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Why are you a Christian (or Why not) ?

 
 
micah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2004 11:00 pm
mesquite wrote:
Would you care to provide a moral argument to counter Mark Twain's piece?
yes......

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.'

2 Corinthians 4:17-18

May you be given a view of the 'things which are unseen' this day. May you spend this day in the company of the Man whose hands were pierced for your sin and for mine. I pray with all the love in my heart that you will know life more abundant this day and for ever.

Weeping may for a night endures, at morn doth joy arise.
0 Replies
 
mesquite
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2004 11:38 pm
Micah

Yeh, yeh. He works in mysterious ways. Mark Twain had something to say about that also.
Quote:
Little Bessie
by Mark Twain
from Fables of Man
Mark Twain Papers Series
University of California Press

Chapter 1
Little Bessie Would Assist Providence

Little Bessie was nearly three years old. She was a good child, and not shallow, not frivolous, but meditative and thoughtful, and much given to thinking out the reasons of things and trying to make them harmonise with results. One day she said --

"Mamma, why is there so much pain and sorrow and suffering? What is it all for?"

It was an easy question, and mamma had no difficulty in answering it:

"It is for our good, my child. In His wisdom and mercy the Lord sends us these afflictions to discipline us and make us better."

"Is it He that sends them?"

"Yes."

"Does He send all of them, mamma?"

"Yes, dear, all of them. None of them comes by accident; He alone sends them, and always out of love for us, and to make us better."

"Isn't it strange!"

"Strange? Why, no, I have never thought of it in that way. I have not heard any one call it strange before. It has always seemed natural and right to me, and wise and most kindly and merciful."

"Who first thought of it like that, mamma? Was it you?"

"Oh, no, child, I was taught it."

"Who taught you so, mamma?"

"Why, really, I don't know -- I can't remember. My mother, I suppose; or the preacher. But it's a thing that everybody knows."

"Well, anyway, it does seem strange. Did He give Billy Norris the typhus?"

"Yes."

"What for?"

"Why, to discipline him and make him good."

"But he died, mamma, and so it couldn't make him good."

"Well, then, I suppose it was for some other reason. We know it was a good reason, whatever it was."

"What do you think it was, mamma?"

"Oh, you ask so many questions! I think; it was to discipline his parents."

"Well, then, it wasn't fair, mamma. Why should his life be taken away for their sake, when he wasn't doing anything?"

"Oh, I don't know! I only know it was for a good and wise and merciful reason."

"What reason, mamma?"

"I think -- I think -- well, it was a judgment; it was to punish them for some sin they had committed."

"But he was the one that was punished, mamma. Was that right?"

"Certainly, certainly. He does nothing that isn't right and wise and merciful. You can't understand these things now, dear, but when you are grown up you will understand them, and then you will see that they are just and wise."

After a pause:

"Did He make the roof fall in on the stranger that was trying to save the crippled old woman from the fire, mamma?"

"Yes, my child. Wait! Don't ask me why, because I don't know. I only know it was to discipline some one, or be a judgment upon somebody, or to show His power."

"That drunken man that stuck a pitchfork into Mrs. Welch's baby when -- "

"Never mind about it, you needn't go into particulars; it was as to discipline the child -- that much is certain, anyway."

"Mamma, Mr. Burgess said in his sermon that billions of little creatures are sent into us to give us cholera, and typhoid, and lockjaw, and more than a thousand other sicknesses and -- mamma, does He send them?"

"Oh, certainly, child, certainly. Of course."

"What for?"

"Oh, to discipline us! haven't I told you so, over and over again?"

"It's awful cruel, mamma! And silly! and if I -- "

"Hush, oh hush! do you want to bring the lightning?"

"You know the lightning did come last week, mamma, and struck the new church, and burnt it down. Was it to discipline the church?"

(Wearily). "Oh, I suppose so."

"But it killed a hog that wasn't doing anything. Was it to discipline the hog, mamma?"

"Dear child, don't you want to run out and play a while? If you would like to -- "

"Mama, only think! Mr. Hollister says there isn't a bird or fish or reptile or any other animal that hasn't got an enemy that Providence has sent to bite it and chase it and pester it, and kill it, and suck; its blood and discipline it and make it good and religious. Is that true, mother -- because if it is true, why did Mr. Hollister laugh at it?"

"That Hollister is a scandalous person, and I don't want you to listen to anything he says."

"Why, mamma, he is very interesting, and I think he tries to be good. He says the wasps catch spiders and cram them down into their nests in the ground -- alive, mamma! -- and there they live and suffer days and days and days, and the hungry little wasps chewing their legs and gnawing into their bellies all the time, to make them good and religious and praise God for His infinite mercies. I think Mr. Hollister is just lovely, and ever so kind; for when I asked him if he would treat a spider like that, he said he hoped to be damned if he would; and then he -- "

"My child! oh, do for goodness' sake -- "

"And mamma, he says the spider is appointed to catch the fly, and drive her fangs into his bowels, and suck and suck and suck his blood, to discipline him and make him a Christian; and whenever the fly buzzes his wings with the pain and misery of it, you can see by the spider's grateful eye that she is thanking the Giver of All Good for -- well, she's saving grace, as he says; and also, he -- "

"Oh, aren't you ever going to get tired chattering! If you want to go out and play -- "

"Mama, he says himself that all troubles and pains and miseries and rotten diseases and horrors and villainies are sent to us in mercy and kindness to discipline us; and he says it is the duty of every father and mother to help Providence, every way they can; and says they can't do it by just scolding and whipping, for that won't answer, it is weak and no good -- Providence's way is best, and it is every parent's duty and every person's duty to help discipline everybody, and cripple them and kill them, and starve them, and freeze them, and rot them with diseases, and lead them into murder and theft and dishonor and disgrace; and he says Providence's invention for disciplining us and the animals is the very brightest idea that ever was, and not even an idiot could get up anything shinier. Mamma, brother Eddie needs disciplining, right away: and I know where you can get the smallpox for him, and the itch, and the diphtheria, and bone-rot, and heart disease, and consumption, and -- Dear mamma, have you fainted! I will run and bring help! Now this comes of staying in town this hot weather."
Source
0 Replies
 
micah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2004 11:39 pm
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Why would a benevolent god want to invent E. coli in the first place? Did he get bored with the existing ways to plague us? I would have thought He'd have better things to do.
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 12:17 am
Dude; I've already passed you the peace pipe on this. You should leave a sleeping dog lie. None of that explains His dissatisfaction with already existent ways to plague us. I will say that your seemingly overt religious addiction is probably much better for you than whatever preceded it. May I kindly suggest you discontinue this line before one of the seasoned atheists here establishes more reasonable grounds for doubt than you really want to consider. Idea
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micah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 01:17 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
None of that explains His dissatisfaction with already existent ways to plague us.


can you rephrase this??

i'm sorry i don't understand.....
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OCCOM BILL
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 02:15 am
Sure. None of your reasons explain why God would feel a need for a new way to hurt people.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 07:09 am
God said to Abraham
Kill me a son
Abe said Man you must be puttin me on
God say no
Abe say what
God say you can do what you wanna Abe
But the next time you see me comin you better run
Well Abe says where do you want this killin done
God says oh on down Highway 61
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micah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2004 10:42 am
OCCOM BILL wrote:
Sure. None of your reasons explain why God would feel a need for a new way to hurt people.


God doesn't need to design e-coli to hurt people....because he allows e-coli to exist does not mean he doesn't love his people...this world became cursed at the beginning.

God never promised us immunity from difficulties, but he did offer peace in difficulties....

the evils and sufferings of the world can be better understood when seen from the right perspective...

in an amillenial view, the trials and tribulations spoken of in revelation and not reserved for a future 7 year period.....the number 7 is symbolic of a "complete period of time", could be 3500 years for all we know..

those tribulations are revealed in a symbolic way in revelation, yet are visible and evident as we look at history and the world today.
0 Replies
 
Terry
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2004 09:14 pm
micah wrote:

No, pain alerts us to problems. Suffering torments us.
Quote:
Suffering restrains us, keeping us from committing evil (Heb. 12:5-13).

Nope. Laws and morality restrain us. Fear of suffering in hell may keep some people from committing evil acts, but some of us refrain from evil out of our own sense of ethics, not any fear of God's wrath.
Quote:
Suffering humbles us, reminding us of our weakness (2 Cor. 12:7-10).

And why do you suppose that God wishes to humiliate us instead of reminding us of our strengths and encouraging us to overcome our own problems?
Quote:
Suffering teaches us about ourselves, our values, our choices (Matt. 13:20-23).

No. Experience, education and self-reflection do that. Suffering torments us.
Quote:

Can you imagine a parent who could easily alleviate their child's needless suffering but refuses to do so? God did not need anyone to "die in our place." It makes no sense for God to create a son and sacrifice Him to Himself in order to allow Himself to forgive us for having the sinful nature He designed us to have.
Quote:
Suffering builds perseverance, character, and hope (Rom. 5:3-4).

Challenges build perserverance and character. Endless suffering breeds hopelessness.

Quote:
God is involved in our suffering.

The Bible says a lot of things about God. How do you decide what to believe and what to ignore?

I have read the entire Bible and find it impossible to believe that God could be as cruel, unjust and illogical as the Bible portrays him, or that belief in his "son" is necessary for salvation. That is why I am not a Christian.
0 Replies
 
Child of the Light
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Feb, 2004 09:20 pm
micah wrote:


this world became cursed at the beginning.



I still some nights find myself thinking "WHY?!?!? Why couldn't you leave that box alone Pandora?!?!?".
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SCoates
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Feb, 2004 10:20 pm
The ideal religion would be logical, and adhere to physics.
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Investor4life
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 07:03 am
God is love Smile I was raised in a christian home, constantly being dragged to church 4 times a week for most of my life....my step-father was a preacher - I have renounced religion because it is literally man-made (research it) my "religion" is the truth- word of God and that is all I follow. And honestly, I've never been happier Smile Most have the best intentions....... I've seen 'some' spiritual truths in alot of religions. Remember that everyone has their own "personal belief system" that was derived from their own experiences and what they've been taught up to this point, it either goes along with the truth or not, simple as that. I agree that it would have been nice if God would have just written everything down himself and handed it to all of us but it obviously does not work that way. Of course, we will all find out what's really going on when we die but I would hope that most people will really contemplate their existence before that point. The reason I have a belief in God could in no way be summed up in words ~ however, I do know more than life itself that there is a God -even though He may not be what we invision Him to be. He is spirit, love, the good as opposed to evil and inside us

~Kristin
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 07:14 am
Welcome to A2K, Investor4life!

Haleiwa's a great town. Wildest surf I've ever seen anywhere in the islands (never mind the mainland). And Haleiwa Joe's is a fine place to have lunch.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 07:31 am
Investor4life wrote:
God is love Smile I was raised in a christian home, constantly being dragged to church 4 times a week for most of my life....my step-father was a preacher - I have renounced religion because it is literally man-made (research it) my "religion" is the truth- word of God and that is all I follow. And honestly, I've never been happier Smile Most have the best intentions....... I've seen 'some' spiritual truths in alot of religions. Remember that everyone has their own "personal belief system" that was derived from their own experiences and what they've been taught up to this point, it either goes along with the truth or not, simple as that. I agree that it would have been nice if God would have just written everything down himself and handed it to all of us but it obviously does not work that way. Of course, we will all find out what's really going on when we die but I would hope that most people will really contemplate their existence before that point. The reason I have a belief in God could in no way be summed up in words ~ however, I do know more than life itself that there is a God -even though He may not be what we invision Him to be. He is spirit, love, the good as opposed to evil and inside us

~Kristin



Kristin

If your avatar is a picture of you -- you look hot. Welcome to A2K.


I'd like to comment on one sentence of your post.

Quote:
Remember that everyone has their own "personal belief system" that was derived from their own experiences and what they've been taught up to this point, it either goes along with the truth or not, simple as that.


Well some of us don't.

I am an agnostic. I have no "belief system" -- although some people like to argue that being an agnostic is a "belief system."

It ain't.

Here it is in words:


I do not know the answers to Ultimate Questions, like "Is there a God or are there no gods?"

I do not have enough unambiguous information or evidence upon which to base a meaningful guess in either direction.



There is no "belief" involved there.


It is the TRUTH.


If you are seriously seeking the TRUTH -- it seems to me that the best way to obtain it is to acknowledge that IT APPEARS that none of us KNOW for sure on these questions -- and that the best we can do is to guess -- and that the evidence for and against all sides seems ambiguous at best.


Whata ya think?
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Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 07:45 am
Frank, my only problem with your 'non-belief system' (my phrase, not yours, admittedly) is that nowhere have I seen you define what you mean by 'god.' My own experience suggests that for non-believers (and I include agnostics as well as atheists here) the whole thing is a matter of semantics, nothing more. If by 'God' you mean a pseudo-anthropomorphic entity or something which can reasonably be described as a 'person,' I am with the atheists.

However, I do believe in something which, for want of a better word, I refer to as God. I have absolutely no idea what it is, how it works or anything else about it except that I am keenly aware of its existence. Furthermore, I don't think that I (or any other human being) is capable of understanding this well-regulated force. We aren't programmed to understand something so far outside our experience. People who have some sort of animus against the word 'god' can call it something else. The Force if you're a Peter Lucas fan will do nicely. I jus find a three-letter word is easier to say.

And Kristin is right. What we call 'love' has something to do with it.
0 Replies
 
BoGoWo
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 08:05 am
Investor4life wrote:
God is love Smile ....... Of course, we will all find out what's really going on when we die but I would hope that most people will really contemplate their existence before that point........


i would point out that your comment (quoted) is only true, if your beliefs are "true"; if you are wrong about the existence of (a) deity(s), then when we die, all will end for us, and there will be no 'dissappointment', in fact there will be no 'anything'! And the corollory, if i am wrong (i do not believe in any supernatural 'powers'), and the classic mass belief is indeed fact, then i will be "VERY" surprised!

Your equation that god = good (a spelling conceit) is a very simplistic way of extracting the best from religion, but it misses the historical glut of evil that has been perpetrated in the name of the "one and only" god.

Why not take the positive aspects of humanity, and rejoice in them, and leave out the meaningless assignment of such "goodness" to an external source?

having said all that, your comments indicate a good heart, and an ability to think; welcome to a2k Kristin;
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 08:06 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
Frank, my only problem with your 'non-belief system' (my phrase, not yours, admittedly) is that nowhere have I seen you define what you mean by 'god.' My own experience suggests that for non-believers (and I include agnostics as well as atheists here) the whole thing is a matter of semantics, nothing more. If by 'God' you mean a pseudo-anthropomorphic entity or something which can reasonably be described as a 'person,' I am with the atheists.



You define God any way you want.

I don't know if it exists.



Quote:
However, I do believe in something which, for want of a better word, I refer to as God. I have absolutely no idea what it is, how it works or anything else about it except that I am keenly aware of its existence.


Well, that sounds nice. But, I suspect the part about being "...keenly aware of its existence" is the same kind of thing Christians offer about their god. They also are "keenly aware of its existence."

MY GUESS: The Christians cannot tell me how they KNOW they are not deluding themselves -- and you cannot tell me how you KNOW you are not deluding yourself also.



Quote:
Furthermore, I don't think that I (or any other human being) is capable of understanding this well-regulated force. We aren't programmed to understand something so far outside our experience.


Interesting guess.

But even if your guess is right -- why not simply say "I do not know what the nature of reality is" -- and simply end it there? Why posit a GOD in any form? Or, why posit that there are no gods?

Why not just acknowledge that you do not know -- and leave it at that?



Quote:
People who have some sort of animus against the word 'god' can call it something else. The Force if you're a Peter Lucas fan will do nicely. I jus find a three-letter word is easier to say.


Sounds good to me, Andrew.


And I will continue to encourage people to simply acknowledge that the nature of reality seems to be hidden from us. I consider that acknowledgement to be closer to TRUTH than any guesses we pull out of the air.



Quote:
And Kristin is right. What we call 'love' has something to do with it.


Yeah, that is another thing that sounds good.

But it may mean nothing.

If the god of the Bible happens by some wild chance to be GOD -- then love has nothing to do with it, because the god of the Bible is damn near anything but love.

And even if the god of the Bible is not GOD (and I strongly suspect it isn't) -- yet there still is a GOD -- the TRUTH may be that "love" plays no part at all in Its Godness.

It is simply a "feel good" phrase.


Always enjoy your comments, Andrew. You are a good thinking person.
0 Replies
 
Portal Star
 
  1  
Reply Sat 28 Feb, 2004 11:04 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
Frank, my only problem with your 'non-belief system' (my phrase, not yours, admittedly) is that nowhere have I seen you define what you mean by 'god.' My own experience suggests that for non-believers (and I include agnostics as well as atheists here) the whole thing is a matter of semantics, nothing more. If by 'God' you mean a pseudo-anthropomorphic entity or something which can reasonably be described as a 'person,' I am with the atheists.

However, I do believe in something which, for want of a better word, I refer to as God. I have absolutely no idea what it is, how it works or anything else about it except that I am keenly aware of its existence. Furthermore, I don't think that I (or any other human being) is capable of understanding this well-regulated force. We aren't programmed to understand something so far outside our experience. People who have some sort of animus against the word 'god' can call it something else. The Force if you're a Peter Lucas fan will do nicely. I jus find a three-letter word is easier to say.

And Kristin is right. What we call 'love' has something to do with it.


I am also an agnostic, but my views are slightly different from Apisa's. You hit the ball on the nose when you pointed out that g-d's definition changes over time and culture. Definition is central to what somthing is in the human mind. That is why I could disprove the existance of a g-d with a beard sitting in the clouds that was supposed to farm souls and grant everlasting life and listen when you prayed. It would be even easier to disprove the existance of certain dieties: ex. Jesus, Inanna, pharos as divine. However, because the definition of g-d shifts - how would there be any one way to target it, to pin it down, to disprove it?

Some of the definitions of g-d have nothing to do with impacting the physical universe. Some are g-d as just a word for whatever set the univese in motion. Of course I have no way of proving or disproving statements like that.
0 Replies
 
Investor4life
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Mar, 2004 07:33 am
Merry - I love this town and I agree, the waves are completely nuts if not scary sometimes - I was stupid enough to try surfing for my first time @ the beach I live on-- horrible mistake! I got banged up bad - I love Haleiwa Joes Smile Do you come down here often? I visited here for the first time a couple of years ago and I haven't left yet, lol- I guess I caught the island fever. Wink I agree with you about God- I think most people imagine that it's some guy sitting up in the sky just watching and dishing out blessings and such - of course, this is our big question that no one can have an answer to because the higher power or God has not shown himself/his/her- whatever. I personally don't think it's a guy in the sky

Nature of reality is hidden from us......I agree Smile Yes, that's my pic - it's real fuzzy but it's the only one I have on my comp. @ the moment. I agree that yes, without material evidence we are all on the same level of guessing - but to deny the Bible and God/higher power is something I can never do- I personally see too much evidence' in our own history, the bible, and even in my own life. I just don't see how if the bible was written by so many different people over 1500 years then how does it fit together (prophesies and such) If you want 2 know the truth I was completely opposite just a couple years ago- I was a stereotypical party girl and I followed my desires wherever they led me which got me nowhere - then went through the army........which, lol got me nowhere except stripped of all freedom and a huge stamp "US PROPERTY" stamped on my a$$- not literally, lol - so then I traveled all around partying w/ my best friend and a couple of our nav. seal friends and I was still not truly happy. I am however, content now. I will never stop searching for the truth, even though I have made my decision based on what I've seen so far -- a decision is just a decision and if there is new evidence ever shown then I will always take it with an open mind and heart - I'll always research and read more of anything I can get my hands on because yes, I think there needs to be more evidence on all sides- maybe not just the side of the biblical....... I'm not just like 'hey I believe in God so I'll just kick back for the rest of life and be happy w/ that' ya know? It's not enough & I guess for anyone that defines a true searching for the truth.

I don't think it's in our capability to figure out some stuff with logic and intellectualizing (like love)-- I know that there are greater things going on with our existence and that maybe some of it is beyond our tiny human comprehension and that you probably understand things more in an '"understanding" way but are unable to say it in words that would make sense to science or man, sorta similar to intuition.

*Good point portal.....
0 Replies
 
 

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