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Author Topic: The (preferably audio) case for God?
TLynch
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Matt,

I was speaking towards mainly one person and to you as well. I have answered the legitimate questions to the best of my ability, but for you to say I have accused people is untrue. I've only pointed out the pointlessness of answering your questions when your responses are going to be so predictable.

I also simply said to read the Bible because it became apparent that many of you have not read the Bible throughly.

I understand the interpretation of Daniel and Revelations of one of you, but I did try to explain why that interpretation might be off. It's hard to go into detail because as I said before I am at work and I am really just going off of memory.

I thought I was doing an okay job telling people what I know, but I am not good enough to know exactly where in the Bible I am pointing out. If I had my Bible I could tell you to go read certain chapters or verses...these prophesies span many books of the Bible, yet they all collaborate each other and none contradict any of the others.

You have to look for prophesies that haven't been fulfilled, the ones that have already happened are not what I am talking about. I am absolutely positive you are of the belief that Jesus' prophesy of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70AD was never prophesied by Jesus and that it was just added in hundreds of years later by the Catholic Church. lol And similar arguments for all the other fulfilled prophesies in the Bible.

So, how am I able to argue my point when many of you have already written me off as foolish? This is the typical response by secular liberals/agnostics. Does it bother you that much that I KNOW the truth or does it bother you that I THINK I KNOW the truth? I dont think I know...I know.

sigh...let's continue this endless circle I guess. If I stop offering rebuttals then I fear many of you will really jump all over me for it.

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TLynch
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Ev,

Thanks buddy. You're a true Gem of a good hearted person.

If I wasn't so callus towards mean spirited people I would be a little hurt at that insult.

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MattP
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quote:
So, how am I able to argue my point when many of you have already written me off as foolish?
I haven't written you off as foolish. I'm suspicious at the degree of confidence that you proclaim for your position, much in the same way that I'd be suspicious of an applicant for a development job who is fresh out of college and claims to be a Java expert. He may very well be, but very few of the actual experts I know would claim to be experts and most of the people that have claimed that title in the past have not deserved it. In other words, the likelyhood of someone being an expert has tended to be inversely proportional to the level of expertise that they claim to have.

quote:
This is the typical response by secular liberals/agnostics. Does it bother you that much that I KNOW the truth or does it bother you that I THINK I KNOW the truth? I dont think I know...I know.
The problem there is that lots of people know the truth, only they know different truths. Given how many people know the truth and how many truths are out there, the odds that you're truth is the right one are kinda low.

[ January 24, 2007, 05:47 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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TLynch
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Tom,

I've read more than just the Bible. In fact, I'm still reading the Bible. Most of my studying that brought me to Christianity was in Islam.

I'm a passionate Christian, but I have been around religion most of my life. I just ignored it because it was an inconvenience to my life.

I don't understand some of the hostility here, is this just another liberal forum? I always seem to find the hate mongering liberals who would love to see Christianity removed from all facets of life.

If you like I will dispense with sharing my knowledge since most of you think I have none on the subject.

What is funny is that I was called last night by a minister at some church I might have been interested in attending(had they celebrated Christmas..I thought only Jehovah's didn't celebrate holidays) and I suprised him by how much I have learned without ever being in a Church. I spoke with him for over an hour about all these things and he even asked me if I had attended any religious universities or taken any religious classes.

So I know my knowledge of the subject is sound, but I fail to understand why no one believes me. lol

Yet what I have learned is not what you all want to hear, so if no one wants to hear it then that's fine too.

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TLynch
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The truth is in the eyes of the beholder. And I know that history has shown us that the Bible could be used for any number of evil intentions. Such as, using it to justify Slavery or for manifest destiny.

I am pretty strict in my interpretation, I don't like to guess too much, especially about prophesy. But even so, Jesus spoke in parrables which encourages us to define what our faith means. I'm not going to insist here that my way is right, it is right for me.

My goal is to get people to think about it and at least do some more research on other things.

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PanHeraclitean
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Ev, you appear to prove my point that no proof can ever be given because of the involvement of human intermediaries. Does that place you in an invincible position? Can faith in a thing not be taken into consideration when it is not universally demonstrable, especially for the "uniniatated?"

[ January 24, 2007, 05:51 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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TLynch
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I think I may have been misunderstood here. My vision IS just one way. My intention was not to get people to see things my way, it was to get people to go study it. Learn for yourselves.

I'm still not sure how we got this far without me realizing the downturn in attitude towards what I was talking about.

Oh well, I guess my faith is a little bit blind. But not totally.

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TLynch
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You may start the cheering, I will leave this place for the day. I'll be more careful in the future in expressing my beliefs.

I suppose I just took the freedom of expression on the internet a little too seriously. I work at a major university so I know all too well how to limit my freedoms while in the presence of a liberal majority. [Smile]

Ta Ta

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Everard
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"Ev, you appear to prove my point that no proof can ever be given because of the involvement of human intermediaries."

No absolute proof can ever be given, but so what? We can always provide evidence... and thats all I ask for.

The power of evidence is proportional to the percentage of people who can perform the test or follow the logic, and get the same result. In other words, many billions of people have read the bible, but its only convicing evidence for the existence of god to a certain percentage of people, and its very rarely evidence to people who don't already believe in god. So on those grounds, the bible isn't very good evidence.

What I look for is evidence that can be gathered or examined and the same result of the test be acheived by a very high percentage of people.

"Can faith in a thing not be taken into consideration when it is not universally demonstrable, especially for the "uniniatated?"

I don't think faith should be taken into consideration. Its not evidence for the truth of a proposition. Its evidence that people believe the truth of a proposition. Two entirely different things.

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PanHeraclitean
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Should I not believe in quarks then because I have no way of discovering them myself?

How do you treat the vast moajority of the world's population having faith in some supernatural though?

Did you happen to take a look at the information about the cure of a man in the cause of a saint that I had posted? Were the doctors examining just counting something that should be considered unexplainable as a miracle by error?

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0Megabyte
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TLynch:

I'll tell you a little more about myself, so you understand my viewpoints a little better:

I'm a Roman Catholic going to a Jesuit university, a political science major who'd love to minor in religious studies or philosophy (very probably religious studies.) I'm just gonna have to see how that goes before I decide on a minor.

I may be a little bit of a heretic, but that's probably just the influence of the Jesuits I've been learning from. Regardless, heresy can be good. To steal a quote from Thomas Jefferson, "a little heresy now and then is a good thing." (he had said a little rebellion. I think the principle still applies, though.)

I am a believer in God. Fully and absolutely. I love the Bible deeply, as well. I love it enough to study it with the intent to understand it, the way one would understand any other document. I respect it enough to learn to understand its limitations, as well as its strengths, and focus on what it says, not what one interprets it to say.

I'd also say that I believe God is "bigger" than just the God of Christianity. God is infinite, and thus understanding him fully is impossible. Even understanding a strong minority is impossible.

You say that you've essentially had God tell you it's true. I see many people who say that. Mormons tell me of their absolute conviction to their faith. As well as to facts that (sorry, Pete and the rest of the Mormons on this board) I cannot in good conscience accept as true. I've also seen people of completely contradictory religions also claim absolute knowledge and conviction of their truth.

In other words, I agree now with the logical statement that no one is an expert on religion.

I also feel that to say that you KNOW something of God, really, might at the minimum be arrogance, and depending on how much you say, might be blasphemy. Thus, I feel people such as Pat Robertson are probably blaspheming, or at the least are showing that they are not Christ-like in mindset. (when one gives reasoning that even Christ decried as wrong, and claim it's God and Christ's words, that's blasphemy by definition, so the point is moot.)

LEgendarily, there is a great problem with the belief in God that I still haven't solved, and don't think I ever will. It's basically a little conundrum: Of these three statements, only two can be true, should God exist: God is all good. God is all powerful. God allows evil to exist in the world.

If God is truly good and truly powerful, He would not allow evil to exist in the world. (based on human definition. A good person generally wouldn't allow evil to happen they could stop. A being that's Perfectly good and perfectly powerful could and probably would do so at all times.) But Evil happens. So, based on that idea, God can be either perfectly good or perfectly powerful.

This arguement has many limitations, but it's something to at least think about. IT's a toughie, I'll give it that.

I have my struggles. And I love to play devil's advocate. (sometimes literally, in this debate) but it's merely to get a better understanding.

You, on the other hand, acknowledge no doubts and seem to claim a high certainty as to God and His properties. I find that slightly arrogant of you. It's okay, I have plenty of arrogance too. I try to work on it.

So, on to your response of my response:

As for the Allah bit, my knowledge of that is probably not as good as yours, I don't feel comfortable battling that ground any longer, though I have my doubts as to Allah's differences, trust me. IT's more to do with idealogical things (people only know so much about God. Some people see different things than others. Perhaps others just see another aspect, etc.)

Hell and God's wrath: You never answered my accusation. I claimed God was evil for takin such actions. You didn't respond effectively to that. Your first words on it are "it's just part of our existence." I ask, based on what evidence?

You say God has changed. Again, how can an eternal being that doesn't exist within time change? Metaphysics apply here.

And you're wrong, my going to hell WOULD just be because Eve and Adam ate the apple. Had they not done so, based on the story (which is just a story, btw, not a real accurate historical account in the modern sense) then they and their children would have lived forever in paradise until the end of time.

Now, their action did not just affect them, but it also affected the children they had afterwards. These children had not eaten the apple. They had done nothing but be born, out of, really, no choice of their own but the choice of others. And yet, they too had to bear the burden of their parents' sin. How is that fair? How is that justice? If a person does a crime in today's society, do we punish the children of that person born after the event? No! Why? Because it flies in the face of justice. God's doing that also flies in the face of justice, too. It doesn't matter who you are, what is just does not change because of your identity, even if you're God.

God shouldn't have done this to begin with, if it's true.

But now he somehow changed His mind, which should be impossible if he's truly outside of time.

Now, use a bit of empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of, say, a Muslim. You, as a Muslim now, believe in Allah God, and believe that your faith will send you to heaven. A Christian comes along, who seems to have bizarre beliefs of there being multiple(?!) gods that are separate and equal but somehow still the same, who claim that you are in fact wrong, they are right, and you'll go to hell if you do not convert and believe in their religion.

If you cannot imagine it, imagine a Muslim says it to you. And imagine your response, which will probably be hell no. The Muslim will have the same response.

This is because humans, once we hold a belief strongly, are stubborn about changing it. When our society, culture, everything teaches us something from childhood, it can be extremely hard for us to change, ESPECIALLY when there seems no good reason for it, and the people asking you to change have been made to seem rediculous and foolish to you your entire life. So much has to be changed that it can be very difficult. Especially in matters of faith, in which irrationality goes on easily. You may ask why a Hindu would live life the way they do, or not eat cows, but for them there is no question about it. Their faith guides them, the same way your faith guides you. And for the same reason you'd not become a Muslim, the Muslim would not become a Christian. Because you both feel you already "know the truth" based on irrefutable evidence, or at least evidence you hold as irrefutable in your mind.

I don't care at this point which of you is correct. Let's say you are, just for the sake of arguement.

Now, God knows this about humans, as He designed us. He knows how society works. He knows how WE work. He knows our minds.

You're asking me to believe that God, knowing how we humans are, designed a system that makes it incredibly hard for someone who wants to be saved to be saved, depending essentially on what location they were born in. Regardless of their attempts to appease and praise God, because of these mistakes of location and culture (with a few exceptions of course) these people are sent to eternal torment, asking, screaming "why?! Why?! We worshipped you! We believed in you! What did we do wrong, father?! Why?!"

God, turning a deaf ear, lets them burn in torment, regardless of their faith.

Because they had their facts wrong.

Their intention wasn't taken into account. Their humanity wasn't taken into account. God didn't care, because of the aarbitrary way the system was set up. The only humans who act as God acts in this situation are, essentially, psychopaths who care nothing for humans. Are psychopaths really more like God than a rational, caring, loving human is?

God may not punish my Christian children for that sin, but he'll punish the children of those who have the wrong facts no problem.

That's evil. And as one who does not believe God is evil, I find it blasphemous and offensive to consider that idea as true.

Such a God is the enemy of man in my view. A God that could do that to us is no better than a pyschopathic killer.

That's not my god.

-----

Now for the Revelation bit. I find your claim slightly amusing, because I learned many facts about Revelation and Daniel, and came to my conclusions under Jesuit priests of the Catholic Church.

Surely you wouldn't call Jesuit priests "typical anti-Christians"? Because that's what you are doing.

Now that that little bit is said, on to the actual arguement.

Revelation was written by John for the people of the time. The symbolism, powerful as it is, was meant for them, their struggles, their lives. He spoke of Nero, the Roman Empire, all the troubles of Christians of his time.

Apocalyptic literature was commonplace in that time and day. That is, literature that took the form of symbolic prophecies which were written under a code that the people of the time understood, using their symbolism to talk about current events as well as comforting them that the future will be good (for them, at least) even though they are struggling under difficult times.

Revelation is part of that genre. In fact, it very nearly wasn't placed in the Bible, and was the last book of the canon that was decided upon. They very nearly put a different book in its place, the Apocalypse of Peter.

We're two thousand years distant from that time when it was written. You really think John was talking to us? People don't write books for the people two thousand years from then, they write them for the present.

Babylon was a symbol. That dragon thing was a symbol. All the different little things were symbols, and to take it literally,John would have looked at you and said "are you an idiot or something?"

People have been interpreting John's revelation to mean talking about things in their own times for the last two thousand years. They keep interpreting it as meaning their own times. They keep being wrong. What arrogance to assume that you're right, when so many more knowledgable people were so very wrong.

This is not hiding from anything, by me. To insinuate that I'm hiding from something in the intention of comforting myself or some junk shows something more about you than me: It shows that you need to discredit your opposition's intentions so you don't have to listen to their ideas.

---

You seem to buy into the whole "liberals are against faith, and are trying to destroy it" bit, or maybe I've misinterpreted. If I have tell me! Anyway, that bit isn't true. You speak of having to hide your faith? That kind of paranoia is the sort of thing that brings on dangerous things in this world.

Many Evangelicals in this country believe they are marginalized, and so act as if the culture that they feel marginalized them is an enemy, that beliefs contrary to theirs are evil, that anything that isn't conservative is the antithesis of God's will, or something to that effect. The purpose of this is to reject those things that would make them question their faith. Because for them faith is a comfort, to keep them from feeling lost and weak in this crazy world of ours. So, to defend themselves from the feelings that would come of "maybe I'm wrong" they attack all things around them.

Maybe you don't think of it, but many people are afraid that a right-wing Christian group will rise up and take over, bending or breaking our Constitution and persecuting anyone different than they are. Many are afraid that YOUR group is the one that will dominate, and YOUR group will persecute them.

Many atheists, for example, feel they ARE persecuted in this country. Many other non-Christians feel the same way. Or at least fear it.

Persecuted by peple who know they're right, like you, and others who will try to force their viewpoints on them. They fear that. I certainly fear that. I fear it from all powerful ideologies. And right-wing Christianity IS a powerful ideology now.

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moodi
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TyLynch,
quote:

So I know my knowledge of the subject is sound, but I fail to understand why no one believes me.



It's not that some of us do not believe you, it's that some of us know that you are wrong about what you believe in.

You say that you read it in the Koran that Jews are "monkeys and swine". I have read the Koran and it calls Jews and Christians "Ahl Al Kitab" which means people of the book.

I am not saying that some Muslims are not ignorant and racist enough to hold to the "swine" claim (the Koran does mention that some Jews were punished to become monkeys and swine), but what can you do with the ignorant bunch. It is funny to know that the same Koran accuses Arabs of being the "worst kind of infidels". So please, don't read some anti-Muslim/Christian book and then hold to that as the truth. Ask several people who might have different understanding of Islam (both Muslim and non-Muslim) and then try to come to a result. Don't lie to us and say you read the Koran while you actually haven't.

The 7-year peace period is also one more “evidence” that you throw around very often. I grew up in one of the most conservative Muslim societies (I did hate it) and I never heard anyone mentioning anything about a 7-year Koranic verse. If you are talking about the Hadith (which means the personal sayings of the prophet Muhammad and that is not the Kuran), then I’d like to tell you that ALL Muslims agree that they are not all accurate and some Muslims refuse to follow them.

You know, there are other interesting numbers thrown around. It is interesting that 911 days separate the 9/11 attacks and the Spain train bombings. I also have seen a History-Channel report that shows some crossword puzzles in the Old Testament that reveal??? Nostradamus-ic kind of things (I have seen the same thing done with the Koran). My point is, you can find anything you like in any piece of literature you stare at long enough. Your beliefs are just that…. B-e-l-i-e-f-s. To others it’s a mere coincidence.

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0Megabyte
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Btw, moodi, you know, speaking of the "Bible Code" which you just mentioned, Moby Dick has a similar thing, and predicts things too, if you do the same thing as they do for the Bible.

Isn't that interesting? That subliminal prophecies were written into Moby Dick?

Actually, it's theorized that any book of similar length will contain such things, out of sheer chance.

Still interesting, though.

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0Megabyte
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Double post.

And oh, I didn't notice that you said basically the same thing as I just added, moodi. Sorry for the error!

[ January 24, 2007, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: 0Megabyte ]

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Everard
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"Should I not believe in quarks then because I have no way of discovering them myself?"

You actually do. It requires a lot of background knowledge, and work... but if everyone goes through the process, the result would be the same for everyone.

I used "can" very deliberately in my previous post. This knowledge IS available to you to discover on your own, and no matter who you are, the evidence will turn out the same way.

On the other hand, not everyone seems to be capable of having a personal experience of the divine... instructions that are given on how to get that experience dont work for the vast majority of people.

And those who do have the experience, have radically different experiences of what the divine is, which means the results even within the segment of people who have evidence from the test, are contradictory results.

[ January 24, 2007, 07:37 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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0Megabyte
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Well, there IS the LSD style method, Ev. That seems to work better than most, or so I'm told.

[Big Grin]

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Everard
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Until you get the snakes and the broken glasses and the blood and the pain...
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PanHeraclitean
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"You actually do. It requires a lot of background knowledge, and work... but if everyone goes through the process, the result would be the same for everyone." No Ev, I don't. I most likely never will have that opportunity. Most of the world's population won't either. I'm sorry to say, but scientific study is not something that shows human equality. Many people just can't cut it. How does that effect the evidence?
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Everard
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"No Ev, I don't. I most likely never will have that opportunity."

Opportunity. Key word there. opportunity. If you DO go through the process, you'll get the same results as everyone else who has gone through it, which includes people from every ethnic and religious background in the world.

On the other hand, people who go through the process of trying to have a personal experience of god get wildly different results, ranging from no results at all, to contradictory results.

I don't mean that the evidence has to be had by every person, but that it has to be available to everyone. Scientific evidence is, even if you have to go through some difficult learning and experimentation to attain that evidence. Theological evidence isn't available to everyone, because people don't get the same results from the same tests, if they even get results at all.

I am not saying that every person must have the experience. I am saying that the evidence, for those who try to gather it, must be consistent.

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PanHeraclitean
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I'll say it again Everard, there are a lot of hacks out there that will show you that if they tried to do complex scientific calculations and experimentation you will find the same thing as "religion." That doesn't interest people as much as finding out how to be happy though. Everybody wants happiness and everybody comes up with their own conclusions.

It seems like you discount the supernatural just because there are a lot of people out there pawning of second rate sh**.

There are a set of rules to go by for science, right? That is what gives everbody the opportunity to someday reach the same results. You can go back time after time and test your results against the standard. Several major religions give a set of standards, but only the Catholic Church can show sucession from one generation to the next for the "authoritative body" to test your results against.

I've mentioned it before but there are many writings about the development of doctrine, especially Newmann's work.

The Church has the same goal as science too you know: to understand the truth of how the cosmos and the human person works and the relationship between the two.

[ January 24, 2007, 09:07 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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Everard
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"It seems like you discount the supernatural just because there are a lot of people out there pawning of second rate sh**."

No, I discount it because there's no real evidence for it.

"There are a set of rules to go by for science, right? That is what gives everbody the opportunity to someday reach the same results. You can go back time after time and test your results against the standard. Several major religions give a set of standards, but only the Catholic Church can show sucession from one generation to the next for the "authoritative body" to test your results against."

Yeah, but those set of rules, applied by non-catholics, don't give the same results as when catholics apply the rules.

"The Church has the same goal as science too you know: to understand the truth of how the cosmos and the human person works and the relationship between the two."

I know thats their goal. It doens't seem to actually work, though.

[ January 24, 2007, 09:12 PM: Message edited by: Everard ]

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MattP
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quote:
It seems like you discount the supernatural just because there are a lot of people out there pawning of second rate sh**.
And you're first rate religion is their second rate feces. You're church is one more voice in the crowd of voices claiming to know the truth. Your church has scholars who have worked really hard for a long time, but the same can be said of the Jews or even the Mormons. The Mormons have been going at it for much less time, but with incredible fervor. The result of course is that everyone claims their careful scholarly study has provided the correct conclusion, yet the conclusions differ dramatically.

As an atheist I just want to tell the religious people "You guys go work this out and get back to me, K?"

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TomDavidson
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quote:

So I know my knowledge of the subject is sound, but I fail to understand why no one believes me.

For one thing, it's because you seem to think a blog run by a single imam can speak authoritatively on Islam (and about the hadiths, no less(!)), and because you think a small-town evangelical preacher from a sect that doesn't celebrate holidays can properly assess the depth of your theological understanding based on an hour of conversation.

-------

quote:
Should I not believe in quarks then because I have no way of discovering them myself?

How do you treat the vast majority of the world's population having faith in some supernatural though?

The theory which suggests quarks exist generates reliable predictions, principles which are testable and universally reproducible and useful. What religious dogma can claim the same?

Until recently, the vast majority of the world's population had faith that the world was flat. It wasn't too long ago that the majority believed the sun to be a largish ball of flaming dung.

[ January 24, 2007, 09:32 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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PanHeraclitean
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Evidence: "The power of evidence is proportional to the percentage of people who can perform the test or follow the logic, and get the same result."

Everard, I'm saying that your claim that universal (or near) applicability does not hold water.

Yet you come back with, '"It seems like you discount the supernatural just because there are a lot of people out there pawning of second rate sh**." No, I discount it because there's no real evidence for it.'

I have to ask you again for what you mean by evidence than.

BTW, what do you mean by, "Yeah, but those set of rules, applied by non-catholics, don't give the same results as when catholics apply the rules."

You know I can just say, "Opportunity. Key word there. opportunity. If you DO go through the process of understanding Catholicism, you'll get the same results as everyone else who has gone through it, which includes people from every ethnic and intellectual background and age in the world." (As a note Catholicism revers all Old Testament holy people with the same respect as Saints because they also participated in the Covenant with God despite of the fact that it wasn't the New Covenant.)

MattP, when it comes to Judaism, I'd like to know how many Jews don't also add secular to their religion. In other words, it seems like they are again falling away to Baal as much of there Old Testament history shows. I don't mean to denounce Judaism, but I've seen many self-proclaimed Jews say they're in it for the culture and not for the God.

Mormons OTOH, talk about apostolic succession and then claim that the Apostles appeared to reinstate it after it disappeared. God doesn't appear to do a very good job establishing his Church then. That puts a lot of suspision on God then, you know.

I must reiterate that I believe that man is always able to access truth throughout time. But truth is like feeling a statue when you can't see it. You don't get the full experience. I say the Catholic was given the full discription of the statue but we're still not able to do anything but feel it and review the discription. We still have to put the parts we feel together with the desciption.

[ January 24, 2007, 09:42 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:

You know I can just say, "Opportunity. Key word there. opportunity. If you DO go through the process of understanding Catholicism, you'll get the same results as everyone else who has gone through it, which includes people from every ethnic and intellectual background and age in the world."

I wager that the same holds true for any form of brainwashing. How long do I have to put myself through the process before I see five lights?
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MattP
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quote:
If you DO go through the process of understanding Catholicism, you'll get the same results as everyone else who has gone through it
You picked an esoteric field of science because it's only in the most esoteric fields that you can find even the appearance of parity with religion. The effort needed to observe the experimental evidence of quarks is great, but simple scientific principles can be exercised by any man woman or child with the slightest inclination.

Can you propose a single religious principle that would equivalent in accessibility, demonstrability and simplicity to, say, mixing blue and yellow paint to get green?

[ January 24, 2007, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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PanHeraclitean
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I'll have to come back to this later. I must yield my time at the computer for now.

Oh, "do good and avoid evil."

[ January 24, 2007, 09:48 PM: Message edited by: PanHeraclitean ]

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MattP
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quote:
Oh, "do good and avoid evil."
Do you believe that's a uniquely religious concept?

You've also left out the "to get green" part. You've just told me to mix blue and yellow. If I ask each of my kids to go mix blue and yellow paint, they will all come back and tell me that they got green paint.

If I tell each of my children child to go "do good" will they all do the same thing? Will they report identical results? What happens predictably and repeatably when you "do" "good" or "evil?"

EDITED: To add the bit about predictability and repeatability, apparently at the same time that Tom was making the same point.

[ January 24, 2007, 10:06 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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TomDavidson
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I'm also unsure how it's reliably predictive. You'd have to have pretty clear definitions of "good" and "evil" for all reproducible cases.
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PanHeraclitean
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I hope you know I was working on Everard's POV on evidence. I'm still working on predictability and repeatability. Not just giving answer but finding out how that is different from what Everard said about universality.

Note: TomD talked about how more value is gained from proven correlation in complex situations. I say any situation with humans is complex. Yet it is easiest to have "disproven" too. Not that those proofs are necessarily real proofs against as much as illustrations of the complexity of the situations.

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Carlotta
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TLynch,
what do you make of 2 Peter 1:20, "Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation". How do you know your personal interpretation is correct?

Do you believe that Jesus established a Church? If so, why are you looking for the perfect church for you instead of the true church? And if not, how do you explain Jesus talking about establishing his church?

I know this isn't really on topic, feel free to move it to a different thread if you want to discuss it further. I'm not trying to attack you but would like to debate this with you and anyone else who is interested.

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Mithrae
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quote:
Now Islam was created, I believe, by Satan to ensure that the "system" was in place for his anti-christ and false prophet to take over the world. What better "system" to have in place but a radically militant people who will be completely devoted to their coming "savior(Mahdi)" and the coming "Jesus"(False Prophet Isa). ~ TLynch
I haven't fully read the last two pages, but I'm interested in this perspective. After some basic research, you seem correct in saying that the Imam Mahdi will rule for seven years, possibly over the whole world. But besides that, it seems that mostly the two belief systems largely parallel each other.

- In Christianity the Beast comes before Christ's return; in Islam the Dajjal (antichrist) comes before Isa's return.
- In Christianity the number of the Beast is put on the hand or forehead and is represented by the three Greek letters chi xi sigma; in Islam the Dajjal has the three Arabic letters kaa faa raa on his forehead.
- In Christianity the Beast performs miracles and claims to be God; in Islam, that's exactly what the Dajjal does.
- In Christianity, Jesus returns and destroys the Beast by breathing on him (2 Thessalonians 2:8); in Islam, that is how Hadhrat Isa destroys the Dajjal.
- In Christianity, Jesus rules for 1000 years of peace before Gog and Magog attack in force; in Islam, Isa has a reign of peace before Yajooj and Majooj attack in great numbers.

That's the impression I get from a quick glance, at least, but I'm interested in learning more.


Edit: In short, it seems at a glance that the only real places where Islam seems to have switched the roles around is in Imam Mahdi's seven-year rule and the Dajjal's support for the Jews. But the bible doesn't specifically say that the Beast will rule for seven years; even Daniel 9:27 talks only of a covenant, which could potentially be made with Imam Mahdi himself. And many Christian commentators suggest that the Beast would have to be a Jew supporting the Jews in order to appear as their Messiah, which fits the Dajjal fairly well.

[ January 25, 2007, 12:09 AM: Message edited by: Mithrae ]

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PanHeraclitean
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So how is predictability and reproducibility not effected when you start getting everyday hacks involved?
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TomDavidson
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I don't understand the question.
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TLynch
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Carlotta,

I don't. Last night I spoke to my dad who lives far away and who is also the only person I really know with any real knowledge of the scripture and he reminded me that it was good that I am interested in what is supposed to happen with these prophecies, but he pointed out that since I am renewed in my faith I should also be concerned more with my personal development.

My personal view is probably wrong because I am not yet well versed with my faith. My dad even said I probably know more about revelations and biblical prophesies than he does now, but I lack the foundation of the rest of the scripture to truly have authority to interpret what I have already read.

When I said I was looking for a Church that suited me, I meant more of a church that suited me for fellowship. I have never seen church as the "Way to the Lord", it is mearly a path towards fellowship. And how foolish would I feel if I went to a church full of agnostic catholics or jehovah's witnesses? Obviously I am looking for a certain kind of theology that is more in line with my own interpretation of the Bible thus far. Which doesn't mean my beliefs won't be altered down the road as I learn more.

Basically, yesterday and the day before I felt defensive and arguementative. Today I feel different and I realize I don't need to respond that way every where I go just because of a few bad experiences elsewhere. I'm not a complete idiot, just too passionate at times and uncompromising at other times. Was I able to answer your questions okay?

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TLynch
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Mithrae,

I'm not quite sure I read the same things you did. The website I provided is the only source I have found which states the Dajjal comes before Isa. In the other Islamic texts I've read the Dajjal comes after Isa and the Mahdi have conquered the world. The Dajjal is supposed to come after the 7 year peace is broken halfway through and the great slaughter of Jews takes place. In fact, in the Qur'an there is a verse which states all the Jews will flee to the wilderness from the onslaught of Isa, until even the Trees and the rocks cry out to Isa, Come over here, there is a Jew hiding behind me. And then it goes on to say that one particular tree will not betray the Jews(cant remember the name, but it is a tree that is native to Israel), and that tree is where the few Jews left will survive. Very odd verse, but it contradicts what I read on the website. It is after that slaughter begins that the "Dajjal" rises up to defend the Jews against Isa.

The thing is that the Mahdi is the leader, Isa is his like second in command type. But in most texts I've read, it is Isa who converts the world to Islam through cooersion or slaughter, while it is the Mahdi who physically conquers the world. And the Qur'an also talks about muslims recieving the mark of Allah on his forehead as one of their penances. Bowing to the ground in prayer causing a mark to appear on their forheads from all the praying.

In Islam Isa claims to be Jesus and the Mahdi will claim to be the "savior" of Allah and will establish his empire from Jerusalem. The problem with this "claim to be God" thing is that all three major players will claim to be some form of God. The two Jesus' and the savior Mahdi all claim in some form to be God, we just have to figure out which side to believe. In the end it won't be hard to figure out which side is evil and which side is not. The Bible says the beast will reveal himself. Common sense comes in to play, I think we all know what evil looks like as opposed to goodness and holiness. If someone begins slaughtering Jews and Christians then it is reasonable to assume we may have an evil person doing it. lol

I have several printed texts that corresponde with those two websites exactly, except there are a few different things listed on the website as opposed to my printed texts. I did buy these texts from a Saudi printing agency so I know it comes from Islam, not from a Christian propagandist. Such things are hard to find, but important for any real study into a foriegn religion.

This is the chronology that lines up from what I've read:

1. Beast/Mahdi defeats Babylon(Whichever nation ends up being the worlds sole superpower when it all begins) and establish a 7 year "covenant/peace" with Israel.
2. Beast/Mahdi goes forth and conquers the world under the flag of Islam, during which time Isa appears and "breaks the cross" and prays "behind" the Mahdi in Jerusalem.
3. Isa then goes forth to slaughter unbelievers or convert the entire planet(except Israel).
4. 3 and a half years into his reign the Mahdi breaks his peace with Israel and attacks. Isa is his General and slaughters all the Jews until they flee to the wilderness to hide behind the rocks and trees and even those betray them.
5. Jesus/Dajjal appears and leads the Jewish people from the wilderness to battle with Isa and the Mahdi. Jesus is supposed to defeat them both and ends the 7 year reign and establishes his 1000 year peace, while in Islam the Dajjal is defeated and killed by the Mahdi on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Then the Mahdi dies anyway after his 7-9 year reign and Jesus goes on to live until the age of 40 and dies after 19 years of marriage and many children are born.
6. The odd thing is a vague reference in Islam telling believers that they will all die at the end of the Mahdi's 7 year reign which doesn't make sense with everything else they talk about.

The beast doesn't need to be a Jew if he had Isa who would appear to be more of the messiah. Isa then "breaks the cross" and announces he is just a prophet of Allah and that the Mahdi is the savior. And I doubt many Jews would believe any man being their messiah, which is why Isa and the Mahdi will slaughter them all at the half way point anyways.

The only thing that I have found that is exactly the same in the Bible as in Islam is the mysterious Gog and Magog. The Mahdi and Isa defeat them, but in the Bible they are the main forces of the beast. But that is just the one thing that doesn't add up, everything else is quite alarming to me.

I wish I was at home right now...I could pull up exact verses and references from Islamic or Bibilical texts to help collaborate my list up here. I have a good memory, but I've learned over the past few days that talk is cheap, facts are what is important.

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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by PanHeraclitean:
So how is predictability and reproducibility not effected when you start getting everyday hacks involved?

For basic principles, there is little effect. Complex principles may be more difficult to demonstrate based on the prerequisites of skill or knowledge.
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Everard
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"You know I can just say, "Opportunity. Key word there. opportunity. If you DO go through the process of understanding Catholicism, you'll get the same results as everyone else who has gone through it, which includes people from every ethnic and intellectual background and age in the world."

Except this is demonstratably not true. You did notice the reformation right? Its also true there's a huge schism in catholicism right now over birth control for married people. Etc.

When a scientific experiment is performed, the results are predictable. When a theological experiment is performed, the results depend on the people doing the experiment.

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moodi
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quote:

The odd thing is a vague reference in Islam telling believers that they will all die at the end of the Mahdi's 7 year reign which doesn't make sense with everything else they talk about.


And that's why I said that this entire story doesn't make sense. The End of Days in Muhammad's sayings are unclear and in a lot of parts they contradict what is in the Kuran. The reason to that is Muhammad's Hadith is not authentic and as I mentioned above some Muslims ONLY follow the Kuran.

As to why the similarities, the answer is easier than you think. It's because Islam is a faith that was based on Christianity. Most of the stories in Christianity and Judaism are echoed in Islam with some changes.

quote:

Beast/Mahdi goes forth and conquers the world under the flag of Islam, during which time Isa appears and "breaks the cross" and prays "behind" the Mahdi in Jerusalem.


This point makes no sense. Mahdi is considered a good man in Islam who leads Muslims in battle. Isa or Jesus is a prophet from God. Jesus should be the one leading the prayer because he is the closest person to God living at that time.

The Saudi Wahabism has put out some literature that fascinates me in respect of its stupidity, foolishness, and lies. Religious fanatics are really good at such things, but the Saudi fanatics have lead the path (maybe because of their new found wealth). It could be the overwhelming illiteracy and poverty such "Imams" grow up in or the extreme isolation most Saudis have experienced in the past, but they surely have filled the Internet and other Media with a lot of junk.

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PanHeraclitean
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Everard, did you know that originally both the Church of England and Luther split from the Church not for doctrinal reasons, but for heirarchical reasons? That doesn't really support your claim. Additionally, with the birth control issue, would a scientist trust the common man's understanding of gravity?

MattP, anything beyond cause and effect, even that in some cases, can be screwed up by lack of skill and knowledge. The same is true with morality. Plato and Yoda both put the cut off for moral formation at a very low age.

TomD, predictability and repeatability are components of evidence, it would seem. Thus they would be effected if everyone on Gods green earth were performing experiments.

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