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I'm the only child of Christian leaders.  My parents are Christian leaders of a 3rd world country, but they reside here.  They are looked up to for spiritual guidance, questions on the Bible, etc.  They don't have their own home church because they are SOOO busy with their ministry.

 

When I debate them, I've been thought of as influenced by Satan.

 

My mom idolizes me.  She physically cannot handle it if I am not "saved".  I've tried "walking the narrow path", went into a state of psychosis and could not sleep for days.

 

The thing is I'm willing to give up all my idols and do my best to follow the 10 commandments, get accountability, etc etc.

 

I've been through a lot from the streets to bible college.  I've been tortured by my "Christian" guardian when I was a kid when my parents were away at seminary (they know this and are deeply sorry for that).  I feel like I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place.  For one, i know there is a problem with fundamental Christianity.  However, it is illogical to go from being a biblical christian to an atheist or agnostic. 

 

If i say I am universalist, I am called a heretic, and some say they'd rather have me not believe at all than to be a heretic.

 

My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

We all know today's Christianity is a joke, at least in America.  Anyone can be a pastor.  Why wouldn't they want to be a pastor/minister?  If you grow up in the church, being a pastor is like wanting to be a rapper or sports star for someone growing in the inner city projects.  They go to seminary and end up learning things that you can google or find from gotquestions.org, and then they feed off the honor and praise from people.  It's really a messed up cycle.

 

I still pray to this day.  I say "true God, or higher power, if you exist, help me".  I dont know.

 

 

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I mean what is the truth?  There are fallacies with evolution.  And chuck missler makes a pretty solid case for Christianity.  but in the end here is the kicker:

 

Why is it that if you are born outside of Christendom, according to biblical/ fundamental christianity, you have absolutely NO CHANCE of salvation.

 

I disagree with that.  Job was outside of Israel but the true God was shown to him.  What about melchizedek?  So fundamental Christians are limiting the work of the Holy Spirit to that of Christendom?

 

Something is off.  And i've heard every explanation to this.

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Hi, SighChristianity and welcome to ExC.

 

So sorry you went through the tough times you described. It sounds like your parents love you and that you love them. However, unfortunately, it seems that your questioning Christianity may be causing family problems. Those can be some of the toughest of all problems to face. You are not alone in this. Many on ExC have faced similar situations.

 

You ask two very good questions.

 

1. What really happened 2,000 years ago?

2. Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

For the first question, there is no definitive answer, though many people have some well reasoned theories. They range from some actual person or persons who formed the basis for the Biblical Jesus. This person or these persons may have been an inspired teacher and speaker and may even have brought about some placebo type of "healing" which was misperceived to be miraculous. From there the myth part of the story grew and grew eventually ending with virgin birth, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection.

 

Another view is that Jesus was pure myth based to a large degree on pagan beliefs.

 

As to your second question, the whole persecution issue may have been overblown. For example, many Christians speak of how the 11 disciples (sans Judas) faced terrible persecution and many faced terrible deaths. Fine, but where is the evidence for these conclusions? There are some apocryphal works that speak of some of that, but if Christians are going to accept those as evidence then they have to accept some other things they may not like.

 

The other thing about people dying for that which they believe, is that just because someone is willing to die for a cause neither makes the cause righteous nor true. Remember, the Heaven's Gate Cult, Jim Jones and his followers, suicide bombers in the Middle East, 911 hijackers, and countless others who died for what they believed to be the truth. No, a willingness to die for what one believes may be evidence that the person BELIEVED it to be true, but it is not evidence for its actual truth.

 

Again, welcome to ExC

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"My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?"

 

All religions and gods everywhere (Zeus, Isis, Thor, Quetzalcoatl, Baal, Yahweh, etc) were made up. That didn't stop people from killing in their names, or being killed for non-belief in these gods. Romans didn't kill people for being Christians, but for refusing to burn incense to Caesar as a god and for insurrection. Most of what I've read points to the New Testament being an entire fabrication, and not the "most documented piece of history ever" that Christians tell themselves. The gospels are authored anonymously; the alleged prophecies in the book of Matthew have nothing to do with Jesus when you look them up in the Old Testament (and are not even prophecies), or like Herod's slaughter of the children, never happened in history.

 

"Why is it that if you are born outside of Christendom, according to biblical/ fundamental christianity, you have absolutely NO CHANCE of salvation." Well, outside of converting. The whole "chosen people" concept is odd, and smacks of "our tribe is better than your tribe because we've a REAL god and you don't. Nyahh nyahh!"

 

So how are your prayers working out? If you are basing your belief on your years of indoctrination, and your god is real, should there not be some kind of communication from him, either good or bad? I've seen believers take every whim of their minds as the direction that God is giving them. They'll invest thousands of dollars traveling somewhere only to have "god" tell them to stay in their hotel room.

 

Sounds a lot like you are still caught by fears introduced in your childhood, and a desire to be loved by parents too devoted to their job to care if it is even real. Their only avenue for loving you is you fitting into their world and conforming. Your only chance of actual freedom is walking away and finding out about life for yourself, and not going back with any expectation of a good reception, only condemnation from them for not conforming.

 

Browse the forums and see the same struggles that most of us faced in turning from Christianity, and the freedom we found when we finally realized it was never true to begin with. I had more than 30 years of wholehearted "on-fire" belief, but once I got a real clue that I'd been lied to by well-meaning people, it began to unravel and nothing could stop it. I have more peace now that ever when I was a believer. There is no more invisible war with demons and angels fighting over my soul. Just reality and what I can make of it. I hope you find your way out.

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Sorry to hear about your family.  That sucks.

 

 

However, it is illogical to go from being a biblical christian to an atheist or agnostic. 

 

 

I find atheism to be perfectly logical.  Perhaps you have been told things about atheists that are not the case. 

 

 


My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

Two thousand years ago a con artists created his own religion and set himself up to be the prophet of it.  His name was Paul and he wrote about half a dozen books of the New Testament.  He tried to set his religion up so that it would not offend the Romans.  Nero persecuted some Christians because Nero was insane.  It had nothing to do with Christianity being right or true.  Nero did many horrible, insane things and Christians were just one of his many targets.  After that Rome noticed how effective Christianity was at unifying pagan culture so Rome took over Christianity and created the Bible.  From that day forward Rome used Christianity to pacify their empire.  Everyone was to become a Christian and follow this religion that was based in Rome.

 

 

 

I mean what is the truth?  There are fallacies with evolution.  And chuck missler makes a pretty solid case for Christianity.  but in the end here is the kicker:

 

Why is it that if you are born outside of Christendom, according to biblical/ fundamental christianity, you have absolutely NO CHANCE of salvation.

 

I disagree with that.  Job was outside of Israel but the true God was shown to him.  What about melchizedek?  So fundamental Christians are limiting the work of the Holy Spirit to that of Christendom?

 

Something is off.  And i've heard every explanation to this.

 

It's not your fault.  You were raised by Christians so you didn't get all the information.  Those who think evolution has fallacies don't understand it.  Evolution is one of the most well documented concepts known to man.  Job probably didn't exist.  He is a fable.  Melchizedek was probably a pagan.  He would have served the father of Jehova.  The God most high was the father of 70 other gods and goddesses.  Christianity is based on an older monotheism and that monotheism in turn was based on an older polytheism.  Haven't you ever wondered why the Old Testament God had so many names?  It is because the concept was created by rolling many gods into one.  Jewish monotheism didn't come along until a king tried to install his own family god, the jealous god of thunder, as the high god.

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Guest Marty

 

My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

This is my take:

 

In the Jewish religion, they needed to sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of their sins.  This could only be done at the Temple in Jerusalem.  In 70 C.E., the Jews revolted against the Romans and they destroyed the temple.  Without the Temple, they could no longer sacrifice animals.  What can they do now?

 

We know there were off shoot cults of Judaism at that time that lived in the wilderness.  The Essenes are one group.  Someone (or several, who knows) came up with the idea of a final, all encompassing sacrifice that would then eliminate the need for constant animal sacrifice in the temple.  This sacrifice was jesus.  Whoever came up with this (and those who later embellished them) were heavily influenced by Greek ideas as well as various Pagan ones too, which had lots of stories of godmen dying for the world.

 

This is where the seed idea of jesus came from, I think.  It was a simple attempt from a Jewish group to get around the need for animal sacrifice.  Since the earliest christian writings date from around 70 CE (IIRC, not real sure but I think they are just after the Temple was destroyed) it also supports this as the (or one of many) reasons for "making this stuff up for no reason".  

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I know you're asking questions about faith. But deeper down, you sound like you want to be accepted, and know that you are not alone.

I understand both parts. Rationally you want to make sense of it, and emotionally, you want to be okay.

If and when you're ready, you may want to read Karen Armstrong's book "The History Of God." It's going to explain a lot of your rational questions for you.

But emotionally? It sounds shallow to say this, but keep reading this forum. Many of us have been, if not exactly where you are, in similar circumstances.

It is very difficult when family members are invested in Christianity. That is a painful part of deconversion. Key word here is invested. Your parents are invested as Christian leaders.

I know others will have a lot more, perhaps more timely, words of comfort and ecouragement for you. I am a recent deconvert myself. But please, know that you are not alone. And your questions are not unnatural.

Also, in most world religions, the leader was a martyr of sorts, tortured or somehow put out by the community at large. This makes up a huge part of human mythology. Even the popular children' series Harry Potter has a young man who is brought up in abusive circumstances, only to turn around and be this amazing conquerer of evil.

But you're not alone, your concern for yourself and for your family is very understandable.

 

Leo

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There are fallacies with evolution.

 

Please search the talk.origins Index of Creationist Claims to see if these “fallacies” are addressed.

 

Since the earliest christian writings date from around 70 CE (IIRC, not real sure but I think they are just after the Temple was destroyed) it also supports this as the (or one of many) reasons for "making this stuff up for no reason".  

 

Scholars believe the earliest of the extant gospels date from the destruction of the temple, but St. Paul is believed to have written a couple of decades earlier, from the early 50s to the early 60s.

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I'm the only child of Christian leaders.  My parents are Christian leaders of a 3rd world country, but they reside here.  They are looked up to for spiritual guidance, questions on the Bible, etc.  They don't have their own home church because they are SOOO busy with their ministry.

 

When I debate them, I've been thought of as influenced by Satan.

 

My mom idolizes me.  She physically cannot handle it if I am not "saved".  I've tried "walking the narrow path", went into a state of psychosis and could not sleep for days.

 

The thing is I'm willing to give up all my idols and do my best to follow the 10 commandments, get accountability, etc etc.

 

I've been through a lot from the streets to bible college.  I've been tortured by my "Christian" guardian when I was a kid when my parents were away at seminary (they know this and are deeply sorry for that).  I feel like I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place.  For one, i know there is a problem with fundamental Christianity.  However, it is illogical to go from being a biblical christian to an atheist or agnostic. 

 

If i say I am universalist, I am called a heretic, and some say they'd rather have me not believe at all than to be a heretic.

 

My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

We all know today's Christianity is a joke, at least in America.  Anyone can be a pastor.  Why wouldn't they want to be a pastor/minister?  If you grow up in the church, being a pastor is like wanting to be a rapper or sports star for someone growing in the inner city projects.  They go to seminary and end up learning things that you can google or find from gotquestions.org, and then they feed off the honor and praise from people.  It's really a messed up cycle.

 

I still pray to this day.  I say "true God, or higher power, if you exist, help me".  I dont know.

 

You still pray to this day for God to help you and you find yourself here on a website that supports ex-Christians. Hmmm. :-)

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The truth is. It's not true - at least the parts about anything supernatural. No evidence supports it. Faith is not virtue. It's a stumbling block to your growth as a rational, thinking human being. You know something isn't right and I'll tell you, the root of that feeling is your rational mind telling you that religion is bullshit.

 

I too thought it was illogical to go from Christian to Atheist but here's a good lesson for you. Examine the evidence. Atheism is quickly growing in America. There's a website you're on called Ex-Christian.net. Apparently, it's not illogical at all. It's rather logical and actually quite common.

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My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

I'll give my 2 shekels by posing other questions. 

 

  • Why would someone make the stuff up in the Quran and face persecution from Crusaders?
  • Why would someone make up the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenant and face persecution for being a Mormon?
  • Why would someone make up the stuff that SDAs believe (Ellen White being the modern prophet) and face persecution for being an Adventist?
  • and so on and so forth.

We have loads of people who would die for a cause they truly believed in and wished it were true, but the intensity of belief does not make the belief true.

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My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

Kind of like asking, "What happened in the 1820s? Why would the Mormons conspire to make stuff up and face persecution from pretty much all non-Mormons?"

Implying that Joseph Smith's revelations must somehow be based in reality. 

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My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

Kind of like asking, "What happened in the 1820s? Why would the Mormons conspire to make stuff up and face persecution from pretty much all non-Mormons?"

Implying that Joseph Smith's revelations must somehow be based in reality. 

 

 

Yeah I know, but Mormon is based off Christianity.  Christianity is based off Judaism.  and Judaism... who knows.  It's a tough call.  I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place... that's for sure.

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I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place... that's for sure.

 

Yes you are.  Your personal intellectual thoughts and emotional feelings conflict with the peer pressure of family and others.

 

For what it's worth, this is a quite common situation for many folks.  Stay true to yourself and the rest will eventually become resolved, or at least become less important (to you) and manageable.

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Welcome Sigh. You are in a very difficult position. I feel for you. Keep asking questions, reading through this site and be open to whatever you may find. No pressure from us for you to believe anything in particular. This is your life, your journey to live as you see fit. I wish you all the best. 

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Yeah I know, but Mormon is based off Christianity.  Christianity is based off Judaism.  and Judaism... who knows.  It's a tough call.  I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place... that's for sure.

 

Christianity is an adaptation of pagan Greco-Roman mystery religion to a Midrashic interpretation of Judaism. But they don't tell you about the mystery religions in Sunday School. The Wikipedia article says that Justin Martyr called the mystery religions a demonic imitation of Christianity. What the article (in its present, possibly garbled, condition) doesn't make clear is that Justin was trying to explain to detractors why Christianity seemed almost identical to the mystery religions that preceded it. (His explanation was that Satan knew God's plans in advance, so he planted these “false” religions ahead of time to trick people.)

 

They don't tell you about the Midrash either, lest you might actually cross-check with the Old Testament and start to figure out why the Jews never took the Jesus story seriously.

 

Judaism is a refinement of one particular tribal religion, whose claim to fame is the evolution of the idea that their tribal god is the only god that exists, and demands exclusive allegience. But they don't tell you in Sunday School that the Israelites were originally polytheistic. Their polytheism is plainly evident in the Old Testament, but it is presented in terms of the Israelites straying from the One True God. This behavior would seem perverse for a people who witnessed their own rescue from slavery by Yahweh, but modern historians can find no evidence that the Exodus ever happened. Modern Judaism appears to be a fusion of the traditions of two rival priesthoods, from the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, respectively.

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Yeah I know, but Mormon is based off Christianity.  Christianity is based off Judaism.  and Judaism... who knows.  It's a tough call.  I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place... that's for sure.

 

Christianity is an adaptation of pagan Greco-Roman mystery religion to a Midrashic interpretation of Judaism. But they don't tell you about the mystery religions in Sunday School. The Wikipedia article says that Justin Martyr called the mystery religions a demonic imitation of Christianity. What the article (in its present, possibly garbled, condition) doesn't make clear is that Justin was trying to explain to detractors why Christianity seemed almost identical to the mystery religions that preceded it. (His explanation was that Satan knew God's plans in advance, so he planted these “false” religions ahead of time to trick people.)

 

They don't tell you about the Midrash either, lest you might actually cross-check with the Old Testament and start to figure out why the Jews never took the Jesus story seriously.

 

Judaism is a refinement of one particular tribal religion, whose claim to fame is the evolution of the idea that their tribal god is the only god that exists, and demands exclusive allegience. But they don't tell you in Sunday School that the Israelites were originally polytheistic. Their polytheism is plainly evident in the Old Testament, but it is presented in terms of the Israelites straying from the One True God. This behavior would seem perverse for a people who witnessed their own rescue from slavery by Yahweh, but modern historians can find no evidence that the Exodus ever happened. Modern Judaism appears to be a fusion of the traditions of two rival priesthoods, from the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, respectively.

 

 

There is no proof that Christianity stems from mystery religions.  Your only proof that Christianity stems from mystery religions is that they are similar in the fact that they're both religions, and hence all religions are alike in the fact that they are religions.  Jews never taking Jesus story seriously, well... the Christian explanation that Jews wanted a Messiah that is not the lowest of human beings (Jesus) is better explanation than "Modern historian can't find evidence of Exodus, etc " 

 

Too much conjecture in your reply seems like.

 

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Sorry to hear about your family.  That sucks.

 

 

However, it is illogical to go from being a biblical christian to an atheist or agnostic. 

 

 

I find atheism to be perfectly logical.  Perhaps you have been told things about atheists that are not the case. 

 

 

My question is, what really happened 2000 years ago?  Why would someone conspire to make the stuff up and face persecution from Romans?

 

Two thousand years ago a con artists created his own religion and set himself up to be the prophet of it.  His name was Paul and he wrote about half a dozen books of the New Testament.  He tried to set his religion up so that it would not offend the Romans.  Nero persecuted some Christians because Nero was insane.  It had nothing to do with Christianity being right or true.  Nero did many horrible, insane things and Christians were just one of his many targets.  After that Rome noticed how effective Christianity was at unifying pagan culture so Rome took over Christianity and created the Bible.  From that day forward Rome used Christianity to pacify their empire.  Everyone was to become a Christian and follow this religion that was based in Rome.

 

 

 

I mean what is the truth?  There are fallacies with evolution.  And chuck missler makes a pretty solid case for Christianity.  but in the end here is the kicker:

 

Why is it that if you are born outside of Christendom, according to biblical/ fundamental christianity, you have absolutely NO CHANCE of salvation.

 

I disagree with that.  Job was outside of Israel but the true God was shown to him.  What about melchizedek?  So fundamental Christians are limiting the work of the Holy Spirit to that of Christendom?

 

Something is off.  And i've heard every explanation to this.

 

It's not your fault.  You were raised by Christians so you didn't get all the information.  Those who think evolution has fallacies don't understand it.  Evolution is one of the most well documented concepts known to man.  Job probably didn't exist.  He is a fable.  Melchizedek was probably a pagan.  He would have served the father of Jehova.  The God most high was the father of 70 other gods and goddesses.  Christianity is based on an older monotheism and that monotheism in turn was based on an older polytheism.  Haven't you ever wondered why the Old Testament God had so many names?  It is because the concept was created by rolling many gods into one.  Jewish monotheism didn't come along until a king tried to install his own family god, the jealous god of thunder, as the high god.

 

Lol paul might be a con artist, the guy is kind of messed up and coo coo.  Problem is, Peter and the other people that actually lived with Jesus took Paul seriously.

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Lol paul might be a con artist, the guy is kind of messed up and coo coo.  Problem is, Peter and the other people that actually lived with Jesus took Paul seriously.

 

Of course they did! Paul was doing a much better job of marketing his interpretation of the faith.

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I've been through a lot from the streets to bible college.  I've been tortured by my "Christian" guardian when I was a kid when my parents were away at seminary (they know this and are deeply sorry for that).  I feel like I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place.  For one, i know there is a problem with fundamental Christianity.  However, it is illogical to go from being a biblical christian to an atheist or agnostic. 

 

If i say I am universalist, I am called a heretic, and some say they'd rather have me not believe at all than to be a heretic.

 

I feel for you buddy - especially on not just wanting to leave the faith. Universalism is not so bad, but I'm of the opinion its so far away from orthodox beliefs that's it just not worth holding onto. 

 

There's no "right" answer. You'll find a contradiction in every possible scenario you seek, because we ultimately don't know what happened 2000 years ago. I don't think it matter either. 

 

You don't need to reject your parent's beliefs though. Mine are very sincere in their faith, and I wouldn't try to deconvert them. Deconversion for me was about realizing just how much I didn't know, rather than a "rejection" of my beliefs. The distinction is profound.

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I don't know if this is any help, but I try to focus more on evaluating my own personal evidence for God than I do on evaluating theology and historical evidence. Like God and Jesus could be real in spite of a messed-up Christian tradition. Or God and Jesus could be imaginary even if the Christian tradition has been preserved perfectly.

 

But I see two problems with my approach:

(1) Some Christians believe God tests our faith by ignoring us or very rarely gets involved in our lives. But if that is true then I don't feel bad about being an atheist and ignoring God.

(2) Personal evidence tends to be ambiguous due to emotions, psychological problems, and human tendencies to see patterns that don't exist. So I try to be aware of these issues when I weigh the evidence.

 

Probably that is no help. I wish we could find some historical evidence to resolve the mystery of Christianity's origins.

 

EDIT I thought of another problem with my approach

(3) Some religions believe that God inspires a prophet every thousand years or so with guidance for living a better life. So there is no personal relationship with God it is simply applying the guidance to our own lives. My response to this problem would be to look for evidence that sincere followers of this religion live better. But that is hard to evaluate.

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Some Christians believe God tests our faith by ignoring us or very rarely gets involved in our lives.

 

Why would God test our faith when he already knows the answer? Is it for our own benefit? If so, then why did he design us such that our well-being depends on stroking his ego? Is the omnipotent creator of the universe that insecure?

 

Conversely, why are we not allowed to test him, since we don’t know the answer?

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"Why would God test our faith when he already knows the answer? Is it for our own benefit? If so, then

why did he design us such that our well-being depends on stroking his ego? Is the omnipotent creator of the universe that insecure?" Cousin Ricky

 

 

The omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God are characteristics that Mark Twain satirized in one of his essays or short stories. I don't remember it's name; perhaps someone else here does. As I recall,

it was letters from one of satin's agents on earth. The agent was reporting to his boss. He said

something like, "You won't believe what they [chistians]admit about their god.They say He is

omniscient and omnipotent, yet see nothing wrong in His failure to use those powers to better mankind."

 

It was either ironhorse or End3 who commented recently that, "Just because god is omnipotent does not

mean he is going to use those powers," Wow, what logic. God would use his powers to rig the outcome of a baseball or football game in answer to prayers, but will not use them to prevent the initiation and

result of a plague capable of killing millions. "His ways are better than our ways." Sure they are.

Does that mean we should be more concerned about the outcome of a game of football than the spread of a deadly epidemic? bill

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