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Why we must make sure the Darwinists lose

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Here, in “Justification by Faith”, Darwinist atheist Michael Ruse comments on Christopher (new atheist) Hitchens’s esophageal cancer diagnosis ( bad news):

Third, with Hitchens I simply don’t see that deathbed conversions, especially those done in fear or pain, are worth a thing. They have about as much validity as a confession forced out through waterboarding. I have often wondered, when I am on a plane, if it were announced that it was hijacked and we were on the way to the White House or whatever, what then would I do? Would I tell Jesus that I am sorry? I confess that I might. But if Jesus thinks that that is worth anything, then he loses my respect entirely.

This is merely disgusting. Death concentrates the mind on what is real. Look at other examples of the human race: Todd Beamer, the guy who was a devout Christian, took charge of a plane captured by terrorists, possibly aimed at the Capitol or the White House. He said the Lord’s Prayer with an emergency services worker before shouting Let’s roll! to other men on the plane, creating a disturbance that probably resulted in the plane’s crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, losing all on board. But those people were doomed anyway, and he prevented vastly worse disorders.

Michael Ruse wouldn’t respect Jesus if he told him he was sorry for his sins, and Jesus accepted that fact? Well then, I don’t respect Michael Ruse. And you can decide whether you are better off living in Todd Beamer’s version of American society or Michael Ruse’s. One must choose.

Too many people, in my experience, do not understand what is at stake.

Comments
To Clive: In case you are interested here are some of the conclusions I have drawn so far regarding the nature of reality: Every religion contains truth and of necessity error also. The truth comes from the depth of understanding of the religion's founder, but there are many sources of error. First, there is the fact that language is an imperfect medium for conveying that kind of truth. At best, language can only point to the truth. This is exacerbated by the fact that we English speakers read the original words in translation, often translated more than once, and translation inevitably distorts the meaning, no matter how carefully the translation is done. Second, the founder of each religion was speaking to a particular people in a particular culture at a particular time in history, and his message was necessarily tuned to their capacity for understanding. Third, those who came after the founder inevitably lacked his depth of understanding, and their motives were often less than pure, so their interpretations of the original message introduced further error. Given all of this, it might seem impossible that any of the original insight could have survived, but it has in all cases, as witnessed by those in each religion who have obviously seen deeply into the truth. In Christianity, I would name Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, and St. Francis. In Islam, many of the Sufi saints clearly knew a great deal, notably Rumi, Hafiz, and that sublime philosopher, Ibn al Arabi. I know less of the historical figures of Buddhism and Hinduism, but the Zen masters of Japan come to mind, and more recently, Paramahans Yogananda and his teacher, Sri Yukteswar. But even these saints and masters often do not give us the unvarnished truth as they see it, constrained as they are by the necessity of not saying anything that would be construed as heresy by their respective religions. As I have already noted in this thread, I personally see the Conversations with God series of books as presenting the closest approximation to the truth of anything with which I have yet come in contact. (Although even they are not immune from error, as God Himself points out in a couple of places in the books.) I regard these books as genuine revelation. The author, through whom the revelation is delivered, is by his own repeated admission certainly less than a perfect human being, in no way comparable to Jesus, the Buddha, or Mohammed. However, he has one essential quality for the task--his intention to be a pure channel for the truth is as perfect as it is possible to be and still be human (IMHO). In addition, God's words through him are delivered in the language you and I speak, English, and are unconstrained by any need to avoid heresy (and they are heresy in every religion of which I have enough knowledge to be able to tell).Bruce David
August 22, 2010
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To Clive: I believe you misapprehend my point. I was raised by agnostic parents who had the philosophy that they would not teach us, their children, any particular religion so that we could then decide for ourselves. So I, as a seeker of truth, look at all religions and spiritual paths as having equal right to claim their validity. Then how do I choose which one to believe? Every religion has its masters, saints, and clergy assuring us that it knows the truth. What authority other than my own inner knowing is there to evaluate which ones, if any, are correct? I am not claiming that there is no objective reality. I am saying that there is no escaping the necessity of judging for oneself what that reality is. We can use whatever information is available to us to help us make that decision, and any such decision will be provisional pending further experience and thinking. But we must make the choice ourselves what and/or whom to believe, based on our own best judgment. The majority of people believe what they believe because someone (parents, clergy, teachers) told them what the truth was and they bought it. But this is also a choice--the choice to believe what one is told--even if the choice often is not made consciously.Bruce David
August 21, 2010
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Bruce David,
Every person who believes in a particular interpretation of a particular scripture will give you very good reasons why their holy book is revealed truth and all the others are in error or worse. Thus, each sincere seeker is thrown back onto his own judgment and resources to decide the question for him or herself.
If anything and everything we read were really so subjective as you claim it to be, why should I take what you've written to be objectively true? You write as if you are exempt from this same calamity of subjectivity in what you intend to convey, yet your whole premise depends on it. When turned back around on you, your very premise defeats your claim; it's self-referentially incoherent. Either there is objective meaning in what you write, in which case there is objective truth in other cases too (such as scripture), or else there is only subjective meaning in what is written, which includes what you wrote. You can't have it both ways.Clive Hayden
August 21, 2010
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But Bruce, for you to believe what is 'in tune' with you, and to ignore the evidence, is no better than what evolutionists do when they ignore the overwhelming evidence for design in life just because it conflicts with their worldview. Bruce you are merely rationalizing a god that agrees with your preconceived conception of how a 'good' god ought to act instead of rigorously investigating and determining the reality of how the living God actually does act within the reality He created. When you mold your conception of your god to accord with your morals, instead of molding your morals to accord with God, you have in fact rendered both your morals and your god illusory. You say that people will always give a good reason for believing the way they do, yet you have provided ZERO evidence, other than your personal whims, for why you believe what you do. ,,, Here is a cool video that reminded me very strongly that morals are not of our own making,,, Amazing Coincidences Surrounding The Crucifixion Of Christ - Mark Biltz - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4236805bornagain77
August 21, 2010
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bornagain, I've said my piece. You don't accept my reasoning, nor what inspires me. We will have to leave it that we disagree. Go in peace. lars: If you will read this whole thread, you will see that the basic issue here (at least from my point of view) is the question of which religion's scriptures (and which interpretation of those scriptures), if any, represent the truth. Every person who believes in a particular interpretation of a particular scripture will give you very good reasons why their holy book is revealed truth and all the others are in error or worse. Thus, each sincere seeker is thrown back onto his own judgment and resources to decide the question for him or herself. For myself, I find that what God says (what He reveals, in other words) in the Conversations with God series of books is the most in tune with reality, logically consistent, and inspiring words attributed to God that I have ever encountered. Thus, I believe that they represent the closest approach to truth available to me.Bruce David
August 21, 2010
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Actually Bruce David, despite your gross mischaracterization of God to the contrary, I believe in the infinitely loving God, who loves us/me so much that He chose to endure the cross rather than to be separated from any of us for eternity. Hebrews 2:14-15 "Since we, God's children, are human beings - made of flesh and blood - He became flesh and blood too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of death. Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of death have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread." And remember Bruce, I actually have evidence that this is exactly how God decided to interact with reality,,,, This following video, which I've listed previously, gives fairly deep insight into what the image formation on the Shroud signifies for us: The Center Of The Universe Is Life! - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355 If scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light which made the "3D - photographic negative" image on the Shroud I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Near-Death Experiences (NDE's) in Judeo-Christian cultures. It is in their testimonies that you will find mention of an indescribably bright 'Light' or 'Being of Light' who is always described as being of a much brighter intensity of light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of 'The Being of Light' while having a deep NDE have no doubt whatsoever that the 'The Being of Light' they were in the presence of is none other than 'The Lord God Almighty' of heaven and earth. In The Presence Of Almighty God - The NDE of Mickey Robinson - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544 The Day I Died - Part 4 of 6 - The NDE of Pam Reynolds - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560 It should be noted: All foreign, non-Judeo-Christian culture, NDE studies I have looked at have a extreme rarity of encounters with 'The Being Of Light' and tend to be very unpleasant NDE's save for the few pleasant children's NDEs of those cultures that I've seen (It seems there is indeed an 'age of accountability'). The following study was shocking for what was found in some non-Judeo-Christian NDE's: Near-Death Experiences in Thailand - Todd Murphy: Excerpt:The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of 'going'. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves. http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm ,,, This is all straightforward evidence Bruce that backs up my position 100%, whereas all you have for evidence, Bruce, are your 'feelings' as to how God ought to run reality!?! ,,,That you would object that any moral standard should be upheld towards man by God in regards to any man's future eternal destiny, in fact argues very forcefully against the 'total freedom' you say that God gave each of us. Are we or are we not free to accept God's terms of forgiveness through Christ or not? You want to 'freely choose' God on your own terms, minus submitting to Christ, without ever truly being morally accountable to any of the actions that you may do here on this earth. For you eternity and morality is cheap,,, and unchanging moral principles are just so much fluff to be ignored because they are inconvenient for you. i.e. it is much easier for you to deny that sin separates/d us from God than it is for you to admit that the sinfulness of man is beyond man's ability to control and had, and has, to be dealt with by God Himself through Christ. That you would object so strongly to the way God has in fact chosen to deal with sin and death through Christ's redemptive work on the cross, as is made plainly clear with the evidence I presented, in fact reeks of rebellion for you are in fact trying to dictate to God how he should deal with sin and death, though He has in fact made it clear for all to see exactly how He did chose to deal with it.bornagain77
August 21, 2010
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@Bruce David,
Now there’s a God to whom my heart can say YES.
But we are called to worship him with all our mind, as well as our heart. We are called to worship him in Spirit and in truth. If we choose to believe things about God contrary to what he has said about himself, we are calling him a liar. We are claiming to have better taste than he himself has. In other words, we are remodeling him in our own image. Plenty of people have given their hearts to gods of their own making. Our only guard against the deceitfulness of our own hearts is to give His revealed Word priority over our hearts, and be transformed (not transform him) by the renewing of our minds.lars
August 21, 2010
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Ok, bornagain, you choose to believe in a petty, punitive, angry, control freak of a God who rules through fear and would condemn a soul to an eternity of suffering for the "sin" of a sincere belief in a non-Christian religion. Be my guest. For myself, I choose to believe in a gentle, kind, loving God who guides but never punishes, who is a friend and partner, who is there for us always and in all ways, who is directly accessible to all of us and needs no intermediaries, who created us in His image and likeness and gave us total freedom, who loves and cherishes each and every one of His children, no matter what we believe nor what we do, who created this physical existence that we may experience the magnificence that each of us is, and who calls us back to Him throughout eternity, with infinite patience waiting for each of His beloved children to finally hear and heed that call. Now there's a God to whom my heart can say YES.Bruce David
August 21, 2010
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This one should blow your socks off Bruce: The Precisely Fulfilled Prophecy Of Israel Becoming A Nation In 1948 - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4041241bornagain77
August 20, 2010
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Here is a better video Bruce: Defense Of The Historical Jesus From Supposed Higher Criticism Of Biblical Text And Historical Reliability - William Lane Craig http://www.vimeo.com/11144955bornagain77
August 20, 2010
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Bruce do you know how long that 'something lost in the translation' argument has been around? Yet as William Lane Craig points out in excellent fashion here: Can We Trust The Bible Written 2000 Years Ago? Dr. William Lane Craig http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reYBCz_kf1c That argument has no traction.bornagain77
August 20, 2010
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Bruce sure sounds 'rationalizing' to me; but I will give you one good reason, out of many, to trust the Bible more that others: It is also very interesting to note that among all the 'holy' books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was correct in its claim for a transcendent origin of the universe. Some later 'holy' books, such as the Mormon text "Pearl of Great Price" and the Qur'an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact. (Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)bornagain77
August 20, 2010
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bornagain: re. John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." First, bear in mind that the English version of the New Testament was translated from Greek, which was translated from the original Aramaic, which was not written down until many years after Jesus' death. It is quite possible that the two translations altered the original meaning in subtle but significant ways. It is even possible that someone added that quote later and the Jesus never said it at all. Second, note that Jesus did NOT say, "...and if you don't come to the Father through me, you will suffer in Hell for eternity." Third, the meaning of "through me", like much of what Jesus said, is open to multiple interpretations. It could mean the traditional Christian interpretation of accepting Jesus as one's personal savior, but it could also mean "by being as I am", or "by being the way and the truth and the life", or by following his example. Finally, I come back to my original question: How do I know that the Bible is right and all the other sacred scriptures in the world are wrong (The Koran, the Buddhist scriptures, the Tao Te Ching, The Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, The Book of Mormon, etc.)? Or, once again, Conversations with God? I have to choose based on my own best understanding, and the vision of God, our relationship to Him, and the purpose of Creation expounded in Conversations with God speaks the most profoundly of all of them to the deepest yearnings of my soul.Bruce David
August 20, 2010
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avocationist you state: it is quite possible to have a very different theology based upon the same scriptures. Please reconcile what Bruce is saying,,, (all paths eventually lead us Home anyway). with John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Just exactly how am I to reconcile that scripture with you guys 'enlightened understanding".bornagain77
August 19, 2010
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Bruce David: John 14:6bornagain77
August 19, 2010
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avocationist, John 3:16bornagain77
August 19, 2010
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To avocationist: Once again, you have hit the nail right on the head. I have really enjoyed your posts on this thread. I think that there comes a point when you just have to accept that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", and bless them on their journey (all paths eventually lead us Home anyway). There is one quote from Conversations with God that I just love. God says, "If you are seeking God you are in luck, because I'm too big a target to miss."Bruce David
August 19, 2010
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For heavens sake BA, No one is telling you to give up Christianity. I am merely pointing out that it is quite possible to have a very different theology based upon the same scriptures. You say that because Jesus rose from the dead it proves your theology of exactly why he died and what it accomplished for God and us. There is a difference between an event, and the interpretation of the event. At any rate, you have not responded to any arguments or questions. I take it that you are not interested in discussion of ideas. You have shown no interest at all.avocationist
August 19, 2010
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correction: if you would NOT fight so hard against Christbornagain77
August 19, 2010
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And Bruce David, if you would fight so hard against Christ I would rail with you against 'religion', but since it seems you have thrown the baby (Christ) out with the bathwater (religion), I must ask does your 'logic' negate the fact Jesus actually rose from the dead and reconciled finite man with infinite God? As I have repeatedly pointed out with this video: General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355 It seems to me that the sheer audacity of someone rising from the dead has completely failed to make any impression on you whatsoever as to the underlying implications underlying the fact of His resurrection. I really don't care what 'logic' and reasoning you use to try to dissuade me from being a Christian, in that I hold Christ is THE WAY to God, and frankly until you resurrect from the dead and walk through a wall, I will tend to be less than impressed with your arguments against Christianity, to put it mildly. ,,, As well Bruce,, just to let you know, I know my redeemer lives for He lets me know He is around by neat little miracles He does to comfort me! MY REDEEMER LIVES - NICOLE C MULLEN VIDEO WITH LYRICS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p4G2GbPYQAbornagain77
August 19, 2010
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bornagain77: Justice? What exactly is justice, not to mention infinite justice? That someone should pay for their sins? How? By suffering commensurate with the sins committed? Let's say we grant that for the sake of argument. Then, as avocationist has already asked, where is the justice in an infinite amount of suffering for a finite amount of sin (because no one can commit an infinite amount of sin in a finite lifetime)? "Infinite justice" makes no more sense than the assertion that an infinitely loving God could create a Hell and put people in it. Now let's look a little more closely at the notion of sin. Most Christians, I believe, regard sin as a violation of God's moral laws. But let's say I believed everything else you said and wanted to try to live according to "God's law". Where exactly do I find an unequivocal statement of what exactly that is? Do I believe the Catholics, who say that contraception is a sin? Fundamentalist Christians who hold that dancing and non liturgical music is a sin, not to mention homosexual activity? More liberal Protestants who believe that any loving relationship, gay or straight, is permissible? And have you noticed that the notion of what is sin and what isn't evolves over time, even within the same Christian denominaton? You can't really use the Bible as your guide, either, because it contradicts itself (e.g., an "eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and "turn the other cheek") and has admonitions that no one today would accept (e.g., if your son is disobediant, take him to the city wall and stone him). How can I believe in sin when the concept becomes so elusive when you get down to the nitty gritty? God (in Conversations with God) says that there is no right and wrong, only what works and what doesn't work given what you want to accomplish. He not only gave us free will, He gave us true freedom. He will never punish us, no matter what we do (this is not to say there won't be consequences). If you want to return to Him (and we all do; it's built in), then one thing that works is to always come from love in everything you do. Another is to recognize and act as though we are all One, and One with Him (because we are). (And by the way, if you think living like this is easy, you are mistaken. The paths that avocationist and I have chosen for ourselves are anything but easy.) Why am I going on like this? I really don't have any particular stake in whether you believe me or not. The Truth is the Truth, and we will all find out when we die, no matter what we believe in this particular lifetime. I am convinced, however that two thousand years of religious ideas of sin, separation (of us from each other and us from God), better and worse, and good and evil have clearly not worked, not if we want a world in which people live in harmony with each other and the earth. It's time for a re-thinking of these ideas if we want the human race to survive on this as yet beautiful planet.Bruce David
August 19, 2010
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avocationist, Seeing as I actually have evidence for the resurrection of Christ, and thus for the fact that the 'debt' for sin and death was paid by Christ,,, General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355 ,,, and seeing as I actually have evidence that non-Judeo-Christian cultures have a overwhelming majority of of horrendous NDE's,,,,
A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington: Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here. Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back. Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
etc.. etc.. etc.. ,,, then I must conclude that belief in, and acceptance of, Christ is paramount to salvation to such a wonderful paradise as is mentioned in Judeo-Christian NDE's. You protest that your 'logic' demands that a good God would not allow such a thing as the cross to set us free from death.,,, avocationist, your protest from your 'logic' rings very hollow in the face of such evidence. You are in a very peculiar position avocationist, on the one hand you accept that the NDE's are indeed real occurrences, which also I find them to be 'real' from other lines of evidence, yet on the other hand you are arguing that it is merely 'psychological factors' that are preventing these people in foreign cultures from experiencing the extremely pleasant NDE's of Judeo-Christian cultures, yet you stubbornly want to subtract belief in Christ from this 'psychological factor'. You contend that if they can 'just be enlightened' to the overwhelming love of God and released from the shackles of fear, such as supposedly you and Bruce David are (minus Christ of course), then you say they would have extremely pleasant NDE's just as in western cultures. But this position of yours has no actual evidence to support it, such as mine does, as for being the truth for how things actually are, save for what 'you feel' is your sterling ability to reason that 'this is the way that reality should be'. Yet avocationist, not to belittle your 'reasoning ability', but why in blue blazes should I stake the eternity of my very soul on what 'you feel and reason' is the mistaken propensity of people to trust in Christ with their souls, when the actual evidence is telling me that people who trust in Christ are actually having such wonderful NDE's in the first place, and people who are minus Christ are having such horrendous ones??? It makes absolutely no sense to me to give up something that is shown to be a safe path to eternity (Christ), for a line of thinking that I find to be shaky in its premises. further notes here: Intelligent Design - The Anthropic Hypothesis http://lettherebelight-77.blogspot.com/2009/10/intelligent-design-anthropic-hypothesis_19.htmlbornagain77
August 19, 2010
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avocationist, Seeing as I actually have evidence for the resurrection of Christ, and thus for the fact that the 'debt' for sin and death was paid by Christ,,, General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355 ,,, and seeing as I actually have evidence that non-Judeo-Christian cultures have a overwhelming majority of of horrendous NDE's,,,,
A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington: Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here. Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back. Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
,,, then I must conclude that belief in, and acceptance of, Christ is paramount to salvation to such a wonderful paradise as is mentioned in Judeo-Christian NDE's. You protest that your 'logic' demands that a good God would not allow such a thing as the cross to set us free from death.,,, avocationist, your protest from your 'logic' rings very hollow in the face of such evidence. You are in a very peculiar position avocationist, on the one hand you accept that the NDE's are indeed real occurrences, which also I find them to be 'real' from other lines of evidence, yet on the other hand you are arguing that it is merely 'psychological factors' that are preventing these people in foreign cultures from experiencing the extremely pleasant NDE's of Judeo-Christian cultures, yet you stubbornly want to subtract belief in Christ from this 'psychological factor'. You contend that if they can 'just be enlightened' to the overwhelming love of God and released from the shackles of fear, such as supposedly you and Bruce David are (minus Christ of course), then you say they would have extremely pleasant NDE's just as in western cultures. But this position of yours has no actual evidence to support it, such as mine does, as for being the truth for how things actually are, save for what 'you feel' is your sterling ability to reason that 'this is the way that reality should be'. Yet avocationist, not to belittle your 'reasoning ability', but why in blue blazes should I stake the eternity of my very soul on what 'you feel and reason' is the mistaken propensity of people to trust in Christ with their souls, when the actual evidence is telling me that people who trust in Christ are actually having such wonderful NDE's in the first place, and people who are minus Christ are having such horrendous ones??? It makes absolutely no sense to me to give up something that is shown to be a safe path to eternity (Christ), for a line of thinking that I find to be shaky, to put it mildly.bornagain77
August 19, 2010
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BA,
As a end note: avocationist, I found your rationalizations as to exactly why foreign NDE’s are overwhelmingly horrendous to be lacking in depth of integrity.
Lacking integrity? That is an odd thing to say. But did you read it? The conclusions I have come to seem very obvious to me. And you did not address that some Thai's seem to be headed to heaven despite having the wrong religion. But to simply say it lacks depth - I cannot accept that unless you tell me why. For I read it carefully and my conclusions make sense! Now, as to the death on the cross being a requirement for forgiveness, again, I want to stress that the oldest and most consistent church in Christendom with about 13 countries and four of the five original bishoprics (losing only Rome) having remained within its fold, this church does not and has never taught this. They DO teach that we are saved by it, but that it brings hearts to repentence. I personally do not believe that his death was necessary but was an epic tragedy in that his teachings needed more time to take hold. In my opinion this whole long theology is a rationalization of men, wanting to make a nice, neat story line to their satisfaction. Bringing God down to the human level. But Jesus taught the opposite! In the parable of the rich man who forgave his servant a huge debt with no strings attached, the only thing which made him mad was that the servant was utterly unwilling to extend this same kindness to another servant who owed him a tiny debt. The original servant threw himself at his master's feet and begged forgiveness and it was granted. Why did Jesus use this parable? Jesus quoted Hosea to the pharisees and said, "Go and learn what this means: 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice.' How is it he would make such a point of this if in fact the entire purpose of his life was to satisfy a need for sacrifice??? [Jesus himself said that his purpose in being born was to bring truth.] Why would Jesus teach us to go to a higher level and forgive others if God is not willing to forgive us? For in your theology, God does not forgive and you have not ever been forgiven. How is it that I can forgive but not God? A PAID DEBT IS NOT FORGIVENESS!! If I owe the bank ten thousand dollars and they are going to repossess my car, but my rich uncle goes in an pays for it - the bank is happy. The bank does not care who paid, they just want their money. So God is like the bank. There is a term, financially, for forgiveness of debt. And guess what it means? It means exactly that - no more debt, no punishment and no one had to pay. If someone pays, it's not forgiveness. I opened a Billy Graham book at random and found this line "God demanded a death." I'm sorry but how does this jive with God is love Love remembereth no wrongs? How is it that humans make up such stuff, about a God who is so totally constrained that he must demand an evil thing in order to allow us into his presence? Why is human sacrifice such a terrible wrong if it is the most glorious and necessary thing for God? Even psalm 51 in the Old Testament which is full of human sacrifice, says, For you desire not sacrifice or I would give it, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A contrite heart thou wilt not despise. You may say that my belief or other religions teach that we save ourselves by our own merit, but you nonetheless believe in a God who must be propitiated. No, I don't believe in salvation by my own efforts. I believe in grace. Salvation is mostly a matter of surrender. The main action of the soul is to say yes, and not resist. But purifying the soul is a long and glorious process, one which Jesus likened to the bridal chamber. It is a love relationship and a process. It is a cheapening of our true state to think that some souls will be pardoned while having little work done on them, for rather arbitrary reasons, and that perfectly salvageable souls who didn't get enough time to accept Christ will be thrown away forever who are no worse than another. This is justice? Wisdom? How about allowing souls ample time to learn, to make the right choices and to freely walk with God? Is there a reason with all eternity at our disposal that we should be squeezed into an inadequate situation? Time's up! This kind of theology is dangerous for it allows people to be lulled in believing in a cheap salvation in which they are essentially passive. You made no real argument against Bruce. He said your God was inconsistent, possessing both evil and good qualities. This is precisely my argument as well, that Christian theology slanders God the Father in his character, and as a lover of God I find that painful to witness. I also know the great joy that comes of understanding that God is good, utterly good, with no darkness at all.avocationist
August 19, 2010
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Bruce David, you accuse Christianity of being logically inconsistent but it is not. In fact Christ's work on the cross was necessary for to make payment for our sins.
Propitiation In Christianity, propitiation is a theological term denoting that by which God is rendered propitious, i.e., that 'satisfaction' or 'appeasement' by which it becomes consistent with His character and government to pardon and bless sinners. The propitiation does not procure His love or make Him loving; rather, it renders it consistent for Him to exercise His love towards sinners. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propitiation
i.e. we are unable to cleanse ourselves from sin and death through our own works, in the eyes of a infinitely just God, thus it is necessary for God to redeem us from our fallen state since we are unable to do so ourselves. But you would probably say "Why doesn't God just forgive us in His infinite power and love?" Yet once again if you ask that question you are forgetting the infinite justice of God that must be dealt with! It seems to me that you, and avocationist, seem to think that if we all just 'think right' and have a positive attitude that we all can avoid hell and go straight to heaven, but that is in essence saying that we can, by our own works, earn enough merit to go to heaven, which is exactly the type of religion that every other religion is on the face of this earth save for Christianity. Christianity is actually built on the grace of God that was purchased through Christ's work on the cross where God Himself has made a way for us to be in right relationship with Him, whereas all other religions in the world are built on man's works for trying to earn God's favor. Though to be sure, many Christians treat Christianity as if it were actually a religion of man's works instead of God's grace, and end up getting on the endless treadmill of trying to 'earn' God's love, which you guys can already sense the inherent fallacy of. What you guys fail to see is the necessity for the infinite justice of God to be dealt with. A good book on this subject is Dr. Dembski's 'The End Of Christianity". William Dembski's New Book "The End Of Christianity - Finding a Good God in an Evil World" Is available at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/End-Christianity-Finding-Good-World/dp/0805427430/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254433434&sr=1-1 Excerpt of the book here: Finding a Good God in an Evil World - William Dembski http://www.designinference.com/documents/2009.05.end_of_xty.pdf Does God Exist? - Finding a Good God in an Evil World - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4007708 Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution - Thomas Kindell - Part 1 of 3 - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4168488 As well Bruce David and avocationist; The cross and the resurrection of Christ were not something that was done in a corner out of the eyes of people, it was done for all to see. And as The Shroud of Turin stubbornly, and persistently, testifies even to this day, for all to see, that Christ was, and is, exactly the way God Almighty has chosen to deal with fallen people in this fallen world in His infinite justice: General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5070355 As a end note: avocationist, I found your rationalizations as to exactly why foreign NDE's are overwhelmingly horrendous to be lacking in depth of integrity.bornagain77
August 19, 2010
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BA, Re the article about Thai NDE's http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm Goodness. This isn't much of a mystery, and of course I do admire Buddhism and Hinduism, being mostly familiar with the nice, sanitized versions. Here we have a situation in which 95% of the population are familiar with exactly one visionary text about life after death and it is reinforced throughout the culture. It is full of heavens and hells, though not eternal ones. There is a lot of guilt and worry, and emphasis on the accrual of positive and negative karma. It may be that Thais feel more worried because their religion teaches that it is the balance of good and evil deeds, weighed in the scales which determine their fate. Since many people feel guilty as well as have plenty of not so good deeds, they may experience negative NDEs. Christians may have a tendency to assume they go to heaven, although I have not at all been favorably impressed by the attitude or confidence with which Bible Christians and their families face death in my line of work. The lack of a tunnel I can't particularly see a reason for. Most westerners who have had NDEs, especially if you go back a couple of decades, didn't know in advance about tunnels and such. I am suitably impressed that this Thai religion is also full of negativity. Ah, the human condition... The article states that the eastern experience of a herald of death (servant of Yama) versus the western tendency to have an OBE is a stark difference. However, it may be that the Thais have less resistance to out of body ideas and are less impressed by it, especially as they do so much meditation. But the herald of death is common to both cultures. It's just that the Thais totally expect it to be a servant of Yama and in the west it can be an angel, an unspecified light being, and quite commonly a relative. It looks like the Indians and Thais go down a road instead of a tunnell. I am critiquing this as I go. I have to say I am a bit taken aback that there is so much negativity and fear of hell in Thailand. But a few see visions of heaven and so that shows that it is not acceptance of Jesus which is the cause of a good experience. Thais are not expecting a magical release from their own karma. They do not believe in an eternal hell, but neither do they believe they can get away with their bad deeds. Their society is described as one in which individuality is much less, and one spends one's whole life not choosing one's profession, not choosing one's spouse, and following in the parent's footsteps. So it seems reasonable that they may not pray for help as often as western people do when they see visions of hell. And perhaps because of this they have less expectation of a loving being like Jesus or perhaps an angel, coming to help them. Although it must be noted that all these bad visions did not include the person actually suffering torment, and the same has been true of all the western hellish NDEs I've seen as well. By the way, the authors do not believe NDEs are genuine.avocationist
August 18, 2010
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To avocationist: Very nice post. I pretty much agree with what you said as well. To bornagain77: Regarding the NDEs: You are committing a logical fallacy (whose technical name slips my mind) in which you conclude that evidence that is merely consistent with a particular hypothesis or theory constitutes a proof. You remind me of the Darwinists who hold that because biogeographic facts, vestigial organs, and "junk DNA" (assuming there is any such) are consistent with neo-Darwinism, that the theory is proven. They (and you) ignore the possibility that there could be any other explanation that fits within the context of an alternative theory. You also ignore the facts that seem to contradict your theory (as do the Darwinists). Avocationist and I have both pointed out inconsistencies in your interpretation of the data as well as offered an alternative explanation, yet you continue to insist that the difference between Western and Eastern NDE experiences proves not only that there is a Hell, but that only those who accept Christ will avoid it. You characterize my view of God as just my "'feelings' for how God ought to run this world". My statement is much, much stronger than simply "feelings". I contend that your view of God is logically contradictory. It's wrong the way an assertion that if you put two objects together with two other objects, you will have five objects is wrong. I assert that an infinitely and unconditionally loving omnipotent being cannot create a Hell and put souls into it for all eternity simply because they didn't accept Christ as their savior, and still remain infinitely and unconditionally loving. It's a logical contradiction. God is either infinitely and unconditionally loving or He created a Hell for those who fail to accept Christ. Both cannot be true.Bruce David
August 18, 2010
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Well, Born Again, I think about these things a good portion of the day. Uplifting Christianity is my purpose in life. My calling. I cannot refute what you say about the NDEs of other cultures without doing some research time and some thinking time. You know, you do post rather a lot of stuff...with what I have done so far on my own I have not come across this idea. I don't think it is fair to characterize my position as one of feelings about how God ought to run the world. It is a logical system and a mystical system with great coherence. Whereas, the more time goes by the more flabbergasted I am that I once and so many others accept the common theology. You do indeed have a huge system of scripture and interpretation to bring forth. Whether it is best to deconstruct it piece by piece, which I am sure can be done, or cut through the mentations to fundamentals, I am not sure. But I perceive that Jesus chose the latter, and it more or less did not work. It worked for some and it worked for a while, but the normal types who like to take control in this world eventually won out. But I don't think he had the option of deconstruction. He would have been stoned within the week. I'm pretty sure he was not a lover of Jehovah. He never used the word. Can you please explain to me how you find my words beautiful and say you dislike preachers of hellfire as much as I, yet you see no contradiction in remaining with it out of, well, a bit of fear and a feeling that there is no other option? Is this really the God whom you can love with all your heart, all your soul and all your MIND? Is it not obvious this indicates a problem and perhaps solutions you have not thought of? Oh, and of course there is no conflict between a loving God and a just God. What is just about never forgiving finite sins of a weak creature? That is infinite punishment. What could be more wicked and unloving than that? Karma or "you shall not get out until you have paid the very last farthing" is just, but not hell. Does God have any attributes which are not good? Can any of his attributes be in conflict with one another? Can any of God's good attributes make you uncomfortable in any way? "We tell you this that your joy may be full: God is light and in him is no darkness at all." The question I wonder is, do you really want to consider another view? Would you be interested in really good news?avocationist
August 18, 2010
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avocationist, beautifully written message of love, and I agree with much of of what you wrote, but I could go on and on with points I find exception to, (but isn't that the way it always is with religious discussions LOL) But I will stress one point that I have maintained throughout,,, you, nor Bruce David, have not countered the rigorous studies I presented that show foreign cultures to have horrendous NDE's. Thus, although I may dislike the fearful messages of those hell fire and brimstone preachers every bit as much as you do, I cannot dismiss their foundational warning to people to accept Christ or else, for I find the basic premise of their message to hold the truth as far as the evidence is concerned. You said that you are "quite skeptical that other cultures have significantly different ones (NDE's)." Well avocationist please tell me exactly why I should take your 'feelings' for how God ought to run this world (‘don’t worry, be happy, everyone goes to heaven religion’) over what the best evidence I can find states? Do you think the researchers, who were not Christian by the way, rigged the results? Exactly why should I give your inability to reconcile a loving God, with a just God, any weight at all? Do you see the weakness of your position yet?bornagain77
August 18, 2010
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Hi Born Again, I do believe in NDE's but am quite skeptical that other cultures have significantly different ones. But I also think that an NDE can begin with a fearful scene because of the conditioning of our cultures, and there are people in the west who have had hell scares, too. But they generally don't really last. Why I say mostly white people in heaven? Sure there are some oriental Christians and quite a few blacks, but in the scheme of world history, it will be mostly whites. I just cannot fathom your belief system! It looks like you think a kid in a foreign culture might get into heaven but not the parents. This is so arbitrary. I agree with Bruce about the fear factor. I just got a couple more of those little Christian missionary tracts. They always are basically a threat. God loved you, and if you don't believe it, your're going to hell. Not for a while - forever. God gave you free will so that if you use it in any way but one - you're going to hell. Not for a while. Forever. The sad thing is that this belief system prevents people from becoming real Christians, because Jesus taught us to become unconditionally loving and compassionate, and this requires a bit of doing - but the God of Christianity is uncompassionate, chaotic in his mercy, and ultimately has a cosmic plan with little depth or beauty. I believe in a God whom I can admire and love without reservation. The cosmic plan is so amazing that no human mind will devise a better one and say, Gee, I wish God could do it some other way... I have no fear of God for I have been born again, saved by lighting the divine spark within. God is ever with me and shall be. I know a God who is good. What is goodness? Let us think about that. Apparently the pressing concern is that more people in the east are going to hell. And what, we should convert them. But the whole thing is too absurd. It's late already. What about the vast hordes for whom it is too late? What an arbitrary system of a careless or bizarre god! As a follower of Jesus, I can never be happy if even one person is in torment or darkness and despair forever and ever. Why would God want belief or loyalty given through coercion? How is this light and not darkness? I'm going to look at some of your links and videos.
Basically as far as this ‘all paths lead to God’ non-sense, why in the world did Jesus die on the cross if it was not to save us from sin, death, and hell?
Because in the beginning of Matthew he said to do good to those who abuse you, to love your enemies. In the ultimate test, and what other test could be worthy than the most rigorous one? he proved himself a man of his own word: he felt compassion on the men crucifying him and prayed for them. He says, "If you want to go to heaven and be with the Father, you must be like this." And then he demonstrates it. He led the way. Words are cheap. He died on the cross to inspire love in our hearts, so as to reconcile humans with God. It's possible that the important thing is not the death but the incarnation. I don't know what to believe about the personage of Christ and I don't expect that we can know since so many lies and distortions fill history, but as all the human race are connected, having one perfect one could uplift us all and this is what I see in the parables of the leaven. Jesus is the leaven and will eventually raise the whole loaf. We are in hell now. Jesus helps us escape. We escape by the Holy Spirit, the inner relationship with the divine, the needed grace to become immune to this place. Overcoming selfishness, unthinking cruelty and judgementalism. Love your fellow man, and love God. That's how you get out of hell. He even gave us a Get Out of Hell Free card. It's "Judge not that ye be not judged." By the way, the Eastern Orthodox Church does not teach that God required the death of Jesus in order to forgive us and they consider that a horrid teaching. They say as I did above that the reconciliation is one of love.avocationist
August 18, 2010
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