Author Topic: Why I don't believe in God anymore.  (Read 1908 times)

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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #90 on: November 21, 2017, 02:17:47 PM »
I would expect from an all-knowing, powerful, and just God to do much better than the Bible or the Quran, to bring laws and moral codes that humans could never imagine, laws and morals that would not allow for hundreds of interpretations.

So since you cannot have this fantasy, then you are done with God altogether. Yet all your problems remain. Specifically, there remains a history of mankind and its destructive deeds. Further, there remain many interpretations of history and of the present (and, yes, such deeds persist in the present; progressivism demurs, but the daily news confutes it). You are convinced of your own interpretation, your own morals, but you have nothing but yourself to back them; for, altho I am sure you have likeminded friends, you have no control over whether they continue to agree with you. And were you to attempt to assert such control, you'd find yourself appealing to something bigger than yourself; and were to you to attempt to assert such control in any large way, you'd find yourself faced with a need for destructive deeds in some measure. You have got rid of God, but you have not got rid of mankind in which everything to which you object factually inheres. In your mystic rage at God, you have still the problem and the problem is man which is yourself.

Well said.

Seconded.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #91 on: November 21, 2017, 02:21:18 PM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #92 on: November 21, 2017, 02:36:29 PM »
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
What if the Gospels were never intended as "historical documents"? I think it's important, as I said, that historical writing didn't exist in antiquity that it does now. Our standards for historiography are so much higher.

To me the canon of the NT belongs in the category of "sacred" and requires a different hermenutic.

Ultimately I agree with Kierkegaard. It doesn't make sense to seek out a "historical Jesus" as such, especially if you take Orthodox theology seriously.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline augustin717

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #93 on: November 21, 2017, 02:40:00 PM »
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
What if the Gospels were never intended as "historical documents"? I think it's important, as I said, that historical writing didn't exist in antiquity that it does now. Our standards for historiography are so much higher.

To me the canon of the NT belongs in the category of "sacred" and requires a different hermenutic.

Ultimately I agree with Kierkegaard. It doesn't make sense to seek out a "historical Jesus" as such, especially if you take Orthodox theology seriously.
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #94 on: November 21, 2017, 02:49:31 PM »
BTW you might find this peculiar, and I'm not sure at odds with Orthodoxy if I get down to brass tacks, but I agree with the Jesus mythiscts except for entirely different reasons. If you start with Christ is God, then he's beyond any categorization. To even suggest Christ can be an object of history is blasphemy (again I agree with Kierkegaard, he takes up this theme brilliantly in his Practice in Christianity).

that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #95 on: November 21, 2017, 02:57:16 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #96 on: November 21, 2017, 03:01:34 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #97 on: November 21, 2017, 03:06:51 PM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #98 on: November 21, 2017, 03:11:15 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.

Thank God his plans for man do not hinge on what seems nonsensical to Rob. As for your sense of nonsense, you may want to have that calibrated. For God to become incarnate in no factual way would be the greatest conceivable nonsense. If you could not have touched Christ and reported his sayings (I Joh 1.1ff), then there is no Christ. (How degrading to my fingers even to have to type out something so plain on its face.)
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #99 on: November 21, 2017, 03:21:02 PM »
that's nonsense . What is the incarnation in a theology unmoored from history?
If we agree that history is the study of texts, then I'm not sure how it could ever grasp the Incarnation.

We don't agree that -- what uselessness that would be -- and you're just doubling down on making the Incarnation irrelevant. Augustin's quite right.
On the contrary, I'm making it more relevant. To treat the Incarnation as a historical artifact seems nonsensical to me.

Thank God his plans for man do not hinge on what seems nonsensical to Rob. As for your sense of nonsense, you may want to have that calibrated. For God to become incarnate in no factual way would be the greatest conceivable nonsense. If you could not have touched Christ and reported his sayings (I Joh 1.1ff), then there is no Christ. (How degrading to my fingers even to have to type out something so plain on its face.)
I'm more subtle than this Porter although my fault not explaining this well. I'm not denying the eternal pre-existent Logos taking on flesh however theologically the implications of this are so profound that cannot be grasped by a mere historical inquiry.

To me theology is the domain we should dwell in, not history.

I'll post more of my thinking on this when I can get on a computer. You don't have to agree obviously. I'd like to make the case of taking seriously Christ's Church as His Body, Christ in the Eucharist, Christ everywhere present - "for in Him we live and move and have our being." So tracking down some historical person doesn't make a whole lot of sense if we take this stuff seriously.

I could be totally wrong about all this and willing to admit if I find an argument persuasive enough.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 03:21:49 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Deacon Lance

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #100 on: November 21, 2017, 05:30:13 PM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.

But, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver.

No, said Tolkien, they are not.

...just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth.

We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.

You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, he said, I begin to understand.

Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography

My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #101 on: November 21, 2017, 06:44:41 PM »
I don't see why the Gospels can't be considered myth as long as we mean by myth as true and sacred stories. That's different than say Barlaam and Josphat which is a religious legend.

The way Iconodule (and augustin) use "myth" is modern. I'm not trying to operate through a modern episteme. Like take Medieval Europeans. They found it consistent within their episteme that certain sexual dreams were the result of demonic influences. And that's because they didn't operate under the empirical episteme, where evidence of demons required some observation, rather than the authority of the Bible. They took the existence of demons for granted and went from there to work out consistencies with that assumption.

Or many Christians state they believe in miracles or the Resurrection while mostly conducting themselves in accordance with the modern episteme, despite that purported contradiction of it.

To reappropriate an old post of mine here:

Episteme is a way of understanding the world available to a culture at a particular time. For example modern people understand the world as not governed by miracles. Naturalism is dominant. Whenever someone needs a car fixed they aren't praying for a miracle but go to a mechanic who will follow causal procedures determined by scientific and engineering theories with high predictive values.

Now any individual can reject this episteme, but it is interesting that the miracle-naturalism dynamic is only possible when those two views are in opposition, as they weren't in antiquity or the early modern period.

I've shared with Iconodule privately my own personal struggles cause to my mind Orthodoxy operates in a completely different episteme that is so alien to where I am.

This was Foucault's main point in his Birth of the Clinic, where say St. Paul's speech would be coherent in one era and become lunacy in another. My guess is St. Paul would probably be locked up in an asylum if he was around today.

There's a woman at my parish who can't help but be skeptical at miracles and mystical stuff. This is the modern predicament.

It's odd I find myself very sympathetic towards creationists lately...
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 06:46:45 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #102 on: November 22, 2017, 12:16:46 AM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.

Ok, fair enough. But I think that the God you believed is still there whether the texts are reliable or not. I don't need six literal days of creation six thousand years ago to believe in a creator. Similarly, the Incarnation could have occurred historically, as long as it's still logically possible, whether we can arrive it through independent historical study or not.

Maybe that's God of the Gaps reasoning, but until we develop time travel, I don't see why it doesn't work in this case.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #103 on: November 22, 2017, 12:20:36 AM »

It's odd I find myself very sympathetic towards creationists lately...

Creationists are very much the modern episteme, though. If they can't prove a young earth+universal flood using their bastard version of the scientific method, then they think that Christianity is completely irrelevant.



Edited to be more fair.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 12:29:39 AM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #104 on: November 22, 2017, 12:27:45 AM »
You should probably explain more as to what you mean. The incarnation may transcend history, but it is still in history, or it is no better than any other myth.

Just to clarify where Rob and I might be at loggerheads here, I do believe that the Incarnation occurred literally and physically in history. I'm just open to the idea that the Gospels and the secular outside evidence that we have are insufficient to conclude, using the modern historical method, that it happened. It ultimately has to be taken on faith in the witness of Tradition and the Gospels might only be reliable when read in that light.

This of course then leads to the question, "Then why believe in Christianity over another religion or none?" And my answers to that are primarily philosophical and existential.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2017, 12:30:05 AM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #105 on: November 22, 2017, 01:31:33 AM »
But you said that God became a nonissue for you once you lost trust in the NT. That to me doesn't sound like you've really examined faith all that much.

Personally, I just don't think there are any solid arguments against belief in a God (the problem of evil comes close, sure, but it's still pretty ambiguous). Whereas the historical near-universality of theism is at least a weak argument in favor of it.
I had the idea inculcated in me that the Gospels are also reliable historical documents. After studying the problem a bit I no longer believe that.
As I said belief in a god is a separate issue though. At least theoretically.
 But if the god I believed in isn't there I just don't care to examine whether other gods are.

Ok, fair enough. But I think that the God you believed is still there whether the texts are reliable or not. I don't need six literal days of creation six thousand years ago to believe in a creator. Similarly, the Incarnation could have occurred historically, as long as it's still logically possible, whether we can arrive it through independent historical study or not.

Maybe that's God of the Gaps reasoning, but until we develop time travel, I don't see why it doesn't work in this case.
Regarding creation of the universe before man, I find it meaningless by definition talking about things being around when nobody can even in principle observe them ultimately violates even empirical rules. A kind of cheat is going on where an observer is deemed to be observing things that by definition are not subject to observation, since no observer exists in that time frame. It's empiricism through the back door.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #106 on: November 22, 2017, 01:53:59 AM »
Just to clarify where Rob and I might be at loggerheads here, I do believe that the Incarnation occurred literally and physically in history. I'm just open to the idea that the Gospels and the secular outside evidence that we have are insufficient to conclude, using the modern historical method, that it happened. It ultimately has to be taken on faith in the witness of Tradition and the Gospels might only be reliable when read in that light.

This of course then leads to the question, "Then why believe in Christianity over another religion or none?" And my answers to that are primarily philosophical and existential.
I don't deny it happened, I'm just wary of separating the historical person from as he is known in the Orthodox Church, as I understand it. Do not Orthodox receive the Holy Gifts which are the precious blood and body of our Lord? What about the Church as His body? And the Gospel readings during Divine Liturgy, are these not being proclaimed as if they are proclaimed now? Does not Christ speak to the audience that heard him but also directly to each Christian? I just have extreme difficulties isolating a 1st century Jew from who I know personally.

Maybe this is too vulgar, but I have no other way to take these things but simply as they are. Maybe I think too much like a babushka. I'd rather stick to how the Orthodox Chuch proclaims the Gospel than whatever could be wrenched from historical studies.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #107 on: November 22, 2017, 09:58:08 PM »
I'm more subtle than this Porter although my fault not explaining this well. I'm not denying the eternal pre-existent Logos taking on flesh however theologically the implications of this are so profound that cannot be grasped by a mere historical inquiry.

Pardon me, but no one is saying that the Incarnation is grasped only materially.

Quote
To me theology is the domain we should dwell in, not history.

This states more than it sounds like it does. Because by setting theology and history at opposition this way, sacred history is implied to be no friend to truth and salvation.

Quote
I'll post more of my thinking on this when I can get on a computer. You don't have to agree obviously.

As I recall, you spent years posting great reams of this thinking. I suppose I was naive to think you'd outgrown it.

Quote
I'd like to make the case of taking seriously Christ's Church as His Body, Christ in the Eucharist, Christ everywhere present - "for in Him we live and move and have our being." So tracking down some historical person doesn't make a whole lot of sense if we take this stuff seriously.

Is this the way to speak of Christ? "Some historical person." And again you set two things at opposition quite subtly, in this case the Incarnation and the omnipresence of God. What you post is simple Incarnoclasm.

Stop feigning to be unaware that there is an in- (εν-) in 'incarnation.' If God did not enter a specific time and place and body, there is no mystery of Incarnation and "we are of all men most miserable."
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline RobS

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #108 on: November 22, 2017, 11:00:34 PM »
I'm setting them in opposition because both theology and history are totally separate domains. There is no overlap. What theology is doing is profoundly different than history.

I'm resisting a tendency to render the Incarnation as merely a historical occurrence rather than being filled with a deep wonder at the absolute paradox of our faith. Christ cannot be a historical person as we read in history books. He must by his very person go beyond it.

I can fully embrace the paradox and reject any attempts to rationally make sense of it. Only by the Orthodox Faith can one come to know him as he is, the same yesterday, today and forever.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #109 on: Yesterday at 12:04:32 AM »
Quote
Incarnoclasm

Pro-tip, making up your own technical terms and just throwing them out there as though they pre-exist you doesn't make you look smart or poetic, it makes you look pretentious.

Given the vagaries of historical documents (how they're collected, edited, passed down, etc) and the inherent problems with eye witness testimony and the fact that we've lost the ability to directly verify these events the way that someone who was the there at the time did (within those same bounds of unreliable witnesses of course), what does it mean to say that we "know" that Washington was the first president or that Newton discovered gravity? All that I see Rob arguing for is a more nuanced reading of the way we understand the past and what it means to say that something really happened 2000 years ago.

I don't know if his is an understanding of history that holds up (though I'm not at all sure that a Leopold von Ranke "how things actually were" view is any better, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle). But it's perfectly compatible with Jesus being in the flesh in all the same ways that we are.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:11:00 AM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #110 on: Yesterday at 03:17:29 PM »
I'm setting them in opposition because both theology and history are totally separate domains. There is no overlap. What theology is doing is profoundly different than history.

This is the case only according to such special definitions as you cling to, definitions, such as that history comprises no fact but only narrative, that are meaningless to Christians and others of sincere will. For Christians, history and theology are complementary, and, for that matter, in no case is there a "totally separate domain" -- except in the case of truth vs. lies, God vs. the world, justice vs. evil. Theology and history, and every other legitimate theoria, are doors to the same room.

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I'm resisting a tendency to render the Incarnation as merely a historical occurrence rather than being filled with a deep wonder at the absolute paradox of our faith.

Again you invent a pernicious and unnecessary opposition. There is nothing "mere" about the human past, and certainly nothing about our having a past that precludes any wonder at God's work with man.

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Christ cannot be a historical person as we read in history books. He must by his very person go beyond it.

If Christ is not real, then he is not Christ. Shame on your posts, that they will not stop subtly babbling these false oppositions, these gratuitous ruptures of the faith.

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I can fully embrace the paradox and reject any attempts to rationally make sense of it. Only by the Orthodox Faith can one come to know him as he is, the same yesterday, today and forever.

I'll ignore your summing platitude as no summation at all of your posts' real contents, and ask what is this "paradox" you worship? If it requires you to call the Evangelists frauds, if it requires you to discern the Incarnation as having no place or time, then it is not a paradox but some species of stubborn self-lobotomization.

But let's cut to the chase, Mr. S. Let's be perfectly clear. The motivations for thinking such as yours (quite popular thinking, by the way, in progressive religious circles -- sometimes I think you just paraphrase the books you've read) are perfectly clear and simple. But first a brief history lesson. The "need" to declare the Gospels fraudulent began in the Enlightenment when scientific minds noticed with a start that the Gospels include accounts of miracles. The scholarly criticism is continuous from there. Now, for the Christian or other sincere mind, it is easy to grant that where the Son of God were to appear, there could -- no, would be miracles. And so the subsequent centuries of hubbub seem quite unnecessary. But consider well: The hubbub was necessary to the motives that gave birth to it. The motives to join in the work of a zeitgeist; of synergy with the spirit of the times: which was -- and is -- to build a new world of mind from which the old world of mind must be cut out.

And so it is today with those who write books or posts like yours. The motive is plain, if beneath the surface -- it is to join in the work of science and progress; or, by this late time of history, to avoid the shame of not joining. The writer or poster wishes to be at ease among his secular fellows; if he is a professional scholar, he wishes to rise in his job -- or perhaps even just to keep it. The paradox you describe -- the tension, as Emergents are fond of denominating it -- is thus nothing else than a strain between two incompatible sets of motivations, probably incarnated in sets of coworkers and friends. It is a personal stress abstracted. "How long will ye halt between two opinions?" "Friendship of the world is enmity with God." "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." You see, the old world of mind already knew, predicted, and diagnosed the unholy "paradox."

So, yes, there are two "totally separate domains" which an attempt to synthesize will indeed bear hideously aborted fruit, and this fact does certainly greatly impinge on the matter of the thread, but these domains are not history vs. theology but God vs. rebellion.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #111 on: Yesterday at 04:05:33 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 04:05:58 PM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #112 on: Yesterday at 04:16:00 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #113 on: Yesterday at 05:13:16 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 05:14:22 PM by Volnutt »
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Ray1

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #114 on: Yesterday at 05:18:19 PM »
Ahhhhhh OC.net, where you leave a thread when it was only 20 posts and come back to find it reached the 100. What is this? Biochemical lab? lol. I will respond to posts directed to me as soon as possible. I apologize for responding late.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #115 on: Yesterday at 05:46:44 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

You're completely changing the subject. Your claim was that the Gospels are scientifically fraudulent. And you're also mischaracterizing my reply, casting it as a matter of aesthetic appreciation. No, the Gospels and Apostles do not come across to the ingenuous and thorough reader as fraudulent, as long as, that is, and as I already mentioned above, the reader is not bound by an idea that God cannot bear a Son or a Son of God could not perform miracles.

Quote
I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

Being unsure how to "hate father and mother" is an entirely different category of problem from what you and Rob have brought up, and doesn't imply fraudulence in the histories at all. You are changing the subject, and while I'm sure your pensive youth is a worthy subject, it won't answer here.

Quote
And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...

So now, rather than embodying a "mess of competing factions" "calling each other liars" of which "the Orthodox narrative" is patently "over and against" equally valid competing interpretations, Sts. Peter and Paul are merely "at one another's throats." Yet even your subtle capitulation won't hold. Read the Epistle unclouded, and see a stout defense from St. Paul of the beloved non-Jewish Christians in spite of his great respect for St. Peter, who is described as caught by a moment of human weakness in a temporary retreat (eating with the Jewish Christians only) from a principle both men are recorded as holding very dear (cf. Act ch. 10). The two men were of course allies in the Spirit: St. Paul recalls the time when "pillar" St. Peter welcomed him while all other brethren still held him as a persecutor, and when subsequently he with the other leading Apostles "perceived the grace" in him and gave him "the right hands of fellowship"; St. Peter remarks with approval "our beloved brother Paul['s]" profound gifts.

But again, if you would like to change the subject to scriptural teaching you have personally found it difficult to understand how to act on, that is a wholly different subject that the veracity of the sacred accounts or anything else Rob is claiming.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #116 on: Yesterday at 06:53:33 PM »
First of all, it doesn't make you sound smart or poetic to make up your own technical term ("Incarnoclasm") and just throw it out there with no other comment as though it predates you. It makes you look pretentious.

And no, it's really not all one theoria or else there would be absolute, beyond the shadow of a doubt, logical and scientific proof for the existence of God and for the Resurrection. All we have are arguments for the possibility of them.

Likewise, from an outside perspective the early church is a mess of competing factions and huge personalities (including Peter and Paul, at least for a time) biting and tearing at one another and calling each other liars. Only somebody who's already made their mind up is going to conclude that the truth of the Orthodox narrative over and against one of its competitors is clear and obvious.

In other words, the only way to cut through the chaff and accept Orthodoxy is via a leap of faith. Faith is not science, faith is not logic. That doesn't make it invalid, but it does make it different.

One who simply picks up and reads the Gospels and Apostles finds none of these problems. The accounts are coherent, are full of profound insights and very credible love. One must be taught that the accounts are fraudulent for that even to occur to one. And so I strongly suggest you go put your nose in the Good Book with all ingenuousness for your personal satisfaction and salvation.

They have beauty, yes. But they're also full of contradictions and hard sayings in need of harmonizing or explaining/contextualizing (and this isn't even getting into the question of how the NT and the OT match up), even Jesus for all His most beautiful moments still tells you to hate mother and father and to slay His enemies before Him (I know, parable, but it didn't come off that way to me the first time I ever read it) and that not even the Son knows the hour of His return.

You're completely changing the subject. Your claim was that the Gospels are scientifically fraudulent. And you're also mischaracterizing my reply, casting it as a matter of aesthetic appreciation. No, the Gospels and Apostles do not come across to the ingenuous and thorough reader as fraudulent, as long as, that is, and as I already mentioned above, the reader is not bound by an idea that God cannot bear a Son or a Son of God could not perform miracles.

Quote
I felt some of these tensions reading as a child in an Evangelical milieu long before I heard any real skeptical arguments. I agree that there is a way of interpreting them that's full of beauty and comfort and makes a wonderful coherent picture, but it's far from the obvious one the first time one reads.

Being unsure how to "hate father and mother" is an entirely different category of problem from what you and Rob have brought up, and doesn't imply fraudulence in the histories at all. You are changing the subject, and while I'm sure your pensive youth is a worthy subject, it won't answer here.

I'm just giving examples of the ways in which it's easy to conclude (or at least begin to suspect) from first blush that the Gospels are inconsistent and ridiculous, quite independent of any aversion to the miraculous as such. If you start mistrusting the Gospels morally and/or in terms of their internal facts (for example if you can't make heads or tails of how many people were at the tomb or why there's two different genealogies of Christ), then you're probably going to mistrust them on other grounds--maybe you'll start doubting that the God behind them is really good or sane or if the human authors really knew what they were doing.

It's just some counterpoints to the rosy picture you paint of some rapturous first time Scripture reading in which everything "clicks."

Quote
And then you see that even Peter and Paul were at one another's throats in Galatians...

So now, rather than embodying a "mess of competing factions" "calling each other liars" of which "the Orthodox narrative" is patently "over and against" equally valid competing interpretations, Sts. Peter and Paul are merely "at one another's throats." Yet even your subtle capitulation won't hold. Read the Epistle unclouded, and see a stout defense from St. Paul of the beloved non-Jewish Christians in spite of his great respect for St. Peter, who is described as caught by a moment of human weakness in a temporary retreat (eating with the Jewish Christians only) from a principle both men are recorded as holding very dear (cf. Act ch. 10). The two men were of course allies in the Spirit: St. Paul recalls the time when "pillar" St. Peter welcomed him while all other brethren still held him as a persecutor, and when subsequently he with the other leading Apostles "perceived the grace" in him and gave him "the right hands of fellowship"; St. Peter remarks with approval "our beloved brother Paul['s]" profound gifts.

But again, if you would like to change the subject to scriptural teaching you have personally found it difficult to understand how to act on, that is a wholly different subject that the veracity of the sacred accounts or anything else Rob is claiming.

I used to read Paul's words as being more ambiguous than that. In 2:6, he seems to speak dismissively of Peter's authority "As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message." And the account of them receiving Paul as having grace is before the account of opposing Peter. It's easy for a first time reader to come away with the impression that Paul at the very least thinks he's better than Peter and the others. At least that was my first impression all those years ago.

Not saying I was right in that impression. I don't think that I was. It's just that this one example of an easy to come by doubt from the text itself can stick in the back of your mind and set the stage for later scholarly arguments about the reliability and agenda of Luke, the authenticity of 2 Peter or the Pastoral Epistles, etc.

Then even later you start to hear arguments about the diversity of the claimants during the first couple of centuries--not only the orthodox, but also different sorts of Gnostics, Jewish Ebionites, possible further conflicts between James, Peter, and Paul that the author of Acts might be trying to cover up, etc. all telling different stories of Jesus. The picture becomes a lot less clear when one tries to look at it without a bias towards orthodoxy. At the very least, your triumphalism over some alleged perspicuous empirical proof of the orthodox narrative becomes a little harder to cling to.

And this is why faith is necessary.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:00:46 PM by Volnutt »
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #117 on: Yesterday at 07:06:08 PM »
@Volnutt
That is very interesting, because in my first read of the New Testament, I never got the impression that Paul and the other Apostles were consistently at odds with each other. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the Gospels, but I don’t think anyone (skeptic, believer, or otherwise) has the authority to claim some hermeneutical high-ground when it comes to “first impression” interpretation. (Especially when one considers that literature style was different back then than it is today).
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:12:25 PM by byhisgrace »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #118 on: Yesterday at 07:35:20 PM »
@Volnutt
That is very interesting, because in my first read of the New Testament, I never got the impression that Paul and the other Apostles were consistently at odds with each other. Maybe that says more about me than it does about the Gospels, but I don’t think anyone has the authority to claim some hermeneutical high-ground when it comes to “first impression” interpretation. (Especially when one considers that literature style was different back then than it was today).

Well, if you take the Peter vs. Paul thing on its own, it's relatively easy to accept Luke's and 2 Peter's story of them eventually reconciling (though past me would still suspect that Paul was kind of arrogant). But then you take it alongside the troubles in the Corinthian church, Simon Magus, the Judaizers, the proto-Gnostics at Colossae, Hymenaeus and Alexander, Diotrephes, the difficulties in harmonizing Romans and James, the "false Apostles"...

The early church and the post-Apostolic world seems like a pretty chaotic place to me. It's enough to cause some doubt (or at least for me it is) that the documents that happened to be canonized are really the entire story, you know (especially if you buy arguments for really late dates for the NT books)? So even if I don't accept their conclusions, I can still definitely sympathize with where a Bart Ehrman or an Elaine Pagels is coming from and not just consider them venal, lying saboteurs like I'm sure Porter does.

But I want to reiterate that I'm speaking from the point of view of my own doubts and those of people who think similarly. I now embrace the orthodox version of church history for various reasons, but none of them have to do with some mythical fundamentalist "plain reading."
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The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline byhisgrace

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #119 on: Yesterday at 07:52:33 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 07:53:03 PM by byhisgrace »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #120 on: Yesterday at 11:08:24 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline augustin717

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #121 on: Yesterday at 11:25:26 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
you seem to feel so strongly about this. Careful there.
She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #122 on: Yesterday at 11:34:00 PM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

Bart Ehrman continues a by now settled tradition of accepting as granted the tenets of unbelief and making a virtuosity of theologizing in spite of it. It is a display, certainly, but a shameful and unnecessary one. He attains a reputation in academics for precisely this reason: that such a display gives smug satisfaction to the unbelievers.
you seem to feel so strongly about this. Careful there.

Does this work in Romania?
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Volnutt

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Re: Why I don't believe in God anymore.
« Reply #123 on: Today at 03:29:25 AM »
I can understand where Ehrman is coming from, too. While I don’t think there is irrefutable historical proof of the Resurrection, I do believe that there are good enough reasons for me to give the Apostles the benefit of the doubt.

I think so too, yeah.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things