for even the simplest of questions.

 

Not true - Athanasuis' argument won the day - based on logical reasoning about the necassary Nature of Jesus the Messiah given His mission and the Scriptural evidence. The Arians, though they argued around most Scirptures, simply could not refute the truth of Isa 9:6,7 >>

 

Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

 

And then the Cappadocian Fathers and Tertullian also added great weight to the Trinitarian doctrine.

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Doesn't that mean that God is the only one who is capable to also forgive and forget sin, without having the debt paid? Or that he could have calculated and known about the debt before it actually happened and prevented it?

Yes, God is the only One who can ultimately forgive sin >> but not without restitution of the real debt. God is absolutley holy, just, and righteous, and He cannot simply wink at sin. What would you think of a judge that just forgave a career criminal without any punishment or incarceration, and then turned him loose again? Would you think that judge cared for his community? That he was just?

 

the Bible God wanted us to be in debt, and wanted to create this weird and strange "sacrifice" ritual to satisfy his own anger/disappointment/whatever. If humans are so dirty that he can't touch us, or see us, how come Jesus was human and yet God? Strange ideas that just don't really fit together.

 

They do fit together; God had given us the curiosity, intelligence, moral aptitude, etc to search out and study why God chose to create this particular universe with its severe problems. I have listed elsewhere about 20 good and gracious things that we experience in this world that would not occur without these problems; I beleive that is a partial explanation.

 

And ultimately God is glorified in resurrecting and restoring to glory that which had been severely ruined by sin.

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The issue is as follows:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

Rom 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

 

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity?

 

Let's take a look at these assertions, arbitrarily picked from Romans based on a preconceived set of theological priorities:

 

The issue is as follows:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. - Makes an assumption about people that "ain't necessarily so." It's not true in my case. I don't suppress the truth. I just don't see any evidence that your God or your Jesus are real. And, you have to already accept the bible in order to embrace this as truth. Then, you have to declare anybody who disagrees with the statement as deluded or untruthful.

 

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. - That's just not true either. I never experience the world this way. God has not shown anything plainly.

 

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. - Sorry. Not true either. I have never perceived such things about the universe, independent of an already christian worldview. This is total fantasy. Once again, you only believe this because you already accept the bible as true and the god of christianity as real. Independent of that, there are no obvious and clear conclusions that you can draw about god.

 

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - faulty conclusion based on false premises. They did not know god, especially by the means outlined in the previously cited verses.

 

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, - That's just rude.

 

Rom 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - No , they didn't know gods decrees. Most people up through the time of first century palestine history grew up knowing nothing about the god of the old testament. They only knew the teachings about their own local religions, maybe a few others. They had no way, from nature or from personal experience to know the old testament god's decrees.

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity? - Once again, you assume things about people that you cannot know. Maybe you need a belief in god in order to avoid "foolish living," but there are countless, well educated, decent, self-disciplined, ethical, compassionate and friendly atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists whose lifestyles are anything but foolish.

 

This is yet another example of the straw man version of humanity that christianity creates, in order to try to prove its case. Christianity is not reality based. First and foremost because it assumes things about human nature that are not true. The only way you would accept what christianity says about human nature is to already be a christian and accept the bible in the first place.

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Yes, God is the only One who can ultimately forgive sin >> but not without restitution of the real debt. God is absolutley holy, just, and righteous, and He cannot simply wink at sin. What would you think of a judge that just forgave a career criminal without any punishment or incarceration, and then turned him loose again? Would you think that judge cared for his community? That he was just?

 

The analogy of the judge and the career criminal doesn't work. I see Christians getting into trouble all the time with these types of examples. For that to be true the judge would have to have put into place the conditions under which the career criminal was able to do his crimes. Generally it doesn't work that way in the criminal justice system.

 

Not to mention the fact that your own Christian atonement scenario actually works this way. Just say the "sinner's prayer" on your deathbed and even if you are a lifelong career criminal or murderer, you get to go to heaven!! The poor victim who was suddenly killed didn't believe and didn't get such an opportunity. They are in hell. Is THIS justice?

 

The notion of God as a judge simply doesn't work. We do not live in a universe where justice is done. Justice is a purely human invention, having no basis outside of human thought. It does not exist otherwise. The writers of the Bible knew this and that is why their end of time judgment scenario is so appealing. Not appealing to me personally, but to a certain type of mentality that wants to see others get theirs in the end.

 

Sin must be more powerful than God since he "cannot simply wink" at sin. Wait a minute - I thought there was nothing God couldn't do - :Doh:

 

And ultimately God is glorified in resurrecting and restoring to glory that which had been severely ruined by sin.

 

Yes, always that glorious ultimate end that no one has ever seen or ever will see.

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By reading the Scripture, we can easily understand the message of who God is, who Man is, what are God's purposes (redemption, restoration, etc are fairly obvious). The amount of information and faith required to be saved and walk with God are easily managable - even young children understand the basics and often place their faith in the God of the Bible. Not to mention that people intuitively know they can pray to God to seek Him.

 

I disagree with everything you have said. We cannot easily understand the message. This is why we have hundreds of different denominations in Christianity, all differing as to their interpretations of the most basic doctrines. If it were easy to understand there would be agreement. It is rather easy for young children to believe. Their survival depends on their parents and they tend to believe whatever is told them. Many young children believe in Santa and the tooth fairy. A young child's mind and an adult mind are different.

 

What do you think the message of the Bible is? What is your understanding, having read whatever you've read? I'd be very intereseted in your answer to this question.
I view the Bible as a collection of different writings, with different genres. They are stories, poetry, etc. They were written by people in the past to make sense of the world around them and what was going on with them at the time. I do not take the Bible as any guide for life. My views on the unjustice of the atonement are in the prior post. I do not believe in an anthropomorphic, male God.

 

I have a question: When you receive a love letter - do you not read that letter many times, do you not keep it to read it again-and-again? Do you not savor each word and seek to fuly understand the message you've received? Do you not experience great joy with each reading, yet knowing already what it says?

 

No. I have never done that. Once is actually enough. It is quite impossible to compare the Bible to a love letter.

 

The same is true when believers read the Bible - because the Christian is a child of God, a beloved member of the family, a citizen in the Kingdom of God. We long to hear from our great & loving Heavenly Father.

 

If that makes you feel good about yourself, fine, but I reject this notion of God like a human father.

 

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity?

 

The automatic assumption that rejection of BibleGod leads to disasterous living is a foolish generalization. There are examples of Christians who became murderers and many other types of criminals, flouting the law and being concerned only with themselves. I personally have never been in trouble with the law in my life. As for making BibleGod mad, I am not worried. My concern is to be a good citizen, hold a job and take care of my own needs (since I don't have any children) as much as possible. I am totally unconcerned with missing out on a chance to be with God because as I said before, I don't believe he exists.

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This article was a very interesting peek into the tactics of spiritual thugs.

 

...Often I hear the comment ‘Well this matter was all looked into long ago, and wise Christians weighed it up and came to a prayerful conclusion, which tradition Christians rightly follow and uphold’. The history of the matter is quite different, and those who make such statements are sadly ignorant.

 

Yes, this mantra is has been repeated so many times, and even recently on this forum it surfaced again.

The official line goes something like this:

The Bible represents sound theology because the Church carefully poured over all the manuscripts, researched and investigated everything, and interviewed eyewitnesses to the eyewitnesses.

They sought only accurate truth and history.

Things like vanity, power, and authoritarian ambitions had nothing to do with the establishment of the Trinity, the canon of the Bible, or any other dogmatic Christian teaching.

The traditions are fully trustworthy, and the majority of scholars agree it's sound theology as well as convincing history.

Christianity has more solid evidence behind its doctrines and history than any other religion.

Blah, blah, blah, the propaganda talking points just go on and on.

It is the sad state of how Christianity views its own history that lead many to leave the faith. What many people take for granted as having been established by the apostles, were instead designed around church traditions. Christians have a hard enough time coming up with truthful science to back their claims, let alone church history too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Edited for spelling.)

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Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity?

 

Let's take a look at these assertions, arbitrarily picked from Romans based on a preconceived set of theological priorities:

 

The issue is as follows:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. - Makes an assumption about people that "ain't necessarily so." It's not true in my case. I don't suppress the truth. I just don't see any evidence that your God or your Jesus are real. And, you have to already accept the bible in order to embrace this as truth. Then, you have to declare anybody who disagrees with the statement as deluded or untruthful.

 

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. - That's just not true either. I never experience the world this way. God has not shown anything plainly.

 

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. - Sorry. Not true either. I have never perceived such things about the universe, independent of an already christian worldview. This is total fantasy. Once again, you only believe this because you already accept the bible as true and the god of christianity as real. Independent of that, there are no obvious and clear conclusions that you can draw about god.

 

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - faulty conclusion based on false premises. They did not know god, especially by the means outlined in the previously cited verses.

 

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, - That's just rude.

 

Rom 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - No , they didn't know gods decrees. Most people up through the time of first century palestine history grew up knowing nothing about the god of the old testament. They only knew the teachings about their own local religions, maybe a few others. They had no way, from nature or from personal experience to know the old testament god's decrees.

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity? - Once again, you assume things about people that you cannot know. Maybe you need a belief in god in order to avoid "foolish living," but there are countless, well educated, decent, self-disciplined, ethical, compassionate and friendly atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists whose lifestyles are anything but foolish.

 

This is yet another example of the straw man version of humanity that christianity creates, in order to try to prove its case. Christianity is not reality based. First and foremost because it assumes things about human nature that are not true. The only way you would accept what christianity says about human nature is to already be a christian and accept the bible in the first place.

 

Here are the facts:

 

1. From observing the world around us - with its vast diversity, complexity, intracacies, etc - we draw the logical conclusion that this is the product of a wise & skillful Creator. Those who posit twisted explanations of purely mechanistic explanations must work against (suppress) what they intuitively know to be true. Note what peole think about cars, planes, computers >> we praise those who design and build such - yet life is so much more complex, etc - and we attribute its existence to supposed evolutionary processes based on chance, accident, randomness, etc that just happened (fortunately for us) to have developed this world. It's MAGIC!!!!

 

2. Every human has a conscience - and innate, inherent, internal referee that judges the morality of thoughts, words, & actions - this conscience rightly judges that each of us has done things which are mortally wrong - some to a greater degree than others, but all are guilty to some degree. There are striking similarities across all cultures re: these moral values; so what is the source of this common morality? Herd mentality?

 

3. Yet knowing that a thought, word, action, is morally wrong does not prevent us from doing that wrong - and there are those who revel in conducting themsleves in opposition to basic morals - but we all have done things which we knew were wrong, but they were for our benefit (though temporary) - and again, some to more degree than others, but all guilty. How do we deal with our true moral guilt? Pills? Psycho-therapy?

 

Christianity observes reality, thinks through facts about the world and human nature honestly, and then acknowledges the truth of what God has revealed to us through His Scriptures. Those who refuse to do so are left to their own devices - which will lead to foolishness.

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What would you think of a judge that just forgave a career criminal without any punishment or incarceration, and then turned him loose again? Would you think that judge cared for his community? That he was just?

 

The analogy of the judge and the career criminal doesn't work. I see Christians getting into trouble all the time with these types of examples. For that to be true the judge would have to have put into place the conditions under which the career criminal was able to do his crimes. Generally it doesn't work that way in the criminal justice system.

 

You're kidding, right. Are you unaware of the plethora of examples of criminals released back into society on technicalities or who are released from prison on parole - who then returned to a life of violent crime?? Is this news to you?? This happens on an all-to-regular basis.

 

Not to mention the fact that your own Christian atonement scenario actually works this way. Just say the "sinner's prayer" on your deathbed and even if you are a lifelong career criminal or murderer, you get to go to heaven!! The poor victim who was suddenly killed didn't believe and didn't get such an opportunity. They are in hell. Is THIS justice?

 

What makes you think that someone can just 'pray the sinner's prayer' and - WHOOSH - all is forgiven? Where in Scripture do you see a formula for magic words that bring salvation? I suggest you read the accounts of the thief on the cross and the publican in the synagauge and Zaccheus the tax collector and the woman caught in adultery - was was their thought process and the condition of their heart that led them to call out for mercy? The condition of our hearts is the key - not mouthing magic words. God is not mocked; and He is not moved by incantations - that is paganism.

 

The notion of God as a judge simply doesn't work. We do not live in a universe where justice is done. Justice is a purely human invention, having no basis outside of human thought. It does not exist otherwise. The writers of the Bible knew this and that is why their end of time judgment scenario is so appealing. Not appealing to me personally, but to a certain type of mentality that wants to see others get theirs in the end.

 

Do you not long for justice to be done? Are you content with injustice? What is the high moral calling in this statement? Since justice doesn't exist beyond human (highly subjective ) thuoght, then should we abandon any pursuit of justice? What is the alternative you propose?

 

Sin must be more powerful than God since he "cannot simply wink" at sin. Wait a minute - I thought there was nothing God couldn't do - :Doh:

 

God cannot lie, He cannot condone evil - simply put, God cannot do anything that is against His Nature.

And this is true of all beings.

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I disagree with everything you have said. We cannot easily understand the message. This is why we have hundreds of different denominations in Christianity, all differing as to their interpretations of the most basic doctrines. If it were easy to understand there would be agreement. It is rather easy for young children to believe. Their survival depends on their parents and they tend to believe whatever is told them. Many young children believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.

 

There are differences such as mode of baptism and church polity where Christians disagree, and so to work together more effectively, they have separated into different denominations - this is not inherently wrong. But if there are differences on basic doctrines such as the Nature of God, the nature of man, the basis for salvation, the Person & ministry of Jesus Christ, etc - then these are attributable to false prophets - about whom Jesus and His Apostles warned would go out into the world to deceive. And so the church has historically fought against such false doctrine, but we know that thisw will be an ongoing tactic of the Evil One until the end.

 

I have a question: When you receive a love letter - do you not read that letter many times, do you not keep it to read it again-and-again? Do you not savor each word and seek to fuly understand the message you've received? Do you not experience great joy with each reading, yet knowing already what it says?

No. I have never done that. Once is actually enough. It is quite impossible to compare the Bible to a love letter.

 

If once is enough - then I question the degree to which you actually value that letter and the person who wrote it. And the Bible is most assuredly God's communication of love to His own. Which is why we study it - to know Him so that we may please Him. Do you not seek to know your 'soulmate' thoroughly - so that you can please them and build that relationship of mutual love and commitment?

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Here are the facts:

Facts? No, what you are presenting below are inductive arguments at best, but more like speculations at worst, but they're not facts. The fact is, is that there are real sciences explaining these things, but you haven't studied them.

 

1. From observing the world around us - with its vast diversity, complexity, intracacies, etc - we draw the logical conclusion that this is the product of a wise & skillful Creator. Those who posit twisted explanations of purely mechanistic explanations must work against (suppress) what they intuitively know to be true. Note what peole think about cars, planes, computers >> we praise those who design and build such - yet life is so much more complex, etc - and we attribute its existence to supposed evolutionary processes based on chance, accident, randomness, etc that just happened (fortunately for us) to have developed this world. It's MAGIC!!!!

What you're presenting is that a system with complexity n must have come from a system of complexity n*m. But that creates a recursive and increasing grade of complexity.

 

p1) Something that is complex must have come from something which is more complex

p2) The world is complex

c) The world came from something more complex (i.e. God)

 

But that means:

 

p1) (same as above)

p2) God is complex

c) Got must come from something more complex

 

It doesn't hold logically. And the world does prove that simplicity leads to complexity. Numbers system, DNA, Physics (matter built on quarks etc). A house is built with wood and nails, not the other way around.

 

2. Every human has a conscience - and innate, inherent, internal referee that judges the morality of thoughts, words, & actions - this conscience rightly judges that each of us has done things which are mortally wrong - some to a greater degree than others, but all are guilty to some degree. There are striking similarities across all cultures re: these moral values; so what is the source of this common morality? Herd mentality?

Psychology and sociology does not agree with you there at all, and they don't because studies and experiments contradict your statement. There are striking differences between cultures about moral values. There is one small tribal culture (and I don't have the article in front of me right now--so I don't remember the name of this tribe--it's in my sociology book somewhere) where the woman has to have sex before she gets married, and not with the same man she marries.

 

And when it comes to conscience, you should read up on sociopaths.

 

3. Yet knowing that a thought, word, action, is morally wrong does not prevent us from doing that wrong - and there are those who revel in conducting themsleves in opposition to basic morals - but we all have done things which we knew were wrong, but they were for our benefit (though temporary) - and again, some to more degree than others, but all guilty. How do we deal with our true moral guilt? Pills? Psycho-therapy?

Yes, that's where religion sometimes can be useful. It can give a sense of forgiveness and give a person peace.

 

But is it justice if you look at the big picture? If your religion is true, and there is an afterlife, and a serial killer feels guilty about his acts, is it really fair and right that he just asks God for forgiveness and ends up in Heaven? And then the reversed, a person who never killed anyone, but only did real minor crimes and never hurt anyone, will end up in Hell for eternity, only because he/she didn't believe? Or even worse, perhaps one of the victims of the serial killer believed in the wrong religion, and end up in eternal punishment? "Belief" is not a fair division for right and wrong. So where does your moral come in then? Who cares about moral if it's all about believing in Jesus or not?

 

Christianity observes reality, thinks through facts about the world and human nature honestly, and then acknowledges the truth of what God has revealed to us through His Scriptures. Those who refuse to do so are left to their own devices - which will lead to foolishness.

No, Christians do not observe reality and think through the facts. Biologists, Psychologists, Sociologists, and other scientists, they do, and that's why we have the Theory of Evolution, because that's what the facts of the world point to. And observations and studies points to Functionalism of society. Real life examinations and experiments point to brain functions for moral guidance. And much more.

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Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity?

 

Let's take a look at these assertions, arbitrarily picked from Romans based on a preconceived set of theological priorities:

 

The issue is as follows:

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. - Makes an assumption about people that "ain't necessarily so." It's not true in my case. I don't suppress the truth. I just don't see any evidence that your God or your Jesus are real. And, you have to already accept the bible in order to embrace this as truth. Then, you have to declare anybody who disagrees with the statement as deluded or untruthful.

 

Rom 1:19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. - That's just not true either. I never experience the world this way. God has not shown anything plainly.

 

Rom 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. - Sorry. Not true either. I have never perceived such things about the universe, independent of an already christian worldview. This is total fantasy. Once again, you only believe this because you already accept the bible as true and the god of christianity as real. Independent of that, there are no obvious and clear conclusions that you can draw about god.

 

Rom 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. - faulty conclusion based on false premises. They did not know god, especially by the means outlined in the previously cited verses.

 

Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, - That's just rude.

 

Rom 1:32 Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - No , they didn't know gods decrees. Most people up through the time of first century palestine history grew up knowing nothing about the god of the old testament. They only knew the teachings about their own local religions, maybe a few others. They had no way, from nature or from personal experience to know the old testament god's decrees.

Though we hate to admit, a rejection of the Biblical God leads to foolish living and involves pursuing lifestyles which we know are in blatant rebellion to God. Ergo, each person spends eternity in the the place of their own choosing. What unbeliever who has pursued their own ways, having rejected God and His ways, would then want to be with God & worship Him for eternity? - Once again, you assume things about people that you cannot know. Maybe you need a belief in god in order to avoid "foolish living," but there are countless, well educated, decent, self-disciplined, ethical, compassionate and friendly atheists, agnostics, freethinkers and humanists whose lifestyles are anything but foolish.

 

This is yet another example of the straw man version of humanity that christianity creates, in order to try to prove its case. Christianity is not reality based. First and foremost because it assumes things about human nature that are not true. The only way you would accept what christianity says about human nature is to already be a christian and accept the bible in the first place.

 

Here are the facts:

 

1. From observing the world around us - with its vast diversity, complexity, intracacies, etc - we draw the logical conclusion that this is the product of a wise & skillful Creator. Those who posit twisted explanations of purely mechanistic explanations must work against (suppress) what they intuitively know to be true. Note what peole think about cars, planes, computers >> we praise those who design and build such - yet life is so much more complex, etc - and we attribute its existence to supposed evolutionary processes based on chance, accident, randomness, etc that just happened (fortunately for us) to have developed this world. It's MAGIC!!!!

 

2. Every human has a conscience - and innate, inherent, internal referee that judges the morality of thoughts, words, & actions - this conscience rightly judges that each of us has done things which are mortally wrong - some to a greater degree than others, but all are guilty to some degree. There are striking similarities across all cultures re: these moral values; so what is the source of this common morality? Herd mentality?

 

3. Yet knowing that a thought, word, action, is morally wrong does not prevent us from doing that wrong - and there are those who revel in conducting themsleves in opposition to basic morals - but we all have done things which we knew were wrong, but they were for our benefit (though temporary) - and again, some to more degree than others, but all guilty. How do we deal with our true moral guilt? Pills? Psycho-therapy?

 

Christianity observes reality, thinks through facts about the world and human nature honestly, and then acknowledges the truth of what God has revealed to us through His Scriptures. Those who refuse to do so are left to their own devices - which will lead to foolishness.

 

 

Here are the facts:

- - - No, Rayskidude. These are your unproven and unprovable assertions. You may want to argue one form or another of the ontological, cosmological or teleological arguments. But that's not what is important here. The issues involved here are issues that you cannot comment on. You cannot know what is going on in a person's mind. You can only listen to what they tell you and accept it. If you don't accept it then you need to explain why you do not believe what decent, intelligent, sensitive and thoughtful people are telling you. You're not elevating your dogma above personal experience, are you?

 

Let's look at your "facts:"

 

1. From observing the world around us - with its vast diversity, complexity, intricacies, etc - we draw the logical conclusion that this is the product of a wise & skillful Creator. Those who posit twisted explanations of purely mechanistic explanations must work against (suppress) what they intuitively know to be true. Note what people think about cars, planes, computers >> we praise those who design and build such - yet life is so much more complex, etc - and we attribute its existence to supposed evolutionary processes based on chance, accident, randomness, etc that just happened (fortunately for us) to have developed this world. It's MAGIC!!!!

 

I have underlined the key words. You are presuming to know what people know. You can't be privy to that information unless someone tells you what is going on in their minds. If they are somehow unaware of what is going on in their mind, then your belief about it is just a guess.

 

There are some very logical refutations of the various arguments for the existence of god. If someone comes to a different conclusion than you, it may be you who are being illogical. To describe someone's explanation as "twisted" reveals more about you than it does the quality of the "fact" that you are trying to express.

 

You are agreeing with Paul that people suppress the truth. You cannot know if they do or not. If Paul says I do, then I say he is wrong. If you say I do, then you are wrong. Neither you nor Paul can possibly know this information. There are cultures that have developed that have no belief about a skillful creator. They just see the world around them as a given and live life.

 

So fact number 1 is not a "fact." It is an assertion. Or rather, it is an opinion about people who believe differently than you. But it is not a fact that is obvious to all people. So why don't you accept it when people say that they don't se a grand creator when they look at nature?

 

 

2. Every human has a conscience - and innate, inherent, internal referee that judges the morality of thoughts, words, & actions - this conscience rightly judges that each of us has done things which are mortally wrong - some to a greater degree than others, but all are guilty to some degree. There are striking similarities across all cultures re: these moral values; so what is the source of this common morality? Herd mentality?

 

You asked where common morality comes from. I would say it comes from our common humanity. We are all finite, dependent primates who have common needs. 1) Food 2) Water 3) Shelter 4) sex and procreation 5) status and power. Empathy with one another is also an important component of our psychological makeup. People tend to do what they do in order to obtain some combination of items 1 - 5. Yet, they have to try to obtain what they need in such a way as not to completely destroy one another. As human culture developed, various moral codes developed to see to it that people do not destroy one another in their drive to meet their common needs. It is our empathy that moves us to put an end to violence that arises out of the blind pursuit of our needs.

 

These moral codes are strikingly different at points and also similar at points. Where they are similar relates to the similarity of needs. Where they are different relates to the priority developed in a given culture about which needs are more important than others. In some cases, similarities can be altogether coincidental.

 

So no, "herd mentality" is not necessarily at play. I would call it "clash of the titans." Morality is one tool societies use to maintain control and establish relational civil peace.

 

So fact number 2 about conscience is indeed a fact. But your question is about common morality. Common morality does not have to come from a god. God is not necessary, as I have just shown, in order to develop morals. A conscience is developed in the context of a family's morality. But it is mostly a matter of reinforcement and punishment. Sometimes the punishment is just a stern look and angry tone. Other times the punishment is more severe. Sometimes the reinforcement is a smile or praise from a significant person. Other times it is a privilege earned for being "good." But again, no god or spiritual input is necessary. The concscience develops in the context of a family or community's moral structure.

 

Fact number 2 does not support your assertions.

 

3. Yet knowing that a thought, word, action, is morally wrong does not prevent us from doing that wrong - and there are those who revel in conducting themselves in opposition to basic morals - but we all have done things which we knew were wrong, but they were for our benefit (though temporary) - and again, some to more degree than others, but all guilty. How do we deal with our true moral guilt? Pills? Psycho-therapy?

 

Fact # 3 seems to be that "we all have done things which we knew were wrong." True. Almost tautological. What it means to be guilty all depends on you view of the material in fact # 1. In other words, if there is a god, what you conclude about guilt might be right. But if there is not a god, other considerations would affect what it means to be guilty.

 

I think a good short answer to how to deal with "true moral guilt" is to stop doing the thing that makes you feel guilty and start doing those things which make you feel right with the world. If it is possible to restore something back to a person you have wronged, then make every effort to do so.

 

But I suspect your definition of "true moral guilt" depends on what you labeled as fact #1, which is a failed assertion.

 

Christianity observes reality, thinks through facts about the world and human nature honestly, and then acknowledges the truth of what God has revealed to us through His Scriptures. Those who refuse to do so are left to their own devices - which will lead to foolishness.

 

Actually, christianity is based on "revelation." There is no observation of reality, analyzing of the facts and coming to some logical conclusion. It's strange that you mentioned scriptures third. What I've heard from christians all my life is 1) start with scripture 2) apply it to your life 3) you will be blessed. Christians "trust" that the bible contains the revelation of god thus innately reflects reality. If an analysis of nature and reality seems to contradict scripture, the conclusion is drawn that scripture is right and the observation is wrong. That's the way it works.

 

The only time observation of reality and thinking through facts comes into play is when a christian tries to defend his or her faith. Then the observations and facts chosen are victims of confirmation bias. They are really not that important to christians.

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There are differences such as mode of baptism and church polity where Christians disagree, and so to work together more effectively, they have separated into different denominations - this is not inherently wrong. But if there are differences on basic doctrines such as the Nature of God, the nature of man, the basis for salvation, the Person & ministry of Jesus Christ, etc - then these are attributable to false prophets - about whom Jesus and His Apostles warned would go out into the world to deceive. And so the church has historically fought against such false doctrine, but we know that thisw will be an ongoing tactic of the Evil One until the end.

 

They cannot agree on the means of salvation, although they may agree on the basis. Rather important - is it faith or works? Is it a combo? What exactly does a person need to do? The requirements seem to differ. If you think not, then you haven't been to many churches. It is unbelievably confusing.

 

 

If once is enough - then I question the degree to which you actually value that letter and the person who wrote it. And the Bible is most assuredly God's communication of love to His own. Which is why we study it - to know Him so that we may please Him. Do you not seek to know your 'soulmate' thoroughly - so that you can please them and build that relationship of mutual love and commitment?

 

I don't have a "soulmate" so hell no.

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You're kidding, right. Are you unaware of the plethora of examples of criminals released back into society on technicalities or who are released from prison on parole - who then returned to a life of violent crime?? Is this news to you?? This happens on an all-to-regular basis.

 

But that is just what happens when a sinner/career criminal asks for forgiveness. He is released. Then he may return to a life of crime, confess it and then be forgiven again. You have totally missed the point or you refuse to see it.

 

 

What makes you think that someone can just 'pray the sinner's prayer' and - WHOOSH - all is forgiven? Where in Scripture do you see a formula for magic words that bring salvation? I suggest you read the accounts of the thief on the cross and the publican in the synagauge and Zaccheus the tax collector and the woman caught in adultery - was was their thought process and the condition of their heart that led them to call out for mercy? The condition of our hearts is the key - not mouthing magic words. God is not mocked; and He is not moved by incantations - that is paganism.

 

That is actually what I was taught in the Baptist church. You may not like it, but they called themselves Christians. Take your complaint to your local independent Baptist church. I am not going to argue its correctness according to scripture because it makes no difference to me anymore.

 

The notion of God as a judge simply doesn't work. We do not live in a universe where justice is done. Justice is a purely human invention, having no basis outside of human thought. It does not exist otherwise. The writers of the Bible knew this and that is why their end of time judgment scenario is so appealing. Not appealing to me personally, but to a certain type of mentality that wants to see others get theirs in the end.

 

Do you not long for justice to be done? Are you content with injustice? What is the high moral calling in this statement? Since justice doesn't exist beyond human (highly subjective ) thuoght, then should we abandon any pursuit of justice? What is the alternative you propose?

 

Actually, no. I don't believe in the concept of justice. It has no reality as far as I am concerned. I don't need to propose an alternative, it is just a fact.

 

God cannot lie, He cannot condone evil - simply put, God cannot do anything that is against His Nature.

And this is true of all beings.

 

That is just your statement. There is no proof for the first about the nature of God; as for the second that beings cannot do anything against their nature- that is an entirely different category. Not knowing exactly what you mean by "against their nature" I cannot comment on it.

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There are differences such as mode of baptism and church polity where Christians disagree, and so to work together more effectively, they have separated into different denominations - this is not inherently wrong. But if there are differences on basic doctrines such as the Nature of God, the nature of man, the basis for salvation, the Person & ministry of Jesus Christ, etc - then these are attributable to false prophets - about whom Jesus and His Apostles warned would go out into the world to deceive. And so the church has historically fought against such false doctrine, but we know that thisw will be an ongoing tactic of the Evil One until the end.

 

Don't you think it possible that those warnings were issued by the ones doing the deceiving? It makes sense to me that if you were trying to get people to believe what you were saying was true, you tell them that others will say something different, but don't believe them.

 

Even if it wasn't intentional deceit, they would say that Jesus said this, and since their interpretation of what he was speaking about was limited by their own belief system, they would indeed state this as truth. But, it isn't necessarily what he was meaning.

 

Personally, I think it was a little of both when they put the book together.

 

Also, how would you know that what you are believing now is not of the Evil One? What if the false prophets won?

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Facts? No, what you are presenting below are inductive arguments at best, but more like speculations at worst, but they're not facts. The fact is, is that there are real sciences explaining these things, but you haven't studied them.

 

Mea culpa - by facts I mean 'these are the facts as presented in Scripture' - and so I failed to put my words into context - for this I apologize.

 

What you're presenting is that a system with complexity n must have come from a system of complexity n*m. But that creates a recursive and increasing grade of complexity.

p1) Something that is complex must have come from something which is more complex

p2) The world is complex

c) The world came from something more complex (i.e. God)

 

Agreed.

 

But that means:

p1) (same as above)

p2) God is complex

c) Got must come from something more complex

 

I don't agree that this necessarily follows from the above. There is no doubt that many Christians (myself included) understand that God is the great Uncaused Cause (as stated by Aquinas). The universe had a beginning - this is what many scientists have concluded; and we legitimately ask; "what caused this universe to come into existence?" We can posit an all-wise, all-powerful Being designed and created this universe for His (actually 'Its' since God is a genderless Spirit) purposes. And certainly, this is plausible. Or we can posit the infinitesimally dense ball of mindless matter which exists somehow on its own AND which somehow experienced a perturbation of its equilibrium in accordance with some kind of Weisenberg Uncertainty principle - which initiated a sequence of events which landed us where we are today - a planet full of sentient beings, living in an vast incredible complex world of diverse life forms and intricate oxygen, nitrogen, water, waether, etc cycles >> with various life forms developing symbiotic relationships - we could go on and on. But this development happened by chance, driven by random processes, with no guidance or direction other than purely mechanistic properties of the individual quarks, atomic nuclei & electrons, electron clouds, molecules, etc.

 

It doesn't hold logically. And the world does prove that simplicity leads to complexity. Numbers system, DNA, Physics (matter built on quarks etc). A house is built with wood and nails, not the other way around.

 

What doesn't follow logically is the thought that we arrived where we are today from purely mechanistic processes. And there is no proof that simplicity leads to complexity - you have presupposed that this statement is true, and then you have considered the physical data in a way to fit the stated theory.

 

How would DNA naturally come together - how do you get that phosphate with its high negative density to approach and bond to carbohydate sugars loaded with oxygen molecules with partial negative charges? And how do you twist it tightly, and then somehow get just the right base pairs to form those exact attractions to keep the strands together in the exact sequence to form the proteins needed to build the complex enzyme systems which then replicates the DNA, transcribes the RNA, and translates the sequence to amino acid sequences in the proteins - which themselves fold into 3-D configurations to bring into proximity the amino acids which will catalyze the rxns to build unlikely molecules that couldn't come together naturally (like DNA)?

 

How would ATP ever evolve? With those 3 highly negatively-charged phosphate groups all in close proximity >> such that when a bond is broken, sufficient energy is released to build other biomolecules?

 

Only design and creation can adequatley explain these incredible complex and efficient systems - so I fully agree that a house is built from wood and nails - by an intelligent being as the builder.

 

Psychology and sociology does not agree with you there at all, and they don't because studies and experiments contradict your statement. There are striking differences between cultures about moral values. There is one small tribal culture (and I don't have the article in front of me right now--so I don't remember the name of this tribe--it's in my sociology book somewhere) where the woman has to have sex before she gets married, and not with the same man she marries.

 

I agree that there are some definite cultural differences within some diverse people groups. I have read that in some cultures trickery, bribery, traitorism, betrayal, secret murders or vengeance, etc are prized. But allow me to ask you: do you believe murder is ever right? That adultery or rape are ever right, that kidnapping is ever right, that it is ever right to betray a friend? I believe you would say 'NO' - and we would agree. That some cultures have so degenerated should not allow us to realize the existence of the conscience - because every culture recognizes that certain activities are forbidden. The Lord of the Flies, I believe, paints an accurate picture of human nature. That the amoral and strong dominated and killed others does not justify any actions.

 

And when it comes to conscience, you should read up on sociopaths.

 

The Bible speaks of those who are "seared in their conscience."

 

Yet knowing that a thought, word, action, is morally wrong does not prevent us from doing that wrong - and there are those who revel in conducting themsleves in opposition to basic morals - but we all have done things which we knew were wrong, but they were for our benefit (though temporary) - and again, some to more degree than others, but all guilty. How do we deal with our true moral guilt?

 

Yes, that's where religion sometimes can be useful. It can give a sense of forgiveness and give a person peace.

 

Agreed.

 

But is it justice if you look at the big picture? If your religion is true, and there is an afterlife, and a serial killer feels guilty about his acts, is it really fair and right that he just asks God for forgiveness and ends up in Heaven? And then the reversed, a person who never killed anyone, but only did real minor crimes and never hurt anyone, will end up in Hell for eternity, only because he/she didn't believe? Or even worse, perhaps one of the victims of the serial killer believed in the wrong religion, and end up in eternal punishment? "Belief" is not a fair division for right and wrong. So where does your moral come in then? Who cares about moral if it's all about believing in Jesus or not?

 

Good point - allow me to say this. There is justice and non-justice. And within non-justice there is injustice and mercy. We all decry injustice and would condemn and work against such. But mercy is different >> is we know that a judge wnet light on a criminal because he detected real remorse in that criminal - we would applaud the judge for his wisdom. The principle for forgiveness is similar. There are those who have committed griewvous sins (King David with his adultery with Bathsheba and conspiracy to murder Uriah). Yet, we know from various Scriptures (esp Psalm 51), that when he was confronted, David admitted the evil he had done, he was truly repentant, and he recognized that God was gracious and merciful, and cried out to God to cleanse him from sin. Confession of sin and Humility of heart are key.

 

Re: the other case, I agree that there are minor sins - yet in God's eyes all sin is sin; and so James writes;

Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.

AND Paul writes that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." in Rom 3:23

 

In the Book of Hebrews, unbelief - that failure to acknowledge God for Who He is - is painted as a severe sin. Untimately, the failure to believe in God, to believe God, to trust in and follow Him, is exactly what Satan was guilty of. Though Satan & his demons 'believe" in one God - and shudder (James 2:19) - yet they do not humble themselves before God and entrust themselves to God - all as a result of pride.

 

And so Jesus says of the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;

Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;

Joh 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

 

SO Jesus says the main sin is to not believe in Him as Lord & Savior - that He is righteous and that Satan has been judged. SO we either choose Jesus or Satan - those are the alternatives. We choose either humility before God, or our pride causes us to live apart from God.

 

God is merciful to those who cry out for His abundant mercy and grace, and He acts with justice to those who fail to treat Him as He so rightfully deserves - being the Source of all life and the great Shepherd of our souls.

 

No, Christians do not observe reality and think through the facts. Biologists, Psychologists, Sociologists, and other scientists, they do, and that's why we have the Theory of Evolution, because that's what the facts of the world point to. And observations and studies points to Functionalism of society. Real life examinations and experiments point to brain functions for moral guidance. And much more.

 

Yea, we definitely disagree here - I site statements I made above re: Creation. I do agree that Observations and studies show functionality in societies - and I believe that God has most assuredly created Man as a social being - and so Man naturally forms societies. And I believe that God has designed our human brain to process information about morality - I do not believe that such 'high' thouhgts would evolve by random processes like genetic mutations.

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But that is just what happens when a sinner/career criminal asks for forgiveness. He is released. Then he may return to a life of crime, confess it and then be forgiven again. You have totally missed the point or you refuse to see it.

 

This is conduct within human societies; because God's word says:

Gal 6:7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

Gal 6:8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

Gal 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Gal 6:10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

God is not mocked - He is not fooled by humans. God does forgive, and calls His people to a life of love, mercy, forgiveness, good deeds, etc - and eschewing sin (note the words of Jesus to the woman caught in adultery "Go, and sin no more"). Christians who do not pursue the Christian lifestyle are to be warned that they are most likely not Christians (because they show no evidence of a new heart), or should be disciplined by the church as a means of shepherding them about the serious issue of their sin (discipline seeks for reconcilaition).

 

That is actually what I was taught in the Baptist church. You may not like it, but they called themselves Christians. Take your complaint to your local independent Baptist church.

 

I was a member of independent Baptist churches, and though I did not hold to their 'easy believism' - I never understood them to teach that just mouthing words was the path to salvation. They always taught;

Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);

Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

 

Confession comes from a heart of belief in (trust in) God alone for the benefits of salvation.

 

Actually, no. I don't believe in the concept of justice. It has no reality as far as I am concerned. I don't need to propose an alternative, it is just a fact.

 

Are you really serious? What had caused this level of cynicism or despair? It is a great comfort for all believers to know that God will one day right all wrongs and meet out all justice. And therefore, in today's world, we persevere through the evils of this world, seeking to change what we can (thereby seeing a glimpse of what God will eventually do) >> but all the while knowing that God will accompish all His holy will.

 

God cannot lie, He cannot condone evil - simply put, God cannot do anything that is against His Nature.

And this is true of all beings.

 

No being can act in opposition to its nature. As people, we all have limits. Though I would have loved to play in the NBA, yet I am limited by physical stature and innate abilities from that ever happening. SO I sought other areas of competition - ones which placed me in weight classes where I could compete, I could also wish I was a millionaire - but I have no business acumen.

So we're all limited by our nature as to what we can do. But not in a fatalistic way - because we should all strive to improve ourselves and accomplish things beyond what we perceive as natural limits on our abilities - we just have to be realistic about what we can accomplish with our best efforts.

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rayskidude >> But if there are differences on basic doctrines such as the Nature of God, the nature of man, the basis for salvation, the Person & ministry of Jesus Christ, etc - then these are attributable to false prophets - about whom Jesus and His Apostles warned would go out into the world to deceive. And so the church has historically fought against such false doctrine, but we know that thisw will be an ongoing tactic of the Evil One until the end.

 

Don't you think it possible that those warnings were issued by the ones doing the deceiving? It makes sense to me that if you were trying to get people to believe what you were saying was true, you tell them that others will say something different, but don't believe them.

Even if it wasn't intentional deceit, they would say that Jesus said this, and since their interpretation of what he was speaking about was limited by their own belief system, they would indeed state this as truth. But, it isn't necessarily what he was meaning.

Also, how would you know that what you are believing now is not of the Evil One? What if the false prophets won?

 

I agree with your point - we must be circumspect about what we believe. And I would say that these words of Jesus are a good source of wisdom for determining the authenticity of doctrine and teachings;

Mat 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Mat 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Mat 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

Mat 7:17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Mat 7:19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Mat 7:20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Mat 7:21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Mat 7:22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

Mat 7:23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

 

So we must examine the fruit (the lives) of whoever is teaching and the application of their doctrine - and if their lives show bad fruit (Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggert, Benny Hinn, Health & Wealth preachers, the 'Name it Claim it' crowd, etc) then they are false teachers - their lifestyles will ultimately bear this out.

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