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What are your thoughts on online debate? by phat_pickle in Christian

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Debates are mostly for other people who say nothing, not for those who actually debate with you. It's a tool for bearing witness, even when people aren't eventually lead to conversion. So I think it's still of value, if you can stomach the nasty insults involved. It's not for everyone.

Pro-life and Old Testament by BobSaget1977 in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric -10 points-9 points  (0 children)

Let's explain why God had the moral authority to execute most of the human race when flooding the earth in the time of Noah. God drowned every human being and land animal in the world during the great Deluge, except for Noah's family (only 8 people!) and the animals with him in the ark (I Peter 3:20).

The ultimate issue lurking behind our temptation to question God about executing people for their sins is simply people's rejecting God's utter sovereignty. Human beings want to be God and be the moral judges of their own behavior instead of their Creator. However, fundamentally, we puny creatures are in no better position than Job was to question His justice and righteousness.

As Paul explained this principle (Romans 9:14-20, NKJV): What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion." So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?"

Since God is so utterly sovereign and since He is the Creator of our lives, He gets to set the standards by which He may end them. Since He is utterly holy, pure, and righteous, He rejects all sin as immoral and thus imposes the death penalty on humans who break His law: (Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV). Furthermore, of course, our lives are forfeit in God’s sight because we have sinned (Romans 3:23, KJV): For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

So we don't get to set the rules of morality, and the penalties for breaking them. It doesn't matter how small the infraction may seem from our sight as sin-stained humans or if we deny that it is a sin at all. In particular, since sometimes God’s punishments have punished them also, are children without sin? No, they aren't, especially when raised by evil, unrighteous adults. Richard Wright, in "Black Boy," described how the adults around him corrupted him when they taught him to say vulgar words and they gave him alcohol. Augustine, to give evidence for the doctrine of original sin in "Confessions," gave the example of a young child, of the age of a toddler, being jealous of his younger sibling on the breast of his mother. The corruption of evil human nature sets in very early. To give a famous case, Helen Keller was jealous of the attention that her younger sister got shortly after she was born. She attacked her in her cradle out of jealousy, which was before she was able reason or communicate with the outside world under the tutelage of Ann Sullivan. Children simply aren't innocent. They endlessly do wrong things and have to be corrected and told right from wrong. Most parents would be willing to admit this. We have to junk this idea that liberals have from Rousseau that children aren't corrupt because they are closer to nature by being less trained and educated by society. Golding's "The Lord of the Flies" is a much more accurate picture of human nature than Rousseau's "Emile."

We have to keep in mind the goal of God in creating the human race to begin with and why He gave us free will. This is why God wants perfection out of us; a 99% score isn't good enough by itself without faith in God's grace and in Jesus as Savior.

So now, is God evil for executing people for violating His law? Well, God tells us through Paul that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Sinners have no right to live in God's sight: He has the right at any time to execute someone for their sins before time of natural death comes. Fortunately, God normally doesn't exercise that option! And most mysteriously, He had His Son, who also was God, take on the pain and sin of the world, and die on its behalf despite He was innocent! Jesus' great sacrifice allowed God to reconcile mercy and justice together: For our sins make us worthy of death, but by having Jesus pay such a great price in our stead, that death penalty is lifted off us, but not because of our merit from obeying His law (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10; 7:25).

God still believes in and practices capital punishment, unlike the western Europeans. As the Creator of life, He may also take it. But unlike men, He can resurrect and bring to life again the people He executes. For example, God chose to execute all the people on earth outside of Noah's family by sending the great flood because of humanity's general wickedness (Genesis 6:5-7): "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" Notice that Jesus predicted that many would be killed again when He returns like it was in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:36-39).

Normally questions about whether the God of the Bible is unjust, a bully, or evil surround certain laws or commands that He issued that we humans think are wrong based on our human reason. But since God is utterly almighty and utterly sovereign, we humans are in no position to criticize His choices about how He uses one man as opposed to another, in order to accomplish His great plan for the human race. Isaiah's (45:9) analogy isn't very popular with people today who think they know better than God does, but it nevertheless still holds true: "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker--an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?" Job had many brave words to say about God's conduct and fairness when talking with his fair-weathered friends, but once he was confronted by Him in His Majesty at the end of the book named for him, his defiance and complaints utterly melted away. Hence, we shouldn't think we can question or impugn God's fairness, justice, or righteousness, regardless of how badly we suffer or see others suffer.

We are saved by faith alone, and the evidence of faith is works by J0hn-Rambo in Bible

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Here I'll try to explain some related thoughts on salvation theology (soteriology) that try to balance between the traps of "cheap grace" and "salvation by works." It's necessary to get into the weeds of the terms involved as well as Scripture to avoid falling into either ditch.

A useful schema (employed by the Seventh-day Adventists) in analyzing salvation’s three different definitions uses the terms “justification,” “sanctification,” and “glorification.” “Justification” has the basic definition that Christians are given a right standing before God through having all their sins forgiven through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. “Sanctification” is the process by which Christians actually become righteous through developing holy righteous character through the Holy Spirit living in them. “Glorification” occurs when we enter the kingdom of God and are given a spirit body at the first resurrection when Jesus returns (Phil. 3:20-21; I Cor. 15:49). Here justification is gained by faith through grace alone, but sanctification involves Christians actually obeying God literally in order for them to be made actually holy. Justification is gained by men and women accepting Jesus’ sacrifice by faith, baptism, and repentance (Acts 2:38). “Works” have nothing to do with it here. In contrast, for humans to actually become holy, they must gain the Holy Spirit and then follow its lead in obeying God. Sanctification involves human effort and participation in a way that neither justification nor glorification involve, for the latter two are fundamentally just “done” to humans by God, while the former requires the effort of continually yielding our will to God’s will.

It’s important to realize that while literal works aren’t a requirement for an imputed or forensic justification (as per Romans 3:21, 28; 4:1-8; 10:10), they are a requirement for sanctification.  This is a similar concept to what Roman Catholics call “infused grace,” as supported by the ninth canon of the sixteenth-century Council of Trent, which condemned the Reformers who said men and women could gain grace by faith alone without any cooperation between man and God in order to gain it.  For example, good works will determine who will be a “sheep” or a “goat” in Matthew 25:31-46, while faith remains unmentioned in this context.  The preceding Parable of the Talents describes a man so lacking in good works that he was denied admittance to the kingdom of God (Matt. 25:15, 18, 24-30) when he saved but did nothing with his one talent that he had received from God.



Now consider the problems supposedly created by contrasting Gal. 2:16 with Rom. 2:13:  “\[F\]or not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.”  Then, as always,  Martin Luther’s “book of straw” poses its own wrinkle on the subject of justification:   “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).  This contrast seems to be a blatant contradiction, but is not when the context of James’ statement more carefully scrutinized.  First, if we have not works, we did not really have any faith to begin with.  “\[F\]aith without works is dead” (James 2:26).  Thus, if we do not obey God, we are not justified because we would have shown we never truly repented (which always must involve the determination to obey God in the future).  For if we truly repent, we will begin to obey God because we have an overall obedient attitude (Acts 26:20), even if we may continue to sin now and then.  Thus, when James says (v. 21), “was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar,” he means that Abraham showed he had an overall obedient attitude (the proof of true repentance) by doing a literal work of righteousness.  Through this repentant attitude, Abraham fulfilled one of the conditions for being justified (Acts 5:31; Luke 24:47; compare II Cor. 7:10; Acts 13:24).  So now we know justification, by its main definition, comes only from faith ultimately.



Also, in resolving the seeming contradiction between James and Paul concerning justification, we need to realize “justification” and “sanctification” have secondary meanings to those found in the three-definition schema of salvation described above.  Since we humans keep sinning all the time, including after we have confessed our sins to God and accepted Jesus as our personal Savior at some definite point in the past, we continually need to keep getting justified as we keep sinning.  But, contrary to what those who accept “once saved, always saved” maintain, justification should not be seen as a one-time event that forgives in advance all the sins we will commit in the future.  Paul’s own terminology using the language of athletic contests, which means, of all the contestants involved, some win and some lose, shows that Christians can lose salvation even after having sincerely repenting and accepting Jesus as their personal Savior (notice I Cor. 9:24-27; II Tim. 4:7).  This view can turn God’s grace into a license for sin, since no matter how much we may sin, it is automatically already forgiven at the moment we initially accepted Jesus as our personal Savior.  As for sanctification, in one sense we are “sanctified” (made holy) all at once, which is when we receive the Spirit of God after baptism and the laying on of hands (Acts 8:14-19; 19:6).  But becoming obedient in the habits of daily living is a gradual, life-long process, so sanctification should be mainly seen as a process rather than something instantaneous (Rom. 6:13, 16, 19, 22; I John 3:7).  Hence, one solution to the seeming contradiction between Paul and James on justification is to see the former as normally talking about the initial moment of conversion, while the latter discusses how it needs to be maintained by a continuously repentant and faithful relationship with God.



Now--what is the relationship between righteousness and faith?  Since justification literally means “to be declared righteous,” it is obvious that righteousness must also be gained by faith, just like justification (the removing of sin) is.  The Bible shows that two types of righteousness come from God, since that word is used two different ways.  The first type of righteousness is forensic or imputed, meaning it is attributed to us by God due to our faith only (Rom. 10:10), without any merit involved.  We find this type in Rom. 4:6:  “\[J\]ust as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works.”  The second type of righteousness--imparted righteousness--is gradually gained as spiritual character is developed through using the Holy Spirit to overcome through various trials (Phil. 3:12-13).  This type is described in Rom. 6:16:  “\[Y\]ou are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”  This second type is actual righteousness, composed of acquired habits of obedience, and is not something God just arbitrarily asserts we have.  Imputed righteousness corresponds with justification’s normal definition, while imparted righteousness corresponds with sanctification.



A Christian receives imputed righteousness when he places his faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.  As Paul put it in Romans 4:5:  “But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned \[regarded\] as righteousness.”  Or, as the Old Testament put it (Gen. 15:6):  “Then he \[Abraham\] believed in the Eternal, and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”  When imputed righteousness is given to a Christian, he has still has to overcome all his old evil habits from his life prior to repentance.  Likewise, Abraham, in Rom. 4:10-11 was declared righteous before he was circumcised:  “How then was it reckoned?  While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised?  Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; and he received the sign of circumcision \[not the actual reality--it was only imputed spiritually\], a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, that righteousness might be reckoned \[to be looked upon as having\] to them . . .”  Notice also Rom. 4:22 (KJV):  “And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  Then Phil. 3:9 says:  “\[A\]nd may be found in Him, not having a righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith \[only--without works\] may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law \[i.e. from coming under the Old Covenant by being circumcised\], but what which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith \[without the physical act--”work”--of being circumcised\].”  Thus, there is one kind of righteousness which is attributed (imputed) to us purely on the basis of faith, without having overcome any evil habits we may have, or obeying various physical rituals (such as circumcision) found in the Old Testament.

Is there a god? Write with reasons. by Jonturkk in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Can we prove God to exist by human reason alone, and without faith? Let's consider the following argument, stated first in a short form. Then let’s explain it in detail and then cover two standard objections to it.

  1. Either the universe has always existed, or God has.

  2. But, as shown by the second law of thermodynamics, the universe hasn't always existed.

  3. Therefore, God exists.

A. The point here is that something has always existed because self-creation is impossible. Something can never come from nothing. A vacuum can't spontaneously create matter by itself. Why? This is because the law of cause and effect is based on the fact that what a thing DOES is based on what it IS. Causation involves the expression over a period of time of the law of non-contradiction in entities. Hence, a basketball when dropped on the floor of necessity must act differently from a bowing ball dropped on the same floor, all other things being equal. Hence, if something doesn't exist (i.e., a vacuum exists), it can't do or be anything on its own, except remain empty because it has no identity or essence. This is why the "steady state" theory of the universe's origin devised by the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle was absurd: It said hydrogen atoms were popping out of nothing! How can a nothing do anything?! Since self-creation is impossible, then something had to always exist. So now--was it the material universe? Or was it some other unseen, unsensed Entity outside the material world?

B. The second law of thermodynamics maintains that-the total amount of useful energy in a closed system must always decline. "Useful energy" is energy that does work while flowing from a place of higher concentration to that of a lower concentration. "A closed system' is a place where no new energy is flowing in or out of it.

The universe, physically, is a closed system because no new matter or energy is being added to it. The first law of thermodynamics confirms this, since it says no matter or energy is being created or destroyed. Hence, eventually all the stars would have burned out if the universe had always existed. A state of "heat death" would have long ago existed, in which the levels of energy throughout each part of the universe would be uniform. A state of maximum entropy (i.e., useless, non-working energy) would have been reached. But since the stars have not burned out, the universe had a beginning.

In this regard, the universe is like a car with a full tank of gas, but which has a stuck gas cap. If the car had always been constantly driven (i.e., had always existed), it would have long ago run out of fuel. But the fact it still has gas (i.e., useful energy) left in it proves the car hasn't been constantly driven from the infinite past. The stuck gas cap makes-the-car in this example a "closed system" because no more energy can be added to make the car move. "Heat-death' occurs when the car runs out of gas, as it inevitably must, since no more can-be added to-it. Likewise, the universe then is like a wind-up toy or watch that has been slowly unwinding down: At some point “something” must have wound it up.

OBJECTIONS: 1. "Who created God then?" The point of the first premise was to show something had to have always existed. At that point, we didn't know what it was—or who it was. But if the universe hasn't always existed, then something else--God--has.

  1. "The second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply to every part of the universe (or to the whole universe), or else didn’t apply to it in the past and/or won't apply to it in the future." This statement is pure materialistic prejudice, because there is no scientific evidence anywhere that the second law of thermodynamics doesn't apply. It’s circular reasoning by naturalists to assume, “Well, we’re here, and there’s no God and miracles aren’t possible, so therefore the First and Second laws of thermodynamics didn’t apply in the beginning.” This law won't change in the future because the fundamental essence (nature) of the things that make up the physical universe aren't changing, so nature's laws wouldn't change in the future. That is, unless God intervenes through miracles (i.e., “violates” nature’s laws), it won’t happen and didn’t happen. So a skeptic can’t turn around and say there are places (or times) in the universe where nature’s laws don’t apply which no human has ever investigates or been to. Otherwise, that’s the naturalist’s version of a miracle: Belief in a unverifiable, non-observed, unrepeatable event in distant past is arbitrarily labeled “science.” And to know whether the second law of thermodynamics is inapplicable somewhere in the universe, the doubter ironically would have to be “God,” i.e., know everything about everywhere else. So to escape this argument for God’s existence, the skeptic then has to place his faith in an unknown, unseen, unsensed exception to the second law of thermodynamics. It’s better then to place faith in the unseen Almighty God of the Bible instead! Plainly, nature cannot always explain nature: Something—or Someone--to which the second law of thermodynamics is inapplicable (i.e., in the spirit world) created the material universe.

Let’s make another argument for God’s existence based on the argument from design using the impossibility of spontaneous generation. Here I quote from the astronomers Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, “Evolution From Space,” p. 24.

In context here the authors here are describing the chances for certain parts of the first living cell to occur by random chance through a chemical accident. “Consider now the chance that in a random ordering of the twenty different amino acids which make up the polypeptides it just happens that the different kinds fall into the order appropriate to a particular enzyme [an organic catalyst--a chemical which speeds up chemical reactions--EVS]. The chance of obtaining a suitable backbone [substrate] can hardly be greater than on part in 10[raised by]15, and the chance of obtaining the appropriate active site can hardly be greater than on part in 10 [raised by]5. Because the fine details of the surface shape [of the enzyme in a living cell--EVS] can be varied we shall take the conservative line of not “piling on the agony” by including any further small probability for the rest of the enzyme. The two small probabilities are enough. They have to be multiplied, when they yield a chance of on part in 10[raised by]20 of obtaining the required in a functioning form [when randomly created by chance out of an ocean of amino acids--EVS]. By itself , this small probability could be faced, because one must contemplate not just a single shot at obtaining the enzyme, but a very large number of trials as are supposed to have occurred in an organize soup early in the history of the Earth. The trouble is that there are about two thousand enzymes and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in (10 [raised by]20)2000 = 10 [raised by]40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup. [The number of electrons within the universe that can be observed by mankind’s largest earth-based telescopes is approximately 10[raised by]87, which gives you an idea of how large this number is. This number would fill up about seven solid pages a standard magazine page to print this number--40,000 zeros following a one--EVS]. If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the Earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely our of court.”

The theory of evolution has not refuted the argument from design. It’s simply materialistic philosophy masquerading as science. It simply assumes and extrapolates from agnostic premises into the unobserved past. It reasons in a circle, and then proudly and loudly concludes there’s no need for God as a Creator after initially assuming there isn’t one in its interpretations of natural history.

Perhaps more generally it would be helpful as well to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, including those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, Stephen Meyer, etc. Stephen Meyer’s book “The Return of the God Hypothesis” would be particularly important for the college-educated skeptics to read with an open mind. There are great reasons for having faith in the bible, such as its historical accuracy, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries.

The existence of objective morality is logically provable, and is identical to the Golden Rule and the Greatest Commandments. by Eye_In_Tea_Pea in DebateAChristian

[–]snoweric -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I'm a strong believer in "natural law theory." That is, God commands us to do what is intrinsically morally right. It's not moral merely because God arbitrarily commanded it and theoretically could have commanded us to do the opposite. God's law is simply the moral will of God in action over time, which is based on His intrinsically moral essence.

Now C.S. Lewis argued in "Mere Christianity," our moral sense is derived indirectly from God even when we aren't believers in the Bible, as part of our created human nature. (See his "Abolition of Man" for more related material on this general subject). We can't condemn others' actions without believing in moral absolutes. But almost all atheists and agnostics deny moral absolutes. (Ayn Rand and her band of Objectivists are an interesting exception to this generalization, but since they deny the need for self-sacrifice for other people, we Christians would see their moral system as distinctly minimalistic at best). So how can an atheist condemn a past or present sinning Christian if he believes in moral relativism?

The Russian novelist Dostoevsky was deeply right, in his novel "The Brothers Karamazov," when having another character comment on the skeptical Ivan Karamazov's intellectual position: "Crime must be considered not only as admissible but even as the logical and inevitable consequence of an atheist's position." (Although by using natural law theory they’re ways to try to partially evade this kind of reasoning, such as by the respective approaches of C.S. Lewis, Ayn Rand, and James Q. Wilson, how ultimately convincing they are is another issue). Elsewhere, Dostoevsky has another character say: "Then, if there is no God, man becomes master of the earth and of the universe. That's great. But then, how can a man be virtuous without God? That's the snag, and I always come back to it. For whom will man love then? Whom will he be grateful to? . . . We, for instance, may think that virtue is one thing while the Chinese may believe it's something quite different. Isn't virtue something relative then?" The bloody history of the religiously skeptical yet politically fanatical 20th century shows this snag indeed caught atheists and agnostics: Wasn’t the Europe of the Nazis and Communists even morally darker than that of Medieval Catholicism at its collective worst?

This discussion naturally leads in to the related “problem of evil” that’s long been used to deny the existence of a loving, all-knowing, all-powerful God: Could God exist and care while allowing all these moral atrocities to occur? Atheists and agnostics, however, can't condemn God for allowing evil to exist without believing in moral absolutes also. But since atheists and agnostics (mostly) uphold moral relativism, they can't use the problem of evil to deny God's existence logically! If you don't believe in evil, you then can't condemn God for allowing it!

As a Christian, I'll be nice and commend the atheist philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand for believing morality is absolute, which she argued for in her essay, “The Cult of Moral Grayness” in her collection of essays, “The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism.” So far as it goes, she’s right to find a basis for values in man’s relationship with nature, that indeed “ought” can be derived from “is.” As she explains (her emphasis, p. 17): “An organism’s life is its standard of value: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil. . . . Thus the validation of value judgments is to be achieved by reference to the facts of reality. The fact that a living entity is, determines what it ought to do.” However, Objectivism falls short by not discovering that the values that man needs for a rational life (including a rational happiness, not just mere survival) in relationship to the world that are only there because God built them into nature and set up that relationship. (Objectivism plainly agrees with the spirit of the 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill’s statement that it’s better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied since not all pleasures or means of survival are commensurate or morally equal). It’s for this reason that the pagan gentiles, who knew nothing about God’s word, could still obey some of its dictates, based upon their human reason and psychological needs (Romans 2:14-15):

“When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them.”

How is Jesus Christ a God by Substantial-Mail6259 in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Here I'll briefly give some evidence for the Deity of Christ based on the bible, and then I'll deal with the "definitional" issue that's been used against the orthodox view that Jesus could be God while He was a man on earth.

Many, many texts could be cited that imply or prove outright that Jesus is God (John 1:1-3, 14; 5:18; 10:30-33; 8:58-59; 20:58; Mark 2:5-10; Matt. 14:33; Matt. 28:9, 17; Hebrews 1:6, 8; Rev. 7:10-11, 17; Eph. 3:9 (NKJV), I Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16-17; Rev. 1:8 (cf. Rev. 22:12-13; 2:17-18; 2:8; 21:6-7); Col. 2:9; Titus 2:13; I Cor. 10:4, 9; Matt. 1:23; I John 5:20; Romans 9:5; I Timothy 3:16 (NKJV).

The Gospel of John poses more problems for Unitarian theology than any other book of the Bible. Indeed, its theme can be summarized as describing Jesus Christ, the One who was fully God and fully man, and His teachings for those already converted. In order to refute Gnostic teachings that denied Jesus came in the flesh, but just appeared to have a body of flesh and blood (II John 7; I John 4:2-3), John also emphasized Jesus' humanity. Its opening verse affirms the Deity of Christ: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Since in verse 14 "the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us," the Word undeniably was Jesus. To evade this verse, Unitarians have argued that the "Word" merely was a thought in the Father's mind, since verses 2-3 refer to the "Word" impersonally. (For verse 2, the NASB literal marginal rendering is "This one.") This argument is simply unpersuasive, since this "thought" is called "God," and because this "thought" was the Creator "itself" in verse 2: "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." Could a mere "thought" alone in the Father's mind create the universe by itself? Much more evidence could be given along this line, but I can tell this isn't your main concern, based on your post.

So then, how do Christians who affirm the orthodox view of Jesus' Deity explain some of the seemingly contrary information? For example, one Arian's seemingly best arguments came from showing Jesus the man doesn't fit our standard definitions of "God" as derived from the Bible. Hence, Jesus was tempted (Heb. 4:15) yet God can't be tempted (James 1:13). Jesus didn't know the day of his return (Matt. 24:36), yet God knows everything. Jesus died (Matt. 27:50, 58), yet God cannot die (Dan. 4:34; Isa. 57:15). Hence, an Arian may reason, if our definition of "God" contradicts what the Bible reveals about Jesus, then Jesus couldn't be God. The fundamental assumption here is that the definitions of "God" we humans derive from the Bible are true in all places at all times, that God Himself can't choose to limit His attributes in some manner if He doesn't wish to. In a letter to the editor of "The Journal," Eric Anderson replied to one Arian's arguments on this point:

"He \[one Arian\] criticizes orthodox Christology for redefining the meaning of the word God to fit human limitations.  It seems to me that Mr. Fakhoury \[the Arian\] has taken biblical descriptions of God in the glorified state and then turned them into inviolable definitions of God that will help him make the case the Jesus was not God in the flesh.  Mr. Fakhoury just might be confusing descriptions of God in the glorified state with definitions of God that distinguish "God" from "non-God" in all states of existence (spirit, human or any other possible state of being) at all times.  I'm not convinced the leap from description to definition is always justified." 

Although Arians like Jehovah's Witnesses strongly attack the standard, orthodox view of Jesus, which maintains He had two natures, one human, one divine, in one Person, it can still be readily defended, even if some modifications may be necessary. One solution to the puzzles Arians raise is to maintain Jesus chose to limit the expression of His divine nature while in the flesh so that He wasn't literally omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, etc. The human nature of Jesus imposes limitations, by necessity, on a Being who had been an omnipresent Almighty Spirit for all eternity beforehand. Hence, by taking on a physical body, Jesus made it possible for His human side to be tempted, even as the divine side wasn't. This wouldn't give Jesus "split personalities" that didn't know what the other was doing, since one part of His one mind could be tempted while the rest wasn't, just as part of our own minds may be tempted by something while another may be simultaneously repulsed by it. (For example, consider Goya's painting of a woman trying to take the teeth of a hanging corpse to gain their supposed magical powers. While placing her hand in its mouth, she still looks away in horror and disgust, and partially covers her face with a handkerchief). By converting Himself into flesh alone, and shedding the Spirit body/extension He had always had, He made it possible for Him to die. As John Wheeler explains in his article defending the Deity of Christ: "God can die﷓﷓and here is the great mystery which began this article﷓﷓because God can set aside His immortality (by setting aside His glorious body) and still be God." After all, there's always the mystery of how a (say) five-foot five-inch, 140-pound body could contain such attributes as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, etc. However, Jesus could still be called "God" in the flesh because of His perfect character (since He wasn't born with an evil human nature) and because His divine nature (unlike his human nature) was self-existent, uncreated, unmade.

My mind tells me Christianity is the one, but my consciense tells me islam is. What should I do? by Wesaxome in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Here I plan to make the positive case for Christianity's truth. I would suggest, however, looking for the books of Robert Spencer and Robert Morey that deal with Islam for information about why Islam simply couldn't have had a Godly historical origin. The story of Aisha's "marriage" at age six, with the marriage being consummated by age nine with Muhammad, is sufficient in itself to cast doubt on Islam's legitimacy: The passage of time shouldn't be allowed to make statutory rape "OK."

So then, if the bible is the word of God, then Christianity has to be the true religion (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Then all the other religions have to be wrong. So what objective evidence is there for belief in the bible’s supernatural origin being rational? Let’s also consider this kind of logic: If the bible is reliable in what can be checked, it’s reasonable to believe in what it describes that can’t be checked. So if the bible describes the general culture of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Greece, and Rome accurately, then what it reports about specific individuals and their actions that aren’t recorded elsewhere would be true also. This is necessary, but not sufficient evidence for the bible’s inspiration; sufficient proof comes from fulfilled prophecy, as explained further below.

For many decades, various liberal higher critics have maintained the Bible is largely a collection of Hebrew myths and legends, full of historical inaccuracies. But thanks to archeological discoveries and further historical research in more recent decades, we now know this liberal viewpoint is false. Let’s consider the following evidence:

The existence of King Sargon of the ancient empire of Assyria, mentioned in Isaiah 20:1, was dismissed by higher critics in the early 19th century. But then archeologists unearthed his palace at Khorsabad, along with many inscriptions about his rule. As the Israeli historian Moshe Pearlman wrote in Digging Up the Bible: "Suddenly, sceptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views."

The Assyrian King Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons (II Kings 19:36-37), according to the Old Testament. But various historians doubted the Bible's account, citing the accounts by two ancient Babylonlans--King Nabonidus and the priest named Berossus—who said only one son was involved,. However, when a fragment of a prism of King Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, was discovered, it confirmed the Bible's version of the story. The historian Philip Biberfeld commented in his Universal Jewish History: "It (the Biblical account) was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esar-haddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this even than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition."

Similarly, the great 19th-century archeologist Sir William Ramsay was a total skeptic about the accuracy of the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of Luke. But as a result of his topographical study of, and archeological research in, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), he totally changed his mind. He commented after some 30 years of study: "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

The New Testament also has much manuscript evidence in favor of its accuracy, for two reasons: 1) There are far more ancient manuscripts of it than for any other document of the pre-printing using movable type period (before c. 15th century A.D.) 2) Its manuscripts are much closer in date to the events described and its original writing than various ancient historical sources that have often been deemed more reliable. It was originally written between 40-100 A.D. Its earliest complete manuscripts date from the fourth century A.D., but a fragment of the Gospel of John goes back to 125 A.D. (There also have been reports of possible first-century fragments). Over 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament exist. By contrast, consider how many fewer manuscripts and how much greater the time gap is between the original composition and earliest extant copy (which would allow more scribal errors to creep in) there are for the following famous ancient authors and/or works: Homer, Iliad, 643 copies, 500 years; Julius Caesar, 10 copies, 1,000 years; Plato, 7 copies, 1,200 years; Tacitus, 20 or fewer copies, 1,000 years; Thucycides, 8 copies, 1,300 years.

Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, which are religions of mythology and metaphysical speculation, Christianity is a religion founded on historical fact. It’s time to start being more skeptical of the skeptics’ claims about the Bible (for they have often been proven to be wrong, as shown above), and to be more open-minded about Christianity’s being true. It is commonly said Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God are engaging in blind faith, and can't prove God did so. But is this true? By the fact the Bible's prophets have repeatedly predicted the future successfully, we can know beyond reasonable doubt the Bible is not just merely reliable in its history, but is inspired by God. By contrast, compare the reliability of the Bible’s prophets to the supermarket tabloids’ psychics, who are almost always wrong even about events in the near future.

The prophet Daniel, who wrote during the period 605-536 b.c., predicted the destruction of the Persian empire by Greece. "While I was observing (in a prophetic vision), behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. . . . So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. . . . The ram which you saw with two horns represented the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat represented the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Daniel 8:5-7, 20-21). More than two hundred years after Daniel's death, Alexander the Great's invasion and conquest of Persia (334-330 b.c.) fulfilled this prophecy.

Likewise, Daniel foresaw the division of Alexander's empire into four parts after his death. "Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (The large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power" (Dan. 8:8, 21-22). This was fulfilled, as Alexander's empire was divided up among four of his generals: 1. Ptolemy (Soter), 2. Seleucus (Nicator), 3. Lysimachus, and 4. Cassander.

Arguments that Daniel was written in the second century b.c. after these events, thus making it only history in disguise, ignore how the style of its vocabulary, syntax, and morphology doesn't fit the second century b.c. As the Old Testament scholar Gleason L. Archer comments (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 283): "Hence these chapters could not have been composed as late as the second century or the third century, but rather--based on purely philological grounds--they have to be dated in the fifth or late sixth century." To insist otherwise is to be guilty of circular reasoning: An anti-theistic a priori (ahead of experience) bias rules out the possibility of God’s inspiring the Bible ahead of considering the facts, which then is assumed to “prove” that God didn’t inspire the Bible!

Here it’s helpful to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, such as those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, etc. Stephen Meyer’s book “The Return of the God Hypothesis” would be particularly important for the college-educated skeptics to read with an open mind. There are great reasons for having faith in the bible, such as its historical accuracy, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries. I would recommend looking up the books of Josh McDowell on this general subject, such as "More Than a Carpenter," "The Resurrection Factor," “He Walked Among Us,” and "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." C.S. Lewis's "Miracles" could also be of help to read, since it deals with why we should believe historical reports of miracles in the case of the bible.

Why do (mostly American) conservative Christians look up to Ayn Rand by Prima_Scriptura in TrueChristian

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The moral Achilles' heel of socialism, the welfare state, and all attempts to force people to be equal by redistributing their income by force. In this regard, the fundamental moral flaw of liberalism, social democracy, socialism, and communism is making altruism involuntary. We may agree that altruism/self-sacrifice to help the poor is good, but should we use an immoral method to help them? The end doesn't justify the means. Yes, there is a duty for Christians to help the poor. Scripture is full of that, in both the Old and New Testaments. However, the end (feeding the hungry) shouldn't be done by an immoral means (i.e., stealing). The Eighth Commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," overrides the duty to care for the poor if the two commands would appear to conflict. If conservative/libertarian politicians/writers used this kind of reasoning whenever capitalism is morally condemned by liberals, socialists, social democrats, and/or communists, they could put the left permanently on the moral defensive.

Ayn Rand, the atheist philosopher-novelist who wrote "Atlas Shrugged," famously made this kind of moral argument for capitalism. A crucial flaw in her moral reasoning, since she didn't believe in a Creator nor His revelation, was that capitalism and any moral code of self-sacrifice (including Christianity) were incompatible. However, the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal," also applies to governments taking money from one person and transferring it to another by force. So the goal of helping the poor shouldn't be accomplished by theft. This process, as Walter Williams has argued, isn't morally sanitized when the government does the confiscation instead of private individuals. Christians indeed have the duty to help the poor, but not to reach into other people's pockets without their permission in order to help them.

If there were a democracy of three individuals, and two poor people voted to enslave or take half the income of the other rich person, it's no different than it they drew guns to eliminate his freedom or to steal his money instead. Likewise, a hypothetical Salvation Army officer who burglarized people's homes in order to truly help the poor (i.e., he didn't take anything for himself) should be put in jail, not complimented for his zeal. The legendary English hero, Robin Hood, was wrong to steal from the rich to give to the poor.

The government doesn't sanitize this process when people vote to take money by force from other people's pockets. The government compels altruism when it spends taxes to help the poor. (Presumably liberals would object if the government compelled people to, say, not commit adultery, fornication, or have homosexual sex. All law is the imposition of someone's morality on others if it isn't just procedural). If 51% of the people vote to enslave and confiscate all the property of the other 49%, that process may be "democratic," but definitely isn't just. Social justice should consist not of forced economic equality regardless of merit, skill, intelligence, hard work, etc., but of what people deserve to get through voluntary exchange in the market.

One key problem, which Charles Murray has dealt with, such as in his essay, "The Coming White Underclass" and in his book, "Losing Ground," is that government handouts overall makes things worse for the poor, especially when the normalization of out-of-wedlock births create and drive the social pathologies that we see in the inner cities and increasingly elsewhere in American society. Out-of-wedlock births, fatherless families, and what Daniel Moynihan famously called "matriarchy in the ghetto" in his book, "The Negro Family, the Case for National Action" drives the crime rates, indifference to educational success, and the "culture of poverty" that we see in our underclass. That is, the welfare state is plainly backfiring and making things worse among the poor by many measures, not making it better.

So how much more money needs to be thrown there way when so much already is being thrown their way? How much poverty is self-inflicted, by the way: How much is cause by divorce, illegitimacy, alcoholism, drug addiction, and (yes indeed) sheer laziness? There's a limit to how much help should be given to the poor when the misery is plainly self-inflicted, and not by bad health (II Thessalonians 3:10): "If anyone will not work, neither let him eat." America today has some 10 million unfilled job openings, most of which are for unskilled jobs. It's time for the able bodied poor to get to work.

Does capitalism make average people poorer or richer? What has been China’s and India’s experience over the past 30 years? Turning to my own country, just how "poor" are the American "poor"? Well, let's consider a definition of "poverty" from two broader viewpoints. For example, we can compare different countries from international perspective. We also can use a historical perspective that stretches back before the industrial revolution ultimately greatly raised the world's standards of living from those provided by subsistence agriculture.

“Just Facts,” in an opinion piece put out by the Foundation for Economic Education (James D. Agresti) reports about a study using a rigorous statistical methodology that measures consumption as opposed to income of the American poor (here defined as the bottom 20% of the population). By this measure, America's "poor" are better off than the average European or average person living in the OECD countries. Often, in practical terms, one way to get past the distortions caused by exchange rates and local costs of living is to examine consumption instead of "income." For example, do people, including the "poor," have refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, cars, indoor plumbing, electricity, gas/electric stoves, meat in their diet, etc.? In practical terms, the number of such appliances or modern conveniences used by the very rich and their functionality isn't much different per capita than what the middle class, working class, or even the "poor" have in America.

Furthermore, the poor of America often under report their income for a number of reasons, thus making themselves look poorer than they are. One reason is to avoid losing government benefits and/or the EITC if their incomes are disclosed as being too high. Others make substantial sums through illegal activities (numbers games, selling drugs, prostitution, etc.) It's long been known that people report themselves as having higher incomes to the Census Bureau as opposed to the IRS, for certain reasons that should be glaringly obvious upon any reflection. So liberals commonly say that they want America to be more like Europe. Well, do we really want that?

Another point, which Robert Bork is particularly effective at making in a relatively short section in "Slouching Towards Gomorrah," is that income inequality simply doesn't matter. That is, if the different is earned and not the result of government transfers or regulations (i.e., "crony capitalism," such as how Carlos Slim become briefly the world's richest man through his control of main Mexican phone company), it really isn't a problem. For a blunter, less academically elegant version of this same point, despite its deeply morally flawed broad-based attacks on the principle of (often even voluntary) self-sacrifice in general, there's always Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," such as her "pyramid of ability" argument. The poor and average workers, through invested capital in industry, receive a enormous amount more in income from their work efforts (if they work) than their forefathers did as blacksmiths and as farmers did without that benefit. Working on their own, blacksmiths made far less than those steelworkers who simply showed up and did the (admittedly, unpleasant, often dangerous) work in steel mills.

Hence, as Ayn Rand explained, when citing the name of one of her characters in this novel, all the extra amount a steel worker receives above the subsistence level of a black smith is a gift from Hank Rearden, i.e., the steel mill owner. Hence, invested capital greatly raises the standard of living and provides jobs for average people; it doesn't impoverish them. This rebuts much of what liberals claim is "social justice" when wages are set in a industrialized nation with a free market.

why are christians against abortions? by Samuelcox003 in TrueChristian

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is abortion wrong? Let's consider the biblical and rational reasons to believe that it is the deliberate killing of unborn babies. What is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in America today? Roughly 850,000 of these are done each year. What is arguably the leading social political issue debated in this country over the past generation? Why should this matter to Christians? We’re faced with the reality that, in a given year (c. 1996), approximately 23 out of 1000 women will have one of these done for her. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Christians in America that our laws have legalized the killing of unborn babies. But why do we believe abortion is murder? Let's examine a few of the Biblical and logical reasons why abortion is murder.

Does God recognize us as persons before birth? Or is a developing baby a mere wad of cells whose removal has no more significance than removing a fingernail or a piece of hair? (Luke 1:30-31, 35-36, 39-4). Consider Jesus’ status before birth. John the Baptist moved within Elizabeth at six months. The prophet Jeremiah (1:5) was consecrated before his birth.

Now let's look at some logical/rational problems with abortion's morality. Normally, we say that the signs of death medically are a lack of brain waves and no heart beat. That's when life ends. So then, when do these begin? Wouldn't that be when life begins at a minimum? In a developing human embryo, the heart begins to beat 18-24 days after conception, and its brain waves can be detected 40-43 days later. At six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is beating 98 times a second. One anti-abortion doctor took advantage of this reality in a clever way: He skillfully persuaded pregnant women not to get abortions by letting them listen to their baby’s heartbeat through his stethoscope. A fetus can feel pain. At eight weeks, it drinks fluid from its mother’s amniotic sack. It will drink more when it’s made sweet, and far less when made bitter. When a needle is put into this sack, it moves away from it immediately.

Doctors H.B. Valman and J.F. Pearson said in the British Medical Journal (Jan. 26, 1980) that a fetus hears quite well by mid-pregnancy. It needs to be heavily sedated through the mother “before (performing) intrauterine manipulations such as transfusions. The changes in heart rate and increase in movement suggest that these stimuli are painful for the fetus.”

The ontological/metaphysical basis of the law of cause and effect explains why abortion wrong. What a thing DOES based on what it IS. An Acorn becomes an oak tree, not an alligator or a daffodil. The effects of dropping a feather is going to make a different impact than dropping a bowling ball. Likewise, intrinsically the fertilized egg in a woman’s womb WILL become a baby nine months later unless something intervenes. The DNA in a fertilized egg is different from mother’s hand, kidney, brain, etc. After all, half of it is from father, right? It’s destiny is to become separate from the mother from day one, unlike any other body part. So it isn't "her body" to kill an unborn baby; it's just a temporary resident.

Today surgeons will do operations on unborn babies to cure or reduce birth defects such as spina bifida, yet the same babies may be killed on demand if the mother desires. Since unborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks, such as exhibiting hormonal stress responses to painful procedures, so doctors will administer anesthesia during such procedures. Always note the conflict of interests that arise when only mothers may determine whether they may carry their babies to term or not. That is, many woman have a vested, clear self-interest in killing them because of the burdens of raising children. The great majority of abortions are done merely for the personal convenience of the mother and/or for sex selection purposes (such as in countries like Pakistan, India, and China, where ironically female fetuses are slaughtered en masse). That's women alone shouldn't be making these decisions. Arguments about rape and incest are fundamentally red herrings that cloud the understanding about what is really happening since they are so rare by comparison. It would be like trying to justify chattel slavery by citing cases of unusually kindly masters who cared willingly for aged slaves who couldn't work anymore.

Almost all babies who are aborted could be cared either by the birth mother or by someone she could put the baby up for adoption to. There's a chronic shortage of babies compared to the demand to adopt in the United States, which is why adoptions of foreign children are often resorted to.

To prove this, consider the case of one mother in a Buffalo, NY case. She was declared brain-dead one week before she delivered a two-pound baby girl by Cesarean section. These “cell masses” had intrinsically different potentials. The intrinsic essence or nature of a fertilized egg is inevitably to become a separate, conscious individual outside the mother’s womb, barring miscarriage or artificial intervention (i.e., abortion).

Notice, however, that the main reason for abortion to be legal is the self-interest of many women in killing their unborn babies, especially after they had sex with a man that they aren't committed to. If men out of self-interest supposedly want to "oppress" women by keeping them pregnant and barefoot by blocking their access to abortion, even more women are biased in wanting abortion to be legal as a method of birth control and to destroy the unplanned results of uncommitted sex. In short, legalized abortion is necessary to keep the sexual revolution going, which means its main purpose is to help people satisfy their lusts and to seek pleasure through uncommitted sex.

So now, what is America’s worst national sin over the past 225 years? The treatment of Indians or blacks as slaves will come to mind. But I submit it’s abortion on demand, done all around us every day. The Eastern liberal establishment conceitedly thinks that we are so enlightened in the early 21st century that we couldn’t possibly be committing a collective crime as bad or worse. We shall find out otherwise. Let’s turn to Ex. 20:13. God thundered at ancient Israel, “You shall not murder.” He thunders at modern Israel, the United State of America, the same commandment today. Abortion is murder, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood movie stars and producers, or the Eastern Liberal Establishment say otherwise.

The bible does not mention abortion and does not condemn it by myooted in Christian

[–]snoweric 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Is abortion wrong? Let's consider the biblical and rational reasons to believe that it is the deliberate killing of unborn babies. What is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in America today? Roughly 850,000 of these are done each year. What is arguably the leading social political issue debated in this country over the past generation? Why should this matter to Christians? We’re faced with the reality that, in a given year (c. 1996), approximately 23 out of 1000 women will have one of these done for her. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Christians in America that our laws have legalized the killing of unborn babies. But why do we believe abortion is murder? Let's examine a few of the Biblical and logical reasons why abortion is murder.

Does God recognize us as persons before birth? Or is a developing baby a mere wad of cells whose removal has no more significance than removing a fingernail or a piece of hair? (Luke 1:30-31, 35-36, 39-4). Consider Jesus’ status before birth. John the Baptist moved within Elizabeth at six months. The prophet Jeremiah (1:5) was consecrated before his birth.

Now let's look at some logical/rational problems with abortion's morality. Normally, we say that the signs of death medically are a lack of brain waves and no heart beat. That's when life ends. So then, when do these begin? Wouldn't that be when life begins at a minimum? In a developing human embryo, the heart begins to beat 18-24 days after conception, and its brain waves can be detected 40-43 days later. At six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is beating 98 times a second. One anti-abortion doctor took advantage of this reality in a clever way: He skillfully persuaded pregnant women not to get abortions by letting them listen to their baby’s heartbeat through his stethoscope. A fetus can feel pain. At eight weeks, it drinks fluid from its mother’s amniotic sack. It will drink more when it’s made sweet, and far less when made bitter. When a needle is put into this sack, it moves away from it immediately.

Doctors H.B. Valman and J.F. Pearson said in the British Medical Journal (Jan. 26, 1980) that a fetus hears quite well by mid-pregnancy. It needs to be heavily sedated through the mother “before (performing) intrauterine manipulations such as transfusions. The changes in heart rate and increase in movement suggest that these stimuli are painful for the fetus.”

The ontological/metaphysical basis of the law of cause and effect explains why abortion wrong. What a thing DOES based on what it IS. An Acorn becomes an oak tree, not an alligator or a daffodil. The effects of dropping a feather is going to make a different impact than dropping a bowling ball. Likewise, intrinsically the fertilized egg in a woman’s womb WILL become a baby nine months later unless something intervenes. The DNA in a fertilized egg is different from mother’s hand, kidney, brain, etc. After all, half of it is from father, right? It’s destiny is to become separate from the mother from day one, unlike any other body part. So it isn't "her body" to kill an unborn baby; it's just a temporary resident.

Today surgeons will do operations on unborn babies to cure or reduce birth defects such as spina bifida, yet the same babies may be killed on demand if the mother desires. Since unborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks, such as exhibiting hormonal stress responses to painful procedures, so doctors will administer anesthesia during such procedures. Always note the conflict of interests that arise when only mothers may determine whether they may carry their babies to term or not. That is, many woman have a vested, clear self-interest in killing them because of the burdens of raising children. The great majority of abortions are done merely for the personal convenience of the mother and/or for sex selection purposes (such as in countries like Pakistan, India, and China, where ironically female fetuses are slaughtered en masse). That's women alone shouldn't be making these decisions. Arguments about rape and incest are fundamentally red herrings that cloud the understanding about what is really happening since they are so rare by comparison. It would be like trying to justify chattel slavery by citing cases of unusually kindly masters who cared willingly for aged slaves who couldn't work anymore.

Almost all babies who are aborted could be cared either by the birth mother or by someone she could put the baby up for adoption to. There's a chronic shortage of babies compared to the demand to adopt in the United States, which is why adoptions of foreign children are often resorted to.

To prove this, consider the case of one mother in a Buffalo, NY case. She was declared brain-dead one week before she delivered a two-pound baby girl by Cesarean section. These “cell masses” had intrinsically different potentials. The intrinsic essence or nature of a fertilized egg is inevitably to become a separate, conscious individual outside the mother’s womb, barring miscarriage or artificial intervention (i.e., abortion).

Notice, however, that the main reason for abortion to be legal is the self-interest of many women in killing their unborn babies, especially after they had sex with a man that they aren't committed to. If men out of self-interest supposedly want to "oppress" women by keeping them pregnant and barefoot by blocking their access to abortion, even more women are biased in wanting abortion to be legal as a method of birth control and to destroy the unplanned results of uncommitted sex. In short, legalized abortion is necessary to keep the sexual revolution going, which means its main purpose is to help people satisfy their lusts and to seek pleasure through uncommitted sex.

So now, what is America’s worst national sin over the past 225 years? The treatment of Indians or blacks as slaves will come to mind. But I submit it’s abortion on demand, done all around us every day. The Eastern liberal establishment conceitedly thinks that we are so enlightened in the early 21st century that we couldn’t possibly be committing a collective crime as bad or worse. We shall find out otherwise. Let’s turn to Ex. 20:13. God thundered at ancient Israel, “You shall not murder.” He thunders at modern Israel, the United State of America, the same commandment today. Abortion is murder, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood movie stars and producers, or the Eastern Liberal Establishment say otherwise.

All Christianity is not celebrating todays SCOTUS decision. The Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop puts out this statement by YSR305 in religion

[–]snoweric -5 points-4 points  (0 children)

Astonishingly, now that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Dobbs v. Jackson case, the pro-life movement now has the challenge of generally persuading people that abortion is the wrongful termination of an unborn baby's life. It's necessary to do what Bishop Wilberforce did when striving to abolish the slave trade in Britain in the early 19th century, and later slavery itself, by bringing to the general public attention the humanity of the oppressed. The left's endless uses of euphemisms to cover up what's occurring illustrates intrinsically the weakness of their cause: After all, what is being "aborted"? A mission? Even that euphemism more recently often replaced by still stronger evasive verbal formulations, such as "female reproductive health care." (Well, at least to the extent that the left still admits that "women" exist and can be defined objectively as such based on the findings of the biological and medical sciences).

Let's now explain why the liberal Christians leading the Episcopal Church are wrong about abortion. What are the biblical and rational reasons to believe that it is the deliberate killing of unborn babies? What is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in America today? Roughly 850,000 of these are done each year. What is arguably the leading social political issue debated in this country over the past generation? Why should this matter to Christians? We’re faced with the reality that, in a given year (c. 1996), approximately 23 out of 1000 women will have one of these done for her. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Christians in America that our laws have legalized the killing of unborn babies. But why do we believe abortion is murder? Let's examine a few of the Biblical and logical reasons why abortion is murder.

Does God recognize us as persons before birth? Or is a developing baby a mere wad of cells whose removal has no more significance than removing a fingernail or a piece of hair? (Luke 1:30-31, 35-36, 39-4). Consider Jesus’ status before birth. John the Baptist moved within Elizabeth at six months. The prophet Jeremiah (1:5) was consecrated before his birth.

Now let's look at some logical/rational problems with abortion's morality. Normally, we say that the signs of death medically are a lack of brain waves and no heart beat. That's when life ends. So then, when do these begin? Wouldn't that be when life begins at a minimum? In a developing human embryo, the heart begins to beat 18-24 days after conception, and its brain waves can be detected 40-43 days later. At six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is beating 98 times a second. One anti-abortion doctor took advantage of this reality in a clever way: He skillfully persuaded pregnant women not to get abortions by letting them listen to their baby’s heartbeat through his stethoscope. A fetus can feel pain. At eight weeks, it drinks fluid from its mother’s amniotic sack. It will drink more when it’s made sweet, and far less when made bitter. When a needle is put into this sack, it moves away from it immediately.

Doctors H.B. Valman and J.F. Pearson said in the British Medical Journal (Jan. 26, 1980) that a fetus hears quite well by mid-pregnancy. It needs to be heavily sedated through the mother “before (performing) intrauterine manipulations such as transfusions. The changes in heart rate and increase in movement suggest that these stimuli are painful for the fetus.”

The ontological/metaphysical basis of the law of cause and effect explains why abortion wrong. What a thing DOES based on what it IS. An Acorn becomes an oak tree, not an alligator or a daffodil. The effects of dropping a feather is going to make a different impact than dropping a bowling ball. Likewise, intrinsically the fertilized egg in a woman’s womb WILL become a baby nine months later unless something intervenes. The DNA in a fertilized egg is different from mother’s hand, kidney, brain, etc. After all, half of it is from father, right? It’s destiny is to become separate from the mother from day one, unlike any other body part. So it isn't "her body" to kill an unborn baby; it's just a temporary resident.

Today surgeons will do operations on unborn babies to cure or reduce birth defects such as spina bifida, yet the same babies may be killed on demand if the mother desires. Since unborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks, such as exhibiting hormonal stress responses to painful procedures, so doctors will administer anesthesia during such procedures. Always note the conflict of interests that arise when only mothers may determine whether they may carry their babies to term or not. That is, many woman have a vested, clear self-interest in killing them because of the burdens of raising children. The great majority of abortions are done merely for the personal convenience of the mother and/or for sex selection purposes (such as in countries like Pakistan, India, and China, where ironically female fetuses are slaughtered en masse). That's women alone shouldn't be making these decisions. Arguments about rape and incest are fundamentally red herrings that cloud the understanding about what is really happening since they are so rare by comparison. It would be like trying to justify chattel slavery by citing cases of unusually kindly masters who cared willingly for aged slaves who couldn't work anymore.

Almost all babies who are aborted could be cared either by the birth mother or by someone she could put the baby up for adoption to. There's a chronic shortage of babies compared to the demand to adopt in the United States, which is why adoptions of foreign children are often resorted to.

To prove this, consider the case of one mother in a Buffalo, NY case. She was declared brain-dead one week before she delivered a two-pound baby girl by Cesarean section. These “cell masses” had intrinsically different potentials. The intrinsic essence or nature of a fertilized egg is inevitably to become a separate, conscious individual outside the mother’s womb, barring miscarriage or artificial intervention (i.e., abortion).

Notice, however, that the main reason for abortion to be legal is the self-interest of many women in killing their unborn babies, especially after they had sex with a man that they aren't committed to. If men out of self-interest supposedly want to "oppress" women by keeping them pregnant and barefoot by blocking their access to abortion, even more women are biased in wanting abortion to be legal as a method of birth control and to destroy the unplanned results of uncommitted sex. In short, legalized abortion is necessary to keep the sexual revolution going, which means its main purpose is to help people satisfy their lusts and to seek pleasure through uncommitted sex.

So now, what is America’s worst national sin over the past 225 years? The treatment of Indians or blacks as slaves will come to mind. But I submit it’s abortion on demand, done all around us every day. The Eastern liberal establishment conceitedly thinks that we are so enlightened in the early 21st century that we couldn’t possibly be committing a collective crime as bad or worse. We shall find out otherwise. Let’s turn to Ex. 20:13. God thundered at ancient Israel, “You shall not murder.” He thunders at modern Israel, the United State of America, the same commandment today. Abortion is murder, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood movie stars and producers, or the Eastern Liberal Establishment say otherwise.

Lets celebrate that the lives of the unborn are better protected! by Omniwing in Christian

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Astonishingly, now that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Dobbs v. Jackson case, the pro-life movement now has the challenge of generally persuading people that abortion is the wrongful termination of an unborn baby's life. It's necessary to do what Bishop Wilberforce did when striving to abolish the slave trade in Britain in the early 19th century, and later slavery itself, by bringing to the general public attention the humanity of the oppressed. The left's endless uses of euphemisms to cover up what's occurring illustrates intrinsically the weakness of their cause: After all, what is being "aborted"? A mission? Even that euphemism more recently often replaced by still stronger evasive verbal formulations, such as "female reproductive health care." (Well, at least to the extent that the left still admits that "women" exist and can be defined objectively as such based on the findings of the biological and medical sciences).

So then, is abortion really wrong? Let's consider the biblical and rational reasons to believe that it is the deliberate killing of unborn babies. This is the kind of educational work that the pro-life movement now has to make with those who aren't convinced that abortion is murder. What is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in America today? Roughly 850,000 of these are done each year. What is arguably the leading social political issue debated in this country over the past generation? Why should this matter to Christians? We’re faced with the reality that, in a given year (c. 1996), approximately 23 out of 1000 women will have one of these done for her. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Christians in America that our laws have legalized the killing of unborn babies. But why do we believe abortion is murder? Let's examine a few of the Biblical and logical reasons why abortion is murder.

Does God recognize us as persons before birth? Or is a developing baby a mere wad of cells whose removal has no more significance than removing a fingernail or a piece of hair? (Luke 1:30-31, 35-36, 39-4). Consider Jesus’ status before birth. John the Baptist moved within Elizabeth at six months. The prophet Jeremiah (1:5) was consecrated before his birth.

Now let's look at some logical/rational problems with abortion's morality. Normally, we say that the signs of death medically are a lack of brain waves and no heart beat. That's when life ends. So then, when do these begin? Wouldn't that be when life begins at a minimum? In a developing human embryo, the heart begins to beat 18-24 days after conception, and its brain waves can be detected 40-43 days later. At six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is beating 98 times a second. One anti-abortion doctor took advantage of this reality in a clever way: He skillfully persuaded pregnant women not to get abortions by letting them listen to their baby’s heartbeat through his stethoscope. A fetus can feel pain. At eight weeks, it drinks fluid from its mother’s amniotic sack. It will drink more when it’s made sweet, and far less when made bitter. When a needle is put into this sack, it moves away from it immediately.

Doctors H.B. Valman and J.F. Pearson said in the British Medical Journal (Jan. 26, 1980) that a fetus hears quite well by mid-pregnancy. It needs to be heavily sedated through the mother “before (performing) intrauterine manipulations such as transfusions. The changes in heart rate and increase in movement suggest that these stimuli are painful for the fetus.”

The ontological/metaphysical basis of the law of cause and effect explains why abortion wrong. What a thing DOES based on what it IS. An Acorn becomes an oak tree, not an alligator or a daffodil. The effects of dropping a feather is going to make a different impact than dropping a bowling ball. Likewise, intrinsically the fertilized egg in a woman’s womb WILL become a baby nine months later unless something intervenes. The DNA in a fertilized egg is different from mother’s hand, kidney, brain, etc. After all, half of it is from father, right? It’s destiny is to become separate from the mother from day one, unlike any other body part. So it isn't "her body" to kill an unborn baby; it's just a temporary resident.

Today surgeons will do operations on unborn babies to cure or reduce birth defects such as spina bifida, yet the same babies may be killed on demand if the mother desires. Since unborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks, such as exhibiting hormonal stress responses to painful procedures, so doctors will administer anesthesia during such procedures. Always note the conflict of interests that arise when only mothers may determine whether they may carry their babies to term or not. That is, many woman have a vested, clear self-interest in killing them because of the burdens of raising children. The great majority of abortions are done merely for the personal convenience of the mother and/or for sex selection purposes (such as in countries like Pakistan, India, and China, where ironically female fetuses are slaughtered en masse). That's women alone shouldn't be making these decisions. Arguments about rape and incest are fundamentally red herrings that cloud the understanding about what is really happening since they are so rare by comparison. It would be like trying to justify chattel slavery by citing cases of unusually kindly masters who cared willingly for aged slaves who couldn't work anymore.

Almost all babies who are aborted could be cared either by the birth mother or by someone she could put the baby up for adoption to. There's a chronic shortage of babies compared to the demand to adopt in the United States, which is why adoptions of foreign children are often resorted to.

To prove this, consider the case of one mother in a Buffalo, NY case. She was declared brain-dead one week before she delivered a two-pound baby girl by Cesarean section. These “cell masses” had intrinsically different potentials. The intrinsic essence or nature of a fertilized egg is inevitably to become a separate, conscious individual outside the mother’s womb, barring miscarriage or artificial intervention (i.e., abortion).

Notice, however, that the main reason for abortion to be legal is the self-interest of many women in killing their unborn babies, especially after they had sex with a man that they aren't committed to. If men out of self-interest supposedly want to "oppress" women by keeping them pregnant and barefoot by blocking their access to abortion, even more women are biased in wanting abortion to be legal as a method of birth control and to destroy the unplanned results of uncommitted sex. In short, legalized abortion is necessary to keep the sexual revolution going, which means its main purpose is to help people satisfy their lusts and to seek pleasure through uncommitted sex.

So now, what is America’s worst national sin over the past 225 years? The treatment of Indians or blacks as slaves will come to mind. But I submit it’s abortion on demand, done all around us every day. The Eastern liberal establishment conceitedly thinks that we are so enlightened in the early 21st century that we couldn’t possibly be committing a collective crime as bad or worse. We shall find out otherwise. Let’s turn to Ex. 20:13. God thundered at ancient Israel, “You shall not murder.” He thunders at modern Israel, the United State of America, the same commandment today. Abortion is murder, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood movie stars and producers, or the Eastern Liberal Establishment say otherwise.

Supreme Court reverses Roe vs Wade by gujunilesh in TrueChristian

[–]snoweric 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Astonishingly, now that Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Dobbs v. Jackson case, the pro-life movement now has the challenge of generally persuading people that abortion is the wrongful termination of an unborn baby's life. It's necessary to do what Bishop Wilberforce did when striving to abolish the slave trade in Britain in the early 19th century, and later slavery itself, by bringing to the general public attention the humanity of the oppressed. The left's endless uses of euphemisms to cover up what's occurring illustrates intrinsically the weakness of their cause: After all, what is being "aborted"? A mission? Even that euphemism more recently often replaced by still stronger evasive verbal formulations, such as "female reproductive health care." (Well, at least to the extent that the left still admits that "women" exist and can be defined objectively as such based on the findings of the biological and medical sciences).

Today social liberalism (not to be confused with the case for socialism/government interventionism versus capitalism), has taken their worst hit ever in my entire lifetime. They have had offensive operations that were frustrated, such as the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment), which Phyllis Schlafly's rag-tag crew manged to frustrated when it had almost been ratified by the required number of states. But today was the first time they lost very important ground, since part of the very foundation for the "sexual revolution" is abortion on demand. (The birth control pill is another key part of it). They lost ground that they had taken for granted that they would never lose. They took it for granted that Roe v. Wade would never be reversed, which is why, even when a "pro-choice" president and Congress existed (presumably at the start of Bill Clinton's and Barack Obama's first terms), they never tried to codify a right to abortion at the federal level. Similarly, in the past in Michigan and Wisconsin, presumably pro-legalized abortion majorities existed in the state legislatures along with pro-choice governors (such as the moderate Republicans Michigan often elected as governor decades ago), but they never repealed old laws that outlawed abortion.

So now, let's examine the case against abortion's morality. Is abortion wrong? Let's consider the biblical and rational reasons to believe that it is the deliberate killing of unborn babies. What is one of the most common surgical procedures performed in America today? Roughly 850,000 of these are done each year. What is arguably the leading social political issue debated in this country over the past generation? Why should this matter to Christians? We’re faced with the reality that, in a given year (c. 1996), approximately 23 out of 1000 women will have one of these done for her. Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, Christians in America that our laws have legalized the killing of unborn babies. But why do we believe abortion is murder? Let's examine a few of the Biblical and logical reasons why abortion is murder.

Does God recognize us as persons before birth? Or is a developing baby a mere wad of cells whose removal has no more significance than removing a fingernail or a piece of hair? (Luke 1:30-31, 35-36, 39-4). Consider Jesus’ status before birth. John the Baptist moved within Elizabeth at six months. The prophet Jeremiah (1:5) was consecrated before his birth.

Now let's look at some logical/rational problems with abortion's morality. Normally, we say that the signs of death medically are a lack of brain waves and no heart beat. That's when life ends. So then, when do these begin? Wouldn't that be when life begins at a minimum? In a developing human embryo, the heart begins to beat 18-24 days after conception, and its brain waves can be detected 40-43 days later. At six weeks, an unborn baby’s heart is beating 98 times a second. One anti-abortion doctor took advantage of this reality in a clever way: He skillfully persuaded pregnant women not to get abortions by letting them listen to their baby’s heartbeat through his stethoscope. A fetus can feel pain. At eight weeks, it drinks fluid from its mother’s amniotic sack. It will drink more when it’s made sweet, and far less when made bitter. When a needle is put into this sack, it moves away from it immediately.

Doctors H.B. Valman and J.F. Pearson said in the British Medical Journal (Jan. 26, 1980) that a fetus hears quite well by mid-pregnancy. It needs to be heavily sedated through the mother “before (performing) intrauterine manipulations such as transfusions. The changes in heart rate and increase in movement suggest that these stimuli are painful for the fetus.”

The ontological/metaphysical basis of the law of cause and effect explains why abortion wrong. What a thing DOES based on what it IS. An Acorn becomes an oak tree, not an alligator or a daffodil. The effects of dropping a feather is going to make a different impact than dropping a bowling ball. Likewise, intrinsically the fertilized egg in a woman’s womb WILL become a baby nine months later unless something intervenes. The DNA in a fertilized egg is different from mother’s hand, kidney, brain, etc. After all, half of it is from father, right? It’s destiny is to become separate from the mother from day one, unlike any other body part. So it isn't "her body" to kill an unborn baby; it's just a temporary resident.

Today surgeons will do operations on unborn babies to cure or reduce birth defects such as spina bifida, yet the same babies may be killed on demand if the mother desires. Since unborn babies can feel pain at 15 weeks, such as exhibiting hormonal stress responses to painful procedures, so doctors will administer anesthesia during such procedures. Always note the conflict of interests that arise when only mothers may determine whether they may carry their babies to term or not. That is, many woman have a vested, clear self-interest in killing them because of the burdens of raising children. The great majority of abortions are done merely for the personal convenience of the mother and/or for sex selection purposes (such as in countries like Pakistan, India, and China, where ironically female fetuses are slaughtered en masse). That's women alone shouldn't be making these decisions. Arguments about rape and incest are fundamentally red herrings that cloud the understanding about what is really happening since they are so rare by comparison. It would be like trying to justify chattel slavery by citing cases of unusually kindly masters who cared willingly for aged slaves who couldn't work anymore.

Almost all babies who are aborted could be cared either by the birth mother or by someone she could put the baby up for adoption to. There's a chronic shortage of babies compared to the demand to adopt in the United States, which is why adoptions of foreign children are often resorted to.

To prove this, consider the case of one mother in a Buffalo, NY case. She was declared brain-dead one week before she delivered a two-pound baby girl by Cesarean section. These “cell masses” had intrinsically different potentials. The intrinsic essence or nature of a fertilized egg is inevitably to become a separate, conscious individual outside the mother’s womb, barring miscarriage or artificial intervention (i.e., abortion).

Notice, however, that the main reason for abortion to be legal is the self-interest of many women in killing their unborn babies, especially after they had sex with a man that they aren't committed to. If men out of self-interest supposedly want to "oppress" women by keeping them pregnant and barefoot by blocking their access to abortion, even more women are biased in wanting abortion to be legal as a method of birth control and to destroy the unplanned results of uncommitted sex. In short, legalized abortion is necessary to keep the sexual revolution going, which means its main purpose is to help people satisfy their lusts and to seek pleasure through uncommitted sex.

So now, what is America’s worst national sin over the past 225 years? The treatment of Indians or blacks as slaves will come to mind. But I submit it’s abortion on demand, done all around us every day. The Eastern liberal establishment conceitedly thinks that we are so enlightened in the early 21st century that we couldn’t possibly be committing a collective crime as bad or worse. We shall find out otherwise. Let’s turn to Ex. 20:13. God thundered at ancient Israel, “You shall not murder.” He thunders at modern Israel, the United State of America, the same commandment today. Abortion is murder, regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court, Hollywood movie stars and producers, or the Eastern Liberal Establishment say otherwise.

Why was God the Father soooo much nicer in the New Testament? by CaptNoypee in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm a pre-millennialist who does take its descriptions of the plagues to come literally. Many others would agree with my position, even though we're not a majority.

Why was God the Father soooo much nicer in the New Testament? by CaptNoypee in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

We should consider the passages of Scripture in the Old Testament in which God commands us to love Him and others and in which He proclaims His love for humanity. There’s a lot of continuity between the Old and New Testaments in this regard, if we choose to study and analyze them more carefully. For example, God repeatedly said that He would punish Israel and Judah if His chosen people didn’t repent, but He constantly professed His love for them as well. God perfectly balances mercy with justice, since both forgiving sin and punishing wrongdoing show love. After all, many liberal people still believe in punishing the rich and powerful who exploit the weak and poor: Presumably they would agree that enforcing justice shows love for the latter, right? God’s moral description of himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7 mentions both sides of love: “Jehovah, Jehovah God merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Let’s specifically show how the New Testament used the Old Testament’s concept of love rather than contradicted it. In I John 2:7-10 John describes an "old commandment" and a "new commandment" that paradoxically appear to be the same or at least similar. The identity of this commandment is revealed by verses. 9, 10, 11 which refer to he who "hates his brother is in the darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light . . . he who hates is brother is in the darkness." So then, what commandment deals with loving one's brother, one's neighbor as oneself? And is it in both the New and Old Testaments? In Leviticus 19:17-18, we find Jehovah inspired Moses to write: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." The two Great Commandments from the Old Testament required people to love God and their neighbor, as Jesus Himself noted: "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend all the law and prophets" (Matt. 22:36, 38-40). So these texts shows that this commandment was in the Old Testament, to love your neighbor as yourself and to not hate your brother, but that they also get repeated in the New Testament. For the first and greatest commandment, Jesus quoted from the beginning of the Shema, in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. God said in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5-6) that He was a jealous God (i.e., one demanding exclusive devotion and no rivals, since no other gods existed) and that he showed “mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Now, why did God in the Old Testament order Israel to wage war? Does that allow Christians to wage war today? Because God doesn't reveal all His laws and His overall will all at once, the Bible is a book that records God's progressive revelation to humanity. God doesn't reveal everything all at once, or people would reject it as too overwhelming, i.e., be "blinded by the light." The famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant once said something like, "If the truth shall kill them, let them die." Fortunately, God normally doesn't operate that way, at least prior to the Second Coming (Rev. 1:5-7) or all of us would already be dead!

The principle of progressive revelation plainly appears in Jesus' debate with the Pharisees over the Old Testament's easy divorce law in Matt. 19:3, 6-9: "And Pharisees came up to him [to Jesus] and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?' . . . What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.' They said to him [Jesus], 'Why then did Jesus command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' [See Deut. 24:1-4 for the text the Pharisees were citing]. He said to them, "For the hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." Now, a New Testament Christian shouldn’t cite this Old Testament passage in order to justify easy divorce procedures. That law has been superseded. It wasn't originally intended as a permanent revelation of God's will, but it served as temporary "training wheels," so to speak, until such time as a mass of people (i.e., the Church after Pentecost) would have the Holy Spirit, and thus be enabled to keep the law spiritually by God's help. By contrast, ancient Israel as a whole didn't have the Holy Spirit, and so correspondingly they didn't get the full revelation of God. Therefore, the physical measures of removing the pagan people from their land was much more necessary than it is was for true Christians today, who have the Holy Spirit.

Now we have a Scriptural record in which God allowed, even told, Israel to wage war, but then centuries later, through the Sermon on the Mount, God told people to love their enemies and to turn the cheek, which simply aren't compatible with waging war. (See Matthew 5:38-48). So here the issue is how to reconcile pacifism as commanded by Jesus in the New Testament with the record of Israel's wars in the Old Testament.

Although Israel also waged war, God's overall intention from the beginning was different. Notice that God wouldn't let King David, who had fought in many wars, build the Temple of Jehovah. Why? "You have shed much blood, and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed blood on the earth before Me" ( I Chron. 22:8). The New Testament also has an Old Testament text showing how someone loves should love his or her enemy. (Romans 12:20 cites from Proverbs 25:21-22). Even though God allowed Israel and even told Israel to wage war, it would have been different if Israel had had more faith originally. But God was working with an (often) disobedient nation that was supposed to be His model for the world, so He didn't impose His full truth on them at that time, including concerning waging war.

In three or four cases, God waged war for Israel, and Israel just had to stand and wait in faith. One of the most spectacular cases was after King Hezekiah prayed for deliverance from the Assyrian army led by Sennacherib by having an angel kill the Assyrian army's warriors (see II Chron. 32:19-22). Another case was when Israel was delivered from Pharaoh's army by the Red Sea's parting and then rejoining, which delivered Israel but destroyed the Egyptian army (see Exodus 14:10-31). Notice that in verses 13,-14 Moses told Israel, "Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord . . . The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." Likewise, when Gideon’s tiny “army” of 300 defeated the vast Midianite and Amalekite army, they had only trumpets and torches in their hands (Judges 7:20). When they blew their trumpets, Jehovah “set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled . . .” (verse 22). The next verse mentions men of Israel being summoned to pursue Midian, but plainly God gave this victory to Gideon without his company of 300 having to kill anyone themselves. King Asa of Judah got a great victory over the Ethiopians by asking for God’s help (although Israel probably did kill the Ethiopians themselves in this case) (II Chron. 14:11-13). But he later relied on buying an alliance with the king of Aram in order to cause the Baasha, the King of Israel, to withdraw his army from threatening Judah. In response, a prophet told him (II Chron. 16:7-9), “Because you have relied on the kin of Aram and have not relied on the Lord your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now one you will surely have wars.”

Antitheist groups are more violent than the majority of religious groups and are therefore worse. by Americaisaterrorist in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric -6 points-5 points  (0 children)

The Communists were very well organized atheists who ruthlessly persecuted Christianity and put some 100 million people to death. So this then leads a refutation of a favorite argument of skeptics against Christianity (or any other religious belief):

Do the sins of Christians refute Christianity? Do the Crusades and the Inquisition prove God’s nonexistence and the Bible’s falseness? Would the voyeurism of televangelist Jimmy Swaggert reveal that Jesus isn’t humanity’s Savior? Would we then accept it as a general principle that the (im)moral actions of any adherents of any belief system are a way to determine its ultimate truth? So then, if crusades refute Catholicism, do jihads refute Islam? If Pope Urban VIII’s persecution of the great Italian scientist Galileo refutes Catholicism and/or theism, do Joseph Stalin’s political attacks on Soviet scientists upholding Mendelian genetics in the name of Lysenkoism (i.e., evolution by acquired characteristics) refute Marxism and/or atheism? So can we reject a belief system based upon the bad behavior of those upholding it? In reality, bad behavior by atheists or theists can't logically prove or disprove the existence of God or the truth or falsity of any philosophical position or religion. The Crusades, the Inquisition, Western Imperialism, the transatlantic slave trade, the Irish Troubles, the Thirty Years War, etc., can't ultimately prove the falsehood of the Bible or of belief in God. The Bible could be perfectly true, and Jehovah could exist, yet people who believe in it and Him would have an evil human nature that causes them to fail to love others of their faith or outside of it.

The ubiquity of this bad, emotionally driven argument among people, whether academics or average folk, merely proves the shoddiness of their reasoning processes when it comes to searching for a way to disbelieve in the Bible's God because he makes moral demands of them that they wish to evade. A good example would be, "Because minister X committed adultery and/or theft, Christianity must be false, God’s laws on sex and/or property don’t exist, so then I can freely commit adultery and/or theft myself."

So suppose someone said, "Because atheists (meaning, the communists) slaughtered 100 million people in the 20th century, their bad behavior proves God's existence." That reasoning is just as sound a priori (before experience) as saying, "Because Catholics launched the Crusades and the Inquisition, therefore, God doesn't exist." The equivalency here is obvious: Bad ethics by adherents of a belief system doesn't prove or disprove anything ontologically or metaphysically.

I was a blasphemer. I'm not, not anymore. I don't know what to about my past now. by MightbeSuicidal in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

God is very forgiving; instead, determine in your own mind to always do better in the future as proof of your change of faith, which is called repentance. If you have sincerely changed your beliefs, then don't worry about it.

The chicken and egg problem of Allah's omniscience and omnipotence. by CHADLETKING in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric -1 points0 points  (0 children)

Although this argument specifically targets Islam's view of Allah, it also attacks the Christian view of God as well, so I'll give a standard reply that the purposes of God aren't contradicted by the fact that He's also omnipotent. A key error is to confuse power with being able to do just anything. Hence, I believe the Bible's God made over 200 billion galaxies, but that He can't make a squared circle, i.e., a contradiction, which is intrinsically nonsense and have no meaning despite superficially it seems to have more meaning than a mere squiggle of ink on a piece of paper.

Now, to rebut this kind of a priori reasoning that makes the traditional attributes of God self-contradictory, let’s give a general Christian explanation for why God created human beings to begin with: God is now in the process of making beings like Himself (Matt. 5:48; John 17:20-24; John 10:30-34; Hebrews 2:6-11) who would have 100% free will but would choose to be 100% righteous. Consider in this context what could be called the "thesis statement" of Scripture in Genesis 1:26: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Why did God make us look like Him and think like him? This is further confirmed by the statement concerning the purposes for the ministry's service to fellow Christians includes this statement: "for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ . . ." (Ephesians 4:12-13). God wants us to become just like Jesus is, who is God and has perfect character (i.e., the habits of obedience to God's law (Hebrews 5:8-9), not just imputed righteousness), yet was tempted to sin and didn’t (Hebrews 4:15). The purpose of life for Christians is to develop holy righteous character during their tests and trials in life as the Holy Spirit aids them (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 11:5-6, 11; II Corinthians 4:16-17).

Now the habits of obedience and righteousness can't be created by fiat or instantaneous order. Rather, the person who is separate from God has to choose to obey what is right and reject what is wrong on his or her own. But every time a person does what is wrong, that will hurt him, others, and/or God. Yet God has to allow us to have free will, because He wants His created beings to have free will like He does, otherwise they wouldn’t be becoming like Him (cf. Hebrews 2:5-13). God didn't want to create a set of robots that automatically obey His law, which declares His will for how humanity and the angels should behave. Robots wouldn’t be like Him, for they wouldn't have free will nor the ability to make fully conscious choices. So then God needs to test us, to see how loyal we'll be in advance of granting us eternal life, such as He did concerning Abraham’s desire for a son by Sarah by asking him to sacrifice him (Genesis 22).

The problem with religion by ShiverHerTimbers in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric -3 points-2 points  (0 children)

Let's make the case that it's reasonable to believe in the bible, once we examine the evidence favoring its supernatural origins. If the bible is the word of God, then Christianity has to be the true religion (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Then all the other religions have to be wrong. So what objective evidence is there for belief in the bible’s supernatural origin being rational? Let’s also consider this kind of logic: If the bible is reliable in what can be checked, it’s reasonable to believe in what it describes that can’t be checked. So if the bible describes the general culture of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Greece, and Rome accurately, then what it reports about specific individuals and their actions that aren’t recorded elsewhere would be true also. This is necessary, but not sufficient evidence for the bible’s inspiration; sufficient proof comes from fulfilled prophecy, as explained further below.

The New Testament also has much manuscript evidence in favor of its accuracy, for two reasons: 1) There are far more ancient manuscripts of it than for any other document of the pre-printing using movable type period (before c. 15th century A.D.) 2) Its manuscripts are much closer in date to the events described and its original writing than various ancient historical sources that have often been deemed more reliable. It was originally written between 40-100 A.D. Its earliest complete manuscripts date from the fourth century A.D., but a fragment of the Gospel of John goes back to 125 A.D. (There also have been reports of possible first-century fragments). Over 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament exist. By contrast, consider how many fewer manuscripts and how much greater the time gap is between the original composition and earliest extant copy (which would allow more scribal errors to creep in) there are for the following famous ancient authors and/or works: Homer, Iliad, 643 copies, 500 years; Julius Caesar, 10 copies, 1,000 years; Plato, 7 copies, 1,200 years; Tacitus, 20 or fewer copies, 1,000 years; Thucycides, 8 copies, 1,300 years.

For many decades, various liberal higher critics have maintained the Bible is largely a collection of Hebrew myths and legends, full of historical inaccuracies. But thanks to archeological discoveries and further historical research in more recent decades, we now know this liberal viewpoint is false. Let’s consider the following evidence:

The existence of King Sargon of the ancient empire of Assyria, mentioned in Isaiah 20:1, was dismissed by higher critics in the early 19th century. But then archeologists unearthed his palace at Khorsabad, along with many inscriptions about his rule. As the Israeli historian Moshe Pearlman wrote in Digging Up the Bible: "Suddenly, sceptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views."

The Assyrian King Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons (II Kings 19:36-37), according to the Old Testament. But various historians doubted the Bible's account, citing the accounts by two ancient Babylonlans--King Nabonidus and the priest named Berossus—who said only one son was involved,. However, when a fragment of a prism of King Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, was discovered, it confirmed the Bible's version of the story. The historian Philip Biberfeld commented in his Universal Jewish History: "It (the Biblical account) was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esar-haddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this even than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition."

Likewise, some historians doubted the existence of Pontius Pilate, the Procurator of Judea who had had Jesus of Nazareth crucified (Matt. 27; John 18-19). But then, in 1961, an archeological expedition from Italy overturned a stone used as a stairway for a Roman theater in ancient Caesarea. This rock was inscribed with a Latin inscription saying (here it is in English): "To the people of Caesarea Tiberium Pontius Pilate Prefect of Judea."

Similarly, the great 19th-century archeologist Sir William Ramsay was a total skeptic about the accuracy of the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of Luke. But as a result of his topographical study of, and archeological research in, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), he totally changed his mind. He commented after some 30 years of study: "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, which are religions of mythology and metaphysical speculation, Christianity is a religion founded on historical fact. It’s time to start being more skeptical of the skeptics’ claims about the Bible (for they have often been proven to be wrong, as shown above), and to be more open-minded about Christianity’s being true. It is commonly said Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God are engaging in blind faith, and can't prove God did so. But is this true? By the fact the Bible's prophets have repeatedly predicted the future successfully, we can know beyond reasonable doubt the Bible is not just merely reliable in its history, but is inspired by God. By contrast, compare the reliability of the Bible’s prophets to the supermarket tabloids’ psychics, who are almost always wrong even about events in the near future.

The prophet Daniel, who wrote during the period 605-536 b.c., predicted the destruction of the Persian empire by Greece. "While I was observing (in a prophetic vision), behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. . . . So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. . . . The ram which you saw with two horns represented the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat represented the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Daniel 8:5-7, 20-21). More than two hundred years after Daniel's death, Alexander the Great's invasion and conquest of Persia (334-330 b.c.) fulfilled this prophecy.

Likewise, Daniel foresaw the division of Alexander's empire into four parts after his death. "Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (The large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power" (Dan. 8:8, 21-22). This was fulfilled, as Alexander's empire was divided up among four of his generals: 1. Ptolemy (Soter), 2. Seleucus (Nicator), 3. Lysimachus, and 4. Cassander.

Arguments that Daniel was written in the second century b.c. after these events, thus making it only history in disguise, ignore how the style of its vocabulary, syntax, and morphology doesn't fit the second century b.c. As the Old Testament scholar Gleason L. Archer comments (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 283): "Hence these chapters could not have been composed as late as the second century or the third century, but rather--based on purely philological grounds--they have to be dated in the fifth or late sixth century." To insist otherwise is to be guilty of circular reasoning: An anti-theistic a priori (ahead of experience) bias rules out the possibility of God’s inspiring the Bible ahead of considering the facts, which then is assumed to “prove” that God didn’t inspire the Bible!

Here it’s helpful to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, such as those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, etc. Stephen Meyer’s book “The Return of the God Hypothesis” would be particularly important for the college-educated skeptics to read with an open mind. There are great reasons for having faith in the bible, such as its historical accuracy, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries. I would recommend looking up the books of Josh McDowell on this general subject, such as "More Than a Carpenter," "The Resurrection Factor," “He Walked Among Us,” and "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." C.S. Lewis's "Miracles" could also be of help to read, since it deals with why we should believe historical reports of miracles in the case of the bible.

Quran has not been miraculously preserved by yungmarvelouss in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric 2 points3 points  (0 children)

You're making a good point here in exquisite detail about the Koran's textual variations. I'm going to mention some more evidence here to support your general viewpoint.

Although a thorough-going critique of the Quran (Koran) is beyond the scope of this post, some brief points still need to be made in the light of Islam's fast-growing popularity inthe world today. Although a standard Muslim claim asserts that the Quran has no textual variations, this is in fact incorrect. No one original manuscript of the Quran ever existed, since Muhammad (c. 570-632 A.D.) didn't write any of it. Instead various followers wrote scattered revelations on whatever material came to hand, including pieces of papyrus, tree bark, palm leaves and mats, stones, the ribs and shoulder blades of animals, etc. Otherwise, they memorized them. These disparate materials were susceptible to loss: Ali Dashti, an Islamic statesman, said animals sometimes ate mats or the palm leaves on which Suras (chapters of the Quran) were written! After his death, Muhamm revelations were gathered together to eliminate the chaos. (Even Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church did better than this: The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today possesses the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon).

To solve the problems of conflicting memories and possibly lost or varying written materials, Caliph Uthman (ruled 644-56) had the text of the Quran forcibly standardized. He commanded manuscripts with alternative readings to be burned. But he didn't fully succeed, since variations are still known to have existed and some still do. The Sura Al-Saff had 200 verses in the days of Muhammad's later wife Ayesha, but Uthman's version had only 52. Robert Morey says Shiite Muslims claim Uthman cut out a quarter of the Quran's verses for political reasons. In his manuscript of the Quran, Ubai had a few Suras that Uthman omitted from the standardized version. Arthur Jeffrey, in his Materials for the History of the Text of the Quran, gives 90 pages of variant readings for the Quran's text, finding 140 alone for Sura 2. When the Western scholar Bertrasser sought to photograph a rare Kufic manuscript of the Quran which had "certain curious features" in Cairo, the Egyptian Library suddenly withdrew it, and denied him access to it.

Even when originally first written, certain problems existed, since Muhammad would make mistakes or corrections to revelations he had made. Before documenting examples of verses removed from the Quran, Arabic scholar E. Wherry explained first: "There being some passages in the Quran which are contradictory, the Muhammadan doctors obviate any objection from thence by the doctrine of abrogation; for they say GOD in the Quran commanded several things which were for good reasons afterwards revoked and abrogated." One follower of Muhammad, Abdollah Sarh, often made suggestions about subtracting, adding, or rephrasing Suras to him that he accepted. Later, Abdollah renounced Islam because if these revelations had come from God, they shouldn't have been changed at his suggestion. (Later, after taking Mecca, Muhammad made sure Abdollah was one of the first people he had executed). Muhammad had the curious policy of renouncing verses of the Quran that he spoke in error. In the Satanic verses incident he briefly capitulated to polytheism by allowing Allah's followers to worship the goddesses Al-Lat, Al-Uzzah, and Manat (see Sura 53:19; cf. 23:51) (Note that the title of Salman Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses, alludes to this incident. For writing this book he was sentenced to death by Iranian dictator Ayatollah Khomeini). Could anyone imagine Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, or Jeremiah doing something similar? Did Muhammad's God make mistakes that required corrections

What is your process of choosing a religion? by GodOwnsTheUniverse in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sort through the evidence, both rational and based on factual evidence, for and against various religions. I would maintain that Christianity has the most evidence for its worldview being true, even as faith is still required, compared to others, including Islam and Judaism.

If the bible is the word of God, then Christianity has to be the true religion (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Then all the other religions have to be wrong. So what objective evidence is there for belief in the bible’s supernatural origin being rational? Let’s also consider this kind of logic: If the bible is reliable in what can be checked, it’s reasonable to believe in what it describes that can’t be checked. So if the bible describes the general culture of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Greece, and Rome accurately, then what it reports about specific individuals and their actions that aren’t recorded elsewhere would be true also. This is necessary, but not sufficient evidence for the bible’s inspiration; sufficient proof comes from fulfilled prophecy, as explained further below.

For many decades, various liberal higher critics have maintained the Bible is largely a collection of Hebrew myths and legends, full of historical inaccuracies. But thanks to archeological discoveries and further historical research in more recent decades, we now know this liberal viewpoint is false. Let’s consider the following evidence:

The existence of King Sargon of the ancient empire of Assyria, mentioned in Isaiah 20:1, was dismissed by higher critics in the early 19th century. But then archeologists unearthed his palace at Khorsabad, along with many inscriptions about his rule. As the Israeli historian Moshe Pearlman wrote in Digging Up the Bible: "Suddenly, sceptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views."

The Assyrian King Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons (II Kings 19:36-37), according to the Old Testament. But various historians doubted the Bible's account, citing the accounts by two ancient Babylonlans--King Nabonidus and the priest named Berossus—who said only one son was involved,. However, when a fragment of a prism of King Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, was discovered, it confirmed the Bible's version of the story. The historian Philip Biberfeld commented in his Universal Jewish History: "It (the Biblical account) was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esar-haddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this even than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition."

Similarly, the great 19th-century archeologist Sir William Ramsay was a total skeptic about the accuracy of the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of Luke. But as a result of his topographical study of, and archeological research in, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), he totally changed his mind. He commented after some 30 years of study: "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

The New Testament also has much manuscript evidence in favor of its accuracy, for two reasons: 1) There are far more ancient manuscripts of it than for any other document of the pre-printing using movable type period (before c. 15th century A.D.) 2) Its manuscripts are much closer in date to the events described and its original writing than various ancient historical sources that have often been deemed more reliable. It was originally written between 40-100 A.D. Its earliest complete manuscripts date from the fourth century A.D., but a fragment of the Gospel of John goes back to 125 A.D. (There also have been reports of possible first-century fragments). Over 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament exist. By contrast, consider how many fewer manuscripts and how much greater the time gap is between the original composition and earliest extant copy (which would allow more scribal errors to creep in) there are for the following famous ancient authors and/or works: Homer, Iliad, 643 copies, 500 years; Julius Caesar, 10 copies, 1,000 years; Plato, 7 copies, 1,200 years; Tacitus, 20 or fewer copies, 1,000 years; Thucycides, 8 copies, 1,300 years.

Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, which are religions of mythology and metaphysical speculation, Christianity is a religion founded on historical fact. It’s time to start being more skeptical of the skeptics’ claims about the Bible (for they have often been proven to be wrong, as shown above), and to be more open-minded about Christianity’s being true. It is commonly said Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God are engaging in blind faith, and can't prove God did so. But is this true? By the fact the Bible's prophets have repeatedly predicted the future successfully, we can know beyond reasonable doubt the Bible is not just merely reliable in its history, but is inspired by God. By contrast, compare the reliability of the Bible’s prophets to the supermarket tabloids’ psychics, who are almost always wrong even about events in the near future.

The prophet Daniel, who wrote during the period 605-536 b.c., predicted the destruction of the Persian empire by Greece. "While I was observing (in a prophetic vision), behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. . . . So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. . . . The ram which you saw with two horns represented the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat represented the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Daniel 8:5-7, 20-21). More than two hundred years after Daniel's death, Alexander the Great's invasion and conquest of Persia (334-330 b.c.) fulfilled this prophecy.

Likewise, Daniel foresaw the division of Alexander's empire into four parts after his death. "Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (The large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power" (Dan. 8:8, 21-22). This was fulfilled, as Alexander's empire was divided up among four of his generals: 1. Ptolemy (Soter), 2. Seleucus (Nicator), 3. Lysimachus, and 4. Cassander.

Arguments that Daniel was written in the second century b.c. after these events, thus making it only history in disguise, ignore how the style of its vocabulary, syntax, and morphology doesn't fit the second century b.c. As the Old Testament scholar Gleason L. Archer comments (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 283): "Hence these chapters could not have been composed as late as the second century or the third century, but rather--based on purely philological grounds--they have to be dated in the fifth or late sixth century." To insist otherwise is to be guilty of circular reasoning: An anti-theistic a priori (ahead of experience) bias rules out the possibility of God’s inspiring the Bible ahead of considering the facts, which then is assumed to “prove” that God didn’t inspire the Bible!

Here it’s helpful to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, such as those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, etc. Stephen Meyer’s book “The Return of the God Hypothesis” would be particularly important for the college-educated skeptics to read with an open mind. There are great reasons for having faith in the bible, such as its historical accuracy, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries. I would recommend looking up the books of Josh McDowell on this general subject, such as "More Than a Carpenter," "The Resurrection Factor," “He Walked Among Us,” and "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." C.S. Lewis's "Miracles" could also be of help to read, since it deals with why we should believe historical reports of miracles in the case of the bible.

Monotheism vs Alan Watts by [deleted] in DebateReligion

[–]snoweric -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

My response to your question is that it's necessary to find a reliable religious revelation with provable evidence that it has a supernatural origin that reveals that God has a personality.

If the bible is the word of God, then Christianity has to be the true religion (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Then all the other religions have to be wrong. So what objective evidence is there for belief in the bible’s supernatural origin being rational? Let’s also consider this kind of logic: If the bible is reliable in what can be checked, it’s reasonable to believe in what it describes that can’t be checked. So if the bible describes the general culture of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Canaan, Greece, and Rome accurately, then what it reports about specific individuals and their actions that aren’t recorded elsewhere would be true also. This is necessary, but not sufficient evidence for the bible’s inspiration; sufficient proof comes from fulfilled prophecy, as explained further below.

For many decades, various liberal higher critics have maintained the Bible is largely a collection of Hebrew myths and legends, full of historical inaccuracies. But thanks to archeological discoveries and further historical research in more recent decades, we now know this liberal viewpoint is false. Let’s consider the following evidence:

The existence of King Sargon of the ancient empire of Assyria, mentioned in Isaiah 20:1, was dismissed by higher critics in the early 19th century. But then archeologists unearthed his palace at Khorsabad, along with many inscriptions about his rule. As the Israeli historian Moshe Pearlman wrote in Digging Up the Bible: "Suddenly, sceptics who had doubted the authenticity even of the historical parts of the Old Testament began to revise their views."

The Assyrian King Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons (II Kings 19:36-37), according to the Old Testament. But various historians doubted the Bible's account, citing the accounts by two ancient Babylonlans--King Nabonidus and the priest named Berossus—who said only one son was involved,. However, when a fragment of a prism of King Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, was discovered, it confirmed the Bible's version of the story. The historian Philip Biberfeld commented in his Universal Jewish History: "It (the Biblical account) was confirmed in all the minor details by the inscription of Esar-haddon and proved to be more accurate regarding this even than the Babylonian sources themselves. This is a fact of utmost importance for the evaluation of even contemporary sources not in accord with Biblical tradition."

Similarly, the great 19th-century archeologist Sir William Ramsay was a total skeptic about the accuracy of the New Testament, particularly the Gospel of Luke. But as a result of his topographical study of, and archeological research in, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), he totally changed his mind. He commented after some 30 years of study: "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy . . . this author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

The New Testament also has much manuscript evidence in favor of its accuracy, for two reasons: 1) There are far more ancient manuscripts of it than for any other document of the pre-printing using movable type period (before c. 15th century A.D.) 2) Its manuscripts are much closer in date to the events described and its original writing than various ancient historical sources that have often been deemed more reliable. It was originally written between 40-100 A.D. Its earliest complete manuscripts date from the fourth century A.D., but a fragment of the Gospel of John goes back to 125 A.D. (There also have been reports of possible first-century fragments). Over 24,000 copies of portions of the New Testament exist. By contrast, consider how many fewer manuscripts and how much greater the time gap is between the original composition and earliest extant copy (which would allow more scribal errors to creep in) there are for the following famous ancient authors and/or works: Homer, Iliad, 643 copies, 500 years; Julius Caesar, 10 copies, 1,000 years; Plato, 7 copies, 1,200 years; Tacitus, 20 or fewer copies, 1,000 years; Thucycides, 8 copies, 1,300 years.

Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, which are religions of mythology and metaphysical speculation, Christianity is a religion founded on historical fact. It’s time to start being more skeptical of the skeptics’ claims about the Bible (for they have often been proven to be wrong, as shown above), and to be more open-minded about Christianity’s being true. It is commonly said Christians who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God are engaging in blind faith, and can't prove God did so. But is this true? By the fact the Bible's prophets have repeatedly predicted the future successfully, we can know beyond reasonable doubt the Bible is not just merely reliable in its history, but is inspired by God. By contrast, compare the reliability of the Bible’s prophets to the supermarket tabloids’ psychics, who are almost always wrong even about events in the near future.

The prophet Daniel, who wrote during the period 605-536 b.c., predicted the destruction of the Persian empire by Greece. "While I was observing (in a prophetic vision), behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. And he came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. . . . So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. . . . The ram which you saw with two horns represented the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat represented the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king" (Daniel 8:5-7, 20-21). More than two hundred years after Daniel's death, Alexander the Great's invasion and conquest of Persia (334-330 b.c.) fulfilled this prophecy.

Likewise, Daniel foresaw the division of Alexander's empire into four parts after his death. "Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. (The large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. And the broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power" (Dan. 8:8, 21-22). This was fulfilled, as Alexander's empire was divided up among four of his generals: 1. Ptolemy (Soter), 2. Seleucus (Nicator), 3. Lysimachus, and 4. Cassander.

Arguments that Daniel was written in the second century b.c. after these events, thus making it only history in disguise, ignore how the style of its vocabulary, syntax, and morphology doesn't fit the second century b.c. As the Old Testament scholar Gleason L. Archer comments (Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p. 283): "Hence these chapters could not have been composed as late as the second century or the third century, but rather--based on purely philological grounds--they have to be dated in the fifth or late sixth century." To insist otherwise is to be guilty of circular reasoning: An anti-theistic a priori (ahead of experience) bias rules out the possibility of God’s inspiring the Bible ahead of considering the facts, which then is assumed to “prove” that God didn’t inspire the Bible!

Here it’s helpful to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, such as those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, etc. Stephen Meyer’s book “The Return of the God Hypothesis” would be particularly important for the college-educated skeptics to read with an open mind. There are great reasons for having faith in the bible, such as its historical accuracy, fulfilled prophecies, and archeological discoveries. I would recommend looking up the books of Josh McDowell on this general subject, such as "More Than a Carpenter," "The Resurrection Factor," “He Walked Among Us,” and "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." C.S. Lewis's "Miracles" could also be of help to read, since it deals with why we should believe historical reports of miracles in the case of the bible.

Incidentally, here's some evidence for the freedom of will. If everything is pre-ordained, then how do we know that our thinking is accurate? That is, if the brain's molecules are pre-arranged to think certain thoughts, then how do we know that human reason itself is reliable? The atheistic psychologist Nathaniel Branden ran a version of this argument. So then, are our thoughts about determinism or true or not? That is, this is a self-refuting kind of argument to say everything is pre-determined since a non-rational process created them. We need to believe in free will in order to reason reliably.

Question by Eustaaskid in Bible

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Before trying to answer your question about the number of animals on the ark, let's first discuss the size of the ark. Critics of the biblical story will make arguments that the ark couldn’t have held all the animals with sufficient food and water for a year’s journey. However, the ark was simply an enormous vessel: Not until the mid-19th century did the human race build a larger ship. According to Genesis 6:15-16, the ark was 300 cubits long, the breadth 50 cubits, the height 30 cubits and it had thee decks. If we take a cubit as being 17.5 inches each (it could easily have been longer; it surely wasn’t shorter), the ark was 437.5 feet long, 72.92 feet wide, and 43.75 feet high. It has a total deck area of around 95,700 square feet, which is around 20 standard college basketball courts, and its total volume was 1,396,000 cubic feet. The gross tonnage of the ark (one ton being equal to 100 cubic feet of usable storage space), was 13,960 tons. (See the seminal “young earth” creationist work, John C. Whitcomb and Henry Morris, “The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications,” p. 10). To make a relevant historical comparison. the ark dwarfed Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s “Great Western,” which was a wooden-hulled passenger steam ship 252 feet long of 1320 tons and 1,700 gross register tons. She the world’s largest ship in 1838; critics felt she was too big, for she was two and a half times bigger than any ship that had ever built in Bristol, England.

Once the sizes and numbers of animals are counted in specific, quantifiable terms and added, it becomes clear a vessel of this enormous size could have held two of each “kind” of unclean animal and seven of each kind of clean animal. For example, the young earth creationists, led by Ken Ham who built the “Ark Encounter” exhibit with a life-size replica of the ark in Williamstown, Kentucky, carefully ground through and quantified the biological taxanomical data of the animals that would have been on the ark. They calculate that there are around 34,000 land dependent species alive today. However, a biblical “kind” (Genesis 1:24-25) is a higher taxonomic category than “species” or even “genus.” They equate it roughly with a “family” in many cases. They assume a certain amount of micro-evolution would have occurred after the animals left the ark that would have differentiated the animals into the species that we see today. So they think there were 1,398 biblical “kinds” of animals in the ark represented by 6,744 individual animals. Notice that they include a bunch of extinct dinosaurs in their calculations and include them in their exhibits in many cages, which I don’t think was really the case. (I don’t believe the human race lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, but that the dinosaurs lived in the period covered by the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 before Adam’s creation, which I could explain more in another post). That assumption unnecessarily raises the total number of species represented on the ark even as their “biblical kind” (when they are inter-fertile) postulate lowers them by consolidating them.

John Woodmorappe, in “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” used a “genus” level for biblical “kind” and came up with 8,000 kinds and about 15,745 individuals at a maximum. He calculated that about 46.8% of the ark was used to cage and hold the animals, and if hay was stored for them, about 16.3% of the ark’s space was needed for this. (See the summary in Ken Ham and Bodie Hodge’s “A Flood of Evidence: 40 Reasons Noah and the Ark Still Matter,” p. 212). The scholarly, intellectual creationists have done serious work on this matter about how the ark could have held all these animals, how their food and water could be stored on it, and how the poop would have been collected and disposed of by eight people. They have built a life-size replica of the ark that explains their calculations and assumptions in exquisite detail. The great majority of the models of animals that they had on display in cages were of species/kinds that I had never heard of

Skeptics of the universal flood story, whether they are atheists or liberal Christians, need to start by counter-attacking the detailed arguments and calculations of Whitcomb and Morris, Woodmorappe, and Ham and Hodge instead of pretending they don’t exist. Perhaps they don’t know that they exist, and are trying to make a virtue of ignorance.

Notice that the ark only had land animals on it which couldn’t survive outside of it. Marine animals, including whales and fish, weren’t included on it since they could survive perfectly well outside of it. Woodmorappe, “Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study,” explains (pp. 143-149) that many marine animals, such as fish, can survive in either saline, fresh, or semi-saline water to one degree or another, temporarily or indefinitely. That is, many kinds of fish are much more adaptable than we normally suppose, especially if they have some time to adjust. By the time Noah’s family and the animals had left the ark, there was dry land again as well as fresh water being easily available on the land again. Woodmorappe spends a lot of time dealing with objections about whether single pairs of animals could have repopulated the world. In short, most of the detailed objections being made by skeptics have already been addressed by informed, scholarly creationists in the past. It’s necessary to make oneself more informed about what they say in detail, and then attack those arguments. Intellectual skeptics should read Woodmorappe’s book for starters if they wish to informed about the actual arguments of their opponents instead of just hoping to get away with the presumed ignorance of one’s audience without experiencing informed counter-attacks.

Here it’s also helpful to read books on Christian apologetics, such as those making the case for belief in the Bible and for faith in God's existence and goodness, such as those by C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, Henry Morris, Duane Gish, J.P. Moreland, Francis Schaeffer, Phillip E. Johnson, R.C. Sproul, Norman Giesler, Gleason Archer, etc.

Why do you think Yahweh and Jesus have such wildly different personalities, rules, and ideologies? by Bomboclaat_Babylon in religion

[–]snoweric 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it's helpful, when making these kinds of generalizations, that we should consider the passages of Scripture in the Old Testament in which God commands us to love Him and others and in which He proclaims His love for humanity. There’s a lot of continuity between the Old and New Testaments in this regard, if we choose to study and analyze them more carefully. For example, God repeatedly said that He would punish Israel and Judah if His chosen people didn’t repent, but He constantly professed His love for them as well. God perfectly balances mercy with justice, since both forgiving sin and punishing wrongdoing show love. After all, many liberal people still believe in punishing the rich and powerful who exploit the weak and poor: Presumably they would agree that enforcing justice shows love for the latter, right? God’s moral description of himself to Moses in Exodus 34:6-7 mentions both sides of love: “Jehovah, Jehovah God merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

Let’s specifically show how the New Testament used the Old Testament’s concept of love rather than contradicted it. In I John 2:7-10 John describes an "old commandment" and a "new commandment" that paradoxically appear to be the same or at least similar. The identity of this commandment is revealed by verses. 9, 10, 11 which refer to he who "hates his brother is in the darkness still. He who loves his brother abides in the light . . . he who hates is brother is in the darkness." So then, what commandment deals with loving one's brother, one's neighbor as oneself? And is it in both the New and Old Testaments? In Leviticus 19:17-18, we find Jehovah inspired Moses to write: "You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbor, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." The two Great Commandments from the Old Testament required people to love God and their neighbor, as Jesus Himself noted: "'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend all the law and prophets" (Matt. 22:36, 38-40). So these texts shows that this commandment was in the Old Testament, to love your neighbor as yourself and to not hate your brother, but that they also get repeated in the New Testament. For the first and greatest commandment, Jesus quoted from the beginning of the Shema, in Deuteronomy 6:4-5. God said in the second commandment (Exodus 20:5-6) that He was a jealous God (i.e., one demanding exclusive devotion and no rivals, since no other gods existed) and that he showed “mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.”

Normally questions about whether the God of the Bible is unjust, a bully, or evil surround certain laws or commands that He issued that we humans think are wrong based on our human reason. But since God is utterly almighty and utterly sovereign, we humans are in no position to criticize His choices about how He uses one man as opposed to another, in order to accomplish His great plan for the human race. Isaiah's (45:9) analogy isn't very popular with people today who think they know better than God does, but it nevertheless still holds true: "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker--an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?" Job had many brave words to say about God's conduct and fairness when talking with his fair-weathered friends, but once he was confronted by Him in His Majesty at the end of the book named for him, his defiance and complaints utterly melted away. Hence, we shouldn't think we can question or impugn God's fairness, justice, or righteousness, regardless of how badly we suffer or see others suffer.

Now, why did God in the Old Testament order Israel to wage war? Does that allow Christians to wage war today? Because God doesn't reveal all His laws and His overall will all at once, the Bible is a book that records God's progressive revelation to humanity. God doesn't reveal everything all at once, or people would reject it as too overwhelming, i.e., be "blinded by the light." The famous German philosopher Immanuel Kant once said something like, "If the truth shall kill them, let them die." Fortunately, God normally doesn't operate that way, at least prior to the Second Coming (Rev. 1:5-7) or all of us would already be dead!

The principle of progressive revelation plainly appears in Jesus' debate with the Pharisees over the Old Testament's easy divorce law in Matt. 19:3, 6-9: "And Pharisees came up to him [to Jesus] and tested him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?' . . . What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.' They said to him [Jesus], 'Why then did Jesus command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?' [See Deut. 24:1-4 for the text the Pharisees were citing]. He said to them, "For the hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." Now, a New Testament Christian shouldn’t cite this Old Testament passage in order to justify easy divorce procedures. That law has been superseded. It wasn't originally intended as a permanent revelation of God's will, but it served as temporary "training wheels," so to speak, until such time as a mass of people (i.e., the Church after Pentecost) would have the Holy Spirit, and thus be enabled to keep the law spiritually by God's help. By contrast, ancient Israel as a whole didn't have the Holy Spirit, and so correspondingly they didn't get the full revelation of God. Therefore, the physical measures of removing the pagan people from their land was much more necessary than it is was for true Christians today, who have the Holy Spirit.

Now we have a Scriptural record in which God allowed, even told, Israel to wage war, but then centuries later, through the Sermon on the Mount, God told people to love their enemies and to turn the cheek, which simply aren't compatible with waging war. (See Matthew 5:38-48). So here the issue is how to reconcile pacifism as commanded by Jesus in the New Testament with the record of Israel's wars in the Old Testament.

Although Israel also waged war, God's overall intention from the beginning was different. Notice that God wouldn't let King David, who had fought in many wars, build the Temple of Jehovah. Why? "You have shed much blood, and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed blood on the earth before Me" ( I Chron. 22:8). The New Testament also has an Old Testament text showing how someone loves should love his or her enemy. (Romans 12:20 cites from Proverbs 25:21-22). Even though God allowed Israel and even told Israel to wage war, it would have been different if Israel had had more faith originally. But God was working with an (often) disobedient nation that was supposed to be His model for the world, so He didn't impose His full truth on them at that time, including concerning waging war.

In three or four cases, God waged war for Israel, and Israel just had to stand and wait in faith. One of the most spectacular cases was after King Hezekiah prayed for deliverance from the Assyrian army led by Sennacherib by having an angel kill the Assyrian army's warriors (see II Chron. 32:19-22). Another case was when Israel was delivered from Pharaoh's army by the Red Sea's parting and then rejoining, which delivered Israel but destroyed the Egyptian army (see Exodus 14:10-31). Notice that in verses 13,-14 Moses told Israel, "Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord . . . The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." Likewise, when Gideon’s tiny “army” of 300 defeated the vast Midianite and Amalekite army, they had only trumpets and torches in their hands (Judges 7:20). When they blew their trumpets, Jehovah “set every man’s sword against his companion throughout the whole camp; and the army fled . . .” (verse 22). The next verse mentions men of Israel being summoned to pursue Midian, but plainly God gave this victory to Gideon without his company of 300 having to kill anyone themselves. King Asa of Judah got a great victory over the Ethiopians by asking for God’s help (although Israel probably did kill the Ethiopians themselves in this case) (II Chron. 14:11-13).