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Jolly_Penguin
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:30 pm  Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims Reply with quote

It occurs to me that many holy books claim a God exists that is all powerful and that this God has a message he/she/it wants you to know. But it occurs to me that an all powerful God would not have any need for such a limited and primitive means of communication. An all powerful God could simply make us all know what he is there and what he expects of us*. So the books themselves are at best redundant, and almost certainly misleading.

That we do not all know and agree on what God wants, that we have battles between different religions and different sects, tells me that if an all powerful God exists, he must intend all of this confusion. Perhaps he enjoys it. This conflicts with the messages I keep reading in these holy books.

So I wonder, is the mere existence of these holy books evidence against their claim of an all powerful God with a message he wants us to know?

* - Please note that us knowing what he expects of us doesn't in any way restrict our "free will" to obey or not obey what he wants, an in fact that only with knowing what he wants can we truly make any informed choice and have "free will" on the matter.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 71: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:41 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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[Replying to post 63 by JLB32168]

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Everyone here seems to understand Christianity very well – that one must achieve Salvation, that it is through Christ alone, that heaven and hell are real in one form or another. What ambiguity is there?


Are you including non-believers in that list? I can theoretically understand the many claims of hells and heavens from believers, but that's just it. There are many claims from many people, most or all of which are mutually exclusive. Some say in hell you blink out of existence, others say you live forever in agony, others say its a separation from God. Some people say in heaven you have free will, others say you don't in that one is unable to sin in heaven, some say you'll be reunited with your family, others say that you won't even remember family/loved ones if they are in hell.
The huge myriad of claims precludes real understanding in my opinion. What does salvation mean? What does it mean that it is trough Christ alone; is God the Father involved in any way? etc

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Like I said, I’m not sure what tenets of Christianity one here doesn’t understand.

That sentence would only make sense if there is just the one single church of Christianity. Instead we have, what? 40,000 denominations? All with their own tenets and dogmas?

Quote:
It seems to me that most non-Christians know quite a bit about Christianity so it seems that any lack of clarity on these things is manufactured.

We have investigated yes, but this only leads to increasing confusion. We see the multiple mutually exclusive claims from multiple denominations i.e. is the Pope Christ's Vicar on Earth or not? Given that there is a lack of evidence showing us which claim is true, only assertions, I cannot distinguish which of these claims as being true.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 72: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:47 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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[Replying to post 68 by JLB32168]

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That’s the OT and Christian denominations teach that is the imperfect revelation of God’s Truth.

Yup, totally logical that a perfect, all knowing all powerful being would have an imperfect revelation of his truth. Seems legit.

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Victims of rape would be cast out of their communities and left destitute to starve since they were regarded as “spoiled goods.” The commandment made sure that this couldn’t happen. It’s imperfect, but it made sure that victims weren’t further victimized – unlike the other societies of the time.

Or he could have done something wonderful, like I dunno, not command and glorify rape? Or tell his people that if a woman was raped, to treat her kindly and help her, not to cast her out?

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Of course, Christianity is founded mainly upon the teachings of Christ in the NT so concentration on the minutia of the OT seems more like a distraction than anything else.

I always find statements like this hilarious. The OT is supposed to be telling us about God, about the prophecies that foretell Jesus, the patriarchs of the Jewish people. The OT is over HALF of your holy book, yet you call it minutia, and a distraction.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 73: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:58 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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Jolly_Penguin wrote:

It occurs to me that many holy books claim a God exists that is all powerful and that this God has a message he/she/it wants you to know. But it occurs to me that an all powerful God would not have any need for such a limited and primitive means of communication. An all powerful God could simply make us all know what he is there and what he expects of us*. So the books themselves are at best redundant, and almost certainly misleading.

That we do not all know and agree on what God wants, that we have battles between different religions and different sects, tells me that if an all powerful God exists, he must intend all of this confusion. Perhaps he enjoys it. This conflicts with the messages I keep reading in these holy books.

So I wonder, is the mere existence of these holy books evidence against their claim of an all powerful God with a message he wants us to know?

*Edit was only to see where my post was!*

* - Please note that us knowing what he expects of us doesn't in any way restrict our "free will" to obey or not obey what he wants, an in fact that only with knowing what he wants can we truly make any informed choice and have "free will" on the matter.


Of course, you are right. Where did the Bible come from, how did anyone ever "hear" the voice of God and write what they "heard"? In at least two places in scripture that I can think of (Micah and the GoJ) it says we will be taught by God.

Let's say that the story begins with Abraham. He had no scriptures. How did he know the will of God? What about all the prophets? Did they merely rely on scripture? No, that wasn't their claim.

What did Jesus teach concerning how we would know the will of God? In Matt 6 he tells us how to pray and that if we go to a room by ourselves and shut the door, our Heavenly Father who sees what we do in secret will come and reward us. How did he say we would worship? God is Spirit and we would worship him in spirit.

For the first 350 years, Christians had no Bible. The house church found in Dura-Europos had merely a copy of something very similar to the Didache. Even when the Bible was commissioned by Constantine, an entire copy of the Bible was a rare thing for even a monastery to possess. Until the printing press, few individuals owned one. Even the first printed version weighs more than forty pounds and is huge, cumbersome and unrealistic for the common household. And it was not in the vernacular of the people and they couldn't even understand it when it was read aloud in the Church.

The Bible may have become detrimental to our faith as it now replaces our natural receptive abilities to the living God. Again, as I said above, we are to be taught by God according to the scriptures.


Last edited by catnip on Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:12 am; edited 2 times in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 74: Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:58 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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Jolly_Penguin wrote:
Despite you thinking that all these sects of Christianity believe essentially the same things, they are different enough to split off into different sects,for many to call Catholics not Christian, and to declare each other wrong and possibly even hellbound.
Why is that important? The common belief is that salvation is through Christ and there are consequences for accepting or rejecting. There simply isn’t the difference that you allege.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
My point stands unchallenged.
That’s called “proof by assertion” - a proposition is repeatedly restated regardless of contradiction, namely, that the contradictions in various Christian theological beliefs far outweigh the alleged comparisons.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
If they were all united in one church that would definitely help, but what of non-christian religions? Are they not seeking just as honestly? Just as humbly?
No one has said they aren’t seeking God. All religions contain truth. They just don’t contain the same amount of truth – Christianity containing the fullness of truth according to Christian theology.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
Clearly all of humanity does not share a unified message from God. They conflict with each other, so at least some of them must be wrong, despite persistent and faithful efforts to understand and obey God.
I agree.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
So when a Christian comes to me and tells me there is "Good News" about Jesus and Jesus wants to know me etc... I see it for what it is... a human claiming he knows something and is right, conflicting with a thousand other humans claiming he's wrong and they are right.
Well . . . you asked a question and I have you an answer from a Christian theological perspective. What you do with it after that is your decision.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
And I recognize that a real God would not need to rely on such faulty methods of communication.
What about contradictory messages from people claiming to speak in a deity’s name or in the names of many deities automatically means that no one is speaking correctly? People disagree all of the time on what the Founding Fathers meant in the Constitution. How does that affect whether or not the Founding Fathers existed? Your thought process is clearly subjective and founded more upon opinion than objective, logical consideration of the evidence.

Jolly_Penguin wrote:
A real God wouldn't be so bad a communicator.
That logic says that no good communicators exist because if they did no one would ever require clarification of what was communicated. As I said already – there’s no logical process being followed here.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 75: Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:04 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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And I recognize that a real God would not need to rely on such faulty methods of communication.
What about contradictory messages from people claiming to speak in a deity’s name or in the names of many deities automatically means that no one is speaking correctly?


No. But if we can presume at least some of them are speaking honestly and earnestly, they have got it wrong. And from that we can conclude that God does not have a message he wants to be clearly understood by all. Why do you keep missing this point?

Re-read the OP and re-read my replies to your inquiries. I have not claimed there is no God. I have claimed there is no all powerful God with a message he intends all to know. Because if there was, we would all know it.

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People disagree all of the time on what the Founding Fathers meant in the Constitution. How does that affect whether or not the Founding Fathers existed?


The Founding fathers are not claimed to be omnipotent.

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That logic says that no good communicators exist because if they did no one would ever require clarification of what was communicated.


Humans are not omnipotent and are not perfect communicators. God, if all powerful, would be.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 76: Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:36 am
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rikuoamero wrote:
Are you including non-believers in that list? I can theoretically understand the many claims of hells and heavens from believers, but that's just it.
Yes, most non-believers who criticize the Christian faith clearly understand the theology with which they disagree.

rikuoamero wrote:
What does salvation mean? What does it mean that it is trough Christ alone; is God the Father involved in any way? Etc]
A rudimentary search on the Internet will produced scores of websites on the question and all of them that I found used the same words, same general language, and seem to send the same message on what salvation is. I’m not sure why one needs clarification unless one is deliberately trying to not understand.

rikuoamero wrote:
That sentence would only make sense if there is just the one single church of Christianity. Instead we have, what? 40,000 denominations? All with their own tenets and dogmas?
I think that 40,000 is an exaggeration and I’ve yet to find a denomination that doesn’t teach the literal interpretation of the beliefs contained in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.

rikuoamero wrote:
Yup, totally logical that a perfect, all knowing all powerful being would have an imperfect revelation of his truth. Seems legit.
An appeal to ridicule only shows others that you can mock an argument rather than address it. St. Paul says that the OT was deliberately designed as a tutor to mankind and if that’s the case then it being imperfect but coming from an omniscient, omnipotent entity is perfectly reconcilable.

rikuoamero wrote:
Or he could have done something wonderful, like I dunno, not command and glorify rape?
He forbids murder. People still do it. Is that a lack of clarify as well?

rikuoamero wrote:
I always find statements like this hilarious.
The appeal to ridicule/argumentum ad ridiculum seems to be quite common on this board. If one cannot address an argument, mock it and hope no one notices that the argument hasn’t been rebutted.

rikuoamero wrote:
The OT is supposed to be telling us about God, about the prophecies that foretell Jesus, the patriarchs of the Jewish people. The OT is over HALF of your holy book, yet you call it minutia, and a distraction.
No, I pointed out that skeptics routinely cite the OT exclusively when rebutting Christian theology – in spite of the fact that Christianity is informed mainly by the NT and it only regards the OT as imperfect revelation that pointed to Christ’s future advent. Do please try and represent people's arguments as they actually present them rather than the misrepresentations that you wish they had presented.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 77: Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:41 am
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Re: Existence of Holy Books as Evidence Against Their Claims

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Jolly_Penguin wrote:
But if we can presume at least some of them are speaking honestly and earnestly, they have got it wrong. And from that we can conclude that God does not have a message he wants to be clearly understood by all. Why do you keep missing this point?
If I deliver a written message to one person and ten people read it, but interpret it a different way that has nothing to do with the fact that I gave one person the clear message. That others screw it up isn’t my fault and it doesn’t mean that I didn’t want my message to be clearly understood.
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The Founding fathers are not claimed to be omnipotent.
If they were omnipotent, what would differing opinions have to do with what they meant?

[quote="Jolly_PenguinHumans are not omnipotent and are not perfect communicators. God, if all powerful, would be.[/quote]Omnipotence has nothing to do with it. Some people will misunderstand and it is hardly a reflection upon the message-giver.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 78: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:08 pm
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[Replying to post 76 by JLB32168]

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A rudimentary search on the Internet will produced scores of websites on the question and all of them that I found used the same words, same general language, and seem to send the same message on what salvation is. I’m not sure why one needs clarification unless one is deliberately trying to not understand.


Some say salvation is obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Some say salvation is merely saying that Jesus is the Son of God. Some say salvation can be had as long as you've said Jesus is the Son of God at least once in your life, that that person still has it even if later on they become an unbeliever. Then there are people such as the Calvinists, who say that God pre-chooses who receives salvation, so in the end it doesn't really matter who believes and who doesn't.
Why are you pretending that all of these different denominations are in agreement with one another?

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He forbids murder. People still do it. Is that a lack of clarify as well?

Except for all those times where the Jewish armies were commanded to go to cities and towns and kill every living thing therein. There's defeating an enemy army in battle...and then there's outright genocide.

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No, I pointed out that skeptics routinely cite the OT exclusively when rebutting Christian theology

Maybe other skeptics do, but I can cite plenty of NT to rebut.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 79: Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:34 pm
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rikuoamero wrote:
Some say salvation is obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Some say salvation is merely saying that Jesus is the Son of God. Some say salvation can be had as long as you've said Jesus is the Son of God at least once in your life, that that person still has it even if later on they become an unbeliever.
Saying that Jesus is the Son of God involves obedience to the teachings of Jesus since He said He was the Son of God and if one believes that one has said it once in his life; therefore, he is saved then they are still following the same basic message – Salvation is obtained through Christ. You’re manufacturing contradictions.

rikuoamero wrote:
Why are you pretending that all of these different denominations are in agreement with one another?
They’re not in 100% agreement, but they’re not as different as what you’re suggesting either.

rikuoamero wrote:
Except for all those times where the Jewish armies were commanded to go to cities and towns and kill every living thing therein. There's defeating an enemy army in battle...and then there's outright genocide.
Nice dodge, but you avoided the point. You said that God should have taught that rape was outright wrong instead of only mitigating its effects. God said that murder was forbidden and yet people still killed others wrongfully; therefore, your assertion that a lack of clarity among people means the message wasn’t clearly articulated is faulty.

rikuoamero wrote:
Maybe other skeptics do, but I can cite plenty of NT to rebut.
How is that relevant to the point that skeptics routinely ignore the NT when rebutting Christian beliefs – as if the NT is irrelevant when discussing Christian beliefs?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 80: Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:28 pm
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JLB32168 wrote:

No, I pointed out that skeptics routinely cite the OT exclusively when rebutting Christian theology . . .

A glance at current topics being debated here indicates otherwise -- which might escape the attention of someone who has been a member for one week.

JLB32168 wrote:

I think that 40,000 is an exaggeration

Personal opinion is immaterial in debate. Those who disagree with that figure are invited to present their own information sources in dispute.

JLB32168 wrote:

and I’ve yet to find a denomination that doesn’t teach the literal interpretation of the beliefs contained in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.


It might be prudent to consult sources beyond one's personal experience and opinion.

Quote:
Christians without creeds

Some Christian denominations, and particularly those descending from the Radical Reformation, do not profess a creed. The Quakers, also known as the Religious Society of Friends, believe that they have no need for creedal formulations of faith. The Church of the Brethren also espouses no creed, referring to the New Testament, as their "rule of faith and practice."[11] Jehovah's Witnesses contrast "memorizing or repeating creeds" with acting to "do what Jesus said".[12] Unitarian Universalists, who practice probably the most liberal of all religions, do not share a creed.[13]

Many evangelical Protestants similarly reject creeds as definitive statements of faith, even while agreeing with some creeds' substance. The Baptists have been non-creedal "in that they have not sought to establish binding authoritative confessions of faith on one another".[14]:111 While many Baptists are not opposed to the ancient creeds, they regard them as "not so final that they cannot be revised and re-expressed. At best, creeds have a penultimacy about them and, of themselves, could never be the basis of Christian fellowship".[14]:112 Moreover, Baptist "confessions of faith" have often had a clause such as this from the First London (Particular) Baptist Confession (Revised edition, 1646):

Also we confess that we now know but in part and that are ignorant of many things which we desire to and seek to know: and if any shall do us that friendly part to show us from the Word of God that we see not, we shall have cause to be thankful to God and to them.

Similar reservations about the use of creeds can be found in the Restoration Movement and its descendants, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Churches of Christ, and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Restorationists profess "no creed but Christ".[15]

Bishop John Shelby Spong, retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, has written that dogmas and creeds were merely "a stage in our development" and "part of our religious childhood." In his book, Sins of the Scripture, Spong claims that "Jesus seemed to understand that no one can finally fit the holy God into his or her creeds or doctrines. That is idolatry."[16]

Many people said (the Apostles Creed), but they understood what it was saying and what they meant by that quite differently. No matter how hard they tried, they could not close out this perennial debate. They cannot establish a consensus and they could not agree on the meaning of that phrase which had been once "delivered to the saints." It did not occur to these people that the task they were trying to accomplish was not a human possibility, that the mystery of God, including the God they believed they had met in Jesus, could not be reduced to human words and human concepts or captured inside human creeds. Nor did they understand that the tighter and more specific their words became, the less they would achieve the task of unifying the church. All creeds have ever done is to define those who are outside, who were not true believers; and thus their primarily achievement has been to set up eternal conflict between the "ins" and the "outs," a conflict that has repeatedly degenerated into the darkest sort of Christian behavior, including imperialism, torture, persecution, death and war.[17]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_creed#Christians_without_creeds

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