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Is the minster in your church an atheist?

Discussion in 'UK and Ireland' started by ianb321red, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. ianb321red

    ianb321red Well-Known Member

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    This is a strawman argument because actually God arranges things to prevent people from eternal torment! John 3:16 for example....?
     
  2. Danny777

    Danny777 Member

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    Not only does Ian hit the nail on the head with his previous post, no-one will experience eternal torment for holding a "particular philosophical position". All humanity has a problem that separates them from God, namely our sinful condition and it is this that sends us all to hell unless we are in Christ:

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

    The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (1 Peter 3:9, emphasis added)

    This is hardly God setting up a particular situation for people to be condemned...
     
  3. tonybeer

    tonybeer Newbie

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    The trouble is an omnipotent omnsicient God creating everything can see exactly what will happen based on his choices when creating everything. The moment God clicks his metaphorical fingers to create everything he knows that:
    1) Mankind will Fall and he will have to punish them.
    2) He'll have to kill almost all of them in a massive flood.
    3) He'll have to impregnate a woman to create Jesus.
    4) Most humans won't accept the story, or invent a different religion.
    5) He'll have to create hell to burn most of their souls.

    etc etc

    God must have decided despite all this it was better to create this universe than not.


    Getting back to the point about Atheism, obviously not all Christians believe what I have written above. Some say "God can't lie" or "God must be moral" or "God can't tolerate sin" which means God isn't entirely omnipotent, and some don't believe he is omniscient. There are tens on thousands of different sects, all believing slightly (or very) different things.

    As Ian was pointing out above, these may be slightly archaic beliefs that modern Christians don't hold, so there isn't a lot of of point in doing what I've just done, as tempting as it is. Much better to ask them what they believe and why, and see if it has any merit.

    I think, Ian was saying he believes because of historical evidence /philosophical reasoning.

    As far as historical evidence goes, I'm not sure I could believe anything that extraordinary from just historical evidence. It doesn't even need to be historical. There are tens of thousands of Alien Abduction testimonies from the last 50 years, and I can speak to these people. I don't believe these either.

    I'm also not sure you can demonstrate the existence of something by philosophical means alone. That is a huge topic!


    Christians, don't worry though. If God is real, then he knows exactly what would be needed to convince me of his existence, even if I don't. He knows that if I wasn't convinced by talking to people like yourselves or looking at the evidence, he could intervene and reveal himself to me, so who knows, maybe this will happen?
     
  4. Danny777

    Danny777 Member

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    For me, there is no conflict with the omnipotence and omniscience of God and the points you made above. God chose to create beings that were capable of making decisions based completely on their own free will AND He knows what we will decide before we decide. I don't see how this compromises God attributes of being all-powerful and all-knowing. If our decisions have consequences, I can't see how this compromises these attributes either.

    The argument that only a cruel unloving God would allow circumstances like these only holds water if there is no way out for us. The fact that Jesus Christ provides a way out (free of charge) leaves us with no excuse. The evidence available surrounding Jesus Christ has led to people of various intellects, classes, cultures, races etc coming to Christ.

    With regard to you final comment, I'm sure that if you continue to search diligently for truth you receive a "tap on the shoulder" some time...!
     
  5. Gadarene

    Gadarene -______-

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  6. Gadarene

    Gadarene -______-

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    As for the topic, it wouldn't surprise me at all that there are ordained ministers - perfectly possible to pull the wool over people's eyes on that one, and those that think they can tell who's a "true Christian" and who's not are kidding themselves.
     
  7. MorkandMindy

    MorkandMindy Senior Veteran Supporter

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    the evidence for that is very well known:

    The 'Mission Accomplished' banner told the entire World that either:

    1. The Christian God whom G W Bush walked with daily, was pretty clueless about what was going on in Iraq

    or

    2. Billy Graham who vouched for G W Bush as the genuine article can not tell who is and who isn't a true Christian and is therefore wrong about G W B, wrong about his ability to discern who is a true Christian, wrong about 'walking with Jesus daily'

    and wrong about whether he can tell if his own faith is true as well, he appears to have fundamentally misunderstood Christianity.

    and

    The 30% of Americans who are Bible-believing Christians trusted Billy Graham, so again they have misunderstood Christianity and can not tell who is or is not a Christian and that includes themselves.


    The correct response of Billy Graham and Bible-believing US population should have been to reject G W Bush as a false prophet, I'm sure the Bible says to do something to a person who claims to be speaking from God and his words don't come true, something fairly nasty, I'm sure it doesn't say to give them a second term.

    What happened then and there on the USS Abraham Lincoln was G W Bush made a fool of Christianity in front of the entire World.
     
  8. tonybeer

    tonybeer Newbie

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    The point is he knows some won't, even if it is their choice.

    Would you bring a child into the world if you knew with 100% certainty beforehand it would be ending up in hell for eternity, or would you choose not to have one?


    Assuming a God exists:
    With regards to free will, there are plenty of things that God has ensured I can't choose to do*, so why not ensure I can't choose to not believe in him?

    *e.g. I can't choose to visit the nearest solar system, etc.
     
  9. Danny777

    Danny777 Member

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    If we were created unable to choose NOT to believe in God (ie programmed TO believe in Him), we would not be capable of a genuinely loving relationship with God - it would be forced upon us and this would violate our "free will". If you are FORCED to believe in something and there is no choice in the matter, particularly a relationship, there will be far less genuine pleasure in the process on either side.

    I'm quite sure that if this were the case, you would (quite rightly) allege this was unfair. As it happens, we CAN all chose whether or not to believe in God - this demonstrates complete freedom and is completely fair!
     
  10. tonybeer

    tonybeer Newbie

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    1) Why wouldn't we be able to have a loving relationship with someone whom we are force to believe exists? I'd say when I was growing up I had a loving relationship with my parents. I don't think it would have been possible for me to not believe they existed and if this violated my free will then so what?
    However if I did for some reason not believe they existed they wouldn't have tortured me for eternity for it.

    2) You are assuming we can just choose what we believe. I can't just go and genuinely believe the Earth is flat, even if told this belief will bring me great rewards. I could lie and say I did believe, but this is different. I couldn't choose to believe my parents don't exist, no matter how hard I try. However vast amounts of evidence could persuade from a strong belief I hold (like the Earth is round).

    Whether you can control your beliefs or not is a debate that is on-going amongst philosophers. What I can't seem to find is whether any psychological experiments have been done to test this. Perhaps this is because it is impossible to test.
     
  11. Gadarene

    Gadarene -______-

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    Threatening people with punishment in hell for diseliief =/= free choice. It is coercion.
     
  12. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

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    I agree that it is coercion to threaten but disagree that coercion negates free will. If you threaten me with violence unless I do what you want I retain the ability to defy you. My choice is not limited by your threats. Even if my response may differ because of them, it is still my choice to be swayed by your threats the choice is not removed by them. Or do you propose to define free will as the ability to choose whatever one wishes without any consequences resulting from that choice? Under that defintition, free will cannot exist ever for anyone. If we are to talk of free will, I think it is necessary to say that choices have consequences and free will simply means being able to make choices not being able to make choices without consequences.

    Secondly, I submit that the threat of punishment in hell for disbelief cannot be an effective coercive measure any more than the threat of being turned into a frog would be an effective coercive measure for a person trying to convince one to believe that they are the Wicked Witch of The West. Actually turning one into a frog would be much more effective. If one does not believe in a the existence of a being it hardly makes sense for them to be afraid that that being can harm them.

    Thirdly, No theistic religion that I know of contends that hell is a punishment for disbelief. They all seem to agree that hell is a punishment for bad behavior. Many Christians, not all, additionally contend that faith ( not simply belief) sets one free from the eternal consequences of bad behavior.
     
  13. ianb321red

    ianb321red Well-Known Member

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    The point here though is that you could still choose to believe the Earth is flat if you really genuinely wanted to. If you take everything else out of the equation then you still have the freedom to actually believe the Earth is flat.

    The fact that there is an abundance of evidence to show that the world actually isn't flat still requires and active acceptance of this to be a true thing to believe in.
     
  14. tonybeer

    tonybeer Newbie

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    I disagree. I'm pretty sure there is no way I could force myself to believe the Earth was flat, unless presented with good evidence.

    So you think you can choose your beliefs?

    I don''t normally come across Christians who says they believe in God just because one day they decided to believe in him. They normally say they investigated it, or had an experience which made them believe.
     
  15. Gadarene

    Gadarene -______-

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    As ever, I would love these Christians so blithely asserting that one can choose to believe in things to stop believing in Christ for, say, a week.

    I don't mean living as if he doesn't exist (according to whatever they think that might resemble), I mean choose to reverse your actual belief in his existence and be genuinely convinced of it.
     
  16. Gadarene

    Gadarene -______-

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    Free choice isn't a simple binary. You can heavily bias or weight one's choices by coercion. With strong enough weighting, the fact that it's technically still free is just that, a technicality. I find it a rich to claim that free will is so important when the presence of hell is strongly weighting the setup. Please don't talk to me about consequences when those particular consequences of sin (and indeed sin itself) have been created and defined by the person in charge of judging people and sending them to hell in this particular instance.

    Are we talking about existence, or simply about whether one should follow God or not? They are two different things.

    It might not bring new people into the fold, but it will help keep those in line who had some level of belief for other reasons.

    When the only difference between a Christian who tries to live their life in the best way they can, and is remorseful over their wrongs and a person who lives their life in a similar way is their belief - and the former goes to hell while the latter doesn't - then yes, regardless of whatever excuses that are made, it boils down to being punished for your lack of belief.
     
  17. ianb321red

    ianb321red Well-Known Member

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    The Flat Earth Society - Index
     
  18. ianb321red

    ianb321red Well-Known Member

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    Philosophically, yes:
    Doxastic Voluntarism [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]

    From personal experience, yes but my choices are informed choices not arbritary ones..

    I agree with this.
     
  19. tonybeer

    tonybeer Newbie

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    Yes I was looking at Doxastic Voluntarism vs Doxastic Involuntarism. What I couldn't find was any scientific studies on belief. I don't think we yet understand quite how beliefs are formed. Like you, I'm trying to think through how I form a belief, though this isn't actually a very good way of testing something.

    What we do have a choice in is how we test whether our beliefs are true.

    That aside, even if we can choose our beliefs:
    I think we could both agree that for many billions of people on the planet, they will never even hear Christian claims, so could not possibly choose to believe in God/Jesus. Or they may hear the claims in the context of "this is what evil people believe". Do they go to hell?

    If yes: then this is surely immoral?
    If no, then it is better to not hear a Christian claim (assuming if you do hear a claim and aren't convinced by it you go ot hell)?


    The final point I want to make is about how Chrisitans come to their beliefs. Although many will claim to have investigate their beliefs/had an experience, this has always come after they believed. This belief was forced into them as a child from an early age. Not all Christians were raised that way, but in my experience nearly all of them have been. (I forget whether this applies to you or not Ian). Of all the people I know well enough, all the Christians had parents that took them to church from a young age.

    I personally think the vast majority of Christians are so because they were raised that way.
     
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