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December 15, 2011

Comments

if his claims were true and he really was the creator of the cosmos, then perhaps he did die for me.

i dont think he was the creator of the cosmos

Why not?

It would be his burden to evidence his claim of course.

That's no answer.
Your flippancy will do you no good on your deathbed, you know.

Jesus gave evidence for His claims - He performed miracles, healed the sick, gave sight to blind, made the lame walk, brought people back to life, fulfilled the OT Scriptures, Resurrected and ascended into Heaven.

Then His prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem was fulfilled and His believers escaped the coming wrath by fleeing the city.

So I ask again, why do you not believe that He is the Creator?

And why is that a necessary claim anyway?
He claimed to be YHWH, God, and He claimed this of Himself:
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

If He is not the God-Man reconciling us to God then how to you propose to be saved when you decide to perform your deathbed conversion? Upon what grounds will you claim forgiveness or righteousness before the Holy God if Jesus is not Who He said He is?

>> "...healed the sick, gave sight to blind, made the lame walk, brought people back to life..>"

aside from the fact that I don't think he did any of that, even if he performed all 4 of the above mentioned medical cures in my room right this instant, I don't think that would be enough evidence to convince me that he is the creator of the cosmos.

At most, all it would prove that he had access to medical technology that we won't have for at least another 50 years.

>> "If He is not the God-Man reconciling us to God then how to you propose to be saved when you decide to perform your deathbed conversion?"

i know - thats a problem alright. I've been trying to think of ways to convince myself. Hypnotism, repetitive chanting, continually scribing pro-christian essays, full force peer group.

These have all been shown to change opinion in the brain.

I really liked Robert Cialdini's books.

aside from the fact that I don't think he did any of that,
The Jewish Talmud thinks He did wonders.
i know - thats a problem alright. I've been trying to think of ways to convince myself.
God will do it. Like I said before, quit playing games and open your heart. Be prepared to give up the things you think make your life worth living and bow your knee to the Creator who is Life itself. You called yourself a seeker but all you could offer in your search was that you are not convinced. You say you are knocking and then you pull out movie clips and say Jesus is a decent chap in he portrayal.

How to be convinced? Ultimately, you can not convince yourself. But you could give evidence of your seeking.
It is not easy. Inside we are ugly messes. We have to face it and give it to God. C.S. Lewis says it is painful and that is part of why he avoided it so long. That mess inside is what drove Luther to fits of despair until he came face to face with God's Grace.

You have to be ready to own up to how far short you have fallen of God's righteousness (not that we can ever fathom the vast gulf) and want Him to take that away from us.

You could try reading the Bible (even more than you already undoubtedly will say you have) and meditating on it. I do not mean hypnotizing yourself, but thinking deeply about it. Try to erase the thousands of years since its writing and the foolishness of the last few centuries of liberalism. Put yourself back in that place and time and think about how Christianity got off the ground, what kinds of claims the Gospel writers were making, and how easy it would have been to refute them if they were wrong.

And, of course, you ought to desire God for His sake. You can ask Him. He loves a broken and contrite heart, so you can really examine yourself.

I'll be praying for you.

At most, all it would prove that he had access to medical technology that we won't have for at least another 50 years.
50 years? You have a lot of faith in medical technologies. This shows how closed you are and how your claims to being a seeker ring hollow, that you claim to have this ridiculously high bar for belief in the miraculous just so you can deny what Jesus was demonstrating.
i know - thats a problem alright. I've been trying to think of ways to convince myself. Hypnotism, repetitive chanting, continually scribing pro-christian essays, full force peer group.
You've certainly worked hard enough at convincing yourself not to believe. Denying the design you see, continually mocking and dismissing Christian thinking, ignoring evidences, magnifying yourself, rationalizing disbelief. ... Now you could try doubting your doubts, as they say.

So I guess that's the end for now.
Have a good night.

stop double posting!

but i read your posts and here's what i got out of it:

1) I have a "ridiculously high bar for belief."
2) My heart is "broken and contrite"
3) And your solution, I should "read the bible and meditate on it."

the nuns at my private school told me the same thing...

They also told you that Jesus loves you.
We hear it so much that it comes out as meaningless words. But think on that.
And know that on top of it, God actually likes you.


You could also do what Lewis did - he read good writers who were Christian. He thought well. A young atheist can not guard his unbelief too diligently, he found out.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

have read more about theology than most.

not convinced

i dont think its the kind claim that can be evidenced by books alone though.

Imagine a man standing before you now that said:

"Hello, I created the cosmos and I know how you can live forever."

ask yourself what it would take to believe him.

I really don't know what vetting strategy I could employ.

But given that this is literally the most fantastic claim that anyone can ever utter, I would indeed require from this man a gigantic amount of evidence.

Much more proof than one would find on old paper or eyewitness accounts from witnesses who all conveniently died 2000 years ago.

i dont think its the kind claim that can be evidenced by books alone though.
You are absolutely right. That's why I barely mentioned it and late in the game. But I wasn't talking about reading theology; I said read good writers who are Christian. If you start with Lewis he will give you a nice list to get you going.
But given that this is literally the most fantastic claim that anyone can ever utter, I would indeed require from this man a gigantic amount of evidence.
It is the most fantastic claim ever, isn't it? And it is the most fantastic promise and the most important question you'll ever deal with.
1) I have a "ridiculously high bar for belief."
I actually would amend this. You have a ridiculously low bar for your unbelief. You'll cling to anything, like everyone else. Neanderthal souls, ERVs, common descent,- anything you think is a puzzler for Christians, as though these questions, or their answers, have anything whatsoever to do with how you are going to atone for the filth inside of you and whether you are going to admit that you are a very poor substitute for a god.

There are literally dozens and dozens of good reasons to believe in God and in the Biblical accounts, but you again flippantly dismiss them as "old paper" and "convenient" deaths. You don't even care if your objections sound rational, because all you want is to have an objection.
And then you say you are this great seeker, why, better even than the majority of Christians.

This is weak. And I think you know it.

You know what you have to do.

I'm off for the day. Take care.

The world will say of course ironically "rest in peace" whether Christopher will rest in peace or not until judgement day who can say? In the parable of Lazerus and the rich man maybe not. I can think of nothing worse than death without Christ and being saved regardless of being a fanatic atheist or just a plain non believer.

Tony,

Behind the jokes and the glib replies here, I see a man who is frightened. I may be wrong, Tony, but it seems like part of you knows, at some level, that Jesus is who He says He is, and the knowledge of that is both terrifying and attractive. I would agree! He is seeking you and you're running, but you're looking back as you run and wondering if you could just yell "Uncle" and surrender at the last moment.

None of us comes to Christ with all the answers--indeed, I think most of us come to Christ with very few answers. But the one thing we have in common is the understanding that we are miserable sinners, every last one of us--and we're going to have to answer for those sins at some point. When Jesus held out His arms to us, we surrendered, because we knew that only HE could offer the solution to our dilemma. I love the picture of us "putting on Christ" and being "clothed in Christ" because when God then looks at us at the great judgement, He will see Christ, not the sinful wretches that we were.

All the running you're doing will never get you far enough away that you can't be held to answer. What, then, will you say?
I would suggest that a good first step might be to look NOW to the words in Scripture that describe the man who said, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24 NIV

I pray that you will summon the courage to take that step.

carolyn,

>> "but it seems like part of you knows, at some level, that Jesus is who He says He is,"

Carolyn, it seems like part of you knows that jesus was not who he says he is.

{see how fruitless statements like that are?}

>> and the knowledge of that is both terrifying and attractive

I went to catholic school for 10 years. with nuns. and priests. who wore black.

i dont find it terrifying in the least.

daron,

>> There are literally dozens and dozens of good reasons to believe in God

do not confuse a belief in a creator of the cosmos with the claim.

The claim is: "Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos."

One of the mistakes Christians make is, they mix the arguments for a creator of the cosmos, with the arguments that, indeed, this creator was named Jesus.

Try to only examine the data that evidences:

"Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos."

when I did, I was surprised how little there was.

ToNy, you're right--a few medical miracles a Creator does not make. Neither does the cosmological argument point straight to Jesus. Have you read Geisler and Turek's "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist"?

Jessee

I looked through it. its pretty popular.

Half the book wasnt about jesus. Same old dribble about evolution and objective morality.

The second half was mostly about the purported historical textual accuracy of the miraculous works of jesus.

And there's simply no way in heck i'm going to believe that any given man was the creator of the cosmos based on 2000 year old text.

not gonna happen

What gives?
My comment is gone again.
Easy to duplicate, though ....

There are literally dozens and dozens of good reasons to believe in God

do not confuse a belief in a creator of the cosmos with the claim.

The claim is: "Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos."


Why would I?
Before your copy/paste my statement looked like this:

There are literally dozens and dozens of good reasons to believe in God and in the Biblical accounts, but you again flippantly dismiss them as "old paper" and "convenient" deaths.

The Biblical accounts do not demonstrate the existence of God, they presume that. The demonstration, though, is that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of Man, the eternal Son Of God.
And it tells us what that means for believers and unbelievers alike.

Try to only examine the data that evidences:

"Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos."

when I did, I was surprised how little there was.

What kind of evidence were you looking for, schematics and fingerprints?
There is only one place to look for this kind of evidence, and that's in the Bible. And the evidence abounds.

And there's simply no way in heck i'm going to believe that any given man was the creator of the cosmos based on 2000 year old text.

not gonna happen

So no, without a serious change I do not expect you could expect to make a profession of faith unto salvation at the 11th hour.
Obviously you don't think so, either. I figured you were just jerking my chain. But we had a good time, didn't we?

Tony, I went to the same kind of schools. I never knew Jesus there. Nuns wearing black are not terrifying--but standing in the presence of God with your soul showing--that will be terrifying! I guess I gave you more credit than you were due; you clearly don't want or intend to know the God of Scripture as there is no humility in you--just arrogance and self-pride. No point in further discussion. Sad.

daron,

>> "So no, without a serious change I do not expect you could expect to make a profession of faith unto salvation at the 11th hour. Obviously you don't think so"

it would require a serious breakthrough in evidence.
things like the shroud of turin or a proof of dualism resulting from a few decades of NDE experiments would be a possible vector.

Also a visit from god or a tour of heaven would be good start.

But text alone would never convince me that any given man was the creator of the cosmos.

Carolyn,

Assuming my heart was as black as coal, this really wouldn't have anything to do with evidencing the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos.

Well, we only type text here, ToNy. Sorry to say, your evidence is not found on a blog. Best wishes in the thing you call a search.

Indeed. It is quite a limited method of evidencing fantastic claims.

And isn't it odd that so many people use it to evidence the most fantastic claim ever uttered, ever.

Wrong again,ToNy. Blogs are not the evidence, though they can be used to relay and point you to the evidence. Unfortunately, this is just text so you are wasting more precious seconds.

And don't forget the historical evidence:
Jesus lived and was Crucified under Pontius Pilate.
His Tomb was empty.
The Disciples thought they encountered Him after His death.
The Church grew on their testimony which could have been easily falsified by producing the Body or publishing a report of Jesus' never having existed, or by any of the people cited as witnesses folding and saying the Gospels are untrue.
Scholars of all stripes, including unbelievers admit these things.

There is the evidence of philosophy.
Antony Flew realized that there has to be a personal, interactive, Creator God.
Swinburne gives the case from reason why God is a Trinity and would be our cosufferer.

And there is the evidence of the hole in your heart.
Being hungry does not guarantee you will find food, but it evidences the existence of food.

I am preparing now to offer rightful praise and worship to my Creator and my Redeemer. This is what is due Him as He gives us our being. And we will be celebrating His coming to earth as one of us to reconcile us to Him and to redeem our broken, sinful lives.

I hope you have a great day, too.


>> "...His Tomb was empty. The Disciples thought they encountered Him... The Church grew on their testimony which..."

So you have some paper documents that indicate a bunch of people saw a man raised from the dead 2000 years ago. And you know a lot of people believed it back then, as well as today. And hence, you do to.

k cool

Wouldnt be anywhere near enough for me to believe this individual was the creator of the cosmos.

>> "Antony Flew realized that there has to be a personal, interactive, Creator God.
Swinburne gives the case from reason why God is a Trinity and would be our cosufferer."

Again, none of this evidences the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos. All it proves is Jesus uttered some statements about God that are congruous with some contemporary thinkers. Could say the same about buddha.

>> "I am preparing now to offer rightful praise and worship to my Creator and my Redeemer. This is what is due Him as He gives us our being. And we will be celebrating His coming..."

I'll give you money if you stop talking like the kid from Twilight

And hence, you do to.
No, this is not why we believe. We believe because God's Spirit testifies to our spirits. These are merely reasons that show, they are not how we know. Billions of people believe this, millions upon millions in the past. Some maybe even almost as smart as you. And yet you pretend this is a matter of weighing the evidence and having it come up short.
All it proves is Jesus uttered some statements about God that are congruous with some contemporary thinkers. Could say the same about buddha.
Very little could be said in common between the two of them. Buddha has no biographers acclaimed as first-rate historians. We don't have archaeological evidence confirming the past existence of the places and people mentioned in them. Buddha never died for your sins. He can't give you peace with God. He did not come to save you. He does not know you by name, know your heart, and love you anyway. He did not rise again as the First Fruits of the resurrection. He never offered you forgiveness for your sins.
I'll give you money if you stop talking like the kid from Twilight
Never saw that guy. Aren't those the movies all those pre-teen girls like? Sorry, that puts your reference over my head. No, you save your money. You'll need it for your wager.

Before I go I thought I'd recommend another resource for you. You could read Frank Tipler's The Anthropic Cosmological principle, which he wrote as an atheist. Then his The Physics of Immortality, which moved him through agnosticism to theism, if I recall correctly. Or you can skip to The Physics of Christianity. Here he outlines his case from science that God exists, as a Trinity, and he gives scientific explanations for the Resurrection, immortality and even, just for you, the Shroud of Turin. It's not all my cup of tea, but great reading.
Or you could just Google a review, give a quick rundown and dismiss it. I expect the latter.

I'm off now, enjoy your vampire movies.

>> "No, this is not why we believe. We believe because God's Spirit testifies to our spirits."

Yes ultimately this is the case. You believe in jesus because you think you've experienced his magic.

Not really because of words at all.

>> "Billions of people believe this"

If everyone on earth was a Christian, this would not evidence the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos.

Yes ultimately this is the case. You believe in jesus because you think you've experienced his magic.

Not really because of words at all.

Wrong again. What a streak.
I am not speaking of an experience. And the words are instrumental. We do not believe because a bunch of people believed. We believe because God convicts us with the Word. Without Him the heart of stone remains a heart of stone.

If everyone on earth was a Christian, this would not evidence the claim that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos.
Oh, the streak ends. You really nailed this one. Good work. Of course, nobody claimed that the number of believers is evidence for the truth of the claim. What it is is a good demonstration that your posturing this as a matter of insufficient evidence is just that - a posture.

>> We believe because God convicts us with the Word. Without Him the heart of stone remains a heart of stone.

indeed this is a supernatural act of course

aka "magic"

>> "the number of believers is evidence for the truth of the claim. What it is is a good demonstration that your posturing this as a matter of insufficient evidence is just that - a posture."

So your argument is:

A lot of people believe X claim based on Y evidence
Tony does not believe X claim based on Y evidence
Hence, Tony is incorrect that Y is not sufficient evidence for X.

Argumentum ad populum

It's gettin pretty bad at this point.

I'm outie

A good thought experiment to try at home, pull out a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos.

Ask yourself, if a man flew down in a space craft and was standing before you right now and said "Hi, I created the cosmos" - what evidence would this man need to show you.

Objectively speaking, what amount of evidence would be sufficient?

Have you really subjected Jesus of Nazareth to the same level of scrutiny -- as you would subject to the man in the craft?

Does there exist a set of words that this man could type out right now, such that these words would convince you that he is the creator of the cosmos?

Is it really the case that "a black heart" is the mitigating factor that has caused the nonbeliever to select a high evidence threshold? Could it be that, because of ancillary reasons (e.g. your existential angst, fear of death, delusion, years of chanting, loss of loved ones, financial investment in church resources, an established group of like-minded peers, the pain of living) you have accepted an evidence threshold that is too low?

peace out see ya on the next one!

>> And there's simply no way in heck i'm
>> going to believe that any given man
>> was the creator of the cosmos based on
>> 2000 year old text.

Why not? If you were there, would you have believed?

ToNy,

Hello. I am curious after having read some of your posts over several months. What do you believe? Are you an atheist or do you hold se other view? If so, what is it?

Objectively speaking, what amount of evidence would be sufficient?
Perfect. Just what I thought and a clear demonstration of why my argument is not an argument ad populum, although big kudos on going all the way to the Google to prove what I'd already told you. On your first charge, no I was not saying that the existence of lots of Christians makes Christianity true.

But when you rephrase it (at the same time that you link to the fallacy) you show why it is not a fallacy.

A lot of people believe X claim based on Y evidence
Tony does not believe X claim based on Y evidence
Hence, Tony is incorrect that Y is not sufficient evidence for X.
This is, in fact, a legitimate use of the appeal to numbers.
You are incorrect that there is insufficient evidence - because other rational creatures have determined that there is sufficient evidence.

Your claim that there is not enough evidence for you says nothing about the evidence and only something about you and how you choose to be.
And here you show why I am pointing to that - there is no such thing as an objective standard of evidence necessary in this case. It is a subjective matter. You are welcome to your standard, but, again, that says nothing about the quality of evidence. In fact, there is sufficient evidence.

A good thought experiment to try at home, pull out a sheet of paper and write down all the reasons you believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos.

I don't have any paper, so I'll rattle one off right here.

God exists and Created everything that exists other than Himself.
Such a God would be capable of communicating with His Creation.
It is probable that such a God, in order to be perfect, would exist as a Trinity (Swinburne).
It is probable that such a God would become incarnate as a human being (Swinburne, the moral rationale that God would share our suffering).
He would be unable to do wrong in His Incarnation.

Jesus claimed to be this God.
He lived this kind of life.
He backed up His claims with signs (miracles) -which are acknowledged by His enemies.
Historical evidence backs up the claims of the NT about Jesus - that He was Crucified, that His tomb was found empty, that He was seen alive, post-mortem.
There are no contemporary accounts to dispute these facts.
No naturalistic theory explains these facts fully, as does the NT claim, that He Resurrected.
The existence of the Apostolic Church is best explained by His Resurrection (Lapide).
The historical veracity of the NT is demonstrated by the arguments that support the above points.
The criticisms of the NT, such as its late writing, inaccuracy regarding places and events, etc., have been defeated.
Jesus is vindicated as God, His ministry is endorsed by God.
He endorses the rest of Scripture and it shows that this veiled truth of the divinity and pre-existence of the Messiah was present in the OT as well.

No one else has really claimed to fulfill these requirements, no other founder of a religion makes such claims, no one else has matched the requirements and, since the destruction of the Temple, none ever could.
It's Jesus or no one.

These arguments outweigh the defeaters offered which would make one doubt his apprehension of the truth of the Gospels, or his experience of God, returning these to their place of priority before the potential defeaters were introduced.

Jesus continues to reach down to people supernaturally to change their lives (Muslim testimonials are a good source of this information, though their believability relies upon the acceptance of the above evidence).

This is not a great list, but these are the kinds of evidences that have convinced many skeptics - like Sir William Ramsay ("Luke is a historian of first rank") - to become Christians.


ToNy:

"Ask yourself, if a man flew down in a space craft and was standing before you right now and said "Hi, I created the cosmos" - what evidence would this man need to show you."

If he needed a space craft, he's not the creator of the cosmos. How could he create and then need use of it[the creation] to prove himself to someone? Isaiah, prophet of God was speachless before Him, one wouldn't need any confirmation by outside source or physical evidence that they had an encounter with such a being.

What's more, the biblical revelation is more substantial than your "thought experiment" is meant to provide, but you are so predisposed to discount it's obvious supernatural origin that even if a space ship landed or hovered above you and the driver got out with claims of being great you'd also discount that if you treat it with the same closed minded disposition.

I hope that the Spirit of God quickens you soon, the radical skepticism you exibit is blinding you further as time passes.

I read his columns for years, and despite his outspoken hostility towards God, He seemed like a likeable guy.

I recall that after Frank Turek's first debate with him, Frank said, "I can sum up Hitchens position in 8 words: 'there is no God, and I hate Him.' "

I lot of people were praying for him. His brother Peter is a former atheist turned Christian, and I hope he was able to influence Christoper.

This just drives home to me the fact that this apologetics stuff we do is serious business, with eternal ramifications.

A double tie-in.
Here's what Doug Wilson said to Hitchens in a written debate when asked about evidence:

Actually, I believe I can present evidence for what I know. But evidence comes to us like food,

and that is why we say grace over it. And we are supposed to eat it, not push it around on the

plate—and if we don’t give thanks, it never tastes right.


Not particularly helpful, but it made me laugh.

it. So for you to refuse to accept Christ because it is absurd is like a man at one end of the pool

refusing to move to the other end because he might get wet. Given your premises, you will have

to come up with a different reason for rejecting Christ as you do.

Here's a little reflection on this thread before ToNy found that one little phrase ( "that does not evidence that Jesus is the creator of the cosmos") he could fasten himself down on in order to justify his continued rebellion:


You can't save yourself, ToNy.

Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Fall on the mercy of the LORD and He will be gracious to save you.

ToNy:
I seek god more than the vast majority of Christians.

Tell us about your search.

ToNy:
By age 17 i wasn't sure that there was enough evidence that Jesus of Nazareth was the creator of the cosmos. At age 35 i'm even more convinced.

That's your "more than the vast majority of Christians" seeking? Weak.
...
You called yourself a seeker but all you could offer in your search was that you are not convinced.

[At the end, that is all ToNy continues to have: he says he is not to be convinced.]

------------
You can't save yourself, ToNy.

Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Fall on the mercy of the LORD and He will be gracious to save you.

ToNy: "Knock and the door will be opened."
arent i doing that now?


You say you are knocking and then you pull out movie clips and say Jesus is a decent chap in he portrayal.

[No, it doesn't look like ToNy is knocking or seeking.]

-----
Why do you like Jesus? I know you're aware of C.S. Lewis' Trilemma. Don't you agree with its implications?

ToNy:
silence

-----------

It's not like you have the answers.

Or that you really merely remain to be convinced of a rational concern about whether Jesus is the true Son of God.


[On this, ToNy later falsely charged a logical fallacy so he could rationalize his departure.]

ToNy:
i dont think he was the creator of the cosmos


Why not?

ToNy:
It would be his burden to evidence his claim of course.

That's no answer.

....

So I ask again, why do you not believe that He is the Creator?

[Still nothing except that ToNy is not convinced.]

--------

"If He is not the God-Man reconciling us to God then how to you propose to be saved when you decide to perform your deathbed conversion?"

ToNy:
i know - thats a problem alright. I've been trying to think of ways to convince myself.


[Really?]

-------

ToNy opened with:
As mentioned, I think it would be in everyones interest to convert to one of the exclusive religions before death (as per pascals wager).

Muslims scare me. So if i was diagnosed tomorrow with a fatal disease, I would go full Christian (like my womanizing cousin did when he was diagnosed with cancer).


But closed with:
ToNy:
And there's simply no way in heck i'm going to believe that any given man was the creator of the cosmos based on 2000 year old text.
not gonna happen

So no, without a serious change I do not expect you could expect to make a profession of faith unto salvation at the 11th hour.
Obviously you don't think so, either.

That does not look like either an honest seeker nor an honest dialogue partner to me.

Daron,

When you speak of Swinburne and the Trinity and of Suffering, can you please tell me which books. It sounds appealing to my own journey and so I'd like to read more about that. Thank you.

Tony: It seems Tony has a very high opinion of Tony! He seeks more than others do, he has more Christian background (though he loves being the "black sheep" of his family because it makes him special), and he has read more and studied more than most folks here. He elevates his reasoning powers to a level so far above others that he must have truly extraordinary proof to meet his standards to accept that Jesus is who He says He is (and yes, Tony, His Word indicates clearly that He was and is the Creator of the cosmos). What puzzles me is why Tony would want to hitch his wagon to a star (the "religion" called Christianity) at the zero hour when all of his life he has claimed to be atheist/agnostic? How can one grab at a religion based on the God of the Bible if he doesn't believe God exists or that anyone can know He exists? Furthermore, if he doesn't believe He exists, and claims to be a nihilist, why the need to grab at anything? Such an over-inflated opinion of SELF reminds me of the quip that, "A person all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package."

Additionally, one doesn't just grab at one of the 3 great religions at the zero hour, even the "Christian religion"! The contrite man reaches out to the PERSON of Jesus Christ. In Matthew 10:32 we read, "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."

It seems a heart transplant is needed here, Tony.

ToNy, I apologize for asking 'why not' after you already wrote your conditions for belief:

>> it would require a serious
>> breakthrough in evidence.
>> things like the shroud of turin or a
>> proof of dualism resulting from a few
>> decades of NDE experiments would be a
>> possible vector.

Now, taking into consideration all the other objections you offered, what could these 'serious breakthroughs' possibly do?

For instance, if the Shoud of Turin really were the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, what would that prove, that couldn't already be proven from modern scholarship on the historical reliability of the Gospels?

Hi SB,
It is Richard Swinburne's Was Jesus God?.
Is There A God? is good as well.

ToNy,

If you're still reading this thread:

If Jesus is God, then He is the Judge of your heart. Like everyone's been saying, God performs the 'magic' of giving belief and faith to those WHO ARE WILLING TO RECEIVE IT. Your persistent unbelief proves to everyone (yourself included) your unwillingness to believe.

That is your choice. God knows your choice, and He ratifies it by withholding the 'magic' of belief. All the evidence in the world will not supersede your God-given right to choose not to believe.

Nothing anyone here says will help you if you do not allow God Himself to change your heart. All your comments are insincere, and I have little interest in psychoanalyzing your reasons for rejecting Jesus as God. You need to repent.

If you were sincere about Pascal's wager, you would plead with Jesus to help you to believe. If in fact Jesus is the Creator, and He died to save you, and He is risen and ascended and ruling over the universe right now, then in the most emphatic terms, He will absolutely positively grant your request to believe Him. Why would He die to accomplish this very end, then refuse to grant it to anyone who is actually willing to receive it??

The fact that you persist in unbelief shows you're not truly interested.

Sage,
Well said.

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