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Thread: Evangelistic Christians have it wrong when it comes to...

  1. #1 Evangelistic Christians have it wrong when it comes to... 
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    ...Heaven and hell-

    Scripturally speaking, it clearly states in Eccl 9:5 and Eccl 9:10 that when someone dies, they goto a dreamless sleep and remain until judgement day when all former "living souls" (Gen 2:7) raise up from the grave where they sleep.

    Many EC's (Evangel Christians) claim that the moment you die you either goto the kingdom of heaven (Also another misnomer) or burn forever and ever in everlasting hellfire when in scripture this is clearly not so.

    There are actually THREE hells according to the old testament.

    1) Sheol: The grave for man
    2) Tartaroo: Prison for the renegade angels
    3) Gehenna: The fire that burns souls from the inside out until they are turned to ash and exists no more.

    Go ahead and poke around for those three terms. Interesting stuff considering how scripturally inaccruate it is. It sickens me that so many people are being scared into being "saved" and they dont even know what they are exactly "saved" from.

    What a hoot-


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  3. #2 Re: Evangelistic Christians have it wrong when it comes to.. 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    There are actually THREE hells according to the old testament.

    1) Sheol: The grave for man
    2) Tartaroo: Prison for the renegade angels
    3) Gehenna: The fire that burns souls from the inside out until they are turned to ash and exists no more.

    Go ahead and poke around for those three terms. Interesting stuff considering how scripturally inaccruate it is. It sickens me that so many people are being scared into being "saved" and they dont even know what they are exactly "saved" from.

    What a hoot-
    What a hoot indeed. So you have no problem with this intellectual blackmail crap but have so bought into this crap yourself that you just want to make sure the threats are accurate? LOL LOL LOL



    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Evangelistic Christians have it wrong when it comes to Heaven and hell-

    Scripturally speaking, it clearly states in Eccl 9:5 and Eccl 9:10 that when someone dies, they goto a dreamless sleep and remain until judgement day when all former "living souls" (Gen 2:7) raise up from the grave where they sleep.
    So during the transfiguration when Jesus was visited by Moses and Elijah, were they yawning and wiping sleep from their eyes? I guess that could work for you. But you will forgive me if I disagree with you absolutely. So in your way of thinking or whatever you call it, I wonder what happens to the cremated or to those whose atoms at death can now be found in the living.

    Do you sell graveyard plots?



    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Many EC's (Evangel Christians) claim that the moment you die you either goto the kingdom of heaven (Also another misnomer) or burn forever and ever in everlasting hellfire when in scripture this is clearly not so.
    You are probably right about many making such a claim. But this Evangelical Christian most certainly does not claim any such thing. But then I don't buy into your sleeping in the graveyard theory either.

    Furthermore, I don't believe that any of this is ocurring in the space and time of this universe. So this talk about waiting for some eschatological event does not make much sense to me. Nor do I believe that the eschatological hopes for mankind on this earth have anything to do with those who have died. Maybe you think that there is some future event when the earth turns into one big sardine can for everyone who has ever lived while some weird deity sorts among them for the keepers and disposes of those he doesn't like, but I do not.

    But perhaps you can see the Evangelical in me, in that I do think judement is immediate which is just another way of saying that it is ongoing because it is we by our own choices that judge ourselves. So what I see of the hereafter is two paths: one comfortable, pleasant and easy, and the other uncomfortable, unpleasant and difficult. I see ourselves confronted with choosing between them, both right now and then as well. Those who choose the pleasant path might well be described as being asleep - but asleep is pretty much what they have been most of their life. Indeed it is one of my maxims is that death changes nothing. Well it changes very little. It does remove the friction - both the resitance to our will and the traction needed in order to change directions. The difference between heaven and hell right after death is not where we are at the moment but where we are heading of our own free will and choice.


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    Its funny how everyone wants to say what they 'believe' but not whats in the scripture. I'm not saying that the bible is true, I'm just stating what is there. Do I believe in the book? Not really. I've seen wonders that I may get around to posting here in a different thread. But for now, I'll just focus on scriptual accuracy as talking points, not as something that I may or not believe in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Its funny how everyone wants to say what they 'believe' but not whats in the scripture. I'm not saying that the bible is true, I'm just stating what is there. Do I believe in the book? Not really. I've seen wonders that I may get around to posting here in a different thread. But for now, I'll just focus on scriptual accuracy as talking points, not as something that I may or not believe in.
    Welcome. I get a real kick out of atheist theologians (if that is what you are); I find them very amusing.

    Copies of the Bible are plentiful so if all we want, is to see what is there, what need do we have of you? None. You speak here because despite your pretenses, you have your particular interpretation to sell just like everyone else. I do not indulge in this pretentious activity of "telling everyone what the Bible says", instead I share with complete sincerity what it is that I get out of the Bible on a take it or leave it basis. I claim no authority. People can read the Bible for themselves and make up their own minds. And that is what it means when I say that I believe in the Bible: NOT that I can speak for God by taking passages of it out of context, but that it is to the Bible which I will point as the living word of God Himself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I claim no authority. ... but that it is to the Bible which I will point as the living word of God Himself.
    As is the words of Grimm's and Aesop to them.

    Mitchell will state the above and then claim in another fell swoop of his mighty keyboard he only believes in certain parts of the bible, that which suits his own personal agenda and beliefs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Mitchell will state the above and then claim in another fell swoop of his mighty keyboard he only believes in certain parts of the bible, that which suits his own personal agenda and beliefs.
    But of course. If I do not indulge in this pretentious activity of "telling everyone what the Bible says", it is because I have absolutely no intension of crediting anyone else who does so. I claim no authority because I recognize no such authority in anyone else either. I say that people can read the Bible for themselves and make up their own mind, because that is what I will do. And this means that I believe in the Bible because I will let no one including myself substitute their own interpretation for it, for I will not credit their pretense of speaking for God by quoting its passages to support their interpretation.
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    Great, another one of these "I'm not gonna be told what is what" even though there is scripture CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY stating what happens to a dead person.

    Read it, Eccl 9:5, Eccl 9:10, Gen 2:7, Psalms 146:4, and Dan 12:2.

    In the verse John 3:16, what does the word "perish" mean to you? It's the last word in that verse.

    Btw, I am NOT an atheist by any means, I know there is a god and otherworldly things....I'll get into with another completely different thread....if I want to-
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Great, another one of these "I'm not gonna be told what is what" even though there is scripture CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY stating what happens to a dead person.
    Great another one of these people who are so willful they cannot see anything except that which they expect to see, chanting it repeatedly to convince themselves.

    But maybe you are not just a hypocrite and that you are ready to be told what is what, yourself. So lets find out. I will play the role of teller and see what you do about it. But most often those who make this complaint loudest are usually just those who just want to tell others and not to be told themselves.

    So in playing this role of teller, I will have to set aside my dislike for this habit of cutting pieces from Bible, to some degree. But let me make it clear ahead of time that I do not make any ridiculous claim that these pasages lend authority to my words, and I shall endeavor as much as I can to put them back in context. Furthermore I do not dare to say what they mean in any exclusive manner, but instead to simply share with you the meaning I find in them. I feel this is very important because the former cuts them down to a dead tool for use but the latter simply shows how the word of God is alive and breathing meaning into my life as a demonstration that it can do so for you as well.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    In the verse John 3:16, what does the word "perish" mean to you? It's the last word in that verse.
    "For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

    I can tell you right away what "perish" obviously does not refer to, and that is physical death. The stories of Jesus who is firstborn, makes it clear that in His resurrection He is not subject to the phsyical laws of this world and 1 Cor 15 makes it clear that this is because His resurrection is to a "spritual body" which is immune to the decay that comes from the laws of nature. In fact it explains that the physical body is but a seed from which this spirit body grows.

    There is much more that is interesting in this passage. There is the fact that the object of God's concern is the whole world and it is the whole world that God seeks to save. There is also the fact that this passage says that He will not do this work of salvation through condemnation. Because if you read through John 3:21 it is clear that condemnation comes though our own actions and choices. All through the old Testament God repeats that He has set before us both blessing and curse, light and darkness, life and death, and therefore we should chose the former of these things (i.e. life, light and God's blessing).


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Gen 2:7 --> Gen2:7-17
    "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
    ...
    You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree o fthe knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it you shall die."

    Here too we see many things. We are formed of matter and yet God has breathed something of Himself into us that gives us life - the divine breath - inspiration. It says that Adam is free to eat of every other tree in the Garden and this means that the tree of life was not forbidden to Adam until after what Adam and Eve did. So why is that? ...and why did Adam not eat of the tree of life when he had the chance? Furthermore, are we really to believe that God desired Adam and Eve to have no understanding of difference between good and evil. Did Adam and Eve actually show that they had gained such knowledge? This story may be historical, and I believe it is, but a literal interpretation makes no sense at all.

    But back to the topic of death: what is abundantly clear is that there is more than one meaning to life and death in the Bible for God said that Adam would die on the day he ate of the fruit, but he contined to live. Thus we must conclude that either God lied or there is more than one kind of life. This becomes quite apparent in the many words of Jesus, such as "Let the dead bury their own dead" in Matt 8:22, which makes no sense unless there are two meanings of dead here. Matthew 16:26 is also quite suggestive for it is too obvious that gaining the whole world is pointless if you die in the process, which is why many translations replace the word "life" with "soul" even though this is not supported by the original Greek. But if there is more than one kind of death (and thus more than one kind of life) then this makes perfect sense. In other words, all these passages suggests that in addition to physical death which is a natural part of life there is also a spiritual death - a death of the soul, which is such a more terrible thing than physical death, and this is what makes God's warning in the Garden a truth rather than a lie.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Psalms 146:4 ---> the whole of Psalm 146
    "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being. Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish. Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; who keeps faith for ever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners fee; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners, he upholds the widow and the fatherless; but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."

    Your passage taken out of context was to explain how shortsighted it is to put our trust in men of power on this earth for all such power will pass away so none of their promises have any lasting value. Therefore we should put our trust in a God whose power and ability to help us will never pass away. But then our question must be, when are all these promises fulfilled? Immediately? Clearly not. Only in the far future? What a sterile promise! I think the answer is neither of these, because Jesus made it clear that the kingdom of heaven is both here and now and in the future. So the correct answer is that God's promises are fullfilled all the time, but in their own time. So since it is clear that such promises to the individual are often not perfected in life then the work of God to fulfill such promises must continue after physical death.



    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Read it, Eccl 9:5, ---> whole book of Ecclesiastes
    "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
    ...
    I said to myself, 'I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.' And I applied my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I percieved that this also is but a striving after wind.
    ...
    But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God; whether it is love or hate man does not know. Everything before them is vanity, since one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As is the good man, so is the sinner and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. Thus is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that one fate comes to all; also the hearts of men are full of evil and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die but the dead know nothing, and have no more reward; but the memory of them is lost. There love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and they have no more for ever any share in all that is done under the sun. Go and eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already approved what you do. Let your garments be always white; let not oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life which he has given you under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
    ...
    For if a man lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity.
    ...
    The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is th whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgement, with every secret thing, whether good or evil."

    The book of Ecclesiastes is a surprising book of the Bible and it seems speak to the limitations of knowledge and reason and to the very often depressing realities of life. The particular passage you point out simply speaks of one such reality, which is that death is inescapable. So what is all this vanity that the book speaks of? I think it is our tendency to imagine that we are in control or that we have somehow earned or deserved the good things in life, for it is the authors final conclusion that we must fear God and seek to obey His will, for there is nothing we can do to keep anything hidden from God, and all our great accomplishments are nothing with which we can purchase an escape from judgement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Dan 12:2. --> Daniel chapter 12
    "At that time shall arise Michael the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since thre was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. and many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. But you, Daniel shut up the words, and seal the book, until the time of end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.
    ...
    I heard but I did not understand. Then I said, O my lord what shall be the issue of these things? He said, Go your way Daniel, for the words are shut up nd sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand."

    The eschatological books of Daniel and Revelations are so full of symbolism that they are hard to approach in any rational manner, and if they are speaking of the future as it seems then that makes it hard to see their relevance to the living of our lives. But expansion of your reference to the whole chapter does include some interesting things. This shutting of the book and this declaration that the wicked shall not understand, suggests to me that this prophesying of the future is not a fruitful direction to pursue. The righteous will shut the book and focus on purifing themselves and seeking righteousness regardless of what may come, but the wicked in seeking to anticipate the future will mis-understand and be undone by their mistakes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Btw, I am NOT an atheist by any means, I know there is a god and otherworldly things....I'll get into with another completely different thread....if I want to-
    You are right! So the question is whether you might be anti-theist instead, which has nothing to do with whether you believe in God but rather how you respond to the beliefs of others. For it is the condemnation of others that believe differently that is the source of so much evil in the world, whether it is by the Christians in the Crusades, by the Nazis in the Holocost, or by the Communists in the greatest destruction of human life that the world has ever seen. This is not an accusation but a question for you to answer.
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    Good gravy marine you like to goto great lengths to twist and twist and twist the meanings of the verses I gave you. Denial is the stink of desperation for those who hope in vain. Stop making excuses and funky interpretations and just read the text for what is it.

    I'm not saying the bible is right OR wrong. Just be accurate to your faith within reasonable means.

    Just because I claim (and as far as you guys are concerned, it's just a claim) that I know for a fact whats up, doesnt negate your chosen faith. Just because I know of things, does that void your faith? No. It doesnt work that way. So you can relax on that.
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    Joe(Oh) seems to be using the same logic that atheists use in analyzing the Bible.

    Here is a book which Joe does not know if it accurate or inaccurate, whether it is right or wrong, whether it can be believed or not. And then he attempts to use it to prove his points. If the Bible is unreliable, it certainly has no authority to validate or invalidate Joe's personal understandings of the verses he claims support his personal theology.

    The Bible may be ambiguous such that we cannot fully decypher what may exist in the economy of eternity, it is specific enough to point out that here is something beyond the confines of our time, space, matter continuum. It is very possible that we are incapable of even grasping what a non-time, space, matter continuum can be like since we are confined to thinking in terms of time and space and matter.

    The Bible seems obvious, in relation to eternity, that God is in charge of some of it and God is absent from some of it. And it is also obvious from the Bible that spending eternity in that part which is inhabited by God will be far better than spending eternity in that part which is not inhabited by God.

    Sometimes when one attempts to narrowly define some of this stuff, the big picture gets lost.

    The Bible stories of people in heaven or hell, do not depict people who are asleep. Sleep is merely one way the Bible euphamistically describes physical death. And this type of multiple meaning for a word such as sleep is one of those things that God has designed to confound the wise.

    I see this as a problem of some post-modernist thinking in which the words of the Bible are being interpreted according to the reader's current-day, literal meanings of the words rather than investigating what they meant to the writers.

    Communications break down when we are more more focused what we can read into something rather than what the person who said it was trying to say.

    Some of these topics are a merely rabbit trails which keep us from focusing on the real issue at hand. I mean, who in the hell cares whether we are temporarily "asleep" or actively participating in our eternity? Well, probably the people in hell care.

    I think it far more important to insure which part of eternity one ends up in than in what state they will exist between death and judgment day.
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    Here is the "Logic" used by EC's:

    1) If you dont interpret the bible the way it makes us feel comfortable you dont understand it!

    2) If you interpret the bible in its near-literal/literal meaning that means you are reading the scripture and are NOT supposed to read it at all!

    3) If you prove our interpretations incorrect or inaccurate YOU HATE OUR RELIGION!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Here is the "Logic" used by EC's:

    1) If you dont interpret the bible the way it makes us feel comfortable you dont understand it!

    2) If you interpret the bible in its near-literal/literal meaning that means you are reading the scripture and are NOT supposed to read it at all!

    3) If you prove our interpretations incorrect or inaccurate YOU HATE OUR RELIGION!

    ~fin
    Wow this guy is as rich in making real life illustrations as Q is. He tells us about a certain kind of "logic" and demonstrates a perfect example of it in what he says. And as a bonus, that makes this guy a wonderful illustration of all of Jesus' words about hypocrites. He shows quite clearly to us all why the Bible gives us some very wise advise not to judge others, because the human reality is one of tremendous fumble footedness due to the logs in our own eyes which causes us to fail to see the fact of just how guilty we ourselves are of the judgments we pronounce upon others.

    We are very sorry if our "putting passages back into their context" approach to interpreting the Bible makes you feel so uncomfortable that you feel compelled to describe such as "great lengths to twist the meanings of the verses" when you "CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY" know that they really mean what you have been told that they mean. We know that this approach of actually reading the Bible may seem "lengthy" to you, and that dealing with all the apparent contradictions that you would prefer to ignore can seem very "twisty" to you, but we want to assure you that this effort is really worth it because the Bible really is the living word of God if you let it live in you, instead of making it say what you have been told.

    And thank you for the very humorous joke you make by suggesting that you only interpret the Bible literally. Next you will be telling us that Adam died and was resurrected on the day he ate the fruit and that the dead climb out of their graves to bury dead people. However the one thing that I truly can believe is that you really do believe in a god that does not want you to have any knowledge, wisdom or understanding about the difference between good and evil. The god of this world probably doesn't want you to have these things, and probably wants you to believe that death is the end as well. Well we all have to make choices in life and if you choose to follow such a god then I wish you well, for I will not follow that way. I keep my eyes on a different God, the one for whom power and knowledge was of so little account compared to His love for the world that he laid it all down to become a helpless infant, to share our lives and our difficulties and to show us that we can be victorious and that death does not have to prevail against us.

    Be assured that although I have proven your interpretation incorrect, I do not hate your religion, because unlike so many religions and pseudo-Chrisitian groups, I believe that God works in the lives of all people and in their religion too, even and maybe especially in the atheists as well to teach us what is superficial, irrational, exploitive, manipulative and hypocritical religion so that people will abandon them for what is less superficial, more rational, less manipulative and more sincere. I am confident that God has a purpose for you and your religion as well. I hope that you are ready as I am to serve His will even if it is to be the fool by which people will learn what is the wrong way to go. For it is not my glory which I yearn for but His.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Here is the "Logic" used by EC's:

    1) If you dont interpret the bible the way it makes us feel comfortable you dont understand it!

    2) If you interpret the bible in its near-literal/literal meaning that means you are reading the scripture and are NOT supposed to read it at all!

    3) If you prove our interpretations incorrect or inaccurate YOU HATE OUR RELIGION!
    Good thing you are not in a three-strikes-and-you're-out forum.

    1) Most ECs (and that does not include the wonderful, hunky-dory, He's-here-to serve you type of preaching such as Joel Osteen) think that if some of your interpretation of the Bible makes them feel comfortable, it is probably wrong but that maybe you do understand it.

    2) Literal as to the Bible means taking into account the literary style in which the passage was written. Literal also means an understanding of what the words meant to the writer, not what the English translation means to people today. You cannot even read Shakespeare literally unless you understand Elizabethan English. Atheists love their version of literal interpretation making the Bible silly such as insisting "day" in Genesis means a 24-hour period when day is often used to refer to an age of time both in their language as well as in today's English. It is like the term 40 days which also stands for an indefinite period of time which is probably more than a couple of weeks but less than, perhaps, a quarter.

    3) Well, first of all, you have to "prove" that traditional interpretations are incorrect or inaccurate and that the errors significantly affect the overall teaching of the Bible. I am not sure to what extent, Joe(Oh) thinks he has "disproved" some traditional interpretation as being inaccurate or how that inaccuracy might influence the book as a whole. The truth here is that when we show you your errors, you then hate our religion, preferring to cling to your own errors.

    I have no idea what Joe(Oh)'s relationship with God is, but his relationship with the Bible is somewhat shakey.
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    Joe(Oh)

    As you can hopefully see you are facing two very different Evangelical Christians here. Your broad brush treatment of such an diverse and varied group is bound to make you look a little silly.

    Anyway I can assure you that your battle tank approach (keeping your religious affilliations/commitments/sentiments hidden safe out of view) only increases my perception of you as hostile, hypocritical and contemptible. I realize it is always a pain to deal with people's poor perception of a group you are affiliated with, but fighting against such perceptions is part of what this is all about. This lack of faith also makes any good impressions and understanding of your group from helping in the discussion as well. It is even possible that by helping you to see those strengths your religion and to better understand how this group differs from others will only improve your faith in your religion. All this assumes that we are not talking about a religion of one person. We do have quite a few of those here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I say that people can read the Bible for themselves and make up their own mind, because that is what I will do.[
    Unless of course, you're the children of Christian parents and are told what to think about the bible.
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    This is absolutely the best four way clash I've seen in years.
    We should be selling tickets to this one. :wink:
    I'm going to save an annotated version for my grandchildren. I hope it runs and runs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Unless of course, you're the children of Christian parents and are told what to think about the bible.
    Not all such children have such a hard time overcoming that handicap as you do, Q. But of course, we all thank you for making it clear to everyone how this can be such a terrible thing to do to ones children.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    This is absolutely the best four way clash I've seen in years.
    We should be selling tickets to this one. :wink:
    I'm going to save an annotated version for my grandchildren. I hope it runs and runs.
    Hey no fair! How come we don't get to see your annotations?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Joe(Oh)

    As you can hopefully see you are facing two very different Evangelical Christians here. Your broad brush treatment of such an diverse and varied group is bound to make you look a little silly.

    Anyway I can assure you that your battle tank approach (keeping your religious affilliations/commitments/sentiments hidden safe out of view) only increases my perception of you as hostile, hypocritical and contemptible. I realize it is always a pain to deal with people's poor perception of a group you are affiliated with, but fighting against such perceptions is part of what this is all about. This lack of faith also makes any good impressions and understanding of your group from helping in the discussion as well. It is even possible that by helping you to see those strengths your religion and to better understand how this group differs from others will only improve your faith in your religion. All this assumes that we are not talking about a religion of one person. We do have quite a few of those here.
    I'm not being critical of the religion itself, just how some people interpret it when the SCRIPTURE cleary says different. Not me, not the atheists, or anyone else. All I'm showing is what the word says in the book.

    This may be a battle tank approach, but then again I do have some high-powered artilery. I do not want this to be some sort of flame-war. That is not what I'm here to do. I'm merely stating what is written in the bible. Not my personal beliefs or experiences. Clear?
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    Also, I've seen that when EC's see a passage they dont like for whatever reason, they like to twist and interpret it away until the 'square peg' fits in the 'round hole'.

    I mean is the bible supposed to be a riddle? I think not. The ones who translated the original scriptures from old greek, aremaic, and hebrew to english do you think they tried their best to use the best words they had at the time to get across the point of that passage? Or do the translators like to play mind games.

    If the passage is translated a certain way then it has been translated that way for a good reason by the translators.

    It's either that, OR goto the Exhaustive Strongs Concordance and word-by-word retraslate that back to it orginal language and learn that language. I seriously doubt that many EC's are willing to do such a thing. They'd rather pick and choose which passages they like, and twist around the ones they dont like.

    Just read the book and stick to it as close and as reasonably as possible. Good luck in your faith-
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Not all such children have such a hard time overcoming that handicap as you do, Q. But of course, we all thank you for making it clear to everyone how this can be such a terrible thing to do to ones children.
    Do you tell your children your god is watching them? Do you tell them what to think about heaven and hell and how to save themselves from roasting for an eternity? Do you tell them angels are as real as Limburger cheese?

    And if you've stopped telling them about Santa and the Tooth Fairy, why do keep telling them about other invisible and undetectable entities?
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Do you tell your children your god is watching them? Do you tell them what to think about heaven and hell and how to save themselves from roasting for an eternity? Do you tell them angels are as real as Limburger cheese?
    No I have not, but I have shown them the videos of George Carlin and Pat Condell. I showed them that video about the Benobo monkeys too. And this is not just because I don't believe in the intellectual blackmail approach that you describe or in the rest of the idiotic kind of Christianity that you were indoctrinated with. It is because I think religion is meaningless unless it is a result of your own search for the truth. So I don't tell them what I think as if that were the way things are, I tell them about all the different things that people believe about such things.

    Of course, my opinions are clear on a number of issues if they ask. I don't think my eldest believes in God, though I think he probably believes in some kind of life after death. Just today I was explaining to him why I don't believe in reincarnation. My second eldest acts like he believes in God mostly just to be different from his elder brother, but although he has thought a great deal about death, I don't know if he has really thought all that much about God.

    Since they live with two other adults, my wife and my mother and all three of us have very different opinions about these things, I have a great deal of hope that they are pretty free to make up their own mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    And if you've stopped telling them about Santa and the Tooth Fairy, why do keep telling them about other invisible and undetectable entities?
    Didn't have to tell them about such things. They get that from popular culture. I certainly explained them how it doesn't make much sense to ask about the specifics of such things because they are stories and people tell stories differently.
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    Joe(Oh) said:
    I've seen that when EC's see a passage they dont like for whatever reason, they like to twist and interpret it away until the 'square peg' fits in the 'round hole'.
    I think your charge requires an example and a strong explanation as to why the EC's understanding of the passage is twisted while your understanding of the passage is the correct one, not just the opposite process of putting a round peg into a square hole. It might also be appropriateto point out which EC group you are referring to. Baptists and Pentecostals are both ECs, but they are vastly different in their understanding of many passages.

    So far, all you have done is made ambiguous, unsubstantiated claims about what you call ECs, perhaps typified by your own unorthodox (or is it litergical) interpretation of what happens between death and the final judgement. I am not sure what movements might agree with you or that it would make any difference. This is not a core issue of Christianity. That is, whether you go to heaven or hell, is not determined by what you believe on this particular issue. So what difference does it really make and why would you get in such a snit because other Christians don't agree with you? If that is what you want to believe, fine. You can "go to sleep" for a time, while the rest of us spend time rejoicing in heaven. You may get there later.

    It sure beats smoking which gets you there a lot sooner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Joe(Oh) said:
    I've seen that when EC's see a passage they dont like for whatever reason, they like to twist and interpret it away until the 'square peg' fits in the 'round hole'.
    I think your charge requires an example and a strong explanation as to why the EC's understanding of the passage is twisted while your understanding of the passage is the correct one, not just the opposite process of putting a round peg into a square hole. It might also be appropriateto point out which EC group you are referring to. Baptists and Pentecostals are both ECs, but they are vastly different in their understanding of many passages.

    So far, all you have done is made ambiguous, unsubstantiated claims about what you call ECs, perhaps typified by your own unorthodox (or is it litergical) interpretation of what happens between death and the final judgement. I am not sure what movements might agree with you or that it would make any difference. This is not a core issue of Christianity. That is, whether you go to heaven or hell, is not determined by what you believe on this particular issue. So what difference does it really make and why would you get in such a snit because other Christians don't agree with you? If that is what you want to believe, fine. You can "go to sleep" for a time, while the rest of us spend time rejoicing in heaven. You may get there later.

    It sure beats smoking which gets you there a lot sooner.
    Unsubstansiated?! I've given many passages that void the notion of entering the kindom of heaven (Only God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, and the Angels reside there). Paradise is what's reserved for man. Paradise and KoH are two different things.

    Gen 2:7 Say that we are LIVING souls, not that we have immortal souls inside of our mortal bodies. The idea of an immortal soul is a PAGAN idea. When ALL men/women/children die they goto the grave until the great ressurection. A few passases later it refers that animals are living souls too. Go figure.

    How;s that for an example?
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    Dayton,

    You know this Sunday the pastor's wife (they really operate as a team, often giving the sermons together), made a very interesting distinction between the spirit and the soul. She said that Christians often spend too much time feeding their soul when they should be feeding their spirit. I asked her about this afterwards and it seems that she was associating the soul with the natural man whereas the spirit had more to do with our connection to God. I have been aware that these words "soul" and "spirit" can be a little ambiguous and when you bring in the original languages such as Greek from which the Bible was translated then you have even more confusion between these terms of "soul" and "spirit" with the concepts of "life", "mind", and "self" as well. In any case she seems to be using the world "soul" to refer to somthing more like life, mind and self and not as something which is eternal.

    Personally I have always prefered the word "spirit" to that of "soul", to refer to that aspect of our being which is non-physical and eternal, for which 1 Cor 15 is a good scriptural reference. Since there is good solid evidence that the Bible does indeed represent the belief in something of us surviving death, such as in the Transfiguration and in the summoning of Samuel's spirit, I don't think Joe has a leg stand on for identifying his beliefs with the Bible. If he were really making an objective academic analysis he would be much more likely to say that both views are present in the Bible, which as a compilation of writings by many different authors is hardly surprising. But the fact that he says the Bible "CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY" supports his views tells me that his analysis is anything but objective and that he is in fact reading the Bible through filter of his beliefs, and that they have made him incapable of perceiving anything which contradicts them.
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    Joe(Oh) asks:

    How;s that for an example?
    I think it is a pretty good example of someone who does not quite have a good grasp of the Bible as a whole.

    First you insist that only God (the father), the Holy Spirit, Jesus and Angels currently reside in Heaven and then claim that Paradise and KoH (Kingdom of Heaven) are two separate places in eternity. I am not quite sure what your scriptural proofs of these claims are.

    But I am mostly wondering how you reconcile those thoughts with the exchange between Jesus and the penitent thief as found in Luke 23:42-43:

    Then he [the penitent thief] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. And Jesus replied, “Today you will be with me in Paradise. This is a solemn promise.”

    Joe also cites:

    Gen 2:7 Say that we are LIVING souls,
    The Hebrew word translated “soul” in that verse is nepesh which carries more the connotation of a living, breathing creature which would account for the same word being used to describe other animals. Soul is the KJV translation; “being” is the NIV translation, “person” is the Living Bible version while RSV also uses being. The word connotes a physical presence, not a spiritual presence.

    Meanwhile Mitchell offers some interesting observations on the comparison/distinction between soul and spirit.

    I looked up both the Hebrew and Greek words for these terms and both languages seem to have nuances attached to their words which make them much more complex than our English words.

    I must agree that soul and spirit are two separate aspects of existence. I am of a mind, though I do not claim this to be scriptural, that the soul is that part of us which makes us unique beings. It is our personality and why each person has his (and her) own identity and personhood. It is that personality which only that combination of DNA will produce. From the moment of conception, the die is cast. When the sperm penetrates the ovum and the two gametes unite, the soul is born. No matter who you are, when that happened in your mother’s body, you were you and you could not have ever been anyone else. And no one else could ever have grown up to be you. If you had been aborted, the universe would never have experienced your unique presence.

    And I think I am agreeing with the idea that the spirit is that aspect of us which ties us together with each other and with God. Where I might differ is that I think both these aspects of our being could survive death. Jesus retained his identity and personality in his resurrected body, so it would suggest to me that this part of our being also survives.

    It could also be (again not Biblical, just conjecture) that at the final judgement God removes his spirit from those who have rejected him and they finally understand the agony Jesus endured as he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I looked up both the Hebrew and Greek words for these terms and both languages seem to have nuances attached to their words which make them much more complex than our English words.

    I must agree that soul and spirit are two separate aspects of existence. I am of a mind, though I do not claim this to be scriptural, that the soul is that part of us which makes us unique beings. It is our personality and why each person has his (and her) own identity and personhood. It is that personality which only that combination of DNA will produce. From the moment of conception, the die is cast. When the sperm penetrates the ovum and the two gametes unite, the soul is born. No matter who you are, when that happened in your mother’s body, you were you and you could not have ever been anyone else. And no one else could ever have grown up to be you. If you had been aborted, the universe would never have experienced your unique presence.

    And I think I am agreeing with the idea that the spirit is that aspect of us which ties us together with each other and with God. Where I might differ is that I think both these aspects of our being could survive death. Jesus retained his identity and personality in his resurrected body, so it would suggest to me that this part of our being also survives.

    It could also be (again not Biblical, just conjecture) that at the final judgement God removes his spirit from those who have rejected him and they finally understand the agony Jesus endured as he said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me.”
    Well I think it is pretty absurd to force the truth to fit the limitations of language just because that language was used in the writing of the Bible. For example just because the Bible says we are made of dust doesn't mean the chemical analysis of the composition of the human body is wrong. As we learn more things about the world there is no reason not to use this discernment about the nature of things to make distinctions that are not made in the Bible and I don't see why this should be any less true of things of religion than it is true of the things of science. We should distinguish all these concepts and not assume that they are the same:

    the mind (entity which is responsible for mental activities)
    that aspect of us which is eternal
    that aspect of us which is unique
    that aspect of us which is truly ourself
    that which connects us to God
    that which makes us physically alive
    that which makes us spiritually alive
    etc...

    We can however discover or have beliefs about the relationships between these things. Chrisitans believe that there is certainly a relationship between that which connects us to God and that which makes us spiritually alive. Some of the issues of contention and diversity are about the relationship between these things and that which makes us eternal. I certainly do not believe that these are the same thing for I do not believe in a God who resurrects the suicide in order to torture them. I believe the whole idea of an eternal hell as a punishment from God is completely nonsensical. However I am not a universalist because it seems clear to me that our choices can have eternal consequences and that people do make the irrational choice to torment themselves and make their own lives a living hell of their own free will and choice. Therefore I believe that we are eternal beings and therefore that suicide is pointless because you cannot escape from yourself or your problems. The eternal life that God offers us is NOT simply eternal existence. We have that already. The eternal life which God offers us is that which makes our eternal existence worthwhile and bearable, without which our eternal existence would be an eternal hell.

    So I tend to identify the word spirit with that which is most truly ourself and with that which is eternal, but whether the spirit is alive or not is another issue having to do with the connections our spirit has with others and especially with God. And I think that which makes us unique is everything about us. But that which is truly ourself has more to do with the choices we make than any of the circumstantial things which contribute to our uniqueness. Our mind is a part of us like our nose, even though it is certainly a very important part of us. I also believe that the mind is no more or less physical than our nose, so our "spirit body" (1 Cor 15) is no more or less likely to have a nose like our physical one than to have a mind that is like our physical one.


    P.S.
    Joe is doing a little too much beating around the bush. If all he wants to say is that the Bible does not say everything that is true then he could have saved a lot of time by simply saying so, and I for one would agree with him. But if he is arguing that this is a reason for concluding that the Bible is worthless then again he should say so, though in this case I would strongly disagree with him and say that he is greatly overestimating his own understanding. But most certainly his claims that the Bible "CLEARLY CLEARLY CLEARLY" says what he says it does is just plain absurd.
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    Mitchell said:

    Well I think it is pretty absurd to force the truth to fit the limitations of language just because that language was used in the writing of the Bible.
    I think the problem, here, is that in all three languages involved -- Hebrew, Greek and English -- the words soul and spirit are both very complex and ambiguous at the same time. I'm not sure anyone is trying to "force the truth," since the ambiguity involved does not seem capable of establishing a clear-cut truth on the matters of soul and spirit.

    Whether they include all the aspects of human features you list, I don't know. I don't think either term would include the mind (intellect), though the other things you mention may be within the purvue of one or the other of the terms. Personality seems somehow to be an aspect which should fit someplace in the list.

    I am content to feel that the soul is that ambiguous intangible which is not exactly physical, but is what makes us uniquely different from all other humans and is somehow established at the point of fertilization; and that the spirit is a commonality which God instills within us.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Well I think it is pretty absurd to force the truth to fit the limitations of language just because that language was used in the writing of the Bible.
    I think the problem, here, is that in all three languages involved -- Hebrew, Greek and English -- the words soul and spirit are both very complex and ambiguous at the same time. I'm not sure anyone is trying to "force the truth," since the ambiguity involved does not seem capable of establishing a clear-cut truth on the matters of soul and spirit.
    My point is simply that all these ambiguities of language and translation mean that we have no justification in thinking that we have these two distinct nonphysical things: spirit and soul (let alone accurately described by these english words) and that somehow we have to assign all the different aspects of our existence mentioned to one of these two. My point is that we would do far better to focus on these aspects I have mentioned discuss what we think are the relationships between them. If we use a word as I have done ("spirit") we simply say that this is how we personally choose to use that word.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Whether they include all the aspects of human features you list, I don't know. I don't think either term would include the mind (intellect), though the other things you mention may be within the purvue of one or the other of the terms. Personality seems somehow to be an aspect which should fit someplace in the list.
    Well I think for the most part the personality is a psychological word and is thus a feature of the mind. I think perhaps you may be making some connection between this and the aspect of uniqueness that was previously mentioned. However I do not think that these are the same thing at all. I would include certain types of psychopathologies in what is called personality, which may thus be far from what God intended for us to be, and which are sometimes curable. Or to put it another way, I think it is a mistake to identify the personality with the self, for that suggests that is limited and bound by the limits of personality when our personality actually includes a great deal that would should try to change and improve.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am content to feel that the soul is that ambiguous intangible which is not exactly physical, but is what makes us uniquely different from all other humans and is somehow established at the point of fertilization; and that the spirit is a commonality which God instills within us.
    Well that sounds a great deal like an ideological prop for a pro-life anti-abortionist position. As such I certainly do not believe in any such thing. I think this pro-life ideology unavoidable implies that our humanity derives from our biology which I think has racist implications, among other things. This may work to some degree for an anti-evolutionist and those who would would see God providence of salvation to be one of acheiving some kind of genetic purity. But I certainly do not believe that our humanity has anything at all to do with our genetics and so I utterly repudiate this pro-life ideology. I believe that our physical humanity is primarily found in our mental life and it in this that we have an identity and inheritance that is rooted in God rather than in biology and the evolution of the species.

    Also I see absoutely no need to assign some metaphysical entity to account for our uniqueness, but as I said before, I see our uniqueness in the totality of our being including a great deal that is circustantial, but part of God's creative work in our lives. As for our unique value I think this is found simply in God's unconditional regard for us. The pro-life ideologue may ask me when does this begin, to which I would respond that it began with the creation of the universe for God values every instance of life for what it is, but that His regard for us as human beings cannot begin utill human life begins, which I do not believe occurs at fertilization, which is only the reciept of a biological inheritance, but instead begins in the relationship of love and communication between parent and child, which is where different sort of inheritance is received (which in the case of some parents may begin before birth).

    I have considered using the word soul to refer to the interaction between physical and the spiritual that is at the heart of the life process, for that seems to resonate with some uses and origins of this words, but I fear it is too forced and just confuses things. The use of "soul" by my pastor's wife suggests to me that this word refers to that part of the spirit which is apart from the connections to God and others - the self oriented part or aspect of the spirit as opposed to that which is other centered. But, I guess for the most part I find the word "soul" to be too ambigous, used in too many different ways, that I would avoid it when I want to be accurate and specific.
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    MM Writes: "My point is simply that all these ambiguities of language and translation mean that we have no justification in thinking that we have these two distinct nonphysical things: spirit and soul (let alone accurately described by these english words) and that somehow we have to assign all the different aspects of our existence mentioned to one of these two. My point is that we would do far better to focus on these aspects I have mentioned discuss what we think are the relationships between them. If we use a word as I have done ("spirit") we simply say that this is how we personally choose to use that word."

    In other words, since we wont take the bible's translation at it's word, we can believe whatever we want. Even if it condratics what the translated word says.

    With that said, I made my point.

    Btw, I've spoken with several "regular" christians and they agree with me as far as how EC's have skewed the word in the bible to fit their desired belief version.

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    I understand that "seven days" could mean seven million years or seven God-workdays, etc. It's immaterial. And "spirit" "firmament" etc. could mean different things. Fair enough.

    But what about the explicit numbers? Like God rating male believers worth 50 coins; women, 30; boys, 20... and so forth. We may discount that God denominates in "silver" coins but the ratios - the apparent point of the text - are kinda hard to get around. The bible brims with such certain terms. There can be no wiggle in translation. Do we just ignore these parts?

    Then what of God explicitly pledging to ...hack and flay with his furious sword... anyone who forgets his words, ever...? He did foresee interpretation and warns repeatedly against it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    I have considered using the word soul to refer to the interaction between physical and the spiritual that is at the heart of the life process, for that seems to resonate with some uses and origins of this words, but I fear it is too forced and just confuses things. The use of "soul" by my pastor's wife suggests to me that this word refers to that part of the spirit which is apart from the connections to God and others - the self oriented part or aspect of the spirit as opposed to that which is other centered. But, I guess for the most part I find the word "soul" to be too ambigous, used in too many different ways, that I would avoid it when I want to be accurate and specific.
    As a physicist, can you describe the mechanism that allows interaction between the physical and the "spiritual?"

    It doesn't seem to appear in any medical books on physiology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    MM Writes: "My point is simply that all these ambiguities of language and translation mean that we have no justification in thinking that we have these two distinct nonphysical things: spirit and soul (let alone accurately described by these english words) and that somehow we have to assign all the different aspects of our existence mentioned to one of these two. My point is that we would do far better to focus on these aspects I have mentioned discuss what we think are the relationships between them. If we use a word as I have done ("spirit") we simply say that this is how we personally choose to use that word."

    In other words, since we wont take the bible's translation at it's word, we can believe whatever we want. Even if it condratics what the translated word says.
    And facts speak louder than words. Here we have the obvious fact of your behavior in how you substitute the words that I say with the words that that you put in my mouth and want to say that I have said. This fact demonstrate how you treat the Bible as well substituting the actual words of Bible with what you want to say that the Bible says.

    Hmmm we have the coining of a new word here, "condratics" without a meaning supplied. I can suggest that a meaning of "condratic" that is actually consistent with what I have done in this thread,

    condratic: the act of of examining the context and other factors such as the original language and historical situation in order to try to understand the meaning of the text rather than simply accepting what someone says it means.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    With that said, I made my point.
    Ah, so your point must be that you can substitute whatever words you like for what the Bible or anyone else says in order to believe whatever you like about them. In that case I must agree that you can certainly do this. In fact you have demonstrated an incredible stubborness in insisting on doing so.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Btw, I've spoken with several "regular" christians and they agree with me as far as how EC's have skewed the word in the bible to fit their desired belief version.
    Gosh I wonder what he means by regular Christians? I wonder if he turns around and puts words in our mouth to say disparaging things about them and their hermeneutics too. Is their any word for this kind of anti-diplomatic activity where you seek to sow confusion rather than communication between two different groups? If he wasn't so inept, it might be a good description of a devil.
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    If he wasn't so inept, it might be a good description of a devil.
    Well, he might be into politics, or even a politician himself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    As a physicist, can you describe the mechanism that allows interaction between the physical and the "spiritual?"
    As a physicist, no, I cannot. As a physicist I must stick with what is confirmed as objectively observed (observer independent). I use the term spiritual for that which is non-physical which by my definition is that which is filtered out by this method that science uses to ensure that its observations are objective.

    Therefore I can only describe this mechanism by first assuming that such non-physical things are real, but then as a philosopher with some familiarity with physics I can explain this partly physical process by which such an interaction occurs. Does that sound like something that would interest you?

    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    It doesn't seem to appear in any medical books on physiology.
    Good! Then if you are studying these as part of the medical profession, I am greatly relieved. This is not because I think that a someone in the medical profession cannot do a good job if he is studying non-scientific books, but only that he should be fully aware of the difference when he is doing so. It is quite apparent from reading all the pseduo-scientific writings in this forum, that if one doesn't understand the difference, then it makes one incapable of learning what science has to teach.
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    Great, now I'm an 'inept devil' because I read the passage word for word and take it at it's word.

    ....Wait a minute, Lucifer is whispering something in my hear....

    You gotta be kidding me.
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    Joe(Oh) said:

    Btw, I've spoken with several "regular" christians and they agree with me as far as how EC's have skewed the word in the bible to fit their desired belief version.
    I'm just gonna have to call B.S. on all that crap. I doubt that you actually know any "regular" Christians since it appears your associates are as wacked out as you are. So far you have not identified any group you consider to be ECs. Are you talking about Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Catholics, Baptists, Unitarians, Congregationalists, Episcopals, or whom? Which of these groups are EC in your opinon and which are not? Come to think of it, you have never revealed what pseudo-Christian group you are associated with or think you are associated with and whether they will shudder when you identify with them.

    Secondarily, you have not cited one Bible passage that you think ECs skew to their own benefit and how it is skewed from its true meaning. Nor have you explained your skew of the same passage with explanation as to why your skew is a better,more valid skew that the one you object to.

    Joe(Oh) also made more nonsense:

    In other words, since we wont take the bible's translation at it's word, we can believe whatever we want. Even if it condratics what the translated word says
    .

    You are just making foolish statements without any backing or examples. What is it (other than what you claim to believe) that is rejecting what the Bible actually says and contradicts the translated word. AND, whose translation? From what sources? The King James Authorized version of the Bible is a very good literal translation from texts in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, but also heavily influenced by the Latin Vulgate version. (Actually, I think you would benefit from a study in Proverbs relating to fools before you go get in line with (Q) and Coldbishop.)

    The KJV was translated into Elizabethan English which was somewhat different from modern English. The same word in Elizabethan English may not always mean the same as it does in modern English. For example, the Greek word agape is sometimes translated charity in the KJV while the word is more accurately translated love in modern translations. Charity means something considerably different in modern English even though it was understood to mean love in the early 1600s. Or the word "suffer" which in the KJV sometimes means allow, vastly different from our meaning of the word. The fact that we can read the KJV and understand it is somewhat surprizing considering how difficult it is to understand Shakespearian writings which were also rendered in Elizabethan English.

    So, why don't you just go ahead and enlighten us as to what the Bible actually says about the soul and spirit. I mean in view of the fact that Mitchell, a somewhat liberal Christian, and I, a fairly conservative Christian, both agree that these terms are not at all well understood nor easily explained even by the best of theologians. Maybe you can clear up a burning question which has plagued us, lo, these many years. In the process, maybe you can explain your credentials in Bible translation and interpretation.

    I confess no formal training in either Bible translation or Bible studies. I trust in my Strong's Exhaustive Concordance which I can sometimes misunderstand and rely on the writings and speaches and teaching of several others who are qualified scholars of the Bible as well as various scholarly commentaries. My experience is that there are some things upon which the experts are divided, so I have no idea what makes anyone think they have anything more than their own preferred translations and interpretations.

    Meanwhile, there are a lot of things about which there is concurrence, particularly the core teaching of man's sin and the need for redemption which can be found only in Jesus Christ. If one's eternal salvation hangs on the balance of his beliefs relating to the understanding of soul and spirit, I doubt there is much hope for any of us.
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    Oh, now the regular christians I spoke to about this subject are now 'Whacked Out' cause they dont go along with this convoluted notion that the written translated word is sorta-kinda-in-a-round-about-way maybe mean something different.

    Yeah, that must be it....Wait, Lucifer is whispering to me again-
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    I think I have figured it out. Joe(oh) leaped at the chance of puting into our mouth this accusation of being a devil, in order to distract us from the truth. He is a troll.

    I don't think we are supposed to feed the trolls.
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    What is it about these people with () names which makes them feel it is unnecessary to provide any example of what they are talking about.

    What is:

    this convoluted notion that the written translated word is sorta-kinda-in-a-round-about-way maybe mean something different.
    All languages have words that mean different things if used in different contexts and no one meaning of those words is applicable in all instances. You have still not provided and actual example of a clearly unambiguous word that is cast in stone being twisted to mean something different.

    If I tell you I am going to Paris next month, you could not possibly know what country I am referencing. If you decided I meant the U.S., you could not know what state I am referencing. If I lived in Texas and you knew it, then perhaps you could reasonably suspect I meant Paris, Texas, but you would not know for sure. And no matter which Paris you picked out, you could never be certain you have the right one, unless I provide additional information.

    There are places in the Bible where a word has more than one meaning that fits in the context. In those places, it is foolish to claim "your" understanding overrules the other possible understandings. But that is what it seems like you are doing.

    Mitchell and I somewhat disagree as to the significance and designations of the terms soul and spirit. So what? Neither of us in telling the other one he is stupid or wrong because both views, and probably others, are possible.

    You are saying ECs are twisting scripture because they do not agree with your understanding of the word soul as used in the KJV version of Genesis 2:7. The word translated soul in the KJV is used both to refer to the inner being of a person, (his soul was troubled) or merely as a word meaning people (and there were three score and seven souls). Either meaning can be attached to the word in Gen. 2:7 and it will make sense. However, the favored translation in modern translations is person or being without meaning the inner person. We are using our own somewhat ambiguous word as a translation of their somewhat ambiguous word. We will never know on this side of the grave, exactly which nuance of the word God intended. He may have the perfect word to describe what occured, but our languages are inadequate to capture and clearly express the concept.

    I don't think this has anything to do with whether a person is an EC or what ever term you use to refer to non ECs. Since both meanings fit the context and make sense, I am not sure how anyone can be so rigid as you appear to be on this. Nor can I understand how the fact that someone finds one meaning more reasonable than the other, makes one view skewed and the other perfectly on spot.

    Your rigid, unbending view of an insignificant, undeterminable thing is not a good representation of believers. It is an example of immaturity. There are issues where it is necessary to be adamant and hold firm to a stand, but this is not one of them.
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    Since neither DT or MM answered my question, I wonder if it even applies to Evangelical Christians. Do ECs ignore chunks of the bible? Which ones?

    For example, is Genesis true or false? Is the plain talk of God true or false? We could delve into nuances of particular word translations later.
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    Pong:

    I can't answer your questions because I have no idea what you are asking. How high is up? When is then?

    What do you mean by "ignore big chunks?" Personally, I think I can pretty much ignore the first eight or nine chapters of I Chronicles and not feel all that guilty about it.

    If you are going to join Joe in singling out some ambiguously defined group with the label of EC, I think you need to define who these people are and what do you call non-ECs. Who qualifies as an EC and who doesn't?

    What do you consider "plain talk of God?" And if there is something we don't quite understand, how can we judge its truthfulness. I think we assume truthfulness and try to reconcile our understanding of the Bible with our knowledge. If the two do not seem compatible we must consider adjusting our understanding of either the Bible or what we think we know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Since neither DT or MM answered my question, I wonder if it even applies to Evangelical Christians. Do ECs ignore chunks of the bible? Which ones?
    I personally reserve the right to ignore any person, book, post, or passage that I find meaningless, don't you? Post a quotation of a portion of the Bible and I will not ignore it. Post a meaningless interpretation of some portion of the Bible as you did in your previous post and I may well ignore as I have done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    For example, is Genesis true or false?
    Perhaps I am a bit post-modern in my thinking because I do not find this question very meaningful. Perhaps this is why I took issue with daytonturners blanket attacks on post-modernism. I mean there is certainly a great deal of post-modern thought that I do not agree with, but that does not mean that I find all of it devoid of merit. For a book like Genesis there is first the question of its type of literature and purpose, and a much more meaningful question than "truth" is where can its usefullness be found. As a science text or a computer manual, Genesis is neither useful nor "true".

    T.S. Eliot wrote a poem called "Hollow men". Would you say that what he wrote is true or false? That is of course a meaningless question and this must be equally applicable to the Bible for it consists of many different literary forms including poetry. It is all a matter of what you think this poem of Eliot's or the Bible is saying, and I have no doubt that you can find in this poem of T.S. Eliot much that is true, but if others decide that the poem is saying things which are false does that mean the poem is false?

    I certainly find it utterly bizarre that you think that the truth of something using words, can queried without discussing the nuances of particular word translations for this suggests that you do not even recognize that words are full of ambiguities even when translations are not involved. I can say that Genesis is certainly true (or valuable) as I understand it, though I also understand quite clearly that it could very well be false (or contemptible) as you understand it.

    Let us take a very concrete example which I think illustrates everything quite clearly. I most definitely do not believe that God created Adam and Eve in the fashion of comic book stories about necromancers creating golems out of dust and flesh golems out of stolen body parts. I have said numerous times that I believe that evolution and abiogenesis are accurate objective descriptions of the the creation of life on this planet, incuding Adam and Eve. Genesis was simply not intended as that kind of description and so as such I certainly do not think it "is true". You may in the hard-headed manner of Joe(Oh) choose to take this to mean that I do not consider "Genesis to be true" but what this really means is that no I do not consider it to be true in whatever manner you choose to read, interpret and apply the book.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Is the plain talk of God true or false?
    Excellent question! --full of all kinds of traps that question is-- KUDOS! I think that most Christians including more than 99.9% of EC Christians would answer "true". But although I identify myself as an evangelical Christian by virtue of the church I attend as well as many shared attitudes, I am far from typical of that group. And thus what comes to my mind in response to that question is the book of Jonah, where it says that Jonah is commanded to bring a message from God to the city of Ninevah, that their city shall be overthrown. And yet when Ninevah repented, it says that God "repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them; and he did not do it." Now perhaps you can argue your way around this in any number of ways such as saying that Ninevah was eventually destroyed and perhaps this may mean that you could never prove that God lied in a court of law. But nevertheless this story cannot but mean that at the very least you cannot apply an absolute and unqualified attribution of truth to everything God has said.

    However I can make my position much more clear than that by saying that personally I would conclude that God is NOT above telling untruths any more than He is above manipulation and some other very unpleasant things (like the flood for example) if that is what it takes to bring humanity out of darkness. I see God's role as that of a farmer, shepherd and teacher and sometimes these roles require pruning, culling and disaproval even though he loves us more fully and unconditionally than anyone else. However I do not think that deception is part of God's standard operating procedure and that He generally operates by a far higher standard of truth than any human being, especially as we grow more to realize our potential as human beings and as God's role thus changes from that of a shepherd dealing with stupid sheep to that of a teacher dealing with children who can learn.
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    MM, Oh I see you baited me into a certain response. Who's the "troll" now-
    I'd trade it all....for a little more-
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    MM, Oh I see you baited me into a certain response. Who's the "troll" now-
    sigh...

    I will try to feed the man rather than the troll... (but without much hope left)

    ...the answer is that by your behavior it is you who are the troll...

    This is because the fact remains that you came here not to share and discuss things but simply to start a meaningless argument. This is the case because you posted an attack upon people who think differently than you but do not share a single thing about what you believe.


    I baited you??? Your response was a complete surprise to me -- not the fact that you attacked for that is becoming a very predictable pattern, but the fact that you decided to twist that particular comment of mine into such an attack. I just happen to be better at rhetoric than you and was thus quite capable of turning just one more of your neverending attacks back against you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Pong:

    I can't answer your questions because I have no idea what you are asking. How high is up? When is then?

    What do you mean by "ignore big chunks?" Personally, I think I can pretty much ignore the first eight or nine chapters of I Chronicles and not feel all that guilty about it.

    If you are going to join Joe in singling out some ambiguously defined group with the label of EC, I think you need to define who these people are and what do you call non-ECs. Who qualifies as an EC and who doesn't?

    What do you consider "plain talk of God?" And if there is something we don't quite understand, how can we judge its truthfulness. I think we assume truthfulness and try to reconcile our understanding of the Bible with our knowledge. If the two do not seem compatible we must consider adjusting our understanding of either the Bible or what we think we know.
    I don't know what an EC is and hoped you and Mitchellmckain could sketch it. Better yet, if you represent EC beliefs then I'd be happy just to have a few questions answered.

    I guessed Evangelicals read a good portion of the bible at face value, but I'm not so sure now.

    "Plain talk" in my limited knowledge of the bible is when God or His prophets say "Do such and such or you'll be cursed and your children cursed" ...commands that leave no room for interpretation. I would classify Christians by which laws they follow, not by their scholarly deconstructions of a particular word's translation. So my first question is: do Evangelical Christians heed the numbers, like how many years do you shelter a refugee, what tithe do you give to the poor, etc? Do ECs fudge these nowadays?

    My next question Daytonturner answered fairly well is: which parts of the bible do you disregard? Because I guess it's most expedient to map which parts you ignore, than which parts you follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Genesis was simply not intended as that kind of description and so as such I certainly do not think it "is true".
    That helps. Frankly I find the creation kinda alien and obscure... like what's with the face of the deep getting divided it into this firmament structure like an M.C. Escher puzzle? Well it's puzzling and perhaps meaningless if taken literally.

    On the other hand, we soon read furiously graphic exhortations by God - to man - regarding man's behaviour. God's will is plainer than a cop screaming last chance before you get the taser. There's no nuance in listing off which animals are unfit to eat and how God plans to punish those who disobey. Which of God's laws are followed seems crucial to Christianity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Therefore I can only describe this mechanism by first assuming that such non-physical things are real, but then as a philosopher with some familiarity with physics I can explain this partly physical process by which such an interaction occurs. Does that sound like something that would interest you?
    Absolutely. I could share with you my own explanation, as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    Therefore I can only describe this mechanism by first assuming that such non-physical things are real, but then as a philosopher with some familiarity with physics I can explain this partly physical process by which such an interaction occurs. Does that sound like something that would interest you?
    Absolutely. I could share with you my own explanation, as well.
    Alright. In my metaphysics (i.e my theory of the nature of reality), the non-physical or spiritual are also forms of energy but these differ from the physical in two ways. The first is that physical forms of energy are actually all parts of a single form of energy which is the whole multidimensional space-time structure that is the physical universe, but spiritual forms of energy are not a part of this structure at all. The second is that physical forms of energy have these quantitative characteristics that spiritual forms of energy do not have. Are you with me so far?

    By asking if you are "with me", I simply mean to ask if you understand what I have said so far and do you have any questions about that? I am not asking you if you agree with me or not, though you are of course free to express that as well if you like.
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    This is what I am getting at. EC's believe that they have an immortal spirit within themselves and when they die they will goto the Kingdom of Heaven. And if you're not "Saved" you burn in hellfire for all time without end.

    Is this correct MM? Am I right so far?
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    Well, Pong, I think most Christians are evangelical Christians. To find out what an evangelical Christian is, it might be wise to just look in the dictionary at all the words between evangel and evangelize.

    I think you would discover that various words found in that family revolve around telling other people about salvation as found in Jesus Christ. This would focus on the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus.

    One might wonder what is a non-evangelical Christian. I think this group, if there is such a group, would be very small, indeed. We do object to the preaching of a “social” Gospel as you might get watching someone like Joel Osteen. He can speak for hours or write pages of copy in which the name of Jesus never comes up.

    Again, I have no idea as to your concept of reading at “face value.” To me that would just mean a cursory reading through it and never really looking for what it really says or attempting to study it for its significance or meaning. It is possible that some people do that. I am not sure of the numbers, but I know the number of professing Christians who have actually read the entire Bible is abysmally low.

    As to the idea of what you call “prophecies,” I think they are sometimes thought of in the idea that if someone did not follow God’s directions, God would come down on them. I find much of the words of the prophets actually saying “If you do abc, then xyz is the most likely result. If, instead, you do fgh, then rst will be the likely result.

    The Bible is filled with principles relating to living a successful and productive life. The principles work whether or not one is a believer; it is just more likely that believers were trust the principles and employ them. It tells us that certain types of behaviors are more likely to be productive while other kinds of behaviors are more likely to be counter-productive.

    Someone was using the example of Jonah being sent to Ninevah to tell the Ninevites that they needed to change their ways or else doom and destruction awaited them.

    I do not see this as a situation in which God was going to come down on them, but that their lifestyle was going to cause them problems unless they changed it.

    Perhaps a more modern situation would be if someone went to the doctor who told him that if he did not quit smoking, he would probably die before most of the people in his age group. Now if he does not quit smoking and the doctor’s “prophecy” comes true, it is not the doctor who has caused the person’s death, but his own refusal to change his ways.

    It would be silly to assume that God really wanted to destroy the Ninevites and that He changed His mind. Had he really wanted to destroy Ninevah, he would have never sent Jonah to warn them of their dire situation. He would have let them destroy themselves. The Ninevites, however, did change their ways and much to Jonah’s chagrin, they did avoid doom and destruction.

    Evangelical Christians generally do what Jonah did, except that we are not upset when people repent and change their ways. Evangelicals warn others that they are on a path that leads to doom and destruction and that God wants them to take a different path that leads to redemption and God’s grace. Mitchell sometimes calls this blackmail; I call it telling it like it is.

    If the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is, indeed, the creator and God of the universe and the Bible is his communication to humanity, then there is something of us which survives death. All of us evangelical Christians are like mini-Jonahs, sent to warn the world’s Ninevites that unless they change their ways, they face a very unpleasant, but unnecessary, future.

    Just as the Ninevites of old, modern-day Ninevites can listen or disregard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    This is what I am getting at. EC's believe that they have an immortal spirit within themselves and when they die they will goto the Kingdom of Heaven. And if you're not "Saved" you burn in hellfire for all time without end.

    Is this correct MM? Am I right so far?
    Well this is one of those issues where there is some diversity in the evangelical churches. So perhaps I should start by telling you what my position on this is. I most certainly believe that we have an eternal spirit. I certainly believe that our actions and choices can have eternal consequence that cannot be escaped by something like suicide, for example. I do not put a great deal of stock in the traditional ideas of either heaven or hell. I certainly do not believe that an eternity in hell makes any kind of sense as a punishment from God. And I am absolutely opposed to the believe that God resurrects people just so that He can torture them for an eternity. My position on heaven and hell has a lot of commonalities with that of the Eastern Orthodox church which does not believe that God treats anyone differently and so the differences between heaven and hell are found inside of ourselves in such things as how we percieve and react to the love of God.

    The belief in the immortality of the spirit (or soul) is certainly affirmed by the majority of Christianity in all different denominations, including that largest of denominations, the Catholic church. Probably the largest group opposed to this doctrine are Protestants that are hostile to the Catholic church which does not include the evangelical churches who recognize the Catholic churches as Christian even if the Catholic churches do not quite reciprocate.



    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Well, Pong, I think most Christians are evangelical Christians. To find out what an evangelical Christian is, it might be wise to just look in the dictionary at all the words between evangel and evangelize.
    Yes all Christians believe in the great commission as they also believe they are born again, but this does not mean that "born again Christian" has no distinctive meaning apart from Christian and it does not mean that "the evangelical churches" is not identifiable as a group apart from Christianity as a whole. So I don't think this line of argumentation is very helpful.

    What would be more helpful is try to identify what it is that identifies this group of churches. It is a large group of churches including many organizational groupings but not united in a single organization. Their only unity is found in a common belief about the essential ideas and doctrines that identify a church as Christian and to those they adhere, but outside of those they embrace a some diversity. They are called evangelical churches because their main emphasis is spreading the gospel rather than fighting for some detailed position on doctrine or practice. They are very non-authoritarian, putting their trust in Jesus and the Bible directly rather than in any human authority.

    They tend to believe in the importance of a personal "born-again" conversion experience, and tend to have a strong emphasis on the importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus. And they certainly believe that all Christians are called to share the gospel with others but not necessarily in a proseletyzing activity. Within the diversity of evangelical churches you can see them trying many different ways of making the gospel relevant and meaningful to modern man, usually including at the very least more modern types of Christian music.
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    So... the term "Evangelical Christian" reads kinda like "True Christian" - most would say "Yes of course I am!"

    But then those who make a special point of it, emphasize Christ, as opposed to (the Old Testament) God for example. Christ trumps God... kinda. That's good news to me (do not get excited! ) because I'd reckoned Christians anyway set slaughter-minded generals such as Moses on the highest pedestals.

    If the Old Testament is so irrelevant (and even contrary) to Evangelical Christian ethics, why not just expurgate the thing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Alright. In my metaphysics (i.e my theory of the nature of reality), the non-physical or spiritual are also forms of energy but these differ from the physical in two ways. The first is that physical forms of energy are actually all parts of a single form of energy which is the whole multidimensional space-time structure that is the physical universe, but spiritual forms of energy are not a part of this structure at all. The second is that physical forms of energy have these quantitative characteristics that spiritual forms of energy do not have. Are you with me so far?
    The spiritual is a form of energy, but not any form of energy that has been observed; ie. not part of the space-time structure or specific in characteristic. Correct?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So... the term "Evangelical Christian" reads kinda like "True Christian" - most would say "Yes of course I am!"

    But then those who make a special point of it, emphasize Christ, as opposed to (the Old Testament) God for example. Christ trumps God... kinda. That's good news to me (do not get excited! ) because I'd reckoned Christians anyway set slaughter-minded generals such as Moses on the highest pedestals.

    If the Old Testament is so irrelevant (and even contrary) to Evangelical Christian ethics, why not just expurgate the thing?
    I would not suggest that evangelical Christians are the only "True Christians." A true Christian would be a person who is trusting Jesus Christ for salvation. That would be exemplified by a person who both professes Jesus as Lord and truly believes He is Lord. And that is something only the person and God can actually know for sure.

    I would not say that a person who misunderstands his rights and responsibilities as a Christian is any less Christian than a person who does not understand his rights and responsibilities under the U.S. Constitution is any less an American.

    Nor could I agree that Christians "emphasize" Jesus over God the Father. We consider them one and the same. While Moses may have a pedestal in some peoples' minds, it would never be as high as the pedestal upon which God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit stand.

    We could no more expurgate the Old Testament than mathematics could expurgate addition and subtraction. The New Testament would make no more sense without the Old Testament than calculus would make if you eliminated addition and subtraction.

    The Old Testamant, among other things, shows us why we need a Savior.

    Perhaps Pong could explain in what way he thinks the Old Testament is irrelevant or even contrary, to Christian Ethics.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Alright. In my metaphysics (i.e my theory of the nature of reality), the non-physical or spiritual are also forms of energy but these differ from the physical in two ways. The first is that physical forms of energy are actually all parts of a single form of energy which is the whole multidimensional space-time structure that is the physical universe, but spiritual forms of energy are not a part of this structure at all. The second is that physical forms of energy have these quantitative characteristics that spiritual forms of energy do not have. Are you with me so far?
    The spiritual is a form of energy, but not any form of energy that has been observed; ie. not part of the space-time structure or specific in characteristic. Correct?
    I would not say that it is not observed but only that not being a part of the multidimensional space-time (mathematical) structure they are not observed in a manner gets through that filter of science that accepts only what is observer independent and not in a manner that is ammenable to a consistent mathematical description. Nor would I say that they are not specific in characteristics but only that they are not of a quantitative nature - these are not the same thing, though I do understand that to you these may seem closely related, especially if you presume as most metaphysical naturalists do, that the particulate nature of the physical world is the only reality there is.

    Moving on. One of the most basic parts of this multidimensional space-time mathematical structure, which is the basis of physical law, is that the energy of physical forms is bound by a rule of quantity which we call the conservation of energy (and momentum). But this law is only absolute on a macroscopic scale of space-time because of the uncertainty principle in quantum physics. The uncertainty principles of dE x dt ~ h (Planck's constant) and dp x dx ~ h are actually closely related since E (energy) and p (momentum) as well as t (time) and x (distance) are actually components of the 4 vectors (E,p) and (t,x). Anyway the point is that this most fundamental law of physics binding energy and momentum to definite unchanging quantites has a space-time window in which exceptions can ocurr. This means that energy which is not a part of this conserved quantity (spiritual forms of energy) can interact with that which is (physical forms of energy) as long as it occurs in small enough intervals of space and time. This does not allow such non-conserved non-physical forms of energy to add to the energy or momentum of the physical world on a larger scale but it DOES allow them to change the course of events (in a very subtle manner). Are you with me so far?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Alright. In my metaphysics (i.e my theory of the nature of reality), the non-physical or spiritual are also forms of energy but these differ from the physical in two ways. The first is that physical forms of energy are actually all parts of a single form of energy which is the whole multidimensional space-time structure that is the physical universe, but spiritual forms of energy are not a part of this structure at all. The second is that physical forms of energy have these quantitative characteristics that spiritual forms of energy do not have. Are you with me so far?
    The spiritual is a form of energy, but not any form of energy that has been observed; ie. not part of the space-time structure or specific in characteristic. Correct?
    I would not say that it is not observed but only that not being a part of the multidimensional space-time (mathematical) structure they are not observed in a manner gets through that filter of science that accepts only what is observer independent and not in a manner that is ammenable to a consistent mathematical description. Nor would I say that they are not specific in characteristics but only that they are not of a quantitative nature - these are not the same thing, though I do understand that to you these may seem closely related, especially if you presume as most metaphysical naturalists do, that the particulate nature of the physical world is the only reality there is.

    Moving on. One of the most basic parts of this multidimensional space-time mathematical structure, which is the basis of physical law, is that the energy of physical forms is bound by a rule of quantity which we call the conservation of energy (and momentum). But this law is only absolute on a macroscopic scale of space-time because of the uncertainty principle in quantum physics. The uncertainty principles of dE x dt ~ h (Planck's constant) and dp x dx ~ h are actually closely related since E (energy) and p (momentum) as well as t (time) and x (distance) are actually components of the 4 vectors (E,p) and (t,x). Anyway the point is that this most fundamental law of physics binding energy and momentum to definite unchanging quantites has a space-time window in which exceptions can ocurr. This means that energy which is not a part of this conserved quantity (spiritual forms of energy) can interact with that which is (physical forms of energy) as long as it occurs in small enough intervals of space and time. This does not allow such non-conserved non-physical forms of energy to add to the energy or momentum of the physical world on a larger scale but it DOES allow them to change the course of events (in a very subtle manner). Are you with me so far?
    Yes, but tread carefully over conservation of energy and momentum as you continue, making sure to address them as you go. I'm interested in hearing the 'exceptions' as well, as I'm not aware of any energies that wouldn't be part of the conserved quantity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I would not suggest that evangelical Christians are the only "True Christians."
    Yet, as you said yourself "most Christians are evangelical Christians". Why I offered that "Evangelical Christian" might read as "true Christian". Nobody is claiming EC as a an elite sect. It's like saying "God-loving Christian" - of course most Christians are of the God-loving sort.

    Some Christians might stress an especial focus on loving God, so identify with that label. Just as some Christians might proclaim themselves ECs and give you a poignant look when they say it. Right?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    ...Nor could I agree that Christians "emphasize" Jesus over God the Father. We consider them one and the same. While Moses may have a pedestal in some peoples' minds, it would never be as high as the pedestal upon which God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit stand.

    We could no more expurgate the Old Testament than mathematics could expurgate addition and subtraction. The New Testament would make no more sense without the Old Testament than calculus would make if you eliminated addition and subtraction.

    The Old Testamant, among other things, shows us why we need a Savior.

    Perhaps Pong could explain in what way he thinks the Old Testament is irrelevant or even contrary, to Christian Ethics.
    If Christians don't emphasise Christ, we shouldn't call them Christians. Get real.

    To an outsider, the natural investigation of Christianity starts with the standard Christian bible, beginning at Genesis. In fact most Christians recommend this as the best course. So our outsider reads the rather UFOish creation story, and realizes that few Christians actually believe that as it is written, today. The Earth is a sphere, falling 'round a star. Alright, move on to find what Christians really take from the bible. Well pretty soon the outsider learns that God paces around fuming over petty transgressions and sometimes flips out with a sword or dashes people to bits with His fists of fury. He demands animal blood, sometimes human sacrifices, and appears to be a fire god. Our outsider can't believe the mild Christian who gave the bible really internalizes Old Testament values, heeds the dictates, or worships such a God.

    Unless perhaps that mild Christian is a sad pawn of child abuse.

    So turn a great many pages, to Jesus. Now here's a God who really loves us and wants to prove it. God has changed. In fact the stuff He commanded for all eternity, before, He's had a change of heart about, 'cause He's so full of love. We may all loosen up now, so long as there's plenty of love going around. Right?

    Most atheists agree.

    I've explained in what way I think the Old Testament is irrelevant or even contrary, to the ethics of Christ. Must Christians expose future generations to the Old Testament, so they better know the way of Christ? I don't think so.

    I can live with Christians surely as I can live with Christ. But a person maintaining some collection of Old Testament beliefs I've got to be wary of. I want to know just what particulars they believe. I've got the police on speed-dial and I'm ready to call Family Services.
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Yes, but tread carefully over conservation of energy and momentum as you continue, making sure to address them as you go. I'm interested in hearing the 'exceptions' as well, as I'm not aware of any energies that wouldn't be part of the conserved quantity.
    I don't know what you mean by your first statement. The discovery of quantum physics is that the laws of conservation of energy and momentum are only observed on the larger (non-quantum) scale of space time. This is what those uncertainty principles (dE dt ~ h and dp dx ~ h) mean. dE represent the energy that can appear out of nowhere and dt represent the time during which this energy can remain in existence. To understand one example of how this plays a role in modern physics do some reading (like in Wikipedia) on the topic of vacuum fluctuations (an effect of which is Hawking radiation), but it plays a rather general role in quantum field theory allowing Feynman diagrams (part of the calculation of the strengths of particle interations) that violate conservation of energy-momentum. This does not contradict the usual conservation of energy-momentum because the energy which appears out of nowhere does not last but disappears again with a short period of time, inversely proportional to the amount of energy involved: dt ~ h/dE.

    What caution is necessary at this point is to say that despite the scientific/physics issues being disucussed here, the main postulate I am proposing, that these quantum scale energy conservation violations represent interaction with non-physical energy is not in any way shape or form any kind of physics or science. If the Copenhagen Interpretations of quantum physics (and the Everett Many Worlds Interpretation really changes nothing either) is correct then these events are fundamentally random and unpredictable, meaning what particular thing happens cannot be assigned any physical cause, for any such cause would be a hidden variable theory and this has been disproven by the failure Bell's inequality. Now certainly you can argue that a fringe minority of physicists continue to dispute this and continue to seek some way to restore physical determinism in a non-local formulation, but so far such attempts have yielded nothing, and all the judgements of the scientific method are in favor of the Copenhagen interpretation. But this lack of a physical cause for the details in some events leaves the way open for a philosopher or theologian to suggest the possibility for the role of non-physical causes in these events.

    To move on we would next discuss how such quantum events can have an impact on the course of events in large scale phenomena, and why this is particularly significant in the phenomenon of life.
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    pong said:

    Yet, as you said yourself "most Christians are evangelical Christians". Why I offered that "Evangelical Christian" might read as "true Christian". Nobody is claiming EC as a an elite sect. It's like saying "God-loving Christian" - of course most Christians are of the God-loving sort.

    Some Christians might stress an especial focus on loving God, so identify with that label. Just as some Christians might proclaim themselves ECs and give you a poignant look when they say it. Right?
    I have no idea what you are trying to get at here. I said most Christians because I have no evidence or knowledge that precludes the possibility that there are non-evangelical Christians. But I do not even know what one would call a non-evangelical Christian other than non-evangelical. I think it would be very difficult to single out a sect or denomination of Christians and claim them to be, as a group, non-evangelical. Some are more active in their evangelical activities than others, but I'm not aware of any Christian group which does not attempt to bring others into their flock. Even as to the matter of "loving" God, I suppose there are different degrees to which different people love God and they all have different ways of showing or manifesting it. You would find these differences within individual members of any group.

    You seem to be suggesting that one group may consider itself more Christian or more devout or more something else than a different group. I could not fully disagree that some people or some groups may have such an attitude. There are certainly groups which mainstream Christianity sort of rejects considering them not to be legitimate Christians such as LDS and JWs. But, oddly enough, they are, perhaps to some extent, more evangelical than most mainstream denominations!!! They have a different core teaching concerning the diety of Christ. Briefly, mainstream Christianity would claim that unless Jesus is God Himself, He lacks both the power and authority to forgive sin or to redeem sinners.

    The rest of your post seems sadly lacking in knowledge about Christianity or what Christians do or think. What you are saying sounds like stuff you heard from somebody else (like Richard Dawkins, maybe?), and since it sounded good you thought you could repeat it. Some of the things are so far out of whack, they cannot be your personal observations, because they are just not representative of the way things are.

    I think it highly unlikely that any knowledgeable Christian would tell you to start reading the Bible at Genesis. If you were a new believer, just about any Christian would tell you to start with the book of John.

    Jesus and the God of the Old Testament are one and the same God, but I am sure our concept of one God in three persons is so totally foreign to your atheist thinking, that it is useless to mention. They are equal, they are the same. As such, it is impossible to emphasize one over the other although you can differentiate between the personhoods involved. It is like saying your foot is more you than your pancreas and that your pancreas is more you than your clavical.

    I would suspect your knowledge of the Old Testement is extremely limited. You did not even seem to catch on to the joke when I said I did not feel uncomfortable ignoring the first eight chapters of I Chronicals. To your benefit, a lot of Christians would probably miss the joke there, too.

    I am not sure what your non-sequiter "Most atheists agree" is about. So what do they agree on?

    And also, you are not very clear as to which Old Testament beliefs and practices that are being employed today are a problem.
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    Where does this belief of an "immortal soul inside of me" come from? Passages from the KJV? I would like to see some.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Where does this belief of an "immortal soul inside of me" come from? Passages from the KJV? I would like to see some.
    The word Trinity is not found anywhere in the Bible and yet most Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. Likewise the phrase "immortal soul" is not found in the Bible either. So to answer this question you must examine what is meant by these words. If you look up "immortal" in a dictionary you will find that that the relevant definitions are "not subject to death", "not to be forgotten" and "everlasting". So does the doctrine of the "immortality of the soul" mean that the spirit is not subject to death? NO, it does not. Quite the contrary, Jesus himself make many references to the death of the spirit and the soul, and throughout the New Testament the constant choice between life and death is not between the physical life and physical death, but between the life and death of the spirit. No the doctrine of "the immortality of the soul" does not mean that the soul is not subject to death any more than the doctrine of the Trinity means that Trinitarian Christians believe in three gods. Instead the meaning of this doctrne is to be found in the last of these definitions of "immortal" as everlasting.

    It is kind of the whole point of Christianity that eternal existence and eternal life are two very different things. When Jesus and the Bible talk about the promise of eternal life, is this talking about the opportunity to exist forever in hell? Of course not. Heaven and eternal life are the same thing. But that means that eternal hell represents an eternal existence that is NOT eternal life. Therefore what this doctrine of the immortality of the soul really means is that nonexistence is not an option. It means that there really is no escape and no easy way out by simply ceasing to exist and the closest you can get to that is hell.

    But because of the ambiguity in the word "immortal" we can truthfully say that the spirit is NOT "immortal", meaning that the spirit most certainly IS subject to death. In fact this is exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden. God said to Adam that on the day he ate of the fruit he would die, and so he did, but it was not a physical death but a death of the spirit. But we are all dead in the spirit until we are called out of death by the gospel and the work of God into new life. And that means that the death of the spirit was never a cessation of existence but only a lack of life.

    Now to give you a rather a better passage with which to oppose this doctrine if you choose to do so, I introduce 1 Timothy 6:14-16.

    "I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see.

    But 1 Tim 6:16 saying that only God has immortality makes perfect sense to me, because it is only in a relationship with God that we can have eternal life. Apart from God there is no eternal life, but this does not mean the same thing as eternal existence and so there is no contradiction between this and the doctrine of the "immortality of the soul" though it may be better to call the doctrine by a different name for better clarity such as the "indestructibility of the spirit" or the "eternal existence of the spirit", if you like.

    In answer to the question of where this doctrine comes from the answer is quite similar to where the doctrine of the Trinity came from and this is in exploring the implications of everything the Bible teaches and seeking a consistent rational picture that fits everything it says.
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    I see what you are saying about the meaning of "immortal". Even the fictional charachter, Dracula is "immortal". Is Dracula industructable? No. Even he can be 'turned to dust' or whatever with a quick stab to the heart with a wooden spike.

    Even Matt 10:28 says - "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

    A physical body is destroyed by the proccess of decay, and a spiritual body is destroyed by God in hell.

    There are actually 3 hells in the bible. The Grave (for man), The Prison for the renegade Angels, and Gehenna (Godfire that consumes spirit from within until it is no more).

    So both can be destroyed but they are different. You are either Body, or Spirit. Not both.
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    Just special for Joe(Oh). The words which can be translated soul in the Bible are used in:

    Old Testement


    Gen 2:7; 12:13; 17:14; 19:20; 27:4, 19, 25, 31; 34:3, 8; 35:18; 42:21; 49:6
    Ex 12:15, 19; 30:12; 31:14
    Lev 4:2; 5: 1,2,4,15,17; 6:2; 7:18,20,21,25,27; 17:10,11,12,15:19:8; 20:6; 22:3,6,11; 23: 29,30; 26:11, 15, 30, 43
    Num 9:13; 11:6; 15:27,28,30,31; 19:13,20,22; 21:4,5; 30:2,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13; 31:28
    Deut 4:9,29; 6:5; 10:12; 11:13,18; 12:15;20,21; 13:3,5; 14:26; 26:16; 30:2,6,10
    Josh 22:5
    Jud 5:21; 10:16; 16;16
    1Sam 1:10,15,26; 2:16; 17:55; 18:1,3; 20:3,4,17; 23:20; 24:11; 25:26,29; 26:21; 30:6
    2Sam 4:9; 5:8; 11:11; 13:39; 14:19
    1Kings 1:29; 2:4; 8:48; 11:37; 17:21,22
    2Kings 2:2,4,6; 4:27,30; 23:3,25
    1Chron 22:19
    2Chron 6:38; 15:12; 34:31
    Job 3:20; 6:7; 7:11,15; 9:21; 10:1; 12:10; 14:22; 16:4; 19:2; 21:25; 23:13; 24:12; 27:2,8; 30:15,16,25; 31:30; 33:18,20,22,28,30
    Psalms 3:2; 6:3,4; 7:2,5; 11:1,5; 13:2; 16:2,10; 17:13; 19:7; 22:20,29; 23:3; 24:4; 25:1,13,20; 26:9; 30:3; 31:7,9: 33:19,20; 34:2,22; 35:3,4,7,9,12,13,17; 40:14; 41:4; 42:1,2,4,5,6,11; 43:5; 44:25; 49:8,15,18; 54:3,4; 55:18; 56:6,13; 57:1,4,6; 59:3; 62:1,5; 63:1,5,8,9; 66:9,16; 69:1,10,18; 70:2; 71:10,13,23; 72:14; 74:19; 77:2; 78:50; 84:2; 86:2,4,13,14; 88:3, 14; 89:48; 94:17,19,21; 103:1,2,22; 104:1,35; 106:15; 107:5,9,18,26; 109:20,31; 116:4,7,8; 119:20,25,28,81,109,129,167,175; 120:2,6; 121:7; 123:4; 124:4,5,7; 130:5,6; 131:2; 138:3; 139:14; 141:8; 142:4,7; 143:3,6,8,11,12; 146:1
    Prov 2:10; 3:22; 6:30,32; 8:36; 10:3; 11:17,25; 13:2,4,19,25; 15:32; 16:17,24; 18:7; 19:2,8,15,16,18; 20:2; 21:10,23; 22:5,23,25; 23:14; 24:12,14; 25:13,25; 27:7; 29:10,17,24
    Ecc 2:24; 4:8; 6:2,3; 7:28
    Song 1:7; 3:1,2,3,4; 5:6; 6:12
    Isa 1:14; 3:9; 10:18; 26:8,9; 29:8; 32:6; 38:15,17; 42:1; 44:20; 51:23; 53:10,11,12; 55:2,3; 58:3,5,10,11; 61:10; 66:3
    Jer 4:10,19,31; 5:9; 6:8; 9:9; 12:7; 13:17; 14:19; 18:20; 20:13; 31:12,14,25; 31:41; 38:16,17,20; 50:19; 51:6,45
    Lam 1:11,16; 2:12; 3:17,20,24,25,58
    Eze 3:19,21; 4:14; 18:4,20,27; 24:21; 33:5,9
    Hos 9:4
    Jon 2:5,7
    Mic 6:7; 7:1
    Hab 2:4,10
    Zec 11:8

    New Testament

    Math 10:28; 12:18; 16:26; 22:37; 26:38
    Mark 8:36,37; 12:30,33; 14:34
    Luke 1:46; 2:35; 10:27; 12:19,20
    John 12:27
    Acts 2:27,31,43; 3:23; 4:32
    Rom 2:9; 13:1
    1Cor 15:45
    2Cor 1:23
    1Thes 5:23
    Heb 4:12; 6:19; 10:38,39
    Jam 5:20
    1Pet 2:11
    2Pet 2:8
    3Jhn 2
    Rev 16:3; 18:14

    Knowing my typing skills, I suggest there could be errors in the list so I suggest you check them all out.

    Surely a study of all of those verses would give you some indication of what the Bible has to say about our souls.

    If those are inadequate, I could also list out all the places where the plural form of the words are used. I hesitate to suggest this; but I could probably also provide a similar list of similar length of all the places where the Bible uses the word spirit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Even Matt 10:28 says - "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

    A physical body is destroyed by the proccess of decay, and a spiritual body is destroyed by God in hell.
    The spirit-destroyer god is another of those gods that some Christians believe in but which I do not believe in at all. Nor do I believe in a god which is like a gunman who thinks he can get what he wants by waving a gun around. Such a god has the same contempt and disregard from me that I would have for the gunman.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    So both can be destroyed but they are different.
    That may be your belief (who can tell?), but it is certainly not mine and I do not think it is consistent with the whole Bible. The spirit is not of a nature that it can be destroyed in the sense of being made to stop existing by some external force. The spirit simply is what it is and so the only way it can be "destroyed" or die is again by being what it is, which therefore means that this being "destroyed" is not really any kind of ceasing to exist but more like an eternal hell or darkness. What you describe would certainly be a more pleasant prospect for the damned, but I do not think it is correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    You are either Body, or Spirit. Not both.
    Again this may be your belief but it is not mine, nor it is consistent with the Bible, for I can give you hundreds of passages in the Bible where it talks of a person having a spirit while they are still alive and have a physical body. Here is a small sample: Gen 41:8, Job 15:13, Ps 32:2, Ecc 11:5, Dan 2:1, Matthew 26:41, Luke 8:55, Rom 8:10-16, James 2:26.

    What is considerably less conventional about my personal beliefs (and certainly harder to establish by Biblical references) is that our spirit is neither given to us by God at birth, nor is it static and unchanging. Rather I believe that our spirit is our own creation and that it is created by our own choices. My only Biblical reference is 1 Cor 15:36-37 which describes the spiritual body as growing from the physical body like wheat from a seed. Consistency with the rest of the Bible requires an acknowlegement of the ambiguity of the word "spirit". Again part of the problem is that there are many parts and aspects of our existence for which we have too little words, and what I am calling the spirit is possibly just some part that I am particularly interested in, whereas I have little doubt that whole of the truth is much larger than my understanding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    pong said:

    Yet, as you said yourself "most Christians are evangelical Christians". Why I offered that "Evangelical Christian" might read as "true Christian". Nobody is claiming EC as a an elite sect. It's like saying "God-loving Christian" - of course most Christians are of the God-loving sort.

    Some Christians might stress an especial focus on loving God, so identify with that label. Just as some Christians might proclaim themselves ECs and give you a poignant look when they say it. Right?
    I have no idea what you are trying to get at here... I do not even know what one would call a non-evangelical Christian other than non-evangelical. I think it would be very difficult to single out a sect or denomination of Christians and claim them to be, as a group, non-evangelical. Some are more active in their evangelical activities than others
    What I'm getting at? If "Evangelical" has any meaning, we label those more active in their evangelical activities "Evangelical". That doesn't negate less pronounced evangelism of other Christians. Why's that so hard to swallow? Is it otherwise?

    Your words seem canny and even adversarial. Let me make this clear: I do not oppose your faith. I want you to go on believing. And I don't intend to trap you with words in debate. Clear? So let us be forthright, Christian.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    You seem to be suggesting that one group may consider itself more Christian or more devout or more something else than a different group. I could not fully disagree...
    This dancing around is irksome. Is it settled that those who explicitly hyphenate themselves as "Evangelical Christians" consider evangelism of special importance? Please.

    From here we can ask why a Christian would highlight evangelism more than others. There must be some cause or rationale. What do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The rest of your post seems sadly lacking in knowledge about Christianity or what Christians do or think. What you are saying sounds like stuff you heard from somebody else (like Richard Dawkins, maybe?), and since it sounded good you thought you could repeat it. Some of the things are so far out of whack, they cannot be your personal observations, because they are just not representative of the way things are.
    I'm not a Christian, nor from Christian family, have very limited experience with Christianity. And here I am granting you authority to... evangelize. So give me a fucking break.

    No Dawkins. I have read him on genetics but refuse to hear that overly quoted prophet on religion. I'm not that kind of atheist and won't ever be. My sadly out of whack understanding of your religion is my own. My limited thoughts and words are my own.

    You're obstructing and mocking my newbie attempts to learn about your religion. And you rate yourself an evangelical Christian? I'll go around you if I have to.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I would suspect your knowledge of the Old Testement is extremely limited. You did not even seem to catch on to the joke...
    "Ha ha." You're right: I don't get it.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am not sure what your non-sequiter "Most atheists agree" is about. So what do they agree on?
    Here it is again. Just read the statements in order:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    We may all loosen up now, so long as there's plenty of love going around. Right?

    Most atheists agree.
    Does not compute?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think it highly unlikely that any knowledgeable Christian would tell you to start reading the Bible at Genesis. If you were a new believer, just about any Christian would tell you to start with the book of John.
    Many times I've been encouraged to read the Christian bible, among others. You're the first Christian who ever (accidentally) suggested where to begin. I'm going to reconsider John in that light.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And also, you are not very clear as to which Old Testament beliefs and practices that are being employed today are a problem.
    How about, those behaviours which if repeated today would be instantly recognized as criminal, or insane. There is a tremendous amount of hatred in the Old Testament. You must see that. If I voiced that kind of hatred today, in those terms, publicly or privately, I'd be guilty of hate crime for sure and quite possibly charged.

    I wasn't so much attacking "problems" as asking for straight answers. What is definitely "out"? Killing children in war? Beating children to improve them? Appearing naked before our parents? The list goes on. So you tell me what's followed and what's disregarded. Is there a neat formula to separate good from bad? Or a list? I don't feel the onus should be on me to attack each particular and then gauge by a Christian's reaction whether that is held or not. Christians claim to follow a code of some kind. Not that kind of code that needs a cipher.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The discovery of quantum physics is that the laws of conservation of energy and momentum are only observed on the larger (non-quantum) scale of space time.
    Are you saying that energy conservation can be violated at the quantum scale, or only appear to be violated? The energy is still conserved, is it not?

    To move on we would next discuss how such quantum events can have an impact on the course of events in large scale phenomena, and why this is particularly significant in the phenomenon of life.
    I'm listening.
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    Pong:

    Those of we Christians who post on this kind of forum are not at all familiar with a person being here who is actually and honestly searching. We are use to people who seek explanations only for the purpose of attacking them. Thus, we have learned to be somewhat equivocating in our approach. On top of that, I'm not so sure this is a good place to get the kind of basic Christian teaching one should be getting if one is honestly seeking to know God.

    The Christians here probably emphasize apologetics over evangelism. Mostly, we are here in a very defensive stance. While the ultimate goal may be evangelistic in nature, it is certainly different from serving as a preacher, or as a missionary or in one-on-one descipleship of a person. We mostly attempt to respond to that which we feel is misinformation or disinformation. Many of the atheists and agnostics who post here are quite knowledgeable about the Bible and are well schooled and indoctrinated on how to distort it.

    Just so you will know, the "joke" about 1Chronicals 1-8 was that those chapters are a long list of the genealogies of the families who came out of Egypt in the Exodus. Not much direction or meaning found in there.

    I don't think Christians "ignore" any of the Old Testament although we certainly recognize the 2,000 A.D. was vastly different from 2,000 B.C. It becomes important to try to understand how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament. These relationships are not something that are always completely obvious.

    Christians, for example, do not believe the main purpose of the Old Testament law and commands was to teach right from wrong -- they already knew what was right and wrong and other social groups without the benefit of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob pretty much had the same rules. It is not as though it was OK to commit homicide up until Moses received the 10 Commandments.

    Christians generally believe the purpose of the law and commandments was to show us our inability to live up to them and, thus, our need for a savior.

    Jesus said the entirety of the law is summed up in two commandments. No. 1 is Deut. 6-4,5 -- "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." And No. 2 is Lev. 19:18 -- "[T]hou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. . ." Just about everything else is merely fleshing out how those things can be accomplished or missed.

    Those two "laws" have in no way been repealed. Both the people of Old Testament times and people of today are directly and individually subject to them. If we, in any way, fail to fullfil those requirements, we have failed to live up to God's standards and are alienated from Him.

    Thus we need a process whereby we can be reconciled. So the issue is not so much the "badness" of our conduct, since we all have some "bad" conduct on our record. The issue is whether we recognize that our "bad" conduct has alienated us from God, that we are in need of redemption, and whether we are willing to accept the free gift of salvation God has offered us.
    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. -- Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    Are you saying that energy conservation can be violated at the quantum scale, or only appear to be violated? The energy is still conserved, is it not?
    The classical law of conservation of energy is actually violated. This means that quantum physics reformulates this classical law to allow these exceptions in very short periods of time.

    Energy is conserved in the long run but not in the short run. In very small periods of time energy can appear from nowhere as if there is a bank somewhere that physical processes can go to in order to get short term loans. In the case of vacuum fluctuations, particle and antiparticle appear out of nothing then annihilate and the energy vanishes back into the nothingness it came from. In the case of Hawking radiation it is the black hole that eventually pays back the energy loan by losing mass even though nothing is supposed to be able to escape from the black hole.


    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    To move on we would next discuss how such quantum events can have an impact on the course of events in large scale phenomena, and why this is particularly significant in the phenomenon of life.
    I'm listening.
    In 1944 Erwin Schrodinger wrote a tiny little book called "What is life?" In this book this famous quantum physicist makes the argument that quantum physics can have no impact on the process of life. However science at that time was just on the verge of discovering that scientists had made an enormous systematic oversight in the way it had been handling the more difficult mathematical problems that it routinely faces. This discovery would blow Schrodinger's argument out of the water. It is an interesting story because it was simutaneously discovered in many different branches of science from efforts to discover why mathematical calculations were failing to predict actual phenomena in many case. The culprit turned out to be the routine practice of getting solutions to non-linear equations by means of linear approximations. It was discovered that the non-linear equations had properties that the linear approximations did not. This was the birth of the science of chaos.

    In linear equations small perturbations remain small and thus if they are random they will average out and have no effect on large scale phenomena. This was exactly the argument that Schrodinger used in his little book. But non-linear equations can amplify some small perturbations while damping out the others so that the perturbations do not average out and the large scale phenomena ends up being determined by the most insignificant happenings. This is the nature of so called butterfly effect, which says that the nonlinear equations governing the weather can amplify the movement of a single butterfly ignoring the movements of all the other butterflies so that what that one butterfly does ends up determining the weather patterns a week later on the other side of the world. A scientist by the name of Illya Prigogine managed to prove that the initial conditions of a system governed by nonlinear equations might actually have to be specified to an infinite degree of precision before the results could be predictable. But this means that quantum phenomena and events can no longer be ruled as insignificant in large scale phenomena when non-linear equations are involved.

    The connection to life is made by a wonderful book by Erich Jantsch titled "The Self Organizing Universe" who shows how the properties non-linear equations provides the basis for self-organizing phenomenon in far from equillibrium systems. The book is a must read for anyone considering the possiblity of abiogenesis, for the book makes a very good case that the non-linear equations governing the behavior of many physcial systems naturally leads to type of self-organizing phenomenon that could lead to the development of life. I have become convinced that the development of life is such a self organizing phenomena that develops toward increasing non-linearity for it is by this process that such systems achieves the characteristic behavior of living things of acting independent of its environment. This increasing non-linearlity exploits a process of amplifying of quantum indeterminacy in order to provide the driving force of "evolution" (the progressive development of life from even before there was any RNA or DNA) and which is therefore the essense of life itself. What drives this development of life (and thus evolution) is a creative or upredictable response to environmental change known in the theory of evolution as variation.

    So how is this so far? Any questions? The next step is to consider some rather fundamental but widespread misconcpetions concerning the theory of evolution itself. These are important because when corrected they profoundly change ones understanding of the nature of the process of life in general.
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    MM, I went and checked all the verses you stated and from what I read, the word "spirit" was used as the state of a persons mind. It doesnt show that they actually had a spirit inside their physical bodies. You'd have to try harder than that to prove scriptually that there is a spirit that a person has inside them when they are alive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    MM, I went and checked all the verses you stated and from what I read, the word "spirit" was used as the state of a persons mind. It doesnt show that they actually had a spirit inside their physical bodies. You'd have to try harder than that to prove scriptually that there is a spirit that a person has inside them when they are alive.
    Yes that interpretation works well with a couple passages (Gen 41:8, Dan 2:1) and can be made to fit a few more (Job 15:13, Ps 32:2, Matt 26:41) and no doubt you can come up with other ways to explain away Ecc 11:5, Luke 8:55, Rom 8:10-16, and James 2:26 no matter how much they sound like they are talking about people having a spirit before they are dead. After all, I claim no authority to tell you how you must understand the Bible, and what I said really had no such intention. However, the point is that perhaps you can understand some the reasons for my point of view that this belief that people have no spirit while they are alive contradicts the Bible, at least as I read it and try to understand it with my limitations as a finite and ignorant human being.

    By contrast, to be fair, as I did last time with that verse from Timothy, we can talk about one of my favorite chapters of the Bible, which might be thought to support your point of view as well: 1 Cor 15, more specifically verse 53: "For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality." But since this is in the context of discussing the resurrection through all of chapter 15 and in verse 45 contrasting Adam as a living being versus Christ being a life giving spirit, I believe we have this concept of eternal life playing a role here which I believe is what the resurrection is all about: going from physical bodies with a dead spirit to living spirits like that of Jesus in His resurrection. Anyway I believe that this is a more balanced view that takes all of the Bible into account, in my humble opinion, rather than taking a simpler view suggested by certain passages in isolation.

    Again I repeat that I claim no authority in this and would not only say that you have every right to go to the word of God directly to make up own mind about such things but I even think that this is a much better course for you to take than to listen to what I say. I can only rejoice that you feel that the word of God speaks to you so CLEARLY, but nevertheless I must firmly insist that the understanding that I get from the Bible is quite different and I repudiate your right to pass judgement on me or other Evangelical Christians just because they don't share your view, for it seems to me that their viewpoint stands on solid ground.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Pong:

    Those of we Christians who post on this kind of forum are not at all familiar with a person being here who is actually and honestly searching. We are use to people who seek explanations only for the purpose of attacking them. Thus, we have learned to be somewhat equivocating in our approach. On top of that, I'm not so sure this is a good place to get the kind of basic Christian teaching one should be getting if one is honestly seeking to know God.

    The Christians here probably emphasize apologetics over evangelism. Mostly, we are here in a very defensive stance. While the ultimate goal may be evangelistic in nature, it is certainly different from serving as a preacher, or as a missionary or in one-on-one descipleship of a person. We mostly attempt to respond to that which we feel is misinformation or disinformation. Many of the atheists and agnostics who post here are quite knowledgeable about the Bible and are well schooled and indoctrinated on how to distort it.

    Just so you will know, the "joke" about 1Chronicals 1-8 was that those chapters are a long list of the genealogies of the families who came out of Egypt in the Exodus. Not much direction or meaning found in there.

    I don't think Christians "ignore" any of the Old Testament although we certainly recognize the 2,000 A.D. was vastly different from 2,000 B.C. It becomes important to try to understand how the Old Testament relates to the New Testament. These relationships are not something that are always completely obvious.

    Christians, for example, do not believe the main purpose of the Old Testament law and commands was to teach right from wrong -- they already knew what was right and wrong and other social groups without the benefit of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob pretty much had the same rules. It is not as though it was OK to commit homicide up until Moses received the 10 Commandments.

    Christians generally believe the purpose of the law and commandments was to show us our inability to live up to them and, thus, our need for a savior.

    Jesus said the entirety of the law is summed up in two commandments. No. 1 is Deut. 6-4,5 -- "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." And No. 2 is Lev. 19:18 -- "[T]hou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. . ." Just about everything else is merely fleshing out how those things can be accomplished or missed.

    Those two "laws" have in no way been repealed. Both the people of Old Testament times and people of today are directly and individually subject to them. If we, in any way, fail to fullfil those requirements, we have failed to live up to God's standards and are alienated from Him.

    Thus we need a process whereby we can be reconciled. So the issue is not so much the "badness" of our conduct, since we all have some "bad" conduct on our record. The issue is whether we recognize that our "bad" conduct has alienated us from God, that we are in need of redemption, and whether we are willing to accept the free gift of salvation God has offered us.
    OK thanks for dropping your guard.

    :wink:

    Perhaps I make too much of the Old Testament. What I get from Christians regarding that is: yes of course it's essential and true, but let's talk about Christ...

    Because without Christ, Christians may as well be Hindu or Atheist or whatever; the old God just wouldn't cut it? As a thought experiment: Suppose Jesus isn't born yet, or was less than full and ultimate embodiment of God. Would you be Jewish, Muslim, or what? Another funny question: suppose Christ (and I mean the true son of God) was born in Burma, spoke and acted to Buddhists just the same, with just the same outcome. Would Christianity emerged from Burma be not just culturally flavoured but fundamentally different or impossible?

    Those two commandments you gave form quite the love triangle don't they? The plots are endless. o.O

    Those aren't the first two of the "Ten". (?) So the original set got trumped by Deuteronomy 6-4,5 and Leviticus 19:18, known to Christians as "one and two" respectively? <_<

    "One" is plain enough. We see it repeated over and over and over.

    "Two" though, appears as a clause buried in a list between various civic duties and a call for genetic segregation. In full: "Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." ...which suggests to me "neighbour" referred to intimate free men of a town, citizen peers of a "people". The literal meaning - not servants or outsiders... and goes without saying not women either, since they're consistently uncounted and only appear as afterthoughts to the man's world. I wish universal compassion were the #2 commandment though, and totally agree with Christians feeling it ought to be. In current belief it is.

    On the other hand, we could someday extend a state speed limit around elementary schools to mean no hyperspace within a light year of university planets. Like you said, 2,000 A.D. is vastly different from 2,000 B.C.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The classical law of conservation of energy is actually violated. This means that quantum physics reformulates this classical law to allow these exceptions in very short periods of time.

    Energy is conserved in the long run but not in the short run. In very small periods of time energy can appear from nowhere as if there is a bank somewhere that physical processes can go to in order to get short term loans. In the case of vacuum fluctuations, particle and antiparticle appear out of nothing then annihilate and the energy vanishes back into the nothingness it came from. In the case of Hawking radiation it is the black hole that eventually pays back the energy loan by losing mass even though nothing is supposed to be able to escape from the black hole.
    Yes, this is what I have understood. We're on the same page.


    So how is this so far? Any questions? The next step is to consider some rather fundamental but widespread misconcpetions concerning the theory of evolution itself. These are important because when corrected they profoundly change ones understanding of the nature of the process of life in general.
    If the misconceptions are for the purpose of discussion, please feel free, but if they are for my enlightenment, don't worry about it, unless of course, you wish to enlighten some of our peeps, like Dayton, for example, who really needs to understand those misconceptions.
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    It's strange when I point out several verses that say that we dont have anything immortal inside of our bodies you accuse me of attacking your faith. That's something you need to reputiate yourself. It's not the faith, it's the mis-interpretation. Dont you think I tried to look for the phrase "immortal" and/or "soul" with the exhaustive online bible search engines on several websites?

    All who die are merely in a dreamless sleep until the time of the great ressurection when all who died shall be raised incorruptable. It's the perfect memory of God who keeps us from slipping into total oblivion.

    Jesus and the Holy Spirit come from the KoH, so they shall return. We are from the "dust and clay" of the earth, and so shall we return.

    As far as I see, this is good news. At least this way we know (from scripture) that if an 8 year old dies and isnt "saved" that they aren't burning in hell forever. Or can we bend the rules for that kid so we dont feel bad about our "fire and brimstone" philosiphy...
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    Quote Originally Posted by (Q)
    If the misconceptions are for the purpose of discussion, please feel free, but if they are for my enlightenment, don't worry about it, unless of course, you wish to enlighten some of our peeps, like Dayton, for example, who really needs to understand those misconceptions.
    Well the kind of misconception about evolution that I am talking about is not the sort that Dayton or a creationist might have causing them to refute it, but the sort of misconception that an atheist might have. I came accross this in as study of mutagenesis where I discovered that damage to our DNA was something that was ocurring all time but that we have, even bacteria have a very efficient system of repairing all that damage. And then I found out that in studies of mutations in bacteria occurring as a result of damage from ultra-violet radiation, something very unusual was ocurring. A special molecule made by the bacterial would find and cover the damage to protect that damage to their DNA done by the radiation from their own DNA repair mechanism. When I read this, it became quite apparent that all those popular explanations of evolution that describe variation as coming from damage and mistakes were completely incorrect.

    The point is that there is nothing accidental about the variation that drives evolution but that one part of the evolution of life is the development of inventive ways to create this variation. From a scientific point of view this is important because it means that this variation is NOT purely random but under the controls of the organism and the natural selection process to make sure that the types of variation produced are more likely to be productive rather than destructive. From this point of view, I think we can even see a correlation between periods in the history of evolution with an explosive generation of new diversity with the development of some new technique for introducing variations (that are more likely to be productive) into the genetic code. I believe that the development of sexual reproduction was one of the most important of these.

    Anyway from the philosophical perspective, the point is that evolution is not something that simply happens to living things but something that living things do intentionally, and that creativity is part of the essential nature of life itself, which can ultimately be seen as deriving from this nonlinear amplification of quantum indeterminacy. Furthermore this is a nature of living things that goes beyond merely being a source of genetic variation but is part of this non-linear process by which self-organizing phenomena occurs in general. This is important because it means you can have a development of life in physical processes in other ways than the biological one based on the evolution of the genetic code. This is important in the next step, which is to see how the human mind can be another example of such a self-organizing physical phenomena, ocurring in the interaction and processing of information in the human brain.
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    Joe(Oh) said:

    strange when I point out several verses that say that we dont have anything immortal inside of our bodies you accuse me of attacking your faith. That's something you need to reputiate yourself. It's not the faith, it's the mis-interpretation.
    It seems to me that Joe is the one who feels attacked by those who don't agree with his unorthodox interpretation. My faith holds strong in the idea that we are born with "something" that is headed for eternity. This I would consider the soul which we do not have a choice about having, nor do we have the capacity to deny its survival beyond death.

    It would seem to me this "something" is not physical, but perhaps some energy form which somehow attaches to the person and will survive the death of the body. It is destined to exist eternally in eternity.

    Eternity, meanwhile, seems to have more than one "place;" how many I cannot guess. However, it does not appear that God is in charge of the entirety of eternity, but only that area which we call the Kingdom of Heaven. While that part of us which is eternal is destined to enter eternity, it is not destined to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but some other area of eternity beyond the influence of God. God, however, offers us the gift of admission to that part of eternity over which he dominates.

    This, of course, is only my own conjecture. We are not given much information concerning eternity, only that it exists and that we will end up there.

    As to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the concept is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

    While the King James version of the Bible never actually uses the word "indwelling" there are verses which make that indication and it is possible that some other translations may actually use that word.

    Ezekian 36:27 -- "I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

    John 14:17 -- "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

    Romans 8:9 -- "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Chris, he is none of his."

    I Corinthians 3:16 -- "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

    I John 2:27 -- "But the anointing which ye have receive of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointed teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him."

    I suspect you will not find that these verses satisfy your rigid rejection of this concept, but it does seem that something dwells in us and if that ain't indwelling, I dunno what is.

    Even though I have been a Christian for more than 30 years, I am not clear on what it is of us that survives into eternity, only that something does and it is better if whatever it is ends up in the Kingdom of Heaven rather that some other place
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Ezekian 36:27, John 14:17, Romans 8:9, I Corinthians 3:16, I John 2:27,

    I suspect you will not find that these verses satisfy your rigid rejection of this concept, but it does seem that something dwells in us and if that ain't indwelling, I dunno what is.
    These all seem to be talking about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which may not be something that everyone has, and this certainly has no connection with the idea of someone ending up in hell, does it?



    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    It's strange when I point out several verses that say that we dont have anything immortal inside of our bodies you accuse me of attacking your faith.
    Ho hum, here we go again... just when you were starting to stick to the facts istead of indulging in baseless accusations. My response to every Biblical passage you have raised has been complete seriousness and equanimity. These words "attacking your faith" are your words which no one else has used.

    I guess bad habits are so hard to break. This one has got to be the most ridiculous accusation of all considering that the best verses of the type you mention that are actually quoted in this thread were done so by me rather than you. Well since you broached of the topic of your own attacks I will take a look at some of these at the end of this post.

    The best that you came up with, Eccl 9:5 and Eccl 9:10, in your very first post do not say anything like what you claim they say and when we looked at the context of Ecclesiastes' proclamation of gloom and doom, and see how these verses fit into it, your claims become rather doubtful. We can take another look at this if you like, though the last time you responded to my Biblical study only with nonspecific accusations.

    Ecc 1:8-9 "All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun."

    It sounds like the ravings of an old man who has wasted his life in fruitless pursuits. For taken literally the proposition that there is nothing new under the sun is absurd. In the Oxford Bible you will find some puzzlement as to why this book is even included in the Jewish canon because it is "at variance with" the dominant teaching of the rest of the Old Testament. It is therefore believed that 12:9-14 was added to the end of it to explain its inclusion. And thus the conclusion is that scholarly pursuits of wisdom cannot improve upon the admonition to fear God.

    I think the following words of Jesus in Matt 6 throws a great deal of light on Ecclesiastes, "And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Do not lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust consume an where theives break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where theives do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there will be your heart also."

    Those who make up a show of fasting are an excellent example of the kind of vanities, described in Ecclesiastes, that men participate in even when involved in the pursuit of God and wisdom. Their efforts are empty of meaning because it is themselves that they seek to lift up in the eyes of others. And so likewise that wisdom that is only fancy words spoken in order lift oneself in the eyes of other men is also nothing but vanity. Such things are an example of what Jesus describes as laying up treasures on earth, and which Ecclesiastes explains all are undone by the single fact of death which will put an end to all the glory that we give to ourselves. It is for this message that Ecclesiastes was included in the Jewish canon, for it is hardly consistent with the rest of the Bible to say that we are intended not to pursue wisdom, for example. But the message of the Bible is that the greatest wisdom is found in doing things for the glory of God by which we will be creating something in our heart that will survive death and contribute to a future in heaven.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    That's something you need to reputiate yourself. It's not the faith, it's the mis-interpretation.
    I certainly have repudiated your misinterpretations of the beliefs of Evangelical Christians as well as your selective reading of the Bible in order to force it to fit what you have decided that it means. And no I don't think this approach of yours is faith, but is much better described as willfullness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Don't you think I tried to look for the phrase "immortal" and/or "soul" with the exhaustive online bible search engines on several websites?
    Yes and we talked about that already. "Trinity" isn't in the Bible either. There is certainly an issue here of understanding what the "immortality of soul" really means to Christians who uphold it. Trinitarians don't believe in 3 gods and Catholics and Evangelical Christians certainly do not believe that the spirit or soul is not subject to death.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    All who die are merely in a dreamless sleep until the time of the great ressurection when all who died shall be raised incorruptable. It's the perfect memory of God who keeps us from slipping into total oblivion.
    This is a popular doctrine in some circles of Christianity. For example, John Polkinghorne seems to be a proponent of this idea. Because of our similar backgrounds I share many of the ideas of John Polkinghorne but we also have our disagreements and this is one of them. The disagreements among Christians are numerous and natural, but it is only in making too much of them that heresy is born.

    I have no fundamental problem with the idea some kind of the sleep of the spirit except that I don't really see the point of something like that when the spirit is outside of time and space. I cannot help but think that this must be connected to some sort of Christian materialism (a Christian version of metaphysical naturalism that sees what is described by physics as being all their is) which is a rather strange philosophy for someone who believes in God. I find this metaphysics to be entirely inadequate for the description of the spiritual realities in Christianity.

    Again my real problems with this idea of yours is the way in leads to contradictions with other elements of Christanity such as the existence of hell, but especially in regards to what is implied about the character of God. It is no surprise to me that Polkinghorne leans toward a sort of Universalism because of this opposition he has to the immortality of the spirit. You seem to have adopted another common approach that the judgement of those who don't make it into heaven ends in the oblivion of nonexistence. I see the attraction of all these from a theological point of view but only for the purpose of making a simpler and more defensible theological position at the expense of introducing implications with severe pragmatic flaws. I must judge them to be part of a human tendency to make the truth smaller in order to fit into an ideological framework, which is a dangerously sterile approach to theology and typical of pseudo-Christian groups.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Jesus and the Holy Spirit come from the KoH, so they shall return. We are from the "dust and clay" of the earth, and so shall we return.
    Yes our material bodies are indeed temporary and will pass away, so Jesus warns us how pointless it is to store up things for ourselves that are of this world, but urges us to store up things for another world which is of spirit rather than material. But that would be pointless advice if we are indeed simply nothing more than dust and clay.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    As far as I see, this is good news. At least this way we know (from scripture) that if an 8 year old dies and isnt "saved" that they aren't burning in hell forever. Or can we bend the rules for that kid so we dont feel bad about our "fire and brimstone" philosiphy...
    So your view is that children are not burning in hell forever but are simply disposed of in a great big furnace? And you are trying to justify this by imagining that the Evangelical Christians believe something more horrific? LOL Your ignorance and delusions are really amazing. The evangelical Christian view is neither of these. Most evangelical Christians believes in some sort of age of consent before which all children are taken into heaven. My views with my naturalistic (rather than legalistic) approach to understanding Christianity and the Bible is quite different of course. Since I see the difference between heaven and hell all being a matter of the direction of our will, the lack of formation of the will in the child makes his situation quite different from that of the adult. I certainly imagine, however, that there are consequences of dying as a child that will make perfect sense when we understand them.




    Now lets take another look at some of your attacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Many EC's (Evangel Christians) claim that the moment you die you either goto the kingdom of heaven (Also another misnomer) or burn forever and ever in everlasting hellfire when in scripture this is clearly not so.
    There is much that is strange in this comment in your OP, such as you saying that one of the most often repeated ideas of Jesus "the kingdom of heaven" is a misnomer. But your claims about scripture in regards to hell are also absurd, even though I can agree in part with your sentiments. But the simple fact of the matter is that you cannot make these parts of the Bible disappear: Matthew 18:8 "eternal fire", Matthew 25:41-46 (and Mark 9:43-49) "eternal punishment", Rev 14:11 torment forever, 2 Thess 1:9 "eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord". All this is in the New Testament but in Christianity the words of Jesus Himself has always trumped the Old Testament (where the best that we can find is pretty thin indeed are Daniel 12:2 "everlasting contempt", Isaih 14:15-20 being in Sheol (depths of the Pit) cast out for people to look at, Isaiha 33:14 "everlasting burnings"

    As I said before the very concept of an eternal punishment seems quite nonsensical to me, for it is hard to imagine what purpose can be served by such a thing. So I am certainly not in favor of a too literal interpretation of these passages above, but neither will I pretend they don't exist. Furthermore, I must consider it quite tragic to misuse scriptures about "eternal life" confusing this with eternal existence because of the further distortions it introduces into the gospel message in addition to the misguided purpose for which it is done. The only sensible approach to the Bible that is not deliberately self-deluding is to try to understand how all of it fits together.

    I think it is the immortality of the soul that best helps to makes sense of hell as an eternal consequence of what people choose and what they make of themselves so that the only tormentors in hell are they who torment themselves. I believe that those in hell suffer by their own choice as un-natural and warped as such a choice may seem, for this is what I have learned the nature of evil to be, that it involves a progressively growing addiction to just such a perverse habit of self-torment. Furthermore, I think that this is the inevitable end of the easy and comfortable road that avoids facing difficult truths about ones need to change things about oneself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    It sickens me that so many people are being scared into being "saved" and they dont even know what they are exactly "saved" from.
    As I explained before this accusation seems so bizzare to me because I am opposed to the whole intellectual blackmail approach to evangelism altogether and yet your complaint embraces this approach and only criticizes what you think must be the proper threats to bring to bear.


    Quote Originally Posted by Joe(Oh)
    Good gravy marine you like to goto great lengths to twist and twist and twist the meanings of the verses I gave you. Denial is the stink of desperation for those who hope in vain. Stop making excuses and funky interpretations and just read the text for what is it.
    This was your rather laughable response to my examination of the Biblical passages you raised in which you describe my effort to put these passages back into the context out of which you took them as twisting their meanings. Proving once and for all that the tactics of denial are in fact yours.
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    MM your interpretations are interesting... to a literal type like me. What I've learned from you about Christians, is the bulk of their beliefs are personal & difficult to communicate. There's consensus only in a few key beliefs. That's relevant to the other debate about if/how religion might work with science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    MM your interpretations are interesting... to a literal type like me. What I've learned from you about Christians, is the bulk of their beliefs are personal & difficult to communicate. There's consensus only in a few key beliefs. That's relevant to the other debate about if/how religion might work with science.
    I find this comment of yours very interesting as well. It strongly confirms my own conviction that the greatest value of these discussions is not found in convincing others that our views are correct (for this is usually a rather doubtful occurrence), but is found in the way the interaction of our ideas can inspire new ideas. For example, I cannot even begin to imagine how you came to this conclusion about Christians that, "the bulk of their beliefs are personal & difficult to communicate", but it certainly makes me wonder how much truth there is to this. I don't have much difficulty in expressing my beliefs but from the reactions of others I can see that others do, and of course the ability to express my beliefs is not quite the same thing as being able to communicate them successfully to another person.
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    Mitchell said:

    These all seem to be talking about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which may not be something that everyone has, and this certainly has no connection with the idea of someone ending up in hell, does it?
    I'm sure you could find people coming down on several sides of these issues laying out some scriptural support for their positions.

    I think it clear in the Bible that everybody ends up someplace in eternity whether it be in God's Kingdom of Heaven or someplace else -- assuming the concept of place is even applicable to eternity. It also seems they retain some essense of their identity. I think we have come to call that the soul. I suspect if someone could come up with a more descriptive and more accurate word, we might adopt it. Whether we call this the soul or the F-250, the Bible would suggest there is something.

    I agree that the verses dealing with the spirit dwelling in us all suggest that God puts it there. And I would agree that one could build a strong case for the idea that this happens when one experiences regeneration in Christ. With this idea, I think it would be easy to make the leap to the idea that those who have God's spirit indwelling them, end up in His heavenly kingdom.

    In spite of your apparent rejection of the idea of heaven and hell, you do a good job of describing a very generalized concept, if I have read what you have to say clearly when you differentiate between eternal existence and eternal life.

    I think a very simplistic differentiation between heaven and hell is that heaven is eternal life in the presence of God while hell is eternal existence outside of God’s presence.

    About the only thing I am convinced of is that we are not going to understand this kind of stuff until we get to the other side. As a result I just don’t get too excited until someone comes along and thinks he has it all figured out and gets upset when others don’t see it that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    In spite of your apparent rejection of the idea of heaven and hell, you do a good job of describing a very generalized concept, if I have read what you have to say clearly when you differentiate between eternal existence and eternal life.

    I think a very simplistic differentiation between heaven and hell is that heaven is eternal life in the presence of God while hell is eternal existence outside of God’s presence.
    You have read me fairly well because your second statement here is EXACTLY what I am saying which is why I would not have said that I reject the idea of heaven and hell but only that I reject some of the simpleminded conceptions of it. You cannot even say that I reject any traditional Christian concepts of these because Eastern orthodox ideas are about as traditional Christian as you can get. The most you can say is that I reject some of the traditionally Protestant concepts of heaven and hell.

    Another way in which I am quite traditional is that I think there is a definite polarization here between two destinations. I may not think that we immediately end up in one or the other, but I do think that there are really only two significant possibilites and that is that either you are in the "natural state" under the law of sin or you are in the hands of God under the law of grace. The law of sin is like a law of gravity and under its influence everyone has the same destination, for we have a disease that will inevitably eat away every vestige of our integrity and free will until nothing is left. Being under the law of grace simply means that we have entrusted ourselves to the one Doctor that can cure the disease, but this does not mean that the cure will be either painless or easy, and the Doctor can only cure us if we trust in Him and follow His instructions (very roughly put to be sure).
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    the "natural state" under the law of sin... a disease that will inevitably eat away every vestige of our integrity and free will until nothing is left.
    I'm pretty far gone, then, for I am meat without free will; have never sensed otherwise. :?

    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
    It is interesting that you think so. I wonder why? I mean I certainly agree that it is completely backwards, but then I have reasons for thinking so.

    We are free to make our own choices but the fact of life is that not all choices are equal. Some lead to the increase of life, awareness and free will and some lead to the loss of these things. We are self-programing entities. Our choices about how we live our lives is the basis by which our habits are formed. But there are good and bad habits. Good habits lead to the increase of opportunities to make choices and bad habits lead to the loss of such opportunities. Surely you can think of a few simple examples. If not, I can provide some.

    Life by itself is simply creative and explorative. However most evolutionists are aware that the obvious bias of the most natural selectors do not lead to what we might think are improvements. It is easy to get stuck in dead ends which do not lead to more complex forms of life let alone forms with more awareness. I believe that the work of God is to prod life around such barriers and to encourage the development of life towards greater free will - what are commonly refered to as "higher" forms of life.

    The same principles apply to both the evolution of the species and the progress of the individual human life. Is the giraffe "better" than the bacterium in some way? Is the scientist "better" than the drug addict? What do you think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
    It is interesting that you think so. I wonder why?
    As you say:
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    We are free to make our own choices... We are self-programing entities.
    And like I said, as far as I recall self awareness, all I've known in me is caused by natural forces. I felt this because of that, an so on. It's certainly an Earthly path, going down, you would say. Today, I'm dead-mortal convinced I have no lofty soul or free will - everyplace I've looked I'm natural & inevitable. So I must be eaten through by that disease you mentioned. Thinking it just dandy, I wouldn't have it any other way.

    So you reckon I must have "set the course" and exhausted all my free will long ago, before the onset of conscious philosophy? I remember philosophy beginning to crystallize age 5 or 6. 7 and 8 I was weighing things methodically, comparing and juggling values. I didn't consciously conclude that I am meat until maybe 9 or 10 though. That came after looking for a soul and finding none.

    Maybe only newborns are truly undecided? Then after a day or so one half are heading toward heaven, the other half, someplace else. The Christian babies continue to exercise their free will and grow it. The atheist babies' wills atrophy.

    It seems the window for evangelism closes very early. You have to save them while they still have free will.


    ***

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Is the scientist "better" than the drug addict? What do you think?
    Better at what? Drug addicts are extremely good at being happy. If the purpose of life is to be happy, they win hands down. Just one shot, blows everything else in our shabby lives away. We can't imagine.

    OK so scientists are better at mass producing happiness, like vitamins or Prozac in the tapwater.

    Eh, seems far from topical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So you reckon I must have "set the course" and exhausted all my free will long ago, before the onset of conscious philosophy? I remember philosophy beginning to crystallize age 5 or 6. 7 and 8 I was weighing things methodically, comparing and juggling values. I didn't consciously conclude that I am meat until maybe 9 or 10 though. That came after looking for a soul and finding none.
    I have often heard Christians say that God created us with the purpose to worship Him. I think that is nonsense. That which is created for a purpose is just a dead tool. The whole idea of life is to create something that determines its own purpose. This is the idea of child as well -- at least I think this is the proper motivation for having child, which is not to serve some purpose like a tool, but indeed for the parent to serve the child, helping the child to choose what his own purpose will be.

    The danger, however, is that that child can choose to be something far less than what his potential allows. The child could choose to be a rock or some other dead thing. The child could choose to be a force of death and destruction in the world. The child could even choose to be a dead tool created by some all powerful and all knowing being. But I at least do not believe that all choices are equal and even you seem to have some sense of this when you ask:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
    But now apparently you see your mistake, realizing now that this is inconsistent with the choices you have made. At least that is what I gather from your responses since. Feel free to correct me on that, of course.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Maybe only newborns are truly undecided? Then after a day or so one half are heading toward heaven, the other half, someplace else. The Christian babies continue to exercise their free will and grow it. The atheist babies' wills atrophy.
    Of course you are trying to build a silly straw man now. I cannot even imagine what a "Christian baby" or an "atheist baby" could be. Is it your thinking that is this magical or are you just trying to paint Chrisitanity with this broad brush of magical thinking? Certainly there is a lot of such magical thinking in Christianity, but this a human condition not a Christian condition.

    Free will is heavily dependent upon awareness and this generally grows until people start choosing not to be aware, for whatever reason... maybe they don't like what they see... and instead of talking the difficult path of trying to change it they instead just decide not to see it anymore.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    It seems the window for evangelism closes very early. You have to save them while they still have free will.
    The message of Christianity is that there is no window at all. Mankind's situation is just hopeless and from that perspective we are all indeed "just meat". Only God sees/imagines/hopes that there is something else in us.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Better at what? Drug addicts are extremely good at being happy. If the purpose of life is to be happy, they win hands down. Just one shot, blows everything else in our shabby lives away. We can't imagine.

    OK so scientists are better at mass producing happiness, like vitamins or Prozac in the tapwater.
    You were the one who said, "That would be kinda backwards." And because I found this to be a surprising thing for you to say, I thought I would prod a little and see what if anything was behind it? I was asking myself, did Pong really think that one thing or direction was better than another or would he retreat to the expected attitude that everything is the same? Your answer seems pretty clear, so shall we just put your little slip down to remnants of a habit of some delusion you had in your youth?
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    Maybe you see something here I don't:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
    By "backwards" I meant developmentally. Of course babies do just what their ids tell them.

    However you were saying earlier that people pigeonhole into "a definite polarization here between two destinations" and that the natural road (sin) is "like a law of gravity and under its influence everyone has the same destination". Moreover, that the natural road excludes free will, as free will comes from knowing God, and increases with devotion. That sorta flies in the face of child development, doesn't it? Why I called it "backwards".

    I should have just asked you, if we're all on these trajectories, in what state are we born? I have known Christians to say children are naturally sinful & should be taught otherwise. Is that it?

    You're right, I tried extending the train of thought and earned a silly strawman.

    As for the crackhead vs. white collar professional, you're being unfair. You invited me to judge one human being worth more than another, point blank & baldfaced. I refuse to do that. Try to understand my response is dictated by faith
    (in human equality) not moral void.

    I could rate the bacterium vs. giraffe in numerous ways, many levels. Ultimately though I don't believe one "better", as I don't believe in an ultimate judge.

    Mitchell please elaborate on these polarizing life courses. I think you know what bits want explaining.
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    I keep wanting to jump in here and say something, but I just don't see anything with which I have either sharp agreement or sharp disagreement.

    I would sort of agree with Mitchell on the idea that "worship" of God does not seem to be a Biblically stated "purpose" of man. I think one could build a case for the idea that God created mankind to have a shared fellowship with. It could be that worship is something of a by-product of that fellowship -- that is, if one fellowships with God, one will naturally end up worshiping Him.

    The discussion of free will has been interesting and I would invite you to read a discussion of this concept by Greg Koukl at http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5502

    I am not suggesting that I whole heartedly endorse the entirety of this essay, or actually radio talk I think, but it does present an interesting perspective of the relationship between free will and God's sovereignty.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I would sort of agree with Mitchell on the idea that "worship" of God does not seem to be a Biblically stated "purpose" of man. I think one could build a case for the idea that God created mankind to have a shared fellowship with. It could be that worship is something of a by-product of that fellowship -- that is, if one fellowships with God, one will naturally end up worshiping Him.
    We have talked a lot in this thread about the weakness of language and the ambiguity of words, and this lends itself to looking at things from different points of view and this has become rather a habit of mine. So when I hear Dayton agree with me, and thus fail to provide that other point of view, it prompts me to look for it myself. What I am getting at here is that my rational for criticizing this idea of being created to worship God can also be look at from a completely different perspective to say that we can actually affirm that we are created to worship God if we make sure that what we mean by this is not subject to criticism I made. You hint at this a little bit, but I think I can expand on it a little bit.

    One of the things that popularity and wealth quickly teaches those who aquire it is that it draws certain types of people like food draws flies, who will put on quite a show of adoration. Perhaps a discerning word for such to distinguish it from genuine regard might be "flattery". So the hard question for Christians here may be whether what they are calling worship might more properly be called "flattery"? In order to approach this question rationally I think it helps to take a little detour here:

    I believe that which defines a person most is not the qualities that person has by nature but those things which he chooses to devote himself to. I believe that in the case of God, what he has chosen to devote Himself to (in a general sense) is love. But in a more specific sense regarding the form of that love and how it is to be realized, I believe is found in the creation of life. The love He devotes Himself to is in a relationship with finite beings which have this infinite capacity for growth and learning that is the fundamental nature of life. This is logical because such an object of love would have a neverending capacity to recieve what this infinite being has give, by growing, learning and becoming. The fruit of God's effort is found in human beings and Jesus and the NT makes it quite clear that this is where God's heart is directed, to the lost and left out, to the hurting and greiving, and to the abused and mistreated.

    I think that perhaps this gives us the means for discernment between worship and flattery, for those act like flies will focus themselves on the object of their lust, to fawn over and flatter the one with the power that they admire, but those who trully understand the person will instead be drawn to where that person's heart is and concern himself with what that person is most concerned with. This suggests that the truest worship is not found in "focusing upon God" but is found in throwing oneself into the work of God to love and care for those whom He loves. I suspect that even living our own lives according to the creative passions which He gives us in order that this creativity bears fruit, is more of a worship of God than than the flattery that we most often call worship.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The discussion of free will has been interesting and I would invite you to read a discussion of this concept by Greg Koukl at http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5502

    I am not suggesting that I whole heartedly endorse the entirety of this essay, or actually radio talk I think, but it does present an interesting perspective of the relationship between free will and God's sovereignty.
    The most important logical flaw in what he is saying is that it incorrectly identifies free will with a control over events. It is no such thing. Free will is only a freedom to make choices. It is not an absolute sort of thing because it certainly depends somewhat on having some awareness of what we can choose from. But regardless our knowledge and power is far too limited for our free will to present that great an obstacle to God. In fact, I believe that the largest obstacle to God in regards to fulfilling our prayers is hardly our free will but instead are the inconsistencies in our prayers themselves, due to our lack of understanding of what the realities are.

    But understanding this, there are certainly some valid points here and I do agree that God does intervene in our affairs and does manipulate people, not just for the sake of answering silly prayers, but to help people (though I think that answering prayers is an important part of how He helps those who pray). I just don't agree with Gregory that any of this is in any way a violation of our free will. In a recent review of the eighth chapter of John Polkinghorne's book, I criticized his suggestion that heaven is only made possible by abandoning the illusion of free will, to which I responded that the illusion isn't free will itself but our childish of perception that free will means "getting our own way" http://www.astahost.com/john-polking...ty-t17626.html . Frankly, I think the only real logical problem between our free will and God's involvement in our lives has to do with this common idea that God must have absolute foreknowledge about everything, which is why I reject that idea.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Free will is only a freedom to make choices. It is not an absolute sort of thing because it certainly depends somewhat on having some awareness of what we can choose from.
    And there are different planes of awareness informing those choices. Id, ego, superego. I figure God's in that last plane. You're not supposed to choose God because it feels good, or because it's a means to an end.

    I dunno MM, you seem to be avoiding the question of children entering this God/free-will path you've constructed. How old are your kids BTW?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Maybe you see something here I don't:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Do you think that as a child I had free will, and lost it as I matured? That would be kinda backwards. ???
    By "backwards" I meant developmentally. Of course babies do just what their ids tell them.
    ...
    That sorta flies in the face of child development, doesn't it? Why I called it "backwards".
    I was seeing a suggestion in your words of a sense of what ought to be, but perhaps I was mistaken. In fact perhaps this was only an introduction to your suggestion that I should look at what I said from the perspective of childhood development.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    However you were saying earlier that people pigeonhole into "a definite polarization here between two destinations" and that the natural road (sin) is "like a law of gravity and under its influence everyone has the same destination". Moreover, that the natural road excludes free will, as free will comes from knowing God, and increases with devotion.

    I should have just asked you, if we're all on these trajectories, in what state are we born? I have known Christians to say children are naturally sinful & should be taught otherwise. Is that it?
    My comments were specific to a state of being after death and certainly made no attempt to make a description of a person's whole life not to mention one so broad as to encompass this aspect of childhood development. Nevertheless I should explain that this polarizing distinction is nothing so obvious in its manifestation, as your intimations imply. Being under the law of sin, for example, like being under the law of gravity does not say anthing about what direction one is moving in, and this is true even though ones ultimate destination still remains a forgone conclusion (provided that you stick to a constant gravitational field and thus don't take the analogy so far as to include acheiving orbits). Circumstances in life give different people very different advantages including in the area of integrity, free will and morality.

    Childhood development is a matter of making ones own (absorbing), what has already been learned by others and then communicated to you as part of your inheritance (both biological and mental). Since such a process condenses a long history of evolution and learning from the most primitive life form to the most aware, this most certainly represents a tremendous growth in the free will of the individual. And it is a fact of life that differences in the inheritances which we receive means that all life, even all people, do not in fact have anything close to absolute equality in regards to awareness (and thus in regards to free will) and opportunities. But, in any case, sooner or later, one excercises this free will to decide how one will live ones own life and thus chooses between good and bad habits which expand or shrink the free will that you have gained from your inheritance by that developmental process.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Moreover, that the natural road excludes free will,
    I did not say and do not agree that the natural road excludes free will. I said that we suffer from a disease that progressively erodes our free will.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    as free will comes from knowing God, and increases with devotion.
    Perhaps this is true some way or another, but I certainly don't know that it is true in the sense the everyone who is apparently "knowing" God and increasing their devotion is thereby increasing their free will.

    Free will is the nature of life and thus it is a part of the process of life itself. But as living things make choices some choices lead to greater awareness and free will and other choices lead to less. God is certainly interested in encouraging those choices which lead to greater awareness and free will and so it is for this purpose that He interferes in the lives of living things (but not in their actual choices).


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I should have just asked you, if we're all on these trajectories, in what state are we born?
    In the natural state under the law of sin with (going back to my analogy) various upward velocities depending on the circumstances of our birth.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I have known Christians to say children are naturally sinful & should be taught otherwise. Is that it?
    I would not say so. Just because the habits of an infant are not good habits for an adult and thus must be changed does not mean that these are not good habits for the infant.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    As for the crackhead vs. white collar professional, you're being unfair. You invited me to judge one human being worth more than another, point blank & baldfaced. I refuse to do that. Try to understand my response is dictated by faith
    (in human equality) not moral void.
    Indeed I left it quite open for you apply your own talents of analysis however you might choose. But it was in the context of my suggestion that not all choices are equal and certainly nothing I said suggested anything about the ultimate value of the person. So the question is whether you can discern a difference or make a judgement regarding the choices that people make that lead to these two different examples?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I could rate the bacterium vs. giraffe in numerous ways, many levels. Ultimately though I don't believe one "better", as I don't believe in an ultimate judge.
    Does one have to believe in an ultimate judge for judgement to have any validity?
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I dunno MM, you seem to be avoiding the question of children entering this God/free-will path you've constructed. How old are your kids BTW?
    Ouch. I feel embarassed for you. Making such a comment about avoidance while I was working on a response to your question and post.... tut tut tut.... Patience is indeed the the parent of wisdom.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    ... question of children entering this God/free-will path you've constructed.
    The only paths of my construction here are in my own mind as part of philosophical reflections on the nature of life, and the only question of "entering" or following that should play a role here is whether those reading my communication of these reflections can follow my meaning.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    How old are your kids BTW?
    My three boys are 14, 12 and 2.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Free will is only a freedom to make choices. It is not an absolute sort of thing because it certainly depends somewhat on having some awareness of what we can choose from.
    And there are different planes of awareness informing those choices. Id, ego, superego. I figure God's in that last plane. You're not supposed to choose God because it feels good, or because it's a means to an end.
    Only if we can define "superego" as everything else which doesn't fit into the usual description as to what constitutes the id and ego, for the insistence that everything fit into these classical categories is a debilitatingly dogmatic approach to life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    My comments were specific to a state of being after death and certainly made no attempt to make a description of a person's whole life
    Got it. I should have known from the context you brought it into.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Being under the law of sin, for example, like being under the law of gravity does not say anthing about what direction one is moving in, and this is true even though ones ultimate destination still remains a forgone conclusion...
    You're talking about the fate of souls after death.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Free will is the nature of life and thus it is a part of the process of life itself. But as living things make choices some choices lead to greater awareness and free will and other choices lead to less.
    Sounds like good old American Freedom. Not that that's bad... being "American" and all.

    I'm a leftist and believe one "nature of life" is comprising ever larger containers - communities - which are alive in themselves, and so forth. So our purpose is to serve as (dumb) cogs of something greater.

    Well maybe your free will, you can take it with you. But your role on Earth is here for good. So everybody's satisfied.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    God is certainly interested in encouraging those choices which lead to greater awareness and free will and so it is for this purpose that He interferes in the lives of living things (but not in their actual choices).
    God intervenes to promote freedom... and democracy?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the natural state under the law of sin with (going back to my analogy) various upward velocities depending on the circumstances of our birth.
    Right. We start as sinners. And as you suggest above, God inserts some cues in life we might diverge by, or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    As for the crackhead vs. white collar professional, you're being unfair. You invited me to judge one human being worth more than another, point blank & baldfaced. I refuse to do that. Try to understand my response is dictated by faith
    (in human equality) not moral void.
    Indeed I left it quite open for you apply your own talents of analysis however you might choose. But it was in the context of my suggestion that not all choices are equal and certainly nothing I said suggested anything about the ultimate value of the person. So the question is whether you can discern a difference or make a judgement regarding the choices that people make that lead to these two different examples?
    [cagey]I cannot display the reflexive response Christians expect of each other.[/cagey]
    I fail that inquisition. I don't think of drug addiction as sinful, neither science as virtuous. I imagine that is what you're prompting... or I'm to say "I don't care" "makes no difference" which are not my views either. Of course I have values, articulate feelings, a sense of jurisdiction and responsibility, but what might grow in absence of Christian morality is another topic.

    And I still think you're a cad for using those paragons in a science forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I could rate the bacterium vs. giraffe in numerous ways, many levels. Ultimately though I don't believe one "better", as I don't believe in an ultimate judge.
    Does one have to believe in an ultimate judge for judgement to have any validity?
    Of course one can judge the giraffe a better runner or a better zoo attraction or better slow roasted over hickory. But to judge "just plain better" that's an ultimate judgment. Are you being dense or hoping I am?

    OK maybe it was an honest question. "Just better" in my view is an arbitration. You can get that via God, ignorance, or deference. If society needs giraffes rated better than bacterium, I'll likely defer ...to that highest authority... and strive to live accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Only if we can define "superego" as everything else which doesn't fit into the usual description as to what constitutes the id and ego, for the insistence that everything fit into these classical categories is a debilitatingly dogmatic approach to life.
    It's a useful set of lenses that's all. You don't have to try that view if you feel it debilitating.
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    Pong, I must say I am finding your fresh and direct approach to all of this refreshing and interesting. Not saying I necessarily agree with everything, but I think you might be causing some real self analysis in some of the readers of this thread. You have a real tendency towards talking sense.:wink:
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Being under the law of sin, for example, like being under the law of gravity does not say anthing about what direction one is moving in, and this is true even though ones ultimate destination still remains a forgone conclusion...
    You're talking about the fate of souls after death.
    Yes. I don't see an immediate tossing of people into heaven or hell after death but rather being in a process that is moving in one direction or the other. Thus the polarization I was talking about was in terms of what will determine your ultimate destination. Part of the point of the "direction" stuff is that the kind of polarization that I believe in, is not a judgement about who is actually better. The sinner can be saved and the "saint" can be damned.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Free will is the nature of life and thus it is a part of the process of life itself. But as living things make choices some choices lead to greater awareness and free will and other choices lead to less.
    Sounds like good old American Freedom. Not that that's bad... being "American" and all.

    I'm a leftist and believe one "nature of life" is comprising ever larger containers - communities - which are alive in themselves, and so forth. So our purpose is to serve as (dumb) cogs of something greater.
    Community is an central part of what life is. Our very bodies are themselves large cooperative communities of living things. The point is that communities are themselves living organisms. The whole ecosystem of the earth as a kind of community is also a living organism. This kind of heirarchy of life is in fact one of the measures of life that makes life a quantitative thing rather than a qualitative black and white distinction. It is one of the measures by which I say that the giraffe is most definitely more alive and more worthy of our regard than a bacterium.

    Better in what way? More alive. More aware. I mean sure, as far as scientific investigations are concerned, we may even learn more from a certain species of bacterium and we may even find ways for bacterium to do very important tasks for us. But when we are talking about how far we are willing to go out of our way to keep an individual alive, a typical bacterium is no comparison to a giraffe.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Well maybe your free will, you can take it with you. But your role on Earth is here for good. So everybody's satisfied.
    A cynical pragmatist? By contrast I am a sincere pragmatist, which means that I consider pragmatic concerns to contribute to the truth value of things.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    God intervenes to promote freedom... and democracy?
    God intervense to promote LIFE. Is the human body a democracy?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    In the natural state under the law of sin with (going back to my analogy) various upward velocities depending on the circumstances of our birth.
    Right. We start as sinners. And as you suggest above, God inserts some cues in life we might diverge by, or not.
    INCORRECT!!! We do not start as sinners! I deny this ABSOLUTELY. Being under the law of sin (or as Christians usually put it, "being under the law") does NOT mean that we are sinners. Being under the law (rather than grace) simply means that we either sink or swim based on the natural merits of our own choices. Call it the "law of the jungle" or the "laws of nature", we either learn and do what it takes to live or we die. Being under the grace means that God intervenes as a parent might intervene when a child makes a mistake in order to soften the consequences. The parent must be careful in doing this so that the child still learns from mistakes, and yet it is quite understandable that they would do their best to keep the child from dying from the sort of dumb things that children tend to do.


    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Pong, I must say I am finding your fresh and direct approach to all of this refreshing and interesting. Not saying I necessarily agree with everything, but I think you might be causing some real self analysis in some of the readers of this thread. You have a real tendency towards talking sense.:wink:
    I quite agree. One question is worth a thousand answers. Answers are a dime a dozen, for people come up with all sorts and we have plenty among these to choose from and either agree or disagree about. But how can you disagree with a question? We can all agree that these are good questions and perhaps these questions are the the most abundant fruit that we take away from these discussions. I add my kudos as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER
    Pong, I must say I am finding your fresh and direct approach to all of this refreshing and interesting. Not saying I necessarily agree with everything, but I think you might be causing some real self analysis in some of the readers of this thread. You have a real tendency towards talking sense.:wink:
    My posts are doubly fresh and really real. Sweet, thanks.

    You too MM. This conversation wouldn't be possible without your enabling and promoting it.

    I've learned a good deal here that'll help me understand Christians better. And I've picked up some new ways of seeing... for example that life's choices can paint it into a corner (hell) I hadn't put much weight to, but now I do and may be keener to it in all sorts of contexts.

    I sense this thread wrapping up (in a good way) but we'll see...


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I don't see an immediate tossing of people into heaven or hell after death but rather being in a process that is moving in one direction or the other.
    There's some apparent contradiction in the bible about that - the OP topic of this thread.

    These purgatory souls, are they aware? Of what? They continue to exercise will? On what?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Part of the point of the "direction" stuff is that the kind of polarization that I believe in, is not a judgement about who is actually better. The sinner can be saved and the "saint" can be damned.
    This purgatory sounds a bit like a final test, and a sort of trick question grace in life may not have prepared a soul for.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    when we are talking about how far we are willing to go out of our way to keep an individual alive, a typical bacterium is no comparison to a giraffe.
    A giraffe is a mammal, so it's in the club - ethically. I believe our ethics are based on mammalian traits and ways. Godzilla may be more than some bacteria but we'd toast that lizard if it moved to step on a hamster. Would you let your daughter date a guy who feeds live rabbits to his boa?

    Well, there are individual honey fungus monsters owning 3-4 square miles of forest subsoil, hugest organisms on Earth. They eat forests. I guess if I could kill one with a special drop of poison, I would hesitate. All those trees vs. undeniable grandeur... it's a tough call.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    God intervenes to promote freedom... and democracy?
    God intervense to promote LIFE. Is the human body a democracy?
    I was just yankin' yer chain re Christian Republicans.


    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    We start as sinners. And as you suggest above, God inserts some cues in life we might diverge by, or not.
    INCORRECT!!! We do not start as sinners! I deny this ABSOLUTELY. Being under the law of sin (or as Christians usually put it, "being under the law") does NOT mean that we are sinners. Being under the law (rather than grace) simply means that we either sink or swim based on the natural merits of our own choices.
    So we start on Earth, which is basically sinful; with a neutral bearing. Then how we respond to this sinful environment could be sinful or (strangely) graceful.

    I think you'd agree though that the bulk of a person's psyche solidifies before distinctions between grace and sin can be understood. It seems rather hard to drop the responsibility of free will and probable destination on a toddler. I mean, human society is constantly working to relieve individuals of preconditions made in childhood.

    Maybe God allows a discount for the early years?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I sense this thread wrapping up (in a good way) but we'll see...

    I was just yankin' yer chain re Christian Republicans.
    Since I am beginning to sense a lot of "chain yanking" I begin to share your suspicion about an impending end of this discussion. He he he, one chain yank deserves another don't you think?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    There's some apparent contradiction in the bible about that - the OP topic of this thread.

    These purgatory souls, are they aware? Of what? They continue to exercise will? On what?

    This purgatory sounds a bit like a final test, and a sort of trick question grace in life may not have prepared a soul for.
    I certainly object to this purgatory language because it buys into this judicial concept of people being sent places according someones judgement of them. As I have said before I think it is more a matter of natural law and going wherever one wants and can go according ones ones own choices and awareness. It is about what one values. A person's choices in life is a decision about what is valuable and worth pursuing. The value/importance of our physical life is that it can intrude upon our ideas to change our minds about what is valuable (what I refered to as friction and traction in an earlier analogy). At death this interference by an external reality imposed upon us - this friction - is gone and our will reigns supreme so that we live in a world of our heart's desire. This, I believe, is the natural state after death.

    However, I believe that some people, having learned to mistrust themselves, choose to forgoe their own heart's desire in favor of God's desire for Them. It is not a complete annihilation of the will, although many quite often think of it as a surrender of the will and it is so in a relative manner, in fact, it could very well be quite different for different people. However, I think that God's objective to increase our free will remains the same and so even if God does "take over" our life to some degree, I think it is obvious that He does so only in order to "teach us to drive" ourselves, for God continues to allow us to make mistakes so that we can learn from them. This state of being where it is the will of God that determines our destiny rather than our own, is the state of grace. The question here is not whether you can possibly earn such a state, but simply whether you want it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    So we start on Earth, which is basically sinful; with a neutral bearing. Then how we respond to this sinful environment could be sinful or (strangely) graceful.

    I think you'd agree though that the bulk of a person's psyche solidifies before distinctions between grace and sin can be understood. It seems rather hard to drop the responsibility of free will and probable destination on a toddler. I mean, human society is constantly working to relieve individuals of preconditions made in childhood.
    I don't understand your reference/hint about "(strangely) graceful", and you are introducing too many issues here in a mass of too many assumption for me to even sort it out in any rational manner let alone deal with it in a reasonably short length of writing. So instead of responding to any of this directly I will simply respond with this...

    The world is not the ideal situation. I think we all understand that. We (including God) make the best of a bad deal and do what we can. I think that most want to ask, if God is so freakin great then why did He design it this way? The answer is that he didn't. If it was all a matter of design then it would be perfect but it would also be quite sterile with nothing living whatsoever. Life is messy because it makes its own choices, however ignorant those choices may be.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Maybe God allows a discount for the early years?
    Again I think this whole judgement based mentality is completely off base. It is not a matter of whether we are good enough that God can love us. We aren't good enough at all, but God loves us all anyway. The basic and undeniable reality that intrudes here and cannot be got around is that our own will and choices do matter.
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    Mitchell said:

    We do not start as sinners! I deny this ABSOLUTELY. Being under the law of sin (or as Christians usually put it, "being under the law") does NOT mean that we are sinners.
    I find this idea to be completely self contradicting but somewhat accurate. I would, in a way, agree that being under the law does not mean we are sinners. But it is something of a play on words there. The law shows us that we are sinners. But we would still be sinners without the written law. So, in that way, I agree.

    Because God does have a law or expectations of human behavior which we cannot attain, we cannot escape missing the high mark established in the law and thus we end up being sinners under the law.

    I think people dislike the idea of admitting they are sinners because of some limbic feeling that being a sinner means a person is a bad person. Being a sinner does not mean one is a sociopath or a scum sucking sleazebag. It merely means one is unable to attains God's standard.

    I would certianly agree that as babies we lack the capacity to make moral choices or to exercise any free will decisions. But as we get to an age where we are able to make conscious decisions based on all the things we base decisions on, we tend to choose self over others and/or God and that often runs afoul of God's expectations.

    We do not have a choice or the chance to avoid being born under the law any more than we have a choice in or the ability to change our race or our country of national origin.

    So I agree that, for starters, we are not sinners, but we are still "under the law." As such, I think it is inherant in us that we are bound to become sinners and remain sinners so long as remain under the law. It is only by accepting Christ that we are set free from the law.
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  97. #96  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Mitchell said:

    We do not start as sinners! I deny this ABSOLUTELY. Being under the law of sin (or as Christians usually put it, "being under the law") does NOT mean that we are sinners.
    I find this idea to be completely self contradicting but somewhat accurate. I would, in a way, agree that being under the law does not mean we are sinners. But it is something of a play on words there. The law shows us that we are sinners. But we would still be sinners without the written law. So, in that way, I agree.
    Quite right, but to clarify, my point here is that sin is something we do by our own free will and choice. It is not something we are born with and it is not even caused by a sinful nature such that we can say that we had no ability to do otherwise. A sinner is what we choose to be for it is what we ourselves choose that impacts our ultimate destiny. But why then is everyone a sinner without fail? It is really quite simple. It was never God's original intention that we should navigate the moral lanscape of life by ourselves. This was always something for which we needed a personal relationship with God.

    But if that is the case then why do we not have this relationship. Well this is the significance of the story of Adam and Eve, where they made choices that had to effect all of their descendents. Does this mean that we inherited sin from them? NO, it does not. But it does mean that like all living things on this planet we both benefit and suffer from the choices which our anscestors have made. If this doesn't sound like what you have understood of the Christian view to be then let me explain that it is more like the view of the Eastern Orthodox on the topic of "original sin".

    So again let me repeat for clarity, we are born completely innocent, and it is only by our own choices that we sin and become sinners. Yes this is inevitable without a relationship with God. In fact, it is the word of the Bible that no one can say that they are without sin, which means that by the time we could speak such words (possibly requiring that we know what the words mean), we cannot speak them truthfully.

    But Pong may insist on asking, how is it fair that we must do without what we need so desperately just because of what our anscestors did? It is because of the connection between what they did and what we are. It is through Adam and Eve which the inheritance of our mental life comes and it is their choices which established patterns of habits which we inherit, and unfortunately these include habits that made a relationship with God a source of harm to our own development. I am talking about this habit of blaming everything that goes wrong in our life on everything but ourselves for there is nothing more destructive of our spiritual development than this, for it takes away our ability to learn. The very knowledge and power which makes God our perfect friend and helper also make Him the perfect scapegoat, and all the guidance that a personal relationship with God could give us, is meaningless if we are going blame God for everything. It would be better for us to believe that God does not exist.

    The good news is that God has created a way through this no-win senario, where we can regain what Adam and Eve lost -- regain a personal relationship with God in a manner that keeps us from the destructive habit that makes such a relationship meaningless. This is what I believe Christianity is all about.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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  98. #97  
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I certainly object to this purgatory language because it buys into this judicial concept...
    I just meant between death and destination. "Purgatory" connotes nothing else to me and I'm unfamiliar with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    ...people, do not in fact have anything close to absolute equality in regards to awareness (and thus in regards to free will)
    ...one exercises this free will to decide how one will live ones own life
    ...incorrectly identifies free will with a control over events. It is no such thing.
    ...annihilation of the will
    ...Childhood development represents a tremendous growth in the free will
    ...expand or shrink the free will that you have gained from your inheritance
    ...a surrender of the will
    ...where it is the will of God that determines our destiny rather than our own, is the state of grace
    ...God's objective to increase our free will
    ...real logical problem between our free will and God's involvement in our lives
    ...Free will is the nature of life
    ...(the law of sin) progressively erodes our free will
    Free will, the supreme MacGuffin. Perhaps, finally, it is only a plot device? Free will isn't what our story really is about is it?

    *Oops there goes the free will now! Grab it! Seize it!*

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I don't understand your reference/hint about" (strangely) graceful
    It just seems to me that, born into the law of sin, hitting upon grace of all things would be strange. You indicate that God's will may sometimes grant free will powerups, which would be supernatural. So just substitute strange for supernatural.


    Try this: Free will is a quality not a quantity. Your thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The world is not the ideal situation. I think we all understand that.
    No, a lot of people including some religions reject that.

    I actually cultivate a perverse fondness for the shabby & pathetic, like the hum of old refrigerators and the way beetles stumble flailing over twigs. There is something majestically poignant about this facet of creation we normally shut our eyes to.

    A perfect God to my view would have an annoying voice and a bad haircut.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    It is only by accepting Christ that we are set free from the law.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    regain a personal relationship with God in a manner that keeps us from the destructive habit that makes such a relationship meaningless. This is what I believe Christianity is all about.
    Apparently you two differ in this practical way (correct me if I'm wrong):

    daytonturner's salvation is through Christ in particular. Thus being born into certain times, places, families, etc. can make all the difference. For example I by fortune have only recent knowledge of Christ and am long-dedicated to incompatible beliefs (as well my wife, friends, immediate family would be appalled if I turned Christian on them). So by fate I will not accept Christ and you can guess where I'm headed...

    mitchellmckain's salvation is a bit trickier. It seems almost like accepting Christ is no guarantee of salvation, and being Genghis Khan's dog-trainer is no sure bar from it.
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    I actually cultivate a perverse fondness for the shabby & pathetic, like the hum of old refrigerators and the way beetles stumble flailing over twigs. There is something majestically poignant about this facet of creation we normally shut our eyes to.
    I share your sentiments here. Perfection to me is by definition an abstract human idea that does not and cannot exist. Nature, on the other hand, simply is. Observing nature simply being and subconsciously contrasting this with our human ideas of perfection is, I think, one of the things that make nature beautiful to me.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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  100. #99  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Try this: Free will is a quality not a quantity. Your thoughts?
    No. Free will is life and life is quantitative. At the very least, free will depends on awareness, for you cannot make choices you are not aware of, and awareness depends on so many things. Definitely quantitative.

    Even a bacterium has free will. It is just in a quantity that is so minute that it is insignificant compared to ours.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    A perfect God to my view would have an annoying voice and a bad haircut.
    LOL Is that the George Burns version?


    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    mitchellmckain's salvation is a bit trickier. It seems almost like accepting Christ is no guarantee of salvation, and being Genghis Khan's dog-trainer is no sure bar from it.
    The devil is in the details.

    It depends on what you mean by "accepting Christ". If all you mean is adopting the Christian belief system then no it most certainly does not guarantee salvation. And I hardly think that Dayton would disagree with that.

    As for the dog trainer, that all depends on how he trains his dogs. LOL

    Dayton would call me liberal - has called me a liberal Christian. But the truth is that when you look at the whole spectrum of Christianity, I am actually a moderate. But as a strong (even radical) moderate (which means that I am not simply an undecided ripe for roping in), the conservative is bound to perceive me as liberal and the liberal is bound to perceive me as conservative. After all, I am an evangelical Christian, though I am about as liberal an evangelical Christian as you can find. LOL

    Actually the most visible difference between us is language. Dayton stays a lot closer to the traditional language that Christianity has always used whereas I am constantly seeking creative ways of expressing the truths of Christianity with completely different (non-traditional) words, concepts and perspectives.

    However, I certainly strongly uphold some ideals that are not typically Christian, such as existentialism, pragmatism, pluralism and even secularism. I have some rather caustic critiques of some traditional Christian ideas of God. And in support of my pluralistic ideas I do have some rather radical interpretations of some basic Christian ideas such as including beliefs in the category of works, believing that the diversity of human thought is a saving work of God, and that a belief in God is not of universal benefit to everyone. Other things like the rejection of the judicial model of salvation can be found within the spectrum of orthodox Christian thought.

    I would tend to interpret "Solus Christus" (only by Jesus) through the lens of Christ's divinity and the importance of what He did on the cross rather than seeing the name "Jesus" as being some kind of magical spell or password.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  101. #100  
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    Sorry for the long delay in responding to this thread I started. One thing after another type deal.

    Anyhoo, What I'm worried about is how many EC's are 'not claiming authority' on scripture cause it gives them them uncomfortable in what they already 'believe' is inline with the christian theology.

    I'll be the first one to tell people to believe what they want, and that's partly what existance is. BUT if you are going to claim a specific faith, be accurate about it.

    Someone on this thread wanted an example on what verse that EC's will take at its printed word. Leviticus 18:22, what I call the 'anti-gay' verse. When many EC's site that verse, its SOoo clear on what it means. No question about it, God doesn't approve homosexuality or the act of it. And many EC's will consider that case closed- Period.

    But when it comes to Eccl 9:5, 9:10, Gen 2:7, and many others on the nature of what happens after someone dies, then the waters of interpretation conveinently get murky and people start spouting maybe's and could-be's on what said verses mean.

    So what is it folks?
    I'd trade it all....for a little more-
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