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Old 07-04-2001, 02:37 PM   #41
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Tercel: I think any gods which are idols are figments of the imagination.

I think all gods are figments of the imagination.

rodahi


 
Old 07-05-2001, 10:05 PM   #42
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Thank you for that statement of faith Rodahi.
You haved performed the admirable task of telling those readers who had not already managed to work it out that you are an atheist. Well done.
 
Old 07-05-2001, 10:49 PM   #43
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by diana:
1. When I say “according the standard Xn dogma,” and can point out the place in the scriptures that leads me to believe a certain concept is integral to your belief system, according to your holy book, you accuse me of “telling you what to believe.” However, when I step back (as I have done 90% of the time in this thread) and ask you what, exactly, you believe and why, you manage to suggest that I don’t understand Xnty, but you produce no reference from your own scriptures to disprove me or support your position. How would you prefer I carry on the discussion so that I don’t put words in your mouth or waste your time?</font>
That entirely depends on what you are aiming to demonstrate/ask here. When you say "according to standard Xn dogma" and then say something which I do not recognise as anything like standard Christian dogma, I am inclined to get a little bit worried. If your aim is to say "Christians think Y, Y is clearly wrong, and therefore Christians are silly" then it has a tendency to fall through when you find that many or most or all Christians don't actually believe Y.
If you really want to know what is standard Christian dogma then you are only going to find out by reading multiple books on the subject written by a range of authors who belong to different denominations.
I am simply not going to go through the immensely tedious and difficult process of locating ever single bible passage relating to every single one of my beliefs.
If you ask me my beliefs on a couple of points I am happy to tell you. If you ask me to dig up some Bible references to support them, I will probably not be extremely happy about it but I would attempt to do it anyway. But I do draw the line when I feel I am being asked to do what amounts to quite a lot of work for no better reason than that you can't be bothered reading a book or two on the appropriate subjects. I don't intend to write one for you.
You seem to imply that I must be able to support my beliefs from the Bible and thus I should want to use Bible passages to support them. While this is all well and good, I do forget things. When I originally adopted the beliefs I have in each case, then it is obviously necessary for Biblical support. But years (and much forgetfullness) later I feel justified in simply stating my beliefs - and knowing they do have Biblical support somewhere (as otherwise I wouldn't have adopted them in the first place) without me in many cases knowing where to find that support.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">2. I have found that the best chance I have in getting a Xn to understand my objections is to ask him questions about his beliefs and why he holds them. I’ve tried to simply point out why something makes no sense or is inconsistent, but this is far less effective, on average, than allowing him to make this discovery by himself.</font>
Fair enough, but unlike some of the Christians you might be familiar with, I put a lot of time and effort into making sure my beliefs are consisent. There is not much which annoys me more than people who have inconsistent beliefs. (I'm mainly thinking here of certain types of humanist atheists - who adopt parts Christian morality yet have completely no sound philosophical basis for doing so.)

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">3. You routinely make blanket statements with absolutely no backing outside of your conviction that what you believe is “standard” Xn theology, but many of the things you say I’ve never heard before and have no idea where you get them. Your arguments are unconvincing when you appear to pull a notion out of thin air and simply expect me to accept it as a premisis for your argument. We cannot have an argument unless we agree on the premisis. Hence, I ask where you got this idea or that, as this is absolutely necessary to continue the discussion. When you find yourself needing pages to answer one simple question I’ve asked (as you pointed out), this should indicate to you that you made a blanket assertion. If you don’t have the time or energy to back them up, don’t make them.</font>
I hope I've pretty much covered this in 1. It basically boils down to this: What are you trying to discuss? Do you want to discuss what I believe? What most Christians belief? (Which is often difficult to determine, and it I'm any judge then you haven't done a very good job at this) What no one believes but you say they do? What a select group of Christians believe?
I think you might have most success with the last choice. Perhaps if you begin by asking if any Christians here believe X, Y and Z. After they have said they do, discuss your argument with them. Otherwise you might well find that the Christian you are talking to doesn't believe many of the things you are assuming they do.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">4. I have had a good deal of exposure to Xns at all points of the scale, and I’m not sure which ones amaze me more: inerrantists or liberals (which is the general term that is used where I grew up—no disparagement intended). Inerrantists, as you’ve pointed out, basically screw themselves because the bible is clearly errant. And I’m pleased that you are intelligent enough to acknowledge this fact. Liberals fascinate me because they have put themselves in a position from which they are forced to rationalize why they believe this scripture but not that one. So I ask again, how do you know which scriptures to believe and which to discard? How do you know you’ve made the right choice? (If I wanted to pick a fight, I’d call what you’re doing “convenient Xnty.” But don’t, so I won’t.)</font>
I don't know I can ever give an answer to this you'll accept, but I suppose I can try (although not right now, I'll try to write one within the next few days).

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">5. You suggest I know little about Xnty (I just think I know something). Meanwhile, you seem to think all Xns believe the same basic things, that their differences are rather insignificant. (These “petty” differences have provoked wars, though.) I know enough about Xnty to know that Xns ultimately base their beliefs on the Bible (not on Systematic Theology, or some other apologist’s ideas), and every sect/demonination has references for its own interpretation. Since you’re the Xn, it should be a simple matter for you to point out the basis for your belief. It would appear at this point that I’m far more familiar with the basis for your belief system (i.e., the bible) than you are. Pity I’m so ignorant of Xnty, though.</font>
Of course they base their beliefs on the Bible. A book like Systematic Theology will however explain how each belief is based on the Bible. Basically it will do what you are wanting me to do, and when I look at the size of the book it is hardly surprising that I don't want to do it.
There are a few main streams of Christian beliefs, things like Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox etc
Within these groupings the differences in doctrine between denominations are normally relatively minor in theory and on occasion (in my experience) all but shrink to naught in practice.
Still I am quite aware that I am busy commiting some rather huge generalisations here so I'd probably better stop.
In my opinion the real difference among Christians is the Inerrancy one, which is not a denominational thing.

[This message has been edited by Tercel (edited July 05, 2001).]
 
Old 07-05-2001, 11:00 PM   #44
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">c. You try to get a consistent overview of a text that is, by your own admission, inconsistent. (Huh?!)
d. You get this “consistent overview” by “taking the basics into account and extrapolating from there.” (In an admittedly inconsistent text, how does one determine what “the basics” are so that one may justifiably discard the chaff?)</font>
You can get a consistent overview quite easily as the vast majority of the text is consistent. This allows you to throw out the inconsistences, which although numerous, are really very few given the size of the text.

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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I’m trying to get to the bottom of this without being rude. For this reason, I keep coming back to the question: How do you know what to keep and what to toss? (If you wish, we may open another thread on this subject.)</font>
Since I don't seem to have suceeded very well so far at explaining this, perhaps you should open a thread inviting other theists to explain it to you - after all the majority of Christians I have seen posting here are not inerrantists - so you should be able to find one whos explaination you can understand. It might be worthwhile as I've had several other atheists ask the same question and not been satisfied by my answers too.
 
Old 07-06-2001, 07:31 AM   #45
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
Since I don't seem to have suceeded very well so far at explaining this, perhaps you should open a thread inviting other theists to explain it to you - after all the majority of Christians I have seen posting here are not inerrantists - </font>
Tercel,

Please stop beating around the burning bush
and answer the topic. Let's stop getting
sidetracked in the details of what you
believe.

The question is "Does God change his mind?"

You claim no, and try to support it by
arbitrarily throwing out parts of the Bible
which don't fit you needs.

So then the question becomes: "How do you
know which ones to throw out?". If you
admit that the Bible has been altered
by man, how do you know which parts are
correct and which parts aren't? How do
you know that you're throwing out
the right parts? How can you claim the
Bible is not inerrant, then claim it's
the word of God?

In other words, how can you base your
entire life on a belief system dictated
by a book which YOU ADMIT IS ERRANT?


 
Old 07-06-2001, 03:50 PM   #46
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kosh:
The question is "Does God change his mind?"

You claim no, and try to support it by
arbitrarily throwing out parts of the Bible
which don't fit you needs.</font>
Actually I don't think I've at all tried to answer the question of whether God changes his mind.
But a brief few seconds of thought tell me that the answer is obvious, and that the "contradiction" is not really one.
No matter what the Bible says on the specific subject, the answer based on the my understanding of the nature of God throughout the Bible must clearly be that he isn't indecisive. When we say someone "changes their mind" it can mean two different things, which is what is causing the problem here. It can mean they are indecisive and keep changing their mind trying to make a decision, or it can mean that the circumstances change and therefore the old decision is no longer appropriate.
Without actually looking at the scriptural references I have confidence that I can state straight out that the ones which say God doesn't change his mind are talking about the indecisive definition and the ones which say he changed his mind are refering to a changing response to changing circumstances.
I admit it might not be a particularly clear way of saying it, and thus this "contradiction" might be reasonably thought to prove that God did not dictate the Bible. However I don't think this counts at all as a true contradiction.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">So then the question becomes: "How do you
know which ones to throw out?". If you
admit that the Bible has been altered
by man, how do you know which parts are
correct and which parts aren't? How do
you know that you're throwing out
the right parts? How can you claim the
Bible is not inerrant, then claim it's
the word of God?

In other words, how can you base your
entire life on a belief system dictated
by a book which YOU ADMIT IS ERRANT?</font>
Well if you didn't understand my explaination before, I doubt you will now. The answer is that for the most part I don't think it is errant. It's only errant in a serious way very occasionally. Going back to my original analogy, how do you believe anything you read in the newspaper which YOU (presumably) ADMIT IS ERRANT? We live in a human world where everything is errant to some degree simply because of human imperfectness. Knowing everything is ERRANT has never stopped most people believing most things they read before, why should it stop me from believing the not demonstratably errant parts of the Bible??
I don't normally claim it's the "word of God" because the term is used so often by inerrantists. I do however believe in divine inspiration, which is sutably vague and it allows me to have it both ways when I feel like it. (There's a little more to it than that, but if you can't grasp what I've said above then I don't want to even try to explain it)
 
Old 07-06-2001, 04:53 PM   #47
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Diana,
On to the question of free-will/predestination.
Christ at that stage only had one choice, yes: To choose freely what he chose.
Predestination and free will are not always contradictory as you would apparently like to think.
This is because him being in that position in the first place clearly must have been contingint upon his choice. (Because otherwise the prophesies etc couldn't have said what they did)
Can we assume that Christ could not have chosen otherwise because it would invalidate the prophesies and make God a liar?
Clearly when God gave the prophesies, He was able to give them because He knew that Christ would in the future choose to die on the cross.
Therefore clearly the very nature of reality was such at the time of Christ's death that He would choose to die on the cross. He could have theoretically chosen otherwise, but if He had done so then the past would have been different because it was contingint upon his choice. As such, he could not have chosen differently in this world because the existence of this world is dependent upon Him choosing to die.

Because of the use of the circular logic with regard to contingincy, free-will has not actually been eliminated and so if we want to postulate it as an axiom we have no contradiction.
(If you followed that then congratulations. If not, go and read the Tree of Knowledge and the Contradiction Between Prophesy and Free Will threads before complaining)

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Scriptures noted in support of your “Xst’s blood was retroactive” belief. Thank you. I stand corrected. We clearly have hearts and mouths after death with which we may believe and confess our “faith” in Xst, according to the bible. I take issue with the “fairness” of it, though. If you’re alive after death and in hell….Hang on. I think Jewish belief gives them Sheol, which is neither heaven nor hell—it’s just a holding bin. So you’re in Sheol, so you already know that there really IS life after death. Along comes Xst, who gives you a chance to get out. Wouldn’t you take it? Where does faith enter into it? (“For without faith it is impossible to please him.”) And when do you get the chance to act on your beliefs? (“For faith without works is dead.”)

It’s still unfair and illogical.</font>
You're good a turning agreement into an accusation... at least I've convinced you on one point.

I don't know how salvation after death works. It is simply clear that those who die without knowing Jesus are still able to come to God through him.
As for the unfair and illogical bit:
"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
- Jesus (Luke 12:47-48)

It is clear Jesus is talking about judgement, it seems that whatever else it might be: it will be entirely fair and take everything into account.
Perhaps one of the greatest in Heaven will be a beggar who nobody was ever nice to, who didn't know God and yet didn't kick a cat when he might have? After all little is required where little is given.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">To clarify: God’s plan was in place before the world was made; it was inalterable. What I meant to say here was that what it took to please God changed drastically between the old covenant and the new. God’s chosen people were under a different system than we are. God changed his mind.</font>
Hmm... possibly. I am wary of agreeing because of passages like "It is love that I want, not animal sacrifices", (Hosea 6:6, Isaiah 1:11, Matthew 9:13, Matthew 12:7) and "Love God..." (Deut 6:5, Deut 10:12, Deut 11:1-2, Deut 11:13, Deut 13:3, Deut 19:9, Deut 30:6, Deut 30:16, Joshua 22:5, Joshua 23:11, Nehemiah 1:5, Hosea 12:6, Micah 6:8, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27, Luke 11:42, John 5:42, Romans 8:39) which are repeated throught the Bible.
These main messages are clearly inter-covenantal and unchanging. I think all that really changed with the New Covenant was that we gained knowledge of how God puts people right with him. (Romans 3, 5, 8)

I don't know that "God changed His mind" is a good explanation, I think "God fulfilled His promises" would be better. After all He told Abraham He would make him a blessing to all nations and people. (Genesis 12:3) And Paul quotes this in Galations 3:8 saying that God has fulfilled this promise.
Also 'The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will make a new covenant....
I will forgive their sins and will no longer remember their wrongs. I the Lord have spoken"' (Jeremiah 32:31-34)
 
Old 07-06-2001, 05:33 PM   #48
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Christ at that stage only had one choice, yes: To choose freely what he chose.</font>
Someone please remind me why I'm arguing with a person who can say this with a straight face.
 
Old 07-06-2001, 05:39 PM   #49
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Thank you for that statement of faith Rodahi.</font>
Actually, "I think all gods are figments of the imagination" is a statement of lack of faith.

Please do not drag us down into your private hell.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You haved performed the admirable task of telling those readers who had not already managed to work it out that you are an atheist. Well done. </font>
Well he is a SecWeb moderator. I'd think that would be the first clue.

I trust you were being sarcastic, though. Whereas, I think rodahi was using a simple method to point out that you clearly reject all other gods but for some reason that we are as yet unable to fathom, accept your own.

Or maybe he was just being a smartass.

d
 
Old 07-06-2001, 06:11 PM   #50
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Tercel:
No matter what the Bible says on the specific subject, the answer based on the my understanding of the nature of God throughout the Bible must clearly be that he isn't indecisive....Without actually looking at the scriptural references I have confidence that I can state straight out that the ones which say God doesn't change his mind are talking about the indecisive definition and the ones which say he changed his mind are refering to a changing response to changing circumstances.</font>
Of course. When one begins with the premise that this god exists and cannot be indecisive, this logically follows.



Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Going back to my original analogy, how do you believe anything you read in the newspaper which YOU (presumably) ADMIT IS ERRANT?</font>
If my newspaper reported people being raised from the dead, thousands of people being fed with only one loaf and two fishes (or something like that), and water being turned into wine, and none of the surrounding newspapers could or would substantiate the stories, I'd doubt it, as well.

Find another analogy.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I do however believe in divine inspiration, which is sutably vague and it allows me to have it both ways when I feel like it.</font>
Perhaps there is a little more to it (as you say), but I suspect your paraphrase here was much more to the point.

You don't need to substantiate your beliefs with scripture (the only basis for your beliefs, to the best of my knowledge), and all dissenters are "refuted" because the bible was "divinely inspired but not infallible," which of course means that you can discard what you wish with a clear conscience.

And to think I took you at your word when you said you were a man of logic.

Considering your refusal to supply references and your willingness to simply discard mine (from the same source, presumably), please tell us why you popped in to argue in the first place.

A man of logic would understand the necessity of providing reasons for his beliefs.

You'd think.

A Xn would find "providing scripture" child's play. It is, after all, the basis for his belief.

You'd think.

d
 
 

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