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Can the belief of the existence of a supreme being ever be proved?
Yes 9%  9%  [ 6 ]
No 29%  29%  [ 20 ]
Of course, I am the living proof! 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
Only if Invisible Pink Unicorns can also be proved 20%  20%  [ 14 ]
Look around you! the evidence of an intelligent designer 6%  6%  [ 4 ]
God is the universe and the universe is God 10%  10%  [ 7 ]
AG is a strident semi-god 6%  6%  [ 4 ]
I can't say, perhaps tomorrow we can prove it 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
I am not sure 10%  10%  [ 7 ]
All of the above 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
None of the above 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Half of the above 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
other 1%  1%  [ 1 ]
View results 6%  6%  [ 4 ]
Total votes : 70

iamnotaparakeet
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23 Jun 2010, 12:04 pm

Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
If you accept evil. I don't a serial killer or someone who blasphemes is no more evil than a flat tire or a rusted muffler. It's just a bad piece of equipment and some things we can fix and some things are still beyond our technology.


That would imply our moral judgments are little more than expressions of opinion or approval/disapproval. I am inclined to that point of view. I do not believe there are any moral facts nor do I believe human morality can be derived logically from physical laws.

ruveyn


Perhaps not through physical laws, but rather through direct revelation (e.g., like at Sinai.) However, I think that to a degree the moral laws are "written on our hearts" also, even though they are not derivable through scientific means alone.


Even somebody with your rather peculiar look at the world should be convinced at this point that a heart is a muscle for pumping blood, not a factory of ideas. If you don't accept scientific methods I cannot find any sense in conversing with you.


In language there is such thing as a figurative usage of words. "Heart" is not referring to the blood-pump in our chests, but rather a component of our minds.


And since you are as much in the dark as any of those old primitives several thousand years ago you appropriately use their linguistic misdirections because you know nothing about the real mechanics of the mind.


"Beowulf word-hoard unlocked", from the poem Beowulf did not mean that he had an actual physical hoard of words, but that he started speaking that which he had held back from saying before. Similarly, the usage of the word "digital" in electronics does not mean that computers or cameras have fingers. "Language" is a word which refers, in meaning, to speech, but actually means "tongue" in most languages other than English. "Sword" in the Bible does not just mean a two-edged bladed meelee combat weapon, but it also can mean an entire army or war or sets of wars as in "I will send the sword against you and you will be remembered no more."


Very good. Now we both understand that your words are so ambiguous that they convey nothing precise enough to convince me you have even the faintest concept of what you are talking about. You seem to have accepted my analysis.


You seem to lack the comprehension of how language works.


That may be, but that's not in question here. You don't understand how language doesn't work.


Your comprehension of language is in question because you consider the usage of the word "heart" in the Bible to be equivalent to "a muscle for pumping blood" such as the anatomical organ in the chest cavity.



Sand
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23 Jun 2010, 12:33 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
If you accept evil. I don't a serial killer or someone who blasphemes is no more evil than a flat tire or a rusted muffler. It's just a bad piece of equipment and some things we can fix and some things are still beyond our technology.


That would imply our moral judgments are little more than expressions of opinion or approval/disapproval. I am inclined to that point of view. I do not believe there are any moral facts nor do I believe human morality can be derived logically from physical laws.

ruveyn


Perhaps not through physical laws, but rather through direct revelation (e.g., like at Sinai.) However, I think that to a degree the moral laws are "written on our hearts" also, even though they are not derivable through scientific means alone.


Even somebody with your rather peculiar look at the world should be convinced at this point that a heart is a muscle for pumping blood, not a factory of ideas. If you don't accept scientific methods I cannot find any sense in conversing with you.


In language there is such thing as a figurative usage of words. "Heart" is not referring to the blood-pump in our chests, but rather a component of our minds.


And since you are as much in the dark as any of those old primitives several thousand years ago you appropriately use their linguistic misdirections because you know nothing about the real mechanics of the mind.


"Beowulf word-hoard unlocked", from the poem Beowulf did not mean that he had an actual physical hoard of words, but that he started speaking that which he had held back from saying before. Similarly, the usage of the word "digital" in electronics does not mean that computers or cameras have fingers. "Language" is a word which refers, in meaning, to speech, but actually means "tongue" in most languages other than English. "Sword" in the Bible does not just mean a two-edged bladed meelee combat weapon, but it also can mean an entire army or war or sets of wars as in "I will send the sword against you and you will be remembered no more."


Very good. Now we both understand that your words are so ambiguous that they convey nothing precise enough to convince me you have even the faintest concept of what you are talking about. You seem to have accepted my analysis.


You seem to lack the comprehension of how language works.


That may be, but that's not in question here. You don't understand how language doesn't work.


Your comprehension of language is in question because you consider the usage of the word "heart" in the Bible to be equivalent to "a muscle for pumping blood" such as the anatomical organ in the chest cavity.



Ah. Then of the heart in the Bible means the brain. Does that mean the whole brain or one of the lobes or perhaps the fornix or the amygdala or the thalamus? Perhaps the entire cortex or is it a group of these working in concert? It seems most likely you are referring to the entire limbic system. And, of course, if any one of these are the Biblical heart, what does the Bible call the blood pump? As I said, your information and how you identify active body components seems terribly uniformed.



iamnotaparakeet
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23 Jun 2010, 12:42 pm

Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
Sand wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Sand wrote:
If you accept evil. I don't a serial killer or someone who blasphemes is no more evil than a flat tire or a rusted muffler. It's just a bad piece of equipment and some things we can fix and some things are still beyond our technology.


That would imply our moral judgments are little more than expressions of opinion or approval/disapproval. I am inclined to that point of view. I do not believe there are any moral facts nor do I believe human morality can be derived logically from physical laws.

ruveyn


Perhaps not through physical laws, but rather through direct revelation (e.g., like at Sinai.) However, I think that to a degree the moral laws are "written on our hearts" also, even though they are not derivable through scientific means alone.


Even somebody with your rather peculiar look at the world should be convinced at this point that a heart is a muscle for pumping blood, not a factory of ideas. If you don't accept scientific methods I cannot find any sense in conversing with you.


In language there is such thing as a figurative usage of words. "Heart" is not referring to the blood-pump in our chests, but rather a component of our minds.


And since you are as much in the dark as any of those old primitives several thousand years ago you appropriately use their linguistic misdirections because you know nothing about the real mechanics of the mind.


"Beowulf word-hoard unlocked", from the poem Beowulf did not mean that he had an actual physical hoard of words, but that he started speaking that which he had held back from saying before. Similarly, the usage of the word "digital" in electronics does not mean that computers or cameras have fingers. "Language" is a word which refers, in meaning, to speech, but actually means "tongue" in most languages other than English. "Sword" in the Bible does not just mean a two-edged bladed meelee combat weapon, but it also can mean an entire army or war or sets of wars as in "I will send the sword against you and you will be remembered no more."


Very good. Now we both understand that your words are so ambiguous that they convey nothing precise enough to convince me you have even the faintest concept of what you are talking about. You seem to have accepted my analysis.


You seem to lack the comprehension of how language works.


That may be, but that's not in question here. You don't understand how language doesn't work.


Your comprehension of language is in question because you consider the usage of the word "heart" in the Bible to be equivalent to "a muscle for pumping blood" such as the anatomical organ in the chest cavity.



Ah. Then of the heart in the Bible means the brain. Does that mean the whole brain or one of the lobes or perhaps the fornix or the amygdala or the thalamus? Perhaps the entire cortex or is it a group of these working in concert? It seems most likely you are referring to the entire limbic system. And, of course, if any one of these are the Biblical heart, what does the Bible call the blood pump? As I said, your information and how you identify active body components seems terribly uniformed.


It's not a matter of anatomy when the word for 'heart' is used figuratively but rather a matter of psychology; it refers to the mind of the person, not the anatomical brain.



greenblue
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23 Jun 2010, 1:08 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
It's not a matter of anatomy when the word for 'heart' is used figuratively but rather a matter of psychology; it refers to the mind of the person, not the anatomical brain.

I believe at the time it was believed that the heart was anatomically responsible for emotions and even some thoughts, so that could have been the origin of a now figurative speech.

wikipedia wrote:
Early views were divided as to whether the seat of the soul lies in the brain or heart. On one hand, it was impossible to miss the fact that awareness feels like it is localized in the head, and that blows to the head can cause unconsciousness much more easily than blows to the chest, and that shaking the head causes dizziness. On the other hand, the brain to a superficial examination seems inert, whereas the heart is constantly beating. Cessation of the heartbeat means death; strong emotions produce changes in the heartbeat; and emotional distress often produces a sensation of pain in the region of the heart ("heartache"). Aristotle favored the heart, and thought that the function of the brain was merely to cool the blood. Democritus, the inventor of the atomic theory of matter, favored a three-part soul, with intellect in the head, emotion in the heart, and lust in the vicinity of the liver.
-
During the 4th century BC Aristotle thought that, while the heart was the seat of intelligence, the brain was a cooling mechanism for the blood. He reasoned that humans are more rational than the beasts because, among other reasons, they have a larger brain to cool their hot-bloodedness.


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iamnotaparakeet
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23 Jun 2010, 1:12 pm

greenblue wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
It's not a matter of anatomy when the word for 'heart' is used figuratively but rather a matter of psychology; it refers to the mind of the person, not the anatomical brain.

I believe at the time it was believed that the heart was anatomically responsible for emotions and even some thoughts, so that could have been the origin of a now figurative speech.

wikipedia wrote:
Early views were divided as to whether the seat of the soul lies in the brain or heart. On one hand, it was impossible to miss the fact that awareness feels like it is localized in the head, and that blows to the head can cause unconsciousness much more easily than blows to the chest, and that shaking the head causes dizziness. On the other hand, the brain to a superficial examination seems inert, whereas the heart is constantly beating. Cessation of the heartbeat means death; strong emotions produce changes in the heartbeat; and emotional distress often produces a sensation of pain in the region of the heart ("heartache"). Aristotle favored the heart, and thought that the function of the brain was merely to cool the blood. Democritus, the inventor of the atomic theory of matter, favored a three-part soul, with intellect in the head, emotion in the heart, and lust in the vicinity of the liver.
-
During the 4th century BC Aristotle thought that, while the heart was the seat of intelligence, the brain was a cooling mechanism for the blood. He reasoned that humans are more rational than the beasts because, among other reasons, they have a larger brain to cool their hot-bloodedness.


I wonder if Cicero had read about this prior to thinking, "There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it."



Sand
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23 Jun 2010, 7:30 pm

iamnotaparakeet wrote:
greenblue wrote:
iamnotaparakeet wrote:
It's not a matter of anatomy when the word for 'heart' is used figuratively but rather a matter of psychology; it refers to the mind of the person, not the anatomical brain.

I believe at the time it was believed that the heart was anatomically responsible for emotions and even some thoughts, so that could have been the origin of a now figurative speech.

wikipedia wrote:
Early views were divided as to whether the seat of the soul lies in the brain or heart. On one hand, it was impossible to miss the fact that awareness feels like it is localized in the head, and that blows to the head can cause unconsciousness much more easily than blows to the chest, and that shaking the head causes dizziness. On the other hand, the brain to a superficial examination seems inert, whereas the heart is constantly beating. Cessation of the heartbeat means death; strong emotions produce changes in the heartbeat; and emotional distress often produces a sensation of pain in the region of the heart ("heartache"). Aristotle favored the heart, and thought that the function of the brain was merely to cool the blood. Democritus, the inventor of the atomic theory of matter, favored a three-part soul, with intellect in the head, emotion in the heart, and lust in the vicinity of the liver.
-
During the 4th century BC Aristotle thought that, while the heart was the seat of intelligence, the brain was a cooling mechanism for the blood. He reasoned that humans are more rational than the beasts because, among other reasons, they have a larger brain to cool their hot-bloodedness.


I wonder if Cicero had read about this prior to thinking, "There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it."


Since absurdities are so popular in philosophy people tend not to see the obvious absurdities in religion which is founded on absurdities.



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23 Jun 2010, 8:09 pm

Depending on the writer of Biblical text and/or the time in which it was written, the original word that is translated heart literally meant "kidneys" or is sometimes literally translated "bowels." My guess is that at some point the Israelites or their ancestors came to realize that blood, which they understood as the source of physical life, greatly collected in or around the kidneys. The seat of the soul would have been assumed to be the kidneys.



Awesomelyglorious
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23 Jun 2010, 8:28 pm

In any case, I think that laying so much stress on something that can be translated non-literally with ease today seems questionable, at least unless some body of history is referenced to make the case.



Sand
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23 Jun 2010, 9:20 pm

Awesomelyglorious wrote:
In any case, I think that laying so much stress on something that can be translated non-literally with ease today seems questionable, at least unless some body of history is referenced to make the case.


It must be pretty obvious that I cannot take the whole business very seriously. Speculations on archeological fantasies is hardly much more than lightweight amusement.



countzarroff
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24 Jun 2010, 3:31 am

You know what this reminds me of, I think that atheists who hate religion see it very similarly to the way I used to see major league sports. "Who needs them? What's the point? All they do is cause people to get into stupid fights and they don't provide society with any knowledge or truth. There are a lot of families that try to shove it down their children's throats and not give them any freedom to branch away from it. People could be doing much better things with their time so we should just get rid of it."

Well that is what it meant TO ME. But for a lot of other people it was a way for them to bond with their family, it gave people something to believe in and support when everything else seemed dark, and its apart of the society's culture. Who am I to tell people whether or not they can watch baseball just because it doesn't make sense to me.

Is it a problem when it enters the education system and teachers like my first grade teacher try to get everyone into praising baseball and the home team, OF COURSE IT IS, its not science and does not belong in a classroom, but that's no excuse to pry away it from a society's culture. The same goes for religion.



Sand
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24 Jun 2010, 5:15 am

countzarroff wrote:
You know what this reminds me of, I think that atheists who hate religion see it very similarly to the way I used to see major league sports. "Who needs them? What's the point? All they do is cause people to get into stupid fights and they don't provide society with any knowledge or truth. There are a lot of families that try to shove it down their children's throats and not give them any freedom to branch away from it. People could be doing much better things with their time so we should just get rid of it."

Well that is what it meant TO ME. But for a lot of other people it was a way for them to bond with their family, it gave people something to believe in and support when everything else seemed dark, and its apart of the society's culture. Who am I to tell people whether or not they can watch baseball just because it doesn't make sense to me.

Is it a problem when it enters the education system and teachers like my first grade teacher try to get everyone into praising baseball and the home team, OF COURSE IT IS, its not science and does not belong in a classroom, but that's no excuse to pry away it from a society's culture. The same goes for religion.


Nobody's prying anything away from anybody. To point out mistakes, idiocies, and downright viciousness is merely to indicate what they are. If you love that type of stuff, that's your choice.



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24 Jun 2010, 6:55 am

AngelRho wrote:
On the contrary, I think the religious text is consistent about good vs. evil, if we're talking strictly about the Bible, that is. I've never thought of it as some kind of "game." The short definition of good is "that which is pleasing to God." The short definition of evil is the opposite. Anything contrary to God's will as it is knowable is sin, and anything less than perfection is condemnation.


I've been reading the bible again to figure out, separating myself from the institution and just going to the source, what's actually meant by doing God's will. Its something I notice for instance, we're not all built the same, not all built to do the same things or be the same people, and so the directions we go in, the stipulations we take with us, seem somewhat more tailored than a one-size-fits-all. That's not to say that some things seem universally immoral but what gets quite tricky is understanding the spirit of, not 'the law' but the rules behind the newer command as reinterpreted by Paul et. al. In life we're bags of chemicals, our bodies and minds are largely governed by stresses, strengths, limitations, emotions don't exactly come and go as much as anyone might hope at our behest, and its not to say that we can't control the output - we absolutely can, but it has a slight force in steering us in certain directions. I had a falling out with the notion of free will a while back and the bible seems to also hold a similar view, things are 100% predestined, when we come back to the issue of God being all light, all knowledge, all wisdom, being omniscient, omnipotent, etc., what's explained with the idea of sending the predestined to hell as much as heaven (forgetting the insult to intelligence "I didn't do it - you did it to yourself"), it doesn't compute. I'm not saying it isn't possible that there's just more to the story than what we know (ie. we lived in heaven before this maybe and the corrupt who made their decisions beforehand aren't being saved?) or maybe those aspects of the bible aren't fully on? I won't assume the later, I don't know, but still - there is a lot therein that just doesn't add up. This tends not to be any big problem for atheists but, I can't go that way either - what I've been able to draw from reality just doesn't lead me there.



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24 Jun 2010, 7:51 am

techstepgenr8tion wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
On the contrary, I think the religious text is consistent about good vs. evil, if we're talking strictly about the Bible, that is. I've never thought of it as some kind of "game." The short definition of good is "that which is pleasing to God." The short definition of evil is the opposite. Anything contrary to God's will as it is knowable is sin, and anything less than perfection is condemnation.


I've been reading the bible again to figure out, separating myself from the institution and just going to the source, what's actually meant by doing God's will. Its something I notice for instance, we're not all built the same, not all built to do the same things or be the same people, and so the directions we go in, the stipulations we take with us, seem somewhat more tailored than a one-size-fits-all. That's not to say that some things seem universally immoral but what gets quite tricky is understanding the spirit of, not 'the law' but the rules behind the newer command as reinterpreted by Paul et. al. In life we're bags of chemicals, our bodies and minds are largely governed by stresses, strengths, limitations, emotions don't exactly come and go as much as anyone might hope at our behest, and its not to say that we can't control the output - we absolutely can, but it has a slight force in steering us in certain directions. I had a falling out with the notion of free will a while back and the bible seems to also hold a similar view, things are 100% predestined, when we come back to the issue of God being all light, all knowledge, all wisdom, being omniscient, omnipotent, etc., what's explained with the idea of sending the predestined to hell as much as heaven (forgetting the insult to intelligence "I didn't do it - you did it to yourself"), it doesn't compute. I'm not saying it isn't possible that there's just more to the story than what we know (ie. we lived in heaven before this maybe and the corrupt who made their decisions beforehand aren't being saved?) or maybe those aspects of the bible aren't fully on? I won't assume the later, I don't know, but still - there is a lot therein that just doesn't add up. This tends not to be any big problem for atheists but, I can't go that way either - what I've been able to draw from reality just doesn't lead me there.


You pointed out predestination specifically. I don't believe in predestination because it contradicts the idea that all may come freely to God. You have to consider what predestination IS and what it IS NOT.

There are those churches that put forth predestination, such the Presbyterians and Methodists. What's interesting to me is that in contemporary times the idea of predestination is downplayed, i.e. it doesn't really form a significant portion of doctrine in practice. There are a few within those circles that cling to the idea of predestination, but for the most part it seems to be a tradition for tradition's sake.

But that God has picked and chosen from the foundation of the world who gets in and who doesn't just makes no sense. It's really only the epistle writers (Paul) that make a big deal about "the elect." "The elect" ARE those who were chosen from the beginning of the world, but you have to think about who they are. To say that God just threw several billion names in a hat, drew from it, and henceforth closed the door is just wrong.

"The elect" can't be just these over here or just these over there, because, again, that violates the principle that salvation is available for EVERYONE. It also introduces another problem: The idea that unrepentant sinners belong in the kingdom of Heaven. How fair is it for someone to keep the faith and, believing it is in God's will to do so, does good for himself, his family, his friends, and others only to find out at the end believing and accepting Jesus' sacrifice and thus being Christ-like in action was not enough simply because his name didn't come up? Is it really fair to be a believer and do good things and be rejected from God's presence only because you were screwed from the beginning? Remember, a perfect and all-powerful God is also perfect in justice and mercy. Predestination in the sense that God has a set number for specific individual who, on no account of their faith, are specially reserved for Heaven is NOT just, NOT merciful, and NOT reflective of a perfect, all-powerful God. Therefore, it MUST be false.

Along those lines, consider this: If it really doesn't matter--either God has selected you for redemption or condemnation without regard to faith--then why bother coming to faith at all? Why not just live life based on your everyday whims, get drunk, stay high, don't get a job, don't care for your family, eat whatever you want and how much of it you want, and hang out with prostitutes? What does it matter if you make good decisions or not? Just live the life you want because it's the only one you're going to get. You MIGHT have an afterlife, or you MIGHT rot in Hell. It's a tossup anyway.

Except the Bible doesn't say that. The Bible calls all Christians to live a life according to the example set by Christ. We believe it, therefore we live it. And because of that kind of life, we want to do good things and see others come into the faith. James wrote "Faith without works is dead," which means that the best indicator for knowing someone is truly a believer in Christ is how they act. Now, true, not EVERYONE who does good things is a believer. If a good deed is not done in the name of Jesus (meaning an outward expression of faith and attempting to live a life according to the will of God), then it is done for some selfish motive--even if that motive is personal gratification or you think it's "just the right thing to do." Believers who do good things (not all do, but see the above quote from James) do so because they recognize the value of others in God's eyes and seek the best benefit of all as a result of their faith. That's why you have so many Heaven-bound Christians who, for various reasons such as personal crises, immature faith, and so on, don't have much more in Christ than fire insurance. Likewise, you have a lot of "good people" that lack the only thing that really matters: acceptance of God's mercy through the atonement of Jesus.

Those people, "the elect," are those people in a broad sense that God has chosen from the foundation of the world. It is a general statement, not a specific statement--all those in the past who walked in faith will have a share in God's kingdom along with those after Christ who place their faith in the Son of God. And because Jesus' gift of salvation is free to anyone willing to believe, than anyone willing to believe may count themselves as members of "the elect." The only predestination there can be is that those who come to faith, which could be anyone, are the ones that will be set apart for Heaven.

Free will is more of an extra-Biblical philosophical debate, and arguments one way or the other don't really go anywhere. It really doesn't matter which side you take, you still have the choice of whether to believe or not. Those who argue in favor of predestination are really arguing a philosophical point--if God knows everything, then He knows already who will make the choice. Okay, but by saying that God knows EVERYTHING, it means He also knows all the possibilities. He knows every path you CAN take and will try everything that does not violate free will nor His own nature to convince you to take the path of salvation. He knows all the times and places when and at which He will, in a sense, cross paths with you, and He knows whether there is a "point of no return" as well as when and if you will ever pass that point. All have an opportunity to make that choice. It is NOT something for you personally that God set out to do from the beginning.



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24 Jun 2010, 8:04 am

I don't agree with some of the notions of Calvinists, but, techstepgener8tion, you seem to be thinking along the lines of Calvin in regard to the debate of Calvinism versus Arminianism. I haven't read this completely, but it appears to be similar to what I had heard when I attended a General Conference Baptist church back in 2007, http://www.the-highway.com/compare.html so this would give you an idea of the theological debate, although you've probably read a fair bit here on PPR back a couple years ago too.



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24 Jun 2010, 8:48 am

AngelRho wrote:
Along those lines, consider this: If it really doesn't matter--either God has selected you for redemption or condemnation without regard to faith--then why bother coming to faith at all? Why not just live life based on your everyday whims, get drunk, stay high, don't get a job, don't care for your family, eat whatever you want and how much of it you want, and hang out with prostitutes? What does it matter if you make good decisions or not? Just live the life you want because it's the only one you're going to get. You MIGHT have an afterlife, or you MIGHT rot in Hell. It's a tossup anyway.


This is where I think the mistake is being made, predestiny isn't about God picking names at random and then those who are chosen having the option to be as libertine as they want.

The point is really this - we don't and can't choose who we are. We think we choose our identities, we think we pick our own choices, I don't believe that we do. We stand proud of our output when we're able to make better and better decisions through life but, the input is not of our making, the processing is not of our making, there's never a time in our lives where we literally start without history or instruction - even before we're born we have our genes doing the job. Good and evil people seem to come, as far as I can see it, of neurological circumstance; yes things definitely change in people's lives, people can change their ethics based on what they're able to comprehend, but even external influences themselves, everything from deciding what you'll have for breakfast to the exact breeze or atmospheric pressure that allows someone to roll lucky sevens in craps - you can replay the same moment over and over again, its perfectly the same, just as the same person with the same mood/chemical state with the same information and picturesque identical environment down to the atomic level, will make the same decison.

Because of that I have a tendency to think that everything out there, both good information and bad, both consistencies and inconsistencies, have been placed by God as linchpins, things meant to either have desired effects or mitigate tertiary consequences of others, in order to lead reality and the human condition in a particular direction - of his choosing. I think of it as a giant/magnificent Heron play, just at a scale that Heron could never have comprehended.

What does make everything very interesting, in reading Charles Capps a bit, he hit a home run in my opinion on the notion that I think really summed something up in terms of God and the basis of how we're built in his image - that matter responds to the verbal, that the basis of our creative ability is verbal. A lot of these things I'm still trying to sort out, I am of course praying daily for guidance, but my biggest question for the Lord - as who I am, with the specific gifts and personality traits that I've been given - what does he want me to do? I have a motivational structure, I've learned the hard way that I can't necessarily leave my motivational structure and stick with something for long, so, to be a solid Christian the way I'd like to be it takes understanding the how, why, having my mind instinctively flow in the right directions. Supposedly the law was given to Moses to prove to us that we have a sinful nature and crave what we're told not to do, I'd debate that with myself the trouble seems to be much less that than say fully understanding the spirit of it, the substance behind the form. Form-based Christianity may do well for some, I have trouble just taking the form for what it is and not trying to logically connect the dots - I think I always will and I think I'll always be striving for a better understanding of what everything means, contextually.

At the same time though I think of salvation/perdition in two ways: 1) I would prefer to think that God knows us personally well enough to make a decision based on our hearts 2) the incentive to go to heaven, if God did not judge justly, somewhat evaporates if one finds out that their being their best self wasn't good enough - at that point accepting fate almost becomes a matter of principle. I would much rather believe that the spiritual world and spiritual reality holds far better things for us than this world does, but, if God lets say were very fickle and antipathic - its a rather dystopian picture. Antipathy of course doesn't mix with a being sending his son to die for our sins and take the cup of his wrath either, so, again, I'm looking at more quandries to sort through there as well.



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24 Jun 2010, 8:53 am

What is most amusing is the concept that a person that behaves responsibly and with consideration for all others because he or she believes that is what makes a good society is totally condemned because the motive is made with logic and understanding and the powers of an excellent mind. If it is not done as a rote procedure out of fear or love of God it has no value whatsoever and the use or lack of intellect is irrelevant. One is not permitted to examine God's motives or, in all probability, wonder about them. A good Christian is an organic wind-up toy programed by God that has the possibility of malfunctioning but that means it must be tortured forever for that malfunction. And this is accepted as a sane concept.