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Posted

So I'm new to this website and I was wondering if there were any Galileans out there who would be interested in discussing Theology.

I'm not here to try and convert anyone, I'm merely interested in discussing people's issues with the idea of Christianity. Now, most likely I'm going to be very much flooded with theories and objections, so I'm asking that one question/ idea/comment be added at a time if anyone decides to reply to me. I'm not a scholar or a genius or any of that, I'd just like to try and be of some use to anyone interested.

Anyhow, thanks for taking the time to read through this. If you're interested, drop a reply.

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Posted

When people write pieces of fiction blatantly mocking God, or aspects of God's persona according to Christianity, how much do you think that will affect their chances of going to Hell?

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Posted

If you're talking about your published story "Godfrey," Dave, I'm pretty sure you are damned forever. :muahaha:

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Posted (edited)

Which particular "idea of Christianity" did you have in mind?

#533

Edited by maddog

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Posted

I'd be interested in discussing religious language & whether it can become idolatrous, or reinforce the power & privilege of one group over another, or disguise power relations, or mislead people into thinking something is sacred when it is not.

I am more interested in the relation between theology and contemporary culture, why today religious language is considered irrelevant for many reasons. If in the past, religious language made sense as symbolic or sacramental, but since today is a different time, then perhaps understanding religious language as metaphor makes more sense. Although we associate reality and truth with literal language, and we are suspicious of metaphorical language, then is it necessarily untrue, or does it sacrifice the extra-linguistic reality.

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Posted

Alexander, DaveT and I are just kidding around, he wrote a rather blasphemous (and funny) short story called Godfrey. Now feel free to ask any question or start a discussion. :)

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Posted

Seriously, Alexander, this works better if you ask a question or conduct an argument, rather than ask us to do so. Say something you believe, or ask something you want to know, and we'll try our best to argue against you until you're a gibbering wreck, questioning even your own existence. :muahaha:

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Posted

Yes. Like my 4 Questions Thread. You start the conversation and they will continue it for you. :davidm: ! I thought you weren't going to post in Explore anymore? I see you just can't stay away.

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Posted

DaveT, as to the idea of mocking God/ going to Hell...

I really doubt that this would have any effect on your final judgement as it were. If you've chosen to live a lifestyle where you're comfortable with mocking God, I'd say that would serve as a reasonable litmus for your condition already.

And the spider... I very much enjoyed that :D

Hopefully that was a rhetorical question.

So, as to my own ideas/ questions. Basically, put, i am a Christian, and A friend of mine suggested that I give this site a try.

@DavidM, I'm not sure if AlviraofDeath showed you, but I wrote a critique on your response of her post about Pascal's Wager. I hope that cleared some things up for you. I don't actually have any questions; like i said vis a vis the intro, I was merely hoping to be of use to anyone with a serious desire to either learn about Christianity, or to help build true understanding of it so that people who are thinking about reasons as to it being invalid might reconsider. So... yeah. @The Heretic, that sounds like a great topic! Please, continue with that thought, I admit I'm slightly confused as to what you're asking. Also, Ms. "Fitzgerald", I'm not at all sure if you're talking to me, but if so, I've never been on TGL before..

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Posted (edited)

Which particular "idea of Christianity" did you have in mind?

#533

didn't see the reply to this one.

#535

Edited by maddog

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Posted

Also, Ms. "Fitzgerald", I'm not at all sure if you're talking to me, but if so, I've never been on TGL before..

Heh..... Yes I was talking to you. Just giving you advice! Not trying to freak out at you are anything. :D Glad to see you joined! :cheer3:

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Posted

@Maddog,

The Existence of God perhaps? How to discern whether or not religions are true? Why Christianity? Like I said, This isn't supposed to really be powered by me as much as it is all you.

@Alvira. Okay! Haha, I didn't think so. It was just odd 'cause you said,

" I thought you weren't going to post in Explore anymore? I see you just can't stay away. " Anyhoof, is there anything you wish to discuss? Certainly you can't be out of questions yet?

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Posted

@Alvira. Okay! Haha, I didn't think so. It was just odd 'cause you said,

" I thought you weren't going to post in Explore anymore? I see you just can't stay away. " Anyhoof, is there anything you wish to discuss? Certainly you can't be out of questions yet?

OH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I see :davidm: = davidm.... We have emoticons for some of the people on here. Mine is :alvira:

That was meant for davidm. No wonder you were confused. :shakehead:

:flypig:

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Posted

Ohhhh. Ok :p haha.

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Posted (edited)

@Maddog,

The Existence of God perhaps?

Which God did you have in mind?

How to discern whether or not religions are true?
That depends on the religion, and the claims made for it by its believers. You are the one who is a Christian and proposes to discuss Christianity. There are many varieties; which specific type do you want to talk about?

Why Christianity? Like I said, This isn't supposed to really be powered by me as much as it is all you.
You proposed a discussion of Christianity. Which one would you like to talk about?

#537

Edited by maddog

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Posted

I believe the only God is the God of the Bible, the Triune God Almighty, Creator of all, etc. there are many branches of Christianity that focus on different aspects of Jesus' teaching, but only one Type or variety. As for which discussion, let's talk about validity of the Bible. Not as in Who can prove the other wrong, but what are the facts, and what do they mean.

So, if you would be so kind, allow me to start off with evidence for the validity of the Bible.

Something that I believe to be very important is the manuscript evidence- that is, the number of manuscripts that the Bible has been based on. Many secular works, such as the works of Plato, are considered to be authentic ant true without question. The Bible however is always being put down as not having enough documented evidence to back it up. this is not true- here are some quick comparisons between the number of manuscripts of a given work, the gap of time between the publishing of the original and the first copy, and how the Bible stands up.

Secular Manuscripts: Herodotus (History) 480 - 425 BC 900 AD 1,300 years Thucydides (History) 460 - 400 BC 900 AD 1,300 years Aristotle (Philosopher) 384 - 322 BC 1,100 AD 1,400 years Caesar (History) 100 - 44 BC 900 AD 1,000 years Pliny (History) 61 - 113 AD 850 AD 750 years Suetonius (Roman History) 70 - 140 AD 950 AD 800 years Tacitus (Greek History) 100 AD 1,100 AD 1,000 years Biblical Manuscripts: (note: these are individual manuscripts) Magdalene Ms (Matthew 26) 1st century 50-60 AD co-existant (?) John Rylands (John) 90 AD 130 AD 40 years Bodmer Papyrus II (John) 90 AD 150-200 AD 60-110 years Chester Beatty Papyri (N.T.) 1st century 200 AD 150 years Diatessaron by Tatian (Gospels) 1st century 200 AD 150 years Codex Vaticanus (Bible) 1st century 325-350 AD 275-300 years Codex Sinaiticus (Bible) 1st century 350 AD 300 years Codex Alexandrinus (Bible) 1st century 400 AD 350 years

(Total New Testament manuscripts = 5,300 Greek MSS, 10,000 Latin Vulgates, 9,300 others = 24,000 copies)

(Total MSS compiled prior to 600 AD = 230)\

As you can see, the number of manuscripts for the Bible is overwhelming in comparison to popularly accepted secular works. not only that, but the gap in time from the original to the first copy is far shorter. the longest time for the Bible is 350 years, whereas the shortest time for a listed secular work is 750! So clearly, The Bible was re written way sooner that any of the secular works, and this is only one list! Using Plato again, we have only 7 copies of his work, with a 1200 year gap between the autogrypha (the original work) and the first manuscript. So when people say, "How do we know that translation and completion of the Bible is correct? There's a pretty large time gap between the first copy and the first manuscript!" We need only look at secular works to see that we have a way better chance of having a complete, accurate copy of the Bible than we do a secular work.

This is only one source we can use to prove the Bible. Let's look at external sources which reference the Bible and what it says.

Take for example Tacitus, a non Christian who chronicles the death of Jesus Christ(yes it's from Wikipedia, I'll supply more information afterwards)

The Roman historian Tacitus referred to Christ and the early Christians in Rome in his Annals (written ca. 116 AD), book 15, chapter 44.

This passage contains an early non-Christian corroboration of the origin of Christianity, the execution of Christ described in the Canonical gospels, and the presence and persecution of Christians in 1st-century Rome.[1][2] In addition, it establishes these facts:[3][4]

  • There was a sizable presence of Christians in Rome around 60 AD.
  • It was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome.
  • Even pagans[who?] made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Judea.

Scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic and of historical value as an independent Roman source.[5][6][7]

So now we have someone outside Christianity validating the second most important event in the whole Bible; the death of Jesus Christ.

\Robert E. Van Voorst states that "of all Roman writers, Tacitus gives us the most precise information about Christ".[31] John Dominic Crossan considers the passage important in establishing that Jesus existed and was crucified, and states: "That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be, since both Josephus and Tacitus...agree with the Christian accounts on at least that basic fact."[39] Likewise, James D. G. Dunn considers the passage as useful in establishing facts about early Christians (e.g., there was a sizable number of Christians in Rome around AD 60).[3] Dunn states that Tacitus seems to be under the impression that Christians were some form of Judaism, although distinguished from them.[3] Raymond E. Brown and John P. Meier state that in addition to establishing that there was a large body of Christians in Rome, the passage provides two other important pieces of historical information, namely that by around AD 60 it was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome and that even pagans made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Judea.

Another external source is historian Suetonius. He doesn't make any huf=ge writings about Christians or Jesus, however, what he does write shows us this;

"Suetonius' mentions of Chrestus and Christiani, taken with that of Tacitus, is an important piece of evidence in scholarly discussions of the historicity of Jesus.[10]")

Now we have two external, non Christian scholars/ historians who have recorded the fact that Jesus died, along with an overwhelming evidence by means of manuscript data for the validity of the New testament. For the Old testament, her is a shorter piece of information.

"Jewish scholars performed "unbelievable" care in copying and preserving Scripture. The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 are dated from the third century B.C. to the first century A.D. These manuscripts predate by 1000 years the previous oldest manuscripts. They represent every Old Testament book except Esther (as well as non-biblical writings). There is word for word identity in more than 95% of the cases, and the 5% variation consists mostly of slips of the pen and spelling."

So we have a ton of evidence for the Bible's informational completeness and validity as far as simply what is recorded being accurate. This however does not in itself prove the Bible to be true, it instead lends a ton of weight to the claim of the Bible's validity. Let us Look at some more sources for the truth behind the Bible.

​Here is a link for the archaeological evidence behind the Bible; http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/archaeological-and-external-evidence

Fulfillment of Prophecy as evidence; http://www.faithfacts.org/search-for-truth/maps/fulfilled-prophecy-as-evidence

some evidence for the statistical power of the Bible;

  • Life after death in heaven or hell may be, in one sense, difficult to believe, but it is entirely internally consistent with the rest of the Bible. If there is a truly just God, justice is only certain if there is ultimate justice. The non-biblical view, in contrast, is inconsistent when it holds that we came from nowhere and go to nowhere, but life is filled with meaning in between. Thus only the biblical worldview is internally consistent.
  • The statement that "there are no moral absolutes" contains two mistakes:
    • The declaration itself is an absolute statement, it contradicts itself.
    • A person cannot live his life without moral absolutes. Examples: fairness vs. unfairness; kindness vs. hatred.

    [*]For another example, the doctrine of original sin is consistent with the need for a savior.

    [*]If there is an omnipotent God, the miracle of creation, as well as the other biblical miracles, is very plausible.

Now, that last was in all fairness more directed towards someone who is looking for supplementation of their already existent faith, but it still has some weight.

Because I hope to have convinced you of at least the accuracy of the Bible and it's reliability, here is a quick factoid on Prophecies being made and fulfilled within the Bible;

"Some 2000 biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled—with no prophetic failures. The probability of 16 predictions being fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 45Th power"

This is a whole lot of information, so please, read it carefully, and give me the questions that arise from reading this. Also, read up on the three basic law of Logic below so we can keep things from spiraling into absurdity.

The law of non contradiction. A statement can not contradict itself intellectually. (E.g, the statement, "Sound does not exist" is contradictory because the speaker must use sound to disprove it. E.g, "There are no absolutes." is contradictory because the speaker is making an absolute statement trying to declaim absolutes.)

The law of identity- A is not non-a. I am a man, not a lizard or a chair.

The law of excluded middle: Either something is A or it is B and so on. Either God exists or God does not exist, not both.

So, please do your utmost to write your questions comments and rebuttals in a logical format; I will help you correct anything not logical, and please do the same for me. However, don't try to say my argument is illogical because I am defending Christianity. That is not valid unless you back it up logically. I will also do my best to make sure my writing is logical. Now I know this last section was long and tedious and probably not very coherent because it is a bunch of sources, and not very much explanation. i will lean away from this from here on out. Anyhow, enjoy.

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Posted

@The Heretic, that sounds like a great topic! Please, continue with that thought, I admit I'm slightly confused as to what you're asking.

I'm interested in talking about the philosophy of religion. Regarding language, how to map it. Most of it is mainly about God-talk, cuz the theistic model has dominated philosophy. Some say religious language expresses a "vision of life" that we live by. Others say that religious utterances are disguised statements of moral policy or intentions to act in a certain way. Others say that religious language is a symbolic or expressive language that is intended for the expression of a life orientation. Some attempt to demythologize certain religious discourse, and others argue for a depth dimension to religious symbols and interpret the symbolic character of religious language as essential. You know, the focus of scholars or thinkers like Paul Tillich, Flew, Hare, Mitchell, Kasulis, Lame Deer, McFague, etc.

If you're here only to engage in apologetics and preach, then I'm not interested.

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Posted

Well, I doubt you have to tell people how to argue here, but thanks.

I might write more on this later, but one glaring fact is always omitted. Don't you think a "secular" historian would have written about the resurrection? A lot of people were crucified too, a listing of names means not much.

Of course there is validity in the Bible and some of the history, I doubt anybody would refute that.

It is the claims of miracles and prophecy that fall flat unless you reference the Bible to itself.

Um, so Plato's works are considered to be "true", what happens if they weren't? What happens if it was some other guy or a woman? Would it change the works and information? Would it with the Bible?

Just because somebody wrote something down and then copied it a bunch of times, doesn't mean it wasn't a story, or wasn't written by a lot of different people. The books in the bible were chosen from a lot of other manuscripts, why aren't those other manuscripts included if they came from the same place? Because it was chosen as most appropriate for consistency from many other stories? Why?

-Scott

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Posted

DaveT, as to the idea of mocking God/ going to Hell...

I really doubt that this would have any effect on your final judgement as it were. If you've chosen to live a lifestyle where you're comfortable with mocking God, I'd say that would serve as a reasonable litmus for your condition already.

And the spider... I very much enjoyed that :-D

Hopefully that was a rhetorical question.

It was semi-serious. I do not require a reply to the question as written verbatim, but it symbolises two important questions that any theologian would do well to answer; to wit, where is God in the general scheme of things today (getting involved, causing it, trying to fix it, or merely observing), and where is God when bad things (such as spiders jealously guarding my toilet paper when I need to use it) happen?

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Posted (edited)

@DavidM, I'm not sure if AlviraofDeath showed you, but I wrote a critique on your response of her post about Pascal's Wager. I hope that cleared some things up for you.

Yes, I did see it, thanks. And I responded to it. I said that your explication of the God of Pascal's Wager makes God sound like a stalker. We could compare his behvaior to that of a person in every day life. A man might say to a woman that he has stalked, for instance: "I have given you every chance to love me, and you failed to do so. Therefore, although I am stabbing you, it is really you yourself who are wielding the knife. :stab:

I trust you'll understand how deeply unattractive your God seems to those who don't share you religious convinctions.

Now, at the moment, I haven't time to respond to your longer post, but I will say this about logic: If you looked at the Pascal thread, you'll see that the following claims of God's properties were put to the test.

1. God is omniscient

2. God is omnipotent

3. God is morally perfect (omnibenevolent)

4. There is evil in the world

5. God punishes those who are evil with an enternity in hell.

These five propositions, taken together, instantiate one or more logical contradictions, and hence all of them together cannot be correct, if indeed any of them are correct. So the Christian God does not exist, ipso facto.

Edited by davidm

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Posted

I have some comments to make on your lengthy post, if I may humble myself to beg your permission to make them.

I'll assume I have your permission.

With regards to Tacitus and Suetonius, I remain unconvinced that their writings are proof of the existence of Jesus as the son of God or part of the Holy Trinity. Whether or not their writings are proof that Jesus existed as a man is irrelevant, for it is the God that is the subject of theological debate, not the man.

One can tell by the dates of Tacitus's and Seutonius's writings that they were not writing when Jesus was alive, nor indeed for some time after he had died. They both, therefore, must have used sources (verbal or written) which need to be verified (or falsified) before one can determine how valid the writings related to Jesus were in the works of these Latin historians.

Since you have decided to use Wikipedia (although I do hope that you cross-checked the information there with more reliable sources), I shall endeavour to use that same website from which to take a counterpoint. As Wikipedia points out, what the passage about Jesus in Tacitus proves is debatable, for the origin of Tacitus's information is unknown; whence his primary source? If it was word of mouth of the Christians, or a Christian source, one would be justified in claiming bias and falsehood in order to spread a myth and convince the wider populace that what the Christians believed was true. If it was an official or scholarly source, the author of which had no need to utilise any such bias or falsehood, why was Pontius Pilate incorrectly labelled as a procurator, rather than the prefect that he was?

Here I include the passage from Tacitus that gives mention of Jesus:

Nero fastened the guilt of starting the blaze and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians [Chrestians] by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

If one can provide an argument or evidence that Tacitus's source/s were reliable, it still doesn't really prove anything, because the passage in Tacitus only states that a man named Christ existed, but it gives us absolutely nothing to suggest that this Christ was a divine power. At best, one can conclude that a man named Christ existed, he had followers that had a wont to engage in riotous behaviour, and he was executed.

As for Seutonius, all he said was this:

As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.

which is even more unreliable than what we have from Tacitus as a piece of evidence for the existence of Jesus the God, partially for the last reason given regarding the passage in Tacitus, and partly because the passage is so vague that it doesn't even give any indication as to whom this "Chrestus" was.

As Scotty, pointed out, whether Plato actually wrote the works of Plato, or whether certain events in them actually happened matters not, as it is the messages and philosophical arguments given that are of importance. A similar example would be the famous fables of Aesop. What should concern us is not whether a fox spent a whole afternoon trying to get grapes before finally realising, "Hang on, I'm a fox; I don't even eat grapes!" but that there was a moral message in the story along the lines of, "If you happen to be a fox, remember you're a carnivore before wasting a whole afternoon trying to eat fruit." The same can be said of Plato. Whether or not Socrates and Euthyphro, for example, had their debate is of no significant consequence: that the work provided us with a valid philosophical and theological dilemma (and an answer to the question of God's supposed benevolence vis-a-vis existing evil) is.

The Bible, however, is different, in that it is not merely the moral messages that the Christian must hope are true and/or valid, but also the events described. While it doesn't really matter whether or not Socrates did have a debate with Euthyphro, it matters a lot to the Christian whether or not Christ was resurrected, and a lot of events in the Bible matter to everybody, because if they didn't happen then it is merely a book of myths and legends, mingled with history (the accuracy of which is disputable, though I hasten to add that I am quite certain that there are events described in the Bible that did happen), and including what the writers considered to be moral messages on which to build a society, but it is not proof of God. If, however, significant events in the Bible were true, I'm going to Hell.

In closing, I will make a suggestion. Perhaps you would like to start a new thread in which to give us some lessons in logic. We would do well to read them, they will facilitate our ability to argue effectively with you in this thread, and it will help in keeping your own posts in this thread concise (which will save you time), since you won't have to repeatedly explain the rules of logic to us here when we forget or are unaware of them.

Yes, I did see it, thanks. And I responded to it. I said that your explication of the God of Pascal's Wager makes God sound like a stalker. We could compare his behvaior to that of a person in every day life. A man might say to a woman that he has stalked, for instance: "I have given you every chance to love me, and you failed to do so. Therefore, although I am stabbing you, it is really you yourself who are wielding the knife. :stab:

You just love that smiley, don't you? :p

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Posted

Excuse me, there is something I forgot to say.

Because I hope to have convinced you of at least the accuracy of the Bible and it's reliability, here is a quick factoid on Prophecies being made and fulfilled within the Bible;

"Some 2000 biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled—with no prophetic failures. The probability of 16 predictions being fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 45Th power"

That would certainly make for a rather interesting discussion/debate. Would it be at all possible for you to list at least 16 of these predictions and when and where they came true?

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Posted (edited)

.

You just love that smiley, don't you? :p

:yes:

Edited by davidm

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Posted

Gah, I accidentally deleted a whole post. Try again.

You claim there are 2,000 fulfilled prophecies. Name them, please. And what is the source of that quote?

Bear in mind that for a prophecy to be considered "successful" by reasonable people, it needs to have a certain degree of specificity. So-called "prophecies" that are so vague or general as to yield virtually any conclusion are useless. If I myself "prophesied" that tomorrow there will be weather, and tomorrow there is indeed weather, I'm afraid I have not made a very impressive "prophecy."

In that connection, we should also note that Jesus specifically is qutoed in the NT as saying that he would return within the lifetime of those listening to him speak. He did not, and so demonstrably spoke a falsehood.

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