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Christianity
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Posted 2/4/12

Canute wrote:

Jesus is God. Traditionally--by which I expect that you mean the first Christians, Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Son. The fact that the Church admitted the Gospel of John ought to be enough proof of that!

And Jesus cannot be a mere prophet. He declares himself that he and the father are one:

"Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do." (Jn 14:8-12)

Either Jesus is "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" or he is a blasphemer. There are no other options. One cannot say he is merely a prophet, because he made himself equal to God: "But Jesus answered them: My Father worketh until now; and I work. Hereupon therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he did not only break the sabbath, but also said God was his Father, making himself equal to God. Then Jesus answered, and said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you, the Son cannot do any thing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doth, these the Son also doth in like manner." (Jn 5:17-19) None of the prophets called God their father. If Jesus were only a prophet, he would not have made himself equal to God, which is a blasphemy for a mere man to do. To reiterate, Jesus is either "good, all good, supreme good" or a wicked man. I believe the former.


Take it that I accept that "God is Almighty, so everything God says is true."
..I would like to ask you that how do you know that the holy book you love so much is really the words of God?
I too can claim that I spoke to God.. I just don't...

Not to mention that the bible isn't at a very good position when faced against science... the question is like i've just asked..
"How do you know? Or you simply just believe?"
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Posted 2/5/12

shuyi000 wrote:


Canute wrote:

Jesus is God. Traditionally--by which I expect that you mean the first Christians, Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Son. The fact that the Church admitted the Gospel of John ought to be enough proof of that!

And Jesus cannot be a mere prophet. He declares himself that he and the father are one:

"Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works. Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? Otherwise believe for the very works' sake. Amen, amen I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do." (Jn 14:8-12)

Either Jesus is "God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God" or he is a blasphemer. There are no other options. One cannot say he is merely a prophet, because he made himself equal to God: "But Jesus answered them: My Father worketh until now; and I work. Hereupon therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he did not only break the sabbath, but also said God was his Father, making himself equal to God. Then Jesus answered, and said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you, the Son cannot do any thing of himself, but what he seeth the Father doing: for what things soever he doth, these the Son also doth in like manner." (Jn 5:17-19) None of the prophets called God their father. If Jesus were only a prophet, he would not have made himself equal to God, which is a blasphemy for a mere man to do. To reiterate, Jesus is either "good, all good, supreme good" or a wicked man. I believe the former.


Take it that I accept that "God is Almighty, so everything God says is true."
..I would like to ask you that how do you know that the holy book you love so much is really the words of God?
I too can claim that I spoke to God.. I just don't...

Not to mention that the bible isn't at a very good position when faced against science... the question is like i've just asked..
"How do you know? Or you simply just believe?"


When it comes to the bible and matters of faith, I describe myself as believing rather than knowing; but I have enough evidence for me to believe. As many believers will say, I've personally experienced the presence of God, certain prayers of mine seem to have been answered, and after receiving the sacraments, I find myself better able to live virtuously than when I refrain from receiving them.

On a more objective side, we have miracles which science cannot explain or cause the conversion of people who were inimical to the faith. For example, The Miracle of the Sun http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Miracle_of_the_Sun, many conversions and miracles worked by saints such as Padre Pio http://www.padrepio.catholicwebservices.com/ENGLISH/Miracles.htm, and things which baffle science like the Miracle of Luciano http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/lanciano.html. I believe that these things would not happen if God did not exist and Jesus were not the Son of God.

But, this reminds me that I need to answer Longfenglim's post. That's coming soon.
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Posted 2/7/12 , edited 2/7/12

longfenglim wrote:



Words are composed of two parts, the word, and the idea associated with that word. When I write something like 'Elephant', it is simply a series of straight and curve lines arranged in such way, but a speaker of English would immediately associate it with the idea of that large, grey creature with a long nose and two tusk protruding from the sides of its head. Now, if I understand your argument correctly, you say that God gives his idea form through his own speaking of that word, thus, when he says something like 'Let there be light', he gives form to the idea of lumination, and when he says 'Let there be will', he gives form to the idea of will. Therefore, God creates will through continually giving form to that thought- yet, to create it, it must exist as it is in his thought, therefore, it cannot be free, because if it is God's thought given form, it must conceptualised in its entirety in God's thought before his speaking of it, so, if he creates a man, he must concieve of a creature with all the property of man, and then speak that word to create him, otherwise, if it does not exist in his thought and he speaks it, it is then not an idea associated with the word he has spoken, and therefore not given form. So, if he concieve of a me, that I am not writing this response, therefore the me that is writing this response cannot exist, because it does not exist in the concept of the word of 'Longfenglim', who he continually sustains through giving his thought form. If he can concieve of two 'me' whereby one is writing this responce, and the other isn't, then the thought of one 'longfenglim' who is writing this responce is an entirely different 'longfenglim' who isn't, and so, either he must create one longfenglim, or he must create a longfenglim who has two possible route, but a predestined route, for he creates both present and future as well, and if the thought associated with 'present' or 'future' does not contain a 'me' who isn't writing this responce, then obviously the 'longfenglim' writing this response cannot exist without being inharmonous to the larger idea of 'future' that God created. You may argue that God may create a future that contains the idea of both me not responding and me responding, in which case, as God creates form for his thought through speech, both must exist, because, then, the thought of both are contained in the idea of future, and, if one does not materialise, then one idea is not given form, and, therefore, the word is not a representation of the idea that contain both ideas.


Yet, the will is the power to choose. Before the Fall of Man, God endowed the will with enough power to always choose the good, but He did not necessarily then create a will which has no choice other than to choose the good. When speaking only of the formation of the will, one can come to the idea that you explained above: that God must form the will to choose only what He wants it to choose. However, one must not forget that human beings possess reason, or the power to weigh different decisions before coming to a final choice. Let me use the example of the Fall:

'Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.' (Genesis 3:1-7)

Now, Adam and Eve could have easily obeyed God and refused to listen to the serpent. After all, they had spoken with God before, knew His power, and knew that they ought to obey Him. But then temptation entered into the picture. The serpent placed some new data into Eve's mind: that by eating the fruit, they would become like God. On one hand, God gave her everything she had, including her very existence, so she ought to obey Him merely out of gratitude. On the other hand, Eve believed that she could become like God by eating the fruit, which is a very tempting idea. Of course, she understood refraining from eating the fruit would be the morally right choice, but she coveted God's power and knowledge. Basically, she weighed rectitude of the will and being in God's favor on one side and being out of God's favor but as powerful as He is on the other and willed to choose the latter. Even though the part about her being equal to God was a lie, she also must have weighed God's authority against the serpent's, and perhaps even have realized that God was more trustworthy. But the desire to equal God clouded her judgment in this regard. Another person could have looked at these same things and reasoned that being morally upright and in God's favor is the better course, and have willed that way.

If God had created the will as only having the capacity to will what He wills, then he would not have created reason, which is the capacity to weigh one choice against another. It is only after reason has chosen what it considers most advantageous that a person wills something.

But, there is another part to the post above: does God, by knowing that one is going to do something, actually will that he do it? Does God predestine all our actions? Well, there are two Longfenglims and two Canutes: one exists in God's mind where we perfectly follow His will and the other is the version that is lived out in the world because of our decisions. While God knows how we will fall short of His will, that does not necessarily mean that He causes us to fall short. As I wrote above, the will only acts after the reason has weighed the options. God does not desire to force the will, so He speaks to a person's reason and gives that person strength to do what is right; but, that person may instead pay more attention to the reasons for doing the opposite action. No matter how much light and strength God gives this person, for example, so that this person does not spread malicious rumors about someone, that one may do it anyway. He prefers the pleasure of ruining someone's reputation and the attention of envious people to keeping a good conscience, the esteem of kind persons, and doing the will of God. Now, God can make this person experience suffering as a result of him spreading malicious rumors in an attempt to dissuade him from it, but that person can persevere in lying despite seeing the negative results for doing so. In any case, one can't say that God, while he does permit a person to use his will to lie, actually predestines that he do it.




To the idea that life must beget life, it should be noted that Abiogenesis may occur under certain condition already known, and certain condition to be discovered. Spotaneous generation is simply that life came from nothing, but that is entirely different from Abiogenesis, which is that life does originate from what is not living, but still from a condition that something exist to create something, hence the various componets of the word a- as in not, bio- as in life, and genesis, as in creation, thus, there is a wide gulf between these two ideas, like the sea between civilised logic, and primitive and savage superstition. There is very little alike, and it has been proven that a form of life can be created from non-Living material. It may be a leap, but a leap shown possible. You cite reason and the many arts that have no bearing on survival, yet, consider that these schools, the school of Philosophy, Higher Mathematics, Theology, etc. were created after our survival was assured, and we have settled down, our large brains, which, formerly employed in hunting and tool building, may wander elsewhere, and be applied beyond the dull, mechanistic necessity of survival. We are only able to understand the abstract points of metaphysical reality when our mind are at rest from predicting the migration, movement, and psychology of the herd, and unemployed in the careful consideration of the best way to slay these beast, and to make the greatest use of its skin, its flesh, etc.


Since I don't know very much about abiogenesis except for the primordial soup theory, I looked up the article about this on wikipedia. As far as I can see, what scientists have managed to prove in these experiments is that certain elements in an electrically charged environment will combine to form amino acids. Another one found that through a certain process, he could get the amino acids to form proteinids which were capable of dividing themselves in a way similar to asexual reproduction. But, these structures did not contain DNA or RNA. All in all, this seems a far cry from even the simplest of single-celled organisms. Please show me an example of a living organism being created from matter; otherwise, I'll agree that positively charged elements will combine with those that are negatively charged, but them forming a living creature without the will of God seems very unlikely.

Concerning reason, my point was that this power to discern the abstract is proof that metaphysical realities exist. If the world were not created reasonably, why should the power of reason exist in any kind of creature? It may be a great adaptation for producing societies which increase humanity's ability to survive, but isn't it remarkable that no other creature possesses it? If epistemology, metaphysics, and logic are essential powers of the cerebrum, then other creatures with cerebrums ought to be able to use theirs in a similar way. But, this power is only in the human brain, which makes humans unique. So, the fact that people have a rational faculty can only seem to come from the fact that they have a rational soul; otherwise, one would expect other creatures with a similarly structured and sized brain to have similar powers—since the same material is being used.




You may be right concerning the Falun Gong, but the fact remains, it spread despite presecution, just as many other religion, but you claim that Christianity spread with Miracles, yet Falun Gong members also spread stories of Miracles, spiritual healing, and what not. Christianity, and Catholicism, is not very remarkable in this respect, when a religion wants to spread, it finds miracles in everything, and accidents and chance of fate are taken for divine intervention by devotees. Certain Fanatics in my own city, Los Angeles, build an altar to the Virgin Mary, in the form of a piss stain, and claim that, because it is shaped similiarly to Our Lady of Guadalupe, it must be a sign from God, with many other claim healing from visitation and pilgrimage to this most holy of piss stains.

In addition, you make mention that Socialism was a 'Academic' thing, only suppressed when they finally rose up in arms against the government, which is not true at all. Marx was chased from nation to nation because he wrote in a radical newspaper, and finally settled in Britain. The Paris Commune, likewise, saw many of its Socialist leaders and many of its participants persecuted by the government of France. Parallels exist in all fields, that it grows in spite of government, and in persecution's spite.


After reading an article on Marx, it seems that I knew less about him than I thought. Sorry! But, exiling is not the same as killing. Also, it seems that I was mistaken about Communism being an academic thing at the beginning, because a communist revolt (the Paris Commune) even occurred during Marx's lifetime! So, it's no wonder that various governments wished to suppress it. How very different from Christianity, which was so completely dedicated to non-violence that it told Christian slaves to obey their masters and Christians to obey even pagan governments in all things save those which would violate their consciences—so dedicated that they refused to fight back against persecution!

I've read a few of the Falun Gong miracle stories, and I find them very suspect. On the other hand, it is much easier to verify the truth of Christian miracles, especially those verified by the Vatican. The Catholic Church has very stringent tests for reported miracles. In the cases of Saint's canonizations (i.e. those which are not brought about by popular opinion), two miracles (formerly three, don't ask me why they lowered it to two) are required. These miracles almost always have to be cures of a physical ailment (which are easier to verify than spiritual cures). They are submitted to a panel of doctors and scientists, who will either say that there is no possible way this cure could have been effected in a natural manner or say that it was possible that the cure was arrived at naturally. In the latter case, those trying to get the Servant of God canonized need to present another miracle. At the same time, the Church appoints a “advocatus diaboli” whose job is to find faults with the Servant of God's life, writings, and the miracles. I can only remember one instance of the advocatus diaboli declaring that there was no way he could deny the sanctity of the Servant of God: the canonization of St. Francis of Assisi!

The case you mentioned in Los Angeles must be the most suspect miracle story there is. I'm sure the Vatican hasn't given it's approval: the only Marian apparition which they've approved as happening in this country is Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. But, you can't forget the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal. I can't see a single way that one can deny that this was truly a miracle. It was witnessed by tens of thousands of believers and included people who were claiming the apparitions were a hoax, i.e. Communists and Atheists. All of them reported about the same phenomena with the sun and that the ground and the pilgrims' clothing, which had been soaked by about a week of some of the worst weather Europe had ever seen, was instantly dried by the miracle. This was witnessed even by people who were dozens of miles away, so it's hard to say that it was a case of mass hysteria.

The Catholic Church has had a long history of miracles which were enough to convince non-believers who witnessed them. Not just cases of spiritual healing, which would have been insufficient to convert the skeptics in the Roman Empire.




You cite partisan works, written by partisan pens, rather than Academic works.


Then, let me cite the works they used: the Koran, the Hadiths, and the early biographies of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq, Al Gahazzi, and others. The Sword of the Prophet in particular is very meticulous in quoting its sources.




You act as though Islam is a monolithic force of evil bearded men waving their swords around, ready to conquer Europe, when the truth is more than that, the Moslem community began splintering and fighting amongst themselves. While Europe may be in danger from the largest united Moslem force, the Ottoman, they were never in danger from Islam as a whole. Not all Moslems were Ottomans, and, indeed, some wanted to preserve their own powers against the Turks.


Don't forget that religion was the most influential force on people's lives and thought until the modern era, and Islamic countries still boast some of the most zealously religious people in the world. What does the Koran tell them?

“Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and his Apostles have forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the
truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled.”
Sura 9:29

“When you encounter the infidels, strike off their heads until you make great slaughter among them, and of the rest make fast the fetters.”
Sura 47:4

Now, I suppose that you might find Muslims fighting other Muslims, as one does in the case of other Christians fighting Christians. But, in no other religion do you find endorsements to make war on other people simply because they do not believe in one's religion! (Of course, you might reference the Jews being authorized by God to use force to settle in the Promised Land, but they did not receive permission to conquer any land they pleased!) Then, the first two caliphs after Muhammad launched wars against the surrounding peoples. The first caliph, Abu Bakr, first had to quell a civil war in Arabia, but lauched attacks against Persia and the Byzantine Empire after all resistance to him was suppressed. His successor is famous for conquering Persia, Syria, and Egypt. So, Islam was created in war and spread with war. Even if later Muslims had conflicts among themselves, they were united in their belief that forcefully converting non-Muslims was not only a right, but a duty.




The Moslems are not a single entity. You forget that. The map is deceptive as it protray Islam, and not the individual kingdoms warring against each other.


And whenever a Muslim leader unites all the other Muslims in an area, we have jihad!





If Jesus was executed by God's decree, rather than a sacrifice, but as punishment, pray, what is he punished for? If I understand Christian doctrine correctly, Jesus was sinless, as was his mother, yet, if God delievered his own son to die for a sin he did not commit, than it would indicate that God is an unjust God. Now, you may say that he is sacrifice, and he is not man, but God, so he can serve as a sacrifice for all sin, because he is infinite. The Atheist cliche would be to ask, 'Why should he sacrifice himself if he could just redeem them himself being infinite and God?' You may answer theatrics, but, wouldn't the theatrics be more powerful if God personally told everyone of his new laws and their forgiveness, without having to violate his own laws, that is, the prohibition against human sacrifice (for, even if Christ was divine, he came in mortal body to reveal the scriptures) and mentioned nowhere in the Laws, where certain animals were required for certain unintentional sins, the lowest in the order of sin. The Rabbi also mention that man does not need sacrifice to atone for sin, but repetance, sincere repetance, if that were enough, why would it be necessary to sacrifice himself for the sin of other, when personal repetance with God should be enough?


All very good objections! But, please note that the Rabbi ignores the suffering servant of Isaiah 53:

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

So, it seems that one man's sacrifice was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Otherwise, doesn't it seem odd that for the greatest sins, the Rabbi gives the easiest punishment, repentance? For an involuntary sin, one needs to lose his best livestock. For theft, one must return the money with a fifth more in addition. For murder and rape, one needs to cry? This wouldn't make any sense unless there was someone who paid the complete penalty of all these sins. When a Jew says that repentance is sufficient for one's sins to be forgiven, he ought to realize that is so because of the mercy won by Christ, the sacrifice of the New Covenant.

As for the fact that only God can truly win forgiveness for one's sins, consider that God owns everything in existence. So, man cannot offer anything to God which He does not already have. One might say that he can offer God his will, which God gifted to him. But how can he make up for the malice which his will originally contained in sinning or the damage he has done to God's creation? Man falls short.

Hmm...I'm running out of time, and I have not answered these questions: 1) Is God the Father unjust for allowing God the Son to take upon himself the penalty of sin? 2) Was it really necessary that Christ suffer so much to gain mercy for mankind? Does not God seem a little foolish for suffering so much if He could have effected the same thing by simply willing it?

Well, St. Anselm's Why God Became Man http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anselm-curdeus.asp does a better job of answering these questions than I can. So, you might prefer to read an expert. Otherwise, I'll get to it later.
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Dude how do you have enough time to write all that? I'm sure someone in this thread appreciated it and got something out of it, but for me I could have read the whole thing and absorbed all it's meaning and the result would be exactly the same:

THERE. IS. NO. gOD.

Don't think of it as being stubborn, my nearly 40 years of experiences in this world have resulted in the conclusion that it is extremely highly improbable that there is any god or gods in the universe.
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Posted 2/7/12

JustineKo2 wrote:

Dude how do you have enough time to write all that? I'm sure someone in this thread appreciated it and got something out of it, but for me I could have read the whole thing and absorbed all it's meaning and the result would be exactly the same:

THERE. IS. NO. GOD.

Don't think of it as being stubborn, my nearly 40 years of experiences in this world have resulted in the conclusion that it is extremely highly improbable that there is any god or gods in the universe.


lol. To tell you the truth, I was also saying to myself that there must be a more succinct way to explain all that, but, I'm not smart enough to figure it out. If there is one thing you might want to read which might go so far as to make you say "Perhaps there is a God," it would be the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. Here's the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracle_of_the_Sun. As far as I can see, this miracle is the most difficult to refute of modern times, especially when you consider the variety and number of people who saw it--everyone from fanatical Catholics to hardened Communists described the same phenomena.

Of course, I would like to stress that it's impossible to believe without grace. I remember hearing of a story of this gentleman who was engaged to a Catholic woman and was trying everything to become a believer, reading all the right books, discussing doctrine with the priest, etc. However, nothing could make him believe, even though he wanted to! (A most amusing situation!) Then, the priest asked him whether he prayed. The gentleman said no, but once he started praying he soon overcame all his doubts. You may laugh at this idea, but we're at war. The devil tries everything he can to make one either fall into despair or unbelief, simply out of hatred and jealousy. Then, the evil one, the flesh, and the world all combine to drag the soul down, and the poor soul cannot combat them unassisted.

This is where prayer comes in. Through prayer, God himself comes to our aid. With the aid of God, all these powers are weakened or routed, and faith and hope can dwell in the soul. Yes, I'm basically saying without grace I'd be an Atheist, and with grace, you might become a Christian--i.e. you'd be in a position where you might believe or still refrain from believing. One cannot do anything good without God's grace, but the soul still retains the ability to spurn God. But, whoever prays is saved. The greatest regret of the souls in hell is that if they had prayed, they would have been saved.
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Canute wrote:

Yet, the will is the power to choose. Before the Fall of Man, God endowed the will with enough power to always choose the good, but He did not necessarily then create a will which has no choice other than to choose the good. When speaking only of the formation of the will, one can come to the idea that you explained above: that God must form the will to choose only what He wants it to choose. However, one must not forget that human beings possess reason, or the power to weigh different decisions before coming to a final choice. Let me use the example of the Fall:

'Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.' (Genesis 3:1-7)

Now, Adam and Eve could have easily obeyed God and refused to listen to the serpent. After all, they had spoken with God before, knew His power, and knew that they ought to obey Him. But then temptation entered into the picture. The serpent placed some new data into Eve's mind: that by eating the fruit, they would become like God. On one hand, God gave her everything she had, including her very existence, so she ought to obey Him merely out of gratitude. On the other hand, Eve believed that she could become like God by eating the fruit, which is a very tempting idea. Of course, she understood refraining from eating the fruit would be the morally right choice, but she coveted God's power and knowledge. Basically, she weighed rectitude of the will and being in God's favor on one side and being out of God's favor but as powerful as He is on the other and willed to choose the latter. Even though the part about her being equal to God was a lie, she also must have weighed God's authority against the serpent's, and perhaps even have realized that God was more trustworthy. But the desire to equal God clouded her judgment in this regard. Another person could have looked at these same things and reasoned that being morally upright and in God's favor is the better course, and have willed that way.

If God had created the will as only having the capacity to will what He wills, then he would not have created reason, which is the capacity to weigh one choice against another. It is only after reason has chosen what it considers most advantageous that a person wills something.

But, there is another part to the post above: does God, by knowing that one is going to do something, actually will that he do it? Does God predestine all our actions? Well, there are two Longfenglims and two Canutes: one exists in God's mind where we perfectly follow His will and the other is the version that is lived out in the world because of our decisions. While God knows how we will fall short of His will, that does not necessarily mean that He causes us to fall short. As I wrote above, the will only acts after the reason has weighed the options. God does not desire to force the will, so He speaks to a person's reason and gives that person strength to do what is right; but, that person may instead pay more attention to the reasons for doing the opposite action. No matter how much light and strength God gives this person, for example, so that this person does not spread malicious rumors about someone, that one may do it anyway. He prefers the pleasure of ruining someone's reputation and the attention of envious people to keeping a good conscience, the esteem of kind persons, and doing the will of God. Now, God can make this person experience suffering as a result of him spreading malicious rumors in an attempt to dissuade him from it, but that person can persevere in lying despite seeing the negative results for doing so. In any case, one can't say that God, while he does permit a person to use his will to lie, actually predestines that he do it.



You say that God formed Adam and Eve with the reason to choose between Good and Evil, but, does that not mean that he formed them with the power of reason, such that they will make that choice? If God created their reason, then, in creating it, he must, as I said, give form to his thoughts through the power of spoken words, thus, the idea that Eve's mind is susceptible to the guiles of the serpent, and that Adam's mind is susceptible to the temptation of Eve is embodied in the word 'Adam' and 'Eve' when God created them. Thus, what, outwardly appears as freewill, is not really so, for how can it be if the creatures created are already endued with all the properties imagined in it, especially the property of eventually falling away from God. But say that they do have freewill, and no one is predestined to heaven or hell, as affirmed by the Reformed Theologians, then how does that not stand in contradiction to Paul's teaching on the subject, viz.


Romans 8:28-30 (DR Bible) sayeth:

And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints. For whom he foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son; that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called. And whom he called, them he also justified. And whom he justified, them he also glorified.




Scripture, then, tells us that God predestines some to heaven, and that he justify them and glorify them, therefore, there is nothing that man does that is good that is not, first, from God. This is not even a Protestant Translation of the Bible, but the Douay Rheims Bible, revised by Dr Chancellor. But let us stop our meandering- lest we fall into that pit of pedantic arguments over Bible translations. Predestination, as it is, is affirmed by the Church, as well as Protestants. Yet, where they all differ, as I understand, is on that question of Freewill. The Calvinists and Lutheran agree on the point that we are unconditionally elected based upon no merit of our own, for man is nothing but sin, and all his days are spent in sin, and so, we are incapable of reaching out to God without God first giving us grace. The Calvinist takes this to the next logical conclusion, because man is saved only by God's grace, it follows that the reprobates are sent to hell by God, which other denomination deny. Yet, to digress on a minor point, I think their denial is utterly unfounded, for to affirm one, that is election to heaven, would imply the other, damnation to hell. The other churches would have you say that God doesn't damn them, but that they damn themselves through their own sinfulness, yet, if man is not elected, and he must either rise to heaven, fall to eternal perdition, with its Adamantine Chains and its Penal Fires, then, if God does not actively damn them, he is essentially damning them anyways by letting them fall into hell. In fact, the Catholic Church is in some agreement here:


Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O. Pwrites:

1) God has chosen certain persons to constitute the elect.( Matt. 20: 16; 24: 31; Luke 12: 32; Rom. 8: 33; Eph. 1: 4.) (2) He has caused this election to be efficacious so that they will infallibly get to heaven: "My sheep shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of My hand."(John 10:29) "Whom He predestinated, them He also called. And whom He called, them He also justified. And whom He justified, them He also glorified."(Rom. 8: 30) (3) God's choice of the elect was entirely gratuitous and previous to any consideration of foreseen merits: "Fear not little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom."(Luke 12: 32) "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you; and have appointed you, that you should go and should bring forth fruit and your fruit should remain."(John 15:16) "Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant saved according to the election of grace. And if by grace, it is not now by works, otherwise grace is no more grace."(John 15: 16) "As He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,"(Rom. 11: 5) and not because we were so, or because He foresaw that we would be so by our own efforts. "For whom He foreknew (in His benevolence), He also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of His Son." (Rom. 8: 29)


But, still they continue to insist on a freewill. How can freewill exist under such parameters? The Reformed Theologians do not err in this point, in that they understand there is no way for it to exist.





Canutewrote:


Since I don't know very much about abiogenesis except for the primordial soup theory, I looked up the article about this on wikipedia. As far as I can see, what scientists have managed to prove in these experiments is that certain elements in an electrically charged environment will combine to form amino acids. Another one found that through a certain process, he could get the amino acids to form proteinids which were capable of dividing themselves in a way similar to asexual reproduction. But, these structures did not contain DNA or RNA. All in all, this seems a far cry from even the simplest of single-celled organisms. Please show me an example of a living organism being created from matter; otherwise, I'll agree that positively charged elements will combine with those that are negatively charged, but them forming a living creature without the will of God seems very unlikely.

Concerning reason, my point was that this power to discern the abstract is proof that metaphysical realities exist. If the world were not created reasonably, why should the power of reason exist in any kind of creature? It may be a great adaptation for producing societies which increase humanity's ability to survive, but isn't it remarkable that no other creature possesses it? If epistemology, metaphysics, and logic are essential powers of the cerebrum, then other creatures with cerebrums ought to be able to use theirs in a similar way. But, this power is only in the human brain, which makes humans unique. So, the fact that people have a rational faculty can only seem to come from the fact that they have a rational soul; otherwise, one would expect other creatures with a similarly structured and sized brain to have similar powers—since the same material is being used.



That man can reproduce the basis of life, I think, is enough to show that there is no need of a God to create life, for, from the basis, is all life built. That science continues to develop possible ways whereby life may be derived from non-living biological substances, that it science evolve, and continue to evolve, and go under a constant state of perfection of their theories on this matter, it is better than the alternative, that life wasn't, and then was. DNA and RNA are built from these basis, but are not these basis themselves, just as we are composed of cells, but we are not the cells in itself, nor is a single cell us in our entirety. I must admit that I am unlearned in Natural Science, but, if my understanding is correct, that they are not able to create the complex, but are able to create a simple that may, through natural processes, create the complex, should create no problems.

But, you continue to defend your argument that we are reasonable creatures, therefore there exist a greater reason than us, to grant us reason, which is not possible under a mechanistic approach. I think that is completely untrue, for, if we consider all creatures as a machine, whose sole dictum is 'survive', does that mean that man, nature's finest creation, the best and most adaptable, whose limitless potential for knowledge is such that he may build even a heaven in the midst of hell, by the deformation of all around him to suit his current needs, should not have the ability to metaphysics, epistemology, logic, etc. Of course not, for, it was created, as I said, through the idleness of settled life, when assurance of survival was no longer the main employment of our powerful intellect. You misidentify the purpose of our cerebrum, and its essential powers, that is, of motion, of language, of movement, of memory, all essential to survival. Animals are base creatures, whose intellect are not so able to be employed in a manner as ours, for its size is not such that can sustain those thoughts. But, supposing that they did, which is very possible, it would not be communicated to us because our the language barrier between us, just as we found savages of the pacific to be a dumb creature as well, because they were unable to communicate the beauties and profundities of their culture.



Canutewrote:
After reading an article on Marx, it seems that I knew less about him than I thought. Sorry! But, exiling is not the same as killing. Also, it seems that I was mistaken about Communism being an academic thing at the beginning, because a communist revolt (the Paris Commune) even occurred during Marx's lifetime! So, it's no wonder that various governments wished to suppress it. How very different from Christianity, which was so completely dedicated to non-violence that it told Christian slaves to obey their masters and Christians to obey even pagan governments in all things save those which would violate their consciences—so dedicated that they refused to fight back against persecution!


Yet, Marx lived in a more civilised time, for under the Romans, all who opposed the state were killed en masse, their barbarity well known, who revelled in the daily killing of gladiators, warring, bloodsport. Yet, Marx lived in a better time, though one not immune to persecution, execution, and mass murder. Marx's newspaper was suppressed, and he fled the government of various nations, finally settling in merry Albion, eternally calling for a forceful end to oppression, never giving way, though it may alleviate his poverty. The Christians, on the other hand, adapted their religion, compromised belief, to suit the Roman taste. Certainly they did not fight persecution, and, while persecuted to an extent, they were not so that they could have, at any point, been eliminated, for the Romans, it is well known, are not sceptics, but followers of the latest faith imported, from Mithras, to Sol Invictus, to Isis. It is likely that the Romans tolerated the Christians, in so far as they did not interfere with the state, and it is obvious that, by Constantine's time, Christianity was tolerated and embraced by many, for his mother, it was said, was a Christian herself.


Canutewrote:
I've read a few of the Falun Gong miracle stories, and I find them very suspect. On the other hand, it is much easier to verify the truth of Christian miracles, especially those verified by the Vatican. The Catholic Church has very stringent tests for reported miracles. In the cases of Saint's canonizations (i.e. those which are not brought about by popular opinion), two miracles (formerly three, don't ask me why they lowered it to two) are required. These miracles almost always have to be cures of a physical ailment (which are easier to verify than spiritual cures). They are submitted to a panel of doctors and scientists, who will either say that there is no possible way this cure could have been effected in a natural manner or say that it was possible that the cure was arrived at naturally. In the latter case, those trying to get the Servant of God canonized need to present another miracle. At the same time, the Church appoints a “advocatus diaboli” whose job is to find faults with the Servant of God's life, writings, and the miracles. I can only remember one instance of the advocatus diaboli declaring that there was no way he could deny the sanctity of the Servant of God: the canonization of St. Francis of Assisi!


Just because Science cannot explain it now, does not mean it can never be explained. Certain diseases were, for a time, thought to be righteous infliction of divine retribution upon the wicked by the most learned doctors. Because of faulty modern science, a name is added to the list of saints for eternity.


Canutewrote:
The case you mentioned in Los Angeles must be the most suspect miracle story there is. I'm sure the Vatican hasn't given it's approval: the only Marian apparition which they've approved as happening in this country is Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin. But, you can't forget the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal. I can't see a single way that one can deny that this was truly a miracle. It was witnessed by tens of thousands of believers and included people who were claiming the apparitions were a hoax, i.e. Communists and Atheists. All of them reported about the same phenomena with the sun and that the ground and the pilgrims' clothing, which had been soaked by about a week of some of the worst weather Europe had ever seen, was instantly dried by the miracle. This was witnessed even by people who were dozens of miles away, so it's hard to say that it was a case of mass hysteria.

The Catholic Church has had a long history of miracles which were enough to convince non-believers who witnessed them. Not just cases of spiritual healing, which would have been insufficient to convert the skeptics in the Roman Empire.


For all things, there is a natural explanation, even if those explanation are still undiscovered by science. I have not the leisure to research these phenomenon in depth, and, indeed, I rather not, for I would then resort to parroting someone else's logic and opinion and research, which, I believe, you are intelligent to read on your own. Marian apparitions appear everywhere, and many other claims that the image of Christ appeared unto them- in the form of toast. The church may not officially approve of them, but they barely affirm the Water Lourdes as miracle-water- and only recently, despite the devotees it attract. Certainly, there is a gap between the piss stain on the wall and the water of Lourdes, one is accepted by a good portion of the laity and, I would bet, a good portion of the clergy as well, the other is a local Lourdes, one more vulgar, and based upon a faint resemblance between the urine of a homeless man on a wall, and the image of Mary as she appeared on a piece of cloth.



Canute wrote:

You cite partisan works, written by partisan pens, rather than Academic works.


Then, let me cite the works they used: the Koran, the Hadiths, and the early biographies of Muhammad written by Ibn Ishaq, Al Gahazzi, and others. The Sword of the Prophet in particular is very meticulous in quoting its sources.

To quote Shakespeare:
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!"
-The Merchent of Venice I.iii





Poverty goes hand in hand with superstition and overzealousness. Do not forget that Ireland, in the depth of her poverty, was the most backward and superstitious nation in Europe, her Catholics taking for miracles anything, and following the latest prophecies of national liberation from the English. Even Gaelige, in the modern time, is extremely religious, a testament to the extreme zeal of the poor farmer folks of Ireland. The Islamic nations today live mostly in dire poverty, which lead them to faith and, hence, deeper to fanaticism. You cite scripture, yet, is it not true that one may rip scripture from its context and proclaim that it shows what the speaker wants it to show, a common accusation on the Atheists by the Christian community when verses shew the injustices of God, yet, can this criticism not be applied to the Christian by the Moslem.


Canute wrote:

And whenever a Muslim leader unites all the other Muslims in an area, we have jihad!


Refer to the Shia Ayatollah, Ali al-Sistani, of Iraq. He unite the Shia Moslem under their leadership, yet, the he ask the entire community from refraining from violence and participating in election and advocated democracy in the turbulent period of post-Saddam Iraq.



Canute wrote:


All very good objections! But, please note that the Rabbi ignores the suffering servant of Isaiah 53:

1 Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away;
and as for his generation, who considered
that he was cut off out of the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people?
9 And they made his grave with the wicked
and with a rich man in his death,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.


http://www.outreachjudaism.org/articles/rabbinic-53.html

Canute wrote:
So, it seems that one man's sacrifice was necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Otherwise, doesn't it seem odd that for the greatest sins, the Rabbi gives the easiest punishment, repentance? For an involuntary sin, one needs to lose his best livestock. For theft, one must return the money with a fifth more in addition. For murder and rape, one needs to cry? This wouldn't make any sense unless there was someone who paid the complete penalty of all these sins. When a Jew says that repentance is sufficient for one's sins to be forgiven, he ought to realize that is so because of the mercy won by Christ, the sacrifice of the New Covenant.



Moses ben Maimonwrote:
"What constitutes complete repentance? He who is confronted by the identical situation wherein he previously sinned and it lies within his power to commit the sin again, but he nevertheless does not succumb because he wishes to repent, and not because he is too fearful or weak [to repeat the sin]. How so? If he had relations with a woman forbidden to him and he is subsequently alone with her, still in the throes of his passion for her, and his virility is unabated, and [they are] in the same place where they previously sinned; if he abstains and does not sin, this is a true penitent" (Mishneh Torah, "Laws of Teshuva," 2:1).

When a man repent, he must go through four motions, renunciation of the sin, sincere remorse, confession of the Sin to God, and with the clear resolve never performing such wrong again, this is the meaning of repentance, returning your soul to its innocence, for the power of God is such that he is mighty, but he is loving and kind. Yet, when a man murders or rape, he must first repent to the murdered or raped, before he turn to God for repentance, what is sinned against God, must you seek God’s forgiveness, and what is sinned against another man, must you seek another man’s forgiveness. Therefore, there is no forgiveness for murder, for one cannot repent to the dead.
http://www.ou.org/chagim/elul/foursteps.html
http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/repentance?tp=318#teshuvah


Canute wrote:
As for the fact that only God can truly win forgiveness for one's sins, consider that God owns everything in existence. So, man cannot offer anything to God which He does not already have. One might say that he can offer God his will, which God gifted to him. But how can he make up for the malice which his will originally contained in sinning or the damage he has done to God's creation? Man falls short.


Man may offer his repentance, his true, sincere repentance, and his sincere desire to love God. God does not have this, nor does he want to force it, for he wants the soul to truly, without compulsion, to freely seek him and love him. Through sincere recognition of his lowliness to God, and sincere realisation of God’s eternal love and mercy for him, and sincere repentance of his sin, and sincerely seeking of God, loving him, etc., all from the Soul rather than the mind, Man may make up for the original malice of sinning.


Canute wrote:
Hmm...I'm running out of time, and I have not answered these questions: 1) Is God the Father unjust for allowing God the Son to take upon himself the penalty of sin? 2) Was it really necessary that Christ suffer so much to gain mercy for mankind? Does not God seem a little foolish for suffering so much if He could have effected the same thing by simply willing it?

Well, St. Anselm's Why God Became Man http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anselm-curdeus.asp does a better job of answering these questions than I can. So, you might prefer to read an expert. Otherwise, I'll get to it later.

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Irrelevant Post Warning:


So much TL;DR @w@
Posted 2/16/12
whoah woah ppl!!!!! no tension.
Posted 2/25/12
Base Meetings Are Held Against The Individual / Called Christianity - A Cruel Judgement . The Lines Do Show Forever Or Do They - Lockheed Martin Being The Star Of Many Mothion Pictures.
Posted 2/25/12
British Columbia - Does Have 1 500 Yr Old Castle / You Lost To Michigan - It Is Pretty CLose To The Movie Roger Rabbit / Not Really Thought Of As A Religion. The Carrot Top From Waxworks Died In 94' - He Couldn't Explain The Music Fundimentails Of A Plane / My Ren And Stimpy Friends Are Still Alive .
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tarakelly wrote:

I am an atheist but I recognize that most people need to believe in a higher power so I leave at that. I do laugh when they say I well receive blessing for my helping people.


I agree. For some people that I have talked to which is a lot, most of the time it widdles down to death. No one knows what happens after they die (if someone says they do please show me proof I would love to know) so they turn to say christianity or a faith or belief and it puts them at ease. I will say that most religions do have great morals. The one thing the human mind cannot comprehend is the unknown or atleast has trouble doing so.
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There's nothing wrong with religion and faith whatsoever. Humans just have the shitty luck of the fact that it's the dumbasses that tend to be the loudest. Christianity, according to some, is 'fag hatin', God fearin', Yer goin' ta hell' philosophy. That's what happens when a group like... say... Westboro Baptist Church exists. It's what many people end up seeing.
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Posted 3/6/12

DeusExMachina wrote:

What always bothered me about Christianity/Christians is their ability to disown anyone who carries their label and isn't perfect. Isn't the only requirement of being a Christian that you believe that Jesus Christ was the divine son of God and died for your sins?


^ This.
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I'm supposed to be a Catholic, and i am okay with anyone with any of their beliefs as long as they respect others for their beliefs, but i have come across a few hardcore Christians who are scum of the Earth such as Evangelical's part of the pentecostal denomination. These are the only religious people i have hated since i was exposed to what goes on in their church. I much rather sit in a room full of muslims worshiping Allah and yelling "Allah akbar" out loud than to let Evangelical pentecostal's make me feel bad for what they call sins.
Posted 3/14/12
Personally I think it is our duty as gifted Christians to convert as many people as possible to Christians. I find Christians who support "freedom of religion" hypocritical. Essentially anyone who doesn't attempt conversion is a murderer, an evil devil. That's why there's barely any true Christians on this earth left.

You're lucky enough to be able to believe in God. You're lucky enough to be able to go to heaven. What is wrong with you? I think we should bring as many people along with us to heaven.

It brings pain my heart to see "friendship" among Christians and people of contrary beliefs.
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