Psalms 14:1
A place for frank, open, and honest discussion about God, other gods, faith, religion, atheism, agnosticism, and anything in between. The title is just a joke ; .
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Kiwiman

I don't know too much about the whole blood topic, I find the old testaments harder to read, so that's not my strong point. I will try get some verses on Hades soon, if not today I can talk tomorrow and my Youth Group. ; )

11/23/2009 #31
Lucifer's Garden

Whew! That's a relief. I could hardly believe what I read, I was like "Nooo! JSM, you're smarter than that! You are, I know you are!". Thanks for clearing that up for me!

11/23/2009 #32
Just Silly Me

Awesome awesome. Hey, Kiwiman... haha I just realized that kiwis are like the national bird of New Zeland or something, right? My mom just visited my extended family there last September and brought back this little glass bird. I squealed over it so loudly, haha. It was adorable! Never seen a kiwi before. Hope to one day :). Guess we'll wait for you to get back on that one then. :D. -JSM

11/23/2009 #33
Kiwiman

yes, the kiwi is our national animal,

I don't like the fruit, Americans call them kiwis (The fruit) but we call them kiwifruit, so sometimes people get confused like that.

I know someone who works at a place with lots of animals, so I have held a Kiwi (Which isn't common as they are rare) I have also been bitten by a Kea (Another native animal bird thing) and have fed meerkats. By the way if you didn't know, Kiwis are flightless birds like Penguins.

11/23/2009 #34
Winnie Churchill

I just wanted to jump in here because I find religious discussions really interesting, and I love the respectful tone so far. Good job all. :)

I'm a 22-year-old woman from Kansas, a state that's just chock full of Christians. I'm personally agnostic, and I just wanted to share my "religious journey." My mother grew up in a super-conservative non-denominational church in southern rural Kansas, and has always considered herself a Christian. When she moved to the suburbs, where we live now, she started going to the Baptist church (I was 3-4, and went to daycare there, but don't remember anything except that they left me at JungleGym...jerks, lol). But, the Baptists said no dancing, and she wasn't going to put up with that nonsense. (No offense intended to Baptists, but my mom likes to "get down.") So, we started going to the Methodist church, which is way more laid back. If I were going to regain my faith (I'm not, but, hypotheticals are fun, right?), I'd keep going with the Methodists. I went to Sunday school and church with my mom every week until I was in 4th or 5th grade. Then, I wanted to sleep in on weekends, and refused to go.

I honestly never realized that people actually believed what they taught at church until middle school. My mom forced me to get confirmed (which led to getting baptized and official joining the church, even though by that point, I wasn't sure what I believed), so I went back to church every weekend with my confirmation class. And, everyone kept taking things in the bible so literally. I was like...what? Aren't those stories like...Aesop's fables? Stories to teach moral lessons, but they didn't actually happen? You really think Jonah survived getting eaten by a fish/whale? And we're all descended from only two people? Really?

Most of the stories they taught us in Sunday school just seemed silly and irrational to me. I lack the "faith" gene, I guess. I just...can't believe in something that can't be proven to me. But, at the same time, I'm not convinced that there isn't something out there completely beyond our understanding that maybe created everything. So, I just stick with agnosticism and try to be a good person in the meantime. I think, if there is a God, and he condemns me to hell for not worshiping him, then he is imperfect and not worth worshping anyway. But, that's just my view.

~Winnie Churchill

12/3/2009 #35
Lucifer's Garden

Hi Winnie! Thanks for joining us :).

It's so strange - being from Canada, I rarely encounter fundamentalist Christians (or any theists for that matter), and whenever I do, it's always kind of an interesting event. I remember being down in Florida for Spring Break once, and seeing billboards with captions apparently written by God. Like, "Don't make me come down there" and such. I just recall thinking how bizarre it was to see religious advertising in a public venue ;P. You don't come across that a whole lot up here.

12/4/2009 #36
Kiwiman

Hey Winnie,

I understand completely what your saying about not being sure about something that can't be proven.

For me a big part of faith is thinking about the world. I mean, everything fits together so perfectly and is so intricate. I find it hard to believe that there couldn't be a God, cause I can't believe something that fits together so well and intricately could happen by chance.

12/4/2009 #37
Lucifer's Garden

"For me a big part of faith is thinking about the world. I mean, everything fits together so perfectly and is so intricate. I find it hard to believe that there couldn't be a God, cause I can't believe something that fits together so well and intricately could happen by chance."

I've always found this attitude very interesting. This is called the argument from complexity, or Irreducible Complexity. My biggest problem with it is that it seems to be another form of Intelligent Design, which is little more than a pseudoscience in my opinion. The idea that the universe is far too intricate and complex to have come about without some kind of creator seems intellectually lazy to me. My question is why? Why can't it have come about naturally, with no divine intervention? Why is that concept so fundamentally disagreeable to some people?

In addition to all this, I have to ask - what makes you so certain that your particular god is the right one? Assuming that there is some kind of supernatural entity responsible for all this, how do you know that it is the Judeo-Christian God? Why not Zeus, or Thor, or Shiva, or Quetzalcoatl? I mean, there are literally thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout human history. And hey, for all we know, it could be an entirely different being, one that has never even been imagined. How does one decide which faith is the right one?

Please enlighten me :).

12/5/2009 #38
Just Silly Me

Think of God this way- God is perfect and he can't have any sin of any form in his presence. It's not that he doesn't want everyone to go to heaven and be with him- it's that we're not good enough. We're not perfect- and I'll be the first to admit that I'm certainly not a perfect person. There's also this story in the Bible- not sure where the evidence is- but there was a story where there were two hundred prophets of Baal that challenged Elijah to prove that God is real. But although they prayed for hours, nothing happened. Elijah poured water over his sacrifice, and when he called on God, he not only set it on fire, he made it a spectacular fire. I don't know, I'm not good at proving things like this. I see that you're both people that don't believe in things without physical evidence. To Winnie Churchill (did I get it right?): my dad is a pastor, you know, a preacher at church? He's never told me that dancing is wrong. In fact, when I took dance, he encouraged it. (Not the same kind of dancing, but well, he's cool with it.) We're non-denominational Protestant but we're actually closest to Baptist. I don't find anything wrong with dancing. In fact, I love to do it too, although I'm not very good. Also, the Bible is not a science book. I try to not see connections between the guy of my dad's dissertation, John Sung, and people of today, but I don't think I've talked about it yet, so here's John Sung's story, squished and condensed:

John Sung was born a pastor's kid September 27 in the 1900s in China. In 1927, through friends, he was given the opportunity to study in the United States. Before he was given the choice to go, his brother fell sick, and he apparently told God that if he healed his brother, he would become a preacher. He struggled with this choice for a long time afterwards. In the 1920s, science was a major force of life- kind of like now. Everyone was obsessed with science then. Anyway, this man was definitely not stupid. He even learned German in six months, and when he took the test, everyone thought that he had taken it for years. Also, he completed his studies all the way up to Ph.D in seven and a half years. He also didn't speak great English, but he still graduated magna cum laude- highest honor, I think that was how its spelled. Anyway, he wasn't stupid, and in a time when science was key, you have to understand that he commanded a lot of attention. Well, at first, he started looking into science a lot and he quit believing in religion. This plunged him into a deep depression. He even attempted to organize a religion out of all the religions, saying they were all the same. However, he couldn't come up with anything, and one day, he received an epiphany of some sort from God. I've forgotten most of the story because I was trying to edit through the dissertation as fast as possible- all I spent Thanksgiving Break doing. Anyway, at this time, there were also two main different types of Christianity- Modernism and Fundamentalism. Basically, the Modernists denounced the virgin birth and miracles, saying that Jesus "walked" on water becaues he knew were all the rocks and high points were. Originally, he held the Modernist view as well. He made fun of the Fundamentalists for believing in things unseen by the eye. However, like I said, the Bible is not a science book. He reverted back to the childhood faith and was filled with joy, which ended his depression. They thought he was crazy because he went around singing, so he got confined to a mental institution. He received another epiphany from God again saying he'd get out after 193 days- which he did. After this, he went back home to China. Now at this point, he's still got gold keys, the Ph.D, everything else. You have to understand that he's been poor his entire life- walking barefoot to school all the time (and China is pretty cold), and barely getting by. I kind of understand because I'm a pastor's kid as well and we don't have a lot of money either. I definitely want to get a job that would give a lot of money. So did John Sung, who needed to make a lot of money to support his brothers and sisters. However, on the journey home on the ship, he heard people saying, "The Chinese people are like dogs," and other things to slander the Chinese people. Apparently, this made him realize that he wanted to make his country better- and so he went back to go and become a missionary, even though his parents didn't want him to even though his dad was a pastor. They wanted him to make money too. But eventually, his father realized that he was set on becoming a missionary, and so he began to go all over China evangelizing...

That was longer than my intention- but point is, he was a scientist- not just a college graduate or M.D., he was a Ph.D at the very very top of his class. He tried not believing by faith, and he couldn't find the meaning in life anymore. He commanded the attention of everyone all over Asia just because of this. Do you really think this story is meaningless, or do you really think that there is something different about it?

I went through his diary, typing it up for my dad, and he made lots of discoveries and realizations. I also edited my father's dissertation, so that's how I know most of his story. You can ask me more about him if you're interested. But for now, I hope that this story causes you to think a little... -JSM

12/5/2009 #39
Winnie Churchill

It may just be the policy of the particular Baptist church in our city that frowns on dancing. I know that, even though each denomination has its beliefs and those tend to be the same for all churches in that denomination, there are sometimes minor disagreements. The Baptist church in my city is extremely conservative about everything. When they were putting in a new public pool nearby, a bunch of them got together and wrote a letter to the city saying that they didn't want to pool within sight of their church. Because some women dress inappropriately at pools, and they didn't want to see that. Of course, if a fat, icky man wants to wear a speado, that's fine, but God forbid a woman wear a bikini. (That last bit was sarcasm...) Other branches of the Baptist church may be different, and of course, nondenominational churches are kind of lucky in that they get to decide everything for themselves. Your dad sounds like a smart guy. :)

As for everything else, especially the faith as opposed to science bit, I definitely understand that there is a difference between the two, and that the Bible is not intended to be used scientifically. It definitely wouldn't make any sense at all, scientifically. That doesn't change the way my brain works, unfortunately. I really do have a great deal of respect for those who do have faith, especially when that faith encourages them to do great, positive things with their lives. John Sung sounds like one of those people. Mother Theresa did great things for the world due to her faith. Unfortunately, not everyone is like that. For every John Sung you pull out, I can point you to a Fred Phelps, who does hateful, disgusting things in the name of his twisted interpretation of Christianity. I think that there are good and bad apples on either side of religion. I support all the good ones, whether they believe in God or not, and I'm disgusted by the bad ones, again, whether they believe in God or not. The people and their deeds on either side of the debate have no bearing on my ability to believe in God. I'm not agnostic because there are other people who are agnostic and who inspired me. I wouldn't turn flat out athiest due to the story of a single individual, and I can't believe in God either. I have the beliefs I have because non-scientfic things don't make sense to me. I agree that science doesn't explain everything in the universe, and probably never will, so I leave room for a possible creator of some sort. But, as was mentioned earlier, if there is a creator, what's to say it's the Judeo-Christian God/Allah as opposed to any other deity ever worshiped? They all seem equally logical to me, so I don't see the point in picking one in particular.

12/5/2009 #40
Lucifer's Garden

Impressive story - I just find it kind of sad that people need to believe in an outside force in order to have peace of mind and happiness. I don't see what is so hopeless and meaningless about life that we need to invent gods and religion to make something of ourselves. /shrug

12/5/2009 #41
Just Silly Me

Well, I don't know who Fred Phelps is... but I think I know what you're saying. Like in Harry Potter, the world isn't divided into good people and Death eaters. (Some Christians don't think you should read it, but I say what the hey and read it anyway. Besides my dad never told me not to and well he's a good person to trust.) Anyway, not all religious people are good, but not all religious people are bad. I sincerely believe that I'm just not perfect and I want redemption, I guess. But I'm one of those people that would probably do whatever I wanted without concern for other people by nature if I didn't realize that it was wrong. I'm not sure how to explain it. I guess that if someone didn't give me a reason why I should be 'good,' then I wouldn't be. But that's just me. I know not all people are like that, but I'm probably one of them and I'll admit them. My selfishness is probably one of my flaws. Honesty isn't but I know I can be judgemental so yeah that's the imperfect me. If I didn't believe in a religion I would have said, 'Life sucks and I hate it, I'm going to kill myself,' and I would have done it. That's all there is to it for me. Again, I'm not explaining this well, but yeah.

12/8/2009 #42
VHugo921

Perhaps I could shed some light on this Fred Phelps thing.

He was a pastor who started the Westbro Baptist church, and a campagn within the church called "God Hates Fags", preaching hatred of homosexuals.

He doesn't follow Jesus' message of love and compassion, he just preaches hate. That is pretty much all I know about him, you can google him or something to find out more, I guess.

12/29/2009 #43
Winnie Churchill

Not only does he preach hate against homosexuals, but he does it in completely inappropriate places. Specifically, he and his followers like to go to the funerals of American soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan to spew their hate. The soldiers and/or family members aren't even gay. He just want attention. He's disgusting. If it is your firm religious belief that homosexuality is a sin, that's fine. But it's no different from any other sin, and it is no excuse for protesting at a funeral. Fred Phelps and his followers make my skin crawl.

12/29/2009 #44
Just Silly Me

Wow that is low... well at least now I know a little about him if people mention his name. I really wish he wouldn't associate himself with my religion.

12/29/2009 #45
JazzyLindy

Ehm...randomly jumping in here...and I didn't read the whole conversation, so sorry for the...lurch.

There was just a few things that caught my interest. Lucifer's Garden, you asked how we know our God is the right one, well we don't. He's the best fit though, if you research further into these other gods, they don't seem to be so...on target? Man I'm tired....-_-

As for enlightening...I highly recommend Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel. He's a journalist and was an athiest. When his wife became a Christian he decided to find out for himself whether or not a Creator could even exist according to science, fully believing to prove Christianity false. His findings are listed in this book, a seried of interviews with some of the most brilliant scientific minds in the world today.

Really, what have you got to loose? If you're right, you're right, so why not read the book and see what the other side has to say? :)

1/8/2010 #46
Lucifer's Garden

Hi JazzyLindy, thanks for popping in :).

I'm curious as to how exactly the Abrahamic god seems more 'on target', in your opinion. I tend to see all gods are more or less the same, which appears to me as little more than a glorified Santa Claus (no offense intended, just being honest here). May I ask what makes the Christian god appeal most to you?

Also, I have actually been meaning to get my hands on a copy of Case for a Creator. I'm wondering if you have read Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris? Or anything of that nature? I would be interested in hearing your input, if possible. I am in the process of reading through the Bible. This will be my second attempt, as I didn't make it through the whole thing my first time around (I was fourteen and, suffice to say, had other things on my mind).

"Really, what have you got to lose?"

No more than you would, if it turns out Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs turns out to be the one true god. Or Zeus, or Thor, or Ishtar for that matter. ;)

1/9/2010 #47
JazzyLindy

Hmm...why does the Christian God fit better....When you read through some of the other holy books of different religions, you learn some interesting stuff. Now, I'll confess I'm only a teen and no expert in this field (much more interested in the evolution vs. creation arguement and all that science stuff) but I know there are things in, for example, the Qu'ran for the Muslims. There Allah actually says it's okay to lie to those who are not from the Islamic religion, he tells them to kill people for differing in their opinions, etc. Many of the pagan gods of ancient times, Greek, Egyptian, etc, were basically like humans who lived forever and had special powers. They made tons of mistakes and had disagreements fitting for a soap opera. If they're real, I fear for our planet's well-being. Personally, I'm more attracted to a God who loves all, forgives all, and even died for all. As far as I know, there's only One who fits all those criteria.

And no offense taken. I understand and I don't get upset when someone questions my beliefs or has a different opinion, it's actually exciting to me!

I haven't read it, but I'll see if I can get my hands on it. I'm interested in seeing what I'll find. And reading through the Bible, huh? It never ceases to amaze me the way atheists are more apt to do that than Christians XD. I'm interested in what you're interpretation of it will be :).

You're right, I don't have anything to loose. If you can show me that Quetzalcoatl is the one true god, I will be converted! Though, just a side point, it does come up that all these gods were only single entities in a huge mob of gods their worshipers believed in, they weren't the only gods responsible for our world in those religions. Not to mention, Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, has been around longer than almost any other religion, all others have come and gone in the past.

Glad you're not one of those antagonistic atheists who calls Christians morons for believing in God! Or, at least not to their faces :).

1/9/2010 #48
Lucifer's Garden

"Many of the pagan gods of ancient times, Greek, Egyptian, etc, were basically like humans who lived forever and had special powers."

True, but have you not noticed that the Christian god shares many human-like qualities as well? He seems like a very conflicted character, one born from several different people's imaginations. Sometimes he is a kind benevolent father, and then at other times he seems like a cruel, jealous, petty 3-year-old having a temper tantrum. It's almost like the bible is talking about two different gods! I certainly don't want to downplay his cuddlier side, but it seems odd to me that many people are willing to overlook the Christian god's vicious, wrathful qualities while pointing fingers at the violent passages in the Qur'an (which still worships the same god, by the way).

"You're right, I don't have anything to loose. If you can show me that Quetzalcoatl is the one true god, I will be converted!"

I guess I could ask you to do the same with the Abrahamic god! That's the inherent fallacy of Pascal's Wager - it basically says 'believe in God, just in case', which begs the question, 'which god?'. If we're to go by the 'just in case' model, then shouldn't that include ALL the gods known throughout history, just to be safe? How do we really know that Thor won't be waiting for us on the other side, demanding to know why we didn't sacrifice ourselves in battle in order to gain entrance to the Golden Hall? The Christian god has no more evidence backing him up than any other god out there, if you think about it (and remember that many other faiths had religious texts, prophecies, and prophets as well). Also, I can't force myself to believe in God any more than you could force yourself to believe in, say, the toothfairy. True, I could always fake it, but wouldn't an all-knowing, all-powerful god know that I was just trying to fudge my way into heaven? That my faith was really based on fear and superstition than actual, genuine love and respect? If that's all it takes to get into God's good graces, then forgive me for having reservations ;).

"Not to mention, Christianity, with its roots in Judaism, has been around longer than almost any other religion, all others have come and gone in the past."

Actually, as far as religions go, Judaism and Christianity are relatively new, and many of Christianity's rituals/holidays are based heavily on pagan traditions (Christmas being a pretty big one). Not only that, but there are numerous gods predating Jesus that share many of his characteristics, such as virgin-births, being sacrificed for mankind, being resurrected, and performing miracles such as healing the sick. Osiris, Mithras, and Dionysus are just a few examples. There's a website that lays out these parallels - some of the information isn't entirely accurate, but it's a nice illustration all the same. At the very least, it shows that Jesus is not a unique, singular figure in religion. If you're ever bored, I recommend taking a look.

http://paganizingfaithofyeshua.netfirms.com/parallels_chart.htm

"Glad you're not one of those antagonistic atheists who calls Christians morons for believing in God! Or, at least not to their faces :)."

Haha, of course not! I may not like religion, but I certainly respect everyone's right to subscribe to it. I, in turn, appreciate that you have yet to call me an evil, soulless, baby-eating heathen. ;P

1/9/2010 #49
JazzyLindy

"True, but have you not noticed that the Christian god shares many human-like qualities as well?"

Well, that depends on your understanding. I believe God is perfect and not at all like humans in that respect. I'm assuming you're talking about such phrases as "...for I am a jealous God..." or the Flood. Let's look at the jealousy first. I found this analogy that I really like that explains it well: think about a married couple, and one of them has had an affair. The other is going to be hurt right? That's jealousy. Jealousy would be bad if the first was faithful, but the other spouse didn't trust them anyways. God is like the first example, if we wander from Him, it hurts him, but He doesn't get paranoid and angry if we don't think about Him every waking moment. And now the Flood...oh boy this is a heavy one. I recommend looking at this site, since I think he explains these things better than me:

http://www.amazingfacts.org/Radio/BibleAnswersLiveQuestionArchive/tabid/212/ctl/PlayMedia/mid/731/MDID/2292/Default.aspx

I recommend looking through the whole site, really.

Sometimes God needs to be a strict parent too. Think, a child reaches for a hot stove, what do you do? I'd probably scream in alarm and dive like I was skidding to home plate! But in all seriousness you'd stop them, perhaps even punish them a bit if they had been told not to. That's what God sometimes has to do when His people start to head down the wrong path. In the Old Testament there is a lot of destruction and war, but God was there making sure His children were not destroyed by the pagans around them. He was protecting them from disappearing and he was keeping the evil of the world form consuming them. If there are other stories you are talking about, please point them out, and I'll try to give you my perspective :).

Allah is notthe same as the Christian God, I cannot stress this enough (not angry by the way, just emphasis ;)). It's a common misconception, but simply not true. It is actually stated in the Qur'an that Muslim men are allowed to have affairs with multiple women so long as they are not other Muslims. It's actually okay by their "god" to rapea non-Muslim woman. I don't think every Muslim believes this, or that many of them even know, but the Qur'an also says it's okay to lie to non-Muslims as well, so those who do know may not tell you. Yes, Muslims will say it is the same God, but I don't agree.

I don't believe "just in case" though yes many people seem to do that. But that isn't really believing anyways. You can't forceit, you have to honestly believe and have faith, something that is admittedly a lot harder than the preacher makes it sound. If Thor's alive, then you'd think the other Norse gods would be too. And that would mean Ragnarok is coming, so we're all going to die anyways, and so is he so....Yeah, I'm not a Thorite XD. Technically Odin is the main Norse god anyways, the father of the Aesir, but that's besides the point. I know, that was just an example, but these ancient religions are pretty much gone, don't you think if their gods were still around they would have made sure their worshippers never left? Especially with how...controlling and argumentative they all seem to be. Yes, everyone has prophecies, but look at how accurate those of the Bible have been thus far. Keep in mind of course that some are conditional, meaning they're more along the lines of "If you don't do this..." or "If so-and-so doesn't stop this..." so they could be altered, and some also have yet to occur.

There was a prophecy by Jesus that Jerusalem would be destroyed and not one stone in the temple would remain on another. About forty years after His death in AD 70, the Romans attacked Jeruasalem. Though they had been given strict orders not to touch the temple, the Jews had put up such a fight that by the time the Romans finally reached the temple, Jerusalem's last circle of defense, they were so mad they just set the place on fire. All the gold in the temple melted and fell between the cracks in the rocks, so to get the gold the Romans tore up every stone to get at it. Historical fact, prophecy fulfilled.

Yeah, I know, Christmas, Easter...they're all pagan in roots DX. It's sad really. This happened because in the early Christian church the religion started to spread drastically at the time of Constantine, and soon Christianity became the only legal religion, which brought in many pagans who may or may not have been truly converted. The pagans brought along their old beliefs and they were just adopted into the church in an attempt to attract even more members. Remember Judaism didn't start at Christ, it has been around since the Abraham, and worship of the One God predates even that. Jesus was God before coming to Earth, too. He gave up His position in heaven to come to Earth as a human infant and die for our sins.

True, there are many religions with similar beliefs to ours, but couldn't this show a sort of "common ancestor" to the religions? Could it be that all religions started at the worship of the One True God, but fanned out as sin entered the world? Thus they would take some of the prophecies and such that were given and turn them to their own. There is also a common belief in many religions that involves a great flood coming over the world, and the Aztecs believed their god had gone away and would return on white clouds, like what is described in Revelation. To me, this just builds up my faith even more.

Interesting site...though actually Jesus was not born on Dec. 25, it was probably some time in the spring, but really that doesn't matter. Dec 25 was chosen because it was close to the pagans' winter solstice and this was during the time when many pagans were joining the church and they were trying to bring in more by adopting pagan holidays. And...descended into the underworld?! I don't recall that...ah, you did say some things weren't accurate I guess...XD

"I, in turn, appreciate that you have yet to call me an evil, soulless, baby-eating heathen. ;P"

*stares, then busts out laughing* Have people actually said that?! Please say no....XD

Nah, I don't agree with your beliefs (though that has been established XD) but you're entitled to them and I won't try to deny you that right.

1/9/2010 #50
Lucifer's Garden

Haha don't worry, nobody's ever actually come out and said that (to my face). I just was being facetious ;).

"I believe God is perfect and not at all like humans in that respect." / "think about a married couple, and one of them has had an affair. The other is going to be hurt right? That's jealousy. Jealousy would be bad if the first was faithful, but the other spouse didn't trust them anyways."

Now I'm confused. I don't understand how you can think that God is perfect and not at all human like, and then compare him to a spurned lover _. I can see the need to humanize an omnipotent deity, but it's my understanding that a perfect god would be above such emotions. I also think that since God is supposed to be all-seeing and all-powerful, he has no right to feel hurt because he created us knowing that we were going to sin and stray from him. I mean, assuming you believe in the concept of original sin (some Christians don't), God KNEW that mankind would fall. He KNEW that Eve was going to eat from the tree. The poor girl had no concept of right and wrong, since evil didn't exist then, so of course she couldn't possibly understand the consequences of her actions. Why, then, would he punish her for doing EXACTLY what he basically set her up to do - and not just punish her, but ALL mankind? That doesn't sound like something a perfect, loving, forgiving god would do.

"Think, a child reaches for a hot stove, what do you do? I'd probably scream in alarm and dive like I was skidding to home plate! But in all seriousness you'd stop them, perhaps even punish them a bit if they had been told not to."

True, but there's a pretty big difference between punishing a child for unsafe behaviour and damning him to a place of eternal suffering and agony, especially when styling yourself as a benevolent father figure who loves all his children. In all honesty, I find the notion of heaven and hell to be quite disturbing, mainly in how it is determined who gets to go where. Basically, a Hindu or Muslim or atheist could be a kind, generous, honest, hard-working person who would never hurt a soul, and still winds up getting sent to burn in hell because they don't live their life by the Bible. However, a Christian (who may or may not be just as good a person) can rest easy knowing he/she is home free. The only difference is who these people pray to, if anything. If God was truly as loving as he claims to be, why should different opinions matter so much to him? Isn't it enough that the Hindu/Muslim/atheist are good and honest? Why can't they exercise their God-given free will to worship as they please without being punished for it later? That doesn't really sound like love to me. *shrug*

"In the Old Testament there is a lot of destruction and war, but God was there making sure His children were not destroyed by the pagans around them. He was protecting them from disappearing and he was keeping the evil of the world form consuming them."

All that does is indicate that God only loves the people who worship him. What about this passage: "(Hosea 13:16 NRSV) Samaria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open." Even if I am taking this quote out of context, I still find it hard to believe that there is ANY context where it is justifiable to rip open pregnant women, killing them and their unborn children.

" Allah is not the same as the Christian God, I cannot stress this enough (not angry by the way, just emphasis ;)). It's a common misconception, but simply not true."

I understand your feelings here, but I'm afraid the fact of the matter is that it IS, theologically speaking, the same deity. Muhammad's differing interpretation of God's will does not mean he made up a new one. The fact that we find some of his teachings disagreeable is not evidence that he is referring to a new, strange entity. All around the world, when Muslims kneel to pray, they are praying to your god, whether you like their beliefs or not. But I guess on this point we might have to agree to disagree ;).

"Yes, everyone has prophecies, but look at how accurate those of the Bible have been thus far."

May I have a couple of examples? I'm genuinely curious about this one, since most prophecies I've seen from the Bible tend to have a distinctly self-fulfilling feel to them.

"Could it be that all religions started at the worship of the One True God, but fanned out as sin entered the world?"

Interesting idea, though from what we can tell, the earliest religions tended to by polytheistic. Strict monotheism developed later, with the first known religion to practice it being Zoroastrianism. There is also a link between the onset of agriculture and the gradual development of monotheism, which explains why we have little to no evidence that older, more 'primitive' religions only worshipped one god.

1/9/2010 #51
Just Silly Me

Sorry, I've been horrible at keeping up. I was away from the computer for a few days, so yeah... my bad. Welcome JazzyLindy, glad to have you! Alright I'll try to keep the few points that came to mind sweet, short, and consise! :).

Christianity is different in a few aspects.

1. Only religion to claim that God became human to die for the salvation of mankind.

2. Only religion that says, "Do this and you are guaranteed a spot in heaven." The others are "Do this and maybe you will get to go to heaven."

3. Christianity is more about a personal relationship than a religion. I can't explain it as well as my teacher did, but it's more... religion is more man's attempt to reach God. But Christianity claims that God tried to reach us.

I have another random thing to say that I learned in English class today... I'm really glad that we can be civilized people when we're talking here. When most people 'discuss religion,' they definitely piss people off. And here we are making logical points and talking calmly about the whole thing. I think the quote was, "Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance." So I must say that I really like this atmosphere... and I really hope it says like this. :D. -JSM

1/12/2010 #52
Lucifer's Garden

Hey JSM, welcome back! Yeah, I'm hoping the pleasant, civil atmosphere stays this way. It's pretty relaxing compared to other forums :).

1/12/2010 #53
Sulfur Cupcake

Hello! Sorry for the delay, my week has been...hectic to say the least. And I agree, this nice, mature conversation is a breath of fresh air for sure!

Okay, and on to the Q/A!

Sorry, didn't mean to confuse you. Yes I believe God is perfect, but I also believe He has some "human-like" qualities, just not the negatives. Thus I believe that though we cannot fully understand Him, human analogies like the one I used are appropriate.

God created all the humans (and angels) with a free will because He wants us to love Him, but if we don't have the free will to choose to love Him, it isn't really love at all. So because of this, even though He knew there would be sin, He gave us choice. Sin originally came from Lucifer when he decided he wanted to be above God, a sure sign of a prideful spirit. When the war broke out in heaven from this, Lucifer made some pretty heavy accusations against God in the prescense of all created beings, so God decided in His wisdom to allow the universe to see what would happen if Lucifer was put in control, thus he was given reign over Earth. Note that Earth wasn't originally meant for this purpose, it was to be the center of God's kingdom. Eve didn't know what sin was, really, but God was her Creator and God, and He commanded her not to eat from that tree. This tree was the only place in the Garden of Eden that Lucifer (or Satan) had access to at the time, so when she strayed to close, he called to her in his serpent form. Remember how he got her to eat the fruit? He said that the only reason she wasn't supposed to eat it was because it would make her like God, and the Lord didn't want that. So she, in her own pride, decided she wanted that, to be wise and all-knowing, and she ate the fruit. He punished all mankind, because once she sinned, it gave Satan access to the Earth and suddenly not just she, but all who would come after her were tainted by this tragic occurance.

I agree with you in this part (not going to quote the whole thing but it's your second paragraph). My religion has different views on hell than many Chirstians today. We believe that hell is an event not a place. When the wicked are destroyed they are burned and they die. End of story. The "smoke goes on forever and ever" because they are dead forever. I can't believe that our loving God would torture His creations for all eternity and be content. Remember also that prior to sin this was a perfect universe, imagine that. Absolutely nothing wrong, so when even the smallest sin is commited it's a huge, terrible crime. We have just become immune to the horror it must be for the perfect beings.

I do not by any means believe that just because you are a Christian you get into heaven. That's a lie that many fall for and it's a very sad and unfortunate one. I also don't believe that other religions and such won't be in heaven. I mean, there are people who have never even heard of Christianity and who have died never hearing, but God says that he looks at the heart and knows who is truly a good person, even if they don't follow all His commandments. And really, I can't try to predict who won't be in heaven, because I don't know, and it's not my place to judge. Besides, I don't believe in salvation by works, in other words, just because you're a "good Christian man/woman" doesn't mean you'll get to heaven, I believe in salvation by grace, God's grace on us, that we can live even though "the penalty of sin is death."

These groups that God destroyed were so far into the world of sin that they wouldn't listen to Him if He was standing there saying it to their faces. It's sad, but eventually these people just hardened their hearts to the point that nothing God did would bring them back to Him without force, and He doesn't force anyone. And God loves all people because he died for all people. Every ethnic group, every age, gender, size, shape, education level, etc. The Bible says that He "knows every sparrow that falls" and that if He know that, how much more much He hurt when one of His children dies, especially without knowing Him.

Gruesome passage to be sure. I think part of that may be symbolism, and also it may also be saying that because Samaria rebelled and no longer want God to be with them, He had to withdraw his protection and thus they left themselves open for attack from others, not necessarily God or His people. God doesn't force Himself on people, if they don't want Him there, He will leave.

Yeah, Allah...I can't really say much because it takes a bit of speculation, and that's not always a good idea when you're talking about something so far beyond you're understanding. I will say this though: though neither works nor beliefs get you to heaven, that doesn't mean that what you believe doesn't matter. Muslims may claim to worship the same god, but I don't believe my God says it's okay to rape a woman or kill myself and others to get into heaven.

Okay prophecies...How about Daniel 7:7, 8? Remember Daniel is from the Old Testament, long before the Roman Empire Here's the King James Version (most accurate ;)) "7) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8) I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man and a mouth speaking great things." The ten horns represent the ten kingdoms Rome was eventually split into by the Germanic tribes who invaded it. Here's a list:

Visigoths--Spain

Anglo-Saxons--England

Franks--France

Alemani--Germany

Burgundians--Switzerland

Lombards--Italy

Suevi--Portugal

Heruli--Rooted up

Ostrogoths--Rooted up

Vandals--Rooted up

Now the little horn. I won't go into the deep details of the Antichrist, but basically this horn represents the papacy. Here's how we know, these nine points had to be filled for the identity to be certain:

A. The "little horn" or kingdom "came up among them"--the 10 horns which were the kingdoms of Western Europe (Daniel 7:8). So it would be a little kingdom somewhere in Western Europe.

B. It would have a man at its head who could speak for it (Daniel 7:8).

C. It would pluck up or uproot three kingdoms (Daniel 7:8).

D. It would be "diverse" or different from the other 10 kingdoms (Daniel 7:24).

E. It would make war with and "wear out" or persecute the saints (Daniel 7:21, 25).

F. It would emerge from the pagan Roman empire--the fourth world kingdom (Daniel 7:7, 8).

G. God's people (the saints) would "be given into his hand" for "a time and times and the dividing of time" (Daniel 7:25).

H. It would "speak great words against" or blaspheme God (Daniel 7:25). In Revelation 13:5, the Bible says the same power speaks "great things and blasphemies."

I. It would "think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25.

By the way, this is coming from amazingfacts.org again.

The papacy fits all of these points as deep study reveals. Now, when the Roman empire fell the Pope of the time (Leo) went to speak with the leader of the Germanic tribe called the Vandals that planned to burn Rome. He convinced them to spare the city, so while they still looted and damaged it, Rome was left standing. This shot the church to a new level of authority, and as time went on, it gained more an more power until it actually had access to armies. The three horns it uprooted were the Heruli, Ostrogoths, Vandals who were destroyed by the papacy when they refused to be converted to Christianity.

I have more I can access, but I think this is long enough for now XD

Technically, we have no idea what religions came first because of the lack of written documentation from the time. Without documents that have survived, it's nearly impossible to know what religions existed when.

Phew, that was a long one! Ah well, it was overdo... hope I covered everything! ;)

1/14/2010 #54
JazzyLindy

Oh my word....I am such an idiot. I am sooooooo sorry guys! That last post was me, but it was on my sister's account! I didn't realize she hadn't logged out and so I just started typing away, oblivious of my own stupidity!! Soooo sorry, that was me, not her, she isn't a part here!!

Oh wow....that's embarrassing.....

And she's laughing at me.....nice, real nice.

1/14/2010 #55
Lucifer's Garden

That's all right, mistakes happen :).

Thanks for the reply, though, it was very illuminating. I'm still not entirely convinced by that prophecy you were kind enough to post, but I see now what you were talking about!

I'm curious about everyone's feelings on the separation of church and state. I understand that it's constitutionally mandated in the US, but up here in Canada, there is no official ruling like that. We're secular mostly because the majority of us are progressive liberals, and even though there is no law requiring the separation of church and state, much of our society seems to operate on the idea that they are in fact meant to be apart.

1/15/2010 #56
Kiwiman

Ugh. I just typed in a huge messge and when I went post it turned into a whole lot of symbols and didn't post. Ok, I don't know much on the topic you just brought up, but I've got a bit of an extension on whether all Christians go to heaven. There are lots of types of Christians, and one of them asks to be saved, gives his/her heart to god, all the usually stuff and then walks out on god. Not trying to better themselves, not seeking a relationship with god, just wanting to be saved when judgement day comes. I belive this type of Christian doesn't got o heaven, and heres a verse to which I hold my theory: "I do not know you! Away from me evildoer!" Thats Jesus talking to someone. One of the main points, or one of the bases of Christianity is about having a relationship with god. Thats why he became man and sacrificed himself on the cross, he did it so Christians could have an open relationship with him, I talk to god every day. Or at least I try... and its actually really amazing prayer. I don't know about the rest of you Christians, but for me when I pray, if I'm struggling I feel more confident. If I"m joyful, I feel even more joyful. Its like god takes my mood and makes it a lot better. And its incredible. So I say those who didn't seek a relationship with god, who ignored his sacrifice simply so they could enjoy life. And the afterlife. I hope thats an OK add-on to this topic. Probably isn't... sorry. Lol. Oh yeah, one last thing, the other day at our church the preacher found a really good quote: "Earth is Christians home. We're aliens on this world. We're just passing through." I think its just a good reminder to CHristians who become so attached to earths cheap joys that they forget the road ahead. It also sounds kind of like a Sci Fi movie...

1/16/2010 #57
JazzyLindy

Ugh, I'm back! But not for long, gotta trip this weekend...

Anywho, I'm glad you liked the post-under-the-wrong-account. I still can't believe I did that personally.

Church and state should always be seperated in my opinion, because throughout history whenever a political leader tries to spread control to the church as well, it ends badly for all involved. Just look through the history of the church. Bad stuff my friends. Another thing, being a political/religions leader can make someone think they can put "laws" on the church, and for some religions, my own included, that's scary stuff. We're small, Protestant churches (though ours is growing incredibly throughout the world) and our beliefs differ in some small yet significant ways. For example, we don't worship on Sunday, but on Saturday, and if someone tried to tell us we had to do otherwise, we'd have ourselves a little problem.

Oh, and I recommend looking up some other prophecies, since I can't recall all of them off the top of my head. Even for an atheist I'm sure it would be very interesting!

1/19/2010 #58
Irish toaster

I'm an Agnostic.

I have Catholic relations (to be expected where I'm from), Muslim, atheist, Jehovah's witness and protestant relations. Many of whom have tried to convert me at some point.

What a mix bag eh? :)

I've read much of the debating and I'm impressed by the content.

I am currently studying History, Philosophy, English and Religion at college and hope to join the debate ;)

12/18/2010 . Edited 12/18/2010 #59
Lucifer's Garden

Wow, it's been a while since I've seen any activity here. Welcome Irish Toaster! And yeah, that is quite a mixed bag you've got! My family is pretty much atheist/non-religious, but I've got tonnes of Catholic relatives. Believe me, I understand the pressure they can put on you ;).

So you've told us what you're an agnostic. Has that always been the case, or did you start off religious and eventually decided that it wasn't for you?

12/18/2010 #60
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