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Old 02-09-2010, 04:59 PM   #91
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What can oppose God's will? Nothing. Thus, Satan cannot exist.
Actually, plenty can oppose God's will. The question you seem to want to ask is whether God's will could ever be overthrown. And really, the whole matter boils down to whether you believe that history is fixed (everything that happens is supposed to happen, etc.) or redemptive (i.e., God moves in response to His creation, which has free will). If we're going to argue Biblically, I don't think you can argue that man has no influence on creation, since it's pretty clear there are three wills constantly working in opposition to each other. Additionally, this whole notion that God creates us for relationship with Him means that we should have some kind of influence on the Almighty -- hence Moses interceding with God on behalf of the Israelites, etc.

Love and free will are inherently in tension with each other. If you take away free will, there is no love.

The whole notion of open theism/closed theism is a pretty significant one in theological circles, and a fascinating one to consider.

Heady stuff for a Tuesday.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:06 PM   #92
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What? You wouldn't take the man Jesus for his word? What baffles my mind is that you bring up a point like the above, and we'll be told "That's just a fable, a story, don't take it literally"....but then who chooses what stories in the bible to be real and not? Are there footnotes?
That's why I don't trust the Bible at all.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:07 PM   #93
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Actually, plenty can oppose God's will. The question you seem to want to ask is whether God's will could ever be overthrown. And really, the whole matter boils down to whether you believe that history is fixed (everything that happens is supposed to happen, etc.) or redemptive (i.e., God moves in response to His creation, which has free will). If we're going to argue Biblically, I don't think you can argue that man has no influence on creation, since it's pretty clear there are three wills constantly working in opposition to each other. Additionally, this whole notion that God creates us for relationship with Him means that we should have some kind of influence on the Almighty -- hence Moses interceding with God on behalf of the Israelites, etc.

Love and free will are inherently in tension with each other. If you take away free will, there is no love.

The whole notion of open theism/closed theism is a pretty significant one in theological circles, and a fascinating one to consider.

Heady stuff for a Tuesday.
I'm just trying to expose the strange conflict and how it really doesn't make much sense logically. Rather, it seems to be molded to be whatever's convenient for the Christian at that time.

I'm not going to leave the Catholic Church. But that doesn't mean I believe a word of it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:32 PM   #94
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I'm just trying to expose the strange conflict and how it really doesn't make much sense logically. Rather, it seems to be molded to be whatever's convenient for the Christian at that time.

I'm not going to leave the Catholic Church. But that doesn't mean I believe a word of it.
Maybe you should consider leaving an organisation that shields child rapists and supplies murderous advice about condoms to Africans. Demonstrating that you are principled and honest about what you believe could send a better signal to your family than just going on for the ride.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:07 PM   #95
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Are you guys ignoring what I said earlier? About the Bible was never meant to be taken literally and was seen as allegory from the very beginning? And only in the last 200 years have fundamentalists said its the absolute word of God?

I'm not trying to make you theists, I just want to keep you informed.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:12 PM   #96
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It it allegory to the point that they never really believed that there exists a creator that intervenes in human affairs and has given us rules of conduct?
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:20 PM   #97
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I'm pretty sure it's not, A-wanderer. Gotta say I tend to agree with Pearl on this one matter, where both sides in the internet debates more often seem to be two sides of the same coin. Treated on the same basis as, say, a documentary on the second world war, the Bible is easily dismissed.

Anyhow I think a lot of the 'fable', 'allegory' stuff gets misunderstood. It, the older parts of it in particular, are as much a mythic and cultural history of the people who eventually wrote it down. Stuff like the Exodus. No, I doubt the Red Sea was parted, but I suspect that something in the history of the Israelites led to a story like that evolving.

I try not to get too hung up on the Old Testament... but sheesh, guys, if you have problems with ancient literature, you ought to turn your eyes to Revelation: possibly the most problematic book of them all (and I would argue, unfortunately a far greater influence on a lot of apocalyptic Christianity than anything to be found in the OT).
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #98
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In the past, people everywhere were firm believers of God. Whether He intervened on human affairs was up for debate, just like it is today. But for the most part, God was a higher state of being for humans to obtain. Religion was supposed to be a discipline to help reach that "nirvana" if you'd like to use Buddhism as an example. It was like that for 1500 years in Western Europe, until the Enlightenment period.

No, that period did not ruin faith or religion, and many religious scholars do not look down at the Enlightenment age. In fact, science and religion went hand in hand for many centuries, unlike today. Yes, we all know about Galileo, but there were a few other astronomers who had revolutionary beliefs about the universe that the Catholic Church was willing to adopt.

Atheism really started when there were those who were not raised in the religious traditions of Judaism and Christianity. I personally suspect that some forms of Protestantism that banned rituals took away from the mysticism religion provides, and that could have led to atheism.

But like I said, only in the last 200 years have fundamentalists claimed that the Bible was to be taken seriously. Theologians from the ancient and medieval times would not recognize the state of Christianity today, from saying the Bible is infallible to defining God even though it is nearly impossible to define something that is beyond us.

I'll be right back to add more, if you'd like.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:40 PM   #99
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Up until Protestantism in Europe took hold you couldn't be an atheist, as you wouldn't have survived for long. Protestantism helped break the power of the inquisition and pave the way to more free thinking, where eventually some took it even a step further and questioned the very existence of a God.
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:55 PM   #100
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Are you guys ignoring what I said earlier? About the Bible was never meant to be taken literally and was seen as allegory from the very beginning? And only in the last 200 years have fundamentalists said its the absolute word of God?

I'm not trying to make you theists, I just want to keep you informed.
ok, this works for you and I believe Melon made a similar statement.


this is how you reconcile things in your mind


but, the over whelming majority of Christian believers do not support that view

I take it you believe the Abraham story is just an allegory?
and the same for Noah and the flood?
and perhaps the Sodom story with Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt for being human? "don't look, you looked - you're dead!"
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Old 02-09-2010, 07:57 PM   #101
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Jesus walked on water, and did many other niffy tricks.

For those reasons you should whorship him.


without the David Blaine / Criss Angel stuff he would have just been an ok guy with some nice things to say
I'm going to assume "whorship" is actually a Freudian slip?

Jesus' miracles -- signs that pointed to His divinity, often in the face of the social/cultural/religious norms of the day (touching lepers, for example), in much the same way that each of Moses' miracles refuted the various Egyptian gods -- cannot be divorced from Jesus' identity. He Himself pointed to His actions as evidence of His identity. These actions were controversial to the religious leaders of the day, but were critical if Jesus was to assert (as He did) that He was both the Son of God, and God.

Beyond that, His ultimate sacrifice on the cross, to satisfy a blood debt that extended back for thousands of years -- a blood debt rooted in humanity's ability not only to rebel against Love, but to actually murder It --carried weight both for the Jewish culture that He lived in, but to the larger, dominant Greek/Roman belief system around Him, a belief system rooted in the idea that the gods were angry and demanded sacrifice. To Romans, the notion of a God Who was angry, but Who satisfied the debt He was owed Himself rather than demand it from humans, was confounding.

This is the fundamental definition of grace.

And we still do not understand it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:03 PM   #102
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ok, this works for you and I believe Melon made a similar statement.


this is how you reconcile things in your mind


but, the over whelming majority of Christian believers do not support that view

I take it you believe the Abraham story is just an allegory
and the same for Noah and the flood
and perhaps the Sodom story with Lot's wife being turned into a pillar of salt for being human? "don't look, you looked - you're dead!"
I never believed the Bible was the absolute word of God. Was not raised that way, and never believed so once I started thinking for myself.

Deep, you might remember me mentioning in this thread the book by Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, which confirmed what I suspected, and that is the Bible is allegory. I know I keep going on and on about this book, but I feel its really opened my eyes to a lot of things.

(BTW, there is evidence of a great flood in the Middle East, just not as big as the Bible says. As for Noah, maybe its all a legend)

I know a lot of Christians do believe the Bible is literal and that has always saddened me, even more so now.

I just feel somehow everyone - theists and atheists together - got off track on how we see life, God and such, and I think its sad.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:03 PM   #103
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it seems to be molded to be whatever's convenient for the Christian at that time.
The Good News is molded to what is needed at the time. Jewish lepers needed different Good News than rich young rulers; Jesus had different things to say to both. Never to the exclusion of the other, since He Himself was/is the Good News -- but those looking for hard and fast rules will oftentimes be frustrated. (As many of Jesus' followers were.)

I'm convinced that Christianity has become more codified, politicized, and boxed-up than Jesus meant it to be. Perhaps it's why Jesus doesn't talk much about rules and regulations -- His focus wasn't on religion, but rather life in the Kingdom of God, which is both more challenging and more liberating at the same time.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:04 PM   #104
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Maybe you should consider leaving an organisation that shields child rapists and supplies murderous advice about condoms to Africans. Demonstrating that you are principled and honest about what you believe could send a better signal to your family than just going on for the ride.
It's never that simple, is it? If it were, I'd be more open about it. But I consider it so unimportant to me that I really don't care what they think I believe in, which is why I'm OK with it.

I don't think the Catholic Church would blink an eye if I left it.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:05 PM   #105
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Are you guys ignoring what I said earlier? About the Bible was never meant to be taken literally and was seen as allegory from the very beginning? And only in the last 200 years have fundamentalists said its the absolute word of God?

I'm not trying to make you theists, I just want to keep you informed.
Even non-fundamentalists have trouble figuring out what's allegory and what's not.
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