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JayHoover
February 2nd, 2005, 10:02 AM
A time machine is invented. You step into it, and select a period of time just before and just after what we consider BCE and CE. You select a place: Palestine, in and around Jerusalem.

You can stop and go as you choose, so you sit in this machine (which is invisible to others) and you scan for events. You also have a Hebrew / Latin / Aramaic translator onboard so you can both witness events and understand them in context.

This is what you learn:

There are numerous messiahs running around, and one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before he can get too powerful, he is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is left to the crows, and is picked apart, just like any other criminal of the day.

You learn his followers then embark on a plan to elevate him to a deity, and he becomes Jesus Christ. As the years roll on, the legend grows and takes hold.

That's the scenario -- nothing more or less. The question is, in the light of such a scenario, what would you as a Christian do? In short, if the central tenets of your belief system was proved false conclusively (and I understand that may not be possible, but hypotheticaly if it were), what would you do? would you still believe or realign your beliefs?

Thanks for answering.

Granite
February 2nd, 2005, 10:05 AM
Possible responses:

a) we KNOW our faith is true; hence this scenario is an absurdity

b) it's a parallel universe where God revealed himself in different ways

c) the time machine, etc., is a demonic hoax

d) you're deceived and didn't actually see JESUS on the cross

e) it's a test from God--divine deception to see how strong your faith really is

1PeaceMaker
February 2nd, 2005, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by granite1010

Possible responses:

a) we KNOW our faith is true; hence this scenario is an absurdity

b) it's a parallel universe where God revealed himself in different ways

c) the time machine, etc., is a demonic hoax

d) you're deceived and didn't actually see JESUS on the cross

e) it's a test from God--divine deception to see how strong your faith really is :down: :nono: :chuckle:

1PeaceMaker
February 2nd, 2005, 10:22 AM
g)God is LOVE. Therefore, legend or reality, Christ is the story of the ultimate revelation of love, and therefore I would still be moved by it, and recognize the Spirit of Christ in others who display the same kind of love.

It would be like the ultimate touching parable!

HOWEVER, there is NO chance that the story is untrue, therefore you asked a "what-if-pigs-could-fly" scenario.

Turbo
February 2nd, 2005, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

In short, if the central tenets of your belief system was proved false conclusively (and I understand that may not be possible, but hypotheticaly if it were), what would you do? would you still believe or realign your beliefs?

Thanks for answering. I'd cease to be a Christian, of course.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 4And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:13-19

Thankfully, there is overwhelming evidence that Christ did in fact rise from the dead. That is why I became a Christian to begin with.

JayHoover
February 2nd, 2005, 02:35 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

I'd cease to be a Christian, of course.That's a very honest answer. Thank you.

One follow-up, since two of you have stated categorically that there's no chance the story is untrue (you indicating there's "overwhelming evidence"):

Is this overwhelming evidence strictly based upon the bible, or is the evidence to be found elsewhere (and I don't mean "because we found Herod's palace we therefore know Jesus ressurrected" -- I mean solid extra-biblical evidence).

Thanks again.

I hope others will give their answer as well to the "what-if" scenario.

Granite
February 2nd, 2005, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

I'd cease to be a Christian, of course.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 4And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:13-19

Thankfully, there is overwhelming evidence that Christ did in fact rise from the dead. That is why I became a Christian to begin with.

I wouldn't call whatever "evidence" you're thinking of "overwhelming," but of course faith doesn't need proof.

Knight
February 2nd, 2005, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover
This is what you learn:

There are numerous messiahs running around, and one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before he can get too powerful, he is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is left to the crows, and is picked apart, just like any other criminal of the day.

You learn his followers then embark on a plan to elevate him to a deity, and he becomes Jesus Christ. As the years roll on, the legend grows and takes hold.
Well... first off... I would reject my Christian faith.

Then... I would ask all of Jesus followers why on earth they are going to allow themselves to be put to death in extremely painful ways all on account of their own lie. :shocked:

After that... I would start my search for the real God whom created things in the same manner that the God of the Bible did.

Granite
February 2nd, 2005, 02:44 PM
"Then... I would ask all of Jesus followers why on earth they are going to allow themselves to be put to death in extremely painful ways all on account of their own lie."

As the Mormons did, for example.

People are willing to die for quite a lot, as history shows.

Turbo
February 2nd, 2005, 02:54 PM
Which Mormons died defending their own lies?

Granite
February 2nd, 2005, 03:35 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

Which Mormons died defending their own lies?

The Smith brothers, for one. For another the early Mormons endured persecution, hardship, and government harrassment. The leadership obviously thought it was worth putting up with for a reason.

Knight
February 2nd, 2005, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

"Then... I would ask all of Jesus followers why on earth they are going to allow themselves to be put to death in extremely painful ways all on account of their own lie."

As the Mormons did, for example.

People are willing to die for quite a lot, as history shows. People often will die for believing a lie.

However... people almost never will die for a lie they created themselves, the very lie that got themselves into trouble in the first place.

This unlikely event becomes even more unlikely when applied to a large group of people - all in on the lie.... all willing to die painful deaths for it.

SOTK
February 2nd, 2005, 10:13 PM
I agree with Knight and Turbo. I would cease being a Christian, however, I would refuse to believe that there was not a God. In other words, like Knight, I would continue searching for the God who made the universe and all things in it. Reason dictates (to my way of thinking) that the opposite is absurd. I do not believe life "just happened" nor that "humans do not have a greater purpose" than to "just exist". These thoughts or beliefs are a big part of what lead me to believing in the God of the Bible and that Christ is the Truth. Also, certain pieces of scripture (like the one Turbo cited) further solidified my beliefs in Jesus being God. In other words, "Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and Life".

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 12:12 AM
Some good replies. I hope more will post (this is a bump and a thank you combined!).

Lighthouse
February 3rd, 2005, 01:32 AM
As I see it, I have all the proof I need that He has risen. For I have been resurrected with Him. I would think, actually, that if He had not I wouldn't be a Christian in the first place.

Frank Ernest
February 3rd, 2005, 04:36 AM
Originally posted by JayHoover

A time machine is invented. [snip]
There are numerous messiahs running around, and one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before he can get too powerful, he is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is left to the crows, and is picked apart, just like any other criminal of the day.

You learn his followers then embark on a plan to elevate him to a deity, and he becomes Jesus Christ. As the years roll on, the legend grows and takes hold.

That's the scenario -- nothing more or less. The question is, in the light of such a scenario, what would you as a Christian do? In short, if the central tenets of your belief system was proved false conclusively (and I understand that may not be possible, but hypotheticaly if it were), what would you do? would you still believe or realign your beliefs?

Thanks for answering.
Strictly adhering to your scenario, there was no resurrection, ergo, no reason for me to believe that Yeshua was the Christ. So I would not be a "Christian." However, I would still have the scriptures and the prophecies to continue searching.

I'll ditto :SOTK:

Lighthouse
February 3rd, 2005, 05:37 AM
I still say that I wouldn't have become a Christian if it weren't true.

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 07:08 AM
Originally posted by Knight

People often will die for believing a lie.

However... people almost never will die for a lie they created themselves, the very lie that got themselves into trouble in the first place.

This unlikely event becomes even more unlikely when applied to a large group of people - all in on the lie.... all willing to die painful deaths for it.

But the Smith brothers did. Jim Jones offed himself, so did David Koresh.

It can and does happen all the time. It's a question of how many people you take with you...

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 07:09 AM
Originally posted by lighthouse

I still say that I wouldn't have become a Christian if it weren't true.

Irrational.

You FEEL as you though you've changed, hence, Christianity must be true--based on your personal, subjective experience.

Buddhists the world over feel just as certain about their spirituality.

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 08:16 AM
Originally posted by Sozo

If Jesus had not been raised, we wouldn't even be here having this conversation.

So because people discuss Apollo, does that mean he was/is the sun god?

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 08:17 AM
Originally posted by Sozo

Is God therefore untrue because YOU have changed based on YOUR personal subjective experience?

No. My experience has changed but that doesn't invalidate his existence. How I perceive God has changed for me personally but if there IS a "god" of some kind, we puny humans don't change him at all.

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 08:29 AM
Originally posted by Sozo

There is a discussion board for Apollo?

Nevertheless, I would not be there having a conversation.

Sozo, come on. Don't play dumb here.

You said: "If Jesus had not been raised, we wouldn't even be here having this conversation."

Now, that seems to imply that Jesus' existence is confirmed just by the fact that people discuss him. Maybe that was your point, maybe not. But just talking about something or someone certainly doesn't validate existence for anything.

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 08:34 AM
Originally posted by Sozo

I honestly was just trying to say, that if Jesus was not raised, I would have no interest in spending all my time having conversations on a discussion forum about Him, or anything else.

Gotcha, thanks.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 08:56 AM
Originally posted by lighthouse

As I see it, I have all the proof I need that He has risen. For I have been resurrected with Him. I would think, actually, that if He had not I wouldn't be a Christian in the first place.

Edited: Sorry, I didn't see your second post on this; ignore this reply.

Understood. Now, the question is: if you were present at the events and learned otherwise, what would your reaction be?

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by granite1010

But the Smith brothers did. Jim Jones offed himself, so did David Koresh.

It can and does happen all the time. It's a question of how many people you take with you... I don't think these examples are analogous at all.

Especially Jim Jones and Koresh.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 12:22 PM
Originally posted by Knight

People often will die for believing a lie.

However... people almost never will die for a lie they created themselves, the very lie that got themselves into trouble in the first place.

This unlikely event becomes even more unlikely when applied to a large group of people - all in on the lie.... all willing to die painful deaths for it. A couple of thoughts on this. First, I think the categorization of something as a "lie" might bear examining. I can think of a huge movement, National Socialism, that pretty much fits the description of people believing a lie, and that lie being not only the thing that got them into trouble in the first place, but also led to them (the perpetrators of the lie) dying in painful ways: Poison, torture, suicide, etc. One could also make the case for Communism in both Russia and China. Both systems were lies for power, the lies were known to be lies by the perpetrators, and in the end, many of those perpetrators wound up victims of their own lies.

Secondarily, it's the word lie that could be creating the issue here. What if the people do not believe they believe a lie? Christianity started small -- it was not a "large group of people in on a lie" -- it was a small group of people who may have been very devoted to their Rabbi of the time-- in this case, Yeshua.

Now I did a search on OT prophecy regarding specifically resurrection. According to this Christian ministry website:

http://www.probe.org/docs/e-otprophecies.html

it seems that there is a question as to there being any direct prophecy of the messiah rising from the dead. While the page is too long to quote directly, the ministry does make this conclusion:

"None of these texts are specifically Messianic. I do not think there are any specific predictions of Jesus' resurrection in the OT. This, I think, is partly why Jesus' disciples had such a difficult time understanding His own predictions of His resurrection. They did not have a category for a dying and rising Messiah (i.e. raised to glory, never to die again) within world history. They only knew of a general resurrection at the end of time.

If this is the case (and I happen to agree that it is -- there are no direct prophecies stating that the messiah must rise from the dead), then it is possible that this small group, devastated by the loss of their leader, told he would resurrect, might grow the legend. Anyway, the point is that it's not impossible that there are alternate explanations to the story itself.

Okay, that aside, I'm looking forward to more replies. Thanks!

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 12:39 PM
OK... Jay now its your turn....

A time machine is invented. You step into it, and select a period of time just before and just after what we consider BCE and CE. You select a place: Palestine, in and around Jerusalem.

You can stop and go as you choose, so you sit in this machine (which is invisible to others) and you scan for events. You also have a Hebrew / Latin / Aramaic translator onboard so you can both witness events and understand them in context.

This is what you learn:

There are numerous messiahs running around, yet one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before He can get too powerful, He is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is placed in a gaurded stone tomb covered by a large stone. On the third day He rises from the grave and appears to thousands of people (including you).

You learn His followers that this "Jesus" is actually the Son of God and has come here to take on the sin of the world and to give everlastiing life to any that choose to accept Him and His work on the cross.

That's the scenario. The question is, in the light of such a scenario, what would you as a atheist do?

Thanks for answering.

Crow
February 3rd, 2005, 12:45 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

A time machine is invented. You step into it, and select a period of time just before and just after what we consider BCE and CE. You select a place: Palestine, in and around Jerusalem.

You can stop and go as you choose, so you sit in this machine (which is invisible to others) and you scan for events. You also have a Hebrew / Latin / Aramaic translator onboard so you can both witness events and understand them in context.

This is what you learn:

There are numerous messiahs running around, and one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before he can get too powerful, he is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is left to the crows, and is picked apart, just like any other criminal of the day.

You learn his followers then embark on a plan to elevate him to a deity, and he becomes Jesus Christ. As the years roll on, the legend grows and takes hold.

That's the scenario -- nothing more or less. The question is, in the light of such a scenario, what would you as a Christian do? In short, if the central tenets of your belief system was proved false conclusively (and I understand that may not be possible, but hypotheticaly if it were), what would you do? would you still believe or realign your beliefs?

Thanks for answering.

If I were to see conclusive proof that your scenario were true, then I would no longer be a Christian.

I would be pretty much as I was 10 years ago, except that I would still believe in God. And I would look for the promised Messiah.

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by Knight

I don't think these examples are analogous at all.

Especially Jim Jones and Koresh.

They died for SOMETHING. And they both had their convictions on their side, for right or wrong.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 01:14 PM
Originally posted by Knight

OK... Jay now its your turn....

A time machine is invented. You step into it, and select a period of time just before and just after what we consider BCE and CE. You select a place: Palestine, in and around Jerusalem.

You can stop and go as you choose, so you sit in this machine (which is invisible to others) and you scan for events. You also have a Hebrew / Latin / Aramaic translator onboard so you can both witness events and understand them in context.

This is what you learn:

There are numerous messiahs running around, yet one of them, a certain erstwhile carpenter from Nazareth named Yeshua, is gaining particular reknown. However, before He can get too powerful, He is arrested, crucified as was the order of the day, and dies. His body is placed in a gaurded stone tomb covered by a large stone. On the third day He rises from the grave and appears to thousands of people (including you).

You learn His followers that this "Jesus" is actually the Son of God and has come here to take on the sin of the world and to give everlastiing life to any that choose to accept Him and His work on the cross.

That's the scenario. The question is, in the light of such a scenario, what would you as a atheist do?

Thanks for answering. There's a key varient in your reversal of the question I want to point out. In my scenario, you are from today and you use the time machine to see events -- but you already know the general overview of the story.

In your variation, I'm "learning from his followers Jesus is the messiah, etc." -- that implies I went back in time ignorant of the NT story.

I think I'd be skeptical in any event. At the time, there wasn't much known about medicine and given what is known about crucifixion, it was a very long, protracted death. While it's possible that given his injuries Jesus might have died in a (relatively) swift few hours, it wasn't generally the case: Crucifixion usually took a few days at least.

So even if I were to witness the actual events precisely as they are related in the NT, I would still say there is ample likelihood that Jesus did not die, but instead was in a coma or near death, etc.

The reversing of the scenario doesn't work quite as well because there are alternate explanations to death and resurrection in a time when people who died weren't checked as exhaustively as they are today. The scenario where you go back in time an see events completely contrary to what you were led to believe is really the crux of the thread.

OTOH, to tighten up your own scenario for you, if Jesus was severely beaten and ripped apart and lanced with a sword and so on (i.e., "The Passion"), and then appeared to me just a couple of days later in an effectively completely healed persona (yet still retained holes and the gash in his side), that would be pretty compelling evidence that something very uncommon was afoot.

In the end, for me, it's really about verifiable evidence.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 01:59 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

They died for SOMETHING. And they both had their convictions on their side, for right or wrong. Like I said... those examples are not analogous.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

There's a key varient in your reversal of the question I want to point out. In my scenario, you are from today and you use the time machine to see events -- but you already know the general overview of the story.

In your variation, I'm "learning from his followers Jesus is the messiah, etc." -- that implies I went back in time ignorant of the NT story.

I think I'd be skeptical in any event. At the time, there wasn't much known about medicine and given what is known about crucifixion, it was a very long, protracted death. While it's possible that given his injuries Jesus might have died in a (relatively) swift few hours, it wasn't generally the case: Crucifixion usually took a few days at least.

So even if I were to witness the actual events precisely as they are related in the NT, I would still say there is ample likelihood that Jesus did not die, but instead was in a coma or near death, etc.

The reversing of the scenario doesn't work quite as well because there are alternate explanations to death and resurrection in a time when people who died weren't checked as exhaustively as they are today. The scenario where you go back in time an see events completely contrary to what you were led to believe is really the crux of the thread.

OTOH, to tighten up your own scenario for you, if Jesus was severely beaten and ripped apart and lanced with a sword and so on (i.e., "The Passion"), and then appeared to me just a couple of days later in an effectively completely healed persona (yet still retained holes and the gash in his side), that would be pretty compelling evidence that something very uncommon was afoot.

In the end, for me, it's really about verifiable evidence. Just as I thought. :rolleyes:

Granite
February 3rd, 2005, 02:10 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Like I said... those examples are not analogous.

No analogy's perfect. The fact remains: Smith was one heck of a dedicated con artist, considering what he put up with (up to and including death at the hands of an angry mob). Interesting lesson in delusion and or deceptive psychology, I guess.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 03:58 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Just as I thought. :rolleyes: I'm glad I was able to meet your expectation for honesty in my reply. :)

Lighthouse
February 3rd, 2005, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

Irrational.

You FEEL as you though you've changed, hence, Christianity must be true--based on your personal, subjective experience.

Buddhists the world over feel just as certain about their spirituality.
Not my point.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 04:29 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

No analogy's perfect. The fact remains: Smith was one heck of a dedicated con artist, considering what he put up with (up to and including death at the hands of an angry mob). Interesting lesson in delusion and or deceptive psychology, I guess. Well, more than that, granite1010. Mormons themselves were hounded out of every state, which is why they eventually made it to Utah.

Anyway, I think there are numerous examples of this same dynamic. I am still uncomfortable with the word "lie" however -- these people often sincerely believe what they believe, and many are willing to die for it (and kjill for it as well). Who, for instance, could possibly imagine anyone falling for that Heaven's Gate lunatic?

Yet... plenty did. Today, you cannot simply be killed because you have a belief that differs from the majority (at least, in civilized free countries you can't), but over the centuries, and yes, including even here, once upon a time you could very well be killed because your belief was . The threat didn't seem to stop people from believing nonetheless.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 05:11 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

I'm glad I was able to meet your expectation for honesty in my reply. :) Here is the deal...

When you made your original post we were all smart enough to get your point and answer you honestly. Yet when I reversed it and asked you your own question you nit-picked parts and pieces of the question and obfuscated your way out of answering the question. Ultimately... all I was asking you was the same thing you asked me except in reverse.

You were in essence asking me what I would do if I found out for a fact that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. I was merely asking you what you would do if you found out for a fact that Jesus DID indeed raise from the dead.

This was an interesting thread until you turned out to be a weasel.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

Well, more than that, granite1010. Mormons themselves were hounded out of every state, which is why they eventually made it to Utah.

Anyway, I think there are numerous examples of this same dynamic. I am still uncomfortable with the word "lie" however -- these people often sincerely believe what they believe, and many are willing to die for it (and kjill for it as well). Who, for instance, could possibly imagine anyone falling for that Heaven's Gate lunatic?

Yet... plenty did. Today, you cannot simply be killed because you have a belief that differs from the majority (at least, in civilized free countries you can't), but over the centuries, and yes, including even here, once upon a time you could very well be killed because your belief was . The threat didn't seem to stop people from believing nonetheless. Again.. you and granite fail to get the point. Dying for a belief (even a false one) is completely different than dying for a lie that you devised.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 07:14 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Here is the deal...

When you made your original post we were all smart enough to get your point and answer you honestly. Yet when I reversed it and asked you your own question you nit-picked parts and pieces of the question and obfuscated your way out of answering the question. Ultimately... all I was asking you was the same thing you asked me except in reverse.

You were in essence asking me what I would do if I found out for a fact that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. I was merely asking you what you would do if you found out for a fact that Jesus DID indeed raise from the dead.

This was an interesting thread until you turned out to be a weasel. Hmmm, that was uncalled for.

It wasn't my intention to nit-pick -- but the scenarios were very different. And I did answer just as honestly -- the fact that the disciples would tell me he was the son of god and so on is pretty immaterial to me -- what I would care about is the evidence of resurrection. Testimony only goes so far, and even if I were a witness to these events, it wouldn't mean I would automatically believe. Obviously there were skeptics then-- else everyone would have believed.

The point of the thread is not whether I would witness these events and immediately topple to the idea that they must be supernatural (they needn't have been-- there are rational explanations for people "coming back from the dead"-- only back then, this would not have been considered possible) -- the point of the thread was to ask how believers witnessing events that were different from what they were led to believe would impact their worldview.

So turning this around really didn't have any relevancy, though I know you believe it would. I tried to help your example by adding to it -- in fact, I can do it again: If I took the machine and went into the tomb and waited for three days and a blinding glow appeared and Yeshua rose, etc-- that too would be compelling information and might sway me.

Let me cut to the chase for you: If I were to find out for certain that the NT related facts exactly as they were -- of course I would believe. I don't know any atheist who wouldn't believe, if there were verifiable evidence.

SOTK
February 3rd, 2005, 07:16 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Here is the deal...

When you made your original post we were all smart enough to get your point and answer you honestly. Yet when I reversed it and asked you your own question you nit-picked parts and pieces of the question and obfuscated your way out of answering the question. Ultimately... all I was asking you was the same thing you asked me except in reverse.

You were in essence asking me what I would do if I found out for a fact that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. I was merely asking you what you would do if you found out for a fact that Jesus DID indeed raise from the dead.

This was an interesting thread until you turned out to be a weasel.

:thumb:

This is what makes it so difficult to have intelligent discussions with atheists and/or agnostics. You all want us to apply your sense of reason or logic (your perpsective) to the existence of God but seemingly refuse to apply or consider our perspective. I sometimes wonder why atheists and/or agnostics even bother. Other than a few posters here at TOL who are admitted atheists or agnostics, the majority of you waste your time. It's the same old argument(s) time and time again. You expect us to play at your game, but refuse to play ours. So, again, why bother?

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 07:23 PM
Originally posted by Knight

Again.. you and granite fail to get the point. Dying for a belief (even a false one) is completely different than dying for a lie that you devised. I think you are missing the point that Smith, Jones, Koresh -- all died for a lie they devised (and so did their followers, some of whom helped engineer that lie).

Unless you believe what they espoused wasn't a lie? Could you expand on that please?

Again, please don't dismiss the fact that there is a very real possibility that there was no lie -- but a belief based on events that had other explanations.

JayHoover
February 3rd, 2005, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by SOTK

:thumb:

This is what makes it so difficult to have intelligent discussions with atheists and/or agnostics. You all want us to apply your sense of reason or logic (your perpsective) to the existence of God but seemingly refuse to apply or consider our perspective. I sometimes wonder why atheists and/or agnostics even bother. Other than a few posters here at TOL who are admitted atheists or agnostics, the majority of you waste your time. It's the same old argument(s) time and time again. You expect us to play at your game, but refuse to play ours. So, again, why bother? I don't often see the "If you were confronted with the events and they were different from what you believed, what would you think?" argument too often. Usually the arguments swirl around biblical inerrancy and extra-biblical support for the events recounted in the NT.

Actually, my question had nothing to do with the existence of god but with the events of the Christ story. I suppose one could infer that a crippling of the NT is a rejection of the bible entire, thus leading one to disbelieve the entire thing -- but numerous people have said they'd abandon their Christianty but not their belief in god.

That's an intriguing question, and the thread is meritorious for that reason alone.

Actually, if you'll examine the post and my reply, I did adhere to the scenario precisely as Knight wrote it -- I just pointed out that it doesn't constitute a "reverse". My scenario blatantly contradicts your theistic beliefs. His scenario shows the events precisely as they were, but that doesn't negate the still-extant possibility that there are (or were) alternate explanations. It simply doesn;t make it more true just because a group of fisherman insist Jesus was the son of god. That part is irrelevant. What is relevant is Did Jesus actually die? and even more importantly, "Did he rise from the dead?"

Reversing my scenario doesn't address those questions.

The Berean
February 3rd, 2005, 08:18 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

I'd cease to be a Christian, of course.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 4And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. 1 Corinthians 15:13-19

Thankfully, there is overwhelming evidence that Christ did in fact rise from the dead. That is why I became a Christian to begin with.
I'm a little late coming to this discussion. I'm with Turbo on this. If I found out that Jesus died and wasn't resurrected then he is NOT the Son Of God. I would leave my Christianity behind...

b-baggins
February 3rd, 2005, 08:48 PM
. What is relevant is Did Jesus actually die? and even more importantly, "Did he rise from the dead?"

In the time machine scenario you were given, you got to watch the crucifixion. You would be able to examine, visually, the body as the spear was thrust into the side, as the body was wrapped and laid in the tomb. To claim you wouldn't be able to visually verify that the body was dead and therefore reject the resurrection is ridiculous.

Of course, it goes further than that. Since you have the time machine, you can also see the events at Christ's baptism. You can see the events at the mount of transfiguration. You can see Christ appear in a closed room to the Apostles. You can see the angel announcing to Mary that he is risen. You can see him ascend to heaven and the angels testifying that he will return. You can see the angel making the annunciation to Mary and to the shepherds.

Your initial question really is nothing more than a clever form of a begging the question fallacy.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 09:06 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover
Let me cut to the chase for you: If I were to find out for certain that the NT related facts exactly as they were -- of course I would believe. I don't know any atheist who wouldn't believe, if there were verifiable evidence. You would believe, but would you humble yourself before Him?

After-all... even Satan believes. Satan knows experientially that Christ is the Son of God but rejects Him none the less.

Are you be prepared to humble yourself before Christ?

Mr. 5020
February 3rd, 2005, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by Knight

You would believe, but would you humble yourself before Him?

After-all... even Satan believes. Satan knows experientially that Christ is the Son of God but rejects Him none the less.

Are you be prepared to humble yourself before Christ? Knight: :thumb:

JH: To answer the question, I would leave Christianity.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 09:10 PM
Originally posted by Mr. 5020

:thumb:

To answer the question, I would leave Christianity. :confused:

SOTK
February 3rd, 2005, 09:15 PM
I think MR. 5020 was referring to the original Time Machine hypothetical question posed by Hoover.

Mr. 5020
February 3rd, 2005, 09:16 PM
Originally posted by SOTK

I think MR. 5020 was referring to the original Time Machine hypothetical question posed by Hoover. That is correct.

The :thumb: was for Knight's post.

The answer was for the original question.

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by Mr. 5020

That is correct.

The :thumb: was for Knight's post.

The answer was for the original question. I see. :D

Mr. 5020
February 3rd, 2005, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by Knight

I see. :D You'll notice I edited the "Post in Question".

PureX
February 3rd, 2005, 09:59 PM
If I had a time machine like that, I'd go visit all kinds of times and places. But I don't think I'd try to find Jesus.

It's a matter of faith.

Turbo
February 3rd, 2005, 10:02 PM
Yes PureX, we know you would prefer to remain as ignorant as possible.

Mr. 5020
February 3rd, 2005, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

Yes PureX, we know you would prefer to remain as ignorant as possible. :chuckle:

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 10:04 PM
Originally posted by Turbo

Yes PureX, we know you would prefer to remain as ignorant as possible. :chuckle:

Knight
February 3rd, 2005, 10:06 PM
Originally posted by PureX

If I had a time machine like that, I'd go visit all kinds of times and places. But I don't think I'd try to find Jesus.

It's a matter of faith. Pure X is preparing himself for when Jesus returns.

I am guessing Pure X will be hiding from God then as well.

Hey Pure X.... you can run but you cant hide!

SOTK
February 3rd, 2005, 10:46 PM
:crackup:

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 12:59 AM
Very enjoyable discussion, thank you all!

To answer the somewhat more critical posts, yes, the time machine would allow the Time Traveller to visit all those times and places. The scenario simply extends however -- each thing you witness doesn't jibe with the NT, or is -- how to say it? -- a lesser version. I don't think it necessary to pick apart each and every event in the bible, but there would be some that -- if witnessed -- would be compelling, and others less so. Jesus is a pretty clever bloke when dealing with the Pharisees and Sanhedrin (until the end), but there's nothing particularly miraculous about him exposing them for the hypocrites they were.

OTOH, if he were to raise the dead (the daughter, Lazarus, himself) there'd be compelling evidence in favor of his godhood.

I especially like the question about belief versus humbling. While I do not believe in gods and such, I do not believe in them because for me the overall model is intrinsically flawed, undemonstrated, and I see no compelling evidence (and a discussion regarding this, if there's one to be had, belongs in another thread). I do not disbelieve because I am, like Satan is described, arrogant, prideful, hateful and challenging, etc. I simply find the proposal to be lacking in supportive merit.

However, even though I've come to this as a conclusion, I am -- as a rationalist -- a servant to compelling evidence. If I were given reasonable cause to believe in it, I would, and I would belive in it with all the attendant devotion required. I have a lot of problems with the anthropomorphic SuperMan gods of the bible, but if reality dictates they are in existence, then I have no choice but to acknowledge them and adhere to their desires.

So yes, I would both believe and humble myself.

Mr. 5020
February 4th, 2005, 01:13 AM
Originally posted by JayHoover

Very enjoyable discussion, thank you all!

To answer the somewhat more critical posts, yes, the time machine would allow the Time Traveller to visit all those times and places. The scenario simply extends however -- each thing you witness doesn't jibe with the NT, or is -- how to say it? -- a lesser version. I don't think it necessary to pick apart each and every event in the bible, but there would be some that -- if witnessed -- would be compelling, and others less so. Jesus is a pretty clever bloke when dealing with the Pharisees and Sanhedrin (until the end), but there's nothing particularly miraculous about him exposing them for the hypocrites they were.

OTOH, if he were to raise the dead (the daughter, Lazarus, himself) there'd be compelling evidence in favor of his godhood.

I especially like the question about belief versus humbling. While I do not believe in gods and such, I do not believe in them because for me the overall model is intrinsically flawed, undemonstrated, and I see no compelling evidence (and a discussion regarding this, if there's one to be had, belongs in another thread). I do not disbelieve because I am, like Satan is described, arrogant, prideful, hateful and challenging, etc. I simply find the proposal to be lacking in supportive merit.

However, even though I've come to this as a conclusion, I am -- as a rationalist -- a servant to compelling evidence. If I were given reasonable cause to believe in it, I would, and I would belive in it with all the attendant devotion required. I have a lot of problems with the anthropomorphic SuperMan gods of the bible, but if reality dictates they are in existence, then I have no choice but to acknowledge them and adhere to their desires.

So yes, I would both believe and humble myself. Have you seen this (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=7709)?

Granite
February 4th, 2005, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by Knight

Again.. you and granite fail to get the point. Dying for a belief (even a false one) is completely different than dying for a lie that you devised.

Knight, I got your point. That's why I noted that the Smith brothers, for their part, died for a con they cooked up and could have just as easily kicked at any moment. Anyway, it's a tangent issue and not really the point of this thread.

Granite
February 4th, 2005, 07:07 AM
Originally posted by SOTK

:thumb:

This is what makes it so difficult to have intelligent discussions with atheists and/or agnostics. You all want us to apply your sense of reason or logic (your perpsective) to the existence of God but seemingly refuse to apply or consider our perspective. I sometimes wonder why atheists and/or agnostics even bother. Other than a few posters here at TOL who are admitted atheists or agnostics, the majority of you waste your time. It's the same old argument(s) time and time again. You expect us to play at your game, but refuse to play ours. So, again, why bother?

Perhaps atheists and agnostics don't consider your perspective because it happens to be irrational and illogical...

Crow
February 4th, 2005, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by Turbo

Yes PureX, we know you would prefer to remain as ignorant as possible.

:darwinsm:

Lighthouse
February 4th, 2005, 11:04 AM
Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false. PureX is partially right. It's a matter of faith. Of course, as we all know, he has no clue what faith really is. I understand that most of you didn't want to give pat answers, epsecially since it was obvious that Jay wasn't looking for, "it's true, so your scenario is pointless." The real question is, would you have faith to begin with, if it weren't true?

Granite
February 4th, 2005, 12:01 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false. PureX is partially right. It's a matter of faith. Of course, as we all know, he has no clue what faith really is. I understand that most of you didn't want to give pat answers, epsecially since it was obvious that Jay wasn't looking for, "it's true, so your scenario is pointless." The real question is, would you have faith to begin with, if it weren't true?

So you're saying you would live and believe a lie. If Christianity were somehow proven completely false, you'd still buy it?:think:

Lighthouse
February 4th, 2005, 12:17 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

So you're saying you would live and believe a lie. If Christianity were somehow proven completely false, you'd still buy it?:think:
If it were false, I wouldn't believe in the first place, dumbass. Learn to read.

Knight
February 4th, 2005, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false. 1Corinthians 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!

Turbo
February 4th, 2005, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false. How is what we've said any different than what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:13-19? Or does what Paul wrote bother you, too?


It's a matter of faith."if Christ is not risen...your faith is also empty...if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile."

Granite
February 4th, 2005, 12:51 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

If it were false, I wouldn't believe in the first place, dumbass. Learn to read.

Brandon, here's a lesson in basic psychology: the mediocre, the uncertain, and the weak are easily intimidated, and get hostile extremely easily. So the more you stamp your foot and get vulgar, the better I feel and the more ridiculous you get.

You said:

"Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false."

Why would it bother you? Would you prefer they stay in a faith that's been proven false?

And that's why I asked: "If Christianity were somehow proven completely false, you'd still buy it?"

avatar382
February 4th, 2005, 01:30 PM
Originally posted by Knight

You would believe, but would you humble yourself before Him?

After-all... even Satan believes. Satan knows experientially that Christ is the Son of God but rejects Him none the less.

Are you be prepared to humble yourself before Christ?

Anyone who geniuinely believes, yet will not humble before God is a real idiot.

Belief is not a choice. However, having belief, subsequently and conciously acting in a manner that is so obviously at odds with your well being is simply stupid.

If I was in your scenario, Knight, and the events depicted in the gospel were proven to me in that I could witness with my own eyes the life of Jesus, his miracles, ministry, death and resurrection, I would believe and humble myself before him (god) without hesistation.

What rational person wouldn't?

Knight
February 4th, 2005, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by avatar382

Anyone who geniuinely believes, yet will not humble before God is a real idiot. Idiots are plentiful.


If I was in your scenario, Knight, and the events depicted in the gospel were proven to me in that I could witness with my own eyes the life of Jesus, his miracles, ministry, death and resurrection, I would believe and humble myself before him (god) without hesistation.

What rational person wouldn't? Many rational people reject things they know to be true.

It isn't always a matter of accepting things you know to be true yet it is a matter of deciding if you want to align yourself with it.

Rational people believe that the US Army exists. But not all rational people want to join and or support the US Army. Get the point?

Lighthouse
February 4th, 2005, 02:19 PM
Originally posted by Knight

1Corinthians 15:13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up — if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!
This response is for Turbo as well.

Did you read my entire post? I know why you said what you said. My problem lies in the fact that you do not apparently see that you wouldn't have any faith in the first place. You would not leave Christianity behind, because you wouldn't be a Christian anyway. Right? If Christ had not risen, you would never have become a Christian. It's the same thing Sozo said. And no I didn't say what I said to agree with him. I said it before he did. I know you guys are Christians. I'm just trying to point something out to you.

Yorzhik
February 4th, 2005, 02:22 PM
Israel saw miracles every day for 40 years in the desert, and a ton of them went straight to hell. Direct evidence of God does not necessarily engender devotion.

Lighthouse
February 4th, 2005, 02:26 PM
Originally posted by granite1010

Brandon, here's a lesson in basic psychology: the mediocre, the uncertain, and the weak are easily intimidated, and get hostile extremely easily. So the more you stamp your foot and get vulgar, the better I feel and the more ridiculous you get.
Who's stamping theior feet? I'm not intimidated by you. You aren't anything to be afraid of. And I'm not being hostile either.


You said:

"Honestly, it bothers me that people have answered that they would leave Christianity if it were proven false."

Why would it bother you? Would you prefer they stay in a faith that's been proven false?

And that's why I asked: "If Christianity were somehow proven completely false, you'd still buy it?"
You still can't read can you? Did you stop at that, and not read the rest of my post? Did you skip my other posts?

Let me reiterate:

:sozo:IF CHRIST HAD NOT RISEN I WOULD NOT HAVE BECOME A CHRISTIAN!

avatar382
February 4th, 2005, 02:28 PM
Many rational people reject things they know to be true.

It isn't always a matter of accepting things you know to be true yet it is a matter of deciding if you want to align yourself with it.

Rational people believe that the US Army exists. But not all rational people want to join and or support the US Army. Get the point?

I get what you are saying, but still:

Let's say person A truly believes the central tenets of Christianity - that Jesus is God and that he died to save mankind from sin, and eternal separation from God. Obviously simplified, but bear with me -

Person A also believes that those who accept Christ's sacrifice will spend eternity in heaven in bliss, whereas those who do not will spend eternity in hell, in torment.

What possible motive would person A have to choose to thumb his nose at God, fully believing his actions would result in his own eternal torment and perish? I have difficulty imagining even the most hardcore masochist choosing hell over heaven, after being made aware of the contents of both destinations...

avatar382
February 4th, 2005, 02:39 PM
IF CHRIST HAD NOT RISEN I WOULD NOT HAVE BECOME A CHRISTIAN!

Basically, the is response a.) we KNOW our faith is true; hence this scenario is an absurdity

From Granite's second post.

Dude, I'm sure all the other Christians in here agree with you. Yet, they answered the hypothetical question clearly. Just answer the question. Hypothetically, if tomorrow you got in a time machine and went back to the original Easter only to see Jesus die, and not rise from the dead, what would you do?

We already know you think the situation is absurd.

Crow
February 4th, 2005, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by avatar382
Person A also believes that those who accept Christ's sacrifice will spend eternity in heaven in bliss, whereas those who do not will spend eternity in hell, in torment.

What possible motive would person A have to choose to thumb his nose at God, fully believing his actions would result in his own eternal torment and perish? I have difficulty imagining even the most hardcore masochist choosing hell over heaven, after being made aware of the contents of both destinations...

What you say is logical.

However, time and time again, the human creation has proved itself to be illogical, and to make decisions based upon emotions, such as spite, lust, anger, that are self destructive to the "nth" degree.

Cutting one's nose off to spite one's face is a fairly consistant behavior for our species.

Lighthouse
February 4th, 2005, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by avatar382

Basically, the is response a.) we KNOW our faith is true; hence this scenario is an absurdity

From Granite's second post.

Dude, I'm sure all the other Christians in here agree with you. Yet, they answered the hypothetical question clearly. Just answer the question. Hypothetically, if tomorrow you got in a time machine and went back to the original Easter only to see Jesus die, and not rise from the dead, what would you do?

We already know you think the situation is absurd.
It isn't because I think the situation is absurd. It isn't because I "know my faith is true." It is because I would not have faith if there was nothing to have faith in. I couldn't leave something that I never had.

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by Mr. 5020

Have you seen this (http://www.theologyonline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=7709)? Yes. I followed it back when it was happening, and I also followed Hilston's critique of it.

Frankly, though the debate covered quite a lot of ground, I think ultimately it missed the core concerns about both the theistic and rationalistic worldviews.

Far too much to go into here, and honestly, it would take a book to rebuttal each point made.

That being said: despite Zakath's forfeiting, the argument wasn't won by either side: In fact, it pretty much devolved into a pissing match over who misquoted or dismissed or ignored who's arguments.

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

If it were false, I wouldn't believe in the first place, dumbass. Learn to read. Well, the challenge inherent in the scenario is -- for all intents and purposes, you live your life believing it is true, but then new events (an opportunity to ride a Time Machine, in this case) brings you to a confrontation wherein what you believe in turns out to be completely different from what you were led to believe.

To be honest, I expected the "the scenario is absurd" response more often than not, so I was pleasantly surprised that, given evidence, both the theist and the atheist would adapt to reality. I think too often both sides (myself included) become entrenched in the belief that their opponents are purposely blinding themselves to reality. Certainly some do -- and because I'm on the atheist side of the fence, I conclude in favor of atheism- - though of course I can recognize sloppy thinking and fallacious logic on the atheist side just as much as on the theists' side. In my once-upon-a-time debates with Hilston, we both often noted we were more critical of our peers debating techniques than we were with each others'.

In any event, I think this sheds light on both sides of this question that may not often be noted or embraced: Both sides have come to conclusions based upon what they believe to be truthful evidence. Neither side, it turns out -- seems to believe or disbelieve for any other reason than that evidence, and the argument between the two groups boils down to what efficacy the stated evidence displays.

Of course, the thread is still pretty young so this may resolve otherwise, should others jump into the fray.

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 05:29 PM
Originally posted by Crow

What you say is logical.

However, time and time again, the human creation has proved itself to be illogical, and to make decisions based upon emotions, such as spite, lust, anger, that are self destructive to the "nth" degree.

Cutting one's nose off to spite one's face is a fairly consistant behavior for our species. Most of the time, those who make such decisions do not think it's going to lead to their destruction. In fact, for whatever reason, they actually believe quite the opposite. Using (once again!) the Hitler example, the man -- deluded and wrong as he was, thought himself earneslty right. It's only from an external perspective people categorize human behavior as cutting one's nose off to spite one's face.

An example: My niece is a troubled 18 year old young lady. She visited me this year, and confided in me she was only with a loser boyfriend because the real guy she wanted to be with no longer wanted to be with her. In our conversation, I could see the "Stupid 18 Year Old" wheels turning at full steam. So I made sure she understood that the very worst thing she could do would be to get pregnant. That doing so would be an incredible burden, and the key point was: you don't even love this guy you are with!" Okay, so what did she do? She got knocked up so fast I figured she had somehow gotten impregnated on the flight home (he didn't join her on the visit, so he wasn't on the plane).

The point is, from her perspective -- this insane, stupid, self-destructive, moronic decision must make SOME sense, even though to you and I and anyone else with something larger than a grain of sand for a brain -- it makes no sense at all.

At the same time, issues of haven and hell are eternal in nature. One of the problems with analogizing the natural world with the supernatural is.. they aren't even remotely analogous.

This issue suffers the same inherent weakness: Even Hitler's incredibly insane agenda is nothing compared to an eternity in Hell. If given the choice, I'd elect to suffer the worst torment Hitler's regime could evise, if I knew Heaven was on the other side. Nothing Hitler could devise could even compare to the eternal aspects of the threat of Hell, so it would be a simple choice.

What is not simple for the atheists is the utter lack of evidence supporting the contention that there is a choice at all. All there is is logic and natural cause and effect (and yes, there are a lot of mysteries inherent in those deceptively simple words); but if there were incontrovertible evidence, one would be a fool to choose Hell over Heaven.

PureX
February 4th, 2005, 05:49 PM
I think it's odd that so many Christians claim they would bow to the "evidence" that came with their time machine when they clearly don't do so in the here and now. If they ignore the evidence against their beliefs in the present, what makes them claim that they would not do so in some other time and place? I can't think of any reason to believe their claim.

On the other hand, I don't think people's belief in Christ, or in anything else, were EVER based much on the evidence, anyway. I think people have always chosen to believe as they do for persoanl, functional, qualitative reasons, and not because of any particular interest in reality or truth.

The truth is that human beings aren't particularly interested in the truth. What we're interested in is value. We choose to believe this or that not because we're so wedded to honesty and truth, but because doing so adds what we consider to be valuable and meaningful to our lives. This is also why we so frequently see people fighting tooth and nail to hold on to their beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And this includes many of the Christians here, who are claiming they'd do otherwise.

This whole "we love truth" claim is a sham. There's very little evidence to ratify the assertion that we humans have any special regard for truth.

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by PureX

I think it's odd that so many Christians claim they would bow to the "evidence" when they clearly do not do so in the here and now. If they ignore the evidence against their beliefs in the present, what makes them claim that they would not do so in some other time and place? I can't think of any reason to believe their claim.I have to admit, Christian fundamentalists definitely do this where evolution is concerned. But to be fair, there really isn't evidence for or against the events in the bible-- just like the discovery of David's tomb doesn't mean Jesus was resurrected any more than the discovery of the Temple of Athena stands as evidence that Prometheus was chained to a rock and had his liver eaten out (and regrown) every day.

I would say that when you weigh all the variables (likelihood, provenence, substantiation -- the historical evidence lies uncorooborated and unlikely in the extreme to have occured. When you add the underlying elements to the whole god paradigm, then I say the conclusion can only be atheism.

Obviously, theists conclude differently, for precisely the same reasons. But I believe the scales tip in favor of atheism because at the end of the day, asserting the supernatural to explain the natural not only doesn't explain the natural, it also clearly establishes a fresh new realm that we also cannot explain.


On the other hand, I don't think people's belief in Christ were EVER based on evidence. I think people have always chosen to do so for persoanl, functional, qualitative reason, and not because of any particular interest in reality or truth.Well, they would of course choose to differ. the bible stands as evidence of something. Theists conclude that the bible stands as evidence of the events the bible relates. We could argue the circular nature of this, but then we could also argue a book of mathematics exists to support the tenets of mathematics as well (granted, the mathematics example is testable and demonstrable). Still theists also insist there is a prsonal experience that stands as evidence as well, and this is known as "regeneration". I find arguing against regeneration pretty much impossible because the alleged event is wholly subjective. I may have a lot of alternate explanations for what one feels when one submits to a belief without skepticism (any belief), but being touched by a god isn't te likeliest.


The truth is that human beings aren't particularly interested in the truth. What we're interested in is value. We choose to believe this or that not because we're so wedded to honesty and truth, but because doing so adds what we consider value to our lives. This is also why we so frequently see people fighting tooth and nail to hold on to their beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And this includes many of the Christians here, who are claiming otherwise. I wouldn't know about the last sentence in this paragraph, but I think you've eloquently captured the reality of the approach of most people. People do desperately want to believe in things that relieve them of worry.

Often, when I discuss these issues, theists will say, "well, doesn't the idea a person might get judged by a god scare people into not believing in a god for reasons of "comfort"?" Well, I think the answer to that is, most people believe in a loving god, they behave for the mot part in a law abiding way, and they never truly consider the flip sie to the heaven question. They just believe that they personally will get in.

I think most of the christians here believe they will get into heaven as well-- though they will likely claim they love god for god's sake in and of itself. Of course, they also believe that loving god and accepting his salvation is perfectly in harmony with why they will get to heave -- because god doesn't lie.

Except... he doesn't always tell the god's honest truth either.

Turbo
February 4th, 2005, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by PureX

I think it's odd that so many Christians claim they would bow to the "evidence" that came with their time machine when they clearly don't do so in the here and now. If they ignore the evidence against their beliefs in the present...What evidence would that be?


On the other hand, I don't think people's belief in Christ, or in anything else, were EVER based much on the evidence, anyway...PureX, why should anyone care what you "think" when you boast that you don't "know" anything?


The truth is...Are you claiming to make a statement of absolute truth here? :noway:


that human beings aren't particularly interested in the truth...There's very little evidence to ratify the assertion that we humans have any special regard for truth. Speak for yourself.

Mr. 5020
February 4th, 2005, 06:33 PM
Originally posted by lighthouse

Who's stamping theior feet? I'm not intimidated by you. You aren't anything to be afraid of. And I'm not being hostile either. Really?

Originally posted by lighthouse

:sozo:IF CHRIST HAD NOT RISEN I WOULD NOT HAVE BECOME A CHRISTIAN! :chuckle:

PureX
February 4th, 2005, 07:07 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover But I believe the scales tip in favor of atheism because at the end of the day, asserting the supernatural to explain the natural not only doesn't explain the natural, it also clearly establishes a fresh new realm that we also cannot explain. I agree. But I think if we were being honest, we coudn't embrace atheism any more than we could embrace theism. The truth is that the origin, purpose, and mechanics of existence are a mystery to us. We have no more reason to claim there is a "God" than we have to claim there is not. "God" is an ideal, like infinity, or perfection, the reality of which we are incapable of grasping.

This is why I wouldn't use my time machine to go check up on Jesus. There is nothing I could see there that could tell me that God exists, or does not exist, or to what degree Jesus was/is God, anyway. Think of it like this: if "God" were to stand right in front of you, and claim that 'he' was God, how could you tell if the claim were true?

I can't think of any way. No matter what this "God" did or said, I'd still have no way of verifying it. It always comes down to our choice, based on desire and on our faith.

The mistake that most theists make is that they presume that "God" is supernatural: therefor outside of, beyond, separate from existence as we experience it. By that definition, we'll never "know" God, so why bother? But of course they aren't really interested in "God" at all. Those superstition based belief system are about something else entirely.

Originally posted by JayHoover ... the bible stands as evidence of something. Theists conclude that the bible stands as evidence of the events the bible relates. We could argue the circular nature of this, but then we could also argue a book of mathematics exists to support the tenets of mathematics as well (granted, the mathematics example is testable and demonstrable). Still theists also insist there is a prsonal experience that stands as evidence as well, and this is known as "regeneration". I find arguing against regeneration pretty much impossible because the alleged event is wholly subjective. I may have a lot of alternate explanations for what one feels when one submits to a belief without skepticism (any belief), but being touched by a god isn't te likeliest.Faith, itself, has power within us. It doesn't necessarily matter what symbols or ideas we use to focus our faith, faith itself is a course of action that can produce startling and positive results, just as our lack of faith (regardless of the symbols) can destroy us.

I think what the bible is trying to present to us is the reality of this power within us. Unfortunately, most people become so obsessed with the symbols that the various authors use to present us with their experiences of faith that we miss the point and become crazy. But there is a message there, and it is valuable.

Crow
February 4th, 2005, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

Most of the time, those who make such decisions do not think it's going to lead to their destruction. In fact, for whatever reason, they actually believe quite the opposite. Using (once again!) the Hitler example, the man -- deluded and wrong as he was, thought himself earneslty right. It's only from an external perspective people categorize human behavior as cutting one's nose off to spite one's face.


Every day, people commit suicide for a variety of reasons. Some out of pain, some, judging from their writings, to punish those who feel that they have wronged them by making them suffer guilt, loss, or whatever. I can't imagine that suicides believe that they are not causing their destruction for whatever reason they pursue that route.

Hitler was one example. But he's not the sole example.

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 08:51 PM
Originally posted by PureX

I agree. But I think if we were being honest, we coudn't embrace atheism any more than we could embrace theism. The truth is that the origin, purpose, and mechanics of existence are a mystery to us. We have no more reason to claim there is a "God" than we have to claim there is not. Well, yeah, sure we do. Anything that isn't demonstrated cannot qualify as known. God isn't demonstrated, so until such time, one can opt for disbelief and be consistent with the way they interact with reality at other levels. For instance, the average theists isn't consistent purely by choosing one religious claim over the other, such as Christianity over Islam. Neither stand truly demonstrated, therefore neither are actual knowledge claims.

And of course, science has its undemonstrables as well. As elegant as M-Theory is, as much as it explains -- no one knowns if the strings themselves even exist. Until such time-- it's a model, but not a fact. (Enyart should look into it by the way -- here's a great PBS Nova show that gives the entire theory a very entertaining telling: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html -- Note, Quicktime fails for me-- try Real if it fails for you as well)


"God" is an ideal, like infinity, or perfection, the reality of which we are incapable of grasping.

This is why I wouldn't use my time machine to go check up on Jesus. There is nothing I could see there that could tell me that God exists, or does not exist, or to what degree Jesus was/is God, anyway. Think of it like this: if "God" were to stand right in front of you, and claim that 'he' was God, how could you tell if the claim were true?If he were truly god, I would not see how I could not, unless he was purposely deceiving me. And if he were purposely deceiving me, then he would be inherently evil (given the stakes of my immortal well being) and thus-- he would not be god.


I can't think of any way. No matter what this "God" did or said, I'd still have no way of verifying it. It always comes down to our choice, based on desire and on our faith.The idea is that god can do anything. If he can do anything, he certainly can make his presence known, easily and without what we might term "effort". It is not god's "effort" that makes me disbelieve in his (her/it's -- whatever) existence, it is the consistent lack of involvement that leads to the conclusion that -- well, surprise-- nothing does bing! nothing.


The mistake that most theists make is that they presume that "God" is supernatural: therefor outside of, beyond, separate from existence as we experience it. By that definition, we'll never "know" God, so why bother? But of course they aren't really interested in "God" at all. Those superstition based belief system are about something else entirely.I agree wholeheartedly.


Faith, itself, has power within us. It doesn't necessarily matter what symbols or ideas we use to focus our faith, faith itself is a course of action that can produce startling and positive results, just as our lack of faith (regardless of the symbols) can destroy us. Well said as well, though in the realm of theism, "faith" does not mean the same thing as it does in common usage (i.e., interchangeable wioth "trust").


I think what the bible is trying to present to us is the reality of this power within us. Unfortunately, most people become so obsessed with the symbols that the various authors use to present us with their experiences of faith that we miss the point and become crazy. But there is a message there, and it is valuable. Agreed as well. I think the bible is a wonderful document, an encyclopedia of a wide range of interesting pre-technological beliefs, metaphors, parables, and hope for a better tomorrow, but I think it does not at all reflect any actual reality. Myths are an important part of the human expereince, but at some point, we must shed the myths and recognize nature as what it is: Nature.

Interesting and well considered post. I don't know why there's a hostility directed at you, but it seems misplaced.

PureX
February 4th, 2005, 09:35 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover Well, yeah, sure we do. Anything that isn't demonstrated cannot qualify as known. God isn't demonstrated, so until such time, one can opt for disbelief and be consistent with the way they interact with reality at other levels. For instance, the average theists isn't consistent purely by choosing one religious claim over the other, such as Christianity over Islam. Neither stand truly demonstrated, therefore neither are actual knowledge claims.But there's a difference between something not being demonstrated, and someting that can't be demonstrated. For example; omnipresence cannot be demonstrated (to us) not because it probably doesn't exist as a state, but because we have no way of perceiving such a state should it exist. Omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience are all forms of infinity, which do exist as theoretical ideals, and may perhaps exist as actual states or conditions. But they can't be demonstrated to exist to us, because our ability to perceive presence, power, and knowledge are finite. And we can't verify infinity from within these finite limitations.

Here's a simple story: an old fish is swimming along in the ocean, and he comes upon a couple of young fish swimming around. The young fish are darting here and there and just generally having a great time, and the old fish just watches them and smiles until they finally exhaust themselves and come to rest. As the young fish rest, the old fish swims up to them, smiling, and says "Hiya, fellas, hows the water today?"

The two young fish stare at the old fish with a puzzled looks on their faces. Finally one of them says: "Water? What's water?"

If God really were omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, God would be invisible to us. So the apparent lack of a demonstrable God is just as much evidence that God does exist as that God does not exist. Either condition would appear exactly the same from our perspective.

Originally posted by JayHoover And of course, science has its undemonstrables as well. As elegant as M-Theory is, as much as it explains -- no one knowns if the strings themselves even exist. Until such time-- it's a model, but not a fact. (Enyart should look into it by the way -- here's a great PBS Nova show that gives the entire theory a very entertaining telling: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/elegant/program.html -- Note, Quicktime fails for me-- try Real if it fails for you as well)Yes, even science can't escape the dilemma of the first, first. What is energy, anyway? And why does it behave as it does, and not as it doesn't? Is it so silly to call this fundamental mystery of origin "God", and the way the mystery manifests itself "divine will/intent"?

The problem with most theism is that it's based on a presumption of supernaturalism, when in reality the natural universe proposes deism better than most magic-based religious theological arguments can. *smile*

Originally posted by JayHoover If he were truly god, I would not see how I could not, unless he was purposely deceiving me. And if he were purposely deceiving me, then he would be inherently evil (given the stakes of my immortal well being) and thus-- he would not be god.How do we know that God is not "evil" or that God would not deceive us? How do we even define what "God" would be? What would our definitions prove about the reality of God even if this self-proclaimed "God" before us, were to embody them?

JayHoover
February 4th, 2005, 11:52 PM
Originally posted by PureX

But there's a difference between something not being demonstrated, and someting that can't be demonstrated. For example; omnipresence cannot be demonstrated (to us) not because it probably doesn't exist as a state, but because we have no way of perceiving such a state should it exist. Omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience are all forms of infinity, which do exist as theoretical ideals, and may perhaps exist as actual states or conditions. But they can't be demonstrated to exist to us, because our ability to perceive presence, power, and knowledge are finite. And we can't verify infinity from within these finite limitations. I see your point, but would note that your model must collapse if the being in question is omnipotent. There is nothing logically outside of the ability of an omnipotent being, so one could say the being could "lessen" itself to become at least partially understandable, or, the being could "greaten" us to acheive the same effect. Indeed, the former is precisely what Christians claim god did-- become as a human.


If God really were omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, God would be invisible to us. So the apparent lack of a demonstrable God is just as much evidence that God does exist as that God does not exist. Either condition would appear exactly the same from our perspective.As I note above, I'd disagree with that premise (I'd disagree with omniscient as well, since we could conceivably perceive a being who knew everything).

Given those two weaknesses to your model, I would have to again conclude that lack of demonstration is due to a lack of interest (in which case he's an absentee god wihtout any real concern for our wel being) or it demonstrates a lack of existence.


How do we know that God is not "evil" or that God would not deceive us? How do we even define what "God" would be? What would our definitions prove about the reality of God even if this self-proclaimed "God" before us, were to embody them? These are, of course, fatal questions to the god paradigm, but it's not one I, as an atheist, offer up. That is exclusively the domain of the theist. All I can do is note whether or not the offered model works.

Of course we cannot know whether god is evil or not, especially when the "rules of engagement" is god is measured as the standard as what is good or what is evil. God behaves abominably in the bible, particularly the Old Testament, and indeed he goes so far as to circumvent free will: As a Bush (not GW) he tells Moses that he will harden Pharoah's heart so Pharoah will not let the people go. This is a blatant plot to thwart Pharoah's making a choice, and god is pretty cavalier about doing this.

I cannot see how this paints a moral god. It really is nothing more than a capricious god, who doesn't realy care too much about the rules he himself has set up. And of course, such examples are threaded through the OT, wherein god behaves in ways that are simply atrocious. Yet the theist is required to thrust all of that away in order to maintain that god is good no matter what he does.

Lighthouse
February 5th, 2005, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by Mr. 5020

Really?
:chuckle:
I guess there was no reason for yelling, I mean, it was only the third time I said it.:rolleyes:

PureX
February 5th, 2005, 10:13 AM
Originally posted by JayHoover I see your point, but would note that your model must collapse if the being in question is omnipotent. There is nothing logically outside of the ability of an omnipotent being, so one could say the being could "lessen" itself to become at least partially understandable, or, the being could "greaten" us to acheive the same effect. Only if this "God" so desired. You seem to be presuming that such a desire must exist, and thus, "God" must not. But I don't see on what we would be basing this presumption.

Originally posted by JayHoover As I note above, I'd disagree with that premise (I'd disagree with omniscient as well, since we could conceivably perceive a being who knew everything).We could perceive a being, but we could not perceive the being's omniscience. The being would only be smarter than we are, from our perspective. But that's the limit of what we could know about how smart this being is. And in the case of our hypothetical "God", this being would also be omnipresent, in which case we couldn't perceive it's being, either.

To be everywhere is to us the same as to be nowhere, because we can only identify something as 'being here' relative to the concept of it's not being here. But omnipresence negates the concept or experience of something not being here, so we'd have no reference with which to determe an omnipresent state of being.

You say that through omnipotence, however, this "God" could overcome the two previous conditions, and logically this is true, but it pre-supposes the will to do so. Yet why would a being that is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent will that we recognize it as such? I can't think of any reason, especially as to do so would mean that we would no longer be what we are, and/or it would no longer be what it is. I logically have to assume that since this "God" is omniscient and omnipotent, that we are already what this God intends us to be. And I can't think of any reason this God would change it's mind or intent given that it knows all and can do all (and already has). To do so would be to counterman itself. This would be illogical.

Originally posted by JayHoover Of course we cannot know whether god is evil or not, especially when the "rules of engagement" is god is measured as the standard as what is good or what is evil. God behaves abominably in the bible, particularly the Old Testament, and indeed he goes so far as to circumvent free will: As a Bush (not GW) he tells Moses that he will harden Pharoah's heart so Pharoah will not let the people go. This is a blatant plot to thwart Pharoah's making a choice, and god is pretty cavalier about doing this."Good" and "evil" are subjective quality judgments. They're based on what's "good" for us, and what's not good for us, as perceived by us. They don't really have anything to do with the existence or nature of "God". There is no reason that I can think of that we should assume that "God's" will or intent would correspond with our conceptions of what's good or evil. So the fact that we have no demonstrable evidence of God being "good" or "evil" really says nothing at all about the nature or existence of God. All it says is that we humans have a very myopic view of everything, including even "God". Which of course we do.

JayHoover
February 5th, 2005, 01:46 PM
Originally posted by PureX

Only if this "God" so desired. You seem to be presuming that such a desire must exist, and thus, "God" must not. But I don't see on what we would be basing this presumption. Hmm. I seem to be cast in the role of defending a theistic paradigm, and that's not where I'm coming from. I'm in agreement with your overview, and disagree only on minutiae such as if you ask me why I'd presume the will of a god to display himself, I can just as easily respond why presume he wouldn't? In fact, I cannot presume either, since he remains undemonstrated.

To move past this gainsaying, what doesn't work is the Christian god -- since that model of godhood collapses into chaos when you evaluate it-- you can't ask me why I presume a god allowing himself to be known -- I'm merely replaying the allegation that the Christian believes this is so.

In the end, I've yet to hear of a model of god that does work, especially if you incorporate the classic attributes of this god: the "omnis", the problem of good and evil, and the misdirection of complicating explanations by asserting an unknowable realm to explain an unknown -- but knowable in essence -- realm.

Hence one can conclude that the gods likely existence only is extant because mankind has alleged them, but not in any sense because there is any external evidence of any. One can make the same claim of the Tooth Fairy-- the fairy "exists" only because it is an invention of mankind, not because there is any physical reality to the creature. One needn't go around trying to disprove the non-extant attributes of the non-existence of the Tooth Fairy. One does not say, "Here are the attributes of the Fairy: it is invisible, incorporeal, untestable, undemonstrable. Now prove it doesn't exist."

One just concludes that without any of the above, the existence of said fairy is not likely in the extreme. The attributes listed are indistinguishable from non-existence.

The same applies to god, despite the far more complex ideology that has grown up around defending the idea.

PureX
February 5th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover Hmm. I seem to be cast in the role of defending a theistic paradigm, and that's not where I'm coming from. I'm in agreement with your overview, and disagree only on minutiae such as if you ask me why I'd presume the will of a god to display himself, I can just as easily respond why presume he wouldn't? In fact, I cannot presume either, since he remains undemonstrated.I agree. I was only trying to clarify why I believe atheism and theism are both based on unfounded assumptions.

Originally posted by JayHoover To move past this gainsaying, what doesn't work is the Christian god -- since that model of godhood collapses into chaos when you evaluate it-- you can't ask me why I presume a god allowing himself to be known -- I'm merely replaying the allegation that the Christian believes this is so.Again I agree. But I have suspected for a long time, now, that atheism is essentially a reaction to theism - to "God" as depicted by most theists. I understand this reaction and agree with it. However, atheism is not the only alternative to theism and is in my opinion mostly only an equal and opposite reaction to it. Understandable, but nevertheless equally irrational.

Originally posted by JayHoover In the end, I've yet to hear of a model of god that does work, especially if you incorporate the classic attributes of this god: the "omnis", the problem of good and evil, and the misdirection of complicating explanations by asserting an unknowable realm to explain an unknown -- but knowable in essence -- realm.Look around you. That's the model of "God" that works. But is it "God"? Hmmmm ... that becomes a matter of semantics, does't it. And that's the point about "God". "God" is a matter of semantics. We each end up choosing our own way of conceptualizing the great mystery of our own existence. But atheist, theist, or agnostic, the mystery doesn't go away. And it doesn't get solved.

To my way of thinking, all religion does is pretend it's solved the mystery so that those who are willing to maintain the pretense can also pretend they're safe from their fear of the unknown. But then again, atheism tries to pretend that the mystery isn't there at all: equally evasive, equally irrational, and equally dependant upon pretense and denial. So it seems to me that only honest thing to do is face the mystery head on. That still isn't going to solve it but at least maybe we can learn how to live honestly, sincerely, and humbly with our ignorance instead of trying to erase it with pretense and denial. All the evidence seems to me to support this as the most healthy way of dealing with such a profound mystery.

What do you think?

JayHoover
February 5th, 2005, 07:51 PM
Again, I think atheism is the default belief system. It's how we're born -- atheistic, and apolitical. No ideology is inherent in humans except perhaps a loose social tribalism that a host of other animals share.

I think the elgance and the eloquence of atheistic arguments are the result of theism-- without theism, there'd be no need for any countering dialogue. But atheism itself is de facto how we come into the world.

Secondly, atheism itself is not doctrinaire -- there is only one "doctrine" and that is, "Gods do not exist". This is not an irrational philosophy at all -- it's fully and wholly within the realm of the natural universe to find natural causes for natural events-- nothing could be more rational. Perhaps you are focused on what might seem to be a claim for omniscient to claim "gods do not exist".

Well, since all the proffered models of theism logically collapse, it is rational to reject them.

logos_x
February 6th, 2005, 01:03 AM
IF CHRIST HAD NOT RISEN NO ONE WOULD HAVE BECOME A CHRISTIAN!

Christianity is about spiritual birth brought about by the death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus did not die and rise again then there is no victory...no birth from above...no promise...and no hope. All would still be "in Adam" and death would still have it's sting. No one would be "in Christ", no one "in the Spirit" and no one with Christ in them.

By classifying the finished work of God through Christ Jesus as an "ideology" you've managed to miss what "Christian" really means...and therefore have made an assumption that if somehow it could be "proven" that Christ didn't die and rise again that would undermine faith. Well...it wouldn't have happened in the first place if it never happened. The Message didn't start because of Jesus death and resurrection only..it happened once the Holy Sprit came upon the Christ-followers in the upper room (See Acts Chapters 1&2). There is far more going on here than you have even begun to consider, It's much, much more than a mere ideology.

JayHoover
February 6th, 2005, 03:22 AM
Originally posted by logos_x

IF CHRIST HAD NOT RISEN NO ONE WOULD HAVE BECOME A CHRISTIAN!

Christianity is about spiritual birth brought about by the death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus did not die and rise again then there is no victory...no birth from above...no promise...and no hope. All would still be "in Adam" and death would still have it's sting. No one would be "in Christ", no one "in the Spirit" and no one with Christ in them.

By classifying the finished work of God through Christ Jesus as an "ideology" you've managed to miss what "Christian" really means...and therefore have made an assumption that if somehow it could be "proven" that Christ didn't die and rise again that would undermine faith. Well...it wouldn't have happened in the first place if it never happened. The Message didn't start because of Jesus death and resurrection only..it happened once the Holy Sprit came upon the Christ-followers in the upper room (See Acts Chapters 1&2). There is far more going on here than you have even begun to consider, It's much, much more than a mere ideology. I'd have to assume Christianity is accurate to agree with this, and I do not consider it accurate. It is simply another religion, though, like all adherents of all competitive relgious beliefs, those who believe think it special and true.

I would argue that it is more accurate to say, "If Constantine had lost, no one would have become a Christian."

logos_x
February 6th, 2005, 07:34 AM
If Constantine had lost, no one would have become a Christian.

:darwinsm:

Lighthouse
February 6th, 2005, 02:29 PM
I can just imagine that. Paul says, "Constantine is going to lose in the future, so I'm not going to be a Christian.":rolleyes:

JayHoover
February 6th, 2005, 05:56 PM
Originally posted by logos_x

:darwinsm: Just so -- there is no objective reason not to have the same reaction to your comment, that a dead man rises. The difference is, the vast majority of people who have heard the story (or believe in it) don't consider it laughable or odd at all that a dead man rises, mainly becuase most poeple do bleieve in gods and such. They presume the existence of god for their myriad of reasons, and so miracles become acceptable. This doesn't make it any more true, but it does explain why people don't break out in laughter every time someone asserts that a dead man rose and lives now for over 2000 years.

Objectively speaking of course, the assertion of the dead man rising is in and of itself irrational and unsupported.

It is unlikely in the extreme that Christianity would have lasted very long if not for Constantine. Christianity's history is not one of gentle preaching and mass conversions due to its (alleged) obvious and inherent truth -- you know that. The engine of conversion has historically been at the point of the sword, and even today we see the Muslims embracing the methodology (with greater technology at their disposal).

There is no reason to believe Christianity would have survived any more than did Mithrasism (except in how Mithrasism has been enfolded into Christianity) if left to the simple preaching espoused by Jesus and the Apostles. It required numerous acts of violence to secure its place.

By the way -- why are the Christians on this forum so consistently impolite? Those who are arguing the rationalist point of view seem to simply state their cases with little overt hostility, and the Christians here seem to jump to it very, very quickly.

The Berean
February 6th, 2005, 06:29 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

Again, I think atheism is the default belief system. It's how we're born -- atheistic, and apolitical. No ideology is inherent in humans except perhaps a loose social tribalism that a host of other animals share.

I think the elgance and the eloquence of atheistic arguments are the result of theism-- without theism, there'd be no need for any countering dialogue. But atheism itself is de facto how we come into the world.

Secondly, atheism itself is not doctrinaire -- there is only one "doctrine" and that is, "Gods do not exist". This is not an irrational philosophy at all -- it's fully and wholly within the realm of the natural universe to find natural causes for natural events-- nothing could be more rational. Perhaps you are focused on what might seem to be a claim for omniscient to claim "gods do not exist".
JayHoover,

Well, since all the proffered models of theism logically collapse, it is rational to reject them.
Your argument doesn't follow. You state that no idealology is inherent in humans except perhaps a loose social tribalism. Yet you also claim that athieism is the default belief system of man. These are contradictory statements. If man is born without any ideaology then athiesm cannot be the default belief system of man, right?

Also, you state that atheism is a response to theism. Before someone asserts that there is no God someone must assert that there is a God. So if atheim is the default belief system of man then why did man originally abandon it? If man is inherently atheistic then why postulate a "supernatual creator"? Wouldn't it seem plausible to conclude if man is inherently atheistic then man cannot postulate any idea about a "supernatural creator" or "first cause" or whatever you would want to call it?

JayHoover
February 6th, 2005, 07:00 PM
Originally posted by The Berean

Your argument doesn't follow. You state that no idealology is inherent in humans except perhaps a loose social tribalism. Yet you also claim that athieism is the default belief system of man. These are contradictory statements. If man is born without any ideaology then athiesm cannot be the default belief system of man, right?[quote]No, because atheism is not an ideology, it is the result of a "blank slate". Theists insist that "atheism is a belief system as much as theism is" but that's only in terms of the arguments of atheism. Atheism itself is how one is born: we are a-theistic, we are a-political, we are a-national, we are a-ideological.

[quote]Also, you state that atheism is a response to theism. Before someone asserts that there is no God someone must assert that there is a God. So if atheim is the default belief system of man then why did man originally abandon it? If man is inherently atheistic then why postulate a "supernatual creator"?Because as man evolves, so does his ability to interact with his environment. In less technological times, gods were asserted to help explain what couldn't be understood. In the theist moel, "God" has made things look like one thing, but actually be another. The sun rises and the sun sets. Obvious to anyone. Except it's not the truth. The sun itself doesn't move across the sky, it's the planet that revolves making it seem like the sun is moving by itself across the sky.

If every which way you turn you are confounded completely by your environment, yet you are surrounded by other beings that can interact and change that environment, then it's "logical" to postulate some sort of "super man" who made the whole thing go in the first place.

Think of humanity as a single child. As it is youngest, it is the least capable of understanding its environment. As it grows and interacts with its environment, it begins to learn things. That orange-ish red plasma is HOT! It can make us stop moving and never be again! So be careful with it! As time goes on, the child (humanity) creates a very complex explanation of why things are like they are:

Why do these gifts appear under my tree every December 25th? Oh, a mysterious character named "Santa" brings them!

Why do the plants all die and come back every spring? Oh, Persephone has been taken by Hades and her mother Demeter weeps for 6 months, only to restore life when her daghter is returned

How did everything come to be? Why, a paternal father in the sky loves us, and has created all things for us

And so on. Of course, the child matures, and begins to understand more about the world, and the tools of understanding grows the more you use them. Humanity is somewhre between toddlerhood and young adulthood in this analogy. We can see the truth, but it still feels good to believe in Santa.

We are on the right track though.


Wouldn't it seem plausible to conclude if man is inherently atheistic then man cannot postulate any idea about a "supernatural creator" or "first cause" or whatever you would want to call it? You underestimate the human mind. We look for patterns, we look for explanations. It has been the engine of our survival: our curiosity (it's also been the sword of our disasters). No, humans would likely invent explanations despite the fact that they are born without ideology-- they would invent politics and laws in order to govern themselves. Even lower forms of animals do this, though they aren't as eloquent or as elegant as humans are. But there are endless examples of strict hierarchies in gregarious animals, and there are laws which -- if broken-- carry with them consequences. One may argue that these are also "god-ordained" -- but then... you'll have an interesting time defining if animals are also ensouled.

The key question I would leave you with is this: Let's reverse it. If, as you are implying, mankind is born with an innate knowledge of god, then why... why do we have NO examples of any culture completely divorced from the Middle East and Europe -- spontaneously "inventing" Christianity? Certianly, vast civilizations have risen and falled inventing other and competitive belief systems, but not once did anyone ever wake up in the Incan Empire, snap their fingers and say, "Of course! Christ Jesus is the Redeemer!"

They didn;t because no religious belief is inherent and atheism is the default by which we are born.

logos_x
February 6th, 2005, 07:03 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover


It is unlikely in the extreme that Christianity would have lasted very long if not for Constantine. Christianity's history is not one of gentle preaching and mass conversions due to its (alleged) obvious and inherent truth -- you know that. The engine of conversion has historically been at the point of the sword...

JayHoover ---
There was almost 300 years of Christian history BEFORE Constantine. And Constantine stopped the persecution in large part that took place until then, and made Christianity an accepted religion of the State.
After that time the Christian message became quite different, and took on many pagan concepts.
Constantine might have been largely responsible historically for "Christian ideology" being accepted by the State, but little else positive could be said about his role. His influence upon "Christian doctrine" amounts to a militarization and corruption of the original Faith.

What you are arguing to be the driving force behind "Christianity" in fact amounts to a great falling away, a marked change that eventually lead to the dark ages. That is what makes your assertion laughable in the extreme.

JayHoover
February 6th, 2005, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by logos_x

JayHoover ---
There was almost 300 years of Christian history BEFORE Constantine. And Constantine stopped the persecution in large part that took place until then, and made Christianity an accepted religion of the State.
After that time the Christian message became quite different, and took on many pagan concepts.
Constantine might have been largely responsible historically for "Christian ideology" being accepted by the State, but little else positive could be said about his role. His influence upon "Christian doctrine" amounts to a militarization and corruption of the original Faith.

What you are arguing to be the driving force behind "Christianity" in fact amounts to a great falling away, a marked change that eventually lead to the dark ages. That is what makes your assertion laughable in the extreme. 300 years in religious evolution is a brief blip of time. Countless religions died having lived 10 or more times longer. And of course the kind of Christianity you espouse today died completely until the abuses of the Roman Catholic church sparked a revolt.

However, it was the acceptance of Christianity by the State that gave it its power at all. The chain of events leading up to today's Christianity is, like all historical events, immutable: One could argue this is precisely how god wants it to unfold. But it is unlikely in the extreme that you would e a Christian today if Constantine had not forced the belief as a state-ordained one; likely as not, the small, short 300 years of Christianity would have died out, particularly as more time passed and the promised return never materialized (which, by the way, it still hasn't.)

All of this is speculative however, and I don't see too much point in pursuing it further. I'll opt to give you the last word on it, if you care to reply.

ddevonb
February 6th, 2005, 07:57 PM
"Unless you're perfect, don't judge. [Heb. 10:14]"


Do you really think that verse means that?

JayHoover
February 6th, 2005, 08:14 PM
Originally posted by ddevonb

"Unless you're perfect, don't judge. [Heb. 10:14]"


Do you really think that verse means that? Are you asking me?

If so, I wouldn't know. Judging is essential. There isn't enough intelligent judging or critical thinking. We need a lot more of it, and soon.

I would say this tenet is just one of many destructive appeals of Christianity (and I will be 100% fair and say there are many constructive appeals in Christianity.)

logos_x
February 6th, 2005, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

300 years in religious evolution is a brief blip of time. Countless religions died having lived 10 or more times longer. And of course the kind of Christianity you espouse today died completely until the abuses of the Roman Catholic church sparked a revolt.

However, it was the acceptance of Christianity by the State that gave it its power at all. The chain of events leading up to today's Christianity is, like all historical events, immutable: One could argue this is precisely how god wants it to unfold. But it is unlikely in the extreme that you would e a Christian today if Constantine had not forced the belief as a state-ordained one; likely as not, the small, short 300 years of Christianity would have died out, particularly as more time passed and the promised return never materialized (which, by the way, it still hasn't.)

All of this is speculative however, and I don't see too much point in pursuing it further. I'll opt to give you the last word on it, if you care to reply.

The driving force of Christian faith is not an ideology at all...nor political figures or warriors in the past. but the very Spirit breathed forth by God Himself...

Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Eph 1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Eph 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

So..no matter how history unfolded..the outcome would have been the same...

Col 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

That includes you!

Lighthouse
February 7th, 2005, 12:50 AM
Originally posted by ddevonb

"Unless you're perfect, don't judge. [Heb. 10:14]"


Do you really think that verse means that?
It says nothing about judging, but it does say I'm perfected. The actual sentence is something my mom said to me the other day.

The Berean
February 7th, 2005, 10:15 PM
Originally posted by JayHoover

Because as man evolves, so does his ability to interact with his environment. In less technological times, gods were asserted to help explain what couldn't be understood. In the theist moel, "God" has made things look like one thing, but actually be another. The sun rises and the sun sets. Obvious to anyone. Except it's not the truth. The sun itself doesn't move across the sky, it's the planet that revolves making it seem like the sun is moving by itself across the sky.
Believing in Santa Claus and believing in God are not really analogous. The modern myth of Santa Claus is really just a creation of a savvy marketing. Yes, I know story of the historical St. Nicholas, but the “modern” Santa Claus (heavy set man with a beard and a red nose) was never intended to believed as a real person. No one is doing historical research or archeological digs in the hopes of finding the “historical” Santa Claus. From the earliest known writings of man they have been two topics that man has written about, God and money. Postulating about God is a “complex” explanation, at least I think so. Who is this God? What is He like? What is His nature? Why did he create us? These are questions asked by the finest minds in human history and by mere simple persons like myself.


If every which way you turn you are confounded completely by your environment, yet you are surrounded by other beings that can interact and change that environment, then it's "logical" to postulate some sort of "super man" who made the whole thing go in the first place.

Think of humanity as a single child. As it is youngest, it is the least capable of understanding its environment. As it grows and interacts with its environment, it begins to learn things. That orange-ish red plasma is HOT! It can make us stop moving and never be again! So be careful with it! As time goes on, the child (humanity) creates a very complex explanation of why things are like they are:

Why do these gifts appear under my tree every December 25th? Oh, a mysterious character named "Santa" brings them!

Why do the plants all die and come back every spring? Oh, Persephone has been taken by Hades and her mother Demeter weeps for 6 months, only to restore life when her daghter is returned

How did everything come to be? Why, a paternal father in the sky loves us, and has created all things for us

And so on. Of course, the child matures, and begins to understand more about the world, and the tools of understanding grows the more you use them. Humanity is somewhre between toddlerhood and young adulthood in this analogy. We can see the truth, but it still feels good to believe in Santa.

We are on the right track though.

You underestimate the human mind. We look for patterns, we look for explanations. It has been the engine of our survival: our curiosity (it's also been the sword of our disasters). No, humans would likely invent explanations despite the fact that they are born without ideology-- they would invent politics and laws in order to govern themselves. Even lower forms of animals do this, though they aren't as eloquent or as elegant as humans are. But there are endless examples of strict hierarchies in gregarious animals, and there are laws which -- if broken-- carry with them consequences. One may argue that these are also "god-ordained" -- but then... you'll have an interesting time defining if animals are also ensouled.

As a engineer working in the aerospace industry. I agree man has a gift for looking for patterns and explanations. I do this daily in my job. I don’t think man necessarily “invents” explanations but ”arrive” at explanations through observation, reason, and logical conclusions.

Man created laws and political systems because it was more beneficial for man’s survival to not have complete anarchy. There is a difference between the laws of man and the laws of the wild. In the wild the strongest and the biggest “write” the laws and the rest follow because they fear death. The wild is the constant struggle between life and death. Man created government to establish laws for everyone’s benefit (at least that’s the desired result). Of course human history is littered with those who would use strength and might to establish their own laws by force and violence. However, there have been and are democracies in human history. Man concluded that it was just and right to give everyone a voice in the establishment of laws.

Are laws “God-ordained”? An interesting question. I believe that certain laws are God ordained.



The key question I would leave you with is this: Let's reverse it. If, as you are implying, mankind is born with an innate knowledge of god, then why... why do we have NO examples of any culture completely divorced from the Middle East and Europe -- spontaneously "inventing" Christianity? Certianly, vast civilizations have risen and falled inventing other and competitive belief systems, but not once did anyone ever wake up in the Incan Empire, snap their fingers and say, "Of course! Christ Jesus is the Redeemer!"

They didn;t because no religious belief is inherent and atheism is the default by which we are born.
I do not agree with your conclusion. The premises do not force (in a deductive sense) the conclusion.

Premise 1: Only the Middle East and Europe “invented” Christianity.

Premise 2: Other regions of the Earth “invented” other competing religious beliefs.

Conclusion: Religious beliefs are not inherent. Atheism is the default belief.

Your premises do not "force" your conclusion. They seem to force the opposite conclusion; that all cultures had some sort of religious beliefs (not necessarily Christianity of course) and that atheism is not the default belief system. Can you name any culture that was completely atheistic? Even today in America over 80% of Americans believe in some “God concept”. I find this interesting because American culture is force feeding secularization in the American education system yet a large of percentage of people still believe in God.

JayHoover
February 8th, 2005, 02:28 AM
Originally posted by The Berean

Believing in Santa Claus and believing in God are not really analogous.I must disagree. Humans have been inventing "powerful" imaginary beings throughout history. They do this to explain events they cannot readily explain. Santa appeals to children because his "existence" explains where those presents come from. Parents use him to evoke behavior patterns from the children year round. This is precisely the same paradigm of the gods: they "explain" the unexplained, and their existence allows those in power to effect behavioral responses from the larger culture.


The modern myth of Santa Claus is really just a creation of a savvy marketing. Yes, I know story of the historical St. Nicholas, but the “modern” Santa Claus (heavy set man with a beard and a red nose) was never intended to believed as a real person.Yet all these "saints" throughout history have magical powers. It's endemic, and an endemic pattern is indistinguishable from empirical evidence. It's just that Santa appeals more strongly to the West than does, say, Saint Lucille, and the branch of the evolution of the Saint Nick character has more resonance.


No one is doing historical research or archeological digs in the hopes of finding the “historical” Santa Claus. From the earliest known writings of man they have been two topics that man has written about, God and money.Well, theists are simply inconsistent. They will reduce the value of Hercules, a demi god born of a mating between a father-god and a human woman, but they will exalt the demi-god Jesus, who was born of a father-god and a human woman. There's no demonstrable rhyme or reason between the two except the Christian has decided the Bible rates more veractiy than the tales of the Olympian gods, therefore the Abramic gods are real, and the Greek gods are myths. Their standard? Wellll, there really isn't one. They just insist it is so.


Postulating about God is a “complex” explanation, at least I think so. Who is this God? What is He like? What is His nature? Why did he create us? These are questions asked by the finest minds in human history and by mere simple persons like myself. And the answers come up confusing and tremendously contradicting. Personally, I make no assertions about the nature of these gods, I just passively listen to what those who assert say and then I critique their assertion. So far, it's very dismal. They have all-knowing gods not knowing that knowing a choice to be made isn't free will but an illusion of free will. Some people, myself for instance, have a fairly low tolerance for mumbo-jumbo, and others have an incredulity that is dishearteningly broad. Look, with all due respect, Christians believe in what other cultures would consider a zombie. Only the social acceptance of this story makes it something you wouldn't outright laugh at. But you would laugh at an adult insisting Santa Claus or Hercules was a real being, now, wouldn't you (or you'd doubt their sanity to say the least)?


As a engineer working in the aerospace industry. I agree man has a gift for looking for patterns and explanations. I do this daily in my job. I don’t think man necessarily “invents” explanations but ”arrive” at explanations through observation, reason, and logical conclusions. You're speaking from the advantage of a trained and technological mind. But let's take your requirements and see where they lead:

1. Observation. Please cite for me some demonstrable example of anyone observing the Judeo-Christian god. Please make certain this example is in no way interchangeable with mere anecdote.

2. Reason. Via the tenets of Christianity itself, reason is secondary to faith. If faith is "the hope of things unseen", then how is reason applicable (there's a huge conversation here about how the theist uses reason to dismantle reason in order to embrace a faith he needs his reason to discern, but that's another thread)

3. Logic. There is nothing logical about a man dying, being stone cold dead for three days, and then coming back from the dead. Few theisms function on logic. Most function with an inherent celebration of miracles, which are, by definition, in direct opposition to logic.


Man created laws and political systems because it was more beneficial for man’s survival to not have complete anarchy. There is a difference between the laws of man and the laws of the wild. In the wild the strongest and the biggest “write” the laws and the rest follow because they fear death. The wild is the constant struggle between life and death. Man created government to establish laws for everyone’s benefit (at least that’s the desired result).I agree with you completely. And the best way to leverage control over people is to convince them that there is an all-seeing powerful entity who will punish you if you do not obey... ah ha! the rules of the priestly class. We know that powerful civilizations have risen upon the back of this paradigm-- clearly the best (worst!) example of this is the influence of the Roman Catholic Church throughout the greater history of Europe.


Of course human history is littered with those who would use strength and might to establish their own laws by force and violence. However, there have been and are democracies in human history. Man concluded that it was just and right to give everyone a voice in the establishment of laws.Well, some men believe this. Not all. And many great civilizations have risen without it. Again, you speak with a perception that is somewhat provincial. Modern democracy is about 200 years old. It's heavily corrupt even in America (which is not even a democracy, but a republic), with voters being influenced or silenced in many different ways. Still, the adage is, "Democracy is the best of a lot of bad choices. (or something like that).


Are laws “God-ordained”? An interesting question. I believe that certain laws are God ordained.I would ask you to:

A) Demonstrate how this is so

and

B) Which ones are? Seems to me if you prove A, then all are god ordained if you travel back up the chain far enough. A god is ultimately responsible for everything.


I do not agree with your conclusion. The premises do not force (in a deductive sense) the conclusion.

Premise 1: Only the Middle East and Europe “invented” Christianity.

Premise 2: Other regions of the Earth “invented” other competing religious beliefs.

Conclusion: Religious beliefs are not inherent. Atheism is the default belief.I didn't say this-- you've blended two separate sections. What I said is that we are all born a blank slate, period. No baby is born wioth a religious perspective or a politcal one. They are taught both.

The issue about inventing Christianity is a test of Christinaity's veracity (which Christianity fails). If Christianity, as the Christian insists, is the "one true religion", then it would be a simple matter for the god(s) of Christianity to spontaneously nurture it around the world. No reason why once Jesus came back from the dead regeneration shouldn't have begun to occur-- spontaneous knowledge of Christianty all around the world. Christians today believe that the "spirit comes upon you" and only god decides who is saved. But we have no record of this occuring. Even Mormonism makes a lame claim that it happened... despite a wealth of absolutely no corrborating evidence (none). By the way, the same should hold true for Islam. Religions interestingly propopagate directly based upon the speed of communication of their times. One would think Scientology must be the "one true religion", it grew so fast and globally in just a few short decades.


Your premises do not "force" your conclusion. They seem to force the opposite conclusion; that all cultures had some sort of religious beliefs (not necessarily Christianity of course) and that atheism is not the default belief system. Can you name any culture that was completely atheistic?There are a few wherein the supernatural belief system didn't flourish, but they are negligble. However, you are missing the point. I have already stated that the human species in its infancy would indeed have to create these belief systems in order to make sense of their surroundings, and to help enforce behavior they considered important. Just like any human child will invent imaginary friends, or play in ways that are completely fantasy-compelled, so too will humans seek to explain their environment in a likewise manner.

But place technology and science in their hands, and they will quickly find answers that differ greatly from what the religions assert. Why would this be? Which is the truth? Why are the stars far away, giving the stubborn perception that in order for light to travel from there to here, a hundred billion years would have had to transpired? Is god capricious? Purposely changing things? Or... is the truth simply that the bible knows nothing of cosmology, and being wrong, should be recognized as mythology?

And don't get me wrong. Mythology is important. Literature and poetry make the world more beautiful. But that doesn't make fiction into fact.


Even today in America over 80% of Americans believe in some “God concept”. I find this interesting because American culture is force feeding secularization in the American education system yet a large of percentage of people still believe in God. Not actively promoting religion is not "force fedding secularism". The state remains -- or should remain -- mute and uninvolved on the question of religion. This is a private matter between a person and their own belief system, and this is precisely where the government should stand on it

I can never understand the conservative view on this: This is the one area where the government does what it's supposed to do-- stay out of our business, and stop dictating to us what we should or shouldn't believe, and the theistic conservative complain about it and want to change it!

It simply supports the contention that theists are simply never consistent-- except in their inconsistency.