Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Speak for yourself, not others

I've been letting the comments after the last post go on for a few days because it has been an important and interesting debate. One aspect disturbs me, though. There has been a tendency by some posters to insist that they know what other faiths or churches teach better than their own members do. I request that you respectfully allow others to define their own beliefs.

There is great diversity of thought within each faith and within each denomination. It is hard for an outsider to understand the subtleties of any church's teachings, much less how an individual believer interprets those teachings. It's easy to mock or decry a stereotype or an outdated perception.

I feel sure that these conversations will be much more pleasing to God if each of us tells what we believe rather than attacking what we assume to be the beliefs or practices of others. OK?

53 comments:

Charlotte Mortgages said...

I agree. I have been watching the other posts, and everyone should watch what they say. It's important that debate based on facts not illusions or emotions.

Nick said...

Is this being spoken as one outside the idea that we shouldn't speak on what other faiths believe? If so, on what authority is this being spoken as an outsider?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this; your post is insightful, constructive and highly necessary.

Anonymous said...

charlotte mortgages, "It's important that debate based on facts not illusions or emotions."

I guess there is nothing to talk then. Jane can shut down her blog. If we talk facts not illusions and emotions then we can't talk about faith and belief.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this... I have a hard time believing that God wants us to bicker over whose denomination is the best.

Nick said...

Iztok,

Actually, we do have a faith of facts and not of emotions. Christianity is primarily factual. It is our response that is emotional. Here are some facts we hold to.

There is a God who exists in three persons who created the world.

This God spoke through the prophets in various ways such as the Ten Commandments.

This God did reveal himself in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was crucified.

Jesus Christ was buried in a tomb.

The tomb was found empty.

The disciples claimed to see the risen Lord.

The early church proclaimed the resurrection as the keystone of their ministry.

There are some things that are objectively and morally wrong and these are called sins.

There are many many other things we all believe. There are many things we should believe. These are facts. Look at the gospels and Acts. They don't appeal to emotions. They appeal to facts. Look at the arguing style in them. It is not to appeal to emotions but to logic, reason, and the Scriptures.

If your faith has no factual content, then you surely have no basis for calling it truth.

D.J. said...

Well said, Nick.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...

Nick,

there is no evidence outside of the scripture that Jesus ever existed. No contemporary (Jesus contemporary) historian ever recorded such person. The earliest we have is several decades later. (one of the strongest records from Josephus seems to be a forgery and even if it isn't, Josephus was born around 30 CE and thus too young at the time to have first hand knowledge)

There is no evidence of 40 years of wondering through Sinai desert either.

We can go on and on. Starting with Genesis (vs. known facts of evolution), continuing with flat earth descriptions in the Bible etc...

We can even see that 4 Gospels don't agree on the events of Easter. Any evidence of zombies walking the earth outside the scripture?

Tomb was never found. I've been to Jerusalem and when I've asked how do they know the particular artifact are the right ones historian guiding our tour told me that the stone slab was a modern addition "replica" and not the real thing. Yet people touching it "felt the presence of Jesus".

As far as fact that God exists, you have as much evidence as for existence of tooth fairy or Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Earth creation? When? 6000 or so years ago? Give me a break, I've seen with my own eyes objects older then that by several factors!

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

Of course this topic is a hot one. Almost every war ever fought was in the name of religion. Isn't it endemic of religion to constantly reinforce it's beliefs upon it's members/subjects by showing "the way", "the path". This doesn't allow for much tolerance of other beliefs. How is it surprising that this topic brought on so much venom? Why can't one's beliefs be kept to one's self? Because that is not the nature of religion.

Nick said...

Iztok: there is no evidence outside of the scripture that Jesus ever existed. No contemporary (Jesus contemporary) historian ever recorded such person. The earliest we have is several decades later. (one of the strongest records from Josephus seems to be a forgery and even if it isn't, Josephus was born around 30 CE and thus too young at the time to have first hand knowledge)

Sorry, but the historians would strongly disagree. We have more references to Jesus than we do the Caesar of his time. We have the four gospels first off, which can be shown to at least have basic reliability in historical matters.

Also, what's with this contemporary thing? By those standards, no one could write a history of the Civil War today.

Josephus mentions Jesus twice actually. One passage is disputed, but Josephus scholars will grant that there is some part of that that is not an interpolation. There is the other part that speaks of Jesus, the brother of James. No one mentions that.

I do not know a single Tacitus scholar that considers the Tacitus reference a forgery.

Go get some real historians. Read Ian Wilson and Michael Grant.

Iztok: There is no evidence of 40 years of wondering through Sinai desert either.

Myself: And what do you want to see? Footprints in the sand? Pick up a copy of Werner Keller's "The Bible As History" and see what you can find. Please note also that you could have been in the same crowd that said "There's no evidence of HIttites!" Whoops! We found their library! There go the liberals back-pedaling again.

For many of these in the area of archaeology, I say just wait. Sure. There are things we haven't found yet, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Archaeology is that kind of science.

Iztok: We can go on and on. Starting with Genesis (vs. known facts of evolution), continuing with flat earth descriptions in the Bible etc...

I frequently debate these on TheologyWeb in the Tektonics section. I'd enjoy seeing you show up for more in-depth discussion. Let's consider some things though.

First off, even if evolution is true, it doesn't dent my faith. I can reconcile Genesis and evolution quite easily.

Secondly, the Bible uses the same kind of language the weatherman uses when he speaks of the sunrise in the morning. Note that Isaiah spoke of the circle of the Earth and the ECF believed by and large in a spherical Earth.

Iztok: We can even see that 4 Gospels don't agree on the events of Easter. Any evidence of zombies walking the earth outside the scripture?

Myself: Zombies? Oh my. Stop reading Dungeons and Dragons and start actually approaching the text as it is. First off, that was a Jewish prophecy that when Messiah came, the dead would be raised. What happened to them? We don't know entirely. So what? That proves nothing happened?

I accept the basic historicity of the text. If I can't prove something happened, it does not mean that it didn't. I don't write off the document simply for supernatural elements therein.

Also, we have two contradictory accounts entirely on how Hannibal crossed the Alps. You wanna throw that out?

Iztok: Tomb was never found. I've been to Jerusalem and when I've asked how do they know the particular artifact are the right ones historian guiding our tour told me that the stone slab was a modern addition "replica" and not the real thing. Yet people touching it "felt the presence of Jesus".

Myself: And this shows we don't know the tomb how? I agree that the idea that they touched the tomb and felt the presence of Jesus is most likely nonsense. However, Jewish scholars of the NT even believe they know which tomb it was.

The main point though, is that the people of the time knew which tomb it was. Lake's wrong tomb theory didn't attract a following for a reason.

Iztok: As far as fact that God exists, you have as much evidence as for existence of tooth fairy or Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Myself: Alright. Then I expect your refutations.

I expect your refutation of Alvin Plantinga's argument that God is properly basic.

I expect your refutation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

I expect the explanation of how rationality can be valid without using rationality itself in naturalistic thought?

I expect your explanation on the existence of the laws of logic.

I expect a refutation of the argument from evolution.

I expect one of the argument from conscience.

I expect a refutation of the argument from desire.

I expect a refutation of aesthetic arguments.

I expect a refutation of the argument from objective moral values.

Since there is no evidence, these should be easy.

Also, are you saying that if you don't have evidence for a proposition, it is wrong to believe it?

Iztok: Earth creation? When? 6000 or so years ago? Give me a break, I've seen with my own eyes objects older then that by several factors!

Myself: No. About 4.5 billion years ago which is about 9.2 billion or so years after the Big Bang.

Bob Ross called. He wants his broad brush back.

Iztok: Sincerely,
Iztok

Myself: Do try again, and give a real argument this time instead of mere assertions.

Nick said...

Anonymous:

Of course this topic is a hot one. Almost every war ever fought was in the name of religion. Isn't it endemic of religion to constantly reinforce it's beliefs upon it's members/subjects by showing "the way", "the path". This doesn't allow for much tolerance of other beliefs. How is it surprising that this topic brought on so much venom? Why can't one's beliefs be kept to one's self? Because that is not the nature of religion.

Myself: I'd like to thank a friend of mine for providing this list. I can't claim the credit for it. However, since almost every war was thought in the name of religion, could I get the religious context of each of the following wars?

1. The current war in Iraq
2. The Anti-Taliban war in Afghanistan (note: it's not sufficient to say that the Taliban is a religious group, since it wasn't their religious beliefs that got them attacked)
3. Gulf War I
4. Gulf War II
5. The US invasion of Grenada
6. The US invasion of Panama (Noriega)
7. The Vietnam War
8. The 'Soccer' War (okay, maybe in some countries football/soccer does count as a religion!)
9. The Korean War
10. World War II
11. The Nigerian Civil War (Biafra)
12. The Kinshasa Rebellion
13. The Angolan War of Independence
14. The Algerian War of Independence
15. The Rwandan Civil War
16. World War I
17. The Chechnyan Rebellion
18. The Soviet-Afghan War
19. The Hungarian Rising
20. The Chinese Civil War (Communist v. Nationalist)
21. The Manchurian Invasion
22. The Russian Revolution
23. The Russian Civil War (including invasions by various outside powers, such as the US, Britain and Japan)
24. The American Civil War
25. The Irish Civil War
26. The Anglo-Irish ("Black and Tan") War
27. The Easter Rising
28. The Fenian Raid into Canada
29. The Metis Wars
30. The Indian Wars
31. The Mexican Revolution
32. The Texan Revolution
33. The Franco-Prussian War
34. The Austro-Prussian War
35. The First War of Schleswig (Denmark)
36. The Second War of Schleswig
37. The War of 1812
38. Queen Anne's War
39. The American Revolution
40. The French Revolution
41. The Wars of the Coalition (post-French Revolution)
42. The English Civil War
43. The Scottish Wars of Independence
44. King Philip's War
45. Tecumseh's War
46. The Black Hawk War
47. The Mexican War
48. The Spanish-American War
49. Various wars of South American Independence
50. The Boxer Rebellion
51. The Opium War
52. The War of the Spanish Succession
53. The War of the Austrian Succession
54. The Great Northern War
55. The Mahratta Wars
56. The Afghan Wars (British)
57. The Crimean War
58. The Abyssinian War (Italian)
59. The Abyssinian War (British)
60. The Sikh Wars
61. The First Boer War
62. The Second Boer War
63. The Zulu War (Boer)
64. The Zulu War (British)
65. The Wars of Mfecane
66. The Paraguayan War
67. The War of the Pacific (South America)
68. The Chaco War
69. The First Balkan War
70. The Second Balkan War
71. The Greek War of Independence
72. The Yemen Civil War
73. The First through the Ninth Kaffir Wars

I look forward to hearing it.

Anonymous said...

And all this is on topic how?

Some people just like to argue.

Nick said...

Sigh. Silly me. I just have this strange idea that when people make assertions they should back them.

I guess they just want me to take them on faith.

Anonymous said...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DqHWeuurSgM

i was there and saw him do this with two other people. No knives..just the name of Jesus. He used the napkin here because the lady was bleeding a lot. This is in Brazil...

Atheists dont believe in spontaneous generation....

Most ppl say some other religions do this but I have yet to see proof.

Anonymous said...

What's the problem with accepting the resurrection as an article of faith that doesn't need to be clinically proven? There'll never be sufficient evidence to satisfy everyone, but so what? You can choose to believe it or not believe it - whatever. You know, Faith.....

Anonymous said...

This is to Iztok from a previous blog as I did not respond then.

Iztok said

"Anon, you must not be an atheist then :) atheism is LACK of belief. It is not religion for the same reason bald is not a hair color.

Perhaps you should read the definition.

Atheism is not a religion either.

It is like saying non-racist is racism as any other except different. Just because we have a special name (we don't have a special name for non-racist, non-nacist etc...) it doesn't make it true on what you say.

We are all born atheists, some of us remain such, some change but it is a natural state of mind
------------------

Again, I disagree. Atheism is a lack of belief in god or may be more exactly described as anti-theism.

It does not require an abscence of belief in anything, so one may believe something so long as it is not theist in nature.

Most religions have as their focus god or some similar entity.

But a religion, by definition, may be "a cause or belief, held to with ardor". If a proselytizing atheist is not pushing a religion, what then?

I hold my atheism with ardor, privately. Therefore I consider it a religion. As it is an extraordinarily difficult religion for most people, I do not proselytize, even to my children.

Let them choose as they will.

But then I suppose Iztok, true to form, will tell me I don't know what I think or believe, and what ever it is, I am wrong.

WM

Anonymous said...

Nick:

"Myself: No. About 4.5 billion years ago which is about 9.2 billion or so years after the Big Bang."

So are you saying that the Bible is not correct when claiming that Earth is essentially 6000 (give or take a millennium) old?

Let's take this a step further. Even with the most radical thing we are looking at humans existing for 100,000 years and you are saying that God was looking at us for 98,000 years and then and only then decided to send Jesus to us for salvation? He must have had a kick watching us before he decided he had enough.

BTW: Circle is FLAT object, not a sphere. One can't go high enough to see "corners of the earth" either (unless considering earth is flat). So yes there is no evidence that writers of the Bible considered Earth anything but flat.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Nick said...

Iztok: So are you saying that the Bible is not correct when claiming that Earth is essentially 6000 (give or take a millennium) old?

No. I am saying your interpretation of it is. That's the problem. You all take the Bible in a wooden literal sense and then complain that "fundies" do the same thing. It depends on how one reads the word "Yom" in that context. I read it as referring to ages.

Iztok: Let's take this a step further. Even with the most radical thing we are looking at humans existing for 100,000 years and you are saying that God was looking at us for 98,000 years and then and only then decided to send Jesus to us for salvation? He must have had a kick watching us before he decided he had enough.

Myself: So because God waited 98,000 years maybe, he doesn't exist and Jesus didn't rise from the dead? Tell me, how many years would it have to be? Is 2,000 too much? Apparently, 98,000 is. Can you tell me exactly how many years is too far for God to exist?

Iztok: BTW: Circle is FLAT object, not a sphere. One can't go high enough to see "corners of the earth" either (unless considering earth is flat). So yes there is no evidence that writers of the Bible considered Earth anything but flat.

Um. You know the corners of the Earth most likely refer to compass directions. Right? We still speak today of the ends of the Earth. Got a problem with metaphorical language?

Now you show me those flat Earth statements in Scripture.

Iztok: Sincerely,
Iztok

Btw, thanks for not replying on the existence of God and the Christ-myth nonsense. Does that mean you can't answer them?

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:21 PM.....that guy opened up that lady's head! You're right about not seeing that anywhere else.

There's a verse in the bible that says that Miracles/Signs are for the unbelievers

Anonymous said...

Bible narrative:

"There is an indescribably powerful and intelligent being called God who is in existence prior to the dawn of time. For whatever reason, he decides to create the universe and pays particular attention to planet Earth. Having created the universe, Earth and all the species on it (through 'creating' the Big Bang and 'guiding' evolution in the Williams style of interpretation), he decides to focus all his attention on a collection of tribal groupings in the Middle East, in particular the Israelites who are his 'chosen people' and who he obsesses over, while apparently ignoring the rest of the world's population. He lays down numerous often primitive and arbitrary moral and ceremonial laws, then gets involved in inner tribal politics and land disputes, inciting acts of brutality, war crimes, genocide, and rape along the way. Fast forward to the Middle East under Roman occupation and God decides it's time to put in an appearance. By mystical means he comes to earth in human form, being born of a virgin. He becomes incarnate as a Jewish male and wanders around what is today Israel-Palestine, imparting pithy social commentary (but never giving any systematic explanation of how such ideas might be made politically useful), engaging in faith healing (removing 'demons' from people), magic tricks (such as walking on water and raising a dead man), and ranting on and on about sin, eternal punishment for the majority of the world's population, and the impending end of the world. He gets himself crucified, in order that he can sacrifice himself to himself for our good. A few days later he walks out of his tomb and wanders round with some of his followers (noticeably not bothering to make himself known to anyone but those who already believed in him), before 'ascending' into 'Heaven', to wait for the time when he will return to raise every human who has ever lived in bodily form for judgment, then cast most of us into a pit of fire and take a select few into his 'kingdom' for eternity where they will live happily ever after."

Makes perfect sense, right?

Sincerely,
Iztok

Nick said...

I see Iztok isn't able to answer me so a new rant is started. Let's look at this one.

Iztok:"There is an indescribably powerful and intelligent being called God who is in existence prior to the dawn of time.

Myself: First off, if his intellect and power is indescribable, how are you able to describe it to us?

Also, how do you deal with the problem of time? You do an actual infinite number of moments of time as we know it is impossible. Right?

Iztok: For whatever reason, he decides to create the universe and pays particular attention to planet Earth.

Myself: Makes it sound like Earth is an afterthought. Actually, pick up a copy of the Privileged Planet sometime and see how our planet is unique in the universe.

Iztok: Having created the universe, Earth and all the species on it (through 'creating' the Big Bang and 'guiding' evolution in the Williams style of interpretation), he decides to focus all his attention on a collection of tribal groupings in the Middle East, in particular the Israelites who are his 'chosen people' and who he obsesses over, while apparently ignoring the rest of the world's population.

Myself: Not at all. First off, Romans 1 tells us that God's existence is clear from the created universe. No one is without excuse.

Romans 2 tells us the moral law is on our hearts meaning that we all know there is a moral standard and we all know we've violated it.

Now the objection seems to be that sense God spoke to the Jews and not to everyone else, then the story is somehow crazy. Why?

Because God doesn't act the way you want him to, then the story is crazy? Not at all. Go through the OT sometime also and see all the references to Gentiles coming. Go read books like Nahum and Jonah where other nations are addressed. Read it in Amos and the other prophets. They all spoke on other nations.

Iztok: He lays down numerous often primitive and arbitrary moral and ceremonial laws,

Myself: Translation is as follows: I don't understand the purpose of these laws in the Ancient Near East Culture so they're arbitrary.

Also, it seems interesting that primitive has a negative meaning assumed. Are you saying that which is farther in time is automatically better? By what standard?

Iztok: then gets involved in inner tribal politics and land disputes,

Myself: So says someone who doesn't have to use boundary stones to establish land in a modern culture and who doesn't realize the great value placed on land in that time.

Iztok: inciting acts of brutality, war crimes, genocide, and rape along the way.

Myself: First off, I will need the objective moral standard by which you condemn these.

Secondly, I will want the references to see how badly they are being misunderstood.

Iztok: Fast forward to the Middle East under Roman occupation and God decides it's time to put in an appearance.

Myself: Yep. Just skip the prophets and their prophecies and how Israel got spanked for disobeying.

Iztok: By mystical means he comes to earth in human form, being born of a virgin.

Myself: Translation: He does a miracle, but Iztok doesn't like miracles, so he has to give it another name.

Iztok: He becomes incarnate as a Jewish male and wanders around what is today Israel-Palestine, imparting pithy social commentary (but never giving any systematic explanation of how such ideas might be made politically useful),

Self: If all Christ said and did was moral teaching, who really cares? We've never listened to moral teachers before. One more isn't going to make a big deal.

And besides, we all know teachers in Judaism that taught you should love your neighbor as yourself frequently got crucified....

Please tell me what you know about the agonistic society.

Iztok: engaging in faith healing (removing 'demons' from people),

Myself: And of course, we know all rational people deny the supernatural....

Iztok: magic tricks (such as walking on water and raising a dead man),

Myself: Yep. Magicians today sure raise the dead often. Again, this inability to think of a miracle. Seems like you have Richard Lewontin's condition.

Iztok: and ranting on and on about sin, eternal punishment for the majority of the world's population, and the impending end of the world.

Myself: I'd love to see the references, but your information is incorrect. Jesus spoke about the end of the age and it happened just as he said it would. Ever hear of 70 A.D.?

Iztok: He gets himself crucified, in order that he can sacrifice himself to himself for our good.

Myself: I love it when people who don't know about the Trinity try to act like they do. The Son offered himself to the Father. Two different persons there. Please at least read a good book on Trinitarianism before making such embarrassing statements.

Iztok: A few days later he walks out of his tomb and wanders round with some of his followers (noticeably not bothering to make himself known to anyone but those who already believed in him),

Myself: How about James, his brother, and Paul? And also, because he didn't appear to other non-believers, it didn't happen? Tell me how many he had to appear to before it's valid.

Also, please explain the creed in 1 Cor. 15 which can be dated within 3 years of the resurrection.

Iztok: before 'ascending' into 'Heaven', to wait for the time when he will return to raise every human who has ever lived in bodily form for judgment,

Myself: Got a problem with it?

Iztok: then cast most of us into a pit of fire and take a select few into his 'kingdom' for eternity where they will live happily ever after."

Myself: Got any Scriptural references to show that most go to Hell? I'd like to see it.

Iztok: Makes perfect sense, right?

Sincerely,
Iztok

Myself: If you read something on theology sometime, it does. Go get some Millard Erickson on his systematic Theology. It might do you some good.

Anonymous said...

Iztok knows God is real...yet he's upset at God for 'other' reasons.

I'm sure he was once a believer until something occurred in his life where he blames God.

Iztok can't dispute the video that was posted earlier....

Everyone...dont waste your time with someone who is bitter inside and wouldnt CARE if there was a real God or not.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

what questions I wasn't able to answer?

I think there is simply not enough evidence for existence of God, so onus is on you here to prove it and so far I fail to see any true evidence.

Another rant started? I was trying to go back to the definitions of Christianity by getting the narrative of the Bible out. Since whole debate was about definitions of Christianity and not other sidetrack. So if you want to argue with narrative, come up with better one in the same alloted space and we can discuss.

For the anonymous, no I don't see any evidence of God's existence and never did. I am not bitter on something that doesn't exist. I never believed in (fictional) stories in the Bible. So please don't describe me with something it is not true. Which video I am supposed to dispute? Did we actually see an amputee magically growing limb back or something really miraculous?

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

Miraculous Healing

watch it and believe....one of the many videos on youtube.

Nick said...

Iztok: Nick,

what questions I wasn't able to answer?

Let's see:

You tried me on the Christ-myth. Didn't work.

You tried me on God's existence. Didn't work.

I gave you a list of arguments to refute. You never did.

I brought up the point of Yom. No acknowledgment.

I brought up the Bible using language the way we do of a sunrise. No answer.

Instead, it's a complete change of topic.

Iztok: I think there is simply not enough evidence for existence of God, so onus is on you here to prove it and so far I fail to see any true evidence.

Myself: No. The onus is on you first to back a presupposition. Is the presupposition of your belief that it is irrational to believe in anything without sufficient evidence?

Iztok: Another rant started? I was trying to go back to the definitions of Christianity by getting the narrative of the Bible out. Since whole debate was about definitions of Christianity and not other sidetrack. So if you want to argue with narrative, come up with better one in the same alloted space and we can discuss.

Myself: Riiiiiiiiiight. The narrative of the Bible in a Straw Man format. I suggest going and reading some good books on Christian Theology. I have several if you want recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Iztok wrote: I think there is simply not enough evidence for existence of God, so onus is on you here to prove it and so far I fail to see any true evidence.

This is the point of these arguments between Iztok and others, and is why they should end.
Iztok believes (pun) others have to prove to him the basis of their belief.

He cannot prove god doesn't exist and the reverse is true of believers. This is not new information.

To then continually berate and attack those who believe because of his belief or, most exactly, his lack thereof, is arrogant and mean hearted.

As a practicing Atheist, I leave others to their beliefs, and support them wholeheartedly in them, and keep mine to myself.

Iztok, of whatever belief, is a proselytizer, of mindset that his is the only truth.

Bah!

WM

Anonymous said...

Nick,

let's take this one thing at the time. "Riiiiiiiiiight. The narrative of the Bible in a Straw Man format. I suggest going and reading some good books on Christian Theology. I have several if you want recommendations."

So you are saying that one has to read on Norse Theology first in order to reject their stance as well? What about tooth fairies? Did you read any good books on them before you rejected them? What about Egyptian mythology? After all we do have more reliable documents inscribed on the walls of the pyramids then scrolls of the Christian holy writ, they are certainly older and better preserved. You got my point?

Re: God's non existence, surely onus is on you, I still claim there is not enough evidence for his existence I don't have to prove it, it is like I claimed tooth fairies exist just because you can't prove they don't. Silly.

Christian Myth? Which one, be specific? There are so many in the Bible it is not even funny.

What arguments to refute? Stupid questions like "refute existence of logic"? 'cmon perhaps some science books would be in order. We do have mathematical representation of such thing you can read upon. Just mere existence of something doesn't prove anything of "the creator". Not all things really have to have "creator". As I said before, we need to explain things with less complex items not the other way around.

Argument from evolution? Explain that? Evolution is a fact, please be more specific on questions.

etc... you just throw things on the table w/o any backing.

Yom? What do you want to know? Can you tell me the time passed between Adam and Eve and Jesus? Give or take 4000 years according to the Bible, yet we know humans were brewing beer about the time "Adam and Eve" were created, plus dogs were domesticated before that.

Anon:

"He cannot prove god doesn't exist and the reverse is true of believers."

I can't prove non existence of tooth fairy yet it doesn't make it equally capable of existing either. see my point? Just because you can't prove it either way doesn't make it equally viable that exists or doesn't.

To argue with those whose 1+1=3 is mean hearted? Why would that be? Seriously, would anyone here think that claiming Greek gods don't exist is berating certain religion? I don't think so.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Anonymous said...

[sigh]...and people wonder why I walked away from the church and never looked back.

Nick said...

Iztok: So you are saying that one has to read on Norse Theology first in order to reject their stance as well?

Myself: Sounds like a good idea doesn't it? If you want to know what a worldview really teaches, read up on it. If you want to know what Christianity teaches, read up on it, because in all honesty, you're making basic mistakes in understanding what I believe and it doesn't help your case.

Iztok: What about tooth fairies? Did you read any good books on them before you rejected them?

Myself: For all I know, fairies could exist. I certainly don't rule them out just because I haven't seen or experience one in anyway. If fairies exist, hey. That's cool. If not, oh well.

I wonder what happens to your worldview though if something exists that isn't bound by laws of nature....

Iztok: What about Egyptian mythology? After all we do have more reliable documents inscribed on the walls of the pyramids then scrolls of the Christian holy writ, they are certainly older and better preserved. You got my point?

Myself: A contradictory one. In an earlier post, you spoke of it as a negative of something being primitive. Now it's a positive. Which is it going to be?

Also, the writing from what I understand is hieroglyphics and it is certainly not the most reliable. Yes. We do have some documents, but that is not my main emphasis. My point is not "Which ones are older" but "Which ones are true?"

I would be glad to offer my reasons for believing in the validity of the OT.

As for the NT, that's the manuscript from that time period that we have the most evidence for. We have over 5,000 manuscripts of it and over 20,000 more fragments. The closest after that is Homer with 643 manuscripts.

Iztok: Re: God's non existence, surely onus is on you, I still claim there is not enough evidence for his existence I don't have to prove it, it is like I claimed tooth fairies exist just because you can't prove they don't. Silly.

Myself: But this isn't what I asked. I asked you if it was irrational to believe in something without sufficient evidence, which is what this whole assertion of yours depends on. Is it?

Iztok: Christian Myth? Which one, be specific? There are so many in the Bible it is not even funny.

Myself: You had started with the Christ myth and I haven't seen that one show up again even though I wrote out an answer to it. There was no acknowledgment of that at all.

Iztok: What arguments to refute? Stupid questions like "refute existence of logic"?

Myself: I didn't ask you to refute the existence of logic. As a theist, I strongly believe in it and hold to the LNC. My question is, if matter is all there is, how can there be laws of logic? Laws of logic are not material forces. Are they discovered by humans or created by them? If created, we can make them whatever we want just like we could make the rules of baseball whatever we want. In that case, let's say then that God does and doesn't exist and we both go home right, but you wouldn't accept that and neither would I. If they are discovered though, then that means that they exist independently of human minds. How is this?

Iztok: 'cmon perhaps some science books would be in order. We do have mathematical representation of such thing you can read upon.

Myself: Science deals with the physical properties of the universe and being logical is not a physical property. Also, science is not mathematics. Science relies on repeated experiments. How many experiments do you do before you realize 2 + 2 = 4?

Iztok: Just mere existence of something doesn't prove anything of "the creator". Not all things really have to have "creator". As I said before, we need to explain things with less complex items not the other way around.

Myself: But we never do that. I see no basis in nature for thinking greater complexity comes from lesser complexity. Surely you know water can't rise higher than its source or an effect can't be greater than its cause.

Also, could you tell me which things can be uncreated or as I think you would say, come into being without a cause? I'd like to know about them.

Iztok: Argument from evolution? Explain that? Evolution is a fact, please be more specific on questions.

Myself: I don't grant that it is, but let's suppose that it is. You do realize the odds of it are astronomical? (Hence, we have not found one single planet out there yet with life on it and can't even create life in a lab yet with intelligent scientists working on it.) If evolution did happen, I say it'd be practically a miracle and it'd need the hand of God to guide it.

Iztok: etc... you just throw things on the table w/o any backing.

Myself: Actually, you'd done that. Sorry if I didn't write out a full-fledge report on the argument from objective morality. I was sure you'd be familiar with it. Since you say there is no evidence, I thought for sure you had looked and could deal with anything presented and would thus be familiar with it.

I suppose I thought wrong.

Iztok: Yom? What do you want to know? Can you tell me the time passed between Adam and Eve and Jesus? Give or take 4000 years according to the Bible, yet we know humans were brewing beer about the time "Adam and Eve" were created, plus dogs were domesticated before that.

Myself: Can I tell you the exact time? Not at all. It could have been a few hundred thousand years. The genealogies are incomplete which was perfectly valid for genealogies of the time. Read some Hebrew experts like Walter Kaiser and Gleason Archer. I certainly don't hold to the Young-Earth view though.



Iztok: I can't prove non existence of tooth fairy yet it doesn't make it equally capable of existing either. see my point? Just because you can't prove it either way doesn't make it equally viable that exists or doesn't.

Myself: But we must first examine our presuppositions. What is the criteria by which we determine if there is evidence or not? Do we have to believe everything upon evidence? Is it rational to believe in some things I could never give evidence for?

Iztok: To argue with those whose 1+1=3 is mean hearted? Why would that be? Seriously, would anyone here think that claiming Greek gods don't exist is berating certain religion? I don't think so.

Sincerely,
Iztok

Myself: It's not necessarily, but it can be. For the record, I have quite enjoyed the conversation and don't find you mean-hearted. I just find you really don't understand my worldview at all and it would behoove you to learn it better.

Now I probably won't respond until later today, but that's my own two cents for now.

The_Weaver said...

Wow...

I'll address a few issues in the discussion at hand and then bring in my own piece so that I can then be summarily attacked (stoned, burned at the stake, hanged, what have you).

Nick, the correct method in which religion has slaughtered people, and unfortunately, Christianity is chief among them, is that it has killed more people than wars and disease. The reason is due to the wars that have been fought, the Inquisition/Witch Trials of the Middle/Dark Ages into the Englightment Period, the convert or die tactics during the "Age of Expansion" (read Europe's emperialistic fetish that lead to the relocation of people to North and South America, not to mention India and Africa). To say that wasn't implicated is wrong. One merely has to look at history. A lot of this went on during to genocide of the Native Americans, as they were considered "Pagans."

Also, you mentioned a few issues between the Irish. All but one (the skirmishes over whether the now Republic of Ireland should gain independence from the UK)has not been fought over religion. Up until 9/11, when the "War on Terrorism" began there was intense strife over religion.

As for the ongoing wars in the Mid East, it is most certainly over religion. Many scholars, even those at acredited theological institutes will tell you that the US administration has a religious agenda. The Christian Right seems to think so anyway.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and waste my time providing you with article listings, web addresses to published thesis by well known scholars, books, and so forth, because quite honestly, you either know this, or wouldn't look it up anyway.

Iztok, as to your comment, "Seriously, would anyone here think that claiming Greek gods don't exist is berating certain religion? I don't think so." I'm a henotheist, not in the traditional sense, mind you, as the term has taken on different meanings in the course of it's existence. Essentially, it's almost a paradox. It's a polytheist who believes that all gods come from one source (which smacks a bit like monotheism in a way). So, I believe in the Greek gods. No, excuse me, believing in the gods, for me, is like believing in my keyboard.

Furthermore, I don't think it matters that you're an atheist as in this lifetime you are to be the best at whatever you chose to be. That being said I want to explain what I have come to discover about the spirit and science.

As you know, though I am be no means an expert, I love science. It's fascinating. However, it's almost like a religion unto itself. You may find that nuts, but the correlation is it's attempt to explain the unknown, the greatest fear of human beings. Science does really well for the aspect of the physical realm, but it can't handle what it isn't capable of handling.

Let me expain by example. I was reading an article last night about superstition. A psychologis, and I can't remember his name, is writing a book which asserts that while a vast majority of people in this world believe that the supernatural exists it is only due to the misconception of dualism, mind seperate from body. To a degree I agree with him. It is irrational, let me repeat that, irrational, for me to agree with someone who purports that everything is limited to the physical. While mind and body are one, human beings are not limited to five senses (don't hit with me with ESP, we'll not touch that), this is due to the fact that there are non physical elements in this universe. Human beings have a non physical element to them, and it has nothing to do with the brain.

Most of us know this through experiences that cannot be invalidated. They mask (sometimes) as various and sundry events that can be explain away, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they are. There are differences.

Example. The drug Elavil perscribed for depression is not to given to people with psychosis, as a person will begin having psychotic episodes. Also, when mixed with certain medicines, seemingly innocuous medicines a person will have the same symptoms as you would with psychosic episodes.

By what authority does one human being have to tell another that a profound experience is false, that, say, a man who dreams of events and they happen (which does occur) that he's lying? No one.

No one may prove that the Divine does or does not exist to *anyone else* so the argument is moot, and as I said before, is also invalid or at least pointless.

I respect you for being highly intelligent, believing as you will, being well informed, articulate, and most of all, undaunted, but if you would, some of us aren't running off of blind "faith." William James wrote, in a series of speechs collected in a book, "The Varieties of Religious Experience," in which he discusses what I just did a heck of a lot better.

On topic:
Neo Pagans are always being spoken for by other religions, unfortunately, one in particular. Pressumptions, assumptions are abound. I'll name a few.

1. They say we worship the devil- No, none of us do. The devil is part of Christianity. Our traditions stem from rejuvenating the ancient traditions of Europe from scratch.

2. The argument is then turned to say that we only think that we're worshiping those gods- No, we really are. In no way are we worshipping the devil. He's your evil villain, you play with him.

3. People say we practice human and animal sacrifice- Not hardly. It says more about a person who can think of this kind of crap.

Yes, I practice Witchcraft, as I said earlier, and there is a lot of technical stuff behind that word and none of it is synonomous with evil. It's neutral meaning it's neither good nor evil, but rather based on what the person intends to do.

I recognize that it's against some folks religion. It simply is another group of religions altogether.

Nick said...

Weaver: Nick, the correct method in which religion has slaughtered people, and unfortunately, Christianity is chief among them, is that it has killed more people than wars and disease.

I'm wondering about this first statement. The correct method? There's a better way to slaughter people? What exactly do you mean by this?

Also, Christianity has killed more than wars and disease? Don't think so. I'd really like the statistics on that one.

Weaver: The reason is due to the wars that have been fought, the Inquisition/Witch Trials of the Middle/Dark Ages into the Englightment Period, the convert or die tactics during the "Age of Expansion" (read Europe's emperialistic fetish that lead to the relocation of people to North and South America, not to mention India and Africa).

Myself: Actually, the Witch Trials hardly killed as many as people think and they were ended by the Christians. Same deal with the Inquisition. Most people haven't studied the Inquisition. They've just heard the same reports about it over and over.

Notice also please this idea of the Middle Ages and/or Dark ages. When you say it is in the Middle, do you not imply that it is between the beginning and the end? What period is the end? Ah yes. Chronological snobbery lives.

Weaver: To say that wasn't implicated is wrong. One merely has to look at history. A lot of this went on during to genocide of the Native Americans, as they were considered "Pagans."

Myself: I'll grant a lot went wrong and there are many things Christianity needs to admit were done wrong using its name.

Weaver: Also, you mentioned a few issues between the Irish. All but one (the skirmishes over whether the now Republic of Ireland should gain independence from the UK)has not been fought over religion. Up until 9/11, when the "War on Terrorism" began there was intense strife over religion.

Iztok: I don't believe the reason we're over in the War is because of religion. It's because we're fighting terror. They can turn it into a religious war, but we're not out to exterminate Islam.

Now while I'd like to see Islam fall, I don't want to do it using their methods. I'd rather see it fall because it's not true on the rational level, just like any false idea should fall.

Weaver: As for the ongoing wars in the Mid East, it is most certainly over religion. Many scholars, even those at acredited theological institutes will tell you that the US administration has a religious agenda. The Christian Right seems to think so anyway.

Iztok: And this hasn't been denied. To say that most wars are over religion is false does not mean that no wars are fought over religion.

Weaver: Now, I'm not going to sit here and waste my time providing you with article listings, web addresses to published thesis by well known scholars, books, and so forth, because quite honestly, you either know this, or wouldn't look it up anyway.

Myself: And then one final thing needs to be said. Let's suppose that all this information was true anyway. (Which I question.) Here's the main question. Does this prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead? No.

Also, please note that this is not what Christianity teaches. Can you logically go from "Love your neighbor as yourself" to the Crusades? I don't see how you can.

Let's not forget that there has been much good done because people believe and follow Christ.

The historical question though is simply ignoring the main truth claim of Christianity. Did Jesus rise from the dead?

Anonymous said...

Poor Iztok, he doesn't believe in anything, so anything must not exist.

My grandchildren know the tooth fairy exists. They have proof.

They know Santa exists.

I know the Greek gods exist, but prefer the Norse. I know god exists.

These things exist because people want them to. People believe, therefore etc.

I am an atheist, because I don't believe.

You, sir, expect others to believe as you because they can't show you the proof.

My grandchildren can show you the quarter they received from the tooth fairy. Is that not proof?

You, with the scientific method, will try to deprive them of their truth. Wonderful for you. Does it benefit them? No. It only makes you mean spirited.

I stand by my statement.
You're a mean person.

WM

Anonymous said...

Nick, DJ, The Weaver, WM and others... I really am not running away but my life took an unexpected turn this past week, while it supposed to be good it isn't. I am dealing with change of job but more importantly I am dealing with my daughters cries for help (from picking up the fights, to crying up for help with staging a "suicide" attepmt - staging because she really did just use a safety razor and scraped a little of her skin off, nothing else).

So that being said I can't devote more time right now to go back and worth with this conversation as much as I would like to. I have to reshuffle my workday to accommodate my kid.

Granted, some of you will not say you'll pray for me, but please don't. If you feel you need to pray, pray for my daughter, she actually does (well at least she says) believe in God and considers herself a Christian. For us non-believers, I hope our doctors will find the right combination of medicine to help her stabilize and that her counselor will be able to reach out to her before she gets worse.

For all of you, I'll see you in the "next great debate" :)

Sincerely,
Iztok

D.J. said...

Hope things go well for you, Iztok. I've enjoyed our debates and I hope that your daughter improves. And yes, I will be praying for your family...

Like it or not. :)

Until next time, friend.

Soli Deo Gloria

Nick said...

Iztok. I understand what's going on. I am a Christian of course so I say prayer for all involved, including you, to which I already had been doing.

Perchance we shall debate another day as well. Let me know how things are doing. I also debate at TheologyWeb if you ever wish to track me down there.

Danbo0207859 said...

For those of you who want proof God exists -- instead of espousing what you know about religion from texts and from the misinformation you've been fed, go and join a Church -- any Church. Any Church that espouses love of God (no matter what name He is called) and love of neighbor.

Watch people bending over backward to help others -- others whom they don't know or are ever likely to know. The ministries reaching out to unwed mothers, shut-ins, substance abusers, single parents, the sick, the elerly, the newcomer, the ones who have fallen away from God's love.

Watch the good that comes from peoples' hearts. Watch the joy experienced from a simple smile, a quiet 'thank you,' an accepting hand. Then, for a real rush, get involved. You'll be amazed how good it will make you feel.

For those who espouse no belief in God due to lack of evidence -- what have you got to lose, unless you also espouse that helping one another is contrary to your beliefs? Are you afraid you might actually come to believe that there is a force for good in this world, and that force has an Author? No one will try to force their beliefs down your throat -- they'll simply be happy that you're helping.

Before you are done, you may find out that the good you do others in community with others heaps rewards on you beyond your wildest imagination.

Respectfully submitted,

Dan

The_Weaver said...

Nick, I meant the correct way of saying that religion mixed with governments of the past have ended up with the bloodiest violence in our human history. I also distinctly remember saying that "Some have said." Do me a favor and don't put words in my mouth. Furthermore, you don't think the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in N. Ireland is over religion? To a degree there is an underlying political agendum, but let me remphasize C A T H O L I C and P R O S T A N T S!

I think that it is gruesomely arrogant to say that Islam should fall. Having studied Islam at UNCG, I realized it isn't this montsrous religion that it's claimed so. The Qu'ran certainly isn't move violent tjan the Bibele, proved that you've read an acreddited well translated version Plus, I want even go into tje Crusades.

As for "the Trials," over 10K people died, most of them were women and Jews. I'm in no way asscerting that most of them practiced the old bronze age cutstoms, but there were very rare instnaces in the ruel commiities, espeically in Irleland.

Though it is widely debated as to whether Hitle, though Roman Catholic was a regopis man,the Holocaust itself was spurned by age old antisemitism beginning with the line in the Bible where Jesus telld that the temple priests are pretty mush wothless liars." Most people interpredted that he was telling the Jesjosj peole hat story.

It isn't so much the number of wars, it's the fact of which war, and the amount of people desroyed in the name o' God.

Oh, and let's not forget two more things, since you take the Bible in enherrantly. Let's look at the OT and God sending folks in just to hackthe men and many time women and kids just yet their land. The, let's skip ahead to when Constantine takes power and woman and men sto;; ne;oeedas gjt did as passed down from generation wher e alreading getting stoned or burned. THe number from the Dark and Middle ages was netween 25000 (Continental Europe) 30000 (in what is now the UK). There's mpr,pre. it eshaisted.

Tje "statistics are everyhere.

Anonymous said...

Your spelling is questionable.
And you left out the Inquisition.

Nick said...

Weaver: Nick, I meant the correct way of saying that religion mixed with governments of the past have ended up with the bloodiest violence in our human history. I also distinctly remember saying that "Some have said." Do me a favor and don't put words in my mouth. Furthermore, you don't think the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in N. Ireland is over religion? To a degree there is an underlying political agendum, but let me remphasize C A T H O L I C and P R O S T A N T S!

Myself: And note also that I did not say there are no wars fought over religion. Here's what I'm saying. The claim that most wars are fought over religion is just false.

I will agree that I do not think religion should run from the top down. I'm not against Christians in politics, but I am against trying to spread the gospel by the way of politics entirely. If a nation becomes a Christian nation, it does so from the bottom-up and not the top-down.

Weaver: I think that it is gruesomely arrogant to say that Islam should fall. Having studied Islam at UNCG, I realized it isn't this montsrous religion that it's claimed so. The Qu'ran certainly isn't move violent tjan the Bibele, proved that you've read an acreddited well translated version Plus, I want even go into tje Crusades.

Myself: Here's why I would hope so. First off, I don't believe it's true, and why would I want a belief that's false being spread? However, the Qu'ran is violent. How do I know this? Because I actually did go out and study Islam and I find it happening even from the beginning in the life of Mohammad. Shall we discuss Zayd and Zaynab? Shall we discuss Aisha? Shall we discuss how Islam immediately grasped the sword?

Weaver: As for "the Trials," over 10K people died, most of them were women and Jews. I'm in no way asscerting that most of them practiced the old bronze age cutstoms, but there were very rare instnaces in the ruel commiities, espeically in Irleland.

Myself: Over 10k people died? I would still like to see the source for this statistic.

Weaver: Though it is widely debated as to whether Hitle, though Roman Catholic was a regopis man,the Holocaust itself was spurned by age old antisemitism beginning with the line in the Bible where Jesus telld that the temple priests are pretty mush wothless liars." Most people interpredted that he was telling the Jesjosj peole hat story.

Myself: Hitler was in no way a Christian as his own writings reveal a deep hatred for the Christian faith. Has there been some anti-semitism in history on the part of Christians? Sadly there has been. I do not deny such and I do not condone such. However, this is not the proper teaching of the NT.

I'd like to see this line that you speak of in the Bible.

Weaver: It isn't so much the number of wars, it's the fact of which war, and the amount of people desroyed in the name o' God.

Myself: But the original claim was the number of wars.

Weaver: Oh, and let's not forget two more things, since you take the Bible in enherrantly. Let's look at the OT and God sending folks in just to hackthe men and many time women and kids just yet their land.

Myself: Let's notice what is being left out.

First off, that the people were given 400 years to repent and that in those lands bestiality and child sacrifice and other such practices were going on.

Secondly, that this was only in the land of Israel and that Israel was not meant to be an exterminating force getting rid of all pagans. (In fact, this was one reason David was punished in having a census. It was most likely he wanted to expand his empire.)

Thirdly, Entire tribes moving out was common in the ANE. (Ancient Near East.) Migration was the way of the times.

Fourthly, all women and children in most situations would have fled already and only the most hardened men would have been left behind.

Lastly, there were no organizations set up to provide care for refugees of war. What happened was often merciful rather than leaving people to die in the wilderness.

Weaver: The, let's skip ahead to when Constantine takes power and woman and men sto;; ne;oeedas gjt did as passed down from generation wher e alreading getting stoned or burned. THe number from the Dark and Middle ages was netween 25000 (Continental Europe) 30000 (in what is now the UK). There's mpr,pre. it eshaisted.

Myself: I'm not sure what you're saying here, but I find it interesting that that term "Middle Ages" has shown up again. Middle implies between the beginning and the end. What does that say about the modern view of our own time?

Weaver: Tje "statistics are everyhere.

Myself: Then you'll have no trouble presenting a scholarly source with some.

Anonymous said...

muslims have killed more ppl before 2001 than any religion.

there's a reason why they wear red hats....they dipped it in the street when they filled it with blood.

read the quaran it orders you to kill any infidel that doesnt follow allah. bin laden is a TRUE muslim......what he's doing is wrong...but at least he's doing what he believes in.

Anonymous said...

This is why a "debate" about faith doesn't work. Everybody thinks they've got some brilliant insight that nobody else in the room has ever thought of... and as soon as people disagree, they start reducing a huge argument down to silly details.

David McKnight said...

Well, if half the people who have written in to this well-read blog are Believers, regardless of which faith they choose, then Charlotte is a lot better off than I thought it was...

The_Weaver said...

Anon I- I'm sorry I had spelling boo-boos. I was falling asleep at the computer, and I didn't have my glasses on in order to see what I was doing. I did half way mention the Inquisition when I brought the death toll up to 2k- to 30k as "the Trials" themselves took 10k lives and the Inquisition took 25-30k lives.

Nick, you really don't want to see these statistics, apparently, because they aren't hard to find. If you study Europe during the Middle Ages circa 1450-1700's from any acredible source on European history. It's going to be there. Did I miss the short span of time where it became vogue to throw out history?

Oh, and no, I'm not a believer.

Nick said...

Actually Weaver, I do want to see statistics, except I want to see your statistics. A few months ago, I actually got from the library an audio series on the Inquisition which was quite revealing compared to all I'd heard about it. I'd really like to see your source.

I'd also like to know your response to what else I said.

Danbo020759 said...

Why continue to dredge up the sins of "religion's" past? Christ forgives sins. Our job is to ask for forgiveness and move on to become better people.

It was Christ who said to the woman caught in adultery, "Your sins are forgiven. Now go, and sin no more."

Anonymous said...

^ No kidding. If you think of any "cause" for which people are willing to fight -- religion, national identity, money, freedom, etc. -- you can find plenty of examples of horrible atrocities commited in the name of the Cause.

Nobody has any leverage to throw stones based on history. Let's move on.

Nick said...

Exactly. I condemn atrocities done in the name of Christ just as much as anyone else if not more so. However, that does not change my religion. Why? Because I believe the evidence is strong that Christ rose from the dead. Future events cannot change that.

Danbo020759 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danbo020759 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danbo020759 said...

I invite all those who would like to engage in discussion regarding the Roman catholic faith to visit my new blog at

http://danbo020759.blogspot.com.

The_Weaver said...

I'm going to make an assumption here. My guess is that you've only read books by Protestant authors, right? I admit that it's an assumption.

I find it rather frightening that there are people such as yourself that are willing to, in the same breath tell me that you want to stop Islam because you don't believe it's true and then end that paragraph by reminding me with how easily Islam picked up the sword. I word point out that People were being burned as "witches" under Constantine, but you don't believe that happened.

You frighten me. Your unwillingness to accept historical truth (I can't [pull a title from my Early History of Christianity Class at UNCG right from the top of my head, but for the love of all things... google it and you'll find the same numbers) coupled with the desire to destroy all faith systems with which don't agree is not only vile and the antithesis of Jesus' true message. It's also insane. Trying to come across as if you're some sort of intellectual mastermind only creeps me out even more.

Now, I know I'm being hard core and I *am* coming down on you, but Nick, you're saying some cold blooded mess. What you've got in your life, this spirituality, has been used as a weapon against a lot of people. It's been used against against my own as we've existed in some form or another, and I'm gonna tell you that we've pretty much said that it won't happen again. People's spirituality is sacred, and while mine doesn't call for offensive violence, I will defend my spirituality and right to it to the death. Maybe it's the path of being a Religious Studies scholar or maybe it's the ingrained nature of an American. Uttering goals to rid the world of a religion has no place in this country, never has, never will.

(I'm well aware that despite your spiritual masters, both Christianity and Islam were quick to pick up swords and only put them down long enough to exchange them for more advanced technology as it came along. I am aware that there are people who've recently decided that they don't want people to know the brutality of Christianity's past because Jesus did say, "By their deeds ye shall know them," so you'll probably be wanting, though not needing documentation).

D.J. said...

Weaver,

I've largely been simply a spectator to this discussion, but I would suggest that you please present your sources for these claims. You tell Nick to just Google it, so why don't you Google it and show it to us. The onus is on you to back up what you say (just as it is on me to back up any claims that I make). I say this because your recounting of history on the last post (where we discussed the council of Nicea) was just plain wrong. When I presented the facts, you stopped responding to the posts. As such, my confidence in your historical sources is low right now. Please present us with some information so we can look at it and move forward. These volleys of assumptions back and forth won't do anyone any good.

BTW: I can't speak for Nick, but no, I don't only read books by evangelical protestant authors. I'm curious, have you ever read a book by an evangelical protestant?

Soli Deo Gloria

Nick said...

The_Weaver said...

I'm going to make an assumption here. My guess is that you've only read books by Protestant authors, right? I admit that it's an assumption.

Myself: And a false one. I find atheistic writings and arguments be they in books or on websites to be quite amusing.

I also from a Christian perspective love the writings of the Catholic Peter Kreeft and G.K. Chesterton.

Weaver: I find it rather frightening that there are people such as yourself that are willing to, in the same breath tell me that you want to stop Islam because you don't believe it's true and then end that paragraph by reminding me with how easily Islam picked up the sword. I word point out that People were being burned as "witches" under Constantine, but you don't believe that happened.

Myself: Did I ever deny that atrocities happened? Not at all. I deny that they happened to the extent that you say they did. I do not jump up and down and cheer for the Inquisition, but I don't think it did as much as you think it did.

Also, with Islam, this was a natural outworking of its teachings. I've read the Qu'ran. I know what it says. I can logically arrive at the conclusion to go to war against infidels easily. When I read Christ, I cannot arrive at that. I do not see how you get there from "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Weaver: You frighten me. Your unwillingness to accept historical truth (I can't [pull a title from my Early History of Christianity Class at UNCG right from the top of my head, but for the love of all things... google it and you'll find the same numbers) coupled with the desire to destroy all faith systems with which don't agree is not only vile and the antithesis of Jesus' true message. It's also insane. Trying to come across as if you're some sort of intellectual mastermind only creeps me out even more.

Myself: First off, it is not my responsibility to google. You are the one who came here with the claim. It is up to you to back it.

Also, Jesus's message was himself as the beginning of the kingdom of God. If he was just a moral teacher, well joy joy joy. We've never listened to moral teachers and another one won't make much difference. I can go spend my time elsewhere.

However, my point will still stand. If a belief is not true, we need to not hope it succeeds. I am one who is in love with the truth and that has been revealed in Christ.

Weaver: Now, I know I'm being hard core and I *am* coming down on you, but Nick, you're saying some cold blooded mess. What you've got in your life, this spirituality, has been used as a weapon against a lot of people. It's been used against against my own as we've existed in some form or another, and I'm gonna tell you that we've pretty much said that it won't happen again. People's spirituality is sacred, and while mine doesn't call for offensive violence, I will defend my spirituality and right to it to the death. Maybe it's the path of being a Religious Studies scholar or maybe it's the ingrained nature of an American. Uttering goals to rid the world of a religion has no place in this country, never has, never will.

Myself: And this is the same kind of pluralism I find everyday. I suppose all those police officials trying to stop the African cults of sacrifice should learn to be more tolerant since they shouldn't want to see a religious belief eliminated...

Note: My spirituality has never been used as a weapon, whatever you mean by spirituality. It is a misuse of Christianity to use it to justify atrocities. Again, with Islam, I do not see this. I see the prophets own endorsement of this.

And again, you do not come to the main issue. Is Christianity true? And yes, I mean true in the exclusive sense. I mean it in that it is true and all that is opposed is false. (Truth by definition is exclusive.)

Weaver: (I'm well aware that despite your spiritual masters, both Christianity and Islam were quick to pick up swords and only put them down long enough to exchange them for more advanced technology as it came along. I am aware that there are people who've recently decided that they don't want people to know the brutality of Christianity's past because Jesus did say, "By their deeds ye shall know them," so you'll probably be wanting, though not needing documentation).

Myself: Yep. And by the deeds of several, we see that these were anti-Christian acts. Now you say Christianity was quick to pick up the sword. Really? Ignatius and Ireneaus and Justin Martyr and Tertullian were picking up swords and hacking away? Many of these were arguing against being a part of the Roman Army? Where was the great resistance to Diolcetian or to Dominitan or to Nero or to Marcus Aurelius? Surely if the Christians were such warriors we can read somewhere about the battles! Could you please tell me?