Debate and Discussion

Christianity --- my perspective :D
AnotherUchiha at 3:05PM, May 18, 2009
(offline)
posts: 5
joined: 3-31-2009
hehe i love me new view on this.

Christianity is based off one book that was from a man who told us a person who claimed to be called ‘god’ told him to write it, if I'm not mistaken.
So for one we aren't sure it's real and lets be honest its kinda, well really really off track from common sence to think that there would be a heaven. I mean why would you want to exist in a concious state for eternity anyways?

I know it's supposed to be bliss and happiness and woo yay happy times but after a while you'd get BORED.
Plus for all I know the Devil hasn't come out with a book.
They could be up there fighting and for all we know the Devil is the bigger man and god's just up there talkin crap bout him. I mean really, can we deny that?
Plus I myself laugh slightly at the logic of this; the bible tells you, that you have to do some bad stuff to get into hell and then you're tortured for an eternity but why?? Wouldn't the Devil dig you?? I mean your his boy. It's not like he would say ‘oh you’ve been bad now your punished for doing exactly what I think it should be like.' so the logic of hell and all that is very easy to crack.

Christianity is filled with holes and I could point out waaaaaaaay more, and I know I'm not the best with knowing it but I used to be christian due to my family and then I decided on Wicca and now I'm thinking about aithism and what not because at least they have logic.


please debate this but dont get to picky or angry because it's my opinion im not out to offend anyone i just find it a great topic to debate :D!
last edited on July 14, 2011 10:53AM
El Cid at 3:56PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 973
joined: 5-4-2009
Christianity is more a cult based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, whose heretical sect was an offshoot of traditional Judaism. Christians are (at least supposed to be) all about the New Testament; that Old Testament stuff is just a bunch of superstitious Hebrew rubbish. At least that's my understanding of it. The Bible is a collection of a bunch of different stories from the Torah along with the fresh new Jesusy stuff, and different versions of the Bible contain different stuff, and in different language/phraseology. The King James Bible doesn't contain all the same stories as the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible, for example. The Book of Enoch is not included in just about any Bible other than the Ethiopian Orthodox, yet oddly enough it's quoted in the New Testament (confused yet?).

I do agree that the concept of an eternal life after death is unpleasant. When you think about it, the fact that life is finite is a big part of what makes it valuable, and if life is eternal then it is essentially worthless.

As for whether any of that crap in the Bible is actually true, well, I'm sure quite a few of the events actually happened. As far as God creating the heavens and the earth six thousand years ago, and Noah's ark, and heaven and hell, or even the existence of God, I dunno. Doubtful. No evidence for it, and the world makes more than enough sense without God. I think a lot of people turn to religion because they just don't understand how evolution works. That whole “well, if there's a design then there must be a Designer” argument.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
humorman at 4:06PM, May 18, 2009
(offline)
posts: 919
joined: 12-28-2007
Actually, Christianity is based off of several books in the bible. In detail, Christianity involves so many schisms and different translations that it would be impossible to describe Christianity as a whole.

Saying that the Bible is full of logical holes, however, means that you've only looked at the bible at a quantitative stance. Of course, there are stories that contradict each other because a lot of people were involved in writing the Bible throughout different points in history. What you need to realize is that the Bible is a book of lessons that you need to interpret in order to get the message.

Personally, as a Christian, I believe in the following things:

- God is not an all-powerful person who controls the universe as he sees fit. God is much more than some guy shooting off lightning bolts into the sky. He is virtually synonymous with goodness. God is the act of people giving money to charity, the act of firefighters trying to save someone's life, and any other act you would describe as good.

- You shouldn't mock other religions. One of the main reasons Jesus was executed was because people thought he was creating a rogue religion (which is ironic because Christianity wasn't explicitly founded until centuries after Jesus' death). No matter what religion (Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Buddhism, Scientology), you should always appreciate it for the merits for which they stand.

- You shouldn't pigeonhole others into religions. Religion is something that you choose to believe in order to enlighten yourself, help other people, etc.. Only you can determine your own religion. Even if you're a Christian who smokes crack and throws cherry bombs at squirrels, you're still a Christian.

- You shouldn't worry about getting into heaven. There is no special code that allows you guaranteed access into heaven, let alone the fact that no one knows what or if heaven will be like. Also, you shouldn't help people just for the fact that your good deed might get you into heaven. You should help people just for the sake of doing good.

Billy vs. Tree – The epic struggle of boy versus tree.
Sonic Colores – It looks like it's going to be a good game because I love how the way it makes me grow.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:51PM
El Cid at 4:46PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 973
joined: 5-4-2009
humorman
What you need to realize is that the Bible is a book of lessons that you need to interpret in order to get the message.

That sounds a lot more like one of these bastardized New Age re-interpretations of how the Bible is to be read than traditional Christianity. I doubt the people who authored the Book of Genesis considered it anything other than an authentic account of how the universe came into being. If there are lessons to be learned from it, I believe they're primarily lessons about the human psyche in general and the psyche and culture of the early people who wrote and spread these gospels specifically. Insofar as providing useful lessons for living your life, you're better off turning to Dr. Phil.

I personally find that religion provides the exact opposite of enlightenment. What religion does is take complex issues and dilute them down to “because that's how God made it” and “because it's part of God's mysterious plan” and “you'll understand after you're dead.” None of it makes any sense. You mention charity as a great virtue. But where is God's charity? Why should God have made any need for it? And is charity even a good thing for that matter? You could make a pretty good case to argue that charity tends to prolong misery in the long term, even if it does provide a “quick fix” and make people feel better about themselves for giving.

People should make decisions based on common sense with a sound moral grounding. You don't need religion for that. In fact I find religion to be a rather poor basis for morality. If the only reason you do good things is because you're expecting a reward in the afterlife, or to avoid divine retribution, then you're not really a good person at all. You're a trained monkey. And the moment you discover that no lightning bolts are coming when you do bad things, what's there to stop you from committing even worse acts in the future, if that's the foundation of your moral code? You're lost.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
Dark Pascual at 4:53PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 498
joined: 1-5-2009
Religion (at least the “mythology” behind them) are more a symbolic teachings than actual facts. They are a representation of the inner struggle between our positive and negative sides and what we could or should do to keep our “dark side” at bay…

The idea of Eternal Life in another plane of existance could sound plain stupid if you try to look it as a fact, but it have more sense (and meaning) analyzed as a symbolism (how our good deeds or thought or ideas leave a mark in others and that mark could be carried into a legacy that outlives us…same thing with our mistakes…)

Is not really important if Jesus was Son of God or a well intentioned teacher. His true relevance is in His Message and how it should encourage us to be better and kinder with others. There is the true value of religions…

Now, religion is about faith…you believein it or not, but if you want to analyze and try to found a logical and scientific explanation, keep in mind that not because you can't proof that there is a God, doesn't necesary means that is not there…

Quoting Carl Sagan: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

last edited on July 14, 2011 12:07PM
El Cid at 5:46PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 973
joined: 5-4-2009
I love Carl Sagan (or I guess “loved” is more appropriate). But if we're going to quote smart people, I'll also quote, or at least loosely paraphrase, William of Ockham: The more obvious explanation is usually the correct explanation.

It is impossible to fully disprove the existence of God. However, the preponderance of the evidence has the scale tilted waaay in the opposite direction. We have scientific explanations for how the world got here, how life got here, how it evolved over billions of years. None of these theories are entirely perfect, but they do make sense, and their foundations can be both tested through experiment and verified through observation and fossil evidence. The whole story makes sense without throwing God into the mix. Including God is a superfluous detail. His existence doesn't explain anything; it just raises more questions.

For all the religious folks out there, I'd like to ask a few questions. This isn't a challenge or anything. I don't wish to be converted, or even convinced, but I'm just curious about your personal beliefs:

1) What convinces you that God exists? Seriously, did you just roll some dice, flip a coin? What empirical evidence or life events have led you to this conclusion?

2) If you believe God does exist, what convinces you that he has any influence or concern over events on Earth? Why would a supreme being care about the petty matters of how you live out your meaningless life on this meaningless blue sphere in the middle of nowhere? When has he ever intervened in world events?

3) Do you believe in the afterlife, and why? That I know of, nobody's ever been there and come back, so what makes you believe there's anything there? Do you think there's a Heaven and Hell where people are judged? Why would God even bother creating such places?


…and “becuz the Bible sez so” is not an acceptable answer!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
Product Placement at 7:41PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 7,078
joined: 10-18-2007
So far no literal bible interpreters have commented…

Well my two cents are as follows. For those who state that you can't get to heaven unless you believe in God and that Jesus Christ is our lord and savior I have this to ask.

Today, the numbers of christian (counting all forms, catholic, protestant, orthodox and every single offshoot branch like Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses) is approximately about 25% of the human population. Does that make you honestly believe that the rest of the 75% of humanity (whether they're Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, etc) is doomed to burn in agony that is hell, no matter how good and moral they may be? And please take into consideration that some Christians don't think that the other christian sects have it right either. What makes you so certain that you're walking the one true path?
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM
bravo1102 at 7:52PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 3,389
joined: 1-21-2008
It is all a question of faith. With faith all things are possible and do not require evidence. Logic and reason cannot prove certain things that only faith can provide the proof of, not empirical evidence.

They have to be taken on faith.

It's a mythology; a belief system. All the attempts so far to use reason and logic on Chrisitanity have led to Deism or atheism. Faith always rebounds and the true believer is told not to use logic and reason in matters of faith. (speaking generally here, please no angels on pinheads. I spent two years of my life immersed in Medieval theology.)

If you cannot falsify a hypothesis you can't scientifically prove it. How do you falsify faith to the satisfaction of the faithful?

By the first Century Hebrews already saw Genesis as symbolic rather than literal. Literal belief in the stories of creation and every word in the Bible came a lot later with modern Fundamentalism. Literal belief in scripture lapsed for a long time in Christianity. For most of the history of Christianity people did not read the scripture and there was one orthadox interpertation and that was not literal.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Dark Pascual at 8:01PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 498
joined: 1-5-2009
Product Placement
Today, the numbers of christian (counting all forms, catholic, protestant, orthodox and every single offshoot branch like Mormons and Jehovah's witnesses) is approximately about 25% of the human population. Does that make you honestly believe that the rest of the 75% of humanity (whether they're Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Buddhist, etc) is doomed to burn in agony that is hell, no matter how good and moral they may be? And please take into consideration that some Christians don't think that the other christian sects have it right either. What makes you so certain that you're walking the one true path?

That worldview is not inherent exclusively to the Christianism…Jew and Muslim fundamentalists think that they are the choosed ones and the rest of the world is pretty much screwed…

I live in a Catholic country (Ecuador, South America), and I can say that Catholic people here is very tolerant and truly believe that carry a decent and moral life is more important that the God that you like to pray or not pray…

Religious people are not all a bunch of savages willing to burn you if you don´t share their point of view…
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:07PM
Product Placement at 8:23PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 7,078
joined: 10-18-2007
Dark Pascual
That worldview is not inherent exclusively to the Christianism…Jew and Muslim fundamentalists think that they are the choosed ones and the rest of the world is pretty much screwed…
Oh, of that I'm well aware. I only addressed the question specifically towards Christians that think this way since the topic of the debate was about that religion.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM
Dark Pascual at 8:32PM, May 18, 2009
(online)
posts: 498
joined: 1-5-2009
Product Placement
Dark Pascual
That worldview is not inherent exclusively to the Christianism…Jew and Muslim fundamentalists think that they are the choosed ones and the rest of the world is pretty much screwed…
Oh, of that I'm well aware. I only addressed the question specifically towards Christians that think this way since the topic of the debate was about that religion.

Oh…fair enough…
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:07PM
Black_Kitty at 3:19PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,481
joined: 1-1-2006
Product Placement
Well my two cents are as follows. For those who state that you can't get to heaven unless you believe in God and that Jesus Christ is our lord and savior I have this to ask.

Maybe I missed it but who in this thread said anything about only those believing in God going to heaven?

There are a lot of things to take into account when looking at the Bible including the historical context upon which it is written. However I'm along the same wavelength as Humorman in that people shouldn't be mocking or disrespecting religion. Yes you think it's silly and that's fine with me. Frankly I don't really care if you believe in God or not.

To be honest I'm not too keen on religious debates or discussions. As a Catholic I feel like right from the get-go I have to defend myself even if it's about things I don't even believe in. However I did find this interesting…

I do agree that the concept of an eternal life after death is unpleasant. When you think about it, the fact that life is finite is a big part of what makes it valuable, and if life is eternal then it is essentially worthless.

I personally disagree. Life after death doesn't make this life less valuable. Life after death is a whole different experience. My childhood, the people I meet, the very experience of learning, the feeling of discovery…they do not become less valuable just because there is a whole separate experience beyond death.

I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that Christians think life after death is life part two. As a Catholic I never thought of it as that. I didn't think that after I die I'll live my life all over again. Yesterday was yesterday. I will never get it back. Death won't bring it back and certainly life after death won't bring it back either.

- God is not an all-powerful person who controls the universe as he sees fit. God is much more than some guy shooting off lightning bolts into the sky. He is virtually synonymous with goodness. God is the act of people giving money to charity, the act of firefighters trying to save someone's life, and any other act you would describe as good.

To be honest I was totally psyched when I read this because I think this is the first time in a very long time I've heard of someone else expressing a view of God like this one.

If I may extend that a bit further… Many Christians do believe in the concept of hell as a place of fire, brimstone, and demons with pitchforks. There are Christians however who believe that Hell is a place away from God.

If God represents all that is good in this world, then to be away from God is to be away from all that is good. That is what would make Hell a terrible place because you'll be with all the terrible things in the world.

This does not mean you have to believe in God to go to heaven (or whatever pleasant afterlife you want to believe in.) It just means that when the time comes, you must live with the decisions you've made.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
Hawk at 4:13PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 2,760
joined: 1-2-2006
Black_Kitty
To be honest I'm not too keen on religious debates or discussions. As a Catholic I feel like right from the get-go I have to defend myself even if it's about things I don't even believe in.

That unfortunately has become the nature of this part of the forum. It's lopsided in the liberal, non-religious direction. And while outwardly people seem like they want to have a good discussion, you just watch how long a religious or conservative person hangs around here (Kyupol excluded).

And if you look at what we discuss, 25% of our first page of topics either were about Christianity or became focused on it somewhere along the way. Do we not have something else to talk about? I feel like Mykill's back among us. We don't need seven different threads for people to say Christians are evil and the Bible has no scientific validity.

So I don't blame you for not too keen on religious debate. This forum is not a very good ground for it. To tell you honestly, I don't like debating religion either, because it's pointless.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
Orin J Master at 5:03PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 437
joined: 12-16-2007
well, it's the old question “is science encroaching on belief's domain, or is belief encroaching on science?” unfortunately, the answer's a matter of perspective.

the two are, in a fair sense mutually exclusive. you can't have faith in something ant strive to understand it at the same time, so the issue is always going to contine.

for my two cents, i think christianity comes from the fall of rome, when a bunch of crazies preached they'd deliver people from strife. later someone compiled their “miracles” and stories and started the personality cult that eventually evolved into christianity. historicaly, it makes sense.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:22PM
Black_Kitty at 5:57PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,481
joined: 1-1-2006
Hawk
So I don't blame you for not too keen on religious debate. This forum is not a very good ground for it. To tell you honestly, I don't like debating religion either, because it's pointless.

It is. Although I don't mind a discussion but it has to be framed as a sharing of ideas that's done in a respectful manner. Honestly this is not really what this thread (and a lot of other threads out there) are framed as.

you can't have faith in something ant strive to understand it at the same time, so the issue is always going to contine.

Why not?

I can have faith in God but also strive to understand God.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
Product Placement at 8:04PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 7,078
joined: 10-18-2007
Black_Kitty
Maybe I missed it but who in this thread said anything about only those believing in God going to heaven?
Sorry. I just threw this out there because this topic felt like a non specific Christianity discussion. Not everyone may believe this but there are still many who state that there's a heaven that you can only get to if you do exactly what they're doing or you end up in hell instead. Every time I listen to nonsense like that I'm reminded of that south park episode where scores of people are standing outside of hell and it's announced to them that it turns out that the correct answer was Mormons.

Personally I'd prefer if people could just get along but religious extremism makes it so dam difficult.

And of course, atheists who are all high and mighty about their intellectual superiority can be just as bad.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM
Black_Kitty at 8:16PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,481
joined: 1-1-2006
I know I sound a bit cranky and I have to apologize for that. Part of it has nothing to do with this thread (work makes me cranky sometimes.)

Extremists though exist in almost everything. Feminism suffers from a similar issue in that nobody pays attention to the nice people who believe in equal opportunities and respect but everyone notices the half-crazed thinly disguised sexist who will kick your shins in the name of feminism if you open the door for her.

  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
isukun at 8:31PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 2,481
joined: 9-28-2006
I personally disagree. Life after death doesn't make this life less valuable.

I totally agree with BK on this one. The alternative to the afterlife is that the universe eventually moves towards chaos and the human race dies out. Each of our lives is totally insignificant and pointless in the grand scheme of things.

And who says pure bliss has to simply be floating about doing nothing all the time. My impression of happiness is simply living my life. Every experience I have, good or bad, contributes to that sensation of being alive. I don't see heaven as a place where people sit on clouds and bask in God's glory. There would still be pain and failure. After all, what makes you think we would stop being human after death? Why would God give us free will only to take it away again?

I've also got a number of other problems with the initial post and others in here:

Christianity is based off one book that was from a man who told us a person who claimed to be called ‘god’ told him to write it, if I'm not mistaken.

You are mistaken. First of all, the Bible is written by many people, and the church generally claims these people were inspired by God. Not all sects agree on which elements are literal. Also, many sects use other writings to help with modern issues or topics not covered in the Bible. Which writings are legitimate and which aren't varies from sect to sect.

Plus for all I know the Devil hasn't come out with a book.

Actually, there is a Satanic Bible, although it is far more contemporary than the Christian one.

Plus I myself laugh slightly at the logic of this; the bible tells you, that you have to do some bad stuff to get into hell and then you're tortured for an eternity but why?? Wouldn't the Devil dig you?? I mean your his boy. It's not like he would say ‘oh you’ve been bad now your punished for doing exactly what I think it should be like.' so the logic of hell and all that is very easy to crack.

The Bible presents Satan as the tempter. He leads you astray, but in the book of Revelations, it isn't Satan who punishes you for all eternity. It is God who casts those left behind into the lake of fire.

I doubt the people who authored the Book of Genesis considered it anything other than an authentic account of how the universe came into being.

Actually, it is more than likely that the creation myth was intended as a parable and not a historically accurate account of the creation of the universe. Many of your Biblical studies scholars theorize that the book was written to help the Jews bridge the gap between their own religion and those of other local societies. It was more than likely used to recruit new followers in neighboring countries or convert heathens in their own country. If I remember correctly, they had a bit of a problem with Baalists back then.

What religion does is take complex issues and dilute them down to “because that's how God made it” and “because it's part of God's mysterious plan” and “you'll understand after you're dead.”

Actually, the initial goal of religion was very much like the current role of our governments, today. It established rules of conduct and a moral code for the people and played on their fears to get them to behave. People are self-centered creatures by nature, with a focus on their present needs above all else. Religion forces some order on the masses and I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. There are bad things that have arisen out of religion, but the same can be said of any social structure.

If the only reason you do good things is because you're expecting a reward in the afterlife, or to avoid divine retribution, then you're not really a good person at all. You're a trained monkey.

Actually, my particular interpretation of any belief system is that a true believer will follow the rules because they honestly think what they are doing is right. If you just go through the motions, then there is some doubt in your mind and you are questioning a being that in your belief system should be infallible. People should not simply blindly follow any religion. A religion is a philosophy and should be treated as one. People should question things and find their own answers. They should look at things from a logical angle and try to understand why the rules were created. Most moral codes do have some level of logical backing. Many were established for health reasons, organizational reasons, or simply for the betterment of a society. Out of all the religions I've studied in the past, I can't think of any which featured rules (that's rules, not customs or rituals) which were not backed by some form of logic.

1) What convinces you that God exists? Seriously, did you just roll some dice, flip a coin? What empirical evidence or life events have led you to this conclusion?

For me, I can't comprehend the universe any other way. There is a lot we can't explain and that I would say we will never be able to explain. I can't explain my own existence without something that defies logic.

2) If you believe God does exist, what convinces you that he has any influence or concern over events on Earth? Why would a supreme being care about the petty matters of how you live out your meaningless life on this meaningless blue sphere in the middle of nowhere? When has he ever intervened in world events?

What makes you think that all spiritual people must believe God influences our daily lives? Maybe God just sparked something somewhere out of boredom one day and everything just evolved on its own and God DOESN'T give a rat's ass about anything we do.

3) Do you believe in the afterlife, and why? That I know of, nobody's ever been there and come back, so what makes you believe there's anything there? Do you think there's a Heaven and Hell where people are judged? Why would God even bother creating such places?

I don't think life is possible without a spiritual element. I don't think we are judged in the end, at least not in the traditional way, just as I don't think of Heaven or Hell in a traditional sense. I view life as a test, but not one you can pass or fail. I also don't think my concept of the afterlife necessarily involves God.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Mr Lostman at 9:06PM, May 19, 2009
(offline)
posts: 124
joined: 1-14-2009
Hoo boy.

bravo1102
By the first Century Hebrews already saw Genesis as symbolic rather than literal. Literal belief in the stories of creation and every word in the Bible came a lot later with modern Fundamentalism. Literal belief in scripture lapsed for a long time in Christianity. For most of the history of Christianity people did not read the scripture and there was one orthadox interpertation and that was not literal.
Source please?

Black Kitty
Maybe I missed it but who in this thread said anything about only those believing in God going to heaven?
It's in the bible. New Testament too, for the “metaphor” christians. John 3:16's the ur-example.

However I'm along the same wavelength as Humorman in that people shouldn't be mocking or disrespecting religion.
No, it's called free speech, provided by the 1st Amendment. (Unless you don't live in the US?) While you probably shouldn't make fun of people, silly beliefs are fair game.

To be honest I'm not too keen on religious debates or discussions.
That tends to happen when one can only rely on faith and Pascal's Wager.

I personally disagree. Life after death doesn't make this life less valuable. Life after death is a whole different experience. My childhood, the people I meet, the very experience of learning, the feeling of discovery…they do not become less valuable just because there is a whole separate experience beyond death.
I'm not sure where people are getting the idea that Christians think life after death is life part two. As a Catholic I never thought of it as that. I didn't think that after I die I'll live my life all over again. Yesterday was yesterday. I will never get it back. Death won't bring it back and certainly life after death won't bring it back either.

They do become less valuable for the simple fact that they won't be applicable. Since you're going to be worshipping god for the rest of eternity (being a boom box on repeat is great?), your experiences do not mean anything. What exactly are you going to do with what you learned while alive?

If I may extend that a bit further… Many Christians do believe in the concept of hell as a place of fire, brimstone, and demons with pitchforks. There are Christians however who believe that Hell is a place away from God.
Jesus admits he believes in a literal, fire and brimstone hell, among other places. Although this contradicts the whole “second death” thing in revelations.

This does not mean you have to believe in God to go to heaven (or whatever pleasant afterlife you want to believe in.) It just means that when the time comes, you must live with the decisions you've made.
What you're saying is non-biblical (either OT or NT). Jesus said it himself in black and white in plenty of bible verses (like the infamous verse John 3:16). Good works aren't enough, right? Besides, how are they going to live with the decisions they made if they aren't “punished”?

Hawk
So I don't blame you for not too keen on religious debate. This forum is not a very good ground for it. To tell you honestly, I don't like debating religion either, because it's pointless.
You're right; it's not a good place for it because of the intellectual dishonesty and apathy around here. Why is it pointless? People get a chance to exercise their brains, and it might give someone on the fence the push they need. Also, if the other person concedes, it feels really good.

Edit: Holy crap, gotta deal with Isukun.
Blood Martian Flowers. Occasionally updates.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
Mr Lostman at 9:47PM, May 19, 2009
(offline)
posts: 124
joined: 1-14-2009
isukun
I've also got a number of other problems with the initial post and others in here:
I doubt the people who authored the Book of Genesis considered it anything other than an authentic account of how the universe came into being.
Actually, it is more than likely that the creation myth was intended as a parable and not a historically accurate account of the creation of the universe. Many of your Biblical studies scholars theorize that the book was written to help the Jews bridge the gap between their own religion and those of other local societies. It was more than likely used to recruit new followers in neighboring countries or convert heathens in their own country. If I remember correctly, they had a bit of a problem with Baalists back then.
I've got a number of problems with yours too. The writing style doesn't suggest a parable in any way. And if it is a parable, it is a terrible one w/o any lessons (because the “metaphor only” cafeteria christians don't believe in the law as presented in Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, etc.), and leaves the NT without a basis. (No original sin, etc.) If the OT is fake or outdated, WHY IS IT STILL IN THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE?

What religion does is take complex issues and dilute them down to “because that's how God made it” and “because it's part of God's mysterious plan” and “you'll understand after you're dead.”
Actually, the initial goal of religion was very much like the current role of our governments, today. It established rules of conduct and a moral code for the people and played on their fears to get them to behave. People are self-centered creatures by nature, with a focus on their present needs above all else. Religion forces some order on the masses and I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing. There are bad things that have arisen out of religion, but the same can be said of any social structure.
Let's ponder "God's mysterious plan“, shall we?
Religion wasn't to establish government. It was to explain the nature around them (like Genesis). The rules of conduct are an after thought. (”Don't/Do this or you'll anger !“ ”We'll get a good harvest if you in honor of !") A moral code is entirely possible w/o religion, so yeah.

If the only reason you do good things is because you're expecting a reward in the afterlife, or to avoid divine retribution, then you're not really a good person at all. You're a trained monkey.
Actually, my particular interpretation of any belief system is that a true believer will follow the rules because they honestly think what they are doing is right. UNIMPORTANT STUFF EDITED OUT FOR SPACE ISSUES Out of all the religions I've studied in the past, I can't think of any which featured rules (that's rules, not customs or rituals) which were not backed by some form of logic.
There we go again with interpretations and rationalizations. I'm gonna leave the majority of this mess alone. Have you looked hard? Seriously? Just read the OT for some of those rules you don't follow.

1) What convinces you that God exists? Seriously, did you just roll some dice, flip a coin? What empirical evidence or life events have led you to this conclusion?
For me, I can't comprehend the universe any other way. There is a lot we can't explain and that I would say we will never be able to explain. I can't explain my own existence without something that defies logic.
Go with Hinduism. Or Buddhism. They don't require evidence either. Problem solved!

2) If you believe God does exist, what convinces you that he has any influence or concern over events on Earth? Why would a supreme being care about the petty matters of how you live out your meaningless life on this meaningless blue sphere in the middle of nowhere? When has he ever intervened in world events?
What makes you think that all spiritual people must believe God influences our daily lives? Maybe God just sparked something somewhere out of boredom one day and everything just evolved on its own and God DOESN'T give a rat's ass about anything we do.

Only the followers of one of the 3 Abrahamic faiths believe god influences daily lives. Stop grouping all religious people together. If he doesn't care, why do you bother?

3) Do you believe in the afterlife, and why? That I know of, nobody's ever been there and come back, so what makes you believe there's anything there? Do you think there's a Heaven and Hell where people are judged? Why would God even bother creating such places?
I don't think life is possible without a spiritual element. I don't think we are judged in the end, at least not in the traditional way, just as I don't think of Heaven or Hell in a traditional sense. I view life as a test, but not one you can pass or fail. I also don't think my concept of the afterlife necessarily involves God.

It's possible. I mean, my dog isn't spiritual. I'm not dead or anything. That's refuted. Now, if it doesn't matter whether you pass/fail, why bother? Your moral code is apparently worthless. If your afterlife doesn't necc. involve god, WHY ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?

In the long run, it doesn't matter if your beliefs are ridiculous (They are), but what are you doing about the acts your fellow Christians perform in the name of Christianity that spread hate, bigotry, ignorance, pain, and death? (You know they're out there, giving the TrueChristians(TM) a bad name.)
Blood Martian Flowers. Occasionally updates.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:07PM
isukun at 11:07PM, May 19, 2009
(online)
posts: 2,481
joined: 9-28-2006
The writing style doesn't suggest a parable in any way. And if it is a parable, it is a terrible one w/o any lessons

Actually, it's very much worded like a parable, like a number of parables, in fact, and there is a pretty obvious lesson in it, even if YOU don't understand what it is.

Religion wasn't to establish government. It was to explain the nature around them (like Genesis).

Funny, since Genesis was written long after the Jewish faith was established. So what exactly were they trying to explain with a fairly detailed set of laws and no spiritual explanation for anything? God existed almost exclusively to enforce the laws of the Jewish people until around the 10th century BC. They didn't even believe in an afterlife, just God's retribution.

Almost every ancient civilization had a government closely wed to their religion. Rulers were more often than not considered direct descendants of the gods. There is a reason why government and religion were one and the same.

There we go again with interpretations and rationalizations. I'm gonna leave the majority of this mess alone. Have you looked hard? Seriously? Just read the OT for some of those rules you don't follow.

First off, I'm NOT a Christian, so I don't see how the Old Testament even relates to what I said here. Second, the rules present in the Old Testament make sense IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TIME IN WHICH THEY WERE WRITTEN. There is logic behind every one of them if you look at them from the perspective of a Jew in 1400BC. The rules presented in the Old Testament are not simply arbitrary.

Go with Hinduism. Or Buddhism. They don't require evidence either. Problem solved!

And who says I haven't. Both are more open to personal belief than most Christian sects. But I'm guessing your statement was more an attempt at being snide than any real argument.

Only the followers of one of the 3 Abrahamic faiths believe god influences daily lives. Stop grouping all religious people together. If he doesn't care, why do you bother?

Is this even in response to what I said? You quoted me, but it really doesn't seem like you understood what I wrote.

It's possible. I mean, my dog isn't spiritual. I'm not dead or anything. That's refuted.

Got some proof? No? I guess it isn't refuted then. I think you're confusing “spiritual element” with “spiritual belief”, two totally different things.

If your afterlife doesn't necc. involve god, WHY ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN?

Never said I was a Christian, and for the record, I'm not.

In the long run, it doesn't matter if your beliefs are ridiculous (They are)

Apart from admitting that I believe in God, what do you know of my beliefs?

but what are you doing about the acts your fellow Christians perform in the name of Christianity that spread hate, bigotry, ignorance, pain, and death?

Ah, and we're back to the “Christianity is the source of all evil in the universe” ploy. And I've already given my opinion on this subject:

There are bad things that have arisen out of religion, but the same can be said of any social structure.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
Black_Kitty at 4:14AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 1,481
joined: 1-1-2006
It's in the bible. New Testament too, for the “metaphor” christians. John 3:16's the ur-example.

You're demonstrating the exact reason why I said that.

If nobody said anything like that in this thread, then why mention it? Whose personal belief are you questioning in this thread? Why don't you talk about the Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the violent anti-abortionist, or the people who tell you you'll burn in hell by the street corner?

Unless of course…you're just looking for a fight.

They do become less valuable for the simple fact that they won't be applicable. Since you're going to be worshipping god for the rest of eternity (being a boom box on repeat is great?), your experiences do not mean anything. What exactly are you going to do with what you learned while alive?

My loaf of bread is going to expire on May 28th. Should I be taking it to the museum on May 29th? Although I suppose I could still make it into croutons but as we rapidly approach June it might grow moldy and therefore can't be eaten anymore. Maybe I should try eBay it.

My experience does mean something to me. I'm not sure how my post suddenly made you an expert on me but it's me here so I think I know my own personal belief set. You're assuming that things are only valuable to me when they can be used. There are many things in this world that hold personal value to me that cannot be used. I cannot use memories for example yet they hold some sentimental value to me.

My bottomline is that I do not think the quantity of something determines the quality of it. Things do not become instantly valuable just because it has an expiry date on it.

I know I'm going on and on about this but honestly I find this way more interesting than “I have free speech so I can go looking for a fight and act like I'm on the higher ground! Nyah nyah nyah~ By the way your mother is ugly. It's fair game because she really is ugly.” I remember listening to a lecture a prof was giving about life and how doctors are no longer trying to treat illnesses but also extend life as well. How long is too long?

Will life suddenly become less valuable if we are one day immortal? Is this really what makes life valuable? Because it has an expiry date just like the carton of milk in your fridge?

I can't comment however on what I am going to do with my experience in the afterlife. I'm very much alive right now. We'll talk about it when we're both dead.

You're right; it's not a good place for it because of the intellectual dishonesty and apathy around here. Why is it pointless? People get a chance to exercise their brains, and it might give someone on the fence the push they need. Also, if the other person concedes, it feels really good.

I'm going to head straight to this because I genuinely feel like some of you are looking for a fight. The questions are just a lead-up to it. During one debate I went into, I got held responsible for the Crusades. That wasn't really fun for me. No girl likes to be called that old especially when the other guy hasn't even laid eyes on her before.

Is it sensitive of me? Maybe. But I think that if a religious discussion cannot be done in a considerate manner then really it's just a bunch of people looking for a Christian to nail to the wall. Everyone has a good time…except that Christian nailed to the wall.
  
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:24AM
ozoneocean at 4:47AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 25,091
joined: 1-2-2004
I love how in these debates the ones arguing positively for religion almost invariably do so because they have a far wider, far deeper, far more nuanced grasp of the subject. lol!
Which is an irony since most of these topics are started by someone who is anti-religious and looking to pick an easily won fight with some naive Christian cliche or a crazy zealous nutjob. We don't have many of either of those on the DD forums so the less able are usually on the other side of the argument.

-I don't believe in the Christian god either, or the religion, but I still respect the faith. It's not all just a bunch of crazy ideas put out there to fool you… Consider this: it's always the child and the rebellious teen that regards all the ideas and institutions of their parents as meaningless rubbish. As you grow into an adult though you start to understand the greater truths and importance of adult things. The same is true with religion, all religion. It has silliness on the surface, but then most things do if that's all you ever see.

(of course “adult” here is not literal)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:34PM
Product Placement at 8:10AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 7,078
joined: 10-18-2007
Personally I'm torn on the subject. Having faith in something is ok but when it interferes with scientific progress then I start objecting. I have nothing against the belief in God but I hate organized religion. I despise zealotism and what it can do to otherwise good people. The bible is open for interpretation but too many people twist those words to suit their own needs while others demand that everything in the good book is to be taken literally.

I really, really like to believe that there's life after death but the scientist in me argues against it. Your soul is supposed to be immortal. It reincarnates in a different form of live, travels to a glorious afterlife or is tortured in agony for ever and ever. The only confirmation we have that this is true is the word of various religious scholars who have no first hand experience. How can we know that they're telling the truth? The whole subject of soul is an odd one. Let's take for example the idea of teleportation.

Some theorize that once we licked the concept of matter/energy conversion, it will be possible to transport people to the other side of the world. An individual would step into a chamber, broken down into molecules, the information would be converted into a data stream and transported into another chamber, where the process is reversed. Voila, you've just been teleported. But is it you?

In reality, the whole process of dismantling you, molecule by molecule, will outright kill you. The information is copied and used to assemble an exact duplicate on the other side. He'll have all your memories and as far as he's concerned, he's you. Nobody will be able to tell any difference and in fact, the only one who could confirm if you were teleported safely or not is the original you. Since you're dead you can't say anything but your copy will boast that the operation was a success.

If you could justify the existence of a soul, you could argue that it gets transported with the data stream and thus the copy of yourself is in fact you. Sadly it's something that's hard to prove. It's something you can only have faith in.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:50PM
Hawk at 8:26AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 2,760
joined: 1-2-2006
Black_Kitty
Extremists though exist in almost everything. Feminism suffers from a similar issue in that nobody pays attention to the nice people who believe in equal opportunities and respect but everyone notices the half-crazed thinly disguised sexist who will kick your shins in the name of feminism if you open the door for her.

That's a good point. You can build hospitals and schools, send aid and medicine to third-world countries, and fund soup kitchens, but the minute one person in the same religion hands out bibles at the airport, suddenly they're all oppressive wackos.

People think it's an awful thing to make generalizations about races and ethnicities because you can't choose them, but that it's all right to make generalizations about religions because to most extents you {i]can choose your religion. But they're STILL generalizations, and not fair to the many people who don't fit them. Religions (especially Christianity) and their followers are WAY too diverse to fit under generalizations.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
bravo1102 at 8:39AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 3,389
joined: 1-21-2008
Faith is nuanced because it can and has differed in definition so much for so long. Non-faith is relatively simple because it is so obvious. e.g. Occam's razor. Since Martin Luther everyone can read the Gospels and draw their own conclusions. Before that various interpreations differed among the Apostles then among the Church Fathers and through so many others all the way down to the present (The Great Awakenings, Wesley, Calvin, Aquinas, Abelard, William of Occam; etc, etc)

Open non-faith is a relatively new concept. 19th Century biblical critique, 18th century Deism, Renaissance Agnosticism and anti-clericalism, it started with forgotten Pagan philosophical dissections of Christianity but promptly vanished once the Christian Faith became Catholic. You could question the definitions of faith safely, but non-faith? A certain death sentence. Being tortured, flayed with shells, stoned, burned is a pretty good reason not to discuss non-faith and instead argue over angels dancing on the heads of pins. (I love that metaphor, all that time studying Medieval religious debate)

In the end it is all rather silly just how seriously it is taken because empirically transubstaniation, the Trinity and Virgin Birth are kind of ridiculous. But then Alice said she tried to believe six impossible things before breakfast. ;) Faith is like that. It doesn't matter that these things are impossible to us. God doesn't have to work that way. What is my evidence? Faith. And that's all that is needed. Whether my faith is placed in the God of Abraham, Aquinas or a secular moral brotherhood of Man based on concrete evidence with or without deities. The choice is up to you.

It is wonderful that such diverging opinions can be discussed in this day and age, but just practice tolerance to those who disagree because in the end faith is often very personal and always has been which is why it it so nuanced as definitions differ. But non-faith? It really doesn't. Occam's razor. The KISS principle; keep it short and simple.

As Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, everyone” and Benjamin Franklin, “God help us because no one else will.”

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM
Dark Pascual at 11:14AM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 498
joined: 1-5-2009
I think that the real problem is not Religon itself, but people that use it as a excuse to hate…

Religion is an idea, a philosohpy and a a belief system…per se is not bad or good.

When people use this for personal gain, for control others and gain power, then the Religion becomes corrupted and loses its original purpose.

Besides, there are several aspects about a Religion, and sometimes people forget about it at the moment of discuss it.

First you have the “mythology” behind the Religion. Is the Religion have one or many gods? How is the universe organized according to it? There is a Heaven? A Hell?

Then you have the moral code. The rules that you must follow as a member of the Religion.

And then you have the liturgy, the rites that surround that religion. The how to workship the god(s).

Now given that, what aspect of the Christianity is questioned or should be questioned?
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:07PM
isukun at 3:00PM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 2,481
joined: 9-28-2006
If you could justify the existence of a soul, you could argue that it gets transported with the data stream and thus the copy of yourself is in fact you. Sadly it's something that's hard to prove. It's something you can only have faith in.

Actually, if such a machine existed, it would be incredibly easy to prove that a person cannot be transported in such a manner without losing the original consciousness or soul in the process. Simply make it so the machine does not break down the individual at the beginning and you'll have your answer. The problem is that such a machine would be more akin to a fax machine than an actual transporter. When you fax a document over, the end result is not the original document, no matter how close to the original it is. Cloning a person using the same process would show you that the consciousness is not transferred, even if the clone has all the same memories, the original has no connection to the copy. If they ever did make such a machine, I doubt I would ever use it.

Sorry to get off topic, I just find these things kind of interesting.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
El Cid at 3:43PM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 973
joined: 5-4-2009
I've worried about the exact same thing with Star Trek, with those teleporter thingees. Like, how do you know the teleporter doesn't kill you when it breaks you up into atoms and then it just creates a clone with all your memories someplace else? You couldn't get me near one of those things!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:20PM
bravo1102 at 4:13PM, May 20, 2009
(online)
posts: 3,389
joined: 1-21-2008
El Cid
I've worried about the exact same thing with Star Trek, with those teleporter thingees. Like, how do you know the teleporter doesn't kill you when it breaks you up into atoms and then it just creates a clone with all your memories someplace else? You couldn't get me near one of those things!

That was dealt with in a couple of ST episodes and much more graphically in some Outer Limits episodes.

But if there is a soul there is no way we can detect it at present, let alone transport it without the body. It could exist on another dimension that we poor 3D types can't see or experience. Just like the little square in Flatland who gets whisked into “UP” the dimension beyond his own that he can never quite explain.

Some things cannot be explained until we can obtain that extraordinary evidence; and for these things we can't… yet. Just remember a few centuries ago moons around Jupiter and Rings around Saturn were extraordinary things requiring extraordinary evidence.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:33AM

Forgot Password
©2011 WOWIO, Inc. All Rights Reserved