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View Poll Results: Did Jesus physically ascend to heaven?
Yes he did 20 31.75%
No he didn't, it is a pointless fabrication 21 33.33%
No, it is figurative 22 34.92%
Voters: 63. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-23-2008, 09:32 PM   #76
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This doesn't justify any supernatural claims, one might as well establish a Church of Coca Cola on the basis of how rapidly that particular soft drink was able to build an empire and reshape society.
Yeah, because people die for Coca-Cola and give up centuries-old traditions for it, etc.

Right.

Think about it, A_Wanderer. Those who followed Christ saw him crucified on a cross among criminals. They saw him nearly beaten to death before that. They saw him give up his last breath. They saw their hope buried. They felt defeated.

Christianity could not have happened if this was the end.

Then, as the Gospel accounts tell us, they saw him again — alive. They saw him with his wounds. They saw him eat broiled fish (Nice detail included there.) He called on them to go to the ends of the Earth to share what God had done.

Given everything that happened — his followers were slaughtered for their faith, numerous Jewish people set aside their centuries-old traditions — even in the face of eternal damnation — and replaced them with Christian practices of baptism and communion, and overwhelmed a brutal empire — something life-changing had to happen to move from total devastation to a passion for something that endured death. Maybe the return of a life itself.

But, yeah, it's like Coke.
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:50 PM   #77
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Yeah, because people die for Coca-Cola and give up centuries-old traditions for it, etc.

Right.

Think about it, A_Wanderer. Those who followed Christ saw him crucified on a cross among criminals. They saw him nearly beaten to death before that. They saw him give up his last breath. They saw their hope buried. They felt defeated.

Christianity could not have happened if this was the end.

Then, as the Gospel accounts tell us, they saw him again — alive. They saw him with his wounds. They saw him eat broiled fish (Nice detail included there.) He called on them to go to the ends of the Earth to share what God had done.

Given everything that happened — his followers were slaughtered for their faith, numerous Jewish people set aside their centuries-old traditions — even in the face of eternal damnation — and replaced them with Christian practices of baptism and communion, and overwhelmed a brutal empire — something life-changing had to happen to move from total devastation to a passion for something that endured death. Maybe the return of a life itself.

But, yeah, it's like Coke.
Assuming you buy the source as credible, this would be a compelling case.

Too many fingers have been in the bible pie....
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:13 PM   #78
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:24 PM   #79
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Yeah, because people die for Coca-Cola and give up centuries-old traditions for it, etc.

Right.

Think about it, A_Wanderer. Those who followed Christ saw him crucified on a cross among criminals. They saw him nearly beaten to death before that. They saw him give up his last breath. They saw their hope buried. They felt defeated.

Christianity could not have happened if this was the end.

Then, as the Gospel accounts tell us, they saw him again — alive. They saw him with his wounds. They saw him eat broiled fish (Nice detail included there.) He called on them to go to the ends of the Earth to share what God had done.

Given everything that happened — his followers were slaughtered for their faith, numerous Jewish people set aside their centuries-old traditions — even in the face of eternal damnation — and replaced them with Christian practices of baptism and communion, and overwhelmed a brutal empire — something life-changing had to happen to move from total devastation to a passion for something that endured death. Maybe the return of a life itself.

But, yeah, it's like Coke.
There are a lot of historically conditional cultural features which seem unlikely when we look back. The good fortunes of particular multinational corporations illustrates that, Coke wasn't predestined to become such a universal beverage, it is only one of the ones that survived and thrived (consider how improbable it is we are typing in English or even evolved in the first place - these are the result of unguided selection acting upon luck). Christianity is a belief system which won the lottery and benefitted from state patronage through the ages.

Contrast it to Islam, a more recent religion, it has converted large swathes of the globe and altered those societies and it makes divine claims. People have died for that faith, killed for that faith and are often persecuted for holding onto their faith. Any argument for God built on the survival of Christianity applies just as equally to Islam (one could argue that Islam does one better by justifying the continued existence of other 'people of the book').

What makes Christianity the truth but this later supposed revelation invalid?

Why is it that most people belong to the religious tradition of their community?

What invalidates the more ancient polytheism's of our ancestors?

Religions are a big part of human civilization, we see them being created in front of our very eyes. Take Mormonism for instance, you are pretty skeptical towards the claims of Joseph Smith, but why shouldn't his claims be entertained? Believing a claim of revelation is not the same as having a revelation (and even that is more likely to be a psychotic episode, by the numbers).

If we believe one claim of revelation why shouldn't we be as open to others?
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:47 PM   #80
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i can't think of anything more persuasive (or ripe for abuse) than the promise of life after death.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:25 AM   #81
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There are a lot of historically conditional cultural features which seem unlikely when we look back. The good fortunes of particular multinational corporations illustrates that, Coke wasn't predestined to become such a universal beverage, it is only one of the ones that survived and thrived (consider how improbable it is we are typing in English or even evolved in the first place - these are the result of unguided selection acting upon luck).
With all due respect, you really think the Coke comparison is a good one?

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Christianity is a belief system which won the lottery and benefitted from state patronage through the ages.
We're talking some pretty good odds here!

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Originally Posted by A_Wanderer View Post
Contrast it to Islam, a more recent religion, it has converted large swathes of the globe and altered those societies and it makes divine claims. People have died for that faith, killed for that faith and are often persecuted for holding onto their faith. Any argument for God built on the survival of Christianity applies just as equally to Islam (one could argue that Islam does one better by justifying the continued existence of other 'people of the book').
Yeah, look at those countries where Islam is the rule of the land. You're killed if you believe otherwise. It's controlled by fear. Of course it's "flourishing."

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What makes Christianity the truth but this later supposed revelation invalid?
The fact that Christ is referred to directly or indirectly three times as many more times in the Koran is an interesting place to start. There's something that sets him apart. You also have the large number of detailed prophecies made in the OT that are fulfilled in the NT —some of which weren't up to Christ or his followers to fulfill (his bones not being broken in his legs — the traditional practice of the day if they weren't dead by the Sabbath.). Again, there's something that sets him apart.

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Why is it that most people belong to the religious tradition of their community?
A lot of it is community controlled. There's also many stories of people going against their community/faith tradition and encountering Christ. This is an issue that needs to looked at more in depth.

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Religions are a big part of human civilization, we see them being created in front of our very eyes. Take Mormonism for instance, you are pretty skeptical towards the claims of Joseph Smith, but why shouldn't his claims be entertained? Believing a claim of revelation is not the same as having a revelation (and even that is more likely to be a psychotic episode, by the numbers).

If we believe one claim of revelation why shouldn't we be as open to others?
Because the Book of Mormon has been proven to be plagiarized — phrases were lifted directly out of the King James Version of the Bible, and many of the names are simply OT names with letters switched. The original text was written at or below an eighth-grade reading level and later changed, none of the cities mentioned in the book have been found, the Smithsonian and I believe National Geographic won't recognize it as a historical text, etc., etc., etc.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:28 AM   #82
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i can't think of anything more persuasive (or ripe for abuse) than the promise of life after death.
I agree, but even then, I don't think the sudden 360 degree change in Christianity — the complete devastation following Christ's death experienced among his followers, to the total rise of the faith — was based on the promise of life after death alone. Something else, something more, happened. There was an encounter. If he just died on the cross and that was it, the faith would've died too. Why die for a guy who said he was going to rise again and then doesn't?
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:30 AM   #83
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Yeah, look at those countries where Islam is the rule of the land. You're killed if you believe otherwise. It's controlled by fear. Of course it's "flourishing."
Oh yeah, totally unknown to Christianity.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:35 AM   #84
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Oh yeah, totally unknown to Christianity.
Where is that going on today?
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:43 AM   #85
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.

Then, as the Gospel accounts tell us, they saw him again — alive. They saw him with his wounds. They saw him eat broiled fish (Nice detail included there.) .
Maybe it was just someone who looked like him, and who thought he might play along as a little joke....

If people had a sense of humour back in those days, this possibility shouldn't be discounted in my very honest opinion.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:57 AM   #86
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Where is that going on today?
Which countries today kill everyone who believes in another religion? Some Islamic countries are much more intolerant when it comes to other religions, but there is no state-legislated killing of the infidels. Those are fundamentalist fractions within the religion that use instable situations. The overall religion does not.
The silence of the moderate is a whole different topic.

Christianity came to Europe much with force. Charlemagne showed the Saxons what it means to love each other by slaughtering everyone who didn't want to convert. The perverted Catholic church of that time ruled with the sword and fire for centuries. And you put your life at risk if you tried to bring Christianity back to its message.

I don't see Christianity inherently better, or Islam inherently worse. Both are, unfortunately, subject to the way they get preached by some influential figureheads.
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:57 AM   #87
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With all due respect, you really think the Coke comparison is a good one?
I think it is valid in this context, it is has been adopted around the world from very humble beginnings and when we look back the odds seem astronomically small.
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We're talking some pretty good odds here!
No greater than the other major religions, dominant languages and cultural products. You are an atheist to most Gods that have ever existed, those religions were justified at the time.
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Yeah, look at those countries where Islam is the rule of the land. You're killed if you believe otherwise. It's controlled by fear. Of course it's "flourishing."
The same can be said of Christendom, that its violence has been diminished by the rise of secularism but it isn't entirely erased. Islam would be unsustainable if it was simply an imposed belief that people want to shed at a moments notice. I have no obligation to defend Islam but I don't doubt that plenty of believers adhere to its tenets because they find it personally rewarding.
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The fact that Christ is referred to directly or indirectly three times as many more times in the Koran is an interesting place to start. There's something that sets him apart.
Jesus is considered a prophet, that a religion plagiarises is nothing new but I don't see how that justifies any claims to the divine.
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You also have the large number of detailed prophecies made in the OT that are fulfilled in the NT —�some of which weren't up to Christ or his followers to fulfill (his bones not being broken in his legs — the traditional practice of the day if they weren't dead by the Sabbath.). Again, there's something that sets him apart.
And here is a problem, you uncritically take the stories as fact when the texts were written with an agenda after the events had taken place. You are not reading a single historical document but the distilled product of numerous authors who both plagarised and fabricated elements of the tale. It is simple to shape a story to fit prophesy when you are deliberately selecting and editing many years after the fact.
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A lot of it is community controlled. There's also many stories of people going against their community/faith tradition and encountering Christ. This is an issue that needs to looked at more in depth.
The causes of conversion do need study, but it isn't exclusively to Christianity. That there is a flow of people to different faiths doesn't validate any one belief system in particular, if there was a bias I would look towards what people find rewarding about their new faith rather than assume it is divine will.
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Because the Book of Mormon has been proven to be plagiarized — phrases were lifted directly out of the King James Version of the Bible, and many of the names are simply OT names with letters switched. The original text was written at or below an eighth-grade reading level and later changed, none of the cities mentioned in the book have been found, the Smithsonian and I believe National Geographic won't recognize it as a historical text, etc., etc., etc.
You obviously aren't incapable of critical thinking, do you feel there is a blank spot at where you direct it?
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:02 AM   #88
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Which countries today kill everyone who believes in another religion? Some Islamic countries are much more intolerant when it comes to other religions, but there is no state-legislated killing of the infidels.
I wouldn't count on an Islamic theocracy being tolerant of atheists if it followed the word of God.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:41 AM   #89
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I believe God is the final judge and only He will decide who goes to Heaven or not. I think we will all be surprised who gets in or not. I believe no one has the right to question who goes to Heaven, because like I said, God is the final judge.
Pretty solid answer IMO. I think it's good that we're all informed of the spiritual beliefs of others (or lack thereof), as it gives us a small excerpt of what makes them tick. Because of this, I like to let others in on that side of me when I can, but when I do, I never claim that A. It has been factually proven as the One True Faith and B. Assuming that I have chosen the correct path, that I know precisely how the afterlife will be sorted out. I've had to accept this, and I attempt to convey this to others when it comes up. Only the most smug, myopic individual would state that there is absolutely no chance that their belief system could have a flaw. This includes atheists. I'm sorry, but none of us really know. I'm comfortable with my choice, and I'm glad you're comfortable with yours. Keeps this discussion from coming up all the fucking time.

And voting options 2 and 3 in the poll does not make you Godless (I also see that there are more voters of options 1 and 2 than anticipated). That's absurd. I thought it was rather obvious that A_W was being ironic, but I see that some fell for it.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:54 AM   #90
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I wouldn't count on an Islamic theocracy being tolerant of atheists if it followed the word of God.
The reactions I got from Christians weren't more encouraging. Being an atheist/agnostic seems to be another kind of problem for quite a few religious people, altogether.
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