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CalebMcCreary
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To All,

 

I wanted to open this thread to field questions about Christianity. This is an open topic to which I will gladly take questions and try to answer them. I will take questions of any nature concerning Christianity. My only request is that you keep any questions or comments free from profanity or vulgarity. I want to keep this thread civil for the sake of everyone here. Please feel free to ask your questions. I eagerly await them.

 

Respectfully,

Caleb McCreary

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Hello and welcome.

 

Okay, here are a few questions to start with:

 

Why Christianity rather than Islam (other than the fact you're in Texas)?

 

Why can't true believers do any of the miracles Jesus promised they could do?

 

Why doesn't God heal amputees? (Old and trite, but still unanswered)

 

Does the Law still apply?

 

Will Jews go to Heaven?

 

Grace or works?

 

Did God invent evil?

 

Did God command genocide?

 

Has God ever changed his mind or made a mistake?

 

Where did the Cain and Abel get their wives from?

 

Was the robe placed on Jesus at his trial scarlet or purple?

 

How did Judas die?

 

Who is the father of Joseph?

 

Can God be seen?

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Why do xians insist on coming to a non xian safe-haven like ex-c to spread the same old tired clap-trap we all know and despise?

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Why do xians insist on coming to a non xian safe-haven like ex-c to spread the same old tired clap-trap we all know and despise?

 

 

The first questions I will need some time to answer since there are so many of them, but to your question my response is this: Many people claim that they asked questions in Sunday School or to a pastor and could never get them answered. That is my reason for coming here and posting a thread like this. If questions are asked, they deserve an answer. I am trying to do that here. If you despise what I am doing or talking about, I am sorry. In the spirit of dialogue please do not begrudge me the privilege of fielding questions.

 

- Caleb

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You're pretty brave to show up here. I have to commend you for that. I don't have much hostility towards Christians coming here, that is why we have a few sections of the forums specifically for debating Christians.

 

I have one question.

 

Did God create evil?

 

(Sorry if I came off as critical of your reaction par4course, I haven't dealt with as many Christians as you probably have.)

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Grace or works?

 

 

 

Since there are so many questions here, I will take them one at a time. First: grace or works?

 

I am assuming that by this question you are referring to the long-standing debate that Paul claims justification by faith in Romans and Ephesians while James claims that justification is by works in James 2:14-25.

 

Faith is not an "either or" situation but a "both and". Paul is saying that justification is by faith in that we cannot earn salvation based upon our own efforts "so that none can boast" (Ephesians 2). In that sense, justification by faith is through grace in that God bestows it freely and not because we inherently do something to deserve it. This seems to conflict with James, but it really does not.

 

James is showing that true faith must work itself out in outward actions. Faith should spur us on to good works when we realize just what God has given us in Christ. Faith should be a vibrant, living thing that reaches out to other men. Actions should always accompany true faith because that is how men see that our faith is real. What is there to distinguish a Christian from any other person if he does not show it? What testament is it to God's power to change lives if we do not take the time to care about people? The old adage "They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care" still rings true in this case.

 

Is salvation by grace or works? Both. Salvation is not earned, hence the grace aspect. But salvation should be shown, hence the works side of it. Even Paul says faith must be shown in action, if it is real. (See Ephesians 4 and 5 for instace...the household codes in Ephesians 5 are just one example of "living faith".)

 

I hope this has shed some light on the matter.

 

in Christ,

Caleb McCreary

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I hope you are using "men" in the generic sense.

 

If you aren't, then my questions is:

 

Where do women stand in Christianity?

 

In Oneness, NB

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I hope you are using "men" in the generic sense.

 

If you aren't, then my questions is:

 

Where do women stand in Christianity?

 

In Oneness, NB

 

 

Yes I am using "men" in a general sense to speak of humans as a whole. Sorry if that was misleading.

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Caleb - I appreciate your intent, but I suspect that you are engaging in an extremely common fallacy held by the majority of Evangelical Christians: You assume that people walk away from Christianity for one of the following reasons:

 

- Something happened that made them mad at God,

- Something happened that made them mad at the church,

- Something about Christianity didn't make any sense to them, or

- They were never presented with "real" Bible study.

 

If you take the time to read through some of the "extimonies" on this site (in the Testimonies of Former Christians forum), you will find that the above list is almost never the reason for jettisoning the Christian faith. Most of use here left Christianity because we studied the Bible - extensively, and for many years. We studied Christian Apologetics, and Creation Science, and Biblical Archaeology, and Christian History. We immersed ourselves in all the arguments, "walked in faith," tried all the techniques, and studied exegesis, homiletics, hermeneutics, and gematria.

 

The thing is, the more you learn about Christianity, the less it holds together. I suspect that most people on this site know far more about Christianity and the Bible than you do, and I am confident that collectively we would blow away your entire church in a Bible Bowl.

 

What I am trying to say, as politely as possible, is that we really don't have any questions about Christianity that you could possibly answer. You have nothing to offer anyone here, other than your charming naïveté. You are, of course, welcome to hang around and ask questions of your own. I warn you, however: the answers might be hazardous to your faith.

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Did God invent evil?

 

 

 

This has been asked twice, so I will attempt to answer it next.

 

Did God invent/create evil?

 

If by the word invent/create you mean that God is the 'cause' of evil, I would say no. God created a universe with beings who were given the ability to choose. The choice to turn away from obedience to God first by Satan and then by Adam and Eve as a result of the temptation in the Garden of Eden was something that God allowed to happen, but He did not create evil. Now the question becomes, if God allowed Satan and the first people to sin, why did He create them with the ability to choose? There are two sides to this argument. The ability to choose to do evil, which God did give humans, has as its flip-side the ability to choose to love and obey God. Without the choice to rebel, there would be no ability to choose to love. If what God seeks is obedience, as Scripture testifies to, there must inherently be a choice in the matter. God wants people who genuinely love Him, not mindless automatons who have no choice in the matter.

 

So, by creating humans with the ability to choose to remain faithful and obedient to God, the consequences of humans choosing to not do that is evil. Evil came when man sinned, not before that point in time.

 

Please let me know if that explanation helps any. :-)

 

in Christ,

Caleb McCreary

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The thing is, the more you learn about Christianity, the less it holds together. I suspect that most people on this site know far more about Christianity and the Bible than you do, and I am confident that collectively we would blow away your entire church in a Bible Bowl.

 

What I am trying to say, as politely as possible, is that we really don't have any questions about Christianity that you could possibly answer. You have nothing to offer anyone here, other than your charming naïveté. You are, of course, welcome to hang around and ask questions of your own. I warn you, however: the answers might be hazardous to your faith.

 

 

I don't pretend to have all the answers, Davka, as if I am some kind of super-genius. I am offering to be questioned, that is all. This forum exists for just that reason. I am neither naive nor biblically illiterate and I welcome the questions not as someone who is trying to "convert all these heathens" or something like that, but as someone who is willing to make his voice heard and give others the opportunity to do the same. I bring no hostility and I bring no foolish stupidity. I'm simply stating my case. :-)

 

Thanks,

Caleb

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If what God seeks is obedience, as Scripture testifies to, there must inherently be a choice in the matter. God wants people who genuinely love Him, not mindless automatons who have no choice in the matter.

 

So, by creating humans with the ability to choose to remain faithful and obedient to God, the consequences of humans choosing to not do that is evil. Evil came when man sinned, not before that point in time.

 

Please let me know if that explanation helps any. :-)

 

in Christ,

Caleb McCreary

Can you see the inconsistency in your above statements Caleb?

 

God seeks obedience and wants it given freely, yet punishes them for choosing not to.

 

Why?

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Can you see the inconsistency in your above statements Caleb?

 

God seeks obedience and wants it given freely, yet punishes them for choosing not to.

 

Why?

 

 

Notblinded,

 

The premise that you are arguing from needs to be examined. If God is really God, that means He is the creator of everything, you and I included. As contingent, created beings, our allegiance belongs to the Creator. This is the case precisely because He is God. We are not. We are created beings and to put ourselves in His rightful place is sin. If God is truly holy, sin must be punished. The punishment is not arbitrary, but something that is deserved.

 

We must also temper this idea of divine judgment with the Scriptural support that God does forgive sin. He punishes, but He also forgives. You cannot ignore that aspect in Scripture. So, yes God does punish those who choose to turn away from Him, but He also forgives those who choose to turn to Him and put their faith in Christ.

 

I hope that clears up the points I was trying to make.

 

- Caleb McCreary

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Can you see the inconsistency in your above statements Caleb?

 

God seeks obedience and wants it given freely, yet punishes them for choosing not to.

 

Why?

 

 

Notblinded,

 

The premise that you are arguing from needs to be examined. If God is really God, that means He is the creator of everything, you and I included. As contingent, created beings, our allegiance belongs to the Creator.

 

Why? The American Colonies were created by England. England claimed that as contingent, created entities, their allegiance belonged to England. Yet the colonists responded that allegiance must be earned, and that England was abusing its power.

 

This is the case precisely because He is God. We are not. We are created beings and to put ourselves in His rightful place is sin.

 

According to whom? God?

 

But if God makes the rules and decides what is sin and what is not, doesn't that mean he's just like King George? He says "this is good and that is bad because I say so," and for no other reason.

 

God committed so many atrocities in the Old Testament that to claim he is "good" by any standard other than his own is laughable. BibleGod is a tyrant, an abusive and capricious father. Perhaps you need to read your Bible more.

 

If God is truly holy, sin must be punished. The punishment is not arbitrary, but something that is deserved.

 

This is what all abusive fathers say. "You broke the rule and touched the chocolate! Never mind that I dangled it in front of your face, you knew you were forbidden to touch it! You're only getting what you deserve."

 

It's a completely irrational defense. If any human being acted the way BibleGod supposedly did, we'd lock them up as a sociopath.

 

We must also temper this idea of divine judgment with the Scriptural support that God does forgive sin. He punishes, but He also forgives. You cannot ignore that aspect in Scripture. So, yes God does punish those who choose to turn away from Him, but He also forgives those who choose to turn to Him and put their faith in Christ.

 

Which totally does away with free will. "You can do whatever you want, but if you don't follow this precise route, you will be eternally tormented. But go ahead, do what you like."

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Just as an FYI, the Bible says God created evil.

 

 

That would be the point I was trying to make, unfortunately, it seems he is unaware of this verse. :shrug:

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Just as an FYI, the Bible says God created evil.

 

Davka,

 

Evil in this case in the Hebrew text is used as an adjective, not a noun. The KJV translates this word as "evil" but many other English translations translate this word as "disaster or calamity". You could better say it "evil things". In context of this word, Isaiah 45, God is shown as the supreme ruler and He is using Cyrus for his purposes. He creates light and darkness, and causes calamity (never arbitrarily by the way) and He also causes salvation which is the ultimate good. Even this chapter of Isaiah is one of mercy, as Cyrus would eventually free the Jews from exile in Babylon.

 

 

God is not the author or evil. He allows calamity for His purposes, but he did not create evil.

 

- Caleb

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Just as an FYI, the Bible says God created evil.

 

 

That would be the point I was trying to make, unfortunately, it seems he is unaware of this verse. :shrug:

 

 

Please feel free to give me Scripture references if you intend for me to know that you are "quoting" from Scripture in your questions. Reading minds is hard to do over the internet. :-)

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Evil in this case in the Hebrew text is used as an adjective, not a noun.

 

Um - no. I speak Hebrew pretty well, and read it passably. My wife is fluent. It's used here as a noun.

 

Your attempt to change the meaning of this verse to fit modern Christianity is pretty silly. What is your level of expertise in Hebrew?

 

 

The KJV translates this word as "evil" but many other English translations translate this word as "disaster or calamity".

 

yes, they do. Because they can't handle what it actually says. Like I said in the other post, orthodox Judaism has always known what this verse says and means. It's just the revisionist Christians who cannot handle reality.

 

The Bible is very clear. It tells us over and over that everything that ever came into existence was created by God. Unless you want to claim that evil has always existed, like God, you have a real problem here.

 

You're pretty good at parroting standard Evangelical pablum. How are you at thinking for yourself?

 

EDIT: Because the obvious question is - if God did not create evil, where did it come from?

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Why? The American Colonies were created by England. England claimed that as contingent, created entities, their allegiance belonged to England. Yet the colonists responded that allegiance must be earned, and that England was abusing its power.

 

 

 

Davka,

 

Did England create the people? No. To use this as an analogy is fallacious because you are dealing with two human beings or groups of human beings. When I talk of allegiance being owed to God because He is the Creator of everything, this transcends any human relationships. And God really has earned our allegiance, if you insist on stating that. Creation itself is God's way of earning our allegiance so to speak. The very fact that He chose to create us is exactly why He demands our worship as God. Why do you choose to rebel against Someone who has given you the very breath in your lungs and the food you eat and the water you drink? Where is the abuse of power in God's providing EVERYTHING for you and I? Is it not selfish to throw that back in His face and say "I've had enough of you because you require something of me?" It is the utmost of arrogance to spit in God's face, but that is often what we choose to do.

 

 

I will try to answer the other points you bring up in further posts.

 

- Caleb

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Did England create the people? No. To use this as an analogy is fallacious because you are dealing with two human beings or groups of human beings.

 

England created the colonies. The analogy is flawed, as are all analogies, but the meaning holds up quite well. Simple creating something does not give you the right to abuse it - especially if that something is alive.

 

When I talk of allegiance being owed to God because He is the Creator of everything, this transcends any human relationships. And God really has earned our allegiance, if you insist on stating that. Creation itself is God's way of earning our allegiance so to speak. The very fact that He chose to create us is exactly why He demands our worship as God.

 

What kind of crazed egomaniac would create beings and then demand that they worship him? That's not my idea of a "loving father."

 

Why do you choose to rebel against Someone who has given you the very breath in your lungs and the food you eat and the water you drink?

 

I don't. No more than you rebel against the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

 

Where is the abuse of power in God's providing EVERYTHING for you and I? Is it not selfish to throw that back in His face and say "I've had enough of you because you require something of me?"

If I were a teenager and God were a physical father, you might have a point. But I'm an adult, and "god" is a fiction.

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Davka, you said:

 

According to whom? God?

 

But if God makes the rules and decides what is sin and what is not, doesn't that mean he's just like King George? He says "this is good and that is bad because I say so," and for no other reason.

 

 

Would an omnipotent, omniscient God ultimately know what is best for His creatures? Would it not be utterly foolish to not listen to the very one who created you and who holds you together? God does not arbitrarily make rules just to be a killjoy. God's purposes for setting moral standards are for our own good. We only run into a problem with God when we don't want to obey Him. But hasn't that always been the problem even from Eden? Men chose not to obey, men chose to sin. As a result of this sin, evil came about.

 

- C

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Davka, you said:

 

According to whom? God?

 

But if God makes the rules and decides what is sin and what is not, doesn't that mean he's just like King George? He says "this is good and that is bad because I say so," and for no other reason.

 

 

Would an omnipotent, omniscient God ultimately know what is best for His creatures? Would it not be utterly foolish to not listen to the very one who created you and who holds you together? God does not arbitrarily make rules just to be a killjoy. God's purposes for setting moral standards are for our own good. We only run into a problem with God when we don't want to obey Him. But hasn't that always been the problem even from Eden? Men chose not to obey, men chose to sin. As a result of this sin, evil came about.

 

- C

 

Omnipotent. This means that "god" can do anything. Absolutely anything.

 

Omniscient. This means that "god" knows everything, even before it happens.

 

So this supposed omnipotent omniscient being created a garden to put people in. And put a tree in it that he told them never to touch, because if they did they would die. But wait a minute - "god" is omniscient, right?

 

So "god" knew before he created anything at all that Adam and Eve would eat that fruit. Yet he chose to make them and the fruit anyways. He knew they would eat it, he knew it would kill them and bring sin into the world, but he did it anyways.

 

That's how god created sin. Sure, he used Adam and Eve as proxies, but that's like saying "I didn't kill that man, the bullet from this gun did! I just pulled the trigger, knowing that the bullet would kill him. But it wasn't me who did the killing, honest - it was the bullet!"

 

An omnipotent, omniscient "god" is responsible ofr all the pain, suffering, and sin in the history of the world. Because he knew this would happen before he even began to create, and he chose to create anyways - knowing full well what would happen.

 

An omnipotent omniscient "god" is the most guilty sort of "god" imaginable.

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And I notice you decided to dodge the Hebrew question.

 

The correct phrase is "I was wrong. Sorry about that."

 

You Christians are supposed to know all about repentance. Go on - give it a whirl!

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Was the robe placed on Jesus at his trial scarlet or purple?

 

 

 

I take it you are referring here to the supposed conflict between Matthew 27:28 which calls the robe scarlet (Gk. kokkinos) and Mark 15:17 which calls the robe purple (Gk. porphura)?

 

This is not as much the contradiction that it at first may seem. The Roman sagum was a reddish purple cloak worn by soldiers. To one eyewitness, it might appear more red, to another more purple. It is like when I see a car that looks black but is in fact a dark blue. There is no harm intended by this supposed contradiction, this is an eyewitness account after all. Matthew could have seen it as redder and Peter could have seen it as more purple.

 

- Caleb

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