a big doubt

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a big doubt

#1 Post by mordred » 07 Jan 2011 13:11

all blind guardian members are christian or only hansi?

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Re: a big doubt

#2 Post by Andreas » 07 Jan 2011 14:09

I've read that Marcus was raised roman catholic, but isn't religious. He does believe Jesus existed.

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Re: a big doubt

#3 Post by The Rider Of Rohan » 08 Jan 2011 11:38

BG is a Christian band.

We learned to live with it.
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Re: a big doubt

#4 Post by mordred » 08 Jan 2011 15:21

thanks

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Re: a big doubt

#5 Post by Metal Fan » 31 Jan 2011 23:39

The Rider Of Rohan wrote:BG is a Christian band.

We learned to live with it.
Seriously? What sarcasm is this?
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Re: a big doubt

#6 Post by Desert_Storm » 01 Feb 2011 00:24

Metal Fan wrote:
The Rider Of Rohan wrote:BG is a Christian band.

We learned to live with it.
Seriously? What sarcasm is this?
fail
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Re: a big doubt

#7 Post by t.a.j. » 01 Feb 2011 01:15

Metal Fan wrote:
The Rider Of Rohan wrote:BG is a Christian band.

We learned to live with it.
Seriously? What sarcasm is this?
It could be two things.
1. Since Christianity is such a horrible abomination, opposed to all reason and morality that furthers only pain and suffering and makes man worse for knowing about it, it could mean that those people can still make great music.
2. It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all.

Your pick. I'd go with 1.
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Re: a big doubt

#8 Post by Joost » 04 Feb 2011 16:13

Hm... I'd say that's a bridge too far and then some. The claim that Christianity is "opposed to all reason and morality" sounds utterly false and ridiculous to me.
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Re: a big doubt

#9 Post by Led Guardian » 04 Feb 2011 23:13

Joost wrote:Hm... I'd say that's a bridge too far and then some. The claim that Christianity is "opposed to all reason and morality" sounds utterly false and ridiculous to me.
Dogmatic, one might say. A trait more accurately defined as opposed to all reason and morality.
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Re: a big doubt

#10 Post by t.a.j. » 05 Feb 2011 12:08

Bah! I am not required to constantly, even in obviously non-serious conversations, only make justifiable and well measured comments. From time to time it is perfectly fine to sprout of over the top polemics, if they at least have some basis in fact or are suitably sarcastic. In other words: when I'm not doing philosophy, I am allowed to simplify and exaggerate, too. In particular in response to what was obviously either confused or a joke.
And I have said a hundred times, that most christians are just normal people with crosses on. But the bible remains horrible and apprehensive and the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about.
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Re: a big doubt

#11 Post by The Rider Of Rohan » 05 Feb 2011 16:42

2. It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all.
That's a strange remark. Christianity is about accepting Lord Jesus Christ as the messiah, not necessarily about obedience.
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Re: a big doubt

#12 Post by t.a.j. » 05 Feb 2011 20:23

The Rider Of Rohan wrote:
2. It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all.
That's a strange remark. Christianity is about accepting Lord Jesus Christ as the messiah, not necessarily about obedience.
Scepticism is not really compatible with accepting or even with believing.
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Re: a big doubt

#13 Post by Desert_Storm » 06 Feb 2011 21:16

t.a.j. wrote:
The Rider Of Rohan wrote:
2. It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all.
That's a strange remark. Christianity is about accepting Lord Jesus Christ as the messiah, not necessarily about obedience.
Scepticism is not really compatible with accepting or even with believing.
... so you basically shouldn't trust any authority whatsoever and only believe in whatever information you can get by yourself, doubting any book, teacher, friend, witness, because they could be lying deliberately, be untrustworthy or deceived by someone else? Or is that not what one calls believing? Kind of reminds me of some people who believe in the tunnel that goes through the hollow earth with exits on north and south pole, because every report and picture could be faked for some reason, and we haven't been there ourselves to see how it "really" is.
t.a.j. wrote: And I have said a hundred times, that most christians are just normal people with crosses on. But the bible remains horrible and apprehensive and the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about.
Funny. Most christians that I know who aren't "just people with crosses on" but actually have a look into their bible or go to service every once in a while are actually good people, or trying to be, or certainly not worse than the average atheist/agnostic/muslim/whatever that I meet on the streets, to put it this way. Probably most surprising to you, they behave quite rational in most every-day situations and sometimes even have jobs that involve some logical thinking.
It's also impressive that most christian teachers and writers over the time actually emphasize the do-good-deeds stuff when they're telling people how to live, and encourage you to be nice to your neighbour of a different religion, rather than to burn his house.
Luckily we have good people around who can correct them, and I'm sure people from Thomas of Aquin to C.S. Lewis would greatly profit from a lecture of some well-informed atheist who can tell them that they really got it all wrong and that Christianity really is about slaughtering people rather then giving them food.
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Re: a big doubt

#14 Post by t.a.j. » 07 Feb 2011 18:43

Desert_Storm wrote:
t.a.j. wrote: Scepticism is not really compatible with accepting or even with believing.
... so you basically shouldn't trust any authority whatsoever and only believe in whatever information you can get by yourself, doubting any book, teacher, friend, witness, because they could be lying deliberately, be untrustworthy or deceived by someone else? Or is that not what one calls believing? Kind of reminds me of some people who believe in the tunnel that goes through the hollow earth with exits on north and south pole, because every report and picture could be faked for some reason, and we haven't been there ourselves to see how it "really" is.
I didn't say anything like that. What I said was: If I am sceptical about x, I don't believe in x, that is, I do not take x to be true, that is, I do not accept x as truth. If I do any of those things, whatever else may be the case, I am not sceptical about x.
On the other hand, I can be sceptical about x and still, find x nice, beautiful, morally educational, impressive or even likely.
t.a.j. wrote: And I have said a hundred times, that most christians are just normal people with crosses on. But the bible remains horrible and apprehensive and the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about.
Funny. Most christians that I know who aren't "just people with crosses on" but actually have a look into their bible or go to service every once in a while are actually good people, or trying to be, or certainly not worse than the average atheist/agnostic/muslim/whatever that I meet on the streets, to put it this way. Probably most surprising to you, they behave quite rational in most every-day situations and sometimes even have jobs that involve some logical thinking.
Not at all. I explicitly said that most christians are normal people. What I would be willing to say is that being a good person and being a Christian involves some creative doublethink. To make a very short point: Being a good person includes, in my book at least, to not believe that it can be just, under any circumstances, to punish someone even moderately severely for merely not believing something. Much less to deny them eternal life, if that is what is being handed out to believers.
Such an arrangement is profoundly unjust.
It's also impressive that most christian teachers and writers over the time actually emphasize the do-good-deeds stuff when they're telling people how to live, and encourage you to be nice to your neighbour of a different religion, rather than to burn his house.
True, though not impressive. Also, one might consider that for any rational Christian, conversion by any means should be the highest gift they can provide to anyone. After all, the reward is eternal life and joy, and against such an infinite reward, no finite cost amounts to anything at all. So Christians who just help others in mundane, earthly ways are again involved in some creative doublethink.
Luckily we have good people around who can correct them, and I'm sure people from Thomas of Aquin to C.S. Lewis would greatly profit from a lecture of some well-informed atheist who can tell them that they really got it all wrong and that Christianity really is about slaughtering people rather then giving them food.
For one thing, name dropping is not going to get you anywhere with me. I am reasonably certain that I know more of Aquinas' writing than you do.
For another, there is a lot more slaughtering people than giving people food in the bible.
And finally. There is no such thing as Christianity except as a vast disjunctive mess. And I would recommend not using the term in the singular definitive except when trying to be polemic or joking.
There were and are very many different, incompatible ideas, ways of lives and communities under the name of Christianity. Many more than I know about. And some have been very pacifistic and others have been murderous death cults.
I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
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Re: a big doubt

#15 Post by Desert_Storm » 07 Feb 2011 20:08

t.a.j. wrote:Being a good person includes, in my book at least, to not believe that it can be just, under any circumstances, to punish someone even moderately severely for merely not believing something.
I read some people whose opinion was that seperation/hell/whatever is less a punishment and more a logical consequence, like the man "not believing" in gravity and thus falling from the roof when trying to walk over thin air is "punished" for his disbelieve when hitting the concrete ;)
That is of course not to be taken at face-value as an argument, just something that comes to my mind when I hear what some theologians write about it that I'm not sure I completely understand.
It's also difficult to discuss such a problem among a group of people with different standpoints. A theist who thinks to have good evidence for believing in a god that is good in a way that humans can comprehend will look what's in the book and search for ways to explain behavior that seems to be evil because he already believes that there is a good god for other reasons. To an agnostic with no such believe, every argument of the theist will be invalid, because it is grounded on the thesis that there actually is a god, which the agnostic doesn't share.
For one thing, name dropping is not going to get you anywhere with me.
I'm not trying to.
I am reasonably certain that I know more of Aquinas' writing than you do.
I hope so ;) I understand that you're in philosophy, I'm in music, there would be something wrong if you didn't ;)
But anyway, I don't see how this is related.
I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
Principally , well, but the problem is that there is so much stuff written in the bible that one can say everything he likes and back it up with some bible passage(s), and do the same with the exact opposite. So maybe it's not all bad to look at what some teachers, apologists and preachers have taken as the "essence" of it. Therefor, I used the term "Christianity" in the sentence above, since there's some dogmas that are shared through (nearly) all churches, luckily not those from the guy in America who wants creationism taught in school, the one in Africa who want's homosexuals banned from community or the one in Europe who thinks using condoms should be forbidden.
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Re: a big doubt

#16 Post by t.a.j. » 07 Feb 2011 23:02

Desert_Storm wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:Being a good person includes, in my book at least, to not believe that it can be just, under any circumstances, to punish someone even moderately severely for merely not believing something.
I read some people whose opinion was that seperation/hell/whatever is less a punishment and more a logical consequence, like the man "not believing" in gravity and thus falling from the roof when trying to walk over thin air is "punished" for his disbelieve when hitting the concrete ;)
That is of course not to be taken at face-value as an argument, just something that comes to my mind when I hear what some theologians write about it that I'm not sure I completely understand.
Here is the problem: Gravity is not a person. Nor is it said of gravity, that it is absolute moral goodness. No one in their right mind expects gravity to be just or merciful. No one in their right mind would literally say that gravity acts. Yet all of these things are claimed of the christian god. He could have made man incapable of sin. He could have made a world without punishment. He could have chosen to just forgive everyone. He could have chosen to treat people according to whether or not they tried to live their lives as ethical as they could, according to what seemed, after careful reflection and consideration, good standards. And what more can ask of someone?`Instead he chose to hand out infinite rewards based on subscription to an arbitrarily available and unreasonable doctrine.
Gravity, on the other hand, could not have decided to not let the boiling water from the water cooker, that missed the tea pot, fall onto my foot.
It's also difficult to discuss such a problem among a group of people with different standpoints. A theist who thinks to have good evidence for believing in a god that is good in a way that humans can comprehend will look what's in the book and search for ways to explain behavior that seems to be evil because he already believes that there is a good god for other reasons. To an agnostic with no such believe, every argument of the theist will be invalid, because it is grounded on the thesis that there actually is a god, which the agnostic doesn't share.
It is simply a matter of consistency. Similarly it could be said that if I start believing in a good Hitler, then learn about the Holocaust I am left with four options:
1. Explain the Holocaust away (e.g. by saying that it was for the greater good)
2. Deny the Holocaust.
3. Say that the Holocaust was in fact a good thing.
4. Accept that if Hitler brought about the Holocaust, he was not good.

The same way most of us would react to anything but 4. I react to Christian attempts to avoid accepting that the god character from the bible is a pretty evil bastard.
Or to put it differently: If your point of view includes that consistency is utterly redundant, then what business do have discussing anything anyhow? According to your point of view, you can happily believe any combination of anything.
For one thing, name dropping is not going to get you anywhere with me.
I'm not trying to.
I am reasonably certain that I know more of Aquinas' writing than you do.
I hope so ;) I understand that you're in philosophy, I'm in music, there would be something wrong if you didn't ;)
But anyway, I don't see how this is related.
I'm sorry if I came off arrogant or snippish there. I just really dislike the "argument" that one should not disagree with famous people. The set of famous people contains couples that heartily disagreed with each other.
I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
Principally , well, but the problem is that there is so much stuff written in the bible that one can say everything he likes and back it up with some bible passage(s), and do the same with the exact opposite.
I have already made my point about consistency.
So maybe it's not all bad to look at what some teachers, apologists and preachers have taken as the "essence" of it. Therefor, I used the term "Christianity" in the sentence above, since there's some dogmas that are shared through (nearly) all churches, luckily not those from the guy in America who wants creationism taught in school, the one in Africa who want's homosexuals banned from community or the one in Europe who thinks using condoms should be forbidden.
Those people also don't want to love their enemies or teach people how to fish. And even a majority opinion has as little weight as the opinion of a famous person. It is in the end a matter of argument and evidence.
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Re: a big doubt

#17 Post by Desert_Storm » 08 Feb 2011 20:08

t.a.j. wrote: Here is the problem: Gravity is not a person. Nor is it said of gravity, that it is absolute moral goodness. No one in their right mind expects gravity to be just or merciful. No one in their right mind would literally say that gravity acts. Yet all of these things are claimed of the christian god.
Well you got my analogy wrong here (or rather I formulated it in an unclear way in the first place, now that I read it again). I meant rather that any form of theist would see gravity as a set of rules installed by a creator. It has various affects and sometimes allows us to do things we couldn't do if it wasn't there and it prevents us from doing other things, depending on the situation it has negative or positive effects for us.
What I'm trying to say is that a heaven/hell separation might be just the ultimate consequence of some other law, rather than some kind of punishment.
Or that's at least how some theologians I read painted the picture, both in some older and some more recent books and apparently something like this can be deducted from the bible. And here's my problem with the bible again, one would certainly find passages to back it up, and also some that say something completely different.
Now that gravity analogy was my own and meant more as a joke in my post before, so if we get into it, it probably will fall apart quite soon. It one aspect it's not too far off, though: Many believe systems, including but not limited to the "big 3" Monotheistic ones picture the status of mankind like a free fall. If that was the case, we would certainly need something to catch us, like we would when falling from the building. And as far as I know, the main point of Christianity is that it offers something like this.
Could such a rule be different? Who knows...
He could have made man incapable of sin. He could have made a world without punishment. He could have chosen to just forgive everyone.
Could he? Who knows... but would man incapable of sin really be man? Could we call a God "just" if there was no punishment? (We certainly wouldn't do that with our government) Could he just forgive everyone, without being completely inconsequential, abandoning rules that are bound to have some sense if god is god? Now someone will probably have no problem to answer all this questions with a "if he's omnipotent, he can", but nothing that is contradictory in itself comes under the omnipotence of god (I think that was Aquin, and I think I translated it wrong ;) )
It is simply a matter of consistency. Similarly it could be said that if I start believing in a good Hitler, then learn about the Holocaust I am left with four options:
1. Explain the Holocaust away (e.g. by saying that it was for the greater good)
2. Deny the Holocaust.
3. Say that the Holocaust was in fact a good thing.
4. Accept that if Hitler brought about the Holocaust, he was not good.
The same way most of us would react to anything but 4. I react to Christian attempts to avoid accepting that the god character from the bible is a pretty evil bastard.
Or to put it differently: If your point of view includes that consistency is utterly redundant, then what business do have discussing anything anyhow? According to your point of view, you can happily believe any combination of anything.
You got me wrong here again (and to think that I would make the effort to write this posts with the standpoint that consistency is "utterly redundant" seems a little mean to me).

The point is, for many people, there are some good reasons to believe "in some kind of god" (-> neverending discussion if atheism is the only possible belief-system for smart people, one of some possibilities or complete nonsense). Many people that start out with that point of view will sooner or later become monotheists (without having to choose a religion) because pantheism is quite weird from a "philosophical" (or maybe just "down-to-earth") point of view (-> discussion if that is really the case), polytheism can more or less be reduced to dualism without "sacrificing" too many implications of it (-> discussion if there are many different implications when we have three "gods" instead of two) and, for me, monotheism makes way more sense than dualism, since if both Ahura Masdah and Ahriman find themselves in the situation and space that neither of them has chosen or made, how can they be the "last entity"? If both are equally mighty, and no-one "higher" than them, we couldn't really call one "good" and the other "evil", since there's no yardstick with which we could measure their moral quality, and evil is always a "perversion" of good and not equal. (->Discussion if this is the case).

That's a very small very brief and very incomplete example of why somebody could end up believing in some kind of god, just because of reasoning and thinking and without looking at moral stuff. Without going into any religion, deism as a philosophical concept isn't that absurd, to say the least. Now if there's a god that made man, man can't really have moral standards, conceptions of good and evil that are very different from their creator (without being wrong).
Someone like that will of course try to reconcile a good god with actions of him that seem evil, and to some point maybe accept if he can't.

One more thought on this, you didn't mention a fifth option, that would be something like "if Hitler brought about the Holocaust, he didn't exist", because sometimes that seems to be just like what some Atheists are doing when some believers of any religion tell them they have this and that reason for believing that there is a god. The response is often something like "If there was a god, he would be evil", and somehow they conclude that "therefor there is no god". My problem with that is, that if you assume a god who created man, it would be difficult for man to somehow come up with a moral system superior to the one who created man and thus is the author of his/her ability to reason, or to get hold of an existing moral system that some other source "invented", when this source again was initiated by the same god. The other thing would be to look at the christian god as some kind of evil demon instead of as the creator of everything. Of course you could do that, but just because we think something he did/does is evil doesn't make him less likely to exist.
I'm sorry if I came off arrogant or snippish there. I just really dislike the "argument" that one should not disagree with famous people.
No offense taken :) Of course I consider that argument to be nonsense, too, my initial reason for dropping names was that apparently some people were able to not only believe in, but also take some good stuff out of the all-evil bible ;)

I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
Principally , well, but the problem is that there is so much stuff written in the bible that one can say everything he likes and back it up with some bible passage(s), and do the same with the exact opposite.
I have already made my point about consistency.
Yeah, but I'm not sure if you got me right, I think it takes some knowledge of the bible to see what it says to a topic X. Some stuff is very vague and can only be understood if you back it up with passages about a similar topic. Other passages again give a general rule for something, and some hundred years later another guy in another country adds some boundaries or exceptions to it. And even with that, there's still much room left for different interpretations, especially when considering other documents of a similar style and date that weren't included in that collection for reasons that are obscure to you and me (or only me, at least ;), so I seek for some kind of concensus when something is unclear. There is a reason why in every study bible of a theology student there's a page of comments, interpretations and cross references for every verse, and since stuff like that is the case too in some editions of Plato dialogues that I had a glimpse in, I don't see the problem. Some things are just quite difficult to understand when one isn't familiar with the settings of time and place were a text was written.

A closing thought for now: The universe has always presented itself cruel and unjust to mankind. Are people really that funky that they look at that and deduce a just and loving god from it without having any other reason? That seems a little hard to believe in for me.
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Re: a big doubt

#18 Post by faery » 08 Feb 2011 23:57

Uhm, Tex, Godwin?

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Re: a big doubt

#19 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 00:41

@faery:
Certainly.
But isn't it obvious to compare Jehova with Hitler? I mean they're practically the same. ;)
Furthermore, I invoke Quirk's Exception.
Last edited by t.a.j. on 09 Feb 2011 00:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: a big doubt

#20 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 00:43

This post went wrong.
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Re: a big doubt

#21 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 01:50

Desert_Storm wrote: Well you got my analogy wrong here (or rather I formulated it in an unclear way in the first place, now that I read it again). I meant rather that any form of theist would see gravity as a set of rules installed by a creator. It has various affects and sometimes allows us to do things we couldn't do if it wasn't there and it prevents us from doing other things, depending on the situation it has negative or positive effects for us.
What I'm trying to say is that a heaven/hell separation might be just the ultimate consequence of some other law, rather than some kind of punishment.
Or that's at least how some theologians I read painted the picture, both in some older and some more recent books and apparently something like this can be deducted from the bible. And here's my problem with the bible again, one would certainly find passages to back it up, and also some that say something completely different.
Now that gravity analogy was my own and meant more as a joke in my post before, so if we get into it, it probably will fall apart quite soon. It one aspect it's not too far off, though: Many believe systems, including but not limited to the "big 3" Monotheistic ones picture the status of mankind like a free fall. If that was the case, we would certainly need something to catch us, like we would when falling from the building. And as far as I know, the main point of Christianity is that it offers something like this.
Could such a rule be different? Who knows...
Is there any logical necessity, to condemn the unbelievers? I mean, it's not Hitler we're talking about. It's G to the O to the D, the fucking Allmighty , the maker and sustainer of all and then some! And you tell me he couldn't have just decided to treat people according to their moral merit or whether or not they were nice to be around?
It's a tool to facilitate the othering and exclusion of non-believers, queer odd people and anyone unable or unwilling to say "Jesus is my saviour".
Whatever else that is, it is not moral perfection. It is not even close.
He could have made man incapable of sin. He could have made a world without punishment. He could have chosen to just forgive everyone.
Could he? Who knows... but would man incapable of sin really be man? Could we call a God "just" if there was no punishment? (We certainly wouldn't do that with our government) Could he just forgive everyone, without being completely inconsequential, abandoning rules that are bound to have some sense if god is god? Now someone will probably have no problem to answer all this questions with a "if he's omnipotent, he can", but nothing that is contradictory in itself comes under the omnipotence of god (I think that was Aquin, and I think I translated it wrong ;) )
It is indeed a common move in theistic philosophy to restrict omnipotence to the power to bring about any logically possible state of affairs. Some, including me, find it necessary to further restrict it to the power to bring about any logically possible state compatible with the past as it is. But that is slightly beside the point. Since God is said to have created the world, the whole past matter doesn't apply here. Now is it logically impossible that man could be incapable of sin? Certainly. As it is, man is de facto incapable of sin, for there is no such thing as sin. So at least it is also possible to have man, in his full capacity to decide and experience, and yet not have sin to condemn him with. Cearly having a world without punishment is logically possible, too. And so is salvation for everyone.
Hitler, blah.
You got me wrong here again (and to think that I would make the effort to write this posts with the standpoint that consistency is "utterly redundant" seems a little mean to me).
I did not mean to suggest you held that point of view. No offence meant. But some people at least profess to do so.
The point is, for many people, there are some good reasons to believe "in some kind of god"
"Some kind of god" means pretty much nothing or anything. I'm not talking about "some kind of god", I'm talking about the character from the Bible under that name.
neverending discussion if atheism is the only possible belief-system for smart people, one of some possibilities or complete nonsense
Atheism, properly understood, or rather, the way I understand it, is not a belief-system. Atheism is simply the denial, supported by arguments both a priori and empirical, of the existence of the theistic god. This can be generalized that for any god, there can be an atheism, denying that that god exists. Vishnu atheism, Zeus atheism, Ahora Mazda atheism, Quetzalcoatl atheism, Jehova atheism, Jesus atheism, Allah atheism.
I would say that for most of those gods, for most people, x-atheism is the default position. Christians are Zeus atheists, Vishnu atheists,...
And that didn't even mention the burden of proof...
Many people that start out with that point of view will sooner or later become monotheists (without having to choose a religion) because pantheism is quite weird from a "philosophical" (or maybe just "down-to-earth") point of view , polytheism can more or less be reduced to dualism without "sacrificing" too many implications of it and, for me, monotheism makes way more sense than dualism, since if both Ahura Masdah and Ahriman find themselves in the situation and space that neither of them has chosen or made, how can they be the "last entity"? If both are equally mighty, and no-one "higher" than them, we couldn't really call one "good" and the other "evil", since there's no yardstick with which we could measure their moral quality, and evil is always a "perversion" of good and not equal.
I seriously disagree with pantheism being particularly weird. It might be, if what you are after is a personal, anthropomorphic god but the mere notion of considering the world, as it were, as ultimate and sacred in itself is rather consistent. Much more consistent than any theistic conception I've ever seen. Similarly, polytheism, precisely by avoiding the highly problematic concept of the "last entity" manages to be at least possibly consistent and thus seems much more plausible to me sans empirical evidence that Thor does not the thunder make.
Finally, since there is no last entity or final god and we still manage to measure moral quality quite well - and would be worse at it, if we were bible believers - it at the very least seems to make very little difference to our moral practice whether or not god or gods exist. Just imagine, if you believe in god, a world exactly like ours, except that there is no god. The same people, the same actions, the same world except for that one difference. Possible? Certainly. But if we can imagine that, then our practice seems uninfluenced by whether or not there actually is a god. It seems merely influenced by out believes about the matter.
Also, that evil is always a perversion of good is already a prejudice, a particularly monotheistic one at that, originating in the attempt to reconcile the apparent evil in the world with the complete goodness of its creator. It need be like this. To make both good and evil active and distinct forces is not any more implausible than the deprivation theory. It seems in fact that most people intuitively see good and evil in those terms.
That's a very small very brief and very incomplete example of why somebody could end up believing in some kind of god, just because of reasoning and thinking and without looking at moral stuff. Without going into any religion, deism as a philosophical concept isn't that absurd, to say the least. Now if there's a god that made man, man can't really have moral standards, conceptions of good and evil that are very different from their creator (without being wrong).
Someone like that will of course try to reconcile a good god with actions of him that seem evil, and to some point maybe accept if he can't.
I do not understand your meaning.
But I think indeed that deism avoids a lot of the problems theism is plagued by, it possibly does retain others, though. Since the doctrine of selective salvation (coupled with a doctrine of predestination) is easily compatible with deism, it does not, by itself, solve the greatest moral criticism of bible christianity.
One more thought on this, you didn't mention a fifth option, that would be something like "if Hitler brought about the Holocaust, he didn't exist", because sometimes that seems to be just like what some Atheists are doing when some believers of any religion tell them they have this and that reason for believing that there is a god. The response is often something like "If there was a god, he would be evil", and somehow they conclude that "therefor there is no god". My problem with that is, that if you assume a god who created man, it would be difficult for man to somehow come up with a moral system superior to the one who created man and thus is the author of his/her ability to reason, or to get hold of an existing moral system that some other source "invented", when this source again was initiated by the same god. The other thing would be to look at the christian god as some kind of evil demon instead of as the creator of everything. Of course you could do that, but just because we think something he did/does is evil doesn't make him less likely to exist.
The terms "good" and "evil" are human terms. They are entirely determined in their use and meaning, by our habits of language and our practice of moral judgement. If Paul the Prophet now says:
"God is good!", then he better well use "good" in the way we understand it. Else, he is talking non sense.
But if he means by good what we usually mean by good, than we can understand what he says. And if Paul also says: "God killed all men, women, children and all the animals except for a few and most fishes." and we understand being good to imply that one does not commit such crass genocide, then we can say unto Paul: "Dude, you're whack."
Or to put it simply: Either saying that god is good has no meaning or we can judge gods behaviour by our standards without any in principle difficulty.

Yeah, but I'm not sure if you got me right, I think it takes some knowledge of the bible to see what it says to a topic X. Some stuff is very vague and can only be understood if you back it up with passages about a similar topic. Other passages again give a general rule for something, and some hundred years later another guy in another country adds some boundaries or exceptions to it. And even with that, there's still much room left for different interpretations, especially when considering other documents of a similar style and date that weren't included in that collection for reasons that are obscure to you and me (or only me, at least ;), so I seek for some kind of concensus when something is unclear. There is a reason why in every study bible of a theology student there's a page of comments, interpretations and cross references for every verse, and since stuff like that is the case too in some editions of Plato dialogues that I had a glimpse in, I don't see the problem. Some things are just quite difficult to understand when one isn't familiar with the settings of time and place were a text was written.
Well, there is the whole word of god thing which kind of gets doubtful if one considers all the philological understanding of the bible as a text and document, that the last 200 years have blessed us with. ;)
I agree that the bible is sometimes vague, often cryptic and weird. It sometimes seems completely insane to me. But I am not discussing the finer points of bible exegetics or difficult interpretations. I'm talking about very clear content like the flood and the genocide, mass rape and enslavement of the Canaanites, the damnation of unbelievers and selective salvation. Things almost every Christian ever has taken in a similar and very literal way.
A closing thought for now: The universe has always presented itself cruel and unjust to mankind. Are people really that funky that they look at that and deduce a just and loving god from it without having any other reason? That seems a little hard to believe in for me.
Of course they don't. The loving god comes pretty late in cultural development. Originally gods seemed to have served to structure a discourse that managed division of labour and socio-economic stratification. They mostly seem to have been closely associated with rulers of one kind or another. Think of Mesopotamian gods conceived as "owning" particular cities or the close association of the Pharaoh with the god Horus. These political gods already also served in discourses of inclusion and exclusion, but not in the sense of believing in one god or another, but by participating in rituals and being included in the domain of a god as it were. In fact, only Christianity focusses on the whole believe thing. Even Judaism is more of a ritualistic religion, that cares for the proper enactment of rites. Islam has the whole idea of submission instead of faith, as Christians understand it.
Even the old Jehova begins as a tribal god among others, cruel, jealous and mean and only over time is transformed into something grander than that, into a truly monotheistic notion.
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Re: a big doubt

#22 Post by Desert_Storm » 09 Feb 2011 02:07

t.a.j. wrote: But isn't it obvious to compare Jehova with Hitler? I mean they're practically the same. ;)
Yeah... about that... Without being a guy who pays too much heed to political correctness normally, isn't calling 2.3 billions of Christians and 13.5 millions of Jews (now living, not to speak of the dead who shared one of those religions) "practically the same" as Nazis taking it a little too far, as to justify it with a ";)" ? Without even getting into what the Nazis did to the Jews, that you now practically equate when equating their "leaders"?

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Re: a big doubt

#23 Post by Palantyre » 09 Feb 2011 05:28

Holy wall of text, Batman.
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Re: a big doubt

#24 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 07:35

Desert_Storm wrote:
t.a.j. wrote: But isn't it obvious to compare Jehova with Hitler? I mean they're practically the same. ;)
Yeah... about that... Without being a guy who pays too much heed to political correctness normally, isn't calling 2.3 billions of Christians and 13.5 millions of Jews (now living, not to speak of the dead who shared one of those religions) "practically the same" as Nazis taking it a little too far, as to justify it with a ";)" ? Without even getting into what the Nazis did to the Jews, that you now practically equate when equating their "leaders"?
Nah, I said Hitler and Jehova, that funky genocidal overlord from the Old Testament, were practically the same. Whereby I intended to use humour and offensive, if slightly clichéd nazi comparisonism to allude to the notion, that Jehova is said, in that Booke of Bookes to have killed so many for so little, ordered such cruelties and inhumanities done without rhyme or reason that any morally rational contemporary, that shares even only the most basic of the moral ideas that a post WW2 western society carries upon its flag should find him utterly repugnant and indeed level a moral judgement against him, that is no lighter than the one he levels against that icon of genocide, Adolf Hitler, who btw. is also regarded as a god in certain circles. Circles, who, ironically enough also deny that there he did anything wrong.
What I didn't do is say that the Christians and Jews were the same as the Nazis. I said before about Christians in particular, that they tend to be much better persons, than one would guess if one reads the book. I mean that.
As for the charge of being offensive: I do not believe that being inoffensive is a virtue in and of itself and I have good reason to feel pretty offended myself when I read the bible.
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Re: a big doubt

#25 Post by Joost » 09 Feb 2011 12:28

t.a.j. wrote:But the bible remains horrible and apprehensive and the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about.
I strongly object against your conflation of 'serious Christians' with 'extremist Christians'. I know that those gruops are much less visible these days, but the more liberal sides of Christianity (e.g. the peace churches -- the quakers, the unitarians, some groups of anabaptists, as well as movements such as the Christian anarchism of Leo Tolstoy) have had a profound impact on the last centuries of history, in an (in my eyes) very positive sense of the word. It was largely these spiritual movements that underlay abolitionism, the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, and the peace movement. There is more to Christianity than Bible-thumping, and the fact that someone does not take everything that's in the Bible literal hardly makes him or her less a 'serious Christian'. (On the contrary, I think the ever ongoing search for truth and meaning and interpretation, their constant doubt, is quite likely to make them more serious in their experience of spirituality and religion, in the sense that it adds profundity and depth of their understanding of the religious-cultural-spiritual tradition they are coming from.)

The Bible is, in my eyes, not any more or less 'horrible and apprehensive' than the Eddas, the Iliad, or the Qur'an. It is a compendium of texts written in different periods. It contains, especially but not exclusively in the Old Testament, lots of things that go against our modern moral sense, but do you really think all 'serious Christians' are either unaware of this or approve of is? Entirely to the contrary, I would say! A 'serious Christian', interested in approaching the Bible and his religious tradition from both a historical/intellectual and a spiritual point of view, soon will come to understand that within the Bible, some very different moral frameworks are presented. He would quickly come to understand that the morality described in the Sermon of the Mount is a far cry from the harsh punishments prescribed in Leviticus.

You seem to have a very black-and-white view of religion and more specifically Christianity, in which all moderate and liberal Christian groups are decried as 'non-serious' or 'not really Christian'. I just do not understand this: you seem to be capable and interested enough to have read enough history to know better. Was Leo Tolstoy 'non-serious' when he wrote The Kingdom of God is Within You? And if not, what then was he?
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Re: a big doubt

#26 Post by Joost » 09 Feb 2011 13:11

t.a.j. wrote:And finally. There is no such thing as Christianity except as a vast disjunctive mess. And I would recommend not using the term in the singular definitive except when trying to be polemic or joking.
There were and are very many different, incompatible ideas, ways of lives and communities under the name of Christianity. Many more than I know about. And some have been very pacifistic and others have been murderous death cults.
I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
You are contradicting yourself here in several ways:
- Apparently being "polemic or joking" was your primary excuse of having started this conversation (as you were the first one in this topic to start using 'Christianity' as a singular definitive), but later on you seem to be seriously defending the same line of thought. Somehow this does not appear to be terribly honest of you.
- As far as I can see, Desert Storm wasn't even referring to Christianity as a 'singular definitive' (perhaps in a grammatical sense, but not with regards to meaning -- it seems to be quite clear that he was referring to people's ideas of what 'Christianity' was about, rather than to Christianity as a coherent whole). In several of your posts here, sometimes without explicitly using the word "Christianity", you did seem to refer to it in a singular definitive sense:

"It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all."
"the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about"
"being a good person and being a Christian involves some creative doublethink"
"for any rational Christian, conversion by any means should be the highest gift they can provide to anyone"
"Christians who just help others in mundane, earthly ways are again involved in some creative doublethink"
"In fact, only Christianity focusses on the whole believe thing."
"Islam has the whole idea of submission instead of faith, as Christians understand it."

In each of these quotations, you seem to think of Christianity as if it were some coherent whole, as if there were just one 'right' interpretation of Christianity, and as if every other interpretation is either irrational, incoherent, doublethinkish, or non-serious. I really disagree completely with this premise, I do not see the necessity of doublethink, irrationality or incoherence for people who deviate from a traditional canonical view of Christianity or a literal interpretation of the Bible. Selectivity, yes, but nothing more than that.

- You say you prefer to 'stick to the Bible', but at the same time ignore the fact that many interpretations of the Bible are possible (and, aside from that, for most Christians adherence to the Nicene creed is perhaps something you should not ignore either, as it gives somewhat of a canonical interpretation of the Bible). It is not just Christians who follow various types of morality, but also the Bible in which various types of morality are described. Even when taking the Bible as a starting point, you can go in quite a few different directions.

Other than this, you really seem to be making quite a few straw men here, and I see some rather vicious personal attacks from you in this topic, as well as a few comparisons (with Nazism) that, to me, are completely out of the line. Really, what's the matter?
You charge each other for the time and breath it takes to say 'good morning',
But the truth is slowly dawning -- things are getting out of hand,
We all pursue our shattered dreams along the roads to our own ruin --
Watch our empires sink and wash away like castles made of sand.
And so cast off the lies that are your lives and find the truth within.
-- Martin Walkyier

Also, Balrogs have wings.

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Re: a big doubt

#27 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 16:52

Joost wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:But the bible remains horrible and apprehensive and the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about.
I strongly object against your conflation of 'serious Christians' with 'extremist Christians'. I know that those gruops are much less visible these days, but the more liberal sides of Christianity (e.g. the peace churches -- the quakers, the unitarians, some groups of anabaptists, as well as movements such as the Christian anarchism of Leo Tolstoy) have had a profound impact on the last centuries of history, in an (in my eyes) very positive sense of the word. It was largely these spiritual movements that underlay abolitionism, the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, and the peace movement.
Granted.
There is more to Christianity than Bible-thumping, and the fact that someone does not take everything that's in the Bible literal hardly makes him or her less a 'serious Christian'. (On the contrary, I think the ever ongoing search for truth and meaning and interpretation, their constant doubt, is quite likely to make them more serious in their experience of spirituality and religion, in the sense that it adds profundity and depth of their understanding of the religious-cultural-spiritual tradition they are coming from.)
I see your point, but it seems to me, as a rather unreligious person, that the personal spiritual experience of other is pretty far out of reach for me. The book is pretty accessible. I tend to measure from that and my use of the term serious certainly reflects that notion. Certainly aspiring mystics or theologians or spiritual seekers, to use a slightly stranger term, are very much engaged with spiritual matters and are in that sense very serious.
The Bible is, in my eyes, not any more or less 'horrible and apprehensive' than the Eddas, the Iliad, or the Qur'an.
I concur. Alas, not too many people try to sell off the Eddas or the Iliad as exemplars of moral teaching. And as far the Qu'ran goes, I am willing to level similar accusations against it.
It is a compendium of texts written in different periods. It contains, especially but not exclusively in the Old Testament, lots of things that go against our modern moral sense, but do you really think all 'serious Christians' are either unaware of this or approve of is? Entirely to the contrary, I would say! A 'serious Christian', interested in approaching the Bible and his religious tradition from both a historical/intellectual and a spiritual point of view, soon will come to understand that within the Bible, some very different moral frameworks are presented. He would quickly come to understand that the morality described in the Sermon of the Mount is a far cry from the harsh punishments prescribed in Leviticus.
I wonder how that would let him remain a Christian or to be more precise, retain his belief in the unfailable authority of the book. And if he gives that up, he gets into a justification problem, since only the bible is the source for main Christian doctrine.
He would be left with recourse to either intuition or tradition, both a far cry from divine revelation. Again, I do not dispute that there are people such as you describe them and I do not insists on my use of serious.
You seem to have a very black-and-white view of religion and more specifically Christianity, in which all moderate and liberal Christian groups are decried as 'non-serious' or 'not really Christian'. I just do not understand this: you seem to be capable and interested enough to have read enough history to know better. Was Leo Tolstoy 'non-serious' when he wrote The Kingdom of God is Within You? And if not, what then was he?
He was certainly seriously thinking and seriously engaged in fundamental and existential questions. He was also coming up with stuff. Which is not bad and in many ways a good reaction to the problems inherent in the bible and Christian tradition. Tolstoi and many before and after him (I'd like to mention Kierkegard and Jaspers, but also Descrates and Spinoza) were engaged in navigating and negotiating between their experiences as humans living human lives, their understanding of science and nature and the Christian doctrine which was one the most salient features or their cultural contexts. In any such case, while their ideas are certainly informed and influenced by one strand or another of the Christian traditions, their philosophies and theologies depart from these traditions as well from the bible in many points.

To ask a simple question, in the Tolstoi quote you gave, is "God" referring to the same concept imagined in, since you mentioned it too, Leviticus?
I would say: No. Tolstoi's God is not the God of Leviticus. And you are certainly right in saying that this distinction can already be drawn between different biblical texts. But the point, as I see it, is that this implies that what one should do is always inquire as to what someone who says "God", means by that. Something I tried for a time and found impossible.

And I do concede that I tend to get harsh in language, too harsh sometimes, I guess.
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Re: a big doubt

#28 Post by t.a.j. » 09 Feb 2011 20:41

Joost wrote:
t.a.j. wrote:And finally. There is no such thing as Christianity except as a vast disjunctive mess. And I would recommend not using the term in the singular definitive except when trying to be polemic or joking.
There were and are very many different, incompatible ideas, ways of lives and communities under the name of Christianity. Many more than I know about. And some have been very pacifistic and others have been murderous death cults.
I for one try to stick to the bible, when discussing these matters and leave what people say and do out. The bible, at least, is a corpus of text that we can all access equally.
You are contradicting yourself here in several ways:
- Apparently being "polemic or joking" was your primary excuse of having started this conversation (as you were the first one in this topic to start using 'Christianity' as a singular definitive), but later on you seem to be seriously defending the same line of thought. Somehow this does not appear to be terribly honest of you.
I think you are right there, though I did not intend to mislead.
- As far as I can see, Desert Storm wasn't even referring to Christianity as a 'singular definitive' (perhaps in a grammatical sense, but not with regards to meaning -- it seems to be quite clear that he was referring to people's ideas of what 'Christianity' was about, rather than to Christianity as a coherent whole). In several of your posts here, sometimes without explicitly using the word "Christianity", you did seem to refer to it in a singular definitive sense:
I will reply to this step by step.
"It could mean that BG are not Christian in any significant sense, including Hansi, who called himself a skeptical Christian, which amounts to no Christian at all."
This was before the actual discussion and at the time not meant as a particularly serious comment. Apart from this caveat, your charge fits.
"the words of serious, that is extremist, christians are among the most unreasonable and immoral bluster I know about"
I have made explicit what I meant with the qualifier "serious", so I hold that in the above context this sentence does not talk about Christianity as a whole in the singular definitive.
[/quote]
"being a good person and being a Christian involves some creative doublethink"
"for any rational Christian, conversion by any means should be the highest gift they can provide to anyone"
"Christians who just help others in mundane, earthly ways are again involved in some creative doublethink"[/quote]
I could claim, that in each case of those,"Christian" should be taken to refer to what I called "serious Christians", but I do take your meaning.
"In fact, only Christianity focusses on the whole believe thing."
I would say that this is a probably true sentence, even if Christianity is used in the singular definitive.
"Islam has the whole idea of submission instead of faith, as Christians understand it."
Same

All in all, I accept the charge of lacking clarity and I can understand how you would arrive at the conclusion that I am attacking straw men and maybe I am in various instances.

I do want to to clarify two central points, though, that underlies most of what I said.

1. Not even a single instance of advocating genocide is compatible with moral excellence as contemporary western society understands that concept.
2. The doctrine of selective salvation by faith, that is that onyl if one believes the right thing, one recieves some infinite reward or avoids some infinite punishment is not just and in fact most severely unjust by the standards of contemporary western society.

And while any Christian could be selective about 1, 2 seems to me to be at the heart of any Christianity I have ever heard about.
And given this, when I speak of doublethink I mean this: To believe that one loves one's non-christian neighbors, yet to believe that they will either fail to receive eternal life and bliss or even suffer eternal hell and torment.

In any case, I think you have made some good points and I "shot beyond the target", as we say.
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Re: a big doubt

#29 Post by t.a.j. » 15 Feb 2011 12:09

I do notice that once you stop yelling at people, they seem to stop talking to you. ;)
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Led Guardian
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Re: a big doubt

#30 Post by Led Guardian » 15 Feb 2011 23:11

t.a.j. wrote:I do notice that once you stop yelling at people, they seem to stop talking to you. ;)
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Re: a big doubt

#31 Post by Dentarthurdent » 22 Feb 2011 03:19

t.a.j. wrote:I wonder how that would let him remain a Christian or to be more precise, retain his belief in the unfailable authority of the book. And if he gives that up, he gets into a justification problem, since only the bible is the source for main Christian doctrine.
Maybe a week late, but I'd like to lose some thought about this.

A book which is largely the history of a nomad tribe from 5'000 years ago and a couple thousands kilometres far away can hardly be an "unfailable authority". Moreso as it was written, or rather related, by the leading upper class of society, which were, above all, human.

Yet it is still the only source (well, plus the apocryphical texts not included in this canon, but that's something completely different) for christian doctrine, as you say.
But just like any other source, it has to be tackled with a critical approach and everyone has to find out for himself how to cope with it. But when you do that, you don't stop being a christian. Being a christian is not just about reading or listening and nodding. The main characteristic of a christian is the belief in God and Jesus Christ, not the belief in the bible. And while the bible is the only objective resource about God, the belief and the personal relationship with God is entirely subjective, formed by ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences, which are different for every single person. Of course, some of those are based on the bible. But everyone has his own parts which make sense to him, which have this "right" feeling to them, and which go with his imaginations and experiences. Some people may have similar ideas of God, and others will have rather different. Which of course leads to the exact point at which we are now: Everyone's arguing with everyone about everything. :D

But, to come to some kind of conclusion: Being a christian is in the first place something to do with this God person. The bible comes later.

Now, where's this thread which I came into this section of the board for in the first place, the one about the different subforums...?
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Re: a big doubt

#32 Post by t.a.j. » 22 Feb 2011 10:52

The main characteristic of a christian is the belief in God and Jesus Christ, not the belief in the bible.
Yet there is no other, even vaguely contemporary source, where Jesus gets so much as mentioned. With the possible exception of Josephus, but that has most certainly been a later insertion.
And while the bible is the only objective resource about God, the belief and the personal relationship with God is entirely subjective, formed by ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences, which are different for every single person. Of course, some of those are based on the bible. But everyone has his own parts which make sense to him, which have this "right" feeling to them, and which go with his imaginations and experiences. Some people may have similar ideas of God, and others will have rather different. Which of course leads to the exact point at which we are now: Everyone's arguing with everyone about everything.
I'd like to make the point that if there were a god, it seems reasonable that people who have personal experiences with it, come away with similar ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences. Much like two people first seeing a lion come away with similar, though not identical, ideas, imaginations,...
http://www.gedichtblog.de
They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


Still the goddamn Batman.

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Re: a big doubt

#33 Post by Dentarthurdent » 22 Feb 2011 12:51

t.a.j. wrote:
The main characteristic of a christian is the belief in God and Jesus Christ, not the belief in the bible.
Yet there is no other, even vaguely contemporary source, where Jesus gets so much as mentioned. With the possible exception of Josephus, but that has most certainly been a later insertion.
As far as I know, there are a handful of roman and jewish sourcs, where he and his execution are mentioned.
And while the bible is the only objective resource about God, the belief and the personal relationship with God is entirely subjective, formed by ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences, which are different for every single person. Of course, some of those are based on the bible. But everyone has his own parts which make sense to him, which have this "right" feeling to them, and which go with his imaginations and experiences. Some people may have similar ideas of God, and others will have rather different. Which of course leads to the exact point at which we are now: Everyone's arguing with everyone about everything.
I'd like to make the point that if there were a god, it seems reasonable that people who have personal experiences with it, come away with similar ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences. Much like two people first seeing a lion come away with similar, though not identical, ideas, imaginations,...
God isn't a creature like a lion, because obviously he isn't walking around the world visibly. And since he can't be perceived clearly, it differs from each point of view how he is perceived.

Besides, some people may see the lion as a proud being, full of wild force and dignity, king of the jungle and whatnot; while others may see it as a raving bloodthirsty money. Not what I call similar.
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Re: a big doubt

#34 Post by t.a.j. » 22 Feb 2011 18:23

Dentarthurdent wrote: As far as I know, there are a handful of roman and jewish sourcs, where he and his execution are mentioned.
Nope.
Not even Christian cults get mentioned much during the first decades of Christian counting. There is really only Josephus, which is almost certainly a later insertion. In fact, there are pretty good reasons to assume that there never was a single historical Jesus, much less someone who performed miracles.
Basically, the life and ministry of Jesus is a part of Christian doctrine and attested nowhere else, unless referring primary Christian sources.

When it comes to religious founders, I don't think that there was a Moses or a Christ, while probably there was a Mohammed.
I wrote: I'd like to make the point that if there were a god, it seems reasonable that people who have personal experiences with it, come away with similar ideas, imaginations, interpretations and experiences. Much like two people first seeing a lion come away with similar, though not identical, ideas, imaginations,...
God isn't a creature like a lion, because obviously he isn't walking around the world visibly. And since he can't be perceived clearly, it differs from each point of view how he is perceived.

Besides, some people may see the lion as a proud being, full of wild force and dignity, king of the jungle and whatnot; while others may see it as a raving bloodthirsty money. Not what I call similar.
money?
Anyway: Mane, four legs, hairy, about *this* size, teeth and claws, tuffted tail -> Similar. Proud and fierce vs. dirty and mean -> not identical.
Btw. the idea that bloodthirsty and ravenous would contradict proud, kingly and fierce is a fantasy notion. History's nobles were mostly warrior elites and being bloodthirsty and ravenous is something of a virtue, if you are part of a warrior elite.
But that's just an aside. My main point is this: Given vastly different experiences, why would you ever think that they were experiences of the same thing?
http://www.gedichtblog.de
They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway.
They say that life's a game, then they take the board away.
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
Then leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret...


Still the goddamn Batman.

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