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   Undertoad  Wednesday Jul 2 11:51 PM

7/2/2003: "Finger" of God



Thanks to tandr who suggested this -- I was sitting here telling him that I usually try to avoid reposting Fark material, and here by the end of the day I've not posted anything anyway.

So here 'tis, an APoD, actually a cloud of gas and dust that's broken off the Carina nebula. But much more interesting, as tandr says, interpreted as the last message of Him to His creation.



xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Jul 2 11:54 PM

Quote:
interpreted as the last message of Him to His creation.
Or the next.


Nothing But Net  Thursday Jul 3 03:27 AM

God can give me three fingers...

... of Romulan Ale. If that's not available, I can think of a reasonable substitute.



Jacque Strapp  Thursday Jul 3 09:03 AM

Re: 7/2/2003: "Finger" of God

Quote:
Originally posted by Undertoad
But much more interesting, as tandr says, interpreted as the last message of Him to His creation.
Hmm, it looks to me as if He is flipping us the bird. Can't blame Him, I guess...

Duh, I just realized that's what the first post was saying. I've read a lot of other interpretations of this image, though, this one on the APoD page goes to show that where some people see the finger, others see Superman:

<i>"it could be perceived as a superhero flying through a cloud, arm up, with a saved person in tow below"</i>


Conesus  Thursday Jul 3 10:38 AM

Rage album cover?

Maybe it's a mirror of this Rage album cover:



Thoughts?



Conesus  Thursday Jul 3 10:41 AM

Good timing

Undertoad Wednesday Jul 2 11:51 PM

Good timing too. :p Thought you might skip a day.



joydriven  Thursday Jul 3 02:57 PM

presuppositions

The way the Bible puts it, God thought his handiwork was good then...

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

~ the cap to the account of creation given in the first chapter of GENESIS (Old Testament, Torah)


...and He isn't exactly giving up hope on His handiwork now either...

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

~ from the first chapter of COLOSSIANS (New Testament)



P.S. Did someone already notice this?--it looks like there is a little echo/shadow cloud in the same shape just above and to the left of the bigger cloud. I wonder how that one came about.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 3 04:16 PM

Quote:
P.S. Did someone already notice this?--it looks like there is a little echo/shadow cloud in the same shape just above and to the left of the bigger cloud. I wonder how that one came about.
Hmmmm...let's see...now who could have dome that? Do you think it might be......Satan.


joydriven  Thursday Jul 3 04:41 PM

Irony

Quote:
Do you think it might be......Satan.
God creates Satan. God creates the world. Satan falls (more like leaps) from God's grace. Humanity follows. God intervenes, offering redemption. Satan attempts to interfere.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch....

Humanity eats, drinks, pretends it's playtime at the zoo.

Isn't it funny what we sometimes think is funny? The little "hand" could not be Satan's (even if this were a decent metaphor). Its proportions are not dwarfed nearly enough to make for a just comparison.


joydriven  Thursday Jul 3 05:45 PM

Way too heavy for the Cellar, I bet you're thinking. Please don't get the idea that I'm sitting here praying down fire and brimstone on everyone. Quite the opposite.



It's just that some things can't be too heavy for the Cellar.

Look at it this way.

If I accidentally kill a gnat, oh well, you know? How can I walk around long breathing in and out and brushing my hair out of my face WITHOUT killing a gnat once in a while?

If I accidentally kill my neighbor's dog, that is not a good thing at all. I would feel terrible. So would the neighbor, and it would probably be tough to stay on genuine speaking terms. Our relationship as neighbors may very likely suffer permanent ruin.

If I accidentally kill my neighbor, the stakes are obviously upped. I would feel more than terrible, and the consequences would be lifelong and far-reaching for all involved families.

If I accidentally kill my country's president or a vehicle full of national heroes--I might as well count myself dead for all the value "living" would have after such a travesty. It would not matter a speck at that point whether or not I "felt bad." What would matter massively is the huge ramifications of my action, reverberating over the entire hemisphere, marking up history itself.

I'm being ridiculous here. Deliberately so. My point is this:

The more important the individual you offend is, the more serious your offense against him is, and the more serious the consequences of your actions are. It is a correlative thing.

Make light of a gnat--nothing heavy about that. Make light of the One who designed everything from millions of galaxies full of supposedly-coincidental gas cloud formations down to the intricacies of a gnat's wings and digestive or reproductive systems--that's heavy.

A "harmless" jab at me would be quite a light offense. A "harmless" jab at an infinite Being is proportionately infinitely offensive. Making light jokes about God is always heavy.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 3 05:49 PM

OK



Undertoad  Thursday Jul 3 06:13 PM

I think I can manage not to offend too many actual people, but I'm really stuck on how I can avoid offending the invisible beings they think rule their lives through poorly-translated and re-translated, centuries-old fairy tales of suspicious origin. I have concluded that there is just no satisfying some beings, supreme or no, and that all humor is fair game.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 3 07:07 PM

UNDERTOAD for AMBASSADOR to the UN.



OnyxCougar  Thursday Jul 3 07:12 PM

I'm confused. Is Joy saying they're offended by the picture or the statements about it being the "hand of God" or about the resulting commentary? Which part was offensive?

Also, (insert appropriate divine being here) has more to worry about than people commenting on if he's giving us a galactic finger. At least he/she/it SHOULD. IMHO.

:p


edit: Yeah, still can't type.



Uryoces  Thursday Jul 3 07:37 PM

If you wanna get philisophical, there are rewards to reap and penalties to pay whether you want to believe in God or not. Quoting scripture to a non-believer is like asking the non-English speaking person "When. Does. The. Bus. Arrive?" You're still not speaking their language and irritating them further.

So yeah, that's a bit heavy to be outside the non-philosophy section.

....Oh, oh! And in So Long and Thanks for all the Fish, just before Marvin [won't spoil it], they see the last message left by God to his creation: Giant, 10 mile-high burning letters that spell out: "Sorry for the inconvenience".

P.S. God created humor.



novice  Friday Jul 4 01:31 AM

If, indeed we are the product of an omnipotent being, I consider it grossly and needlessly unfair that, having been given the intellectual ability to doubt and question the being's existence, we are sent to the fiery depths of hell if we choose not to.
Surely it would be more soul stocktakingly profitable to present ones self around the time Santa is looking dodgy and prove beyond any and all doubt that the "10 Commandments" is not just an NRA propaganda documentary.
So there



quzah  Friday Jul 4 02:17 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
If I accidentally kill my country's president or a vehicle full of national heroes--I might as well count myself dead for all the value "living" would have after such a travesty.
What are you kidding? You'd be a fucking hero to half the population!

Quzah.


quzah  Friday Jul 4 02:26 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
If I accidentally kill a gnat, oh well, you know? How can I walk around long breathing in and out and brushing my hair out of my face WITHOUT killing a gnat once in a while?

...snip...

The more important the individual you offend is, the more serious your offense against him is, and the more serious the consequences of your actions are. It is a correlative thing.

Make light of a gnat--nothing heavy about that. Make light of the One who designed everything from millions of galaxies full of supposedly-coincidental gas cloud formations down to the intricacies of a gnat's wings and digestive or reproductive systems--that's heavy.

A "harmless" jab at me would be quite a light offense. A "harmless" jab at an infinite Being is proportionately infinitely offensive. Making light jokes about God is always heavy.
The Jain would disagree with this philosophy. Forgive the horrible link, with all the flashing buttons and scrolling flashing text. If you require more, see Google.

Basicly the concept is that all life is precious. This should blow most of your minds, but the idea is that nothing at all, however so minute, should be harmed. That's it in a nutshell. Read up if you care to, or not.

I mean seriously, these fuckers don't believe in your version of God, so they're inherantly evil and will burn in hell forever.

And that, is my problem with your religion. Just because they don't believe the same as you, never mind the fact that they have harmed no living creature in their entire lives, they're damned to hell. It must be nice having such a superiority complex, eh?

Quzah.


novice  Friday Jul 4 03:25 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by quzah


Basicly the concept is that all life is precious. This should blow most of your minds, but the idea is that nothing at all, however so minute, should be harmed. That's it in a nutshell. Read up if you care to, or not.


Quzah.
If you paraphrase the 10 commandments as "do unto others etc" and interpret 'others' to include all living creatures you have a tenet everyone can embrace without the need for the creation of a 'god'
By adopting this as the official policy of humankind it voids the "god doesn't exist therefore his rules don't either" defence.
Having said that, i'm not on a soap box disputing the existence of 'GOD' but i'm a seeing is believing kind of guy.
Anybody read "jesus the man" by Dr. Barbara Thierry? Thoughts?


Uryoces  Friday Jul 4 03:44 AM

2 Samuel 12:7, "And Nathan said to David, 'Thou art the man'."



Uryoces  Friday Jul 4 04:03 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by quzah
Basicly the concept is that all life is precious. This should blow most of your minds, but the idea is that nothing at all, however so minute, should be harmed. That's it in a nutshell. Read up if you care to, or not.

I mean seriously, these fuckers don't believe in your version of God, so they're inherantly evil and will burn in hell forever.

And that, is my problem with your religion. Just because they don't believe the same as you, never mind the fact that they have harmed no living creature in their entire lives, they're damned to hell. It must be nice having such a superiority complex, eh?
Quzah.
More than likely not directed at me, but ...

There's a lot I can't simply dismiss about Christianity. Back in 600 AD Constantine and friends gathered around and spliced together what we now know as the bible. There were bits left on the cutting room floor, now known as the Apocrypha. We now have "Christians" haging around gay pride parades holding up signs that say "Burn in hell, fags". I see very peaceful people like the Jain and the Dalai Lama; very good people. To say something like they'll burn in hell is very ignorant of these fuckers. Hell, the Dalai Lama is teaching Christianity better than most preachers!

I once knew a burned-out former Satan worshipper turned born again Christian. The vacant look in his eyes and the verbatim regurgitation of bible passages made me think he wasn't happy to be a Christian or a Satan worshipper, he was just happy to be worshipping anything.

Using Christianity as a cruch is idiotic. This was supposed to be about love, but it got left somewhere in the dirt.

How's that for non-stick thread-jacking!?


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Jul 4 09:56 AM

Quote:
If you paraphrase the 10 commandments as "do unto others etc" and interpret 'others' to include all living creatures you have a tenet everyone can embrace without the need for the creation of a 'god'
The "old testament" explained how god made a covenant with the jews, the rules being the ten commandments. The jews broke the covenant. End of covenant, old testment, ten rules, poof, all gone.
The "new testament is a new deal, this time it's christians and one rule. Love thy neighbor as thy self. You'll have to figure out if your neighbor is limited to humans or christians, or baptists or whatever.
Of course there's many people that see this clearly and are more than willing to set you straight...or else.


joydriven  Saturday Jul 5 01:36 AM

words that are fair

Just a few responses. If you want me to segue over to Philosophy after this, I will. The "take it elsewhere" mentality seems inherently inconsistent, but I will let that go.

Quote:
seriously, these fuckers don't believe in your version of God, so they're inherantly evil and will burn in hell forever.
> Please don't get the impression that I place stock in "my version" of God. If the God of the Bible is real, it does not matter what my perception of Him is. It does not matter what I think or say, nor what you think or say. God is very absolute in the Bible--very specific about how Creation took place, very specific about the only Way to heaven. If He really did create us, His prerogatives (such as to dish out judgment, offer forgiveness, and to explain the whole deal in written form) are not to be questioned and really have nothing at all to do with how we perceive them or how we perceive ourselves. If Someone was sovereign enough to create the Whole Shabang, our "take" is basically irrelevant. Responding or rejecting the truth is our privilege, but we will be held accountable for our choices.

Quote:
Is Joy saying they're offended by the picture or the statements about it being the "hand of God" or about the resulting commentary? Which part was offensive?
> The picture itself is not an offense to me--it's merely a record of reality. The resulting commentary was predictable but problematic in the points where it mocked the righteousness of God and brought Him down to the level of human spitefulness. When God gets angry, He bombs cities and massacres children and floods the globe. The very idea of Him flipping off people He died for is not merely ludicrous. It is blatant mockery of Him. Now, as to who else might have been offended....obviously, MY resulting commentary was problematic for many readers. No, I don't want to preach or turn anyone off to truth just because I'm a fallible and offensive expresser of that truth, so I don't wish to offend people unnecessarily. On the other hand, the truth of the Bible is by its own nature offensive to people because of their own nature.

Quote:
Quoting scripture to a non-believer is like asking the non-English speaking person "When. Does. The. Bus. Arrive?" You're still not speaking their language and irritating them further.
> You're correct. The Bible says itself that it's impossible for a regular Joe who says there is no God to be able to understand the things of God. The only reason I have any inkling what I'm talking about is because I've submitted to the Bible's authority as absolute truth and am trying to learn about God from it. I do recognize that it's way crossing cultures to be bringing these points up. I know it's not "my" community, but as a part of it I make concessions to the others here--I listen to their language and get over it. I guess I felt like this blog ventured onto familiar turf, sanctioning at least some extent of protest from me that could be swallowed maturely by you. We differ, we differ. But if I can read your plain English words, sifting them for kernels and blowing away the chaff as a good friend would, you can at least take a stab at reading and trying to understand mine. There's not much that's cryptic about a quote like "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."

Quote:
they think rule their lives through poorly-translated and re-translated, centuries-old fairy tales of suspicious origin. I have concluded that there is just no satisfying some beings, supreme or no, and that all humor is fair game.
> You think it's ok to lightly mock my God. I think it's ok to lightly mock your favorite soda. What slays me is how it is fine for you to indicate I'm impossible to please and foolish for placing my faith in a source which, in your limited perception, based upon your limited knowledge and experience, is an inadequate/unworthy object of anyone's faith. If you'll note, I wasn't mocking atheism/agnosticism. I wasn't knocking free speech. I wasn't seeking to convert anyone. I wasn't even trying to rain on anyone's parade. So I fail to see why you see a need to launch an attack like the above. The inconsistency of expected tolerance levels blows my mind.

AH.

Too long, too heavy, too little, too late. I'll shut up now. Really, my apologies for the shortcomings in these words. Especially to those of you who are wishing you had a cosmic gas cloud (perhaps even toxic) to send my way right now.


joydriven  Saturday Jul 5 01:57 AM

email me

if you wish. i don't want to bog the blog further.
matthew1344@hotmail.com



quzah  Saturday Jul 5 02:03 AM

I just find it hard to believe the concept of "God is Love", when for just not believing the right way damns you to an eternity of torment. Hardly my definition of love.

Chew on these generous numbers:
Let's say 1/6 people are doing things the "right way", and will "go to heaven". That's insainly generous on my part, the 1/6 figure. Given the number, there are over six billion people on earth right this second. Doing a touch of basic math, gives us five billion people who just because they don't happen to believe the exact way that they're "supposed to", are going to be eternally tormented.

Yeah, sure sounds like love to me.

And like I said, I'm being hugely generous with those figures (the 1/6 that are doing it 'right'). So as you can see, I don't see how it'd be so shocking to picture god up there going "watch the birdy".

Quzah.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 5 02:22 AM

Quote:
Too long, too heavy, too little, too late. I'll shut up now. Really, my apologies for the shortcomings in these words. Especially to those of you who are wishing you had a cosmic gas cloud (perhaps even toxic) to send my way right now.
HA HA HA. Do you really think we find you offensive or annoying? That's funny! You're not even close to either.
If everyone that came to the Cellar had the same views we'd pack it in, so other views are always welcome. Some of us make a lot of noise but that doesn't make us right, just noisy.
Take a look around at some of the threads and you'll find some people that are really annoying and offensive.
So anyway you and anyone for that matter are always wecome to expound any opinion, theory or question you wish.
The Cellar...whatta country!


Undertoad  Saturday Jul 5 10:52 AM

You think what I did was an attack? JoyD, firstly, you have no idea; shall we point you to actual online attacks so you can tell the difference?

Secondly, this is something that's happened all my life. Goes something like this.

Me: I don't believe in God.
Xtian: Unbeliever, you are going to suffer eternal torment.
Me: That's a load of crap, and you are welcome to bite me.
Xtian: Help, help, I'm being attacked!

If we don't share belief systems, and you tell me that I'm going to hell or that my statements are inappropriate and I'm going to cause pestilence and death, or going to hell, YOU ATTACKED ME FIRST.



Undertoad  Saturday Jul 5 10:59 AM

On the topic of "bogging the blog", go ahead, that's what it's there for. This is for everyone to speak out, the more the merrier. If others can learn from your words then let's share them.



juju  Saturday Jul 5 11:15 AM

Joydriven, killing someone is in no way similar to making fun of them. How can you even make that comparison?

Also, I wanted to say that seeing how your views are seriously underrepresented here at the Cellar, I think most of us would be very excited to have you here. We <i>like</i> discussions like this, and we also like diversity.



Elspode  Saturday Jul 5 11:55 AM

I am always up for the inclusion of a rational, tolerant Christian viewpoint. It is just that they are so difficult to find nowadays. However, the Christian version of deity and creation is just as valid as any other version of the same things. It is, however, no *more* valid than any other version of the same things, and that's where we get into trouble.

Whenever anyone tells me that what they believe is *the* way things are, I stop listening. No one has a handle on Ultimate Truth, and anyone who ways they do has stopped paying attention to the world with an open mind.

That being said, I was a defacto Christian for the first half of my life, until I came to realize that Jehovah, if you read the Bible like I read the Bible, is a very insecure, petty and vengeful deity with a real problem with women. Even the whole 'love for mankind thing', which is pretty much a New Testament concept (New Improved Deity! Now with 50% more compassion), is suspect for me since it did in fact involve human sacrifice, and the acknowledgement of which requires ritual cannibalism in some sects of Christianity.

But...these are *my* problems with the religion, and I do not expect anyone else to believe what I believe. All I ever ask of anyone who professes to follow a certain faith is that they walk the talk.

That's damn hard to do, even for me.



xoxoxoBruce  Saturday Jul 5 05:02 PM

I don't have a problem with most core faiths. My problem is with the religions and most often the people running them, that grow up around these faiths.
The Christian religions (I chose these because I'm most familiar with them) seem to be run by the most ruthless people I could imagine. These people would make Enron proud. Squeezing the peasants for their last peso to increase the already rich coffers or condoning if not encouraging racism. And the list goes on and on. Very contrary to what they purport to be the Christian message.
It certainly isn't limited to Christians. The world has seen all to well the Muslim clerics twist the faith to most unreasonable lengths. I doubt if any faith is unscathed in it's application. More people have been murdered and tortured in the name of (fill in god) than any political or economic goal.



cynthian.  Sunday Jul 6 01:23 AM

joy's comments really created quite a stir. as a speech teacher i'd have to say she defended her arguement well.

Quote:
Let's say 1/6 people are doing things the "right way", and will "go to heaven". That's insainly generous on my part, the 1/6 figure. Given the number, there are over six billion people on earth right this second. Doing a touch of basic math, gives us five billion people who just because they don't happen to believe the exact way that they're "supposed to", are going to be eternally tormented.
it sounds harsh doesn't it? if God does exist. if He did create us. if the Bible is correct that there is a heaven and there's a way to get there. logically, i'd have to agree with the "only one right way" idea.
we hold that idea in so many thing outside of religion. for example, marriage. here's a married couple. the wife cheats on the husband. he's outraged. she's shocked. "but your way of marriage just wasn't working for me." she says. yeah, i'm guessing that's not going to go over too well with the husband.
example2: putting a bike together: juniour wants a bike for chirstmas. you're up all night putting it together for him. the directions show the right way, you don't follow them. it's not going to be a happy night.
example3:directions to someone's house-you're going to a party at a house you've never been to. you're given directions but you toss them out the window and say "miami's only a few million houses-how hard can it be to find this one house?" you drive all night, never find it surprisingly. the party host sees you the next day and inquires about what happened. "did you not understand the directions? they were pretty specific." he says. "i thought i'd find your house on my own" he looks at you puzzled, "if you would have used the directions i gave you, you would have been to the house in 10 min. anyone who read the directions got here fine and we had a great party."
the point. if there's a God who is powerful enough to make a world and everything in it. i think He has the right to say-"this is the ONE way you come to heaven. follow the directions, they're simple. you follow the directions, you'll get the reward. you try your own way you're going to lose"
in addition, i would think that a God who claims to be holy/perfect has even more of a right to be angry than the husband who found out his wife was cheating on him. no doubt the husband, being non-perfect, made mistakes-he works late a lot, he raised his voice a few times, he can be impatient, etc-but he feels robbed nonetheless. he was faithful. he has a right to say, "okay, i'm divorcing you, i'm not going to provide for you any longer or protect you from harm."
i can't imagine God stooping so low as to give humanity the finger, that's like having an arguement with a 3 year old about the 1st ammendment. it's a waste of time. but i'd say He has the right to take all his gifts away. the earth might be considered one of those gifts. if He took that away all that would remain is hell. and i think divorce could considered be a small taste of that on earth.

aside from God's apparent right to judge and pass judgement. where's the love?
i love my students. if a student doesn't do their work or is unprepared for a speech, there's a pentalty. if i'm late for work, there's a pentalty, i'm assuming you can come up with another million examples of the same idea so i'll move on. punishing the student isn't because i hate him. it's because he didn't do what was required. the other students did. i can't reason, "oh, but carlos is such a cute kid-i'll give him a 100 even though he didn't do the assignment." because i love my students i reward the right and punish the wrong. and i hate putting a 0 in my gradebook. it hurts. but it wouldn't be fair to the kids who did the work.
if God created a heaven and hell and there's ONE way to heaven, he can't say "oh, but cynthian. is cute, i'll let her in too" because, 1. that would be imperfect, and i'm pretty confident that God calls Himself perfect. and 2.it would be unfair and unloving to those who came that ONE way. i would think it hurt Him too.

it's very logical. the question comes then, do i believe there is a God? or do i just like to analyze the logic of religions? do you believe in God? that's up to you. joydriven's remarks certainly made this a bit more colourful. i'd have to support her reasoning even if i didn't support her God.


quzah  Sunday Jul 6 04:13 AM

Wow, some one went through a bitter divorce eh? You only mentioned the word fifteen times in that post. Likening it to hell? I take it you didn't do the dumping, or you feel "in the right"?

Your logic is horribly flawed. Assuming an all powerful being which has the ability to do whatever he/she/it(HSI) wants, consider the following:

We didn't ask to be created. HSI decided that on a whim, because they were supposedly lonely, they'd create a single source of entertainment. Earth. HSI decides then to populate it with animals. Being bored with the animals, because they were just "lower life forms", HSI then decides to put "superior beings" on said hunk of earth.

HSI then, because apparently they were still bored, made a single solitary source of "the ability to fuck posterity over for ever and ever and ever"(TATFP) in the middle of their house. Next, HSI tricks the "superior beings" into going out and using TATFP.

No, I suppose you'll say it wasn't HSI that did it, it was TOEB(the other evil being) that tricked the superior beings into fucking over all future generations.

Well ok, let's examine TOEB for a second.

At some point in time, either before HSI created earth, or after, HSI decided that they would give TAFY(the ability to fuck yourself) to all of his angels. Angels by the way, are something else HSI created, but apparently they aren't smart, good, whatever enough to be company for HSI, which is apparently why earth was made.*

So, one of the angels decides(since they were given TAFY by HSI) that they're tired of living in the greatest spot in existance, so they'd rather go off and wander around forever, outside of the glorious site of HSI.**

Thus we now have a created being given TAFY so basicly they can then go do so, just for ... no reason at all!

Take the above sentence and now we apply it to humans. They quickly rush to TATFP with eagerness. Suddenly, they realize how stupid they were, because HSI comes down to tell them.

"Hey guess what! You're all toast now unless you do these one specific set of rules! Now break up into your little tribes and scatter around the world forming your own take on these rules, so that I can have a handfull of you with me, and the rest can burn in hell with the rest of my creations!"

Now does that really sound like love? Come one now. There are billions of people, each with their on belief of what to make of life, and all those who don't walk the perfect line, are fucked. Just because HSI was lonely and had nothing better to do.

Consider the following:

I have the ability to create something. I know that if I create this item, as soon as I do so, it will be destroyed. I can do one of two things: I can create said item, or I can not create said item.

If I create it, am I really giving it a choice of not being destroyed?

"Oh", but you say, "it's just an object. It has no free will of its own". Thank you. I thought you'd agree.

"Well that's rather harsh", you say, "putting words into my mouth"!

Well consider the explanation, partially given already above:
I am an all powerful being. I know everything that is, everything that was, and everything that ever will be, because I am a being of infiniteness. I am everything. I span space and time. I am greater than the sum of everything that will ever be. Everything that is, I made.

Given that I know everything, how in the hell can there be freedom of choice? Given that if I, being all powerful and in control of everything****, if I create something, I know every possible combination of everything that will ever occur with said thing.

If someone goes to hell, HSI knew it would occur before ever creating said item. Now that's a damn shame. I really don't call that love.



Quzah.
end of post








footnote
*See above. HSI created humans because they were apparently lonely. Go on, look it up. Trust me, it's there.

**See above. I've often heard it remarked that people will be so awe struck by the presence of HSI, that all they will want to do is fall down in awe and spend all eternity worshiping HSI. Ok, two points here:

a) Why on earth would the angels for no reason at all decide to give that up? Jealousy? Well who created jealousy? If HSI is the creator of all things, then HSI created jealousy. If not, then HSI is not the creator of all things. If that is the case, who did? If they did, then HSI gave them the ability to do so, thus, creating actually being the creator. If not, then HSI is not the supreme being, because the other creator would have done something without HSI wanting it to be so. If HSI wanted it to be so, ask yourself, why would HSI create things like jealousy?

b) If the angels were around being struck by awe and worship, how was HSI lonely, why could HSI create lonelyness(see point A above), and how are we so different that an all powerful all knowing being could be entertained or comforted(befriended) by such insignificant beings.***

***How on earth are animals not significant to provide comfort/friendship, but us "superior beings" are? Both are creations and as such are not even remotely close in nature. Seriously, compare infinity to 1. Ok, now compare it to 1,000,000. They are exactly the same.

[b]****[b/]As per all-powerful above, if there is something else that is uncontrollable, then HSI is not all powerful. Otherwise, said item would be controlled.



xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jul 6 11:52 AM

Cynthian, welcome to the Cellar! It's nice to have intelligent life forms join in the festivities.
Question- On the first day of school you decide your students must write a poem with specific parameters to pass your class. Wouldn't you make it clear to all the students rather than tell one student to pass the word?
Surely you've played the old game of tell the first person and have them whisper it to the second and so on down the line to the last person. It never comes out right.
Well, over thousands of "whisperings" not to mention language changes and cleric interpretations, what we have is a bunch of conflicting stories. Look how many different bibles we have today.
You do an admirable job of defending Joydriven's chain of logic but the problem is her basic premis is flawed.



cynthian.  Sunday Jul 6 02:26 PM

quzah - i'm not divorced. i see divorce a lot as a teacher, from both the parents' side and the kids' - it's horrible. yes, i have some strong opionions of divorce.
your abbriviations were interesting. and the one sided conversation you had with you and you (as me) that was fun.

the truth is though that i don't know that there is a free will.
and now God looks even more horrid.
here's where our logics divide from one another: you describe God as creating all these things because he (or HSI) was bored. i have trouble agreeing with that. a engineer/mechanic thinking person didn't create the first computer because he was bored-there was an ultimate purpose behind it. eli whitney didn't invent the cotton gin because he had nothing to do on the farm one day. he had a reason. if we, as people-reasonably far lesser beings than a God-create and invent for a purpose, i would have to believe that God had a reason in making the world and all creation.
He declairs his purpose as to bring glory to Himself. How vain! How arrogant! but if He is God and there is NO higher, He has that right. working with clay on a potter's wheel, my clay has never said to me "why are you making me a bowl?!?!?! how dare you!" and after the bowl is fired and glazed and fired again, it doesn't sit in a show window complaining that i, the potter, am getting the compliments for it's beauty. i'm the potter, i'll do what i want with the clay. God compares himself to a potter-hence the example.
so, if God's purpose in creation is to bring glory to Himself, how does he accomplish this. (get ready, it's story time)

israeli history says God called this nation apart. you've got abraham way back there being told that God will make him the father of a chosen people-eventually this would become israel. moses comes along centuries later to lead this people out of egypt to their "promise land." He, God, chose a small group of people (and they weren't perfect people, some weren't the kind of people you'd want living next door to you...) but this minority of people were set apart to bring God glory. why not ALL the world? why only a fraction of the population? here's the pot complaining to the potter again.
jesus christ enters the picture. the rejected messiah. His life would appear to be a failure except for the fact that his teaching, even after his humiliating death, changed the world. but, now in the modern world, God's blessing of heaven is the same story as it was with israel. it's only going to be a fraction of the population that is in that "right" way to heaven. is God unfair to choose only a small populas acceptable for heaven? if i believed in God and believed that "right" path to heaven-i'd feel pretty priledged, i'd probably thank God every day for choosing me, i'd read His Bible, worship Him, bring Him glory. and that's His purpose. if i didn't believe in God or in that "right" way-because it's so narrow minded, i'd hate God-maybe i wouldn't voice that opinion but i'd be angry. why only some? i'm just a clay pot. i can't understand His thoughts. (then why do you write so much cynthian.? )
have you ever walked though a maze of hedges or a cornfield maze? on ground level, walking though, it's hard. it's confusing, it makes no sense. from a helecopter in the sky it's very clear. my understanding of God's ways are down here on ground level-it's confusing at times and makes no sense. God's understanding is up there in the helecopter-it's very clear.

such is what i've learned of God's purpose and plan. why is it so offensive to have only one way to heaven? you've got to have a ticket to get into a concert, that's really the only way in. (legally). is the hosting centre (God) unloving not to let everyone who wants to come to the concert? no. they didn't all have tickets. what if i have a ticket for another concert-same band (same God)-but different city? (i'm trying for heaven with islam and God wants faith in jesus Christ) yeah, that's not going to work either. but i really want to go. i'm sincere. it's still the wrong ticket. no show.

is the why is it so hard to accept that one way? if i have cancer and there's only one thing that will cure me why would i try all the other non-working methods first? if God declaired there's only one way to heaven, why wouldn't i believe Him? why try another way and hope for the best when there's a guarenteed way?

i don't normally write this much. that might be hard to believe right now....who would have thought that picture would have created such an outpouring of opinions....interesting blog crew.



richlevy  Sunday Jul 6 05:14 PM

Re: words that are fair

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven

> Please don't get the impression that I place stock in "my version" of God. If the God of the Bible is real, it does not matter what my perception of Him is. It does not matter what I think or say, nor what you think or say. God is very absolute in the Bible--...........

Responding or rejecting the truth is our privilege, but we will be held accountable for our choices.

Well, your perception does matter if it effects the way you behave in society. Suicide bombers, for example, impose their religious and political beliefs on those around them. As long as when you say 'held accountable', you mean by G-d himself, then there is no problem.


Quote:

On the other hand, the truth of the Bible is by its own nature offensive to people because of their own nature.
The truth of the Bible is not offensive in itself, it is only offensive in its interpretation and delivery by a significant number of people (hopefully only a minority) who use it to denigrate and criticize the choices and beliefs of those around them.



Quote:

> You're correct. The Bible says itself that it's impossible for a regular Joe who says there is no God to be able to understand the things of God. The only reason I have any inkling what I'm talking about is because I've submitted to the Bible's authority as absolute truth and am trying to learn about God from it.
Personally, I'm not sure about that. I can appreciate sitting in a comfortable chair without knowing that it was built by a master carpenter.

As far as the Bible's authority being absolute, please remember to take Leviticus with a large grain of salt. I'd hate to see you go to jail for burning fortunetellers, even 'Miss Cleo'. And since the ranks of adulterers now includes one US President, I'd keep the stones in my pocket if I was you.


Quote:

> You think it's ok to lightly mock my God. I think it's ok to lightly mock your favorite soda. What slays me is how it is fine for you to indicate I'm impossible to please and foolish for placing my faith in a source which, in your limited perception, based upon your limited knowledge and experience, is an inadequate/unworthy object of anyone's faith. If you'll note, I wasn't mocking atheism/agnosticism. I wasn't knocking free speech. I wasn't seeking to convert anyone. I wasn't even trying to rain on anyone's parade. So I fail to see why you see a need to launch an attack like the above. The inconsistency of expected tolerance levels blows my mind.
I agree that it is rude to mock one's beliefs, but we (and I include myself here) are a rude bunch. And one favorite sport is taking potshots at absolutists on any topic. The statement "____ is the one true ____" is like waving a red flag, whether the subjects are Christianity/faith, Apple/computer, Libertarianism/party. In the Cellar, dogma puts you in the doghouse. Even I, in my misspent youth, have flamed and been flamed in return.

Speaking of flames, one reason that there is an undercurrent of hostility towards the New Testament (and sometimes Old Testament), is that there are Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and pagans (Pagans?) on this board, and our ancestors have gotten burned (literally) in the past by people holding a bible in one hand and a torch in the other. I personally believe that G-d is love, but there is a definite mean streak in his disciples which has never really been addressed. In fact, the words 'act of faith', which can mean giving to charity or an act of benevolence, when translated as 'AUTO DA FE', have a terrible definition. If you do not know it, I recommend that you look it up.

I wish you well in your journey, I count among my friends many who consider themselves devout in the traditional sense. I have discussed religion with Muslims, Jews, Chiristians, and pagans (Pagans?). My personal belief is that no living human has all of the answers about G-d and creation, but that that does not mean we should not seek them.

BTW, I recommend
Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews: A History. I still have not finished it, but I would be happy to discuss it with someone.


xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jul 6 05:38 PM

Quote:
And since the ranks of adulterers now includes one US President, I'd keep the stones in my pocket if I was you.
ONE??? Bwahahahahahaha.


richlevy  Sunday Jul 6 06:08 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce

ONE??? Bwahahahahahaha.
One confirmed. Even most ancient religions were concerned about proof before they stoned or beheaded the perpetrator. Personally, when I heard that FDR may have been having an affair, I didn't know whether to be appalled or cheer.

Have you noticed that the president's associated with rumors of infidelity were the most popular ones?


bjlhct  Sunday Jul 6 06:47 PM

Think some Christians can be annoying? Try Scientologists. Bleah.

Anyway, I had a religious experience once. I was just sitting around and over a couple seconds I got this INTENSE feeling that there's some Supreme Being and everything in the world is "HSI"'s and that there is a "final" in the philosophical sense. And then about 10 minutes later it went away. Meanwhile, me being me, I was watching what was going on and now I can feel religious any time I want to.

Thus I concluded it was just my brain playing tricks on me.



juju  Sunday Jul 6 06:56 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by cynthian.
joy's comments really created quite a stir. as a speech teacher i'd have to say she defended her arguement well.
She compared murder to making fun of someone. And then, when people questioned her statements, she chickened out and left. How exactly do you figure that running away constitutes "defending your argument well"?

Also, I feel that analogies are a <b>terrible</b> way of trying win a logical argument. You can make up some story about anything. It never proves anything, and it rarely convinces anyone. How about just arguing the facts?


xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Jul 6 08:14 PM

Quote:
Have you noticed that the president's associated with rumors of infidelity were the most popular ones?
Before Nixon (he was too busy screwing everyone) the oval office and the press had a gentlemans agreement not to print the extracurricular activities of the prez.
If you do some digging you'll find LBJ, JFK, Ike, both Roosevelts, Wilson, Taft, Coolidge and Hoover all had their groupies.
I'm not for stoning or beheading anyone that's a consenting adult. It's good to be the king.


joydriven  Monday Jul 7 12:11 AM

powerlessness

Quote:
She compared murder to making fun of someone. And then, when people questioned her statements, she chickened out and left. How exactly do you figure that running away constitutes "defending your argument well"?
My electricity is restored now after a few days' outage due to some local twisters (I live in the Chicago area and wind tends to be a problem). My apologies for the apparent absence and neglect of valid replies.

I stated that my analogy was deliberately exaggerated. The perfect analogy is an impossibility, since points of similarity cannot be drawn for every element. If you had points of similarity for every element, the analogy device would be irrelevant. I agree that it was an imperfect analogy. I wasn't trying to tie up all the loose ends--the goal was to make a point, not an afghan.

If you would prefer, I could, without hopefully offending anyone, reduce my analogy from the murder exaggeration one to a lesser and perhaps more universally-understandable offense.

For instance, say I am at a black tie party with some publishers and authors. I am standing at the table and spill caviar on my blouse. I am standing at the table and spill caviar on the host's carpet. I am standing at the table and spill caviar on my favorite author's lapel. These actions would all be bad, but certainly different levels of bad. The consequences would be different. The greatest degree of outcry, public embarrassment, and personal kicking of self would probably come from the caviar spill on the author.

On the human level, I fight temptations to treat people differently and understand many fundamental equalities that are often overlooked. I strive to be tolerant of other viewpoints and believe I am successfully impartial when it comes to looks, background, race, philosophical beliefs, other factors that distinguish one person from another. However, there are some people we honor above others automatically, at least one facet of them if not all--for example, a Queen or our parents or a favorite author. And some people carry (by virtue of their earned or not-earned positions) a certain amount of clout and authority that allows them to make a bigger fuss or enforce more dire consequences against offenders.

So to make a once-short analogy even longer and longer,

All I'm trying to say is it's simply a bigger deal to make fun of a bigger person. God is (by virtue of his earned position as creator/owner of other persons) the bigger person. It is a bigger deal to make fun of him.

Quote:
The statement "____ is the one true ____" is like waving a red flag, whether the subjects are Christianity/faith, Apple/computer, Libertarianism/party. In the Cellar, dogma puts you in the doghouse. Even I, in my misspent youth, have flamed and been flamed in return.
Yes, I would definitely admit I'm an absolutist on this front. I posit God as the creator of the universe. Not so much because I want to posit that as absolute truth, but because I see no other viable alternative and simply must.

I don't understand people who say THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES.
In itself, that is an absolutist statement. Why should I swallow that as absolute truth to the exclusion of all other options that contradict it?

If the Cellar gang went to Paris and agreed to meet at the Eiffel Tower but refused to look in its direction and each bought pewter replicas for our pockets as individual "compasses" and found our "own ways" to the Eiffel Tower, we would likely never rendezvous.

I confess to you that I have chosen an absolute truth, and I do filter all other things that claim to be truth THROUGH my God-colored lenses. You may not agree--what I call "absolute truth" may look like a pewter trinket to you, and you might wish I would just keep it to my own pocket. But can you acknowledge that an absolute source of truth is feasible? Why else would we even want our own personal pocket versions of it?


juju  Monday Jul 7 12:36 AM

Quote:
All I'm trying to say is it's simply a bigger deal to make fun of a bigger person. God is (by virtue of his earned position as creator/owner of other persons) the bigger person. It is a bigger deal to make fun of him.
Our president is made fun of every night on the Tonight Show, and I can't say that many people think it's that big of a deal.


novice  Monday Jul 7 01:14 AM

QUZAH-For hsi's sake, your specious refutations only lend more weight to the absolute truth that we, the devout, have always known.
HSI moves in ways far too mysterious for mere creations to understand.:p



quzah  Monday Jul 7 01:54 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by cynthian.
here's where our logics divide from one another: you describe God as creating all these things because he (or HSI) was bored. i have trouble agreeing with that. a engineer/mechanic thinking person didn't create the first computer because he was bored-there was an ultimate purpose behind it. eli whitney didn't invent the cotton gin because he had nothing to do on the farm one day.
Flawed analogy. These items were created out of need. "I need to process more cotton." "I need to play a computer game.:P"

What exactly does an all powerful being NEED?

Ok, scratch need. These items were created out of a desire for efficiencty.

Well, that doesn't work either. How can an all powerful being be inefficient? Efficiency is a measure of work/time. Time has no meaning to something that always was and always will be. Said being created time.

Your analogy doesn't hold up here. Good effort though.
Quote:

he had a reason. if we, as people-reasonably far lesser beings than a God-create and invent for a purpose, i would have to believe that God had a reason in making the world and all creation.

He declairs his purpose as to bring glory to Himself. How vain! How arrogant! but if He is God and there is NO higher, He has that right. working with clay on a potter's wheel, my clay has never said to me "why are you making me a bowl?!?!?! how dare you!" and after the bowl is fired and glazed and fired again, it doesn't sit in a show window complaining that i, the potter, am getting the compliments for it's beauty. i'm the potter, i'll do what i want with the clay. God compares himself to a potter-hence the example.
Sure he does. But did he give the clay the ability to first have comprehension? No. Clay is not alive. I've heard this parable used before, and it hardly holds water. Forgive the pun.

Quote:

israeli history says God called this nation apart. you've got abraham way back there being told that God will make him the father of a chosen people-eventually this would become israel.
Well then, I guess you know who to blame for all of the trouble in the middle east huh? No such thing as tollerance here. "We are on the way to the Promise Land(TM). Kill everyone you can along the way, hide from those you can't. (Read the OT if in doubt. They killed everyone they could and ran from the rest.)

Quote:

world? why only a fraction of the population? here's the pot complaining to the potter again.
Why indeed.

Quote:

if i believed in God and believed that "right" path to heaven-i'd feel pretty priledged, i'd probably thank God every day for choosing me, i'd read His Bible, worship Him, bring Him glory. and that's His purpose. if i didn't believe in God or in that "right" way-because it's so narrow minded, i'd hate God-maybe i wouldn't voice that opinion but i'd be angry. why only some?
No you wouldn't. You'd have a superiority complex like everyone else like you, and you'd feel it your duity to go up to people and tell them they're fucked. "Hey guess what! You're fucked and I'm not!"

That is my problem with the Christian religion.

Quote:

such is what i've learned of God's purpose and plan. why is it so offensive to have only one way to heaven?
Because it's evil. Might I ask a question: How did you come to believe this way? Were you raised that way? Say you weren't, because personally I don't care, I do know that a great many people get their belief systems from how they were raised.

That being said, if I tell you your entire life that X is the truth, and then out of the blue one day, some one else comes up to you and says everything you've understood about X is not true, and that you're going to be eternally punnished for believing the way you do, what would you do?

What if your belief in X was that X would be bringing you everlasting happieness? What if most of everyone you've ever come in contact with believed the same way.

See where I'm going with this?

Why in the hell should I give up belief X just because you say so? People always say "Well you're never truely happy if you don't know Christ!"

Yeah? You've never met people at peace with their beliefs I guess. I suppose all of the Hindu who practice their religion and find comfort in it aren't really finding comfort. All of the Buddists, all of every other fragment of every religion or belief out there is wrong, and you just happened to find The Right One(TM).

Well luck you. How about you go spend your afternoons outside a Buddist temple telling them they're all going to suffer eternally then. No? Why not? It's your duity. You shouldn't want people to suffer. Should you?

Well why shouldn't you? I mean seriously, why else would god only pick one set of people and fuck the rest over?

How about hundreds of years of Inca, "American Indian", African, Chinese, and a thousand other varieties of people who for thousands of years didn't "believe the right way". Well they're all fucked too. That's pretty loving isn't it?

Quote:

is the why is it so hard to accept that one way?
See above. That is why it's so hard to accept that one way. Because I refuse to spend my eternity in the presence of that kind of being. That is blatantly heartless and cruel, and I see it no other way.

If it is the way you say it is, I want only one thing: To not be "awe struck" so bad that I cannot express the above to said being. Because it is blatently cruel and hateful.

One final thought, regarding freedom of choice:
Quote:
Exodus 9:12
"But the Lord hardened Pharo's heart and he would not listen to Moses an Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses."
Quzah.


joydriven  Monday Jul 7 09:39 AM

between storms

Quote:
Our president is made fun of every night on the Tonight Show, and I can't say that many people think it's that big of a deal.
1. The president wouldn't be so fun to make fun of if he was a less-significant person. Incongruity is the heart of humor. The very fact that incongruous scenarios about the president are considered funny is evidence to the fact that he is a big enough person to make the scenarios incongruous. It's one thing if I fall down and trip--it might even make America's Funniest Home Videos. It's another thing to see someone of import fall down and trip. In that sense, the bigger they are, the harder they fall--the irony strikes us, and our human nature is to respond with laughter.

2. Just because people make fun of someone, that does not make their actions right or wrong. Popular belief and popular action do not seem to back up the "there are no absolutes" popular talk. Most of today's society operates on a premise (as thought it were an absolute truth) that what's right for you is right and what's right for me is right--pragmatism rules. If it's ok to make fun of the president in your eyes, then it must be ok, and if I have a problem with it then the problem is only as big as my opinion.

I simply posit a completely different absolute: The God of the Bible.

The Bible's words influence how I think about my society; not vice versa. For instance, you will not likely catch me mocking a president, at least regarding the honor surrounding his position. There are plenty of moral/character grounds that have lowered my personal opinion of the leadership competency of Bill Clinton, for instance, but I would still show him honor and respect. The Bible says that the powers that be are ordained by God, basically cannot run from fulfilling God's ultimate purposes, and are to receive the honor their offices are due. The only time I am biblically sanctioned to buck my governmental authorities is when they buck God's. "We ought to obey God rather than men."

Quote:
See above. That is why it's so hard to accept that one way. Because I refuse to spend my eternity in the presence of that kind of being. That is blatantly heartless and cruel, and I see it no other way.
This is a very interesting self-contradiction. The one way is offensive to anyone since it requires humility to realize that we don't dictate how we can enter God's heaven. If you come in my house and I have a house rule that requires the removal of your shoes, you would very likely submit to that or have a pretty good reason why not. If God indeed created heaven and earth and all the inhabitants and so on, he does indeed have the prerogative to condemn/forgive/glorify those who submit to his conditions. That's nothing of their own merit, so the mentality is indeed NOT "you're fucked and i'm not" (read Ezekiel 16, the book of Romans, the book of Hosea, the book of Ephesians so that you will have a more well-rounded concept of what GRACE is about--and why only worms and whores are qualified to be recipients of grace).

You say that God is "blatantly heartless and cruel." I ask you, upon what absolute moral authority do you stand in judgment of God's actions? What absolute moral measuring stick do you measure his heartlessness and cruelty with? Your own? Did you attain that sense of right and wrong when you evolved from a gas cloud? Did your tender conscience develop in the wake of a big unexplained random explosion? Is it at all possible for you to believe that God is the source of absolute truth? That God was the one who created you with an awareness of morality? That God is the one who gave you a mind to discern with?

So maybe you believe there's an ultimate creator being, but not the God of the Bible. (This seems to be your view, since you consider only bits and pieces rather than the whole Bible as you make your evaluatory statements about God.) And you just don't like what you're seeing of him. Again, you are harking back to your personal experience. Is it possible for you to acknowledge that your experience might be limited and might just not be enough? That there may be something beyond your comprehension out there? That your refusal to spend eternity with the God of the Bible IS the foundation of your self-damnation? We don't get sent to hell. We work our way there.

It's ironic that most of mankind's reaction to God seems to be shaking a puny God-made fist in the face of God.


hot_pastrami  Monday Jul 7 12:48 PM

Here in Mormon country, parents blackmail children into going to church, going to seminary, going on religious missions... It's sad. I was a church-going Mormon until I was about 15... then I stopped going to church because my bullshit flag was getting worn out from being raised so often. To me, Christianity in general makes a case about as strong as a wet kleenex. Although I generally dislike analogies, I think I'll use one here, because unlike most analogies, I think it does effectively make a point.

Let's say I have a son, my only child. I love him dearly. One day though, I am given a terrible choice... I learn that an entire family of eight may die a horrible death, and only I have the power to stop it. But if I do so, my son will certainly die. I have to choose whether to sacrifice my only son to save the family, or to take my son and run to safety, and let the family perish. Though it would be a terrible thing to let eight people die to save my one son, it would understandable, and maybe even forgivable, to save my beloved son's life at the expense of theirs. This is akin to the choice God supposedly had when Jesus was to die for makind's sins... and speaks of the weight of His sacrifice... right? Well...

Say I have this same choice, to save my son or to save the family... but this time, I happen to know that my son is basically immortal, and will gloriously rise from the dead after three days or so (don't tell me that the ressurection was a surprise to the all-seeing, all-knowing God). How hard is my choice now? I would have to be a really loathesome, shitty, worthless speck of a being to let the family die under such circumstances, since I can save the family without losing my son for more than a few days... and moreover, I get to hang out with my dead son's spirit for the few days that he's dead! Yeah, really tough choice there.... big sacrifice.

Organized religion, to my eyes, is seldom more than emotional blackmail at an enormous scale. I think spirituality and philosophy are very good things, but you won't become an elightened person by going to church any more than you'll become an automobile by sleeping in your garage. If there were a God whose punshment for failing to believe in Him was damnation to Hell, and if He loved His children, I'm sure He'd make sure the message He sent them was more substantial than a 1400-year-old bastardized text.

If I go to hell for not believeing in God, it's His fault, because He gave me a logical mind, and then failed to give me ample evidence of His existence. He sent me here knowing exactly what choices I would make, so I was damned from the start. Fuck that. Besides, if heaven is anything like going to church here, the Mormons can have it... I'll take hell.



Undertoad  Monday Jul 7 01:38 PM

JoyD I really respect your drive to answer such questions. Two more from me:

The "rules" in the bible seem vague and contradictory. Some people believe that eating animals with cloven hooves is an abomination in the sight of the Lord, and so having lunch and dinner of bacon and ham is downright prohibited. You yourself believe that suggesting that a cloud of gas millions of miles away might be a cosmic joke on behalf of the Creator is Wrong.

Yet I know for a fact that most Christians eat a TON of ham, especially on their holiest days, and many if not most Christians make light humor of God's meaning every day.

Q1: If the rules are so critically important, why are they so vague and often contradictory?

Q2: Are the pig-eaters going to hell?



joydriven  Monday Jul 7 02:51 PM

Just a clarification, Undertoad, regarding your comment before (I'm still catching up!) about the "attack." I wasn't referring to a personal attack and did not take it as a personal one. The comments you made that undercut the authority / reliability of the Bible was the attack to which I was referring. It's the foundation for what I believe, and it really seemed that you were discounting it based on your own opinions of it. I haven't tried to promote man's opinions (including my own) but have tried to stay consistent about promoting the only confirmed and self-affirming revelation of God to men about Himself. That is in an effort to adhere to my premise that the God who has revealed Himself in the Bible is the source of all absolute truth.

And to those of you out there who are seeing "holes" in my logic, I don't deny that apparent holes are there. It is circular reasoning to an extent to say "I believe the Bible's claims based on the Bible's claims." I readily admit that I have deliberately decided to posit one absolute (and inherently therefore exclusive) way when it comes to religious matters.

This is no more circular reasoning than the circular reasoning employed by pragmatists and solipsists and scientologists and so on. At one point, any seeker of truth has to take a leap of faith. It's not so much the amount of, or the strength of, your own faith that gives that faith its value. Rather, it is the Object of that faith.

You place your faith in a chair that you're going to sit in. If you place your faith in a broken chair, yours is bad faith--no matter how good its intentions, no matter how sure and wholesome, etc. You place your faith in a good chair, and you will find that chair can hold you up--no matter how much you know about Physics, no matter how scared you are, no matter what your background with chairs has been.

I put my faith in Jesus Christ. If He is an adequate Object of my faith, if He indeed does the saving--my opinions, my feelings, my insecurities, my sin record, my emotional baggage have no bearing whatsoever on the situation. It's a black and white, done deal.

Yes, I am giving a personal testimonial to what I know on a personal level, and I recognize (as Alan indicates as well) that there are certainly emotional ramifications and preconceived biases that affect my decisions, but my point is that "my" faith is not the issue. The issue is where/in whom my faith is placed. To be a Christian, or not to be a Christian? No, that's not the question. Is Jesus Christ a worthy, able, adequate Savior? That is the question.

About your ham-eating query, Undertoad. I think you need to recognize the distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. These are indeed deep distinctions. Practicing Jews today fail to acknowledge that the crucified Christ was indeed the Son of God and the promised Messiah. Instead, they reject Jesus as the one true way and place their faith in traditionalism and hope for another, future christ.

It is true that the God of the Old Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament. He is still holy. If you read Leviticus, you will see striking proof to the point that God was making--that the Israelites could not save themselves. All these details for the building of the tabernacle, all these dietary laws, all these sacrificial DOs and DON'Ts, all these failures for kings, all these sinful priests, were meant to point up the Jews' need for a PERFECT/ADEQUATE sacrifice for sin, a PERFECT/ADEQUATE Prophet, the PERFECT/ADEQUATE Priest, the PERFECT/ADEQUATE King. As you can read in the New Testament books of John, Ephesians and Hebrews, Jesus Christ (as both perfect 100% God and sinless 100% man) was the ultimate and better fulfillment of all of these things--the sufficient sacrifice, the most authoritative Prophet, the most holy Priest (mediator between God and men) and the most noble and worthy King (Lord and ruler of all).

The laws of God in the Old Testament were the schoolmaster that was intended to bring God's people to saving faith in Jesus Christ as the promised anointed one who would bring an end to the Law and be its ultimate fulfillment. Now God can look at those people who have put their faith in Jesus, and He declares them justified because of Jesus' merit.

How many generations of billions of people have offered their opinions and devoted their intellects to solving our need for eternal answers? And they die, and their words die. I want/need something outside myself to give me answers to my questions. I'm tired of everyone's pewter towers--they send me into dispair. I need an Eiffel Tower to place my trust in. And I choose the God of the Bible to be that absolute reference point as I try to navigate through life.

It's not what these hands have done. It's not how much faith I can muster up. It's not how I feel. It's not what I can understand or reconcile mentally.

It's what God did. It's what God provided. It's what God promised. And it's what God, because of His passion for His own glory and our best good, ensures to all who believe.

Which is why I choose to believe that

God so loved the world
that He sent His only Son
that whoever believes on Him
will not perish
but will have everlasting life.



hot_pastrami  Monday Jul 7 04:00 PM

Personally, I respect others' right to believe what they will in such matters, and I admire the convictions of those who are convinced of their version of truth. I am even happy and willing to engage in discussions on religion and related philosophies. I am only bothered when religious beliefs are dispensed as statements of fact. I am as troubled by someone's insistence that God is real and holy and true as they would be if I suggested that God was a snowballed product of over-active imaginations. That doesn't make it wrong for them to assert that God is real and that I will burn in hell for thinking otherwise, but it does mean that I will be as blunt with them. However, I do admire the way you've been expressing your beliefs, being generally respectful of the opposing view.

As for your chair analogy, I think it needs a little altering to include relevant circumstances. One places their faith in a chair when they sit down, yes, but that is a trivial decision. If they sit in the the Wrong Chair (WC), they get up, brush themselves off, and try again. The sitter can change his/her decision based on the additional useful information. Religion would have us believe that we make the choice, and that we are forever responsible for it.

So, put the two chairs above pits of lava. One chair is a wooden chair of straightforward design, with four legs, arms, a seat and a back. It looks sturdy, and feels stout when wiggled. The wood does not sound hollow when knocked upon, and the pieces do not seem to flex or crack when put under some pressure. One is able to observe and test it thoroughly before sitting and paying the consequences of his/her choice. The other chair is draped in cloth, obscuring all but the most general details. There is a long, very old note stuck to the chair, with many sections of the text smudged out, and others scratched out and rewritten, describing the nature of the chair, assuring the potential sitter that it is safe. You are not allowed to touch it or remove the drape before sitting.

I'd choose the chair I could see to be of sound construction, personally, since my very life is in its care. And that represents my belief system... I believe that which I have reason to believe, and suspend belief on anything else until I have reason to otherwise. This varies with the importance of the subject obviously, but generally I need more evidence of Truth than a old text of questionable origin, and a desire to believe it is true. I must observe, or be informed from a trusted source. But everyone's minds work differently.



Undertoad  Monday Jul 7 04:24 PM

The analogy only gets weirder when you consider that your payoff happens in this world, the world you know, while most religious folk expect the payoff in the next one.

IOW, the "lava" for you is eternal torture in a world you can't see and can't prove exists, while for the religious, the "lava" is living a life on entirely false pretenses and not getting anything as a reward (or worse, getting the eternal torture of some other religion's hell).



hot_pastrami  Monday Jul 7 04:44 PM

The other thing I cannot swallow is that a Creator who loves their children wouldn't give them the opportunity to accept Him/Her/It once they have returned to Him/Her/It. This, to my mind, is yet more evidence supporting the theory that religion is emotional blackmail. If there is no opportunity to redeem oneself in the afterlife, one is completely bound to a religion, and has no room to explore and make up their own minds about Truth without essentially turning their back on their religion.

Puny human spirit: "Wow, it's the afterlife!"

God: "You made the wrong choices based on my incomplete and sometimes contradictory information! To Hell for you, for all eternity!"

Puny human spirit: "But I was taught from birth that it was a sin punishable by everlasting torture to believe in &lt;insert unexpected diety here&gt;! Of course, I believe in you now that I can see you and speak to you."

God: "Too little, too late. Say Hi to the Mormons for me."

Puny human spirit, as it is tossed into the eternal wastebasket of depair and hopelessness: "WHAAAAAAAA!"



joydriven  Monday Jul 7 04:47 PM

could you clarify?

Hey, Undertoad...I think I'm confused.

Quote:
The analogy only gets weirder when you consider that your payoff happens in this world, the world you know, while most religious folk expect the payoff in the next one.
If you were referring to the faith that I'm describing, "payoff" does indeed happen for the most part in the afterlife. It's pretty obvious that I don't have visible, tangible "proof" for my faith in this life. And if there is no resurrection (i.e., if Jesus lived and died and rose for no reason and it won't work for me too), then the sacrifices (i.e., sacrifices-slash-investments, depending on how you look at them) I am making in this life are futile. As Paul says, if there is no hope of the resurrection, then my religion is in vain--I am of all people most miserable. Not only would I be giving up all kinds of worldly pleasures unnecessarily, but I would be gypped out of any kind of eternal happiness either.

The book of Matthew says that

the kingdom of heaven
is like a treasure hid in a field
which, when a man finds, he hides it
and goes and sells everything he has
for joy
just to buy that field.

The point of that biblical simile is that true Christians believe that "he is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." In choosing to follow Jesus, I choose to follow God's commandments and live for a future life--not primarily for enjoyment in this life. If the Christianity of the Bible is false, then I am of all people most miserable.

Contrary to many tangential ideas that are circulating around Christendom today, Jesus does not promise prosperity and wealth. He does not promise a risk-free, persecution-free, trouble-free, sickness-free, poverty-free life. He does not promise comforts.

He promises a cross. And He promises major benefits on the other side of that cross.


xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jul 7 05:07 PM

That promise worked very well on the slaves.



Undertoad  Monday Jul 7 05:23 PM

That's what I meant, JoyD, I was just taking HP's analogy a step further (or confusing it) because the lava is different for each chair-sitter.



joydriven  Monday Jul 7 06:10 PM

lightbulb

aha. you did say that. my bad. i get it now.



cynthian.  Monday Jul 7 10:53 PM

intermission

though i would love to continue writing on this blog i will be away for awhile and then i'm moving. so, my lack of interaction on this page is not because i have nothing more to say, or that i am afraid of the plethora of criticism that would no doubt ensue-but because i'm away from the internet.
by the time i return this topic will most likely be beaten to death. it's been a pleasure conversing. until the next striking controversy then...



Undertoad  Monday Jul 7 11:13 PM

But y'know, JoyD, the stakes really aren't that high afer all. We all look for whatever meaning we can get out of life, even the non-believers. Without a doubt, most of us are wrong about the purpose, just by math. We have to live according to the meaning we have found in our lives, and according to our own perception of how things are. If one of us gets to the wrong destination, there is still meaning in the fact that we were traveling in the first place; the beauty in the scenery was not lost on any of us; and we can all enjoy life, no matter what the purpose.



Torrere  Monday Jul 7 11:34 PM

I'm afraid that I don't quite understand joydriven's pewter Eiffel tower analogy.

I wonder: why a Christian's rejection of the Prophet Mohammed more valid than a Jews rejection of Christ?



richlevy  Tuesday Jul 8 12:36 AM

Re: between storms

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven


You say that God is "blatantly heartless and cruel." I ask you, upon what absolute moral authority do you stand in judgment of God's actions? What absolute moral measuring stick do you measure his heartlessness and cruelty with? Your own? Did you attain that sense of right and wrong when you evolved from a gas cloud? Did your tender conscience develop in the wake of a big unexplained random explosion? Is it at all possible for you to believe that God is the source of absolute truth? That God was the one who created you with an awareness of morality? That God is the one who gave you a mind to discern with?

....

It's ironic that most of mankind's reaction to God seems to be shaking a puny God-made fist in the face of God.
I don't know what Bruce said, but I for one do not believe that G-d is "blatantly heartless and cruel." I believe that a large number of people have done "blatantly heartless and cruel" things in G-d's name. For example, if you consider a child being raised in the "wrong faith", then a religious person can justify doing almost anything to "save" that child's soul.

In America, this behavior was most prevalent in schools on reservations which discouraged or banned native americans from speaking their own language or studying the history of their own culture.

Since you also mentioned Leviticus, where do you stand on stoning and burning as punishments? Did you look up Auto da fe?


quzah  Tuesday Jul 8 04:13 AM

Re: between storms

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
This is a very interesting self-contradiction.
There is no contradiction. If there is said "God of the Bible", then I find him to be ultimately cruel and evil. I don't know about you, but I find the following to be much "less cruel" and "less evil", perhaps even kind:

Create some peons. Give them a choice: Spend forever with me in this fab paradise, or spend forever with out me, in an equally fab paradise. Naturally, people should want to be with me, because I'm not a heartless, cruel bastard, but if they choose not to do so, I'll not punnish them for it.

But what the hell do I know, I'm just a mortal, right?

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
The one way is offensive to anyone since it requires humility to realize that we don't dictate how we can enter God's heaven.
It has nothing to do with humility. It has to do with kindness. I find it unkind to punnish the multitudes just because they don't happen to follow blindly with whatever I tell them to. But then, what the hell do I know.

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
If you come in my house and I have a house rule that requires the removal of your shoes, you would very likely submit to that or have a pretty good reason why not.
Flawed analogy. You're good with those.

A more accurate analogy would be you bringing me over to your house, waiting until I'm inside, then telling me to remove your shoes or you'll beat the shit out of me. And that, I cannot leave until either one of those happens. I either remove my shoes, or you beat my ass.

That is an accurate analogy. We were born, without being given the option, and once here, we have to follow the rules that only a smattering of people know, and if we don't, we're eternally punnished.

I also find it amusing how all of my points are dodged. Sure, you have faith, great. But no answers for the questions like "Well what about all the people for centuries who didn't have any way possible to hear this wonderful religion?"

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
If God indeed created heaven and earth and all the inhabitants and so on, he does indeed have the prerogative to condemn/forgive/glorify those who submit to his conditions.
I didn't say he didn't have that choice. He can do whatever he feels like and no one can do a thing about it except bend to his will. But don't you dare try and force feed me the fact that he loves everyone so much that he did this and that. If he loved people that much, he wouldn't have created hell. There is no reason at all to have a hell, other than the fact that he feels like it.

No, all people aren't great and good. Far from it. But don't you dare equate people such as the oh, Ghandi, and Hitler. In your version of God, since they both didn't believe (assuming, I was neither one when they died, so I don't know their final thoughs or personal assessment of the next world, next life, hell, heaven, whatever you feel like calling it) in your version of the Bible's god, they are both in hell saying "Hi" to eachother.

I imagine the meeting went something like:

Hitler: "Hi, what did you do to end up here?"
Ghandi: "Well, I had a different belief system."
Hitler: "Ah, me too, but in addition to that, I lead the world to the slaughter of millions. Glad to make your acquaintance."
Ghandi: "Yeah, just great."


Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
That's nothing of their own merit, so the mentality is indeed NOT "you're fucked and i'm not"
Oh you're so right. What do I know about Christians, right? I've never even seen one![/sarcasm]

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
You say that God is "blatantly heartless and cruel." I ask you, upon what absolute moral authority do you stand in judgment of God's actions? What absolute moral measuring stick do you measure his heartlessness and cruelty with?
Yes. My own. You see, we as people seem to do that. We look at things and make up or own minds about them. Or at least, that's what you'd have me believe.

I'm sorry, I really really am if you don't see the concept of hell as cruel. I really really pitty you. No, there is no sarcasm in this statement what so ever. I really really pitty you.

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
So maybe you believe there's an ultimate creator being, but not the God of the Bible. (This seems to be your view, since you consider only bits and pieces rather than the whole Bible as you make your evaluatory statements about God.) And you just don't like what you're seeing of him. Again, you are harking back to your personal experience. Is it possible for you to acknowledge that your experience might be limited and might just not be enough? That there may be something beyond your comprehension out there? That your refusal to spend eternity with the God of the Bible IS the foundation of your self-damnation? We don't get sent to hell. We work our way there.
It has absolutely nothing to do with something being greater than me. I really could care less if there is some ultimate creator of everything. What turned me completely off about the Christian faith was two actual things:
1) The judgemental people themselves. And if you can't see that you are, again, I pitty you.
2) The concept that just because I don't happen to believe the "right thing" means I suffer endlessly.

I refuse to belong to something that forces me to get everyone to bend to my way of thinking or else they get forever damned. If I end up there because of it, so be it. It's a god damn shame, because I'm not that bad a person. But then, it doesn't matter if you're a hateful, homicidal, mass murderer, as long as you change your point of view at the last second.

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
It's ironic that most of mankind's reaction to God seems to be shaking a puny God-made fist in the face of God.
No. It's anger coupled with sorrow, at what a waste he has made of the human species. Just because over five billion people don't happen to perfectly agree with said rules, they're all being punished.

That is my problem with said religion. It's just too bad I guess that everyone out there can't be so narrow minded as you. If they were, a lot more would be "going to heaven".


Quzah.


bjlhct  Tuesday Jul 8 04:40 AM

Hitler was Catholic.

Raised that way and repeatedly said he was a devout one, anyway.

A counter argument to the [God lets bad stuff happen, so He is not as Super Good as He Says] argument is that there is an inherent goodness to Justice. I don't buy this; some do.

The Gnostic system sidesteps a lot of the issues here.

I don't think I'll EVER be a believer in anything but maybe Zen after what happened to me. (See my other comment.)



dave  Tuesday Jul 8 06:57 AM

The problem with religious folks is that you make such easy targets. You profess such profound beliefs as truth and, when it comes down to it, cannot make a logical argument for the existence of your deity of choice. Show me some proof. Perhaps you could even come up with some really strong evidence?



Undertoad  Tuesday Jul 8 10:46 AM

Hey, is the whole "Ghandi and Hitler" problem solved by Dante's different levels of hell? You know, level 1 for Ghandi, level 8 for Hitler, and level 9 for the person who decided CDs should be packed that way?

(Thank you! Please remember to tip your waitresses!)



perth  Tuesday Jul 8 11:12 AM

they made a separate, special level for the guy who came up with the cd packaging scheme.

~james



dave  Tuesday Jul 8 11:30 AM

Yes, perth, that is what he was implying.



perth  Tuesday Jul 8 11:32 AM

as long as its a deeper level than this one.

~james



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jul 8 12:08 PM

QUOTE]But no answers for the questions like "Well what about all the people for centuries who didn't have any way possible to hear this wonderful religion?"[/quote] The Jehovah's Witnesses told me that everyone who ever lived and died without having been exposed to Christ, will be given a chance to make that decision before being judged.
Joydriven never did tell us just which, of the dozens, of bibles she follows. I always wondered which is the right one.
Saying "Christen" is like saying "white person". They come in so many flavors, I really don't know what you're talking about.

Would the LOWEST level of hell be the...cellar?



perth  Tuesday Jul 8 12:18 PM

i think the best kind of bible to have is an interlinear bible. king james or other common translation, alongside the original hebrew/greek and a literal word-for-word translation. throw in strongs concordance, and theres a lot there you might otherwise not see. its good to get a look at just how much has been edited to pretty-up or change the meaning of what was originally written.

~james

p.s. another link because amazon is being stupid.



joydriven  Tuesday Jul 8 01:40 PM

<b>Quzah...</b>

There is only so far either one of us can proceed, given our unbudging presuppositions. You are continuously challenging the idea of a biblical God as though you are qualified to stand in judgment of his actions. You accuse God of unkindness and injustice, but I again submit to you that (1) you are not looking at the whole, biblical representation of God, and (2) you are judging him based on a morality system that he created. When you say, "that's not fair!" and expect all of us to agree, you are calling all of us to recognize a universal definition of kindness and love and justice and goodness. Although you cannot personally account for this morality system's origin, you claim to have plumbed the depths of it.

On the other hand, I am trying to consistently approach the idea of a biblical God in a way that accords with how is character and work is described in the Bible. This negates the possibility of my accusing God of evil. By nature, none of us wants to recognize a God who created the world, a God who is both terribly holy and just and yet unfathomably gracious and merciful. No one wants to acknowledge God as sovereign Creator because that would automatically necessitate ownership and accountability. (In spite of most summary comments that I have heard from deep thinkers like yourself, THE primary problem they have with my religion is very likely this. No thinking person wants to be held accountable for his actions before a holy God.)

However, if you do take that initial step and decide to take the Bible for what it claims to be--revelation of God's character and work, then a lot of things fall into place. For instance, the way to heaven does not seem so arbitrary and ambiguous because it is quite clearly and repeatedly blueprinted (e.g., "Jesus said, 'I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by me'"). Some things, such as degrees of punishments for Catholic Hitlers or well-meaning Hindus or Baptist hypocrites or those who have never heard the gospel once in their lifetime--those things are not delineated in the Bible. I can't speculate with authority, and I won't try to satisfy your curiosity about the mysteries that remain.

All this mutual pity is valuable, but only to the extent that we try to be objective and genuinely seek the truth. The minute I start throwing in my personal pet peeves and assuming things about you rather than stepping back and trying to get a larger-scope perspective--that's when my alleged pity becomes merely a facade for my own allegiance to my own opinions.

The Bible talks about how we, even in our fallen, sinful state, still retain some traces of the image of God. I believe that's why we have so much potential for creativity, beauty, love, etc. -- in spite of the perverseness of our generation and all the wicked things that have happened throughout preceding history. Humanity is a messed up blur of good and bad, and some are more twisted than others. All of us have it in us to commit the worst crimes, and we are certainly guilty of twisting God-given gifts and avoiding his agenda and ignoring his purposes, which is essentially what it means to sin against him.

<b>dave...</b>

I already acknowledged that I don't have the kind of tangible, visible proof that you would like to see. Just as you don't have tangible, visible proof to disprove my views. All of us place our faith in something. There is no such thing as living in a vacuum. I don't mind my "targetness" but I fail to see how I differ from those who have placed their faith in evolution, for instance. No living human was present to observe the universe's beginning, it can't be repeated, cannot be studied according to the rules of scientific observation.... And yet humanity has come up with all kinds of notions (evolution in spite of entropy, big bang, random chaos, long-day, survival of the fittest, etc.) that are equally if not more preposterous than the idea of a supernatural 6-day creation -- again, the foundation of faith like an evolutionist's appears to be, at root, nothing more than running away from the ownership/accountability of a God who created.

<b>xoxoxoBruce...</b>

I sort of follow your question, but I think I come at it from a different perspective. There may or may not be hundreds of Bibles--but I think what you are referring to is the hundreds of available <i><b>translations</b></i> of the Bible. Some of these translations are pretty faithful to the original manuscripts, while some of them are pretty watered down to the extent that they deviate from the originally penned biblical concepts. Here is a Web site that I really enjoy because it has a lot of online Bible versions available for quick lookup.
<a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/" target="new">BibleGateway</a>
As for which Bible I personally ascribe to--I'm not sure how to answer that. I read all kinds of translations (my favorites are New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New Living Translation, etc.), including Hebrew, Greek and French. That's not really the point, though. Translations of the Bible are good/bad based on how well they adhere to the original manuscripts. The original Bible in its original languages was inerrant and infallible. It may be impossible to find a flawless translation--so, like perth said, an interlinear could be good if you read Hebrew or Greek and really want to be "sure" the translation is faithful. In most cases, however, it is. God has promised to preserve his Word, and he has done so successfully over the centuries and across hundreds of language barriers.

<b>And,</b> for what it's worth, I would also add that my personal faith differs greatly from that of most Catholics. I mentioned before my firm belief in what the Bible says about salvation "by grace, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast," and about there being only "one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Most Catholics hold to a faith-plus-works salvation theology, and most Catholics do believe that, in addition to Jesus, Mary and other saints are legitimate people to pray to as interceding mediators. I believe that Jesus, being God, needs no additional help; and his atonement requires no complementary works from me to supplement his sufficiency as the better Prophet, better Priest, better King, better Sacrifice.

So yeah, I'm maybe not even your normal 'brand' of Christian. In fact, I kind of hope I'm <b>not</b> the kind of Christian that most unbelievers seem prone (Murphy's Law style) to encounter. Sometimes the biggest deterrents to Christianity are those who claim to be Christians and then, instead of acting like converted "bad sinners," they simply whitewash their outsides and pretend to be holier than all the other "bad sinners," while in reality they are worse.



perth  Tuesday Jul 8 01:49 PM

Quote:
so, like perth said, an interlinear could be good if you read Hebrew or Greek and really want to be "sure" the translation is faithful.
not sure i was clear. the thing about an interlinear bible is that you really dont need to be able to read hebrew/greek. above each word in hebrew/greek is the literal translation of that word, or as near as possible to it. so reading the literal translation may not make any sense with out some creative interpretation, but it is important to note that while one translation may interpret a word as 'married' the literal translation may be 'devoured" (just an example, im not saying ive seen this, but i have seen strange interpretations).

~james


bjlhct  Tuesday Jul 8 02:02 PM

Bible

Or you could use http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/



joydriven  Tuesday Jul 8 02:07 PM

right-oh. it was not you who was unclear.
the interlinear does do what you describe. it is actually a good illustration of the difficulties of the translation process (a universal problem in translating from any language to any language), since it doesn't change the syntax, etc. the hebrew/greek words are literally translated so that if you read between the lines straight across it can get kind of kooky. and it is kind of cool (linguistically) to see how the xlators choose to flesh out the intended meaning in vernacular English.



Undertoad  Tuesday Jul 8 02:13 PM

JoyD, you haven't examined the true basis for science just as the science advocates haven't examined and don't understand the "big picture" of your faith.

dave's explanations don't pass your laugh test, and so you don't study it further; and your explanations don't pass dave's laugh test, so he doesn't study it further.

I side with dave; now I could go and study your faith further and try to understand the nature of God and stuff, but I feel it would be a waste of my time and quite annoying. At the same time, you don't study the basis of science because it would be a waste of your time and quite annoying.

But at the same time, I now understand why my text around "Finger of God" is annoying to you -- it completely disregards your sensibilities about how the world works. To this, I say, we can only speak from our own perspective. I could try not to be annoying in this way, but that wouldn't be right either. It would be dishonest. I have to write from my own perspective, even if it means annoying you. I'm not trying to be an ass, really; I'm just trying to express myself. I'm sorry if it irritates you, I mean that, but I still think it's appropriate.



dave  Tuesday Jul 8 02:13 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by joydriven
I already acknowledged that I don't have the kind of tangible, visible proof that you would like to see. Just as you don't have tangible, visible proof to disprove my views. All of us place our faith in something. There is no such thing as living in a vacuum. I don't mind my "targetness" but I fail to see how I differ from those who have placed their faith in evolution, for instance. No living human was present to observe the universe's beginning, it can't be repeated, cannot be studied according to the rules of scientific observation.... And yet humanity has come up with all kinds of notions (evolution in spite of entropy, big bang, random chaos, long-day, survival of the fittest, etc.) that are equally if not more preposterous than the idea of a supernatural 6-day creation -- again, the foundation of faith like an evolutionist's appears to be, at root, nothing more than running away from the ownership/accountability of a God who created.
No offense, but... are you kidding? "equally if not more preposterous" than the idea of creationism?

There actually <b>is</b> evidence of evolution. Stubs on snakes where it is presumed they used to have legs. A tail bone in humans that serves no purpose. Humans in Africa and other places that share traits with earlier humans/neanderthals (skull structure, etc).

I didn't run away from the accountability to a God who created. I looked at the evidence and made a choice. I used to go to church every Sunday and declared that Jesus Christ was my savior. But what I eventually came to realize is that what I was doing is believing blindly. There isn't much in Christianity that can't be explained by science. Take a look at today's news: a single child lives through a plane crash that kills 115 others. Undoubtedly, someone will hail it as a miracle and say that God kept the child alive. But you and I both know that professionals could look at the wreckage and provide evidence and reasoning showing that the child lived because of where it was during the impact, how it was seated, etc. God would be hard pressed to keep someone alive if they went through a meat grinder. His real power would be to stop it from happening. But he doesn't do that on any regular basis, now does he? We wouldn't be reading about these things in the paper if he did.

Taking a look at psychology and the way human beliefs work, it's easy to see that we want events and actions to have meaning. Going a step further, it's easy to see why man created God - to help ease the pain when tragedy occurs. It's not right that a five year old child gets shot in the head, and it's certainly hard to deal with if you're a parent. But it's easier if you believe that the child is in heaven now, and God took him because "it was his time". It's not appealing to think that someone shot your child for no reason at all, and now they're gone and that's that.

I'm sure you dismiss this theory, and that's fine. But I've just scratched the surface of the actual argument and, logically, it makes sense. Whereas the best argument I've heard from your side (though not you specifically) is "An invisible man made everything in six days!" First of all, it's illogical to think that he could possibly work that fast. And the attention to detail really throws this off. Plus, carbon dating sorta stretches the timeframe that the world has existed. And <b>why</b> would he make the fossils of these 6,000 year old bog people? Just 'cause? What would be the point?

There really <b>is</b> a lot of evidence to support the other theories. It seems to me as though you personally are just unwilling to truly consider it. And I know for a fact that many others aren't.

How do you feel about the Holocaust and the well defined theory that Christianity is directly responsible for it? Do you feel that it was "that time" for those six million European Jews, or is it really more like a fucked up shitty thing that happened because someone in a position of power convinced a whole lot of people to follow him blindly?

If you do not believe the holocaust was a good thing, then I'd like to know how you feel the indoctrination of Germans by the Nazi party (making them <b>believe</b> instead of <b>think</b>) is all that different than raising children as followers of a particular religion (and making them <b>believe</b> instead of <b>think</b>)?


joydriven  Tuesday Jul 8 02:52 PM

I am not ignoring the verifiable scientific discoveries of facts. There is no such thing as faith in a vacuum, and there is no such thing as facts in a vacuum. I cannot validly claim to have stripped myself of all presuppositions when I encounter a fact. Facts are interpreted through the lenses of the presuppositions we bring to the table. I acknowledge those verifiable scientific discoveries, but I do not interpret them the same way you do.

Carbon dating can be valid, but if you posit the Bible, then you also posit a flood--which (due to sudden immense pressure and vast global consequences) would have significantly altered the effectiveness of various dating methods, since it would provide the necessary conditions for fossilization.

I learned the scientific method in school like the rest of you did, and I don't deny its legitimacy. Nor do I doubt that true science, i.e., that science which is conducted faithfully according to the scientific method, serves usually to verify and never to deny, the claims of the Bible. For instance, the roundness of the Earth in spite of former scientific opinions to the contrary. Or "the morning stars sang," a phrase that was originally written off as biblical poesy but was actually discovered to be true by radio experts during WWII times. This is the case with countless historical and linguistics records as well. The only instances where the Bible's accounts of history and geology have <b>not</b> been verified by science properly conducted have been instances where the Bible itself declares that a supernatural miracle occurred (such as when the "sun stood still" or when the invisible man created the world in six days).

I can't get into the INs and OUTs of the historical, scientific, linguistic verifications that Bible-supporters would consider valid supports. Christians are not only in the minority numerically, but they are sadly in the minority when it comes to scholarly expressions of their faith. If you are interested, here is one creationist site that proposes quite a few valid arguments and interpretations of what even you would call facts, and they are among the very few who do so in a manner worth reading.
<a href="http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/qa.asp" target="new">Answers in Genesis</a>

I keep coming back to this, but I'll say it again. We are wearing different-colored lenses. I am acknowledging that I have presuppositions and am positing an absolute truth by which I measure all of my interpretations. I submit to you again that you have presuppositions as well that influence your interpretation of the facts.

Ultimately, we all believe what we all want to believe. That we are all free to do so does not mean we are right or wrong in doing so.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Jul 8 04:02 PM

Quote:
His real power would be to stop it from happening. But he doesn't do that on any regular basis, now does he? We wouldn't be reading about these things in the paper if he did.
Not so sure on this one. When I think about all the times I came close to killing myself with one stupid antic or another, I've sometimes wondered in someone didn't intervene.

Christian hot air?


joydriven  Tuesday Jul 8 07:47 PM

packing it up

Hey, I'm just thinking it would be best to move any insane remains of this discussion over to Philosophy as was originally proposed/implied as a good idea.

So, maybe we could continue here....
<a href="http://cellar.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3651" target="new">Philosophy thread discussion re: the God of the Bible</a>

Again, thanks for your patience with my blog bogging.
~joy

matthew1344@hotmail.com



warch  Tuesday Jul 8 07:55 PM

I feel compelled to pop in ...

Quote:
Facts are interpreted through the lenses of the presuppositions we bring to the table.

So what about "Thou shall not kill".
I'm curious JD, about your thoughts, your personal beliefs and biblical interpretation of recent events like 9/11 or the long violence in the middle east. Is God angry and trying smite us all or something? You've stressed your faith in the absolute truth of biblical God, salvation in heaven; so can a soldier that kills another human be a true Christian? Can a leader that orders others to kill be a Christian? Could you ever imagine a time when you, as a Christian, would be justified by God in killing another human?


joydriven  Wednesday Jul 9 01:32 PM

"thou shalt not kill" ...redirect...

hey, warch...

please see here for a reply.

<a href="http://cellar.org/showthread.php?s=&postid=48150#post48150" target="new">"thou shalt not kill" entry on Philosophy blog</a>



richlevy  Monday Jul 14 08:03 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by perth
i think the best kind of bible to have is an interlinear bible. king james or other common translation, alongside the original hebrew/greek and a literal word-for-word translation. throw in strongs concordance, and theres a lot there you might otherwise not see. its good to get a look at just how much has been edited to pretty-up or change the meaning of what was originally written.

~james

p.s. another link because amazon is being stupid.
I heard that the phrase 'walked on the water' in the new testament is now thought to be better translated as 'walked by the water'. I wonder if they are going to make that change?


Urbane Guerrilla  Tuesday Jul 15 04:24 AM

But thanks for the cosmic laugh anyway -- the Finger of God...



Uryoces  Thursday Jul 17 03:47 AM

Quote:
Originally posted by xoxoxoBruce
Not so sure on this one. When I think about all the times I came close to killing myself with one stupid antic or another, I've sometimes wondered in someone didn't intervene.

Christian hot air?
Is it just me, or does Jesus on that balloon look like the MCP?





xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Jul 17 05:53 PM

It's just you.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Aug 7 05:03 AM

More fingers?



Happy Monkey  Thursday Aug 7 09:58 AM

Yikes

Is that the holy goatse man?


sorry



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Aug 7 12:34 PM

You bastard, now that you've said it that's all I can see.



Happy Monkey  Thursday Aug 7 12:54 PM

My work here is done.

but I'll stay anyway.



xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Oct 7 11:08 PM

Never let a good thread die.



bmgb  Wednesday Oct 8 12:58 AM

Goatse

Quote:
Originally posted by Happy Monkey
Is that the holy goatse man?


sorry
I've seen that word so many times, but never knew what it meant.

(No) thanks to google, I now know.


Leus  Wednesday Oct 8 05:15 PM

I was once (mis)directed to that awful goatse thing. Immediatly felt the compulsory thought of poking my eyes with some blunt object.



bmgb  Wednesday Oct 8 06:10 PM

I think I'll be OK. Having seen Dave's Webscalpel logo, I was somewhat prepared.



dave  Wednesday Oct 8 06:40 PM

/me curtsies.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 9 10:08 PM

Quote:
Originally posted by dave
/me curtsies.
Shit, I'd pay money to see that.


Your reply here?

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