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  1. #211
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spamtar View Post
    This is proof that if there is a second coming of Christ then Christ is in fact a P contrary to conventional wisdom that Jesus is a J.
    Actually, it might be more proof that the later Church is S rather than N, as Christ did come soon (with the destruction of the Temple), and the Church didn't recognize it. (Some theories claim that there was a visible appearance in the clouds, and even a "rapture" at that time!) That would explain the Church that grew out of the first century going off track so fast. They were the actual "left behind".

    Question is, then, now what?
    One version of the theory says that all people receive grace now (no more Hell; since the instrument of the Law, with its condemnation, was removed), but still, God allowed that truth to be buried for thousands of years until modern "preterists" and "pantelists" figured it out (sounding like yet more "heretical" sects), and we still won't find out for sure until we die.
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  2. #212
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What about them?

    They are about as representative of Christianity as Stalin's Gulags, the Nazi Holocaust or French Revolutionary Terror are of reason, science and athiesm. Unless those things are connected. Is that what you're saying?
    How can you prove that those people are not true Christians? Scholars of the Bible to this day have not established a single, unchallengeable interpretation of scripture.
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  3. #213
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    It seems to me that Liquid Laser is not trying to prove that God exists; in other words he is not inferring that God exists from the claim that believing in God influences the lives of the believers for the better in the ethical respect. He is merely arguing that if a person truly and fundamentally believes in the Christian God, his behavior will improve in the moral light. This conclusion is perfectly consistent with the claim that God does not exist and the people who improve their moral character by believing in Him are living an illusion. In other words, it could be the case that what improves the ethical character of these people is not God's grace, but mind-states that are purely internal to their psychology. Liquid Laser is not in the position to deny this claim if he is to avoid your charges and I'd be surprised if he does indeed deny it in the future; however, to be fair to him he clearly hasn't yet. To salvage LL's position, these religious mind-states are not exactly like the placebo effect: the religious mind-states are similar to genuine medication in the regard that they are therapeutic, or they compell people to think in a different manner. In short, the religious do not simply say 'I want to be better!' and shortly thereafter they experience improvement, there is an external cause of their change (the therapy) despite the fact that this cause is not God.
    I understand this is the connection LL attempts to draw, but it's an analogical fallacy. Yes, philosophies (including systems of religious belief) are similar to pharmaceuticals in that they may have a therapeutic affect -- and that's all. Medicines act upon a physical object (the human body) in accordance with physical laws arrived at via scientific reasoning. The time where men boil bark and drink the result because it's been observed this clears headaches is behind us. Clinical trials are to determine if predictions of the outcome of complex interactions, made on the basis of good science, will result in unexpected side effects. However, the effects of medicines are entirely the product of "induction" about as much as we take one Christianity with water prior to eating each meal.

    At any rate, if LL's argument is, indeed, that believing in certain things causes us to act in certain ways, it's not much a revelation.
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  4. #214
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spamtar View Post
    Yes an this is another reason I prefer the Gospel of Mark is that I find it more consistent with the other gospels of Luke and Mathew (where as I recall there is more inconsistencies between the two). Contemporary bible scholars tend to agree it was the first book written of the NT. Thus I find it more reliable and more accurate account of the life and teachings of Jesus.
    I understand your thinking here... but I'm not sure I follow your insinuation that the first source has to be the most accurate. There's just as good a chance that Matthew and Luke used it as a source, then made corrections and expanded stuff Mark missed. There were able to research, get corroboration for aspects of Mark's gospel, etc., and prove/disprove certain reports Mark made. That sort of thing happens all the time, and I can't just take a cynical view that the changes were all bad or made-up garbage without some evidence of that. As it was, Luke was a physician and seemed to have a thorough and logical mind... he seems to be the best at providing some general context and supporting detail. I find Mark sort of thin.

    John, of course, is a crapshoot. He's off on his own path.
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  5. #215
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    At any rate, if LL's argument is, indeed, that believing in certain things causes us to act in certain ways, it's not much a revelation.
    The relevant question is whether or not believing in Christianity causes us to behave in a more ethically virtuous manner. LL believes that this is so, yet I doubt that it is on the account that many large groups of genuine believers behave in a savage manner. LL's position can therefore be undermined by an inductive argument. In addition to that, I'd say there is a deductive argument against it as well: the principle that God's authority should be trusted and man's own private judgment regardless of how rational and benign it may be is a salient tenet of most Christian faiths. In addition to this, most of such religious messages urge people to believe that those who disagree with them are heretics who shall suffer eternal perdition. The first encourages an abandonment of reason which is the very anathema of the Enlightenment era values that compelled us to discover new ideas that will move the civilization forward and ultimately improve our lives. Its difficult to imagine how this could entail a moral improvement among large groups of people. The second principle tacitly feeds aggressive urges of believers and reinforces violence and bigotry which were the distinguishing features of the ancestor creeds of contemporary Christians.

    Yes, most Christians believe that they should turn the other cheek and simply be compassionate to others; yet it is almost impossible for one to truly follow this moral dictate when the very core of their beliefs encourages narrow-mindedness and disrespect towards the people who are not in agreement with their beliefs. I think that this observation offers a reasonable explanation for why religious authorities have been frequently been convicted of hypocrisy or not 'practicing what they preach'. This hypocrisy was the defining moral feature of the character of the paragon of Christian virtue; Jesus himself, he preached compassion yet was extremely parochial and hostile in his judgment of those who disagreed with his moral views. His followers, or conventional Christians both past and present have done an admirable job of imitating his ways. How would a Christian respond to this? The infidels are deserving of such judgment as they are simply wicked, for the very least thats the claim they make the most frequently. A claim of this nature is altogether irrelevant; the wicked behavior of others has nothing to do with the compassion maxim, it offers no legitimate excuse for abandoning such a moral principle. A man who is truly committed to compassion will turn the other cheek to the wicked. Instead of acting compassionately, he behaved savagely and thereby infused the hearts of his followers with a violent and provincial resolve.
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  6. #216
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    How can you prove that those people are not true Christians? Scholars of the Bible to this day have not established a single, unchallengeable interpretation of scripture.
    OK then so the French Terror, Stalin's Gulag and Nazi Holocaust was representative of reason, science and Athiesm.

  7. #217
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    At any rate, if LL's argument is, indeed, that believing in certain things causes us to act in certain ways, it's not much a revelation.
    LOL, this thread is great! I've never claimed to be making some gigantic universal revelation. No matter how many times I state my point it seems people think I'm making some entirely different point. What this other point is seems to vary from person to person though lol. My point only applies to Christians. Here is my main point again:

    Main Point
    "Given that a person is a Christian, there is a method that is most effective at improving a Christian's behavior. This method is to believe in the authority of the Bible and be willing to engage in 'costly' behavior."

    I made this point because we were originally talking about miracles, which would be included in believing in the authority of the Bible. (Specifically the resurrection of Christ would be the main miracle to believe in.) Now if anyone wants to disagree with my main point that is fine, but so far everyone has been disagreeing with a variety of different points that I've never tried to make, lol.

    Now I've also been trying to make a secondary point. Jennifer seemed to be suggesting that you can make a method effective simply by believing whatever you want. I disagree with this, so here is my secondary point:

    Secondary Point
    "Effective methods are based on true principles. Ineffective methods are based on false principles."

    Perhaps this is the point everyone has a problem with? I don't know. I thought this was fairly obvious, but perhaps I need to state this in a longer more carefully worded version to clarify what I mean. Heh it's ok if anyone disagrees with this point too, but so far I haven't seen anyone take direct issue with this point either.

    I suppose the third option is what happens when you combine the two points together? Well if you combine the two points together, then remember that the conclusion applies only to Christians. Since the first point is limited only to Christians, then the two points combined would also apply only to Christians.
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  8. #218
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    LOL, this thread is great! ...
    I'd ask that you clarify what you mean by "true principles". While SW has raised valid points in regard to your first assertion -- that certain fervent believers continue to engage in antisocial behavior -- I'm prepared to admit that, for example, believing the prospect of burning for eternity in Hell is a concrete reality and not an illustration open to interpretation would encourage people to behave in greater accordance with Christianity's tenets.

    It's when you say that this change in behavior indicates that Hell must therefore exist, as your use of the term "true principles" would rather strongly imply, that I vigorously dissent.
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  9. #219
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    OK then so the French Terror, Stalin's Gulag and Nazi Holocaust was representative of reason, science and Athiesm.
    There's an important difference: one can readily demonstrate how each of the examples you cite were nothing more than the veneer of "ration" at the service of irrational ideologies. Because religion, at some level, asks that we dispense with ration and rely upon "faith", the same cannot be said of supposed "fringe" interpretations.

    In other words, when we dispense with ration, we can assert anything, so who are we to say the suicide bombers are wrong?
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

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  10. #220
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spamtar View Post
    Yes an this is another reason I prefer the Gospel of Mark is that I find it more consistent with the other gospels of Luke and Mathew (where as I recall there is more inconsistencies between the two). Contemporary bible scholars tend to agree it was the first book written of the NT. Thus I find it more reliable and more accurate account of the life and teachings of Jesus.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I understand your thinking here... but I'm not sure I follow your insinuation that the first source has to be the most accurate. There's just as good a chance that Matthew and Luke used it as a source, then made corrections and expanded stuff Mark missed. There were able to research, get corroboration for aspects of Mark's gospel, etc., and prove/disprove certain reports Mark made. That sort of thing happens all the time, and I can't just take a cynical view that the changes were all bad or made-up garbage without some evidence of that. As it was, Luke was a physician and seemed to have a thorough and logical mind... he seems to be the best at providing some general context and supporting detail. I find Mark sort of thin.

    John, of course, is a crapshoot. He's off on his own path.
    Most scholars seem to agree Mark was written around AD 70, following the the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Wouldn't this suggest it was written based on hearsay, not first-degree, or even based on earlier religions and allegory? How would that affect reliability?

    Also, scholars say the gospels are anonymous and that the titles didn't get added until the 2nd century. Mark, John etc.. weren't necessarily real people.

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