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post #121 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

But how many of us truly search for Truth? Do we not rather just believe is our fathers believe or perhaps as "society" believes, whether they accept or reject a given faith? Who is truly searching for Truth today, as compared with the majority who searches instead for "pleasure and happiness" during our 75 years on earth?

But regardless, it cannot be debated that the loss of Steve Jobs is a great loss indeed for those who have been touched by his life. He will be sorely missed.

I would like to know the truth, but how does one know when one has found it?

I know there are many of various religions and views who claim they know the truth, but all of them can't be right, can they? There must be only one truth, right?

It's one thing if you find truth within yourself, but that doesn't mean that truth applies to someone else nor reality (i.e. the real*truth). It's all in your head.

The problem is that I think as a human, it is (at least currently) impossible to know how*and why everything came to be. One can always guess and make assumptions, but anyone who say they know I think are quite narrow-minded and think what they feel is right (in their head) has to be right for everyone else. At least it starts to become suspect when different people with different views all talk about the truth.
post #122 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I would like to know the truth, but how does one know when one has found it?

Pilate wondered the same:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_18:38

But the difference between you and he is that he treated the question flippantly and never pursued it. You therefore have the advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

It's one thing if you find truth within yourself, but that doesn't mean that truth applies to someone else nor reality (i.e. the real*truth). It's all in your head.

Most people who lack faith in a god tend to say "follow your heart" or "find truth within yourself." Indeed, Steve Job's 2005 Stanford Speech suggested just that as the secret of success. But in terms of Christianity, it is interesting to see a very different approach to searching the human heart for complete guidance in life:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/...A9&version=NIV

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

The problem is that I think as a human, it is (at least currently) impossible to know how*and why everything came to be. One can always guess and make assumptions, but anyone who say they know I think are quite narrow-minded and think what they feel is right (in their head) has to be right for everyone else. At least it starts to become suspect when different people with different views all talk about the truth.

If one assumes that a book like the Bible is little more than "an incredibly well written book, but nevertheless a book authored completely by man in the absence of any god," then one would be correct in that it would be humanly impossible to know "how" and "why" all came to be, simply because we don't have any other written record of human origins. That is why evolutionists try to find a "natural" record in fossils and rock layers. But then one is led to argue about whether conclusions drawn from "nature's record" is indeed as factual and correct as many men of science say it is.

And yet, if one assumes that the Bible is indeed the Word of God, merely written down through the hand of man, everything changes. And we see that there is indeed a God who exists and who "sets the record straight" as to how everything came into being:
http://bible.cc/romans/1-20.htm

But if one rejects the Bible as authoritative truth (which often occurs when one has never read but bits and pieces of it), then one is led back to that dark world of "never knowing" and "never finding truth."

To start you out on your quest for truth, it is important to consider to things: (1) logic and (2) faith. Faith is not logical, but is required to believe in something unseen. Logic dictates that you check out all the facts before coming to a final conclusion. Yet, how many of us fully investigate something before treating it flippantly?

If you believe in evolution, think about it logically. What is the statistical probability that human DNA could have evolved, not just in a few billion years (which is mathematically impossible without external intervention), but even in a quintillion years? And if one suggests that "aliens seeded us," who then created them? Most evolutionists or atheists treat these questions as unimportant; but in one's question for truth, they must be asked, and if possible, answered. If one accepts the Bible as truth, those questions are answered. But if one rejects the Bible as truth, one continues the search for truth; but the question then becomes, will they ever find it?

It is also interesting that it took a terminal illness to push Steve Jobs to even go half-way in his belief in a god:
http://shroudofturin.wordpress.com/2...-in-god-maybe/

Even then he wasn't clear on it, for reasons already stated. His belief in a god was not rooted in the Bible or the Christian faith he rejected when he was 13. Then again, I don't believe it could be said that Steve Jobs life was a quest for absolute truth. It seemed more like a quest for success and happiness through beauty and greatness. But are those things the total sum of life?
post #123 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Pilate wondered the same:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_18:38

But the difference between you and he is that he treated the question flippantly and never pursued it. You therefore have the advantage.

Well, I still think he has a point and that makes me think it's very hard to settle with truth since it will just be my truth.
Other people will also say they have found truth, but it can still look very different to mine. So, I think that points to god being in your head. Doesn't have to mean he's somewhere else, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Most people who lack faith in a god tend to say "follow your heart" or "find truth within yourself." Indeed, Steve Job's 2005 Stanford Speech suggested just that as the secret of success. But in terms of Christianity, it is interesting to see a very different approach to searching the human heart for complete guidance in life:
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/...A9&version=NIV

I would see why one would think it's deceitful, but why is the heart beyond cure?



Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

If one assumes that a book like the Bible is little more than "an incredibly well written book, but nevertheless a book authored completely by man in the absence of any god," then one would be correct in that it would be humanly impossible to know "how" and "why" all came to be, simply because we don't have any other written record of human origins. That is why evolutionists try to find a "natural" record in fossils and rock layers. But then one is led to argue about whether conclusions drawn from "nature's record" is indeed as factual and correct as many men of science say it is.

And yet, if one assumes that the Bible is indeed the Word of God, merely written down through the hand of man, everything changes. And we see that there is indeed a God who exists and who "sets the record straight" as to how everything came into being:
http://bible.cc/romans/1-20.htm

But if one rejects the Bible as authoritative truth (which often occurs when one has never read but bits and pieces of it), then one is led back to that dark world of "never knowing" and "never finding truth."

This is my main concern. You bring up the Bible. Why the Bible? Why not the Quaran or any other holy book?
What makes the Bible the true book? Not much, only those who think it's true think it's true. The others don't. Does that mean all the others are wrong? How can you know? They probably feel just as right as you do, but they still are of a different opinion on what's true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

To start you out on your quest for truth, it is important to consider to things: (1) logic and (2) faith. Faith is not logical, but is required to believe in something unseen. Logic dictates that you check out all the facts before coming to a final conclusion. Yet, how many of us fully investigate something before treating it flippantly?

Hard to know when something is fully investigated. I certainly try, and the conclusion I can draw from these philosophical things such as religion is that many times you cannot come to a conclusion that is true for everybody. You can be very sure that you got it, but again, that's just you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

If you believe in evolution, think about it logically. What is the statistical probability that human DNA could have evolved, not just in a few billion years (which is mathematically impossible without external intervention), but even in a quintillion years? And if one suggests that "aliens seeded us," who then created them? Most evolutionists or atheists treat these questions as unimportant; but in one's question for truth, they must be asked, and if possible, answered. If one accepts the Bible as truth, those questions are answered. But if one rejects the Bible as truth, one continues the search for truth; but the question then becomes, will they ever find it?

It's always difficult to think logically about the universe. The earth logic" we are used to in our every day lives doesn't really apply to the bigger picture. I'd say, that if something is possible and it gets enough time it will eventually happen. We have no idea of what was before big bang or if it's the only bang. You can come with your numbers that it's improbable, but they are based on vary vague grounds that we certainly can stand on to make conclusions about how probably it would be for this universe to exist. I mean, it's improbable compared to what? All other universes that don't harbor life?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

It is also interesting that it took a terminal illness to push Steve Jobs to even go half-way in his belief in a god:
http://shroudofturin.wordpress.com/2...-in-god-maybe/

Even then he wasn't clear on it, for reasons already stated. His belief in a god was not rooted in the Bible or the Christian faith he rejected when he was 13. Then again, I don't believe it could be said that Steve Jobs life was a quest for absolute truth. It seemed more like a quest for success and happiness through beauty and greatness. But are those things the total sum of life?

When I'm ill it rather turns me the opposite way. I start to question how a so called perfect creator could have created those (seemingly evolusionized, don't you agree?) bodies. Then again I haven't been diagnosed with cancer, so I guess one would start thinking about death in other ways if that happens.

I don't understand why there are all these bugs in the human bodies (bad eyesight is common, wisdom teeth, all kinds of illnesses. If god wants to test us, why not do that on a level of the mind instead of letting all souls get more or less troublesome bodies to deal with. It would also make the test much more fair, don't you think? As it is now I'd say it's very unfair if all souls are created equal and then they get to do the test on earth in so many different circumstances. If the game starts equal it should stay equal, right?

OK, it's late here now and I can feel my mind is slipping away a little. Will end it here.
post #124 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I would see why one would think it's deceitful, but why is the heart beyond cure?

It's perhaps going beyond the scope of this thread, but it's a good question that deserves an answer. With regard to Christianity, the heart is classified as "beyond cure" for two reasons: (a) it is sinful and (b) no human effort alone can miraculously make it "unsinful." And of course sin, in the Biblical context, is anything outside the will of God. Hence if the entire human race is tainted in Adam's original sin, then the only way to rescue man from that sin is if a human being could be born outside the line of Adam (Jesus Christ, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit, not Adam), yet perfect (no sin), and was willing to pay the required price to free mankind from sin (death, since the penalty of sin is death -- as per the command to not eat the forbidden fruit in Eden). Biblically though, that gift, while free, is not universal insofar as the gift is valid only for those who accept it. Which means that those who reject the gift are essentially rejecting freedom from a "beyond cure" heart and their ultimate end is condemnation. Much more could be said, but that is the skinny of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I don't understand why there are all these bugs in the human bodies (bad eyesight is common, wisdom teeth, all kinds of illnesses. If god wants to test us, why not do that on a level of the mind instead of letting all souls get more or less troublesome bodies to deal with. It would also make the test much more fair, don't you think? As it is now I'd say it's very unfair if all souls are created equal and then they get to do the test on earth in so many different circumstances. If the game starts equal it should stay equal, right?

If one uses the Bible as a guide on this point, the answer is: "those 'bugs' did not exist in Eden -- they were the result of the eating of the forbidden fruit (i.e., 'sin')." Hence, if one accepts that as truth, then one can see where disease, suffering, death, etc. comes from, and that such evils were not created by God "in the beginning." Furthermore, even Lucifer was created an Angel of Light, a cherub of the highest order, yet he became Satan/Evil by exercising his free-will in a bad way (pride, which led to his fall).

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

This is my main concern. You bring up the Bible. Why the Bible? Why not the Quaran or any other holy book? What makes the Bible the true book? Not much, only those who think it's true think it's true. The others don't. Does that mean all the others are wrong? How can you know? They probably feel just as right as you do, but they still are of a different opinion on what's true.

Another excellent question, which unfortunately cannot be answered to the satisfaction of many in a strictly logical way. More specifically, "faith" is involved for one to become a Christian and believe the Bible to be more than just another book. However, if what Christianity teaches is true, then the Holy Spirit of God would lead the seeker of truth to find it, showing that seeker the truth about the Bible and other religious books, to know which is Truth and which is not. And truly, if there is a one, true God who cares about mankind, would he leave his creation in utter ignorance perpetually? C.S. Lewis was on a similar search for truth in his youth, and he ultimately embraced the very faith he so desperately sought to prove was a lie. I highly recommend a study about him, if you have not already studied him in your university philosophy courses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Hard to know when something is fully investigated. I certainly try, and the conclusion I can draw from these philosophical things such as religion is that many times you cannot come to a conclusion that is true for everybody. You can be very sure that you got it, but again, that's just you.

I'm pleased you brought up the topic of philosophy because no study of philosophy would be complete without a firm understanding of Natural Law. One excellent tome on the subject is the English version of Heinrich A. Rommen's "The Natural Law - A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy." It's not for the fainthearted or someone who lacks college level thinking skills, but there are easy to digest portions as well as the meaty parts. One portion from page 17 which I read not long ago reads as follows:

"The spirit of skeptical agnosticism, which denies to the human mind access to transcendental truth and objective values, doubting the inner logic of the universe, constructs subjective systems of thought, is more an attitude for the academic ivory tower or for the private study of one who enjoys economic security. In real life, this attitude is untenable."

The same page continues...

"The 'scientific mind' may skeptically deny the existence of the natural law, but the heart, in which , as St. Paul says [Romans 2:14-16], the natural law is recorded or inscribed, affirms it."

And while this may seem to contradict my earlier reference to a Biblical passage about the heart being "desperately wicked," that statement can still be held as fact while at the same time admitting that most people seem to have a "common sense" about some basics of right and wrong, which the author links to "the natural law" (which is tied to the existence of God). Again, if you've never studied anything about natural law, I would highly recommend it, especially if you presently discount the Bible as being anymore "truth" than another book like the Koran.

Best wishes to you on your quest for Truth!
post #125 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

It's perhaps going beyond the scope of this thread, but it's a good question that deserves an answer. With regard to Christianity, the heart is classified as "beyond cure" for two reasons: (a) it is sinful and (b) no human effort alone can miraculously make it "unsinful." And of course sin, in the Biblical context, is anything outside the will of God. Hence if the entire human race is tainted in Adam's original sin, then the only way to rescue man from that sin is if a human being could be born outside the line of Adam (Jesus Christ, who was fathered by the Holy Spirit, not Adam), yet perfect (no sin), and was willing to pay the required price to free mankind from sin (death, since the penalty of sin is death -- as per the command to not eat the forbidden fruit in Eden). Biblically though, that gift, while free, is not universal insofar as the gift is valid only for those who accept it. Which means that those who reject the gift are essentially rejecting freedom from a "beyond cure" heart and their ultimate end is condemnation. Much more could be said, but that is the skinny of it.

But that's a strange stance to take I think? Every humans heart is sinful because of what Adam did? I thought we're all individuals, with this so called ”free will”. How can we get punished for what Adam did? If that's the case it must mean we aren't really individuals who start from scratch. So whatever I do it's sinful? Just by existing I'm sinful?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

If one uses the Bible as a guide on this point, the answer is: "those 'bugs' did not exist in Eden -- they were the result of the eating of the forbidden fruit (i.e., 'sin')." Hence, if one accepts that as truth, then one can see where disease, suffering, death, etc. comes from, and that such evils were not created by God "in the beginning." Furthermore, even Lucifer was created an Angel of Light, a cherub of the highest order, yet he became Satan/Evil by exercising his free-will in a bad way (pride, which led to his fall).

So, you want me to consider the story about the forbidden fruit to be the reason behind these ”bugs” rather than that all life comes from the same source and that the ”bugs” simply is a part of evolution and the way life works? I mean, evolution is something that's been concluded by observation that everyone can take part of - nature and life around us. To me the story about the forbidden fruit is a good fairytale at best. And a man made one.

Like my girlfriend said – to take the forbidden fruit seriously you have to have your head extremely deeply buried down into your faith. Even her friend (who she consider as a deeply religious) doesn't take the forbidden fruit too seriously.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Another excellent question, which unfortunately cannot be answered to the satisfaction of many in a strictly logical way. More specifically, "faith" is involved for one to become a Christian and believe the Bible to be more than just another book. However, if what Christianity teaches is true, then the Holy Spirit of God would lead the seeker of truth to find it, showing that seeker the truth about the Bible and other religious books, to know which is Truth and which is not. And truly, if there is a one, true God who cares about mankind, would he leave his creation in utter ignorance perpetually? C.S. Lewis was on a similar search for truth in his youth, and he ultimately embraced the very faith he so desperately sought to prove was a lie. I highly recommend a study about him, if you have not already studied him in your university philosophy courses.

We're still back at my first concern. Why the Bible? The Quaran (for example) is consider just as true by many muslims. Why would I ”choose”*the Bible as the true book for any reason more than it ”feels true” for me? Again, this doesn't mean it's true for everybody else. What I'm saying here (again) is that there is no objective truth. Or probably there is, but no human can possibly say they have the knowledge about it, because it would still be subjective as long as it's no possible to ”show” it outside your mind. That's why science is the beast we have. It's conclusions based on things that can be observed. If we mainly make conclusions about what people ”feel” in their heads (philosophy) it will be very difficult to get a good. And religion is in people's heads, i.e. it is phiolosophy,

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

I'm pleased you brought up the topic of philosophy because no study of philosophy would be complete without a firm understanding of Natural Law. One excellent tome on the subject is the English version of Heinrich A. Rommen's "The Natural Law - A Study in Legal and Social History and Philosophy." It's not for the fainthearted or someone who lacks college level thinking skills, but there are easy to digest portions as well as the meaty parts. One portion from page 17 which I read not long ago reads as follows:

"The spirit of skeptical agnosticism, which denies to the human mind access to transcendental truth and objective values, doubting the inner logic of the universe, constructs subjective systems of thought, is more an attitude for the academic ivory tower or for the private study of one who enjoys economic security. In real life, this attitude is untenable."

The same page continues...

"The 'scientific mind' may skeptically deny the existence of the natural law, but the heart, in which , as St. Paul says [Romans 2:14-16], the natural law is recorded or inscribed, affirms it."

I read a review of that book at Amzon:

”Rommen deals with Natural Law as an attempt to reflect what religious men and women consider as a reflection of God's Law. The thinking was that since God is the Creator and author of nature, Natural Law should be an attempt to reflect God's nature rather than assigning an arbitrary will to Divine Providence. ”

So, the the author of the book has already decided. ”God is the Creator and author of nature”. Well, if you have that as a base for your argument the discussion is already done, isn't it: ”God did it. Period.”
I wonder what I will get out of reading it since that God being the creator (at least in the sense that many seem to think of God) is what I'm questioning .

The quotes you give from the book only confirm the problem I see in this discussion about truth. The author of the book ”already knows” (at least he think so) what is the ”transcendental truth and objective values”. He fails to see that this is just in HIS mind! The objective truth he's talking about is in his mind, and his mind is not objective, is it?

What right does he have to dictate what is right or wrong when it comes to these questions? Is he God? How can he be sure that a ”skeptical agnosticist” is missing out on something? Maybe he is the one missing out!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

And while this may seem to contradict my earlier reference to a Biblical passage about the heart being "desperately wicked," that statement can still be held as fact while at the same time admitting that most people seem to have a "common sense" about some basics of right and wrong, which the author links to "the natural law" (which is tied to the existence of God). Again, if you've never studied anything about natural law, I would highly recommend it, especially if you presently discount the Bible as being anymore "truth" than another book like the Koran.


Yes, most people seem to have a ”common sense”. But the ones who don't, are they not tied to God?
Many religious (you too maybe?) seem to argue that there is this ”free will” that everyone has, and when you do something bad you can really feel it deep down inside you. Well, if you are a person who feel bad when you do bad things, then you will definitely feel bad when you do bad things. But saying this is true for everyone to simplify a bit I think.

I guess you've heard about the extremely tragic incident in Norway a few months ago where this guy shot dead so many young people.
Do you think he ”deep down”*thinks that what he did was wrong? I don't. He still hasn's shown the slightest sign of regret. It's totally crazy, but in he's eyes he was doing something good! He thinks people may not understand it now, but further down the road he thinks people will thank him! :| It's just baffling. But that's the way it is. The problem I see here is how can someone (with ”free will”) who thinks he's doing something good— even though probably 99% of humanity would call it totally insane—be blamed to do something wrong. In his head it's obviously right. It's a trick one, right? I wonder how God judges that… :|

To me it seems likely that he just has something wrong in his brain. His extremely narcissistic and can't see the world from any other point of view than his own. But is it his fault? I'm not so sure... This still doesn't mean shouldn't get ”punished” for what he did, it's till actions that the society finds extremely disturbing and intolerable, but to ”blame him for being the brain he is”? Did he close that you think? Again, I'm not sure.

Alright, I'll try to look into ”natural law” since you recommend it so highly.

But then you have to let me give you a few recommendations:

This video: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_zak_tr..._oxytocin.html

and among the comments there's a few interesting videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-d4ugppcRUE

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97dra...910018&index=1

plus this article at Wikipedia about Biocentrism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biocent...28cosmology%29

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Best wishes to you on your quest for Truth!

Thanks! Likewise to you too. But I doubt I will ever find it, which I think is even more reason to behave good to others (since I believe we're here on the same premises, at least that how it seems) and basing everything on ”I don't know” I think in some ways give reason to be more humble than many religious I've met that claim they ”know”.

To me faith and religion isn't required to be a good person.
post #126 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

But that's a strange stance to take I think? Every humans heart is sinful because of what Adam did? I thought we're all individuals, with this so called free will. How can we get punished for what Adam did? If that's the case it must mean we aren't really individuals who start from scratch. So whatever I do it's sinful? Just by existing I'm sinful?

An excellent question. Unfortunately, there is not a simple answer.

Biblically speaking, mankind is not punished "automatically" for anything Adam did. But the Bible says each man must be judged according to his own sin. And the Bible also says "all have sinned." (Which is generally accepted to exclude infants or those with severe mental handicaps -- all of whom, it is assumed, go to heaven upon death.)

According to the Biblical account, Adam was created perfect; meaning, he did not commit any sin nor did he know what sin was (i.e., not anything beyond "disobedience to God's command to not eat fruit of one particular tree"). But the eating of the forbidden fruit changed all that, gave Adam and Eve the knowledge of Good and Evil, and gave their children a "sin nature." But although human beings still have "free will," because of Adam's sin, we being Adam's descendants results in our having the "strong tendency" to sin ourselves (at least, much more so a tendency than Adam and Even prior to their eating of the forbidden fruit). And because of our sin (because of even sinning once, regardless of how small that sin may have been), we are condemned by the Creator and are in need of rescue from our sin by the sinless God-man Jesus (insofar as a sin-tained individual could not become untainted through good deeds to save himself).

There is some debate on the finer points, but for additional reading:
http://carm.org/questions/about-doct...shed-adams-sin
http://www.tektonics.org/lp/origsin.html


Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

So, you want me to consider the story about the forbidden fruit to be the reason behind these bugs rather than that all life comes from the same source and that the bugs simply is a part of evolution and the way life works? I mean, evolution is something that's been concluded by observation that everyone can take part of - nature and life around us. To me the story about the forbidden fruit is a good fairytale at best. And a man made one.

Many consider evolution to be a fairytale too, requiring as much or more "faith" to believe than Christianity, despite the "evidence" evolutionary proponents often tout. Consider well what I mentioned in my previous post about the "statistical probability" of human DNA evolving, even in a quadrillion years, much less in a few billion accepted by mainstream evolutionists. And again, if aliens seeded us, who made them?


Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Like my girlfriend said to take the forbidden fruit seriously you have to have your head extremely deeply buried down into your faith. Even her friend (who she consider as a deeply religious) doesn't take the forbidden fruit too seriously.

But such a sentiment does not automatically make the "theory" of evolution true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Why the Bible? The Quaran (for example) is consider just as true by many muslims. Why would I choose the Bible as the true book for any reason more than it feels true for me? Again, this doesn't mean it's true for everybody else. What I'm saying here (again) is that there is no objective truth. Or probably there is, but no human can possibly say they have the knowledge about it, because it would still be subjective as long as it's no possible to show it outside your mind. That's why science is the beast we have. It's conclusions based on things that can be observed. If we mainly make conclusions about what people feel in their heads (philosophy) it will be very difficult to get a good. And religion is in people's heads, i.e. it is philosophy,

Good point. However, assuming there is a God and assuming there is also a Holy Spirit who inspired God's Word to be written down by human hands, it is equally plausible that the same Holy Spirit would lead people who seek Truth to find it. That remains true even if one is seeking Truth through multiple faiths. I do not contend that there is "truth in any faith" like some say. Nor do I believe Steve Jobs' faith that there are many doors to heaven (i.e., Christianity is as legitimate as Islam, which is in turn as legitimate as Buddhism or Hinduism).

So if there is one Truth and one way to that Truth, assuming the existence of God, it makes sense if he is a caring and loving God who created Man and gave man His written Word, that the same God would use his Holy Spirit to give understanding to all men who seek Truth.

But yet another point of consideration, which is what I wrote about previously. How can one condemn something outright without having read it. "Reading about it" is not the same as reading it. Most people I know condemn the Bible as much as they do the Koran, without having read either. In the Bible itself it says, "Study to show yourself approved unto God." So even Christians are obligated to study and seek Truth, even though they believe they have found Truth and believe strong the Bible is the only book inspired by God that gives absolute Truth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I read a review of that book at Amzon... So, the the author of the book has already decided...
What right does he have to dictate what is right or wrong when it comes to these questions? Is he God? How can he be sure that a skeptical agnosticist is missing out on something? Maybe he is the one missing out!

...Yes, most people seem to have a common sense. But the ones who don't, are they not tied to God?

Alright, I'll try to look into natural law since you recommend it so highly.

For now you have only read about the book. I was merely speaking as one who actually has read the book. Based on what I read, the author is very much a philosopher, and you would be surprised at how objectively differing philosophical views are treated. I did not find the tome to be "excessively Christian" at all. It merely looks at Natural Law and those who have opposed it through history, as well is the philosophical views of those opponents. The main thing I can say is that the author is a believer in Natural Law. And he also happens to be a Christian.

And so, if there is such a thing as Natural Law, then it would not be a book author dictating right and wrong. Rather the author of that book is suggesting that Natural Law exists, and it is Natural Law that is doing the dictating. Again, I highly recommend the book, as the study of Natural Law deals with numerous questions on "common sense" (and the lack thereof).

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I guess you've heard about the extremely tragic incident in Norway a few months ago where this guy shot dead so many young people. Do you think he deep down he thinks that what he did was wrong? I don't. He still hasn's shown the slightest sign of regret. It's totally crazy, but in he's eyes he was doing something good! He thinks people may not understand it now, but further down the road he thinks people will thank him! :| It's just baffling. But that's the way it is. The problem I see here is how can someone (with free will) who thinks he's doing something good even though probably 99% of humanity would call it totally insanebe blamed to do something wrong. In his head it's obviously right. It's a trick one, right? I wonder how God judges that :|

I would go so far as to call that a "crime against humanity" if there ever was one. But in context of our discussion, it does make a point. If one does not believe in Natural Law or a God or in the Bible, and instead one believes in evolution, from whence comes that person's morality? That is not to say all evolutionists are immoral beasts incapable of doing good. But where is the "absolute" frame of reference for good? There is none. Indeed, that frame of reference is constantly changing, at the whim of society. And in such a case, the only reason that agnostic or atheistic evolutionist could call the Norway incident a "crime" is because society current says it is. Whereas, if one accepts the Bible or the existence of God, one accepts absolute and unchanging Truth which condemns such acts as murder, and the murder is thereby condemned to a judgement more severe than man alone can administer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

To me faith and religion isn't required to be a good person.

In human terms, you are absolutely right. But if our frame of reference is a "100% perfect and holy beyond comprehension God," then our righteousness wouldn't look very righteous at all. Therein lies the key to the understanding of Christianity.


I will close with this. I've been reading through my copy of Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. It gives some interesting details of why Jobs rejected Christianity (actually a Lutheran denomination) when he was 13. You've probably read the news stories about it. Jobs showed a magazine cover to his teacher at the church and asked a pointed question. But Jobs did more than just that. He raised his fingers and asked his teacher if God knew which fingers he would reveal next. The teacher admitted God did know that. Then jobs asked if God knew about the starving children on the cover of that magazine. The teacher said Jobs probably wouldn't understand the full implications of it, but that yes God did know about those children. Then it appears that without further discussion, Jobs left and never returned to the faith.

It can be said that God has foreknowledge, but such cannot be construed as God's Will or predestination. Why do children starve? Why is there evil in the world? If one believes the Bible account, it all goes back to original sin -- sin which God did not create, but sin which God allowed to occur because to ban such would have been the same as removing free-will. And so rather than blaming God, it can be said that God cares about those children and wants human beings to better care for each other so there is less suffering, which is the result of man's continued appetite for sin.

Anyway, further in the Job's biography, it says that Jobs visited some relatives of his father back East on their farm and saw how fast young calves stood up on their own after birth. He said that human beings cannot do that so quickly after birth, and it was almost like those baby calves were programmed to do that (making reference to his experience with computers and electronics). Interestingly enough, some in the Christian community would say, "that's right intelligent design."

So on the one hand Jobs rejected the Christian faith, but on the other he mused as something that can easily be explained by that same faith. And perhaps that's why at the end of his days, he still believed in God 50%. Jobs didn't really seek Truth though. He sought beauty and the insanely great. I am thankful for his existence on earth. But I don't think Mr. Jobs would be the best teacher for us on how to find absolute Truth.

Sorry for rambling. Thanks for listening. And I will certainly review the videos and links you provided.
post #127 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Many consider evolution to be a fairytale too, requiring as much or more "faith" to believe than Christianity, despite the "evidence" evolutionary proponents often tout. Consider well what I mentioned in my previous post about the "statistical probability" of human DNA evolving, even in a quadrillion years, much less in a few billion accepted by mainstream evolutionists. And again, if aliens seeded us, who made them?

But have those who consider evolution to be a fairy tale actually read it? Like you say that some people judge the Bible without having read it I doubt many who dismiss evolution being a ”scientific fact” have through understanding of why it is considered a fact by most biologists.

"Today, nearly all biologists acknowledge that evolution is a fact. The term theory is no longer appropriate except when referring to the various models that attempt to explain how life evolves... it is important to understand that the current questions about how life evolves in no way implies any disagreement over the fact of evolution."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evoluti...heory_and_fact

Maybe you have heard about this site: http://www.talkorigins.org/
They have ”Evidences for Macroevolution” here: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

Quite a lot of text to go through, but I bet most (if not all?) who call evolution a fairy tale haven't concidered (all) the things on that page.

I agree saying ”aliens seeded us” doesn't answer ”the whole question”.
Is anyone claiming that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

But such a sentiment does not automatically make the "theory" of evolution true.

No, that's true. I didn't mean it would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

For now you have only read about the book. I was merely speaking as one who actually has read the book. Based on what I read, the author is very much a philosopher, and you would be surprised at how objectively differing philosophical views are treated. I did not find the tome to be "excessively Christian" at all. It merely looks at Natural Law and those who have opposed it through history, as well is the philosophical views of those opponents. The main thing I can say is that the author is a believer in Natural Law. And he also happens to be a Christian.

And so, if there is such a thing as Natural Law, then it would not be a book author dictating right and wrong. Rather the author of that book is suggesting that Natural Law exists, and it is Natural Law that is doing the dictating. Again, I highly recommend the book, as the study of Natural Law deals with numerous questions on "common sense" (and the lack thereof).

Alright, I'll try to get hold of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

I would go so far as to call that a "crime against humanity" if there ever was one. But in context of our discussion, it does make a point. If one does not believe in Natural Law or a God or in the Bible, and instead one believes in evolution, from whence comes that person's morality? That is not to say all evolutionists are immoral beasts incapable of doing good. But where is the "absolute" frame of reference for good? There is none.

It's interesting we came to this about morality. You're right – there is no absolute reference for morality. Not even if you believe God dictates them (like you say). Why? Because (like I've been arguing all the time) what God is and what he thinks is morally right/wrong is subjective! You can say your moral values comes from God, but it's still in your head. Why would there otherwise be killings in the name of God?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Indeed, that frame of reference is constantly changing, at the whim of society. And in such a case, the only reason that agnostic or atheistic evolutionist could call the Norway incident a "crime" is because society current says it is.

Yes, that's the way it is. Society (in a democracy the majority of people) thinks it's not OK to kill. That's way it's immoral. What's the problem with this? Isn't it enough that I know that the person next to me doesn't like to be smacked in the face to call it an immoral act if I do slap him in the face? Why does God need to be involved in that? Morality is about people and the relationship between them. I don't understand at all why God needs to be involved.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Whereas, if one accepts the Bible or the existence of God, one accepts absolute and unchanging Truth which condemns such acts as murder, and the murder is thereby condemned to a judgement more severe than man alone can administer.

If you look at the Bible and God in that way I guess it's all good.
But like I said, I don't think God nor the Bible is needed to come to the same conclusions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

I will close with this. I've been reading through my copy of Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs. It gives some interesting details of why Jobs rejected Christianity (actually a Lutheran denomination) when he was 13. You've probably read the news stories about it. Jobs showed a magazine cover to his teacher at the church and asked a pointed question. But Jobs did more than just that. He raised his fingers and asked his teacher if God knew which fingers he would reveal next. The teacher admitted God did know that. Then jobs asked if God knew about the starving children on the cover of that magazine. The teacher said Jobs probably wouldn't understand the full implications of it, but that yes God did know about those children. Then it appears that without further discussion, Jobs left and never returned to the faith.

I have just started reading the biography, so I haven't come that far, except for this first incident when Jobs was 13.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

It can be said that God has foreknowledge, but such cannot be construed as God's Will or predestination. Why do children starve? Why is there evil in the world? If one believes the Bible account, it all goes back to original sin -- sin which God did not create, but sin which God allowed to occur because to ban such would have been the same as removing free-will. And so rather than blaming God, it can be said that God cares about those children and wants human beings to better care for each other so there is less suffering, which is the result of man's continued appetite for sin.

I must say I agree with Jobsthat God is handling things in seemingly strange ways. For example, (since he should have the power to do so?) why doesn't he ”steer the mess up” and fix the problems that occurred because of one man's mistake (Adam)? I still don't understand why we have to inherit what he did. I thought we were all individuals ”starting from scratch”? It's just a very strange logic to me that we should all be punished for what someone else did.

Also, if God is the creator of everything, why create evil in the first place? Why do there have to be evil just because there is free will? I don't get it.
Why not create all souls and let them have a good time in heaven from the start, without this seemingly unnecessary and complicated detour on Earth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Anyway, further in the Job's biography, it says that Jobs visited some relatives of his father back East on their farm and saw how fast young calves stood up on their own after birth. He said that human beings cannot do that so quickly after birth, and it was almost like those baby calves were programmed to do that (making reference to his experience with computers and electronics). Interestingly enough, some in the Christian community would say, "that's right — intelligent design."

Yeah, that's easy to say isn't it. ”It's intelligent design”. Or ”God did it”.
But what does that really explain more than that you give the (currently) unexplainable a different name?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

So on the one hand Jobs rejected the Christian faith, but on the other he mused as something that can easily be explained by that same faith. And perhaps that's why at the end of his days, he still believed in God 50%. Jobs didn't really seek Truth though. He sought beauty and the insanely great. I am thankful for his existence on earth. But I don't think Mr. Jobs would be the best teacher for us on how to find absolute Truth.

I wonder were Jobs is now and if he met God, what happened.
But I must say I think it's likely that Jobs is where he was before he was born. Non existing or ”dead” if you will. Hmm.. is a person who hasn't been born yet dead? :|

Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Sorry for rambling. Thanks for listening. And I will certainly review the videos and links you provided.

No problem. Thanks for writing/rambling. Always interesting to hear how people look at things. Especially when the person writes as well as I think you do.
I'm not native English, hope it doesn't show too much in my texts.
post #128 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I agree saying aliens seeded us doesn't answer the whole question.
Is anyone claiming that?

Yes, some are. The idea about aliens was actually proposed by non other than the co-discoverer of DNA, Francis Crick. Others agree with Crick's consensus, seeing that it is statistically impossible that DNA could have evolved on its own on the few short billion years that most scientists claim is the age of the earth. You might find this a fun read:
http://www.theoligarch.com/richard-dawkins-aliens.htm

So the question of "who created those aliens" remains. :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Why would there otherwise be killings in the name of God?

Ah, but is that god really the true God in Heaven, or could it be the Biblical "god of this world" (i.e., Satan)? Think about this. Why would an omnipotent God who created the universe need human beings to fight physical battles for Him? It makes no sense, and that brings some violent religions like Islam into question. And although some quickly point to "the Crusades" as evidence that Christianity is equally as violent, the fact is we don't have Crusades today, nor is there any Biblical basis for why Crusades were waged. If anything, the Bible says just the opposite in Christ's command to "love your enemies." The Bible also says Christians do not wage war with "flesh and blood, but instead against those in the spiritual realm." So if one adhere's strictly to Biblical Christianity, there can be no legitimate killings "in the name of God."

As to the issue of morality and using God as the basis for absolute right and wrong determination, going under the assumption that God is 100% perfect and there is no sin in Him, then He would be the ultimate reference for us to determine Good and Evil. Even so, the God of the Bible doesn't command people today to go around killing for Him. A god that weak and defenseless isn't worth defending!

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

Society (in a democracy the majority of people) thinks it's not OK to kill.

Not so in today's society. Some contend that life begins at conception. In such a case, an abortion would be tantamount to murder. And yet, most people seem to be "pro-choice" rather than "pro-life." That in itself is another debate, but it is an important consideration. That also leads us to mercy killings for those who are sick and diseased too.

People who believe in a perfect God have less trouble evaluating the morality of taking life in those cases, insofar as such would be Biblically wrong. People who don't believe in a god must weight those issues based on how society feels about life, when life begins, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

But like I said, I don't think God nor the Bible is needed to come to the same conclusions.

True, but only a God can delve out a punishment greater than physical death. And I am sure you would agree that your Norwegian mass murderer would be getting a rather light sentence indeed if it was merely judged that he should be executed for his crimes. His one life for so many. It does not seem right. And yet, if say we evolved, there is no God, and therefore we don't have an eternal soul that lives on after we die, death in that case is merely the end of that killers life, and he will not receive any more punishment than that. The same would hold true of someone who got a hold of a nuclear weapon and killed millions of people in an instant. There would be no absolute justice.

Divine justice doesn't prove the existence of a God, but it encourages some people to search if God may exist!

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

It's just a very strange logic to me that we should all be punished for what someone else did.

Also, if God is the creator of everything, why create evil in the first place? Why do there have to be evil just because there is free will? I don't get it.
Why not create all souls and let them have a good time in heaven from the start, without this seemingly unnecessary and complicated detour on Earth?

To answer that question completely, I highly recommend reading the Bible itself (in addition to the Natural Law book I recommended). But the skinny of it is this. Biblically speaking, God is perfect and can not do acts of evil nor create evil. Everything, including the angels were created in a perfect state. However, to give free will God had to allow angels and human beings to choose. In the case of the highest ordered cherub, Lucifer, his sin was pride in that he knew he was greater than anything else in God's creation and he wanted more. His pride led to the sin of his rebellion against God. And it was after that Lucifer was cast to earth, during a time when Adam and Eve were the lone human beings on the planet and without sin. But Adam and Eve had free will. To ensure they had the chance to choose good or evil (evil being present in Lucifer), a tree was put in the garden and there was a simple command by God to not eat of eat. (Without that tree, Adam and Eve would not have had free will at all.) Lucifer talked a snake-like creature to allow Lucifer to possess the creature. It is not known if animals could talk then, but it seems like it was so because the snake spoke to Eve (either audibly or telepathically). Ultimately, Eve ate the fruit after having been deceived. Adam then ate the fruit because Eve gave it to him. But Adam was not being deceived. Adam ate the fruit in the full knowledge that he would break God's command and that death would be the result (had Adam not sinned, he would have remained immortal). Therefore, human beings receive their sin nature through Adam, not Eve.

Why did Adam eat the fruit when he knew it was wrong? Perhaps because he thought Eve would be condemned forever and he loved her too much to let her die that way alone. And having been alone himself prior to Eve's creation, he selfishly did not want to go back to that lonely state. (I am just speculating no this part, because it's not written in the Bible.)

So sin was not created by God but was the result of bad choices by His created, free-will beings (angels and humans). Not all the angels made the choice to sin though. Only about 1/3 of them followed Lucifer. But in the case of mankind, we inherit the genes of Adam, which includes his sin nature. Sin nature is defined as our strong tendency to rebell against God and sin, although it does not predestine us to sin. (If our sin nature made us sin against our will, we would not have free will.)

So even though God knows everything and had foreknowledge of what would happen after he created all things, he created everything anyway, seeing there is no other way to create everything in a perfect state unless you remove free will. But without free will we would be little more than animals and no true companion to God. However, because God had foreknowledge of things to come, he knew how to rescue man from sin -- at least, rescue all those who would believe in God and accept that way of escape, which is described in the Bible as being through God's son Jesus Christ, and his death on the cross and resurrection 3 days later.

Again, there is much more that could be said on this topic, and that is why reading the actual Bible test is incredibly informative.


Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

is a person who hasn't been born yet dead?

I don't know. Nor does Biblical Christianity answer that particular question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by a Martin View Post

I'm not native English, hope it doesn't show too much in my texts.

It doesn't show! Your English is fantastic! Believe me I know good English and yours is like a cup of cold water on a hot summer day to me! I say this because I've lived in Japan for 17 years, and the Japanese have about the worst English on planet earth, even after having studied it in school for no less than 6 years. My Japanese is not perfect, but it is far better than the average English ability of most Japanese. Then again, most Americans can't speak a second language at all, so the Japanese have one up on Americans!

But in light of English being a second language for you, you will likely find the Natural Law book I recommended to be difficult. Even I found it difficult reading. There are many philosophical terms. If you decide to read it, have a good dictionary handy!

Best wishes to you, Martin. I've thoroughly enjoyed our discussion!
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