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 One War under God - now with 90% more Rapture! 
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Post One War under God - now with 90% more Rapture!
One War under God - US Troops getting force-fed "military Christianity".

I'm damn proud that this is being noticed and recognized. Especially the fact that 95% of the recieved complaints are coming from Christians.

Best part of the whole thing: "Freedom Packages" being sent to soldiers in Iraq contain a copy of "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" - a video game where Christians carry on warfare against people of other faiths. Sadly, this PR nightmare was averted in time when the Pentagon decided against it. Too bad. I would have loved to see the media backlash. Has anyone noticed that some of Bush's big supporters are the group that funds, profits from and spreads the revelation-centric "Left Behind" books? I know I have. :roll:

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I'd never even heard about this till now. Waging war on others of different faiths? Sounds like a nod to the Crusades.

Hardly what true Christian ideals are supposed to symbolize.


Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:31 am
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More like, heretical anti-Christian propaganda, if you ask me. The heresy being the 'Left Behind' series, which more individuals read more often than the Bible, and which a great many people interpret as biblical fact and prophecy.

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-B- wrote:
More like, heretical anti-Christian propaganda, if you ask me. The heresy being the 'Left Behind' series, which more individuals read more often than the Bible, and which a great many people interpret as biblical fact and prophecy.


I have read those books. They were entertaining, and a valid interpretation of the book of Revelations within a biblical context, for the most part. But they were not fact, and I keep that in mind whenever I walk by their place on the bookshelves in my private library.

With regard to the Eternal Forces game, within the Left Behind context the description is mildly inaccurate. The Christians still on the planet were suddenly a very much oppressed minority (every practicing Christian on Earth had just been taken into heaven, remember, so it was only those who didn't quite believe yet who got left back) operating in secret and vocally rebelling against the state, which was basically composed of every other religion on the planet. Still, I haven't played the game and never intend to do so, so my view might be wrong.

Hard-core 'us-or-them' Evangelizing has always disturbed me. I have trouble believing that an all-powerful Deity would be too terribly upset with us not calling him by a particular name when we worship the Higher Power. Plus--and Tozetre isn't around to correct me so I hesitate to say this--too many Christians forget that the laws explicitly laid out in Exodous, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the Old Testament books of Law, are no longer valid. They are part of the "Old Covenant" which was replaced when Christ died for us and gave us the "New Covenant". That doesn't give you a free hand to violate the Ten Commandments, but it does mean you can eat bacon on your salad and use the same fork for fish as you do for potatoes. You still probably shouldn't have sex with a donkey either, but I like to think some of those laws were more for protection in a society where death came swiftly and often than because certain things were absolutely abhorrent to the Lord. And as I discovered to my eternal interest, there's nothing in the books about lesbians, just men. Because it's easy to get an infection from buttseckz that would kill you without treatments we now have, perhaps?

Besides, Jesus himself is on the record as saying the two most important laws were to 'Love God with all your being' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Preach, certainly, but don't confuse that with forcible conversion.

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Anyone interested, there's a good write up on "Left Behind" and the video game on Wikipedia. I won't link because I'm lazy. But the amount of clergy, practicioners, and theologists against taking it literally are growing. Even in studies of Revelations, the books only represent a small side of the precieved happenings theories and several other Rapture theories exist beyond this one.

Revelationist-Fundies make me very...VERY...worried, because that's the same kind "get my reward cause the earth's gone soon anyway" mentality that causes suicide bombers to want their 40 virgins all that much sooner. Or was it 40 semi-opaque rasins? I can't remember... either way, in a sense, they're far worse because suicide bombers generally don't infultrate politics to the level of Left-Behind fanboys.

For once, Bush told the absolute truth. He took it back, naturally, but his infamous quote about starting a "Crusade" still makes me wonder if I could say "told ya so" loud enough to reach the border.

Be it "official army policy" or not, and be it only "a few select individuals" or not...the mentality is there and people are noticing it. Several THOUSAND complaints since this self-proclaimed watchdog group was formed? These "isolated few" must get around pretty quick.

And this is the army, where "don't ask, don't tell" was born. Clearly, it's serious enough to be taken more seriously than a penis in your bum. :?

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I personally don't believe any form of religious scripture is meant to be taken literally; anymore than you'd take the metaphor and allegory of Paradise Lost or the Iliad literally.

Devout followers should never be afraid to question the doctrine they follow and approach it from a rational stand-point.


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Contra Deus wrote:
I personally don't believe any form of religious scripture is meant to be taken literally; anymore than you'd take the metaphor and allegory of Paradise Lost or the Iliad literally.

Devout followers should never be afraid to question the doctrine they follow and approach it from a rational stand-point.


Faith and rational are antithetical. You can only have one or the other, not both.

If you don't take the religious text literally, then really you're just making shit up as you go along. Pulling it right out your ass.

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Anony-mouse wrote:
If you don't take the religious text literally, then really you're just making shit up as you go along. Pulling it right out your ass.


Then why so much debate? If it's "making shit up" or "Follow to the letter" then a LOT of people are really good at hiding the make shit up part. I'm not talking fundies, I'm talking historians/theologists. Interpretation is a MAJOR element of any religion.

..Not that I don't disagree a LOT of other people make shit up. 8)

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Anony-mouse wrote:

Faith and rational are antithetical. You can only have one or the other, not both.

If you don't take the religious text literally, then really you're just making shit up as you go along. Pulling it right out your ass.


Interesting you say that, because the best piece of advice I ever got from a member of the clergy was "It is your duty to question your faith." The rationale being that questioning faith makes you look at it and internalize it, find the answers to your questions yourself, and by doing so, strengthens your faith.

It is also interesting since I spent 9 years in a Catholic school and never once did they tell me to take the Bible literally. Actually, they told me not to do so.

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In the catholic school next to the public school I was in, I heard they did cool things like "Make up your own religion" as a project in Theology. Really impressed me...and it probably inspired the Great Spaghetti Monster. :P

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Anony-mouse wrote:
Faith and rational are antithetical. You can only have one or the other, not both.

If you don't take the religious text literally, then really you're just making shit up as you go along. Pulling it right out your ass.


It isn't "making shit up" to ask questions. The point I was trying to make is that it's irrational to just blindly follow doctrine simply because it's written down. Think of the military: yes, you're supposed to follow orders, but if you recieve an order that recquires you to do something blatantly illegal or inhumane, then a rationally-minded soldier is going to refuse that order, regardless if the person giving it is a general or the president of a country.

Religious scripture should be viewed in the same light.


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Christopher Fiss wrote:
Then why so much debate? If it's "making shit up" or "Follow to the letter" then a LOT of people are really good at hiding the make shit up part. I'm not talking fundies, I'm talking historians/theologists. Interpretation is a MAJOR element of any religion.


Ever hear geeks argue over Star Trek? Just because something is made up doesn't mean you can't have long, complex arguments about random minutia that are ultimately irrelevant to reality.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
..Not that I don't disagree a LOT of other people make shit up. 8)


So what do you believe God wants you to do that has no basis in the Bible?

Ultranos wrote:
Interesting you say that, because the best piece of advice I ever got from a member of the clergy was "It is your duty to question your faith." The rationale being that questioning faith makes you look at it and internalize it, find the answers to your questions yourself, and by doing so, strengthens your faith.


Yeah, go ahead a read the bible without the explicit assumption that God is good and holds moral truths. God comes off as a reeal jackass. Slavery, rapae, incest, mourder, pimping, sexism, racism, genocide, and all written off as moral.

Ultranos wrote:
It is also interesting since I spent 9 years in a Catholic school and never once did they tell me to take the Bible literally. Actually, they told me not to do so.


Yes, well as someone who spent a few years in a Catholic parochial school as well, let me inform you that Catholics believe some fucked up shit that has no basis in anything. Like Limbo and Transubstantiation.

Contra Deus wrote:
It isn't "making shit up" to ask questions. The point I was trying to make is that it's irrational to just blindly follow doctrine simply because it's written down. Think of the military: yes, you're supposed to follow orders, but if you recieve an order that recquires you to do something blatantly illegal or inhumane, then a rationally-minded soldier is going to refuse that order, regardless if the person giving it is a general or the president of a country.

Religious scripture should be viewed in the same light.


Humans are fallible. A human superior can order you to do something wrong. If God is perfect, how can anything God do lead to evil?

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able, and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God.
--Epicurus (300 years before Jesus)

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Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:18 pm
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Anony-mouse wrote:
If God is perfect, how can anything God do lead to evil?


Human free-will -> Temptation to evil / Human misinterpretation -> misc wtf's.

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-B- wrote:
Human free-will -> Temptation to evil / Human misinterpretation -> misc wtf's.


See this is why I only really respect Calvinists. They're the only ones dedicated to taking the Bible, warts and all.

1. There is no free will. If God knows everything and created everything the he knew evil would arise from his creations and yet did nothing.

2. God also would have had to create the temptations leading to evil.

3. If God is willing to prevent evil but not able, then he is not omnipotent. That was Epicurus' first point. Explain that one.

4. If God can prevent evil but does not, then he is Malicious and evil in and of himself.

5. If God can stop and and doesn't want evil, you are left to explain why there is evil.

6. If God cannot stop evil and wouldn't want to if he could, then why the hell would you worship him?

See how that works out?

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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:20 pm
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Anony-mouse wrote:
-B- wrote:
Human free-will -> Temptation to evil / Human misinterpretation -> misc wtf's.


See this is why I only really respect Calvinists. They're the only ones dedicated to taking the Bible, warts and all.

1. There is no free will. If God knows everything and created everything the he knew evil would arise from his creations and yet did nothing.

2. God also would have had to create the temptations leading to evil.

3. If God is willing to prevent evil but not able, then he is not omnipotent. That was Epicurus' first point. Explain that one.

4. If God can prevent evil but does not, then he is Malicious and evil in and of himself.

5. If God can stop and and doesn't want evil, you are left to explain why there is evil.

6. If God cannot stop evil and wouldn't want to if he could, then why the hell would you worship him?

See how that works out?


1. If there's no free will, there can be no evil, and the rest of your points become moot.

2. Again, if there's no free will, then there's no problem - but if there is, then again, it is the evil in mens hearts that leads to the acceptance and pursuit of temptation, rather than God's urging.

3. Again, if no Free Will, then this point is meaningless - no free will = no evil. If there is free will, then, again, it is the human that creates the evil. God allows Man the capability to act - how man chooses to act is seperate from God.

4. Is the evil done by God, or by Humans? That goes back to the free will thing. The first evil goes back to the Garden of Evil, and the Human Choice - if God can prevent humans from doing evil, then there would be no point to having humans in the first place.

5. There is evil because Humans choose there to be so. God made and Man inherited the Earth, what Man does with that is up to Man. If God can and does stop evil, then humans would not be human as currently known.

6. You... seem to have a very odd idea of how most Christians conceive of God. Are we referring to different entities using the same name of God?

The image of God you seem to have in your mind is... well, sure as heck isn't the god of the Christians.

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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:36 pm
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-B- wrote:
1. If there's no free will, there can be no evil, and the rest of your points become moot.


My point, the point I've been trying to make all along, is THERE IS NO FUCKING GOD. See, no problem with free will as there is no God to obviate it. Thus we are left with the nihilistic explanation of evil. Things are evil because we decide to call them evil.

-B- wrote:
2. Again, if there's no free will, then there's no problem - but if there is, then again, it is the evil in mens hearts that leads to the acceptance and pursuit of temptation, rather than God's urging.


God created man's heart. God created the temptation. God set up the prerequisites for evil. How can you have a benevolent, omniscient god and still have evil?

-B- wrote:
3. Again, if no Free Will, then this point is meaningless - no free will = no evil. If there is free will, then, again, it is the human that creates the evil. God allows Man the capability to act - how man chooses to act is seperate from God.


Or, here's the rub, there is no free-will and God chooses to have evil because he's malicious.

How can a creation be independent of it's creator when that creator is all knowing and all powerful?

-B- wrote:
4. Is the evil done by God, or by Humans? That goes back to the free will thing. The first evil goes back to the Garden of Evil, and the Human Choice - if God can prevent humans from doing evil, then there would be no point to having humans in the first place.


Then what's the point of everything else that doesn't have free-will?

Where in the Bible do you find any sign of free-will?

God could just be malicious. There is nothing precluding a, "Jealous and Vengeful God."

-B- wrote:
5. There is evil because Humans choose there to be so. God made and Man inherited the Earth, what Man does with that is up to Man. If God can and does stop evil, then humans would not be human as currently known.


God must have created the choice or else he isn't God.

God not only created the Earth but also created man. There was an opportunity to create both in such a way that evil would not exist.

-B- wrote:
6. You... seem to have a very odd idea of how most Christians conceive of God. Are we referring to different entities using the same name of God?


Jehovah, YEWEH, the god of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob, the god of
Moses, the Biblical God. Any doubt left to whom I talking about?

-B- wrote:
The image of God you seem to have in your mind is... well, sure as heck isn't the god of the Christians.


The homicidal, genocidal, jealous, vengeful, malicious, racist, sexist bastard depicted in the Bible? No, I think I have an accurate picture of him. Most Christians base there vision of God not on the Bible, but on the tenets of Secular Humanism.

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Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:49 pm
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In that case, using those terms, free will and God exist, because people want free will and God to exist - a God that allows free will exists because people perceive that to be so. If God and evil both are myths, there yet remains a thing inside most that gives pause to cruelty, and encouragement to self-sacrafice without expectation of recognition or reward.

*shrug*

A blind man in a cave cursing light for allowing darkness using darkness to disprove the existance of light and railing against those he calls blind who would speak of it as fools must learn either to accept and live in a world without light yet full of those who seem to bask in it or realize that those who believe their eyes open despite his overwhelming proof and certainty of lights universal absence may in face see things more interesting outside the cave.

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-B- wrote:
In that case, using those terms, free will and God exist, because people want free will and God to exist - a God that allows free will exists because people perceive that to be so. If God and evil both are myths, there yet remains a thing inside most that gives pause to cruelty, and encouragement to self-sacrafice without expectation of recognition or reward.


You obviously have no concept of what "nihilist" means. Nihilism is the belief that there are no inherent values in the world; all values are human values and thus do not reflect anything inherent in the object, merely their relative value to humans. "Good" and "evil" are merely human abstractions and in no way describe reality.

Belief does not affect reality.

Our moral sense is dictated by evolutionary psychology. They were useful thought patterns for survival, so the phenotype became fixed in the genotype.

-B- wrote:
A blind man in a cave cursing light for allowing darkness using darkness to disprove the existance of light and railing against those he calls blind who would speak of it as fools must learn either to accept and live in a world without light yet full of those who seem to bask in it or realize that those who believe their eyes open despite his overwhelming proof and certainty of lights universal absence may in face see things more interesting outside the cave.


What a perfectly obsequious metaphor. The difference between light and god? I can sense light. I can see it, I can feel it's warmth on my skin. I can devise and build equipment that can sense and quantify it more accurately than my own senses. Thus I can confirm light's existence, as can others. The same is not true for God. There is no way to percieve God, even vicariously.

Faith is belief without evidence. Reason is the belief because of evidence. The two a diametrically opposed. Show me empirical evidence of God, and I'll believe.

On another note, we've gotten way off topic. We should either take this discussion to PMs, or just cease all together.

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Last edited by Anony-mouse on Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Here's something to ponder about the concept of Evil.

The Scale of Evil to an All Seeing All Knowing God diety thingie, is several orders of magnitude more MASSIVE than anything a mere mortal human does or conceptualizes.

In this case, all the things we go about considering good or evil, are to an Omnipotent being, pros and cons more than good and evil.

Much the same way that children being 'good' or 'bad' in their behavior do not compare to the good or evil of grown men, or even nations.

I could say that how ANTS behave can be good or evil as I take a morning glance at my Ant Farm. But to my scale and perspective, good and evil of ants is a matter of perspective that the ants are more concerned with than I am. To the ants, allignment to the Queen would be their good and evil. I would know it. However my perspective and concern is not with those petty allignments, but whether or not my ants manage to develope nuclear weapons and nuke the city trying to deal with a war in my ant farm.

It's all perspective and scale there. The ants have free will as far as they can comprehend... while myself, the Omnipotent Ant Farm Keeper, keep a watch on them overall to ensure things go smooth.


Not that I'm arguing for either side though. This just felt like a good place to anylize some stuff before I hit the sack...

Night folks.

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Thank you ATC for that lovely demonstration of what I mean by "making shit up" in the religious sense. You have no evidence that what you said is true. You're not basing it on anything.

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<chuckles> Ahh, the good ol' days


My $0.017 CAD worth:

Anon, first of all, the mention of rape, pillaging and looting the booties is in the bible, yes, but it's also curiously attached to the sacrificial bulls and other old-testament world of pre-Jesus. Also, as we've all noticed, 200BC was a lot more barbaric a world than 2007, so we'll chock up a lot of the misinterpretations to idiots who believe that goat sacrifices are "just as fine for today". This ties in to the "Are we talking about the same God?" comments later on. Yes, same God. But how we saw Him before and after Jesus changed dramatically. And most of the "Sadistic" bits, once again, were caused by people, often earned by the people being morons, and just because He didn't save the day in a red cape, you think God is Sadistic as well? Shit...that's a bit unfair isn't it? That's like saying "You were never there for me during hockey-tryouts, Daddy!!" when daddy's in jail, or off fighting a war in another country.

As for people making shit up and what God wants me to do that's not in the bible, basically:
-I believe and have seen that people twist faith, texts and even scientific truth to their own desires, thus I see that Faith...which is extremely important to me...must have that taken into consideration when I live out my faith.
-I believe that the "instructions" for my faith ARE in the bible. But they need interpretation, research, and experience to "decode" correctly, and to use properly. Also, a VERY large part of faith is what God dictates for your life. The bible cannot give a "Okay, Chris, this next part is for you...when you see a kid named Bob, talk to him and tell him about Jesus. Don't worry about Joe, Senie's got him covered" kind of play-by-play. That's what the whole "Holy Spirit" and "Community of the Church" is supposed to give you, while I think it's the spirit that's more important, I'm not about to knock people who need the church...so long as the church isn't manipulating them (like a lot of them do, sadly). This is how I can still be faithful, but not believe the bible to be the Direct Word Of God In THX Digital Quality Remastered And Edited For Quality.

How can anything God be evil Imperfect? You just SAID that it was the people making shit up. If I say I am representing Satan, does that instantly give me authority over hell and instant perfect knowledge? So if I tell the next Satanist I meet he's wrong, and that Satan is actually a flying spaghetti monster...he's supposed to say: "Holy shit! ALL THIS TIME?? LIES!" Anything God is perfect, but people aren't God. Just like you said.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? > Classic argument, but you forget the one thing that completely destroys it: Would you always stop your children from doing something bad? Or would you try to guide them and make them learn from their mistakes? Even if it caused a burn, a broken bone, or something else serious? This ties in...very quickly...to the free will arguments made.

Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God. And because God doesn't help you out when YOU think He should...he doesn't exist/isn't God?

Free will doesn't HAVE to exist. If God is God, then He just snaps his fingers and makes it so. But, as -B- pointed out, that completely REMOVES humanity from the game. Why make humans if He is Timeless and knows we'll fuck up? Because...some of us come back to him and try to make it right. That learning and that lesson plan is the WHOLE point.

What you're talking is akin to "If we're all going to die, what's the point of living????" but then forgetting that if we COULDN'T die, we would be COMPLETELY different creatures. We would have no drive. No instinct. No success. No failure. We would be lumps on the landscape.

Be it Satan, the flawed Hearts of Men, or bad mojo of any kind, Evil exists...Sin exists...and God lets it exist so we have something to TRIUMPH OVER...IF WE SO CHOOSE TO.

This isn't some weekend retreat. This isn't some silly game He is playing. The danger, the deaths, and the endless damnation caused by our own stupidity are all real. But if he just made it happen so we were Always Saved No Matter What...

what would be the point? What would be the point of any of this??

No. Free will is not a myth, impossible in a Universe where God supposedly controls everyone and everything. Free Will, Questioning, and Learning are all vital reasons to be alive, and the very core of not only our being, but our science, our faiths, and our drive to be who we are.

I know all I need of God from seeing this one truth, and more-so, seeing it in everyone I've ever met, be they on what I think is the right track or not.

And this is why I would die to defend your rights and abilities to say that my God does not exist... and also why myself and so many other Christians find the original article's force-feeding bullshit so utterly terrifying and disgusting, even though it might bring a soul or two to the Lord. He provides the path. The Army, Catholic School, the Pope, and a million other institutions can't do it. They can help. But they can't actually do it. That's why so much of their effort turns into self-satisfying bullshit.

</$0.017CAD>

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Thank you, Fiss for that lovely demonstration... :roll:

Christopher Fiss wrote:
My $0.017 CAD worth:


Goddamn Greenspan fucking ran down the US currency.</rant>


Christopher Fiss wrote:
Anon, first of all, the mention of rape, pillaging and looting the booties is in the bible, yes, but it's also curiously attached to the sacrificial bulls and other old-testament world of pre-Jesus. Also, as we've all noticed, 200BC was a lot more barbaric a world than 2007, so we'll chock up a lot of the misinterpretations to idiots who believe that goat sacrifices are "just as fine for today".


Wow, so much bullshit to wade through I had to split the paragraph in half.

1. Fuck. That. Cooter. Jesus himself said he was not on Earth to bring peace and joy, but war and suffering. He also said that nothing that is in the OT is wrong. Admitedl the Bible contradicts these at some points andconfirms them in others. Then again, the Bible contadicts itself a lot.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
This ties in to the "Are we talking about the same God?" comments later on. Yes, same God.


No, different God. I'm commenting on the God in the Bible. You're commenting on the God you made to fit the Enlightenment style morality you have been taught by society.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
But how we saw Him before and after Jesus changed dramatically.


Because of the Enlightenment. Not because of anything in the Bible. Like I said, you modify your god to fit your morality, you don't get your morality from God.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
and just because He didn't save the day in a red cape, you think God is Sadistic as well? Shit...that's a bit unfair isn't it? That's like saying "You were never there for me during hockey-tryouts, Daddy!!" when daddy's in jail, or off fighting a war in another country.


No, it'd be more like being mad at my mother for drinking like a fish while pregnant with me. You and B both keep diminishing God to make your arguments.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
-I believe that the "instructions" for my faith ARE in the bible. But they need interpretation, research, and experience to "decode" correctly, and to use properly. Also, a VERY large part of faith is what God dictates for your life. The bible cannot give a "Okay, Chris, this next part is for you...when you see a kid named Bob, talk to him and tell him about Jesus. Don't worry about Joe, Senie's got him covered" kind of play-by-play. That's what the whole "Holy Spirit" and "Community of the Church" is supposed to give you, while I think it's the spirit that's more important, I'm not about to knock people who need the church...so long as the church isn't manipulating them (like a lot of them do, sadly). This is how I can still be faithful, but not believe the bible to be the Direct Word Of God In THX Digital Quality Remastered And Edited For Quality.


In other words, you quote-mine the Bible for passages that support your preconcieved notions and rationalize away everything else. You just said you are willing to change your morality on a whim. Frankly, I'd rather have a literalist. At least I'd know where he stands from one moment to the next.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
How can anything God be evil Imperfect? You just SAID that it was the people making shit up. If I say I am representing Satan, does that instantly give me authority over hell and instant perfect knowledge? So if I tell the next Satanist I meet he's wrong, and that Satan is actually a flying spaghetti monster...he's supposed to say: "Holy shit! ALL THIS TIME?? LIES!" Anything God is perfect, but people aren't God. Just like you said.


There is no way I can say this without it coming off very insulting. So, I'm not even going to bother trying to sugar coat it. I can imagine a hypothetical based on a supposition that I do not believe to be true, as if I in fact did believe the supposition to be true. You apparently don't understand this concept.

Yes, I think you're making it all up. You've said as much yourself. Just because I don't believe in God, doesn't mean I can't hold a coherent thought as if I did believe in God. And my point, that you so convieniently missed, was that you can't reconcile and omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God with a world with evil in it. You can't, so either God is malicious or non-existant.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? > Classic argument, but you forget the one thing that completely destroys it: Would you always stop your children from doing something bad? Or would you try to guide them and make them learn from their mistakes? Even if it caused a burn, a broken bone, or something else serious? This ties in...very quickly...to the free will arguments made.


Of course it's a classic argument. Literaly! I was quoting a Greek philosopher of the Classical period!

And yes, I would child-proof my house if I had kids. I would put child-proof locks on the cabinets, rubber pads on all sharp corners, child-gates at all the stairs and doors, and plastic inserts in all the outlets. I would remove the ability of my child to harm itself to the best of my ability.

God has infinite ability to prevent Evil. He never does. God had the power to create a world without sin, suffering, or evil. He chose not to. God can end all evil, suffering, and sin at any moment he wishes. But he doesn't wish it. God can prevent anyone from going to Hell, but he specifically created individuals whom he knew would end up in Hell, even before he created them. All-knowing means
there is nothing God doesn't know or ever did not know.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God. And because God doesn't help you out when YOU think He should...he doesn't exist/isn't God?


No, because God specifically chose a world in which suffering was even possible he's either Malicious or not omnipotent and omniscient. Those are the choices.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
Free will doesn't HAVE to exist. If God is God, then He just snaps his fingers and makes it so. But, as -B- pointed out, that completely REMOVES humanity from the game. Why make humans if He is Timeless and knows we'll fuck up? Because...some of us come back to him and try to make it right. That learning and that lesson plan is the WHOLE point.


What about those whom God sends to Hell? Why didn't he make them so they'd come back to him? If God can do anything, he could have done that.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
What you're talking is akin to "If we're all going to die, what's the point of living????" but then forgetting that if we COULDN'T die, we would be COMPLETELY different creatures. We would have no drive. No instinct. No success. No failure. We would be lumps on the landscape.


There is no God, and yet we're not just lumps on the landscape. Just thought I'd mention that. None the less, God, being able to do everything, should have been able to make humans still human without suffering or evil.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
Be it Satan, the flawed Hearts of Men, or bad mojo of any kind, Evil exists...Sin exists...and God lets it exist so we have something to TRIUMPH OVER...IF WE SO CHOOSE TO.


God created Satan, God created the flawed hearts of men, God created bad mojo. Get it? God created everything. Evil exists. Therrefore God created evil.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
This isn't some weekend retreat. This isn't some silly game He is playing. The danger, the deaths, and the endless damnation caused by our own stupidity are all real. But if he just made it happen so we were Always Saved No Matter What...

what would be the point? What would be the point of any of this??


As an atheist and a nihilist, let me assure you that there is no point to life. As for the silly game comment, go read the book of Job. Then tell me how that fits with your view of God.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
No. Free will is not a myth, impossible in a Universe where God supposedly controls everyone and everything. Free Will, Questioning, and Learning are all vital reasons to be alive, and the very core of not only our being, but our science, our faiths, and our drive to be who we are.


So you're saying God didn't know everything about you when he created you? Otherwise the idea of free-will is antithetical to God.

Christopher Fiss wrote:
I know all I need of God from seeing this one truth, and more-so, seeing it in everyone I've ever met, be they on what I think is the right track or not.


Again, you're just making stuff up then. Without evidence, I'd like to point out. In other words, you're not a real Christian. You're a Secular Humanist with delusions of grandeur.

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A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
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Wed Oct 10, 2007 1:55 am
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One thing that has always bothered me about the argument being bandied about here is that people always seem to assume there is only one path an individual can take through life, when the argument involves free will.

My interpretation (there see, I don't claim it's fact!) of the idea of an Omnipotent, Omniscient Deity implies one of two things, mutually exclusive, but both possibly valid:

1) Said Deity knows all that has come, and knows all that is happening now, but does not know the future, due to Free Will, both its own and those of its creations. This assumes that the Deity is capable of predicting the future with a high degree of accuracy (It knows everything that has come and is happening now, so It can infer logically the results) but because of free will, the accuracy diminishes as time continues. More illogical decisions, mounting up endlessly upon each other, might lead to an outcome It did not expect. Thus, It created humans with free will to see what might happen, leading to the curious but not malevolent Supreme Being. It might have decided to attempt to influence development in a more positive manner (nobody wants their toy broken, after all) and thus we have the Bible, altered by men (who wanted a good excuse to lord over others) claiming to be the 'one true way' (how many other religions claim the same thing? And wouldn't you if you were writing the book, divinely inspired or not?)

2) Alternatively, Omniscient implies that the Deity knows ALL possible outcomes all at once, but again, free will and random chance influence the probabilities. But just knowing all the outcomes and their likelihood of being chosen, doesn't mean you would know the final outcome at any given time, if the entities in the equation have a random element.

It all depends on your definition of the word Omniscient, and what constitutes 'all-knowing'. But hey, I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. Then again, find me the verse that labels God as knowing all, because I have an electronic copy and I just spent about half an hour searching it for keywords, and found nothing.

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Anony-mouse wrote:
Thank you, Fiss for that lovely demonstration... :roll:

Then again, the Bible contadicts itself a lot.


Odd how we've both been saying the same thing, but only YOU are assuming the bible is a straight forward instruction manual. Also, where did I say that Jesus was here to bring joy? He's here to...well...lemme think on this for a sec-SALVATION. Yeah. That's the word. I'd personally be apaled with some poor bastard being nailed to the cross...and yeah, I have a hard time stomaching it morally. But I understand it. I don't have to like it. And I don't. But I imagine it was much the same way back in OT days.

Anony-mouse wrote:
You're commenting on the God you made to fit the Enlightenment style morality you have been taught by society.


Ignoring the fact you're placing any, all and future blame of any faith square on the shoulders of one individual...you also just mentioned two of the main reasons I have my faith and it exists in the form it does. Enlightenment-style morality and Society. Both being very non-base, non-evil, and good for both God and the People. So you're saying I shouldn't be basing my faith in a religion on two of the very cornerstones it and EVERY religion is based on? Fair enough. Point me to the "right Enlightenment" and the "right Society" rules please so I may make my mind up "right" when deciding where my free-choice-fuelled faith begins and ends. Chances are I can poke just as many holes in them as you seem to believe you can into mine. So really...what's the point with your statement again?


Anony-mouse wrote:
Because of the Enlightenment. Not because of anything in the Bible. Like I said, you modify your god to fit your morality, you don't get your morality from God.


Are you sure you're not just repeating what I'm saying? The Bible does not bring Salvation. If Morality is from God, it's still a Free Choice, so that still means it comes from you. Absolutely no problems with what you're saying so far. Stop assuming I'm Tozetre, or Random Annoying Christian you Argue With # 48.

Anony-mouse wrote:
No, it'd be more like being mad at my mother for drinking like a fish while pregnant with me.


Fair enough, that DOES make more sense. However...true or not...the only documented flaw that God gave Human Kind by design seems to be the capacity for Evil...or...Free Will. Again, my argument is that this 'flaw' is vital to who we are. This makes it more like a genetic birth defect than a careless act of self-mutilation, even taken into your own context. I'll let you have your dramatics if you wish, just remember the Bible is quite specific on this part. All of Genesis is pretty straight forward, actually...you can blame the centuries of "where did I come from mommy?" questions hounding the prophets for this one. :)

Anony-mouse wrote:
You and B both keep diminishing God to make your arguments.


What we're TRYING to do is diminish this foolish misconception of what/who/etc you believe God is supposed to be, and what Religion is worshipping. I believe God CAN be mighty, dominating, insane, terrible, and can nuke the universe if he feels sassy. But I also believe I can light myself on fire and hug a gas station next to a bus of 3rd graders. If that means I'm diminished in my potential and power...so be it.

Anony-mouse wrote:
In other words, you quote-mine the Bible for passages that support...
You just said you are willing to change your morality on a whim.


In other words...or rather...once you return from this fantasy collection of memory you seem to have on me...I have NEVER quote-mined the Bible for any such passage, and in fact, am very rusty in my Bible-Quotability outside of a few core bits or passages I pick up from elsewhere, like, and remember. The only time I've even posted a phrase from the Bible here is when the argument seems to degenerate into "Quote VS Quote". However, my Faith, what I Believe, and how I see God not in quotes. I disagree with a LOT of what the Bible says. And sometimes, yeah, I can't rationalize what I don't like away as "historical context" or "misquotes and bad translation". I don't like those parts. But they're the parts that don't rule my Faith, and help me to remember that...yeah...other Christians ARE going to do things I don't like. They don't make me spur-of-the-moment decide my faith is invalid in this form and I have to make version 2.0. Not how it works. Sad if it did.

Anony-mouse wrote:
Frankly, I'd rather have a literalist. At least I'd know where he stands from one moment to the next.


You've made it very apparent you would rather. But I've explained several times that the Bible isn't meant to be literal, scholars and theologists agree, and even Ye Old Fundies can't get away without at least a metaphor once in a while.

I return to my previous statement and revise it: I'm sorry our God AND our Bible don't match your misperceived idea of what they are. But if you remember, the literal message wasn't always well received. Those Ten Commandments were pretty damn simple, and look how people misuse them.

Anony-mouse wrote:
I can imagine a hypothetical based on a supposition that I do not believe to be true, as if I in fact did believe the supposition to be true. You apparently don't understand this concept.


...he said to the science fiction and fantasy author who was not always a Christian in the first place...
:roll:
Yeah, you got me there. So insulting. And so obviously true. Can't even begin to imagine what you're talking about. I'll pray for Jesus to teach me to use my imagination better. </WTF??>

Anony-mouse wrote:
Yes, I think you're making it all up.


I wish. <smirks> The Vatican is how wealthy?
<IN BEFORE CATHOLIC MONEY-GRUBBING ARGUMENT WHICH I FULLY AGREE WITH BUT WILL PROBABLY BE ASSUMED AS SUPPORTING BECAUSE I AM NOT ANONY-MOUSE>

Anony-mouse wrote:
You've said as much yourself. Just because I don't believe in God, doesn't mean I can't hold a coherent thought as if I did believe in God.


You're right! I *DID* say that! And holy crap! I meant it too! Good thing I did...because if I implied otherwise, I would have been a hypocrite when I said Free Will was important and possessed by everyone! <bows>

Anony-mouse wrote:
And my point, that you so convieniently missed, was that you can't reconcile and omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God with a world with evil in it. You can't, so either God is malicious or non-existant.


I can't reconcile this statement with your choices in a binary argument. By Jove, I believe he's figured it out! My argument is NOT with your ability to think, be a moral human being, or that Christians are the only ones who are...even though I apparently posted an article debunking Christian recruitment...ahahaha! Reverse Psychology!

My argument is that YOUR argument isn't allowing for all the possibilities and answers, and it is DIRECTLY linked to your negative emotions, experiences and views of Christianity, Religion, and the concept of Salvation in general. Now, keep in mind, I would LIKE to simply attack your ARGUMENT, however, as you so eloquently put it...sugarcoating doesn't seem to work. I am arguing against your argument, but I personally am concerned about the reasons why...and believe that you are not presenting a fair, reasonable, and impartial argument because of your personal reasons.

That's as far as I will go to attack you under the guise of reason and proof.

Though, please, I do love responding to your smarmy half-hidden personal attacks with my own useless sarcasm...so it's up to you to bring this argument out of the gutter. I've said my piece, posted my article, and the rest is just your anti-theistic masturbation to my attempt at providing you with a reasonable alternate POV.


Anony-mouse wrote:
Of course it's a classic argument. Literaly! I was quoting a Greek philosopher of the Classical period!


<chuckles> Alright. Got me there. I loled. :)

Anony-mouse wrote:
I would remove the ability of my child to harm itself to the best of my ability.


So...your argument is basically the Best of God's Ability would be perfect safety, or he can't exist because anything less is not God?

Anony-mouse wrote:
God has infinite ability to prevent Evil. He never does. God had the power to create a world without sin, suffering, or evil. He chose not to.


...and a convenient answer! You're right! And you're, once again, assuming we'd be human at all in a perfect, utopian world where our choices never had consequences. </more of me trying to break down your assumptions that I believe are incorrect for simple logical reasons, and not because the Bible told me to>

Remember? **big, important bit in my argument** Freewill: It's what's for Dinner. God was the cook, but that doesn't mean he has to...or wants to...do the dishes. Oddly enough...it seems God has free will too. Strange how that "in His Likeness" thing doesn't hint at that at all. And oddly enough, we get daily examples of kids who grow up to be useless, or deranged because they didn't learn what pain was, what Right and Wrong were, or figure out in a non-fatal way that they were mortal.

Anony-mouse wrote:
God can prevent anyone from going to Hell, but he specifically created individuals whom he knew would end up in Hell, even before he created them.


Sorry, this is where you need some straight dope, and I hope you'll see I'm not just trying to be abrasive...this is very simple CORE Christianity.
-Everyone Sinned. Everyone Sins. Except Jesus. Except truly innocent THINGS, like lambs, goats, bulls.
-Sin removes you from God. God is Perfect, All Knowing, and Pure...so it's pretty simply the Oil on Water effect.
-If everyone sinned...why bother make Man? Why make Man when only some would come back to Him? Because...some would come back to Him.

So, there you have it. Yeah, God knows exactly who's going to Heaven and Hell. But what do you think would happen if he made a list? Half the Heaven-destined ones will figure they're getting a free ride, possibly fuck their ticket up, and so on. But that also means NOBODY is instantly condemned either. At least not as far as we know. And Religion provides the map, Jesus the actual Door to get back. So what's the problem?

And now...for EVERYONE'S favorite part:
Horrible Father-Child metaphor time!

1) Dad wants kids.
2) Dad wants kids to be just like him. Dad knows they might make mistakes, like he wisely knows he could make if he wasn't Dad and Awesome, but wants kids anyway.
3) Dad makes kids, tells them to behave. Kids be kids. Kids misbehave. Dad is sad, because Child Services took them away. He can't hug them anymore...only write once a week.
4) Dad sends postcards. Tells them that he's coming to fuck up Child Services office. Some kids fear him, some know he does it out of luv. He gives directions and the combination lock for the fence.
5) Dad knows most of his kids might not want to return. The Home Child Protection Services set up for them is nice. And lets them misbehave. Even the people who know their Dad sometimes misbehave. It's a big shit-storm.
6) Dad waits patiently.
7) And sure enough...some come back, they get to eat ice cream forever,
8 ) when the Home and Child Services mortgages go up in smoke, and the kids are sold to China for slave labour, he KNEW it would all happen...but at least the kids who wanted to came back.
9) He laments the loss of some of his children, but the joy, love and happiness of HAVING kids in the first place make it all worth it. He gives Fiss a Jolt. All is well. Amen.

Anony-mouse wrote:
No, because God specifically chose a world in which suffering was even possible he's either Malicious or not omnipotent and omniscient. Those are the choices.


See above. See the part about you're only presenting me with what YOU believe to be your only choices. I say: Consider this third and get back to me.

Malicious: No. Just stuck by the rules. God has rules. That whole "pure and not pure" thing is pretty important.
Omnipotent/Omniscient: He's aware of what's going on. But is willing to take the bad to get the good.


Anony-mouse wrote:
What about those whom God sends to Hell? Why didn't he make them so they'd come back to him? If God can do anything, he could have done that.


So...you want half of Humanity without Free Will so they'd come back to Heaven anyway? Or just everyone and again negate my argument that Free Will is part of Human? God doesn't SEND you to Hell - You are UNABLE to get to Heaven. Back to : Everyone-Sins, Oil, Water etc. Again, very simple, core, everyone except deranged fundies can't pick it out of the bible-simple. If God is going to MAKE you come back to him...Free Will is moot. And yet, he still tries by giving pretty much everyone a big map and arrow to the stairway to heaven. If that's not enough for you, well, alright. But don't use your misconceptions of what He should be doing for you to completely negate Him. That's just petty.


Anony-mouse wrote:
There is no God, and yet we're not just lumps on the landscape.


Then at least we got you to agree that we're not just lumps. :)

Now, Free Will... why would a Lump have it? And would us Non-Lumps not have it? What say yee?

Anony-mouse wrote:
None the less, God, being able to do everything, should have been able to make humans still human without suffering or evil.


Jesus...Santa Claus never got me a fighter jet either. Look up to my explanation. Suffering and Evil are byproducts of a core human trait. /argument. If God made is without Suffering then we would not be Human, and likely would be those Lumps we both agree we aren't.


Anony-mouse wrote:
God created Satan, God created the flawed hearts of men, God created bad mojo. Get it? God created everything. Evil exists. Therrefore God created evil.


I'm going to request you go back to highschool chemistry on this one. One substance can make another, which can deform into two horrible smelling piles of orange goo...or a wonderful pile of sugar. God created Humanity and Free Will.

We created the rest by having choice and an easy, mortal path.

And as romantic as it sounds to have Satan just a "idea" I can go with that OR I can go with the Fallen Angel/etc part as well by accepting that God wanted an adversary to help prove the path was binary. "Come to me my Children." VS "Come to me my Children. And yeah, you have to work at it. Because Satan and your own stupidity is making it hard for me do do it." Let's just be simple and call Satan our own stupid sinful ways for the sake of your argument...but again...adding a voice and face to actions carried out by humans, no matter the source...is part of Free Will anyway, so again, a moot point.


Anony-mouse wrote:
As an atheist and a nihilist, let me assure you that there is no point to life.


Again, limiting your view and trying to prove mine wrong with only that information. If you walk into the argument assuming life has no point, then what the hell do you want to argue so much for? Some higher purpose? Truth? No. You want what all us stupid, sinning monkeys want. TO FEEL POWERFUL. To get your quick fix. You have that hole in your gut that tells you you're missing something, so do I and everyone else you'll ever meet has it too. And you fill it with the idea that it's normal and nothing else can be better. I fill it with God. Fine. But then why...if everything is so useless anyway...get out of bed in the morning? Why turn on that PC? And why try to purposely misinterpret my words to make yourself feel better? Aren't you just dust in the wind anyway? My God is part of me enjoying my time alive. Does this lack of anything greater than you are give you anything besides the illusion of self power and truth?

If that doesn't prove why God can't get close to sin, I don't know what does.

Anony-mouse wrote:
As for the silly game comment, go read the book of Job. Then tell me how that fits with your view of God.


Re-Read Job. Maybe you'll figure it out that it's a lesson (definition includes: not a game) designed to show you that bad things will happen in life, and that God still exists if you love Him, hate Him, or even renounce Him and blame him for all the shit that's happening to you. Funny thing about literalism VS interpretation. It's the difference between God Shitting on you, and God trying to pull you up from the pile that just happened to fall on you anyway.

Anony-mouse wrote:
So you're saying God didn't know everything about you when he created you? Otherwise the idea of free-will is antithetical to God.


God knew everything about me. Yes. But He isn't actively controlling those things. Timelessness is NOT Puppetmastering. Me watching a Re-Run does not mean I wrote, casted, directed and sound-mixed the show. And since it was All or Nothing, Sin + Free Will + Only Some Come Home VS Why Bother...I'd like to say I think I understand where the Creator came from when he decided against the Nothing.


Anony-mouse wrote:
Again, you're just making stuff up then. Without evidence, I'd like to point out. In other words, you're not a real Christian. You're a Secular Humanist with delusions of grandeur.


All your evidence is in "If this = true then other = cannot exist" arguments which I have blown away with one big "this is how sin works" explanation. PART of my "evidence" is in what I've experienced, themes I've observed in humanity, and the advice and intelligence of others. Good heavens! Sounds like SCIENCE! How can I provide evidence on this subject anyway? And why is it so important to you to have it?

This subject is basically the Meaning of Life, or if you want to be a bit less biased, I'll say the Search for Meaning. If it wasn't a Search, then it would be Proof. It would exist or it would not and thus, no Search would be necessary.

The fact that so much of our race searches...hunts for...tries to explain the unknown, the indescribable, and the feelings, thoughts and worries inside them point to an entire universe that you are not considering....but would find is WORTH considering.

The Question: Is there more to Life than just what we see, touch, taste, hear and feel? Should there be? How can we find out? If No, then why? If yes, then why?

Yes.

Evidence: We do things that can kill us. We help others when its in our worst interest. We value abstract things, concepts and ideas. We can USE these abstract things in real life. We create. We explore. We have languages with thousands of words when 100 would do just fine. We believe in silly things and in things that might not be there. Sometimes, we believe in things we KNOW are not there. Sometimes what we believe in comes true. Sometimes the opposite. We have at least the perception of Free Will, and the perception of time, space, and things 'beyond' our existence. We imagine. We plan. We can see beyond our own mortality. We question instead of subsist. We fight instead of stay at peace. We strive when we are content.

Is there a God? And if so, is He the Christian God?

My answer is Yes.

Evidence in this part isn't going to convince you much anyway, but here are the more rational things: He fills the indescribable hole that is missing that is beyond any "quick fix" of power. Logically, the demands of me and Humanity make sense to me. I can imagine the outline of a plan in the Bible, and a plan in the events of the World. I know my own limitations, and cannot explain some of the things I have felt, tasted, touched, heard or seen. When reflective, I can see what my own sin, and the sin of others does to the world. The only method I've seen to fix the world is forgiveness.
Forgiveness has to be given. Dreams, feelings, thoughts, circumstances too wild to be circumstances...and most of all, the overwhelming theme of personal salvation of godly attention.

Yeah, I can tell you about all the sappy stories about my Personal Jesus and Salvation and how I feel the Holy Spirit power...but I hope this makes sense:

I believe in the power of Humanity. This is very true. But when that power fails and meets its limits....not talking technological or scientific here... when Humanity meets its limits, there is so much more beyond that we CAN see.

It seems impossible to me that it ends there when science proves that our old limitations soon become our new benchmarks. Especially when I have my answers of God that I didn't just pick up from my parents, learn to recite from school, or aim a dart at randomly. Choosing opened the door. That's how I know I'm right.

If you don't believe there's a big, jolly, Gary-Larson-esque-white-bearded God waiting for you beyond, that's fine. Like you said...contradictions and interpretations vary considerably.

However, you are doing yourself a serious disservice by closing your eyes at the cusp of what there is...just because it's easy to have nothing else to see. Furthermore...you shutting your eyes to what IS provable, logical and possible does not make it all just go away...and does not negate the options, possible outcomes, and theories from argument.

So stop agreeing with me. It doesn't work well with your All or Nothing approach. Try opening it up a bit, give a few half-way ideas, or a third answer and then we might actually start talking again VS the afore mentioned sassy backtalk and ideological masturbation.

I'm all ears and open mind...just what you're saying isn't fitting with what you're doing. Explain to me why your nothing is so much more fulfilling, fitting and right, than the everything I experience, and maybe we can get some progress.

:D

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Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:58 pm
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Anony-mouse wrote:
Thank you ATC for that lovely demonstration of what I mean by "making shit up" in the religious sense. You have no evidence that what you said is true. You're not basing it on anything.


Analogies tend to be that way.

And with that.

We have a full fledged religious argument, and not a Tozetre in sight to come to bat for his team.

Should I get on Aim and summon him?

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