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Question time!

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Taleswapper, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Taleswapper

    Taleswapper Singing songs, righting wrongs, and kinging kongs.

    In Relationship
    I've been an atheist for about a decade and I've dealt with my fair share of apologetics and the like from well-meaning Christians. In the process, I've come to better understand the Bible that I used to believe completely, and I've also learned that for every Christian in the world, there's a different interpretation of Scripture. Every time I talk to a Christian about their faith, the conversation is completely different, and it's always a fascinating topic to me. So, I figure I should try to get the ball rolling and ask some questions here since I'm curious.

    Firstly, as I've seen many threads here invoke the accusation that an atheist is twisting the Bible to say something it isn't, on what criteria do you interpret scripture? What I mean to ask is, what is it about certain passages, such as Numbers 31:18 or Exodus 21:20-21, that makes additional interpretation necessary when other passages such as the feeding of the multitude or the cleansing of the temple are read without any such effort and can be taken (I assume) at more-or-less face value?

    Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, if there were a feint possibility, however tiny, that God is not real, would it be worth it to you to try to find out? In other words, would you value the truth over your happiness in that case?

    Bonus question: When some Christians say that they oppose gay marriage being made legally binding, or that they oppose abortion on the grounds that every life is one created by God, are they suggesting that they know the mind of God and determine punishments for Him? Would it not make more sense to allow other people to sin as is their free will, and let God reward or punish them on His own?

    I don't mean to pose any kind of challenge to anyone's faith. I'm just trying to gauge how similar my experience has been to other Christians, and trying to get a little more insight as to what, why and how you believe. As I said, it's just an interesting topic for me.
    Of course and as always, if you have any questions for an ex-Christian like me, please ask away and I'll be delighted to answer. I'm more than willing to hear you guys out. :)
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. razeontherock

    razeontherock Well-Known Member

    I'll start with the bonus:

    I don't think it makes sense to encourage sin to run rampant, being content that G-d will Judge them. On the 2 issues you raised, I don't see how anyone is determining punishments for G-d. Even in cases where crimes are committed and punishment is doled out, nobody pretends we are dealing out G-d's punishment. It is our doing, and G-d clearly authorized our species to do that, up to and including capital punishment.

    Your second question, there are indeed some here that aren't sure of G-d's reality. I am not in that camp. It's not a question of trying to find out; I've been down that road.

    Your first question is an awkward thing to address. Hermeneutics is huge wrt what you're asking. When we read it from our modern perspective, we can hear something entirely different from what the original audience heard. We need the background info to sort it out. Even many passages that are readily apparent from a surface reading, yield far greater depth when we do this. Compare it to a newspaper headline that says "Seahawks beat Lions," read by somebody 2000 years from now. ;)
  3. JoeyArnold

    JoeyArnold Well-Known Member

    The interpretation says God told Israel to kill. The application is that we are to do whatever that God tells us to do. The interpretation of the events of Christ is that He was proving He was God in the flesh. The application is that we are to help others, feed the hungry, clothe the naked.

    I would have nothing to lose. Following Christ inspires me to help others. If He's real then I'm going to spend eternity with Him & if He's not then nothing will happen but at least I lived a good & happy & joyful & abundant life helping others help themselves.

    Seek what is best & help others seek what is best. God knows what is best. Abortion is murder & homosexuality is lacking the opposite sex.
  4. drich0150

    drich0150 Regular Member

    United States
    Christianity as outlined in scripture is not an exercise in religious conformity. God did this once with the Jews and it produces a less than ideal worship of the religion/the methods of worship itself, rather than a true worship of God. rather, we have been given two commands. Love your Lord God with all of your Heart, Mind, Spirit, and Strength and Love your neighbor as yourself.

    The Greatest Command includes a love for God that has one devote all of the resources of His being to Him. Because we are all different with different comprehensive abilities and levels of education and experience our focus on God will be different than someone who has other unique experiences. Again the central command of Christianity is not one of religious conformity, but of complete devotion and the complete giving of one's self over to God. And one more time. Because we are all different our understanding and worship will vary a little from person to person. Why do you think there are so many denominations? We are one body under Christ, with many different parts.

    We keep in mind The Original text, Hebrew or Greek, the identification of the nature of the text. (Is it an historical account, is it a prophetic account, Was the account written to the establishment of Judaism or Christianity.) Supporting scriptures and the over context of the message.

    Good example.

    Lets first identify the purpose of the book of numbers.
    (To catalog the people and accomplishments of the people moses led out of Egypt.)

    Then we look at the chapter what does it talk about specifically: Chapter 31 verses 1-11 speaks of the authority God gave Israel to take vengeance on the Midianites.

    12-24 speaks of the return and lists the things captured.

    25-54 speaks on how the spoils were divided.

    So in short this is a historical account of a battle that the OT Jews who left Egypt had against the people of Midian from start to finish, and what was taken in this battle.

    Now we take this and compare it with other accounts. Now because different things were allowed to be taken at different battles, and some things/people were left of destroyed we can extrapolate that what happened here was unique to this specific battles and others like it. Again making the whole of this chapter a historical account of one OT Battle.

    Exodus 21 is a chapter that contains the "Social laws" concerning Servants violence and the control of animals for the OT Jew.

    (The OT law is divided into three parts The social Law, The Moral Law, and The Religious or Ceremonial Law. Only the shadow Moral law transfers to Christianity. Got to remember the first five books are known as the Torah or the Pentateuch. They were written to establish The rights and meanings of OT Judaism. That means not everything seamlessly transfers to Christianity)

    Because "we" typically are not OT Jews, and as such we do not generally understand the time period, culture, or even the religion itself well enough to capture all of the unwritten social/religious undertones.

    It is very easy for the believer to know the reality of God. All we must do is follow the path outlined in scripture and see if He full fills the promises He has made to the faithful.

    Not completely, for God is infinite. However We do know and are completely confident in the fact that We can know His complete Expressed Will. Meaning In such instances as gay marriage and the murder of the unborn. the matters are completely clear and knowable, simply because we have very specific commands (The Expressed Will of God made known) on both subjects.

    Isn't that what's happening now? Don't people abort babies all of the time, and don't gay people get married? Or are you suggesting those who Support the Expressed will of God should be censored completely, simply because they have conflicting views with someone who wishes to have complete social acceptance in whatever they personally wish to do, even if they wish to kill a baby?

    I have asked many questions in answering your. As per your invitation, I look forward to seeing them answered line by line as i have answer your questions.
  5. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable


    For it to be worth my while, you would need to disprove God (good luck with that, you can't prove a negative). Not only that, you would need to prove what is real instead of God, that must be mutually exclusive to God. For example, if God didn't create the universe, who did? If there's no "who" that did, why must what created the universe be impersonal (a "what") rather than personal (a "who")? Furthermore, since Christianity believes that God coexists with any natural force that we either have discovered or ever could discover, citing such sources as alternative means of creation wouldn't work. You would need to replace God with something or someone or a group of someones which could not exist if God exists, and prove that they do exist.

    God will do that anyway for a litany of sins. However, we believe it is God's will to have laws, and just ways of enforcing those laws. Hence, "You shall not murder" is a law. While I am by no means a theocrat, I cannot stand by as the command against murder is ignored for some people but not others. This is why I am pro-life. As far as gay "marriage" goes, it's an oxymoron. I'm not going to vote in a way that says the opposite. I'm also not one of those people who says divorce and remarriage is OK, but if we let gays get married that's destroying the institution of marriage. Both are against the definition of marriage that Jesus affirmed, and both eat away at the institution itself. Marriage will never die, since God implemented it, but it has been dragged through the mud to say the least.
  6. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

    I see you have already had your first two questions well answered.

    Where it comes to all the word games that people play via quoting bible verses to justify their pro or anti-gay marriage opinions: most people do not know that the early church also strongly condemned sexual immorality, all forms of homosexual acts and abortions. In other church writings likeDidache they made their position extremely clear on these matters (especially chapter 2).
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  7. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

    Of course it is possible that God is not real. Not only possible, God is not real to all people who don't believe in Him. You are asking what is faith. Faith is a belief on something you do not see. If so, where would you put the thing called possibility in the faith? If your faith is weak, then God may not exist. If your faith is strong, then God do exist. If your faith is very very strong, then God must exist.

    Yes, we could leave those people along and let them do what they like to do. But I think what we against is the policy. A policy could be wrong. If being gay is sinful, then a policy allows gay marriage is wrong.
  8. GA777

    GA777 Newbie

  9. elman

    elman elman

    How did you find out for absolute certain God is not real?
  10. mindfulness

    mindfulness Fear the Reaper - He's comin' for You.

    Often times, believing in God does NOT make them happy, so I don't think people for happiness' sake.
  11. Taleswapper

    Taleswapper Singing songs, righting wrongs, and kinging kongs.

    In Relationship
    Thanks, everybody. It's always interesting to see just how varied some of these responses can be. There are some contradicting viewpoints between individuals, but that's okay, there's no need for all Christians to agree on all the finer points.
    I want to restate the impression I get from each of my original questions so that I can be sure I'm not misreading.
    To my first question, I think I should take away that what seperates the passages I cited in terms of interpretation is that Numbers and Exodus are OT, and meant for a different sort of people than modern Christians, or are a historical account and not necessarily a command of God that holds true for all Christians? So it's not a question of interpretation so much as a question of context (i.e., God told Israel to kill and does not expect that sort of action anymore now that Jesus has died, so the interpretation is correct, but it's a different text/circumstance)?

    The second question: I see that most of you read my question to be "Are you absolutely 100% sure that God is real." I didn't mean it like that; I know most of you are strong believers. Put another way: Would you abandon your happiness in order to find the truth, no matter what that truth may be?
    The answers I got were mostly that you would value the truth over happiness, and fwiw, I respect that quite a bit. Even if the truth is that God exists, being willing to risk your happiness to find this truth is a virtue to me.

    To my bonus question, I see that the general consensus here is that man's punishment for sins is as prescribed in the Bible and acts as a preventative measure, and not a replacement for divine punishment.
    I understand a lot of you have strong opinions on the examples I gave, so I'll leave it at that. I didn't mean for the question to rile anyone up.

    So some follow-up questions, if I may: are the laws of the Old Testament still to be upheld today? I know there are some harsh ones like the ones I cited earlier, but the Ten Commandments are also in the OT. Are the Ten commandments not as important as I'd presumed, or am I missing something bigger?
    Finally, how important is the Theory of Evolution to you? More to the point, would you consider it possible to believe in God and not believe that He designed humans, or created the Universe?

    Alright, answer time:

    Yes, I know. I'm aware of the many denominations and I don't see that as a fault of Christianity. I was merely stating that I find the sheer diversity of religion to be interesting to talk about. Even here, in this thread, I've gotten quite a few responses that differ in key ways that shine some light on how each individual person believes. It's not a flaw, it's a strength. Belief can be resilient and I think it can make people resilient, too.
    (Bold added to number drich0150's questions -- quoting each one line-by-line would make this long post even longer.)
    1. From what I'm aware, Christians who are motivated by the Bible do not allow these kinds of things. They occur despite this. By analogy: compare it to marijuana, it's illegal in the US, but many people still smoke it. That doesn't mean the government allows it. That's why there's such a debate in the political sphere about whether to ban gay marriage and abortion: there's a battle between religious/moral activists who won't allow it, and less-strict, generally more liberal activists who will.
    2. Same-sex marriage is not recognized in the larger area of the United States, if I'm not mistaken, so there is a wide area where it's prohibited, usually for religious reasons. Abortion is widespread, but again, that doesn't mean Christians aren't fighting it.
    3. No, I'm not, I was just asking if what they are doing is tantamount to punishing sinners on behalf of God. I've said this earlier in my post, but I believe the answer I can take away is that they punish sinners in accordance with the will of God, but this is because it is Biblical law to do so and it isn't meant to be a substitute.

    Indeed, you can't prove a practical negative, so you can't disprove God, and I would never try to do so. What I'm asking is, in a hypothetical situation where you had some doubt, would you choose to ignore that doubt completely, or is knowing the truth with 100% certainty more important? Take for example if you ran across some fantastical evidence that actually purported to disprove God like you say. Would you dismiss it or investigate it?
    In answer to your questions, I don't believe anyone or anything created the Universe because I have no idea what could have done that. I'm not even sure if the Universe was caused at all, and it may just be infinite or self-causing. The point is, I don't know, therefore I don't believe in any one cause in particular.
    It's like asking someone who doesn't know a thing about baseball whether they believe the Yankees are the best team. The answer would be no, but that doesn't mean they think another team is better either.
    Lastly, and though I didn't quote it from your post, Sketcher, I just wanted to say that the issue facing same-sex couples who want to get married, from what I'm aware, is more a legal one than a religious one. The state holds civil unions to be less binding than a marriage, and certain rights afforded to married couples are not afforded to civil unions. (This is not true of all same-sex couples, but afaik that's the main issue.)

    I don't know that I could point to a specific number of reasons for why I stopped believing. For a long time I thought of God as something like a big security camera that watched and judged my every move. I know this is silly, but I always feared God more than I loved Him and I was so worried that I was going to Hell that it tore me up. It really did keep me up nights, just thinking about how I've got like 80 years ahead of me on average and I'm most likely to commit some horrible sin that would result in damnation. It even killed me to imagine an eternity in Heaven. I couldn't bear that, especially if I knew that billions of people were spending an equal amount of time burning in Hell. (I was a Catholic, I was raised to believe in that sort of Hell rather than seperation or oblivion.)
    I read the Bible for myself when I was about 12 to try to find answers. Then I read up on some other religions, seeking the same answers. It's the things I found in common between each religion, and the predictability of certain belief structures that caused me to "fall away" to deism, and eventually atheism once I realized that there was functionally no difference in my mind between the two at that point.
    There was a brief time when I was a pantheist, but again, there was no real difference practically between pantheism, deism and atheism in my mind since the end result is the same -- a Universe that acts independently of a god, with the afterlife still a complete mystery and likely nonexistent. When I was 14, I came to be at peace with this idea.
    So no, there was no tragedy that affected my decision, nor did I choose to ignore God's existence.
    By the way, anyone who thinks God exists, and ignores God's existence to do whatever they want is not an atheist, because they actually believe in God, and they would be a coward for trying to hide from it. I like to think I'm not a coward, though some may disagree. Frankly I don't think any atheist can truly choose atheism for that reason, since in that case they secretly believe in God and are just hiding it from themselves.

    Btw, GA777, I like your answer about interpretation the best. It's how I read the Bible when I was a kid -- just trust the authorship and go where that takes you.

    I didn't. You probably don't believe in other gods, but you haven't found out for absolute certain they aren't real. I do not believe in any gods, but I acknowledge that there is a possibility, however small, that there might be a god. If presented with valid evidence, I'll believe.

    Thanks again, everyone. Keep the questions coming if you got 'em, and I'll answer and do the same. :)
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  12. JoeyArnold

    JoeyArnold Well-Known Member

    If I found out that God was fake I'd still believe in God through being a good person while pursuing scientific truth. I don't have to choose between happiness or truth because they work together & live together. You can disproof Santa Clause but it makes for a great story to the kids. If Santa is real then that is awesome but if Santa isn't then Christmas is still pretty magical because of the values that it bestows. God is like Santa Clause. Disproving Santa won't make people stop celebrating Christmas & disproving God won't stop people from following Christ.
  13. drich0150

    drich0150 Regular Member

    United States
  14. Faulty

    Faulty bind on pick up Supporter

    If you have a whole book devoted to the acts and work of God, then someone comes along using that same book to try to say the the object of the book doesn't exist, wouldn't that be sort of like an adventure in missing the point.

    If I read 'Origin of the Species' and point out that Sentence-A seems to refute Sentence-B, therefore Darwin never existed, I would be called mad.

    Logically, you cannot prove a negative, unless the target of said logic has mutually exclusive properties.

    For example, there is proof that married bachelors do not exist. By definition, a bachelor is not married, so logically this is true.

    Scripture tells us that marriage was given to us as a picture of the relationship between Jesus and His bride, the true Church. To attack and pervert marriage from the way God set it up is a direct attack and blasphemy of God's name and nature. Even if done ignorantly, it's still a direct assault on the God of the Bible and His people.

    Sure, scripture states, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

    Since you describe yourself as an ex-christian, what did you do to undue the recreative work of God, creating yourself again into the old nature that scripture says had passed away. Did you raise yourself from the dead?
  15. Taleswapper

    Taleswapper Singing songs, righting wrongs, and kinging kongs.

    In Relationship
    I'm referring to the defense against such things. Usually it revolves around how the atheist is twisting the passage to mean something it isn't. I was asking (and I think this question was answered quite well already) how you can tell when a passage needs to be scrutinized versus when you can read it without much thought to interpretation. If there really were, legitimately, a contradiction in the Bible, how would you know not to interpret it as a non-contradiction? Do you have to have faith that there are no contradictions in the Bible?
    The answer I've gotten has been that not the entirety of the Bible is to be taken as literal moral or social guidance. Some passages are historical records or are addressed in a very specific manner. FWIW, this doesn't really soften the issue on a personal level for me, but I'm more interested in finding out about your beliefs.
    I'm talking about doubt here, like if you had even one iota of doubt about God, would you prefer not to investigate, or would you risk your happiness to examine your doubt?
    I've said this before in this thread, but yes, you cannot disprove God, and I would never try to. The question was concerning whether you, as a Christian, value the pursuit of truth (whatever the truth may be) over the pursuit of happiness.
    So the question is, when we punish those who make such an attack, are we assuming and enacting God's will for Him? I've gotten a few good answers, but I want to know what you think personally.

    Yes. Like the Phoenix, I rise from the ashes!
    In all seriousness, I think you might be trying to say I'm still a Christian? I'm not quite sure. In that case I don't know how to answer your question. If I undid any of God's creative work, it was quite by accident and I don't know what exactly I did to accomplish that.
    The passage doesn't seem to refer to anything other than a rebirth into Christianity. That doesn't preclude you from leaving.

    Then that is a point at which I can say I agree with Christian doctrine. It's one thing to believe, it's another to have the strength of your convictions when what you believe is in doubt.
    I agree. I thought Evolution to be true long before I became an atheist. I see the two so often conflated that it's refreshing to see these ideas being considered in tandem with faith rather than counter to it.
    Just out of curiosity, what is your interpretation of the seven days of creation represented in Genesis?

    That is a position I can admire. If you lose the promise of divine reward, and still decide to be the best person you can be, then you've achieved your goal already.
  16. drich0150

    drich0150 Regular Member

    United States
    It was described in a way that we could understand it, and the description matches the events that took place in a relative time frame to the events being described.
    -Or- It happened as it was described.

    The only thing the differentiates my position between YEC and what I understand is that the events describing creation and the events describing the Fall of man did not all take place with in days, weeks, months or years from each other. Do get me wrong they could have, but there are too many other indications that they did not.

    Creation of Everything is described in 6 days, everything else being described to the fall of man happens in the garden. The Garden by all accounts was a Nature preserve for man and God to coexist. The world raged out side of the four rivers that defined this "Eden." Countless eons could have passed between the 7 days of creation and what happened 5 or 6 thousand years ago.

    Otherwise how does anyone legitimately explain the fossil record, The women and other people the sons of Adam interacted with? and all of the other tired arguments Atheists use to try and dispel the 7 day account of creation.

    Again creation occurs just like it was told to Moses, We just do not know how long Adam live before the clock on the 800 years He was given expired after He partook of the forbidden fruit.
  17. TimeSpiral

    TimeSpiral emiTfoecroForceofTime

    This is my opinion only.

    The issue of law can be quite volatile between Christians. The answer you receive will depend on their particular theology. For example, a small group on one side says that the OT laws are not important at all, another group on the opposing side says they are (to the point of observation similar to that of Jews), and most in the middle would say that the Ten Commandments should be upheld at the very least.

    This middle consists of varying levels of interpretation to the rest of the OT laws themselves. They all rest in the fulfilling work of Christ, but the question of how and when a Christian ought to uphold that is up to interpretation (i.e. literal and spiritual observation vs. spiritual observation only).

    Important is a strange word here. It is as important to me as knowing the Laws of Thermodynamics is important to me. If my life (physical or spiritual) depended on it, then it would be important.

    This presupposes that Evolution somehow negates intelligent design...I disagree. It would not be possible (to me) since God would no longer be God in that scenario and I would need to be a Pantheist.

    Anyway, that's my half-cents worth. ;) Take care :wave:
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012
  18. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    I've been a Christian for almost forty years and this hasn't been my experience at all. In fact, there seems to be a fairly universal agreement, among evangelical Christians at least, on what could be termed the doctrinal "non-negotiables" of the faith. Every Christian's experience or journey with God is unique and this is reflected in what each emphasizes as important to their faith doctrinally, but this doesn't mean that there is no over-arching, objective set of beliefs that define what a Christian is. While "Christians" come and go (like yourself, for instance), the Word of God stands sure and unchanging.

    Just idly curious, then? Just killing time?

    1. Interpretation is simply restating in one's own words as accurately as possible what the writer has written.
    2. Every interpretation of a passage or verse of Scripture is defined and confined first by the immediate context of the verse or passage and then by the larger, entire context of Scripture. Any interpretation must agree with both contexts.
    3. Scripture qualifies, defines, and explains itself. Confusion as to meaning in one passage may find clarification and explanation in another.

    See Paul Copan's "Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the God of the Old Testament."

    What "additional interpretation" are you thinking of exactly? The only time I see Christians offering detailed explanations about the context within which the OT verses you've mentioned exist is when an atheist attempts to misconstrue them as proof of God's "monstrously evil nature." Is this what you're talking about?

    I tried the atheist line but it didn't make good sense of reality. Truth does not appear to align well with atheism.

    Why should I let someone else determine what is right or wrong in the society of which I am a member - especially when their morality is contrary to my own? Someone's idea of right and wrong is going to be instituted in the culture. Why not the Judeo-Christian view of morality?

    How is opposing gay marriage a punishment? Marriage has, until very recently, always been a heterosexual affair. Especially in light of the fact that there is no concrete evidence in support of the view that homosexuality is congenital, why should it be accorded a status that entitles it to special protection and rights under the law? What's more, I believe the Bible indicates that homosexuality is detrimental to society as a whole. Certainly, history shows that prevalent homosexuality frequently attends the corruption and decline of great civilizations of the past.

    Why should the killing of unborn children be permitted without resistance? If it had been your choice to make, would you have let the Nazis exterminate millions unchallenged? I hope not! How, then, is the extermination of many millions more people who are completely innocent and who are utterly defenseless against their murderers somehow not to be challenged? How is it a punishment to protect these defenseless, innocent lives?

    Sin rarely affects only the sinner. It seems to me this is extremely obvious. Why should we not seek to protect ourselves and others from the wrongdoing of others that would cause us harm? Do you object to putting murderers in prison, or preventing drug dealers from selling drugs to children?

    Don't sweat it! Nothing you've written so far challenges my faith.

    "Other Christians"? I thought you said you were an atheist...

    Like collecting stamps is for some people, or rummaging for antiques. Just something mildly engaging to pass the time, eh? Christians are oddities, curious abberations of humanity you like to poke now and then. Charming.

    No questions. I think I've probably heard the essentials of your story from the many one-time "Christians" who turned atheist who like to post on this site in the hopes of demonstrating that their apostasy is somehow a better decision than becoming a Christian.

  19. Ana the Ist

    Ana the Ist Aggressively serene!

    United States
    I hope this isn't too off topic, but I've noticed several times now on this thread the notion of the ten commandments being set into law. I don't see how this is possible, at least not in the US, maybe not anywhere. EXample 1. I am the Lord thy God-is there some way to enforce this? It's more of a positive affirmation than a command. 2. Thou shalt have no other gods-so long 1st amendment! All other religions please leave now....seriously, the ten commandments can't be made law.
  20. Sketcher

    Sketcher Born Imperishable

    Somebody would need to have completed a very compelling case which answers the questions I asked you, and probably some more. If not, then there's no reason to explore it. Doubt can be caused by being made aware of something that is either true or not true. If it is true, it will stand up to scrutiny and after I scrutinize it, the thing to do is to adjust my beliefs based on the truth that is discovered. If it's based in something that's not true - for example, a fear that you will be jumped by rabid hyenas if you open a door, or a notion which claims to disprove Christianity that doesn't stand up to scrutiny, then it is to be dismissed. For example, somebody dies in a war zone and somebody else sees it, either in person or through a photographer. That person sees it, and stops believing in God. This would be an emotional reason, but in no way does someone's horrible death in a war zone contradict any of the tenets of the Nicene Creed. There is no more of a logical connection between that person's death and the tenets of the creed than there is between choosing a generic equivalent of fabric softener at the store and the latest sports scandal one would read about in the paper.

    They were rhetorical really, to emphasize my point. But what do you think about the Big Bang?

    Such as?

    You've got to be able to sort out the OT commands that pertain to the entire world from the commands that only pertain to Jews to answer that one. And that's actually a Jewish concept that predates Christianity, FYI. The punishments for breaking these that Jews will cite I believe are Talmudic tradition rather than hard-coded into Scripture, but I'm fuzzy on punishments for such commands outside of Genesis 9:6.

    It's pretty far from central. Maybe God used evolution somewhere down the line. Maybe not. I wasn't there. But we are not some accident of nature.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2012