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  1. #81
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    If you see a pretty captive, you can take her home with you, "go in unto her", and then kick her out if she isn't satisfying:
    You should probably judge the contents of the OT based on standard practice of the time and how these rules measured up, whether there were "logical/practical" reasons to do so, and whether the rules were actually of benefit to the people you're defending.

    (I'm not getting into a discussion of details, just giving you further direction. You'd do better comparing Jewish law NOT to modern-day law in the modern-day world but by seeing what needs these regulations served in the world and time period in question.)

    Two bears tare 42 children to shreds as a form of Gods justice:
    This incident has been discussed numerous times in Christian literature, you should look it up to get some clarification of context, actual age of the probable participants, etc.

    Of the cities God delivers in war, kill all the men, and take the women unto thyself:
    Again, judge it in context. It sounds pretty horrible today, doesn't it? can you imagine possibilities of other solutions, and what their weaknesses might have been?


    If a woman is raped in the city, both she and the man will be stoned to death because she didnt yell loud enough. If she is raped in the countryside, then only the man is stoned to death:
    Yup. In some ways that really sucks.

    It's interesting to look at our legal debates nowadays, where often the man doesn't get punished at all because he can claim consensual sex. The Jews might have seen THAT as evil... especially in a context where adultery was breaking one of the Ten Commandments and a damning act and not modern society where adultery is often shrugged aside from context.

    Note the disparity occurs on both sides: In the city, the woman is shafted; in the countryside, the man is shafted. I'm wondering about "city" context -- was there ever a situation where women were not around other women or family? And so being alone with a strange man was already rare? (I.e., if she was alone with him, chances are she had gone willingly... and against social tradition?)

    You need to look at the possible contexts and social stipulations at the time, to better frame this, before you judge it.


    I remain with my earlier assertation that if Christians read the OT more frequently (or even at all)...things might be different.
    probably not. People justify whatever they want. We all are tempted to think in convenient ways.
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  2. #82
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    My church teaches that Faith is a gift from the Lord, and that once we receive this gift we can only accept it. He knows in advance of our birth who among us are the chosen ones - the Elect, the rest of the people will simply die and that's it - no heaven, no literal hell. They are extremely opposed to what they consider "Decision Christianity" (being "saved" and so on) and claim that is inconsistent with an all knowing/omnipotent God. What is going to happen is according to God's Plan and nothing (including prayer) will change that path. Prayer is to give us strength and motivation to do what we need to or handle what is coming. IMO, my church has done a pretty good job of rationalizing things!

    Not that I agree with it.

    As I get older (early 40's) I find myself less Christian and more Spiritual. I'm not even sure what I believe anymore (though I'm still classifying myself as Christian), and I worry that I'm not one of the Chosen. I've studied, read the Bible, prayed for clarity but no use - I've decided that I've done the best I can, and whatever will happen - will happen. I'm probably going to pull a Sassq. if I've been wrong. But then I feel it's not my fault - I mean, you can't fake belief.

  3. #83
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    Babylon Candle,
    The earliest Christians were Jews. When they started accepting Gentiles into their fold, they decided that they weren't required to keep any of the laws or traditions that the Jews were supposed to. This includes circumcision, which for a Jew is the most important requirement to be considered one of God's people. For Gentiles this requirement was removed with all of the others. The Jewish Christians however still observed all of these things. This is summarized fairly well in Acts chapter 15 if you would like to read for yourself.
    This is exactly what im talking about: Christians who DO read the OT absurdities, cruelties and acts of violence...never address these acts, they simply respond with: "well I dont have to follow that stuff anymore..."

    regardless of whether or not you have to follow it, does it not seem like a giant red flag that this God has at one point in time been had basically been a dictator tyrant rather than the "loving God" portrayed in the NT?

    And as far as the Jews still keeping these laws: None of them do keep ALL of them anymore. They dont still stone people in Israel for the multitude of offenses described in the OT, and when they fought wars in the 20th century agaisnt their Arab nations, they didnt kill everyone except the virgins as instructed by their God. So even the Jews themselves don't keep all of these...why? because they see the absurdity.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    I literally brought up that example about "Christ is not burning in hell for eternity, therefore I can't see how our punishment would be eternity in hell..." to a pastor who has studied in theology at a graduate level (i cant say how much credibility this gives him)

    He gave me a weak argument in return: "God can't be in the presence of imperfection, because his standard and he in turn, IS perfect. therefore there must be bloodshed. This is how sacrifice worked out in the OT and how Christs bloodshed was good enough in the NT....but yes there is a heaven, there must be a hell...a suitable dichotomy."

    My confusion lies then on: why wouldn't our own bloodshed be enough then? sure, our bloodshed can't be enough for all mankind like Christ's was, but why not our own bloodshed for our own sins? There are plenty of passages in the bible that claim we will not pay for the sins of our fathers. If the bloodshed of an animal were enough for the Jews not to go to Hell, then why isn't our own bloodshed?

    Part of my critisism of the Bible is exactly what you talk about Jennifer: its so hard to read it correctly! If this is God's all important message couldn't he have communicated it better? Why would he limit himself to a 2000 year old book?!
    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    I mean as: Heaven is probably same as hell on the long run.

    Why?

    I don't know what really Bible says but the picture that is common in public sounds like a bad scenario.

    For example, you like writting books but about what you will write in heaven?

    If you start to write novels you will have a problem becuse there is no infinite number of novels you can write without staring to repeat with time.
    Your mind has boundarys and its operates inside of them.

    But there is so big number of novels that can be written that it is fun to do it once again. but with time it is unavoidable that you start to repeat yourself once again. What will you do then? Start another cycle?

    What will you do after 10 cycles ? 100? 10000? 1000000?
    Will you still write novels?

    What after 1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 cycles ?

    I mean you can mix writting with other activity but problem is still out there.

    What will you do when that huge number that is writting up there will be number of zeros after number 1 .

    There is a fact that you forget things with time but you always will be conscious of the fact that you have done this so many times that you will even need thousands of years to even say the number how many time did you do something.
    (becuse it is that Big)

    All people that go to heaven could ask god to delete their memory.
    But in that case people will figure out what happened quite fast and once again you have same problem.

    Since you can't die, the problem will be there forever always behind you and ready to destroy any fun that comes your way.
    Since you can't die you really can't experiance any real adventure becuse chance of survival is 100%.

    What will you do? Ask God to destroy you somehow?

    The only way to avoid this problem is that after death god turns you into something else. The point is that your human consciousness is no more so that you can grow and expand further.

    Or the truth is something so abstract that human brain can't do anything about the problem. Why so may people think that there will be the end of the world soon. It is because world without the end is hard to understand and/or accept.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I'm not sure why you are going here, since my point was the opposite.

    That's not really what I was referring to, so I'm confused over your point. After having been through that phase of my life, I came to the conclusion that finding God and becoming perfected wasn't going to happen through more extensive Bible study than I was already doing.

    When I was younger I really thought I understood truth and had answers that worked; but the older I got and the more things I had to work through in life, and the more things I saw OTHER people dealing with, the more ambiguous it all became, and the more I realized I was just trying to live out answers that were ultimately unsatisfying, without real conviction or certainty my assertions were true.

    Coming along with that, I do not know how we "have faith." We can't just choose to have faith, we either have it or we don't, so it's almost like a gift... and so how could a god hold us accountable if we don't have it? I do not know the answer.

    I guess in my life for a long time I had faith. Or thought I did. And maybe on one level I did, but my intellectual needs were not satisfied; once I was forced to confront the reality that belief is based on faith, not knowledge, I really really crashed. I realized any faith I had had been built on the assumption that I could prove what I believed... and when I realized I couldn't, I no longer knew what I believed. (So my faith actually had built on rationality.)

    I went through various cycles feeling that God either didn't exist or that he had abandoned me, and eventually I came to a point where I realized the question of God didn't even matter in terms of what I was going to do with my life and what convictions I held about all that was good and right. For me it became walking through the eye of paradox between belief and unbelief, realizing that regardless of whatever intellectual discordance I ran across, I still was going live as if it were all true -- and I did know the values were true. Because it was what mattered to me and embodied life as I knew it. (I don't know if this aligns with what Reason said above, as far as practical value goes, but maybe... And what more can a limited human being do?)

    I am saying this simply to say that one can still believe, still not understand, and still wonder if it's all true. I also think the value is in the seeking, not necessarily the understanding. And you can't always find everything right away, if ever. But seeking shows a desire to find, and I have to believe that is honored, and that there is not a time limit on the finding.

    IOW, the people who accept an authority, or have a personal testimony, or a cultural upbringing, or an "it just feels right" mindset are morally stilted if they have the hubris to suggest that OTHERS who follow the exact same patterns but come to different conclusions must be wrong.

    People are allowed to have convictions stemming from many sources. The pride and faultiness comes in how they place themselves over others (or not) and think they have more of a handle on truth
    .
    I don't know. That's one of the apparent fallacies. You can't say there's a God just from looking at nature and conclude it must be the Christian JUST because there must be a God due to nature.
    Coming from an evangelistic circle, I have had problems with all of this. Hence, why all the evidence has pointed me to the view I discussed recently:
    http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...tml#post305807

    Yes, we teach that everyone really knows the truth inside, and will be judged on that, but even those who yield to the truth, and read the Bible and pray everyday, claiming God "reveals His truth' tot hem that way, are still divided over doctrine and practice. God can't be "revealing" so many different things to them. This is a clue that the age of condemnation and revelation (which was to show how to get out of condemnation) is over.

    Most of the depictions of both Heaven and Hell were symbols of the destruction of "the age" (the OT age, not the physical "cosmos"). So the afterlife is most likely an entirely different level of existence that could not even be described. This may not seem comforting to some, but it's better than trying to project this framework of existence to eternity, which is what raises those questions of us getting "bored". I see that one of the strongest evidences that I'm NT[P] is that I have looked at the framework or underlying principle of this universe as we know it, and it is basically survival. We go to school to learn how to take care of ourselves when we grow up, and then find a mate and reproduce, so that next generation can start the process all over again. We get locked up in 'fun", and all these other "distractions', but that's the underlying principle of "life".

    Some sects such as Jehovah's Witnesses, and the old Plain Truth, and even the Adventists to a certain extent, based on strictly literal interpretations of the prophecies, did picture "the Kingdom" as this perfect earth where everything on a ("restored") earth, lush with crops of food for all, continues as normal, but now under "God's perfect government". But they teach that everyone in Heaven will have these new perfect indestructable bodies that will last forever, generating life in themselves. So, we won't be subject to the physical laws anymore, and won't need to eat to survive, and probably have no need to work either. (and most believe there won't be reproduction either). Hence, we should admit, that we do not know what "life in Heaven' will be like at all. We will need a whole new framework of existence. They try to extend this familiar existence to eternity in order to sell themselves and woo people in, but it doesn't work. the old way, of course, was just to conlude that we do nothing but float around with harps, worshipping. Nobody wanted to give up this life for that, so they had to dress it all up, nicely.
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  5. #85
    Senior Member htb's Avatar
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    OP: Have you ever confronted evil? An experience like that will answer your question, insofar as those who end up in hell insist on going.

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    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    This is exactly what im talking about: Christians who DO read the OT absurdities, cruelties and acts of violence...never address these acts, they simply respond with: "well I dont have to follow that stuff anymore..."

    regardless of whether or not you have to follow it, does it not seem like a giant red flag that this God has at one point in time been had basically been a dictator tyrant rather than the "loving God" portrayed in the NT?
    Actually I have tried to address these things personally. Some of them I have an answer that is satisfactory to me, but I admit there are a few OT passages which I find confusing and don't have a good explanation for.

    Overall my view of the "portrayal" of God in the OT is that it is simply that...a portrayal. The authors were describing God to the best of their ability, and they happened to be in a militant culture that is very different from ours. Their explanation of events is going to be from a perspective very different from ours. The New Testament is from an era with a lot of Greco-Roman influence which basically is the foundation of Western civilization. For that reason it is easier for us to understand even though the NT was written about 2000 years ago. The OT was written even longer ago in a language and culture much different from ours today. A lot of things in the OT are not going to make sense with a simple surface reading.

    Even so, on a case-by-case basis I do try to understand OT events, but I don't claim it is easy. Also I can easily see why other people could each come to different conclusions about the same text. If I had to give advice about reading the OT though it would be not to judge too quickly and try to understand the context thoroughly before coming to a conclusion.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicia91 View Post
    My church teaches that Faith is a gift from the Lord, and that once we receive this gift we can only accept it. He knows in advance of our birth who among us are the chosen ones - the Elect, the rest of the people will simply die and that's it - no heaven, no literal hell. They are extremely opposed to what they consider "Decision Christianity" (being "saved" and so on) and claim that is inconsistent with an all knowing/omnipotent God. What is going to happen is according to God's Plan and nothing (including prayer) will change that path. Prayer is to give us strength and motivation to do what we need to or handle what is coming. IMO, my church has done a pretty good job of rationalizing things!
    I'm impressed.

    "The rationalization is strong with this church" -- Darth Vader.

    As I get older (early 40's) I find myself less Christian and more Spiritual. I'm not even sure what I believe anymore (though I'm still classifying myself as Christian), and I worry that I'm not one of the Chosen.


    What a horrible thing to feel, Alicia... after having worked so hard, and feeling that no matter what you do, things will end up as they will end up, so what was the point?

    I am verging off topic, but I think this is why the Christian existentialist approach has had such a positive impact on me. (I know that's not necessarily a basis for truth -- whatever is true is true regardless of what I'd like to be true) -- but I have been through various stages of faith in my life, and I know which ones left me unengaged with life, feeling like my life was worthless (to the point of suicide), and I've found a complete turnaround when I actually felt like I had been the ability to make choices in my life that mattered. It didn't make me completely disinterested in God, as if I "didn't need him anymore" -- it did the complete opposite. Taking responsibility for my life to make decisions in the way I have been sculpted over the years actually allowed me to experience more faith than I've ever had in my life when I was TRYING to be faithful. It feels so odd after decades of trying to be a better believer and have faith that I would over the last year experience peace and faith so fervently by doing something counter-intuitive to the status quo religious teaching.

    ... I mean, you can't fake belief.
    You're right, you can't.
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  8. #88
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Which leads to this question: Is God present even in hell? (Sorry. Just came to mind. ) if so, then the people in hell simply have chosen not to perceive him even if he is there... which means they have placed themselves in hell. And even hell is illusory in terms of reality, although very real to those suffering the self-imposed illusion.
    Right!


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    It always left me wondering how people truly change, if they believe one thing. Can they ever truly believe anything else, without some sort of divine intervention to break the mindset?

    We like to consider ourselves autonomous and able to choose freely between alternatives, but so often it seems that we are fated to believe one thing because of our natures and personalities and history and culture... unless something inexplicable changes us. Odd.
    Man, in and of himself, is finite and therefore changeable; thus, if left to himself, man will change. Once a man's belief changes such that he doesn't believe understanding is possible, he, by his own power, can no longer change his belief such that he will accept the possibility of understanding, and he will freely keep himself in this position of perpetual ignorance; for a man's desires proceed from his beliefs, and the belief that understanding is impossible will preclude the arousal of any desire for the attainment of understanding, for no man desires to obtain something he believes to be necessarily non-existent--such a man is a willing prisoner of his own mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post

    1. We cannot avoid making "irrational jumps". Nothing is 100% self evident. Even the idea that your hand is well... *there*.
    The laws of thought are self-evident; i.e., the laws of identity, non-contradiction, and excluded middle. Wherever there is meaning, the laws of thought are being used. Wherever a law of thought is violated, there is no meaning, and that which is meaningless cannot be true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    I literally brought up that example about "Christ is not burning in hell for eternity, therefore I can't see how our punishment would be eternity in hell..." to a pastor who has studied in theology at a graduate level (i cant say how much credibility this gives him)

    He gave me a weak argument in return: "God can't be in the presence of imperfection, because his standard and he in turn, IS perfect. therefore there must be bloodshed. This is how sacrifice worked out in the OT and how Christs bloodshed was good enough in the NT....but yes there is a heaven, there must be a hell...a suitable dichotomy."

    My confusion lies then on: why wouldn't our own bloodshed be enough then? sure, our bloodshed can't be enough for all mankind like Christ's was, but why not our own bloodshed for our own sins? There are plenty of passages in the bible that claim we will not pay for the sins of our fathers. If the bloodshed of an animal were enough for the Jews not to go to Hell, then why isn't our own bloodshed?
    What do you think sin is? What exactly do people need to be redeemed from?

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    Part of my critisism of the Bible is exactly what you talk about Jennifer: its so hard to read it correctly! If this is God's all important message couldn't he have communicated it better? Why would he limit himself to a 2000 year old book?!
    Christianity teaches that God's self revelation is not confined to the bible, but is both clear and general so that all men, in all times, in all places can know of his eternal power, his divine nature, and the moral law. Once one knows the content of this general revelation, then he can understand the nature, content, and origin of special revelation. When interpreting special revelation (i.e., scripture), in light of general revelation...

    "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them" (Westminster Confession of Faith 1.7).

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    1. I did mean a relational God...personable might of been the wrong word....sorry

    2. "If God is universal he must be discernible even without conventional..."-- this is my main criticism: why would God limit himself to a 2000 year old book...just because someone might be able to discern there is a God from i guess Nature...how does that person make the leap that the Bible is the correct version of his communication?

    what about the people who lived before the printing press? before the bible was translated into their language? is retarded by medical standards, yet sill somehow sins? what about people who are illiterate but still sin?

    Assume that there is a clear revelation, from the things that are made, of the eternal power and divine nature of God. If an infinitely powerful, infinitely good God exists, then why is there evil?

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    This goes along with my "how is it someone fault to simply be what God created them to be? He created them knowing they would sen, so in effect he created that person to sin! The fundies respond that "its God, he can do what he wants to demonstrate his justice". To me that IS a "Might equals Right argument"..."he who has the power makes the ethics"...to those of us who find ethics as objective and independent of observation, creation etc. That is uncomfortable...
    Might equals right assumes coercion. God doesn't coerce anyone to do evil. It wouldn't be just to hold a person accountable for an act he was coerced into performing. Persons are evil because they want to be evil, and God lets them do what they want; he lets them reap what they sow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    totally random, by my latest conjecture is that proving or understanding the Bible actually lies in Judaism. Seriously, Pastors shouldn't be convincing me of the veracity of Jesus, but the truth of Judaism! They never try to, I guess because they know the exodus is as shaky as they claim evolution is, because no modern Jews still sacrifice animals or refuse to wear certain clothing as in Leviticus.

    I mean seriously, if they can't completely prove the OT. then whats the point in even bothering with Jesus?!???? The idea that 99% of fundies focus on Jesus and not the OT is highly disturbing to me... My search for truth will focus on the OT until i can come to some conclusions on it.

    Ponder this: many ancient cultures were egocentric in believing that "their God" was the God who had chosen their leader and blessed them. Egypt to China...The Jewish story is NO DIFFERENT! All of these old cultures wanted to make their origins supernatural. Christianity has essentially hijacked Judiasm. I say hijacked because they really aren't that many practicing everything orthodox jews left....if THEY dont believe in literal OT...then how or why do the Christians???
    Pastors ought to be trying to convince you of the clarity of God's existence.

    I too find it disturbing that 99% of contemporary Christians neglect the OT. (And not just the OT, but the entire bible!) A Christianity that is informed by only the NT, (and perhaps Psalms and Proverbs), is impoverished. One ought to pay attention to all that by which God makes himself known, and this is especially true for the way God makes known how it is possible to have eternal life.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Owl View Post
    Man, in and of himself, is finite and therefore changeable; thus, if left to himself, man will change. Once a man's belief changes such that he doesn't believe understanding is possible, he, by his own power, can no longer change his belief such that he will accept the possibility of understanding, and he will freely keep himself in this position of perpetual ignorance; for a man's desires proceed from his beliefs, and the belief that understanding is impossible will preclude the arousal of any desire for the attainment of understanding, for no man desires to obtain something he believes to be necessarily non-existent--such a man is a willing prisoner of his own mind.
    Right.

    I think what I am trying to ask here, though, is whether or not a choice actually is a choice or something driven by the inclination already pre-existing inside a person? What is the source of this choice? Is it predetermined or is there actually a will? Can people ever make a choice they were not inclined to already make?

    There is no possible way to test that, as far as I can imagine. Because no matter what choice a person makes, we could simply say that he or she made a different choice than expected because something had changed and influenced them to make that choice.

    So we do what we already have within us to do. And even when we change, it's because the situation has changed or we've been put under various stresses, leading us to our new choice. All the influences are identified and combined and the choice is output.

    (Someone can choose to stop drinking, for example, after a lifetime of choosing TO drink. But they desire to stop because of the things that have occurred to them for drinking, and the experience has changed them enough that now they WANT to stop. People who do things they don't want to do cannot really persist in the new choice, and the imposition of external influence is even more obvious in those situations.)

    I'm sorry that is so abstracted, I hope my point is still clear: I am probably dabbling around the edges of the idea of whether there truly is a "free choice" or whether our choices are always products of our internal inclinations, the forces acting on us, and our memory of past experience (i.e. very deterministic).
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  10. #90
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htb View Post
    OP: Have you ever confronted evil? An experience like that will answer your question, insofar as those who end up in hell insist on going.
    do you mean this as in:

    supernaturally?
    just plain ol' evil people? evil actions? the selfish nature of humans?

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