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Old 06-26-2001, 04:53 PM   #61
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Wish I had more time to write. Seems you've just written a miniature thesis. But here it goes.

"I say that the books of the Bible contain occasional historical errors and often reflects the opinions of the writer. All attempts at writing histories are subject to the possibility of occasional historical errors. But it is still more accurate to believe what the historian says than to not believe a word because of the occasional mistake."

Occasional? Yeah, if you only read the first 3 chapters of Genesis.

"All writings reflect the world-views of the writers. Some (or possibly all) of the Bible writers believed that the earth was flat because that's what everyone believed at the time. Because I know this bit of their accepted knowledge to be wrong, do I then say "I'm therefore not going to believe them when they tell me what their name is or the name of the city they live in, because their writings are clearly erroneous". The "wise-men" of the ancient Jews had the idea that suffering on earth was proportional to wrong doing. (The book of Job explores this idea and disagrees) So many of the ancient writers take this idea for granted and use it in their works. But because they do this, do I then say, "This person is clearly ignorant of true theology and thus their work is erroneous and hence I'm not going to believe them when they give me details about battle X."
Of course not!"

This is my point. Make your own conclusion about God. You don't need people who are lying about their knowledge of God to tell you. Even if what they say does have a few errors in it, it doesn't mean that the rest is even close to the truth. Check out other myths of the time (for example) and you'll see how these stories have evolved (as I'm sure you are already fully aware). Just believe what 'their' God tells you (of course, you already know I'm not convinced).

""The Bible" is a compilation of many different writings by many different writers of a period of perhaps 1500 years or more. It is hardly suprising that the understanding of God and how he works in the world held by Paul differs to the understand held by Job. The men are separated by a gulf of experience. Paul has experienced that God must care for the world because he sent his Son to die for it. Job does not know about this and to him God seems uncaring. It is simply ignorant to say "Job and Paul have different ideas of God and therefore the Bible is erroneous". The truth is much deeper."

With what you have said, why would you believe either one for the case of God? God would talk to you directly, just like God talked to them. How is it any more ignorant to say the Bible is erroneous because of their differing views than to say the Bible is NOT erroneous because of the same thing? That could be argued either way.

"Are you refering to the flood specifically or what. I suspect a good case could be made that God knew that they would grow up and follow the ways of their parents and become wicked and so it was in His mercy that he killed them. However I do not think that this is necessary."

The flood, the book of Joshua, the book of Samuel, Isa. 45, Exo. 20, and many more which I will find. Take your pick. If you argue that God knew they would grow up and be bad, then why create them to begin with? Either way it is unjust. That was God's choice to kill them. Remember, God is all powerful, so it can be done. And why does God have a 'will' or 'mercy' anyway? That entails limitation, which is, in my opinion, a God flaw.

"You use common sense and a brain. (I laugh whenever I see comments that religion requires you to stop thinking) If 10 different Bible writers widely separated in time insisted that God was loving and gave an argument for it, and one said "I don't think God is loving", it doesn't take much consideration. It gets more complicated: Paul insists that faith alone saves, while James believes that good works are required as well. "

Once again, you don't need them to tell you what to believe. If they can't agree on God, then that is reason enough to draw your own conclusion. And if God talked to them, what's stopping God from talking to you (hypothetically)?

"Personally, I agree with Paul - he gives a sound logical argument for it. I think good works will be clearly a result of faith though. "

Exactly. A choice you make. You talked to your God (I'm assuming) and drew that conclusion. If I said Paul was an asshole, then I would say the same thing (I talked to God/4th chakra/whatever).

"Of course the atheists come along and say "it's a contradiction thus the Bible is errant and thus we believe none of it"."

People don't disbelieve the Bible for only that reason. Some (like me) have found no logical reason to believe it and, therefore, don't believe. Many atheists don't believe in the Bible or a God for the same reason you don't believe that YHWH doesn't exist(it's illogical on both ends). And how do you know atheists don't use the Bible for another purpose? Maybe they derive the limited knowledge of it for something in their lives. But that's speculation.

"Unfortunately the effect of fundamentalists declaring the Bible to be all but personally written by God is to make the atheists feel good when they prove a contradiction in theology between different writers."

Atheists don't just deny your god, they deny all gods and devils, pixies, tooth fairies, etc. or they just lack a religious belief and deny god's existence. As far as that, I would agree. After all, don't you feel good when you witness to someone and they convert to what you believe? Worshipping your God and such?

"Meanwhile (ie several hundred years earlier) the non-fundamentalist Christians have for a long time been aware of the discrepancies in theology and split themselves into denominations (one group believing one thing and the other believing the other)."

Agreed.

" Perhaps you can start to understand my feelings when atheists come along feeling good with themselves for finding things like that James and Paul disagree on whether faith by itself saves."

I understand. They probably feel the same way about you believing in a God to begin with. To the other side, the side in question has a ridiculous view of god/no god.

"To some extent we are discussing my view, but I cannot think of anything we have discussed where my view differs to the mainstream Protestant view. Why are there so many denominations? Because there are so many issues. In what I would call the mainstream Protestant denominations the differences are very minor. Eg my denomination (Baptist) is distinguished largely by the fact that we baptise people by fully immersing them in water rather than sprinkling water over their heads."

That's always been funny to me. When I was about 11 or 12, they did the full body on me. But I rejected the faith for the same reason that you are a baptist, because I don't agree with other people's views. But no one knows who is or isn't right (could be that everyone is right, then that would be a waste of time for the people who work to convert, wouldn't it?).

Your views aren't too unfamiliar (though I disagree with you on many things as well as you to me, which is fine). I used to be a Baptist (FWB in fact), but I don't feel the need to adhere to their beliefs when I find the belief in question unethical, therefore, I am proud to say that I am not only agnostic, but liberal in belief.

hubj.-
 
Old 06-27-2001, 05:45 PM   #62
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"I say that the books of the Bible contain occasional historical errors and often reflects the opinions of the writer. All attempts at writing histories are subject to the possibility of occasional historical errors. But it is still more accurate to believe what the historian says than to not believe a word because of the occasional mistake."

Occasional? Yeah, if you only read the first 3 chapters of Genesis.</font>
I do not believe in the literal truth of much of early Genesis. Anything before Abraham I'm likely to shrug my shoulders about. Believe it or not I manage to do this, remain a Christian and not lose any sleep over it. I was thinking more of instances of internal Biblical contradictions and contradictions with external sources.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This is my point. Make your own conclusion about God. You don't need people who are lying about their knowledge of God to tell you.</font>
Why should they be "lying" as opposed to genuinely mistaken whenever they are wrong? If I am to form my own conclusion about God, how can I possibly do it without seeing how God has acted in the world? The books of the Bible relate God's interaction with men which is much needed by anyone who wants to form an opinion of God.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even if what they say does have a few errors in it, it doesn't mean that the rest is even close to the truth.</font>
Of course not, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't either.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Check out other myths of the time (for example) and you'll see how these stories have evolved (as I'm sure you are already fully aware).</font>
I'm aware of much alleged evolving and copying going on in Christianity ranging from the creation story being copied from the Babylonians to Mark's Gospel being a copy of Homer. In some cases it sounds plausible, other cases I think that it is more plausible that Christianity was copied from not to. And occasionally I think that the person trying to make the parrellel needs to keep their day job.
Any particular stories that you had in mind? (I'm certainly prepared to grant a fair amount of copying, especially with regard to early Genesis)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">With what you have said, why would you believe either one for the case of God? God would talk to you directly, just like God talked to them. How is it any more ignorant to say the Bible is erroneous because of their differing views than to say the Bible is NOT erroneous because of the same thing? That could be argued either way.</font>
I'm not saying that the Bible is "NOT erroneous". It is erroneous upon occasion. But I cannot stress enough how much "erroneous upon occasion" differs from "largely false".

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The flood, the book of Joshua, the book of Samuel, Isa. 45, Exo. 20, and many more which I will find. Take your pick. If you argue that God knew they would grow up and be bad, then why create them to begin with? Either way it is unjust. That was God's choice to kill them. Remember, God is all powerful, so it can be done.</font>
Firstly I must wonder why you think that God killing anyone is naturally unjust. He did make them in the first place. 'A clay pot does not ask the man who made it "Why did you make me like this?" After all, the man who make the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes"' (Romans 9:20-21) Secondly I would point out that God is only killing their temporal bodies here (which must eventually die at anyrate) not their souls. And thirdly we can of course ask the age old question of "is it really God doing it?". We could if we wished accuse the writer of reading too much into the situation although this sort of excuse is dangerous to use too much. However it is actually a pretty good excuse as the OT writers often have a tendancy to see God's actions behind event single event which happens and they see him bringing both "good/blessings and evil/destruction". Whereas Christians with our Good-God approach would tend to attribute much of the evil in the world to Satan and his Devils/Angels. The old testament writers had a comparatively limited understand of Satan and he is almost conspicuous by his absence (He makes a brief (but theologically different to the Christian one) appearence in Job, and an even briefer appearence in Genesis). And they thus sometimes attributed to God many actions which are probably better attributed to Satan.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And why does God have a 'will' or 'mercy' anyway? That entails limitation, which is, in my opinion, a God flaw.</font>
Why do either of these things entail limitation?
I do think God does self-limit himself for us, but I don't think that this can really be considered a flaw.

-Tercel
 
Old 06-28-2001, 02:19 PM   #63
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Tercel; 2+2=4 is how you figure your grocery budget.
2=2=22 is how Harvard grads at NASA go to Mars.
Math is like clay. It can be molded into any calulation you can dream.
Dream higher.
 
Old 06-28-2001, 04:34 PM   #64
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Quote:
"I say that the books of the Bible contain occasional historical errors and often reflects the opinions of the writer. All attempts at writing histories are subject to the possibility of occasional historical errors. But it is still more accurate to believe what the historian says than to not believe a word because of the occasional mistake."

Occasional? Yeah, if you only read the first 3 chapters of Genesis.</font>
I do not believe in the literal truth of much of early Genesis. Anything before Abraham I'm likely to shrug my shoulders about. Believe it or not I manage to do this, remain a Christian and not lose any sleep over it. I was thinking more of instances of internal Biblical contradictions and contradictions with external sources.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This is my point. Make your own conclusion about God. You don't need people who are lying about their knowledge of God to tell you.</font>
Why should they be "lying" as opposed to genuinely mistaken whenever they are wrong? If I am to form my own conclusion about God, how can I possibly do it without seeing how God has acted in the world? The books of the Bible relate God's interaction with men which is much needed by anyone who wants to form an opinion of God.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even if what they say does have a few errors in it, it doesn't mean that the rest is even close to the truth.</font>
Of course not, but it doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't either.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Check out other myths of the time (for example) and you'll see how these stories have evolved (as I'm sure you are already fully aware).</font>
I'm aware of much alleged evolving and copying going on in Christianity ranging from the creation story being copied from the Babylonians to Mark's Gospel being a copy of Homer. In some cases it sounds plausible, other cases I think that it is more plausible that Christianity was copied from not to. And occasionally I think that the person trying to make the parrellel needs to keep their day job.
Any particular stories that you had in mind? (I'm certainly prepared to grant a fair amount of copying, especially with regard to early Genesis)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">With what you have said, why would you believe either one for the case of God? God would talk to you directly, just like God talked to them. How is it any more ignorant to say the Bible is erroneous because of their differing views than to say the Bible is NOT erroneous because of the same thing? That could be argued either way.</font>
I'm not saying that the Bible is "NOT erroneous". It is erroneous upon occasion. But I cannot stress enough how much "erroneous upon occasion" differs from "largely false".

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The flood, the book of Joshua, the book of Samuel, Isa. 45, Exo. 20, and many more which I will find. Take your pick. If you argue that God knew they would grow up and be bad, then why create them to begin with? Either way it is unjust. That was God's choice to kill them. Remember, God is all powerful, so it can be done.</font>
Firstly I must wonder why you think that God killing anyone is naturally unjust. He did make them in the first place. 'A clay pot does not ask the man who made it "Why did you make me like this?" After all, the man who make the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes"' (Romans 9:20-21) Secondly I would point out that God is only killing their temporal bodies here (which must eventually die at anyrate) not their souls. And thirdly we can of course ask the age old question of "is it really God doing it?". We could if we wished accuse the writer of reading too much into the situation although this sort of excuse is dangerous to use too much. However it is actually a pretty good excuse as the OT writers often have a tendancy to see God's actions behind event single event which happens and they see him bringing both "good/blessings and evil/destruction". Whereas Christians with our Good-God approach would tend to attribute much of the evil in the world to Satan and his Devils/Angels. The old testament writers had a comparatively limited understand of Satan and he is almost conspicuous by his absence (He makes a brief (but theologically different to the Christian one) appearence in Job, and an even briefer appearence in Genesis). And they thus sometimes attributed to God many actions which are probably better attributed to Satan.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And why does God have a 'will' or 'mercy' anyway? That entails limitation, which is, in my opinion, a God flaw.</font>
Why do either of these things entail limitation?
I do think God does self-limit himself for us, but I don't think that this can really be considered a flaw.

-Tercel
I have been following this debate with interest. Some really good points have been made on both sides.

It is well we remember that in a monotheistic belief, there is only one source of all existance, of all morality,or all information and learning, everything
"Flows from the Grace of God".

Christianity has been predicated on the omnipotence of it's source, the God of the
Ancient Hebrews which is named, "I AM ".

The debate of Adams fall in the garden of Eden is always based on the personal view of everyone who takes the time to read it, and their attempt to understand it.

As with the entire Bible, the interpretation of the words recorded there are personal
interpretations and deductions made by whoever is doing the study at the time.

Free will is a subject that will never be totally resolved, the only resolution comes from the source who is unattainable for comment, unless you have as some evangelists
say " a direct line to the man".

I would like to present a point here for the posters consideration.

There is another very interesting take on the subject of the Fall of Adam.

Christians like to state that old free will
argument, and the non-theists dont buy it.

In some of the previous posts, God's omnipotence has been questioned. Christians like to espouse the concept that man and in particular Adam and Eve, had a choice to Obey
God's wishes or not.

That is probably correct to a point, but we should remember that one of the main doctrines of Christianity (in it's 20,000 or so different sects worldwide) is the concept of the divine plan.

Christianity poses that God has and has always had a "Divine plan for the Salvation
of Mankind".

Also Christians will use the argument that non-theists cannot understand the word and actions of God, without the direction of the
"Holy Spirit". The Bible and the acts of God
can only be understood with the assistance of the "holy spirit" and that only through Gods "Sustaining Grace" can we understand evil and the ways of God.

So, it would appear that God had a plan for the salvation of mankind, a divine plan for the direction of man.

So the question is did God cause the fall of Adam in the first place?

He most certainly did.....

A plan indicates that there are operating parameters, there is a setting of operating
procedures, and direction to achieve the desired results.

If we look at the doctrine of "Gods plan for the Salvation of mankind", it could not be
activated without the proper setup.

The stage had to be set, for the play to run.

So God actually did introduce "evil" into the world, and he did cause the fall of A&E.

If you attribute this being with omnipotence, then you must also realize that everything that happens, is from God.
All knowledge, all morality, all good and all evil, issue from the mind of God.

Now, did God actually get the serpent to go to Eve and tempt her, and eventually pull Adam into the disobedience with her?

Probably not, but what he did do was worse!

He made sure that at the critical moment, his "sustaining Grace" was jerked from A&E,
so that they could not resist the temptation of disobedience.

And because his "grace" was removed, the plan of the divine salvation of mankind was assured.

You see, A&E would have been endowed with knowledge directly from God.
As some christians like to point out, they would have known the difference in obey and disobey, simply throught the "grace of the Holy Spirit".

All knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit.
Nothing can be understood by us poor humans regarding the works of God, without the assistance of the Holy spirit in the learnng process.

When we as non-theists point out the lack
of knowledge of A&E regarding "Evil", the concept of death, even the idea of disobedience, we are told by many theists
that A&E being children of God would have an innate knowledge of right and wrong, through the "Grace of God", and the knowledge would come from the "Holy spirit".

So yes God did cause the fall of A&E.
In order to "fix" something, to administer
a healing, to act as a hero, or to establish a divine presence, there must be a "need".

To fix something, it has to be broken.
So in order to implement a "Plan for the salvation of Mankind", man kind needed to be
saved....simple.
 
Old 06-28-2001, 05:57 PM   #65
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Sighhswolf,
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">It is well we remember that in a monotheistic belief, there is only one source of all existance, of all morality,or all information and learning, everything
"Flows from the Grace of God".</font>
I think that this might need a slight qualification. There is only one Ultimate Source. Yet most Christians (me included) believe in Demons, Angels etc.
Getting sidetracked for a moment: A common mistake that I see many atheists make is to assume that this world is the most important one. They may be right, or they may not, but is nowhere stated like this in the Bible. Personally I would guess that the purpose of this world is to fulfill God's purposes in the spiritual world (which is presumably the ultimate one). I think things are really pretty complicated and that this world is a means, not an ends.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christians like to state that old free will argument, and the non-theists dont buy it.</font>
It's a pity. I think Free Will is a very important part of the way God works.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In some of the previous posts, God's omnipotence has been questioned. Christians like to espouse the concept that man and in particular Adam and Eve, had a choice to Obey
God's wishes or not.</font>
I believe that they did have a choice. God however, as has already been discussed in this thread, knew what choice they were going to make "before" they made it.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Also Christians will use the argument that non-theists cannot understand the word and actions of God, without the direction of the "Holy Spirit". The Bible and the acts of God can only be understood with the assistance of the "holy spirit" and that only through Gods "Sustaining Grace" can we understand evil and the ways of God.</font>
Some Christians are into this, others aren't. I lump myself fairly firmly in the "others" category. I think the Holy Spirit can provide understanding as per the ways of God but I feel that saying that the Holy Spirit is necessary to do so is probably going too far.
What has "Sustaining Grace" got to do with anything?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So the question is did God cause the fall of Adam in the first place?</font>
And the answer is no. He knew about it, but didn't cause it: The did it out of their own free will.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If we look at the doctrine of "Gods plan for the Salvation of mankind", it could not be activated without the proper setup.

The stage had to be set, for the play to run.</font>
Well, you are quite right that God can't save mankind unless they need saving.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So God actually did introduce "evil" into the world, and he did cause the fall of A&E.</font>
Don't you think that this is a rather large leap in logic? It in no way follows from the above argument.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">If you attribute this being with omnipotence, then you must also realize that everything that happens, is from God.
All knowledge, all morality, all good and all evil, issue from the mind of God.</font>
I don't have to do any such thing: I believe in Free Will. God is the ultimate source of everthing because without God there wouldn't be anything. But with Free Will it in no way follows that God is actually responsible for everything. ie we can't blame God for the Free actions of others.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Now, did God actually get the serpent to go to Eve and tempt her, and eventually pull Adam into the disobedience with her?

Probably not, but what he did do was worse!

He made sure that at the critical moment, his "sustaining Grace" was jerked from A&E,
so that they could not resist the temptation of disobedience.</font>
What is this "sustaining Grace" thing you're talking about? The sense in which I understand it does not seem to be related to how you are using it. What do you mean by it?
And why would you say that God specifically did any to A&E to make them disobey? I would say that A&E simply decided to disobey out of their own Free Will.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">All knowledge comes from the Holy Spirit. Nothing can be understood by us poor humans regarding the works of God, without the assistance of the Holy spirit in the learnng process.</font>
I think this is where we differ, I don't believe this to be true. I think you need to find a Christian who believes this and discuss it with them.
 
 

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