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Old 06-21-2011, 10:49 AM  
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I think your response addresses semantic issues, but does not challenge the basic argument. Hopefully, we can nail down the linguistic differences.

My problem is with the "foundational concept" that humanity and humans are wicked/sinful/evil/inherently-deserving-of-punishment-by-nature-of-their-very-existence. My problem is with the very idea of the need for salvation.

I did not specifically define the term "religion" as I used it. I did not realize that "religion" implied a VW bug while "religious beliefs" or "faith" suggested an industrial dump truck. I would argue that the faith of one person, the beliefs of one person, the understanding of one person, the choices of one person, being based on their understanding, beliefs, and faith could be considered that person's "religion". (Incidentally, I would agree that even with this definition of religion, religion is the product of man - or a man - and is "corrupt", in the sense that it is not absolute truth, not that their is any malice attached.)

I would note that I'm not speaking solely of any sort of faith that could be broadly classified as Christianity, but ANY faith that originates from the premise "humanity=bad" and demands of its believers either punishment, or some belief or action on their part to prevent the otherwise deserved punishment. The foundational concept - "humanity=bad" - of such a faith is the offensive part.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:01 AM  
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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
I think your response addresses semantic issues Yes, my response is a process in semantics; defined as the study of interpretations of a formal theory...in my case...my formal belief., but does not challenge the basic argument ???. Hopefully, we can nail down the linguistic differences. Agreed, hopefully I'll understand what has so puzzled me.

My problem is with the "foundational concept" that humanity and humans are wicked/sinful/evil/inherently-deserving-of-punishment-by-nature-of-their-very-existence. My problem is with the very idea of the need for salvation. I feel that, through my own experience, I understand and agree with your confirmation of having problems with the concept of imputed sin and the need to be saved. An understanding and acceptance of inspired scripture and the source of that inspiration would be required...an understanding and acceptance you do not possess[Your admission, not my admonition.]. Again, I understand.

I did not specifically define the term "religion" as I used it. Agreed, you have not until now. With that being said, your personal definition of religion is as flawed as as any perceived flaw in (all) religions, for the same reason(s).I did not realize that "religion" implied a VW bug while "religious beliefs" or "faith" suggested an industrial dump truck. This is the kind of intellectual dishonesty that proves unprofitable and exposes the biases of the author.I would argue that the faith of one person, the beliefs of one person, the understanding of one person, the choices of one person, being based on their understanding, beliefs, and faith could be considered that person's "religion". Agreed.(Incidentally, I would agree that even with this definition of religion, religion is the product of man - or a man - and is "corrupt", in the sense that it is not absolute truth, not that their is any malice attached.) Understood.

I would note that I'm not speaking solely of any sort of faith that could be broadly classified as Christianity, but ANY faith that originates from the premise "humanity=bad" and demands of its believers either punishment, or some belief or action on their part to prevent the otherwise deserved punishment. The foundational concept - "humanity=bad" - of such a faith is the offensive part.Understood. In essence, the source of my belief is absent in your person and you condemn the supporting documents as flawed and insufficient.
Although I sense a degree of antipathy in your response the questions/statements are valid and at the same time they wound my heart. I've given considerable thought to the predicament of those who don't, can't, or won't know God. That is a great mystery to me. [I realize, and appreciate, that you would not have used the word "predicament.] While your enmity toward the "things of God" is documented I am grieved that I am unable to sufficiently explain what has been revealed to me...not necessarily to your satisfaction, but to mine. What you find as folly, I find as peace. Where you find condemnation (in "the things of God"), I see hope. Where you find obstacles, I find a path. I'm called to proclaim, you're called to dissent. While "religion" has ruled this discourse it is nothing more than the byproduct of man's attempt explain the hope he has and serve as a pillar of his assurances in that hope. Anything good about religion pales in the company of Christ. His grace has condemned me in a way, right or wrong, that changed me in a way that compels me to want to know Him more. I can't explain it like you can't accept it.

Sooo, we've kicked religion around like it was a football: my question is why me, in reference to special revelation, and why you, in reference to no revelation. Anything other than that would imply dishonesty or proclivities toward mental deficiencies in one of us. How does the law of non-contradiction apply here? After all we both can't be right....Does righteousness exist outside acknowledgement of God....better yet, is it withheld from some?

Enjoyed it!
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Old 06-22-2011, 05:39 PM  
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Originally Posted by Hillman View Post
Although I sense a degree of antipathy in your response the questions/statements are valid and at the same time they wound my heart. I've given considerable thought to the predicament of those who don't, can't, or won't know God. That is a great mystery to me. [I realize, and appreciate, that you would not have used the word "predicament.]
The corollary of each point is true of my position as well.
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While your enmity toward the "things of God" is documented I am grieved that I am unable to sufficiently explain what has been revealed to me...not necessarily to your satisfaction, but to mine. What you find as folly, I find as peace. Where you find condemnation (in "the things of God"), I see hope. Where you find obstacles, I find a path. I'm called to proclaim, you're called to dissent.
I'm called to question, not dissent. Just as you would undoubtedly question the validity of other claims, I question the validity of yours.

I have no logical basis to make the initial assumption you have made. I have no more reason to believe that mankind requires a savior than a fish requires a bicycle.

Quote:

While "religion" has ruled this discourse it is nothing more than the byproduct of man's attempt explain the hope he has and serve as a pillar of his assurances in that hope. Anything good about religion pales in the company of Christ. His grace has condemned me in a way, right or wrong, that changed me in a way that compels me to want to know Him more. I can't explain it like you can't accept it.

Sooo, we've kicked religion around like it was a football: my question is why me, in reference to special revelation, and why you, in reference to no revelation. Anything other than that would imply dishonesty or proclivities toward mental deficiencies in one of us. How does the law of non-contradiction apply here? After all we both can't be right....Does righteousness exist outside acknowledgement of God....better yet, is it withheld from some?

Enjoyed it!
"Mental deficiency" carries some unfortunate connotations. The "deficiency" required to explain our contradictory experiences is on par with the "mental deficiency" of someone who has not yet learned to ride a bike. The contradiction would be resolved if either of us truly learned the experiences of the other.

BUT.

You suggest that we can't both be right, and I tend to agree. I would remind you that we CAN both be wrong. There is no more evidence for either of our positions than there is for any other position. I would say that personally, the possibility of being or having been wrong doesn't disturb me any more than not knowing the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.

What DOES bother me is when people (myself included) build elaborate systems and thought processes, and codes of morality, and legislative positions (Whether we're speaking of the affairs of the federal government, or "legislating" a bed time for our children) affecting the lives of billions of people in countless ways without ever recognizing the fundamental assumptions supporting their entire consciousness.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:48 PM  
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R.A.

I've been reading your discourse with Hillman and have made a observation.
You seem to put off your disbelief at the blame of religion and others. It is time for you to own this issue. Laying off blame is easy and a cop out. You see what Hillman and I are talking about is a personal matter that is-- it has to do with each of us on a personal basis.

This first base to understanding spiritual things is first you have to want to understand--no more excuses. If you don't really want to understand,--well this becomes a exercise in futility.

The philosophy of substituting God's Word with one's own reasoning commenced with Satan. He introduced it at the outset of the human race by suggesting to Eve that she ignore God's orders, assuring her that in so doing she would become like God with the power to discern good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). That was Satan's big lie. Paul said that when any person rejects God's truth, his mind becomes "reprobate," meaning perverted, void of sound judgment. The perverted mind, having rejected God's truth, is not capable of discerning good and evil.

The Scriptures say: "God has revealed these (Scriptures) to us by the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So what you need then is a change of mind and heart. How does that come about you may ask. Well that is exactly what it means in a spiritual sense "to be born again."

Again, that is done on a personal basis. When that happens it is amazing how this whole thing comes alive.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:49 PM  
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BUT.

You suggest that we can't both be right, and I tend to agree. I would remind you that we CAN both be wrong.
therein lies the rub.

Sizes shown are approximate estimates, and are here mainly for the purpose of ordering the groups, not providing a definitive number. This list is sociological/statistical in perspective.)
Christianity: 2.1 billion
Islam: 1.5 billion
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
Hinduism: 900 million
Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
Buddhism: 376 million
primal-indigenous: 300 million
African Traditional & Diasporic: 100 million
Sikhism: 23 million
Juche: 19 million
Spiritism: 15 million
Judaism: 14 million
Baha'i: 7 million
Jainism: 4.2 million
Shinto: 4 million
Cao Dai: 4 million
Zoroastrianism: 2.6 million
Tenrikyo: 2 million
Neo-Paganism: 1 million
Unitarian-Universalism: 800 thousand
Rastafarianism: 600 thousand
Scientology: 500 thousand


I think we can agree that Scientology's half million alone make the case for error being the predominant choice if God only wished us to worship in one house.

I prefer to view this as man's errant nature at it's typical best. Certainly all these folks were careful to try to find the best way to serve God. Either they screwed it up royally (a crapshoot at best) or God saw this coming and sees it as the honest effort it is. Either way I enjoy being just an observer.

What a hoot if someday God returns and discovers these fine religions have been killing eachother's adherents for thousands of years.

The Big Religion Chart
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Old 06-22-2011, 07:00 PM  
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Rate of change of Christians and Muslims:

Of the two largest religions, the "market share" of Christianity appears to be fairly constant:

U.S. Center for World Mission estimated in 1997 that the percentage of humans who regard themselves as Christians rose from 33.7% in 1970 to 33.9% in 1996. 2 Its total number of adherents is growing at about 2.3% annually. This is approximately equal to the growth rate of the world's population. Islam is growing faster: about 2.9% and is thus increasing its market share.
"World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," estimates that as of 2000, Christians make up 33% of the world's population, with close to two billion followers.
Author Samuel Huntington disagrees: "The percentage of Christians in the world peaked at about 30 % in the 1980s, leveled off, is now declining, and will probably approximate to about 25% of the world's population by 2025. As a result of their extremely high rates of population growth, the proportion of Muslims in the world will continue to increase dramatically, amounting to 20 percent of the world's population about the turn of the century, surpassing the number of Christians some years later, and probably accounting for about 30 percent of the world's population by 2025." 3
The UK Christian Handbook has lower figures. They estimate that 28.3% of the world's population identified themselves as Christians in 1990. They expect this to drop to 27.7% by the year 2000, and to 27.1 in 2010. 4 They attribute the drop to the lower birth rate among Christians compared to followers of other religions.
Within Christianity, not all denominations have the same growth rate. Some annual growth rates are:

Pentecostals: 8.1%
Evangelicals: 5.4%;
All Protestants: 3.3%
Roman Catholics and Others: 1.3%
Since the growth rate of humanity is above 1.4%, the "market share" of Roman Catholicism and others appears to be slowly dropping.
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Old 06-22-2011, 08:03 PM  
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Originally Posted by Old Rugged Crosser View Post
R.A.
I've been reading your discourse with Hillman and have made a observation.
You seem to put off your disbelief at the blame of religion and others. It is time for you to own this issue. Laying off blame is easy and a cop out. You see what Hillman and I are talking about is a personal matter that is-- it has to do with each of us on a personal basis.
You assume your beliefs are true, ignore anyone else's positions, evidence, arguments, logic, and then dismiss any sort of skepticism as a "cop out".

The picture you're painting is not one of a person seeking truth, but of a person attempting to dictate reality to others. I call that "arrogance".

Quote:

This first base to understanding spiritual things is first you have to want to understand--no more excuses. If you don't really want to understand,--well this becomes a exercise in futility.
I seek knowledge and understanding of that which exists. I'm more than willing to adopt even wild assumptions for purposes of discussion. But you're not asking me to adopt them for purposes of discussion, you're asking me to adopt them as absolute truth, and build an entire personal philosophy/relationship with God upon that assumed premise.

In any other field of study, this logic would be considered fundamentally unsound. I see no reason why anyone should give theology a pass.
Quote:

The philosophy of substituting God's Word with one's own reasoning commenced with Satan. He introduced it at the outset of the human race by suggesting to Eve that she ignore God's orders, assuring her that in so doing she would become like God with the power to discern good and evil (Genesis 3:1-5). That was Satan's big lie. Paul said that when any person rejects God's truth, his mind becomes "reprobate," meaning perverted, void of sound judgment. The perverted mind, having rejected God's truth, is not capable of discerning good and evil.
The philosophy of substituting a provable, testable understanding of reality with God's Word commenced with Genesis 1:1. At that point, we are TOLD that this is how reality works and whatever we observe that differs from the theophysical is either incorrect or the work of Satan.

(The previous paragraph isn't completely true; it relies on the biblical framework. Similar statements can be made about virtually anything that could be described as "religious faith")
Quote:

The Scriptures say: "God has revealed these (Scriptures) to us by the Spirit.
"Satan says that Satan is a great guy and God is just a spoilsport." I'd bet that you'd have no problem dismissing the circular logic of this claim, and yet you have no such qualms about the tautology of your quoted passage.
Quote:

For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom, but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people. The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So what you need then is a change of mind and heart. How does that come about you may ask. Well that is exactly what it means in a spiritual sense "to be born again."
I would argue the same of you. You need to understand all the unfounded assumptions you have adopted and what you have built upon them.
Quote:

Again, that is done on a personal basis. When that happens it is amazing how this whole thing comes alive.
No, it's not any more amazing than suspending disbelief while watching any sort of fiction, and being impressed with the heroics of the characters. When I watch Stargate SG-1, I'm not watching Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, and Christopher Judge act out scenes in a studio. I'm watching Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c as they save the planet from destruction.

The bible isn't supposed to be fiction, but a documentary. And I do love a good documentary. But there shouldn't be any suspension of disbelief when viewing a documentary; they are supposed to be accurate depictions of reality. And yet, the entire biblical philosophy is entirely absurd unless I "have a change of mind and heart", suspend disbelief, and consider this fiction as reality.
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Old 06-22-2011, 11:24 PM  
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Originally Posted by rivalarrival View Post
You assume your beliefs are true, ignore anyone else's positions, evidence, arguments, logic, and then dismiss any sort of skepticism as a "cop out".

The picture you're painting is not one of a person seeking truth, but of a person attempting to dictate reality to others. I call that "arrogance".


I seek knowledge and understanding of that which exists. I'm more than willing to adopt even wild assumptions for purposes of discussion. But you're not asking me to adopt them for purposes of discussion, you're asking me to adopt them as absolute truth, and build an entire personal philosophy/relationship with God upon that assumed premise.

In any other field of study, this logic would be considered fundamentally unsound. I see no reason why anyone should give theology a pass.

The philosophy of substituting a provable, testable understanding of reality with God's Word commenced with Genesis 1:1. At that point, we are TOLD that this is how reality works and whatever we observe that differs from the theophysical is either incorrect or the work of Satan.

(The previous paragraph isn't completely true; it relies on the biblical framework. Similar statements can be made about virtually anything that could be described as "religious faith")

"Satan says that Satan is a great guy and God is just a spoilsport." I'd bet that you'd have no problem dismissing the circular logic of this claim, and yet you have no such qualms about the tautology of your quoted passage.

I would argue the same of you. You need to understand all the unfounded assumptions you have adopted and what you have built upon them.


No, it's not any more amazing than suspending disbelief while watching any sort of fiction, and being impressed with the heroics of the characters. When I watch Stargate SG-1, I'm not watching Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, and Christopher Judge act out scenes in a studio. I'm watching Colonel Jack O'Neill, Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c as they save the planet from destruction.

The bible isn't supposed to be fiction, but a documentary. And I do love a good documentary. But there shouldn't be any suspension of disbelief when viewing a documentary; they are supposed to be accurate depictions of reality. And yet, the entire biblical philosophy is entirely absurd unless I "have a change of mind and heart", suspend disbelief, and consider this fiction as reality.
RA

There is no way to enjoy helping you lie to yourself. You feast on your own poison. One day you will suddenly realize the truth and it will sadly be hot. Then you will eternally wish that you hadn't been so flippant. Till then enjoy.
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Old 06-23-2011, 09:10 AM  
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Originally Posted by Old Rugged Crosser View Post
RA

There is no way to enjoy helping you lie to yourself. You feast on your own poison. One day you will suddenly realize the truth and it will sadly be hot. Then you will eternally wish that you hadn't been so flippant. Till then enjoy.
Flippant? No. Flippant would be abandoning my convictions in light of a toothless threat, or for anything other than a rational, reasoned, and evidenced position.

Any god that issues terrorist threats of eternal pain and suffering - for ANY reason - is no god worthy of the title.

Any god that would create the myriad of wonders of existence; provide me with a curious mind; then tell me that Truth came from a book, rife with factual errors and espousing certain truly evil concepts (like slavery) amid the admittedly numerous just and moral teachings; is no god worthy of the title.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:42 PM  
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Any god that issues terrorist threats of eternal pain and suffering - for ANY reason - is no god worthy of the title.
I was just a little kid when doubts began over this jealous avenging God that was telling me to turn the other cheek. God felt scary until I met him without church guides to lead me. I don't find him at all scary anymore.
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