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DanieltheDragon
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 10, 2017 4:20 pm  Does God cause evil? Reply with quote

Does God cause evil?

Some assert that God causes no evil. Is there cause to believe this is true. Can this position be supported. Is the character described in the bible incapable of evil?

I would assert that a position that claims God created everything would make him the original cause of evil. That God cannot escape being the cause of evil since he created any and all situations in which evil would arise.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 171: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:35 pm
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[Replying to post 167 by Joe1950]

You are, I think, referring to the right post. Yes, God today is different from God yesterday, etc. In process, God has two natures, the primordial and the consequent, or the absolute and relative natures. The primordial is what God always does: that God is always loving, creative, empathically responds to any and all creaturely feeling. The consequent nature is God as concrete personality, always changing. God never changes insofar as God always has these two natures. However, God does definitely change moment to moment. Perhaps a human example will help. I have been lifelong train-buff, loved trains, especially steam locomotives, since I was a kid, always will. Consider that my absolute nature. But if that is all you have said about me you have given but an abstract portrayal of myself, have left much out. There is also my consequent nature, where I am a different person every moment. I am a very different train buff now that I have had some years of actual hands-on experience rebuilding and running an actual steam locomotive than I was when I was 15 and had no actual experience running a steam locomotive. As you can see from my example, the primordial and the consequent, or the absolute and relative, both work together. Any true personality is a synthesis of both consistency and change. And this same principle holds with God. God always empathizes with creatures, feels all creaturely feelings (primordial nature). But as our feelings change, so do God's (consequent nature). As we change from happy to sad or vice versa, God also changes, becomes a different God. Just as we become different persons when we move from happy to sad, so, too, God becomes a different personality.

You right that the classical or traditional picture of God as he is in his own nature completely excluded any sense of change in God. Hence, God was assumed to have no emotions. But please bear in mind that we neo-classical Christian theists have seriously challenged and modified the classical model. So there are, at present, two basic models of God in Christendom. Many people think there is but one, the classical, but that is not true today. Since process is largely a highly academic movement, word of it has yet to trickle down to many laity.

The biblical examples I brought up definitely do point to a change in God. Going from initially being pleased in creation to regretting it, marks a significant change in God. For that matter, uttering a single sentence marks a change in God. Just think of the changes you go through in uttering a single sentence.

Yes, the OT God is very vengeful, punitive. And yes, this model of God has been challenged in process theology. We view God as Cosmic Artist, not the traditional Ruthless Moralist, Ruling Caesar, or Unmoved Mover. However, all that dos not negate the fact that the Bible speaks of God as definitely changing. Even an absolute dictator has to change in order to adjust to changes in his or her subjects.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 172: Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:38 pm
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[Replying to post 161 by theophile]


theophile wrote:

It is that Word that I would evaluate. Not, say, whether there really was a flood and an ark, etc, etc.

You can toss the story of the Ark because it is not crucial to your core belief the same flawed and unreliable source.

I don't accept your gloss over of complicated realities. Although you see it as something else (i.e., fallible), I see God's word as consistently pragmatic. God is compromising, will change God's mind, and is willing to take steps toward the true end that God is working toward.


If the Bible is not trustworthy, what exactly do you know about the nature of God at all! You are simply creating a God in your mind that you are comfortable with. Making God in YOUR image. And if God is not omnipotent, then how could the Bible possibly be trustworthy?

theophile wrote:

So take slavery: pretty sure the bible nowhere says this is a natural condition, but it is a condition of the time. (Pretty sure in Genesis 1-2 before the fall there was no such hierarchy called for - but rather this is something that arises in a fallen world due to fallen attitudes toward each other.)

Thus, any laws that I see on slavery (law itself being one of God's compromises and tactical steps), let's look at the good in them:

They actually give rights to slaves in a time when otherwise they would have none!


How about an eleventh commandment. Thou shalt not own other humans! Imagine all of the pain and suffering THAT would have alleviated. It would have been so easy. But it's not there. Why? BECAUSE THE BIBLE IS THE CREATION OF HUMANS. It is not connected to any God. Especially a loving God. Slavery was too intrinsic a part of normal life 3,500 years ago for Moses to have even considered including such a commandment. But an all powerful creator Being should have had little concern for for human convention in the face of such a moral wrong, and could have made His will known. That He DID NOT, is not a condemnation of God. It a recognition that the entire concept of God is and always has been a human invention. The very concept of God has evolved over time as human conventions have evolved. I don't blame God because God doesn't exist.

theophile wrote:

If I was God, I would take that step if I could get it on the way to full abolition and no hierarchy between men and women.


The middle east was and still is a very male dominated society. God could have taken steps to structure their society equally. But He did not! Why? Because it was the men doing the writing of the Bible! The Bible indicates that woman is the root cause for the degraded nature of human existence, and so deserves to be kept in subjugation. And even many women are still buying into this ancient middle eastern Biblical nonsense to this very day. WHY? LIFELONG INDOCTRINATION! If one chooses to believe in nonsense, they should not then be surprised when they are confronted by aspects of their existence which make no sense.

theophile wrote:

That is what I call a pragmatic, compromising God that works steadfastly toward the desired end.

(And once we loosen up on that whole "omnipotence" thing, this is the kind of true Word we can begin to discern in the bible...)


If the Bible is not trustworthy, then what do you actually know about this "desired end?" If the Bible is not trustworthy, for all you know you might not even be on the right side.

theophile wrote:

I should be pragmatic. Open minded. Seek to absolve false hierarchies. Be compromising when doing so to accelerate good in this world (i.e., small steps at a time versus trying to get what I want all at once.)


To be pragmatic and open minded would mean genuinely considering the possibility that the reason these beliefs are so contradictory and contrary to reason and logic is because they were never true to begin with. Notice how that possibility works to explain everything.

theophile wrote:

Again, the bible is all about shaping and filling the world with life. That is the context we need to see all of God's actions / Words in, and how we recognize and accept the truth of those Words.


The world was filled with life long before the Bible or any concept of creator Being existed. Try to understand that you are viewing the world though the eyes of your lifetime of indoctrination. Once you climb out of that box everything looks different. This is in fact the reason that believers cannot fathom the concept of unbelief, and yet why non believers often thoroughly understand the position taken by believers. Non believers are outside of that box, looking back in. And we can see all of the faults and misconceptions. We can clearly see where all of the holes in the facts, logic and reason of the arguments made by believers are. Believers are restricted to attempting to defend baseless assumptions and stubbornly insupportable facts, and then often become frustrated at discovering that it simply cannot be done. It is at this point that believers often begin to lash out at non believers for somehow perverting what they have spent a lifetime being convinced is undeniably true.

Tired of the Nonsense wrote:

To err is human. To be Divine is not to make mistakes in the first place.


theophile wrote:

We'll just have to be on different sides on this one.

You are pushing a very GREEK notion of divinity here. I am not convinced the Hebrews thought the same.


Wikipedia
Divine
In religious terms, divinity or godhead is the state of things that come from a supernatural power or deity, such as a god, supreme being, creator deity, or spirits, and are therefore regarded as sacred and holy. Such things are regarded as "divine" due to their transcendental origins or because their attributes or qualities are superior or supreme relative to things of the Earth. Divine things are regarded as eternal and based in truth, while material things are regarded as ephemeral and based in illusion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinity

And here is how devout Jews conceive of God.

Jewish Encyclopedia
ADON 'OLAM
The following translation of the hymn, in which the meter of the original has been preserved, is by F. de Sola Mendes:

ADON 'OLAM.
The Lord of all, who reigned supreme Ere first Creation's form was framed; When all was finished by His will His Name Almighty was proclaimed.

When this our world shall be no more, In majesty He still shall reign, Who was, who is, who will for aye In endless glory still remain.

Alone is He, beyond compare, Without division or ally; Without initial date or end, Omnipotent He rules on high.

He is my God and Savior too, To whom I turn in sorrow's hour—My banner proud, my refuge sure—Who hears and answers with His power.

Then in His hand myself I lay, And trusting, sleep; and wake with cheer; My soul and body are His care; The Lord doth guard, I have no fear!
http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/851-adon-olam


theophile wrote:

In the Hebrew imagination (Gen 1), there is chaos at the heart of the world. The deep, or tehom is not killed as in other creation myths (e.g., Enuma Elish) but stays an essential part of the world moving forward. God works to shape and fill the world with life, but this chaos never leaves. It is never fully within God's or our control.


That's news to devout Jews. God is all powerful.


theophile wrote:

Thus your whole notion here just flies in the face of the truth of things. That the chaos is there, that there is something important to life in preserving it, and that God will have to take a pragmatic approach to God's work, and may very well make mistakes along the way.


People generally consider chaos to be anything that messes with the order they have established in their live. Which is why conservatives despise change. And yet change is the very nature of existence.


theophile wrote:

What? I said the Bible is not history or science, if that's what you mean. I think that taken on its own terms, it is a remarkably consistent text, at least at the level that matters, i.e., the consistency of God's Word (what God calls for, is working toward, and tries to engage us in).

I have not found any inconsistencies there whatsoever.


How about the Bible being absolutely wrong in some of it's claims and stories? The Bible indicates that the Hebrews wandered in the desert for decades before returning to the promised land. Yet decades of intensive searching has found no indication that hundreds of thousands of people lived and survived in the desert for an extended period. The Bible indicates that the city of Jericho was taken and destroyed by the Hebrews under Joshua.

Wikipedia
Joshua
Historicity
The apparent setting of Joshua is the 13th century BCE, a time of widespread city-destruction, but with a few exceptions (Hazor, Lachish) the destroyed cities are not the ones the Bible associates with Joshua, and the ones it does associate with him show little or no sign of even being occupied at the time.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshua

There was evidence of a small settlement in the Late Bronze Age (c.1400s BCE) on the site, but erosion and destruction from previous excavations have erased significant parts of this layer.

Iron Age
Tell es-Sultan remained unoccupied from the end of the 15th to the 10th-9th centuries BCE, when the city was rebuilt. Of this new city not much more remains than a four-room house on the eastern slope. By the 7th century, Jericho had become an extensive town, but this settlement was destroyed in the Babylonian conquest of Judah in the late 6th century.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jericho

The archaeological evidence indicates that at the time when the Bible says that Jericho was a major city surrounded by massive walls, the walls had been destroyed centuries earlier and Jericho was the site of a small settlement.

Biblical stories are the result of tribal tall tales and ancestor worship. Which are common enough in most societies.

But I am sure you won't find archaeological evidence persuasive. So let's turn our attention to a Biblical claim which can easily and widely shown to be historically false. You don't necessarily have to read the entire passage from Ezekiel that I am providing. I am provided it simply to establish just how detailed this particular claim is.

Ezek.29

[1] In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
[2] Son of man, set thy face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
[3] Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.
[4] But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales.
[5] And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.
[6] And all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD, because they have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel.
[7] When they took hold of thee by thy hand, thou didst break, and rend all their shoulder: and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand.
[8] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring a sword upon thee, and cut off man and beast out of thee.
[9] And the land of Egypt shall be desolate and waste; and they shall know that I am the LORD: because he hath said, The river is mine, and I have made it.
[10] Behold, therefore I am against thee, and against thy rivers, and I will make the land of Egypt utterly waste and desolate, from the tower of Syene even unto the border of Ethiopia.
[11] No foot of man shall pass through it, nor foot of beast shall pass through it, neither shall it be inhabited forty years.
[12] And I will make the land of Egypt desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities among the cities that are laid waste shall be desolate forty years: and I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
[13] Yet thus saith the Lord GOD; At the end of forty years will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered:
[14] And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
[15] It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no more rule over the nations.
[16] And it shall be no more the confidence of the house of Israel, which bringeth their iniquity to remembrance, when they shall look after them: but they shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
[17] And it came to pass in the seven and twentieth year, in the first month, in the first day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
[18] Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:
[19] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.

[20] I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.
[21] In that day will I cause the horn of the house of Israel to bud forth, and I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek.30

[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,
[2] Son of man, prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Howl ye, Woe worth the day
[3] For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
[4] And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down.
[5] Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword.
[6] Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD.
[7] And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted.
[8] And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I have set a fire in Egypt, and when all her helpers shall be destroyed.
[9] In that day shall messengers go forth from me in ships to make the careless Ethiopians afraid, and great pain shall come upon them, as in the day of Egypt: for, lo, it cometh.
[10] Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.
[11] He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.
[12] And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I the LORD have spoken it.
[13] Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also destroy the idols, and I will cause their images to cease out of Noph; and there shall be no more a prince of the land of Egypt: and I will put a fear in the land of Egypt.
[14] And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and will execute judgments in No.
[15] And I will pour my fury upon Sin, the strength of Egypt; and I will cut off the multitude of No.
[16] And I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder, and Noph shall have distresses daily.
[17] The young men of Aven and of Pi-beseth shall fall by the sword: and these cities shall go into captivity.
[18] At Tehaphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.
[19] Thus will I execute judgments in Egypt: and they shall know that I am the LORD.
[20] And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first month, in the seventh day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
[21] Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword.
[22] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and will break his arms, the strong, and that which was broken; and I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand.
[23] And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and will disperse them through the countries.
[24] And I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and put my sword in his hand: but I will break Pharaoh's arms, and he shall groan before him with the groanings of a deadly wounded man.
[25] But I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, and the arms of Pharaoh shall fall down; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall stretch it out upon the land of Egypt.
[26] And I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them among the countries; and they shall know that I am the LORD.



Egypt was to be destroyed utterly by Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. It says so in the Bible. Now, here is the problem with this prophecy. IT NEVER HAPPENED! The Egyptian army under Necho II was nearly destroyed by the Babylonians at Carchemish and as a result pulled back west of the Nile to prepare for the Babylonian invasion of Egypt proper. An invasion which never occurred. Nebuchadrezzar postured and made dire threats against the Egyptians, promising to visit just the sort of destruction on Egypt as described in the prophesy. These threats were apparently accepted and believed to have actually occurred by those that wrote the Book of Ezekiel. BUT THE THINGS DESCRIBED IN EZEKIEL NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED! Instead Nebuchadrezzar was distracted for several years crawling about on all fours under the delusion that he was an animal. And then Babylon was distracted by the rise of the Persian empire. Babylon never did invade and destroy Egypt.

Instead the Egyptian pharaoh Necho II, thwarted in his attempts to reestablish the extended Egyptian empire, turned his attention to trade. As a result, rather then being turned into a land of desolation and destruction as the prophesy foretold, Egypt actually entered into a period of peaceful prosperity that would last for centuries. Egypt would submit to becoming a vassal state of the Persian empire under Cyrus the Great, by agreeing to pay tribute, but was never actually invaded. Around the year 332 BC Egypt was successfully invaded by Alexander the Great, and became a vassal state of the Greeks. But Egypt submitted to Alexander with little resistance, and Alexander did not visit the sort of destruction upon Egypt envisioned in the prophesy of Ezekiel.

Answer.com
"Did the prophecy in Ezekiel 29 verses 10-13 happen?"

"Answer:
Egypt was never in desolate or uninhabited since this prophecy was made. Clearly a failed Prophecy and the probability of it ever happening is very nil to non-existent."
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_the_prophecy_in_Ezekiel_29_verses_10-13_happen

Yes, "the probability of it ever happening is very nil to non-existent." Especially since the prophesy specifically charges Nebuchadrezzar with visiting the described destruction on Egypt. Nebuchadrezzar died around the year 562 BC, and like all good dead people everywhere, is still quite reliably dead.


[b]Bottom line, the Bible got it WRONG! The Bible is IN ERROR and therefore CANNOT be inerrant. It is not a consistently trustworthy source of reliable fact.

theophile wrote:

If you try to read it as historical fact or as natural science, then sure, you'll find lots of errors. But again, I don't think that's what it's trying to convey, and would be poor evaluation criteria. In moral terms, I think we see consistency from beginning to end in what God's Word is, i.e., what God calls for, is working toward, and tries to engage us in.


This makes perfect sense if the Bible is nothing more than the ruminations of ancient people who were entirely ignorant of science, and who were simply setting down in writing their tribal memories and mythology. This does not conform to the common Christian claim that the Bible represents the inspired Word of God however. Because once it is acknowledged that the Bible is flawed and not inerrant, then the various unrealistic claims the Bible makes immediately become transparent nonsense. How, for example, does one go about denying the truth of the various examples of mass murder ordered by God, while at the same time embracing the truth of the story of a corpse returning to life and subsequently flying off up into the sky? If the claims made by the Bible are untrustworthy, then the totally unrealistic claims made by the Bible are clearly not believable.

theophile wrote:

Why would I want to do that? Why don't you link this ask up with what I said before about chaos being an enduring and essential aspect of the world. I think it actually coheres quite well.


What exactly is chaos? How do you define it, and under what conditions does it exist?

theophile wrote:

The quantum realm where everything is chance is the scientific version of what Gen 1 calls "the deep" or tehom. (And in other myths is a sort of chaos monster, or dragon, that is slain when the world is ordered - versus maintained and worked with in the Hebrew imagination....)


Chance exists in the quantum world, this is true. But if everything were really just the result of random chance than we couldn't really expect any of our technology to work reliably. If everything were random chance then empirical science would be impossible. And yet quantum mechanics works to a very high degree of reliably. So we are not speaking of chance really, as much as we are speaking of predictability. Quantum mechanics is predictable at a high enough rate of accuracy to make it reliable.

theophile wrote:

But how inconsistent is that rule with God's Word?


The golden rule is at complete odds with the Bible in fact. The Bible sustains owning slaves. The very notion of the golden rules is at odds with such a position. The Bible sustains mass murder, and the slaughter on women and children and babies. Such activities are a direct contradiction of the entire concept of the golden rule.

theophile wrote:

It is certainly proclaimed in the bible.


Jesus does indeed teach the golden rule. Yet the concept of the golden rule is demonstrably much older than the time of Jesus. And the concept of the golden rule that Jesus taught in the NT makes a mockery of the cruel rapacious God of the OT.

theophile wrote:

What the bible does is provides foundation for that "rule." It situates it in a broader context. It provides a vision and greater purpose that following that rule enables, and helps us work toward.


The code of Hammurabi dates back to about the 18th century BC. And it is simply the oldest written code, or rule of law, that we have evidence of. The golden rule must reasonably date back to the earliest human societies. Without some basic working understanding of the concept of the golden rule, no society would long endure without falling into anarchy.

theophile wrote:

Maybe if you start to realize the compromising nature of God, you'll even see that rule active in, say, those archaic laws for slaves. Yes, absolutely dated, and for a time and place. But they start to treat slaves as human beings, by giving them rights. They start to treat others how we would want to be treated.


The only "basis" for understanding the concept of God that you are promoting is taken from the Bible. A clearly flawed book which was the product of minds ignorant of the nature of way the universe actually works. Such thinking is interesting and useful in understanding where we came from. It's pretty much useless in understanding where we are heading intellectually, however. Worse than useless in fact. Religion promotes violence and intolerance, and continuously poses the real possibility of dragging the entire human race right back into another dark ages of ignorance.

theophile wrote:

Perfectly consistent. The issue is if we don't see the more specific rules as for a specific time - which they are, and assume that they still hold and somehow legitimize slavery - which they don't.


Exodus 21
20 “Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property.


This is taken directly from the Bible. Words have meaning you see. Right down through history.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 173: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:21 pm
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[Replying to post 172 by Tired of the Nonsense]

I don't think your post quite addresses the issues at hand. I don't know about the poster you are responding to, but my point is that divine omnipotence is a major theological mistake. For example, if God is omnipotent, then there can be no freedom and God is the author of terrible evil. If God is truly omnipotent, can God make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it? Any way you answer denies omnipotence, which alone shows how nonsensical this concept is. I add that the Bible does not claim God is omnipotent. Maybe some translators have rendered certain passages that way, but what the Bible actually has to say is completely otherwise. A major biblical theme is that creation doesn't always obey the will of God, disappoints God. That being the case, either we have freedom to disobey God, and God is not omnipotent, or God is a sado-masochist, who predestined creation to disappoint himself. Also, passages in Scripture make it clear God's knowledge of teh future is iffy, as in the case of Sodom and also the way Jeremiah describes God's warnings as working. If God were truly omnipotent, this would not be the case. God would have predestined or predetermined all f teh future and so would know it definitely.

The inerrancy theory of Scripture is just that: a human-made theory about how God and Scripture may be related. It is easily refuted on the grounds that there are at least 100 major contradictions in the Bible, plus an outmoded geophysic, not to mention the fact there is controversy as to what books constitute the canon and what not.

The whole notion the Bible has to be inerrant or the gig is up with it is an example of either-or thinking. And I vie such either-or thinking as basically what drives many into neurosis. Reality is a shade of grey.

Even if we were to throw the Bible completely out the window, that would have nothing to do with the existence of God. All it would prove is that God does not work according to the tenants of Scripture--and that's it. Belief in God has been and can be formulated on the basis all sorts of "extra-biblical" sources.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 174: Tue Mar 21, 2017 12:05 am
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[quote="hoghead1"]
hoghead1 wrote:
ity.com/forum/viewtopic.php?

[quote="hoghead1"]
I don't think your post quite addresses the issues at hand. I don't know about the poster you are responding to, but my point is that divine omnipotence is a major theological mistake. For example, if God is omnipotent, then there can be no freedom and God is the author of terrible evil.


The issue at hand is whether or not the God of the Bible causes evil. Christians routinely claim that God has no connection to evil. Christians also attempt to have their cake and eat it too by claiming that God is the omnipotent creator of the universe, and then declaring that where the Bible plainly says that God creates evil, the Bible does not actually mean evil. So the real question becomes, how do believers go about constructing a creator who serves conflicting concepts?

The idea of an omnipotent creator runs afoul of the concept of free will versus predestination. If God created humans with the full foreknowledge of their eventual fall, and also knows the full details of the course of each person's life, then there is no true free will. Everything must turn out exactly the way God already knows that it will and there is no other option. This view dovetails with the realization that nowhere does the Bible indicate that God has offered true free will.

The way around this conundrum some have decided is to maintain that God does NOT possess either omnipotence of omniscience. In this version God is running an experiment and does not Himself know the outcome. This view of God leaves Him subject to failing. It also means that prophecy is an illusion, and the the promises of the final victory over the forces of evil are entirely in doubt. It also means that the Bible is untrustworthy.

One way or another, the Bible makes contradictory claims and IS entirely untrustworthy. And since the Bible is the SOURCE of all concepts about God, the only recourse is for each individual to make up a concept of God that serves to confirm that which they prefer to believe, and declare that to be the obvious truth.

The obvious truth is that these conflicted and contradictory claims are far to convoluted to ever have had any actual connection to anything valid to begin with.

hoghead1 wrote:

If God is truly omnipotent, can God make a rock so heavy he cannot lift it? Any way you answer denies omnipotence, which alone shows how nonsensical this concept is. I add that the Bible does not claim God is omnipotent. Maybe some translators have rendered certain passages that way, but what the Bible actually has to say is completely otherwise.


The Bible DOES claim that God is omnipotent.

Rev.19
[6] And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.


Greek interliner Bible (NT)
And hear as sound of-throng many and is sound of many waters many and as sound of-thunders saying allelouia (hallelujah) that reigns Master (Lord) the God the ALL-HOLDER (Almighty)
http://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/rev19.pdf

The word in question is pantokrator, which translates as Almighty.

Christ Pantocrator. ... Pantocrator or Pantokrator (Greek: Χριστός Παντοκράτωρ) is, used in this context, a translation of one of many names of God in Judaism. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek as the Septuagint, Pantokrator was used both for YHWH Sabaoth "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty."
https://www.google.com/search?q=pankarator&oq=pankarator+&aqs=chrome..69...*

Wikipedia
Almighty
Almighty is an Abrahamic term for God. See Omnipotent
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almighty

Almighty
adj. having complete power, control
Synonyms
absolute, invincible, mighty, omnipotent supreme, unlimited, puissant, all powerful
http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/almighty%20?s=t

Revelation 4:8 uses the same term for God: "Almighty."

Rev.4:
[8] And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.



You are of course free to retranslate the Bible in any manner which works to serve your purposes. You can not make a convincing case I am afraid. Because words have meaning.

hoghead1 wrote:

A major biblical theme is that creation doesn't always obey the will of God, disappoints God. That being the case, either we have freedom to disobey God, and God is not omnipotent, or God is a sado-masochist, who predestined creation to disappoint himself. Also, passages in Scripture make it clear God's knowledge of teh future is iffy, as in the case of Sodom and also the way Jeremiah describes God's warnings as working. If God were truly omnipotent, this would not be the case. God would have predestined or predetermined all f teh future and so would know it definitely.


A major theological theme is also that God is the omnipotent Almighty. This theology is inherently self contradictory, certain proof that it is NOT VALID.

hoghead1 wrote:

The inerrancy theory of Scripture is just that: a human-made theory about how God and Scripture may be related. It is easily refuted on the grounds that there are at least 100 major contradictions in the Bible, plus an outmoded geophysic, not to mention the fact there is controversy as to what books constitute the canon and what not.


EVERY ASPECT OF THE CONCEPT OF GOD IS HUMAN MADE!

hoghead1 wrote:

The whole notion the Bible has to be inerrant or the gig is up with it is an example of either-or thinking. And I vie such either-or thinking as basically what drives many into neurosis. Reality is a shade of grey.


Reality is exactly whatever it is. No more and no less.

Clearly the Bible is NOT inerrant. And in that sense it does not reflect reality. Which necessarily leads each individual to attempt to reconcile the inherent contradictions in a way that satisfies them individually. The inherent contradictions remain however. I reconcile the inherent contradictions of the Bible by reaching the conclusion that the Bible is largely ancient make believe.

hoghead1 wrote:

Even if we were to throw the Bible completely out the window, that would have nothing to do with the existence of God. All it would prove is that God does not work according to the tenants of Scripture--and that's it. Belief in God has been and can be formulated on the basis all sorts of "extra-biblical" sources.


The Bible is one of the best tools for the study of cultural anthropology that exists in the world. It has a tremendous insight in seeking to understanding the concepts that drove our ancient ancestors. As a life plan however it is thousands of years out of date. If you are going to seek to find God outside of the God of the Bible, then you are going to have to make up your own own scripture. Such as the likes of Muhammad and Joseph Smith did.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 175: Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:04 am
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Re: Does God cause evil?

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DanieltheDragon wrote:

Does God cause evil?

If God is proposed to have created the universe and all of its contents, and if evil exists within the universe, evil is one of the components of the creation.

Attempting to blame someone else is ducking responsibility.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 176: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:51 am
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The Word of GOD.

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[quote="Tired of the Nonsense"]
[Replying to post 159 by William]

William wrote:

See the bible is not the 'Word of GOD' and doesn't proclaim to be. What it does say is that JESUS is the 'Word of GOD' More about this in my Members Notes.


John.1
[1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Quote:
In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God. It says so in the Bible.


Sure it does. It also says that Jesus was with GOD before he incarnated into human form.

Quote:
But the Bible is untrustworthy, and it is NOT itself the Word of God.


Certainly one needs to discernment, and I tend to trust the good bits, for obvious reason. The bible isn't the only source of GODs word.

Quote:
Where is this Word then, that I might read it? You say the Word is Jesus himself. But Jesus left no Word either. Jesus wrote nothing. Everything proclaimed to have been believed or said by Jesus is based on words placed into his mouth by anonymous individuals years after he was dead, and contained in a book that is untrustworthy and for which even you agree is not the Word of God. So where are you getting your information?


I get my data from many sources. Re Jesus being attributed with referring to himself as 'the word of GOD' is from the bible. Words are not just written either. Words are sounds. Written words are symbols representing sounds.

William wrote:

While the bible indeed was created by flawed human beings, GOD - on the other hand, may be real, and not even very much like the idea of the GOD of the bible is portrayed.


Quote:
In other words, truth be told, you have no actual idea what you are talking about! Because you have no source for your beliefs.


No. Truth be told, I am correct. I have many sources for what you refer to as my beliefs.

William wrote:

At least while you argue about that, you understand that some of those events you find horrific in the bible, are not even real events which actually happened. So assigning events which you know didn't happen, to any GOD idea (regardless that organised religions do this,) is not the most honest/constructive way to argue against the idea of GOD unless you are open to their being an actual GOD which actually exists...which obviously you at least appear not to be open to.


Quote:
I can only hope that the mass murder depicted in the Bible is nothing more than a fiction. But you see, I am not relying on the Bible to justify mass murder, or slavery, or any of the more unrealistic supernatural claims that are made in the Bible. I simply see the Bible as representing the world view of a group of ancient primitive people. And it certainly is interesting for that reason alone. But once it has been acknowledged that the Bible does not represent any divinely inspired message from the God that it creates and depicts, there really is nowhere else to go with it. The Bible is a great source of cultural anthropology, and that's about it.


I find that to be the case as well, although there are things I like about the bible, specifically things attributed to having been spoken by Jesus. I see no sense in being embittered by folklore from another time, and haven't felt the need to dump the notion of GOD just because of ancient tribal elaborations.

William wrote:

I am open to that and thus can argue against the bible being the only say on what GOD is and simply assigning the horrific attributes of that GOD in those stories, to the rubbish pile. Nothing to argue honestly about there...move on...


Quote:
Move on to WHERE? You are still attempting to extract your understanding of God from an untrustworthy source. If the Bible is not the source for understanding the existence of God, you are left with make it up personally and declare it to be true. Why should anyone be impressed by that?


Why should I care what might or might impress anyone else. As long as I am impressed, that is all that I require. You write as if you think that the bible is the last authority on GOD. I know differently and have no hang-ups about GOD, the idea of GOD, my relationship with GOD, how I think about GOD, or where I source my data regarding ideas of GOD.
If anyone has any issue with that, that is none of my business.


William wrote:

The horrific stories are made up and attributed to some idea of a GOD. This in itself does not mean that they are evidence that GOD was created by flawed humans or that GOD does not exist. It is just evidence that if GOD does exist, it is completely likely that flawed human ideas of GOD are errant/erroneous and nothing much like what that real GOD is at all.


Quote:
I fully agree. Except that I don't for a moment suppose that any such Being ever existed to begin with. So we are left here with your contrived concept of God. One of billions of contrived concepts of God which exist, or have existed.


My point was and continues to be, that we do not know what is contrived or otherwise. I work with what is available. I am happy, and no doubt it is obvious in my outward expression. If you are happy then there are two happy people. What more could we both ask or want for each other than that?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 177: Tue Mar 21, 2017 1:20 pm
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Re: Does God cause evil?

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Zzyzx wrote:

.
DanieltheDragon wrote:

Does God cause evil?

If God is proposed to have created the universe and all of its contents, and if evil exists within the universe, evil is one of the components of the creation.

Attempting to blame someone else is ducking responsibility.


GOD does not attempt to duck responsibility. Passing the buck is also a sign of a refusal to accept personal responsibility.

Of course GOD created a system where evil could be real. HE is responsible for that. BUT in that system evil was NEVER a necessity or integral nor desired as a part of the system. It was a necessity that evil be a possibility so the possibility of a true marriage based upon real love could also be real.

People within the system itself created evil against all HIS warnings that those who did create evil would come to a terrible end. People are responsible for their own evil by their own free will choice so passing the buck to GOD, "HE made me do it!" is meaningless, though a favourite game. You claim it is GOD ducking responsibility but I contend it is humans who duck their own responsibility by denying they had anything to do with the creation of evil.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 178: Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:24 pm
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Re: The Word of GOD.

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[Replying to post 176 by William]

William wrote:

Certainly one needs to discernment, and I tend to trust the good bits, for obvious reason. The bible isn't the only source of GODs word.


And this is the heart of the problem. You acknowledge that the Bible is not trustworthy, and then declare your ability to know and cherry pick the "good bits" from the bad bits. Which is no different from making up a version which suits you. Not that you are alone in doing this. Because Christianity has broken into thousands of different denominations, each one professing to have the one true valid insight, precisely because of this very problem. The problem is that it eliminates ANY of you from a valid claim to authority. Because Christianity is what each one of you has decided that that you prefer it to be.

Now, keep in mind that the "good bits" in the Bible reasonably must include the claim that the corpse of Jesus came back to life and subsequently flew away. This is in fact the most basic claim of Christianity. One could scarcely make a legitimate claim to be a Christian at all, if they do not accept the story of the risen Jesus as necessarily true. And yet the very nature of the claim is preposterous. The story is derived from a book which is simply not trustworthy. Belief in such claims rely on closing one's eyes and simply believing on faith. Which Christians have made into a virtue. But this is the 21st century, and modern educated people in growing numbers are finding that abject childlike gullibility is no longer possible. Or even desirable.

William wrote:

I get my data from many sources. Re Jesus being attributed with referring to himself as 'the word of GOD' is from the bible. Words are not just written either. Words are sounds. Written words are symbols representing sounds.


Someone years after Jesus died said that Jesus said that he was "the word of God." You get your data from various sources contained in a book you recognize to be untrustworthy. Jesus is "attributed" to have made claims by anonymous others decades after Jesus died in a book which simply is not trustworthy. And that, I am afraid, represents a dead end. The historical Yeshua, assuming that he even existed, has long since been lost to history, thoroughly buried under two thousand years of stories of the mythological Jesus. Two thousand years of doing exactly what you are doing... contriving a version of God and Jesus that works to suit their preferences.


William wrote:

Words are not just written either. Words are sounds. Written words are symbols representing sounds.


Spoken words are simply vibrations in the air. How did your invisible God make vibrations in air which did not exist before the creation of the universe? Oh, that's right. God can do anything because He is omnipotent. Except for when it is not convenient for Him to be omnipotent. It's a mystery, isn't it? But you know it must all be true, because this is the system of thought that you have chosen to believe.

I have found over the years that many Christians have developed a straw man conception of what non believers are all about. If you take away nothing else from these discussions, at least understand that those of us who do not subscribe to your system of belief have given those beliefs and those claims due thought and have raised valid objections to them.

William wrote:

No. Truth be told, I am correct. I have many sources for what you refer to as my beliefs.


There are others who believe just as you do. And hundreds of millions who hold competing beliefs, some comparatively close to your beliefs, and others significantly different.

Wikipedia
Christian Denomination
A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organisation, leadership and doctrine. Individual bodies, however, may use alternative terms to describe themselves, such as church or sometimes fellowship. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity" or "denominational families".

Individual Christian groups vary widely in the degree to which they recognize one another. Several groups claim to be the direct and sole authentic successor of the church founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century AD. Others, however, believe in denominationalism, where some or all Christian groups are legitimate churches of the same religion regardless of their distinguishing labels, beliefs, and practices. Because of this concept, some Christian bodies reject the term "denomination" to describe themselves, to avoid implying equivalency with other churches or denominations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_denomination

HOW MANY CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS WORLDWIDE?
World Christian Encyclopedia (David A. Barrett; Oxford University Press, 1982) apparently estimated almost 21,000 denominations, and the updated World Christian Encyclopedia (Barrett, Kurian, Johnson; Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001) estimated at least 33,000. “Denomination” is defined as “an organised christian group within a country”.

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimated 34,000 denominations in 2000, rising to an estimated 43,000 in 2012. These numbers have exploded from 1,600 in the year 1900.
https://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/2012/11/23/how-many-christian-denominati...

So exactly who is a "real" Christian? I have discovered over the years that a "real" Christian is invariably represented by the very person I am in conversation with at that exact moment.

Quote:
"Tired of the Nonsense"]
I can only hope that the mass murder depicted in the Bible is nothing more than a fiction. But you see, I am not relying on the Bible to justify mass murder, or slavery, or any of the more unrealistic supernatural claims that are made in the Bible. I simply see the Bible as representing the world view of a group of ancient primitive people. And it certainly is interesting for that reason alone. But once it has been acknowledged that the Bible does not represent any divinely inspired message from the God that it creates and depicts, there really is nowhere else to go with it. The Bible is a great source of cultural anthropology, and that's about it.


William wrote:

I find that to be the case as well, although there are things I like about the bible, specifically things attributed to having been spoken by Jesus. I see no sense in being embittered by folklore from another time, and haven't felt the need to dump the notion of GOD just because of ancient tribal elaborations.


I certainly am not "embittered" by the folklore. Yes, it's childlike. But it's interesting. It makes sense that ancient people would see the apparent order in the world and reach the conclusion that there must be an intelligent force behind it. Just as they looked at the earth and concluded that the earth must be flat, and looked at the way the stars seem to move through the sky around the earth and concluded that the earth must be the center of creation. But we have grown in knowledge since those day, and we no no that what appears to be true often contains much deeper secrets. Things are pretty far from what they appear to be at first glance. But with careful study and increasingly more sophisticated tools, the universe can be convinced to give up it's secrets. Make believe and folklore are simply no longer viable.


William wrote:

Why should I care what might or might impress anyone else. As long as I am impressed, that is all that I require. You write as if you think that the bible is the last authority on GOD. I know differently and have no hang-ups about GOD, the idea of GOD, my relationship with GOD, how I think about GOD, or where I source my data regarding ideas of GOD.

If anyone has any issue with that, that is none of my business.


Apparently you have a desire to make it your business, otherwise you wouldn't be here.


William wrote:

My point was and continues to be, that we do not know what is contrived or otherwise. I work with what is available. I am happy, and no doubt it is obvious in my outward expression. If you are happy then there are two happy people. What more could we both ask or want for each other than that?


Contrived
adjective
1. obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained:

The book from which you derive your belief system is contradictory. It is flawed and not trustworthy. You are forced to contrive a system of belief that makes sense to you personally from an untrustworthy source by picking and choosing those things you have concluded are the "good bits," from those things that seem to be clearly illogical or contradictory. And that is the very definition of contrived. I often refer to this method as "making it up as one goes along."

If you want to be contented in your personal system of beliefs, then remain within the comforting cocoon with those who subscribe to exactly the same belief as you do. Then you can be contented and happy. If you chose to bring your system of belief out into the open and to challenge others with it, you should reasonably expected to watch it be subjected to serious criticism.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 179: Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:42 pm
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[Replying to post 174 by Tired of the Nonsense]

You made some valid points. However, I will focus on those others you made that I seriously question.

You said that Christians routinely deny that God has any connection with evil. That is not completely true. Those who hold with predestination, such as Calvin, argued that evil is directly result of God's hidden or secret will. They then tried to argue that evil is merely apparent. Terrible things were ordained by God to happen as sell-deserved punishments for our sins. Of course, that argument is flawed. However, I am just pointing out that those in the predestination camp did see a direct connection between God and evil.

And no, teh Bible is not the only source of knowledge about God in Christendom. I know may Christians may claim that. But it is definitely not true. Classical theism, the reigning traditional model of God as he is in his own nature (God wholly immutable, void of body, parts passions, compassion, etc.) came largely from the influx of Hellenic metaphysics and standards of perfection into the church, not Scripture. Indeed, Aquinas cites Aristotle more than Christ. Calvin, who argued the Bible was ultimate authority, also cites Augustine as a major authority. In fact, he sad he would never have become a believer, had he not read Augustine. Again, the Bible is not the sole authority. Basically, Christendom has three major appeals to authority. There is church-type Christianity, where the church is the ultimate authority, your conscience. In Augustine, you could not get saved by just reading the Bible,. it had only a half revelation. Hence, to be fully saved you needed to be taught additional truths provided by the church. Then there is sect-type Christianity, where the Bible is the ultimate authority, though sect-type Christians have appealed to many other authorities. And finally there is mystical-type Christianity, where one's own transcendental experiences serve as the ultimate authority.

I am a process theologian and so I would agree that God is not omnipotent, all-controlling, and knows the future as a matter of possibilities, not as definite matters of fact decided ahead of time. So can God fail? The answer is yes and no. Yes, because creatures can choose to actualize very little of God's initial aims for them. Yes, because God cannot guarantee that a nuclear holocaust is impossible. It could happen. God is not in the guarantee business. God is a risk taker. On the other hand, God profits e=from every experience God has, and therefore does not fail in that sense. We often do, because we don't profit from our mistakes.

I find that biblical prophecy was intended as a warning of what might happen. Hence, we find more than one unfulfilled prophecy in Scripture, such as Ezekiel 26 , which says that Nebuchadnezzar will take Tyre. he didn't, Alexander did. Jeremiah makes this clear when he says God warns, the waits to see what happens, before taking definite action. Plus, there are biblical passages were God changes his mind at he prophet's intercession, which was largely their job, as in Amos 7:3. And in the case of Sodom, God's knowledge of the future is presented as iffy. So no, the Bible does not present God as an all-controlling cosmic dictator who has predetermined all of the future. Saying that God is almighty does not mean omnipotent. I can say God is almighty, very powerful, transcendent, unsurpassable, save by himself, and I certainly do not mean God is all-controlling. Also important here is the fact that the church fathers who stressed omnipotence also saw fit to kill it with a million qualifiers. Aquinas, for example, had a definite cannot-do list for God, that God could not change, have any potentiality, experience any emotion, especially negative emotion, could not violate the laws of geometry, etc.

As to assuming the Bible is all washed up because it is not inerrant, as I said before, I don't agree with this kind of either-or thinking. The Bible is a combination of afct and myth. Hence, we have to red it with great discretion. Some material we may well want to reject, but not everything in the Bible is contradictory. There is plenty of solid food as well. Just don't make the Bible a paper pope, fall into Bibleolatry.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 180: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:27 pm
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Re: The Word of GOD.

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[quote="Tired of the Nonsense"]
[Replying to post 176 by William]

William wrote:

Certainly one needs to discernment, and I tend to trust the good bits, for obvious reason. The bible isn't the only source of GODs word.


Quote:
And this is the heart of the problem. You acknowledge that the Bible is not trustworthy, and then declare your ability to know and cherry pick the "good bits" from the bad bits.


That is not a 'problem.'

Quote:
Which is no different from making up a version which suits you.


It suits me for the same reason as the method I use for choosing my friends. I have no problem with those friends.

Quote:
Not that you are alone in doing this. Because Christianity has broken into thousands of different denominations, each one professing to have the one true valid insight, precisely because of this very problem.


I don't limit myself to just exploring the beliefs of all the branches of Christendom in my interests in ideas of GOD.

Quote:
The problem is that it eliminates ANY of you from a valid claim to authority.


That is not my problem. I have no interest in validating my position with anyone but myself. I get to choose and that is my authority. I also get the opportunity to share what I have found, but don't try to force anyone to adopt it for themselves or otherwise try to convince people to take my position.

Quote:
Because Christianity is what each one of you has decided that that you prefer it to be.


I am not a Christian and do not support Christendom nor do I see it as a product of what Jesus spoke of.
I don't really self identify as being any particular theist 'type' although more recently I have seen reflections of my position in pantheism, thank to member hoghead mentioning it.

Quote:
Now, keep in mind that the "good bits" in the Bible reasonably must include the claim that the corpse of Jesus came back to life and subsequently flew away. This is in fact the most basic claim of Christianity.


I decide for myself what the good bits are. What Christians think the good bits are is entirely up to their particular belief systems.

Quote:
One could scarcely make a legitimate claim to be a Christian at all, if they do not accept the story of the risen Jesus as necessarily true. And yet the very nature of the claim is preposterous.


Actually I don't think it is preposterous as a literal event (and the same goes for the miracles attributed to Jesus) if a species far older than humanity and exceedingly more scientifically advanced, were involved in the events. I don't claim that is what happened, but do acknowledge that it could be the case and does not contradict the known laws of physics in relation to the universe.

Quote:
The story is derived from a book which is simply not trustworthy.


The story may have derived from eye-witness accounts, handed down, even elaborated on. There is no compulsion on my part to believe the stories true or false. They are simply stories and do nothing whatsoever to take away or enhance my own idea of what GOD is, and how I relate with that.

Quote:
Belief in such claims rely on closing one's eyes and simply believing on faith. Which Christians have made into a virtue. But this is the 21st century, and modern educated people in growing numbers are finding that abject childlike gullibility is no longer possible. Or even desirable.


Religious stories, perhaps. Political ones, no. Childlike gullibility is alive and kicking in today's day and age. Belief in political promises and even scientific righteousness is very desirable. People do like to fill in the gaps left over with something else to put their faith into.

William wrote:

I get my data from many sources. Re Jesus being attributed with referring to himself as 'the word of GOD' is from the bible. Words are not just written either. Words are sounds. Written words are symbols representing sounds.


Quote:
Someone years after Jesus died said that Jesus said that he was "the word of God." You get your data from various sources contained in a book you recognize to be untrustworthy. Jesus is "attributed" to have made claims by anonymous others decades after Jesus died in a book which simply is not trustworthy. And that, I am afraid, represents a dead end.


To clarify. What I said was that the bible does not claim to be the word of GOD. In the bible, Jesus is the one who claims to be the word of GOD.

What I have discovered is that there are many sources outside of Christianity which have the same kind of message as Jesus in relation to the best way a human being can behave. The best way a human being can behave, is the word of GOD. That is what I get from the whole title.

The 'Golden Rule' oft mentioned on this board, is the word of GOD, understood in its intent.


Quote:
The historical Yeshua, assuming that he even existed, has long since been lost to history, thoroughly buried under two thousand years of stories of the mythological Jesus. Two thousand years of doing exactly what you are doing... contriving a version of God and Jesus that works to suit their preferences.


Works for me. You are the one who seems to have a problem with that. I don't. What would you have me do? Be like you and adopt your position on the matter?

William wrote:

Words are not just written either. Words are sounds. Written words are symbols representing sounds.


Quote:
Spoken words are simply vibrations in the air.


Words are sounds, and not just as vibrations in the air. The voice of your individual thoughts are sounds within your head. You hear them.

Quote:
How did your invisible God make vibrations in air which did not exist before the creation of the universe? Oh, that's right. God can do anything because He is omnipotent. Except for when it is not convenient for Him to be omnipotent. It's a mystery, isn't it? But you know it must all be true, because this is the system of thought that you have chosen to believe.


Where did you get this idea about me from? The voice in your head?

Quote:
I have found over the years that many Christians have developed a straw man conception of what non believers are all about. If you take away nothing else from these discussions, at least understand that those of us who do not subscribe to your system of belief have given those beliefs and those claims due thought and have raised valid objections to them.


What has that got to do with me or my position shared? You assume much about me, but have no excuse not to know what it is that I think.

William wrote:

No. Truth be told, I am correct. I have many sources for what you refer to as my beliefs.


Quote:
There are others who believe just as you do. And hundreds of millions who hold competing beliefs, some comparatively close to your beliefs, and others significantly different.


So? I could say the same of you, but see no logical reason to bring that into the conversation.

Quote:
So exactly who is a "real" Christian? I have discovered over the years that a "real" Christian is invariably represented by the very person I am in conversation with at that exact moment.


You are predisposed to be calling me a real Christian? What business is it of mine what label you so choose to stick onto me? That is your opinion and it has no relevance to anything to do with who I am and how I self identify.

Quote:
"Tired of the Nonsense"]
I can only hope that the mass murder depicted in the Bible is nothing more than a fiction. But you see, I am not relying on the Bible to justify mass murder, or slavery, or any of the more unrealistic supernatural claims that are made in the Bible. I simply see the Bible as representing the world view of a group of ancient primitive people. And it certainly is interesting for that reason alone. But once it has been acknowledged that the Bible does not represent any divinely inspired message from the God that it creates and depicts, there really is nowhere else to go with it. The Bible is a great source of cultural anthropology, and that's about it.


William wrote:

I find that to be the case as well, although there are things I like about the bible, specifically things attributed to having been spoken by Jesus. I see no sense in being embittered by folklore from another time, and haven't felt the need to dump the notion of GOD just because of ancient tribal elaborations.


Quote:
I certainly am not "embittered" by the folklore.


Your seem to be focused on the negatives and wish others to do the same. Many who do this, come across as being bitter.

Quote:
Yes, it's childlike. But it's interesting. It makes sense that ancient people would see the apparent order in the world and reach the conclusion that there must be an intelligent force behind it.


It still makes sense today. All that differs is that the costumes and masks and political agenda is removed, making the idea more relevant to me.

Quote:
Just as they looked at the earth and concluded that the earth must be flat, and looked at the way the stars seem to move through the sky around the earth and concluded that the earth must be the center of creation. But we have grown in knowledge since those day, and we no no that what appears to be true often contains much deeper secrets. Things are pretty far from what they appear to be at first glance. But with careful study and increasingly more sophisticated tools, the universe can be convinced to give up it's secrets. Make believe and folklore are simply no longer viable.


Agreed. Intelligent design is still viable as far as I am concerned, and nothing about science has shown me anything but that. All the costumes and masks dressing that up to be some sky-daddy, can safety and confidently be put to rest.


William wrote:

Why should I care what might or might impress anyone else. As long as I am impressed, that is all that I require. You write as if you think that the bible is the last authority on GOD. I know differently and have no hang-ups about GOD, the idea of GOD, my relationship with GOD, how I think about GOD, or where I source my data regarding ideas of GOD.

If anyone has any issue with that, that is none of my business.


Quote:
Apparently you have a desire to make it your business, otherwise you wouldn't be here.


I am here to learn what I need to. It is part of my journey. Anyone who has issues with my position is free to do all they want to try and convince me that their position is the best one to adopt. So far, they fail in that regard. My subjective experience of life trumps their protests and their particular interpretation of what science has to show, is debatable.


William wrote:

My point was and continues to be, that we do not know what is contrived or otherwise. I work with what is available. I am happy, and no doubt it is obvious in my outward expression. If you are happy then there are two happy people. What more could we both ask or want for each other than that?


Quote:
Contrived
adjective
1. obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained:

The book from which you derive your belief system is contradictory.


There are many sources from which I derive my thinking. You are contriving that the bible is the only source of data in which I get my information from.

Quote:
It is flawed and not trustworthy. You are forced to contrive a system of belief that makes sense to you personally from an untrustworthy source by picking and choosing those things you have concluded are the "good bits," from those things that seem to be clearly illogical or contradictory.


There is nothing wrong with doing that with anything.

Quote:
And that is the very definition of contrived.


No. It is the definition of using common sense.

Quote:
I often refer to this method as "making it up as one goes along."


Such is the nature of the human experience. Always question. Always hold on to that which has proven itself to be good. Connect the dots. Assume nothing, including that GOD does not exist, or is some sky daddy, or is male, or is myth etc et al.

Keep the subject open for consideration. Be an individual. Be responsible for your choices. Don't be a victim to circumstances. Don't jump to conclusions. Remember that you know next to nothing and that on occasion one just has to make things up as one goes along. Find the position that does not allow for hypocrisy by keeping an eye open for hypocrisy. Live your life as if it is your own.

Quote:
If you want to be contented in your personal system of beliefs, then remain within the comforting cocoon with those who subscribe to exactly the same belief as you do.


I know of not a single other person who believes the exact same as I do, nor do I think being content or happy is a problem or shouldn't be the case just because the world is not.
It works for me, so who am I to spurn it for something that only brings discontent and unhappiness? I am better than that. Why would anyone have a problem with another being content and happy or make a criticism that this is somehow "remaining in a comforting cocoon"? Are you not happy and content? If so, is it because you live in a "comforting cocoon" Why imply that I am not being real about reality, and what gives you the right to do so? Your assumptions about me? Hardly.

Quote:
If you chose to bring your system of belief out into the open and to challenge others with it, you should reasonably expected to watch it be subjected to serious criticism.


So far, I have yet to experience anything remotely like serious criticism. I don't count derision and personal slights as 'serious criticism'. I challenge others on points to do with their positions. I don't stoop to telling them they are living in some belief bubble, should adopt my position or that they should become atheists.

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