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October 26, 2007

Comments

Wholeheartedly agree.

"A) know precisely what we believe,"

So it can still be dismissed by Emergents as self-deluded.

" B) be able to explain clearly what we believe,"

So it can be obfuscated and deliberately missed by emergents.

" and C) be able to meaningfully translate what we believe into the language of people who have very different worldviews from our own."

That's already what McLaren does and talking that guy's language only turns the hard truth of the Gospel into passive aggressive mush. THis is my problem with relativism is that it ruins the language we need to deliver the logos. THe language is deliberately twisted to break the bridge to a meaningful conversation. Ironically, the proponents of "the conversation" are least interested in the actual ingredients of conversation.

"If we cannot do this, our conversations with people who disagree with us will end up being as fruitless as this one."

Our conversations will be just as fruitless as Freil's if we clearly state what we believe and the Bible states if the audience has deliberately broken the language bridge to stay on social Gospel island.

I don't know what format they use for audio, but it sounds like the chipmunks. I can't understand them at all.

Nevermind. I think it was the google reader that was playing it.

It works fine when I click on the link here on the typepad.com site.

It's nice to know there are Christians who understand the Bible metaphorically. I don't see how anyone can look at the world around them and think that heaven and hell are real places... unless they were indoctrinated with the idea.

"I don't see how anyone can look at the world around them and think that heaven and hell are real places..."

Who indoctrinated you with the idea that the world around us is good evidence that heaven and hell aren't real places? How exactly does that work?

I found that discussion rather reminiscient of many discussions I've had with certain Calvanists who don't believe in free will.

O.o

Good times.

Steve your diatribe is getting old. I keep reading your comments and you never follow up your remarks and your arguments on this board are about as weak as they get.

Let me explain something to you. You can believe in your agnosticsm, you can believe in your Taoism but one day you are going to stand be for a holy and perfect God. It is like you are standing on the freeway pretending Mack trucks don't exist and you are going to get plowed over. You know why you don't believe in Him? It always goes back to the same thing for everyone. John 3:19-20

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

There is evidence all around you about God's existence. But you don't want to let go of your SIN. I am glad there are people like John Willis on this board who are willing to answer your questions but you don't listen you just want to argue your next point instead of addressing what people have told you. You are not seeking the truth. This is evident by the very few comments I have seen on your blog about STR and what you are trying to do.

I hope you repent one day and turn from your ways because Christ has His arms open waiting for you. Otherwise you will spend an eternity in hell whether you believe it or not.

I wonder what Pagitt would think if he ever bothered to read John 14:3 where Jesus said "And I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, ye may be also."

It would seem that Jesus disagrees with Pagitt about heaven being a place. Now, as a Christian, who should I listen to Pagitt or Jesus? So much for another no-brainer.

I was indoctrinated with the Mormon idea of three kingdoms of heaven, and a "hell" called outer darkness... I've researched, prayed, considered the possibilities, searched my soul and come to the conclusion that even if hell is a real place I'd rather go there than heaven with the kind of people who are going there. The idea of hell makes a lot more sense when you consider the possibility that it's a man made concept designed to control people. God loves us but he sends nearly everyone to hell? How can you believe such nonsense? A truly loving, all powerful, holy and perfect God would just forgive us himself without the need of a human sacrifice.

I'm going to keep posting here, because I want people to do what I did and find out for themselves what they believe in. I believe that you cannot truly "love your neighbor" and simultaneously condemn them to hell, it's a concept that is damaging to humanity.

Show me the "Mack Trucks" Wes, I've been looking for them, and I still am, I'd love to find them, but I'm pretty sure they're just as fictional as you think other religions are.

"I was indoctrinated with the Mormon idea of three kingdoms of heaven, and a "hell" called outer darkness... I've researched, prayed, considered the possibilities, searched my soul and come to the conclusion that even if hell is a real place I'd rather go there than heaven with the kind of people who are going there."

This is exactly what Christians have been pointing out all along. You make a choice to go there and God only reluctantly grants you your wish.

"The idea of hell makes a lot more sense when you consider the possibility that it's a man made concept designed to control people."

And of course heaven makes perfect sense if you are going to give up all control of the very same people by telling them that "These things are written that you may KNOW, you have eternal life." When you accept a guarantee that you have no chance of going to hell, what control does the threat of heaven have on you? You're a smart guy, Steve, figure it out.

Correction: "the threat of heaven" should read "the threat of hell"

I've not heard of this Pagitt guy before.

It was stunning to me to hear someone who is I assume a Christian leader of some sort, who does not believe in what Jesus taught about hell. What kind of gospel is he then preaching?

Wes nailed it:
"You know why you don't believe in Him? It always goes back to the same thing for everyone. John 3:19-20"

Those are my FAVORITE all-time verses. The church made a big mistake stopping at John 3:16, a few verses more and we'd have captured the whole picture.

I'm not a Calvinist, and these verses were really hard for me to swallow at first, but the more I argued with agnostics and atheists and even looked into my own heart and saw the seat of my own rebellion against God, those verses have proven to be absolute fact.

"even if hell is a real place I'd rather go there than heaven with the kind of people who are going there."

Steve, I'm sorry but this is just silly. If you come to this conclusion then I have to think that you don't have any idea what hell really is. It makes for great Billy Joel lyrics, "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints." or AC/DC "All my friends are gonna be there too." but it doesn't recognize the Bible's own view on the matter. I have to question a guy who wants to spend eternity with child molesters and Hitler.

"God loves us but he sends nearly everyone to hell? How can you believe such nonsense?"

Let's pretend that we are the judge of a just court. Our son, Adolf Hitler comes to the stand for judgment. We love him (for even the parents of murderers love their children) but we punish him for murder. Why? Is punishment a sign of a lack of love? No, in fact, if we do not give justive we have no love at all.

When one of my children punches a sibling in the face I'm not being loving by refusing to punish the behavior. It is, in fact, the most loving thing I can do to punish the bad kid.

"A truly loving, all powerful, holy and perfect God would just forgive us himself without the need of a human sacrifice."

Again, you need more Bible. God's justice flows from his character. A house divided against itself can't stand (this is even the economy of demons and devils). The wrong things we do, Steve, can't just go away. If you picture the supernatural universe as similar to the Materialist universe know that cause and effect are not suspended without unraveling the very laws of reality. An action MUST cause a reaction. Only the author of reality can choose how to deal with those effects and He chose a personal, intimate, loving way to deal with the effects of our sin.

Steve, out of curiousity, sin you do not allow God to pay for your sins, what do you do with them? I mean the time 10 years ago that you did something cruel, entertained a horrible thought in the cradle of your soul...where did that stuff go? Because I think it's still there, undelt with, festering, testifying against your person.

Mo,
it seems to me that for Pagitt, many things not intended as metaphors are in fact ones. Never mind the fact that there is no evidence for that position and plenty to refute it. From the broadcast, I can't seem to reach any other conclusion than that Pagitt believes what he wants to believe and not what has been revealed. This is a prime example of picking a choosing the most palatable bits while scooping the vegetable parts of the plate into the dustbin. Trouble is that we need the veggies for our health.

Steve,

Exactly you rather reject a God who created you and loved you so much that He was willing to lay his life down for you (1 John 3:16). If you really think about that how awesome of a thing for Him to do for us who hated Him.

Your wish is exactly what you will get. I am sorry to hear this because your condemnation will be on your own head.

But thank heavens there is still hope for you, just like you I was a God hater. And just like the Laodicean church; Even though they were in complete apostasy Jesus said to them in Revelation 3:19 be zelous and repent. There is hope for your salvation.

I have a question for you and I know this is completely off topic but If a man predicted he was going to die and made the claim that he would raise himself from the dead and he did it, would that be enough proof for you to believe he was God? If not what proof do you need that there is a God.


Hey Aquilus,

For those of us Calvinists who actually appreciate and do not mind working hand in hand with Armenians, would you mind stepping down the hostility? According to John and Act/Luke, unity is a key feature even when there are disputes bro. For those of us who care more about unity despite smaller disputes, I really think these kind of pot-shots are silly. There is far too much work to be done without ripping into each other.

Brad

>> There is far too much work to be done without ripping into each other.

I'm not an Armenian.

Anyway, If you've never had to argue free will to those kinds of Calvanists, you don't know the meaning of "too much work". :P

At any rate, I love those Calvanists, and brothers of other denominations, and we are fine, at least from my point of view, after all the arguments.

We slam Joel Osteen together. We talk about illegal immigration and politics. Let me tell you, I haven't found a group of believers who love talking about things in general more than these Calvanists, and I love it. I love them.

It's all good. If only because god forced me to think of it that way. (LOL *poke*)

"I was indoctrinated with the Mormon idea of three kingdoms of heaven, and a "hell" called outer darkness... "

One of the things that I am most grateful for is that becoming a Christian had nothing to do with indoctrination, just coming to grips with the truth of my condition and God's provision for it. It took an instant of realization, not weeks, months or years of indoctrination.

Aquilus,

I apologize for misunderstanding you. It is always so hard to recognize humor in a blog format lol. I just value unity and respect among believers so much even we disagree heartily on minor points. And especially after I see so much of the reverse I always have itchy trigger fingers unfortunately. You have my sincere apology for misunderstanding. Also, if you would like to dialogue sometime on issues like these or whatever, I would enjoy it. An email account you can reach me at is brad_hickey@yahoo.com. You sound like a distinctly fun fellow to talk with lol.

Brad

>>That's already what McLaren does and talking that guy's language only turns the hard truth of the Gospel into passive aggressive mush.

That's exactly my point. They're misusing language by playing games instead of using it precisely to be clear. Either Pagitt was playing games, pretending not to understand Friel's question, or he really couldn't understand him. Either way, this is a big problem. He has trapped himself in his emergent world where he can only talk to his own kind.

>>Our conversations will be just as fruitless as Freil's

I absolutely agree. Pagitt, in this interview, is an example for us of what NOT to do (not Friel). The emergents are cutting themselves off from everyone else by playing with language to the point where they can't communicate in a real way with others. We can't ever let that happen to us when we're speaking to the world--and it won't happen if we know what we're talking about, speak plainly, and make an effort to understand what others are saying to us.

"It's nice to know there are Christians who understand the Bible metaphorically. I don't see how anyone can look at the world around them and think that heaven and hell are real places... unless they were indoctrinated with the idea."

If I am indoctrinated to practice mathematics well, it does not follow that mathematics is illusory.

I don't see how anyone can look into their own souls and not see a bit of eternity residing right there. I don't know about you, but temporality just doesn't seem quite right. I reflect on how "time flies" and how that seems odd to me. Others seem to sense the same. And yet, to think of time as queer or odd is like a fish longing for dryness.

I don't hate God, how can I hate a guy I don't even know? And how do you know Hitler is in hell? He was a Christian, in fact I'm pretty sure he thought he was doing the will of God, why wouldn't Jesus take away his sins too? It's funny that you compare religion with math, math gives you equations and answers, religion just gives you answers you're supposed to take on faith because the equations don't add up. You turn a blind eye or makes excuses for what science has discovered; the fossil record, evolution, the unrelenting laws of physics. But what's worse is that you ignore the ethical reality of what you believe, you think that you are evil, that you are sinful, and that it's okay to throw that burden on someone else's imaginary shoulders instead of confronting it yourself, instead of understanding who and what you are. You wish you were somewhere else, you wish you were something else, you're not even grateful for the miracle that you are alive. You throw away the gift of free choice in exchange for someone else doing your thinking for you and telling you what to do. Mankind is all there is, we are God and the devil rolled into one, the stories you find in the Bible were written by good and evil men, not God. If you chose to live a good Christian life it's not because God changed your heart, you changed your own heart, why let God take the credit? Because he made us? Do you demand that your Children love, serve and worship you and send them away to be tortured if they don't?

Here's an idea, imagine you are God, what would you do? Talk to people when they pray? Really? If so, you're already doing a better job than he is. How about telling people the truth instead of what they want to hear? Really? You'd do that too? God's a real amateur compared to you isn't he?

I'm being rebellious? I hate God? If the Christian God is even real, then yes, I am rebelling against him, I do hate him. Just because someone is powerful, claims to love you and offers you nice things doesn't mean you should trust him. "Love me or go to hell"? God has issues, and I'd rather not be in that sort of abusive relationship.

Luis,

I am sure Mr. Pagitt believes what he's saying. It just makes me question how much time he spends actually reading the Scriptures, because otherwise he wouldn't be saying such things. And worse yet, teaching it to others.

"Here's an idea, imagine you are God, what would you do? Talk to people when they pray? Really? If so, you're already doing a better job than he is. How about telling people the truth instead of what they want to hear? Really? You'd do that too? God's a real amateur compared to you isn't he?"


Would you tell these same things to president Bush?

Don't even get me started on Bush, lol.

Wow, what a rant, Steve. Where to even begin?

Hitler claimed to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Hitler believed Jesus Christ was the only atoning sacrifice for his sins, the only way to heaven? Wow, where did you come upon this news? I have not heard it.

***

Are you saying that the things Hitler did were ok and that he shouldn't have punishment for them? Or are you saying he lived, died, and that's it - no type of judgment exists after death?

***

"You turn a blind eye or makes excuses for what science has discovered; the fossil record, evolution, the unrelenting laws of physics"

On what are you basing this accusation?

***

I was going to go on, but you have so many thoughts going on that I think this is enough for now.

Ah, so apparently Steve is one of those 'Bush is the source of every evil in the world' right?

But wait, Bush cannot be, because there is no real 'good' or 'evil' to begin with, right?

Steve, it seems clear that you have a shallow understanding of Christian theology. Your Mormon upbringing has undoubtedly complicated the matter.

> "Love me or go to hell"? God has
> issues, and I'd rather not be in
> that sort of abusive relationship.

You're already going to Hell, as we all are, if not saved by His Grace. It has nothing to do with whether you love God (you can't anyway, it's impossible without His enabling Grace). If there is an abusive relationship, it's because WE are abusing HIM; he puts up with us despite the fact that we hate Him. That he saves any of us at all has everything to do with His love for us.

There is nothing at all we can do to gain His favor. Not even "love" Him or "believe" in Him, because those things are impossible for us to do of ourselves.

If any of us have favor in God's eyes, and are to be saved, it is by His Sovereign choosing to extend His Grace on those whom He will.

>> Just because someone is powerful, claims to love you and offers you nice things doesn't mean you should trust him. "Love me or go to hell"? God has issues, and I'd rather not be in that sort of abusive relationship.

I would much rather cowtow to an evil deity and go to heaven, than hold to my machismo - even if I hated him. Who is it that you think you're dealing with?

People don't think!

As it is, however, god is not only good in *your* sense, but also single-mindedly committed to righteousness.

Oh, here we go: He is so much more good than you, that he refuses to allow you to get away with evil.

You need a savior, bad, because you're in danger of receiving all that retribution, yourself.

"Don't even get me started on Bush, lol."

That doesn't actually answer my badly veiled question of "Are we, as human beings, qualified for the office of God and does evidence, such as that presented by the current president, support your consideration that:

" God's a real amateur compared to you isn't he?"

You should keep in mind that folks that call themselves Christians in the classical sense, have had to take an honest look at their strengths and weaknesses and know better than to believe that their good side of human nature, when given free reign, is more likely to prevail. We've seen the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and we are following the evidence where it leads. We've seen what happens when people set themselves up as gods...we have had much spilling of innocent blood from such.

"I would much rather cowtow to an evil deity and go to heaven, than hold to my machismo - even if I hated him. Who is it that you think you're dealing with?"

Wow, I wasn't expecting anyone to answer like this, but there it is. A perfect example of motivation by fear, not love or hope.

"there is no real 'good' or 'evil' to begin with, right?"

You should know by now that I believe in good and evil, please pay attention and stop reinterpreting what I say, it's a waste of time.

"Are we, as human beings, qualified for the office of God"

Depends on the person, like I said, we are God and the devil rolled into one, people are just as capable of great good as they are of great evil. The God that you believe in doesn't seem to be capable of much at all. Why does he hide himself from us? Why doesn't he talk to us? Why doesn't he speak clearly when he supposedly does speak? No one has seen him or heard him speak because he is not real. The books people claim he wrote contradict themselves and reality because they were written thousands of years ago. If you really honestly think about all the "logical" justifications you make to hang on to your religion you'll see that they make no sense, and what is really keeping you from leaving is fear and brainwashing.

Steve said
"The God that you believe in doesn't seem to be capable of much at all. Why does he hide himself from us? Why doesn't he talk to us? Why doesn't he speak clearly when he supposedly does speak? No one has seen him or heard him speak because he is not real. The books people claim he wrote contradict themselves and reality because they were written thousands of years ago. If you really honestly think about all the "logical" justifications you make to hang on to your religion you'll see that they make no sense, and what is really keeping you from leaving is fear and brainwashing."

Steve, you are a perfect example of motivation by fear, not love or hope. You appear to fear a God who is not capable of much. You do not love or hope in a God who is hidden. You put out messages of fear that God doesn't speak clearly. Who is doing the brainwashing here? Who is afraid of God, me or you? Who has no hope in God, me or you? Who loves God, me or you?

The difference between you and I is that I refuse to create a God in my own image, whom I prefer. I'd love to fix God and make him up so I can watch porn, have affairs and dissolve hell with the stroke of a pen. I also wish I could go to Taco Bell and get free food. But that's not reality.

Let's get beyond your's and my wishes.

"Depends on the person, like I said, we are God and the devil rolled into one, "

We are God? Huh? You sound like someone who has not yet left the LDS. It seems to me that your embrace of Taoism has caused no major change in your life at all.
As for me being God...boy would this universe ever be in trouble if that were the case. You wouldn't like the vengeful and hateful God that I would make. I would likely make the great flood look like a drizzle...were I God. Come to think of it, I can't think of a single person I have ever met that would not be the same. Absolute power, corrupts absolutely and none of us is qualified to wield that kind of power. It is really sad that you have not yet come to this realization.

"people are just as capable of great good as they are of great evil. "

Human nature tips the balance in the favor of evil. Without a changed nature, man is a slave to doing evil. Powerful men in the past are examples of this. Heck, you have to do is look at the leader of North Korea Kim Jong-Il and how he has abused power. How about Pol Pot or Stalin..

1) Omar al-Bashir, Sudan. Age 62. In power since 1989. Last year’s rank: 1

Since February 2003, Bashir’s campaign of ethnic and religious persecution has killed at least 180,000 civilians in Darfur in western Sudan and driven 2 million people from their homes. The good news is that Bashir’s army and the Janjaweed militia that he supports have all but stopped burning down villages in Darfur. The bad news is why they’ve stopped: There are few villages left to burn. The attacks now are aimed at refugee camps. While the media have called these actions “a humanitarian tragedy,” Bashir himself has escaped major condemnation. In 2005, Bashir signed a peace agreement with the largest rebel group in non-Islamic southern Sudan and allowed its leader, John Garang, to become the nation’s vice president. But Garang died in July in a helicopter crash, and Bashir’s troops still occupy the south.

Kim Jong-il, North Korea. Age 63. In power since 1994. Last year’s rank: 2

While the outside world focuses on Kim Jong-il’s nuclear weapons program, domestically he runs the world’s most tightly controlled society. North Korea continues to rank last in the index of press freedom compiled by Reporters Without Borders, and for the 34th straight year it earned the worst possible score on political rights and civil liberties from Freedom House. An estimated 250,000 people are confined in “reeducation camps.” Malnourishment is widespread: According to the United Nations World Food Program, the average 7-year-old boy in North Korea is almost 8 inches shorter than a South Korean boy the same age and more than 20 pounds lighter.

Than Shwe, Burma (Myanmar). Age 72. In power since 1992. Last year’s rank: 3

In November 2005, without warning, Than Shwe moved his entire government from Rangoon (Yangon), the capital for the last 120 years, to Pyinmana, a remote area 245 miles away. Civil servants were given two days’ notice and are forbidden from resigning. Burma leads the world in the use of children as soldiers, and the regime is notorious for using forced labor on construction projects and as porters for the army in war zones. The long-standing house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize and Than Shwe’s most feared opponent, recently was extended for six months. Just to drive near her heavily guarded home is to risk arrest.

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe. Age 81. In power since 1980. Last year’s rank: 9

Life in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to worse: It has the world’s highest inflation rate, 80% unemployment and an HIV/AIDS rate of more than 20%. Life expectancy has declined since 1988 from 62 to 38 years. Farming has collapsed since 2000, when Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms, giving most of them to political allies with no background in agriculture. In 2005, Mugabe launched Operation Murambatsvina (Clean the Filth), the forcible eviction of some 700,000 people from their homes or businesses—“to restore order and sanity,” says the government. But locals say the reason was to forestall demonstrations as the economy deteriorates.

These are the accomplishments of modern day men-gods. Why on earth or off of it, should I think that man is cut out to be god?

"The God that you believe in doesn't seem to be capable of much at all."

Everything that exists around you is "not much at all?" What on earth are you talking about? Something that science can't even explain, the big bang, is nothing much at all? Where do you get such incredible ideas from?

" Why does he hide himself from us?"

I think it is the other way around. I think it is you who is hiding from Him. From your place of concealment, you can hardly be expected to see Him.

"Why doesn't he talk to us?"

Speaks to me, but then, I am on speaking terms with Him. His words were recorded and you have but to open the book and read them.

" Why doesn't he speak clearly when he supposedly does speak?"

When the filter of your heart and mind is clogged with sin how can they hear his words with clarity?

"No one has seen him or heard him speak because he is not real."

How do you know this? Where you there 2000 years ago?

"The books people claim he wrote contradict themselves and reality because they were written thousands of years ago."

I have seen no claims of contradictions that stand up to close scrutiny.

"If you really honestly think about all the "logical" justifications you make to hang on to your religion you'll see that they make no sense, and what is really keeping you from leaving is fear and brainwashing."

I think you mistake your religious experience for mine. As promised in the bible, perfect love casts out fear and brainwashing doesn't happen in a moment. I became a Christian in a moment. So, if you claim my Christianity is the result of brainwashing, you have to show me how it is accomplished in a moment. Care to try? I doubt you will or can.

"I would much rather kowtow to an evil deity and go to heaven, than hold to my machismo - even if I hated him. Who is it that you think you're dealing with?"

Kowtowing to an evil deity would presumably involve doing evil. Why would you trust an evil deity to keep his side of the bargain?

And what would an evil deity's heaven be like anyway? Besides, our friend Doug is clearly chaffing under the yoke of goodness; probably best not to give him ideas :).

Steve -

"The books people claim he wrote contradict themselves and reality because they were written thousands of years ago."

Your entire post was made up of assumptions. Here's one of them. What specific contradictions do you mean?

***

The first part of your statement was about how God does not seem to be capable of much, is hiding, doesn't speak, etc.

Again, all of these are assumptions that you have made, with nothing specific to back it up.

This entire web site is available to you. In it you will find tons of information on how the Bible came to us, who Christ claimed to be, what the Bible teaches on various subjects, etc. There is material about science, current events and life in general, all relating to what the Christian worldview is all about.

Can you honestly say that you've taken one topic that you have doubts about or don't believe, looked through the information presented here, and then come away concluding that it is mistaken? If so, then fine.

But it seems to me you keep making these sweeping accusations about how God is not real, but aren't willing to look at the information here that says otherwise.

***

Can you at least consider doing so? What people here have told you is because they care about you. Even though you do not believe it, there is a real heaven and a real hell. If there is the *slightest* possiblity that this may be true, isn't it worth an in depth look?

"We are God? Huh? You sound like someone who has not yet left the LDS."

The LDS idea of becoming a God is just as absurd as your idea of heaven and hell. What I mean by we are God and the devil is that every good thing and every evil thing mankind does is our own doing, not the influence of God or the devil. We are responsible for our own actions.

"How do you know this? Where you there 2000 years ago?"

I don't know with certainty, but it's very improbable.

"I have seen no claims of contradictions that stand up to close scrutiny."

I have. If there are no contradictions why can't people agree on what it says? Why are there so many denominations? More importantly, how can you feel the slightest shed of love for God when you read about the slavery, rape, murder and genocide that God commanded in the Old Testament?

"I became a Christian in a moment."

You were converted in a moment? Had you never heard of Christianity before then? How old were you? Were you at a low point in your life? I'd love to hear that story in full.

>> Kowtowing to an evil deity would presumably involve doing evil. Why would you trust an evil deity to keep his side of the bargain?

Thanks for the spelling, dood. :)

I was trying to show how his machismo was foolish, whether god is good or evil. I guess people don't understand the biblical concept of hell (not that certain particulars aren't debated in-house; but most believe it to be a really bad place)

And if, for the sake of argument, I found that god was evil and I couldn't trust him, I would still trust him because I have no choice; He's god.

I hope I cleared things up. *rolls eyes*

>> Wow, I wasn't expecting anyone to answer like this, but there it is. A perfect example of motivation by fear, not love or hope.

Everyone comes to Christ because they fear hell - that's what the good news *is*!

We love him because we realize that he is righteous in his wrath against us and chose to save us from having to pay our debt to him ourselves.

"The LDS idea of becoming a God is just as absurd as your idea of heaven and hell. What I mean by we are God and the devil is that every good thing and every evil thing mankind does is our own doing, not the influence of God or the devil. We are responsible for our own actions."

I am afraid that Christians take responsibility further than that. They are convinced that they are responsible for the decisions that lead to those actions. It is those decisions that are influenced...but influenced or not...the responsibility is that of the decision maker...not the one who influences. That is what is meant by being a free moral agent. Just because you are a Christian does not mean that there will be no consequences for making wrong decisions or the wrong actions based on those decisions.
The decisions we make are indeed our own. However, just like not beating your wife because you love her, a relationship with one's creator does influence our actions. That cuts across the board...regardless of whether you are a Christian or not.


"How do you know this? Where you there 2000 years ago?"

"I don't know with certainty, but it's very improbable."

How did you determine the probability?

"I have seen no claims of contradictions that stand up to close scrutiny."

"I have. If there are no contradictions why can't people agree on what it says?"

They agree on what it says, they disagree on what it means. Poor foundation in language is often the culprit behind that. Such misunderstandings can be cleared up and have been.

"Why are there so many denominations?"

See above...the reason is the same. The problem is people, not the text.

"More importantly, how can you feel the slightest shed of love for God when you read about the slavery,"

Which is tolerated and not promoted and over time, it is dealt with from within the church itself. All cultures, regardless of religion, have had slavery. I was surprised to learn that even the American Indians had it before the white man came. And I had such a high opinion of the American Indians before this discovery...oh well, I can be mistaken.


"rape,"

Don't recall this being promoted...maybe you can show chapter and verse where it is?

" murder"

With a specific commandment of "Thou shalt not murder." It seems to me that God did not promote this. However, you need to understand that there is a reason why we have to words for the extinguishing of human life...one is murder...the other is to kill. The word in the commandment is unequivocally...MURDER. Now, let's say that you have a gang of crazed, drug addicted hooligans on a murderous rampage that are indiscriminately murdering people and that the only way to stop them is with a bullet in the head. Your next word covers that particular situation.

"and genocide"

See above and lets continue with this. God commanded that such a gang...or in this case perhaps a nation...after a long period of putting up with it and sending warnings that were ignored...finally had enough and commanded that this horror will no longer continue and must be stopped and the enemy gives him no choice but to remove them from the face of the earth. Would you hesitate to put a bullet through the head of each of the terrorists on the planes headed for the towers if you were one of the passengers, knowing what we know today? Would you instead try appeasement or try to make friends with them and convince them to stop? Do you think they would really listen to you? Those nations that were slated for killing were set on an as unalterable course as those on the planes. Why don't you get this?

"that God commanded in the Old Testament?"

See above. To save the lives of billions, it is not a hard decision to make to kill, not murder, a half dozen people. Of course, we can't see into the future to see the consequences of allowing them to live, but God can and did. Second-guessing his decisions in those cases is as foolhardy as it would be to second-guess the decision of a sky-marshal who pulls out a gun and takes out a terrorist that is headed for the cockpit with a box-cutter in hand.


"I became a Christian in a moment."

"You were converted in a moment? Had you never heard of Christianity before then? How old were you? Were you at a low point in your life? I'd love to hear that story in full."

I have heard of Christianity and had gone to a Church when invited by friends and it never actually meant much to me at the time. I was actually raised in a Catholic household, but one that was mostly a traditional social kind of Catholic. I went to a parochial grade school when I first came to U.S. Later transfered to public school. In the 70s I was greatly influenced by the TV series Kung-Fu. At one time I even explored Taoism because of that. Then got involved with friends who were into drugs and that led to my father wanting to turn me in to the police for that. At that point I had a breakdown and had to go see a doctor who happened to be a Christian. He started to talk to me about his faith, but that didn't really have much of an impact on me. One of my interests at the time was performing magic and was reading a book on that by Henning Nelms. It through that book that I realized that the reason I was leading as miserable a life as I was, was because my life had no meaning and that only faith can give meaning to life. In an instant, I realized what all the people who tried to witness to me were trying to do (conviction, faith=meaning) and in fact what the bible itself was trying to do and in an instant I realized both my need and the provision for that need and it had to be a perfect God in whom I could rely on every time. Without that, my life was meaningless and tortured. Everything fell into place in an instant and I believed for the very first time in my life...I trusted God with all my heart, soul and mind. This faith in God became more important to me than anything in my life. Did I need a cult to indoctrinate me? Nope. God miraculously reached down and changed me and my life. There was no threat of hell or hope of heaven that motivated my steps toward God, but a simple request for my life to have meaning. Without faith in a perfect God...this was simply not possible. Such a faith cannot be sustained when invested in failable man or anything else that is bound to fail and disappoint.


Agilius, you're sounding more and more like someone who was indoctrinated by fear. If being saved from hell is "good news" I've got better news, hell doesn't exist. godvsthebible.com/chapter13.htm

Well Louis Kuhelj, thank you for your story, sounds like a true conversion. If you sincerely believe that God is what gives your life meaning there's not much I can say to challenge that. But are you sure the Christian God is who you think he is?

"Don't recall this (rape) being promoted...maybe you can show chapter and verse where it is?"

Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Also, few of the genocides fit your description, most of them were acts of vengeance or outright murder and included raping the women and enslaving the children.

Another point, there are countless times that God kills or punishes blasphemers and unbelievers. Forget freedom of speech, God doesn't even allow freedom of thought. You look at the Muslim extremists with disgust, but I don't think Christians are really that far off. If some charismatic fellow comes along claiming to be a prophet of God, quoting certain parts of the bible to justify a "holy war," telling people that the time has come to kill the non-believers, what will make you any more righteous than them? You chose the right religion and they didn't?

"Such misunderstandings can be cleared up and have been."

No they haven't, people still disagree because the Bible has verses that can justify nearly any action, people will see what they want to see in the Bible. How do you know your interpretation is right? Divine authority? I thought only Catholics and Mormons claimed that.

I'll tell you my deconversion story to be fair. As you know I grew up Mormon, the holy ghost is a big deal in Mormonism, you can supposedly receive answers to prayers, promptings to do the right thing, a witness of the truth, all kinds of good things from the holy ghost. When I pressed the question, read the stories and reflected on my own experience, looked at all the other religions, including Christianity, it slowly became apparent that it was all a lie. Everything that people give credit to the holy spirit can just as easily be called coincidence, luck, placebo effect, good fortune, etc. All I wanted was an answer, a sign, anything to show me that God was real, but there is nothing, just folk tales and children's stories. I prayed, read scriptures and asked questions, everyone evaded the question, why wouldn't God answer me? "God works in mysterious ways" "Are you living the way God wants you to live?" "Maybe God did answer your prayer and you're just not looking hard enough" "You need to have faith to receive a miracle" ... Nonsense, all of it. If you want to hear the voice of God badly enough you'll convince yourself that the thoughts in your own mind that fit with your idea of God are actually God speaking to you. You'll convince yourself that every good thing that happens to you that you cannot explain was an act of God. You'll convince yourself that when atrocities occur God doesn't prevent them because he has some sort of greater purpose in mind. If you use the same scrutiny, skepticism and rational thinking that you apply to every other aspect of your life and use it to analyze religion it becomes obvious very quickly that it's a lie. Mormonism indoctrinates its members very well, it took me many years to let go completely. Actually I still haven't let go completely, like I said, you cannot prove with 100% certainty that Mormonism, Christianity or any other religion isn't the truth, we don't have time machines and science is imperfect. I'm still waiting to see some evidence or have some spiritual awakening but I doubt it will happen. It's just too improbable.

Steve,

God is not here for you to pull your magic puppet strings and get you what you want from Him. It doesn't work that way and it never has. If you don't see creation as evidence from God or this entire univers then you are burrying your head in the sand again because YOU DON'T want there to be a God so you can continue to SIN. No other reason.

You act like there is no evidence. Again i will ask the same question that you still have not answered. If a man claimed to be God and said he was going to die and raise himself three days later and he did it. Would that make him God? If not what would convince you there is a God?

God has written an entire Bible for you to know Him. Sorry you are not going to get some sort of special revelation. He has already provided it to you. Just because you don't get what you want or you think that you can force God into some little circus trick you want Him to do to so He "proves" it to you. Give me a break. You are a sinful man who needs to repent of your rebellion against Him. You are going to perish because of your own PRIDE. Thats what it comes down to, your own will verses the will of God.

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Again I urge you to repent of your ways and follow Christ.

>>Numbers 31:18, Deuteronomy 22:28-29, Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Steve, I think you need to go back and read those passages again. They are not commands to rape; they're about taking unmarried women as wives. (And in fact, the Deut. 21:10-14 passage, the man wasn't even allowed to sleep with the woman until a month had passed and he was her official husband.) This not only spared the lives of the women, but also provided security for them. In all the relevant laws, men were absolutely not allowed to sleep with women unless they were prepared to take on the responsibility of being a husband to them--to protect and provide for them for the rest of their lives.

God was ensuring the women wouldn't be used and thrown away. In none of those passages does God command rape. And in fact, in Deuteronomy 22:25-26, the death penalty is prescribed for the rape of a woman who is already committed to another:

"But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged, and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who lies with her shall die. But you shall do nothing to the girl; there is no sin in the girl worthy of death, for just as a man rises against his neighbor and murders him, so is this case. When he found her in the field, the engaged girl cried out, but there was no one to save her."

I think you need to be a bit more objective as you analyze the evidence. This is difficult to do, particularly when you're angry about your past religious experiences. (I understand your disappointment.)

But if I were you, I would begin by looking at the resurrection with an open mind. You really owe this to yourself. Have you ever read Habermas's book "The Historical Jesus"?

Hi Amy, perhaps you should have started at verse 23

" 23
5 "If within the city a man comes upon a maiden who is betrothed, and has relations with her,
24
you shall bring them both out to the gate of the city and there stone them to death: the girl because she did not cry out for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."

In verse 22:

22
"If a man is discovered having relations with a woman who is married to another, both the man and the woman with whom he has had relations shall die. Thus shall you purge the evil from your midst."

The capper is the situation that starts in verse 13. A man who accuses a woman of a capital crime is merely whipped and fined if he is shown to be lying. If the woman can't prove her innocence, she is stoned.

For their times the ancient Hebrews were quite advanced but we should never forget that we have moved well beyond their sometimes brutal views on certain matters.

Alan,

Sorry your above example is not talking about rape in that situation but about Adultry. She didn't cry out because she was a willing partner. This is obvious.

>>Hi Amy, perhaps you should have started at verse 23

The implication of that verse is that the sex was concensual, making it adultery (that is, she did not cry out for help). This is why the exception is made for those who were in an area where nobody would have heard her if she had cried out. She is then given the benefit of the doubt that she *did* cry out and was not heard, making it rape, not adultery.

As for your second objection, can you not see how this is designed to protect the women? Men weren't allowed to make wild accusations about their wives just to get rid of them. They were punished for it. The woman was able to defend herself, by law. If she was guilty of adultery, she was punished, but they didn't just take the man's word for it and punish her automatically.

A man might have accused his wife of adultery just because he didn't like her and wanted to get rid of her. But again, by law, the men were not allowed to use women and then just throw them away, so this was designed to protect women from that. Once they married a woman and slept with her, they were bound to support and protect her the rest of their days, by law.

>>A man who accuses a woman of a capital crime is merely whipped and fined if he is shown to be lying. If the woman can't prove her innocence, she is stoned.

That's because accusing someone was not a capital crime, but adultery was.

Hi Amy verses 13ff are not about adultery.

"14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:"
15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate:"

There seems to be a fairness issue here. A man who wants to get rid of his wife risks a small punishment. The woman either dies or is forced to live with a man who wanted to kill her - love to sit around that dinner table.

Note also that the burden of proof, in a capital case, seems to be on the accused.
And how about this: The woman is clearly the injured party but her father gets a pay off if she is found innocent.

Please explain why a man bearing false witness in any other case would have suffered the punishment that would have fallen to the falsely accused had is false testimony prevailed but in the case of falsely accusing his wife of a capital crime is punished in a lesser manner.

Deut. 19: 18 “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you."

I understand the reasoning in the rape or adultery verses and it is absurd. Say a woman has a knife to her throat; sure she is going to cry out. She then can't even complain that she was raped as the man can raise the defense that she didn't cry out - prove i has a knife. Again the woman dies if she loses.

Set aside for a moment that I'm sure we both agree that stoning for adultery is a bit harsh, my point was that these verses have little to do with protecting women as full persons before the law and a lot to do with women as property with a certain value depending on how a patriarchal culture tends to reckon that value.

Bu our standards the proscriptions in chapter 22 are cruel and immoral. They reflect the values you would expect men who considered women as property to have.

Alan, if the women were property, the men could have dispensed with them as they wished. The fact that they were protected by law means that they had rights as human beings.

Those verses are about adultery, since if a woman were to sleep with a man while engaged to another, that was considered adultery.

>>Please explain why a man bearing false witness in any other case would have suffered the punishment that would have fallen to the falsely accused had is false testimony prevailed but in the case of falsely accusing his wife of a capital crime is punished in a lesser manner.

Here's my guess: If the man were to be killed, the woman would be left on her own, which in that society, meant no support and no protection, and no chance of a family of her own. That was horrifying to women back then, and they wouldn't have wanted it.

>>There seems to be a fairness issue here. A man who wants to get rid of his wife risks a small punishment.

I would guess that this law was more preventative than anything else. A man knew he wouldn't get away with lying about this. I doubt many would have attempted it.

>>The woman is clearly the injured party but her father gets a pay off if she is found innocent.

The engagement was a contract made between the two sets of parents, and he was injuring the woman's parents by saying they didn't live up to what they claimed about their daughter. He definitely owes them something, and there's nothing wrong with her father representing her as a protector. Obviously the man is going to suffer humiliation from his society, as well. It wouldn't make sense for him to pay her, since she's part of his household, and to release her from the marriage as a payment to her would make the law useless as a deterrent because the man would just get what he wants, and he could use this to get out of a marriage, leaving the woman in a horrible position (as it would be difficult for her to find a new husband after being rejected). And like I said, this seems to be intended as a deterrent more than anything else. (Since the man was able to divorce her, this seems to be a deterrent against baseless jealousy…there are other similar laws.)

>>The woman either dies or is forced to live with a man who wanted to kill her - love to sit around that dinner table.

Yeah, it stinks that some men are horrible. This is why the rest of the Law and prophets existed to morally train the people not to be evil to others, to treat their wives well and to be faithful to them and love them as their own flesh, and to give the parents the wisdom to wisely choose spouses for their children. These laws aren't in a vacuum.

>>Note also that the burden of proof, in a capital case, seems to be on the accused.

It's not like it would be difficult to prove.

>>I understand the reasoning in the rape or adultery verses and it is absurd. Say a woman has a knife to her throat; sure she is going to cry out. She then can't even complain that she was raped as the man can raise the defense that she didn't cry out - prove i has a knife. Again the woman dies if she loses.

I'm not sure what you're saying here. If there's proof she was raped, she's not going to be punished for adultery. If she was raped in the country, they automatically assume it was a rape (even if it wasn't) because it wasn't possible for anyone to hear her even if she called out. These laws are general principles (like a Constitution) that were applied to specific situations by judges. The principle is, if you're raped, you don't get punished for adultery. These are general principles of how you can determine rape if it isn't clear. But if it's clearly rape, she won't be punished, even if she's in the city.

Alan, I'm leaving my computer right now, so if you respond, you'll have the last word. :)

This is the first time I have heard this program.

It seems to me that Todd Friel is a little short on the winsome approach. Even if you call someone sir, if your tone is condecending and you interrupt your guest before he has a chance to fully make his point you are being rude. If you interrupt your guest's answer to a previous question with another one it is at least distracting if not rude.

I don't have much sympathy for Pagitt's views but if this is a representative sample of how Friel handles all quests he disagrees with I would not be inclined to listen.

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