Posted by: NotAScientist | September 25, 2008

Godless Bible Study

I said I would no longer use my blog as simply a link to one of my YouTube videos.

Well…I lied.

Not really though! As I’m not going to imbed a video into this actual post, I can pretend like this is actually a blog post with business of it’s own.

And that business? A bible study.

For the past 5 days I’ve been involved in a “Godless Bible Study” of the Gospel According to John. A Christian blogger here on WordPress, Compass1130, challenged me to read the book one chapter at a time, one day at a time for 21 days.

I’m never one to turn down a challenge, so I decided to make a video series about it. Each one includes my immediate (and sometimes not terribly eloquent) response to having read one of the chapters in John.

It starts here, if you’d like to check it out, and I have 16 more chapters to go.

And if I end up converting over it…well…I’m going to need a new blog name, aren’t I?

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Responses

  1. If the Book of John converts you, I will eat my hat. Mark is a way more fun book. John’s Jesus is a pussy, Mark’s Jesus is a badass.

  2. (quotes directly from your posts on my blog)
    “I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.”
    “…a system through which Hitler could gain eternal reward due to a loop hole.”
    M,
    Whether you know it or not, you are getting very close to the full essence of salvation! And, it is very exciting!
    “…but that’s not good enough.”-really sums it all up for the plight of mankind! Our absolute best is never good enough to get us into Heaven!…which is terrible! We are spiritually dead, spiritually separated from God, with a huge sin problem, an enormous debt that has to be paid for sin, and on top of that, our best is not good enough!
    I really have never thought of it quite this way, but what you said about the “loop hole” is right!
    It’s kind of like God said,”I love them, all of them. But, on their best day, they could never be good enough to merit Heaven. In fact, most of them don’t even have “good days”. A lot of them are murders, unbelievers, liars…and they are all sinners! But, I love them! And, I cannot stand being apart from them! So, since they can’t be good enough to come to Me, I’ll go to them!” And, God made the loophole for us by giving His life as a payment for the debt we owe, punishment for our sin, and by being resurrected, the loophole was accomplished! That debt we couldn’t pay, He paid!
    M, to be completely, transparently honestly with you, it makes no sense at all to me why God could ever love me, you, or anybody! And, it really doesn’t make sense to me why He would give His life for me! But, (with tears in my eyes as I type this) I thank God He did! I thank God He made a loophole!

  3. Decided I would bring my commment here since you didn’t reply there(my blog)

  4. “Decided I would bring my commment here since you didn’t reply there(my blog)”

    Sorry, been too busy to check over there. I work full time, and now I’m doing a bible study! 😉

    “M, to be completely, transparently honestly with you, it makes no sense at all to me why God could ever love me, you, or anybody!”

    All I really have to say is that I have more respect for you than you seem to have for yourself.

    All evil is not the same. All ‘sin’ (since we’re using the term), is not and should not be equal.

    If it were, you would get the death penalty for murder and for a parking violation. That is the exact opposite of justice.

    Again, if there exists in your idea of salvation a loophole in which Hitler (or Stalin, or any mass murderer) could be given eternal reward, then I have absolutely no respect for it.

  5. God it would seem at least to me, is only capable of loving himself, or extensions of himself (christians are part of the body of christ, after all) so is it even accurate to describe what god does as love, instead of say, narcissism?
    think about it and get back to me, i’ll be here. i’d love to have this debate.

  6. “Sorry, been too busy to check over there. I work full time, and now I’m doing a bible study!”

    M,
    That’s kind of what I figured…its obvious you put a lot of time into your study and the presentation of your thoughts and I appreciate that.
    Because of your rapidly growing popularity on youtube, you probably have a lot to reply to today, so I’ll try to keep this brief.
    Sin, from a human’s perspective, can be put in sort of an ordered list from least to greatest with the penalties for each ranging from mild($100 fine) to severe(execution).
    Sin, in God’s eyes is all equal. Every sin(every thought, action, attitude…that is contrary to the Divine nature of God) is deserving of one thing only, Death-Spiritually defined as eternal separation from God in Hell.
    Even if someone only committed one sin, he/she would still be guilty and deserving of Hell. But, the cool thing about God is that He knew this all and made a way, where there wasn’t a way, for any sinner to be forgiven and have eternal life!
    You speak highly of “justice”, and I also appreciate that. For God to continue being a Just God, He could not let sin go unpunished. This is why Jesus came to earth, and lived a perfect life, so He could have our sin placed on Him(all of it), and recieve that punishment that we deserved, physical and spiritual death.(you can read about it in II Corinthians 5:21)
    (Still trying to keep this brief…)There is one sin, however, that the Bible speaks of that is worse than the rest. Because of the brevity I am trying to adhere to, I will not tell you right now, but let me know if you want to know more.

  7. “Sin, in God’s eyes is all equal.”

    I’m sorry, but that makes it unjust. Any absolute morality that doesn’t take situations, intentions or the level of actions into consideration is.

    And yes, I’m sure you’ll say god has some sort of justice of his own. Unfortunately I’m just a simple human, and so the only justice I can appeal to is the justice I know and the justice that makes sense. That is punishment, but punishment on the same level of the action.

    And sadly I don’t think that the universe provides justice for us. We provide it for ourselves, and very often people escape it. But it’s the best we can do.

  8. So morsecode, most humanists I know pride themselves on being intelligent and open minded. Might I ask, are you reading this with an open mind? I would never question your intelligence, but it apears to me that you had your mind made before you turned to the first page.

    One of the most facinating and truthful exegesis of the Gospel of John that I ever heard was given by an agnostic religion professor. It is possible to respect the word and the ideas behind them without compromising your belief system.

    And if you come back with, “I don’t have a belief system!” I am going to crawl out of this computer screen and pour coffee on your laptop.

  9. “Might I ask, are you reading this with an open mind? I would never question your intelligence, but it apears to me that you had your mind made before you turned to the first page.”

    As open as I can.

    I obviously go in with biases. I can’t help that.

    But I read it and I try and understand it as best I can. I do go in not believing it, but I can’t see how else I could go in. If I could go in believing it, that would defeat the purpose of reading it, wouldn’t it?

    I am open to having my mind changed. It’s happened before. What I am concerned with is knowing the truth, whatever it is, whether it pleases me to know it or not.

    “It is possible to respect the word and the ideas behind them without compromising your belief system. ”

    There are certainly some ideas that I could get behind, and some nice and interesting story telling. I hope I don’t express any other opinion.

    “And if you come back with, “I don’t have a belief system!” I am going to crawl out of this computer screen and pour coffee on your laptop.”

    Being a humanist, of course I have a belief system. Well, a philosophy under which I think it is the best to live, anyway, if that’s what you mean.

    And I don’t have a laptop. 😉

  10. 31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

    32And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
    M,
    In our eyes, as humans, justice is not always served. To me, there are a whole lot of people who did not “get what they deserved”. But, I can only see this side of eternity. There are people in other countries who believe exactly what I believe and are tormented literally to death just because of what(Who) they believe and where they live. The executor walks free and probably praised by the government and the Christian is dead.
    But, from God’s perspective, the executioner, unless he repents and believes, will go to Hell where his God’s wrath will be justly delivered to him. The Christian will die but will exit this life into complete, wonderful eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ!
    Not all justice is witnessed this side of eternity.
    Both were sinners. The difference is one’s were forgiven and the other’s were not.
    That sin I mentioned that is unforgivable, that damns someone to Hell, and seals their eternity if committed is spoken of in Matthew 12:31-32.
    It is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
    There is alot said in these 2 verses about this sin, but what it boils down to is this: the final rejection of the conviction of the Holy Spirit on a person’s life to accept and believe in Jesus Christ.
    Saying “No” to Jesus for the final time.
    After a person does this(by the way, the Bible never tells us how many times the Holy Spirit convicts a person…I personally believe its different for each person sometimes many times, sometimes one) he will never again feel this conviction again. Ever. And, he will eventually spend eternity in Hell.

  11. M, I love you(in a masculine, Godly way) and I told you the truth about that sin because according to what you are saying you believe or don’t believe about Jesus, if you haven’t allready crossed that thresh hold, you are dangerously close. I don’t want you to go to Hell. And, I am begging you to drop whatever is holding you back from repenting and accepting Jesus and give your life to Him!
    For your sake, I pray you do!
    email me with any questions you don’t want on a public blog: justin@compass1130.com

  12. “There are people in other countries who believe exactly what I believe and are tormented literally to death just because of what(Who) they believe and where they live. The executor walks free and probably praised by the government and the Christian is dead.
    But, from God’s perspective, the executioner, unless he repents and believes, will go to Hell where his God’s wrath will be justly delivered to him. The Christian will die but will exit this life into complete, wonderful eternal life in Heaven with Jesus Christ!”

    Flip it, compass. Imagine the executioner being a Christian and the victim being a non-believer. Does it still stand? Does the Christian go to heaven and the non-Christian go to hell, no matter what happens? If so, that’s no justice of any kind.

    “Both were sinners. The difference is one’s were forgiven and the other’s were not.”

    Incorrect. I don’t paint everything with black and white like you do, sorry.

    “And, I am begging you to drop whatever is holding you back from repenting and accepting Jesus and give your life to Him!”

    Sorry, but I’ve rejected him before (I was a catholic) and will again, unless there is good solid evidence for his existence and his being god.

    Until then, I stay atheist.

  13. i would really think that it would be prudent to try and REbut a point instead of proving it exactly:

    “Sin, in God’s eyes is all equal. Every sin(every thought, action, attitude…that is contrary to the Divine nature of God) is deserving of one thing only, Death-Spiritually defined as eternal separation from God in Hell.”

    therefore, god is a masochist. his ego is the only thing he considers when evaluating any situation, if it is somehow “foriegn”, he dismisses it out of hand. If there is a chance he could brainwash you… he’ll let it slide. what other function does heaven serve (though that may be another discussion entirely)?

    In fact, the whole notion of free will is ridiculus. theological fatilism is unevoidable in any spiritual paradigm headed by an omnipresent god (which is therefore omnipotent and omniscent as well).
    there was that whole clever argument, in the form of the story (there is no cold, merely the absence of heat aka. the angry professor story), wherein evil is the absence of god. so what about god’s supposed omnipresence, is he both present and missing? and further more, if god ever fully withdrew himself from a space, it would cease to exist, simple. it’s absurd to speak of god as if he were some sort of quantum mechanical field.

  14. This is awesome. I’ve found few atheists who even read the Bible for the sake of knowing what it says, let alone calling it a “Bible Study” with an open mind.

    Flip that, I’ve found very few Christians who are willing to read Dawkins, Hitchens, and whatnot in order to understand their arguments.

    Both sides are scared to approach the others. To you, I wish I could give major kudos. Unfortunately, all I get to give you is this comment.

  15. mrakers, the pleasure is all ours. it’s very important to know what you belive, and more than half that is knowing what you don’t believe. the problem with being religious is that there is this community that you are a part of and it’s never really pressed on you to actually go and learn about the issues. it’s really lopsided in the case of athiesm because you Have to know what you are going to say and have to have something to back that up while almost all christians or other religious affiliates don’t feel the need. thier faith justifies thier faith. much like Anselm’s argument if you analyse it.

  16. I agree. I have a great respect for a lot of atheists who are continually learning. I am a youth pastor at an evangelical church, and Christian illiteracy is one of my biggest frustrations. While I do not know everything (nor do I claim) I realize that continually learning doesn’t hurt you.

  17. yes, you and R.C. Sprool are on the same page in that regard. it’s impossible to know everything, even god can’t violate the hiesenburg uncertainty principle. although as religon, ultimate answers are precisely what are proposed, and all things have a place, time, and unique destiny. it’s really reductionist in fact. no one even knows how causality actually works. even time is only assymetric because of entropy. good to reach across the isle on this one. thanks mrakers.

  18. Sproul… 😉

  19. sorry. i knew it was spelled wrong but couldn’t find the book. you realize his views substantiate fatalism, right?

  20. i can’t believe i forgot about this!! i watched a special on the history channel that looked at the possibility that john’s gospel was actually written by Mary Magdaline. i’m afraid i can’t offer much of a defense for this, but i hope someone can look into this

  21. Morse: Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which you have no genuine interest? What’s the use? Why not involve yourself exploring and debating and being creative around something you actually DO find personally valuable? It just can’t be that you so much get off on the endless, ENDLESS back-and-forths that you so easily instigate between yourself and believers. Either you really DO think there’s something compelling and attractive about Xtianity, and you’re trying to get to it, or you’re just baiting people for the masturbatory distraction of it. Neither’s particularly … well, honest.

    If you believe in the true worth of Christianity, then say and deal with that. If you don’t, move on to something else—something you DO believe in. Why waste your talents, you mind, your heart on something you find beneath you going in? I’m saying this as a real friend. Move on.

  22. John,

    Your concerns are noted. But they suggest that I spend an inordinate amount of time on this blog or making videos for my youtube. Neither is true.

    It’s a hobby I enjoy.

  23. john, it’s nice to finally meet you. i feel you are too hard on us; it is a hobby, so what’s truly being hurt? besides, is there truly nothing one could gain from discussions such as these? it is not a crime to look into the religious and philosophical books of the world,and it is such behaviors as this that make us cosmopolitan, tolerant and intellectually robust individuals.
    recently, i read the works of Lao Tsu, and it was a very enlightening read. i do not wish to stop there, and have just recently purchased Phenomenology of Spirit (Georg Hegel’s masterpiece) and another of Hofstadter’s works, I Am a Strange Loop. again, there is much to be gained by taking in as much of the world’s different perspectives and weighing the merits.

  24. Well I just watched my first one, I probably should have started from the beginning but I am a bit limited on time and so I proceeded to watch the one you made today, just some brief thoughts on the video
    first off…Great idea, I did something similar with a few books of Harris’ and Dawkins and enjoyed it immensly.
    2nd off: From what I saw from the video (I apologize if I am incorrect) it seems as though you are confusing faith with lack of evidence, on the contrary my faith is based on evidence. My faith is not blind, it is based off of certain facts that I interpret to confirm a God ect. We all have faith in something or another…I have faith that when I fart, I will not blow up the world (hopefully) This faith is based off evidences facts and what not. We all have evidences, Philosophical, Logical, Emotional, Historical,Scientific and loads of others. Now we are given the same evidences, facts ect. The problem is we interpret them differently. I believe the Word of God clearly establishes itself to be the best possible answer the the questions in life we all ask. Call it what you want but I can’t help but to believe it. In my search/quest for truth the Bible has proved itself far superior in every aspect. I can see that I am now rambling, onto my next point!
    3. You posed the question why was the tomb guarded. The clearest way I know to explain this would be to give you the following passage in scripture.

    Matthew 27:62-66 62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” 65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

    you have a very nice attitude and interesting personality…I hope to watch more and respond but alas it is 1 in the morning and I have papers due tomorrow…keep up the good work bud 😉

  25. you said philly that you had proof… so present it. the faith you mention which is akin to having faith in a chair to exist and hold your wieght, and is indeed faith. but the fact remains that you have to believe that reality is as we see it, something which science and logic cannot possibly prove. in fact, god goes in this class of things like the true nature of reality, because he is metaphysical; there is simply no way to have a positivist argument for the existance of god, and that is why it is nonsensical to speak of god as if he were something as readily observed as natural phenomenon or an object (even such obscure topics such as dark matter and dark energy have more properties than an existant God)
    Emotional and personal evidence is not considered because it isn’t part of the scientific methodology, which is why i can relate to spiritualism yet must insist that it is nonexistant until proven otherwise. science is inclusive, not exclusive, so there is only positive proof that could conjure him (however, even in this there is a caveat: see the Babel Fish, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and, i couldn’t have made this up, pg 42); god cannot be a subcatogory of logical beings, because once limited to logic, he is no longer omnipotent. God cannot commit suicide, nor can he choose to do- or not do- anything that would be detrimental to his image

    if he isn’t defined by the laws of nature, then he is unnessesary, and if so then the universe very well could exist without him, even if we already grant that he exists. he is then not omnipresent, ergo not omniscent, and finally not omnipotent.
    Or he could just be something created by man’s vast subconscious, a now unneeded tool of psychological survival (Alper, The God Part of the Brain). God is not there. unless, as i said, you have positive proof of his existance
    let me save you some trouble: irreducible complexity is a misnomer, and was dubbed “interlocking complexity” by Hermann Muller in 1918 [Muller 1918 463-464]

    and if you so much as think ‘finely tuned’ i’ll slap you in the face with the weak Anthropic Principle

    but you know what philly, you’r trying. Reconciling your faith with science is something i cannot ever fault you for. i have respect for you for even coming to this site to argue the subject, as well as in your recognition of the venerable Morsec0de. In fact, the site i quoted from (talkorigins.com), espouses the stance of theistic evolution, so long as the evolutionary part of it is accurate. i just leave out the theism. i like my evolution like i like my soul: black, no cream, no sugar.

  26. hehe thanks for responding rickroll, you ask for proof, which is good!…I dont have time to present too much but I will present some facts that I think could only have been made possible by there being an omniscient/omnipotent ect. being
    #1 Historical accuracy of the Bible is (In my opinion) to accurate to be written by man alone.

    -Historical Accuracy-
    Sir William Ramsey (one of the most eminent authorities on geography and history of ancient Asia Minor) with much skepticism undertook an extensive research of the Gospel of Luke and acts later stated, “I take the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in regard to its trustworthiness…you may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment.”

    Dr. William F. Albright (6 doctorate degrees – one of the most respected oriental scholars who ever lived): “The reader may rest assured: nothing has been found to disturb a reasonable faith, and nothing has been discovered which can disprove a single theological doctrine….We no longer trouble ourselves with attemts to ‘harmonize’ religion and science, or to ‘prove’ the Bible. The Bible can stand for Itself.”

    Dr. Robert Wilson (expert in the language, history and archeology of the OT): “I have devoted myself to the one great study of the OT, in all of its languages, in all of its translations, and as far as possible in everything bearing upon its text and history….The result of my 45 years of study of the Bible has led me all the time to a firmer faith that in the OT we have a true historical account of the history of the Israelite people….”

    #2 Prophetic Accuracy in scripture that could not have been fulfilled without an omnipotent and omniscient being

    the book of Ezekiel makes certain prophecies concerning the destruction of a city named tyre. There are claims that Ezekiel makes that I think should be taken note of.
    -Many nations would come against Tyre (Ezek. 26:3)
    -The walls of Tyre would be broken down (Ezek. 26:4)
    -Dust would be scraped from her, and she would be left like a bare rock (Ezek. 26:4)
    -Tyre would be a place for the spreading of nets (Ezek. 26:5)
    -Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would build a siege wall around Tyre (Ezek. 26:8)
    -Nebuchadnezzar would plunder the city (Ezek. 26:9-12)
    -The stones, timber and soil of Tyre would be cast into the sea (Ezek. 26:12)
    -The city would never be rebuilt (Ezek. 26:14)
    So what lets now take a look at what happens to Tyre shall we?
    After the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of her king Zedekiah into captivity, “Nebuchadnezzar took all Palestine and Syria and the cities on the seacoast, including Tyre, which fell after a siege of 13 years (573 B.C.)” (E. A. Wallis Budge, Babylonian Life And History, p. 50). The inhabitants of Tyre fled to a rocky island half a mile offshore. The walls on the landward side of the island were 150 feet high. “The channel between Tyre and the mainland was over twenty feet deep, and frequently lashed by violent south-west winds. Their fortifications, they believed, would resist the strongest battering-ram yet devised. The city-walls stood sheer above the sea: how could any army without ships scale them? Shore based artillery was useless at such a range.” (Peter Green, Alexander of Macedon, p. 248).

    So Nebuchadnezzar has now destroyed the city of tyre as the prophecy had said he would but there was still the fortress which is where Alexander The great comes into play
    On his way towards Egypt, Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) led his Macedonian troops to victory at Sidon and then continued south towards Tyre. Tyrian envoys met with Alexander and assured him that their city was at his disposal. “However, he put their goodwill to the test by expressing his wish to sacrifice at the shrine of Heracles inside the city; for the Tyrians recognized a Phoenician god who was identified by the Greeks as Heracles, and from this deity Alexander claimed descent. Tyrian goodwill unfortunately did not extend so far as to grant him the permission he sought In short, they would not admit him into the city.” (David Chandler, Alexander 334-323 B.C., p. 41).

    Alexander was tempted to bypass the island fortress and continue his march towards Egypt. He sent messengers to Tyre, urging them to accept a peace treaty. Believing themselves to be safe on their island, the Tyrians killed Alexander’s ambassadors and threw their bodies from the top of the walls into the sea. This act served only to anger Alexander and embitter his troops.

    Alexander determined to build a mole to get his troops from the mainland to the island. The mole is said to have been at least 200 feet wide. It was constructed from stones and timber from the old city of Tyre on the mainland. In fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy, the very foundation stones, timbers and dust of the city was cast “in the midst of the water” (Ezek. 26:12).

    For a while the Tyrians laughed at Alexander’s project. At first they would row boats across the channel and harangue the Macedonians. Their laughter turned to concern when they saw the mole was going to be completed. The Tyrians ignited a barge and drove it into the first mole. The towers on the mole caught fire and several of Alexander’s men lost their lives. Alexander gave orders for the work to continue, and that the mole itself should be widened and more protective towers be built.

    Alexander was able to obtain ships from Sidon, Greek allies and Cyprus to form a blockade around Tyre. When the mole was within artillery range of Tyre, Alexander brought up stone throwers and light catapults, reinforced by archers and slingers, for a saturation barrage. Battle engineers constructed several naval battering rams which smashed through the walls of Tyre. Though courageous, the Tyrians were no match for Alexander’s troops. Over 7,000 Tyrians died in the defense of their island. In contrast, only 400 Macedonians were killed.

    The seven month siege, from January to July 332 B.C., was over. “The great city over which Hiram had once held sway was now utterly destroyed. Her king, Azimilik, and various other notables, including envoys from Carthage, had taken refuge in the temple of Melkart, and Alexander spared their lives. The remaining survivors, some 30,000 in number, he sold into slavery. Two thousand men of military age were crucified. Then Alexander went up into the temple, ripped the golden cords from the image of the god (now to be renamed, by decree, Apollo Philalexander), and made his long-delayed sacrifice: the most costly blood-offering even Melkart had ever received.” (Green, p. 262).

    Philip Myers (secular historian) “Alexander reduced it to ruins (332 B.C.). She recovered in a measure from this blow, but never regained the place she had previously help in the world. The larger part of the cite of the once great city is now bare as the top of a rock – a place where fishermen that still frequent that spot spread their nets to dry.”

    “If Ezekiel had looked at Tyre in his day and had made these seven predictions in human wisdom, these estimates mean that there would have been only one chance in 75,000,000 of their all coming true. They all came true in the minutest detail” (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks).

    Another Example

    Daniel 9:24 “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. 25 “So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress. 26 “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined. 27 “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate

    First we will separate the prophecy into three parts:

    1. The “7 sevens” in Daniel 9:25.

    2. The “62 sevens” in Daniel 9:25.

    3. And the 70th “seven” in Daniel 9:27.

    now we combine the first two periods for a total of 69 “sevens.”
    (The “7 sevens” + The “62 sevens” = 69 Sevens.)
    we combined the first two periods because it is at after the completion of those two periods that the anointed one appears, and that’s what we are trying to calculate – when the anointed one was supposed to appear.

    Next, we do a little research on what “sevens” are and the obvious conclusion is that we interpret the “sevens” as “seven years” or periods of seven years, rather than a period of seven days or seven weeks or seven months. Part of the reason that this is interpreted as “years” is because of the reference to “years” in Daniel 9:2. (Daniel 9:2 refers to the “seventy years” prophecy that Jeremiah spoke of in Jeremiah 25).

    At this point, we’re adding the 7 “sevens” and the 62 “sevens” for a total of 69 “sevens”. And we are interpreting the 69 “sevens” to mean 69 periods of seven years, for a total of 483 years. So, we are saying that there would be a period of 483 years from the time that a decree is given to rebuild Jerusalem to the time that a Messiah is to appear.

    Prophetic year has 360 days (Gen 7:11; Rev 11:3; 11:2; 12:6; 13:5).

    483 x 360 = 173,880 days
    Now, we want to apply these 173,880 days to our calendar, which has 365.25 days to a year. Why? So that we can use our calendar in trying to figure out the year that this part of Daniel’s prophecy was to begin its fulfillment and when this part of Daniel’s prophecy was to be completed. So, we divide the 173,880 days into years of 365.25 days. And, that equals 476 (solar) years. Now, we need to figure out when this 476 year period was supposed to begin!

    Edict of Artzxerxes (Neh 2:1). On Nisan I, in the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes – a decree was issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalum.
    “Encyclopedia Britannica – Artaxerxes’ ascension was 465 B.C. So his 20th year would be Nison 1, 445 B.C.”
    Nisan I, equates to – March 14, 445 B.C., this date is the starting point

    Christ’s ministry began in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1,2).
    The beginning of His reign was August 19, A.D. 14.
    A. D. 14 + 15 years = A. D. 29 =the time Christ entered public ministry.
    The triumphal entry was four days before, Nisan 10th, or April 6th, A. D. 32

    From B. C. 445 to A. D. 32 is 476 years, 173,740 days
    Plus 116 days for leap years.
    From March 14th to April 6th = 24 days

    173,740 + 116 + 24 =173,880

    I have a few more and if you wish I shall post them later…

    I had a discussion with morse about this one but I think it is an interesting philosophical proof of a moral God.

    “If the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies . . . are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention . . . . The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference” Richard Dawkins

    “If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist. To say that there are objective moral values is to say that something is right or wrong independently of whether anybody believes it to be so. It is to say, for example, that Nazi anti-Semitism was morally wrong, even though the Nazis who carried out the Holocaust thought that it was good; and it would still be wrong even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in exterminating or brainwashing everybody who disagreed with them. And the claim is that in the absence of God, moral values are not objective in this sense.
    Many theists and atheists alike concur on this point. For example, the late J. L. Mackie of Oxford University, one of the most influential atheists of our time, admitted: “If . . . there are . . . objective values, they make the existence of a God more probable than it would have been without them. Thus, we have a defensible argument from morality to the existence of a God.” 8 But in order to avoid God’s existence, Mackie therefore denied that objective moral values exist. He wrote, “It is easy to explain this moral sense as a natural product of biological and social evolution . . . .Friedrich Nietzsche, the great 19th century atheist who proclaimed the death of God, understood that the death of God meant the destruction of all meaning and value in life.

    I think that Friedrich Nietzsche was right.

    But we must be very careful here. The question here is not: “must we believe in God in order to live moral lives?” I’m not claiming that we must. Nor is the question: “Can we recognize objective moral values without believing in God?” I think that we can.

    Rather the question is: “If God does not exist, do objective moral values exist?” Like Mackie and Ruse, I don’t see any reason to think that in the absence of God, human morality is objective. After all, if there is no God, then what’s so special about human beings? They’re just accidental by-products of nature which have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe and which are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. On the atheistic view, some action, say, rape, may not be socially advantageous and so in the course of evolution has become taboo; but that does absolutely nothing to prove that rape is really wrong. On the atheistic view, apart from the social consequences, there’s nothing really wrong with your raping someone. Thus, without God there is no absolute right and wrong which imposes itself on our conscience.

    But the problem is that objective values do exist, and deep down we all know it. There’s no more reason to deny the objective reality of moral values than the objective reality of the physical world. The reasoning of Ruse at best proves only that our subjective perception of objective moral values has evolved. But if moral values are gradually discovered, not invented, then our gradual and fallible apprehension of the moral realm no more undermines the objective reality of that realm than our gradual, fallible perception of the physical world undermines the objectivity of that realm. Most of us think that we do apprehend objective values. As Ruse himself confesses, “The man who says that it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says, 2+2=5 –Professor Craig”

    I apologize if there are misspellings, I hope to write more later but I am swamped with schoolwork 😉
    peace!

  27. the reason the historical accuracy was so great is because of the incredible painstaking efforts in reproducing text, in addition to the pruning of the scripture to fit history. the noted examples are quite astonishing, you haver put an extensive amout of time on putting it all down here. bravo. Yet the whole messianic message is rendered useless in the context that Jesus was not the Messaiah (after all, as a human sacrifice, this was absolutely a foregone conclusion, it would absolutely not hold under Jewish law).
    So the flood happened? and sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by volcanoes that weren’t even there? It is physically impossible for the Flood to be a natural phenomenon, and moreover, it is the absence of water after the flood that is even more miraculous. Sodom and Gomorrah (not under those names, of course) were not seen to have been destroyed by fire nor was there any great indicaton of the lifetsyle of the ‘depraved’ culture there.
    On morality, humans have invented it, more or less, in it’s present state. Therefore, it is not objective- true, however is it not dismissable. As Morse went over in his videos, the main component of all true morality is the golden Rule
    Oh, did you know that there were several scriptures in Jesus’ time, and so it would have been very difficult to even say what exactly he was using as his sources (assuming he had any).
    Neitzche is a horribly misunderstood man, and to say life has no meaning is a complete insult to his namesake. Rather, he refused to put things so narrowly, he was angred with the ‘follow the leader’ mentality of humans. I think the closest to his ideals was to find the absolute best that one could find in humans and to transcend that. He was by no stretch a nihilist, having utmost respect for the law and believed that there was a future for the human race.
    “In fact, we philosopher’s and ‘free spirits’ feel ourselves irradiated as by a new dawn by the report that the’old god is dead’; our hearts overflow with gratitude, astonishment, presentment and expectation. At last, the horizon seems open once more, granting even that it is not bright; our ships can at last put out to sea in face of every danger, every hazard is again permitted to the discerner; the sea, our sea, again lies open before us; perhaps never before did such an ‘open sea’ exist

    After all, the ubermensch is a “creator of values”, but “to create one must first destroy”i have a book on the Great Philosophers, as per the title, and i quotee it further: “Morality,for both Nietzche and at least some of the Greeks depends on human nature; in particular it is an expression of what is excellent in us.” but no, objectivism may be beyond the pale. So what? it is not foregone that there isn’t this great area of agreement between peoples of the world? is not that objective enough? I don’t understand why people should fear change, should fear the darkness before the dawn. it is foolish. In a truly dynamic system, there is nothing left unchanged.
    Oh, and 2×2=5, for extremaly large values of 2. There is so much to what you wrote there that it’ll take more than just me to actually go through it thouroughly. Morse, some help please?

  28. M,
    Congratulations on your accomplishment!
    I do realize that you are still an atheist, and that’s your choice. But, its my choice to continue praying for you! By the way, the disciple whom Jesus loved is John. Evidently he was a humble individual and did not like attention brought to his name but would rather have the attention on Jesus. Also, one of John’s themes throughout his account of the Gospel is love. If I’m not mistaken, he mentioned the word love more than the rest of the Gospels combined. Jesus didn’t love him more than the rest; that was just John’s way of distinguishing himself.
    Jesus loves you just as much as He loved John!
    Thanks for accepting the challenge! And, I pray that one day you fall in love with Jesus the way I have and let Him transform your life the way He has mine!

  29. Rickroll,
    Take the challenge.
    21 days, 21 chapters, 1 chapter a day of John.
    If you are afraid you will start believing Jesus, don’t.
    But if not, take it, and I will be praying for you either way.

  30. I am thinking of taking a similar challenge with a book of a atheists choosing, however one that I have not read. Any suggestions?
    I have read much of Harris, Dawkins,and Dennets work… a bit of Hitchens here and there but im not a fan of him.
    Maybe an older philosopher?

  31. Read “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” by Carl Sagan.

    Don’t read it if you’re afraid of becoming more skeptical, though. 😉

  32. haha I have read it, Sagan though a bit outdated is an interesting read…Im thinking alot older…Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, or David Hume…
    the “popular” atheists these days rely on weak arguments that are neither philosophical nor logical IMPO dawkins should go back to biology…

  33. Russell is easily the best, though I am still exploring him.

    One of his best observations was of nuns who, not wanting to be naked before god, would cover themselves even in baths. Strangely it never occurred to them that an all-powerful god could see through fabric…

  34. lol
    ill look in to him
    muchos gracias!

  35. How about Alper, The “God” Part of the Brain; it’s fairly short, but is extremely provacative and deals specifically with neuroscienctific findings in regard to these matters.
    And yes, Compass, but which translation (i have a few)? Nevermind, i have a Zondervan study bible which is great. Besides, why not tackle something truly interesting, say, Romans? i’d be more than willing to, but at this point in time, i have much more pressing matters to attend to. sorry. Oh, and i tried Jesus, he was no help. i was raised a christian, some type of protestant, not too clear, however, if i were to retern, i would HAVE to be a calvanist, much like Sproul. It is closest to the reality of fatalism, determinism. and even then, I wait for the Rapture, like a Real Christian, to see the end with my own eyes. The proof will be the only thing to sway me.
    Morse, congradulations, now for a well deserved break, eh? I assume then that Project flagellum will be back on track? look forward to it.

  36. Rick,
    Romans, John… either one would be fine. John is just my favorite book, so that’s the one I initially refer people to.
    You said you “was raised Chirstian”. What happened? I don’t really care what denomination you were, just want to know what happened.
    If you decide to wait until the Rapture happens for that magnitude of evidence proving God and Jesus, thats your choice. But, then it will be too late for you. Your best choice would be to repent and believe Jesus now…before its too late.
    Either way, its your choice. Believe the Truth or a lie. Deep down, we both know which one’s which.

  37. Yeah, we do, right Morse?
    It was a really petty reason to not be with God, at least at first… Actually what turned me completely at that pivotal point was Conversations With God, for teens. it was still spirituality, still God, but much more new age-y and had some real good points. Shame i lost the book. But then i really looked deep philosophically, really looked into the way of the world, and i realized, i had outgrown the childish notion of the Invisable Sky Daddy.
    Furthermore, the whole notion of Meaning in any eternal sense was fatalism, and that God himself was deviod of meaning. In fact Meaning it seems, is established in the face of futility when one resigns himself to a task, when one defines his own meaning. Nothing else could be correct. Meaning is something to be equated with truth, and if that is to be also freedom, then it must come from devotion and self-sacrifice. God has niether, by default

  38. R,
    I’ve heard of that book and don’t know enough about it to really argue for or against it. However, I do know God, and I can argue(plead) for Him.
    As an atheist, what do believe will happen to you when you die?
    If you believe like our friend morsec0de, you believe you will become nothingness.
    As a Christian, I believe my body will remain here until the Resurrection, but my soul will immediately be present with God in Heaven.
    I believe that what I do with and for Jesus here, in obedience to whatever He leads me to do, will result in me getting rewards in Heaven, but in turn, laying the rewards at Jesus’s feat because without Him, it would have all been in vain. I believe I will live forever in Heaven in absolute peace, joy, splendor, love with Him! I could have inserted Biblical references in any number of places, but I’m assuming they would mean little to nothing to you anyway; nevertheless, if you desire them, I will provide them.
    Now, considering both of our beliefs about what happens to each of us after life is over, which one do you honestly think has the most “meaning”?
    Jesus has devotion and self-sacrifice. Look at the cross. He was devoted to God’s will for mankind even when it meant His life. He is devoted to His people and promises. And, He gave Himself as a sacrifice for you and I, even though neither of us deserves it and only one of us believes it.
    Jesus loves you, died for you, and rose again so you can have eternal life. That’s the Truth! Don’t let a lie take you to Hell.

  39. PS: I also believe that me “doing things for God” does not get me to Heaven or anyone else. That only comes by me placing my faith in Jesus Christ.
    The rewards and all that come after.

  40. Christ came back. therefore, he lost nothing. Morse did a whole post based on this very topic. In addtion, we must ask ourselves, did he really have a choice? No, he was prophecied to come specifically at that time as you pointed out. And his death and resurrection supposedly fulfilled man’s obligation to Jewish Law, another comlpete load because it was, by definition, a human sacrifice. And you never answered to me what god’s meaning was. If He has none, then niether do you/
    Besides, if you are doing things for reward instead of simply doing them to better yourself and the world around yo, you’re motivated by selfish reasons. But that doesn’t bother me. If you do good deeds, that’s what matters. but god knows what in your heart, and it’s “all about the money” so to speak.
    Besides, shouldn’t you be worried about Hell? Allah doesn’t look to kindly on those who abuse his scriptures, and looks very poorly on christans in particular i imagine, because of the crusades and the militar occupation in the Middle East.
    And FYI, no one knows what’s gonna happen after we die. it’s just that simple. Anything is possible, because nothingness is clearly a very difficult thing to attain, in any scientific sense.

  41. Woah woah woah there rickiddy roll!
    “did he really have a choice?”
    heck yeah he did! people prophesied that he would come because he knew that he was going to come, its not like they prophesied and then God up in heaven was like “oh crap now I gotta go die for them” God is the source of the prophesies
    A prophecy is in my definition truth received directly from God.
    God told them, they didn’t tell God…
    And no he did not have to come, He could have remained in Heaven and been completely good and just. After all we are just getting what we deserve right?
    the all too common verse “The wages of sin is death”

    “his death and resurrection supposedly fulfilled man’s obligation to Jewish Law, another complete load because it was, by definition, a human sacrifice.”
    Listen, don’t get me wrong. I can and might even enjoy spending hours upon hours upon hours talking about the Deity of Christ as well as the Humanity of Him. If you wish I will, for now I will simply say that He fulfilled the law as he was the only to ever live who never sinned (no Mary)
    if you want to discuss it further then let me know…

    the real reason I came on here was not to debate.. rather get advice…I am (hopefully soon) going to be taking morse’s idea to a whole new level.. Me and an atheist friend are going to switch lives for 30 days (maybe like Supersize me?) and I need to find some sort of atheist gathering/ group therapy sessions to attend go…the premise is going to be I am going to live my life as if I were an atheist, I am not even going to let anyone know that I am really a Christian and likewise for my atheist friend he is going to be attending church and praise night ect while i’m going to whatever athiest gathering I can find…if you know of any let me know please and thank you!
    !!Peace!!

  42. listen, “The wages of sin is death” is a new testament Scripture, no where in the Old Teastament was it ever indicated that Hell was the ultimate punishment for eternity. The afterlife in judaism is extremaly vauge, in fact. And another thing, Where did evil come from in the first place?
    Anyway, good luck to you and morse, look forward to the results.

  43. wait results? huh? im not doing this with morse lol…

    “Where did evil come from in the first place?”
    im sure you have heard the answer but i’ll offer it anyways…God gave angels free will, you cannot have true love if you have no other choice but to love (robot) some angels rebelled (satan and demons)
    Same with humans…but since satan was already in the picture he came and tempted eve and adam ect…you know the story 😉

  44. Actually that doesn’t explain how evil exists at all. What motivations were there to cause sin? Evil selfish desires, but these desires are baseless. Its akin to saying that a person feels anger, then acts upon it, and thus rage was created by humans (also false, Elephants and hippos have this tendancy in the wild). Evil exists not in action, but in thought. People can’t control the thoughts they have (and i say people, not just human); sometimes they can direct the course of this thought through logical or social influences, but in almost all situations, it is directed by the subconscious. Unless angels have no subconscious, which is a silly notion. But i’ll entertain it nonetheless, for the sake of argument. Then what logical leap did Lucifer make to deside to rebel against omnipotence? There wasn’t one, it was all emotion. how the process of this calamitous event occured under the omniscent watch of God i’ll never find out, and what was the Real motivation behind his action, the Bible does not say, although again, this is all new testament scripture, from Hebrews. Correct me if i’m wrong on this.
    Anyway you look at it, it makes no sense. Even assuming there is no sin, only absemce of God, then how was God absent IN heaven? there was no one or nothing that wasn’t of him, The evil you speak of is called absurd evil, because it spontaneously emerges out of the woodwork, and in doing so, justifies the notion that Evil is at least on par with good. See, good cannot eliminate evil, never does god seek to do this, only punishment- gross, wholly unsubstantiated torture (eternity for finite crime), and saying that it was createdd by sentients is more than god could do. he couldn’t ‘create’ good, he simply Is good. R.C. Sproul admits to not knowing how evil came to exist, and to me, that is the biggest hole in all of theological apolagetics.
    Sorry philly, i saw athiest and assumed Morse. Sorry Morse, lol. anyway, llo forward to this experiment. It’ll be fun.

  45. Oh yes, and here’s the tickler, Luke 6:43-45: “A good tree cannot bear bad fuit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. It is by their fruit that we recognize them. Do we pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from briars? A good man brings good deeds out from the treasure of his heart, and an evil man from the treasure of his heart. From the overflow of his heart a man speaks.”
    So sayeth the Christ. Indeed, it was only in the limited sense, and was varient based upon man’s inner reflections and his expression of this in the real world, and like all things, differed from situation from situation. Nonetheless, there was only one tree and one fruit in the beginning, wasn’t there? There was no resentment and malice that was present in the universe before the Morning Star fell, so out of what stored tresure did his mouth speak?
    Even in 1st John, chapter 3, the situation only worked in reverse. A salty spring of undrinkable water is desalinated by the holy spirit and Christ, but the introduction to the history of mankind reveals that the reverse happened as well. Not too certain of the address here, i cannot find my Zondervan.
    Remember good cannot create evil, but evil can become good. It is reverse entropy if you will, the 2nd law of Universal Evil, while, as i mentioned, the first is the Conservation of Evil: it cannot either be created nor destroyed. Remember, good and evil in the biblical sense are infinities, thus addition and subtraction by human activity in negligable

  46. Meaning-the end, the purpose, the significance of something/someone
    Jesus’s significant purpose was coming to Earth to redeem fallen man to Him. To live a perfect life. To die a perfect death(a perfect SACRIFICAL death….I have respect for mc0de, but he and I both know that I put more credence in what the Bible says, and it speaks of a sacrifical death. If you want to base what you believe to be the truth of Jesus’s death on what an atheist says, fine, that’s your choice. But, I’ll stand on what God says. The sacrifice really is revealed when one realizes that Jesus actually bore in His body on the cross the very thing that separated humans from God, the thing that God utterly despises, the thing that He hates and has to punish, SIN! God loved you enough to bare what He hates most so you can know Him and live forever!) To be resurrected, miraculously to perfect life.
    The whole meaning of Jesus is love and redemption at the highest cost…His life!
    You and mc0de may never turn to Him on earth, that is your choice, and I can not make you turn to Jesus. But, one day, you will bow to Jesus as God of the Universe, not because you want to, but because you have to. The best option is to choose now to repent and turn to Jesus.

  47. what is the point of saving us? There isn’t one. It’s that simple. What is the point of God’s existance (remember, the Trinity) you only spoke about 1/3 of the persona of God. You say significant, but on the other hand it was completely superfluous, unwarrented, and undeserved. so which is it?
    Again, this only matters to us humans. Which brings up the whole relationship thing… God is unnecessary to begin with, as i explained somewhere on this site, but without anyone to make him seem good, his whole absolute system of weights and measures goes up in smoke. Humans are nothing without God, and i think that vice versa is equally paramount. And i see you ignored the incredably important, indeed the Most important point i made, about Absurd Evil.
    You act as if i take Morsec0de’s word for it. I don’t, as it so happens there are points of contention between us, however, where it matters the most, we agree. I came up with almost all i’ve said myself (my sources are referanced and noted very often), and the whole point of atheism as i see it, and i believe that Morse agrees, is not to be part of a collective. We aren’t Borg.
    Besides, you also are insulting Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet, before Christ! You should know this. Allah is not nearly as merciful as your blasphemous Lord, so you might wanna watch out for hell yourself, as i stated.

  48. I mentioned R.C Sproul a couple of times, now hear it from him, not indirectly through some arrogant (admittedly) athiest. An article:
    http://www.the-highway.com/DoublePredestination_Sproul.html
    Perhaps this is very off topic, it would be great to have a thread on this all by itself…

  49. I believe in One God. The only True God. God in Three persons: Father, Son, Holy Ghost. Mohammed is dead! Jesus is alive!
    Enough said.
    Allah is nothing but a huge lie that Satan is using to lead more and more people everyday straight to Hell.
    There is only One God.
    Read what I posted on this blog on Sept. 30. Unfortunately, this applies to you, too, and anyone else who continues to reject Jesus Christ…Muslims included. Straight from the Book.
    One day, every knee…Muslim, Buddhist, Hindi, Atheist, and so called Christian but who really aren’t will all bow before Jesus Christ! Again, I urge you to repent and do this now before you are forced to later. I say this because I love you, not because I’m that interrested in arguing. I just don’t want you to go to Hell.

  50. By the way, self proclaimed “arrogant athiest” or not, it is interresting for me as a self proclaimed “Jesus Believing Christian” to hear your perspective. I appreciate your time, as well as M’s, that you put into this conversation.

  51. i appreciate the nice remarks, but “fire and brimstone”, “bow now or bow later” crap isn’t gonna convince anyone.
    You got anything to say that pertains to the issues i raised? If not, it’s just blah blah blah. You can’t prove any of the things you’ve been stating over the past few days. My arguments are logically stated. Simply covering your ears and saying, “I believe, I Believe!” and clicking your heels together won’t bring you out of reality.
    Get back to the scripture at the very least, or better yet, look into counter-arguments for my statements. I appreciate discussion as much as the next person, but you’ve gotten woefully off-track.

  52. With all my heart, I would love to bring everything “back to the scripture”, but unfortunately, you don’t believe in the Bible, so what difference does “the scripture” make to you?
    Also, I would refer you to phillysoul11’s statements on he presented a lot of strong support for the evidence of the Word, and you tried to refute it, but honestly, evolution is easier to argue against than those facts. The numbers, accounts, testimonies, historical FACTS all atest to Jesus Christ. Nothing but theories(educated non-facts) support(or attempt to support) evolution, Big Bang…etc.
    It honestly takes more faith not to believe in God than it does to believe in Him!
    You’re staking everything on a bunch of people’s opinions who have nothing better to do than stare at moth’s and think about rocks and how absolutely nothing somehow resulted in everything through a gaseous combustion(gas from where? remember there was nothing), caused by a spark(again from where? nothing?), and over billions and billions of years of stuff coming from nothing and that stuff growing somehow from nothing…now, we’re here talking on a computer to each other possibly on different sides of the globe…and we came from mud?
    Here’s what I believe happened…and some Scriptures for you:
    Gen. 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”…then He created light, various other things, then…
    Gen. 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
    Its alot easier to believe that everything was made not just accidentally happened!

  53. “theories(educated non-facts)”

    No wonder you’re confused.

    That is not what a theory is.

    I suggest you go and take a few science classes.

  54. Your complete lack of knowledge on the subjest is amazing. If not the Big Bang, then what?!!! The steady state theory (discredited). I suppose you think relativity is wrong, and has been wrong for 400 years. You think the germ theory is wrong. Get sick, then refuse medical help. You think all our knowledge is supplanted by guesswork, then what use are your supposed facts aren’t any better
    Again, where’s evil? I mentioned scripture too just so you know… and it lends credence to what i’m saying. You arent even making an argument anymore, you’re just ranting and raving.
    Oh, by the way…HOW did God do it??? it never says does it, so science is as applicable to life and the universe as your scripture. by the way, how many inventions did the scripture create? how many diseases cured, social ills take n care of? Science and technology have a much greater track record than the Word, i’m afraid
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

  55. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis
    there. that’s all i need to say for now

  56. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

  57. Wow, I just realize how long it has been since I looked here. To respond to the issue of Sproul – I don’t see everything eye to eye with him. I am not of the Calvinist doctrine, but I am an Arminian – (see Free Will Baptist).

    Secondly – I choose Romans, as I am actually doing my own personal Bible study through Romans and in turn leading my youth group through it. 😉

    And in all honesty, without getting all goofy and sentimental – I honestly respect you two atheist guys for being courteous. I find myself reading a lot on “Yahoo! Answers” and there are so many ignorant and rude atheists on there. You guys are good guys. Thanks.

  58. i’m not a good guy, but thanks for saying so 😛
    However, as Sproul admitted, and this is where the conversation fell apart, the problem of evil is completerly unresolved. You can’t say sin, sin is a product of evil, not the source. i made remarks to this effect earlier.
    Oh, it seems my comments made it through after all. I didn’t mean to post the same link 3x. sorry everyone. I thought that the page was full or something.
    Anyway, Mrakers, i see it that you are also very genial, and for that i applaude you

  59. RR,
    Don’t sweat the tri-posting of the link! No problem!
    Where’s evil? Everywhere…check the public records in a newspaper
    My Jesus is the Great Physician…countless miracles not even you can disprove and not even science can explain.
    Jesus IS the social cure…Historically, and now, Christians are some of the most generous, helpful people on the planet…not because we have to (please don’t take this as prideful either) its becuase we love Jesus and people! No matter what socail standing one may have, they need help…food, water, shelter…JESUS!
    After Katrina…Red CROSS, CHRISTIAN Food Mission, countless CHURCHES, YOUTH GROUPS, BSU’s all helped (with some exceptions dominantly Christ motivated groups) bring life back to N. O. and the Coastline. Socially stabilizing gestures done out of love…again probably with a few exceptions.
    Creation…God did it. I gave you the references. The how’s are answered there.
    Science does nothing but post theories and PROVE GOD!
    1: the analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
    2: abstract thought : speculation
    3: the general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
    4 a: a belief, policy, or procedure proposed or followed as the basis of action b: an ideal or hypothetical set of facts, principles, or circumstances —often used in the phrase in theory
    5: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
    6 a: a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation b: an unproved assumption : conjecture c: a body of theorems presenting a concise systematic view of a subject
    This is Merrian Webster. When speaking of science, a theory is nothing more than a guess. It’s not a fact.
    God is a fact. What He’s done in my life is proof.
    Again, where did the gas come from?

  60. “My Jesus is the Great Physician…countless miracles not even you can disprove and not even science can explain.”

    You don’t have to disprove or explain things that haven’t been proven in the first place. You have claims. Claims don’t prove much.

    “Jesus IS the social cure”

    No. Social groups are the social cure. Many large groups of Mormons and Scientologists also helped Katrina. So?

    “This is Merrian Webster. When speaking of science, a theory is nothing more than a guess.”

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. Check out a science text book.

  61. M,
    My friend was diagnosed with LOOPUS (unsure about spelling) and confirmed with being a carrier by 4 different doctors. Burdened and deeply saddened, obviously, her and her family turned to God and prayed for a miracle. They are Christians. Not a month ago, she went in to the Doctor’s office and there was literally no trace of the disease at all. Even the doctor said it was nothing short of a miracle.
    How can science explain that?
    Much Gratitude to everyone who helped after Katrina Christian based or not. But, the majority of the org.’s that respond after any disaster are Christian oriented doing so under Christian principles of loving one’s neighbor as oneself. Nobody can argue with that. The USA sends aid to countries nearly anywhere regardless of their beliefs. The USA is predominantly a Christian nation founded on Christian principles.
    How many Muslim nations send us aid after hurricanes?
    Again, where did the gas come from?

  62. So, does scientists alter the definition of the word theory?

  63. Compass,

    It’s spelled Lupus.

    Sometimes diseases go into remission on their own. It happens just as often to people who don’t pray as to people who do, and as often to believers as it happens to non believers. Unless it’s consistent, then it proves nothing.

    The majority of orgs are Christian because the majority of people in our country are Christian. Simple as that.

    Don’t know what gas you’re talking about.

    “theory” means something different when used in a scientific context than it does when used colloquially.

  64. M,
    Thanks for the spelling help.
    And, please let me take a few lines to thank you personally for willingly conversating with me, knowing I am a believer, and me knowing you are an atheist. I feel I have learned a lot from you just from hearing your perspective. So, thank you.
    Back to the discussion.
    From a Christian’s perspective, I would almost be willing to bet (I don’t, but if I did) that there was at least one Christian praying for the sick person that was miraculously healed whether the person healed was a Believer or not.
    M, I’m not into that hocus-pocus, hit a person on the head and breathe on them and they are healed stuff. I personally think that the majority of that stuff is fake and money driven. And, I believe also that not everyone we(Christians) pray for will be healed. Some people for some other Divine purpose, I believe God lets remain sick. Does it mean He doesn’t love them? No. And, it doesn’t mean He can’t fix them either. He just knows whats best, and what’s best may not mean the person is healed.
    You probably won’t believe me, but from personal experience, I can testify to the power of praying, or to be more specific, I can testify to the power of the One I pray to. If you want examples of times when my prayers have been unmistakingly answered, I can give them to you.
    From my understanding of the Big Bang theory, in the very beginning of the theory, from nothing came gas and that gas exploded by a spark from somewhere.
    Where did that gas come from? Or, am I off on the first part of the theory?
    Also, from a scientific perspective, what is the meaning of the word theory?

  65. M,
    One last thing: I already pray for you pretty regularly, but is there any specific thing I can pray for for yor?

  66. From wikipedia:

    “In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation. For the scientist, “theory” is not in any way an antonym of “fact”. For example, it is a fact that an apple dropped on earth has been observed to fall towards the center of the planet, and the theories commonly used to describe and explain this behavior are Newton’s theory of universal gravitation (see also gravitation), and the general theory of relativity.”

    “From my understanding of the Big Bang theory, in the very beginning of the theory, from nothing came gas and that gas exploded by a spark from somewhere.
    Where did that gas come from? Or, am I off on the first part of the theory?”

    I think you need to look up the Big Bang theory and do some research. Last I checked, gas and a spark have nothing to do with it.

    And as I don’t believe the prayer does anything, except make the praying person feel good, you are free to pray for me in whatever way you desire.

  67. HI Morse 🙂 Very glad to see you’re back! Actually, universal gravitation is a law . sorry. Now, it was explained to me that a law is more or less a summary of what happens (gravitational forces are acting according to the square of the distance between two objects) wheras a theory is an attempt to explain why it happens (gravitational lensing is caused by bends in the fabric of spacetime, which is general relativity)
    I’m using the metaphor how and why (though both are obviously how- oriented) that comes straigth from my chemistry book (pg. 6, Chemistry, seventh edition, ZumDahl and ZumDahl, 2007) which, as i stated, is current.

    “Evil is everywhere” eh, Compass? Yes but how- ignoring the fact that that is a Gross overstatement? Sin comes from Evil, not the reverse, as you well know (and I quoted staight from God’s lips to your ears Luke 6:43-45!). STOP ignoring the question! Did God create Evil? Is Evil Coeternal, in which case God’s supposed omnipotence is farcical, or Did it really come from beings less than the Creator; this is by far the most astonishing possibility because God certainly didn’t create Himself, yet lesser creatures could create the antithesis of God, which is immutable and indestructable?!
    Why won’t God destroy Evil, rather than sequester it into it’s own universe at the end of time? Isn’t that more or less an accknowledgement that Evil is it’s own entity? And the final statement to this effect is this: What makes you so damn sure sin won’t come back when the world is renewed as spoken about in Revelations? Not much, as i see it.

  68. Oh, and if you want to keep abreast in the conversation of cosmology, Read The Elegant Universe and/or The Fabric of Spaceime (i would suggest the latter) by Brian Greene. Ch. 10 in the FoS is Deconstructing the Bang, so read that only if you don’t wish to bog yourself down with all the details, something that, in retrospect, sounds very convenient as to reading both books in thier entirety. hahaha. In fact, and I mentioned this before (!!!), the Big Bang is only viable up to 10^-43 seconds After the Bang, and current theories and experiments (at the Hadron collider of course) are assesing whether that designation is even necessary. It might turn out to be Time 0 after all if M-Theory makes headway in the next decade or so. Only time will tell.

  69. Mcode,
    Thanks for your help with the def.
    One question though (honest question from not a very scientific background): Does a theory=a fact?
    Did a little research on the B.B. theory. According to it, if I’m remotely correct, a lot of temperature, energy, plasmic substances, and stuff started expanding all at once.
    Where did all that stuff come from?
    I just assumed that a “spark” would almost have to cause a “Bang”, and a lot of combustible gas would probably be needed to make that big of a bang.
    Either way, where did the first particle of the theory come from?
    That’s fine if you don’t want me to pray for specifics. But, I’ll still be praying for you.
    In all seriousness, I love you, in a godly way. I just want you to have what’s been given to me. If I could accept it for you, I would; but, I can’t.

  70. Compass:

    A theory describes facts. In that way, evolution is both fact and theory.

    It is a fact that species change over time from generation to generation. The theory is how these changes happen.

    The answer to you BB question is “we don’t know”. Which is the honest answer. My guess, since it has been shown the matter/energy can neither be created or destroyed, there was some other existence before the BB. But we honestly don’t know at this point. If you have evidence for your own claim, bring it forward.

  71. GG,
    Worthy thoughts and questions in your first of the two recent posts and definitely deserving of an answer. I promise, I’ll try to give you a good answer, though I have a feeling it will not be good enough for you.
    “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
    But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
    Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
    Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
    Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:13-17 (NASB)

  72. GG (continued),
    When Wusthof makes a kitchen knife, they intend it to be used for cooking, preparing food to feed people and provide food to the world. They never mean for the knife to be used in a murder or suicide.
    Every person has a right to go and buy a kitchen knife; to my knowledge, there is no law against that. Unfortunately this also includes those whose heart is set toward evil, who would misuse something intended for good.
    The same is some what true of God and evil.
    Did He create evil? Absolutely not. It is absurd to even consider such a possibility. An apple tree can’t produce kittens. Evil is totally against God’s nature; there’s no possible way that He would/ could create it.
    But, this doesn’t mean that its not allowed. Is He powerful enough to end all evil right now? Of course. He’s omnipotent.
    He also loves us enough to not make us do anything against our will, such as love and follow Him. Thus is the window for sin-direct disobedience to God, anything contrary to the very nature of God opened. For example, God intended iron and lead to be used to benefit humanity. But people, who are naturely evil and inclined to disobedience, took what God meant for good and turned it into life ending guns and such.
    Evil, I believe was first introduced when Lucifer, later Satan, got the bright idea that he needed to be worshipped as God. You know, he was cast from Heaven along with 2/3 of the angels in an act of rebellion-sin.
    In the Garden of Eden, Satan, using the creature of a serpent, introduced Eve and in turn Adam into this rebellion/defiance-sin.
    When they fell-committed sin-they died immediately spiritually. Thus, we are all born spiritually dead.
    This is the whole reason why Jesus was born of a virgin-not from the line of Adam, but from God. He had perfect, sinfree, united with God blood. He died a death we deserved because He loves us. And, was resurrected making a way for us (humanity) to be reconciled to God!
    It’s a beautiful story of redemption!

  73. RR,
    As for your secong of the 2 posts, I barely understood a single word. No offence.
    It’s a whole lot easier to explain us in this way:
    God made us.

  74. RR, I meant to say “RR” a post or so ago! Sorry for the “GG”! ha

    M,
    Thanks for further help with the theory def.
    Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in a form of evolution such as some elephants having larger ears and some having smaller according to their surrondings.
    I just don’t believe, and nobody has ever proved that a species can ever evolve into a totally different species. Ex: dog into butterfly
    My stance stands. God created the Heavens and the Earth. Gen. 1:1

  75. Compass,

    Google whale evolution. Land animals turning into sea creatures. Interesting stuff, supported by fossils, genes and current biology. (Why would an animal that lives in the water breath air? Unless, of course, they evolved originally on land.)

    Dog into butterfly makes no sense, sorry.

  76. “It’s a whole lot easier to explain us in this way:
    God made us.”

    It’s also easier to say “universe-creating pixies made us.”

    Easy doesn’t mean true.

  77. M,
    “Dog into butterfly makes no sense, sorry.”
    To my, neither does whale into human.
    I also thought that the tone of evolution brings life from water to land, not from land to water?
    Perhaps, thats just the way God meant them.

  78. Whales into humans didn’t happen either.

    You REALLY need to take a class in evolution, Compass. I mean that in all seriousness.

    Things did start out in the water. And it was completely strange to scientists when it started to look like whales had come out of the water and then gone back in. But it was what the evidence shows.

    Humans as we are now came from mammalian ape-like creatures. We go back far enough, there are fish-like creatures in our ancestry. But no whales, as whales are just as evolved as we are.

  79. M,
    I have to disagree. Whales are nowhere near close to humans on any level. Bigger, yes. More advanced, far from it. Shamoo has nothing on you!
    God made us dominant. It’s all in Genesis.

  80. Compass,

    I don’t think you understand what I’m saying.

    When I say “they’re as evolved” I mean that they have had the same amount of time to evolve as we have as a species, and probably went through around the same number of changes through the millenia.

    Every species currently on the planet is just as evolved as we are. Evolved in different ways, certainly, but just as evolved.

    The only thing we have over the other animals is our intellect. And sometimes not even that is enough to help us survive.

  81. So, i take it then compass, you believe evil to be coeternal, as it represents a set of options, or metaphysical universes – if i may bring to bear another cumbersome topic: The Many Worlds Interpretation.
    But God Won’t destroy evil, and that’s the point of conterntion (oh, and it was 1/3, not 2/3). Or do you believe Satan to have sponatneously become evil, which is literally absurd? your remarks are leading to two very different conclusions. and i realize that passege was very poetic, but circular. Lust, a sin, begets sin? Doesn’t make sense. And oh yes, if God can’t create evil, then he isn’t omnipotent, is he?
    Furthermore, wasn’t higher learning a christian value? It was instituted by the RCR, of all things!! Saying “this is easier” is a pathetic cop-out.
    Damn i really wish i knew how to find that forum on human evolution being semi-aquatic. Someday, i promise!

  82. It’s somewhere in PhysOrgForums! if there was a search party, rather than just me, maybe it could be flushed out sooner. or at all lol.

  83. M,
    “Every species currently on the planet is just as evolved as we are.”…”The only thing we have over the other animals is our intellect.”
    Does it not seem even a little on on a scientific level that humans, from the evolutionary perspective having the same amount of time to evolve and having evolved just as much as everything else, that humans are exponentially, immeasurably superior to every other form of life intellectually?
    When considering brain power and thought process, etc., nothing at all is even remotely close to us.
    Just think of the strides humans have made technologically over the past 100 years. No other animal, insect, plant, or anything can compare…not even remotely…not even close.
    If we all had the same time to develop (by the way, humans live in the same environments as a whole lot of other living things) why on earth are we incomparably smarter than everything else?
    Is that not odd?
    Not to a Christian. God said it Himself that humans were to have dominion over the earth.
    He created us and loves us. You too.

  84. RR,
    Thanks first off for your help with the thirds. I’m not great with fractions at all.
    And, yes, according to The Word, Lucifer seems to have looked at himself and at how grand God had made him and decided that he deserved worship as God. He was actually sort of worship leader in Heaven pre-fall.
    God is omnipotent. However, he can’t lie either, so I am assuming you would probably say He is not all-powerful because He can’t lie.
    The answer lies in His nature, His very character. He is Good, perfectly righteous in every way. Thus, evil is directly opposed to the very nature of God. No He did not create evil… thought I established that before, but if I didn’t, sorry. He’s ALL Good, not a split personality. No evil in Him at all.
    Am I dumb? No.
    Am I uneducated? No.
    It doesn’t take someone smart and highly educated to believe in Jesus, though. Even a child can believe in Jesus. My faith in God does not make me foolish or “pathetic” at all; it means that I trust Jesus to usher me into Heaven after I die or when He comes back. It means that I love Him, and at least try to live for Him. It also means that because He loves me, I know He loves you also, so I love you, too. And, I care enough about you to at least not let you go to Hell not knowing about the Truth.

  85. “Just think of the strides humans have made technologically over the past 100 years. No other animal, insect, plant, or anything can compare…not even remotely…not even close.”

    You, my friend, need to check out termites.

    “why on earth are we incomparably smarter than everything else?”

    Not odd at all. Evolution doesn’t head towards any particular goal.

    Because it’s about survival. Nothing else. One way to survive is to be strong. One way to survive is to be fast. One way to survive is to be really small. One way to survive is to be really big. And one way to survive is to be really smart.

    Once upon a time, there were two types of humans, Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon. Both relatively intelligent, both apes, both essentially human. The Neanderthals ended up not surviving, and the cro-mags did. Intelligence is no guaranty for survival. But it is one fact that can help.

  86. Ah, but the Neanderthals do survive in small genetic traces; before they were drive to extinction by the cro-magnons, there was a level of interbreeding and possibly freinship. After all, two human-eske creatures wouldn’t have been too aware of all the differences that are obvious to modern science. Furthermore, there is some evidence that Neanderthalls may have had the ability to speak, and so making them an integral part of our modern day humans. I personally know of a person (and it couldn’t be more ironic) named Adam, who has those very famous neanderthall brow ridges lol. But don’t worry, you don’t have to seriously consider that last part. I’m not sure i do. hahahha
    Ok, Compass, the official position of Lucifer was as God’s composer for his choirs of angels (double-meaning, as you well know; there are three catagories of angels: Seraphim and Cheribum come directly to mind, maybe the other is just soldiers- a bit like an ant colony lol. Guess that makes God a Queen HAHAhahah), and was in fact, the second-most powerful being in heaven besides the trinity. But why would he get that idea? the very fact that we do not have an answer about this central matter of the scripture puts great doubt in my mind, and should in yours. So.. either evil is coeternal (a dangerous idea that threatens the very sanctity of God himself, as it were, because it makes it a duality, a metaohysical universe split by opposing factions, which are, morals aside, equal in strength), truly chilling, or it is Absurd Evil.
    Perhaps Satan thought he could do better because he was not constrained to his nature, as is God, and had a creativity that was separate from him, and was more or less a product of his own efforts, while everyrthing God does is effortless to him (which puzzles me with the Rest on the 7th day); nevertheless, this thought would not have ever occured to him. A blind person can’t imagine space as we can, and to think that with this limited foresight this handicapped artist could sculpt the Statue of David is ridiculous. Similarly, lucifer knew all too well his efforts were completely useless. There IS an alterior motive, and a supporter behind his patently insane actions. But what Christian, who understands that God wills all things to exist, or the will not exist at all, would believe there is anything but God out there in the universe. It is all very queer.
    Whales are most likely an incredably intelligent class of mammals, after all, thier brains are freakin’ HUGE. Dolphins, as we all know, are incredably clever. Both have languages, and written language is almost out of the question because of all that water. We cannot truly gauge the intellect of other species because we don’t have the luxury of thier perspective (anthough hive insects display talents equal to our megaopolises)

  87. Okay, I read most of the responses, but I’m at work so I might have missed a lot.

    Rick, you question where evil came from? I cant’ give a definitive answer, as I don’t believer one can be given by our finite minds. I’ll give you the Orthodox perspective though (and probably retread some ground).

    Before I begin though let me address something Compass said about Lucifer and the origin of evil. We can’t say for sure how/why Lucifer was cast out of heaven. It’s popular belief, not dogma. The Orthodox belief is that Lucifer was the ‘second in command’ of the heavenly bodiless powers (i.e. angels). Not having bodies, the angels are not able to experience sensations like we humans can, so in a way, humans were created higher than the angels. When Lucifer saw this and the love with which God bestowed on humans, he became jealous (being subject to the passions as are humans) and and rather than sublimate those passions, he gave in to them and rebelled against God, believing that humans were inferior and not worthy of all the attention God was giving them. Do we know this is how things happened. Nope! Not at all. This is why the two major organized Christian traditions have never claimed the belief as dogma.

    Okay, now, as I’ve said before Rick, evil does not have a positive ontological existence. It has no metaphysical status. Evil is the absence of good, (not god). This is going to cause some controversy I know, but I wouldn’t even say that God is good. The reason for this lies in the distinction between apophatic and cataphatic theology, and also on God’s ‘Energies’ and ‘Essence.’

    Just in case you’re not aware, apophatic theology describes God in ‘positive’ terms, saying things that we know about him. An example of this is saying that God is good, just, loving, etc. Cataphatic theology describes God in negative terms, trying to arrive at what God -is- by saying what he is -not-. God is not mortal, God is not limited, etc.

    The great Orthodox theologian St. Gregory Palamas makes a distinction between the Energies and the Essence of God. The Energies of God are his actions in the material world. His Essence is how God is in-of-Himself. St. Gregory Palamas states that we can know absolutely NOTHING of God as He is in-of-Himself due to the fact that he is radically and fundamentally different from the creation which he brought in to creation. Apophatic theology is applied to God as He is in-of-Himself. We say that God is not limited, because it is only material things which have limitations (or when concepts are applied to material things).

    While we cannot ever possibly hope to know God as He is in-of-Himself, we can know and say postive things about his Energies, his interactions with the material world. It is His Energies which we speak of when we say that God is good, just, etc. However, I would even be so bold as to say that these appellations are not quite correct either.

    Rather than saying God is good, we should say that God is more than good. God is not just, he is more than just. Why this qualification? Because we, as human beings, can only understand concepts such as good and just when they applied to ourselves, and relation to ourselves. We say that an action such as giving money to the poor is good not because the action has some intrinsic quality called ‘good’ but because it benefits other humans. We say that a dog which took a crap on the carpet is bad not because the action itself has some intrinsic quality known as ‘bad’ nor because the dog necessarily acted in such a way which is intrinsically bad, but only because we as human beings disagree with the action. Does that make sense?

    In like manner we say that God is good when His actions align with our conceptions of good, and just when His actions align with our conceptions of justice. I believe that this is why Morsec0de has a problem with believing that God can be just if he ‘condemns’n (which I’ve addressed elsewhere as well) someone to an eternity seperate from Himself, and he actually mentioned this earlier when he said:

    “And yes, I’m sure you’ll say god has some sort of justice of his own. Unfortunately I’m just a simple human, and so the only justice I can appeal to is the justice I know and the justice that makes sense. That is punishment, but punishment on the same level of the action.”

    The thing is that God does not have some sort of justice of his own, at least not in the way that we understand the word justice. If it is given that the conception of God which we are talking about is infinite, then there’s no way that our finite minds would be able to understand His actions outside of the material (finite) existence. One way that I heard it put beautiful by one of my priests is that even after death, when the Christian is in the very presence of God, we will never, for all eternity, cease to have something new to learn about God due to his infiniteness. I know to some this reliance on the finite mind of man might seem a cop out answer, but if as I stated before we are talking about an infinite conception of God, then it logically follows that the finite cannot be an par with the infinite.

    So if God himself cannot be the source of evil, then what is? As it’s been stated before, Free Will is where the concept of evil springs from. Christianity (along with Judaism and Islam) is a revealed religion. This means that we can only know about God what He has revealed to us. One of the first things which God revealed to man is the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments. It from these ten general rules, half of which speak of man’s relation to God, and half which speaks of man’s relation to man, is where the Abrahamic moral system comes from. It is from this where we can start to catagorize what to us (and in relation to us) is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ When an action conforms to these, then it is considered ‘good.’ When an action does not, then it is considered ‘bad.’ These labels of good and bad only apply to and used in relation to, humanity. I mentioned earlier that Lucifer rebelled against God. We call that an ‘evil’ action and obviously Lucifer’s not a human, but you have stop and see that we are calling that action ‘evil’ only in relation to our concept of the word. We always see the world through an anthropocentric lense.

    Admittedly there is a lot of grey area here, where many actions don’t seem to fit into one category or the other, and it is here where ‘organized’ religion is vital, and it is hoped that the organization can keep a constant understanding of where actiosn should lie.

    Free will comes in to play when we are making the decision to act in one way or another. Now Rick, I believe that part of your argument goes that since God knows everything, exists outside of time, and has foreknowledge of every event, then God knows every choice we’re going to make before we make it, and thus in that sence was are subject to a kind of ‘pre-destination.’ In a loose sense I would say then that yes, we are pre-destined… but only to the knowledge of God. You also say that (I believe) due to the principle of cause and effect, we really aren’t free, but rather acting on previous information, our actions are determined by that past information, and if this is so, then our future actions are determined by the actions we are taking right now. Because of this we cannot use free will to explain the ‘source’ of evil.

    I don’t know if I agree with the idea of necessary effects from previous causes. Are you aware of Hume’s normative problem of induction? Basically Hume states that we are not justified in making the prediction that effect ‘E’ will always follow from cause ‘C.’ Hume states the reason why we believe that E always follows C is because we’ve observed it to be such the majority of the time in the past. However, it is usually not at all difficult to imaging another effect F following from C, and some times we do see F follow from C. Because of this we cannot state that C -causes- E, only that the two are more often than not coupled together, and the reason why we believer E always follows from C is because we have formed a habit of believing that.

    Free will acts as that other effect, F, when applied to conscious creatures (the definition of consciousness is another matter entirely though). Just because I’m married and when I have been tempted to to cheat on my wife, doesn’t mean that every single time I tempted in such a manner that I will always react in that way. One day I might decide to cheat on her. I don’t believe in a strictly determined world because (as Morsec0de might say) I have not seen evidence that such is the case.

    You also have to consider that just because God exists outside of the limitations of time, it does not mean that we do. Just because God has foreknowledge of all events, does not mean that we are also influenced by that foreknowledge. We react on new information. I believe that I will keep this job for a really long time but if some new information avails itself to me, such as a better job opportunity, my entire outlook for the next such and such years changes and I have to react to that information. The ability to process new information and make conscious decisions (though not necessarily logical decisions) based on that information is what I call free will.

    So, based on all this information (and hoping that I haven’t left some ideas half finished… I’ve written all this over the course of 3 hours since I”m at work) God is not the source of an objective evil because there is no such thing, what we consider evil is tainted by an anthropological understanding, we are pre-destined because a given effect doesn’t necessarily follow a certain cause and because of this free will -does- exist, and it is the exercise of this free will coupled with our understanding of good and evil (based for the Christian on the will of God, though the actions are not intrinsically good or evil in of themselves) with which we colour the world AS good and evil.

    I guess it still leaves open the question of if our conception of good and evil is based on the will of God, doesn’t it logically follow that God did then at least create the conditions necessary for humanity to fall into ‘evil’? Yes, you could say that, but He also provides the conditions for us to abide in the ‘good.’ Again, free will is the condition. If God made it so that we only did ‘good’ (i.e. abided by the will of God) then there’d be no reason for us to worship him. We’d be little more than pawns or puppets.

    Is denying people entry to heaven unjust? No, I don’t believe so if there is ample opportunity to live according to God’s will.

    Is Christianity always logical? Nope, but neither do we always act logically. And again, we use the term ‘logical’ anthropocentrically (and then there’s the whole problem with being able to judge whether other people acting logically since we are excluded from the internal workings of their mind).

    Anyways, there’s your answer from an Orthodox Christian’s (and an Orthodox Christian philosophy major’s) perspective.

    ——————————————-

    I would like to address evolution here also. I do not believe that Christianity should be in every case hostile to the idea of evolution. It’s only if you take the Genesis story literally that problems arise. How are we to know that the author of Genesis inteded the 6 days of creation to be 6 literal days as we know them now?

    And if you look at the order of creation it does seem to follow roughly the evolutionist’s order:

    First the material Earth was created and seperated from space (sky). Water was there first, and then land appeared. (I’m not sure if this is how scientists view it happening though). Then plants appeared on the land. The water was the first to contain life (though the biblical account also says that birds came soon afterwards). After that the land was inhabited by life. And then after land life came humanity.

    Who’s to say that the days mentioned aren’t simply to designate portions of time, millions of years perhaps?

    I think that the majority of problems which people have with religion and Christianity in specific arises with a literal interpretation of the bible.

    The Young Earth theoriest? How can they possibly hold that belief in the face of all the evidence!?

    Science, rather than refuting the possibility of God, in my opinion helps to reaffirm it. By coming to understand the laws by which creation functions, and realizing the expanse of that creation, I am continually awed and humbled why that creation. Science explains the how, while religion attempts to explain the why. Science will never, ever, be able to explain -why- the material world was created. Only how it functions.

  88. Hm.. it says I’ve responded, but I dont’ see my response… let me break it up, it was pretty long

  89. Okay, I read most of the responses, but I’m at work so I might have missed a lot.

    Rick, you question where evil came from? I cant’ give a definitive answer, as I don’t believer one can be given by our finite minds. I’ll give you the Orthodox perspective though (and probably retread some ground).

    Before I begin though let me address something Compass said about Lucifer and the origin of evil. We can’t say for sure how/why Lucifer was cast out of heaven. It’s popular belief, not dogma. The Orthodox belief is that Lucifer was the ‘second in command’ of the heavenly bodiless powers (i.e. angels). Not having bodies, the angels are not able to experience sensations like we humans can, so in a way, humans were created higher than the angels. When Lucifer saw this and the love with which God bestowed on humans, he became jealous (being subject to the passions as are humans) and and rather than sublimate those passions, he gave in to them and rebelled against God, believing that humans were inferior and not worthy of all the attention God was giving them. Do we know this is how things happened. Nope! Not at all. This is why the two major organized Christian traditions have never claimed the belief as dogma.

    Okay, now, as I’ve said before Rick, evil does not have a positive ontological existence. It has no metaphysical status. Evil is the absence of good, (not god). This is going to cause some controversy I know, but I wouldn’t even say that God is good. The reason for this lies in the distinction between apophatic and cataphatic theology, and also on God’s ‘Energies’ and ‘Essence.’

    Just in case you’re not aware, apophatic theology describes God in ‘positive’ terms, saying things that we know about him. An example of this is saying that God is good, just, loving, etc. Cataphatic theology describes God in negative terms, trying to arrive at what God -is- by saying what he is -not-. God is not mortal, God is not limited, etc.

    The great Orthodox theologian St. Gregory Palamas makes a distinction between the Energies and the Essence of God. The Energies of God are his actions in the material world. His Essence is how God is in-of-Himself. St. Gregory Palamas states that we can know absolutely NOTHING of God as He is in-of-Himself due to the fact that he is radically and fundamentally different from the creation which he brought in to creation. Apophatic theology is applied to God as He is in-of-Himself. We say that God is not limited, because it is only material things which have limitations (or when concepts are applied to material things).

    While we cannot ever possibly hope to know God as He is in-of-Himself, we can know and say postive things about his Energies, his interactions with the material world. It is His Energies which we speak of when we say that God is good, just, etc. However, I would even be so bold as to say that these appellations are not quite correct either.

    Rather than saying God is good, we should say that God is more than good. God is not just, he is more than just. Why this qualification? Because we, as human beings, can only understand concepts such as good and just when they applied to ourselves, and relation to ourselves. We say that an action such as giving money to the poor is good not because the action has some intrinsic quality called ‘good’ but because it benefits other humans. We say that a dog which took a crap on the carpet is bad not because the action itself has some intrinsic quality known as ‘bad’ nor because the dog necessarily acted in such a way which is intrinsically bad, but only because we as human beings disagree with the action. Does that make sense?

    In like manner we say that God is good when His actions align with our conceptions of good, and just when His actions align with our conceptions of justice. I believe that this is why Morsec0de has a problem with believing that God can be just if he ‘condemns’n (which I’ve addressed elsewhere as well) someone to an eternity seperate from Himself, and he actually mentioned this earlier when he said:

    “And yes, I’m sure you’ll say god has some sort of justice of his own. Unfortunately I’m just a simple human, and so the only justice I can appeal to is the justice I know and the justice that makes sense. That is punishment, but punishment on the same level of the action.”

    The thing is that God does not have some sort of justice of his own, at least not in the way that we understand the word justice. If it is given that the conception of God which we are talking about is infinite, then there’s no way that our finite minds would be able to understand His actions outside of the material (finite) existence. One way that I heard it put beautiful by one of my priests is that even after death, when the Christian is in the very presence of God, we will never, for all eternity, cease to have something new to learn about God due to his infiniteness. I know to some this reliance on the finite mind of man might seem a cop out answer, but if as I stated before we are talking about an infinite conception of God, then it logically follows that the finite cannot be an par with the infinite.

    So if God himself cannot be the source of evil, then what is? As it’s been stated before, Free Will is where the concept of evil springs from. Christianity (along with Judaism and Islam) is a revealed religion. This means that we can only know about God what He has revealed to us. One of the first things which God revealed to man is the Decalogue, or the Ten Commandments. It from these ten general rules, half of which speak of man’s relation to God, and half which speaks of man’s relation to man, is where the Abrahamic moral system comes from. It is from this where we can start to catagorize what to us (and in relation to us) is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ When an action conforms to these, then it is considered ‘good.’ When an action does not, then it is considered ‘bad.’ These labels of good and bad only apply to and used in relation to, humanity. I mentioned earlier that Lucifer rebelled against God. We call that an ‘evil’ action and obviously Lucifer’s not a human, but you have stop and see that we are calling that action ‘evil’ only in relation to our concept of the word. We always see the world through an anthropocentric lense.

  90. Admittedly there is a lot of grey area here, where many actions don’t seem to fit into one category or the other, and it is here where ‘organized’ religion is vital, and it is hoped that the organization can keep a constant understanding of where actiosn should lie.

    Free will comes in to play when we are making the decision to act in one way or another. Now Rick, I believe that part of your argument goes that since God knows everything, exists outside of time, and has foreknowledge of every event, then God knows every choice we’re going to make before we make it, and thus in that sence was are subject to a kind of ‘pre-destination.’ In a loose sense I would say then that yes, we are pre-destined… but only to the knowledge of God. You also say that (I believe) due to the principle of cause and effect, we really aren’t free, but rather acting on previous information, our actions are determined by that past information, and if this is so, then our future actions are determined by the actions we are taking right now. Because of this we cannot use free will to explain the ‘source’ of evil.

    I don’t know if I agree with the idea of necessary effects from previous causes. Are you aware of Hume’s normative problem of induction? Basically Hume states that we are not justified in making the prediction that effect ‘E’ will always follow from cause ‘C.’ Hume states the reason why we believe that E always follows C is because we’ve observed it to be such the majority of the time in the past. However, it is usually not at all difficult to imaging another effect F following from C, and some times we do see F follow from C. Because of this we cannot state that C -causes- E, only that the two are more often than not coupled together, and the reason why we believer E always follows from C is because we have formed a habit of believing that.

    Free will acts as that other effect, F, when applied to conscious creatures (the definition of consciousness is another matter entirely though). Just because I’m married and when I have been tempted to to cheat on my wife, doesn’t mean that every single time I tempted in such a manner that I will always react in that way. One day I might decide to cheat on her. I don’t believe in a strictly determined world because (as Morsec0de might say) I have not seen evidence that such is the case.

    You also have to consider that just because God exists outside of the limitations of time, it does not mean that we do. Just because God has foreknowledge of all events, does not mean that we are also influenced by that foreknowledge. We react on new information. I believe that I will keep this job for a really long time but if some new information avails itself to me, such as a better job opportunity, my entire outlook for the next such and such years changes and I have to react to that information. The ability to process new information and make conscious decisions (though not necessarily logical decisions) based on that information is what I call free will.

    So, based on all this information (and hoping that I haven’t left some ideas half finished… I’ve written all this over the course of 3 hours since I”m at work) God is not the source of an objective evil because there is no such thing, what we consider evil is tainted by an anthropological understanding, we are pre-destined because a given effect doesn’t necessarily follow a certain cause and because of this free will -does- exist, and it is the exercise of this free will coupled with our understanding of good and evil (based for the Christian on the will of God, though the actions are not intrinsically good or evil in of themselves) with which we colour the world AS good and evil.

    I guess it still leaves open the question of if our conception of good and evil is based on the will of God, doesn’t it logically follow that God did then at least create the conditions necessary for humanity to fall into ‘evil’? Yes, you could say that, but He also provides the conditions for us to abide in the ‘good.’ Again, free will is the condition. If God made it so that we only did ‘good’ (i.e. abided by the will of God) then there’d be no reason for us to worship him. We’d be little more than pawns or puppets.

    Is denying people entry to heaven unjust? No, I don’t believe so if there is ample opportunity to live according to God’s will.

    Is Christianity always logical? Nope, but neither do we always act logically. And again, we use the term ‘logical’ anthropocentrically (and then there’s the whole problem with being able to judge whether other people acting logically since we are excluded from the internal workings of their mind).

    Anyways, there’s your answer from an Orthodox Christian’s (and an Orthodox Christian philosophy major’s) perspective.

    ——————————————-

    I would like to address evolution here also. I do not believe that Christianity should be in every case hostile to the idea of evolution. It’s only if you take the Genesis story literally that problems arise. How are we to know that the author of Genesis inteded the 6 days of creation to be 6 literal days as we know them now?

    And if you look at the order of creation it does seem to follow roughly the evolutionist’s order:

    First the material Earth was created and seperated from space (sky). Water was there first, and then land appeared. (I’m not sure if this is how scientists view it happening though). Then plants appeared on the land. The water was the first to contain life (though the biblical account also says that birds came soon afterwards). After that the land was inhabited by life. And then after land life came humanity.

    Who’s to say that the days mentioned aren’t simply to designate portions of time, millions of years perhaps?

    I think that the majority of problems which people have with religion and Christianity in specific arises with a literal interpretation of the bible.

    The Young Earth theoriest? How can they possibly hold that belief in the face of all the evidence!?

    Science, rather than refuting the possibility of God, in my opinion helps to reaffirm it. By coming to understand the laws by which creation functions, and realizing the expanse of that creation, I am continually awed and humbled why that creation. Science explains the how, while religion attempts to explain the why. Science will never, ever, be able to explain -why- the material world was created. Only how it functions.

  91. Sorry Zach, it went to my spam filter. Not sure why. Just opened it up.

  92. Ah, yeah, I see that. You can delete my last two posts then since they’re both contained in the longer first one.

  93. I said:

    “Just in case you’re not aware, apophatic theology describes God in ‘positive’ terms, saying things that we know about him. An example of this is saying that God is good, just, loving, etc. Cataphatic theology describes God in negative terms, trying to arrive at what God -is- by saying what he is -not-. God is not mortal, God is not limited, etc.”

    Oops! I got my two terms mixed up here! Apophatic is negative, cataphatic positive

  94. Zacharias, well worded as usual.
    I know there are no definitive answers, but this is such a pivotal and integral part of the entire paradigm of a Godhead that i think that it is not spelled out to be incredibly conspicuous. It more or less lends credence to my side of the argument, which can be thusly stated:
    It appears that the evil of which you speak is not only Absurd (arising spontaneosly out of nothing -the definition, i’m not attacking you personally) but inevitable, because freedom is nothing without evil, without that duality
    Now I understand where you are coming from with essences and energies (i have heard it spoken of in less technical terminology), but then doesn’t evil exist in the exact same manner as does God? It is not merely a terrible thing, but more than just a terrible thing; it is not just injustice and hatred, it transcends those as well. It is taking your agument and substiting the values for this “Golgoth” (just a term i made up to bring home the immediacy of such an entity). The silence on the issue is not helpful at all.
    The effects/ energies are naturally just the prescence of Golgoth exerting his influence, iconically in the ‘passion and jealosy’ regarding humanity that existed within Lucifer. Maybe it is all being taken too far from this: Why do angels have egos? I’m talking in the very complex form as seen in psychological theories, as apposed to merely the sense of self, though that be at the heart of it. Angel’s are servants, are they not? Isn’t giving them souls an unwise and cruel decision, because they are metaphisically incomplete? And i know you say that evil does not exist as an entity, because it is negation, but certainlty negative numbers exist, do they not? In accounting, even though money is always an interger, negative values do exist, but, and this is quite unlike human currency, this loss falls into a pit wherein it is irretrevable. And finally, assuming your stance, i just have to say, where did this hole come from? How do we even know therefore, that good and evil are the only two options (after all, remember that imaginary numbers are every bit as real as normal numbers, merely less populous) or that there are only 3 pieces to a complete being(body,mind,soul), as opposed to 4(like in egyptian theology) or 5. The reall problem with “i don’t know” is that all the other possibilities present themselves too.But returning to the task at hand…
    I can even sort of understand the hell aspect, because man is destoying something which is invaluable (his soul, and the image of god that it bears), but still, the invalueable becomes worthless as the connisuer and the work of art are no longer sharing the same universe, which brings us back to the point of infinite punishment, which if we know anything about limits, means no punishment at all (any finite quantity divided by infinity is 0). Same for Heaven, in the reverse.
    Unless it is a matter of continual spiritual evolution (something you hinted at with regards to becoming closer to God), then you would have to assume that there is an opposing entity which is dragging you down further and further into the pit of evil, much as in the way is continually enlightening the heavenbound for eternity (something i can’t really imagine to be possible, because the mind of men can grasp those kind of situations easily, given enough time), only possible if there are an infinite number of catagories of things we can know about God, all with an infinite amount of topics to be covered, all of which have an infinite amount of further subdivisions, and an infinite amlount of information that deals which those in turn (infinity
    ^infinity, to simplify) There is an argument made along this line with regards to AI and the ‘impossibility’ for it to aquire a personality. It was detailed in Godel, Escher, Back, by Douglass R Hofstadter, in chapter 15 “Jumping out of the System” which is prefaced by the “Birthday Cantatatata…..” which should be eisier to find, and more or less summarized the point i’m trying to make.
    More to come Zacharias, you bring up many noteworthy points

  95. “but this loss (known as sin), falls into a pit that wherin irretrievable
    Ithought that that was a little vaugue.
    Dammit, Zach, you had to use Hume. I’ve read Lao Tsu, Hobbes, Nietzche, Jung, Hofstadter, and have even started Hegel, but Hume not yet thus far. Nonetheless, i have to confess that all this “God business” is in the very first, not possible to prove. It is against my positivist intrest to engage in this debate about determinism where what you are saying that causality doesn’t actually exist. Nonsense. Even we assume that things happen chaotically, as they do, it is a large gad to be traversed from saying, “i don’t fully understand” to saying, “i was the master of my own destiny.” Neoroscience, Quantum Mechanics, Genetics, and scientific methodology in general refute this claim. It is unfortunate to say, an argument from incredulity.
    http://userrs.aoll.com/libcfl/free.htm
    and so to reduce the number of back and forth’s as well as provide a well of information to the bystanders:
    http://en.wikepedia.org/wiki/free_will
    I see that what you utilized was a form of modal logic, and in it’s present state, very convenient and easy to follow. If you would, continue to do so.
    Oh, and you made the remark about desire- in the wikipedia entry Schopenhauer talks directly about just that.
    Keep up the good work

  96. sorry, the last post is rife with misspellings and gramatical errors. i rushed myself and didn’t proofread.

  97. “More to come Zacharias, you bring up many noteworthy points”

    I’ll be waiting!

  98. i was speaking about my second post.
    i’m kind of at a standstill unitl you respond, Zach

  99. i was speaking about my second post.
    i’m kind of at a standstill unitl you respond, Zach

  100. i just remembered something, Zacharai, and thought you should see it
    You are after all, an incredably intelligent, and impressively open-minded person; so without further adeu:
    I have stated before that there are three possibilities to god: he is necessary (logically), unnecessary but still existant, or logically noexistant. I’ll muddle about with the second, so don’t bother responding to the other two (which are pretty much the same anyway). I already know what you are going to say to those
    But the second, assuming it, makes our existance a very intruiging one: are we God’s creatures, or aren’t we? We can assume that the universe naturally would lead to life arising somewhere, somehow (and certainly this is how it appears in our own universe), but god may or may not care. After all, we may be just not be highly evolved enough (animals have souls too, correct? However thier souls are weaker than our own and cannot survive death) or in his neck of the woods (11 dimentional universe/multiverse). I am very much intruiged by the ramifications of such a reality, which can produce regions that reflect the other two options independantly. Look forward to THIS discussion intensly

  101. M,
    Just wanted to take one post to give you props. This is the longest thread i’ve ever seen.
    Nice.

  102. M,
    Also, I personally don’t think you and a termite have anything in common, at all. And, I think you are on a whole other level than anything on earth, whales and dolphins included. I hope you’d agree that we are still more advanced, far more. Ridiculously more. And, it would be absolutely foolish to even compare our God given knowledge to a dolphin. They are smart. But, they are not even close to us simply because thats the way God made it.

  103. We have plenty in common with all the other animals. And I don’t think of myself as all that much more advanced. It would be arrogant to think so.

    Smarter than animals? Sure, you betcha. But when I see people rioting in the streets, it’s hard to tell the difference between us and chimps throwing their feces at one another.

  104. M,
    I think we’ve found one thing we both agree on: some people act like animals or worse.
    Man, I truly wish I were smart enough to be able to help you find God. I love you and care about you. I truly and sincerely do not want you to go to Hell when you die. But, it seems like whatever argument I give in support of Jesus Christ being the only true God, you will argue the differ. And, whatever case I make for creation, you will combat with science and evolution.
    I’m not much on arguing in circles, so I present you with one final plea for my case, the case of Jesus: what He has done in my life.
    At an early age, I was a regular in church (similar to you, the church I went to was of a different denomination, though). I was taught in Sunday School and knew a lot about God, a whole lot. Even when I was still in the single digits, I could spout off every Book of the Bible, in order, and quote from several.
    However, as much as I knew ABOUT God, I didn’t KNOW God. There is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone personally, as you know.
    When I was in the 5th grade, I heard a message or two, maybe more, about how Jesus was coming back soon. I heard about how those who were left behind and had heard the Gospel but said, “No,” and refected Jesus would be left behind (and contrary to the book series, they would have no hope at all).
    I was one of those people. I knew at that moment that I would be left behind, and it really got to me. For the next few weeks, I can remember the conviction of the Holy Spirit vividly. I would wake up in cold sweats terrified that I had been left behind.
    Finally, I had had enough.
    I from my bedroom to my parents’ bedroom and woke my mother. She came to my bedside and we bowed beside my bed.
    I knew I was a sinner. I knew I deserved Hell. But, I also knew Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected for me. I also knew that He alone could save me from being left behind.
    So, the best way I knew how, I turned to Jesus, I prayed, and asked Jesus to forgive me and save me. And He did!
    Morse, I can’t quite put into words exactly what kind of change took place in my life that night, but I know I can still feel its effects today. I mean, I know the verses, the cleaches(spelling?), the hyms, and all that stuff. But, honestly, words fail to express the difference God has made in my life. He has given me life. And, I am petrified to think about what my life would be like with out Him.
    Which brings me to you, and our long dialogue. The best possible proof I can offer of the existence of God is experience. By His grace, I have felt Him, seen Him, He’s held me when I was hurt. He is quick to help me up when I fall, and even when I sin now, He’s always there to show me what has come between us so I can get it out of my life, ask forgiveness, and move on with my Savior.
    Unfortunately, experince can only be had firsthand. I can tell you of my experince of having a relationship with the God of the universe, but unless you turn from sin, and throw down your pride, and turn to Jesus in faith, you can never fully know the experince. Not even close.
    M, its going to be tough to make the choice, but if you do, I promise it will be the best you’ve ever made. Trust me, I know from experience.
    For help: Romans 3:23, 6:23, 10:9, 10:13, John 3:16
    Oh, by the way, just because I am finished for now with the creation vs. evolution discussion, know that I am still praying for you.

  105. Wow, compass, your story frightens me. to think that you were so paranoid about those children’s stories and so brainwashed by fearmongering into that state of self loathing at such an early age. cliches seem to have a drastic effect on an impressionable youn mind.
    I have heard it been said by many christians that the change is often difficult to spot, because it is a constant slow growing process of spirituality, not a burst of insight.
    Read Alper’s The “God” Part of the Brain. It will put things in a different light, maybe put you outside yourself enough so you can look at your desparation objectively. your kindness in offset by your sincerity and whole-hearted devotion to a romanticised despot (merely look at the OT).

  106. OK Compass1130, Phillysoul, and all you evengelizing lot, since you keep having these “come to Jesus” spasms, i think i have something here that might shade you from the burning lights of your passion and let you get a look at us athiests, straight in the face, eye to eye.
    John Shore everybody, from Suddenly Christian (*cheers*)! http://johnshoreland.com/2007/09/16/what-the-atheists-taught-me/

  107. Well Morse i finally did it! i saw all of your videos (shows how much free time i have lol!) and finished with a blowout of all the Godless Bible Study Videos. you bring up many good points throughout, but the main issue seems to be that proof is never presented, even though the biggest trend was of the “proof” that Christ presented through his miracles. the other was free will, which i do not believe in as a matter of principle. it has no bearing on life if it exists or not because it would in effect be impossible to ascertain whether or nopt we DO have free will.
    and i wonder where the hell everyone else went?! this site has been essentially dead for so long!! Zacharias come back, Morse guide us, hell even Compass! someone needs to finish all the conversarion that were started! at least make some headway!! anyway, look forward to your videos and submissions in the future.
    With great respect,
    Rickr0ll

  108. RR, MCode, Dfly,
    Prayed for you this morning! Have a great day!

  109. great comment Compass! O_o

  110. oh aha! i was looking for this one 😎

  111. so what, is everything i said before going to be ignored?! is THAT how you christians keep moving on with your lives? filling your ears with cheeze and saying at the top of your lungs “i am trying to save you!!” It’s not convincing and it’s even a little sad. it is exactly the same mentality with evolution. It’s not about proof or disproof, it’a about “hey, this is exactly how it is! Don’t ask me to explain it because i’m not smart enough to understand it fully, and niether are you!” PA-thetic

    Quoting Bible verses is exactly typifies what i’m saying. God is ineffable, but this is how it was, to the letter; this is the truth, even though the very basis of what i’m saying has nothing to with god (who is an enormus ass hole), but with basic human decency, and if you don’t believe it, i won’t be blamed for your suffering unendurable torture forever and ever (which you deserve). all in the same breath is the “hey i feel for humanity because i believe in christ, but i refuse to encourage self-examination and education that would lead to the implamentation of his guiding principles…” Oxymoron to the nth power.

  112. Rickroll,
    I have told you the Truth about Jesus Christ. It is your choice to reject Him or love Him. Reject Him, live a sinful, unforgiven life and go to Hell. Or, simply admit that theres things you will never understand or even be able to explain on earth, repent and believe Jesus-Go to Heaven.
    Your choice.
    You’re basically asking me to explain an omniscient, omnipotent God whose hand measures out the expanse of space yet Who knows how many hairs are on your head, Who can number the cells in your body, Who knows how many breaths you’ve taken up to this point, how many more you will take and Who can create with Words, moreover Who can completely save and forgive even the most wicked sinner.
    Does being able to explain and fully understand Somebody like that sound possible at all?
    If I could fully understand and explain Him, He would not be God.

  113. how can you possibly proclaim what you think to be true, when you constantly have to admit to being utterly ignorant of the will an nature of GOD?!! i’m not saying that you can explain everything, but you claim complete ignorance, and i’m just supposed to comply?!! and more important than your self rightious evangelism, why haven’t you answered any of the important questions i have outlined, and you obviously don’t intend to. You don’t even want to evangelise to me, but AT me. All you are doing is confirming that what i previously said was absolutely correct. if you don’t want to have a discussion, why bother to waste all this time and effort?

  114. RR,
    I would love to have a discussion, not an argument as the tone in your responses suggests.
    Ignorant of His will? Never even eluded to that. His will is to save as many as want to be… in a nut shell.
    Ignorant to His nature? Never eluded to that either.
    His nature is perfect. Loving. Just. Gracious…
    I personally don’t think I have proclaimed complete ingorance, either. Can I understand all of God? No. Again, if I could, He wouldn’t be God.
    And, I would absolutely love to at least try to answer your questions, but please present them in an understandable way. I often get confused with what exactly your question is when it is surrounded by angry jargon. Also, I don’t think you have asked me a direct question in a few weeks…at least none that i have not tried to answer…could be wrong, though.

  115. By the way, nevigrof=compass1130.
    I made a different name so I could post and not have the posts show up on my personal webiste.
    It allows me to be more politically vocal without pressing my political beliefs on people that view my site.

  116. all my questions are still up there. i don’t ask anyone in particular, i’m looking for someone to give answers compass

    What motivations were there to cause sin? Evil selfish desires, but these desires are baseless. Its akin to saying that a person feels anger, then acts upon it, and thus rage was created by humans (also false, Elephants and hippos have this tendancy in the wild). Evil exists not in action, but in thought. People can’t control the thoughts they have (and i say people, not just human); sometimes they can direct the course of this thought through logical or social influences, but in almost all situations, it is directed by the subconscious. Unless angels have no subconscious, which is a silly notion. But i’ll entertain it nonetheless, for the sake of argument. Then what logical leap did Lucifer make to deside to rebel against omnipotence? There wasn’t one, it was all emotion. how the process of this calamitous event occured under the omniscent watch of God i’ll never find out, and what was the Real motivation behind his action, the Bible does not say, although again, this is all new testament scripture, from Hebrews. Correct me if i’m wrong on this.
    Anyway you look at it, it makes no sense. Even assuming there is no sin, only absemce of God, then how was God absent IN heaven? there was no one or nothing that wasn’t of him, The evil you speak of is called absurd evil, because it spontaneously emerges out of the woodwork, and in doing so, justifies the notion that Evil is at least on par with good. See, good cannot eliminate evil, never does god seek to do this, only punishment- gross, wholly unsubstantiated torture (eternity for finite crime), and saying that it was createdd by sentients is more than god could do. he couldn’t ‘create’ good, he simply Is good.
    So, i take it then compass, you believe evil to be coeternal, as it represents a set of options, or metaphysical universes – if i may bring to bear another cumbersome topic: The Many Worlds Interpretation.
    But God Won’t destroy evil, and that’s the point of conterntion (oh, and it was 1/3, not 2/3). Or do you believe Satan to have sponatneously become evil, which is literally absurd? your remarks are leading to two very different conclusions. and i realize that passege was very poetic, but circular. Lust, a sin, begets sin? Doesn’t make sense. And oh yes, if God can’t create evil, then he isn’t omnipotent, is he?

    this was the first iteration of my line of questions. if you could respond to that, it would be great. if you are confused about terminology, look stuff up.

  117. you obviously didn’t read this compass, so here: http://johnshoreland.com/2007/09/16/what-the-atheists-taught-me/

  118. […] being said, a month or so ago John decided to stop by and comment on my Godless Bible Study post. Here’s what he said: Morse: Why spend so much time teasing around with something about which […]

  119. Voice,
    Thanks for the link. I really like the way Shore writes. Witty yet thought provoking.
    I will try to be a better listener; however, I cannot stop telling people the Truth about Jesus, Sin, Heaven and Hell.

  120. RR,
    Thanks for the refresher of your questions…and might I say, they are some good ones! I’ll try.
    Sin: If you have children, or even know of a toddler, you’ll admit that nobody has to teach a child how to lie, disobey their parents or such like that. We have to teach them manners, obedience, how to tell the truth. We don’t have to teach them to sin. The reason is because our human nature is a fallen, deprived, sinful nature, naturally. It is who we are-sinners. This can be traced all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. At the time, God had given them one rule: don’t eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But, Satan (Lucifer) freshly kicked out of Heaven and ridiculously bitter and hateful about it(I’ll address that later) used a serpent to manipulate Eve…twisting up God’s words, provoking Eve to disobey God. Eve in turn, went to Adam, he saw what she had done and ate of the Tree with her. They both died spiritually, and there began to die physically…just as God had said they would (see Genesis for all this).
    Lucifer and his leap: It doesn’t make much sense to me either how Lucifer could possibly think he deserved to be worshipped at all, much less like God Himself…but, it also doesn’t make sense to me how someone can say, “There is no God”. But, here is basically what the Bible says, and because It says it, I believe it, and maybe it will shed some light on your questions. Lucifer was like the worship leader in the Heavenly hierchy. He was beautiful, in fact more beautiful than all the other angels. Beautiful music poored out of him. He was/is the most powerful CREATED being. The only one that is more powerful than he is God Himself.
    Evidently, after a while of pointing angels to worship God, he looked at himself and how beautiful he was and decided he deserved worship himself. This was an act of sheer defiance to God…and yes, being omniscient, He knew it would happen…why did He still create Him?…I don’t know, I’ll ask one day. Anyway, Lucifer persuaded 1/3 of the Heavenly host that he, indeed, deserved worship. They were all cast out of Heaven, him and a third, thus Satan and his Demons. (Check out Isaiah 14:12-19)
    Sin is not the absence of God because Christians can sin, and we believe that God Himself dwells in us. Sin is disobedience to God.
    Hell is the absence of God.
    Lucifer, in a way, did spontaneously become evil. It is absurd, but not impossible.
    God, omniscient:
    He is all-powerful. But, He is not evil….at all. Evil, sin is against His very nature. He is perfect. Only good. He did create our will, Adam’s will and ALLOWS us to make the decision to disobey and sin. He ALLOWED Lucifer to make his idiotic decision. It would not have happened unless God had allowed it. The way He allowed is through will.
    I probably skipped some questions, but this is all the free time I had to spare right now.

  121. well, firstly, the Fall was unconnected with evil, it was merely the introduction of sin into the world.
    In fact, the serpent was the creation god of anothwer nation that was close by, and so the serpent was their way of throwing their neighbors religon under the bus. Children learn by exaple, so that falls on its face. Toddlers aren’t resposible for thier actions anyway. No toddler would go to hell simply for being immature. Not even you can deny that.
    Second, you are right, how Satan and why he rebelled is far from dogmatic theology, and what’s more so, that doesn’t even truly grasp the WHy of the Morning Star. One of my favorite works was Milton’s Paradise Lost, but even here there was never a rational explanation. perhaps because Lucifer believed himself to be more creative than God, and thought his plans (which were all plain to see i’m sure) lacked pinache? I can’t fail to agree there, after all, fiction describes worlds with much more excitement and wonder than our own. The best example being that of Middle Earth, which has the same scenario with music as the creative medium. Read the first gfew chapters of The Samarillion and get back to me, there are many parallels.
    Now, sin is disobediance, but how would Satan even understand what disobediance was? There were no indicators of right or wrong before the creation of the world, all there was to draw from was God. I quote from Luke 6:43, Jesus’ words: “a good tree can not bear bad fruit, and neither can a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its fruit. Can you pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briars? A Good man brings good deeds out of the treasure stored up in his heart, and the evil man evil out of the treasure that stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
    What evil was there to absorb i wonder, to store away as “treasure” that would finance his war on heaven? In the version i was taking from, it says “the Good stored up” or the “evil stored up” but i liked the way KGV used the word treasure. I feel it was apt. I was using an NIV study Bible.

    “Evil is everywhere”, something you stated before. Yes but how- ignoring the fact that that is a Gross overstatement? Sin comes from Evil, not the reverse, as you well know. Is Evil Coeternal, in which case God’s supposed omnipotence is farcical, or Did it really come from beings less than the Creator; this is by far the most astonishing possibility because God certainly didn’t create Himself, yet lesser creatures could create the antithesis of God, which is immutable and indestructable? After all evil won’t be destroyed, onlty left to it’s own devices, sequestered in ti’s own universe at the end of time. But what makes it impossible for the Second Earth spoken of at the end of Revelation from becoming just like this one? nothing as i see it.

  122. RR,
    I don’t think I will ever understand the “Why” of Lucifer until Heaven. If you will notice in Isaiah 14:13 it mentions that he purposed in his heart…This ties directly with the verses in Luke.
    How the idiotic thought got there? Don’t know.
    I agree that toddlers are not held accountable. But, knowbody can explain what a lie is to a 2 year old, yet they still do it. Its natural.
    I’m not familiar with the serpent creation god idea. That’s not in the Bible.
    This is all the time I have right now, but I’ll do my best to get back to your last paragraph later.

  123. RR,
    Sorry I am so late getting back to your second paragraph.
    The theology is sort of deep dealing with the plight of sin and evil at the end of time, but I will try.
    Also, before I begin, check out Rev. 20-21 for further help/reference.
    This is what Christians believe, based on the Bible:
    Picking up in the last part of ch. 20 in Revelation, at the Great White Throne Judgement, all people who never accepted Jesus Christ will be judged based on their works. The Word of God says in Ephesians 2 that we aren’t saved by works but by grace through faith, so these people will all be sentenced to pay for their sin forever in the Lake of Fire. Prior to this judgement of humans, Satan will be sealed in the Lake of Fire forever, as well.
    So, with the old earth gone, the old Hell gone, Satan and the demons gone, false prophet gone (The anti-Christ’s forerunner), the anti-Christ gone, all those who did not accept Jesus gone, all in the Lake of Fire…ultimately, all the evil and sin gone to the lake of Fire, the answer to your question about what will happen to sin and evil is this. They will not be destroyed, they will be locked away forever in the Lake of Fire with their possessers who rejected Jesus.
    How do I know the same mutiny of sorts will not happen in Heaven and the New Earth post Rev. 20, 21?
    Consider those in the New Heaven and New Earth. All either believer in Jesus…those who have put their faith in Jesus while they were in the first earth in turn having their eternity sealed by the Holy Spirit, who have also been given a new, sinless body at this point similar to Jesus’s, and the angels, the Heavenly Host. Now, us believers, with new bodies and a sealed eternity and all, it would be absolutely impossible for sin to reenter Heaven on our account…perfect body, sinless body/nature, new body like Jesus’s. And, I am sure that the angels, after seeing what happened to Lucifer and the 1/3 that followed him (Lake of Fire) would be set on the fact that only The Triune God deserved worship.
    Hope this helped a little. A lot, in fact all, of Revelation and prophecy about what is to come has to be studied with a whole lot of prayer and time. I have put little into much prophecy post-Rapture. So, I appologize to you for not having the knowledge to answer with the degree of mastery the way I wanted to, at least.
    Any other questions are welcome. And, I do sincerely hope you decide to repent and trust Jesus.

  124. Nevigrov, your appeal to nature is clearly wrong, because those conditions of which yu spoke were replicated in the beginning. Unless entrance into heaven means a sacrifivce of our free will. This is entirely possible, bacause, as we al know, sin is fun. Now, that God would Still hold the eternal punishment thing over our heads in heaven is beyond obscene; the general consensous is that all memory of this would be forgotten, all the pain and woe will be sealed away by our obliviousness. Which of course leads back to my first point. It may just be a viscious cycle. I doubt the other angels would rebel however, like you said, but humans are a great deal weaker (or stronger, depending on how you view it) then they.

  125. it’s been a great deal of time since this was brought up (i believe by you Compass/nevigrov) but someone put this link up on a Pharyngula post, and i think it to be extremaly far from trivial:

    http://www.ebonmusings.org/atheism/otarch.html

  126. nope phillysoul. anyway, it’s up there for all to see now

  127. RR,
    Sorry so late commenting one you Nov. 12 comment. Been busy talking to other atheists.
    Sin, I will be the first to admit, is fun, at least for a little while. But, alcohol, drugs, highs leave you empty and wanting more. Sex with any and all, greed, gambling leave you lonely and empty. All that stuff is fun for a little while, but it all leads to the same end, death and then Hell.
    We need forgiveness. Desperately. Sin is fun, sure. But having the forgiveness of it and the God-given grace to not be slave to it is absolutely liberating.

  128. you waited that long to give me a Non-Answer? *sigh*
    what about the refutation of your bible’s history?

  129. RR,
    Refutation? What refutation?
    History proves the Bible; the Bible proves history.
    If i avoided a question, I am sorry. My intention was to comment a little on the fun sin you mentioned.

  130. what refutation?! The Isrealites were never slaves in Egypt! Never! That is a refutation. In addition, the history based on the ages of men who lived centuries long is ridiculous. There is simply no way that is the truth. All of Exodus is fiction. Let’s start there.

  131. RR,
    I’ll admit, and have been taught by scholars in Bible teaching college, that there are no records in Egyptian heiroglyphics of an Israelite population being in captivity in Egypt, being miraculously delivered by their God by 10 excruciatingly painful plagues, then probably well over a million Israelites packing up their bags and walking out of Egypt under Pharoah’s nose, then Pharoah’s supposedly magnificent army of chariots and horsemen and such pursuing them, but then the God of the Israelites making the huge body of water He caused to stack up so the Isrealites could get through on dry land to fall upon and kill the sum of the Egyptian army thus embaracing Egypt…forever. Would you want to keep that kind of embarassment and defeat in your history for future generations to laugh at? Not that far of a stretch to see how they would want to sort of shoove that incident under the rug. I would.
    And, actually the really, REALLY old guys are not that hard to believe either. Shouldn’t be for you at least…I mean…you believe we came from mud (pretty much). Really old is not that far of a stretch either. Exponentially fewer diseases, viruses, etc…, no polution, no harmful factory made chemicals in food and products…and the list goes on.
    Besides, God said about how long they would live. He also said when they would start living shorter lives. Part of the reason was for populating the earth. After all, we all started with one man and one woman. Adam was 130 years old when he had Seth…Genesis 5:3.
    Thats one of the really easy thing for us Christians to believe. I mean, if God can create the earth and everything else we can see in 6 days, He can sure make a human live well into the hundreds.
    Questions for you: Do you know who the oldest person who ever lived was? How old did he live to?

  132. How idiotic. They “swept it under the rug”? How would the country survive period?! No army, no crops, no king, a whole generation dead, no stored food (the flies would have corrupted that too), what makes you think that anyone was left alive to sweep it under the rug?!! DID you even Look at the link i posted?! UUUuughgh

    “And, actually the really, REALLY old guys are not that hard to believe either. Shouldn’t be for you at least…I mean…you believe we came from mud (pretty much). Really old is not that far of a stretch either. ” Excuse me, but who’s God formed Adam from the “dust of the Earth”?

    What do you mean, Methusela (969), or a Real person? “The longest unambiguously documented lifespan is that of Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997), who died aged 122 years and 164 days.” (wikipedia)
    ? Actually, can YOU name the two people who are still alive according to the Bible?
    Do you know Who J, P, and R are? do you have the slightest inkling to what i’m referring?

  133. This….is….THE MOST AMAZING…..essay…..that i have ever……read!
    Morse, You simply HAVE to dedicate a post/video to this! I’m begging you Morse! It would forever change the topic of apologetics, and write your name in stone as one of the Great Athiests of the Internets! Besides there’s a great parallel drawn between your favorite playwright and the OT in here! I know you want to Morse, even if you haven’t realized it yet!

    http://www.georgeleonard.com/yahweh.html

  134. RR,
    Actually, only the Army of the Egyptians was utterly wiped out. So, the women were not, the young men not old enough to go to war were not, and the men too old to fight were not. Quite a large number were still around.
    And Yes. My God formed Adam from the dust of the Earth. God did. GOD DID. Not evolution. He also made the dust everything else. Cool God, huh?
    CORRECT! It was Methusela! And, 969 is correct also! He was real too. If there was no Methusela, there would have been no Noah. If there was no Noah, there would have been no Abraham, Isaac or Jacob…thus no Israelites (Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, he had 12 sons…12 tribes of Israel). And so on the descendants roll. For you to say Methusela was not real, you would ultimately be saying an entire race of people were not real either, Jews, or anyone else for that matter. I’m real, and I am pretty sure you are too.
    Still Alive. I would say there were 2 who never died: Enoch and Elijah. Enoch was taken up…walked with God, then was not, and Elijah was taken up in a whirlwind and chariot of fire. There was 1 more who lived, died, was resurrected to life again, never to die again, and ascended into Heaven: His name is Jesus.
    J, P, R? No inkling.

  135. Nevigrov , i have utterly underestimated your abject stupidity. “YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY SIR!”
    You never mentioned that Elisha was carried away in a fiery chariot (2 ki 2:10) and thus went straight to heaven, do not pass Sheol, do not collect $200. Enoch “Walked with God, then was no more, because God took him away” Gen 5:24. Both of them failed to die, and yet we have to? the whole paradigm of salvation means that this thing CANNOT HAPPEN, that everyone must die! here we have two exceptions.

  136. J and P are the authors of the Bible, you idiot. The “Priestly” authors that describe God as a cosmic king (or El, as was his original incarnation in Canaan) and J, who wrote God as being a personal, close God (12 year old child-god Ashtar, also Canaanite). “It’s all there black and white clear as crystal!” In the link you moron.Oh by the way, inventing ancestors was a favorite pastime of would-be Kings who needed to prove thier worthiness; your argument is vacuous and inane.

  137. ok you meantioned them, deep apologies. i was so thunderstruck by your insipid assertions that my mind was unable to process the last part of your post. But my point still stands: if they didn’t have to die, then that violates the whole concept of the afterlife and judgement, ect. None of it syncs up. In addition, you have Plato to thank for the idea of humans having a soul as such. You have P author(s) to thank for your almighty King, and R to thank for splicing J and P together, defacing your concepts of God. the links are still there. look at them.

  138. Now for a proper refutation of Phillysoul’s comment about historical accuracy, made on Oct. 11. I realize it’s way out of date, but nevigrof, you still seem to think it’s pertinant. Here’s how wrong you and he are:

    1st my response:
    yeah, first off, it seems to be an argument to authority. fail. then he mentions 1 success of the historocisity (it’s 1:20 am, i don’t give a fuck if it’s spelled wrong) of the Bible, which deserves a Yawn. Then he talks about the prophecy, which falls right on it’s big nose (lol), if Christ is not the Messiah.
    But, i want to see it be completely butchered before i put the response to phillysoul on Suddenly Athiest. have fun guys!

    And butcher it they did:

    Posted by: Blake Stacey | November 20, 2008 10:31 AM
    —–
    The Book of Daniel is the one which confuses Rome with Cyprus [Chittim], and which erroneously states that Belshazzar was the son of Nebuchadnezzar, when he was actually the son of Nabonidus, no relation. In fact, the very first verse in Daniel is an anachronism — Jehoiakim was not king in Jerusalem when Nebuchadnezzar came to power in Babylon. I don’t think we have to worry about its prophetic value when it can’t get history right.

    It’s extremely probable that Daniel was written circa 165 BCE. Parts of it are written in Aramaic, which points to a late date of composition, when Aramaic was widely spoken; references to earlier times are vague or just wrong, suggesting that the writer was working with a loose grasp of history, but knew his more recent past much better (as is only natural).

    Ezekiel doesn’t really have a good track record, either. In chapter 29, he predicts that Egypt will be destroyed, which didn’t happen.

    29:9 And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
    29:10 Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.

    29:11 No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.

    29:12 And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.

    29:13 Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:

    29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.

    Yadda, yadda. Suffice to say that there has never been a forty-year period in which Egypt was an uninhabitable wasteland.

    While we’re at it:

    Nebuchadnezzar did lay siege to Tyre for thirteen years, but he failed to sack the city. After thirteen years, the Tyreans under Ithobaal II worked out a compromise treaty and got off with paying Nebuchadnezzar tribute. Alexander the Great managed to conquer the city centuries later, but he was too busy conquering the rest of the known world to bother destroying it utterly. After his death, his former general Antigonus, founder of the Antigonid Dynasty, had to besiege and conquer Tyre again in 315 BCE.

    St. Paul spent a week in Tyre after visiting Cyprus on his third missionary journey (Acts 21:3). Crusaders captured Tyre in the 1100s and held a few coronations there; the PLO used it as a military base in the 1980s; etc., etc.
    ——
    That was ALL Blake’s comments, another guy chimed in as well:
    —–
    Posted by: Tim H | November 20, 2008 11:42 AM

    “Hey guys, i was wondering if you could destroy this for me; it was written by some evangelical wingnut named phillysoul (sorry about the length)”:
    -Historical Accuracy-
    Sir William Ramsey (one of the most eminent authorities on geography and history of ancient Asia Minor) with much skepticism undertook an extensive research of the Gospel of Luke and acts later stated, “I take the view that Luke’s history is unsurpassed in regard to its trustworthiness…you may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment.”

    Luke isn’t historically accurate.

    Let’s look at the nativity story in chapters 1 & 2.
    John the Baptist is conceived when Herod (presumably the Great, but maybe not) is king of Judea. Jesus is conceived about 5 1/2 months later. Jesus is born in Bethlehem due to the Census ordered by Rome. We will assume a normal 9 month gestation period for Jesus.

    The first census in Judea was taked about 8 years AFTER the death of Herod the Great, and AFTER the death or deposition by Rome of his successor. Herod and his successor were cient kings. Rome set up client kings to have cooperative border states that they themselves wouldn’t have to manage. Client kings kept the peace, followed Roman foriegn policy and paid some tribute in return for Roman support and internal freedom of action. Rome not only would not take a census in a client kingdom, they had no right to.
    It was the failure of Herod the Great’s succesor to rule effectively that prompted Rome to kick him out and take over Judea directly. (They attached it to Syria.) That’s when and why they took a census.
    Not to mention the census method described in Luke is brain-dead, and the Romans weren’t brain-dead on administrative matters.

  139. CJO #25:

    Yeah, the census business is screwed from the start, never mind the chronology issues. Not only would Rome not have taken a census in a client state, there never was a Roman census that compelled the subjects to travel to an ancestral locale, the Romans being, if anything, competent administrators and not complete idiots.

    Luke needs Jesus to be born in Bethlehem for purposes of prophesy fulfillment (Micah 5:1-2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”) but he has a received tradtion in Mark that Jesus was from Nazareth. The census and the nativity in the manger in Bethlehem is purely a Lukan fiction.

    Matthew faces the same issues but solves the problem differently, by having Joseph and Mary living in Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth but fleeing to Egypt to escape the Herodian purge of infant males (a Matthean fiction), and only later settling in Nazareth, thereupon to take up the Markan narrative, which begins there.
    ——+—–

    I was hoping for the census to be dealt with more directly, and here we are!
    /Glee

  140. I know, this is a long dead thread; but still, there is always more information to add to this subject! it’s really exciting!

  141. OOps! Missed two.


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